Vampire Apocalypse #2:Cataylst

By: H.M. Ward

Kahli’s mouth hung open. A million different thoughts ran through her mind. Was Will serious? Did he really mean what he said? Staring wide-eyed, she blinked at him for a moment and when he didn’t elaborate, Kahli asked, “Kill the king and queen? Are you insane?”

Will didn’t even glance at her, or answer right away. It was as though he actually considered her question. He seemed off-kilter since the crash—more than he should have been—but she wasn’t sure why. Continuing to stare at the cave ceiling with a vacant look in his eye, Will threaded his fingers behind his head and he laid on his back close to the fire.

After a moment, his blue eyes glanced at her. His pale skin had healed and only a trace of stubble on his jaw marred the smoothness. Will’s voice was low and serious when he finally spoke, “Maybe, but it’s the only way to ensure we survive.” He took a deep breath, adding as he looked away from her, “You and I are linked. Can’t you feel it? Do you know what that means?” He pressed his eyes closed and focused on controlling the hammering of his heart. Will knew damn well what it meant.

Kahli shook her head, her bright hair falling over her shoulders, “I’m not sure anymore. Some things I learned about as a child were nothing but legends, while other things seem to be true.” Her brow pinched together as she thought about it. The world was different than she thought. Before she met Will, she’d never seen a Bane or even heard of one. In the short time since they fought the wolves at the Empire house, she’d learned that nothing was as she thought. Her world had been filled with hunting and killing Trackers, trying to find any shred of evidence that her mother was still alive. The best scrap of information came from the King, but since he was trying to rip her throat out at the time, Kahli didn’t get to ask questions. She considered Will and his question, deciding that there must be more to it—that their linking must have been what was making him act so unusually.

After a moment, Kahli shrugged, adding, “Besides, what I knew was about vampires and you’re not one. Not totally. A linking is something that happens between a vampire and the consort. You’re not a pure vampire.”

His gaze cut to hers. It met and held, making Kahli’s stomach twist. The intensity of that look made her shiver inside. She tried not to think anything, not consider how she felt about him.

“It doesn’t matter,” Will replied. “It’s enough. Being Bane doesn’t shelter me from the effects of your blood. While it healed and strengthened me, it also connected us. When I came to, I saw you bleeding out on the ice.” He sucked in air, but there was never enough—not when he was thinking about Kahli with the massive hole in her neck. Will sat up, and stared into the fire. “I had no choice.”

“What are you saying?” Kahli asked.

Will’s eyes darted up and met hers. He didn’t want to say it, he didn’t want her to know, but she had to. If he didn’t tell her, she would figure it out at some point anyway. It was impossible to hide. Even now, he could see she sensed something was bothering him, that he wasn’t acting the same—and after that—how could he?

“When I tried to heal you nothing worked,” Will explained. “I slashed my hand and poured my blood over your wound, but it was too deep. You’d already lost so much blood. I couldn’t wake you and your body was so cold, Kahli. I thought I lost you.” His voice was barely a whisper by the time he stopped speaking. The sadness in his eyes was palpable. He held her gaze, softly, like he wanted to apologize for so many things, things he couldn’t say. He glanced away and said it, “I did what I had to do. I couldn’t lose you again.”

The golden light from the fire flickered softly as it bathed Will’s face in rich tones. She’d never seen him look so haunted. A premonition crept through Kahli, making her skin prickle. Her lips were parted as she listened. Horror filled her veins with ice, creeping up her spine. He did something to her, something he regretted and now they’re linked. Is that what he’s saying? It can’t be.

“What did you do?” she asked, but she already knew. Her revulsion to him, to vampires, to their kind was tantamount in a single act. Her heart pounded, slamming into her ribs as she waited for an answer. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she said, “Tell me, Will. Now.”

“We’re blood bound, Kahli. You fed me your blood to save me. I did the same thing—” he couldn’t look at her when he said it, and turned his face back to the fire. “I force-fed you my blood, enough of it to heal the wound and keep you alive.”

Kahli knew it. She could feel him, Will’s thoughts, brushing against the inside of her mind. It was like a subtle breeze, one that barely lifted a wisp of hair, but could still be felt as it slipped across her skin. Once Kahli recognized the sensation, it didn’t matter what she did, she couldn’t push him out—she couldn’t make it stop.

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