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Soulbound ‡ pact

by Wes Leigh

Chapter 3

"Death, that hath sucked the honey of thy breath, Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty."

-- Romeo, from Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

Xavier studied his naked image in the full-length mirror in the bathroom he shared with his cousin. The reflection was vague and wavering, as always, but by concentrating carefully, he could see enough to know that undeath had had little effect upon him physically.

His body was still lithe and firm, unchanged from when he was fifteen, living in Whitechapel, working hard at the stables on Wentworth Street, running about with his cousin Reggie and best mate Jack, getting into rumbles with other teens, having Mum chew them out for it when they arrived home, bloody with torn shirts.

His cock hadn't quite reached his full adult potential when he'd been bitten, and like the rest of his body, it hadn't grown since. He rubbed the shaft gently, studying the soft tube of flesh as it slowly filled with blood and hardened in his hand. How many times had Jack done this while they slept? Jack had loved making him hard, then diving down to suck him. He'd always toyed with Xavier's sparse pubes with one hand while fondling his hairless balls with the other. And he'd eagerly swallow Xavier's watery cum every time, claiming he loved the taste of it.

Xavier felt his balls. Yes, that was how Jack had done it. Slowly at first, then with excitement, almost painfully squeezing them together. They were still mostly hairless, which Xavier didn't mind. Unchanged for the last one hundred years.

Oh, what he'd give to have Jack fondling him gently once again.

Looking back up at the mirror, his hazy reflection showed him a handsome man—some would even say beautiful. A movie star's features. Full lips, very kissable. Perfect, pale skin, contrasting with his raven black hair. Dark, mysterious eyes, but eyes no longer sparkling with youth and mischief and life … eyes now filled with the anguish of the grave.

Undeath as a vampire had not stolen his beauty, but it had crushed his spirit, and he hated who he was and what he'd become.

He'd never admit that to his cousin or Minerva, the leader of their Covenant. None of the other vampire youth knew how he felt. Most were jealous of his position as Minerva's adopted son and heir apparent to the Executorship of the Covenant. They thought he had everything he could want … intelligence, charm, power, immortality.


That was the heaviest burden of all, because he was beginning to realize that eternity without Jack was a daily misery.

Certainly, it helped having his cousin there. They'd been through so much together, and they were family, almost like brothers, and yet even that relationship was beginning to wear thin. Back in Whitechapel, Reggie had been quick to follow Xavier's lead, getting in and out of trouble together, but always supporting Xavier no matter what. Now that Reggie was a vampire, he seemed to be enjoying the power that came with his immortality. He was becoming increasingly more difficult to deal with, enjoying getting into trouble on his own. The worst part was he seemed to relish this undead existence, thinking himself a prince among men, a notion Minerva constantly fostered. Reggie had fully adopted his new name as Gregor Finton-Smyth, thinking it made him more exotic, more mysterious. He also loved the control he could exert over the human teens at school.

And that was another thing that irritated Xavier. Minerva. He appreciated all she had done for the two of them, taking them in, teaching them to use their vampiric abilities, and grooming them for leadership in the Covenant one day. But there was an arrogance about her, a constant assumption that humanity was beneath her and unworthy of the least consideration. She had the small town of Agony firmly under her thumb, and she treated the humans living there as one more resource to be used as she saw fit.

Xavier felt like a resource too. She had made it clear that he was her choice as her second-in-command. She took him to all the diplomatic conferences between various Covenants. She introduced him as her son and the future leader of the Agony Covenant. She insisted that he attend every Conclave and asked his opinion about every proposed change to the Ordinances, smiling haughtily if he missed some subtle nuance in the politics of global vampirism but also patiently explaining to him the different goals of American vampires compared to their European and Asian cousins. And in all of his dealings with Minerva, Xavier felt like he was nothing more than another resource to her, little better than the humans in Agony whom she manipulated daily. He wasn't her son; he was her slave.

He had to think and talk and behave just as Minerva wished, dancing upon the marionette strings she had carefully attached to his life. He couldn't even use his childhood name of Zavy. No. That was too silly, too juvenile, too human. He must always use his vampiric name … Xavier Finton-Smyth, Executor-Elect of the Agony Covenant, future leader of emotion-sucking manipulative monsters.

He studied his face in the mirror and sighed. Being dead was a bitch.

"You asked to see me?" Xavier asked, peeking inside Minerva's study.

She looked up from the book she was reading and nodded. "Yes. Something has come up. I need to be out of town for the rest of the week. Council business I can't afford to miss. I'm considering taking you with me."

"This is a bad week for me to miss school," Xavier replied. "I'm playing a solo during half-time at the football game. We'll be practicing all week to get ready."

