Gerard and Anna are surprised by Casey's appearance.
Anna nodded. “Yes, we can see that.” She tried to hide her annoyance. Right now she was still feeling the pain of Claire’s death so the fact that Marcus had brought aboard a mortal bothered her greatly. She was about to turn away when a strange feeling came over her. She stared at the woman intently.
Marcus nodded for Casey to take a seat across from them. “I see your initial annoyance at the appearance of my guest has changed.” Marcus said softly.
Anna continued to stare at the woman.
Gerard looked at Marcus. “Is she going with us?”
“Casey.” Anna said softly recognizing the woman sitting in front of her.
“What?” Gerard was still confused.
Marcus smiled at Anna. “I thought you’d recognize her. She has her mother’s eyes, doesn’t she?”
Anna ignored him to reach out to take Casey’s hands. “It is so good to see you.” Often she had wondered about Christa’s child.
“It’s good to see you too, Aunt Anna.” Casey smiled sadly. “I just wish the circumstance of our meeting again weren’t so sad.”
Anna blinked back a fresh batch of tears. “You know about Claire?”
“I knew Aunt Claire’s death was coming.” Casey answered. “Once Uncle Bob was gone she had lost her will to live. Marcus told me you’d gone to see her.”
“I got the chance to say goodbye.” Anna whispered.
Casey leaned forward and hugged Anna. “I’m glad. I know how much that meant to her.”
Once Anna sat back Gerard gave Casey a hug. “Wow, you’re all grown up.”
Casey laughed, “Well you’ve been gone a long time.”
“I’m going to speak to the pilot.” Marcus informed them.
Casey watched him walk towards the front of the plane. “Uh, Aunt Anna, where are we going?”
Anna was still slightly confused. “Well we are returning to our home. It is a small island in the Caribbean.” She paused still unsure of what was happening. “How is it you know Marcus?”
Casey sat back with a smile. “He has been watching over me for years. The first time I saw him was at mom and dad’s funeral.”
“He was there?” Gerard asked clearly surprised.
“And you knew who he was?” Anna asked.
“Mom had told me about the Healer world just a few months before her death. Even though he’d changed his appearance I knew him.” She tried to explain, “I guess it was his eyes. Well that and the strange feeling I got when I saw him.”
Anna was shocked Christa had told Casey about the Healers. “Casey, I am trying to understand. Why did your mother tell you about the Healers?”
Casey smiled sadly. “I knew she had really wanted to discuss this with you.” She paused wanting to make sure Anna understood how much Christa had missed Anna. “She told me she would have definitely wanted your input on it. I’m sure you remember what I was like back then.”
“Troubled.” Anna said softly.
Casey laughed. “Yes, I was very troubled.”
Anna sighed, “You are like your mother, are you not?”
Gerard interrupted, “You are a Ingredior Utriusque?”
“She most certainly is.” Marcus said having overheard the last part of their conversation. He took a seat next to Casey. “We will be taking off in a few minutes.”
Anna was staring into Casey’s eyes. “I should have known.”
Marcus shook his head. “No, not really. Of course there was the possibility she would be but we all know it was not a given. Often the Healer blood lays dormant for years and years.”
“Even His Excellence was not sure mom’s child would be a Ingredior Utriusque.” Casey said softly.
“Christa told you about meeting him?” Gerard asked.
“Wow.” Gerard sat back getting comfortable. “So you’ve known about our world a long time.”
“Since I was fourteen.” Casey confirmed. “When mom started to explain it was like everything in the world suddenly came into focus for me.”
Anna was troubled. Looking over at Marcus she asked, “She knows everything about our world?”
Marcus, who was not exactly sure if Casey understood everything, did not have a chance to answer before Casey spoke.
“I believe I do. Mom told me everything she knew. After she was gone I kept in very close contact with Aunt Claire. Several summers when I was young I actually spent with Uncle Bob and Aunt Claire. Mom had told me how you had saved Aunt Claire when she was a child.” She paused. “The fact that she had been blood bound to you made me feel so close to her.” Tears appeared in her eyes. “Aunt Claire became my second mother.”
“Oh." Anna responded with tears appearing again in her eyes. “I had no idea.”
