The waiting begins
“Sugar, you have to believe she’ll return.” He said softly. “This is what she wanted.”
“Gee, I hate this so much. The pain feels like it did when Christa died.”
“But Christa truly died. Casey is being turned.” Suddenly a thought that never had occurred to him caused him to ask, “When you turned me, is this how it felt?”
Anna lifted her head. ‘I do not understand.”
“I’m just trying to figure this out. I mean is it normal to feel she is gone?”
“Oh.” Anna said softly wiping her eyes. “I understand what you mean. Yes, this feeling is not unusual. When death comes to one we are bound to we feel that death, even if the death is meant to turn the person. I can feel that Casey’s life as a mortal has ended. The feeling is empty and cold.”
“Even though it’s been a while since Marcus and I bonded I can feel his pain.” Gerard admitted. “Not just pain but anger.”
“He is angry because he is afraid.” Anna whispered. “As a Pure feeling fear is unacceptable yet he can not control the emotion. He fears she will not return or if she does she will not love him as she did before.”
“He feels what you felt about me.” Gerard said sadly.
“I had no doubt you would return but yes, I was paralyzed with the fear you would be correct and not love me as before. I know Marcus must realize now what I went through. Sadly that adds guilt to all that he feels.”
“What do we do?” Gerard asked.
“I must inform Jacob.” Anna said slowly moving out of his arms. “He will let His Excellence know Marcus has ended Casey’s mortal life.”
“I hate hearing it said like that.” Gerard said shaking his head.
“But it is what has happened.” Anna said sadly. “If Casey was not Ingredior Utriusque there would be no doubt that she would awaken for the sleep of the dead.”
“But because she is Ingredior Utriusque no one is sure.”
A thought suddenly occurred to him. “I’m holding on to hope that she will come back. But honestly what do you think the chances are that she will be wrong?”
“Marcus is a strong Pure who until he met Casey could not feel mortal love. I fear if she returns she will be correct. I fear that is something Marcus will find difficult to accept even as a Pure.”
“But they have to have discussed this.” Gerard said thinking out loud. “I mean he knew this was coming.”
Anna smiled sadly, “We both know Marcus. When he dislikes a thought he simply ignores it.”
“So why did they come here?” Gerard asked believing since Anna had bonded with Casey she might know the answer.
“While Casey did not admit it to me I believe she chose to be near us. Facing death I believe she wanted to be near those she loves. And of course she also wanted us to be here for Marcus.”
“God, I can’t imagine what he’ll be going through for the next three days.” Gerard stood and began to pace.
“It will be difficult for all of us but yes, you are correct, for Marcus it will seem like an eternity.” She sighed, “Now I must call Jacob.”
“I think you should go to Marcus.” Gerard said slowly.
Anna nodded, “I will but not until morning. Right now I am sure he simply wants to be alone with her.” She stared to leave the room but Gerard caught her arm.
“I need to ask you something. Something I’ve always wondered about but didn’t want to bring up.”
Even after so many years the subject was difficult. “Anna when you turned me…” He paused, “I know you’d never turned anyone before so I guess I just wonder what it felt like.”
Anna glanced away. “I knew I could not stop your death. I could feel it coming. But once it was done, every fear I had ever known paled in comparison to what I felt. I heard your heat stop beating; I saw the light fade from your eyes. I knew I had taken your life as a mortal.” A tear rolled down her cheek.
“Oh Sugar I shouldn’t have asked.” He said pulling her into his arms.
“Gee, I understand why you are asking. As a Healer there are things you want to understand. However remember for me as a wrong Healer I am sure what I experienced was not what it is like for one who is correct.”
He closed his eyes allowing himself to feel his bond with Marcus. “Right now what you just described is what Marcus is feeling.”
“But he is a Pure.” Anna said softly still not believing Marcus could feel mortal emotions as she and Gerard did.
“A Pure who learned how to love like a mortal.” Gerard said sadly. “And believe me, the pain he feels right now is overwhelming.”
