Alcohol. The air thick with its despairing scent. Aro’s hand rested on the crystal knob. He knew what to expect, he was not sure he was prepared. The stench burned his nose as the door swung in allowing dim light from the hall to illuminate a portion of the sad tableau. Mini-bottles of expensive vodka, rum, and other variants of hard liqueur littered the floor. Peter had taken advantage of the mini-bar.
In the depths of the lavish room (more an apartment than hotel room), Peter’s hear beat droned out. As he stepped further inward, the weighted door shut with a soft click. The rich, flavorful scent of the human’s blood penetrated the odor. It was not the typical wafting of perfume, this was heavier.
“Peter?” He called into the darkness. No answer. Aro’s heart attempted to beat in a terrible, frantic rhythm, but he tapered it down. Even if Peter was hurt thus making his natural delicious scent more potent, his heart was strong. He was alive, if not well.
Aro’s cloak swirled around his legs as he walked around the massive bed to get to the adjacent kitchenette were a light shined from.
Peter’s lips were sealed around the top of a large bottle of wine, arm wrapped up in a bloody t-shirt, eyes red-rimmed with deep circles underneath. He hardly stirred from his position on the floor.
He gave a half-smile and slurred, “Hey…look who it is.”
“I thought you had quit drinking?”
“Nah. Cut back. Never got on the wagon. Wouldn’t hurt to fall off if I never got on.” His words sluggish and full of dark mirth as if in on a joke at his own expense. He looked at Aro for a long moment before his smile fell and he resumed his drinking.
“What happened to your arm?”
“Ah, good stuff,” Peter put the bottle down on the floor, “cut it on a knife.”
Aro’s eyes widened, “you didn’t do it on purpose did you?”
“Wha…no. Stupid thing. Just tried to…to clean it,” he burped, “and…and slipped.” He shrugged. It took him a few seconds to realize Aro was kneeling on the floor, taking his arm in hand.
“Calm down, I’m having a look at it.” Aro did not yell, but his volume raised, his tone firm, as he undid the knot of the shirt. Really, with the nature of his profession, Peter didn’t have bandages? Or was he so drunk that he couldn’t be bothered to find them? “This needs to be cleaned and stitched.”
Peter squirmed and pushed at Aro’s shoulder, “let go.”
Aro made up his mind and faster than Peter could process, relocated them from the kitchenette to the other room that made up the bedroom/living room. Peter let out a gasp as he found himself enveloped by the plush sumptuousness of the pillows.
“Do you have a medical kit?”
“Uh,” the alcohol mixed with the disorientation of being moved so rapidly and his already growing frustration so that the question hardly processed. Not that it mattered, Aro had already gone to the bathroom, and then promptly left it to paw through the unpacked suitcases on the floor.
“Really Peter, with all of this disorganization how is anyone to find the necessary things?”
If Peter were in a better state of mind, he might’ve been aware of the somewhat fearful tone in the vampire’s voice.
Eventually, Aro found a first aid kit. A very lavish one, more than just a box of band-aids and alcohol wipes, but containing the tools necessary for stitches.
He was no Carlisle, bedside manner and gentle hands, but he’d been around a long time. Reading and experimenting, been witness to countless advancements, he could manage a few stitches.
“Ow!” Peter tried to pull away, “fucking knock it off!”
“I’m sorry dear, but this needs to be taken care of.” One handheld Peter’s arm by the wrist (using his armpit to keep Peter’s arm in place against his body) while the other poured rubbing alcohol onto a gauze pad that rested on his thigh. Not caring about the dampness of his expensive trousers, he then took the pad and said, “if you stay still, this will go much quicker.” He applied a long swipe of the disinfectant down the gash, earning a yowl and barely registered slaps to his shoulder blades.
“Christ, let me go you bastard!” Naturally, his speech was more coherent despite his inebriation when he was swearing and angry.
“If it isn’t already infected, it will become so if not cleaned and closed.”
“It’s fine. Hardly bleeding for fuck’s sake. Not going to let you hack and slash at me because you feel like playing doctor.”
“It may not seem that bad, you certainly won’t bleed out, but it is still a nasty wound Peter. It is either we go to the hospital,”
Peter interrupted whilst giving another futile tug for freedom, “I’m not wasting my night sitting in a waiting room.”
