Casey and Marcus return to Scotland.
It was just after nine am when the doorbell rang. Anne went to answer the door.
“Casey” She cried out happily giving her friend a hug. “I didn’t know you were coming.” She stood back giving Marcus a shy smile, “Hello, Marcus.”
Marcus nodded, “Hi, Annie.”
“Wow you look happy.” Casey said as she and Marcus entered the home.
Annie grinned, “I am. I love it here.”
Marcus glanced into the living room and saw Sean on the floor playing with the baby. Sean nodded to him.
Annie followed Marcus’s gaze. “Sean and I were just entertaining Elena. Come in.”
Marcus and Casey took seats on the sofa while Annie settled back down on the floor next to Sean and Elena. “Did Anna and Gerard know you were coming?” She asked.
“No.” Marcus sighed, “I didn’t know either until yesterday.”
Casey laughed, “I sorta sprang it on him that I wanted to visit.”
“Well I’m sure they will be happy to see you both.” Annie answered. “But they aren’t here right now. They are at the pottery studio.
“And you two got babysitting duty?” Casey asked with a smile.
Sean grinned, “Yeah, it’s a pretty good job.” He jiggled a rattle in front of Elena who gave a baby giggle.
Marcus looked away. Seeing Pures as babies had always bothered him.
Casey looked over surprised by this reaction and the thoughts she could hear running through his head. “She’s adorable, isn’t she?” She asked Marcus.
He sighed, “Yeah, adorable.” To his mind a Pure baby was almost embarrassing in their actions. They were too much like a mortal.
“Well we should go to the studio and say hello to Gerard and Anna.” Casey said softly.
“But you’re staying a while, aren’t you?” Annie asked. She was so happy to see them she hated the thought that they would leave so soon.
“Oh we plan on staying a while.” Casey answered knowing Marcus was frowning without looking at him.
“Great.” Annie smiled. “Sean and I are making dinner tonight. It will be nice to have someone else to cook for.”
“Oh, what are we having?” Casey asked.
Sean answered. “Corned beef and cabbage.”
“Yum.” Casey smiled, “I love that.”
Marcus tapped his fingers on the arm of the sofa. He had no interest in food and the fact that Casey as a mortal did was bothering him. He hated things that set them apart.
Casey was picking up on his emotions. “Okay then.” She said standing. “Well see you guys later.”
Once she and Marcus left the house they decided to simply walk to the studio since the day was crisp and clear.
“Elena is a beautiful baby, isn’t she?” Casey said softly.
Marcus took her hand as they walked, “Yeah.”
Suddenly Casey almost stumbled as his thoughts filled her head. “Oh, Marcus.’ She whispered.
He knew she was listening to his thought. “Can you blame me?”
“I thought you’re initial emotions was because you don’t like Pure babies and how they act like mortals.” She said softly. “But now I understand. Well you can just put that thought out of your head. I have no desire to be a mother, never have.”
He halted then looked deeply into her eyes. “Are you sure? Because you know being with me, ultimately being part of the Healer world would make that impossible for you.”
“I’m sure.’ She said softly. “I love babies but truthfully I’ve never felt a deep longing to be a mother.”
He nodded and they resumed walking.
“So why are we here?" Marcus asked again hoping she might give him a different answer than the one she’d been giving him since she announced they should visit Gerard and Anna.
Casey knew that soon enough he’d know the truth but not yet. “I told you I wanted to check on Annie. But seeing her I know I had nothing to worry about, she looks so happy."
“She is.’ Marcus sighed, “I could have told you that. Even though our bond is fading I could sense she was happy.”
Gerard’s hands suddenly stilled ruining the vase he’d been forming on the wheel.
“What is it?’ Anna asked.
He frowned at the lump of clay. “Damn.”
“Gee.” Anna touched his shoulder. “What is wrong?”
“Marcus is near.” He answered.
This news surprised Anna. “He is?”
“Yep.” Gerard stood to move towards the sink. As he washed his hand Anna walked over to the window.
“Here they come.” She announced. A minute later Marcus pushed open the door.
“Casey.” Anna said quickly moving to hug her. “I did not know you and Marcus were coming.”
Again Marcus wanted to say that he didn’t know that either but this time he remained silent.
Gerard joined them as he dried his hands. “Good to see you.” He said studying Marcus. It was obvious to him the Pure wasn’t in the best of moods.
Marcus nodded to him. “They told us you two were here. Seems your blood bounds are quite attracted to each other.”
