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Blood Ties

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Blood Ties

Blood Ties: Prologue

"I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me." ~Carl Jung

Chapter 1


1769, The Kelvin, The Torres Strait, Australia

The Kelvin’s run aground, the keel torn and the tropical storm adding to the damage. There’s not much time left and the main danger now is that the life-boats will sink taking the last of the crew and passengers.

The greatest hazard in these parts is not the weather but the shallow water, and Winona Kirk considers the irony that her husband should have led an expedition to chart this strait of water to prevent future losses, yet here here they are, ship-wrecked on an invisible sand bank.

Soaked through and shivering with cold, she fights back the sobs, knowing that George is wrestling with the sails, fighting to keep the ship upright and provide shelter for the boats against the wind, and to give them the few precious minutes they need to break away. It’s the only way Winona and their unborn child, all of them, will survive.

Twenty five lost already, washed overboard or drowned below decks, and she watches in horror as another wall of water the size of Saint Paul’s hits the life-boat, then George is returning to struggle with the ropes to release it into the sea. His face is chalk white and resigned in the flash of lightening, determined they must live whatever the cost to him. Three boats splintered to the size of match-sticks, two in the water heading away, and hers the last.

She doubles over as the pains almost lift her, her bare feet sliding on slimy boards. No one dares look at her, no one says it, but she knows they blame her, a woman on board caused this by her presence.

“George,” she manages, her voice lost in the moans of the wind, though she knows he cannot hear her. “It’s coming, our baby’s coming…”

The lifeboat hits the water, bashes once against the keel and men spill, then right themselves around her, working oars, shouting to each other, their mouths silent gapes in the howling storm.

The ship’s doctor places a calming hand on her shoulder and guides her to the back of the boat where a rough tarpaulin will act as her birthing bed. But she resists, wanting one more precious moment to look at George. She sees him blinking against the salt water in his eyes, not tears she’s sure of that, and then she mouths, “I love you,” and allows herself to be settled, her last vision of her husband turning, rope in hand before he lashes himself to the wheel. She bears down and screams in pain, unable to fight against this other power of nature, the moment their child should choose to be its first.

Blood Ties: Chapter 1


1790, New Orleans

Leo can tell he’s being watched. He’s certain of it; over the past two days the same tall figure vibrates in his peripheral vision like a mirage, yet each time he looks, the dark blond hair, the rustle of fine clothing, turns to shadow.

He’s beginning to think it’s a by-product of the booze; bourbon, wine, Chartreuse: a self-inflicted poison flooding through him, burying him so as he can barely see his hand before his face. Yet he still can’t forget.

Leo’s unshaven cheeks loll on the whore’s pock-marked jaw, the scars ineptly concealed by arsenic and powder, and his teeth catch the skin of her throat and collar bone. A heady scent of sex, tobacco and stale sweat escape worn velvet when he fumbles drunkenly for her corset, her giggles reverberating through his bones.

She doesn’t slap his hand away, yet admonishes him, and informs Leo he’s not as much a gentleman as he looked at first sight with his fine clothes and fancy words. Leo’s not one to disagree; those days are behind him. He exists in the gutter now, as much a vagabond and a nobody as the rest of the cut-throats and wastrels haunting the docks in the dead of night.

He pretends he doesn’t understand her hybrid mix of French and Creole; instead he huffs and presses her hard against the wall, fumbling through the layers of her skirts, fingers numbed by alcohol clasping at her in as much of an effort to keep himself upright as to gain access to more skin, the need to hide and to feel warring in him still.

The girl suddenly grows rigid against him, chocolate eyes wide and unblinking, fixed on a point over Leo’s shoulder. She draws a sharp breath, hissing through her teeth. He feels a prickle of warning in his scalp, then adrenaline jerks through his limbs and he recoils from her, but without the support of her legs clamped around his waist, he struggles to stay on his feet.

He doesn’t dare turn lest he catch sight of whoever, or whatever, might have materialized in the thready mist, unusually cool air doing little to help the bourbon fever in his skin. The sensation he’s being watched, hunted, grows more intense but, he can’t see so good anymore, and when he tries to speak, the words leak from his mouth in slow motion, the sound of a windup toy in its death throes.

“Some other time, ma'am.” Leo attempts a half bow, the movement flooding his head with weight enough to take him to the bottom of the Mississippi. “I have a more pressing… engagement elsewhere.” A bed, anywhere he can pass out until the coordination needed to raise a glass to his lips returns.

Leo straightens awkwardly, pushes long hair from his eyes with trembling fingers, releasing a faint smell of vomit as he does so. It’s hardly surprising – his stomach’s raw, stripped of its contents countless times since…and Leonard almost quashes the image, the one of his father’s deathlike paleness, of blood on pressed cotton, of eye sockets deepened by months of pain, and how David McCoy begged for his end. How the hallucinations plagued and terrified him even as the overdose of opium – at Leo’s hand - eased the poor wretch to his end.

A sob shakes Leo to his boots when he thinks of how far he’s fallen. Once he was a healer, a doctor, his role in life to cheat death. Damn mess he made of that, Leo thinks bitterly for the hundredth time since he stumbled from his bed at nightfall. His murdering heart was given no chance to heal when, six months after David passed, Leo received just punishment for his crime, the loss of his wife in child birth.

All the love he once felt is now focused on the bottle. Leo craves booze; anything to help him forget, obliterate this, this remembering, until sleep and or inebriated unconsciousness claim him.


Leo’s head jerks and he growls at the whore’s look of compassion. Human kindness, pity, care for others a fucking weakness. This is where they’ve got him: broken, bent and spineless under harsh moonlight in a world where suffering always takes the good ones.

He braces his hands on his knees, staggers, and the whore holds under his arms, huffs him up. “Monsieur, you mus’ come with me, is not safe here for someone like you.” She glances over his shoulder again, narrows her eyes then looks back into his soul again. Too kind, too caring.

He wants to explain he can speak French, she doesn’t need to… then he freezes when he feels eyes boring into him, when cold spice and a decaying floral aroma flood his nostrils. He shivers, hears a sniff at the back of his neck and cool lips trailing a hair’s whisper from his clammy skin.

His head jolts again and he crumples to the dirt at the same time as a muffled scream, a gurgle of terror erupt from the whore’s painted lips.

At first he can’t move, even as his mind screams for him to run and save himself, held in place by an invisible force like clambering thorn covered vines, wrapped around his limbs.

The staccato beat of his heart and the fire coursing through his cock break through the fog in Leo’s mind and bring him momentarily to his senses, giving him the strength to shake off the spell which binds him.

Head spinning, he shakily pushes himself up and stumbles half a dozen paces past the whore’s motionless, supine form. He moans and scrubs a shaky hand across his face in a pathetic attempt to erase the image of her lifeless eyes staring obscenely, of her throat torn and leaking blood as if a wolf had feasted on her, the gold coin he gave her fallen to the dirt.

He feels a chill touch to his heart, frosty fingers trailing down the back of his neck, twisting in his hair pulling his head back and exposing his throat, then easing away his shirt. A siren’s voice, bourbon sweet and alluring, seductive like death itself, seeps into his mind and blankets his thoughts and protestations.

You want this? Choose me, Sawbones, choose life.


Then all is blackness.




When Leo wakes, he fancies cool fingers stroke his eyebrows and trace the line of his jaw; he can smell flowers, cloying and sweet. He lifts his hand to his eyes as if batting away a stubborn mosquito, then when his hand drops to the bed-clothes and slides against satin, he panics, thinking he’s in a coffin. His eyes shoot open, to see he’s in a sumptuous room. He remains still, taking stock of his surroundings, gaze skittering from shadows dancing on avocado green walls, to the glow of candle light burning in mirrors, and playing against the chandelier above the bed.

He struggles to sit, but he’s overcome with nausea, so collapses back into the womb of pillows and cool cotton at his head, groaning in discomfort.

He can hear a piano sonata playing in a room below him and recognizes the tune, a Mozart adagio, tragic and beautiful, having him wonder if he is indeed present at his own wake. He burrows deep into the pillows, wanting to muffle the music and even the slow tic of the clock nearby; all sound is somehow too abrasive and painful to his ears. His face is awash with perspiration as he struggles to escape the oppressive volume of crackling wood in the grate, even the rumble of carriage wheels in the street.

He wonders at how his senses seem heightened, as if he’s escaped death, the mundane becoming extraordinary and newly appreciated, when everything was almost snatched from him on the docks. And he’s surprised this is a relief when he thought that all he wanted was to die.

His scalp prickles like needles alerting him to a presence in the room; he knows that when he looks he’ll see those eyes, belonging to whomever it is who’s been pursuing him. “Where the hell am I?” he manages to say.

“You’re safe,” comes a voice, quiet and modulated, from his right.

When Leo turns his head, he’s met with glittering blue, and a smirk which fills him with such instant irritation he has to close his eyes, breathe deep, and fight the instinct to flee.

“Who the hell are you? I didn’t ask to be safe, nor to be brought here.” It’s true, Leo’s courted death, he realizes now; he wanted to die, too cowardly to do it by his own hand, so he sought out darkness and danger among the cut throats in the inns and docks – searching for an end to his pain.

Leo’s self-professed ‘savior’ is a composed, handsome youth in his early twenties, wearing a slate gray velvet frock coat and britches. His hair is tied elegantly at the nape, legs in white stockings and wearing patent shoes, the buckles highly polished and gleaming in the warm light of the candelabra. But there is something disquieting about him, about his appearance and manner, in the way he is regarding Leo proprietorially.

“You cheated death. I saw that whore’s pimp in the shadows, knife in hand, ready to cut out your heart for a few gold coins,” the youth says with a hint of amusement.

Leo does not dare ask what became of the pimp, and he remembers the poor woman’s dull stare where she fell, how her throat had been savaged by an animal. His instincts scream for him to stand, telling him to run as if his unwanted host had something to do with that heinous crime.

Then the youth speaks again, a simple command which leaves Leo overwhelmed with unaccountable weariness and unable to move, let alone run.

“Rest…” spoken softly but with unmistakable authority, so Leo must obey. It’s as if the mattress itself is moved to obedience when it appears to sag beneath him and hold him like fly paper. Leo’s eyes fall shut again, peaceful sleep beckoning, and he can no more fight the inevitable than a drowning man can the weight of one hundred fathoms above him.

When the faintest scent of cut flowers wafts past Leo’s nostrils, he wakens again and his eyes open wide, startled by the sudden close presence. The youth is leaning over him, his face in shadow, and a corona of gold framing his head. He speaks close to Leo’s ear, yet he can feel no breath or warmth.

“Stay, Sawbones.”

In the blink of an eye, where once he was close, now the youth has returned to his chair beside the bed sitting, legs crossed and straight-backed, as if he had never moved, as if Leo had imagined him so close moments ago. The unnatural suddenness, the speed of his movements, like the dart of a humming bird, have Leo thinking he is in the presence of a sorcerer.

And if there is magic here, it surely comes from the youth’s eyes. His pupils are large and rimmed in blue, making the centers appear blacker than the darkest night, and they contract and grow wide again while he gazes upon Leo. Fear pulses through him, alerting Leo that he needs to escape, that he must somehow force himself to blink and shake off the hypnotic gaze which pins him in place, the intent of a predator regarding its prey with consummate calm.

“What the hell is this? Why am I in bed?” Leo scans the room, spies a door ajar, and wonders whether he should run now, or wait for a more opportune moment.

He should feel a throbbing in his temples from the drink, should be paying for his excesses; instead he feels clear headed and alert, and a curious energy, as if the day before never happened.

The youth contemplates him, his smirk becoming broader by the minute, and Leo feels conflicting irritation, disdain, disapproval and something drawing him to the man – an almost tangible force, so his emotions boil up to the surface, making him sweat and breathe heavily. He becomes convinced, while he examines the handsome face before him, that his actions are no longer his own, that he is somehow being compelled and molded by the man before him. He appears ordinary but on closer inspection, the pale skin is almost translucent; it’s a trick of the light no doubt, but Leo is sure he can make out the veins at his throat, adding to the sense that he is not in the presence of an ordinary being.

“Well, are you going to goddamn-well answer me?” he demands finally, ill-humor winning out as ever when he speaks.

The youth uncrosses his legs and rubs his chin with a flutter of ivory lace at his wrist.

“You can stand now, if you’ve a mind to.” He looks Leo up and down, adding to the feeling of mild violation, as if he’s been recently bought and the youth’s inspecting his purchase. His cheeks burn at the thought and, to his fury, his cock pulses. Why should his body be crying desire when he has never felt such a perverse reaction in the presence of a man? It’s yet more evidence that he is no longer entirely master of his own will, that he is somehow being compelled to respond in ways he would not were he free.

Yet he can move a little. He begins to lower the sheets until he is startled to realize he is dressed in only a night-shirt, and where the cotton is bunched around his waist he sees that his thighs are covered in light bruises and the shirt sticks to his belly as if he has experienced ejaculation in his sleep; and though this cannot be possible, he is sure the youth had something to do with this. Flushing with shame and incomprehension, he makes to wrap the sheet around himself, cursing under his breath. Then his hand moves to his throat in reaction to a tingle of pain and he feels a mild swelling – now, he must run now.

However, before he can stand, he’s thrown against the head board by an invisible force, a blast of cool scented air which leaves him winded and stunned into immobility. Before he can take another ragged breath, the youth is beside him again, swift and silent as death.

“What are you?” Leo manages to stutter.

Rose petal pink lips hover close to his, and Leo trembles, watching transfixed at how the youth’s tongue flickers to moisten his lower lip, afraid to look away. The depth of those eyes fill Leo’s field of vision, as if he’s fallen off the side of a great, becalmed ship into a vast, warm ocean. His eyes are hypnotic and Leo knows now for certain he is not in the presence of a man, but a devil waiting to take his soul. It must be so for when, a moment ago, he imagined the youth rolling towards him like a giant wave, now, in a blink, he is returned to his seat, his feet up on the bed, hands braced behind his head.

He ignores Leo’s question and says instead, “You’re just like your father, you know that?” His slim calves flex as he rotates an ankle idly.

“My father? How do you know of him, boy?” it’s almost a whisper. The question’s such a surprise, that Leo’s overwhelmed by curiosity, his fear subsiding a little, so he sags back onto the bed, pulling the sheets tighter around himself. He can see no clothing anywhere in the room and for now he will have to bide his time. Perhaps talking is the best thing – the youth appears to be happy enough in conversation, and perhaps Leo’s suspicions that he has been violated in his sleep are ill-founded, his reason scarred by alcohol and grief till he thinks everyone means him harm. Perhaps he fell on the dockside, too drunk to register his injuries until now. It would not be the first time.

“I’m not a boy, Leonard McCoy.”

“You sure look like one to me…”

The youth’s feet hit the floor and he sits up straight in the high backed chair. Two long fingers play with the lace at his sleeve while he considers his answer and he can’t seem to take his infernal eyes off Leo for a goddamn second. Finally, he steeples his fingers, then drops them to his thighs.

“Your father saved my life. He gave me life.” His eyebrows are thick and dark under his dark-blond hair and they draw together now.

It’s a simple statement and Leo scrunches his eyes closed, perhaps to force back tears while also wishing this man child be gone when he opens them. When he looks up, he sees that his companion’s eyes are downcast, framed by dark lashes; he seems younger, less smug and the vibrant smile has disappeared.

“What in god’s name do you mean by that?” Leo harshes out.

“Perhaps if I tell you my name…”

“Well tell me, damn it; why the mystery?”

“Mystery,” the youth echoes thoughtfully. There is more mystery in this world than you can conceive of.” He runs his thumb across his lower lip and Leo fancies his teeth gleam in the candlelight like glass.

“No doubt, you fool, but tell me your name.”


Ah. He heard his father talk often of the Kirks; until recently he’d kept a correspondence up with the surviving family.

His father often regaled visitors to their home with tales of the ship-wreck he endured on the Torres Strait, of how they thought all was lost until they were discovered, and brought home from that remote part of the world, he to Atlanta and the Kirks to settle in Iowa. He remembers how, as a boy, he thought he’d lost his father; he was but two years old when David was believed dead, but Leo was not too young to forget the sense of loss in his household, nor the joy when his father finally returned, six years later, thin and wild-looking after his ordeal.

And now he’s lost him again.

And Leo’s brought back to the moment he held the glass of laudanum and brandy to his father’s lips, the dose lethal, guaranteed to send him to eternal sleep in minutes, and he convinced himself it was the act of a devoted son; he could have pulled back, he could have said no, instead Leo drove forward. This is why he drinks; he lost his strength that day, the desire for forward momentum in his life dying with David, and finally killed off when his wife and un-born child were taken less than six months later. And now, simply by stating his name, this man has thrown feelings at him that Leo thought he’d lost for good: curiosity, anger and giving a damn – right back in his face.

Leo frowns, and endeavors to compose himself. He runs a hand through his hair and searches for the ribbon there, loosens it then reties his thick, annoying, womanly locks and folds his arms.

“So, you lost your father too.” His voice is gruff, unable to hide the feeling in his throat.

George Kirk’s son nods. Then he brightens, jumps to his feet and slaps Leo’s arm. “Still, it would take more than losing a father to crush the spirit of one James Tiberius Kirk.” The smile is false; Leo doesn’t know Kirk but already he feels he can read him and he fancies there’s a shadow of uncharacteristic insecurity that passes across his face. “And my friends call me James,” he finishes with a coy eyebrow arch.

“Well, I’m not your friend, Kirk,” Leo says pointedly.

“Yes, ‘friend’ seems a little, how shall I put it? Prosaic – for what we already are to each other.”

The spot on Leo’s neck itches at these words and he wishes he had a mirror to examine the slightly swollen skin he can feel there. He recalls the mess concealed by the sheet and for the first time he thinks he remembers: there’s an after image, as if he’s gazed upon the sun – a memory of having been, indeed, touched by this youth (at least in his dreams), of being kissed and held down by him. Kirk’s words: ‘what we are to each other’, fill him with an inexplicably comforting yet terrifying sense of being owned. He cannot explain why this feels fitting, since it goes against everything he knows to be right, against all decent behavior.

He raises his knees, bunching the sheet to conceal his arousal, and attempts to speak as if his being semi-naked in a room with a man he’s never met before, a man who is as likely his captor than his savior, is not something to be remarked upon. After all, if he is wrong, if it was just a dream, how can he explain himself, how can he even broach such a vile subject?

“My father spoke of your family, yes.” It is a fair attempt at a casual tone, most irritation purged from his voice.

“We didn’t visit, although my mother spoke of him often too,” Kirk smiles, his tongue chasing his words, disappearing back behind his teeth, making Leo’s breath hitch in his throat. Leo tracks the movement of Kirk’s fingers as he stands and loosens his cravat and steps towards him. “Although I saw him once, just before he died.”

Saw him? What do you mean, Kirk? I was by his side night and day, what did you do, fly through a window?” Leo snorts at the thought. He scans the room again for some clothing, a robe at the very least he can cover himself up with.

“There isn’t one, I made sure of that,” Kirk says.

“Isn’t what?”

“A robe.” That goddamn smirk again.

“How did you…?” Leo’s certain he didn’t say it out loud and he feels the blood drain from his face, wondering if Kirk is, perhaps, a clever showman rather than a supernatural being. Indeed, he looks like a dark angel: hair golden, face partly in shadow, unlike an ordinary man...but it cannot be; he’s thinking like a church-going, superstitious old woman, not a scientist, the medic he is, the man who explains everything with reason. And where science does not have the answers now, Leo believes that one day, always, it will provide them.

But Kirk seems determined to keep him in a state of confusion.“I read your thoughts,” Kirk says with a casual tone more appropriate when examining clouds and remarking on the possibility of a storm.

“You’re an idiot.”

“Your father was the idiot, Bones. I could have saved him.” Kirk’s voice rises in volume, and it might as well be a lion’s roar for how it assaults Leo’s eardrums. He has the look of a hawk waiting to launch itself for the kill, eyes glittering, menacing, like he wants to hurt something. A candle stutters and spits in the candelabra above them, then goes out with a sigh.

Though Leo is ice cold with fear, again he can’t drag his eyes from Kirk’s face, utterly in his thrall, unable to speak when, to his horror, he sees that his captor’s forehead has grown in size, and his eyes seemingly glow gold with anger. And though his rational mind struggles to make sense of the transformation, how it must be a trick of the light, fever perverting his vision, Leo believes that this is a demon, but a young one who’s hold over him is intermittent, for how else can he explain how one moment he can move, another he can’t?

He feels the tie of Kirk’s compulsion over him loosen a little so he can speak and is able to shift in the bed.

“How? How in hell’s name would a jumped up schoolboy expect to save a man dying of the plague?” he says, some part of him wondering if it is indeed sensible to challenge such a creature, but then Leo could never stay his mouth. Yet despite the demonic appearance, he can feel in his bones that Kirk would not cause him harm, that while he has him here against his will, he can be reasoned with.

“But he didn’t die of the plague, did he, Bones? We know how he died, you and me, although your mother poor Eleanor, handsome woman, thinks David gave up the ghost in his sleep.”

Leo shakes with sudden rage and shame, and the need to punch that smug face, take away this boy’s confidence and sassiness, in the same way he’s had his own amputated and dashed by loss and death. “He…I…”

“You like to play God, you medics, taking away and giving life at whim, like supernatural beings.”

“I don’t damned well like it, well that’s not why I do this; I just, it’s who I am, dammit. I fix people, I’m a doctor…”

Kirk watches him, his eyes narrowed, but expression impassive as he listens, face returned to normal...perhaps Leo did imagine it after all. Perhaps he has lost his reason and faces a lifetime in an asylum.

“I wasn’t able to save him, he was dying, he…” Leo’s voice breaks as he recalls the papery feel of his father’s skin when he held his hand, the light fading in his eyes. “He asked me; how could he fucking ask me?”

“How could you say no?” Kirk’s voice is a probing whisper; he’s closer, and Leo feels the mattress shift under his weight. Leo backs up instinctively and turns his head away, even as he hungrily breathes in the scent of cloves, of wild water, of… “You always want to help, don’t you, Leo, and it’s a strange world we live in when helping involves killing...”

Somehow Leo struggles to his feet so he towers above Kirk, his limbs tangling in the sheets. They drop to his ankles when he swings his arm back and socks Kirk hard in the face. It’s been many years since he boxed and damn it feels good to hurt for once: inflicting pain can never be a disappointment, so much easier than taking it away.

Kirk half slips off the bed and manages to right himself. And to add to Leo’s fury he chuckles and rubs his hand across his jaw, leaving a smear of blood across his chin from the split lip. Leo flexes his fingers, shaking his hand to get some feeling back.

“What in the name of God’s so funny?” He looks down at Kirk’s smirking, annoyingly handsome face, and notices he’s not as blemish free as he’d first thought: there’s a slight scarring to his jaw, a weaker left eye, maybe.

Leo feels a cool touch to his thigh and he glances down to see white fingers, translucent nails, resting on his skin. His eyes catch Kirk’s: his pupils are wide and black, with a golden tinge to them, encircled by aquatic blue as if the sun itself had reversed into darkness. They widen even as Leo stares into their depths and he finds he cannot look away, cannot deny that he wants his touch, though he is a man, and this is wrong, perverse, and he will be damned for it. Truly he has been spellbound by this incubus who has found some dark part of him, unearthed a desire he did not believe was possible in a man of standing like himself.

“What are you doing?” he manages to ask, mouth dry yet not moving away despite the magnetic pull on him easing a little; he admits he is unwilling to shrug off the sure touch.

He feels the slide of Kirk’s clothing against the length of his body as he stands, stretching to his full height, the heels of his shoes making him two hand spans taller than Leo in his bare feet.

“I’m doing,” Kirk says, leaning close, hot house breath on Leo’s cheek, settling on his skin, “exactly what you want me to.”

As if to test that he has free will still, Leo moves and places his hands on Kirk’s shoulders; he pushes him away a little and cants his head so he can scan Kirk’s face, purposefully avoiding his eyes, for it is from here the chains on his reason come forth, he knows that now. He can feel Kirk’s hand still at his thigh and, to his mild horror, his own, unexpected erection bobbing against the cotton of his night-shirt.

“But I don’t know what I want you to do,” Leo exclaims when he feels Kirk’s other hand slide under his nightshirt, around to the small of his back, stroking the swell of his buttocks.
Part of him still has the strength to fight this breach of propriety, this miscreant with no respect for social mores nor decency – yet Leo leans in to the touch and Kirk smiles knowingly, continuing to stroke his skin, to touch him in ways no one other than a whore has done before.

Then he notices and inhales sharply; the cut on Kirk’s lip has entirely disappeared and healed. At the same time, he realizes that Kirk’s chest does not rise and fall in a normal rhythm although he appears to breathe sporadically. He notices too how Kirk’s teeth are gleaming, whiter than sun-bleached bone and his canines are longer than they were, like a wolf’s; surely he has woken into a dark fairy-tale.

Kirk is not held back by any doubt over whether two men should touch in this manner; words like ‘sin’ and ‘wrong’ apparently have no hold over him. Eyes like a flame, he unlaces Leo’s nightshirt, pulls it over his head and tosses it onto the bed.

Leo does not move nor resist, burning with fearful desire himself, caught like an insect, but he realizes with a tremble, willingly so. And perhaps Kirk is indeed right, he is able to read Leo’s thoughts, for his dark lashes flutter demurely and he nods slightly then leans in to press his lips to Leo's. Strong hands pull him close, the ruffle on his shirt rubbing at Leo's chest, the lace of his sleeves dragging across super-sensitive, naked skin.

It’s a liberation; Leo realizes he's never felt so alive. There’s an acuity to his senses as if he's imbibed a dangerous potion which makes him able to smell everything: the cologne on Kirk's neck, the wick of every candle in the room, his own goddamn skin even; and the underlying musky note of arousal from both of them. Perhaps it's the contrast between his near constant inebriated state over the past few months since he abandoned his practice and fled to New Orleans, to run into the arms of whores and gamblers; whatever the reason, now he feels like a man breaking the surface of water just as he feared his lungs would give out.

"I did this to you," Kirk growls into Leo's hair as if, yet again, he's reading his thoughts. "Igave you this. If you stay with me, let me heal you, you will always feel everything, hear the slightest sound, the grate of a rat's teeth against wood in a faraway room, the flutter of a bird's wing above you, the slightest shift of a building; you will know everything, taste everything, and understand what it is to be truly live like a god, not a mortal man."

Kirk's fingers tighten on Leo's limbs as if he's holding him up from collapsing back on the bed; and it's true, he's lost all strength and desire to resist. As if some force was dragging each cell in his body and soul towards a flame, to burn and consume him.

"I don't... don't want this, " he manages to growl, even as Kirk's fingers run down his belly to tease at the hairs at its base. He feels a sweet breath on his neck; it holds the scent of forests and rivers, not of a man. Leo knows he should feel afraid but all he feels is acceptance, a pit of fire in his belly and a sudden surge of animation so that he can take control of himself, not to run away, but to dive into this wickedness. But if this is so wrong, why does it feel so right? So he doesn’t shrug off Kirk’s advances, instead twisting one leg behind Kirk's britches and runs the arch of his foot up a muscled calf.

Kirk continues in his exploration of Leo's neck with his tongue, little moans and growls punctuating each touch, and the gentle administrations become stronger, more insistent. His teeth scour Leo's skin while he continues to tease with cool fingers at Leo's belly, then the tops of his thighs so that, to his own surprise, Leo grinds out irritably, "Touch me, dammit, touch me!" All doubt burned away by the sensations welling through him, a forest fire, a mortification of his flesh, coursing through his skin and belly and cock, laying waste to any resistance, leaving him to rise from the ashes anew.

With an animal growl, Kirk responds by turning him about and throwing him onto the bed sending a host of candle flames into a flicker, an external manifestation of the waves of want and need running through Leo’s every fiber.

He doesn’t dare glance down at his cock, too afraid of the reality of his sudden, unexpected desire, but at the same time unwilling to give up this touch which has him arching off the bed in anticipation.

Leo takes Kirk's wrist and pulls him forward so he sprawls, still fully clothed, on top of him, the fabric making him sigh with lust and annoyance, when all he wants is skin and tongue and teeth.

Kirk's hair is loose and they struggle for dominance as Leo twists his fingers in its softness, using the grip to drag their mouths closer. Kirk's mouth is insistent and his lips hungry as he searches for Leo's tongue with his own and draws him in, sucking on it and moaning with an air of desperation which surprises Leo.

"Fuck, so beautiful, " Kirk groans, taking a moment to contemplate Leo's burning face, "You will look magnificent at my side, we'll be the envy of the the world and it will be ours for the taking." Then before Leo can ask him what the hell he means, Kirk is fumbling at his fly and guiding his erection into Leo's hand.

His cock is long and pale and smooth, the tip moist and pink with arousal. Leo gasps and pulls it flush with his own and Kirk leans up on his arms so he can watch as Leo manipulates the two together, their moans filling the room. He locks eyes with Kirk who collapses onto him, flattens him to the bed and rolls his hips against Leo's while peppering his face with wet, hot kisses.

Then some sense struggles to the forefront of the clouds in Leo's mind and the fire in his loins. He remembers what Kirk said to him earlier. "What do you mean, you did this to me? Did what?"

"Remember how you were near collapse on that dock, Bones, ready for any pimp or rat to take you apart; I picked you up, healed you and brought you here."

Leo loosens his grip, trying to push Kirk away so he can think. "Healed me, how? What are you talking about, I'm not, I wasn't sick."

"You were drunk, Bones, drunker than any man has a right to be and still walk. You were sick of life, the greatest gift of all, and you'd lost all sense of self-preservation; so when I saw you on the point of collapse, I gave you my blood."

Leo stiffens. “What blood? What the hell, I’m not a fucking bat and how…?"

"The tiniest drop is like a thousand nights sleep, the most potent aphrodisiac, the answer to all life's questions. It’s my gift to you." He kisses Leo’s shoulders, covering the moles one by one with reverent kisses.

"You're out of your mind, that's not possible." Leo shakes his head, looking up at the wanton figure before him who insists on confounding him more with every word and action.

Kirk sits back on his heels, his cock jutting out before him, and raises his thumb to his mouth, shaking free the lace cuff so Leo can see. He presses the pad of his thumb to a long canine, and when he pulls it away, Leo can make out the darkest droplet of blood sitting on the porcelain skin.

"I did this," Kirk guides his thumb to Leo's lips and frowning nods. "Take it; I've not given it to any other; this is a gift, this is life."

Leo huffs and shakes his head, twisting his fingers in the sheets. "I'm not an animal." he says.

"Neither am I, nor human as you understand it." Kirk forces his thumb gently between Leo's lips so it touches the tip of his tongue, and Leo grabs his wrist, vacillates for half a breath, aroused beyond comprehension. He does not know why he feels he must do it; he’s sure Kirk is controlling him, compelling him, but do it he must. He holds Kirk steady and allows his thumb to enter fully into the warmth of his mouth.

He cannot describe the taste, it's like all the fine wines he's ever tasted yet none of them, like absinthe in its scent, yet unlike it; one droplet feels like an entire meal inside him, and he's satisfied and hungry all at once.

Kirk hisses with arousal at the sight, and watches him through hooded eyes. For the first time, it crosses Leo’s mind that the reverence and adoration with which Kirk looks at him is as if he’s under a spell of his own.

Leo breathes deep the faint scent of lilies which seems to accompany this alluring demon; he closes his eyes, sucks and sucks and allows the sensations to ripple through him, the droplet of Kirk's blood like heated oil under his skin. He gasps in surprise as Kirk takes his cock in his hand and clasps it against his again, their limbs tangling awkwardly around each other.

When Leo comes, it hurts, the intensity of feeling turning him inside out, eviscerating him so he's surprised he doesn’t see an actual wound on his belly once his breath returns. He sees that Kirk too has ejaculated all over his stomach and chest and he wonders why this does not fill him with disgust.

Kirk smirks at Leo and his eyes glitter. "Magic," he grins, "and you're a man of science, how do you explain this?"

Leo cannot speak for some minutes, too loosened and satiated – magic indeed that he should be lying with a man and it feels like the most natural, fitting thing in the world. He sighs as Kirk’s hand strokes his face and brow, a look of fear passing across his features as if he too suspects this must be a dream from which they will soon awake.

Leo licks at the cool fingers then takes Kirk’s wrist so he can lower his hand, unable to take much more sensation.

"And this was what you offered my father? Your blood?"

"Well, not only, " Kirk says, looking to the side. He jumps up and tucks his cock back into his clothing, staring at Leo intently all the while. "I have to leave, it's almost dawn."

"Why?" He's loose and sticky and has a thousand questions, all fear and doubt gone.

Kirk sighs and shrugs, "I have a great deal to explain, Bones, but I'm not going away. I'll come back if you want me?" He frowns and again, Leo is struck by how young he looks. "We can be together," Kirk adds mildly, turning to the window and looking towards the street.

He straightens his jacket, fiddles with the cuffs of his shirt again and leans over Leo, passing his hand under his neck and angling his head so he can lean in and kiss him. His touch is gentle, tender, as his tongue sweeps across Leo’s, leaving the impression of himself for Leo to hold onto until their next meeting. Leo sighs raggedly suddenly fearful Kirk will not return, though he would not admit it for all the gold in the New World. Kirk looks at him fondly and brushes a stray lock of hair from Leo’s eyes. “Now sleep. You will need to recover your strength back.”

"I don't understand any of this, " Leo breathes when they part, feeling an irritating sense of missing this strange creature even when Kirk's still standing before him.

“We’ll talk tonight.”




Leo forces his eyes open and sees a youth with curls like cupid leaning over him.

“Who the hell are you?” He covers his eyes to shield them from the sunshine streaming through the window.

“I am Pavel,” he says with a nod, his accent foreign, Russian perhaps, a certain pride in his tone. “My master instructs me to assist you with your every need.” He cants his head and Leo sees abrasions on his throat, twin pin-pricks as if he has been bitten. The medic in him, so long subsumed, rises with long-unexperienced concern for another.

“Are you hurt boy? What’s this on your neck?” Leo sits up, reaching for the youth’s skin, but he steps back shaking his head.

“I am not injured, sir, I am marked.”

“Marked?” Leo reaches for a velvet robe on the chair beside the bed and searches the room for signs of Kirk. “What marked you? Sounds to me like you’re a slave not a free man.”

“We are in La Nouvelle-Orléans where there are many kinds of slaves and freedmen too. If this is slavery, I give it freely,” Pavel says with a small smile, stepping away from the bed and turning his back so Leo can cover himself. “You wish I should draw you a bath? You will need to be prepared for our master.”

Leo blushes. “No man is my master, Pavel.” Even as he says the words, he feels a flicker of want at the memory of the night before. He ties the robe around himself and steps to the window. It’s a warm day and the street is busy with everyday people going about their business, all, he thinks, oblivious to the strange goings on in the town house they pass by. “ Nevertheless, I would appreciate a bath, thank you.”

Pavel dips his head and makes for the door.

Leo calls after him. “Are we alone in this house?”

“Yes, sir, until tonight when the master... returns. He may bring guests with him.” Pavel extends his hand to pull the door open and as his sleeve falls away, Leo sees more marks on his wrist, and he looks away quickly lest Pavel sees he’s noticed. The marks bring back the memory of Kirk’s teeth on him and he flushes, feels himself hardening, wondering if Pavel experiences the same with his master. He feels an unaccountable jealousy at this thought, disliking the idea he might be part of a collection of playthings.

“Pavel, am I free to go?”

Pavel looks at him knowingly. He indicates the outside world with a gesture towards the noise of carriages and cries from traders in the street. “The only thing that keeps you in this house is yourself, doctor. You may leave and if you do, Mr. Kirk has given me instruction to allow it.”

“How do you know I used to be a doctor?” He has told no one of it since he arrived here.

“Mr. Kirk,” Pavel says with a bright eyed smile.

Leo realizes that the answer to most questions he will ask from now on, at least as long as he stays a willing captive in this place, will be the same – Mr. Kirk.


After his bath, Leo eats a light brunch of sweet black coffee, fresh figs and pecans, and molasses topped cornbread; then he takes up Pavel’s invitation to explore the house.

It is but a few years old, modern and built in the latest Spanish style, the colony having been taken from the French for many years now, and the original simple, wooden houses lost in the great fire being replaced with those of brick, decorated with elaborate ironwork after the latest fashion.

Walking across a courtyard, flanked by balconies, Leo’s heels click against the brick paving. They pass a simple fountain, three urns, one on top of the other, with a soothing flow of water spilling into a pool covered in flowering lilies, and surrounded by terracotta pots.

He brushes a rosemary bush with his hand as he passes, bringing the scent close to his nose, inhaling its spice as he follows Pavel to a metal staircase to one side. It leads to the roof top, to a large terrace where there is a dome with just space enough for the two of them to step inside. It is a small observatory, the telescope an indication that Kirk must be very wealthy to afford such luxuries. It’s also evidence that Pavel is a permanent resident in the the house since he becomes particularly animated when Leo rests his hand on the instrument, and bends his head to look at the sky as the evening draws close.

“I hope one day we will build wessels that can carry us to the stars as ships brought us to the New World!” His eyes shine at the thought.

Leo quirks an eyebrow, humoring him. “Yeah, well, stranger things have happened, son.”

“I am not your son.” Pavel shrugs his shoulders, frowning and waves his hand towards the door. “We leave now, thank you.” Leo’s inadvertently offended him and he sighs though he makes no attempt to back track – while he may feel re-born and remarkably light considering his experiences, he resists an attempt to appease the boy, unsure whether he should trust him.

He follows Pavel through the elegant mansion in silence, listening to his chatter as they traverse long, lantern-lit corridors and into rooms that are a feast of bright, tropical color – such as the sumptuous dining-room with its mango-colored walls – so different from the classic style of the Atlanta homes he’s used to. They reach the picture room and he discovers that Kirk’s quite the magpie, not paying full attention as Pavel points to various portraits on the walls, pieces of ‘pwiceless’ furniture and cabinets packed with porcelain figures.

It is around this time that he begins to feel a hunger, an emptiness which is curious since he ate a short while ago. As they reach the door to the next room, Pavel pauses. “This is music room,” he says with a bow, pushing the tall, slim double-door open. Leo walks past him and it is here, when he sees the piano, and the harpsichord by one wall, that his discomfort begins to make sense. Kirk’s presence is very strong in here and suddenly Leo feels his absence keenly.

He walks towards the piano, and as soon as he runs his fingers across the keys, his nostrils twitch at the scent of lilies in the room, though he can see none.

“Did you play this, when I was...when I was first brought here?”

“Was me, yes. Kirk plays piano too – he a virtuoso, I am just a...” his voice trails off and he watches Leo walk about the room, peering at the pile of sheet music scattered haphazardly on top of the piano. Then Pavel adds, “Violin is his best. I hope he plays for you later – it brings tears to a man’s eye. You will see.”

A few hours before he came here, Leo doubted he had one more tear left in him, but somehow he cannot bring himself to disagree, even privately, with Pavel. Kirk has exhumed so much feeling in him already, what would a few tears be after all that?

He swallows and makes to leave the room, trying to say as casually as he can manage, “When is Mr. Kirk expected?” He remembers that incandescent gaze, how penetrated and controlled he felt, how he was compelled to act in ways he didn’t know he ever could, and he feels less than whole, sure that only that demonic touch can bring him to a sense of order again. He clears his throat, confused, aroused, and hoping Pavel cannot see how unsettled he feels.

“I do not know,” Pavel says curtly.

They pass through the courtyard again and the sky has darkened now, releasing the perfume from the host of flowers decorating the yard and balconies overlooking it; night blooming Jasmine snakes up a trellis, and they pass a pot of what Pavel informs him is Casablanca Lily which opens after dark.

“You’re a botanist as well as an astronomer?” he tries finally, brushing a long fern with his finger tips.

Pavel shoots him a suspicious look. “No. Was previous owner.”

“And what became of him?”

Pavel ignores the question and continues the tour in silence. Finally, when they reach the library his chest swells. “Books are Kirk’s,” he says with obvious pride. “He reads.”

“I can see that!” Leo gives a low whistle when Pavel lights a series of lamps. He runs a hand along a shelf, gazing up at stacks reaching to the ceiling. There are no windows in the room, each wall instead taken up with floor to ceiling shelves, books, a desk, reading lamps and a luxurious day bed near a table with a flask of whisky and a tray of tumblers. There’s a violin in its case leaning against a camel-back chair to one side.

“You wait here for Kirk,” Pavel says with a click of his heels.

“How long will he be?”

“When he has finished.”

The boy doesn’t clarify what he means by ‘finished’ and leaves Leo, pulling the door to him.


Leo wakes to the feel of Kirk’s tongue plundering his mouth, and the press of his body between his thighs – Kirk’s skin is uncharacteristically hot and his tongue tastes of copper and spring water. Leo struggles to breathe, pulling his mouth away, but Kirk drags him back by the hair, whispering his name, growling words that would be poetry if they weren’t so filthy and profane.

He feels strong hands hold his hips, shift him on the sofa so their cocks rub together through their clothing. The medical books beside him thud to the floor and Kirk chuckles against his lips. When Leo runs his tongue along his canines, Kirk thrusts hard against him, growling, “Sawbones, my Bones, mine...”

Leo pants and moans as loudly, wrapping his thighs around Kirk’s back, so fucking glad that this sorcerer has returned though he’d not admit it in a month of Sundays.

They’re enveloped in the warm glow of a lamp, a womb of gold in the darkness of the room as they rock against each other while Kirk licks Leo’s face with a soft, moist tongue, then sanctifies his eyelids with kisses and runs his hands through Leo’s hair.

Though his face is in shadow, his eyes glow like burnished gold. Leo lifts a hand to Kirk’s forehead and explores the bumps there, and he feels his scalp go cold when the demon that his lover is, becomes manifest. Kirk stills as he senses his hesitation and draws Leo’s fingers into his mouth, licking the pads, then his palm, dragging his teeth along Leo’s wrist, sending flames of feeling throughout him, assuaging fear with tenderness.

Kirk brings his free hand to Leo’s throat, spreading his fingers possessively across what he knows are bite marks since comparing Pavel’s reddened wounds to his own after his bath.

“You’re mine, Bones, mine.”

Leo’s about to protest, but only manages, “Dammit, Kirk, I’m not…” and then he feels Kirk’s teeth slicing through the skin, a sensation of ecstatic pain making him groan and cave in completely as they both shudder their releases into their clothing, rocking against each other through the ecstatic tide, until Leo sees pin pricks of light behind his eyelids.


Kirk refuses to let him bathe, but waits patiently until Leo has dressed in fresh clothing, a wardrobe of finest suits in the latest fashion at his disposal.

“I need you to wear my scent for a few days,” he says nonchalantly from a chair while he watches Leo tie his cravat. “It will protect you from others like me. There are not many in New Orleans yet, but the ships bring so many travellers each day I must take precautions. This way they will not dare touch you – they will know you are mine.”

Kirk has yet to explain what precisely he means by ‘like me’ and Leo dares not ask, afraid to know too much and break the spell, perhaps coming to his senses.

For now, it is all he can do to separate himself physically from his ungodly lover, sitting on the other side of the great dining table opposite Kirk, who smirks in amusement when Leo says grace first. Kirk pours himself a glass of wine, sipping slowly, watching Leo’s lips, hands and throat as he devours a feast of suckling pig, okra, greens, and grits and grillades, washed down with a glorious red that has him sighing in appreciation, though it cannot touch the divine taste of Kirk’s blood. Even so, his senses remain heightened and he can taste every nuance in the food, every infernal grape in the wine.

He is disconcerted enough by Kirk’s burning gaze to ask finally, “You do not eat?”

Kirk raises an eyebrow. “I fed earlier, did I not?” Then he chuckles, his eyes crinkling when Leo flushes brightest red at the memory of their coupling in the library.

“You are a demon,” he accuses, pointing a finger at him. Kirk does not flinch, merely shrugs a brocade clad shoulder.

“Let us smoke outside.” he says. “It is a fine evening, unless you wish to eat dessert?”

What can compete with the taste of Kirk? Leo thinks idly, and follows him through the painted, shuttered doors to the courtyard. There is no sign of Pavel, nor any other person, and Leo wonders who prepared the food he enjoyed, but he doesn’t ask as talking is a hindrance to what he wants to avoid delaying any longer: Kirk’s hands upon him.

Surrounded by the scent of jasmine, they sit on a metal bench on plump cushions and Kirk tugs at Leo’s cravat, bringing their mouths close but not touching, teasing Leo, no doubt reading his mind and amused by how much Leo wants and needs this.

Leo raises an eyebrow, narrowing his eyes and turning away. “You tease me,” he says simply. “I am not a plaything.”

“Come,” Kirk laughs, his voice as melodious as the fountain nearby, as intoxicating as the evening flowers, “You are jealous.”

“Of whom?” He must have read how he’s wondered about Pavel. “No, I...I merely do not comprehend the nature of your relationship. Why would I be jealous, I’m not a swooning virgin.”

Kirk tugs at his sleeve, cocks his head to the side, amused by Leo’s discomfort and embarrassment. “Pavel is young, homeless and orphaned. He has a brilliant mind like no other I have met – I provide him an education, shelter, he provides me with...” he waves a broad palm and his words fade into silence.

“You lie with him?”

“He craves the bite – there are many like him. They follow my kind like acolytes – I treat him with kindness, and he amuses me with his ideas. Many would abuse him, not I.”

“But the marks?”

“They are his choice, I can...I do not need to take advantage of one so young and brilliant.”

“But, Kirk, I...” He looks down where Kirk has dropped to his knees and is smiling from between Leo’s thighs. “What in damnation are you doing...oh...” and his words fade when Kirk lowers the front flap of his britches to free his cock.

“At last you’ve stopped talking,” Kirk grins and when his mouth descends in one movement on his entire length, Leo no longer has words fit to make sense of his experience at all, so he grips Kirk’s hair, bucking into his mouth, giving himself over to need and sensation and eschewing all reason. Again, questions are replaced by moans and gasps as the devil tortures him to new depths of corruption and ecstasy.


Kirk left him in bed some hours later, and despite Leo’s protestations, insisted that he must attend to business.

“At this hour?”

“Bones, I have... things to attend to, I will return when I have...finished.”

Leo did not ask what he meant by that, and he realizes now, dressed in only his night-shirt, while he stalks the balcony overlooking the courtyard in the dead of night, that he has done himself an injustice.

He’s noticed how when Kirk is near he loses all reason, but when he leaves, and his influence wanes, after a few hours the questions re-surface in his mind and he becomes more and more uncomfortable with his confinement in this great house. He has become a concubine, it seems, a toy for his new master, and while he is treated well, pampered even, and in no danger of harm, his life has no purpose other than immediate gratification when they are consumed by each other.

He misses Kirk, it is true, but now he is certain it is because of the ungodly spell woven over him, making him hunger for his master’s presence. It feels real, this wanting that can only be filled by Kirk’s touch, but it is the hunger of the worthless, of those who cannot hold their drink. Yet he cannot, he fears, give this up, drawn to Kirk against his will at some level, but the craving so painful he cannot bear it.

He’s followed a distant sound to this remote part of the house on the far side of the courtyard, where after his tour he has had no reason to enter, though he is free to roam as he wishes. It is the room closest to the gate into the street, he notes, as he tiptoes along the balcony.

He can hear cicadas and can see bats circling the lamp which lights the courtyard – they seem to be the only living creatures awake other than himself. New Orleans is uncharacteristically quiet tonight, apart from the distant sounds from the docks which are ever busy with their new cargoes of slaves, and cotton. He knows the quiet is in part an illusion, and his thoughts reflect how isolated he has become from the world, a world which appears not to miss him and continues well enough without his presence.

When he reaches the balcony outside the room, he sees a woman’s shoe lying on its side outside the door. It makes his scalp prickle and he’s not sure if it’s fear he feels of what he will find inside, or that he will be discovered snooping.

Kneeling, he examines the key still in the lock, realising this is the only key he’s seen in the house thus far; if it’s a room which is locked by day yet open at night, he will once and for all discover what Kirk’s business is when he leaves him alone. He ignores the feeling of dread, knowing he must plow on whatever it is he will learn, the first touch of forward motion he’s experienced in so long, he thinks grimly.

He has no doubt that Kirk will be in there, doubtless with a woman: the owner of the shoe; he’s counting on the fact that they will be too preoccupied to hear him. Nevertheless, he takes great care, his nimble surgeon’s hands put to good use as he eases the key out of the lock and rests it on the balcony. Kneeling, he pushes his hair away from his face, aware he’s sweating, and leans to the keyhole, closing one eye so he can better make out what’s in the room.

He can see a man from behind who he knows is Kirk, the blond hair and broad shoulders unmistakable. He’s jacket-less, in his shirtsleeves and waistcoat, his hair loose and falling about his shoulders in straight, thick swathes. Leo’s throat constricts in equal parts fear and jealousy when he realizes Kirk’s kneeling on the floor between a woman’s stockinged legs, loose and fallen wide apart, her other shoe, dropped to the rug behind him.

He feels a shock of arousal when her moans reach his ears, which is replaced by incomprehension when he takes in how her hands are held so loosely at her sides and her head lolls back, a twist of red hair undone and hanging down powdered ivory skin like a rope.

There is yet another sound and he brings his ear to the key hole, trying to work out what is happening; it’s like suckling... he sees the back of Kirk’s head moving up and down slightly, like it was on his person only hours earlier in the courtyard; he realizes these are not kisses, that in fact Kirk is feeding from her. His damned enhanced senses bring also the unmistakable stench of blood and he watches mesmerized as Kirk lifts a hand from her thigh and strokes her hair like a lover, his rings glinting in the candlelight. The slight movement to the side shows that he is transformed, his forehead larger as he nuzzles his teeth into her inner thigh, working his free hand inside her bloomers, rubbing at her nub. How well he knows that feeling, the mingling of pain and ecstasy, the to and fro of giving and taking, and he’s filled with self-disgust and bitter arousal at the memory.

Kirk must have heard Leo gasp for he suddenly sits back on his heels, loosening his hold on his victim so she falls back onto the chaise-longue. Her skirts are hitched around her waist and she’s concealed from view again when Kirk turns his head to the side. His pale skin appears gold and shadowed in the dim light, his eyes are hooded and he twitches his nose, turns his head to look over his shoulder. “Bones,” he whispers, but Leo can hear him as clearly as if he’s pressed his evil lips against his ear, the infernal voice awakening both fear and longing in him.

He stands and takes a step backs from the door as silently as he can manage, but the door’s flung open startling him. Kirk holds a candle and his face is chiaroscuro beauty as he frowns looking unsettled by Leo’s presence. “You came to find me, Bones...” a note of worry in his words.

Leo steps to the side and looks around Kirk into the room, unable to comprehend the horror of what he’s witnessed, sure the girl is beyond saving for she lies so limp where Kirk left her.

Kirk steps in his path catching his arm. “Bones, Leo I can...” And Leo twists to loosen his grip then he stumbles on the girl’s shoe and falls. Kirk kicks the shoe off the balcony and extends a hand to help him rise, but Leo slaps it away and rights himself, determined to flee this scene of debauchery and murder, to escape from this monster.

He manages one step before Kirk has a hold of him and his body is lifted against the wall. He kicks out landing one blow against Kirk’s unyielding frame.

“Let me go! You are Bluebeard himself, let me go!” he hisses, as Kirk’s hands hold him firm and possessive. Then Kirk lowers him so his feet touch the mahogany planks below. Leo’s panting and he struggles when Kirk guides his face, turning his jaw with a warm finger, warmed by the blood he realizes in horror.

One pull on his free spirit by those infernal eyes and he’s hard already. He must not let this torrent of desire take hold again and allow the current of Kirk’s power to pull him under, or he will have given up once and for all. He inhales the scent of death through the open door, fixing his eyes on Kirk’s mouth where there is a spill of blood drying on his jaw. And Leo fights, fights with every ounce of goodness and humanity he has left in him.

“I don’t want this, leave me be, Kirk, leave me, dammit!”

Kirk sighs with a shudder and eases Leo away to scrutinize his face. While Kirk’s expression is assessing, filled with want, something else creeps across the landscape of his eyes now returned to their usual Atlantic blue, his pupils contracted. At the same time as he loosens his grip and Leo drops to his knees exhausted, his head slumped forward.

“You’re mine,” he hisses, even as Leo is convinced Kirk has released his spell.

Leo rubs his face with the back of his hand, glaring up at him and hisses, ”If I am, it’s not willingly; you’ve captured me, compelled me, though I know not how you are able to do so. I’m no better to you than a mouse to a cat, something to play with and torment at will.”

“You do me an injustice, Leo, I’ve given you a choice...” Kirk slumps against the balcony rail, his eyes imploring and moist with tears. “The choice I was never given...I want you, Leo, I want you by my side for all time. I can do this, I can give you eternal life so you too can live like a god.” He folds his arms and looks down at him, waiting, chewing at his lip still stained with blood.

Leo daren’t look at Kirk again and he lurches to his feet, running to his room. Kirk follows and watches as he dresses hurriedly.

“I had made preparations for us to sail to Paris; it is different there, more accepting, more bohemian – I’d hoped we could be happy there.”

“And you would end my life, like the poor woman in that room?”

“She is nothing to me, Bones,” he says, advancing towards him, “but I will give you a new life, one that can never end.”

Leo picks up his coat, the very same one he wore when Kirk found him that first night, and throws it across his arm. “You fiend - you took her life from her. You are an executioner.” He pushes past Kirk and turns for one final look at the man who, for a few twisted days, he thought he loved. “I can’t be with you although my baser side craves it, needs it,” he rubs a thumb across the tears soaking his cheeks, “I’m better than that, James, I cannot take life. I cannot watch you do it either. You can console yourself with this: you once said life is the greatest gift, and when you found me by the docks I’d lost the will to live; it is not what you intended by taking me in, but you have at least made me want to live again and for that I thank you.”

He runs to the courtyard taking one last glance up at the open door where a few minutes before his heart, and Kirk’s, were dashed by the stark and horrible truth of what a farce they have been existing in.

Before he opens the gate, Leo pulls on his coat and he feels something in his pocket; he draws out a purse filled with coins. He weighs it in the palm of his hand and considers leaving it on the stone bench for Kirk. Then he realizes that Kirk gave him this because, in some way, Kirk’s love for him is selfless, and his assertion that choice is everything is more important than being with Leo against his will. This purse means he can leave New Orleans - means he is free.

And though Leo is sure Kirk won’t follow, he runs, literally for his life, and towards it, the sound of his demon lover’s single wail of anguish as he closed the gate behind him ringing in his ears and cutting into his heart as he races across rain soaked streets towards the docks.


Leo stands on the deck searching the windows of the houses and buildings overlooking the quay, as well as the faces of the those mingling on the pier for he knows not what. He watches morosely as a line of slaves is unloaded from a ship and is glad to leave this place.

He wonders if Kirk followed him, hoping to prevent his departure, and he fancies for a moment he can see a figure silhouetted on the dock. With a pang in his heart and despite everything, he looks down at the ladder and wonders whether he has time to return, whether he is indeed doing the right thing in leaving; but he’s bought passage bound for St Louis and he knows he must go on. He will return to his profession and a productive life, though his heart is truly broken and he leaves the greater part with a demon.

Then, he sees Kirk for real; he emerges under a street light; his hat’s in one hand, and the other is by his side, white skin soaking up the little light there is so that he looks like a fallen angel, lost yet ever beautiful.

Kirk holds his gaze across the water – a short distance that might as well be an ocean. Leo watches with tears in his eyes as Kirk breaks eye contact with him, how his gaze drops to the slats of wood at his feet, to release Leo one last time. Then he turns and walks away.

Leo drags his feet to the other side of the deck, inhaling deeply the sharp scent of the waters of the Fleuve St. Louis, turning away from New Orleans, shivering slightly in his shirt sleeves, but it’s as much excitement as relief; his lungs fill, and his eyes take in the beauty of the lightening sky, the sugar candy stripes heralding a new day.


Kirk hides from the dawn and watches the boat from the safety of his carriage until it disappears from view. He wipes the tears from his face, then smears his bloodied hand on the black velvet curtains, hissing when he accidentally nudges them open and sunlight momentarily touches his knuckles, setting his skin on fire until he can beat them down against his coat. He licks at the blisters until they smart no longer.

“I’ll find you, Sawbones,” he whispers. “I’ll find you and make you mine if it takes ten lifetimes of searching, I’ll find you again.”

With that, he raises his cane and raps three times at the ceiling until Pavel cracks his whip above him and the horses pull away.

End of Chapter 1

Chapter Text

Blood Ties: Chapter 2

"The soul is not born; it does not die; it was not produced from anyone… Unborn, eternal, it is not slain, though the body is slain." ~Emerson



London, 1897

My dearest Jocelyn, I suspect you are rarely glad of my letters but I write because I find myself feeling more alone than I have for many years, here in this city, and it is a comfort to reach out to someone who knows me, even if you are so far away, and despite everything that has happened in the past few months.

I have witnessed in London things which fill me with uncertainty and confusion. The English are warm hosts, but what particular people they are, more upright and poker-faced than any Yankee you’d care to meet and I find I crave Southern charm and hospitality.

This evening I dined with an English physician, John Seward. In his capacity as curator of Carfax Asylum, he escorted me on a tour. For centuries it has a acquired infamy, housing inmates of certain mental disorders. Jocelyn, we witnessed such unfortunate creatures; I shudder to share the details with a lady such as yourself. Suffice to say, I am much shaken and affected by what I have seen.

L.H. allows his pen to rest on the ink pad and leans back in his chair, wondering whether he should share anything more with Jocelyn other than his sense of isolation.

How can he tell her of the lunatic he saw, Renfield, a man who Seward assures him was of previously sound mind, but has of late displayed symptoms of such extreme delusion that Seward is making a special study of his case?

L.H. watched through the bars of a cell so basic that it would be better placed in the Tower of London, while the unfortunate outlined his theory of immortality. He watched as Renfield consumed insects with relish, convinced their blood would bring him everlasting life, leading Seward to remark, “I shall have to invent a new classification of the lunatic for you.”

How can L.H. write of the poor creature’s pleas for more live beasts to devour and slake his grotesque appetite which became increasingly desperate? This was followed by an outburst of such mania, where he developed seemingly supernatural strength and attacked Seward, that four men were needed to restrain him. Even when they beat him, he screamed and called for his ‘master’.

I need lives, I need lives for my master!

L.H. closes his eyes and shakes his head, fancies he can still hear the shrill, desperate voice, the thud of baton on helpless flesh. He wonders again who this ‘master’ is, if indeed he exists or, more likely, is a creation spawned from a diseased mind.

His stomach roils when he remembers the barbarity of the guards and, for the first time, he wonders if psychology is an appropriate new field for him after all, its dark passages and paths more dangerous and alien than the deepest undiscovered parts of the Amazon. While he can make an incision to human flesh with utter calm, the inner workings of the human body filling him with awe at God’s creation, this, the human mind perverted – this is the work of the Devil, of something dark and terrifying, intangible and terrible. L.H. touches the crucifix at his throat which Jocelyn gave him on their wedding day, caressing its form idly while sipping at his bourbon.

He examines his ink stained fingers and rubs them absently, pulling open a drawer and finding a box of cigars. He passes a few moments rolling the fine thing between his fingers, glad he thought ahead to bring his own rather than expect quality in this smog-doused, godless city. His throat’s been raw with the bad air since his arrival two weeks ago, exhausted from the crossing, and weakened by sea-sickness; a smoke will ease his breathing, help clear his chest, and indeed, after a few long pulls he feels considerably better.

He rolls up his shirt sleeves, unlaces his boots and kicks them across the rug, extending his legs and propping his feet on the desk. He surveys the room glancing at the long shelves laden with dust-covered books, seemingly untouched in years by anyone who’s cared for them.

He examines their spines at length, pleased to see many scientific papers including works of astronomy, geology, as well as a slew of cheap, penny farthing Gothic tales, the fashion for which among London society flabbergasts him. Science and superstition continue to co-exist side by side like male and female, light and dark, good and evil, warring for supremacy but, in part, one defined by the other, unable to exist without its opposite.

One book, only one, has he taken from the shelves and examined at length (always in the interests of science, of course), a publication by the Kama Shastra society, by one Richard F. Burton. He finds himself gazing at the plates, mouth open and heart pounding, the lewd images having him breaking out in a sweat of horror, then stuffing the book back in place, convinced his damned inclinations will be discovered and he will be thrown in jail.

He washes his face raw and gets to his knees to pray and absolve himself nightly, sure that he is being punished by impure thoughts because of his separation from Jocelyn, though he knows he must not shrink from such things and embrace the knowledge of sexual diseases if he is to have any hope of healing the mind as well as he has the body.

Thick, dark curtains flutter near the open window as if they were made of butter muslin rather than heavy, weighted velvet. He moves to the glass, lit cigar between his lips, squinting so he can use both hands to push the stubborn window down.

He surveys the street below and spies a tall figure under the street lamp dressed in a top hat, holding a cane, with long, dark blond hair trailing over the neck of his black coat. The man, no more than twenty three or four, glances up and catches L.H.’s eye making him draw a sharp breath. The man cocks his head and holds L.H.’s gaze. Or so it seems. He feels perspiration break out on his face and he swallows, confused that he should have this notion they’ve met before, although he’s certain that cannot be, the strong jaw unfamiliar, but the glint of the man’s eyes, even at this distance give him pause, holding L.H. in place.

He can feel tears forming in his eyes from the cigar smoke and lowers his hands from the window frame, the lace nets dropping as he does so, and he jumps to the desk, balances the cigar over the edge so it doesn’t burn the walnut, and turns off the lamp for good measure.

He strides to the glass, nudges the curtains aside, angling himself so he’s concealed. The figure’s gone, vanished like a dream on waking, leaving L.H. wondering, struggling to place a name, the significance of the moment.

Frowning, he turns on the lamp and returns to his letter, hands shaking, forced to wipe his palms first before he takes up the pen.

I will spare you the details of the inmates, but I have seen madness the like of which would befit a scene from a painting of darkest hell.

I wish you could see my rooms, Jocelyn; it is as if I have been interred in a mausoleum, so unloved and unlived-in are my surroundings. The building belongs to an American, I know that much, since the lease was arranged through offices in Atlanta, but I know not the name of the owner, nor am I likely to meet him; the agent informed me by letter that he is of good character, with a passion for science and a patron of The Bethlehem Royal Hospital. No doubt he is some pretentious, stiff-necked Yankee, more interested in making his way in London society than in gaining real medical knowledge, and now returned home, his tail between his legs and onto his next fad.

The house is divided into apartments and I am on the second floor with a view of Highgate Cemetery which I have yet to visit although it is the fashion in London at this time to amble among gravestones as if a cemetery were the finest garden, the English being much given to exchanging Gothic tales and romances of ghosts, vampires and headless highwaymen!

It appears I am the sole tenant and, I confess, it is eerie at night with strange sounds and, I know I am being fanciful, but I am sure I can hear voices before I fall asleep. No doubt it’s homesickness, but my dreams remain fitful and vivid and I continue to be tormented by insomnia.

For now, all my dealings are with a certain man of ruddy face and dubious character, Montgomery Scott, a Scotsman from Linlithgow, who resides in the basement and seems responsible for the upkeep of the house. He is of generous disposition although a consummate drinker. I caught a glimpse of his rooms; they are brim full of machinery and contraptions. I hope, before I leave, I will be able to secure an invitation so he can show me his inventions; I would welcome the distraction if only to ascertain the merits of Scottish whisky compared to our own which, he assures me, will make a “man of me, yet, laddie!” Even now I can hear him tapping away at a typewriter; those I have met here are much enamored by new devices though I remain unconvinced this contraption will catch on being much slower than ink to paper for recording a man’s thoughts!

It’s a rare, warm night; since L.H. has been in the city, he’s suffered endless extremes of temperature: chilled evenings, rain and one or two scorching hot days. Sometimes he thinks that the English climate is like a spilled pallet of paint, the sunshine, the rain, the fog, like colors which mix together and result in a sludge of gray. Then some days, like this one past, the sun breaks through and he swears that the sight of the London skyline, the river, the greens in the parks and avenues, is the most beautiful, vibrant thing he’s ever seen but, before he can become accustomed to the sight, the peacock that is London, tucks its tail away and returns to gray drabness.

