Truth Or Dare

**Disclaimer** The characters in these stories belong to those people they derived their names from. These are not original characters. However, I'm not too worried about any of them suing me… but I gotta put this in here just in case. ^_~

Truth Or Dare

Danielle Egan

"Truth or Dare, Khalika?" Michael said with a grin.

"What?!" she screeched. "Oh, not again! Why do you guys keep picking on me?" When they only laughed at her, she went on. "Well, since the last time I picked Dare I had to kiss Katie," and she stuck her tongue out at Raoul, who had been responsible for that, "I'm going to go for Truth."

"Aw, you're no fun," Michael said with a grin. Then he cocked his head and tried to look as if he was thinking, although they could all see he already knew what he was going to say. "Okay. Now remember, you have to be honest about this." She nodded. "If you had to sleep with one of us, which one would it be?"

"Excuse me?!" she shrieked. "You've got to be kidding!"

He shook his head, grinning from ear to ear. "Come on now, cough it up!"

She sighed. "Well…" she said slowly. "If it absolutely had to be one of you…"

"It does," Michael said.

"Then I suppose it would be… Jonathan!" She put her arm around the shy boy's neck and looked coyly up at him through her thick black lashes while the group howled with laughter. Jonathan's normally pale face turned pink.

"Okay," Khalika continued, "my turn. Raoul, Truth or Dare."

Raoul groaned. "I should've seen that one coming. But, just to prove I'm not a little wuss like our dear Khalika here," and he grinned at her outraged sputtering, "I'm going to go for Dare."

The grin on Khalika's face was nothing short of malicious. "All right, my dear Raoul," she said mockingly. "I dare you to go hunting tonight wearing a pink tutu!"

There was a split second of silence before Raoul's jaw dropped, and then everyone else in the group fell over laughing. "That's not fair," Raoul complained.

"Isn't it?" Khalika taunted him, still giggling. "It wasn't fair that I had to kiss Katie in front of you guys either, but you didn't give me any slack about that, now, did you?"

"That was different," he protested.

"It was not," she retorted. "It was just as embarrassing and will be just as quickly forgotten by them," she said, gesturing at the passersby on the sidewalk.

Raoul sighed, knowing it was futile to match wits with Khalika. That was, after all, why she was considered the leader of their gang. "Okay," he gave in. "But where am I going to get a pink tutu?"

"There's a girl on Fourth and Elm who takes ballet lessons," Katie put in. "We could borrow hers!"

"Would it fit me?" Raoul said doubtfully, hoping for a last-minute excuse to get out of it.

"Nonsense," Katie said. "You know you're practically skinny enough to slide through jail bars. Of course it will fit you."

"All right then, lead the way," Raoul muttered, feeling rather as if he were being led to his own execution.

After Katie had slipped through the young girl's window and snitched the tutu from her closet, she helped Raoul tie it and then stood back to admire with the rest of the group.

It was a very amusing picture: a short, slim teenage boy of about fifteen years old, with premature white hair and pale skin, wearing a white wife-beater and baggy black jeans, and a bright pink tutu around his waist. The other four couldn't help snickering, but all except Khalika shut up when they caught the look he shot them.

"Make sure you don't make a mess of your hunting tonight though," Khalika said thoughtfully when she'd finished laughing at him. "I don't want you getting blood on the poor child's tutu and start her wondering things."

"Oh, all right," Raoul said sulkily.

"Lighten up, will you?" Khalika said, suddenly sympathetic. "It's only a game. It's not like we're going to make fun of you after tonight."

"Somehow, I'm not reassured," he said sarcastically, and she grinned.

"Well, what are we waiting for then? Come on gang, let's go hunting!" And the five teenagers raced off into the darkness.

They headed down to the docks first, looking for the kind of hardened criminals Khalika liked. It didn't take them long to find one—or rather two.

"Hey," a voice called behind them. "What's with the tutu? It's a little early for Halloween, don't you think?"

The five turned to find two older teenagers strolling towards them; it was the taller of the two who'd spoken.

"Yeah," added his friend, "or are you just the Tooth Fairy, handing out candy to all the little boys and girls while they sleep?"

"No," the first one said. "I think he's just a fairy period. How about it; do you like guys?"

"As a matter of fact, I do," Raoul growled. He didn't really, but he didn't like homophobes either.

The older boys goggled at him. "You're admitting you're a fairy?!" the second one exclaimed. "Jeezus, I've known some pretty stupid people, but admitting you're a fairy? That just takes the cake!"

"I'll give you cake," Raoul muttered, and he grinned at the shorter boy. When the boy caught sight of Raoul's face, he gasped. Then he turned to run, and Raoul gave chase.

The other boy glanced after him, but didn't seem too concerned—of course, he hadn't seen Raoul as clearly as his friend had. "So how about you?" he spat at the other four. "Are you all fairies too?"

"I believe," Khalika said icily as she sauntered up to him, "that the term is homosexuals." Then, before he knew what had happened, she wrenched his arms behind his back and forced him to his knees. "I don't like being made fun of," she whispered in his ear, and then she sank her vampire's fangs into his throat. He was dead before he even had time to cry out.

