One of the characters in this story, Matthew Parnell, is being dedicated to a wonderful young man who has helped the CSU Author group and the Readers by creating and maintaining a Time Line Chart for CSU.
This lad is what it means to be "Clan" - not only can he say that he has really been to the places that the 'make believe kids' in the stories have, but he has also survived them all. Then, one day, he came to that one, pivotal second - and his life changed forever.
Now, he and his Boyfriend are doing what their hearts lead them to do - help others: yet, they never take credit for this. They spend their time helping the aged and the infirm, being a friend to those who have no-one left, and, on top of their education, they spend a lot of time helping with the Time Line Chart.
And so we are honoured to dedicate Matthew Parnell to Tanner Michael.
May the character be a true shadow of the wonderful kid that both of us have grown very fond of.
CSU Creator and Author
CSU Archivist and Author
My name is Matthew John Parnell, formerly Davies. I am twelve years old, and a Captain in the most elite security and espionage service in Federation Space; the Vulcan Special and Covert Ops, or VSO for short. I was asked by my oldest friend, Jason Evans, to start keeping a record of my feelings.
Not sure what good it will do, but... since my Commander has asked, I will do so - so, here's my story. I won't bore you with how I and my brother and cousins were rescued from our situation - Jace has told that in his own story. I won't even tell you about how I started to feel worse and worse after we came back from Vulcan and our training. Again, Jace is writing that story. This is how I got to be saved from the darkness I covered myself in. A Darkness of guilt and shame, friendlessness and loneliness.
And it is all down to someone who is no longer 'alive'...
Heh, funny that: my brothers - my living brothers - couldn't help me, but a dead boy could... and did.
Matthew was wandering around the Manor house, checking in on the kids and rugrats sleeping. He had been up for three hours already, but since it was his day off from patrolling the valley, he was not in uniform. He moved around the large house like a ghost, and the few others who were awake never saw him.
He preferred it that way.
As he went passed Belar's room, a door further down the hall popped open and a small little girl came flying out and ran straight at him. He smiled as he caught her from the pounce she had launched. He could never hide from little Alice; she always seemed to know where he was.
"Why are you awake, Sweetpea?" he whispered. However, her soaked nightdress answered his question, as did her quiet sobs of terror. "Nightmare, baby girl?"
"Uh huh! I dweamed yous gone aways to stays wif baby Jesus and I's nevew gonna sees yous 'gain," she rushed out, her face mashed into the crook of his neck.
"Shhh," Matthew crooned softly as he carried her back to her own room. "I'm still here," he whispered as he closed the door softly. He glanced around at the three other beds with their occupants. The room was, in daylight, bright and cheery. A real 'little girls' room, and Alice loved it here with the three others that had been rescued with her. Of the four, however, she alone had latched onto Matthew as a possible 'father figure', where as the other three little girls just liked his company. Marie, Beth and Karys were still sound asleep, so he didn't have a handful of frightened girls to deal with. "I'm not going anywhere, Sweetpea," he said as he knelt down to place the trembling child on her feet. "Let's get you showered and into some clean PJs, okay?" he smiled at her in the shadowed room.
She nodded her head before raising her arms to allow him to lift away the soaked nightdress.
Soon, Matthew and Alice were under a warm shower spray, and Alice was purring in her protectors arms as he gently washed her back.
Matthew had had to deal with nightmares and their usual result almost daily in the six months the Division had been taking in rescued kids. Since coming back from Vulcan, he could quite honestly say his time had been well spent; it just never seemed to lighten his mood.
These past few days, however, had been harder on him. Since revealing their existence to Clan Short, all of the original crew had been constantly away - and therefore all his friends had been gone. He had no other friends here. Not even those who had fully joined up as VSO since April.
Who, apart from the original core group, wanted him around? He was strange and morose, and he frightened them.
Well, all except the little kids. They liked him. But then, they didn't know better for he never told them.
Alice, however, was the only one who could stir some form of light in the darkness Matthew surrounded himself in. It was just that the light was always consumed by the shadows.
It never lasted, so he never took that final step to adopt this sweet little girl.
"There, that's better, isn't it?" he crooned with a soft smile as he rubbed the girl down in a fluffy, soft towel that was nearly twice as big as she was.
Her giggles were his only answer, then her two small arms poked out of the mass of towel to hug him tightly around the neck.
After wrapping a towel tightly around himself, then doing the same for Alice, Matthew carried her back out into the bedroom and found some clean PJs for her. He dressed her easily and then led her over to Karys' bed. "In you go, Sweetpea," he smiled as he lifted her up and tucked her in with her 'sister'. "Don't worry if you don't see me tomorrow. I've been given a job to do with the Clan, over in America. I might be gone for a while, but you can call me any time."
"Hows?" she trembled, not liking the idea of losing her only real 'daddy'.
Matthew smiled. "Stay here for a sec. I'll be right back."
She nodded and he left the room quickly. It took less than a minute for him to reach his own room and find one of those new communicators that had been delivered by Draco a few hours ago. When the Division had been made Clan Short, a whole box full of these things had been shipped over. He selected one from the few he had taken and quickly coded it.
He ran back and slipped into the little girls' room silently. He padded over to the bed and looked down into Alice's smiling face, "Here, Sweetpea. This is yours. Only you can use it, and you can call me any time on it. Check with Draco, first, cos I might be sleeping. He'd know. Okay?"
"Otay!" she bubbled as Matthew fixed the small button like badge to her PJ top.
"You snuggle in with you sister. I'll see you in a few days, okay?"
She nodded and immediately cuddled up to Karys, who pulled her in tightly as if on automatic. Karys hadn't stirred the entire time.
Smiling down at them both, and then over at the other two girls, Matthew nodded to himself before dressing quickly and leaving.
After calling down to the kitchens for one of the night staff to clean Alice's bed, he continued his self imposed patrol of the Manor. He also began to worry at his new assignment. Why was he being placed on permanent attachment to the Clan HQ? Didn't his friends want him around any more?
He sighed to himself as he realised the truth: who would ever want him around forever. This was a move to rid themselves of a moping, sad sap like him - it was logical. Why waste the effort to pretend friendship when all he could return was sadness?
He had been half dreading this for the past few months, especially since Oliver's apparent death. He had been feeling for a while that the only reason Jason, Koth and the others put up with him was out of pity. It had been a long time since Matthew had been rescued, and a long time since Vulcan. In all that time, he had become more isolated. Jason and the rest kept pulling him into stuff with them, but why should they lie, really? They pitied him. They would prefer him to be just simply gone.
Well, now they'd have their chance.
Only... Tristan. What about his little brother? And Mum; Mary Parnell, who had adopted him? He would miss them... but wouldn't they be better to be rid of him, too?
Eventually, after an hour had passed, he got to the back door and pulled on a light weight jacket. October in Wales was cool, and the nights could get chilly. He pushed his way outside and into the silence and darkness of the night, not really knowing where he was going. He moved past the playing fields and tennis courts - those which lifted away when the Yoshuhlnak came in to land in the ship's secret underground hanger. Smiling to himself, he started to whistle the tune to 'Thunderbirds' before turning and heading towards the residential areas further up the valley.
Some of the buildings were large boarding room type places, where rescued kids could heal and help each other - all with four adult 'house-parents'. Much like Camp Little Eagle, Matthew mused as he nodded at some of the night patrol he passed. As their Captain, they all smiled and saluted at him as they went by, but once out of sight, Matthew's face always became sad. They respected him - his tactics and fighting ability, but none were his friends. They couldn't wait for him to leave a room if it was anything but business.
As some of the smaller residences came into view, those for those adults who had moved here to help and had their own kids, Matthew began to cry softly. He didn't really want to leave - this was the only place he had ever considered home; even if it was only filled with pity for him. He was safe, here. He knew what he was doing and where he was going.
He started to run up the side of the valley to the 'Haunted Cave', and he darted inside before any of his Talon Company could notice him. He moved to the back of the small hollowed out cave in the hill and crumpled against the wall. Then he started sobbing heavily.
It was a movement by the entrance to the cave that halted his tears. He looked up quickly and saw a huge shining form there - staring at him.
"Hi, Silver Wolf," he murmured, as he brushed away his tears.
The large shining wolf padded over and sat in front of him. Matthew regarded this strange creature - the Klingons and Riti had become fast friends with this old animal and his pack, and so the valley they lived in had gained new protection: a level of guard that none of them truly understood, for the birds and beasts all seemed to be keeping a ring around Dragon's Nest.
Why does the Darkling cry?
Matthew stared. His mouth dropped open, then he stuttered, "Who... what the...?"
I am Cynoeswr: the Ancient of the Forests; the Ancient of the Hills; the Ancient of Terra. I am Cynoeswr - but you may call me by the name given by the Boy Who Flies; Silver Wolf
Matthew thought he was finally losing his sanity. "How can I hear you?"
Because you are listening. Why do you cry, Darkling?
Matthew bit his lower lip. "Because I'm lonely. Because I don't want to leave, even though I'm lonely. I don't know what I'll find in Orlando, and I'm scared," he blurted before a fresh wave of tears and sobs started.
He found himself pulled by gentle teeth away from the wall of the cave, and then he was surrounded by the large wolf.
