It’s hard, having a honeymoon when your new husband can’t stand in direct sunlight. Alfred sighs, takes one last, longing look out the window where the noonday sun is shining brightly, and lets the blackout curtain drop, sending the room back into darkness.
Matthew is asleep on the bed, starfished across the middle, and Alfred stares at the strong pale lines of his back, resentment warring with longing. He— Alfred hardly knows Matthew, and it’s—
It’s not easy, being married to someone you hardly know, even if your marriage to him goes a long way to soothing the tensions between your peoples. Alfred sighs again, and tries not to focus on the anger he’s felt toward his papa for marrying him off to someone who can’t turn his face to the bright blue sky, who can’t feel the warmth of the sun on his skin.
Alfred is loup-garou, and his kind are known for their love of the moon. But Alfred—
Alfred is a child of sunshine, of daytime and hot summer mornings, and adapting his life to the night is no easy thing. He closes his eyes and breathes deeply, and when he opens them again, he sees that Matthew has stirred, and is gazing at Alfred with the tiniest furrow between his brows. The sight sets something hot and painful rising in the back of his throat, and he turns away.
“I need ice,” he says, voice rough even to his own ears. He heads for the door and avoids looking at the bed, at Matthew’s sad eyes, and he doesn’t wait for a response before he slips out of the room.
(In the back of his mind he hears his papa’s voice: “Oh, mon chou, you must give him a chance” and “You must keep an open heart” and “You will learn to love him.”
And Alfred is trying, he honestly is. But it’s hard, when you don’t even know where to start, and when you look at your husband and all you can think is: we’re stuck.)
When Alfred had come back to their room, Matthew had been asleep again. Sharing the bed with him is awkward still, so Alfred settles in the chair by the window with a book and tugs the curtain aside so that he has just enough light to read by.
He falls asleep sometime before Frodo reaches Rivendell, and the next thing he knows, Matthew is gently tugging the book from his hands, marking it carefully and setting it aside. Alfred frowns sleepily at him, confused, and Matthew touches his forearm.
“It’s getting dark,” he says. He sounds hesitant, but there’s a hopeful smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “I thought that maybe you’d be hungry. And, uh— Seaside is known for its boardwalk. We could go and look around, if you’d like. It’s Wednesday, and we could see the fireworks.”
Matthew shifts awkwardly, and it occurs to Alfred that he’s trying, even if it’s sometimes hard for him to be around large crowds of people. Alfred swallows. If this is Matthew trying to make peace, then Alfred could meet him halfway.
“Yeah,” he says, quietly. “I— That would be nice.” He doesn’t meet Matthew’s eyes as he speaks, but he glances up in time to see a grin flash across Matthew’s face.
It’s good. It’s a start.
The smell of sausage and peppers, and funnel cake, and pizza is thick on the air as he and Matthew amble up to the boardwalk. Alfred’s stomach growls loudly, and he laughs sheepishly when Matthew gives him a quick smile.
“I guess I’m hungrier than I thought,” he says, rubbing a hand across the back of his head.
“That’s why we’re here,” Matthew replies. He tears his gaze away from Alfred and looks out across the boardwalk. It’s dark now, and all the lights are on, casting a bright glow over the crowds of people talking and laughing. Briefly, he’s glad that he has eaten recently, or else all the humans here would have his mouth watering. It’s hard enough being around Alfred alone sometimes—although the hunger Matthew feels when looking at him isn’t always of the “want to eat variety.”
“I want zeppoles,” Alfred announces suddenly, when his eye catches sight of a child with powdered sugar smeared across her face.
“For supper?” Matthew snorts.
Alfred rolls his eyes. “You sound like my papa,” he says, knocking his elbow against Matthew’s. “Fine; pizza and then zeppoles.”
“I’m only saying!” he laughs. “Fried dough isn’t really supper, is all.”
“It’s a vacation! Normal rules don’t count!”
Alfred finds himself grinning widely at Matthew, feeling warmly to his husband—still such an odd thought, but maybe not as as bad as he’d first believed—for what feels like the first time. “C’mon,” he says, “let’s go.”
For a moment, he’s tempted to take Matthew’s hand in his, but then—
Maybe not yet. But soon, he thinks. Maybe soon.
“I was disappointed,” Matthew says, settling beside Alfred on the bench. He’s looking at the food in Alfred’s lap with a wry smile. “I was disappointed when I learned that there’s no actual blood in Bloody Marys.”
