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six or seven weeks (give or take)

Chapter Text

Brian learns that you shouldn't donate blood more often than once every eight weeks.

He figures he can probably shave that down to six, seven on the outside; guidelines are always more conservative than they need to be. So, he has six or seven weeks, give or take, to convince Patrick to bite him again.

The morning after it happens the first time, Brian rolls over to find Pat already awake, fearful and hopeful; it's so easy to turn to him, into his well-fed warmth, morning breath and all. But when Brian brings up the possibility of it happening again, Pat refuses so adamantly Brian's half-surprised there's not a Pat-shaped hole in his wall.

Are you kidding, Brian? I nearly killed you turns out to be a pretty good trump card.

Whatever's going to come of that conversation, though, is derailed when their phones chime simultaneously with new messages in Slack:

Tara:
Hey, can you two sync with me this morning, first thing? Thx.

Brian looks up from his phone to see Pat already looking at him, lip caught in his teeth. "Are we in for it?" Brian asks.

Pat sighs. "You'll probably be fine."

They get ready side-by-side, focusing on the mundane minutiae of getting out the door in something resembling clean clothes on Patrick and no visible wounds on Brian. They take the same train into work. Pat is a solicitous shadow: taking Brian's elbow when the train bounces, holding his water bottle between sips.

And they don't talk about it, even though Brian aches to, with a tight and anxious feeling in his chest that's worse than the dizziness, worse than the vaguely itchy feeling of his healing bites. Brian tries to, he needs to, but Pat's clenched jaw and tight, distant smile when he mutters 'not here, Brian' brook no discussion.

Brian looks around at the densely-packed train of commuters and slips his hand into his jacket pocket instead, leaning against the pole as the train rocks them together and apart.

Tara's got a box of doughnuts on her desk when they walk in together, which is either a good sign or one final kindness. She gestures to the box while looking expressly at Brian.

"You, take at least one, alright?" she says; an order, but a gentle one. Brian takes an apple fritter. "Both of you, sit, please."

They do, and she does as well, putting her elbows on her desk and steepling her fingers. "Alright," she says. "Tell me what you need to tell me about what happened last night."

Brian and Pat share a look, then:

"I bit Brian," Pat says.

"Pat and I are dating now," Brian says, at the same time. Pat turns his head to look at Brian, surprised.

Tara levels them with a look that's hard to interpret, then puts her face in her hands and sighs. "Okay. That makes this a little bit easier, thank God, there's actual forms for this." She opens her desk drawer and pulls out a manila folder. She takes out two sheets of paper and slides them over her desk. "Pat, you have to report that you bit a coworker—"

"He has to what?" Brian interjects, but Pat just nods and takes the form he's given.

"And between the both of you, you just have to file with HR that you're in a workplace relationship, so that's this one," she says, sliding the second form over to Brian. "It's a cover-your-ass thing in case you ever do something actionable, it's no big, they just wanna know."

"Brian has to sign this, when I'm done," Pat says, around the pen cap in his mouth as he scrawls on his form.

"Wh-why, though?" Brian asks, looking between Pat and Tara.

"Brian," Tara says, gently; "Pat's literally classified as a predator."

Beside him, Pat stiffens and pulls in a whistling breath through the hollow of the pen cap. Tara continues: "He’s legally obligated to report if he bites a living human, even if it's consensual. Which, I mean—" she says, gesturing between the both of them, "I'm assuming, here."

"Yeah, yeah, of course," Brian nods, emphatically. "It was definitely my idea."

Tara has the decency not to look relieved. "Great. Good. So, it's pretty much like any other workplace relationship; if you feel like your relationship creates a conflict of interest, tell me immediately, before it becomes a problem. As for PDA: if it could get you arrested for doing it in a park, you're not allowed to do it on the clock."

Pat coughs. "I'm, uh, technically not allowed to drink live blood in public," he says.

Tara sighs. "I—okay, that's true, but, I'm also not allowed to restrict your right to sustenance, under the Act. If Brian's your donor, you're fine as long as you're not literally in public. So, you're retroactively in the clear for whatever happened last night before the stream—please don't tell me, I don't want to know—and any time it might happen in the future. I don't have the form for that one, though, Brian; that's a Department of Sanguivore Affairs thing, if you wanna register as Pat's donor so you don't have to do this every time. There's classes and support groups and stuff."

"Not gonna happen," Pat mutters as he finishes and passes his form to Brian to sign.

Brian scans it; it looks like the form you fill out at the doctor's office, complete with a little anatomical illustration where Pat's already circled where he bit Brian the night before. Brian lightly touches where the bite's already scabbed over on his neck, the smooth-rough-smooth pattern of it. At the bottom is a bit of dense text about consent and liability, with Pat's tight-scrawl signature. Brian adds his and slides it back across the desk for Tara.

Tara blows out her breath through her lips and slips the form into her outbox. "Okay, thank you. I'll make sure that gets where it needs to go. You two get your stories straight about the HR one, get it back to me when you can."

"Okay, Tara," Pat and Brian answer, and Tara nods.

"Okay," she echoes, and then makes a show of taking off an imaginary hat and putting on a different one. When she does, a huge smile explodes across her face and she stands up from her chair. "Oh my god, you guys!"

Brian laughs as Tara runs around her desk and throws her arms around him. "You guys! I'm so happy! Patrick, get in here!" She reaches her arm out until she can grab Pat around the neck and haul him in, which he does grudgingly but with a smile. "How did it happen?! When?"

"You literally just said you didn't want to know," Pat grouses.

Tara releases them and sits on the edge of her desk, grabbing the box of doughnuts. "Brian, eat another," she says first, and then, "That was Boss Tara! Friend Tara wants to know! Spill!"

Tara eventually lets them off the hook fairly easily, after giving them both one more effusive hug and a reminder to please get the HR paperwork done when they can. They file out of her office with the distinct aura of men surprised they weren't fired.

"Holy smokes," Brian sighs, hand over his heart.

"I thought that was gonna go way worse for me, to be honest," Pat admits.

Brian stops walking, turning to face Pat. "Could it have?"

Pat looks off to the side, his lips thinning as he considers his words for a few seconds. "Yeah. If you had… well, you could have really blown up my spot, if you wanted to."

"Pat…" Brian says, and steps closer. Pat's hand is still warm when he laces their fingers together. It's the first recreational contact they've had since they woke up, with Brian cradled in Pat's arms. "Pat, I wouldn't have."

"You could have, though," Pat says. "If… if you'd thought about it overnight, and realized… how much danger you were in. How I could have…" he swallows and blinks a few times, rapidly. "How I could have really hurt you. Killed you. Turned you, if I wanted to."

"Did you?" Brian asks. "Want to? Any of it?"

Pat's face crumples, and he rubs his eyes with the heel of his free hand. "Yes," he whispers, miserably. "No? I don't know. I wasn't thinking."

Brian steps forward and wraps his arms around Pat's waist, with his head against Pat's shoulder. Pat's tense as hell, all up the tight corded muscle of his back as Brian runs his hand up and down Pat's spine. "You didn't. You stopped. It's fine."

"I wasn't going to," Pat mumbles into Brian's hair.

"You did."

Pat just holds Brian tighter, shaking his head—so unlike Brian, who'll come back to a point like a dog with a bone until there's no meat left on it. When he speaks again, his voice sounds strangled. "Don't—don't ask me to do it again."

"Okay," Brian says, turning his head so he can nod. "But… if you change your mind..."

"I won't," Pat replies, quickly. It sounds more like a promise than just a statement of fact.

Brian doesn't want to let go, so he doesn't, and Pat seems just as content to hold Brian against his chest. Tara's office isn't in a private area, exactly, but it's not in the bullpen either, and Brian doesn't want to go back to their separate desks just yet. He turns his head to Pat's shoulder and feels the gentle, arrhythmic rise and fall of his chest, the eerie absence of his heartbeat.

"It's neat you still breathe," Brian observes.

"I never got out of the habit," Pat says. "Older vampires sometimes do, if they go a long time without talking. Sometimes I forget. But you can't talk unless you have air in your lungs—that's physics, not magic."

"But you still, like, sigh and stuff."

Pat shrugs. "I was a sad, quiet human. You get used to communicating certain ways."

"You're a sad, quiet vampire," Brian says, dry.

Pat snorts. "Sometimes."

Brian closes his eyes as he feels Pat's fingers slip up his shoulders, up his neck, skirting around the scabby bite to alight gently at the base of his skull. Pat's thumb brushes his cheekbone. Pat takes another long breath, holding it before he speaks again. "So, we're dating now," he says, carefully.

Brian chews on his lip. "Yeah. I… hope so, anyway."

Pat's arm's circle him more purposefully as he ducks his head to press a kiss to the top of Brian's head. "I… okay," he murmurs, into Brian's hair, and then, even quieter, "...thank you."

"Pat," Brian's voice breaks, because that's so fucking sad he doesn't even know what to say. Instead, he pulls back to take Pat's face in his hands and tug him down until their lips meet. Pat's hesitant, keeping his teeth and tongue firmly behind his lips as Brian kisses him long and sweet, but his fingers dig into Brian where they touch, greedy anyway. As if Brian's still gonna change his mind.

They both jump when there's a small clunk from nearby: something small hitting the glass wall between them and Tara's office. Brian looks up to see Tara, exasperated but fond, brandishing a second pencil to throw.

"Really? In front of my salad?" Tara crows, waving them away. "Go to work!"

Pat laughs, embarrassed, and Brian steals another kiss up on his toes before Pat steps away to unnecessarily straighten his shirt.

"Do you wanna go tell Simone?" Brian asks, and Pat's face falls so comically that Tara has to shout at Brian again to stop laughing so loud and go make a viral video, for God's sake, Brian!

So that's the plan. Six or seven weeks, give or take.

Brian’s not a total fuckboy, and he's not gonna ask again, no matter how bad he wants the bite—and, god, isn't that just so funny, he's exactly what they called him on stream the night before. He scrolls through his Twitter mentions over yet another bottle of Gatorade. He's really coming to hate the taste, but he can't deny he feels light years better than he did last night already. Most people tweeting at him are just… worried for him. It sits poorly on Brian's shoulders.

So, no. The goal isn't to convince Pat to bite him, that's not quite right. No, he's got six or seven weeks to convince Pat that he's not a monster for wanting it, too.

Whatever happens after that? Well, that'll be up to Pat.

Chapter Text

Pat has to drink blood every twelve to fourteen days, Brian learns pretty early on.

"It's different for every vampire," Pat tells him, chin hooked over Brian's shoulder as Brian makes himself some pasta in Pat's kitchen the following Thursday night. "The older you get, the more powerful you grow, but the more blood you need to drink to sustain that power. I'm really young, in vampire years, and I'm weak as shit, so I can go a long time."

"Mm," Brian hums, stirring the pasta with one hand as the other caresses Pat's hands laced on his stomach. "What happens when you get really old and powerful?"

"You know, like, Elizabeth Báthory, the myths about her bathing in the blood of virgins and shit?" Pat scoffs. "It takes a lot of fuckin' blood to be that powerful. People start getting wise and breaking out the pitchforks. Man, I'd rather turn to dust. Space dust. Just throw me out the airlock sometime in the 2400s, before I get all mean and crusty."

"Oh," Brian says, and stops stirring. "That's… wow."

Pat tilts his head, questioning, then makes a noise in his throat. "I—sorry. It's different when you've already died once, I guess." He laughs, self-deprecating and dry. "I spent so much of my mortal life fantasizing about it, and it's already over—kind of takes the mystery out of it. Whatever, second death, hundreds of years from now; no big deal."

Brian scratches his nose with the end of the wooden spoon in his hand. "No, it's fine, I just—" he says, shrugging, "I guess I hadn't really thought about it."

"Which part?"

"Just… how old you're gonna get to be. Everything you're gonna get to see that I won't. Geez, Pat, you're gonna have, like, a whole life after me."

"Afterlife," Pat corrects, absent-mindedly. He squeezes Brian and bends to press a very careful kiss against Brian's neck. "Not to be a fuckin' bummer, but, statistically—so are you, Brian. Gonna have a whole life after me, I mean."

"Don't be mean," Brian murmurs. His mouth is doing something strange he can't identify, not without a mirror, and he rubs the back of his hand against it to bring it back in line. Water drips off the end of the spoon and sizzles on the cooktop. "We've only been dating for like a week, isn't it a little early for this isn't forever and all that?"

"I'm sorry," Pat apologizes, easily. He's real good at it, Brian's learned. "My sense of normal is fucked up."

Brian sets the spoon on the pot, lowers the sauce to simmer, and turns around in the circle of Pat's arms. Pat steps back automatically so Brian doesn't burn his ass on the stove, and Brian presses the advantage until Pat steps back even more, all the way to the table, where Brian deposits him into a chair. Brian climbs onto his lap after him, legs on either side, and kisses him stupid.

He can feel Pat smirking under his lips, the drag of his hands as they slip up Brian's shirt to spread out low across his back. They've gotten pretty good at kissing in a week, if Brian can brag a little. Pat doesn't flinch any more when Brian runs his tongue across his lips, begging entry; doesn't tense up when he dips it into Pat's mouth, feeling out the lips-teeth-tongue of him. Pat kisses with a singular focus, an attention to detail compared to Brian's enthusiastic onslaught, but it's nice. It's nice to be the focus of Pat's single-minded meticulousness.

Pat doesn't need to breathe when they kiss, which adds a whole new fascinating dimension to kissing. Brian digs his hands into Pat's hair and holds him in place, and kisses him deeper and harder and longer than he'd be able to otherwise, and it's—thrilling, honestly, to pin down someone as strong as Pat, and to inflict all his messy desires on him.

Well, most of them.

Brian tugs on Pat's lip with his teeth as he pulls away, eliciting a soft nn from Pat as his eyes flutter open. God, he's just—handsome, beautiful even, and Brian's still beside himself that he gets to kiss him at all.

"Can you… can you kiss my neck?" Brian asks.

Pat narrows his eyes. Licks his kiss-bitten lips. "Yeah, I… think so," he says, slowly. Brian can practically feel Pat's eyes slide over his neck, watches his gaze linger on the almost-healed marks there.

"Can you—" Brian breathes, and Pat's eyes snap back up to his. "Can you, just, regular bite me?"

"Brian…" Pat starts, and Brian shakes his head.

"I mean it, Pat, I just…" Brian leans in, tries to kiss the frown from Pat's lips between words. "I really, really like it. Always have. Really."

Pat runs the tip of his tongue over his teeth—still blunt, no fangs. "Maybe," he says, eventually. "It's easier, if I'm not hungry."

"You still have a few more days, right?"

"Yeah, probably," Pat agrees. He's staring at Brian's neck again. "How, uh, how hard d'you like it?"

Brian laughs at himself. "Real fuckin' hard, Patrick. I mean, one time I let my vampire coworker—"

"Brian," Pat warns again, though he's clearly trying not to smile.

"See, you're horny for it too," Brian teases, tilting his head to show off what he knows is the long curve of his neck.

"God, yeah," Pat admits.

"I swear, I promise. Just regular biting. It drives me crazy. Please?" Brian begs. "I bet you could make me come in my pants."

Pat's eyebrows go up to his hairline. "You should have led with that."

"Yeah?" Brian coaxes, leaning back to slide a hand down his body and squeeze himself through his pants.

"Yeah," Pat echoes, tracking the motion. He gives his head a shake, refocusing on Brian. "C'mere."

Brian leans in, lets Pat kiss his fill of him before he cups Brian's head in his hands and tilts him, just so, to bare his throat. The hairs on the back of Brian's neck stand up again as Pat breathes into his skin, making Brian shiver in anticipation.

Pat's starting to get a little cold again. Not like before, when he was starving, but enough to notice the difference in temperature between them when he lays a trail of open-mouthed kisses down the side of Brian's neck, mapping his geography. Brian hums and lets his eyes close, and palms himself as Pat works up to bigger, greedier kisses, until he's sucking and licking the delicate skin of his throat, worrying it in his teeth and tongue, leaving bruises Brian can’t wait to press his fingers into later.

"God, yeah, good," Brian encourages, and Pat responds by hiking Brian up closer against him. His dick gives a pleased little jump at the pressure and Brian groans; he can feel the errant nip of Pat's teeth as he sucks but it's not enough.

Which is when Pat opens his mouth wide and bites, right on the meat of his muscle, blunt teeth still merciless, and Brian—Brian fuckin' yelps. It feels like being kicked: an electric shock of pain and pleasure that shoots down his spine and curls up deep in his gut. Pat scrapes his teeth over Brian's skin as he lets go, and Brian shudders.

"Wow, huh," Pat says, lips still against Brian's neck, and Brian nods jerkily.

"Yep. Yep. Seriously, that, thanks, more, yes," he manages, shoving his hand back down between their bodies and squeezing his aching dick.

Pat exhales a laugh into Brian's neck before opening his mouth to bite again. Brian's a bit more ready this time, which—doesn't help matters, honestly, because it's just as good the second time around, with the added bonus of Pat's confidence. "Yes, Pat—God—fuck," Brian curses as Pat really lays into him, big sucking bites interspersed with smaller ones like tiny constellations of sharp, bright pain. Every one of them feels like a kick. “Yeah, come on, I wanna see ‘em later, God—“

He should be scared. At least, it feels like he should be scared—but his mind's a jumbled horny mess of impulses. Images and sensations and memories blur together: he's here on Pat's lap; he's floating in that grey space again, begging Pat to drink too deeply; he's waking up in Pat's arms; he's feeling Pat's hand come down and wrap around Brian's, pushing harder, giving him something to struggle against.

Pat breaks from him with a strangled noise, throwing his head back. His hair is wild, sweaty and tangled from Brian's other hand still caught up in it. His irises are all black. "I gotta quit it," he gasps, open-mouthed; Brian can see the sharp points of his fangs starting to come in.

"S'good, s'good," Brian slurs, trembling from his shoulders down: uncontrollable, terminal. "Fu—oh, Pat, I'm gonna come," he moans.

"Yeah, baby, come on," Pat encourages. He grabs Brian's ass and jerks him forward, crashing together and grinding hard and messy and imperfect. Brian drops his head to gasp, wet, into the crook of Pat's neck, as he runs down his orgasm. It hits him sideways, that almost-not-enough-until-it-suddenly-is breaknecking pace of it, and he shoots off like a goddamn teenager in his pants with a mouthful of Pat's hair and Pat's name on his lips.

He's still soup-boned and gasping when Pat moves him back a little on his lap, just enough to snake his own hand down into his pants and free his dick. Curled up against him, forehead against his shoulder, Brian gets the best seat in the house as Pat jerks himself, hard and efficient.

Pat's utterly quiet when he finishes, just a reflexive intake of breath that leaves him in a soundless rush as his come burbles up through his fist. He hisses through his teeth as he strokes himself through it, right through to the last spasming shudders, until he slows, and stops, and leans his head against Brian's with a sigh. With his other hand, he runs his fingers up and down Brian's back, until he gets to the base of Brian's skull and scratches the nearly-grown curls there.

Brian hums in contentment, turning his head to press a sloppy-wet kiss to Pat's neck, then his cheek, then his mouth, smiling. "Hey," he says, ultra smooth.

"Do you hey at me, sir," Pat mumbles, and Brian smiles.

"No, sir, I do not hey at you, sir, but I do hey, sir."

"Of course you know the whole fuckin' quote, don't you," Pat sighs.

"If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you," Brian finishes, in a different voice, and rubs his face like a cat against Pat's neck. "Gosh, wow, Pat, gross," he whines.

"It was your idea," Pat defends himself. He brings his wet hand up and blinks at it like it's an alien creature, looking around the room for something to wipe it on before he just lets it drop again. "Pasta's probably done," he says, instead.

Brian groans and slides backwards, getting his feet under him and pushing himself to stand, under protest. He shuffles over to the stove and dumps the pasta into the colander in the sink, then comes back and sits in Pat's lap again, this time sideways.

"Are you good with kissing when you're all…?" Brian gestures, indicating Pat's fangs.

Pat touches the tip of one fang with his tongue. "Maybe," he says. "D'you wanna try?"

"Fuck yeah, I wanna try," Brian breathes, hooking his elbow around Pat's neck and pulling him in with his other hand. Kissing Pat with his fangs out is… tricky; it lends itself more to the slow, purposeful kisses that Pat favours. Which is fine, too, because Brian's still warm and loose —and god, sticky, and getting colder—from coming, and all he wants to do is kiss, and kiss, and kiss.

