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I Don't Blame You For Being You

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The thing is, Mike had known it was a mistake from the beginning, knew the second he actually walked the kid who had his mouth fucking watering back to his apartment instead of using it as a cheap way to get him somewhere dark and secluded so he could have a taste he was fucking up. Mistake, big fucking mistake, this is the dumbest thing you've ever done you giant fuckup ran through the back of his mind, a constant mantra in William's fucking voice, every time he went back to the bookstore during one of Kevin's shifts, when he asked for his number, through every phone conversation and every date; it went away for a few minutes the first time they fucked, but only 'cause it took so much concentration to keep his hunger in check there wasn't any brainpower left for the shit that passed for his conscience these days.

But Mike kept going back, kept calling, kept fucking, 'cause apparently knowing he was going to hurt Kevin, or William was, or he was gonna manage to keep Kevin safe but get hurt like Hell himself, none of that was enough up against the way Kevin smiled at him, the little flush in Kevin's cheeks when Mike hit on him, the sweet scent of Kevin's blood flowing just beneath that pale skin, tempting but just barely resistible.

It's just that...the bookstore Kevin works at, this little out-of-the-way place near a college campus, open late to cater to the cram-session crowd, it's where Mike goes when William's getting on his last fucking nerve, when he's two seconds away from locking the guy out in the sunlight. And Bill loves to antagonize, but he's not stupid about it, doesn't push past the point their friendship, fucked up as it can be, can handle. So he doesn't follow Mike when Mike's in the kind of mood that sends him to the bookstore to calm down, so he's never gonna know about Kevin. And once the threat of William, who'd probably want this kid even without the added bonus of taking something Mike wants, is out of the picture, it's way too fucking easy to rationalize away the threat he is himself, or the knowledge that falling in love with a dude who's going to grow old and die, who has to leave him even if he never finds out Mike's a vampire, even if finding out doesn't send him away in fright or disgust (or both), can't possibly end well.

So Mike ignores the stupid voice in the back of his head, ignores the little tug in his chest every time Kevin's face falls when he invites Mike to spend the night and Mike has to say no, and keeps right on making his stupid-ass mistake.

- - - - - -

There was one thing Mike never thought of when he was rationalizing this thing with Kevin, and that was Brendon. Brendon who either doesn't get or doesn't care about Mike's tendency to act without thinking when he's pissed off enough, who doesn't know or doesn't care how bad an idea it is to follow Mike, to force his company when Mike's at the end of his rope.

So Brendon finds the bookstore, finds Kevin. So Mike walks in one night to meet Kevin for a date, and Brendon's just sitting there, talking to him, and Kevin's smiling and laughing like he has no fucking idea he's now got two vampires in his life. Probably because he doesn't have any fucking idea.

When Kevin kisses Mike hello, Brendon smirks, entirely too evil for that sweet face of his, and Mike tells Kevin he's sorry, he has to cancel, feels like shit, sorry. And Kevin's all sweet concern, and Mike's chest is so fucking full, and this is the biggest fucking mistake he's ever made.

Brendon's in the alley between the bookstore and this little late-night café where Mike tends to find is victims, coffee addicts the closest he can get to indulging the lingering caffeine addiction from when he could still drink actual human drinks. The little shit is still fucking smirking, and this is all probably about to get very bad very fast.

"He's cute," Brendon says, eyes gleaming, fangs out. "And he smells – fuck, Mike, I didn't think you were a fan of the innocent."

"There's a difference between victims and - " Mike stops, 'cause he doesn't want to say any of the words that actually describe how he feels about Kevin out loud. So he just starts walking; Brendon follows, and his smirk is even more gleeful now. Motherfucker.

"I thought you were just, y'know, drawing it out, or something. William's gonna - "

Mike's got him pressed against the wall, hand around his throat before Brendon can blink. Which he's making up for by blinking way too much, now. "You say a word to William," Mike threatens, leaning in close, "and I will fucking kill you without a second thought."

Brendon just nods, eyes wide. He's used to the rest of the Dandies, to manners and decorum and keeping the threats veiled with dry wit. Most of the Dandies avoid Mike, wary of someone who doesn't bother to veil a fucking thing, who'll go from stupid jokes to you're-fucking-dead-shitbag before anyone knows what hit them. Mike thinks he's a lot less scary than fucking William, because at least you know when Mike's unhappy with you, but Brendon follows William around like a lovesick puppy and watches Mike like he's a constant threat.

"I wasn't - " he starts, when Mike lets go of his throat, backs up a little, but Mike doesn't let him finish.

"You were," he says, "but now you're not. C'mon, I'm fucking starving."

Brendon follows him, doesn't go running back to William, and within half an hour they're joking around like nothing fucking happened. Which is either a good sign, or a really bad one, and Mike wishes he knew how long he has before this whole thing blows up.