“Or,” Aro remained calm, a flicker of frustration creeping into his mind, “you allow me to do it. I assure you, I know what I am doing and I would be much faster than even a professional human. The pain will be brief.”
It wasn’t that he couldn’t keep Peter in place, it was the principal of the matter that the man couldn’t trust him long enough to fix this and be calm on his own. That, and it would be easier to have two hands for this. Oh well, he’d made do with less before.
“Peter, behaving petulant is not going to make me stop.”
Peter proceeded to flail and flop, his movements uncoordinated as they were ineffective. Eventually, he fell back against the pillows, coated in sweat, chest heaving.
“Are you going to behave now?”
Peter closed his eyes, “Just…fucking do it. If you’re going to do it.”
Aro hesitated to let go but when Peter remained reclined, unstruggling, he released the man’s arm and focused his attention on the stitch kit and getting it ready.
“That fucking hurt,” Peter’s eyes were moist with unshed tears of pain as he looked at the line of stitches going up his arm.
“My apologies dear,” Aro tucked away the kit, climbing off the bed to return it to the suitcase in which he found it.
“You’re not sorry.”
“No, I’m not. Not when it comes to prioritizing your health and well being.”
“You let me run headlong into vampire dens. I get fucked up all the time.” While there was anger in his voice, Peter was too tired to raise his voice, settling for a glare and a pout. He was like an angry bird, all fluffed up feathers, adorable, though Aro kept this observation to himself.
“Yes, nothing that I think you couldn’t handle. But apparently being left to your own devices in the safety of a hotel room is too dangerous for you.”
Aro returned to the bed, sitting on the end, staring at Peter.
“Why were you drinking?”
“Why does it matter?”
“It does. It matters Peter. Tell me, what happened.”
“No, I’m not doing this with you. I’m not having a heart to heart with some bloodthirsty demon. Get out of my room and let me get some sleep.” Wincing, Peter crossed his arms over his chest and shut his eyes, tears rolling down his cheeks.
Aro found a comfortable chair in the sitting area and turned on the tv, finding a soft-spoken history documentary and turning the volume down low.
“Bastard,” he heard the soft mumble and deep breath from Peter on the bed, but otherwise, the two of them lapsed into silence. Peter’s breathing turning into heavy, slow, and hopefully, restful breaths.
Peter woke, alone, in mid-morning when room service came knocking. He waved them off with a fifty and proceeded to hobble to the bathroom where he heaved up the burning remnants of lingering regret into the sink whilst simultaneously pissing. A skill developed over many years of drunken foolery.
A quick shower where he stayed propped against the wall for the wall and he was ready for a cup of coffee and aspirin.
Not bothering with a towel or his robe, he went to the kitchen. Bottles bopped against his feet as he made his way to the kitchenette.
He noticed the now brown, flakey, splotches of blood on the tiled floor and snagged a wet cloth from the sink. As he bent down, his head swam and ached and he promptly stood back up.
Puttering about, he took out the pack of complimentary k-cups and popped one into the machine, hearing the little crunch of the foil on top being pierced by the needle. A few churning noises and the coffee poured out into the dirty mug he’d left on the base. It was just coffee from yesterday and it wasn’t like the place had bugs or mice for him to worry about he reasoned.
While waiting for the last few drips to settle, he shuffled back to the living/bedroom to paw through his suitcase. He raised an eyebrow when he discovered that, beneath the medkit, all of his clothes had been folded neatly. Aside from a handful that had been placed in a plastic bag.
Peter snorted. How bored was Aro that, after torturing him (the stitches stung and itched but from all the stitches he’d had, Aro had been quick and efficient like he’d promised) he’d folded his clothes and sorted the clean from the dirty?
There was only so much creepy watching him while he slept that Aro could enjoy evidently.
The smile fell off his face as he recalled exactly why he’d been drinking the night before.
Locating the pain killers, he popped a few in his mouth, dry swallowing them in one gulp (another skill he’d developed) and headed back to the kitchen where he winced through the overly hot coffee, draining half the cup with a sharp “ah”.
He leaned against the counter, sipping his coffee.
In the calm, quiet of the morning (the bustle of some cars and people outside making the majority of the noise) Peter reflected on the odd night he’d had and became overcome with a sense of loneliness.
His phone, thankfully, was left on the kitchen counter and he dialed a number.
“Hey Charlie,” it was good to hear the voice of a truly alive person, a friend, “been a while.”