Empath's Kiss

by Andrew Todd

Damon stood at the nurse's station sorting the magazines and books on his trolley. He had just finished making his final rounds for the night and was straightening things up so he could head for home.

He rolled the trolley into the storage closet and locked the door.

He pulled his jacket on and ran a hand through his thick black hair. That was the only physical trait he had inherited from his father. His pale skin, thin swimmer's build and deep blue eyes were gifts from his mother.

He poked his head behind the nurses' station.

"Night, Shelly." He smiled to the young nurse who was manning the station.

She smiled back. "Night, Damon." The nurses enjoyed having Damon as a volunteer; although he was rather quiet and reserved, he did have a great rapport with the patients.

Damon walked down the hallway towards the elevator. He stopped in front of one of the rooms and peeked inside.

"Mrs. Marshall?" he asked quietly.

When there was no reply he entered the room.

"Mrs. Marshall?" he said again as he approached the bed. "It's Damon. I'm heading out and I wanted to see if you needed anything else."

When he reached the bed, he saw the elderly woman laying there, her eyes closed, her breathing very shallow.

A tear came to his eye when he saw how still she was. His first instinct was to hit the call button, but he stopped. In their many conversations over the past months, Mrs. Marshall had been adamant that she not be kept alive by artificial means. She knew her cancer was terminal and she wanted nothing more than to be allowed to die a dignified death.

Damon leaned in and whispered in the woman's ear, "I'm here." He turned to make sure the door to the room was shut and he picked up her hand in his. He brushed his fingers against the papery thin flesh of her hand.

As his skin touched hers, he felt a stabbing pain in his chest. He ignored the pain and focused on the love and warm emotions he could feel coming from her. He couldn't save her, he couldn't heal her, but he could lessen her pain and make her crossing easier.

As he felt the life-force leave her body, the pain in his chest continued. He gently placed her hand at her side.

All at once the machines were beeping and doctors and nurses were crashing through the doors.

Damon felt himself being led out of the room and back to the nurses' station.

Greer, the head nurse, had him sit down for a few minutes. She knew he was close to Mrs. Marshall and simply assumed he had found her on his way out. She made sure he was ok and then went back to Mrs. Marshall's room.

In the commotion, Damon slipped away from the station and out the rear door. Kai was waiting for him in the parking lot.

He half-smiled when he saw his boyfriend's short blond hair and ruddy tanned face smiling at him. The smile was short-lived and Kai's brown eyes turned dark when he saw Damon's half-smile turn to a grimace of pain.

Kai rushed over to support Damon.

"What the hell did you do?" Kai asked excitedly.

"Don't ask, don't tell."

Kai shook his head and half led, half carried Damon to his car. Since Kai's parents had given him a used Challenger last month for his sixteenth birthday he had taken to picking up Damon when his volunteer shifts ended at the hospital.

Kai opened the passenger door and helped Damon into the seat. Damon lay back and closed his eyes.

Kai ran around to the driver's side and slid behind the wheel. He started the car up and pulled out of the parking space.

Kai stopped the car in front of the old Victorian house that sat on the corner of Edgemont Street. He walked around to Damon's side and opened the passenger door and gently helped Damon out of the car. He unlatched the old wrought-iron gate and let them in. Kai helped Damon across the stone walkway and entered through the front door.

"Damon, is that you?" they heard Damon's mother, Eve, call from the kitchen.

"Yes," Damon replied weakly.

Eve appeared in the entryway. Her brow was creased with worry. When she saw Damon in Kai's arms, weak and barely able to stand, she rushed towards the boys.

"Dad!!" she called.

Damon cringed as his grandfather came down the front stairs and saw him.

Arthur Abercrombie, Damon's paternal grandfather, was an imposing man. He stood well over six feet tall and was barrel-chested and broad-shouldered. He had a full head of steel grey hair which had once been as black as Damon's. His deeply tanned complexion and black eyes belied his Romany heritage.

He grabbed Damon from the opposite side of Kai and the two carried Damon up to his room. Damon was nearly unconscious by the time they deposited him on his bed.

Kai quickly moved about removing Damon's shoes and socks and pulling a comforter over him.

"He needs to rest," Arthur said.

Kai knew the tone. He nodded. He leaned down and kissed Damon on the forehead, said a quick "I love you" to his sleeping boyfriend and left the room.

When he got downstairs, Eve asked if he knew what had happened and he told her he didn't just that Damon had been like that when he picked him up after work. He said a quick goodbye and left for home.

Damon awoke several hours later to find his grandfather sitting across the room from him.

"How are you feeling?"

"Better," Damon replied as he sat up in bed.

"What happened?"

Damon looked down at his hands.


"One of the patients--Mrs. Marshall, she's the sweetest lady--I stopped to see her and she was…dying." He looked up and his eyes met his grandfather's. "I knew she was terminal and that she didn't want to be kept alive on machines. I just didn't want her to be in so much pain."

Arthur shook his head. "Damon, I've told you, the more emotionally involved you are, the harder it's going to be on you. You're an empath, you're never going to be able to heal people or save them only take away some of their pain. But the more emotionally attached you are to them the more difficult it will be for you. This is the worst I've seen you. You must have really cared for this woman."

Damon nodded. "She was one of my favorite patients to visit. She knew she was terminal, yet she was always smiling and always upbeat."

Arthur stood up and walked over to Damon's bed. He put his hand on his grandson's shoulder.

"It's late, you need to rest. We'll talk more in the morning."

"Ok," Damon said sleepily.

Arthur turned off the lights as he left Damon's bedroom.

He walked downstairs into the kitchen where he found his daughter-in-law sitting at the kitchen table.

"How is he?" she asked.

Arthur poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down.

"He's drained." He sighed. "I don't know if he realizes that he can't save these people. That his abilities have limits."

"What happened?"

"What I feared when he started at the hospital. He found a patient he got attached to and when he used his powers on her, it was too much. Between the emotional connection, the fact that she was dying and Damon still not being used to it, the whole thing overwhelmed him."

"I wish Alex was here," she said.

"I know, Eve, but he's not and I'm not sure how much he could help," Arthur replied. "Alex's powers were different. He was a telepath. He could read thoughts. If he was close to someone, like you or I, he could communicate, but Damon's powers are so much more. What scares me is that I'm not sure if he's fully tapped them yet."

"What do you mean?"

"These things usually skip a generation in our family. My father was a strong telekinetic and Alex was a decent telepath, but I expected Damon to be without abilities like me. I don't know if it has to do with Alex dying when Damon was so young or if it's something else. Also, Alex's powers didn't manifest until well after puberty. Damon's started before he was ten. I know they've been gradually getting stronger, but he'll be sixteen soon. That's when most members of my family start to develop their powers."

"You're saying he could get even stronger?"

"Or he could develop other abilities."

Eve's shocked blue eyes met her father-in-law's cold black ones. "Other abilities?"

Arthur nodded. "Eve, our family has been around for centuries. As time has passed, the powers and abilities born into us have lessened. But, there is always that possibility of a throwback. Centuries ago, it was not unheard of for someone to be empathic, telepathic, and telekinetic…to have multiple abilities."

"But what would that do to him?"

"I don't know," Arthur replied solemnly. "Damon is a strong young man. But, this is a different age. I don't know how he would react. For someone as sensitive as him to be born an empath is a blessing and a curse."

"So we just need to watch him closely."

"That's all we can do."


Damon turned in the direction of the voice. He saw a tall man with dark hair and a dark complexion coming towards him.

"Hey, Dad," he said with a smile.

"How are you feeling?" Alex asked.

"A little wrecked."

"You're going too fast, Damon. Your powers started to manifest too early and you're pushing yourself."

"Dad, I couldn't watch her suffer."

"I know, Day, but until you can control it you're taking a huge risk."

"What do you mean?"

"You're focusing on one aspect of your abilities. You're an empath, which means you can feel what others feel. You chose to volunteer at the hospital so you could help others with their pain and suffering, but every time you absorb those feelings, they have to go somewhere."

"I don't understand."

"Say someone has a small burn and you touch them, what happens?"