Weep not, Darkling, for the time of sorrow will end for you. Dark One will save Darkling's light, and Darkling will save Dark One's peace. Two become One, and Shadows fail, as the Power of Blood rises. Time's Darkness is Coming, and in its embrace will you both be made whole
Matthew did not understand a word of what was placed into his soul, but he did cling onto the warm furry body pressing against him.
I must go now, Darkling. Go to your mother. She is looking for you
Matthew felt the warmth vanish and he opened his eyes to find that Silver Wolf had vanished. There wasn't even a paw print in the dust of the cave to say he had even been there. Shaking his head in confusion, Matthew stood up and left the Haunted Cave, and headed back down the hill towards the Manor.
As he hung up his jacket, he felt arms circle his shoulders and firmly turn him around. "Where have you been, Matt?" Mary Parnell asked quietly.
He looked up into his adopted mother's eyes and was about to answer 'No-where' when fresh tears came welling up. He threw himself into her chest and started sobbing again. "I don't want to go, Mammy," he cried like a little boy.
Mary held him tight against her as she comforted him, then, "You won't be away from us, cariad. We're family. All the Clan is family. We'll be visiting there a lot, and I'm sure you'll be here, just as much."
"But I'm afraid. I've not been afraid since Vulcan... why don't they want me to stay?" he whimpered.
"Who doesn't want you, cariad? Your brothers? You're wrong about that - we all want you here. We love you," Mary whispered back.
"Then why is this a permanent placement?"
"Your little brother and Donna are being assigned to Utah, cariad. Korris as well, and Juan is being given joint assignment between Utah and here to share with Koth. Do you think they are being cut off from the family?"
Matthew paused before shaking his head slowly.
"There. See? It's just a job. Maybe you'll even be able to make new friends," Mary said softly, a smile on her face.
Hiding everything deep down where not even Jason would see - mainly as Jason would never look that deep - Matthew squared his shoulders and whispered back, "Sorry for being silly. Nerves."
"Normal," Mary smiled at him before kissing his cheek. "Here, cariad. I've got your stuff ready. I don't know what size room you'll be getting, so there's only a few days worth of clothes here for you. Once you know, call over and we'll start getting as much as you need and want sent, okay?"
Matthew looked at the fairly decent sized suitcase on the floor and smiled, "My Uniform too?"
"Yes, of course. Can't have my little Captain without his best clothes, can I?" she chuckled, bringing a small giggle from her son.
Matthew looked at his watch, "Wow! It's two minutes to three already! I've got to be there by 10pm EST - I've got to get going, Mam."
"I know. I'll see you in a day or two, cariad," she smiled before kissing him again.
He nodded his head, grabbed his jacket again, then picked up his bag. "Seeya, Mammy," he smiled at her before tapping his comm. "Draco. One to beam to Clan HQ," he said seriously.
'Seeya laters, Matt! Transport initiated!' came the response from the resident electronic pain-in-the-butt.
Matthew appeared at the entrance to the Clan Compound and began to walk up the drive way towards the Security Office that was by the gate. His hazel eyes were darting all over, absorbing details fast. He saw a few odd shaped shadows that seemed to move briefly, but pushed that away as probably local wildlife. He came to the door of the Security Office and opened it.
"Captain Matthew Parnell, VSO, Talon Company. Reporting as ordered," Matthew said formally to the Starfleet Officer who was seated before him.
The lieutenant stood up quickly and saluted, then grinned as Matthew saluted back. "You're my superior and you're reporting to me, sir?"
Matthew gave a shallow, hollow seeming smile. "That's just the way I am, Lieutenant. I was told that the Clan's Nightwatch Commander, Brant Mattix, was going to meet me here. Is he around?"
The lieutenant smiled and pointed behind Matthew.
Matthew turned and saw that a yellow eyed boy with short brown hair was less than two feet behind him. He took in this alien's pleasant seeming face and easy smile quickly, but was more interested in the poise the newcomer was standing in; he looked tough and battle ready, in Matthew's opinion. It was only due to Matthew's VSO training that he kept from leaping into the air in fright at the soundless arrival, but then that was not unusual: there was very little that scared Matthew any more.
Brant was looking at Matthew just as curiously. Koth's message that a command level VSO operative was being assigned as a permanent attachment to the Nightwatch for the Compound had piqued his interest - and his concern. Koth was good at blocking most telepaths, but Brant had caught the concern in the Klingon's mind for one of his brothers. Now that Matthew was here, Brant understood that concern. He felt the quiet, deadly competence rolling from the Welsh boy, but under that was a gloom and a darkness that felt all too familiar to him.
"You were here yesterday, correct?" Brant asked.
Matthew nodded, "Briefly, yes. Joel Shared with me. Then I returned to my duties in Wales."
"Thought so. Okay, Matthew; follow me, and I'll show you to your quarters. Then we can start the patrols as I fill you in on how things run in this madhouse." Brant smiled and gestured to the doorway. "Thanks, Hugh. Seeya laters," he said as he waved at the Starfleet lieutenant.
Outside, Brant started towards the Apartments with Matthew only a step or two behind him. The Welsh boy had a medium sized case in his hands, and was busy taking in the area around him. "Seeing this place in the 'flesh' is remarkably different than doing so on the monitors," he said to himself softly.
Brant giggled, "You do know I can hear you, right?"
"Yeah, guessed as much. Sorry, but I've gotten into a habit of talking to myself," Matthew half smiled, but the smile didn't last. "My brothers worry about it, but I'm not mad. Not yet," he finished softly, his eyes going 'elsewhere'.
Brant nodded to himself and continued on, but was now pointing out the various buildings they were passing. The Compound seemed so quiet in the late evening, now that all the kids were inside CIC in the nest. The light of the moon played off the buildings and lent the perfect tone to what Brant was feeling from Matthew: a bitter sweet acceptance of reality... mixed with a deep seated sorrow and guilt.
"Here's your place," Brant said, as he opened the door for Matthew and showed him into the Apartment room.
Matthew looked around and smiled, "Very modern. Most of the main families in the Dragon live in the Manor. My room is old; very old. This is nice, though. Fresh. New." He ran a hand across the wall briefly, then turned to find Brant looking at him intently. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
Brant half shrugged. "You tell me, Matthew. I do not know the reasons for your assignment here, but now I see that it may be more for your sake than for ours."
"Did you not ask for my presence?" Matthew asked in surprise. 'Here we go - not even here five minutes, and they already want me gone,' he thought to himself, as he felt tears trying to break out.
Brant took a quick step back, for the feelings of rejection emanating from the Welsh boy were very strong. "That is not what I meant. We never turn anyone away, Matthew, and we value all the help offered. Please, don't think I don't want you here."
Matthew studied Brant's face for a long moment; he saw only honesty. He smiled slowly, "'You don't want'? 'You', Brant?"
Brant's pale face paled further. "We. I meant... I mean... you know what I mean, Matthew. I felt you getting upset, and it..."
"I'm teasing you," Matthew said softly as he walked up to Brant. "Thank you. I've only been made to feel at home with those brothers closest to me - kinda. The others in the Dragon think I'm... strange, and I never get invited to take part with them in anything. I am strange," he finished, hanging his head sadly once he got within reaching distance of Brant.
Brant could feel that black sadness rising back up, and he watched a tear trickle from Matthew's eyes.
"I thought you were sending me away, as well," Matthew continued with a whimper. "I didn't want to go back to Wales in shame - the only Division member to be rejected by the Clan. I don't want to be rejected by the Clan... not ever..."
"The Clan don't reject people; trust me, I'm the most rejectable person here," Brant replied seriously.
"Why?" Matthew asked in confusion, looking up into Brant's yellow eyes. "Why are you rejectable? You seem normal. Nice. You... I'm a complete stranger and you're taking time to talk with me about my problems. Why are you rejectable?"
"I'm dead," Brant replied simply.
Matthew looked completely perplexed at that. "Dead," he echoed, and Brant nodded his head. Matthew reached out and, gently, poked Brant's chest. "You're solid. You're breathing, I can hear you. You speak and think. Yet you're dead?"
Brant opened his mouth and his fangs dropped into view.
Matthew's eyes shot open wide.
"I'm a Vampire. Or a Moroi, if you want the real name for my people. I'm dead," the Vampire said softly.
"Oh," Matthew responded after a long, pregnant pause. "That su... umm. Sorry. I... Vampire?" he asked plaintively as he reached out a hand to take Brant's. It felt colder than his own, but not by much. "Really? Not an alien I've not met yet? A Vampire - as in suck blood, live forever... bad case of 'sunburn' Vampire?!"
"That pretty much sums it up," Brant replied, obviously not really comfortable discussing it.
Matthew studied Brant's face for another long, drawn out minute. He saw a discomfort echoed there that he knew so well himself. "I'm sorry if I... if I made you uncomfortable, Brant," he said finally, letting go of the boy's hand. "I shouldn't have... I... I get a similar reaction when I let people into my life. They find out about the real me that I keep buried inside, and they back away and shut me out. And I just did that to you." He turned quickly and picked up his bag, "I should go. I don't deserve to be here."
"Stop," Brant said. There was an unearthly edge of command in his voice that no human could ignore.
Matthew stopped and turned to face Brant automatically. He looked suddenly nervous, for the training he had received from the Vulcans had failed with this boy. 'Looks like the Dracula stories are true,' he thought briefly as he pulled his 'shields' up; those given to him by Jason. 'I hope this works,' Matthew thought again briefly before stating, "I am VSO. I obey my commander, I..."
