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There were two hours before Mike’s shift was over – presuming that a new case didn’t land on one of their desks before then – and he was already so hard inside his slacks that is was extremely distracting. He did his best to ignore it. Not in hopes that it would just go away, but so he could pretend it had never happened in the first place. It was inappropriate to walk around with an erection at work (and embarrassing as hell if anyone noticed, because his co-workers, especially his partner Dave, would never let him live it down), but more importantly, it was an unwanted and very unwelcome reaction to the thought of seeing Henry later that night.

Mike had made the offer during one of his moments of guilt for the torture Henry had suffered at the hands of Javier Mendoza, and for his own part in facilitating it. Even now he didn’t know what he’d expected Henry’s response to be – grateful, suspicious. Looking back, he really should’ve expected Henry to be dismissive of the offer, but his scornful, “Do you really think that sharing your blood with me is going to cleanse your soul, Detective?” had burned more than a little bit.

Mostly because it was a direct hit, and Mike knew it was that hit to his pride which had made him insist he’d made the offer out of genuine remorse for his actions. Which he had, but damn Henry Fitzroy for actually accepting.

Mike didn’t know to this day whether he or Henry had been more surprised that he actually showed up when he said he would for their first . . . session. Henry recovered quickly and let Mike into his apartment, then offered him a drink.

To which Mike had snapped, “Trying to get me drunk, Fitzroy?” He blamed Henry; Mike was a teensy bit anxious, yes (and naturally so; he was going to let a vampire drink his blood), but he normally had better control over his tempter and his mouth – the exception being when he was around Henry.

Henry had raised an eyebrow and said, “Supposedly you’re here of your own free will, Detective.” He left a moment of silence while he unscrewed the top from a bottle of scotch, which Mike refused to fill. “But you’re tense, and it’ll be easier if you’re relaxed.”

“Maybe I don’t want it to be easy.”

Henry poured an inch of scotch into a tumbler, then held it out to Mike. “Easier for me,” he clarified.

Mike had been stuck in a trap of his own making, then. He was there to make amends for something he’d done to Henry, something unforgivable, and continuing to act like it was a huge imposition went against the whole spirit of atonement. Mike sighed and held out his hand for the glass. “Fine, give it to me.”

Henry smirked as he handed over the tumbler. Mike rolled his eyes. It was moments like this, when Henry reacted like a teenager, that Mike doubted whether he was actually the 450-year old vampire he professed to be. Reminded by his own thoughts that he was there to voluntarily let Henry take his blood, Mike downed the scotch in one go.

Henry raised his eyebrows. “Another?”

“Let’s just get this over with,” Mike said shortly as he set the empty glass onto the drink cart. And tried not to let himself get distracted by the fact that Henry owned a scroll work metal and glass serving cart.

Henry set his expression. “I understand that you’re nervous because this is your first time, and I know that you don’t like me, Detective, but I’m not going to drink from you if you’re not fully on board.”

Mike sighed. He’d offered to do this, and there he was, still acting like a petulant child. It was just that merely being in the same room with Henry could get his back up. “You’re right,” he admitted. “I am nervous about this, and I don’t like you, so there’s that, but I . . . I know that I was an ass before . . .”

Henry’s eyebrows went up again. There was genuine surprise at the admission, Mike thought, mixed in with the expected sarcasm.

“. . . am still being an ass,” Mike clarified, “but I do want to do this. You can’t expect me to not bitch about it because, well, it’s you and me, so . . .” Mike shrugged. “How do we do this?”

Henry smiled, and it wasn’t even mocking. Mostly. He made a regal gesture towards the sofa. “Why don’t you remove your jacket and make yourself more comfortable, Detective.”

Mike removed his suit jacket and folded it over the back of the nearest chair before sitting on the sofa.

“Roll up the sleeve of whichever arm you’d like me to use,” Henry said.

“Arm?” Mike said, even as his fingers automatically went to the shirt cuff on his left arm.

