Leaving the lounge area, thankfully with my body in tact, I searched the maddening crowd for Dion and Gyro. I seemed to be generating much more attention than I had previously done when I had first walked into that place. People smiled at me, and reached out to touch me, shouting out my name. Women would run up, briefly wrap their arms around my neck, and place kisses on my cheeks. Boys did the same without embarassment. If it hadn't been so dark in there, there would be no way for me to prevent them from seeing me blush.

"JUSTIN!!!" Shouted a familiar voice from the crowd, and I saw Gyro's small teen body trying hard to jump up among the masses to get my attention. The poor kid was hardly visible in all this chaos. But I pushed my way through to him anyway. "THERE you are! Where'd you go, dude?" He asked.

"Long story, I'll tell ya in a minute. Right now, do you think we can get out of here. This place is getting to be a little bit overcrowded for my tastes." I said. Gyro agreed and he made a small path through the fans for me to follow. Dion was waiting closer to the exit, and we were able to join up and make our way back to the passage that we had taken to get there. We were cleared by way of a green light at the top of the door, and I watched as the video game machine slid to the side to let us out. I walked back out into the convenience store, the bright lights almost blinding me twice as badly after being surrounded by darkness and huge crowds for the last two hours or so, and had to shield my eyes from the reflection. The hum of the neon lights was almost deafening at this point, a huge contrast to the cacophany of sounds that were screaming down below our feet. And the video game machine moved right back into place, shutting itself back on for regular gameplay and masking the fact that any of this had even happened. Weird...returning to normal after such a brief smack in the face with insanity.

"What did we end up walking away with?" Gyro asked as Dion counted out my winnings.

"Looks to be about 185 dollars in all! I guess nobody was expecting you to beat Thunder tonight. Hehehe, seems you're full of surprises too." Dion smiled. Then he counted out 150 bucks for Jeremy, and happily handed me the rest. "To our blond little superman...well deserved." Dion gave me a look of pride, and I felt emotion wash over me as I discovered true appreciation for what I accomplished that night. I don't think I've ever experienced tears of joy before. This would be my first.

Walking back out into the night air was a pleasant escape from the confusion and rage of being in that arena packed to the hilt with people. The very 'peace' of it all was enough to bring a smile to my face. I inhaled deeply, the wild sensation of freedom enveloping me in its cool embrace. It is SO incredible, being so in touch with everything around you. When your senses are this acute, everything becomes a work of art. True beauty....unexplainable beauty. Even the air smelled good. The sound of the grass being crushed beneath our feet as we walked back down that same steep hill...it tickled my eardrums, almost making me giggle out loud. Dion saw my enjoyment and couldn't help but smile himself. "Feel good?" He asked.

"Hehehe...yeah. I guess I do."

"Good. I'm glad."

I smiled even wider, not knowing what to do with the energy I had leftover after such an exciting evening. "I didn't think I'd be able to do it, you know? I mean...they really loved me out there! I was doing stuff I never thought I'd be able to do. And did you hear the way they cheered for me? It was SO awesome!"

"You should fight more, dude!" Gyro said, repeating his need for more action, "Seriously! You're like...untouchable! Do you know how much cold hard cash you could make doing this?"

"Yeah, so I was told." I answered him with a nonchalant grin, but his ears perked up anyway. "That promoter guy called me down into his lounge. He says he wants me to fight for him or something."

"SOREN??? SOREN asked you to fight for him? In HIS arena? WHOAH! No WAY!" Gyro was getting antsy again, bouncing around more frantically than before. Hehhe it was so cute sometimes to see him let go and get himself worked up over things. "What did you say?"

"I said 'no'. I TOLD you, I was only fighting tonight. That's it. No more. We got the money, plus some extra. I'm done."

"You said 'no' to Soren? What, are you CRAZY? Dude, the fighters he promotes are SUPER rich! They're the badasses of the whole circuit! Darkwolf alone is probably good enough to take down more than half of the pit fighters in the game right now! And you said no?"