Eventually, Pat pulls back so just their foreheads and noses are touching. "Come on, you should eat before it gets cold," he murmurs, and Brian whines, chasing his lips for one more lingering kiss. But it's true, he's starving.

He slips off of Pat's lap, wincing at the slimy cold situation in his pants. "Can I borrow a pair of pants or something?"

"Yeah, of course," Pat says. He's still got his come-covered hand up, like a doctor scrubbing in; what a fucking dork. Brian leans in and kisses him once more, deeply, greedily running his tongue over Pat's fangs. Pat makes a noise and tries to kiss him again as he wriggles away, but Brian just laughs and does the electric slide down the hallway to Pat's room.

When he comes back, freshly be-pantsed in well-loved flannel, Pat's flipping through the calendar app on his phone. There's a newly-plated bowl of pasta on the table beside him, and two unopened beers.

"Aw, thanks babe," Brian says, sitting down at Pat's tiny little kitchen table. Pat's eyes widen as he hides a quick, surprised smile behind his hand.

"Sorry there's no garlic bread," Pat deflects.

"Oh," Brian pauses, fork in hand. "Is that a thing, too?"

Pat's smile quirks. "No. I just didn't have any."

"Troll," Brian laughs, digging into his dinner. "Are you sure you don't want any? There's so much."

Pat opens the two beers, setting one before Brian. "Nah," he replies. "I… haven't been feeling great, and, uh, my teeth kinda got away from me there, so I'm probably hungrier than I thought. I shouldn't."

"You know, it's kinda cool you were able to stop," Brian says. Pat pulls a face, and Brian points his fork at him. "Don't look at me like that; you were worried, and it turns out you don't need to worry so much. I think that's a reason to celebrate, don't you?"

Pat goes silent a few seconds, fiddling with his phone in lieu of agreeing. "I should pop down to the dispensary soon," he says, instead. "After we get paid tomorrow."

Brian takes a swig of his beer. "Okay."

"So, I, uh," Pat starts, still fiddling with his phone. "Did you want to come with me? It's not—it's not interesting, but, uh—"

"Pat, yes," Brian says, putting down his beer and sitting forward in his chair. "Absolutely. Yes. Let's go."

Pat's usual dispensary is sort of in his neighbourhood, a few subway stops over. It has the air of a pharmacy, because it probably was, in a past life. It looks a little dingy, but well-kept. Brian scans the little shelves behind the counter, sparsely hung with items both practical and fanciful. Sunglasses. Iron supplements. Clear plastic biteguards that look like they fit over fangs. Vinegar. Something labelled, ominously, coagulant.

The dispensary technician, a young heavy-set Indian man with a straightforward smile and a warm affect, greets Pat when its their turn. "Hello again, Mr. Gill," he says, taking Pat's card to run it through the till. "How is Mr. Charles?"

Brian's immediately impressed; the surest way to Pat's heart is to talk about his cat. He's been doing it for months. Pat smiles, a real genuine one, and he and the technician exchange some cat-related small talk as the man enters a bunch of information on the computer.

The tech squints at his screen. “You’re overdue,” he says, more concerned than judgemental. “How are you feeling? Okay? You didn’t go to one of those chop shops, did you?”

Pat ducks his head with a stilted laugh. “Uh, no. I got donor blood.”

“Hello!” Brian singsongs, waving at the tech.

The tech’s gaze turns to him, curious but not surprised. “Good for you,” he tells Pat. He pulls down the collar of his smock to show off two neat puncture wounds, mostly healed. “I donate to my grandmother, when I can. Do you need anything? Iron supplements? Rehydrating drinks? I can stock it, if we don’t have it.”

“No, we’re fine—” Pat starts automatically, but Brian steps up to the counter.

“What’re those,” he asks, indicating the display of biteguards.

The tech turns and grabs one from the display and hands it to Brian. It’s in one of those fucking clamshell packages, the ones that cut you to hell when you try to open them. "Biteguards," the tech replies.

Brian turns the package over. There's diagrams of teeth, a chart about bite strength. "What're they good for?"

The tech looks between Pat and Brian, one eyebrow raised. "Sports," he answers, deadpan, and Pat gets the look of a man who wishes he could blush.

Brian puts the biteguard on the counter by the till. "I'll pay you back," he tells Pat, seriously.

Pat puts his face in his hands. "I'll go halfsies,'" he mutters.

The tech doesn't even blink as he scans the biteguard. Pat passes over an insulated canvas bag and he loads it in, along with two squishy aluminium foil packages, probably like a pint each. "Anything else?" he asks.

Pat shoots Brian a look, like he expects him to pop off with something else, but Brian just puts his hands in the air and shrugs.

"Okay; three hundred and eighty two fifty three," the tech replies. "Card?"

"Yeah, please," Pat says, getting out his wallet, while Brian chokes and slams his hand on the counter.

"Really?" he squeaks out.

Pat shrugs. "It's not a Big Mac, Brian. It's human blood. What did you think it cost? Ten dollars?"

"I thought it was covered by insurance!"

"It is," Pat replies, keying in his debit PIN and passing the terminal back to the technician.

"Ho-ly shit," Brian breathes, putting his hands in his hair. He'd do it for free; what a colossal waste for Pat. "What do you do if you don't have insurance?"

"Same thing anyone does if they can't afford food, probably," Pat says, taking the bag from the tech and shouldering it. "Starve, steal, or rely on friends and family. Sorry, no offense, Samrit."

"None taken," the tech—Samrit—says, leaning forward on the counter on his elbows. "There's twelve of us who donate to my grandmother. You make it work. It's love."

Pat doesn't meet Brian's eye.

"Thanks," he says, instead, indicating Brian to leave. "See you next week-ish."

"Stay good out there," Samrit answers. "Hey, wait—" he calls, after a second, "does your donor go to the groups?"

Pat's mouth drops into a stony line. Brian answers for him. "Not yet," he says.

"You should," Samrit replies, passing over a flyer. "Every Monday, at the United down the street. Mortals only."

Brian takes the flyer and shoves it in his pocket. "Thanks," he says, and follows Pat out the door. The door chimes as it closes behind him.

Pat's waiting for him, his face carefully neutral, buffeted by the wind picked up by the nearby traffic. "Geez, Pat," Brian says, coming up beside him. "That sucks. No wonder you try to stretch it out."

"You're not my donor," Pat says, voice flat.

"No, I—I know," Brian stammers. He chews on the side of his nail. "I just. Would it be helpful? To like… talk to other people who—who might be dating vampires, too? Some of them have to be, right?"

Pat sighs and digs his fingers into his eye sockets, rubbing hard. "I'm not going to tell you not to go. I'm a piece of shit, but not that kind of piece of shit."

"I disagree with your premise, but not your conclusion," Brian says, stepping close. He wraps his arm around Pat's waist. "I'm gonna go. I hope that's okay."

Pat rests his chin on top of Brian's head. "Yeah, of course," he replies.

They start walking down the street towards the subway, Pat's arm slung around Brian's shoulder as his own stays wrapped around Pat's waist. It's evening, and a pay day; they could go anywhere. They have the whole night ahead of them. "Is it a money thing," Brian asks, instead, because he's incapable of leaving well enough alone even though Pat bristles at his side. "Is it like, you don't want me to give it away for free when it's worth so much?"

"It's because I'm dangerous, Brian," Pat replies. He sounds tired, but not about to shut Brian down. Not yet. "I'm young, and I've got no self-control, and I got a mouthful of your blood and turned into a fucking lunatic."

It's getting dangerously close to don't ask me again territory. Brian chooses his words carefully. "That might not be the case forever, though," he says. "You said it yourself; you're young, but, one day?"

"Yeah, but—not, like, next week, Brian. Years. Decades, probably. I'm only two years old," Pat snipes back at him. No, too close to the sun on that one; cool it, Icarus.

Brian stops. Pat keeps going an extra step, enough to dislodge their arms. "How long do you think I'm gonna stick around, Pat?" he asks, trying and failing to mask the hurt in his voice. "A few weeks? Like, a year? Tops? When do you think I'm gonna bounce?"

Pat looks around, and reaches out to take Brian by the elbow and pull him out of the flow of sidewalk traffic. "Can we not have this conversation in public?" he hisses. "The one where I monologue about how I'm an immortal being who's gonna outlive everyone I ever loved? The one where you're gonna," he pauses, swallowing. His lips twitch downwards. "Where you're gonna realize that you're dating someone who is literally fucking evil, and is never gonna give you a family, or a future, who's never gonna grow old with you, and maybe you say it's okay, now, but you file it away and it sits and festers in the back of your mind until one day you realize you resent me for stealing the best years of your life? Can we just—can we not have that conversation? Please?"

"Pat," Brian starts, but Pat silences him with a sharp squeeze of his elbow. Brian winces.

"Maybe I don't—" Pat manages, before his voice breaks, and he has to clear his throat. "Maybe I don't want what little time I have with you to be tainted by how I'll need you just to survive," he manages, his voice high and thready. He opens his mouth to say something else but nothing comes out, just a choking noise as he silences whatever it was.

Brian's traitorous mouth is trembling. "Y-you're hurting me, Pat," he says, trying to tug his elbow out of Pat's grip.

Pat drops his hold immediately, a look of horror dawning over his face so fast it completely obliterates his expression. "Fuck, fuck, I'm sorry—no, don't, don't fucking say it's okay," he says, when Brian opens his mouth to say exactly that.

"You thanked me for wanting to date you," Brian fumbles, instead. "Is that what you really think? That I—"

Fuck, his vision is swimming. Fuck, he doesn't want to cry. Fuck, he doesn't want this to be over already.

"Pat," he tries again, and his breath hitches at the end. He rubs his eyes, angrily, more at himself than anything else. "This is—you don't—you don't get to decide when I'm done."

That stuns Pat into silence. He shoulders his bag a bit higher and steps back. "You're right," he agrees. Simple. Clear. He holds his hand out for Brian to take. It's shaking, a little, when Brian folds his own hand into it and steps back into Pat's space.

He stares down at their interlaced hands. The peace is so fragile he can practically feel it, a tenuous little thread, and Brian's scared to pull it even though he knows Pat is papering over his hurt, his fear, just trying to end the fight.

Pat's hand comes up and gently guides him into a hug, and Brian sniffles, finally, as he melts into Pat's arms. He's even colder than yesterday. "I'm sorry," Pat murmurs, and it doesn't feel automatic or rote, like he does. "I wish—I wish I could have met you when I was alive, and I wasn't—"

He trails off, swallowing thickly. He presses his head into Brian's hair and just breathes him in.

"Don't give up on me," Pat whispers, and Brian holds him tightly.

Chapter Text

The who's gonna fuck whom conversation is almost another fight.

Pat doesn't want to do any of the fucking, full-stop. Hard no on putting his dick in Brian. Nothing that would put him in a dominant position, physically or otherwise. Doesn't want that kind of control.

Brian, who could take it or leave it most days but would really like to get railed by his hot boyfriend at least once in the near future, snaps back with putting your dick in someone's ass doesn't mean you own them, Patrick.

So that's a bit heated. Brian's unsurprised to learn that when you push Pat, he gets even more distant and flat, and starts clipping his R's like a good Maine boy. And Brian's usual response to getting in an argument—apologizing profusely—isn't applicable, because in this case he knows he's fucking right.

But there's no winning that argument and still feeling like a good person, so Brian lets it go. Some people don't wanna bottom, some people don't wanna top; that's a normal part of any relationship. He'll manage.

He goes to the donor support group next Monday. There's juice and cookies.

The donors come from all sorts of walks of life; most are family and friends, a large minority are lovers. Some are in purely business arrangements, because there's a gap between supply and demand somewhere or they wanted to pocket more money than they'd get from providing farmed blood. There's even a handful of—Brian wouldn't assume they're sex workers, per se, but it's insinuated that live blood is only one of the services they offer their clients, and also, they're goddamned gorgeous.

Brian introduces himself with the thrilling sentence: my boyfriend is a vampire, and is met with universal nods of understanding and welcome. He's put at ease instantly.

Afterwards, during the mixer, an older woman comes up to him with a smile and a look like she's going to be nosy, but for a good reason. She comments on how he's new, and asks him if he's amended his living will yet. Brian tries not to, but he laughs anyway; he doesn't have a regular will.

Apparently, if you have a vampire in your life, you should amend your living will to include your wishes regarding being vamped as a life-saving measure—like, if you're in a massive car accident, or if your partner accidentally drinks too deeply and puts you in a fucking coma. Whether or not you want your surviving family to pursue criminal charges for your murder. Brian thanks her for her advice, goes home, and spends a few horrifying hours on the internet reading about ongoing legal cases where someone's been turned when they'd rather have just died, and then he just lies on his bed and tries not to unload all those feelings on Pat at one in the morning.

He ends up printing off a template. He stares at it for a long time before deciding that, if his only choices are eating it and not eating it, he'd kind of prefer to stick around and see what happens to civilization in the late anthropocene era. If nothing else, he can vamp his immediate family so they can enjoy climate catastrophe from the box seats, not general admission.

He signs it the next morning, in front of Jonah and Laura, who sign it after him. He seals it in an envelope and puts it in his nightstand, because it's not like he's got enough valuables to need a safe. Laura watches him do it, a weird sad look on her face the whole time, because it seems more serious than it is. It's not like he doesn't trust Pat, he's just… being practical.

Laura wrings her hands as they stand in his bedroom. "Is it Pat," she asks, low-voiced, and Brian nods. "Oh, Brian," she says, and throws her arms around him. She's crying, a little.

He wants to say it'll be okay, but as he pats her back as she sniffles quietly into his shoulder, the words don't come easily.

They hang out after work pretty often—at least, as often as Pat can with his streaming schedule. Brian comes over once, even sits off camera, and Pat ends up ending the stream early because, apparently, jerking off just at the edge of someone’s vision while they’re trying to play a video game is distracting, Brian.

Pat’s not complaining when Brian crawls over on hands and knees and goes down on him, still sitting in his streaming chair.

Sex is weird, with a vampire. Or rather, Pat’s weird, specifically about his mouth. They try out the biteguard, which is hilarious at first, evocative of when you put a leash on a cat and they cease to be a cat.

“I fe-ooh vewy thexy,” Pat tells him, the first time, gnashing his teeth, and Brian laughs so hard he loses his boner as Pat does a whole mumbling Van Morrison thing.

“Oh, Pat, you gotta—“ Brian wheezes, wiping his streaming eyes, “you gotta, haha, you gotta take off your regular teeth and put on your—hoo—your fuckin’ teeth, like Mister Rogers, oh my God—“

Pat’s smile is distended around the plastic, which makes Brian lose it again. Eventually Pat has to spit it out so Brian can drag him up and kiss him senseless, giggling into his mouth, and no one comes at all that night.

Other nights go more smoothly.

Brian could make a flowchart, actually; he's exactly that kind of person. If you make out on the couch while the Smash theme plays for too long, go directly to getting a handjob. If you tell Pat to get on his knees without any preamble—and it's thrilling that that works, geez, what a treasure Pat is— you can probably get most of a blowjob. Unless he's hungry, and he gets distracted by oh my God, your fucking thighs, Brian; you smell so good.

Brian can make anything work. It's a dash of improv, a bit of compassion, a pinch of humour, a lot of patience, and the hope that every time Pat pops his fangs Brian proves a little bit more that he's not going to run for the hills.

 

Pat's putting off heat like a furnace, which is the first clue that Something is Up tonight, and that Something is probably Patrick. Brian hides his smirk into Pat's shoulder after Pat kisses him at the door.

"Have you eaten yet?" Pat asks, leading Brian into his apartment.

Brian hasn't, but he shrugs anyway. "Y'know, I'm probably fine," he says. "Late lunch. You?"

"I ate," Pat demurs. Brian hops up onto his kitchen counter while Pat pours him a glass of water from the fridge. Brian drinks, and rolls it between his hands as Pat stands between his legs, clearly working up to it. Brian'll wait, for Pat.

"Brian, I—" Pat starts, then grimaces. He puts his hands on Brian's knees. "I'm, just, really fuckin' bad at being smooth about this kind of shit, like you are. And I can't take my time and just let it happen naturally, like a normal person."

Mmhmm, Brian encourages him, taking another sip.

Pat's mouth twitches downwards, even as his eyes are hopeful. "D'you… do you wanna fuck tonight? I mean, do you wanna fuck me."

Brian's a bitch for drama, sometimes, so he can't help draining the rest of the glass while holding eye contact with Pat. When he's done, he sets the glass on the counter and leans in, taking Pat's face in his hands. He skips straight over gentle and pries Pat's mouth open with his tongue, reveling in the inversion of his cold tongue delving into Pat's blood-warmed heat.

Pat groans as Brian slips off the counter, his whole posture submissive, and lets himself be led into his bedroom. Brian backs him up to his bed and pushes him onto it, then puts one foot up on it beside Pat. Pat's mouth turns to him immediately, kissing the bend of his bare knee. Brian shucks his bag, and his jacket, and reaches down to pull Pat's shirt off.

The rest of their clothes come off quickly after that. Brian presses him into the bed, crawling over him, kissing him as Pat's head hits the pillows. "D'you wanna make out a bit, first? Prime the pump?"

Pat shakes his head. "I wanna get as far as I can without fangs."

"Fine by me," Brian says, and pulls back to give Pat a reprieve. He grabs his bag and rifles through it, pulling out a handful of condoms. "I don't wanna say I was ready, but, I was ready," he says, holding them out to Pat. "Are these good?"

Pat takes a condom, turning it over in his hands thoughtfully.

"That's the right kind, right?" Brian asks. "They say they're non-latex, but, I didn't know—"

"They're fine," Pat says, one side of his smile quirking up as looks up at Brian and smiles. "I, uh, no, they're fine."

"But…?" Brian asks.

Pat runs his hand through his hair. He laughs, a little. "D'you wanna, well... do you wanna not?"

"Oh. Really?" Brian asks, crawling up the bed to lie over Pat. Pat reclines easily, letting Brian push him down. "Yeah, I mean—yeah, if you're okay with that? If you're okay with it, then I'm okay with it."

"I'm okay with it," Pat affirms, and Brian laughs. "I mean—I'm not affected by mortal diseases, and I don't have any that I can pass on to you."

Brian raises his eyebrow. "Do you have any you can't?"

"Well, I mean," Pat gestures to himself. "Undeath's not contagious except under very specific circumstances, so, yes, technically."

"God, that's so sexy, remind me how you're dead again, before I put my dick in you," Brian croons, leaning in to kiss the protesting smile off Pat's face. "What about the, you know, mess?"

Pat flushes across his cheekbones—good, he did drink today, like Brian guessed. He looks away, pursing his lips in embarrassment. "I, uh," he stammers, huffing a little laugh through his nose. "I'm not real big on eating, so, uh…"

"Are you telling me you're as clean as a whistle, Pat Gill."

"Oh, yeah," Pat replies. "So clean you could," and his hand is already going over his eyes, realizing what he's about to say but far too late to stop himself, "...eat off me. God."

"Patrick!" Brian crows, pushing himself up to loom over Pat so he can get the full force of Brian's utter delight. "What a great idea!"

"Nooooooo," Patrick groans, but he's smiling underneath his hands covering his eyes. "That's not what I meant."

"Joking words are secret thoughts," Brian replies, sagely. He scoots back and wiggles between Pat's legs, lifting them up over his thighs. He'd had a plan, but, well, now he has to do this. "Come on, legs up."

"You don't have to," Pat demurs, already reaching down and hooking his hands under his knees.

Brian rolls him upwards and shoves a pillow under his hips. "Oh, but I'm gonna."

Pat lets out a high-pitched breathy whine when Brian sucks his dick into his mouth. A little amuse-bouche before the appetizer. He doesn't linger, though, just stays long enough to get him nice and wet so that his hand can move easily when he trades off to kiss and lick down Pat's balls.

Pat was right, of course—he tastes like the platonic ideal of skin; he's not salty, or musky, or anything. It’s a unique experience—Brian’s used to a little je ne sais quoi, at least, but Pat tastes neutral all the way down, very faintly like soap, as Brian licks and sucks his way lower. He gets his hands in, spreads Pat’s cheeks, and licks him right there, flat, slow.

Christ, Brian,” Pat moans. Brian can feel his muscles flex under his hands. He hums in response, and Pat sucks in a shaking breath as he tenses and relaxes.

He teases Pat with the flat of his tongue a few more times, experimenting with pressure and speed until Pat’s making helpless little jerking motions. He pulls back and spits, lets it drip down Pat’s crack until he pushes it in with his first finger—and the sound Pat makes, God, it goes straight to his dick.

