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In Sanguine Veritas

Chapter Text

What you will see

Are the threads of what I want you to believe

And all that you hold dear

Is under threat from someone all too near

We who eat the darkness

We who eat the darkness



Your fangs are extending. You are looking a bit taken aback by it yourself - it appears to be an involuntary reaction, much like getting an erection.

You look at me.

I look at you.

I'm not sure what to do, say - I don't want to move away, because you might think that I don't want you to, but I don't want to move towards you either, because you said you wanted to wait until tomorrow - saving me until marriage - hah...

I just stare into your eyes, transfixed, not like a prey hypnotized by the predator; I could move away, but I don't want to, I want you - I want you...



I imagine blood moving under your skin like ruby nectar.

I hear your heartbeat... your warm blood rushing through your veins...

Why did I decide to wait until tomorrow??

Oh yes, so you could recover from *last time*...

Twinges of guilt feel like my heart is being pulled with hooks.

But... you said you wanted it...

and you look like you want it...

"Sebastian?" I whisper.

I take your hand and slowly move the underside of your wrist up to my nose. I breathe in your scent like apple blossoms in an orchard, like fresh bread baking in a kitchen, like vintage wine swirling in a glass...

"Are you feeling strong enough to..." I breathe, and drag my tongue along your warm skin.

I shouldn't be asking you this, it's only been a few days since I nearly *killed* you...

I look up at you through half-closed eyes, feeling myself weaken.

"I would very much like to... drink you, Tiger..." I purr, and press my face into your wrist.



Your eyes are dark and rapturous...

You are the most magnificent creature I’ve ever seen...

And I’m yours...

I want nothing more than to feel you... feel those fangs pierce my skin... feel you take my lifeblood as your own... surrender to you - god, yes...

You smelling me - tasting me - desire filling the air, pregnant with longing...

God, yes, please -

“Please- please Jim, drink me - I want you to - I want nothing more... I want to feel you pierce me, feel your thirst, feel you take my life into your own... I’m yours, Jim... I love you...”

I notice I’ve moved my head back, baring my neck. You’re smelling my wrist but I want you in my neck, closer, holding me...

I pull you towards me.



Oh god, Sebastian... your neck is so much harder to resist...

I shouldn't...

but you want me...

I've dropped your wrist.

I'm staring at the pulse in your neck.

I allow you to draw me closer... closer...

I hear myself murmur, "Darling...Beautiful... Darling..."

And then my fangs slide into your neck.

Careful, Jimmy... only a little...

your sweet smoky blood trickles into my mouth and I moan.






You are coming closer, and I watch it in slow motion, like a moment of life and death... which I guess this is... you are so fucking incredibly beautiful, your eyes half-closed, your mouth slightly open, your fangs extended... coming closer to my neck, coming into my arms... mumbling how beautiful I am...

And then - you are on me; your lips touch my neck - this is it -

Pain as your fangs pierce my skin, my blood vessels - such an intense feeling - I moan softly, surrender into your arms, under your mouth, softly sucking, sucking my blood...

So... good...



Oh god... Sebastian...

Your lifeblood flows across my lips, my tongue...

Your moan fills my ears, reverberates through me...

I suck sensuously, gently, and a rumbling purr sounds in my throat.

Your blood is pouring into me, filling me with intoxicating fire...

I'm shining... *shining* with life and light...

At a distance, I hear you moan...


*Fuck*. With a gasp, I draw back and look at you. I cover your wound with my hand.

I see you opening your eyes, looking up at me, and I practically collapse with relief.

"Sebastian!" I exclaim. "Did I take too much?? How do you feel?!"

I draw a nail sharply across my wrist, and hold it out to you.

"Have just a little, Tiger..." I urge. "It will help your wound close more quickly..."



Your purr vibrates through my body as my blood pours into your mouth.

It feels so good... The first time I didn't really register what was happening, but now I'm fully focussed, it's so sensual... the penetration, the surrender, the flow of life from me into you... my Jim... my love...

Each pulse from the blood flow reverberates through my entire body, like waves of a subtle orgasm...

I moan, sinking deeper into the soft submission...

And then you pull away, and I want to whimper - no - it was so good - come back...

I open my eyes, see a panicked face - no, Jim, I'm fine - I don't just die from a bit of blood loss -

I want to speak, but my muscles are heavy...

Then - the smell of blood - but not like I ever smelled it; rich, dark, heavy - heavenly -

- you want me to drink you?

But that's the wrong way round... I couldn't...

It smells so good though...

I put my lips on your wrist, taste the red ruby liquid on my tongue -

- velvet night, black roses on wolf fur, dark eyes reading my soul - essence of life and death -

I suck eagerly, longing, thirsting –



I watch in fascination as you drink from my wrist, with a look on your face like you've discovered a fountain of nectar and ambrosia.

Well, in some ways that's true... It has the potential to make you an immortal, the closest thing to a god on this green earth...

