Blurry Moon

Duo/Heero. NC-17. ~40, 000 words. Heero POV. AU. Supernatural.
Heero is content with his life, but the heated night contains something he doesn’t understand and what he thinks he doesn’t want.

The days, like the nights, were hot. The air was heavy with moisture, pressing down upon the inhabitants of the city. Tempers rose, patience lessened. People fled the heat of the day, retreating into air-conditioned buildings. The city was tense with anticipation, waiting for the sky to crack and let the rain pour down, cooling heated skin and fevered minds.

Still, the night was alive. It pulsed with a heartbeat of its own, breathing with the energy only the cover of darkness could give. The oppressive heat could never hope to drive away the people who lived for the night. Lights blazed, music pounded and people moved.

I stood on the edge of this throbbing, animate thing. The press of bodies and the sharp tang of sweat and smoke weren’t a part of my night. My world was safer, cleaner. Structured.

I needed sleep; I had work in the morning.

I turned my back on the night beyond the doorway and into the comfort of my apartment building. The cool air struck me in the face as I passed through the sliding glass doors and they closed behind me with a small sound of displaced air. Goosebumps rose along my arms from the difference in temperature. I nodded at the security guard as I passed by – I’d never bothered to get his name, even after two years of living in the same building.

I suppose I was that way about most things, people, and places. I’ve been called a wide range of things from antisocial to indifferent. Indifference suited me fine, it kept the majority of the population from bothering me. There were a few people who tried very hard to ‘drag me out of my shell’. I can admire their persistence, but that’s about it. It does more to annoy me than encourage me to actively seek out their company.

The lobby was deathly quiet after the pulse of the night. Subdued, waiting for the somewhat questionable safety of morning’s light. I pressed the call button beside the elevator, slipped a hand into my pocket and waited. Seconds later, the doors opened and I stepped into the softly lit interior. My night was over, while outside it had just begun.

~*~

Morning dawned a painful, blinding white. The sun never rose quietly in this city, it stormed over the buildings and people, unmercifully beating down upon the earth. It made the metal gleam through the haze.

Although the morning had waned, the dazzling light remained. The low hum of conversation and the quiet sound of running computers filled the air behind me. I stood at a window in the hall, staring out at the brightness. Beside me, a co-worker chattered endlessly. This would be an example of a relentless person trying to break that shell that’s supposedly surrounding me.

“Honestly, Heero, it won’t kill you. You’re what, twenty four?” He paused, waiting for confirmation.

I bit back a sigh and turned to him. “Yes.”

He’d been trying to convince me for the last ten minutes or so to accompany him and his friends to some of the bars and other entertainments that were available, if you knew where to go. The hint that there was a woman in it for me was painfully obvious. I just wasn’t interested.

“It’s one time. And we’re not planning on dragging you to the seedy underbelly of the city.” He absently blew a strand of light blond hair from his eyes. “I don’t feel the least bit inclined to go there.”

“I can’t, not tonight.” Not ever, I added silently.

“You mean you won’t.”

Fine. I nodded. “I mean I won’t.”

“Alright,” he said, turning away from me. We walked together until the hallway split and went our separate ways. “There’s more to this place than stifling heat, Heero. You never know what you’ll find, you might even like it,” he said, pausing just around the corner.

I shrugged. “Maybe, but whatever I might find, I won’t find it tonight.”

“Right. See you later,” he said with a smile and left me alone in the hall.

Truthfully, I was slightly intrigued by the night. It was like an entirely different world, as if shadows had the power to change everything. Maybe I was afraid that the night would swallow me whole. Maybe I avoided it because it seemed to want to pull me in, wrap a blanket of darkness and decadence around me and never let go. Then again, like almost everything else, maybe I just didn’t want to bother.

~*~

By the time I left the office, the sun had almost set. The last trace of it was slowly fading behind the horizon, hanging on by a thin red thread. The sun never died quickly, it always faded slowly like it was unwilling to let the night take over. I could feel the world breathing easier without having to contend with the blinding light in addition to the sweltering heat. The weather hadn’t yet broken and the air seemed heavier. Impossible, but it did. Breathing was like trying to swallow thick liquid; it coated your mouth and throat.

My shirt clung to the small of my back, damp with sweat. I had rolled up the sleeves in a vain effort to cool myself off and my hair hung limp around my face, beaten down by the heat. Through that oppressive heat, I felt the city stir to life around me. Soon, I would be home and the night would pass me by. I was content; my apartment had climate control. As far as I knew, no one had figured out a way to air condition the world yet.

I felt the bite of restlessness this evening. Declining the option of public transport, I had opted to walk home. Probably not a very good decision given the humidity, but I hoped that the exertion would rid me of the agitation I felt. By the time I arrived at my building, I was no less edgy and a lot more irritated. I’m in fairly decent shape, but the heat had my blood pounding in my ears. I could feel my heart beat against my ribs, sounding unusually loud in the stillness of the lobby.

I pushed the call button for the elevator, shoved a hand through my damp hair and waited. And waited. I choked back an angry snarl and crossed the lobby, jabbing the call button for the alternate elevator. Neither set of doors opened. Resisting the urge to growl in frustration, I headed back to the main part of the lobby. As soon as I turned around, the bell chimed and the doors slid open.

A scowl firmly on my face, I stepped through the doors and into the small, dim space. I punched the button for the third floor and determinedly tried to burn a hole through the wall by staring at it. There was a screech of metal on metal and the elevator shuddered. The lights above me flickered and went out, flashing back on in seconds. The elevator had stopped between floors.

I stood in the middle of the suddenly too small space, one arm thrown out to grip the railing. I hated it when machines malfunctioned, though it explained why it had taken the elevator so long to arrive in the lobby. When the floor didn’t try to jump out from under my feet, I released the rail and straightened. I was still trying to decide if I should spend a few minutes ranting and then call help, or call for help first and then rant when the elevator shuddered again. The numbers on the display began counting up. I didn’t let go of the railing this time until the bell chimed and the doors slid open.

The corridor in front of me was dark. The window at the end let in some light, but it only seemed to make the blackness further down the hall that much deeper. Sparse emergency lights tried unsuccessfully to beat back the blackness and I paused, listening. There was no sound of thunder outside; the power failure must have been internal. Still, I was uneasy. I can deal with surprises, but that didn’t mean I had to like them.

I turned away from the window – my apartment lay in the other direction – and found myself face to face with another person. I bit back a shout of surprise and took a quick, jerky step backwards. Fine, I was more than uneasy, but I hadn’t heard anyone moving in the hall. I hadn’t heard a thing.

I couldn’t see very well in this light, but I could tell it was a man. He shifted and the shadows fell away from his face like a curtain parting. His skin was so pale that it seemed to glow against the blackness behind him. Full lips curved up at the edges in a tiny smile and eyes the colour of the deepest ocean met mine. They had a strange cast to them, as if they were trying to be two colours at the same time; rich cobalt and dark indigo, my mind supplied. The colours were mesmerizing, almost swirling and melding with each other. It felt like I could drown in them. The man’s smile changed and the eyes I was contemplating began to sparkle with dark humour.

I was staring.

“You surprised me,” I said by way of explanation, cursing silently and wrenching myself out of my self-imposed daze. That had been one of the oddest – and disturbing – things that had ever happened to me. Then I realized that his hand was on my arm, and again, I hadn’t heard or seen him move.

His hand was very stark where it rested lightly against my bare skin. Very stark and very cold since I was still overheated from my ill-conceived walk. Long, slender fingers were wrapped around me with short, neatly trimmed nails. He wore a black and sliver watch that glinted in the light. The time read quarter past seven.

He released me, soft skin lingering against mine and my arm tingled where his hand had been. I stared at the spot and resisted the urge to rub my arm, realizing belatedly that he had said something.

“What?” I asked, completely at a loss. My skin was still tingling, it was distracting me.

“I apologize,” he repeated. His voice was low and flowing, brushing over my skin like raw silk. It felt like he could reach out and touch you with his voice alone. More goosebumps rose along my arms. I wasn’t cold.

My face must have been blank because he continued, “For startling you.”

“It’s nothing,” I said, looking back up at his face. His hair looked short and almost black where it disappeared into the shadows. Tiny locks fell against his face, shining a rich brown in the light. It looked as if it would shimmer with a life of its own in the light. Brown was too dull a word. Chestnut suited it better.

The man stepped to the side, clearing the way for me. I walked past him, his presence like a weight at my back. I glanced at him and couldn’t think of a thing to say. He watched me with unreadable eyes and I turned away.

I had my keys in my hand and was standing in front of my door when I looked back. He was gone. My pulse was in my throat and I had no idea why.

~*~

Silk. I dreamed of silk and skin. Heated skin, heated hands and eyes with a darkness in them. I heard whispers in the night and scented rain on the air. Coolness washed over me in a breath of wind, replaced by heavy, moist air. Eyes flashed in the dark, lips brushed mine. I smelled rain and sex, heard my name whispered in a rich voice. I felt hands running over my body, touching, worshiping, claiming.

I awoke with a start, eyes wide and staring at nothing. I sat up and the light sheet pooled in my lap. My skin was damp with sweat and I could feel blood rushing through my veins as I shook off the last remnants of the dream. I rubbed my eyes with the heels of my hands and looked at the clock. It was barely past one in the morning. I swallowed hard, my throat dry. The air conditioning clicked and I jumped. To say I was edgy may have been an understatement.

I got out of bed slowly, walking over to my window. The city lights were blazing bright. The streets were still dry, so it hadn’t rained yet. I pushed my hair back from my face with an irritated sigh. I was wide awake. It was a good thing tomorrow was Saturday. I didn’t think I’d fall asleep again that night.

~*~

Amazingly, I did manage to get some sleep, but not the kind that leaves you rested and refreshed. When I finally stumbled out of bed my eyes felt gritty. I stayed inside most of the day and tried to do something constructive, but by mid-afternoon my skin was crawling. My mind kept replaying the encounter last night with the man in the hallway, over and over again. I kept seeing his hand on my arm and it was beginning to bother me. I needed something to distract me and nothing in my home was working, but I didn’t want to go out in the heat. If I stayed indoors, though, I was fairly certain my mind would snap. It wasn’t like me. I lasted another few hours and when the sun set that night, I found myself walking through the front doors of my building. I had no idea where I was going. I just had to go.

A few blocks away from my apartment, I was still wondering what had happened to my sanity, wandering around in this sweltering heat. Why did I have to escape my apartment, why did I have this undeniable compulsion to be outside? I looked up at the sky as I walked along, almost growling in frustration.

The stars were invisible, overtaken by the lights of the city. Only the moon shone clear and cold in the velvet blackness. I passed through a heat wave and the air around me shimmered, making the world waver as if disturbed by ripples in a pool. The air was heavy, almost tangible, like a dream that solidifies when you turn your back and dissipates as soon as you try to see it.

In the distance, I heard the wail of sirens. Black smoke billowed skyward and I could just see the tips of flames deep in the city. Absently, I walked towards it. I was standing a street away from a roaring fire before I consciously thought of what I was doing. My body seemed to be acting independently from my mind. I felt disconnected, distant, and I really didn’t like it.

Even here, the heat of the fire was oppressive. Gawkers, much like myself, had crowded close to the police barricade. There weren’t many people near me, most either ran toward or away from the flames. I stared at the orange tongues and listened to the building burn.

“Spectacular, isn’t it?” a voice I recognized said from right beside me, making me turn. “Horrifying.”

I must have made a sound of surprise because he turned laughing eyes on me. I had to look up to meet his gaze. “Nervous?” he asked quietly.

The question, and his presence, made me frown. I flashed on the image of his hand on my arm again and deepened my expression into a scowl. I had nothing to be nervous about. That didn’t explain why I was, though. “No,” I said, for lack of any better response.

He nodded as if he had expected me to say that, unconcerned with my reaction. “Walk with me.” He turned and walked away from the fire without waiting for an answer.

I was still scowling, but I followed him out of curiosity if nothing else. I don’t have a habit of giving in to random urges, even though I had basically run away from my apartment today. What I was doing was completely out of character and I wasn’t sure I cared.

As I turned, I noticed that my first impression was wrong. His hair wasn’t short at all, it trailed down his back and past his hips in a long braid that swished back and forth as he moved. It was like he didn’t walk so much as he flowed over the ground. He moved in an easy glide that made things in my stomach tighten and my throat close. I don’t think it was all nerves, though I would have felt better if it was.

He stopped, finally waiting for me and I felt an irrational urge to run and catch up with him. I ruthlessly pushed it aside and calmly walked toward him. At least, I was trying for calm since I damn well didn’t feel that way.

When I was beside him, he started walking again and I asked the question that had been nagging at me for the entire day. “Who are you?” I looked at him from the corner of my eye as I spoke.

He remained facing forward, but I heard the smile in his voice when he answered. “I was wondering when you would ask me that.”

His voice made me shiver and I grunted at him in irritation. It felt so invasive, intimate really. No one’s voice should ever sound like that. “I’m asking now.”

“Aren’t you wondering what I want with you?”

I thought about that for several moments and decided I really didn’t like the way he phrased that. “I asked who you were, not what you want.” I thought he was obnoxious, so I felt that I had the right to be abrupt with him and even if I didn’t, I was going to anyway.

He laughed, a low sound that belonged in the privacy of your own home, not the middle of a street. He stopped walking and leaned back against the side of a building. I looked around briefly, noticing that he hadn’t led me far. I could still hear the crackling of the fire, but the streets were strangely empty. The police must have blocked off the roads because of the blaze.

He crossed his arms lightly over his chest and crossed his legs at the ankles, looking very relaxed. His clothing was dark, stretched tight across his body. The shirt was plain and had a high collar. Over it he wore a duster coat, despite the fact that it was entirely too hot for it. An earring that glinted sliver in the light was in his right ear. He seemed content to let me look at him and, for a time, I was quite happy to.

“My name is Duo,” he said finally, wrapping his voice around me. I shivered in the warm air.

Duo was smiling at me again, his face revealing nothing beyond light amusement. I was annoyed, hot, and getting angry fairly quickly. I didn’t appreciate being led around by the nose, especially not like this. Nothing worked like a little anger to regain your focus.

“What do you want?” I asked shortly.

“To talk, maybe,” he said.

I shook my head at him in disbelief. I didn’t doubt that was part of what he wanted, but there had to be more, there was always something more. The entire situation was almost laughable. I had no idea what he expected of me and for that matter, I had no idea what I expected of him. Whatever it was, I didn’t think it would be a good thing.

“To know you, then,” he said.

“Why?” It seemed like a fair question to me.

He shrugged. “I want to.”

As much as I hated to admit it, that was a reason, though not a very good one. But, it was why most of the human race did anything. I stared at his face and tried to read the thoughts flowing through his eyes and saw nothing aside from the warring colours. I tidily labelled what I was feeling ‘unease’ and thought about how to extract myself from his company.

“Come here,” he said quietly. It was a direct command and I found myself taking a half-step forward before I thought about it.

“I don’t think so,” I said, halting and shaking my head at him. It was time for me to head back to the relative safety of my apartment, away from Duo and his ideas.

A group of chattering teenagers passed by on the other side of the street, making enough noise to nearly drown out the sounds of the fire. Distracted, I glanced at them.

“No?” Duo’s voice was low, barely above a murmur. He was standing beside me, nearly whispering into my ear. The scent of wind and rain washed over me and I almost looked up at the sky in search of clouds.

“Dammit,” I said, taking a quick step back with my heart in my throat. Just like last night in the corridor, I hadn’t heard him move. My pulse was racing again and I’d had enough. I turned to leave and I felt his hand close over my wrist, stopping me. “Let go,” I said flatly, looking at him over my shoulder.

His lips quirked up slightly at the corners and he said, “No, not this time, Heero.”

I tensed and sucked in a sharp breath, narrowing my eyes as turned around completely to meet his gaze. “Let go of me,” I repeated slowly.

He kept his eyes locked with mine and released my wrist, taking a silent step toward me, radiating confidence. The colours of his eyes swam, darkening, and I felt a shiver pass over me in spite of the heat. I was rooted to the ground and suddenly, I didn’t want to leave him. That one irrational thought scared me more that I’d like to admit, and my breathing turned shallow, fuelled by my fear and something else just as base and primal.

“I can taste it,” he said, closing the distance between us. “Taste it on my tongue like wine.”

I swallowed hard enough to hurt my throat. “What?” I asked, not certain I wanted to hear the answer.

Duo smiled at me again, and it wasn’t friendly. He stood in front of me, close enough that a deep breath would have made us touch. He trailed a cool finger across my lips and down my throat, pressing against the pulse there. “This,” he said, bringing his face close and brushing his lips over mine.

My eyes widened at the contact. Duo’s lips, like his hands, were cool against my skin, but not unpleasant. In fact, it was a little too pleasant, his lips unbelievably soft, like velvet. His other hand curled in the hair at the base of my neck, tipping my head back so he could press his lips firmly against mine. He pulled away, far enough so that I could focus on his face and very slowly, very deliberately, licked his lips.

“Why did you come out tonight, Heero?” he asked softly, sliding the hand at my throat up and running it over my mouth.

“I had to,” I said, not really understanding either why I did or why he cared.

He seemed to like my answer, but said, “You should have stayed home. Go home, Heero, and stay behind your walls of light where it’s safe.”

I frowned at him and he stepped back, his hands falling away from me.

“Go,” he repeated.

The urge to do as he said was so strong that I almost stumbled out into the street. I turned away from him, walking back to my apartment. The further I went, the more like myself I felt and I realized that there were some questions that I really wanted answers to. Something cool brushed against my neck, making me shiver, and I didn’t have to look to know that he was gone. If I saw Duo again, and I had no doubt that I would, I’d get the answers I wanted.

~*~

I was back at my apartment, sitting crossed-legged in the middle of my bed and wearing only a ratty pair of red chequered pyjama pants with black, grey and white mixed in, when my mind finally decided to wake up. I almost preferred it didn’t, since it was running a mile a minute and getting nowhere. My thoughts consisted of the rather clear visual of Duo’s hands and how they felt when he touched me. I flashed on the feeling of his lips against mine and growled in frustration. At least I was feeling like I was back on the planet now and not walking around in a daze.

I ran my hand through my hair for what had to be the hundredth time that night and looked at the clock again. I’d somehow managed to waste a few hours, the bright display read quarter to ten. I scooted back to lean against the headboard and ran the entire evening through my head again.

It still didn’t make much sense, although I had managed to come up with a few conclusions – rather obvious ones. One, Duo was a certifiable nut. An attractive nut with an amazing voice, but a nut nonetheless. Two, he had somehow discovered my name, either before or after our meeting in the hallway. I was much more comfortable with if it was after that, since it would be an easy matter for him to find it if he knew my address. If it was before…well, I didn’t really want to think about that. I’ve never been really comfortable with the concept of stalkers.

His interest in me was more than a little disturbing, and so where his cryptic words. I wondered more than once just what he had meant by ‘not this time’ and why he had asked what made me leave my apartment that night. It was like he was waiting for me, even though logic told me that that particular idea was completely unfounded. When it appeared in my head, I had to acknowledge the thought that Duo had been a large part of the reason for my restlessness today, but adamantly refused to even consider that Duo had something directly to do with my leaving.

I gave another half-sigh, half-growl of annoyance. I almost wished I had taken the offer Friday to go out, at least then I wouldn’t be sitting here, thinking about this. But I had the nagging feeling that I would have met Duo no matter what I did. That thought didn’t lead me into a very restful night.

~*~

I woke up Sunday feeling much that same as I had yesterday. I had continually woken up during the night, drenched in sweat and panting from yet another dream. They were getting worse, and a lot clearer. I awoke to the morning blaze with the sensation of hands on my hips and lips against my stomach. The feeling lingered, and I rubbed the pads of my fingers over the tingling skin. It was ridiculous.

I slumped back into my pillow and threw and arm over my eyes to block out the light seeping through my drapes. I needed heavier curtains. A few minutes later I scrubbed my hands over my face and finally got out of bed, feeling thoroughly exhausted.

My apartment is clean, airy and comfortably modern. My bedroom is large enough for a queen sized bed, a night table, a chair that ended up being used as a place to toss my clothes, an old chest of drawers and an entertainment centre. I liked to sit or lie in bed to watch television, which is why my living room looked different than most. I felt like I needed something for my blue couch and matching chairs to focus on, so the fireplace that I had never used was nominated.

The bathroom had a whirlpool bath, a separate shower stall, toilet and pedestal sink, all white with chrome fixtures. The walls, like the rest of the apartment, were off-white, making the bathroom the most severe looking room. It was even a bit much for me, and I attempted to fix it with a few prints and a large shelf. It helped a little. The appliances in the kitchen were stainless steel, a look that most people thought cold but that I found suited me fine.

A lukewarm shower helped clear my head a little, the first cup of bitter coffee twenty minutes later even more so. I cradled the mug in my hands, leaned against the counter and thought about what I needed to have done for tomorrow, determinedly ignoring the irritating restlessness that was growing in the back of my mind.

Several hours later, I was pacing the length of my apartment, scowling at anything and everything that fell into my line of sight. I had that same feeling again, that burning desire to be anywhere but here. I looked out the window and the sun was still bright in the sky. It had to be at least another few hours until sunset and I took a disturbing amount of comfort in that fact. Thoroughly aggravated and furious with myself for what I was about to do, I grabbed a light shirt to wear, since I had a habit of wandering around in the privacy of my own apartment in only jeans and socks; found my keys and left. I shoved the keys and my hands into my pockets and proceeded to storm down the street. The look of alarm one woman threw my way was strangely satisfying.