"My skin burns a little and then it goes away."

"Right. But, when you touched that woman at the hospital, someone who had terminal cancer, what happened?"

"I could feel the pain. My chest hurt so much, probably where her cancer was."

"How long did it take for the pain to go away?"

"I can still feel it."

"Exactly. Terminal illnesses, someone you are attached to emotionally, you need to learn how to expel the pain."

"Can grandfather teach me?"

"He can try," Alex said. "But, I'll be here to help you, too."

"So, you're thinking I should lay low for now?"

Alex nodded. "I think you need to be careful. If anyone finds out about your powers they won't understand and until you can control all of them you are at risk."

"All of them?"

Alex nodded. "None of this was supposed to happen, Day. You shouldn't have had any abilities. You were the skip generation. Somehow, when we were in that car accident something was triggered."

"I don't understand."

"Damon, I'm dead. I was killed in that accident and yet, I still live here in your mind. I'm not a memory. I'm alive, but you're the only one I can talk to. Somehow, my reaching out to you telepathically at the moment of impact triggered your abilities and put me in here. You're going to be the most powerful of us all, but you need to learn to control these abilities."

"I'll do my best, Dad."

"I know you will, son."

Over the next few weeks, Damon tried to use his abilities as little as possible. He would stick with the other volunteers and try to avoid temptations that came about when he was alone with patients.

There were times he almost ached being unable to help someone in need, but his grandfather and father made it clear to him that he needed to learn more control after his episode with Mrs. Marshall.

Damon had never told his grandfather or his mother about his father. He didn't know how to explain to them that the son and husband they had mourned was alive and well in his head. It didn't even make sense to him. If it wasn't for the fact that so much about his father's family was fantastic to begin with he would think he was losing his grip on reality.

The only person, who knew about Alex, was Kai. Damon trusted Kai with all his secrets and that was what kept him sane most days. Kai knew about his powers and knew about his struggles. Kai knew how hard it was for him to not use his powers when someone was in pain or need, but he was also the one who could best get through to Damon on the importance of being careful. Kai knew that he couldn't live if anything happened to Damon.

One afternoon, Damon was hanging around the admission desk in the Emergency Room. It had been a relatively quiet day. He had already made his rounds twice, circulating magazines and books and delivering floral arrangements and packages for patients.

He looked up to see a young boy being led in by his mother. The boy was about six or seven. He had flaming red hair and big green eyes. He had a faded bruise on his cheek and he was holding his arm gingerly as his mother led him to the desk.

Damon grabbed a wheelchair and rushed over to the two.

"Here, bud, why don't you have seat?" he said as he helped the boy into the chair.

The mother looked at him curiously. "Thank you," she said.

Damon smiled. He pushed the wheelchair towards the desk.

"Damon, why don't you take him to cubicle 2," Joy, the nurse at the desk said. "I'll page Dr. Jonas and have his mom start the paperwork; Sandy should be back there."

"Sure," Damon replied as he pushed the chair towards the back of the ER.

Sandy was waiting in the cubicle for them.

"Hey, Sandy," Damon said as he rolled his patient in.

"Hi, Damon," the young nurse replied. "Who's this?"

"I'm not sure. We haven't been introduced yet," Damon laughed. He knelt in front of the chair. "Hey, Bud, I'm Damon and this is Sandy; she's a nurse and she's gonna start checking you out before the doctor gets here. What's your name?"

"Ethan," the boy answered shyly.

"Nice to meet you, Ethan," Damon said with a grin.

"Damon, can you help Ethan up onto the table?" Sandy asked. "I need to get a smaller blood pressure cuff."

"Sure," Damon replied as Sandy left the cubicle.

He rolled the chair over to the table and set the brake.

"Is your arm ok?" he asked. "Are you good holding it and I can give you a boost onto the table?"

"I think so," Ethan answered quietly.

"Ok, let's give it a try. If it hurts too much, you let me know."

Damon knew Ethan was scared and figured this would be a good chance for him to see if he had better control over his powers. He placed one arm under Ethan's legs and the other behind his back and lifted him carefully.

As his fingers touched the boy's good arm, he felt a twinge of pain. He tried to control the pain as he gently moved Ethan from the chair to the table. He kept his breathing steady and focused on Ethan and not on the pain in his arm.

Ethan looked up at Damon and for the first time he smiled. Damon grinned back, knowing the boy's pain was lessening.

"Got it," Sandy said as she came back into the cubicle.

Her voice broke Damon's concentration and everything went wrong. He felt two hands grip his arm and twist it so hard he felt the bones grind and snap. Tears came to his eyes as the pain hit him.

He let go of Ethan's arm and stepped back. "Your mom did this to you?" he whispered.

Ethan went pale. The green eyes were wide with fear.

Damon leaned forward and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't worry, you're ok." He turned to Sandy. "Are you ok here, Sandy? I need to check on something."

"Sure. Dr. Jonas should be here any second."

"Hang in there, Ethan," Damon said as he slipped from the cubicle.

He went out to the nurse's station where Ethan's mother was standing across from Joy.

"Damon, can you take Mrs. Taylor back to where her son is?"

"Sure," he answered with a smile. "This way, ma'am."

Mrs. Taylor looked at him with disdain as she followed him back to the cubicles. Damon led her to an empty one down the hall from where Ethan was.

"Right in here," he said as he held the door open for her.

"Where's my son?" she asked rudely as she turned to see Damon standing in front of the closed door.

"He's safe and being taken care of," Damon replied. "I want the doctor to get a chance to see his bruises and his arm without any interference from you."

Mrs. Taylor charged Damon. "You have no right!!"

Damon braced himself and concentrated. "NO! You have no right," he said as he gripped her wrist. He could feel the pain that was still in his arm flow from him into the woman. "Have you ever even wondered what Ethan was feeling when you were hurting him? Not just the physical pain of having you hit him so hard it left bruises or twisting his arm so hard it broke, but the emotional pain of the person who is supposed to love him the most being able to hurt him like that? Have you!?"

Mrs. Taylor fell back against a table. There were tears in her eyes.

Damon looked at her. "Can you feel it? Can you feel his pain? Can you feel his fear?" he whispered to her. "And underneath it all…can you feel that?" he asked twisting his head slightly, like he was listening for something. "That small almost imperceptible feeling. That was something I almost missed. That's something that only a child could feel for someone who could do such a horrible thing to him. That's love, Mrs. Taylor. After all that, your son still loves you." He released her wrist and turned and walked out of the cubicle.

He walked straight into the nearest bathroom and locked the door.

His face was flushed and he was sweating. He turned on the faucet and splashed cold water on his face.

When he looked in the mirror, it wasn't his face staring back at him.

"Damon," Alex said sternly. "What was that?"

"I don't know," Damon answered honestly. "I was just going to try to see if my control had improved when I helped Ethan move from the chair to the table. I figured if I could take some of his pain it would relax him and make moving easier. It was working, then when Sandy came in, she broke my concentration and something happened that had never happened before. Instead of just feeling his pain, I was Ethan. I felt his mother twisting my arm until it broke. I was able to hold onto the pain and the experience and then transfer it to her."

"Damon, you've never had a telepathic episode before, have you?"

"Only when you used to talk to me."

"But those were episodes I initiated," Alex said. "You've never been able to initiate any?"

Damon shook his head. "No, never."

"I don't know if you're going to develop a full set of telepathic abilities or if they are simply going to be connected to your empathic abilities. But you really need to be more careful. If that woman reports what happened…"

"Who's going to believe her?" Damon asked. "First, she'd have to admit that she abused her son, which by now, I'm sure Dr. Jonas is suspicious of since it's a radial fracture anyways. Second, who's going to believe that I attacked her or made her feel what she had done to her son?"

"Whether or not they believe her is not the point, Damon. All it takes is one curious person to investigate, to follow you, to do some research. We can't have that, especially since we have no idea what else you might be capable of."

"You think there might be more?"

"Well, you turn sixteen in a week and that's usually when the members of our family come into their powers. Since yours have already begun to manifest, I can only imagine what might happen at that point."

"Great," Damon said sarcastically.

