Nothing is True. Everything is Connected.
Afternoon Fic: Mac/Danny – Still Breathing (Part 20)

Afternoon Fic: Mac/Danny – Still Breathing (Part 20)


Part One

Part Nineteen

Mac had decided to make a side trip to Chicago, to show Danny where he came from. The smile on his Mate’s face was enough to know he had done the right thing. The younger man, was awed by everything Mac was showing him. He had even bought a small digital camera to take some photos to have those memories with him when the two had to spend nights apart.

For the first time in Danny’s life he felt free.

Maybe just maybe before he lets Mac behead Sonny he should thank him for giving him the new lease on life … then again maybe not.

“What are you smiling at?” Mac asked as they walked along the small paths at the Bohemian National Cemetery. They had to fly back to New York later that evening, and before they left he wanted to introduce Danny to his Uncle.

“I was just thinking about how happy I am.” Danny blushed slightly. “I never thought I would have this Mac, be with someone who loves me. A career that will survive the Messer name, friends who support me, the beginning of a family. Ironically I should thank Sonny, as he was the fucktard who thought Turning me would somehow get me snivelling at his feet yet it got me into your bed.”

“Should I thank him before I take his head?” Mac asked smiling enough that the crinkles showed along his eyes, which to Danny made him even more adorable.

“Nah, let’s just take the asshole out, and let him suffer in hell where he belongs.” Danny took Mac’s hand, it was rare they would be able to. “Would you believe I’m more nervous about meeting your Uncle, than Nico.”

“Well considering they’re both dead it’s kinda of ironic.” Mac pulled him closer. “Have no doubt Danny he would’ve liked you…”

“I actually adore the kid, he’s good for you Mac.”

They both froze.

The voice sounded so much like Mac’s yet it had a more distinct Chicago accent. They both turned around, blinking at the sight before them. Daniel Taylor, Uncle Dan, was standing near his own marker, leaning on a cane, giving them the most shit eating grin.

Mac dropped Danny’s hand, and before he even thought about it he took two steps and hit him. “You fucker! You fucking asshole. Fuck you. Just Fuck!” Then grabbed him by the label and held onto him. “Fuck!”

Uncle Dan held onto his nephew just as tightly, letting the tears fall, as he smiled at the familiar reaction to a loved one coming back from the dead. He patted him on the shoulder, then stepped back. “You’ve made me so proud.”

“Blade said you had no intention of being Turned?” Mac wiped his own tears. He felt Danny step next to him, taking his hand once again, he squeezed it letting him know he appreciated the comfort.

“He doesn’t know.” Dan motioned with his head to move towards one of the typical gazebos in the middle of any cemetery. “There’s a bench. The prosthetics are the best, and being a Vampire the stumps don’t hurt too much, but sometimes I just need to sit my ass down.”

Danny sat up on the railing next to Mac, as the two Taylor’s sat on the bench. He couldn’t believe the uncanny resemblance. He saw it in the pictures, but there was a weird distance involved with it, Lt. Dan was in Vietnam, Mac was in modern New York. But now seeing them about the same age, sitting next to each other it was an epic mind fuck.

Dan had a lot of harder edges around his eyes, and could see the tension in his body. The hair was thicker and longer, just past his shoulders, pulled back and kept neat, still looking like the 1970’s hippie. While Mac looked more professional with the dark suit, even without the tie. He could also see more muscle pact on Mac, than on Dan, who though wasn’t soft in the middle, but also wasn’t trained to be a Hunter.

“Who Turned you?” Danny asked what he knew Mac was dying to know.

“Hannibal. The bastard guilt tripped me, but I never regretted …. not really.” Dan snorted slightly, lost in the memory for a moment. “You had already gone to boot camp, your father wanted nothing to do with me, yelling that I had ruined you. I told him to go fuck himself, that at least you were doing what’s right and not hiding behind an old childhood injury not to be drafted.”

Mac shook his head, he knew his father had been pissed at him for joining the marines, stating that he had idolized his uncle, and would end up like him a fucked up hippie. “I know he was upset about me going into the Marines, but he never told me the two of you had a falling out.”

“I died two weeks later. He probably figured you would side with me. After all, even he had to admit, I practically raised you.”

