Chapter 1

'For years the councils of the world worked together to keep the races safe. Each Council chose the best of their fighters and turned them Black. Assassins of the highest order they became legends who would choose one to succeed them teaching them everything they know.'

Chase considered the passage in the history book he was reading. 'Keep people safe, huh? What a load of crap. The Councils lost control of the Blacks aver three hundred years ago.' He thought a moment. 'I suppose I should be grateful.'

"Mr. Jonson?" a librarian spoke up behind him. "We're closing now. Would you like to borrow that book?"

"No, thanks. I found what I was looking for." He replied standing. "Can you direct me to the closest hotel?"

"Of course. When you leave turn to your right three blocks down and there's a Best Western."

"Thanks." He said absently heading toward the main doors. Stepping out he settled his backpack more firmly on his shoulders and slipped sunglasses on. Glancing around, he started off down the street toward the hotel. Almost there he suddenly had the unnerving feeling he was being followed.

Feeling out with telepathy he felt the presence of four Two Bloods behind him. With a sigh he entered the hotel he would deal with the pack if he decided to stay for longer then a week.

At the front desk he quickly got a room paying cash for three days. Ditching his backpack in the room he left immediately. He was starving. Out side once again he noted the Two Bloods were waiting watching for him unobtrusively. When he looked directly at them they pretended to be involved in their own conversation. Bent on a bit of mischief he approached them and watched as they all tensed up turning to face him.

"Excuse me," Chase said cheerfully, "Do you know of an Italian restaurant around here?"

There was a sharp pause before one of them spoke up with forced cheerfulness. "Sure, about five blocks down that way on your left." He said pointing the way.

"Thanks." He said with an easy grin starting off the way the man had pointed. Half a block down the road Chase felt the Two Bloods start to follow him. Fighting back laughter he continued down the street to the restaurant and inside.

An hour later he left and decided to find a bar. With his shadows in close attendance he started down the closest alley toward what this little town considered 'downtown'. 'Though how you can consider anything 'downtown' in a town with less then seven hundred people I don't know.' He mused.

Looking around he recognized the neon sign of a bar and headed for it. Before he reached it he felt the shadows behind him quickly move up as others stepped out in front of him cutting him off from the main road and trapping him in the ally.

Stopping he tipped his head to the side waiting for the leader to speak. "We don't need your kind in our town." He was told flatly.

"Like I should care?" Chase retorted. "You have no reason to attempt to kick me out anyway. I just got here."

"You are a danger to our territory."

"No." Chase said softly watching as the pack reacted to the truth in his words. "I only attack those who attack me first. Leave me be and nothing will happen in your town. Let me pass."

"And if we say no?"

Chase didn't reply just made the ground roll beneath their feet. They panicked scattering to the sides of the ally staring at him wide eyed then started to growl at him setting to attack.

"I repeat if you attack me I will strike back. You will die before you ever get close to me. I am no danger to your town or your pack just leave me be."

The leader stared at him a moment before replying. "We will be keeping an eye on you for your stay."

"I appreciate the warning," he said dryly starting forward. They moved aside to let him pass. He moved through them and went into the bar without a backward glance.

Chase could sense the Two Bloods around him watching. It was slightly unsettling but something he was used to. Chase swirled the whisky in his glass as a witch approached and sat down next to him at the bar. "So, the whole town is buzzing about the visitor that our local pack hates. I am being nosy. Wanna tell me why?"

Chase turned to stare at her. She smiled at him, a cute unnatural blonde with obvious dental work. "Not really." He finally responded.

"Why not?" She asked. "I'm Michelle by the way. The pack doesn't really like my coven but they don't hate us. I'm the best around and don't have the faintest idea what you are."

"Good to know. I'm still not going to tell you anything." Chase said dryly.

"Damn, oh well, just me talking to you will piss them off so I'm happy."

Chase frowned "You don't like them?"

"They pretty much run this town and I resent it." She explained easily. "Own all the major businesses and most of the minor ones. They have the most pull and I like to remind them that they don't, in fact, control every thing in this town."