There was a light knock at the door.

"Damon, are you alright?"

"Yeah, Joy, I'll be right out." He turned off the faucet, dried his hands and opened the door.

"Mrs. Taylor said you rushed off and when you didn't come back, we thought something might be wrong."

Damon shook his head. "Just a bit of a headache," he said. "I seem to be getting migraines lately."

Joy clucked her tongue as she wrapped her arm around his shoulders. She was a tall woman and Damon was only about 5'8". "You better have your doctor check those out. They can get pretty bad," she said in a motherly voice.

"I will," Damon agreed. "So how's Ethan?"

Joy stopped and turned towards Damon. "Sandy's with him. Dr. Jonas took his mother to his office while they wait for the police. It looks like she was responsible for his arm and probably some other injuries as well."

"What's going to happen to him?"

"Well, his parents are divorced. His mother is the custodial parent, but the child advocate was able to reach the father and he's on his way. I guess he's been trying to get custody of Ethan for a while."

"Well, at least he'll be ok."

"Looks that way."

Later that evening as Damon relayed the story to Kai over dinner, his boyfriend just shook his head.

"You were lucky, you know," Kai scolded him. "It could have gone the other way."

"What do you mean?"

"What if he had ended up in foster care? Or if his dad was just as abusive. What if his mom wasn't the one who did it?"

"Kai, don't you get it? I felt his mom do it. She did it to me . It's hard to describe, but it's like I'm there. I felt the physical attack and all the emotions that Ethan felt, the hurt, the pain, the confusion, the hate, the love."


Damon nodded. "He's only six. Beneath it all, all the pain and raw emotion, he still loved her and just wanted her to love him."

Kai reached across the table and took Damon's hands in his. Both boys' eyes were brimming with tears.

Damon closed his eyes and concentrated. He could feel Kai's love wash over him. It was pure and given freely. It pushed away all the pain from earlier.

Damon opened his eyes and smiled.

"I want to try something," he said.

"What?" Kai asked the curiosity showing in his deep brown eyes.

"Shhh. Let me see if it works. I've never tried this. Close your eyes," Damon instructed. When he saw Kai's eyes close, he shut his own.

Damon held Kai's hands gently and pushed with his thoughts the way his father had told him to years ago.


Kai's eyes popped open and he grabbed his head. "Man, you don't gotta shout, I'm right here."

Damon laughed. "You heard that?"

Kai looked at his boyfriend like he was losing it. "Heard it? I felt it in my toes."

"Kai, I didn't say anything."

Kai looked around the room and noticed that no one in the restaurant was looking at them, which he would have expected them to be doing if Damon had been as loud as he had thought.

"You mean you…" He shifted his eyes from left to right and pointed his index finger at his temple.

Damon almost fell off his chair laughing.

"Yes, I spoke to you telepathically," he replied. "Dad said he didn't know if that power would manifest itself separately or if it only worked with my empathic powers, but I guess I'm a telepath as well."

"Are you gonna tell your mom and grandfather?"

"I'm not sure," Damon said after a few moments of thought. "They're both so worried now and after today they'd be even more worried. Plus, dad thinks it might get worse."

"Worse, how?"

"Well, he says that people in his family usually manifest their powers around their sixteenth birthdays."

"And yours is Friday."

Damon nodded. "Right. Since I've already started, he's afraid there could be more coming. He's not sure if I'm some kind of chosen one or if it's just some cosmic screw-up from the accident."

"You mean all this could be happening cuz your dad was killed in a car accident?"

"I guess. When we were stopped at that light and the drunk was coming at us, he was trying to get me free from the back seat. He reflexively reached out to me telepathically at the moment we were hit. His body was killed, but his mind, his consciousness was somehow kept alive in me. So it might be that his abilities are triggering something in me. We just don't know."

"Is he always there?" Kai asked with a raised eyebrow.

Damon grinned. "No. He only seems to be there when I need him or when he thinks I need him."

"Maybe he's not actually there," Kai said. "Maybe it's something triggered by stress or a way for your subconscious to deal with all these changes."

Damon shook his head. "He's there. He's been there since the accident. That was a few years before my powers started showing."

"Well, as long as he's not gonna pop up Friday night."

Damon felt the heat rise in his cheeks. Friday was his sixteenth birthday and rather than a party, he and Kai had talked his mom and Kai's parents into letting them go to Kai's family cabin for the weekend. Damon and Kai had told Kai's parents about his abilities soon after they started dating. They had a hard time believing it until Mrs. Martin had cut herself while chopping vegetables for dinner one night and Damon had used his powers on her.

"Are you sure you don't want a party first?" Kai asked for the hundredth time.

Damon nodded. "Who would I invite? You, Grandfather, Mom, your parents and some of the nurses from work."

"You have friends at school."

Damon stared at Kai. "No, babe, you have friends at school. They tolerate your weird boyfriend."

Kai grinned. "Ok, first of all, my boyfriend is not 'weird'. He's smart, beautiful, kind, sweet and hellahot," Kai said with a twinkle in his eye. "And they don't tolerate you--most of those people actually do like you and enjoy spending time around you, but you are just so quiet at school all the time. Hell, if we hadn't been stuck together on that project last year, I wouldn't have even known you could talk."

Damon smirked and stuck his tongue out. "I guess it's just a defense mechanism. First, I was the kid whose dad was killed and now I have to worry about people finding out about my abilities. It's always been easier to just keep to myself, to hide behind my wall."

Kai took Damon's hand and kissed his palm. "Well, I'm glad you let me in," he sighed. Cuz, I couldn't live without you.

Damon's eyes met Kai's I couldn't live without you, either.

Kai's eyes widened. "Oh, my God!! You heard that!?!"

Damon smiled and nodded. "I don't know if I could talk to anyone else and it might not work if we weren't touching, but yeah, I could hear you without trying."

Kai grinned. "Cool."

Thursday night, Eve insisted on taking Damon, Kai and Arthur out to dinner to celebrate Damon's birthday since Damon and Kai would be leaving for the cabin right after school the next day.

After dinner, the waiter carried out a small birthday cake with several candles on it. He was followed by a few other members of the staff who serenaded Damon with "Happy Birthday." Damon's face glowed red as he blew out the candles.

Once they had all enjoyed their cake and were relaxing, Kai looked at Arthur.

"Sir, I've never really understood, what's the deal with your family and these abilities?"

Arthur looked at his grandson's boyfriend and grinned. "Well, Kai, our family goes back to Eastern Europe. I can't tell you exactly what country, because my people were pretty nomadic. We were Romany."


"What most people today would call 'gypsies'."

"Oh, ok."

"But, I would advise you to not use that term around anyone you consider friend or family as it is a derogatory term," Arthur said sternly. "It would be similar to calling someone of African descent that vulgar 'n-word' or someone calling you or Damon that other word."

Kai nodded. "Got it."

"So, my people were very nomadic and very connected to the land and to nature. Family legend says that our abilities were gifts from the gods because we were so at one with the Earth and nature." He saw the suspicion in Kai's eyes. "The truth is, Kai, we don't know where the powers come from. At one time, there were several families who had them. Over time the families have died off or the powers have diminished. As I've told you boys, for the last century or so the abilities have skipped every other generation, until Damon. It seems fitting that Damon be special, since he will be the last."

"Why would I be the last?" Damon asked.

"Damon, the abilities are passed through blood," Arthur replied as if it was obvious.

Damon thought a minute. "Oh…right." He nodded and looked at Kai. "Unless we can get you pregnant, I'm it," he chuckled.

Kai grinned and kicked him under the table. "Very funny." He looked back to Arthur. "So if the powers were gifts from the gods for being one with nature, wouldn't they recognize love over blood?"

"I'm not sure I understand."

"Well, the abilities have gone through the family from son to son basically, though now it's more like grandfather to grandson."


"But, if Damon and I adopted a boy, that boy would be our son. He might not have Abercrombie blood, but he would be an Abercrombie by the fact that Damon would be his father, or at least one of them, and he would love him. If the gods gave the gifts, then I would think the gifts would pass to Damon's son no matter if he was of blood or not."

