by Wes Leigh

Chapter 7

Before the story begins,
Is it such a sin,
For me to take what's mine,
Until the end of time.

We were more than friends,br /> Before the story ends,
And I will take what's mine,
Create what God would never design.

-- Avenged Sevenfold, 'A Little Piece of Heaven'

The next morning, Daniel was still thinking about Connor and his miraculous recovery, about Gabi and Andreas and their snarling reaction to the college scout, about the game and the almost triumphant roar from the Agony fans when the head referee's leg snapped and he had to be carried off the field.

But the thing that puzzled him the most was that he didn't seem to care. He wasn't thrilled that the referee and the wide receiver for the Stallions got what they deserved. Nor was he upset that they were injured. Their fates didn't seem to concern him in the least, because his thoughts were dominated by the memory of the warmth of Connor's head as he slept next to Daniel in the back of the Finnigan's SUV. And the feeling of Connor's skin beneath his fingers as he stroked the older boy's hair. The heat of Connor's breath blowing against Daniel's cheek. The excitement in Daniel's gut from touching Connor the entire ride home.

Fortunately, Daniel's parents respected his odd mood at breakfast, chatting between themselves about how his dad's new job was going and about his mom's prospects for a job as a nurse with a town pediatrician. Daniel munched his cereal, reminded his mom about Xavier's party that night, and asked to be excused. His parents watched him leave the table, wondering if their moody teenager was making a return appearance.

The music was loud and harsh. It pounded against Daniel's eardrums when he exited the car.

"Have a good time," Judy yelled, trying to be heard above the music.

"Call us when you're ready for a ride," his dad shouted.

Daniel nodded and waved. "I will. Thanks. Enjoy the movie."

His parents drove off, and Daniel walked up to the house. A heavy metal band was screaming, "She was never this good in bed even when she was sleepin'. Now she's just so perfect. I've never been quite so fucking deep in."

Daniel eyes widened in surprise at the lyrics and he muttered, "What the hell?"

The door opened as he walked up. Xavier stood there, smiling. He reached out and took Daniel's hand. "I was worried you wouldn't make it."

Daniel couldn't quite understand what Xavier was saying, with the music so loud. "WHAT?" Daniel shouted.

"HANG ON," Xavier shouted. Turning around, Xavier screamed, "GREGOR!" From across the room, Gregor turned and saw Xavier making cutting motions across his throat. "TURN THE MUSIC DOWN!"

Gregor nodded and adjusted a slider on the sound system. The band continued screaming, "And a word to the wise when the fire dies, you think it's over but it's just begun …" It was still loud and harsh, but at least they could hear each other now.

Xavier grimaced. "Sorry about the music, Daniel. We put Gregor in charge of the entertainment, and his playlist is a bit … menacing."

Daniel shrugged. "It's okay. I like variety in music."

Xavier chuckled. "With Gregor, you certainly get that. Come with me."

Xavier led Daniel into the house and through the crowd of partying kids (mostly Ravens with a few Rabbits, from what Daniel could tell), down a hall and into the kitchen. "Pick your poison," Xavier said, pointing at a table lined with a variety of sodas. "There's no alcohol. Mother made it clear there would be none, and even Gregor was afraid to sneak any in. I'm sure Mother is more concerned about her reputation than anything else, so I apologize if this isn't the kind of wild party you were expecting."

Daniel poured himself a root beer. "It's fine, Xavier. My parents would lock me in my room 'til I turn eighteen if I got drunk at a party."

"Things could still get a bit wild … if you want them to." Xavier's voice trailed off on the end.

Daniel smirked, taking the hint. "I wouldn't mind a bit of wildness."

"Good," Xavier replied. "Bring your drink and follow me."

Daniel sat on Xavier's bed. The door was closed, so the noise of the party was muffled. He and Xavier were alone, and this wasn't the bit of wildness he had expected.