“Aunt Anna, mom and Aunt Claire both understood you had to disappear from their lives. They missed you terribly but they both understood.” Casey said softly.
“So you know that Anna and I are both unlike other Healers?" Gerard asked feeling it important Casey must understand the truth.
“Yes.” Casey nodded. “I do. Aunt Claire told me one of the happiest days in her life was when Aunt Anna called her to say that you had been turned..” She paused trying to find the right words. “Uh, incorrectly to the Healer world.”
Gerard grinned, “Maybe to the Healer world but I was turned like Anna.” He reached over for her hand and gave it a tight squeeze. “Much better then traditional Healers.”
Marcus still felt it necessary to ask Casey. “Even though they believe better you do know their difference must always be hidden?”
Casey nodded, “Yes, I understand.”
“So why are you here?" Gerard asked slowly. He was still unsure how he felt about his long gone friend’s daughter suddenly appearing in their lives.
Casey looked at Marcus. “I feel this is where I am meant to be.” Their eyes locked.
“You have bonded with her?” Anna asked Marcus as her eyes narrowed. She could feel a connection between the two but the connection confused her.
He tore his gaze away from Casey. “No, not yet.”
“Not yet?" Anna repeated. She too was unsure how she truly felt about Casey’s appearance. “You feel this is wise?” When she noticed he’d gone back to staring into Casey’s eyes she grew uneasy. “Marcus.” She said his name sharply trying to get his attention.
Marcus realized what she was doing. He looked over at Anna and laughed, “Anna, I haven’t glamored her, she’s Ingredior Utriusque, I couldn’t if I tried.”
“He doesn’t need to.” Casey said slowly. She looked back over at Anna. “I can’t really explain it but I always knew deep down Marcus would come for me.”
“What on earth did Christa tell you?" Anna asked. “Did she lead you to believe Marcus would come for you? Did she want this for you?”
Casey’s smile faded. “Mom died so shortly after she told me the truth that I’m not sure what she would have wanted for me. I do know however that she held the Healers world in very high esteem. She loved you Aunt Anna and she loved who you are.”
Anna sighed, “I loved your mother very much, Casey. I just am not sure this is the life she would have chosen for you. Being blood bound is not easy. What about the life you lead? Are you willing to complicate it by becoming tied to our world?"
“I don’t look at it like that. I feel becoming involved in the Healers world is what is right for me. I believe it was my destiny.”
“Destiny?” Anna repeated.
Casey nodded, “That’s how I feel.”
“You are leaving the life you know and coming with us?” Anna asked, “For how long?” She was still trying to make sense of Casey’s sudden appearance on the plane.
Casey looked over at Marcus before answering. He smiled at her giving her strength to answer. “I don’t plan on ever going back to the life I was leading. There’s nothing for me there.”
“But what about your family and friends?” Gerard asked.
“Honestly I have been living in Chicago since I was eighteen. When mom and dad died I was taken to New Jersey to live with Uncle Lou and his family but as soon as I could I moved back to Chicago. I wanted to be near Aunt Claire. She and Uncle Bob were my close family. Now that they are gone I am alone.”
“Marcus I need to speak to you.” Anna said suddenly.
He nodded but Casey spoke up. “Aunt Anna I see now that this is upsetting you and I’m sorry. I thought you’d be happy to see me.”
“Casey it is not that I am unhappy to see you. But you must realize this is a shock to me. I had no idea that Marcus has been involved in your life.”
Marcus shook his head. “Hey, until today I’ve not really been involved in her life.”
“But she said you have been watching over her.” Anna frowned.
“You said that?” Marcus asked Casey.
She smiled slightly. “Well it is the truth.”
Marcus looked sheepish. “I was just making sure Christa’s daughter was okay.”
“Really?" Anna said sharply. “Yet you did not tell us you were doing that?”
“Shit.” Marcus muttered. “Now she’s gone pissy.”
Casey defended Marcus. “Aunt Anna I don’t understand. Why is this upsetting you?"
Anna sighed, “Casey, please just call me Anna.”
Casey looked visibly upset. “I’m sorry. I’ve just always called you that.”
Gerard tried to lessen the tension. “She’s didn’t mean that in a bad way.”