Arthur grinned and nodded. "Kai, you're always thinking. Your theory is as good as any. The truth is, we don't know for sure where the powers came from or where they have gone. My ancestors believed they were a gift from the gods because of their commitment to nature and the way they protected the land and each other. If that is the case, then the idea of any son of Damon's, natural or adopted being able to inherit the powers could be correct. As far as I know there has never been an adoption within the family, so the theory has never been tested."

Kai grinned at Damon and nodded. "Maybe you're not the last one."

Damon just shook his head.

"One more question," Kai said as Damon groaned.

Arthur grinned. He was old-school and had not been very warm to the idea when Damon had come out to him almost a year ago, but he had to admit, if Damon was going to attach himself to someone he could do a lot worse than someone as bright and inquisitive as Kai. It was obvious to Arthur that Kai loved his grandson and his questions were not meant to be intrusive, but were an attempt to truly understand what was happening.

"What's that, Kai?" Arthur asked.

"Why do Damon's powers require touch? I mean, I know these things aren't actually supposed to exist in the first place, but whenever you see this stuff on TV or in the movies people do it all with their minds. Damon can only do it by touch."

"Damon's an empath, they have always been tactile," Arthur answered. "Centuries ago when there were many more empaths it was quite common for them to lay hands on people to alleviate their suffering. It has always been the way. In fact, I think that's where many of your modern day 'faith healers' get the practice from. Have you heard of Benny Hinn?"

Kai grinned. "He's that nut job that's on the tube at three in the morning smacking fake crippled people in the head and supposedly healing them."

Arthur laughed and nodded. "Right. Empaths have always been tactile. Telepaths and telekinetics generally can do things with a thought."

"Then how come Damon had to…OWW!!" Kai looked into Damon's angry eyes and rubbed his shin where Damon had kicked him. "Oh, shit!! Sorry…"

Eve looked at the boys. "Damon…what is it?"

Damon quickly explained to his mother and grandfather about his episode with Ethan and his mother as well as his being able to 'talk' with Kai.

"Have you been able to read anyone else?" Arthur asked.

Damon shook his head. "No. Just Kai and only when we are touching."

"There's probably a connection between your empathic powers and the new powers. Chances are you are not a true telepath. You can read Kai because you are in love with him and you were able to do what you did to that woman because of the pain and emotions you were feeling," Arthur explained. "That was very stupid, by the way."

"I know. Kai's already read me the riot act."

"Damon, this is very important: if anything else happens, if there is any change in your powers or if any new powers manifest you need to tell us right away. The only way we can help you is if we know what's happening."

"Alright, Grandfather."


Damon sighed. "For the hundredth time today, I don't feel any different. Dad and Grandfather say that most powers manifest at sixteen, they didn't say it happened on your birthday."

"I know, I just want to make sure you tell me if anything happens."

Damon grinned and kissed Kai. "You'll be the first to know."

They were lying in the queen-sized bed in Kai's room in the cabin. They had made the two-hour drive right after school. After getting settled, Kai had cooked a special birthday dinner for Damon, complete with a small birthday cake and now the two were settling in for the night.

They were lying in the bed in their underwear holding each other, letting their hands and fingers touch and roam over each other's bodies. The room was dark, except for the light from a few candles that Kai had set around the room.

"Day, I know we said that we would wait until we were both sixteen, but we don't have to do this tonight, you know."

Damon sat up. "You don't want to be with me?"

Kai sat up and faced him taking Damon's face in his hands. He stared deeply into Damon's crystal blue eyes. "Damon Abernathy, I want to be with you so bad that I ache. But with everything that's going on with you, I don't want you to do anything that you're not ready for. I don't want you to feel pressured. I love you. I'll love you if we make love tonight or if we just sleep in each other's arms."

Damon leaned forward and kissed Kai gently on the lips. "Kai Martin, I love you so much, you're my compass. When all this stuff gets me all twisted and turned around and confused and lost all I need to do is focus on you to find my way. It feels like I've been waiting for this night forever. I know we don't have to do this and you're not pressuring me…you've never done anything but love and accept me."

Kai wrapped his arms around Damon and pulled him back so that Damon was lying on top of him.

They kissed. Kai's hands slid down Damon's back feeling the tight sinewy muscles. He slipped his fingers under the band of Damon's underwear and gripped the firm, smooth globes of his ass. He squeezed them gently pulling Damon deeper into the kiss.

Damon groaned into Kai's mouth as his tongue slid against Kai's. He slipped away from the kiss and used his tongue to trace his way down Kai's neck. He savored the salty sweet taste of his boyfriend. He kissed his way down Kai's chest stopping to chew on his quarter-sized nipples.

Kai's build was similar to Damon's. Many of the kids at school would joke that they were photo negatives of each other. Their height and body types almost identical, Kai with blond almost white hair, deep brown eyes and darkly tanned skin juxtaposed with Damon's jet black hair, sky blue eyes and pale white skin. To both boys this simply meant they had found their other half.

Damon placed his hand on Kai's six pack and felt the smooth warm skin.

"What are you doing?" Kai asked.

"You're so beautiful."

Kai reached down and pulled Damon up to him. "Not as beautiful as you," he said as he flipped Damon over on his back and kissed his way down Damon's body.

When he reached Damon's underwear, he wasted no time in stripping the last bit of clothing from Damon's body. He leaned in and inhaled the musky scent. Damon's pale member was standing tall in a thick bush of wiry black hair.

Kai wrapped his hand around Damon's cock and squeezed gently. Damon moaned and a pearly drop of fluid dropped from the slit. Kai leaned down and caught it on his tongue.

Damon inhaled deeply as Kai's tongue swiped the head of his cock. "Oh, my god, Kai."

Kai opened his mouth and wrapped his lips around the head of Damon's cock. Damon writhed in ecstasy on the bed. Kai slid his mouth farther down the organ. Damon was wriggling and panting. He had the sheets gripped in his fists. Kai knew he wouldn't last much longer.

"Kai!!" Damon cried as Kai felt his cock begin to pulse. Damon groaned as shot after shot of cum assaulted Kai's throat. Kai swallowed as quickly as he could.

Damon exhaled as he came down from his orgasm. "Oh, shit. That was…"

"It sure was," Kai said as he crawled up next to Damon and kissed him deeply.

Damon sighed into Kai's mouth as he tasted his essence mixed in with his lover's.

They broke the embrace and fell back on the bed to catch their breath.

After a few minutes, Damon sat up and crawled over till he was looking down at Kai.

"Your turn," he said as he grinned down at his boyfriend."

"Damon, we can just…"

Damon shook his head. "Kai, I want this. It's what we planned. When you're ready I'll do it to you, but I'm ready now."

"Ok, come over here," Kai instructed as Damon turned so his ass was facing Kai. Kai sat up and stared at Damon's perfect ass. He loved the pale smooth globes. He was happy they had both taken showers and cleaned up earlier. He got up on his knees and placed his palms on Damon's cheeks and pulled them apart. Unable to stop himself he inhaled deeply and plunged his tongue into the rosebud between Damon's two perfect asscheeks.

"Ooohh," Damon gasped as he felt Kai's tongue enter him.

Kai lapped at Damon's ass for a few minutes making it sloppy wet. Then he reached over to the nightstand and grabbed the small bottle of AstroGlide they had brought with them. He flipped the cap and poured a small dollop onto his fingers. He rubbed one slick finger around Damon's ass and carefully slipped it in.

"Oh, wow."

"Are you ok?"

"I'm fine, keep going."

Kai moved the one finger in and out of Damon and then slid a second finger and eventually a third finger in. With the addition of each finger, Damon simply groaned his acceptance.

Kai pulled all three fingers out.

Damon grunted his disappointment.

Kai laughed. "Hold on, you sex maniac." He laid back on the bed, his cock at full mast. "I want you to control this so you can stop if it hurts," he explained.

Damon nodded and watched as Kai squirted more lube into his palm and stroked his erection.

"Ready?" Kai asked.

"So ready," Damon replied as he straddled Kai's midsection.

