Castle Roland

Short Story

Published: 25 Apr 16

From Trick To Treat 2

Copyright © 2015 by Jeikor
All Rights Resrved

Thirteen year old Derek still loved Halloween despite the fact he was a teenager and practically grown-up. He couldn't understand why his dad wanted nothing to do with the holiday. His dad disliked it so bad that he had never helped Derek with a costume or took him trick-or-treating. A few years ago Derek's dad had even begun to keep the entire house dark; he wouldn't allow a single light to show. Derek had gotten yelled at for having a flashlight on underneath his covers in order to do his homework one year.

Zach ran a hand through his medium length blonde hair wishing traffic would clear. He was going to be late picking up Derek to go costume shopping. At seventeen he was over the whole dress-up and trick-or-treat thing but it was important to Derek and he wouldn't disappoint Derek at Halloween if he could help it.

Zach had been helping him with his costumes and taking him out on Halloween night since Derek was 4 years old which was two years after Donnie, Derek's dad, had found him in a children's home. Donnie was driving by and spotted Zach playing with the other children. He stopped, talked to the lady in charge and within an hour Zach had a new home. He never learned why he was so important to Donnie.

Traffic finally cleared out and Zach was able to zip on to the middle school on his used Honda that Donnie helped him repair. He hoped Derek hadn't been waiting too long and that he remembered his helmet. Another reason Zach didn't want to be late was a new gang running around their small town. They particularly liked to pick on middle school students.

Derek was getting a little worried. Zach was hardly ever late and most of the time recently he would already be waiting for Derek to come out of the building. Derek decided to walk a little ways down the parking lot in the direction he knew Zach would come. That was a mistake!

Coming off the playground was a group of older teens and they had spotted Derek all alone. One boy spoke to the others but Derek couldn't hear what was said. He could however see that they got excited and turned his direction. Clutching his helmet to his chest Derek looked for a getaway but could find none. By now the school would be locked and the woods were too far away.

Just then Zach pulled into the parking lot, "Come on, Derek! Sorry I'm late! Traffic was a . . ." Just noticing the gang approaching Zach jumped off his bike, placed himself between the gang and Derek and whispered, "When I tell you run as fast as you can and don't look back."

Strolling through the woods hand in hand Zane and Zander began to notice familiar landmarks including the cave Zane used to hide in.

"Let's go, Zander! We can see the old town and see if anything has changed." He pulled on Zander's arm toward a seldom used path.

"Don't you want to see your dad's place?"

"NO, I don't! This path comes out at the middle school. It's the quickest way into town"

Despite his statement Zane set a leisurely pace down the trail kicking at the dead leaves as he went. This was still one of his favorite things to do and the leaves still made him think of Zander's silky, straight hair. The little blonde teen reached out, took Zander's hand in his and apologized.

"Sorry for snapping at you. I just have this feeling that we need to go this way. Also, Zander, from the direction of my old house there's nothing. I can't pick up anything. He's gone."

"Do you mean he's dead?" asked the taller teen giving his boyfriend's hand a little squeeze.

"I don't know. I just know there's no connection there but I keep being pulled toward town. And there's an urgency to the pull but not a need to hurry. It's like we need to get there at a certain point not before or after." Zane peered into the chocolate eyes facing him hoping for understanding.

"Okay. This way then. When we first started I was constantly asking you to trust me and you did. Now I trust you. You set the pace and I'll follow." Zander grinned and twirled Zane around by their connected hands.

Zane returned the grin and began dancing around kicking up leaves. "Come on, Zander! Dance in the leaves with me!"

The two danced around for a few minutes then Zane pulled Zander up the trail still dancing and kicking leaves up in the air. They were slowly making their way toward the middle school and town when he gasped and came to a sudden stop.

"We've gotta hurry now! It's about to happen!" Zane quit playing in the leaves and pulled Zander at a faster pace now.

"Well, well, well. If it isn't ol' Zachy to the rescue. Think you can dodge all of us like you do tacklers on the field? Oops, that wouldn't help your little boyfriend though, would it?" The ringleader laughed at his own attempt at a joke. A couple of the gang members laughed as well.

"Zach's my brother you moron!" shouted Derek turning red with anger.

"Shh, Derek," warned Zach without taking his eyes from the teens facing him.

"Get on with it, already." One of the gang who hadn't laughed spoke up. His voice was cold and his eyes were like ice.

"Relax, man. Just havin' a little fun with 'em first," answered the ringleader. "This ain't gonna take long. Zachy ain't got his line here to protect 'im. Do ya, Zachy?"

Zach remained quiet and slid over more directly between Derek and the group of thugs putting one hand back to remind Derek to run.

The ringleader stepped closer to Zach poking his chest as he spoke, "Think you can hold off five of us so your brother can escape? One of us will get him then we'll make you watch what we do to 'im."

Zane and Zander hurried down the path emerging at the middle school to find a five on two confrontation. Maybe this was why Zane felt pulled this way but these fights happened all the time. What was special about this one?

About that time the older of the two moved and brought the traveling teens attention to the duo facing the gang of five.

"Zane?" questioned Zander looking at the older teen in front.

"Donnie?" queried Zane looking at the younger one behind the older. Then Zane turned to Zander, "we have to help them!"

"You're right! We need to help them now!" agreed Zander.

Without warning the teen poking Zach drew back and swung at him but Zach had been watching for it and dodged easily even while giving Derek a shove. The younger teen backed away a few steps hoping to get some distance before he took off and they gave chase.

It didn't work. One of the gang moved with him reaching out to grab hold when suddenly there was a slightly larger body in the way. Zane had used his speed to insert himself between the two. Using the heels of his palms Zane struck the thug in the chest with both hands sending him to his ass three feet back. He sat there stunned trying to catch his breath through cracked ribs.

Zander arrived soon after and appeared on the other side of Zach to keep him from being double or triple teamed. A quick one, two combination sent the first attacker to reach him to the ground with a broken nose. The second made a lame attempt at a roundhouse kick which Zander caught with one hand, grabbed his shirt front with the other and tossed him back ten feet.

The fifth member of the group with the cold voice and icy stare looked intensely at Zane and then Zander. When he finished his assessment he left in a blur for the forest.

The ringleader soon realized he was the only one still on his feet and he was getting nowhere against the quicker, stronger Zach. He disengaged and backed away from Zach. Zander started to follow.

"Let him go. He won't do anything without his gang behind him. Thanks for your help!" Zach stated as he turned to check on Derek.

Zane turned around at that exact moment and heard loud gasps from both Zach and Derek as they stared at him. For Zach it was almost like looking in a mirror except for the height and green eyes instead of his own blue ones. Derek kept blinking hard and looking from Zane to Zach like he was at a tennis match.

Zane noticed the scrutiny from the two human teens, grabbed Zander by the hand and hightailed it out of there. When they were out of sight he stopped and leaned against a tree.

"Gah! Did you see how they were looking at me? I had to get out of there!" Zane sighed as he slid down the tree to sit on the ground.

"Did you get a good look at the older one, Zane?" asked Zander squatting down in front of his boyfriend. "He looked like he could be your brother. That's probably why they were staring like that."

"You think so? I was afraid I had fanged out or something during the fight." Zane began to calm down as he considered what Zander said. "You know that younger one looks just like Donnie did at that age. Maybe that is my brother and Donnie's son but how did they end up together?"

"I don't know but maybe that was why we were led here. To save them. Now we can leave."

"No, we can't, Zander. Didn't you notice the one that left without fighting? He was a vampire and he recognized us as vamps."

"Crap! I guess now we need to stalk those two to find out more about them and why a vamp would be nosing around," complained Zander but only slightly. He didn't want to admit he was intrigued.

"Sorry but I got to know and if they are who I think they are. I have to know they're safe." Zane heaved himself off the ground then held his hand out for Zander. The brown haired teen took the offered hand and hauled himself to his feet.

"Don't be sorry, Zane. You're right. I'm just worried about you."

"C'mon, Derek," said Zach as he headed for his motorcycle. "Get your helmet and let's get out of here."

"But Zach," Derek started as he picked his helmet from where it was dropped when he was getting ready to sprint out of there. "Did you see him? He looked just like you. Almost like twins. Didn't you have a brother?"

"Yeah but he was the same age as your dad and he died like eighteen years ago before I was born. That guy was only about fifteen or sixteen at the most." Zach turned to look back at Derek.

"Maybe it was his ghost come back to protect you or something. The other guy looked a little familiar too." Derek stopped walking as he was deep in thought. "From that picture of dad's!"

