Thank you for continuing to read DARK PRINCE. I'm glad you're enjoying it.
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"That's the first time I've seen that," Tom said softly as we turned right, leaving the escalator from the underground at DuPont Circle and stepping into the warm April night.
"What's that?" Emil asked.
"The levi boys with all their earrings and studs -- and workboots." He nodded his head towards three youths shorn almost bald. "They look like they're some sort of kinky -- what do you call them -- hustlers?"
"The skinheads?" I asked as we came abreast the boys leaning against the newspaper vending machines, idly watching the evening crowd entering the Circle.
"Those were skinheads?" he asked once we were past the youths and out of their hearing.
"The real McCoy," Emil shot back, a slight smile tugging at his lips at the Americanism. I smiled too, he was becoming quite adept at being American. To my ear, his speech had already become indistinguishable from that of the locals his age.
"I don't think we have organised skinheads in Baltimore -- just juvenile delinquents trying to look like Elvis with grease in their hair."
Emil chuckled; I wondered for a moment who Elvis was.
"You guys aren't taking me to one of your kind of bars, aren't you?" Tom asked, changing the subject before I could decide to telepathically quiz Emil as to why mention of this Elvis was so funny.
"Do you want to go to one?" Emil asked before I could respond.
Tom smiled tightly. "I think I'll pass. Listening to you moaning and groaning your way to getting off is more than enough."
"When was this?" I asked.
"Sunday at five goddamn o'clock in the morning." He smiled knowingly, belying the anger in his words.
"Did we wake you?" Emil asked quietly. "You were snoring loud enough to wake the dead when I looked in on you."
Tom turned quickly to face him, his eyes flashing with suspicion. "You didn't?"
"I just tucked you in and kissed your neck..."
Tom's fingers flew to his neck to search for broken skin. "You didn't really, did you?"
"Okay, you two," I interjected, "Tom is at a disadvantage in this tête-à-tête. Shall we talk about something else?"
"We've got a possibility for a lucrative enterprise, Karl," Emil offered, sliding away easily from the confrontation. "Tom actually suggested it, even though I suspect he was being more than a little facetious."
"What is it?" I asked, taking the bait he offered and hoping, together, that we could draw the American from the anger he had almost fallen into and still hovered near. I wondered if these two could ever be friends, the way they competed so fiercely against each other even when they were supposed to be engaging in friendly word games.
"Tell him, Tom."
I sensed the warmth of the mortal's blood spread out over his neck onto his face, a flicker of interest rising in me before I could repress it. Verdammte! I had forgotten to eat. Instinctively, I glanced back at the skinheads and smiled.
"There's not much to tell, Karl. I was just sort of fooling around and suggested vampire blood might be the twenty-first century's elixir as penicillin was this past century's. It was more than a joke than anything."
|I haven't fed, Emil. Keep him occupied.|
|We're almost to the restaurant.|
|Look in shop windows -- anything. I'll only be a few minutes.|
|You're that hungry?|
|I didn't feed last night, and we're going to have him with us until he goes to bed with no time for a hunt.|
|Sorry.| I felt understanding in his words. |I'd forgotten.|
"You guys are talking to each other, aren't you?" Tom asked, looking from one to the other of us, his eyes round.
Emil grinned at him and led him on along Connecticut Avenue as I held back. "You could do it too -- if you hadn't said you weren't interested in becoming one of us," he told him.
"I didn't say -- Oh, shit!" I heard him gasp as the night enshrouded them both. "Forget I said that. I'm not interested in being a vampire and I sure as shit don't need either of you banging my ass for me."
"I thought you'd have second thoughts after hearing how much I was enjoying it," Emil mocked him gently.
"Shit!" He glanced to where I had been the moment before. "Hey, where's Karl?"
"He'll be back in a moment."
A public toilet stood between `P' Street and Massachusetts Avenue half a block from the underground entrance. I smiled and touched the mind of the nearest skinhead as I moved unseen past them at vampiric speed to position myself between the toilet and the underground.
|Piss,| I told him. |You must piss now.|
The young skinhead looked surprised before a vaguely pained expression descended over his face. He glanced quickly towards the toilet, saw the way to it was well lighted and clear and pointed it out for his companions before stepping towards it -- and me.
