Walking in Daylight Ch. 02byDanae72©
Ryan fell back onto the couch and sighed in relief. Finally, he was done with his unpacking. Tomorrow he started at his new job at the Federal Daywalker Protection Agency, which was newly created. His name had been on the list ever since talk began for the new Agency, so he had his pick of where to work. He chose Rutherford, which had a high concentration of daywalkers in its jurisdiction.
A box on the kitchen counter caught his attention. His pictures. All of his friends teased him for having actual prints instead of keeping them digital. There was just something about being able to sit with an album in his hands and flip through the pages that helped relax him. As always, he needed to resist the urge to look through one particular album. The one that only held two pictures. The binding on that album was the only one showing signs of wear, because he had looked at those pictures so often over the past four years.
It didn't take more than three minutes before he walked over and reached inside. Ryan didn't need to look for the one he wanted, because it was right on the top. The first picture was one he'd found on the floor of a coffee shop. Penlan Taylor in the throes of passion with a man and looking damned sexy. The second picture was a copy taken from his father's office. Penlan Taylor again, only this time beaten and bloody after the school jocks and others from town herded him onto the football field to 'punish' him for being a daywalker/nightwalker half-breed.
Ryan remembered when Pen had asked to meet him in the coffee shop and told him someone had taken compromising pictures. All the boy had said was 'someone' took the pictures of him with a man, and that they also showed fangs. As a half-breed, he was more daywalker, but he had residual fangs inherited from his nightwalker father. Those fangs only appeared when angry or when in the grips of passion, Pen quickly stated with the promise that he didn't have the nightwalker instincts to bite. The people of their small hometown hated the Taylor family, treating them worse than criminals, even though they'd never done anything wrong. Well, except for the daywalker mother. She had abused both her husband and son. Her family had come along and taken her away in the end, because she was too dangerous.
When Ryan pushed to find out who had taken the pictures, he'd been shocked to discover it was his own younger brother. So shocked, that he'd immediately refused to believe Pen. After all, their father was the chief of police, so of course, Benjie couldn't possibly be involved in anything like that. Pen ran away from him, dropping the picture, and gone to school the following Monday. Where the school jocks brought him out to the football field. People from the town were there waiting and they all jumped on the kid.
Penlan Taylor was just a tiny guy, about six or seven inches shorter than Ryan's six-foot frame. It wasn't just in height though. Pen was almost painfully thin, his clothes hanging off his body. Ryan figured he could probably pick Pen up with just one hand and hardly feel it at all. Until the moment he'd seen the picture of Pen in the act, so to speak, Ryan hadn't realized that he could be attracted to a man as well as to a woman. It didn't happen often for him, but it did happen. Never as strongly as when he'd seen that picture.
"I don't care if I said I didn't want to eat, you still make me supper, you lazy slut!"
Ryan sat up straight as the wall between the two apartments shook slightly. The walls were thick here, so whatever hit on the other side had hit hard. Shit, he shouldn't even be able to hear anything between the two. He realized he could hear because his window was open. The other window must be open too, and that was why he could hear the man next door shouting.
"Come on, Harvey," another voice, also male Ryan noted, pleaded. "There's tons of food in the fridge and I have to get to work. I can't be late again. Even if you'd said you wanted supper, it would have been leftovers anyway."
A cry, barely heard, was quickly followed by the harsher voice. "I fucking hate leftovers! You know that and yet you foist that crap off on me. No more! You're not going anywhere tonight, you little freak, I've got to teach you a lesson."
The next cry Ryan heard was filled with such pain, almost masking the sound of breaking glass, that he grabbed up his phone and called the police. He was set to go over there, but he wanted to at least have back up on the way. Once the address was out, he stepped into the hallway to get the actual apartment number, and was then stunned at the news he heard.
"Sorry, Sir, a daywalker lives there. Daywalkers are now under the authority of the Federal Daywalker Protection Agency. Would you like me to give you their number?"
What the Hell? "This is Agent Ryan Sealey, of the FDPA. Our authority is not all-inclusive. Crimes of any kind, no matter who is involved, are still to be taken care of by police and then referred if necessary."
