Marcus reveals part of his past. Anna and Casey bond.
Marcus sighed and spoke softly to Gerard before they entered the room. “What is it about a baby that makes mortals act so ridiculous?”
The question surprised Gerard. “You think making the baby happy is ridiculous?”
Although Marcus did believe that he saw that the question had upset Gerard. “I’m just cranky today.”
Gerard slipped him playfully on the back. “Yeah, you are but it’s okay, I understand.”
“Marcus.” Casey said spotting them in the doorway. “Come here.” She patted the spot on the floor beside her.
As much as he didn’t want to sit on the floor he relented unable to deny Casey anything.
“Here” She said thrusting the bunny into his hand. “Just make it bounce up and down, she loves it.”
Marcus took the stuffed animal from her hand and slowly started to make it bounce in front of the baby. However as he did this his eyes locked on Elena’s. He somehow hoped to see the truth that she was a Pure behind those eyes. Sadly he could find no connection and no obvious sign, other than she wasn’t breathing, that she was different than a mortal child.
Casey grinned, “See she likes you?”
Marcus sighed dramatically. “She likes anyone who makes this damn thing move.” He handed the bunny back to Casey.
Annie frowned, “Marcus are you okay?”
The look he gave her made Annie immediately regret she’d asked.
Casey stared at Marcus waiting.
Finally Marcus said softly. “Yeah, I’m okay, Annie. Thanks for asking. I’m just not very comfortable around babies.”
Casey leaned over to place her arm around his shoulder. “I bet you were a cute baby.”
Marcus’s eyes turned topaz. He quickly lifted himself off the floor. “I highly doubt that.” He said angrily. “I’m going for a walk. I’ll be back later.”
They all watched him sweep out of the house slamming the front door in the process.
“Wow.” Annie whispered.
An awkward silence fell on the room. No one was sure that to say.
Finally Gerard said softly, “He told me about William.”
Casey nodded, “I’d hoped he’d confide in you.”
“William?” Anna asked.
Gerard quickly explained the situation to her.
“I despise him.” Anna said when Gerard fell silent.
“Yeah, he’s pretty despicable.” Casey nodded, “But I know that as a Pure it is very hard for Marcus to accept that fact. He’d much rather ignore.”
“But he didn’t.” Gerard put in. “He informed the council.”
“Yeah he didn’t admit that to me but I knew.” Casey said softly.
“He reported William’s actions to Jacob?” Anna asked.
Annie, who had noticed that the baby seemed to be getting sleepy, said, “I think I should put Elena down for a nap.”
Anna smiled, “Yes, that is a good idea.”
Sean stood. “And I should be getting back to the studio. We have a shipment due this afternoon.”
“Shit, I forgot.” Gerard said. “I’ll go with you.”
“Are you sure?” Sean asked him. “I can handle it if you want to stick around here.”
Truth was Gerard wanted to go back to the studio.” No, I’ll go with you.” He leaned down to place a kiss on the top of Anna’s head. “I’ll be back in a few hours.”
She nodded while giving him a smile.
When they were alone Anna took a seat on the sofa with Casey choosing to sit beside her.
“You listen to his thoughts often?”
Casey understood the question. “We bond so often it is practically impossible not to hear them. The only time I have trouble is when his Pure blood is running strong.”
“Do you know why he has an aversion to Elena? Are we doing something wrong with her upbringing?”
“No, it’s not really Elena. It is because she is a Pure. Marcus is uncomfortable with the fact that Pure babies are so much like mortals in their actions.”
“He dislikes that they are vulnerable?”
“That’s part of it. You understand Pures, they feel they are superior and they must be in control. For Marcus, the fact that Pures are born to mortal mothers and must depend on others during their early years bothers him.”
“But the Supreme Being made it so.”
Casey sighed, “Yep but that doesn’t make it any easier for Marcus to accept.” He views Pure babies as weak and almost embarrassing.”
Anna’s motherly instinct took over. “Well that is stupid.”
Casey smiled, “I know that and you know that and Marcus knows that deep down but he can’t help the way he feels. The blood makes him feel that way.”
Since they were still alone Anna took the opportunity to ask something. “I understand there is much you can not tell me but I do have a question that perhaps you can answer.”
Casey nodded, “If I can answer you, I will.”
“The Pure’s blood that runs through your veins….do you know….”
Quickly Casey spoke up. “Do I know the name of the Pure?”
