Sam is the one who notices. Michael is so busy digging graves he hasn’t bothered to count the bodies. He assumed they were all present and accounted for until Sam pulled him aside.
“He's gone.” Sam whispers and Michael doesn’t need to ask who he’s talking about.
“What do you mean gone?” Michael keeps his voice low, not wanting the Frogs or Star to hear.
“Disappeared, not here.” Sam waves his hands around his voice rising slightly, “gone.”
“He can’t be gone dead bodies just don’t walk away?” As soon as the words leave his mouth Michale realizes how ridiculous he sounds.
“Really?” Apparently, Sam realizes how ridiculous he sounds too.
Michael sighs and pushes his hair away from his forehead. “Did you tell the Frogs?”
“No, just you.” Sam’s voice is quiet. He takes a breath like he wants to say something else but doesn’t.
“Yeah just deal with him okay.”
It’s nightfall when he and Sam have buried them all. Michael sent the Frogs home as soon as Sam told him about David. Star actually had a home to go to or at least an apartment of her own. She told him she’d be leaving town in about a few days. She and Laddie were going to Florida. She asked him if he wanted to come. Star didn’t look surprised when he told her no. She smiled at him tears in her eyes and kissed his cheek. She told him that it was okay. He almost wished she’d been angry.
Michael waits downstairs and until he hears the bathroom door open and Sam’s bedroom door close before he goes upstairs. Nanook is still on guard whenever Michael walks into a room and really doesn’t want to get bitten, again. Grandpa has gone back to the widow Johnson’s. When he passes his mother’s room she is curled up, asleep she looks peaceful. Michael doesn’t know how she can sleep. His body aches and his brain is fogged but he knows if he lays down he won’t sleep. He makes the water as hot as he can stand it and sinks into the tub. He tips his head back and lets his eyes slip closed. That’s when he hears David’s voice.
“I’m not done with you, Michael. Are you done with me?”
Michael’s eyes fly open. He grips the edge of the tub looks frantically around the room before he realizes David is in his head. He doesn’t close his eyes again, just washes off the blood and the dirt.
He finds Sam in his room reading a horror comic. “Haven’t you had enough of that?”
“Mom’s probably not moving so, “ Sam shrugs puts the comic down.“You going out?”
“Yeah, just to clear my head.”
“Be careful, Mike.”
He only nods so it isn’t exactly a lie. Michael rides his bike and heads down to the boardwalk, expecting what he doesn’t know. David isn’t walking amongst the crowd. It’s just families, and teenagers, and couples all blissfully unaware of the danger that once lurked here. Michael walks the boardwalk until dawn. He doesn’t find David that night, or the night after, or the next. Two weeks of endless walks up and down the boardwalk hoping David will appear. Then he can, and that’s the thing Michael’s not exactly sure what he’ll do if he sees David.
It’s a Friday night and Sam’s sitting on the porch looking up at the stars.
“I’ll try to be back before dawn.”
“Mike Maybe he really is gone, maybe you should just let it go.”
Michael pauses on foot still on the porch. He doesn’t answer. He can’t bring himself to tell Sam the truth. He sees David every night when he closes his eyes, images that leave him panting and hard alone in his room.
He tells himself that this will be the last time he looks for David. Michael doesn’t bother with the boardwalk this time. He rides his bike out to the bluffs races to the edge. He peers over and wonders if David would catch him if he fell.
“You know the answer to that and you know where to find me. You’ve known all along.”
It’s another night before Michael goes to the hotel armed only with a torch. He finds David sitting on his throne. He looks gaunt even for a vampire. He’s hungry, dangerous.
“Did you miss me, Michael?” David says his deep raspy voice sends a shiver through Michael’s body.
“Why aren't you dead?” Michael can hear the tremor in his voice and he puts the torch down so he doesn’t have to steady his hand.
“Because to kill a vampire you have to stab them in the heart. You were off by a few inches. Lucky me.” David raises his shirt and Michael can still see the wounds not fully healed raised on the smooth white planes of David’s chest. His fingers twitched with the need to touch. Against his better judgment, his feet move forward.
“Shouldn’t those be healed?” Michael takes another closer, drawn to David.
“Well, Michael they would be if I’d been able to feed. I can’t hunt wounded and because of you, I’m alone.” He leans forward tension settling into his shoulders. “You took them from me. Now I’m a man without a tribe. I haven’t been alone in two hundred and thirty-seven years. You could’ve at least brought me a snack.”
“Did you care about them?” It’s probably a stupid question but the answer matters to Michael.
“Some of them more than others.”
David sighs, “she just seemed lonely.”