Kai aimed the head of his cock at Damon's entrance. Damon lowered himself until he felt the tip.

Damon inhaled and squatted until he felt Kai's cock penetrate him.

"Oh, jeez!!" Damon exclaimed as he felt Kai enter him.

Kai and Damon were both average sized so Damon did not feel like he was being stretched beyond his limits. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but he adjusted quickly and pushed himself all the way down until he felt Kai's blond pubes tickling his cheeks.

"Damon, slowly," Kai gasped.

Damon leaned over and smiled. "I love you," he said as he took Kai's hands in his.

As soon as he and Kai locked hands, something changed. Both boys felt a wave of emotion sweep over them unlike anything they had ever felt before. Raw, unbridled love and passion.

"What's happening?" Kai panted.

Damon tried to answer but he couldn't find the words.


Day, what's going on?

Damon draped his body on top of Kai's and the two kissed deeply. They rolled over so Kai was on top, his hips pistoning his dick in and out of Damon.

Suddenly, Damon felt something.

Oh, wo.


I can feel it.

Feel what.

My cock…I can feel my cock making love.


Like with Ethan, instead of feeling his arm breaking I can feel you fucking me inside and out…it's crazy.

Day, I can feel your heart beat…I can feel how much you love me…this is crazy.

I can feel you too…physically and emotionally…we're joined completely.

Kai's lips danced along Damon's cheek and neck as he made love to Damon.

I don't know how much long I can last, Day.

Me, either.


Kai nodded towards the dresser on the far side of the room where he had left three candles burning. The candles were hovering a foot above the dresser.

Are you doing that?

I don't know.

"Oh, shit, Day!! I'm coming!!"


The lovers experienced their orgasms at the exact same moment. Each spasm, each shot, each beat of their hearts was identical.

Finally, Kai's half-hard member slipped from Damon's ass and he rolled over.

"What the fuck was that?"

Damon rolled over on his side and propped himself up on his elbow. "I have no idea. I mean I know my powers are emotion based, so I guess something happening when we were making love makes sense, but that was intense."

"Intense?!?" Kai laughed. "That's an understatement. If it's like that every time…wow. But what was the deal with the candles?"

Damon sat up and looked over at the dresser where the candles were now sitting in their original places.

"I don't know," he said. "Unless that whole experience unlocked some telekinetic ability in me."

"Try it."

Damon looked around the room. His eyes fell on the small tube of lubricant that lay on the nightstand. He looked at it and in his mind's eye he pictured it moving and then he pushed. Like the first time he tried to talk to Kai he pushed too hard and the small tube flew about ten feet across the room.

Kai snickered. "Well, that's gonna need some practice," he said as he wrapped his arms around Damon. "But you can practice later; right now, I think we need some rest, cuz if making love to you is gonna be like that, I'm definitely gonna need powernaps in between."

Over the next six months, Damon worked with his father and grandfather to master his abilities. He told his grandfather everything about his abilities, but still held back about Alex. Kai pushed him to come completely clean, but since he couldn't actually prove Alex's existence, Damon felt it best to not say anything.

Damon was able to draw pain from someone and eventually disperse it without completely wiping himself out. He became more comfortable with his telepathy and telekinesis and was able to hear thoughts if he focused. It was still easier if he was emotionally close to the person. If he and Kai were in the same room they could carry on a conversation telepathically.

As Damon gained more control over his powers, he tried to help more at the hospital. He still had to be careful, as it would be too hard to explain a burn or a broken arm suddenly being healed, so he had to moderate the amount of energy he used. He also got better at using telepathic blocks so that he didn't 'read' patients and see their thoughts and actions like he had with Ethan.

It was a Friday night and he had just finished his shift. He was pacing in the parking lot waiting for Kai.

Even though he had long ago gotten his driver's license, he hadn't felt a need to get a car since Kai was always around to give him a lift.

His shift was over at five and it was 5:15. Kai was never late. When he dropped Damon off after school he said he was going to run a few errands and then pick Damon up so they could catch a movie.

Damon saw some headlights turn into the parking lot and started to walk towards them, but he saw it was a truck and turned back.

"Kai, where are you?" he mumbled to himself.

He pulled out his phone and checked it for messages. There were none. He hit the speed dial for Kai. The phone rang and rang until Kai's familiar voice mail message came on 'This is Kai…I'm busy with the love of my life, Damon; leave me a message and I might call back when we come up for air…'

"Kai, it's the love of your life, where the hell are you? Call me."

He put the phone back in his pocket.

He heard an ambulance coming down the street and turning into the ER entrance on the other side of the building.


Damon felt a wave of nausea and panic wash over him.

Kai? Where are you?


Damon concentrated on Kai. His father had been trying to teach him how to use his emotional connection with Kai to strengthen his telepathic abilities. He closed his eyes and reached out in all directions. He knew that Kai had to be close to be able to reach him that strongly.

It was dark.

He was in pain.



"The ambulance?!" Damon cried as he ran back into the hospital. He ran through the halls and to the elevator.

One of the nurses he worked with was on the elevator when he got on.

"Damon? I thought you were done for the day."

"Hey, Liz. My boyfriend isn't here yet. I thought you were gone too."

"I was, but they're bringing a trauma victim into the ER and they're shorthanded."

"What kind of trauma?" Damon asked shakily.

"Assault," she answered solemnly.

Damon gripped the rail at the back of the elevator.

Liz placed a hand on Damon's shoulder.

"Are you ok?" she asked.

"I-I'm not sure."

The elevator stopped on the ground floor.

"Come on," Liz said taking Damon by the arm. "We need to get you a seat."

She led him into a cubicle off the main ER and had him sit down.

"You just stay here and catch your breath. I'm going to check on that patient and see if he's here yet."

Damon nodded.

He took a few deep breaths.

He closed his eyes and concentrated. He couldn't speak to him, but he could feel Kai nearby.

He stood up and walked out of the cubicle and out into the ER. It was a typical Friday evening in the ER. People were moving quickly in every direction. Damon tried to shut all the background noise out and focus on Kai.

He saw Liz slip behind one of the curtains. He walked across the room and followed her.

When he saw what was behind the curtain he gasped.


Liz and the other nurse turned to see Damon standing by the curtain.

"Damon, what are you…" Liz started and then she looked from Damon to Kai. "Oh, my God!!"

She ran over and grabbed Damon by the arm and pulled him from the room.

"Damon! Damon, look at me." She looked into Damon's eyes: he was obviously in shock. She looked around the room. "Joe!!" she called to one of the other nurses. "I need help!"

Joe came running over. "Damon? What's wrong with him?"

"He's in shock. The assault victim they just brought in, I think it's his boyfriend."

"Shit!! Here, let me take him. I'll bring him into one of the cubicles and lay him down. When things slow down, I'll have one of the doctors take a look at him," Joe said leading Damon away. "You just get back in there and do whatever you can for that boy."

Liz nodded and went back into the cubicle to take care of Kai.

Joe walked Damon into a cubicle that was far from the hustle of the ER and laid him on the table.

He checked Damon's pulse and respiration. He was about to check his blood pressure when the teen started to stir.

"Hey, Day, welcome back," Joe smiled warmly. "How're you feeling?"

"Where's Kai?"

"He's with the doctors."

"What happened?"

"I don't know. You went into shock and Liz asked me to take care of you. I want you to stay here and rest, ok?"

Damon tried to sit up. "No, I need to see Kai; I need to make sure he's alright."

"Damon, the doctors are going to take care of him, you know that," Joe said as he tried to make Damon lie down.

Damon struggled in Joe's grasp and tried to get off the table.

"Damon, calm down, you're going to hurt yourself. You need to calm down and be strong so you can help him through this."

"NO!! I need to be with him!!" Damon raged.

A jar fell off a shelf and shattered on the floor.

Another nurse poked her head into the cubicle. "What's going on?"

"A little help here," Joe called.

The nurse ran over to the cabinet and grabbed a syringe and small vial. She filled the syringe and ran over to where Joe was still struggling to hold Damon down.

The nurse stabbed the syringe into Damon's bicep and pressed the plunger.