“I’ll use your wrist,” Henry said, then his eyes took on a gleam as he gazed at Mike’s neck. “Unless you’d prefer I use another location.”

“No!” Mike said hurriedly. “I just . . .”

“Didn’t know,” Henry said, then sighed. “That’s my fault, and I apologize for it.”

Mike managed to remain silent, but only because he was too shocked to speak.

“I should’ve told you what to expect, but I . . .”

“Was being a bit of an ass yourself?” Mike said, power of speech restored.

Henry’s lips twitched. “As you say. Anyway, I’ll use your wrist. It’s less intimate and it allows for a more controlled feed so I don’t take too much.”

“How will I know if you’re taking too much?” Mike said.

“You probably wouldn’t,” Henry said. “By then you’d be too lost to the euphoria to care.”

“Euphoria?” Mike said.

“The bite can be very . . . pleasant,” Henry said. Then added, “If I want it to be.”

Mike didn’t even want to imagine what that meant. “What if I don’t want it to be pleasant?”

“Penance, Detective?” Henry said, with a hint of derision. “Or because it’s me?”

Mike wasn’t sure of his own reasons, so instead of answering Henry’s question, he said, “Just make it hurt, Fitzroy.”

Henry studied Mike, and then he nodded. “Very well, Detective, I’ll make it hurt.”

Henry sat on Mike’s left and reached for his arm. He held Mike’s arm with unexpected gentleness and brushed a thumb over the veins in his wrist. Mike’s breath caught as Henry raised his wrist to his mouth and bared his fangs, but he didn’t pull away. There was a sharp pain when Henry’s fangs broke the skin, and again at the first pull of blood, as if his body knew that this loss of blood was unnatural.

Mike tipped his head back and forced himself to relax, prepared to ride out the pain. At that moment the pain began to recede. Mike chased it, but what he found in its place was pure pleasure. Mike’s brain had just enough function left to cry out a silent, ‘No!’ but his body was already too lethargic and soon succumbed to the pleasure.

There was a sexual component, certainly, but it was more than merely sexual. It was transcendent. Mike felt a pleasurable sensation in his groin, but he also felt it at the back of his knee and the arch of his foot, the base of his spin and his sternum, between his shoulder blades and beneath his right ear. It was as if the bite targeted every pleasure center in his body, some of them areas Mike hadn’t even been aware of until now. If Mike could’ve formed a thought, it would’ve been, oh, that’s what Henry meant by euphoria, but he could no longer even manage that.

There was no bite, no fear, no guilt, there was only this, and it was wonderful. Mike floated away on it.

When he came back to himself, Mike was alone on the sofa. He raised his head from where it still rested on the back and blinked blearily down at himself. His arm lay on his leg, and the bite had been bandaged. It came back to Mike suddenly, the cloud of pleasure he’d floated on for who knew how long. He glanced at the front of his slacks, but there was no damning wet spot. He sighed with relief at that small mercy and slumped into the sofa cushion, then startled when he heard Henry’s voice.

Mike’s eyes darted around until he saw Henry sitting at the drawing board in his office, or studio, or whatever he called it. “What?” Mike said, his voice coming out like the croak of a frog.

“It’s nearly one a.m.,” Henry repeated, though his gaze remained on the slanted board until he finished whatever he was drawing. He looked up at Mike. “You were out for about 45 minutes. It’s not an indictment, Detective,” Henry added at Mike’s expression (which was probably a confused mess of not knowing whether he was supposed to be embarrassed, angry, or nonchalant about it.). “I just thought you’d like to know.”

Mike nodded, and hoped that his expression had settled on nonchalant. “Water?”

Henry pointed with his pencil. “Juice. And a cookie.”

Mike looked at the coffee table and snorted when he saw that a glassful of juice and a plate holding a cookie sat there, just as Henry had promised. He leaned forward and picked up the glass, sipped at the juice. He gave the cookie a look, then shrugged and picked it up off the plate.