“And how did I seem?” Michaels knows he’s pushing doesn’t know if he wants the answer.
“Like you needed an escape or maybe a distraction like you were looking for something,” David cocks his head a sly grin spreads across his face’“You’re obviously not here to kill me Michael so what is it that you want?”
“Why can’t I stop thinking about you?” Michael’s hands clench into fists. He can hear the blood rushing through his veins. He knows David can hear it too.
“I don’t know Michael why can’t you stop thinking about me? You’re a smart boy you should know the answer?”
“Your blood is still in my veins?”
David chuckles “So is yours, Michael.”
Maybe it’s the chuckle, maybe it’s having his own words thrown back in his face but something in Michael snaps and he lunges at David. It’s not a smart thing to do. David’s hand is around his throat cold like a vice. Michael’s heart is racing. Then their lips collide and Michael wonders why he ever fought against this. David tastes like smoke and wine. Like everything between them, it’s a battle, a push and pull that Michael doesn’t think he’ll ever get enough of. David’s grip relaxes just a touch allowing him to tilt his head. He runs his tongue over David’s fangs feels the sharp points and knows he should run. Michael doesn’t run he crawls onto David’s lap and straddles him.
David’s mouth moves down to his neck and fangs scrape against his skin. Michael tips his head back, white-hot anticipation burning through him. He needs this. David’s fangs sink in and it’s a sensation unlike any other. He’s hard and his hands slide under David’s shirt feeling the skin grow warm as he feeds. Michael moans and David slips a hand inside his jeans. Michael isn’t sure how long it lasts David’s hand on his cock and teeth in his neck but he’s sure he blacks out for a few seconds when he comes. He’s still a little dizzy when he opens his eyes and still wrapped around David. He forces himself to get up. He takes a step back his legs are shaking. He sits down on one of the trunks nearby.
“Now what Michael?” David looks at him but doesn’t wait for a response, “I can’t stay in Santa Carla. The Frogs might have friends and I don’t have a tribe.”
“You have me,” Michael says the words without hesitation.
“Do I? New York might be nice, lots of people, crowded. The missing won’t be missed.”
“Michael, I am a killer and nothing no one can change that. I was a killer before I was immortal. Do I still have you?”
Michael breathes deep, the cold stale air chilling him. Nothing David has told him changes the longing in his heart or the desire that’s settled onto him like a second skin. This is going to be forever. He doesn’t say any of that.
“New York sounds cool.”
“We can’t leave until I’m fully healed. It will take longer if I just have to rely on you.”
“How long?” Michael asks but the answer doesn’t matter he’s not going to lure innocent people for Michael to kill.
“A week maybe two.”
It only took a week.
They ride through deserts and mountains on empty moonlit roads. They check into seedy motels and sleep all day. Nights they aren’t riding they go to the movies or hang out in the local diner. Tonight it was a movie, The Killing Time. They have the theater to themselves . It’s only ten when they leave the tiny Nebraska theater, but the diner across the street is closed.
“You go back to the motel. I’ll find something.” David doesn’t wait for a response.
It’s after midnight when David comes back with a pizza. There’s blood on his lips. Michael can taste it when they kiss. He doesn’t have time to think about it because David’s hands are everywhere, rough insistent and he needs. It’s almost sunrise when they collapse in a sticky mess under the sheets.
“If it makes any difference he was an asshole?” David says his voice thick with sleep and satisfaction.
Michael drifts off to sleep with a smile on his lips.
New York is crowded and bustling. They’ve been here a week and Michael doesn’t think he ever wants to leave. They’re sitting on the rooftop of some building in the East Village still trying to take it all in..
“I wish you could see it the way I do.” David sounds almost wistful.
“Why can’t I?”
David looks at him, raises a brow. “You know what you’re asking for.”
“Yes, I do know.”
“Are you prepared to-”
“To kill? Yeah, this city is full of assholes, murders, rapists.”
“So we play judge, jury, and executioner?”
“We make the world better.”
Michael watches as David draws a sharp nail across his own wrist, opening the flesh the vein he licks his lips as the blood dark and rich rushes to the surface and begins to drip.
“No illusions now,” David says raising his wrist to Michael’s lips.
Michael doesn’t hesitate. They leave the roof and in a darkened alley Michael makes his first kill. He spotted the guy a couple of days ago slapping around some poor kid who barely looked eighteen. Now that kid has one less problem.
“My very own avenging angel,” David says running his thumb over Michael’s lip wiping away the blood. “I knew you were one of my kind.”.
“Or maybe you're one of mine,” Michael says walking out into the night.