- - - - - -

Kevin's sweet and soft and pliant after sex, more than usual, wraps around Mike and burrows his face into Mike's neck and sighs like he's really fucking happy. It's turning into the hardest fucking thing in the world to leave, threat of getting caught in the sun less and less of a motivation next to the warm weight of Kevin's arm draped over his stomach.

Except tonight Kevin's been tense and fidgety since Mike picked him up, an edge to every kiss, touch, moan that's never been there, and when they're done, when they're kissing slow and sweet while they calm down, Kevin doesn't slide off him and cuddle like usual.

"Feeling better?" he asks, drawing patterns through the sweat slicking Mike's chest. And that might be it, except it didn't feel like worry, so.

"Yeah," Mike says, drums his fingers a little against Kevin's hips.

Kevin bites his lip, opens his mouth, shuts it and bites his lip again. When Mike arches his eyebrows, seriously fucking confused, Kevin sighs, slides his hands up to Mike's shoulders and leans in for a kiss.

"I love you," he says, when he pulls away, bites his lip again. And oh, okay, that explains it.

Mike tangles one hand in his soft curls, pulls him in for another kiss, doesn't loosen his grip to let Kevin pull back until he's had his fill, or as close to it as he can get.

"I love you, too," he says, quiet, and the smile that gets him, the way Kevin finally relaxes and cuddles against him like always, holds him just a little tighter, that's almost enough to stop him thinking about how he's completely, totally fucked.

- - - - - -

"You know I don't like to be kept in the dark," William says, smirks a little at his own pun, and Mike's stomach sinks.

"Uh, okay."

William glides into the room - Mike suspects he was that supernaturally graceful back when he was still human – and sits next to Mike, eyes glinting like they always do when he gets ready to play one of his stupid fucking power games, fuck with Mike's head.

"I like to know what's going on. Healthy curiosity, I suppose."

"Good thing you're not a cat."

William grins, bares his fangs. "I asked Brendon to follow you, a few weeks ago, find out where you're spending all your time."

Mike's going to murder the little fucker.

"I didn't think it was anything, really, perhaps you're just tired of me. Of course, how could you be? Except, the funniest thing – he never actually told me. Which is odd, because you know how he is about gossip. Nasty habit, but useful more often than you'd expect."

If Mike wasn't 90% sure where this was going, if he wasn't too busy trying to figure out a way to make it not go there, he'd say something about William's own gossip habits.

"In fact, he told me he hadn't actually followed you. Now, even if he could lie to save his own skin, which you and I both know the poor boy can't, when was the last time Brendon failed to do something I asked of him?"

His watch tells Mike he's supposed to meet Kevin in twenty minutes, but it's not like he can just fucking walk away from Bill, not right now, not when Bill'll follow him and find out for sure what Brendon saw.

"Am I boring you?" William asks, wraps long fingers around Mike's wrist just beneath his watch and pulls it out of his line of vision. "Somewhere more important to be?"

Mike has an answer, but not one he wants to give William, so he just glares, runs his tongue over his fangs, hopes William doesn't want to push him any farther than he already has and will let him go. It works, or at least it appears to; William smirks, lets his wrist go, stands up to leave.

Mike doesn't go to Kevin, just wanders around on the hunt until he stops feeling the hint of William's presence at his back. Just when he's starting to think William's never going to leave, there's a dark laugh somewhere over his shoulder and the presence is gone.

He's six hours late; when he calls Kevin, he has to grovel to the fucking voice mail.

- - - - - -

Kevin doesn't call until three days later; when Mike answers, Kevin's voice is shaky, scared.

"I – I was – there was – can you come to the apartment? Please?"

Mike says yes before he thinks to check for William or Brendon, spends just seconds checking for them after the fact before he books it to Kevin's place faster than he's ever moved before.

Kevin's pale, shaking, eyes wide and terrified; he locks the door behind Mike with trembling fingers, sags against him when Mike pulls him away from the peephole, wraps strong arms around him.

"What happened?" Mike asks, combs fingers through Kevin's hair. Kevin leans into it, tilts his head, and that's when Mike sees the marks on his neck. Motherfucker.

"I was – he just – it - " Kevin tries to push closer to Mike, tightens his fingers in Mike's shirt. "I - "

"Okay, stop, I – calm down, you can tell me later," Mike says, drags Kevin down the hall to the bedroom. With his back presses against Kevin's chest, Mike waits until his breathing evens out, his eyes close and his tense body relaxes in sleep before he rests his forehead against the back of Kevin's head, sees for himself.

The bookstore's ten minutes from closing when he walks in, movements so smooth he's almost floating, and normally Kevin kicks people out this late but he's too busy admiring the way this guy dresses, debating asking where he got his ascot.

"I believe have something in common," the guy says, something in his voice that makes Kevin want to say he's taken, even though the guy's probably just talking about the tailored waistcoat Kevin's wearing, so similar to his own.