I extended my thoughts to the interior of the toilet. A middle-aged man was washing his hands slowly, hoping something interesting would appear. Leave, I told him, making the command strong and immediate. I didn't like the thought of feeding in such a public place, but the same lights that had made the skinhead feel safe made me uncomfortable waylaying him outside.
Hunger was a palpable, growing reality as I rushed into the vacant toilet ahead of the skinhead, secreted myself in a cubicle, and waited for him.
I scanned the nearby area for other men interested in the facility and turned them away as the youth strolled up to a urinal and unzipped his fly. Continuing to broadcast the warning, I left the cubicle and approached him. He glanced at me over his shoulder but quickly turned back to face the dirty porcelain in front of him.
I touched his hip and felt him stiffen. "You want me pissing all over you, faggot, before I stomp your head in?" he growled as he turned his upper body towards me. He looked into my eyes and found himself floating on an endless, unbroken sea.
|You're through,| I told him, my mental voice gentle even as it commanded.
The stream of urine ceased. I held out my hand and he leant towards me, his eyes still on mine. Shut your eyes and dream pleasant things, I told him as I exposed my fangs and they touched his neck.
He gasped softly when they broke the skin and groaned as they dug deeper to release his blood. Hug me, I told him and felt his arms encircle my chest. His manhood grew between us as I lapped his blood.
The wound I made wasn't deep and the flow of his blood slowed quickly. I was nowhere close to sated; I wanted more. I wanted to drain him. I wanted to kill him -- because of what he was.
He was grinding his erection against me, his back arched. "Feels good, baby," he mumbled.
I smiled at the direction his pleasant dream had taken. |The most beautiful boy in the world is sucking you,| I told him. |Shoot all over his face. He wants it.|
"Yeah!" the skinhead groaned as I pulled away from him and he leant against the barrier between his urinal and the one next to it. His hand gripped his manhood, stroking it as a beatific smile covered his face.
Curiosity touched me with its curse. The youth I had just drunk from was masturbating to a dream of a boy sucking him off. It was a dream I didn't think his mates at the underground entrance would think he should be having. Why was there this incongruity between his outward behaviour and his emotional reality?
I touched his mind. And found warning emblazoned across his conscious mind. The Spider Fraternity is in danger at DuPont Circle. Be careful. Stay together. Be strong.
Beneath the warning, his imagined partner was indeed a good-looking man, one nearing graduation from university. They had separated before anything could happen between them but after the hint of a promise had risen to haunt the youth before me. His friend had gone to university from secondary school while his coach showed the skinhead the realities of life according to Reverend Bob Patterson.
I caught up to Emil and Tom as they were leaving the Uno store mid-way along the block.
"Feel better?" Emil asked as I came alongside him. I nodded.
"Where the hell did you go?" Tom demanded, falling into step with the two of us as we strolled further up the block.
Emil grinned. "You don't want to know."
"Shit! Just because I don't want to get my ass porked or my neck bitten, you guys don't have to treat me like some little kid who's too dumb to know anything. Talk to me!"
"How much do you want to know?" Emil asked quietly.
"Karl was hungry. He left us to feed."
"Christ!" He glanced at me. "Couldn't you wait until we got to the restaurant? A steak's gotta taste better than -- what? -- a hotdog? a pretzel?"
"I can't eat that kind of food," I reminded him, feeling slightly uneasy at his insistence.
"I'm a vampire, remember?"
"So, you can't eat with the rest of us?" His eyes rounded as he stopped and turned to face me. "You..." He glanced along both directions of the sidewalk and, lowering his voice, continued: "You drank blood?"
I nodded and he shuddered. "You killed somebody?" he asked even more quietly and the camaraderie that had bound us began to quickly evaporate.
"No," I answered. "The skinhead's still very much alive -- just a little weakened. He'll feel fine tomorrow."
"You sucked blood from one of those guys we just passed?"
"They're a good source of food, Tom. They beat up gays and Negroes and they intimidate sane people. They're of no use to anybody -- that makes them fair game."
I felt his revulsion, strong and quick, as it swept over him.
"I'm not so sure I'm hungry," he mumbled.
"Tom," I said gently, "you knew what I was when you decided to be friends."
"I know," he sighed. "But I wasn't really thinking of the bloodsucking." He smiled tightly. "I guess I didn't let myself think about it until just now."
