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         Rupert jerked awake the moment before his face hit the open book.  He spun around for a second, disoriented, then relaxed as he recognised his surroundings. The Oxford library had been slowly emptying out for hours, and now there wasn't a soul in sight. He glanced at his watch, a gift from his father when Rupert was sent off to the Academy. Having worn it for eight years now, the band was a bit tight, and the face a bit battered, but he hadn't been able to bring himself to replace it.

         2:47 am . Rupert pushed his glasses up to rub his tired eyes. Time to call it a night. He put on his coat and repacked his bag, wincing as the weight of heavy books made the strap dig uncomfortably into his shoulder. He made his way lopsidedly down the stairs, waving to the librarian behind the circulation desk on his way out. The severe-looking older woman allowed a small smile to pass Rupert's way, then returned to her work. Some of his fellow students treated the librarians as if they were a different species, but Rupert found them to be a wealth of information, if you knew how to ask nicely. In any case, his long hours here nearly every night seemed to have endeared them to each other.

         Cold air whipped his face as he exited the front door, pulling his collar up around his neck. He started toward his dormitory at a fast trot, both to get out of the elements quicker and to warm himself up in the process. He ducked between the ancient brick buildings, taking his well-known shortcuts like a criminal in the night.

         As he approached the final alleyway between himself and the dorm,  Rupert glimpsed two shadowy figures and heard murmured conversation. He quickly backed behind the corner of the building, peering at them and cursing his vision, far from perfect in the daylight but even worse in the dead of night. The figures appeared to be two men, one about his age and one several years older, maybe even nearing thirty. They were smoking cigarettes ( or possibly something else , Rupert thought- he wouldn't know), and the older man, now with his back to Rupert, seemed to be the main source of conversation. The younger man- barely more than a boy, really, though Rupert shuddered at being thought of in the same way- was straddling the line between elegantly thin and just plain scrawny. His eyes were focused on the older man as he took a drag from his cigarette then let the smoke float unaided out of his slightly open mouth. A raised eyebrow, a pursed smirk… Rupert got the unexplainable but distinct feeling this guy's reactions to whatever the other man was saying were contrived somehow, like he was performing them rather than experiencing.
         The older man shifted slightly and was caught in the light of a streetlamp at the end of the alley. Rupert furrowed his brow as he now saw the man's facial hair- thick mutton chops connecting to a long, curled moustache. He took in the rest of the man- were those coattails? -an instant before the man launched himself forward, pinning the younger man against the brick wall.

          Shit. Rupert’s blood ran cold. He had some practice with vampires from the Watcher Academy, but those tests had always been rigidly controlled. This was the first one he'd come across since arriving at Oxford two months previously, and for a moment he found himself immobile. A strangled yell from the victim in the alley brought Rupert to his senses, and he began digging for his stake. Of course I've just put all this rubbish on top of it , he thought with a bite of frustration as he struggled to reach the bottom of the bag. His fingers found the edge of the stake just as the largest book slipped out of his bag and landed on the ground with an enormous THUNK. He froze, then slowly looked up to meet the eyes of the bumpy-faced vampire and its victim, both staring right at him.

 

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           Some rescue, Ethan thought, but I'll take what I can get . The sandy-haired bespectacled lad standing under the streetlight looked ready to faint, while Ethan was the one with a vampire's claws around his windpipe. He took the vamp's momentary distraction as an opportunity to silently call the four elements and center himself among them. He didn't have any of his tools with him, but he hoped the intent was better than nothing. Ethan took a deep breath and raised his knee swiftly to the vampire's crotch, then stomped down to crush its toes. The vampire stumbled back, but recovered quickly- and now a significantly angrier vamp was lunging at him. Shit .

          "Get back!" a hoarse voice called as the other boy strode forward, holding out a large brass crucifix to the vampire's arm. Steam began to rise from under the vamp's moldy old coat as it hissed and retreated to the opposite wall. Emboldened by this small success, the boy stepped in front of Ethan, still holding up the crucifix with one hand and, Ethan noted with a bit of relief, a wooden stake in the other.

         "You should leave." his would-be hero said out of the corner of his mouth, keeping his eyes on their opponent, who was pacing the same three feet back and forth, snarling at them.

         "What, and miss the show?" Ethan said, with a tad more confidence than he felt.

         The boy turned to him with a gobsmacked look. "Are you crazy?"