But not unless I drained you almost to the point of death, which I *won't*. And I don't want to see you become addicted, either...

"That's all you need, Sebastian..." I whisper.

Ruefully, I start to pull back my wrist from your mouth.



No - don't -

I look up at you, my lips wet with your blood. I lick them.

"That was - god, Jim, that's delicious - is that - blood isn't supposed to taste like that, I'm pretty sure - I mean, I haven't drunk a lot of blood in my life, but... is vampire blood special? Is that why you say it will help me heal quicker?"



"Well... I have yet to understand what makes a vampire a *vampire*... the lore is all very supernaturally-based, not scientific at all. But, short answer, yes, vampire blood is special. It's where our immortality comes from, and all our other qualities... quick healing... imperviousness to disease and infection... strength... speed... so you'll have enhanced abilities for a few days. Stamina, recovery time..." I say with a sly smile. "Found me delicious, did you? Your blood is the most wonderful nectar I've ever tasted..." I sigh dreamily, then look at you with concern. "Are you feeling alright?"



"Yes - yes, I feel great. I really loved you drinking from me, that felt... unlike anything I've ever felt; I can't compare it - but it was good. I did feel a bit - heavy, after, but then your blood - did make me feel a lot better."

I sit up, move my arms, my head.

"Yeah - fully clear," I grin. "And -"


Yes, little Seb enjoyed all that too.

Your face is still so close to mine. Your eyes are shining, looking into mine, so -

I lick my lips.

" - and ready for whatever else you might want, Sir..."



I tilt my head and look at you. Mmm... flushed Tiger... horny Tiger...

"Well, then. Why don't we see just how you're affected by vampire blood? For scientific purposes, of course..."

I arch an eyebrow at you, and move against your pelvis, feeling your cock against mine.

"What are you waiting for? Big, strong Tiger..." I lick my lips back at you.

"*Fuck me*," I growl.



Little Seb is very interested. As is big Seb.

Fuck you...

god, yes - I'm rock hard, though I don't think that's due to the vampire blood - how could I not be, with those eyes on me, that voice saying 'fuck me'...

I moan, lift you up - huh. That is easier than it would have been. I am strong, but lifting you from where we're both sitting down on the floor should be harder. Interesting. Also completely irrelevant, because now I'm throwing you onto the bed, grabbing the lube from the nightstand, and diving on top of you, kissing you voraciously.



You lift me up like a feather, and my breath catches in my throat as I feel the strength radiating from you.



You're already so strong, but this...





Especially as I'm thrown to the bed, and a randy Tiger plasters himself against me, devouring my lips...



I wrap my legs around you and moan low in my throat.



My Jim, my vampire, my dark prince, my lord, my Richard, my bunny, my love, my life, my everything...

I’m going to have you, all of you, so good, so hard, so often...

I can’t think of anything except you and fucking you - you are divine, you are shining, I’m not imagining it, there is an ethereal glow to you, and it’s pulling me in, inexorably, like a black hole - oh wait, that’s not very romantic. Like a powerful magnet, like a god calling his priest... I’d move heaven and earth to be with you, but you’re *right here*, so I’m going to move heaven and earth for you...

I slick you, myself, kissing you like I can find salvation in your saliva, and push myself close - oh god - Jim



*God*... you've never kissed me like this before, and we've kissed a *lot* in the days we've been together since we met...


Mental... I can't imagine spending a *single day* without you...

Is this because of the quiz? The bite? The blood?

Because we're hours away from our wedding day?


*Fuck yes*...

"Want you..." I mutter feverishly in between kisses, "I *want you*, Tiger..."



Wantwantwant... want is all I am, all I can think, all that exists... and the object of this want is in my arms, pushing himself against me, and moaning that he wants me... and I’m going to marry him tomorrow - and I’m so incredibly in love and I’m floating...

I push inside, so good, so perfect, made for me, no, I was made for you; I was made for loving you baby; ohh god -

That blood was like a combination of coke and ecstasy, but better...

and you are the devil and his angels, all in one divine package, and I’m yours, but you’re mine too, because the world needs to be in balance, and I push in further and you’re moaning, and feeling so incredible...



It doesn't take much to get what I ask for... soon, you're obliging me, and I feel the head of your cock pushing into me. Soon your cock is advancing into me, and I'm groaning loudly. You seem deliciously *high* from my blood, and it's made you completely intoxicated for me... which is making me intoxicated for you, but it's our stag night anyway, and why shouldn't we be as plastered and love-drunk as we want?

As you start to move in me, I'm pushing back against you, moaning out your name.

The bed springs are already squeaking...

The bed frame is already thumping against the wall...

I suspect this is going to be very energetic and loud... I yank your head back by the hair, and bring down your neck to my lips. I press my tongue to the dried wound on your neck. Then nipping it, I lick up the drops of blood that spill from your skin.

I lick my lips, feeling my eyes glow. Bringing your mouth down to mine, I kiss you hungrily.