"Ugh, heroin," she said disgustedly when she'd finished. "I hate the taste of heroin."

"The other one had it too," Raoul said, appearing again. He wiped the last of the blood from the corner of his mouth. "I don't like heroin either; it's too spicy. Acid is nice and sweet though."

"Just like you are in that tutu," Katie couldn't resist adding, and Raoul's expression turned sour. He fumbled to untie the satin bow in the back and yanked the tutu off.

"There," he snapped. "Satisfied?"

Khalika grinned at him. "Oh, come Raoul," she said, taking hold of his arm, "you looked marvelous in that tutu! You should wear it more often," she added with a sly smile, and when Raoul caught her look the last of his anger dissolved, and he laughed.

"You are ridiculous Khalika," he told her, grinning.

"And damn proud of it!" she said, tossing her dark curly hair and giggling. "So who's next?"

"Me," Michael said. "I'm about to die of thirst over here."

"All right," Khalika said, and they took off again. This time the victim was an old homeless man, asleep next to a dumpster under a pile of newspapers. This was the type of victim that Michael loved, and the others let Michael have him.

"Yum," he said, licking his lips. "AIDS."

"Ew," Katie said, making a face. "Too salty for me. But I am getting pretty thirsty now. Hint, hint…" Michael chuckled and they were gone again. They found two friends, a boy and girl, dressed in black leather and heavy metal. Katie took the boy and Jonathan went for the girl—neither killed them.

"So… I've forgotten," Khalika said when they'd finished, "whose turn is it?"

"Mine," Raoul said instantly, "because you made me wear this damn tutu." And he waved it in her face.

She smiled sweetly. "All right then, go already!"

He thought for a minute. "Jonathan, Truth or Dare?"

Jonathan grumbled good-naturedly. "Uh, how about Dare?" Then he pretended to pray for something good. The others laughed.

"Well," Raoul said, grinning like a maniac, "since Khalika's so fond of you, I dare you to kiss her!"

Poor, shy Jonathan looked as if he'd like to melt right into the sidewalk. It was even worse than he'd expected. He could've handled hunting in a tutu, but kissing Khalika?! Unfortunately she didn't seem to have any problems with it at all.

"How about it, Jon?" she asked, in her sweetest voice. She batted her eyelashes at him, and he couldn't help laughing.

"As long as it doesn't bother you," he said with a shrug.

"After I had to kiss Katie?" she said flatly. "Not a chance."

"Well, okay." Quickly, he leaned over and gave her a peck on the cheek.

"You call that a kiss?" Michael said, laughing so hard he looked as if he might explode.

"You wuss," Raoul said teasingly. "I meant a real kiss. Like on the lips."

"Like more than that!" Michael added, and Jonathan blushed. Katie giggled.

"Oh, stop teasing him," Khalika said in a rare moment of empathy. "Ready?" she said to Jonathan, and he managed to nod.

Gingerly, he leaned over and kissed her before the hoots and giggles of their friends made him pull away.

"Now that was a kiss!" Michael said, howling with laughter.

Khalika grinned at Jonathan. "You know, I may have to sleep with you after all!" she joked, and they cracked up. Jonathan blushed.

"Look at him!" Katie screeched. "He's redder than a sunburned tomato!" This made them all laugh harder, and soon even Jonathan was chuckling at himself.

"All right, now it's my turn," he said, grinning. "Michael, Truth or Dare?"

Michael managed to sigh and laugh at the same time. "I knew it," he said, shaking his head. "I just knew it. But, since I know Truth is your specialty, I'll take Dare."

A slow grin spread across Jonathan's face. "That's just what I was hoping you'd say," he said, rubbing his hands together gleefully. "Michael, I dare you to kiss Raoul!"

The other boys goggled at him, while Khalika and Katie doubled over laughing. "You can't say you didn't ask for that one, Mikey!" Khalika shrieked.

Michael stuck his tongue out at the pair of them, and then turned around and hurriedly kissed Raoul. The other three snickered and applauded.

"All right, all right," Khalika said. "I think that's enough for tonight."

"Aw, but I wanna get him back for that!" Michael complained.

"You can go first tomorrow," Khalika said. "You know the rules. It's getting close to dawn."

"Not fair," Michael protested, but he was grinning.

Khalika Saint-Claire, the oldest vampire in the group, was almost three hundred years old, although she looked less than sixteen. Her long curly silver hair was dyed black, as were her eyelashes and eyebrows. She was tall and slender, just like the others, and her eyes were a pale, icy blue. She had a vicious streak that no one was willing to cross. That was why she was unofficially considered their leader, because she automatically took charge and could defend her position unconditionally.

Raoul Lioncourt was fifteen in appearance but two-hundred-and-ten in fact. He had left his hair silver, and it came down to his ears and hung over his dark eyes. He was very skinny, but his wife-beater showed sinewy muscles under smooth white skin. He loved in-line skating and rock music.