Mike moaned at the first taste of the cookie on his tongue. He wondered if it was a remnant of the effects of the bite, or if the cookie was just that good. “Where’d you get this?” Mike said with his mouth full of the second bite, as he waved the cookie at Henry.

Henry actually looked a little bit pleased that Mike was enjoying the cookie. Mike figured that he had to be seeing things, which probably was due to the blood loss. “A woman I know owns a bakery. I’ve heard that her cookies are to die for,” Henry added with a hint of amusement.

“I don’t know about that,” Mike said dryly, “but this one is damned good.”

“There are more,” Henry said. “If you want another.”

Mike raised an eyebrow. “Bribery, Henry?”

“Hmm,” Henry said, sounding distracted as he studied whatever comic he was working on. “That doesn’t sound like me.”

Mike didn’t respond to that. He finished the juice and cookie, then rose unsteadily to his feet. Henry wasn’t looking at him, but Mike didn’t doubt that he was paying very close attention to his every move. Mike made his way to the bathroom. He emptied his bladder, then washed his hands and face at the sink.

Mike stared at his reflection in the mirror as he rolled down his sleeve and buttoned the cuff over the gauze. He didn’t look any different, but he couldn’t deny that he felt different. He wondered how long the sense of being just slightly off-kilter would last.

Mike wandered back into the living room and looked around. He saw a bakery bag sitting on the breakfast bar of the otherwise spotless kitchen. Mike felt better after he finished a second cookie. Steadier on his feet, anyway; his mind was still kind of a mess.

Henry didn’t speak when Mike picked up his suit jacket and slipped it on; just watched. Mike hesitated before leaving, stared at the sofa for a long moment, then said, “I told you to make it hurt.” Right now he was too loose to be terribly fussed about it, but it was the principle of the thing.

“I did make it hurt, Detective,” Henry said calmly.

Mike’s gaze snapped to Henry. “That was hurting?” he said before he could censor himself.

Mike was certain that amusement danced behind Henry’s eyes, but he didn’t let it out. He said, “Which would hurt you more, Detective, the momentary pain of the bite which would be over in less than a minute . . .”

Less than a minute, Mike thought, remembering how long he’d been out.

“. . . or the eternal mental anguish of knowing that you enjoyed it?”

Mike felt like the breath had been knocked out of him. “Wow,” he said. “You’re a bit of a sadist, Fitzroy.”

Henry shrugged modestly. “I learned from the best.”

“Yes, well,” Mike said, uncertain whether Henry was referring to his father, King Henry VIII, or to his more recent time with Mendoza. He glanced around for a change of topic, and his eyes alighted on the bakery bag.

“Take them, Detective,” Henry said, this time not bothering to hide his amusement. “I’ve no use for them, and they’ll only get thrown out.”

Mike still felt certain that Henry was trying to bribe him with the cookies, but he took them anyway. No sense letting them go to waste.

~*~*~

Mike’s next . . . appointment . . . with Henry had been scheduled for two weeks later. (Mike had never thought about it before, but it seemed logical now that a 450-year old vampire would’ve learned to not leave feeding to chance.) It gave him way too much time to think about his reaction to the bite, how the pleasure had seemed to permeate every cell of his body. Mike wanted to talk to someone about it, but the only people who knew about Henry were Vicki and Coreen, and there was no way he was going to talk to either of them about this.

It was bad enough that he couldn’t stop thinking about it, but then Mike caught himself looking forward to it happening again. He got angry with himself and forced his mind onto other things – like the grisly serial murders of homeless men in the city. Even Dave commented on Mike’s crankiness when Mike snapped at him once over something trivial he would normally have let slide.

Mike apologized with a half dozen of Dave’s favorite donuts, which reminded him of the cookies Henry had bought for him, which in turn reminded him of the pleasure he’d gotten from the bite. Damned Fitzroy! He really was insidious.