~*~

It was almost sunset, and I was still outside. I had made my way to the Riverside area through the choking heat, nearly half way across town from my building. I felt the same disconnected feeling, recognizing it this time and actively fighting it off. Somehow, I knew where I had to go and what would be waiting for me when I got there. The thought should have sent me running in the opposite direction.

The Riverside is one of the darkest, corrupt, and most fascinating parts of the city. It was where you went to sample the things that never dared show their faces in the bright light of day. As far as these things go, it was in a higher class than most and a lot safer than other parts of town. Violence, when it wasn’t a part of the entertainment, was frowned upon and quickly dealt with.

The buildings were tall, reaching for a sky that was now coloured a blazing red. Through the clear glass doors, you could see men and women mingling freely in lush, dark surroundings, sipping on glasses of the drink of their choice. Some buildings had a more modern look, chunky and metallic. The people there danced, holding brightly coloured glasses with even brighter liquids in their hands. Music poured from the open doors that spilled shadows out into the street. It flowed on the thick air and forced its way through you, daring you to come inside where the flashing, multicoloured lights threw your world off-balance. The entire area pulsed with a life of its own, it was in places like these where the heartbeat of the night city lay.

As I walked quickly through the area, the sun set slowly, unwilling to give up its place in the blood coloured sky. In the end, it always failed and the night gleefully embraced the city. Electric lights burst into brightness, taking over the sun’s role but providing none of its sparse comfort. These lights didn’t try to push back the night, they were more like a part of it.

My path led me down to the river’s edge where the water glittered with the city lights. It was dimmer here, away from the majority of buildings and their laughing occupants. I could barely make out the blurry outline of the moon on the water, and it reminded me of how everything looked last night through the haze of the heat.

It was full dark when I felt his presence at my back. I couldn’t hear him move, but I knew he was walking toward me. I shivered when his hands slid over my shoulders to loop loosely around my neck and he leaned into me, trailing his lips over the shell of my ear. His skin was warm tonight and the smell of rain surrounded me. I realized that it was Duo’s scent, he smelled like the wind before a storm.

Duo’s breath was hot on my neck when he spoke. “Welcome back, Heero.”

~*~

Duo’s presence affected me more than I cared to admit, his voice falling smoothly from his lips and trailing down my spine. “Let go,” I growled, more irritated at my reaction to him than anything else.

“You called me,” I said, shocked when I realized that I believed my own words. I honestly thought that my restlessness and subsequent forays outside were Duo’s doing. I had to be losing my mind.

I felt Duo tense and freeze, going completely still behind me. The only way I knew he was still there was because he was touching me. “And what if I did?” he said after a short pause.

I was stiff in his arms, trying to figure out for myself just what was going on. Why had that surprised him? Maybe I was wrong about him, but something told me that I wasn’t. “Why?” I asked at length. “You told me to stay away from the night.” It sounded odd as I said it.

“I did,” he agreed. “You didn’t listen, and I think I already told you what I wanted.”

I ground my teeth together. “It’s not my choice to be here.” Though if I had stayed in the apartment any longer, I would have been up for homicide charges at best.

“But you had to come.” It wasn’t a question.

I nodded curtly, answering anyway. Last night I had convinced myself that Duo was nothing more than a crazy stalker. Now I found myself wrapped in his arms and thinking that simply calling him insane and leaving it at that just didn’t work.

I turned around in the circle of his arms, I think to tell him once again to get his arms off of me and my words stuck in my throat. His hair was loose, framing his face and flowing down over his shoulders. It fell forward, obscuring his left eye with shadows. His skin was pale and smooth, lips turned up in that pleased little smile that I decided was something completely Duo’s own. My eyes trailed down, taking in the snug fit of his clothes and the play of muscles underneath. I jerked my eyes back up to his face knowing that my cheeks were flushed. He raised an eyebrow into a perfect arch, chuckling under his breath. My stomach jerked and I felt my body respond to the sheer sexuality in his voice. I fisted my hands at my sides, hating the fact that I had no control over myself, hating that I reacted this way to the mere sight of him. All I wanted to do right then was punch something.

Duo ran his hands down my arms, lifting my right hand up by the wrist and looking pointedly at it. My skin had turned white, I was clenching my fist so tightly.

“What are you so angry about, Heero?” he asked, voice carefully blank.

It seemed pointless and more than a little embarrassing to admit to him that I was angry with myself. So I settled for, “You.”

“Ah,” he said, unruffled. He brought his other hand up, cupping my chin and tilting my face upwards so he could look at my eyes.

The questions I had wanted to ask flew from my mind, the cutting words I wanted to say disappeared, all unnoticed. My focus narrowed down to his eyes and the continual shifting between cobalt and indigo in their depths; his voice and the way it wrapped around me. It was like falling into the ocean, being covered completely by the water that seeped into and invaded you, and not caring if you never left it.

“I don’t think,” he said, his lips close to mine so that they brushed against his as he spoke, “that you are angry with me.”

Duo closed the distance between us, covering my lips with his and my eyes slipped closed. They were warm, soft and at first, gentle. Then they firmed, pressing harder, and I felt his arm go around my waist, pulling me tight against him. The hand on my chin slid upward and he tangled his fingers in my hair, shifting my head to the angle that he wanted.

I brought my arms up, laying one on his shoulder, buried in his hair and leaving the other resting against the arm that was low on my waist. His lips parted and I felt the warm wetness of his tongue dance along my lips. I think I moaned softly when he did it again, and then again. Duo tipped my head back, my mouth falling open as I tried to breathe through the feelings roaring through me. He pulled away a little, licking and nibbling at my lips, our breath mingling in the air between us, adding more heat to the already sultry air. Our tongues danced against each other in the small bit of space left between us.

Duo shifted his body against me and I could feel him hot and hard through our clothing. I groaned, my body shuddering in response to his touch. He sucked on my bottom lip, biting gently as I slid my arms around his neck and wrapped his hair around my fingers. It was soft and warm, sliding through my fingers like it was alive. Then I felt a sharp stab of pain, jerking back with my eyes flying open. The strange foggy feeling in my head vanished with the pain. There was a small smudge on Duo’s lip; he rolled his lip into his mouth, licking it off. I raised a hand to my own lips and my fingers came away stained red.

“You bit me,” I said, stupidly. Of course he bit me, I was bleeding, my lip throbbing. I ran my tongue over it, tasting the bittersweet metallic tang of my own blood. The cut seemed fairly deep. “Bastard,” I growled at him, bothered by how Duo’s eyes followed the movement of my mouth as I spoke.

He refocused on my face, his eyes gone dark. “You’ve sought me out twice now. Next time, I’ll come to you, and when I do, Heero, I won’t let you go.”

His scent washed over me in a rush, and he was gone. I swallowed past the lump in my throat and took a deep, steadying breath. People just don’t vanish. People don’t make you forget everything, even if just for a moment, with a strange look, either.

~*~

I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. My eyes looked unnaturally big, shocked and maybe a little scared. I tugged on my lip, wincing at both the quick stab of pain and the size of the wound. I could still taste blood in my mouth, red slowly oozing out of the cut as I prodded at it.

I turned on the tap, splashing my face with cold water and then rinsing out my mouth. The water I spat back out was tinged pink. I braced my hands on the counter, water dripping from my face and landing into the sink with dull little splats.

Duo had said he’d come for me this time, and I really thought he would. He didn’t strike me as someone who wouldn’t keep a promise like that. Part of me hoped he’d simply vanish under the rock that he’d crawled out from, just like he’d disappeared tonight. I raised my head, blinking owlishly at myself. I had suspicions now, amazingly crazy ones. It couldn’t be true, but I had to find out. I dried my hands and marched back out to my bedroom, set on my course of action. But first, I had to get comfortable. It really was too hot for jeans, and besides, I had a fondness for my old pyjama pants.

I settled down on the couch, sitting sideways and wearing only my pants, several minutes later with my laptop and a nice cup of coffee, black as I could drink it. It may have been too sticky for jeans, but never for coffee. In my opinion, coffee heals all wounds. Possibly not, though, since my lip was protesting. I decided to ignore it.

I curled one leg under me, tucking my toes into the bend of my other knee and rested my other foot on the floor, the laptop on the couch in front of me. I laid my mug on the coffee table, booted up the computer and then logged onto the net, calling up a search engine. I quickly typed in my query and came up with everything under the sun and then some. I frowned at the screen. This was going to take longer than I thought.

Fifteen minutes and quite a few refined searches later, I had what I was looking for. I read the information, snorting in doubt. Most of this had to be someone’s wishful thinking. Still, from what I knew, the rest of it matched Duo perfectly. I closed my eyes and leaned into the couch, resting my cheek on the back.

I had to be losing my mind, the heat in this place must have been baking my brains in my skull. I didn’t honestly think that Duo was a vampire, did I? He could have found this information just as easily as I did, and had decided to play a very twisted game. It fit nicely into my little insanity theory, but didn’t explain what I had felt or his vanishing act.

I sighed, pressing the heels of my hands against my eyes. Maybe next time I saw him I’d just ask him, if I was lucky, he’d give me a straight answer. I dropped my hands down into my lap, opening my eyes and letting out a choked laugh. That had to be the worst idea I’d ever come up with. I shut down the laptop and set it on the table, grabbing my empty mug. I wandered into the kitchen, rinsed it out and left it in the sink. Checking the locks on the door, I finally turned off the lamps in the living room and went to bed. Lying there, in the dark listening to the cars drive by outside, I wondered when I’d see Duo again. I didn’t bother with hoping that I’d get a good night’s sleep, I knew the night would be filled with sweaty dreams that left me gasping.

~*~

The next morning seemed brighter than usual as I moved about my apartment getting ready for work. I donned a pair of simple black pants, deep blue dress shirt and a black and blue tie. It all matched a little too well, but it was the only one that really suited this shirt. I hesitated by my dresser, picking up a thin silver chain that I had acquired somewhere along the way. It dangled from my fingers, glinting brightly in the light.

Silver was supposed to hurt vampires, possibly even burn them. I was fairly certain that I had seen a silver earring in Duo’s ear at one point in time, though, which did little to support the ridiculous vampire hypothesis. Then again, what harm could wearing the chain do? I almost put it back, snorting at my own foolishness, and instead slipped it around my neck. I tucked it into the shirt, feeling better. I frowned at myself, but left the chain where it was.

If I was going to succumb to my own idiocy, I suppose something like a cross or other holy symbol would have been better; I didn’t even consider walking around with garlic stuffed into my pockets. The only reason I could come up with for that working would be that the smell sent everyone, including vampires, running for clearer air. The info I had found last night had specifically said that a cross or its equivalent would only work if I had the faith to back it up, and that was an area in which I was sorely lacking, so the chain would have to do.

~*~

I spent the entire day jumping at shadows. Even though I had read that vampires can’t survive the sun, I didn’t know if they could move around during the day or not. I still had serious doubts about the entire vampire thing, anyway, and expected Duo to show up at my office door looking very much alive.

By the time the day came to a close, my nerves were frayed and my temper shorter than usual. I had also convinced myself that I was most definitely insane for even considering Duo was something as far-fetched and fantastic as a creature that went bump in the night. Walking into my apartment and dropping my keys onto the small table into the hall, I cursed myself several different types of a fool. I moved into the bedroom, stripping off my clothes and heading for the shower to get rid of the sticky feeling clinging to my skin. Walking through the humid air was akin to slogging through a bog – it left you feeling covered in grime.

I stayed under the water long after I had washed, just letting it pour over me and cool my skin. I emerged from the stall, dripping water over the tiles, about forty minutes after I got home. Wearing only a towel hitched low on my hips, I went back into my room searching for something comfortable to wear, which automatically translated into pyjamas. Sometimes I think I’ve got an unnatural obsession with those. I found a dark blue pair, not quite as good as my favourite red ones, but comfortable all the same.

I was walking back out to the kitchen when my eyes flicked over to the window in the living room. The sun had set and I hadn’t even noticed the time pass. I realized that if I thought Duo was really going to show up, it would be now, when the moon was shining cold and clear. He knew where I lived, of that I had no doubt. I stayed standing in the hall, staring out at the night for a long time before I finally got a hold of myself. I snorted quietly and turned away.

It was past midnight, and I lay wide awake in my bed, arms folded behind my head. The silver chain was still around my neck, cold against my skin. As the night wore on, I had gotten more and more … something. In the harsh light of day, it was easy to talk myself into believing whatever I wanted, but in the night, with the close air wrapping darkness around me, it wasn’t nearly half as simple. Now, I had no idea what to believe or what the hell was wrong with me. Only children stayed awake at night fearing what might crawl out from under their beds or from inside their closets, so why was my heart beating so fast?

I must have drifted off soon after that. Another vivid dream woke me up at what seemed like a very short time later, leaving me burning, breathless and hard. I lay still, trying to slow my pulse when I felt the touch of Duo’s eyes on me.

“I told you I would come,” he said, his voice low and filled with something wicked.

I sat up slowly in the bed and saw him standing at the foot of it, just out of the light that managed to seep through my curtains. Looking up at him, I felt horribly vulnerable and some part of me that I’d rather had stayed hidden told me that I didn’t hate it.

“I know,” I said, trying to stop the shiver that passed over me. “How did you get in?”

I saw the white flash of his teeth as he smiled and answered, “You invited me in.”

I gave him a blank look.

Duo moved closer to the bed, passing through the dim light, until his legs touched the light sheet that I had thrown over me. “You were waiting for me, Heero, calling me the same way you say I had called you.”

That made me frown, I hadn’t done anything resembling that. I had been dreading the fact that he might show up tonight … that’s what I kept telling myself. Maybe I could admit that mixed in with that dread there had been a macabre sense of anticipation, that I might have wanted him to come. Regardless, I did nothing to discourage him, merely sat there and let him move closer.

When he was standing directly beside the left side of my bed, I looked up, trying to focus anywhere but his face. If what I had read was right, his eyes were something I should avoid, along with his voice, but short of stuffing my fingers in my ears, I didn’t have much choice there.

The mattress shifted with his weight as he sat down and I looked determinedly at his shoulder. The quiet sound of his laughter echoed in my head as he reached out and slowly drew a finger along the line of my collarbone, ending at the tiny glint of silver. I was discovering just how hard it was to stare at someone’s neck and retain even a shred of confidence.

“Have you been reading tales?” Duo asked me, fingering the metal. “It doesn’t matter,” he continued, not waiting for a response. “You’ve already decided what will happen.”

His sheer arrogance annoyed me, and I answered with a grunt, my voice bitter. “I have, have I? Then tell me what I’ve decided.”

“You’re fighting it now just to prove that you can, Heero. You’re stubborn.” The mattress shifted again as he leaned closer. “Avoiding my eyes, wearing silver, you know what I am, and yet here you are, tolerating my touch, eager for it.”

I sucked in a sharp breath through clenched teeth and released it slowly, but still not denying anything.

He touched my chin, tilting my head up and I felt beyond silly with my eyes firmly focused on his chest. “Do you honestly believe that I’m here to hurt you?”

I turned that thought over in my head, finally settling on, “No, not to hurt. At least, to you, it wouldn’t be.”

Duo made a small sound of disapproval, letting his hand fall away from my face to press against my chest, fingers splayed cool and pale on my skin. Slowly, he pushed me back down onto the bed. I resisted at first, but his hand was firm and he was stronger than I could ever be. When my head touched the pillow, he slid down, settling the length of his body beside me, the fingers of one hand playing with my chain. I put one arm across my stomach. The arm closest to him was awkwardly trapped between us, but he didn’t seem to mind. I did. I gave him a meaningful nudge, and he predictably ignored it.

“It hurts a little, like water that’s only a bit too hot,” he said, answering my unspoken question concerning the chain. He brought his face down to my neck, ghosting his tongue over the pulse there and let the chain fall back against my skin.

I turned my face toward him, blocking what I thought was going to happen. He lifted his face, bringing his lips close so that they brushed mine as he spoke. “I don’t want to bleed you,” he whispered. It sounded like there should have been more added to that sentence, like he had deliberately left something out. Something like ‘not yet’.

I shuddered, taking another deep breath and filling my nose with the scent of storm winds. I had the urge to look out the window, expecting to see dark clouds gathered in the sky even though I knew what I was smelling had nothing to do with the weather. Closing my eyes seemed to be the only way to avoid his gaze at that point in time, and that didn’t strike me as a very intelligent thing to do, but if I had to choose between not seeing him and mind tricks, I’d take the former. Though neither option was really good.

“If I promise not to catch you with my eyes, will you look at me?” Duo asked, sliding his hand down my side to rest on my stomach.

I felt stupid lying there with my eyes closed, as if it would make the monsters disappear. Not stupid enough to believe him, though. “I don’t trust you,” I said, glad that my voice came out steady. He was trailing his fingers leisurely over my skin, very close to the low waistline of my pants and it was doing nothing to keep me focused, which was probably exactly what he wanted.

“I give you my word, Heero. Let me see your eyes.” He moved his face back, giving me a small bit of space.

If he had said that classic vampire cliché, I would have laughed in his face. Instead, I very slowly opened my eyes, still trying to avoid looking directly at his eyes. I didn’t trust him quite that much. Duo left his hand on my stomach, raising the other to gently trace the features of my face. He cupped my cheek, running his thumb over my eyebrows, down my nose and across my lips and curled his fingers over my jaw. He was learning, memorizing.

“I’m very glad you searched for me,” he said, pressing his thumb over my mouth when I started to protest. “Regardless of what you think, that’s what you did. You were restless that day, agitated, annoyed. Edgy. And when night came, you had to meet it.”

I wanted to ask how he knew that, but it meant admitting that he was right. I wasn’t about to do that yet, I was too stubborn and besides, I still thought he was the one who caused it to happen in the first place.

“I felt the same,” he continued, and it roughly answered my question, making me wonder again if he might be able to pick my thoughts out of my head. “Every day, I wait for night to fall, but it was different then. The need was overpowering, urgent.”

His fingers were still unhurriedly exploring me, tracing over my ribs and the tiny scar on my side that I’ve had since childhood. I couldn’t even remember how I got it. Duo seemed fascinated, running his forefinger over it again and again as he watched.

He glanced up, meeting my eyes and I didn’t look away in time. There was no compulsion in them, no hint of power, just the unbelievable vibrant colour. I tried to look away and found that I could, easily. I felt some of the tension ease out of my shoulders, he was behaving, at least for now.

Something passed over his face, dark and sinful. He moved his face close, closer and then covered my lips with his, pushing his tongue into my mouth. I was so startled at first that I let him and when my brain finally caught up to me, I was enjoying the slide of his tongue over mine too much to protest. I blinked lazily and let my eyes close. He was warm, delicious and greedy, tasting every corner of my mouth and coaxing my tongue into the sensuous dance. I moaned into his mouth, tipping my head back and blindly groping for the hand that had stilled on my chest. I wrapped my fingers with his and let him take what he wanted.

He slipped his leg between mine, pulling us closer. I could feel him hard and hot through my clothes and the thin sheet. I started pushing at the cloth, trying to get rid it. He released my hand and rolled away long enough to tug the sheet away, then moved back, fusing our lips back together and dragging his hand up my thigh to wrap his fingers around mine again. Duo rocked against me, pressing his erection into my hip. I started turning towards him when I felt something sharp against my lip. Managing to free my right arm, I laid it flat against his chest, pushing him back a little. He let me and I ran my tongue over my lips, waiting for my voice to work right.

“Wait,” I finally said, my voice rough with sex.

Duo was looking at me with eyes gone drowning blue; the irises had bled into the whites of his eyes until he looked blind. I swallowed, my throat tight and dry, and faced what was irrefutable evidence that Duo wasn’t human. I looked down, searching for what I had felt, and saw the tiniest hint of fang behind his parted lips. I don’t know how I succeeded in overlooking it before, but now that I knew it was there, I couldn’t miss it.

I glanced back up at his eyes; he was perfectly still, waiting for me to do something. I moved my hand from his chest, brought it close to his lips and halted. I rubbed my thumb and forefinger together nervously while I debated what I was about to do. Then I touched just the tip of my finger against the tooth; I had to slide it between his lips to do it.

I should have been revolted, disgusted, or at the very least disturbed by it, but I felt none of those things. I was … curious. I started to take my finger away, then changed my mind. I ran it over his lips, watching Duo’s face. Then, very deliberately, I dragged my finger over the edge of his fang, cutting myself. The pain was sharp and immediate. I ignored it and continued pushing my finger into his mouth.

Duo’s grip on my hand tightened, a surprised but unmistakably pleased sound emanating from the back of his throat. His left hand grabbed my wrist, holding me; his tongue rough as he ran it over the ragged cut. Suddenly, he rolled over me, straddling my hips and pushing both hands above my head, holding them there. He stared down at me, a red stain on his lip and panting heavily. His tongue darted out to swipe it away and something caught in my throat. My heart was trying to pound its way out of my chest.

“Why did you do that?” he demanded, his voice low, husky. It made me shiver as it rubbed over the length of my body, caressing me where I wanted his hands to follow.

I tried to shrug, but with my hands pinned above my head I ended up just rubbing against Duo. I paused while tiny jolts of pleasure rode through me and heard Duo groan softly, also affected.

“You offered me blood, Heero; you offered it freely.”

I nodded, understanding that it was serious, but completely lost as to what it meant.