"Our instructions are quite specific, Agent Sealey. Only the FDPA can be dispatched if the address is linked to a daywalker." The woman sounded bored and monotonous. "Until such time as we are told differently, I cannot send out any officers to your location."
This was ridiculous, more so considering that the local office of the FDPA wasn't even officially open until the next day. He would have to see what was going on with that, and either change it, or have the emergency operators transfer the calls directly. That was going to cause no end of trouble; he could feel it.
He pounded his fist on the door and waited impatiently for an answer. It didn't take long before a stocky black-haired man opened it with a growl. Ryan let his eyes sweep over the interior that he could see. This apartment was a mirror image of his own, the kitchen off to the left of the door rather than the right. A broken vase of flowers lay beside the coffee table, a few of the pieces showing blood.
A figure sat on the couch, short red hair tangled and messy. He seemed fine, if a little pale and Ryan was glad there weren't any obvious injuries. "I'm Agent Sealey with the FDPA. It sounded like there was quite a fight going on in here."
The two men exchanged a look and turned red before meeting his gaze. Surprisingly, they looked sheepish. The one at the door cleared his throat. "Yeah, we're sorry. We were playing around, you know, to add some spice. It really is all right, although I know how it must have sounded."
"The blood on the vase pieces?"
"My fault," the other said in a shy voice, coming to stand beside his boyfriend. "I'd just come from the shower and left my towel on the floor. I tripped over it and fell onto the coffee table. It's so embarrassing. Um, can I ask what FDPA is? And how you got here so quickly, since we were only...playing...for a few minutes."
Ryan explained about the FDPA and that he was their new next-door neighbour. They introduced themselves with a bit of a laugh and invited him for coffee. The dark-haired man was Harvey Mills and the redhead was Joey Compton. He teased them a bit about their behaviour and Joey groaned. It was Joey's idea to play that game, just to try something new and he'd had no idea of the eventual consequences. After an hour or so, they were all laughing and completely at ease.
The two men began exchanging some long glances. Not the 'If we were alone I'd fuck you' kind of glances, but the 'Is this something we can talk about' kind. Ryan had come to recognize that type of look during previous investigations. He decided not to pry, since these men were fast becoming friends. If it was important enough, they would open up to him soon.
When he bid them good night, not too late since he had to get up for work early in the morning, Ryan found himself with an armful of food to tide him over for the next few days. Joey insisted that he always cooked too much and it would make room in their fridge for more. With a last glance at Harvey, Joey took a deep breath and finally revealed what had been bothering him.
"Ryan, my cousin Alex Wade is the reason I wanted to play the game tonight. He's always, um, acting rough with his boyfriend. He insists that it's a game they play and I wanted to try to see if it could be fun. I've never thought it was in good fun like he claimed, but P usually agrees with Alex. Would it be possible for you to check it out?"
"I could, if this P is a daywalker. Do you have a full name so I can check the database at work?"
"P is a daywalker for sure," Joey confirmed. "As for a name, Alex says P is enough of a name, so that's all we know. They live over on 114th Street. Well, Alex kind of moved in with P a couple of months ago. I'll find the address and if you stop by in the morning, I'll have it for you."
With a last good night, Ryan made his way home and prepared for bed. At least he had some new friends in this town now, right next door to where he lived. He grinned at the way they'd met, figuring it would make a good story. Though the rule about police not responding to calls about daywalkers had to change, in this case it had turned out well. Imagine the embarrassment, not just for Harvey and Joey but for himself as well, if the cops had been present as well.
There were several meetings the next day. Agents were introduced to each other, guidelines about jurisdiction were set out and assignments handed out. Ryan brought up the problem about the police procedure in place concerning the daywalkers, and the chief promised to straighten the problem out. Although not the chief, Ryan was the next thing, and could pretty much decide what he wanted to work on and what to hand off to other agents. After lunch, he settled down at a computer to find out about Joey's cousin and boyfriend.
