It seemed quiet. Too quiet.
The evening, with that quiet stretching on nearly infinitely, drove Brandon stir-crazy. Sure it was nice to have a nice, relaxing day where none of the family fell to the chase of authorities or even the slag hunters that seemed to permeate the area like an exploding rabbit population. Almost a week of hiding out in an abandoned warehouse in the small town when he was used to roaming the countryside rather freely seemed a harsh sentence in comparison. He paced back and forth as most of the others slept.
“Brandon, you’re gonna wear a hole in those shoes.” The voice seemed to come of out of nowhere, startling Brandon. He quickly spun to face the sound, fangs baring themselves as he readied for combat. “Put them away dude. I don’t want to be your latest snack.” As the voice registered in his brain, Brandon relaxed quickly and stood down.
“Bren, you scared the shit out of me!” Brandon shouted. “That’s not very swell of you, you know.”
Brendon scoffed. “Swell? You do know that it’s no longer 1955, right? No one says swell anymore.”
Brandon ignored him. “Well I do. I’m sorry if I slip up once in a while and adopt some of the old slang.” He tapped his head. “It’s still in here, you know.”
“I swear if you drop a ‘Gosh darn it!’ or a ‘Gee whiz Bren’ on me anytime soon I’m gonna punch you.”
The conversation lapsed between the two but the silence was anything but strained or awkward. Brandon sat down on a pile of stacked boxes nearby the platform he paced upon several feet above Brendon, looking out the high windows. He slid a hand through his blond hair, slightly frustrated. Brendon caught sight of his emerald eyes and saw him brooding, contemplative. His lips were tightly pressed together, deep in thought. Brendon’s recent arrival seemed to have unnerved Brandon and it wasn’t something that he meant to do. Brendon studied his brother for a moment and sighed deeply. While he was grateful that he was still here with him now, he hated how it came to be. The once quiet, shy, and innocent boy had slipped away from him; the one Brendon stared at now appeared battle-hardened and far from innocent.
At the same time Brandon continued to stare out the window, watching the sun set through the tinting he and Brendon had put up on their first day there. He knew that the others were about to stir and bring some life into this depressing building. At least with what happened, he thought, I didn’t lose the sun. Between him and Brendon, he spent more time outside. Granted, he usually played with his marbles alone or made up his own games when he couldn’t coax Bren outside. Peripherally, he also studied the person that intruded into his space, Brendon’s own blond hair looking a bit unkempt and his green eyes seemed pensive, unsure of something. “Bren, what is it?”
The other boy said nothing as he decided to hop up the boxes and made his way to Brandon. Slowly, he took a seat next to him. “It’s… nothing, really. Just thinking of the family and how this all came to be for us.” Brandon looked over at him, causing Brendon to look away, almost as if in shame.
“Brendon… I thought we went over this…” Brandon also looked away but for a different reason that his brother. “I mean… how did you know this would happen to me?”
A hollow laugh slipped from Brendon. “I’m just glad that I got lucky that you decided to follow me instead of staying at home. I bet Mom would’ve been out of her mind if she found you all rigid and unresponsive.” Brendon turned back and faced Brandon. “I-I’m also glad Carson decided to help you out too. I-I don’t know what… I mean…” He trailed off, never good at expressing how much his brother meant to him, even when they had fought and also when he had made his decision many years ago. He knew that Brandon knew, but there were times Brendon also knew his brother needed to hear him say those sorts of things. Still, even those times were hard for Brendon. He had been more like his father in that respect – kind and respectful to everyone but true affection almost difficult to express or show. Unlike the shy Brandon, when alone with his brother he acted more like their mother and didn’t show that same shyness, openly expressing how much Brendon meant to him. Even doing his best to limit the hugs and casual gestures when he knew Brendon was at his limits of emotional displays – Brendon always spoke up when his brother got too clingy.
The last of the sun’s rays faded behind the mountains in the distance. The boys remained in quiet reflection for some time when the two of them started to hear the signs of life inside the warehouse. Without a word between them, both Bren and Bran hopped down from their perch and veered towards the main concourse where the five of them made their home. The two boys first saw their appointed leader – and Brendon’s sire – Carson Dimeo. The older-looking teen slid from his fabricated room of boxes and stretched. His soft brown eyes saw the Snyder boys returning to the living area and Carson’s eyes locked immediately with Brendon’s. A smile from Carson helped chased away any lingering sadness for the time being as Brendon broke out into a run. The two met in the center of the area and hugged one another tightly after exchanging a few soft kisses.
“How’d you sleep?” Brandon heard his brother ask Carson. He heard the utter happiness in Brendon’s voice and saw the smiles sitting in Carson’s eyes as they gazed at one another. Brandon gently rolled his eyes at the slight irony he saw.
“Okay, though it’d be better if I could wake up once and a while to you at least being next to me in the bed.”
“But you know that both me and Bran don’t need sleep like you and the others. I mean, I understand what you’re saying. But I’m of more use to the family sitting around the warehouse protecting us with my brother than just staring at your pretty face for hours on end.”
“You make it sound like that’d be a bad thing,” Carson laughed lightly. Brendon copied him. The leader sighed. “But you’re right. I mean, with the regular police after you for your small slip-up and the slags after us at night… we need the patrol. It’d be nice if… we could help if it came down to it.”
“I know you would if you could,” Brendon said while Brandon nodded once.
The three of them heard more stirring and the remaining two members of their family emerged. The two other boys came from the same room, holding hands. Drew and Boston both rubbed the sleep from their eyes with their free hands as they joined the other three boys.
Drew, probably the actual oldest by a few months – he was turned before Carson – stared at his own boyfriend through his dark brown bangs. His hair, longer than any of the others, shifted as he rolled his neck some, working some more kinks out. Boston stepped behind him and began massaging his shoulders. “Oh, Boss that feels really good. Please… keep it up.”