"Yeah...he mentioned Darkwolf too. Got a chance to see him in the lounge. He looks like he could hold his own." Gyro's eyes widened as I told him this, and he had to grab and shake me.

"You got to be in the lounge with Darkwolf, and you didn't TELL me??? Dammit, Justin! You suck!" He shouted. Dion and I could only smile at one another as Gyro's excitement went way beyond his sense of restraint. Evidently, I was 'out of the loop' as far as these fights were concerned. It's too bad I was missing some of the thrills and chills here.

We were able to make it to a train station not far away. Dawn was going to hit us in about an hour and a half, and the train would definitely cut down on some of our travel time. Which was a good thing, because as 'untouchable' as I felt at that moment....I was anxious to wrap my arms around Taryn and squeeze him until we melted into one another like never before. While waiting for the train, I thought about him...more and more. My boyfriend. Sighhhh....I don't think I ever get tired of saying that, even if only to myself. Who would have ever thought that the boy nobody wanted would have a boyfriend? Not just ANY boyfriend either, but a sweet, funny, wise, GORGEOUS boyfriend! The glimmer of Taryn's green eyes would follow me everywhere. I'd take his very soul with me whenever we were apart, and thought about him every moment until we were able to be close again. Even though I knew that Bryson was doing all he could to keep us apart for the time being...Taryn and I were always connected at the hip. Always. I can't wait until my so-called training is over and Bryson decides that Taryn isn't hindering my growth as much as he says it is. He believes that I need breathing room in order to concentrate and 'discover my unique and individual talents', as he so nicely put it. Hehehe, that only made me hunger for even MORE quality time with the boy I love. I don't think he realizes, that as new and exciting as my transition into their world was...being in love and having it returned to me was just as miraculous, if not more so. If only there was a rule book for THAT little endeavor. It's frustrating sometimes, yeah. To want to be so close to someone every second of the night, to want your every breath to inhale some of his candied scent. But despite my whines and huffs, Bryson thought it best that we not spend TOO much time together. You know, ignoring the rest of the world as we usually do. Like I said, it's pretty damn frustrating. Then again...if it were just us two, I guess it would be kinda hard for me to learn anything new. Hehehe...one kiss after waking up each night and I'd be through. If it weren't for Bryson and his demands on my teachings, I probably never would have left the van in the first place. We'd still be laying naked in each other's arms. Mmmmm...what an image.

The train finally arrived, pretty empty as to be expected at 4:30 in the morning. There was, however, a few college girls coming back from a late night party, and an old homeless man laying asleep in the middle of the aisle. We simply stepped over him and sat at the other end of the train car. He was drunk and out of it, might as well let him sleep, you know? The train started up and we were heading back home, when I noticed the fidgeting hands of our excitable 'barely-a-teen' buddy in front of us. Obviously, the pull of the young college girls was much too much for Gyro to withstand, and after a few moments of hesitation...he was giving us the, "I'll be right back" routine. And he got up to casually approach them. That kid...always a charmer.

Dion looked over at me, and smiled warmly in my direction. "What?" I asked.

"Nothing. You just...you turned out to be more than we bargained for, that's all. Much more. It's almost like you were 'meant' to be here." He said. "I'm glad you chose to stay with us, Justin. Seriously."

"Me too." I felt myself blush a bit, and couldn't hold back a bashful grin of my own.

"You know...Bryson, back at the lot...he's getting a bit itchy over you these days. About your extra and all. I don't think he wants to push too hard, but he's worried about you, you know?"

"He's still worried about me? Geez!" I was hoping that he'd ease up a bit, now that I had been there for a while.

"Of course he's worried. He's always worried, about ALL of us, it's just his way. He won't ever let YOU know that, but he is constantly watching out for you."

"Yeah, I kinda figured that out with you guys following me everywhere I go."

