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Strange Things Happen (In the Dead of Night)

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Adam felt like he was on the brink of death. He trudges out of the small corner convenience store he works at Wednesday and Saturday nights, and sighs in relief as the cold November air cools his sweaty face. Adam knows he needs to be more alert at night, especially when he’s in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. He keeps ahold of his backpack and walks down the street.

 

Despite it being midnight, Adam has two assignments he needs to finish by his eight am class tomorrow morning, then he has a five hour lab, then he walks to the campus library to work. After that he’s free for a night, then he can sleep.

 

He relaxes into the busy sidewalk, and calculates how much sleep he might be able to get tonight. He needs to finish his bio lab and notes, that’ll take a good hour and a half, then he needs to finish five pages for his History essay, which’ll take around two hours, give or take how much he’ll get distracted.

 

He was tired, but it’d be worth it in the end. He’d dreamt of leaving his hometown in Virginia; he did that. He wanted to get into an Ivy League; he did that. He wanted to pass his classes with flying colors; he’s working to do that.

 

If he gets around three hours of sleep, he’ll be fine. He ducks his head down when he nears the club that is next to his rundown apartment building. He’s been living there since August and he’s starting the get used to hearing the shitty music all night. Luckily it doesn’t bother him when he’s studying.

 

He puts his hands in his pockets, his right hand finding his silver brass knuckles that he always has on him for precaution and walks a little bit faster. He ignores the drunk club-goers who bump into him as he places his fingers to fit into his brass knuckles and grips it hard.

 

He sighs in relief as he turns down into the alley to get to the stairs that he takes up to his room. He stops at the first of the steps to find the keys in his bag and is about to climb up but he freezes.

 

He tries to drown out the music of the club and he hears it to his right.

 

Footsteps walking down the alley towards him.

 

It could be nothing, but the way his hair stands up and the goosebumps that raise on his skin, Adam knows it isn’t nothing. His exhaustion is long gone. Now he’s fully awake and alert. He doesn’t acknowledge whoever it is. He starts humming and digs through his bag some more, finding the vial of Dead Man’s Blood and a syringe, trying to keep his heart rate normal.

 

He hears the monster come closer and Adam hurries to put the needle into the vial to fill it with the blood and quickly pockets it. The steps stop behind him and Adam waits.

 

“Hi there, handsome,” A low voice says into the night. Adam has to suppress a shiver at the deep, sultry voice.

 

Adam gasps out, spinning on his heels and puts a hand to his chest, feigning fright. He widens his eyes and swallows hard. The man is about two inches taller clad in black. Black leather jacket and black skinny jeans with black combat boots. His face is stunning with pale skin, sharp cheekbones, and a mouth twisted into a hungry smirk. He has a black beanie on over his ears and he has a silver eyebrow piercing glinting in the moonlight.

 

“Sorry to startle you,” he says, his arms raised in a placating, innocent manner.

 

Adam laughs shakily, ducking his head shyly. “It- it’s quite alright. It’s just late and there’s a lot of scary people out tonight.”

 

The man hums and nods his head in agreement, taking a step closer. “That’s very true. It’s very important to watch your surroundings. You don’t know what’s out there.”

 

Adam forces his face to show nothing, fights the scowl trying to break through. In the little light there, Adam can see how black the man’s eyes are. Adam guesses he hasn’t fed in about a week and Adam is probably the easiest target in this empty alleyway for the monster to feast on.

 

“So,” Adam says, clearing his throat. “Were you at that club?”

 

The man shakes his head slow, his tongue peeking out the lick his bottom lip as he roams Adam’s face. “Just out for a walk. Feeling a bit restless.” He stalks closer to Adam until he’s blocking his way to escape. His only escape is up the stairs now. Adam bits his lip, feeling his pulse skyrocket. Adam sees the man’s eyes darken, his smile growing more menacing as Adam knows he can hear the beat of his heart. “Glad I came out tonight,” The man places long fingers up to his chin, tilting his head up to reveal his neck. Adam tenses, slowly finding the syringe in his left pocket. “You’re awfully pretty,” he whispers, nosing along Adams jaw. Adam bites his lip to keep any noises from spilling out of his mouth.

 

“W-wait,” Adam says breathlessly, his head clouding. The man looks up with a teasing glint in his dark eyes. Adam takes a moment to blink out of his haze. He grips the syringe and takes it out of his pocket. “At least take me out on a date first.”

 

The man laughs, dark and beautiful. This time, Adam can’t help but shiver. “I don’t think we’ll have time for that, I’m afraid,” he says as he cups Adam’s face, stroking his bottom lip with his thumb.

 

Adam hums, pouting his lip. “I suppose you’re right.”

 

And with that, he jabs the syringe in the man's right thigh and injects the Dead Man’s Blood into the vampire’s body.

 

The monster howls in pain, and Adam quickly shoves him back so he topples and falls. His beanie is off his head, and Adam sees the neatly shaven buzz cut of dark hair.

 

He really is hot.It’s a shame he’s a disgusting monster.

 

Adam slides his brass knuckles on his fingers and circles the vampire. He’s knelt down in pain, and Adam could hear him growling lowly. “Have you ever been injected with Dead Man’s Blood before?” Adam asks, keeping a careful eye on the crouched man.

 

When Adam doesn’t hear an answer, he continues. “With the amount of blood I put into your system, you’ll feel weak, slow, for a good five hours or so. It’s like a poison to you,” Adam sighs and walks up to the man, kicking his arm to get his attention. The vampire looks up with anger, such black hatred in his dark eyes. He hisses, and Adam scowls in disgust and his elongated teeth. “But don’t worry, you’ll be dead before those hours are up.”

 

The vampire tries to get up, but moans quietly in pain. Adam tuts and shakes his head. “Don’t try to fight, darling, I’ll make it a quick death for you.” The man growls and lunges at Adam’s legs, but Adam side steps him quickly.

 

“Who the fuck are you?” The vampire snaps, gnashing his teeth at Adam from the ground.

 

Adam smirks, and crouches down near the monster. “My name is Adam Parrish,” Adam gives a mock-friendly wave. “Full time college student, part time blood-sucker hunter.”

 

“Fuck you,” The vampire spits out.

 

Adam chuckles. “Sucks to be you right now, huh?” Adam snorts, looking imploringly at the man. “Get it? Sucks to be you?” Adam waits to see if the vampire gets it, but when he continues to glare, Adam sighs. “It’s a vampire pun. Why does no one laugh at that.”

 

“Are you really telling jokes right fucking now?” The man stares increduly at Adam. “My fucking God. Kill me now, I won’t even fight you, I never want to hear shit like that ever again.”

 

“I’m offended, really. But sure,” Adam stands up straight again, holding up his finger. “Just wait right there. I’ll go get my blade.”

 

The vampire flashes his teeth. “Oh sure, I’ll just lay right here. Take your time.”

 

Adam nods and goes to get his bag, pulling out his blade. “This is, like, the easiest job I’ve ever had. You’re really pleasant, so thanks for that, I guess.”

 

He goes to turn around, gasps as the vampire lunges at him so that they’re both crashing to the cement. Adam grunts the vampire knees him in the gut. “And you’re the worst fucking hunter I’ve encountered.” The vampire spits out as he straddles Adam’s thighs and grabs his wrists, pinning him down. “But, there’s something about you, Adam Parrish.”

 

Adam curls his lip and tries to pry his arms free. “Are you always this fucking flirty with your kills?”

 

The vampire shakes his head, shrugging. “No, like I said, you’re somethin’ special.” He leans down until they’re nearly nose to nose. “My name’s Ronan, by the way.”

 

“Well, if it makes you feel better, you’re somethin’ else, too, Ronan ,” Adam gasps out, his gaze stuck on the man’s sharp teeth curled in a predatory smile. “You would have been long dead by now.” Adam grunts as he bucks up from under the vampire, getting his right leg free and kneeing him in the groin.