“Of course,” Boston smiled. The lankier of the two stood about a half foot over Drew and actually kissed the top of his boy’s head. His tightly curled dirty blond hair never looked like it needed to be combed, forever locked in position to his head. As the massage kept up, Drew looked coyly over his shoulder and locked his blue eyes with Boston’s hazel ones. Quietly, the two finally sat down next to each other, once again holding hands.
Seeing both couples together made Brandon sigh heavily. He saw how much each of them loved their respective partner and his heart ached a bit at the display. It was times like this that reminded him that he wasn’t really supposed to a part of this new family his brother had found. And each time he remembered that, it hurt. It hurt a little less than the last time but it still hurt. Brandon slightly shook his head, trying not to bring either couple down. Before he could turn and walk away, he had a hand on his shoulder.
“Brandon, please. Not again.” Brendon’s grip firmed a bit on his shoulder out of support. “Please… stay. We all want you to be here now. Especially me. I just… you know…”
“I do.” Brandon’s voice belied how both utterly frustrated and sad he really was. “No one knows better than me that I can’t go too far.”
Brendon’s heart wrenched a bit at seeing how upset his brother truly was. It seemed like another stark difference now compared to when both were fully human. During that time, with their different groups of friends and what each of them did, more often than not despite the brotherly love the two had for one another they butted heads quite a bit. Always trying to subtly one-up the other, there were a few times the two of them came to blows, usually with Brendon the victor physically but not necessarily emotionally. Sometimes after their fights Brendon would actually feel worse after seeing how upset the slightly gentler Brandon became.
He never meant for his personal choice to affect him so much.
Brendon had fallen into a slightly rougher crowd at school, much to Brandon’s consternation. One of the boy’s brothers also hung out with the group during the late nights they hung out over weekends and school vacations – Carson. That group also contained Drew and Boston. Brandon knew that somehow Carson had caught Brendon’s attention but he wasn’t totally sure if it was a good thing or not. Sure, what he knew of the sixteen year old, with his jet black hair and soft brown eyes didn’t seem all that bad. But he had always felt that Carson hid something from his brother over the weeks the two kept becoming closer and closer.
It’s the main reason behind why he followed Brendon that fateful night.
Brendon’s grip lessened slightly. “Come back. Please. We wanted to hang out with you for a while. Before all hell breaks loose and stuff.”
“Don’t you want to… be with Carson?” Brandon asked as tacitly as he could. The boy wasn’t stupid – he knew of plenty of times where his brother and Carson had snuck away somewhat to be alone – or rather, as alone as they could be, given extenuating circumstances. It was one of those evenings when both brothers found out something rather significant. “I know you don’t get too much time with him since… he has to sleep and we don’t.” Brandon kicked an errant nut from a metal container into the darkness. “I figured you had enough time with me for today.”
“Bran… I don’t, ever tire of your company dude. We’re brothers. Both before and especially now, more so than ever.”
Brandon whipped around and faced his brother. “Maybe I-I need some time alone. I see what you and Carson have and… it sucks to realize that I don’t. Every night… both of you along with Drew and Boston… it really hurts knowing that I was never supposed to be here.”
Brendon now faced away from Brandon. “You know I-I never meant for this to happen to you. But I knew I wasn’t happy at home at the time. We used to fight all the time and mostly over stupid stuff. Mom and Dad were riding me to get my grades up to match yours… and then when Carson made the offer…”
“I know – I was there, remember?”
“How could I ever forget?”
“C’mon buddy… let’s get going.” Carson nodded his head in the direction of the exit.
“What about my brother?” Brendon asked as the two stood up from their booth, the younger boy looking for his brother.
“Let’s… leave him here. He can find his own way home, right?” They all had gone just around the corner from the Snyder household to appease Mr. and Mrs. Snyder. Carson had lied to them when Brandon was getting ready and said that there were some other friends meeting them there. Brendon nodded rather excitedly, hoping to have some space from Brandon and his current clingy phase.
“Where should we go next?” Brendon asked his boyfriend. “It’s not too late, you know. I don’t have to be home by any time really since it’s a weekend.”
“Oh I know,” Carson said as the pair escaped the late-night dance club that had just recently opened for Friday nights. The DJ had rotated through many good songs, though a new artist named Presley popped up from time to time. Supposedly he wasn’t going to make it big, according to the latest gossip, but the songs they heard of his weren’t too bad. “Why don’t we just walk around for a bit?”
The two had left the suburban areas and found themselves walking along a dirt road cutting through a nearby park, the stars twinkling in the skies. With no one else around, the two both felt safe in holding one another’s hand. The only sounds each of them heard were the sounds of gravel crunching underneath their shoes, the crickets singing their nightly tune, and the occasional giggle that escaped one of them. Carson had stopped the two of them and faced his boyfriend.
“Brendon, you don’t know how happy I am to be with you, even if our time together seems… limited.” Carson thought back to every Friday they started spending together for the past couple of months.
“I know, it kinda sucks that you’re always busy during the day…” Brendon pouted some. “Is there any way you can come over some day? Like by cutting out of your private school? Even just for one day?” Carson grimaced a bit.
“Brendon… I wish I could. I really wish I could.” Carson turned away. Lowering his voice, he muttered mostly to himself, “You have no idea how much…”
“What was that?” Brendon asked.
“Um…” Carson blushed a bit. The thought that had been warring with him for the past few times the two had gotten together came back, this time more insistent that the others. Wanting to tell him versus scaring him away forever. Carson hadn’t ever felt the way he did when he spent his time with the pre-teen. Physically older than Brendon by about two years, Carson’s time on the earth had been nearly twice that. Something about the boy just drew them together. Carson didn’t even feel the same about his boyfriend’s twin brother. He knew they looked the same and more or less acted the same but Brandon was not Brendon.
