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Author's Chapter Notes:
Disclaimer: Characters from The Lost Boys belong to WB Studios. "You Can Sleep While I Drive" belongs to Melissa Etheridge, and features Jewel.
Dedication: To Raeann because her "Repetion Of" series always amazes me in its darkness, depth, and imagery.
Come on baby let's get out of this town
I got a full tank of gas with the top rolled down
There's a chill in my bones
I don't want to be left alone
So baby you can sleep while I drive

I'll pack my bag and load up my guitar
In my pocket I'll carry my harp
I got some money I saved
Enough to get underway
And baby you can sleep while I drive

Star gathered Laddie into her arms, pulling his tiny body against her chest beneath the light sheets dropped lazily over her bed. Sheer curtains, once white but now tinged yellow at the edges, played at blocking them from the main room, but it was an effort in futility. Humans would have easily seen through the screen, and the preternatural creatures she lived with had that much more ability to watch.

Laddie murmured in his sleep, rolling until his head rested on her shoulder. Dark hair brushed her cheek and she bent to press a soft, dry kiss to his forehead. She could feel the weight of the sun as it began to rise out beyond the darkness of the cave, and knew the child wouldn’t wake until night fell again.

Exhaustion nibbled at her senses, but she was strong enough to ignore it, for now. Her mind was too preoccupied with thoughts—memories, she supposed, because the event was over—of the previous evening.

Paul had convinced her that a trip to the Boardwalk was just the cure for her melancholy. As of late, she’d been missing her parents, what little snatches of memory her fragmented brain could gather together from the dark shadows David had cast over her.

He’d been right, in one sense. Her attention was no longer on the past and what she’d lost when David had discovered her on a family vacation three months ago. Oh no, now more important things struggled within her head, causing her stomach to roll and toss like the turbulent sea.

He’d come to her as she sat on the Boardwalk, her glittering skirts spread about her legs, folds and silver charms cavorting over the wooden bench, watching the Boys torment the video store owner. She’d never seen him before, didn’t recognize his dancing green eyes or shock of bright red hair.

His voice was nice, deep, but not overly dark, not frightening. He’d sat next to her and talked. She didn’t hear a single thing he said; his words washed over her, sweeping away her fear like waves destroying a sand castle.

She should have walked away before anyone noticed her discretion. Star had tried to get up, attempted to gather her legs and walk away, losing herself in the safety of the mortals around her, protecting him from her dark family. She’d tried to tell him to go away, to open her mouth and force out words she didn’t want to hear.

His heartbeat filled her ears, a slow, steady thump as inevitable as the ocean’s tide. Blood rushed through his veins, the quiet song audible only to her and other such creatures of the dark; he had no idea that his presence captivated her for reasons far beyond romance and love.

When at last Star found the strength to stand, he surged to his feet next to her, placing one hand on her bare skin. Any thought of leaving had spilled from her mind like so many drops of water puddling at her feet; she turned on him, unsure if her eyes flashed gold or her face contorted with hunger.

The Lost Boys had come then, surrounding them, sweeping her away from his side to hide what she was, what they were. Gruff cries of welcome and challenge rang about between the men and they took him under their wing, led him to a bar, left Star to her misery.

She collapsed back onto the bench, slender fingers, ice-cold and damp from the salt-water nearby, pressing to her face. Remnant drops of the ocean mixed with her tears until she could no longer taste where one began and the other ended.

We'll go through Tucson up to Santa Fe
And Barbara in Nashville says we're welcome to stay
I'll buy you glasses in Texas a hat from New Orleans
And in the morning you can tell me your dreams

You know I've seen it before
This mist that covers your eyes
You've been looking for something
That's not in your life
My intentions are true
Won't you take me with you
And baby you can sleep while I drive

They hadn’t brought him back to the cave; Star had hiked the trail home, stumbling with every third step when a rock twisted beneath her slender slippers or a large stick wrapped around her ankles.

She didn’t know if he lived. She didn’t know if he died. She didn’t know if he would be joining them in the night, howling his hunger, his pleasure, his need into the star-filled sky.

She didn’t even know his name.

Dried salt clung to her lips, a briny taste that brought to mind images of death and floating in the dark water as it washed over her again and again, dragging her down and inside where it was cold and slick and mercifully empty of guilt.

Laddie lay down with her instead of going to his own bed; by the time the Boys returned, their laughter ricocheting from this wall to that, carried deeper into the convoluted caverns by the air in their home, she feigned sleep, forcing her breath to come slow and steady, filling her lungs with oxygen instead of the water she craved.

David stopped just outside the ring of curtains that offered only the semblance of protection. He stared at her until she could feel his gaze strip away her clothing, her skin, her mind, letting him view her essence, a blur of colors slowly being converted to black.

He’d left just when she wanted to leap up, scream at him in wordless fury and fear. All was quiet now; the sun was high, she knew, and they would sleep soundly, undisturbed unless she broke into the sanctuary of their room. She hadn’t been invited to rest there for the day; the ache in her chest intensified when she remembered that.

“Come, Laddie,” she whispered, gathering him in her arms once more. He stirred but did not wake, and she struggled to lift the dead—how appropriate, that term in this case—weight of the young vampire’s body.