While Casey had picked up on that she was surprised to hear the almost disdain in Marcus’s voice. “What’s wrong with that?” She challenged.
A look of concern passed between Gerard and Anna.
“Marcus, are you bothered by that fact?” Anna asked.
“Why the fuck would I care what those mortals do?’ He snapped.
Gerard automatically put her arm around Anna. “Marcus.’ His voice while soft held warning. He would not stand for the Pure speaking to his wife in that matter.
Marcus sighed dramatically. “Sorry, that came out harsh."
“Yeah, it did.” Casey said narrowing her eyes. Right now with is anger she was having trouble hearing his thoughts.
Gerard tried to diffuse the situation. “Do you think it’s bad our blood bounds are attracted to each other?”
“The fact that neither one of you control your blood bounds always concerns me.” Marcus admitted.
“That is because they have complete trust in them.” Casey said.
“Yeah, I know.” Marcus answered with a frown. “But still…”
Believing that perhaps Marcus would open up a bit if they were alone Gerard suggested that Casey and Anna return to the house.
Casey understood what Gerard was doing. “Yeah Anna, let’s go back. I really wanna spend some more time with Annie and the baby.” She also welcomed the chance to speak to Anna privately.
Anna nodded. “Yes, of course.”
After they were gone Gerard locked the studio door. He and Marcus retreated to the back room to the lounge.
“So.” Gerard began slowly. “What have you and Casey been up to?”
Marcus chose a comfortable chair and sat. “We’ve been in London.”
“Yeah, I knew that’s where you two were headed.” He answered taking a seat near Marcus. “So anything interesting happening there?”
Marcus cast him an annoyed glance.” Why don’t you just come out and ask me what happened? I mean it’s obvious we want to.”
Gerard looked down at his hands noticing there was still some clay under his fingernails. He tried to remove the residue and keep his tone neutral. “Well to be honest I could tell as soon as you walked in you’re in a pretty foul mood so I’m trying not to piss you off.”
“What? You scared of pissing me off?” Marcus barked.
Gerard took a deep breath. “Not really but I can tell you need to talk to someone and I want that someone to be me. If I piss you off I know that won’t happen.”
Marcus was about to give him an angry answer when Gerard looked up. The fact that he saw true concern in the Healers eyes made him snap his mouth shut.
“So what’s really going on?” Gerard asked softly.
“Fuck where to begin.” Marcus finally answered. “We were summoned to Carolyn’s.”
“Oh.” Gerard digested that information. He knew Marcus was upset Carolyn had bonded with Casey so he believed he understood. “Uh, I’m guessing you’d rather not have gone?”
“Don’t get me wrong I am very fond of Carolyn. She is an old and very respected Pure.”
“But you don’t like sharing Casey with anyone.” Gerard said softly.
“True.’ Marcus sighed, “However Casey is also very fond of Carolyn.”
“Because of their bond?”
Marcus glanced away, “I’m sure that’s part of it. But I think there more to it than that.” He shook his head, “Shit, I don’t know what to think anymore. We went there and…” It was hard for him to speak of this even to Gerard.
“And?” Gerard prompted.
“I watched Carolyn and Casey bond again.” As he said this his eyes turned topaz.
“Oh.” Gerard understood. “I see.”
“Don’t get me wrong.” Marcus tried to explain. “Watching the two of them together was…”
Seeing Marcus’s topaz eyes Gerard smiled, “Hot?”
“Fuck yes, of course it was but at the same time I was bothered by the whole thing.”
Gerard took out a cigarette and lit it giving himself to digest what Marcus was trying to say. “Your Pure blood enjoyed watching the act but your mind was troubled.”
“But my mind shouldn’t be troubled.” Marcus ground out. “Damn it before I met her there was no separation between my Pure nature, what it wanted, and what my mind wanted.”
“And because of that at times you are angry with her?” Gerard whispered.
“Fuck yes, I’m angry. She’s made me question so many things. I’ve walked this earth for longer than you can imagine. Never before has this happened to me.”
“Do you wish you had never become involved with her?”
The question lingered in the air for several minutes. Then Marcus’s eyes flashed with anger. “Yeah, sometimes I wish I’d never gone to that fuckin’ funeral never looked into her eyes.”
Gerard remained silent.
Marcus stood and began to pace. “And just saying that cuts me deep because I don’t really mean it. If I lost her I feel that I would cease to exist. I never believed I truly had a heart that contained anything.”
“And now you realize your heart is full of love.” Gerard said softly.
Marcus’s head dropped to his chest. “Yeah.”