Duo released my wrists and I left them there, intent on the feeling of him dragging his palms down my arms. He cupped the back of my head in both hands, running his fingers through my short hair and finally tipping my head back so that my neck was exposed. My heart gave up trying to get out through my chest and instead jumped up into the back of my throat as he ran his hands lightly down the column to where my heart pounded. He rubbed the flat of his hands over my nipples, making me suck in another sharp breath of air. His eyes locked on mine, he bent his head and took one deep into his mouth.

A small sound escaped me as he tried to drag me deeper, sucking and licking at the tiny nub of flesh until I was gasping. Each swipe of his tongue sent pleasure driving through me, arcing straight to my groin. He shifted above me, settling lower and bringing one leg in between mine to press against my arousal. The heavy heat of his burned into me and I moved against him, finally letting myself cry out.

Duo growled, a genuine trickling growl that started deep inside him and spilled out of his mouth. He pulled me deeper, deep enough to feel his fangs digging into my skin just this side of drawing blood. When his mouth pulled away, the air in the room felt cool against my wet flesh.

My eyes were heavy. I reached down, sliding my hands over his clothed shoulders and down his back, balling the shirt into my fists and tugged. I pulled until my fingers met smooth skin, caressing every inch of him that I could reach. Duo slipped the shirt over his head in one smooth movement, muscles rippling, flexing just beneath his skin. He was pale, pale and perfect, a statue carved from alabaster, his nipples a dusky brown. I struggled to rise and wrap my arms around him, but my legs were trapped under his. Moving with unnatural fluidity, like a cat, he moved so I could get to my knees. Now that I was vertical and facing him, I hesitated.

Duo made my decision for me, closing the distance between us, his hands on my hips and kissing me, feeding on my lips like he would eat me from the mouth down. His chest pressed against me, smooth skin sliding against smooth skin, slick with sweat. I slid my arms around him, tracing over the play of muscles in his back and dipping my fingers past his pants, just brushing his ass.

He growled again, the sound trailing off into a groan as he pushed his hips into me and sent sparks singing along my nerves. He did it again, then again, letting one hand slip between us and knead me through the thin pants. I tossed my head back, breaking our kiss and groaned throatily, my fingers digging into his back. He worked me slowly, sliding his palm over my length and then squeezing lightly, releasing, and squeezing tighter. My hands slid up his back to his shoulders, trying to hold myself upright as he relentlessly pleasured me.

Duo paused, stilling his hand over my cock. I moaned, the sound pitiful in my own ears. Effortlessly, he turned me around, then sat back on his feet. He pulled me against him, my back to him and slid his arm under mine, wrapping it around my chest. His fingers grazed my nipple, the sensitised flesh sending more jolts through me. Duo’s other hand dipped low, trailing down my stomach, curling in the thin trail of hair that began just below my navel and then moving lower, sliding into my pants.

I grabbed his wrist, stopping him. He froze instantly, going perfectly still behind me. I shook my head and reached down, lifting my hips and pushing my pyjamas down to my knees. I had to use my feet to get them the rest of the way off. Naked, I put one leg on either side of his, straddling him on my knees with my back still to him. I could feel him throb against me, hot enough to burn through his pants, the only barrier left.

Duo drew in a deep, ragged breath, looking down over my shoulder at my displayed body. He closed his eyes, burying his nose behind my ear and taking another deep breath. His eyes opened again, the hand that wasn’t supporting me copying its earlier path, only this time wrapping around the base of my erection. A fine tremble ran through me, and I felt Duo’s body echo the movement. I saw him glance at my face through the corner of his eye, then look back down to where he held me, the paleness of his hand emphasized by my darker skin tone. Torturously slow, he ran his hand up the length of my cock. My breath came out in a long sigh.

Duo parted his legs, settling me between them and I set my own legs out in front of me, feet resting on the bed and knees bent. I leaned back against him, his other hand joining the first. Resting my own hands on his thighs, I breathed deeply and inhaled his scent. One of his hands gripped the base, the other trailed up the bottom of my cock, stopping to gather the drop of fluid that leaked out of the tip. I caught my breath, bit my lip. He spread the tiny bit of liquid around the head, making the muscles in my stomach and thighs jerk. The other hand slid upward, forcing more liquid out, which Duo again gathered and spread lower. He repeated it a few times, each time making me tense and my vision blur momentarily, until I had to close my eyes and was slick and hot in his hands. My breathing was shallow, frantic, my chest quickly rising up and down.

“I will take you, Heero,” he said, hands alternately gliding up and down my erection, sending the pleasure flowing through me spiralling higher. “I’ve tasted you.” His breath was hot where it brushed over my ear, his words making me moan again.

I groaned in response and felt one of his hands leave me. I opened my eyes in time to see his finger slip past his lips as he licked the fluid, but I knew that wasn’t what he meant. He meant my blood, but he’d tasted me in so many different ways now – my blood, my skin, my mouth, me; he knew me.

Duo laid his finger against my lips, wet with my own liquid and his saliva, and I opened my mouth for him. He pushed just the tip in, his other hand never stilling in its slow movement. I licked the wet digit, watching his face. He sucked in a sharp breath, withdrawing his finger, a slight tremor in his arm.

“You’ll offer it to me again if I ask,” he said, pinching one of my nipples between his fingers before trailing lower. “Won’t you? I’ll taste you again.” The velvet caress of his voice reached deeper inside me, stroking through my mind and body.

Both of his hands were between my legs now, one cupping and squeezing my balls, dipping lower to rub hard against the soft patch of skin just below it only to return seconds later; the other steadily stroking my length, bringing me higher toward orgasm. I writhed against him, feeling his arousal pulse against me. The thought made me shake, made me press harder against him.

“Yes,” I hissed, clenching my hands in the blanket as he worked the head of my erection, stopping just before the sensation could become painful. “You didn’t…have to ask, to know that,” I said, panting.

“I will take you,” he breathed.

“Yes!” My voice came out as a strangled cry as I felt something clench tight low in my body, heat gathering and gathering to where Duo’s hands slid over my slick flesh. My mouth open, I gasped for air; let my head fall back on Duo’s shoulder and buried a hand in that luxurious hair.

“I will make you mine,” he said with a growl and my body arched against him.

I felt myself go, falling over the edge into orgasm with a scream torn from my throat. It rode me, overwhelming my senses until my world had narrowed down to my own blinding pleasure and the hardness of Duo behind me. I cried out, screaming his name, screaming oaths to gods I didn’t believe in, and spilled myself over his hands; he spread it over my throbbing length, making me shout again as he forced every thing I had from me.

I collapsed on him, my body sticky and sated. His lips brushed my cheek and I turned into him, let him steal the last of my breath with a bruising kiss. He touched my thigh softly, almost comfortingly, and settled us down on the bed side by side. The last thing I remember is him leaning over me, his eyes glittering but once again back to normal, and a whispered word, “…mine.”

~*~

I slept through the night, waking up tired and more than a little confused. I stumbled around the apartment getting ready and somehow managed to get to the office on time. It was around two thirty in the afternoon when I caught myself staring off into space yet again. I glanced down at the bandage on my finger. The slice was long and deep, it hadn’t hurt that much when I’d cut it, but it was throbbing now. A very real reminder of what had happened.

I had come to grips with the fact that yes, vampires do exist, and that yes, I’d had one in my bed last night. Had him in my bed and had done some fairly mind-blowing things with him, though if asked to admit that to anyone or even anything, I’d more than likely keep my mouth shut. I passed the rest of the day mulling over what had happened, trying to fit a vampire into what I knew of the world. Evidently, I didn’t know enough.

I felt drained when the office closed for the day. I still had several errands to do, including a stop to the market to pick up a few groceries and the new drapes that I had ordered. I eventually made my way home, dropped my things by the couch and put the groceries in the fridge. The heat hadn’t let up, the sky was still clear and just thinking about moving made you break out into a sweat. I wandered into my bedroom and sat down on the edge of the bed for a few moments, head in my hands. Sunset was barely two hours away and I had no doubt that I would be seeing Duo again. I sighed, heaved myself to my feet and headed to the bathroom.

Did I want to see him again? I thought I did. Maybe. I wasn’t sure; the thought of not seeing him again bothered me. I’d never been so unsure about something, and that pissed me off – that Duo could waltz into my life and throw it into a state of confusion. I liked the anger better than the uncertainty, it was much easier to deal with.

After I had showered, I crawled into yet another pair of pyjama pants, black this time, and put my things from the office away. I debated it for a few minutes but finally decided to put up the curtains instead of leaving it. Later, a cup of coffee was cooling on the bedside table while I watched the evening news. Papers were scattered across both my lap and the bed, and my empty dinner plate was on the floor beside the nightstand.

The authorities hadn’t yet discovered what had caused the building from Saturday to go up in flames. I was startled to realize that it was Tuesday night already. I had first met Duo on Friday, it seemed like time was passing too quickly. The newscaster moved onto another story and I looked out my window. The sun had died for the day, leaving the world blanketed in night.

The lights outside my window flickered to life as I watched, the only illumination in my bedroom coming from the flickering television. My coffee had cooled. I sat on the bed, covered in my work, and noticed that I was holding my breath. I released it irritably, dropping my pen and scrubbing my hands over my face. A sound reached my ears and I paused, listening for it again. Someone was knocking at my door.

I moved the papers and got to my feet, walking slowly to the hall. Whoever it was knocked again. It couldn’t have been Duo knocking, I had a feeling that he would have just let himself in. I reached the door and peered out the tiny peephole after flicking on the hall lamp. It was Duo, standing calmly in the corridor as if it were the most normal thing in the world. It was decidedly not normal to have a vampire come knocking on your front door. Chances were, he wasn’t here to have a friendly chat or borrow a cup of sugar. A cup of blood, maybe.

I unlocked the door, opening it quietly. He greeted me with a smile and a quiet, “Hello, Heero.”

“Duo,” I said, not stepping back from the doorway. I glanced at him, noting that he was wearing the duster coat from Saturday night, unbuttoned; a black dress shirt and straight-legged pants of the same colour. His hair was pulled back, in a braid I assumed. He looked like he had just come from a casual dinner meeting.

“May I come in?”

I frowned. “You already let yourself in once.”

“I did,” he agreed.

He didn’t say anything else and I grudgingly stepped back and motioned him inside. When he still didn’t move, I said, “Come in if you’re coming.”

It made his smile grow wider and I caught the flash of fang. “Thank you,” he said, gliding over the threshold.

I closed the door behind him, relocking it. Leaning back against the door and crossing my arms, I watched as he sized up my home, running a finger over the hall table and browsing through the magazines next to the couch.

“What did you want?” I asked finally, unnerved by the casual way he strolled about my apartment as if he belonged there.

“Do I have to want something?” he asked, moving into the kitchen.

“Yes,” I said shortly, pushing off the door and following him. His face was stuck in my fridge. I wanted to yell at him for being so nosy; he would have laughed if I did.

“Alright,” Duo said, closing the door and motioning for me to follow him back out to the living room. He settled himself comfortably on the couch, crossing his legs. “I’m here to talk.”

That had me taken aback. I blinked stupidly at him from the kitchen doorway.

“I suppose you were expecting something like ‘I’ve come to claim your soul’, hmm?”

I stared at him a few moments more, then hesitantly joined him in the living room. I stayed standing behind the couch, making him twist his neck to look at me. “Talk about what?”

“Conversation isn’t your strong suit, is it, Heero?” he said.

“No.”

He laughed, low and dark. “I didn’t think it would be.”

I took a deep breath as his laughter danced over me. “Do you practice at being insufferable? Because you’re very good at it.”

He shook his head, braid slithering against the material of his coat. “You could make this easier. Sit down, at least.”

It was my home, I’d sit if I damn well pleased. The thought made me realize I was being childish. Truthfully, I felt self-conscious. Duo had had me naked and screaming in his lap, and now he was acting like we were friendly acquaintances. It was awkward as hell, having him sitting on my couch and looking so…normal.

I gave in and sat down on the other end of the couch, turning to face him. “Happy?”

“Yes, thank you,” he said. He leaned back, resting one arm on the back of the chesterfield. “I’d like to know why it is you think I called you.”

“Because you did.” I can be as pig-headed as the best of them.

Duo gave me a look that a parent would give a stubborn child. “Humour me, Heero.”

“I don’t get urges to go running around outside at night. I did right after seeing you.”

“And naturally, this makes it my doing.” He raised an eyebrow.

“I did meet you that night. You were waiting for me.”

Duo nodded. “You’re right, I was waiting for someone. I didn’t know it would be you.”

“But you-”

“Yes, I know, I know. I called you. I think that much may be true.”

I smiled, smugly satisfied.

“Don’t mistake me, I didn’t call you specifically,” he said, seeing my expression.

I hoped he didn’t expect me to believe that.

“I felt someone searching for me, so I made myself available. I was always too curious for my own good.”

“It wasn’t me who was out there wandering around, looking for you,” I said, settling my expression into a familiar scowl.

“What were you looking for?”

I answered before I had really thought about it, “I don’t know. Something.”

“You adamantly refuse to believe that it might have been me?”

“Why would I go out looking for…you.” I had caught myself just short of saying ‘a vampire’.

Duo caught my hesitation, but ignored it. “You were looking for something, and I’m what you found. It isn’t so hard to think that you might have found exactly what you were looking for.”

I stood up abruptly. “You can leave now.”

He looked up at me with cool blue eyes. “Running away from it won’t change anything.”

I clenched my hand into a fist by my side. “There’s nothing left for us to discuss; you can leave,” I repeated.

He stood up slowly, lithe and graceful. He walked toward me, booted feet unnaturally silent on the hardwood floor, until we were standing barely an inch away from each other. His eyes were swimming with colour; I fixed my gaze on his neck.

“We have one thing left,” Duo said.

I didn’t answer, hanging on to the shred of anger that I felt. His scent wafted around me, mixing lust with my anger. I knew I lusted after him, but I didn’t trust him.

“I’m not going to leave you,” he said, trailing his fingers down my arm. He wrapped his hand around mine, thumbing the bandage on my finger before tearing it away. The wound was clean, a thin line of red. “I said I’d have you, and I meant it, Heero.” Duo lifted his hand to stroke my cheek. I turned away from his touch.

“Get out,” I said from between clenched teeth. My skin ached for his touch, burned with a need that I wasn’t accustomed too. It scared me, how much I wanted him to close that last bit of superficial distance between us. Scared me enough that I wanted to lash out and physically hurt him. I knew it was useless; I’d only end up with broken knuckles, but it was getting to the point that I didn’t care.

“If I leave, what then?” he said, his hand stilling, hovering in the air beside my face. “Can you really ignore the lure of darkness? I think, if you could, you would have done it by now. You wouldn’t have succumbed that second time and let it lead you to the river.”

He was right; I didn’t know if I could resist it or not. I’d tried and had to give in. I didn’t like losing control like that. I sighed, some of the tension seeping from my shoulders. I wouldn’t give in completely, not now, but I felt like I had lost this battle.

“You’re so stubborn,” Duo said, a hint of laughter in his voice.

“You can talk,” I shot back, irritated.

“Is it such a bad thing to welcome darkness, Heero?” he asked, stepping away from me.

Cold air seemed to rush in to take his place, and I shivered, goosebumps dancing along my arms. I had no answer for that question, I didn’t think he expected one.

Duo had walked over to the window, one hand on the pane of glass and the other loose at his side. “There are more people roaming the streets now than there are in the day,” he said.

I looked out the window to the city below, then back at him. The room was reflected in the glass, I could see myself, but I couldn’t see Duo. I came to stand beside him, and the glass showed nothing. I stared and wondered about it, if it was another mind trick, like a vampire’s gaze catching you, or if it was something else entirely. I suppose I could outright ask him, but I didn’t know if I really wanted the answer. I knew about the idea of vampires having no reflection, but seeing the reality is entirely different. It always is.

Duo continued. “Compared to the harsh light of day, the night offers so much more. Freedom. Everyone down there is a different person in the dark, freed of constraints. They don’t fear what they are, they let themselves go.”

“People need constraints. They need order,” I said.

“Do they?” He turned to me and I safely met his otherworldly eyes. “Do you need order?”

“You ask too many questions.”

“You deny yourself.”

I didn’t need to justify myself to Duo. I was content with myself and my life.

He reached out and ran his fingers over my stomach, startling me. He gripped my waist, fingers kneading, travelling up my sides and pulled me close to him. Our bodies met in a long, solid line and I let out an involuntary gasp as something hot ran through me. The fact that I made that kind of sound annoyed me.

“Do what you want to, Heero. There is no satisfaction in constant denial.”

Right at that moment, I wanted to unbutton his shirt and slide my hands down his chest, close my lips over his nipple and tease it with my tongue. The visual was so strong that I had to close my eyes and regain my mental balance.

Duo’s hands travelled further up, thumbs brushing just past my nipples and he lowered his head, licking a wet line across my collarbone. He closed his mouth over a tiny nub of flesh, flicking his tongue hotly over it. “Is this what you wanted to do?” he said with his lips pressed against me.

I found myself nodding, eyes narrowing to tiny slits as he repeated the action. I arched my back, drawn to the sensation, pushing into it.

“Do it,” he said, raising his face. “If it’s what you want, do it.”

Something in my head clicked, falling into place. I pushed him away, back against the glass. He rested on the sill, waiting. I stepped between his legs, shoving my hands into his coat and pushing it off his shoulders. I ran my hands over the cloth of his shirt, rubbing it against his nipples, making them rise and harden. He let out a tiny breath of air, watching my hands.

The shirt was already untucked, so I started on the buttons, slowly baring inch after inch of pale skin. When I had the last undone, I ran my hand down his chest, surprised to feel his heart beating. I had thought that vampires wouldn’t have a heartbeat, but there it was, thumping against my palm. I leaned closer, my breath striking his skin and flowing back into my face, and I felt the beating speed up. I rubbed my cheek against his skin, velvety smooth and warm. I licked him, tasting his flesh. The scent of rain filled my nose. I licked him again, slower, longer.

His hand was in my hair, fingers pressing lightly. I closed my teeth around a nipple and his grip tightened. I rolled the nub gently, releasing it to run the flat part of my tongue over it roughly. Duo shuddered. Falling to my knees, I trailed my mouth down over his stomach, nipping and licking at his skin. A soft sound trickled from his parted lips.

My hands were on his thighs; I laid my cheek against his groin, felt him throbbing hard and hot. I rubbed against him a little and he sucked in a sharp, hissing breath. I rolled my eyes up to see him watching me. I saw need and desire in his gaze along with something else that I couldn’t name.

I gripped his pants by the waistband and pulled him down to me, catching his lips in a forceful kiss, slipping my tongue past his lips and tasting. It was a thrilling feeling, his fangs just grazing my tongue. If I pressed harder, I’d break the skin and bleed for him.

My pulse thundered in my ears, blood rushing through my veins. His touch had the feel of danger, excitement; he was a night creature, and I had always been drawn to the night. There was no resistance left in me. I broke the kiss, pushing his shirt off and trailing my hands over the bared skin. His hands wandered down my back, smoothed over my stomach and halted when he touched my pants.

“Silk?” he said, a smile twisting his lips.

“Shut up,” I growled at him, silencing him with my mouth again. I hadn’t consciously chosen to wear the only pair of silk pyjama bottoms that I owned, I just had.

His laugh dissolved into a moan as I dragged my hand over the heated bulge in his pants. I palmed him through the cloth, attempting to undo his pants one handed. I wanted to see him, all of him, but I wasn’t willing to give up the feeling of him in my hand. Silently daring him to laugh at my fumbling, I finally opened his pants and peeled back the cloth, freeing his erection.

I glanced up at his face, then dropped my gaze back down. He was uncut, pale, perfect. I wrapped my hand around him, feeling the thick weight of him in my hands. I could feel the blood pulse, throbbing against my palm. I stroked the length of him once, slowly up and then down. He shuddered, drawing in a shaking breath and carefully pulled himself from my grip. I shot him a confused look.

“Your clothing, Heero,” Duo said, taking my hand and moving until his back rested against the wall. I rose up on my knees and followed. “I want to see you naked again.”

His voice caressed me, trailing down my spine like warm fur. I dropped my hands to the ties of my pants, unlacing them. His hands joined mine, bright against the blackness of the cloth. When the ties were free, he lowered my pants down over my hips and past my knees. I had to lean on him for support while I lifted one knee and he pushed the material back, then did the same for the other. I leaned back and finished tugging them off. The floor was cold on my heated skin.

Duo touched my thighs, my muscles involuntarily flexing and relaxing under his hands. I reached for him again, kneeling between his bent legs, and traced my fingers through the fine trail of hair low on his stomach. I grasped him in both of my hands, using long strokes to coax fluid from the tip of his arousal. I met his gaze and lingeringly swiped the droplet away with my tongue. His hands clenched into fists, a low growl reverberating in his throat. I smirked a little and did it again. This time, he buried one of his hands in my hair, not forcing, just holding.

I closed my lips over the head, sucking gently and was rewarded with the sharp thrust of his hips. I pulled back, tonguing the slit and tasting the salty bitterness of him. I rolled it around on my tongue, testing it. It tasted unique, all Duo, like the heady smell of his skin; pure male. It made my heart pound in the back of my throat.

I ran my tongue down the side of his cock, bushing my cheek against the length of him. He was all soft skin and unyielding hardness, satin over marble. I let my tongue play briefly across his sac, then trailed it up the other side, keeping him cradled in both hands. Duo tensed as my mouth neared the tip, and I pulled the foreskin back, rubbing the drops of liquid that squeezed out onto my lips to wet them and then sliding him deep into my mouth. His back arched, head tossed back and a guttural cry exploded from his mouth. I answered with a growl of my own, flicking my tongue roughly over the sensitive skin.