You’re biting again - so good - the sensation melds so perfectly with my cock inside you; I’ll have to ask you to drink from me when we’re fucking - oh wait, you did, the first time - but that doesn’t count; we didn’t know what was going on - who we were - who we are - together, meant to be together, forever - well - kind of - oh fuck no don’t think about that; most people never get this and you’re miffed that you’re not immortal? Fuck off, Moran...

Oh god you’re incredible...

“Jim... so good...” I moan. “I love you... god I love you...”

I reach for your hard cock, start stroking. I want you to enjoy this every little bit as much as I am...



"I love you, Sebastian..." I murmur. "So much, darling..."

Your hand on my cock obliterates all thought.

There is only moaning, and whimpering, and calling out your name.

"oh fuck... oh fuck... so good," I rave, and buck against your hips, as you thrust into me and stroke me.

"God... Tiger... *Tiger*..." I cry out and my head falls back against the pillow.

So close.

so close...



This is heightened, sharpened, sweetened; I feel everything so acutely and it's divine... my Jim, my love, around me, so unbearably good, your moans, your words, each of them sparking of a tingle of electricity in my brain, shimmering right down to my cock, your face so rapturous, and I explode, my body jerks, spasms with pleasure, all my muscles tense, all my nerves vibrate, as an orgasm so intense it's beyond endurance tears me apart and shatters me through the universe... and you shatter with me, I hear your shout and feel your wetness against me, and we disperse together, to the farthest reaches of space...



I'm shattering... disintegrating... unravelling...

wave after rolling wave of shivering, shuddering vibrations threatening to tear me apart...

in the distance, I hear you moaning... gasping... sighing...

You're coming inside me, and I've come hard in your hand.

Slowly I return to my body, to the room - pinned underneath you, your cock in my arse, trying to hold yourself up so as not to collapse on me.

I lift my head weakly. You look stunned as you look down at me.

"I did mention sex as a vampire is more intense, didn't I?" I mumble, then drop my head back onto the pillow. And apparently it's even more intense when your partner has been imbibing vampire blood...

I grin up at you, and stroke your face.

"This... is going to be a fucking *intense* honeymoon, Tiger..." I purr.



"I'm... not even... a vampire..." I manage to gasp, as I give up the fight to hold myself above you - I must stop thinking of you as weak because you're small, you're not going to collapse under my weight - and let myself sink onto you, breathing heavily.

You're not breathing. Of course not, but it's a bit - odd, after such an intense shag, to have only one party panting. At least you have the decency to drop your head like it's too much effort to hold it up.

I breathe in your neck, your wonderful scent, incomparable to anything I've ever smelled, it's just - you. I don't think I can ever move again.

"I survived Lord Moran, Eton, Oxford, Afghanistan, and Iraq... but I fear that my honeymoon may well turn out to be what does me in..."



I smile as you let yourself collapse onto me, and then breathe me in. Your weight on me is comforting. Your face in my neck is out of this world.

"Oh, I'm sure you'll survive it... I won't allow you to be done in, Tiger..." I whisper in your ear.

I place my hand on your head, and play with your hair absently.

"Forgot to mention vampire blood will make you sleep more during the day. Do you want to continue the game?"



“Hnnnzhgn,” I reply, reach out a hand, find a bottle, but it’s empty. I roll off you, flopping dramatically, roll off the bed, drag myself to the fridge, open it, open a beer, and take a big sip.

“That’s better. I swear, you will be the death of me...”

You look uncertain if you should be concerned -

“Not the blood drinking - that’s fine. It’s the intense sex that is going to give me a heart attack...”

I drag myself back up onto the bed.

“Game. Right. I think it’s working. I’m definitely madly in love with you...

Where were we... oh... what’s the greatest accomplishment of your life?”



At 'madly in love', I beam at you and snuggle up into the crook of your arm.

"Greatest accomplishment... the Empire, hands down. With a close second being killing my maker..." I feel my eyes glint dangerously. "I still dream of it... he never saw it coming."

For a moment I see my maker's face overcome with shock and horror as I come at him with a gleaming axe...

I shiver with delight and look up at you. "So... crime and power... intrigue and murder... the jewels in my crown."

I extend my arms out in a grandiose gesture. "The Secret Life of Richard Brook..." I whisper, grinning.



“Deadliest bunny on the Northern Hemisphere,” I grin.

“I’m all sticky - someone threw champagne over me. Want to have a quick shower, deadly bunny?”

We head to the shower and wash each other lovingly, exploring every inch, tracing muscles and scars, you fussing about your bite mark, and saying it should heal quickly, me saying it’s fine, it’s hardly noticeable, looking at the line in your wrist, which already looks a day old and well underway to healing. Interesting. The army could do with some vampires... plenty of operations in the dark and the strength, perception, charm, and fast healing would come in very handy.

Rations might be an issue though.

“So what about you, Tiger? What is your greatest accomplishment?”

