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Guillermo drove his fist soundly into Nandor’s face with a satisfying crunch.

Nandor growled, spitting on the hardwood floor.

“I’m not cleaning that up.” Guillermo said with a lightly disgusted sneer.

Nandor just hissed, baring his fine ivory fangs as he dove toward him, claws extended. He made a swooping arch as he slashed at Guillermo’s middle. The former familiar sidestepped at the last second, hooking his ankle around Nandor’s to tumble him to the ground, earning him a snarl. Nandor rolled into a crouch. Two bright blurs made a sharp line for Guillermo’s face. He dodged one, the bright knife falling to the floor, impotent. He thought he’d dodged the other as well, whizzing passed his face and lodged into the wall behind him. That was until Nandor got a strange look on his face and he felt the trickle down his cheek, blood and sweat mingling.

Guillermo reached up, swiping the blood off with the pad of his thumb, only really succeeding in smearing it around. “You almost took my face off!”

Nandor was looking at him oddly still, transfixed. Then he seemed to recall himself, a fond, cruel smile settling on his lips. “You look like you’re wearing the rouge of a whore.”

Guillermo’s eyes widened before he made an indignant noise in the back of his throat. Instead of biting back with words, though, he simply turned on his heel and walked to the bearing on the wall, retrieving a lightweight sword and tossing it to Nandor without looking to see if he caught it. He took down his own weapon and turned back to his former master.

“Swords?” Nandor raised a regal eyebrow.

“Swords.”

“Did I offend you enough you feel the need to defend your honor in a duel? Rest assured I am joking, you do not have the countenance of the brothel maiden. I can smell your honor all over you.” Since Guillermo had been promoted from familiar to bodyguard, Nandor had perfected the art of being endearing and scathing at the same time. It was really the difference of him seeing Guillermo as in on the joke or not. “By that I mean your virginity. Do not be being afraid. Rest assured I know you have a very unused dick.”

“Jesus Christ, Nandor.” He hated the way the words affected him, a little bit of embarrassment underneath the anger.

“Hey!” Nandor said as he got to his feet. “Swears are cheating! Very dishonorable to fight with the words in the throes of battle!”

Guillermo rolled his eyes. “We agreed we weren’t going to hold back, master.” That was still a habit he was trying to kick—referring to Nandor as his superior. It helped that he definitely no longer felt like he was his superior. It was a reflex, an empty word. “You try asking an assassin for a timeout because you don’t like the way they fight. See how that warrior code goes for you, then. And by the way, I would not hesitate to Hail Mary one of you to death if it came down to it.”

Nandor bit his lip, his fang poking out in a way the bodyguard definitely did not feel was adorable in the slightest. Nope. “That is a very mean thing to be saying, Guillermo. You would look me in the eyes and make me crispy with your words?”

“You’re not my mas—my charge right now! We’re sparring! This was your idea!”

Nandor huffed. “Well, if we were in a real icky situation and you did that it would still hurt me, too. That is not very good bodyguard behavior.”

“…You’re not wrong.” Guillermo had to give him that. Nandor occasionally did have good points. They were very rare so he always positively reinforced them. He tapped the sword against his thigh. “But you would heal. And I think it’s worse bodyguard behavior to not…guard your body…with everything at my disposal.” He coughed lightly at the weird phrasing. “Besides, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to think to watch my language in the heat of the moment. I get a little…” He trailed off as he didn’t want to finish the sentence with any of his truths. Powerful. Inhuman. More than human. Transcendent. Time ceased to have meaning, no future, no past, just now and now and now. “Carried away.” He finished lamely.

“Mm. Yes. Caught in the heat of the battle, the sensual throes of violence and domination.” Nandor nodded sagely. “It is a feeling well known for me. In Al Quolanudar, on nights that were too peaceful, I would procure an indentured soldier to fight for his life.” He smiled, nostalgic. “Always for his life, because there was never a hope I could be bested. If they fought valiantly, they lived.”

“And if they didn’t fight valiantly?”

“Sword through the stomach. Head cleaved from their shoulders. Whatever I was in the mood for.” Nandor shrugged. He shook himself out of his reverie. “Now are we going to be doing this or not?”

“Tch.” Guillermo grunted as he settled into a fighting stance.

Nandor’s softness burned away as he slipped back into the skin of a predator. He never really took it off, Guillermo supposed. There was little use trying to puzzle out where the vampire ended and the warlord began. They were sides of the same coin. Guillermo could believe Nandor was forged to be a vampire, to conquer time and death.

Guillermo made the first move, just to spur them into action, to slip into the timestream where there was only them, the flow of their movements like a high stakes ballet. Guillermo had Nandor on speed and agility, but barely, and Nandor had Guillermo on brute strength. An unstoppable force versus an immovable object.

It would be more intense if they weren’t fighting to ABBA.

Particularly “Dancing Queen.”

The music was a holdover from Nandor’s days in the wellness center. (He resolutely refused to call it a cult.) At first Guillermo worried over it, that it wasn’t healthy to keep something like that in the back pocket of his heart. Then Nandor told him, grinning with fangs showing as he leaned against the wall and wiped sweat off his brow, that he liked throwing these little “battle parties.” He looked so radiant, so complete, in that moment, Guillermo’s stomach felt like it was full of blooming flowers. He bought “creepy” paper later that day to surprise Nandor the next time they sparred.

Guillermo was thinking back to that day, the first time he’d seen unfiltered, open joy on Nandor’s face in ages, the way his heart seized—

He barely caught Nandor’s downswing with his own blade, feeling the resultant clang in his bones.

“A distracted warrior is a dead warrior.” Nandor chided with heat. “What use are you to me if you are having the daydreams when I am in danger!”

Guillermo grit his teeth as they fell into another round of intense, wordless blows. He kept his focus razor-sharp, looking for his opening, and then—

There.

He disarmed Nandor, his sword skittering across the floor. Guillermo held out his sword, barely grazing his master’s throat. He arched a brow. “You were saying?”

Nandor glanced down at the blade at his throat, then his eyes flicked up to meet Guillermo. He grabbed the blade with his bare hand, pushing it aside. The absolute drama queen. “Tch. Passable. I went easy on you because you are worst with the sword.”

Guillermo rolled his eyes as he let the tip of the sword graze the ground. “Whatever you say, Nandor.” He really was actually least apt with a sword, though. He preferred closer range weapons. Like the stake. But he studied all of the armory diligently and took to heart Nandor’s coaching, regardless. He was always looking for ways to sharpen himself. And he liked getting to spend all this time with Nandor. Inside these four walls, they were absolute equals. There was no Colin to dig his fingers into old wounds, no Nadja to make fun of them, no Laszlo to tell them to cut all the pretense of combat and fuck already.

They were in their own pocket universe.
Guillermo put up his sword then gracefully picked up Nandor’s as well. “What next?” He asked as he slid the blade home.

“I’m thinking we should revisit the very sad star, that is what you are next most terrible at—”

“The—the sad star?”

“Yes, the star of grieving, you know, the stick with spikes.”

“I—do you mean a Morningstar?”

Nandor huffed indignantly. “Yes as I have been saying. Really, Guillermo—" He cut himself off, his lips shutting like a bear trap.

“Mas—Nandor?”

“You’ve got a little, uh—”

“Oh.” He lifted his hand as he tasted iron and salt. His fingertips came away bloody. He had a cut on his lip, probably from biting it in concentration, a bad habit he had. He wiped his fingers off on one of his rolled-up sleeves, pressing crimson fingerprints into the fabric already soaked through with sweat. He sighed. “Between all the scrapes and slices, I am slowly running out of a wardrobe—you alright?” He paused, really noticing now how still Nandor had gone. His chest wasn’t even moving. Which wasn’t alarming as he did not technically need to breathe, but it was a habit he kept and the unnatural stillness was loud to Guillermo somehow.

Nandor shook his head slightly, closing his parted lips. “I am fine. We are done for tonight, Guillermo.”

“Are you sure? You just said—”

Nandor waved him off. “Eesh. It’s always the talk back with you. We will resume tomorrow. I am hungry, anyways. I am going to go get a snack from the dungeon.” He swept out of the room before Guillermo could argue further.

Alone, Guillermo pressed his fingertips against his bloody lips.

Later, as he sank down into the warm water of his bath, crowned with bubbles, he had the stray thought of pressing those same lips against Nandor’s in what would be, to the vampire, a candied kiss.

The next time they sparred, they focused on hand-to-hand combat.

“And what would you do if the vampire turned into a mist?” Nandor grunted as he dodged a blow.

“Swing a crucifix into it. More effective than stabbing aimlessly with a silver knife.” He blocked Nandor with a forearm.

“And a flame?”

