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Ricardo flicks on the light as he enters Pascal's apartment. He doesn’t need to, of course, but sometimes a break from the gloom is nice.
"You are back!" Pascal says, appearing from the bathroom. Ricardo scowls, but his heart isn't in it.

"Yeah." He's been trying to talk more—be chatty—as practice, but all it's gotten him so far is Pascal dissolving into giggles while his ears turn red. Still, he should try. "Weather's shit."

Pascal returns to dabbing at his face in the mirror, rings on to help him make sure he covers all his skin. He nods and caps one bottle only to open another. "It is a pity. There will be fewer humans to choose from while the weather is like this—all rain and chills." He begins on his lips. The shade he picks is brighter than his usual one, richer, redder. Ricardo settles against the frame of the door, watching him. He crosses his arms, stopping himself from offering to apply the make-up for Pascal. Even without a reflection to show what he's doing, Ricardo is sure Pascal will do the better job.

Pascal rubs his lips together and leans back with a smack. He should look young, with his face and makeup and fashion, but somehow his two hundred years come through in the way he holds himself. He could pull Ricardo down to kiss him with the lightest touch, draw him into bed with the smallest suggestion and his smile.

Ricardo shifts his weight.

Stepping back from the mirror, Pascal turns his attention to Ricardo. Ricardo stiffens.

"You are wearing new things!"

Ricardo stiffens further. "People would notice if I wasn't dressed for the weather," he points out, as Pascal bounces to him and tugs at Ricardo's arms to get him to uncross them. He does. And then turns as Pascal nudges him around.

"This is very practical, I am impressed," he says. "This makes you look not at all dangerous. You are almost cuddly!"

Ricardo scowels and folds his arms again now the inspection is over with. "It's just a sweater."

Pascal shakes his head. "But you were thinking of what the humans would be seeing when they looked at you; this is good." He smiles. Ricardo's shoulders tense. "You are maybe not hopeless as a vampire."

Ricardo avoids addressing his words by extracting the last beer from Pascal's fridge. Pascal plucks it from his fingers and opens it. Ricardo lets him, only watching as Pascal licks up the foam rising out of the top of the can. He drinks from it before handing it to Ricardo.

"You are always watching me," Pascal comments. "It is like you think you must or something will happen which you cannot stop."

Ricardo breaks his gaze away. Pascal isn't entirely wrong, though Ricardo doesn't know what he's doing himself. But he shrugs, picking his words carefully as he drinks the beer. "I spent five years tracking you down. I don't plan on spending another five finding you again."

The pity that comes through when Pascal replies makes Ricardo's lip curl. "You are so young to think that is any amount of time to hunt for a small thing. He takes the can from Ricardo again. This time Ricardo notices the red smudge his lips leave behind as he returns it. "I will not be running from you any longer. You are not such a mistake that I cannot appreciate that you are here." Pascal reaches and trails his finger down the line of Ricardo's jaw. "You think you have been lonely forever. But I will not let you discover what forever is truly." Pascal draws his hand away, but Ricardo catches it—all blunt fingers and sloppy strength.

He wants to protest, to growl that Pascal is making assumptions and he should keep his fucking hands to himself. But he holds Pascal's fingers up to his lips, kisses them. His last meal was the day before, and the desire is not as consuming as it was then, but it still sits in a pool under his gut. He puts Pascal's fingers in his mouth, tasting the tip of them. As he draws them out, Pascal buries his face in Ricardo's new sweater, and shakes with laughter.

"You must practice so much more before you are able to be cool," he says.

Ricardo scowls. But he supposes he will keep trying, he has a long time to make progress if he wants to.