“Getting into the Regiment,” I answer without hesitation. “The selection process is quite gruelling, only five to ten per cent make it - and these are guys who are already the cream of the army; each and every one of them thinks they have what it takes, and have been vetted to be allowed to do the selection. Getting through - and then excelling - definitely my greatest accomplishment.”



The shower is blissful. I can't believe I get to do this every day... sexy time and snuggle time with my gorgeous fiancé, *husband* after today.

And I am *loving* getting to know you with this ridiculous quiz. It's alarmingly soppy, and I *don't care*.

"I'm not at all surprised to hear you excelled in the SAS... I can tell just by looking at you that you'd be gifted and exceptional at what you do. Not just at killing, although that is a fine quality..." I look at you admiringly. "And to think, there were such favourable reports about you as a contractor, and I was too wrapped up in my own existential vampire melodrama to pay attention! When I was alive, I would have checked you out *very* thoroughly..." My lips quirk. "Especially when I would have seen a photo in your file. Oh, our paths definitely would have crossed. Only... I was rather horrid then, compared to when you met me. I'm glad you met the deadly bunny first, before the monster inside." I nip at your neck playfully, before we leave the shower.

"So why did you leave the SAS?" I ask curiously, as you towel me off. A shadow crosses over your face. "Sorry. Ugh. Tiger, we keep doing this. Do you get the impression that we're terrible at light-hearted evenings? Tell me another time, darling. Whenever you're ready."

I stare at you, dying to know.





That seems like a logical question.


"It's ok - I said I got nothing to hide, and I don't - it's just - well. Not the happiest memory. I loved the regiment, really did - well, you know, I told you, loved my patrol mates. But -" I sigh. "I'm just - I suck at following orders. Not yours, of course, but - the thing with the army is that sometimes you get orders that you know don't make sense - and they expect you to follow them anyway. No questions asked.

So - early on in the army, I learnt to deal with that - I wanted to move on, so I accepted it as something I had to bear in order to progress. And when I got into the SAS - there's much more autonomy, you're more trusted as an adult who knows what they're doing. So I kind of got spoilt. I was good at what I did, I was good at assessing situations, I trusted my mates, they trusted me, we worked like one smooth body - it was great. As long as they let us do our job, we were the best. I excelled at strategy, was made sergeant, I was at the summit of my career.

So - I guess you can tell where this is going. I got cocky - thought I could do what I wanted. But the army is still the army, and you still don't punch the major during a strategy briefing, even if his briefing is idiotic and he won't listen to reason.

It was the straw that broke the camel's back, they said; I'd had a lot of black marks against me, but they'd kept me on because of my success rate, but in the end, I was 'not SAS material'. That hurt the most. I know that it was bullshit, it was just them saying that they needed elite soldiers, but obedient elite soldiers, like Robocop or something, and they just couldn't deal with someone who thought for himself. Fine when it saved the day - hey, well done Moran, have a beer, have a promotion, but then when your knowledge and experience and intelligence goes against a senior officer - it's suddenly insubordination and you're out on your arse.

With a shining record, daddy dearest made sure of that - wouldn't want the neighbours to know his son was dismissed - bad enough that he went into the army in the first place, instead of polishing the seats in the House of Lords with a rapidly fattening arse.

Anyway. I didn't want to leave. So - if the next question is 'what is the worst accomplishment of your life,' that's it."

You are looking at me with a face that's an improbable mixture of pride and pity.

"*However*," I say, forcing a smile, "If I'd stayed in the desert, how would I have met you? So - without knowing it, they gave me the ultimate gift - the chance to meet the love of my life..."



I think about your story as we return naked to the bedroom. You sit cross-legged on the bed, looking somewhat dejected.

"The love of your life has a few thoughts. First, I'm sorry that this experience caused you pain, Sebastian." (Good empathizing, vampire psychopath. *Very* good.)

I open the fridge, take out a beer and twist off the cap. I have a sip and then hand it over, before sitting next to you.

"Second, any institution, no matter how elite, is built on a foundation of obedience and compliance. So, no point in banging your head against that particular wall."

I tap my lips with my fingers, pensively.

"Ah, yes... third! *Fuck* them if they couldn't see your value or worth... this is exactly what's *wrong* with institutions and their cookie-cutter mentality."

Eyes flashing, I swipe your beer from you and have another sip.

"Finally, fourth. Speaking as James Moriarty, and *not* your cuddly vampire bunny, if I were given two versions of you to choose from - elite soldier or obedient elite soldier, which do you think I would choose? A mindless, spineless killing machine who can't think for himself when the situation calls for it? Or a potential pain in the arse who gets in my face when the unspeakable happens and I've made a wrong bloody call?"

I place your bottle back in your hand, and wrap it firmly in my own.

"Darling, please remind me to send the SAS a thank-you card - for training you to be the best fucking special forces soldier - that they've ever seen, I imagine. And then for not having the vision and intelligence to understand how *incalculable* your value is... do you know how many employees I've had that *didn't* meet my standards? *All of them*, Sebastian. *Not a bloody one*. You're the only one I would ever trust to be my second in command, and I'm not saying that because of my *feelings* or how breathtaking you are in bed."

