The first time Aro asked Carlisle if he could join him in his hunt, Carlisle had shyly refused.
“It is too cruel, too uncivilized an act, and I wish you not to witness me in such a state,” he had said.
Aro accepted his answer and didn't follow, busy with the images his mind had created.
Carlisle disheveled, with his clothes bloody and undone. Dirt covering his arms and face, his eyes brighter than ever, with a refreshed smile hanging from his sharp teeth.
Oh he wondered and imagined... Was Carlisle upset after each hunt, or was he satisfied? Did he enjoy himself or perform it as a chore? Did it excite him, urge him to seek company or was he possessive of his prey?
Aro imagined and found himself aroused at every possibility.
The second time Aro asked to join Carlisle, he had reluctantly agreed.
With nervous and self conscious moves, he led them away from the city. Aro followed behind quietly, granting him peace and sparing him the questions for later. Carlisle led them through dirt roads and grown fields, moving calmly but with care. He did not want to disturb the world around him. He led them further even, until the setting sun was fully hidden behind thick trees.
He stood still for a moment, listening to the sounds of life around them, trying to decide which one was more appealing. His attention kept shifting back to Aro. He shook his head, focused his attention on a deer in front of them.
He made his way there so quietly that if Aro wasn't watching him like nothing else in the world mattered, he would have missed it. The deer fled but Carlisle was faster and he grabbed the animal easily, snapped its neck and sank his teeth deep through the fur.
Aro watched mesmerized at his wonderful, graceful, magnificent prince. Soon, looking wasn't enough, and he took a careless step forwards, only wanting to get closer to the beauty, but Carlisle growled at him, the sound going directly to Aro's groin. He stopped nonetheless. He didn't mean to take Carlisle's food.
Carlisle drained the animal completely before he looked up at Aro, and Aro almost sighed. His imagination was correct, for the brightest, most brilliant gold was staring at him and he wanted it. It took Carlisle another moment to gather himself back, hide away his teeth and release Aro from his hold.
He turned away slightly, meant to pick up the lifeless animal, turned back again and Aro was now approaching him fearlessly.
“I'm sorry I growled at you it was extremely rude of me to-”
Aro pressed his lips against his. The lightest of pressures, a plea to be let in, a gentle request for permission.
Carlisle could have refused.
Aro's hand had moved to the side of his face, hovering there, but not touching.
Carlisle could have moved back, he could have pushed Aro away and he trusted the other vampire to oblige.
Instead, he stood still and let Aro have a taste of the blood he had denied him a moment ago. He let his lips fall open and he felt a swift tongue flick once over his own.
And then Aro was pulling back. He licked his own lips and swallowed, appreciating the taste for the single moment that it lasted and Carlisle was looking at him, almost expecting something else.
Carlisle blinked, turned back and picked up the carcass.
They made their way back to the palace in tense silence that neither dared break for a long time. In the end it was Aro, who asked what he had done with the deer.
“I placed it near a jackal nest. Hopefully the pack will find it before the meat goes bad.”
The silence returned and it remained until they reached the palace. They parted ways, Carlisle to politely lock himself in his room to wonder and to doubt and Aro to tell his brothers what a fool he was.
Both Caius and Marcus agreed.
The third time Aro asked to join Carlisle, he intended to hunt an animal for himself as well.
They were growing into their forming relationship where nothing of value had been yet admitted, where the subject of soulmates hadn't been discussed.
Aro watched Carlisle grab a fox with his bare hands and tried to mimic him. He was mildly successful, breaking too many bones in his attempt. He bit into the animal, drinking its blood and finding it utterly unsatisfying. Bland with a vague taste of dirt, nothing compared to tasting it directly from his soulmate's lips.
Carlisle had looked at him the same way, expecting something and feeling deeply disappointed when it didn't happen. When nothing happened.
The dissatisfaction lingered within him for days and Carlisle avoided confronting it at all.
The next time Aro asked to join him, he refused.
He thought that he wouldn't be robbed of something again, if the something wasn't there.
He was wrong.