“How did Hannibal convince you to be Turned?” Mac asked. “Today, your injuries are easier to deal with, well not actually easy, but definitely easier than twenty years ago.”

“Chang.” He leaned forward and rubbed his aching thigh. “A North Vietnamese General. He did so much damage to our boys, ran Rockpile, and has a vendetta against Templeton Peck for being the one human who out maneuvered him. Hannibal had Turned Peck in Rockpile to save him, and afterwards told him Chang had died when they liberated the camp.”

“Except he survived.” Danny saw that coming a mile away.

“In theory, come to find out he was already a Vampire. No one knows when he was Turned or by whom. I’m sure you know Hannibal left New York because of Don?” He looked from one to the other and back again, wondering what were the odds of his nephew would end up in Vampire affairs, without him even being around – let alone with the same Vampires he was connected to. “He came to me soon after that, just when you had gone into boot camp to tell me about Chang and that he was a Rogue. He needed help, and who better to hunt the bastard down but one of those who was damaged by him.”

“Wait. What?” Mac reached out to his Uncle. “You never told me you were a POW.”

“I wasn’t, could’ve been a few times, but Hannibal had saved my ass more times than I care to admit, he told me in a rare moment of drunken honesty, that he would’ve Turned me on that field when they found me, but there were too many others at the time, and he regretted it because if he had my legs might have been saved.”

“How?” Danny’s curiosity was peaked.

“Being Turned amidst an injury the Vampire could have grown, in theory, everything back, but considering I had massive injuries there were no guarantees. Being Turned after the incident, the Vampire sees this body as the way it’s supposed to be. Like I’m sure your eyesight hasn’t changed.”

“No, even when I reach out with the enhanced senses I still need glasses, though everything is more focused.” Danny had noticed that, but wasn’t sure if that was normal.

“If for whatever reason if either of you lose a limb, it would grow back because that was how you were when you were Turned.” He shrugged, with a small smile. “By Turning me years after my injuries, my legs will always be like this.”

“And yet you agreed?” Danny hoped he wasn’t being rude.

“I’m a soldier.” He glanced at Mac, then back at Danny. “Which I’m sure you can understand with him as your Mate.” He jerked his thumb towards his nephew. “And I had a duty, Chang hurt many American soldiers, and now he’s dealing drugs and arms to the highest bidder. So I’ve spent the better part of the past twenty years, living in Asia. The Hunters there taught me to fight with prosthetics, in a wheelchair, and without anything. Sifu is blind and seriously will kick anyone’s ass, so I learned having no legs wasn’t a handicap. They also helped me mentally, I still have PTSD, I’m never not going to, but I can deal with it. I’m sure you talk to many Vampires who were soldiers, warriors, generals … they all have some forms of PTSD.”

“Why now?” Mac asked. “Why come home now?”

“Hannibal.” He gave him a smile.

Paul Mallory wasn’t surprised when the door opened a few moments later. He gave Daniel a smile, as he walked in leaning on his cane. ‘He’s off to New York.’

‘I wasn’t sure this day would come, I was really worried Don would get married, and we would be stuck with him.’

Paul chuckled lightly, then went to the mini bar and pulled a few tiny bottles, twisting them open, and handing one to Dan. ‘To Mates.’

‘I don’t know why you’re so worried, Paul. It will be great when you finally meet whoever it is.’ He downed the bottle. ‘And don’t give me that look, I’ve got no legs and my Mate loves me besides the fact there are moments he has to physically pick me up and dump my ass onto a toilet.’

Paul smiled. ‘By the way on the phone Blade mentioned that he had two new Hunters to train. The curious Double-O I am, I made some calls.’ He cracked another bottle and handed it to the soldier. ‘It’s Mac, your nephew, he was Turned and Mated to a Daniel Messer, who was Turned Without Consent by Sonny Sassone. I’ve got enough contacts they are working me up a dossie on this Sonny before you even ask.’

‘Is this Daniel Messer a good kid?’

‘The Messer’s are a crime family in New York, that has tried to be a larger crime family, but just can’t get past pathetic thugs. Daniel told them to go fuck themselves, got a degree in science, went to the police academy and works for Mac as a CSI.’