It’s a tight fit. He can feel Pat’s muscles squeeze him, and Brian runs his other hand down Pat’s flank, soothing. “Relax, sweetheart,” Brian coaxes, and Pat’s face screws up as he takes a deep breath and tries. “Try to push me out, if it helps.”

“I’m not new at this, Brian,” Pat grits out, then moans when his muscles relax enough that Brian’s finger slides in the rest of the way.

“Thank you, baby,” Brian murmurs, and leans up to suck Pat’s dick back into his mouth again. He bobs his head a few times, enjoying the way it makes Pat shiver—he can feel it, from the inside—before going back down and licking in alongside his finger.

Pat hands him his lube when he comes back up for breath, and Brian flips the cap and applies it with his free hand. His finger slides in and out so easily with it that he can go right in with two, steady, watching Pat’s face as he goes through the calming motions of breathing through the stretch. God, that’s fuckin’ fascinating, how that’s a holdover from whenever he last experienced this, as a mortal. Brian makes a note to ask about it, later, even knowing the thought is scrubbed from his mind as soon as Pat cracks his eyes open and gives Brian a look, heavy-lidded and raw.

Brian wipes his mouth on his hand as he comes up, and Pat kisses him without missing a beat. He can feel Pat’s fangs coming in, also fascinating because Brian’s been nowhere near his mouth for minutes, even, he’s just slipping sideways into that state of mind anyway.

“D’you want the biteguard?” Brian asks, and Pat nods jerkily. Brian plucks it off the nightstand and helps fit it into Pat’s mouth, slowing but not stopping the gentle movements of his other hand still inside Pat.

“Do you—can I—“ Pat starts, frowning around the way the biteguard rounds his words. “I have a pair of cuffs. In my nightstand,” he manages. “I don’t—I want you to be able to get away if I get a little wild.”

Brian cups Pat’s jaw and kisses him, licking over the hard fang-nubs of the guard. Pat moans. “Babe, if you wanted me to tie you up, you only had to ask,” he croons, and sits back to slide his hand from Pat.

He fishes the cuffs from Pat’s nightstand, and restrains Pat’s wrists to the headboard. “Y’know, when I think safe sex with a new partner, I definitely think of restraints and safety equipment and not condoms,” he observes, checking the give. “Tug; are you happy with that?”

“I’m not that strong yet,” Pat says. “No Twilight honeymoon headboard shit here.”

“I knew you watched the whole trilogy,” Brian accuses, and Pat rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, but—“ Pat starts, then turns his head and spits out the biteguard. “Okay, that thing fucking sucks if you’re gonna keep talking to me; just don’t get in biting range, alright?”

“Aye-aye,” Brian replies, leaning into give Pat one more deep, searching kiss. God, his fangs are just fully out, and it makes Brian feel some kinda way about it when he pulls back and Pat’s staring at him: mouth open, fangs out, eyes dark, panting with how bad he wants to chase after him.

"You ready for this jelly, Pat?" Brian says, swinging his hips so his dick bobs from side-to-side, and Pat's hungry look drops away with a few blinks.

"I… Brian," Pat whines.

Brian waggles his eyebrows.

Pat rolls his eyes as he slumps back into the pillows. "Yes, Beyoncé, I am ready for this extremely slow jelly."

"I can go slow," Brian promises, threatening, and slides his hand up the cleft of Pat's ass until he can slip his fingers back inside, both in one slick thrust.

Pat tenses so beautifully, from his wrists rattling the cuffs on the headboard to how his heels dig into the backs of Brian's thighs. "Gah," he manages, and Brian laughs, leaning in on one hand to suspend himself over Pat. Pat bares his fangs at him and breathes out, hard, as Brian drops down to kiss Pat's chest while he works his fingers in and out.

Kissing is fine; sucking is better, but biting Pat's chest gets a gasp and Pat jerking at the cuffs again, so Brian does that, following an imaginary line down Pat's torso back to his dick. It's a pity, he could probably spend hours just sucking Pat's dick and fingering him open, but Brian has a goal tonight, and he's dawdled long enough. As it is, he's just visiting; he takes it in his mouth as he curls his fingers, stretching and searching, until Pat lets out a primeval groan and drives himself down on Brian's fingers, fucking himself on the angle Brian's found.

Bingo, Brian thinks as he gets to his knees. He hikes one of Pat's legs up, lines himself up, and leans in, letting easy friction and Pat's own eagerness guide him slowly inside, for the first time.

The cuffs rattle as Pat unthinkingly tries them again, throwing his head back and letting out a little groan of frustration. "I've got it," Brian soothes, running his free hand up Pat's chest to give him the contact he craves. He curls his hand around Pat's throat, just resting, as he takes a minute to slowly hilt himself, until his hipbones come flush with Pat's.

"You good?" Brian asks, and Pat doesn't even have words, he just nods, eyes closed against the sensation. "Need a minute?" Pat shakes his head.

Brian pulls out enough to drizzle more lube where they're joined, and pushes in again, faster and easier this time. This gets some noise out of Pat, who gasps when Brian hilts again.

God, he's—so fucking gorgeous, his head back against his pillow, dark hair fanning out, arms straining, mouth open and sharp and dangerous in a way that thrills Brian to look at. It’s that same primal fear but darker, the kind of fear that transmutes right into desire because it's Pat. All that power and danger, cowed for Brian. He hikes Pat's legs up over his shoulders and leans in, bending Pat up, and Pat fuckin' wails, bitten off behind his teeth.

He could almost forget his own pleasure, fucking Pat, finding the ways that make those traitorous little noises escape him. It's like a bag slowly opening, letting out a few stones at first but eventually more, tumbling over one another until there's just a constant low-level whine coming out of Pat, punctuated by sharp exhales when Brian bottoms out inside him. He wants to reach up and smooth out the deep furrow of concentration that's creased his brow, but gosh, his fangs are right there, and he promised he'd play it safe. Every so often, Brian can hear the click of Pat's teeth closing on nothing as he fruitlessly seeks something, anything to bite.

And the feeling—Brian can feel everything, without a condom between them. The way Pat's both hot and cold: hot, from the heat radiating from a freshly consumed meal, but still a little cold compared to Brian, expecting a hot mortal body and getting Pat's curiously inert chill. There's no mistaking Pat for dead, though, that's for sure; Brian's starting to catch that perfect angle with regularity again, and every time he does it, Pat writhes and moans against him.

Pat can take a lot, Brian learns pretty quick. Maybe it's the naturally high constitution, or maybe it's just Pat, but Brian struggles to find the upper limit of how hard, exactly, he can fuck Pat. Whatever he gives, Pat just takes, bearing his teeth and wrapping his legs around Brian's waist through—through whatever he feels, pleasure or pleasurable pain.

"Jesus, Pat," Brian gasps, falling onto his hands. Pat snaps his teeth at him, inches from his head.

"Brian," Pat moans. His arms are pulling so tightly on the cuffs that Brian can see all the definition of his triceps. "Can you untie me, please, please," he begs.

Brian slows. When he caves and reaches up to brush back the hair that's fallen into Pat's eyes, Pat chases his hand and presses it with fervent, sloppy kisses. "Is this like a—uh—ooh, sir, no, stop sort of thing, or do you really want me to untie you?"

"I will call you sir," Pat promises, wildly losing the plot. "I will call you master. I will fuckin' call you daddy, just, please, please, I need to touch you, please—"

Brian's never moved so fast during sex in his life. He reaches up and jerks the straps to the cuffs, freeing Pat's hands. Pat swings his arm wildly, casting around for the biteguard he'd spat out earlier. He shoves it in his mouth; licks over the plastic.

"Fuck, yeah, Pat, yes," Brian praises him, "Look at you, you're so good."

Pat goes red, all across his face and down his chest, a bloom so fast and hard that Brian can see it spread before his eyes. It's incredible to watch, on his pale skin. Brian thrusts in again, once, and Pat arches his back like he's in physical pain but moans like nothing Brian's ever heard before, from Pat or otherwise.

Pat's arms grab him around the shoulders, pull him in hard until there's no room left between them. Brian keeps jerking his hips in what little motions he can, being held so tightly, and cranes his head to the side to bare his neck. Pat cries out as he gives in, finally, biting down on Brian's neck so hard that Brian's vision whites out for a moment.

He doesn't come immediately, but it's a damn near thing. Brian outright sobs into Pat's neck as Pat bites him, over and over; Pat's leg comes up to wrap around Brian and kick him in the back, spurring him onwards with a heel pressed into his spine, and Brian goes, thrusting hard and fast and sloppy.

Pat's grip on him is just as unbreakable as the first time, holding him sharply by the hair with one hand and the other arm wrapped around his shoulders. Brian plants his hands and his knees and just barely manages to keep something even approaching rhythm, taking strength from the unearthly noises coming from Pat as he bites and bites, gnawing, thwarted by the biteguard. He—fuckin' growls, frustrated, right under Brian's ear, and Brian—he can't—every bite, even through the hard plastic of the guard, makes everything in him tighten up with potential energy waiting to explode.

His stamina's probably gonna measure in seconds, he knows. He says as much, but Pat just reaches up, grabs the headboard, and uses it to roll his whole body up into Brian's thrusts, changing the angle into something so good for him that he even stops biting, throwing his head back to writhe against the pillow as he cries out louder and louder every time Brian bottoms out.

He's relieved—for about two seconds—when he feels Pat come all over their stomachs, smearing hot and wet between them, until Brian follows him helplessly over the precipice. He buries his face in Pat's hair and fucks him through it, eliciting breathy little hn, hnn noises from Pat, until it's too much for both of them to bear and he has to stop, still hilted deep up in Pat, and just catch his breath.

Pat breaks first, after a few pregnant seconds, dropping his legs back down to the bed and breathing out a shaky laugh. Brian starts giggling, rubbing his sweaty face into the crook of Pat's neck.

"God," Pat says, turning his head to spit out his biteguard. "Your heart is beating so fast right now."

And then he—he lifts his head back to Brian's neck and kisses him there, over his pulse, fangs and all. Brian can feel their points scrape across his skin. "Oh my God, Pat," Brian moans, and Pat makes a hungry noise and sucks, laying down a hickey over the bite-bruised skin of his neck. Brian's spent dick jerks inside Pat, and Pat laughs as he releases his neck, a happy, relieved sound.

"That's—geez, Pat, I'm really happy for you, and me, honestly, but that's dirty pool," Brian complains, walking his hands back so he's not laying on top of Pat. Their stomachs peel apart with an audible noise. He carefully pulls out, watching with awe as a little of his come dribbles out as well. He scoops it up with his thumb and presses it back into Pat; his thumb goes in so sweet and easy that Brian makes the same noise Pat does.

“Easy,” Pat hisses, and Brian mmhmms as he gently works his thumb in and out of the mess he made of Pat. Pat’s thighs tremble at the contact, jerking when Brian grazes his prostate, but he doesn’t tell Brian to stop.

“I’ve never gotten to do this before,” Brian murmurs.

“No?”

“Nah,” Brian replies, still transfixed. “I’ve always used condoms, so…”

“Ah,” Pat says. He lets his legs fall open more, bringing one up to give Brian better access. Brian’s heart judders down into his stomach, in the best way, as he replaces thumb with two fingers. Pat throws his head back against the pillows and whines through his teeth, bearing it.

“Can I…” Brian starts, and Pat’s already nodding.

“Yeah, yes, whatever,” he breathes, throwing his arm over his face.

Brian shuffles back on the bed even more, lifting Pat’s legs so his feet are on Brian’s shoulders as he gets down low. The sound Pat makes when Brian unashamedly dives in between his cheeks again is broken, and loud, and accompanied by a firm kick to Brian’s shoulder that does nothing to deter him.

Brian licks up the seam of him, running his tongue over and over Pat’s hole as it trembles and shudders underneath his mouth. Pat tastes only of Brian’s own come, of Brian’s own sweat, and the vaguely chemical-neutral of the last traces of the lube, and Brian feels emboldened to shove his tongue up inside Pat, chasing the taste of himself.

Pat's hands grab Brian around the wrists, hard, grounding them both as Pat jerks and writhes and curses like a dying man. Brian tosses his head back and forth, getting deeper, licking and sucking, sometimes pulling back to bite at Pat's perfect asscheek, making Pat squeak. He licks, and licks, and swallows, until there's nothing but the neutral taste of Patrick left, of all of his soft intimate places.

Brian's hard again by the time he's done, but distantly so; he pulls away and wipes the wet smear of his whole lower face with the back of his forearm, surveying the pink kiss-bitten skin between Pat's legs with something like pride.

"B-brian…" Pat whispers, so soft Brian might have missed it but for the way his every sense is so attuned to the fucking incredible man in bed with him. Brian looks up to see Pat blotting his eyes. His face is wet with tears, spilling down his temples to disappear into his hair.

"Oh, babe, babe," Brian soothes, throwing himself up the bed to take Pat in his arms.

"I'm fine," Pat hiccups, turning his head away. Brian kisses the shiny-wet trail of his tears. "Augh, Brian," Pat whines, "you're sticky."

Brian kisses him again, for good measure, and Pat shoves him away with an exaggerated groan. "I changed my mind, I don't want to be held, actually."

Brian goes, easily, flopping over on his back. He turns his head to face Pat. "Okay. But, if I go wash up...?"

Pat looks like he's barely keeping himself from sniffling as he rubs his eyes. "Yeah, okay," he manages, and Brian rolls to his feet off the bed. He doesn't have a lot of experience with it in this context, but Brian can recognize please leave me alone for a minute so I can ugly-cry in peace.

He goes to the bathroom and cleans himself up, and chills for a few minutes on the closed toilet lid while his boner fades. He admires his neck in the mirror: not covered in hickeys so much as honest-to-goodness compression bruises, from the broader surface of the biteguard. He presses his fingertips into the ache of them, biting his lip at the way it makes his whole body tingle.

When he figures a few minutes have passed, he gets up and wets a cloth to bring to Pat, and draws a glass of water. He second-guesses the water, actually; he’s seen Pat drink it before but he’s not actually sure if Pat gets thirsty? But it’s the thought that counts, he rationalizes.

He knocks on Pat’s partially opened door, and Pat calls him in.

“Holy shit,” Pat says, when Brian turns on the bedside lamp. “Your neck.”

“Oh, yeah,” Brian says, smiling. “Pretty gnarly, huh?” He plops the wet washcloth on Pat’s forehead, and Pat drags it off with a frown. His eyes are red-rimmed still, but the tears are gone.

“You look like I strangled you,” Pat says. He starts wiping himself down, but badly, his gaze trained on the bruises already blooming down Brian’s neck.

Brian sits down on the bed beside Pat, his legs off the side, and takes the cloth from Pat. He continues the job, wiping down Pat’s stomach with a light touch. “If people don’t know I’m a freak in bed by now, Pat, I don’t know what to tell them,” he says.

“No more than I am,” Pat mutters, turning his head away.

“You’re not a freak,” Brian says. “So you like your ass ate, and you gotta bite down on something when things get wild. Plenty of people do.” He folds the washcloth and runs it over Pat one more time. “Is that why the tears,” he asks, gently.

Pat sighs, and rubs his hand over his mouth. Brian catches a glimpse of blunt human teeth. “Dunno. It’s a lot of things. Don’t wanna think about it.”

“Okay,” Brian agrees, and pitches the cloth into the laundry hamper. “Do you wanna be held now? Because I kinda wanna be held.”

Pat holds out his arms, and Brian slots himself against his side. Pat reaches down and pulls up the comforter, cocooning them in a safe little nest of warmth, and Brian presses a kiss to his chest before laying his head there. “You’re okay, though?”

Pat nods, running his lips over Brian’s forehead. “Yeah. It was just a lot, after…” he sighs, “...nothing, for a long time. And a lot of bad feelings about it maybe never happening again.”

“Hell, Pat,” Brian murmurs, and squeezes him. Pat lets out an oof. After a few seconds to let the seriousness sink in and pass on, he smiles. “I’ll fuck you any time you want.”

“Great, thank you,” Pat laughs. “You’re a real pal.”

“I try,” Brian murmurs, and when Pat doesn't respond, lets the curious lack of his heartbeat lull him into a pleasant sleep.

Chapter Text

Brian can't follow his own advice: don't read the comments. The problem is, it's not just comments on videos for work; it's the replies to his own tweets and his Instagram posts, the conspiracy theories, the fanart, the everything. It's hard to ignore and still perform the work he's contractually obligated to, as a Person Of The Internet. As someone with a Brand.

Whatever he gets, though, he knows Pat would get it even harder. So, he's happy in some way to be a higher-visibility target than Pat. Trolls usually only scream in one note, and if it's about Brian being a mindless little bat-chasing slut parading his bare, bruised neck around like he's inviting anyone with fangs to put him in his place—or whatever, he honestly has lost the plot on whatever they're saying about him now—then, that's fine. They're partly right. Pat would get literally called a monster and worse, and it wouldn't even be true, like it is for Brian. He doesn't deserve that.

Tara pulls him into her office, about four weeks after he and Pat started dating, and there's someone from HR there. Together they go through Vox's new social media best practices for vulnerable employees, and purge most of his tweets, and lock down any videos that could be used to doxx him, or his family, or his ex, his ex's family, his college roommates, cascading on down the network.

He hasn't done anything wrong, they both impress upon him repeatedly. It's just a precaution. He texts his ex to let her know that he still has copies of the silly videos they made on vacation together, he thanks them for being proactive, and he goes back to work. It's a little hard to concentrate after that, for some reason, so he leaves early.

They don't plan it. Well, maybe Pat does, but it's a surprise to Brian.

Pat offers to take Brian out for lunch on a Wednesday, a Gill and Gilbert day, on his dime because even with the co-pay for blood packs his food budget is still a lot better than Brian's, who has to eat every day like a chump. Brian picks, because Pat doesn't feel like going through the motions of eating—are you kidding, my depressive ass used to dream about not having to feed myself every day Pat jokes, sometimes.

They go down to the street and pick up a food truck burrito, find a place to sit so Brian can eat without having to go back to the office like a sad little drone. He's a few bites into its confounding geometry when Pat clears his throat and says, "I think I wanna come out on stream today."

Brian swears as a glob of sour cream rolls over his fingers and falls onto the pavement, narrowly missing his knee. "I—shit—really? For real?"

Pat shrugs, one-shouldered, carefully neutral. "Yeah," he says. "I should, don't you think?"

"Well," Brian responds, licking his fingers, "it's not about whether you should or shouldn't. You don't have to do anything you're not comfortable with. Making a big deal about it will make people treat it like a big deal."

"Yeah, it's just," Pat sighs, "you're kind of getting it from both barrels, and… it's not fair."

Brian sits up from burrito-eating posture and looks at Pat, full-on. "Wait," he says. "Which kind of coming out are we talking about? Like, as bi? Or that we're dating? Or…?" he trails off, hopefully.

"All three?" Pat says, squinching up his face. His voice goes high, questioning. "It's just. If people knew we're dating, and that I'm a vampire, maybe they'd fucking lay off with the—the fuckin' discourse, you know? Dragging you through the grave dirt. The name-calling. The Who's Eating Gilbert, Brian bits. 'Cause, you know, it me."

"Aw, Pat!" Brian exclaims, probably louder than necessary because it causes a few heads to turn as he throws his arms around Pat's shoulders. "Yeah! Hell yeah! Yes!"

A couple of people applaud, probably thinking they've just gotten engaged, and Pat tenses under Brian's arms at the attention. It's New York, though, so they've ceased to exist again within a few seconds. "You're still holding your burrito, aren't you," Pat mutters.

"I can multitask, Patrick," Brian says, pulling back. He runs his free hand down Pat's arm. "What can I do to help? Are you gonna write something or are you gonna wing it? Do you wanna do a bit? Do you wanna do it by yourself? Do you want me do the dating part and you can do the vampire part? Can we do a song?"

"Whoa, Brian, geez," Pat laughs, embarrassed, and Brian drinks in the shy, happy little quirk of his lips. Pat looks down and runs his hand through his hair. "I haven't, uh, thought about it. I figured I'd just say it and then move onto the rest of the stream, pretty much."

"A solid strategy," Brian muses. "Very you: say little, explain nothing."

Pat shrugs. He's not looking at Brian, still, but Brian can see the curve of his smile on his cheekbone. "The people whose opinions I care about already know everything, anyway."