Duo’s body convulsed, hand tightening in my hair as I moved my lips and tongue over him. He was repeating my name like a mantra, fingers digging hard into his own thigh. He bucked his hips, trying to bury himself deeper into my mouth. I pulled back a little, waiting for him to come back from the edge.

His chest rose and fell quickly, almost matching the rate of my own heart. I took a deep breath, licking my lips and tasting him. He opened his eyes, glazed and gone drowning indigo blue, and whispered a quiet oath.

He took another deep breath, taking his hand from my hair and pushed me back down onto the floor. It was hard and cool, but I barely noticed. Duo loomed above, slipping fully out of his clothes and then lay down beside me. He wrapped one of his legs over mine and drew us together. I rested my head on the bend of my arm, looking up at him. He took my free hand and slid it between our bodies, placing it next to where both of our erections lay almost touching. I wrapped as much of my hand around our cocks as I could, bringing heated flesh into searing contact. I jerked a little from the sensation, then experimentally thrust into my hand and against him at the same time. I groaned, long and low, and he brought his hand next to mine, using the fluid that had leaked out to lubricate his hand and then stimulating the tips of our erections. His fingers brushed mine as he wrapped them around us.

He moaned, head thrown back and hips pumping against me. He opened his eyes, staring down at me and saying my name in a throaty growl. On a whim I tipped my head back, baring my throat to his gaze, offering another taste of what I knew he wanted.

Duo leaned close, bringing his lips to brush over my neck and then whispering in a sex-roughened voice, “The next time I taste you…” he trailed off into a shuddering cry as I sped up my strokes.

I could feel him tense beside me, almost ready to come. I panted, thrusting hard against him and letting sounds of pleasure fall from my lips.

“The next time,” he said, growling now, “I sink fang into you, I’ll be buried inside your body.”

I gasped, the muscles in my thighs quivering. Heat exploded over me, stealing what was left of my breath and blackening my eyesight. My orgasm ripped through me, all I could do was struggle to breathe and let it ride me. I spilled myself over our hands and his stomach, trying to keep a slippery grip on him. I shuddered, almost missing him throb in my hand. He came in long, pulsing streams, shouting hoarsely. I managed to wrench my eyes open enough to see his face twist with pleasure. It was worth the effort.

I collapsed against him, body still shaking with aftershocks, and he rolled us over so I lay sprawled on top of him. My skin was slick against his with sweat and other things. I shifted, lining our cocks up and shuddering at the intense sensation. I lay still, attempting to control my breathing and prevent any more stimulation of oversensitive skin. I lay there for a while, listening to him breathe and dimly wondered if he needed to oxygen to exist.

The sound of Duo’s laughter roused me, his breathing still ragged and I raised blurry eyes to his face questioningly. He caught me looking at him and pulled me up for a deep, probing kiss. I let my breath out in a soft hiss; the movement made my slick cock drag over him, still too sensitive for direct contact, and he greedily swallowed the sound.

I rapped my knuckles on the floor meaningfully beside his head when he released my mouth. “This isn’t entirely comfortable, at least for you.”

He grasped my head in both of his hands, holding me still as he danced his tongue along my lips. I parted them, meeting and tangling my tongue with his. He pulled me down, thrusting deep into my mouth and plundering every inch. I was breathless when he released me the second time.

Duo shifted a bit under me, stroking my cock again and this time there was more pleasure than pain. “You may be right,” he admitted.

I started crawling off of him and he picked himself up like a contented cat. Then he reached down and lifted me up with alarming ease, crushing me to the front of his body and letting me slide down until my feet touched the floor. I glared at him accusingly through the sparks of pleasure he created. I knew about his immense strength, he didn’t have to remind me.

“A shower may be a good idea,” he said, trailing the tips of his fingers through the mess on my stomach. “You first.”

My scowl vanished like a switch being thrown. “You’re not joining me?”

Duo’s eyes had bled back to normal. He pulled me back against his body, hands roaming down my back to rest on the top of my ass. “I told you, Heero, the next time I taste you, I’ll be inside you. You tempt me enough as it is.”

This left me wondering, but I let it pass. I had offered Duo blood in the heat of the moment, I think I would consider it twice before I did it again. He had already tasted me twice, if that first tiny bite counted, and I wanted to know what effect it might have before I let him do it again.

~*~

I had showered quickly, emerging some ten minutes later with my hair dripping and a towel wrapped around my waist. I was searching for another pair of pants to lounge in when Duo appeared in my bedroom door.

“Do you have an extra pair?” he asked. He held his clothing folded in his arms, another of my towels hitched low on his hips. He hadn’t showered yet.

I decided that there wasn’t really any need to inform him of just how many pairs of pyjama pants I owned. Instead, I pulled out a pair of solid, rich red ones and held them out to him. I could have just tossed them, but I wanted to see him move, wondering how much thigh he would flash. Embarrassing, but true.

Duo gave me a knowing look, making me flush a little. I’d already seen him naked, but there was something about that small bit of material just covering him that made my breathing speed up. I had a serious case of lust.

He dropped his clothes just inside my door and stalked across the carpet toward me. The light of the street lamps from outside spilled through my window, dancing across his body in a play of shadow and light. When he reached me, he sank slowly down, balanced on the balls of his feet and looked at my face.

“Thank you,” he murmured, taking the pants. He watched me for a moment more, then stood, letting the edge of the towel just brush me.

I didn’t trust myself to speak, so I just nodded. My skin was tingling, I was getting hard again just from watching Duo. I wanted him. I wanted to rip the towel off and run my hands over every inch of his body, wrap him and his scent around me. It was frightening how much I wanted it.

He left and I watched him every step of the way, my own pyjama bottoms forgotten in my hands. I stood up and nearly followed him into the bathroom. I’m not sure what kept me from doing it.

I let out a deep breath and dropped the towel from around my waist, hauling on my pants quickly after. Before I left the room, I hesitated by the bureau, grabbed a brush and ran it few times through my hair though it was useless. It would still fall where it wanted once it dried.

The mess we had made in the living room was cleaned up, so I was left with nothing to do but wait. The black of my laptop on the coffee table caught my eye. Looking up vampires and the effects of their bite while I had one in my shower didn’t strike me as all that smart. I suppose I could have just asked Duo, but that seemed amazingly tactless, even to me. Not that sneaking around behind his back was all that better.

I double-checked the door to make sure it was locked, closed the drapes in the living room and the bedroom and ended up standing in the middle of my kitchen wondering what to do next. I was nervous. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I stopped it and sat down on the couch. I was still nervous, but at least it wasn’t so obvious now.

I never heard the bathroom door open, but a several minutes later Duo called out to me from the doorway of the bedroom. Though saying that implies that he raised his voice. He didn’t, it drifted from the hall and flowed over my skin like he was whispering beside me.

“Heero?”

I swallowed once and resisted the urge to clear my throat. “Yeah?”

“Would you come here, please?”

On him, the deep red of the pants seemed brighter, richer like fresh blood. The narrow trail of chestnut hair on his stomach was dark against his pale skin, light against the pants. He’d unbraided his hair and it lay in shining waves over his shoulders. I don’t know how he managed to keep it from getting wet. I stepped up to him and wrapped it around my hands before I gave it conscious thought.

Duo reached up and pulled me close, his skin still damp from the shower. Droplets of water glistened on him, tempting me, and I lowered my head to lick away a drop on his shoulder.

His head fell back a little, mouth open and eyes narrowed to look down at me. I ran my mouth over his skin, buried my face in his hair and let the smell of rainy winds wash over me. It was tinged with the smell of my soap, and I felt a possessive little tug low in my body. He smelled like he was mine.

I pressed myself closer, lips pressed against the soft skin behind his ear. I started nudging him backwards, and he let me. I moved until his legs hit the side of the bed, then pushed him down. I crawled on top of him, straddling him on my hands and knees. His hair spread across my bed, shining, curling over the blankets like something alive.

My mouth hovered over the pulse in his neck. I swiped it with my tongue, tasting water and under that, Duo. He drew in a breath, rubbing his hands down my back and lower. I let my body drop, covering him and I felt his rising hardness through the pants. It brought a low groan from my throat and spilling from my lips.

“It’s close to dawn,” he said.It surprised me and I pulled back, looking first at the clock and then down at him. It was near three in the morning and I had no idea where the time went. There were a few hours left until true dawn, but I didn’t know where he would go when the sun blazed over the city. My expression seemed to amuse him and it quickly turned into a scowl. I don’t like it when people find me that amusing and I’m not trying. I rarely try.

I pulled my scattered thoughts back together, remembering what he had said about blood and sex. I didn’t know if we’d go that far if I didn’t stop now, but it seemed like a good chance. I wanted to find out more about sharing blood with him before then.

I rolled off of him, still nearly throbbing with the need to touch him. I tried to ignore it and said, “Are you leaving, then?”

Duo lounged beside me, his fingers coming to rest on my chest. It looked like he was drawing tiny pictures on my skin with his fingertips. “Not yet.”

Suddenly, I realized I was tired, amazingly tired. I tried to hold back a yawn with little success.

“Go to sleep, Heero,” he said, drawing me close so that the lengths of our bodies lay flush. His fingers continued to dance along my ribs.

“What about you?”

“I will leave well before morning,” he murmured, propping his head up on his arm. “I want to watch you sleep.”

Being that close and not touching him was more than I could do. I ran my palm over his side, skin like brushed velvet over firm muscle. I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep with him there, but my eyes grew heavy and I felt my body relax slowly, sleep overtaking me. I still didn’t completely trust him, there was too much I didn’t know or understand. With him pressed close to me, his hands on me, his breath brushing my face, I wasn’t so sure that I cared.

~*~

I awoke with the memory of Duo’s body against my skin so strong that I reached out for him, startled when my hand met empty air. The memory faded slowly, lingering while I shook the last remnants of sleep from my mind. I rolled over, blinking sleep from my eyes and checked the time. It was quarter past six and the sun was already staining the sky red, the promise of yet another stifling day heavy in the air. I took a deep breath and could still smell Duo’s scent on my sheets. The memory of his touch flooded back with the smell and for a moment I was drowning in pure, unadulterated lust.

Running my hands briskly through my hair, I shifted to the edge of the bed and stood. The pile of clothes by my door was missing, the red pants laid neatly on top of the chair by the bureau. I walked over and stood looking down at them, my fingers itching to pick them up and see if his scent lingered there, too.

Duo had gotten under my skin, crawled straight into my mind until my thoughts centred on him and my own near uncontrollable want. I couldn’t focus on my work; I sat in my office, staring at the computer screen and my mind was nowhere near where it needed to be. Lunch came and went, and the biggest thing on my mind was if Duo would come to me tonight or if I would go to him. I would have been lying to myself if I said that if he didn’t show up on my doorstep, I wouldn’t go looking for him instead. I didn’t doubt that he had an agenda, I just wished I knew what it was.

I stared out the window and rose from my chair. The glass was like molten metal under my palm when I touched it. I stood there and wished night would fall so I could get out of the stuffy office, away from the smouldering sun. The brightness of it hurt my eyes and I turned away, large white spots dancing in my vision.

Reality seemed almost suspended for me, I spent the days waiting for night to fall. I, like the city spread out behind me, breathed easier when the sun fell beyond the horizon. Even though, by the time darkness spread through the city, I was safely behind my apartment doors, it felt like a weight had lifted. The air was still heavy, heavy enough to choke on, but it didn’t burn its way down your throat.

Eventually, I was buried under a pile of papers and happily my mind stayed where I wanted it to – for the most part. The sun started to sink below the skyline, sending fiery trails of dying light dancing across the walls, and I felt the world sigh like a great slumbering giant inside my head. Something heated and urgent uncoiled within me, making me jerk upright, eyes darting to the window. The two sensations clashed, sending shivers racing over my skin and making me gasp. I stared at the last glimmers of day and felt the joy of the night. It was free at last. I was free.

Fear, cold and real, flooded my mind. I could taste my pulse on the back of my tongue, jumping like a caged animal. Those thoughts weren’t my own, they couldn’t have been. Finding freedom from the light was Duo’s maxim. I raced the sunset home. I wanted to be in my own apartment where the illusion of safety was enough to calm my churning thoughts before the night swallowed the city with me still in it.

I closed the door behind me as the burning red sun finally fell completely from the sky, the last fingers of fire collapsing over the edge of the world. I leaned against it in the dark, my head tipped back and my breath short, but not from physical exertion. Dropping my things to the floor, I realized that I hadn’t even once thought about finishing my research on vampires, and I was out of time. Duo’s scent wafted on the air, curling around me like a lover’s kiss. The analogy was disturbingly accurate. I opened my eyes, searching the dimness of the apartment seconds before he spoke.

“I can taste your fear on the air, Heero,” he said, walking – stalking across the room towards me. His high black boots made no sound on the hardwood. His hair was loose, curling over his chest, flowing around him as he moved in a cloud of his own sensuality. It caught the last bit of light coming through the living room window and shone with red golds. He was dressed in black pants, tight across his hips and falling in straight lines down his legs. His shirt was rich, rich red, dark like blood rubies and had an odd sheen to it, like wet silk. My breath caught and I was frozen, watching him come to me.

“What are you afraid of?” Duo asked, stopping with just inches between us.

The superficial distance did nothing to calm me, but my fear rapidly melted away, replaced by anger. Anger at him, anger at myself, anger at losing control.

“Get out of my head,” I said, mentally and physically drawing myself up. I avoided his gaze, staring past his shoulder at the wall beyond.

His hand stopped in midair, hovering near my waist as he reached for me. “What?” he said very quietly.

I shook my head, wanting to push him away but afraid what would happen if I touched him. Underneath my anger was the pulsing heat of desire and need. He was too close. Another continent away from me would have been too close. I could feel him as if he was already wrapped around me, already inside me.

“Get out of my head,” I repeated, my voice low and controlled. “Keep your thoughts to yourself.”

“You felt the night come,” he said, finally letting his hand drop. Again, it wasn’t a question.

“I don’t know what I felt, but it wasn’t me. You’re the one who finds freedom in the night,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest. It was an aggressive stance and made me feel a hell of a lot better, even if it was a false security.

Now it was Duo’s turn to shake his head, his hair whispering against his shirt. It made me wonder what kind of material it was made of. “You can’t blame me for that, Heero. I’ve done nothing to you. If you felt what you say you did, it’s all you.”

“No,” I said, but less certain. “It can’t be.”

That made him smile. “Why can’t it be you? It’s so much easier to blame me, isn’t it? I’m not the one who is drawn to the night but refuses to acknowledge it, hiding behind the harsh sun and white walls.”

“No,” I said again. My anger dissolved, taking the last bits of my fear with it. The truth had taken away my resistance. I had run as soon as I felt the day die. Thinking of it made me realized that the room was growing steadily darker as twilight faded.

“Heero,” Duo said, quickly closing the distance between us. His hands were chill against my neck. “You can’t run from what is a part of you.”

I wasn’t ready to admit that I was a part of the darkness, I had felt the pull of it but that was it. At some point in time we’re all drawn to the cover of darkness, the urge to see what is possible when the bright sun is gone from the sky.

“You’re cold,” I said, not uncrossing my arms.

Duo moved his hands up into my hair, cupping my head and tipping it back so I met his gaze. “I am,” he agreed. There was no pull or compulsion, his eyes were just eyes. Beautiful, otherworldly, but merely eyes.

I had an idea, and I wanted the truth from him. “You haven’t fed tonight.”

Fang flashed in the darkness. “No, I haven’t. Does it bother you?”

“That you feed off of humans or that you haven’t yet?”

“Either one.”

“Not really,” I said, not sure which I was answering, or even if it was both. His skin was chill, but after spending the day in the burning, choking heat, it was a welcome touch. The fact that he had come to me before he had fed both excited and frightened me. It was a confusing feeling, much like everything that Duo caused. It sounded wrong in my head, but felt so right, so…good.

He rubbed his thumbs against my skin, pushing through my hair. He stepped closer, pressing my folded arms into my ribs until it hurt. I let them drop to the side and he settled firmly against me, a leg between my thighs. I took a deep, shuddering breath as a rush of pleasure coursed through me and I fully hardened under his touch.

He lowered his head, dropping his right hand down to my back and holding me tight at the same time. His lips ghosted down my cheek and stopped at the collar of my shirt. He nuzzled at it, trying to nudge it out of the way. A low growl reached my ears seconds before he released my head and jerked the shirt roughly, popping the buttons to bare my neck and most of my chest at the same time.

I let out a startled gasp, the force of his movement tugging me away from the door. His hand slid back up into my hair and he turned me to look at him. In the deepening darkness, I could barely see him, he was a being made of gray shadows. His eyes burned with dark light and one word breathed along my skin on the night air. Power.

Duo’s cool lips were trailing down my neck again. The sensation should have bothered me, it kept my pulse rapid but had very little to do with fear and everything to do with the promise of pleasure and a touch of pain. I knew what he was going to do, and I wanted him to do it. I almost told him to hurry up, to stop making me wait. He pressed me back into the door, pinned under his weight and my heart pounded with an excitement that I had never known, but now that I had, I wouldn’t give it up.

His lips moved lower, closed over the frantic, fluttering pulse at my neck. I reached up and buried a hand in his flowing hair, spilling it through my fingers like living silk. I wanted to feel that hair draped over my naked body. I wanted to feel Duo draped over me, naked and hot and hard. I gasped and gripped his hip with my other hand, needing something to anchor me as visions flashed behind my eyes.

A low rumbled came from deep inside his chest, vibrating against me. I tightened my hand in his hair, forcing him closer and I felt the tips of his fangs on my skin. He waited, not breaking the skin, not bleeding me. My breaths were too shallow, too rushed. My body burned and my cock throbbed where Duo was pressed against me. I groaned, sliding my hand under his shirt and ran it over the tense muscles in his back.

“Take it,” I said, my voice rough in my ears. I tried to move, make him pierce my skin. “I want it, Duo. Take it, take it.”

He rolled his eyes up and they flashed bright in the dark, filled with triumphant light. Then he bit me, sank his fangs into my neck in a quick, sharp pain that turned to pleasure before it fully registered. I cried out softly, fighting to keep my eyes open and Duo’s fangs slid away, replaced by the feeling of his tongue running roughly over the bite. I dug my fingers into his side as he started to drink, drawing my blood into his mouth. Every pull tugged on something low in my body, blanketing me in white heat. My head fell back and I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer.

Duo pulled away and I jerked my head up, reaching for him. I wasn’t ready for the sensations riding me to end, I wanted more. He licked my neck again, leaving a wet trail that cooled in the air.

“That…couldn’t…have been enough,” I said, panting and trying to hold onto the pleasure I felt fading away.

“It wasn’t,” Duo said, tearing away the rest of my shirt and letting it drop to the floor.

His hair fell around me, silky and perfect. The hands that ran down my sides to cup the front of my pants were not as cold now, warmed with my blood. I fell forward, resting my forehead against his and lifted a hand to my neck. I ran a finger along the bite and it came away wet and glistening. His hand stroked me through the cloth, palm flat. I put my bloodied finger against his lips, rubbing it over the velvet softness. His tongue darted out to lick both my finger and his lips.

He growled after he had licked all the blood away and pushed me back against the door, hard. Duo ran his tongue over the bite mark again, rough and probing and I let out a small sound of pain.

“Yes,” he hissed against my skin, rocking his hips forward and changing the next sound torn from me to a breathy moan.

I felt the zipper in my pants give way and Duo plunged his hands in, stripping them from my hips. I toed off my shoes as quickly as I could and stepped out of my clothes. I stood naked and hard in front of Duo and I felt more than saw him rake his eyes over me. Then he was pressing against me again, the material of his pants rough against my erection, making me whimper as I walked the fine line between pleasure and pain.

Without warning, Duo picked me up and I automatically wrapped my legs around him for balance. I might have protested it, but the movement pressed my cock between us, made his shirt rub against me as he turned and walked towards my bedroom. His hands dug into the skin of my ass, his breath was hot along my neck.

In the room, he let me slide down his body and I felt the hardness of his cock through his pants. I tugged at his shirt, pushing it up to bare his chest. He grasped the hem and pulled it over his head, sweeping his hair back. I had already started undoing his pants, pushing my hands inside the material and stroking the heated length of him. I felt blood trail down my neck like a distant dream. The room was dimly illuminated by the glow of the street lamps.

I pushed my hands into his pants, too impatient to finish undressing him and ran my hand across his lower back, pressed my fingers between his legs. He shuddered and gripped my hips, pushing me back onto the bed with enough force that I bounced across it a little. He crawled on top of me, the line of his body a heated weight. He ran his tongue over the bite again, licking up the blood that had seeped out. It made me hiss.

His hands ran up my sides, pushed my arms up above my head. “I will mark you, Heero. Once taken, twice offered.” His words sounded formal, flowed like a ritual from his mouth.

I didn’t understand exactly what he meant, but at that moment, I couldn’t have cared less. All I wanted was to feel him against me, in me. I wanted to feel him sink teeth and flesh into me, burn me, mark me from the inside.

He moved further up, straddling my chest. It put his cock very close to my face, but not close enough. I wanted to taste him, needed it. I reached for him and he stopped me, leaning down so that I could feel the heat of him press into me. If it hurt him, I couldn’t tell. It was like a line of fire on my skin.