Minerva smirked as she said, "Football? Band solos? Are you forgetting who and what you are? Those things are irrelevant."

"You asked me to fit in. I'm trying to do that. I can't keep disappearing for a week at a time like this."

Minerva laughed. "Your grades won't suffer, and the teachers will obey me. What is the problem?"

Xavier struggled to control his emotions and organize his thoughts. He wanted to say, 'The problem is I actually enjoy going to school here in Agony and playing a trumpet in the band and hanging out with the other kids, even though some are humans and others are werewolves. The problem is I'm finally feeling like life is tolerable when I forget that I'm a vampire. The problem is I hate leaving a somewhat normal existence behind to attend dust-dry conferences with a bunch of bloodless vampire bureaucrats.' Instead, he looked Minerva in the eye and firmly responded, "I have things to do this week. Things that are important to me. I can't leave right now."

"Things that are more important than your future duties and responsibilities?" She sneered. "You sometimes forget you aren't really a high school student, Xavier. It's a cover story. Nothing more."

Xavier shook his head. "No. It may be a cover story, but I am a student with duties and responsibilities at the school. To you, they seem unimportant. But the other members of the band are depending on me. It may not be as earth-shattering as granting German vampires the right to dine on humans from America with a reciprocal contract from a United States Covenant, but it's important to my classmates and to me."

Minerva rolled her eyes at Xavier's sarcasm. "I suppose these meetings seem a trifle boring to you. They can be tedious, I'll admit. Though I would have expected you to jump at the chance to avoid a week of high school classes for a visit to New York." She paused and stared at Xavier, studying him, waiting for a sign he was wavering in his resolve. Seeing no change, she blew out her breath and said, "Very well. You can stay. Manage the Covenant affairs while I'm gone. It will be good practice for you, dealing with the petty matters that irritate and annoy. Maybe you'll jump at the chance to accompany me the next time I have an out-of-town seminar."

'I very much doubt that,' Xavier thought, keeping his opinion to himself. He nodded and said, "Thank you, Minerva."

She waved her hand in dismissal.

After Xavier left, Minerva picked up her phone and called Edward Finton, her husband for the sake of appearances, but who sometimes provided a moment of entertainment when she was bored.

"Yes, Minerva," he replied.

"I'd like to have lunch today, if you're free."

"I'm sure that can be arranged. I have nothing pressing to do at the bank today."

"Good. I have a particularly responsive human maid we can enjoy before getting down to business."

"What business is that?" he asked.

"I'm leaving tomorrow for New York. Xavier will be in charge. He doesn't want to accompany me, preferring to stay here and play that ridiculous horn of his, so I'm leaving him behind to manage the Covenant in my absence. I want to discuss with you the most tiresome and loathsome issues currently plaguing us. You will be bringing them to Xavier to resolve while I'm gone."

Edward chuckled. "You are an evil genius, my dear."

"Of course, I am," she replied. "See you around 11. I'll have the maid in my chambers for our dining pleasure."

Sliding onto the seat in the high school cafeteria the next day, Xavier angrily slammed his tray down and frowned at the food.

Sitting across from him, Gregor raised both eyebrows. "Having a bad day, cousin?"

"What makes you say that?" Xavier snapped.

Gregor laughed. "Just a guess. The steam coming out of your ears. The way you're chopping my head off for no reason."

Xavier sighed. "Sorry, Gregor. Not your fault."

"What's going on? Who pissed in your juice?"

"Edward Finton."

Gregor chuckled. "What's dear old dad up to today?"

"Harassing me every moment he can." Xavier pulled out his cell phone and slid it across the table to Gregor. "Look at the last text he sent me."

Gregor punched icons on the phone, paused and read a message, then shook his head while laughing. "Is he serious? An emergency meeting of the Covenant to discuss dress codes for vampires while interacting with humans?"

Xavier nodded. "He's been pulling this shit all day. Sending me one message after another. Telling me that so-and-so insists on a meeting with me to discuss some trivial piece of nonsense that Minerva's been putting off for months now."

Gregor laughed again. "He probably thinks with Minerva out of town that he can get you to make some decisions in her absence."

"I don't think that's it at all," Xavier replied. "I think he's following her orders." Xavier picked up the slice of pizza on his tray and took an angry bite. "She's behind this. She's trying to punish me for refusing to attend that bloody conference with her."

Gregor nodded. "You're probably right, so what are you going to do?"

Xavier took his phone back and tapped out a reply. He hit the send icon and slid it over to Gregor to read.

Gregor studied the phone, then read the message out loud. "The answer is no, Finton. Whatever the question, the answer is still no. No emergency meetings. No special dispensations. JUST FUCKING NO!" He looked up at Xavier and smiled. "Well done, cousin. Handled with firmness and conviction. Minerva will be so proud of you!"