This night, his room is a hothouse, and when L.H. takes to his bed, he tosses and turns, the sheet wrapping round him like a shroud. He resists opening the window again despite this, unable to shake off the unease since he spied the ominous figure on the street, so he suffers on for what seems like hours, and floats in that place between insomnia and catatonia which is all too familiar to him, where he cannot rest, yet does not possess the strength to even open his eyes and gaze at the clock, nor find the impulse to untangle the sheets.

He can smell his own perspiration where he lies listening to the thud, thudding of the clock in the corner of the room, a counterpoint to his restless heartbeat. Images from the asylum will not leave him, and he’s haunted by the shrill voice of Renfield, wondering what the poor wretch is doing tonight, locked in his cell, imprisoned in a straight jacket, whether he sleeps or whether he continues to hold vigil for his master.

He knows not how long he lies there, faces and voices floating haphazardly in his head, but when there’s a sudden shift, a change of atmosphere in the room, he sighs in relief as a breeze caresses his face, despite the sealed window. The sense of darkness around him increases and he wonders if the moon has passed behind a cloud. He’s sure this sensation that he is not alone in the room is a figment of his imagination brought on by exhaustion and the near-dream state he’s experiencing.

He wonders why his skin crawls so, as if cold fingers are caressing his feet, his arms, his throat; perhaps he is beginning a fever. He decides to count to ten in the way he does on those mornings when he cannot rise because he’s taken too much laudanum the night before and the counting gives him time to muster his strength. He realizes this is a feeling he’s had before, a disquiet he experienced once or twice in his adolescence, before he met Jocelyn and put away dark thoughts, he’d hoped, for good.

But the counting doesn’t help. Instead he squeezes his eyes shut, alarmed by a flapping from the window and the unmistakable clang of a candle stick falling to the floor, which rolls to stillness sending a jolt of fear through him like a bolt of lightening.

Finally, he opens his eyes, determined to investigate, and struggles to his feet, his nightshirt falling around his thighs, billowing in the breeze. He moves to the window and startled to see that indeed it is open, he gazes out into the street; it is past three in the morning and the city, at least where he is, is quiet. The gas lamps glow against a turbulent sky of charcoal and gray clouds swirling like soot in water. Something catches his eye in the street and he tucks the curtain around his chest to avoid being seen and leans out of the window a little. His eyes trail down the post of the street lamp some twenty feet from the front door.

He lets out a breath in relief (no, fear, he corrects himself) when he makes out the very same stranger, face in shadow, top hat tilted forward at a rakish angle. L.H. wonders what a gentleman would be doing out alone without carriage at this time of night. Unable to tear his eyes away, L.H. stares for some time, overwhelmed by curiosity. London is full of strange sights and people and he thinks ahead to the stories he’ll share when he returns to his beloved Atlanta, stories of madmen and whores and tea parties – England, a place of tightly drawn bodices, yet he’s learned that taking a sudden turn up a back alley, it can be a place of loosest morals and dangerous company.

His stomach lurches when the figure tilts his head and looks up. L.H. backs away, appalled to be caught-out spying; but there’s a moment when even at this distance their eyes catch - initiating a pounding in his head – irises of glittering blue, tinged in amber, knowing, revealing and captivating all at once.

L.H. retreats to the edge of his bed and considers this. How could the stranger have known he was being spied on? Did they indeed hold each others gaze or is he in such a state of discombobulation, so starved of sleep and rational thought, that he is now hallucinating?

Madness – how the doctors point the finger and marvel at the strangeness of the human mind, himself included, but L.H. suspects that the line between madness and sanity is often drawn by something as simple as a few hours rest, and human company to ground a man. And he is experiencing this now – unsure of what he’s seen, uncertain if he is awake or dreaming. He pats the bed behind him, as if to search for his sleeping self – almost surprised when he doesn’t feel his own lax, peaceful limbs under the sheets.

With a sigh, L.H. returns to the window and squints cautiously into the street. The figure, unsurprisingly, is gone. He runs his eyes upwards to the sky again and sees a bat circling the lamp above, hears it call and then it swoops away and back over the darkened vista of Highgate cemetery opposite. There, he must have imagined it. He lowers the window, dismissing the scent of roses as yet more evidence of his fragile state, and winces when it rattles and thuds shut. The air in the room immediately feels too close, yet he’s fearful of leaving it open.

With the curtains safely tucked close, L.H. retrieves his flask from his bedside table and takes a long, deep draft from it. The mix of bourbon and tincture of laudanum will help him sleep, for sleep he must since tomorrow he is to accompany Seward to see Miss Lucy Westenra, a patient and friend of the doctor’s whose strange case of ‘possession’ Seward assures him he will find of interest, caused by a rare and unclassified disease of the blood.

Before he snuffs out the candle, he removes his crucifix, gathers it in his palm, then hides it in the bedside drawer. It is too hot to feel its weight about his neck tonight.

L.H. doesn’t, of course, remember when exactly he falls asleep, only that blessedly, it was easier than sinking into deep water, his belly warmed by the bourbon, his eyes falling shut and all thoughts of the stranger in the street temporarily banished.

He dreams all night, a dream that is still with him in the morning when he awakes with a start staring up at the ceiling and his hand running through a mess of ejaculate on his belly, his face burning with shame and confusion.

In the dream, he walked across the room towards the window which flew open as he approached it. A voice, familiar yet unfamiliar, called him, one he realizes he’s dreamed about before, since he came to London, yes and certainly on the ship, on the rough crossing, crooning solace into his ear as he slept fitfully during the last throes of an interminable storm which left him weak and exhausted.

He thinks of the voice now, husky, a Yankee accent, light and yet imbued with knowing, and some darkness that makes L.H. shiver and harden.

Sawbones... I crossed the sea to find you...

Unheeding of his need to bathe, L.H. fumbles for his journal and moves to his desk, fearful he’ll forget the dream entirely, and sure it is of some import, he begins to write down the events as best he can recall them.

I shivered and pulled the window open then sat on the ledge. All the while I knew I was dreaming, therefore I didn’t question the impulse to step off. I remember smiling in satisfaction when I floated easily down to the street, little concerned that my night shirt ballooning about my chest would expose me to anyone who should have happened upon me.

I knew the dawn was yet a few hours away and when my bare feet touched the cobbles I laughed, feeling such joy even as I wondered if I could fly upwards again, but I was distracted from this thought by the bat above me. It screeched and I nodded as if I understood and walked towards the black rails across the street, towards the cemetery, cast in moonlight, the abundance of new works gleaming white and solid in the moonlight.

My hands curled around the rails (throughout this I noted that all my senses were stimulated and that I was as much an observer and narrator of events as a participant). I remember how pleasant the rails felt when I pressed my face against them to search the avenues for I know not what.

It was then I heard a snarl and I was sure it was a dog somewhere inside. I was surprised this didn’t frighten me, but then, as I have said, it was a dream, and I knew this, so I was sure no harm would come to me.

Then I heard a voice.

L.H. puts down his pen and gazes at the page, his heart thudding, his breath becoming short and labored when he recalls, hears the voice in his head now, as if there’s someone in the room with him in much the same way as it happened in the dream, when it was ahead of him, guiding him, yet also so close to his ear, soft and hypnotic, filled with a sensuality the memory of which inflames him. He takes himself in hand through his nightshirt, still stained with semen and, oblivious to propriety, for once uncaring of his weakness, as his dream returns to him in all its color and sound, playing in his mind’s eye like the miracle of the cinematograph...


That’s right, Leonard, you’re safe, nothing can harm you here, not when you are with me…

In the dream, L.H. knows he should wonder who this is, why he’s being spoken to with such familiarity when he’s never heard the voice in waking hours before, and he considers if the voice is the product of some distant memory, an encounter as a child perhaps which he’s woven into his very own fairy tale; or perhaps an encounter with an angel who held him tight in the night when he awoke from sleep terrors. But this is fancy, human nature is strange as he’s had shown him so many times these past weeks in London. So he follows, the iron railings appearing to melt before him as he passes into the cemetery, cool and deserted as it should be at this time of night when all respectable people are asleep in their beds.

Barefoot he walks the avenue past the centuries old cedar tree, then to the incline towards the newer graves in the west cemetery. He doesn’t hear the voice, yet he’s certain which way he should go as people often are in dreams, following the flow of their thoughts like a river which supports them and carries them downstream to a mystery destination.

And it’s the same certainty which brings him to a halt. He scans the area, unsure of what he will find until he spies a dog sitting atop a grave; if it was human, L.H. thinks, it would be smiling. It wags its tail and stands as if to greet him when he advances.

“Hello, boy,” he says extending a hand. The dog is slim and golden in color, like his father’s long dead Labrador and he resists calling it by name, sensing it’s some other being taking on a form he recognizes.

The dog licks his hand and L.H. is astonished that he can feel the heat, the faint stickiness and smoothness of its tongue as it snakes between his fingers. “You’re a long way from home, eh, boy?”

We both are says the voice in his ear. L.H. frowns and pulls his nightshirt tight around himself, suddenly feeling cold and a little afraid. The dog stares up at him and bares its teeth.

There’s a sudden twist in his belly, a trickle of fear across his neck and he runs his hands through his hair, breaking eye contact with the dog.

“I’m not really sure why I’m here, boy. And you should be home with your master.”

The word ‘master’ brings back an image of Renfield being manhandled to the floor in his cell by the guards and L.H. clears his throat and glances around at the rows of gravestones flanking them. He makes a mental note to return to this place in the next few days to see whose grave the dog is guarding, if indeed that’s why it’s here, and to discover whether it bears any resemblance to reality.

Perhaps he should see if he can fly again: take himself off to his bed as his feet are beginning to feel a little numb, the cold of the fresh soil he’s standing on seeping through. He examines his long, pale toes in the moonlight and when he looks up the dog is gone.

He yawns, stretching his arms up towards the black starlit sky, noting how all the clouds seem to have melted away. He could sleep here – it wouldn’t matter after all, and he’ll wake up safely in his bed, stomach empty, and ready for another fantastic breakfast care of the wild-eyed Mr Scott.

That’s right, Sawbones, lie down here, I’ll watch over you…

He flinches, shakes his foot when he imagines the dog has licked his ankle, and suppresses a snort of surprise. Horribly tired now, he glances over his shoulder and sees an older grave, raised from the ground like a bed stripped of linen but it’s large and spacious and, since L.H. isn’t the tallest man, he knows it will accommodate him comfortably.

He sits on its side, his heels touching tendrils of ivy and takes a moment to think over the events of his dream so far, and wonders whether the dog is gone for good. He then stretches out on the marble, the night shirt riding up as he does so exposing his legs to the cold night air. The blanket of cloud has disappeared and while L.H. knows there won’t be a frost this late in the summer, he is nevertheless amused by the thought of being found in the morning, sprinkled in white like a figure from a child’s birthday cake.

“Well, whoever you are,” he says to the mysterious voice in his head, “I’m going to sleep now; we can talk some other time, I’m sleepy as all get out, so, if you’ll pardon me…” and he’s lying on his side, face nestled into the crook of his arm, surprised he can feel the heat from his own breath. I hope I remember this all in the morning, he thinks, and his eyes close.

He imagines a touch to his eyelids, and sighs contentedly even as the scent of roses covers him, bathes him in a milky coverlet that makes him think of human skin, even as moist lips press to his and…he struggles to open his eyes, bumps the back of his head against the stone and finds he can’t right himself as he imagines, dreams, that strong hands hold him still. Is this the dog licking at his face? He’s not sure, but it’s pleasant – yes, it must be, he can hear it sniffing near his neck.

He hears the voice again, crooning in his ear, whispering endearments the like of which he’s not heard outside of poetry.

“What are you?” he gasps as he realizes the touch is that of a person, not an animal, or perhaps something on a continuum between the two, human fingers trailing to the opening of his shirt, unlacing the ties. Low, bestial growls rumble through him like thunder, and rather than frighten him, he finds them unaccountably arousing.

His legs fall apart as if of their own volition – even as a figure seems to settle between them, a heavy, yet comforting weight smothering the length of his body.

There’s faint panting at his ear and what might be saliva dripping on to his face. L.H. forces himself to look and gasps at the blue eyes looking back at him. He’s heard tell of dogs with sea colored irises but never seen one, and the dog before had nothing extraordinary about it, other than a certain intelligence.

L.H. turns his head away and feels a long lick up the side of his neck to his ear, and then he shakes his head and its not a dog, of course; how could he have thought such a thing? This is a man, chin stubbled at this late hour (and L.H. wonders at the detail in his dream), with palest skin, moonlight white and bright. The man’s touch is cool against his face and he can feel no heartbeat, nor the man’s breath. He realizes with a shudder of recognition, this man who regards him so possessively is the very same one he saw under the street lamp outside his apartment building.

“I crossed the sea to find you,” his lover whispers, prayer-like, voice tinged with gratitude and need, and before L.H. can answer him, the man’s captured L.H.’s mouth with his and a wet, probing tongue is pressing home. In a dream, who can condemn him for what he wants, who can see him? So L.H. submits and his tongue slides against the cool lips, and kisses back with the fervour of one who has not touched in a lifetime.

L.H. finds his hands have moved to the man’s broad shoulders and he clings and pulls him closer, wrapping his limbs about sinewy muscle. He can hear guttural sounds escape his own throat, and because it is a dream, he doesn’t question the perversion of two men exploring each others mouths with such hunger and certainty, but finds it natural and arousing, each touch sending fire through him.

“Who are you?” he manages to pant between biting kisses.

“You know my name, you know it,” comes the mumbled reply, fingers digging into L.H.’s arms.

L.H. shakes his head and feels deepest regret that he can’t remember. The man reacts by bracing himself on his arms, and regards L.H. with wounded eyes, which quickly flash gold with anger, small bumps appearing on his forehead when he bares his teeth.

L.H.’s heart is a savage drumbeat. “What are you?” he cries out but the insistent weight presses on, opening him, desperate lips sucking at, exploring his mouth and face, so he arches his back against the grave, making him throw his head back so his neck is exposed.

He wants, aches with every inch of vein, each breath and heartbeat, and gives himself over willingly to his desires, to every need he’s ever denied himself in his waking life and he allows this creature, this dark angel, each touch and caress it demands, making his skin and bones sing with previously unknown levels of pleasure.

Through half-closed eyes L.H. watches his devil lean back so his face is lit up, stark and beautiful by the moon, all sharp planes and full lips, teeth exposed and gleaming. When they first touch his skin, L.H. instantly descends into a pit of ecstasy, his cock hard between them, and he clings to his lover’s biceps for purchase though it is as futile as when he held onto his bedpost at sea in the endless storm, the way he’s tossed and folded by this devil.

Teeth scour the skin on his neck like blades, and he flinches, cries out even as his heart and cock seem to fill and ache to bursting.

“You’re mine,” comes the ethereal voice, angry, possessive and pleading, sinking into his being like water into parched soil, words which have him shaking suddenly with searing, agonizing bliss, and he comes in long pulses.

Before he has time to recover he’s pulled to standing and turned about, his back to the demon; then he is bent over and guided so his chest rests on the sarcophagus – the height of a dining table – with his feet in the soil beneath, manipulated as easily as a child’s doll by preternaturally strong hands which scoop the come from L.H.’s belly and slather it between his buttocks; the stone grazes his bare knees, cool night air licks at his skin and his shirt falls about his chest as he’s lifted by the hips and with a roar, the creature impales him on a cock as cool as death yet pulsing with life, while breaking the skin at the juncture of his neck and shoulder, biting down and sucking and kissing and worrying, suckling, making L.H. harden again and moan with dissatisfaction and want.

His hands slip from under him and his cheek grazes against the stone as this demon fucks and fucks into him, pulls out, lifts L.H. so he sits atop the grave. The demon guides L.H.’s legs around his waist and he finds himself gazing into its black eyes, teeth gleaming like bloodied daggers before him, covered in his blood, L.H. realises and he begins to struggle,and cries “No!”

Then all is blackness, the creatures sobs of dismay and incredulity ring in his ears even as he wakes in his bed.


In his room, still at the desk, legs splayed and cock in hand, come on his nightshirt and fingers, L.H. is shaken by how vivid and real the dream feels still, even down to the ache in his ass, a last echo of the nightmare he’s just relived. He struggles to his feet and examines himself in the mirror where he sees abrasions on his arms, bruises on his knees, and a mark on his neck where he dreamed he was bitten. Perchance he injured himself while he slept, or clawed at his own skin? Did he walk about the room in his sleep and bump into the walls? Perhaps he is sinking into madness, the first signs here that he can no longer distinguish between the real and the unreal?

Tears breaking, L.H. limps to the window to shut it tight and falls back into bed, blinking against the sunlight.

He sinks into a fitful sleep until well past noon when he’s awakened by a hammering at his door. He doesn’t have the strength to open it, wanting to stay hidden in his bed, to return to that imaginary place where he feels wanted, needed and whole, and where he’s not a deviant, hateful even to himself.

He hears Mr. Scott open the door and is dimly aware of him moving about the room, then the sound of running water in the bathroom, yet he dozes off again to be startled awake by his voice close to the bed.

“Sir, Dr. McCoy, are you ill? If not, you cannae sleep all day, sir.”

L.H. groans and covers his face with his arm. “Mr. Scott, I can do what I damn well please, now get out and let me rest, dammit.” L.H. cracks open an eye and looks up at the unshaven face, concerned and kind. He softens his tone. “I don’t feel right; I have a fever.”

Mr. Scott scans his face, then opens the curtains. “You’re fine, sir. Get up and have the bath I’ve drawn for you. Don’t you have a meeting this evening?”

Damn, he’s persistent. What’s it to him, anyways?

“I do?” L.H. croaks. “Damn. I don’t know if I’ve the strength to travel. Perhaps we can arrange for a message to be sent. I’ll make my excuses.” What the hell’s become of him? Perhaps he has some disease of the blood which is making him weak and uncaring of responsibility, of anything other than immediate gratification of the senses, sleep, hunger and...he feels a tightening in his groin and folds his legs so the sheets bunch and conceal his shame.

Scott shakes his head and nods to the bedside table. “Nothing like a bit of prime Aberdeen steak to steel yerself with, sir. Eat and then decide.”

L.H. manages to nod, the scent of blood from the steak making his temples pulse a little. He pushes himself to a seated position, runs a hand across his forehead and even forces a half smile. “Fine, I appreciate your concern, Mr. Scott, but I don’t relish you watching me eat; and I thank you for my bath.” And what the hell do you care?

“Very good, sir. I’ll move your dinner ta the table.” Scotty pauses and L.H. rolls his eyes, wishing the man would damn well leave so he can be alone with his thoughts. “And, Sir, there’s a note came for you while you slept.” Mr. Scott’s tone is conspiratorial and L.H. feels a tightening in his throat, clenching his hand under the sheets. He grunts in acknowledgment and waits for the sound of the door closing before he rises and limps to the table.

Steam spills from the bathroom and he sighs, wondering if a bath will not indeed make him more tired. He’ll decide once he’s eaten.

And he wonders at Scott’s kindness; how it’s as if he has been instructed to care for him by some hidden benefactor, perhaps the owner of the house? Scott certainly seems to be expanding beyond his responsibility as caretaker of the house.

The note is sealed with wax and he props it up on the candle stick, regarding it while he slices the steak into pieces, mesmerized by the sight of the blood stains on the china.

It’s so rare, plump and bleeding, L.H. is filled with an animal lust to look at it, and he brings it to his mouth, savaging it down like a starved dog, flesh falling to his nightshirt which he scoops up. He’s glad no one is with him to witness how he licks his fingers once the plate is clean.

Belly full, he dry retches until he manages to stagger to his medical bag and root out a vial of laudanum. With shaking hands he pours a shot of bourbon. upends three drops into it and knocks it back. It heals the ache before he’s drawn many more breaths.

Wiping his mouth and brow with his handkerchief, L.H. waits till he is entirely calm, lights a cigar, picks up the note, and removes himself to the bathroom, taking a moment to upend some salts into the water. He grimaces at the scent of roses and violets released, and sighing, balances his cigar on the soap dish and steps into the bath still in his night-shirt. He takes the hem and pulls it over his head, grunting at how his muscles ache as if his experiences the night before had in reality taken their toll on him. Yet, any bruises and grazes he imagined he had earlier, have entirely disappeared though the area where he dreamed he was bitten itches still; perhaps he was bitten by an insect in the night and this was what caused the fitful dream in the first place...

He regards himself, irritated to see he is semi-erect again and sinks into the luke-warm water, arranging himself so his knees stick out and he can reach the cigar. For some moments he lies there smoking, enjoying the sensation of being enfolded and partly supported by the water, his eyes half closed, delaying further the moment he opens the letter.

Doctor, I wish to meet you and discuss my long standing friendship with your family. You will know me as your host, your landlord, he who has provided you with a roof over your head during your stay in this fair city.

If you believe, as Socrates did, there truly is such a thing as living again, that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence, then you cannot deny me this one meeting with you.

Yours, JTK

He doesn’t recognize the name, nor the initials, and he examines the cursive script, running his fingers over the ink and the forward slope of the letters. He glances over his shoulder then sniffs the paper; there’s the faintest scent of incense: smoky and sickly sweet, and he knows this smell but cannot for the life of him place it at this time. A card has fallen into the water, floating on its surface and he wipes it dry, looking at the address: somewhere near London Bridge. When he turns the card over he sees the words midnight in the same writing as the letter.

He knows not how, but he is certain this letter is from the the incubus in his dream and he shivers as the water appears to cool about him.

No, he will not be distracted thus, he won’t allow himself to be drawn in. With that, he rises from the bath and steps onto the tile, water falling about him. He welcomes the chill for this, he determines, earthly feeling, is all he will allow himself from now on.




Hillingham Estate, Hampstead

It is past eight when L.H. arrives at Hillingham Estate, clean-shaven and somewhat refreshed, but over two hours late. He hates how flushed his cheeks feel when the supercilious butler refuses to allow him access to Miss Westenra’s room.

“I have strict instructions not to disturb Dr. Seward, sir. Perhaps you would wait in the library until his consultation is complete.”

He perches on an overstuffed chair, hat in hand, grinding his teeth. Dammit.

“Would sir like some refreshment?”

Sure, a gallon of fucking whiskey. “No thank you,” he tries not to growl.

He stands as soon as the butler leaves, listens until he hears a door click shut, scans the giant hallway, and sprints up the stairs two at a time, guided by loud voices coming from behind a closed door above him.

He paces about self-consciously for some minutes; he should be in there, damn it all. He can hear a woman’s voice (Lucy?) who sounds like she’s coaxing his friend, attempting to seduce him, wanton and unlike the upstanding young woman Seward described.

Then her voice takes on a preternatural, terrible quality, worse than any he heard at the asylum, and when she begins to scream, he resists the temptation to kick the door down and rush to Seward’s side; he tells himself he must trust that his friend, experienced in such matters, knows what he’s doing. Lucy is so far gone with her disease of the blood, her words so wanton, that L.H. would be entirely out of his depth; he must wait here, having thrown away this opportunity to be present, to be witness to this madness.

He hears voices below and treads the rug some more, until a man of foreign appearance charges up the stairs. He cocks his hat at L.H. and remarks, “Ah, another suitor?”

And L.H. gapes, unable to even shake his head, such is the force of the man’s brash question, then watches irritated at how he waves the butler away, opens the door and enters the room leaving it wide open in his haste to rush to Lucy’s side.

L.H. catches a glimpse of her ivory skin, deathly white, and wild eyed she bucks up from the bed, struggling in Seward’s grip. Her night dress falls from her neck where she claws at her throat, trying to remove a garland of garlic tied there, exposing a breast when both men wrestle her down onto the bed in an attempt to calm her. Seward gives her a dose of morphine and she quickly deflates and L.H. watches as they prepare her for a blood transfusion.

Heart racing, L.H. retreats down the stairs to the library, passing two men in the hallway who ignore him and also race up the stairs to Lucy. He ponders what he’s just seen, and cannot understand how they hope to keep such evil at bay with garlic of all things! Where is the science in this? But these afflictions of the mind, he’s learning fast, throw all learning to the winds. They, all of them, are like Canute standing against the sea, such is their weakness and foolish belief in their vials and papers and medicines.

Sometime later, when Lucy is quiet, the four men emerge. Seward is wide-eyed and pale, and shakes his head at L.H.

“My friend,” he says, shaking his hand. “I am sorry, I hoped we might talk, that you might meet Miss Westenra, but as you can see…” he raises a hand helplessly then walks shakily past him, towards the front of the house, followed by the three other men who are oblivious of his presence.

L.H. considers whether to follow or not, the need for knowledge warring with his desire to look away from this situation as if he is somehow involved and doesn’t want to recognize it.

Curiosity winning out, he joins them outside for a smoke where they can talk without the servants over-hearing. He’s introduced to Lucy’s fiancée, Lord Arthur Holmwood, Quincy P. Morris (a coarse Texan in an ostentatious and tasteless brocade vest, stomping around as if he’s on a prairie rather than the elegant home of a fine family, and has L.H. gritting his teeth) and finally, the offensive individual from earlier, a Dutchman, Abraham Van Helsing, a metaphysician philosopher, who now has L.H.’s begrudging admiration for his direct manner at least, although his theories are unscientific and melodramatic.

“Gentlemen, we're not fighting some disease here,” Van Helsing explains, “Those marks on your dear Miss Lucy's neck were made by something unspeakable out there, dead but not dead. It stalks us for some dread purpose I do not yet comprehend. To live, it feeds on Lucy's precious blood. It is a beast, a monster.” He looks at the surrounding company and continues, “It is vampyr, nosferatu, a devil so strong that we call it immortal, though it may be killed by fire, or a wooden stake to the heart, but if it lives for centuries unharmed, it can re-stoke the evil flame within it, some say, by taking the souls of unborn children for its own, denying an innocent life breath while it lives on.”

L.H. feels his skin grow cold. Is this what has been happening to him? Is he a victim of the same predator which feasts on this poor girl? It is indeed a strange coincidence that what is described is so similar; is he too being stalked by the same creature? He sits heavily on a low wall in the garden trying to banish all thoughts of the dream and the letter, lest his outward appearance should give him away.

Seward turns to him. “You have something to say, McCoy? Have you experience of these phenomena in America?”

“Sir, I regret I have no such knowledge, indeed I have nothing to offer you other than my sympathies.” He looks at Van Helsing. “And I am resistant to supernatural explanations—”

“As we are all, doctor,” Helsing interrupts him, “but we cannot deny what our eyes have seen!”

L.H. glares back at this infuriating man, resisting the urge to demand to know what his qualifications are to speak on such matters; instead he looks away from the man’s penetrating gaze, turning back to Seward.

“I have seen no such thing, nor read of them prior to this evening, though I do not deny what the good - what are you sir, a professor? physician?” L.H. continues before Van Helsing can answer, “What Mr. Van Helsing suggests as a theory doesn’t have some appeal…” Van Helsing smiles amused at his poorly concealed rudeness. “Seward – Jack – I’ll take my leave. I feel I am intruding here. I thank you for inviting me – it is indeed an interesting case and I await its conclusion as a medic, and of course as your concerned friend, but I cannot stay.” He rises, nods to the rest of the company, “I’m recovering from a bout of fever and should retire for the night. It is, after all, an hour’s ride back to London…”

To L.H.’s relief, Seward nods and makes to accompany him to the front of the house. L.H. waves him away. “I am intruding, my friend. I hope you have a happy resolution and find a speedy cure for Miss Westenra.”

Seward nods sadly, shakes his hand and returns to the garden. “I’ll have a carriage brought round though you can stay, you know that?”

But what L.H. wants is to look away, to run, to obliterate this fear of something within him rearing its terrible head, this belief that he and the poor unfortunate girl share some fate in common and he can only do that if he leaves now.

He stands outside the house gazing over the dark landscape of Hampstead Heath, folding and unfolding the letter from JTK. By the time the carriage is ready for him, he’s succumbed – he knows damn well that if he doesn’t go and meet with him, he’ll never be free of this ridiculous notion that his own fate will mirror Lucy’s. His neck itches and he tightens his cravat, shifts and draws his coat around himself, an image of the dark creature from his dream sinking its teeth into him, sending a shudder to his belly. He wishes he could quash it with a dose of laudanum, cursing that in his haste to leave, he neglected to collect his flask from under the pillow.

“Take me to the docks,” he says to the driver, taking out the note from his breast pocket and holding it in his clammy hand. “Limehouse.”

As the carriage winds through the narrow streets closer to his destination, he begins to shiver, removing his hat and wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. His hair’s plastered to his temples and he breathes heavily, his dream from the night before spilling back into the forefront of his mind. He leans to the window and takes one look at the street, somehow knowing he’s in the right place, and raps on the ceiling with his fist. The carriage comes to a halt.

The driver does not look at him directly when L.H. hands him a coin, stuffs it in his pocket, and drives off, the mud flying under the wheels and splattering L.H.’s calves.

L.H. pushes past doorways crammed with whores and sleeping beggars and closes his eyes for a moment, waiting for the voice from his dream, but when it doesn’t come he buttons his coat, pushes past a rent-boy who presses against him with a touch to his hat, and turns sharp left past an alehouse to the depths of an alley strewn with piss and stray cats marauding through the waste. Yet he can smell the faint floral scent he’s come to expect whenever he thinks of the stranger from his dreams and he keeps walking till he comes to a doorway with a small tin sign swinging in the wind, a simple, Chinese dragon etched on its centre. He glances back the way he came and raps on the door. It’s a few minutes before he’s admitted.

An oriental man regards him coolly. “You the American?” he asks in heavily accented English.

L.H. feels a tick in his eye, tries to adopt a casual expression when in fact he’s surprised at the question and concedes a gruff, “Yes.”

The man indicates that he follow. It’s as seedy an interior as he would expect of such and establishment; he tries not to brush against the walls as he’s led past closed doors, up winding stairs that creak underfoot, to attic rooms. They are filled with every manner of oriental rugs and artifacts; however, the surroundings appear clean, dimly lit by a lamp in one corner. It takes his eyes a while to adjust and he loosens his cravat a little as his nose is filled with the sticky scent of opium sunken into the furnishings around him.

Then, his heart-rate escalates when he hears a voice behind him, a voice which fills him with warring desires to stay and run.

“Take your coat off, my friend.” God help him, but his cock thickens even before he turns, such is the power of that timbre on his mind.

“Friend?” he tries as nonchalant as he can be when he faces the dark creature who has been haunting him, compelling him. “I wouldn’t call you a goddamn friend.”

He’s beautiful – there’s no other word that will do to describe him. He’s taller than L.H. by a hand span at least, pale-faced yet exuding good health, and his eyes are more in the flesh than he can recall from his dream, shining like stained glass suffused with alluring sunlight. But he has a smirk on his face that makes L.H. want to boot him across the room, if only he could move.

“Though I knew you’d come, part of me was beginning to wonder if you’d find the courage to face me.” He licks his lips and cocks his head like a cat regarding a mouse.

“Courage! That’s what you call it? Who the hell are you, man?”

JTK closes his eyes for a moment, the smirk growing wider, then he opens them, leans towards L.H. and his lips purse, then he looks away. “You know me.”

“The hell I do!” L.H. grabs his arm, pushes the bastard against the door frame. “Tell me your name before I…”

He’s cut short by a look of such intensity L.H. almost falls back, but he holds tight, glowering with as much force as he can muster even as he feels a heat filling his head, his mouth go dry, and a desire to cant towards this creature and give in entirely to him.

“I’ve been in your thoughts,” JTK says mildly glancing down at L.H.’s fingers where they grip the dark gray of his coat and L.H. releases him, unable to do otherwise it seems. “It is natural that you will find that – how can I put it – annoying.”

“Damn right it’s annoying but why? How?” He rubs his hand across his face; yes, he is getting a fever, it’s the only thing which can explain his dizziness now, his difficulty in breathing.

And as if in sympathy at this distress, the creature frowns, touches L.H.’s shoulder and says: “Sawbones, sit, rest…we can talk.”

“Stop calling me that, dammit,” L.H. manages even as his legs seem to buckle under him. “My name’s McCoy and that’s what you’ll call me until I see fit to change matters.” The room spins and L.H. feels strong hands support and guide him towards a day bed piled high with tapestry and satin covered pillows. The creature sweeps a quantity of them to the floor and guides L.H. gently so he’s seated, trying not to gasp for air like a corseted debutante after an Atlanta tea-party. He watches pale, long fingers, nails calcium-white as shells, deftly unfasten the buttons of his coat, and he doesn’t fight as he’s leaned forward so he can untangle his arms. Now he can breathe more easily.

“What have you done to me, why do I feel like this, like I can’t breathe?” He raises a shaky hand to his neck, to that spot which keeps calling attention to itself at his jugular and runs a thumb there, noticing how something seems to pass over the creature’s eyes when he does so. There’s a fire in the grate, perhaps this accounts for some of his discomfort.

“You are overwhelmed, it is natural. After all, it isn’t a daily occurrence meeting an immortal.”

“Immortal my ass.”

The creature snorts with laughter and reaches for a decanter of water on a side table, “Here, L.H., Sawbones, McCoy, whatever you call yourself, drink this. You’ll feel more yourself; then I’ll answer your questions, all of them but one thing I want of you—”

“Oh, enlighten me, please,” L.H. says between sips of water; yes his head’s definitely clearing now.

“I want you to accept your part in this. You came here, I merely invited you. Your soul is drawn to mine.”

L.H. actually snorts water up his nose at this and shrugs off the hand clapping his back, “Take your fucking hands off me, you fiend; you lure me here, then say I have a part in it? Unbelievable.”

“Your eyebrows!” his companion says in delight, “The McCoy eyebrows. How expressive and…typical,” he says leaning back on the couch, his leg pressed against L.H.’s so that he’s forced to shift his weight closer to the armrest so that he can think.

“What do you know of my family, what do you mean? And are you going to tell me your name or not, JTK?”

“You only had to ask.” A devilish grin, teeth blindingly white and even. “James; James Tiberius Kirk. And I am your servant.” And the upstart actually stands, removes his hat with a flourish and bows. He points at L.H.’s eyebrow, “Yes, I have known your family for some years, the same stubbornness, fondness for cussing despite (or maybe because of) your breeding, and a face as easy to read as a nursery text. Oh, McCoys never change!”

“I know nothing of Kirks – explain yourself.”

Kirk nods. “It is a long story but I’ll attempt some conciseness for now. After all, we have an eternity to reminisce.” Kirk places his hat on the floor, reaching for L.H.’s and removing it, eyes scanning his face. It’s such an intimate yet boyish act, L.H. feels his cheeks color.

“Eternity...” he echoes, stupidly.

“Well, one step at a time. We need to get to know each other first. Ring for some brandy, it’ll calm you.”

“I don’t need goddamn calming, Kirk. I need…” his voice fades as Kirk’s face draws close, as his hand reaches for his face, touches his cheek lightly then withdraws.

“What do you need, Bones, do you even know yourself?”

L.H. fights the heat in his belly, the desire to lie down and allow this man to touch him further. Yes, it’s what he wants, it’s all he wants he realizes, but he also knows it’s a sickness, something he must quash for propriety’s sake, for his soul even. He has no idea how to express this, how to begin to push away this creature who has more force of personality than anyone, anything he’s come across before. He looks away from the penetrating gaze at the bell on the side table and lifting it, rings twice. “Perhaps I’ll have that drink after all.”

The servant appears shortly with a silver tray laden with two large brandy glasses and a decanter.

“Bring the pipe too,” Kirk says and the servant nods, taking his leave.

Kirk pours two large measures. “Armagnac.” L.H. takes the glass and rolls the golden liquid, releasing its fruity aroma. Kirk nods approvingly. “Drink, it will warm you.” Indeed it does, and calms him too so that he slides back a little in his seat, allowing his knees to fall apart. Kirk’s beside him again, glass in hand and L.H. looks away, unsettled by the sight of the half closed eyes, the way pale, full lips part to sip at the glass.

“I first knew your family many, many years ago,” Kirk gazes at his drink while he speaks, while he remembers. “One of you saved me, gave me life when I might have died. Since then…how can I put it, I have had this…compulsion…an interest in the fate of his descendants. Some, like you, more than others. I have at the very least taken an interest in the fate of McCoys.”

L.H. listens, pouring himself another glass and swallowing too quickly, aware this fine nectar should be savored, but more concerned with assuaging the fire that’s burning in him, feeling a compulsion of his own that his whole being seems to be falling prey to. “I am at a loss for words…” he manages, his tongue thick in his mouth, “and this…is uncharacteristic.”

Kirk laughs. “To say the least!”

“You are an upstart, do you know that?”

“It has been remarked upon once or twice, I admit.” Damn, Kirk’s voice heats his skin like the brandy inside him.

“You are, have been, in my thoughts,” L.H. manages to say.

Kirk shifts a little closer and L.H.’s eyelids droop when he feels the brush of soft, uncalloused fingers against his cheek. “I am glad of it.”

“And in my dreams…I don’t like it.”

The fingers trail past his jaw, to his ear, to the collar of his shirt sending pulses of feeling through him. In a moment he will shake Kirk off, will leave this room and breathe again, become himself once more, but this is like the dream, is it not? No one can see them, no one will judge him.

“I think you do, in fact, like it, Bones, I think this, me, this is what you like more than anything thus far in your life.” Sweet, hypnotic words, whispered so close to his ear. He should be able to feel Kirk’s breath, but there is none. It is as if a statue were touching him, a living statue, carved almost to perfection by a supernatural hand. He must stop, he must.

“And I will if you say the word,” Kirk says as if L.H. had spoken aloud, though he knows he did not.

There is a movement by the door and L.H. rights himself with a start when the servant walks in with a box of cigars, realising with horror he’s almost lying on the couch now and they will be discovered, accused as sodomites. He shoves Kirk away and he stands, face burning, and paces the room until the servant leaves them.

“This is wrong!” he growls. “You have taken advantage of my loosened state, I am…I must leave.”

He rushes towards the door but feels a pull to his shoulders as if he were being held in place by a harness though when he touches all there is, is cloth, and he turns to Kirk who is standing now, regarding him with a look of softness, kindness, something he would not expect in such a fiend.

“What are you? How are you preventing me from leaving this room? Release me!” and with that, he falls to the carpet, wrist jarring on impact. He stumbles to his feet, runs his hand through his hair and turns to collect his coat, his hat and his dignity before he can change his mind. He does not dare look at Kirk again, knowing that somehow catching his eye will be his undoing, that he has been in some way hypnotised and that if he doesn’t go now, he’ll be lost.

“And what of your dream, Leonard McCoy?”

“What of it?” L.H. snarls at him, “if indeed it was a dream.” He’s overcome with an impulse to hit Kirk, to make him feel some of the measure of suffering he’s put him through. He’s standing so close to him. How did he arrive here, his lips near, canting his head to look at him more directly? “To me it feels like I was taken in the night against my will.”

“I know of your dream, Bones, I felt it with you for we are connected, our minds, our fates, but I did not plant it in your mind, it was borne of your desires, that which you deny yourself, and I can show you them.” He clasps L.H.’s clenched fists and forces them to his sides, then presses his body against him. “You want me as much as I want you.”

May the saints help him, but he does, it’s true. “Because you’ve compelled me just as you prevented me from leaving the room now, leaving this place.”

“I admit I arrested you but I also released you the moment you asked me to. Why are you still here, and answer truthfully?”

Kirk’s hands inch up his sides and L.H.’s neck muscles strain with the effort of holding himself back. Kirk watches him, parts his lips and then, like a willing sacrifice before a dark god L.H. throws himself forward, grips Kirk’s hair and pulls their mouths together. It is better than the dream, real, and their tongues war, their teeth clash awkwardly and he feels more alive than he has in his entire life, the life he will surely give up if he stays a moment longer, though, curiously, the prospect of this does not frighten him as he thought it would.

Panting, he presses his forehead against Kirk’s jaw, aware they have both fallen to the couch and Kirk is half resting on the floor, half on top of him.

“Why, how, have you been present in my thoughts?” L.H. harshes out.

Kirk strokes his hair from his eyes, looking at him in something like awe, “Because you invited me in. You chose me as I chose you.”

“This cannot be. You have mesmerized me, inveigled your way into my dreams and now my waking life, and I cannot shake you off.” L.H. hesitates, his voice wavering, ”Do I…do I have the same disease of the blood as Lucy?”

Jim blinks. “Who is Lucy?”

“You had nothing to do with that?”

L.H. searches Kirk’s face for clues as to the truth of his statement. His eyes are open, clear, and he frowns slightly in genuine incomprehension. Yet this does not mean he has not infected others, perhaps not Lucy, but it is small comfort.

“No, and I have no idea what you mean. Who is she?”

“She is victim to the vampire bite, stricken, pale, close to death, to become a… being such as yourself.”

“Ah,” Kirk sits up, takes the box of cigars from the table and crosses his legs. L.H. watches him light it, take a long pull from his cigar, then smile. “It is he of The Dragon. The air in London reeks of old death since he arrived with his entourage – if it were not for you I would have left weeks ago to avoid the pollution.”

“You know him?”

“It would be difficult to have lived as long as I have without knowing of him. And if he knew of me, he would have cut me down.” Kirk blows a smoke ring and smiles a boyish smile, “He was a lunatic in life, and now a lunatic one-hundred fold.” He taps his temple. “It seems that vampires are themselves as when they were human, their living characteristics, beliefs, good and bad, amplified when they rise again.”

“So what were you? A man with the mind of a greedy infant who could not say no to his impulses? So starved of love that you should demand it of me when I have none to give you?”

“Your words wound me, Bones.”

L.H. gazes at Kirk’s eyelashes, thick and perfect as they flutter and shield his eyes for a moment. Then Kirk looks up, indeed wounded as he described, smile gone, blinking back tears perhaps – if indeed vampires can cry.

“Only God can wound you, you will see when you meet him.”

“There is no God,” Kirk whispers thoughtfully, “and the only devil is man.” He takes L.H.’s hand, turns it, examines his palm running a nail down his life line sending a shock to his groin which has L.H. pulling away from the tight grip.

“I can feel Him; you are wrong!”

“The mind plays tricks on men,” Kirk says. “Where was God when you cried in the night for His mercy, when you lost your unborn children, when your father died of consumption? Where, Bones?”

L.H. is startled at that. “How do you know so much about my life, Kirk? You know things I have shared with no one here...”

“Ah, as I have explained, your thoughts are open to me.”

“Then you must know that I...worry...not just for myself. Can you help Lucy?”

“No, The Dragon’s power is strong; he is old, insane, vengeful. And this Lucy is nothing to me.”

“Are you the Devil here to punish me?”

“For what?” Jim laughs and slides closer. “What have you done that deserves punishment? If only everything was as simple as you’d have it: men falling into neat stacks of damned and rewarded, no innocent suffering, no guilty man going unpunished. You truly are a romantic!”

“The afterlife levels all of us.”

This is all there is.” Kirk’s voice rises in irritation, like he can bend L.H.’s mind to ungodly ways with the sheer force of his words. And perhaps he can...though L.H. must attempt to hold his ground at least.

“But there is evil, and if there is evil there must be supreme goodness, James.”

Kirk’s eyes widen – it’s the first time L.H. has used his name. “Must be? I have lived more than a century and the only evil I’ve seen has been man-made, goodness too.”

“And what of you, are you not evil?”

Kirk appears to wince at that. “Perhaps, but I am, nevertheless, made of man, not God. A vampire who was once a man.”

“You are a taker of souls; tonight I heard how demons such as yourself steal the lives of the unborn, how to give yourself strength you will take a soul from a babe before he draws breath - it is the utmost evil, a slur on God’s work!”

And for the second time since they have spoken, Kirk looks bemused. “I know nothing of this taking of souls - though I confess I am young in comparison to some of my kind and I still have much to learn and experience. I have not heard of this before, perhaps you are mistaken...”

Kirk sees L.H. sigh with relief at that and rests his cigar on the ashtray to cup L.H.’s face with steady hands. The scent of roses seems to be released from his clothing; would that he smelled of mold and decay, it would be so much easier to deny him. He draws L.H. close, rests his lips to his ear and whispers, “The only ecstasy is not divine but man-made, and pain too.” Kirk looks at him with pale, impenetrable eyes. “There is no purpose, Sawbones. We are. That is all there is.”

“And this is how you choose to exist? To live by feeding on others, on innocents such as Lucy.”

“Well, I didn’t have a choice.” Kirk hesitates, glancing away for a moment, then leans closer, resting his hand on L.H.’s thigh. “The devil who made me, who took me, didn’t give me a choice. I want you to have that…something that was denied me. My human life was snatched from me; I was happy in my own way, and I can be happy again. We both can be. Think of what you deny yourself, think of what you can learn—”

“No, this is no life, no choice. You entice me with learning but in reality, if you have your way, I will become like you, a base creature, driven by the lowest desires and needs – a predator. How can you think that would appeal to me, James? Everything I do, my quest is always to help and to heal.” He looks away from Kirk, trying to bring back images of his life so far from this place, but it is a struggle indeed with this alluring devil by his side.

“But what of your true nature, Bones? What of that part of you that craves love, understanding, acceptance? Only I know you for who you really are, the essence of Leonard McCoy.”

“My essence is my breathing life, my beating heart, my humanity, my love for mankind. What’s mankind to you? You take, you step over the husks of former husbands, wives, mothers, sisters – kings and paupers reduced to carrion. I will not do that!”

“I can love you, Bones, like you deserve, I know you.” His voice is so earnest that for a moment L.H. feels pity for him. But he will not be owned, led by another, not even one who says he knows so much about him. He is wrong – it is false.

“You don’t, you fucking don’t!” His cheeks blaze, anger coursing through him, indignation. “If you knew me, you wouldn’t ask this of me. You want to take away my soul – make me an empty automaton, the living dead, soulless and evil.”

“I have a soul, and I am very much alive although not as you know life. My heart does not beat, but if it did it would be beating for you.” Kirk shakes his head as he considers the admission he has just made.

“You sound like one of those cheap Gothic novels, sir: fine, pretty words, poured like whipped cream over maggot-ridden fruit.”

The servant arrives with a pipe and this time L.H. does not leave Kirk, anger making him shoot a challenging look towards the poor man, when he places black beads of opium into its bowl. They watch as he runs a flame along the base then hands the pipe to Kirk with a half bow.

When he leaves, Kirk in turn hands the pipe to L.H. “This is why you are here, isn’t it, to hide from the world, to quash your real nature, so take the pipe, smoke, deny yourself, deny me.”

L.H. shakes his head, sitting more upright on the day bed.

“I love you, Bones, for who you are.”

“You cannot love, and if you do it’s like a wolf loves its next meal!”

“Perhaps the pipe will give you the courage to search your heart for what you really want.”

“And what if what I want is an offense against God.”

“This again! How you flagellate yourself. Do you think that God, if He existed, would care about who we love and how we do it? Why do you make Him so small, cast Him as a school master with a cane when, surely, if He existed His mind would be so unfathomable, so immense, His heart so pure that He would see beyond physical form and delight in the sheer emotion men feel, the emotion which He gave us after all.”

“You have an answer for everything; hell, you’d start an argument in an empty house.”

“And yet you fight me, Bones, at every turn; it’s intoxicating, unusual,” Kirk leans in, “endlessly arousing.”

This is too much feeling, too difficult, so he takes a long draw from the pipe, sighing when he feels the smoke hit his lungs and he holds it deep, instantly feeling his eyes droop and the room around him, the world, soften. His head falls back and lolls to the side, he feels Jim ease his legs up onto the couch, removing his boots, and he holds the pipe for him so he can suckle some more.

“How have you fallen, Bones,” Kirk asks, his lips dragging against L.H.’s earlobe, his throat, his cheeks, “that you can only face life like this?” Kirk kisses his eyelids, strokes his hair. “By my side you will see again, you will no longer feel heart-sick, there will be no more guilt, be mine, Bones, be mine – willingly.”

The pipe falls to the floor and L.H. collapses, boneless against the plush cushions, the sickly sweet scent of the smoke advancing like treacle through his veins, filling his head, making him loose and heavy. Kirk’s lips whisper across his eyelids, his hands stroke him through his clothing, he nips at L.H.’s throat, at that spot which has troubled him since his dream, and he succumbs to his administrations, Kirk’s tongue, his teeth. It is perfection, carried on a tide of want and feeling, where he is supported, pain-free yet still able to feel this ecstasy.

“Take me,” he sighs into the demon’s mouth, ”I am ready…”

“Not tonight,” Kirk soothes him. “But we’ll talk. for now I must go.” Kirk pushes his hand over L.H.’s forehead, past his eyelids so they close, then plants a kiss on his parted lips and leaves him. “Sleep, and I will send a carriage to collect you in a few hours. You will be safe here until then.”


L.H.’s mouth tastes like a salt mine and his head throbs but despite this, he is filled with an elation which, for once, has nothing to do with laudanum.

He thinks about the night before as he stares out of the carriage window, head thick with the after-affects of the pipe, but heart full. At some point last night he realized that he was claimed already and now, all he can think of is nightfall, to the moment when he will be with Kirk again, certain this is what he wants.

When he arrives home, Mr. Scott emerges from his rooms and picks up a letter sitting on the hall table and hands it to him. “This came from across the Atlantic for you, sir, early this morning. I trust it is good news.”

L.H.’s heart sinks when he sees the handwriting and dry-mouthed he takes the letter to his room.

My dearest Leonard, I have yet to receive news from you and I trust London treats you well. It is many months since we have seen each other and you are no doubt surprised that I have chosen to write to you since our differences have, sadly, of late become deep rooted; it is perhaps no surprise following our tragic losses and shared grief.

But, my dear husband, it is with joy I write to you now!

Oh, Leonard, five months have passed since we last set eyes on each other. While it seemed difficult at the time, how we argued and railed, how you insisted that your career was your only love these days, I cannot hold back the news longer.

Leonard, it is true! I am with child! I held off the news given our misfortune thus far, but I have passed the most difficult stages and the doctors assure me I am well and should carry the child to term if I remain in my bed.

I do not wish to call you home. I know your studies are most important, but, Leonard, think of it: when we had all but given up, the fates, God, has provided us with hope, and perhaps a means to repair what was broken between us.

Tears fall, splashing onto the delicate paper making the words bleed into one another until he can no longer make out their meaning. L.H. cries for he knows not what. Is it relief that he is to be given life again? Or is it because of what he must do to Kirk? Or does he cry for himself, for what he loses through what he gains by leaving? He wipes his face, and calls to Scotty down the stairwell.

“Mr. Scott, hail a cab for one hour’s time. I’m leaving.”

Once his trunk is all packed and waiting by the door, the last thing he does is burn his note from Jim, gathering up the ashes and taking them to the window, watching them soar, then flutter into countless pieces, like some part of him separated and dashed by the wind towards Highgate Cemetery, the sun blazing above the tree tops.


Even Jim’s vampire eyes cannot cut through the impenetrable pitch surrounding him, the sound filtering through the coffin’s lid and walls, yet he stares into the darkness all the same. He’s not afraid to lie like this, forever if needs be. What fills him with terror is the prospect of an eternity alone.

Once it was a triumph to be who he was, perfect, inviolable and omnipotent, but now he realizes that nothing touches him anymore – other than the thrill of the kill. He’d like to say ‘the hunt’, but it’s gone; everything has become too easy, too unchallenging.

He’s acquired numerous skills since he was made; he’s now an accomplished draughtsman, can play the violin like a virtuoso, as well as the piano and the oboe, but the music fills him with sadness, not joy.

Part of him considers the fragments of his personalty which have survived his re-birth; on the one hand, intellectually he knows that living breathing humans feel guilt and remorse for killing, where he feels none. Yet the vibrations of violin strings seem to have opened every part of his undead body, so that when he plays he feels a sense of tragedy as keen as fear of death, bringing bloody tears to his eyes, making him understand what it would be to have life taken away at his hand.

And L.H. – Bones. How can Jim’s hunger for him, for this soul, be as keen as his blood lust? And why couldn’t he just take him? Perhaps there is something else that’s survived his former, weak, inferior self: the capacity to love and be loved, re-awoken by those hazel eyes.

Now both of them have rejected him. And since he seems drawn to this family and, oh strange mother nature, he seems to actually care about them, he wonders if this flicker of humanity will grow while he sleeps? Or, perhaps, the flame will be doused as he becomes more and more purely a demon, like smoked meat, like distillation, leaving behind nothing but a base creature which hunts, following the scent of blood like a fly to shit.

He’ll sleep off his McCoy fever, his disease – he has allowed the human to infect him like a canker.

Two lifetimes, and always him, always this same soul. Always McCoy. He cannot bear it so he will stay in the ground.

Jim turns away from the world and closes his eyes, he hopes for all time.

End of Chapter 2


Additional author’s notes for this chapter:
* Van Helsing’s lines: “Gentlemen, we're not fighting some disease here... Those marks on your dear Miss Lucy's neck were made by something unspeakable out there, dead but not dead. It stalks us for some dread purpose I do not yet comprehend. To live, it feeds on Lucy's precious blood. It is a beast, a monster.” Are from Coppola’s ‘Dracula’.

Chapter Text

Blood Ties: Chapter 3

I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing, through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born. ~Jack London


Los Angeles. 1999

Len runs his hands back and forth in semi-circles across the steering wheel. He stares at the broad, stone steps leading up to the building and watches in his rear-view mirror in case the doors open. He’s been sitting here ten minutes now and no one’s come in or out in that time. But then it’s late, why would they? What the hell kind of detective agency stays open at this hour?

When he looked through the ads, the late opening was the main reason he picked Angel Investigations; it meant he could swing by on his way home. It did cross his mind to phone past clients out of the blue, except he’s not sure you can do that. Plus, there’s the small matter of his phone manner which, as Joss never fails to remind him, sucks. He kind of liked the slogan too: We help the helpless; after all, what is he, if not helpless?

It’s not a scientific way to make a decision, but it’s all he’s got.

Never having met one, Len has no idea what in blazes makes a competent detective; he’s a doctor, dammit. It’s ironic the one person he could have asked would be Jocelyn, but since she’s to be the subject… He rubs an eye and just manages to stop himself thumping his head on the steering wheel. Dammit all – he can’t fucking believe he’s stooping this low.

Another five minutes grind by and Len glowers at any homeless people who look like they might shuffle towards his open window. None make it within five feet of the car.

So here he is, left to his own devices, the only ‘help’ in his half-assed decision-making being the P.I.s on TV when, ordinarily, he’d sooner have his eyes gouged out with hot spoons than watch that shit. And what’s he learned? That they’ve all got froofy hair and look great in the compulsory shirtless scenes. And don’t get him started on the UST. He rolls his eyes and takes off his sunglasses realizing they probably make him look like a hit man sitting in the dark, with his stubble and tan skin. He hooks them in the top pocket of his shirt, eases off the seat, sweat making his shirt stick to his back.

He worries a nail with his teeth, wishing he’d never ditched smoking. At least it would give him something to do with his hands, a way of marking out the passing of time, and maybe something to distract him from the knots permanently formed in his stomach of late.

Damn, he should have called; but then, he would have felt committed when, the way it is now, he can still bail.

The endless hum of traffic soothes him a little and he leans back in his seat, searching for the half moon struggling to be seen through the haze and neon, and masked by downtown skyscrapers. Of course he can’t, and though it’s a clear night, not one single star can be seen through the light pollution – fuck, he misses sitting on a porch just staring at the night sky, everything he loves traded in for tail-lights and crazies, palm trees and have-a-nice-fucking-day.

Okay, maybe he’s warming to the place – not that he’d admit that to anyone, but in a perverse kind of way the Los Angelinos being so upbeat, rather than cheer him (God forbid) helpkeep him cynical as hell, grounded in a way now he’s so far from home. So here he is dressed like a hit man, hiding out with his family in the city of dreams, trying to forget the shit-storm since daddy died and he’s been pretty much disowned.

He clears his throat (goddamn shit air quality) and watches a girl on roller-blades zip past the car, her breasts motionless as she arcs side to side as if the sidewalk were snow and she was in Aspen. Not for the first time he wonders whether he should have gone into plastic surgery – god knows he needs the money what with Jocelyn’s law school debts and the fucking extortionate day care center she insists is the only one to send their baby girl to.

Len reaches for his keys, pulls them out of the ignition and scoops up his jacket from the passenger seat. The agency’s card falls out and he angles it towards the street light, examining the logo again to try and figure out what it might represent – a white squiggle on black – and shakes his head. “What the fuck is that?” he mutters and leans into the door and shoves it open just as a movement catches his eye and the doors to the building swing, polished mahogany and glass glinting in the streetlights.

A tall, dark haired man with a Cro-Magnon brow and a kicked puppy look lopes out and bounces down the steps, slipping something into his back pocket. That’s a lot of hair product, Len thinks as he slams the door to his car and locks it. The guy’s wearing a too-big black leather jacket over a black shirt, black pants – and that’s a lot of black on black. Seriously, he needs to stop watching ‘Queer Eye’ over Joss’ shoulder; he’s beginning to sound very West Hollywood.

Hair Gel Guy makes for a Plymouth convertible with its roof off that’s parked in front of Len’s, and nods. “Hey,” he says.

Len nods back, making the corner of his mouth twitch in the ghost of a smile.

“It’s an angel,” Hair Gel Guy says, surprising Len because how did the guy know what he was thinking? Even if he’d said it out loud, he was way too far away to have heard him, that’s for sure.

Len examines the card again. “It is?” he looks into brown eyes. “I’m not seeing it…”

Hair Gel Guy looks unaccountably pissed by this. “You waiting for someone?”

“I…no,” Len mumbles and slips his keys into his sports jacket, then shoves his shades back on defensively. He waves vaguely towards the building. “I was just…”

“You in trouble?” Hair Gel Guy frowns, folding his arms. “Because if you’re in trouble I can…”

“No, do I look like I am?” Dammit, he knew the shades were a mistake. Len doesn’t like the guy’s assessing gaze, and wonders why he looks so pissed. He shrugs and rests his hand on the door, glancing up and down the street through the remnants of holiday shoppers. And tourists – always goddamn tourists in L.A.

“Busy time of year,” Hair Gel Guy says, turning away, and with that, without bothering to open the door on his convertible, he swings his legs over the door and slides elegantly into the driver seat.

“Great car,” Len remarks taking a step forward to run a hand along the body work until he’s stayed by a warning look.

“Yeah,” Hair Gel Guy says. He turns the key and the vintage Plymouth pulls away, wallowing into traffic.

Well, Len thinks, he was sure good looking enough to be a TV detective. “Y’all have a nice day,” he growls under his breath then frowns when Hair Gel Guy raises a hand like he’s heard. Weird.

Len looks at the card again: Angel Investigations, he reads. Ask for Angel. Fucking porn star name; he can’t wait to set eyes on this guy.
He takes the steps two at a time and pushes through the doors of a deserted lobby. There’s a side light on, but other than that it’s dark, decorated in somber colors, with an old-style phone on a desk. He can see a light glowing through a glass door and takes more steps down, past lamps balanced on banisters that would look more at home in a Victorian street scene than an office. He hovers outside the door a moment, takes a breath, ducks his head and peers through the glass.

He can just make out a kid sitting in darkness, feet up on the desk, in jeans and a white t, blond head bowed, and a notebook or sketch book resting on long thighs, a pencil between his lips.

Len deliberates whether to knock or to just walk in but the kid seems to sense he’s there, sniffs like a dog and looks up. He frowns, squints, then gapes at Len like he’s seen a ghost or something.

Len opens the door and steps in. The kid’s still gawping and as Len gets close, his feet hit the floor with a thud, the pad falling to the black and white tile. Without taking his eyes off Len, the kid leans, picks it up, rests the pad on the desk which is cluttered with old books and various office bits and pieces, none of which look like they were made more recently than fifty years ago.

Len forces himself to smile as disarmingly as his nature allows.

“Hi, pardon me…I startled you.”

The kid’s openly staring at him, blue eyes wide, framed by dark, thick eyebrows and their eyes lock for a beat. Len feels a little twist in his throat, a sense of déjà vu, sure he’s seen this guy someplace before. In the hospital could be...he shrugs it off and waits for the kid to blink, to speak even. When he does neither, Len tries again to break the awkward silence.

“You Angel?” Len says, trying not to smirk; because yeah, the kid’s kind of pretty, in a generic, all-American way and would probably make a fine living in college-boy porn. Not that he has any idea what that might be like…

The kid stands. He continues to have trouble talking and Len considers stretching his hand out and pushing his jaw up for him. “You’re gonna catch flies, kid,” he drawls.

“No, no – my name’s Jim, Jim Kirk,” the kid says, staring up at him. “You’re so… tall,” he adds stupidly, blinking, the poor light casting strange shadows on his cheeks. His voice is deeper than Len expected, soft and somehow familiar. He’s likely an actor, or done voice-over – yeah, that’ll be it, but it doesn’t explain why he suddenly feels like there’s an itch under his skin.

“McCoy,” he says extending a hand. “Len.” Something passes over the kid’s face and Len can see he’s making a concerted effort to compose himself. Damn, it’s too late to make like he wandered in off the street by mistake. Kirk grips his hand with cool, soft fingers and seems reluctant to release it till Len glances down and raises an eyebrow. When he lets go, Len feels his heart rate accelerating – must be his instincts kicking in – this town’s full of crazies after all. “And yeah, so they tell me.” He taps a finger in the kid’s direction. “And you’re of average height.”

The kid’s face breaks into a brilliant smile, like he approves of Len’s sarcastic tone. Well, isn’t that a nice change?

“Why don’t you take a seat and tell me how I can help?” Kirk switches on a table lamp and his face comes into sharp focus, his skin glows ethereal white, eyes sparkling bluer than the swimming pool tiles at Len’s apartment building.

Len tries real hard to keep the irritation out of his voice; if he’s going to make the leap, do the P.I. thing, he needs someone who knows what he’s doing, and Kirk barely looks old enough to drink. But he’s here now and Len doesn’t want to lose Joss or, more to the point, Joanna. His stomach flutters as the fear resurfaces, that everything in his marriage might be going to shit.

“I dunno, kid,” he says, clearing his throat, “I was expecting to speak with Angel?” He glances into the dark corners of the room, like Kirk might be hiding him there. “He your daddy?”

“My daddy?” Jim ducks his chin, looks kind of embarrassed. “No, me and Angel, we’ve only met a couple of times, not even friends, truth be told – he’s kind of a…oh! I see…

“You thought I meant…” Len gives the kid the eyebrow.

“Yeah. Sorry.” He’s gifted a lopsided grin that makes his mouth go a little dry. “The whole southern thing… ‘daddy’, ‘ma’am’. It’s kind of cool.” Kirk clears his throat and looks down. “Matter of fact – he was just here.”

“Tall guy, hair mousse,” Len makes the universal gesture of ‘tall’, raises his hand above his head. Kirk follows the movement like a cat tracking a bird, then his eyes flicker back to Len’s face. “Looks like he—”

“— found out his cat died?” Kirk offers. They both laugh and Len looks away when he sees how Kirk’s eyes crinkle, maybe glow a little. Maybe the kid is old enough to drink – now he’s got a better look at him. “Yeah, I said I’d babysit the business while he’s in New York,” Kirk explains. “For the next month this place,” and he waves a broad, pale hand, “is pretty much mine!”

“Hell, I thought you were the security.”

“Nah, security’s not my thing – I’m more of a…well, I like being in charge,” he raises his eyebrows and Len feels a flush on his neck at the innuendo which sure, he could have imagined. Kirk’s voice drops, soothing, compelling, “Tell me what I can do for you.”

Len lets the words tumble out before he can change his mind. “I need a private investigator.”

“Then I’m your man.”

There’s a beat as Jim holds his gaze, his eyes fierce blue, hypnotic. Len feels mildly dizzy for a moment and thinks he can smell the scent of cut flowers, like last time he hit the florists on the way home from work when he and Joss were still talking. He unsticks his lips. It’s weird, but he feels like he’s leaning a little towards Kirk, so he shifts his weight to prove to himself that he isn’t, then manages to say, “Is your climate-control out, kid? It’s kinda warm in here.”