“What’s wrong?” Brendon asked, suddenly fearful. “I-I didn’t do anything wrong… did I?”
Carson realized his personal war had accidentally hurt his boy. “Oh no! No, of course not buddy!” He reached out and reassuringly rubbed Brendon’s shoulders. “It’s just that–” A twig snapped, catching Carson’s attention. Brendon’s eyes widened at the faint sound, knowing that someone had seen the two of them being rather intimate. He feared it coming back around to his parents and the unknown variables of how they would take such news. But then Carson relaxed which helped Brendon to ease a bit. “Brandon, come out. I know it’s you.”
“Brandon?” Brendon asked. “How do you know it’s my brother?”
“Because I can see him hiding a few hundred yards out by the oak tree that’s bent funny!” Carson shouted, full well knowing that Brandon had to have heard him. It took a few seconds, but the boy slid out from behind said tree, feeling defeated. As if walking a death march, Brandon slowly made his way towards Carson and his brother. “Why are you following us?”
Brandon kicked a stone. “I-I just didn’t know where you two h-had gone. Bren disappearing like that w-without him telling me had me worried. Then I-I saw you head towards the park and…”
“I didn’t want you coming in the first place!” Brendon shouted, really annoyed with his brother. “I just wanted to hang out with Carson without you for once!” For at least the past couple of weeks, Brandon seemed to be pulled more towards his brother and seemed to have this need to be with him all the time. With Carson there, however, Brandon said something a bit different.
“B-But I actually like Carson… I-I mean, at least he’s better for you than your other friends… A-And I guess Boston and Dr-Drew aren’t too bad…” Brendon could see that his brother was shaking and knew it to not be from the cold given the late May night. All he wanted was to make sure that Brendon was okay – being the older of the two, Brandon felt it was his responsibility to do so despite their parents’ insistence that he had to.
Brendon wasn’t sure how to react. On one hand he felt that he should stay angry at his brother for being so deceptive, following him and Carson as he did. But on the other, he hadn’t said anything negative about if Brandon saw the two of them holding hands or being a bit closer than most other guys tend to be. For the moment, Brendon decided on the latter. “Um… did you happen… to see anything?”
Brandon looked up and the moonlight shone bright enough that Brendon could see the heavy blush – he had. Shyly, he nodded. It took a few extra seconds, but he stammered out, “Y-You two l-look… n-nice together.”
Carson stood back and watched this brotherly display. “Look Brandon, we shouldn’t have ditched you like we did. That wasn’t cool of us. But… as I guess you know about us like that, I think you understand that I’d like to have some time alone with… my boyfriend.”
“I-I-I kn-know… I-I just didn’t know what… to tell Mom and Dad if I-I came home by m-myself.” His eyes fell back to the ground. “I-I didn’t want to say something… wrong to them on accident after I-I saw you two.” Barely heard by either of them, Brandon whispered to himself, “I-I’m the same way…”
“Wait, what?” Brendon asked a bit louder than he intended. “You’re like me… like this?” With his eyes tightly shut, Brandon nodded his head vigorously, almost embarrassed to be admitting it to anyone. But before Brendon could actually comfort his brother, the three of them heard a strange sound, almost like a strangled, high-pitched shriek.
“Guys, stay close.” Carson’s arms shot out, trying their best to shield the boys from the sound. He knew exactly what he heard. Looks like I’ll have to tell him when I can after all… Carson thought to himself as the form came out from the forest. It had been some time since Carson had seen one of his kind so far gone. He saw the signs straight away – the deep red eyes and the fangs extended the second the older man came into view. Without even assessing the situation, the man leapt for the three of them, the twins huddling together in fear. Carson stood his ground and deftly punched the beast away, but only for a moment. While the crazed vampire recovered from the surprise blow, Carson thrust his hand out to the side.
Moments later, a solid and sturdy branch flew into his grasp. And with an unnatural speed, he shoved the branch into the upper chest of the blood-lusting creature. The man groaned as the stick pierced his skin and found his heart. Carson twisted the branch a few times before the attacking vampire went limp. The teen flicked his lighter out and lit the branch and, using his extra again, he drew out all the flammable oils within this particular piece of wood which helped to accelerate the flame down the length of the branch and into the vampire.
He turned to see both brothers still huddled up together.
He was rather pleased, given the situation, to see his boy still sticking around after seeing such a display but what really impressed him was seeing the receding fear in his features. Maybe telling him wouldn’t be so bad…
After calming them both down – Brandon needed it far more than Brendon – he had no choice but to explain what he could to the two of them. Carson saw that Brendon would be a much easier sell than Brandon but after nearly an hour of talking about it, the thirteen year old was calm enough. And with a thorough scan of the area, Carson told Brandon to go home, that it was safe. With some protests, the boy very begrudgingly complied and left.
“What you did… it was so cool!” Brendon enthused after all the fear of the event had faded. “I mean, you took out that guy with hardly any problems!”
Carson dismissed what his boyfriend went on about and grasped the boy’s shoulders. “We do have a slight issue that I don’t know if you’re aware of.”
“What’s that?” For a moment, Brendon felt fearful once again – but this time for a different reason.
“Well… you do realize that I’m practically immortal, right? So…” Carson decided to see if Brendon knew what he implied.
“Oh…” Brendon said neutrally before it dawned on him. “Oh! That means… I would… and you would…” Carson nodded solemnly.