         The vamp saw its chance and took it, crashing into the other teenager and knocking the stake from his hand. They tumbled to the ground together, the stake just out of reach.

         "Should I.…" Ethan began, taking a step toward the stake.

         "Can you...stab…the heart?" came in grunts from under the vampire. The boy was fighting, but he could only hold out for so long.

          "Er.…" Ethan said hesitantly. He tried to remember which side the heart was on, then visualise where it would be when staring at the vampire's back.

         "Get...my bag." came more grunts.

         That, Ethan was confident he could do. He dashed to the end of the alley and yanked up the shoulder bag, surprised at how heavy it was even without the giant tome that had fallen out. "What do you keep in here, bricks?"

         "DO YOU MIND?" the boy shouted as the vampire's teeth inched closer to his neck. "In the bag…water."

         Ethan frantically shuffled through the bag, finding books, notebooks, pencils, a glasses case, and finally, a small glass bottle labeled Holy Water. He unscrewed the lid and ran forward.

         "Bottoms up," he said as he poured the entire bottle over the vampire's head, soaking the other person below it in the process. The vamp screeched and released the boy, holding its hands over its eyes, where the skin had begun to sizzle. The boy stretched to grasp the stake, then thrust it upward into the vampire's chest. The creature let out a final cry of anguish, then exploded into dust, showering the lad below and making him cough.

         Ethan stepped forward and offered a hand up. The boy took it, then took off his glasses to wipe the vamp dust off them. Ethan now noticed the stranger's pale green eyes, like perfectly formed seaglass. As the boy reached to take back the bag of books, a half-smile crept up his face.

           Oh, dear.

           "Rupert Giles," the teenager introduced himself, pausing dusting off his peacoat.

           "Ethan Rayne," he replied, holding onto Rupert's handshake a beat longer than was strictly necessary. A strange tingling feeling remained in Ethan’s fingertips even after their hands separated. "Thanks for the rescue."

         Rupert ran his fingers through his hair and blew out his cheeks. "Not sure how much rescuing I did. You seemed to be doing quite well against the vam…against the attacker on your own."

          Ethan blinked. "Mate, we wielded him off with a crucifix, doused him in holy water, stabbed him with a stake and he turned into dust. I think it's safe to call him a vampire."

          Rupert grinned sheepishly. "I guess so. We're not really supposed to discuss them with civilians. Force of habit."

         "Civilians? We?"

          Rupert closed his eyes and put a palm to his forehead. "I shouldn't have said that."

         "I'm just messing with you…Watcher boy." Ethan said with a mischievous smile, then ruffled Rupert's hair, shaking free more vamp dust. There it is again, Ethan thought as his hand filled with static.

         Rupert backed out of reach of Ethan's meddlesome hands. "How do you know about the Watchers?"

          "I know you lot like to think you're a very secret organisation, but you can't have that high a concentration of tweed in one location and expect not to get noticed." Ethan said with an eyeroll.

          Rupert laughed, in spite of himself. "They do think highly of themselves."

         "They?" Ethan asked, "What, are you not one of them?"

          Rupert's smile faltered, and the loss of it made Ethan's stomach drop. He'd touched a nerve.

         "I was studying to be one.  It…didn't quite work out. I came here to study history instead."

         "Well you're still ahead of me," Ethan said, scrambling to make up for his mistake. "I got my A-levels then went straight to working in a shop."

         "There's nothing wrong with working in a shop." Rupert said kindly.

         "Well, no, there wouldn't be," Ethan chuckled, "but I was fired from that shop a few weeks after I started. And another shop, and a chippy, and most respectable businesses in Oxford, it seems."

         Rupert's face crinkled in what was probably supposed to be a smile, but seemed to Ethan like a face of pity.

         Ethan plowed ahead. "So…care to walk me home? There may be more vampires."

         Rupert raised his eyebrows. "That's the first one I've seen in my two months here."

         "Werewolves, then. I'm certain I heard some howling."

         "The full moon isn't for two more weeks."

         "Er...zombies?"

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          What is this guy playing at?  Ethan didn't seem like a vampire, or any humanoid demon Rupert could remember studying, but he wasn't in the habit of spending time alone with strangers, least of all strangers he'd just stumbled upon fraternising with a vampire.

         "What were you doing out here, anyway? It's the middle of the night." Rupert asked warily.