The words startle a laugh from Alfred, and at the sound of it, Matthew sends him a brief, bright grin. This time the heat that settles in Alfred’s gut is not at all painful.
“Was it strange?” Alfred asks around a zeppole. In the back of his mind, he can hear his papa admonishing him for chewing with his mouth opened, but Matthew doesn’t seem to mind. He just makes an inquiring noise in the back of his throat. “Realizing you can’t eat, uh, regular food anymore. Do you miss it?” He stumbles over the words, suddenly unsure. They’ve never talked about Matthew’s vampirism before.
They’ve never talked about much of anything substantial, Alfred’s realizing now.
But Matthew doesn’t seem to mind. He shrugs. “It’s been such a long time since then that I’m not sure I remember exactly what it’s like. But I remember being upset when Arthur explained to me that vampires don’t—can’t—digest anything but blood. It’s… It’s not a bland diet; different blood tastes differently, but it can feel monotonous after awhile.” He thinks that, before he was turned, he’d had a mother who could do wonders with roasted meat, even when they didn’t have much else but the game they were able to hunt and snare.
“It’s hard to miss specific things,” he says quietly, his eyes trained on Alfred’s mouth as he licks the powdered sugar from his lips. He clears his throat. “But I miss the idea of it, sometimes. Like I miss the daylight.”
He smiles at Alfred, but it’s a small sad thing and Alfred feels bad for bringing those memories up. He can imagine the wolf inside of him sinking low to the ground, ears pinned back.
Alfred takes a deep breath and shakes the sugar from his fingertips. “Let’s go to the arcade,” he says abruptly. “I bet I can win more things than you!”
Matthew cocks an eyebrow, but he seems to understand. With a grin he says, “We’ll see about that.
“It’s defective,” Alfred grumbles, glaring at the claw machine. They’re in Lucky Leo’s, playing games, and already have a large collection of tickets. Matthew is, surprisingly, the best skee ball player Alfred has ever seen. He hadn’t expected that, but Matthew had just grinned smugly at him.
“It’s not the machine’s fault that you can’t position the claw properly,” Matthew replies, snickering. “That’s your own problem.”
It’s not like Matthew’s done much better, however, so he has no right to laugh at him, in Alfred’s opinion. “Well,” he huffs, “at least I didn’t waste twenty quarters trying to win a unicorn.”
“But I did win, in the end,” Matthew says smugly. He brandishes the stuffed animal in Alfred’s direction and shakes it a little. “All you got from the crane machine was disappointment!”
Matthew’s grin softens. “But I won it for you,” he admits.
Alfred blushes, red staining his cheeks. He can’t help the smile of his own that steals across his face when Matthew presses the toy into his arms. It’s such a silly little thing, just a cheap plush doll, but Alfred’s belly feels warm with pleasure, and his heart beats fast in his chest. He looks down at the unicorn’s multi-colored mane and says, “Well. Uh. Thanks. I mean—it’s—I like it.”
Matthew beams at him. “I’m glad.” He hesitates for a moment and then reaches to grab one of Alfred’s hands, lacing their fingers together. “C’mon. It’s getting late. Let’s go on one last ride and then get out of here. We haven’t been on the Tilt-a-Whirl yet.”
They stumble back to their hotel room, panting into each other’s mouths. Matthew holds Alfred close to him as he noses his way down Alfred’s jaw to his neck. The wolf inside him shudders as Matthew’s lips close around the sensitive skin just below his ear.
“C’mon,” he gasps shakily, tugging Matthew toward the neatly-made bed. “C’mon, c’mon.”
“Hold your horses,” Matthew breathes. His eyes are bright, even in the darkness of the room. The only light peeks in around the edges of the blinds hanging in the windows from the street. Alfred’s sight isn’t as good in darkness as Matthew’s is, but he can see the flash of teeth when he pulls back to grin at Alfred. “Clothes off first.”
“Yeah, fine, but hurry!” Alfred says. He tugs his shirt over his head and then reaches over to do the same for Matthew, whining just a little when Matthew bats his hands away.
“Your pants,” he says, pulling his own shirt up and off.
Matthew’s words bring attention to his cock, uncomfortably tight where it presses up against the zipper of his jeans. He reaches down to loosen them, shuddering as the pressure against his dick releases just a little. When he’s finally naked, clothes left in a pile at his feet, his cock bobs and twitches as the cool air brushes over it. Matthew eyes him hungrily.