“No, I did not mean it in a bad way.” Anna said quickly realizing she’s hurt Casey’s feelings. “I was just caught completely off guard by your appearance.” She paused, “Today has been very hard for me.”
Casey reached across to gently touch her hand. “I understand. You feel Claire’s death as much as I do. No, I’m sure it’s actually more than I feel.”
“It is very hard for me to explain.” Anna said slowly. “Being with Claire at the moment of her death…” Her voice broke. “Knowing my blood could prevent that death for a short time…” Again her voice trailed off.
Gerard spoke up. “Knowing your blood can prevent death yet knowing it would be the wrong thing to do is hard.”
Casey nodded understanding Gerard’s words. “It was her time to die but you hated to let her go.”
“Yes.” Anna whispered. “So very hard.”
“But she wanted to let go.” Casey said softly. “She wanted to join Uncle Bob.”
Anna wiped away a few tears. “Yes, I believe at the moment of her death she saw him. He was waiting for her.”
Casey smiled sadly. “I’m sure that’s true. They shared a beautiful life together. I never saw them angry at each other. They adored each other.”
Suddenly Anna could not stop herself from asking. “And what of their son?”
“Oh Clark.” Casey smiled. “He was like a big brother to me. Matter of fact he’d introduce me to his friends as his bratty little sister. Clark is married to a great woman. Believe it or not they have six daughters.” She paused, “Uh actually Aunt Claire was always saying she was sure they’d have seven and she might just be right. Sarah, Clark’s wife, is pregnant. They never find out the baby’s sex before it’s born but it’ll probably be a girl.”
“Seven kids?” Gerard was obviously surprised.
Casey nodded, “Yep. Aunt Claire told me all about Bob’s great grandma. She’s the one who held some kind of importance to that number of daughters.”
“I am glad Clark is happy.” Anna smiled.
“Oh and he’s in a band.” Casey added. “Pretty popular band actually. He’s the drummer.”
“Can’t imagine Bob’s son being anything else.” Gerard laughed.
Casey suddenly realized something. “You guys don’t know anything that’s been going on with people from your previous life, do you?”
Anna and Gerard exchanged a look Casey didn’t understand before Gerard answered. “We decided it would be best that way.”
“Oh.” Casey said slowly beginning to realize the truth. “Because you retained your human emotions it would be hard to watch your family and friends grow old.”
“And die.” Anna whispered.
Casey nodded. “Of course. But you knew about mom and Aunt Claire’s deaths because you could actually feel them.”
“I’m so sorry I didn’t realize this before now.” Casey said softly. “Actually I should have realized it. So you two have been on the island since you left?”
Gerard answered. “Yeah, only Healers and blood bounds are on the island.”
Casey was quick to understand. “That’s why you haven’t changed your appearance like Marcus did.”
Just then the jets engines roared to life.
“Well here we go.” Marcus said. He was pleased when Casey reached over to hold his hand.
Anna watched them still feeling uneasy. She felt it was her duty to make sure Christa’s daughter did not make the wrong choice for her life and as of yet she was not sure Marcus shared her feeling.
Several hours into the flight Marcus excused himself and headed to the private suite in the rear of the plane.
So far the talk had been simply about Casey’s life since Anna and Gerard had “died”. While neither had asked about anyone else in particular Anna could feel Gerard’s emotions.
“Gee.” She said turning to him. “Ask her.”
He shook his head. “No, Sugar. It’s okay, we agreed.”
Casey, whose mind was on now on Marcus since he’d left, looked over at them. “What?”
“He wishes to ask you about his brother.” Anna answered.
“Anna.” Gerard said her name sharply. “I said no.” The truth was he was afraid to ask.
“What about Mikey?” Casey asked then suddenly she understood. “Oh.”
Gerard turned to her in alarm. “Shit, he’s not…”
Casey smiled, “Gerard I saw Mikey a few months ago. He’s in good health and very happy. He and Alicia live in New Mexico on a small ranch.”
“New Mexico? Really?” Gerard smiled.
“Yep. They raise horses. He and Alicia stopped by to visit me on their way to New York.” She could see how hungry Gerard was for information about his brother. “After you were gone Mikey continued the comic you two started but only for a short time. He said it felt wrong doing it without you.”