When the appointed time came, Mike barely waited for Henry to open the door before he pushed his way into the apartment. He immediately removed his jacket and folded it over the back of the same chair. He’d seen the bakery bag on the counter, but he refused to think about it while he rolled up his cuff.

“In a hurry, Detective?” Henry said dryly.

Mike sat on the sofa. “Pleasure,” he said, not caring if he was being transparent.

Henry’s laugher held a hint of mockery that Mike ignored. “Very well, Detective. Let’s get right to it, then, shall we?”

Henry sat beside him, and Mike shoved his wrist at him. Henry looked amused at the sudden eagerness, but he didn’t say anything, merely took Mike’s arm gently in his hands.

Mike’s body remembered the initial pain of the bite even before Henry’s fangs pierced his skin, and he welcomed it. He’d asked Henry for pleasure, which meant that, given his twisted reasoning from the time before, he’d make it painful because that would make Mike feel better about the bite. Except he didn’t, the bastard. I’m going to kill you, Mike thought before he was once more carried away on waves of pleasure.

~*~*~

Mike had considered canceling his third meeting with Henry. It was only because he’d gone back and forth on the matter a dozen times over the past two weeks without making a final decision (and had still been waffling over it right up until the appointed time) that Mike showed up at all. He’d made a commitment, as much as he loathed it, and he couldn’t back out without a better reason than his own confused inability to reconcile his dislike of Henry with just how much he enjoyed being bitten by him.

Between their sessions, Henry was still a pain in Mike’s ass whenever they ran into each other (usually at Vicki’s office) or were forced to work together (normally because of Vicki). He was sarcastic and arrogant and got under Mike’s skin like no one else besides Vicki ever had. Even on the nights Mike showed up at his apartment, Henry was his usual biting and imperious self, but he was also gentle when he held Mike’s arm, and kind enough to bandage the bite, and showed care in providing the juice and cookies.

It was inconsistent with Mike’s view of Henry, and Mike didn’t like inconsistencies. His brain was a neon sign flashing ‘Does Not Compute’ in large, red letters.

Henry had let Mike into his apartment without a word, only speaking after he’d closed the door behind him. “Hmm. I thought for sure that this would be the time you bailed.”

“I’m not that much of an ass,” Mike said, ignoring the fact that he’d been considering doing that very thing for the past two weeks. His only consolation was that Henry appeared to find him just as confusing as he found Henry.

“Is that what you’ve been trying to do?” Mike said as he removed his jacket, taking extra care in folding it so he didn’t have to look at Henry.

“You think I’ve been trying to get you to quit?” Henry said. “By doing what, exactly?”

“Being nice to me,” Mike said. “With the bandage and the cookies . . .”

“I thought the cookies were bribery,” Henry said.

Mike gave him a look. “Do you give juice and cookies to everyone you bite?”

“No,” Henry said.

Just as Mike was feeling vindicated in thinking that Henry was treating him differently (and most likely for some nefarious purpose), Henry went on, “But I don’t think you’d appreciate what some of my other . . . companions . . . get in return for their blood.”

Henry’s self-satisfied smirk and Mike’s own memory of the pleasure to be had from being bitten (and his fear both times upon waking that he’d embarrassed himself by coming in his pants like the teenager he hadn’t been for many years now), told Mike exactly what it was Henry’s other – oh, how he hesitated to use the term ‘companions’ – got out of donating, whether they were aware of being bitten or not.

“Yeah, juice and cookies are good,” Mike said quickly. He rolled up his sleeve and sat on the couch, trying to ignore that, just for a moment, his brain had actually gone there and he’d wondered what it would be like to let Henry – Henry’s bite – take him over the brink.

This time when Henry took his arm, Mike didn’t close his eyes. He observed as Henry lowered his head, watched his fangs split the skin, saw the almost reverent expression on Henry’s face as the first drop of Mike’s blood touched his tongue. Mike tried to remain alert even as the pain receded and the pleasure grew, raced through him, touched him everywhere.