“I wanna suck you off,” he says breathlessly, shoving his own pants down and kicking them aside. “I want—”
His words, absurdly, set Alfred giggling, and he buries his flaming cheeks in his hands. Matthew pauses, scowling, and Alfred manages, “I just—It reminded me of a bad Dracula movie. I want to suck your blood!” He laughs helplessly as Matthew slaps a hand to his own forehead.
“Christ,” he mumbles. “Why do I even like you.”
But there’s affection in Matthew’s voice, and Alfred forces himself to meet Matthew’s gaze, sees the fondness there, and abruptly his laughter subsides.
“Come here,” he murmurs, holding out his arms. Matthew’s pale, even with the shadows playing across his skin. His cock is hard and flushed and jutting out from between his legs, and Alfred wants him, wants the strong lines of his body pressed against Alfred’s own, wants that cock inside him and filling him.
It’s rather a lot to want all at once, especially when, just this morning, he’d been wishing that he wasn’t married to Matthew. But before he can panic, Matthew’s there, his mouth back against Alfred’s, distracting him from any anxiety.
Matthew tips him onto the bed, gently, and when Alfred stares up at him, he grins and follows, crawling between his legs. “I still do,” he says, eyes eyes dropping to Alfred’s cock. “Want to suck you off, I mean.”
“Please,” Alfred says. There’s no joking now, not when Matthew trails light fingers from his balls up to the tip of his dick. It’s not enough friction, but he shudders anyway, and pre-come beads at the head.
Without another word, Matthew leans forward to press his lips to the crown, tongue running over the slit. Alfred can’t help the groan rising in his chest as Matthew ducks his head farther, taking more of him into his mouth and sucking, gently.
“Oh,” he gasps, hands clutching at the blanket beneath him. “Matt—more, I—”
Matthew hums, eyes flicking up to meet Alfred’s. They’re crinkled at the corners with good humor, and he manages a devilish smile as he swallows around Alfred’s dick.
That gets a shout, the sound bursting from his lips as Alfred arches, unable to help thrusting his hips upward. Matthew throws a heavy arm over Alfred to keep him still, but he is obviously pleased with himself, and he doesn’t let up, just keeps his tongue running up along his cock, pausing only to breathe through his nose or to swallow more around him.
Alfred feels like he’s floating through a haze of pleasure, the orgasm building up in his balls. When he gasps out, “‘M close, please—” Matthew pulls off with a wet pop, and Alfred whines loudly. “Matt—”
He chokes on his words at the sight of the teasing grin on Matthew’s face as he holds Alfred’s cock at the base.
“Want you to come on my cock,” Matthew says, voice all rough and fucked up. The sound of it makes Alfred shudder. “Want to be inside you and feel you come around me.”
“Yeah,” Alfred breathes, eyes wide. “Yeah, me too.” He opens his arms to Matthew again, and Matthew crawls up over him to press long languid kisses to his mouth. He can taste the salty pre-come on Matthew’s tongue and clings to his shoulders. He can feel Matthew’s dick pressed hard against his. Alfred wants it very badly.
They make out for awhile first, though, breathing each other in till Matthew says,“Condom?” He tilts his head and pants hard against Alfred’s shoulder. He’s pressed Alfred to the bed, a pleasant weight blanketing him, and Alfred shivers, fingers digging into his shoulders. His skin is cool to the touch, as all vampires are, but Alfred is burning hot enough for both of them.
“We’re married,” he replies. He groans when Matthew bucks against him, cock dragging wetly across Alfred’s hip and leaving a trail of pre-come as it moves. He can feel it twitch against him.
“But—” Matthew starts, before the words are lost as Alfred arches against him. After that, he doesn’t protest too much, only moves to find the lube stored in his luggage, cock bobbing as he walks. He coats his fingers and then slips one inside of Alfred, who shudders and clenches around it.
“Christ,” Matthew murmurs, twisting his fingers. His eyes are a little wide as he stares down at the way Alfred spreads his legs and tries to push himself back on his hand. “I’ve never been with someone so responsive. You’re just—” He shakes his head, unable to find the words.
Alfred grins blearily up at him. “Feels good. ‘S just—oh, yes, right there.” He moans around the words as Matthew’s fingers nudge his prostate. His cock is dripping pre-come, and if he had the presence of mind to look down, he’d see that Matthew’s not much better. “I’m ready,” he says, finally. “Give it to me!”