"You're right! Both of them are in that photo but it couldn't be them. They'd be older like Dad. Not looking exactly the same," exclaimed Zach throwing his leg over the seat of the bike.

Derek fastened his helmet on the climbed on behind Zach. "Alright, ready to ride!"

"Hey, buddy, still want to look for a costume or ready to head home and go another time?"

"Let's just go home, Zach. I'm kinda shook up now."

"Yeah. Me too. So you comin' to my room or you want me to come to yours?"

"Could you just lay with me 'til I fall asleep? I should be fine then."

"Whatever you want ,bud"

"Thanks, Zach! You're the best big brother ever!"

"Well you are my favorite little brother, you know," laughed Zach as he put the kickstand up.

"I'm your only little brother," complained Derek.

"Yeah, so that makes you the favorite." Zach started the engine, revved it a few times then took them home.

In the morning they told Donnie about the run-in with the gang. They didn't mention who they thought the boys were that helped. Just that some guys came to their aid just in time then left before they could thank them.

Donnie said he was glad they were okay not letting on how worried he really was. As soon as they left for school Donnie called into the office and took some vacation time for the next several days. He planned on following the boys around to make sure they were safe. He wasn't about to take any chances this close to Halloween.

Halloween was when he lost the first Derek, his brother, and started being mean to his best friend driving him away. It was also on Halloween that he made the biggest mistake of his life. Donnie was convinced that it was he that killed Zane not some animal like Zane's drunken father told everybody.

That was why when he saw that little boy who looked just like Zane in the children's home he immediately went in and started adoption proceedings. He messed up with Zane but he wasn't going to with Zach.

Zane and Zander started early in the morning to find where Zach and Derek lived so they could follow them around. They heard the motorcycle three streets over from where they were and raced there to find Zach and Derek on their way to school.

The boyfriends roamed around the town dodging the few cops they saw since they still looked like high school students. Zane concentrated on feeling out the town for the vampire with last night's gang. Either he wasn't close enough or he hadn't gotten a good enough peek in his mind last night because Zane had no luck finding the vamp.

When it was time for school to let out the teens split up again so they could watch each of the boys that were attacked. Zach took Derek costume shopping stopping at several stores before they returned to the second store to actually buy the costume. Zane and Zander followed them home trying to figure out where to hide while they watched the house.

The routine of roaming through town searching for the vampire during the day and following the boys wherever they went continued through the next week. Sometimes the teen vamps were together but often they had to split up as Zach and Derek had different schedules.

Zane usually went with Derek because of losing the other Derek so many years ago but Zander finally convinced him to switch occasionally. Zander pointed out the wisdom of having a different set of eyes on each teen in case there was something the other one missed.

Donnie also was following the boys but being only one person he had to decide which one to follow when they weren't together. He finally decided that whenever one of them had a ball practice; football for Zach and soccer for Derek, he would watch the other one.

He began to worry that something really was amiss as he watched over the boys. Several times he had seen them being followed by other teens but he never got a good look at them. They never approached his boys nor did they contact any other teens or adults. Donnie didn't know what was going on but he was more determined than ever to keep Zach and Derek safe.

The coming weekend was going to be a problem for Donnie with no practices and the boys already committed to spending time with their own friends. Donnie called Simon Parkins who had been the tight end for Donnie in high school. He was a frequent visitor at their house and was known as Uncle Si by Zach and Derek. Before Donnie could finish explaining the situation Simon offered to help follow the boys over the weekend and even into next week if needed.

The incident at the middle school had bothered Derek more than he had even let Zach know and he was feeling paranoid. He constantly looked over his shoulder and thought he spotted one of the boys that rescued him a few times. He was never sure and when he looked closer no one was there. Fortunately he never noticed his dad or Uncle Si following him around.

Zach although less bothered by it than Derek did pay more attention to his surroundings as he went about his business. He too thought he caught sight of the taller teen from that night a few times but since they had protected rather than attacked he just shrugged it off. Knowing how Donnie was especially around Halloween Zach was not surprised to see Donnie or Uncle Si around town more often than usual.

Zane did catch fleeting peeks into the vampire's mind but could never track him down. His consciousness always seemed to slip away like sand between your fingers when you tried to grab a handful. The two teen vampires were becoming more and more convinced that they were facing a Rogue. What they couldn't figure out was why he was after one or both of these boys. Nothing they had found so far pointed toward either of them having power of any kind that would attract a Rogue.

Derek did seem unusually interested in Halloween for his age although Donnie and he had been the same way until . . . That Halloween. Maybe he came across some knowledge that someone didn't want known.

Zane couldn't reason it out and Zander for all his years as a vampire didn't have anything to add. They would just have to continue to watch and stay extra alert hoping they would be there when he attacked again.

The staying extra alert thing didn't pan out so well. Zane and Zander were so keyed up on making sure they were near the two boys that they didn't stay as hidden as they should have. They didn't notice that someone else was watching the boys too. Donnie saw the teens who had been following his sons again. He retreated further into the shadows and was rewarded with a view of their faces.

His gasp almost gave him away. His face turned ashen and he had to squat down quickly to keep from passing out. It looked like . . .but . . . it couldn't . . . even if they were alive they wouldn't look just as they did eighteen years ago.

It had to be because they had been on his mind lately as they always were at this time of year. Donnie looked back to reassure himself that it really wasn't them but they were no longer visible. Now he was seeing ghosts. Well, it was almost Halloween afterall.

Shaking his head and getting his breathing back to normal Donnie continue to watch Zach and Derek enjoy an afternoon snack at the diner on Main Street.

Zane had heard the soft gasp and felt the mind it came from. Grabbing Zander by the arm he sped to the back of the diner out of sight.

"What got into you?" Zander asked when Zane released his arm.

"We were spotted!"

"How? The boys weren't even turned our way."

"It wasn't by them," answered Zane calming down some. "Apparently Donnie has been watching them too and HE spotted us. Recognized us too but thinks he was seeing things. Maybe he'll forget about it."

"We'll just have to be more careful from now on." Zander always was more pragmatic than Zane.

When the boys got home they found Donnie sitting in his office with a small rectangle of paper in his hand that he was staring at without moving. Noticing the boys in the doorway Donnie tried to hide it as he greeted them.

"Hey, boys! How was your day?"

"Good!" They both answered at the same time.

"Is that the photo of the two guys from high school? Can we see it?" Derek wanted to know stepping into the office.

"Yes, it is," Donnie replied bringing it back up to look at again.

Zach followed Derek into the room, "You look at it a lot this time of year, don't you?"

"Yes, but I have an extra reason today. I thought I saw them when I was downtown."

Zach and Derek looked at each other for a minute then Zach nodded.

"Dad?" Derek started. "There's something we didn't tell you about the attack the other night. Or to be more correct about the two teens who came to our rescue. They . .uumm . . they kinda looked like the guys in . .uh . . your photo there."

"Huh?" Donnie sat there with a stunned expression on his face. 'Could they really be here?' he thought to himself. 'But how? Are they really ghosts?'

"Dad? Are you okay?" Derek stood on one side and Zach on the other as Donnie slowly came back to the present.

"What?! . . Oh, yeah. Just lost in thought." Donnie shook his head to clear it. "Were you correct when you said they fought the gang?"

"Yes. We just didn't tell you who they looked like." Zach answered this time.

"So, they were physically here. Not just images with no substance." Donnie clarified. "It's impossible for them to look exactly the same after eighteen years unless they're ghosts. Right?"

"I guess so, Dad." Derek replied. "I don't think you have to be afraid of them, though. I mean they saved our butts."

"You don't understand. I never told you the whole story. This picture I took without them knowing. You see; in high school we weren't friends. I bullied them because . . . because I was jealous." Donnie hung his head and sighed.

The boys each rubbed a shoulder and waited patiently for Donnie to continue.

Wiping his face with his hands Donnie went on with his story. "It's still hard to admit that after all these years. Zane used to be my best friend; until we were twelve when your Uncle Derek was run over by Zane's drunk father after our football game on Halloween."

Derek interrupted with a question, "Which one is Zane?"

Donnie pointed to him in the photo.

"That's the little one that looks like me!" exclaimed Zach. "What position did he play? 'Cause you said you were the quarterback."

"He was our running back and the fastest runner this town has ever seen before or since." Donnie told them proudly. "If you look at the high school some of his track records still stand."

"Zane? . . . Oh! . . . Zane Grey Hill? He has the same last name as me. Is . . is he my brother?" asked Zach looking intently at Donnie.

"Well. Half-brother to be exact. But yes, he is."

"I don't think you have to worry if it is him 'cause . . " Zach started but was cut off by Donnie.

