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"What did you do?" Brian asked in horror as he rushed into the clearing.
"It's not what it looks like!" Evan said quickly. "He's a darksider!"
"He doesn't smell like one." Brian said slowly.
"I know. That's what I thought too, but he bared his fangs at me." Evan said desperately. "I swear!"
"What did you do to him?" Brian asked as he looked at the young man crumpled on the ground.
"Nothing. I mean, this guy bared his fangs at me, so I bared mine back at him... and then he passed out." Evan said in a voice of puzzlement.
"Do you think we should, you know... finish him off?" Brian asked cautiously.
"With what? The file on my fingernail clippers?" Evan asked frankly.
"Right... what do you want to do?" Brian asked as he stared at the skinny teenager laying on the ground at his feet.
"I know we're supposed to be staying with Uncle Collin right now, but I'd really like to call Mom." Evan said honestly.
"Isn't she all the way out at your brother's house?" Brian asked cautiously.
"No. Mom and Dad were supposed to meet with Morgan today. They're probably still at his office." Evan said quickly. "I really think they'd handle this better than Collin would."
"Yeah. I was kind of thinking the same thing." Brian admitted reluctantly. "Collin isn't always the most reasonable person to deal with."
"Besides, this guy, he didn't really act like a darksider." Evan said as he took out his cell phone.
"How do you mean?" Brian asked curiously.
"He kept saying over and over how sorry he was." Evan said quietly, then said into the phone, "Hi Mom. I was just sort of ambushed by a darksider in the park."
"No. We're fine. But, I don't know, something seems weird about the guy who wanted to bite me. As soon as I bared my fangs, he passed out." Evan said slowly.
"Yeah. We're at Schiller Park. Is there any way you could come and get us?" Evan asked hopefully.
"Great! We're not too far from the entrance. If you can come and get us, we'll meet you at 3rd and Reinhard." Evan said in concentration.
"We'll carry him. I don't think he's going to try to hurt us." Evan said, then looked at Brian hopefully.
Brian nodded, then knelt down to pick up the unconscious young man.
"Okay. We'll see you then." Evan said more gently.
"I love you, too." Evan said with a smile, then quickly added, "So does Brian."
Brian looked up with an exaggerated expression of surprise.
"Well, you do." Evan said as he closed the phone.
Brian chuckled, then said, "Yeah. I do."
"Do you need some help with him?" Evan asked with concern.
"No. This guy probably doesn't weigh a hundred pounds." Brian said frankly.
Evan looked at the young man with concern as they started walking toward the park entrance.
* * * * *
"You can put him in the trunk." Ariadne said as she stepped out of the car.
"Mom, I'd really rather not." Evan said slowly. "I'm not sure he's really a darksider."
"You said that he attacked you." Ariadne said reasonably.
"Yes. But I think maybe he's a shadesider who doesn't know what that means." Evan said seriously.
"Put him in the trunk and we'll sort it out when we get to your brother's house.
Evan smiled at the thought of his newly adopted brother, while Brian gently placed the unconscious teenager in the trunk.
"You there. What are you doing?" A uniformed police officer called as he hurried to the car.
"We're just going for a drive, it's a lovely evening for it." Ariadne said as she looked at the police officer sweetly.
"I... um, yes. Lovely." He finally responded.
"But I need to take my children home, it's getting late." Ariadne said gently, then asked, "Will there be anything else?"
"No. Have a good evening." He said quickly.
"You, too, officer." Ariadne said with a smile, then got into the car.
* * * * *
"You're not being a very good example for your impressionable boys by zapping a policeman like that." Evan said with a teasing grin.
"Nonsense. I'm being a perfect example. I want both of you to be able to 'zap' anyone that you need to in an emergency. And some people would consider having a police officer witnessing you putting a body into the trunk of your car as something of an emergency." Ariadne said seriously.
"Do we need to go pick up Dad or are we going straight to Rafe's?" Evan asked curiously.
