The flat was quiet when Dean got home, late as usual. Or was it early? Who the fuck knew anymore. Another tick in the endless "con" column of this whole bloody nightmare.
Emphasis on bloody.
Despite his newly heightened reflexes and senses, Dean still startled, turning and crouching with a menacing hiss before he fully registered who was speaking. Seamus, of course—it was his home as well, after all. Dean hadn't expected him to still be up though, given it was approaching four in the morning. He straightened, embarrassed at his instinctual reaction and at the fact that Seamus was there to see his inhuman response.
Would the indignities never cease?
He'd seen Seamus earlier that evening when he'd met him for dinner at the Leaky Cauldron after Seamus got off work. Not that Dean had eaten anything himself, of course. He'd sat across from Seamus, watching him devour a steak and ale pie, his fork cutting into flaky crust and tender meat while Dean observed with a ravenous and jealous hunger he knew was all in his head. Dean had learned early on in his transformation that the foods he used to love now tasted like ashes in his mouth, yet another thing that had been taken from him. Still, it didn't stop Dean from remembering how delicious Tom's pies were, didn't prevent his brain from lingering on the pleasure he used to derive from hearty pub food.
Instead of obsessing over the things he'd lost—as Dean had become increasingly inclined to do since the transformation—he'd tried to focus on Seamus, listening intently as he filled Dean in on his day. Seamus worked at the Ministry as a low-level drone in the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and he fucking hated his job. Dean had always wished there was something he could do to help him, though now that desire was tinged with the faintest feeling of gladness for the tiny bit of normalcy, that at least this one thing in Dean's life hadn't changed. Seamus talked about the simplicity of the tasks required of him, how he rushed through them all as quickly as possible and then spent the rest of his shift writing jokes for the stand-up routine he'd been writing and refining for over a year. Dean had done his best, before, to encourage Seamus to get out there and go for it, but he knew that Seamus wouldn't be able to take that final step until he was good and ready.
When Seamus had asked if Dean wanted to hear his new material, Dean had mustered a smile and deferred, Maybe later. He'd felt like shit, even worse when Seamus had tried so hard to mask his hurt, but as much as Dean wanted to hear his lover's new jokes, he knew he couldn't bear it, not right then. Seamus was so hilarious and vibrant and full of life, and Dean… wasn't. Not anymore. Despite Seamus being the funniest bloke he knew, Dean wasn't sure if he'd have been able to muster a laugh just then, and Dean knew that would have cut Seamus deeper than Dean's brush-off ever could.
Seamus had quickly moved on, talking about how he got on with his new cubicle buddy at work and reviewing the Thai place the bloke had taken him to. Once again, Dean reached for a smile, even as he was overcome with jealousy and loss. He and Seamus used to meet up for lunch every Friday—one of the perks of being a freelance artist was being able to make your own schedule, and Dean's had always included time to meet up with his boyfriend for Friday lunch. It had been the best part of his week, and now it apparently belonged to Ted from the office. Gone were weekly lunches, and morning strolls through the park, and boozy Saturday morning brunch with their friends.
The daytime had been stolen from Dean. All that was left for him was the night.
Even over the pungent smells of the pub—bitter beer and frying oil and sweaty customers—Seamus's scent had still filled Dean's nostrils like the best kind of fragrance. He'd smelled like sunshine and burnt sugar and the parchment he spent all day pushing at the Ministry. That time, Dean had known the hunger he'd felt wasn't a figment of his imagination, but a real, true craving, a bone-deep need that never seemed to be fully satisfied. Filled as he was with sadness and anger and that never-quenched thirst, Dean had turned down Seamus's hopeful suggestion that they return back to their flat together after he'd finished with his pie. Instead, Dean went off to his studio to work on some new commissions, ignoring the way Seamus's face had fallen as Dean had hurried out of the pub.
"Seamus!" Dean said now, adrenaline still coursing through him after being startled. "I wasn't expecting you to still be up."
"I figured," Seamus said, his smile turning wry. "I couldn't sleep and…." He sighed. "I know I just saw you earlier this evening, but even then you were a million miles away. I miss you."
