He didn’t like to think about the past.
He didn’t like to think about his life before Jensen.
About what a hapless loser he’d been, bullied and mocked day in and day out. Or about his mom, and how much she must miss him. Jensen once told him it only hurt if you remembered, so try not to remember. He tried not to, but it still hurt occasionally. On the other hand, he knew what he was agreeing to when he said yes. When he let Jensen take him by the hand and lead him away from that life.
He was eternally grateful for Jensen, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jared worked downtown. Served as barista in a small café just off Barstow.
It was en-route to the local campus and was a haven for college students. He fit in well with the crowd, and most assumed he was a student himself. He could be, after all, and at one point had hoped to be. But things changed. Priorities shifted, and now he had a different purpose.
He was only nineteen, but tall for age—tall for any age, really—and could easily pass for older. One of the regulars, Genevieve, was a psychology major. She always cradled heavy textbooks in her arms, and today she wore a low-cut top. She leaned in a little farther than necessary when placing her order, and then invited him to a pub crawl. He politely declined.
“I’ll get you one of these days,” She said with a playful wink. He shrugged his shoulders and moved to the next customer.
She was a sweet girl, but he wasn’t in the business of making friends. The original rule had been to function as if he was invisible, but invisible was something Jared just couldn’t do. His presence made an impact whether he wanted it to or not, so instead he aimed for low-key. He smiled and made polite conversation, but never agreed to do anything that created long-term ties. Be present, but not present.
At least, that’s what Jensen told him to do.
By ten o’clock the morning rush had cleared and only one customer remained. He waved before he walked out the door, and Jared waved back. He then busied himself by wiping down a few tables and only lifted his head when the bell chimed.
A man walked in. Maybe twenty or twenty-three years old. His steps were slow and a little hesitant. Clearly new to the shop, Jared thought. He walked up to the counter and Jared ambled to help him. Asked what he could get him and the man ordered a large mocha.
They made small talk while Jared prepared the drink. He learned the man’s name was Gabe, and that he was new to town. He wondered if Jared had any recommendations for dinner. Hadn’t had a chance to unpack any of his dishes yet and was yearning for something didn’t come out of a microwave.
Jared slid the mocha across the counter. He leaned in and peered up at him from beneath floppy bangs. He’d never done well with flirting. Always came off as awkward and timid despite his nature as an extrovert. Only now, when Gabe met his gaze and wet his lips, Jared knew he was in.
“Tell you what. How about I take you out? Show you the town and treat you to dinner.”
It was a shot in the dark, but Gabe blushed a little and nodded his head.
“I’d like that,” He said.
“I can’t believe you.”
“Tie, or no tie?” Jared held the tie up to his shirt and Jensen huffed quietly.
“You’re an idiot,” He said. “You aren’t actually going on a date with him.”
“I know that.” He walked over and took a seat on the couch. Snuggled up to Jensen’s side and held the tie out in front of him. “But I need to look the part. If I show up in a black mask and gloves, he might get a little suspicious.”
Jensen ignored him. “Do you know how many people could have overheard you? Or even just seen you making plans with him?” He asked.
“The shop was empty and he’s new to town. Doesn’t know a soul.”
“You’re being sloppy.”
“You have to admit he’s perfect.”
Jensen crossed his arms crankily and Jared rolled his eyes.
“Oh, whatever. I know what I’m doing.”
“And someone from town, no less. What happened to the thirty mile rule?”
“It was a stupid rule, that’s what happened.”
Jensen’s eyes narrowed and Jared paused. He set the tie down over his knee and fumbled over his words as he said, “I mean, it’s not stupid. It’s just—this guy—seriously, Jen, he’s perfect. Why pass on that sort of opportunity?”
Jensen’s gaze softened. He heaved a quiet sigh and slumped forward, burying his head in his hands. He looked tired. Weak. Jared placed a hand on his back and smoothed the fabric of his t-shirt. He traced the curve of his spine and shivered a little when he realized he could feel each hump and ridge along the way. He was getting thin. Too thin.
He leaned in. Rested his chin on Jensen’s shoulder and pressed his nose against his jaw. “We need somebody,” He whispered. “You need somebody.”