My hand curls around the back of your neck. I lean my forehead against yours, and in a low voice I say, "You can see your experience as the SAS doing you wrong, if you want. Or you can see it as the SAS teaching you everything they could, until you had outgrown them. And then *you* chose to release yourself from the bondage of subservience to rules that didn't make sense... *You* chose to act in a way that guaranteed you were released back into the wilderness, where you belong. Where you met the one person who could give you... everything you've been looking for."

I pull back and look at you intently. "All the adventure and intrigue of your life with the SAS... but answering only to the one person you can truly ally yourself with, who has knowledge and experience and intelligence that you respect, and knows when to defer to *yours*."

I take your face in my hands.

"You weren't the only one who was looking for something without even realizing it. You're *The One*, Sebastian...The One I've been waiting for."



Yeah, sorry Moriarty, but you don’t strike me as someone who deals well with insubordination...

... however, you do seem like someone who recognizes good advice when he hears it. This is probably because I’m madly in love, but I can’t imagine you persisting in a bad course after it’s been explained. You're too smart.

Wait - your second in command?

The One you've been waiting for?

"Wait - what, Jim? Are you offering me a job?"



I tilt my head, watching you. "That is what it sounds like, isn't it?" I say lightly. "Unless you prefer to keep doing contract work... which apparently has been indirectly for me, anyway?"

My brow furrows. "I have an Empire that I've been ignoring, somewhat... You have the makings of a second in command. But this is our honeymoon, no important decisions need to be made. Think about it," I say offhandedly. *Of course* you're going to work for me. This is not up for debate.

I wrap my arms around you, and kiss you soundly.



Well - it does seem to make sense -

I mean, I couldn't keep doing contract work where I could be hired by your competition - and then if I start refusing work that's not for you, I might as well work for you.

Second in command though? That's quite - a lot of trust to put in someone you haven't seen work - well, I guess you've heard stories about Mr Fox... but that's just that I can shoot the right person. Nothing special.

But you're right.


We have all our lives to discuss work.




I have a swig of my beer, take my phone.

"What do you value most in a friendship?"



"Irrelevant question. I don't have friends. I've never had friends. Next!"



You never had friends? What - never? I mean - I am Mr Antisocial, and even I had friends - at school, and then my army mates -

But, no - wait -

"You do. You have a friend. At least one."



I look at you, perplexed. “My imaginary friend Richard?”



"Fuck off," I laugh, but you're looking serious.

"Jim!" I look at you, gesture at myself indignantly.



I’m taken aback. “*Friend*? But you’re more than that! Much more!”



"I - would hope so. But - I also am your friend." I gesture helplessly. "Being a lover, even a fiancé, a husband, is great - and I plan to be the best one I could possibly be - but - a friend is someone who - just loves and accepts you for who you are, who enjoys being with you regardless of what you do, who supports you being whatever you want to be. I want to be your friend as well as the much more."



I look at you dubiously. “Like... Georgie was my friend as well as my little brother?”

I shrug helplessly. “Really I was more of a bossy mother hen than anything... if that’s what I’m like with a ‘friend’... heaven help you if you get sick or hurt...”



“I’m already familiar with that, thank you,” I grin. “You start shoving soup at people...

Alright, next question-“ I hope it’s not a sad one - “what’s your most treasured memory?”



"Yes, well. When soup is being shoved at you, maybe you should be a good patient and eat the damn soup."

I tousle your hair.

"My most treasured memory... I don't have many memories I *treasure*, so it stands out rather clearly..."

I sigh.

"Georgie and I went to an event put on by the local church. There was a picnic and games and prizes, and then at dusk they played a film on an outdoor screen. I didn't get on with the other kids, but Georgie was so happy, it made me feel happy to be there with him... watching him, playing with him. He won a stuffed elephant and he was so happy. It was small, but you should have seen his eyes light up. He made up a song and sang it to the elephant. It was so silly, and we just laughed our arses off. I think it was what childhood was supposed to be? But what do I know, I didn't really have that. But for that one day... we had lovely sandwiches and crisps... and we stuffed ourselves with biscuits and ice cream... and later with the film, they handed out popcorn. We threw it each other's mouths, and mostly missed. It was grand. The film was... The Dark Crystal. And Georgie was a bit frightened, but he had me to protect him. I put my arm around his shoulders, and we watched it, sitting in the grass. It was magic... being out in the evening... I wanted the day to never end... to never go home..."

I shrugged. "But it did. And we did. And life continued..."

I take your hand. "I didn't have another enchanting evening again... until you.



Oh god...

I’ve never had siblings, so I can’t relate to what it’s like to love someone like that, but you seem to have been really fond of him. I wonder what happened...

I will find out some time, but not now.

“I’m glad I make your evenings enchanting...” I smile.

“Mine, if we don’t count you, would be...”