"You are also Clan, and are here for a purpose," Brant replied as he totally disregarded the shields. "I'm your commander now, and it is my decision if you are suitable for duty. If I didn't want you here you would already be gone, so relax already."
Matthew felt Brant in his mind for a second, and he blanched. "You read minds, too?" he breathed as his face paled. Now he felt sick. Brant must have seen everything; everything he had suffered at his parent's and uncle's hands, and everything he had allowed his brother and cousins to go through because he was too cowardly to go for help. He could have stopped it, had he only gone for help when he was eight... he let his brother go though it. He was no better than his father and mother and...
He took a step back from the Vampire in front of him; his guilt and emotion completely overpowering the Vampire's compulsion. Then he crumpled against the wall and slid to the ground, weeping softly. "Now you know," he whispered sickly.
"I know that you're a human who is beating himself up over something that he had no control over at the time it happened," Brant replied softly. "I was like you when Cory met me; and was a few hours away from a permanent suntan. Cory made me swear to stick it out and fix what I could now, while leaving the past in history. Do you have the guts to make the same promise?"
"I..." Matthew started to reply as he dared a look at the Vampire standing over him. He closed his eyes a second later and whispered, "I don't know... I've tried. Oh God, I've tried... but - I still don't know." He opened his eyes to look up at Brant again. "How do I fix what I did to my brother?"
"Did you want him to get hurt? Did you make him hurt?" Brant asked, knowing the answer already from Matthew's memories. "Does he blame you?"
Matthew shook his head numbly.
"Then why do you think he does?"
Matthew sighed softly. "I don't know. I... it's my fault - I should have been brave like Nathan and gone to Jace for help. Nath' did - why didn't I?"
"Because you are not Nathan," Brant said quietly as he knelt down next to Matthew, "and because you went through stuff he didn't, and you'd been trained to keep quiet..."
Matthew sat there as Brant continued to tell him some rather pointed facts about the difference between himself and Nathan; something none of his brothers had ever done. Probably, Matthew thought, because they - loved him? Maybe - and what Brant was saying was not pleasant. They loved him too much to say it; to say he was hurting himself over Tristan's abuse. But Brant: Brant didn't know him, not really. He had nothing to lose by saying all this.
But what did Matthew have to gain as he lifted his eyes to look into Brant's.
"Okay," he said finally, reaching up to lay a hand over Brant's still flapping mouth. He felt Brant smile against the palm of his hand, and he returned it slowly. A real smile, this time. "Okay," he repeated, "I get it. I don't know if I can believe it yet, but I get it. I'll do my best to do like you - to leave the past look after itself."
"Your best?" Brant replied softly. "You're an officer of the Clan and a member of the most elite force in the Universe. Is 'try' even part of your vocabulary?"
Matthew stared at him. "I'd face death easily for others, but to let others get hurt when I could have stopped it? No, I can't do that - and I can't forgive myself for having..."
"I know, Matthew," Brant broke in softly. "You did let people go through worse. At least, at the time you thought you did."
Matthew paled further. "You know even about the Trial?"
"Jason swore me to Red One and told me. Not likely I'd ever join the VSO, is it?"
Matthew looked up at the ceiling and breathed in slowly. "You're right," he said eventually. "I've gone past the word 'try'. He's my brother, and I let my guilt overcome who and what I am. God, I'm not worthy of the uniform," he added as he glanced at the bag two feet away from him. He then sighed again, "And there I go - speaking down about myself again..." He looked at Brant yet again. "I'll do better. Thank you," he said with a self-depreciating smile.
Brant could still feel that darkness inside of Matthew, but also a new determination. "You're my brother. None of my brothers believe in causing pain to others or themselves. Any time you start taking things out on yourself I WILL take you to task on it. Not to be mean, but because I care."
A small, cheeky smile started to play at the edges of Matthew's mouth. He looked sideways at Brant, and chuckled, "Okay, but I get to do the same if you try that 'I'm dead' crap again. That freaked me out a bit, dude! Not 'cos you could kill me - hell, even Viccy can do that if she wanted - but I've never met someone from folk lore before, and your choice of breaking that particular cherry left a lot to be desired!"
"I think you're right about one thing..." Brant added with his own grin. "These quarters are entirely unsuitable. Grab your bag, I think I know a better place for you to stay where you won't be tempted to dig yourself into a hole with your thoughts."
"O...okay," Matthew said as he stood up and adjusted his shirt. He had noticed Brant side stepping what he had said, but filed it away for when they were... closer friends? Dare he think that yet? "Where?"
"CIC... my apartment," Brant replied. "Just remember, you're not the only one with ghosts in your past that you don't usually discuss."
"I know," Matthew nodded as he bent to pick up his bag. "Thanks for the kick in the arse, Br... wait, your apartment? I, errr...."
"You say 'Yes Sir'," Brant giggled. "Hurry up, I've got a few friends who want to meet you before they have to go to bed."
Realising that Koth would never have ordered him here had Jason not cleared it, and knowing that Jason had probably scanned everyone in the Compound back on Sunday, Matthew forced the rising fear he felt back down. Brant wouldn't take advantage of him. Jason would have known if Brant was likely to do that, and he'd would never place him in that situation again. "'Yes sir', sir," Matthew managed weakly, while trying to find that nice smile he had discovered a few seconds ago. It had been simply too long since he'd been 'happy'.
Brant knew without checking what was running through Matthew's mind. "You're safe in my apartment. Actually, you're safe anywhere here; forcing someone to do that kind of stuff on Clan grounds is ... unpleasant ... for the person who tries it, to say the least. We won't discuss what I would do to them; I think you want to keep your food in your stomach. And no, I didn't need to read your mind; your face said it all."
Matthew, by that point, had found his 'happy smile' again, and was showing it to Brant. "Yeah. Sorry, I kinda know all that," he said, tapping the side of his head, "and it's the same for the Nest and the Division. But this," he tapped his chest, "sometimes goes off screaming without my head saying it can."
Brant nodded and returned the smile Matthew was sporting, "Same for a lot of the guys. I said it just to reinforce that you're safe with me."
Matthew walked next to his new... dare he call Brant a friend? A new friend after 10 months of being in the Division... 'I'm sad', thought Matthew. 'I'm just sooo sad.'
As they came back out into the open air and started to walk slowly towards CIC, Matthew tapped Brant hesitantly on the arm. "You said you and sunlight don't mix, but I remember seeing you on the Watchcare monitors earlier today, when I woke up. It was about when Spock was duelling that Asian kid from the Unit group. It was sunny, and you were watching - outside. What gives with that?"
Brant reached into his pocket and pulled out the 'bracelet' that Tyne had given him. "A present that someone who I share a mutual respect with gave me. With it on, I didn't need to worry about the sun."
"Oh. I bet that's handy when you... wait, you 'didn't' need? Not you 'don't'? Didn't as in past tense?"
Brant grinned, "Long story; the sun will be up before I could explain it. Let's get settled in and make the rounds; we've got plenty of time to catch up on some of the weirder things that have happened lately."
"A long dead baby, isn't, a Sub-Clan that was, is a Family Clan that is the first in over a thousand years, Vampires exist, the Doctor exists - yes, I knew about him at least... and things are weirder?" Matthew giggled. Then he grew a bit more serious as they came to a halt by the door to CIC, "Just one more question, and I don't know how to ask it... call me a baby, but the term 'Vampire' raises a certain 'Hammer-Horror' concern - about me being one of the species that is your food... I..."
"I don't feed off of my brothers," Brant smiled, patting Matthew's shoulder gently.
Matthew's smile returned. "Thanks. Sorry for asking, but..."
"Get inside, Matthew," Brant giggled.
Matthew giggled as well, but did as instructed.
They found the Rec Room dark and quiet, apart from the gentle snores from the small multitude of kids under the blankets. They crept through to the Dining room to find Nathan, Cory and Sean seated with Teri and Helen. The resident Cat-kids were at the far side of the room and Spock and T'Pol were busy preforming mind-melds on each in turn. Through the doors to the Kitchen, Brant saw another small group of kids, those from the Special Forces Unit and Sammy and his brothers, seated drinking hot chocolate.
"Is it rabies shot time already?" Brant giggled, making sure that it was only loud enough for the cats he was friends with to hear it.
"Not funny," Mercury retorted seriously. "That fucker, General Adams, put crap in our heads to control us. He made Chang kill Joe and Janet!"
"It's okay," Nathan said quickly as he saw both Matthew grow enraged, and certainly Brant, judging by the increase in the yellow in the Moroi's eyes. "Pablito turned up and sorted that out, but Joel, Kev and Jason are over there now helping. I checked the Genesis kids here and found the same shit. Only a Vulcan can fix it."
Sean added, "And once Dad and Aunt T'Pol have finished here, they'll go over and help as well."
"What about the Melders from the Nest, Nath'? They going too?" Matthew asked quickly.
"There's ten getting ready right now, and some from the Sehlat. There's no more than 40 enhanced kids in Utah, but that's more than Lil'elf can handle in a night. Besides, Kevin's getting pissy..."
Brant grew quiet for a second then spoke. "Memo to General Adams. Congratulations fucker; you have just been awarded the unique distinction of having an entire subspecies of Humanity take out a contract on you and your minions. Go ahead and run, asshole; we like a good chase. Signed: The Moroi High Council."