 

“You’re weak. You can’t win this fight,” Adam says, annoyed, as he sees the vampire crawl away from him. Adam gets up and kicks him hard in the stomach. He gasps out and rolls onto his back. This time Adam straddles him, taking the pale face in both hands. “I’ve been hunting since I was seventeen,” Adam says. He adjusts the knuckles on his hands and raises a fist. “Started in Virginia, my hometown.” His first punch makes a sickening bone-cracking sound. Ronan bucks and yelps as blood gushes out of his nose. “Now I’m in the city for school.” The second punch lands at his jaw. “So much more of you here.”

 

“Thanks for the history lesson,” Ronan moans, turning his face to spit out blood. Adam punches him in the nose again and ignores the shout of pain from Ronan. He gets up on shaky legs, and grabs his fallen blade.

 

He grips the handle and watches the changes in emotion that changes in Ronan’s expression. From pain to anger to fear as he sees the blade. “It’s been a fun time, don’t you think? But I’ve wasted enough time on you,” Adam says, lowering the blade to his neck. “I’ve still got homework to do.”

 

He raises the blade as he looks into the monster’s eyes. “Bye,” Adam says. He’s about to lower his blade onto the vampire’s neck, ending him, but he looks up when he hears an animalistic growl from back toward the alley.

 

He was too busy dealing with Ronan that he didn’t notice anyone else enter the darkened alleyway.

 

He sees the black shadow and he can’t brace himself for the body slamming into him. He can’t breathe for many seconds and he think his ribs will definitely bruise with the force of that tackle. His eyes widen and he’s surely going to die when he’s pinned down by strong arms and a hand grabs his face tilting up his head. He opens his eyes to see another vampire with his lips curled, teeth elongated as he leans in.

 

He knows he’s going to die when he feels the warm breath on his neck and then

 

Then the body is off of him and Adam gasps, sitting up quickly and gathers himself, ready for another fight.

 

He doesn’t expect for the new incomer to be checking on Ronan. “Ronan, my God. Are you alright?” The man says, worry evident in his voice.

 

Adam stands up carefully, wincing at the pain in his ribs. Sensing his movement, the new vampire looks over his shoulder.

 

This one is dressed in sweatpants and an old, ratty t-shirt. It’s as if he just got out of bed. He has black frames on his face and his eyebrows are furrowed. “Please. Let us go.”

 

Adam’s jaw drops. “ What? ” This guy is...begging to be let go? This is the weirdest encounter Adam has ever had.

 

The vampire stands up. “Ronan, he hasn’t been home in awhile. He’d never hunt humans, I swear. We don’t kill.He just hasn’t eaten in awhile, I’m guessing. He’s not in his right mind.”

 

Adam doesn’t really know what to say. Okay, sure have a nice night, you two. Or, just don’t let me catch you two crazy kids feasting on someone.

 

The vampire steps up, hands in fists. “I really don’t want to fight you, but I will if you make me,” His voice goes deeper, his eyes go darker. “We’ll leave you alone.

 

Adam crosses his arms. “I’m a hunter, it’s what I do. I can’t be giving out second chances to every blood sucker I meet.”

 

The vampire nods, as if he totally understands. “Yes, but we do not kill. Listen, I’m Gansey, this is Ronan.” Ronan groans from his place on the ground. “We’re students. Like you, yes? I understand your hate for our kind, but we aren’t like the majority of vampire.”

 

Adam scowls and starts stepping closer to Gansey. “Like I believe that.”

 

Gansey raises his hands. “Please. My girlfriend, she’s a nurse. And a human,” he adds. Adam’s eyes widen. A human infatuated with a monster. His stomach drops. “She gets us bags of blood to sustain us. So we don’t have to kill.”

 

“When's the last time you fed on a human?” Adam questions. He doesn’t know why, but Adam knows that Gansey is telling the truth. There’s something telling Adam to shut up and trust him.

 

Gansey thinks for a moment. “Not for almost sixty years. I promise you. Ronan hasn’t for at least fifty. We’ve been together since I found him and I know he hasn’t.”

 

Ronan groans again, tugging on Gansey’s pants and Gansey crouches down with a frown. Ronan mumbles something and Gansey looks up at Adam. “Please, I have to get him home. He’s hungry and weak.”

 

Adam checks the time on his watch and curses under his breath. It’s late. And Adam still has homework. “Go,” He says, his voice hard. “I don’t want to see you two again.”

 

Gansey nods and gives Adam a grateful smile. He scoops Ronan into his arms. “Thank you,” Gansey says quietly.

 

Adam scowls and looks to Ronan, who looks pitiful and bloodied in Ganseys arms, and is staring at him with dazed eyes. Before Gansey flees into the night, Ronan raises an arm and sticks his middle finger out at Adam.

 

Adam can’t help but snort.

 

When they’re gone, Adam goes to the side of the building and rests against it, dropping his blade and rubbing his palms against his eyes. His exhaustion is back, and all he wants is to jump into his shitty mattress and sleep for a week, but he knows it’s impossible.

 

He stays outside for a few minutes more before lugging himself and his belongings up the three flights of stairs until he reaches his room. Dropping his bag on his bed, he goes to his small bathroom.

 

He sheds his shirt and checks his chest and ribs. He’s bruising already and he groans but it’s not the worst injury he’s ever sustained so he moves on to the shower and turns the water on. He’ll shower, then he’ll eat some saltine crackers he has and get down to his assignments.

 

Then maybe he can sleep. It’s gonna be a long night.

Chapter Text

It’s a half hour until the end of his shift at the convenience store and Adam is slouched over his Anatomy textbook when a six pack of beer is slammed onto the counter, making Adam jump out of his seat.

 

“Ready to check out,” A familiar voice says boredly. Adam’s eyes slowly take in the black shirt that says Fuck You in block letters and the black leather jacket. With thin lips pulled up in a wicked smirk, Ronan makes it obvious when he takes Adam in, eyeing him up and down. His eyes are no longer have the crazed animalistic black eyes, but are a darker blue. Piercing and intense. “Miss me?”

 

How the hell did Adam not notice him come in? Ronan must have sneaked in when Adam was stocking the shelves.



He balls his hands into fists and stands up, leaning over the counter. Anger rushes through him and he bites out, “What the hell are you doing here?”

 

Ronan puts his hands up in a mocking gesture of peace. “Don’t worry, I have come to apologize, Gansey-”

 

“And I told your friend to get lost,” Adam hisses, “I know you were pretty weak and pathetic when your Gansey came to rescue you, but I thought you were smart enough to not seek me out.”

 

Adam felt the smug satisfaction of the slight tightening of Ronan’s jaw, the way his eyes narrow. “Look, I came here to say I’m fucking sorry, you fucking asshole.” He pushes his six pack toward Adam. “Ring me out and I’ll fucking leave.”

 

Adam does so quickly. “Why does something like you need beer? You can’t even get drunk, can you?”

 

Ronan tosses a wad of bills on the counter, enough to buy at least three more six packs, and raises an eyebrow. “Now you’re making small talk?” He grabs his beer and walks out into the night without looking back.

 

Adam doesn’t realize how tense he is until he takes a big breath in and out, and puts the extra money into the tip jar. He looks outside, even though Ronan is probably long gone by now, Adam hopes.

 

He looks to his open textbook and sighs defeatedly. He’s not going to be able to concentrate now, so he closes it shut and starts on cleaning up around the store before he locks it for the night.

 

He takes his last customer and packs up his stuff to leave. He turns off the lights and walks out, zipping up his worn sweater that has way too many holes but he plans on going to the Goodwill soon to find another one for cheap. He puts his hood up to hide from the slight drizzle that’s started and walks down the sidewalk back to his apartment.

 

There are a few stragglers out, so he notices right away the footsteps behind him. He pockets his brass knuckles that are always in his pocket and stops suddenly, turning to startle whoever is following him. And stops in his tracks. It’s Ronan.

 

He has his beanie on, the same one he wore the night they met and fought. The street lights cast shadows on his pale face, making his eyes glint. “Lovely night for a walk isn’t it?”

 

“This is getting ridiculous,” Adam huffs. He’s tired and annoyed and he still has homework to do. He pockets his knuckles and crosses his arms. “Why are you stalking me?”

