Star dragged Sean out of the party as quick as she could once it started to sink in with him that his sister is probably a vampire.
Star still feels dumb even thinking the word, let alone believing it, but seeing is believing and she's seen them. Seen Lenore - Nora - vamped out. She says nothing as she gets in the car and drives the bubblegum pink hearse away from the Marchant house atop the hills overlooking town.
Sean was a little dazed as he was pulled out of the party. He was still in his pajamas, though now in his pajamas with sneakers on as he wandered out to the car and numbly slid into the passenger seat of the bubblegum pink hearse that was, to be fair, one of the coolest rides in town in his opinion. But his mind was definitely elsewhere.
Sean sits there, staring straight ahead for a time, running it all over in his mind -- vampires. Vampires? Seriously? Vampires? He still has that feeling that they're all fucking with him, but that'd be cruel, wouldn't it? They all seemed so /serious/. And Nora. Nora'd floated in his window. Floated out again. But he wasn't entirely convinced that it wasn't a dream and that he'd somehow made an origami snowflake in his sleep. But he hadn't. He didn't even know how. His brain continued to do flip flops over and over and over, and he didn't even realize how long he'd been sitting there staring without saying anything. Finally he asks, "You really believe this shit?"
"I dunno what I believe," Star answers quietly after a moment of thought. "I know what I've seen. I've seen people, including your sister, come down out of the fucking sky. I've seen their faces twist into something monstrous, with large fangs. I've seen the bitch they call Fran throw Amy and Ashley fifteen feet into a fucking wall at the same time with one hand each after catching their punches like she saw them coming before they even swung at her." There's other things, too, but that's harder to explain and probably not necessary given the rest. "Over ten of us saw it. All that. We all did."
Sean continues to stare straight ahead through the windshield at the road in front of them a he listens in silence. He doesn't interrupt her, just taking all of this in. He nods a little bit numbly, just to let her know he was actually listening. His head thunks back against the seat of the car and he stares up at the roof, gaze somewhat unfocused as though not really seeing it. "She said she found someone, someone who loved her, and who was taking care of her." He doesn't address the rest of it. "She had on one of those jackets.. with the pills on the back. She said that she was happy, that she felt really good. And.. that's what I wanted for her, you know? To know that she was okay. The shit with mom and dad, it nearly broke her." He tries to imagine his sister with some kind of twisted horrific face and fangs, and it's very hard for him to imagine. "She said Dad'd never bother us again, that she'd make sure that mom and I weren't hurt." He rolls his head then to look over at her. "That doesn't /sound/ evil."
"No," Star agrees, still quiet and flat. "It doesn't sound evil. Maybe it's not. She's not. I don't think anyone just up and decides they want to be a vampire. None of our friends want to." Well, one person, but she's not getting into that. "She probably didn't, either. I doubt she got more of a choice than Silver or any of the others are getting. But the problem isn't how or why she is whatever she is now. It's what we do about things happening now."
"Wait, what? What happened to Silver," Sean asks, eyes widening a little bit. "How many people are .. how did that even happen? This is all form that whole hobo wine on the beach thing?" Because he remembered that, but had kind of forgotten about it over time after it didn't really come up again. "I thought that was..." He didn't know what he thought about that, but vampires was definitely not it. Slumping a little in the seat he says, "Fuck. How do you unvampire someone? Is that even possible? They said something bout killing Fran. Fran was the one who got them all hooked, right?"
"Silver. James. Thea. Esme. Fuckin' Cash. Lucas and Landon. Arthur. Lennon. They all got sucked into it." A beat. "Pardon the pun. They've all drank twice. Apparently third time's a charm. If we can keep them from drinking a third time, it'll eventually clear out of their system. Once you drink a third time, though, you're one of them, and the only way back is to kill the elder vampire whose blood you drank. Which is not Fran, according to Mr. Chen."
Another beat, then Star adds, "Mr. Chen at London Arms? He's from a long line of vampire hunters."
This just keeps getting better and better. Sean rubs at his face with both hands as he processes this new information. "Okay, so, uh.. does Mr. Chen know who the elder vampire is, then, if he's supposed to be this vampire hunter? And if so, why hasn't he just whacked him already and prevented all this shit from happening?" Because of course he's going to try to impose some logic on this madness that is already way more insane than he was prepared to deal with. "Or know how to find him? Or her? Or .. whatever?"