"You haven't heard it all yet. I screamed at him to get away from Derek and started calling him names when it happened. Then I just kept on; I went from name calling to trying to hit him and finally. On Halloween eighteen years ago I found the trail he used to escape us and his dad and waited on him. He wasn't watching very well and he was already limping some so we managed to catch him for once . . ."

It's okay , Dad," Derek interjected.

"No. No, it isn't. You need to know how bad I acted that night." Donnie insisted. "I uh I beat him. I beat him 'til he passed out. Then I had the two guys with me strip his clothes off and I was gonna take what I had wanted."

All three were crying silently now. Donnie gave a big sniff then finished.

"Suddenly I was hit hard enough to send me flying and knocked me out. The other two told me later that it was a monster. It growled at them then picked Zane up and left. He hadn't been seen since and neither has Zander. That's the other guy in the photo."

"Dad, you're not that same person anymore. You've changed. You've taken good care of me and Zach. Besides, I still don't think you need to worry. Zane is the one who appeared right in front of me and hit the guy coming after me hard enough to put him on his ass." Derek reassured Donnie. "He protected me and he had to know I was yours. Everybody says I look just like you did."

"Besides they've been watching us just like you and Uncle Si have been," added Zach.

Donnie looked up in surprise then chuckled, "Can't get anything past you, can I? Let's get supper started. Uncle Simon's joining us tonight."

"Speaking of getting things by us and Uncle Si. Do you like, like Uncle Si, Dad?" piped up Derek as they left the office.

Stumbling Donnie stopped and turned toward the teens, "What do . . . Why . . would you ask that?"

Derek shrugged his shoulders, "It's just you've told us just now you used to be in love with Zane and Uncle Si comes over all the time and spends the night sometimes. I've never figured out where he sleeps; we don't have a guest room. So it just occurred to me that maybe now it's Simon you like and he sleeps in your room."

Seeing the panicked look on Donnie's face Zach stepped in, "Dad, we don't care if you do. It's that you seem happiest when Uncle Si is around and we want you to be happy."

Derek nodded his agreement, hugged his dad and slipped by him to the kitchen. Donnie relaxed as Zach also hugged him and headed to the kitchen.

'Guess I need to call a family meeting tonight,' thought Donnie with a slight smile.

Zane and Zander were more careful and two days later it paid off. Zane felt the vampire's mind and manage to back off enough to not alert him. Quietly they made their way two streets over where Zane felt him to be. He was waiting for the cover of darkness in an empty building pacing restlessly.

The Z's silently entered through an open second story window and crept down the stairs to the room where the vampire was wearing out the floor. Zander peeked into the room to ascertain that it was the same vampire and to see where he was.

Zane withdrew completely from the vampire's mind and readied himself for a fight. The vampire caught sight of Zander just as Zane released a paralyzing spell. That gave the vampire just enough time to mutter a counter spell so instead of being paralyzed he was merely slowed in his movements. This gave the Z's time to enter the room and spread apart.

Now freed from the spell the Rogue launched a knife in Zander's direction and sent a blast of energy at Zane. The brown haired teen had no trouble deflecting the knife then began to prepare his own spell but before he could finish he was hit by a second blast sent from the Rogue.

Emerald eyes glowing Zane absorbed the first blast and gestured sending the Rogue into the wall. Approaching with a wall of energy held before him Zane continually flicked the vampire against the wall as he sent blast after blast into Zane's shield with no effect. The Rogue in desperation sent one last blast but not at either of the Z's. He blasted a hole in the wall next to him and slipped through disappearing into the town.

Zane dropped the energy wall but kept his mental defences in place as he turned and offered a hand to Zander who was just coming to. With Zander on his feet Zane took off his backpack, extracted a small cooler and took two flasks handing one to Zander. They finished their drinks, returned everything to Zane's backpack and left the building carefully.

After the battle Zane had a good feel for the Rogue's mental voice and was able to keep track of him better. However, they weren't able to trap him again because he was now more alert. The Z's and the Rogue played cat and mouse around the town until five days before Halloween.

While following the boys with Zander, Zane caught a glimpse into the Rogue's mind again. He was close! Zane sat down on a bench so he could concentrate on tracking the Rogue and had Zander watching the boys and for a physical sighting of the Rogue. Neither was paying attention to their immediate surroundings.

Lost in thought as he came to relieve Simon of guard duty Donnie crossed the street, turned and came face to face with Zander as he stood beside Zane. The blonde vampire looked up when he heard the choked attempt to speak and froze in place. Both Donnie and Zane looked as if they had seen a ghost.


"Zane? Is it really you?" Donnie started asking and stopped when he realized Zane was no longer there.

Not sure what emotion he was feeling Zane chose to run away from where Donnie stood flabbergasted. He wasn't ready to face his demons yet even though it had been eighteen years and he thought he could handle seeing Donnie again. He needed to face them and Donnie before they left but it was going to be harder than he thought.

"Sorry, Donnie. He's not ready yet. It really is us though and we'll explain everything later." Zander told Donnie as he started to follow Zane then turned back, "We won't let anything happen to your boys." With that he was gone.

Donnie flopped onto the bench Zane just vacated and tried to collect his thoughts before he joined Zach and Derek.

'It really was Zane and Zander returned after eighteen years and looking just like they did then. But why? How? Were they ghosts or sent back for some reason? Maybe to save the boys or did Zane have to forgive him before moving on? Zander said they'd explain, but when? . . . Oh god! On Halloween! That's when everything happened to them!'

After a couple more minutes Donnie had himself together. He found the boys and took them to Hardee's to eat. Donnie could use a big burger just then and Derek loved the taco salad from Red Burrito that was with the Hardee's. Over supper Donnie told the boys about meeting the Z's and what Zander had told him. The teens were nice and didn't say 'I told you so' about them not being here to harm Donnie even if they were ghosts.

Luckily for everyone trying to protect the teenage brothers the Rogue vampire had felt Zane probing him and took off. The solitary gang member at the hangout when the Rogue arrived was not so lucky. He made the mistake of ridiculing the frustrated vampire and was drained dry and tossed in the alley. Feeling better the Rogue denied having seen him that day when the others returned and asked about him.

Rad, the gang's leader, wanted to go after Zach again right away. He used to go to a rival school that Zach beat with a last minute touchdown pass and would love to end Zach's career painfully. He had already been convinced to go after the little brother instead by the newest member of his gang who asked to be called Vadim. Vadim had been very persuasive and tried once more to get Rad to target Derek with no success this time.

Vadim, the Rogue vampire, didn't know what difference it made but his mentor had commanded him to get the younger one. While Rad laid out his plans to get Zach to the other gang members Vadim slipped away to an empty room to contact his mentor. After thirty minutes of communicating with his mentor Vadim had his new instructions: help the gang against the older boy because it would lead him to the one they wanted. Satisfied Vadim rejoined the gang and caught up on the plans by reading Rad's mind which was very open.

So open was his mind that another vampire deep in concentration looking for the Rogue's whereabouts picked up his plans along with the knowledge that the Rogue was being directed by someone else. That mind however was too far away and too protected for Zane to learn anything about who it was.

The next day Zander sat Zane down for a talk. It was obvious that they would be running into Donnie since they were there to protect his sons. Zander had done something he rarely did; he had scanned Donnie as he talked to him the day before.

"Zane, I broke one of my rules yesterday when we ran into Donnie," began Zander capturing Zane's interest instantly. "I quick scanned Donnie's mind."

"Okay," Zane cautiously spoke wondering where this was going.

"I don't think he is the same person he was in high school. He really cares for those boys."

"Thanks, Zander. That helps. I thought I was ready to face him but I freaked when we were suddenly face to face."

"I noticed and I know you. You won't be happy until you can face him and forgive him."

"I love how well you know me." Zane rose and wrapped his arms around Zander's waist. "And I love you."

"I love you, too. Forever." Zander pulled his boyfriend closer, leaned down and kissed him softly on the lips.

Zane returned the kiss then gently pushed his taller lover back, "Wish we had time for more but we've got a coupla brothers to protect."

Across town the brothers, Zach and Derek, were discussing why they were jumped and why everyone seemed to think it would happen again.

"I thought it was a one time thing because they found me alone," stated Derek as he ran a brush over his hair.

"I did too at first but that lead guy bugged me." Zach told him while putting toothpaste on his toothbrush. "I finally remembered why he seemed familiar. He was the Trenton Bears' quarterback last year who threatened me and Charlie because that last touchdown pass knocked them out of a chance at the playoffs."