“Yes, I know the name of the Pure but I do not know much about him. His Excellence told me it was not right that I know, at least not at this time.”
“Well.” Anna said slowly feeling she must change the subject, “It seems we have been deserted. What would you like to do? We could walk into town.” When she saw Casey frown she added quickly, “Or perhaps you would like to go in search of Marcus.”
“He needs some time away from me.” Casey said sadly. “I understand that.”
Anna smiled sadly, “But you know he loves you.”
“Yeah.” Casey whispered. “But I know how difficult this is for him.”
“Well then.” Anna stood. “Would you like to see the painting I have been working on?”
“Oh yes, please.” Casey stood also. “Aunt Claire was always talking about how much she loved to watch you paint. I’ve been hoping I’d get the chance too.”
Anna smiled faded, “I still miss Claire everyday.”
Casey lowered her voice, “Please tell me bringing her granddaughter here was a good thing. I don’t want to think I’d simply brought sad memories.”
Anna surprised Casey by giving her a tight hug. “You did a wonderful thing bringing Annie here. Yes, she reminds me of Claire and it is nice to still have a connection to the past but it is more than that. I needed Annie to remind me I can not cut myself off from the mortal world because I fear the pain of losing loved ones.”
“And I needed Anna to make me feel understood…” Annie said walking into the room. “And to make me accept that I am different and that it’s not a bad thing.”
Anna turned to her with a smile, “Elena is asleep?”
“Yes.” Annie nodded. “If you don’t need me I will just go to my room to read.”
“Casey is going to watch me paint.” Anna smiled, “Would you like to come with us?”
Annie looked at Casey, “I understand if you want to talk to Anna alone.”
“I’d like to spend some time with you too, Annie.” Casey said trying to smile, “Anna and I will spend some time alone later tonight.”
“Oh” Annie said her face suddenly taking on a look that neither Anna nor Casey understood.
“What is it?” Anna asked in alarm.
“I’m sorry.” Annie said trying to regain her composure. “But sometimes I get a strange feeling that something is going to happen.”
Anna and Casey both looked at each other.
“Do you know what?” Casey asked.
Annie sighed “No and that is what I hate so much about this. But to me it’s just a strange feeling I get. Like I know something big is going to happen but not what.”
Anna moved quickly to link arms with both women. “Come, we are too serious. We should just enjoy each other’s company.”
Casey forced herself to smile, “She’s right. Let’s just chat and catch up. I need that. Right now I don’t want to think about my moody Pure.”
Anna laughed, “Oh that describes Marcus perfectly.”
“It really does.” Casey whispered, “It really does.”
Casey looked around the table and wished with all her heart the smile on her face was true. However, as much as she enjoyed the company of those around her she longed for the one who had not returned the one who held her heart.
“Casey.” Gerard said gently touching her arm. “Before Anna and I sat down I looked out. He’s on the bench that overlooks the ocean.”
She was touched by the concern in Gerard’s voice. “I should go talk to him.”
Anna nodded, “Yes, I am sure by now he misses your presence.”
“Hopefully as much as I miss his.” Casey whispered. Summoning up another smile she spoke to Annie and Sean. “Thank you for dinner. It was very tasty.”
Annie smiled, “Sean really made most of it.”
Sean reached for her hand under the table. “It was a joint effort.”
Gerard laughed, “Wish I could have eaten more but I learned my lesson after the spaghetti.”
Anna laughed, “That is wise.”
“Yeah but I still miss eating.” Gerard frowned, “Damn I just wish food didn’t still taste so good.”
Casey pushed back from the table. “I’m going out to speak to Marcus.”
The others nodded their understanding.
Marcus could feel her presence growing closer. He spoke without turning. “I’m sorry.”
Casey sat down next to him. “You don’t have any reason to be sorry.”
He placed his arm around her. “Yeah, I do. I spent most of today alone. If nothing else I feel sorry for myself. I could have been with you.”
“You needed some time alone.”
“Didn’t do any good. I’m still as confused as ever.” Marcus sighed.
Casey waited several minutes before speaking. “I know that being here is difficult for you.”
He turned his head to look at her. “Being here?”
“Yes, here in the country of your birth.”
He was shocked by her words. “I haven’t even thought about that.”
“No, I don’t know from your thoughts. His Excellence told me.”
Marcus closed his eyes. “This is something I will not discuss.”