I thought he was going for my neck again, and I sucked in a sharp breath, holding it in anticipation. Instead, he bent over my arm, breathing a puff of warm air at the bend of my elbow and licking a long, wet line. Then he sank fangs into me again, making me arch under him and scream. Duo sucked at the wound, tugging and pulling things in my body that were in no way connected to my arm. I started to squirm under him, unable to stop myself from reacting to his touch.

When he drew away this time, I was gulping air and writhing against him, pushing my hips up in an attempt to relieve the pressure that was building inside me. I needed more of him touching me, I needed more of his naked body pressed against me. All I was made of was need, and only Duo would satisfy me.

“You have to…” I tried, swallowing harshly. “You have to touch me,” I said again, managing to get the full sentence out.

“Oh, I am,” Duo said, sinking further down my body.

He pushed my legs open and settled between them, dragging his hands over me. He licked and sucked at my skin, his hair pooling over and around me. I bent my legs when I felt him nudge me.

“What are….” I tried to ask as he lowered his head.

Several ideas were flying through my muddled head, each one more erotic than the last, more pleasure, more pain. I stared down at him, his head between my legs and couldn’t look away, couldn’t even blink. I wasn’t prepared when he bit me yet again, piercing the skin high on the inside of my thigh. The pull inside me intensified, spread through me and I lost what was left of my mind. My head thrashed against the sheets, my spine bowed with the sheer pleasure. It was like he was everywhere, pushing inside me, caressing my skin, drawing me inside him.

I felt brushed silk flow through me, power like fur running through my veins and down my spine. I gasped and cried out, drawing breath as fast as I could. My hands tangled in the sheets and I heard something rip. His hair fell against my cock, a teasing softness compared to the sensations crashing through me, stealing my breath, sealing my lungs.

The heat in my groin coiled tighter and tighter until it felt like my skin simply couldn’t hold me any longer, then he pulled away and everything dissolved. The world, the room, the sheets I lay on vanished and I was left severed from the world with only Duo to anchor me. The power, Duo’s power, rode me and I came for him as I bled for him. Then even I fell, shattered and melted and shattered again. I screamed.

I could breathe the air again and I took great heaving gulps of it. My throat burned from abuse. One of my hands was tangled in his hair and he raised his head, blood glistening at the corner of his mouth. His eyes burned indigo blue in the dark, the light from the city outside my window paled in comparison.

“Once taken, twice offered, thrice marked,” Duo said, his voice a low growl that was almost painful as it pushed through me.

I felt the three wounds on my body pulse as he spoke, sending rushes of pleasure through me. I jerked and shuddered. I raised dazed eyes to his face.

“Blood, Heero,” he said. “Your blood. Once, I took it, just a taste.” As he spoke, he touched my lips, reminding me of the first time he kissed me. “Twice, you offered and I accepted.” His hand brushed over my hand, then my neck.

“And you’ve…marked…me three times,” I finished, my voice rough and broken. I could think now, the drowning need was sated, curled inside me like a great contented cat. It was still there, lurking under the surface, and I knew that Duo could bring it crashing over me again with one touch.

I saw him nod slowly. “I told you I would have you,” he said. “You offered everything to me, so I took it.”

“No,” I said. “I haven’t offered everything.”

He laughed, a low, dark chuckle. “You will.”

Duo’s overconfidence annoyed me, made me frown in the darkness.

“Flesh and blood,” Duo said, almost echoing my earlier thought. “You’ve given me your blood, are you saying you’ll deny me your body?” His voice was full of sex.

“You arrogant bastard,” I half-snarled at him, but I didn’t deny it. There was no point.

“Yes,” he said, sliding back up my body and bringing his face right next to mine.

The material of his pants abraded the bite on my thigh and I jerked away. Duo pushed his hips into me, shifting so that our cocks lined up and stroked each other when he thrust his hips. It hurt, and it felt good. I had discovered that I liked a little pain.

“Enough,” I said, drawing in a sharp breath. I pushed him up and he obediently rolled off of me, falling easily beside me. He should have looked silly with his pants open and instead he looked sensually sinful, something to sell your soul for…or maybe sell it to.

I felt weak and tired, and that in itself wasn’t surprising, but my body felt bruised, overused. I felt all the aches of a night full of sex. I had three perfect sets of fang marks on me, blood still slowly seeping from the wounds even as they throbbed. I flexed my muscles experimentally and hissed sharply from the pain. I was exhausted. I turned my head to look at Duo’s heavy-lidded face. I knew that he would have me if he could, and I might not fight back.

~*~

I woke up in much the same position I had fallen asleep in, with the exception of the light sheet that was carefully wrapped around me. I raised a hand to my neck and winced when I touched the wound. I felt it a little more carefully, then looked at my arm. Both marks had been cleaned, the one on my arm showed two small puncture marks. There wasn’t even any bruising, most likely because Duo had drank most of the blood away from the area. It was strangely clean and neat.

The heavy curtains were pulled over the window, and still it was too bright in the room. I glanced at the clock before throwing an arm across my eyes. It was after seven, I’d be late for work if I didn’t get up soon. I groaned and rolled over onto my stomach, letting my forehead fall on my folded arms. I was still tired, still aching. I raised my head and froze. The clock display read seven p.m., not a.m.

I blinked, checked it again. I spilled over the side of the bed, dragging the sheet with me and staggering to my feet as another wave of exhaustion hit. Wrenching back the curtain, I stared out at the city as the sun set. My breathing was harsh in my ears. I’d slept at least an entire day away. I flicked on the television. It was Wednesday night.

I sat down on the bed, then fell back, arms outstretched. I felt the sun vanish from the sky and my blood started to flow faster. I was eager for the night to come. I lay there and felt my heart pound and nerves tingle in anticipation of the dark blanket, white moon and glittering stars. I was impatient, excited. I was scared. I turned over on my side and curled up with the thin sheet thrown back over me and tried to figure out if I was losing my mind or if I had already lost it. I was betting on the latter. Sane people didn’t lie on their beds and tremble with anticipation for the night’s embrace.

Something was happening to me, changing me. I could hear the world sigh in relief, the joyous shout of exaltation when the sun finally died and left us in peace. I heard the sound of wind bringing dark clouds into the already black sky, felt the atmosphere change, grow cooler. I felt the promise of rain finally manifest itself in the air while I huddled inside my bedroom behind closed windows.

I wasn’t the same now as I was before. I had changed, and I could never go back. I felt a small melancholy pang, and that was it. I should have felt something else besides a passing sadness. I should have felt more than that.

I opened my eyes and the room still wasn’t as dark as I expected it to be with the drapes closed. Then I heard someone walking down the hall, pausing in the doorway and watching me. Duo watched me, and I stared blankly at him. I’d never heard Duo move before, he had always been as silent as a shadow. I’d never succumbed to the draw of the night, never felt my body thrum with impatience for darkness, never wandered in the black night under the wavering moon. I’d never heard the world sigh or the sun die or felt the rain clouds gather.

I had the urge to start screaming, scream and scream and never stop. I didn’t. I just lay there and waited for the storm to break.

~*~

I felt childish, cowering in the blanket, so I pushed it back a little and rolled over onto my stomach again, propping myself up on my elbows. Duo remained silent in the doorway, watching and waiting. He was dressed in his clothes from last night, and I knew that he had stayed in my apartment during the day.

“What have you done?” I said, pleased that my voice came out level, calm. I could feel the three marks on my body like heated metal, searing into my skin.

The silence hung heavy in the air. He started to walk towards me and I could hear his boots on the carpet, the swish of his clothes. I could hear the slow beating of his heart, and he was half a room away.

“Marked you,” he said finally. The bite marks grew hotter with every step he took.

“Stop.” I sat up slowly, the blanket pooling in my lap. I had wanted to scramble backwards, anything to keep him away. Panic filled my mouth like a fine wine, something that I could roll around on my tongue.

He halted, hands loose at his sides. “You’re afraid again.”

I let out a sharp bark of laughter. “I just felt the sun die, not set, die. I can hear your heart beating. I’d say that gives me something to be frightened of.”

“You’re afraid of yourself, then,” he replied.

“You did this to me,” I snarled at him.

“Perhaps, though I hadn’t thought it possible. Not yet.” He started forward again.

“Get out.” My voice wasn’t as steady now, my fear was creeping into it. I fought the urge to clear my throat. Being naked except for the thin sheet wasn’t helping any. I felt too vulnerable. It lent an excitement to the air that had no right to be there.

“Heero,” Duo began. He was almost to the bed.

“No, shut up. I want you out. Now.” I rolled off the bed, the sheet coming with me. I didn’t want to face him naked, not when he was clothed, even if I looked ridiculous clutching the sheet around my waist. I backed towards the door, away from him.

“Would it make you feel safer if I wasn’t here?” he asked, turning to keep me in sight.

“Much.”

“That’s foolish, and you know it. You’re not stupid, Heero.” He shook his head, a small frown on his face. “Even if I wasn’t here, it wouldn’t change anything.”

“Insulting me is not going to help your case.” I backed out of the doorway and into the hall, turning quickly and moving into the living room.

The drapes were shut tight and I could still clearly see everything, including the depressions in the pillows on the couch where Duo must have slept – or did whatever it was vampires did. I heard him following me down the hall, and I turned to face him again. If I felt silly dragging my sheet along with me like a security blanket, I hoped that he felt almost as silly for chasing me through the apartment.

“What would help my case?” he asked, leaning back against the wall, arms crossed loosely over his stomach. He was the picture of casual ease.

“Right now, leaving.”

“You’re being stubborn again. What’s done is done. I can’t reverse it any more than you can, and even if I could, I have no intention of doing so.”

I stood in the middle of my living room nearly shaking with fear and anger. I needed him to go away, I needed time to think. I had to know for myself what was going on, and to do that, Duo had to leave. Everything had happened so fast already, a week hadn’t yet passed.

“Duo,” I said, my voice strained. I held myself in check, because if I started to shout, I’d never stop.

He faced me, his expression blank. He was stunning to look at, all fine lines and carved alabaster. His hair caressed his body, sliding around him as he moved. I felt my breath catch and I looked away.

“I revoke my invitation,” I whispered.

“Heero, no!” He pushed himself away from the wall, standing in front of me before I could register that he had moved.

“Go away, Duo,” I said, meeting his gaze. I saw shock and disbelief in his eyes, and maybe even fear.

The air in the room grew close, pressing down on me like a weight. I felt the pressure steadily increase, muffling every sound, making every breath I took harder and harder. Duo reached for me, and the air started to move. My hair blew in a cold wind, stung my face and eyes with the force of it. My eyes watered and my sight grew blurry, the wind howled in my ears. The blanket snapped and cracked around my legs.

The apartment door burst open, hitting the wall and cracking the plaster. The wind narrowed down, focused on Duo and pushed him away from me. His hair streamed out behind him, his face clean and open as the wind pushed him back. I saw his lips move as he said my name, saw real fear and loss in his eyes, and then the wind flung him out the open door. I barely heard the sound of his body smack the wall in the corridor through the noise. The door slammed shut and the wind died suddenly, leaving me standing alone in the room as the blanket settled gently around me.

I sank gasping to the floor, my face wet. My eyes were wide. I felt numb. I hadn’t expected that, nothing even close to that. I stared at the door, the knob white from where it had gone through the wall. My only thought was that was the last of my damage deposit. Then, I started to laugh and choked on it. It was either laugh or scream, and I honestly didn’t know which was worse.

~*~

Thursday I was back at the office, spouting excuses for my unexplained absence of the day before. Still, I wasn’t any closer to accepting what was happening to me. I understood it, but I didn’t like it. I was trying to keep my life moving, even though I had lost control of it.

Everything seemed like it was in sharp focus. I could see the specks of dust on my window, hear the man in the office next to mine murmuring into the phone. I hadn’t turned on the light when I came in that morning, and even with the sun hidden behind the clouds, the room was still bright enough to make me wince. I tried to block out the hum of the office and absently touched my neck, feeling the bite mark through the collar. I knew what changed.

Last night was a blur to me, I remembered flashes of what happened after Duo had left…after I had thrown him out, but it was disjointed and nothing made sense. It was near three in the afternoon, and I still hadn’t done anything work-related. I was busy searching the Internet for any information I could get my hands on.

Duo had started something that night we had met in the hallway, maybe even before then. He was changing me, stripping away my humanity piece by piece. Every time I offered him blood, every time I gave in to him, it put me one step closer to becoming his, completely his. Each new bit of information I read differed on just how this was supposed to happen, but it was all the same in the end. If I had Duo, took that last step and had sex with him, I’d never be free. I’d never be free of him now that he’d marked me.

“Heero?”

I jumped, jerking my head up to see who had spoken. The blond that had tried to take me clubbing was leaning on the doorjamb, hands tucked into his pockets and legs negligently crossed at the ankles. I’d heard someone nearby, but hadn’t paid any attention to it. I was too engrossed in my little problem.

“It can’t be that interesting,” he said, nodding his head at the computer.

If only he knew. “Not really,” I replied.

“Ah,” he said, looking closer at me. I’d never noticed that he had blue eyes, the colour of the Caribbean Sea. “Are you alright? You seem…distracted.”

“Fine.” Now that I was focused on him, I could hear the steady beating of his heart. I wanted to clamp my hands over my ears. It was time for him to go away. “I’m just busy.” I hoped he got the hint.

He did, and nodded, though his eyes said that he didn’t quite believe me. “Right, I’ll leave you to tackle that, then.” He left then, giving me one last look before turning away.

It took me a moment to realize I couldn’t remember his name. I had to have heard it, I’d been working with him for the last year or so, but my mind was a blank. I sighed, dug the heels of my hands into my eyes. They were stinging again. I slumped in my chair, blinked at the ceiling, and then went back to reading.

~*~

I arrived back home well before sunset. All the drapes were still closed, blocking out what little light seeped through the clouds. It was a relief to have the burning sun hidden. The clouds were dark and heavy with rain, hovering over the city like a dark prophecy. Everything was holding its breath, waiting for the sky to tear open and bathe the city in cool water. The air was thick with the scent of storm winds, and it reminded me of Duo.

I tried to relax, went through the motions of changing and putting my things away. As sunset crept closer, my heart sped up and my blood ran faster. I could feel the light dying behind the curtains. If I could, I would have stopped the night from ever coming. I was terrified of what it would bring.

The sun died slowly, crimson fingers digging into the earth until they too fell away and let the night free. I was huddled on the couch, my back to the window and my head in my hands, eyes clenched shut. I was panting, my skin covered in a fine sheen of sweat as the sun sank. Pain lanced through my chest with each breath. It felt like I would shatter from the inside. Then it was true dark and the tension seeped from my body, leaving me limp and dazed on the cushions.

I opened my eyes slowly. There were no lights on in the apartment, but I could see. Not clearly, but I could trace the outline of the chair, the bricks of the fireplace. Everything was shaded in grey.

I got to my feet, walking through the dim apartment on bare feet. I needed something to do, but I couldn’t read or work, it took an amount of concentration that I just didn’t have right then. The television hurt my eyes, and I wasn’t hungry. I ended up lying down on my bed on my stomach and staring at the wall. I finally drifted off to sleep, hoping that when I opened my eyes again, it would be day.

~*~

Cool wind blew along my skin, whispering dark promises to me. Promises that made me shiver and moan with anticipation. My skin grew hot and I felt hands sliding up my naked body, over my stomach and chest, along my neck, to finally bury themselves in my hair. Duo’s skin brushed mine, and then he followed the path his hands had taken, rubbing his body along the length of my own. The three marks I bore pulsed in time with my heart. I felt his breath on my face, the flash of pain and pleasure as he sank his teeth into me and drew my life, my blood, into his mouth. I ached to be touched, groaned with pure need and reached blindly out.

I woke with Duo’s name on my lips. I was sweating, my breathing shallow and harsh in my ears. My body throbbed, my cock aching and full. I sat up slowly, the fang marks Duo gave me three blazing points on my body. I touched my neck and it was wet.

“Fuck,” I breathed, staring at my palm. The blood looked black on my skin, washed of all colour in the grey light.

I staggered to my feet, heart pounding against my ribs. I made it to the bathroom and flicked on the light, wincing and dazed by the brightness. In the mirror, I could see two thin trails of bright red blood seeping down my neck. I glanced at my arm and saw the same there, only smeared more from my movements. I didn’t have to check the last bite, I felt the warm trail of my blood on my leg. I was bleeding like the marks were fresh.

I leaned against the sink, eyes too wide and breathing too irregular. A drop of blood fell from my neck and hit the counter, oozing slowly down into the sink. It was a glistening blight on the white surface, bright and real and damning.

I swiped at it with my hand, smearing more blood on the clean surface. I had used the hand that had touched my neck. I snarled, turning on the water and washing the mark away. I scrubbed at my neck, my arm, trying to get the blood out of my sight. I held the cloth to my neck and when I took it away, the blood was still seeping. My hair ruffled in a small breeze, falling across my eyes. I froze. The wind blew again, stronger.

“No,” I said, barely above a whisper. “No.” I turned around, painfully slow, and stared down the empty hallway. My hair was pushed back from my face in a sudden gust. I dropped the cloth and ran down the hall, stumbling over nothing.

The curtains in the living room were pulled back, dancing in the wind. The window was open, letting in the cool air, heavy with rain. I walked towards it, eyes darting to the shadows. I could smell the storm, electric on the wind.

Outside, the wind howled between the buildings, the tree branches swaying and adding their own song to the air. The sky churned with blackness.

Something uncoiled inside me, made me gasp. It flowed through my veins, caressing me in places that were never meant to be touched. I gripped the sill until my knuckles were white, and still it pushed through me. The night was calling me, touching me like a lover. The wind was a seductive kiss against my skin. I screamed and fell back from the window.

The eagerness grew, filled me up to overflowing. I had to get out, had to answer the call. The storm was almost here. I scrambled to my feet, running towards the door. When I realized what I was doing, I stopped. I couldn’t go out, the night was Duo’s world. The wind swept over me again and left me quivering. I took a step forward, felt the surge of exaltation in the air. Power breathed along my skin, urged me to come to it, to wrap it around my body and bathe in it. Let it take me, let it ride me. It pushed and pushed, the force increasing until my body ached.

“No!” I screamed, dropping to my knees. “No, I won’t! Duo! I won’t!”

The wind subsided, ghosting around me and my nose was filled with the scent of rain. The blood seeping from the marks was burning hot. I fell forward, caught myself on my hands. The air brushed back my sweat-soaked hair, curled around me in a gentle caress. It comforted me, dried the tears that I hadn’t known I cried and asked me why I refused it.

~*~

The next time I woke I was stretched out on my bed, above the covers. The curtains were open just enough to let me see out. The clouds churned in the sky, but the rain still hadn’t fallen. The clock read quarter past noon.

I felt blood on my neck, dried and flaking. The wound itself was tacky to the touch. My pants were stuck to the mark on my thigh and it tore away when I moved, wrenching a sharp gasp from me.

I had almost been Duo’s last night, the need to run outside into the night had nearly overwhelmed me. I knew that the next time darkness fell, I would be lost. I couldn’t resist it again, the pull was too strong. The only reason I had won last night is because the power had let me. Even now, lying in the dull light of a cloudy afternoon, I felt it reaching for me.

After I showered, I made myself some coffee and watched the news. There was nothing interesting, the same old problems without solutions. I was oddly calm. I felt like I should have been doing something, possibly having hysterics. I called into work, told them I was taking a sick day. And waited.

As the day went on, I became more and more impatient. I wanted the conflict to start. I would fight, I had to. I couldn’t just lay down and die. The thought of trying to kill Duo entered my mind more than once, but I had no way of knowing for sure if that would reverse what was happening to me or leave me stranded. A few so-called experts said yes, it would, but I didn’t want to take my chances. I’d save that for a last resort.

I was pacing the apartment by six. My skin was crawling, that feeling deep inside me was stalking my veins again, pouring through me and dragging over raw nerve endings. I was going to be insane by the time the sun left the sky.

I busied myself as best I could, which resulted in fussing over my clothes. I never bothered with that, but it seemed like the lesser evil at the moment. I poked through my closet, realized yet again that I had developed a severe pajama obsession, and settled on something to wear. I ended up with black pants, simply because they were of the lightest material that I owned. The weather hadn’t broke yet and the air was still heavy and close. It made me wonder if last night had been a dream; it seemed that the storm was finally here, but when I woke up, the city was still dry. But the blood on my skin banished all thoughts of a simple dream.

The pants fell in a straight line, the cloth fine enough that they showed the outline of my body when I moved. I chose a dark blue shirt, long sleeved and left both the cuffs and the shirt itself unbuttoned. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time before I put a tight black tank-top on underneath it. I was dressing for Duo, and the thought made my stomach flip, whether it was in fear or something else, I don’t know. I wished at that moment that I owned a gun or some kind of weapon. The alien feelings rushing through me put the taste of fear and excitement on my tongue.

I felt the sun start to sink below the horizon, and I went to the window, flinging open the drapes to watch it die. The bright light seared my eyes, sending white dancing across my vision. I blinked rapidly to clear it. My body tensed as the light dimmed, heart pounding, and I broke out in a light sweat. I felt the pain lance through me, stealing my breath and making my knees buckle. My hands on the frame were the only thing that kept me from falling. Then, like before, it was done and I was free.

I was leaning on the window sill, panting, when the first tugs of power roused me. It sang along my nerves, coiling and twisting, stroking a heated need buried within me. I straightened and unclenched my fists. I would be in control of this. I waited for the power to crash over me and force the air from my lungs.