“Douse it with holy water.” Sweat began to roll down the bodyguard’s temple from the exertion.

“And a bat?”

That one caused Guillermo pause, which earned him a punch to the solar plexus. He backpedaled a step, glaring as he recovered. “Fuck I don’t know. You want me to tuck a pillowcase in my bandolier?”

“A pillowcase? What are you going to do, take a little nap until the bat turns back to a vampire?” His ex-master scoffed.

Guillermo rolled his eyes. “I meant to catch it with. I’m not being serious. Also it’s not like a bat can do you much damage.”

“It could chew out my eyes!”

“They’ll grow back.”

Nandor let out an incredulous grunt. “That is very fucking rude! It is beneath me to regrow my eyes! And they are obviously part of my body you should be guarding! What else is acceptable to you?”

They did not pause in exchanging blows as they continued to bicker.

“I mean what do you want me to do, swat at it? Silver bullets, stakes, and holy water will just hurt you, too if I miss, which I almost definitely would.”

Nandor couldn’t really disagree with the logic but he tried to anyways out of principle. “You could punch the bat.”

“I could—you want me to try to punch a bat?” He was so distracted by the stupidity that he left an opening for Nandor that gifted him a powerful uppercut followed by a cross punch. Guillermo felt the blood pour immediately from his nose as he stumbled back. “Goddammit, Nandor—”

“The swearing!” Nandor said before he had the sense to look just a little contrite. “I am sorry you are having such a delicate human face.”

“That’s a shit apology.” Guillermo glared as he held a hand up to his face.

“It is not my fault you have a very breakable face!” He paused. “Wait, I did not break your porcelain face, did I?” He coughed. “I cannot be having a bodyguard with a broken face. Please fix it.”

“It’s not broken. See? It just hurts like a bitch.” He lifted his hand painted red.

Nandor hissed and took a step back.

“Tell me you are not being squeamish. It’s not like you haven’t seen blood before.” Guillermo rolled his eyes, which Nandor had been griping would get stuck that way, a punishment for his insolence, he had read it in a book. (The book was a headline from The Onion.)

At his silence, Guillermo finally noted the golden backlight of the vampire’s eyes. They were close enough he could see the catlike shape to his pupils.

“Oh.” Guillermo breathed. “Shit. Sorry.”

There was a slight tremor in Nandor’s hands, the amount of restraint he was using evident in his pale knuckles being even paler than usual. A lesser vampire would probably have bitten his face off by now, but Nandor had centuries of developing control under his belt. Inappropriately, the idea gave Guillermo a thought about what else was under his belt.

“Do you need me to--?” He reached for his pocket only to realize he did not have one, as he was in his workout clothes. “What do you want me to do?” He remained still, imagining himself as being in the eye of a storm, like any movement in any direction might pull him into disaster. He never mistook Nandor for anything but a predator, at most a jaguar in his softer moments, a beast that might deign to preen beneath your attention but could tear your throat out in a heartbeat. He knew better than to retreat and trigger the instinct to chase and hunt and ultimately, kill.

Nandor let out a labored, unnecessary breath. “I am not some lesser beast.” He gritted out, as if reading Guillermo’s thoughts. He was pretty sure that wasn’t the case because his scathing thoughts would have gotten him killed by year two, when Nandor’s imperiousness became less aweing and more annoying as hell. He didn’t even want to think about what his baser thoughts would have gotten him.

“Not implying.” He said cautiously. “It’s not like I couldn’t stop you, anyways.” He immediately knew that was almost definitely the wrong thing to say, but he would stand by it, because it was true.

“Is that a challenge?” Nandor said softly, darkly, and almost tender.

The energy between them was charged with violence and something else entirely that Guillermo felt but could not name. “It’s a promise.”

“And what would you do to stop me?” Nandor leaned further into the bodyguard’s space. “How far would you go? To protect yourself from me?”

“Are you asking me if I’d kill you?” The sentence hung heavy in the air. He knew it was a question that must sleep beneath Nandor’s thoughts, always present, always unsure. He knew it in the way he sometimes flinched away from him at sudden movements. He knew it in the way he knew his own heartbeat.

“Maybe I am.”

Guillermo knew it was as much a test as a fear. It was time to put it to rest between them. He slid the stake out of his thigh holster. Nandor’s eyes widened as he pressed the point just where he would need to to drive it up passed his ribs to pierce his heart. “I would do this. I couldn’t avoid doing this, not with the history of my blood. But then I wouldn’t be able to follow through, because of the history of us.” He let the stake clatter to the floor for emphasis, his voice was steady, matter-of-fact. “And then I would hope you would do the same.” He shrugged. “But if you really didn’t want to stop yourself for whatever reason, I guess I’d die.” He tilted his head. “I promised I would protect you to the end, didn’t I?”

Nandor’s lips parted. His mouth worked and he swallowed whatever words he had, searching for others. “It would never come to that.” He turned his head slightly, throat working.

“I know.” Guillermo said gently. “I would forgive you, though.”

Nandor’s head snapped back up.

“I couldn’t hate you even in my last moments, even if you were the one to cause them.” His old self, the one soft with adoration, would have said the same words, but they meant something else, now, they meant more as he was now, bruised by Nandor but loving him all the same, loving him with a love where he loved himself too, enough to bruise Nandor right back but stay until they both healed. It meant more now, when he had the blood of dozens of vampires slick on his soul, more that he could slay Nandor and chose not to every single day. More when he had power to rein in, too.

“I—” Nandor shook his head as if it would help sift through his thoughts. “I would forgive you, too, I think.”

Guillermo nodded. He was used to Nandor making his words a little lukewarm, no doubt a defense mechanism. He knew for Nandor, emotional peril was a lot scarier than physical. “Wanna do a blood pact about it? Or we could pinkie swear?” He said it as a joke, to break the intensity of the moment.

Nandor’s impressive brow furrowed. “Do you not believe me? And what is this pinkie swear? You want to exchange our pinkies?”

“Oh my—Christmas.” He saved it at the last second, though Nandor still glowered. “I’m kidding. It’s just a thing humans do. Mostly kids messing around. It’s wrapping your pinkies around each other to seal a promise.”

“What does that do? Is it a spell?” His eyes narrowed. “I will not do a witchcraft with you, Guillermo. My only business with the witchcraft is my semen. And that is only because it is lubricative.”

“Lucrative.” Guillermo corrected, his cheeks warming despite himself.

“Yes, as I was saying. Pay more attention to me, Guillermo. Really. You act as if your promotion means you can choose when you are listening to me.”

Guillermo didn’t point out that he actually chose that quite a bit during his tenure as a familiar, too. “Regardless. It’s symbolic. Not magic.”

“Okay.” Nandor said slowly. “I will do this, to make your delicate human feelings feel better.”

“That’s not—sure.” He gave up, choosing the path of least resistance.

Nandor nipped his pinkie, sluggish drops of blood pooling in his fingerprint. Guillermo yipped.

“What are you—”

“We are doing the bloody pact, yes? Do not worry, you do not need to make a new wound.” He gestured with his undamaged hand to encompass Guillermo’s face.

Dazed, Guillermo wiped his cupid’s bow with a light touch. He extended it to meet Nandor’s pinkie, maneuvering it so they wrapped around each other. They held fast to each other a moment too long before

Nandor ripped his finger back.

“That is a very gross custom.” Nandor said as he licked his finger clean. His expression said otherwise, his eyes closing briefly.

“How do we taste together?” The question slipped out of Guillermo before he really processed it. The blush in his cheeks hit a fever pitch.

Nandor looked at him, dumbfounded.

“I mean—” There wasn’t much he could do to salvage that but damn if he wasn’t going to try. “I imagine your blood is kind of cold and tastes different than human blood and no one’s ever um, had mine before. No reviews on…Yelp.” Oh he really should have stopped while he was behind.

“It is natural to be curious.” Nandor said, much more gracious than Guillermo ever would have expected. “Vampires do not taste their blood often. Only to heal wounds or an exchange between lovers. Or you know, a turning.” He shrugged. “The closest I can describe is it is like…a comfort food.”

“And me?” He breathed the question more than asked.

“You—” Nandor looked down at him through his dark eyelashes. He cleared his throat. “You are very good, Guillermo. Very sweet, since you’re a virgin.” He tilted his head. “With surprisingly dark notes. Which I prefer, I prefer desserts that are not too sweet.” His brow furrowed. “You are a little spicy. Which is not a surprise. You are a very spicy person, Guillermo. So small, so full of rage. You are a little Kia Soul of violence.” He said this approvingly and Guillermo decided not to comment about Nandor’s association of Kia Souls with rage. He was actually kind of impressed he even knew what one was before he remembered his brief obsession with the Kia commercials with the hamsters, which he forced Guillermo to bring up on YouTube for a week straight.