"No, Morgan and your father are busy scheming and plotting. It could easily go on for a few more hours." Ariadne said with a fond chuckle. "Morgan will see to it that Michael get's home."
"Are you going to be okay to drive all the way to Rafe's?" Evan asked with concern.
"I've been driving since the invention of the automobile." Ariadne said simply.
"Since the invention of the chariot." Evan said under his breath.
Brian let out a laugh at the comment.
"I heard that." Ariadne said with a grin, but didn't dispute his words.
* * * * *
Lane opened his eyes and found himself in complete darkness.
His first thought was that he might be in a coffin, but unless he was in a motorized coffin that was extra short and extra wide, it was more likely that he was in the trunk of a car.
Lane thought back and tried to remember what had happened and how he got into this state.
He was out looking for a meal.
He found a helpless looking teenage boy.
He was about to bite the boy when....
Lane reached up and felt his neck, but couldn't find any wound to indicate if he'd been bitten.
As he listened to the engine of the car, he also heard the murmur of voices talking.
He couldn't make out the words that were being said, but he could definitely hear the voices.
Lane felt around in the confined darkness and could tell that the trunk area that he was in was carpeted and actually somewhat comfortable.
There wasn't much else that he could do, so he curled up and tried to fight back his anxiety about what was going to happen to him when they arrived at their destination.
* * * * *
"Do you have your brother's phone number?" Ariadne asked casually as she drove.
"Yeah. Do you need for me to call him for something?" Evan asked curiously.
"Yes. Let him know what's going on so he can prepare a place for our... guest." Ariadne said slowly.
"Wow. That sounds ominous." Evan said frankly.
"We have a darksider in the trunk who tried to attack you. I think that's enough reason to be cautious." Ariadne said simply.
"I'll call him." Evan said as he pushed the speed dial number on his phone.
"Dodger?" Evan asked curiously.
"That's right. Evan, is that you?"
"Yeah. Mom and Brian and I are bringing a darksider to your place." Evan said cautiously.
"He sort of attacked me, but passed out before he really did anything very threatening." Evan said slowly. "Besides, I was in a public park, what was I supposed to do with the body?"
"I guess I can see that."
"And he was acting really weird before he passed out." Evan said thoughtfully.
"Well, first of all, he said he was sorry over and over before he even bared his fangs to me. It was like he was scared to death, but couldn't help himself." Evan said slowly. "Anyway, Mom just wanted me to call so you and Rafe could be ready when we got there."
"I'll let Rafe know what's going on. We'll be ready." Dodger said seriously, then quietly asked, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine." Evan said with a smile.
"I love you, you know that, right?"
"Yeah. I know that. And I love you, too, Dodger. Always." Evan said warmly.
"I'll see you when you get here." Dodger said gently.
* * * * *
Lane woke out of a light doze when he heard the engine stop.
A moment later, he heard the keys in the lock, then the trunk opened.
He didn't know what he had expected to see, but what he found when his eyes adjusted to the light was two teenage boys and a beautiful woman.
"Why don't you get out of there so we can go inside?" The woman asked him gently.
The words seemed to wrap themselves around his mind and he found himself climbing out of the trunk before he even knew what he was doing.
"Come along into the house." She said pleasantly, and Lane found himself wanting to do nothing but accede to her every command.
* * * * *
"Here, I dragged this out after you called." Dodger said when they stepped off the elevator into the basement.
"That looks creepy." Evan said as he looked at the large, crudely made, wooden chair.
"Rafe made it in his wood shop." Dodger chuckled, then said, "And I thought it was creepy too. In fact, it creeped me out so bad when I first saw it that I ran up to my bedroom."
"Please have a seat." Ariadne said to their guest.
He sat down in the chair, then looked at her expectantly.
"Help me get him tied down." Dodger said as he started to bind the man's hands to the arms of the chair with heavy wire.