I wasn’t prepared for the feel of the power slithering near, curling around my legs like an animal and creeping up my body. It brushed me with cool fingers, slid through my body and seeped into my mind as soft as fur. Instead of crushing me with force, it coaxed me to respond, teasing me with gentle touches and whispered pleasures. I was rooted to the spot as the feelings rose over me, drowning me in sweet power. It caressed me and drew a sigh from my lips. When it called me, I had no resistance left. I went to meet Duo, and with him, the night.

Outside, the wind had picked up again, turning to sky to a roiling mass of darkness. I followed the tugging power, let it lead me through the city and into the trees of a park. The green life pulsed around me, eager for the rain to fall. I raised my face to the sky and let the night wash over me. I was no longer scared or anxious, I was eager. I felt Duo in the darkness, urging me to go to him.

“No,” I said, murmuring to the sky. “If you want me, Duo, you’ll come to me.” I stood my ground and waited.

His laughter floated on the wind, blending with the wind in the trees. “So stubborn, even now,” he said, materializing from the shadows beside me. His voice danced along my skin, making my blood flow impossibly fast. My skin tingled and I felt myself become aroused at the sound of his voice.

“You haven’t won yet,” I growled, facing him and nearly lost the last bit of control I was hanging onto so dearly.

Duo’s skin seemed to glow with an inner light, pale and bright against the backdrop of shadows. His hair was loose, flowing in the wind, trailing across his body. His clothes were blacker than the night, tight and curving with the lines of his body. I looked at his face, his lips full and curved, redder against the paleness of his skin, and then I met his eyes. Shifting, swirling with indigo and cobalt light, sparkling with dark knowledge. I moved toward him without thinking and he wrapped me in his arms.

“It isn’t a game, Heero.” He was warm to the touch. I knew he had stolen that heat from someone and I felt nothing but a passing curiosity. “This is real.”

“I know,” I said, instantly becoming defensive again. I wanted to wrap him and his power around me, let both invade me in every way possible. The sheer force of the need scared me.

“Do you really?” he asked, sliding his hand into my hair. “You know what I want, what I’ll do. I’ll take you, Heero, and you’ll never be the same again.”

I pulled out of his embrace, looking at the never-ending play of colours in his eyes. “I’ve already gone past the point where I can go back. You made sure of that.”

“A taste of pleasure, the promise of more,” he said.

I nodded. “You’re a manipulative bastard.”

“And arrogant, too,” he said with a small shake of his head. He was silent for a long time, then asked, “Will you regret it?”

I should have started anticipating the unexpected, but every time I turned around, Duo surprised me. I had to stop and think before I answered. The way he phrased it made me think that there was something I was missing, that he wasn’t talking about the same thing I was. I couldn’t deny that I wanted Duo, his touch and his sex, and that once I had it, I would spend the rest of my days craving it. There were worse things in life. Possibly.

“I don’t know,” I said at length.

Duo looked like he wanted to ask me something more, but he didn’t speak. I could see thoughts flying through his eyes and couldn’t read them. He drew me close again, hands low on my hips and kissed me. He pressed his lips hard over mine, bruising. I closed my eyes and opened my mouth to him. He thrust his tongue inside, spilling power through me at the same time. I tried to gasp and he swallowed the sound, tipping my head and plundering my mouth even as he forced me to swallow his power. I clutched his arms as the energy surged through me, stealing my strength. I fought to keep my legs under me even as they grew weaker. Power trickled down my spine, curled in my stomach and then dipped lower. I was trembling and couldn’t stop.

When he pulled away, his voice was husky, his eyes glowing darkly. “I’ll have you, all of you,” he said, and the world went black.

~*~

There was something hot against my skin, pulsing with every breath I took. It spread, trailing through me and melding with the ache in my groin. I groaned, shifted and felt softness against my cheek. I took a deep breath, smelling rain and the burning focused into the three separate points of Duo’s marks. My eyes flew open and I gasped. My body felt too heavy to move; I looked around as best I could, not recognizing my surroundings. I saw nothing but the bed I lay on and the darkness beyond. It was hard to think, my head felt like it was stuffed full of cotton. Lying still, I waited for the heaviness in my limbs to fade.

“Are you finally awake?” Duo’s voice was near, coming from above me. I glanced up and realized that my head was resting in his lap, his thumb gently stroking my cheek. The weight I felt had gradually subsided, and I tried to move again but his hands were on my shoulders, holding me there.

“What did you do?”

“Brought you here, nothing more,” he said softly, sending an involuntary shiver through me.

“Let me up.” His voice was like a double-edged sword; I both loved and hated the effect it had on me.

Duo sighed, but moved his hands. I sat up and half-crawled, half-scooted away from him. It wasn’t a graceful move, but it got me where I wanted to be. The distance between us was superficial and we both knew it. Still, it made me feel marginally better and the burning of the marks lessened. I could think clearly again.

“You make everything so difficult, Heero,” he said, leaning back against the headboard.

I grunted at him. “I make everything difficult,” I repeated, letting the sarcasm show in my voice. “Just what do you think you’re doing, if not making things difficult?”

Duo stretched his legs out, crossing them at the ankles. He watched me silently, his face beautiful but blank. It was like staring at a statue, something to admire, but too flawless to be real. I sat there and glowered at him, seething in annoyance.

“If you’re asking me to change what happened, to make everything disappear, I can’t,” he said, meeting my eyes. “You called me and I came, you offered and I received.”

“I didn’t-”

“You’re lying to yourself, and you know it. I’ll accept that blame, but it won’t change a thing,” he said, cutting me off. I fell silent under his gaze, burning now not with power, but with truth.

I wanted to ask why; why me, why everything, but I already knew the answer. I couldn’t explain it, I barely understood it, and I still didn’t accept it. The important question was, what was I going to do about it? I didn’t think I’d just be able to forget Duo, that would be impossible. But I couldn’t forget myself, either. I wouldn’t give in to him, and I didn’t think I could keep him away. I was stuck and couldn’t think of a way to save myself. I’d never liked the idea of fate. It was almost ironic.

“What are you so desperately thinking about?” Duo’s voice cut through my musings.

“What to do about you,” I said shortly.

He raised both of his eyebrows, his expression mildly surprised and curious. It softened his face and made him seem more real, less perfect. “And?”

“You’re a self-assured, controlling bastard.” I was repeating myself.

“I’ve been called much worse.”

I could imagine, I’d called him worse in my own mind quite recently.

“But I don’t want to control you.”

That made me stop and blink. I looked at him through narrowed eyes.

“If I just wanted to own you, Heero, I’d have done it long ago.” He shifted on the bed, piling the pillows behind him instead of leaning on the headboard. “And that’s not arrogance, it’s the simple truth. It’s part of who – what – I am.”

“That’s a matter of opinion.”

He smiled, quick and easy. Genuine. “So, what do you do now?”

I was struck speechless and tried to keep my face from showing it. It was a losing battle. “What?” I asked.

“Will you ignore what’s happened or let me show you more?”

“Duo,” I started, a warning tone in my voice.

He shook his head slightly. “I mean to show you what you’ve already gained, not force you further.”

I gave him a doubting look. “What choice do I have?”

“Yes or no, it’s your choice, and yours only.”

“And I’m supposed to trust you.” I felt my resolve wavering under my own damned curiosity. I’d be left always wondering if I denied him now.

“I give you my word.”

“That’s not enough.”

“Please,” he said.

The please caught me off guard. I looked at him, tried to see behind his eyes to what he was thinking. “What do you want to show me?” I asked, letting the suspicion creep into my voice.

“The night,” he said with eager light swirling among the colours of his eyes.

~*~

The sky above me rolled in upon itself, roiling in the great black dome. The cold moon was hidden, as were the stars, but the world outside was still bright. The winds curled around me, toying with my hair and clothes. It was cooler now, I still smelled rain on the air, felt the dampness in the wind. The chill in the air was a welcome change.

Duo stood beside me, his hair blown back by a gust to leave his face unobstructed. His eyes seemed darker without the hair to distract from them. He was smiling, truly happy to be standing outside in the dark with the storm threatening. It was infectious when he laughed as the wind buffeted us.

“Everything is so alive at night,” he said, not turning to me. “You can hear the world’s heart beat, feel it pound under your feet.”

I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. I felt nothing but the wind. I wasn’t sure I wanted to feel anything else. “I don’t hear anything.”

“Heero.” He turned to face me. “You’ve heard it before. I know you have. You told me as much.” His expression was reproachful.

I let out a short sigh. “I don’t know what you want me to do.”

“Do what you did before.”

I looked away from him, out at the city lights. Everything was so bright, like it was brought too sharply into focus. We were standing in the wooded park, and it was just us and the night. I peered into the trees, searching the shadows. I thought I saw movement, but a closer look revealed nothing.

I had no idea what I had done before that let me feel what Duo was talking about. It had just happened. I was about to tell him as much when I caught the same movement again, a white smudge in the dark. It was a man, walking along the path and headed towards us. I glanced at Duo; he didn’t seem to have noticed. He was watching me expectantly.

The smell of spices, something nearly smoky that was foreign and unique wafted through the air. The man had broken the line of trees and I could clearly see his clothes, the Asian features of his face, despite the distance between us. Duo’s eyes flicked to him, then back to me. I had no idea what was going on.

The man in white moved steadily closer, unconcerned with the two of us standing in the middle of his path. He didn’t seem to take note of us at all. Five feet away, and the smell grew stronger. Two feet, and I could taste it like something warm and thick on my tongue. Then he passed close between us and the world slowed down, time crawling by.

His hair, raven black, darker than the sky above us, was loose. Straight and close to shoulder-length, it flowed out behind him in the wind, almost brushing my face he was that near to me. Eyes as black as the hair were focused straight ahead, startlingly vivid. His skin looked almost bronze where shadows fell across him, a paler gold in the light. It was then that I knew the smell in the air was him, was the scent of his skin. I could taste him in my mouth, and he was oblivious to it all.

I stared at Duo as the man moved out of my line of sight, and he was smiling. I turned my eyes away from him and I focused on the world beyond. I could feel it now, the ebb and flow around me, the ponderous turning of the world, the pulsing life under me. I felt life stretching for miles and miles on every side.

There were insects darting through the air. A squirrel nearby perched motionless in a tree. There was a dog at the edge of the park, and further beyond that, men and women, some hurrying and some not, through the streets. I kept moving further and further away until I felt like I would spread myself too thin and be lost on the wind.

Duo’s voice uttering my name brought me back. He was standing behind me, murmuring into my ear, his hands a warm weight on my arms. I blinked, gasped and leaned back into him, my legs suddenly to weak to hold me. The throbbing heartbeat of the world lessened, becoming white noise in the background.

“You move through this all the time?” I asked and my voice came out a little too breathy.

“Once the sun has gone, yes.” He rubbed his hands along the length of my arms, trying to comfort me, I think. It reminded me of the power in the wind last night, soothing and gentle.

“Why? How…how is it so….” I paused, searching for a word. My brain didn’t want to cooperate; I felt blackness nipping at the corners of my vision. “Intense?”

“I can feel it because I’m not really a part of it. Most of the time, I move outside of it.” His tone should have been longing to match the wistful-sounding words as he said them, but it wasn’t. “When you are a part of something from the very beginning throughout your existence, you tend to not notice it. I feel the world beating, animate and alive, because I am not.”

I had time to mutter, “Shit,” before the darkness ate my sight and swallowed me whole.

~*~

My first thought when I came to was that I had to stop passing out. I was losing huge chunks of time and it was beginning to severely annoy me. My second thought was of how I was getting from place to place and then back again. Logic dictated that Duo was carrying me around, and that really did aggravate me. Firstly because I wasn’t conscious to enjoy it, and secondly because I actually had that first thought.

I felt a smile on my lips, amused despite myself at the circles my mind was going in. I sat up slowly, scrubbing my hands over my face. I was still wearing my clothes from last night, so he had at least resisted the urge to strip me. I had a quick moment of conflicting feelings about that before I snorted and pushed it to the back of my mind. A glance at the clock told me it was just past three in the afternoon. Saturday afternoon, if I hadn’t lost another full day somewhere.

A week had gone by since I had first encountered Duo.

I wondered again what I was going to do. Last night had confirmed it; I couldn’t abandon the…power I’d tasted, and I wouldn’t simply surrender myself. I still didn’t know what option number three was, I’d find out sooner or later. Duo would show up again, of that I had no doubt. What he would do once he did show up, though…I wasn’t that surprised to discover I was more than a little eager to find that out, too. Despite everything, I still wanted Duo to fulfil his promise, and I knew the price. I’d heard an old saying along those lines, once. If I pay thee not in gold….

I got up, showered and went over – and then over again – what was happening to me. Everything I had encountered up to this point insisted that vampires wanted one of two things of a human: blood or possession. Blood I didn’t seem to have much of a problem with, there was glaring evidence of that on my skin. Being reduced to a possession was much more debatable. Yet, Duo had said, more than once, that he didn’t want to simply own me, and he’d already gotten my blood. I knew what he wanted from me next, and I was perilously close to giving it to him, but beyond that, I was lost.

I sat down on the couch, clad in pyjama pants and steaming coffee mug in hand. I was waiting again. It seemed like I spent every day now waiting for night to finally arrive, some days more anxiously than others. I was different, irreversibly changed. The phone rang, shrill and sudden. I jumped, nearly spilling my coffee. I set the mug down and walked quickly to the phone, wincing as it rung again. I turned the volume down as I picked up the receiver and said, “Hello?”

There was a short pause, then, “Hello, Heero.”

I slumped back against the wall, free hand flat against it. Duo’s voice was soft, flowing across the line and sounding as if he were there, in person. It was ridiculous. Telephone wires shouldn’t be able to convey that sound.

“Duo,” I said by way of greeting. Of all the things that had happened, this one struck me as the strangest. A vampire using a telephone. It seemed too…normal. My sense of normal was becoming skewed. “What do you want?”

“That was a harsh greeting.”

I grunted. He remained silent.

“Well?” I pressed, my nearly non-existent patience running out.

“I’d like to invite you to visit me.”

“What?” I blurted.

He heaved a long sigh. “I’m inviting you to my home.”

“Why?”

“You’re not gifted at phone conversations, either,” he said. “I’d like to see you, Heero, without trudging through the city all night.”

“Why your place?” I couldn’t wrap my brain around the concept of Duo casually inviting me over to his…residence. It just didn’t work. It was like inviting me on a date. I started to laugh quietly. If Duo ever invited me out for drinks, I knew what was on the menu.

“Heero?” His tone was questioning, bewildered almost. It made me laugh a little louder. “Are you alright?” he asked, and I thought I heard something like concern in his voice.

“Fine,” I said, regaining my control after the uncharacteristic outburst. I felt more laughter trying to claw its way out of my throat, but choked it back down. “So, why your place?”

“You’ve already been here,” he said.

I paused. So that was where I had woken up the first time last night. I wracked my memory, trying to picture something besides the bed I had lain on, and found nothing. And Duo was doing a wonderful job of avoiding the question.

“Alright,” I said. “Give me directions.”

There was the sound of Duo catching his breath on the line. I don’t think he expected me to agree, and truthfully, neither had I. My curiosity always seemed to get the better of me. It was a major fault.

He gave me directions, and I copied them down, then read them back to him. “What time should I be there?” I asked.

“After sunset.”

That reminded me…. “Aren’t you supposed to be…sleeping right now?”

He laughed quietly, and it was my turn for my breath to catch. “No, not necessarily. I usually wake in the afternoon, I don’t like morning.”

That was one way of phrasing it, but it didn’t tell me as much as I had hoped. “Alright,” I said again. “I’ll…see you then.”

Duo said goodbye, and I hung up. I stared at nothing for several minutes, trying to absorb what had just happened. I suddenly wanted to call him back and tell him no. I could have found his phone number if I looked hard enough. I was afraid, and full of nervous anticipation. I groaned softly and went back to the living room, my coffee still sitting in the middle of the table, steaming away. I ended up curling up in one corner of the couch, mug cradled in my hands and staring at the drawn curtains. I didn’t open them any longer, the light was too bright. Time passed, and I tried to figure out the mess that was my life.

Hours later, I was standing in front of my closet, hauling on a pair of plain dark pants and a deep green, short-sleeved shirt. The material was tight, but not uncomfortably so, and it left the marks on both my arm and neck bare. I’d chosen a shirt that hid them first, and when I realized, I changed. I felt cowardly hiding behind thin material, so now I was almost flaunting the wounds. Just another kind of foolish. I buttoned the pants and reached for my watch.

The light that seeped between my bedroom curtains changed, brightening. I saw it in the mirror seconds before I felt something huge and blistering smash through me. Suddenly I was on my knees, screaming, my heart pounding in my chest like it would burst from my body. The pain was like scorching flame, burning into me, searing my skin until my nerves were raw and naked. My eyes were clenched shut, tears running down my cheeks. I screamed until I couldn’t draw breath any longer, and I ground my teeth together, screaming my pain inside my head. And then it was finished, and I could breath again. I collapsed, taking great gasps of air. The pain faded, becoming a memory, and all I was left with was the ache in my jaw from clenched teeth.

I lay still for what seemed like eternity, then slowly, I rose. I swiped a hand over my face, then walked on unsteady legs to the bathroom. I washed the tears from my skin and avoided looking in the mirror. Then I sank to the floor, leaning against the door jamb. I was in shock. Mild shock, I told myself. It was a distant, muffled feeling, like I was detached from my body and the world.

The pain of sunset was steadily getting worse. This time…this time, it was like….

I slammed my fist into the floor, snarling in frustrated rage. I shoved myself to my feet and finished getting ready, raking a brush quickly through my hair and retrieving the watch from where it had fallen to the floor. I called a taxi service, grabbed my keys and left. I had planned on using public transport, but now I hadn’t the patience to wait. I was going to see Duo now.

The city flashed by, and I barely registered where we were going. I had the directions tucked into my pocket, and the driver had to use them twice. We went deeper into the city than I had ever bothered to venture before.

“You sure this is where you wanna be?” he asked, peering out the window at the building in front of us.

It was a blank, dark building. Plain…no, ugly. Nothing like the person who was supposed to own it. I stepped out of the car and paid the driver. Right now, I wasn’t at all sure this is where I wanted to be, but here I was.

“Yeah,” I told him, turning away. I felt a drop of wetness on my face, then another on my hand. The sidewalk was slowly becoming peppered with dark wet spots.

He grunted something under his breath, then drove away. I looked up at the building, my face set, and headed around to the side, where Duo had told me there was a door. I searched the blank wall for several moments before I saw it. Without asking myself again if this was an intelligent idea, since I was fairly certain of the answer, I grasped the handle and pulled. The air behind me grew colder as the rain started falling harder. I listened to the heavy sound of it hitting the ground. In front of me, there was a soft glow of light, showing two sets of stairs; one leading up, the other, down. I went down. The symbolism wasn’t lost on me.

Another door lay at the bottom, and I pushed that one open as well. It was darker here, the light a different colour than the usual yellowish glow of electricity. I glanced around, seeking the source, and only found a small table lamp. The room was decorated in stark black and white, with shades of grey. The carpet was pure white, the furniture that I could see, which included a wide couch, two overstuffed chairs and the low, square coffee table that the lamp sat on, were solid black. I swept my gaze over the room again, this time catching a smaller table, also black wood, with a tiny winged statue and a telephone on it. There were three doorways, the one I was standing in and two more, one on the far side and the other a few feet away, set back in a niche.

I stepped fully into the room, letting the door close softly behind me. I resisted the irrational urge to slam the door shut.

“This is as far as I go, Duo,” I said. “Where are you?”

I heard him moving around, and he materialized in the doorway not far from me. He looked at me and smiled. It looked genuine, not the carefully composed smile I was so used to seeing before. He started walking towards me, a greeting on his lips.

“It’s getting worse,” I snapped at him, not bothering to hide my anger.

His smile faltered and he slowed. “What is?”

“You know what I’m talking about,” I said, raking a hand through my hair. “When the sun sets and I-” I stopped short, catching the expression on his face.

“You feel it, yes, I know,” he said. His face had gone blank. A perfect, beautiful blank statue.

“But not like that, not before!” I said. I knew I wasn’t making it clearer, but that fear had finally caught up with me and it was quickly turning from rage to panic. “It’s worse. It hurt before, but now it’s worse. I can’t breathe through the pain.” Belatedly I realized that I had slumped back against the door, using it for support.

Suddenly, Duo was beside me, holding me in his arms. I stiffened, but he didn’t pull away. His hair was loose and fell around us. It brushed over my hand and I curled a lock around my finger without thinking. He was speaking, and I couldn’t hear him over the rushing in my ears. I looked up at him blankly and said, “What?”

He stopped short, mouth open and in mid-sentence. “Can you hear me?” he asked.

I nodded. I could hear him now. “Reverse it,” I said, annoyed that my voice sounded panicked. I was scared, that much was true, but I didn’t want to sound so frantic. “Stop it, keep it from getting worse.”

Duo looked at me, his eyes wary. “I can’t reverse it.”

“Duo!” I shouted at him.

He shook his head slowly. “I can’t, I told you I couldn’t. But…I can stop it.”

I stopped breathing for a second, then straightened. Duo’s arms fell away. “What do you mean?” I didn’t trust how he had phrased it. “Just keep it from getting worse?” I didn’t want to experience that everyday. I couldn’t die every time the sun set, and that’s exactly what it felt like.

Duo’s face closed down, hiding his thoughts completely from me. “Eventually.”

I scowled at him, crossing my arms over my chest. That was not what I wanted to hear, especially if it was the truth.