 

Ronan scoffs and looks down and away, rocking back on his feet. If Adam didn’t know better, he’d think that Ronan was embarrassed. “‘M not. It’s just-” Ronan shrugs. “I tried to kill you, you tried to kill me, let’s make amends. I’ll buy you coffee, or a greasy fucking burger or some shit.”

 

Adam snorts and shakes his head. He can’t help but grin at the crazy offer. “Wow, a vamp asking a slayer out on a date, what a crazy world we live in.”

 

Ronan startles, his eyes wide on Adam. “Who said this was a fucking date? You are so not my type.”

 

When Adam bursts out laughing, Ronan’s face darkens into something stormy when he realizes Adam’s teasing. “Whatever, asshole, thought I’d be nice for once, but fine.”

 

He walks passed Adam, shoving into his shoulder a little, when Adam turns and stops him. “Wait, fine. But I want a large fry and a chocolate shake, too.”

 

Ronan stops and turns his head to make sure Adam see him roll his eyes. “Let’s go, loser. I know a place.”

 

And never in his craziest nightmares would Adam think he’d follow a vampire anywhere, but here he is. They don’t talk much as they walk, it’s kind of awkward, but Adam is pretty exhausted, so he blames it on that.

 

Ronan takes them to a twenty-four hour diner about fifteen minutes away from Adam’s apartment. The diner is decorated in a typical way with black and white checked tiles and shiny red booths.

 

They sit in the corner booth and a middle aged woman with graying hair greets them and hands them menus and asks for drink orders. They order a pitcher of sweet tea as Adam browses the menu and Ronan watches Adam.

 

Adam peaks at Ronan from the top of his menu, and Ronan casually looks away. “What?”

 

Ronan looks at Adam and down at the table. “What?”

 

Adam puts his menu down, knowing what he wants to order. “Why’re you looking at me?”

 

Ronan clears his throat, biting at the leather bands on his left wrist. Shrugging his shoulders, “Nothin’, it’s just your nose is a little crooked.”

 

Adam blushes slightly, frowning. No one has commented about it before. It’s barely noticeable, a present from his father years ago when Adam did something that disappointed his father somehow. He had to set it back himself, and luckily it healed well.

 

Adam doesn’t say anything, he’d rather sit in silence then talk about his past. Sadly, Ronan either doesn’t realize Adam’s discomfort, or just doesn’t care.

 

“Some mean vamp?” He asks.

 

Adam rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “No.”

 

“Then who?”

 

Adam sighs, and snaps. “My father. Why do you care?” Adam sniffs petulantly. “I think it makes me look tough.”

 

Ronan looks down, but Adam sees his lips twitch up as he does. “It makes you look like a loser.”

 

Adam laughs and rubs his tired eyes. “Asshole.”

 

The waitress comes back with their tea and Adam orders his burger and fries. Ronan orders nothing. Adam carefully pours two glasses of tea.

 

“I’m sorry,” Ronan mumbles, taking the offered drink.

 

Adam raises his eyebrows. “For what?”

 

Ronan doesn’t answer right away, taking a few sips to think. “I guess for a lot of things. But, for your dad. I mean, it must’ve been shit growing up like that.”

 

Adam looks at Ronan, shocked.

 

“And I’m sorry for ruining your night last week, Gansey told me to come and apologize, but I knew you wouldn’t want to see me, but I’m glad I came.”

 

“You’re glad Gansey made you apologize?”

 

Ronan groans and avoids Adam’s eyes. “I guess I wanted to apologize, too.”

 

Adam shrugs, taking a sip of his own drink and pauses, narrowing his eyes. “I hope you’re not expecting an apology from me.”

 

Ronan snorts. “Nah, we’re even, right?”

 

Adam shrugs. “Whatever that means.”

 

Ronan smirks teasingly. “Well, what I’m hoping for us to become besties. Paint each other’s nails, gossip about our crushes, and watch cutsey rom-coms.”

 

“Shut the hell up,” Adam says, hiding his smile in his hands. “You’re such an idiot.”

 

Ronan laughs, a deep bellied laugh ending in a snort that makes Adam laugh more.

 

“This is surreal,” Adam says, shaking his head. “A vampire getting me food. Us laughing. This is weird, right?”

 

“Fucking creepy,” Ronan nods.

 

They sit in comfortable silence for awhile, Ronan typing something on his phone, and Adam checking his schedule for tomorrow. On Sundays, he has a short shift at his campus library, and then he has the rest of the day free to work on his assignments, so he doesn’t feel too guilty for staying out. Even with strange company such as Ronan.

 

When Adam’s food arrives, he quickly devours the food, with Ronan watching, amused. “Don’t judge me,” Adam says with a mouthful of food. “I haven’t eaten since this morning.”

 

“How are you so strong when you look so wimpy?”

 

Adam flicks him off. “I drink a lot of milk.”

 

Ronan rolls his eyes. They fall into easy banter after that. They don’t talk about the fight last week, they talk about things normal college boys talk about. Their majors, favorite music, favorite breed of dog. Adam finds out Ronan’s an art major, and that his favorite song is some EDM/screamo song called The Murder Squash Song, and tells Adam to listen to it. Adam kindly refuses.

 

It’s like Adam is hanging out with a friend, not some blood-sucking vampire that he almost killed last week. Again, it was surreal, and if someone came up to him to tell him that Adam would play nice with a monster, he’d punch them in the face with his brass knuckles.

 

Around twenty minutes later, with Adam fuller than he’s been in awhile, Adam calls it a night. It’s nearing one in the morning and Adam wants his bed.

 

Ronan goes to the counter to pay and they walk out into the cool night. “Gansey’s probably worried about me.” Ronan says when they start walking towards Adam’s apartment.

 

Adam eyes Ronan. “You worry him a lot?”

 

Ronan nods. “Understatement of the year.”

 

Adam thinks about what to say next. “Why were you so hungry last week?”

 

Ronan shook his head, not speaking for a moment before saying, “I went back home. There’s a lot of history there, it brought back a lot of dark shit. I didn’t bring any blood that Blue supplies for us, so when I got back I was already kind of crazy.”

 

Adam wasn’t satisfied with that answer, but didn’t pry further. He puts his hands in his pockets to hide them from the cold and keeps walking.

 

Ten minutes into their walk, Ronan clears his throat, gaining Adam’s attention. “So why are you a hunter?”

 

Adam trips over his feet at such a personal question, his body going tense and defensive. “That is none of your business.”

 

Ronan startles at Adam’s tone. “I just wanted to get to know you-”

 

“No,” Adam stops him. “We are not friends nor will we ever be. All of this,” He waves his hands between themselves, “This was just settling things.”

 

Ronan opens and closes his mouth, but Adam doesn’t want to hear another word. “I don’t care what you want. You apologized, that’s that.” Adam stops in front of Ronan and puts a finger to his chest. “You don’t get to know my past. You don’t get to know me. You just leave me alone.”

 

Adam doesn’t care about the hurt look Ronan has on his face, just turns and walks towards his apartment.

 

“You’re welcome for the food, asshole!” Ronan yells back at him. This time, Adam is the one giving Ronan the finger as he storms away, fists balled tightly.

 

Adam walks as quick as he can back to his building, the anger rushing through his body not boiling down. He wants to punch something, he should have punched Ronan.

 

When he gets into his room, he sheds his shirt and pants for a sweatshirt and jumps onto his bed, smothering his face with his pillow. He can’t get Ronan’s surprised, hurt face just as he walked away. Fuck him, he didn’t have any right, Adam thinks.

 

Sighing, and trying to calm himself down, he feels for the old crumpled up photo he always keeps under his pillow. He pulls it out and looks at his younger self and the blonde boy whose arm is wrapped around Younger Adam, smiling wide at the camera.

 

He feels the sadness seeping deep into his bones as he puts the photo to his chest and stares blankly at his cracked ceiling. He bites his lip hard as he feels them start to tremble. He takes deep breaths in and out but it doesn’t work when the first tear falls and rolls down his cheek. “Noah,” Adam whispers brokenly to his ceiling. “I miss you so much.”