"…you're using me to get back at them because they wield more power then you, charming."

Michelle laughed. "Blunt but true. At least I'm being honest about it. Can I get your name?" she asked fluttering her eyes at him.

He laughed. "Chase Jonson." He told her with a smile. "And I am going back to my hotel now. See you around Michelle."

His shadows followed him back to the hotel and the desk clerk eyed him warily. 'Word really travels fast around here.' He thought wryly going up to his room.

The next day dawned bright and clear. Chase spent the day exploring the whole town on foot. Two of the pack followed him at all times. Near dusk Chase went to the park and stayed near the small pond watching the sun set.

He could feel the pack spread out behind him. "Chase Jonson."

Chase didn't react to his name other then to tip his head to show he was listening.

"Did you know you don't exist in any data base?"

Chase turned. Half of the pack was in their wolf form. The man speaking was the same as the night before almost six four, African American. "Who are you? It's only fair since you know my name."

"Jason Wilson." He stated. "Since we're being oh so polite. I'll ask the same thing Michelle did; what are you?"

Chase was quiet a moment before replying, "If I wasn't going to tell a pretty girl why would I tell you?"

"Because that pretty girl wasn't ready to kill you."

"Threatening me is a bad idea." Chase warned.

"Get out of our town." Jason commanded. "We don't want you here; leave or die."

Chase stalked forward completely ignoring the pack. Chase may have only been five seven but it was all Jason could do not to step backward. Danger fairly poured off him as he hissed viciously at him, "No one tells one of the Black what to do. Leave me be or die, you will not get another warning." With no warning what so ever Jason was thrown backwards ten feet. "Another bit of advice?" Chase said as he walked away. "Don't threaten someone you know nothing about; it's a good way to end up dead."

No one stopped him as he left the park. Everyone knew that nothing would happen if a Black killed you even if there were witnesses.

The pack watched him leave as their leader climbed to his feet with a groan. "Jason?"

"I think he broke some of my ribs, Leo." Jason managed to gasp out.

"I think we pissed him off," Leo commented. "Who'd've thought a little thing like him would be Black?"

"Mage?" Jason asked hissing as another pack member checked his ribs and pronounced them cracked not broken.

"No," Leo said thoughtfully. "I've smelled mage magic before and that wasn't it."

"What did it smell like then?" Jason asked.

"Closest thing I can think of is when I was up in North Dakota and there was a pyrokinetic that worked with the fire department. Psionic talent, I'd say he's telekinetic since he threw you." Leo responded.

"Helps that I told you he made the ground move, right?" Jason said dryly as they started back toward their cars for the trip out to the ranch the pack lived at.

"So what are you gonna do about him?"

"Why do you care?" Jason demanded as they climbed into Leo's car, "You've been twitchy since he showed up."

Leo tensed up. "Felt the link, Jase. The darkness faded when you asked me to keep watch with the boys yesterday afternoon."

"Fuck." Jason snarled. "You linked to a Psionic? They're not natural!"

"It's not like I chose it!" Leo snarled back. "I honestly was hoping the fucking darkness would come back."

"Shit, Leo. I'm sorry." Jason sighed shifting as his ribs protested. "We'll figure something out."

"You don't tell a Black what to do." Leo said sourly turning onto the driveway. "Normally the family just gives the one we link with to the pack. Which is still just sick."

"Can't change the world Leo." Jason murmured. "You know the One Bloods just do that to keep us from going insane and going on a killing spree."

Leo stopped the car next to the mansion the pack lived in but didn't get out. "I don't know what to do."

"Figure it out later." Jason decided, "Let's sleep on it and let my ribs heal a bit."

"Sounds good." Leo sighed opening the door and getting out of the car. Jason followed him up to the front door. The rest of the pack was waiting for them one look told them something was wrong. Before anyone could ask Leo growled at them. "In the morning, Jason needs sleep and I'm in a bad mood."

The pack scattered to their respective rooms. They knew better then to argue with the pack Second when he used that tone. They would find out what was going on in the morning.