         "You were out here too," Ethan retorted.

         "I had been studying at the library. I was on my way home."

        "And I was just bumming a cigarette off a kind stranger. Or so I thought."

         Rupert narrowed his eyes. "Where do you live?"

         Ethan grinned, sensing Rupert's guard easing up. "Off George Street."

         "Isn't that area all shops and pubs?"

          "And theatres." Ethan added, nodding. "One of the pub owners rents out the flat above it to me. Decent price, too, because the live music downstairs goes way past a normal person's bedtime."

         "And you're not a normal person?"

         Ethan's dark eyes twinkled. "I'm out here, aren't I?"

         "All right," Rupert sighed, giving in. "Better get a move on. Lead the way."

         Ethan gave a dramatic bow with a flourish of his hands, then set off. Rupert fell in step beside him.

         "So," Rupert started, not great at making small talk that didn't involve supernatural creatures. "Did you grow up around here?"

        "Does anyone really grow up here?" Ethan replied. "No, I lived in London until a few months ago. My parents were too wrapped up in their own bullshit to care what I did, so I figured I might as well strike out on my own."

        Rupert frowned. He wondered whether being ignored by your family was better or worse than being constantly pressured by them.

         "If you didn't come here for school, what brought you to Oxford?"

         "You don't have to be enrolled to ogle the student body." Ethan answered with a sly grin.

         Rupert felt a blush creeping up his neck. Was he being ogled? "No, I su-suppose you don't, erm-"

         "Relax, Watcher boy. I'm just after an escort home. An escort trained in the fight against demons is an added bonus."

          Rupert forced a smile, but still felt a little tense. He was now fairly confident Ethan wasn't a monster who wanted to eat him, but at least Rupert would know how to respond if he was. Dating opportunities hadn't been plentiful at the Academy, both from the lack of interesting prospects, and from being under the watchful eyes of his father and grandmother every day. He had little idea how to tell if someone was coming on to him.

         They walked in silence for a while longer, then Ethan slowed. "This is me." he said, gesturing above the pub entrance.

         Rupert looked at the empty, dark building. "Seems they're closed."

         "Ah, yeah, they close at 4 AM most nights." Ethan shrugged.

         Rupert looked at his watch and groaned. Over an hour had passed since he'd left the library. "I should have been in bed ages ago. I've got a lecture at 8:30."

         "How far away do you live?" Ethan asked.

         "About five steps from where I ran into you." Rupert sighed.

         "Oh," Ethan said apologetically. "Well, where's your lecture?"

         "Nuffield"

         Ethan brightened. "That's just on the corner!" he said, pointing.

         Rupert squinted and realised he was correct. He wasn't used to seeing it from this direction.

         "Listen, it's absurd for you to walk half an hour back to your place just to walk half an hour in the morning back here. That's an hour you could be getting your beauty rest."

         Rupert scoffed, but had to admit Ethan had a point. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, or the fact that he was still shaking off vamp dust and adrenaline, but Rupert felt a good deal bolder than he had when he'd first spotted Ethan an hour before.

         "So," he said, stonefaced, "this was a ploy to get me in your bed all along."

         It was Ethan's turn to sputter. "No- not at all- I just- I have a couch- well, I say couch-"

         Rupert's face broke into a grin, the largest and most genuine he could remember having in- well, in too long. Whatever was happening here, it was fun.

         Ethan's mouth hang agape for a moment before he was grinning too, playfully shoving Rupert. Heat radiated from the spot Ethan’s hand had connected with his shoulder, like the feeling Rupert had gotten when they first shook hands.

        "Here I thought you were an upstanding gentleman, but you're out here saving helpless maidens and reaping the spoils!"

         Rupert laughed. "What spoils? As far as I can see, we don't even have a door into your flat."

         "Not while the pub is closed," Ethan confirmed. "But there's another way in."

         He led Rupert to the side of the building, where a metal fire escape hung off the upper floor. Ethan jumped and pulled down the ladder, and Rupert caught a flash of exposed midriff. Ethan began to clamber up to the platform, giving quite the view of his bum in his form-fitting jeans. Rupert stared resolutely at the rungs on the ladder as he followed. When his head came through the opening, he saw Ethan sliding open a window.

         "Don't you worry someone will rob you if it's so easy to get into your place?"