He found that there was a file on Alex Wade, all concerning assault. Several notations on domestic abuse were made, but none of them were followed up. The possible victims all refused to admit to the abuse or to file charges. That was enough to make Ryan believe that whoever this P was, he could be in danger.
"No, it can't be."
The information on the address brought up the name of the mysterious P. Penlan Taylor rented the apartment of 114th.
There were several calls to police noted, none of them with follow-up visits. No charges made by Penlan. Three previous addresses were listed when Pen's file appeared on the screen; the police were called to all of the locations when complaints about screaming came in from neighbours. The boyfriends, many different names, were never charged.
Oh Pen, I'm so sorry, Ryan thought to the young man he'd once known.
Soon it would be his turn to read his report to the class. Pen signed and slid further down in his chair, hoping he could somehow become invisible. He wouldn't come back to class after tonight. It was just too difficult, trying to keep the questions about his marks and the way he moved so slowly and carefully. He loved the class and now he had to leave. Trying to better himself had been a stupid idea. Maybe if Jen took a long time on her report, he wouldn't have to go up there and speak.
Those hopes were dashed ten minutes later when the teacher called his name.
"I've written about the beginnings of the daywalkers. The first of what we now call daywalkers, those with the ability to bind nightwalkers, were created in 1995."
Nightwalkers, the beings who used to be referred to as vampires, became known to the world as more than myth in the late 1980s. Soon after, many of the world's governments funded projects to find a way to neutralize the creatures. That or completely destroy them. Several test subjects were captured and kept confined, while various serums and methods were tried out. An accidental exposure to 'normal' people of a particular serum became the best answer currently available.
The genetic makeup of those infected transformed to be almost identical to the nightwalkers. Only the rapid blood cell degeneration was absent, which allowed blood testing to identify them as different. Physical differences were the ability to be out in the daytime, resistance to disease, and the lack of fangs. Unlike nightwalkers, daywalkers still aged normally, although projections showed it was likely they would live longer life spans.
Some governments still tried to perfect the formula, to give the daywalkers the ability to have the fangs. This would allow them to actively seek out nightwalkers, rather than wait to be attacked for the binding to work.
Binding a nightwalker simply meant that the blood degeneration was vastly slowed. The need and appetite for blood, human blood, practically vanished. As long as they could access a supply of blood, usually animal for those who were bound, they were no longer a danger. After the binding, most were happy with the change and would keep to an animal diet on their own. Even if they did go after human blood, their urges were no longer dangerous and they could not turn a human anymore. Nobody was quite sure why that was. Some humans liked being bitten and having a nightwalker drink their blood. As long as there was no danger, it was allowed for bound nightwalkers.
Pen's report had dates and names and statistics, painstakingly gathered over months. Ever since this assignment appeared on the class description. He'd wanted to speak about daywalker/nightwalker half-breeds such as himself, but there was very little information on what was yet a rare occurrence. Plus, he didn't really want anyone to know about him in that way.
"Time will tell whether the daywalkers will truly live longer than regular humans. Some scientists believe that daywalkers will age normally to a certain age and then maintain indefinitely. Until more subjects age further, that theory is impossible to either prove or disprove. Thank you."
"Well done, Mr. Taylor. A little dry, but still very well researched. That is all for today, class. See you on Thursday."
Pen gathered his books and papers into his bag and hurried out. He didn't particularly want to go home, but at least Alex was gone until nearly midnight tonight. There would be time for a long soak in a hot bath, which would help ease his muscles and the pain of his bruises. How long until he could leave Alex?
The bus ride was hellish. There were too many people, surprising so early in the evening, and he kept getting jostled. Every time someone bumped into him, it seemed to be right on a bruise. Just his rotten luck. Pen still calculated his savings in between bursts of pain. There was enough for a first and last payment, as long as he could find somewhere in his price range. The only real problem was where to live now. He loved Rutherford but areas to live, not too near any of his exes, was getting difficult. Near work was also a priority, since he was sometimes short of money and needed to walk back and forth. Tomorrow he would start looking for somewhere to move to and leave Alex.