... god... no idea. I can’t mention David, definitely.

“Hard to say... I don’t really have great childhood memories, though I didn’t have a bad one or anything, just - no lovely memories like the one you mentioned.

I think - wait, yes - I was... twelve, I think? And my grandmother took me to India, visiting places she’d lived. It was just her and me, my parents weren’t there, and it was lovely - she showed me all these interesting places, told me stories.

So one day we went to the beach, and it was very quiet, in the middle of nowhere, and we stayed there all day, her reading her book in the shade, me swimming, then lying in the sun, then reading, then swimming again. And - I don’t know why, I’d been on holiday before, I’d been at the sea before, but I just felt so - so at peace, and happy; I had my whole life ahead of me, I’d started rebelling against my father, I was developing my own - life and personality and I felt on top of the world on that abandoned beach in India. I guess the rest of my life was me trying to realize what that young boy dreamed he could be.

Does that make any sense?”



I picture you at twelve, relaxed and happy in the sun, on your way to becoming the man you now are.

"Of course, darling... having a sense of who you are, separate from your stupid, fucked up parents... having a moment of freedom, and seeing the pure potential of who you could be. It's how I felt with Georgie... sensing the life we could have. Before everything fell to pieces. Sounds like it was the same for you?" I sigh. "*Life*. Really kicks you in the teeth, doesn't it. But maybe... this is our second chance, Tiger?" I say hesitantly. Suddenly it's what I want, more than anything.

I hold your hand against my face. "Everything we wanted that we couldn't have... maybe we can have it now... I never believed life could be good... that I could find some semblance of happiness... but you..." I lean in and kiss you. "You make me believe, Tiger."



I feel fiercely happy - more than the superficial ecstasy of infatuation, the heady joy of the past days - this is a deep happiness that reaches into the dark recesses of my core, where I never believed the sun could shine again. And it’s not the sun which has reached it... it’s the silver moon reflected in a still lake, the stars over the desert, the scales of a snake sliding through the undergrowth at night - it’s the warmth and beauty of the dark filling me, melting the coldness, making me feel truly, deeply happy.

I pull you close, kiss your brow.

“I don’t know... we can never know. I certainly didn’t think I’d ever be happy - or would deserve to be happy. But you reach parts of me that I thought had died for good... and I’m wondering for the first time whether that boy on that beach may still get the life he felt he could reach.”

I look into your eyes. “Oh, look at us, creatures of the night, the vampire and the assassin; two soppy teenagers in love...

... and I fucking love it,” I grin, squeezing you against me.

I pick up my phone again. I’m not touching the next four questions - we’ll leave those for our anniversary.

Question 22 seems safe.

“Taking turns, share five things you regard as positive traits of your partner.”



Your face and eyes have lit up at my words, and I'm in awe... you're gazing at me like I'm the most important thing under the sun. I *am*, aren't I... I want to hug myself. Two soppy teenagers in love is right...

"All right... One. Damn if you're not the sexiest thing I have ever met in my life. No wonder I had to have you... and keep you instead of feasting on you. Good call, Moriarty...


Two. You're also the sweetest thing I've ever met. You make me melt... and as I've already whinged about and will continue to do so... you've *ruined* me as a heartless monster. Thanks a bunch, Tiger.


Three. You're so *funny* and *silly*, and you make me laugh. I was *never* looking for a man to call my own, but if I had been... believe me, I would *not* have included 'funny' on my list. My colossal oversight...


Four. I *would* have included submissive, which oh god, you are, you *are*... and it's so much better with you than with anyone else; it's *laughable* to think of what I was used to.

Your surrender is *sublime*... you're mine, utterly mine, I *own* you... and you love it. That's the most amazing gift *ever*.

But you can also turn around and be a sexy, aggressive fucker, and give me another kind of gift, and *oh*, I like that, too... very much.


Five. Honestly this is impossible... how do I choose just five? (Ridiculous quiz, Sebastian...)

I can't not include this... You're a predator, like me. You hunt. You kill. And you *enjoy* it. I know this in my bones... one predator to another, like calls to like... I'm just upset I haven't seen it in action yet..." I make a sad face. "Perhaps an opportunity will come up on our honeymoon... wouldn't that be lovely? Otherwise, when we return home... I could accompany you on one of your hits? I'll stick to the shadows, I won't make a peep... pretty please, my darling..." I bat my eyelashes at you and grin. "And make it good and bloody... for me?"



What bit about taking turns didn't you understand? But you're singing my praises so beautifully, I am not going to interrupt.

Sexy... well, yes, thank you for noticing...

Sweet? Aw - only for you, babe...

Funny and silly? Excuse me. I deny everything.

Submissive - oh god yes darling... yours... fuck...

Predator? You want to see me hunt? make it good and bloody? Well... you little bloodthirsty fiend. But I think I should be able to accommodate...