Xavier sat in his desk chair, facing Daniel, with an acoustic guitar in his lap. He was gently strumming the strings, humming a few notes. Glancing up at Daniel bashfully, Xavier softly spoke. "I came across this song a few days ago. It's an older song. One you only hear on the classic stations these days. But I loved the lyrics and the tune … and it made me think of you." He glanced at Daniel, blushed and bent over the guitar, strumming the strings and softly singing, "If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do is to save every day 'til eternity passes away just to spend them with you."

He paused and looked at Daniel. "Sorry if that's too mushy for you."

"It isn't," Daniel whispered. "It's beautiful."

Xavier smiled and said, "There's more. If you want to hear it."

Daniel nodded, so Xavier began singing again. "If I could make days last forever, if words could make wishes come true, I'd save every day like a treasure, and then, again, I would spend them with you."

Daniel closed his eyes and allowed his heart to beat in tune with Xavier's music. Xavier continued singing, softly, wooing Daniel with the gentle lyrics and strumming notes. "I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with—"

The music stopped suddenly as Xavier stood up and set the guitar aside.

Daniel opened his eyes and saw that familiar sad and hungry look in Xavier's eyes. Xavier walked to the bed and reached out for Daniel's hands. He pulled Daniel to his feet and held him a foot away.

"Daniel, there is something I need to say. To you. And I hope it doesn't blow up in my face."

Daniel felt his stomach tighten with anticipation. "What is it, Xavier?"

Xavier nodded toward the guitar. "That song … the words … they say what I feel about you. I think you … I mean I want you … SHIT, Daniel, …" He closed his eyes and sighed. "I can't believe I'm having such a hard time saying this."

Daniel squeezed Xavier's hands in his own and pulled the taller youth down so they were sitting on the bed next to each other. Daniel said, "Sometimes, you just have to say what you're thinking and not worry about what happens next."

Xavier nodded slightly and said, "My people … ummm … my family has a … tradition, I guess you'd call it. A tradition that has been passed down through the generations. The only way I know how to explain how I feel is to tell you about this tradition."

"Okay. Go ahead."

"Whenever two people have a deep love for each other, we call it becoming soulbound. It's more than falling in love. When you're soulbound, you're connected in the deepest possible way. It's … it's … well, you can't help yourself. It's like your souls are already linked, for eternity, like the song says. You want to spend every moment with that person, until even eternity passes away, and you can't stand the thought that you might not have them with you."

Daniel nodded slowly. "And what does that have to do with us, Xavier?"

Xavier stood up and walked nervously away a few feet. With his back to Daniel, he whispered, "I think I've become soulbound with someone."

Daniel stood up and walked behind Xavier. He placed his hand on Xavier's shoulder and turned him until they were facing each other once again. "Who, Xavier? Who is it?"

Xavier eyes filled with tears. He choked and said, "You, Daniel."

They sat in patio chairs in the back yard, ignoring the muffled noises of the party coming from inside the house, as their breath puffed out in warm clouds in the chilly night air.

"Being soulbound is beyond your control. You don't CHOOSE to be soulbound; your souls bind THEMSELVES together. One day, you see someone and you feel an immediate connection, deep in your soul, and every moment you spend with them makes the connection stronger."

"And that's what you feel for me?" Daniel asked.



"And you? How do you feel about me, Daniel?"

Daniel grinned and bowed his head. "It's … complicated."

"Complicated? Well, okay. I understand."

"No, you don't understand, Xavier. Let me explain." Daniel took a deep breath and began. "When I first met you, I was intimidated by you. By things that happened at the theater."

"I'm very sorry about that."

"No. Let me finish, Xavier. I don't care about any of that now. What's important is that I felt the same thing you felt, I think. Like we were meant to be together. I kept wanting to spend time with you. To get to know you better, despite feeling a little scared around you. Does that make sense?"

Xavier nodded.

"And when we kissed," Daniel continued, "it was like you were sucking the life out of me, but I wanted it. I wanted to give you my life and have you make it your own. Strange, huh?"

"No. Not strange. That's how it is when you're soulbound. And that's why I'm scared for both of us."

Surprised, Daniel asked, "Why?"

Xavier sighed. "Don't you see, Daniel? You and I? We can't be soulbound."

"Because we're both guys?"