Henry’s hair seemed to glow in the haze of arousal and Mike had to resist the urge to reach out and touch. It was almost a blessing when the pleasure overwhelmed him and Mike stopped thinking.

That night, for the first time, Mike jerked off to the mere memory of the pleasure he’d experienced at Henry’s hands.

~*~*~

Tonight – a mere two hours from now – would mark Mike’s fourth visit to Henry’s apartment for the purpose of letting Henry bite him. Between thinking about that, and the persistent erection he was currently sporting, Mike wasn’t getting any work done. It took him three tries to fill out all the required information on a simple form, and Kate had to point out that the paper tray was empty when Mike swore at the printer when it refused to print no matter how many times he stabbed the mouse button that controlled the cursor hovering over the print button.

(He ended up with six copies, five that went directly into the shredder.)

“You got something on your mind?” Dave said after Mike returned from the shredder and was rooting around in a drawer for a pen that wasn’t out of ink.

Mike slammed the drawer shut on his finger. “Ow! What?” he said around his finger as he sucked on it.

“It’s just . . . you seem a little bit distracted.”

“I’m fine,” Mike said. It was impossible to grit his teeth around his finger, but he wanted to.

“The printer would seem to say otherwise,” Dave said, then held both hands up, palms facing outward, when Mike snarled. “Right,” he drawled. “You’re fine.”

Mike didn’t leave early (but only because he didn’t want to show up early and give Henry the impression that he was eager, or worse, rattled), though he was sure that most of his fellow Detectives wished he would. He finished the paperwork on a file they’d just closed, managed to not growl at anyone else, and the only other injury he sustained before he left was a paper cut. He called that a win.

Mike checked his watch. Two minutes. He straightened his keyboard, a pile of files on the corner of his desk, and his phone, and then he stood and took his jacket off the back of his chair. No one said anything, but it felt as if the entire room heaved a sigh of relief.

Mike didn’t hesitate when Henry opened the door to him, nor did he rush. He tried to act as if it was no big deal, letting Henry bite him, sharing his blood, and the pleasure he received in return. He removed his jacket and folded it casually over the back of the chair. Mike sat in his usual spot on the sofa and rolled up his cuff. Henry raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything, merely sat beside Mike and took the proffered arm.

“No preference tonight, Detective?” Henry said, only slightly mockingly, before he lowered his head.

Instead of the sting of Henry’s fangs breaking the skin, Mike felt the warm press of his lips against the pulse point in his wrist, and then the rough drag of Henry’s tongue over the spot. Mike shuddered at the sensation, but before he could form a protest, Henry struck. The pain was there and gone before Mike could grab hold of it, replaced by the liquid heat of pleasure that crept inexorably over Mike and swept him away in its wake.

~*~*~

In the days that followed, Mike barely remembered the bite itself, or the aftermath. And he still had four of the half dozen cookies that Henry had purchased sitting on his counter in the bakery bag, going stale because he couldn’t bring himself to touch them – not to eat them, not even to throw them away.

The thing that haunted Mike, that he couldn’t forget, that he’d jerked off to more than once, was the soft brush of Henry’s lips against his skin.

It was just his luck that Vicki needed his help a few days later on one of her more ‘unusual’ cases, and of course Henry was involved as well. Mike spent two days of hell being distracted by Henry’s lips and receiving strange looks from Vicki that he pretended to not see.

Mike spent the following week telling himself that he should cancel his upcoming appointment with Henry, then arguing that he couldn’t do that because Henry would know that Mike had cancelled because Henry had managed to freak him out. And Mike wouldn’t be able to live it down if he could handle letting Henry bite him and drink his blood, but the brush of Henry’s lips sent him running.

Mike showed up when he was supposed to, and Henry at least had the decency to not look surprised. In fact, he looked . . . pleased.

“Good evening, Detective,” Henry said when he answered Mike’s knock.

“I got you tortured, and I’m letting you drink my blood, I think you should call me Mike.”