"Yeah, for sure," Brian agrees, picking at his burrito. "I never really had to come out. I've always been, you know," he continues, gesturing to himself. "Literally no one was surprised when I brought home my first boyfriend. My mom even—"

Brian stops, suddenly, and leans back on the planter ledge. "Oh no," he groans, drawing it out.

Pat's head snaps up, and his hand goes to Brian's back to keep him from tipping backwards. "Hmm?"

Brian puts the heel of his hand to his forehead, sticky fingers curled away from his hair. "I haven't told my mom about us yet. I gotta call her before she hears about it on stream."

"Oh," Pat says. Short and clipped and completely deadpan, like he's not sure if he's fine or confused or hurt. His eyebrows come together. "You… haven't told her about me."

"Nope," Brian sighs.

Pat purses his lips. "You tell your mom everything," he says, eventually. His tone is trending to accusatory. "You call her every week."

"Yeah, and," Brian says, leaning forward. Pat's hand drops back to his own lap. "Every time I thought about bringing it up, I thought, how can I tell her that we're dating, and not tell her that you're a vampire?"

Pat's mouth twitches downwards and he looks away, quickly, staring off down the street. He clasps his hands between his knees, twisting his fingers as he thinks.

That's Pat, though: he'll pop off at the stupidest shit, talking way faster and hornier than his brain can keep up with—but when it's something actually personal, that actually hurts him, he's a concrete wall with no handholds. Brian ducks his head and fidgets with his burrito wrapper, peeling the foil slowly. "Pat, I'm—" he begins to apologize.

"You don't have to tell her," Pat interrupts him, still not looking back.

"No, Pat, that's—"

"You don't have to tell her," Pat repeats, slower and more precise. "It's fine. I just thought—that it might be easier for you. If you don't—if it's—if it's too much—" he catches himself stammering, and takes a breath. When he continues, his voice is low and carefully measured, every word chosen by hand. It’s his streaming voice. "If you don't want normies to know you're dating a vampire, please, believe me when I say I understand," he says. "I know it's not personal."

"No, babe, hey—" Brian starts, then puts down his burrito on the cement seating. He has to dual-wield this conversation. "I want everyone to know we're dating. Do you know how fucking proud of you I am? How happy I am?"

Pat scoffs, and opens his mouth to object, but Brian barrels on: "And I want people to know I'm dating a vampire, if you want them to know you are one. The second you want people to know, I swear I am right there with you, okay?"

Pat huffs. "Brian said vamp rights."

"Fuck yeah, Brian said vamp rights," Brian repeats. He takes Pat's hand and tries to tug him closer, but Pat resists, so Brian just wraps his arms around Pat's chest, sideways, and puts his head on his shoulder. "I wasn't gonna out you, Pat. Even if we're dating. I didn't want it to sound like, oh, he's a vampire, but don't worry, he's one of the good vampires; you can tell because a human loves him."

Pat makes a surprised little sound, an oh that catches on the way up and has to fight the rest of the way. Brian can hear the uneven pattern of Pat taking a breath to try to form words, and slips one arm down to rub Pat's back.

"Oh— I—" Pat manages, eventually. He sounds surprised. "I... love you too."

"Good," Brian says, and turns his head to lay a kiss on Pat's shoulder. "Let's go call my mom, okay?"

"Hey, sweetie," Brian's mom answers, after a few rings. She sounds a little winded. "I just got in from taking Moose outside. Are you at work right now?"

"Yeah, mom," Brian answers. They're in one of the quiet telephone rooms at Vox, actually. Brian's phone is on speaker, between him and Pat on the table. Pat is curled up in his seat, one long leg improbably bent with his foot up on the chair. His hood's up over his hair.

"Is everything okay?" his mom asks. "You usually call later."

"Yeah, it's—" he replies, darting a look over at Pat. Pat shoots him a worried smile around the thumbnail he's worrying in his teeth. "I wanted to share some good news, actually."

"Oh! That's great, hon, let me just get my shoes off and Moose toweled off, okay? It's raining cats and dogs out here. You're on speaker now."

"You too," Brian replies. "Pat's here."

"Hey, Mrs. Gilbert," Pat chimes in.

"Oh, hello Pat," she greets him, a knowing lilt creeping into her voice. "Please, call me Janet. I'm surprised my kids don't already," she jokes, lightly. Pat laughs, shaking his head at Brian and mouthing nope. "Are you still coming to Thanksgiving?"

"I, uh," Pat stammers, "I'll get back to you?" He gives Brian a look and Brian shrugs in response, palms up.

There's the sound of movement on the other end, and then an oof as Brian's mom sits down, probably on the couch. He imagines it; the beige-y brown of their couch with the red striped afghan tossed over the side for Moose. The stack of crossword puzzles on the coffee table, the macrame lamp, the ceramic elephants. He remembers bringing Alex home, holding his hand for strength as he gave his parents the least necessary coming out speech in the history of humanity, and the warmth of his mom's smile as she hugged him, then Alex, and then invited him and his parents over for Sunday dinner.

"Alright, I've landed. What is it, hon?" his mom asks, probably disingenuously. He used to think he couldn't hide anything from his mom; well, he'd be surprised if he's not got her, this time.

He puts his hand on his own knee; it's been jostling like crazy since he started dialing. "Well, uh, like I said, it's good. No big lead-up, I just wanted to tell you that, mm, Pat and I are dating now."

"Oh, honey!" Brian's mom exclaims. "Baby, that's lovely! I'm so happy for you! Pat seems like a good man. Oh, sorry," she chuckles, "Pat, you seem like a good man."

"Thank you, Mrs. Gilbert," Pat murmurs.

"How long have you been seeing each other? Not long?"

Pat purses his lips at Brian, and Brian winces. "Uh, almost a month, now," Brian answers, and his mom makes a dismayed noise.

"Oh, you could have told me, sweetheart. You know I love you either way," she says, and Brian feels a spike of guilt. "That goes for you too, Patrick."

"Between me and Laura, mom was the president of our local PFLAG," Brian explains.

"I can tell," Pat says. "No, uh, it's alright. My family's fine. I've, uh, been their weird black sheep for a while."

"I didn't mean to keep it from you, mom," Brian says, apologetic. "I just… Pat and I have been figuring out some things, first. Before we go public with it."

"Oh, yes, your shows," his mom replies. "Well, you know, it's so different now than when I was growing up. I'm sure everyone will just love it."

"It's not just—" Brian starts, looking over at Pat for support. Pat unwraps one hand from around his ankle and reaches out and takes Brian's hand. "There's something else. Please don't freak out, okay?"

He's kind of glad he doesn't have to do this in person, to see her face drop in concern. It's hard enough to hear it. "What is it, Brian?"

Pat squeezes his hand, and Brian takes a breath. "Pat's a vampire," he says, clear and quick.

His mom is quiet for an uncharacteristically long time. Finally, she sighs. "Oh, honey…"

The downside of not being in the same room as his mom is that there's nowhere to look other than at Pat, who puts his head against his knee, looking away, and just… deflates.

"Brian, baby, I hate to ask but… is that safe?" his mom says.

Pat unfolds his legs and stands up. "I'm gonna go," he mutters, and Brian swipes for his hand to tug him back before he slinks away.

"No, please, Pat, stay, okay? Mom, no; yes, it's safe, it's Pat."

Pat shakes his head, emphatically mouthing no, it's not, but he's not trying to slip Brian's grasp, at least.

"I'm sorry—Patrick, of course, I didn't mean—but Brian," his mom tries again. Brian tugs Pat's hand and Pat pulls right back, shaking his head. Let me fucking go, he mouths, angrily.

Brian lets go and Patrick wheels back, getting all the way to the door before he stops and just stands there, shoulders up around his ears and fists clenched. Brian's mom is still talking, half apologizing and half expressing concern, and Brian lets it wash over him without categorizing it into memory. "Mom," he cuts her off, "It's fine. We're being careful, and I trust Pat. He's crazy big on being safe."

"I know, hon, it's just," his mom replies, and Brian can hear her choosing her words, "Is it—it's not contagious, right?"

"Not by accident," Brian says, and his mom makes a concerned noise.

"But you're not going to… you don't want to be a, a vampire, right?"

Pat turns, just a little, to look at Brian over his shoulder. He raises his eyebrow, as if he's asking the same. Brian flushes cold and looks away; out of the corner of his eye he can sense Pat turn around completely at his silence and lean back against the door, arms crossed. The hair on Brian's arms prickles from being watched.

"I don't," Brian says, and winces when his stomach drops unexpectedly with the sensation of lying. He doesn't think it's a lie. It didn't feel like a lie until literally just now, with Pat staring at him as if daring Brian to admit he'd been scared of it, of Patrick, all along. Pat lets out a huff of self-deprecating laughter. "Not that's it's wrong," Brian says, to Pat, and pushes back his hair as he thinks fast. "Just that—look, we haven't talked about it, okay? Pat would never."

His mom's quiet for a long time, long enough for Pat to drop his posture in surrender and shake his head. He comes over and sits back down, and Brian takes his hand, squeezing it in what he hopes is gratefulness.

"I just… I want you to be happy and safe," his mom says, finally. "I don't get it, but I'm going to try. I'm sorry I need time to learn."

Brian's surprised by the sudden tears that spring to his eyes. He blots his eyes with the heel of his hand, smiling. "Thanks, mom. I love you."

"I love you too," his mom replies, immediately. Brian laughs as such a simple thing makes him stutter even closer to crying. "And I'm sorry, Pat, I didn't mean to offend you," she continues.

"It's okay," Pat says.

"It's not, but thank you," Brian's mom says. "I guess… I'm gonna need to read a few pamphlets, aren't I? Just like old times."

Brian laughs. "I can send you a few websites," he says.

"Oh, that's very fancy. Can I open them on the iPad?"

Even Pat cracks a smile as Brian shoots him a look of solidarity. "Yeah, you can open them on the iPad," Brian replies gently, shaking his head.

Pat clears his throat. "I can, uh, get you in touch with my parents, if you want," he offers, tentative. Brian feels his eyebrows go all the way up.

"Yes, please," his mom replies.

Brian checks his watch. They still have a lot of time before they have to prep the stream, but, he can feel his ability to talk about this much longer start to wear thin, and he can only imagine how Pat feels. "We should get back to work, mom. I'll call you later, though? Usual time?"

"Okay, baby," his mom says. "Love you, love you, love you—thank you for telling me. Patrick, you take care of him, you hear?"

"I will," Pat promises, rubbing his eyes.

"Bye, mom," Brian says, and blows a big noisy kiss into the phone as his mom does the same. He hangs up and puts his phone back on the table.

Pat lets out a huge breath and leans back in his chair, putting his hands over his face.

"So... that's my mom," Brian says, and Pat laughs.

"She's a keeper," he says.

"She'll be doing a hostile takeover of—wait, is there vampire PFLAG?"

Pat drags his hands down his face. "Different name, obviously. It doesn't have the brand recognition, but, yeah. But it's…" he lets out a sigh, and rolls his head to look at Brian. "Did you mean it," he asks, instead.

"Did I mean…?" Brian prompts.

"That you don't want to be a vampire," Pat says.

"Oh," Brian says, and then stops. "I mean—it's true, we haven't talked about it?"

"We should," Pat says, then squints up at the ceiling. "Or—we shouldn't. Have to. I'm not doing it."

"I know," Brian replies, "of course. I'm pretty chill about being a human, honestly."

"I don't even know how," Pat continues, and Brian's mouth falls open.

"Seriously?" he gapes. "I figured it was the whole… you drink from me, I drink from you thing?"

Pat laughs again, this time incredulous. "I think that's part of it? There's more shit to it, like, some kinda magical fuckery, I have no idea. I never knew my sire; he probably would have taught me if he gave a fuck about anything other than being a spiteful piece of shit."

Brian leans one elbow on the table and looks at Pat, consideringly. "You'd be a good vampire daddy," he says.

Pat outright groans. "Please don't call it that."

Brian can feel his mouth twist up, wicked. "Vamp me, daddy," he croons, and Pat makes an anguished noise and reaches over to grab Brian in a headlock, until Brian screeches with laughter.

They have so much to do, what with unexpectedly planning a whole coming out sequence into that night's stream, that Brian doesn't think to push Pat again until they're almost ready to go. It's hard to tell if Pat's his usual taciturn self because he's got his producer face on, or because he's still mulling over how Brian's mom gave voice to every one of Pat's own fears.

People are starting to filter out for the night when Pat stands up and grabs his laptop. Brian rises too, grabs for Pat's hand before he steps away from the breakout desk that they'd co-opted for stream planning. "Hey, hold up," he says, and Pat stops.

Brian clears his throat. "I just wanted to say. I meant the other thing I said, too." At Pat's questioning eyebrow raise, Brian clarifies, "I trust you. And, I love you. I'm not afraid of you."

Pat's expression softens, a small smile playing at his lips before he steels his face into something blank and approaching cold. "You should be," he intones, and Brian gasps in indignation, giving him a push so Pat, laughing, stumbles into motion again.

It's anticlimactic, on their end, but that's what you get when you're on this side of the camera. Brian gives Pat a kiss for good luck before they go live. The introductory patter goes off almost by rote, because all Brian can focus on is how his stomach is in knots, waiting and willing Pat to have the courage he's gonna need.

Brian's specifically chosen more 'shippy fanart for Gilling in the Name Of, and it's fun to watch Pat stammer over projecting the right amount of enthusiasm for his choices. His favorite is the one where they're sharing a tall boy of clamato juice with two straws in a retro soda shoppe, which is from the week before but also probably a reference to the theory that they're both vampires, and Brian believes in giving half-marks.

Eventually they've gotta move on, though, and Brian can tell that Pat's starting to lose his nerve. "Hey, Pat," he coaxes, "we've got some housekeeping to do before we head on into the ol' game, right?"

"Uh, yeah," Pat replies, pushing his glasses up his nose. "We do. Two, uh, two pieces of housekeeping, actually. Just real quick."

"Real quick," Brian echoes, pulling over the streaming laptop in anticipation of the flood of questions they're gonna get in chat.

"So, uh, the first one is, Brian and I are dating," Pat says, without preamble. They'd both decided on a ripping-off-the-bandaid approach, with as little editorializing as possible.

"Ta-da," Brian croons, making a single jazz hand as he taps on the laptop with the other.

"And the second one is, when you saw Brian on stream like a month ago with the bite mark on his neck," Pat soldiers on, and Brian can hear the minute pause where he swallows and steels himself, "that was me. I mean, that was mine. I bit him."

"I told him to," Brian adds.

"I'm a vampire," Pat finishes, in a rush. "I'm a—yeah, I'm a vampire. And. Yeah. That's it."

"Way to stick the landing, Pat," Brian teases, taking Pat’s hand—on stream!!—as Pat lets out an embarrassed laugh. "Anyway, we're not gonna go too deep on that one," Brian continues, and then leans in to the camera, "because you have to be at least a level ten friend before you unlock Pat's tragic backstory."

"It's not tragic," Pat adds.

"It's a little tragic," Brian says, as he scrolls through chat. "Y'all got a million questions, golly, but because we're a serious gaming stream and we're still, y'know, looking for sponsors for our serious gaming stream—"

"Yeah, please sponsor us," Pat interjects.

"—we're just gonna take a couple of questions from chat and answer them before we get back to the gaming."

"Ze gamink."

"Yes, ze gamink. So, here," Brian makes a show of scrolling through chat. Like they'd actually entertain live questions, that would be chaos. "First question: yes."

Brian shows the laptop to Pat, who makes a similar show of squinting to read the chat window. "Second question," Pat says. "No, not at all."

"Third question," Brian says, "O neg, baybee. Four," he points to himself, and then to Patrick. "Bi, and bi."

"I was born in the eighties," Pat answers, on his turn.

Brian turns to him and scowls. "Patrick."

Pat puts his hands up. "What? It's true!"

"Unhelpful, Pat," Brian says. "Okay, last question: yes, you absolutely can, but please, do not tag us or our coworkers," he finishes, and closes the laptop.

"Pwease don't," Pat adds, clasping his hands.

"Okay, that's it though, that is all the energy we have allotted to talking about stuff that is no one's business; can we get a segment complete, Patrick?"

"Oh, shit, was I supposed to fire a segment called? This was a segment? Shit," Pat says, and scrambles for the soundboard. He fires a segment called and then cuts it off with a segment complete, laughing at their planned gaffe.

They go into regular gameplay after that and, as promised, don't field any more questions about either their relationship or Pat's condition. Brian keeps an eye on their viewer count, though, and when it triples their usual numbers because of the word-of-mouth, he can't help but smile.

There's an email from his mom waiting for him when they're done. It's an e-card, and Brian opens it with Pat looking over his shoulder.

It's—god, it's Halloween themed, Sesame Street, with a cartoon Count counting out pieces of candy while a bunch of bats flap in the background. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN THERE ARE NUMBERS TO SAY, the card reads, simply.

"Oh my god," Brian mutters, putting his face in his hands, letting Pat take his phone.

Chapter Text

Brian tries not to micromanage Pat's life, but it's only been about six weeks since they started dating, and the math is easy to do. Pat drank once that night from Brian, and then he must have done it again a little less than two weeks later after he took Brian to the dispensary, and then again less than two weeks later, the night he asked Brian to fuck him.

So, logically, about two weeks later, when Pat starts to get kind of snappish and grumpy, it's not hard to connect the dots. Brian's a naturally pretty communicative person, or so he likes to think, so watching Pat withdraw like that is a little nerve-wracking—like, does he regret coming out? Is he wilting under the weight of everyone knowing? Does he feel guilty that now the internet's favorite insult for Brian is thrall?

(That one's pretty insulting, to be honest. Brian's gotten used to people calling him everything under the sun, but insinuating that the only reason Brian would be with Pat is because of mind control, like Pat's not fucking incredible, makes him bristle. Pat can't even do that.)

But at least the math is comforting, even if Pat isn't. Pat's smile is tight when Brian stops by his desk late that Friday to see if he's going to Allegra's leaving-Polygon party that night. He's cold, when Brian links their fingers under Pat's standing desk.

"Don't feel up to it," Pat replies, his voice low. "But I'm gonna go for a bit. I don't wanna miss her thing."

"Okay," Brian says, "Do you wanna go home together afterwards?"

Pat's mouth cinches in on one side. "Kind of don't, tonight. Sorry." His eyes flick from his screen, to Brian, back to his screen. "I'll snap out of it by the end of the weekend, we can do something then?"

"Okay," Brian says again—what else can he say—and leans in to angle for a kiss before he leaves. Pat offers him his cheek, but the shy little smile afterwards is genuine, so that's alright.

Allegra's party is at a humble dive with a ridiculous happy hour special, and by the time Brian gets there after feeding Zuko, the party's commandeered two tables and covered every available surface with nachos and pitchers of beer. Brian squeezes in beside Simone and shoves a handful of chips in his mouth, and Simone elbows him in the side.

"Venmo me your share," she says, pouring him a glass of beer. A neon sign proclaiming ALL NITE rims her silhouette in red and blue.

"Can I do it on Sunday?" Brian asks. "I don't get paid until the fifteenth."

"You and me both, dummy," Simone groans, and raps him on the head with her sharp knuckles. Brian ducks and gives her his best puppy-dog eyes. "God, this is the problem with hanging out with your coworkers. Everyone's broke at the same time."

"Sowwy mama Simone," Brian puts on, and Simone grumps at him but throws her arm around his back on the bench seating, putting her head on his shoulder comfortably. "Where's Allegra?" Brians asks.

Simone gestures towards the bar, where Allegra is exclaiming about the drink in her hand to an amused bartender with a side shave and a scalp tattoo. "Tryna' get her leg up, I think. Pat's here too, he scooted to the bathroom a bit ago. Jenna's somewhere. Clayton is playing pool."

Pat comes back from the bathroom a minute later, sliding in on Brian's other side. "You took my spot," he says by way of greeting. He's freezing where his leg brushes up against Brian under the table, as if Brian can feel heat the bleed from him to Pat. "When did you get here?"

"Literally just now," Brian answers. "You?"

"Came here straight from work, so, half an hour, probably?" He checks Brian's watch, leaning in; Brian can feel Pat inhale against his shoulder, breathing him in. "Oh, like forty-five minutes."

"You were gone a while," Simone remarks, reaching around Brian to tuck a scraggly piece of Pat's hair behind his ear. Pat’s eyes close at the contact. "Doin' okay?"

Pat's smile back at her is closed and thin-lipped. "Still dead," he quips, and picks up his glass.