"Chen's family has been trying to track the elder vampire for five generations," Star says, slouching a bit more in her seat as she finally uncoils. "The only name he has on them is Swindon, which is a place in England, and they're apparently, like, Middle-Ages old. They're so old and powerful they can walk in the sun are pretty much unkillable. Chen says we want no part of that, and a number of powerful ancestors of some of our families couldn't even kill Swindon, but did manage to bind them to a stone in the bridge - which is why a centuries old vampire is chilling in Lake Fuckin' Havasu. Fran, though, he thinks we can take down. She's the real danger, because she's fuckin' crazy. This Swindon is ancient and powerful, but keeps their head down. Fran has no impulse control. Fran's the one your sister seems to follow around like a lackey, but I don't think she's the one your sister's in love with."
"So.. this super powerful vampire.. is just hanging out, and we can't do anything about it, and we can't kill it, and if we can't kill it then we can't unvamp my sister.. so even if we do kill Fran, it won't help Nora," Sean says. "That's what I'm getting out of this." He slumps down into the seat even more, not looking particularly hopeful about this situation. "So what happens if we kill Fran? I mean, it doesn't seem to actually change anything other than that all the ones that are vampires that followed her are now pissed at us? Then what? We have to fight all of them?"
"Does she want to be 'unvamped'?" Star asks bluntly. "You said she seemed happy. I mean, sure. If we could somehow do it, great. But if Nora's not evil, like you said, and Fran's dragging her down a bad path, getting rid of Fran could help her find a better way. That's something. And if Fran's bad news, maybe we can convince the others of that."
Stopped at a light, she looks over at him for the first time this drive. "Maybe you can convince Nora that Fran's not her friend."
"I mean.." Sean sighs as he considers that question, "I guess not? How do I know if she's happy because she's actually happy or if she's happy because she's brainwashed by some like vampire mind control shit?" He sucks in a breath and then lets it out in a deep sigh. "I could try and talk to her. I'm not real sure how to get in touch with her. I guess I could leave a note at the motel or something.." Though he looks decidedly uncertain about the idea of going anywhere near the motel.
"I'll go with you," says Star, lookimg back to the road as the light changes.
But her right hand, closest to him, reaches over and takes his left hand. It's more tender than anything he's ever seen from her - Star is not sweet or cuddly or affectionate. She's not a nurturer. One night she might be a sexual force of nature, and then she might not even say more than hello to him for weeks. This is not normal for her, but there it is.
"I don't think you'd be in danger. She sounded pretty protective of you from what you said. She won't let you get hurt."
The touch to his hand pulls him out of his own head for a moment and he glances down, and then he tightens his fingers around her hand, just a little bit, before looking over at her, surprised, perhaps, at least a little bit. He was used to her running hot and cold, the sudden passionate hunger and then the cool distance. It was just part of who he expected her to be, and it suited him well enough. Sean wasn't accustomed to nurturing, or affection, in general. So the absence of it was just something he took to be normal. And what they had was easy, comfortable in its predictability. He sits quietly for a moment or two, and then he says, "Okay." And then after a breath, "I don't want you to get hurt either, though."
"I'll be fine," says Star, tone still flat. Whatever warmth or affection is there, it's not in her voice. Maybe that's more than she's capable of.
Or ready for.
The hand lets go and returns to the wheel as she drives. They're at Acoma, and if she takes a right, he's home in about five minutes. If she turns left, they go the long way. "I'm yours tonight, if you want me," she says, not looking over. "Whatever you need."
"Okay," Sean says, taking her word for it, and letting her hand go when she moves it back to the wheel. He only really notices where they are at that point, glancing at the street sign as they approach it. "I do," he says before they even get to the sign. "I need to not go home right now. Let's go somewhere else."
"Your mom thinks you're staying at the Marchants' tonight, right?" Star asks.
Sean's expression flickers and he almost says something else but what comes out is a nod and a "Yeah, for the movie night."
"And Silver and Spear are," Star says. "Which means it's just us and the dead. Well, and my parents, but they'll be asleep. Stay the night. Don't go home until you're ready to."
She's had him in her room before, but never asked him to stay. She's never spent an entire night with him anywhere, or anyone else if school rumors are to believed. She's always left or sent her partner on their way when things wind down.
"Just us and the dead," Sean says with a wry little smile, his ears turning just a little pink then as he says, "I used to think that was way more figurative than it turns out that it is. But uh, hopefully they'll keep to the cemetery and not the house.." Because he doesn't really want to think about the dead watching. He glances over at her again, and studies her profile, before saying. "Thanks. I don't.. really want to go home tonight."
"Oh we always have a few in the cooler down in the basement," Star notes with a sidelong smirk. "It's a funeral home. They don't usually get up and walk around, though, so we should be fine." Instead of either turn, she just drives straight on, down towards the heart of town and the mortuary her family lives over.