“I’ll still be here long after you’re gone. And not to mention we’d only be able to see each other at night, like we’ve been doing.” Carson’s eyes started to moisten a bit. “I-I understand fully if… if you don’t want this kind of life. I mean, I didn’t want this to happen to me when it did. But I didn’t have a choice – the vampire that fed on me accidentally crossed me over. After I finished with my crossover, that woman disappeared and I have yet to see her again. She only made sure that during the transition I’d be okay but after that I was on my own.” Carson hugged Brendon to him. “That’s how I met Drew and Boston. I thought they were younger than me but they’re actually about the same age as me. They saw me, a fledgling, and took me in and showed me the ropes.”
“I-I don’t want to lose you, Carson!” Brendon shouted suddenly. “I want to be with you forever!” The younger boy pulled away and stared intently into Carson’s eyes. “Do it. If it means I’m with you until the end of time, then I want it. Turn me.”
“What about Brandon?” Carson asked skeptically. “If I turn you… you’ll have to say goodbye to him. Forever. You’ll have to sever all ties with your real life and start over. Think of it as a rebirth.” Carson stood up. “Maybe you should take some time… think it over. You can’t just undo it if you change your mind later.” Carson paused. “And since he’s your twin, you have to take into consideration that things you do might still conversely affect him. So really… I think–”
“I still want it. I want to be by your side… forever.”
Brendon awoke several weeks later into darkness. The first sight he briefly saw was Carson hovering over him, obviously checking on his condition. He closed his eyes, the light painfully bright and reflected a little as his mind sharpened. That night they talked, the two had slipped into the nearby field and made love to one another, but it was different than the two times before then. Carson had bitten Brendon in the throes of passion and the poisonous substance slipped into the younger boy’s body. It didn’t take long for it to start working and the boy slipped into his transitional sleep.
Brendon slowly sat up and stretched his rather sore body. He worked the stiffness out of his muscles and rubbed at his eyes. Slowly, he noticed things seemed… enhanced. Sounds were sharper, crisper. His eyesight seemed laser-like and refined. And then his vision fell again on Carson, who had moved over to a nearby desk and busied himself with a newspaper. Carefully, Brendon tested his voice. “H-Hey Carson.” Quickly the paper fell down on the desk and the teen slid next to his boy.
“You’re awake! How do you feel?”
“A bit different,” the boy giggled. “How long have I been asleep?” Carson couldn’t help to slide his hand through Brendon’s soft hair, almost as if he didn’t believe he sat in front of him.
“You’ve been ‘resting’ for about two and a half months, buddy.” The smile slowly slid off of Carson’s face. “I was so worried about you, since something strange happened during your crossover.”
Brendon shrugged it off. “Well? I’m here, aren’t I?” He tried to lighten the mood but it didn’t boost his lover’s mood in the slightest. Brendon arched an eyebrow, confused.
Carson couldn’t help but vent a bit of his apprehension. ”I-I don’t know how you’re gonna react to this… but we have a problem.”
“Oh no… you better not be breaking up with me after all this!” Brendon huffed. “I-I changed this way for you!”
“I know! I know…” Carson sighed. “I don’t want to break up with you. Ever. You make this existence bearable. What I do now mostly will be for the betterment of your life. Our life… together. And now… now that you crossed over… our little family is complete. You and me. Drew and Boston.”
“Well… then what’s wrong?” Brendon asked.
Carson stood, looking a lot smaller than he should. “See for yourself.” With nothing else said, Carson pulled back a curtain Brendon didn’t notice and then walked out for a moment. As soon as Brendon looked down at the other body in the room he gasped. No! Brendon shouted in his head. It wasn’t meant to be like this! Suddenly Brendon felt equal parts guilty and sick.
For he stared down at his twin.
Awkwardly, Brendon stood up and made his way outside. “You weren’t supposed to turn him too!” Brendon shouted at the top of his lungs, bringing to a halt whatever Drew and Boston did. “He wouldn’t want this type of life! I know it’s going to be so hard for him! He went hunting with one of his friends one time and couldn’t eat for at least three days! How could you?!”
Brendon’s ranting also drew the stares of both Drew and Boston. They eyed Carson a bit before the teen dragged his boy back into the room and into privacy. “See that’s the thing… I didn’t bite him. No one did. But… he’s going through the same things you did. It’s like he’s crossing over without being bitten. I… I don’t think anything like this has ever happened. This is really new.”
Not quite believing him, Brendon fell to his knees and looked at both sides of his brother’s neck. Brendon did see two pinkish spots along the left side of his brother’s neck, the right distance apart to be fangs. Brendon felt those spots and they were smooth and the skin unbroken, just irritated skin. Sure enough neither side had any scars from being punctured – Brendon instinctively ran his hand over his own scar on his left side and felt the roughness there. A chill ran down his spine as he did from his own touch.
“But then… how… what’s…” Brendon felt at a loss as to a course of action. Clearly Brandon wouldn’t be cut out for this type of life whereas Brendon, while not enthusiastic, knew what he was getting himself into when he agreed to the change. He realized what he would eventually have to do. And suddenly, an emotion hit him that hadn’t for some time.
“Hey… it’s going to be okay,” Carson soothed. He was on his boyfriend in a flash, consoling the boy. “Your brother’s going to be okay. We’ll make sure of it. If he does cross over, I won’t just send him out into the world blind. I’m not going to treat him like I was, okay?”
“I-I didn’t want this to happen to him!” Brendon shouted in clear distress. “H-He was s-supposed to make it big… g-give Mom and Dad some grandkids somehow! And I ruined that f-for him somehow! H-He’ll never forgive me!”
“Yes he will. Even though he can’t say it when I’m around, I see how much he loves you too. Sure he might be upset for a time but I think he’ll still love you.”