"Sure, darling. Send me after someone and I'll make them bleed. You don't even have to stick to the shadows - I've done hits with people there before, if they wanted to interrogate the mark first. I can bring someone in on a silver platter with an apple in their mouth ready for you to devour, if you like..."

I smile - am enjoying the opportunity to show off for you. It's not often that you meet someone who appreciates your skill in killing...


"As for you... pfooh..." I look you up and down. I guess I shouldn't just repeat everything you said back at you, but damn, you are the sexiest person alive… or dead, whatever...

"I'll go with your intelligence first. I love how sharp your mind is, how astute your observations, the fact that you'd managed to single-handedly build a criminal empire by the time you were twenty-five... is quite amazing.

Second, well. You are the hottest thing on two legs. You're just - gorgeous and incredibly sexy. You'll never lack for willing prey... it must be hard being an ugly vampire... anyway. I only have to look at you to get carried away...

Third - well, I don't want to just ape everything you said, but your dominance - I've never met anyone who - with others it was always a game - a fun game, but not real. I could never really submit to anyone, because I never respected anyone enough for it. With you... you are just... fuck, your eyes make my knees weak, my breath halt, and my entire body, my entire being just want to surrender... and it's so hot to belong to you...

Fourth - your strength? Call me shallow, but it's fucking hot to have a partner who is stronger than I am. And it's not just your physical strength - your personality, your force of character, are stronger than anything I've ever seen and it's... wow.

Fifth - ok, I am totally imitating you, but yeah. Your predatorial side. The way you stalk, identify, swoop down, and kill your prey with pinpoint accuracy.

Can you live with those?"



I can feel my eyes glow at the prospect of you killing for me. Why did I not think of this before?? I can't wait to go on a killing date... whatever will I wear?

Visions of fetching ensembles are pushed aside temporarily as you start outlining my best qualities.

God... this is like narcissist catnip. I should insist you do this daily.

Oh... *purr*...

"Can I live with you thinking I'm a hot, dominant, powerful predator, who happens to be a genius...? I think I can, as long as it's not the only time you'll tell me."

I grab your beer bottle from you and finish it, then get up and to fetch us more. It's really not my drink, but we're out of champagne, and I'm not sure what else I want... highly unusual for me, but it's a highly unusual situation - getting smashed in Vegas on my stag night.

Well, that's an exaggeration - I'm tipsy more than anything...

Strangely I seem more unsteady on the way back than when I first got up...

I fall into your lap and you catch me to keep me from falling onto the floor.

"Thank you, my sexy, sweet, submissive predatory darling..." I exclaim. "Oh no! I forgot one... what was it?"


"Silly?" you say, amused.


"That's right, Sebastian... you're very silly..." I inform you, and boop your nose, before giggling helplessly.



Oh god - you're getting drunk.

I have a drunk giggling lovestruck vampire on my lap.

I have no idea what to do in this situation, but your giggle is infectious, and makes me giggle too, which makes you laugh even more, and before we know it we're helplessly guffawing in each other's arms. I might be a bit tipsy too? I have hardly drunk anything... it must be the blood loss. It's pleasant though...

"You are silly..." I giggle.

"Noooo," you protest. "That wasn't on your list. I am beautiful, dominant, strong, predatory, and a genius. See, I remember all!"

I lift you more or less upright and open our beers, hand one to you, clink our bottles.

"Cheers, my predatory genius. Next question?"



"Cheers to your pretty face, m'dear," I say gallantly, trying desperately not to laugh. I throw my arms around your neck, and rest my face against yours. "What's the next question, then?"

As you scroll on your phone and tighten your arm around me, I kiss your cheek with a resounding smack, then give you a horrified look.

"I have a secret to tell... Richard appears to be appallingly inebre- ineb - *drunk*..." I say in a shocked voice. "And a certain Tiger is barely tipsy, which reflects rather poorly on Richard! Shall we order you a lot of whisky?"



"Richard's not inebriated, he's in Vegas," I joke, making you fall over with giggles.

"We have whisky," I say, getting the bottle, pouring myself a generous measure and taking a big gulp. Whoa... nice...


The next questions are about family and your mother - no way.

The next question that looks safe is "Make three true 'we' statements each, for example: 'We are both in this room feeling..."

I look at you. "... feeling quite drunk and madly in love..."



"I don't get it..." I blink at you. "Do I have to say 'we are both in this room feeling'?"

I hiccup and look at you, shocked. "Vampires can hiccup?" I say with wide eyes.



They shouldn't have put the harder questions at the end... I'm about to explain when you hiccup and look so comically puzzled at this that I can't help but jump you and kiss you all over your face. "How can you hiccup when you don't breathe? Did you forget not to breathe?" I murmur into your neck.

I realize I'm sitting on your lap - that feels so odd; I wouldn't ever sit on a smaller guy's lap - but you are so strong and why not?

"What the question meant," I try again, "is that you say something that applies to both of us. Like I did - we are both drunk, we love each other madly..."