Kathryn Higgins looked fifteen, but she'd been born in 1884. She was the only one in the gang that had actually been born in New York. Growing up in poverty with three brothers, Katie had learned early how to fend for herself. Still, she was a perky, blonde girl who thoroughly enjoyed her immortality; her blue eyes were always smiling.

Michael and Jonathan Newman were the youngest vampires in the group. Although they both looked eighteen, Michael was actually almost twenty years older than Jonathan, who was only fifty. Between their silver hair and dark eyes, and their similar features, Raoul and Jonathan were often mistaken for brothers, though no one ever guessed the truth: that Michael was actually Jonathan's brother. The reason was probably because Michael had followed Khalika's example and dyed his hair black.

Khalika and Raoul were the original members of the gang; they'd taken in Katie when they'd found her wandering the streets of New York alone, abandoned by the vampire who had made her. They adopted Michael and Jonathan into their circle because they needed older-looking vampires.

They all liked to drink, mostly because it never affected them; and Raoul smoked occasionally. But they had found out quickly that it was difficult to buy alcohol and cigarettes in the nineties if you looked fifteen. Khalika could pass for eighteen when she wanted, but she didn't like fake ID's. So when they had come across eighteen-year-old Michael, who could look as much as twenty-five, they had quickly befriended him. When, twenty years later, Michael had found Jonathan a vampire too, he had taken him in with no protest from the others. The five had bonded quickly, and although they bickered constantly, it was never very serious or lasting. As Raoul was fond of putting it, "Eternity is way too long to hold a grudge."

The group trekked back to the small apartment they shared. It wasn't in the most desirable part of town, though they could well have afforded that; but it suited them to have a refuge where they knew no one would suspect them of living.

Their apartment was on the fifth floor—they took the stairs because the electricity in the building was faulty, and the elevators often shorted out. They'd gotten one of the largest apartments in the place for the same reason; the electricity in their rooms didn't work at all. They didn't mind, however. They didn't spend much time in the two-bedroom apartment anyway, and when they did, they preferred to use candles.

They went swiftly and silently up the five flights of stairs, the normally creaky steps not making a sound under their unnaturally light feet. Then down the long, dingy hallway with nothing but a single unshielded light bulb, and through the very last door.

When they opened the door, however, it was like a whole new world. Clean, soft, thick white carpet covered the floor; white lace curtains hung at the windows; overstuffed plush couches filled the living room; an oak dining table sat in the kitchen; fresh white paint covered the walls; a crystal vase with purple carnations sat on the end table.

The group burst through the door, chattering happily, slinging their coats onto the chairs around the oak table. Then they headed for the bedrooms. Michael and Jonathan and Raoul shared the larger one, and Khalika and Katie had taken the smaller. Instead of beds, however, the rooms held long black boxes with gold trimmings—modern day coffins. They were lined with white satin, except for Raoul's, which had red velvet.

They pulled up the lids and climbed inside, tossing one last, "Good morning!" to each other before the lids closed and they fell asleep.

* * * * * * * *

In another room of the apartments, another vampire was doing the same. His name was Shane Lindell, and he was older even than Khalika—though physically he was only twenty-three. He had heard his roommate return from her night-school classes, his signal that dawn was approaching. He cared nothing for the young girl; she was only a mortal who happened to suit his purposes. But she had needed a room, and he had needed a roommate, so he had asked her to stay.

She never bothered him, and since she was always gone—working during the day, studying at night—she'd never noticed that he spent all day in his room and didn't come out until dusk fell. Occasionally he would feel pity for her, and he would pay the full rent for a quarter and slip her half back into the savings jar she kept under her bed. If she noticed, she never said anything.

He smiled, remembering the night they'd met. She'd been walking home from night school, except that she didn't have a home to go to—her parents had kicked her out. He'd heard her muttering that she needed to find a room somewhere, and had gone right up to her and asked if she'd like to stay with him. He could still remember the suspicious look she'd turned on him.

"Why?" she'd asked flatly.

"Because I need a roommate," he had answered.

"But why me?"

"Because you need a place to live."

"How do you know?"

"I heard you say so."

"Any loud parties, drugs, or beer involved?"

"No. At least, not on my part. You may do whatever you like, so long as you do not come in my room."

At first she'd been somewhat suspicious of his accent and formal language; he'd never bothered to learn the speech patterns in this modern world. It was only a waste of time, he thought, since it would change again in five years anyway. Old English was the only real language as far as he was concerned. He spoke only enough of the vernacular so as not to sound completely idiotic.

"What do I have to do?" she'd asked suspiciously, too worldly to believe such an offer.

"Just pay half the rent."

He could see she was weakening, and he hadn't pushed her. Finally she had said, "All right. Where is it?"

She'd come home with him that night, and he hadn't seen her since except for the few times she'd been coming up the stairs while he was going down. And she'd kept her word—not once had she so much as come near his bedroom door.

Shane sighed and closed the lid of his coffin. Dawn was almost here, and he was weak. He needed rest. He settled himself comfortably and closed his eyes.