Before Brendon could possibly refute Carson’s logic, both of them heard a low groan coming from the resting boy. Both of them turned to him and watched as he slowly woke up. Brandon stretched slowly, much like Brendon did ten minutes before and opened his eyes to see both his brother and his brother’s boyfriend staring at him. He slid back on his butt in surprise. “Wh-What’s g-going on?” For a moment he looked like he wanted to say more, but he stopped and looked confused. “Why does my voice sound funny? It sounds… I don’t know… different?” And then Brandon slowly stood up. “What happened? Everything looks so vivid to me.” For a brief moment, Brandon smiled in wonderment, like a little kid visiting his first amusement park. He glanced at his brother. “Did something happen… to… t-to…” The smile faded. Suddenly, Brandon began to shake. Violently.
“Bran?” Brendon asked. The boy noticed his brother’s eyes were focused acutely to his neck. Instinctively, Brendon put his hand over it but Brandon didn’t stop staring at that spot. “Br-Brandon? What’s wrong?”
Tears slid down Brandon’s face. “Y-Y-You… I-I can’t believe…” Without any more said, Brandon tore out of the room and past Drew and Boston.
“Brandon!” Brendon called out after his brother but he could no longer see him.
“Don’t worry. I’ll go find him – you’re still adjusting to your new body. Stay with Drew and Boston until I get back, okay?”
“Please! Make sure he’s okay!” Brendon said, almost frantic. He felt his fears coming true – that Brandon blamed him for his crossover. He couldn’t have missed how his brother stared at the wound on his neck if he tried. “I-I mean… if anything–”
Without warning, a sharp pain coursed through Brendon’s body.
“Buddy?” Carson asked worriedly just as he almost took off after his boyfriend’s brother. “Brendon? What’s wrong? Are you in pain?” Brendon couldn’t speak – it even hurt for the boy to nod that he was. After a minute, Brendon fell to a knee, his body feeling like it was on fire and chilled by icy tendrils at the same time.
“What’s wrong with him?” Drew asked as he looked over Brendon. “I can’t sense anything wrong with your boy, Carson.” Tremors slowly rolled across Brendon’s body, accentuating the pain he felt tenfold
Carson turned to the other two. “Find his brother. Please. I’d do it but…”
“We’re on it,” Boston said. Carson carefully cradled his boyfriend in his lap as they took off, worried for him now. Doubt started to fill his mind. If he hadn’t turned Brendon, this wouldn’t have happened… would it? Surely it could’ve down the road with another vampire and it could be a lot worse than it was.
“We got him,” Drew said as he and Boston carried an unconscious Brandon back into their camp. Carson watched at Brendon’s body seemed to calm down. “Hmm… he stopped shaking.”
“He was acting like Brendon there. Did something happen to Brendon during his crossover?” Both boys gently lay Brandon down next to Brendon. Carson propped Brendon up so his head fell into Carson’s lap.
“Well… we need to talk. About the two of them.” Lovingly, he ran his hand through his boyfriend’s hair, hoping to ease his boy’s distress.
A couple of months had passed after Brendon had crossed over along with Brandon’s mysterious crossover; things started to get better. At least for four of the five. One member seemed to be out of sorts as he sat on a log near the boys’ most recent find – a small abandoned car lot, complete with the office trailer intact. Most of the concrete had weeds and grass trying to reclaim a small part of land for nature and where the log came from, no one really knew. For Brandon’s sake – along with Brendon’s – it took some doing but the five of them moved a rusted but otherwise structurally sound vehicle closer to the trailer – Brendon and Carson’s home.
During their time now hiding in the night, both twins came to an odd conclusion. Any time they separated too far from one another, both of them started to get sick. Hot and cold flashes, paralyzing pain, dizzy spells, nausea, and fainting were the most common symptoms. Once a few weeks after being settled in their new place, the two fought and went their separate ways. The other three were out on a hunt, needing to feed. Brandon, in his haste to create distance, tripped and snagged his leg on a rusty hinge. Normally he would’ve been a bit paranoid about tetanus but he had other things to worry about. Then Brandon fell down a small hill near the run down lot, pushing them too far apart. And it was too late for anyone to do anything when Carson, Drew, and Boston returned fully stated. Carson had to be dragged into the trailer as the first rays of the sun started to peek over the horizon. Drew and Boston smothered Carson for his own safety as the dead sleep took hold of all three.
All three were shocked to come across both boys still alive and mostly unharmed.
Brendon, having come to a few times from his fainting but still in agonizing pain, had managed to slowly crawl in the direction his brother was. As the distance between the two grew shorter, the boy started to feel better and picked up speed. And he passed out in sheer exhaustion when he came across Brandon sprawled out in a ditch, just managing to throw a shielding arm over his brother. They all still couldn’t fathom how both brothers survived the scorching rays of the sun – Carson expected to find a pile of ash where the boys should’ve been that following night but was much relieved when he found bodies instead.
“What’s wrong with him?” Brendon asked a couple nights later as he held a wet cloth on his brother’s forehead. “He should be okay now that we’re next to each other, right?” During their latest spat, Brendon had realized there was something rather unique about how he came into the night.
“Your guess is as good as mine, buddy.” Carson’s eyes scanned the still unconscious boy physically along with his mind sensing the boy’s blood flow. His eyes saw the tear in Brandon’s pant leg at nearly the same time he sensed a sickness raging inside the boy. After the twins were brought inside the following night, Brendon bounced back whereas Brandon didn’t – he stayed unconscious. “He’s actually sick. Like you would be before you turned. His healing powers aren’t responding like they should.”
“Brandon… please get better… I need you to.” Brendon had lowered his head next to his twin’s ear and whispered into it. With great reluctance, he raised his hand and brushed the lying boy’s cheek before caressing his head. “If you go… I think I’ll have to follow you and I know we’re both not ready to go. I know this. So… please…” Brendon had more to say but a slight shock ran through his body from his hand. Quickly, he disengaged from Brandon and stared at the boy. Carson looked down and acted like nothing happened. “Did… did you feel that?”