Gerard was torn between what he wanted to say and what he believed he should say. It was painfully obvious Marcus was having so much trouble dealing with the changes his life had taken.
“Anyway.” Marcus continued slowly, “I also hosted a party the other night.”
This really surprised Gerard. “A party?”
“Yeah, one of my parties.” Marcus spat. “You know all about them firsthand.”
“Yeah, I do” Now the fact he’d been picking up on Marcus’s feelings the other night made sense. “Why did you decide to host one?”
Marcus sat back down before answering. “It was Casey’s idea. Obviously His Excellence has told her things about me and she wanted to experience one of my parties firsthand.”
“And how did she handle it?” Gerard asked watching Marcus closely.
“Oh, she handled it just fine.”
By the look on Marcus’s face Gerard guessed that while Casey may have handled it something happened that had upset Marcus. “Lot of people there?”
“Younger Pures, Healers.”
“You purposely made sure all the Pures were younger than you, right?”
Marcus sighed, “Of course. It has bad enough having to share her with Carolyn I wasn’t going to have that happen again.”
“So what’s the problem?”
Deliberately Marcus took his time answering in order to get his emotions under control. “I had to invite a Pure who I knew was in the area. You met him at the first one of my parties you ever attended.”
Gerard had met several Pures that night but only one stuck out in his mind as someone who could have caused Marcus a problem. “Oh, William?”
“Yeah, him.” Marcus spat. “He showed up with a young blood bound.”
“And he was drawn to Casey?” Gerard guessed.
“Well, of course he was. Pures automatically are drawn to her, they want to sample her blood.”
“Holy shit.” Gerard shook his head, “Please tell me you didn’t let him.”
Marcus ran his hand over her face. “No, I didn’t and believe me I really enjoyed denying him.”
“So what happened?” Gerard asked.
“Casey realized something about William’s blood bound.” Marcus said sadly, “Something I didn’t.”
“Man or woman?” Gerard asked trying to fill in the blanks. He knew William was attracted to both.
“It was a very young woman.” Marcus sighed, “A woman he’s been abusing since he bonded with her.”
“Yeah, fuckin’ brutally abusing.”
“Well that ain’t right.” Gerard said angrily. “The Healer world has rules about abusing mortals.”
“You think I don’t know that?” Marcus barked.
“I know you know that.” Gerard stood his ground refusing to be stopped by Marcus’s anger. “So what happened?”
“Before the party started Casey whispered that she wanted me to take William’s blood bound.”
Gerard nodded in understanding. “She wanted you to get the girl away from him.”
“Yeah, I didn’t know why at first but when I saw the girl’s body I understood. I took her and she joined me and Casey for the night.”
“So I’m sure you didn’t mind taking her from William.” Gerard said knowing how Marcus liked to exercise his rights as an older Pure.
“No, I didn’t mind at all. Matter of fact I enjoyed watching William’s face when I told him I wanted her.”
Once again Gerard waited knowing there was more to the story.
“And I kept her.” Marcus continued. “She’s presently at my home in London.”
Slowly Gerard was beginning to understand. “But now you are faced with the decision of wither or not you should inform the Council of William’s actions towards a mortal?”
Marcus was pleased Gerard understood. “I’ve never reported another Pure to the Council.”
This conversation was beginning to make Gerard uneasy. “Or a turned Healer, right?”
Marcus sighed, “Yeah, you understand where this is going. I have knowledge of things that go against the rules of our kind and have remained silent.”
“But this really isn’t the same.” Gerard reasoned. “I mean you may know things that go against the rules but a Pure actually abusing a mortal…”
“However the fact remains rules are rules. Is it right for me to pick and chose which ones I like?”
Nervously Gerard glanced away. “I guess that’s for you to decide.”
Marcus hated the fear her saw before Gerard looked away. “I’d never report you, Anna or Jacob for that matter. I hope you know that.”
Gerard looked back over at him. “Thank you.”
“No need to thank me.” Marcus sighed, “I only told you this because I want you to understand where I’m coming from.”
“So you’ll do nothing about William?” Gerard asked softly.
“The decision wasn’t an easy one but I spoke to Jacob and told him about William’s actions. The council is looking into it.”
“Are you worried about doing that?” Gerard asked.
Marcus shook his head, “No, not worried. But I’m sure if my name will be brought into it or not, but I’m sure William will know I am the one who reported him. I do not fear William but I do fear he may try to retaliate by trying to hurt those near me.”
“Oh.’"Gerard sat back. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Well believe me I did.” Marcus said. “And I know how deeply he hates the fact I have never shared you or Anna and now Casey.”