Matthew huffs a laugh. “You’re so demanding.” But he pulls his hand free and dribbles more lube onto it, then coats his cock till its shining with slick. “Yeah, you are,” he says when Alfred protests.
He shuffles forward on his knees, hand holding his cock steady as he presses the blunt head of it against Alfred’s hole. Matthew’s decently sized, thick where it counts, and Alfred shudders at the pressure and the stretch of his hole as Matthew works his way slowly inside. Alfred twines his legs round Matthew’s waist, attempting to pull him closer.
It doesn’t hurt, not with the lube easing the way, but Alfred shivers all the same, as sparks of pleasure shoot up his spine. Matthew moves carefully, pausing every so often to give Alfred a chance to adjust till he’s fully sheathed inside, his hips pressed flush against Alfred’s ass.
He feels full to the brim with Matthew’s cock, and he clenches around him experimentally, grinning when Matthew curses softly.
“You’re so tight,” Matthew breathes. He’s resting his weight on his forearms braced on either side of Alfred’s head. He can feel Matthew’s breath on his cheeks as Matthew thrusts his hips, slowly at first, but gaining speed as Alfred shifts beneath him. “Good?”
“Yeah,” Alfred breathes. He gazes at Matthew’s face, at the way his eyes are closed against the feeling of being inside of him, and he lifts his hands to cup Matthew’s cheeks. When Matthew blinks his eyes open, he smiles and thumbs his bottom lip, shuddering when Matthew tilts his head to take his finger into his mouth and suckles gently. “It’s good.”
Neither of them will last long, Alfred knows as they move in time with one another. The pleasure is just too much, especially when Matthew tilts his hips, angling straight for his prostate. The movement sends hot pleasure through him, and he clings to Matthew, mumbling affectionate nonsense words into the space between them.
Alfred’s orgasm seems to burst over him, and he moans loudly as he comes between them in thick ropes. Matthew doesn’t notice the mess, but he notices the way that Alfred clenches and shudders in his arms and around his cock, and he speeds up, thrusting hard and chasing his own orgasm.
“You’re so—” Alfred gasps, as Matthew rocks into him. It still feels good, the friction and the stretch, even if he’s approaching oversensitivity. “Hard, c’mon, Matthew, give it to me.”
Matthew shudders, head hanging low. Alfred moves his hands over his shoulders, stroking up and down his spine as Matthew thrusts one last time before coming inside of him with a loud cry of his own. He holds himself, panting, till his arms seem to give way and he collapses onto Alfred.
Alfred doesn’t mind his weight, and he likes how Matthew feels, softening inside of him. Neither of them move for a long time. Instead, they simply lay together, smiling tiredly at one another. Alfred keeps his arms wrapped tight around Matthew’s shoulders and holds him close.
The only sound in the room is the sound of their breathing as it slows. Alfred’s content.
“I’m sorry,” Alfred whispers later, when Matthew’s pressed snugly along his back. Matthew makes a sleepy inquiring sound. He presses a kiss to Alfred’s shoulder and shifts, moving them both till he can comfortably lean over Alfred and look down at him.
“You,” Alfred starts, pausing to gather his thoughts. He swallows hard, guilt heavy in his gut. He’s not very content anymore, the high from his orgasm having faded and been replaced with the guilt. “You put so much effort into trying to make this work,” he says finally. It’s hard to meet Matthew’s eyes. “And I—I didn’t, really. Not as much as I told myself I was. I just. Resented you.” It’s hard to admit that, especially now that his feelings have begun to change.
Matthew sighs. “It did hurt,” he admits, reaching down to touch Alfred’s cheek gently, and Alfred looks up at him. The expression on his face is so gentle. “But I understood. It wasn’t easy. I know it wasn’t. You hadn’t been prepared for an arranged marriage to someone you hardly knew.”
“Wolves don’t really do arranged marriages,” Alfred sighs. His kind are big on falling in love properly, and big on having large families, and— It’s hard when everything he’d thought he would have wouldn’t actually be his. But now he’s thinking maybe he can have it, that maybe there are different kinds of “properly.” “It still wasn’t right of me,” he says.
Matthew is quite for a long moment, but Alfred can tell he’s thinking carefully. “Well, it’s different now,” he says. “And it’ll be better now. It’ll be good. Now let’s sleep awhile.” He flops back down and shuffles forward again, cradling Alfred against his body.
Yeah, Alfred thinks, feeling warm even with Matthew’s cool skin close to his. It’ll be good.