“Feel what?” Carson asked while eyeing Brendon oddly.
He shook his head. “I… I felt like some sort of shock… when I was trying to make Bran feel better.” He blushed as he said it, still not really comfortable with others knowing how much he loved his brother even when they fought – especially now. Even if it was Carson. “It didn’t really hurt… it just felt strange.”
As he listened, Carson decided to check out how Brandon was doing given what he was hearing. With these two, he knew there was something different about them compared to himself and the other two they kept company with. Something special. And when he finished his scan, he was shocked – the infection that had taken root in that one day of them being trapped outside in the sun’s embrace was still there, but down by at least half of what it was. And it seemed to be diminishing like it should. Brendon also sensed this but had nothing to compare it to, so he just thought it wasn’t as bad as Carson led him to believe.
“Why do you want to be alone?” Brendon asked again. The two of them glanced back to see Carson chatting with his two other friends. “You stayed about as far away as you dared a lot today. Weren’t those times enough?”
Brandon sighed. “There are times I wish I… could just take a walk by myself and not have to worry if I’ve strayed too far from you. Having the sickness take hold of me and inflicting it on you. I know there are times you wish the same thing.” Brendon neither confirmed nor denied what his brother said. After a small pause, Brandon nodded back towards the others. “Go. Spend some time with your ‘hubby’.” A weak smile flashed on Brandon’s face. Brendon couldn’t help but chuckle. “I’ll just sit up in the rafters again and keep an eye out.”
“Are you sure?” Brendon asked. “We could get Drew and Boston to take a watch.”
“I’ll be fine. Go on.” Brendon looked over his brother one last time before he started to walk back to the others. But he stopped for a second, just as Brandon started to climb the boxes.
“You do know that it’ll be time to feed soon.” Brendon grimaced – he knew after all this time, Brandon never liked to feed. “For the both of us.”
Without turning around, Brandon resumed his ascent. “I know. I don’t have to like it, though.”
From his vantage point, he saw that Brendon had called over Carson and the two of them sat close to the edge of what the twins called the “area of sickness” – about twenty or so yards could separate them safely. Any further than that and both of them would experience all the symptoms they had before. Over the years, the two on occasion could operate outside of that distance but only in short bursts before the symptoms rushed in. Brandon took his eyes off his brother as he and Carson snuggled up together, leaning their heads against one another. He stared out the dark window and sighed.
Nothing changed outside, as much as Brandon almost hoped it would. He knew they were out there – the slags or even the regular law enforcement – and just wished the stalemate would end. He wanted to be able to walk the grounds during the day, knowing he really couldn’t go out into the world like he used to. Carson still couldn’t believe he had two Daywalkers amongst his family. He had mentioned to the both of them how rare it was to find one, but two from essentially one turning was astronomical. And conveniently he exploited that fact to protect their belongings from the occasional looter that came across them. Each time, they moved, hoping to stay far removed from the problem. All five of them were content in their isolation, wanting nothing to do with any of the vampire factions, especially the ones that wanted the recently discovered vampire mimic either dead or for their own. All five wanted to enjoy their lives in relative quiet.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Drew asked as he took a seat next to Brandon.
Nothing was said for a few minutes, the two of them just looking out the window into the night. But then Brandon opened up a bit. “I love my brother, but sometimes I just wish we weren’t… tethered as we are. It’s like we became Siamese vampire twins back when he crossed over. And now… we’re stuck like this. Forever.”
Drew nodded, agreeing. “You know that it’s probably impossible to disentangle yourselves from the other, right? I mean, if it could be done, who knows what would happen to either of you? Would you both just die? Revert back to being human somehow? Unable to walk out into the sunlight like you can now?” Drew wrapped a brotherly arm around Brandon. “There would probably be too many variables to make sure that both of you would be okay and safe to even think of attempting it. So… why fight it?”
“I know all this.” Brandon finally turned to Drew. “Why are you up here? Shouldn’t you be down with Boston?”
“I came up here to relieve you. You should really spend some real time with your brother.”
Brandon scoffed and shook Drew’s arm off his shoulders. “I spend plenty of time with Bren! We’re up all day and all night… together!”
“What do you two talk about during the day, then?” Drew pressed. “I’ll bet twenty to one that the last meaningful conversation the two of you had together was about… forty years ago – and I’m not talking about this sick crap you two keep doing to each other with dancing around the crossover thing. That’s a long time, man.” Brandon turned away. “Look, I know you weren’t really a part of our group before you were both turned. But you are now. We only used those other kids as a front because Carson really liked your brother and at the time he hung out with them – I had charmed them as a joke when he met your brother. He wanted a non-threatening way to get closer to him, so I did it again. It took some doing but I used my extra on them all the time and charmed them into thinking we were their friends.” Drew laughed. “That reminds me… Carson owes me like two hundred 1955 dollars for all that hard work.”
“That’d be like a couple thousand dollars today at least,” Brandon mused. “Most likely more.”
“Hey stud.” Boston quickly climbed the boxes and hugged Drew before sitting on Brandon’s other side. “What’re you two talking about?”
“About how Carson still owes me money from getting him and Bren together.” Boston laughed heartily, making the other two join in too but Brandon’s laughter was more subdued than theirs.
“I remember you having to charm your ass off to keep those other kids in the dark.”
“And I also remember you having to on occasion projecting some ‘classmates’ of ours each time Brendon got suspicious as to why we didn’t have any friends from our ‘private school’.”
Brandon suddenly frowned. “Before we were turned… you never charmed either me or my brother… did you?”
“I think once I almost charmed Bren but Carson told me not to – that if he had the chance to sire him he didn’t want to do it on false pretenses.”