          "You let me know if you see anything worth robbing." Ethan laughed as he swung his leg over the window and ducked inside. Rupert followed. The room was sparse, but clean; far less cluttered than Rupert's dorm. A bed was in the corner, next to an open closet with a mirror hanging on the door. There was a large plush armchair under a lamp on the other side of the room, near a door Rupert could only hope was a loo. He'd need to shower tomorrow unless he wanted to show up to his lecture smelling of dusted vampire and whatever he'd rolled around in in the alleyway. Rupert sat his bag in the armchair.

          "Ah, no no no," Ethan reprimanded him, "I will sleep there. As the hero of the evening, you get the bed. Don't worry, the sheets are clean."

         Rupert rolled his eyes. "Again with the 'hero'; you saved my arse as much as I saved yours."

         "So neither of us could have gotten rid of him on our own. That just proves we work better together." Ethan said, giving him a cheeky grin. "I've already taken up enough of your night. You only have a few hours of sleep before class, I can at least ensure they're comfortable. Take the bed."

         Recognising defeat, Rupert moved his bag to the floor beside the bed. He stood awkwardly for a moment, unwilling to dirty Ethan's bed with his messy clothes, but unsure if it was appropriate to disrobe either.

         He looked up. Ethan had somehow already changed into silk pyjamas. He flopped onto the armchair.

         "I'll preserve your modesty." Ethan said with a wink, then pulled the lamp cord and the room went dark.

         Rupert sighed, then shrugged out of his coat, shoes, and trousers. He hesitated, then peeled his sweater off as well. Down to a t-shirt and boxers, he slid into the bed. Even though he was in a near-stranger's room, Rupert didn't have the energy to worry anymore.

 

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         Ethan, who had fallen asleep sprawled across the armchair, found himself to now be curled up like a cat. He slowly opened his eyes, then forced them shut in a panic as he glimpsed something highly unusual. The memories of the previous night came rushing back to him as Ethan let himself exhale. Reassured he wasn't being attacked, but now alarmed for other reasons, he slowly opened one eye, careful not to move or make noise. Next to his bed was Rupert, wet curls plastered to his head, towel around his waist but otherwise unclothed. He was shuffling through his clothes, seemingly deciding which of them were the least offensive to wear to class. Rupert held up his peacoat, covered in all manner of filth, and grimaced. Ethan studied his broad shoulders, his toned arms, the small patch of hair beginning on his chest. Ethan felt a flutter in his stomach, knowing if he kept staring like this that he may end up with an awkward problem. He closed his eyes again then made a big show of pretending to wake up, stretching and yawning, then smiled at Rupert and said "Good morning!"

         Rupert, who had attempted to scramble into his sweater only to realise he'd put it on inside out, sighed and said feebly "Good morning. Sorry, I used your shower. I didn't want to wake you."

         "Not a problem. Though, with you all squeaky clean, I think we can do better than yesterday's grimy clothes, don't you?"

          Rupert shrugged. "I haven't got anything else with me."

         Ethan had already jumped up and begun shuffling through his closet, holding out different articles of clothing, putting some back and throwing others on the bed. Occasionally he'd hold something up to Rupert, who seemed perplexed, but didn't protest.

 

         "You don't...need these?" Rupert asked, exiting the bathroom after changing into a pair of black trousers and a green silk shirt.

         "Truth be told, I don't know who the trousers belong to. Someone must have left them here." Ethan said, smiling apologetically when Rupert raised his eyebrows. "They should fit, though. The shirt is mine, but it's a bit big on me, and besides, it brings out your eyes."

         Rupert gave him a bemused look, but with the tiniest hint of a smile. God, Ethan was already thinking what he would give up just to see that smile again.

         "Er...thanks."

         "Don't mention it. And tell you what, leave your other clothes. I'll run to the laundromat while you're at class, and you can come back to clean clothes." Emphasis on come back , Ethan thought.

         "You really don't have to do that." Rupert said, holding out an arm in protest. "Besides, it's cold out, I really should keep my coat."

         "Ah, but my fountain of generosity is not yet tapped, my friend." Ethan declared, shuffling in his closet again. He pulled out a worn black leather jacket. "The pièce de résistance!"

         Rupert gaped, letting Ethan help him into the jacket. "Wow. My sociology professor won't recognise me."

         "It's fun to be someone else sometimes, don't you think?"

