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The drag queen grinned at Pike and Benny. "The name's Sam," she said, and offered her elbow-gloved hand.

"As in Samantha?" Pike bent over her glove and kissed it.

She patted his cheek. "As in Samuel. But you're very kind."

"We just need to crash until we can get the van fixed," Benny said. "A few days, tops."

Sam waved her hands. "As long as it takes, boys. My brother and I could use the money. Come on, it's almost closing time." She took Pike's hand and led him and Benny to the front door.

Her car was parked around the block, a big old shiny white classic. "We've got a big lot and my grandfather's garage is stocked with tools," Sam said. "You can have your van towed out in the morning."

"Excellent. Thanks. Uh, where is your place exactly?"

"Out of town a little ways." They all slid into the front bench seat and Sam started the car. It purred like a kitten.

Pike shot a look at Benny: out of town? Might that mean trouble?

Benny looked smug: I'm a vampire. How much trouble could we get into?

Pike smiled and squeezed his thigh. Benny was right, of course; Christ, Sam looked like she'd have a hard enough time opening a jam jar, much less fucking with them. "So it's just you and your brother?" he asked Sam.

"Yeah. It was my grandfather's house, then my mother's, but they both...passed on. Me and my older brother Michael are the only ones left in the family."

"That's too bad," Pike said, since Sam sounded like he missed them. Personally, he'd be dancing on his parents' graves, but he knew some families were actually loving.

Benny clicked his nails against the door. Pike strongly suspected that he'd eaten both his parents. He hadn't gone looking for confirmation or denial, though.

"So where are you boys heading?" Sam asked.

"North," Pike said. "Canada." Winter was coming on, which meant *long* nights up north, which meant Benny wouldn't have to spend so much time asleep. More hours with his boyfriend sounded like a good trade-off for mountains of snow.

"You've got a long way to go."

"We've got a lot of time to do it in." Pike slid his hand into Benny's pocket.

Sam's house was about ten miles out of town, a great big quasi-Victorian with darkened windows and animal bones hanging all over the gate. Pike didn't ask; he didn't want to know. Sam pulled into the garage and they all slid out.

Sam flipped on the light as they came in. "Michael? Where are you?"

No answer. Benny grabbed Pike's arm, stopping him short; he looked toward Benny and saw the enormous mirror in the living room. Benny had no reflection.

"It's all right, I know you're a vampire," Sam said. She smiled and climbed up the stairs. "Michael?"

Benny looked at Pike. "Weird," Pike said.

"Think his brother is live or stuffed?" Benny asked. Pike punched his arm.

"Oh well," Sam said, appearing on the landing. He pulled off his wig, revealing short blond curls. "I don't know where he's gone. Can one of you boys help me with my zipper?"

Pike and Benny exchanged looks. "Sure," Pike said. Sam smiled at him as he came up the stairs.

Sam's bedroom was covered in comic book posters, beefcake shots and pretty dresses. It was--a little strange. Boyish and not. Sam dropped the wig on a foam head and the earrings in a wood box, wiped off the lipstick and looked like a man. He was younger than Pike thought originally. Late twenties.

Sam turned his back. "Don't be afraid to tug. She's a tough old thing." Pike found the zipper and had to yank pretty hard to get it down, but finally it yielded and peeled away from Sam's body with a smell of sweat, smoke and perfume.

Sam shook his hips and it puddled at his feet, leaving him in panties, stockings and heels. He turned and kissed Pike.

Pike shoved him away. "Whoa! Hang on! I'm with Benny, and we're kind of exclusive."

"Oh, come on..." Sam cupped his crotch, backing him up--backing him toward the bed. No, he wasn't going to do that. He grabbed Sam's wrists.

Sam was stronger than he thought and pulled away. He planted his hands in Pike's chest and shoved him backwards onto the bed. Pike bounced. Sam climbed on top of him.

"This is *not* my *scene*--" Pike tried pushing away but Sam had Pike's hands trapped between them--shit, that was muscle under that dress, LOTS of muscle, and Sam's tongue was in his mouth. Pike bit down as hard as he could.

Sam reared back, spitting blood onto Pike's shirt; Pike rolled out from under him and scrambled his way to the door. "Benny!" He hauled himself upright at the landing and raced downstairs, half running, half falling.