Chapter Text

“Hey, Parrish? Can you let me see your notes?” A voice calls, but it feels all muffled, far away.

 

Adam felt like shit. He was shivering nonstop and his bones ached when he made the smallest movement. His eyes were tired and itchy as he blinked rapidly to try and not fall asleep while at his study group.

 

“Adam?” The person next to him, Patrick, said with a worried tone. “You look like crap, you should just go and rest.”

 

Adam grunted, shaking his head as he shuffles through his note cards. “Nah, ‘m fine.” He is not fine, he hasn’t been this sick in years, but he’s screwed for the upcoming Bio-chem test if he doesn’t study.

 

So, if his body can just not shut down just yet, that’d be great.

 

He helps Patrick memorise his flash cards and shares his notes. Everyone takes turns asking questions that might be on the exam.

 

An hour and a half later and three empty coffee cups later, they all pack their things and head out of the library. Patrick gives him a pitiful smile and a small nod and walks away. When he walks outside he shivers bitterly at the wind and the icy drizzle, and he pulls his sad excuse of a sweater closer to his body.

 

He stops suddenly when he remembers he has no medicine at his apartment and swears to himself. It’s either go home and fall into bed, and not be able to fall asleep because he feels so shitty or walking to the nearest drugstore to get night time medicine to knock him out.

 

He sighs, but turns around. He knows there’s a twenty-four hour CVS about twelve minutes away if he cuts through Friendship Park, so that’s where he heads.

 

He pulls his hood up and pockets his hands as he walks briskly, ignoring the aches in his joints. The NyQuil better be fucking worth walking through this shit weather. He reaches the park and looks around wearily for any lingering creeps around and quickens his pace.

 

He makes the best of the quiet night to go over his Biochem notes, going over the function of the enzymes and activation sites.

 

He jumps when he hears a noise to his right and spins around, heart in his throat as he fits his brass knuckles, second nature. He huffs a laugh when he realizes it's just the squeaky chains of the old swing.

 

He turns back around and stops short before bumping into another body. He gasps and stumbles backwards, slipping on the wet ground, falling on his ass.

 

It’s a guy, shorter than Adam by at least an inch. He looks sickly, pale and skinny. He doesn’t look like much, but Adam knows differently. It’s fangs are elongated and gliting as the monster leers down at Adam with a sick amusement that sends Adam into a slight panic.

 

He’s sick and weak; his body is exhausted. His vial of Dead Man’s Blood is in his backpack pocket, he won’t get to it fast enough unless he can somehow slowly take it out without the monster noticing. He’s probably gonna die.

 

But hey, at least he gets out of the Biochem exam, right?

 

Adam keeps his eyes locked on the others dark ones, he slides his hands inch by inch towards his vial in the pocket as slowly as he can. His heart is pounding in his chest as his fingers creep closer until the vampire lunges and rips the bag out of his hands.

 

“Proko,” he says and tosses the bag somewhere behind Adam. Another vamp, then, and Adam didn’t notice at all.

 

He hears rustling then, and then. “We got a hunter, K.”

 

Adam’s heart sinks as he raises himself up on his elbows, his brass knuckles comfortable on his fingers.

 

A chuckles rings out, mean and ugly, as the vampire -K- leans down and fists Adam’s sweater and pulls him up like he’s a ragdoll and pulls them so close that they’re nearly nose to nose. K bites his lower lip as he eyes Adam’s face with a nasty hunger; his protruding fangs cutting into skin.

 

“Well, this just got more interesting,” K says darkly, skimming his nose along Adam’s jaw, taking a deep breath. Adam tries his best not to shudder in disgust.

 

“Happy I could entertain you,” Adam says, teeth clenched as tenses and brings his knee up to ram it in K’s crotch. K huffs in pain as he keels over, Adam quickly backs up to hands grabbing him by his shoulders, nails biting into his skin.

 

K lets out a delighted laugh as he rights himself and shakes his head at Adam, tsking as if Adam’s some naughty kid. “Leave him.” Hands are off of him at K’s words and Adam hears Proko back up. Adam clenches his fists and bares them in a fighting stance.

 

There’s no way in Hell Adam isn’t going to fight for his life, even when chances of getting away are slim.

 

K stalks closer, slow. “We fed earlier,” he explained. “But you’ll be a nice present for Princess, wouldn’t he, Proko?” Behind him Proko snorted.

 

“Look,” Adam tries to reason. “I’m sick, some bad flu, so, really, I’d be a horrible gift, my blood is not so healthy. Disgusting, for sure.”

 

K hums and nods, biting his lip, licking up the beads of blood that lingers at the puncture of his fangs. “You’re funny. All Hunter’s are funny, aren’t they Proko?” K steps close enough for Adam to take a step to swing, which K dodges easily. “Acting so tough even when you’re heart is beating so fast, when you know you have no chance.” K pouts his lip and sighs. “It’s adorable.”

 

Adam huffs, his patience withering away as K treats him like a plaything, like some joke. Adam curls his lip and squares his shoulders, and lunges forward, fist flying up towards K’s chin, but even as he tries to hit quick, his movements are slow, languid, so K steps back far enough the punch doesn’t land. K sneers meanly, amused as he keeps stepping back farther from Adam’s attacks.

 

Adam stops, hands in front of his face, and breaths. Big, gasping breaths as he watches K watch him. He’s using the little energy he has too quick, and K knows he’s already getting tired.

 

“What’s wrong? Giving up, already?” K cocks his head. “Aw, I’ll let you land a hit, if it’ll make you feel better.”

 

Adam pushes forwards, growling in anger and frustration and brings his fist back and then forward, his brass knuckles connecting to K’s nose with a sickening crunch. He stumbles forward, holding his nose in his hands for a minute before laughing.

 

K leans back in his delight, blood steadily flowing from his now broken nose, mouth wide open as he laughs loud into the cold night. Adam doesn’t wait and goes for another hit, fist raised and almost connecting to K’s chin, but K’s hand flies to his wrist, stopping the momentum and raising his free hand to punch his stomach, holding onto Adam as he bends over, the air knocked out of his lungs.

 

K holds onto Adam’s shoulder’s making him stand up right. Adam almost flinches at the monstrous sight. K’s smile was demented, the blood from his nose staining his teeth red. His eyes completely black in his delighted hunger. “Did that make you feel better?” K goes and grabs Adam’s wrist again and turns him around, pulling his arm back far enough it hurts. He leans in close, mouth to Adam’s ear, breath warm on the side of his face. “Good. Now just because I’m not going to suck you dry doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun with you.”

 

Adam bites his lip hard enough to break skin as he tries to not make a sound. He’s not going to give this sickening piece of shit the satisfaction of him begging for his life.

 

He stays stock-still as K removes the brass knuckles from his fingers. “Now let’s see what it takes to make you scream, huh?” K says sweetly into his ear, and twists his wrist up and to the side until the bone cracks.

 

Adam grunts and gasps as he struggles in K’s arms to get away without any success, the break in his wrist sending pulses of pain up his arm. Adam lets out a distressed whimper.

 

To make matters worse, the drizzle coming down lightly turns into a freezing downpour. Adam blinks rapidly as his vision is scoured with the rainwater making his hair stick to his forehead and eyes. K spins him around and Adam doesn’t see the quick punch K lands to his jaw, causing Adam to fall backwards into the muddy grass.

 

Adam groans when he lands hard on his tailbone. He’s careful of his left wrist when he leans up on his elbows. He opens and closes his jaw, checking that it’s not broken. He peers up at K, who is leering down at him with a smug look on his nasty pale face, his dark eyes narrowing, his body tensing like he’s about to attack again.

 

K’s close enough, right by Adam’s feet. Adam clenches his jaw, ignoring the soreness when he does so, and, as hard as he can, kicks his right foot into K’s knee, making it bend the wrong way and for K to topple to the ground with an ‘oomph’.

Adam scrambles up and on top of K, landing his legs on top of K’s arms to try and trap him and as K raises his head up and growls up at Adam, he lands a punch to K’s already broken nose. Again and again with his working hand until K’s mouth and nose are gushing red.