“I thought it might hurt you.” Guillermo admitted. “What with my Van Helsing ancestry.”

“I have had thoughts about it. I have thought I might have a very bad time.” Nandor’s expression turned sly. “But as it turns out, you are much the forbidden fruit. Sweet and a little damning, hm?”

“Well, glad that’s settled. I would feel bad if my blood was like. Poison to you.” He shook his head. “Which was kind of dumb of us to test in the first place, but. It’s done.”

“I wonder what I would taste like to you.” Nandor mused, causing Guillermo’s heart to stutter. “I have not felt the need to ask anyone before.”

Guillermo looked down at his own pinkie, still smeared with their shared gore. There were two paths before him, to keep things hypothetical, to wipe his hand off on his shirt. Or. He could indulge in his eternal fantasy for a moment with this opportunity he might never get again until Nandor finally turned him. (If he ever did, he thought particularly bitterly.) He raised his gaze to meet Nandor’s, gingerly placing his finger on his tongue. The sensation was like a slow burn, like rum on a winter night, like cardamom. He could trick himself into thinking he could taste the roses that lingered on Nandor’s skin after a deep soak. There was another undercurrent, like wine and something that reminded him of summer. It all felt like an embarrassingly dramatic vampire novella but it was the truth. He didn’t miss the rapt look on Nandor’s face.

“And how was it for you?” Nandor tilted his head. “From what I remember as a human, with blood streaming down my face from battle, it was rather icky, like licking a rusty spoon.”

“I think if it was just my blood, that would be the case.” Guillermo considered. “Well, maybe not because I have special blood. I think.” He looked to Nandor for confirmation, though he felt silly about it. What a dumb idea, that just because he was of the Van Helsing line, he had some kind of magic blood. But Nandor nodded. “You’re um.” He turned away slightly, embarrassed. “Nice, too.”

“Nice? Eugh.” Nandor made an offended face. “I give you fucking poetry and you give me this nice! I am not nice!”

“Won’t argue you with you there.” Guillermo said under his breath. Of course Nandor would be a total queen about the matter. “Fine. You somehow manage to be warm and cold at the same time. Kind of like spices and um, flowers, I think.”

Nandor sniffed and nodded. “Acceptable.”

“Glad you meet your own standards.” Guillermo couldn’t control the accompanying eyeroll. “So are we going back to kicking each other’s asses or?”

“Hmph. The only ass that has been kicked today is yours.”

“Would you like me to change that?” He said wryly. Wouldn’t hurt to see Nandor flat on his ass. Instant serotonin, really, with how much he’d like to kick his ass on a daily basis but could never quite justify it. Truly, their sparring was a great outlet for expressing his annoyance with Nandor’s typical fuckery.

Nandor looked him up and down. “You have been harmed enough for today. I would like you to recover.” That bordered on a little too caring for his taste so he tacked on, “I need a bodyguard in the shape of the boat.”

“The—” This one took a minute as he tried to trace the vampire’s thought process. “You mean shipshape.”

Nandor threw up his hands. “Really this is too much, the repeating of myself.” He went to walk out of the room, but lingered on the threshold, hand on the doorframe. He turned back to Guillermo slightly, his expression in profile. “Am I the first vampire who has tasted you?”

“Surprisingly yes, considering all the proximity with the slaying and such. And you know, all the hijinks you all get me in the middle of. And then leave me in the middle of.”

Nandor was quiet a moment before rapping his knuckles against the doorframe. “Good.”

He left without explaining.

Guillermo refused to think on it too much. He knew way back when at Simon the Devious’s club, when Nandor offered him to that one vampire, it was a moment of the lady doth protesting too much. Nandor was possessive of all his things, and Guillermo was one of them. He was mercurial and did his best to seem unaffected by anything, but he was free with his jealousy. It didn’t mean anything more.

The next day, they were in the study together, taking a day off from their daily sparring because as Nandor whined, “I did not remember humans are so slow to heal. I expected it to be an hour at most. Try harder.”

Now Nandor was engrossed in a Western, boots kicked up as he lounged on the couch. Nadja was in her little studio, turning a freshly killed rabbit into a taxidermy, using antlers she purchased on Etsy. She was making a jackalope. She had grumbled the whole time she went up the stairs. She was quite put out she had to do the work herself, as she had thought jackalopes were real and would find one to kill eventually. Laszlo was in the music room and Colin was in his room, presumably trolling Reddit for a midnight snack. Guillermo wasn’t used to having free time, but his former duties had been reduced enough that it was a concept he needed to, ironically, get familiar with. He was sitting across from Nandor in an armchair. He didn’t dare kick his feet up over the arm like Nandor did. He’d probably claim it as a “vampire-only” activity, to which Guillermo would have to manually lower his blood pressure.

After a half hour of companionable silence, Nandor sighed heavily. When Guillermo didn’t respond, he sighed even more deeply, clearly wanting attention.

Guillermo marked his spot in his own book. “Yes, Nandor?” He said with indulgent patience.

“I am hungry.” He whined.

“Alright? Eat. There are several people in the basement.”

“I don’t want leftovers.” The vampire pouted.

“Okay. Then what a beautiful night to go hunting.”

“That is too much work. Will you get me someone fresh? It doesn’t even have to be a virgin.”

“Remember how I am not your familiar anymore?”

“Think of it as protecting my body from hunger.”

Guillermo pinched the bridge of his nose, counting to ten as he breathed in and out slowly, like his therapist would tell him, if he could afford one.

“Why are you breathing funny?”

So I don’t kill you, he thought darkly. He sat up as a compromise occurred to him. “You can have some of mine.”

Nandor looked at him blankly.

“My blood.” He didn’t think that needed explaining.

“That is very slutty of you, Guillermo, to be offering your blood.” Nandor admonished despite the clear spark of interest in his countenance. “Did I awaken something in you? Are you so eager to be giving your blood out to any vampire?”

“It wouldn’t be any vampire. It would be just you.”

Nandor placed a hand to his chest as if scandalized. “That is very forward of you! I already told you that is a very intimate act between enemies and lovers. Are you wanting to be my enemy or lover?”
Guillermo threw up his hands and rose. “Fine. Forget about it. But we have food at home so if you want something else, go get it yourself.” He made it halfway across the room before Nandor spoke.

“Well I am not doing that, the effort is beneath me I just want a little snack. But since you are being very mean and will not procure one for me, I will take you up on your very impertinent offer.” He said sullenly before holding up a finger. “We will not be having a sex though, and remember we pinkie swore, a dark curse will befall you if you harm me.”

Guillermo bit his lip to keep from correcting him on so many facets of that declaration.

“Ka peach?”

Capiche, Guillermo corrected internally. “Yep, understood, we are not going to fuck or kill each other.”

“Okay come here.”

He crossed the room, settling next to Nandor on the couch. Guillermo proffered his wrist, but Nandor bypassed it, leaning to run a thumb across his neck. He shivered at the touch, which Nandor noted.

“It will not hurt if I do not want it to.” Nandor assured him. “And we pinkie swore.” He added solemnly. He waited a moment, surprisingly giving Guillermo space to change his mind, before leaning in to nose at his neck. He sighed, his breath cool against Guillermo’s skin. The bite was quick, efficient. He’d seen Nandor feed countless times, always cleanly and brutally. This was the closest to tenderness he had ever experienced. Nandor hummed into his skin as the blood began to flow, pausing every once in a while to pull back and lap at the wound. Guillermo’s fingers clenched of their own accord into the fabric of Nandor’s cape that hung at his side. The bite had been a sting like a syringe, as if full of the serenity that followed on its heels. Nandor had kept his promise, his venom dulled his senses, freeing him from pain.

Nandor pulled back slightly, a hand briefly alighting on Guillermo’s where he clutched him. “Are you okay?”

Guillermo nodded sharply, words a bit beyond him as he processed the unreal experience. It was everything and nothing like he imagined from a vampire bite.

Nandor resumed without further prompting, returning to the wound, renewing the blood flow with a light bite, precisely over the original site. His hand drifted from Guillermo’s. His other hand drifted from where it held Guillermo in place in a businesslike manner, the grasp landing on the back of his head, softening as his fingertips rested in his hair. When Nandor sat back after a final lave to the bite, he was nearly purring, eyes half-shut in satisfaction. Blood remained smeared lightly across his lips.

It took a moment for Guillermo to recover himself. “You good?” He asked, as if he wasn’t the one who was just gently ravaged.

“Mm. Yes, thank you, Guillermo. I am restored from the brink of famine.” He said without a trace of irony as he licked his lips.
Guillermo scoffed and made to move. Nandor placed a staying hand on his knee, the touch burning.