He sighed, turning away from me and walking into the room. “I said I wanted you, Heero.”

I hoped that he wasn’t referring to sex. I couldn’t handle a sex talk right now.

“I didn’t mean simply in a sexual way, though I want to have you, touch you and know you’re mine, just as much.” He settled down on the couch, long legs stretched out in front of him and hands loosely clasped over his stomach.

I noticed for the first time that his black pants were impossibly tight, the line so smooth that I knew there was nothing under them but him. The shirt was red, a deep, dark blood red, and completely sheer. I saw glimpses of his skin through the cloth. He shifted, turning his head to face me, and my gaze got caught on the sight of the sculpted curve of his chest and the dark aureoles of his nipples. My mouth had filled as he spoke, and I swallowed loudly. I wondered if he could hear it. I really couldn’t handle the sex talk.

“I don’t belong to anyone,” I said. “I won’t be reduced to your possession.”

“You already own me, Heero.” His eyes seemed to darken, and I took an involuntary step into the room, towards him. “Is it so much to ask that you share yourself with me?”

I concentrated on not moving closer to him and didn’t bother to answer.

“You seduced me, calling me in the night, heating my blood with your voice, and I am not allowed to return the favour?”

I shook my head, having to try twice before my voice would work. “I didn’t ask for this.”

“I am asking,” he replied. He moved again, kneeling sideways on the couch now with one foot still firmly on the floor. He held his hand out to me. “I want to have you with me, be able to touch your body, taste your skin.”

God, any god, help me, I wanted it. I wanted to take his hand and let him pull me down beside him, hoping that he’d never let go. I wanted to fall on him like some ravening animal and see what kind of sounds I could wrench from his throat. My body ached with it, my skin felt too small, too tight to contain me. I could feel my blood pulsing through my veins, heart pounding. Something stirred within me, and I could hear it asking me again why I refused the power and the pleasure. And I couldn’t think of a single reason for why not any more.

I started walking, hands still fisted at my sides. He watched me warily, holding himself perfectly still as if expecting me to turn and bolt from the room if he so much as twitched. I slid my hand into his, a brush of skin. He was warm, no…hot. His fingers closed slowly over mine and he looked up at me, his expression raw and open. I saw disbelieving relief in his face, and fear. Fear that I would turn away and reject him again, and that was something I just couldn’t bring myself to do. Partly because of him, but mostly for myself. Selfish, greedy hypocritical bastard that I am, I couldn’t bear the thought of not having him. It had taken me this long to admit it.

Duo watched me, not speaking. He drew me down in front of him until I sat on the cushions. His gaze dropped to where my hand was enclosed by his, then carefully released his grip. He trailed his fingers up over my arm and cupped my cheek, his eyes following the same path.

I swallowed again, and my breath caught. My body pulsed with anticipation, I could feel my clothes rubbing against my cock, already full and throbbing. My skin where he touched me seemed to flare with sensation, and I felt the velvet caress of power breathing through me.

“Duo,” I said, my voice deep and rough in my own ears. “I want….”

He shook his head again, silencing me, and rubbed his thumb over my lips. His own voice was rough when he spoke. “Do you know what you’re about to ask me?”

I had a quick flash of irritation through the haze of hormones raging through my blood. Of course I knew. I opened my mouth to tell him so.

“No, do you truly know what you’re about to ask?” He brought his other hand up, trapping my face between his palms. “You’ll never be the same, it will all change once and then never change again.”

I drew my eyebrows together, trying to tear my gaze away from his lips. I was mesmerized, watching them. “You’ve already – I’ve already changed, I can’t go back now.”

“No,” he said. “You can’t.” Then he covered my lips with his.

~*~

Duo’s lips were firm against mine, a startling contrast to the gentle touch of his hands on my face. The tenseness in his body that I hadn’t been aware of until now melted from him, and he rose above me, kneeling on the couch, and fed at my mouth, pushing his tongue between my lips. He held my head still while he tasted and explored, tilting my face as he liked to delve deeper inside. My hands were on his chest, tangled in the sheer material of his shirt. I groaned, trying to pull him closer.

He broke the kiss with an unsteady breath and drew back. I wasn’t ready to let him go yet, so I followed him, and his hands slid into my hair. I rose up and flicked my tongue over his lips, relishing the softness and the way his breath caught and then slowly eased out of him, mingling with my own. His whispered my name, and the raw need in his voice made me shiver.

“Bedroom,” I said, voice husky and low in my ears, running my hands over his chest. “Take me there.”

He hissed, “Yes,” and wrapped his arms around me, palms flat against my ass. The sudden contact made me gasp and I pressed myself into him, grabbing two fistfuls of his hair. He lifted me up easily, despite the awkward angle, and I wrapped my legs around him. He could probably lift a car just as effortlessly, balance and angles didn’t really seem to matter. It reminded me of what he was; a vampire…inhumanly strong, inhumanly beautiful…inhuman. I didn’t care, he was Duo.

I kissed his lips, fleetingly, chaste compared to the kiss we had just shared; then traced up his jawline with my mouth, flicking my tongue out to lick the soft skin behind his ear. I breathed in his scent, the smell of stormy rain clouds. I let my breath out in a rush, watched his hair stir in the current.

He moved through the room, into a hallway, and all I could see was him, everything else was secondary. I dimly registered that we were going up a stairway further in the building. The darkness around us lightened, and I finally lifted my head to glance around. The walls were dark, the floor as well. My eyes skipped over the furniture to settle on the bed. It was set down lower than the rest of the room, headboard against the back wall, three wide steps that formed a semi-circle around it leading down. The wall on the right side of the bed was all glass, the rain pounding a steady cadence against it and blurring the view as it poured down. The glass extended up the wall and over the ceiling, much like a sunroom or greenhouse, and let the wavering light of the city in.

Duo’s muscles bunched under my hands as he moved, taking us to the bed with its dark spread and even darker frame, and I kept running my hands over him, not able to stop touching. He set me down on the pure silken blackness, leaning over me and trailing his fingers across my face and lips. My skin burned where he touched me.

I reached for him, sliding my hands under his shirt and scraping my blunt nails down his chest. He sucked in a sharp breath, his cheek pressed to mine. The rhythm of the rain outside filled my ears, punctuated by the heavy sounds of our breathing.

His hands were on my thighs, travelling up over my hips and under my shirt. He bunched it up and pulled it over my head, one of his hands instantly returning to stroke up my side. His thumb brushed over one of my nipples as I tugged at his clothes, pulling his shirt up until I could splay my hands over the soft skin of his back. I felt the play of his muscles under my palms and then tugged impatiently at his shirt again. I wanted to feel his naked skin next to mine.

Duo’s eyes met my own, colours shifting and blending in the shadows. Light flashed outside, illuminating his features quickly before plunging them back into the dimness. I caught the wild look in his eyes, the glint of fang between his parted lips. I heard thunder roll, felt it rumble through the sky and ground. He grasped the hem of his shirt and pulled it off; I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him to me until I could feel the press of his bare flesh against me. Soft and firm, velvet smooth and covered in a fine sheen of sweat. I dipped my hands low and fumbled with the ties of his pants. I wanted – I needed more.

Lightning flashed again, the subsequent rumble of thunder coming faster now. Duo crawled down my body, reaching for his boots and tugging them off, mine following soon after. I reached for the buttons on my pants, then his hands were covering mine, undoing the buttons and pushing the material down off my hips. He looked up at me again as he slowly exposed me, pulling the pants completely off before kneeling between my spread legs. He glanced back down and I could taste his excitement like vintage wine on my tongue. I could feel sex and power flowing over us like the rain pouring down the glass above. It pushed through me, devouring everything but the need. I tried to speak and couldn’t find my voice, then Duo touched me and the thought of speech flew from my mind.

His fingers closed around my cock gently, not enough to ease the burning ache. I groaned, my hips jerking of their own volition. He firmed his grip and I couldn’t stop the whimper that escaped my throat. I needed more, he had to give me more.

I swallowed harshly again and tried to speak. “Duo…not…enough,” I managed to say, gasping. I started to say something more, but I felt the wet heat of his tongue brush over the tip of my erection at the same time, and my words died in a strangled cry that blended with the crash of thunder outside.

I grabbed his arms and pulled him up, catching his lips in a rough kiss and forcing my tongue past his lips and between the delicate points of his fangs. His hand gripped my cock again, fingers teasing the crown, dipping into the droplet of liquid that seeped from the tip. I moaned into his mouth and he stroked me slowly. I rocked my hips up, revelling in the surges of pleasure burning through my blood. I rubbed his tongue with my own, then ran it over his teeth and very deliberately scraped the sharp tip of a fang. I tasted blood and seconds later, Duo straddled me with a deep, nearly feral growl, fingers cupping my face as he stroked my tongue with his over and over again. My hands rested on the waistband of his pants as he fed at my mouth. His tongue pushed deeper, tangling with mine and he pulled back to lap at my lips, only to plunge his tongue back inside the wet heat.

Duo drew away with a shaky laugh, eyes burning. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I lose myself when you do that.” He voice came out as a low growl. Lightning flashed again and the thunderclap sounded before the light had faded.

I licked my lips, the small wound on my tongue pulsing with my heartbeat. Duo’s eyes followed my movement. I reached for the ties of his pants, undoing them quickly. I slid my hands past the material, feeling the silken heat of his skin, fingers brushing over him briefly before pushing his pants further down. His gaze flicked to where my hands were dark against his pale skin. I could hear his heart beating in his chest, frantic enough to match the tempo of my own. Another flash of lightning, and the marks on my body started to burn.

Duo quickly rid himself of his clothes, dropping his body down and pressing the line of our bodies together. His arousal was heavy where it lay on my thigh, and I shifted under him, bringing our heated lengths into contact. He thrust his hips against me, moaning low in his throat, his forehead pressed into the crook of my neck.

I arched up into him as his hands wandered over me. His tongue swiped in a hot, wet line across the bite mark on my neck. I tilted my head, giving him better access.

“No,” he growled, and I turned to look at him again. His eyes were drowning indigo blue, the white completely eaten away. “I don’t want to bleed you.”

“You want to fuck me,” I finished for him, gasping when he forced his hand between us, moving lower to dip his fingers into the cleft of my ass. I rocked into his hand as he circled a finger teasingly around my entrance.

“Oh, yes,” he hissed, my movements making his erection rub against me. “I want to be inside you.” He pushed the pad of his finger into me, slick with my precome.

I groaned loudly, hands clenching his shoulders. “I need it,” I panted, grating the words out between breaths.

He let out another low growl, rolling off of me quickly and reaching out into the dim light. I moved up further on the bed, propping myself up on my elbows. My cock was aching to be touched. I skimmed my fingers across my hip and wrapped a hand around it, firmly stroking from base to head. My mouth fell open as I gasped at the rush of pleasure, and I repeated the action. Liquid oozed from the tip. I rubbed my thumb through it, spreading it over the head and hissing at the sharpness of the sensation. My head fell back and I thrust my hips into the tunnel of my hand.

I felt Duo looming over me, his gaze heated. I looked at him and saw lust in his face, lust and need, desire and want. His eyes were flicking between my face and my groin. I smiled at him, a twist of my lips that was an open invitation. He crawled over me, hands on my thighs and pushing my legs apart so he could kneel between them. Slick fingers trailed over the skin of my sac, then lower, rubbing over the tight ring of muscle.

Duo’s eyes focused on my face for a moment before he dropped his gaze to watch his fingers playing over me. I planted my feet firmly on the bed and lifted my hips a little, baring everything to his sight. I heard his breath hitch and he slid a finger inside me, watching fixedly as it disappeared into my body.

I closed my eyes, concentrating on the feeling of his slippery finger stroking me. He pushed deep, then drew out again, fucking me with just the tip. I started rocking my hips, pushing down, and he curled his finger, rubbing the walls inside. My eyes opened to see him watching me, watching what he was doing, and I could feel the pleasure he gained from knowing he was touching me like this, inside me.

I groaned again, amazed at the delight he gained from such a small thing. I writhed on the bed below him as he stroked me from the inside, brushing over my prostate and sending shocks of pleasure coursing through me. He drew his finger out, pressing back in with two and plunging deeper. Everything was hot; the air, my body, Duo’s fingers inside me, the marks on my skin. I thought I would burn up in the heat. The rain outside thundered on the glass, flashes of light streaking through the sky.

“Heero,” Duo moaned. He had stopped moving his fingers and was watching me force myself down over them.

I pushed myself up, the arm I was bracing myself on shaking with the combined strain of holding myself up and enduring the pleasure Duo was causing; reaching down to touch his fingers where they vanished into me. I ran the tip of my finger around my entrance, brushing his fingers, and then grasped his wrist as he started thrusting them into me again. I tossed my head back and collapsed onto the bed, rolling my hips with the plunge of his fingers. Noises fell from my lips; his name, a plead for more, a curse.

“Enough,” he said suddenly, harshly. I focused dazed eyes on his face. “Enough,” he said again, softer, but his voice still husky. “I will have you forever to pleasure, to tease…I will have you.”

My voice wouldn’t work so I merely nodded, crying out when he took his fingers away in a quick jerk. His hands gripped my ass, lifting me, and I felt the head of his cock pressing against my entrance, then he slid leisurely inside me. I could feel him inch by inch, pushing against my inner walls, rubbing along them with delicious friction. The sensation of being taken, being filled by him, was sharp and clear. He kept pushing, kept filling me up, spreading me open. I shuddered and gasped his name.

I felt his thighs press against my ass, felt the entire throbbing length of him buried in me. Then he pulled out achingly slow, letting me feel his cock caress me from the inside. I arched my back, hands twisting in the brushed silk that I lay on. He pushed back into me quickly, a shocking contrast to his slow withdrawal and my mouth fell open in a scream, drowning out his own groan of pleasure. He did it again, trying to push himself deeper and deeper within me. Each time he thrust, I couldn’t stop the cry that was wrenched from my throat. I wrapped my legs around him and let him take me, riding the pleasure that he burned into my blood. A clap of thunder melded with my screams.

The air grew heavier, closer, and I knew it was power that swirled around us. I gave myself to it like I gave my body to Duo, letting it push deep into me. It caressed my skin, heightened each sensation. The marks seared into me, three burning points of pleasure and pain. It mingled with the tight coil of heat low in my body.

Duo’s fingers dug into my hips, the harsh rhythm of his breathing broken by his groans. Whimpers and screams fell from my lips as his cock pushed against my prostate, whiteness eating at the edges of my vision, the flashing of lightning outside helping the theft.

I felt him jerk inside me, the warm rush of his come spilling into me. He leaned down and wrapped his arms around me, lifting me onto his lap and forcing his cock deeper. I gripped his arms hard enough that my nails bit into his flesh, forming little half-moons of blood that blurred as it mingled with the sweat on his body. His cock pulsed with his release as he tried to push himself as deep into me as possible. I felt it coat my insides, hot and wet. He crushed me to him and sank his fangs into my neck. I felt him pierce the skin and something in me broke, surging up within me and spilling out of my mouth in a primal scream as my orgasm tore through me. My entire body throbbed, my vision vanished and I could hear nothing but the rush of blood through my veins. I screamed and cried as the storm raged overhead and through my body.

~*~

I had blanked out, because when I opened my eyes, Duo was leaning beside me where I lay spread out on the bed, stroking my face gently. His eyes were still drowning in colour, otherworldly and ethereal.

“Duo,” I croaked, my voice ruined from screaming.

He shushed me softly. “There’s more.”

My eyes widened. “What?”

He merely nodded, his other hand where it rested on my hip dropping lower. I could feel his release seeping from me and his fingers trailed through it. I groaned, my skin too sensitive.

“It has to be now, while the power rides you,” he said, and pushed his fingers into me.

I hissed sharply, in mingled pain and pleasure. With Duo, the line blurred and became indistinct. The feeling of trickling wetness on my skin made me look at the marks. They were bleeding like they were fresh again. The sky above still churned with the storm, the rain still pounded the glass.

“What has to be now?” I asked a little breathlessly. He was working his fingers in and out of me, spreading his come along the cleft of my ass. He looked like he was enjoying touching me, smearing his release along my skin, marking me in a different way.

“Everything has been leading to this,” he said, lowering his head to brush his lips over mine. His tongue darted out to flick over my lips, then he moved lower again, closing his mouth over the bleeding mark on my neck.

He started to suck gently, drawing my blood into his mouth; making my heart beat faster and the blood flow steadily from the wounds instead of trickle slowly. It pulled on things low in my body, brought something curling up through me, touching things with warm satin that were never meant to be touched. I groaned, this time in full pleasure. His tongue worked against the bite as his fingers moved, thumb pressing against the soft patch of skin just below my sac. My hand was buried in his hair, weaving strands of it around my fingers.

Duo lifted his face away from my neck, lips stained red with my blood. He kissed me, bittersweet metallic flavour flooding my mouth. He pulled back, tracing his tongue over my lips and I met his with my own, pushing and stroking against it. My breathing was uneven, shallow. My blood flowed faster, the sheet I lay on felt warm and slightly damp.

“Duo,” I said, the edge of fear in my voice, mixing oddly with the husky sound of my pleasure.

“Hush,” he said, moving his head lower so he could mouth the damp skin of my chest. I was sweating, the saltiness mixing in the bloodied wounds and stinging. His hand moved slowly, languidly, and my cock swelled to fullness. “This is what you asked for.”

“I don’t-”

“You did,” he said, lips pressed to my skin. “I asked you if you were certain. You own me, now I will own you. Yours. Mine. Ours.”

My throat felt tight, and the heavy air in the room was stirring again with power. I knew then that it hadn’t left, had never left; the power had waited for me, and now it would have me. Lightning flashed and thunder crashed in the sky.

Duo lifted his head, looking at my face. He crawled up my body and settled himself beside me, then pulled me into his lap, spreading his legs and letting me rest between them, my back to his chest. I blinked, and couldn’t focus my eyes, everything was as if I were in a dream. I was limp in his arms, concentrating on breathing through the energy that surrounded us. He brushed my hair away from my face, then ran his fingers through it. His other arm was wrapped around me, holding me tight. He rested his chin on top of my head and kept stroking my hair, comforting me. And still I bled.

I lifted my arm and bemusedly watched the blood flow down my skin in a dark red line. I could feel it draining away, seeping from me. Duo shifted again, turning me halfway around to face him. He bent his leg at the knee and leaned me back against it. I breathed deeply, catching his scent mixed in with the tang of blood and musky smell of sex. The power grew stronger, its rush melding with the beat of the rain.

He grasped my hand and I caught a flash of silver in the lightning before he placed the tiny knife in my palm and closed my fingers over the hilt. He pressed the tip of it to the centre of his chest, not breaking the skin, and left his hand there, held loosely over mine. He didn’t force my hand further. He held the blade there until I looked up at him. My mind sluggishly tried to keep up.

“Choose,” he said.

I looked at the silvery knife, at the rain pouring down overhead, my blood where it stained the sheets already ruined from other body fluids, then his eyes. I loved his eyes. I could watch his eyes shift and swirl until the sun burst and devoured us all in crimson-tainted flames.

I pressed the blade in, and a tiny drop of dark red blood welled from the tip, bright against Duo’s pale skin. I hesitated when I felt it bite through his flesh. He let his breath out in a hiss, his hand on my thigh, kneading, as I drew the knife down a little, making a tiny, deep wound. His blood stained the silver blade black. I looked up at him to find him watching me with a look he had given me only once before; hope and fear, desire and…something more.

I dropped the blade quickly and he let it fall. He pulled me down, bringing my mouth close to the cut. I braced my palms flat on his chest and rolled my eyes up to look at him. I didn’t think I could do what he intended. I couldn’t.

“My blood for yours,” he murmured, his eyes heavy-lidded. “I offer it to you.”

I stayed bent over him, energy, thunder, lightning and rain all blending into one. His skin was fevered and slick, firm and soft.

“Heero,” he breathed, almost reverently, my lips hovering over the wound I had made. There was a silent plea in his voice, begging me to do this, entreating me to finish what we had started such a short time ago.

I quickly swiped my tongue over it, tasting blood in my mouth. He gasped like it had hurt, or maybe it hadn’t hurt at all. The velvet power snaked up my spine, curled around my mind and urged me on. I did it again and his hand in my hair tightened. No, it hadn’t hurt. It had felt good. He shivered under me, and I repeated it. It felt good to me, the perfect smoothness of his skin in my mouth. I closed my mouth over the red mark and ran my tongue over it again and again, filling my mouth with the copper tang of his blood.

Power crashed over me, through me, burning hot and crushing. I panted against Duo’s skin, then pulled away from him and gasped, and my gasp changed to a scream as the power thrust into me. It pounded over me, I felt my blood flow faster and I screamed again. Duo’s hand left my hair and he held me as I writhed, my nails digging into him as he settled me back down on the bed. His mouth covered mine, drinking my screams and forcing more power through me, driving it deeper and deeper. He fed power to me, possessed my mouth and possessed me. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see, couldn’t hear. Duo’s hands on me were the only thing that kept me anchored. All the world had vanished, leaving only he and I, and the power stealing my life away, replacing it with something more and something less. I felt fleeting loss, enduring joy. I gathered my breath and screamed again as power and pleasure ripped through me, my hands tearing at the sheets.

It built and then ebbed, only to build again. I screamed until my lungs seized and I couldn’t gather my breath any more. I writhed on the bed, mouth open in a soundless cry. I let it ride me, I rode it. Silk and velvet caressed the raw endings of my nerves, curled through my veins and rubbed me in places too deep, too intimate to ever be touched. I died, and I had never felt so alive.