“What about me?” Brandon pressed. Drew suddenly looked guilty.
“…I-I might have… once… or ten… times.”
Brandon stood up. “Because I wasn’t meant to be turned, right? It was okay to use your extra on me because I wasn’t the one that Carson wanted.”
“Brandon, you’re not realizing that–” Before Boston could finish Brandon waved his hand in front of his face. “What?”
“S-Someone’s coming!” Brandon whispered. The other two tensed.
Drew swore. “Carson! Brendon!” The three of them scampered down and rushed towards the other two.
“What’s wrong?” Carson said. Brendon looked at his brother, worried for his well-being. Lately he had felt him pulling away and had asked Drew and Boston to see if maybe they could wrestle it from him. But now he couldn’t dwell on that – he saw the three of them looked rattled, Brandon more so.
“I-I-I saw… h-headlights. C-Coming this w-way. A-At least three sets.” Brandon swallowed. “I-I think they’re SWAT c-cars.”
“Great,” Carson said. All five of them perked up and listened, hearing the cars surrounding the building. “Looks like we have to fight our way out of this one.” Each of them took that bit of news differently. Drew and Boston cracked their knuckles, taking a no-nonsense approach to the upcoming brawl. Carson looked a bit worried – not for the outcome but for the safety of his brothers – but only for a second. Stoically, he darted over towards a nearby door and got ready to get into position. Brendon actually felt somewhat eager, ready to test himself again. Brandon appeared to be the only one both terrified and nauseated at the prospect of having to end human life. Even if they came to try and end theirs. Compounding that, Brandon knew he had to stick close to his brother even against his own body’s will to run and hide in a corner.
Silently, Carson slipped outside where he would be at his strongest. He made sure, when they all had to move last, to pick a new home that at least bordered on some dense forest, needing the foliage to protect the ones he cared about. Spotting a thorny bush that grew next to the building, Carson thrust his hands forward towards the bush. Sensing the life energy that made the plant, his extra seized it and accelerated its normal processes. In a freakish twist, the branches on the thorn bush became flexible, whip-like, as they brimmed with Carson’s unnatural energies. He flung his hands in the direction of the advancing SWAT team members. Several lengthening vines grew rapidly from the bush and flew at their intended targets. Carson ducked around the corner as he heard a few of the men scream as the thorns bit into the soft flesh of their necks, constricting all the while. A few guns fired off as Carson continued to take point, doing his best to limit how many members of the enemy made it inside.
Inside, several SWAT members started to sweep the building as they were trained to. Unfortunately, their training didn’t cover how to engage creatures of the night effectively. Chaos started when Drew jumped into the middle of the group. His hands latched onto the exposed man’s neck. With a pulse of energy, Drew could see that man’s brain in a limited fashion and manipulate it some. Quickly, he implanted the idea that there were many, many hostiles in the room and had to take them out before they overwhelmed him. With Boston’s help, Drew’s boyfriend mentally channeled his extra into the air around the other officers and made them appear as a swarm of bloodthirsty murderers escaping from a prison riot. Drew’s charmed officers, unable to distinguish from reality and fantasy, felt compelled to shoot at the illusions. Boston made sure to place his illusions with great care, blocking the real SWAT team members with precision. Bullets rained into the group of fake mercenaries, easily passing through the facsimiles and several of the team fell. And just when Drew was shaken free, his extra’s work fading as the man heard the screams of his comrades, Boston rushed in with a knife and sunk it deep into the flailing officer’s exposed neck.
Brandon shook but steeled himself as best he could as at least ten SWAT officers slowly converged on their positions. Shirking the fear and self-loathing, he called upon his own extra. With a practice that seemed well beyond his fifty or so years being on the Earth, his extra sought out every photon of light, every particle that could give off his location to his foes and tagged them, noting everything about all those particles – their speed, direction, intensity, and mass. With photons having such a negligible mass and so few of them thanks to the time of day, it took hardly any effort for Brandon to divert them around his body and return them to their exact path as if he didn’t stand in their way. Dust repelled away from him as he faded completely from view to everyone.
Brendon, standing about five yards behind his twin, used his extra on the officers that tried to get too close. While Brandon could focus on the microscopic easily with his extra, Brendon fared better with the macroscopic. Anything smaller than a bullet taxed him greatly – he could do it just like his twin but only twice at the vest best. Just like Brandon trying to expanding his own power into the larger things, they got too heavy for him and tired him out.
All those rules broke the closer they stood to each other.
Something the twins found out about their extras occurred during a similar fight several years earlier. Instead of bullets and SWAT officers, it was a brawl when the boys walked back through the wrong area. Sure, what they faced were only humans, but walking through a gang’s turf when all members of said gang convened within that area wasn’t a smart thing to do. The odds didn’t look good for the brothers, until they accidentally backed into one another. They found their extras fed off one another, amplifying their brother’s to nearly unfathomable proportions and easily took care of the gang.
The shockwave slowly built as they inched towards each other, the invisible Brandon slowly channeling some of his energy towards Brendon. Using this “dual extra”, Brendon took advantage of the amplified energy and turned his telekinesis into a form of pure energy, arcing through one SWAT officer to the next, clearing a score of them out of the way.
“I’m glad I sent in my lackeys first before I even announced myself.” An almost melodic laugh echoed through the warehouse as the last of the SWAT members were dispatched. “Now I know what I’m up against.”
“Who are you?” Carson shouted into the darkness, having rejoined his team. “What do you want from us?”
“What I want?” Slowly, a woman sauntered her way towards the five, stepping over the dead or unconscious men with ease, as if they weren’t even there. Her ruby satin gown seemed out of place in such a scene, the way she tossed her hair from her shoulders way too practiced. But when the filtered moonlight struck her face, all five of them were a bit surprised at how cold it appeared. Way too calculating given her appearance. “What I want… is those two. Right there.”