“I do not want you to be doing this for anyone else. Not even for Nadja or Laszlo. Especially not Colin Robinson because that would be very weird considering he is an energy vampire.”

“Wasn’t intending to.” He said slowly. “At least not unless it was a life or death—undeath?—situation. And if Colin needed a blood donor, I guess. Like. Medically. At the hospital. Besides, I don’t trust them like I trust you.” And it was kind of debasing to be a snack, which he would not encourage Nadja and Laszlo to be indulging in. The very idea made him feel like there was slime in his stomach. With Nandor, it was like a gift between…friends, he settled on, dissatisfied.

Nandor nodded. At least one of them was satisfied. “Alright, the life-saving is acceptable. But don’t make a habit of it.”

“I’ll—try?”

“I smelled blood. Are we finally eating Gizmo?” Laszlo strode into the room without preamble. “Why wasn’t there a meeting? I would have voted in favor, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked to have been asked.” When he marked their proximity and the fresh would on Guillermo’s neck, his gaze narrowed. “My, my. Are you finally shagging? Don’t let me interrupt.” And yet he didn’t make any move to leave.

“What—” Guillermo sputtered while Nandor scooched away.

“What a ridiculous thing to be saying.” Nandor huffed.

“Oh is it. Then tell me why Guillermo is all cozied up to you like a bloody Jezebel, hm? I knew you were a cougar, Nandor, but really?”

Nandor hissed, lifting a foot in the air, poised to strike, and Laszlo hissed right back.

Nadja barged into the room holding something furry to her chest. “Hello! Yes, yes we all get it your cocks are very big. You will be stopping whatever stupid turkey squabbling you are doing and witness my masterpiece.”

“Beloved—” Laszlo began, beseeching.

Nandor pointed a clawed finger at him. “He is slut-shaming my familiar! Only I get to slut-shame my familiar!”

“Not a familiar.” Guillermo muttered.

“Well if you don’t want me to slut-shame your familiar maybe you shouldn’t go necking about like horny adolescents!”

“Not a familiar.” Guillermo said more distinctly.

Nandor opened his mouth to retort to Laszlo but was cut off by a hiss so threatening it raised Guillermo’s hackles as a hunter. They all turned to Nadja, Nandor and Laszlo looking cowed.

“I will tie your entrails like a fucking cat’s cradle if you do not shut the fuck up and compliment my work of art.” She brandished what she’d been holding. It was a hare with small antlers attached. The jackalope she had been working on all evening. Even from his seat Guillermo could smell the chemicals of the taxidermy.

“That’s—that’s actually incredible, Nadja.” Guillermo said. The antlers looked seamless, as if the hare had grown them itself. And not a single bit of fur was out of place.

“Yes, of course it is, I made it.” Nadja rolled her eyes, but Guillermo could tell she was pleased.

“An absolute revelation, darling.” Laszlo agreed.

“That is a very good bunny.” Nandor said soberly.

“It is. Thank you.” Nadja curtsied. “Now what is this about Guillermo being a slut?”

“They were practically fucking right on the couch!”

“Okay we were not—” Guillermo started.

Nadja made a face. “Well you are not doing a very good job if your garments are still on. I know you are a virgin little Gizmo but you do know you need to take your breeches off at least?”

“Nope, not doing this.” Guillermo surged to his feet, snapping his book up in his hand and striding out of the room.

“I can’t believe you didn’t even offer to share.” He heard Laszlo say as he proceeded down the hall.

He flopped on his bed, blessedly alone. His book was tossed at the foot of the bed, forgotten. The scene kept playing in his head, before Laszlo interrupted, when it was just him and Nandor, pressed together.

He felt the phantom chill of his master’s hand over his, the gentle touch of his lips on his neck, the focused tenderness, the haziness as his blood was freely given.

Damn it all, he had it bad.

He woke feeling as if his entire body was made of Jell-O but if Jell-O hated him. The last weeks of sparring were quickly making his body catch up with his instincts, muscle definition building under the soft layers of fat of his stomach and along his calves. He was already pretty fit from hefting corpses but he felt more…predatory. Like he was training for a mission. Which he kind of was, he supposed.
He made his way downstairs blearily. His sleep schedule was still adjusting to having more time to actually sleep. He checked the clock on the wall, one of those ugly cat clocks with the bug-eyed cartoon face and the swishy tail. It came with Colin Robinson who came with the house and it was no accident that the clock made hellish mewling on the hour. Currently it showed just after noon, so he was safe for at least another forty minutes.

Guillermo ran a hand through his hair absently as coffee brewed. He had dry cleaning to pick up and a handful of other errands like procuring more Etsy purchases of dead animals for Nadja and glitter and hair product for Nandor, but besides that the day was his. He had done a deep clean of the house last weekend so barring any messy corpses dragged about he wasn’t beholden to the immaculate standards he used to be. He didn’t quite know what to do with the freedom of it but he had trained himself to walk by minor flaws like Laszlo’s records being out of order or the bear rug not being Just So.

He froze mid-sip as he heard footsteps in the hall. “Colin?” He called. “Did you forget something?” Unlikely, since he carried an empty briefcase to work. He supposed he could be home for lunch, but that would be odd. Colin usually liked to eat in the park, where he could argue loudly on the phone with various customer service departments, getting a two-for-one deal between the agents themselves and the annoyed parkgoers around him. It was genius, really, and Guillermo grudgingly respected the art of pettiness Colin had perfected.

But it was Nandor who blearily let himself into the kitchen, eyes squinted against the impression of sunlight through the blackout curtains. He padded on bare feet, his sleep blouse undone down to his delicate collarbones, untucked over his loose breeches.

“Master?” Guillermo set his cup down on the counter. “I mean Nandor, what are you doing out of coffin?”

Nandor waved his hand vaguely. “I wanted a little midnight snack but the dungeons are empty. Why are the dungeons empty, this is still your job, yes?”

“I told you the people in there were expiring. They had dates on them.”

“Then why did you not procure new people.” He groused.

“I mean, me and a couple other familiars are co-scouting a tennis tournament later.”

“They are athletes, they probably fuck like the rabbits. Little chance of virgins.” Nandor really got in a bad mood every time he woke up before nightfall.

“Sometimes you have to make do with non-virgins. Do you know how awkward it is to vet a virgin? It’s not like I have the same ability as you to tell the difference.”

“Excuses.” Nandor flapped a hand. Then he made grabby hands in his direction. “You will have to do, then.”

“Me? I’m sorry, does that make me or you the slut in this situation?”

“Guillermo! You can not be saying these things to me. It is inappropriate.”

“I’m sorry, was that a vampire-only joke?” He rolled his eyes.

“Yes.” Nandor said sullenly. “Now are you going to get me someone off the streets or are you going to let me have a little nibble so I can go back to sleep.”

“Fine.” He didn’t make a move to meet him, however. If Nandor was going to be a petty little brat then he could walk the few steps to get to him.

Nandor sighed dramatically, crossing the kitchen tile to meet Guillermo where he leaned against the counter. He practically yanked him into his arms, though his hands gentled as he tilted Guillermo’s head to the side.

“You are getting awfully liberal with this. You’ve drank my blood more in one week than in entire years.” And if the situation made his heart rate pick up that was his business and no one else’s.

“Mm. It is your fault for proving how delicious I thought you’d be.” Nandor said sleepily as he nosed at his neck. He shivered against the feeling of his cool, soft lips.

“Why now? After all these years?”

“I have told you, it is looked down upon to feed from your familiars casually.” He sighed into his skin, fangs grazing.

“And this isn’t casual?”

“Fuck what is looked down upon. I am Nandor the Relentless.” He said as if that explained everything, which, it really did. “And we have not been casual for some time. Not since the theatre. Not since you became what you are.” Did Nandor realize his arm was drifting to Guillermo’s waist? That the weight of his hand was featherlight, as if he were breakable? Nandor pulled back and Guillermo’s heart sunk, but it was just enough for him to look down at Guillermo. “How many have you killed now? Of my kind.”

Guillermo let out a weighted breath. “Are you sure you want to know?”

“I imagine I saw the majority of the action, unless you’ve been haunting the streets without me knowing. Is that what you do when you leave at night? When I do not ask where you go anymore?” Guillermo began to look away but Nandor grasped his jaw, forcing him to meet his gaze.

“No. I’ve only killed to protect you. Well. There was that one family that turned Derek.”

“That was you?” Nandor asked with some measure of surprise.

“I thought they were coming here, at first. And then it was too late. They were going in with or without me, and I knew I was the only one who could protect them.”

“Who?”

“Remember when I went to the Mosquito Club looking for virgins, thinking it was literally about mosquitoes?”

Nandor hummed in assent.

