Most Trunk Space in 30 Years

Nick stood for a moment in the shade of the building. He judged the distance to his car -- it was close. But he could make it -- and besides, the longer he stood here judging the distance, the more sunlight would be between him and the trunk. He took a deep breath and ran for it.

He popped the trunk and jumped inside without feeling much more than lightly steamed. As he started to pull the trunk lid down, he heard "Wait!" Nick paused, surprised, and felt the lid being lifted.

He stared as a man jumped into the trunk with him, and pulled the lid down fast. Nick scooted back a bit, to make room for the other vampire.

The man grinned at him. "Hi. Sorry about this... I found a locked door with humans on the other side. Wasn't anywhere else to go. I... uh, I hope you dont mind."

"Oh, no, that's okay." Nick felt a bit stunned. "Who are you?"

"Oh, right! Hi, my name's Sean." He held his hand out in the tiny space between his body and Nick's, and shook Nick's hand.

"I'm Nick," Nick managed.

"Nice to meet you." Sean looked at him for a moment, then, when nothing presented itself as an Appropriate Conversation While Locked in a Trunk With A Stranger, Sean said, "I dont mean to be rude, but I haven't slept in four days. I don't think I snore."

"No, that's all right." Of course, that was like a human saying he'd missed a few hours' sleep, but Nick was feeling a bit awkward too, and sleeping was a good way to ignore being squished in a trunk with a stranger. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.

A few nights later, he heard a knock at the skylight. He went up and opened it, and invited Sean down into the living room. Sean held out a bottle. "I brought you this. I asked around, and I hope it's the right vintage."

Nick took the bottle and smelled it. Pure-bred oxen blood. He smiled, a little embarrassed. "Yes, it's fine." He went over and put it in the fridge.

"It's just a small thank-you, for letting me share your trunk."

"You're welcome. Besides, what was I supposed to do? Let you burn?"

Sean grinned. "No, I guess not. But I am grateful. It isn't the first time I've gotten nearly caught out in the sun. My circadian clock still isn't convinced that I'm not human. I keep thinking I should be waking up at six, instead of tucked away somewhere for the day."

Nick laughed. He was still in the kitchen, and he caught sight of the bottle he'd set out to reach room-temperature. "Umm... would you like a glass? I realise not everyone drinks cow blood..."

"No, that's okay. I ate earlier." Sean didn't seem at all put off by the prospect of drinking cow.

"So... have you been in Toronto long? I haven't seen you around."

"No, I just got in a few weeks ago."

"Moving on from the last place?" It was a polite question, in vampiric circles, as long as you didn't ask for specifics.

"Yeah. You know, things get old and predictable. Besides, once they closed the opera house there wasn't really any reason to stay."

"I know what you mean."

"You like opera?" Sean sounded surprised.

"Er, no, I was thinking about baseball."

Nick watched as his snitch walked off into the interior of the decrepit building. The information had been useful -- it would get a murderer arrested and off the streets long enough for the paperwork to get through to actually charge him with a real crime. But Nick wished the guy hadn't been so particular about when and where to meet -- that, or that Schanke had been around to meet the guy.

Oh well. What was done was done, and now Nick had to get to his car. The sun was coming up, and he couldn't stay in here. Rats. [Er, 'because there were rats,' not 'darn he couldn't stay in here' -- Ed.] Nick stopped at the doorway long enough to check the distance to his car. With a deep breath, he ran for it.

As he pulled down the lid... "Wait!"

In another moment Sean was in the trunk with him, pulling down the lid. Nick just looked at him. Then, "Sean... what are you doing?"

"Uh, getting in from out of the sunlight?" Sean was all innocence, his eyes wide and clear of deception.

Nick stared right through it. "This is the fourth time in the last two months you've had to climb in here with me."

Sean's expression didn't change. "Really? Do you get caught outside like this all the time?"

"Do *I*...? Sean, why do I get the feeling you're following me?"

"I dunno." Sean's wide eyes and quick response let Nick know he was definitely up to something.