Sure, it might not be their normal routine, but what was normal. He knew what he was doing. He had a plan and would succeed or die trying. That was the promise he’d made to Jensen three years ago, and he had no intention of fucking it up. Not now or ever.
Jensen unmasked his hands from his face. His skin was as pale as porcelain and dark shadows bruised the skin beneath his eyes. Jared admired him for a moment and then pressed his lips to the side of his mouth. He lingered there until Jensen turned his head. He met his lips in a full kiss and Jared deepened it. Thread his fingers through Jensen’s hair and tugged him closer. His lips were dry and beginning to crack. He needed to feed. Time was becoming of the essence, and Jensen must have recognized it as well.
He pulled away. Gazed up at Jared and mumbled, “Fine. But be careful.”
Jared smiled. “I always am,” He said.
“Where are we going?” There was an edge to his tone.
He’d picked Gabe up outside a bar a few blocks from his apartment. They drove through the busiest streets, past the trendiest restaurants and by the clubs and taverns. Apartments became a little more rundown and empty lots of land gradually dissolved into forest.
“Thought I’d take you to this little place just outside the city,” He lied.
Gabe appeared to relax, but only by a hair. He wrung his hands in his lap. Nervous, Jared thought.
“I kind of wanted to go somewhere in the city,” He said. “I mean, I live right in town so I kind of wanted to…” He trailed off as Jared slowed the car. “What are you doing?” He asked. His voice broke a little, and there it was. Anxiety. Fear. Jared basked in it. Soaked it up and smiled a little as he pulled the car onto the shoulder. The sky was pitch black, not a star in sight. They were completely alone.
He looked Gabe in the eye. “I’m sorry,” He said and reached out to take Gabe’s hand. He thread their fingers together and watched as his brow knit with confusion.
“For what?” Gabe asked slowly.
He tightened his grip. Jerked Gabe’s arm toward him and pulled the syringe from his pocket. In a well-rehearsed motion, he inserted the needle cleanly into his skin. Injected the propofol and watched as Gabe sputtered with confusion. He tried to pull away, but it was too late. It was over in six seconds flat, and Jared dropped his hand. Gabe’s eyes were wide. Terrified. But gradually his actions began to slow, and his eyes had glazed-over by the time they reached thirty seconds.
He fell forward, unconscious, and Jared quickly set to work.
Jensen crowded him against the wall as soon as he was in the door.
“I could smell you,” He whispered. “A mile away and I could smell you.”
He pressed his nose against the crook of Jared’s neck and inhaled deeply. Jared could feel the slick slide of his tongue against his skin. Lapping at it like an overexcited puppy. He liked it when Jensen got like this—buzzing with nervous energy that had built while he was out.
Jensen continued to lick and kiss and suck at his neck. Sometimes he worried he’d bite him. He knew he wouldn’t—knew he could trust him not to—but still. He was a vampire and that was their nature, wasn’t it?
“Got a present for you,” He said, and this made Jensen stop. He pulled back and looked up at Jared with a small smile. Like a child on Christmas morning.
He dropped the bag from his shoulder and pulled out the sealed container. Red liquid sloshed from side to side inside. Blood. Gabe’s blood. He pressed it into Jensen’s hands, and something shifted in his eye. The normally bright green darkened a shade or two. He swallowed thickly and motioned toward the bedroom.
“I’m going to…” He trailed off. His tongue darted out to wet his lips and Jared nodded. He knew Jensen became something else when he fed. Something that was out of his control. Something he hated and never wanted Jared to see. Well, didn’t want him to see again, at least.
That was why he helped him. Helped him contain it. Fetched the blood for him so he didn’t have to rip the flesh from the body himself and suck it dry. It had become his purpose in life: to serve Jensen and help him retain what humanity he had left.