Pat makes it about another twenty, twenty-five minutes before he asks to be let out of the booth, pinned in by people returning to the appetizer-laden table. Brian slides out after, because he's two watery beers in and could stand to let it settle for a minute.

Pat makes a beeline for the bathroom as soon as he's out, with the careless pace of someone who has to get there quick and doesn't care who gets a shoulder for being in the way. Brian frowns and looks after him, catching Simone doing the same. He jerks his head toward the bathroom in a gesture encompassing I'm gonna go check on him, and Simone nods in relief.

Pat's at the bathroom sink when Brian opens the door. His face is dripping, his hands clenched on either side of the sink basin as his head hangs between his shoulders. His back heaves with slow breaths.

"Does that still work?" Brian asks as he closes the door behind him. He checks under the stalls for feet before flicking the lock behind him.

Pat grunts a questioning noise as he rubs his face with the back of his wrist, long fingers curled and shaking.

"Deep breathing exercises. When you're sick," Brian elaborates. He stays by the door, respecting the noxious waves of don't touch me energy radiating off of Pat.

Pat's back hitches and he groans, low, like you do when you're right on the raggedy edge of trying not to throw up. His whole body shudders, coming up from his toes. "Sometimes," he grits out, then spits, then turns on the sink to splash more water on his face.

Brian catches himself chewing on his thumbnail in the mirror, shredding the cuticle, and puts his hand back down. "Can I help?" he asks, and Pat stiffens.

"For fuck's sake, Brian," Pat curses, meeting Brian's eyes in the mirror. He looks disgusted. The curl of his lip reveals the point of one fang. "No, you can't fucking help this time."

"I didn't mean—" Brian starts, defensively, then takes a breath. "I didn't mean that. I didn't even—you didn't even tell me that was what was wrong."

"I don't get the goddamn flu," Pat mutters.

"Look, I kind of made an educated guess," Brian says, tucking his hands into his elbows to keep himself from the instinctual response of reaching out, offering comfort. "It's been, uh. It's been like two weeks, hasn't it?"

The expression that crosses Pat's face, momentarily, is betrayed. Seen, and not in the affirmational way. Brian stumbles on, "I don't keep track, I'm sorry, I'm sorry if it's weird to know that, it's just—it's easy to just know, okay?"

Pat's face falls, as does his whole posture, and he slumps against the sink with a defeated sigh. "Thirteen days."

"Geez, Pat," Brian says. He digs his nails into the soft undersides of his biceps. Every twelve to fourteen days, his memory supplies. "That's kind of getting up there."

Pat turns off the sink and stands up straight. He scrubs his hand over his face, grimacing as his lips pull around his fangs. "Trust me, I'm aware," he says.

There's an accusation behind Brian's teeth: don't you think you deserve to live? To be comfortable? But he keeps it there, because he doesn't want to take a pickaxe to Pat's self-loathing in a dive bathroom. There's no need to… there's no need to put the boots to him. Brian cares—god, he cares so fucking much—but Pat's ego's got fragile little bird bones and Brian knows he could squeeze too hard, and he's breathless with the fear of it.

It's not often he doesn't know what to say. There's always a joke, and even a badly landed joke flips the attention to Brian's inadequacy rather than the problem at hand. Faced with Pat, though, and the enormity of his hatred and his fear, Brian's at a loss. He so desperately needs to not say the wrong thing.

"I'm sorry," he says again, ducking his chin. "That sucks."

It's not the key, but it's not dynamite, either. Pat turns around and leans against the sink, one hand inverted up over his mouth with the wrist bent back, long knobbly fingers spanning his cheek. "I'm so fucking hungry," he mutters, eyes squeezed shut. The admission looks like it pains him. "I gotta go. I gotta go home and not see a living person until our pay goes through tomorrow. Fuck," he says, and jams his thumb and one finger into the inside corners of his eyes.

Realization sweeps over Brian with the stinging ache of empathy. There's no rice and beans for Pat, is there? Just—hunger, and pain, and guilt. And the sickening clench of nausea, if you're as set as Pat is on looking normal. Eating, drinking, being social. Looking human, and not giving your coworkers the impression that you're hours away from reenacting the orgy scene from Society.

"Growing pains," Pat mutters. "I’m crossing the artificial bullshit threshold of needing to eat twice a pay period, and when it's the fourteenth of the month and you get paid on the fifteenth, fuck you for not wanting to literally murder your roommate."

"Pat…" Brian says, and is a half-step forward before he even knows what he's doing. "Can I, like, give you a hug? Because it's killing me, thinking I can't."

Pat takes a quick inhale through his nose, suspiciously like a sniffle. "I don't know," he says. "I don't—I don't know. Fuck. I want—" he tries, then shuts his mouth and purses his lips, once, twice when his mouth twitches with barely-constrained shame. "I need—to eat and—and I—I want you, Brian, but I need them to not—to not be the same thing."

When Pat opens his eyes again, they're blown-out vampire pupils. He's squinting under the harsh overhead light of the bathroom, black and bloodless white. Brian takes a step forward, and then another, moving carefully into Pat's space; Pat watches him approach, unblinking, eerily still.

When he gets close enough, Pat opens his body and Brian slides his arms around him, tucking his head against Pat's shoulder and running his fingers up the small of his back. Pat's so tense under his hands, like a mandolin string about to snap. He can feel the point of Pat's chin rest on his shoulder, before Pat makes a little choked-off noise and tucks his face against Brian's neck as well, breathing in with his whole body.

"Fuck," he exhales. "You smell so…"

Pat's next word is lost in a noise more like an mmmn, lips pressed tightly together where they touch Brian's neck. Pat's hands twist at Brian's sides, tugging his shirt up from where it's tucked into his pants.

Brian doesn’t know where this is gonna go—it’s probably the closest he’s been to danger since the beginning, but it only makes him want to keep barreling forward in this direction, to smash through the walls of Pat’s chrysalis of self-loathing and see what’s inside, even if it’s unfinished goop. He needs to push; he needs Pat to want to push back, to find the tender edges where monster and man meet.

Pat’s lips on his neck send a shock of cold adrenaline through him, a happy but agonizing sense memory. Brian doesn’t want it—well, he does—but he wants more to show that he’s not afraid of whatever happens.

"D'you need to stop," Brian murmurs, and Pat jerks his head from side to side.

"No," he says, breathing the word into Brian's skin. "No, just, let me…"

Pat takes one more big inhale and holds it, nosing along Brian's pulse. His lips follow in its wake, caressing the soft skin of Brian's throat, and Brian's arms erupt in goosebumps. Pat's mouth curves into a smile, right under the shell of his ear. "I can feel that," he whispers.

"'scuze me if your, fuckin', vampire edging feels a little horny, Patrick," Brian mutters, and Pat's laughter ruffles his hair.

Pat lets him go then, hands running slowly up Brian's sides until he can cup Brian's face and look down into Brian's eyes. Fuck, his eyes are so huge, and dark, and deep, and Brian feels a pull that's nothing to do with enthrallment and everything to do with how much he wants to be able to push all these feelings into Pat, all this wonder and desire. Pat leans in and Brian leans up, meeting in the shallow middle with a kiss that's soft and careful.

Pat's hands, his lips, are like ice, a bracing thrill of cold that sinks into Brian's face even as he smiles into the kiss. Pat's mouth curves against his, laying a series of shorter kisses until he withdraws, blinking slowly down at Brian like a contented cat.

"Does it help," Brian asks, and Pat's eyes crinkle.

"No, it's fuckin' worse," he says, though it's on a laugh. "But I deserve a little punishment."

"Pat," Brian whines. Pat’s hands on his cheeks make his lips purse. "That’s not—"

Pat shushes him, kissing his fishlipped face.

Pat texts him the next day, as Brian's transferring his share of last night's tab to Simone. who's a rich bitch, it reads, followed by a second message: thanks daddies vox and twitch. A third one comes in as Brian's trying to figure out a way to elegantly convey how much he wants Pat's hot little mouth on him, in what specific ways, and for exactly how long: my place or yours?

That week, Brian does what he does best: he researches.

The 'blood as food' article on Wikipedia has gotten a lot more interesting since he last looked it up on a whim, probably on some morbid tear in high school, and it's a decent place to start. It's heartening, kind of, to scroll through inch after inch of regional dishes, how blood's been used across the world, and Brian wonders how much of it's due to vampiric influence.

It's hard to find legit information about vampires on the internet; there's so much noise to signal. He asked Pat, once, but Pat's pretty tight-lipped about vampiric history, and it's hard to tell if it's because he doesn't want to talk about it, or if he actually never learned any. He hates talking about his sire; Brian doesn't even think Pat knows who his sire is, or what happened to him, and Pat's not the support group type.

He gets a few leads from some donors at the support group he's gone to a few times. He joins a Discord and leaves within a few hours when he realizes that, like most servers, it's mostly people venting about their lives, but not before getting a few more recipes, a phone number for someone who can discreetly hook Brian up with some illegally fresh pigs blood, and the beginnings of a hare-brained scheme.

Brian's not great at cooking. Like, it's fine, he can feed three people when it's his turn to cook, but it's not, like… he has no idea how to make sausage, for example. And there's a lot of variations on blood sausage. But there's some stuff that looks more doable, and more palatable besides, like puddings. Like chocolate pudding, even.

Which is how he ends up perfecting his pronunciation of sanguinaccio dolce, by muttering it to himself while stirring (and stirring, and stirring) two pints of milk and pigs blood with some really fuckin' choice dark chocolate. The end result is—well, the end result looks an awful lot like chocolate pudding, so much so that Jonah and Laura don't mind being his guinea pigs.

"It tastes like a chocolate coin," is Laura's verdict, after some thought. "Like if you somehow inverted the ratio of aluminium to chocolate. Kind of salty? I think you need more sugar."

Jonah puts it down after one spoonful and crushes the rest of the milk, which is probably kind of a win when cooking for someone who presumably likes, or at least looks forward to, the taste of blood.

Brian tries it. It's, well, it's blood, that's for sure: rich and metallic and vaguely… meaty, for lack of a better term. It's not unpleasant. Kind of like olives, his brain supplies, completing the circuit of Italian food that's an acquired taste.

The bubble tea he makes afterwards is kind of an accident, actually. Apparently, if you leave blood boiling by itself for long enough because you're pulling up Italian operas on YouTube for mood music, you get a vaguely gelatinous substance not entirely unlike boba. He says a quick apology to the roommate gods when he adds a few wobbling shards of it to half a bottle of pomegranate green tea Laura left in the fridge, and does a little victory dance when it remains stable.

He doesn't try that one. That one, he just throws out. He'll make it again fresh.

Pat's smiling when Brian invites him back to his place to 'try something new', because he is a good man who is not sick to his second death of Brian's seemingly limitless capacity for bullshit. He trusts Brian, for some reason. Enough to not ask questions when Brian steers him to his kitchen table, not his bedroom.

"What's this?" he says, when Brian sets down a little orange peel bowl filled with the deceptively mild-looking sanguinaccio dolce. He put a raspberry on this one; it looks pretty dope.

"Chocolate," he replies. "And blood. Pigs blood," he adds, when Pat opens his mouth to inquire about the pedigree of said blood. "Don't ask how I got it, unless you wanna be an accomplice."

"Pig's blood," Pat echoes, looking down at the pudding. He looks bemused. "That's… that's very creative, Brian, thank you."

Brian slides into the seat opposite Pat and puts his elbows on the table. "I know when I'm being patronized, Pat Gill."

"It's nice, Brian, don't get me wrong, but—it's not the same, really," Pat says, looking regretful now. "If vampires could subsist off of animal blood, it wouldn't be this huge capitalist nightmare. It's like non-alcoholic beer," he explains. "If you like the taste of beer, it's great. But it's not getting you drunk, so if you don't like the taste either, why bother?"

"Oh," Brian says. "I didn't even… you know, I just assumed, that it… that you liked the taste. Don't you?"

Pat shrugs, but he takes a spoonful of the pudding anyway, not looking at Brian. "I like how it makes me feel," he confesses, then puts it in his mouth before he's compelled to say anything more. His eyes slide shut as he considers its weirdly silky mouthfeel before swallowing.

"Shit, this is good, though," Pat says, digging in for another spoonful. "This is really blood?"

"Yeah," Brian answers, "It's an Italian recipe. I… I could probably do it with human blood, if you gave me some. Pigs and humans are pretty close, right?"

Pat pauses, spoon in his mouth, and pulls it out slowly while he looks down at the rest of the pudding in thought. He considers it for a long time, long enough that Brian considers walking back the offer. Eventually, Pat presses his lips together and nods, just a little, as he takes another spoonful. "Yeah," he answers, quietly. "Yeah, that would be nice."

Brian has his own serving in front of him, but Pat still startles when Brian tucks into it. "You're eating it too?" he asks.

"Sure," Brian says, shrugging as he puts it into his mouth. It's not so weird, the second time around, knowing what to expect. "Millions of Italians can't be wrong, right?"

Pat stares at him until Brian swallows, then shakes himself out of it and focuses the bowl in front of him. Brian watches Pat eat the rest of the pudding in silence, watching the way every bite turns Pat's expression, for a brief moment, reverent. Brian's done before Pat, even though he started later.

When he's done, Pat sits back and licks the corners of his mouth. "Wow," he says, softly. "It's never… tasted good before. Thank you."

"Even if it doesn't help?" Brian asks.

"It helps," Pat replies, quickly. "Even if it doesn't work, it still…" He swallows. "Yeah… yeah."

Pat lapses into a thoughtful silence again after that, so Brian clears away the dishes and busies himself with preparing the gelatinous blood he'd made earlier in the day. "I have one more thing, if you're up for it? Kind of a digestif, I guess?"

Pat makes an amused noise, behind Brian's back. "That's a weird thing to call your ween."

Brian laughs and turns to lean against the counter, bottles in hand. "My ween comes in lemon green or traditional sweet tea, take your pick."

Pat wrinkles his nose in delight as he smiles. "Uh, lemon, I guess?"

"Honestly, probably the better choice," Brian says, turning back. He uses a mini melon baller to scoop out round-ish pieces of the gelatinous blood and pop them in a glass, then pours the tea over them. It looks… mostly like it's supposed to, especially when Brian adds a straw he boosted from the last time he got bubble tea. The faux boba leech delicate little tendrils of red into the tea, which is kind of cool, actually.

Brian sets it down before Pat with a flourish. "Ta-da," he announces.

"Bubble tea," Pat says, dubious. "Do I wanna ask…?"

"Still pigs blood," Brian assures him. "It's, uh, congealed? Which sounds super appetizing, I know."

Pat frowns but takes a pull from the straw anyway, frowning more deeply when a shadowy boba slithers up the straw into his mouth. He lasts about a second before he spits it back into the cup, sticking to his teeth. "That's the bad stuff," he grimaces. "That's really a… yeah, that's really…"

Brian laughs and clears away the cup while Pat licks the inside of his teeth like a dog eating peanut butter. "Sorry, sorry," he says, sitting back down. He hands Pat the bottle of unadulterated sweet tea. "So that's a no on congealed blood product."

Pat gives him the stinkeye around gulps from the bottle. "You think so?" he exhales, letting out a little burp.

"They can't all be winners," Brian says, spreading his hands. Pat drinks at a more sedate pace, swishing it around in his mouth. "So," Brian starts, and Pat's eyes flick towards him. "Why doesn't animal blood work?"

Pat frowns again, and picks at the label of the bottle. "Dunno. Vampires are parasitic specifically to humans." Half his face screws up in distaste. "It's something about… some woo-woo bullshit about tapping into the life energy generated by everyone collectively giving a shit about stuff."

"And pigs don't give a shit?"

"Pigs haven't built entire civilizations based off of what is, essentially, sun worship," Pat replies. "They don't get up in the morning and put on their little piggy neckties and build their empires and go to sleep when it's dark, repeated over and over by billions of pigs, every day, creating neat orderly currents of ritual power that some emo shitheads like me can siphon off like actual, literal leeches."

"Yikes on bikes, Pat, tell me how you really feel," Brian jokes, but Pat doesn't laugh. He just looks down at the bottle in his hand, and peels off where he's loosened the label.

"It fuckin' sucks, is how I really feel," Pat says. "That's it. That's the joke."

"Hell of a pun," Brian replies.

Pat shrugs. "It is, sometimes. Not right now, though." He drains the last of the sweet tea in a few pulls. "Fuck it, that was good pudding, though. D'you got any more?"

Two pints of chocolate pudding was a bit optimistic, Brian thinks, but it pays out for the look of gratitude on Pat's face when he pulls the rest of it out of the fridge.

Brian checks, but there's no way to get his hands on real human blood that isn't breathtakingly illegal, or dangerous, or both. He's not a big man enough for the world of cryptocurrency to just, like, dive right into that, so he goes to the one person he knows who might be able to help.

Samrit's working when he slides into the dispensary, already feeling like a criminal. He looks up as the door chimes, his forehead creasing in almost-recognition. There's no one else there, thank God. Brian pulls down his hoodie.

"Hey," Brian says, and waves. "I was, I was in here a few weeks ago? With Pat Gill?"

"Oh," Samrit replies, with a polite smile. He puts down his book. "Mr. Gill's donor. Did you go to the group?"

Brian holds up his hand, "Yeah, it's, um, Brian, actually; yes I did, and it was really nice, thank you, I'm learning a lot. Two, uh, I'm not Pat's donor. It's a bit of a... sticking point."

Samrit tips his head to the side, regarding Brian in all of his sweat-palmed nervousness. Is Samrit a mandated reporter for blood crimes? Is that a thing? He should have checked. "Are you all right," Samrit asks, emphasis placed so delicately that Brian can hear the unspoken do you need help, fellow mortal underneath the obvious concern that Brian's gonna bolt right out the door.

"Yeah! Yeah," Brian assures him, coming over to the high counter. He puts his hands palm-down on it. "I just. I have a question."

Samrit hums. "I can try to answer," he says.

Brian knows he's chewing his lip, and makes the conscious decision to stop, and to just go for it. "How much is it to just buy blood," he asks, and Samrit's eyes narrow in curiosity. "I mean, if I even can," Brian adds. "If I can prove that I'm buying it for vampire consumption and not, like, anything weird."

Samrit purses his lips in thought as he leans back on his stool, arms crossed. "And you're not his registered donor," he confirms, and Brian shakes his head. "That's unfortunate," Samrit continues. "Food-grade blood is restricted to vampires with valid identification cards and to their registered donors."

"Damn," Brian swears, under his breath. He should have pushed to be registered, but the just in case argument wouldn't hold a lot of water against Pat, who'd apparently sooner turn to dust.

"I doubt your insurance would cover it without demonstrated medical need, either," Samrit says, keying in a few commands in his computer. He turns the monitor on its arm towards Brian, who gapes at the total listed on screen. "Which makes it quite prohibitive, as you can see."

"Jeez," Brian says, rubbing the back of his neck. "I tried not to do the math, last time, but that's… really something, huh."

"It is," Samrit commiserates. "There is a reason people choose donation over farmed blood, if they can."

"Yeah, that's not—that's not really an option, for me and Pat," Brian says, and swallows hard. "Pat doesn't want to use my—to use donor blood."

Samrit's eyebrow raises. "That's uncommon."

"Yeah, well," Brian laughs, humourless. "That's Pat, I guess. Look, can't you just, I don't know, let it slide? Pretend I'm Pat?"

Brian knows he's weedling, and from the look on Samrit's face, Samrit can tell he doesn't have a lot of capital here. "You're asking me to commit insurance fraud."

"No! Well, I mean, a little," Brian replies, and then puts his face in his hands. "Look, he's—" Brian tries again, "He's gonna starve himself. He is starving himself, every time. I just want to be able to help, and I—" his voice breaks and he swallows again, disheartened by how Samrit's expression remains the same. "I don't know how to help," he finishes, rubbing his eyes.

"I'm very sorry," Samrit says, and for what it's worth, he does look sympathetic. "Distributing human blood is a felony; I could lose my license, or worse."

"There has to be a way," Brian presses, "There have to be other broke vampires, or undocumented ones, or ones who don't have insurance, and who don't have friends or family. What do they do?"

"Live short, feral afterlives," Samrit says, coldly, pushing away from the counter. Brian can sense the window of this conversation closing. "I'm sorry I can't help you, but Mr. Gill is quite fortunate to have both insurance and at least one potential donor. Perhaps I can suggest couples counseling to overcome his issues with accepting your help."

