Vic Braunson has a special kind of problem -- his lover, Matt diLorenzo, somehow imbues him with enhanced superpowers every time they have sex. It's something Vic has learned to live with in the years they've been together, and something he won't let stand in the way of their relationship. Matt hates the powers, particularly when they put Vic in danger, but what can they do?
When Vic stops an armed robbery at a local convenience store, his picture appears in the morning paper. Later that day, Matt gets a phone call at work from Jordan Dubrowski, a guy he knew in high school. Jordan was his first, in every way -- it was through him that Matt discovered his ability to transfer superpowers to his lovers. Jordan had a taste of those powers, and after reading about Vic's role in the hold up, he's decided he wants them back.
But Matt is in love, and Vic won't let him go without a fight. Still, Jordan will stop at nothing to get what he thinks rightly belongs to him.
One image flashed in Vic's head, undeniable. A gun, crammed down the front of the black guy's jeans, the safety off. At least one of his friends had a knife, folded in the fist balled in his hoodie pocket. Crossing to stand behind his lover, Vic lowered his voice so no one else would overhear. "Come on, Matty. Time to go."
His lover started, "I'm --"
Vic quieted him with a hand on his back. "Now."
Matt glanced around the store, confusion on his face. Opening the mental connection they shared, Vic pointed out the gun and knife. "Shit," Matt whispered. As he reached for the Slurpee lids, his hand hit a stack of the cups and they clattered to the tiled floor.
The noise set the gunman into action. "You fuckers on the ground!" he hollered, waving the pistol in the air. The cashier screamed and dropped behind the counter, out of sight. Cat food cans went rolling, the freezer door slammed shut as the customers hurried to obey. The cat food lady sobbed. Matt sank to his knees and tried to gather up the offending cups.
"On the floor," the gunman barked. He turned full circle, gun leveled, looking for a reason to shoot. When he saw Vic, the gun swung to a stop between them. "You, asshole. Didn't you hear me?"
Vic stared at the barrel, unperturbed. A strange feeling of calm descended over him and he stepped in front of Matt to block his lover from the gun's aim. "I heard you."
His low voice infuriated the gunman. "Then get the fuck on the floor!" When Vic didn't move, the guy shook his head in disbelief. "Motherfucker."
"Get on the floor, man!" one of guy's friends pleaded, the one with the knife. "We ain't gonna kill you, dude. Just get down and no one gets hurt."
Somehow, Vic didn't believe that. "Change of plans," he said, popping another chip in his mouth. He took a moment to chew it -- in the silence of the store, broken only by quiet sobs and Matt fiddling with the cups, the sound that the chip made as he ground it between his teeth seemed unnaturally loud to his own ears. Choosing his words, Vic announced, "Give me the gun. And you, the knife."
The kid gaped, surprised Vic knew of his weapon. ::I know,:: Vic added mentally.
The kid's jaw dropped. "Who the hell are you?" he whispered.
"Hand them over," Vic replied, ignoring the question. "And no one gets hurt. How's that sound?"
For a breathless second, he almost hoped it had worked. The kid with the knife had it out now, but he held it by the hilt, ready to drop it and run. The third friend stayed by the door, waiting for the signal to bolt. But this was the gunman's show, and he wasn't ready to call it quits just yet. "What're you gonna do?"
Vic took a step to close the distance between them. "You stay right there!" the gunman warned, his voice ratcheting up a notch. "You hear me?"
As if he didn't, Vic moved closer. If he could just reach the guy, he knew he could bring him down -- the strength that flooded his system ran like adrenaline through his veins, energizing him. If he could just get close enough to tackle him ...
The gun went off. Vic saw a lick of flame, smelled the acrid odor of gunpowder and smoke, and heard the deafening rapport a second before something small and hard and metal punched him in the center of his chest. The energy in his body flared to life -- the gun shots rang out, two, three, each accompanied by another hard knock that rattled him down through his core. The energy swirled through him, in him, around him, dazzling like bright light. Far away he heard Matt cry out for him, the sound of his name like anguish in his lover's voice.
Then the light washed over him like the tide, and everything disappeared.