"Ooooh! I remember that. He was pissed and had a really foul mouth." Derek was now getting his toothbrush ready.

"Yeah. His mouth got him suspended for the next game which was their last. So he didn't get to play in their senior recognition game."

The next few minutes were filled with the sound of teeth being brushed, spitting and rinsing. Finished in the bathroom the boys headed down the hall into the living room, grabbed their backpacks and went out the door still talking about the gang incident and all the drama that has come after.

"Man! I hope it doesn't mess up Halloween," moaned Derek as he straddled the motorbike. "Think Dad'll still let me go?"

"I don't know," answered Zach climbing on himself. "But with so many people watching he might be talked into it."

The roar of the engine when Zach started the bike put an end to the conversation and they took off for school. They were not alone on the way to school and it was not the Z's keeping tabs on them either. Rad, the gang leader who had it in for Zach, had finally discovered where they lived. With his motorized scooter Rad could follow at a distance but not catch Zach's more powerful motorcycle.

He almost caught up to Zach at the middle school when Zach waited to make sure Derek got in the building with no mishaps. Arriving at the high school after Zach was already in the school Rad thought of doing something to Zach's bike but never got a chance. At first there was the police officer helping with school traffic then a thirty-something guy walked the track for at least an hour and finally when Rad thought he had an opening the school security guard made his rounds. Frustrated Rad made the little scooter whine as he left with the throttle fully open.

That afternoon it was Derek being stalked as he went to soccer practice by the Rogue vampire, Vadim. Two things worked in Derek's favor keeping Vadim from being able to follow his mentor's orders. One, he was a well-liked kid who always had at least one or two buddies walk with him to practice so he was never alone for Vadim to grab. Two, before practice was over Vadim felt the appearance of Zane at the soccer field and retreated in a frustration to match Rad's from this morning.

There were now only three days until Halloween which was the deadline Vadim's mentor had set for completion of his assigned task. If he couldn't make something happen today Vadim planned to start recruiting among the teen and twenty-something vampires he knew.

The morning went by without even a hint of trouble as the Z's, Donnie and Simon kept their separate watches on the two teens. Rad had gotten stoned last night to relieve his frustrations and didn't stir until about one in the afternoon. Following yesterday Vadim had come to the conclusion that after practice when the boys liked to visit in town would provide his best shot at snatching Derek.

Although he knew the reasons for the tight security and scrutiny by his dad and the others Derek, like any teenager, chafed at the constrictions and slipped away from his dad's watchful eyes.

Knowing that Donnie and Simon were also watching, Zane and Zander had stopped staying so physically close to the teens. Especially since they tended to stay in fairly crowded areas anyway.

Vadim instantly knew this was his chance to fulfill his mentor's direct order. The humans couldn't stop him even if they got there in time and there was no way those two interfering vampires would arrive in time.

What Vadim hadn't taken into account was how strong Zane's magic was. With Zander's added strength Zane could cast long range spells that were very effective.

Derek felt a cold chill on his neck and whirled around to find the gang member with the frosty voice and icy stare bearing down on him. Not that he could have outrun the vampire but his rising panic made Derek unable to move at all.

Thankfully the panic also alerted the mentally ever watchful Zane to his dire predicament. Zane quickly tapped Zander's power along with his own and cast a modified barrier spell. It set a cylindrical barrier field around Derek and was capable of moving with him.

The unheeding Rogue ran full speed into the shield and was blown back twenty-five feet. Rising to his feet Vadim furiously began sending blast after blast at the barrier around his intended prey to no avail. His unbridled fury blinded him to the fact that the Z's were closing in on his location. He was made acutely aware of it when Zander punched his face with enough force to break his concentration on his magic and almost his jaw.

Picking himself up off the street again Vadim glared at the two teens planted between him and his target, turned and sped away. He didn't stop running until he reached the next town and started recruiting new gang members but these were all vampires. Those two meddlers wouldn't stop him next time.

Donnie caught up with Derek just as his attacker disappeared down the next street. The thirteen year old human looked at Donnie, Zane and Zander then his eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed with relief. Like lightning the blonde vamp was there to catch Derek before he could hit the pavement.

Shaking his head and blinking hard several times Donnie moved toward the pair. He couldn't believe how fast Zane had moved. It seemed as if everything he knew about Zane was magnified; his speed, his kindness, his protectiveness. That was exactly how Zane had always been with his brother, Derek; now again with his son, Derek.

Zane gently set Derek on his feet as he came to and handed him over to his dad. Donnie spoke as Zane turned to leave.

"Wait! Thank you!"

"You're welcome. But I'm not ready yet. I'm getting there, though." Zane smiled then turned, gathered Zander with a look and left. But they didn't go far; Zane was not ready to let Derek out of his sight plus he wanted to see how Donnie reacted to what had transpired.

Donnie continued to hold Derek close with one hand, fished his phone from his pocket with the other and called Simon.

"Hey, Si! You near Zach?" "Get him and meet us at the house, now!" "Yeah, someone came after Derek again." "He's okay but I'll feel better if we're all at home." "Thanks, Si! See you in a few."

The Z's followed Derek and Donnie until they were in Donnie's car and headed home. They raced on foot to the house and hid in one of the trees so they could continue to monitor the situation. After listening to the small family's meeting Zane was ready to leave. Derek had only received a mild scolding for ditching his dad and lots of love from everyone because he was safe. Donnie even credited Zane and Zander as being the ones who actually did the saving.

The small vampire realized that when this was over and they had time to sit down with him Zane would have no problem forgiving Donnie.

What the Z's didn't hear was the conversation between Derek and Zach as they lay in bed.

"Zach? Do you remember the one with the icy eyes from the first attack? You know, the one that left without getting in the fight?"

"Yeah. Why?" answered Zach turning over to face Derek.

"He's the one who came after me today. He's not human and I don't think the two helping us are either." Derek remained on his back staring at the ceiling.

"What makes you say that?" Zach was very interested now.

"The speed he came at me with. Then when he couldn't get me he was sending some kinda energy things at me. I could feel the impact but none ever touched me. That's why I don't think our helpers are human. They had to have set some kind of a force field that protected me. And the other one, not your brother, punched hard enough to not just knock him down but sent him back several feet." Derek answered and had begun to shiver while he talked. "Zach, I'm scared!"

Zach reached over with his left hand and pulled Derek closer turning onto his side in a spooning position.

"Just remember my brother and his friend are on our side and protecting us. And so are Dad and Uncle Si." Zach hugged and kissed his brother on the top of his head. "Sleep now, little brother."

Down the hall Donnie and Simon were having their own conversation about this latest incident.

"Simon, I don't know what to think. They look and sound like Zane and Zander from eighteen years ago but the things they can do. . . It can't be real!"

"What kinds of things are you talking about?" asked Simon as he stripped down to his red and yellow striped trunk style underwear.

Donnie turned to face him in his royal blue boxer briefs. "To begin with they're both smaller than Zach but each took down one of the punks easily according to the boys. Then today the one after Derek was picking himself up off the street several feet away from either of them. And when Derek passed out Zane caught him before he could get even close to hitting the pavement. Zane was six feet away! I know he used to be fast but this was like Flash fast."

"I think you're just trying to borrow trouble. Every unusual thing you've mentioned about them has been during a time they have protected Zach and Derek. Whoever or whatever they are; they seem to be on your side. Quit worrying and come to bed," Simon emphasized his last words with a pat on the bed next to him.

Two days were left until the Halloween deadline when Vadim returned to town but he was pleased with his recruiting trip. He managed to talk five vampires into joining the gang with various threats and promises and all five were veteran vampires. Two of them even had some rudimentary training in magic and might be useful to his mentor if they did well on this mission.

Entering the abandoned building the gang used for their base of operations Vadim found that Rad had done some recruiting of his own. There was a total of eight humans and six vampires to go against two humans and two vampires. Success was practically guaranteed. Surely even Romani trained vamps couldn't prevail against so many.

Vadim did not plan on taking any chances this time either. There were too many humans involved for his comfort. While the boy was in school was the perfect time to put the gang through a test. The outcome would decide which human members of the gang would be used for the fight. Those who failed to make the grade would be food for the six vampires so they would be fully energized for the fight that was sure to occur when they nabbed the boy. He hoped Rad failed. It would be sweet for Vadim to sink his teeth into the whiny 'leader' of the gang and drink him dry.

Zach and Derek were pretty much resigned to the fact that they would be tailed by not one but two people each. One human, either their dad or Uncle Si, and one whatever, ghost, angel, something powerful, kept tabs on them everywhere except school and ball practice.