If Jared ever stopped to think, he might have considered how much of his own he’d lost. Only three years had passed, and it was a little terrifying how easily he could kill a person. He thought back to his first time—how nervous he’d been and how Jensen had helped him. Guided him along step by step and how they’d had sex immediately after, his hands still slick with spilled blood. Jensen had licked it from his skin. Licked him until he was clean, although he wasn’t sure he’d ever truly be clean again. Killing was second-nature for him now. It was so easy for him to puncture the skin and insert the tube. It was practically enjoyable to watch blood flow into the container, and that rush of excitement he felt at a job well done? Well, there was really nothing else like it.
This was his life from here out, and he was ok with that.
Now, Jensen opened the container. Breathed in the scent of the blood and sighed gratefully. When he opened his mouth a little, Jared could see his fangs slowly extracting themselves from his gums. He strode out of the room without another word. Disappeared into their bedroom and closed the door.
Jared took a seat on the couch and waited. He could hear the low growls through the thin walls. Panting.
He’d done well.
When Jensen reappeared, his lips were stained red as was the skin around his mouth. A small trickle of blood inched its way down his chin. Jared stood up and met him partway across the room. He swiped the blood with his index finger and let Jensen wrap his lips around the digit. He sucked it dry and then captured Jared’s lips in a kiss. The coppery tang of blood was still fresh on his tongue. He licked up into Jared’s mouth. Kissed him hungrily. His strength was returning and he looked better already. Fuller. Stronger. He pushed Jared back until his back collided with the wall. Pinned him there, and Jared couldn’t move an inch even if he wanted to.
Heat curled down into his abdomen. Jensen had his hands fisted in his hair. Pulling. Tugging. He nipped at his lower lip and then shoved his thigh against Jared’s crotch.
“Well, hello there,” He murmured, probably able to feel how hard Jared was already. Jared in turn choked back a moan. He’d never admit it, but nothing turned him on more than Jensen taking control. Then again, Jensen probably already knew. He was centuries older and wiser. Jared had a lot to learn from him.
“Ready?” Jensen all but growled. Jared nodded, and Jensen placed one hand over his heart while he snaked the other between them. He fumbled with Jared’s belt a little and then shoved his jeans and boxers down his hips. Immediately he found the tip of his cock and swirled his thumb expertly, smearing the drips of precome gathered at the head.
“Do it,” Jared breathed. Jensen’s eyes flicked up to meet his. He smirked a little and pulled his hand away.
“What did you say?”
“Fuck. Jensen. Please.”
He hummed quietly and leaned in to kiss him again. The slow, wet drag of his mouth against his was maddening. Finally, after ten excruciating seconds, he took hold of Jared’s length. He gave it one smooth stroke from root to tip and then began to jack him slowly. Deliberately.
He attached his mouth to Jared’s neck, just beneath his jaw. Sucked hotly at his skin and Jared moaned. He hooked a leg around Jensen’s calf and pulled him closer. Jensen slowed down a little. Rolled his palm over the head of Jared’s cock and Jared cursed quietly. He bit down on his lower lip and bucked his hips when Jensen picked up pace again.
Jensen tightened his grip on the upstroke. Twisted his palm a little and it only took a few more passes. Jared’s body twitched as he came. He spilled over Jensen’s fingers and onto his own t-shirt.
“Good boy,” Jensen murmured.
“Fuck you,” He spit back and then laughed a little. Jensen stroked him a few more times and then stopped. He reached for a discarded dish towel that lay on the table a couple of feet away. Cleaned them up and then tossed it to the floor.
“Bedroom,” He said. Jared fumbled to pull his pants up but then realized he probably wouldn’t need them, anyway. He kicked them off. Left them in a heap and hurriedly followed Jensen into the bedroom.
Inside, the empty container sat on the dresser. A few spatters of spilled blood dotted the sheets, and in the center of the room Jensen began to strip. He pulled his t-shirt over his head, revealing a smooth expanse of pale skin. He started on his belt and smiled in Jared’s direction.
That smile. It was that smile that had made Jared fall for him, and that had urged him to say yes. He knew it would only be so long, though. There had been so many people before him, and so many more to come in the future. He understood that. Soon enough Jensen would turn that smile on somebody else—someone fresher, someone younger. But for now it was his. For now Jensen was his, and he was Jensen’s.
And that was all that mattered.