Which is—which is low, even if it's true.

"Samrit, please," Brian pleads as the technician slides off his stool and turns to leave. "Please, okay, just, one more question?"

That gets his attention for a few more seconds, all Brian needs. He feels fucking wretched about it as he steels himself to apply the only bit of leverage he has. "What's a 'chop shop,'" he asks, making his voice low.

Samrit freezes, his eyes narrowing at Brian. Brian feels his stomach flip at the grimy feeling. Samrit doesn't answer, so Brian presses again. "I know you can get illegal blood, and I'm desperate. I'll find it whether you tell me or not, just tell me what to expect so I'm not going in blind."

Samrit's quiet for a long time, simmering with resentment that slowly, slowly, turns to a resigned acceptance. He mutters something under his breath as he shakes his head, in a language Brian can't readily identify. "You silly—" he says, stopping himself, and sighs. He gestures Brian through the swing doors of the pharmacy counter. "Come with me."

Samrit leads him into the back room, a space that was probably once used to store medications but has been since renovated into a small windowless sitting room. The walls are painted yellow, with a painting of a guru on the opposite wall, under which a young woman sits watching an Indian drama on a small CRT television.

Samrit greets the woman, bending to kiss her cheek. He says something Brian doesn't understand but is clearly deferential, and she waves him out of the way of her view of the television.

"My grandmother," Samrit says, turning back to Brian. "She finds the daylight less tolerable these days, and so," he continues, waving at the small room and kitchenette.

"Oh," Brian replies, surreptitiously taking note of woman's fresh, unlined features. He hadn't realized, but: of course. The realization that Pat will be the same in fifty years, in a hundred—will be able to play with his great-great-grandnieces and nephews long after Brian's in the dirt—hits him again anew, tightening his chest. "Hello," he says, with a little wave. Samrit's grandmother dismisses him with a flick of her gaze.

Samrit goes to the little minibar fridge, kneeling down to retrieve two foil packets from inside. They don't have the same labelling as the ones he saw Pat buy, only scrawled on in black marker with a date.

Samrit approaches Brian again, holding out the packets, but lifts them out of Brian's grasp when he reaches for them. "You will not go to a chop shop," Samrit orders, stern. "You will tell no one other than Patrick that you have this."

"Yeah, of course," Brian promises. He has as much to lose as Samrit, probably. "But what—how? How did you get it?"

"My sister-in-law," Samrit answers, finally setting the bags in Brian's hands. They are unsettlingly squishy. "She doesn't take well to being bitten."

Brian didn't even know that was an option. He puts the bags into his backpack and looks up at Samrit. "Thank you so much," he says, with a lot of feeling, and Samrit crosses his arms.

"I mean it," he says. "Do not get mixed up in unregulated blood farming."

"I won't," Brian promises again. "Seriously, thank you so much. I—how much? What can I give you?"

Samrit waves him off, scooting him out of the back room. "The first one is free," he says, as Brian shoulders his backpack. "If you can't talk your vampire out of his foolishness, we will work something out. Perhaps I need someone to cover a weekend shift, hmm?"

Brian turns as Samrit gets back on his stool and picks up his book. "Absolutely," he says, "Whatever. I mean it. Thank you."

"I don't know what you mean," Samrit replies, eyes flicking to the shadow of someone approaching the door of the dispensary. "Be safe," he says, as Brian sidles out past the other vampire and into the night air.

Chapter Text

The trick isn't getting the timing right. The trick is not showing his hand too soon.

The math is easy, when you know a few exact benchmarks. Pat ate on the fifteenth of the month, a Saturday. Exactly two weeks later, it's still a day shy of being paid again on the thirtieth, so Pat'll be in the same situation as before by about Friday, same as last time. But Brian doesn't want Pat to suffer that much again—that's the whole point—so the sweet spot is probably two days earlier. And Pat streams Tuesdays and Thursdays, which leaves only the evening after Gill and Gilbert free.

The part of him that notices narrative parallels thrills when he loops his finger in Pat's belt loop as they're getting ready to go on stream, pulling him close and asking in his best good boy voice, "What are your plans after this?"

Pat hums, still absently uncoiling a cable even as his eyes go straight to the curve of Brian's smirk. "Thinking I might get in a cheeky half-marathon. Might go a little crazy and learn Mandarin. Bake a pie. Why?"

"D'you wanna come to mine?" Brian asks.

He can see Pat do the calendar math in his head, pressing his lips between his teeth before answering. "Might be a little bitey," he says, slowly. "Dunno if I should."

"Make it worth your while, sailor," Brian replies, cocking his hip, and Pat laughs and ducks his head.

"Okay, okay," Pat says. He doesn't blush, not this long between eating, but he looks like he would, his body canting towards Brian in that way somewhere between shame and desire and bravery.

Brian has to kiss him then, he has to. But then it’s time to go live, and they break to do their final check, and there's no time to get nervous that it's going down tonight.

The stream passes without incident, as much as they can these days. They'd wrangled Jenna to help with chat moderation last week, which had literally only taken presenting the steep increase in viewership to Tara and waiting for her to stop cackling "what? what?!" long enough to sign off on the schedule change.

When they're done, Jenna cuts the stream and they all let out a collective sigh of relief. Pat moves to coil up the controllers and Brian gets up to put away the mics, but Jenna waves them both off. "Get out, both of you," she says. "You've been ‘on’ for over two hours; I've got this."

"Are you sure?" Pat asks, as Brian shoots her a grateful look from his side of the couch. Jenna has the audacity to wink at him.

"Yeah, no problem," she chirps. "You guys didn't even spill any drinks this time, it's fine."

"If you're sure," Pat starts, but he's already getting to his feet. "I'll owe you."

"Nah," Jenna replies, grabbing Pat's mic to swing it out of his way. "I'll just take an hour on Friday and get a head start on my weekend. I'm hiking Breakneck."

"Thanks, Jenna!" Brian says, sidling around the couch. He gives her a one-armed hug where she sits, and she oofs and lays her head against his arm before shooing him away.

It's tricky to get both Laura and Jonah out of the house, but this is something he doesn't want to do at Pat's, so it was worth weedling Jonah to go out with some music friends and to pay off Laura to go see a late night movie, just to get the apartment to themselves.

Brian unlocks the door and holds it open for Pat. "Please, come inside," he says, and Pat smiles slightly as he crosses the threshold. Brian's not sure if it's purely symbolic or if whatever power that repels Pat regains its strength between invitations, but he's noticed that it puts Pat more at ease if he's explicit.

"Didn't know it was that kinda party," Pat murmurs as he takes off his jacket, and Brian kisses him lightly when he's bent over to shimmy it off his arms.

"Mm. You're welcome to," Brian says, and Pat lets out a scandalized huff of laughter as he clams up again, ducking his head instead of returning the volley. Cute.

"What's the, uh, what's the plan tonight?" Pat asks instead, unlacing his boots. Brian just toes off his kicks and shoves them into the shoe rack with his foot. "Kinda feels like you have one."

Brian can feel himself smile, despite his best attempts to stay mysterious about it. "Yeah, I kinda do," he elides, and slips his hand into Pat's. He brings it to his lips, holding it in both hands. "I honestly don't know if you'll dig it," he says, "but I thought maybe we could try something a little, um, challenging, tonight?"

Pat's face does a couple interesting things before settling on cautiously trusting. "Dunno," he says, biting his lip. "Who's being 'challenged' here?"

"Oh, you," Brian replies. "Definitely you."

Another fleeting microexpression of fear and desire. Pat swallows. "Walk me through it?" he says, finally. "I'm a little… uh, I'm a little peckish, so I don't know how much I can take, but we can try."

Brian starts walking Pat through the apartment. "Yeah, about that..." he says, drawing it out. He stops in front of the open bathroom door. "It's an emotional challenge, not a physical one."

Pat eyes the bathroom dubiously, then his lips quirk up on one side. "Y'know I'm not literally into piss, right? That's just a schtick?"

Brian laughs. The lady doth protest too much, but, he'll unpack that later. One thing at a time. "It's not that, I promise," he replies. "Different bodily fluid."

He can feel the way Pat closes off a little, like a castle pulling up its drawbridge. Brian puts his hand on the side of Pat's face—he's cool, but not cold—and directs him to really look down at Brian. "Hey," he says, "Just trust me for like five minutes, okay? Let me set some stuff up first."

Pat searches his eyes, as if scrying Brian's motivations, trying to determine if Brian's going to disregard their tenuous bite-related peace. He must sense how serious Brian is, because he presses his lips together and nods.

"Okay," Brian says, letting his relief and his delight show on his face. "You, get naked and get that cute butt in the tub. Get as comfortable as you can."

"While naked and in a bathtub," Pat echoes, faintly disbelieving.

"I'm just gonna get a few things," Brian continues. "Sit tight."

He kisses Pat one more time before he goes into his room, listening for Pat shuffling around behind him. Under the blankets on his bed is a little cocoon, the hot water bottle he begged Jonah to fill before he left still faintly warm when Brian pulls out the two blood packs and wraps them in a towel. They're weirdly, appropriately, body temperature, and Brian congratulates himself as he strips down, then brings the towel-wrapped packs and his bottle of lube into the bathroom. You know: be prepared.

Pat's done what he'd asked when he returns, his long legs bent up in Brian's bathtub and his head resting against the tiles. He turns his head when Brian enters, gesturing expansively at his naked form as if to declare himself for inspection.

"Perfect," Brian praises, and Pat scoffs. There's a fine line with Pat; you can't compliment him for doing what he considers the bare minimum, even if it actually takes a lot more effort for Pat to do. Brian's proud, anyway.

He sets the towel bundle down on the toilet seat, and the lube on the corner of the tub, then he washes the grime of the subway his hands. Pat watches that part in amusement. "I think I'm putting the clues together," he says.

"Maybe," Brian replies, and gets in the tub as well. It's a small tub, but Pat's narrow, so Brian kneels with his legs on either side of Pat's hips and there's practically enough room, with the bonus of being able to feel Pat's dick chub up against his ass when Brian settles back on his heels. "Okay, uh, ground rules? You're gonna have a lot of questions and I promise I'll answer them, so don't just say no right away."

"The more you talk, the most ominous this sounds," Pat says. "Is banana still a thing?"

Brian pauses. "Do you want banana to be a thing?"

"Are we doing something where banana is on the table?!" Pat says, his voice rising—partly from the joke, partly from the thready insecurity seeping in. "Because I'm not sure if I'm a banana kind of guy."

Brian reaches out and puts his hand over Pat's mouth, but strokes Pat's cheek with his thumb as he does. "You don't have to be a banana guy for this," he promises, and Pat's eyes crinkle. "No is fine."

"Mmkay," Pat replies, muffled. He kisses Brian's thumb when he runs it along Pat's blunt teeth before withdrawing.

There's no smooth, sexy way to introduce the elephant in the room, so Brian just reaches over and grabs the towel-wrapped blood packs. He unwraps them under Pat's watchful eye, and can feel the way Pat tenses underneath him when he catches sight of the familiar foil packaging.

"What the fuck, Brian," Pat says, low and urgent.

"Don't freak out," Brian reminds him.

"What the fuck," Pat repeats. "Brian, whose fucking blood is that?"

"It's not mine," Brian assures him, or tries to; Pat sits up in the tub, bristling with agitation.

"That's—that makes it worse, actually!" Pat spits, reaching out for the blood packs. He recoils when he senses the warmth seeping from them. "How the fuck did you get blood," he hisses.

"Hey, hey, it's okay," Brian says, shifting the packs so he can free one hand and wrap it around Pat's neck. He's all tendon. "Hey. It's fine. Samrit helped me, okay? It's his sister's."

Pat stares him down, unblinking. Unbreathing.

"I just asked," Brian continues. "I didn't want you to starve yourself again, so I… asked for help. And he gave it to me. I didn't even pay. Nothing shady, I promise."

Pat's eyes narrow, proud and ashamed at the same time. "I didn't ask for your help," he mutters. "This—this isn't your responsibility. You should have told me."

Brian shrugs one shoulder. "Yeah, probably. But it’s... here, okay, if we needed to use birth control, we'd split the cost, right?" He's thought about this argument quite a bit. "I don't want you to lock yourself away in a castle every two weeks. That's on me. So it's only fair that I pitch in."

The bristling of Pat's anger is palpable, and Brian is uncomfortably aware of how strong Pat is. He briefly imagines Pat just fuckin' deadlifting him right out of the bathtub, which would be thrilling under other circumstances. He puts his hand, warmer than usual from the gentle heat of the blood, on Pat's chest, right over the stillness of his heart. "I mean it. If it helps, think of it as me paying my dues for being greedy. I want you to be able to suck my dick more often than on the new moon and the full moon, okay?"

Brian calls his shot; he licks his lips and leans in, telegraphing, and Pat tips his head in answer, so Brian closes the distance and lays a kiss on Pat that quickly deepens to tongue and teeth. Despite his anger, Pat kisses with a barely constrained hunger, penned in on all sides by shame and fear—shame that he feels a need at all, fear that he needs too much.

"I'm still pissed that you didn't tell me what you were doing," Pat mutters against his lips when they part. He settles back against the wall, and runs his hand through his hair. "You could have… you could've just fuckin' disappeared, if you'd gone to the wrong person."

"That's pretty much what I got from Samrit, yeah," Brian replies. He reaches over and puts one of the blood packs on the toilet, nestled in the towels to stay warm. "I had to promise I wouldn't go anywhere else."

"You're gonna keep doing this, huh."

Brian smiles as he toys with the plastic spigot on the blood pack in his hands. "That's the plan. If you'll let me. Samrit and I worked it out."

Whatever's going on in Pat's head, it plays out in a series of shadowed emotions flitting across his face: shame, anger, hunger, guilty relief. Brian clings to that one, like getting a tax return, or a Christmas bonus: things are going to be okay, but not because you worked hard or suffered or were lucky. Just because you deserve it, and someone finally gave it to you.

"So," Brian says. "Yes, no? Banana, or bone apple tea?"

Pat's mouth twists, like he's fighting a smile. He doesn't look at Brian when he nods, and reaches for the blood pack in Brian's hands.

"Oh, no, nuh-uh," Brian says, pulling it closer. "What do you think you're doing?"

Pat pauses. "Uh, I'm gonna eat, so I don't get all bitey while we're fucking the daylights out of each other? I mean, I presumed."

"Oh, Patrick," Brian chides. He cracks the plastic spigot open. "This is a farm-to-table experience."

"We're in a bathtub," Pat says.

"And for a very good reason!" Brian says, with a cheerful tilt of his head towards the bag he's holding like it's the next object for bidding on in The Price is Right.

But from here it's… well, it's a bit of a leap to get where he thinks this is going. He drops the Pleasantville Chipper for a second and puts his hand back on Pat's chest, dragging his attention back to Brian's words instead of the smell of blood emanating from the bag.

"Hey, look, uh," he says, "Real talk, I don't know what I'm doing. Like, ever. So if you have any objections to me, um, helping you drink this, you should let me know before I get my gross mortal hands all up in your food."

Pat's expression goes from cautious to surprised. "Wait," he says, "...you want to… feed me?"

"I mean, that sounds…" Brian laughs, suddenly awkward, "...that sounds kinky in a different way than I was thinking, but, yeah? I mean, fundamentally, yeah?"

"I don't..." Pat starts, then knits his eyebrows and stares at the unassuming bag of blood in Brian's hands. "I mean, I'm not against it?" he tries, voice high on a question. "I just, fuck," he laughs, "You're so fucking weird."

"Weird good?" Brian asks, and Pat puts his hands over his grinning face. His fangs are cute little nubs, barely distinguishable from Brian's own human canines, and Pat runs his tongue over the points.

"Weird good," Pat confirms, and Brian feels a little knot of anxiety uncurl in his stomach as he laughs and rubs his face.

"Okay, good," he replies, and—God, he really does have no map, just a compass pointing vaguely orgasmward and a hope in his bones—he dips his index and middle finger into the inky warm wet of the blood pack. Pat inhales sharp when he pulls them out again, both their gazes fixed on the bright crimson blood creasing the lines of Brian's fingers.

Brian leans in and kisses Pat, bending his head against the cold tile as he delves into Pat's mouth, and Pat takes just as deeply. Brian's breathing hard when he withdraws, his heart thudding in his chest. He hopes Pat can hear it. "You hungry?" he asks, teasing.

Pat's eyes are deep and black, unblinking when he stares back at Brian from a few scant inches away. "I could eat," he says.

Eyes still locked, Brian brings his fingers to Pat's mouth, catching the metallic scent of them as Pat parts his lips and lets Brian ease inside of him. A soft sound escapes Pat as he gives in and his eyes slip closed, as Brian's fingers slide over his tongue. He can feel the muscle surge under his touch.

Pat closes his lips around Brian's knuckles, squeezing Brian's fingers into the space between his fangs. Suctions pull at his fingertips as Pat gingerly sucks, the look on his face sheer pleasure. For a few long seconds, Brian's breathing is the loudest sound in the bathroom.

"Yeah?" Brian breathes, pulling his fingers out so Pat can swallow, and Pat's eyes slip open and refocus. Instead of answering, Pat takes Brian's wrist and pulls Brian's hand to his mouth again, dragging his tongue up the underside of Brian's index finger before taking just that one in his mouth again. Pat's tongue twines around it as he sucks his finger clean.

"S'soapy," Pat murmurs around Brian's finger on his lips. "Be better if it tasted more like you."

"It was either soap or subway," Brian says, smiling. Pat lets him take his hand back and Brian considers his options, before rubbing his hand up his neck and into his hairline. Pat's saliva is cool where it transfers to his skin. "How about that?"

Pat bites his lip, catching it in one fang. "It's—uh. You smell the most like yourself, uh… under your arms, and…" he trails off, ducking his head, but not before Brian can see his gaze drop to Brian's dick, to the obscene spread of his thighs across Pat's stomach.

Brian's breath catches in his stomach. "Pat, you dirty bird," he murmurs, and Pat huffs. His eyes flick up to track the motion of Brian's hand down his chest, skimming over his nipples, over the folds of his stomach, into the hair curling thick at the base of his dick. Brian spreads his fingers, nestles his hand in the earthy human scent trapped there. He can feel Pat's chest expand as he breathes it in. "This do it for you in a sexy way," Brian asks, "or a vampire way?"

Pat licks his lips. "Yes," he answers, simply.

Brian strokes himself a few times, teasing himself as much as Patrick, before coming back to coat his fingers with more blood. This time he tips out more, letting it pool in the crevice between his fingers, curling them to keep it from dripping off his fingertips, and Pat meets him halfway. He sucks Brian's fingers into his mouth, and Brian twists his hand to drag them over his tongue.

Pat moans around Brian, lips pulling downwards as his face crumples, sucking the flavour of the blood, of Brian, from Brian's skin. The tips of his fangs scrape Brian's knuckles as he bobs his head. It looks—and feels—exactly as it's intended: Pat's wicked wanting mouth swallowing Brian's fingers, his throat working, the hollowing of his cheeks, the darkness of his pupils through his lashes as he locks eyes with Brian. Something dark and desirous sings in Brian.

When Pat releases him again, Brian's fingers are completely clean but for the way the blood stubbornly clings to his cuticles. His heart thuds in his ribs from the thrill and the knife-edge of danger as he tips more blood into his hand. Pat watches him through the beat of hesitation before Brian reaches up to paint it across his collarbone this time instead.

Pat surging up to fix his mouth to Brian's skin tips him backwards, suspended in Pat's arms, unshakably strong as they wrap around him. Pat licks up the smear of blood along the ridge of Brian's collarbone, sucks a bite into the soft fatty muscle where bicep and chest meet. Brian hisses as Pat's fangs nip his skin without puncturing it.

Pat tears himself away, darting a questioning look up at Brian. Brian licks his lips. "You gonna be good?" Brian asks.

Pat's lost for a few seconds, visibly considering his answer. Red creases the corners of his mouth. "Yeah," he says, voice thick. "More. Please."

Brian cups Pat's head in his hand and presses a fervent kiss to his forehead, then to the side of his nose. Pat nuzzles into his lips. "God, I love you so fucking much," Brian murmurs into Pat's skin, and Pat whines as his fingers slot into the notches of Brian's ribcage.

Brian grins as he bloods his fingers again, leaning back to drag them red and wet across his nipple. Pat makes a hungry noise as he licks across the smear, following Brian's bloodstained fingers to the other nipple, kissing across his chest until he can lave his flat tongue over it. His hand comes up to roll the first one in his fingers as he bites and sucks the second, twin points of delicious pain that rocket down through Brian's core.