He quickly stopped struggling and slumped onto the table.

Damon opened his eyes and tried to focus. The room was dark with a low light coming from the corner.

"Where am I?" he whispered.

A light came on.

"Welcome back."

He looked over and saw his mother and grandfather standing next the bed he was lying on.

"Wait. What are you doing…Where's Kai?" Damon tried to sit up.

Arthur placed his hand on Damon's chest and held him down.

"Damon, stay put or I'll have that nurse knock you out again."

Tears filled Damon's eyes. "Kai…"

Eve went around the other side of the bed and took Damon's hand. "He's going to be ok. He's been in and out of surgery and now he's in his own room. His parents are with him now."


Eve nodded.

"Mom? What happened?"

Eve looked over at Arthur.

"Damon," Arthur said looking at his grandson. "You need to stay calm. Before that nurse gave you whatever that was, you were losing control. You smashed a couple of jars in that cubicle and a couple people reported hearing voices, which were probably you. Luckily, those nurses were more concerned about you than broken jars and they just figured there was something wrong with the shelf."

"Grandfather, what happened?"

"Damon, I'll tell you, but you need to stay calm and keep control. If you can't do that then I will have that nurse come back and put you under for another twelve hours."

"Twelve hours?!?"

Arthur nodded. "Apparently, you scared the hell out of her, so she put you down for the count…the first time."

"First time?"

"You woke up about four this morning and were out of it and they knocked you out again. That was about eight hours ago."

"I've been out of it almost twenty-four hours?"

"Close to it and if you can't get a hold of yourself, you're going under again."


"Alright," Arthur sighed. "This is what the police have been able to piece together. They haven't been able to talk to Kai, he wasn't conscious too long before his surgery. He was found over on Fifth Street."

"Fifth Street? What would he be doing over there?"

"No one knows. His mother said he was going to the mall and then to Guitar World over on Archer. She has no idea how he made it over there."

"Where was his car?"

"They found it down the street from where they found him."

"What happened?"

"He was found by a woman taking a shortcut though an alley on her way home. He was unconscious. He had been beaten and assaulted."

"Raped…" Damon whispered.

Eve squeezed his hand and shook her head as tears streamed down her cheeks.

"No, Damon, he wasn't sexually assaulted. He was severely beated and stabbed. The police think whoever assaulted him left him for dead."

"Someone wanted him dead?"

"It looks that way."

Damon shook his head. "Why would someone do this to Kai? Why?"

"Damon, we don't know. No one knows. If Kai was taken by surprise, he may not even know."

"You said he had surgery."

Eve nodded. "He was stabbed in the chest. They just missed his heart, but he suffered a collapsed lung and he was in critical condition when he arrived."

"He also has a concussion, some cracked ribs, a broken ankle and a dislocated shoulder," Arthur continued.

"When can I see him?"

"His parents are with him now," Eve replied. "The doctors are going to keep him sedated for a while, since he'll be in a lot of pain. They want you to take it easy as well."

"I need to see him, Mom. I need to know he's ok."

"Damon, he's going to be fine. But, we're worried about you too. I know how much you love Kai and how close you are. He's going to need you strong to help him through this. Why don't you just lay back. They doctor ordered the nurse to give you another sedative so that you would get some rest. These people here are really concerned for you."

Damon laid back and nodded as his mother hit the call button for the nurse.

He closed his eyes as the nurse injected the sedative into his arm. He concentrated on the point of the injection. He created a barrier just below the skin to trap the sedative.

He feigned sleep and his mother and grandfather left the room with the nurse.

"He'll sleep for the rest of the day now," he heard the nurse tell them.

As soon as the door closed he pushed on the barrier in his arm and watched as a thin stream of fluid streamed from the injection point.

He hadn't been able to stop all the sedative, but he hoped he could fight off a long term nap.

He laid back and shut his eyes and a restless sleep overcame him.

When he woke up he looked over at the wall clock and saw that only about two hours had passed. The room was gray but not completely dark.

He quietly slipped from the bed. He was grateful that no one had put him in a backless hospital gown. He just needed to find his shoes.

He checked the closet and found them and quickly slipped them on. He grabbed some extra pillows from the closet and went back to the bed and stuffed them under the blankets.

He crept over to the door and cracked it open. Seeing no one outside his door he slipped out and walked quickly down the hall. He had to be careful, everyone here knew him. Being a Saturday, he knew a lot of the doctors in the clinic would be off.

He moved to the closest stairwell and ran up to the sixth floor where the clinic offices were. He opened the stairwell door into the clinic and everything was dark and still just as he expected.

He walked over to the nearest desk and plopped down in the chair and booted up the computer. He logged in and did a search for Kai. He located the room he was in. It was a private room on the second floor. As he read the doctor's notes detailing the damage done to the boy he loved he was filled with conflicting emotions. Love, worry, pain, anger and rage and filled him. He had to get to Kai and do what he could to help him.

He turned off the computer and walked back to the stairwell.

He quickly descended to the second floor. He knew he'd have to be more careful here as the floor was sure to be busier.

He opened the stairwell door and looked around. There were doctors, nurses and orderlies rushing around. That might work to his advantage. He pulled the hood of his sweatshirt up over his head and walked out of the stairwell. Kai's room was only about halfway down the hallway.

He walked slowly, but with purpose so as not to bring attention to himself. He kept his head down and didn't make eye contact with anyone.

He saw one of the nurses he often worked with coming right at him. She was bound to see him. She was pushing a medication chart. He concentrated and several vials fell off the edge of the cart, causing her to stop and get an orderly to help clean up the damage. He quickly walked past her unnoticed.

When he reached Kai's room he stood outside and focused on the room. He couldn't 'hear' anyone but Kai inside.

Taking a chance, he opened the door. The room was empty except for Kai lying unconscious on a bed in the middle of the room.

Tears fell from Damon's eyes as he took in the sight of Kai's broken and beaten body. He walked over and looked closely. Kai's face was bruised and there was a large black circle around his left eye. A bandage was wrapped around his head and a cast was on his leg. His chest was wrapped and there were stitches across another section of his chest.

"Kai…" he sighed. "How could someone do this to you?"

The love and rage were fighting for control of him. He knew that there was only so much he could do with his powers, but this was Kai and he also knew he was going to push it as far as he could.

He turned towards the door. With a thought he locked the door and for good measure he sent a chair sliding across the floor to block it.

He closed his eyes and concentrated.

Kai, Can you hear me?

He could feel Kai, but not hear him.

I'm going to help you, Baby hold on.

He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Kai's.

He felt the warm energy flow from him into Kai. He also felt the dark energy, the pain flow from Kai into him. He buried the pain, ignored it and let it keep coming. It was strong, but he would bear it to heal Kai.

His chest burned where Kai's ribs had been cracked and his ankle screamed as Kai's had.

He kept up the contact and the more he pulled from Kai, the faster Kai would heal.

As the pain began to wear on him, his mind became more vulnerable and his thoughts met with Kai's.

Everything was going in reverse.

He was Kai being dumped in an alleyway, barely conscious. As he lay on the pavement, a sharp blade pierced his chest. His last thoughts before passing out were of Damon.

He was in a dark room. Damon could feel every moment of the attack. He was punched in the face. He was thrown into a wall and he felt his shoulder give. He slumped to the floor and he felt his ribs crack as he was kicked repeatedly. He felt the bone in his ankle snap as a his assailant stomped down on it.

He was getting out of Kai's car and going into Guitar World. The store was empty except for a big tattooed guy behind the counter. He looked around the store for a minute and then spoke to the guy. The guy told him he had what he was looking for out back.

He followed the guy into a small supply room.

He was hit from behind and everything went fuzzy.

Damon was back in the hospital room. He broke the kiss and stood back and looked down at Kai.

Kai's bruises were already fading. He could feel that most of the bones were well on the way to being mended. He knew that grandfather would be pissed that he had pushed himself this far, but he would do it again if it was for Kai.

The pain that filled his body was mixed with the rage that he felt towards the man that had done this to Kai.



You're gonna be ok.

What are you doing?

I need to take care of something…you rest.