"Uncle Mike and a few others have already caught him," Cory said softly. "I think you'll miss on the main course, but there are still loads of appetisers left, bro."
Brant nodded, then said, "Good. Well, if you've got it covered for now, then I've got to get Matthew ready for patrol."
"He can dress himself, Brant," Nathan giggled wickedly.
Nathan gasped, "Wow! Not seen one of them from you in a while!"
Cory, a small grin on his face, said, "Brant, my friend; is there something you're not telling us? Levi came out of your rooms a few minutes ago and informed us the bed was ready..." he finished, trailing the sentence off.
"Get your mind out of the gutter Blondie; it might clog the drain," Brant shot back with a giggle. "Just because he's cute does not automatically mean that I'm going to keep the neighbours awake at night like you and your steed do."
Aphrodite giggled at her sister, and Mercury hissed and clawed the air before falling over and laughing.
Cory and Sean echoed "Bite Me" before 'trying' to look offended. They failed - miserably - as they both started giggling as well. And Blushing.
"Jesus! When you Vamps cat fight, you do better than the Cats!" Nathan howled in glee. "Poor Cory!"
"That was about you, too, Blondie Mark-2!" Brant elaborated.
"Hey!" Nathan protested. "I ain't got a mount! Jace won't let me be top alla... ah... shit, Aunt Teri? You didn't hear that, right?"
Teri simply rolled her eyes, while Helen muttered, "Kids."
The Cats were still giggling and play-clawing the air, hissing in between their giggles.
Brant sniggered at the blushes his verbal slaps had produced. He was about to start off again to his apartment when he heard Matthew ask shyly, "You... you think I'm cute?"
Brant smiled. "Yes, you definitely are."
Nathan, beginning to recover his lost dignity, shot a look between the two boys who had each other held in a questioning gaze. "Well, I'll be..." he whispered happily.
Cory had also caught the gaze. Seriously, he said, "Brant. You and Matthew are off duty tonight. He needs to be shown what needs to be shown, and get him introduced to the other Moroi, but then you're off duty. You've been up all day anyway."
"Tell him your history, too, Brant. That's an order; you both will need it," Sean added.
Brant looked over at Sean, about to tell him to mind his own business. Once he saw the look on Sean's face, though, he realized that Sean really was trying to get through to him the importance of what needed to be done. "Okay, but I'm still gonna be listening, if any of the moron's henchmen try anything. As much as I hate it, a snack sounds like an idea I could live with if the opportunity walks too close to Florida."
He then felt a tentative hand take his own. He looked at Matthew quickly, and his heart skipped a beat at the questioning wonder the Welsh boy was giving him - the wonder that was asking 'Could someone really like me?'
"You've been looking at my butt since I came to greet you," Brant said with a giggle as he gave Matthew's hand a firm squeeze. "Am I not allowed to think you're cute, as well?"
Matthew found that 'happy smile' again - and gave it to Brant:
Brant pulled Matthew after him as the others around the table were giggling at them both. He opened the door to his apartment and pushed Matthew in quickly.
Inside, Matthew was simply staring around the mutely lit room. It seemed to him very warm and welcoming, and the lack of windows did not bother him. Darkness was usually when Matthew was happiest, if he could call what he had been feeling over the past six or seven months 'happiness'. He moved further into the room and looked around at the comfy chairs and sofas, bookcases, video games and Brant's other belongings. Then he looked at the far end of the room where two single beds were next to each other, with barely two feet between them.
"Ummm..." Matthew stopped himself before asking what he was sure to be something that could upset Brant. He was still a little light-headed over what had just been revealed in the Dining Room, and did not want to risk losing his new friend by asking something that could be insulting.
"If it was anyone but Levi, I'd think this was a joke." Brant giggled. "Sorry about the muted lighting, I leave it like this so that I don't trip over the video games. Lights on!"
Matthew was still racking his brains over what, in his mind, was an apparent contradiction with everything he knew about Vampires; yet he didn't know how to phrase the question properly. As the lights came up he smiled briefly at Brant before asking hesitantly, "Umm, are there any questions I'm not to ask, or any topics that are a no-go area? 'Cos I'm busting with loads right now."
Brant gave a small smile, "There is something we have in common; things that you'll learn about me living here that no regular human is to know unless they bear the Mark of the Protected. My species does have secrets, some of which I will tell you up front that you can't know the answers to without being a vampire. Most everything I do tell you is under the same type of secrecy as your VSO 'Red One'; not for discussion outside the group who are in the know."
"I understand. Logical precaution. So, we can talk about anything in here, and none of it gets outside the doors? Like, if I wanted to talk about something from my past, it wouldn't leave the room, and vice versa?"
"Exactly." Brant replied. "Do I get to look at that cute butt while you're asking questions?"
"Uhhh," Matthew did a double take, then blushed. "S...sure. But not touch... sorry, I..."
Brant just smiled and nodded softly.
Matthew giggled before making his way over to the two beds. He then burst out laughing when he saw the duvet covers and sheets on one of them had little coffins and bats on them. "Well, that kinda answers one question," he giggled as Brant came to stand by him. He looked up into the Vampire's dancing eyes and said, "I was wondering where your coffin was. That answers that!" he added as he pointed at the bed.
Brant giggled, "I tried a coffin once; it was too confining."
Nodding, Matthew said, "I'd freak. Hate small spaces." He plopped his bag on the other bed, then shot a look at Brant, "We're going to see the other vampires before we talk, right?"
"Yes. They are expecting to see you already," Brant agreed.
Matthew smiled, "Then I'll get changed. I don't like meeting those I work with for the first time, when I'm not in Uniform."
"Why weren't you already in uniform? Wales is five hours ahead of us," Brant asked curiously as he sat on the end of his own bed.
Matthew shrugged, "Was my day off. I generally keep my times current. Don't like taking days off in the 'day' as it will just make my first 'night' back on the job harder." He opened his bag and took out his pitch black jumpsuit, boots and gloves. The utility belt, along with a bunch of electronic seeming items, were dug out next. "So, ready to see my butt?" he asked cheekily.
"Let me grab my camera!" Brant giggled, staying still so that Matthew knew he was joking.
After poking his tongue out at his new friend, Matthew stripped off completely and then folded his clothes before putting them on the bed.
"Well... that's not your butt," Brant whispered approvingly.
Matthew giggled. He then gasped and turned around fast, "Shit shit shit!" he said franticly. "Sorry! I forgot!"
"What?" Brant asked. "By the way, the view is just as awesome this way!"
"My cross! I'm sorry, forgot I was wearing it," Matthew answered as he looked over his shoulder nervously yet curiously. Brant didn't seem to be affected by having just had a cross in his face.
"Oh, you mean like this one?" Brant asked as he opened his shirt. He had a crucifix around his neck.
"Oh," Matthew turned back and lowered his hands from covering the small plain cross he was wearing. "Something the movies got wrong, huh?" he asked, as he went over and sat next to his friend. He reached out and ran a finger over the silver crucifix that was against Brant's chest.
"Yep; don't go trying the wooden stake thing though; it really sucks starving to death... it takes almost a month."
"You don't die straight away?"
"Ouch! What if it's pulled back out?"
"Doesn't matter. The vampire'd still die, slowly."
"Mmm. Okay, no steaks. Lamb chops only for you!" Matthew giggled before impulsively hugging Brant.
"I think I'm going to like having you here!" Brant replied, as he returned the hug.
Matthew nearly purred as he was being held by the Vampire's strong arms. "I think I'm going to like being here, too," he whispered with a catch in his voice. "Thank you for... for being my friend," he added as he pulled back enough to regard Brant's face. "My cute friend," he amended with a cheeky smile.
"Thanks for giving me a reason to smile, cuter-than-me friend," Brant replied.
After a long few minutes of silence, where both boys just held each other in that hug while studying the other's eyes, Matthew blushed. Brant looked down and grinned, "Mmm, okay, this view is the best!"
Matthew blushed harder. "No fair, though. I ain't got to see your cute butt... and the rest!"
Brant giggled as he looked back up into his friend's face. "Later. My people are still waiting!"
"Oh, damn!" Matthew exclaimed as he got up quickly. Then he blushed harder as a certain something that had woken up was now on eye level with Brant. "Oh, man..." he giggled shyly. "Sorry," he rushed as he turned and leapt to grab his uniform.
"Hey, I was still studying that!" Brant giggled.
Matthew stopped trying to get into his uniform and looked back at the happily smiling Brant. He turned and shuffled back over nervously and just stood there, smiling shyly.
"I'm not sure which view is better," Brant giggled, "I like both, honestly." He paused then continued, "I'm definitely impressed by this view though."
Matthew then did the bravest thing since Jason and Spock had rescued him and the others: he reached down to take Brant's hand, and after a moment's pause, moved it to take a hold of his excited 'little-Matthew'. Then he let go and just stood there, shaking slightly. He didn't know why he did it, and he didn't know if he wanted Brant to do what that part of his body clearly wanted Brant to do. He just kept his eyes locked on Brant's, while he tried to control his slight shakes and quivering lower lip.
Brant smiled softly. "Thank you for the trust. I promise not to hurt you, please trust me, and I'll bet that it will help you to start healing inside."
"I trust you," came the near deathly whisper from the nervous Welsh boy.
"Take my other hand, Cutie," Brant said softly. "Let me give you my strength."