Dion poked me a little in response to my slight cheapshot. "Even THAT was for your own good, so don't knock his methods. It saved your butt a FEW times if I remember correctly." He smiled, and I kinda smiled back with a lopsided grin. The Dion told me, "Look...I know Bryson can come off as a mean old dictator of a father figure every now and then, but he cares about us. All of us. He just wants to make sure that you're ok, you know?" Dion's eyes gleamed a bit, and it was almost hypnotic to see his concern shine through. "He knows what he's doing. We wouldn't trust him as much as we do if he didn't." Then he admitted, "Besides, I was a bit worried about you myself tonight. If you had been hurt..." He paused, "I never would have been able to forgive myself if something had happened to you."

"Well, it won't. I'm a total 'Renegade', remember? So rest easy." I grinned.

"Good. I've gotten kind of attached to you and I'm not exactly ready to let go of you just yet. So keep life 'easy', will ya? I don't need to be the first vampire to die of a heart attack." Smiling quietly at our 'agreement', we both heard laughter and looked up to see Gyro, who was obviously working his magic on the young girls. We could tell by their speech that they were pretty 'toasted', if you know what I mean. They looked to be a few hours away from a vicious hangover, in fact. Still, that boy could have talked them out of their most prize possessions in a New York minute if he wanted to. Drunk or sober, it didn't matter. And he KNEW it, too. That's what added to the potency of his charms, and the brightness of his smile. Watching the girls flip around in the palm of this young boy's hand, Dion couldn't help but admire that talent as much as I did. "It's actually kinda cute, isn't it? Watching Gyro pull that off."

"Yeah...it is." I answered, and with a mischevious twinkle, added, "...You know who ELSE is cute?"


"Dylan." I made sure that Dion's eyes met mine as he looked over at me.

"Get outta here..." Dion replied.

"WHAT? I'm dead serious! Dude...Dylan is a real cutie! His smoooooth sandy blond hair, and his big innocent hazel eyes, and his ASS....omigod, it's sooo cute! Isn't it?"

"Stop! You're being weird." He grinned.

"I even liked the retainer thing. Hehehe, it's so natural."

Dion smiled to himself, "You know...I keep telling him that he doesn't have to wear that thing anymore. It's not like his body is going to ever change again throughout the rest of eternity. I think he does it just to keep feeding his habit." Dion laughed a bit to himself. "Dylan's a sweet kid. He's only been with us for about a year, and he's made himself such an important part of our little dysfunctional family. I love having him around."

"I can tell." I strategically attempted to push just a little bit further. "I think he loves having you around too. Who knows? Maybe he likes you." I winked. "Anybody who catches Dylan's eye is going to be one lucky son of a bitch."

Dion didn't answer at first, then just kinda shrugged and said, "I'm sure."

So I continued with, "And he's GAY too, you know? He liks boys just as much as I do. Maybe even more. If he decided to like you, Dion, he would probably be too shy to say anything..."

"Yeah, probably." He said quickly.

"Yep...you'd probably have to gauge his feelings by his reactions or someth..."

"What time is it?" He interrupted, "Dawn should be here pretty soon."

"We've got plenty of time."

"Ok, just checking." He said. "Don't want to get caught outside when the light hits."

"So....back to Dylan..."

"What IS it with you?" Dion giggled a bit, and as if by magic, I saw a slight blush come to the smooth chocolate of his cheeks.

"Are you BLUSHING???" I laughed.

"GYRO....next stop, buddy!" He shouted out, completely avoiding my question. Gyro said his goodbyes to the strange pack of women that he had captured the hearts of, and gave them the 'little boy lost' look as he got a kiss on the cheek from each of them. If only they knew just how devious the impish little brat was. They probably would have sprayed him with mace for the thoughts he was thinking. "Come on, Justin. I'm already exhausted."

"I take it this is the end of our conversation, then?" I said, and Dion bashfully smiled while looking away from me. I don't think he had ever resembled Dylan's shyness more than he had at that moment.

"Whatever. Just get up and let's go." He said, and Gyro came over to join us as the train came to a halt. We still had plenty of time.