"No! Because we're from different worlds. And if you gave me your life, I would take it! In between heartbeats. I'd take your life and leave you with nothing and then I would have nothing."

Xavier began crying.

Daniel reached out and touched Xavier's cheek, collecting a tear on the tip of his finger. "If I give you my life, what will you give me in return?"

Xavier slowly shook his head from side to side. "What I have to give, you don't want."

Hearing that, Daniel sat quietly next to Xavier, lost in his own thoughts. Daniel was puzzled, struggling to understand how Xavier could feel such a bond with him and yet refuse to accept it. Finally deciding what he had to do, Daniel turned to Xavier and said, "It seems to me that this isn't a decision you get to make by yourself."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that it affects both of us, so I think I should have a say in what we end up doing?"

"Oh, Daniel. You don't know enough about me, about my world—"

Daniel interrupted him. "Then EXPLAIN it to me, Xavier! Tell me who you are. Who you really are! Stop toying with me and tell me."

Xavier stared at Daniel, unblinking, until he realized Daniel meant every word he'd said.

"You really do want to know?" Xavier asked.

Daniel nodded. "Whatever it is. Just tell me."

Xavier sighed and stood up. "It's easier if I show you."

Xavier led Daniel down a stairway to a family room located in the basement. Dim lights lit the room, making it possible to see furniture and shadowy figures moving about. Daniel heard voices, not talking, but moaning in ecstasy, or perhaps anguish. As he and Xavier moved further into the room, Daniel saw naked bodies intertwined on the sofas and in the floor. He recognized the faces of other kids who'd come to the party. Some were Rabbits. Most were Ravens. All were nude, revealing hard cocks and soft breasts, exposed necks and sweaty flanks.

Daniel felt wrong somehow, watching them so obviously aroused, but no one looked up, no one seemed to notice him or Xavier standing there.

In the middle of the room, Gregor stood behind a slender girl, his hands barely touching her hips. He wasn't moving, so Daniel assumed he wasn't screwing her, but she was gyrating as though being penetrated over and over. Her lips curled and she whined, with her eyes squeezed closed. She began panting and froze, quivering as spasms passed through her body. Gregor's eyes glowed red as he leaned over her shoulder and breathed deeply, his mouth slightly parted, with protruding fangs. He leaned forward slightly and touched the girl's neck with his fangs, but didn't push, didn't penetrate the skin. He closed his eyes and breathed in again, deeply.

The girl stopped quivering and seemed to collapse in Gregor's arms. He lowered her gently to the floor and walked to a couch, where a naked boy sat, apparently sleeping. Gregor bent down and stroked the boy's chest, sliding his hand down to his groin. The boy moaned and stretched, arching his back. His cock hardened quickly, and Gregor trailed a fingernail from the glistening end of his cock to the boy's balls and lower still along his taint. The boy moaned again and began panting. He bit his lips and cried out, thrusting his hips forward and spewing creamy cum all over his stomach and chest. Gregor leaned down and touched the boy's neck with his fangs, once again not penetrating but simply breathing in and sighing with obvious satisfaction. The boy collapsed much like the girl had, his head falling to the side as he slept.

Gregor stood up and turned around, searching for his next victim. His cock was hard and throbbing. His eyes glowed. He saw Xavier and Daniel standing there, watching, and he frowned, as though perplexed. He looked at Xavier and asked, "Are we dining on him too?"

"No," Xavier stated.

"Then why is he here?"

"To see. To understand."

Gregor shook his head. "You're violating the Ordinance, Xavier. You'll be punished."

"It's my decision, Gregor. Go back to your feeding." He turned to Daniel and said, "Come with me."

Xavier led Daniel back upstairs and down the hall to his bedroom. He closed and locked the door behind them and motioned for Daniel to take a seat on the bed. Xavier sat next to Daniel, and for several minutes, he explained the horrible truth about living in Agony.

"I thought vampires only came out at night to suck the blood from their victims," Daniel said.

"You've been watching too many movies, Daniel. This isn't Hollywood. This is Agony. This is reality, not some movie producer's fantasy."

"So you can go out in the day?"