         Rupert admired himself in the mirror, then turned back to Ethan, impressed. "Thanks, man. But won't you be cold?"

         Ethan smirked. "I'll find some way to keep myself warm."

         Rupert studied him for a moment, biting his lip so imperceptibly, Ethan was certain he wasn't meant to notice.

         "I've really got to run," Rupert said, glancing at his watch. "See you in a few hours?"

         "You'd better," Ethan chided. "I will find use for these clothes if you don't come back."

         "It's a date."

         Ethan was glad Rupert had already begun to climb out the window, so he couldn't see Ethan begin to blush.

 

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          Rupert was nearly jogging as he pushed open the door to the lecture hall. As he entered, several pairs of eyes turned his way, including Professor Higgins'.

         "Mr. Giles, nice of you to join us. Please find a seat."

         "Yes sir," Rupert said, trying not to sound as out of breath as he felt. He slid into the first empty seat he could find and extracted his notebook from his bag.

         The lecture was among the longest Rupert could remember sitting through. He caught snippets of information about postmodernist social patterns, but his notes were woefully incomplete. He found his pencil doodling shapes in the margins. A book, a stake…then a face. Thin lips curled into a smirk, dark eyes with a glimmer of something just under the surface, hair swept back. He'd nearly completed an honestly decent impression of Ethan before he realised he was doing it. Rupert flipped his notebook over, then put his face in his hands, pushing his glasses into his hair. His cheeks felt hot, the same heat he’d felt when Ethan had touched him. He grasped the silk shirt he was wearing and fluttered it, giving himself some cool air. A scent hit his nostrils. He rubbed the smooth material between his thumb and forefinger, then raised the shirt closer to his nose. Rosemary and…lavender? he wondered as he inhaled deeply. A variety of herbs with magical properties were familiar to Rupert. Was it possible there was more to Ethan Rayne than a failed shopkeep? He indulged himself with another deep breath, eyelids drooping shut.

          The sounds of students shuffling and talking around him roused Rupert from his stupor. He shoved his notebook back into his bag and joined the crowd moving toward the door. Once he was free of being herded, he began to quickly move between other students, eager to return to Ethan's. A tiny part of his brain whispered that he should be careful, especially with the possibility that Ethan was a practicing magician. That warning was easily silenced by the fact that Rupert was nineteen, reckless, and thrilled to feel interesting for the first time in his life.

         He crossed the street and saw the pub a block ahead. Rupert slid past a pack of pedestrians and darted to the side of the building, jumping to grasp the fire escape ladder as he'd seen Ethan do the night before. He made his way up the ladder, and by the time he'd reached the platform, Ethan was already opening the window for him.

         "Hey," Ethan greeted him. "Learn anything?"

         Rupert was only slightly surprised when he found himself staring at Ethan's grin, wanting it for himself. He forced himself to look up to Ethan's eyes, but still found himself unable to respond as they stared unflinchingly back. It had been far too long, he thought, mind panicking, anything he said now would make the prolonged silence even more bizarre. He took a deep breath, leaned into the open window, gently grabbed the back of Ethan's neck, and kissed him.

         Ethan seemed frozen in shock for a moment, eyes wide and mouth unresponsive. Then Rupert felt Ethan's smile widen underneath him, and was suddenly being pulled through the window by the leather jacket. His shoe caught on the ledge and sent them both tumbling to the floor, their foreheads smacking together. Rupert was mortified, but Ethan was laughing, and pretty soon he found himself chuckling too. Ethan raised his head and caught Rupert's bottom lip between his own, sending waves of heat across Rupert's face. Rupert opened his mouth and pushed Ethan back to the floor with a more forceful kiss. Ethan's lips parted, allowing Rupert's tongue access.  Rupert felt a hand under his shirt, the warmth nearly uncomfortable this time, and another sliding under the back of his trousers. Ethan squeezed his arse, pulling Rupert's groin against him, and Rupert felt slightly alarmed as blood rush southward in response.

         He broke away from Ethan, panting. "I'm sorry, I don't really know what I'm doing." He hung his head, avoiding eye contact.