It was maybe seven or eight city blocks to our desolate side of town, but the night air felt so good against my skin that I didn't notice the walk at all. Gyro was the first of us to yawn, his body evidently more sensitive to the impending dawn than ours was. I doubt that it was an age thing, because he was younger than we were, but not by much. I guess sensitivity to the daylight was another one of those individual things that keeps us in infinite variety. You know, I think Gyro was right. There IS a certain comfort in knowing that I'm different from everyone around me. That they're different from me. The longer I remain in this world of darkness, the more seductive the beauty of their ideals become. It's a confusing blend of pride, fear, and freedom all rolled into one. It makes me want to know more about myself, dig deep and find out what's hiding in there that makes me who I am. Little differences...wow. It can be so liberating to not have to suddenly conform to some wacky set law for everything and everyone where you either 'fit' or you don't. It seems as silly as having the majority decide on an average shoesize for the whole world, and then forcing everbody to either squeeze into it or suffer by walking barefoot. You know...there was a time when I was most concerned with holding onto my humanity and everything that I KNEW was real and sane. But the longer I stay removed from the equation...the less sense 'their' world makes to me. Who knows? Maybe that's the point. Maybe one day, our species can blend in safely with theirs, and we can teach them some of the things we've learned over time. Maybe they can learn a better way. Or at least the possibility for a different way.

Then again...maybe the exposure of our kind will result in the witch hunts, torture, judgements, persecution, and limitless amounts of inexcuseable prejudice that human beings have been known for over the last 2000 years.

"You know, you're gonna have to tell him something eventually, right?" Dion asked me as we got closer to the lot.


"Bryson." He added, "Extras begin to manifest pretty quickly after a vampire's first 'live' feeding, and that's for normal youngbloods. Considering how quickly you've been progressing and maturing, he's gonna know you're hiding something if you don't speak up soon."

"Why can't you just tell him what you can do, Justin?" Gyro asked. "I mean...it's not like it's something bad. It's a good thing. He might even be able to help you make it even better."

If only it was that easy. "How can I tell him when even I don't know what it is yet? I'll figure it out. It'll be fine."

"Justin..." Dion knew that Gyro had a point. This wasn't normal, none of it is. It hasn't been since the night I woke up from my crossover. And through my many secrets, lies, and inconsistant behavior...I made everyone around me clearly aware of that. I think the only reason that they allow me to get away with it was because of some silent form of respect for a vampire's extra. A bit of a cultural thing, I suppose. It's a private issue, to be shared at a vampire's discretion. Somehow, though, I don't think Bryson's concern for my safety and well being, and my need to hold certain pieces of information back from him, are going to work out too well together. Dion had hesitated at first, but then, "...These things aren't really easy to fix if something goes wrong. You NEED a guide to help you through this. If your extra turns out to be some kind of a 'weapon' or something, it could be dangerous. It feeds off of your emotions and your past experiences in life. One wrong flare up, one misdirected emotion, and you might really end up hurting somebody. Or even worse, hurting yourself." Dion's concern was shining through again, slowly turning his 'advice' into a direct 'order'. "I want you to talk to Bryson tomorrow night when you wake up, and at least START working on getting this all straightened out. You need this. HE needs this. Just...START...ok? Even if you don't tell him everything, at least give him a little credit."

"Sighhh...alright, tomorrow. I will. I promise." I said.

"Don't bullshit me, dude. Ok? I mean it." He said, a stern finger reached up towards my face to make sure I understood.

"I know. I WILL."

"Loosen up on some of those secrets, bud. Jenna kept secrets from us too when she first started. When her extra manifested fully, she lost all control. Cried for two weeks straight and couldn't stop it if she TRIED! Luckily we were able to get her to work through some past problems and the emotion released that stranglehold on her. But something tells me, from what I've seen so far, that you're going to have a lot more to deal with than a crying fit and a few days of theraputec conversation." He said, "So no games. Please, Justin."

"Alright already. I'm going." If he pushed any harder, I would have fallen over. I don't think he was buying it 100%, but maybe his faith in me was filling in what solid proof couldn't. I'd be happy to take that for now.

We got back to the lot and saw everyone still milling around in the yard, but slowly winding down for the approaching daylight. Even Rain returned to us after being gone all last night and that morning. As always, she came in and walked right passed everybody as though nothing was wrong. Bryson must not have seen the need for a confrontation that night, because he didn't put up much of a fuss this time around. Surprising. Maybe he had other things on his mind this time around.

