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 <center><b><i><font size="7">"Gone From Daylight: Blood Ties 43"</font></i></b></center>

Stripping down to nothing...completely naked before stepping into the stand up shower in our room...I couldn't help but to look at my own reflection in the mirror and wonder if I was truly proud of the image staring back at me. So strange how easily my confidence can be crushed. How often I go looking for validation to remind me that I'm worth the oxygen I steel from other people on this planet. Perhaps its a result of the horror that my father once brought to my life. Then again...maybe I've been holding on to that excuse for far too long...and there might be a chance for me to move forward if I didn't constantly use his merciless abuse as an anchor to hold me back.<p>

I don't think people realize how much a childhood like mine damages a person inside. It's not like a physical scar that heals over time on its own. Scars like mine take real effort. Pain. Struggle. They don't go away until you work hard enough to <I>evict</I> them from your personal space. And even then...they fight hard to maintain their space in your heart.<p>

I wish I wasn't like this. I wish I had been given the chance to be a better kid growing up. But this was the personal history that I was given. I have to deal with it. And the rest of the world may never understand why I'm so far behind their adult 'royalty'...but they'll never understand the pain and tragedy that caused me to be this way in the first place. So...maybe I'm just meant to separate myself from the rest of society. Maybe we're oil and water, and there's no real reason to find common ground outside of talking about the weather, or the latest celebrity gossip on the news.<p>

Maybe I should spend more energy on accepting myself for who I am, and less on trying to fit in by trying to be acceptable to people who will never understand me, no matter what I do. It's a thought, right? Just a thought?<p>

My eyes stared back at me with a sadness that I didn't even realize was there until I saw it for myself. Stray tears dripped from my eyes, distorting the optrix effect on my eyes and causing them to betray me by displaying their golden glow. My heart felt heavy. My legs were weak. I listened to the sound of the shower running as it heated up the cascading waters behind me.<p>

What am I?<p>

Where is this life in darkness taking me?<p>

Maybe the Jeweler was right. Maybe I jumped into this world of eternal night premturely...and I've been letting it drag me along on a tight leash instead of running forward to determine a better path for myself. I mean, am I really stuck in a certain pattern of thinking? Have I trapped myself in a prison of my own making?<p>

When you look at yourself in the mirror, and all you see is 'wrong'...how do you get over that? How do you fight the urge to sink into the depressive quicksand? I don't have anyone to fight right now. Nobody but myself. And when it comes to fighting myself, I'll be the first to say that I simply don't know how to go about doing that.<p>

I just closed my eyes and let the warm waters of the shower wash over me for a while. Sparring with my own intellect as I tried to regain some level of balance in my self esteem. I often wonder if other people have to do this. If they have to actively <I>search</I> to find something to love about themselves...or if it comes naturally to them.<p>

What a life that must be.<p>

What a life.<p>

Eventually, I scrubbed myself clean and shut the shower off to rejoin the rest of the world again. I can't say that I felt much better...but my romantic duty to Taryn created the need for me to dry off and get back out there to put his mind at ease. He worries. I know he does.<p>

In fact, he jumped to his feet and rushed over to me the second I opened the bathroom door.<p>

Taryn hugged me around the neck and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "Are you SURE that you're ok? Justin, you can tell me if you're not ok..." He pleaded.<p>

I grinned to myself, so happy to have found a love so overwhelming in darkness. To think...he found me at my <I>lowest</I>, most despicable, point...and he loved me anyway.<p>

He found the truth inside my heart, and he latched onto it...caring about me for who I really am, and not who I pretended to be.<p>

A feat that I never thought possible before having him catch me at the end of that lonely pier that night.<p>

There's so much 'magic' involved in the idea of us even finding one another in this world. How can I doubt that this was meant to be? How can I pretend that this is anything short of greatness in a world full of unexplained miracles?<p>

Having him hold me close in that room...it gave me something to hold on to. Something to believe in.<p>

Who knows? Maybe Taryn can love me enough for the both of us.<p>

I looked at his super short hair and snickered quietly as I ran my hand over the faux hawk top. "Hehehe, I'm so not used to this."<p>

Taryn's worried expression finally brightened up with a grin of his own. "Don't be mean. Hehehe, it'll be back to normal by tomorrow night."<p>