Dean grimaced. He'd known that Seamus wasn't stupid, that he had to be aware that Dean had been avoiding him, and the confirmation of it now made guilt sit even heavier in his gut. Seamus was so good, so kind-hearted, and Dean knew his distance was hurting Seamus, but he couldn't seem to make himself stop. For as much as he loved Seamus and wanted to be with him always, there were just as many reasons to stay away: Dean's hatred and self-loathing over what he'd become, the constant fear that no matter how much they loved each other, it still wouldn't be enough to overcome this huge obstacle, that it was inevitable that Dean was going to lose the person he'd loved since he was eleven. Dean was different now, changed, and he was terrified that eventually Seamus would see that, that he'd realise he was dating a monster. Because all of those other reasons had nothing on the all-encompassing thirst, the biggest reason that Dean kept his distance.
Dean was hungry. All the time he was starving, he was ravenous. He’d thought he'd experienced hunger before, during the war, that gnawing in his belly when he had to make due with small and infrequent meals, but it was nothing, nothing, compared to the colossal beast that now lived in his breast. It was always there, always present, an incessant itch in his gums, and around Seamus… when Seamus was near, it was as if a whole hive of bees took up in his mouth. Dean craved him, craved his blood, his body, his heart. He didn't trust himself around Seamus, didn't trust himself not to hurt the most important person in his life.
Not for the first time, Dean cursed the being who'd done this to him, who'd turned him against his will. The mysterious benefactor had been so generous, so enamoured with Dean's work that he'd been flattered at first. How could he not be when a wealthy patron of the arts lavished him with praise and commissions? He hadn't known his admirer wasn't quite human, hadn't realised he'd been so captivated by Dean's talent that he'd wanted to keep him around for all eternity….
It had almost been enough to get Dean to give up art entirely, devastated that his life's passion had led him down a path of destruction. In the end, the call of his work had been too great to ignore, and most days painting was the only thing keeping Dean sane, his one outlet for the chaotic emotions within, a way to lose himself in his craft and forget his woes, if only for a little while.
His sire had disappeared right after he'd turned Dean, not even sticking around to confirm his progeny had survived the brutal turning process. It was illegal in Great Britain to turn a human without consent and prior approval from the Ministry, and, of course, the man had neither. A part of Dean wished he'd stuck around long enough to at least show Dean the ropes, so to speak, but most of him wished he'd stuck around so that Dean could rip his throat out for ruining his life. He had a sinking suspicion he'd not seen the last of the vampire, that he'd reappear in Dean's life after a few dozen years had passed in hopes that Dean's ire would have cooled with time. One day, Dean would have the chance to take his revenge.
Dean never used to have such gruesome fantasies.
Of course, he'd gone to the mandatory orientations sessions put on by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry. He'd actually been looking forward to them, as much as he was capable of mustering enthusiasm for anything these nights, but as with most things provided by the Ministry, the sessions were utter crap. They'd barely covered anything Dean didn't already know after spending a few weeks in his new body, and the cheerful witch going on about how he could still lead a perfectly normal life, really made him want to bite her, just to see how she felt about Dean being normal then.
She hadn't been able to answer any of his real questions, the ones that kept him up during the day. Like how would his transformation affect his magic? How could he control his new sensitivity to sound and smells? And the one that had really bothered him in the depths of his soul (if he even still had one): would his skin turn pale and faded, the way it appeared to do for every vampire ever mentioned in books or shown in Muggle movies? So far the colour of his skin had remained unchanged, and each night that Dean woke up and looked down at his warm brown hands he was overcome with relief. He'd already lost so much of his identity, he couldn't bear to give up his Blackness, too. But whenever he looked in the mirror—he could apparently still see his reflection—it was his own face staring back at him, the same as ever.
Looking at him, you wouldn't even know he was dead.
Dean had gone straight to his studio after the pub, just as he told Seamus he would. Art really had become his refuge, his one escape, and his transformation had only led to an increase in commissions—all those curious witches and wizards being drawn to the exotic. Dean hated them even as he took their money, resenting his reliance on their patronage. Still, a man (no, not a man, not anymore, a vampire) had to eat, and blood bags didn't come cheap. So he smiled and performed, accepted their shiny Galleons and took out his feelings in his art—they might commission him for a piece, but he'd always made it clear they had very little say in what he created for them. He was mysterious enough to get away with the surly attitude—all part of his vampiric appeal, he supposed—and though he understood the necessity of the game, it didn't mean he had to like it.