He heard choked sounds from the living room. He couldn't see Benny.

"Hey!" Pike looked up and saw Sam on the landing as he threw something at Pike. It hit him in the chest, making him lose his grip on the rail and fall the rest of the way down the stairs.

He tried to catch his breath. He tried to move. His arm was fucked up--oh shit--Benny, where was Benny--

Sam clattered down the steps and hauled him upright. Bright pain in his arm--Pike cried out. Sam pulled Pike against him, back to his chest, one arm around his waist and the other around his throat. Pike sagged in his grasp--Sam was shorter than him, even in heels.

"Look," Sam said, hauling him into the living room. So strong, so fucking strong--Pike was in deep shit.

Benny was in deeper shit. He was sprawled over a couch with a dark-haired guy crouching over him sucking the dark, sluggish blood from his throat. Benny was pale, getting paler, and he didn't look conscious.

"Got to feed my brother," Sam breathed in Pike's ear. "As long as he doesn't drink *human* blood, he's safe. Safe from *David*--safe from himself--I'm sure you understand."

"Fuck you," Pike gasped out. Christ, his *arm*--it was fucking *broken*--

"Got to keep him safe." And then pain. Pain in his neck. Sam's fangs. Oh, shit.

He tried to struggle but everything hurt so *bad* and he was getting so *weak* and his vision was going black and he was just going to faint, and then, and then probably die...

Noise. Sam dropped him.

Snarling, crashing, shouts, and Pike's vision came back as what blood he had left rushed back into his head. Benny was alone on the couch, unmoving. Pike crawled toward him one-handed.

He collapsed against the couch and pulled the backup stake from his jacket with his good hand. Holy water from his pocket with his bad hand--not broken then, or else he was doing a good job ignoring it. He felt light-headed. He didn't feel any pain.

The living room was empty--then a bunch of vampires floated down from the ceiling. Two held Sam slumped between them. The spiky-haired leader carried Michael and stared at Pike.

"Walk on," Pike gasped, "or I swear to God I'll take at least one of you with me." He held up his weapons.

The leader smiled, then laughed, throwing back his head and showing off teeth like daggers. "We have what we came for." He turned, his coat billowing behind him, and walked through the shattered front door. The others followed, shooting looks at Pike.



Pike sagged. "Mmf," Benny said.

"Benny, are you okay?"

"Mmmmm." Benny's arm fell over Pike and Benny curled around him, lapping at his neck. Pike closed his eyes and tilted his head.


"I fucked up. I'm sorry," Pike said. He squinted at the road, trying not to jostle his busted left arm.

"I fucked up too. I should have smelled it on him." Benny was curled up beside him, pale and weak.

"Shit. Okay, we get back to the van, we fix it, we get the hell out of here..." Sam's grandfather's tools were tossed in the back of the car along with all the parts Pike thought they might possibly need.

His lip was bleeding more than his neck now. Benny had licked his neck closed. "I need a doctor for my arm."


"Next town," Pike said. "Not here."

Benny pushed his head into Pike's thigh. He was going to have to feed as soon as possible. Shit. Shit. Shit.

"Goddamn fucking crazy-ass vampires," Pike whispered. "Benny, why aren't more of you guys sane?"


Thump, something landed on the hood, and the trunk, and Pike slammed on the brakes and swerved and came to a stop with Michael staring down at him. He glanced behind him and the spiky bleach-blond leader was there on the trunk.

"Thank you," Michael said. He looked--now that Pike saw him up close, he saw that Michael didn't look any older than he did. A kid. Sam had said older brother--oh, fuck it, he didn't want to figure this out, he just wanted to get out alive.

"You distracted him," Michael said. "You kept him busy long enough for David to get past the perimeter. Thank you."

"You're...welcome," Pike said.

"Thank you *so* much," David purred in Pike's ear--his breath was *rank* with blood and it was all Pike could do to keep from jumping out of the car.

David leaned forward and kissed Michael. Blood dripped from their lips and stained the seat.

They leapt up and flew away.

The car purred. Pike's heart hammered in his chest. Benny stroked his thigh.

He hit the gas. He was going 60mph in no time.