“My only regret is that I did not kill Khalid myself for what he did to Owen,” Rikard said, his voice filled with pain and anger.
Marston looked up from where he was ministering to Kemp. “Without you and our friend Trevor keeping his attention, he might have known I had arrived. You did you fair share in seeing to his demise.”
“How is he doing?” Trevor asked as he knelt down beside the father and son.
“He’ll live.” Marston smiled wryly. “If he were a full vampyre this would be easier, as between us we could replace the blood he’s lost. As it is I’ve healed his wounds, at least the physical ones. Those in his mind will, I’m afraid, take much longer.”
Rikard nodded as he turned to look at the young woman who still huddled in the far corner of the room. Her eyes were glazed with terror while she trembled uncontrollably. He crossed, kneeling down in front of her, cupping her chin in his hand as he gazed at her. “None of this happened,” he told her softly as he took control of her mind. With a thought he wiped her memory of the last few hours, replacing it with thoughts of a beautiful young man, his Child, dancing with her until dawn at one of the clubs before taking her home. Once he had done that and then found her address he sent her into a deep sleep. He released her from the ropes that held her, removing the dirty rag that had gagged her, and then picked her up. “I’ll be back shortly,” he told the others before vanishing.
Marston touched Kemp’s chest and sighed in relief as he felt the strong beating of his heart. “It will be safe for me to take him home soon.”
“I’m not certain that’s a good idea,” Trevor said.
Looking at him the vampyre frowned. “Home is where he belongs until he’s fully healed.”
“Take it from one who knows, he won’t find the kind of healing he needs if he is being coddled, even if that’s done by loving parents. And before you deny it, you know that his mother most certainly will do that and probably you as well.”
“Then what do you suggest? That I leave him to fend on his own?” Marston hissed.
“Not hardly.” Trevor shot him a look of exasperation. “Leave him with me. And before you try to argue with me, remember that he and I are alike in what we are for starters.”
“Hardly a reason to think you know how to care for him better than I.”
“I did say for starters. I’ve been through what he has—been responsible for the death of someone I though I loved and killed a vampyre who didn’t deserve to die.” Trevor’s eyes darkened with emotion.
And Trevor did. While he talked Marston looked long and hard at him, judging the truth of his words and emotions. The vampyre nodded slowly when Trevor finished, obviously deep in thought. Finally he smiled in acceptance.
“I designate you his guardian.”
“Hey now! That’s not quite what I had in mind. Care and feeding, yeah, and making sure he doesn’t go off the deep end if I can help it. But his guardian?”
Marston chuckled. “I didn’t mean in a legal sense. Perhaps I should have said protector until he is able to face what happened and accept that none of it was his fault. You are correct; you will be much more able to do that than either his mother or me, or his brother as far as that goes. They love each other but I’m not certain that Kemp doesn’t still hold Leif partly responsible for him and Owen being separated in the first place.”
“I agree. Alright, for the near future at least I’ll, umm, babysit your whelp.”
“Son, not whelp,” Marston replied with a snort. “I am not a shifter, well, not in the way that ‘whelp’ implies.”
“You do have a few damned good tricks up you sleeve though. Ones I’ll have to remember are possible if I run into a vampyre in the future who tries to pull them on me.”
“If you do run into such a one, even you will be way over-matched, my friend. Now, shall we get my son to your place so his healing can continue? I’d prefer he not wake up here, surrounded by the reminders of what happened.”