Then again, there might not be much point in moving. He always seemed to get involved with men who loved to beat up on him. It was in his nature to be used in that way, it seemed. Was he so horrible and difficult to love? Even when he swore not to date anymore, he managed to fall for someone. They started out loving and caring enough, but too soon it changed.
No, Pen knew he couldn't think that way. This time he would keep his distance from people. He would work and refuse all invitations. He'd learned to stay home with Alex, and that could carry on to his new apartment. To work and home, no dates or even conversations, and maybe he could be at peace. He wouldn't even be polite to his neighbours. Some people just weren't meant to be with others, and he was simply that type of person.
He knew there would be trouble when he opened the apartment door to find Alex inside, pacing. "Alex? What are you doing here? I just mean you're supposed to be working tonight, unless I misunderstood your schedule."
"Who have you been talking to about me? An agent of the FDPA showed up when I was about to leave, asking questions about whether or not I beat you." Pen whimpered when Alex's hand gripped his hair and yanked his head back. "You've got to learn to keep your mouth shut, bitch."
"I-I don't even know what the FDPA is! You know I would never say anything to anyone about what goes on between you and me...Aargh!"
A strong flip of the wrist holding Pen's hair sent the small man stumbling back. He tripped over his own feet and fell against the kitchen counter. The sharp edge dug painfully on his back and scraped as his legs gave out. Pen lay there for a moment, trying to get a handle on the pain. Alex stood over him within seconds, taking a fistful of shirt to haul him to his feet.
The look on Alex's face promised that this would be bad. There would be very little in the way of visible injuries, if any, and those only if Pen fell in an awkward way. Pain exploded as a fist jabbed into his side, quickly followed by an elbow to his stomach. Any cries that came out because of the blows had to be low or it would get worse.
This can't be my life. The words repeated through his head as Pen tried to distance himself from the agony inflicted on his body. Although he knew where he was struck, he couldn't tell by what or how hard. Kidneys, stomach and chest were the most frequent points of contact. At least some of the blows were from kicks, since his eyes opened occasionally and he saw that he lay on the floor, fingers scrabbling against the rug to try and drag away.
Alex knelt down, a knee pressing into the small of Pen's back while a hand pressed his head sideways onto the floor. "You're such a weak, disgusting piece of filth. You should be glad that I even bother to stay around you."
"I know, Alex, I know. I'm weak and pathetic. Please."
"I'm going to stay at Jim's for a few days. The agent said he'd drop by to see you in the morning, so get rid of him. Now, just so you'll be ready, I'm done with your foolishness. When I get back, I mean to finally take your ass, whether you want me to or not."
Always the same thing. Pen lay on the floor for nearly an hour after the door closed, alternately crying and wishing for someone, anyone, to come take care of him. When Pen started dating someone, they were very sweet and attentive. They agreed with his stipulation of no anal sex, saying it didn't matter. 'I want you, Pen,' they would insist. Eventually, however, it became clear that they thought he only meant at the beginning. Soon they would begin to grumble and try to take what he didn't offer.
Alex actually lasted much longer than most. Instead of trying to force the issue while they were having sex, his tactic was persuasion. Constantly asking, giving reassurance that it would be pleasurable, even if in other situations he raised his fists and administered kicks.
Eventually Pen pulled himself up onto weak legs and stumbled to the bathroom. The water mesmerized him as it filled the tub, as hot as he could stand it. His mind filled with plans for the future. He needed to find a new place to live within the next few days, so he could be away before Alex came back. Alex was so much bigger and stronger than he was, and he would be able to rape him with very little trouble if he was really intent on it.
First, however, Pen needed to deal with this agent that would visit in the morning. He needed to have his wits about him. Various stories chased themselves around as he lowered himself into the near scalding bath. Vaguely now he recalled the announcement of the new agency. The Federal Daywalker Protection Agency. Why were they interfering with his life? How had they come to see Alex, when there was no reason? Because of that damned agent's visit, he'd been beaten, and he'd been so careful not to antagonize Alex since he planned on leaving so soon.