 

Adam knows Proko is behind him when he hears the squeak of running footsteps on the wet grass, and he’s ripped off of K, thrown to the ground, and Adam yelps in pain when he lands on his broken wrist, seeing lights flashing in his eyes.

 

He sees Proko striking towards him and flinches for a hit, kick, whatever, then

 

“Leave him,” K roars. “This bitch is mine.” Proko retreats a few feet and Adam’s attention is back to K.

 

He gets up knees first and wipes at his face, and stomps towards Adam. Adam’s breath stutters because he knows he’s done being played with. This is it.

 

He pushes Adam down from where he was straining his head up, moving down to straddle his legs. He leans his head down towards Adam and spits fresh blood in Adam’s face. Adam flinches away in disgust. “You’re scared, I could smell it on you,” K heaths in anger. “As you should be.”

 

K lifts his head up, blinking his eyes in the downpour. “Proko, I’ve changed my mind. All this fighting has gotten me hungry.” He slowly turns his attention back on Adam, the crazed hungry look is back on K’s face, manic and inhuman. “I’m gonna rip your throat out,” K says the words slowly, drawing them out as he grabs a handful of Adam’s hair and tips it to the side to bear the tender skin of his neck. Adam’s stomach bottoms out and he just prays for a quick death.

 

He thinks of Noah and hopes that wherever he is, he’s waiting for him. So they could be together again. Adam takes a deep breath as K noses at his neck. Maybe death wouldn’t be so bad.

 

Adam feels the prick of K’s fangs and a sting and then feels K’s tongue licking up the blood.  Adam wants to scream for K to stop fucking around when K says, “Oh,” he leans back. “You thought this was it? No I still haven’t made you scream.”

 

Adam lifts his head and shoulders to get as close as he can. “Fuck you,” Adam spits out, teeth clenched.

 

K laughs delightedly, grabs Adam’s face with his hand and slams it into the ground. “It’s been a real treat to meet you. You can hold your own, I can tell, sorry you had to run into me.” K grabs his broken wrist. He takes Adam’s pinky finger and wiggles it back and forth. “This little piggy went to the market.” Crack. Adam cries out, stopping it short, biting his tongue hard, whimpering lowly. K goes to the next finger. “This little piggy stayed home.’ Crack. Adam’s eyes tear up as he shakes and tries to buck up, feeling his stomach roll as he can’t take his eyes off of his broken fingers, bent the wrong ways, sickening. K laughs and laughs, head bent over in his demented glee. K moves on to his middle finger.

 

A sob stops short in his throat as Adam shakes his head.

 

K tuts, and without warning he pulls his middle finger in and bends it back until it breaks. “That little piggy had roast beef.” But Adam hardly heard it over the blood rushing to his ears, a scream tearing out of his throat.

 

“There it is!” K crows out, bending his broken wrist back again and punches Adam’s nose. The flowing blood quickly gathers in Adam’s mouth and he tastes iron. Adam’s chest heaves as he takes in air, but it’s getting harder and harder, his vision clouding and he knows he’s on the brink of passing out.

 

K’s face is cloudy and it seems like there’s three of him. He hears something that might be K talking to him, but, again, Adam can’t tell. He blinks his eyes and shakes his head to try to get his wits again.

 

K isn’t paying attention to Adam any longer, instead his attention is to the right of them. He brings his bottom lip out into a pout and sighs. “And just when I started having fun.”

 

He gives Adam a light tap on the cheek. “Stay down, good dog,” K says jokingly, then gets off of Adam and waits.

 

Adam turns his head slowly to where K is looking and sees a dark figure coming towards him. Another vamp, Adam thinks miserably. He lifts his broken hand to his chest, cradling it with his good one and another more tears well up at the fresh slice of pain.

The figure comes closer and Adam blinks the rain out of his eyes to see, but K’s body his blocking his already blurry vision.

 

“Princess,” K sing-songs as he opens his arms as the figure steps right in front of K. Then he side steps around him. Adam gapes as hope fills his chest as Ronan walks right up to him and crouches down.

 

Adam could cry.

 

“Fuck, Adam,” Ronan whispers, as his eyes quickly flit over Adam’s broken state. Adam bites his cheek to not let any pathetic sounds out of his mouth.

 

“What!” K says loudly. “You two are acquainted? And here I was, wanting to surprise you with a gift.”

 

Ronan stands up and whirls around, grabbing K by the throat. Adam worries for Ronan’s safety, a sick dread filling his stomach just thinking of Ronan being beaten down by this sick monster.

 

“What the fuck are you doing in the city K?” Ronan’s voice is a bright flashing warning sign, all dark and low growls.

 

K doesn’t seem to be too bothered about being in Ronan’s tight clutch, he has a smug smile on his face. “It’s a free country, isn’t it, Lynch? I love the smell of the city! Rotten garbage and polluted air,” K takes a deep whiff of the air. “Plus, it’s so easy to get a damn meal quick on the go here, you must know that.”

 

Ronan’s body tenses further. “Leave the city. You can’t be here.”

 

K laughs, and winces when Ronan tightens his fist. “Oh, can’t I? You’re turning more soft and pathetic every time I see you, Princess. You really need to come back to me. Let me take care of you.”

 

Adam sees a different hunger in K’s eyes when he looks at Ronan, it makes Adam want to snatch him away from K’s eyes forever. He’s fucking cruel.

 

“I’m not a fucking monster,” Ronan seethes. “I’m nothing like you.”

 

K raises a hand at rubs the back of Ronan’s head. “You and me were great back then. You know it, Lynch. We were unstoppable. Now,” K spits out, teeth clenching as his eyes flash towards Adam’s fallen body. “Now, what, you’re making friends with hunters? I thought you were sucking off Dick Three, now you’re lowering the bar with humans?”  

 

“It was never you and me,” Ronan says blandly. “You leave me and Gansey alone and we have no problems. Leave or don’t. I’ll kill you myself, your choice. Rip your sorry head off your body.” Ronan let’s K go, and turns back to Adam.

 

“You’ll come running back to me,” K says, his voice raising, chaotic and getting more hysterical as he talks. “Come begging on your fucking knees for my cock, Lynch. You need me.”

 

Adam keeps his eyes on Ronan as he helps him to his feet with an arm around his waist. Adam expects K and Proko to stop and attack, and Adam sees K’s body is tense, ready to lunge at them. But they walk passed them.

 

“I don’t want you to contact me again,” Ronan says without looking back.

 

When they’re walking on the sidewalk, Adam can finally breathe, sagging his body against Ronan’s for him to carry. They’re quiet as they walk, the only sounds being their footsteps and Adam’s painful wheezing.

 

Adam doesn't know where he’s being led since they turned the wrong way to get to Adam’s apartment, but Adam doesn’t care at this point. He knows he’s safe.

 

“Fuck it,” Ronan mutters. He stops them and grips Adam’s shoulder as he bends down and before Adam realizes it he’s being lifted off the ground into Ronan’s arms. Adam makes a slight squeaks, looking shocked. Ronan’s face is pale and stony when his eyes flick to Adam’s face and quickly away. “Not a word.” Adam doesn’t say a word, he just tucks his head on Ronan’s shoulder, watching water droplets slowly trail down Ronan’s cheek.

 

Soon enough Adam, tired, sick, and slightly broken, falls asleep.

 

*~*

 

There’s a hand shifting through his hair softly, and Adam awakens slowly, still tired and his eyes sting as Adam tries to open fully, so he gives up and keeps them closed. The room is dark and warm, and he doesn’t remember his bed being this comfortable.

 

He hums as the hand scrapes lightly against his skull. “Noah,” Adam crackles, his voice hoarse and quiet. “What’s happened?”

 

The hand in his hair stops moving and Adam frowns at that and makes a disgruntled sound. He cracks an eye open and it’s blurry but there are dark blue eyes gazing at him, soft and slightly confused and Adam remembers.

 

Ronan removes his hand and puts it in his lap. “Hey.”

 

Adam bobs his head in response. He looks to wear his broken wrist sits on top of the blankets, wrapped tight and neat up to his elbow. “We had your fingers set, your nose was broken too.”