I suddenly felt a shove hit me from behind, and Michael walked by me, purposely bumping me in the shoulder. Even harder than usual. "Sorry." He said, obviously sending me a 'message' with the contact. He looked back at me over his shoulder, and I couldn't tell if what he gave me was a snarl or a grin. Perhaps a little of both. Whatever it was, I guess it was supposed to be my warning against spending time with his teen dream. Trust me, I've got NO problem with that at ALL! If he wants me to stay away from Trevor, I'll stay away! I'd PREFER it!

And speak of the devil...the blond goblin was close in tow behind his pseudo-boyfriend. Trevor was hardly one to seem stirred or disturbed by much of anything, he was much too easy going for any of those theatrics most of the time. But that has changed drastically since Gyro returned to the lot, and seeing the three of us together must have triggered something in him. His extra was turned against him as I felt it scan his desires for answers of some kind. It turned on all by itself, and when mixed with Jenna's extra, the vague picture of what he was feeling became a bit more clear. The thoughts went back to Dion asking him to 'chase' me for the night, my disappearance from the lot, Gyro keeping him busy at the club....Trevor was no idiot. He knew he had been duped. And I felt a slight burning radiance inside of him, tucked away by a slight pinch of pain. One thing I've been noticing about reading emotions, is the ever present mixture of many at once. Never just 'happy', or 'sad', or 'scared'. There are always other elements present, swirling and mixing and changing and evolving into something else. And as that slight burning began to burn hotter and mellow out with a touch of strategic mischief...I knew for a fact that we had used our ONE 'get out of jail free' card. Trevor would NOT be falling for any more tricks. Something tells me he's about to step up his investigation into what's going on with me...and that could be a big problem in the works.

I felt a pair of loving arms snake around my waist from behind, and felt my lover's warm lips press themselves against my cheek. "Hey baby." He smiled.

"Hey. I missed you." I said in return, and Gyro and Dion left us to our little personal greeting.

"Good night out?" He asked me.

I turned myself around in his warm embrace and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips. "Yeah, actually. Quite a few surprises."

His kiss landed on my lips yet again, and looking into those emerald pools of green splendor, I could see the need in his eyes. "You feel like putting this last half hour or so to good use tonight?"

"You're getting frisky again, aren't ya?"

"Maybe." He answered.

"Make it a definite yes, and I'll come join you." He loosened his grip on me, and we said goodnight to everyone as he led me by the hand back to our makeshift home in the lot. I could feel myself hardening already...life is good! REALLY good! Taryn had removed his shirt and was working on his pants the second the door was closed...and we spent a very eventful half hour exploring each other's bodies in the most intimate ways imaginable. I never tired of his kiss, never tired of his smooth skin, never tired of his soft belly as his gentle weight pressed itself down on me. The subtle friction of flesh on flesh when you're rolling around with the person that you adore...it's magic. The enchanting equivalent of a lifelong orgasm that never ended. My arms weren't strong enough to pull him as close up against me as I wanted him to be. My tongue wasn't strong enough to reach as far into his mouth as I wanted it to reach. My legs were not able to wrap themselves around him as completely as I wanted them to. But somehow, it was a billion times more than enough to satisfy...and for those joyus moments when Taryn and I got to be alone...we were one soul. My lover was what it took to make me complete, and there is a pleasureable madness in that that many people will never know. Not like we do.

The dawn was preparing itself to spread its light across the horizon, and Taryn and I lay cuddled together in a heap. Still grinning to ourselves romantically. He was facing the other way, with me spooned tightly up against him, the ripe bubbled cheeks of his ass pressed tightly to my lap, my semi-hardness so comfortably, so sexually, snuggled in between them. I only had to lean forward an ich to inhale the scent of his hair, or to tenderly kiss the back of his neck...his reddish brown locks cascading softly down to hide those sensual pieces of flesh from me. I never got enough of him, not ever. My arms hugged him even tighter, and I let my lips linger on the nape of his warm neck as I moaned softly. Hehehe, the boyish whimper that came out of him was so cute that it made me giggle softly to myself to hear it. "You like that?"