"All right, Sean. Give." He sighed. In the past two months he'd come to like the eccentric vampire. Sean would show up in the oddest places -- not including his trunk -- often bearing strange gifts. A complete collection of the _Star Wars_ movies on CD had been one of Nick's favorites. But while he enjoyed their conversations and popcorn fights (which had been Natalie's fault, when the three of them were watching a Gamera movie), Nick was beginning to suspect something.

"I don't know what you're talking about?" Sean said, asking if maybe Nick would buy it and stop asking.

"Give." Nick was firm. He did hand Sean a bag of human blood, with which Natalie had suggested he stock the trunk, along with the canteen of cow's blood he kept for himself, when he'd told her Sean had been trapped with him three times already.

"Cool! Thanks, Nick." He took a drink. "Kinda like Caprisun, don't you think?"

"I think you're changing the subject." Fortunately Nick didn't have the feeling that Sean was up to something particularly bad, a la LaCroix. But he was definitely up to something.

He suddenly realised Natalie thought so, too. He'd been talking to her about Sean, a couple days ago. He'd mentioned the latest unannounced visit Sean had made, bearing Blue Jays tickets (night game). Sean had claimed to Know Someone, and hence the free tickets. But now Nick remembered that upon hearing this, Natalie had begun ticking off all the freebies with which Sean had been showing up. Movies, tickets, bottles of blood, a stuffed Tigger (long story). She'd asked Nick how often Sean showed up, and when he'd told her, she just looked at him, then smiled. It was one of those 'I know something' smiles of hers. Before he could ask her, Schanke had showed up and dragged him off on another investigation. But now...

"Sean, what are you trying to do?"

"Me? Nothing. Honest. What, do you think I *like* being trapped in a trunk with you?" Sean smiled.

Nick felt his heart skip a beat. "Uh..." He blinked once, and everything seemed to make sense. "Sean, have you ever felt really stupid?"

"No. Why?" Sean sounded quite nonchalant.

"Never?" Actually he'd expected that response, but it was a chance to change the subject.

"Come on, Nick. I'm only 1400 years old. When have I had the chance?"

Nick stared at him, then started laughing.


"Oh, for pete's sake." Nick muttered under his breath, and held the trunk lid up for Sean. When Sean got inside and made himself comfortable, Nick asked him, "Don't you have anything else to do?"

"Nope." Sean was bright and cheery last thing in the night. It was a quality Nick usually enjoyed, except when he was trapped in a trunk with him.

"I thought you were working tonight."

"I am working tonight. Last night I took the night off."

Nick glared for a moment. "I thought I told you to stop being so semantically exact." Nick had had to start learning to say *exactly* what he meant, or Sean would take him to mean exactly what he'd said, which was often not what he really meant. Sean blamed it on English being a second (or thirteenth) language.

"What are you doing in my trunk?"

"Waiting to be offered a small bag of blood and a hello kiss?"

"I don't think so."

"What?" Sean pouted. "And here I fly all the way over here, to spend the day with you?"

"Aha! So you admit you did this deliberately?"

"Don't know what you're talking about. Um, you're laying on the little bags of blood."

"And I'll stay laying on them til I get an answer."

Sean laughed. "Nope. I haven't admited it yet, ain't gonna start now!"

Nick sighed. "I was hoping you'd get easier to live with after a while."

"Are you kidding? I wouldn't be any fun."

"Yeah, but I'd get to sleep in my own trunk once in a while. Alone."

Sean sniffed as if hurt. "Fine. I know when I'm not wanted. I'll just go..." He fingered the trunk's lock.

Nick sighed at him. "Oh, all right. You can stay. Drink your blood." He handed Sean a bag. You might think about restocking the supply yourself, if you keep planning on doing this."

"Planning? Nick, I've never planned a thing in my life."

"If I believed that, I wouldn't be here now. I'd be home."

Sean stopped drinking and looked at him. "What?"

"I figured you'd show up here if I stayed out."

"You planned this?"

"I had lots of time to get home."

"You planned this?" Sean was still staring, but he was starting to smile.

"Hello, Sean."

Sean waited until he got his hello kiss, then started laughing.