Her finger pointed at first to Brendon and then to a still obscured Brandon.
“Wh-What do want from us?” Brendon asked.
“I knew I saw you from somewhere before, but I couldn’t really place where. But then, one night a picture of you came across the news. Showing you walking out of a store… in the daytime.”
“S-So?” Brendon asked. Brandon had revealed himself, knowing that she could still somehow track him with other abilities – he assumed her to be like them.
“So…” The lady once again tossed her auburn hair over her shoulder. A few strands fell over her left eye as she gazed at the group. “That means something to me. For you see… I’ve had some people keep tabs on you two, so I already knew that you’re like me – a vampire. But to have at least one Daywalker within my grasp… I can’t ignore the possibilities.”
“And what would those be?” Boston spoke up. “You want him to do some dirty deeds for you while you sleep?”
The lady laughed deeply, richly. “Oh no… heavens no.” Her sinister veneer returned. “No dears, for you see if I can understand how he can avoid the dangers of the sun like most of our kind and keep that knowledge to myself… I could overthrow the elders and establish myself as the most dominate force in the world!”
“I don’t see how that’s possible,” Carson said neutrally. Brendon glanced at his boyfriend and knew he was livid. “Just because they can walk in the sunlight doesn’t make them invincible you know.”
“You’re wrong on that, honey.” She had worked her way closer to the group and ran her fingers across Carson’s chest. “You see… I’ve been hard at work for years in secret in engineering the perfect vampire concoction with some good, loyal friends of mine. Once this vampire serum is completely perfected, it will make me almost… like a vampire Mimic. I’ll be unstoppable and usher in a new age for our kind – and for the humans!” She laughed right in Carson’s face. “It’s been nice chatting with you all, but I think it’s time I collect my prize and move on.” Her one hand came and grabbed Carson’s hair. With her left palm stretched wide, she palmed his face and in an instant, sent a blast of energy through his skin, causing his head to explode. “One down… three to go.” She delighted in seeing all four of them in a state of utter shock, feasted on their fears, their agony.
“H-How could you do that to him?!”
Suddenly, the remaining four flickered a bit.
“What… what is going on?” Confusion segued into rage.
“Damn it…” Boston muttered to himself as his extra gave out. The five of them revealed themselves behind the woman – all thanks to Brandon.
“It was enough,” Carson said. “Now, let’s get rid of her before she actually makes my head blow up like that.”
“You… you tricked me!” In a white-hot rage, the crazed woman grabbed the first body she could and flung it towards them. All of them scattered just as the body, filled with her extra, exploded in a mess of gore. Bones had turned to shrapnel, muscle and blood into a screen. Using his extra, Brandon made sure none of the smaller bits struck his friends while Brendon took care of the larger pieces.
With the door open, Carson sent his energies into the natural world and recalled them, summoning a mass of vines in the process. They snaked their way along the walls and towards their target. With hardly an effort, the woman simply touched each vine and before they could ensnare her completely, they were nothing more than chlorophyll staining her dress green.
“This dress cost me four hundred dollars!” she shouted. “I’m done playing games.”
“So are we.” Brendon stepped up and stood next to his brother. “You ready?”
“Yep. Her I don’t mind killing.” A small smile crossed his face. The two took each other’s hand in a vice-like grip. Within moments, the air around the two crackled to life with an unearthly howl, stopping the woman in her tracks for a second.
“You? Kill me?” She barked out a slightly nervous laugh as she could feel the energy in the air hum to life. “I find the very idea quite amusing!”
“Well, let’s see how… amusing you find this!” The energy within the boys ricocheted back and forth between each of them, growing stronger and stronger until they couldn’t contain it any more. The shockwave they had been slowly building since before the lady in red revealed herself finally crested into a wave of pure energy. It shot towards her like a tsunami. Unable to even react, the wave slammed into her and carried her into the far wall. It tore at her incessantly, distorting all of her limbs before the energy passed through the structure. Her limp body fell to the ground.
“Nice one. I am so proud of you, buddy!” Carson scooped Brendon up in a tight hug before they kissed almost fervently. Brandon, at first all smiles, frowned and looked away from the scene. He knew he shouldn’t feel jealous of his brother but couldn’t help it from time to time. Brendon sensed this and extracted himself from Carson’s grip. He placed a hand on Brandon’s shoulder. “You did good too, Bran.”
“Yeah,” Brendon spoke up. “We’re gonna be a team always. You and me.” He hoped his words stemmed the flood of jealousy inside Brandon – and it did for the most part.
“I always forget that you two can do that feedback thing if you’re close enough,” Boston said. “Another one of your unusual perks.”
“Yeah, I’m just glad you both are on our side!” Drew laughed. The rest of them joined in a little before it was cut short by the sounds of shaky breaths coming from the area where the vampire lady fell. Carefully, the boys made their way to her and kept their distance.
“F…Fools,” she spat out, a heavy dose of her blood following her words. A metal rod protruded from her chest. “I am… nothing. Only… sent to get… whatever my master… wishes. She… she should be the one… you fear. I hope… she makes you suffer for… for this.”
“Well… we’ll just have to take that as it comes, now won’t we?” Carson said. “Care to tell us anything else? Before I show you some mercy and end you here?” A weak laugh escaped her.
“Mercy… is for the weak. Eve… would show you no such thing.”
Just as Carson shook his head and went to summon his extra, Brendon stopped him.
“No… let’s just go. We know she’s gonna die. We have to find another place before it gets too late. It’s already four. We don’t have the time.”
“I-I guess.” Carson shook his head as the others wormed their way through the carnage. They gathered their things and headed out.
But not before Brendon tore a hole in the roof. Right over the lady in red.