"No, it looks fine. I can see your pretty green eyes a lot better when it's this short." I leaned in to kiss him on the lips. "Kinda makes me feel like I'm cheating on my boyfriend with a stranger."<p>

His jaw dropped a little bit, and he gave me a pinch. "And this better be about as close as you ever get to even THINK of doing such a thing! You hear me?"<p>

"Yes, sir." I grinned, kissing his sweet lips again. "My sire..."<p>

He sighed, "My savior..."<p>

Our lips connected. The way that only lover's lips know how. Tender. Familiar. Well practiced. With Taryn's hand rising slowly to caress my cheek as my hands rested on his slender hips. I loved the feel of his breath on my cheek. I loved inhaling his candied fragrance as I held him close. Our kiss expressed a deep yearning for one another, and yet...not even a hint of desperation. What's the hurry? We've got the rest of eternity to love each other this way.<p>

I carefully undressed him, thrilled as more of his radiant flesh came into view, and we laid back on the bed together. His skin was so smooth. So silky and soft to the touch. No matter where my hands traveled, his body made me shiver with the delight of his perfection. The brighter tan line of his round cheeks were my favorite. I squeezed and kneaded the supple mounds while rolling over to pull him on top of me. And as our tongues danced together between our lips...we prepared ourselves to make love. The sweetest love. It aches to think that I could have missed out on an experience like this.<p>

Just one step forward...off the edge of a lonely pier...and I could have erased the promise of my lover's kiss forever.<p>

Bodies tangled, tongues coiled, nectar leaking from rose colored tips...every night, Taryn and I shared another virgin experience. It never lessened the excitement, our youth still struggling to comprehend a feeling so intimate. So intense. And when my inches entered the quivering tightness of my lover's hole, the warmth of him playfully crushing me from all sides, we officially became one. Thrusting...gyrating...whimpering incoherent phrases of passion...and the maddening increase in the speed of my careful penetration until our bodies tightened and prepared for an explosive release. So much volume. My seed forced deep within him. His seed erupting to leave stripes of heated sap on my chest and belly. And then...the final, long lasting, kiss...as we attempted to catch our breaths. The orgasmic storm clearing to allow the sunshine of a glorious afterglow to bathe us in its light.<p>

This is what it is like to make love to the boy of your dreams. This is what it is like...to not want anything more.<p>

After about a half hour of soft cuddles and random kisses, I looked at Taryn and smiled. "Do you think it would ever be possible to just..."<p>

I don't know why I stopped. But the comment had definitely caught Taryn's attention. "Just what...?"<p>

"I was going to say...maybe this is the way to go. Maybe I could just 'abandon' all of this Vampire Mimic nonsense once and for all. And we could spend the rest of eternity just...laying here in each other's arms. Just like this."<p>

"What about the prophecy?" He asked with a grin.<p>

"What <I>about</I> it? They waited 600 years for me to come along. I can't imagine another few centuries bothering them all that much. Hehehe..."<p>

Taryn kissed my lips, rubbing his hand over my bare chest. "I don't think you have much of a choice in the matter. Hehehe! The scriptures kind of set you on an unavoidable path."<p>

A feeling of dread washed over me, and I took a hold of his hand...kissing it lightly. "Maybe this time...the scriptures are wrong."<p>

"Hehehe! The scriptures are <I>never</I> wrong." He smiled. I know that he had no idea what he was saying. I know he didn't understand what the scriptures had planned for him, the sire of the chosen one. But I couldn't bring myself to utter the words out loud, fearing that it would become a self fulfilling prophecy if Taryn knew the truth. That he would make an unnecessary sacrifice on my behalf, somehow feeling that it was life's purpose to do so. I couldn't bear it if that happened. If he gave up on me like so many other people had given up on me in the past. I wanted him to be strong. Be safe. I wanted things to be just the way they are right now. Always.<p>

Why does it seem like that's too much to ask?<p>

As Taryn snuggled in closer, resting his head on my chest as I put my arm around him, we stared at the ceiling and enjoyed the sound of our hearts beating in unison. With a sigh, I said, "I really don't know if I'm going to be cut out for this life. This...responsibility."<p>

"I think you put too much pressure on yourself. Out of all the years I've spent in darkness, and all the crazy stuff I've witnessed, I've <I>never</I> seen a vampire that can do the amazing things you do. You're like the 'perfect vampire' that people only talk about in terms of folklore and fairytales. Technically, you're not even supposed to exist."<p>