He laughed sharply. "You know, Würther wouldn't become like you because of that. Every time he came close, he'd remember Sergei slurping at some guy's neck." He smiled at me. "He loved you, Karl -- more than anything, even his church. But he couldn't do that, not ever."
"He died because of it," I answered and my vision became blurred as I was propelled back to that field of edelweiß for one more moment of pain. "He chose..."
"It wasn't such a bad choice. At least, I hope it wasn't. I'm here -- in the flesh."
"You are. And we're both glad you are," Emil told him quickly, a lilt to his voice and I knew he was trying to pull us away from the abyss into which Tom was staring.
The American was silent for long moments and I was only peripherally aware of the curiosity with which passers-by glanced at us. Finally, he shrugged, making his decision and I felt the tension lift from us.
"This is where I ought to run like hell," he said quietly. "It's sort of like finding out your best girl's a hit man for the Mafia, or something."
"You're free to go. Neither of us will bother you."
"Karl, don't!" Emil groaned under his breath.
"No. Friendship with us must be of his own free will," I answered, watching Tom. "And it can't be based on lies or ignorance."
Tom snorted. "No wonder both of them loved you! You're so fucking honourable about everything."
"Would you rather forget this incident?"
He stared at me. "You can make me forget it, can't you? Just like you and Emil talk to each other with your minds?"
He shuddered again, but, now, it was more a shiver than the body-wrenching movement of earlier. "I had better keep it right where it is -- as a reminder."
He chuckled. "You know, it's real funny. I was feeling like I was out with buddies from school until -- it'd be real easy to just sort of slide into accepting what you offer." He glanced down at the sidewalk. "Sergei's hot for me to do it." He glanced at Emil and blushed. "He really likes the idea of three-ways."
"Have you ever done it with a man?" Emil asked quietly.
The American's blush deepened. "Yeah. A couple of times back in college. When I was really broke, I'd go to Patterson Park in East Baltimore and hustle my cock."
"Did you like it?" I asked as we reached the intersection and looked across Connecticut Avenue to the steak house that was our destination. I was afraid of his answer, even as my heart thudded quickly in anticipation of it.
"Sort of. Shit! Yeah, it was pretty exciting and that made it scary in a way I didn't understand then."
"You do now?"
"Yeah. I've got a soul that's been creaming in its shorts at the thought of hopping into bed with Karl and then both of you for months. I figure it was getting off on what I was doing with the johns who picked me up."
"You don't have to decide to be a vampire to join us in bed, Tom," Emil told him as we crossed the street. "We can have fun together without you making that decision."
"I don't think I'm ready to throw up my hands and start swishing."
I sighed as we reached the east side of the street. "Tom, just because you have sex with a man doesn't make you homosexual."
I quickly outlined my view of man being a sexual animal, one that can physically enjoy any of its couplings. Now that I knew the sexologists Masters and Johnson had proven my theory in the fifties, I couched my outline in their words.
"I can almost see myself getting it on with you both." He hung his head. "Part of me -- Sergei probably -- wants to -- until I hear myself groaning `fikst mich' while one of you humps me as you were doing to Emil Sunday morning."
Emil chuckled. "We'll lead you into it slowly, Tomi. Sex needs be fun. The moment you find it's becoming something else, we'll stop."
"You mean Karl isn't going to be porking me the second my underwear slides past my butt?" he asked with traces of humour lacing his words.
I also felt his need for reassurance on the point. I was mildly surprised at how close he seemed to be to breaking one of the two provisos he'd put on our friendship but a month ago.
"We won't do anything you don't want to do," I told him and opened the outer door of the restaurant. "Now, let's feed you." I grinned. "If we're lucky, you'll be so full of protein you'll happily let us siphon some of it off."
* * *
Tom and I sat in the sitting room sipping a cognac each. Feeling the liquor flowing through my veins, I smiled at how quickly the mortal with me was acquiring European habits, habits I suspected were being forgotten even in Europe as its youth increasingly became Americanised. He now sat comfortably sipping a good cognac where his fellows would down it quickly and never appreciate its bouquet.
I heard the tumblers turning in the outer door and Emil's feet as he stepped into the hall.
|I'm home,| the Swiss youth projected. |Give me time to dress and I'll join you.|
"Emil's here," I told Tom.