“Oh God.” She threw back the covers, slipped from the bed then began to grab her clothing off the floor.
‘What is it? What’s wrong?” Sean asked as he too began to dress.
“It’s Casey.” She answered pulling on her jeans. Suddenly she paused feeling another’s emotions wash over her. “And Anna. I have to go to her. She’s so upset.”
Sean continued dressing. He too knew the Healer he was bound to was distressed.
Annie’s heart was racing with fear. She opened the bedroom door and bolted into the hallway narrowly missing Anna who was walking towards the stairs.
“Anna.” Annie grabbed her arm. “What’s happening?”
Anna glanced over and saw Sean in the doorway. “Gerard is in our bedroom. Go to him.”
Sean nodded. “Of course.” As he passed by Annie he gave her a quick hug.
“Come with me.” Anna said softly taking Annie hand. “I must call Jacob.”
“Anna I’m scared.” Annie’s voice shook as they traveled down the stairs. “What’s happening?”
“You need to be strong.” Anna said leading her over to the sofa. “But I must make this call.”
Annie nodded nervously. Within minutes as she sat listening to Anna’s call she began to cry.
Anna disconnected then pulled Annie into her arms.
“Oh God, I can’t believe she’s really dead.” Annie cried.
“You must listen to me.” Anna said softly. “There are things you need to understand.”
“But Anna.” Annie couldn’t help it she began to cry harder.
Without a second thought Anna bit into the skin of her arm then held it out to the girl. “Drink, it will help.”
Annie was confused and believed Anna wished to bond. She forced herself to wipe her eyes then offer her arm to Anna.
“Annie, I only wish to offer you my blood now.” Anna said using her thumb to wipe away more of her tears.
“Oh.” Annie said slowly. “I thought…”
“My blood will help you understand more clearly.” Anna said gently. “Now drink.”
Annie lifted Anna’s arm and began to gently suck the blood she offered. After a few minutes she forced herself to stop.
“You may take more.” Anna offered.
“Thank you.” Annie said softly as Anna’s blood began to calm her. “But I’m okay now, still scared but…”
“But you are ready to be strong for Casey.” Anna said looking deeply into her eyes. “Because you know that is what she would want.”
“Anna I’m sorry for freaking out.” Annie said looking down. “But I suddenly knew something had happened and I knew it had to do with Casey. And then I could feel that you were upset and I just didn’t know what to do.”
“You were overwhelmed with emotions.” Anna said stroking her cheek. “I understand.”
“Can I know what’s really going on?” Annie whispered.
“Of course. But I am sure that by listening to my phone conversation with Jacob you understand quite a lot.”
“I know that Casey is….” She dropped her head. “She’s gone.”
“She is in what Healers call the sleep of the dead.” When she heard Annie’s sharp intake of breath she hurried on. “Casey believes her place is in the Healers World. It was her deepest wish for Marcus to turn her.”
“But Casey is special.” Annie said slowly hoping the fact that she knew her friend was a Ingredior Utriusque would not upset Anna.
“She told you?” Anna asked.
“When she and Marcus came to me it did come up that Casey was different, special. She said I had so much to deal with that she would explain it later but she never did.” Annie looked down. “I know she is something called Ingredior Utriusque.”
“How do you know this?” Anna asked. When Annie didn’t look up she gently titled her face to look into her eyes. “We both know I could easily make you tell me but I do not what to do that. I am not angry you know I just would like to know who explained to you about Casey.”
“Sean told me.” Annie admitted softly. “Gerard told him and since he didn’t tell him not to tell me he thought it was okay.”
“It is fine that Sean told you.” Anna said nodding, “And do not worry Gerard would not be upset by this. Sean broke no trust.”
“I’m sorry I just didn’t want to get Sean into any trouble.”
Anna smiled, “Because you and he are in love.”
“Oh.” Annie said now realizing that Anna had seen her coming out of Sean’s room.
“Gerard and I have discussed this and we are pleased you and Sean have found happiness together.” Anna said softly.