“It’s something I wish you would discuss.” Casey said laying her head on his shoulder. “Because I really want to understand.”
“There is nothing to understand. I was born in this country. That’s all.”
“Oh Marcus.” She sighed, “Now I can hear your thoughts and you know yourself that is a lie. What happened here changed the way you view mortals.”
His first reaction was anger but suddenly another emotion push through. “Maybe you’re right.”
“His Excellence said you have the heart of a warrior.” Casey said softly. “A warrior who fights for what is right and fair.”
Marcus closed his eyes. “He said that?”
“Yes.” She laced her fingers with his. “Please tell me.”
“What he said may have been true once up on a time. But not now.”
Casey was trying diligently to understand all the thoughts running through his head but it was impossible. “Do you hate the fact you were born to a mortal woman?"
“No, of course not. She was no one of consequence. She simply gave birth to a Pure who was taken from her. I’m sure given her situation, her station in life, she was glad to be rid of the baby. So many mortals were starving at the time.”
“You were taken and raised by another Pure.”
“Yes one who had been on this earth hundreds of years before I was born.”
“And he taught you the ways of the Healer world?”
Marcus sighed “He didn’t have to teach me, I instinctively knew. What I did need to learn was how to co-exist with mortals. How to walk among them never letting them see the truth of what I was.”
“Because mortals are not meant to know.”
“That is very true. The truth when revealed turned ugly. So as a Pure I lived among the mortals, healed them when I knew it was right, and often watched them destroy what they were given. That is what I am, what I always will be.”
“Watched them destroy what they were given?” Casey repeated not understanding.
“Often I would heal a mortal only to watch them wage war against their own kind. I saved them from death only to watch them soon after die anyway. Why did I bother? What purpose did my ‘gift’ serve?”
“Maybe by healing them the time they were given made a difference somehow.” Casey whispered.
“I doubt that.” Marcus scoffed. “Throughout history mortals have shown they have little regard for life.”
Casey was rocked to the core by his anger.
“You were hurt that they wasted your gift.” She said softly as the truth became clear.
“Made no difference to me.” He lied. “I simply did what I knew I should do. What they chose to do given a second chance has always been up to them.”
Casey sat quietly listening to his thoughts. “Marcus, tell me about Robert.”
He quickly lifted his arm from around her shoulder. “Stop it.”
“I need to understand.” She pleaded.
“There is nothing to understand.” He sat up. Suddenly he whipped around to face her. “Okay you want to know about Robert? Fine. He was a boy I healed. I was a young Pure, who believed I was part of a noble race. I’d been told that long before I walked the earth my kind were not known as Healers but Caretakers. That is what we were called because that is what we were. We cared for the mortals, helped them. I had just reached twenty five and had stopped aging. Robert was a few years younger but we had grown up together in the same small village.” He paused a minute as the memories returned, “I took great pride in caring for many of the mortals, while I felt no true emotions towards them I foolishly believed they were under my protection. That protection was what I believed to be my gift to them. One day Robert was thrown from his horse. He and I had gone out hunting and were alone. Without pause I healed his internal injuries then returned him to his home.”
Casey’s eyes filled with tears.
Marcus knew she was hearing his thoughts but still he had to voice them. “The next day several men came after me. My actions were viewed as the work of the devil. Only God could heal so obviously I was evil.”
“I’m so sorry.” Casey whispered through her tears.
Marcus shook his head. “Why?”
“I am sorry for the way you were treated by my kind.”
“They are your kind.” He said softly. “But you share no responsibility for their actions. And in truth, I have no right to be angry. It was my foolish behavior that caused the problem. I knew I was to erase Roberts mind or bond him to me. I did neither.”
Marcus sighed, “What difference does it make?"
“I think it makes a big difference.” Casey said softly. “You refuse to admit you understand your actions.”
“I failed as a Pure. That is the only thing that is important to remember. And believe me I have always remembered since.”
“Marcus I am sure he was just frightened. He didn’t understand.”
“That’s true, he didn’t. He didn’t understand that someone who had been at his side most of his life had kept him from death.”
Casey could hear the hurt in his voice.
“I’m sure if he’d understood he would have been grateful.” Casey said sadly.
He sat up straight, his voice was strong. “Ingratitude is treason to mankind.”
Casey stared at him.
“A Scottish poet once wrote that.” He looked deeply into her eyes. “His name was James Thomson.”