"Couldn't you get some Velcro or something to do this?" Evan asked as he reluctantly started to bind down one of the legs.
"You have to take darksider strength into account. You need wire or chain to hold them." Dodger said frankly.
"Is he secure?" Ariadne asked as she looked the young man over.
"Yeah. I think that will hold him." Dodger said as he tested the wire with his own strength.
"I think it best if you learn to deal with situations like this on your own. But I'll be in the living room if you need me. Feel free to come to me if you need any advice." She said gently.
"Thanks for all your help Mom." Evan said sincerely.
"And for coming to get us." Brian quickly added.
"I'll always be there when you need me." Ariadne said with a loving smile, then went to the elevator.
* * * * *
Dodger turned his attention back to their guest in the chair to find him in more or less of a daze.
"Just a second." Dodger said, then rushed to the other side of the vast, mostly empty room.
He returned a moment later with a large glass of juice and a straw.
Dodger put his finger over the end of the straw, then put the other end of the straw into the young man's mouth.
As soon as his guest tasted the juice, his eyes snapped open and became alert.
"Do you want some more?" Dodger asked quietly.
"Yes! Please!" The boy asked desperately.
"What's your name?" Dodger asked slowly.
"Lane." The boy said immediately. "Lane Kingston."
"Here you go, Lane." Dodger said, then held the glass of juice forward and positioned the straw in Lane's mouth.
Lane drank the juice down within seconds.
"May I please have some more?" Lane asked hopefully.
"Let's let that settle for a minute, first." Dodger said gently.
Lane nodded, then quietly asked, "Are you guys vampires too?"
"That depends on how you look at it." Dodger said quietly.
"Yeah. Vampire doesn't mean the same thing to us that it means to regular people." Evan said seriously.
"I'm guessing that means that you are." Lane said hesitantly.
"Lane, we're shadesiders. Physically, we're the same as vampires, but we didn't lose our souls." Evan said frankly.
After a moment to consider the words, Lane hesitantly asked, "I have a soul?"
"Back in the park, why were you telling me that you were sorry?" Evan asked simply.
"Because I didn't really want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt anyone." Lane said thoughtfully. "I was just so hungry."
"Vampires don't care about who they hurt. They actually enjoy hurting people. They think it's fun." Brian said frankly.
"So I'm not a vampire?" Lane asked hopefully.
"I don't think so, but since you almost bit me, I'm not letting you loose just yet." Evan said seriously.
Lane nodded that he understood and accepted Evan's reasoning.
"You couldn't have been changed for very long. Less than a day, I'd guess." Dodger said seriously.
"Um, yeah. I guess it happened at about two this morning." Lane said quietly.
"How did it happen?" Dodger asked curiously.
Lane paused for a moment, then glanced at Evan before saying, "I'd rather not say it in front of the kids."
Evan rolled his eyes, then said, "We'll go get him some more juice so you 'grown-ups' can talk."
"Thanks Evan." Dodger said with a smile.
"Come on, Brian." Evan said, then started tromping off to the other side of the cavernous basement.
"So what happened?" Dodger asked Lane with concern.
"I met this guy and we went back to my place and... um... well..." Lane trailed off with embarrassment.
"Did he bite you or rape you?" Dodger asked calmly.
"Neither." Lane answered immediately. "We had sex, but it wasn't rape. It was incredible and wonderful. But... the condom broke."
"Condoms don't work on us." Dodger said simply.
"They don't?" Lane asked with surprise.
"Nope. The latex can't hold up to the chemical makeup of our bodily fluids, plus, with our enhanced strength and endurance... they just aren't effective at all." Dodger said casually, then added, "But since we can't get regular diseases and shadeside women rarely get pregnant, we really don't need them."
"But you're not going to, you know, hurt me... because I'm gay." Lane asked timidly.
Dodger smiled sympathetically at the question, then answered, "My husband is upstairs on a conference call. And those two young guys that you didn't want to talk in front of, they're a couple."