He'd spent most of the night working on a particularly large piece, a canvas three times his height and twice as wide. Dean had lost himself in it, as he usually did, and it felt like no time had passed at all when his wand chimed loudly, letting him know sunrise was two hours away. He quickly cleaned up his space and packed his things before heading back to the flat he shared with Seamus. Given the late hour, he assumed Seamus would be in bed, and Dean allowed himself to picture it as he walked home, his always-moving lover still only in sleep, his lashes fanned across his cheeks, body curled up in the bed he and Dean used to share. Now, Dean had been relegated to what used to be the study—it was the only room, save the loo, without a window. Seamus had understood the need for the switch, but had balked when Dean had stood firm that Seamus would not be joining him. He'd learned during those first days in St Mungo's after the attack that during the day he went as still and cold as death itself, and he couldn't bear the thought of Seamus seeing him like that. Not to mention, he always woke up ravenous, and the last thing he wanted to do was to accidentally hurt Seamus, his half-awake brain mindlessly seeking blood. It was a nice thought, sleeping next to Seamus's warm, familiar body, but it just wasn't practical. Besides, they had different sleep schedules anyway.
But Seamus was decidedly not sleeping when Dean crept into their flat, taking care to walk silently so as not to wake his lover. He was sat on the sofa in the living room, a soft smile on his lips as he stared at Dean, apparently still patiently awaiting some response to his previous statement.
Dean sagged, the weight of guilt heavy on his shoulders. "I—" He broke off, unsure what he could even say.
"I know, Dean," Seamus said softly, his voice so kind it made Dean's unbeating heart ache. "I can't possibly understand what you're going through, I get that, but I do know that it's been hard, that you're struggling. I just—" He ran a hand through his hair and looked away before continuing, his voice thick, "I wish you'd let me help. I wish you'd let me be there for you."
The sadness in Seamus's voice made Dean's chest tight. He wished Seamus would get angry, that he'd yell and scream at Dean like he deserved. This quiet hurt and yearning to support Dean was too much to bear.
"Why aren't you angry?" Dean asked quietly. "You're right, I've been avoiding you. I'm—I'm—" a monster. "You should be furious at me. You should hate me."
"Oh, Dean…." Seamus shook his head, his eyes shining with love and affection. "I don't think I could ever hate you. And I'm not angry with you. You're hurting, love, and I get why you're isolating yourself. I wish you didn't feel like you had to, but I'm always here for you. Shouting isn't going to help anything, it's not what you need right now."
Dean could hear the sincerity of Seamus's words, just as he could hear and smell the steady flow of blood throbbing at his pulse points. Even as Dean's chest swelled with love for the man in front of him, his gaze lasered in on the tempting curve of his exposed throat where Dean's enhanced vision could see the faint flutter of blood thrumming through his carotid.
"Yeah," Seamus murmured quietly, drawing Dean's gaze guiltily away from his neck and towards his face. Seamus smiled kindly, knowingly. "It must be hard, constantly fighting your urges. Living off of cold blood bags with all this hot, fresh blood right under your nose."
"I—" Dean shook his head. "I'd never hurt you. I won't."
"I know you won't," Seamus said, leaning forward, his expression earnest. "I trust you, Dean. I know you won't hurt me, you couldn't. You've not bitten anybody, have you? I know there are willing donors, the bite doesn't have to be painful." Dean shook his head again, freezing when Seamus stood and began to walk towards him, slow and easy, as if he was afraid Dean would spook. "I looked into it, you know," Seamus continued, his voice barely above a whisper, though with Dean's enhanced hearing, he picked up every word, every nuance. "The second you were turned, I started digging up everything I could. I even got Hermione to help with the research." He grinned, and Dean felt his eyes begin to sting. How could Seamus still look at him like he hadn't changed? Dean wasn't worthy of such devotion, not anymore.