Except then he's right up in Kevin's space, backing him up against the counter, and he's – now Kevin really wants to say he's taken, he's in love, this is – the guy's presses his lips against Kevin's neck, kissing him slowly, and Kevin can't talk, can't really move, and what the – it stings, and then he's warm, so warm, and he can feel the guy's lips curling into a smile around the sting; he's hard, why is he hard, this - oh, it – and then he pulls back, and Kevin wants more, wants to pull him back in, beg for it, but he can't move, can't speak, and then the guy is gone.

Mike tightens his arms around Kevin, pulls him as close as he can, stays so late he can feel an itch spreading over his skin, just the very hint of a burn as the sun starts to rise on his way home.

- - - - - -

The first time Mike meets William, he's walking home from a shitty concert, freezing his balls off 'cause he didn't want to deal with a jacket in the overheated club. And this guy comes up beside him so suddenly Mike should probably be scared, except he's too busy being grateful for the froofy fur coat William offers him.

All of a sudden he's running into the charming weirdo with the weird fashion sense all the time, seems like every time he leaves the apartment William finds him. And Mike starts to look forward to it, which is fucked up 'cause he's pretty sure the guy's at least a little bit batshit insane.

The first time they fuck, Mike's totally willing to forgive any craziness; by the time he's lost count of how many nights he's spent with William on his back for him, he's forgotten William's supposed to be crazy, stupid fashion sense aside.

When William bites him for the first time, it feels so fucking good Mike forgets to freak out; by the time William turns him, almost a year after they've met, he's already resigned himself to spending his whole life with William, even if he hadn't considered what the fuck that would be like when his life got extended indefinitely.

- - - - - -

William looks so fucking smug Mike wants to punch him; not that it'll do any good, as old as William is even if Mike breaks his jaw he'll be fine in ten minutes.

He does it anyway, kicks him in the ribs when he goes down for good measure. It actually does make him feel a little better, just not quite as much as it would if he'd stay down.

"Good to know I guessed right," William says, when he stands back up. "I'd hate to have chosen the wrong book-salesman poodle. Although a snack is a snack, I suppose."

"Leave him the fuck alone," Mike growls, and William just grins like the bastard he is.

"I'd be doing you a favor, you know."

"Fuck you."

"Because, really, he's going to find out someday, going to realize you never see each other when the sun's up, or you're going to lose control, finally have a taste – how you've held out this long, I have no idea, the boy is delicious, and then where will you be?"

Mike just glares.

"Even if he doesn't, he's going to die, and I'd hate to see you heartbroken over something I could have prevented."

"Leave him the fuck alone," Mike repeats, stomps out before William can say one more smug asshole thing.

- - - - - -

Mike's on his way to break things off with Kevin, mostly to protect him from William, but he's not good enough at lying to himself to pretend hearing William say all the reasons this is going to end badly left a sick feeling curled in his gut, left him wanting to protect himself at least a little, end it badly now before he can get more involved, before it's gonna hurt worse.

Except William's beat him to it.

Kevin's got his hands tangled in William's hair, head tipped against the rough brick of the store, one leg hitched up around William's waist, mouth open and eyes closed, the face he always makes when he's turned on. William's lips are latched around the smooth column of Kevin's neck, throat working, and he's – there's no sign of blood anywhere on William. He's not turning him, he's killing him, he's – Mike rushes, fucking tackles him off Kevin (who fucking whines when the seal of William's lips break, whines the same way he does when Mike teases, leaves him hanging).

Punching William doesn't do any good, he knows that from all the times he's done it before, knows he's too much younger, can't possibly damage William beyond the point of healing himself, but he can't stop, can't fucking stop, until somewhere through the haze of rage he hears Kevin saying his name.

Kevin, who's slid down the wall, slumped on the ground; Kevin who's so fucking pale Mike's heart drops to his fucking feet, who didn't do a damn thing wrong, who doesn't deserve this, who doesn't deserve any of this, whose breathing is coming too hard, too slow, who's looking at him like he can make this all better.

And he can't, he can't even begin to, but there's something he can do; Mike bites at his wrist, tears at the flesh like a rabid fucking dog until he tastes blood. He climbs off Bill, presses his wrist to Kevin's lips, uses his free hand to pinch Kevin's nostrils shut so his only choice is to drink or suffocate. Kevin struggles, weakly, for just a second, then opens his mouth against Mike's bloody arm and sucks.

When Mike pulls back Kevin's panting, Kevin's eyes are drooping, and Mike just cards his hand through Kevin's hair, watches his chest rise and fall in gaspy breaths until his eyes fall just a little farther closed, until his breathing evens out.

"We'll talk when you wake up," Mike says, and Kevin nods tiredly, slumps against him. Mike scoops him into his arms, picks him up and carries him out of the alley where William's bleeding, slowly healing.