Matthew did so, and felt an indescribable warmth flood through him. He began to smile.
Brant slowly and gently brought Matthew to the point that, until now, Matthew had trusted nobody to even attempt, not even himself. At the final moment, Brant opened his mouth and caught the results of his work, carefully making sure the only contact that was made was his hand. Then he caught Matthew as the boy's knees gave way, and cradled the softly crying boy to himself.
Matthew couldn't stop his tears, nor could he stop his body's trembles. He just surrendered totally to Brant's care as his tears dripped down his face and nose. After five minutes had passed, he whispered, "I... I don't... I... Thank you."
"You're welcome; thank you for trusting me to help," Brant said softly. "I guess we'll find out if my stomach can handle that huge build-up that you had stored up. I don't exactly use it for anything, any more."
Matthew blushed slowly, "I think you cleared the pipes, alright... I... I've never shot stuff before. Last time I had an orgasm, I really didn't want to have one. It was when that bastard was fucking me. I didn't shoot, then... You... you just had my first," he added as a wondering realisation came to him.
Brant gently pulled Matthew into a tighter cuddle. "In that case, add that I'm honoured to the list. Why don't we consider this your first time and make what happened before an example of how things are not supposed to be done. You'll never forget it; but you can turn it into a lesson that you can explain to others to keep them safe."
"I'd like that," Matthew whispered as he nodded against Brant's shoulder. "Umm, just one question," he whispered with a giggle. "Why'd you only touch me with your hands? You seemed to be taking a great deal of care to not touch me with your mouth."
"Because you did not ask me to." Brant replied seriously. "When you want to take that step, it is up to you to decide when, not me."
Matthew lifted his head, and that 'smile' was back.
Then he kissed Brant.
"So, what do you think?" Matthew asked hopefully once he'd finished fixing the seal of the gloves against the mesh of the VSO Uniform. He was now black from neck to foot, with silver lines running across his shoulders and down his arms. His rank insignia was on his collar, and a load of small devices were attached to his belt. A small comm-like badge was also on his collar, and a larger device was wrapped around his wrist. Over this uniform, he was pulling on a jet black, light weight Vulcan hooded robe.
"I'm going to have to have a chat with Jason about that rank, but other than that you look awesome!" Brant replied approvingly.
Matthew giggled, "Thanks..." He smoothed down his robe a bit. "Apart from Ollie and Harry, I'm the highest of the kids in the Division, just under the Seven Leads. Jace is Division Commander, same rank as Cory but different branch of the military hierarchy," he explained happily as he tested a few pieces of his equipment, "and the other six are Commanders. I'm a Captain like Harry, and now so is Ollie. Trist, Donna and a few of the others are Lieutenants. So's Korris. He don't want to be higher, even when he was offered Captain. He don't like leading, only fighting." He then looked up with that 'happy smile' at Brant and added, "I could be a Commander, I s'pos, but I think I like being a Captain. If I get more it's 'cos I've earned it and need to be it, not because I simply want it."
"Keep that cute smile and you're gonna be updating your insignia. Believe me, Jace won't argue when I explain my recommendation," Brant replied as he laid a hand on Matthew's shoulder. "You might be surprised if you can get Cory to explain the reason he does not give me an 'official' rank."
Matthew raised an eyebrow, then his eyes went distant. "Ooooh! I see," he giggled, winking at Brant. "Interesting. Oh, that was Nathan, by the way. We've all got links with the Seven. Oh, be ready for him to say some things when we get back out to the Dining Room," he giggled again as they started for the door.
They found the Dining Room empty; almost. They saw Cory and Sean seated just inside the Rec Room talking softly, but it was the floating, naked blond boy studying the ceiling that drew their attention.
"Yes, my arse is cute, and yes, I'm bored. You can stop drooling in envy now," Nathan giggled as he flipped himself over and floated down to hug Matthew tightly. "Oh God, I'm so happy for you, bro!"
Brant did his best Vulcan mode as he replied. "In actuality, Nathan; on a scale of 1 to 10 your posterior is a 7.67875. Matthew has proven that the scale is inadequate, as his posterior scored a 27.9823875."
Brant's seriousness was broken by the sounds of Cory and Sean falling out of their seats laughing. With a grin, he pulled Matthew next to him. "Sorry Matthew, but the meter burned out at that point."
Nathan's eyebrows shot into his hairline while Matthew started blushing yet again. "Wow! Damn, now I'm really happy for you. Both of you! However, I claim bias on that scale of yours, but that's okay. Jason's butt is WAAAAAY cuter in my eyes!" he added with a raspberry at Brant. Then he hugged him as well.
"Jason not back yet?" Matthew managed to ask.
"No, nor Kev and Joel," Nathan's face became hard. "There's a load of shit about to go down, tomorrow - which is why we want you two to get rest tonight. Your regiment may be going live-fire tomorrow, Captain."
"Acknowledged, Commander," Matthew said seriously. "Do we have Intel yet?"
"No. Fire Eagle is out getting that now. We'll have it before the cow pats hit the fan."
Brant raised an eyebrow, "Do I detect a 'feast' coming up?"
"Yes, Brandar," Nathan nodded seriously. His use of Brant's 'working name' was more than enough to show the seriousness of the situation. Nathan turned back to Matthew, "Go meet your new team that you're working with, then get some shut eye - or a chat - or 'whatever'," he smirked. "We won't be ready until at least midday EST tomorrow."
Matthew managed not to blush, but only just, "Understood, Fire."
Brant smiled as Matthew grabbed his hand tightly, and they began walking towards the north exit from CIC.
"What's your VSO code name?" Brant asked curiously.
Matthew blushed, then chuckled, "We get named after our personality or ability. Nathan is 'Fire' as he's hotheaded and can control fire with his abilities; it's his trademark. As for me? I like being alone and working at night, and I strike fast from the shadows - Antony called me 'Vampire'..."
"Fitting..." Brant giggled. "Let's go warn your new brothers that they've got another one in their midst!" he added as they left the building and headed into the night air.
"At last," a voice said suddenly from behind them. "What kept you?"
Matthew turned casually to find a man standing there, and he had yellow eyes like Brant's. He saw movement out of the corner of his eyes and knew that more of the Moroi had come up to them. He was impressed at their speed. "Fast," he said approvingly, a light smile on his face.
"Mmm, not even a flicker of fear," a female voice said with approval from the darkness. "Impressive."
"But no fun!" chuckled another.
"I have passed through Fire and Pain. Death no longer holds fear for me. Only loneliness holds that..." Matthew said softly as he looked over at the two who had spoken. He then gripped Brant's hand tighter. "And I'm not lonely any more," he added, with joy sounding in his voice.
Brant squeezed back. "You got that right! This is 'Vampire'; and no, he did not just choose the name. He's one of us, yet not of our species. Please treat him as if he bears the 'Mark'; we have no reason to hide our skills, since he has chosen to work alongside us in the shadows."
"Done. Welcome to the Nightwatch, 'Vampire'," the first Moroi said with a hint of a smile.
Matthew grinned, "I was right! I'm really going to like it here!" He looked back at the first vampire who had appeared, "Can I ask your name?"
The Moroi smiled, "In life I was Hiram, and that name only those I trust most now hear. My vampire name is Hezekiah. I lead the Vampire Council in Florida."
"Those are old names," Matthew said in deep thought. "18th or 19th century, I would think - unless you came here from the Old World..."
"I was born in the colonies, before the War with England," Hiram said softly. "And I was turned before Independence was declared. I am one of the oldest in the United States." He paused as he studied the boy before him, "I was about to go on the Sun Quest when this strange group of children started to come to my attention. They have renewed my desire to live."
"You mean the Clan?" Matthew asked, looking up at the tall vampire.
"Yes," Hiram smiled, and then pointed at Brant, "and this little 'Noise Maker' was the final key in my decision to stay."
Brant grinned, "It's not like Chicago had fields to learn stealth in!"
"He was not talking about your inability to walk on cotton wool without giving away your location, imp," the female vampire smiled as she came closer, "but rather then length of your speech as you pestered us into looking after the Clan."
Hiram nodded with a wicked twinkle in his eye, "He was quite eloquent and verbose."
"I figured that," Matthew giggled as he stole a sidelong look at Brant. "My butt's still sore from the arse kicking."
"Hey now!" Brant giggled. "I just nibbled, you ain't seen a butt-chewing yet!"
Matthew's eyes filled with fear and he went ridged.
"Now he gets afraid?" said the third vampire with concern. "What has occurred that being yelled at would scare you, young one?"
"I... I..." Matthew stuttered as he fought his fear back down. He turned and clung onto Brant. "My sperm doner used to call it that, before he... did things... to me, Brant. I don't like that term..." he whispered pleadingly, "every time he 'punished' me, he'd call it that... and he'd always move on from beatings to... to..."
Brant put a finger over Matthew's lips. "That was then, it's no more. You know how to use rooms; that memory needs to be locked in one until you're more ready to deal with it. I promise that anyone who tries to use that phrase in the meaning you just stated is going to wish they had a painless death... you would be surprised how painful it can be to have your bones crushed one at a time, starting at the tip of your toes. Now, I believe there is a cute smile buried there somewhere?"
Matthew stared into Brant's rather attractive eyes, and began to smile. He breathed in deeply and firmly shut 'the door' to those memories, then kissed Brant.