Damon sent a telepathic command to Kai that put him to sleep.

I love you.

He waved his hand and chair slid across the floor away from the door. He unlocked it and looked outside. The coast was clear. He slipped outside and made his way back to the stairs. He ran down to the basement level and out the delivery exit where no one would notice him.

He knew it would be a bit of a hike to where he needed to be. He was still carrying a lot of the pain he had absorbed from Kai, but it was fueling him in a way nothing had before.

Damon started off in the direction of the strip mall. He avoided the main roads in case anyone was looking for him; no one was going to stop him from avenging Kai.

About an hour after Damon left Kai's room, a nurse came in to check his vital signs. She was surprised that his blood pressure and pulse were so strong. She checked his bandages and noticed that his wounds were almost completely healed. Where his face had been bruised there was only a slight discoloration.

She checked the incision from his surgery. The wound was completely healed.

She went to the room phone and called the operator.

In the cafeteria, Eve and Arthur were having coffee with Kai's parents when they heard the public address system go off.

"Doctor Sylas to room 2248 stat. Doctor Sylas to room 2248 stat."

"That's Kai's room," his mother said as the four stood up from the table and rushed out of the cafeteria.

When the four reached Kai's room, he was sitting up in bed being examined by a completely baffled doctor.

Kai's parents rushed over to him, while Arthur and Eve exchanged concerned glances. His mother hugged him, while Kai's father questioned the doctor.

"Doctor Sylas, I thought you were going to leave him sedated for a while," he said.

"Mr. Martin, he should be completely out right now," the doctor replied.

"Uh, right here, guys," Kai said.

"Kai, what happened?" Arthur asked.

"Excuse me, sir, but I need to finish my examination," Doctor Sylas insisted.

Arthur glared at the Doctor. "Doctor, I think it is quite obvious that there are forces at work here that are way beyond your ken. Unless I miss my guess, Kai is almost entirely healed and I need answers from him now."

The doctor started to protest when Kai's father spoke up. "Doctor, can you excuse us, please. Kai's been through so much, we need to speak with him privately," he said as he almost pushed the doctor out of the room.

When he had removed the doctor he shut the door and turned back to see everyone surrounding Kai's bed.

"Thanks, Ben," Arthur said.

Ben nodded. "I assume that Damon had something to do with this."

"I'm sure of it," Arthur said, his eyes meeting Kai's. "Kai, what happened?"

"That's what I was going to ask all of you," Kai replied. "Last thing I remember was being out shopping. Then I woke up with this doctor poking and prodding me and acting like I should have been at death's door."

"You should have been," his mother said solemnly.


"Kai, you were brought into the hospital last night," his father explained. "You'd been attacked, beaten and stabbed."

Arthur continued, "Damon was here when they brought you in, he had a bit of a breakdown. He had to be sedated. You were in surgery. You had been stabbed in the chest, had cracked ribs, multiple bruises and cuts and a concussion."

"But, I feel fine," Kai said. "I…oh, shit…where's Damon?"

"That's what we're worried about," Arthur said. "He should be sleeping off a sedative in a room on the fifth floor, but seeing you like this I'm thinking that room is probably empty."

"But I didn't think he could do this much," Kai protested.

"Under normal circumstances, he shouldn't be able to, but if he pushed himself, if he tapped into the raw emotions he feels for you as well as what he was feeling about what happened to you it could be possible."

"He must be in agony though. Why isn't he here?" Kai closed his eyes and tried to call to Damon. He knew it wouldn't work if Damon was too far away. "Wait!!"

"What is it?" Eve asked.

"What about what happened with that little boy?"

"What little boy?" his mother asked.

"The first time he had a telepathic episode was when he was trying to help this kid with a broken arm. He took the pain, but he also actually relived the kid's mother breaking it," Kai explained. "What if he…"

"What if he relived your attack?" Arthur finished.

Kai nodded.

"Do you remember anything at all about what happened?"

"No, like I said, I remember getting out of my car at the strip mall and going into Guitar World. I was looking for some sheet music for a song Day likes. The guy behind the counter told me that he might have it out back and I followed him there and that's the last thing I remember."

"Eve…" Arthur looked at his daughter-in-law. She looked over at Kai's mother who looked lost.

"Darcy, why don't you and I step out and get some air?" Eve said taking her by the arm.

After the ladies had exited the room, Arthur turned back to Kai. "Kai, is it possible that the man at the guitar store is the man who attacked you?"

"I don't…I guess…" He thought. "It wasn't the usual guy. Usually, Stuart's there. He's a older guy, kind of a hippy. This guy was younger, but big with lots of tattoos. He made me kind of nervous, but I was distracted cuz I really wanted that sheet music."

"Where is this store, Kai?"

"I can show you," Kai said swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "Hey, where are my clothes?" he asked as he felt the draft at his back.

"You don't have any," his father replied. "They were covered with blood and the medics cut them off of you."

"Well, I can't go after Damon in this thing."

"You're not going anywhere."

"Dad, I have to go," Kai said emphatically. "If Damon is in the shape I think he is, he needs me. I'm probably the only one who can reach him. If I don't go he may do something he can't undo."

"Ben, I know you're concerned for Kai and what he's been through but he's right, he's the only one who's going to be able to get through to Damon."

Ben nodded. "Alright, but you need to be careful."

"I will," Kai agreed.

"I'll make sure of it," Arthur said. "I want both of these boys in one piece."

"Let me see if I can get some scrubs for you," Ben said leaving the room.

Damon stood in the parking lot of the strip mall. It was almost five o'clock and the lot was pretty deserted.

His head was throbbing and the pain wracking his body was beyond anything he had ever felt. He had pushed himself to keep moving until he had reached here. Now he was waiting.

He started to cross the parking lot, focusing his mind on the store. He could hear the thoughts of three different people in there. He listened. Two were customers and one was an employee. He focused on the employee. After several minutes of picking through his thoughts he knew this was who he was looking for.

He walked to the front of the store and stood to one side of the door. After about ten minutes the two customers exited and he knew the store was empty.

He opened the door and entered the store. As the door shut behind him, he waved a hand and the deadbolt turned and locked.

The man behind the counter looked up. The rage swelled in Damon as he recognized the face. Kai's memories mixed with his own, he couldn't distinguish the two. Everything that had happened to Kai had happened to him.

"Hey, man, we're just about to close."

Damon managed a grin. "That's cool. I was just looking for some sheet music."

"Sure, for what song?"


Damon caught a quick flash of recognition from the man. He saw Kai's terrified face.

"Mariah or Enrique?" the man asked without missing a beat.


"Sorry. I had someone looking for it the other day and we don't have it."

"Really? I was sure my boyfriend said he saw it here."

When he said 'boyfriend', Damon caught a stronger thought coming from the man. He felt a strong wave of hate. He saw images of the man brutalizing Kai.

"Like I said we don't have it," the man said brusquely. "And we're closing."

"Do you have something against gay people?"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

Damon stepped closer to the counter. "I was just trying to figure out how someone could do what you did to my boyfriend."

"Kid, I don't know what you're talking about, but you better get out of here before I call the police." The man reached for the telephone that sat on the counter.

Damon waved his hand and the phone flew off the counter and smashed against a far wall.

"You know what I'm talking about," he said calmly. "But let me remind you."

He sent several images from Kai's memories to the man.

The man flinched.

"Now, are you remembering him? How could you do that to him?"

The man stomped out from behind the counter. He was at least six inches taller than Damon and a good seventy-five pounds heavier. "Kid, if you don't get out of here, I'm gonna do a lot worse to you."

Damon looked at the man grimly. "I don't think so."

The man's face was red and twisted in anger as he charged at Damon.

Damon raised his arms and released all the pain and emotion he had been holding onto. The man stopped mid-charge. He was frozen in place like a marionette without strings.

"Do you know what it feels like to be brutalized like that?!" Damon raged. "NO!? Well, you're going to!"

Holding the man in place, he reached into his mind and forced him to relive and endure every moment of what he had done to Kai.

Every punch.

Every broken bone.

Every blow.