 

His throat makes a clicking sound when he swallows. “Thank you.”

 

Ronan nods. He goes to grab a pill bottle and a bottle of water. “You’ve been out for almost two days. Here take this.” Adam sits up carefully on the pillow and takes the two painkillers from Ronan’s hand and gulping down the water.

 

Adam clears his throat and gently touches his nose and feels a slight sting of pain. “Guess this means we’re uneven now, huh?”

 

Ronan’s lips lift up slightly. “Fuck off, shithead.”

 

Adam grins tiredly and settles back down. “Where am I?”

 

“Mine and Gansey’s apartment. I didn’t want to risk Kavinsky following us to your place. It’s safer here for you,” Ronan explains, getting up from his chair beside the bed to fix the blanket where Adam’s foot was peeking out.

 

Adam frowns. “What’s going on with him? Who is he?”

 

Ronan sighs and shakes his head. “We’ll talk when you’re fully rested. There’s a lot of shit to talk about. We’ll get together and answer anything you want answered.”

 

Adam sighs and brings the comforter up to his chin. “Ronan.” Ronan turns from his place by the door.

 

Adam breathes out shakily. “Thank you, really. I was really ready for everything to be over.”

 

Ronan nods, and rubs the back of his neck, quiet for a moment. “I’m not gonna let him hurt you again.” He smirks. “It’ll be you and me, vampire and vampire hunter, we’ll bring him down if we need to, okay?”


Adam feels warm, safe. He smiles, feeling his eyes slipping shut and he’s asleep again. You and me.

Chapter Text

Adam slips back to consciousness slowly. He wiggles his toes and crinkles his nose. He feels someone move his wrist and pain shoots through his arm. He gasps, awake, struggling to sit up but then there are hands on his shoulders, forcing him back. “Woah there, tough guy.”

 

Adam blinks and there’s a girl in his face, with dark short spiky hair. Her eyes are narrowed as she stands back, taking Adam’s wrist, which is still wrapped tightly. “You’re the human-nurse-girlfriend.”

 

Blue scowls and grips his hurt hand tighter, making Adam let out a squeak of distress. “My name is Blue. You’re Adam, the stupid idiot hunter.”

 

Adam snorts and tries to sit up again, slowly. His body is sore and weak, and he winces when he adjusts the pillows to lean on. “Thanks for fixing my hand. And face.”

 

Blue turns to the nightstand and opens a bottle of pills. “Your face should be semi-okay in a few weeks. I don’t know about your wrist or fingers. They might not heal correctly, but we’ll know in due time. Kavinsky really did a number on you.”

 

Blue hands him the pills, painkillers Adam assumes, and a glass of water. Adam swallows them gratefully. “So you know Kavinsky?”

 

Blue shakes her head with a frown. “I’ve only heard about him, never had the pleasure of meeting the asshole.”

 

Adam curls his lip as he wipes away a drop of water from his chin. “Believe me, you don’t wanna. I would have been dead if Ronan wasn’t there.”

 

Blue smirks. “Usually Gansey is the mother hen, but Lynch wouldn’t leave your side practically the whole time you were out. Any reason for that?”

 

Adam shrugs, ignoring the warm feeling that comes from knowing that someone cares like Ronan caring for someone like him. He doesn’t know what the smug look on Blue’s face means, but. “Lynch thinks we’re friends or something, I don’t know. But I’m thankful he was there.”

 

Blue rolls her eyes. “Now we just need to know why Kavinsky is here.”

 

There’s footsteps creeping towards the door before it slams open and Ronan storms in, with Gansey in tow. “Finally, you’re joining the land of the living.” Ronan goes around to the empty side of the bed and lays on top of the covers next to Adam.

 

“Well, kind of living,” Adam says. Ronan rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

 

“You really need to stop with the lame vampire jokes. It’s bad taste,” Ronan huffs, bumping his foot against Adam’s ankle.

 

Blue sits at the edge of the bed with a shark-like smile. “I liked it, Adam.” Adam smiles, pleased. Adam likes Blue. Ronan sticks his tongue out at her.

 

Gansey startles Adam with a gentle hand on his shoulder. “I’m glad to see you again, Adam,” then he winces. “I mean, not under these circumstances, I’m so sorry about that, you look terrible. I mean you don’t look that bad, I’m sure your nose will be healed in no time and it’ll be, you know, less crooked, not that a crooked nose is ugly, you’re a good looking guy, so you’ll be-”

 

“Gansey,” Blue snaps, with an annoyed look on her face. “Just shut up and sit down.”

 

Adam eyes him warily. One look at Gansey, you wouldn’t be expecting a stuttering nervous mess. He can’t help but find it amusing. “Me and my crooked nose thank you.”

 

Beside him, Ronan snorts. Gansey nods, with an embarrassed grin. “Right. Coffee?” He hands him a mug that has steam flowing up out of it. Adam takes it gratefully with a hum.

 

Gansey moves to sit at the edge of the bed next to Blue and then everyone stares at one another silently. Adam sips at his coffee despite it being too hot, watching as Gansey’s gaze flits from Blue to Ronan then nervously at Adam and away again.

 

“So…” Adam starts slowly, hoping someone would begin this apparent meeting.

 

Gansey clears his throat and folds his hands in his lap. “Well, I guess we should start off by talking about the elephant in the room,” Gansey flicks his eyes towards Ronan. “Kavinsky.”

 

Adam feels Ronan twitch beside him, body going rigid. Adam frowns and moves his leg to rest it next to Ronan’s so they touch. He doesn’t relax but he doesn’t move away either, so Adam takes it as something.

 

“Now, we’d be here for days if we tell you all about him, about all the trouble he’s caused, so we’ll keep the history brief,” Gansey says, giving Ronan a quick nod.

 

They wait for Ronan to speak. For him to get his thoughts sorted through. Adam doesn’t know if he’s ready to know what K has done. He could see the fury and pain in Ronan’s eyes when Kavinsky is mentioned. He’s scared of how horrible the past is for Ronan and Gansey both.  

Adam’s run into some horrible encounters in the past when hunting, but he’s never seen anything like K, so sick and sadistic, acting like Adam was some sort of play-thing.

 

Adam turns his attention back to Ronan, who puffs out a deep long breath that reminds Adam of a smoker exhaling. Ronan who is looking back with a look that says he really doesn’t want to about whatever needs talking about. “Kavinsky is the one that turned me,” Ronan blurts out with clenched teeth.

 

The room is quiet while Adam mulls this out. Adam thinks about what K told Ronan that night, that he wants Ronan to come back, that they were good together. So, “It makes sense,” Adam says slowly. “Why does he want you to go back to him?”

 

“He’s been bothering us ever since Ronan left K and his coven,” Gansey spits out, his cool demeanor faltering as his fists clench and as his eyes harden. “Texting him, calling him. He finally went back to him to try to stop it and I thought-”

 

“Yeah, I know what you thought,” Ronan snaps, eyes flashing. “After all the shit I went through with him you thought I’d go back to him and stay.”

 

Gansey throws his hands up in frustration. “You were gone for a month, Ronan, what was I supposed to think when you wouldn’t answer a message I sent.”

 

Adam watches the two of them cautiously, waiting for one of them to lunge. He connects the dots. Ronan must have gone to see K, didn’t feed, came back to the city hungry and angry looking for an easy kill, aka Adam that night of their fight.

 

“You were supposed to trust me,” Ronan says, voice hard and Gansey winces.

 

“Look,” Blue says calmly, “What’s happened, happened. Ronan came back, Gans, he’s not gonna leave us for that creep. You think his love for you isn’t enough? Then you’re an idiot.”

 

“You don’t know how many times I’ve dreamed about him finally winning,” Gansey says. “What would happen.”

 

“It’s never gonna be me and him,” Ronan says, voice low. “I told him to fuck off.”

 

“And if he doesn’t?” Gansey questions. “We know it’s not gonna be happen.”

 

Now that the short therapy session is over, Adam can step in again. “How big is his coven?”