"Sometimes...I feel like I don't exist either. Not the way people think I do." I said. "I walk through this building, and people bow at my feet. The hide around corners and lower their eyes to the floor. I just wish I was confident enough to be whoever it is they <I>expect</I> me to be. I'm only one person. A 14 year old loser who ran away from home six months ago and never looked back."<p>

"You're <I>not</I> a loser, Justin. You never were." He said.<p>

"Thanks, cutie. But I'm being serious here. Whatever it is that I'm supposed to be learning, with the Jeweler and all that...I'm just not getting it. I feel like the answers are out there, but...I can't find them. I keep screwing up and I don't know why..."<p>

Taryn turned slightly to look me in the eye. "You have your <I>own</I> answers, Justy. The only problem is you keep trying to find someone else's." He said. "It doesn't matter what some high school bullies think of you. Or what Trevor thinks, or what your dad thinks, or what the Jeweler thinks, or anybody else. Not even me. You won't find your answers in them. Only in you."<p>

It made me grin to myself as I kissed Taryn's sweet lips once again. I sighed out loud. "You're starting to sound an awful lot like Comicality now, you know that?"<p>

"Hehehe, I do?" He seemed flattered.<p>

"Yeah, actually. Just sounds like something he would say."<p>

Taryn placed his head on my chest and got quiet again for a moment. Then he asked, "What is he like? Comicality."<p>

I chuckled a bit, "He's not as 'festive' as his vampire name would imply. That's for sure."<p>

"Is he scary?"<p>

"At first...yeah. I guess you could say that." Thinking about it some more, I said, "He can be pretty harsh sometimes. Tough. Demanding. Excuseless. But...never <I>heartless</I>, you know? Through all of his grit and gruff and swirling shadows...I never once felt like he didn't care about me. Or like he didn't have my best interests in mind." Without even thinking about it, I said, "My father taught me all about heartlessness. I know what it's like to be bullied and abused by someone who doesn't care. Comicality is different. Imagine what I could have made out of my life...if <I>he</I> was my father instead."<p>

"He sounds...intriguing." Taryn smiled.<p>

"That's a decent word for it." I said. "Mysterious is probably closer to the truth." Then I got an idea. "Here...give me your hand."<p>

"What? What for?"<p>

"I wanna show you something. Here..." I raised my hand into the air and Taryn's raised his up right beside it. I did my best to concentrate on it...and focus...just like the Jeweler said I should. And in a few moments, I saw Comicality's dark shadows begin to appear. Swirling around my hand like dark wisps of smoke. Then darkening as it obscured my hand from sight completely and traveling down past my wrist and enveloping my forearm.<p>

"Whoah..." Taryn whispered softly.<p>

"You want to try?" I asked.<p>

"Try? What do you...? I can't <I>do</I> that." He said.<p>

"It's ok. Look, I'll pass it to you, k? You ready?" He seemed a little hesitant, but as I brought our hands closer together, I slowly allowed the shadows to spread from my arm to his. I wanted to do it gradually, but the shadows latched on to him with ease. They 'jumped' onto his arm and began to swirl around just as fast if not faster.<p>

"Omigod!" He said.<p>

"It's ok. Don't be scared. Just...feel it."<p>

Taryn calmed down a little bit, then he said, "It's...it's kind of cold."<p>

"Yeah. It is." I told him. "The shadows...they're created by the pain of others. Fear. Anger. Despair. Can you hear them? The shadows?"<p>

Taryn closed his eyes. "It sounds like...people crying. Some are even screaming."<p>

"Yes. He covers his whole body with this. This is just a fraction of what he must be feeling...all the time."<p>

"I imagine that must be terrifying..." He replied.<p>

"Sometimes it is. But other times...I think I've gotten used to it. Sometimes, I think I might even <I>like</I> it.<p>

"LIKE it?"<p>

"Yeah, it's like...I can take all of the pain inside and I can...make it real. I can wear it like a skin. I can see it, you know? It's tangible. For some odd reason, I feel like it makes it easier to deal with. Easier then when it's hiding deep down somewhere where I can't find it."<p>

"I never thought of it that way before." Taryn said. "Maybe you have a point..." And then...something unexpected happened. The shadows started expanding further down Taryn's arm...swirling even faster, gripping his arm tightly as the screams got even louder. "Justin? Justin, what's happening?"<p>