The blade piercing his skin.

The pain he had inflicted on Kai over the course of twenty minutes, Damon threw at him in twenty seconds.

The man screamed in agony.

His pain fed Damon's power and he kept up his assault on this horrible person who had tried to destroy the best thing in his life.

Arthur pulled up into the almost empty parking lot.

Kai started to get out of the car, but Arthur grabbed his arm.

"Kai, wait."

"We have to get to Damon."

"I know, but we need to go slow. We can't go rushing in there, we don't know what kind of shape he's in."

Kai nodded.

They exited the car and walked towards the store.

They peered in through the plate glass window, both were shocked by what they saw. Damon stood in the middle of the store, his arms stretched out at his sides; across from him a man stood. It was obvious that he was unconscious. He simply hung in the air. They couldn't tell if he was dead or alive. Whatever Damon had done to him, he was still doing.

"What's wrong with him?" Kai asked.

"It looks like he's in some kind of fugue state."


"He's not home," Arthur said. "He's on auto-pilot. We've got to get in there. You may be the only one who can get through to him before he burns himself out."

"What do I do?"

"When we get in there, you need to make contact with him."

"You mean his mind?"

"Right. You need to connect with him and get him to come back and take control, otherwise the power loop he's in is going to kill him."

"Alright, let's go."

They went over to the door and discovered it was locked. They looked around and saw a trash can on the corner of the walkway. They picked up the trash can and hurled it through the plate-glass window.

Arthur boosted Kai through the window and he ran over to where Damon stood.

"Damon, it's Kai, can you hear me?"

Damon didn't move. His eyes were wide open. His face was paler than usual.

He took Damon's hand in both of his. He could feel the anger and pain flowing out of Damon. There was a stabbing pain in his head. He fell back.

Arthur caught him. "Are you alright?"

"So much…" Kai mumbled. "I don't know if I can get through."

"Kai, it's not going to be easy, but this is the only chance he has."

Kai nodded and picked himself up. He looked at Damon. He knew that Damon was doing this for him. As misguided as it might be, Damon's love for him was the catalyst for this and the pain and memories that he had taken from him were causing all this. He needed to do what he could to stop it.

He walked back to Damon and braced himself.

He again reached out and grabbed Damon's hand in both of his and closed his eyes.


Kai opened his eyes and he was in a dark room. There was a little boy about six years old sitting on the floor playing. He had jet-black hair and light blue eyes.


"That's him."

Kai turned and saw a man standing in the corner of the room. He was in his late twenties or early thirties. He had the same black hair as Damon, but he had dark eyes and deeply tanned skin.


Alex nodded. "And you're Kai."

"Why aren't you helping him?"

Alex pushed his hand forward and showed Kai that there was a barrier keeping him where he was. "He's keeping me here. He won't listen to me."

"Why is he like this?"

"He's regressing," Alex explained. "He's losing all control. He pushed himself too much. All the emotion and pain that he took from you. All the love that he felt and the anger. He kept it in too long when he finally released it, it just took over. Now, he's gone back to this safe place."

"Before he had powers."


"Arthur says if we can't get him to stop he's going to kill himself."

"He's dying now," Alex said. "That's part of the regression. He was never meant to have these powers in the first place. I'm sure it's all my fault."

"How is it your fault?"

"When that drunk driver was bearing down on us, all I could think of was saving Damon. He was in the back seat, I reached out to him telepathically and must have touched him right when we were hit. Somehow, I got 'stuck' in there. I think Damon is the key."

"I don't get it."

"I never understood why I was still alive when my body was dead or why Damon developed the powers that he did. I think he's the one that's kept me in here. He has never been able to let go. The first powers he developed were empathic, emotion based. The ability to absorb others pain, when he had really not dealt with his. I think if we can get him to let me go, he'll let go of his powers as well."

"You mean he'd lose them?"

"He was never meant to have them."

"What do I do?"

"Talk to him. He needs to do what he's never been able to do."

"What's that?"

"Let me go."

Kai walked over to the little boy. He sat down on the floor opposite him.

"Hey, Damon."

Damon looked up. "Hey, Kai."

"You know me?"

"Sure. Just cuz I look like this doesn't mean I'm not me."

"You're making a mess out there."

"I know. But, this bastard deserves it after what he did to you."

"Day, you need to stop. You've done enough. If you don't stop you're going to die and I can't lose you."

"I can't stop. I tried. It's too much."

"Your dad says you can stop. You just need to let him help you."

Damon shook his head. "Nope. I know what he wants. Not gonna do it."

"Damon, your father is dead. He has been for over ten years. You need to let him go. You have to. You have to let him rest. Your mom is still here, and your granddad and me, we aren't going anywhere and we don't want you to either," Kai pleaded.

Damon looked at Kai, tears streaming down his face. "It hurts too much, Kai. It hurts too much to say it."

"I know, but once you say it, once you let him go, the pain will lessen, we'll all be there to help you. I promise."

Damon stood up and turned to walk to the corner where Alex stood. As he crossed the room, he grew until the teenaged Damon was standing in front of his father. Damon waved his hand and the barrier separating him from Alex collapsed.

Alex stepped forward and grabbed Damon in a hug.

"This is it, Damon," Alex whispered in his son's ear. "I'll always be here for you. But, you know what you need to do."

"I know, Dad," Damon wept. "Good-bye."

As he spoke the words, Alex faded from Damon's and Kai's views and they felt themselves being pulled.

In the store, Arthur watched as both Damon and Kai collapsed onto the floor. The man also collapsed.

Arthur rushed over to where the boys lay.

Both were breathing.

Both boys starting coming around almost immediately.

"Take it easy," Arthur instructed. "How do you feel, Damon?"

"Groggy, but ok."


"Sore and tired."

"Can you guys stand? I want to get you checked out, but I think we need to get out of here first."

Both boys nodded and Arthur helped them to their feet.

They quickly left the store and Arthur drove them home.

For the police, Kai's case eventually went cold. The doctors weren't able to explain his miraculous recovery and Damon quit his volunteer job to deflect suspicion.

There was a story in the paper about a break-in at a local music store and the death of the clerk who was working at the time. The Medical Examiner could not determine a cause of death as there were no internal or external signs of trauma or injury. The police could also find no forensic signs of the intruder.

Damon and Kai became even closer through their shared experience and helped each other in their recoveries. Eventually, they graduated high school, went to college together and moved on with their lives.

Upon his passing, Arthur still believed that the Abercrombie line of powers had ended.

"Shhh," Damon chastised Kai as he unlocked the front door. His amorous husband was trying to kiss him while he struggled with the door. "Will you stop!! You're gonna wake them up."

When they walked into the house they were met by a grinning fourteen-year-old boy.

"Hey, Mace, Kai said.

"Hey, Kai. Day," Mason replied.

"How were they?" Damon asked.

Mason laughed. "Quiet."

"Quiet?" Kai barked. "Are we talking about the same kids?"

Mason nodded. "I know, right, usually they're down here constantly. But I fed them, read them a story, we watched a little TV and then off to bed and I haven't heard a peep since."

"Wow, maybe you need to sit more often," Damon joked as he handed Mason some money.

"Anytime," Mason answered. "I'm right next door."

"Hey, tell your dad, we'll be over to pick you up about ten tomorrow for the game."

"Ok, see you then," Mason said as walked out the front door.

Kai sighed. "Well, I guess we better go see what the little monsters are up to."

Damon laughed. "Don't call them that."

"I can only imagine what they've been up to if they've been quiet for that long."

"You know, they might actually be sleeping," Damon said as they climbed the stairs.

They stopped outside the bedroom door.

"Do you actually believe that?" Kai asked.

Damon grinned. Their adopted seven-year-old twins Alex and Benji were human whirlwinds who never slowed down and rarely slept more than a few hours a night.

"No, but miracles do happen."

Kai opened the door and his jaw dropped as they looked into the room.

Alex was standing in the middle of the room staring at two soccer balls that were floating in the air in front of him.

Damon looked over and saw Benji sitting on his bed.

The little boy grinned and waved.


"Oh, no!!" groaned Kai.

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