~*~

I dreamt that I was wading in water, warm water. It was deep and black, and then it was too thick to be water. It grew warmer and warmer until it scalded my skin. I raised my hand and it glistened with red blood.

I felt coldness wash over me and I whimpered, too spent to scream. My throat burned. I heard whispers in the dark and drew comfort from the warmth that cradled me.

~*~

I woke slowly, surfacing from sleep like a diver from the deepest ocean, my face buried in a pillow. I took a breath, then another. My pillow smelled like Duo. I woke up a little more, this time registering that there was a heavy, warm weight at my back, an arm thrown across my hip and a hand curved against my thigh. I sighed, and everything felt so right.

Duo’s arm shifted, curling over my chest and pulling me tight against him. “Hello, Heero,” he said, his voice lazy and full of satisfaction.

I grunted into the pillow, trying to summon up the state of mind to form a response. When that failed, I settled on grunting again. Duo chuckled, still managing to sound sated. Considering what had happened last night, I suppose he had good reason.

“Oh, fuck,” I said, jerking upright as I started to remember. Blinding light seared into my eyes and I shouted in surprised pain, throwing an arm up to shield myself and clenching my eyes tight. “Turn the damn light off!”

“There is no light on, Heero, lay back down,” he said calmly.

Duo tried to pull me back down beside him, and I resisted. He pulled a little more insistently, but still I didn’t budge. That wasn’t right. If Duo wanted me down, he’d be able to pull me down. He could toss me about like a doll if he wanted.

I sank slowly back down onto the bed, opening my eyes to narrow slits and blinking. It was amazingly bright. And loud. I could hear my naked skin brushing over the sheets like the rush of a waterfall. My breathing started to speed up again. I was starting to panic.

“Shush,” Duo said again, stroking a hand down my arm and smoothing my hair. “Wait a few moments, everything will settle in a minute.”

“What is wrong with me?” I asked, my voice like a shout in my ears. I winced.

“Nothing, Heero, nothing. You’ve simply…changed.”

“Damn it, it’s bright,” I groused, lowering my voice. I’m not my best in the morning. “What time is it?”

Duo curled his body around me, pulling me close. “Almost sunset. You chose a good time to rise.”

I swallowed hard. “…rise?” His words had finally registered on my abused brain.

He nodded the affirmative. I licked my lips, scrubbing a hand over my eyes. “What day is it?”

“Tuesday.”

“Fuck,” I said again. I’d lost almost three whole days.

I settled back on the bed, thinking that now would be a good time to have several panic attacks, rage and rant a little, then fall into another hysterical fit…but felt nothing. I took a better look around, realizing that we were in the same bed as that night, but the windows were gone. A closer inspection showed that there were solid pieces of something closed over them, I thought it might be metal.

Duo followed my gaze. “The windows are inconvenient, but provide a spectacular view. The blinds seal out the sun during the day.”

I had to agree. The thunderstorm still echoed in my ears, a sharp and clear memory. The room was quiet but for our movements.

The brightness wasn’t as cutting now, I found I could fully open my eyes without wincing. I glanced over myself and saw that the marks Duo had given me had healed over, faded to the shiny smoothness of an old scar. The slice on his chest was healed as well, paler than his skin and almost glossy. I lifted shaky fingers and traced the mark. He grasped my fingers in his hand and I met his gaze.

“What…happens now?” I asked somewhat tentatively. I didn’t think the implications of my actions had entirely sunk in yet. I bit into the side of my mouth as I spoke and cursed again, tasting blood. “Fuck,” I repeated. I opened my mouth and touched the sore spot, my finger brushing the sharp edge of a tooth. I stopped, my eyes going wide and gingerly touched my teeth again. I had fangs. Two tiny, delicate fangs. I started to feel light-headed, my vision spinning. I had fangs. Reality was sinking in much faster than I could handle.

“It’s alright,” Duo said, leaning over me. He rubbed his lips over mine, snaking his tongue out to dip into my mouth and lap at the redness.

“I have fangs,” I said, jerking away and starting to shake.

He pulled back far enough to regard me with his dual-coloured eyes. “Yes,” he said.

“I have fangs,” I said again. “Like yours. I’m like you. I’m…you’re….”

He nodded slowly while I babbled at him. I started to shake harder and tried to force myself to stop. It didn’t work. I had fangs. I was a vampire. Duo had made me a vampire. I had changed, finally and permanently. I shook and he held me. I could never go back. I waited for the helpless feeling of loss to set in, but I mourned nothing. I waited for the anger to come, but I was calm. I looked up at the swirling colour of his eyes and absently wondered if my own had begun to churn.

Gradually, time passed and what seemed like ages later my body finally stopped shivering. Duo’s hand was running through my hair over and over again. I tried to be angry, or sad, or anything at all, but there was nothing. I thought it was the disconnected feeling of shock setting in, and I knew the moment I considered the idea that it wasn’t.

“I’ve arranged for your things to be moved here,” he said.

“What?” His abruptness startled me.

“You can’t stay at your apartment, Heero. It’s too dangerous. I won’t lose you now.” His voice was fierce, eyes flashing.

I bristled at the fact that Duo had seen fit to move my things around like that, and for assuming that I would simply follow his lead without question. But he was right, my apartment wouldn’t be suitable…living quarters now. I let out a choked laugh at the irony of the statement.

I opened my mouth to say something, then I felt the world shudder and stop. No, not the world, my world stopped as the evening closed in. I felt the sun sink slowly below the horizon, surrendering its grasp on the earth with a lingering sigh. It passed without any pain and I was left feeling freer than I had even been. I could hear the white noise of life buzzing in the background, and if I chose to concentrate on it, I could clearly hear the world living. I let out a slow breath, the tension easing from my shoulders as my heart rate returned to normal.

“I had forgotten that you would do that,” Duo said softly.

I was still basking in the relief that the pain of the sun setting was gone. “Do what?” I asked, my irritation at him fading. Everything would be different now, I could handle it. I had to. I repeated that phrase over and over in my head.

“Breathe,” he said.

I looked at him sharply. “Your heart beats, you breathe.”

“Sometimes,” he said. “I don’t have to. You do it now, automatically.”

I drew my eyebrows together, staring at him. I had the urge to try and stop it, to hold my breath and see if I could stop my heart entirely. I didn’t, though. It scared me that I might be able to. Maybe I wasn’t ready to handle this at all, and that angered me. I hated being afraid of it, and of myself.

“You moved everything here?” I asked. I needed something to focus on, something to stop myself from dwelling too much on what I had done to myself – what Duo and I had done.

He was watching me carefully. “No, not all. Your things are still left in your office.”

“I want to get them.”

“I’ll arrange for it.”

“No, I want to get them. Now,” I stubbornly insisted.

“Now?” he said, clearly incredulous. “Heero, you can’t possibly be serious. You aren’t ready to…to go out.”

I narrowed my eyes. “I’m going, and I’m going now. Come with me or not, I don’t care.” I rolled off the side of the bed quickly, surprised by the speed of the movement. I stumbled once before I could stand. “Shit,” I breathed.

Duo propped himself up on his elbow. “You aren’t used to this yet, Heero. Please, wait until you are.”

I turned on him, an angry yell on my lips. How was I supposed to get used to it? I had fangs, I could move faster than my brain could register. I wasn’t sure that this was what I had asked for last night, my memory was distorted, but I knew I hadn’t -

I cut myself off before I opened my mouth. I had asked for this, I had told Duo I knew what I was asking, but I hadn’t really. I hadn’t known at all.

I straightened, looking down at him, pale against the darkness of the sheets. “What happens now?” I asked him again quietly.

“Now?” he said, rising from the bed. He moved perfectly, and I watched him knowing that soon I would be the same. “Now, everything begins.”

I stopped breathing as he glided across the carpet towards me, sinfully beautiful. I looked at him and knew he was mine now, as much as I was his. I felt my heartbeat slow. Duo came closer, enveloping me in his arms, pulling me close. My heart stopped beating at the same time his did. I could feel it halt in mid-beat. I wrapped my arms around him and we stood there, perfectly silent and still; the stillness of death in a world struggling with life.

“Your eyes,” he said, his face buried in my hair, “are the colour of a restless ocean and tempered steel.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I held him silently. I let my heart beat again, finding a small comfort in the familiar feeling, though I had never even given my regular, steady heartbeat a second thought. Another feeling rose up inside me, uncoiling from the pit of my stomach and spreading through me like a bird flexing its wings. I shuddered in Duo’s arms and he drew back, eyes searching my face. A new need grew within me, unfamiliar and frightening. The promise of having that need answered curled through my body, seducing me and overpowering my meagre fear.

I faced Duo and words spilled from my mouth, unbidden. “I hunger,” I said. The phrasing was foreign to me, but rolled off my tongue so naturally.

His lips twisted in a wicked smile. It made me catch my breath again and I knew that once I had sated this new hunger, I would satisfy myself with Duo’s sex. I let the heat of my desire show in my eyes and his darkened in response.

“Then we feed,” he said, his voice dropping into a low growl.

I tangled my hands into his hair, jerking his face close to mine. “Yes,” I murmured, drawing the last syllable out as I felt a surge of excitement course through me. My first instinct was to fight it, but I resisted the urge and let it devour me. I kissed him, sucked on his bottom lip before plunging my tongue into the warm heat of his mouth.

Oh, yes. I would feed.

~*~

Duo took me to the place where the pulse of the night city lay; the Riverside. We were standing outside, hidden in the shadows of a darkened building. I could see everything as clear as if it were day. He had been very entertained by my amazement – I hadn’t stopped to think that a vampire’s eyesight was quite that good.

The Riverside area stretched out before us, teeming with people. I could feel their heartbeats on the back of my tongue, sliding down my throat like sweet honey. The scent of their blood filled my nose. I wanted to take their life and hold it in my hands, drink it down and bask in it. My breathing turned shallow with the force of my need.

Duo slipped his arms around me from behind. He seemed to love holding me like that, resting his head on my shoulder and pressing his cheek to mine. His hair was tied back in a braid, snaking down his back in a shining chestnut rope. He wore a simple black tee and straight-legged pants, his black duster thrown over it. It should have been too warm for that much clothing, but Duo didn’t feel the heat or the cold like I did – like I used to.

I was comfortable in the clothes Duo had given me; a royal blue shirt, trimmed in silver with long sleeves that fit snugly to my body. It wrapped around me, creating a deep ‘V’ neck down passed the centre of my chest and tied at my side with silver thread. The pants he had chosen were tight, a matte black in the shadows but flashing silver when the light hit them. He had watched me dress, helping me into the shirt with heated delight in his eyes. I was ready to say the hell with taking care of this hunger of mine and sating myself on his skin. Duo insisted that he take me out first, he was eager share this new thing with me.

I stayed in the circle of his arms, trying to come to grips with the fact that I was actually regarding all the people mingling in front of me as something to feed on. My eyes continually wandered over the crowd as Duo searched.

“There,” he breathed into my ear, indicating a group of people entering one of the clubs. He slid his hand down my arm, grasping my fingers and pulling me along, diving straight into the dark, pulsing rhythm of the club’s interior.

I hesitated just inside the doorway, stumbling and nearly overcome by the tantalizing smell of so much heated blood. I watched the people move, rocking to the music, grinding their bodies together. My heart started to pound and I wet my suddenly dry lips. I heard laughter and moans rising above the din. There was blood and sex to be had here, and my hunger grew, threatening to rip away what little control I had.

“Where?” I asked Duo, my voice hoarse as I tugged him back.

He wrapped an arm around my waist, his face alight. “Follow me,” he said, and drew me deeper inside.

He plunged us into the throbbing press of bodies, his other hand tight on mine. I weaved through the crowd behind him, men and women turning to regard us with wide eyes and parted lips. Hands grazed over my body and one man, taller than I and with gleaming emerald eyes, met my gaze briefly. Instantly, he froze, a look of lustful expectation on his face, and I knew that he was mine. I had captured him with my eyes without meaning to. His blood was roaring through his veins and I could taste it. I stepped toward him.

“No,” Duo said, “Not that one. Release him.”

“…how?” I asked, my voice strained. All I had to do was take that last step and I could sink fang into the smooth skin of his curving neck….

“Heero,” Duo said sharply. “You know how, simply do it.”

I didn’t want to, I wanted to pierce his skin and lap at the dark red blood that would seep from the wound. I wanted to wrap his life around me, taste his skin and drink him down. The strong visual jerked me back, made me struggle to regain a bit of myself.

“I have another for you,” Duo murmured to me. “Release him.”

I glanced at Duo, throat constricting, but did as he said, and we moved on. I could feel the man’s eyes on me for a lingering moment, and knew that if I wanted to taste him, I could call and he would come. He was mine now.

I carefully avoided catching anyone else and followed Duo. He stopped suddenly, turned to face me and grabbed my hips, pulling me flush against him.

“Dance with me,” he said, sliding his hands down to grip my ass as he began to move against me. He glanced over my shoulder, then back at my face.

I shot him a confused look, but wrapped my arms around him and mimicked his movements. He pressed his leg between mine, bringing his hands trailing up my back. The taste of so much blood nearby made my head spin, and I clutched Duo’s shoulders.

“Duo,” I said roughly.

“Soon,” he promised.

His eyes flicked, again glancing behind me. I turned my head to look out of the corner of my eye, seeing a slight blond man slipping through the crowd toward us. Duo released me long enough to draw the man between us, bodies pressed close, and turned him to me. I looked at his face and saw eyes the colour of a tropical ocean. I knew him, I worked – had worked, with him.

“Heero,” he whispered, eyes wide and glassy. I recognized the expression on his face, the look in his eyes. Duo had taken him.

Duo’s hands snaked around his stomach, slipping under his shirt to trace a line across his skin. “This one,” he said to me, nuzzling the blond’s neck. “What is your name?” Duo asked him.

“…Quatre,” he answered, tipping his head, eyes drooping as Duo’s tongue teased his skin. He leaned back into Duo, one hand reaching for me.

“Come with us,” Duo said as Quatre’s hand tangled in my shirt.

He nodded slowly and let Duo lead him away.

“Heero,” Duo urged, turning to face me.

A low growl trickled from my lips, unbidden. I looked at Quatre’s pale skin, his lithe body encased in black pants and a dark shirt, and I followed them. I caught his wrist, wrapping my fingers around it. I felt his pulse beating erratically under his skin, and the hunger inside me flashed, coiling up through me in a tight spiral. I heard Quatre gasp, and he looked at me, a hunger of his own burning in his eyes.

I growled again, wrenching Quatre from Duo’s grasp and making the blond fall against me. I felt the surge of fear-tinged surprise well up from him, and it fuelled my need. Duo stepped up beside me, running his fingers over my parted lips. My breathing was shallow, my lips wet where I had run my tongue over them.

“Slowly, Heero,” he said.

He slid his arm around Quatre again, dragging him back towards the wall. The blond gripped my shirt, tugging me with them. Duo’s back hit the wall and he spread his legs a little, forcing Quatre to stand flush against him, between his legs. Duo nuzzled his neck again, hands roaming over his chest.

“I am Duo,” he breathed into Quatre’s ear. “Heero is my mate.”

I glanced up quickly at Duo. It was the first time he had used the phrase.

“Do you want him?” Duo asked, and I realized he was addressing Quatre.

If Quatre thought the question odd, I couldn’t tell. His eyes dropped, then rose slowly, taking in every inch of me. When his eyes met mine again, the need in them had grown. Lust swam in his eyes like a tangible thing. Oh, yes, he wanted me. I could taste his desire in my mouth, roll it on my tongue. Lust and blood…it was an intoxicating mixture.

“Yes,” Quatre hissed, hands pulling me against him. I could feel his heart pounding against his ribs, forcing his blood through his body. I felt him firm and ready through our clothing.

The music pounded around us, deafeningly loud, and I bent my head, brushing my lips carefully over his. His breath rushed out in a moan and his arms slipped around me, crushing our bodies together and pressing his groin insistently against me.

Duo let out a small, breathless sound, and I looked up to see his eyes gone completely indigo blue. I wondered if mine were the same, the white swallowed by the colour of my iris, and in the same instant, knew that they were.

“Take him,” Duo groaned. “Take him.” His command was more insistent, more forceful the second time.

I buried my hand in Quatre’s light hair, tilting his head to the side. I felt Duo’s gaze heavy on me, knew the feverish look that glistened in them. I ran my tongue over the beating pulse in Quatre’s neck, tasting the salt of his skin and under that, the unique, smooth flavour that was his own. His blood surged just below the surface. I closed my mouth over his raging pulse, feeling it jump against my tongue. My free hand was on his hip, fingers slipping through a belt loop. He thrust his hips against me and I sank my fangs into the soft skin of his neck.

He let out a breathy cry, arms tightening, short nails digging into the skin of my back where he had worked his hands under my shirt. I drew back, watching the darkness well from the two tiny punctures, then sealed my lips over it, laving it with my tongue and suckling.

Quatre was groaning loudly, pushing his erection harder and harder against me. His head was tossed back, eyes clenched tight. Duo moved with him, pressing his groin firmly against the blond man’s ass. The hand on my back convulsed and I drank down the glorious taste of him. It flowed into me, breathing life like I had never known through my limbs. The coil of power inside me, my power, broke free, surging upwards, out of my mouth and into Quatre, and he screamed breathlessly, shuddering.

His rhythm changed, turning frantic. More gasping nonsense sounds fell from his lips, changing to a high-pitched whimper as I continued to suck at his neck. I was rocking with him, the physical pleasure adding to the sensations already rubbing over my skin like the softest fur.

I heard Duo moan, “Yes,” at the same time Quatre jerked roughly against me. I felt his cock spasm where it pressed into me, and the heat of his release heating the material of his pants further. I could smell it, mixed through the scent of his blood and his skin. He was crying out, nails digging into my back. My senses were full of him, his taste, his scent, his voice.

I pulled away, letting the feelings ride me. It was extraordinary, and perfect. My eyes were heavy-lidded as I regarded Duo holding the spent, gasping Quatre in his arms. I felt satisfied and full, my skin tingling with the hum of power and his blood.

Quatre lifted his head slowly, like the action required energy that he didn’t have. “Heero,” he moaned, his hand pressed to his neck.

I looked at his face and knew that Quatre wouldn’t forget me, ever. Neither would I forget him. I had a piece of him now, and I meant to have another taste, another time.

Duo lifted him in his arms, carrying him over to one of the many couches spread along the wall. He set him down, drawing a white piece of material from his coat pocket and gently wiping at the wound. It had stopped bleeding, the skin healing quickly. I couldn’t see it happen, but if I looked away and glanced back, the mark had healed that much more. It would be completely gone by morning. I looked at Duo and guessed why the marks he gave me hadn’t healed. He had wanted more than sustenance, and he had gotten it.

He stood up, leaving Quatre nestled on the cushions, and crushed me to him, pressing his lips hard enough to mine that he forced my mouth open. My eyes slipped closed. His tongue pushed inside, teasing my tongue and thoroughly exploring my mouth. He was tasting Quatre on me.

When I opened my eyes, I saw Duo smiling at me; that same sated, contented smile that he saved for after sex. I felt my lips twist, mirroring him. There was no fear left in me now, no hesitation. The night that had drawn me for so long was now my world, and it was everything and more than I had thought it to be. I felt the heartbeat of the night pulse around me, and it was mine.

~*~

The moon shimmered in the sky high above us. I sat with my back against Duo’s chest, his legs around me, bent at the knee and feet flat on the shingles. We were on the roof of one of the buildings at the Riverside, watching the world move beneath us by the moon’s glow. The river shone with white light.

I sighed, curling my arm loosely over Duo’s thigh. His head rested on top of mine, and he stirred at the sound.

He was silent for a very long time before he finally spoke. “Do you regret?” he asked quietly.

I started to answer right away, but then thought better of it and seriously considered his question. I hadn’t seen the blinding fire of the red sun for weeks, and I didn’t miss it. I missed nothing. Once, I had thought that I would miss the comfort of my favourite coffee, but I had found something much better, much richer than its bitter warmth to wrap myself in.

There was nothing in my old life that had drawn me, consumed me so completely as Duo did. The moon was as bright as the sun to me now, the air milder, the steady flow of life around me sweeter. I had gained so much. I had gained Duo. He was mine now, forever, until the world faded and everything was but a memory, just as I was his. I had nothing to regret.

“No,” I said. “I have no regrets.”

“Heero,” he murmured.

He told me once that he loved the way my name rolled from his tongue, and I believed him. He said it so often. I settled closer, my hand tracing lazy patterns on his thigh.

He bent his head down, rubbing his face against my cheek and whispered quietly to me. “…mine,” he said. “My….”

I turned my head, kissing his lips softly, tasting him and drawing in the scent of rain winds. There was a lazy heat to our touches, slowed by the knowledge that eternity was ours. Soon, the heat would grow more insistent, grow and consume us both in a rush of power and sex that would leave us spent and sated, waiting for it to rise again. No, there was nothing for me to regret. There were many fates worse than being held in Duo’s arms. He held me, and the stars overhead passed us by as we bathed in the perfect light of summer’s blurry moon.

End

2 Responses to “Blurry Moon”

  1. Krysanthe Says:

    *drool* I just read this for the second time, (The first was a long, long time ago before my MAJOR GW fast…) and I swear it got better. Maybe it’ll be even better when I read it for a third time in a few months…hmm…

  2. Electric Blanket Says:

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