As they neared the house Casey suddenly stopped. “I need to speak to you someplace privately.”
Anna gave her a surprised look. “We are speaking privately now.”
Casey smiled sadly, “Yeah, but is there someplace we can go? What I have to say will take a little bit of time explaining.”
“Of course.” Anna nodded. “There is a lovely garden behind the house. We can go there and will not be disturbed.”
Casey nodded and did not speak again until she and Anna were seat on a stone bench amongst the beautiful flowers. “This is lovely.’ She said wistfully.
Anna reached over and took her hand, “Casey, what is wrong?”
Tears appeared in Casey’s eyes. “I have so much to tell you and so little time.”
“I do not understand.” Anna said softly suddenly feeling very uneasy.
“As much as I know in my heart what I am doing is right, I am scared.”
“Scared?” Anna repeated softly. “Please explain.”
Casey took a deep calming breath. “I really wish I could explain everything to you, I really do.”
Anna believed she understood. “But you can not because of His Excellence’s wishes?”
“Yeah.” Casey nodded trying to smile. “That’s it exactly.”
“Well what are you able to tell me?”
“First I want to ask a favor.” Casey said slowly.
“Yes, of course.” Anna squeezed her hand, “What is it?”
“Please, if something goes wrong, please promise me you will look after Marcus.”
Now Anna was afraid, “Goes wrong?”
“Anna I know you realized just as I do that a Ingredior Utriusque has never been turned. I believe in my heart that I will return but at the same time in the back of my mind there is always a small inkling of fear that I won’t. Marcus would blame himself. I just need to know that you would help him if that happened.”
“Casey, you can still change your mind about wanting to be a Healer.”
Casey sighed, “No I really can’t. I know in my heart that my decision is right, it’s what I must do. Not just for me but….” Her voice trailed off.
“You can not explain, can you?’ Anna asked sadly.
“No, I can’t.”
Both women sat quietly for several minutes. Finally Anna spoke.
“I have great respect and love for Marcus. Gerard and I will always try our best to help him through whatever happens.”
“He does love both of you.” Casey smiled sadly. “More than he would ever care to admit.”
“What else do you wish to tell me?” Anna asked knowing there was more.
“I have a request. One that will not be easy for you.”
Nervously Anna nodded for Casey to continue.
Taking a deep breath Casey said, “I need to bond with you.” As she expected Anna’s eyes grew wide.
“Bond with me?”
“His Excellence wanted me to feel the bond of a Pure but also that of a turned Healer. I want that Healer to be you.”
“I do not understand. Why?”
Casey smiled, “Why does he want that or why you?”
Anna released Casey’s hand and sat back. “Well, both but I believe you will only explain one.”
“Yeah, I can’t explain His Excellence’s request but I can tell you why I’ve chosen you. You had a bond with my mom. I guess in my mind bonding with you sorta brings me closer to her. I know that doesn’t really make sense but it’s how I feel.”
“The bond I shared with your mother was beautiful.’ Anna whispered.
“That is exactly how she described it.” Casey nodded.
Anna glanced away suddenly becoming lost in memories. “I still miss her.”
This time Casey took Anna’s hand. “Will you agree to this?”
“Marcus does not know you want this, does he?” Anna asked fearing she already knew the answer.
“I haven’t told him.”
“If we bond he will know.’ Anna said looking into Casey’s eyes. “He will sense it, of course.”
“I know.” Casey said softly.
“Perhaps you should discuss this with him? Make sure he understands you are simply doing what His Excellence has requested.”
Again tears appeared in Casey’s eyes. “If I’d only realized before…” Her voice was shaky. “But I was so happy being with Marcus I didn’t think, didn’t realize.”
“Fourteen.” Casey whispered.
“What?” Anna wasn’t she she’d heard correctly.
Shaking her head Casey forced herself to smile, “Sorry, I’m getting all emotional. I’m sure they will be returning to the house soon so we should go in.”
Her sudden change in attitude confused Anna. “So you do not with to bond now?”
“Not now.” Casey said softly, “Later this evening. I want to have dinner with Annie and Sean, play with the baby first. After that we can slip away.”
Anna was still not sure how she truly felt about this.
Sensing her reluctance Casey smiled, “It will be okay, Anna. I’m sure of it. But please don’t say anything to Gerard, he’s too close to Marcus right now.”
“I do not like keeping things from him.”
Casey took a shaky breath “I understand but you won’t have to keep this from him for long, I promise.”