“Turns out they were wannabe vampire hunters, except one of them, a friend of Nadja’s little pet vampire, actually found a coven.”

“They called us mosquitoes?” Nandor pulled a disgusted face. “That is very rude.”

“I don’t think they cared about vampire feelings since they were, y’know, trying to kill you all.”

“But you did it instead.” There was that flicker of unease that came over Nandor despite his assurances that he trusted Guillermo with his safety. “How many?” He repeated.

“It’s not like I keep track.” He did. “Probably around fifty.”

Nandor let out a low hiss that caused Guillermo to tense. Nandor’s grip softened but did not yield. “That is more than I thought.”

“And what about you? What’s your body count?”

“Mortals or vampires?”

“Both.”

“You know I could not possibly fathom that, Guillermo. Many more than you. So many you will never catch up, no matter how bloodthirsty you become.” There was a note of pride in his voice, and Guillermo got the distinct impression that it was half for Guillermo as well as the retired warlord himself. “I taste that in you, you know.” Nandor’s lips returned to his throat.

“Bullshit.” It was hard enough to believe vampires could taste virginity or the lack thereof, especially since virginity was a social construct.

“Believe what you will, my little slayer.” Guillermo didn’t have the chance to react as Nandor bit down.

It was a little less controlled in Nandor’s exhaustion and eagerness, deeper than before and less precise. Guillermo hissed and winced at the sting of it and Nandor crooned against the wound, grip tightening on his waist in what he took to be a soothing gesture. Without thinking, Guillermo reached up to thread his hand in Nandor’s hair, reassuring him as he pressed the vampire closer to him. Nandor was true to his word, taking only a few generous gulps. Guillermo felt the loss of that connection immediately. Nandor licked the wound clean before pulling back, though he didn’t go far.

“You are very warm, Guillermo.” The vampire sighed, leaning his forehead against his shoulder.

“It’s the blood flow.” He replied dumbly. “And I had the curtains open earlier. I didn’t expect anyone to be up.”

“Mm.” Nandor acknowledged lazily as he continued to bask in the rare living warmth.

“Do you want me to put you back to coffin?”

Nandor pulled back then. “That would be nice.”

“Okay. Come on, then.”

“One more minute.” Nandor whined in a growl, switching gears once again on a dime, as he was prone to do. “I cannot bring your warmth with me.”

You could, you really could. Guillermo thought, then squished the thought down in the box with all his other sappy, empty wishes. “Well hold up then, before you get blood on my pajamas.” He coaxed his master back so that he could dab his own blood off his lips. He didn’t have a handkerchief handy as he always kept in his day clothes, so he scrounged around for a napkin. He ran it over the burst of crimson on Nandor’s lips, who leaned into the touch. When his knuckles brushed the vampire’s lips, he pulled his hand back as if burned. He averted his gaze, doing his level best to act like nothing had happened. He tossed the napkin in the trash before returning to his master’s side, who immediately burrowed into his side.

“You take very good care of me.” Nandor noted.

“Thank you.”

“I have not taken very good care of you.”

Guillermo paused before turning back to the unusually pensive vampire. “Not always.” He agreed slowly.

Nandor chuckled. “You are being generous.” He slumped against the counter, running the heel of his hand over his eyes before letting out a wide yawn that bared his fangs.

“Let’s get you to coffin.” Guillermo said softly.

They had only taken a couple steps before Nandor stopped and Guillermo looked up at him questioningly.

“I do not want you to think I only care for you now because you have gotten very good at battle.”

Guillermo’s heart stilled.

“I like you for other things, too.”

“I—thank you.”

Nandor nodded solemnly before allowing himself to be steered back toward his crypt. When they arrived, Guillermo dutifully opened Nandor’s coffin and offered a hand for him to lower himself into the nest of satin and furs. He heaved a contented sigh as he snuggled down into the bedding. It was damned cute.

Nandor slow-blinked at Guillermo, barely able to keep his eyes open. “Thank you Guillermo I will slumber now. Nighty night.”

“Nighty night.” Guillermo echoed softly as he closed the lid gently.

The next night they resumed their usual sparring. The house was silent apart from the sounds of their exchanges. Nadja and Laszlo were on a date night at the opera and Colin Robinson was at Tuesday trivia night at a local bar.

They were using daggers this evening, developing a quicker draw for Guillermo and better aim at a moving target. He’d managed to pin Nandor’s cape to the wall, much to the vampire’s displeasure.

“If you don’t want to risk it getting damaged you shouldn’t wear it in a combat scenario!” Guillermo said, exasperated.

“Well if your aim was better it would not be being a problem!”

“Just stand still I’ll show you good aim.” Guillermo muttered.

“Excuse you! That is very rude, Guillermo!” Nandor glowered. “You must fix my cape.”

“Now? We’re kind of in the middle of something.”

Nandor lifted his chin, divesting himself of the cape and holding it out silently.

“Fine. Oh my—geese.” He finished unsatisfactorily. He should have just said it. Let the fucker burn. He tugged the cape out of Nandor’s hand with a little more force than necessary.

“Hmph. You used to be so respectful of me. Now it is always with the talk back.”

“My job is to protect you, not respect you.” Guillermo pointed out.

Nandor gasped. “Two hundred demerits. A thousand demerits!”

Guillermo waved a hand as he left the room, making his way to the kitchen. He half expected Nandor to follow him to continue berating him for his insolence, but he didn’t. Once Guillermo got to the kitchen he went to work, standing on his tip toes to pull down the sewing kit from a top cupboard. He picked through for the appropriate thread and a needle, turning to the cape splayed out on the countertop with a sigh. It shouldn’t take much time. After he had figured out how fussy Nandor’s wardrobe was when he was a young familiar, Guillermo had taken up sewing. It was a lot cheaper than constantly running to a tailor every time a cape hit a snag or there was a tear in a vest or a stocking to be darned. He became very proficient at various hand-stitches and took up embroidery in his spare time. He’d even made himself a jacket, which Nandor had admired before he found out he had made it, in which case Nandor backtracked to be more aloof. “Surprisingly adequate,” he ended up on.

He went to work on the heavy fabric, thoughts drifting as he settled into the work. He was so focused that he lost track of time and space, which was why when Nandor said, “Are you almost done?” Guillermo stuck himself as he dropped the needle and turned in a flash, stake in hand and pressed to the vampire’s chest before he knew it.

They looked at each other in surprise, Guillermo’s lips parted in shock as their attention turned to the stake between them, digging into the fabric of Nandor’s blouse that was nearly sheer in the lighting.

"Very good reflexes.” Nandor commented, glancing up.

Guillermo was breathing hard, startled by the quickness of it all and more than a little scared of himself. He kept thinking he was becoming more in control of his preternatural tendencies, but then moments like these threw him off his axis.

“It is okay, Guillermo.” Nandor said soothingly. He placed a cool hand on top of the one Guillermo grasped the weapon with. He spoke to him as if he were a spooked horse, and some part of him wondered wryly if this was how he spoke to John all those centuries ago. The vampire guided the sharp point away from his chest, lowering it slowly, never breaking eye contact.

Guillermo let it clatter to the floor, pressing a hand into his chest as he willed his heart to slow.

“So fast.” Nandor murmured. He lifted a hand as if to place it on Guillermo’s shoulder and he flinched back. Nandor looked—hurt?—for a moment before he schooled his features.

“I can’t.” Guillermo said, taking a step back. What use was he as a bodyguard if he was a danger to the person he was supposed to be guarding? They’d only just had this conversation days ago, when he was so sure he could stop himself. What if his blood was stronger than his will? Was this what it was like to be a vampire? Blood versus will for eternity? He knew he was spiraling but he felt powerless to stop it.

“You will not hurt me.” Nandor said, like he was promising Guillermo.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered, chagrined.

Nandor lifted a shoulder in a lazy shrug. “You are right to be threatened by me. By my nature we are enemies after all. It is by our choice we are not.” That was a little too much candor for him because he swiftly moved on. “You have hurt yourself.”

Guillermo looked down. Nandor was right, there was a small drop of blood where the needle got him. He went to rub it off on his jeans—he wore those instead of dress pants on occasion now, like a loose cannon—but Nandor stayed his hand.

“Let me.”

“I—”

“This can be your apology.”

Guillermo watched, wordlessly, as Nandor took his hand gingerly in his as if he might be asking for his next dance. He ran his tongue across the small wound with a gentle stroke then released him.

“It’s almost done.” Guillermo said dumbly, gesturing at the cape where it lay stretched out like the skin of a fantastical animal.

“You may leave it tonight. Finish it in the daytime.”

“It’s no trouble.” If he was going to keep failing at being a bodyguard he needed to prove he could at least still be useful for the things he was as a familiar. “I can do it.”