"He went to feed, didn't he?" he asked with a subdued voice and I feared a return to the tension earlier. I nodded. "Was this another skinhead?"
I shook my head. "He has a very negative view of drug-dealers, as negative as mine of skinheads. He was probably over in Anacostia."
"I can almost see offing one of those guys, but what bites your arse about the skinheads? I didn't see them doing anything."
"It's a long story."
"Tom, I'd need to share it mentally with you. That way, you'd get a direct infusion of my memories without your or my prejudices coming into play."
He shrugged. "Do it."
"That's very difficult when you're not a vampire."
"Jesus! That again."
Emil stepped into the room, joining us. "Hi, guys!" He made a production of looking around the room and then staring at us. "You mean, you haven't been getting it on while my back was turned?"
|Emil!| I projected in warning.
|Just joking around, Liebchen.|
"We were waiting for you to start," Tom shot back at him, a grin on his face.
I turned to stare at the American. So did Emil. "Are you trying to tell us something?" I asked cautiously.
The moment for repartee was past and he knew it even better than we. Tom's face paled. "Okay, item one is I'm horny," he began hesitantly. "It's been the longest time since I got it on with anyone but Mary Five Fingers here," he said, holding up his hand.
"Item two is I've fucked a couple of guys and got blown by a few more. Maybe I wasn't even twenty then, but I remember it being pretty good -- even if I was scared as hell with Sergei singing sweet songs about how good it is.
"Item three is I'm willing to get into something as long as it's understood we don't do anything I freak out about. Item four is you don't play with my head; and item five is you don't assume I want to hop into bed every time I'm around just because I do it tonight."
I continued to gaze at him, working my way through the restrictions I had placed around this man the past month. "I didn't hear you mention specific things you wouldn't do," I offered finally.
"Just that you don't play with my head, giving me wants that aren't mine, and that you don't push me into doing something I'm not ready for."
"And that we don't look upon you as a regular sex partner just because we get it on tonight," Emil added, his voice primly void of his usual humour and, even, interest.
Tom turned and smiled his thanks to him.
Emil grinned suddenly, signalling his lilting irreverence's return. "It's almost two in the morning and we're all three fed." He raised a brow theatrically and his voice immediately became guttural, his `W's' becoming `V's'.
"Shall we show you to the room where we will deflower you, good-looking American young man?" He licked his lips in campy anticipation.
Tom stared at the Swiss youth then turned to me. "This is a side of him I never saw in Zürich -- what did you do to him when you made him a vampire?"
"He's the first one I made, perhaps I gave him too much blood and it went to his head?"
|Are you sure, Emi?| I asked. |We don't have to...|
|Don't, Karli. It's what you want -- what has to be. I've known it from the beginning.|
|I can be alone with him.|
|No!| His face tightened as he met my gaze, red blotches threatening to break out over it, the hint of fuchsia near his ears.
|Tom, and the men he was before, they're real to you. They've been a part of you for more than a hundred years. You can no more separate them from any other part of your life than you can go without feeding.|
|But I don't have to rub your face in it.|
|You won't be, Karli. I'm the one who has to accept, to learn to love him as I do you. He already possesses you more than I ever will. If I'm to have you, he comes with the packet.|
He snorted. |I'd better be if I want you in my life.|
"You know, I could really learn to hate you guys," Tom opined from between us, forcing himself into our circle.
"Why's that?" Emil asked, his eyes pink with glistening tears.
"You talk mind to mind every time you don't want me to hear you. Were you discussing me?"
Emil smiled tightly. "We'll discuss that later -- if you want."
"Shit!" He pushed himself from the chair and stood uncertainly. "You could almost convince me to join the vampire brigade too, with all this interesting shit going right over my head all the time."
I rose. "This is where you back out of this adventure or commit to the duration," I told him, pulling him away from his thoughts and fantasies of vampires.
He looked from me to Emil and back. "I don't have to do anything I don't want to, right?"
"Come on, American," Emil told him with a grin. "I've never fucked one of you before."
"Emil!" I snapped sharply as Tom froze.
The Swiss looked sheepishly at the American. "I'm sorry. Let's go enjoy ourselves."
