"Frank," Gerard whispered, "you know this is insane, right?" The weak moonlight illuminated his pale face and dark, wary eyes.
"I know," Frank said and sighed. "But will you just listen?"
"I guess," Gerard shrugged. "You're serious about this, aren't you?"
"Yeah," Frank said grimly.
"Alright. Let's go."
Something kept nagging at Frank-he kept thinking that, hell, Gerard had probably wanted to do something like this for his whole life.
"I can't believe this," he murmured.
"We're about to save part of a sentient race."
"Whoa. Sentient? You've been hanging around Mikey too long." Gerard was trying to lighten the mood as they walked towards the Pretty Vegas bus. Frank knocked on the door and a cautious voice said, "Yeah?"
The door opened and Chris Fox stood aside to let them in. "Trent's in on the right. You might need to wake him up."
Frank walked in front of Gerard and was the first to see Trent sprawled on the couch. His eyes were closed and his chest was rising and falling slowly-it must have been a habit, Frank thought, because obviously the vampire didn't need to breathe. His face was, he noticed, serene, unlike it was in his waking hours.
"Hey," he said. "Trent."
Trent's eyes opened and his face snapped from sleepy contentment to wary aggression. His features softened when he realized that he was safe.
"Good," he said. "You came. Hey, Gerard."
"Hey," Gerard said cautiously.
"Don't worry, I won't bite," Trent said, but the words weren't meant to pacify.
"Do you want to tell him, or should I?" Frank asked Trent bluntly.
"You can," the younger man-no, the boy-said after a moment. "I need to wake up first."
"Okay." And Frank launched into the story, standing up, Gerard leaning against the wall, Trent sitting impassively on the couch. Frank referred to him a few times for details, all of which he answered smoothly. He finished, watching Gerard's face.
"So, let me get this straight," he said, getting up and pacing back and forth in front of the two younger men. "All of you are vampires-except Frankie-and everyone in Santa Rose is, too. There are two groups, the rebels, your boys, and Krishna's boys, that are at war. Since the old rebel leader got killed, you're the new boss. Right so far?"
"If you're trying to see how crudely you can say it, yes," Trent said dryly.
"Frankie boy here," Gerard continued, as if Trent had never spoken, "volunteered us to help you boys out. And we're gonna."
"Hell yeah!" Gerard grinned, his ashen face illuminated by a wide smile. "We're helping. This is the chance of a lifetime."
"I don't want to be responsible for getting one-or all-of you killed."
The smile faded. "I know," Gerard said seriously. "You won't be. We won't."
"I still think you should just go," Trent said quietly.
"We're not going to."
"You're already in enough danger by being associated with me," Trent continued. "You're in Santa Rose right now. We're in their territory-not like Krishna ever abided by territorial rules, anyway."
Frank glanced at Trent and their eyes met. Frank broke away first, looking at anything but the younger man.
"We better go," Gerard said after a moment of silence. "It's almost ten."
Frank nodded and got up, Trent following them. "I'll see that you get back safe," he said, reaching for the pistol that lay on top of the cabinet in the corner. "It's not loaded," he said, seeing Gerard's slightly stricken expression. "But it sure helps in a bluff."
Gerard was out first, Frank behind him and Trent coming in last.
"Frank," Trent said, beckoning for him to stop. He took hold of Frank's wrist and pulled him around to the side of the bus. Frank couldn't see Trent's face, hidden in shadow by the moon behind him. This only made his heart beat faster. As much as he didn't want to acknowledge it, fear had settled into his body, freezing his brain.
"What is it that terrifies you not of this..." Frank felt fangs on his neck, pressing, but not hard enough to draw blood-"but of this?"
Trent kissed him.
He kissed slowly, unhurried, as though he could stay there all day and never miss a beat. At the same time he was demanding, deepening the kiss before Frank knew what was happening. Gentle he was not, but the aggressive edge of his lips on Frank's was like the rush of adrenaline so dear to any performer. This rush was made even heavier because Trent knew that he wanted him.
But after a long moment, after Frank had rested a hand on his chest, he realized that there was no heartbeat. While the hand at the back of his neck was still warm, while the undertone of almost possessiveness, almost dominance, was there, while the chest under his hand was still rising and falling with each habitual breath-
This wasn't a human.
And as soon as this fact reached his mind, Frank had recoiled, his back slamming against the side of the bus.
"Trent, let go of me."
He hesitated. "Frank-" he began again, and again he interrupted. "Trent, let go of me."
Trent released him so suddenly that Frank had to bite back a gasp. "I'm sorry."
He stepped back and the moon fell on his face, the first time Frank had seen it since going outside. His face wasn't angry... it took a moment for Frank to realize that the emotion he was seeing in Trent's eyes was hurt.
But he didn't see anything else. However brave he might have felt earlier, when he'd volunteered to help Trent, however brave or heroic he had felt then, was gone now. Now he just felt like a coward as he turned and walked away from Trent, going faster until he was running back to the bus.