“I know you can.” Nandor’s long fingers tilted Guillermo’s chin to meet his gaze as the former familiar refused to look him in the eye. “You are thinking the big thoughts again.” He admonished gently.
Guillermo swallowed hard. “What if we’re just kidding ourselves? That someone like me could ever protect you. That someone like me could ever become…” He steeled himself. “What if I can’t even become a vampire? After all this. And what if we’re destined to repeat all the same patterns? Slayer and… slayed. It never ends well. I grew up on Buffy.”

Nandor chuckled, a sound that rumbled low in his chest. “The confidence. Assuming you would be the one to conquer me? Me, of the thousands of bones beneath my feet?” His hand drifted to Guillermo’s collarbone as he hummed thoughtfully. “But maybe it would not be so bad to see you try.” Was Guillermo misreading the energy here or was Nandor…smoldering at him?

“I know we said no holding back during training.” Guillermo said, ready to confess. “But I’ve been holding back.”

“Oh, Guillermo.” Nandor said, fondly patronizing. “I have as well.”

“Why.” He whispered.

“Because.” Nandor’s hand strayed to tug at a wayward curl. “I do not want to break something precious to me.” It was so close—he was so damn to close to finally admitting he cared for Guillermo in a concrete way. The feeling of it was bittersweet. It was so much. It wasn’t enough. He could barely breathe. “And why do you hold back?”

“Because after all these years of service.” Guillermo swallowed, bracing himself. “I have learned that to be able to kill someone and to keep choosing not to is a form of love.” He nearly choked on the words. But he kept Nandor’s gaze the whole time. If only one of them could be brave, it would be him. It had always, when it came down to it, been him.

Nandor’s lips parted, a beat of silence where time ceased to exist, where eternity seemed to fit into a pocket. Then he was moving irrevocably into Guillermo’s space, lips crushing his with a force that was bruising. Guillermo gasped as they pressed together and he discovered Nandor’s erection. They ground into each other slowly, Nandor releasing a soft growl that had Guillermo’s heartrate going at a dangerous level.

“How long have you—?” Guillermo asked as he forced a space between them to breathe. Nandor made an impatient noise, as if his need to breathe was a great inconvenience, which was so on brand he chuckled even as the vampire pulled him impossibly tighter against him, backing him into the counter so that the hard edge of it bit into his spine.

“On and off. Like a fire in the fireplace. So cozy. But once I discovered you could truly burn me—Mm.” He trailed off, tugging at Guillermo’s bottom lip, which made his hips stutter.

“If I knew all this time you liked the idea of getting your ass kicked—”

“It is not often someone has a fighting chance.”

Guillermo had some doubts about that—after all, the vampire had avoided fighting a werewolf by tricking him into diving off a roof, which could be strategy and not cowardice, he supposed, if you squinted. The train of thought was immediately derailed as Nandor fiddled with his cardigan, moving to slide it off his shoulders. “What are you—”

“Guillermo.” The sound was as close to begging as Nandor was capable of. “I want to see what the warrior looks like, unwrapped.”

“Jeez. You can’t just say things like that.” A powerful blush rose in his cheeks, which Nandor observed raptly. He didn’t stay Nandor’s hands, though, which the vampire rightly took as permission. Nandor disrobed him, hissing in satisfaction when he was down to his shirt merely cresting his hips.

“And why not?” Nandor asked as he pressed a kiss into the junction of his neck, into his collarbone, into every inch of him he could reach.

“It’s—too much.” Guillermo huffed as the sensations nearly overwhelmed him. It was like every idle dream come true, every stray thought as he caught Nandor’s features in the streetlight, as Guillermo unbuttoned his fine dress shirts, as he worked shampoo and perfumed oils into his hair.

“Beauty and strength should be adored.” His expression was open, sincere.

“Well, clearly I agree on that. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a little in love with you for a decade.” He pushed a hand under Nandor’s shirt, caressing his soft stomach.

“I’ve noticed.” Nandor assured him, leaning into his touch with a deep purr that rumbled through Guillermo’s chest where they connected.

“All this time, you let me trail after you like a goddamn puppy—”

Nandor hissed, but it was with a slight smile. “Again.”

“What?”

“Burn me with your words.”

“Not until you answer me.”

“You did not ask a question.”

“If you knew—why did you not put me out of my misery, one way or the other?”

“I am a selfish creature, Guillermo. I liked the attention. I liked none of the consequences of voicing my own interest. I liked the knowledge that you would always be at my heel.” He said honestly, which

Guillermo was grateful for, which made him want to raze him like a city for the sheer cruelty of it all.

“Goddamn you, Nandor.” He said with feeling.

Nandor shivered, smiling even as he hissed against the pain. “No worries. That’s an easy wish to fulfill.”

Guillermo claimed him in a punishing kiss, undressing him with the ease of a decade of practice. Nandor stayed his hand on his belt buckle, though it was clear the restraint was costing him.

“Are you sure? You are still a sweet little thing.”

“Well then you haven’t been paying attention. Which is on brand for you.”

Nandor bared his teeth in a scowl as he dropped his hand. Guillermo stripped his belt, letting it fall to the floor with a metallic clink. He pulled his own pants down until he was only in his boxers. Nandor hefted him up on the counter with ease and instinctually Guillermo wrapped his legs around his master, causing him to bare his teeth with an entirely different emotion. He ran his hand down one of Guillermo’s thighs, pulling him impossibly closer.

“You are mine, do you understand that?” He asked, scoring Guillermo’s neck and shoulder with shallow bites that had him twitching in his underwear. Nandor sealed the statement with a kiss, achingly gentle in contrast.

Guillermo bit him right back, sinking his blunt teeth into his charge’s neck, causing Nandor to jolt and release a soft moan. “I possess you just as much. Do you understand?”

Nandor looked at him with a mixture of desire and self-pride, a small war.

“Say it.” Guillermo commanded, emboldened by Nandor’s clear indication that he felt close enough to the same way about him as he did about the vampire.

“I am as much yours as you are mine.” He bit out.

Guillermo reached down between them, stroking Nandor. “And was that so hard?”

Nandor looked down at him quizzically. “Yes it is apparent I am very hard.”

God, he is so dumb and beautiful sometimes. “I meant sharing your feelings.”

“Oh. Yes. I did not like it very much.” He grimaced. At Guillermo’s stricken look, he hurried on. “The words do not come easy to me. I would rather put them in a little box in the back of my mind. But for you, they are worth it, the not easy.”

It was in a lot of ways lackluster as a confession, if you didn’t know Nandor, but knowing him, it was a whole revelation. Guillermo grabbed him by the back of the neck, pulling him down for a kiss. Nandor hummed happily.

“Okay.” Guillermo said, pulling back with a sharp nod.

“Okay?”

“I wanna do this.” He paused, losing a bit of his nerve. “Go, um, all the way, I mean.”

“All the way to where?” Nandor’s brow furrowed in far too serious consideration.

“I mean I—I want to have—sex with you.”

Nandor’s expression cleared, then transformed into a kind of fiendish delight. “Oh, yes, that is something I know well.” He glanced down meaningfully at Guillermo’s own erection as he continued to grind into his palm.

“On second thought, if you’re going to be insufferable…”

Nandor growled, and it was half serious. “No second thoughts. You will suffer me.” He held fast to the backs of Guillermo’s thighs possessively before maneuvering him so that they were prone on the kitchen floor. Guillermo shivered between the chill of the tile and the chill of Nandor on top of him.

“Really? On the kitchen floor?”

“It is a perfectly fine place for copulation.”

“Not exactly where I envisioned losing my virginity but I guess it’s a step up from prom night.”

“What is this prom night?” Nandor leaned down, his long, loose hair a parted curtain around them. He looked down at him through his lashes. He was too pretty, it should be a crime.

“It’s—uh. Like a—ball. A coming-of-age ball. A lot of kids lose their virginity before, during, and after. At my junior year, a kid got kicked out for fingering his date under the table.”

Nandor tsked. “And what were you doing at this prom?”

“Leaving room for Jesus on the dance floor.” What had his date’s name been? Sofia? He remembered the chaperones circling like birds of prey, ensuring Pride and Prejudice levels of propriety.

“Bleh.”

Guillermo laughed. “Yeah, bleh.” His laughter was cut short on a groan as Nandor settled his weight more solidly on him. “Fuck, Nandor.”

“Yeah?” Nandor’s lips quirked as he rocked his hips slowly downward.

Guillermo bit his own lip as his hands roamed, the fingernails of one hand digging into Nandor’s strong thigh while the tips of the other ran softly down the curve of his spine. The vampire arched into his touch, eyes closed, his cock hardening further even as he continued rutting into Guillermo at a maddeningly slow pace.