The stairs curved up out of sight, shrouded in darkness until she reached the last two steps. They seemed to go on and on, curving higher, a new level added for each one she attained. Her mind staggered; her body staggered. She should be asleep, resting and waiting for the peace of night, the feeling of her new family, the lust of her blood.

Rivulets of sweat plastered her white tank top to her skin, tightening the lace around her until she couldn’t breath. Halfway to town she had to stop, dropping Laddie with a thump. Her knees gave out and she collapsed, her head striking the ground. Blood gushed down, running over her lips. Her tongue swept out; welcome relief filled her body at the tangy taste, salt and sweet and liquid pleasure.

“Star, where are we?” Laddie’s voice dragged her back to her senses. She sat up, pressing her fingers to the still-bleeding cut, then shoved them into her mouth before she tried to answer.

“We’re flying away,” she whispered, staggering to her feet. Her arms beat against the air as if she might just take off like a bird, leaving the shell of her body behind to congeal in cold blood. Laddie stood too, leaning into her when she pressed one hand to his shoulder. “We’re leaving, Laddie.”

Too trusting, people were too trusting. In less time than it took her stomach to ache for food, for liquid salvation, Star had found a car with the keys still inside. Laddie collapsed in the back, his tiny body just short enough to fit lengthwise.

Her head pounded when she tried to start the vehicle; the roar of the engine reminded her of the sound of the ocean against the cliffs, of the sound of blood against internal organs and she wanted to cry. Maybe she did, maybe the bitterness on her lips wasn’t an invisible residue from her bitter, broken-glass laughter.

Oh is it other arms you want to
Hold you the stranger
The lover you're free
Can't you get that with me

Come on baby let's get out of this town
I got a full tank of gas with the top rolled down
If you won't take me with you
I'll go before night is through
And baby you can sleep while I drive

She wasn’t Dwayne. Laddie slept as she drove, and Star worried that she wasn’t Dwayne. The small boy had taken to the vampire without a word being spoken between them two of them; not an unusual fact, since the dark man rarely spoke. He saved his words for only the choicest moments, and then they spilled out in a rush like he had only a breath to release all he’d been holding in.

Laddie rolled onto his side, dark bangs sticking to his forehead, slick with sweat, tousled in sleep. She rolled down the windows, but the air that surged inside was hot, heavy, full of warning of the storm to come.

The sun beat down into her eyes, its rays seeking her out, searching for her darkness, because it had to rub her out in a blaze of light. No creature such as her should be driving in the day, out in the day, escaping into the day like it was her friend.

She didn’t stop until the needle flickered on empty. Sunset was almost finished behind her, the fading light painting the sky to her back with brilliant colors of beauty and passion. She flung a handful of crumpled bills, stained by sweaty palms and dark red liquid, at the gas station worker and continued to drive.

Music pounded the speakers, beating against it, the throb of the noise was almost enough to mask the throb of her hunger. Laddie woke, crawled into the front seat, and said nothing. He sat, twisting the seatbelt around his fingers, his feet kicking the dash.

Lighting cracked through the growing darkness; somewhere over head thunder boomed loud enough to be heard over the radio, hard enough to shake the speeding car until it shimmied to and fro and Star was hard pressed to keep tires on asphalt.

She met Laddie’s frightened gaze for longer than she should; horns blared as she swerved into the oncoming lane. Even after her eyes returned to the road, the image of Laddie’s face was superimposed over everything before her. He knew, and voiced without a word the fear creeping up her spine.

They were coming.

Come on baby let's get out of this town
I got a full tank of gas with the top rolled down
If you won't take me with you
I'll go before night is through
And baby you can sleep while I drive

The car lifted up, tumbling through the air into the brush at the side of the road. No one else was around to see the four men drop from the sky, their claws puncturing the metal, tearing to get inside, to reach the flesh goodness in the man-made shell.

Star wrapped her fingers around the steering wheel until the leather pressed itself into her skin, a permanent imprint on her sensitive fingers. Laddie lifted his hands up, reaching into the air, his fingers brushing the roof.

It flew away, torn like the lid of a sardine can, discarded with a careless ferocity that terrified Star even as it thrilled her. Dwayne reached inside, his fingers wrapping around Laddie’s hands, and the little boy cried out, happiness suffusing his face. He was gone in an instant, leaving only the flapping seatbelt, torn asunder by vampire strength.

Star looked up, stared at the bits of light that were her namesake as they peeped around the clouds and then hid their eyes, unable to watch what was to come. David leaned in, lower, the torn metal pressed against his skin, though he didn’t reveal if he felt the pain or not.

Nails carved into her throat; she was lifted up and out, the ragged edges of the lost roof tearing into her stomach, leaving a line of fire and slickness. David’s face filled her vision, gold eyes, wet fangs, dark need. He devoured her, scraping nails down her skin and inside, down her entrails.

Star stretched out her arms, fingers beating against the air, and flew away. Her hands clutched at David, tearing him, holding him, her mind thudding against the inside of her head like the sea against land. Warmth pressed to her lips and she opened and swallowed and took in the darkness.

And the stars hid their faces, in fear of tumbling to Earth as one of their own fell.


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