‘I’m sure you have a dossier on these Messers for me.’

‘Of course I do.’ He downed the second bottle. ‘And just to remind you, if the Mate things goes bad, you and Hannibal have to take care of it.’

‘Fuck that I’ll sic the lizards on them.’

“You have a Mate?” Mac asked with a smile on his face. All the time he had known his Uncle, he never had someone special in his life. As a kid he was selfishly happy, he spent more time with him, but during his teenage years he realized how lonely Dan was.

“Yes.” He smiled softly. “Not that I was expecting one, let alone so soon. But he kicked my pathetic whiny ass, and helped me see that just because I didn’t have my legs it didn’t mean I wasn’t whole. Even introduced me to two Hunters who have a missing foot, which helped.”

“Do we get to meet him?” Mac glanced around, wondering if he was with him.

“Well at least we know it’s not Hannibal.” Danny laughed when they gave him the exact same ‘what the fuck is wrong with you’ look.

“Now that was just mean.” A deep voice pulled all of their attention to the front of the gazebo.

Mac knew instantly he was a Hunter. The way he held himself, screamed warrior. He was tall over six foot, broad and muscular. His hair was shaved short, except for the dreads that were tied in a knot at the top. There was a small smile on his face, and his gaze softened when he glanced over to Dan.

Mac being the polite person his Uncle had taught him to be, stood and held out his hand. “Mac Taylor.”

“I know all about you. Dan wouldn’t stop talking about his favorite nephew, hell I was tempted to fly to New York, and kidnap you just to shut him up.” He took Mac’s hand, his grip strong yet gentle. “I’m sure you’ll make a fine Hunter, and when the time is right I’ll gladly beat the crap out of both of you.”

“That sounds bad.” Danny stood, holding out his own hand. “I’m Danny, and I’m not sure if we should welcome you to the family or the other way around.”

He laughed, smiling over at his Mate. “As Dan is with Shogun, you have a second set of family you’ll have to meet at some point. And since my Mate is just sitting on his ass and not introducing us, I’m Yasuke.”

Mac blinked, then shook his head, he knew he had a shocked expression on his face. Though explained some of the style of dress and hair, it was a unique mix of African and Asian. “I’m sorry that was rude of me, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.”

“I was taken to Japan in the 17th Century as a slave, earned my freedom as a Samurai.” He wasn’t offended, he was used to getting the looks from just about everyone when they see a big black man, with a Japanese name.

The amount of time Japanese officials demand to see his papers, and not sure what to do with his (rightfully forged) birth certificate saying he was born in Japan – sometimes made his day.

The only thing that made it better was when he visited T’Challa, and went through Passport Control in South Africa, they just stare at him for ten minutes trying to figure out what was wrong with this image.

And don’t get him started when he goes through Customs in the United States, that amount of blinking can’t be healthy.

“Wait.” Danny’s eyes went wide in shock and just a bit of awe and fear. “Hannibal talks about you. You’re the one who kicked his ass into becoming a Hunter. He admires you greatly.”

“Shao Jun, started the ass kicking – I just finished it. Hannibal is a good guy, hyper … still needs to learn patience, but I would trust him to watch my back, more importantly I trust him to watch Dan’s back.” He gave them a smile, then leaned over and kissed the top of Dan’s head. “How’s the legs?”

“Still not there.” He chuckled at an obvious old joke. “Not bad, I can walk back to the car. How about some dinner, and then we can drive you to the airport.”

“I wish you would stay.” Mac sat back down taking his hand.

“Try explaining me to your friends and coworkers, though I’m tempted to let Yasuke hunt down Sassone, but I understand the need to do your own damage.” He patted Mac’s hand. “Plus I need to get back to Japan.”

“What do you do in Japan?” Danny asked.

“I work in rehabilitation for trauma victims, teaching those who’ve lost limbs or movement, how to live again. I actually have a degree in Psychology, figured if I had to get over my PTSD should help others along the way.” The two new Hunters just stared at him not quite sure what to take of his profession. “Come on lets get some damn deep dish pizza do you know how long it’s been since I had true Chicago style pizza?”

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