When they were alone once again Jason spoke softly, "I will tell them in the morning. You sleep in; it's going to be a rough week."

Chase stared out of his hotel window. His anger was gone but he was still irritated. What confused him was that the feeling seemed to be coming from outside of him. Checking his shields he found them as strong as they ever were. Scowling Chase went over to his bed and settled him self before going into his own mind. It was like dropping into a maze. His protections were very elaborate but it was easy for him to find his way around. It only took Chase a moment to find the source of his irritation. There was a faint link in his mind but it was firmly rooted and could be painful to remove.

Curious Chase poked it trying to find out where it came from and was shocked to feel it strengthen at the prodding. The irritation was gone replaced by surprise. Fascinated that whoever actually managed to put the link there seemed to be aware of his meddling, he 'called' through the link.

Hello?

The response was shock and a hint of pain. Chase winced realizing that whoever this was, they were not used to mind-speech and he was 'yelling' at them.

Changing his tone he tried again. Sorry. I didn't mean to shout. Who are you?

There was a sharp shocked silence and then a tentative response. Leo. Who are you?

Chase. How did you put this link up? I didn't even feel it till about an hour ago and it's been up for over a day. Are you a telepath or something?

no I'm not are you?

Yes but you still didn't tell me how you managed to put this thing in my mind.

I- I'm a Two Blood.

Chase choked in shock. 'A mind bond to a Two Blood? What the hell? I thought they only bonded with normals or other Two Bloods.'

You there? Leo asked.

Yeah, I'm here. Don't really know what to say but I'm here.

I don't really know what to think either, but you're taking this better then I thought. Makes me hopeful.

Since you don't really want to go insane. Chase said dryly. Well, I could take this link down but I'm not going to. As a telepath I know way too much about insanity and wouldn't wish that on any one. However, I have a bit of a problem staying in one place. I can keep this link up from anywhere in the world so you should be fine. If you want I can talk to you when ever you want.

You don't even know me and you're willing to keep me sane?

I told you insanity is not a good thing. Telepath remember? You want to get to know me to make your self feel better? Meet me at the pizza place I saw tomorrow for lunch. For now I am going to bed. Bye.

Chase cut the connection and opened his eyes. "This will definitely be interesting." He considered for another moment before deciding to sleep on it. "Tomorrow should be fun." He murmured as he drifted off to sleep.

Jason knocked on Leo's door and entered when Leo called out. "How's it going?"

Leo was sitting up fully dressed on him bed. He motioned for Jason to sit. "Apparently Chase is a telepath and found the link."

"That can't be good." Jason muttered.

Leo grinned. "He offered to keep me sane and invited me to lunch."

Jason gaped at him. "You've got to be shitting me."

"Nope. He's weird but sounds totally normal. Not what I was expecting at all especially considering he's Black."

"You sound happy." Jason sounded incredulous.

"I guess it's the link. Don't feel as grumpy. It's nice to not be angry all the time." Leo said eyes half closed and relaxed. "You're linked. You should understand."

"Yeah," Jason said slowly. "I've been linked so long I forget what it's like. I told the pack." He said changing the subject. "They aren't happy but I don't think any one is going to challenge you."

"Well duh no one is that dumb. Being linked doesn't change my fighting abilities." Leo pointed out. "I'm just more reasonable now. How do you think they are going to react if I bring him here?"

"You think he'll come to the main house?"

"The whole time I was talking to him I got this feeling of curiosity from him. I think he'll come just because of that." Leo explained.

"Based on curiosity?" Jason said incredulously.

"He," Leo paused, "He reminds me of a cat. Just wants to find out all he can about anything that he finds fascinating."

"So," Jason said, "you won't be around for lunch then?"

"Nope, I won't be around for lunch."

"Where?"

"Maria's."

"There'll be watchers." Jason warned.

"I figured." Leo's voice was dry. "And I'll bet you anything Chase expects it."

Chase didn't look up from the menu he was examining as Leo sat down opposite him. The waitress came over immediately, "Root beer, Leo?"