 

Ronan and Gansey look at him, like they forgot he was even there. Adam continues. “Because we obviously need to stop him. Killing him is the most obvious solution.”

 

Blue snorts. “You’re not gonna be able to fight for at least a month, Mr. Tough Guy.”

 

Adam bristles. “I’ll be fine in a few weeks. We can start making a plan. Where is he staying? How many rats does he have with him in the city? It won’t be long until they kill.”

 

Gansey bites his thumb in thought while Ronan looks at Adam with an indecipherable look. “He nearly killed you, and you’re ready to get back out there?”

 

Adam shrugs. “He caught me on a bad day.”

 

Ronan snorts, amused. “Mr. Tough Guy is right,” he mutters under his breath.

 

Gansey says, pondering. “I’m gonna have to make a few calls. We don’t know how big this is gonna be, we need more people to help us. Ronan, call Declan, see if he can help.” Ronan groans loudly. “Jane, make a call to your mother, we’ll have to stop by soon.” Then he looks to Adam. “You wouldn’t have any hunter buddies you know that would be willing to help out, would you?”

 

Adam shakes his head. “‘Fraid not. I always hunt alone. I knew a guy named Dittley, taught me all I know, but he was killed a year after I started hunting.”

 

“Sorry, Adam,” Gansey says softly. Adam nods and waves him off. He tries not to think about it much. He took many of his weapons as a way of honoring him, but it is what it is.

 

“So we have an idea of what we’re doing, right?” Adam says. “Make some calls, get people to help us.”

 

“And stock up on weapons,” Blue grins wide. “My family’ll help with that. I bet you’ll have a field day.” Adam looks with an eyebrow raised.

 

“What, your family are hunters or something?”

 

“More like witches,” Ronan says.

 

Blue smacks Ronan’s socked foot with a hiss. “Psychics.”

 

“And weapon makers?” Adam asked, still confused.

 

“Yes,” Blue says proudly.

 

“Jane’s family is wonderful,” Gansey says, then makes a face. “A bit scary, but wonderful.”

 

“Great,” Adam says worriedly. Because if a vampire says they’re scary, then that’s saying something. Although Gansey isn’t the typical vampire, Adam found. None of them are what he expected.

 

Gansey leaves the room to call someone named Mallory and Blue leaves for class. Ronan stays laying down next to Adam biting at his leather bands on his wrist and Adam feels restless being in bed for so long, but he knows Ronan wants to say something, so he gives him the time Ronan needs.

 

“I’ve changed a lot,” Ronan says with his brows furrowed. “I was just like him.”

 

Adam shakes his head. “I can’t believe that.”

 

Ronan curls his lip and laughs. “Just ask Gansey, that’s why he was so scared I was gonna stay with him. I was a monster, in every sense of the word. When I was turned, it was right after my parents were killed. I was angry, and I didn’t give a shit about anything. K, he, he knew I was in pain, and he turned me ugly. I killed so many people,” Ronan says with a hitch. He raises his hands and digs his palms into his eyes. “I almost killed my little brother for Christ’s sake.”

 

Adam takes a deep breath before laying his good hand on Ronan’s wrist carefully. “Did he-” die?

 

Ronan shakes his head and lowers his hands, watching Adam’s tan hand holding onto Ronan’s pale veiny skin. “My older brother Declan stopped me in time.”

 

Adam’s eyes widen. Declan, the same person who Ronan has to call for help? “Declan? He’s a vampire, too, then?”

 

Ronan nods. “Both my brothers are. I turned them years later. They both got deathly sick, and I’m a selfish fucker and I didn’t want them to leave me. They both live in Washington.”

 

Adam nods and hums. “When did Gansey find you?”

 

“Don’t you want to know how many I’ve killed, Parrish? Don’t you wanna know how disgusting I am?” Ronan says. Adam frowns because he doesn’t like how Ronan is putting himself down. Saying things that aren’t true.

 

“No,” Adam says, squeezing his wrist lightly. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

 

Ronan looks at Adam like he’s some sort of stupid. “Of course it fucking matters, all the innocents that-”

 

Adam moves himself so that his body his fully faced towards Ronan, his legs criss-crossed as he holds his bandaged hand safely in his lap and his good hand back on Ronan’s arm. He’s not looking at Adam directly, more at his chin than his eyes. Ronan’s blue eyes are watery and his thin lips tight in a frown. “Look at me,” Adam says.

 

Eyes lock onto Adam’s and he aches with the intensity of it. He doesn’t let his eyes leave Ronan’s because he needs Ronan to realize how wrong he is. “You’re not a monster. You’re not evil, or disgusting.” Ronan starts to look down with a shake of his head but Adam lifts his head back up with a hand to his chin. Ronan gasps and jerks a little at the contact, but Adam doesn’t care. “You saved me from him, didn’t you? You came back to Gansey, didn’t you? He’s not gonna have you. We won’t let him.” Adam moves his hand from Ronan’s chin to his cheek and grins. “Remember, it’s you and me.”

 

Ronan’s gaze has softened into something fond. “And maybe a few others. I don’t think we could do it all on our own”

 

Adam shrugs and snorts. “Yeah, guess you’re right.” Adam looks towards his damaged hand. “Or maybe Blue can just amputate my hand and attach a hook or some shit.”

 

Adam watches as Ronan’s lips spread wide into a genuine smile. Adam has never been mesmerized by someone’s smile before but it makes his heart skip and sputter in his chest because Ronan’s face just glows. Ronan laughs, not barking and loud like his usual laughs, not that Adam is complaining about those sorts, but this laugh his quiet and full of soft snorts. He leans in towards Adam and rests his head on Adam’s shoulder. Adam lets the hand that was touching Ronan fall to his lap.

 

“Don’t do that, you’d look stupid,” Ronan says in quiet amusement. Adam quirks his lips as he breathes in Ronan’s scent. Like leather and expensive cologne. He startles when he feels Ronan’s finger tap lightly at Adam’s hand, then tracing his knuckles and the prominent veins there. His heart rate picks up. “I like your hands,” Ronan sighs softly. “They’re nice.”

 

And Adam doesn't know what to say to that particular compliment, so he tries to joke, ignoring the way he just knows Ronan can hear his heart beat. He’s even sure Ronan can tell that his face is heating up. “Yeah well, they’re useful.” Ronan lifts his head from Adam’s shoulder, his index finger never stopping his mapping of the rough skin of Adam’s hand. Adam’s finding it hard to breath, and Ronan’s looking at him in stupid amusement so Adam thinks it best to keep talking. “Handy, y’know. I punch with them, I write with them, kill with them. I work on cars, I used to be a mechanic, that’s why they’re so ugly and dry. Guess I need to start taking care of them.” Adam’s looking down as Ronan’s fingers go and twines their fingers together. Adam stops talking. He’s lunges have stopped working. His heart is probably going to stop.

 

Adam braves looking up at Ronan finally to see his eyes a little darker, more intense. Adam imagines himself snatching his hand away from Ronan and booking it back to his apartment, but he thinks that would ruin something. So Adam stays, because although he’s terrified of what’s going to happen, he know’s he’d regret it if he left before finding out.

 

Ronan’s eyes flit over Adam’s face, as if looking for hesitation or rejection, but he knows how this is effecting Adam. He keeps his eyes locked on Adam’s as he slowly raises their hands up, Ronan leaving his fingers loose between Adam’s. Ronan brings their hands towards him, twisting them so and presses his dry lips on Adam’s wrist.

 

Adam blinks and his lips part as he lets out a surprised breath. “Oh.”

 

“Oh,” Ronan mutters back against the thin skin, pursing his lips as he presses soft kisses to the green and blue veins. Ronan gently squeezes Adam’s hand in his and lowers them down and settles their hands in his lap.

 

Adam opens and closes his mouth like some stupid fish and he’s grateful Ronan’s not saying anything about it. “I-I’m having heart problems.”

 

Ronan huffs a quiet laugh, “It is beating really fast.”

 

“Well, that’s not my fault, is it?” Adam says quietly, his breath coming out in little pants now because they’re nose to nose now and Ronan’s breath smells like mint whenever he talks. When did he get so close? Why does Adam feel like he’s floating?