“I really do love him.” Annie whispered.
“But I was afraid to love him.” Annie explained in a rush needing to get her feeling out in the open. “I was afraid you might think it meant I was not devoted to you.”
“Annie, I do not want you to be devoted to me. I want your friendship just as I wanted your grandmother’s friendship. And never forget she was with me a long time after falling in love with Bob. The love she felt for him changed nothing between us.”
Annie nodded. “I’m sorry”
“You have nothing to be sorry for.” Anna said hugging her tightly. “Now please, tell me what you want to know about Casey. I can feel you are very conflicted.”
“I know that a Ingredior Utriusque has never been turned.”
“That is true and of course that weights heavily on all of our minds.”
“Poor Marcus.” Annie whispered.
“This is very hard for him.”
“Because she is his soul mate.”
Anna nodded. “Yes, she is definitely his soul mate so the thought of losing her for all time is devastating.”
Suddenly Annie sat up straighter, “I believe she will return.”
“Is that what you truly feel or want to believe?” Anna asked looking into her eyes.
“I believe it.” Annie said in a strong voice.
Anna nodded, “Good. Now I need to speak to Gerard.” She started to stand but Annie reached for her arm. “Anna?”
“I love you.” Annie spoke from her heart.
“I love you.” Anna said reaching down to kiss her cheek. “Be strong, we will all get through this.”
“And Casey will be a Healer.” Annie said softly. “Just like you.”
Anna frowned, “Remember to the Healer world that would mean she was wrong.”
“The Healer world is wrong.” Annie said with conviction, “But yeah, I understand what you mean. I will never do anything to jeopardize you and Gerard’s safety.”
“I have complete trust in you.” Anna said. “Just as I had in Claire.”
After Anna had left the room Annie sat lost in thought. Finally as the hour grew late, she stood and slowly made her way back upstairs. Her first thought was to go to Sean’s room but fearing he might still be with Gerard she made her way quietly down the hallway. She was shocked to see the light had been turned on and Sean was sitting on the bed.
“Hey.” He stood and watched as she closed the door.
She rushed into his arms. “It’s okay.” He whispered while caressing her back.
“Gee, told you about Casey?”
“Yeah, he told me.” Sean took her hand and led her over to the bed. “I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”
“I’m scared.” She admitted. “I’m trying to be strong for Casey and Anna but I can’t help it. I mean, she’s lying in there….”
“Dead.” Sean said the word he knew she couldn’t.
A tear rolled down her cheek, “Yeah.”
“I know it’s hard but you have to remember this is what Casey wanted. She loves Marcus and wants to be a Healer. She wants to be a part of his world.”
“I want that for her too.” Annie said softly. She hugged him tightly. “Will you stay with me tonight?”
“Of course.” He smiled. “Can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.”
Once they were snuggled in her bed Annie sighed, “I’m sorry I freaked earlier.”
“Hey, I understood. At the same time you were feeling Anna’s emotions and knew something had happened to Casey I knew something was wrong too.”
“Gerard’s emotions.” Annie whispered.
“Yeah, our bond is strong.” He had to ask, “You aren’t bothered by that, right?”
“Good because what I’m about to say I mean from my heart. I love Gerard and being part of his world, the Healer world means a lot to me. But you will always come first. That’s something I told Gerard earlier.”
‘Uh his exact words were ‘I’m fuckin’ happy you Annie found each other.”
“Anna knows I love you too.”
“And she’s happy for me.” She tightened her arm around him. “I’m happy for me.”
Early morning light crept into the room. Anna had just returned from checking on Elena when Gerard spoke.
“You need to go to him.”
Anna sighed, “I know.”
What he needed to say was hard. “Anna, I know Marcus has done so much for us. He’s hidden our secret and kept us safe for a long time.”
“But this ain’t about gratitude. This is about love. We both belong to him and we both know he’s hurting. Go to him, whatever he needs I’m okay with it.”