Xavier snorted and muttered, "Fuck Minerva."

Gregor opened his eyes wide in surprise, laughing. "You'll make a great Executor one day, but you're making more trouble for yourself. You know that, right?"

"What do you mean?"

"Minerva is obviously messing with you. When she finds out you didn't cooperate with her little game, she'll find some other way to punish you."

"I realize that," Xavier replied, his voice resigned and defeated. He stood up and carried his tray to the trash bin, tossing the contents inside before dropping the tray off for cleaning. Then he walked slowly outside, staring at his feet.

Gregor watched his cousin leave. "Well. This will never do," he muttered. Then he smiled slyly, thinking, 'I know just what Xavier needs.'

Xavier took a long, slow breath before lifting his trumpet to his lips. The other members of the marching band had been enthusiastically building up to the chorus of Survivor's Eye of the Tiger, and Xavier was ready to take the lead. On the beat, the rest of the instruments stopped dramatically and Xavier blasted out the refrain while the drum major and the flag squad jumped and gyrated on the near side line.

The band director, Caroline Woods, walked slowly, inspecting the formation, checking for anyone who was out of place. Everyone was perfectly positioned, even the drum section, which was notorious for making crooked lines. She glanced back at Xavier, amazed once more at the energy he brought to the performance. There was something special about the boy, something compelling him to pour his soul into every performance, and she wondered why he was so intense and driven about his music. Whatever the reason, he inspired the rest of the band to give maximum effort on the field.

Xavier's eyes were closed. He didn't need to see the drum major to know the rhythm of the song. His heart pounded out the time as his soul flowed into the trumpet. The words of the chorus echoed in his mind as his lips and fingers formed the notes.

It's the eye of the tiger It's the thrill of the fight Rising up to the challenge of our rival And the last known survivorStalks his prey in the night And he's watching us all … With the eye … of the tiger

The song had a special meaning to Xavier. It was a defiant challenge for him, resisting his doomed destiny as a vampire, refusing to give up on life, hoping for a future in which those he loved didn't die suddenly, painfully.

With the chorus over, the rest of the band snapped their instruments back up and began playing as they marched around Xavier, creating a new, complicated formation. Xavier moved with them, weaving between the other brass players, sliding to the top of an arc they formed at the front of the band. On the second chorus, Xavier, with the other brass instruments as backup, trilled out an ever-climbing crescendo.

Xavier's trumpet warbled the final triumphant note as he thought, 'Odd how pain sometimes fuels art.' The notes echoed off the nearby buildings, fading away into the distance.

Caroline Woods clapped her hands enthusiastically. "Well done. Well done, everyone! Excellent tight formations. Crisp play." She looked around at the students who were beaming at her praise. "I think we're ready for Friday, but don't stop practicing at home. This is going to be our first home game, so we want to inspire the team and energize the crowd!"

She pointed at the band building and waved the students inside, moving next to Xavier to say, "Very inspiring solo, Xavier."

He nodded his thanks. "I love music, Ms. Woods."

"I can tell. We all can."

"It's all I have, ma'am," he added, continuing on as Caroline stopped and stared at his back, puzzled. 'Now why does he say that?' she asked herself.

Inside the band room, Xavier placed his trumpet inside the velvet-lined instrument case and snapped the lid shut. His cell phone had been buzzing silently several times. Pulling it out, he glanced at the display and saw he'd missed three text messages from Gregor, asking Xavier to meet him in the drama wing.

Xavier frowned. What was Gregor up to now?

Lifting his trumpet case, Xavier waved at the other band members and headed out the door into the hallway leading to the drama department. He quickly sent a reply to Gregor. <Omw>

Gregor's reply was speedy. <About bloody time hurry up>

Xavier shook his head, but walked faster down the hallway. When he reached the double doors leading to the auditorium, he pushed inside and looked around. He saw Gregor on the stage, waving at him, motioning him to come up onto the stage.

"What's going on?" Xavier asked, irritated.

"You'll see. Get your ass up here, cousin."

"Gregor. No games. Tell me what you want."

"The sooner you get up here, the sooner you'll see." Gregor smiled crookedly, motioning again for Xavier to come up.

Xavier trotted up the stairs onto the wooden floor of the stage and stopped in front of Gregor. "Okay. I'm here. What's up?"

Gregor took Xavier by the arm and steered him toward the shadows behind backdrops on the left side of the stage. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Xavier saw a tall boy waiting.