“More.”

Nandor’s eyes opened to slits. “Is that an order, little familiar?”

“I’m not a familiar.” He bit out, holding in a whine as Nandor stilled atop him.

“Then prove it.” His master’s mouth split into a feline grin. He ran his thumb over Guillermo’s tip beneath the waistband of his boxers. “Do not ask for your more. Take it. That is, unless you can’t—”

Guillermo rolled Nandor under him, snatching the discarded stake lying nearby up and pressing it into his broad chest as he pinned him with his thighs. “You can’t make a single thing easy, can you?”

“Guillermo.” Nandor’s pupils were blown so wide Guillermo half expected to see stars in their depths. “I—ah—” His gaze was locked on the tip of the stake buried in his chest. One of his hands clutched at Guillermo’s side, the other moved to take his own cock in his hand, shuddering as he stroked himself.

“Yes, Nandor? Use your words.” He put on a little more pressure, driving the stake to break skin but barely.

Nandor gasped. “That.” His head fell back with a soft thump as he arched.

Guillermo rolled his eyes, indulgent, as things focused back on Nandor as they inevitably always did. He couldn’t complain this time—the image of his former master writhing under him was dreadfully compelling. “Yeah?” He murmured softly. “Like that?”

Nandor bit his lower lip on a moan, his fang piercing the soft flesh. Guillermo ran his thumb gently over the puncture wound. It gave him an idea. He turned up the pad of his thumb, catching it on one of Nandor’s fangs. The vampire hissed in surprise, eyes snapping open as Guillermo snapped his hand back, careful to make sure not a single drop of blood fell, not yet.

“Guillermo?” Nandor asked as his former familiar raised his hand to the moonlight, both of them observing the way the dark spill wove down his upturned palm.

Guillermo tilted his head as he considered his master. He pressed his thumb against his lower lip which gave way immediately, the vampire’s tongue flicking out to capture the bloody fingerprint. Before he could get more than the barest taste, Guillermo pulled his hand back, ignoring the resultant whine. He held his hand above the vampire’s face.

“Work for it.” He said simply.

Nandor’s lips parted in a scowl as he began to lift his face, then he bared his fangs as Guillermo twisted the stake in a little deeper. Guillermo made a low, coaxing noise in the back of his throat. The vampire understood then, his eyes flashing like embers in the night for a moment as he renewed his efforts. He strained against the weapon as he strained for Guillermo’s dangled fingers, just out of reach. He bit back a growl as the stake pushed in just that much deeper and he was rewarded with a droplet of blood that fell from his lover’s outstretched fingers.

“That’s it.” Guillermo encouraged. “Such a good boy.”

Nandor hissed at the praise, taking himself in his palm as he continued to hunt, determined to beat Guillermo at his little game. Guillermo for his part sat enraptured, enamored with every little grunt of exertion that melted into a moan, a hiss, a gasp. As Nandor’s strokes gradually became fucking himself with his fist, Guillermo relented. By then the vampire’s face was a canvas of light blood splatter and sweat from his efforts. Guillermo held his fingers just in front of his face. The vampire snarled, latching on to his fingers with surprising restraint, sucking them clean as he continued to pump himself. Guillermo was ready when he came, tossing the stake to the kitchen floor to avoid actual minor impaling as he spasmed. He gathered Nandor in his arms, the vampire clutching him as he shook, his moan reverberating in Guillermo’s chest. When he was finished, he turned his face into Guillermo’s neck, breathing hard through the little aftershocks. Guillermo carded his hand through his master’s sweaty hair, making soothing noises.

“Guillermo.” Nandor pushed away from him at last, rolling back to prop himself up on his elbows. He looked absolutely wrecked, between the complete mess of his hair, the smudge of blood around his mouth, and his slightly feral, awed expression.

“Yes, master?”

Nandor made a noise low in his throat, pulling Guillermo into him, crushing their lips together. His kisses softened, tongue soft against his lips, as he ran a hand through Guillermo’s hair. He pulled back, looking at him in wonder as he searched his former familiar’s face, fingertips running down his cheeks in a caress. “Are you sure you have not been doing this before?”

“You had a nice time?” Guillermo asked innocently.

Nandor barked out a laugh, running his tongue over his fangs. “Fucking hell.” He leaned back into Guillermo’s space, pressing his index finger onto his nose. “I should have known you are a little freak.” His gaze turned into liquid fire, tempered with tenderness. He ran a finger across Guillermo’s thigh. “Tell me.” He bent to press his lips where his finger had been, giving the flesh a little nip that caused Guillermo to jerk. Nandor looked up at him through his hair. “What do you want.” He laved the bite with his tongue before pressing up onto his knees. “Do you want it dirty?” He dug his nails into Guillermo’s back just to the point of pain before letting them drag down his skin in a caress. “Do you want to see my marks all over you? Or.” He bent down to press a featherlight kiss against Guillermo’s ear as he ran a fingertip along his jaw. “Do you want me to be sweet to you, Guillermo?”

Guillermo shivered inside Nandor’s embrace. “I—” His breath left him as Nandor fully peeled off his underwear, took him in his hand, began stroking him softly and pressed a kiss to his temple. He leaned back, not ceasing in his ministrations, as he looked Guillermo in the eye.

“I will give you all of this and more.” He said.

Guillermo didn’t know what to say he wanted, which was fucking ironic, all things considered. In the beginning, he’d imagined something out of an Anne Rice novel, something in mood lighting that left tender bites across his body. After he’d been with Nandor for awhile, heard about all of his military campaigns and the heat of the battlefield, rougher threads wove their way into his fantasies, scenes of him being conquered, claimed, and deemed worthy to be kept. Over the years his idle fantasies and deeper longings circled in on themselves like an ouroboros. He’d finally gotten one dream come true—that Nandor finally saw him as an equal. And another, almost unlikelier, his master writhing beneath him for his sake, for his touch, which—those images would last him an eternity, at least. But now?

“I want—”

“Yes?” Nandor encouraged, running a thumb down the column of Guillermo’s neck when words failed him.

“I want you to show me how you really feel about me.”

Nandor’s eyes widened slightly. “Guillermo—” He broke off as he searched him with his eyes. “Oh.” He sighed deeply, pulling his bodyguard into a kiss that was painfully soft. “Come here.” He pulled Guillermo fully into his arms, lavishing him in kisses, pressing them into his hairline, his forehead, his cheek, his jawline, the crook of his neck, everywhere, everywhere.

“Stand for me.” Nandor’s tone was imploring, not demanding, as he coaxed Guillermo up. He pressed the smaller man into the counter, hand working between his legs as he bent to capture his lips. “I will not let you make guesses any longer.” He gave Guillermo one last stroke before turning to face the cabinets, humming when Guillermo let out a little noise of displeasure. “Ah.” He rummaged around a moment before retrieving a small flask of oil. He liberally applied it to himself, looking somehow graceful in his complete lack of self-consciousness. He turned back to Guillermo. “I keep the sex oils all over the home.” He explained unnecessarily. Guillermo was the one he had buy and place all the sex oils, after all. “You never know when you will be needing the sex oils. They are the essential oils.”

Nandor crossed back over to Guillermo, placing one hand on his waist and tipping his chin up with the other. “Do you trust me, Guillermo?”

Guillermo nodded, emotional. Oh, god.

Nandor turned him gently so that his stomach was pressed into the counter and Nandor was at his back. “I will take care of you.” It was a simple sentence, but after a literal decade of Guillermo thanklessly taking care of every little thing for Nandor and the others and having to watch his own back the entire time, it was…a lot, to be the one being taken care of, to be able to just…let go. He tensed at the initial press of Nandor’s slightly chill finger against him and Nandor hummed in sympathy. But he forced himself to relax and allow Nandor in. The discomfort of being worked soon dissolved into something else entirely. He’d played with himself before, so it wasn’t an entirely foreign feeling, but it was a whole other thing to be with someone else, and this was Nandor, and—

Oh.” He moaned softly as Nandor kneaded him.

“Tell me how you feel.” Nandor coaxed as he worked a second finger in.

“You—ah—” Guillermo’s mouth fell open as Nandor curled his fingers inside him.

“Mmm?” Nandor grinded against him softly.

Guillermo arched back into him, riding his fingers, torn between slowing down and chasing that immediate high.

“Patience.” Nandor said. There was a smile in his voice. “Do you really want to fall apart so soon?” He clucked his tongue. “Though I guess I have been making you wait long enough, hm? I feel remorse now, it has been so long for you, little Guillermo.” He stretched his fingers, pulling a whimper from his bodyguard. “Tell me what you want then and you will have it.”

“You.” Guillermo breathed. “Inside me.”