"Dean, baby," Seamus murmured as he stepped in close. His expression was shattered, and Dean knew that it was all for him, that Seamus was aware of how much Dean was hurting and that it killed him to see Dean struggling. "You're not alone. You won't ever be alone as long as I'm around." Dean turned away, unable to bear the sincerity in Seamus's eyes. But Seamus wasn't letting him off so easy. He reached out and cupped Dean's face, his hand fever-hot against Dean's cool cheek. Seamus turned Dean's head back towards him, and Dean was powerless to resist. Their eyes met, and Dean was lost. "I love you, all of you, no matter what," Seamus whispered. "We can make this work, Dean, you just gotta let me in. I'm not going anywhere. Let me be there for you."
Seamus stared up at him, so earnest and trusting, begging Dean to accept what he was offering, and Dean never had been able to say no to Seamus. He nodded, and the grin that crossed Seamus's face was brilliant and blinding. Dean only had a second to admire it, and then Seamus was pulling him in for a deep, passionate kiss.
There hadn't been a complete absence of affection since Dean had been turned, but any kisses they'd exchanged had been brief and chaste, and light snogging had been as far as they'd gone. Not that Dean didn't want to do more—and desperately at that—but he'd been too afraid, terrified he might lose control in the heat of passion, petrified that being so close would cause Seamus to finally realise what Dean had become. Those worries were still there, but they were muted now, buried beneath the tidal wave of want and passion that consumed him the moment Seamus's tongue coaxed its way between his lips. He slid a hand through Seamus's shaggy hair, the other moving down to cup his arse, and something inside Dean sighed and settled at the feeling of finally having the man he loved in his arms once more. Lust rose up in him, and with it, other hungers, as Dean sensed Seamus's blood rushing hot and alluring through his veins. Dean's canines descended, entirely against his will, nicking Seamus's lower lip as they kissed. Blood welled, the sharp tang of it bursting citrus-bright against Dean's tongue, and the savage predator within roared with pleasure and satisfaction, every instinct telling him to lock his lips around the wound and suck.
Seamus let out a small whimper, and the sound tore Dean out of his bloodlust. Horrified, he threw himself bodily away from Seamus, his back hitting against the wall over a foot away. He looked at Seamus, his gaze zeroing in on the red sheen of blood still glistening on Seamus's lips, and he felt ill even as desire gripped him tight. His hands clenched into fists at his side, and he forced his gaze away, staring resolutely at the carpet.
"Dean," Seamus said, his voice low and cajoling. "Baby, look at me."
Reluctantly, Dean did as instructed, startling when he realised Seamus was now just inches away. "I hurt you," Dean said, his voice rough with hunger and regret.
He could still smell Seamus's blood.
"No you didn't, Dean," Seamus said with a shake of his head. "That's what I've been trying to tell you, it's what I've been trying to offer."
Dean stared at him, his eyes wide with shock. "No," he said, shaking his head. "You can't mean that. It's too dangerous. You're not—you're my boyfriend, not my dinner."
"Can't I be both?" Seamus said with a cheeky smile, though it quickly faded when he realised Dean didn't find his words so amusing. Seamus sighed. "Look, Dean, I already told you I've researched this. It's not like I'd offer this to just anybody, but I trust you—I know you'd never hurt me. I've got plenty of Blood-Replenishing Potions if I need them, and…." He trailed off, his cheeks heating as he broke their stare. He cleared his throat. "I talked to some people, a witch and wizard who're with vampires. From what they said, it's supposed to be… well, it's supposed to feel pretty damn good, for both of us."
Dean drew in a shaky breath, more from habit than from any real need—the undead didn't actually have to breathe, but he found it steadying all the same. Wild emotion ricocheted around inside him, like a Bludger loose in a shed, shaking everything inside him until he was a jumbled mess. He wanted, wanted so damn badly he could hardly stand it, but he didn't understand how Seamus could trust him so much, not when Dean didn't even trust himself.
"Dean," Seamus murmured, low and cajoling… seductive. He reached out, curling his hand along the back of Dean's neck, each finger a line of fire that ignited Dean's blood. "Please, baby? Let us have this."
