Stephen turned over, pulled the blanket higher. He closed his eyes but he was aware of every small sound coming from Sam’s bunk, every movement he made, his steady, even breathing. He wished he could crawl beneath Sam’s covers and hold him, just once.
He was determined not to fall asleep on his second night’s watch. It was bad enough that he had done it once and had the terrible dream but just imagine if it had been someone else other than Sam who had caught him? He stood on the fire step with binoculars trained over no-man’s-land. Rather than studying the opposing trench, he found himself looking at the area where he had first seen Istvan walking toward him. Ludicrous.
He started at a movement below in the trench, jumping down off the step with rifle raised.
The vampire stood a few feet away with hand raised, wiping red liquid from his lips. “Hello,” he said.
“You’re a dream,” Stephen said in a voice more unsteady than he would have liked. “A nightmare I had last night.”
Istvan looked amused. “Many people have taken me for a dream in the past. It’s the way I prefer it. I don’t often come back again but something about you made me want to return.”
Stephen licked his lips. He glanced nervously behind him, making sure the trench was deserted. “You bit me,” he said.
Istvan looked contrite. “Sorry. It was just a sip. You weren’t in any danger.”
Stephen frowned. “Any danger from what?”
Stephen felt himself blanch. He put his finger on the trigger. “Tell me why I shouldn’t shoot you now, Mr. Vampire.”
“You saw for yourself last night that it doesn’t do much good,” Istvan said. “Although it ruined my coat.” He turned around and Stephen saw a perfectly round hole in the back of his velvet frockcoat. “The Germans are quite exasperated with me. I’ve been taking drinks from them all week.”
Stephen couldn’t believe his ears. “So you decided to move on to us?”
Istvan shrugged. “I don’t mean any of you any harm.”
Stephen laughed. “If I shot you now, you might not die but a dozen soldiers would be on you in an instant. One of them would know how to kill you.”
Istvan eyed him. When he spoke, his voice was still soft. “As you will,” he said.
Stephen was a little confused at Istvan’s mild manner. Did the vampire have a death wish or was he just trying to lull Stephen into a false sense of security?
Istvan stepped forward.
“Stay there,” Stephen warned.
“Don’t be cross with me.” The vampire’s tone was conciliatory and alluring. He moved another couple of paces closer and closed a delicate white hand around the end of Stephen’s rifle. His amber eyes were soft, beseeching. They made heat rise in the pit of Stephen’s stomach. He lowered his rifle and stumbled forward into Istvan’s embrace.
The vampire held him close, arms wrapped firmly around Stephen’s back, his touch so soothing, so intimate that Stephen ached. He closed his eyes, rifle dropping to the ground and turned his face into Istvan’s shoulder. The vampire smelled of the French earth and sunshine and flowers. He made Stephen long for home. Istvan stroked his head. “You’re brave,” he said in a whisper against Stephen’s ear. “Prepared to die for your country.”
Something caught in Stephen’s throat. “I’m not brave.” His voice cracked. “I’m afraid. I don’t want to die.”
Istvan lifted Stephen’s head in his two hands. He studied Stephen’s eyes for the longest while. He trailed fingertips down his cheek. Never had Stephen been so close to another man before. “It’s all right to be afraid,” Istvan said. “You’re human.”
Stephen swallowed. He felt perilously close to tears at Istvan’s compassion. The vampire leaned closer. His sensual lips parted, his hands tilting Stephen’s face to him. Stephen gave a soft moan as Istvan kissed him.
The vampire seemed in no rush to bite him this morning. He explored Stephen’s mouth thoroughly like uncharted territory, slow and easy and tender. He melted Stephen to his very bones. Their tongues touched and curled gently and when they broke for breath, Istvan found Stephen’s throat and Stephen made no move to stop him. With eyes closed and his blood hot with passion and arousal, he let the vampire bite him.
Stephen bit his lip. He stepped forward. “What happened?”
“A German sniper shot me.”
Stephen laid a hand on Istvan’s shoulder. “Let me see.”
Istvan hesitated before he unbuttoned his frockcoat. He slid it down his arms and let it drop onto the fire step. The shirt beneath was fine linen with lace ruffles. Stephen’s stomach tightened as Istvan unfastened it and pulled it from his shoulders, revealing hard muscle and creamy skin. A makeshift dressing covered the wound on his right shoulder. Stephen reached out with a trembling hand to peel it slowly away.
The wound was bloody and inflamed and must have caused the vampire considerable pain. Stephen covered it again. He was surprised to see this evidence of Istvan’s mortality. “Could it kill you?” he asked.
