I woke up with a smile and more. I rolled on to my back and saw Ryan still sleeping. I thanked my good fortune and crawled out of bed to change into something else. As I pulled my boxers up I heard Ryan start awake in the bed behind me.
His voice was tired as he groaned out, “You aren’t shy at all are you?”
I shook my head. “You live with vampires. And a vampire I know who has no problem being naked in front of other men.”
“That’s different. I changed his diaper.” Ryan laughed.
“It’s no different than a gym locker room.”
Ryan sighed, “Cari doesn’t use a gym, and we don’t do the communal shower thing.”
“Snapping necks in a gym might look a little odd.” I said as i turned around pulling my clean t-shirt over my head. “Does it bother you that much?”
Ryan sighed. “Yes and no. No I don’t really care on one level, but there is another level where Cari’s carnal attraction is at that can’t distinguish between sex and blood. You aren’t available in one capacity and the other well, she is always hungry and you are power. All vampires crave power.”
I chuckled I couldn’t help myself really, “So you are lusting after me?” I grinned playfully at the blonde who’s face was scarlet. “Do you want me to stop teasing you?”
“Would you think lesser of me?” Ryan smiled back.
I shook my heard. “I have enough in my bed.”
Ryan nodded. “I know. And from Ant, I know it’s serious. And really I’m not interested in men. I mean there is Cari’s attraction always in my head. But I know it comes from her. I’ve touched another man in the bedroom. After centuries where orgies are common place it’s hard not to brush a body. And I know enough from Ant to know you are harmlessly flirting with me.”
“I’ll stop if you want me to.” I said as I sat down on the bed to pull my socks and shoes on.
Ryan’s voice was quiet when he spoke, “I like looking.”
I laughed, “That’s why you were blushing.” I flopped back on the bed and Ryan landed on Ryan’s lap. “Duckling, you can look all you want. I’m not shy.”
He shook his head. “I do have a question.” I nodded and he continued, “Your back? Did you kill the man who did that to you.”
I sat up and and shook my head. “No. He was the one man I was afraid of. I tried to save him in the end, but he died anyway.”
“Why did you try to save him?” Ryan asked.
“He made me who I am. It’s a shitty thing to have been done to me. But I wouldn’t be this person sitting here talking with you without that bullshit happening. I couldn’t be trying to save vampires and were’s. I probably wouldn’t care too much if the supernatural world was going to be revealed. I’d be like Michel and my father. Doing my job and nothing more. But because Garrett beat me as a child. I learned how to control my ability better than anyone alive. Because he hurt me I questioned everything I was ever taught. Blindly following directions gets you into as much trouble as doing your own thing. He was murdered like anyone else I’d save. He didn’t jump off the building of his own free will. His master fled his body after essentially throwing him off the roof. I couldn’t be what everyone expected of me. I save people even if they don’t deserve it. But it wasn’t his fault – none of it was really. I killed his master – the demon who coerced him into doing those things. I take solace in knowing Garrett and Morpheus will never hurt another sole.”
“You are a bigger man than I am. I would have let him die. I probably would have killed him.”
I shrugged. “Did you kill the people who strung your sister up to die because she was demon possessed?”
Ryan shook his head. “No, they were ignorant people, and Cari forbade it.”
“Would you now?”
“Fuck yes. I’m not a hero. I don’t do this to save lives. I kill to protect one person, well three people, myself, Mia and Cari. I will do as Cari instructs me. I kill who she tells me to. You are a good man. I am Chevalier – nothing more.”
“I’m not a hero.” I said and walked around the bed and out the door. I had to go see about our safe houses. I knew Ryan would follow me.
And he did. I heard him shuffling his feet behind me. I grinned but he couldn’t see it. “I’m not angry.”
Ryan let out a long huff of air, clearly relieved. “I can never tell with others, with Cari I know what she’s feeling.”
“So I should feel that with Ant?” I asked.
He caught up with me and walked as my equal for which I was grateful. He shrugged. “I don’t know. Ant feels you like I feel Cari. You’re magic bound him. Cari says he should make you Chevalier in the truest sense of the word. Complete the magic that was started.”
“What’s the difference between Chevalier and a lesser Chevalier?” I knew the differences so I clarified, “They are made differently, right?”
Ryan nodded. “Yeah. Cari is the only one who has true Chevalier. Most vampires use lesser because they aren’t powerful enough to keep a human alive through the process and they don’t know how. Cari stumbled upon it in some Keeper lore.”
“I assume Cari wants me as a full Chevalier.”
Ryan nodded, “Yes. Ant knows you would refuse, and a lesser Chevalier does not complete the mystical circle as mother would desire so there is no point in making you lesser Chevalier.”
“Why would refuse?” I asked.
Ryan took a deep breath and looked around to see who was looking then grabbed me and walked into a dark room and flipped on the light and shut the door behind him. He leaned in and whispered. “To make a full Chevalier, a human sacrifice must be made.”
“Cari killed a man to bind you to her?”
“She killed a serial rapist to bind us together. She caught him in the act of raping a woman in an alley. Cari took him and killed him to bind her Chevalier. That man and Johnny were the only two humans Cari has murdered since her hunger overpowered her in the early years.”
“Why do I want to be bound to Ant for all of our lives with no hope of escape?”
Ryan laughed. “You already are. Cari just thinks if you are going to do it, then you should do it all the way.”
“I’m not killing someone to gain more power.”
Ryan nodded. “We know that. She does too. Ant isn’t looking for a Chevalier, he doesn’t need one. But you, you are going to need a lot of protection.”
“I don’t need protection. I need people to protect those I love.”
Ryan nodded. “That’s your job, let me watch your back while you do what you do best.”