And then Seamus was pulling him in for another kiss, and once more Dean was powerless to resist him. Seamus could ask Dean for the bloody moon, and Dean would thank him for the pleasure of doing the impossible. After all, better he ask for the moon than the sun, given Dean's new affliction.
Seamus guiding them, they stumbled their way into their bedroom, clothes melting off through the clever work of a wandless spell. Seamus didn't usually have the patience for wandless magic, but sex, Dean found, was a brilliant motivator. Dean let himself be led, let Seamus pull him down onto their bed and slot him right between Seamus spread thighs. It was brilliant, being with Seamus like this once again, feeling his hot, smooth skin sliding against his own. The smell of lust and sex was nearly overwhelming, though nowhere near strong enough to overpower the call of Seamus's blood, rushing thick and sweet through his veins. It added another layer to Dean's arousal, made him even more frantic and hungry and desperately turned on. His prick dripped precome onto Seamus's groin, adding to the sticky friction as they thrust against one another. God, he wanted to fuck Seamus, wanted to bury himself deep inside, find absolution in the hot clutch of Seamus's arse. He wasn't going to last long enough for that, though. Dean hadn't had so much as a wank since he'd been turned, and it seemed that was far too long to go without. Already his climax hovered near the surface, ready to explode out of him at any moment.
Beneath him, Seamus broke off their kiss before very purposefully tilting his head back, exposing the long, pale line of his throat. Dean continued thrusting—he couldn't make himself stop—even as his eyes lasered in on Seamus's fluttering pulse point. His canines, which had remained stubbornly extended since the first kiss in the living room, seemed to itch and ache with a practically sentient need to bury themselves in the unblemished curve of Seamus's neck. Every primal urge and instinct in him reared up, urging him to strike, but somehow he managed to pull himself back. He screwed his eyes shut, as if not being able to see the tempting offer would make it easier to resist. Unfortunately, he couldn't shut off his nose, and the alluring scent continued its assault, promising so much pleasure if only Dean would allow himself a taste.
"Dean," Seamus said, his voice clear and sure. He didn't have to ask Dean to look at him; Dean could hear the command in his voice. He opened his eyes, meeting Seamus's bold stare. "I want you to bite me," Seamus said, bucking his hips up as he did and rubbing his still-hard cock along Dean's.
"Goddammit, Dean, just bloody bite me!" Seamus's expression creased with frustration before it smoothed out as he smiled softly. "You won't hurt me, I know you won't." Dean hesitated, and Seamus stared up at him, his eyes wide and yearning. "Please, Dean."
Dean shuddered and then, with heightened reflexes that allowed him to move at the same time he even had the thought to, his lips were at Seamus's throat, brushing against the delicate skin there, feeling the pulse of blood throbbing beneath his tongue. His gums itched with the urge to bite, and he opened his mouth, canines scraping against the skin.
"Do it, Dean," Seamus moaned. "Bite me, baby."
Dean obeyed, sinking his canines deep into Seamus's malleable flesh as warm, thick blood filled his mouth. It was ambrosia, bottled euphoria, and distantly Dean registered that he was coming, his thrusting hips stuttering as he climaxed. That pleasure was pale and muted in the face of the liquid bliss coating his tongue and sliding down his throat. Seamus writhed beneath him, pressing into the bite of Dean's mouth as he grabbed Dean's arse and ground up against his hips, clearly chasing his own pleasure. Dean shivered, overwhelmed with desire and the incredible feeling of connection thrumming through him as Seamus's blood began to circulate through his own body, bringing a warm flush to his dark skin. There was nothing Dean wanted more in the world than to continue to live in this burning ecstasy, nothing save one thing: Seamus alive and healthy and whole. It was enough incentive to force Dean's canines to retract, enough to pull him away from the bright beacon of Seamus's neck, his tongue laving at the puncture wounds until the blood began to coagulate and the flow slowly stopped.
Seamus pulled him close, after, their naked bodies entwined on the bed as their breathing slowed and their skin cooled. A feeling of happiness, of hopefulness, suffused Dean's body, making him feel better than he had since he'd been turned. Perhaps it was that he was sated and satisfied for the first time since that fateful night, his body flush with blood. Though Dean thought Seamus's fervent support, his unwavering faith that the two of them could get through this had more to do with it.