"Really?" Lane asked in wonder.
"I'm one of the good guys. I wouldn't lie." Dodger said with a grin.
"What does that make me?" Lane asked hesitantly.
"I think maybe you're one of the good guys, too." Dodger said honestly.
"Can we come back over there yet?" Evan called from across the room.
"What do you say, Lane?" Dodger asked with a smile.
"Yeah." Lane said shyly.
"Come on over guys. We're done." Dodger said with a chuckle.
* * * * *
"We got you some more juice." Evan said as he approached.
"Hang on for a second. I'm going to undo his hands so he can hold the glass for himself." Dodger said seriously.
"I'll behave. I promise." Lane said quickly.
"I believe you." Dodger said as he started to undo the wires. "But I'm not going to release you all the way just yet."
"Why not?" Lane asked curiously.
"Because some darksiders are smart enough to hide their true nature." Dodger said quietly, then looked at Evan with apology.
"My dad was betrayed by a darksider pretending to be a shadesider." Evan said sadly, then added, "The same guy killed my mom and tried to kill me."
"But he's dead now." Dodger added firmly. "And Evan has been adopted into a new family."
Evan smiled and said, "Yeah. Dodger's kind of my brother-in-law."
"Or I would be if the laws would ever catch up to the twenty-first century." Dodger said frankly. "On the shadeside, Rafe's my husband. But in the brightside world, we're two unrelated strangers who cohabitate."
"Don't get him started, Lane. He can go on like that for hours." Evan said with an exasperated look at Dodger.
"Yeah. Come back in about forty years and tell me how you feel about having brightsiders telling you that you and your husband don't have any relationship by their laws.
"Can you finish Lane's other hand before you get up on your soapbox?" Evan asked with a teasing grin.
"That's all I'm saying about it." Dodger said with a smile, then moved to the other side of the chair.
"Here Lane, I bet you could use this." Evan said as he handed Lane the large glass of juice.
"Thanks." Lane said quickly, then took a long slow drink.
Dodger unwrapped the wire from around Lane's left hand, then stood back to watch with satisfaction as Lane enjoyed his drink.
"So Lane, do you have anyone who you need to get in touch with and let them know that you're safe?" Dodger asked curiously.
"My dad will call me in the morning. That's about it." Lane said quietly.
"Well, I think we should be able to get you back home by then." Dodger said thoughtfully.
"You're going to let me go?" Lane asked hopefully.
"Sure. Now that we know that you're not going to be a threat to the general public, there shouldn't be any problem with that." Dodger said honestly.
"Thanks." Lane said happily.
"But there are a few things that we're going to need to discuss with you about your new... state of being." Dodger said carefully.
"Like what?" Lane asked cautiously.
"Well, you're going to have to live with certain limitations. It can be difficult, but we've got the shadeside community to help you with that." Dodger said frankly.
"Limitations, such as..." Lane said carefully.
"Not being able to go out in direct sunlight is a big one." Evan said frankly.
"Yes. It can make finding a job a real challenge." Dodger said seriously.
"I've been out of work for the past two weeks, I don't think I need for it to get any more challenging." Lane said anxiously.
"Well, once we get other things sorted out, I can make a few phone calls and maybe we'll be able to arrange something for you." Dodger said with a smile.
"Really? That'd be great." Lane said happily.
A cell phone ringing drew everyone's attention.
"It's mine." Brian said quickly, then stepped away.
"It's probably Uncle Collin." Evan whispered.
"So what other things do we need to sort out?" Lane asked cautiously.
"Well, I think the big one is finding the person who turned you and making sure that he doesn't do it to anyone else." Dodger said seriously.
"Julian is nice. Please don't throw him in your trunk and tie him up. He'll freak out." Lane said quickly.
"If you say that he's nice, then maybe we can just invite him over and have a long talk with him so he understands that condoms don't work on shadesiders." Dodger said simply.
"I wish I had a way of getting in touch with him." Lane said anxiously.
