“Who are you thinking of?” he asked. He was an expert at sensing thoughts and emotions.
“No one,” Zeke replied.
Maverick raised an eyebrow. “As you wish. How much longer do you wish to remain?”
“What? I’m not—”
“For you this was nothing more than a retreat. I am grateful for your services but I will not stop you from leaving. The choice is yours. So I ask again, how much longer do you wish to remain?”
Zeke looked at the other vampire silently, shocked by his words. “I don’t know. I’m not sure if I’m ready to go home yet.”
“You will always have a place here, Zeke. Always.”
“It is no trouble.”
Caelan sat quietly on the bed in Zeke’s room. He often came here for solitude. It was a couple of months until his fourteenth birthday. The humans would be celebrating Christmas now, he thought.
Zeke had been gone for nearly two years now. And he missed him like hell. There were times when he forgot that Zeke was gone, and he imagined that the two of them would be exploring the gardens, or making things, or taking them apart. There were lots of things that the two of them had once done, things that were imprinted with too many memories for Caelan to do on his own.
He sat on the bed that he’d slept in as much as his own, moping silently.
There was a dull thud in the bathroom, making Caelan’s head snap up, immediately cautious. Taking out the small knife he’d been carrying with him constantly for the past year, he began to proceed towards the bathroom door. He did his best to ignore all the marks in it from when Zeke would throw daggers at it.
Gripping the knife with his right hand, he put his left on the door handle. After taking a deep breath, he opened the door suddenly, ready to attack.
His knife clattered to the floor as his hands began to tremble.
Zeke was home.
He was sitting on the closed toilet lid. With the tip of a sharp dagger in his palm, making blood drip onto his jeans and the floor.
“Zeke,” Caelan whispered.
He didn’t look up, but Caelan knew from the way his shoulders tensed that he’d heard him.
“You’re back. You’re here.”
He threw his arms around his neck, pulling him against him. Zeke was taken by surprise, the beautifully engraved titanium-looking dagger falling to the floor, ringing out. Caelan knew that there was blood on his shirt now, from Zeke’s purposefully injured hand.
“You’re home. You’re here,” Caelan whispered over and over again, his head buried in Zeke’s neck, taking in his familiar scent. He knew that he was crying with happiness but he didn’t care. After a moment, Zeke returned the embrace, pulling him as close as he could.
“More tears over me, Cae?” his soft voice asked quietly. There was something in his voice that hadn’t been there before though, but Caelan couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
Caelan’s heart leapt in joy as he heard Zeke’s voice for the first time in what felt like an eternity.