“He must feed.” Anna said softly. “Jacob stressed that fact. He said Marcus must remember his place in the Healer world. He can show no weakness.” She went to her husband and he held her tightly. “Before you awoke as a Healer Marcus came to me.”
“I didn’t know that.”
Anna continued, “He gave me his blood knowing I would need its strength. But that was all. I knew how hard it was for him but he understood my love for you so he simply held me.”
“Marcus has a good heart. He is a far better Pure than most I’ve met.”
“Yes, we are lucky to have his protection.”
“And his love.” Gerard said softly.
Anna knocked gently on the door then walked in. Her eyes first went to the bed. Casey was lying in the center dressed in a long white gown. Marcus sat beside her holding her lifeless hand.
“Marcus.” Anna said softly moving to his side.
He refused to look at her. “Just leave me.”
Anna placed her hand on his shoulder. “His Excellence has been informed.”
“I don’t care.” He whispered.
“You must care.” Anna said sadly. “You are a Pure. You are strong.” She was shocked when he turned to her. It was obvious he’d been crying.
“I’ve lost her.” His voice shook.
“No.” Anna shook her head, “She will return.”
Marcus looked back at Casey. “Anna, I’ve turned other’s before. I could sense they would awaken, I could feel it.” His voice grew softer. “I can’t feel anything, she’s gone.”
Anna forced herself to be strong. “It is simply because she is Ingredior Utriusque. That is why it is different.”
He wanted desperately to cling to that hope. “Do you really believe that?”
“Yes.” She sat down next to him. “I do believe that.”
Marcus couldn’t take his eyes off Casey. “Anna, I am afraid.”
“I know.” Anna took his other hand in hers. “But you must fight that fear.”
“Don’t know if I can.” He whispered. “I can’t stop thinking about the sound of her heart beat. I’ll never hear it again.”
Anna couldn’t let him sink any further into despair. “Of course you will. She will learn to make it beat again once she returns.”
“I can’t think.” He whispered, “I’m so fuckin’ confused.”
“Marcus you must let your Pure blood take over. Don’t fight it.”
“My Pure blood hates what I’ve become. It makes me hate myself.”
“Stop.’ Anna said knowing she had to make him gain control. “Stop blaming your blood. It is what you are. Casey loves what you are, never forget that.”
“Why would she love that part of me? I was cold, uncaring. Mortals amused me. They meant nothing to me.”
“I do not believe that for a second. Marcus, I have known you a very long time. Never once did you mistreat a mortal.”
“Casey knew the truth.” He whispered.
Anna was confused, “What truth?”
“That long ago I stopped using my gift to heal.” He forced his eyes away from Casey to met Anna’s. “I have not truly healed a mortal for centuries.”
Anna could not hide her shock. “I had no idea.”
“I have lived among the mortal only taking from them giving nothing back. I hate what I have become. I hate that Casey wanted to be part of my world.”
“Casey wants to be part of your world.’ Anna refused to let him use the past tense. “And she will be. You will teach her what you have forgotten, how to heal.”
Marcus shook his head sadly, “She should have chosen another Pure. One who was worthy of our gifts.”
Anna squeezed his hand gently, “She chose the Pure she loves. That love, Marcus, has already changed you. It has made you question your existence. It has made you a better man. It will make you a better Pure.”
He closed his eyes letting her words touch his soul. “Thank you Annabelle.” He whispered.
She stood still holding his hand. “Come, you must feed now.”
“No, it’s not necessary."
“It is necessary. We both know these next few days will be difficult. Your Pure blood will make you strong to face this. You can not allow yourself to show weakness. This you do for yourself and for her.”
He allowed her to lead him across the room. Once he was seated she lowered herself on to his lap. “Feed Marcus. I know I am a wrong Healer but I believe my blood will help you.”
He stroked her face gently, “Annabelle, you are truly a Healer. You use your gift as I know it was intended.” He smiled sadly, “Besides I told you never to refer to yourself as wrong again.”
“You did.’ Anna smiled then turned her head.