They almost decided to just go straight home everyday until the danger passed but ultimately didn't want to let the gang change their lives. At least now Donnie and Simon were being open about it which sometimes resulted in the teens not having to pay for their own afternoon treats. They both caught a break with their respective teams with it being so close to Halloween the coaches announced no more practices until after the holiday.

Zach picked Derek up after school as usual and spotted Uncle Si's silver Mazda pulling into traffic behind them. They were headed into town to get the last few things Derek needed for Halloween night. He was going on faith that he would still get to attend the party and hang with his best buds afterwards. Donnie still hadn't handed down his decision.

Vadim's test of the humans and vamps in the gang turned into not such a good idea. One of the gang members who had looked very promising ended up with a broken leg and was regulated to the food group. To his dismay Rad had no trouble passing the test almost being the best among the non-vampires. But the worst part for Vadim was the distraction it caused to his mental diligence.

Zane and Zander also used school time to do some needed practice and mental prep for the battle they knew was coming. They spent an hour and a half sparring physically, magically and a combination of the two at once.

While Zander checked on securing a supply of blood without having to kill, Zane settled in for a mental and magical search for the Rogue and his plans. Luck seemed to smiling on him today for five minutes after calming and centering his mind Zane caught a trace of the Rogue's mind. It was wide open and distracted due to the test Vadim was conducting.

Once Zane realized how distracted Vadim was he carefully and with a light touch lurked around the edges of the Rogue's mind to learn as much as he could. The more he learned the more concerned Zane became but at least they were forewarned. They were now facing not one but six vampires. One of which was a fully trained Rogue and two more had at least the basics of magical fighting. More importantly Zane discovered who they were after and more disturbing to Zane was the reason that Vadim was given by his mentor.

Only one of the boys was actually wanted by the Rogue and his mentor and that was Derek. Zane wanted more than anything to know who the mentor was but that information was buried to deep in Vadim's brain. Zane himself was the reason given to Vadim. The Rogue was told it would devastate the Romani vampire if something were to befall Derek.

That was true now that Zane knew who Derek was and that he existed but how had this other person known. The Rogue was here before Zane and Zander got here and they didn't know about Derek until after the first confrontation. The amount of knowledge this 'mentor' of Vadim's had about him and how he reacts drove Zane's anxiety level out the roof.

None of that mattered right now. Now they had to figure out how to beat six vampires and a few human helpers in order to keep Donnie's son safe. Zane needed to confer with Zander then get a message to the Briscoes. He would prefer to keep the humans out of the battle but unless he had changed all of his character Donnie would never go for that with his son's life on the line.

When Zander returned Zane brought him up to speed on all that he had discovered and his thoughts on what they needed to do. The two made plans and more plans and then made a contingency plan in case everything else failed. After all the mental preparations the Z's battled each other until they were drenched in sweat and had practiced every move they knew about ten times. By the time they needed to be at the schools to protect the boys they felt as ready as could be to face the gang whenever they came after Derek again.

When Zane arrived at the middle school to follow Derek he found Simon already there waiting. The young-looking vampire approached Simon slowly and cautiously making sure to stay where Si could see him. Simon had a confused look on his face because he knew from the photo who it was but had no idea why Zane would be coming to see him.

When Zane stood in front of Simon he hesitated before beginning the speech he and Zander had worked on. The plan was to tell as much truth about what they would be facing without actually using the word 'vampire.' Now face to face with the one Zane had chosen to tell it was harder than he had thought.

Clearing his throat a few times Zane finally managed to launch into his spiel about who the enemy was and what to do to defeat them.

"Simon, I can see in your eyes that you've been told who I am. My name is Zane and I am the same person from eighteen years ago. I don't want to go into how that's possible right now. Trust that we want to keep Zach and Derek safe and ,please, listen to what I'm telling you."

Simon nodded but kept silent.

"Six of the gang members now after Derek are not normal humans. They will be stronger and faster. I want you and Donnie to steer clear of them if at all possible. Let me and Zander handle them. There should be enough regular humans to keep you busy. However, if you do find yourself facing one of the others there are only two ways to stop them. Removing their heads and burning them."

"What!? But that's . . ." Simon reacted but Zane cut him off.

"I know! I don't like it either but it is the only thing that will prevent them from continuing to come after Derek. Please believe me! And please pass this on to Donnie! I will leave it up to you and Donnie whether you tell the boys but take it from me. Zach will fight for his brother."

With his message delivered Zane turned and disappeared to the other side of the school to wait on Derek. Once in place Zane broadcast his mental presence as well as constantly scanning for the other vampires. He wanted them to know he was present. Another part of the Z's plan was to try to be the ones to choose when and where to have their rumble.

It must have worked; while Zane occasionally felt the Rogue's awareness brush against his none of the four guardians spotted anyone. The teens went about their business as usual until they were at home.

Zane and Zander needed time to prepare the place they had chosen to face the Rogue and his crew. Zane didn't like leaving them unguarded and didn't count the two adult humans when it came to opposing vampires. So he spent some time going around the Briscoe's house casting a special type of barrier spell. It not only would keep the vampires out without an invitation from him and alert him when they tripped it but it was also a trap that would hopefully hold then until he and Zander could arrive on the scene.

Satisfied that he had made them as safe as he could Zane motioned to Zander that he was ready to go. They went to the building where they planned to let the gang 'trap' Derek. One end of the room had an escape hatch where they planned to lead Derek and his family. Zane wanted them to sneak Derek out while he and Zander kept the rest busy. The Z's worked through the night get everything just the way they wanted it. The emerald-eyed teen vampire was trying to leave nothing to chance.

It was now the day before Halloween and everyone's nerves were on edge. The Briscoe family wondering when and where and how Derek would be attacked. Having been told that several of the gang members were not normal added to their apprehensions. Was it the same abilities that they had seen Zane and Zander used? What were they?

The two protective vampires were also uneasy. Zane had discovered that the head Rogue had been given a deadline and it was tomorrow. Either today or tomorrow they would see if all their planning paid off. The Z's had never faced this many vampires at one time before and one was well-trained with two more having the basics of magical fighting.

Those three were going to be Zane's responsibility when they engaged the gang in battle and he was concerned. He had been taught well and trained hard but this would be the first real test of his abilities both physical and magical.

Zander stood behind his shorter boyfriend rubbing his shoulders in an effort to calm him. They had some time before they had to be at the house to follow the boys to school. Zander started to put that time to good use knowing something that would definitely take his lover's mind off the upcoming confrontation. Just as he slid his hands down Zane's firm, muscular chest the teen's head jerked up instantly alert.

Up and ready earlier than usual due to the anxiety of the situation Zach and Derek left the house twenty minutes sooner than normal. This put them outside Zane's barrier and vulnerable to attack. Fortunately the two humans and two vampires sent by Vadim were not aware of this at first.

One of the vampires while looking for a way into the house got too close and set off the barrier alarm and trap. At about the same time the two human gangsters spotted Zach and Derek getting ready to leave. The commotion created by the trapped vampire and the yelling of the gangsters at Zach and Derek alerted the whole household that something was up.

Donnie and Simon rushed out of the house to find Derek being chased between the trees in the yard and Zach get grabbed by the backpack from behind before he could get off the motorcycle. Simon being the faster of the two went after the hoodlum chasing Derek who was further away. The older teen was not paying attention to anything but his attempts to snag Derek. Simon hit him still going at full speed with an elbow to the side of his head. He didn't get back up.

Donnie caught the other from behind and clamped down on his shoulder hard. The ruffian let loose of Zach's backpack and whirled around connecting his fist with Donnie's chest. Donnie released his shoulder and staggered back a couple of steps. Thinking he had Donnie on the ropes the twenty year old advanced carelessly to find himself facing an enemy who was larger, angry and now had his feet set. Donnie ducked under the next punch and drove his right fist into the midsection of his opponent. Air whooshed out of the winded gangbanger as he doubled over. This gave Donnie time to rock back then forward again in a mighty uppercut that landed square on the nose lifting the younger dude up and laying him out on his back.

Still pissed off about his boys being attacked Donnie headed for the third guy he could see not knowing this one would not be so easy. The vampire laughed as he absorbed the blow then backhanded Donnie who landed hard five feet away. Donnie lay there trying to get his breath back as the bloodsucker sauntered over and reached for Donnie's throat.

"My alarm was just tripped! We've got to get to Derek! Now!" yelled Zane as he zipped out the door. He knew he would get there way ahead of Zander but planned on just watching until he caught up.

Zander sighed as he too left the building, "Coming! Wait if you can!"