“Shit.” Gerard frowned. “He should have stuck with it.”
“Well he did stick with comics.” Casey smiled. “Matter of fact he started another series one which is very popular. They’ve made two top grossing movies from the series.” She grinned, “And he’s won three Eisner’s.”
“I’ll be damned.” Gerard said with pride. “Three?”
Casey nodded. “Yep. And every time he’s accepted the award he says it’s all because of you. The comic series is dedicated to your memory.”
Gerard sat back smiling. “Shit, I’m happy for him.”
“And proud.” Anna added knowing it was the truth.
“Yeah, fuckin’ proud.” Gerard said softly. Even though he was sure he knew the answer he had to ask. “And my mom and dad? They’re both gone now, aren’t they?”
Casey nodded sadly.
“I expected that.” He said sadly. Beside him Anna leaned her head against his shoulder.
Casey wanted to share something else with him that would hopefully bring a smile to his face. “When I said Clark was in a very popular band I didn’t mention that one of Frank’s sons is also in the band.”
Gerard smiled, “Really?”
Casey nodded. “Yeah, they just finished recording some new music.”
“I bet the music business isn’t anything like I’d remember.” Gerard mused.
“Probably not.” Casey laughed.
“And Frank?” Gerard asked slowly. “How’s the little yard gnome?”
“I haven’t seen him for years but last I heard he was still running his music business.”
“And Jamia?’ Anna asked.
Casey suddenly had a strange look on her face making Anna wish she hadn’t asked.
“Well.” Casey said slowly. “She and Frank divorced about ten years ago.” She grinned then added, “But they remarried about four months later.”
“They remarried?” Anna was clearly surprised.
“Fender, Frank’s son who’s in the band with Clark, said that they decided they couldn’t be happy without each other.”
“So they got divorced then remarried months later?” Gerard grinned.
“Yep.” Casey laughed.
“Good old Frankie.” Gerard said remembering his friend fondly.
Suddenly Casey stood. “Excuse me a minute.” She started towards the back of the jet.
Anna was about to stop her when Gerard gently placed his finger to her lips silencing her. “Sugar, let her go.”
Casey took a deep breath as she stood before the cabin door. Then without knocking she pushed it open and went inside. She immediately saw Marcus who had just begun to inject himself with the synthetic.
“Get out.” He barked.
Casey blinked in surprise but instead of following his command she closed the door behind her then moved towards him.
Marcus’s topaz eyes locked on hers. “Maybe you didn’t hear me?” He ground out.
“I heard you.” Casey said gathering up her courage. “I’m just ignoring what you said.”
Quickly he finished the injection then closed his eyes as the synthetic coursed through his body quenching his thirst and dulling his fury. When he opened his eyes moments later he was shocked to see Casey on her knees before him. She gently took the needle from his hand and placed it on the nearby table. Then she leaned down to press a light kiss on the injection sight.
“Oh fuck, Casey.” Marcus moaned overwhelmed with emotions. “Don’t.”
She looked up into his eyes. “It’s okay. Your skin already healed.”
He realized she knew what he’d been thinking.
“I understand now you’re not sure you want to bond with me.”
“It’s not that I’m not sure but….” He closed his eyes again. “Maybe Anna’s right. Maybe it’s the wrong thing to do.”
Casey’s voice was husky with emotion. “She didn’t say it wasn’t right. She’s just not sure.”
“Neither am I.” He admitted something that was hard for a Pure to do. “I’m not sure of a fuckin’ thing right now.”
“I’ll return home.” Casey whispered as she started to stand up.
“No.” He opened his eyes and grabbed her arm. Pulling her to him he settled her on his lap. “The only thing I’m sure of right now is that I don’t want you to do that.”
Casey leaned her head against his chest. “You are afraid.”
“I am a Pure. I fear nothing.” He answered automatically.
Her gently voice was clear. “You are afraid because you know if we bond I will be able to hear your thoughts.”
“You already seem to be doing that quite nicely.” His hand caressed her back urging her closer.
Moving her face she nestled it against his neck.
“Damn it, woman.” He ground out. “You’re messing with my mind.”
“And that scares you.” She whispered.
He didn’t answer. He didn’t have to.