"How are we going to find him, then?" Evan asked curiously.
"The only way I know is to go to where I met him last night and hope that he's there again." Lane said thoughtfully.
"Maybe we could go do that now." Evan said quickly. "Do you think we could borrow a car?"
"Hold on, Evan. There's still a lot of stuff that Lane needs to understand." Dodger said frankly.
"Yeah. But he can learn about that stuff anytime. We need to find the guy who boinked Lane before he can boink someone else and this thing gets out of control." Evan said seriously.
"I suppose you're right." Dodger said with a nod, then grinned and asked, "Boinked?"
"I was trying to be polite, we have company." Evan said with a chuckle.
"Let's untie our company's legs so you guys can get going." Dodger said decisively.
"I told Collin that I was staying over here tonight. Is that okay?" Brian asked as he approached.
"Of course. You two have a room here whenever you want it." Dodger said with a grin, then turned his attention to Lane and said, "If you would like, you could stay too. That way we'll have time to tell you about all the things you need to know."
"And you won't have to worry about doing without juice." Brian said frankly.
"Yeah. But what is this?" Lane asked as he held up his glass.
"A synthetic blood substitute." Dodger said simply.
"It's great!" Lane said appreciatively.
"You wouldn't have thought so if you'd tried some before you changed." Dodger said with a chuckle.
"Before you take another trip down memory lane, do you think we can untie Lane from this chair?" Evan asked hopefully.
"You're no fun." Dodger said with a slight pout.
"Dodger is over fifty years old. He doesn't look it, but sometimes he acts it." Evan said to Lane conspiratorially.
Lane considered for a moment, then said, "It's good to have someone around with experience to give us sound advice."
"Thank you, Lane." Dodger said happily. "And let me revise my earlier invitation to say that you're invited as often and for as long as you would like to stay."
"I'll remember that." Lane chuckled.
"We'd better get going before it's too late." Evan said seriously.
"Right. Do you want to take the BMW or the Mercedes?" Dodger asked Evan as he led the way to the elevator.
"BMW." Brian said seriously.
"He's the driver." Evan said with a shrug.
* * * * *
"How are you doing, Lane?" Evan asked as he looked into the back seat.
"I'm sorry I tried to hurt you." Lane said quietly.
"You were hungry, right?" Evan asked seriously.
"Yeah. Hungrier than I've ever been."
"I understand. I might have done the same thing if I wasn't lucky enough to have been helped by Rafe and Dodger." Evan said frankly.
"How did you get changed? I mean, if it isn't too personal." Lane asked curiously.
"Me and my mom were attacked by a vampire. She was killed, I was almost killed, but since I survived, I was turned." Evan said quietly.
"Oh my god! I'm so sorry." Lane said in horror.
"It's okay." Evan said with a forced smile. "That was the end of my old life and the beginning of a new one. And my new life is pretty good."
"He got a new mom and dad and even a brother." Brian said from the driver's seat.
"Don't forget my wonderful, gorgeous husband." Evan said with a smile.
"Well, I thought that went without saying." Brian said with a grin.
"Was that lady with the long black hair your new mother?" Lane asked cautiously.
"Yes. Her name is Ariadne." Evan said happily.
"And she's amazing." Brian interjected.
"I'll say. I've never felt anything like it. Her presence... it's like she can just look at me and I'll do anything she says." Lane said in wonder.
"Yeah. That's something called 'the thrall'. All of us have it, but she can use it better than anyone else that I've met." Evan said frankly.
"I think it has something to do with her being an ancient. Your dad has it too, he just doesn't use it as much as your mom." Brian said thoughtfully.
"An ancient?" Lane asked cautiously.
"Yeah. It's just like it sounds. They're really, really old." Evan said with a smile.
"How old?" Lane asked uncertainly.
"I don't know. Mom says that they weren't using the modern calendar back then. Honestly, even she may not know."
"Wow." Lane said in wonder.