"Kids," the third vampire smiled. "They just have to play with their food."
"Did this 'person' get dealt with, Vampire?" Hiram asked seriously as Matthew broke contact with Brant.
Matthew nodded, "Yes. My Poppa Spock - Admiral Spock - he burned him down with a phaser. That was after Jace - ah, my Division Commander, Jason Evans? - after he had made that bastard feel everything that he'd put me and my brothers through."
"Good, but what a waste of food," Hiram muttered.
Matthew nearly giggled. He turned to the other two vampires, "What're your names?"
"William," said the other man, then he pointed at the female Moroi, "and Isabel. The others are watching, so we will introduce you as we meet them."
"Ready for patrol?" Isabel asked with a smile.
Brant grinned, "My Patriarch has ordered that I take the night off - cutie too."
"Then we shall give you a tour instead, Matthew," Hiram grinned. "Noise Maker, you climb up on William's back. I know you can keep up, but since you are off duty, you get the treat too. Matthew? Up on mine."
Matthew exchanged a grin with Brant, and they moved quickly to obey.
"Got your grip?" Hiram asked politely.
"Uh huh," Matthew grinned back.
"Then off we go!"
Where there had been three Vampires with two young boys, now there was just empty space, covered in shadows and darkness...
"Now I know what a new puppy feels like," Matthew giggled to Brant as they arrived back in their quarters. "Am I just a curiosity to them, or was that all genuine?"
Brant pulled Matthew into a hug, "Vampires - Moroi - don't play head games, cutie. Those that do don't survive long at all; we learn from the mistakes of our species' past. Those guys are a lot older than me both in life and as Moroi, and you can count on the fact that they will not play games with you. Everything you heard was for real, and you've gained the respect of some very high people in the dark underground of the Orlando region."
Matthew smiled wryly, "It sucks to not be telepathic or empathic like Jace. Thanks, Brant."
Brant settled himself on the nearest sofa with Matthew pulled in close. "This is nice," he murmured. "It's been too long."
Matthew thought for a moment before trying something. He reached out with the mind-link ability all the original members of the Dragon Division had, courtesy of the Mikyvis Intervention ten months ago, and gently brushed against Brant's mind; offering himself. As he did so he said, "I can't read minds, but I can have links to those close to me if they are telepathic. I... I'd like to link with you; if you want to, that is."
"We can try it; my type of telepathy isn't quite like the rest of the guys," Brant replied softly. "If it works, don't be surprised if you have to sit down with Jamie and Jacob for training; the adaptations that come with being Moroi make it a lot more personal."
Matthew giggled, "Well, I'm already doing all I can. I'm knocking the door, my undying friend - you have to let me in!"
Bryce popped into the room, "I've got his head, Uncle Brant. You can open the door; I'll take care of making sure everything connects where it should so that he don't get hurt."
"You're Bryce, right?" Matthew asked, but a second later his eyes widened as he felt the link form a bridge between his mind and Brant's. "Never mind," he said weakly, "I'll talk to you properly tomorrow... thanks, dude!"
"You're welcome, Uncle Matt!" Bryce giggled before popping away again.
Brant was grinning at the expression on Matthew's face. Then he had his 'lips' full, for Matthew had pounced them with his own.
After a long and enjoyable make out session, both boys remained on the sofa in a tight hug. They were both stretched out and Matthew was being spooned by Brant; both boys simply enjoying each other's company. Matthew had removed his gloves, boots and robe, along with his equipment, and was just in his jumpsuit. He had never been so content and happy before; nor had he ever felt as safe as he now was in Brant's arms.
After a while, he asked, "Why'd you say 'it had been too long'? What did you mean by that?"
Brant sighed and closed his eyes sadly. "I meant that it's been so long since I've cuddled with someone; someone special, I mean."
Matthew turned around slowly so that he could wrap his arms around Brant's back. He kissed Brant's lips lightly before asking, "Do you want to talk about it?"
Brant shook his head. "No. I don't. But Sean said I should, and I agree with him. How tired are you, cutie? This could take all night."
"Not that tired, but we'll need to sleep if we're on a mission tomorrow. But it won't take that long, really. We can use this link. The Mikyvis set them up to act like Vulcan links, and I'm sure Bryce just made it do that for you as well - won't take long that way," Matthew explained as he nuzzled his face into Brant's neck.
"Okay," Brant whispered sadly as he gripped Matthew tighter. "Okay..."
They remained locked in each others arms for more than thirty minutes. Neither moved, and it even seemed like they weren't breathing.
Eventually, Matthew shifted slightly to look into Brant's sad eyes. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I'm so sorry about Greg."
"Thanks," Brant whispered, as he tilted his head and kissed the tip of Matthew's nose.
Matthew giggled at the ticklish sensation, then wriggled about slightly. "I know you don't need to pee, but... you'd better let me up or there's going to be a pool where this sofa is!"
"Ewwww!" Brant replied with a small smile. "The bathroom is over there; a man has to brush his fangs somewhere."
Grinning, Matthew jumped to his feet and ran quickly to the bathroom.
Brant giggled as he watched him go, then said out loud, "Now that I'm thinking about it, we'll need toilet paper in here for you too. I'll go get some."
He made to stand up, but Matthew called back, "No need - I think someone's thought of that; there's loads in here already!"
"Must have been Levi," Brant giggled as he flopped back on the sofa. "He's a little angel."
"So I've heard," came Matthew's voice as the flush went off. "Can't wait to meet him."
As Matthew came back out of the bathroom, he saw the sleeping area and started blushing like crazy.
Brant saw the blush, and looked over to where Matthew was staring. "Levi!!! Tell your two bratty brothers that they are BOTH going swimming... that way I'm sure I got the right one as soon as I dunk Blondie!" Brant shouted.
Instead of two single beds that had been there, there was now a large queen sized double. Sitting on it was a weird machine with a glowing digital display and a camera lens coming out the side, with a sign propped up next to it that said 'Industrial Butt Meter, complements of Cory and Sean.'
"You'd better get Cory and Sean as well as Nath'," Matthew managed as he picked up the device and then read out the message on the sign.
"I meant both blondies; if it's just Cory I'll say his name." Brant giggled. "Sean is easy; watch this..." Brant activated his sub-vocal, "Hey Ark, Timmy needs his pop to find him a new pet for his collection!"
A moment of two later, an announcement was heard over the CIC speakers, "If I find out who just had me dunked, they're REALLY gonna get it! I HATE STARFISH!" This was followed by a lot of grouching coming through the door from the direction of the Nest in the Rec Room.
"You evil, evil boy," Matthew giggled. "You've just woken up everyone in there!"
"Yeah, but they are all falling back asleep with smiles on their faces."
Giggling, Matthew placed the 'Butt-meter' on the nearest cabinet. He then looked over at Brant shyly, and opened his mouth to say something but closed it quickly as he began to blush.
"What, you want me to try the meter out to see if it can withstand your awesomeness?" Brant asked with a smile.
Matthew blushed harder before shyly shaking his head. "No. I wanted to see if your butt is really as cute as I think it is sans clothes. I... ummm..."
Brant's smile grew wider as he rose up from the sofa and made his way over to Matthew. Once he reached the boy, he moved his hands to begin removing his clothes, but Matthew grasped them.
Matthew brought the Vampire's hands over and placed them on his uniform. "You saw me dress, so you should know how to remove this jumpsuit..." he whispered, a nervousness heard in his voice.
Brant knew it was not nervousness about him stripping Matthew, but a fear of rejection. He pushed strength into Matthew briefly and smiled as he began to remove Matthew's suit.
At the same time, Matthew began to tentatively remove Brant's clothes. It was amusing to them both, for they ended up working at cross purposes most of the way through as neither wanted to break contact with the other, but after a lot of giggling and 'twister' agility, they managed their task.
Matthew let his eyes run over Brant slowly, taking in every detail. He placed the palms of both hands on the Vampire's chest and began to trace the contours of his new friend's upper body with a joyous wonder showing clearly in his eyes.
Brant, for his part, simply held his hands against Matthew's waist and continued to feed strength into this nervous Welsh boy. He kept his eyes fixed on Matthew's face, studying the emotions that were being played out there. He felt peaceful, and he could sense that Matthew was at peace as well.
"Definitely not Anne Rice vampire," Matthew giggled shyly as he looked down below Brant's waist, where something had woken up big time.
"She couldn't exactly tell the truth, now could she? That kinda breaks our rules about revealing ourselves to the public," Brant replied with a smile.
Matthew's jaw dropped open. "No way! You serious? She's a Vampire...? A Moroi...? Really?"
Brant nodded with a small smile.
"Wow!" Matthew murmured before looking a Brant's chest again, and running his fingers over the crucifix there. He then rested his own hands on Brant's waist. "You're skin is cool. I think that means you need to feed soon, right?" he asked softly.
Brant nodded seriously. "Yes," he murmured, "although I'm not as 'hungry' as I was this morning. As I explained about being a Time Councillor has changed how the sun affects me, I think Time is also changing how I feed or something. I'm not as hungry now."
"This is a very interesting view, you know," a young voice said from behind Brant.
"Yes," another added, "young Brant has a super fine arse, don't you think, Jay?"
"Oh, quite. Not as fine as yours, Galli, but damn fine nonetheless. Matthew is a lucky dude."