Nandor made a noise low in his throat. When he removed his fingers, Guillermo nearly whined, but he was trying to maintain a shred of dignity, as a treat. “Lean forward for me.” Nandor murmured.

Guillermo propped himself up on his forearms, spreading his legs wider in anticipation. He felt precum dribble down himself as Nandor’s hand spanned his ass appreciatively before sighing.

“Do you know how many nights I’ve thought of this ass, Guillermo? How many days I’ve dreamed of it?” He dug his fingers in, causing Guillermo’s hips to buck. “Some of that dry cleaning was dedicated to you over the years, you know.” Nandor leaned in to press a kiss to Guillermo’s lower back. “And that made it all the better for me, you running back and forth, having no idea some of those stains were all. Your. Fault.”

"Nandor—”

“Shhh.” Nandor hushed gently. “Are you ready, sweet thing?”

Please.”

They both groaned as Nandor entered him. Nandor rubbed slow little circles in Guillermo’s thigh as he worked his way to the hilt and out in a slow drag. “You are taking me so well.” Nandor was true to his word, being sweet to him as he guided him. He continued with a few experimental thrusts, marking Guillermo’s reactions. Once it was evident he was fine, he set into a slow, steady pace, reaching around to stroke Guillermo in time. The bodyguard sank into his touch, mind going hazy with the sensations of his palm, of his stomach pressed into Guillermo’s back, of him filling him up and taking him but for once also giving, giving, giving.

“Oh my god.” Guillermo moaned, and Nandor’s hiss turned into a purr against him. It was too much, it wasn’t enough. He wanted Nandor to consume him totally. He already couldn’t think of a damned thing else. “Please—”

“Yes?”

More.”

And this time, Nandor did not make any challenges or quips, telling Guillermo to take. He just relented, picking up the pace, releasing Guillermo as he pressed his hands into his supple hips. Soon he gave up any pretense of control, rutting into his lover with abandon.

“Yes—exactly—like that, exactly—Nandor.” He moaned his master’s name as he came and he might be being a little dramatic but he thought he left his body for like, a second.

Nandor came with a groan, collapsing onto Guillermo’s back even as he held him steady. Which was needed, as Guillermo could not quite feel his legs and was putting a lot of trust in the counter at that point. Nandor pressed a kiss into his hip.

They stood there like that for a few moments longer, catching their breaths. Eventually Nandor shifted, standing up and maneuvering Guillermo into his arms so that they both leaned against the counter.

“Well?” Nandor hummed, running a finger down the side of Guillermo’s cheek. “What do you think, my little warrior?”

Guillermo shot him a thumbs up, at a loss. He would later look back on the moment in embarrassment, but the rumble of laughter he felt from Nandor would always be deemed worth it.

“What now?” Guillermo was too sated and exhausted to be much else, but there was that part of him that knew Nandor’s care was precarious and that this was all so fleeting. He looked at the mess they had made, between the cum and blood and clothes and stake all strewn haphazardly across the kitchen tile.

“Now—” Nandor yawned. “Now we go to coffin.”

“Okay.” His heart dipped, but he held on to his exhaustion as a buffer from all the heavy feelings promising to blossom anew like bruises in the morning. “Let me just try to clean this up and I’ll tuck you in.” He moved to disentangle himself.

Nandor held on. “You are mistaking me. We are going to coffin—together.”

Guillermo’s lips parted.

Nandor looked away, the soft steel of his gaze turning shy. “That is.” He gave a little cough. “If you will go to coffin with me.”

“Yeah.” Guillermo whispered. He smiled as Nandor whipped his head back around and then tried to look cool about it. He gestured at the general state of the kitchen, between the floor and the sewing mess on the granite island. “But what about Nadja and Laszlo and—”

“Fuck Nadja and Laszlo ‘and.’” Nandor scowled, petulant. “That will be a problem for tomorrow us.” By which he means, tomorrow me, Guillermo thought wryly. “Do you know how many sex messes Nadja and Laszlo have left for me to wander into over the centuries? You wouldn’t believe, Guillermo. Just the other day I walked into Laszlo’s ghost’s spooky ghost ejaculation!”

“That wasn’t the other day and yes I would believe, because I had to be the one to clean up all the recent said sex messes, including Laszlo’s ghost’s—yeah, but you’re absolutely right, fuck it, let’s go to bed.”

Nandor grimaced before reaching around Guillermo to get a cloth and wetting it in the sink. “I forgot you had to do the sex messes as a familiar.” He cleaned himself off then passed the cloth to Guillermo, who accepted it with a raised brow.

“I still have to do way more sex messes than I should as a bodyguard.” He cleaned himself off, tossing the cloth onto the floor when he was through, which was oddly satisfying as they turned their backs on the kitchen and made their way, buck naked, to Nandor’s crypt. “And last week I had to sit Nadja and Laszlo down and make it clear I was not to be included in assassin roleplay as that is not part of my job description and calling a false alarm so I can barge in on them fucking is actually sexual harassment.”

“I am afraid that is maybe just a teensy my fault.” Nandor said sheepishly. “I may have told them it was okay.”

“Nandor!”

The vampire raised his hands. “It is like a fire drill, yes? That the people do when the building is not on fire! So you remember how to leave the building! Which seems like something you should not have to practice! The doors are where they were last time! They’re always in the same place!”

They bickered back and forth about what constituted an appropriate assassin drill until they made it to Nandor’s crypt. Guillermo paused in the doorway as Nandor strode in.

“I mean this was a nice thought and all, really, but we can’t fit in your coffin together, so--?”

Nandor hmphed. “I am not an idiot, Guillermo.” He lifted the lid to his coffin and began hauling out his furs and a small bag of ancestral soil. “We will be going to coffin in your crypt.”

“My—oh.” Guillermo watched with a crippling amount of fondness as Nandor threw his furs over his shoulder and they dragged behind him like a security blanky.

When they got to the blue room, Nandor arranged and rearranged his furs according to some internal logic only he could crack until he was satisfied. Once he burrowed beneath the cocoon of heavy blankets, he held the edge up. “Heyyy. It is ready for you little butterfly, come in, come in.”

Guillermo bit his tongue against correcting Nandor on the steps of butterfly evolution and simply wiggled his way in. Nandor scooped him up against his chest, pressing his face into Guillermo’s hair. He sighed.

“I’m glad it was you.” Guillermo said after a minute, too honest in his exhaustion, cursing himself for not just letting the night bleed away in perfect warmth.

“Mmm?” Nandor already sounded half asleep, his hands tightening on Guillermo’s belly.

“That you were my. Uh. First. To sleep with.”

Nandor pet his hair absently. “Very good, Guillermo.”

“I know it probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but.” He sighed, feeling exceptionally stupid. He closed his eyes and snuggled down into the vampire while he could. “Never mind. Good night, Nandor.”

“Hey. Why are you thinking it means nothing to me?” Nandor tugged on his shoulder until Guillermo turned to face him.

“I mean.” Guillermo chuckled awkwardly. “You’ve had seven centuries worth of sex. What does one more body to the count matter?”

Nandor huffed. “Tch. Colin Robinson explained this body count to me when we were first roommates after I had a confusion at a bar. It is dumb in every way. But it is especially dumb in this way that you think you being just one of my hundreds of thousands of lovers means your one is any less. I may have had hundreds of thousands of lovers but I have only had one Guillermo. Duh! This is obvious.”

“Hundreds of thousands—” Guillermo nearly choked before he latched on to the important part. “—Oh.”

Nandor narrowed his eyes. “Yes, oh.”

“I—thank you, Nandor.” He blushed. Why did he have the sudden urge to cry? He was a very sexy vampire slayer who just lost his virginity to a very sexy vampire! He was winning! It was not time to be melting like a strawberry cream filling in the sun.

“Furthermore.” Nandor sniffed. “It is only right I am the one to be having your virginity.”

Guillermo arched a brow. “And that’s because?”

“I am the only one who will take care of it properly. With love and such.” Love and such!!

“It’s—it’s not a pet, Nandor.”

Nandor growled. “I am doing a gesture, Guillermo!”

“Sorry.”

“Even so.” Nandor said. He snaked his hand up between them, extending his pinkie. “We will forego the blood part of the bloody pact, I do not wish to ruin my furs, and your much less valuable sheets.”

“I—” Guillermo looked down at the offering, then back up to Nandor. His face was so solemn, so full of fierce—love? Guillermo’s breath caught. He linked their pinkies together.

Nandor nodded sagely before releasing Guillermo’s finger. Then he strained forward to press a kiss against his lips. “Now we slumber.”

Guillermo turned back to the other side, clutched the furs close to his chest, eyes slipping shut.

With his vampire impossibly, miraculously, rightfully curled around him, he finally let himself rest.