"Just because I don't need to breathe, doesn't mean I can't," I say loftily. "In fact, I do breathe sometimes... when things are getting sexy. I like how it feels..." I look at you through half-closed eyes, and lean up to kiss you, then hiccup again.

"Fuck-" *hic* "Fuck's sake..."

I sigh heavily. "See? That's breathing," I mutter. "Alright... We are both impatient to be married?"


"Fuck's sake!"



You look so cute when you're angry...

... I'm also pretty sure that those would be famous last words if uttered out loud...

"Yeah, about that..."

You look at me, I look away, my face downcast.

"I... think I've changed my mind. We shouldn't get married."



I feel like my stomach has plummeted.


"But... *why*?" I demand, staring at you through a haze of anger and hurt. "*Why*??"



I thought it would be a good idea to startle you and cure your hiccups, then have a laugh about it - but your face - oh god you look so hurt and upset - Jim -

"Jim!!! I never! I wanted to - look, your hiccups are gone! That's all I wanted - a quick scare - of course I want to marry you - how could you ever doubt -"



I stare at you, perplexed. "Oh..." I shake my head drunkenly. "Jesus *Christ*, Sebastian... you'd better pray you never get the hiccups around me..." I say dubiously. Then I can't help but snigger at the look on your face. "Thank you for getting rid of my hiccups? Idiot Tiger..." I say fondly.

I take your hand and stare at it. "I think... I'm afraid I can't have a happy ending..." I confess in a small voice. "So deep down, I guess I've been thinking something will stop us... even if it was you deciding marrying a vampire psychopath was a bad idea, after all... " I sigh again. "And the worst part is, you wouldn't even be wrong! I shouldn't have got angry, Tiger..." I say sadly. I kiss your hand, and hold it against my cheek. "If you change your mind before the ceremony, I'll respect that..."



“Jim - no - oh sweetheart-“

I press your hand against my lips, look at your sad big eyes - how could you think -

“Jim... I’d never... look, I promised you... I’m yours... I saw the vampire psychopath and fully consciously made the choice that that is the man I love and whom I will marry... it was a joke, I thought you’d startle out of your hiccups and then laugh - I didn’t realize you were actually having those thoughts deep down...”

I stroke your temple.

“Yours, Jim, always... and anything that tries to stop us will have me to contend with... I don’t think much of its chances...” I growl low in my throat, making you smile, thank god.

“We are indeed impatient to be married! Stupid bureaucracy having us wait for a licence even in Vegas! Stupid licence bureau not being open after midnight! But -“ I look at the clock next to the bed, “twenty-four hours from now, we will be Mr and Mr Moran... and I can’t wait to see you say I do...”



Slightly soothed, I rest my head against your shoulder.

"God... I'm like a fecking minefield...that you went frolicking though... and then decided to live in forever!" I shake my head again. "*We* are mental. That's two for me..."



"And two for me - I said that twenty-four hours from now we will be Mr and Mr Moran... which fills me with joy and warm and fuzzy feelings. See what you've done? I'm the strong, silent loner type, and here I am all cuddly and giggly with my crush..." I crush you in my arms, making you giggle again.

"You're nowhere near drunk enough though - drink!" you exhort, filling up my whisky glass to the brim.

I take a goodly swig, but you are not satisfied - "Bottoms up Tiger!" and push the bottom of my glass. I swallow urgently, the smoky liquid burning down my throat, and you're not letting up until the glass is empty.

- I felt that -

"Whoa Jim - that's not beer... and I've lost some blood..." I need to blink a couple of times to reduce you back to one Jim instead of three.



"Oh, darling! I should order protein for you... otherwise, you're liable to pass out..." Pushing aside your protests, I nudge you off my lap and onto the bed. Then I try to stand and promptly fall in a heap.

You lunge to try and catch me, but I'm already blinking up at you from the floor.

"Not a word, or I'm ordering you soup," I warn, and haul myself to a wobbly standing position to snatch up the hotel phone.

"Why hello, Room Service!" I say suavely as I lean against the bedside table. "I'm getting married tomorrow! And I need to order my fiancé a steak and a roast chicken and..." I cover the mouthpiece. "Tiger! Do you want sausages?"



"NO! I don't want roast chicken either! Just steak will do. And chips. Fries!" I protest.

You order a steak and fries and hang up giggling. I don't know what's so funny, but I laugh as well, and the mirth only increases when I see you stumble back to the bed - very unsteady on your feet. I'm glad when you land safely in my arms.

"We are both uncharacteristically giggly tonight... that's three from me..." I laugh.



"Erm... we are both hotter than hell..." I announce grandly. "I mean... look at us! Just *look*," I say emphatically, with a comically wide-eyed expression.

"Mr Sex," I say, pointing at myself. "Mr Sex," I purr, tapping your nose.

"Are we agreed?"



"Mr and Mr Sex are in total agreement," I concede. I reach for my beer and take a big gulp. "Though I have the feeling Mr Sex is getting a bit the worse for wear... and I believe I promised you a stripper, didn't I?"