Istvan’s shirt was still open and down his arms and he made no move to cover himself. “If I didn’t drink,” he said, “I would become weak, make mistakes that might cost me my life. As it was I only just managed to find shelter this morning after I was shot.”
Stephen’s overriding emotion was tenderness. But below this, his stomach burned with mounting passion. He felt weak with desire. “Now you know what it’s like to be caught in the middle of men’s war,” he said flippantly.
Istvan nodded sadly. His amber eyes were bright with emotion. He reached out and laid a delicate hand on Stephen’s shoulder.
Stephen swallowed. His gaze travelled over Istvan’s ridged abdomen and broad chest and lower to take in the way the bulge strained his velvet breeches. “Tomorrow we...” He stopped, tried again. “There’s an offensive planned for tomorrow. We go over the top. Maybe it will end the war on the Western Front.”
Istvan frowned. His hand tightened on Stephen’s shoulder and he drew him close. “Over the top? Toward the German trenches?”
Stephen nodded. He looked up into Istvan’s face as the vampire inclined his head.
“Madness,” Istvan murmured.
“I know,” Stephen said with his heart beating hard. He curved an arm around Istvan’s back under his shirt, feeling satiny skin and hard muscle. “This is probably the last night of my life.”
Istvan let out a groan at his words. He possessed Stephen’s mouth fiercely, pulling the soldier into his arms, holding him tight.
Stephen drowned under the onslaught of the vampire’s passion. He clung to Istvan, returning his kiss. Istvan thrust his tongue against his. Stephen sucked it, ran his hands greedily over Istvan’s chest, lingering on his nipples which he rubbed to bullet-hard peaks. Istvan growled. He gripped Stephen’s right hand, thrust it into his groin.
Stephen drew in his breath as he traced the rigid lines of Istvan’s shaft through his trousers. The vampire moaned softly, bucked against his hand. Hurriedly he wrenched his breeches apart and released his cock from his linen underwear. He forced Stephen’s hand around it and, shivering in excitement, Stephen stroked Istvan’s manhood from root to tip.
The vampire was generously endowed. His prick was hot, satiny, soft, and leaking. Stephen spread the fluid over the head of Istvan’s cock, rubbing his thumb against the slit so the vampire shook and swore under his breath.
“Come here.” He tore at Stephen’s tunic and shirt, baring his chest, running his hands over Stephen’s pectorals before bending his head to close his lips around one nipple.
Stephen gasped. He plunged a hand into Istvan’s thick chestnut hair. Istvan found the fastenings on Stephen’s uniform trousers. He opened them and reached a hand inside, pulling Stephen’s tumescent cock free. Stephen breathed heavily. He couldn’t believe this was happening to him. Finally, up close and personal with another man after years of dreaming and fantasising about the forbidden. This would be his send-off. Achieving his fantasy before he died.
Istvan’s hand wrapped firmly around Stephen’s cock. He jerked it at a steadily increasing rate until Stephen was so hard he could barely think. He groaned and their cocks and hands bumped as they masturbated each other.
Istvan kissed him again, tongue duelling with his and then he pushed Stephen down onto the fire step. He fell to his knees, shoved Stephen’s thighs apart and eased his mouth down on his cock, swallowing every inch.
Stephen stifled his cry with his hand. He arched his spine, head thrown back, gasping as Istvan sucked, his mouth burning hot and so wet that saliva dripped down onto Stephen’s balls. He clutched at the vampire’s head, lifting his pelvis, thrusting his cock right to the back of Istvan’s throat.
Istvan murmured something around Stephen’s swollen cock. He fondled his balls and then dropped his head to suck at them. Stephen looked down and watched the vampire masturbating while he licked at Stephen’s stones.
“Fuck,” Stephen said softly when Istvan lifted his head. There was a wicked smile on the vampire’s face and his amber eyes seemed to glow red. Stephen wasn’t afraid that Istvan might get carried away. He was going to die tomorrow after all. Istvan regarded him for a second. Then he climbed to his feet and pushed his breeches and underwear down to his knees. His rampant cock stood straight up against his belly and Stephen ached between his legs for something he had never had but had always wanted. The glint in Istvan’s eyes suggested he read Stephen’s mind.
He pulled Stephen to his feet and spun him around, bent over the step, hands spread against the trench wall. He kicked Stephen’s feet apart and spread his buttocks with one hand. Stephen whimpered as his most intimate place was examined. He looked over his shoulder in time to see Istvan sucking on his thumb. A moment later he pressed that thumb against Stephen’s entrance, rubbing saliva over the puckered skin, pressing slightly.
Stephen shivered. He bent lower, backside presented, making his need plain. Istvan drew in his breath. He echoed Stephen’s groan as he slid his thumb inside, fucked Stephen lightly with it.