At the top of the stairs, Tom slowed as Emil went on into the room and I made to follow. I turned back to him and saw his face was ashen as he stared at the open door to the bedroom I shared with Emil.
"Uncomfortable?" I asked.
"Yeah. A little." He snorted. "A whole lot. I think I just gave birth to an armada of butterflies and they're all in my gut."
"Then don't do it. You have the bedroom next to ours, sleep there."
"It wasn't sleep that I was thinking about," he answered sharply but grinned weakly.
"That's got to be your decision entirely, Tom. Go to your bed if the thought of doing something with us makes you uncomfortable."
He laughed. "Sergei would never stop kicking my butt if I backed out now. I think even that prude Würther would be right in there with him."
"It's not backing out. It's what makes you comfortable. That's your body -- not mine or Emil's, not even Sergei's and Würther's -- you've got to decide how to use it and how to derive pleasure from it."
He took the last two steps and stood before me. His lips twitched in a grin. "Are you going to stand out here talking me to death or are we going in there and get it on?"
"I'm going in there and find several hours worth of pleasure before I sleep. Emil has the same intention." I smiled and started for the room. "What you do is your decision."
I reached the room before he started after me; I didn't stop. Emil already lay naked on the bed as he smiled a greeting to me. I shoved off my shoes and pulled off my shirt as I stepped across the room.
I was pushing my trousers over my hips as Tom growled from the door: "Do you two mind some light? I can't see in the dark."
"What's to see?" Emil called out to him chuckling.
"I never looked at a cock up close before -- except mine."
"You just fuck them, take their money, and leave?"
"Emil!" I hissed softly. "Turn on the light if you want," I told Tom.
I was looking at a naked, aroused Emil Paulik one instant and was seeing the same si ght the next. Between the two moments the medium through which I saw the man I made a vampire shifted as electric light flooded through the room. One moment I was seeing him completely through vampiric sight, the next nearly human perception imposed itself over me.
Tom entered the room and stopped when he saw me standing at the foot of the bed in just my y-fronts. He turned to face the bed and saw Emil lying there. He blinked his eyes and turned back to me.
"I don't like you in those," he said in French, his voice Sergei Alexandrovitch's. He stepped closer and his fingers reached out to touch my chest. "Sweet, lovely Karli," Würther breathed in German.
Emil stared at our still dressed companion, his eyes rounding. Tom kissed first one of my nipples and then the other, his eyes closed.
|He -- they -- want to make love to you, Karl!|
"Let him make his own decision, Sergei Alexandrovitch," I told the spirit of the vampire who had given me immortality. "Don't influence him."
Tom's body jerked slightly and I sensed him as the only presence in the room other than Emil and myself. His tongue continued to touch and taste my nipples, learning the contours of my chest, moving curiously over it as his hands opened his shirt and shoved it blindly from him.
His body moved slowly to music only he could hear as he stepped out of his loafers and began to unzip his jeans. In moments, he was naked and his tongue was beginning a downward spiral as his fingers slipped beneath the elastic waistband of my undergarment and pushed it onto my legs.
His hands moved along the backs of my thighs to find and, then, knead my buttocks as his tongue tentatively touched my sex.
"Let's get on the bed, Tomi," I told him softly as I massaged his back.
He stared at me as he rose and took a step backward, his erection complete. "Jesus!" he croaked. "Is it going to be like this every time we...?"
I chuckled. "If I remember correctly both Sergei Alexandrovitch and Würther were prone to lose themselves in a moment of passion."
"But that...!" His eyes blanked for the briefest moment. "You can't cum, can you?"
He glanced over his shoulder at Emil. "Neither of you?"
"If you mean ejaculate, no," I told him.
"But I've had some damned good orgasms since I woke up undead," Emil continued from the bed.
Tom glanced from one to the other of us. "Should we -- uh -- you know, use rubbers when we get to that point?"
"Parasites can't live in us," I told him. "I don't know about AIDS specifically, but Würther tested other sexually transmitted diseases with my blood before." I shut my eyes for a moment forcing the memory of that field of edelweiß from my mind. "Before the Anschluß. Each of them died immediately."
"We've got to try it with the HIV-virus." His eyes brightened and the erection jutting from his groin began to lose its strength as his mind embraced the new thought. "Can you imagine how big this would be if you and Emil can kill AIDS too?"