 

There are cool hands on his cheeks suddenly, and Adam shivers because his whole body is hot and trembling. Ronan’s too close but not close enough. “You okay?” Ronan asks, breathe hot on Adams face.

 

Adams eyes flicker down just as Ronan wets his lips and Adam swallows. “I could use some water.” Because his mouth feels like he’s swallowed down sand.

 

Adam sees Ronan’s lips curl into a smirk and his stomach flips then flops then Adam just closes his eyes and waits.

 

Ronan’s lips are warm against Adam’s dry ones when they’re pressed tentatively together. And everything stops. His body stops trembling, his hand stops shaking, heart slows just a bit because of how right it feels. And Adam can’t quite believe how good this feels when they shouldn’t make sense, being together like this. Far back in his mind, he knows this shouldn’t work, but then Ronan slides a hand to the back of his head and slides his fingers through Adam’s hair and opens his mouth a little wider and presses back and Adam quits thinking altogether.

 

He sinks in closer together, bringing his good hand up to Ronan’s where he’s cupping Adam’s cheek and sighs into Ronan’s mouth.

 

When you first look at Ronan Lynch, you’d think of snappish remarks and quick punches as fast as a snake bite. When Adam first looked at him, he thought he was all the things that he just denied Ronan of being.

 

But Ronan is nothing but gentle when he rubs his thumb along Adam’s cheek, when he scrapes blunt nails in his hair. He’s not making the kiss dirty or lustful, he’s just keeping Adam close, sipping soft kisses from Adam’s lips and Adam’s addicted.

 

But, he also has to breath, so he moves his hand to cup Ronan’s jaw, pressing one, two more kisses on Ronan’s lips before detaching their lips and rests his foreheads on Ronan’s, catching his breath.

 

Keeping his eyes closed, his mouth curls up without his volition. “Huh,” Adam croaks out. He could still use that water.

 

“Fuck,” Ronan says, his voice gravelly, and presses a kiss to Adam’s smile. He feels almost giddy. Never in his laugh has he felt giddy before. “I’m guessing that was okay?”

 

Adam snorts and opens his eyes and sees Ronan’s bright eyes on his, full of hope with some nervousness as he stares at Adam. “Yeah, I guess that was more than okay.”

 

Ronan hums, pleased as he strokes Adam’s cheek once more before resting them on Adam’s leg. “Have you wanted to do that since we’ve met? Did you want to kiss me when I punched you for the first time?”

 

Ronan laughs, one of his barking laughs that startle you they’re so loud and unexpected. “Yeah, that was so hot,” Ronan says, moving a loose strand of hair behind Adam’s hair. “Probably when I got you food.”

 

Adam hums. “Then I yelled at you.”

 

Ronan nods. Then Adam’s stomach grumbles. Then he remembers he’s been sleeping for days. He hasn’t eaten. He hasn’t gone to class. “Fuck! My classes! My jobs! I’m fucked,” Adam says, moving to search his phone.

 

A hand on his shoulder makes him pause. “I’ve called you into the work you’ve missed. And I’m sure you’ll catch up in no time, Parrish.”

 

“You did that for me?” Adam asked.

 

Ronan rolls his eyes and nods. “Yeah, I knew you’d be freaking out about it.”

 

“Thank you,” Adam says, and then because he can do this now, leans in and presses his lips to Ronan’s cheek. He turns and finds his phone on the nightstand and checks it while he downs the glass of water left there. He does have work tonight at six, so he has all day. He checks his messages and has a few from his classmates. He’s messed the exam, and he’s quickly reassured that he can make it up. “I can’t miss work again.”

 

Ronan sighs. “Do I need to remind you that you almost died?”

 

“No, but I’m fine now, so I’m going to work.”

 

“There’s no point in arguing, is there?” Ronan huffs, folding his arms together with a frown.

 

“Right you are,” Adam grins.

 

“Let’s get you dressed and showered. We’ll get your homework and extra clothes and shit, I’ll get you some food and you can study before work, okay? And I’m staying with you all night,” Ronan says, standing up and putting on a black and gray hoodie.

 

“You don’t have to do all that,” Adam says, watching quietly.

 

Ronan moves around the bed until his in front of Adam. Placing his hands on Adam’s shoulders, he shakes him gently. “You almost died. You were beaten and broken, and I can’t stop thinking about it,” Ronan says, pained. “So, yes, I am going with you to work. I’m not leaving your side until Kavinsky is gone.”

 

Adam sighs, because it won’t hurt to have Ronan have his back. So Adam nods and gets up, ignoring the pains in his body when he does so. “Okay,” Adam says softly, looking into Ronan’s worried gaze. Ronan kisses him again, then moves back, his nose wrinkling.

 

“Go shower, you smell sweaty, Parrish.”

 

Adam pushes him back with a huff and goes, taking the clothes handed to him.

 

When Adam smells less of sweat and more of coconut, he and Ronan take off towards his apartment. It’s a chilly but relatively sunny November afternoon and the sidewalks are busy. Ronan presses their bodies closer together until Adam finally links their fingers together.

 

“Do you ever go hunting?” Adam asks when they’re nearing his building. Ronan looks questioningly at Adam. “Like where would you go? It’d be hard finding somewhere secluded.”

 

Ronan shrugs. “I hardly hunt here, there’s nothing but rats and squirrels, so Blue supplies us with blood. Me and my brothers like to go to the forested areas in Washington a few times a month.”

 

Adam hums, “How old were they when you turned them?”

 

“Declan was twenty-four, Mattie was nineteen, almost twenty. Since they knew about me, they weren’t so surprised.”

 

Adam nods, “That’s good. I’m glad you have family, that you aren’t alone.” Adam smiles and squeezes his hand.

 

Ronan squeezes back. “You’re not alone anymore either. Just know that.”

 

It hurts to look at Ronan’s earnest face, so he looks ahead as a rush of emotions hit him. He’s never had a true family before. The only true person who Adam thought of as his family was Noah, but he was taken away from him when he was seventeen years old.

 

“I wasn’t always alone,” Adam says quietly. Ronan looks at him with a soft gaze, nodding at him to go on. “I’ll show you.” They arrive at his building. Adam goes up the stairs first, taking his keychain out of his pant pocket.

 

He knows Ronan deserves to learn some of Adam’s past after all the things that Ronan’s talked about earlier. Noah deserves to be spoken about, he was the kindest person Adam’s ever known.

 

He puts the key in the lock and opens the door into his apartment and stops.

 

“What the fuck?” Ronan spits over his shoulder.

 

His apartment is in disarray. His mattress is on the ground, his desk is tipped over, every shelf removed and destroyed. Adam steps in and steps on broken pieces of glass and discarded clothing. His backpack is empty with his school books opened, Adam sees some pages ripped out. Written along the wall in black sharpie in large letters: WHERE AM I CUM FIND ME

Adam’s mind can’t understand what’s happened. He feels like he’s gonna throw up. His vision is going blurry and then Ronan’s there and Adam sees his mouth moving but he can’t hear a thing. Ronan puts a hand to his chest. “-dam, Adam, breathe with me.” Adam thinks dumbly, breathe? You don’t need to breathe? You’re a fucking vampire, fuck’s sake.

 

Adam watches Ronan’s shoulders move up and down, and Adam mimics it, feeling air going in and out. He starts to feel a headache creep in at the back of his skull, but he starts breathing normally, watching Ronan’s wide eyes never leaving his. He takes another look around the room and his eyes zero in on the photograph atop his pillow on the mattress.

 

He kneels on the floor and snatches it up. He feels hysteria creeping back up as he takes it in. The photo of him and Noah was ruined and drawn on in the same black sharpie. The younger Adam has black tears on his face with a large frowny face covering his used-to-be-there smile. On Noah’s, there are what looks to be fangs drawn in on his mouth with two x’s over his eyes.

 

Realisation floods in and Adam sits back, biting his knuckles so hard his skin breaks. If this message is what Adam thinks it means then.

 

Noah isn’t as dead as Adam thought.