         Ethan's long fingers lifted his chin, looking at him with a cocked eyebrow. "I beg to differ."
         He lifted himself up on his elbows and took Rupert's ear into his mouth, grazing it with his tongue and teeth. Rupert groaned. Rupert recaptured Ethan's mouth, breaking to push Ethan's shirt up and over his head. He stood and pulled Ethan up effortlessly, then pivoted, guiding him back onto the bed. Rupert crawled on top of him, tangling his right hand in Ethan's hair. He stared down at Ethan's flush face, his lustful eyes daring Rupert to keep moving. He couldn't believe the thrill, this control he'd never felt before. No one making his next choice for him, no one to disapprove. Just the two of them, together. Rupert leaned in and gave Ethan a soft kiss, then moved slowly from his lips to along his jawline, then down Ethan's neck, leaving little kisses on every inch. His left hand crept lower, finding Ethan's sharp hipbone and running his thumb along it. He slid his hand under Ethan's waistband and briefs, then stopped. He heard a little whimper from Ethan.

         Rupert lifted his head and stared into Ethan's eyes. "You want this?"

         "I can honestly say I've never wanting anything more."

         Rupert grinned devilishly, then returned to kissing Ethan's neck. He gently pulled Ethan's head back by the hair, opened his mouth and bit down in the same instant his other hand grasped Ethan's erection. Ethan let out a cry, eliciting a growl from Rupert in response. He stroked slowly, every whimper and moan from Ethan taking his own pleasure higher. He busied his mouth with kissing every inch of Ethan he could reach, occasionally scraping his teeth along skin and delighting when he felt Ethan writhe beneath him. Ethan tried to undo Rupert's zipper, but Rupert grabbed his wrists and swiftly pinned them above Ethan's head, eyes locking.

         "Not yet. Just enjoy yourself."

         Rupert sped up his strokes, rubbing his thumb against the exposed head of Ethan's cock. Ethan bucked into his hand when he brushed the drop of liquid growing at the tip. Rupert took a nipple into his mouth, pinching it between his teeth. He moved back to Ethan's mouth and pushed his tongue inside, grinding his own erection against Ethan's hip. Ethan moaned into his mouth, and Rupert answered by gripping Ethan tighter and giving a few more forceful strokes before Ethan was crying out and spilling himself over Rupert's hand.

         Rupert removed his hand, letting it rest on Ethan's stomach while gazing at him. Ethan's pupils were dilated, and his flushed chest rose and fell quickly as he smiled. Rupert wasn't sure if he'd ever seen something so gorgeous, or if he'd ever be able to look away again.

 

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          Ethan drew deep breaths, his brain trying to catch up with what had just happened. His neck, his cock, every part of him was filled with such static now, he found it impossible that actual sparks weren’t shooting off. He was ever the hopeless romantic, but he'd never really expected his shameless flirting to pay off. But here was this beautiful boy in his bed, green eyes studying him like Ethan was something special. Where had this Rupert come from? Yesterday he was a fumbling bookworm in an alley, today someone capable of rendering Ethan speechless…a considerable feat, if he was being honest.

         "You okay?" Rupert asked softly.

         Ethan let out a low chuckle. "You could say that." He propped himself up on his elbow. "But there is still the small problem of your clothes."

         "My clothes?"

         "Well, if we're being specific, my clothes." Ethan's eyes were back to twinkling, his mouth failing to hide a smirk. "You've failed to return them in a timely fashion. I'm afraid I'll have to recollect them myself."

         He reached up to Rupert's jaw, tucking a loose curl behind his ear as he brought their lips together. He held Rupert's face and kissed his lips, then his cheeks, his nose, his eyelids, feeling as though something terrible would happen if he stopped. He pushed Rupert back onto the bed and moved onto his lap, straddling him while kissing him deeply. His fingers worked at the buttons on Rupert's shirt, revealing more of his chest until Ethan was able to push it back over Rupert's shoulders. He sat back for a moment just admiring Rupert, slowly running his fingers over his chest, then gripping his toned upper arms. Carrying all those heavy books must be hell on the back, but it wasn't a total waste.

         Ethan unfastened Rupert's trousers, keeping eye contact as he pulled them down over Rupert's hips and arse. His fingers danced along a trail of hair from Rupert's navel to his argyle boxers. Ethan's fingers rested on Rupert's hips, the grooves on his abdomen allowing Ethan to dip in and out of the waistband, teasing but not touching what he so desperately wanted to. He moved back up until he was nose to nose with Rupert, gingerly dragging himself over the hardness beneath. Rupert's eyes fluttered. Ethan waited until they were refocused on his own to ask, "May I?"

         "Please." came the breathy reply.