"Can't see Matthew's yet, but I believe that that opinion has already been expressed quite well enough," the Doctor giggled as Brant turned around to look at him and Jay. Matthew was pressed against Brant's back shyly.
"Jay, I thought I told you to knock on Galli's head when you enter; it's close enough to aged mahogany that it'd sound like a door," Brant shot back with a grin.
"He'd hit me back, though!" Jay protested with a giggle. Then he added, "Damn! Nice equipment, Brant!"
"I'm at a loss for words," the Doctor agreed, "and I've got a few billion billion more languages to draw on than the Mikyvis!"
"No ideas; that's mine," Matthew said quickly before going beet red. "Wow... I, ahh.... sorry, Brant... I, ummm..."
Brant turned his head slightly and kissed Matthew's cheek. "Do you hear me complaining?"
"Okay, you two need your space soon, so we'll be quick," the Doctor giggled as he gestured to the nearest sofa. "We just thought you needed some tips on your new perks, Brant, since you're going into a mission tomorrow."
"Yeah," Jay added as the two twelve year olds sat down with the two Time Lords. "We've talked with Forever, and he explained a bit more about you. Since you're Moroi, Time is having a more noticeable, immediate affect. Stands to reason, really."
"Tell me more, oh Masters of Millennial Mischief!" Brant giggled.
Jay giggled, "Gotta remember that one!"
"And I know you'll be using it from now until rapture, right?" the Doctor asked with a snort.
"Figures," the Doctor grinned before turning back to Brant. "Okay then! First, your feeding. It has changed, as you've guessed. Big time. On average, you guys would feed once a month, and you'd need to drain or nearly drain a scum-bag, doing so. Right?"
"Yeah," Brant said uncomfortably.
"Then I have good news for you. If you were to stay awake 24/7, and only exert yourself at a normal pace throughout, you'd need a pint a month. Tops. Sleeping and resting will reduce the amount. Going nuts with your abilities will increase what you need," the Doctor said seriously. "Also, and correct me if I'm wrong, but smelling blood can put a Moroi into a frenzy if they're as 'hungry' as you were this morning, right?"
"Please don't ruin my evening, Doc," Brant replied seriously.
The Doctor smiled sadly at the boy, "Don't worry. This is all good news, here, my young friend. That won't happen, now. You will never lose control, due to hunger, again. You are in a unique position now. You can be on empty, go out into the night, see 8 completely random people, and you can take just a pint from each, to get yourself 'topped up', as it were. You are in control, now. Not the hunger. Push comes to shove, in an emergency, you could even have a brother or sister donate blood to you if you truly needed it. I know you wouldn't do that, of course, but that is just my extreme example of how 'safe' you are, now."
"Also," Jay added, "due to Time protecting you and anything that is of you, your saliva will act like a numbing agent. If it touches another's skin, Time will protect it, plus the part of the skin it's on. Time cannot prevent forced injury, which would be your fangs breaking the skin, but it would stop the pain. Then, once you withdraw after taking your needed pint, it would automatically heal the wound."
"You are not immortal, Brant, but you do heal faster that even a standard Moroi," the Doctor explained. "You serve Time and Space, and so, Time and Space serve you."
Matthew cuddled in closer to Brant's side. "I felt your disgust at feeding when you were explaining some of your past to me, Brant. If you think about it, this really is good news. You don't have to take life ever again if you don't want to. You don't even have to let others know you're feeding. You can affect minds, can't you? Make them forget?"
"I can, but it's unethical to mess up someone's mind," Brant replied, seriously.
Matthew nodded with understanding, and he smiled. "That just makes me like you even more," he whispered, before kissing Brant gently.
The Doctor smiled, "I'd think you'll stay to your normal practice of finding criminals who deserve your attention. However, you don't have to limit yourself to people who need to be executed, now. You could 'arrest' someone by knocking them out and then taking that small amount you needed. They'd never know, nor would anyone else. There'd be no sign it even happened. Your conscience will be clear."
"We'll leave that to you," Jay said quickly as he reached and hugged Brant briefly. "We know it's not a favourite topic. But I hope we gave you some information that will make things easier for you, bro."
"Next on the list is your abilities," the Doctor said. "You're going to have to find out some of the more 'out there' stuff yourself, but know that Time amplifies what you can do."
"Just great... have you ever experienced a Moroi orgasm, Doc?" Brant asked with a hint of a smile.
"No. Have you experienced a Time Lord's?" the Doctor shot back with a giggle. "I can empathise with you, bro. However, with your new link with Matthew, just know that what you will feel, he'll get some of... and vice versa..."
"Fun, fun, fun," giggled Jay as Matthew's face went into tomato mode. "Very soon, I think, the Clan will stop picking on Cory and Sean and target you two, instead."
"That is quite likely," the Doctor giggled.
"Good thing this apartment was soundproofed so that I wasn't disturbed while getting to sleep," Brant replied, before turning his head to kiss Matthew's glowing cheek.
"You're not going to tell him about how loud he can scream now, Galli?" Jay teased with a sidelong look at Brant.
"No. That can be a surprise... for the others..." the ancient boy giggled. He then threw something at Matthew, who caught it easily. "Gallifreyan ear plugs. You'll need them."
Matthew's face paled noticeably. "You serious?" he asked nervously.
The Doctor smiled, "No. I just like teasing."
"You can definitely tell both of them, Sean, and Cory are brothers," Brant dead panned.
"Uh huh, if you say so. Don't know the other two yet, so I'll defer to your judgement," Matthew giggled lightly.
The Doctor stood up and pulled Jay up with him. "Time for us to go join the nest. You two get some... rest. Eventually."
"You're evil, Galli," Jay giggled as they both Folded out of the room.
Matthew cuddled into Brant's side again, after dropping the ear-plugs on the coffee table before him. "They're nuts, but nice, I think," he murmured with his happy smile back on his face.
"They're pretty kewl, even Galli. Not too bad for an ancient old fossilized fart," Brant giggled.
The Doctor's head seemed to appear as if suspended on nothing. "If it wasn't for that gentle boy with you, who needs you to look after him as he makes some discoveries tonight, you'd be swimming in the coldest body of water I could find. And I know of some DAMN cold worlds, Brant!" he giggled before vanishing again.
Matthew hid his face quickly in Brant's neck. "Does... does he mean we're... we're gonna..." he started nervously as he trembled violently.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm just curious as to if you cuddling against me will keep my body temperature higher tonight. Anything beyond that isn't my choice... it's yours. I've not told you what happens when someone is 'turned', but I promise you that no matter what you decide, we will not go anywhere near that point."
Matthew remained silent as his trembles decreased. "Sex is involved in 'turning'?" he whispered eventually.
"Yes, it is," Brant answered softly.
Eventually, after another few minutes of silence, Matthew giggled, "So, you might be taking the whole 'cold feet' thing to a whole new level?"
"Yeah; good news is as long as you wake up before me there won't be a stiffie poking you and putting you into shock before you realize where you are," Brant replied with a smile. "If I wake up first; I'll make sure you're in a 'safe place' to wake up so that your mind has time to realize where you are."
Matthew was about to reply when he yawned instead.
"Sleepy?" Brant asked softly.
"A little. It's been a full 'day', and I've only been here a few hours!"
"That's the Clan for you," Brant giggled as he stood up and walked towards the new double bed. "This does look comfortable," he giggled.
Matthew joined him, "Yeah. Umm, Brant?"
"Yes, cutie?" the Vampire said as he turned slightly to pull Matthew closer.
"You know what you did for me earlier?"
"Can we both do that now?" Matthew whispered the question nervously.
Brant smiled, moved around the bed with Matthew, then settled down bringing Matthew down with him. "Anything you want, cutie," he whispered back softly.
At first, they just kissed and ran their hands over the other's skin.
Matthew pulled back slightly and whispered, "I've never done anything before... you'll tell me if I...?"
"You'll do fine," Brant smiled as he guided Matthew's hand down his chest towards his privates.
Matthew nervously gripped Brant with his hands, but then twisted slightly so that they were both head to tail. He looked down the length of the bed into Brant's eyes, "You said I had to ask?"
Brant smiled and nodded before taking his own grip on Matthew's excited parts.
Together, both boys began to explore the other greedily...
Matthew was still recovering from what had hammered down the link when Brant had eventually 'popped'.
Brant was also still recovering, for he had felt it even more.
"The Doc... was right..." Matthew breathed out slowly.
"No shit," came the nearly inaudible reply from the foolishly grinning Moroi at his side.
It took ten more minutes before either could raise their heads to look at the other. Then, they both started giggling. Matthew sniggered, "How'd you yell so loud?"
"I'll tell you when I work that out for myself!" came the answering giggle.
Matthew grinned then tried rolling to the edge of the bed. "Damnit, my legs are all wobbly!" he groused.
"Need the bathroom?" Brant asked as he sat up easily. Obviously, he could recover far more quickly.
"No," Matthew grinned back at him as he flopped back onto the bed. "I'm thirsty. Was thinking about sneaking out for a hot chocolate."
"After all you drank, you're still thirsty?"
Matthew couldn't reply for blushing.
"Sorry. Couldn't resist," Brant giggled, "Anyway, you'd have fun finding the stuff out there in the dark in a kitchen you don't know. I'll go make you one."
"You don't have to," Matthew whispered shyly.