He recognized the lad immediately. Brian Goddard. A junior they'd both seen around the school the previous year. Brian was tall, well-built, with wavy brown hair and bright blue eyes. He was popular with the girls, but oddly didn't date much, not that anyone knew. He was friendly when anyone approached him, but he never went out of his way to speak to others. A good student who kept mostly to himself.

Brian stood half in shadow, staring at nothing, unblinking.

"Here you go, cousin," Gregor said with a leer. "An afternoon snack to pick up your spirits."

Xavier turned to Gregor and snapped, "What did you do, Gregor?"

"Nothing," Gregor replied. "Not yet anyway. I might have a taste while you play with him."

Xavier blew out his breath in exasperation. "I told you, Gregor. I don't like forcing the humans to do this."

Gregor lifted his hands and demanded, "What's wrong with this? It won't hurt him. He'll enjoy it and after it's all over, he won't remember a thing. Except maybe a vague memory of having a great time."

Xavier tried to push past Gregor and leave, but Gregor grabbed him and held him back. "Xavier! Damn it, I'm trying to help you."

Xavier turned around and snapped. "This isn't helping, Gregor. Helping would be for you to leave me alone."

"So you can mope around missing Jack some more? Getting thinner and thinner because you aren't eating properly? Xavier, look at him!" Gregor pointed at Brian, standing there with a blank expression on his face. "He's cute. He's got a great body. And he's gay."

"How do you know that?"

Gregor smiled wickedly. "I caught him checking me out in the bathroom while we were taking a piss. I let my cock get hard. He popped a boner in record time!" Gregor chuckled. "Look, Xavier. He wants this as much as you. You can leave some of his memories in place if you want. Give him a reward. It'll give him something to beat off to later."

Xavier shook his head. "You're unbelievable, Gregor."

Gregor glanced over at Brian and stared intently, causing his eyes to glow red in the shadows. Brian sucked in a quick breath and his eyes began to sparkle. He moaned softly and reached down to squeeze his groin, where a thick lump was beginning to swell in his pants.

Gregor tugged Xavier forward. "Go ahead, cousin. He's ready for you."

Swallowing convulsively, Xavier reluctantly moved toward Brian, who was now rubbing frantically at the hard shaft in his pants. Like a robot on remote control, Xavier unbuttoned Brian's jeans and tugged them down his legs, exposing bright yellow briefs. Brian's hands quickly slid inside the briefs, tugging and fondling himself.

Xavier looked up at Brian's eyes, seeing the desire growing there. Unable to control himself, Xavier's eyes glowed red and his mouth opened, revealing long fangs. He was so hungry. It had been weeks since he'd last fed. Leaning forward, he kissed Brian's neck, feeling the warmth flowing just below his ice-cold lips.

Brian gasped and hastily yanked his underwear down, exposing a throbbing seven-inch cock.

'I don't want it this way,' Xavier thought, staring at Brian's eyes which were sparkling but otherwise dead. 'I don't want to take what he hasn't offered.'

Brian stared at Xavier, unseeing, while he jerked his cock with one hand and massaged his balls with the other. His breath was coming in quick, staccato bursts now, blowing out to strike Xavier's cheek.

Xavier leaved in and closed his eyes, feeling the passion emanating from the panting boy. The taste was sweet and satisfying, curling around his fangs as he drew it in and swallowed.

Brian began whimpering as his orgasm built.

Unable to resist, Xavier fell to his knees and shoved Brian's hands away, taking the hard cock in his mouth, feeling it brush against the sides of his fangs as he slid the tip onto the back of his tongue. Moments later, Xavier felt hot splashes striking the back of his throat and sliding down. He swallowed, enjoying the taste of the boy. It wasn't the sweet nectar of a young teen, but rather the slightly bitter essence of a young man. And there was an intoxicating musk coming off the boy as his passion filled and satisfied Xavier's hunger.

Gregor placed one hand on Xavier's shoulder and squeezed gently, leaning in to inhale the sexual energy coming off their human meal. It wasn't a taste Gregor preferred, but occasionally a sexy boy was a nice change of pace from his female dining companions.

Xavier kept sucking on the boy's cock, which never lost its firmness. He knew he'd suck the boy again, taking this offering and eagerly devouring it, even while his heart rebelled at the theft. 'I don't want it this way,' Xavier repeated to himself, trying desperately to convince himself that it was true.

The hard shaft pulsed in his mouth, throbbing with each beat of the boy's heart.

Late that night, in the privacy of his bedroom, Xavier lifted a wooden piccolo to his lips and blew softly. He'd brought it with him from Whitechapel, the only possession he owned from his life before becoming a vampire. It was the only tie to his humanity, and fragile though the connection might be, it reminded him of what he once was and hoped somehow to become once more.

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