“You knew him?”
“I was James Thomson.” Marcus answered.
For a long time they sat listening to the waves crashing against the shore each lost in thought. It was Marcus who finally broke the silence.
“The life of an immortal is not an easy one.”
“I know.” Casey whispered.
“And yet you still chose to become a Healer?”
“I believe being a Healer in itself is a gift.”
He shook his head sadly, “Maybe once up a time that was true. But not now. I look at my kind and we are just as bad as the mortals.”
“Marcus when was the last time you used your gift?”
“I healed William’s blood bound.”
She could sense he was upset but knew she must push him. “You know what I mean. When was the last time you used your gift to heal more than superficial wounds?”
The question obviously upset him. “I don’t know." He answered in a dismissive tone.
“You do know.” Casey said looking into his eyes. “And you hate that it’s been a very long time.”
He immediately reverted back to a cocky attitude. “Yeah, I’ve been falling down on the job. Should have been out there healing mortals.”
She ignored his attitude. “Once your gift brought you happiness. You knew what you did was right.”
“I’m tired of this conversation.” He said suddenly standing. “Let’s go in.”
Casey was listening to his thoughts as they walked towards the house. He was convincing himself that she was wrong. He was still the Pure he’d always been and would always be. Nothing would ever change.
A few hours later Gerard and Marcus were enjoying a game of chess. Gerard, who had only recently leaned the game from Sean, was hoping to beat the Pure. Marcus, who had an infinite amount of knowledge of the game, was positive that wouldn’t happen.
Casey suddenly looked over at Anna. “I’d really like to see that painting you were telling me about.”
Anna was puzzled a moment until she saw the look in Casey’s eyes. “Oh, yes. Of course.” As they started upstairs she whispered to Gerard that she and Casey were going to the art studio. Gerard who was concentrating on the game gave them a dismissive nod.
At the top of the stairs Anna said softly. “We should go to my room.”
Once the bedroom door was closed Casey spoke. “Anna, thank you for understanding.”
“Are you sure about this?" Anna asked taking a seat on the bed. “I understand His Excellence wanted you to bond with a turned Healer but perhaps choosing me is a mistake.”
Casey sat down beside her. “Why would it be a mistake?”
Anna sighed, “You know I am ‘wrong’.”
“I have always refused to believe that. There is nothing wrong with you or Gerard. You are both wise Healers who use your gift as it was intended.”
“To the Healer world we are wrong. Healers who retain their mortal emotions are considered dangerous to our kind. That is simply a fact, one we must live with every day of our existence.”
“I’m so sorry it’s that way.” Casey said softly. “It’s not right living in fear like you do.”
“It is our hope that once we raise a Pure we will never have to worry about that fear again.’ Anna admitted. “By choosing us to raise Elena His Excellence gave us a wonderful opportunity to secure out place in the Healer world.”
“Can I ask you something?”
Anna smiled, “Of course.”
“What does it feel like to heal someone?”
The question caused Anna to frown. “I do not understand?”
“Emotionally, how does it feel to know you are healing a mortal?”
Anna thought a moment. “I have never been asked that or for that matter given it thought. I am sure the way I feel must be different that that of a correct Healer. For me, when I heal, it feels…right. I am filled with happiness.” She smiled, “When I healed Claire…” Again her voice trailed off.
“Please tell me.” Casey urged.
Anna thought back to that night long ago. “At first when I found her I was filled with rage. The thought that another mortal had hurt such a beautiful child…I wanted to hunt him down.”
Casey nodded. “Vengeance.”
“Oh, yes.” Anna nodded. “But the feeling that I could erase what he had done, that I could make right the atrocity was much stronger.” Tears sprang to her eyes. “Claire was such a beautiful child and seeing her pain was almost too much to bear. I knew I could undue the wrong and knowing that filled me with such happiness.”
“Marcus told me that Healers were once known as Caretakers.” Casey said softly.
“Really? I did not know that.” She smiled, “I like that term.”
“Me too.” Casey smiled, “I believe that is what Healers really are, what they are meant to be.”
“You have given our world much thought.”
“Oh yes.” Casey nodded, “Believe me I’ve given every aspect of the Healer world a lot of thought. This time I’ve spent with Marcus has given me many opportunities to speak with Healers and Pures. While trying to understand them isn’t easy I believe in some ways I’ve gotten to know some of them better than they know.”