Zane arrived at the house in time to see the backhand and Donnie landing on his back. When the vampire went for Donnie's throat Zane couldn't wait for Zander; he reacted immediately. Even with his speed Zane would not be able to reach Donnie in time to stop what was happening. Instead the Romani vampire cast a paralyzing spell holding the vampire thug in place then started a second, little known, hard to cast spell.

His concentration was so complete that he paid only nominal attention to everything and everybody else. The intenseness paid off against the vamp who attacked Donnie. He began to sweat as his body temperature rose quickly from the spell cast by Zane and he still could not move.

The other vampire struggled in the trap until he finally broke free. Coming around the house he saw his ally totally paralyzed and sweating like a stuck hog. He also saw Zane's face masked in concentration turned toward his buddy. He raced toward the smaller vampire at full speed.

Zane registered the movement with just enough time to brace for the impact and roll with it. This broke his spells and released the first vampire. As he rolled Zane thrust the attacking thud away from and against a tree ten feet away. In a sudden flash of inspiration the Romani combined an energy burst with the superheating spell and cast it at the vampire slumped against the tree. The result was a good-sized fireball that consumed the thug and vanished leaving only a section of blackened bark where he used to be.

The Rogue that had been reaching for Donnie shuddered when he was released and wiped the sweat from his face then he turned his attention back to his prey with an evil smirk. At least he could take out this human before he retreated.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on whether you were Donnie or the vampire Zander chose this time to make his appearance. He gave a mental shove to the hoodlum vamp moving him back from the supine human. The Rogue vampire's face ran through a multitude of emotions: surprise, anger, frustration, fear and hatred. But he had no desire to face these two alone so he sprinted away as quickly as possible.

Zander knelt beside Donnie, "Be still, Donnie. Let me make sure nothing's broken." Zander scanned his body and found nothing more than some bruises.

"Here," said Zander holding out his hand.

Donnie looked him in the eye a second then grasped the offered hand and let Zander pull him to his feet. "Thanks!"

Meanwhile Zane had checked on Derek and Simon. "Are you two okay?"

Derek was a little skittish about getting close to him in spite of the fact Zane had just saved him again. The smallish teen was not much bigger than Derek but he had tossed a guy that almost twice his size like it was nothing. Then somehow caused a big fireball to disintegrate him.

Simon watched them and came to a conclusion. Yes, the guy was stronger, faster and extremely dangerous. But it seemed to Simon that the only ones who needed to be afraid of him and his friend were those attacking Derek and Zach. He stepped forward, thrust out his hand and said, "Thanks for all your help, Zane."

"You're welcome," replied Zane shaking his hand and smiling. "Like I told you yesterday I'll do whatever it takes to keep these two safe. After all they are my brothers."

Derek had been watching the exchange between Simon and Zane with interest to see what happened but that last comment left him confused and it showed on his face.

"Uh, yeah! Thanks a lot!" Derek offered his hand to Zane and went on, "Uhm, what do you mean 'your brothers'?"

Zane laughed and shook Derek's hand before answering, "Well. Zach and I have the same real dad so we are half-brothers. You and Zach are brothers because Donnie adopted him. Therefore I believe that makes us all brothers."

Derek thought it over. "Oh, okay. I see. So I don't have to be afraid because you'll protect me just like Zach does."

"That's right!" Zane smiled at Derek then turned his attention back to Simon. "I'm curious. What's the deal with you and Donnie?"

It was Simon's turn to smile mischievously. "Ahh! Tit for tat! When you explain about you and Zander we'll explain about us."

Zane just stared at Simon then burst out laughing, "That's fair enough! Hopefully we can all sit down sometime tomorrow and tell all."

They all gathered together and the humans hugged each other in relief. The Z's leaned against each as they watched then Zander had to break the bad news.

"This isn't over. There are more like the last two and they won't give up."

"We will be staying as out of sight as possible but close to the boys from now to the end of the deadline which is Halloween. Continue doing what you normally would do for Halloween and we will stop them," added Zane before jumping straight up landing in one of the trees.

"Oh, cool!" grinned Derek. "That means I get to go to the party tomorrow!"

Everyone went about their day as usual while the Z's stayed close to Zach and Derek sometimes letting them see that they were still watching.

Across town the feelings were much different. Vadim was pissed about not getting the boy and losing one of his vampires to those irksome, meddling punks. He smacked the surviving vamp around then entered his mind to review the event for himself.

What he found almost made him want to apologize to the hapless vampire but only almost. He had known from their first encounter that the smaller vampire was good since he was obviously Romani trained but now he had a better idea of just how good. It was not going to be easy to get past him to get the intended target. Three against one was pretty good odds though and left two to take on his partner. Vadim felt better about his chances to complete his task on time if just barely.

The Rogue vampire called his cohorts together, explained what he had learned and assigned each of them tasks during the fight to come. Then he set the untrained pair a training schedule for the rest of the day. The duo with some training he took to another room for more lessons in magic and a training regimen of their own. Vadim wanted everyone at the top of their game so today they trained and tomorrow they would take their prize.

That evening Zach, Derek, Donnie and Simon went to a nice family restaurant for dinner. They had invited Zane and Zander to join them but the Z's politely declined saying they had eaten on a different schedule and weren't hungry. The teen vampires assured the group that they would still be watching.

After dinner the foursome headed home for the night. Derek wanted to make sure he had his costume perfect since was going to get to have his Halloween fun. Zach, of course, pitched in to help when needed and to Derek's delighted surprise his dad asked if there was anything he could do to help.

"I don't have much left to do, Dad," Derek answered while laying out his costume and supplies. "Would you stay and watch though, please?"

"I'd be glad to!" Donnie plopped himself down in the desk chair to watch. He asked questions about the costume from time to time as Derek worked. When he had finished and put everything away it was bedtime and Donnie hugged him, kissed his forehead and sent to the bathroom to get ready for bed.

"Thanks, Dad!" hollered Derek as his dad went through one door and he went through the other to the bathroom he shared with Zach.

Zach came in to get ready as Derek finished. "Good night, Derek. Do you need me to lay with you?"

"You don't have to but you can if you want. I'm not scared anymore. Our other brothers are keeping us safe. Good night, Zach."

Zane and Zander sat together in a tree outside the house for awhile watching for intruders and listening to the occupants. Zane smiled hearing the conversations and it got bigger when Zander whispered in his ear.

The blonde vampire set another powerful barrier trap spell around the house to keep it safe while he and Zander attended to some unfinished business. A chance at relaxation got interrupted this morning when the alarm went off.

Finished with the spell Zane grinned at Zander and hand in hand they dropped out of the tree and raced to the abandoned building they had been staying in.

Inside, the lovers switched gears from full speed ahead to snail pace. They started with deep, passionate kisses where it was their tongues that did the battling. Their hands slowly caressed each other's bodies running from the hair on the top of their heads down the sleek bodies to the rounded mounds of flesh above their legs and back up again over and over.

Next Zane ran his hands under Zander's shirt pushing it up his body as the blondie's lips traveled down his boyfriend's chin to his neck. Then he dropped his hot mouth to Zander's chest as he pushed the brunette's shirt over his head. With the shirt out of the way on the floor Zane ran his tongue over the smooth firm pecs in front of him spending plenty of time on each nipple.

His hands continue to slide sensuously up and down Zander's muscle-ripped back and eventually slipping under the waist bands to massage his buns. A minute or two later Zane undid the jeans and pushed them and the underwear down to Zander's feet where he removed socks and shoes allowing everything to slip off.

Since he was now on his knees Zane put his marvelous tongue to work on Zander's sensitive balls then up to the top of his rock hard cock swirling around the head a few times before engulfing the entire rod at once. A few swallows later with his throat constricting around the tip Zane was rewarded for his efforts.

Zander's knees nearly buckled but he recovered and raised Zane to his feet to return to making out as he pulled the green-eyed hunk's shirt up. He broke the kiss long enough to remove the shirt then kissed his way to Zane's ultra-sensitive nubs eliciting an almost endless moan.

After a few moments of driving his boyfriend wild Zander kissed and licked his way down the ridged abs to Zane's belly button as he unfastened the jeans and pulled them and the green boxer briefs to bunch around the teen's ankles.

Not waiting to completely undress his lover Zander began to bob up and down the velvety, steel pole in front of him. The slow pace he started with soon increased as Zane's moans and groans of pure lusted drove Zander on. When he felt the fingers entwine in his soft, brown hair Zander sunk further down the rigid member each time he bobbed. He stopped totally still as the fingers tightened their grip on his hair and swallowed shot after shot before catching Zane by the legs to keep him from falling.

