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begging for you to take my hand

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“Will you turn me into a vampire?” Guillermo asks, after dusting around Nadja who is sitting and having a lively conversation with her spirit in doll form.

“Make him pay for it,” the doll says, quickly, narrowing her eyes at Guillermo. “Cash, under the table.”

“I don’t—have any money,” Guillermo says, frowning back at her.

“Regardless, I can’t nibble on another vampire’s familiar,” Nadja drawls, uninterested. “It’s a whole ethics thing.”

“I’m not his familiar anymore,” Guillermo says. “I’m his—I’m your bodyguard, actually. You could call it payment since you don’t pay me.

“Oh, all of a sudden the familiar thinks they’re owed something!” Nadja says. “I give you a purpose and a place to sleep. All I ask in exchange is for total loyalty and never questioning me. Is that really too much to ask?”

“There’s only one way I can promise you total loyalty,” Guillermo says.

“. . .oh, fuck me,” Nadja sighs. “I’ll do it if you’ll shut up about it.”

“Really?” Guillermo asks.

“Go rinse your neck off,” she says, aimlessly waving a hand at him.

*

“This is not a sexual thing,” Nadja says, then makes a soft noise, taking a step back to look Guillermo up and down before she nods and says, “Yes, definitely not a sexual thing. Don’t get any ideas in your warped little head.”

“That’s—that’s not something you have to worry about,” Guillermo says, shifting on his feet nervously. “Are you sure you’re not going to just eat me? I’m not saying that I don’t trust you but I—don’t trust you.”

“You have the holy water, yes?” she asks, reaching out to undo a couple more button on his shirt when he nods and digs a tiny bottle that used to hold cologne out of his back pocket. “I don’t think I’ll go too wild but I have been filled with unbridled rage since my dear husband fucked us all over so it couldn’t hurt to be prepared in case I. . .you know, dig in.”

“Okay, that’s not terrifying at all,” Guillermo says, faintly.

“We don’t have to do this,” Nadja says, rolling her eyes. “You can always continue waiting for Nandor. That’s worked out well for you so far. How long has it been? Three years?”

“Eleven,” he grits out.

They’re all supposed to be back in Staten Island next month to rendezvous and figure things out. He’s not sure that Nadja isn’t going to murder Laszlo and he isn’t sure that he won’t help her and he has no idea what will happen with Nandor. If he’ll even show up.

“Do you think he’d ever actually do it?” he asks. “He said he would when we were going to leave together, before—”

“My dear husband fucked us all over?” Nadja asks, a little more poison in her voice.

Yeah, Laszlo might not survive their reunion.

“Yes,” Guillermo says. “That.”

“I know of virtually no vampires who have actually turned their familiars,” she says, “but things are different between you and Nandor, obviously.”

“Obviously?” he asks.

“Well, he knows that you can and will absolutely fucking murder him,” she says, like she knows it for a fact. “So, you know. Fear is a motivator.”

“I would never. . .” Guillermo starts, then pauses before continuing, “Probably never do that.”

“Also, he’s in love with you which is probably relevant,” Nadja adds, like an afterthought, and Guillermo freezes.

“. . .he’s what?”

*

“No, did he say that?” Guillermo asks, for the third time, after Nadja sighs a lot and tries to leave and he has to block the door to stop her from walking out. It’s a move that he wouldn’t have made before he had so much vampire murder experience and he’s not sure it’s a good one now from the look on her face when she draws back.

“All these questions,” she says. “I can’t remember every little thing that big oaf says. I know that it’s true so I’m sure he mentioned it at some point.”

“That’s not big to you?” he asks. “That’s the biggest thing that—for me, that’s—I mean—”

“Take a fucking breath,” the Nadja doll says, still sitting on the couch.

Guillermo takes a fucking breath.

“Thanks,” he says, glancing over at her before he’s back to Nadja. “You said that vampires usually don’t turn their familiars. Do they. . .fall in love with them?”

“. . .well, they fuck them,” Nadja says, thoughtfully. “A lot. Actually, maybe that’s what he said? It’s possible he just wants to fuck you. I truly cannot express how much I don’t pay attention to what any of you say.”

“Those are different things,” Guillermo says, desperately. “Those are very different things. Nadja, please.”

“He has some type of very strong feelings for you,” Nadja says, “that are not just the fear that you will turn him to dust. That’s all I have. Now, do you want me to bite you or not?”

“. . .no,” Guillermo says, softly, stepping out of her way. “I want it to be him.”

Nadja gives him a look that seems like it softens a little before swanning past him.

“Gross,” the Nadja doll says.

“Yeah,” Guillermo agrees, sitting next to her and burying his face in his hands. “It kind of is.”

He jumps when a small cold hand touches his arm, slowly lowering his hands to see her standing on the couch and staring at him with her big dead eyes.

“If you’d like,” she says, “I can make you a ghost.”

“. . .no, thank you,” he says, getting up and backing out of the room while she watches him intently. He has the luxury of a room with a lock here and puts anything sharp in the kitchen up high when he’s not using it.

He’s not afraid of vampires anymore but that doll gets to him.

*

It feels like Nandor got taller somehow and being in the same room with him after an agonizingly long plane ride back to New York feels surreal, like Guillermo’s almost definitely hallucinating.

They spend two straight hours being really weird around each other but then Nandor hugs him.

It’s a really good hug even though it’s quick, strong arms around him and his face pressed into Nandor’s chest, and he can’t help but smile when Nandor lets go of him.

“I missed you, Master,” he says.

“I missed you as well, Guillermo,” Nandor says.

Guillermo tries to reach for something to say, the right thing to say, but something shoves its way up to the surface all at once and he finds himself punching Nandor in the arm and saying, “Why did you fucking leave me?”

Hey,” Nandor says, frowning and rubbing his arm. “No hitting.”

“Answer my question,” Guillermo says.

“You didn’t show up!” Nandor says.

“Yeah, because I was—”

“Locked in a coffin with nothing but Oreo cookies to survive on, yes, Guillermo, I’ve heard,” Nandor says, scoffing. “Excuse me for assuming that you changed your mind and didn’t want to come on a sweeping, emotional journey with me. Imagine how I felt being cruelly abandoned.”

“. . .I could’ve just been stuck in traffic,” Guillermo says, faintly, before he looks up to see that Nandor looks genuinely upset. “Wait, how did you feel?”

“. . .bad,” Nandor says. “I felt very bad.”

“I felt bad, too,” Guillermo says. “I haven’t stopped feeling bad.”

Nandor takes his hand. Not to lead him anywhere, not so Guillermo can help him with something, he just—takes his hand and laces their fingers together and squeezes lightly with a look on his face like he’s defusing a bomb.

“Did you truly want to leave with me?” he asks.

“More than anything,” Guillermo says.

“Because you wanted me to make you a vampire,” Nandor says.

“. . .come with me, please,” Guillermo says, leading Nandor to his tiny shitty room because they’re standing in the front hallway and he doesn’t want anybody else to see whatever happens next. “Why don’t you want to turn me? Other than—immortality being a curse or whatever. There’s something else.”

“. . .you’ll leave me,” Nandor says, roughly, letting go of Guillermo to sit down on the bed. “You won’t have a reason to stay.”

“. . .oh,” Guillermo says, laughing and sitting next to him. “Oh, okay, you’re—you’re, like, really stupid.”

“I am not—” Nandor starts, but he shuts up when Guillermo reaches up to take his face in his hands and turn it towards him, thinking hard about kissing him but mostly just holding him still.

“I could’ve found another vampire to do it,” he says. “I almost let Nadja do it. But I didn’t spend eleven years with you just because I wanted you to turn me. I wanted to be with you. I. . .I want to be with you.”

“Nadja?” Nandor asks, a dark look coming over his face.

“That is not the part of that you should be focusing on,” Guillermo says, and he slides one hand into Nandor’s hair before he kisses him, two soft cautious ones before Nandor is kissing him back with the kind of intensity that Guillermo’s only fantasized about.

He’s on his back with Nandor heavy on top of him, one big warm hand shoved underneath Guillermo’s shirt and exploring his body while the other’s holding onto his hair, when he says, “Nadja—Nadja said you were in love with me.”

“. . .fucking Nadja,” Nandor says, softly, sitting up.

“Did you tell her that?” Guillermo asks, sitting up on his elbows.

“I don’t know,” Nandor says, sighing loudly. “I can’t keep up with everything I say to every person I say it to. I say a lot of things, Guillermo.”

“I would remember it,” Guillermo says, shakier than he means it to be, “if I told someone that I’m in love with you. I’m pretty sure.”

Nandor’s face is always fascinating but it does something completely new right now, melts in an overwhelming warmness.

“You’re a very brave little human, you know,” Nandor says, very slowly lifting his hand to poke Guillermo’s nose gently.

Guillermo smiles up at him, almost involuntarily, and this earns him a series of kisses: his forehead, one cheek, his chin and finally one firm kiss on the mouth—each with the faintest hint of fang.

“Nadja told me that I looked like I wanted to eat you but not kill you,” Nandor says, face pressed into Guillermo’s neck. “I think that might be what love is.”

“Basically,” Guillermo breathes, fingers clenching where they found purchase in Nandor’s hair when he feels teeth scraping at his skin lightly. “Master, are you—”

“Not yet,” Nandor says, barely biting down. “I want to make it special for you. Fancy clothes. Oaths. Maybe there’s a cake for you.”

“Sounds like a wedding,” Guillermo says.

“. . .do I want to marry you, Guillermo?” Nandor asks, lifting his head, sounding surprised.

“You might just want to dress up fancy,” Guillermo says. “You like doing that.”

Nandor makes a non-committal noise.

“I love you deeply,” he says, reaching for Guillermo’s belt, “and I’m removing your pants now.”

*

“Wow,” Guillermo says, still panting for air when he’s being tugged around until he’s resting on Nandor’s chest.

“Yes,” Nandor says, happily. “I’m very good at having sex. You’re welcome.”

Guillermo laughs and tightens his arms around him, feeling drunk on the whole situation, drunk enough that he says, “I think I might want to marry you sometime.”

“For the cake,” Nandor says, knowingly.

“I like dressing up fancy, too,” Guillermo says.

“And I’ll turn you,” Nandor says.

“You promise?” Guillermo asks.

Nandor kisses the top of his head.

“I do promise,” he says, softly.

Guillermo usually takes it upon himself to not believe him too hard but it feels right like this. Like they can stay together forever.

Like they will.