"Hell, Pat," Brian says, writhing up bent-back as Pat lays a particularly wicked—but bloodless—bite on him. "This part's supposed to be for you."

"Mmhmm," Pat answers. When he finally lets up, it's hard to tell what blood's on the outside of his skin and what's been summoned to just under the surface. His whole chest is rosy and pink. Pat lays a fond kiss right over Brian's heart.

"Don't get distracted yet," Brian says, into the crown of Pat's head.

Pat's arms squeeze him lightly. "M'just happy," he says, before resting his chin on Brian's chest to look up at him. The look on his face is so—it's so soft, the gentle laugh lines around his eyes, the adoring tilt of his smile. It makes Brian feel almost shy, to have the privilege of seeing this side of Pat. Like entering a sanctum.

Brian dips his fingers again and brings them to Pat's mouth; Pat takes them in readily, turning his head to lay his ear against Brian's heartbeat. He refreshes the blood a few times just like that, letting Pat meditatively suckle it from his fingers, listening to Brian's heart, Brian's lips pressed to his forehead. Pat's hands roam up and down Brian's back, tracing the invisible ley lines of his pulse.

Pat lifts his head when Brian eventually doesn't return with more, blinking slowly as Brian holds his gaze. Cautiously, Brian brings his fingers to his own neck—watches Pat's lips part, watches his eyes drop to where Brian drags his fingers across the skin, leaving behind a trail of blood.

He can almost feel Pat war with himself, Pat's fingers divoting Brian's back as he goes tight with desire. "Brian, I—" he starts, before his mouth twists helplessly and he lets out a short, needy whine, high in his nose.

Brian tips his head back, showing off his neck. "Come on," he coaxes, "I know you can do this."

Pat jaw works a few times, past his pursed lips, like he's sucking on his own fangs. Slowly, glacially, he rises to run his lips up Brian's sternum, up the hollow of his throat, breathing in the scent of Brian's skin mixing with the headier one of blood. Brian inhales hard from sheer horny adrenaline when Pat's tongue drags up the column of his throat, his every internal working part jamming up and turning over when Pat's mouth closes over the muscle there and sucks.

Heedless of the blood still on his fingers he buries his hand in Pat's hair, holding him tight as Pat teases up the side of his neck and down his shoulder, playing with tongue and teeth both. The drag of fangs over his neck is—it's so—Brian doesn't have words for it, for how it thrills him at the same time it scares him, how he trusts Pat while respecting that trust isn't the issue. It all comes out with a jumbled noise: half-gasp, half-moan as Pat bites lightly at the thickest part of Brian's shoulder.

"More," Pat mumbles into his skin, and Brian nods as he, with hands just slightly trembling, lifts the blood pack to his neck and pours some right onto himself. He can feel some spill over his shoulderblade and down his back, but the rest is caught in Pat's mouth as he licks it up. It's Pat's turn to moan as blood pours freely into his mouth, the illusion close enough at least for horseshoes, for Pat to bite and suck and feel life.

Pat's hands scrabble at him, twisting at his sides with the need to hold Brian still; Brian, though, isn't going anywhere. He just hangs on, fingers tangled hopelessly in Pat's hair as Pat works him over with a careful, deliberate hunger, not once biting down or in, but across his skin, scoring the flesh with lines of cold fire, tracing the path after with his tongue.

When Pat pulls away, he's breathing deep through his mouth as if to catch the scent. Brian swallows down the rising desire to beg for more; he leans back a bit farther and bows his shoulders, tipping a spill of blood into the hollow of his collarbones and letting it drip down the center of his chest. Pat's mouth is on him before the first drip reaches the middle of his sternum, licking up the barest hint of cleavage between Brian's pecs. Imperfect, his tongue leaves another red mark across his chest. On the upside, Pat presses a copper-scented kiss to the side of Brian's mouth, and Brian feels his smile curl under Pat's lips.

He pours more, and Pat's mouth tracks across his chest as multiple rivulets spill down his chest like a river delta, getting diverted by the fine, random spattering of Brian's chest hair. Pat gets most of them, licking up the length of Brian's torso; one he has to catch with his thumb.

The fourth pour is where gravity wins, a couple tributaries wending past Pat's mouth and disappearing down low, where skin gives way to hair. They both pause, looking down at the ones that got away, and incidentally where Brian's dick juts up hard and red between them.

"Hey Pat: suck my dick," Brian orders, teasing, and Pat groans even as he leans back on his elbows so Brian can shimmy up into range. Pat's mouth goes to his thigh immediately, licking up where a droplet winds over and into the shadow of his groin. He follows it with a few gentle bites, taking the big muscles of Brian's quads in his teeth. Brian can feel his pulse thud in his inner thigh, so close to Pat's fangs. Pat must be able to hear it, or feel it too somehow, because he kisses the place where it's the closest to skin, his eyes closed in concentration.

Pat's hands drops to Brian's ass, his long fingers kneading Brian's glutes as he presses sloppy kisses up trembling thighs. Brian arches, shameless for the attention—he's got an ass to be proud of, sue him—and Pat obliges, his fingertips wrapping around and in, groping Brian with intent. At least—intent to what, Brian's not sure until one of Pat's fingertips ghosts over his hole, and Brian can't help it: he breathes in, sharp, surprised, lets it out as a desiring noise as Pat does it again more purposefully.

Pat's gaze, looking up at him past the long blood-streaked expanse of his torso, is sinful. He runs his open lips up the side of Brian's dick as he presses in with the pad of his finger. It's too—it's dry, obviously, but the very much welcome pressure of it is overwhelming, like Brian could feel every goddamn whorl of his fingerprint if he focused, and he's fuckin' focusing. There's nothing else he feels but the way Pat's fingertip edges slowly into him, pulling and tugging at a hole that couldn't possibly let him in despite how much Brian suddenly, desperately needs it.

When Pat's mouth curves wicked and wet up the underside of the head of Brian's dick, Brian breaks. He whines, rocking back into Pat's grip. "If—if you're changing your mind about it, I'm so—I'm so fucking game."

Pat can't actually suck his dick with his fangs out—they've tried—but Pat makes a go of it anyway, letting lips and tongue suck at just the head of Brian's dick as Brian whines and makes a fool of himself. "Don't wanna mess up your plan," he murmurs, when he comes up for—well, not air, but he's breathing anyway, the full sensory experience.

"Plan's done," Brian gasps, as he feels Pat's broad first knuckle plug up against his hole. "Please mess up the plan."

It's torture, the way Pat has to stop touching Brian in order to get out from underneath him. "How d'you want it?" he asks, when he's got his hands braced under him and Brian back in his lap.

"I want—" Brian starts, as all the possibilities for his night spiral out ahead of him in infinite ways. "I want—however you want," he settles on. "However you feel, y'know, comfortable."

Pat licks over his fangs as his eyes sweep over Brian, wanting. "Behind you," he decides, "on your, uh, on your knees. Please."

"Ooh," Brian croons, getting to his feet so he can turn around and Pat can fold his legs back up under him. "Gettin' a little rough with it, Patrick."

Pat laughs as he runs his hand down Brian's back, then shuffles forward so he can take Brian in his arms and hold him, back-to-chest. "It's a classic," he defends himself, and kisses Brian's shoulder. "And, uh, I'll feel better if I can't get at your throat."

That makes Brian's stomach do a confusing lurch, a pleased-to-be-prey dichotomy that makes his head spin. "I—wow, okay—" he manages, breathless on a laugh, as Pat kisses up his neck, behind his ear. Together they wiggle around until Brian's leaned a little more over the edge of the tub, Pat kneeling behind.

"Hey, gimme the bag?" Pat asks, and Brian laughs incredulously as he looks over his shoulder.

"Oh, you are not using blood as lube, Pat Gill," Brian chides, though he passes him the blood pack. "I have read that Hannibal fanfic, and I feel like it may have set some unrealistic expectations for how this works."

Pat takes a swig of blood, straight from the bag. "You read fanfic?" he asks.

"Nope, that was a total lie," Brian confesses, "Simone was trying to gross me out but, hah, joke's on her, apparently, because which one of us is covered in blood in a bathtub now?" He gets down on one elbow in the well of the tub, arching his back, and Pat makes an approving noise as he grabs one of Brian's asscheeks and spreads 'em.

Pat goes silent for a few conspicuous seconds, distracted, and Brian wiggles his butt. "I know what you're thinking," Brian says, "and you should stop figuring out how to ask for it with nice respectful words and just do it."

Pat snorts; it's hard for Brian to see over his shoulder at this angle but he can imagine the way Pat ducks his head, hides behind his hair so Brian can't seen the way embarrassment and desire mingle on his face. Brian has a good imagination and plenty of material from which to extrapolate, though. He hums as he feels Pat's lips alight on his tailbone, kissing down the last few vertebrae to the dimple just above his butt.

The spill of liquid over his hole is surreal—too copious for spit, too warm for lube, too viscous for water. His brain goes wow, that's super fucking uncomfortable at the same time his dick's like oh, hell yeah, and then Pat's mouth is on him. He runs his tongue over Brian's balls, flat over his hole, laying another kiss at the crest of him before going back in for a detail pass. Brian groans and holds his head in his hands as Pat does it again, pouring and licking the blood from him, mirroring the noise Brian makes.

By this time, the blood pack is empty enough that Pat can put it down in the tub next to their knees. Brian hears the click of his lube, then feels Pat's knuckle press against him, smearing a generous amount of lube on his hole before he slides his finger in, fucking effortlessly.

Brian's breath catches in his throat and comes out as a whine, because—because God, the feeling of Pat finally inside him goes way the fuck deeper than just the physical. He buries his face in his bent arms and makes, just, some kind of noise, because Pat slows.

"You okay?" he asks.

"Yuh-huh," Brian answers, thin-voiced, following it up with canting his hips so Pat picks up the pace again.

Pat's meticulous, when he gets down to brass tacks; he spends what feels like for-fucking-ever curling just one finger inside Brian, despite how Brian shifts around fitfully trying to get more. "Stop tryin' to drive," Pat teases him, once, before leaning in to nip at his asscheek. He follows it up with his tongue alongside his finger, coaxing a frankly embarrassing whine and a string of muttered curses out of him, Brian holding on to the lip of the bathtub in his effort to not completely run the show.

He gets to two fingers eventually, a deep and thorough two that feels like all of Brian's insides are melting to one point of straining contact deep in the core of him. "God, fuck, Pat," he gasps, full on clenching the tub in one hand and and the faucet in the other as Pat wrecks his—hah—wholeass shop with his long, knobbly fingers. "Yes, please, okay, can we please move on, or I'm gonna come on your goddamn hand."

"It's not even my whole hand," Pat muses, twisting his fingers in a way that makes Brian whimper.

"You can't—you can't—put your money where your mouth is, motherfucker, fuck, fuck," he curses, and Pat laughs as he slips his fingers free and Brian can catch a fucking breath.

Brian hears the undignified wheeze of his lube bottle again—look, they've been through a lot together in the past few weeks, the brave soldier—and then Pat's fingers are on his hole again, flat, impossibly wide. Three—four? Definitely wide enough for four. Brian's ass doesn't know how to count. "I bet I could," Pat says, hooking two of those fingers and tugging on the rim of Brian's hole. Brian groans.

"Big words from someone who, ah, fuck, Pat—" More fingers inside him, drenched and slippery. "—didn't want to top until like. Seriously. Like, ten minutes ago."

"I'm finding my feet again," Pat replies, his voice warm and teasing and—god, Brian just, Brian is just really ready, ready for the curtain to rise on opening night and—

Pat's thighs bump up against the back of Brian's, and the, the weight of his dick squares up between Brian's cheeks, heavy against him. Brian's whole perception narrows to the places where they meet, on the blunt head of Pat's dick catching on his hole and slowly, slowly edging inside, on the prickle of stretching even more.

If Pat was meticulous with his fingers, he's fucking exact with his dick. It's a few shallow breaths before he even seems to consider rocking forward a bit, coaxing and teasing Brian's body to open up around him. It takes everything Brian has not to push back, not to run Pat's show, not to go so fast and rob him of his fuckin' homecoming, literally. And it's, it's so much better for it, when Pat slowly pulls Brian back onto him, rises to meet him in turn, inching slowly into the reconfiguration of Brian's body around him.

"God, Brian," Pat whispers as he leans over Brian's back, as the last inch of him slides home. One arm comes up to wrap around Brian's chest, fingertips on his throat, while the other runs down Brian's hip and onto his thigh. Brian makes a choked sound and hangs his head, breathes through the feeling of fullness until it blossoms slowly into an ache for more.

Pat's lips are on his spine, between his shoulderblades. "Can I keep drinking from you?" he asks, and Brian's heart does a little stutter-step at the innocuousness of the question, of how carefully and surgically precise Pat's tone is, how Brian's whole fuckin' consciousness ascends at the realization that Pat is playing along with the fantasy. He nods, yeah, yes, and Pat retrieves the blood pack and pours its last dregs to pool between his shoulderblades.

He can feel droplets roll down his ribcage, no longer warm, chased by Pat's tongue which has taken on its own warmth in exchange. He fixes his mouth to Brian's skin and sucks, nips gingerly at the places where more than just skin covers his bones. And all the while moving in him still, an instinctual rocking motion.

Pat picks up speed as Brian's body opens to him, as Brian relaxes into it and pressure transmutes to pleasure. It's been—hell, it's been a long time for Brian, not just Pat but before, too, but the feeling is as familiar and as intimate as sleeping in your own bed. Pat's preferred pace is slow and purposeful, long deliberate thrusts that force Brian's breath out in a groan every time Pat fucks into him.

And it's—it's so fucking good, after so long, to feel that. To finally give that over to Pat and see what he does with Brian's body, because what he does is hold it with such care and affection as he leans over Brian's back and hooks his chin over Brian's shoulder, moving them together like one creature. His hands roam over Brian's body, over his chest, down his thighs, cradling the soft curve of his stomach, running down his arm to squeeze their fingers together. Brian loses track of it, honestly, lost in the feeling of Pat moving in him.

And Pat's so careful, too; he's stopped biting even playfully, his mouth closed against Brian's shoulder. As they pick up pace he takes away even that, just his forehead pressed against Brian's shoulderblade. And, yeah, when Brian pushes back and Pat pulls away entirely and fucks into him hard in return, it startles a cry from Brian that starts deep in him and comes out square, pleading.

Pat pauses, cautious, and Brian practically shakes with how much he needs that, again. "Yeah, yeah, please," he says, and then Pat's off, those same precise thrusts but deep, and fast, and hard. Tension pools low in Brian's gut, pulling in from his whole body, a pleasant kindling burn sparked every time Pat gets him just right.

Brian gets his hand on himself, strokes unnecessarily as he stumbles toward the inevitable. But—

Pat's mouth descends on him again, scraping hard and violent over the meat of Brian's shoulder. It's enough, even through the haze of impending orgasm, to make Brian's stomach drop. It's wrong, he thinks, wrong in some indescribable way—oh, fuck, it can't be now, like this—the realization breaking over him like a bucket of cold water just before Pat realizes it too and makes a choked noise, his cry muffled against Brian's skin.

"Fuck, Brian," Pat bites out, lucid but frayed. The breath of his words is hot and wet against the back of Brian's neck. "I want to—I want to bite you so bad, I can't—I can't—I don't want to—"

"God, Pat, okay," Brian gasps, thinking fast. "No, okay, just—can you—tell me how you'd do it?"

"Brian… I can't," Pat answers. Brian can feel Pat's tongue run over his shoulderblade, following the path of where some blood must have dripped down earlier. At the end, he sucks a mark into Brian's shoulder, his fangs pressed to flesh.

"No, Pat, you can," Brian promises. He levers himself up to get one hand on the lip of the bathtub, dislodging Pat's mouth. "Talk me through it, like you said."

Pat goes silent, frustrated by the weight of his words, by the enormity of Brian's request. Brian can feel the way his body trembles with the strain as he half-kisses, half-nips his way back up to Brian's neck.

"Come on," he demands. "Tell me. Anything. How are you going to do it, Pat."

Pat wraps his arms around Brian's body and hauls him up to sit back on Pat's thighs, holding Brian close to his chest. In this position there's no room to thrust up into him, and all movement stops, just Pat as he runs his hand down Brian's blood-tacky chest.

He feels it, when Pat puts his lips to the side of Brian's neck and inhales. Brian holds his breath in empathy. "...I'd do it right," Pat confesses, stumbling on his tongue. Brian can feel the whisper of fangs on his skin. "This time. I'd do it right. I'd—"

Pat's voice hitches and he takes a breath. Brian stills, waiting. "I'd get you out of this bathtub. Off your knees," he continues, so quiet. Every word sounds like he's dragging it out of a safe at the bottom of the ocean. "I'd wash the stench of a stranger's blood off of you. Take you… take you to my bed."

Mmmhmm, Brian encourages. He runs his hands down Pat's arms, until he can lace their fingers and hold their hands to his chest. "Then what, Pat?"

Pat puts his forehead to Brian's shoulder and wipes his eyes on him, then presses his mouth to Brian's neck again. "I'd lay you out. Put my mouth all over you. I'd… make you come, first," he whispers. "I'd make you come so hard that… that you don't want to fight me, after, that it just… that it just feels good. And I'd—I'd take you in my arms, hold you against me so I can—fuck—so I can feel your heart beating in my chest."

"How," Brian repeats, tipping his head. Pat's mouth mashes against his neck, lips dragging up the tendons that stretch up the side.

"Right here," Pat replies, and opens his mouth so that his fangs scrape, wide, over the join of Brian's neck and shoulder. Brian can't help it; he moans, and his hips buck. Pat's arms close around him tighter, immobilizing him. Pat kisses him, instead. "Right here, Brian. I… I'd bite you right here, and—"

Pat's voice breaks, and he moans under his breath. "And I—fuck, God—as your—as your blood filled my m-mouth... I wouldn't feel anything other than—than gratitude, Brian. Just, so… so fucking thankful, and so in awe of you, and how beautiful you are, how alive—"

Pat's voice breaks again, and it doesn't come back; he just buries his face against Brian's shoulder and sobs with need. Brian releases Pat's hands and reaches up behind him to tangle his own hands in Pat's hair, holding him close.

"Good, Pat—thank you," Brian soothes him. His own hands are shaking. Pat makes a broken noise into his shoulder. "Ssh, it's okay, babe; you did good. Do you want me to make you come now?"

Pat nods, crossing his arms over Brian's chest. "Yes—please—thank you," he chokes out.

"Okay, let's—let's get out of this fucking bathtub, yeah?" Brian asks, and Pat manages a weak laugh, yeah. They clambour out of the bathtub, a disaster of sticky limbs, not even standing completely before Pat drags Brian back down to ride him right there on the floor.

They both hiss as Pat slides back home, Brian's back arching as he reaches up and grabs the towel rack for stability. "Mngh, god, Pat," Brian moans, rolling his hips to seat himself as far as he can.

"Yeah—yeah—" Pat gasps.

"You still hungry, baby?" Brian asks, and Pat's whole face contorts as he nods. Brian reaches up and grabs the second foil bag of blood, cracking open the plastic spigot with his teeth. Pat makes a protesting sound, but Brian just spits out the cap and settles him with a hand on his chest. "Just let me take care of you, babe, I got this."

He offers the open bag to Pat, who… doesn't take it right away. He eyes flick from the bag to Brian and back again, a shadow of hesitation passing over his face. "What's wrong?" Brian asks.

"Nothing," Pat says, quickly, quietly, and reaches up for the bag. Brian lifts it out of his reach, pushing Pat back down with the hand on Pat's chest, and even though Pat could so clearly overpower Brian, he lets himself be laid down. Brian leans in, presses down hard on Pat's unbeating heart, until Pat's lips purse and he makes a tch noise. Brian lets up a bit so Pat can take in a breath to speak. "It's fine," Pat says, "It's just—after saying all that, I—"

Pat slams his mouth shut so hard it makes his teeth click. Brian can see the places where self-disgust creases around his nose, the corners of his eyes.

He considers the spigot of the bag, for a few short seconds. Probably not long enough to fully consider the ramifications of lifting it to his lips—

—but he does it anyway—

—the meat-dark scent of it hitting the back of his throat first as he takes a big swig and holds it in his mouth.