"Mmmmm...yeah. Do it again." He whispered. I nibbled a bit at his neck, and Taryn brought one of my hands up to kiss my fingertips. It was the most comfortable moment I had ever shared with anyone before. I never wanted it to end.

I lowered one of my hands to the front of his tented boxers, already stiff again after our love making had ended. Knowing Taryn, he probably never even went soft. He was beyond incredible when it came to sex, and our bodies remained sensitive to every kiss, every lick, every suck...locked into the form of a virgin for all eternity. Everytime was the 'first' time. If only you could imagine what that feels like.

I grabbed a hold of his stiffness, and giggled slightly as my kisses covered the side of his face that was exposed to me. "How about now? You like that?" I asked.

"Justin...the dawn is coming. I don't think we have time for another one tonight." He smiled.

"No? We'll see about that." My mind became even more alive at that moment, and I attempted to recreate the feeling that Gyro had given me that night in the park. It was funny the way that my body was becoming more and more controlled with other people's extras at such an accelerated pace. The waves of what I knew and didn't know were becoming more stable, balancing themselves out. It was beginning to feel like my body was mine again. Willingly...I sent the mental message down from my brain, and focused it in the tips of my fingers as I gently glided them up and down over the cloth covered shaft. Taryn inhaled deeply, his surprise exciting him to my touch. I held his earlobe light between my teeth, a sensual smile on my face as I tried to focus more of the energy into him. My hand became numb with the sensation, and Gyro's extra flowed through me to send wave after wave of pleasure to my love. He began to squirm and wiggle restlessly, almost ready to explode yet again.

"Hahaha! Ok, ok...stop." He laughed.

"What? Don't like that?"

"YES! Maybe a bit TOO much! Besides, that tickles." He grinned, and had to push my hand away lightly as he became oversensitive to my loving caress.

I tugged a little at his boxers, "Why don't you take these off?" I smiled.

"Hehehe, why?"

"C'mon. Take 'em off." I whispered, "Sleep naked with me. I want to feel your skin on me. I want to wake up next to you, feeling you absorbed into me completely."

"You've certainly become the poetic type, haven't you?" He smiled, but gladly obliged me. He reached down and wiggled his way out of his boxers, kcking them off to be tangled at the bottom of our sheets. "Better?"

Taking a grasp of my favorite piece of him, I simply replied, "Much." And joined him by shucking off the remainder of my clothes too. Leaving us free to tangle up in one another all over again.

Taryn rolled over onto his back as I felt all over him, the perfection of his sleek teen body alive with my touch. The feel of his boyish breath brought me in for kiss on his cushioned lips, stealing my breath away. He ran his fingers through my hair and looked deeply into my eyes. A contact that we held for a few moments in silence before he said, "I love you."

"I love you too." And I leaned in to kiss his sweet lips once again. But before I could reach him, he turned his head to the side and opened wide in a full blown yawn. "Hehehe...hellooo? Can we say, RUDE?"

"Awwww, baby, I'm sorry!" He said through a smile.

"Whatever, sleepyhead."

"Look, we'll...we'll finish tomorrow. Ok? I'll be wide awake then, believe me."

I was able to quickly snatch myself a kiss from his lips before he knew what hit him, and gleefully agreed. "Ok...tomorrow it is." I gave him another peck on the lips. "And the next day." Kiss, "And the NEXT day." Kiss, "And the NEXT..."

"Alright, alright, I get it! Hehehe, quit it before you get my face all wet." He giggled, and then pulled my head down to rest on his bare chest as he petted my hair slowly. Our nude bodies joined once again as I wrapped one leg around him, laying it playfully across his lower abdomen, and his hand reached down to caress it just above the knee, holding it in place. We remained that way in complete silence, communicating only with the heat between us. And felt a slight tremble as that heat began to fade away, our bodies becoming colder and colder, until our daily hibernation took effect, and the sleep conquered us at last.