Henry looked as surprised as Mike felt at the offer, but he recovered quickly, his expression of astonishment replaced by a sardonic smile. “As you wish. Mike.”

Mike rolled his eyes to cover the visceral reaction to hearing his name on Henry’s lips, and then moved further into the apartment so he could prevent himself from dropping his gaze to Henry’s lips after merely thinking about them.

To get back on track, Mike followed his usual procedure – he removed his jacket, folded it, laid it over the back of the chair, rolled up his cuff as he took his seat on the sofa. When he was ready, Mike looked up at Henry, who was giving him a bemused look.

“I’m ready whenever you are,” Mike said, trying his best to sound neither anxious nor overly eager. (Because he wasn’t eager, damn it. And he wasn’t anxious, either.)

“How very ‘wham bam thank you ma’am’ of you,” Henry said.

Mike blinked. He concentrated on the phrase that came out of Henry’s mouth rather than the inference that they might be doing anything sexual. “I can’t believe those words just came out of your mouth.”

“I’m a little surprised myself,” Henry admitted as he sat beside Mike and reached for his wrist. “But the point stands.”

“I’m not here for a social call, Fitzroy,” Mike said sharply.

“Henry,” Henry said.

“Excuse me?” Mike said. Much too distracted by the soft press of Henry’s thumb against the inside of his wrist, he was having some trouble forming thoughts, much less speaking the words.

“You got me tortured,” Henry said softly, no censure in his tone. “And you’re allowing me to drink your blood . . .” Henry’s thumb brushed across Mike’s pulse point. “Mike. I think you should call me Henry.”

Mike’s throat felt like it was closing up, and his mouth too dry to speak. He finally managed a choked, “Henry.”

Henry smiled. There was that familiar hint of mockery in it, but somehow Mike got the impression that it was directed at himself as much as to Mike. “Thank you,” Henry said, and then he bent his head.

Mike felt frozen in place until Henry’s lips touched the sensitive skin of his inner wrist. Mike let out an explosive breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding when the tip of Henry’s tongue darted out and touched his skin, as if marking the spot. Henry’s fangs scratched the skin, putting Mike even more on edge, before sinking slowly into his wrist.

The pain lasted longer this time, but when it receded it was replaced by the most exquisite pleasure Mike had ever experienced. The pleasure Henry – Henry’s bite, Mike clarified – had given him previously was nothing in comparison. Mike felt like he was on fire with it, drowning in it. The only place Henry touched him was at his wrist, and yet Mike had the sensation that Henry was touching him everywhere – he could feel the slide of his hands, the brush of his lips, on every inch of his skin.

Mike remained aware this time, though it seemed as if he was observing from a distance. Eventually he felt the pull on his blood slow, felt Henry’s tongue drag over the puncture wounds, felt gentle fingers on his wrist.

“Wha–?” Mike tried to speak.

Henry raised his head, looked at Mike with dark eyes as he licked the last of Mike’s blood off his lips. Mike’s own soft moan was the last thing he remembered until he woke long minutes later, feeling as if he’d been put through the wringer.

~*~*~

It was just Mike’s luck that he remembered everything that happened that night with complete clarity. If he had merely been embarrassed about his reaction, Mike could live with that. Probably. But he couldn’t even think about eating a damned cookie without becoming aroused. Two weeks of almost constant arousal was distracting. And extremely frustrating. (You try to not think about the thing you don’t want to think about – it’s impossible!)

Mike thought he would be relieved when he had to call Henry and cancel their next appointment because they caught a case just before Mike was scheduled to go off duty, but he actually felt a twinge of disappointment.

Mike pulled out his cell phone (And when had he entered Henry’s contact information into his cell phone?) as he grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair.

Dave gave him a look. “Hot date?”

Mike started to deny it, but explaining why he was calling someone to cancel something other than a ‘hot date’ would’ve taken too long. “Something like that,” he said.