"I signed up for an open mic night over at the Japing Jarvey," Seamus said quietly, murmuring the words against Dean's breastbone.
"Really?" Dean said, a feeling of pride blooming within him. Seamus had been talking about getting into stand-up for as long as Dean had known him, but something had always held him back, no matter how much Dean tried to convince him he'd be brilliant. "That's amazing! When is it?"
"Next week," Seamus said, and Dean could hear the happiness and trepidation in his voice. "I thought… maybe I could practise my routine on you?"
"Of course," Dean said, guilt pricking at him as he realised how long it'd been since he'd asked to hear Seamus's new material. He hadn't been ready to laugh and be happy, but he was starting to think he was getting there. "I'd love to hear your routine." He paused and breathed in, relishing the smell of sex and Seamus. "What made you decide to go for it?"
"You," Seamus replied, resting his hand over Dean's still heart before shifting up to look Dean in the eyes. "You could have died, Dean, permanently, I mean. I could have lost you. I know it's been… hard, adjusting, but you're still here, with me." His eyes were bright, shining with unshed tears, and he closed his eyes as he took in a shuddering breath. "After the war, I think I let myself get complacent. It was so awful, I just wanted to move past it, but I went a little too far. I let myself forget how precious life is, how quickly it can all be taken away. I've been dreaming of getting up on stage and making people laugh since before I went to Hogwarts—it's time for me to just fucking go for it."
Dean's throat grew tight, though shockingly not from thirst. He loved Seamus so much, and if he could, he'd give him anything, everything, the entire world. This dream of Seamus's was something he had to go after on his own, but Dean planned to be there every step of the way.
"I'm proud of you," Dean whispered. "You're going to be brilliant."
"You know what else comedy has going for it?" Seamus asked, smiling shyly down at him. "Most events and shows are at night."
Love welled up within him, filling him to the brim as he stared at this beautiful, brilliant man who always managed to find the bright side in any situation. He couldn't help himself, and he reached up to thread his fingers through Seamus's hair and tug him down for a kiss. Seamus kissed him back with enthusiasm, and by the time they parted he was flushed and giddy, the both of them were. Seamus's eyes were soft and fond as they looked down at him, though his expression grew more serious.
"I know you're going through a lot right now, through things I can't possibly imagine, that I can't understand, no matter how much I want to." He bit his lip, leaning in close. "But please don't shut me out again. We can get through this. There are resources out there for you, other vampires you can talk to who can help. I'm not going anywhere, I'll be with you every step of the way, but you gotta let me in."
Dean nodded, mouth dry. The guilt was there, knocking on the door, but he turned it away, focusing on the naked, loving man on top of him. It wouldn't be easy, coming to terms with what he'd become, but he had to try. He'd had his sulk, threw his pity party for one, but Seamus was right—they could get through this, as long as Dean wanted it badly enough.
"Okay," he whispered. "All right."
Seamus smiled at him, and who needed the sun when he still had the full force of Seamus's grin shining down upon him?
"I should probably…." He trailed off and started to get up to head off to the guest room where he'd created his lair, but Seamus remained firmly on top of him, pinning him to the bed. "Seamus?"
"I err, did a thing." Seamus's said, his expression nervous, vulnerable. Dean raised a single brow, and Seamus bit his lip. "I had Harry and Ron over, after I got back from the pub. They helped me light-proof the bedroom. We triple checked the windows—nothing can get in." He took a deep breath, eyes shining with hope. "Stay here with me tonight?"
Dean hesitated, anxiety thrumming through him at the thought of how exposed he'd be, sleeping like the dead next to Seamus. But he knew that wasn't fair of him. Seamus had shown him only love and acceptance, and he deserved nothing less than Dean's complete trust.
"All right," he croaked out. "I'll stay."
Another one of those sunlight smiles, and Dean knew he'd made the right choice. Tomorrow was Saturday, which meant Seamus was off work, and considering how late it was now, that was definitely a good thing. It meant he'd stay in bed with Dean well into the day. Dean wondered if he'd be able to tell. He'd never shared a bed with somebody since he'd been turned.
He found he was looking forward to it.