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“Please tell me that’s not your blood!” Robert’s eyes widened at the sight of the man, of Edwin, in his doorway. He was dripping in blood, his curls matted with the thick crimson substance and he looked exhausted.

“Good evening to you too, Robert. I realized your residency was the closest to me currently, so please forgive the sudden intrusion. I simply desperately needed someplace to duck into.”

He hung his head sheepishly, raising his hands, as stained as Lady Macbeth’s, in surrender and apology.

“Your brother killed my father. What makes you think I will allow you into my house while you’re covered in blood. How can I be certain you won’t kill me too? What have you even done?”

“Robert please, let me in and I’ll explain everything. Please.”

Robert stepped back, watching Edwin, observing him, and against all better judgement, he opened the door wider.Edwin dragged himself in, limping, and Robert’s expression went from mistrust to concern.

“Oh Heavens it is your blood. I’ll have a bath drawn for you immediately. Edwin please stand right there.” Robert disappeared out of the room and re-emerged, putting his arms around his old friend. “Edwin, what happened? Is it to do with your brother? With my father? I can consult my mother or President Johnson, neither of them blame you.”

Edwin didn’t say anything until Robert led him to the bath, the warm water making him feel like himself again.

“Robert,” he spoke quietly. “I need to tell you what my family and I are.” Edwin pushed himself up as Robert crouched beside the tub, seeing now the wounds across Edwin’s torso.

“What do you mean what you are?” Robert arched a brow, his voice at once incredulous and worried.

“Robert we’re vampires. And we know what your family is. No, the person who found me tonight was just an old critic, one not keen on my performances aware of my identity. Robert, I’m sorry. I was going to tell you but then my brother---”

He was cut off, very suddenly, by the lips of the other man against his.

“I know. I’ve known since you caught me on the platform. We knew every vampire family in the area and yours had a reputation. Ned, I never held that against you. I was frightened when you showed up tonight because I thought it meant you assumed my family was responsible.”

Edwin’s own expression shifted, one from fear and shame to relief, even disbelief. The bath had turned a pink color but Edwin’s hair now only curled with water.

“I can’t believe you would find me so foolish not to know you were vampires and I should really be mad you stained the rug when you entered and I now have to explain to my wife what happened,” Edwin and Robert both bristled slightly when he mentioned the word ‘wife,’ “But I cannot properly express how much I’ve missed you.”

Edwin pressed his forehead against Robert’s closing his eyes, breathing in the pungent scent he had missed so dearly.

“I missed you too, you condescending fool.”

Robert’s lips pulled back into a smile.