The soft breathing of the sleeping man next to him filled the room and Armand stilled his own breath in response, the better to capture each rise and fall of his companion's chest. Not like he needed to breathe anyway, neither of them did. It was just habit, something the body remembered and held onto for years - centuries - after death.
His mind wandered, remembering the night's events. He heard once again the moans and growls, the frantic mutterings as they came together. He heard the tearing sound of fangs drawing blood and the sharp slap of flesh against flesh. He heard the bedsprings creak and he heard himself call his lover's name as he came.
His lover? No, that implied something more than this desperate, one-sided longing. It implied a relationship he knew now that he and Louis would never have. He knew this was a loveless act on Louis's part and he knew he'd only be fooling himself to think otherwise.
He knew what he would find if he were to peer into Louis's thoughts as he lay there now, sleeping and defenseless, and he didn't want to see it, would rather pretend he didn't know. He remembered a night years ago, a night when his curiosity had gotten the better of him and he'd allowed his thoughts to drift towards Louis, wanting to know what sparked that brief passion, terrified that it would confirm what he already suspected.
In that moment, that snarling, piercing moment when Louis's mouth had stretched wide with a soul-shattering cry that was as much rage and pain and sorrow as it was pleasure, he had looked into his mind and everything he'd seen was shining and golden and bright, grey eyes and love and not a single thought for Armand.
He'd lain there afterwards, watching as Louis got dressed and left without a word. So this is it then? For this he'd plotted and murdered and betrayed? For this life of sterile silence that threatened to crush him? For those hard, remorseless eyes that bored into his soul, judging him and finding him always wanting, eyes that softened only with the memory of Lestat.
In the next room, the clock chimed the hour, bringing him back to the present, to yet another night of meaningless sex in which Louis pretended Armand was Lestat and Armand, in turn, pretended Louis loved him.
A small, bitter bark of a laugh escaped his lips, causing Louis to shift and murmur in his sleep, the rustle of the sheets echoing loudly in the empty silence of the flat. He absorbed those sounds as he did the breathing, taking them into himself and making them into memories for the time when Louis was no longer with him.