Completely spent and relaxed Zane clung to his partner for life while Zander rose to his feet and hugged him close. They caught their breath as they kissed a few more times lightly then separated.

"Let's work out and spar to get us ready," suggested Zane.

"Okay," replied Zander, "but not too much; don't want to be exhausted when we have to fight for real."

"Good thinking, Zander. Afterwards we should center and meditate."

"Right and last we should have a little liquid refreshment from our cooler. Then we should be able to handle whatever they throw at us."

Halloween morning dawned bright and sunny and the Z's watched the sunrise before heading to the Briscoe's house to make plans for the day. They had to wait about an hour before the inhabitants of the house began to stir. They knocked on the door and waited.

"Who . . who's there?" The voice was Derek's.

"It's your new brothers," answered Zane knowing that would let Derek know it was really them.

The door opened a crack as Derek's eyes peered out. With a sigh of relief he threw open the door when he knew it actually was Zane and Zander.

"Come in, guys. We're just getting ready for the day." Derek said as he headed down the hall.

The Z"s waited while everyone got dressed then joined them at the dining room table as they ate breakfast. Zane let them eat in peace for several minutes before discussing the attack that was bound to occur some time today.

"I think we should flush them out and force their hand," began Zane looking at each person as he spoke.

"I'm not sure that's best," countered Donnie. "Maybe they won't try anything if Derek stays in public."

"Might be better to get it over with quick then we could stop worrying," was Simon's input.

"Staying in public won't work," refuted Zander. "The head vampire is too afraid of the person who sent him. He has to act today no matter what."

"Can you guarantee Derek's safety if we force them to start now?" Donnie wanted to know.

"We can't 100% guarantee it regardless of when they come after him but our best chance is if we control where and when," Zane argued.

"I agree with them, Dad," stated Zach, "but we need to ask Derek how he wants to do it. Derek?"

"Dad, I know you're worried but this is going to happen whether we want it to or not, right?" asked Derek looking around the table. Everyone nodded as he continued, "The party and other stuff I want to do isn't until this afternoon and later. I would enjoy it better if this were done and out of the way."

"Okay. What do we do?" inquired Donnie looking directly at Zane. It occurred to Donnie that if Zane was here for revenge the worst thing he could do was take Derek from him.

With tensions so high the Romani vampire couldn't help but catch that thought as it crossed Donnie's mind. Zane was out of his chair in an instant and knelt in front of Donnie taking his hands.

"I solemnly swear that I will protect Derek with my life. Cross my heart and pray to die; this promise stands 'til pigs can fly." Zane never took his eyes from Donnie's as he chanted the stanza they had always used as best friends.

Donnie slid out of his chair with tears in his eyes and squeezed Zane tightly to his chest.

"Thank you so much!" Donnie started crying openly, "I am so sorry . . for everything."

"Shhh! We'll talk about it later," Zane replied through tears of his own. "Right now we need to whip some butt. Nobody threatens my brothers and gets away with it!"

The two former best friends wiped their faces and returned to their chairs. Then Zane and Zander outlined their plan for the whole family and they hashed out an agreement. The whole group piled into Donnie's SUV and drove into town where they parked and walked to the building the Z's had prepared.

Rad with his gang and Vadim with his group were waiting in town and soon picked up their trail. While Rad and his gang of humans followed and harassed them Vadim with his vampires raced ahead to see where they were going.

Just before they reached their destination one of the vampires tried a desperate move to get Derek. Zane reacted quickly to shove the vampire aside as he tried to drop on top of them. Zander too had to act fast as he jumped between Simon and a blast sent by another of the vampires. He wasn't fast enough as he caught part of the blast on his shoulder before his shield was all the way up. It was painful but he could still use it.

Zane kept his arm around Derek as he hurried them into the building to the room they had set up. The emerald-eyed vamp sent a mental inquiry to his boyfriend and received the reply that he could hold his end. The Z's showed them the hiding places and things they could use as weapons but when they came to the bolt hole it was blocked.

The gangs chose that moment to enter the room and spread out; Vadim had warned not to group together. The grin on Vadim's face caused the temperature in the room to drop at least ten degrees. Derek gulped in fear as Vadim's icy stare locked eyes with him.

Zane stepped in front of Derek and sent a small blast at the Rogue's face to break the staredown. Although it was easily blocked all hell broke loose with that first volley.

Rad's only thought was revenge on Zach for the football loss last year and had instructed the two humans left that he was their first priority. The three rushed straight at Zach who was standing slightly behind Simon.

Per their agreement Simon let Rad through but when the other two thought they had a free shot as well they were brought up short. The former tight end had never stopped working out and it was evident when he horse-collared both at once as they went by.

Meanwhile, Zane stepped forward making room for Donnie to get between his son and the others. Zander moved to the side to give them room to operate. The Romani teen and the three trained vampires felt each other out testing with mental probes and blocks.

The two untrained vampires weren't as patient and rushed at Zander recklessly. He sidestepped and gave a mental shove sending them crashing into the wall. They were quickly back on their feet and came at him again but with more caution this time. As they traded blows it became evident that the knew street fighting but weren't trained in any martial art.

Rad found himself on the floor when he tripped after Zach dodged him like he would a blitzing linebacker. On the next rush Zach pushed Rad into the wall as he twisted to avoid contact. More furious than ever Rad rushed straight at Zach a third time.

Tired of the stalemate Vadim turned his head slightly toward one of the vampires with him. The hastily trained new Rogue chanted his spell aloud alerting Zane and allowing him to prepare. When the bolts of electrical energy came at him Zane merely opened his arms, lips moving silently and welcomed them.

The attacking vampire expecting him to at least be stunned flew toward him. To his surprise Zane caught him mid flight, turned toward the other vamp with Vadim and released all the electricity into him. The scorched Rogue flew limply away from Zane knocking the other one into the wall.

Simon told the two thugs he took down to stay down if they were smart. One quickly proved how dumb he was by jumping to his feet and trying to grapple with the larger, stronger man. He thought because he wrestled once in high school he would have the advantage but Simon was used to throwing off would-be tacklers. He soon had the youngster on his back again groaning in pain.

Zander was holding his own in his fight. One attacker had a broken arm and a broken ankle; they would heal but it would take some time. The other one had a few busted ribs and his left eye was swollen shut; he also would eventually heal. So far Zander was relatively untouched but the two on one battle was wearing him down.

The third time he attacked Zach, Rad went in with his head down and shoulder aimed for the midsection. They were so close together this time that Zach had no time to react and he landed on his back with Rad on top.

The vampire knocked down by the now unmoving, scorched one screamed in rage and leaped at Zane with his hands outstretched gathering energy as he came. Zane barely got a barrier in place before he arrived but the vamp's momentum still knocked him down.

Vadim tried to take out Donnie then with a magical blast forgetting how powerful and resourceful his opponent was. From the floor Zane was able to extend his wall to cover Donnie and Derek until he got back on his feet.

The other human was up and jumped on Simon's back while he was bent over the first attacker causing him to drop to his knees painfully. The nineteen year old wrapped an arm around Simon's throat and squeezed. Simon's thick neck muscles made it difficult for the teen and Simon was able to recover from the pain in his knees. He reached over his head, grabbed his attacker by the neck and threw him to the floor as hard as he could. Simon's patience had reached the breaking point.

The first thug was up again and coming for more. His rush forward ended when Simon's fist connected with his jaw with enough force to snap his head back and he crumpled. The second thug had already started forward when he realized what had happened and tried to reverse course. It was too late! Simon's other fist connected with his temple and he was laid out next to his fellow gang member.

Rad was blindly wailing away at Zach mostly missing his target. He also wasn't aware of anyone else in his fury. Derek had seen his brother go down and found one of the boards laying about. Hefting the three foot board in both hands he brought it down on Rad's back with everything he had causing Rad to fall sideways off Zach.

Derek added a couple of kicks giving Zach time to get to his feet and recover his breath. Ready to go again Zach pulled Derek back to where he was protected by Donnie and Zane. Rad got to his feet much slower than he had been but the rage still showed in his eyes.

Still on the floor Zane kicked the other vampire sending him sliding away across the room. This gave him time and room to get to his feet. All the training and practice paid off because he was able to maintain his barrier spell through the attack. As he turned toward Vadim Zane again was hit with an energy blast that rocked him back a couple of steps.

Absorbing all these attacks was draining his energy level and he wasted no time going after the vampire as it launched a new attack. Zane the new spell he created yesterday, summoned another fireball and hurled it at the incoming Rogue. He was traveling too fast and was too close to dodge. The unfortunate vamp screamed in rage and excruciating pain as he disintegrated into ash.