         Ethan moved back down more forcefully, using his own thighs to assist in peeling away Rupert's boxers. A sharp intake of breath from Rupert let him know the effort didn't go unnoticed. Gripping Rupert's cock in his hand, he pushed back the foreskin and took the head between his lips. He watched as Rupert took off his glasses and let his head tilt backward. Ethan began to move slowly down the shaft, using his tongue in swirling motions and moving tightly rounded lips over the ridge of the head. He glanced back up to find Rupert watching him, causing his heart to skip. Feeling performative, Ethan locked eyes with Rupert as he withdrew almost entirely, then took the entire shaft, filling his mouth and tickling his throat. Rupert's low groan was accompanied by hands dug into Ethan's hair. Ethan bobbed a few more times, then removed his mouth, slowly pumping Rupert's erection in his hand.

         "Do you trust me?" he asked Rupert.

         Rupert frowned. "What do you mean?"

         "I want to try something. You can tell me to stop if you want, but…"

         Rupert sat up. "Is this something to do with magic?"

         Not the response Ethan was expecting. "Wh-what?" he said, abandoning his hand motions.

         Rupert suddenly looked bashful again. "I- I just thought, I smelled some herbs earlier. Ones used in magic. I thought maybe you were, I don't know-"

         "A warlock?"

         Rupert nodded.

         "Not exactly. I know some very basic things, just calling the elements, levitating pencils, stuff like that. Rosemary is good for simple cleansing spells. I honestly just like the smell of lavender." Something clicked in Ethan's mind, causing him to giggle. "Wait a moment. Did you think I could be some great dark wizard, but came to bed with me anyway?"

         Rupert laughed nervously, a blush forming in his cheeks. "I don't assume all magic is bad. That's actually why my family sent me off to the Watcher Academy in the first place. Apparently I have an aptitude for it."
 
         Ethan considered the sensation he felt every time Rupert made contact with him, and the near-constant urge to recreate it.

         Rupert shook his head. "If the Watchers could see me now…"

         "I'd rather keep this particular visual for myself, thanks." Ethan said, returning to kiss the tip of Rupert's cock. Rupert stiffened beneath him as Ethan's tongue resumed its ministrations.

         "If you weren't talking about magic…" Rupert managed between heavy breaths, "what did you have in mind?"

         Ethan began to move further down, leaving open-mouthed kisses on Rupert's thighs. "I haven't done this before," Ethan admitted, "but it's been done to me, and, well…"

         "Can't hurt to try." Rupert said, letting his head fall back onto the pillow.

         Ethan pushed Rupert's thighs further apart, then began bending them upwards, giving him access to the tender flesh below. He began licking in wide strokes, causing Rupert's legs to quiver around Ethan's head. He dove deeper, nudging his tongue against the tight ring of muscle, making Rupert gasp when it gained entrance. Ethan moved his tongue in and out, eliciting whimpers from Rupert when he retreated. He looked at Rupert, laid bare before him, then sheathed his middle finger in his mouth, coating it with moisture. He pressed his finger against the puckered flesh, waiting.

         "Ready?"

         Rupert nodded, taking a deep breath.

         Ethan pushed in then curled his finger toward himself. Rupert's eyes flew open as a loud moan escaped him. Ethan bit his lip in a grin, then continued massaging the prostate as he used his other hand to stroke Rupert's shaft. His rhythm gained speed until Rupert was panting and writhing beneath him, Ethan never looking away. Ethan bent down and swallowed Rupert's cock again. The moment it reached his throat, a guttural moan was unleashed as he watched Rupert come, his cock surging into Ethan's mouth.

         Both of them panting too hard to speak, Ethan slid back up to the pillow beside Rupert. Rupert turned and pulled him in close, their bodies cupping together.

         Ethan made a lot of effort in his life to never feel helpless or in need of protection, but in the two days since they'd met, he'd already been forced to reevaluate his defenses. Whether it meant help in fighting off a vampire, or Rupert just holding Ethan in this satisfied state of grace, he found himself profoundly grateful their paths had crossed.

         After a few minutes, Rupert broke the silence, speaking softly in Ethan's ear. "I've never really…I'm not sure what comes next, here."

         Ethan turned his head to meet Rupert's eyes, and couldn't help but smile at the handsome lad who'd somehow fallen into his life.

         "What do you want to happen next?"