Xavier nodded. "We don't enjoy it, and that's why we usually wear sunglasses. It's also why we live here. The weather makes it more acceptable to be indoors most of the year."

"And you don't drink blood?"

"Rarely. Although what we do is a lot like sucking the life out of someone. We feast on emotion, the stronger the emotion, the better. Some enjoy the taste of fear. Others, like my cousin Gregor, prefer lust. They say it satisfies their hunger better. You saw Gregor's fangs. They only come out like that when we're feasting, and he was obviously enjoying his meal, as you could tell."

"Will those kids be okay?"

"They won't remember a thing. Gregor and the others will wipe their memories after they're done. The humans will leave the party, recalling that they had a good time for the most part, although there will be blank spots in their recollection. They will feel uneasy about it, and they may wonder what happened, but they'll be fine otherwise."

Daniel nodded and frowned. "Now I know what happened to me at the theater."

Xavier ducked his head. "Yes. Now you know."

"Did Gregor dine on me that night, or did you?"

Xavier looked up, alarmed. "I've never done that to you, Daniel."

"So what happened to me?"

"We came to the theater to eat. We had permission to dine on fear during the horror film, but we weren't permitted to induce fear, only sup passively. Gregor didn't care for the taste that night, so he left and didn't come back right away. I suspected him of messing around. He does that sometimes. I found him in the restroom with you. He had taken control of your mind and had caused you to have an orgasm. I stopped him and made him leave. Then I cleaned you up and wiped the memory of it from your mind. I'm sorry, Daniel, but I had no choice."

"What do you mean?"

"I couldn't permit you to know about us. About vampires. The humans here in Agony are never permitted to know. They suspect, because their hearts warn them of the danger whenever we're near, but we won't allow their minds to know the full story. It's the only way we can stay safe."

"And yet, you're telling me all this now."

Xavier nodded. "Because you insisted. Because you and I are soulbound."

Daniel stood up and began pacing. "I just thought my life was complicated. I'm a short, skinny kid who's struggling to come to grips with the idea that I might be gay, and now I find out I'm soulbound to a vampire. This is crazy! You can't make this stuff up!"

Daniel stopped pacing and turned to face Xavier. "So now what? Are you required by Vampire Law—"

"It's called the Ordinance," Xavier interjected. "Technically, it's the Smyth Covenant Ordinance, because each vampire covenant establishes its own Ordinance, tailored to the needs of its community and members."

"Okay, the Smyth Covenant Ordinance, then. Good grief! Does your Ordinance require that you erase my mind now? Do we head back to school Monday, still kissing and trying to figure out what it means to be soulbound?" Daniel stopped pacing and turned to stare intently at Xavier. "Are you even gay?"

"Gay is a human concept. Vampires don't operate under the same principles of sexuality."

Daniel snorted, growing more and more agitated. "So … what am I to you? Your lover? Your future husband? A meal every now and then?"

Xavier stood up and grabbed Daniel by the arms. "I thought I made it clear what you are to me, Daniel. You are the soul that binds my soul. You are the one I want to spend all time with, for eternity. And that tears me apart, because yours is a human soul with a mortal human body that will not last for eternity, and because I am bound to you, I know I must willingly choose to die when you die."

Daniel was stunned, unable to respond.

"Do you understand now, Daniel? Do you see what I am going through because of you?"

Daniel nodded and whispered, "That's why you said you were scared for both of us? Because I'm human and you're a vampire?"


"And there's nothing we can do?"

"There is nothing I am willing to do."

"But there is a way out? A way to fix this?"

Xavier nodded his head sadly. "There is, but I could never ask you to do that, Daniel."

Daniel leaned in and pulled Xavier into a hug. "Once again, Xavier, it seems to me that I have a say in all this. If there is a way to make it work, shouldn't I get a vote?"

Xavier pulled away. "You get more than a vote, Daniel. You have veto power in this decision. I would never force such a thing on anyone, and definitely not on the one to whom I am soulbound."

"Then tell me. What is it, Xavier? What do I have to do?"

Xavier swallowed hard. "You would have to become a vampire too."

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