Zander wasn't faring as well now and had acquired some more bruises and a cut on his left cheek. Simon attempted to help but was quickly knocked down. When the vampire tried to feed on him Zander used a magical blast rendering the thug vampire unconscious. That move left him open to a renewed attack from the remaining vampire and was knocked face first to the floor.

Simon discovered a good length of steel pipe as he climbed to his feet. Seeing Zander in trouble he swung with all the power he could muster at the vampire's head. If he had been baseball the hit would have been an easy home run but on the vamp it was barely enough to clear him away from Zander's prone figure.

The angered thug turned his attention to Simon still brandishing the pipe. Simon swung again as the vampire advanced but ready now the vamp caught the pipe easily, jerking it away and tossed it out of reach. However, he forgot that he had been facing another vampire who would recover quickly and found himself wrenched away from his prey. Zander wrapped both arms around the vamp's head and neck and twisted it violently keeping up the pressure until he heard the crack from the breaking spine. He lowered the unconscious thug down, braced a foot against a shoulder and pulled on the head until it separated from the body with a sickening pop.

Although Rad was more careful in his attacks it didn't stop Zach from tagging him time after time body and face. He wanted to turn tail and escape but didn't dare. Vadim had warned them what would happen if they didn't fight their hardest and proved it with a ganger who had failed the test.

Zach was in the shape of his life and fighting for his brother soon he had Rad worn down. When Rad came in one more time his guard was lower than it should have been and Zach demolished his nose. Rad dropped like a dead weight out cold.

That left Zane and Vadim facing one another warily. They had expended spell after spell at one another throughout the confrontation nearly exhausting their magical energies. Vadim tried one more weak blast that was barely slapped aside by Zane.

"You are weak, little Romani vampire. When you are nearly dead I will feed on your boyfriend myself," taunted the panting Rogue. "Then I will feed your friends to my friends. All while you watch helpless to stop it."

"NO!" Zane yelled attempting to conjure one more fireball but the best he could do was a softball sized blast that missed.

Vadim laughed at the pitiful try and added to his taunts, "Oh, yeah! The little one you wish to protect you will never know what became of him. He goes to my boss!" Vadim continued laughing.

Zach came to Zane's side, "How do plan to do that when we're still standing and your guy's aren't?"

The others voiced their agreement with Zach and formed a line on either side of Zane facing the lone Rogue vampire. The laughing ended and with eyes smoldering with anger from being opposed by lowly humans Vadim tried to blast the entire group.

It was a weak blast and Zane managed to spread a shield in front of everyone but it was weak also and spread thin. Most of the group felt enough of the blast to be pushed back a few steps. There were three exceptions; Zach and Derek were hardly affected as Zane protected them the most and Zane stumbled back more than anyone else.

Laughing maniacally Vadim saw this as his chance and launched himself into the air intending to land in front of Derek and take him. What he hadn't counted on was the promise Zane made to Donnie and the extent to which he would go to keep it.

With a primal scream of rage Zane visibly gathered into himself then with eyes glowing launched himself to intercept Vadim. The Rogue vampire was certain his size would make him victorious over the diminutive teen opposing him.

Everything appeared to happen in slow motion for the participants and spectators of this final battle.

Vadim stretched his hands out like talons to riip into Zane when they collided. His eyes bugged out when just before contact Zane twisted in mid-air and executed a perfect back kick to the Rogue's chest. Zane's heel cracked the sternum on contact and sent the vampire slamming into the ceiling then he dropped to the floor.

Zane landed lightly on his feet and flew toward Vadim again. This time he twirled to his left arcing his right foot up making a connection with Vadim's face just as he staggered to his feet. The blow sent him head first into the wall dropping him to the floor again.

Using the wall for support Vadim rose once more sending an energy blast toward Derek no longer caring what his benefactor wanted. His only thought was to cause the little vampire pain for getting in his way. The blast never reached its target for Zander had stepped in front of Derek taking the blow instead.

This was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for Zane. As he ran toward the swaying Rogue his whole body was bathed in an emerald green glow. Five feet from Vadim Zane leapt into a side kick aimed for the vampire's neck. It hit with such force that not only was the larynx crushed but the vertebrae as well. The menacing thug dropped to the floor for the last time.

Simon rushed to Zane's aide as the exhausted champion could hardly stand and helped to where Donnie squatted beside Zander checking him out. Zane dropped down next to Donnie and Zander with his legs crossed and looked up at Zach and Derek.

"Can you find our cooler, please?" begged Zane hoarsely. "We need what's in it."

The boys wasted no time finding the cooler, dragging over to the group and opening the lid. Looking at the contents Derek's eyes widened and he exclaimed.

"That looks like blood! Are you going to drink that?"

Quietly Zach commented, "That one called you a vampire. Is that what you are?"

Zane sighed as he pulled two pouches from the cooler and showed Donnie how to feed it to Zander. He answered, "Wait until we can get this placed cleaned and find a quiet spot to talk. I'll tell you everything." Then he drained his own pouch and retrieved two more to replenish their energy.

Renewed and refreshed Zane and Zander first scanned each of the group to make sure there were no injuries. Satisfied on that count they put the vampires in a pile in the middle of the room along with wood and paper scraps and had the others carry the three humans out of the building. Then they set the pile on fire staying until it died out making sure everything was burned completely.

The ride back to the Briscoe's house was silent and tense. Derek kept glancing at Zane and Zander torn between fear of what they might be and the safety he felt when near them.

At the house Donnie noticed the time and sent everyone to get ready for the party while he and Simon made sandwiches for themselves and the boys. The Z's got to take a hot shower together and change into fresh clothes from their backpacks. Derek got his costume ready then showered after Zach finished. Then everyone gathered at the dining room table.

While the others ate Zane told them the truth about him and Zander.

"We are vampires and so were several of those in that gang. There are more vampires than you realize and most live in peace alongside humans. Those were ones we call Rogues who hunt down certain humans to kill."

"So that was blood in your cooler?" asked Derek between bites.

"Yes, we bought it from a blood bank so we wouldn't have to get it directly from a person."

"Like they tried to do to dad here and to Simon during the fight?" Zach wanted to know.

"Yes, we don't like doing that."

"Is the magic spells a vampire thing?" Derek paused his chewing long enough to inquire.

"Yes and no. Almost all vampires can learn some magic but it doesn't come automatically with being a vampire."

"What about that green glow?" Simon chimed in with a question.

Zander beat Zane in answering this one. "That is a Zane thing. It has to do with his ancestry more than being a vampire. He would have been able to learn the magic without being a vampire."

"Well, I want to know what really happened eighteen years ago," Donnie said softly.

Zane rubbed and patted Donnie's arm before answering, "Some of this I know because Zander told me after I recovered. It was Zander that knocked you out that night and scared the other two. He did what we refer to as fanging out." Zane stopped to show them causing all but Zander to kind of jump back in their seats.

"I was dying and the only thing Zander could do to save me was to turn me into vampire like him. Which was a good thing since we had fallen in love. Now you know the story and I want to know about you two." Zane looked from Donnie to Simon.

Simon spoke for them, "We've become a couple officially just recently."

"Yes, we have. Halloween used to be mine and Zane's favorite holiday," was as far as Donnie got before being interrupted.

"WHAT!?" Zach and Derek deafened the others in unison.

"Yes," chuckled Donnie, "until all the bad things started happening on Halloween. I want to change that. Starting with my apology to Zane and Zander for how I treated them. Thank you for forgiving me but mostly thank you for saving my boys. Now to add another good thing . . . I hope."

Donnie turned to Simon and dropped to one knee as he pulled a small box from his pocket. "Simon Parkins, will you marry me, please?"

The teens gasped in surprise and Simon was stunned but recovered quickly. He slid down to Donnie and put him in a bear hug.

"YES! Yes, yes, and yes. I would love to marry you!"

Everyone clapped and gathered around the happy couple to congratulate them. Soon it was time for the party.

"Do you have to go now or can you stay for the party?" Derek asked Zane with his arms around the older teen's waist.

"Well, we could stay just for the party if you want us to but we did have some other plans," teased Zane.

"Oh, okay," Derek replied sadly.

"Yeah," Zander joined the teasing, "we had planned to stay for a couple of weeks or so but if you just want us for the party . . ."

"Really! You'll stay and visit?" Derek squeezed Zane then jumped into Zander's arms to hug him.

"Yes, we've got to get to know our new brothers," answered Zane with a smile. "Did you think we'd just appear and disappear like a couple of ghosts?"