As his fangs sank into her neck she caressed his arms. When he had taken enough he wrapped his arms around her. “I need this." He whispered.
Understanding his words she tightened her arms around him, holding him tightly.
The next few days passed slowly. It was decided that Annie and Sean would go each day to the pottery shop while Anna and Gerard stayed at home. Marcus refused to leave the bedroom were Casey lay.
It was now the morning of the third day since Casey had died. While no one discussed what they hoped would happen tonight it was of course on everyone’s minds.
Sean and Annie had just left the house when Gerard spotted Anna sitting outside in the garden.
“Sugar, where the hell is he?”
Anna sighed, “Jacob and Katherine will arrive soon.”
“Shit, they should have come as soon they knew it had been done. Did you explain to Jacob about Marcus?”
“I did.” Anna nodded, “But pressing council business has prevented them from coming sooner.”
“Fuck council business.” Gerard said sitting down next to her on the stone bench. “Jacob and Marcus have known each other a long time. Marcus needs him.”
“I too and surprised Jacob has not come sooner.” Anna admitted. “I stressed to him that Marcus is beside himself.”
“Beside himself don’t begin to describe him. Shit, I tried to talk to him earlier and fuck, I didn’t know what to say. He just sits there holding her hand.”
“He believes he is willing her to come back to him.” Anna said softly.
“Anna, what the fuck is gonna happen if she don’t?”
“Please do not think that will happen.” Anna said as tears formed in her eyes.
He placed his arm around her. “I’m sorry, Sugar. But I can’t help but think it could happen. I love Ray’s daughter but I can’t help be concerned about all of us. Marcus is a mess.”
Anna turned to look at him. “You are concerned about our safety.”
He couldn’t lie to her. “Look, it’s common knowledge we belong to Marcus. What would happen if he fucks up?”
Anna angrily stood. “How can you think about this?”
“I have to think about this. I have to protect you and Elena. You two are my family and I don’t want anything to jeopardize that. Marcus is not acting as a Pure. We both know that. What if someone other then Jacob and Katherine sees that? It’s not that we could just lose his protection it’s more than that. I love the fucker and don’t want anything to happen to him. I don’t want anything we do or anyone we’re connected to threaten what we have.”
“I love him too.” Anna said as he anger faded. “And I do understand your concern. It is my hope that when Jacob arrives he will be able to make Marcus realize he must once more be the Pure he has always been.” She frowned, “Or always should have been.”
“Should have been?” Gerard repeated. “I don’t understand.”
Anna sat back down deciding to share what had been troubling her since speaking with Marcus that first morning. “Gee, Marcus told me he has not truly healed a mortal for centuries.”
This shocked Gerard. “What?”
“It is true and it is something he deeply regrets.”
“Holy shit.” Gerard said sitting back. “I can’t believe that. Why wouldn’t he use his gift?" It was hard for him to imagine not using the Healers power to help mortals.
“I am not sure. He told me that Casey had realized the truth. I could tell he now regrets his actions.”
“Well not his actions.” Gerard clarified, “He regrets not doing a fucking thing to help mortals.”
Anna touched his arm. “Like you I find it difficult to believe not using our gift. We both understand the satisfying feeling healing brings us. But for whatever reason Marcus has turned his back on that gift.”
“Wait.” Gerard said quickly thinking this information over. “Uh, could he get in trouble for that?”
“For not using his gift?”
“Pures make very few rules for themselves. Actually the rule they do abide by is that they are not to harm mortals. I know of no rule that they must heal, I believe it is simply expected that they do.”
“So why hasn’t he?”
Anna shook her head sadly, “I have no idea.”
“I feel terrible.” Gerard sighed, “All this time I believed Marcus was a strong Pure. I had no idea he obviously has demons he deals with.”
“I know.” Anna said softly. “I feel in some ways I have failed him. He has protected us and yet we did little for him.” She suddenly stood. “Jacob is here.”
Gerard smiled realizing she could sense her Makers arrival. He stood and took her arm. Together they walked back into the house to greet their guests.