“Gerard told me you bonded with another Pure.”
“Do you know her?”
“I have met Carolyn several times.” Anna explained. “The first time was not long after I had been turned. Jacob told me later that Carolyn had said I was a lovely child and that he should be proud of me.”
“She is very wise.” Casey smiled. “And she was right, Jacob should and I know is, proud of you.”
Anna sighed, “There was been times I have caused him much strife.”
“Had you known the truth about him it would have been easier for you.”
“He did what he believed was best for me. Jacob has always protected me. He knew if the truth was known, that I am wrong, ever came to light, I would be destroyed.”
“Anna, why do you believe the Healer world looks at those who retain their mortal emotions as wrong?”
“It is said that a Healer who retains their mortal emotions is dangerous to our world.”
“Because they believe you are a risk?”
“Yes, mortal emotions can cloud our judgment.”
“Has it ever clouded yours?”
Anna grew silent for several minutes while she considered the question. “I am not sure.’ She finally admitted.
“Have you ever healed anyone you believe you shouldn’t have healed?”
Long buried memories returned. “Yes.’ Anna whispered. “Once I healed someone but only for a short time.” She knew Casey was waiting for her to continue. “Gerard’s grandmother was very sick, she was dying. I used my gift to delay her death.”
Casey had heard the story. “But you really didn’t heal her.”
“No, but what I did was wrong. It is not our place to stop death when we know it is meant to be. My love for Gerard caused me to make a wrong choice.”
“I’m not sure it was wrong.’ Casey said softly. “I believe Healers were given a wonderful gift but untimely if God, or as you say The Supreme Being, has determined it is time for someone to die, they will. Not even a Healer can stop that.”
“So the question always lingers." Anna paused, “Why were Healers created?”
Casey smiled, “Because you are Caretakers, like Guardian Angels. Your work is to aid the Supreme Being in watching over mortals.”
Anna smiled, “That is a lovely thought.”
Casey reached for her hand. “We should bond now before the guys finish their game.” She grinned, “Marcus is gonna win.”
Anna laughed, “Yes, I know. I am sure he is allowing Gerard to believe he has a chance but I do realize Marcus is an expert at the game.” Suddenly her expression changed. “Casey are you sure about this?”
“Very sure.” Casey nodded.
Anna looked into her eyes a moment then gently bit into her arm. It shook slightly as she offered it to Casey.
Casey lifted the arm to her mouth and slowly began to drink Anna’ blood. She was shocked but tried not to let it show. After a few minutes she felt Anna’s other hand stroking her hair. Lifting her head she smiled then offered her arm to Anna.
Anna kept her eyes locked with Casey’s as she bit into her skin. Memories from another time filled her mind. Casey’s blood was just as she remembered Christa’s, it was sweet. It was impossible for Anna not to moan softly. When she knew she had taken enough she forced her mouth to lift.
Casey looked deeply into Anna’s topaz eyes. “Thank you." She whispered. “I needed this more than you know.”
Anna was confused by her words. “You needed this?"
The pure love that was filled Casey made her pull Anna closer. Gently she kissed her lips. Anna wrapped her arms around her.
‘Yes, I needed this to truly understand.” Casey whispered. “This feeling, this pure love, I didn’t truly understand until now. But now I understand what mom meant.”
A tear rolled down Anna’s cheek. “I loved your mother so much.”
“And she loved you.” Casey whispered. Giving Anna one final kiss she sat back. “I’m going to my room now. Could you summon Annie?"
“If you go back downstairs Marcus will know we’ve bonded. Please have Annie tell him that I’m waiting for him in our room.”
“But when he sees you he will know.”
“Yes, he will. But it won’t matter because it’s time.”
Fear caused Anna’s eyes to widen. “Time?”
“Tonight Marcus will turn me. Please let Jacob know once it’s done so he can inform His Excellence.”
Anna broke into tears.
Gently Casey pulled her close. “Don’t cry, Anna. This is a wonderful thing.”
“I am frightened.” Anna whispered. “I do not want to lose you.”
Casey understood her feelings because their bond was so fresh. “You won’t lose me. I know in my heart I will return.” She sighed, “But damn, I wish they didn’t call it the sleep of the dead.”
Anna sat up. “But that is what it is. You will die, Casey.”
“Yes, and when I return I will have the same beautiful gift you have. You just have to have faith.”