"No," Tim says as Buster goes to his knees. "Not like that."
"What do you mean?" Buster's kneeling the way he usually does when they want to do a whole scene--sitting back on his heels with his knees together--and now he looks up at Tim with a faint frown.
"Not that you don't look good like that," Tim says quickly. "Because you do. Totally edible."
"Well then, why don't you just...." When Buster reaches up and runs a hand down the side of his neck, Tim can feel his fangs start sliding out.
"Because I was thinking, just before the game today when you were stretching out, how good you look when you do that one stretch." He crouches down behind Buster and reaches around him. Resting his hands on Buster's thighs, he pushes just a little. "When you've got your knees spread and your feet turned a little and your hands on your ankles like...."
"Red," Buster says. "Fire engine red," he adds as he gets to his feet.
"Huh?" Tim knows what "red" means, of course, but in the four years they've been together, Buster's never said it. Tim takes a deep breath and pushes his fangs back up and in before getting to his feet.
Buster's standing at the window looking out over the city, and Tim stays back, giving him space. Tim can feel something close to anger across their connection, but he doesn't go deeper to try and figure out what's going on in Buster's head.
"Buster?" he finally says after a long moment of silence. "Do you need me to leave?"
"No." Buster says. He turns on his heel and glares at Tim and just like that Tim can feel a lot more through their bond. Buster's more than angry; he's seriously pissed off. "I need you to never, ever, do that to me again," he says.
"Do what?" Tim asks. "I don't even know what...."
"Don't take that," Buster gestures in the vague direction of AT&T. "And bring it in here. Not for a fucking scene. Do you even know what I'm doing at that moment? When I'm in that position on the field?"
"Um...stretching out?" Tim still doesn't get it. He's always liked the way Buster looks when he stretches out and for some reason he's really noticed it in the last few months. Now that he thinks about it, though, he's never once tried to feel what Buster's feeling at that moment. Or maybe he's never been able to feel it?
"I'm leaving everything behind," Buster says. "Everything, the game plan, their pitcher, our pitchers, the standings, the weather, my stats, what the press said this morning, the Twitter questions Amy asked earlier, the earlybirds in the stands and even...us. Especially us. It's maybe one or two minutes where I'm just...there. When there's nothing but me and the grass."
"Oh," Tim says quietly. All of a sudden he's seeing the bigger picture in his mind--how Buster's almost always alone when he stretches. It's almost like.... "Everyone but me knows that, don't they?"
"If they do, it's nothing I've said," Buster says. "But some guys pray before games and some guys do the whole handshake thing and me...I just need to go somewhere and let it all go."
"God," Tim says. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to turn it into something kinky." He runs his hand through his hair. "Fuck. Please tell me I haven't totally screwed it up for you. Because really, I am so so sorry."
"I don't think you have." Buster takes a deep breath. "Can you, please, not be on the field or in the stands that early tomorrow? And maybe the day after? Because if you're there and I think about you watching me, I'm going to get stuck on it."
"Of course," Tim says. As occasionally happens, modern manners fail him; he puts a hand to his chest and bows a little. "Whatever you need."
"Thank you," Buster says.
There's another few minutes of silence and then Tim turns away. As he heads toward the kitchen, Buster says, "Don't be stupid."
"I'm not that hungry," Tim says. "The bagged stuff will be...."
"Fucking awful and you know it. And don't lie to me; I can feel how hungry you are, remember? " Buster pauses and then gestures toward the sofa. "Sit down."
It's not quite a demand, but it's more than a suggestion. Curious, Tim goes with it and settles on the sofa. When Buster straddles him, Tim's suddenly aware that Buster's still naked. He smells good and Tim can feel it as Buster's heart starts beating a little faster. It's an instinctive fear though; neither of them are pushing it into anything else.
In fact, Buster's almost aggressive as he leans down and kisses Tim. Almost...but not quite. Not enough to make Tim feel uncomfortable, at least. As he kisses Buster back, Tim runs his hands down Buster's sides to his hips, but he doesn't try to pull Buster in closer or even speed things up. It's not the scene they both wanted earlier--it's apology and forgiveness and mutual need.
"Thank you," Tim says when Buster finally pulls back a little.
"For giving me what you give me and I don't just mean the blood. I feel like I don't say it enough, but just...thank you for being here."
"So it's okay that I need a couple of moments to...."
"To yourself? Of course it is." Tim rubs his thumb over the surprisingly soft skin on Buster's hip. "Whatever you need."
"Right now, I need you," Buster says. He reaches down and takes one of Tim's hand in his. Bringing it up to his neck, he presses Tim's fingers against his throat. "And this. I need you to take this." He leans in closer. "I need to bleed for you."
When Tim wraps his hand around the back of Buster's neck to hold him still, Buster does the same thing. As Tim leans in and presses his mouth to Buster's neck, Buster slides his fingers into Tim's hair. He's not pushing Tim's head down or exerting any pressure at all, and Tim's surprised at how intimate it feels to be held like that.
Then his lips are moving across Buster's skin until he finds that one, perfect spot. Tim pauses, letting the anticipation build up for both of them and then his fangs slice through Buster's skin. All he knows at that moment is the steady but rapid, beat of Buster's heart and the rich, heady taste of Buster's blood.
There's always a split second when Tim doesn't want to stop, when he feels like he can't get enough of Buster's blood. He used to think it was just plain greed because Buster tastes so fucking amazing, but more and more it feels like something else. Enough, Tim tells himself. Enough.
Buster hasn't actually come by the time Tim lifts his head. He's close though; Tim can feel it in him, can smell it. "Buster," Tim murmurs, his lips moving over the slick skin of Buster's neck. "Buster," he says again before running his tongue over the actual wound.
With a shiver, Buster moans and comes all over Tim's shirt. Tim has enough time to finish sealing the bite, before he's coming with the taste of Buster's blood on his tongue.
They sit like that for a long time before Buster takes a deep breath. "That was...that was good," he says.
"It was," Tim says. "Thank you."
"Mmmm, you too." Buster pauses and then laughs little. "Thing is? I'm feeling really clammy right now."
"Now that you mention it...."
Before Buster gets up, he leans in and kisses Tim. "Love you," he murmurs against Tim's lips.
Much later, as Tim sits with his iPad in his lap, pretending to read while he really watches Buster sleep, he thinks about not wanting to stop. He is still ridiculously greedy for Buster's blood, but he was right--there's more to it than that.
He wants to gorge, but not just for the taste. He wants to take as much as he can, let his metabolism shift until he can drain Buster all but dry. Until he can feel Buster begin to fade. Until he can pull a silver knife out--silver because, as the legend goes, every birth has to hurt--slice his own wrist and....
Well then. He's a little young for his biological clock to make itself felt, but there it is.
The next twenty years are going to be very interesting, Tim thinks. He can wait. He can give it a few more years before even bringing the subject up, but at some point, he'll have to look Buster in the eye and ask him if he wants more than one lifetime.
"With me," Tim whispers. "More than one lifetime with me."