"I don't know. Wait...I'll...I'll pull it back." I did my best to detach the shadows from Taryn, but they were holding on. Growing even bigger as it was now almost enveloping his entire arm. It had latched on to something! Something truly <I>painful</I> within him! <p>

"Justin...I don't like this! Make it stop!"<p>

"I'm <I>TRYING</I>!" I said, using all the focus I had to pull it back. Why wasn't it stopping? Why was it attacking my Taryn???<p>

I got up on my knees and tried physically 'ripping' the shadows off of his arm, but they replaced themselves just as fast as I tore them away. The screams got louder as they fought back, the tears and anguish becoming almost unbearable for the both of us. And I'm not sure if Taryn meant to do it or not, but his telepathic extra began to flare out of control, and a series of strange voices and emotions began to flood my mind. Scenes from a past life that would be unrecognizable to me if it weren't for his presence in the visions being brought to me.<p>

<b><I>"Hey, this kid is a goddamn FAGGOT!!!"</I></b> Came one voice, Taryn's fear and pain being transmitted to me with an intensity that truly broke my heart.<p>

I heard a little boy's voice screaming from behind a closed door, <b><I>"TARYN!!!"</I></b>, with Taryn pounding his fists on the door, shouting back, <b><I>"I'M RIGHT HERE, BABY!!! BIG BROTHER IS RIGHT HERE!!!"</I></b><p>

I fought to pull the shadows back from him but they were feeding off of his pain. The shadows wouldn't obey me any longer. I didn't know that Taryn had soooo much hurting him inside!<p>

<b><I>"I love it when you fight me Taryn. It turns me on."</I></b> said an older voice...pinning Taryn down on a mattress while he struggled to get away from him. Tears in his eyes, his heart pounding with anger and fear combined.<p>

I saw Taryn standing at his father's gravesite, tears streaming down his cheeks, holding little Alec in his arms as they wept together over their loss. I saw them sleeping on the streets of downtown Chicago...cold, and helpless...and alone. I saw Trevor's devious smile...and the unexpected bite that turned Taryn into vampire he is today. Everything was swirling by me so fast, it was hard to struggle through it and help Taryn get rid of the shadows surrounding him. Like black tentacles, they reached deep into his soul and absorbed the exquisite agony they found there. The shrieking shadows refused to release him until I felt my eyes turn white and a surge of power shot through me...<I>commanding</I> the shadows to obey and rush back into the palm of my hand from whence they came!<p>

Taryn suddenly started to cough and gasp for air as the mental images were yanked out of him, and he pressed his hand to his chest as he suddenly popped up and ran into the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind him! I thought he might have actually gotten <I>sick</I> from all of the painful memories that were racing through his brain at once, but I think he just needed to separate himself from me, and possibly the rest of the world, for a few minutes while he worked to regain his composure.<p>

I felt sooooo bad for hurting him that way. I angrily pounded my fists on the bed over how STUPID I was to share an extra with him that I couldn't control. Not with any level of finesse. I hated myself. Truly <I>HATED</I> myself! And I got up to walk over to the bathroom door to hear Taryn softly crying on the other side.<p>

"Taryn? Baby, I'm <I>sorry</I>! I didn't know that was going to happen. Sometimes...the shadows have a mind of their own..."<p>

"It's ok. I'm ok..." He sniffled. But I could tell he was saying it more for my benefit than his own. "I just...I need a minute, ok? Just...just give me a minute..." I could hear him sobbing, his throat cracking at the end of his words. <p>

I just stood there for a minute, and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I'm so out of control. So helpless. Please, God...tell me what I'm supposed to do with this power. What the hell kind of monster <I>am</I> I?<p>

I put my back against the door and slid down to the floor. Naked and vulnerable...wishing I knew what to do. I'm too inexperienced to know what to do.<p>

I could clearly hear Taryn put his back against the same door...and slide down to the floor as well. We couldn't see each other, but we could feel our closeness regardless.<p>

"I'm so sorry, Taryn..." I sniffled.<p>

"It wasn't your fault. I know that, ok?"<p>

Wiping my eyes, I quietly uttered the tear filled words, "My sire..."<p>

And with a shaky voice, he replied, "My savior..."<p>

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