“Yeah, sorry, I haven’t…I don’t really suffer in the heat, or the cold...neither does Angel. Hey, let me see if there’s anything to drink. Hold on… take a seat.” He walks round the desk, stops, looks at Len over his shoulder, “Don’t go anywhere, k?”

The moment Kirk strides out of the office and bounces down some steps to what must be a basement room, Len’s lungs fill with air. It’s an odd reaction, but then he is stressed – he’s left this too long.

While he waits, Len examines his surroundings, leans over to the desk and pushes the stapler so it’s in line with the old books heaped high. He turns when he hears Kirk.

“This is all we’ve got, sorry, I haven’t had a chance to buy…” their fingers brush when he hands over a glass of tap water, and the kid looks kind of embarrassed, lowering his eyes.

“You not having anything?” Len says, taking a sip, rolling the glass across his cheek then stretching his legs out.

The kid looks at Len’s hands and shakes his head. “I’m good,” he says, “I drank…earlier.” He settles behind the desk. “So, how can I help?”

“How long you been a private investigator, kid?”

Kirk sticks his tongue into his cheek then smiles, revealing gleaming, perfect teeth. He leans across the desk and winks at Len. “I’ll let you into a secret – not very long.” He slumps back, cocks his head at Len which really irritates the fuck out of him. “That a problem?”

“’Course it’s a problem.”

Kirk blinks. “Listen, tell me what your situation is and I’ll put your mind at rest. I’m good at this stuff. I have a way of finding things out; I’m very stealthy, cat-like even.”

“I’m not feelin’ reassured, Kirk.”

“Please – call me Jim,”

Len nods. “Okay. You look kinda young – Jim.”

Jim opens his mouth, seems to think better of whatever he was about to say. He absently presses the tip of his tongue to one of his canines and says a little defensively, “I get that a lot. I’m older than I look.”

“In this town, sure you are.” They both laugh again and their eyes catch for a moment and it’s Len who has to look away, feeling his neck heat up a little. He glances at Jim’s mouth, rests his half-empty glass on the desk, and reaches for a piece of folded paper in his jeans pocket; it contains all the details he’s anticipated he’ll need; he keeps it in his palm for now.

“Okay, look, it’s none of my business.” He sighs, deciding to give the kid a break. “If Angel’s left you in charge…hey, what hell kind of name is that? He Mexican?”

“No – Irish, way back…” Jim thumbs over his shoulder.

“Anyway…it’s my wife,” he says eventually. “Guess there’s no other way to say it than come out with it – I think she’s having an affair.”

“You’re married?”

Len thinks Jim’s latched onto the wrong part of this. “Well don’t sound so damned surprised!”

Jim makes a dismissive gesture, and licks his lips again. He really should get some chap stick – that pink tongue’s kinda distracting. “No, I…you look young to be married these days. I guess.”

These days? And if he thinks that disarming smile’s going to work on him…Len huffs, “I’m not.”

Jim makes a placating gesture with his hands and rests them on his thighs. “So, you think your wife’s having an affair, okay…that’s easy. You want me to get pictures, do some surveillance? I can do that.” He’s calm, composed, like Len’s being fitted for a suit, not having his personal life laid bare in this museum set of an office.

Len looks at his watch. “I don’t know. I just want to be sure is all…” Surveillance? Shit. Looks like he hasn’t really thought this through.

Jim stands, rounds the desk, sits on its edge and crosses his feet at the ankles. He has big feet, skinny calves and... Len stops himself trailing his eyes up towards denim clad thighs, snapping to Jim’s face and then looking away. Damn the kid doesn’t seem to blink like normal folk. It’s unsettling and Len’s not used to being unsettled by anyone. Ever.

Jim leans towards him. “You ever thought about just asking her?” Len swallows. The kid’s groin’s at eye level, and Len leans back in his chair, feeling intimidated as hell by the temporary difference in their heights – and he just knows this is intentional on Jim’s part.

“I can’t do that,” Len snaps. “I might be wrong.”

“Okay, that’s cool. So what makes you think she is?” Jim folds his arms and Len takes in the way the muscles flex, the creamy skin, and feels his neck color. Maybe he picked up a cold or something – he really doesn’t feel quite right.

“Shouldn’t you be making notes?” he grumbles.

“No, I’m good, I have like a really awesome memory.” Jim watches him reach for the glass of water, his eyes fixed on Len’s throat as he swallows, watches Len run his hand across his mouth. Len feels a twitch in his cock and shifts in his chair. There’s something about that unwavering stare, the cool composure of this kid he finds disconcerting... and his voice, yeah that’s it – his voice. Where the hell’s he heard it before?

“Joss – Jocelyn – my wife, she’s been acting strange; she’s been working late, more so than usual, and she’s been cool with me; off…you know?” Which is quite an achievement considering they’re still only together because of Jo-Jo, but Jim doesn’t need to know that.

“Well, I’ve never been married, but yeah…” Jim slaps his thigh to fill the sudden awkward silence. “I can do a surveillance package, you’ll have to give me her place of work, route, that kind of thing. Times. Hey,” Jim twists, leans back across the desk, raising a foot off the floor to keep his balance, exposing pale abs momentarily, a line of fine hairs. He opens a drawer and rummages and Len’s startled by a sudden image of what Jim would look like spread out over the desk. He shakes his head irritably. This is what happens when you don’t have sex in a while – makes you hyper-sensitive and, he’s kind of forgotten how much he likes guys.

Jim’s voice brings him back to reality. “Maybe I oughta write some stuff down – show Angel I haven’t just been sitting round the place. It’s kinda cool I’ve got a job my first night. Day, I mean.” He looks across the pile of books, glancing into the drawer. “Maybe there’s a form or something.”

“A form?” Len snorts. “Why don’t you use that pad?” He points to the notebook and reaches round Jim, inhaling his scent which oddly, is floral, reminding him of jasmine from home and adding to the disturbing sensation of familiarity. To his surprise, Jim snatches it from him, his hands moving way too fast, actually a blur when he takes it which gives Len pause. Jim frowns, holding the pad to his chest, then places it on the desk behind him.

“That’s not for…it’s for something else…” It’s the first time Jim’s lost his composure since he regained the power of speech when Len first walked into the office. One thing Len knows, he needs to see what’s in that pad now.

“Hey, sorry,” Len raises his hands. “I can come back in the mornin’; this is obviously a bad time – maybe we can grab breakfast – looks like you’ve not had to time to settle in. I don’t need to be at…anywhere… till the afternoon.” He looks around the dark office, eyes settling on another pile of books in a recess behind the desk. “Truth is, I feel kind of dumb, maybe I’m wrong. I hope I am.” Joss and he may not be sleeping together anymore, but he’s damned if someone else is going to take over his parental role, some goddamn sleaze in a suit, driving a phallic car and flashing his expense account.

“Maybe…if you are wrong, well – I can at least put your mind at rest, or give you some ammunition, a way of knowing for sure. I’m pretty good at reading people too. Thing is…job like yours can put a strain on a marriage...”

What the fuck does a kid this age know about marriage, or anything and Len glowers at him. “I haven’t told you what I do; how the hell do you know what kind of job I got?” How the hell do you know anything?

If Len was a betting man, he’d say Jim looks like he’s just been busted. Thankfully, he moves back to the other side of the desk and sits down, sprawling in his chair, his eyes dark, lazily sweeping Len from top to toe. Yep, Len may be out of practice but he can tell when he’s being flirted with. It irritates and thrills him all at once and he chews his bottom lip and crosses his legs to hide what feels like a bulge threatening to embarrass him. Not that the kid would notice.

“Call it a hunch,” Jim says vaguely. “You look like a doctor; you’ve got nice hands…”

“Well, my career as a hand model went all to shit, so I decided to take up medicine as somethin’ to fall back on.” Len’s enjoying this – yeah, he’s not lost his touch.

Jim’s lips purse in something between irritated and amused, and he steers the conversation back to business. “So, since I’m not at my best in the mornings – I sleep late – let’s see what we can cover now; then the sooner I get started, well – the sooner I can get paid.” He smiles a large, toothy smile and winks at Len who finds he’s staring at Jim’s mouth. And there’s that flicker of déjà vu again. Maybe it’s all the old shit in the place reminding him of his gram’s house – she had one of those corny green down-lighters too.

He hurriedly tells Jim about the times Joss has been late, how she has at least twice received calls in his presence and been very evasive about who the caller was when normally she’s happy to share basic stuff about her work without breaking confidentiality – it’s all they goddamn talk about, other than about Jo-Jo, not that he tells Jim that part, of course.

All the while, he examines his surroundings, the neutral walls and the slightly worn office carpet, part of him trying to figure out why he feels unsettled in this kid’s presence. It’s not just sexual attraction; there’s something, he’s realizing, not quite right about Jim, and he doesn’t like it. And he thinks he’s finally figured out why – it’s the guy’s skin – it’s weird. Jim’s not tan and everyone’s tan in LA, especially someone like him; with his low-ride jeans and dirty blond hair. The kid doesn’t look the type to work in an office; hell, he doesn’t look like he’s done a days work in his life and he’d likely look more comfortable with a surf board in his arms. Though he’d have to grow his hair, which would be nice…

If only his goddamn dick would get the message and stop with the little electric shocks every time their eyes catch. And frankly, yet another part of him is still not convinced this place is the real deal.

It’s like he said it out loud because Jim remarks: “I have a secretary starting tomorrow. Place will look more like a detective agency then – don’t worry, Bones.”

Len starts. “I’m asking you now, before you fall into the habit, not to call me that again.” He unfolds his piece of paper and slides it across the desk. “It’s all here: address, work place, car registration, everythin’ you’ll need.”

Jim nods then grins. “Three days and I’ll have something for you – sound good, Bones?”

Len rolls his eyes. “Yeah. Should I call? Or, well – my number’s on there too.”

Jim shares a half smile with him that makes Len think again that he’s somehow been saying stuff out loud when in fact he hasn’t. “You can call me anytime, Bones.”

Len scowls at the stupid nickname. Well, he can let it ride this time – they won’t be spending much more than a few more hours together, if that. He glances at the pad on the desk again and back to Jim. “You got another glass of water, Jim? Save me stopping off…”

“ Sure.”

He’s been wondering about that pad since Jim reacted so strongly to his touching it earlier. As soon as the coast is clear, he walks round the desk and flicks it open, eyes sliding to the door first.

What he sees makes the blood drain from his face – the sketch pad is full of pencil drawings, and whoever the fuck drew these, must have been following him, or have photos of him or something because every last one looks like him, they’re practically goddamn portraits; Len in some kind of period costume, frilly shirt, and long hair, or if not him, someone with an uncanny resemblance. And he’s pretty damn certain Jim Kirk was the artist. He touches the pencil nearby, and feels a shudder go through him. Shit. They must have met before – his weird feelings make sense now. What he can’t figure out is why the drawings and what the hell the connection is between them.

Len doesn’t question his impulse to get the hell out of there. He grabs his jacket and pushes past Jim at the door, sloshing water all over his t.

“Hey, Bones!”

“Sorry, Jim, gotta go – something came up…call me.”


Exactly three days later finds them sitting in a bar in West Hollywood.

Len blames it on lack of sleep, but the sound of fans whirring above his head and the clunk of pool balls behind them make him feel even more on edge than the natural anxiety, the anticipation of whatever it is Jim’s going to tell him that he might have uncovered about Jocelyn.

From the moment he left Jim’s office he’s not felt right. He slept for shit, waking up hard, bathed in sweat, neck itching for some reason – thoughts about Jim haunting him and making him cranky.

It doesn’t make any kind of sense but the notion they’ve met before won’t leave him. He can’t recall anything, no matter how much he goes over it in his head; sure – he drinks too much and it’s got worse the past few years – but Len has never experienced any blackouts. He’s settled on the explanation, thin as it is, that he must have treated Jim at some point and the guy must have fixated on him – hence the drawings. And what a coincidence that Len should have then walked into a detective agency to hire an ex-patient. It doesn’t sit right, but it’ll have to do.

And yeah, he thinks, looking round the bar, Len’s always liked guys; he fooled around plenty in med school, and since the cooling off between him and Joss, he’s thought about following through on some of the looks thrown his way but, even though things with him and Joss suck, and it looks like there’s no going back, he’s not ready.

The place wasn’t Len’s choice with guys making out in the not so dark corners, forcing his dreams to re-surface; he shifts about on the stool and tears his beer mat to shreds, piling the pieces up on the bar.

Jim hasn’t said a word about Len disappearing.

They’re both perched on barstools, and it’s late – so much for a breakfast meeting – and there’s a mixed crowd, a few women, men in suits as well as some more casually dressed, their voices ringing round them so he has to lean close to hear Jim speak.

Jim’s not in jeans this time, dressed more the part in gabardine pants and a black shirt; the contrast with his skin makes Len want to run a finger down Jim’s throat, see if it feels, tastes, as well as looks like cream.

He takes a long awaited gulp of beer, the smell of hops soothing him and he stares in silence at Jim’s fingers while he opens a large envelope to draw out some photographs; the veins in Jim’s wrist are pale blue and delicate, nails perfect and a little longer than you’d expect on a man, Len thinks absently, aware he’s focusing on all the wrong things here, like he’s been goddamn bewitched or something. Jim sees him looking and their eyes catch. Damn, his pupils are so dark, so big in the dimly-lit bar. Len feels himself lean almost imperceptibly towards Jim and he mentally checks himself, huffing a sound which has some resemblance to a laugh. He hasn’t felt this attracted to anyone in forever and it’s completely thrown him off-balance.

“I’m nervous as hell,” he explains. It’s partly the truth, of course, but it’s been a long three days; and nights.

“You look like shit,” Jim says good-naturedly, his lips half an inch from Len’s ear sending a faint shudder through him, the waft of jasmine again. Fuck.

“Yeah, well, I haven’t been sleeping right,” Len mutters, his cock twitching at the residual memory, the goddamn feel of the dreams he’s been having. Heat creeps up his neck and cheeks; he thanks the powers-that-be for moody lighting.

“Here,” Jim says gently. “Look at these.” He slides a pile of 8x10 photos across the counter. Len wishes they’d taken a booth at the back and taking a breath, turns them over.

At first he’s confused and he passes through the photos twice before he can say, ”There’s nothing here. It’s just Jocelyn on the phone. This one – sitting in her car eating a Danish… that’s it? That’s all you got for me?”

“You sound almost disappointed, Bones.” Jim’s leaning on the bar, looking sideways at him, smirking, scanning Len’s face for a reaction while a long finger taps a silent rhythm on the lip of his bottle.

“Dammit all, will you stop calling me that?”

Jim chews his lip, glances up the bar and looks back at him. “Okay, there is something. Good news and bad news.”

Len holds his breath for a moment and feels a skitter of adrenaline across his scalp. “Jesus Christ, Jim, quit messing with me; out with it!”

“Well, okay, Mrs. McCoy’s not having an affair, which is good, we’ve established that.” Len rolls his eyes so hard he almost gets a dizzy spell. He closes his eyes wondering how long it would take to strangle the smug asshole, but snaps them open when Jim goes on. “But there is something; she’s been holding out on you. The phone calls – she’s working on representing some clients that, how shall I put it? are douche bags.”

What? What kind of fucking douche bags?”

“The kind maybe regular attorneys might not feel so good about touching. The kind they’d know to leave well alone.”

A beat while Len processes this, then shakes his head. “She wouldn’t do that.” He frowns at his wife in the photos, “She’s…” Damn, and the thought crosses his mind – not for the first time in his life – that people, you think you know them… His lips set in a line. “What kind of people. Be specific, man!”

Jim doesn’t answer immediately, running his finger down the neck of his bottle. “You’ll have to talk to her…” His voice is low, almost lost in the din around them and a pit of dread opens up inside Len.

“Shit – is she in danger?” His heart’s racing, mind galloping as he imagines gun-runners, drug-dealers, wise guys – his slender, elegant wife surrounded by the detritus of society. He clenches his fists and shakes his head. “No, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t believe you…there’s a mistake…Joss would never knowingly…” and what about Joanna? Fuck.

Jim’s look is unreadable. He sips at his beer, downs his shot and licks his lips, then adopts a light tone. “The mystery that is man. Or woman in this case. You can never tell just by looking at people, you know – what they’re capable of – trust me.”

Something catches Len’s attention in the mirror behind the bar, a glint from a sequined dress when a brunette joins the press of drinkers behind them and takes up a position beside Jim. He looks at her, back at the reflection, blinks, and wonders why he can’t see Jim as sharply in the mirror, like he’s a ghost or something – must be the lighting. He turns in his seat and examines the stone-like expression on Jim’s face, the fine stubble on his chin; Jim’s eyes seem to glint amber for a split second till he looks away and runs his finger down the neck of the bottle. If he is a ghost, he’s pretty damn solid-looking.

Dammit, he feels dizzy again – he should ask for water.

“Not someone you love, you’ve lived with for five years – I…” The words sound so weak, and so fucking unconvincing to his own ears. Len remembers reading a book where a holocaust survivor had grown obsessed with examining the faces of Nazis, looking at photos for clues for how they could have done what they did, for something in their eyes, the set of their mouths, but finding nothing, nothing at all. He thinks about, Joss, holding Jo-Jo when she was born, sitting opposite him at the breakfast bar, sitting beside him on the couch, her feet in his lap as she goes through her briefs. The woman that could be the poster girl for ‘regular people’. The woman he used to love so much he couldn’t breathe – until daddy got sick, till she joined the other side in hating on him and pointing the finger.

“She’s a mom, my wife. It doesn’t make any kind of sense.”

Jim shrugs, non-committal. Len senses the kid’s holding out on him, and he ought to question him some more, but he feels weak and can’t order his thoughts so good.

He turns the photos so they’re face-down on the bar and raises a finger to beckon the barkeep. He feels Jim’s hand touch his. It’s cool, not cold, but it gives him pause – the guy’s personality, how energetic he seems even when poised on the bar stool, almost motionless, well – he ought to be scalding to the touch.

“You sure you should be having another – you’re driving, right?” Jim’s voice is deep, warm, concerned, when why on earth should he give a damn? It soaks through him.

Fuck, fuck. This business with Joss, there must be some mistake; he’ll have to go through it with Jim, find out whatever he did to get the photos, what he must have heard too to come up with this crazy theory, and find out who the hell he spoke to… It would have been way better if she was sleeping with some other guy – that’s within the parameters of normal at least, a world of shit, but normal.

His head slumps forward…why does he feel so heavy, so…? He hears the barkeep’s voice through a thick fog of weariness and he nods, slurring, “Yeah, the same again.” Jim’s hand is still on his, tightening round his wrist. “I’ll leave the car,” Len hears himself say; his tongue feels double its normal size, the words coming out slow. “Damn, I need to…” he wants Jim to let go…no, needs him to hold on…he feels himself sliding away from the stool his hands reaching out.

“S’okay, Bones, I gotcha…”


“I think I might throw up on you…”

“Hey, fuck, hang on…”

Jim’s got his arm slung around Len, and shitty as he feels, he thinks – face against the kid’s cheek – he can tell there’s something not quite right; Jim’s holding him far too easily for such a scrawny kid, and why’s he not breathing, why can’t he feel it against his temple?

And before he can hope to figure any of this out, next thing, the kid’s dropped him and Len’s head bumps against a hard surface, and Len hears him say, “…shit, sorry, Bones, just…I have to take care of something…”

Dammit, he’s, ow, fuck, he’s hit his head pretty hard and Len’s eyes flutter closed. Over the space of he has no idea what amount of time, he opens and closes them to catch glimpses of Jim standing a few feet away surrounded by some pretty mean looking…Len squints, groans, and rubs an eye because he’s lost a lens or something, that must be why they’re kind of out of focus, and look like their foreheads are all bumpy, reminding him of Klingons on that stupid show Joss can’t seem to quit. He can hear growling too, like they’ve got dogs with them or something, only he can’t see any.

Where the hell is he? They’ve ended up in some shitty alley, could be behind the bar, though he doesn’t remembering leaving. He manages to sit up, brush his hair out of his eyes and he looks towards Jim, hears more growls and then sees Jim run, and jump really high, like a pole-vaulter or like he’s been winched up by a circus wire. He lands effortlessly on a dumpster, legs wide, beckoning three mean looking fucks to come get him.

Len’s head spins again; he leans forward, brings his knees up and smells then sees a fuck-ugly bastard leaning over him, all pig breath and bad skin. And weird-ass yellow eyes. Big teeth. And that’s a hell of a growl – the guy must’ve escaped from a unit or something.

“Say bye-bye.” The idiot’s grin reveals yellow canines that would fit better in the mouth of a bear than a human. Len feels a shudder of fear – where the hell is Jim?

Suddenly, it’s like he’s woken up in some crappy CGI moment; one minute the guy with the bear teeth is there and then, well, he’s not. He literally goes ‘poof’ and fucking disappears in a shimmer of dust, an expression of comical surprise on his face before he vanishes into thin air – revealing a smirking Jim, holding a piece of wood or something in his hand. Jim’s face looks weird too with the same slight bumps on his forehead, and not to mention a fan of prominent veins under amber, wolf-eyes.

“That was close, Bones!” he says cheerfully and turns in time to scissor kick, like he’s a ninja or something, sending another meathead to the deck. Len watches in disbelief as Jim pounces on his victim, grabs the front of his shirt and lifts him off the ground apparently effortlessly, while roaring like an animal. He then aims the wood (Len’s realizes now, this is a stake) right to the heart. There’s another shimmer of dust like metal filings which hold the air for a split-second, then vanish.

Jim spins to look at him, triumph on his transformed features; not a bead of sweat, no flush of colour evident on his cheeks, just this ‘mask’ – what kind of fucking monster is he?

“Friends of Mrs. McCoy,” Jim explains, his tongue flickering to his canines, “The ones I told you about. Looks like they weren’t into my snooping around. Didn’t like my ‘interview’ technique you could say…”

Before Len’s finished attempting to process this, dark shadows advance towards Jim, and then the smirk’s gone and the wood, okay – the stake – drops to Jim’s feet into the piles of litter.

Len watches in horror how Jim’s inexplicably clutching at his throat making sounds like he’s choking; then he realizes that two more lunk-heads have appeared from nowhere and have lassoed him with a long chain round his neck, using it to drag Jim till he hits the ground like a sack of corn, feet kicking; fuck he should do something, help, but Len can’t stand, he’s real dizzy still – he’s gotta do something.

“Thought you could come into my town and sashay around like you own the damn place, eh, Kirk? And who’s this, your boyfriend? Hanging out with humans is never good, dude, makes you soft. Looks bad.”

“Master vampire, my lily-white ass,” another chips in, tightening his hold on the chain, grinning at his friend, watching in amusement as Jim jerks like a fish on a line.

Vampire? What…? Everything falls into place, the skin, the breath, the lack of reflection, the fucking facial transformation, the intense look – Len realizes this is why he’s lost sleep – from movies and shit books, everyone knows vampires use some kind of hypnotic thing to lure and capture their victims. But that’s fiction – this is real. Only how can it be?

Jim splutters and Len can tell he’s lost this fight. He sees one of the guys raise his arm and he’s holding a stake too – he’s going to kill Jim, he realizes and is filled with sudden determination, an understanding that he can’t allow this.

Len folds forward and onto his side with a fake groan, so it looks like he’s passing out, and he can feel the stake Jim dropped is under his thigh. He works his arm so he can get a grip on it then staggers to his feet. Adrenaline keeps him upright, helps clear his head though he feigns being drunk, slurs, laying on his accent real thick to keep the show going.

“Think I’m gonna puke, shit…” he peeks sideways at the strong legs in front of him, “Hey, Jim, I thought you were gonna call a cab.” He ignores the choking sound coming from near his feet and he lurches left, then right, hand holding the stake near his belly. He gags like he’s going to throw up and, just as he smells the scent of carrion, of death near his face when one of the assholes comes close, he brings his arm back and jabs forward hard, hitting the guy with the attitude, with all the precision of a surgeon, right in the heart.

He feels flesh give, a faint tingle round his hand like he’s dipped it in bubbles, and glowers triumphant into startled, feral eyes, and just like that, the vamp’s gone. “Fuck you!” he hisses into the empty space where the monster used to be. “Leonard McCoy, vampire hunter, pleased to make your acquaintance!” He turns and glares at the other guy – the acting thing must be in the air in this town because, damn he’s good.

The other guy drops the chain, feet sliding in the trash and sprints off to leap onto a dumpster and upwards, holding onto a drain pipe with one hand. He pauses to look over his shoulder at them, then skitters up sheer glass like a spider and disappears over the roof edge.

It’s repellent and fucked up, but Len doesn’t give himself time to dwell on it; he’s gotta help Jim.

He’s in the fetal position, coughing, choking, mouth frothing blood, hands clawing at his neck feebly. The skin’s raw, like it’s had acid dropped on it and his fingers are dripping blood where they made contact with the chain. Len remembers dimly that the other vamps wore gloves.

“Jim, let go, I got it, ‘k’?” He carefully untangles the thin links – it looks like silver, no thicker than a length of wool but obviously deadly to the man – creature – in front of him.

“What the fuck are you, Jim, that was…shit, like something out of a vamp show. Is that what you are? A fucking vampire?” And he can’t believe he’s asking this, but then, how can he deny the truth of what he’s just witnessed, what he’s been a part of?

Jim gapes, raises a hand which then drops, and suddenly he looks very young, like his body’s shrinking before Len, and for the second time since he’s been in this alley, Len doesn’t think, he just follows his instinct.

“You’re gonna die, aren’t you, if I don’t help you?”

Jim splutters, “…silver…’s’poison…fuck…”

Len tosses the chain away and stretches Jim out on his back, feeling the skin on his face and neck with his knuckles. It’s clammy, cold and he’s shivering. “You going to fucking die?” he brings his face close, so Jim can speak in his ear.


Len pulls Jim up into a sitting position, sits with one leg bent behind him to support his weight and ignores the fact that he’s stroking Jim’s jaw, his face, like it’s a loved-one he’s trying to comfort.

“Tell me how I can help you? Should I take you to the E.R.?” The bumps have disappeared from Jim’s brow, his skin smooth, human, unblemished again, apart from the pock marks on his chin, stubble (fucking vamps have stubble?) and despite the fact that he’s clearly fucked, blood pouring from the tear on his throat where the chain bit into him, Jim’s eyes are still brilliant, shining in the dark alley like a cat’s in headlights.

Jim’s got no heart beat, how the fuck’s he supposed to stop blood flow? Still Len tries, spreading his bloodstained fingers over the area pressing tight, the blood cool, thick and seeping round his fingers like mercury. “What do you need, Jim? Tell me!”

Jim’s eyes flicker up towards Len’s neck, then close tight like he’s thrown a period into a sentence he daren’t even start.

Something twists inside Len when the nickel drops. Is he scared? Any more than he is when he’s got anyone’s life in his hands and he just does what he has to do? Hell no.

“Jim, it’s okay…do it…” his voice is grit in his mouth.

In the faintest of movements Jim shakes his head; Len realizes that every second is another too long because now there are cracks forming under Jim’s eyes, like he’s drying out, turning into chalk in front of him, dust…shit, Len’s going to have to makehim.

He kneels against Jim’s hip, cups a hand under his neck, and lifts him up like he’s made of paper. He guides Jim’s mouth to his jugular, shifts so Jim can lean against him, “Just fucking do it, okay…only a sip, mind…I…fuck…”

Vamp instinct’s kicked in, looks like, because he feels the brush of Jim’s lips against his skin and then teeth clamp onto his throat; there’s a slight resistance as Jim tests the spot, then he hears a barely audible growl when they break the surface. It’s all Len can do not to shove him away, fighting the fear that this was some huge fucking mistake but he couldn’t just stand by and let Jim die, could he?

The sensation’s like molten metal’s being drawn right up one side of his body and Len lets out a moan of pain and surprise, his cock hardening instantly.

Panting, he takes Jim’s hand and guides it to the back of his own head so he can feel Jim’s fingers teasing the hairs at the nape. He holds it in place while Jim sucks, until Jim can take over, still too weak to hold on. Jim’s other hand is fisted in Len’s shirt and Len tugs him closer, wrapping his legs around him.

He feels the strength returning to Jim in equal amounts it seems to be leaving him, the rhythmic pulse as Jim feeds from him, drawing life in, deflating Len, using him up, suddenly no longer pain-laced, but warm, peaceful and comforting.

Len couldn’t move now if he wanted to; his arms drop to his sides, body arching back, held by Jim like he’s made of nothing heavier than one of the crushed boxes in the alley. Then his head drops and Len stares glassy-eyed over the dirty blond hair at the nearby dumpster, blue and beat up, the phone number on the side already out of focus.

The sounds from the bar behind them fade like they’ve sunk into the ocean until there’s nothing but the whooshing of his heartbeat, struggling against the assault, the moans from Jim, as he sucks, each pull somehow connected to sensations in his belly and his cock, so he feels on fire, can feel the heat transferring to Jim’s skin.

He’s the one turning to dust, the dizziness is back, and Jim’s climbed onto him, practically sitting on Len’s lap and fuck, he’s gotta stop and Len thinks he can hear Jim’s thoughts now, or maybe he’s just dying and he’s hallucinating as the endorphins kick in, to make it easier for him – thank you physiology…

Fuck, Bones, fuck, taste so good, like everything good, like you’re mine, like I remember.

Want, acceptance and need wash through Len, and he’s unsure if these are his emotions or Jim’s; he can feel Jim’s cock pressing against him through his clothes and he’s hard too; then he feels a shudder – maybe the last thing he’s ever gonna feel or know. There’s a moan from Jim and Len’s head falls back when the clamp around his neck loosens and he blacks out, coming in his pants, an idiot hanged-man kicking out his last breath against Jim’s cool lips.



Blood Ties, part 3b



Len wakes up with his face stuck to his arm.

Shit, that was a helluva dream.

“ ‘s okay, Bones, you’re okay.”

He winches open an eye and he can see a blurry version of Jim sitting on an ottoman a couple of feet away, book in hand which he drops to the floor when he stands, eyes piercing blue, eyebrows drawn together while he waits for Len to reply.

“Where the fuck am I?”

“You’re in my, in Angel’s apartment; it’s cool, Bones.” Jim swallows, eyes wet and concerned. “You passed out and I walked you back to your car, drove us both here. How you feeling?”

“Like a rat took a dump in my head; why d’you ask?” He’s lying on his belly and when he lifts his head to survey the room, he has to wipe away a trail of drool with the back of his hand.

“You had me worried there. Guy your size should be able to hold his drink.” There’s a decided smirk in Jim’s voice and Len vows he’ll slap him upside the head, just as soon as he can lever off this couch. He twists his body, swings his legs to the floor with a grunt then rubs the back of his head.

“There’s nothing wrong with my relationship with drink, asshole. I only had a double shot; shit I can take that with my morning grits and barely blin…” Jim cocks his head at that. “Okay,” Len continues,” that’s not really helping with the picture I’m painting of someone who has a great relationship with drink, right?”

“Right.” Jim slides a glass of water across the coffee table and Len takes it with a trembling hand.

He shakes his head, “Must’ve got food poisoning of something. Doesn’t make sense how I suddenly…” a startling image flashes in his mind’s eye, an intense memory, maybe a fragment of a dream or…? Of soft, pale lips pressing to his briefly, chastely. He snaps to look at Jim. “Did you… kiss me?” he croaks.

“Did you want me to?” And, surprisingly, no smirk to accompany it.

Wait…kiss? What about the rest? Len runs his hand over his face then back down to his neck where he was, Jesus fuck, he remembers now – bitten. By Jim – who’s a vampire.

“I’m not dead?” The skin is smooth, not even tender and he staggers to his feet and sways to the bathroom.

He’s startled by how normal he looks in the mirror. Sure, hair like he’s been rolling in the hay and there are deep shadows under his eyes, but his neck’s clean, no sign of contusion, nothing. He jumps when he feels a touch to his shoulder and turns to see Jim standing sheepish behind him.

“Jesus, Jim, you trying to give me a coronary?” he snaps, heart hammering.

“Sorry, I forget about the no reflection thing…”

Len glances back in the mirror – it’s fucked-up but he can’t see Jim looking back at him over his shoulder. “But in the bar, in the mirrors, I could see you…”

“It’s the blood, Bones.” Jim turns and returns to the couch, sitting at one end so Len’s got room to collapse at the other, pulling the thick coverlet over himself.

“What? Up until last night, until me – you haven’t been drinking blood?” A ripple of fire shoots to his cock at the memory of those lips on his throat, of being penetrated, of how he saved Jim. “Then how’d you, I mean…you need blood, right?” He can’t believe he’s having this conversation.

“I do. That comes with the, you know, whole vampire shtick; I haven’t turned vegetarian.” Fucking cocky grin. “It’s just I’ve been on the pigs’ blood for a while. All the usual stuff, reflections, super-hero strength, mind control stuff, kind of fades in and out if I don’t stick to a ‘healthy’ diet.” Jim air-quotes, grins disarmingly and Len tries not to shudder at what the innocent words imply, about the people Jim must have killed. But that was in the past from what he’s saying.

Still, Len growls, “Healthy for you, not so healthy for…”

“Yeah, well…” like they’re talking about something normal.

“So what, you’re in Vampires Anonymous or something, doing a program?” His voice is thick with sarcasm. “You’re a good guy?”

“Guess you could put it like that.”

“I just did.” Len glances around the dark basement looking for a clock or something; there’s no windows or natural light of any kind in the basement and it’s not decorated to counteract the fact either – all bare brick, distressed steel beams and dark soft furnishings. He notices a violin leaning against a beam, the bow on the floor and wonders why it’s not in its case. “What time is it?”

“Four o’clock,” Jim says quickly, “in the afternoon.”

“I thought vampires slept in the day; shouldn’t you, you know, be all cosy in a crypt or something?”

Jim laughs, “Not really my style man. Plus, not tired, you know; in fact I’m feeling surprisingly energetic,” he ducks his head, all tongue over lips. “Well, maybe not so surprising.”

Len flushes, recalling in embarrassing Technicolor how he came in his pants – the same pants he’s currently sitting in. Christ. “So, you snacking on my neck, that was kind of like you fallin’ off the wagon. Do you need to call your sponsor or something? Don’t let me stop you.”

Jim lowers his eyes and looks at him through dark lashes. “Much as that was an…experience… for both of us, it was a one-off. First time I’ve touched human blood in…an age.” He folds his arms. “Look, Bones, I’m grateful, seems like a dumb word, inadequate even when you saved my life, but I wanna thank you.”

“Save it for the bus boy; I’m a doctor, saving lives is what I do. “ Though never like this. His cock stirs and he crosses his legs, looking away.

“Modesty? From a McCoy?”

“What?” Something tickles in the outer reaches of Len’s memory. Taste so good, like everything good, like you’re mine, like I remember. He frowns. “What do you mean, ‘from a McCoy’ – have you...?”

Jim raises his hands in mock surrender. “That sounded weird. Came out wrong. What I mean is, you don’t strike me as the modest type.”

“Maybe not, Jim, but that was fucking intense. Really fucking intense. You’re a vampire for chrissakes. Oh, pardon me if I try and deflect from somethin’ that left me feeling more exposed than…well, you know…” the last time he came in his pants, for example. Which was never. And he needs to take a shower before stray dogs start following him home.

A half smile crosses Jim’s face and Len suddenly gets it, pointing at him accusingly, anger making him bare his teeth and punch the couch. “Jesus, you’re reading my fucking mind, aren’t you? Get the fuck out of there. Now!”

Jim doesn’t flinch. “I can’t.” His voice is almost a whisper, the smirk gone.

“What’s that supposed to mean? You can’t.”

“It’s you. I…” Jim shifts a little closer on the couch so his thigh’s touching Len’s and the goddamn air’s electric between them. He looks at him sideways, and hell, Len might be imagining it but Jim’s pupils seem to dilate and contract, dilate again and Len has to make an effort to break the pull of those damned eyes. Jim can read his mind, can fucking control it; he hasn’t got a chance in hell if he doesn’t get out of here. Only, it might be too late, or maybe he doesn’t want to anymore.

“Look, I know that was a brain fuck for anyone, most regular folk in this town don’t know what’s out there. Maybe they don’t need to. But I can make you forget, Bones. You can go back to your life with Mrs. McCoy, do what you do…it’s easy enough; want me to do that? All I have to do is…” Jim lifts his hand so it’s poised before Len’s face; he almost goes cross-eyed to focus and Len can practically feel his synapses shifting, the doorways in his memory opening, closing, being tested by some supernatural torrent of power that makes tears form in his eyes.

Jim lowers his hand and rests it on his heart, a heart that holy hell, doesn’t beat, and scrunches up his face like he’s trying to control himself, let alone Len. He looks like forgetting is the last thing he wants Len to do, and Len struggles, wondering what on earth this all means. What the hell does Jim want from him?

“What? Fuck, no. I don’t want to forget, well I do, but – no!” Then he frowns. “Earlier, just now, when I came to, I didn’t remember straight away; was that you?”

“No. It could have been, if I’d tried, but you’d passed-out before I could work the mo-jo.” Jim wriggles his fingers in front of McCoy’s face in a parody of magic or something.

“Dammit, I had a bad feeling about you since I first laid eyes on you. I knew there was something not quite right…”

“Like we’ve met before, maybe?” he looks at Len from under dark lashes, “but that would be weird, huh?”

Len clears his throat. “I saw the drawings, Jim.” He looks at that face, fucking beautiful actually, innocent and young with the eyes of a devil ages-old – a devil he has met before, he’s sure of it now. ”Who was that? It looked like me, but can’t have been. I mean, did we meet and, if so, why don’t I remember and why make me into an art project?”

“Bones, it’s a long story, too long maybe. And you wouldn’t believe me if I told you so…but I admit, I wasn’t exactly expecting you to saunter into the office that time. Nice surprise though.”

“Nice surprise,” Len echoes, rolling his eyes. “Fuck, Jim, you’re something else.” Jim’s thigh seems to shift a little, and Len’s surprised there’s heat coming off it. And he can smell him, and he struggles to place it – it’s floral, no – like grass.

“I don’t have a scent, it’s in your mind…shit, sorry. Didn’t mean to…” The expression on his face is anything but sorry. In fact, Len’s realizing, he’s in the presence of someone maybe doesn’t even know the meaning of the word ‘sorry’; someone who isn’t used to being accountable for his actions. “That’s not true either…” Jim says immediately. “Fuck, ow!”

Len rubs his hand where he made contact with Jim’s shoulder. “Get out of my fucking head, god dammit! Have you even heard of personal boundaries? ”

Jim’s face changes, morphs right in front of Len, and for seconds veins appear under his eyes, bumps on his forehead as he experiences probably the vampire equivalent to an adrenaline rush or something, in response to Len’s clumsy punch; then they’re gone, his face back to normal just as quickly. Jim purses his lips like he’s stopping himself from commenting and there’s an uncomfortable silence. He rolls his shoulder which fills Len with some pathetic satisfaction that he’s managed to hurt him, affect the smug bastard in some way.

Len splays his fingers, touches them to his forehead as he tries to get his head around what he’s just seen, everything.

“Why does that happen to your face?”

“Weird, huh?” Jim swallows, “It’s the demon surfacing.”

“Like a virus?” Len clears his throat, his voice is practically a croak. There must be some scientific explanation – he’s never held with this supernatural bullshit; fact is, who the hell does? But the things he’s seen in the past few hours: mind-fuck doesn’t even begin to cover it.

“Maybe? Currently, way I understand it, we’re demons. A kind of demon.”

“And those other guys last night, the ones who tried to kill you, they’re demons, vampires too?”

“Yeah. Like me. Only not.” At Len’s huff he adds, “They’re…how can I put it? They were never on the proverbial wagon in the first place, not like me, Angel, a few others.”

“And they’re the ‘douche bags’ who have been working with my wife?”

“She doesn’t know what they are, Bones, but don’t worry, they won’t be going anywhere near her now, or you.” He pauses and grins, his eyes crinkling – “‘Leonard McCoy, vampire hunter’ – damn that was hot!”

“Want me to punch you again – or maybe stake you, to shut your fool mouth?” The way Jim’s tongue snakes out across his lower lip sends a shiver down Len’s spine. “Oh, and thanks by the way.”

That’s my southern gentleman,” Jim winks. “And you’re welcome. Or, as we used to say back in the day, I am your servant.”
Len raises an eyebrow. “No you ain’t.” He scans the room, Angel’s apartment, another fucking vampire. “Why’s no one know about this stuff, Jim? Wouldn’t, I don’t know, the government know?”

“They do, Bones; they’ve been studying us for years. They have a whole program, a research center in Sunnydale – there’s a lot of demons down there being as it’s close to the Hellmouth.”

“Hellmouth,” Len echoes stupidly.

“And ‘cause L.A.’s pretty close, there’s a lot of weirdos round here too.”

“I…” He’ll wake up any minute, either that or the whole world’s turned upside down. “You got anything to drink around here?”

“You need to eat, Bones, I’m worried about your blood iron.”

“Well that’s mighty big of you.”

Jim blinks and he draws in a deep breath. Len’s noticed he does breathe but it seems to be linked to emotion and nothing to do with a ‘natural’ body rhythm or anything of the kind.

“I ought to take a look at your neck,” he says, pushing the blanket off his thighs and balling it up.

Jim hesitates, nods, and unbuttons his shirt. “Thought you’d never ask…” There’s that fucking grin again.

“Unbelievable, now shut up and let me take a look.” He can do this – he knows how to be a doctor always, no matter how fucked up it is that he’s examining a demon.

Len runs his fingers along the faintest pink line breaking buttermilk skin. It’s almost perfectly healed, because of him, his blood. It sends a thrill through him. “Does that hurt?” Jim shakes his head, runs his tongue over his lower lip. “Let me look at the back.” He gazes at the rough line where it continues just under the short hairs at the nape of Jim’s neck and swallows when he thinks about how he did this – he fixed Jim. He feels a stirring in the pit of his stomach and shifts, trying to ignore the way his cock’s suddenly on alert, how much he wants to lean and bury his face in that hair. He wonders if Jim knows he’s thinking this – maybe so, the way his hands are in tight fists on his thighs.

“I’ll be good as new in a few hours, thanks.” Jim’s voice is almost a croak.

“Stop thanking me, dumbass. I’m a doctor, I couldn’t just let you die.”

“Guess not.”

“Jim…” He stands. “I can’t stay here. I need to get home and I need to eat, to say nothing of how Joss’ll be worried sick I didn’t come home. Hopefully she’ll think it’s some kind of emergency surgery at the hospital but…shit, what if those guys, demons whatever, come back?”

“They won’t. Bones. Let’s just say I’m good at diplomacy, and if things get too heavy, Angel could get back in a few hours. That dude’s seriously badass.”

“There a reason you talk like a teenager, Jim?”

“I’m young at heart,” Jim says sadly, following Len to the elevator on one side of the room leading up to the first floor. He opens the old-style concertina doors for him.

“Why the fuck do you live underground? Jesus…” Len says through the metal. Jim’s eyes are huge looking back at him as the elevator clunks into motion. “Send me the bill, Jim. You know where I live.” Len bends down, watching Jim’s dirty blond head as the lift climbs up, his heart unaccountably heavy.

“Talk to your wife, Bones,” Jim calls after him.


No bill comes and Len doesn’t talk to his wife.

And Len gets a stone in his shoe, a thorn in his side and a throbbing behind his eyes – all by the name of Jim fucking Kirk.

It doesn’t surprise him, of course, that he should be plagued by thoughts of what happened, what he’s found out about this town. Hell, he never had any illusions about the veneer hiding decay, corruption, and addiction – of course not. He’s worked enough hours on the front line removing bullets, stitching up motherfuckers, that it passed his mind (albeit only because it was a possibility) that he could leave them to bleed out. And yeah, he’s seen the helpless alright, but all of this was human, human-beings. Now he’s found out that a) there are vampires, b) there are a lot of vampires, c) there are other demons (you just can’t tell at first glance), and d) Jim Kirk is a vampire. And yeah, he keeps itemizing things in his head – it’s how he copes.

Only he isn’t coping.

Everything churns over and over in his mind while he tries to sleep. Joss has banished him to the spare room because when he’s not huffing and moaning and sweating beside her awake, he’s mumbling and complaining and kicking back the covers in his sleep.

When he’s awake it’s worst of all. He’s okay when he’s at Keck School – Len’s always been himself, flies when he’s practicing, researching, lecturing, but soon as he takes off his scrubs, his suit, whatever – soon as he’s just Len – he can’t shrug off the feeling that he’s being watched, and it makes him twitchy that he can’t stop thinking about, and wanting to be with, Jim.

Jesus – this is so fucked up.

One morning, he’s taking a shower and he starts to jerk off irritably thinking about being bitten, Jim feeding from him and how good it felt. Then he stops midway, and gets out grumbling. He leans on the sink to examine his stubble before he shaves, and he can swear he sees Jim’s image in the mirror, eyes dark, unblinking, like he’s standing right behind him. Which is impossible because Jim doesn’t have a reflection – currently – and he’s not there; Jim’s clear across town. When it crosses his mind that the mind-reading bastard might know he’s been jerking off, Len starts to gets hard again, runs the shower cold and gets in.

“Len, you coming out any time soon, I have an early meeting and I left my make-up in there.”

Len walks out of the bathroom, a towel loosely draped around his hips. He stops, his eyes raking over Joss with her sleep mussed hair, and he grabs her, walks her backwards across to the bed and fucks her like his life depends on it – both their lives. She doesn’t grumble; instead she giggles and remarks she doesn’t know what the hell’s got into him, it’s like he’s possessed, she says; but damn, she ain’t complaining. If only she knew, he thinks, listening to her call and make her apologies for being late as she runs out the door.

It’s the first time they’ve fucked in almost a year. It manages to get rid of the itch for about half an hour, tops.

And he thinks he sees Jim, every time he catches a glimpse of a blond head, or a nice ass in worn jeans; of course, it’s never him, even that time Len’s walking through the farmers’ market and he swears he sees the back of Jim’s head in the crowd. When the guy turns round, he’s so sure it’s him when he catches Len’s eye and his stupid fucking cock stands to attention best it can in his jeans. Len considers catching him up, but soon as he’s made the decision, he loses sight of him and decides he’s imaging it, like he is every damn thing over the past few days. After all, vampires can’t go out in the sun – everyone knows that.

He also doesn’t sleep any better though he steers clear of all booze just in case he has another bad reaction.

He watches Joss from the counter as she pours milk over Jo-Jo’s cereal. He rustles the paper when she glances his way.

“What’s up, Len?”

“Nothing. I’m peachy – who needs sleep?”

The tone of his voice just then, maybe his wife’s not having an affair, but if he goes on like this much longer, she’ll go out of her way to. Hell, he’ll even encourage her by being such a dick at the moment. Since he saw Jim, since Jim explained how he’d ‘used diplomacy’ on the demons, there’s been no more suspicious phone calls and if there were, he knows Jim would pay the bastards a visit, maybe with Angel in tow, and frighten them off. It makes him feel safe and invaded all at once.

Maybe he needs to take a pill or something and have just one good night’s sleep.

He picks up a pen to have another stab at the crossword and doodles idly. This reminds him of the drawings on the sketch pad and he kicks himself for not having talked to Jim about them properly and found out why he’s been drawing portraits of him, or someone who looks just like him. It’s pretty creepy is what it is.

“You’re brooding, Len.”

“What’s ‘brood-ling’, daddy?” Jo-Jo says.

“Brooding is when men think too much and don’t talk enough, baby girl,” he says. He brings his eyebrows together and she giggles at him.

“You look like a monster, daddy!” She picks up her bowl of cereal and slurps the milk directly from the lip.

Joss catches his eye and smiles.

He drops the pen onto the paper, rounds the island, and wraps his arms tentatively around Joss, rests his chin on her shoulder. She sags a little against him.

Damn, they used to love each other so much. What the fuck happened? How was their marriage so weak that everything went to shit? It couldn’t hold up under the strain of his father’s illness, the way Len reacted and couldn’t begin to cope with his decline. They don’t know how his daddy pleaded with Len to put him out of his misery, how Len refused, said he was a healer not a killer.

“It’s my dying wish, Leonard, how can you say no?”

“I just can’t do it, don’t ask me this. Please, daddy.” Hollow fucking eyes, skinnier than a shooting stick but still arrogant; David only ever saw things his own way.

“Get out,” he said. “Let me die slowly, lose all my dignity, in agony when you can take it away. Get out. I never want to set my goddamn eyes on you again.”

Well, he got that dying wish at least. David died two months later; they never made their peace and Len didn’t tell anyone what had passed between them. No one knew why he didn’t visit anymore. No one fucking asked – too busy railing at death and pain, using him as the channel for all their fears. And he agreed with them; he punished himself by not going to the funeral, though he sat in a car nearby and wept and wept till he could barely breathe. His own father told him to get out, and he did. All the way to L.A. and here he is; an uncommunicative, functioning alcoholic.

She looks normal – they all do. They look like a regular family when the only reason he’s staying now is because of Jo-Jo.


“Where is he?”

Len clenches his fists, and glares at the receptionist sitting typing something on the computer. Well, she must be the receptionist, only she’s in gym-wear, bare-foot and highest of high heels beside the desk. She takes her time looking up, arching a thin eyebrow at him.

“By ‘he’ I presume you mean Mr. Kirk?” She cocks her head and her pony tail moves slightly to the side, then center when she straightens her back.

“Well who the hell else would I mean?”

The girl stands and walks to the front of the desk and, although he towers above her, she puts one hand on her hip and stares him down. “Sir,” she says with emphasis, “I was led to believe that gentlemen from the south were given to politeness. You need to work on your communication skills.”

Len wishes he had a hat to remove, just to show her that yes, usually but…


Len turns to look at him and his mouth goes dry; Jim’s barefoot, dressed in black sleep pants and bare chested, hair all mussed. He stands in the doorway a little hesitant buttermilk skin as matte as chalk, caramel colored nipples – fucking perfect.


“I need to speak to you, Jim, something’s happening and,” Len drops his voice, says out of the side of his mouth, “I need to talk to you.”

“Would you like me to escort this gentleman off the premises, Jim?”

Len looks down at Nyota and raises an eyebrow. “I don’t need escortin’ thank you, ma’am.”

“Oh, it’s ‘ma’am’ now?” Nyota raises a manicured finger at him and he resists flinching when she takes a step closer.

“Nyota, it’s cool, really – I’ll talk to him.”

“But it’s early, you sure?”

“Early? It’s 3pm,” Len chips in.

“Nyota rolls her eyes and returns to her desk where she picks up the phone, swiveling in her chair so her back’s turned to him, and dials.

“It’s okay, Bones, I keep strange hours, as you can see.” Jim stretches as if to make the point he’s just gotten up. Len glowers when he catches sight of honey colored hair under his arms and hopes to God Jim didn’t just read that image in his head of burying his face there. If he has, there’s no clue from the tone of his voice.

“Come on, let’s go downstairs.” They get into the lift and Len stares through the lift gates, refusing to meet Jim’s eyes.

“She’s pretty badass – you’d better make friends with Nyota if you want to visit – that girl’s combat trained. Matter of fact, we usually spar shortly after sun-down. I teach her some moves, and I let her kick my ass.”

“Spar? But she’s…” Len indicates how small she is.

“I know, right? Badass – girl that size wants to be a cop, well – she needs to know how to handle herself. You got off lightly there, Bones – though might have been fun seeing her put you in an armlock and kick your ass down the steps.”

Another time he’d have found it funny – now? Not so much.

The apartment’s in darkness and Len waits for Jim to move across the room and switch on some lamps before he follows him in. The bed’s unmade and when he catches himself looking at it, he blushes, hoping Jim hasn’t noticed.

“You want coffee, water? Or something stronger?”

Len’s heart sinks when he sees Jim reach for a discarded t-shirt and pull it over his head, and he watches mesmerized how his skin glows in the artificial light, how the pale muscles flex. He manages to looks away when Jim’s head emerges and he pulls the cloth over his abs. Jim nods towards the couch.

“No fucking thank you,” Len says, shaking his head. “I’ll stand – I don’t like it down here.”

“Yeah, I gathered. Now what the hell’s wrong, Bones? You look like shit.”

“You keep saying that. It’s you, in fact – it can’t be you, but it must be you.” Len runs his hand through his hair and lets out a puff of irritation.

“And that sentence didn’t even make sense.”

“It does in my head.”

“Try again?”

“I’m not gay.”

“Oookay…” Jim’s definitely smirking now.

“Well I wasn’t?”

“Is this still to do with the Mrs. McCoy situation?”

“Stop doing that, being all, I don’t know – you really are as irritating as fuck, do you know that? Let me finish, dammit.” He folds his arms, glares at Jim for daring to be in his dreams, for occupying his head 24/7. He can feel the color rise to his cheeks. “I mean, I’ve fooled around with guys, sure, it’s great, but you know I love women, like women, always preferred them.” And with guys – it was never about feelings. Jim’s smiling benignly at him, like he’s indulging a small child, like he knows, and words such as ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ have nothing to do with anything. He points accusingly at him, “And stop looking at me like that – see? How do you do that, be so annoying?”

Jim shrugs, cocking his head. “Years of practice. I know how to get under someone’s skin.”

“That’s it!” Len stabs a finger in Jim’s direction, “That’s what I mean. You’ve got under my skin.” Just saying that makes him feel a prickle of want. He huffs angrily.

“How so?” Jim stands and takes a step towards him. “And you’re not gay. I think I’m keeping up.” His smile is teasing, annoying, making Len want to kiss it right off his damned face.

“Dammit, Jim, I’m not sleeping. I can’t sleep since I came over here the first time then, since – you, know…”

“You saved my life?”

“Yeah, that. Well, now I keep dreaming about you, keep thinking I see you, only you’re not really there – and it’s driving me fucking crazy.”

“You should see a doctor,” Jim says with a twinkle in his eye.

Len glares at him. “If I thought I could hurt you, I’d…well, I would.”

“Oh, you can hurt me, Bones,” Jim’s voice is a little sad, his eyes flicker away for a second, like he’s remembering something, and it makes Len grind his teeth, feeling helpless like he’s caught in a goddamn trap wielded by fate, or some unseen force. He takes a breath so his voice doesn’t shatter when he speaks, coming out snarky and cutting instead – it’s all he’s got.

“Well, I’ll hold that in reserve. Good to know. So, whatever the hell you’ve been doing, I need you to stop now so I’m not thinking about you all the time…” His voice fades out a little, like his battery’s run out or something. “Just get out of my head will you?”

“Sure you really want me to, Bones?” Jim’s eyes are hooded, hot blue, so fucking hypnotic.

No. He’s not.

“Dammit, Jim!”

Bones strides towards Jim and grabs his shoulders, growling right up into his face, right up close to those blue, blue eyes. “Of course I want you to – I need my life back. Everythin’s ass-end-up since I met you. I can’t even trust my own eyes, can’t sleep. You’re driving me fucking crazy.”

Jim blinks coolly at him, then something passes across his face and next thing Len’s being pulled in for a kiss, a ferocious devouring kiss, with Jim’s tongue forcing into his mouth, cool and unhesitating and desperate. It’s what he’s been dreaming of, imagining over and over, how this would feel, and it’s better, no worse than he imagined, the way he can’t stop now he’s started. At first Len’s so taken aback he freezes completely, then when Jim cups his ass and drags him close, he lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding and grapples his neck, his head and pulls him closer, harder so it’s all spit and teeth and clumsy tongues and Jim’s moaning into his mouth, trying to talk and kiss and…fuck, it’s crazy is what it is.

“What?” Len snaps, growling close to Jim’s ear, “What the fuck do you have to say now, at a time like this? What, damn you?” His fingers are in Jim’s hair, at his earlobes, running down the fine stubble on his jaw, sliding under Jim’s t against skin as cool as summer rain, across tight muscle but no beating heart.

He grinds into Jim, can feel how hard he is through the fabric of his pants, conscious that one tug down and all that naked skin would be his to touch, just like he’s been dreaming about. He’s harder than hell, something unleashed in him that’s been coiling up and threatening to blow since, he realizes, he first set eyes on the infernal bastard.

And Jim’s as out of control as he is, by the looks of it, because he says, “I’m driving you crazy? Shit, if only you knew…”

Jim’s mouth is on his neck, trailing from ear to collar bone, nipping and kissing, and his touch is warm, insistent hands stroking up and down Len’s back, pushing under his shirt making Len moan and grumble in equal measure.

And Len’s fucking sick of how Jim’s been getting into his head, under his skin, controlling him one way and another, so he backs Jim into the couch and shoves him hard. He takes a moment to enjoy the sight of him lying on his back, sprawled, eyes boring into Len until he has to straddle him to show him how fucking sick of it he is because amazingly, the sight of this incredible creature, so normal-looking yet so deadly, ancient (a demon for the love of God!) has pretty much crushed Len’s ability to speak for a while.

He lowers onto Jim’s body, takes Jim’s wrists and guides his hands above his head. Jim chuckles, throwing his head back so Len can lick at his neck, his hands pulling Jim’s t under his arms.

“You…” he falters, eyes scanning that ancient young face, wondering who he was, what Jim looked like when he first became a vampire, needing to know yet terrified of what he might find out.

“Are hot?” Jim offers. His pupils are so black, irises an eclipse of aquatic blue, beautiful, and mesmerizing. Len thinks the way he’s acting, being this foolhardy it must be that he’s being compelled. It crosses his mind as he licks into Jim’s mouth, runs his tongue along his canines which, he notes with a shock of lust, makes Jim buck under him, like they’re an erogenous zone for a vampire. He tests his theory, holds Jim firm and flicks his tongue against them again, grinding his cock against Jim’s, feeling erratic puffs of breath, a growling within him. He wonders whether, if he put enough distance between himself and Jim, for long enough, he’d stop dreaming about him, stop wanting this, the contact, the touch; whether despite the fact that he temporarily holds the reins, if he has any choice in the matter.

He finds himself wrestled onto his back and now it’s Jim holding his wrists, staring down intently into his eyes. “Do you want me to let you go?” Jim’s voice is thick with lust, low and knowing.

Len daren’t answer – he really doesn’t fucking know, so Jim leans in and presses wet lips to his again, sweeping a soft tongue across Len’s lower lip, tugging with his teeth, his hands tightening around Len’s wrists making him moan, waves of desire surging from deep within him, astonished at how he likes this feeling of losing control.

But Jim’s insistent. “You want this?” he whispers again, his mouth moving to Len’s Jaw, teeth nipping gently followed by more licks, and Len bucks and writhes, trying to get some friction on his cock. He feels Jim’s grip loosen slightly. “Keep still,” he asks, demands, and Len nods throwing his head back against the couch.

Fuck,” he hisses out, he’s not sure himself if this is a plea or a curse.

Jim releases his hold and touches Len’s mouth, gazing wonderingly at him, desire and melancholy warring on his face. He folds forward. “I’ve known you, something like you, all my life,” Jim croons into his neck, licking the skin, and a part of Len watches all this and thinks, damn, he sounds from another century the way he talks like a fey poet sometimes. Len bucks into his supernaturally strong hands, wraps his legs around Jim’s back and pulls him closer, bursting with emotions he can’t begin to name.

Jim has the voice of a goddamn siren, each word unraveling layers of fight in him, crushing any doubt and guilt. When an image of Jocelyn’s tired face appears in his mind’s eye, Len covers his eyes as if this could help in any way. Jim stills, knows what he’s thinking, and he moves Len’s hand away so he can look at him, and soothes the space between his brows with a smooth, uncalloused thumb. He hushes and laves at Len’s face and throat like an adoring dog, and proceeds to strip Len slowly, assuredly and reverently; it makes Len feel precious and courted even though part of his mind feels like he’s being defiled, when he couldn’t fight Jim if he wanted to despite how Jim’s touch is as careful as that of an acolyte.

“No one will know, it’s just the two of us, always has been, always will be… forever,” he grazes his teeth down Len’s jugular, “and ever,” he continues, pleads, moans Len’s nickname, “Bones, Bones, if you only knew…”

Dammit, all his blood’s gone south; he needs space, they need to fucking talk.

So, with a supreme effort he pushes Jim away and Jim loosens his hold on him, sitting up, his hand tracing patterns on Len’s arms, his forehead scrunched in thought. “Yeah, we need to talk, you’re right.”

It’s too intense, having his own thoughts thrown back at him before he’s even done with them himself – his head’s spinning, his throat tight with feeling; words, so many words, his body crying out for Jim to sink his teeth into him and claim him, yeah, because that’s how it feels, this insane compulsion to have Jim pull him apart, get inside him in all ways. He’s panting with the mental effort of gaining some semblance of control and at least Jim’s respecting that and doesn’t touch him other than to run his fingers over Len’s hands; the tips of Jim’s nails feel like glass cutting into his skin he’s so over-sensitized, so he shrugs him off needing to be left alone – just till he’s done.

“Stop! I can’t fucking think, okay?” Jim nods, eyes down cast, listening. “So tell me, Jim, I…you know I can’t do this, shouldn’t do this – it’s wrong and it’s fuckin’ scary is what it is. Forever? Stop with the lyrical, melancholy b.s.”

Jim’s lips twitch and he’s about to speak, but stops.

“Come on, tell me, how do you know me? How?”

“We never met before that time you walked into Angel’s office. But…” his eyes flicker up to Len’s, away again, “but we have. I can’t really explain why, but we have. Before you there were… other McCoys. One saved me, I would have died, my mother was gonna die and he…McCoy… he tended her, made me, both of us live…” his words trail off. “I owe you…your family.” Jim rubs a hand across his forehead and shakes his head. “Then I keep meeting you again, separated by years, I just know you. You look a little different, taller, shorter, the first one had blue eyes, yours are green, you’re taller than me, the first one was a head shorter but I know it’s you. I can fucking smell you, Bones. And the taste of you, Jesus fuck, it’s like…”

“It doesn’t make any sense…you’re mistaken, fixated – I’m me, Jim – no one else.”

“So why does it feel to you like this has happened before, that we’ve been together before? Bones, explain that to me!” He grips Len’s knee, staring so intently at him that Len already feels the pull, the compulsion to just give himself over.

“And even so, you want me, but why should I want you? This isn’t real, you’ve fucking made me want you…you’re haunting me.” He swallows and listens as Jim continues.

“You once said to me that you were better than this, that you were a healer not a killer, and I respect that, I understand that now. I want to be good enough for you, so you choose me, stay with me. I’ve found ways to control my urges. I haven’t…well, done anything real bad in years, decades. I’m trying to fucking atone, but whatever I do, nothing’s right, nothing can fix what I’ve done.”

“What have you done, Jim? Tell me…” Len’s voice is a croak, a small sound in some weird narrative that’s about him, but not. He can’t begin to understand any of what Jim’s saying, how it relates to him, his family. He doesn’t understand what Jim wants from him, not really. Stay with him? In what sense?

Jim shakes his head, lowers his lashes and sits up. When Len reaches out for him, trails his fingers down Jim’s chest and stomach, Jim nods, touches his fingers and then begins to undress. He takes the hem of his t-shirt, and when he stretches his arms above his head to pull the fabric free, he reveals skin of such perfection, porcelain and buttermilk, fine muscles shifting as with his movement, that he looks like a fallen angel. Len’s never seen anything more fucking beautiful.

He realizes with a lump in his throat he’s more frightened of himself in this moment than anything Jim can do to him. He’s surprised by how much it doesn’t bother him, how much he wants this too. He’ll figure it out later, but for now he careening down a well, and he can’t stop, doesn’t want to.

He twists under the cradle of Jim’s thighs and shunts his jeans and briefs down, his cock springing free into the cool air. Jim regards him with unbridled awe, like Len’s the one who’s immortal, not the other way around.

“You’re gonna make me blush,” he huffs, taking Jim’s hand and guides his fingers to his cock. Jim grips tentatively, a movement that’s at odds with the look of triumph on his face, and this is when Len decides he’s going to stop thinking for once in his life, and just feel already.

Jim shifts down the couch, kneels between Len’s feet and bends to take his length in his mouth, his teeth nipping at his foreskin. Len controls the impulse to buck into his mouth.

“Easy,” he hisses.

Jim reaches for Len’s hand and guides it to the top of his head, inviting him to control the pace, and he sees immediately one of the advantages of vampires not needing to breathe when Jim takes him down whole, his shoulders shifting as he raises and lowers to accommodate him. As soon as Len feels the impulse to change things, give something for a change, Jim stills him with a hand on his hip before Len’s even had a chance to move. But he doesn’t want to come like this, it feels like it’s not enough for Jim even though it’s heaven for him.

“Jim,” he says, his voice raw and open. He wants Jim to sink his teeth into him again – make him feel connected, wants Jim to fuck him, make him feel: let every emotion resurface that he’s left at the bottom of an ocean of booze. “Just fucking…” Damn it all, he’s not saying it. So he reaches out, takes Jim’s hand and guides it to his cock. Jim swallows, nods, leans in and kisses him long and slow, wet and warm and perfect.

“I’ll take care of you, Bones – trust me…don’t move, k?” Len closes his eyes as Jim moves around the room behind him, his mind settling on the notion that in whatever universe, time, or dream, where they’ve ‘met’ before, Jim hasn’t shown him such consideration.

“Come here, Bones.”

He’s on the bed, red satin pillows thrown aside, lying on dark sheets and his skin’s fucking luminous in the low lighting. He’s got lube in his hand and when Len sits on the edge of the bed, his eyes rake over him top to toe, the fine hairs on his chest, the dip of his navel, the curl of hair at the base of his cock, the long, strong thighs parted, inviting. It’s not how he thought it would go – fuck and it’s perfect.

He watches in disbelief as Jim spreads lube over his fingers and begins to prep himself wantonly on his own fingers, kneeling up, his chest rising and falling, his face contorted by feeling, his gaze licking across Len’s skin and always returning to his face. Len blushes and pulls Jim close for a deep kiss that leaves him breathless.

“Lie down, come on, Bones.”

Len lies on his back, bringing his knees up and grips the base of his cock, holding it in position. He watches, his breath caught in his throat as Jim smooths lube over its length, eyes locked with his, then moves elegantly to straddle him. He lowers himself in a slow, easy glide till he’s fully seated, until spreading his thighs, he sits back then forward, his faces twisted in pleasure. Len lets out a choked sound when he feels the bump against his balls, reaching forward and touching Jim’s cock, his belly, his nipples, unsure where the hell to begin now his dreams are all tangible, real.

Len holds onto Jim’s hips, knowing full well that Jim’s the one in control of this, and gives himself over to every sensation, the incredible, gripping tightness around his cock, the silk of vampire skin under his fingertips, the taste of autumn and merlot and spice that is Jim’s kiss, the sound of his own voice, too proud at first to let go, restrained until all that comes out of his mouth that makes any sense is hot breaths of, “Please, Jim, please…”

And, of course, Jim knows when he’s nearly there, and he takes Len’s hand, turns it over so it’s palm-up and just as Len’s on the point of coming, he bites down hard sucking on the pad, sucking, looking at Len always through his dark lashes, his eyes amber, his face transformed, a feral rumble escaping his throat, riding Len until they both come long and hard, perfectly in time together, his hand and cock being milked mercilessly by Jim’s grip.

After, Len feels a shock of worry at the tinge of red at the corner of Jim’s mouth. His chest and belly are covered in come, and he wonders idly how a vampire can even get an erection without blood-flow, but he’s so limp, feels so damned happy and complete, that he lets the thought float away along with his good sense that he left behind the moment he decided to walk into the elevator.

“Thank you,” Jim says quietly, pressing his forehead to Len’s hand, like he’s the pope or something.

Len’s softening inside Jim but he can see that Jim’s getting hard again already. “Nice case of priapism there, kid,” he breathes out, barely enough strength in him to raise an eyebrow, though he makes a fair try at it.

Jim smiles a heartbreakingly brilliant white smile, canines gleaming. “One thing immortal life teaches you is nothing’s ever enough.”

“Even sex?”

“I dunno, should we do a scientific test?” Jim waggles his eyebrows and Len smacks him on the arm.

“Asshole, “ he says and Jim’s face melts with happiness, like Len’s word was the sweetest endearment he’s ever heard.

“Can you stay?” Jim asks, allowing Len to slip out, then nudging him so there’s room for both of them to stretch, his long cool limbs, draped across Len’s legs. “I really need to sleep - having fucked with my…biorhythms lately.”

He’s relieved he thought ahead and told Joss he had to cover in theater unexpectedly, and he’d crash at the hospital if needs be. He tries not to show the guilt in his face when he says, “I guess, for a couple of hours,” instantly feeling himself drawn in by those blue eyes again and leaning in for a kiss as cool as moonlight.

It’s not what Jim wants: it’s not forever, but for now it’s all he can give.


Once or twice in the night Len wakes, or thinks he does; he can feel Jim pressed against him, motionless in sleep, his limbs heavy and twined around him; at one point, unable to open his eyes, he thinks he hears the plaintive notes of a violin coming from above him and he falls back into the safe arms of sleep, tears welling in his eyes, overwhelmed with sadness.

When Len wakes, Jim’s nowhere to be seen.

His head’s thick and mouth dry, his body aching, the palm of his hand throbbing though he can’t see a bite mark, still surprised at this though he felt Jim heal it with careful licks and kisses. He’d slowly, patiently, brought Len to another long, exhausting orgasm, which pulsed through the whole of his body, Jim kneeling up on the couch, Len fucking him from behind, legs wide to get the right angle, chest against Jim’s back, licking at his ear, crying out into his neck as Jim drew more blood from the same spot as before.

It was incredible, but now Jim’s not there to seduce him with his penetrating gaze and soft words, Len’s fear’s resurfacing. He’s not sure he handle anymore blood being taken, although Jim assures him he’s only taken a thimbleful, not like the time in the alley. He may need time to recover.

Len stands, ignoring his morning wood and walks gingerly to the kitchen looking for food, any sign of life. The kitchen’s like a museum piece, vintage fridge, old-style kettle on the hob, and spotless. It looks like no one’s cooked in it for years – ever. Then, he knows, Jim doesn’t eat…solids. He shakes his head and opens the fridge door – fuck, nothing but bags of blood racked up like something you’d see in the hospital. He knows it’s not human blood from what Jim’s told him, he and Angel don’t do that. He takes a bag out; it’s cool, molds to the shape of his hand and he curls his lips not at what they are, but what it fucking means.

Okay, no food, not that he could eat now but, more importantly, no coffee. He draws a glass of water and drinks it deep, drinks another, thinking about how Jim was drinking alcohol that night in the bar, wondering if it makes him drunk in the same way it would a human. And it feels odd that he’s even talking about humans, vampires, demons – wonders how many people in this city, anywhere do this, how many know this stuff.

Fuck, he should go out for coffee, he won’t be answerable for his behavior if he doesn’t – and though he’s not tested this theory before, he wonders if he’d get bumps on his forehead like Jim, the other vamps he saw, if he doesn’t caffeinate soon.

In the spotless bathroom he opens a cabinet – toothpaste, the regular kind (as if there’d be a variety just for vamps), hair product which he assumes is Angel’s, not Jim’s and regular generic shower gel – he opens the bottle, sniffs – yep, jasmine.

He runs the shower for a long while, feeling a little oversensitive, very alive, touching his neck where Jim bit him in the alley, pressing the tip of his cock into the part of his hand that belongs to Jim now, thinks about what a miracle this is, how he gave Jim life, sustained him – how that’s all he would need to keep him healthy. He’s hard and wraps his hand around his dick guiltily, memories of how pliant Jim was sitting on his cock, surrounding him, the look of sheer awe on his face when he came, how yes, dammit – beautiful he looked, how goddamn special this is in a fucked up way: an immortal, with him a simple country doctor; he comes like a goddamn train in less than five minutes.

He picks up his clothes from the floor by the couch and then drifts around the apartment. There are weapons displayed on the walls, weird stuff, and he wonders if they’re real, or TV props: axes, swords, cross bows in antique looking wood, rich and dark, beautifully carved and polished. He touches one blade and it is real. He sucks his thumb where it’s drawn blood while he strolls over to the book case. Shit, this Angel guy’s got quite a collection of fusty old books. He runs his finger down the spines, there’s Latin, ancient Greek, and English titles as well as a couple of languages he doesn’t recognize. There’s a glass case with scrolls and he tests the door but it’s locked so he returns to the shelves and pulls out a book.

It crosses his mind he should be wearing gloves when he touches the embossed, leather cover, and opens the book carefully, sees it’s a grimoire, a book of spells filled with terrifying ink drawings of demons – some fevered imagination, he thinks, glancing at the author’s name: French.

He replaces the book and a leaflet falls from the shelf. It’s slim, the edges worn like a kid’s pirate map, printed on cheap paper and he picks it up, vampyr it says, a journey through darkest New Orleans. He puffs out an irritated sigh then settles with it carefully balanced on the coffee table. He looks at the map, flips the leaflet over again to see the publication date – 1850 – and he turns the pages. It appears, according to the writer, New Orleans was a hot-bed of magic and voodoo in its early years; it doesn’t surprise him, the mix of cultures, the plague taking so many that they would turn to superstition for their cures and explanations before modern medicine.

Each page contains details of a site in New Orleans, and creepy tales related to it. He thinks how if he’d seen this just a couple of weeks ago he’d have dismissed it as a foolish, money-making publication aimed at improving the tourist trade, but now…

Then he turns the page.

The blood rushes to his head and he hisses, “Fuck,” into the empty apartment.

The face gazing back at him, is unmistakably Jim – though it says ‘Tiberius Kirk’. Heart thudding he skims the purple passage describing the vampire’s golden hair, his boyish, perfect face and his ruthless habits, his crimes, his propensity for killing in society, wooing then slaughtering indiscriminately. He reads how Kirk left New Orleans, believed to have travelled North for new sport.

Len swallows. It must be a coincidence, another Kirk, but the drawing bears an unmistakable likeness. Len stares at the pale eyes, the cruel twist of the lips. The long hair tied in a knot, the lace at his neck and brocade coat. A coat similar to the ones Len’s doppelganger was wearing in Jim’s drawings. Drawings of another Leonard McCoy.

But this man, this vampire, this monster is Jim. His Jim.


“I didn’t know what you’d want, so I got two coffees, one with cream, one without, and I bought sugar. You always liked…thought you might have a sweet tooth.” Jim looks sheepish, resting the cups on the kitchen table and moving to wrap his arms round Len, pressing a kiss to his jaw – then he spots the leaflet. He stiffens.

“Tiberius?” Len says.

“Not anymore,” Jim says into Len’s shoulder.

“Right,” Len stands and pushes Jim away, the table between them, normal life on one side, something fucking insane, crazy – wrong – on the other, “Because you’re reformed, you ‘help the helpless’. Fuck, Jim – this is…you’re a killer, a murderer, how many, how many have you killed? Sounds like you fucking liked it. How long will you have to live to make up for this? I don’t know if you can.”

“Neither do I.” Jim watches Len rant with big, sad eyes. Eyes which Len knows better than to look into.

“I can’t do this, Jim, I’m sorry.”

A look of panic, then resignation crosses Jim’s face. “I went too fast…it’s too much, I’m sorry. It’s a lot to take…” Len can’t speak and takes a step away. “I’m not some moody, movie vampire, Bones, I’m fucking real. Everything I’ve done is real. But I’ve changed, I want you, I’ll do anything to keep you.”

“I don’t want you, Jim, not freely. I have a life, Jim, a wife, our daughter.”

“You weren’t thinking about them when you were fucking me.”

Now this makes him mad. How could he? How much of this can Len be blamed for? Jim’s hypnotic, alluring – he can’t even fucking help it. It’s just part of being a vampire.

“And what were you thinking about when you were sucking on me like my blood’s amyl-nitrate, hey?”

“Bones, please – I can make you forget, so you don’t have to live with this. You don’t have to feel guilty, or even bad about what I’ve done in the past.” Jim moves towards him and Len shakes his head, raising his hands defensively.

“That would be even more wrong,” Len says. “That’s what makes us human, dammit – our guilt, our giving a fuck. And it’s the opposite that makes you a demon.”

“It’ll eat you up, Bones, trust me, guilt is fucked, and it never goes away.”

“And how will being with you fix that, Jim, your guilt? Is that the point – is that why you want to be with me? What will my soul get out of this when out there, there are people I can really help?” Jim closes his eyes and draws in a breath. Bones turns his back on him, his heart aching, tears welling up. “Well, I guess that’ll be two of us needing to atone, right?

Len wants the elevator to bring him back to the real world, but somehow Jim makes it up the stairs to the office lobby before he does, hovering by the door, his toes inches away from the sunlight streaming in through glass.

“Step aside, Jim,” he says. Jim doesn’t move and touches Len’s arm, looking at him with desperate eyes. His hand is still there when Len opens the door to the street and the sunlight hits Len’s forearm, and Jim’s hand which sizzles and blisters instantly. Yet he doesn’t move it. “Jim!” The vampire hisses in pain and Len takes his wrist and guides him back, away from the sunlight. Len’s in the doorway, one foot in the street; he looks over his shoulder and can see already that Jim’s hand is healing, returning to smoothness and cream, fixed by him, by Len’s blood mixed in with Jim’s.

The sounds of downtown LA crash into him like an ice-cold wave when he emerges into the street. He can barely breathe, and while he’s absolutely damned sure he’s doing the right thing, he feels like he’s leaving a part of himself behind. He may not be able to get rid of this guilt, maybe he doesn’t even want to, but he hopes that Jim can find forgiveness one day. What passed between them, it was as much a drug for Leonard as it was for Jim, only he’s got something else to live for. He doesn’t envy Jim having nothing.

Len doesn’t want to forget – he wants to punish himself. He’s never felt more alive, more grateful for death one day, and it makes every goddamn moment, every breath he’s going to take from now on more precious. And no matter how difficult, whatever misfortunes and joys his life will bring up, he knows he’s not a liar, and he has to tell Joss something – confess and then, hopefully there will be forgiveness, for without it he’ll be as cursed as Jim Kirk. He wipes away the tears and takes his last look at the innocuous building which houses Angel Investigations.

“Don’t follow me, Jim,” he whispers, “let me live.” His words disappear into the traffic noise, but he knows Jim will somehow hear him.


Jim hears Bones say, “let me live,” and bites his lip. He watches Bones leave and locks the lobby door behind him. He glances dispassionately at the now smooth, perfect skin of his hand then takes off his shirt and tosses it to the floor as he heads for the basement where he picks up his violin case from the trunk at the end of the bed. He opens the case and strokes the maple neck, the instrument even older than he is. He lowers his jeans, kicks off his boots and stands naked, taking the instrument into his arms like a child.

He walks to the couch, sniffs the smell of sex still in the air, remembers the feel of Len against his skin, Bones breathing into his mouth, heating him up with his blood.

He touches his forehead, and wonders why the demon hasn’t surfaced, thinks about how numb he is, like he hasn’t fed for years, like the cold of the soil has seeped right through him, slowing him down, taking away the demonic energy which powers his dead limbs.

He twists the violin and holds the neck between two fingers, swinging it experimentally, the priceless instrument he once stole from a museum, the one thing he owns that he cares about.

Then he holds it like a baseball bat and brings it across his shoulder eyeing up the pillar, he swings back then forward, testing the distance, weighing up how hard he’d have to do this to snap it in one go. Then he could take the neck, drive the wood into his broken, lifeless heart – fuck-knows he doesn’t need it anymore. He could end it all, make this his one decent act, his act of atonement, ridding the world of the monster he’ll always be.

But not yet, one more…he pushes the instrument under his chin and takes up the bow, stands there naked, wanting to feel one more time.

As he starts to play, he feels it, his soul surging in his belly, and with each draw of his arm it swells and rises till every part of him is full like a dam after a storm. Tears begin to fall and as he plays the last few bars he feels the weight of all his emotion, of all his regret and sadness and dashed love burst through his skin, the weight of his guilt too heavy, so he drops to his knees, his forehead touching the floor, blood tears scalding his cheeks, emptied out, crying till he can cry no more till he has the strength to stand, pick up his beloved violin and lie it safely back in its case, a glimmer of hope having surfaced miraculously in the Pandora’s box that is his soul.

End of Chapter 3


Additional author’s notes for this chapter
* The book Len recalls reading, is ‘Fugitive Pieces’, by Anne Michaels

Chapter Text

Blood Ties: Chapter 4

It's so silly. All you do is get the heck out of your body when you die. My gosh, everybody's done it thousands of times. Just because they don't remember, it doesn't mean they haven't done it. ~J D Salinger



Mystic Falls, Virginia, 2011

Jim lands on his back across the table and splutters blood – damn, he’s bitten his tongue, he realizes when his mouth’s flooded with the taste of copper. He lets out a chuckle, and flips up effortlessly, landing on his feet, sword in hand. “Shit, you’re good, Hikaru! Where the hell did you learn to…oof!”

Hikaru’s got him in a strangle hold, and a dagger pressed to his neck. He can feel his breath gust over his ear, the man’s heart pounding against his back, he can fucking taste his sweat in the air. “You know this is giving me a boner, right?”

Jim feels a rush of joy when Hikaru throws him away and he loses his footing, stumbling to the rug, his eyes half an inch away from his dropped sword. Before he can stretch for it, he sees Hikaru’s boot kick it clear across the room. “Hey man, that’s an antique, Stefan’s going to whoop your ass if you damage it!”

He looks over his shoulder at his sparring partner, shirtless, gleaming with sweat in the candle light, his body lithe and toned, chest heaving with the effort. “Shut up about your boner, vampire scum,” Hikaru winks. He flexes the foil and arcs it in a figure of eight in front of him, then bows. “No offence.” A broad grin reveals perfect white teeth.

“None taken,” Jim beams, getting to his feet, running his thumb across a spot of blood on his lip and sucking the tip. Hikaru makes an ‘eew’ face and stands one hand on his hip, head held high.

“Do you yield?”

Jim grins. “Yeah, you mad-eyed fuck, I yield, though, you know – hardly a fair match with the vervain you insisted I take first. I’m as weak as a kitten.” Though he fans his face melodramatically, it’s true, the herb works every time, and when dosed by a witch it goes right to where it counts, and like all vampires, makes him lose his strength, albeit temporarily. Perfect for leveling the playing field in this case. He’ll be fine in a couple of hours, as long as he gets a good day’s sleep.

“And I could totally take you, vervain or no vervain,” Hikaru grins. “Man that was awesome – it’s been a while since I’ve met my match.” They both look around the room, at the heavy drape pulled off its rail, the slice into the banister, the rug bunched up against an overturned table and a vase lying on its side in one corner where Jim caught it just before it nearly shattered into a million expensive fragments.

“Okay, now you’ve had your fun, can I have the ring, oh witchly one of witchli-ness?” Jim bows, picks up his foil, rights a side-table and rests it across the top.

Hikaru grins. “First we take a shower – I need you to check me over for cuts and bruises…” He’s already kicked off his boots and left them in the middle of the room, and Jim watches in awe as Hikaru strides away, lowering his fencing pants over one bare ass cheek.

“Hey, Hik, you sure you don’t want me to turn you? You’d make a hell of a vampire.”

“No fucking way, Kirk – I hate you all and I’m attached to my beating heart.”

Damn, Jim can’t wait for Hikaru to show him just how much he hates vampires. Damon was right, Hikaru is the best.


“These Salvatore boys know how to live the Hollywood lifestyle,” Jim grunts as he shoves Hikaru up against the shower wall. “You could fit five hot men in this space and still have room to maneuver.” There’s no comment, just a moan as Jim reaches round and jerks him off idly. “Why do you do this, Hik, work with vampires, seeing as every witch I’ve ever met wants us dead or at least suffering?”

Hikaru turns his face away from the tile, looks at Jim over his shoulder and presses his ass against his cock, “Hmm…all I ever wanted to do since I was a kid was fly – now, thanks to vampires with more money than sense, I get to…ung…do that.” Jim grins and moves his hand up and down, watching the vein in the witch’s neck; with a swallow, he looks away. “What did you wanna be when you were a kid, Kirk? I’m thinking mass murderer wasn’t quite what you wanted on your resume…”

“Dunno…I’m kind of a late developer…” He squeezes shower gel onto his cock and slides it up and down between Hikaru’s cheeks.

“Fuck, man, anyone ever…oh, shit…tell you what an animal you are in the sack?”

“In a good way, right?”

“Yeah…totally…now make me come already…”

“Sure, when you’ve given me… my…fucking… ring.” Jim punctuates each word with a thrust then pulls out, shoving him out of the shower and watching with a sneer as Hikaru cusses in response and exiting the bathroom, drips water across the expensive rug to the bed. From where he is in the shower, Jim can see Hikaru rooting through his bag, turning to glower at him, then toss the enchanted ring casually towards him. Jim catches it mid-air and slips it onto his pinky where it’s too loose, then tries the his ring finger on his left hand with success.

Fuck. This is what he’s dreamt of since he was made. It’s cost him a small fortune and a heap of promises but it’s worth all that and more. He strokes a finger across the blue diamond, watching the water pour over it; running his tongue over his lower lip, he shakes his head under the jet of hot, hot water. “Thanks, Hik, now get that fine ass back in here!”


It almost kills him, waiting. Jim times it for when the Salvatores are out because it seems fitting he be alone the first time.

He can sense the dawn coming: it’s part of being a vampire knowing when to take cover, hide out till it’s dark again; but this time it’s something to wish for, to look forward to. He’s always been able to move about in the day as long as he keeps out of direct sunlight which would set him on fire, as long as his skin’s all covered up, if he sticks to shadow, or if it’s overcast – London was great for that. But he hasn’t been abroad in a hundred years – not since he stopped killing and the journey left him too vulnerable in his box, unable to feed off the crew if needed. Flying’s out of the question, but now he’s got this he’ll be able to travel again – maybe with Hik; maybe learn to fly too.

The first change in light has his chest swell with excitement and he glances at the ring, unbuttons his shirt and lays it on a garden bench. His eyes flicker to the house, the only light coming from his bedroom window. He can hear birdsong and he wants to sing right along with them he thinks, as he unbuttons his pants and steps out of them, his bare feet twitching in the dew-covered grass. It smells so fucking good – damp and fresh, the scent mingling with that of autumn leaves blown against the flower beds, decaying after the heavy storms. But there isn’t a cloud in the sky today and he looks east, stepping away from the shadow the mansion would give him that would have saved him had he not been wearing the ring. He walks across the lawn, wanting to be dead center, wanting to feel the sun on every part of his nocturnal body.

The sky brightens and at last he can see the sun for real – not in a movie or a painting, not a representation; there’s nothing between him and its rays now as it inches over the horizon. He turns his face upwards, raises his hand to shield his eyes, and follows its path, basking in the weak heat so early in the morning. He hasn’t been able to do this for 230 years, since he was turned – and it seems to pass through his skin, heating him up, making him feel alive and enveloped – how could he forget this? Something so simple, so everyday, feels like magic.

Laughing like a kid, he turns a slow circle letting it kiss and toast him gently. He’s astonished at how white his skin is in the full light, how translucent his nails are and he smiles at his shadow, balancing on one leg, then another.

He begins the yoga sun salutation – it seems fitting after all – and he raises his arms up, gazing at his palms and folding forward, inhaling deeply – breathing always feels like fire in his body – and this ritual is all about breath. He exhales and takes first one foot, then the other behind him, enjoying the burn in his limbs as he holds the position, bringing his head low and ass up into ‘downward facing dog’, then back up to stand with his arms raised high, feeling the autumn glow on his cheeks.

He completes several more sequences then flips onto his hands walking across the lawn like that, blissfully unconcerned about how ludicrous he must look upside down and naked. He rights himself only to turn cart wheel after cart wheel, completing a wide circle around the lawn until he lands perfectly by the bench where Damon’s sitting watching him, one eyebrow arched as he contemplates Jim’s antics. His arm’s draped casually along the back of the bench, his own ring – much more ostentatious than Jim’s and a match for his brother, Stefan’s – glinting in the early light.

“You been smoking pot again, Kirk?”

Jim shakes his head and grins, closing his eyes and feeling the heat on his neck. “I don’t know how I went so long without this – it’s fucking amazing, makes me feel…”

“Alive?” Damon offers, blue eyes widening in that silent-movie actor way of his. “It’s an illusion, don’t get too attached to the feeling…you’re as dead as I am. At least we don’t suffer from sun-burn, eh? Shame, because I’d look great with a tan. So would you – you could work the whole surfer-dude look to your advantage. Then you could almost pass as sexy – like me.” He gives a lop-sided grin and nods towards Jim’s dick. “I’ll have to stake you if you bring that out again – I have a rep to maintain you know.”

Jim grins. “Noted.” He picks up his clothes and waits for Damon to follow him, his heart bursting. “I thought you’d gone out--”

“Forgot my cell,” Damon says. “It’s kind of a relief to know we don’t sparkle, huh, Jim?”

“Fucking right!” Still naked, he wraps his arm around Damon’s shoulders. “I’d offer you some celebratory vampire sex only I know you aren’t into guys,” he smirks.

Damon huffs a laugh. “No, I’m not, but thanks for the offer. How about a glass to celebrate? I’ve got some gorgeous O-Neg.”

Damn, it’s tempting but he’s sworn off human blood since Len years ago, knowing nothing will ever taste so good again; plus it brings the killer in him too much to the surface. “Last time I came off the rails, it took me thirty years to go dry again, man – can’t risk it.” Jim slaps him on the arm. “But thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Is champagne on your safe list? I have some mind-blowing Krug in the cellar?”


“Of course!”

“Cool – but can we drink it outside?”

“Sure, but put some clothes on; and do you have to dress like a bum? Jimmy Dean is dead and gone – have a look through my wardrobe and pick out something more fashion-forward that’ll set off that nice ring of yours.”


Len adjusts his sunglasses, leans on his car and checks his watch again. Damn, where is she? he thinks, scanning the latest round of faces as kids spill out of school across the lawns.

Ten minutes he’s been standing here holding fast against the tide of hormones around him, cell phones bleeping, iPods being hurriedly shoved into ears because, god forbid any one of them actually exists a whole damned second in blessed silence. Floral perfume assaults him from all directions, jasmine and musk, some from cheap aftershave. He tries not to growl at their shiny-shiny hopeful faces, gleaming health in the autumn sun – Christ he feels old.

And beneath his irritation there’s something else, an itch under his skin he hasn’t felt in years, like déjà vu unsettling him.

He searches his pocket for gum, sighs and leans in through his open car window to look in the glove box. Finding some, he folds the gum in half and shifts his back again – damn, there’s that prickle again. Maybe he’s developing allergies; this time of year it’s oleander and mushroom spores he knows, ‘cause he’s checked for Jo-Jo since she’s susceptible.

What the hell is this place, anyways? He thought he knew Virginia but he’s never heard of this town before. Trust Joss to bring his baby girl into the backwoods – this squeaky ghetto of perfect teeth and straightened hair, full of kids who should be wearing more clothes and less skin.

The sky’s brewing up a storm; the sun’s been hiding all day, the slightest break in cloud cover and now it’s sweltering instead of close. Len wishes he was the kind of guy who wore shorts because he can’t damn well breathe…living in LA has made him soft.

Hell, he’s irritable, even by his own standards, and he’s still not used to how he’s changed since his recovery, but he’s damned if he’s going to take up meditation as Joss sarcastically suggested in their last phone call a couple of days ago.

“Len, you’re going to bust a blood vessel unless you take up something…”

“Shut up, Jocelyn, you don’t get to make the medical diagnosis – stick to representing drug barons, why don’t you. Now tell me where you’re leavin’ the fuckin’ keys.”

He winces internally, wondering when he got to be such an asshole – well, no booze, no company and no sex can do that to a guy. He spits his gum into his palm and wraps it in a tissue, tossing it on the car dash. And yeah, be honest with yourself, Len – it’s guilt too. He’s never visited once in two years since Joss and his baby girl left L.A. Now his girl’s grown up in the interim, become beautiful, sullen, same coloring as Joss but with all his snark and attitude, if Joss’ terse emails are to be believed. Well, he’ll find out soon enough.

Then he sees Joanna and his heart lurches; damn she’s so pretty, a mass of loose, blonde curls, tall and a little awkward, and so smart. Guilt, pride, love and a desire to run away twist around his heart like water over rocks. He braces himself, stands straighter and buttons up his jacket. She doesn’t see him, of course; he’s 39, middle aged – he might as well be invisible.

He raises a hand and is about to call out her name, feeling a flicker of happiness when her face lights up, till she turns a sharp left and bounces towards a guy sitting astride an ancient old motorbike, all chrome and pipes. When the guy turns to greet her, Len recognizes that profile, the flash of teeth. His heart plummets like a cartoon safe and lands somewhere near his feet. He knows that face and that hair, and definitely recognizes the leather jacket.

Jim Kirk.

What the hell?

Len strides, almost runs to Jo; Jim’s draped an arm over her shoulders and is handing her something. Fuck, if it’s drugs he’s going to goddamn rip his head off. Then he sees her unfurl a necklace and put it round her neck, and Jim helps her fasten it, touching her while he does so, touching her neck – shit.

He hesitates, as much because he doesn’t want to intrude as he wants to delay speaking to Jim.

They’re ten steps apart when Jim turns and their eyes lock; no, he’s not going to call it lust, after twelve years that’s so over, but Len swallows, folding his arms and drawing his eyebrows together, feeling a little foolish when Jim turns away without even a flicker of recognition.

Then it occurs to him; Jim knows who Jo-Jo is – of course he does; Jim’s got it bad for McCoys and now he’s given up on Len, he’s obviously transferred his obsession to Jo-Jo. The thought that he may have hunted his daughter down has Len looking round for something to stake him with, right there on the front lawn of the school. Except, hold on, what’s he doing standing there in full sunshine, and not being dead? Maybe he’s cured…though is there a cure for being a vampire?

“Daddy!” Jo squeals, “What are you doing here?” She skips towards him and throws her arms around him just like when she was eight. He lifts her up off the ground, nuzzles into her hair for a few moments, almost forgetting that Jim’s there. She smells of…something vaguely unpleasant, something herbal and pungent and wonders what the hell it is. He rests his chin on her head, squeezing her tight, closing his eyes to shut out the image of Jim looking at them.

“Mommy’s not here, she’ll be bummed she missed you…”

Len removes his sunglasses and smiles. “I doubt that, baby girl, but we’ve talked; we fixed this up between us. I should have called but I wanted to surprise you.”

“I don’t need taking care of, daddy – I’m good, hey, there’s someone I want you to meet!”

The feel of her hand in his as she steers him towards Jim grounds him a little, almost managing to stop his head from spinning.

Jim’s looking at his own feet as Len approaches, leaning on the bike, arms behind him on the seat. The cut of his jaw, the light stubble, those fucking eyes, Atlantic blue, unblinking, stir something in Len that makes him so mad he feels like he needs a drink for the first time in years.

The sound of Jo-Jo’s voice has them both looking in her direction, then their eyes meet; and if Len was under any illusion that he’d shaken the hunger off, he’s so damned wrong it isn’t even funny. He feels a rush of heat from head to groin so intense he has to swallow and clench his fists to get a grip. Jo-Jo’s voice – it’s like the volume’s been turned down.

“Daddy, this is Jim. Jim – daddy, I mean Doctor Leonard McCoy.”

Jim wipes his hand on his jeans and extends it, dipping his head a little, then his eyes sweep Len and he’s all wet tongue on pretty lips when he says, “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Doctor Leonard McCoy.” With a special emphasis on the ‘doctor’ and the ‘Leonard’ so that Len’s in no doubt at all he’s absolutely saying ‘Bones’ in his head. “Jim, Jim Kirk.”

Len makes himself nod, heart hammering, delaying the moment when he has to touch that hand again, the same hand that held him down, caressed his skin, opened him up. The handshake’s brief and Jim’s clasp is light, but it still sends a shock of heat through Len, not all of it desire. Dammit, the fucker’s already messing with his mind. Len shoots Jim a warning look.

“Likewise,” Len says.

Jo-Jo’s voice threads into the tempest in his head, and he turns to look at her.

“—going to stay over, Mom doesn’t mind, didn’t she tell you?”

“What?” his head snaps to Jim again. “I’m not having some…kid stay over. I don’t know what your mother allows, and I am going to have a discussion with her about this soon as I can, but there is no way in hell you’re having a boyfriend over to stay.” Plus he was hoping to spend some quality time with his baby girl. Images of them eating pizza and watching a movie melt and are replaced by Jim’s smirking face.

He’s surprised at the tinkle of laughter from Jo-Jo. She lets go of his hand and throws her arms round Jim’s neck. His eyes crinkle and he exposes his killer teeth in a smile’s that’s got more sunshine in it than a June day.

“Jim’s not my boyfriend, daddy, he’s gay.” Jim smiles innocently at this. “And he came to give me a ride home because he knows Mom’s out of town for the week.”

“Is that right?”

She lowers her voice. “You don’t mind that he’s gay, do you, daddy?”

“Now why the hell would I mind about a thing like that, Jo-Jo?”

“Well, some people are—”

“I’m not some people. But I’ll tell you what I do mind: you are not getting on that bike. Have you any idea how dangerous those thing are? You’re about thirty times more likely to die in an accident than if you’re in a car, and even if Jim here is the safest driver out, which I doubt, who’s to say the other guy knows what he’s doing? You could end up on life support, or dead – the head’s very vulnerable, baby girl.”

Jim looks at him like he’s some crazy guy, and he must look like one the way he’s waving his hands, scowling and his hair’s all windswept. “Hey, I have helmets… and I ride real slow—” Jim begins.

Len cuts him off with a raised finger and a growl. ”I’m not discussing this, Jim, now stay away from my daugh…with your bike. Is that clear?”

“As day,” Jim says slowly, looking at Jo-Jo. “Facebook me?”

“Yeah, see ya Jim.”

Len tries not to linger on the reflection in his rear-view mirror of Jim watching them, sitting astride his seat as he pulls away. The roar of the bike sparking to life sounds ominous, like the goddamn peal of thunder which cracks as soon as they hit the road.

On the ride home neither of them say a word to each other. Len looks at the front lawns and the neat rows of suburbia, and wonders if anyone here has a clue there’s a vampire in their midst. How could they? He was oblivious back in L.A. until he met Jim after all.

They make it back to the house just as the storm breaks.

He hasn’t set eyes on Jim for years, and never thought he would again – and now, holy hell what a clusterfuck his life’s turning out to be, and yeah he’s relieved that Jim’s not tapping his daughter, but he doesn’t want her having anything to do with a demon, to say nothing of how he should be giving everything, all his attention to Jo-Jo, and he can’t. How can he when all he can see in his mind’s eye, all he can smell, is Jim Kirk?


“I dunno, Jo-Jo, he’s kind of old for you…” Which is the best he can do since ‘he’s a vampire’ just won’t work.

“No he’s not, he’s a grown up, he’s…oh, you wouldn’t understand.” She runs off upstairs leaving him helpless and seething in the kitchen.
Soaked from the storm, he’s left hanging there in a stranger’s house, because that’s what Joss had become after all these years. It’s a woman’s place now there’s no one to stop her fixing it up like she wants, with those foul smelling air-freshener things everywhere, which is curious when there aren’t any ‘foul smelling’ guys around with their feet and socks. It’s light and airy with chintz curtains, a cream couch, and a cat – she went and got a goddamn cat – not that he’s seen it yet, but there’s a bowl on the floor in the kitchen and hairs on the armchair.

He stands in the middle of the room like a fifth wheel, trying to control his breathing, wondering why the hell he even thought this would work. He should have known there was no way he and Jo-Jo could pick up where they left off. She was pretty cold with him when they last spoke on the phone. It was okay at first, though she was obviously trying to contain her excitement at speaking to him, soon tempered by teenage irritation at the way he spoke, the way he tried to tell her what to do. Not that he was. And he just wants to beg her forgiveness, but then he was never very good at that. Joss never told their daughter why they split up, not really, just that they didn’t love each other any more. Damn.

He looks down at his sneakers and feels a prickle of annoyance – if his ex even knew he hadn’t taken his shoes off at the door, he’d be dead meat; Jo-Jo, despite the rush she was in to shake him off, still left hers neatly paired by the coat stand. He unlaces his shoes where he’s standing, not daring to walk another step in them.

Opening the door, he looks out onto the quiet street – it’s a while before it’ll get dark. He knows Jim will be snooping round soon enough and he’s filled with a mixture of anticipation and dread all at once and wonders if Jo-Jo knows the truth about Jim – but why would she?

He makes coffee, and decides he’ll leave his bags in the car for now. Somehow it makes him feel like he’s got a choice about whether he can stay or not when in reality, of course he wants to, is committed to. He needs to get through the next few days, re-establish his role as father, and re-build that wall that’s kept all thought of Jim Kirk out of his mind for the past few years. It’s been a struggle and, he admits, that’s why he’s only screwed guys since then, some way of proving to himself that he’s got a control over that ‘thing’ whatever it was. It was a side of himself he’d never explored too heartily; he was just so damn in love with Joss, and maybe he was frightened it was going to ruin his marriage. In a way it did. But now it’s all he’s got.

From the porch, taking in the clear air, he settles down with his coffee, gazes out at the rain-soaked, tree lined street, and wonders what the hell he’s going to do to get through the week.


He must have dozed off on the porch and his eyes snap open when he senses something, someone looking at him. It’s Jim – of course it fucking is. He’s sitting on the rail, ankles crossed, balanced like a fucking trapeze artist, all long legs and worn denim, and smug smirk across his face. His hair’s longer than in L.A. but other than that, he hasn’t changed a mote. Len suddenly feels very self conscious about the smattering of gray hair at his temples, his aching back, his body in decline, moving on – but Jim always stays the same. With so much past, so many years, Jim’s life is all about the present.

There never could have been anything between them, much as Jim wanted it. Len allowed himself that one night to believe that this was what he wanted – how could he have been so fucking dumb? He’d have died an old man by Jim’s side if Jim hadn’t grown bored with him first. And Jim’s a killer – hard to believe when he’s looking at Len like that, like he’s the most amazing thing he’s ever set eyes on. Any doubts that it was one and the same man Len saw depicted in the booklet, the murderous vampire he read about, were soon dashed over the years when he researched vampires online. This athletic-looking, elegant young man has snuffed out countless lives. But, fuck, he’s so beautiful, the autumn sun casting a golden light on his immaculate skin – ages old, yet ageless.

Wait! “You all better now, Jim, no bursting into flames in the sun?”

“Not better, just magic, Bones. Long story…” He holds up a broad hand, pointing to an antique-looking ring worn like a wedding band. Len frowns and shakes his head – it’s crazy is what it is.

“Just like that?”


Len’s about to ask how long he’s been watching him sleep when Jim cuts straight to the chase.

“I’ve missed you, Bones,” Jim says, voice low and personal, seeping through him. So nothing’s changed for him – great.

“Shush, she’ll hear you,” Len hisses, glancing over his shoulder at the open door, “I can’t have Joanna knowing we’ve met before. Now get out of here.”

Jim ignores that. “Met? That‘s what you want to call it?” Jim cocks his head, all tongue over lips, his eyes bright, unwavering, shameless.

“Dammit, Jim…” Already he’s capitulating, Len can just feel it. His skin’s itching at his neck, he’s hard, he can’t fucking stop looking at him. It feels like he hasn’t eaten in years, or felt anything or believed in anything; and Jim’s there in front of him, all desirable – like some fucking…shit, all Len can think of is words like angel, demon, specter, prince; nothing fucking real and tangible and ordinary. Yet he’s solid, he’s real and he’s obviously compelling Len already.

Jim’s utterly still, waiting for him to respond, though it’s kind of tricky to know what to say, seeing as Jim’s hit the ground running, gone in intense already. He reaches for his empty coffee cup. “I’m getting some ice-tea and I guess I’d better get you a drink…seeing as I don’t have a hope in hell of throwing you out if you’ve a mind to stay.” He’s self conscious when he stands, aware of Jim’s eyes exploring every little detail about what he’s wearing, taking in his skin, his scent. And already he’s in danger of being overwhelmed, feeling like he’s drowning.

“Ice tea, Bones? Really? Okay if I have something stronger? But you know, I don’t want to tempt you.” His eyes flutter as he sweeps Len top to toe. He slides effortlessly off the rail, walks silently behind Len into the house as he fumbles with his glass, even the fridge door seems to stick and Len’s skin’s breaking into a light sweat, his cheeks coloring.

“You have whatever suits you, Jim, but I haven’t had a drink since I was…when I left you that day.”

Jim gives him a look, standing beside him while he roots around for ice. He’s inches away and all Len can think is how much he wants Jim to touch him.

“I know you know what I’m thinking. I don’t like it.”

“You want me to touch you,” Jim says, all matter of fact, like he’s ordering a dish at a favorite restaurant and neither of them need to look at the menu. “And I want to touch you so bad, Bones, I can taste it.” Fucking voice, low, seductive, like a goddamn magnet to Len’s cock. Jim is sin, temptation personified. He sounds harder round the edges than when he was talking with Jo-Jo, where he had a more fraternal, almost a ‘girlfriend’ feel about him.

“Well, don’t.”

“Don’t worry, Bones. I’m a good boy now, remember?”

“Still helping the helpless?”

“When it fits in with my busy schedule, sure.” A knowing chuckle. “I’ve got some great stories.”

“I don’t want to hear them – and I don’t want you corrupting Jo with that crap either, we clear?”

“As day.” He takes the beer and raises it to his lips, gazing at Len all crinkle eyed and irresistible, taking way too long to pull the bottle away after he’s done, licking at his lips, watching Len for a reaction.

Len’s the other side of the kitchen island, and he’s damn well staying there. Jim watches him drink, his eyes flickering from his mouth to his throat to his hands, places he knows intimately, and Len feels a rush of lust which instantly translates itself into temper.

“You told her you were gay? Why?” he whispers.

“It seemed like a good idea established things on the right footing from the start; I wouldn’t want her getting a crush on me – you know what these teenage girls are like…” Jim leans on the counter, pale arms flexing, the same arms that held him down.

Len clears his throat. “Well, in actual fact, no – I fucking don’t; this is my first time being the parent of a teen but I’m sure you have a lot more experience of them, you must have killed many in your time.” Damn, if he squeezes the glass any harder, it’s going to shatter.

“Don’t be like that, Bones.”

“No, stop. You don’t get to call me that.”

“Okay, but chill, Bo…Leonard, whatever. That’s a lame name; anyone ever tell you that?”

Len glowers, leans over, his finger jabbing close to Jim’s smirking face. He doesn’t flinch. “Leave my daughter alone, got that?”

“We’re friends, Bones, and she’s lonely – I’ve helped her settle. She tell you I come over and help her play the violin?”

Really? “No, she doesn’t tell me nothin’; she saves all that for her mother.”

“And you’re cool with that?”

“‘Course I’m not but that’s the way it is.” He looks down at the counter and swallows.

“Doesn’t have to be. She doesn’t like it here; she says her mom’s great but she hates Smallsville. She tells me she wants to live with you.”

“Well she can’t – oh, wait – were you thinking the three of us could live with her, you know, you two could braid each others hair and I could come home from work, we could all sit and eat together, you sip your bag of blood, me my ice tea, or maybe lemonade if I was feeling real badass, and help her with her homework, that kind of thing?”

Jim’s smile falters a little at that and Len feels a stab of guilt. “I’ve got something for you.”

“I don’t want anything you’ve got, Jim. I’m just peachy as I am with my bitchy ex-wife, my estranged daughter who hates me and my home somewhere else.”

Jim ignores him pushing a hand into a tight pocket and hands him a sachet, the jewel in his ring glinting in the light. “Take it, it’s vervain, it’ll protect you.”

“I’m a doctor, Jim - all this…magic…” He rubs his face. “It’s a major suspension of disbelief for me. A plant? Now you’re a herbalist? What do I need protecting from other than you? Tell me.”

“Just that, yeah, you need protecting from me.” Jim looks away, then his eyes dart back to Len’s face. “Remember vampire lore and what they say about crucifixes, garlic?”

“That they keep vampires away, yes – I’d better go stock up.”

“Well none of that’s true, Bones. It’s all bullshit. This will though. I’ll get you more; you can put it in the bath, burn it in a candle, whatever…”

Len clasps the sachet in his hand, running his thumb along the seam; he can smell the pungent aroma of the herb inside and rests it on the granite. “How comes no one’s heard of it before?”

“They have, they just haven’t been paying attention. You’d need a massive dose to kill a vampire, but what even a small amount does is protect you from being controlled or compelled. That’s what was in the locket I gave Jo-Jo earlier. And that’s what I’m giving you – only a more manly version. Keep it in your pants’ pocket, your jacket, under your pillow. Even if you don’t believe me, it won’t hurt, right?”

It doesn’t make any sense – why would Jim be looking at him like that yet giving him something that’ll keep him away? If it even works. But of course Jim’s anticipated this, or read his mind.

“I have a debt of honor to your family – I’m looking out for Jo because this place, seriously, man – you have no idea what it’s like around here. The vamps here – they rule. “

It takes a moment for Len to say anything to that. “What? Like in L.A.?” He runs a hand through his hair, shaking his head. “It looks like such a decent town…”

“Appearances can be deceptive, Bones, remember?” Yeah, like Jim’s innocent face and soft voice when he’s in actual fact a predator. Len hasn’t learned anything, looks like.

“I’ll…I’ll just take her out of school.”

“How will you explain that to your wife?”

“She’s my ex,” he growls.

“Your ex, then?”

“Drugs – I’ll tell her there’s kids touting drugs around the school. Dammit, she was better off in L.A. but Joss insisted it would be more wholesome for her here.”

“And how’s business, Bones – what kinda clients is the ex hooking up with these days?”

“I don’t know, Jim,” he lowers his voice, realizing he’s shouting. “We didn’t used to talk before, what makes you think we talk now? And don’t flatter yourself, you had nothing to do with our breaking up. We were already going to shit before you.”

Jim raises a hand to placate him, and makes to leave.

“Tell Jo I swung by, k?” Eyes big, sad – the look of a man who hasn’t connected with another living soul in so long, and Len swallows, his mouth falling open. He follows Jim to the door, but before he can say anything more, Jim’s gone in one of his vampire like rushes of light with the whole one moment he’s there, the next he’s gone thing…and it’s just the front lawn and an ache left in Len’s gut.

Len pulls the door closed, slides the lock across and returns to make dinner, to spend another evening not drinking – just as soon as he’s opened the window to get rid of the smell of goddamn jasmine.


Len wakes to the sound of violin music and for a moment he thinks he’s dreaming. He’s had the best night’s sleep, sober at least, in years, and it doesn’t make any sense given what happened the day before. The sachet is under his pillow where he tucked it, rather self-consciously, before he turned in. He stares into the blurry vista of his arm where it’s wrapped around the pillow and he turns his head away from the scent. He can’t remember if he dreamed or not, but he feels light, unaccountably happy despite the fact that Jo-Jo didn’t emerge from her room, insisting he leave her tray outside.

He realizes the music is Jo-Jo playing in her room. He thought she’d given the instrument up till Jim mentioned it, and damn she’s good. He listens while he showers; she plays without interruption what must be a series of Russian folk tunes, plaintive and sad, and feels the tears prick when he finally summons up the courage to go to her.

He hovers outside her door feeling the notes wend through the wood, penetrate him, making him want to close his eyes and shut out the real world. He knows he should knock but he wants to see, scared she won’t let him in otherwise. How could he not know she was this talented? Through the crack of the open door he can see her standing by the window, eyes closed, arm working the bow, tan fingers playing elegantly over the neck. Her body is swaying lightly in a complete trance, with so much feeling on her young face that he envies her that connection with the world around her – the antithesis of how he moves heavily through life, a man in a dream, not feeling anything really, not touching other than his patients, his one night stands, his books. There’s a lump so big in his throat he feels he might choke.

“Baby girl…?” he whispers because he’s intruding. When she doesn’t respond, he coughs, walks into the room and stands a few feet away, feeling the vibrations soak into him. He knows she’s aware of him because she opens her eyes for a second, turns slightly towards him, small yet powerful in what she does, her slim legs in baggy shorts, her arms smooth in her t-shirt, hair tied loosely away from her face. How could he not know this about her?

Finally, the piece ends and she lowers the bow, looking directly at him.

He stands with his hands hanging by his sides, feeling enormous and clumsy in her presence, a stranger surrounded by her things, her posters of celebrities he knows nothing about, her books, her clothing tossed on the ottoman at the foot of the bed. The sight of the open violin case reminds him of… He nods over his shoulder to the door. “I didn’t want to interrupt…that was so beautiful, Jo-Jo…I didn’t…” damn, there’s so much he wants to say.

She shrugs, “Hope I didn’t wake you, daddy, but I gotta practice; Jim says three hours a day – he’s pretty tough on me.”

“Well he’s done a great job, you’re doing a great job…hell, baby, I had no idea; I thought you’d given it up for good… your mom didn’t…” and if I’d taken an interest remains unsaid between them.

She shrugs and moves towards the case, the violin swinging by her legs, above bare toes painted shocking pink that grip the pale carpet. He looks away, can’t trust himself to speak anymore or he’ll cry a fucking river or something, he’s so overwhelmed with love and regret.

“L.A.’s a long way away, I guess.” She lowers her eyes and puts the violin away. “Jim persuaded me to take it up again; he said that it was no way lame to play the violin and it’s like cooler than guitar.” She turns and smiles. “I’ll have to play some more later after breakfast but then if you like, we can do something…?” Her voice has that teenage lilt he’s previously found so goddamn irritating, every sentence ending with a question, but now fills him with longing for when she was little, to see her grow before him. And he’s going to try and have a more civil relationship with his ex, knowing this is why she kept this from him; it’s no more than he deserves.

He steps awkwardly towards her and wraps her up in his big arms, and when she softens and presses her head into his chest, he allows the tears to fall. “Come on, shorty, I’m starved, whatch’a gonna cook for this old man?”

“I dunno, dad, Jim’s taught me how to make a mean breakfast – sure it ain’t gonna make you fat?” She pushes away, pokes him in the belly and bounces out of the room down the stairs. “Come on!” and Len stands there in sunshine, wiping a thumb across his cheek and whispers into the room, “Thanks, Jim.”


By the evening, all thoughts about how Jim’s good for his baby girl have maybe gone.

Jim’s been visiting for an hour and Len’s not let them out of his sight.

Len was determined last night, no way was the bastard going to set foot back in the house, at least for the time he’s there: five more days. But Len can’t uninvite Jim; Joss owns the house, and the whole vampire-invitation business only works that way. Only the owner, or other resident, can invite them in, and only they can banish them.

Still, he hoped Jim would take his request to keep away seriously. What he hadn’t banked on was Jo-Jo’s attachment. At breakfast, no sooner had they settled to eat the enormous pile of food she’d prepared (and he is going to get a belly if this goes on though he’s not carrying an ounce of spare fat at the moment) she was already texting Jim and giggling at the probably inappropriate one liners Jim was sending her in response.

“I love Jim, daddy, he’s sooo funny!” Yeah, right. But though he shut up, he obviously couldn’t control his eyebrows because Jo added, “You should totally give him a chance. He said on Facebook he doesn’t think you like him. Like, you gave him evil looks last night when he came over.”

“He told you? Told you he was here?”

“I can always tell when he’s near dad – weird huh?”

No shit.


Now he’s exhausted truth be told, brain buzzing after a day in hell, suffering fluorescent light and noise at the mall. So much for quality time – he should have known when he’d offered: “Any place you wanna go is good with me, darlin’.” Now his feet hurt, his back aches and his ears burn with the thumpa thumpa of goddamn pop music pouring out of every store, even the rest rooms – man can’t even take a leak in peace free of noise, without being entertained.

All he wanted to do was drink a shit load of bourbon and watch an old movie with his little girl. Yeah, the booze is out of bounds but no, she had a movie date with Jim and that’s what they always do on a Saturday night: when she’s not hooking up with her girlfriends they watch videos and eat pop-corn. He doesn’t feel he can join them, not wanting to, dammit, as out of place as when Jo stopped every five fucking minutes in the mall – squeals and gossip passing from one brace-filled mouth to another at a pitch and volume only bats would be able to follow. Fuck he feels old.

And now, irony of ironies, they’re watching ‘Twilight’. Forget Jim being a murdering bastard – that movie alone is reason enough to question his influence on Jo. They’re both giggling like school girls, Jo Jo’s slippered feet on the arm rest and she’s leaning back into Jim, sharing sugary pop-corn and yeah, while they won’t cause caries in vampire teeth, Jo shouldn’t be. Fuck, he nearly bit his tongue trying not to rant about that, conscious he doesn’t want Jo to associate him with lectures and being a killjoy from his short stay with her.

He sits in the kitchen, pretending to work on a paper, laptop open, angled so he can watch them from the island across the open-plan room, his stomach fucking bursting with goddamn ice-tea when all he wants is one, just one bourbon. He should call his sponsor but what’s he going to say? “Hey, Mike, I’ve got this total thing for a vampire, yeah, weird right, anyway, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this without a drink…”

“Bela, I gotta, I gotta go deal with this boner.” Len glances up, sees Jim standing on the couch, one arm on his chest over his un-beating heart, the other knuckles to his forehead, ‘acting’ the fey, angst-ridden Edward Cullen, “and all I really wanna do is…ouch, Jo, that hurt!”

“Dad’ll hear you, Jim, shush!”

More giggles. “I guess that was…”

“Inappropriate?” Len leaning on the island, dreading the moment when Jim looks at him. But it’s okay, he has the vervain in his pocket and he knows Jim’s influence has waned thanks to the stuff. Len’s been sleeping better and only thinking about Jim most of the time as opposed to all of the damned time, and there’s been no indication that Jim can read his mind. Still, he decides to test this theory out – after all, he’s a man of science, right? So when those infernal eyes catch his, he swallows, thinking Damn, just kiss me because there’s no harm in thinking it. Jim doesn’t react, no eyebrow raise, no ‘knowing’ look. Len thinks There, I’m free of you! and it doesn’t hurt him. The tightness in his chest must be all about how cute Jo is.

“Jim, I have to remind you Joanna’s sixteen – that’s not the kind of talk I want around a girl that age—”

Jim glances at Jo, then back at Len’s lips. “How about if I promise to shut up now?” He steps down off the couch and sits primly a foot away from Jo whose mouth is hanging open in disbelief.

“Too late, Jim, you’re leaving.”

“Oh, daaad.”

Jim picks up his sneakers and winks at Jo, following Len to the front door.

“And I won’t have you drinking around my baby girl, or any other minor for that matter,” Len adds quietly so Jo can’t hear as Jim pulls on his leather jacket.

Jim leans close, speaking right up into his ear and sending a shiver down him. “Hey, Bones, gimme a break, I’m evil and since I’ve given up the premium blood it’s all I’ve got. A bit of corruption.”

“Get the fuck out, Jim.” And yeah, he said that too loud.

“Now who’s evil, cussing around a kid. And way Jo tells it, she’s seen you knock back a shit-load of booze since she was old enough to tell.”


Jim’s glad he’s still fast on his feet: even after over fifty years of pig’s blood he’s not as weak as he could be, and he manages to duck the right hook. He sees Bones crack the door jamb and cuss again, and he’d laugh but he’s concentrating on not letting his features change, the spice of McCoy blood where he’s cut his knuckles the most beautiful thing he’s ever smelled, fuck tasted. It sends a shiver of want through him he swiftly covers up with a smirk.

“You’ll want a doctor to take a look at that,” Jim manages.

“Dammit, Jim, you’re the definition of annoying, you know that?”

Jim nods, runs through a thousand possible ways he could stall and make this moment last longer; he’s been so starved of Bones’ company that even seeing him angry, hating on him like this is better than nothing; but he’s not dumb, well other than dumb in love, and he was going soon anyway.

“‘Bye, Joanna,” he calls over his shoulder, his throat locking with feeling so his voice comes out a croak – because that’s exactly what this night was going to be all along – goodbye.

Len hands him his sneakers where they dropped when he tried to punch Jim and slams the door.

Jim strolls slowly down the street – he’s got business to attend that can’t wait, and he should shift up a gear, get there real quick; but that would just bring the end closer, and damn, he really isn’t in any hurry never to see Bones again – not when he just got him back.



Despite his long unlife, Jim has had little to do with witches – they generally hate vampires, and those that don’t are to be avoided because they’re in league with them and are, by default, untrustworthy. Jim being a solitary vampire has little interest in vampire business other than his short period of time working with Angel. He knows he doesn’t look the type, but he’s happy with his books, his in and out relationship with his Stradivarius, and hook-ups with vamps only to kill them because the hunter in him has to be appeased somehow and this is for the greater good, or for the odd party if they’re Old Ones and not too psychotic. Oh, and a little vampire sex never goes amiss.

He came to Mystic Falls for one reason and one reason only, to get the ring. He was only going to hang for a few weeks but everything changed when he caught a waft of McCoy blood on Virginian air. He tried to ignore it, knew it wasn’t Bones but, damn it, the notes were so close he had to at least investigate.

He previously met Jo on one occasion, the time he paid her a visit when she was four going on five, just before his final night with Bones. He didn’t tell Bones as he knew it wouldn’t sound right, however he put it. But Jim needed to get an invite into the McCoy L.A. residence so that he could have access if there was an emergency. At the time, with Mrs. McCoy mixing with demons, it seemed a sensible precaution. It was probably reprehensible that he told Jo he was a friend of her daddy’s so she’d invite him in, then made her forget he’d been round there in the first place but he had to look at the big picture.

He thinks back to the day a few weeks before when he saw Jo again. Damon dragged Jim along to the school because he simply had to meet Elena before he left town. Elena be damned with her moon face and ironed hair – but Jim was being polite; it was the least he could do for Damon after his hospitality, after hooking him up with Hikaru, helping get the ring – Damon’s a bit of a victim to his impulses, but his heart’s in the right place and, after all, who’s Jim to point the finger at any vamp suffering from unrequited love?

When Jim saw Jo all grown up, outside the school – the scent of her, the recognition, hit like a fucking stake to the heart. She wasn’t Bones, but she smelled like him, had the same loping walk, the same proud toss of her head. And she was lonely, he could tell instantly, from how she tripped down the school steps alone, clutching her books a little too close. Overwhelmed with the need to protect her, to make up for how maybe he’s the reason her daddy’s left, he had to control every fiber of his being, trying not to give himself away to Damon, who gave him the look and said, “She’s a little young, Kirk – I’m impressed!”

“Yeah, but look at your girl! Elena’s real pretty – maybe you should stake Stefan in his sleep so you can have her all to yourself.”

Damon smirked, did that eye-flash thing that makes him so damned sexy that Jim totally would, if Damon wasn’t averse to cock. “You’re fucking funny, anyone ever told you that?”

“Look, man, I gotta go – just, you know, take it easy…I’ll swing by next time I’m in town.”

Joanna was a foot away waiting for her ride, gaze darting along the rows of parked cars, eyes big and concerned. Without a second thought he compelled her, commanded: “See me!” and she looked his way, caught his eye and dropped her books.

He was by her side in an instant, the milk and cookies version of McCoy smell making him almost shake with longing for Len. Damn, he thought he had a grip on this, but it’s obvious no matter how many hundreds of years he works on being free, some part of him is always going to be a slave to this family.

“God dammit!” she said, scooping up her books. Jim’s hands brushed hers while he reached for them at the same time. Their eyes locked. No, you don’t want me, you can tell I’m gay, the thought sent to her impressionable, hormone-soaked brain like a missile, so she wouldn’t see him like that and think he was flirting. She’s Len’s daughter and might as well have been treasure wrapped in nitro-glycerin how much he wanted to carry her gently through those moments.

It worked. Her eyes softened and she smiled like fucking sunshine, tossed her blond hair at him and said, “Hey, thanks, I look dumb right?”

“Hey, I’m the biggest klutz you’ll ever meet, so I won’t point the finger!”

She batted at his pointing finger and giggled. “My ride hasn’t turned up, I’ll check my messages!”

She pulled out her iPhone and Jim waved his own at her, like the phones were puppets and making friends, “You are totally insane, you know that?” she said with a giggle.

Jim shrugged like she’d said he was the most incredible genius she’d ever met, and waited while she checked her cell. “Oh, mum’s flight’s delayed. How am I gonna get home?”

Jim jangled his keys, gifting her one of his best smiles; seriously, poor girl didn’t stand a chance. He could ‘hear’ her thinking, “Damn, why isn’t anyone else here to see this? And oh my God, he’s so mature, and shame he’s not into girls but I hope he wants to be my gay boyfriend…” her thoughts tripping over themselves so fast, if Jim needed to breathe at all, he would have to then, just to keep up.

Jim extended his arm and Joanna wound hers through his and the rest, as they say, is history. He also planted a command in her brain to never, ever take a ride from a stranger again. Just in case. And she doesn’t know he’s a vampire, any ‘suspicions’ instantly quashed by a bit of mo-jo.

But now Len’s here, everything’s gotten complicated and it’s time to sever the branch from the tree, so to speak. He swallows once he gets outside Bonnie’s house and searches for his pack of cigarettes. He has one occasionally, it’s a hard habit to break since he took it up in the fifties but whatever, it’s not going to kill him right, and he hasn’t smoked once since he ‘bumped into’ Jo; but this, what he’s about to do, is momentous. He’s not quite heading for the firing squad, but Jim likes rituals as much as the next supernatural being, and while a smoke isn’t quite incense or incantations, it’ll do.

He grinds his cigarette underfoot and tosses the butt into the bushes outside Bonnie’s house. Here goes nothing…

Bonnie Bennett’s a good girl, still a beginner in the black arts, but powerful as hell. Her relationship with the Salvatores is volatile at best, especially the cool, non-broody one, Damon, who, from what he tells Jim, she seems to be itching to find a reason to waste. The only reason Damon and Stefan are still alive is because of Elena’s attachment to them, and Bonnie is Elena’s best friend.

Bonnie has no reason at all not to hate Jim, however; it’s dangerous even being here, but Jim has to do this, has to get Bonnie on his side so that he can help give Jo what she wants – what Jo doesn’t even know she wants, and the one thing Jim lost when George Kirk died, the day he was born – a father. And it’s ironic that this should be the same man, the same soul he’s searched for and lost over and over again. Bones.

“I know you’re there,” Bonnie says. It’s only a whisper but she knows that a vampire Jim’s age can hear a fucking mouse break wind the other side of town if he puts his mind to it.

He can see her through the window sitting in shadow, candles flickering round the room – vampires and fire are not a good mix, but nowadays, without the lace and long hair, unless he’s really careless, he doesn’t avoid them like he used to. What does make him uncomfortable is the intense smell of vervain – how he longs for the days of garlic, crucifixes, and old wives tales, when humans thought they were safe but weren’t. The internet’s a mixed blessing.

“Well, aren’t you going to invite me in?”

She turns and looks at him over her shoulder. Her eyes glow and he knows she’s summoned up a protection spell of some kind.

“Stop smirking, Kirk, your ‘vampire whiles’,” she air-quotes, “don’t work on me.”

“Is this enhanced hearing a witch thing too?” He asks, pushing the window up some more and bending to cock his head at her.

“Not really. I knew you were there – the way you knocked over the plants on the porch I figured it was a raccoon at first, then the stink of death gave you away.”

Jim laughs. “I bet you say that to all the boys, Miss Bennett.”

“Just the ones with disgusting eating habits.”

“Hey! I’m reformed.”

“Currently, sure, but how long will it be before you snap and start killing again?”

“You going to invite me in or not?”

“Why? Getting cold?”

“No. Bored. Come on, Miss Bennett – I’m a good guy, like Stefan.”

She looks so young, so self-possessed, just a high school girl in her fashionable clothes and dark, straightened hair – only she’s a descendant of a family of witches that goes back hundreds of years.

“Why, James Tiberius Kirk, why don’t you come in?” She glares at him, though he can smell fear in the air, as well as see a flicker of doubt cross her young features; then she covers up beautifully with a brilliant smile, waving him in.

“Thank you, fair maiden,” Jim smirks, swinging his legs over the sill and bowing low. “And I appreciate it, you agreeing to see me,” he adds as sincerely as he can manage.

“Your text intrigued me, Kirk,” she says, all fierce and self-possessed. “You vamps and your ‘thing’ with unrequited love…is it just the romantic age you were born in?”

“Are you saying that if I was made this century I’d be more, I dunno – cynical?”

“Maybe, or you’d just move on.”

Jim frowns. “I do move on, every day; that’s immortal life for you, one step at a time.”

“Hand me the tiniest violin, Kirk, I’m crying real tears for you. You expect me to feel sorry for you – after the thousands you must have slaughtered?”

“I don’t expect anything, Bonnie, and I don’t deserve anything. It’s not why I’m here, ‘nice’ as it is to talk.”

“So what do you want? And, for the record – I’m staking Damon for giving you my number.”

“He assured me you wouldn’t mind, but I’ll pass on your love.”

“Assured? See, there’s a clue you’re real old.”

“And my impeccable manners?” He bows with a flourish of an imaginary top hat. “Note to self,” he says, sitting in a chair, straight backed, legs crossed to complete the picture of a society gentleman, then touching a forefinger to his lip, gazing into the middle distance he adds, “Must insert ‘dude’ into polite conversation more often for seamless entry into the twenty-first century.”

She rolls her eyes at that, finally standing from her circle of candles and approaches him, waving her hand over his head which Jim thinks would give him goose bumps if he were still alive.

“How old are you Kirk? The information on you online is patchy.”

“Hey, we’d have to get naked before I revealed that to you Miss Bennett.” He lowers his eyelids.

“My, I’d be blushing right now if I totally could.” Playing along, she waves an imaginary fan ‘modestly’ across her face. Her eyes sweep him up and down – yeah, he totally would.

She arches and eyebrow at his undisguised interest. “I thought you liked boys, Kirk.”

“Not exclusively, Miss Bennett; thing is,” he waggles his eyebrows,” do you like vampires?”

“I’d kill you all if I had my way. You’re a scourge on the planet – even the so-called ‘good’ ones; you, Stefan, with your ridiculous, earth-shatteringly important agendas while we ordinary folk try and live our regular lives, getting swept away like so many dead insects.”

Ah, there’s the witch in her... He doesn’t make the obvious point that a witch is hardly ‘ordinary folk’ since he wants to stay on her good side. “Which is a great segue into why I’m here…”

“I won’t help you, Kirk.”

“Hear me out at least. You said you’d do that.”

“Yeah, okay, I’m curious…what do you need?”

Jim draws a deep breath, there’s no going back now. “A love spell,“ he says, his voice faltering.

She lets out a low laugh. “How prosaic. I’ve gotta say I’m disappointed. I hoped you’d come up with something more… original.” She sits on the couch opposite him, “Everyone goes to witches for the same old same old; two things – love or revenge. Oh, three, actually – money.”

“Money to buy the other two things, right?”

“You’re smart, Kirk,” she concedes.

Like he’d have made it through all these years if he wasn’t. “Why thank you, Miss Bennett – that makes me feel all warm inside.”

“Not that I’m agreeing to help, I’m just curious – but who’s the poor sucker you want to make fall in love with you? That middle aged doctor? I guess he’s kind of hot -- for an old guy.”

Jim frowns and feels a prickle of possessiveness. “How do you even know about him? And no. It has something to do with him, sure but…” he swallows,” I don’t in actual fact want him to love me.”

Bonnie narrows her eyes, looking fearlessly into his. “Who then?”

“It’s a long story…”


“Daddy, Jim’s not answering his phone…I’m getting worried. You shouldn’t have talked to him like that – I hate you sometimes. He’s my best friend and you had to frighten him away!”

A hundred mile-an-hour lecture, delivered at high pitch, then the door slams again. Hell, he’ll become immune if this happens enough times, right?

He tells himself it’s what he wanted, to have Jim disappear, but now it’s been a few hours, and Jim hasn’t responded to Jo’s texts, he’s starting to worry. The guy can’t die, so what’s going to happen?

After a couple of hours on the porch, of brooding into the darkening sky, Len goes to bed with a book and falls asleep, realizing it’s not worry that something’s happened to Jim, just that maybe he’s taken off and Len won’t ever see him again.


“This is gonna hurt.”

It should bother Jim that she’s smiling at that. He’s crazy allowing Bonnie to do this her way. He hoped it would be a few incantations, a puff of smoke or two and everything would be changed. Yet here he is, his clothes in a heap on the rug, spread out in the circle, bound hand and foot and shit, incense and vervain burning. Perspiration’s broken out on his skin – always a fucking bad sign of his undead body struggling against internal assault. And no one knows he’s here – fuck, he should have at least told Damon. Looks like a cavalry charge might be needed.

“I can’t hurt anymore than I do already, Miss Bennett – give me everything you’ve got.” He looks sideways at her. “Hey, this won’t stop me loving him, right?”

She moves about behind him, setting out her grimoires. “No, one thing about magic, there’s always a kick, a pay-back. You get what you want, but there’s a price. So yeah, you won’t stop loving him, he just won’t love you anymore.” She says it so calmly, like it doesn’t matter.

“What, what do you mean, loving me – any feeling was because I’d compelled him.”

“You don’t know? Shit, Kirk, that sucks…” She moves back into his field of vision and hell, she doesn’t look that broken up about it.

“But I only gave him the vervain a few days ago, it’s not enough time…and he threw me out.”

“Maybe he doesn’t know himself yet, but it’s all here.” She holds up a genuine, witchy crystal ball. “He’s thought of you constantly since you met in L.A. But he hasn’t got a clue himself how he feels, you’re right now I look. But then he’s a guy. What guy ever knew what was good for him?” Jim sighs and pulls at the restraints. She watches him impassively. “Cruel twist of fate, eh, Kirk? Sure you wanna go through with this?”

Fuck. There must be some mistake…but he can’t change his mind now, he’s got to go through with it, for Joanna, for Bones.

“It’s too late, Bonnie.” Always too late. “But maybe you can put a timer on this thing, give me another night before the spell kicks in?”

She considers it and shrugs. “Time delay? Sure, I can do that. Digital witch, that’s me!”

“Are you sure these are necessary?” Bonnie ignores him, tightens the restraints round his wrists. “Also, these won’t work – not if I set my mind to it.” But he doesn’t sound that convinced to his own ears.

“Uh-huh, Kirk,” she wags her finger at him like she’s chastising a naughty puppy rather than quelling a powerful vampire. “First they’re enchanted and second you’re not so strong as regular vampires.”

“Damn, I knew that fad diet would bite me in the ass.”

He watches while Bonnie picks up her book. “I wish you ladies would memorize these spells first. I feel like you’ve not quite done this before – makes me nervous.”

“Hey, give me a break, there’s a shit load of Latin to learn on top of my school work, and I’ve not done this before.”


She opens a small bottle and sprinkles something on him – “Fuck, ouch, fuck!” – holy water. He bucks fighting each drop, powerless to escape; his skin burns like it’s covered in fire, but it soon eases. “Why d’ya do that?”

“Nothing to do with the spiel, you just had it coming.”

Bonnie starts to chant, and he feels his eyes drooping; he could have fought this if he’d looked after himself but his lifestyle’s all wrong; he’s been up in the day light, not eating right, and handling all that vervain lately, breathing that shit in…it’s made him weak, weaker than if he’d been eating what he should have been, human blood.

Bonnie stops chanting and Jim takes a breath and forces himself to turn his head and look at her.

“Don’t you trust me Kirk?”

He catches a glimpse of an ornate knife, gold and with a hellish blade – he can feel it in his bones, it’s a sacrificial knife and he huffs out breaths, grits his teeth.

“Er, don’t take it personally, but no, not really.” He also doesn’t like the dish she lays out on the floor near his chest. There’s nothing in it – yet.

Her eyes turn to his, and her long hair sways as she straightens and arranges the book so she can read the spell. “I get that, but it wouldn’t do my rep much good if I started double-crossing vampires, would it?”

“No, I guess not,” Jim says taking another look around the room, hoping against hope that they’ll be interrupted, that someone will interrupt this.

“I’ll need to take a piece of your heart now, Kirk.”

“Fuck. Won’t that, hurt?”

“Fraid so, and if it didn’t hurt, it wouldn’t work; you’ve got to have the right intention, Kirk, or it’s pointless.” She turns the knife so it glints in the candle light, kneels by the circle and rests it on the floor, then raises her hands and her face darkens. “I’m going to have to put a shield around us, so no one can hear you scream okay?”

“Shit, okay…”

He listens to the Latin – sure, he understands every word when she names spirits, demons, calls on the forces of nature, but it’s scary as fuck. The candles cast shadows on her face, makes her look older, scarier.

“You ready?”

Not really. He swallows. “Yes, do it, do it.”

Jim clenches his teeth, closes his eyes, wraps his hands tight around the restraints and fixes his mind on a mental images of Bones to get him through this – of Leo, L.H. and now Len.



Len sits bolt upright in bed like someone’s thrown a bucket of water over him. His hand flashes to his neck, the area feels hot, sore, and he can feel a raised bump right where Jim bit him all those years ago. He thinks a scream woke him, only he’s not sure which direction it came from; it was like it came from inside his head. Nevertheless, he rushes to the window half expecting to see Jim out there looking up at him, but it’s just leaves whipping around the parked cars and dark houses while everyone sleeps.

He checks his skin in the mirror but there’s nothing there; it’s fucking weird, just some crazy dream, obviously. He knew it was too much to hope for that his insomnia would be gone for good.

He checks on Joanna, pushing the door open slowly in case she wakes up, but she’s sleeping soundly, the black-out blinds drawn tight, fluttering slightly in the breeze. But there’s a dread in his heart, something bothering him –he’s sure there’s something up with Jim. He’ll wait, watch TV with the sound low – maybe it’ll lull him to sleep.


Jim limps out of Bonnie’s house and makes a supreme effort to look whole as he focuses on getting back to the Salvatores’ mansion. He hopes to god he doesn’t bump into them, because he needs to get into bed and sleep through the day. He wonders whether he should have holed up in a cave or something where he’s in no danger of being disturbed. He has to heal; maybe he should go to ground for a while, but he’s got a twenty-four hour window before it’s all over and he has to become some version of himself first. But he settles for collapsing into bed and pulling the covers over his head.


It’s Stefan Salvatore silhouetted in the door. Jim hisses at him, instinctively, the demon breaking through his features and he apologizes instantly. “Sorry, man, that was rude, came out before I could stop myself. Come in.”

“What’s up, Jim, you look...?”

He feels like shit, clammy, covered in perspiration, as the demon inside him fights the assault it’s just endured, the piece of his heart that’s been cut from him, taken by Bonnie as payment for the spell. And it’s a powerful ingredient for a future spell – the heart of an ancient vampire. Not something you’d pick up at a trade fair, for sure. And it’ll be good to tell Stefan something of what happened, though he won’t mention Bonnie, but his friend’s no stranger to supernatural deals himself and he’s a genuine, good guy, he won’t judge.

Stefan listens to how Jim’s had a run-in with a witch, “Matters of the heart,” he explains wearily. He couldn’t hide how sick he looks from another vampire – it’s a rare sight to see another of their kind looking anything other than beautiful and whole.

Stefan leaves the room and returns with a glass. “Here.” The intoxicating scent of human blood surrounds Jim and his whole being cries out for it. This will heal him but he can’t. Stefan’s brow is furrowed – he looks genuinely concerned; he knows Jim drinks pigs’ blood only, just like he does. “It’s okay, Jim, no one died. I got this from Damon’s stash. It’s the good stuff, sure, but he’s got a contact in the blood bank; I don’t touch the stuff myself, I have, you know… addiction issues.”

“You and me both, man,” Jim says weakly.

“Yeah, well drink it, you need it by the looks of you, otherwise it’ll take you months to get over whatever the hell you’ve just been through – if you ever do.”

“But it’s, wrong…I shouldn’t take this, it’s like meant for sick people.”

“Well, it’s on Damon’s conscience, not ours, if he’s even got one.” Stefan quirks a half smile, it’s the most ‘human’ Jim’s ever seen him. “Come on, bro, take it, we didn’t steal it after all, and Damon wouldn’t begrudge you this I know it.” Stefan leans forward, looks at him conspiratorially, “Just don’t tell him I gave it to you; he’ll be snarking about it for weeks if he knew. Tell him you stole it, he’d think it was cool that you did.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Stefan raises the glass to Jim’s lips – the blood’s cool, thick, and he sighs as it instantly warms him. He feels tears pricking at his eyes and glances at Stefan’s serious expression, watching him drink. “You’ve got it bad, Jim.”

“You know what someone said to me? They said it was the age we were born in, that’s why we’re so dumb and love-struck; do you think they’re right? Think these young vamps are tougher, don’t fall in love like we do?”

“I dunno, Jim, but I’ll tell you something – we’re the ones they’ll write the stories about – we’re the ones with histories worth telling.”

Jim swallows, gasps, bares his teeth, and feels the bumps forming on his forehead already as the demon surfaces again, the taste of human blood rousing it. He sits up on the bed, throws his head back, drains the glass, and runs his tongue along his teeth in a hot flush of headiness. Fuck, it’s been years since he’s tasted the real thing, fucking years. What was he even thinking? “Got any more, Stef?”

Stefan takes the glass from him, “Maybe one more. You’ve been hurt real bad, but slow down, okay, otherwise the demon’ll resurface too strong and you’ll do something you’ll regret. Think calm thoughts, Jim, it works.”

“Look at you two, all cosy!” An unmistakable voice from the door. “Stefan, I didn’t know you liked Jim, in that way.” Jim grins at Stefan who’s wearing a long-suffering expression, indulging his brother’s sarcasm. “Oh, and you owe me a drink, Kirk.”

“Damon, back off, he’s had a long night.”

Damon looks him up and down and his smile drops for a second. Damn, he must really look like shit. “I’m sure he’s all better now, that right, Jim?”

“I feel quite myself, yes.” Well, better, less like he’s suffering the worst hangover ever.

“Well, now you owe me a drink, how about we go out hunting together?”

“Damon, stop teasing him, you know Jim’s not…like that.”

“True to his nature? Course he is, Stefan, he’s just forgotten how good it feels. I could help you find your sea-legs again. Let’s go!”

“I don’t want to be rude, Damon, but I really need to sleep – maybe tomorrow night.” He sighs and pulls the sheets around him some more, hoping they’ll both get the hint and leave already.

Damon looks genuinely disappointed and turns, leaving with a, “Get him another glass, brother. He’s going to need it.”

Jim shakes his head, almost chokes on his tongue when he says it, but he’s got to prove to himself that he’s in control. “You know what, Stefan, I’m good. I’ll just see how I feel when I wake up, okay?”

Stefan nods, a look of relief on his face, takes the empty glass and backs out of the room. “Take your shoes off at least, Jim, before you fall asleep, those sheets cost a fortune.”


The following night Len waits, that’s the only way he can describe this, the way he’s sitting on the edge of the bed staring through the open window at the moonless sky. He’s not trying to get back to sleep; he gave up after ten minutes and he knows the signs well. It’s like he’s burning through with caffeine only he never touches the stuff after noon – another pleasure thrown away. Yeah, he’s waiting for some word of Jim. He tells himself Jim’s fine, and hasn’t called or messaged Jo simply because he wouldn’t want to wake her. There’s probably a whole heap of emails in her in-box explaining some drunken escapade or other for her amusement. But that and the scream, and the fact there’s been no word for over twenty-four hours – though it can’t have been Jim he heard...jeez, what the hell kind of dream was he having if the noise of it followed him into wakefulness?

He doesn’t close the window, despite the chill, just pulls on a fleece and puts his socks on – he wants to make sure Jim can get in, if he comes back. Damn, now he thinks about it, he realizes he’s not given Jim a chance. It’s not that Len’s changed his mind about the horrors of Jim’s past, it’s just, hell...He scrubs a hand across his face, and really his eyes burn they’re so sore from lack of sleep. What kind of a man is he if he can’t give second chances, can’t see the best in someone? So Jim’s a vampire, he can’t help what he is, he intimated he had no choice in the matter, was turned against his will; and many vampires, Len’s learned, struggle to suppress their killer instincts and it’s only the old ones who can manage it without destroying themselves. Who knows the suffering Jim’s endured, the loneliness, the remorse? To his credit Jim’s never tried to talk Len round – in fact, he’s given Len an out with the vervain which, he’s realizing is just more bullshit superstition, because he can’t stop thinking about Jim.

He even jerked off thinking about him that morning, guilty, soaking his hand in cold water to bring back the feel of those cool lips around his cock when he wrapped his fingers around it.

It’s not long past midnight. Jo-Jo turned in early and Len checked on her, turned the light out and kissed her forehead, whispering ‘love you, baby girl,” before shutting the door carefully behind him. Then he locked his own, hoping to hell that if Jim does come visiting she won’t hear him, though it would be great to see her happy again. It’s like she’s suffered some kind of minor crisis since he’s last been seen, the way she’s picking at her food like a bird, answering him in mono-syllables. Maybe it’s a good thing; no one should be so dependant on a friend that not hearing from him for twenty-four hours should have this extreme effect on her. His brain is the definition of mixed feelings.

Then something changes in the air around him and he looks up.


Jim’s standing on the windowsill like he’s flown up to the first floor. Well, he must have done – there’s no Romeo and Juliet-style climber out there to hold him, and Len feels a shudder when he thinks about how alien vampires are, how the normal laws of physics seem to have evaded them. He has a fleeting moment of doubt and wonders if this is some fucked-up delusion he’s living in, and he has an image of himself sitting in a lunatic asylum; if that’s the case, why can’t it be something more straightforward like him thinking he’s a captain of some weird space craft or something - why this, why so complicated and detailed? Only thing is this is real, he thinks, as he fights the feeling of joy when he drinks in the sight of a vampire waiting to come in. His vampire.

Jim’s legs are crossed at the ankle, hands clasped in front of him and he looks just the same as he ever has, heart-breakingly beautiful, his skin creamy satin, lips moist and kissable, and he’s smirking, looking at Len like he wants to eat him and fuck him all at once. Which, yeah…pretty much sums up this strange ‘thing’ between them.

“Did you wait up for me, Bones? I’m touched.” He drops from the window sill silently, the nets tumbling behind him like theater curtains and he advances towards him. Hey, he’s not such a goddamn push over as all that, he’s forty-one years old, god dammit.

“If you think I’ve given you a second thought since you left here, your crazier than they say you are.” So why’s his voice sound like he’s swallowed broken glass? Why’s his heart beating like a fucked clock?

“Now, Bones, we both know that isn’t true, don’t we?”

“What that you’re crazy…I…”

Jim’s got his hand in his, unfurling his fingers where they’re wrapped around the sachet of vervain and when it drops to the floor he kicks it away, resting his hands on Len’s shoulders to back him towards the bed. “It’s all dried out, Bones, you should have got more…I’d have brought you some only you threw me out.” Fuck, the smell of him, he’s like fucking rain on soil, nature, life, floral and…

“Leave me be, Jim, I don’t want…”

“I don’t believe you, Bones.” Words like molasses right close to his ear, winding into him, boring away at his resolve, his higher brain function, the cool of Jim’s breath as he speaks bringing all the feeling back. “You don’t believe you.” Then soft, pliant lips are pressing behind his ear, teeth drawing his earlobe into a possessive mouth, biting so, so gently. His hands are resting on Jim’s arms, gripping tight enough it must hurt, but if Len lets go he’ll fall, he’ll be lost. Heat unravels in his belly, rushes through his spine and chest, makes his legs buckle, and he’s done talking now, knows anything he says in protest is one big lie.

“Don’t you ever fucking shut up?”

Jim chuckles, deep and rumbling, wicked and amused by the poor little mouse caught in his clutches. He pulls away enough so he can examine Len’s face, his eyes devouring, pupils dilating then contracting as he sucks away at what’s left of Len’s self-control. “Why don’t you make me, doctor, or you too scared of what that says about how you feel?” Jim wets his lips and raises an eyebrow, daring him. “How come I know more about how you feel than you, do, Bones? Aren’t we supposed to get wiser as we grow older, not more repre--”

Len shuts the bastard up with a brutal kiss and he can show his teeth too. He bites at Jim’s lips, scrapes them across his jaw, drags his nails through Jim’s hair, settling to tilt his head up to hold holding him still so he can stop that annoying smirk. Jim’s letting out short little moans, desperate, his bravado crumbling with every jab of Len’s tongue. And it’s payback time for all those years of missing him, for Jim making him feel like this, for coming into his life and turning it inside out, for showing him the reality of the world; every suck and lick and bite is a punch to that; because this is real, just two men, consumed in each other, and fuck cares if one’s a vampire, fuck it all.

Len turns them so he can push Jim onto the bed and he stands above him, panting, pulling his fleece off, his t-shirt too and toes his socks away. He knows Jim’s intense look of lust and longing is reflected in his own face, though he’s flushed and breathless from kissing and Jim’s skin is as cool and untouched, as immutable as moonlight. Yet his eyes are burning blue, like the center of a flame.

“Bones,” he says, a note of disbelief in his voice.

“Stop talking, Jim,” he says icily, “unless it’s to beg me, I don’t wanna hear it.”

Len kicks away his sleep pants and climbs onto the bed, nudging Jim’s knees apart with shaky hands, his own skin so dark in comparison, so warm it makes him harder than hell. Jim’s mouth falls open then he presses his lips shut, obviously trying to suppress a grin. He points towards the bedside drawer. “’Course I have lube, you devil, it’s your fault I need to jerk off every night so I can sleep, thank you kindly. And you’re reading my mind; I can tell by that look in your eye.”

Jim shrugs in response, kicks off his sneakers, then crooks his finger, licking his lips.

“Hey,” Len says, dragging Jim’s socks away, tossing them into the dark recesses of his room, “you’ve waited this long, another few moments ain’t gonna break you.”

He sits on the edge of the bed leaning towards the drawer, and smiles when Jim moves to drape across his back and wraps long, denim clad legs around him so his feet are resting in Len’s lap. With his arms one over Len’s shoulder, the other across his chest, Jim guides him so their mouths line up clumsily and they can kiss while he fumbles for the tube. “You’re wearing too many clothes,” he grumbles leaning his head back so Jim can kiss his throat.

“My fucking skin’s too many clothes around you…”Jim whispers.

“Did I say you could speak?”

He shrugs off the long limbs and pushes Jim up the bed, running his fingers under Jim’s t-shirt, easing it over his head, swallowing at the flash of blue when Jim watches through half closed eyes, dark lashes casting shadows over silver white cheekbones. He looks like he’s carved from stone – living breathing stone – but he feels so alive, Len thinks as he drags his jeans down over narrow hips, leans down to nuzzle at the sharp bones, buries his face in the dark, rough hairs, brushing his cheek against the velvet smooth erection. “It’s magic is what it is,” he whisper reverently, answering his own question, how this even happens without blood flow. It may be magic, but the reaction when Len stretches his lips over the tip of Jim’s cock is entirely human.

“Fuck,” Jim stutters, bucking up into his mouth. “Sorry, shit, sorry,” when Len chokes. Jim pulls away, rising up and kneels in front of Len, reaching down, delicate fingers wrapping round both their lengths, kissing him deep, mumbling, “Always you, Bones, always, lov…”

“Shush, Jim, it’s okay, I’m not going anywhere again…” Their chests are pressed together and Len can feel a sigh shake through Jim, which gives him pause. Then he thinks the only way to reassure him is to give him everything, even as he takes, so he nudges Jim, indicating he lie down and kisses him hungrily, reaching for the lube.

“I’m gonna fuck you good, Jim, like you want, but I want you to bite me, so it’s right for you, right for us both. You can control yourself, right? It’ll be okay?” His heart’s pounding, arousal and fear mixed up inside him, making him so hard he needs to get inside Jim now, before he comes all over the two of them. He feels Jim nod against his neck and they kiss again, their tongues sliding against each other, making sure he tickles at Jim’s canines which has him growling, gasping letting out a litany of uneven gasps and cries each time.

When Len’s got three fingers working inside him, cool, tight muscle giving and clenching around his hand, it crosses his mind this could be any man stretched out for him; it’s just skin, bones, muscle just like anyone else, but then his eyes glide up to Jim’s face, he sees the flicker of amber, the way the pupils have swallowed up all the blue, the veins just under the surface and he remembers. This is a demon in his bed, an immortal killer, and fuck, he’s the one who’s tamed him, like he’s got a dragon on a leash. He slicks up, his supporting arm trembling a little and he shifts so Jim’s sitting against the headboard. Their eyes lock as he guides his cock to Jim’s hole.

“One push, Bones, I can take it, need it…” His voice is ragged, needy and it fills Len with lust, awe and so much want– he can’t fucking believe he’s denied himself this, a lifetime of this. It’s fucking beautiful, overwhelming, so much better than he remembered now he’s not scared, now he understands, and he’s going to embrace what he’s feeling, look it in the eye and never look back.

He takes a tentative moment to push past the first ring of muscle, eyes fixed on Jim’s face which has morphed fully. Jim turns away, self-conscious now he can’t hold the demon back anymore, now he’s so close.

“It’s okay, Jim, I like all your faces,” Len grins, taking a calming breath in case he comes before he’s fully seated.

His cheeks flush when Jim whispers, “Thank you,” and brushes his hair from his eyes. And who’d have thought a vampire wanted acceptance? Life’s a fucking mystery and that’s the truth.

Len thrusts home in one long glide, Jim opening up, tight and welcoming, so cool around his cock, so fucking right. He presses Jim’s knee back into his chest, shifting himself higher and leans back on his toes, guiding Jim’s other leg round his waist. He has to steady himself else it’ll be over before he’s started. He wipes his forearm across his face, sweat dripping in his eyes, and he can’t help but notice how matte Jim’s skin is in comparison, how perfect. I love you floats across his mind and he’s not sure if he’s thinking it or Jim is; it doesn’t matter because it’s true both ways by the looks of it.

And if he thought this was perfect, he’d forgotten what it was like to feel Jim’s teeth on that spot where he invisibly marked him all those years ago.

He drops Jim’s leg, fucking into him in erratic bursts, feeling the heat pooling in the base of his spine, then as Jim’s teeth sink hard into his neck and the pulse of blood begins to draw out of him, he can hear Jim moaning against this flesh, tightening around his cock. He stills and Jim’s got one hand around the back of his head to hold him on position, the other wrapped around Len’s waist, his thoughts passing into him, Len’s blood mingling with Jim’s, You’re mine, Bones, forever, and I’m yours.

Len feels his eyes turn heavenwards like a goddamn martyr, till orgasm swells through the two of them simultaneously, his hips twitching and Jim contracting around him, the only movement the lapping of his tongue on Len’s neck. It’s the gentlest, longest, most overpowering thing he’s ever felt in his numb life and he never wants it to end, floating on a molten river, every nerve alive and burning slow and seemingly endlessly, the sound of his cries distant like they’re coming from someone else while he’s safe in this cocoon of need and giving that Jim’s feeding from him.

He blacks out, and comes to when he feels Jim lapping at his skin, sealing the wound.

Neither of them can speak for a good long time. What the fuck can you say? Len thinks, vision blurry as he tries to see what time it is when he reaches for his cell phone. The light hurts his eyes. He’s fallen onto his back, his cock softening but still inside Jim, come on his belly.

“I guess safe sex is a damned ridiculous concept when you’re snacking at source, eh, Jim?”

Jim laughs against his chest. “I guess it is,” he concedes and rolls onto his side. He reaches for a pillow and uses it to clumsily mop up any mess on their skin, then drops it to the floor with a grunt. “Want me to wear a condom? I will if you like.”

“First Yankee gentleman Iever met – don’t be an ass-hat. What possible germs could you be carrying with your nuclear anti-bodies? Or whatever the hell you have bubbling away under that pretty skin of yours, keeping you alive, fixing you up…”Jim kisses his shoulder, his arms, and he feels warm, his skin temporarily heated by Len’s blood, and his cock, holy fuck is already hardening against Len’s hip. “I thought it was only primates had that kind of refractory period.”

“Actually, Bones, it can vary from fifteen minutes to twenty hours depending on age and in some animal species its just a few minutes. Vampires, we’re…gifted.”

“Guess it’s inevitable you’ll have accumulated a lot of trivia over the years.”

“And I like wiki – I may even have written some articles.” He smirks up at Len as he works his tongue across his stomach, lapping at the come there, eyes blue and innocent, tongue wicked.

“Hot damn, you’re something else, Jim Kirk.”

“Under a pseudonym, of course. Wanna hear what it is?”

“Sure…” his mind’s melting as he feels the heat building in his belly again, though his cock’s a long ways behind.

Jim prowls up the bed and whispers in Len’s ear. “Winona George,” he says, so quiet he almost can’t hear. Len knows Jim’s imparted some secret and he closes his eyes, takes it in, knows better than to probe. Jim will explain in time, he knows he will.

He strokes his hands up Jim’s sides, rests them on his jaw and angles him so they can kiss again. He tastes copper in Jim’s mouth, his own blood, and it makes him tremble, the knowledge of this weird, mystical thing that’s passed between them. Jim’s lips are soft and warm, his tongue gentle as they kiss and he finally pulls away leaving him panting, hands grasping to bring him back. He parts his legs and wraps them around Jim’s waist, canting his hips upwards.

“Fuck me, Jim…” His voice is a growl, needy and demanding.

Jim frowns and stares into his soul seems like, then nods. “Hey, Bones…”


Jim’s got the lube and he’s slicking up, ready to go again, like it was an hour ago they stopped fucking, not ten minutes. “You sure?”

“It might be a while till I’m recovered, Jim, but yeah…wanna make up for all the years I thought about this when we should have been doing it.” He snakes a heavy arm around Jim’s neck and drags his lips close and breathes into his mouth. “Fuck me, and take your time about it, I’m having a second wind and the night is young.”


Jim’s been rocking into Bones for hours, Len’s blood lighting him up, making his undead body sing with feeling. Bones shifts under him, his skin permanently flushed, hair all over the place, his lips plump, neck covered in bruises, chest covered in scratches and bite marks, Jim’s and his own come. Now he’s let him have a break for a few minutes and Jim angles him so he can revisit his prostate, have him shake through another orgasm. He wants Bones to remember this night even though he won’t. He’ll never forget though, every second, every sensation imprinted on him. He wants to be able to recall the smell and the taste of the man, each freckle, the feel of his bones through that gorgeous skin, the taste of him – if it’s all he’s going to have he’ll take everything he can now.

“Jim, fuck, I’m gonna come again, fuck…” Bones grates out, his throat raw, his fingers slipping on Jim’s back, eyes closed, looking so beautiful, so alive it hurts Jim to have to lose him more than the agony of having a piece of him pulled out by the witch. That’ll heal – this wound won’t. Ever.

Jim kisses Len’s eyelids through it, strokes his skin and buries his cock deep, the heat of Len’s body temporarily warming him, the weak spasms around his cock the most incredible thing he’s ever felt in over two hundred years of life.

“Love you, Bones,” he says it out loud for the first time, into Len’s sweaty temple, and he probably can’t even hear him, he’s so worn out, but it doesn’t matter how much Jim gives or confesses now, his time is nearly up.


Len rubs a thumb across Jim’s cheekbone, smears the blood across the skin pinker than he’s ever seen it, thanks to Len’s blood inside him. “Why tears, Jim, I thought you’d be happy.”

“I am, Bones, more than I can say.” Jim may be the one that can mind-read, but Len thinks Jim can’t hide anything from him now.

“So why the tears, did you snag a pubic hair?”

Jim grins and Len leans close, licking into his mouth, running his tongue across Jim’s canines, and sighs in satisfaction at the shudder this sends through the vampire. He rests his head on Jim’s shoulder and looks up at him one last time before he has to sleep. “M’tired, Jim.”

Jim holds his gaze and pushes up onto an elbow. “Goodbye, Bones,” he whispers. “I love you. Always have, always will.”

What? “What do you mean, goodbye? I really don’t like the sound of that…”

Jim holds his jaw with one hand, and Len can feel a cloud pass over his mind, one he can’t fight, “Forget, forget me, now sleep…”

Len bucks feebly under him but Jim’s holding him down and he can feel Jim’s tears falling on his face as his eyes fall shut, and no matter how hard he struggles, he can’t keep them open. Jim guides his tears, his blood tears into Len’s mouth. “Take them, they’ll heal you, keep you strong… but forget…”



Jo rushes into Jim’s arms and wraps her legs around him like a monkey. “Where the hell have you been? I was worried sick – why didn’t you text, I thought something had happened to you!”

“As if! I couldn’t call; see I hooked up with this amaaaazing guy and…you know… one thing led to another!”

“Oh my God Jim, was he rich?” Jo-Jo bounces to the bed, dragging him by the hand. “Now sit down and tell me all about it!”

Jim swallows, sits on the end of the bed and crosses his legs. She lies on her belly, chin on her hands and looks up at him with Len’s eyes. “I’ll tell you everything, but first, have you been practicing, pumpkin?” He looks at her sternly, folding his arms.

She nods, “’Course I have!”

“Good girl.” He strokes her hair and brings his hand down the back of her neck, breaking the clasp of her locket with his thumb and forefinger. “Oh look,” he says, as it falls onto the bed, then when she looks down he sweeps it away with his hand so it falls to the floor. She looks up at him and in the window of opportunity he draws her in with his eyes. “Forget me, my darling Joanna,” he whispers. “I’m so sorry I have to leave, but it’s because of your daddy, for you, for the best, forget me. And never neglect your music, promise me?”

“I promise,” she whispers, eyes fluttering shut. She goes limp in his arms and he stretches her out, pulling the covers under her chin and kisses her on the forehead, on her sleepy eyelids and then tweaks her nose. “Goddamn McCoys,” he says, his voice breaking. He strides to the window and leaps out, running as fast as he can as the dawn breaks, to hide from the sunlight, back into darkness where he belongs.


“Joanna Eleanor McCoy get your goddamn be-hind down here before I come get you!”

“Len, don’t cuss around the girl, she’ll end up jus’ like you!” Jocelyn presses back into his chest and he nuzzles her neck.

“Long as she don’t end up like her mom,” he growls into her ear, then kisses it gently. “Don’t know if I have enough love for two such feisty girls.”

“Sure you have!”

Jocelyn turns in his arms and kisses him chastely on the lips. Damn she smells so good and his tongue rolls gently against hers, so familiar, so safe. They break apart flushed and embarrassed when Joanna bounces into the room.

“Eew – you two are so gross. Old people shouldn’t do that. Ever.” But she’s smiling. “Didn’t you hear the doorbell? Or were you too busy being gross?”

Len rolls his eyes. “I didn’t hear a thing, baby-girl, must be all that rap music you’ve been playing; must’ve damaged your hearing so you hear ringing all the time.”

She rolls her eyes right back at him. “It’s not rap, dad, it’s electro; how many times have I got to tell you?” Only as many times as it gives him pleasure to see her eyes go all fiery like that. “I’ll go check anyway – anyone got bad hearing around here it’s the old folks.” She grins and tosses her hair as she flounces off to the door.

He draws Jocelyn into his arms again, loses himself in her scent and wonders how he’s ever put one foot in front of the other all these years without her. Then he thinks Jo’s taken a little too long and untangles Joss’ arms from around his waist and goes find her.

Jo’s standing in the open doorway, holding an antique looking violin case in one hand, a note in the other.

“What’s that, Jo?” he says, scratching at his neck.

“A violin, duh, but I don’t know how it got here. There’s a note…” She hands him a manila envelope and he looks at her for permission then tears it open. There’s a note, the size of a calling card and it smells of jasmine. Practice every day – promise! JTK written in fountain pen, in old style cursive script. He frowns, wondering whether he should feel creeped out, then he shakes it off. His kid’s talented, and she’s bound to attract one or two benefactors over her life.

“Looks like you have a secret admirer, kiddo. Hope it’s in one piece, the case looks pretty beat up…take a look…”

He steps out onto the porch and looks up and down the street. He can’t see anyone other than some blond punk sitting on a motor bike a hundred yards down the road. He scowls when the kid looks his way, and smiles at Len. Then the kid revs the engine and takes off in a thunder of exhaust smoke – damn fool’s not even wearing a helmet. Then Len grins when he sees the removal truck turning into the street. He steps round Jo who’s kneeling down, cradling the violin like it’s something precious.

“Daddy, do you know what this is?” Her eyes are wide, brimming with tears.

He shakes his head and strides into the kitchen, “Tell me later, Jo-Jo, we gotta get going – we’re going home!”

End of Chapter 4

Chapter Text

Blood Ties: Chapter 5

Reincarnation, at least as I conceive it, does not nullify what we know about evolution and genetics. It suggests, however, that there may be two streams of evolution – the biological one and a personal one – and that during terrestrial lives these streams may interact. ~Ian Stevenson



Iowa, 2109

“Dr. McCoy, I need your help.” It’s like the man looking at her from the vid screen is a hologram and the power’s running out, the way he’s flickering, fading, almost disappearing before her eyes.

He must have been handsome once, he’s got full lips, his eyes are shiny, bluer than the sky used to be… before. Now his skin’s heavily lined and sallow with pronounced purple shadows under his eyes, so that it’s hard to tell how old he is. Then, they’ve all been through a lot.

“Who am I speaking with?”

The man hesitates, glances off screen and leans in, says his name like it might get him into trouble.

“Kirk, Jim Kirk.”

“How can I help you, Jim? If I can help, that is?”

One corner of his mouth twitches, like he’s highly amused by the question but doesn’t want to show it. “You can either help me a lot, or not at all. It depends…”

“On what, Jim?” Leah says, rubbing her eye with her knuckle.

“First up, you’ll need to promise not to kill me.”

Leah frowns. “I’m a doctor, I don’t generally kill anyone, not unless they back talk. Jus’ don’t take it personally if I point a gun at you.”

“Now why would I take offence?” he smirks, which for some reason irritates her more than it should. “You’re from the south – isn’t it like offering a guy a glass of lemonade on a warm day?”

“Yep, that’s about the long and short of it,” Leah quirks a smile. “Where are you?

“Not far, I’m on a public comm.” He leans to the side so she can see that he’s in a make-shift bar, a dimly lit room, ancient cheesy music playing, a few shadowy figures behind him.

“Okay, I’ll send my location,” she says.

“No need, I know how to get there.”

This should worry her, but it doesn’t. The guy doesn’t look dangerous, just desperate maybe, and she assumes that like all the rest, he’s been given her contact details by the NTs – the neo-transcendentalists – who are trying to make order from chaos. She looks at his lank hair; maybe it’s radiation, or he could be suffering from malnutrition; she won’t know for sure till she sees him in the flesh.

“Do you need treatment? I can gather some things before you come.”

“No, I’m good.” He quirks a smile that doesn’t reach his electric blue eyes and the image flickers again – damn power’s so unreliable.

“Really? You look like something the dog’s been keepin’ under the porch.” She narrows her eyes and peers more closely at the screen as the face looks vaguely familiar – maybe she’s seen it on a flier somewhere, maybe not; there are a lot of wanted and fuck, she’s so tired they’re all starting to look the same. Or maybe she’s treated him in the past – who knows…but he’d have mentioned it if she had.

Jim shrugs and leans towards the screen. “See you in ten.”


She comms Dieghan; they’ve agreed it’s a sensible precaution given her insistence on treating anyone, no matter what their political beliefs. She forces herself not to return his smile when his tan face appears on screen.


“Liam, I’ve got a patient coming over in a few, can you run a check on him?” He looks mildly disappointed that her call’s all business – well, he’ll just have to get over it she thinks, hoping how flushed she looks won’t register with him. “Jim Kirk? Caucasian, maybe sixty, seventy or so, slim build from what I could make out...”

“Leah, it’s late – how many times have I got to tell you it’s not wise to just let anyone..?”

Tell her? She lets it ride this time but... “I won’t refuse anyone treatment, Liam, you know that. Now run the goddamn check while I get some supplies ready...” Because she isn’t going to chat, no way; it was one night, that was all.

First she kicks aside some clothing, then decides it’s pointless and powers up the scanner while she searches for her gun; she checks it’s loaded before she tucks it in the back of her jeans.

She leans over the screen when Liam calls her back. “Which one is he?”

Half a dozen images are up on screen and she scans them quickly.

“He’s none of those, Liam—“

“Okay, in that case it might be this guy; I haven’t got an image for you, but the description fits – looks like he’s a hybrid; a human turned vampire – an old one too. You might wanna think twice about...”she twitches her lips and he stops himself. Good. “... files show he’s got quite a rep though nothing in over fifty years.” Liam frowns, looks to the side, back at her (she hopes) impassive face.

“Vampire? Okay...that’s why you haven’t got an image...thanks.”

“Yep.” He sees her lean forward to cut the connection and holds up his hand, “Wait – I’ll comm Spock – he’s not far. Check in half an hour, okay.”

“Okay – stop goddamn worrying, I can handle myself.”

“If you need to shoot him, make it right to the head, then you’ve got to follow up with a stake; you got something you can use?”

“I’ll find something; gotta go, thanks.” The second she hangs up, she looks up at the door and it chimes a moment later. She’ll have to improvise on the stake, looks like.

She can barely make Kirk out on the screen. He’s alone and doesn’t look desperate or dangerous, just like he needs a shower.

Kirk leans on the doorway when she pulls it open. He looks worse in the flesh. He’s tall, broad-shouldered but skinny as hell, as if he’s lost a lot of musculature, going by how baggy his clothes are.

“You gonna invite me in?” he says, bright eyes boring into her. He indicates the room behind her with a big, broad hand.

“Sure.” If he’s a vampire, she knows he needs an invite and this will be a subtle check, seeing how he reacts.

He hesitates, raises thick eyebrows, so she rolls her eyes and adds, “Come in, why don’t you?”

Leah steps aside and watches him move awkwardly to the center of her room, like he’s holding an injury or something.

Given the state of his clothes, Kirk ought to smell like a bum, but though he looks like he hasn’t showered in months, there’s a faint whiff of something floral, though she can’t place it; it’s been a long fucking time since she’s been anywhere green, and since the war started who the hell has cut flowers anymore? Her sense of smell has been dulled, anyways, by sewage, antiseptic, and broken bodies – the only smell lifts a girl’s spirits these days is a bit of contraband bourbon.

“I’d apologize for the mess, but yanno, at least I have walls.”

“I can see that. You got any booze?”

Leah nods. “Some little things we can’t forgo, eh?”

She fetches an unlabeled bottle from her bedside table and tips it into a tumbler. “No cooties, I’m a doctor,” she says resting the glass on the coffee table. She folds her arms. “Take a seat.”

Glass in hand, he slumps into the armchair onto a pile of clothing. He knocks back the drink in one and lets out a little groan, ”Fuck that’s good.”

He hasn’t taken his eyes off her for a second and she looks away, a little dry mouthed, trying to figure out why she feels like they’ve met before.

“You want anything to eat? I haven’t got a whole heap in, I’ll warn you.” Damn, he’s skinnier than an alley cat.

Kirk shakes his head, leans back in the armchair, stretching long legs in front of him. His sneakers are worn through, the laces missing on one, and his leather jacket is bunched round his chest like it’s several sizes too big. But everyone’s living on scavenged clothing anyway – she ain’t no celebrity wife herself. “You sure? Looks like you haven’t eaten in a while?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Finally his eyes leave her, to dart around the room; maybe he’s wondering if she’s bugged. Though she knows she isn’t – Spock’s swept the place recently enough. “You won’t have anything I can eat; I’ve…I’ve got a lot of allergies.” He looks directly at her, “Special diet and all.”

Pride it’ll be; he doesn’t want to come off as desperate – she gets that.

She watches long, elegant fingers grip the armrests; an antique looking ring glints in the lamplight and she wonders why he hasn’t hocked it – she hasn’t got fuck left herself. “Maybe I can give you a protein shot or something? You’re mighty skinny.”

“Well, we’re none of us what we were, eh?”

“Ain’t that the truth?” She grabs her med kit and drags a chair close. Okay, he’s not going to say why he’s there and she won’t push. She glances at her watch. “Let me take a look at you.”

“No, I said I wasn’t injured, okay?” He practically growls at her and she starts, forcing herself to take a breath, then lifts a placating hand – she’s used to folk snapping when they’re injured. When he doesn’t pull away, she takes his wrist gently; touching him is enough for her to confirm Dieghan had the right Jim Kirk; he’s not human. Kirk’s skin is too cool; and it feels like satin, sure satin that’s been dragged behind a steer, but it doesn’t feel quite right; the veins are too pronounced, he’s too damned pale. She swallows; while she doesn’t condone the persecution of the hybrids, Kirk doesn’t know that, does he? Unless he’s reading her mind like they say vampires can.

Kirk holds her gaze, challenging her, eyes fierce and bright. “You gonna turn me in?”

“Should I?”

He half closes his eyes, voice even. “I dunno. If you want to.”

“Don’t be an asshole, Kirk. You don’t look like you’re gonna hurt me.”

“You shouldn’t trust people, Bones.”

Now where did that dumb name come from? She decides not to comment, if anything he needs to trust her too. “If you let me scan you, I can make my own damn mind up.” She raises an eyebrow. “No charge.”

“That’s a shame, I was looking forward to coming to some kind of arrangement…”

Well, if he’s flirting with her, he can’t mean any harm, right?

She takes up the scanner and holds it to his face. It stutters and she thumps it against the palm of her hand. “Piece of shit, “ she growls and glances up at him. “Not you, this,” she explains with a frown. She resets the scanner and gazes at the readings. No pulse, no lung function. Fuck. Definitely a vampire and he knows she knows because he unravels her fingers and takes it from her; she finds that she can’t stop him, can’t move even.

“You’re kind of pretty to be a doctor,” he says mildly, eyes sweeping her face, settling on her lips for a moment then dropping to examine the readings. He tosses the scanner aside and she baulks when he reaches for her jaw. His eyes are like fucking magnets; she shouldn’t have allowed this, should have known to look away, but that goddamn smell, it’s…her eyes droop a little. Fuck, he’s compelling her – she’s heard about this, how vampires draw their prey in and control their minds so they can’t struggle, don’t want to, how they give themselves over willingly. Her gaze floats to his lips which she notes are cracked, almost the same color as his sallow skin; what the hell happened to him? Why does he look so worn out when, way she understands it, vampires are supposed to be beautiful, eternally young and flawless?

Then, just like that he releases her and she draws in a ragged breath, still finding she can’t move immediately, though her heart-rate is picking up again. She twitches her fingers experimentally, like she’s come out of a coma.

“Pretty. To be a doctor,“ she repeats his words slowly, her voice thick with weary sarcasm, and she makes sure to look away. “What? Were you turned in the last goddamn century? I haven’t heard anyone say that about a woman in…well, not since I last watched a shitty old movie.”

“Not last century – you get two more guesses before I give you the big prize,” he says. He blinks and releases his hypnotic hold on her, but rather than try and escape, she finds her medical curiosity overwhelms her.

“Just tell me; do I look like I’ve got all fuckin’ night?”

Kirk lets out a bark of laughter. “You McCoys,” he says, shaking his head, and his tone is almost fond. “1793, seeing as you are pretty.” He raises ridiculously thick eyebrows and an indulgent look crosses his features. “I’ve never told anyone that before, you know.”

“Well, aren’t I the lucky one?” She leans back then brushes her hair from her face. What the hell did he mean by that? ‘You McCoys’? “How come they didn’t get you, Jim?”

“They did. I escaped.”

“Didn’t they chip you?”

He bends forward, moving the hair at the nape of his neck aside and she reaches out, touching the partly healed wound. He winces but doesn’t stop her examining it. “Why’s it still a mess? Thought you guys…vamps, whatever, had super healing powers.”

“Like I said, I haven’t eaten in a while.”

“How long’s ‘a while’?”

“Guess it depends what you mean by ‘eating.’”

“I could fix up some blood for you.”

“I’m fine – stuff’s not meant for vampire food; it wouldn’t be right.”

Now she’s really fucking confused. It looks like he’s been denying himself the one thing he needs: blood – no wonder he looks like shit.

“I’ve got some synthetic blood or will that offend your high morals?”

He looks at his hands covered in liver spots then back at her with big, wide eyes. “Go ahead, but don’t hold it against me if I heave all over this nice rug of yours.”

“The state of this place, I doubt you’d notice,” she says standing to move to the kitchen. She walks round the pile of medical equipment heaped to one side of the room where it’s kept overnight.

“If you’ve got no cash to buy the stuff, why don’t you hock that ring of yours? Looks like it might be worth a pretty penny.”

“This? You kidding me? It’s got sentimental value.” Another thin smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.

She doesn’t tell him, of course, he’ll probably figure it out soon enough, but in the kitchenette she unpacks a bag of real blood and leaves the synthesizer running, so he’ll think she’s processing blood substitute, then goes back to join him.

“Who gave it to you?” she asks pointing at the ring. “It’s real pretty. Or is it some kind of trophy?”

He looks at her through downcast lashes. “Don’t worry, I paid for it – I gave up torture a while back – along with a bunch of other shit I used to really enjoy. Plus, it reminds me of a friend of mine.”

“You have friends?” She can’t contain the sneer in her voice, feels a blush on her neck when Jim looks down, and swallows.

“Sure. Once.”

“What else have you given up, Jim?”

“You got all night?”


She cracks open her last bottle, pours two generous measures and settles down on one end of the couch. “You’d better eat first,” she says wedging her glass between her thighs to free her hands so she can tie her hair up in a pony tail. Jim glances at her neck briefly then contemplates the bag of blood that’s been balancing on the pile of ancient medical journals for a quarter of an hour at least.

“I’m not hungry.” He folds his arms and sits back with the glass resting on his chest. Great – a vampire with an eating disorder; boy does she ever attract the weirdos.

“It’s always surprised me vampires can drink alcohol,” she says conversationally, rolling her first mouthful and savoring it. When this bottle’s gone, who knows when there’ll be any more.

“Well, maybe it’s proof there is a god after all.” Jim quirks a smile but doesn’t look at her. “And immortal life would really drag without it, right?”

She leans towards him, touches his arm, smooth and lightly haired and as cool as porcelain. “Listen, I know you’re hungry but, if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for me, you know ‘cause I took you in. I’d like to video it if I can. I’ve never seen the transformation – I don’t think there’s anything been filmed before – consider it as payment for the blood if that makes you feel better. Truth is, I haven’t done any kind of research in years – too busy dealing with, well...”

He shoots her a side-long look and nods. “Okay but it’s not that quick, won’t make too much difference, not like animal blood, or the good stuff.”

Good stuff. This is a killer, despite what he says about being reformed. She wishes she’d left her hair down; the way he keeps looking at her neck is making her nervous, but it’s too damned hot, plus she’s convinced herself he won’t try anything. “Well, I need what I’ve got, so you’ll have to put up with synthesised blood instead. Come on Jim, give yourself a break.”

His eyes seem to glitter amber for a second and his voice is a hiss when he answers. “I don’t deserve a break – I really don’t give a shit anymore. What’s the point? The good times are over, long gone. There’s only a handful of my kind left, all neutered, hunted down. It’s like the war all over again.”

“This still is a war, Jim, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Not the all-out nuclear war of before, but a personal war against xenophobia, persecution, poverty, food shortages, radiation sickness, poisoned water tables, goddamn rebels – it’s a fucking utopia is what it is, “and it’s not just your kind that have felt the brunt of the cleansing.”

“You shouldn’t use the same fucking language that bastard uses, Bones – cleansing – like it’s feng shui or something.”

“What Green did, what his followers are still doing is wrong and evil, but we’ll stop them, you’ll see if we don’t. There’s more against him than for him; it’s fucking tragic he’s got away with killing so many of the rads, but there’s plenty trying to stop him, people like Liam Dieghan, he’s got a lot of followers. We’ve gotta believe this isn’t the way it’s still gonna be.” She takes in his bored expression, like he knows this shit already, right. “Anyway, what’s it to you, Jim? How many have you killed in your time?”

“It would take me an eternity to kill as many as he did in a fucking hour. Don’t insult me.” His voice is a hiss and she wonders at how his lips are glistening with saliva, at the illogic of the virus in his blood, how it affects his physiology, with some functions present, others not. “Get your camera.”

She picks up her camera and points it at him. She knows the image won’t be very clear, they still haven’t figured out how to preserve vampire images adequately, but she also knows many of the quirks of what vampires can and can’t do, the inconsistencies have a lot to do with their age, their diet. Most die young, reckless in their first years, taking considerable risks and never get to build up their strength with the passing of time. And human blood is the elixir of eternal life, that which gives them strength. She knows that they can survive on animal blood too, but animals are protected these days, and those used for food, well, they’re back to the old ways, every part of the animal being used with nothing to spare. She winces at the memory of the taste of blood-pudding. At any rate, if Jim had been an Old One, a vampire who’d feasted exclusively on human blood, one who hadn’t taken to the ground for long stretches of time, she wouldn’t have a chance in hell of capturing any image at all. So this is a real opportunity.

“What’re you going to use this for? You could get shot just for talking to me,” Jim says casually, tearing the bag open with his teeth.

“I’ve survived this long, Jim. It’ll be a nice break from the routine of patching up a bunch of miscreants; now now shut up and smile for the camera.”

He wrinkles his nose, takes a breath just for show, and sips. She watches his lips, the pronounced cracks. Nothing.

“Drink all of it, come on, stop being an asshole.”

His eyes crinkle and he looks at her almost fondly. “McCoys – potty-mouths the whole lot of you.” He’s said something like this before...

“What do you know about my family?” she says, glancing at the screen, the record sign is pulsing – good.

Jim shrugs, taking a deep glug from the bag, his wrinkled fingers squeezing it gently. She glances at the image on the screen, at the skin sagging on his neck, his hair lank and thin – it’s not sharp, but it’ll do. Even in the poor image, his eyes are young, vibrant and clear.

“How long can you last without eating?”

“I dunno. Longest I’ve been is when I went to ground a while back. And it depends on what you ate before that. Time before, in the 1890s, I was on a full diet of human blood. Good fucking times, I tell ya.” She winces and he pats her knee. “That was a long time ago, Bones, don’t worry. I’m reformed you might say. My name is Jim Kirk and I’m an alcoholic,” he mimes standing at a microphone using the bag of blood as a prop. She doesn’t laugh though she gets it, how a vampire’s blood-lust will never go away, how he’s saying he has to fight the craving all the time. And now, since the end of the war, since the purge on vamps, as well as other alien species – what used to be called demons in the old days – the vamps, many of them reformed, trying to live within society, have been almost wiped out.

“Why’d you go to ground, Jim, was someone after you even then?”

Something dark passes over his face. “Could say I was suffering from depression. Immortal life’s a strain at the best of times. I never found a companion, you know, someone who I wanted to hang with. Well, no one who wanted to hang with me. I needed a break, so I went to ground. The bombs woke me.” He leans towards her conspiratorially. “Now, if I’d known the world was gonna be this cool, I’d have stayed out here.” Leah wonders if the alcohol has loosened his tongue, the way he’s saying so much – he doesn’t appear to have been affected by the drink in any other way, yet he’s enjoying it. She’ll have to look into that later – this is such an opportunity to find out more, she has to stop herself grinning.

“Maybe I should mix this with the booze…” he says, like she mentioned drink out loud. When she curls her lips, he winks and takes another long pull on the blood. He leaves a little drop on his lip and she watches, swallows as his tongue skates around his lower lip. He bares his teeth for her, and winks for the camera.

“You know,” he says, his voice softer, more melodic as the blood begins to heal him, the sharp edges evening out, “if you let me bite you, you could watch me disappear on the screen. How cool would that be?”

“It would be interesting.” Her mouth goes a little dry and she concentrates on keeping the camera steady while she reaches for her glass.

She doesn’t know how long it takes; it’s like watching the sunrise, like watching a flower grow with stop animation, frame by frame; right before her eyes, little by little, his hair thickens, changes from dull, gray blond to almost golden and she swears it grows a centimeter or two in length, though she’s sure part of it’s an optical illusion, like when you stare at a flickering candle flame and it appears to dance when in reality it’s burning normally.

“Take your jacket off, Jim,” she says wanting to see the changes before he’s all fixed and it’s too late.

“I thought you’d never ask,” he says cockily, and there’s a twinkle in his eye that wasn’t there before under lashes that shine and flutter when previously they looked like the last hairs in the plughole.

“Hey, don’t flatter yourself – I’ve seen more dicks, vamp ones included – than you have. You ain’t gonna make me blush.”

“I’ll bet,” Jim mumbles to himself, lowering his eyes, rolling his neck as he maybe enjoys how pliable it’s becoming. “Got anymore where that came from?”

She flushes, suddenly sure from the way he’s looking at her that he knows this is real blood. “Well yeah, thanks to the synthesizer, course I have; think I spend all my hard earned cash on fripperies? I need to keep a stock – but this’ll have to be the last or the records will show and draw attention to me.”

“You keep records?” Yeah, he knows.

She hands the camera to him, telling him to keep filming, and goes to the kitchenette to fetch the bag from the cooler, giving up on the pretence in case it makes him mad.

She nearly bursts the bag against her thigh when she sees the sight before her. She can only describe it as magic, though she knows one day the science will catch up and there will be an explanation for how this happens, but for now, she’s like a child, unquestioning, awe-struck at the beautiful creature in her room.

Jim’s removed more than his jacket; he’s standing shirtless, creamy skin glowing in the lamplight, caramel colored nipples peaked and as prominent against his blank canvas skin as the fine trail of tawny hair leading to the waistband of his jeans. His face is flawless again, other than the pock marks he must have got before he was turned and, if she thought his eyes were bright before, and young, she had no fucking idea what ‘jewel-like’ meant until now. As he moves his head to look at her, they seem to change color, flickering with glitters of gold then black. His pupils are dilated, like he’s sexually aroused. Purely for scientific reasons of course, she looks down at his groin and, yeah, Kirk’s certainly got back in touch with his inner teen. To her irritation, she feels a reflex shot of arousal course through her, her cheeks burning.

“Well?” he says. One fucking word but loaded, bursting with innuendo, invitation and sheer pride. And why not? He’s fucking beautiful.

“What were you fourteen when you first became a vamp?”

He laughs and hands the camera back to her, then lower his hands, stroking downwards to the waistband of his jeans. Her breath catches and she watches, temporarily dumb-struck. He pops the button and smirks at her. “Shall I?”

She swallows, closes her eyes for a moment, trying to ignore the pounding in her head, the fire between her legs. “Yes, this is interesting stuff.” How she said that without letting a little moan escape she has no idea. She’s sure that her physical reaction is due to his compelling her.

He takes the bag from her, tears it open with less care than the last time so some spills down his wrist. He licks his hand and fingers wantonly, unblinkingly posing for the camera, for her. He tosses it aside and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.

He’s filling out even as she watches – it’s fucking amazing the muscles on his stomach becoming more defined and he’s straighter, appears even taller. As he lowers his jeans (why doesn’t it surprise her that he’s commando?) his thighs are strong, buttermilk smooth and lightly haired. His finger nails seem to shine as he steps out of his jeans, then turns a slow circle.

“I should have kept those on so you had something to tuck my tip into,” he grins lazily and folds over, touching his toes with the flexibility of a ballet dancer, the muscles in his back rippling as he moves with mesmerizing grace. Then, to her surprise, he leans on his hands and effortlessly raises his legs in the air, walking on his hands, then drops down with a little bounce.

She’s managed not to look directly at his cock, but she can tell now, as it bobs till he comes to rest, he’s half hard. Shit.

“So, that was interesting – yanno, in a scientific way?” Jim says, leonine and graceful in front of her. Fuck, she doesn’t need a camera, she needs a piece of goddamn marble and a lifetime to do this justice.

She examines the camera’s screen and her eyes widen; His image has become even less defined, and it flickers.

It’s like he’s read her mind when he says, “Want to see me disappear?”

“Yes, no – wait.” She knows vampires move preternaturally fast, but when he’s suddenly standing right in front of her and they’re eye to eye, she can’t help but let out a gasp of surprise and lowers the camera.

“You’re fucking tall, Leah McCoy.” His nose is a thumb’s-width from hers but she can’t feel a single breath and though she knows what this is in front of her, the scary fairy-tales have a hold on her as much as the next person. She feels her scalp prickle, her heart rate quicken and her head’s beginning to swim – it takes all her will power to take a step away from him.

“So they tell me, Jim Kirk.” He’s back in front of her, even though she doesn’t remember him moving and it’s like she’s lying on her back staring up at a perfect sky looking into those eyes, cloud-white skin dominating her peripheral vision. “Stop doing that,” she says with little authority in her voice.

His middle finger trails down the side of her neck and even as she deep breathes to try and calm herself like she does in surgery (only here and now, it’s not goddamn working). She feels herself fucking aching for him to take her. She can only describe it as a need to be entered, torn open and emptied. Under his spell, she’s like an insect caught by hypnotic eyes.

Her hands are loose and slack by her hips and she’s in danger of dropping the camera. Then, miraculously, she finds some of that McCoy reserve – the thing’s made her deal with her ex, deal with the aftermath of the war; the rations, the fucking drawn faces, and the inhumanity. Cursing a blue streak, because she’s got to break his hold on her before he drains her, she swings the camera back and smacks Jim in the side of the head with every ounce of mental and physical strength she can muster.

He goes flying clutching his head, and she automatically raises the camera to record the effects of a vampire equivalent to an adrenaline rush, the way bumps appear on his forehead and his eyes turn gold before her. He’s got a fine contusion but even as he rights himself, it’s disappearing right before her eyes, like milk in water. Any illusion remaining that he’s human, shatters into a million pieces, as if she’d thrown a giant mirror to the ground. It crosses her mind she’s in for about as much bad luck. His face is feral and his canines descend, eyes yellow, wolf-like, glaring murderously at her.

Dropping the camera, she leaps to the door and struggles to get it open, her hands slipping and fumbling over the keypad.

Jim growls, actually growls, then like air sucked from a punctured lung, she feels herself being drawn back and lifted by super-human hands so her feet dangle uselessly beneath her. For some minutes, she manages to flail and kick crazier than a sprayed roach; Jim’s only letting her move at all because it amuses him, same way her big brother did when she was a kid, only deadly now.

“You gonna kill me, you piece of horse-shit? Put me down so I can knock you in the head, you weasel-assed son of a b…”

His cock’s pressing against the back of her pants and his mouth’s close to her ear, firm and dry and, now he’s all better, bless his soul, it’s effortless for him, holding her in place, patiently waiting till she exhausts herself into stillness.

“Bones, Bones, don’t be like that,” he soothes shifting so he’s got one arm round her chest and he can free the other hand to stroke her temples. “I said I wouldn’t hurt you. You have to trust me, come on Bones.” Then, with a chuckle, he fishes the gun from the back of her pants and she hears it thud as he throws it aside and it lands somewhere behind them.

“Jesus Christ already, will you stop callin’ me that? Put. Me. Down!”

He presses his nose into the back of her head and inhales deeply. “Fuck. You McCoys are my Achilles heel, you know that?” There it is again – he mentioned her family earlier, but before she can react, he releases her. She drops, lands hard on her ass, legs akimbo and fucking livid. By the time she’s up on her feet and fished a syringe full of sedative out of her med kit, he’s sprawled on the couch in just his jeans, idly flicking through one of her mags.

“That won’t hurt me, Bones. Come and sit down, no hard feelings. I was just messing with you.” She doesn’t move, knowing the sedative is probably as much use as an ice dagger on a hot day, but she’s damned if she’s going to put it down.

He stands and lifts his hands to placate her, and when she doesn’t move, he gazes at her intently. Her hand flies up to her face and she shields her eyes like she’s protecting them from the sun. “Stop compelling me, Kirk! This is no way to repay my hospitality.”

“I can’t help it, Bones, it’s my animal magnetism.” He doesn’t sounds sorry and advances towards her all graceful, deadly seduction and she can’t move again. He takes her wrists, lowers them for her and takes a step so he’s standing between her feet. He sniffs her neck, strokes her hair out of her eyes and then puts his hand under her jaw, tilting her face so he can look at her. “Don’t be scared of me, Bones, I’d never hurt you, I’d kill anyone who tried.”

“I don’t want you to kill anyone, Jim…” her voice is ragged, distant to her own ears, and her field of vision is swamped by the amber-blue of his demon eyes, the scent of him, each breath she draws in intoxicating her further; she thinks about her gun, remembering what Dieghan said she should do, but how can she help herself if she can’t even move? Dammit, she’s getting soft, she should have expected this to happen; maybe the Pures are right – you can’t trust vampires, any of them…

“But you can trust me; I’ll look after you, keep you…”

He never gets to finish the sentence because there’s an ear-splitting sound and the door flies open. She hears a hiss and then a pop, and Jim’s grip loosens and he drops at her feet like his strings have been cut.

“Doctor, you failed to check in at the allotted time. That was remiss of you. I trust you are unharmed?”

Leah looks down at Jim who’s apparently unconscious, steps over him and picks up a pillow from the couch. She turns to throw it at her savior; it would have hit him full in the face if he didn’t have such excellent reflexes. He catches it mid air and raises a questioning eyebrow.

“That’s for breaking my door down, Spock. Imagine it was a sock in the jaw – that’s what I wanted to do – stop treating me like I’m made of goddamn glass. I can handle myself.” Why the fuck does she need to keep reminding people of this?

“I can vouch for that,” comes Jim’s voice from the floor where he’s come to.

“You were not in danger?”

“Not exactly…I don’t know.”

“It is imperative you call in, Doctor. It is illogical to break protocol. As you can see it results in wasted resources,” Spock says indicating the door.

“Hey, if I stand up, you gonna shoot me again?” Jim tries.

They both look down at him; blood leaks from where the vervain-laced bullet entered his shoulder. “Stay there,” Leah grumbles. “I’ll get the bullet extractor – only just cleaned the blasted thing…men and their goddamn pissing contests…”


“Okay, Spock, Christ on a bike, I promise I’ll call in like a good girl next time.”

Spock nods then arches an eyebrow and waits. “And thanks,” she growls, tossing the instruments into the sterilizer, removing her gloves and throwing them into the container ready for incineration.

“There, that didn’t hurt, did it?” Jim smirks from where he’s stretched out on the couch.

Leah strides across the room and cuffs him hard across the top of his head. “That’s for compelling me, you ass. I don’t appreciate the way you abused my hospitality.” She ignores how Jim and Spock exchange sympathetic looks and roots around under the kitchen sink for booze she knows she doesn’t have. “Goddammit, I’ll make coffee – same herbal shit for you, Spock?”

“That would be agreeable,” Spock says evenly.

“And sit down, you’re making me nervous.” She fills the kettle and calls over her shoulder, “Oh, and by the way, Spock, this is Jim – he doesn’t have a beating heart either. You two should get on just fine.”


Jim’s entry wound takes almost three hours to heal. She takes photos every 15 minutes, and though the definition’s shit now Jim’s on blood, since the vervain’s still in his system there’s some kind of image.

In-between times, she listens to him and Spock get to know each other. They’re an unlikely pair but there’s an obvious connection from the get go, and despite the fact that Spock shot him, Jim lets it go in an instant. She overhears him say as much when she waits for the coffee to brew.

“Hey man, she’s lucky to have you watching her back. I’d have done the same in your position.”

“Mr. Kirk, Dr. McCoy ‘watches my back’ also, as you so interestingly put it. She is exceptionally skilled with a variety of weapons, and trained in hand-to-hand combat.”

Now she sits in one chair, feet up on another, ignoring the way Jim’s eyes follow her slightest movement. Of course this is all bravado on her par; she didn’t stand a chance against Jim’s compulsion – it wasn’t a level playing field but she’s not giving Spock the satisfaction.

“I’ve not met a Vulcan before,” Jim’s saying.

“The probability of you having encountered a Vulcan is indeed one in—”

“That’ll be because most Vulcans think we’re barbarians, Jim: a lost cause,” Leah breaks in, “and if they do hang out with humans, they stick to the high-falutin’ ones.” She scowls at Spock and raises her third coffee to her lips. “For some reason, Spock here likes hanging out with the likes of me and Dieghan – you earned any street-cred points back home yet, Spock?”

“Mr. Kirk, Dr. McCoy is understating the situation. Liam Dieghan’s vision for this society, I believe, is a progressive one. Under his guidance many humans are re-building civilisation along—”

“—Vulcan lines?” Leah rolls her eyes. “Spare us!”

“Since a Vulcan expedition crash-landed on Earth in the 1950s, the belief of my people was that Earth was not ready for space-exploration. Indeed, the xenophobic views held by the majority would have proved counter-productive when making contact with other sentient species.”

“But you don’t agree with that?” Jim says, smiling. “That’s why you stayed?”

“Affirmative. It seemed illogical not to give humans a chance, as you would put it.”

“And boy we proved you wrong, didn’t we Spock? Eugenics War, another Word War, nuclear devastation, the eco-terrorists, the continued persecution, rebels...shall I go on?” Leah drains her coffee wishing she could get her hands on sugar from somewhere.

“It is unnecessary, Doctor, I am well aware of the failings you describe.” Spock sits with his hands resting on his lap, his gun on the table between them. “However, we have observed many civilisations follow cycles which involve barbarism – I argued the position that with the appropriate guidance, Earth will change.”

“They don’t like him, Jim. Oh, and they’re not big buddies with the Andorians either, the little matter of hostility between the two planets being something our friend doesn’t mention here, notice...”

Spock doesn’t react. “Indeed, my beliefs are at variance with those currently held by Vulcan High Command. They have not expressed like or dislike, Doctor; that would be an emotional response. They have allowed me to stay here, collect data, and advise Mr. Diegham.”

“What about you, Bones? You involved in the research?”

“Me? I’m just a simple country doctor – I patch folk up.”

“The doctor is displaying modesty, Mr. Kirk,” Spock says as Leah rises to take another photo of Jim’s shoulder. “She is involved with the movement against the Greens, those who would continue with the persecution of non-Terrans, the eradication of those suffering from radiation sickness—”

“Come on, Spock, call them ‘rads’, it won’t hurt you to use the odd abbreviation, I promise,” Leah interjects, a little embarrassed by his words.

Spock continues, ignoring her sarcasm: he’s had a lot of practice, after all. “She is involved on a daily basis and, despite her inability to control her emotional responses, is an excellent role-model and has frequently featured in my reports to High Command.”

Jim looks at her, a grin on his face, and she feels another annoying ripple of arousal at the way his tongue flicks across his lower lip. “Why do you live here, right next to the contamination zone, Bones?”

Leah shrugs. “Rather than in say, San Francisco where it’s safe as houses?”

“Yeah,” Jim says, staring at her intently.

“I’m a doctor, Jim, and there are patients here...” Her voice trails off and she can feel her face flushing. He doesn’t know her, how can she begin to explain why she’s here rather than say living somewhere safe, with at least the illusion of how things used to be. She changes the subject. “Spock, tell him about the so-called Hellmouth.”

Jim sits more upright at this. “I know that place, Spock, I’m old, older than you even so there’s not much you can tell me about it.”

“Then you are aware that since we discovered the origin of the Hellmouth, many wanted to destroy it and all life-forms emanating from it, since Philip Green sees no difference between alien life forms, demons, nor those suffering from radiation sickness?”

“Of course, but what’s that got to do with you?” Jim says.

“For many years, even as far back as the late twentieth century, there were government programs studying what we used to refer to as demons, yourself included.

“With the help of Vulcan scientists who examined the site, we learned of an alien craft that crash-landed there thousands of years ago. The so called demons were in fact unwilling captives in a menagerie, taken from all over the galaxy.”

“Aliens,” Jim nods. “Imagine that, stranded in the middle of nowhere, your physiology affected by the alien environment, no one to tell you who you are or what you’re supposed to be...”

Leah swallows, trying to imagine just that, how it must have been to be one of those captives, to spill out of the ground disorientated and mad into a hostile world. And vampires like Jim, it turns out, are hybrids. An alien life form originating from the menagerie which adapted to inhabit a host, humans being the most susceptible.

“And since they are as much in need of guidance as humans, I have taken a particular interest in studying ‘demons’, as they continue to be known.” Spock finishes.

“What do you prefer Jim, being described as a demon or an alien-hybrid?” Leah tries not to smile at him, though it’s hard.

He smiles back at that and Leah rubs a hand across her face, picking up her camera and watching the video she shot of Jim earlier, slipping the head-phones in so she can enjoy it in peace, leaving them to talk.

She fasts forward through the early part of the recording, glances at Jim talking to Spock, comparing how he is now, beautiful and eternally young, no longer the elderly man who first entered her apartment. Then she gets to the part of the vid where she handed Jim the camera and raises an eyebrow. As soon as she left him, he angled it to follow her ass as she went to the kitchen to get more blood. Her ears and neck burn when she sees how he turned the camera back on himself. A smug, pale, fading face staring back at her, filling the screen – he winks, “Missed you, Bones,” he says.

What the hell? She’s not the only one who thinks they’ve met before.


It takes some persuading to get Spock to leave but when Leah insists that she only has one couch, one bed, and no more herb tea, he swaps his gun adapted for vervain bullets, hands her another round and takes her gun in exchange.

It’s late, really late and she looks at Jim warily when they’re alone. “I’m going to bed – do you need a blanket or something? Guess you don’t feel the cold…”

“I do when I’m shot through with vervain, Bones.”

She could ask him now, why he calls her that, what he meant when he said he missed her in the video, but she’s so tired she doesn’t have the energy for revelations and any more intensity.

She comms Liam quickly before bed, tells him all is well and Spock’s headed home. She doesn’t mention Jim’s still there – Spock will fill him in if necessary.

She lies in bed, remembering how it felt to be temporarily in Jim’s thrall; she resists the temptation to allow her mind to replay the sensations she felt, how aroused she was by the way he spoke to her, the way he sniffed her skin. It occurs to her that he looked as compelled by her as she was by him, only she wasn’t making him feel like that.

Fuck it, she needs to sleep, no time for this bullshit; tomorrow’s not many hours away and she drifts off, curiously feeling safer than she has for years, the image of that intent, aquamarine stare following her into her dreams.


Jim’s gone when she rises in the morning. She denies it’s disappointment she feels when she reads the note on the coffee table, a simple Thanks, Bones, x and no indication of where he’s gone, when and if he’ll be back. So that’s all he wanted from her, food, only too proud to ask out-right. And now he’s all ‘perfect’ and whole, he’s gone. Fine.

She heads for the kitchenette to brew coffee before she’s fit to begin loading up and moving the med supplies. “Well, I guess that’s that,” she says out loud.

But it isn’t.

Her make-shift clinic is in the apartment next to hers; the rest of the building’s abandoned, bombed-out and fucked, her home patched up with an illegal supply of power fixed up by Spock who dismissed her qualms about stealing with an, “It is for the greater good, doctor, you are one of the few medics who will treat patients without question. You are much-needed and many would suffer without you.”

Yeah, she’s a fucking saint. That’s why she doesn’t necessarily know where her next meal’s coming from, nor her next dime. Though, she thinks, the box under the treatment bed is filling up nicely with an assortment of gifts from the morning’s patients: a small bottle of contraband, some chocolate (or what passes for chocolate these days) an apple, and a pair of previously owned (but clean) silk panties. She had to say no to the kitten. “I hate cats,” she lied. Truth is she can’t bear the thought of it dying one day when someone inevitably poaches it for a meal. Plus its big staring eyes reminded her of Jim and she doesn’t want to think about that asshole, thank you very much.

After a hasty lunch of stale cookies and more coffee (black, no sugar because who the hell has cream or sugar anymore?) she’s stitching up some guy she’s sure is a guerrilla (though no idea which side he’s on) and the door flies open.

“Hey, Bones!”

“Ever heard of fuckin’ knocking, Kirk?” she says mildly, not taking her eyes off her patient, though her heart does skip a beat, she notices. She nods at the guy on the bed and he pulls his shirt back on. The guerrilla looks at Jim warily who, in daylight, is obviously a hybrid, the color of his skin, the glitter of his eyes give him away big time, to say nothing of how healthy he looks compared to other folk you’ll meet these days – herself included. She steps between them since her patient is obviously some faction of the Pures, the way he’s sneering at Jim.

“Your guard said you wouldn’t mind,” Jim says, grinning ear to ear. He’s carrying a beat-up box and she really doesn’t want to know what’s inside.

“Remind me to fire her.” Though it’s hard to fire a volunteer.

“Don’t be like that, Bones. She’s a loyal friend to the cause. I asked her first and she was very…accommodating.”

Great, that means the vervain’s out of his system already since he had to have compelled the guard to get past her.

“Don’t try and smooth-talk me like you did her, Kirk, I’m a doctor, I’m busy. Back in the day women might have been impressed by your romantic, creature-of-the-night bs, not me – so save it.” Jim reacts with a flicker of his tongue over teeth and an ‘are you sure?’ face.

The door snicks shut, the patient’s gone and they both look to the bed, at the pile of swabs in a dish, and the bag of coffee the guy left behind as payment.

“You could open a store,” Jim says smoothly.

“And have it burned to the ground by the Greens next day? No fuckin’ thank you.” She takes the package and tosses it under the bed. “Now what do you want? Much as I enjoy exchanging pleasantries with you, I’ve got patients waiting.”

She pushes past him and calls down the hall to the line of expectant faces, “Next!” A woman with a thin head of hair shambles towards her. Jim takes a seat by Leah’s desk and balances the box on his lap. Damn, he should stop grinning already. “Don’t mind him,” she says to the woman, pulling on fresh gloves. “He’s got nowhere to go. Want me to throw him out?”

Her patient shakes her head wearily and Leah pushes the step-up stool over with her foot and indicates she jump up onto the bed. She knows this is radiation sickness, sees it all the time, the folks with no money keep going back to the isolated areas finding it safer than risking being killed by snipers in the city, by those that think they’re doing us all a fucking favor by culling the sick, ‘protecting’ the goddamn population from having their precious gene pool corrupted. ‘Cept they didn’t ask Leah – she’d have given them a piece of her mind.

The woman’s too far gone for the treatment, such as it is, to make much difference, but she ain’t telling her that, so Leah goes through the motions. She checks her vitals, gives her a protein shot, half a dozen placebo pills and a shot of adrenaline – much fucking good it’ll do.

“Two a day after meals, well, yanno…if you can get one, won’t hurt on an empty stomach either.” Then she pulls out her box of shit from under the bed. “Just two,” she says gruffly and watches with interest while her patient deliberates. She tries not to smile when the chocolate and panties are tucked away in the woman’s raggedy coat. “Now get out of here,” she says.

“Doctor, I haven’t brought anything…I…” the woman lowers watery eyes. Leah slaps her on the shoulder. “Hey, the government takes care of it, if not, this one’s on me, k? Now stay away from the quarantine zones.”

They both know she won’t.

Leah turns to Jim who, yeah, is gazing at her adoringly. He looks devastatingly handsome sitting there, tall, elegant, all sunshine smile – it’s probably just the contrast with all the infirm she’s been dealing with for the past four hours.

“What are you, a goddamn dog? “ she huffs. “You’re in the way!”

“I brought you some stuff…”

“I don’t need stuff. I got more stuff than you’ve got ego, Kirk. Now get.”

Her harsh words ricochet off him like bullets and he smiles, his eyes shining. “Thanks, Bones.”

“For what?”

“Taking me in last night; trusting me.”

“I don’t trust you, but I guess since I did take you in, you’re welcome. Now stop sniffing round my ass or I’ll call pest-control.”

“Pest control? Kind of fun pretending things are like they were.”

“It’s pure joy, Jim. Now go…” Jim sashays to the door, all big shoulders and skinny hips and turns to wink at her. Then he raises his eyebrows a touch. “Yeah, okay, I’ll finish around ten. You can ‘walk’ me home if you like. I made up the couch already.”

His smile’s so brilliant it leaves Leah hoping that someone in the line outside may have thought to bring her some sunglasses. Then it occurs to her – how the hell is he moving around outside in the sunlight? She makes a mental note and adds it to the million questions she wants to ask him...all in good time.

“Next!” she barks, popping her head round the doorway, not quite resisting the overwhelming urge to track Jim’s progress down the hall as he winds through the refugees waiting in line. He won’t know she notices what a fine ass he’s got in those hobo jeans of his.

“What you looking at?” she growls at the guard who’s got a dreamy look in her eye.

“Same as you. Ma’am!” Well least she got a salute.


He chuckles when she presses the vervain loaded gun to his throat. “Stop being nice to me, Jim!”

“Now I’ve got a boner,” he says, wriggling from under her and perching on the arm of the couch.

She tosses the gun onto the coffee table and places the box on her lap. Bourbon, thank fuck, the good stuff – she doesn’t dare ask where he got it from; then she pulls out a sealed packet of what looks like grass cuttings.

“Pot, Jim? Seriously?”

“Vervain. You’ll need it if I’m going to stick around.”

Her neck and chest heat up and she puts the packet back in the box carefully, not daring to look at him in case she shows something she’ll regret.

“Who says you’re gonna stick around…?” He doesn’t answer and watches her as she lifts a metal box out. Inside there’s a locket.

“It’s for the vervain,” he says, his voice almost a whisper. “So you feel safe around me. I know I’m a package, Bones, with the whole ‘irresistible’ vibe. Don’t want you to feel pressured into anything…” The sentence tapers off – he never says pressured into ‘what’ exactly, or maybe he just means compelled. Yeah, that’ll be it. She turns her back on him and lifts her hair and he takes the locket and fastens it round her neck, his fingers brushing against her skin for a moment, cool and steady. She swallows.


“You’re welcome.”

“You need to feed?”

“I’m good.”

Fine. Jim’s looked after his own damn self all these years, he doesn’t need her advice. “How’s your shoulder?”

She turns and looks at him dead in the eye by way of experiment, to see if the vervain’s working and preventing him from drawing her in. She does want to touch him, but that doesn’t prove a thing either away – he’s kind of easy on the eye; she’d have to dead from the waist down if she couldn’t at least admit that to herself.

He rolls his shoulder experimentally. “Good as new,” he says, looking away. “Wanna watch a movie?”

The question’s so unexpected she bursts out laughing. “Sure, why not? If the power packs-up half way through though, promise you won’t eviscerate me.”

“Depends on the movie,” he grins, kicking off his boots and bouncing onto the couch next to her. “Untold pleasure awaits us tonight, Bones; think you can handle it?”

He doesn’t see her swallow – she’s behind him, picking up her computer from her desk. She brushes the dust off the screen with her sleeve. “Sure I can, Jim, knock yourself out.” She’s not sure if she’s relieved or not when he reaches into the box and pulls out a packet of Oreos, drops them on his lap and leans back to look up at her. “Come and get it, Bonesy!” His throat is a column of marble, cream, other white shit she wants to touch, and she rolls her eyes at him, tapping him on the head with the base of her laptop.

“Don’t fucking call me that.”

He mock salutes and makes room beside him on the couch. They both stare in silence at the screen while they wait for her piece-of-shit laptop to finally boot up. “This isn’t a date,” she says placing a pillow between the two of them.

“Anything you say, Bones.” He stretches out, draping one leg over the armrest and pulls out some of her clothes from under him, bunching them up and resting his head on them. “Nothing with guns, okay? You got Amadeus?”


Two weeks Jim’s been hanging around; he’s taken to accompanying her to the clinic and helping her out and she doesn’t say no. She hasn’t had the luxury of a nurse in years and he’s a fast learner, whip smart and doesn’t seem to get tired. And in all this time he hasn’t once asked her for a bag of blood and she hasn’t offered.

Every night he helps her lug all the medical equipment into her apartment, and every morning he helps her set it up as the line forms outside. He doesn’t ask her why she does what she does, he doesn’t say ‘when you gonna take a day off’, and he doesn’t complain when she asks him to leave the building and take a walk if her ex comms her and they need to talk. He sticks around when she holds N.T. meetings at her place and walks her to the truck when she goes for meetings elsewhere.

The rest of the time they co-exist peacefully, either she’s writing articles for the movement, or reading the illegal pamphlets Liam gets for her, or they watch movies. He watches her cook on the rare occasions she manages to get her hands on some fresh food; watches her chew her food, eyes on her lips then her throat when she swallows.

In turn, she never asks him where he goes when he disappears for hours on end, doesn’t ask him how he got into such a state when she took him in, doesn’t poke about the past, why he hardly ever eats, why he doesn’t kill anymore. Though he does tell her about his enchanted ring, how it means he can walk in the day without harm, how many times he’s nearly lost it. And he tells her how he’s known her family for years, but utterly refuses to go into details.

And little by little they get to know each other. He tells her little of his past, she tells him not much about hers; it’s just them. She eats the cookies he brings her and she teases him, calls him her hunter-gatherer, rests her feet in his lap on the couch, and once or twice catches his eye when he sneaks looks at her.

“Jim, you need to fucking eat,” she finally snaps one night, fiddling with her locket, trying not to feel worried at how there are lines showing round his eyes that weren’t there before. It’s an indicator he’s starting to degenerate.

“Actually, I don’t.”

“I know that, asshole, but you’re starting to look like smoked fish. You’d know, if you could see yourself in the mirror.”

Jim raises his glass of bourbon, sips and rolls it round his tongue. When he swallows, he turns to face her. She needs to change the ration of vervain in her locket, way those eyes hold hers, the heat she feels in her belly, well there’s no other explanation for it, right?

“Such tender words, Bones.”

“Come on, Jim, I got some real blood, all flavors, not just ordinary old o-neg…”

“There’s people need it. No.”

“How long did you go without, you know when you came over here the first time?”

He shrugs. “Long enough. I’m fine, ‘k? Now hit play.”

“You’re gonna get weaker; what if one of the vampire hunters ambushes you when you’re out, tries to drain your blood to sell? Or one of the Pures wants to make an example of you; it’s not safe for you, Jim, not if you can’t look after yourself; come on – see sense.”

He stands up leaving his boots on the floor and walks right out of the apartment in his socks, not looking back.

She stands, trying not to shake and closes the door. Though she bolts it, she opens the window so he can get in if he’s a mind to, and goes to bed.



Birdsong wakes her. Her fucking neck hurts because she’s managed to somehow twist herself up against the head board. She needs to pee so bad she almost trips over herself to get to the bathroom and what the hell is it with her bladder control lately? She bites her lip when she sees Jim asleep on the couch and tiptoes past so as not to wake him.

On the way back, she hesitates and mutters “Dammit, Jim,” under her breath and then walks over. Kneeling on the floor by him, she gazes at his face, reaches out but pulls her hand back when he parts his lips and his tongue moistens the perfect-looking soft flesh of his mouth.

“I’m awake,” he says without opening his eyes.


“That was a lot of pee.”

She thumps him on the hip and his eyes finally fly open. “Hey!” he yelps.

Their eyes lock. “You were worried about me,” he says, smirk on its highest setting, eyes shining in the dark.

“Fuck you,” she says good-naturedly and folding her arms, sits back on her heels.

“What?” he says, leaning up on his elbow to look at her. Damn, does she have to say it? But, apparently, even with the vervain in her locket cramping his style, he just knows. He lifts the blanket and nudges up against the back of the sofa. “Come on, get in, you’ll get cold.”

She lies in the small space and presses against him. “Don’t get any ideas or I’ll dose you with vervain next time I get a chance.” She closes her eyes and pulls his hand around her waist. He rests it palm open across her belly and leaves it there.

“Yes, ma’am,” he chuckles and she falls asleep with his arm around her and his long legs and bony knees pushing against her.



“What is all this shit?” Jim regards the dark interior of the cave, “and why so secretive?

“Hey,” she says, squeezing his arm, “one of us has to be the tall, dark mysterious one.” He looks surprised at her playful mood and she turns away, something catching in her throat. He smells so damn good. “I haven’t been here for months, it’s too isolated to come here on a whim, but you know, now I’ve got company, thought I’d come search out some stuff…” It’s left unsaid that she feels safe with him. Spock assures her there are no guerrillas in the area, just a bunch of jack rabbits keeping low from poachers. She jumped at the chance to hide her few personal effects once it became obvious that pretty much nothing you care about would be safe from looters in the city any more. A few moisture-proof boxes and she has her very own Aladdin’s cave.

“You gonna tell me what you’re looking for?”


“Okay, I’ll go act the guard dog, sure…” Jim leans on the cave wall and sniffs the air. “Smells good out here.” He looks at her with dolorous eyes. “I used to play here by the river when I was a kid, before I was turned.” She examines his face when he goes on – it’s the most he’s ever told her about himself and she dare not speak lest the spell is broken. “When I, you know, after I went to ground the last time, I needed to come home when I saw what had happened...what they’d done, but when I got here, home was gone.” He swallows and folds his arms, looking over what’s left of the forest, the new trees finally breaking through.

“It’s still here, Jim – we just all need to look harder.” He doesn’t say anything, just wraps an arm around her shoulder, staring ahead, his eyes like diamonds in the daylight, skin so white, unearthly. She clears her throat and adds, “Trouble is when we go back, the smell of shit will hit us; we’ll have to desensitize over again.”

“That’s my Bones, always looking on the bright side.”

She disappears into the cave and shines her flash-light around. It smells musky like a cellar, and she hates how it all goes all quiet when she rounds the corner to where her boxes are covered in tarpaulin. She finds the box she’s looking for, pulls out the small items and stuffs them in her duffel checking over her shoulder that Jim isn’t there.

“Okay, I’m pretty much ready here,” she calls to him.

She joins Jim, touching his elbow where he seems to be in a trance, staring out at the devastated landscape. “Hey, lookit this; I could hock it...” She blinks, steps out onto the track towards the truck and swings her bag into the back.

Jim’s still standing at the cave entrance with his mouth open, so she follows his line of vision and glances down at the beat up leather case in her hand.

“It used to belong to my great-great-aunt,” she says by way of explanation. She steps towards him, “Hey, Jim?”

His eyes are wide when he reaches out and takes the violin case from her.

“Do you know what this is?” he says, his voice low and reverent, and she swears to god he’s got tears in his eyes.

“Yeah, I told you, used to belong to…hey!”

He takes the case from her, rests it on the ground and opens it. Finding some rosin in the case, he smooths it across the bow. Then he’s got the instrument in one hand, the bow in the other, and Leah thinks he seems to know what he’s doing, the way he turns the keys, plucks at the strings tuning it. She watches him for long minutes, her whole world narrowing to the intent expression on his face, the slight frown, the shine in his eyes, and how pale he looks in the sunlight, this immortal, in denim and a too small t-shirt, holding the violin like it’s a precious talisman.

She holds her breath when he brings it to his shoulder and positions the bow; she’s already trembling from the first note, when he draws the bow across and facing the destroyed woodland, plays a tune she recognizes: Jerusalem, his eulogy to Iowa, remembering the land as it once was, maybe thinking what it could be again.

She crouches down on her haunches, her fingers playing in the dry soil as she watches and listens, mouth open, while he plays. He’s beautiful, his eyes closed, swaying slightly as the music fills the air around them, something heavenly, unnecessary, nothing to do with survival and worrying about the next meal, or the intentions of the next stranger who knocks on your door; it’s all about goddamn hope, the most precious commodity any of them have now, the one thing you can’t buy or sell, the one thing moments like this gift you.

So many emotions well up in her that for a moment she feels she can’t breathe till tears spill and the pressure eases and she allows herself to be hopeful and fearful all at once, to love and to hate.

When the music ends, Jim hands the violin to her, takes her other hand and draws her to him. She presses her face against his throat, not ashamed of showing how she feels for once.

“Her name was Joanna,” he says and presses his lips to her forehead.

It’s like a cold fucking hand on her heart when he says her name, and Jim senses it, even with the vervain he knows her, can read her body language, can smell the shiver of fear runs up her spine.

She doesn’t dare speak, doesn’t dare ask, scared of what he might say, what it might tell her about him, about what he might have done.

“It’s not what you think, Bones.”

She realizes then that whoever he was in the past makes no difference to now; they’ve all got new beginnings, they all have to move forward, be better. “Shush,” she says, “just shut up, okay? Long as you didn’t hurt her, that’s all I need to know.” His eyes are fierce, flecked with amber. “Jim, come with me tonight, come to the meeting, you can help us.”

“I don’t do groups, meetings.”

“Yeah, lone fucking wolf, I know. Come on; beats sitting on your ass all night brooding.”

“I like brooding,” and there’s that smile, at last.

“Sure you do. Well, I’m not wasting my breath trying to talk you into nothing…do what you like.” Her face is burning and she tries to pull away when he tilts her chin to look at her.

“You’ve got snot on your face.“

“And you’re a dick,” she smiles, her heart aching with feeling.


The meeting’s an hour in and it’s been pretty uneventful other than the glare Jim shot Dieghan when he kissed Leah on the cheek soon as they arrived. Jim sits quiet next to her, listening to everyone, utterly still and composed. The lamps are on as usual, a sensible precaution because even though it’s not an illegal gathering, they don’t want to draw attention to themselves for fear of attack. Then O’Hare has to go and spoil what was promising to be a nice boring evening of discussing how to get more medical supplies out of the government, reports on the latest guerrilla sightings, Spock going over his latest boring fucking report to High Command...

“So, Kirk, you have anything to say?” he snarls, his shaven head gleaming in the lamp light. The room goes quiet and everyone turns to him.

Leah watches as Jim’s eyes sweep the room lazily coming to rest on her face. He crosses his legs, blinks and runs a thumb along his lower lip.

“Come on, Kirk,” a voice from behind her pipes up. “All these years you’ve been around and no words of wisdom to impart on us mere mortals.”

Finally Jim says, “People don’t change.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Leah leans forward in warning but not quickly enough to shut Jim up.

“I mean, I’ve not heard so much shit, since last time I heard a lot of shit.”

Damn him, the idiot.

O’Hare gets to his feet, “Why the fuck are you here, if you just came to mock?” His face is red and he looks to the rest of them for support. Dieghan glances over at her, expecting her to intervene because, as he said in a recent comm, he’s your pet. Well, fuck him.

“There was nothing on TV.” Kirk smiles and Leah’s never seen him look anything like this scary, even when his face morphed that first night when she hit him. His eyes are hard, unmoved and the smile’s fake and mocking. She wants to grab him by the hand, drag him outside and put him over her knee.

“He’s a fucking vampire, he shouldn’t be here,” someone else shouts. Dieghan looks worried, this racist shit is out of line, but he doesn’t say anything, just makes a note on his papers and leans back. She can’t help thinking he would intervene if it wasn’t Jim being insulted, someone he doesn’t see as a vampire but merely as a rival for her affections. Dick.

“Okay, I’ll tell you what I think,” Jim says, standing. “You all want pyrotechnics when maybe it would be better to concentrate on bringing your kids up right. You say you don’t want the diseased, the rads, the demons, aliens – whatever the fuck we’re supposed to be – ostracized or culled, yet you talk about us, plan for us, defend us, but don’t give us any weapons or power.” He indicates the circle seated around the room. “Look at you, all humans, all intellectuals; this isn’t a fucking council, it’s a goddamn book group. Without any decent snacks.”

Leah can’t help smirking.

“Or…”Jim says, his tone reasonable,“we could just send an assassin in…kill Green. Cull him.” There’s no heat in his voice when he says this, he merely offers it as a possibility.

“Who’d we send? You?”

“Yeah, why not? I’d enjoy it. I haven’t killed a human in awhile but I’m sure I haven’t lost my touch.” He bares his teeth, advances towards Dieghan then turns his back on him to face O’Hare. Before anyone can stop him, he picks O’Hare up by the lapels, and lifts him off the floor effortlessly. “Now sit down, asshole, or this vamp might just show you his fucking teeth.” Then he drops him and there’s a murmur of relief.

He strides out of the room, pausing to hiss at Spock, “Put this in your fucking report – humans beyond any further evolution. Suggest it would be logical to put the lunatics in charge of the asylum,” and it’s spooky the way he can imitate Spock’s voice just right like that. Then he’s out of the door before anyone can react.

“Fascinating,” Spock says quietly to Leah. “He has an interesting turn of phrase.”

“No shit.” She grabs her coat and follows Jim.

He’s outside, smoking.

“Those things will kill you,” she says leaning on the wall next to him.

“I know,” he says, throwing the cigarette away, ”but they stave off the hunger pangs.” He nudges her with his hip. “Supermodel I ate once gave me that tip.”

“That supposed to be funny?”

He shrugs, slips his arm around her shoulder and she can smell the tobacco on his jacket, and the scent of flower stems which she’s beginning to think is all in her mind.

“We might be a lot of intellectuals as you put it, Jim, but a few years ago, we were the ones being persecuted. Why do you think I need a goddamn guard when I’m tending the sick for no fucking pay, huh? Least we give a shit, even if we’re going about it different from how you would.”

“Hey, I’m pissed too. And you know, part of me’s thinking, well…I’ve killed a lot of vamps in my time, what do I fucking know?”

“World’s gone to shit,” she says leaning against him. “Let’s get a fucking drink.”

“You buying?” He slaps his hands to his thighs and lowers his eyelashes, “because, as we used to say back in the day, I am impecunious.” The way his lips purse as he forms the word, it’s all she can do to stop herself stretching up and kissing him. Maybe he senses what she’s thinking, sure he can’t read her mind anymore, but the vampire sense of smell wouldn’t fail to pick up how turned on she is right now. The moment hangs there like a bubble about to burst until she zips up her coat and pushes away from the wall. Her cheeks are burning and she’s relieved there’s no street lighting, and no moon, nothing to show him how hot her face feels.

“‘Course I am, asshole, but you gotta promise me you won’t spend all your earnings in one weekend like ya keep doing.”

He grins, “Okay, promise.”

“I’ll go tell Spock where to come pick us up; I’d kinda like to walk.”


Leah had a niece; she remembers once years ago, walking down the street back home in Atlanta with her and her mom, Leah’s sister. It seems like such a long time ago, down a regular street near a park somewhere; there were no gaps every two blocks where buildings were blown out, no contamination zones, no shortages, no persecution, no curfews… her niece, she must have been three or four, couldn’t seem to walk in a straight line; she had to climb on and tightrope each wall, jump over every puddle, stop and stare at everything out of the ordinary – it was so goddamn irritating.

This is what it’s like walking a mile with Jim Kirk.

She realizes she’s never spent so much time with him outside; they’ve always been focused on something else, but this feels pleasantly aimless, like they’ve escaped awhile. Jim’s in high spirits; she’s never seen him like this, playful, untroubled, and entirely a vampire, not hiding from her; and it makes no sense given what just happened. Yet, he scampers up the sides of buildings, hangs from girders where construction works have been abandoned through lack of funds, walks on his hands like a circus acrobat, talking incessantly about everything and nothing, and by the time they reach the illegal bar, she’s breathless with laughing so hard.

Jim raps on the door till the curtain’s pulled back.

“No vamps,” the woman at the door says, already closing it in Jim’s face.

“It’s okay,” Leah says, pulling her shoulders back, stepping between them. “He’s with me. I’ll make sure he keeps his teeth in his pocket tonight.”

The woman shines a flashlight over Leah’s ID, then to her face and brightens. “Dr. McCoy, if I’d known it was you…”

“Yeah, how is that little problem of yours…?”

The woman blushes and indicates they come in. “It’s er…better, Doctor. We got a full bar tonight, that’s to say, Rad’s Revenge on tap.”

Jim grips her hand, “Well what are we waiting for?”


Leah comes to when soft lips brush her ear. “Time to go, Bones, they’re gonna charge rent if we stick around…”

“And you’re…impa—”

“—cunious, yeah, come on, I’ll carry you.”

His hand is somewhere near the front of her pants, and she grumbles, then realizes he’s searching for cash. “Coat,” she manages. Her wallet’s in there.

The world sways and swings until Jim’s got her cradled in his arms.

She’s not drunk really, just very fucking tired; she’s been tired a lot lately, but if she admits it, he’ll have to put her down and it’s kind of nice, how clean he smells, how cool the skin of his neck is against her face. She likes the way his fingers feel against her, holding her. She’s can’t remember the last time anyone took care of her; hell she’d have socked them in the jaw if they’d tried. So she keeps her eyes closed, enjoying the sense of being rocked as he carries her out into the cool night air.

“Jim,” she murmurs into the skin of his neck, opening her eye a crack and turning her head to look at him.

“Yeah?” His voice is low, raspy.

She doesn’t know how to say what she wants; with her eyes closed it seemed simpler. She could get away with blaming any odd behavior on the drink, but she’s losing her courage now she can see those blue eyes, fathomless, intoxicating even with the vervain, and she lets out a little snuffle and next thing his soft, tentative, cool lips are against hers, tasting of hooch and cigarettes and spring water all at once. She hears a little sigh – vampires are like puppies, they sigh when they’re happy, she thinks, inhaling him, and his tongue breaches, opens her lips oh-so-slightly and then, great timing, she hears Spock’s voice – the annoying, punctual bastard who’s arrived, as arranged, with the truck.

“Hey, not inebriated, jus’ tired, you pointy eared—” she says indignantly, her eyes flying open to glare at Spock.

What she sees then, shock strikes her temporarily dumb.

Then she shouts–she’s got to warn him.


But it’s too late–Spock hits the ground with a whumph, too late to duck the blow from the rifle butt to the side of his head.

She’s next to hit the ground when Jim drops her unceremoniously, and flies towards Spock’s assailant. He lands on top of him, pulling the weapon from his hand and pressing it to his throat.

Suddenly she’s clear-headed, and scrabbles to her feet screaming “Jim, no! Don’t!”

He freezes, looks over his shoulder at her, face transformed, eyes golden and teeth bared. Leaning back, he howls with frustration like he’s been yanked back on a leash by Leah’s words when all he wanted to do was to kill.

He throws the rifle to the side and gets to his feet pulling the guy up after him, then lifting him off the ground and raising him effortlessly above his head, he throws him into the darkness.

Leah drags open the door of the truck, pausing only to turn Spock onto his side so he doesn’t swallow his tongue, then retrieves a cross-bow and stepping on the seat, she hoists herself up onto the roof to survey the deserted street. She sees them, the back up crew, advancing towards Jim who looks positively thrilled, recognizing the guy in front, O’Hare, glowering at Jim and at her.

She raises her voice, calling to him from her vantage point. “What the hell, Mike, what’s gotten into you? Spock’s on our side. You’ve set us back fucking years hurting a Vulcan.”

O’Hare’s armed, his eyes wild and he looks to his crew for support when he answers her. “They’ll think it was a vamp, one of their kind, McCoy. And you won’t be here to tell what really happened, none of you will. Fang-banger like you won’t be missed any more than these pieces of shit.”

He nods to three men and a woman, all armed, none of whom she recognizes and Leah watches fearfully as they circle Jim who looks from one to the other, deciding who to take out first, but glancing over his shoulder at her, more worried about her safety than his own. Time to take matters into her own hands. She aims the cross-bow at O’Hare.

“Put the gun down, Mike. You’ve not thought this through…let’s talk. Come on, we’re friends here…”

O’Hare sneers, lifts his hand and signaling to the rest of his hoods, one breaks off and advances towards the truck. She hears Spock groaning beneath her and hisses, “Stay down, Spock.” Closing one eye, she aims and shoots O’Hare right in the thigh – perfect shot, missing his artery like she planned and he crumples to the dust like the sack of shit he is.

Jim takes the opportunity to punch at the guy nearest to him, following with a kick that sends him flying too.

She looks down to see another guy climbing onto the front of the truck, gun pointing towards her, right at her chest. Fuck.

“Hey,” she says, her voice wavering, “you wouldn’t shoot a doctor would you?”

“I won the lottery here, McCoy, I hate you fuckers, say you want to heal, then you keep those diseased rads around so they can infect the rest of us. Get rid of you all, I say, start again…”

The guy cocks his gun and it whirrs – it’s a model she’s never seen before, proving there’s big money behind these xenophobic assholes. Leah raises the cross bow and swallows; she really doesn’t want to shoot the guy, not when he’s this close, it’d fucking kill him, but his eyes are wild, he’s not bluffing... next thing she hears a crack and she and her would-be murderer both look down at her chest; he looks as surprised as she feels – the shot’s come from somewhere else. Just when she felt they were becoming such good friends too.

There’s a cold trickle under her armpit and she pushes her hand under the sleeve of her coat; when she examines it, it’s dark, reddened with blood… there’s a rush of light in her head, and the truck seems to give way under her as she falls to her knees, the cross-bow slipping from her hand with a clunk.

“Jim,” she whispers, then all is blackness.


Jim hears the shot and sees O’Hare lower his gun. He needs to go to Bones, see if she’s okay but Spock’s staggered to his feet and Jim assumes he’ll attend to her–besides, killing this fuck is only going to take a second.

He flies for O’Hare with a preternatural rush of speed knocking him flying and grinning when he sees how he lands right on the bolt where it’s sticking out, right where Bones shot him.

“I am going to fucking tear your heart out and make you pay,” Jim hisses in his face, teeth itching to kill the bastard, drain him of every ounce of blood, only it would make him sick to his stomach.

O’Hare is staring wild-eyed and terrified at Jim’s demon face, but he’s not struggling, he can’t as Jim’s compelled him.

“No, Jim.” It’s Spock behind him, sounding about as agitated as a Vulcan can. Jim slides his fingers round O’Hare’s throat experimentally and squeezes; oh he could snap this neck like a twig... he watches dispassionately as the guy’s face turns redder, eyes staring as he fights for breath. What’s one more death after the number he’s killed in the past three hundred years? This is so easy, so fucking deserved.

“Jim, McCoy’s hurt,” Spock says, touching his arm gently.

He knows, he can smell her sweet blood in the air. He tightens, feeling O’Hare’s pulse thrum under his skin.

“No, Jim,” Spock says again, “We don’t kill with impunity...”

“We?” Jim snarls. It’s because he’s allowed himself to get mixed up with humans that this has happened in the first place. He’s not part of their lives, their fucking groups and factions, and now Bones is hurt because of him when he came to find her to protect her.

He aims a look right into O’Hare’s eyes. “Stay!” he says, “Killing you can wait.” Of Course O’Hare’s not protected by Vervain, none of them are, so Jim’s on full power. He’ll come back, he’ll be able to torture the bastard later and enjoy every moment. Jim releases his hold, stands up and twists the crossbow bolt in O’Hare’s thigh, grinning in satisfaction at the look of agony which passes across his face, the scream of pain warming him right to his boots.

He passes round the group, and moving at a speed humans cannot detect, he freezes them in place too. Then he moves to Leah, leaping onto the roof of the vehicle like a cat.

He drops to his knees horrified, sobs threatening to rack his body. His hand goes to her face, he can tell she’s breathing, eyes flickering and the scent of her blood – Bones blood – in the air surrounds him, making him feel nauseous, crazy.

“I forgot to duck, Jim,” her voice is so faint, it terrifies the fuck out of him that he’ll lose her. He lifts her coat away gently and his fingers come way coated in precious McCoy blood. He closes his eyes to compose himself, then looks closely at her, forcing himself to stay the fuck calm.

Her normally olive skin is pale and clammy to the touch, her breathing’s labored, and she struggles to speak again.

“Shush…you’ll be okay, Bones.” He strokes her hair away from her face and gazes into her eyes, trying to read what she’s thinking, how serious it is, and decides to remove the locket surreptitiously, dropping it off the side of the truck.

Instantly his mind’s crowded out with scared, scared, can’t breathe, fuck, dying.

“What is it, Bones, tell me!”

“Lung…punctured…Jim…not long if it’s both.” She wheezes and reaches a hand up to grab his jacket.”

He leans over the truck and sees that Spock’s got a gun in each hand pointed at the rest of the assailants, the ones that didn’t escape or get thrown into the undergrowth, motionless, still staring, waiting for Jim to release them from his thrall.

He jumps down and searches for the scanner in the trunk and it clunks against the window as he climbs back up. With trembling hands, he sets it near her; he can do this, he’s seen her do it so many times, but he doesn’t even know if this will tell them what he needs, and what if he can’t make head or tail of the readings? The bastard thing’s out of power; he tries to get it working twice then kicks it off the side of the truck, not giving a damn that it’s the only portable one she’s got – nothing fucking matters if he can’t help her.

“How is Doctor McCoy fairing, Kirk?” Spock calls over to him.

“Not good; she’s got a collapsed lung; the bullet’s passed through her and she’s bleeding out – we need to get her help – shit…”

“The nearest hospital is 97.4 km from here.”

“Greens took care of…” Bones mumbles.

“You must hasten, Kirk,” Spock continues, “I will supervise our assailants – I am more than capable of dealing with them despite my injury. I suggest you return to the bar to ask for assistance.”

It dawns on Jim how curious it is that the shot didn’t bring anyone out of the bar, or any squatters from the buildings in the vicinity, or that no one’s called the military. Perhaps the woman in the bar is in league with O’Hare; the bouncer didn’t fucking like vamps, that was pretty clear; maybe she alerted O’Hare when Jim comm’d Spock to say they were ready. It’s an hour before curfew too – they’ll be in as much danger from snipers if they don’t get Bones out of there now.

“Don’t think the folk in the bar are gonna be much help to us, Spock, I’ll comm Liam, see who he can send. Hold tight!” He lowers his voice. “Hey, Bones, is there someone I can call and bring out here? Any other soft-hearted docs in these parts?” Her eyes are glassy, then she closes them. “Bones!” He slaps her gently on the cheek, tugs down the skin under one eye and gazes at the pupil. It reacts to the light, so he pinches her.

“Ow, fuck!” and her eyes droop again.

Bones, you gotta stay with me.”

“Shit, Jim…tryin’ to…sleep…”

“You can’t, Bones, you know that – come on, look at me…” He holds onto her jaw, bends down and kisses her lips lightly, and her eyes open.

“…like looking at you…”

“So do it, damn it – don’t leave me, Bones.”

“Not gonna win this,” she wheezes and coughs, her chest rising and then she coughs again.

Jim opens one eye with his finger and thumb and angles her head so she’s looking directly into his, albeit with his help.

“Look at me,” he commands and she instantly stiffens under his touch from the compulsion of his words. “Bones,” he says, an icy calm descending over him, “I’m going to help you but you have to do what I say, okay?” She’s his, under his compulsion, but he’s going to have to act fast before Spock figures out what he’s doing. He sits back on his heels and looks over his shoulder at the Vulcan; he’ll find out after the fact, but then it’ll be too late.

He tilts Leah’s head back so her mouth falls open automatically; she’s still staring up at him, unable to do anything other than blink. He raises his wrist to his mouth and bites down hard, his teeth slicing right through the flesh. The blood wells up instantly so he turns his wrist, and the drops fall into her mouth.

“Take it, Bones, it’ll heal you up real quick.” Obediently her tongue snakes to the corners of her mouth and scoops the drops down, her eyes closing. She moans, reaching her hands towards him and he feels himself instantly harden at what she wants. He angles his wrist, cradling the back of her head with his free hand and watches eagerly as she sucks and drinks from him, each suck stronger than the one before.

Damn, there’s going to be a shit-storm later, he thinks vaguely, shifting to make himself more comfortable. He’s so hard now, intensely aroused by their connection, how he’s giving her life. He’s never done this before. He offered it to David McCoy all those years ago, his healing blood; more, he offered eternal life but the McCoys are stubborn to the end and it always seemed so important to have their consent. But if he waited for permission tonight he knows Bones would never have agreed to this; what else could he do? He’s never had this happen, had someone he loves snatched away from him by death, not since he became a vampire, and losing Bones again... He looks at her tenderly, stroking her hair while she comes to life beneath him.

Enough. Gently, he pushes a finger between her lips and his wrist to break the suction and nearly comes right there just from seeing how dilated her pupils are, from smelling her arousal. Already she’s breathing more easily, the color returning to her cheeks, and he tucks the blanket around her, gathering her up in it and leaping down from the trunk, landing lightly. It’s all only taken a few minutes but he’s crossed a hell of a boundary here.

He arranges Leah on the back seat of the truck, kissing her forehead. “I’ll be back in a while, baby; you sleep, ‘k?” He goes to Spock, scanning his prisoners, taking in the blood on the side of his face where he was struck, wondering idly what it would taste like, then shakes the thought away, feeling vaguely guilty for having had it in the first place.

“She’s fine now, Spock,” Jim says, offering no explanation when he gets an arched eyebrow.

“She is stable?” Spock asks gazing at Jim’s face when he gets closer.

“I took care of it,” Jim says, looking away. “Can I kill someone now, please?”

“Use your powers for good, Jim; re-program them, send them on their way…”

O’Hare’s still lying on the ground, suspended as he waits for Jim to release him, and pretending he doesn’t understand what Spock means, kicks him.


Jim’s beginning to find any show of emotion from Spock, no matter how muted, seriously satisfying, and he brings his leg back as if to kick O’Hare again, as more of a tease than anything. Then he pulls it back. He can’t read minds, other than humans, but he’s worked out what Spock wants of him. “Okay,” he sighs heavily, “how do we do this?”

“Compel him, Jim, but change how he thinks – for good, for the general good.”

“Fuck, I didn’t have you down for a softie, Spock.”

“I do not understand your figurative language, but if I did, I would deny the truth of your observation.”

Jim smirks at that and crouches by O’Hare. “You’ve got off lightly, you bastard, and know if Bones had died, so would you, but I’m feeling generous, I’m doing this for her, for Spock, for the rest of the good people and other fucking life-forms that have a belief in this society…”


“Yes, Spock?”

“My arm is cramping; can you work more quickly?”

Jim snorts, gazes into O’Hare’s eyes and works his mo-jo. “You hate the greens, you support the T.M.s, you are unwaveringly supportive of the cause to re-habilitate vampires and other ‘demons’, you believe in a higher truth and detest bigotry in all its forms. You will always hold these views and you will forget what occurred here tonight with the doctor, with the rest of your henchmen; now go – run before I change my fucking mind.”

O’Hare scrambles to his feet and Jim grabs him by the sleeve to say one more thing. “Also, you really like wearing women’s underwear.”

He smirks as O’Hare limps into the darkness and turning to the group sitting on the ground with their hands on their heads, grins. “Next!” he says.



Spock drives, and Jim sits on the back seat cradling Leah to him. His mind’s racing and his heart would be too if it could. He should feel guilty, but to feel the bond with Bones that giving her his blood has formed, how even in sleep she’s filled with craving to be with him now, is intoxicating. He knows that she’ll dream about him, imagine him in the room as if he were really there, see him in reflections and shadows and just want, like he has – since he first cast eyes on Leo all those years ago and has been haunted, almost destroyed, by this soul.

He carries her into the apartment building and punches the security code in, the one he created for her which he’s damned certain is unhackable, and walks into the dark interior, listening to Spock park up the truck and take his own vehicle away, leaving them alone. He must have known what Jim did, he knows vampires as well as any other demons, but he hasn’t mentioned it and for that Jim’s grateful, not wanting to enter into another ethical debate with the Vulcan.

Finally, she stirs in his arms. He ought to bathe her and clean her up, but he knows she needs to sleep to allow the last of the healing to take place; so he takes her to the bedroom, pulls back the covers and goes to fetch a wash cloth and a bowl of warm water, finding leaving her for just one moment pains him.

He eases off her coat and buries his face in the blood soaked into it – glad no one can see him for the freak he is – and lays it aside with a sigh, taking up the curved medical scissors and cutting away at her clothing, stopping while she moves, when the cold metal touches her skin. He rakes her skin with his eyes, fighting to keep his face from transforming. He’s so aroused by the freckles, the way she looks in the dim light, her lips soft and so fucking kissable. He dabs at her skin with the cloth, leaving her bra and pants on, not wanting to take advantage. Then she wakes up and stares at him.

“Put this on or you’ll get cold,” he says quietly, handing her a long-sleeved t-shirt he found on the couch. Her eyes narrow and something passes over her face.

“What did you do, Jim?”

“What I had to,” he says. “I couldn’t have you die on me, Bones…”

She sits up, her strength apparently returned, and surveys the room, taking the t-shirt and pulling it over her head, her face one big Bonesy scowl when she pulls it down. She brings her knees up to her chin and looks at him with big, dark eyes.


“Motherfucker!” she shouts, swinging her hand to hit him and he catches it in his, holding her arm rigid, then lets go. He knows she needs to do this and he doesn’t flinch when she slaps his face again and again, screaming and sobbing stopping only when she draws blood. She lets her hand drop and runs a hand across her tear smeared face. “I fucking hate you,” she says, her eyes fixed to his lip where she’s hurt him.

“No you don’t,” he says, raising his hands, tentatively leaning towards her.

She meets him half way, climbing into his lap and wrapping her legs around his back, running her tongue across his wounded lip, and he hopes it doesn’t heal too quickly, wanting her to taste his blood again. She sucks on his lip and moans as he wraps his arms around her. He pulls her away knowing she’ll regret this if it goes any further, shifting so he’s sitting behind her and can lean into him and stays there until she cries herself to sleep.


Maybe she died after all because this, this is heaven; the soft lapping against her cunt, the cool finger sliding along her entrance teasing her, cool breath puffing against her heated skin; it’s what she wanted, she realizes, her whole fucking body feels connected to him, craves him and she wants him to swallow her whole, to hold him inside her, to enter her so she can’t tell where he begins and she ends.


His head emerges from under the covers, his eyebrows a little mussed and his eyes are brilliant blue, gleaming and hypnotic when he looks up at her. He rests his chin on her thigh and grins. “Morning,” he smiles.

“Dammit,” she grumble-moans, and he licks his lips, pressing his thumbs to her inner thighs. She struggles to sit up and he pushes his forearms gently across her belly, and while she huffs, she decides not to argue because she’s so damned close, “Jesus, Jim … did you think to ask if…I…” He mumbles against her skin, his tongue on her labia, two fingers working their way into her, and she moans again, writhing and pushing against his touch until she grips around him, spasms and comes, her hands holding onto the side of his head, the feel of his cool skin inflaming her, making her cry out.

And just as she comes she hears a growl from Jim, a possessive rumble, and then there’s a needle sharp cut into her as his teeth sink into the tender flesh of her thigh and she comes again, almost immediately, thinking how he gave her life, how much she needs this, him, her pulses in synch with his sucking, lapping at her, drawing out the wave of ecstasy which doesn’t stop until he stops.

He’s glassy eyed, bumps fading on his forehead when she finally opens her eyes to look at him. She should be furious but she’s jelly, molded to the bed, to him.

Finally she says, “Where’s my locket, Jim?”

He rests his chin on his hands, lips moist and puffy; he’s fucking glowing with health, eyes shining with happiness. “You’re wearing it,” he says with a devilish grin. Her hand moves heavily to her neck, and he’s right, the vervain’s fresh that morning, so how...?

He kisses her belly, looking at her from under his ridiculously thick eyebrows, nuzzling his cheek against her, his voice muffled when he says, “I know, Bones, I know about the baby...six months to go I reckon.”

Her throat tightens in joy and dread. “How did you know?” when she wasn’t sure herself, didn’t dare hope, though she has been getting up to pee in the night...

“I knew the minute I saw you, smelled you,” and he licks a leisurely stripe in the space between her breasts, “and maybe I can hear her thoughts, you know when you’re not wearing the locket – she sounds like a cat purring. That’s what you were doing in the cave that time, wasn’t it? Looking for things for her...I took a peek in your bag after...sorry...”

She turns her head away, mind struggling to find purchase in reality, then something occurs to her and her voice hitches in her throat. “Your blood, Jim, I’m worried what it’ll do to…if it’ll harm her,” she whispers, grinding her teeth to control the tears threatening to spill. “I haven’t read anything about the effects on a…”

“She’ll be fine, your baby will be fine, Bones.” Jim rises above her and presses his lips to hers, speaking against her mouth.

“She?” her voice is a squeak now it finally registers what he’s told her. She hasn’t scanned to check, hasn’t wanted to think about it, didn’t want to get used to the idea, not after she lost the other one, years ago, though she kept the baby things, wanting to believe that even with all the radiation in the atmosphere still, she had a hope.

“Yeah, she.” He molds his lips to hers and for one crazy moment she imagines what it would be like to have him stay, as his tongue pushes inside her, licks at her teeth and she tastes herself on him, her cunt, her blood.

He seems to sense her disquiet and pushes up on his elbows. “I’ll look after the two of you, protect you; everything will be just fine – and the blood, the good stuff—” she watches transfixed when a pink tongue flicks against one of his canines, “—It’s better than any anti-bodies you can give her and she’ll have super shiny hair.”

“Asshole,” she grumbles, stroking his hair, looking at the ceiling.

“Does Dieghan know?” Jim asks, in-between licking her arms, her neck, her hands. She doesn’t stop him, wants to savor every moment they have together.

“I’ll tell him, of course, but...he wants to...we have political differences, Jim, you know that. I don’t hold with his self-sufficiency crap; people can’t be alone – they need each other, we need to re-build groups, not survivalists in their own little shelters. I don’t want my daughter brought up like that.” A little moan escapes her. “Stop it, Jim, I can’t think with you doing that...”

“But you taste like, well, like being alive,” Jim says reverently, “I can’t get enough of you.” His hands stroke her softly, trailing across her belly, over the new life she now knows for certain she’s carrying.

“You didn’t give me a choice, Jim. You took that away from me when you compelled me. You played God.”

“I did? How about you, Bones, how about when you’ve got a dying patient in front of you, who’s playing god then, huh? Do you ask them whether they want to be saved or not? You were fucking dying – what? You wanted to die?”

“You should have asked, Jim, on both counts. You gave me your blood without asking, and now, you’ve taken mine.”

“ time. I’ll ask next time...I thought you...” his words trail off and she daren’t look at him, can feel him stiffen against her as he waits for the inevitable.

“There’s not going to be a next time.” She feels this wave of sadness creeping through her veins, grief and loss and she knows, just knows it’s not all her; this is what Jim’s feeling too though his face is impassive. “You’ll bring danger here, Jim.”

“No. I’ll stop anyone hurting you,” his voice is fierce, a hiss of possessiveness.

“Why, Jim, why do you care? We barely know each other, you’re a fuckin’ vamp; we don’t have a thing we could share, how can we share a life with nothing in common but the chaos, trying to survive it and build again?”

“I can’t remember a time I didn’t care.”

“I don’t need protecting, Jim, I can handle myself.”

“I saw that – fuck you’re hot Leah McCoy. Women and guns, bit of a weakness of mine.” She knows he’s joking to cover up, she sees him swallow, look away. Then he says, “And despite what you say about people working together, you want to do this on your own...”

She sits up and leans for her sweater on the floor, giving herself time to allow his words to sink in, but nothing emerges that’s of any help. “You talk about the McCoys, my family, my family name like we’re something to you, but if that was true why don’t I know about you? Something would have been written down, passed on, surely... what the hell’s the connection?”

“I’m your family’s dirty little secret maybe?” His face is inscrutable, voice bitter. “Who you gonna tell about me, Bones? You gonna tell your daughter how I licked you open, made you come, the second time singing on my teeth while I sucked your fucking beautiful blood? How that made me come all over myself, your bed, without even touching my cock? Are you?” He’s got his hands tight around her wrists and he’s worked his way back between her thighs and he’s hard and heavy, nudging against her, she’s so wet; just one shove and he’d be inside her.

“Let go of me,” she hisses. “You’ve made your goddamn point, now let me go.”

“Okay, Bones, I’ll let you go – if it’s what you really want.” He shoves away from her and walks across the room to retrieve his clothing, his erect cock almost flush against his belly.


Jim makes his way to a bar in a deserted part of the woods, deep in the rad zone. It’s frequented by demons, other outcasts like him, as well as the sick, and the crazies. He stands and contemplates the row of vehicles parked out front, beat-up trucks, an ancient old Chevy, and a motorbike, a gleaming, perfect motorbike. It takes him seconds to get it started and he takes off, the wind in his hair, faster and faster, along rough roads filled with mines, managing to avoid every one because he’s one lucky son-of-a-bitch, right?


“Good morning, Doctor – I trust you are fully recovered.”

“Course I am, you know what Jim did to me, and I will talk to you about that another time but we’ve got bigger fish to fry. Spock, I’m worried about Jim – he said something and took off.”

“Kirk is more than capable of keeping himself safe.”

“Yeah, I know but he looked wild-eyed…”

“I fail to understand the nature of your euphemism. Was he in control of himself?”

“Yeah… no… dammit – I’m worried okay?” She glares at his infuriatingly calm features on the screen. “Don’t you give a damn about anyone, Spock?” She waits what seems like an age while he thinks some of his thinky thoughts.

“You have said nothing which might cause me to believe he is in danger, Doctor.”

“Okay, how about this – how about you get your green ass over here because I want you to? I need your help, Spock, I’m worried about Jim.” Jim’s right, she can’t do this alone.

“If you had made that clear I would have ended this conversation and already departed, Doctor.”

“Jesus, Spock, remind me again why I keep you around?”

“Because I respond to your illogical, emotional pleas with the minimum of query.”

“That’s what you call that? Get over here, dammit.”


Once Leah’s treated the patients waiting who she decided were in most need, it’s still late into the afternoon before they set off.

She drives while Spock uses the navigation device to sweep the area; it would have been so much easier if Jim had kept his goddamn chip in; they’ve been searching for an hour at least and they’ve got no idea whether he’s even headed in this direction. While Jim was on foot, he will have moved so fast that he could have covered miles by now.

“I don’t know which way to go,” she admits.

“I believe you do, Doctor…”

She turns to look at him, “What do you mean?”-

“Now he has given you blood, you are bonded.”

“What, you mean like swans or something?” There’s a swell of feeling inside her.

“I do not comprehend the allusion to swans, however you should now experience a telepathic connection with Jim.

“And what if he’s taken my blood too?”

Spock raises an eyebrow. “You allowed that? Then connection is not only inevitable, but considerably deeper and I am certain if you concentrate sufficiently, you will be able to sense his presence.”

“Dammit,” she thumps the steering wheel with an open palm. “Why didn’t you just say that and quit wasting time?”

“I believe I did. And I suggest you pull over to do it – this road is heavily mined and it would not help our cause if you were to have us both killed.”

“Okay okay, now shut up talking so I can use my vamp radar.”


Jim turns the bike in a tight circle and drives back the way he came, along the river, through groups of prefabricated buildings dumped years ago in the area for the rads. When he sees the bar lit up, most of the vehicles are still there. The Demons tend to settle in for days at a time and it’s not unusual that the same group would still be here now. In fact, he’s counting on it. He parks up the bike and strokes the handle-bars lovingly.

He’s had a lot of time to think while he was riding, about how he it was when he thought Leah might die, how it made him panic, what grief was like. He realises it’s not just the people, the hundreds of faceless people he’s taken life from over the years that he’s responsible for, but he took something from all those they left behind too; they all felt like he did, only they didn’t have the magic of vampire blood to make everything better. He’s evil, he’s beyond fucking redemption.

Taking a deep unneeded breath, he prepares himself by thinking about human blood, recalling the faces of some of his victims, to get the demon boiling inside him so that his face transforms and he can look as intimidating as hell.

He kicks open the bar door and there’s silence other than the music blaring, a sea of faces, vampires, werewolves, a handful of rad hangers-on, there because they’re always in hope of a drop of demon blood, hoping it’ll prevent their degeneration.

“Which one of you fuckers owns the bike went missing this morning?” he says, rising to his full height, baring his teeth. A Chaochladh demon, all red skin and black tattoo-like marks all over his face rises from a stool. He’s typical of his kind, all lizard brain and sharp teeth – perfect. “I had to bring the piece of shit back,” Jim growls. “I mean, man, it’s way overdue a service, and the power pack’s practically dead now...” He swallows when he sees a glint of silver out of the corner of his eye, these guys aren’t fond of vampires at the best of times.

He could have just taken his ring off, waited for the dawn and stood in the sun, burned away nice and quick. But that’s too good for the likes of him – he should be torn apart, he deserves to be the hunted for once, to be the victim like so many have been because of him. It’s more fitting, more biblical and yeah, stylish to the last.

Fuck, he just hopes it’s going to be quick.


When Leah and Spock find him, he’s lying in a heap outside the bar, a couple of rads dousing him with buckets of water they’ve got from the river. She runs to him on shaky legs and the rads scatter, shooting desperate looks at her.

“It is fortuitous that they are addicted to vampire blood or they would have left him to burn,” Spock says, checking his readings for radiation. He’s assured Leah she’ll be safe here because of Jim’s blood still coursing through her; she didn’t think to ask whether Spock would be harmed.

She drops to her knees and cradles Jim’s head in her hands, not giving a damn that tears are streaming down her face. He’s near dead, if there’s even such a thing for a vampire, but they’ve tried to cut through his wrist to steal his ring and hock it; there’s a silver chain tied round his throat and his clothing’s burned away, his beautiful white skin charred black and blistered. If the rads hadn’t saved him, he’d have gone up in flames, his long life ended for sure. The fact that they didn’t simply stake him shows they wanted him to suffer, leave him there in agony. And she’s heard of rads, the more desperate ones, holding vampires captive, draining them dry, keeping them weak – what the fuck might have happened to him if they hadn’t turned up?

“Jim,” she grates out, touching his lips, blistered and blackened. “What the fuck are you doing you idiot? Why’d you run away?”

He doesn’t answer, he looks dead, his chest motionless, no pulse of course but if he hears her, he doesn’t respond in any way. “Jim, come on, wake up! It’s gonna be okay!” She looks up at Spock. “We need to get him out of here, we need to fucking do something.”

“It is not safe here, Doctor, but we must act now. He must be interred or he will not recover for many years. Outside he is exposed and is in danger from further retaliation. I suggest we move him to a safe area with haste.”

“What if he comes to? He must be in so much pain; what pain relief can we give a vampire for god’s sake?”

“The cure for all ills is human blood, Doctor, I think you know that already.”

She rubs her hand across her face, pulls irritably at her hair sticking to the tears and snot. “Get the med-kit, I know what to do.”

She untangles the chain from round his neck and throws it far into the darkness. She can hear music and laughter from the bar behind them and she grinds her teeth; whoever hurt Jim must have just tossed him out here, set fire to him and then returned to their party. It occurs to her for the first time, that they too might be in danger – the bar might be full of demons; not all of them want to be integrated into society after thousands of years of seeing humans as prey or simply the enemy, reacting to their persecution with violence of their own.

She grabs the med-kit from Spock and nearly drops the whole damn lot when she opens it; then heaves a sigh of relief when she finds what she’s looking for, a blood collection needle and tourniquet. She shrugs off her coat, wraps the tourniquet around her left arm and tightens it, pulling it closer with her teeth. “Keep watch, Spock, we’ve got no idea who’s in there,” she says nodding towards the bar.

Spock nods and lifts his rifle, pointing it at the door while she draws out a vial of her own blood. Jim is still motionless, unconscious and doesn’t react when she crouches over him and whispers in his ear. “Look, Jim, it’s your favorite coming up; I’m gonna fix you, then when you’re all better, we’ll try again, ‘k?”

She turns the stopper on the vial and parts his lips for him, watches as her still warm blood falls into his mouth.

At first there’s no change, then he moans in pain, and swallows. “That’s right, Jim, this’ll make you all better, drink, that’s right...” It’s only a drop, he probably needs a whole heap to get over this, but for now at least it’s revived him and she draws out another vial; this time he drinks of his own volition, lips sucking and then he coughs and opens his eyes to look at her. Even his eyes are dull–fuck, this is bad.

“Hi,” she says. “You had me fucking worried there...”

“Bones...” he tries to lift his hand but it flops uselessly to his chest. Leah trembles and raises his charred fingers to her lips. He smells of death and for the first time since she’s known him the floral smell is gone – he’s as devastated as the forests once were. She hears Spock behind her.

“Doctor, we must move him – it is not safe here.”

“Okay.” She leans down and plants a chaste kiss to Jim’s lips, feeling him smile against them when she whispers, “I love you, you annoying bastard, now get better so you can be my guard dog again, alright?”

He doesn’t answer and it may be a trick of the light, but his eyes seem to shine a little more when she stands up and takes the rifle so Spock can lift him and carry him to the truck.


They go to Spock’s place and in the basement she presses her wrist to Jim’s mouth, wants him to feed from her so he can become his old self again. He shakes his head.

“Too sick, Bones, I...won’t be able to trust myself, might kill you.”

“Kirk is right, Doctor,” Spock interjects. “Since he is so close to death, there is a high probability his vampire instinct will take over and he will drain you completely. Indeed, the volume of blood he needs to help him return to his former state would require many humans. He is best interred as I believe it will take many months to regenerate, but he will rise again when he is fully recovered to find us.”

“I want... I want to stay with you…” Jim croaks. “Don’t want to leave you again.”

“It’s okay, Jim, I’ll still be here when you come back. You can come find me...I want you to, dammit.” She’s crying now, and she tries not to look at the box Spock’s made for him in the few hours they’ve been here. “Jim, did you want to die, is that what happened?”

“Now what makes you think that eh, Bones, leave a gorgeous thing like you…?” His eyes are half shut. “And you missed me, didn’t you, Bones...? Didn’t think you cared.”

“‘Course I care, you ass, now quit talking…you never stop talking.”


Leah feels as if her heart’s going to be cut out, but she knows Spock’s right, knows this is the only way Jim’s going to survive.

They drag the box into the cave, her cave, and fill it with soil, then they rest Jim on top, naked. He’s so damaged she almost can’t bear to look. She insists on putting the violin in there, and some clean clothes, folded up at the foot of the sarcophagus. She throws in a flashlight though Spock reminds her vampires can see in the dark but it makes her feel like she’s doing something, dammit. For now his skin needs to be shrouded in soil so he can heal more quickly. She wraps his fingers round a bag of her blood. “Take this when you wake up, Jim, whenever that is, just so you can control yourself when you come out, okay?” It’s her blood, all she can spare considering her condition.

“Kirk, the lid is programed to respond to your voice alone; when you awake, you will be fully recovered and whole and doubtless exceedingly hungry. I know you will find us. Live long and prosper.”

“Thanks, Spock,” Jim says, eyes fluttering shut.

“See you in a couple of months, Jim, I’ll be waiting.” Leah kisses him one last time and then she helps Spock lift the lid, pushing it across once she’s allowed herself a last look at those bright, bright eyes.

“I will find you again,” is the last thing she hears him say.

They seal the box shut, roll a rock across the entrance of the cave and head home.


End of Chapter 5

Chapter Text

Blood Ties: Chapter 6


A little while, a moment of rest upon the wind, and another woman shall bear me. ~Khalil Gibran



Iowa, 2233

Jim dreams.

He feels suspended, safe, though he’s aware of loud, panicked voices close by. It’s as if he’s in two places at once, floating half-way between dreaming and reality – here and... somewhere else.

At the same time, while lying in his sarcophagus, he can feel the soil molded to his limbs, can smell its sweet, earthy scent though he’s not quite ready to open his eyes; And, simultaneously, in another, different place, he feels like he’s being shaken around, as if he’s travelling on a great sailing ship, buffeted by waves in a terrible storm, or perhaps it’s the ground around him moving, seismic activity making the box containing him shake and roll and shift.

He can hear a woman’s voice; it’s familiar but though he reaches and searches through his memory, he can’t quite place it; he knows it isn’t Leah, and sensing the considerable passage of time, tears well behind his eyelids, hot bloody tears for her, for Bones, who he fears he’ll never see again.

Then his mind floods with fear, thoughts which aren’t his but which trigger emotions within him, intense and real – run, run, gotta run – and he’s carried on the tide of fear, the need to survive, the desperate wrench this woman feels. It is as if he is experiencing the life, the fate of another, while inhabiting both bodies at once.

Later, he doesn’t know how long, for time loses all meaning when a vampire goes to ground, he’s still dreaming his dark, image-less dream with no color, no form, just sound and emotion lighting up every nerve ending.

And it feels like a giant hand holds him, squeezes around him with a grip so strong, so crushing, he worries he’ll be turned to dust; his body, first his head, then his shoulders, are being pushed and pulled, dragged out into the light and there’s nothing he can do to stop this. He’s clay being squeezed into a new shape, a new form, another life.

It’s then he understands – it is time for his soul to move on, to leave his undead body that has walked the earth for all these centuries, and it’s now due to inhabit another, a newborn – in the last moments of his existence, he is to be witness to his own reincarnation.

The roller-coaster’s over and he can hear the woman’s voice again, moaning and crying out in pain, determination coursing through him, through her, like they’re joined, two people but one life force, like she’s the one keeping him alive. He can’t move, he can’t open his eyes, then feels himself being held, cradled and rocked while hushed, efficient voices surround him, then warmth as he’s pressed against the same presence which cocooned him earlier, his skin against her skin, safe, alive.

But it’s all wrong.

He can hear her voice in his head, above him yet far, far away. “George, He’s beautiful—” and he opens his eyes, at once into the impenetrable black of his sarcophagus, and at the same time towards the warmth of his mother’s face, the face he knows so well.

Jim wants to tell her not to worry, he’s here now, he’ll look after her, she’ll be safe and they’ll make it, both of them will.

After so much darkness, it hurts to open his eyes, the brightness of her eyes reminds him of the sky that morning in Virginia so many years ago, when he first wore his enchanted ring, and her skin against his feels like the early morning sun, kissing and caressing, making him feel truly alive. He can’t tear his eyes from her tear-stained face, can’t stop looking and feeling as he draws in beautiful, cool air into his lungs, bringing oxygen to every part of him for the first time in ages of time.

Then he hears a man’s voice, one he hasn’t heard ever before but he knows, just knows.

“Tiberius, are you kidding me? No – that’s the worst…”

He shakes with her as she cries silent tears, as she wraps his tiny fingers in hers, and Jim can sense how scared she is, her grief, how she’s trying to hide her despair from his father.

He wants to look away, give in and hunker down in his box and see no more, just sleep for all time and leave the world behind.

Then he remembers what Bones said to him in the opium den in London, something he hasn’t thought of in all these years – when he accused Jim of being a taker of souls... demons such as yourself steal the lives of the unborn, how to give yourself strength you will take a soul from a babe before he draws breath.

Bones, Leo, L.H., his beloved Len and his beautiful Leah, he’s lost them all, he’s cried a sea of tears and he cries now. But the will to live is too strong, seeping into him from all the people surrounding his mother; hers and their need for him to survive lights him up; if he lives, it will make up for losing George who faces death bravely, who isn’t selfish like he is.

“I love you,” George says, and Jim echoes it too, “I love you—“

And he wants to, has got to try one last time, he needs to live on, to find Bones; he’s not ready to give up. In his box, Jim draws in his last ragged breaths, because he knows he must pull away, has to fight to survive, continue to live, and he whiplashes back, his soul leaving the child who temporarily houses it.

The last thing he registers is the look of agonized disbelief and horror on his mother’s face, her no, no, no, powerless to keep him with her.

He leaves her alone in space without her son, without her husband, the breath expelled from his lungs for the last time.

He shakes with rage, with how unfair it is, with the cruelty of what’s happened to her, and his part in it. And he wavers, regrets his action and tries to go back.

Live, live, he screams mutely – it’s your turn now

But the world is cruel and Jim Kirk has one more life. He’s won.

Here’s one more soul he’s accountable for snatching away, one more mark against him.

There’s a flash of light and what sounds like a rumble of thunder as his whole dream’s swallowed up and Jim opens his eyes again. Lives again.


He’s not breathing, of course he isn’t, but he’s shaking, life vibrating through him like music. He wriggles his finger tips, grabs at the soil that’s his bed, dry and spent now, and he opens his mouth to speak.

“Bones,” he whispers, like a tree creaking in the forest, the sound of a door opening.

Then he realizes what he heard is the lid above him shifting, programmed to respond to his voice just like Spock said it would. He reaches up and wedges his fingers in the gap, blinking against the light. He knows it’s night-time, but his vampire eyes can see well enough, the glow from the mouth of the cave would be imperceptible to humans, but he’s blessed, isn’t he?

The overpowering stench of ammonia fills his nostrils immediately – bats – how poetic.

He sets his mouth in determination and shoves against the lid, soil falling into his face from his hand and arms. He shakes it off and spits out any which falls into his mouth. Then he folds his legs awkwardly and uses his feet to push until the lid clatters to the ground with a deafening thud.

He stands shakily, and wonders how long he’s been here, and knows that Bones, Spock are long gone, dead and buried only they won’t come back like he did. Bloody tears fall from his eyes again, mixing with the earth left on his face and he shakes and moans like a dying man, not one who’s been given yet another chance.

Finally, he sits on the edge of the coffin and takes stock; he’s naked, it’s dark, and he has no idea what year this is though he senses a great deal of time has passed, no longer able to feel the connection with Leah which sharing blood gave him.

He runs his fingers through his hair, it’s grown long while he recuperated, and it’s dry, and reaches almost to his shoulders. He feels for his ring, remembers how they tried to saw off his hand, unable to remove it, and after all this time, his wrist has healed too.

Next his fingers explore his face and find no blistering or wounds of any kind; and while he slept, he’s grown a thick, wiry beard like a mountain man.

A scan of his arms and legs shows he’s lost a great deal of muscle; his skin feels soft albeit a little brittle, like leaves on the forest floor, fragile and easily broken still. He can feel his ribs protruding and his mouth’s dry and his stomach’s empty. Worst of all, his heart is heavy, filled with loss and pain and self-disgust – the aftermath of his dream, where he stole another’s life so he could walk again.

He needs to feed.

He steps out of his sarcophagus and leans in to search through the soil. At the foot is a pile of clothing and he unfurls the jeans, the long sleeved sweatshirt – they’re dry to the touch, stiff and parchment-like under his fingers. He doubts they’ll last long – he’ll have to get some new clothes from somewhere. He roots around some more and finds the violin and he leaves it there for now, unwilling to interrupt his pragmatic frame of mind with memories and more sadness he can avoid by touching it.

Then he remembers the bag of blood and frowns, knows it will be useless now, how it would only have lasted a few weeks at most. He decides to leave it be for the while, he needs to go outside, work out what to do next.

He makes for the cave entrance and the light breaking around the enormous rock placed across the entrance. He can’t smell Bones anymore, nor Spock, further evidence they’re long gone. He composes himself and plants his hands against the rock, pushes with all his might. It doesn’t shift.

“Fuck,” he says out loud, his voice echoing back at him. He tries again, leaning against the rock with his shoulder and it doesn’t shift in the slightest though there’s a fall of soil.

He returns to the sarcophagus and finds a flash-light; praying it will work so he can search the further reaches of the cave where Leah’s belongings were stashed. He remembers kissing her outside and swallows, shakes the memory away, aware he has to focus or he’ll end up no better than he was in the box, a prisoner in the cave waiting an age to die.

The flashlight doesn’t work, the power pack dead, like he should be but isn’t; he fucking outlasts everyone, everything, even the landscape, the cities.

Then he hears a flutter above him and grins – hibernating bats – the whole ceiling is covered in them.

He climbs onto the ledge of the sarcophagus and stretches out, not wanting to risk a leap while he’s so weak, his recovery untested. The poor creatures stir, but not quickly enough to avoid being grabbed by his eager fingers. He drains two instantly, wincing at the taste, then laughs, leaps easily to pick off half a dozen more, tossing their bodies aside without ceremony.

Now he’s ready to try the rock again, his cheeks temporarily flushed from the blood he’s consumed, his strength returning. This time he presses his back to the rock and feels it shift a little. He roars, manages a little more releasing another small fall of soil. He hears the tear of vines and takes a moment to gather his strength. He closes his eyes and channels the self-loathing and rage he felt in the last moments of his dream, the anger that he should live and a new born should die in his place, and he feels the demon’s fire wake in him, his preternatural strength stoked by blood and rage, his canines descending as his face stretches and transforms.

It’s enough; when he takes a run at the rock, it shifts sufficiently for him to squeeze past and emerge naked and exhausted into the darkness outside releasing a cloud of bats screeching and swirling into the sky.

He doesn’t know what he expects to see when he steps outside – he hasn’t dared think too hard about it, but he’s taken aback by the freshness of the air after the stench of the cave, so unlike the polluted and sterile post-nuclear air he left behind that fateful night. He knows where he is, of course, not far from Raccoon Creek; he drove here with Bones, less than a hundred miles from what was left of Iowa City.

There’s no moon, and he sees something he hasn’t seen in many years, tall pine trees silhouetted against a canopy of stars, brilliant and endless. They were mere saplings when he was last here, growing among the charred remains of Maquoketa forest; it’s indication enough that at least a hundred years have passed, as is the fact that he can see the stars at all, for the constant haze which obscured the constellations following the war has cleared. The landscape here at least has been healed by time, just as he has been.

He licks his lips, wonders what else he’s going to find out there, if the world’s still in chaos, who’s in fucking charge now, what other disasters and wars have befallen mankind while he was hidden away from harm?

At least the dirt track looks much the same; he remembers standing in this spot, playing the violin for Leah and his heart aches as he makes to return to the cave. He freezes when he sees a sign.


containment of WNS fungal infection
Iowa National Parks, 2232.

Jesus, one hundred and twenty three years he’s been interred, that’s assuming the sign isn’t out of date. He touches the material it’s made from – a type of plastic that looks exactly like wood. Plastic hasn’t fallen out of favor then.

He sighs, knows he has to move on before day light, before he’s seen newborn and naked, with his arms streaked in dirt, his face covered in blood and tear streaks. So he squeezes back into the cave and gets dressed, picks up the bag of blood and the violin and gives the interior of the box one final sweep. He finds an envelope and tucks it in his pocket then he looks in the back of the cave. All of Bones’ boxes are gone and he wonders what must have been going through her mind when she returned to take them. Did she peek at him inside the box? Did she even come back? Perhaps someone else came to take them after she…

“Fuck it,” he says and leaves to head for the river.


He leaves his clothes on the river bank and takes the violin and Bones’ blood and digs into the soft soil with his bare hands to bury them there. Then he has to speak a few words, like a prayer.

“Bones,” he says, clasping his hands in front of him, “I, dunno, I miss you, I guess. Still.”

He looks at the creek where he is, the water running round his ankles, at the leaf litter on the bank, the moss on the trees, and thinks about how they’re here, he’s still fucking here, and Bones, Leah, all of them aren’t. “I’m getting rid of the one material thing that means something to me, Bones. It’s symbolic, shows how I have to give something up, how if I took that kid’s life when it should have been me, the least I can do is really start afresh. Since it’s all I’ve got with me, it’ll have to be the thing I sacrifice. I’m returning it to the land and that’s kind of cool, right?”

He thinks about how it was back in New Orleans, how he surrounded himself with beauty, with priceless objects, meaningless things, even his violin, when the one thing that’s ever really meant anything in his life is gone: Bones – all of them. He feels tears starting again; it’s a good fucking thing no one can see him this weak, this pathetic.

“And I’m still here because I fought to be with you one more time. I don’t know if I’ll find you again – shit, couple of times, we bumped into each other – I didn’t even come to find you. It’s so fucking random, Bones, sometimes I wonder if maybe I missed seeing you in other lives, in the past, you know...” He kneels down in the water, ”but I promise you this, Bones – I’ve been given this one extra chance, and I’m not gonna waste it.

“I’m reborn, like new with another life ahead of me; that’s why I’m not taking anything with me when I leave this place., erm...he won’t have died for nothing – I’m going to try and give something back for once, atone for my past. And if I don’t find you again, I’m going to end it all for real this time, give this soul I stole back because... I don’t think I can fucking stand it otherwise. Immortal life’s nothing without you.”

He scrubs the back of his hand across his cheek, gazes at the blood on his knuckles and dips his hand in the water to return it white and pure to clasp his other hand until he finishes his prayer. “So…erm… farewell sounds like the right thing to say…”

He wades into the river till he’s standing chest high in the water, washing away earth and blood, like a newborn covered in vernix and amniotic fluid, till his skin is pure and white and fresh. He ducks down and then comes out spitting water – baptized. He’s aware the river’s cold but to him it’s refreshing, invigorating; the blood from the bats coursing through him, making him feel so damned alive and awake after a hundred years of sleep.

He can hear every sound in the forest, every heartbeat, can smell the cycle of life around him, of birth and death, a cycle he almost became a part of...then he stops still, senses on alert. He shakes his long hair away from his face, lowers his hands to his hips and submerges so only his eyes are peeking over the faint current.

It’s a deer, a doe, not a whitetail, but smaller, its coat a shaggy, mustard brown and not a breed he’s seen in Iowa before since most of the indigenous wildlife was wiped out by the nuclear devastation. He wars with himself, feeling conflicted about killing it because he really needs more blood and he’ll have to feed from so many animals where the blood of just one human would make the world of difference. He steps closer, overwhelmed by the need at least to see it up close; it looks so healthy, so fragile, so rare.

He reaches out a hand and their eyes catch – it’s enough to make the animal his. Rooted to the spot, the deer’s ears twitch but her body is utterly still, her breath escaping in a swirl in the winter air, as he compels and draws her in.

Jim wades through the water, and climbs onto the river bank, closer; he lays a hand on its neck and rubs gently. The deer’s eyes dart towards him and he chuckles; “Mixing my drinks would only give me indigestion, my friend,” he whispers.

Then he hears, “Oi, vampire! Step away from the deer!”

Startled, Jim freezes – fuck – it’s someone else out hunting. It’s too much to hope they won’t have a gun, surely, and he considers diving back into the river when...

“Raise your hands and don’t try any of that faster-than-a-speeding-bullet crap; I can move as fast as you can...”

Jim sniffs the air; the voice isn’t coming from a human, it’s a demon – he recognizes that scent, of hops and chalk and damned tree roots or something.

“Can I turn around?”

“Yeah go on; it’s got to be better than looking at your arse.”

When he turns, he feels a shudder of reflex fear – it’s a Caochladh demon, a male, the same kind that attacked him in the bar. Jim’s teeth descend and he growls in warning. This time it’s just the two of them and this demon’s pretty small for its type, and with only an axe in its hand, Jim’s certain he can take him even if he’s not back to full strength and won’t be until he feeds again.

“Hey, no need to get all bumpy on me, mate – long as you leave the deer alone, we’re fine, okay?”

“Take it – eat it, I’ll be on my way. I’m not looking for trouble.”

The demon’s red skin is almost black in the darkness and he holds still, axe by his side, dressed in a t-shirt, leather pants and big boots, his expression surprisingly calm for such a pugnacious breed. Then he smiles at Jim, all brimstone teeth and fierce indigo eyes.

I’m not going to bloody eat it, vampire – it’s protected. By me.”

“By you...okaaay...this is a first. I thought you guys were killers.”

“Like vampires you mean?” The Caochladh grins – a frightening sight taking into account the sheer number of teeth. “I’m just taking the piss mate, don’t take it wrong; just doing my job; I’m the ranger in this sector,”


“Yeah. That weird or something?”

Where the fuck does Jim begin to classify weird in his long life? A demon employed by some kind of authority? Things must have changed big time. Maybe the worm has turned and the demons have taken over; maybe there aren’t any more humans.

Since the Caochladh doesn’t look like he wants to fight, Jim tries the friendly approach, smooth-talking until he can take the opportunity to run.

Jim lowers his hands,“I’m Jim, by the way.” The demon in him subsides, but he can still feel the stretch of his skin across his forehead so to assuage it, he adds, “And you’re British...”

“Yeah – I’m Cunoval,” the demon says, his eyes sparkling. “Fancy a drink? I’ve had a long night, covered a lot of acreage and, much as I’d like to kill you, I’d get into all kinds of shit if I did – plus it wouldn’t look good on my resume.”

He moves his axe into his other hand. It isn’t the usual antique weapon his kind are so fond of, but something sleek, modern and light-weight – part of his kit. Jim can make out lettering on his t-shirt, military green stretched across wiry, red muscle, tattoos snaking up his neck.

“I’m not looking for a fight unless you hurt the sambar, that is.” Cunoval half-turns away from Jim and gestures towards the sky. “Sun’s gonna come up in half an hour and you need to get indoors. Oh, and put your clothes on will you? You’ll frighten the wildlife.”

Jim nods. It’s too complicated explaining about the ring – they’ve only just met after all. He turns to release the deer from its thrall and sighs when it skitters up the bank, treading all over his clothes.


Cunoval is a head shorter than Jim with a shock of thick, light-brown hair which Jim could swear is spiked up with product. The demon swings his axe playfully as they walk side by side through the trees at a normal human pace, despite the imminent sunrise.

“I patrol this sector at nights, have done for twenty-years. I could smell you in that cave and I wondered when the fuck you were going to get up, lazy bastard...” He chuckles and slaps Jim on the shoulder making him wince – fuck these guys are strong.

Jim waits for an opportunity to look more directly into Cunoval’s fierce eyes; he’s not tried to compel a demon, preferring in the past, to just go for their throats, or avoid them altogether, and he’s not sure he even can.

“You can’t,” Cunoval says with a grin, baring yellow teeth the size of a fucking grizzly. ”Compel me that is.”

“You can read minds?”

“One thing Starfleet’s shown us is that telepathic species are two a penny in the universe, you know that...”

“As a matter of fact, I don’t,” Jim says. Cunoval stops to look at him. “I went to ground for longer than I’d planned.”

“That explains the hair disaster. How long?”

“What year is it?”


Only a year longer than the sign he saw. “Jesus, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do...”

“First thing you’ll wanna know about, mate, is what went down this morning.” Cunoval starts walking again. Jim looks up and seeing a log cabin ahead, catches up with him. “One of our starships was blown up by an alien craft – a right cluster-fuck by the looks of things...” He stops outside the cabin, waves a hand, “Home sweet home.”

He watches as Cunoval rests his axe by the door, “All the rangers get their own cabin – main perk of the job.” He presses his thumb to a small, metal disc by the door and it swishes open making Jim jump. Cunoval grins at him. “Blimey, you have been away a long time. Come on, Robinson Crusoe, please won’t you come in? Feels like you’re part of the wildlife here, my responsibility you might say. I’m glad I caught you before you took off.” And he bows down and flourishes an imaginary hat like a consummate English gentleman.

Yeah, a very long time.


“You’re gonna catch flies,” Cunoval says smoothly, stepping round Jim. “Lights.”

“Goddamn but I love technology,” Jim breathes out in awe. The cabin is deceptively small on the outside and is a nice, masculine mix of high tech and cavern comfort – perfect for a Caochladh. There’s a stone floor, two enormous, black leather couches, a gallery at one end – presumably the sleeping area, and a kitchen to one side. An entire wall is given over to a bank of screens and glass where dots of light flicker in response to Cunoval’s voice.

“Quite a bit of what you see is hologram,” Cunoval explains, wiping his feet on the mat. Jim does the same and then pads after him to the center of the open-plan space.

“It’s like something out of science fiction,” Jim says walking towards a screen which ripples like water under his touch, then boots up showing news feed.

“Nah, let’s not bother with that just yet – it’ll do your head in, Jim, seeing as you’ve been away so long. Computer, screens off.” Cunoval says hurriedly, “I’ll bung some music on. What are you into? And if you say ‘Bach to Beatles’, I’ll pull your head off.” Which amuses Cunoval a great deal, because he slaps his thigh and a rumble that sounds like a Blue Whale’s indigestion fills the room as he lets out his demonic laugh. “Computer, play the slow-comfortable-screw mix.”

Jim raises his eyebrows, then when ancient ‘four guys and a guitar’ music seeps out of hidden speakers, he smiles.

“Don’t worry, Jim, I don’t fancy you, it’s just my chill-out music. If you want something else, ask the computer.”

“No, I’m good – one thing about you British, you can bet your musical taste is cool.”

Cunoval beams. “It’s cold in here but I never put the heating on, seeing as I don’t need it anymore than you do – though it’s handy when I bring the ladies round.”

Jim grins.

“You want a drink? I’ve got beer, beer and—”


Cunoval slaps him amicably on the back and moves to a glass screen which looks like an old-style microwave. “I’m just going to measure you up so stand still, just here.” He points and Jim moves forward a foot apprehensively. “Computer, tailoring programme, humanoid, earth male, how tall?”

“Six one...”

“Which would hundred and eighty-five point four two centimeters,” Cunoval finishes. “I majored in maths,” he winks.

A circle of light descends from the ceiling and Jim sees an image of himself on screen as the computer computes his measurements. Cunoval types onto a key pad, and after some time there’s a whirring and a ping. Looking very pleased with himself he reaches in and pulls out a pair of faded jeans, a long sleeved blue t-shirt, and a denim jacket.

“That’s so fucking cool,” Jim says picking the clothing up. “No underwear?”

“You don’t look the type,” Cunoval says. “Fact of the matter is, I’ve yet to meet a demon that wears it – they may have tamed us, but they’re never going to take our balls, eh? We’ll sort out footwear later, after you’ve had a shower, alright?”

“Sure. What’s that one for?” Jim points to the ‘microwave’.

“It’s a food replicator, damned useful when you’re on a diet like mine?” Cunoval’s dark eyes sparkle, “Wanna see? You first though, what do you fancy?”

“Well, vampire - booze and blood – the life of an ascetic,” he says with a grin.

Cunoval rolls his eyes. “What? Not even chocolate?”

“Hey, I may be dead but who doesn’t like chocolate?”

“Take a pew and I’ll bring you some over.”

Thirty seconds it takes. “Voila!” Cunoval says, bringing over a cup of blood. “I guessed o-neg, you look like a meat and potatoes kind of vampire.”

Jim feels a frisson of guilt and hesitates. It would be rude to say no. He takes the cup; it smells fucking delicious – exactly like human blood, and it’s warm, damn, it’s just what he needs.

“No one died?”

Cunoval laughs, “It’s a replicator, dude, ‘course no one died. Shouldn’t taste too bad, go on, give it a try...”

Jim takes a tentative sip and runs his tongue across his teeth. It’s the perfect temperature, tastes okay, and he can feel his cheeks, his skin warming already. “Fuck,” he says, taking a proper mouthful this time, looking at Cunoval’s grinning face over the rim of his cup. He swallows slowly, savoring it, then knocks back the whole cupful. There’s definitely something missing, his canines haven’t descended, his demon’s dormant still but the blood’s doing the trick, working through his system, fixing him up. The tang of salt and copper’s pretty good but it has no kick at all, like de-caff.

“Good?” Cunoval says.

“Yeah, but...”

“It hasn’t got the ‘essence’ in it, I know...”

The ‘ingredient’ which makes Jim hard every time, which brings the demon roaring up, which makes him feel complete – the essence – life.

“Yeah, I guess. Good though.”

“My turn,” Cunoval programs the replicator again and Jim watches in interest as he brings out a plate of brains, unwraps a plastic fork and sits on the couch.

“Human?” Jim says casually.

“Nah, we’re not as picky as you guys – this is buffalo, my favorite. Human brains shall I put it... often very disappointing; dense in texture and full of stupid ideas. Not replicated ones, of course, but I never got a taste for them since they gave me a load of nightmares back in the day, so... I like my food simple too. ” Cunoval turns to look at him. “You know you smell like piss?”

“Bats,” Jim explains, eyes sweeping the screens on the wall.

“I fucking love bats,” Cunoval says between mouthfuls, his teeth gleaming with cerebral-spinal fluid. “Now if I thought anyone had hurt them, or maybe eaten one or two...I’d...” Jim swallows, realizes for the first time how irritating reading someone’s mind must be now it’s happening to him. Cunoval doesn’t finish the thought, instead saying, “The fungal infection’s pretty much gone but I left the sign on your cave – I didn’t want you eating any of the hikers if they poked around in that coffin of yours.”

“I like to think of it as a sarcophagus, but yeah, that wouldn’t have been...good.”

“Then I’d have to hunt you down, tear you limb from limb, you know...not very friendly.”

“So you were in there?”

“Yep. I thought I’d leave you to it; I know you lot go to ground sometimes and that you’d get up when you were good and ready.” He looks pointedly at Jim. “You’ll have to check into the rehabilitation office in Iowa City once you’re cleaned up, mate. They don’t like vampires wandering around un-chipped. You might be able to hitch a ride to the Re Kots colony when you get a few credits together.”

“What fucking colony?” Jesus. “And credits? I feel like my head’s going to explode.”

“Well, if it does, you don’t mind if I eat your brains? It’s been a while since I’ve had anything fresh if you know what I mean, though last time I tried Goth brains they were pretty dry and chewy.”

“That’ll be the whole dead part, I guess,” Jim says in relief.

“The Re Kots colony is on one of the Andorian moons – I’ll fill you in later. Grab another beer for us and we can watch the news feed – I’m a bit of a news junkie. Oh, hang on, maybe I need to prep you first; I don’t want your brains all over my rug.” He puts down his clean plate and says, “Computer, put together a synopsis of the past 100 years of Earth history. include key Starfleet landmarks, no wait... you want visual or would you prefer a nice piece of text?”

“I...I like to read...”

“, send it to the PADD, oh, and throw in a fashion update.” He turns to Jim. “Your hair’s crap mate, you know. If you could see yourself in a mirror... no offense.”

“None taken.”


Jim sips more blood while Cunoval clips his hair and shaves him since he won’t be able to do it himself as well without much of a reflection. “This is the weirdest thing ever, and I’ve done some weird things in my time...” Jim says.

“What, a guy’s never shaved you before? You must have had your fair share of minions, acolytes and such...I thought you vampires always have to carry a shitty stick round with you.”

Jim smirks. “‘Course I’ve had a guy shave me, but you know, never a goddamn Caochladh. I had no idea that you all had this soft, squishy center.”

“Fuck off,” Cunoval says amiably, “you fangy wankers and your bloody prejudices.” He steps back and regards Jim. “Man, you’re beautiful under all that fur. Almost good enough to eat. Though you still stink – take a shower, be my guest.”

The bathroom’s pretty basic – an enormous john with a stack of PADDS by it, a floor-length mirror in which Jim can just about make himself out, and a shower with no apparent shower-head. He assumes it’ll be automatic, like the door was, and the water will flow once he steps in. He runs his hand through his buzz-cut and sure enough, he hears a low hum and instantly feels a pulse all over his body from every direction; not water though: sound waves or something; it’s like being on the inside of a giant’s vibrator he thinks, as the air around him seeps into his muscles as well as removing any residual dirt. He looks down at his feet which were covered in mud from his walk back from the river, and they’re soon white, spotless against what looks like slate tile, but when he examines it, is some kind of rubbery plastic.

Once he’s dressed, he has to make do with hoping he looks right, the mirror being no use at all – this is why he has a ‘look’, a uniform. If it works, he’ll go with it for decades – or in this case, centuries – going by the premise if it was good enough for James Dean, it’s gotta be good enough for an immortal.

“Where should I put these?” he says, rolling up his soiled clothing.

“Pop them in the recycler over there,” Cunoval says, pointing. “Now do your homework so I can put the bloody telly on. I’ll take a shower while you catch up. Oh, and help yourself to anything you fancy.”


Jim drinks half a bottle of whisky while he reads the PADD. His spirits lift when he finds out how the post-nuclear chaos sorted itself out. He swallows when he see the Neo-Transcendentalists and their leader, Liam Dieghan, had a significant part in changing opinion. Jim’s resurrected into United Earth. He reads how the new-born space exploration program had evolved and produced a United Federation of Planets.

He’s leapfrogged from chaos to order and hope. The irony is that he was never happier than in those dark ages when he was with Bones, and has never felt more blank than in this shiny future, alone.

He opens another tab and reads about the Re Kots colony and decides instantly he’d rather be staked than end up there on a diet of replicated blood, and he discovers to his horror that once vampires leave this sun, while they can walk in daylight elsewhere, they also lose most of their powers, unable to compel, read minds, and weaker by half. It’s too fucking much to be brought to heel like that, to be impotent, to give up, well...everything he is. Yeah, he’s gonna keep his head down, no fucking way he’s going to ‘check in’ as Cunoval puts it. He’ll put his vampire stealth to good use and stay under the radar.

The couch creaks when Cunoval lands on one end, a fresh beer in his hand. Jim manages to save his whisky from spilling by lifting it above his head. “What the fuck are you wearing, man?”

“Latest Arsenal strip – nice, huh?” The demon’s in soccer shorts and t with a number 7 on the back. His red skin looks like he’s oiled it too. Quite the metro-sexual demon, Jim thinks. But...

“Red on red,” Jim muses. “I dunno, dude, it’s worse than my double-denim thing...”

“We’re both good-looking enough to carry it off, vampire, now shut up – I want to catch up on what’s been going on.”


The USS Kelvin, under the command of Captain Richard Robau, and carrying a crew of eight hundred Starfleet personnel and their families, was attacked by an unidentified vessel close to the Federation-Klingon border.

Details are unconfirmed, but it appears Captain Robau was killed during the attack and the Kelvin’s first officer, George Kirk, assumed command before the Kelvin was destroyed.

Starfleet is not releasing further details at this time but it will say that Kirk ordered evacuation of the ship via shuttle craft thereby saving the vast majority of the crew. Names of the deceased will not be released until next of kin are informed.

The shuttles are currently rendezvousing with Starfleet rescue vessels. The whereabouts of Captain Kirk has not been verified. Reports that he was killed aboard the Kelvin are also unconfirmed. His wife, Lt. Cdr. Winona Kirk, believed to be expecting their second child, cannot be reached by this news station. It is not clear under what circumstances the Kelvin was lost.

Starfleet Command issued a statement that they regret to announce the loss of the Kelvin but, due to issues of security, are not able to release further details until initial investigations have been completed.


Run, run, gotta, run.
It’s only when Jim’s ten miles from Cunoval’s cabin that he remembers – he left Leah’s note unread in his old clothes. They’re in the recycler, gone, fucking disappeared into the ether, like George Kirk. That some part of her lives on in him through the blood she gifted him all those years ago is no comfort at all, for now his dream makes sense – he’s hijacked a life, taken the place of a child – the new James Tiberius Kirk who was meant for greater things – perhaps to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a hero one day.

Grieving and mentally exhausted, and soaked through from the chill rain, he collapses in the outer reaches of the forest.

When he heard the news, he took a moment to pick up his boots, then he just upped and ran, abandoning his host, Cunoval, without so much as a fucking word.

He heard the demon call after him, sounding surprised, shouting a bitter – “You’re welcome, mate...” after him as Jim leaped across the clearing.

His head’s pounding, memories from his dream of a flash, a storm, making him want to tear his eyes out, but he knows there’s nowhere he can run to and hide from himself, that the only way this will be over is if he removes his ring and stands in the sunlight, turns to ash to be blown away by the wind, scattered over the land he was raised in before he became a vampire.

He can hear the faint sound of traffic ahead and he lifts himself up limping towards it. His mouth falls open when he sees what’s ahead; ground and air-borne traffic heading to Iowa City in the rush-hour. The part of him that’s always loved machines notices with glee that despite the new shiny age, there seems to be a fashion for vintage cars from the twentieth century, old-style bodies but near silent engines, no emissions, they pass by holding a variety of what Cunoval called ‘sentient’ beings, many of whom would have been just simply ‘demons’ in his time; green and blue skin, and humans too, naturally, all skin colors, all part of the fabric of this diverse, brave, new world.

He walks on, parallel with the highway until he reaches a rest stop. He meanders through the parked vehicles and peers through their windscreens at computers, at the belongings strewn on the dash-boards, watching the citizens of the United Planets recharging their vehicles, buying snacks, and some running through the incessant, winter rain into the diner-style restaurant.

Following them in, the music’s electronic but he notes with satisfaction that despite instruments changing, what’s pleasing to the human ear doesn’t seem to vary so much over the years; there’s always the same form and structure, and the same affection for the bridge he thinks wearily.

He takes a seat in a booth and strokes the leather upholstery; it’s not leather, replicated maybe, like the fucking fake blood he drank in the cabin. He scans the other folk, some eating eggs, others drinking shakes, mostly human (on the surface at least, though he swears he can smell demons among them) and one or two eating strangely colored dishes – alien food obviously being as popular these days as ethnic foods were a hundred years ago.

All he can think about is blood. He’s gotten a grip and managed to crush his demon once he left the canopy of trees, not wanting to draw attention to himself – so his eyes are the ‘right’ color, he’s not all ‘bumpy’ as Cunoval put it. Trouble is, his skin’s so fucking luminous even on a gray day like this, he’s bound to come off as a vampire, and from what his friend led him to believe, there aren’t a lot of them left on earth.


He glances up at the waitress and forces a thin smile. “Coffee?”

“Coming right up!” She leaves a menu and when he picks it up, it sparks into life, holographic images of the selections available, morphing and shifting in his hands. He taps the ‘appetizer’ section and another set of choices appears. It’s too fucking much, he’s overloaded. He can smell food but he doesn’t trust his senses anymore: everything’s different, and half of it is fake – how is replicated food even food? he wonders. He glances at the prices and again, none of it makes sense. Credits? Jesus.

He eavesdrops on the many conversations around him, watching through the window as a gorgeous, red 1960s style Corvette pulls up. His eyes follow the passengers, two women, a couple, walking hand in hand into the diner, until they take a seat in the booth behind him. More change – this is good, he thinks; progress isn’t just about new machines.

He remembers with a hitch in his heart how tormented L.H. was when they were together for that short time in London, thinking how things might have been different if L.H. had been able to stay with him, somehow gotten over his self-denial; if Bones hadn’t been a man of his time.

The coffee’s delivered and when the waitress leans in to fill up his cup, Jim looks up at her. “I’ve settled up,” he whispers, “and I left a generous tip.”

Her eyes widen and a look of calm passes her young features. “Would sir like anything else?”

“No, I’m good,” he lies, tearing his eyes away from the vein on her neck. It feels good after Cunoval’s acceptance of him that this is normal: he’s compelled someone, got what he wants – yeah this is how he’s always operated, using charm and violence to get his own way. He knocks back the scalding coffee in two gulps. “Great coffee; it’s real?”

“Oh, yes, sir – we only serve real coffee at Cedars.”

“I’ll be sure and tell my friends,” he smiles his cobra smile and adds, “forget me.”

She picks up the cup, looks past him, and turns away. No one gives him a second glance when the door tings behind him. Another vintage detail, he thinks. Cute.

He moves to the Corvette and scans its body work. It’s flawless, like him, and about as fake and out of place – just like his heart doesn’t beat, the car’s combustion engine has been removed and replaced with whatever the fuck they use to power vehicles these days. But it looks like the real deal even down to the vintage dash, though he can see a display panel just below the speedometer that’s all twenty-third century.

He clenches his hands, glances over his shoulder at the couple in the diner wondering how you even hot-wire something that has no wires. But through observing others get into their parked vehicles, his vampire hearing reveals that what he needs is a voice command. He turns back to face the driver’s door, mutters “sorry, ladies,” then changes his voice and mimics the driver’s voice exactly; his lips twitch when he hears the satisfying clunk of the lock.

He drives and drives, foot almost to the floor, until the landscape’s flat and featureless. He remembers a giant bomb crater not far from Riverside and, with no goal in mind other than to find out what’s there now, he pulls the car through a sharp forty-five degree turn, kicking up clouds of dust in his wake. He notices a light blink on the dash and the computer announces dispassionately, speed limit violation, traffic officer in vicinity.

“Computer, shut the fuck up,” he crows and turns up the volume on the music, grinning like a loon at the sense of exhilaration, how alive he feels after a hundred years of sleep. He can do whatever the hell he wants, he thinks as he unfastens the roof and whoops when it hits the tarmac behind him, bouncing into a field.

As he nears the crater, things start to look familiar; it used to be a sectioned off rad zone last century, but that’s not going to cause him any problem.

When he sees the traffic cop finally descend on him from the air like a vulture, all black and featureless, Jim hollers,“Fuck you, Robocop!” and laughs when the bastard tries to overtake him. He heads towards the very low-tech gates at speed, enjoying the rush and noise when they give easily around the Corvette, bursting open to let him through.

He considers going over the cliff edge with his foot to the floor, though he wouldn’t even go up in flames without a good old-fashioned fuel tank to stoke his pyre.

Then he thinks about George Kirk. Jim has no idea how he died – no one does yet – his dream showing him there was an inferno involved.

Suddenly, dying – ending it all – why it might be fitting for himself, feels like the most disrespectful act to George, to his wife and their son whose life he stole, to all those that lived and the countless Jim has murdered in his own pointless existence; he made a promise to Bones by the river, he...

With the edge of the ravine dead ahead, he slams both feet down hard on the brake, throwing himself from the door, his fingers gripping the cliff edge in the nick of time. He pulls himself up effortlessly, breathing a sigh of he knows not what – relief? Dismay? Fuck if he cares – he’s got hundreds more years ahead of him where he can untangle his motivation.

For now he has a more pressing problem, he realizes, as his eyes sweep up the cop’s leather clad legs.

Citizen? Seriously? Well, it makes a change from being addressed as ‘vampire’.


Jim sits in a cell wishing that vampires had the power to melt walls with a look. Or these damned silicone cuffs around his wrists – it’s a good thing he doesn’t need to piss, he thinks, or this would prove an awkward arrangement the way they insisted on binding his hands behind his back. His ankles are tied too.

Now he awaits trial, the whole system incredibly, having become much more efficient since he last took an interest in these matters. They’ll rule on him by the end of the afternoon, they tell him.

He’s got an eye-shield on so he can’t compel anyone and they’re waiting for clearance before they inject him with a vervain suppressant. Cunoval didn’t mention that fucking bit of ‘progress’ did he? Jim refused to drink the container of blood they bought him, and remained silent when they offered representation. Until his trial, they say, he’s staying right where he is.

He should feel helpless, neutered; instead all he feels is blank. He remembers his great house in New Orleans; in those days he did whatever he pleased, followed any whim, killed at will and with impunity, and a part of him wishes he’d died then, that he’d left the goddamn party when the going was good, because this – this is so normal that he’s starting to think a society based on equality for demons, aliens, a piece of shit. To kill a vampire, forget fire, silver and wooden stakes – now he knows he could die from boredom alone.

A cop comes to release him and once Jim’s ankles are untied, she points an actual ray-gun at him in case Jim tries something. Andorian...” Jim smirks. “That would be a first for you taste like Blue Moon ice-cream. Wanna give me a taste? You know, help me lose my cherry?”

“Mr Kirk, I suggest you desist from flirting with me as it may count against you in court.” Her antennae lean away from him then extend into a neutral upright position.

“Oh, but how can I help myself?” he tries to say smoothly, as another human cop puts a hand on his upper arm and leads him into a side room. “I can’t desist when you have such a hot, sexy accent,” he finishes over his shoulder, watching her very human-shaped ass as she glowers back at him until the door swishes shut, and he’s left alone in a small room, with one chair in the center and two more empty, against a wall.

“James Tiberius Kirk?” A life-size image appears on the screen – a judge?

“That’s me.” He shakes his head against the eye-shields but they’re secure. “Listen man, can I just go home?”

“We have your place of birth as Riverside, Iowa. That can be arranged in good time...”

“No, I mean, the eighteenth century home, when it was great being a vampire. Now, not so good.”

“Unfortunately we are unable to comply with your request.” The judge regards him impassively.

“What, you haven’t cracked time-travel yet? Now that’s a shame...”

He slides down in his seat and listens to the long list of misdemeanours. The judge says that since Jim’s been interred for so many years, since his crimes are against property and not the person, since he has not had the opportunity to ‘adjust psychologically’ to the expectations of their shiny fucking society – they have decided to be lenient with him. Fuck you very much.

He’s to be chipped before he leaves the building, undergo rehabilitation and visit a therapist, take vervain suppressants daily and undergo community service until he has paid for the damage incurred to the Corvette.

“Failure to comply means that you will be removed to Re Kots immediately.” What, and be a small fish in a big pond? No fucking way – so he says all the right things, winces when they inject him with vervain, blinks when they remove the eye-shields and manages not to punch anyone when they finally unshackle him.

In the interests of maintaining his image, he winks at the Andorian cop on his way out, though truth be told, he feels like he’ll never get it up again.

Along with his pack of vervain suppressant he’s supposed to take every twelve hours, he pockets the comm device and the credit chip they give him (both of which must be paid for by the end of the month) and glances at the card with the address where he’s to be granted lodgings for one week until he finds his own place and a job.

He stands on the steps and sniffs the air, yep there it is, exactly what he’s looking for – the scent of trouble – and he hops down the steps and heads to south-east downtown, to the wrong side of the tracks where he belongs.


Jim finds a dealer within half an hour.

He’s not sure how he’s going to pay for the vervain antidote, not having figured out the credit chip thing yet, and sure that his spending will be monitored anyway, but when Jim mentions payment, the guy glances up both sides of the alley, slides his hand around Jim’s neck and guides Jim’s mouth to his throat.

Pressing his groin against Jim, he whispers, “Bite me, you fuck.”

Jim sinks his teeth into the offered neck, knowing the guy won’t bust him and he shows remarkable restraint, taking only a few mouthfuls, sighing in relief as the copper fills his mouth, lights him up, the fucking essence. This is what his body’s been craving since he went to ground and it’s like everything slides into place. His confidence returns, his sense of who he is even. The grief subsides because he’s a vampire, and that’s what vampires fucking do, they drink human blood, fresh, not from some fucking bottle. Whatever was he thinking?

He doesn’t know how he doesn’t finish the guy off, but something must have rubbed off on him from hanging out with Bones, Spock, Angel, Stefan: all those holier than thou bastards, and he pulls away, giving the bite wounds a sweep of his tongue to seal them up.

“How long’s this take to work?” he asks, wiping his mouth and grinning at the guy’s blissed out expression. Looks like he’s not the only one came in his pants. Thank you lord for fang-bangers; he’s never yet lived in a century where you couldn’t find humans following vampires around like drug addicts.

“Half an hour tops; they keep the vervain doses small, they’re worried vamps will build up an immunity if they increase it, so you time this right during the second half of the twelve hour cycle, it’ll work quicker. Only way they’ll know you’ve taken it, apart from the obvious, is if they take a blood test, and they avoid doing that between you and me. Not after the way vamps were treated back in the day, doesn’t look good.”

“Got it. How do you know so much about this stuff, man?”

“Most people would call me crazy, but I like vampires, is all.”

“Well taste way better than that replicated shit – delicious in fact!”

“Thanks. Hey man, look me up if you ever need anything. If you ever need cash and want to sell some vamp blood, there’s Orion dealers use it as an aphrodisiac – unbelievable stuff.”

Brave new world my ass, Jim thinks.


Jim takes the anti-vervain and wanders through the streets. Through open windows he can see ordinary folk doing ordinary things – sitting watching TV and waiting to eat their evening meals – it’s an epiphany when he realizes this isn’t what he fucking wants – he doesn’t want to be like them. The only thing they have he doesn’t, is companionship.

He celebrates the antidote’s effect by climbing up a four story building, ignoring the fire escapes but moving from window-sill to window-sill, or shimmying up drainpipes until he reaches the flat roof. He stretches out on his back and stares up at the stars wondering how he can get out there, away from this goddamn egalitarian planet with no place for him. Way things are, he’s gone from being a God to an offender, from top of the heap to pond-scum, and he doesn't like either option, though if he left, he’d stand no chance of ever finding Bones again. And he’d lose everything that makes him a vampire too, his ability to read minds, his ability to compel, to say nothing of his strength. Hell, he doesn’t know how to be any other way.

His comm pings and he pulls it out of his jeans pocket and grins when he sees who the message is from. He flicks to map view then mentally plots the most complicated sheer route, which will involve the maximum amount of vampire climbing and leaping.

He arrives at his destination exhilarated; suburbia looks much the same as it ever did; he’s in a broad cul-de-sac, all trimmed lawns and fancy bushes out front.

He cocks his head when the door’s answered.

“What’s this about a full body search?” he smirks, giving the Andorian cop his best irresistible look.

Her antennae twitch towards him and he fancies he detects a faint blush on her blue skin.

“Please, Mr. Kirk, won’t you come in?”

Well, seeing as he isn’t going to be leaving Earth anytime soon, he might as well make himself at home.



2255, Riverside Shipyard


The kid’s eyes sweep Leonard’s face as he babbles and rants, looking away almost shyly when Leonard fixes him with a scowl.

His face is fucked up, he’s practically buzzing with contained energy, and Leonard knows from the moment he first catches sight of Kirk that he’s going to have trouble shaking him off – not that he necessarily wants to.

Leonard hands Kirk his flask and part of him hopes the kid’ll keep it; since this might give Leonard an excuse to look him up later. In fact, he’s already constructing a story in his head – how the flask’s got sentimental value – sorry to bother you, Kirk, but it used to belong to my father.

He finds his gaze lingering a little too long on the fight-bruised plush lips and the tongue sweeping across them. He shoots a side-long look at his flask, and Kirk’s bruised knuckles – Kirk’s quite the little punk it seems, and Leonard feels an instant tightening in his groin. But what’s with the antique looking ring? It hardly fits with the whole rough-rider vibe.

Then, dammit, Kirk hands the flask back; it serves Leonard right for lying even if, at this stage, he was only planning to lie; he didn’t want to admit that the flask is all he has left to represent a promising medical career, a parting gift from Piedmont, and not something important.

Despite his rant, despite appearing not to hold off on the details of his life, Leonard won’t tell Kirk how everything’s shot to shit because of his drinking, because of the acrimony with Joss, because he let this happen to his life, how he caved over custody for Joanna, how he sobbed when the papers came; how stupid he was to give everything to his patients, his career, how it was all his fault, not Jocelyn’s.

But then, if he told Jim all this, he’d come off as a crazy man, right?

“Quit staring at me, kid,” he says mildly, tucking the flask into his inside pocket.

The kid scrutinizes Leonard from under thick eyebrows which make him look too damn serious and old. And then he winks, damned winks at Leonard, which makes him equal parts mad and amused.

Two emotional reactions to one person, well isn’t that a pleasant surprise? “What’s your story, kid?” he drawls. “I’ve told you mine.”

“Yeah, you have at that!” Kirk laughs, and slouches in his seat. His teeth are brilliant white.

Leonard tries to quash the desire to check Jim’s safety harness is correctly adjusted because yeah, Starfleet may have spent years investing every last credit into its new trophy wife Starship, casting its glowing shadow over the new recruits as they filed – or in Leonard’s case, crawled – into this shuttle, but Starfleet sure as hell isn’t going to spend on the little things; and this kid, while he’s all sass and attitude, looks like he could do with someone to look out for him.

Then he mentally slaps himself upside the head because making friends isn’t precisely why Leonard’s here in this shit-bucket, about to be fucking miles above beautiful, solid ground. Which reminds him...fuck...They’re about to take off, and Leonard feels panic rising in him again. He grips the arm rests, presses his back into the seat and grits his teeth.

Kirk taps Leonard’s hand with a pale finger and leans close; there’s something in the kid’s cologne which reminds him of the overpowering aroma of lilies at his daddy’s funeral; it makes his throat almost raw.

He’s glad that if they’re going to die in a ball of flame, he’s next to Kirk; they’re the only two on the shuttle that aren’t in reds, in a uniform of their own, one that says ‘losers’, ‘runaways’; they might look like chalk and fucking cheese but somehow, somewhere they’re cut from the same cloth.

They’ll have to work this out over a drink or something; Leonard just gets this feeling they aren’t gonna be ships in the night. Like they should be friends. It’s weird, this sense of...he searches for the right word...recognition.

Kirk looks him in the eye all knowing, and it’s like he’s read Leonard’s mind the way he half nods. Damn, doesn’t the kid need to blink? Kirk’s pupils are pretty dilated and it crosses Leonard’s mind that maybe he’s some fucked-up drug user as well as a delinquent. Another knot of worry forms among the layers of fear he’s already dealing with.

Then, unaccountably, Leonard relaxes and sinks down into his seat a little; he feels his eyes closing, and the rumble of the shuttle becomes muffled as if a blanket’s been wrapped around his head, though he can hear Kirk’s voice clearly enough, soaking through him like rain-water into parched soil.

“You’ll be fine, Bones, I gotcha, just sleep, go on, I’ll make sure everything’s okay…”


A mere two hours after they’ve landed, Kirk’s become ‘Jim’, and he’s become ‘Bones’.

Leonard finds he’s having to fight tooth and nail to hang onto his trademark scowl, since they haven’t stopped with the banter since they checked in and were assigned their rooms. The kid’s like a ray of fucking sunshine which is weird because Leonard doesn’t connect. He doesn’t make friends. He doesn’t need friends for the love of all that’s holy but, here they are, comfortable and easy, like they’ve known each other for years not hours.

They’re sitting in a bar knocking back mineral water and espresso: much as they want to christen their first day with shots, there’s a silent agreement that somehow they’ve both turned over a new leaf and they’d better start how they mean to go on. Clean.

“Sorry I fell asleep, kid,” Leonard says, drawing invisible little circles on the side of the glass.

“Don’t worry about it,” Jim says with a small smile.

Something has been niggling at the back of his mind since they met. Leonard, who doesn’t tend to be tactile, has been fighting the urge to lean into his new friend since they landed.

He sneaks a look at the kid’s face in the mirror opposite; the image is a little blurred and he puts this down to the fact that he’s hung over, or most likely that the glass needs a wipe like everything else in this dive.

He doesn’t say anything about it, but he wonders at the fucking paleness of the kid, his elegance and this fucking charisma radiating off of him even while he’s sitting here, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket; it has the bartender serving them first every time, and Leonard watches in amusement how Jim’s hit on by half a dozen men and women within the first half hour.

His eyes rest on the fine veins on Jim’s wrist, the tissue-fine translucent skin, and something suddenly occurs to him. He shakes his head – can’t be – he’s not met a vampire in years, and even then the poor bastard was in a cell somewhere, waiting out his time until he was sent off to the vamp colony on Re Kots. Still, there’s no reason why a vampire shouldn’t join Starfleet anymore than any other sentient being.

“You didn’t have anything to do with that, did ya, me falling asleep on the shuttle, when minutes before I was just concentrating on not hurling all over your boots? And mine,” he adds with an eye-roll. Because if Jim is a vampire, he would be taking suppressants to stop compelling folk – it’s the goddamn reason most leave the planet: they don’t like to. At all.

“Why? You saying I bored you to sleep, Bones?”

Leonard likes his new name; it’s fitting after all now he’s got a new life.

“Yeah, there’s that.” He fights another smile and he feels his neck color when he realizes he hasn’t felt this comfortable around another human being outside of a professional context, in years. “There’s something you’re not telling me, kid. I have my theories,” he says with a raised eyebrow. “I think you made me go to sleep. It was good, it stopped me freakin’ out, but... you made it happen. And you didn’t ask my permission to get into my mind, but seein’ as how I made it through, I’ll let it slide this once.”

Jim’s staring at the shiny bar surface and when Leonard glances down, there’s barely a reflection there.

That’s your theory, that I’m some master hypnotist?” Jim’s voice is tight, evasive.

“Maybe, but there’s more—”

“Hit me, Bones, tell me what you think.” And Jim swivels his bar stool round to rest his hands on Leonard’s upper arms, gazing intently into his eyes.

Leonard’s mouth falls open and he can feel the thoughts struggling to the forefront, “Alright...only, it doesn’t add up – we flew here in the daylight, you were out there, in the sunlight...if you’re a...” He blinks. Dammit. He can’t for the life of him remember what he was going to say. “I...I should go check into my dorm…”

“My thoughts exactly,” Jim says, and he looks sad for a moment like he’s…but shit, Leonard can’t finish that thought either.


When Leonard wakes in the morning, he’s slept twelve hours straight, and – fucking great – he’s going to be late for orientation if he doesn’t hit the shower this second.

He stares at his clean-shaven face in the mirror and applies moisturizer, checks his nose hair because if anything Joss has done, it’s trained him well, and as he turns away from the mirror something in it catches his eye. He thinks he sees a face, a subliminal image, a flicker, a flash of blue like sunlit seawater. Of course there’s nothing there.

Shit. He’s really been overdoing the drink. Despite how he’s pressed for time, it seems important he go get his flask. He worriedly checks the chrono; it’s okay, he’s got fifteen minutes yet; he removes the stopper with shaky hands and almost gags at the residual scent of bourbon in there. And that’s the good stuff.

As he rinses out the flask, he wonders where this new found, damned useful, revulsion comes from. He closes his eyes, tries to remember something, then tosses the flask onto the towel he dropped on the bathroom floor. He thanks the powers that be that he doesn’t have to have a roommate in his senior position, then removes the cover off his new uniform.

While he dresses, he considers how fresh he feels; it doesn’t make sense; he’s not as young as he was and he ought to be hung over. Also, he thinks as struggles into his boots, shouldn’t he be suffering from exhaustion? From the emotional trauma of the flight at least? Damn, he’s not had time to adjust to the change in time zones even – Atlanta to Riverside, now here – all in two weeks.

But, despite all this there’s a spring in his step when he walks into the orientation room; the smell of ‘education’ is like goddamn nectar, he feels all... hopeful... though one of the cadets nearby, idiot, is wearing some very strong cologne – it reminds him of lilies.


Other than fleeting glimpses and nods across the campus, he doesn’t see Jim Kirk for several weeks. No surprise – they’re both damned busy. Jim’s leap-frogging command track in three years, and Leonard’s got his own classes, plus compulsory hours at the infirmary as well as a research project to pitch for.

Sometimes he thinks he sees Jim; a blink and he realizes it’s a shadow cast by a bird, or reflected light in his mirror. The goosebumps he gets at random times in the day when he thinks someone’s watching him, well, he’ll put that down to getting used to doing without the booze. Either that, or he’s going mad.

Sleep, though, that’s a problem. He’s plagued by dreams and wakes up in a sweat, clawing at his throat; he can’t make head or tail of it. It’s a return to normal, he guesses, with the one night of good sleep an aberration.

Then one day, Jim Kirk lands in his lap again. Well not literally, although he’s starting to think that would be kind of nice.

“Bones!” he says, grinning like fucking sunshine, like they just finished up talking five minutes ago. “I need your help!”

“You got dick rot? Sure, I can help you with that.” Leonard doesn’t look up from his soup but rests the spoon on the side plate and fiddles with his napkin. Jim can’t just swan in here and act like they’re best buddies when they’re not. He feels his neck color when Jim’s intent stare seems to act like a tractor beam and his eyes are winched up and across to meet brilliant blue.


“You’re grumpy this morning, Bonesy.”

“You call me that ever again and you won’t see in the afternoon, asshole.”

Jim doesn’t look offended – if anything his grin gets even shinier. “Not going to ask me what I need help with?” he says brightly. He drags his chair round and sits right up in Leonard’s personal bubble and looks at the spoon.

“Help yourself,” Leonard grumbles pushing the plate towards him. Jim’s already making headway on his crackers.

“I thought you didn’t eat solids.” He watches Jim closely for a reaction to his comment but Jim doesn’t miss a beat.

“Because I’m an infant, I get it.”

“I repeat: what do you want help with? I’m busy, Jim.”

“The Kobayashi Maru, man!” Jim bites his bottom lip, nodding enthusiastically.

“I thought you had to be in year two to qualify, or did you hypnotize the admirals too?”

“Only with my devilish charm and genius test scores, Bonesy!”

Leonard slaps his arm, noting how Jim winces like it actually hurts. Good.


“Three weeks,” Jim says through a mouthful of soup. “That’ll give us plenty of time. I’m gonna win this, Bones – like a boss. So, you in?”

Leonard folds his arms, sits back in his chair and slides his legs under the table. “Let me get this straight? You’re offering me a front row seat to the inevitable deflation of your monstrous ego? I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”


“It’s a cheat, Bones, fucking unfair. How’d they beat me?”

Jim’s slumped against him, drunk as a skunk, his arm round Leonard’s neck and head lolling like a rag doll. Leonard presses his knee into Jim’s thigh, maneuvers him so his weight’s half against the door frame, leaving him free to press a thumb against the ID panel.

“Come in, Jim, so you can sober up,” Leonard says, proud of how he just did the whole vampire invitation thing so subtly. He drags Jim inside a little roughly and leaves him swaying in the center of the room while he removes his coat.

“Ouch! That hurt – thought you were a healer…”

“And I thought you were human, Jim.” He says it softly, almost hoping Jim won’t have heard, but if Leonard’s theory’s correct, Jim would be able to hear a door click a kilometer away, let alone his passive-aggressive mumblings.

“What do you mean?” Not a vowel slurred. Interesting...

Leonard swallows. Jim looks like he’s grown a hand-span since they’ve entered Leonard’s moonlit rooms. No slurring, no wobbling; he’s sobered up in a snap, like the drunkenness was all an act in the first place.

“You know what I mean, Jim. I’ve long suspected you’re a vampire even though you don’t fit the usual mold – it’s the only reason I haven’t called you on it before, but I could feel you just now, feel how you don’t have a heartbeat, how you don’t breathe.” He pauses, heart pounding in his ears, an excitement thrumming under his skin which doesn’t make sense.

Jim moves to the bed and sits utterly composed, his arms folded and legs crossed, listening in silence while Leonard rants...

“But there’s stuff I don’t get.” He’s on a roll now, drink loosening his tongue. “How do you walk in the sun? How come you don’t sleep in the day? And why the hell did you eat my soup?” He jabs a finger in Jim’s direction. “You’re supposed to eat blood, dammit, that stuff’ll make you sick...well, not ‘sick’ but...”

Something shifts on Jim’s face and his eyes appear to glow amber in the dark; Leonard suddenly feels a little awestruck – sure he’s had as much to do with alien species as anyone who’s never been off planet, treated a few even, but none who came complete with a whole goddamn mythology attached, and most have functioning organs.

Now he’s been busted Jim no longer looks like a kid in his twenties. The frat-boy act is over, everything’s changed: how he moves, his voice even, so much so that Leonard’s wondering how he could have ever doubted this was a vampire. Jim looks scary and beautiful, with his skin striped iridescent with light coming in through the blind.

“I didn’t want you to know,” Jim says finally, voice smooth and melodious, with sharp edges of intent. “I thought it might come between us...” He stands, takes a step closer.

“Why? You think I’m some kind of backward, hill-billy bigot? I’m flattered. Thanks.”

“No, of course not. Never that.” He cocks his head. “The few of us left on earth are pretty tame these days, have to be. That’s not the problem. Pike recruited me and knows all about me, how could he not? But I neither advertise it nor hide it... It’s just...”

“But you never once said anything to me – why, Jim? You lied and we’re supposed to be friends—” the lie of omission. Leonard’s scared now, the look on Jim’s face, it feels like he’s gonna say stuff he won’t want to hear.

“You’re not the first McCoy I’ve known,” Jim says simply. “I…well, I don’t wanna freak you out, but we’ve met before, so to speak. I wasn’t going to mention it, well not yet. I tried to keep away from you. I didn’t want to get in your way...I want you to be happy, Bones.” He lowers his eyes, looks like there’s a weight in his unbeating heart or something, the way he sighs and shakes his head.

“Met? Met how? When? This is creepy, Jim.”

“It doesn’t have to be, Bones” Jim takes another step towards him. “I’m trying here, trying to fit in, not stand out, not be different. Trying to be equals, friends.”

His eyes are fierce and Leonard is suddenly consciously aware of their pull. An ache forms and only touching Jim will soothe it. He wants to bare his neck and give himself. Only he doesn’t trust any of this, nor anything Jim’s said – how can he when he’s obviously being compelled?

“You’re compelling me,” he says, trying to sound all medical diagnosis rather than moral judgement. “Are you taking your suppressants?” He drags his eyes away, goes to find his medical tricorder. Jim is instantly behind him and the speed of his movement, the way he silently appeared, that is fucking scary.

“You don’t need that, Bones, I’m not sick. This isn’t a fucking condition. I’m a vampire. It’s like giving a fucking Vulcan medicine because he can’t help being logical, have you thought about that? Those...the suppressants, they’re...I feel like a dog got taken to the vet – so I give myself a break sometimes, or they wear off; and I could be better at remembering too, sure – but imagine this, Bones, imagine drawing people to you for hundreds of fucking years, imagine that taken away, I...”

He’s never learned how to connect any other way? Is that what he’s saying?

“But you can’t control it, can you? That’s why you gotta take them...”

“I can, just not around...around you. And Bones, I’ve gotta take them because if they find out sometimes I don’t, I’ll be thrown out. They’ll send me to Re Kots. I thought I wouldn’t care, but I do, for lots of reasons...”

He trails off and Bones wants to trust him, wants to earn Jim’s trust too, but Jesus, the way Jim’s looking at him now,’s...shit, he had no idea. Damn, this is the feeling he’s been having...this déjà vu or whatever it is.

Then Leonard’s mind struggles to tease out a foggy memory, a vague recollection of something, that time in the bar. Then it’s gone. Maybe Jim’s compelled him before, wiped his memory of it? That must be it. Now he’s mad, real mad.

They’re staring at each other, two paces apart, Jim’s eyes sweeping him, his face suddenly possessive, eyes filled with desire, but for what? Him? His blood? Jim is a vampire after all – one denied human blood for god knows how long though he may have fed from bleeders, or fang-bangers as some call them. Leonard knows you can always get what you want at a price, as long as you know where to look. The replicated blood, so he hears, isn’t good enough. They don’t heal in the same way.

“Yeah, I drink human blood sometimes,” Jim admits, proving he’s also reading Leonard’s mind, “but I don’t kill, haven’t for so long – even after the war – and I was pretty fucking desperate in those days. It was hard to get animal blood even, the way things were. Till I met one of you – you fucking selfless and beautiful to the last.” Without warning, Jim’s right up against him, the length of his body pressed against Leonard, his hand on the back of his head. “Jesus, you’re the one should be medicating yourself, so I can be free of you. I tried to keep away, I’m...”

Their eyes lock and Leonard feels an ache of lust in his chest that completely side-swipes him. One minute they’re friends, drinking buddies, and yeah, maybe he was attracted, more than, but now, everything’s moving too fast. He parts his lips, panting slightly, so overwhelmed with feeling that wasn’t there before and he closes his eyes, turns his head away, and makes a mental break for it.

“Get out of my fucking head, Jim, this isn’t how it’s done – you’ve got a hold on me but it’s not honest, it’s not me giving, it’s you fuckin’ taking. Let go of me, dammit, lemme go!”

Jim parts his lips, his canines have descended and Leonard can see his eyes flicker amber, violet, his pupils huge and drawing him in and he feels his legs crumple a little, like his bones have dissolved and the only thing holding him upright is Jim’s hand, his gaze.

Jim sniffs his neck, inhales him deep and Leonard can see how he’s fighting with himself and he manages to breathe out. “That’s right, Jim, do the right thing…”

Jim closes his eyes, cants his head back and lets out a howl of frustration.

He loosens his hold on Leonard who drops to the floor, heart pounding, sweat breaking out over his chest and arms. He looks on helplessly as Jim growls, “Computer, open window!” Then he spins on his heel, leaps to the sill in one movement, and steps out into the night air, leaving a sweet, acidic scent of lilies behind him, and Leonard sprawled on the floor like a pile of leaves waiting for a breeze to stir him into action.

He gets onto his knees, his head in his hands and pauses, thinking about Jim, how fucking terrifying yet vulnerable he looked, how he could have just taken Leonard there and then and made him forget that he had. But he didn’t and that’s something to hang onto even if it’s like trying to stitch up a spider web.

He gets to his feet, unsteady, on the verge of hyperventilating, and he throws himself on the bed where he stares up at the ceiling trying to make sense of what just fucking happened.

He saw something in Jim then; he wanted to do the right thing and he managed to control himself and then leave.

It’s obvious Jim’s got no one behind him, nothing to support him and, from what he’s said, Jim wants to be at the academy.

And Jim said he wanted Leonard to be happy. But what did he mean when he said they’ve met before, about McCoy healers? Is this why it feels like they’re old friends when they’ve only known each other a few months?

He is suddenly filled with resolve – if all Jim wants is someone to believe in him, that he can work on, even though he’s not quite sure what the hell’s in it for him.


Leonard resists comming Jim; he really has no fucking idea what to say to him, how to make it better. He will, he just needs to gather, take stock, work out what the hell he wants.

He puts aside a couple of hours to research Jim on the nets; what he reads fills him with horror. Jim was a killer, of course he is – while vampires these days are totally under control, any that don’t reform are sent to to the colony, Jim’s elected to stay on Earth for now, to be a citizen of United Earth – but none of this washes away the blood on his hands of all the people he must have killed in his time. The stark reality is he’s a fucking serial-killer.

And since vampires aren’t in the news these days, Leonard hasn’t given them much thought, no more than any other alien species, although technically they’re human-alien hybrids. The virus came on the ship which crashed in what is still referred to colloquially as the Hellmouth; it adapted best to human hosts, a branch of it evolving to werewolves. The rest of the ‘demons’ as they were then called, have integrated. Vampires are a unique problem and have to be chipped and monitored to prove they’ve reformed, and so the rest of society feels safe. And he’s seen first hand what they’re like when they don’t take the suppressants – Jim had absolute power over him.

Leonard’s annoyed and surprised at himself that despite the way Jim compelled him that night – how it was clear he could have drained him in minutes if he’d chosen to – Leonard never once thought about his past, which is dumb really, because vampires are all past.

And Jim’s old – one of the oldest known vampires – almost five hundred years old, though there are long gaps in his history. He reads about him on countless bleeder sites, most full of poetry and art containing records of sightings, and including scans of ancient documents and the occasional poor quality photo.

Then, to his surprise, he finds a link for an illegal download of some medical journal which would normally require security clearance to access. His mouth falls open when he sees the name of the doctor who wrote the paper: Leah E. McCoy. He runs a cross-check in another tab and sees she is indeed a distant ancestor. He worries about the download being traced to him, then shrugs – he’ll deal with that if and when it happens.

He fixes himself a coffee and scans the text; it’s an incomplete study into vampire self-healing, just notes at best and when he sees the date, it makes sense – it was written during the post-nuclear chaos. She’d have found it impossible to get funding, maybe found it just as hard to find other subjects to complete the research – it’s like she just wanted to put the link somewhere for posterity. After downloading software to convert the ancient file format, he watches the vid with bated breath.

It’s definitely Jim, though an old, depleted version of him, and he feels his heart pounding in his chest when Jim drinks a bag of blood – the old synthesized kind – and the transformation begins. It’s a miracle is what it is, how quickly it works, how Jim moves, how the image begins to fade as he becomes younger, more beautiful, like the Jim he is now.

The camera lurches at one point and Leonard tsks, thinking it’s over when he wanted to see the re-generation complete, then his fucking heart leaps into his throat.

The sound is terrible and he makes a note to see if he can get one of the geeks in communication to enhance it for him at some point, when he sees the camera is now in Jim’s hands. He sees a woman walking away from it then Jim Kirk’s face fills the screen, those unmistakable blue, hypnotic eyes brimming with happiness. He winks and then says, “Missed you, Bones.”

Mind fuck doesn’t even begin to cover what this is. Jim said he didn’t want to go into it, what he meant by his connection with Leonard's family. He’d said it would freak Leonard out if he explained. Damn straight. This is so fucking weird he doesn’t know what the hell to do with it. He’s been drawn to other McCoys for at least a hundred and fifty years. But why?

He’s in over his head here – he doesn’t even know if he has a choice to be with Jim or not. Jim’s maybe been looking for him; Jim must have known he’d enlisted in Starfleet; and there he was thinking their meeting on the shuttle was just random. He feels like he can’t breathe, like he needs to talk about this with Jim, though he gets the feeling that if he broaches the subject, given Jim’s intense reaction the other night, he’ll just disappear from the radar. And why does that fill him with panic? It must be another symptom of the compulsion, he decides.

Then he has a brainwave and thinks about the only person who might know: Captain Pike. He drafts a quick email and before he can change his mind, hits send.


Leonard hasn’t spoken to Pike since he was recruited by him in a Riverside pub.

“I believe in fate, McCoy,” he’d said. “You didn’t just wander in here, into the middle of nowhere to get wasted. You’re a man who likes a challenge – you’ve been living too comfortably these past six months.”

“Kinda busy getting divorced, having my own private vasectomy, yanno?” (Leonard couldn’t imagine speaking to him like that now.)

“Starfleet needs people like you, needs brilliant minds like yours; you give us three years and we can help you find yourself. Take the papers at least.”

Leonard downed his bourbon and left to finish off his drinking in peace, in his motel, wondering how many poor losers Pike hit on that night, thinking how recruitment must be real low if they’d resorted to sending out one of their most decorated captains as a scout.

Now of course, he knows it isn’t like that; it’s just that Pike, well, he’s something else, and likes to do things his own way; he seems to prefer a touch of the maverick in his cadets. But, thinking back to that night, Leonard wonders whether Pike’s right; maybe it was fate that had him leaving Atlanta, coming to Riverside of all places, just so he could bump into Jim Kirk on that shuttle – like he was drawn to him by an invisible force, though it goes against the grain of every way he’s ever tried to make sense of the world up until this point.

Now, in Pike’s pristine, spartan office, he wonders where the hell he should start. Leonard isn’t used to being in awe of anyone and he feels short in this man’s presence, somehow unworthy as he listens.

“You understand that I’m reluctant to reveal anything about cadets,” Pike’s saying. “But from what I can read in-between the lines, you’ve got Jim’s back and if anyone needs someone behind him, it’s Kirk.”

“We connected instantly, we, er...we’ve become friends but then... well, things have gone to sh...gone wrong.” Then he adds hurriedly, “Sir.”

“Please, McCoy, at ease.” Leonard tilts his chin a little and looks at his shoes. “It’s pretty difficult knowing how to act around Jim, I know. He’s quite the package,” Pike says and shares a half smile while regarding him with piercing blue eyes. He walks to the front of his desk and leans on it easily.

“Ain’t that the truth...” Leonard concedes.

Pike smiles wryly. “There’s things you should know about Jim; he went a little wild the past few years – he’s not responded well to the integration. He’s pulled his chip out each time they put it in and he doesn’t heal like he should. If I didn’t know better I’d say he had an eating disorder. He takes as little replicated blood as he can get away with, and he’s weak – it takes him hours to heal if he’s hurt, you might have noticed he looked a little worse for wear on the shuttle that time.”

“Well, sir, he did look kind of beat up.”

“He hasn’t told me much about what he’s done since the war, but I think he went to ground. Imagine that, McCoy, missing great tracts of time and change like that; rising from hibernation then adjusting to a new era, a new century. I’m not good in the mornings but that’s something else.”

And always alone, Leonard thinks with a tightness forming in his throat. Jim’s attempt to connect with him may have been shit, but understandable; he’s a man from a different time and culture.

Pike goes on, “Then he spent twenty years fighting the system. God only knows how he managed to evade being sent to the colony for so long, but it seems medieval to send anyone off-planet because they get into a lot of fights. Long as he didn’t feed off humans, I guess he was safe. And he hasn’t – not as far as we know.”

“That’s what he told me too,” Leonard is quick to say. “He said that if it happened it was always bleeders, always consensual and he never compelled anyone, though we can’t know that for sure.”

Pike looks pointedly at McCoy and he feels that itch on his neck again, shifting in his seat and wishing Pike would sit the fuck down so he can breathe already.

“You know something, McCoy? His heart’s in the right place. There’s records of a brief involvement with the Neo-Transcendentalists at the turn of last century; he did some voluntary work as far as Liam Dieghan’s journals show, but there weren’t any details other than he helped out in a clinic for a couple of months.”

“He knows medicine?”

“Not as far as I know, you’ll have to ask him. And he’s a musician: he’s been teaching violin though he asked me not to put that on his record; god knows why.

“Science has ironed out many supernatural phenomena – how good or evil an individual vamp is – well it varies. Seems to have a lot to do with the circumstances when they were turned, what characteristic they had in the first place.

“Nature nurture,” Leonard nods. Then he asks, “He said he’s known McCoys before. Do you know anything about that?”

Pike’s eyes widen very slightly though his granite demeanor doesn’t falter. “Can’t say I do, McCoy. You’ll have to ask him about that. I know nothing of his personal life, or of his relationships...but, if you want to know if can you trust him? The best I can say is probably.

“He’s a genius, add to that an immortal life of study and observation of human history and he’s going to be an incredible asset to Starfleet. He’ll be the first hybrid to come through the ranks and he’ll need to learn how to inspire loyalty and trust in his crew; but he’s working on that, and he’s aching to prove himself. It’s going to be hard for him; we’ve come a long way but there are still pockets of prejudice out there, unfortunately.”

Leonard nods, his mind whirling, filled with questions.“I don’t understand a few things. He’s not your usual vampire: he eats, he operates in the daytime – how the hell does he do that?”

“Ask him about the ring, McCoy. Sounds to me like you two have a whole lot to talk about. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a meeting to prep for…anything else, email me.”

“Thank you, sir.”

McCoy stands and, just before he reaches the door Pike adds, “One thing you can do, McCoy—”

“Yes, sir?”

“Help him with his social skills.” And Pike doesn’t hide his amusement at the look on McCoy’s face. “And you’re thinking horse-shit, aren’t you McCoy?”

“Permission to speak freely, sir?” Pike nods. “Okay…first off, Kirk’s more than able to get on with everyone he comes across. You could say,” and the word almost sticks in his throat, “he has charisma...” and Leonard doesn’t want to contradict a superior officer, but still, “and sir, with all due respect, have you seen me attempting to get on with folk?”

“Not exactly, McCoy, however your bedside manner is legendary.” He smiles, “That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s your compassion – no one who’s known you, worked with you for more than five minutes can question how much you feel for your patients, how you always put them first, how when you’re under pressure, whatever the challenge, you won’t give up, ever; you’ll run yourself ragged to fix them.” Then he adds, reacting to Leonard’s bemused expression, “It’s all over your file.”

“I’m a doctor,” Leonard says irritably, “That’s what doctors do.”

Pike shrugs. “It’s what good men, do. Show him; show Jim what it’s like to connect with other people and care whether they live or die. As an end in itself, not like he’s acted in the past, always for his own purposes, to satisfy personal needs...coax out the human in him.”


[i’m sorry] the text message says.

Leonard huffs. For what? For being Jim Kirk? Two days since he’s seen Jim, or heard from him and he can’t stop thinking about him, dreaming about him and how does Leonard handle the first sign of life from him? He doesn’t mention any of that, but carries on like you do when you’re friends and ‘these things happen’.

[Yeah, you should have paid for the last round] Leonard replies and looks up when he gets to the steps.

[har har that’s not what i mean & u know it]

[Punctuate your fucking texts, Jim, or I’ll stake you.]

[so we’re good? and – NO! :D]

[Vampires texting... Bram Stoker must be spinning in his grave.]

[I met him. I’ll have to tell you all about it one day. Over coffee!]

Met him? That’s...then he writes, [Thing I’m most impressed about, is that you’re now punctuating your messages. Looks like you’re in MY thrall now, kid!]

The comm beeps and Jim’s face pops up on the screen, vague and wishy-washy, proof he’s on the vervain again. He can hear the clatter of crockery and voices behind Jim in the canteen.

“Hi, Bones!”

“And as if to prove you can’t be any more annoying...what the hell are you smirking about?”

“Because you’re talking to me again.”

“I never wasn’t talking to you, you infant – what is this? A school yard?” A cadet bumps into Leonard and he nearly drops the comm. “Actually...”

Jim laughs and it makes his chest swell, so Leonard scowls at him. He finally broaches what’s really bothering him. Sort of. “You need to come and work the mo-jo on me, Jim. I’ve been having dreams...” he lowers his voice, not wanting to say what about. “And it’s a... you know... ‘side-effect’ of the other night.”

Jim considers this for a second, brings the comm closer to his face so just his eyes fill the screen. Shit as the image is, Leonard feels a rush of blood to his groin, “Wanna see if it works long-distance?” Jim winks.

“Don’t joke about it, Jim. This is your fault and I want you to fix it.”

Jim zooms out again and his eyes are all crinkly. “There’s nothing to fix, Bones, if you’re thinking about me it’s because you loove me.”

“Jesus, Jim, don’t you care if people overhear you acting like an adolescent?”

Jim’s smile drops. “Bones, joking aside, I’m sorry, okay, but if you want me to fix it, I’ll have know...” Yeah, take the anti-vervain. “...and I’m trying to...” then he mouths the rest, “be good.”

Damn, his lips are so pink...maybe he could make this one exception.

Leonard sighs. “Jim, I gotta go, we’ll hook up later.”

“Just one thing, Bones?”

“Dammit, what? I’m late,” Leonard whispers, “I’ve got to turn this off, I’m outside the lecture theater.”

“I got a priority message from Pike—”

Oh, fuck. “Really...?”

“Says I’m rooming with you from now on. Did you have anything to do with that? You know, because you looove me?”


Leonard cuts the connection, and comm in hand, squeezes past half a dozen cadets to take a seat. His PADD clatters to the floor when his comm beeps. He glances at the screen and looks apologetically at the teaching assistant standing a few meters away. “Sorry, just an update on a patient...critically ill...” Or Jim being an asshole, most likely. He glances down at the screen; there’s a photo of Jim taken inside the canteen, time stamped a few minutes ago, of him blowing a kiss and the words, [I’m moving in tonight, Bones. I’ll be there when you get back from clinic; won’t that be spiffy?] All nicely punctuated. There’s hope for him yet.



One year later

Amazingly, Jim’s proved to be a model room mate: he doesn’t have any unpleasant habits, he doesn’t slurp his blood and he trusts Leonard enough that he’ll even eat it around him. Having spent an age around medical students and been one, Leonard’s seen way grosser behavior and, of course, he tells Jim as much. He’s managed to convince Jim that eating human food is bad for him. Once Jim’s suffered enough stomach cramps, realizing that regurgitating his food like a gannet because his digestive system can’t handle it is way more offensive than eating blood, he’s seen sense and other than allowing himself the odd piece of chocolate, his diet is entirely kosher, or whatever the undead equivalent is.

And he’s been taking his vervain while Leonard’s set himself the challenge of working with replicated human blood, trying to make it more palatable than what Jim assures him currently tastes like packaging material. Leonard manages to source animal blood, experimenting with cow’s blood and other domestic animals from the abattoir in San Francisco. Jim tries his mixes and there’s no doubt, since they contain what Jim ghoulishly refers to as the ‘essence’ of life, he looks as healthy as he ever has. Leonard recalls a conversation they had about it.

“You should see me after I’ve had human blood, Bones, it’s fucking awesome,” he said one day when they were both in their dorm, studying. “I’m like a leopard or something.”

“Well, if you start spraying the furniture, I’ll know why, now shut up, I’m trying to study.”

There was blessed silence for at least five minutes then Jim looked up from his PADD again and mused, “I wonder how being out in space will affect my circadian rhythms, Bones...”


Leonard is aware Jim visits bleeders once in a while. He can always tell because it makes Jim so horny after. He’s hooked up with an Orion cadet, Gaila, who seems to match him in brains, sexual stamina, and, “She takes suppressants too, Bones – it’s cool. Pheromones, to stop humans falling under her sexy spell – we’re two of a kind!”

Well yeah, they both like sex a lot, Leonard thinks grimly and glowers when Jim, who’s a great mimic, does a perfect impression of her.

“These humans, they think they have come a long way in the past few hundred years but they still cling onto pair-bonding.”

Actually, Leonard’s glad Jim’s got someone though part of him aches when he thinks about them together; only, it’s not jealousy, not at all, he’s never been one to demand exclusivity.

It’s just that he realised some time around the first year of Jim moving in, that he’s perhaps fallen for him. And, strangest thing of all, even though he knows Jim wants him, all he’s got to go by is what he said, the look in Jim’s eyes the night he failed the Kobayashi Maru. Since then, nothing; it’s like Jim’s practicing at playing best buddies.

One night he disappears, not quite without trace – there’s a note resting on Leonard’s PADD, on paper, written in fancy, old-style cursive script.

I’m leaving town for a couple of days -JTK.

They’re on winter break, he’s been working at the clinic all week, they had a few days off that coincided, finally, and they were going to...hell, he doesn’t know what they were going to do, but now Jim’s gone and Leonard’s room, their room, suddenly feels very empty, and he has this horrible fear that he might never see Jim again. And isn’t that weird...?


Jim can’t afford the shuttle so he visits his favourite bleeder and trades; the deal is he gets to borrow the bleeder’s motorbike and Jim sucks his blood out of him nice and slow, just a small drop, but they both come in a happy shudder together.

They’re in a back alley behind some grotty club, and the guy’s shivering with the cold and the blood loss. Jim of course is fine in his skimpy t and jeans, even with his jacket open – he never suffers from the cold. But when Jim sees how pale his bleeder is, he feels a pang of guilt.

“How many other vampires do you have feeding off you, man?”

“Not enough, Jim, I wish I could persuade one of you to turn me.”

“What, and end up like some neutered tom cat? It’s not glamorous man, it fucking sucks...if you’ll pardon the expression.”

The guy lights a cigarette and hands Jim his keys. “You look after her man, I love this bike more than anything.”

They’re always the same, bleeders, hooked on the pain, the rush and the ecstasy when they come, and of course being ‘needed’ in some fucked up way; though it’s never bothered him before – who’s he to judge when his every waking moment is about his own addictions, about blood? And Bones.

But this time when Jim takes the keys, he leans close to the bleeder. “Hey man, you know something?”

“What’s that, Jim?” His voice is thready, eyes unblinking, like they always are when they’re caught in his web.

“You don’t like being bitten anymore, in fact, you’re going to forget you ever did.” The bleeder listens glassy-eyed while Jim compels him. “You’re going to go home, eat a steak nice and bloody to get your iron levels up, and follow it up with some milk. And you’ll get an iron shot tomorrow, okay? And, remember what you said about wanting to go to art school? Dust off some of your work, it’s the right thing for you and you give a great interview, don’t you? Answer...”

“Yeah, my paintings are amazing. I’m going to art school...”the bleeder says, a look of wonder and realization on his face, like a light-bulb’s gone off in his head.

Jim adds: “You won’t notice your bike’s gone. I’ll deliver it safe and sound in a couple of days. I’ll even re-charge it. How’s that sound?”

“That sounds awesome, Jim.”

“Now, go and don’t see me. Thanks for everything...” Jim squeezes his arm fondly.

He doesn’t answer and walks past Jim, out the other end of the alley.

Jim hops on the bike, throat a little tight – he’s gonna miss his bleeder.


He arrives in Riverside around 4am, vervain free and high on human blood. He manages to avoid any traffic cops, the computer alerting him to their presence well ahead of time.

Once, long ago, Jim knew Riverside well. In his day, it was a two-horse town; in the last war it was razed to the ground.

It was where one fateful night, drunk and wild-eyed after an evening’s fighting and whoring, he was lured by an amber-eyed, finely dressed gentleman into an alley and turned into a vampire.

He woke alone and abandoned in a stable, left to fend for himself through the pain and horror of transformation, having no idea what was happening to him, screaming and shaking with the blood-lust.

He was never asked if this was what he wanted and it’s why he’s never turned another, not wanting to condemn any soul to this loneliness, this hunger.

He stayed in Riverside long enough to visit his mother one last time, watching her through a window, dressed in black, still grieving the loss of her husband at sea all those years ago. And now Jim was going to disappear too. He has no idea how she explained his absence and he’s rarely given it any thought since the memory of her is still too painful to bear – of her kind, patient eyes, the way she nursed and soothed him when he rolled in drunk and angry yet again, as if the fact that he was fatherless was somehow his fault.

When he awoke into a world devastated by war, having gone to ground after the agony of losing Len, he made his way to Iowa hoping to find some purpose or answers here where he was raised. All he found was ruin, hunger and loss.

And, of course there was Leah.

He’s here this time because on the anniversary of the Kelvin disaster, he knows Winona Kirk is on shore leave and back home having seen her interviewed on the news, brave and dignified and still so obviously heart-broken. Time does not heal for Winona Kirk. And it doesn’t for Jim either.

And though Jim knows the ship would have been lost whatever happened, he snatched life away from George and Winona’s new-born son.

Now there isn’t one building in Riverside older than a hundred years. With a shaky hand, he knocks on the door while he stands on an unremarkable porch outside a house that looks freshly decorated; well, she wouldn’t be short of credits – that’s one thing Starfleet does: takes care of its bereaved families, and she’ll have been compensated handsomely for her loss.

It hasn’t crossed his mind that he might startle her at this late hour; it only occurs to him as the security camera scans him. The lack of image will make her believe there’s no one there, that it’s just the wind. If she doesn’t come to the door, he’ll wait and return in the daylight. He hasn’t planned this, merely followed an instinct to come here when he saw her face on the news.

The door opens and he sees a phaser pointed at him through the crack – he loves that she’s so badass. He reads her mind, knows she thinks he’s her husband’s ghost, that she thinks she must be dreaming. He draws her in with his eyes to quell any fear.


“No, it’s...” how the fuck does he explain? He dare not say his name out loud but sends it to her mind. I’m a friend. I’m sorry, I should have called or something. I’m Jim.”

Her eyes scan his face through the opening and he sighs when she pulls the door fully open.

“You look like my late husband.”

“He was a great man,” Jim says with a hitch in his voice, “and I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you. Why are you here, Jim? it’s late...”

It sends a shiver through him when she says his name, and he has a distant memory of his Winona, his mother, across a massive ocean of time – her hair tied away from her face, wearing a bonnet, sitting next to him in church, so far away, so long dead, it’s hard even for him to comprehend this distance of time, though he remembers every detail of her face, her voice and her mannerisms.

He hasn’t thought of her in many, many years. She belonged to the Jim he was before and when he died, when he became a vampire – she never found out what became of him. He wrote her a note saying he’d run away to sea, and he didn’t allow himself to think about the agony she must have felt when he did that to her. He took her son away, just as he snatched this woman’s away. She’s his mother in a way too because, in the dream, ‘he’ died in her arms.

So what the fuck does he say? He hasn’t thought this through; he just wanted to see her, hoped to catch a glimpse of her through an open window, to satisfy his curiosity.

Now she’s here before him.

And since there aren’t any words that can make sense, his voice becomes melodious and haunting and he can see her eyes widen as he speaks and captures her, as he explains, “It’s me mom, I just wanted to tell you that I’m safe. That I’m going to make it.” She steps out over the invisible boundary between them, the one he won’t be able to cross unless she invites him, and takes his hands in hers.

My Jim?” She says. “Am I dreaming?”

“Yes, you’re dreaming.” Her eyes are filled with tears. “I’m sorry I left you, mom, I tried to stay, but...” She interrupts him by wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him down so his chin is on her shoulder. She’ll find his bloody tears on her shoulder in the morning.

“It’s okay, I don’t understand how you came back, but I’m so happy to see you. You’ve turned out so tall and handsome.”

She strokes his hair and he whispers in her ear, tells her she’s loved, helps the wounds in her heart finally heal, and maybe his own too.

He makes sure she forgets the whole of their encounter and plants a feeling of warmth and love in her, straight from his own heart; he’s closed a door on all their pasts and made it possible to move on.

He’s come full circle, and like a circle he feels complete at last.


Jim didn’t take a rest-stop on the way, but driving back he treats himself to a day’s sleep in a motel. He checks his comm and there’s a long scroll of texts from Bones. All different permutations of Where the fuck are you?

He sends a message back; it’s 8am in San Francisco, Bones should be up.

[I’ll be back late tonight.]

Bones instantly calls: “Where the fuck are you?” His face is clean-shaven and his hair’s wet. He’s fresh out of the shower. And boy, that’s a hell of a scowl.

“You said that, like a lot of times.”

“Why can’t I see you, Jim, have you been...? Shit.” Bones scrubs his hand across his eyes and Jim realizes he probably hasn’t slept a wink worrying about him. It gives him a warm fuzzy feeling.

“It’s okay, Bones, no one died, k? I’ll tell you all about it later – I’m so fucking tired now. I’ve gotta sleep.”

“I’ve been—”

“Worried? Damn, Bones, that’s so sweet.”

“Stop fucking smirking, you jackass, I can’t see you but I know that look.” He lowers his eyes, his cheeks all flushed. “Where are you?”

“Just outside Riverside.”

“Why?” His eyebrows do their thing.

“I came to visit family.”

“You said you don’t have any family. I’m family, dammit.” Only Bones can sound that pissed and soft at one and the same time. It would make his heart skip a beat...if he had a pulse.

Jim starts unlacing his boots and he looks in the mirror. There’s no reflection at all; it seems fitting – he’s a blank slate. He’s ready to start again. With Bones.

“Look, I’ll be back soon, okay? We’ll go out for dinner—”

“What? Why? We never go out for dinner.”

“It’s okay, I’ll watch you eat, I’ll drink extra to make up for it.”

“But why?”

“It’s my birthday today.” His voice cracks a little when he says it.

“Which one? Your vampire birthday or, you know, the other one?”

“You’re spoiling the moment, Bones...”

“You had me worried.” he says again.







“I know you’ve fed...” Leonard says, finally, turning to Jim outside their room. He drops his eyes, not denying it. Damn him, Leonard’s managed not to mention it all the way through dinner, but now they’re alone, he can’t keep his fool mouth under control and he’s going to ruin everything, maybe have Jim disappearing on him again.


“Well, fact there was no image when we comm’d was a give-away, plus... you’re different when you’ve fed.”

“Different better, or worse?” Jim walks past him and throws his jacket onto the hook by the door, then he removes his boots.

Leonard leans on the closed door and he swallows, looking down at his feet. “You’re just you, Jim – whether you’ve fed or not. I was—”

“Yeah, we’ve established that,” Jim says tightly. ”And I left a note. You’re like a mother hen, seriously.” His face is in shadow but Leonard fancies he can see his eyes shining, even in the dark.

“You’ve been looking at my throat all the way through dinner.”

“Well you should damn well do some buttons up, already. I’m a vampire, I like necks, okay?”

Leonard would laugh if Jim wasn’t so patently pissed. “So you don’t deny you’ve fed...”

“No, I fucking don’t deny it. It was consensual, don’t worry, you know what it’s like, Bones, to crave, to want, to consume, to take and take? And it’s never enough, it never fucking fills you up. Nothing does except the blood.” He turns away and starts undressing for bed. “It’s raw need; can you imagine what that’s like? Bones…?”

“Yeah,” Leonard says, his voice rough. “I think so, maybe…”

He advances towards Jim from behind, and slips his arms around his waist, knowing that Jim will be able to feel the hammering of his heart. Jim stiffens in his arms.


“Yeah?” he whispers, not daring to move maybe...

“You’re cuddling me—”

“—no, I’m not.” He presses his face to the side of Jim’s head, breathes him in; He smells crisp and faintly of apples, fresh and nourishing, when, before, in Leonard’s mind at least, he was always associated him with floral scent, of something beautiful but no longer alive – it makes his head spin. “I like necks is all.”

Jim turns to face him and though he doesn’t need to breathe, Len feels Jim hitch a breath. “All necks, or just...?”

Leonard grabs the front of his shirt and pulls Jim to him so their lips are so damn close, all he’ll have to do is...”Jus’ yours,” he growls and their lips meet. Jim shudders against him which, it crosses Leonard’s mind, isn’t very creature of the night. But then given what he’s learned about how Jim feels about him, it makes sense. “Seeing as you’ve fed, and I know you haven’t been taking your vervain, you’ll know what I’ve been thinking all night—”

“—have been thinking for months, yeah.” Jim’s tongue touches his gently, tasting of wine and just as intoxicating; and Leonard moans, winding his hand tighter into Jim’s shirt, sliding his tongue so softly, tentatively against the cool of Jim’s lips.

He kisses Jim’s jaw with soft, wet kisses and then asks him, “So why haven’t you made a move...I thought...” Jim’s hands stroke up his sides, rest on his shoulders and he looks deep into Leonard’s eyes while he explains.

“The compulsion – the way it works – is it makes you want me and like you said that time, it’s not honest. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“That’s why I want to try something, “ Leonard says, and he drags his tongue across Jim’s ear, his own breath warm against his face as he inhales against Jim’s skin.

Jim chuckles against him, “My, Bones, you’re really letting your hair down.”

“Shush, you infant,” and he nips Jim’s earlobe. He pulls away, looking unafraid into those glittering eyes that have seen so much of life, that have met so many – yet have chosen him above all others – yet are still so beautiful, so goddamn captivating. He has to make a concerted effort to move. “Just go with me on this, okay?”

Jim’s expression turns serious again. “Okay,” he nods.

Leonard shifts against Jim, nudging his feet apart with his toes. “You gonna do what I say? ‘Cause I know you command track types don’t like to take orders...and,” he says, pressing a kiss against his eyelids, “I’m not gonna hurt you, ‘k?”

Jim nods so Leonard takes his hand and leads him towards the bed, glad the lights are off as he doesn’t want to see the smirk he knows is on Jim’s face or he’ll be forced to go back on his promise not to hurt him.

They stand by the bed and Leonard slides his hands under Jim’s button down, over perfect skin – smiling against his throat as fingers rest at Jim’s nipples and twist. Jim lets out a hiss of surprise then cants his groin towards him in approval.

“Thought you said—”

“Jim,” he growls in warning.

“You know, Bones, you’d make a fine, toppy vampire – if you’d just let me turn you...”

“Not gonna happen, Jim, I’d miss my food.” He rolls his thumb against Jim’s nipples, feeling them harden under his touch and laps against Jim’s neck, thinking nothing could ever taste this good.

“All those southern delicacies that are gonna make you fat, then I won’t...” Jim teases, holding onto Leonard’s arms, his grip a little tight like he’s worried Leonard will disappear.

“I think, Jim, “ Leonard says, the words catching in his throat a little, “it’d take a lot more than love-handles to shake you off.”

Jim snorts and pulls Leonard in for a heated kiss. Their tongues slide easily against each other and he sighs into Jim’s mouth, flicking the tip of his tongue against Jim’s canines, then biting his lip when Jim hisses in arousal, satisfied that he’s got him where he wants him.

“Undress for me, Jim, I want to watch,” he says stepping away, giving himself space to sweep his eyes up and down this vampire, totally in Leonard’s thrall it seems, by the way he’s staring at him, incredulous perhaps, that after all these years, he’s got what he wanted. But he doesn’t say anything for once, just nods, brings his hands up to his shirt and begins to strip slowly.

Leonard bites his lip and admires Jim’s strong profile against the unscreened window; then he tells the computer to close the blinds and put the side lights on low so he can enjoy the view.

Jim’s in his element, at ease in his skin, pride falling off him as he turns for Leonard, unbuttons his jacket, slips it off his shoulders and removes his undershirt – his skin glows in the half-light, reflecting the gold of the mood lamp like the sun on a winter afternoon, with beauty as impossible to capture on camera.

Muscles shift under perfect, white skin as he bends to remove his boots and socks. He brings his eyebrows together when Leonard says, “Stop, just stand there for a second,” and it’s his turn to undress, nice and slow so and he can touch himself while he watches. When he’s done, he sits on the end of the bed and leans on one arm so he can stroke himself.

Jim sees what he’s doing, his eyes riveted to the movement of Leonard’s hand. “Jesus, Bones, you look...”

It’s humbling the way Jim looks at him, like he’s something holy, and he feels himself color, “Naked, I take off your pants and turn round so you can’t work your thing on me.”

Jim smiles a crooked smile and his eyes flutter as he unzips his pants and slides both hands down the trail of fine hair disappearing below the waist band, then he turns his back on Leonard and edges his pants down revealing a perfect, tight ass. Yeah, Leonard doesn’t need to be hypnotized to lose his mind to Jim, he thinks.

“You always walk around the campus half-naked like that?”

“Uh-huh,” Jim says, folding forward as elegant as a dancer to lower his pants further to his knees.

Leonard licks his lips. “All the way, darlin’.” He rubs his thumb across his slit, tightens his ass as a shudder of want makes him twitch with desire and he grips his free hand into the sheet to steady himself. He just wants to sink into Jim, take him there and then – it’s a force surely as strong as the demon inside Jim, but he pushes it away, keeps control; he wants to break Jim down a little first, show him how good it feels to let go for once, to show Jim how he’s wanted for real, has been, Leonard realises now, for so damned long. “Now get that fine ass of yours over here, darlin’.”

Fuck, your voice, Bones, it’s...”

“It’s just my voice, Jim, now shush and lie down so I can look at you.”

Jim stretches out on the bed and looks at Leonard to see whether he wants him on his back or front then nods, lies on his back and doesn’t move while Leonard rearranges the pillows so Jim’s head’s supported. He leans to the drawer, opens it, Jim’s eyes boring into him when he pulls out a blind fold.

“You’ve been shopping, how touching,” Jim smirks.

Leonard glares at him, his cheeks burning, “Shut up, Jim, “ and he places the black cloth in position fastening it then pushing Jim’s shoulder so he leans back. “You look incredible,” he whispers, running his fingers where the cloth breaks against his forehead. He leans in for a kiss, soft and sweet. “This way you won’t be able to compel me, you’ll know that I’m doing this because I want to. I’m thinkin’ that’s important for you to know, Jim, right?”

Jim grunts and drags a thumb along kiss swollen lips, then trails his index finger down Jim’s jaw. The stubble’s fine and he loves the way he reaches smooth hairless skin at his throat, loves the way Jim leans into and responds to every touch with a soft sigh; time to see what other sounds he can force out of Jim. “Anyone ever bitten you, Jim?” he asks, resting his teeth at Jim’s jugular.

Jim gasps when Leonard rakes his teeth down to his shoulder and the sound sends a shock of arousal down his back and thighs. “No, not since the first time, when I was—”

“—turned, okay – but that was a long time ago—” Leonard laves at Jim’s nipples and holds Jim’s hands away when he tries to touch him back, resting them to the side so they look like broken angel’s wings, white and fragile.

“Yeah, I didn’t want it, Bones, I didn’t know and he wasn’t there with me after...he just left me to change, all alone.” He strokes down the skin, while he listens, giving Jim the contact he needs, feeling the fine hairs, watching in interest at each subtle twitch and movement as he leaves little experimental marks with his nails; they instantly fade like ripples in water, Jim’s skin returning to flawless before his eyes.

“It’s okay, Jim, I’m here now, okay? He didn’t want you but I do, okay?” He runs his tongue down Jim’s chest, past his unbeating heart that feels as keenly as his own, presses a kiss there till he can continue, down his pale, taut abs, swirls it in his navel and grins at how Jim strains not to move, his muscles twitching, the occasional breath being forced out by emotion, by Jim’s human side, nothing to do with keeping the demon in him alive.

Leonard parts Jim’s thighs, pushing them up and wide, so he can work some lube around his hole, listening to him moan in response to each touch of his fingers as he circles the tight ring of muscle, pushing his thumb in a little, eyes on Jim’s face, watching for a reaction.

“Wanted this so fucking long...” Jim gasps when he pushes a little further. “Waited for you...”

Leonard feels tears prick at his eyes when he glances up at Jim’s face, alabaster skin perfect against the stark black of the cloth, forehead furrowed teeth bared. Then, he says it, something that’s been haunting him for months, something he really fucking wants. It comes out low, the want thickening his voice. ”I want you to bite me, would you like that?”

“Hnngh...oh, fuck...” Jim hooks his hands under his knees and lifts his ass off the bed.

“Is that a yes?” Leonard growls, working two fingers in now, mesmerized by the sight of his tan skin against sugar white, the way the marks on Jim’s ass where he’s raked his nails have disappeared, so that it’s like a challenge to mark him harder, more permanently, the thought making blood pool in Leonard’s groin. “See, I don’t want you in dark alleys, I want you here, where I can keep an eye on you...” And he wants to be inside Jim, through the blood, the only way Leonard maybe can strike through the scars inside this man, leave something of himself, stop them both feeling alone.

“Bones, I…I don’t know if it’s a good idea…”

And Leonard’s answer is another long, merciless drag of his fingers across Jim’s prostate and he grins at how Jim twists under him in response, letting out a choked moan.

The blindfold will make no difference to whether or not Jim can read his thoughts, he knows that – really it’s just symbolic, a piece of cloth to show he’s willing in all this, since Jim can’t compel him unless he looks into Leonard’s eyes, though his voice is an element, it’s true. Leonard wants to make the point that he’s doing this of his own free will – he’s choosing Jim, and he’s got to make it clear he didn’t like Jim leaving like that, wants him here, and he needs the bite so much to show how he trusts him.

He draws his fingers out slowly, gently, though he suspects Jim would prefer a little roughness and a little more urgency – that can come another time. For now, “I’m gonna take my sweet time, Jim,” Leonard whispers. Jim moans incoherently at that. Leonard slicks up, eases Jim’s legs up and apart, exposing him, sliding down the bed so can take Jim into his mouth, rolling his balls between a finger and thumb.

Leonard looks up and wishes he could see the look in Jim’s eyes, that Jim could see him, and understand that each touch and lick, everything is a choice, him moving forward, towards Jim because he damn well wants to. This is as honest as he can get here.

Jim’s hand rests in Leonard’s hair and strokes the skin behind his ears as Leonard runs a greedy tongue along the tip of his cock, drags it slowly towards the root, sniffing at the source of his smell, faint musk, floral and wild and...

“You smell like apples,” Leonard chuckles then takes as much of Jim’s cock in as he can, deep, gently, teasing slowly as he drags up and away again, smiling around the cool, hard flesh in satisfaction at the litany of noises this brings forth.

“It’s shower…oh…fuck…gel…” Jim croaks, thighs trembling with the need to thrust, to move, to take over, “yours...”

You stay still, Leonard thinks.

“Bones, please…I…”

“What, Jim, what do you want?” He draws Jim’s cock into his mouth, working his still slicked fingers in again, and he smiles around it in satisfaction when he feels Jim inhale, trying to hold back, and Leonard drags his teeth more gently down his shaft, determined to string him out, control this, goddamn show him. “Tell me…” he says, replacing his mouth with his hand, velvet skin in his palm, smooth and hard, the tip leaking pre-cum which he smooths with his thumb around the head, transferring some to his mouth, salty and tangy and male.

Jim shakes his head, swallowing, hissing through his teeth. The vampire who’s taken so much of what he wants over his long life, what, too afraid to ask for once? Why? “I’m not going anywhere, Jim, okay?” He looks at the black fabric of the blindfold and wishes Jim could see into his heart, know it’s true. He pulls his fingers out and sits back, waits to see what Jim will do now they’ve broken contact.

Jim sits up a little straighter, lowers his legs and reaches round to touch Leonard, guide him till Leonard prowls up the bed to straddle those skinny hips and is able to bring his cock close to Jim’s face just like he wants. Damn, he was going to do all the work but he should have known, Jim’s not one to follow anyone else’s plan.

He eagerly guides Leonard into his mouth and even with his lips stretched wide, Leonard can tell the brat’s smirking. But, the way he takes Leonard in whole, in one movement, easy maybe with the not needing to breathe thing – goddamn show-off – Leonard forgives him and settles for watching those plush, sinful lips slide up and down his shaft, and just lets him because, yeah, being big hearted comes with the whole doctor thing.

The sensations run to every nerve ending, the scrape of vampire teeth, the sucks and kisses, the twist of Jim’s hand, his other pressing under Leonard’s balls, to that spot that makes flashing lights appear behind his eyelids, heating him, making Leonard moan and grumble because he’s not going to last another second if Jim doesn’t stop. He smooths fingers across Jim’s forehead, stutters, tries to speak, and thank the saints, the mind-reading bastard gets the message and pulls away with a smack of his lips, sliding his milky fingers up Leonard’s chest, his ring passing Leonard’s nipple until Jim taps his jaw to indicate Leonard bend down and kiss him.

Leonard breathes a sigh of relief and folds forward willingly, taking Jim’s upper lip between his teeth, moaning in approval when Jim cups the back of his neck and mashes their lips together, suddenly impatient, hungry to speed things up. His mouth is warm and moist, and Leonard runs his tongue along Jim’s canines, along the roof of his mouth, then sucks Jim’s tongue into him, their combined moans the only sound in the room other than the rasp of their skin against the cheap, academy sheets and the creak of the bed springs.

They kiss like this for an age, sealed together. Jim tastes rich and warm, his tongue lapping into every corner of his mouth, hungry and insatiable until, temporarily satisfied, Jim employs one of his smooth combat moves to turn Leonard onto his back.

He climbs over him, “Want you to fuck me,” Jim says earnestly, hands guiding his cock in place. “Think I’ve waited long enough, right?” Leonard nods stupidly, temporarily side-swiped by what should be a ridiculous sight, Jim naked above him in just his stupid blind-fold. The cheap synthetic cloth, however, is transformed by Leonard’s lust-addled brain into something exotic, a Venetian carnival mask, something more fitting to an immortal, this glorious figure above him, than the piece of trash he picked up on the nets and had delivered in a plain package.

Jim gasps and grunts, mouth open and canines descended as he inches down onto him, and Leonard swallows, wondering what the hell Jim must be thinking if he has indeed been waiting as long as he says for this to happen. He’s smooth and slick and tight around Leonard, cooler than he expected all the times he’s fantasized about this moment, just as Jim said, for months, not sure if his feelings were real. And Leonard gets a notion that every step he’s taken in his life thus far has somehow led to this moment, though it’s corny and romantic and fuck... he bites his lip, sliding his hand up Jim’s chest and touches his lips. “Jim…”

“Yeah?” Jim raises and lowers himself slowly, nodding with the movement, his neck taut ivory, and damn, Leonard realizes, he really needs Jim to see the look in his eyes when he comes, which, fuck, is gonna be soon if they don’t stop. Wants him to know this is the real deal.

“Can we jus’…I…” the position’s all wrong for what he wants, so with an impressive sense of focus, Leonard pulls out with a grunt, and he has to smile at the frown on Jim’s face. “Take the goddamn Halloween outfit off, I think I made my point…”

Jim grins and hooks a thumb under the fabric and tosses it away, revealing his unearthly, amber tinged pupils and the prominence of his demon brow. Leonard’s breath catches in awe, then he rolls onto his belly and, in case Jim doesn’t get the message, grabs a pillow and eases it under his hips.

“This is gonna be better first time….” he explains, looking over his shoulder, trying not to pant, ignoring the flush on his chest and arms, as much from embarrassment at how wanton he’s been since he first wrapped his arms around Jim, as from arousal. Jim’s would look entirely human if it wasn’t for the branching veins under his eyes, the fire of old gold in his pupils and the prominent brow, reminding Leonard that this is a vampire, feral and primal, held at bay by will-power alone, and that he should be praying Jim doesn’t lose control when he first tastes blood. He turns his head away and leans it on his wrists, waiting...

Perhaps Jim’s thinking the same; he feels Jim hesitate behind him, then – they don’t call the kid a genius for nothing – he gets it. Leonard breathes a ragged sigh of combined relief and anticipation and yeah, maybe he’s a little scared when he hears Jim slick up behind him.

Jim works him open gently, slowly, with utmost reverence, and he strokes Leonard’s thighs in soothing little circles as he begins to press home. It hurts, it really does, it’s been so long since he’s done this, and Jim’s fucking bigger, thicker than he expected but damn it feels right. Jim’s trembling behind him and he slides his arm under Leonard’s chest, kissing his ear, guiding him up onto his knees, then he pulls Leonard as upright as he’ll go, easing him back so he can sit on Jim’s cock, sending a flame of feeling through his belly. Yeah, this is gonna work…Jim licks at his ears, the side of his head, and he turns for an awkward kiss, teasing Leonard’s cock with his cool fingers in counterpoint to the in and out of his cock; and as the discomfort begins to ease Leonard pushes back to meet his thrusts. It’s incredible, he’s so full, sweat pouring on his chest, down his face so he has to shake it out of his eyes, his hair sticking to his temples.

Leonard reaches round to touch Jim’s hip and indicate he follow him forward and he does so, flattening Leonard to the bed, working himself between Leonard’s thighs, lowering himself so they touch ankle to shoulder, Jim sliding through Leonard’s sweat, letting out little choked sounds as he gets closer; it means Jim’s no longer teasing his prostate, but it doesn’t matter, he knows what’s to come will make any sensations from the cluster of nerves pale by comparison. He pushes up onto his elbows and rolls his head as Jim licks at the space between his shoulder blades, then kissing his throat until he can’t fucking work it out, why even though every inch of him is alive with feeling, it just isn’t enough.

“Jim,” he chokes out. “Please, will you…?”

There’s no warning, no words, Jim simply stills behind him, then Leonard hears a low growl close to his ear and a ruthless clamp where his shoulder meets his neck, followed by the slice of Jim’s teeth as they break the surface of his skin at the same time as he tugs Leonard by the hip, up and back, so he can miraculously find his prostate.

It’s too damn much and Leonard comes immediately, arms splayed out to the side, like he’s been cut down from the cross, feeling his fucking heart’s being drawn out into Jim’s mouth, the way his pulse drums in his ears as Jim feeds from him, molten heat, tugging, dragging Leonard with it, and Jim entering his mind, while at the same time taking life from him, thrusting relentlessly, raggedly, lips hot against his throat, teeth merciless, joining them, the blood a bridge between them so Leonard can’t tell which feeling’s his and which is Jim’s.

Fuck, Bones, fuck, taste so good, like everything good, like you’re mine, like I remember.

Jim comes with a muted howl, with two long, ragged thrusts, holding still, as deep as he can get, choking out a long moan through the ends of his orgasm until he stills, pulling his teeth away, collapsing against him, all elbows and bony knees and satin skin against Leonard’s sweat-soaked, come-covered body. And somehow, Leonard gets mashed into the wet patch too. He breathes out and groans into his arm and Jim reaches forward and slides the palm of his hand to Leonard’s forehead, fingers still sticky with lube, holding it there for long moments, like a benediction.

“Christ on a cracker…” Leonard manages eventually and Jim laughs weakly behind him. He presses a kiss to Leonard’s shoulder then pulls out to drag his tongue across his bite marks. “I suddenly get the whole bleeder thing.” He rolls onto his side and contemplates Jim’s face. His cheeks are flushed, warmed by his blood and his lips are pinker, and he feels… shit… relieved as well as really fucking sleepy.

“Sure you’re okay, that… you know…?” Jim’s lips are swollen and slick with saliva and there’s a drop of blood at the corner of his mouth. Leonard brings a thumb up to scoop it into Jim’s mouth, where it belongs he thinks, which sends a shudder of want through Jim who licks at the skin, sucking Leonard’s thumb into him, eyes wide and bright and love-sick.

“I’m fine, Jim, I’ll just take an accelerator to boost my blood growth. Soon as the feeling returns in my legs and I can walk, that is.” His neck’s throbbing and he guides Jim’s mouth to the bite again, so he can lick at it just because...well, it feels so right. “I’ll get the regen too,” he says over Jim’s head, stroking the short hairs at the base of his skull.

“But I like the bite marks...”

Leonard’s too damn tired to comment on the fact he just knows Jim’s pouting. “Goddamn kinky vampire.” It won’t matter if he leaves it a few hours – vampire saliva’s pretty healing anyway and the marks will be concealed by his reds.

Jim grins lop-sidedly and pats Leonard on the shoulder before he gets up and heads for the bathroom.

“Vervain,” he explains demurely when he gets back into bed and pulls the covers over them.


They share a long, lingering kiss until Leonard mutters, “Gotta sleep, Jim, I can’t sit up all night brooding like you creatures of the—”

Jim snorts and turns to press his ass to Leonard’s sticky groin. “I’ll brood quietly over here, then.”


The silence lasts about five minutes and damn, he was almost asleep too, his mind taking longer to settle than the rest of him, when he becomes aware of Jim fiddling with his hand.

“Dammit, Jim, I’m trying to…can’t you wait for round two until the mornin’…?” His words evaporate when he realises what Jim’s doing. He’s taken off his ring, the one that means he can walk in the sun, and he’s slipped it onto Leonard’s little finger.

“Are you proposing to me, Jim?”

Jim turns and lies to face him – his eyes brimming with feeling. “No, it’s just I’ve been thinking…”

“Lords preserve us…” and he softens the caustic words by kissing him lightly. “Go on, what about? I’m listening…”

“When we go out into the black, Bones, I won’t need the ring anymore, least not once we’ve left the Solar System—”


“I want you to keep it safe for me.”


“See, the trouble with immortal life is…you don’t get to live in people’s memories.”

“I don’t understand—”

“I don’t want to carry on when you’re not here anymore, Bones, I want to…well, you know, when we come back on shore leave I’ll have to have the ring back or I’ll turn to dust and won’t be able to enjoy my hero’s welcome, but when we go out into the black, I want you to wear it.” He grins and flicks his tongue over his lips.

Not carry on? But they’ve only just started, what the hell does he mean? Now’s not the time, he’s too tired, so instead he says,“Hero? Aren’t you jumping ahead a little, kid?”

“A couple of years I’ll be captain, you can be my CMO, we can sneak around to each others quarters in the dead of night—”

“You’ve got it all figured out.”

“That’s why I’m going to be the boss, you know that?”

“Yeah right, but what’s that got to do with the ring?”

“Every time I look at you, when we’re out there, when I see you wearing it, it’ll remind me what’s at stake for the crew if I fuck up. It’ll help remind me to give a shit. You know, it’s symbolic, I guess.”

And to say nothing of romantic, not that Leonard would ever say that out loud. “Okay, kid, now can we go to sleep?” His voice is gruff, a little choked when he adds, “Remember to put it back on before you go out and get me breakfast...a bagel, and nice strong coffee, cream and sugar,” like Jim hasn’t heard this a thousand times, like he won’t know already. “Can’t have you bursting into flames outside the block, I mean if I don’t get my morning coffee, you know what a—”

Jim’s hand’s over his mouth, cool and tasting faintly salty. “Bones, go to sleep.”


Jim sits on the end of the bed watching Bones sleep, the way his features are so much softer like this, hair a delightful, twisty mess on his head, wearing his ring, his mark on his neck.

He delays the moment one more second but they’ve got to get going now, his internal body clock tells him they’ve got half an hour before dawn, and it’s a fifteen minute walk at least to the other side of campus, near Cochrane Hall, where they’ll get a good view of the bay. And he’s to allow time for Bones’ bitching too, of course, he thinks with a smile.

“Bones,” he whispers close to his ear. No answer. “Bones!”

“What? Fuck. Are you speaking to me when I’m trying to sleep?”

“I’ve got to show you something, come on, Bones. It’s important.”

Bones sits up rubbing his eyes then shoots his first scowl of the day. It makes Jim’s heart fucking leap with joy to see when he thinks how maybe his search is over finally, how this Bones is right, he’s not going to be left again.

It takes promises of blow-jobs, back-rubs and twenty-four hours of ”You not goddamn talking all day, not one fucking word,”until he can persuade Bones to leave their nice, cosy, climate-controlled room and follow him across campus in the dark. They reach a bench where they’ve sat studying in the summer months, or sobered up after staggering back from Downtown before returning to their rooms.

The bridge is lit up, beautiful and sparkling, and there’s plenty of traffic about, lights twinkling in the water like stars in the black, and Bones, bless his soft-center, gets this means a lot to Jim and settles, his grumbling on its lowest setting, frowning next to him on the bench, his big coat bunched up around his chest, the tip of his nose a little red from the cool air.

“When’s the last time you saw the dawn, Bones?” Jim asks after a while, gazing at the lightening sky, already becoming gray and he feels that tingle in him, which he thinks must be how adrenaline felt in him once, before he was turned, a feeling that now – since he became a vampire – is a warning for him to take cover, to sleep and hide, only he doesn’t need to any more.

“I dunno, Jim, I…” he stops talking, turning to him and frowns. “Hey, I’d better…” and he pulls his hands out of his pockets and removes the ring, taking Jim’s left hand and pushing it onto his ring finger till it’s snug where it belongs – for now.

“If this is your idea of romance or something, kid, you won’t feel quite so mushy once I’ve staked your scrawny ass for making me freeze my butt off out here.” He moves closer to Jim, and throws his arm around his shoulder, gazing at the silhouettes of buildings across the bay in Sausalito. Finally he says, “I’m glad you don’t want to turn me, gotta say...”

“Well, that would be a bit Anne Rice, and I’m, you know, real.” He twists his ring idly, “I made a promise once, anyway – you and me, we’ll stay together, but I want to do things differently from the movies, the books—”

“—because you always do...”

“I don’t want to turn you and end your life, Bones; that would be fucked up. But my promise – was that this would be it, I’m going to live a ‘mortal’ life by your side, then, when you go, I’ll go. Immortality would mean nothing without you.”

Bones lets out a long breath, “Was this kind of talk normal when you were born, Jim? I mean, you sound like a cheesy, soap...I’m having second thoughts here,” and just to show it’s the last kind of thought he’s having, Bones pulls him even closer and presses his cheek to Jim’s while they watch the sky change and a flock of birds fly across the bay, his living breathing breath so hot against Jim’s skin.



“Tell me about the others, the other McCoy’s you stalked...”

Jim laughs at that, then he feels a knot of grief resurface. “Dunno, Bones, it would feel...weird...” or like a betrayal? He casts his mind back over each version of this soul he’s always loved, he’s always needed to be with – to blue-eyed and angry Leo, beautiful, tormented, Leo; so afraid to feel, the one who first captured his heart, who broke it when he was the first to leave Jim, too; to L.H. – so passionate, a man of his time, tormented by his inclinations, too afraid to stay with him; and Len, who showed Jim true happiness, who showed him he was worthy of love; and then he thinks of Leah, and her fierce independence, her compassion, how she too loved him; and he thinks about their blood, of Bones’ blood which has mingled in his for centuries and will stay a part of him for the rest of his days.

He lifts Leonard’s hand to his mouth and kisses it gently because this might be the modern world, but they did things like this better back in his day. “But I will tell you, they all had lips like sin.” He kisses him again and Bones huffs in embarrassment though he doesn’t pull away, “and were kinda grumpy.”

Bones sits still beside him, his breath warm against Jim’s ear, his big, elegant hand wrapped in Jim’s – so fucking alive. “Jesus, Bones, it’s like I designed you for my own personal pleasure.” And he can almost hear the eyebrow go up.

“Really now?”

“Yeah, you’re like…like a cowboy with the mind of a genius, and the mouth of a whore.”

“That’s not very P.C., Jim.”

“Hey, gimme a break, I was born in a different time to you – I’m learning.”

“Learnin’ huh? That’ll involve teaching lessons I reckon.”

“Now you’re playing dirty, laying on the accent just to weaken me. Wonder if there’s a ring for that – maybe in Mystic Falls – place was big on enchanted accessories...”

“Where the hell’s that?”


“Never heard of it.”

The sun’s climbing, lighting up the underside of the moon, throwing detail onto the buildings flanking the bay, colours coming slowly into focus, the ivory and blue of his skin, the olive and pink of Leonard’s and he remembers the line of a poem that says it all better than he can; where once it reduced him to tears, now when he whispers it into Leonard’s ear, the words make his soul fill and swell with joy.

In life after life, in age after age, forever,” he says, kissing Leonard’s fruit-sweet lips; and he’s speaking to all of them, every version of this precious soul, who’s made him a better man through just knowing them.

“I’m not a girl, Jim,” Bones whispers back, his voice low, brimful of feeling, and he kisses Jim deeply, his breath passing his teeth and tongue and reminding him what it’s like to live. Bones pulls back to look at him, eyebrows all, well...Bones-like.

Jim grins. “Never fucking change, Bones,” he laughs, totally resisting the urge to tell him that actually, he was a girl once.

And though the sun’s climbing steadily, lending a peachy glow to Leonard’s skin, making his eyes shine all hazel gold and flecked with green, Jim doesn’t turn his head to enjoy the sunrise. Instead he thinks he’d better make the most of taking in the sight of his soul-mate, sitting here, beside him at last, and no matter how long he lives, he knows this will always be enough.


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Author’s chapter end notes:
Jim quotes from ‘Unending Love’, by Rabindranath Tagore

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played alongside millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -
And the songs of every poet past and forever.

A million thanks to my dear friend, awarrington , for sharing this poem with me.

* The latest Arsenal strip looks like this. I’m sure it won’t be much changed in 2233.
* BONUS ARTCunoval is played by Jamie Bell, amazing manip by norfolkdumpling who is too good to me, thank you, bb!
Cunoval by norfolkdumpling
* The Re Kots Colony - the name comes from Stoker, as in Bram Stoker in reverse :D
*Any resemblance to any actual Andorians is purely coincidental.
* and the ring href=“”>is this one!