"Whether you find your friend or not, you should really come home with us tonight." Evan said seriously.
"Why?" Lane asked cautiously.
"Because there's going to be a lot of stuff for you to learn. It's better for you to be around people who understand than to try to pass among brightsiders while you're trying to figure things out." Evan said as he looked Lane in the eyes.
"Well, I'll miss my dad's phone call. But besides that, there's no reason I need to be at home." Lane said thoughtfully.
"Can you call your dad now?" Evan asked simply.
"Sure." Lane said with surprise.
"Here. Let him know that you won't be at home in the morning. You can call him back some other time and give him Rafe's number. I would tell it to you, but all I know is that it's '2' on my speed dial." Evan said with a grin.
* * * * *
"Hi, can I speak to Dad?" Lane asked into the phone.
"Um, yes Mom, I know I'm a sodomite and that I'm going to burn in hell. But do you think, before I do that, I could talk to dad?" Lane asked hopefully.
Evan and Brian exchanged a concerned look at the words.
"Hi Dad. I just wanted to call and let you know that I won't be home in the morning, so you won't need to call." Lane said carefully.
"No. Nothing's wrong. In fact, I made some new friends, and if everything works out, they may be able to help me find a job." Lane said happily.
"That's okay. I can still hear you, but ask her if she talks to her savior with that mouth." Lane said with a grin.
"I love you too. I'll talk to you soon." Lane said happily.
"I will." Lane said with a chuckle, then hung up the phone.
* * * * *
"Is everything alright?" Evan asked with concern.
"Yeah. My mom just hates gays... and Democrats... and environmentalists... and abortion doctors... and anyone else her preacher tells her to." Lane said in a weary voice.
"And now she hates you, just because you're gay?" Evan asked quietly.
"Oh yeah. The funny thing is that, I'm the one who told her. I foolishly believed that crap about a mother's unconditional love." Lane said bitterly.
"I know what you mean." Brian said with a weary chuckle. "My parents kicked me out on my ass when I came out to them."
"They kicked you out?" Lane asked with surprise.
"Yeah. Then to make a bad day even worse, that's the day I got bitten by a darksider and nearly died." Brian said bitterly.
"What did you do?" Lane asked timidly.
"There wasn't much I could do. Collin and his guys were chasing the darksider." Brian said distantly. "Once they got him, Collin took me home and helped me through the change."
"So what about your parents?" Lane asked quietly.
"I haven't talked to them since." Brian said darkly. "I know that when they threw me out that they didn't intend for me to get bitten. But... in my heart, I blame them. It's because of them that the person that I was, their son, died that night."
"Do you miss them?" Lane asked with concern.
"No. My life is great now, especially since I've met Evan. That chapter is closed." Brian said with finality.
"My parents are both dead, so I'm dealing with it in pretty much the same way." Evan said frankly.
"I never realized how lucky I am. I mean, yeah, my mom's a screaming bitch. But I've still got my dad and I know that, no matter what, he loves me." Lane said with a watery smile.
"Well, I've got my new mom and dad and a brother and even an Uncle Collin. So I'm pretty happy with the way that things are." Evan said peacefully.
"So am I." Brian said thoughtfully. "I mean, after all I went through, I don't think I could accept someone trying to be my parent. But Ariadne and Michael have accepted me and care for me because I'm Evan's husband. So it's almost like having parents again, but without any of the insecurities that I have leftover from my old parents."
"Make a right up here. We're almost there." Lane said as he realized that they were just about to arrive at downtown.
To Be Continued...
Editor's Notes:Well, at least Lane seems to have found a couple of friendly "vampires" or at least that is what he thought they all were. I do hope they can find the guy that turned Lane. I also suspect that he didn't mean to infect Lane. I think he must have been turned pretty recently as well. I also suspect that he is a shadesider, even if he isn't very careful where he puts his boner.
Of course, I am ready for another chapter, anytime MM has one ready!
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher