There’s a slick pop as Phil pulls his wrist unwillingly from Tommy’s mouth. His tongue darts out, lapping up the drops of blood lingering on his lips and sighs, full and content.
He leans back, purring as his Sire tucks his face into the crook of his neck, murmuring praises that fill his head with sunlight and warmth. Tommy presses his nose into the fabric of his Sire’s shirt, inhaling deeply, his instincts crooning in elation.
It’s so hard pushing back against his nature all the time. It’s within the tiny moments like these where he accepts it, falls into it completely, that it feels so much better .
Phil trails comforting massages down Tommy’s spine. He whines quietly, presses closer. So tight that they interlock like puzzle pieces. A gentle kiss is brushed across his forehead, and Tommy closes his eyes, leaning into the touch and aching for more.
“Sunshine,” his Sire mumbles, his voice deep saccharine with boundless love. “ My Sunshine. Little prince.”
Tommy grunts in acknowledgment. His purrs increase. A steady vibration from the deepest parts of his chest.
“Sire,” he responds, breathless and euphoric as the title slips from his mouth. He freezes. No. Wait. He shouldn’t have-
A soft gasp parts Phil’s lips. “Yes, that’s right Darling.” He nuzzles their cheeks together, crooning, singing in his throat at Tommy’s acceptance. “I love you.”
Tommy manages to bite back another answer. Though a deep part of him whined as he left the phrase hanging, unreciprocated. He allows Phil to kiss his forehead and hands, examining his short, blunt claws and pull his hair out of his face, tucking it behind his ears softly. Phil traces the shell of his ear, lingering on his earlobes. It’d been a long time since their conversation while traveling, but Tommy remembered it clearly.
He shivers, raising his shoulders in an attempt to hide his ears.
“Relax,” Phil murmurs. “Shhh. Here, lay back down, I want to check your feet.”
Tommy curls up on the mattress, head next to Phil’s hip as his legs are slung across the vampire’s lap.
The door opens, letting in a faint shaft of light. It quickly disappears, the smell of wood smoke and caramel growing stronger.
Tommy presses his nose to Phil’s pine scent, growling as the bed dips as another weight joins them.
“It’s just me,” Wilbur says. There’s a note of unhappiness in his tone – a sad whimper when Tommy ignores him, keeping his face buried against Phil’s leg; rubbing the edge of his sleeve between his fingers and pretending that he doesn’t want it draped over him. Wilbur scoots closer, making Tommy curl further into himself.
It’s been a while since it’s been all four of them. Him, Phil, Wilbur, and Techno. Usually Tommy is left with the coven head as the other two take care of kingdom matters. Sometimes he wakes from naps, the low conversation of politics above his head. It stops as soon as they notice he’s awake, however.
“You’re hoarding him,” Wilbur grumbles to Phil. “I’m sick of it. I want to hold him too.” The claws of his thumb and forefinger pinch the skin on the back of Tommy’s neck, tugging at it slightly as if Tommy is a puppy that can be scruffed into obedience. “You were so sweet before. And now you growl at me. What happened to brother time,” he whines: a spoiled brat.
Tommy bucks against the touch, his lips peeling back into an animalistic scowl.
“Stop,” Phil orders. Wilbur slumps with a glare but keeps his hands to himself.
Phil composes himself, finding Tommy’s feet satisfactory. He lifts Tommy back to his lap, Tommy not bothering to resist, just going slack as Phil rubs his thumbs over his cheeks until his expression softens and smooths; lulled back into instinct-driven headspace.
“The adjustment period has been more… difficult. Once all the surgeries are done-”
Wilbur whines, “and how much longer will that be?”
“Mate, you’ll have all eternity to get along, you know.”
A beat of silence. “The court is getting restless with your absence.”
“Changing the subject now, are we?” Phil chuckles, but Tommy can feel him tense beneath him. He murmurs, shifting his head. A grounding palm is placed on the nape of his neck, brushing against his locks. His hair has grown in the past few weeks. Fuller and thicker, brushing Tommy’s earlobes and sides of his jaw.
“Soon. Once Tommy’s settled.”
Wilbur huffs. “You know mortals have no patience.”
There’s a very telling pause in which Tommy could imagine Phil raising an eyebrow.
“I overheard some rumors,” Wilbur hurries to add. “Some of them have already gotten too bold. Make an appearance just for one day. Put them back in their places and maybe…” Tommy squirms, not liking where this was going, “me and Tech could have some bonding time with our little brother.”
Tommy looks up in horror, his sleepy lassitude fading as a spike of fear shatters his brief contentment.
“No,” he gasps. He pushes himself up on trembling limbs. Just the thought of his Sire leaving him – abandoning him – it was better, safer at his side. His instincts gnash and wail, a roiling storm of jagged teeth in his head. “No, no, please-” he sobs, chokes.
The quieter, more logical part of his brain is stampeded, burying the relief at being out from under the Emperor's claws.
Panic makes him hazy, tears dripping down his cheeks. Phil rocks back and forth, Tommy’s ear pressed to his chest where he can best hear his soothing purrs.
“Oh, Sunshine. I won’t leave you,” he murmurs. Tommy whimpers, fisting his fingers into the closest thing. Not letting go even as his fingerless knuckles throb with pain.
His Sire ignores Wilbur, stroking Tommy’s hairline with a gentleness applied to young babes.
“Phil,” Wilbur repeats, a hint of hiss in his voice.
“I haven’t permitted you to speak,” the coven head snaps. Tommy hears Wilbur’s jaw click shut with a curl of satisfaction, turning his head to hide his smile.
Phil sighs, the tension draining from his limbs. The petting hesitates for a moment, and unthinkingly Tommy rises up to meet the hovering touch, muttering into the curl of Phil’s palm as it cups him tenderly. His cheeks burn at how natural it feels. He needs to stop doing that. Buttering them up is one thing, but the tendril of real want budding at the base of his abdomen is something else.
“Sorry,” Phil says quietly. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He reaches out, and the other vampire is quick to accept the affection, closing his eyes as Phil cups the back of his neck. “I know you and Tech have been stressed as well.”
Wilbur exhales. He comes closer, hovering over Tommy. He and Phil lean towards each other, foreheads resting lightly together, a bubble of apologetic purrs from Phil and a calm, “ I understand; I’m not angry,” response from Wilbur.
Tommy stomps on the jealous burst at the display. They’re so comfortable. It looks easy and natural – it could be if he gave in fully.
“Perhaps you’re right,” Phil says, breaking the peaceful silence.
Wilbur’s eyes shoot open in surprise as Tommy flinches in his lap.
“I wanted to wait until Tommy was ready… make his debut when he could walk. But…” he pulls back, opening his eyes as well. Scarlet, slit pupils. “I do have an empire I’m responsible for,” he muses.
Tommy swallows, breathless as the verdict snaps down on his head like a guillotine, securing his fate.
Wilbur smiles, the glistening of his fangs between his lips.
“A few hours together wouldn’t hurt. Perhaps you can get the bond ties to open.” Phil taps Tommy’s forehead playfully. “That means no more growling at your brothers, little one.”
Tommy hisses, dark satisfaction splitting his lips into a twisted grin.
“Or hissing,” Phil amends, frowning. But there’s an amused glint in his eyes, and a pleased shudder runs up Tommy’s spine.
Logic clicks in place and he wilts in shame. What the fuck is he doing.
A kiss on his brow. His eyelids flutter. Wilbur leans in, squishing his cheeks so quickly that Tommy has no time to react, then the vampire spins away, laughing and looking far too pleased with himself.
“I’ll notify Techno,” he croons. “I’ll be looking forward to our little playtime, Sunshine.”
He waves the tips of his fingers, the door clicking shut behind him.
Tommy is on high alert.
His eyes constantly track Phil. Ears pricked for any mention that Tommy will be taken from him.
It’s ridiculous. And beyond horrifying that he’s this paranoid. For Prime’s sake, if Tommy had his feet, he would be sneaking around looking for anything he could use against the bastards. Or, he tries to tell himself that.
Though he didn’t want to admit it, Phil was comforting, even in his more… dangerous moods. Tommy stays quiet, huddled into his side as the ruler does paperwork, tilting his face, so it’s easier to receive gentle kisses and scratches along his scalp.
He doesn’t like them. And he certainly doesn’t like being babied. He just…
It feels nice. He’s not as anxious.
When was the last time he got to curl up next to his own parents for days, just appreciating their company?
He shakes his head wildly, ducking his gaze when Phil turns to him curiously.
Fuck. It’s not like that, either.
Tommy bites his lips, chewing at the skin. He tries to avoid picking at it. Phil hates it.
He grimaces. Why does it matter what Phil thinks?
He hates to admit it, but Phil might’ve gotten exactly what he wanted. Tommy is more reserved and obedient. He melts into Phil’s arms like a handful of snow. Cold and distant, then lukewarm and a puddle at the slightest touch.
It’s because they made him dependent. Tommy repeats that truth like a mantra. They stole his independence to make him more doll-like. Easier to put on display and coo over. Once he can walk again, he’s going to become a menace.
Tommy forces himself to accept Phil’s affection. He soaks it up, afraid that when the time eventually comes, being extracted from Phil’s side is going to be physically painful. That his instincts will rage the hardest it has since his turning.
If he had some kind of buffer…
At least, that’s what he tried to convince himself is the real reason why he craved his Sire’s presence all the time.
The Coven is clever. They waited patiently. Tommy relaxes, pampered into softness, into forgetfulness. It isn’t until a particularly long feeding, that Tommy finds himself plucked from Phil’s lap like a reluctant and sleepy cat.
He didn’t hear the door open, nor footsteps. His head is floaty, drunk full, and fuzzy with instincts. Tommy wriggles, huffing in displeasure as he’s lifted by big, strong hands. Wider than Phil’s and rough with calluses.
Someone grips the back of his head, pushing his nose against the side of a broad neck. Tommy inhales sharply, the scent comforting, but not as strong as his Sire’s.
“Careful… return soon,” his Sire murmurs. A brush of his familiar touch on Tommy’s back.
He whines, low, confused. The grip on him shifts. His forehead bounces on a muscled shoulder as they begin to move. Away from the safety of the nest.
A grumble reverberates right underneath him. Soothing, placating. “Hush,” a deep voice says. “Go to sleep.”
Tommy pushes back, struggling to sit up. A growl and pressure on his back dissuade him from continuing.
The haze of post-feeding grips him and he dozes off.
It’s mesmerizing. Wilbur’s fingers flick over the many strings of the instrument as if it is simply an extension of his body. Strumming, tapping on the wood; humming, singing gently under his breath. A call to the universe. Hypnotic manipulation.
Tommy should be panicking – was nearly consumed by it when awareness first crept back into his mind. Where was his Sire? Where was Phil?
Phil’s scent was present, albeit a bit muted. A room that he hasn’t been in for a while. Wilbur plays his instrument from the chair across from him. Tommy glances through his eyelashes and catches the smile on the other’s face as he relaxes.
He frowns. Bastard.
He’s leaned under Techno’s arm, a hand cradling his knees together, so he can’t move. (Not like he could run anyway.) In his other hand is a book, its old and worn pages yellowed with age. Tommy’s nose scrunches at the musty smell with each page turn. Eyes watering between that and the smoke from the fireplace.
Very purposefully, Tommy kicks the blanket draped over his lap off and growls.
Wilbur stops playing, balancing on the edge of his seat with shining, starving eyes. The finesse of a predator with its sights set on its prey. Nevermind that Tommy knows that he’s been staring long before he woke up.
“Well, hello there, little sunray,” he smiles, a coo warbling at the edge of his words. “Did you sleep well?”
Tommy ignores him, eyes bouncing from the bookshelves to the low fire to the little trinkets on the side tables on the other side of the couch.
Wilbur swings his instrument off his lap, propping it on the arm of his chair then stalks closer.
Tommy goes rigid, eyes wide as Wilbur leans in too close. He’s pinned between two vampires and simultaneously his hackles rise and relax.
“Fuck off,” Tommy spits. He doesn’t like the look on Wilbur’s face. He doesn’t like how silent Techno has been, casually setting his book aside without a flicker of emotion.
Wilbur laughs. It’s not especially kind. His hand shoots out and Tommy jerks, half expecting a blow to land, but none does. The vampire grips his chin between his claws and drags him forward, bent at an awkward angle to meet his red eyes.
“You’re not getting rid of me that easily.” His tone dips into a dangerous growl.
Wilbur’s lips twist. A mockery of softness. “Quiet. I want to have some fun.”
“Leave your games for when he can walk.” Techno’s intervention is appreciated, though Tommy is still terrified as Wilbur’s claws slowly release their tight hold – not so hard it breaks skin, but just enough it is painful. Wilbur turns a narrowed gaze to his brother and hisses outright.
Tommy curls inward. Techno scoops him closer, protective.
“Stop being pissy. This is why I won’t let you hold him.”
“I wouldn’t hurt him,” Wilbur scoffs. His hands clench and Tommy severely doubts that he’s telling the truth.
Even Techno raises an eyebrow. “Sure,” he drawls. “Can you relax? You’re going to scare him.”
“I’m right here,” Tommy snaps, annoyed at how they just talk over him like he wasn’t there. “And I can fucking hear you bastards.”
“Ah, ah. What has Phil told you about calling names?”
Wilbur takes far too much delight in pressing into Tommy's boundaries. A wicked grin spreads as Tommy hunches down and glares fiercely, but doesn't answer.
“What do you call us?” Wilbur prompts, twirling a finger into Tommy's bangs.
In perhaps not his smartest move, Tommy decides to play along. He makes his voice drip with false sweetness even as he purrs, “bloodsucker.”
Wilbur goes still. Techno squeezes Tommy's knee in warning, an unpleasant frown spreading across his face.
Tommy doesn't break eye contact with the Siren.
“You heard me. Bloodsucker. You're not my fucking family. And I'll never call you my brother.”
The slits of Wilbur's pupils become so thin they practically disappear. A ring of vibrant, angry red taking over his eyes. Only Tommy, nose to nose, eyes inches apart could see the pulsating blackness.
“Careful,” Wilbur warns, voice like a sigh as it puffs across Tommy's face. “I'd be careful what I say next if I were you.”
They didn't break eye contact for a long while. Two indomitable wills clashing against each other. Prime Everlasting. Tommy had so much he wanted to say. He wants to spit in Wilbur's face, call him every pathetic insult he knew.
Wilbur pulls back, adjusting his sleeves with firm tugs, irritated but also confident he's put Tommy in his place.
“Now,” he clears his throat, sliding in on Tommy's other side and lounges his arm on the back of the chair. “How about we have some brotherly bonding. Ay, Blade?”
Techno rolls his eyes, thumbing the pages of his closed book as if he’d rather escape back into its pages than be there.
“Comfortable, Theseus?” he asks.
“I’m fine,” Tommy grumbles. His leg bounces anxiously. When will Phil get back and rescue him from this hell?
“We should get to know each other, hmm? Do you have a favorite color?”
Wilbur rubs the back of Tommy’s neck, and he struggles to not lean into it. Agile fingers melt away the tenseness in his muscle. He scowls.
“Piss?” Wilbur repeats with a bark of laughter. “You really are quite feral. Are you some kind of wild animal under that human facade?” he teases.
“I was born in the jungle,” Tommy quips back. Wilbur chuckles, light and dulcet. A smile touches the corner of Tommy’s mouth at the sound before he remembers himself and frowns.
“Your turn, Techno,” Wilbur nudges his brother.
The brute vampire’s jaw pulses in thought for a moment. “Favorite subject?”
Wilbur groans. “That’s so boring. Why couldn’t you have asked something more interesting?”
“You asked about colors.”
Wilbur’s cheeks puff indignantly. “I know what I’m doing.” He offers no other explanation.
Tommy bites his lips. This question is harder. Unlike Wilbur’s, his answer might actually be used against him. He realizes he’s paused too long, and winces, saying the first thing that comes to mind.
“Sword-fighting.” Shit. “I mean-” he flounders, terrified they’d try to test his truthfulness. “I’m only allowed to watch. I was only allowed to watch… ‘Said I was too young…”
Somehow he managed to pass Techno’s question and a pleased purr hummed behind the vampire’s lips. Tommy stole a glance up and saw his pupils expand. Uh oh.
“I’ll teach you,” Techno says, brushing fingers through Tommy’s hair. There’s a palpable excitement beneath his words. Quivering as he begins to tame his hair into a braid.
Tommy exhales, surprised at the immediate and genuine offer.
“Too young?” Wilbur muses. “How old are you?”
Tommy ducks his head. “Fourteen,” he mutters. Fourteen was well old enough to learn how to fight! He should’ve. Damn his parents for being so protective.
The full realization of his thought slams into him.
Oh Prime. What is wrong with him.
He chokes back a sob, Wilbur cooing something about him being a baby.
The simultaneous touch of the two vampires is enough to ground him to reality. Techno strokes slow and gentle along his scalp and Wilbur cups his cheeks, smiling so big his fangs are on full display.
“Aw, Sweetheart. I think it’s my turn to ask you something. Hmm… let’s see.”
“Do I get to ask questions?” Tommy interrupts, vaguely lightheaded, closely avoiding a panic attack.
Wilbur’s face morphs into surprise then elation, purring as he nods, encouraging Tommy to continue.
He swallows, twisting his hands together. Huh. His missing fingers aren’t hurting today... That’s good.
“Am… Am I going to be fourteen forever?”
“You mean physically? No, of course not. You’ll grow. Just very, very slowly until you reach your prime. Until then, I think we will all enjoy how cute you are.”
His head swirls. Wilbur hums, thinking of another question. Techno sets him in his lap. They’re all nestled together, knees touching like they’re actually brothers.
He hates them. He hates them.
Techno rumbles reassuringly at his back. Wilbur laughs, unperturbed by his scowls and huffs and angry looks, teasing him out of his shell, always excited about, well, him .
They don’t actually love him. They can’t…
Tommy hates that it feels like they do.