"Yeah, Lisa, thanks." She nodded and left.

Chase looked up and stared Leo in the eye. "I suppose we should start with formal introduction. I'm Chase Jonson."

"Leo Silvan." Lisa came back and sat down Leo's soda.

"Are you ready to order?"

Chase ordered, while Leo merely asked for his usual.

After she left Chase examined Leo thoroughly. Leo rolled his eyes. "Do I pass your inspection?"

Chase grinned. "I donno. I base my opinion on actions not looks."

"Nice to know. Are you really Black?"

Chase didn't look surprised merely turned out his left wrist. There was a black tattoo of a knife on the inside of his wrist. No one other then a Black would have this particular design. The last time a normal tried to impersonate a Black with it the Blacks banded together and eliminated him in a very painful manner. The incident happened almost two hundred years ago and no one had tried to impersonate a Black since.

"That's a really good piece of evidence."

"No one in their right mind would put this on anyone but a Black." Chase pointed out dryly. "So you know what I do. What exactly do you do?"

"Technically I don't have the faintest idea what you do." Leo disagreed.

"I'm Black. I do whatever the hell I want." Chase said easily. "I travel the world randomly. Stopping where ever I feel like. I have enough money I inherited from my Master to do this for the rest of my life and give whatever's left to my apprentice and they could do the same thing and have some left over for their apprentice."

Leo whistled. "I knew that Blacks were rich but that's insane."

Chase shrugged. "I do jobs for various councils to build it up again. If you hire a Black you pay really well and the job gets done."

"You like what you do?"

"The wandering? Yeah, can't stand being stationary. Tried to settle a few times never managed to stay in one place for more the six months." Chase explained. "Jobs for the councils generally suck but a little known fact is that Blacks actually have a strict moral code we follow. We may not do mercy but if we kill you we know for damn sure you're guilty of the crime."

"You threatened to kill my pack leader." Leo pointed out expressionless.

"Moral code. We don't allow anyone who attacks us to live. You never leave an enemy behind you alive to come back to attack again." Chase explained watching him.

"I wish I didn't think that makes sense." Leo mused as Lisa came over with their food.

"You never said what you do." Chase said once Lisa had left.

"I run the ranch that the main house is on."

Chase blinked. "Main house?"

"Our pack is really big, eighty-six members, we have several houses around here."

"Where do you rank with your pack?" Chase asked curious.

Leo grinned. 'A lot like a cat.' "I'm second, Jason, the man you threw is our Pack Leader."

Chase frowned. "Why are you smiling?"

"You remind me of a cat. I think it's funny."

"Cat?" Chase sounded incredulous.

"Your curiosity." Leo explained still grinning. "It's just funny. I don't mean to offend you."

"Cat." Chase blinked still a bit stuck on that. He scowled at Leo suddenly. "Start treating me like a pet and we're gonna have problems."

"Nah, you aren't the pet type you're totally feral."

"Thanks." He said dryly.

Leo grinned again. "If you want you can come out to the main house and meet some of us."

"Sounds like fun but won't Jason object?"

"Nah he already said you could come out."

"Your pack is taking this better then I ever thought possible." Chase observed.

"We call those we link with our chosen but it really isn't a choice it's just something that happens." Leo explained slowly. "Once some one is chosen the pack accepts them fully. The pack will never harm a chosen. They're too important."

"To keep you sane." Chase murmured. "It makes sense. And I suppose it will make my life easier."

"Easier?" Leo was confused.

For a brief moment Chase looked sad before the expression was gone. "Many of the people that have attacked me did so out of fear of what I am capable of not what I actually do. You say they won't attack me, yes?"

Leo nodded.

"That means I won't have to kill anyone. I like that."

Leo felt his gut twist. "You just want people to leave you alone so you don't have to kill them. You don't really want to kill anyone."

"No, I don't." Chase confirmed softly.

Leo was quiet a moment then changed the subject. "Wanna go to the ranch?"

"Sounds good." Chase said standing with Leo and following him up to the counter to pay.