"Holy shit, Brian," Pat breathes, and Brian slides his hand up Pat's chest to press down on his throat. Pat stays where he's put, shock and desire warring on his face. Brian quickly compartmentalizes the copper taste and the viscosity of it on his tongue, the way his body wants so badly to reject it even as adrenaline sings through him. That it used to be inside someone and now it's inside him and he's—he's going to put it inside Pat, probably, he's going to let Pat lick the blood of someone else from his teeth.

God.

Brian leans in again, lower, bringing his face within a few inches of Pat's mouth. Pat's face is wild, eyes dark and teeth bared as he breathes in the scent. Brian smiles, and feels the spill of blood from between his teeth roll down his chin.

Droplets of red patter against Pat's lips, his fangs, His hips stutter up into Brian. Brian twists his hips down to match, riding him back down, more blood spilling from his mouth. Pat's eyes close, his mouth opens, compelled by need. He's whining in the back of his throat.

Brian leans in the rest of the way, until their mouths are almost touching, and lets the rest of the blood fall freely from his mouth into Pat's. Pat writhes under his hand, a roiling body of potential energy, and it's—god, it's even messier than before, if it's even possible. Most of the blood lands in his open, desperate mouth, at least.

Pat makes a choked noise as he swallows, and sucks the rest off his teeth. He doesn't have to move far to lick up Brian's chin, not one clean movement but many, frantic, uncoordinated, until Brian tips his head down and Pat licks into his mouth. Their lips crash together in something like a kiss, in name and appearance but not in the act, not whatsoever. Pat's tongue delves into Brian's mouth like he wants to climb inside him, his hands coming up from Brian's hips to hold him hard by the sides of his head.

Brian, for his part, just fuckin' hangs on, as best he can, keeping his own tongue and lips out of the way of Pat's fangs. He can feel Pat restrain himself from really biting, not like the first time, and when the taste of blood is gone from Brian's mouth, Pat only grunts under his breath and pulls away. His eyes are black holes in the stark white visible all around the edges, wide-eyed and trembling.

"Brian, I—" he starts, but Brian just takes another pull from the bag and rears back so Pat's dick slides sloppy inside him. Pat looks stricken as Brian starts to ride him again, like he literally couldn't look anywhere else, gaze trained on Brian's lips as he parts them and lets blood spill down his front.

Pat lets out a noise—guttural, unthinking—and sits up, rocking Brian back on his lap. His arms circle Brian around the waist as he bends his body to lick up the rivulets of blood that drip down Brian's chest. Brian grinds down, fucks himself deep and slow, and feels Pat's dick leap and harden inside him with every pass of his tongue over Brian's chest. Pat licks up, and up, up the sides of Brian's neck where he hesitates and breathes in deep before pulling back a little to look up at Brian with his fathomless eyes, lost and waiting.

Brian kisses him lightly, nipping his bottom lip and feeling the way it makes Pat shiver underneath him. Then, he tips his head back to take another swig, holding it inside again as he presses his mouth to Pat's, sealing their lips. His free hand comes up to grab Pat by the hair at the scruff of his neck, tangling his fingers in it, holding Pat's head at a killer angle so the blood can flow from Brian to Pat.

Pat doesn't even try to fight the hold; if anything, he holds Brian more tightly himself. Brian can hardly move but to grind, forward and back, rubbing his dick against Pat's abs. Pat licks into his mouth, chasing the blood from Brian's teeth, sucking on his lips when Brian pulls away to gasp, "gimme some room to move, geez."

Pat's eyes crinkle as he smiles, all fang. His lips are creased with red, sticky in the corners and down his chin where it's all spilled to hell. Red on his pale skin and dark hair makes him look truly a monster out of legend, though one that looks abashed when he releases his hold and settles his hands on Brian's hips instead.

"Feel free to give me a hand," Brian instructs, as he takes another mouthful of blood. Pat's hands tighten on his hips, just this side of painful, as Pat lifts him up with vampiric strength and slides him back down. Brian can't help it; he throws his head back and grunts around the copper mouthful as Pat's dick bumps up into him, feeling blood seep from the corners of his mouth and trickle down his neck.

Pat's mouth is there in an instant, sucking fanged and precise up the whining column of Brian's throat. He keeps fucking up into Brian, lifting and slamming Brian down onto him, grazing over that place inside him that makes Brian want to go limp even as his core paradoxically tightens towards its end. With no small amount of willpower, he tips his head forward into Pat's waiting mouth, and lets the blood spill from between their lips as he moans into the kiss.

And that's how he comes, and that's how Pat comes too, before or after or at the same time; Brian doesn't know, but what he does know is that the cord winding inside him, as Pat controls Brian's every movement—as Pat uses his body—tightens until it snaps, and the space between their bodies is wet-white-and-red. Eventually Pat's rhythm fails as well and he just tucks his face into the crook of Brian's neck, mouth open and sharp where it scrapes over Brian's clavicle.

Only Brian needs to do something as mortal as catch his breath. Lips mashed against the cool skin of Pat's temple, Pat's hair in his mouth, laughing a little as he reaches up and fishes it out.

But for the brown flakes of blood, Pat looks almost fully human as he looks up into Brian's eyes, only the dimple of a receding fang distending his lip as he smiles crookedly up at him. "You're—fuck," he murmurs, kissing Brian's slack lips. "You're so—how did you—"

Brian smiles as Pat peppers his face with kisses, his beard rasping over Brian's spit-pink skin. "Lucky guess," he murmurs back, turning his head so Pat's next kiss catches him right on the lips again, and they kiss easy and simple. Pat's hand alights on Brian's chest, seeking his heartbeat as it slows.

It's gross, though; it's so fucking gross in the ebbing aftermath of orgasm that Brian pulls away eventually, grimacing at the lingering taste in his mouth, at the inescapable tang of drying blood in his nose. "Okay, I—I'm sorry, I super have to brush my teeth, don't be offended."

Pat laughs and offers his hand to steady Brian as he rises to his feet, shaky as a newborn deer and tingling from the rush of sensation to his legs. "Do you, uh, want this," Brian asks when he's standing, indicating the blood.

Pat reaches up and takes it, but just rests it on his chest as he lays back and looks at Brian's ass as he leans over the sink. Brian kicks his foot back and runs his toes over Pat's stomach and Pat, ticklish, catches his ankle and pulls it to his mouth to kiss over the fine bones.

In the mirror, Brian is—well, Brian doesn't look too closely at the state of himself. Pat's licked him from tip to tail, pretty much, but there’s still red in all of his creases, bits of his hair matted with it. Brian rinses his mouth, and gives it a quick scrub with his toothbrush. Then he pours himself a glass of water and gargles, spits, drains it, refills it again, and sits back down on the bathroom floor, his back against the counter and his legs over Pat's torso.

"Cheers," he mumbles, tapping the blood bag, and Pat smiles as they both drink their respective drinks. Pat crushes his quickly and pitches it up into the bathroom sink, but Brian savours his. "So," he says, between sips, "Verdict?"

"Oh my God," Pat groans, tipping his head back on the floor as if to direct his fondest regards heavenward. "You?"

Brian considers his options. The unvarnished truth—that it was hot but gross, like most sex acts are when you really think about them—is too tactless. He reaches over and takes Pat's hand, bringing the relatively clean back of it to his lips. "A cookie is a sometimes food," he says, and Pat throws his other arm over his face and lets out a laugh.

"Thank you," he says, with feeling, peeking out from under his arm. He takes his hand away from Brian's lips and runs his fingertips over his cheek, pulling lightly at the fine hairs there as dried blood flakes away at his touch. Then, quieter: "I don't know how to say…"

"Then don't," Brian says, stealing Pat's hand back so it lies flat on his cheek instead. "It's fine. D'you wanna help me wash this man outta my hair, though?"

Pat laughs again, more of a snort really, and they untangle themselves long enough to get back into the blood-brown bathtub. They kiss chastely under the stream, Pat's fingers gently rubbing soapy circles into Brian's hair, sated and sleepy and warm. The water sluices rusty around their feet before running clear.

It's Brian's house and he should be a better host, but he's still in bed first. Pat insists on cleaning up the bathroom himself, bleach and everything, so Brian lets him, humming a freestyle accompaniment to some lofi beats to ogle your boyfriend doing domestic chores to.

He tries, but he's sleepy from the sex and the emotional rollercoaster and the hot shower, so his awareness of Pat moving naked through his apartment stutters in and out until, some unknowable time later, the bed dips and Brian blinks his eyes open just in time to see Pat crawl up into his personal space and lay his head on Brian's chest.

His heart does a curious thump-thump at the unabashed affection, and Pat exhales on a quiet laugh as he presses his ear to Brian. He doesn't say anything though, just runs one hand down Brian's arm until he can lace their fingers and pull them to his lips, the barest touch of a kiss.

They lay like that for a bit, Brian's other hand twisting idly at a lock of Pat's hair, so long that Brian considers the possibility of actually falling asleep with Pat just lying on top of him, in the cradle of his legs. Pat seems content to. He's warm, too, almost warm enough that Brian doesn't miss the comforter squished up over to one side of their bodies.

Pat's lips slide over his bare chest, pressing a string of kisses over his sternum, his collarbones, up his neck. Moving rucks their bodies up together, curling Brian's legs around Pat's waist as he leans up over him. Pat brushes his nose against Brian's, who smiles.

"What are you angling for, Pat Gill," Brian murmurs, and Pat grins, open and unashamed.

"Just this," Pat replies, and leans in to lay the same soft, shallow kiss to Brian's lips. It's unhurried. Aimless. Brian finds himself unable to keep from smiling, from drinking in the rare experience of Pat with all his walls down.

"Mm. It's almost as if we experienced a whole new level of intimacy just now, and you're feeling vulnerable and like you need to be reassured we're still good," Brian says, when Pat moves away.

Pat snorts, dropping his head to bonk into Brian's cheek. "Jesus, yeah, put me on blast," he says, though his tone is warm. He goes back on his knees between Brian's legs, and runs his hands up the splay of his thighs, his thumbs slotting into the groove of his inner hip as if they were always meant to be there. He strokes there, meditatively, watching the twitch of Brian's muscle as it stretches.

Brian doesn't mind being on display—has made a life of it, honestly—and he relaxes into it, letting his body fall loose and open under Pat's gaze. It's not sexual, even though it is, their naked bodies pressed together, the almost unbearable intimacy of being seen. Pat's eyes on him are like a second pair of hands as they roam up Brian's body, his real ones following in their wake. His fingertips trace up Brian's soft stomach, over the ladder of his ribs, over the soft skin on the undersides of his triceps, until they pause over the pulse thrumming in Brian's wrists.

Pat brings one wrist to his mouth, then the other, kissing them tenderly, then lays them down at Brian's sides. His hands travel back up Brian's arms and over his shoulders, delicately skimming over the thin skin on either side of his neck. He pauses there, completely still and listening, feeling, eyes distant even as they're trained to that point. Brian tips his head, just a little, and Pat's hands circle his throat—not applying pressure in the least, just putting his whole hands on Brian's neck to feel the beating of life underneath, the slow intake of his breath.

Brian wraps his legs around Pat's waist, aligning their bodies again. "You know, I—" he starts, then stops, biting his lip. God, the eye of this needle is so fucking narrow. He's terrified, but he can't let it rest. "We, uh, we did it out of order, Pat, the showering and the making me come parts, but, we got the part where we hold each other in bed right."

The utter lack of surprise on Pat's face betrays that he'd been thinking the same thing. Brian licks his lips, watching Pat's eyes track the motion. "I'm not gonna ask," Brian continues. His voice is—fuck, his voice is wet, catching on the words. He can't say them quiet enough into the space between them. "If this is it, forever, I swear it's fine."

"Brian," Pat murmurs, but Brian moves one of his thumbs to slide over Pat's lips.

"I love you," Brian says, simply, and watches the way it deepens the fine creases around Pat's eyes. "I love you," he repeats, and, "I trust you. Whatever you want, it's yours."

He can see the tears well up in Pat's eyes, like clouds billowing on the horizon before the storm rolls in, but Pat blinks them away and ducks his head. He presses a kiss to Brian's palm, the heel of his hand, the thin skin of his wrist, where he stops and inhales slowly before rising to his hands over Brian.

He stays like that a long time, just looking down at Brian, lit in soft gold from Brian's bedside lamp, rumpled and warm and flushed. His hair is still limp from the shower, curling at the ends as it dries. Brian categorizes every detail of him, of this moment, in the time it takes Pat to speak.

"Okay," he says, and Brian's stomach swoops from low in his gut to somewhere around his lungs.

"Okay?" he echoes, and Pat nods.

"Okay," Pat says again, and shifts so that he can cradle Brian's head in one of his hands. It happens to stretch Brian's neck just so, and he can again feel the weight of Pat's gaze on him as it drops to his exposed throat.

"You're sure?" Brian asks.

Pat sucks his lip between his teeth. The fingertips of his other hand play lightly down the tendons of his neck. "Never," he says, his mouth twisting in a momentary smile. "But I… I'm not… I'm not hungry, and I… still want…"

Pat's eyebrows comes together as he considers, exactly, what he wants. Or perhaps, how to say it. Brian waits. He waits as long as it takes. Eventually, Pat says, "I want to be who you think I am. I want it… more than anything. I want to be able to do this for you."

"I want you to be able to share this with me," Brian asserts, gently, and Pat's eyes close as an unknowable expression passes over his face.

"Brian, I—" Pat starts, then swallows. His fingertips press into the base of Brian's skull. "I'm sorry, I… I'm just… I wish… I knew you before; I'm sorry it's like this," he manages, stumbling over the words.

Brian reaches up and takes Pat's face in his hands. It's a mess of arms and hands and faces but somehow they manage; somehow Brian manages to pull Pat down, to whisper I love you in the space before their lips meet.

And that's how it happens. No fanfare, no violent crashing together of bodies; Pat's kissing him, then he's kissing down Brian's jaw, down his neck, and then his mouth is open and his fangs are against Brian's neck, and then they're in.

Like the moment immediately after you've stubbed your toe, every nerve in Brian is utterly silent for what feels like whole seconds before it all comes flooding in: that sharp pain, that flood of endorphins on its heels, that spike of primal adrenaline that makes his hands claw into Pat's shoulders and a cry tear itself from his lungs. It's—God—it's everything, a wall of released anticipation, of need, of love, of despair, all flooding him at once. He can feel his blood spill, hot and wet, from Pat's mouth—can hear Pat make a noise into his flesh the likes of which he's heard only once before.

Pat has him by the wrists, Brian realizes only as they're pressed into the pillow on either side of his head. The weight of Pat's body pushes Brian's thighs apart. Pinned like a butterfly, spread out for Pat. It's all he can do to just lie there and force his body to relax, to choose to lie down in the lion's mouth. To stare directly into the sun in all its agonizing glory, as he can feel—he can fucking feel—Pat drink his blood from where it gushes freely from two points of interstellar pain.

"Oh, God," he gasps, as Pat bites into him again. He can feel his flesh part under Pat's fangs, the unmooring of his life as it bleeds from him. It hurts—it hurts so fucking much, the kind of pain that blanks out everything else, but brings with it an entire universe of sensation, revealing itself before Brian like every door in an infinite hallway slamming open and revealing even more infinite experiences beyond. "Pat, I—" he tries; he curls his fingers around Pat's hands on his wrists and tries to convey the everythingness of how it feels, but it turns out all his mouth knows how to say after that is I love you, I love you, Pat, I—

The anodyne rush of eternity comes for him faster this time, hits even harder, breaking over him like a wave that shoves him under the surface of the water and keeps him there, gasping for breath and unsure if the ocean in all of its brutal magnificence will release him or keep him forever. It's out of his hands.

He floats. Or—he sinks. Either way, he is—

Pat's.

He must be making noise when Pat releases him, when Pat licks over the mess of open wounds on his neck and coaxes them to close, to stop the ebb of life from him, because Pat's making a shh noise when he takes Brian in his arms.

"Ssh, you're okay," Pat says, and under the weight of his body Brian realizes that his own is shaking, big heaving sobs as he tries to take in breath and can't because his every muscle is trembling. Pat moves only to grab the comforter and throw it over them both, then holds Brian close and lets him shake and stutter until his breath catches on a rhythm again.

"Talk to me, please," Pat says, low and urgent, and it makes a fresh wave of hot tears spill down Brian's face when he realizes that he feels—god, he feels amazing, the overwhelming feeling in his body that's crowding out everything else is the incandescence of sheer happiness, burning through him.

"Pat—it's—good—" is all he can manage, hiccuping around the words, and he can feel all the tension explode out of Pat as he melts against Brian's side.

"Jesus, Brian," Pat swears, and then that's it; they just lie together, Brian fizzing with happiness like an antacid dropped in water, until he has the wherewithal to flop his arm up over Pat and they settle out of the suspicious wet spot pooling under Brian's shoulders.

"Need—black sheets," Brian mumbles, yawning.

Pat kisses his shoulderblade, where he's turned Brian to be his little spoon. "An' rubber ones, probably," he adds.

"You 'n your pee thing again," Brian says, and Pat's laughter is a gift.

Brian should… Brian should probably at least wipe himself down with a washcloth, even if they're being gross and already falling asleep in bloodstained bedsheets. Pat might want to rinse his mouth. But neither of them move, and the digital clock on Brian's bedside table ticks over past midnight before Pat stirs again, taking a breath to speak.

"Are you okay," he asks. "Was it… was it what you wanted."

Brian has to rub his eyes, and wipe the sleep from his mouth before he can answer. Pat's tense in the silence. "Of course, Pat," he says, slow and soft. "You're everything."

It's not what he wants to say. It's not half of how happy he is, how proud, how loved he feels; it's not a fraction of how close he feels to Pat in this moment. But the words for that feeling pale in comparison, getting stuck in his mouth as his mind fights to wrestle him down into a deep replenishing sleep.

Pat exhales into the back of his neck, his face pressed against the short curling ends of Brian's hair. "Thank you," he breathes, and that's that.

He wakes up to sunlight, and the sensation of falling into Pat when he sits down on the edge of the bed. Brian blinks his eyes open, regretting instantly the stabbing pain, like a hangover, that pierces the fog of sleep.

"Hey, tiger," Pat says, reaching over to flip Brian's bedhead out of his face. Brian moans and buries his face in the pillow, only for Pat to withdraw and do something that causes a quiet cracking noise to reach Brian's ears. When Brian hazards a look back, Pat's holding out a bottle of green Gatorade.

"No," Brian grumbles, to Pat's laughter.

—//—

BDG Unravels The Best Dressed Vampires in Video Games is doing well in the metrics when Pat and Brian pull up to Brian's childhood home in South Carolina. Pat's managing the social media while Brian drives, because it's not like Brian needs Pat to navigate these particular streets.

Brian turns off the car, cutting the headlights so they don't shine into the front window. Then he just puts his head in his hands, willing the world to stop shimmering with the illusion of movement you get after you've driven for hours.

Pat reaches over and rubs his back, catching on a knot that's been forming since somewhere in Virginia. "You gonna make it?"

Brian groans and nods, though it makes the whole visual experience worse. "Just tense. I'll be fine when we get inside."

Pat's fingertips play over the jutting-out bones of Brian's shoulderblades. "D'you need a hand," he asks, quietly, as if they're not the only people within earshot.

Brian considers it. It's been weeks since a bite's knocked Brian on his ass, especially now that Pat's gotten a handle on it, and though he's kind of dehydrated from the drive, it's probably not enough to matter. Not enough to stop his heart from skipping a beat with a Pavlovian hunger, anyway.

"Do you mind?" he asks, and Pat shakes his head as he runs his hand down Brian's arm to take him by the wrist.

He sighs when Pat's fangs pierce his wrist, the memory of pain, of fear, so distant that it feels like it happened once to someone else. It's just relief, pinging through his brain on a wave of endorphins that cuts anchor on all the aches—all the tension, the nerves—washing it away and leaving only the after-image of pleasure like a shadow imprinted under his skin.

Pat's done in less than a minute, licking up the polite little trail of blood before it curls down Brian's forearm. "Thanks, babe," Brian murmurs.

Pat pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes his mouth, shooting Brian a crooked, fanged grin before leaning over the center armrests to give him a kiss. "Any time. Ready to go?"

"That's my line," Brian grouses, smiling as he fumbles a little dreamily with his seatbelt. The November air will snap him out of it, but for now he enjoys the sensation of floating, the tremendously tiny world consisting only of him and Patrick.

Outside the car, his mom is already throwing open the door, letting Moose bound over the porch to greet them. Brian sighs again, though with a smile this time. It'll be fine.