"You're right. But I want to. Stay there, cute stuff. I won't be long," Brant smiled as he got up and slipped through the room and out of the door at a speed Matthew had a hard time tracking.
As he passed through the Dining Room, Brant saw through the Rec Room doors that Cory and Sean were finally in the Nest, sleeping. 'Joel and Kev must be back,' he thought to himself as he made his way into the Kitchen. Inside, he found a plate on the counter and some empty mugs. After sniffing the mugs and looking at the cookie crumbs, he giggled to himself. 'Cookies and chocolate; yup, they are!'
He moved preternaturally fast around the Kitchen, then, gathering what was needed for his... boyfriend? Yeah, his boyfriend's drink. Then he groused to himself as the stove took the standard amount of time to heat the milk. "Wish everything moved as fast as me," he muttered moodily as he watched the milk. "I'm missing out on the view, here. Boil already!"
Eventually, after attempting to turn the milk blue with his choice of wording, Brant had the drink ready. At least he hoped it was. He'd sipped the chocolate to check how strong it was, but was unsure how Matthew liked it. "Never mind," Brant smiled after spitting the small bit he had in his mouth down the sink and washing it away. He carried the mug back through to the Dining Room, only to find Prince Harry sitting on the table, watching him.
"That was amusing," the British Prince grinned at him. "And educational. Where did you learn such a command of the language, Brant?"
"Your brother's minds..." Brant giggled.
"Jace and Nath'? I believe you. Welsh; they're crazy. Anyhow, I'm glad I caught you when it's quiet. I wanted a quick word, and out of respect to Matthew, I don't want others hearing. Here, put that down for a moment," Harry smiled, pointing at the mug. "A minute or two longer won't hurt - Matthew is patient."
"I'm not, though," Brant giggled, but did put the mug down.
"Tell me something I don't know," Harry grinned as he gently lifted the skin-only-clad twelve year old onto his lap as he perched on the table. "I guessed that from the repeated 'Boil you 'beep beep beeping' milk!' you were saying just then."
Brant giggled. "Okay. You have two minutes. What's up?"
"Matthew. First, thank you. Nathan has just told me of the magic you preformed, and so I wanted to thank you. Second, as you've no doubt guessed already, Matthew considers himself to only have a few friends."
"Yeah, I know," Brant said sadly. "Why has he been rejected so much?"
"He hasn't been," Harry answered. "He just thinks he has. What's been happening is that he'd open up a bit, see compassion in the other person's eyes, then pull away. In doing so, he just believed it was the other person shutting the door. Really, he walked away from their friendship; and out of respect, thinking that they shouldn't force the issue, they left him alone. He has more friends than he knows. Everyone at home loves that poor boy, but he has shrouded himself in darkness for so long that he has grown to believe that no-one did."
Brant looked Harry dead in the eyes. "Give them a message from me. Things like that are why there are so many 'half-life' Moroi on this earth; kids who were changed before they had a chance to live."
"I will, although it is not their fault. Most have been where Matthew has, and most needed time to get things settled. With Matthew, however, things festered, and none of his brothers know about it. Jason gave him the shields as a gift, and Matthew has learned to place all his doubts and feelings behind that. The face he has shown to his friends and brothers has hidden the truth. Only you, however, walked through those shields. You have done what Jason and Koth and the others failed to do with their friendship and love - you gave him the kick he needs."
"Thanks Harry." Brant said with a small smile. "I hate to run, but I promised 'HOT' chocolate. One more message; if I have to come over there to explain what to do they ain't gonna like it... I've got forever if I want it, so a small group being pissed at me doesn't even faze me."
"They wouldn't be pissed. Likely they'd piss themselves if your language is anything to judge your temper by, but..." Harry grinned. He then kissed Brant's forehead. "Get your cute self back in there and look after my young brother. He needs you. And I have a strange feeling that you need him just as much. Go, my little Vampire friend; that drink is not getting hotter, and that poor pan will not survive a repeat performance!"
Brant gave the Prince his best toothy grin, then slipped to the floor. As he slipped away, Harry heard the boy murmur, "If you only knew about my temper."
Harry nodded to himself as the boy slipped into his apartment, then turned and stood up.
He seemed to become as liquid in the air, and instead of 'Prince Harry', who was currently asleep with Seth, a being made of solid light stood there. It moved silently and unseen through the Dining Room and into the midst of the children sleeping in the nest. Cory, who was actually still awake and staring at the ceiling, was completely unaware; as were the Mikyvis and two Time Lords.
Then it stood there. Waiting for the Music to start. Waiting for the Time...
Brant closed the door behind him and turned towards the bed. He stopped dead for Matthew was kneeling at the foot of the bed with his face into the covers. He grew afraid, thinking that something had happened, and so he moved over quickly.
He stopped again behind the boy when he heard Matthew speaking; his new brother, his boyfriend, was praying.
"... for ever and ever, Amen." Matthew raised his head briefly, but then lowered it again. "Jesus. I... I'm sorry, but I've prayed since I can remember. For so long, though, I've not 'talked' to you as I should. I... I'm not sure if I know how, any more. Before it was all cries for help. And you did, you sent Poppa Spock and Jace and the others. But I..." Matthew's voice started to break, so he heaved in a few shaking breaths and started again. "... I shut them out. I shut you out, too. I'm sorry. Yet you've still helped me... you've given me a friend. A new friend who likes me even though I have all this sh... ah, problems. I don't know why he likes me, but... thank you, Jesus.
"I'm not sure if I qualify for an answer to this, but; I hope your will is for Brant to be more than just my friend. I... I think I'm falling in love with him, Jesus, and I'm scared that he won't and then he'd push me away like all the others... please, if he's not to be my boyfriend, can you at least help him stay my friend?" Matthew sobbed. He just couldn't hold it in any more. "Please? I really like him, but if he's only to be my friend, that's enough... please... please say he won't push me a...away like the others..."
Matthew broke completely, and just cried into the sheets. He didn't hear the soft sob come from behind him, nor the sound of a mug being put down on the nearest table.
He did feel those cool hands that he loved, touch his back. He felt the strong arms that his heart so sought, pull him back tightly against an equally cool feeling chest. He felt surprisingly hot tears dripping down onto his head and neck.
"I'm never... NEVER... going to push you away," Brant cried softly into Matthew's hair. "Never ever," he repeated as he wrapped his arms tighter around Matthew's chest.
Matthew didn't know what to say. Then he knew. "Thank you, Jesus," he whispered, before continuing to cry. He swivelled around so that he and Brant were now full out hugging, and both still kneeling at the foot of the bed.
"You heard it all?" Matthew whispered after their shared tears had lessened.
"I heard enough," was Brant's reply.
"Aww man," Matthew breathed shyly.
Brant pulled back. "I think I am too," he whispered.
Brant smiled softly as he wiped away his glowing tears, "I think I am too."
Matthew thought for a moment, his face puzzled. Then his eyes widened. "You... you mean you're... we're...."
"I think this is something we're falling into together," Brant said seriously before standing up, drawing Matthew up with him.
Matthew just smiled. Then he yawned.
"Drink this, before it gets any colder," Brant said softly as he handed the drink over.
'It's still hot, Uncle Brant,' came Levi's giggling whisper in both their minds.
"Where were you when I was trying to get the milk hot?" Brant grouched.
'I'm too young to hear that naughty language you were saying, Uncle Brant, or I'd have helped you!' came the answering giggle.
Matthew just grinned and sat down, then started to sip his drink.
Brant sat next to him and asked, "Did I get it right, cutie?"
Matthew nodded peacefully. "Just right," he answered.
Soon, it was gone. After another pit-stop to the bathroom, Matthew was cuddled against Brant under the covers. He had his chin resting on Brant's chest as he studied the Vampire's face. "Thank you for being my friend," he said. "And for whatever else we may be."
"Same to you, Matthew. Thank you," Brant responded.
Brant lazily kept his gaze locked with Matthew's. He did so even when Matthew started to sing softly, seemingly just to himself, but the words were heavy with emotion. Brant listened closely, recognising the source of the song at once:
I thought I did what's right
I thought I had the answer
I thought I chose the surest road
But that road brought me here
So I put up a fight
And told You how to help me
And just when I have given up
The truth is coming clear, for...
You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For You know better than I
If this has been a test
I cannot see the reason
But maybe knowing 'I don't know'
Is part of getting through
I tried to do what's best
And faith has made it easy
To see the best thing I can do
Is put my trust in You, for...
You know Better Than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For You know Better Than I
I saw one cloud, and thought it was the sky
I saw a bird and thought that I could follow
But it was You who taught that bird to fly
If I let You reach me
Will You teach me? For...
You know Better Than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
I'll take what answers You supply
You know Better Than I
© Joy Williams
It wasn't long after Matthew had finished singing that Brant had fallen asleep, with Matthew following suit quickly.
Brant never did get cold that night.
Matthew was there.
... and both were happy.
Well, that is indeed a very special relationship between those two boys. I am very glad they found each other. I can hardly wait to see what will come next. We have still another wonderful story to fill in some of the gaps that have appeared in the CSU saga. Thanks for bringing it to us.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher.
Some new soft light has been shown upon those who haunt the dead of night......... It also looks like two wonderful people have been made whole by each filling the emptiness in each other. Sometimes people need thrown out of their comfort zone in order to grow and become whole.
This looks like it is going to be another wonderful additon to the CSU Universe
The Story Lover