Dave nodded, and moved on ahead so Mike could have a semblance of privacy as they hurried through the busy hallway to their car.

“Good evening, Mike,” Henry said into Mike’s ear when he picked up.

Mike shivered, and was glad that Henry wasn’t there to see it. “Listen, Fitzroy, Henry, I can’t make it tonight. I’m sorry for the late notice, but we just caught a call.”

“I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before now, to be honest,” Henry said, unfazed.

“Me, too, actually. We can reschedule,” Mike said, then wondered where the hell that offer had come from. (Like he didn’t bloody well know.)

“Excellent,” Henry said. “We’ll talk about it when you’ve got a better handle on the case.” He paused. “And Mike?”

“Yes?”

“Be careful.”

Henry disconnected the call before Mike could respond, which was just as well, because Mike was having trouble coming up with one.

~*~

They’d been working on the case for nearly 20 hours straight – having taken turns using the cot in the back room for cat naps between running down leads – and Mike was tired and disgruntled after interviewing a witness who had just changed her story for the third time.

Mike was surprised – but not dismayed, he realized – to see Henry sitting in the visitor’s chair at the side of his desk when he and Dave returned to the station. Henry had taken some paper out of the printer tray and was using a file as support while he drew.

Henry didn’t react to his presence, so Mike leaned over his shoulder and said, “Drawing another comic?”

Henry didn’t jump, though Mike hadn’t really expected that he would. He did roll his eyes in Mike’s direction, but didn’t otherwise rise to the bait.

Mike moved around Henry and removed his jacket, then reached for his cuff to roll up his sleeves. The familiarity of it sent a little zing through Mike. He covered it by speaking a little more brusquely than he meant to. “What are you doing here, Henry?”

Henry’s eyes were knowing, but he merely said, “I just stopped in to check on you, Mike.”

Right, Mike thought, with some disappointment. He probably wanted to know how they were getting on with the case so they could reschedule his bi-weekly blood draw. “I can’t talk about the case . . .”

“You, Mike,” Henry said. “I wanted to see how you were doing.” Henry set the file folder back onto Mike’s desk. “And now I have. You look like shit, Detective.”

Dave snorted from across the desk.

Mike ignored his partner. “Thanks,” he said wryly to Henry.

“Don’t work yourself too hard,” Henry said, folding the drawing and slipping it into the pocket of his coat.

It almost sounded like he actually cared, but before Mike could say so, Henry had swept out of the bullpen, leaving Mike (and not a few others) staring after him.

“What’s that?” Dave said.

Mike turned his gaze back to Dave to see what he was talking about and saw the white bakery bag sitting in the middle of his desk. The cookies Henry bought for him each time Mike . . . visited. Mike went hot as blood rushed to his cheeks.

Dave laughed. “Yeah, a hot date alright.”

Mike sputtered in reply, and Dave just laughed harder.

Whatever. They had a case to solve. But maybe just one cookie first. It had been a while since lunch.

~*~*~

Mike didn’t see Henry again until their next regularly scheduled appointment. It took them eight days to find the final piece of evidence that allowed them to arrest the victim’s neighbor (she of the vacillating witness statement) for the murder. Something about yappy dogs and flower beds that Mike wasn’t even going to attempt to parse on the amount of sleep he’d gotten over the past week.

Mike arrived home at noon, after spending four hours questioning their suspect and filling out forms so he could close the case and send the file on. He kicked off his shoes before falling face first on his bed and sleeping for twelve hours.

Mike wandered out to the kitchen for a glass of water when he woke and couldn’t drift back off. Even though he’d been exhausted when he’d gone to bed, he was in that weird in-between state of not enough sleep and too much. He turned on the television and flipped through the channels until he came across an old episode of ‘Forever Knight’. The irony was too much for Mike to resist, so he left it on.

When the episode ended, Mike checked the time and realized that he should call Henry while it was still ‘vampire hours’.

“Mike,” Henry drawled when he answered the call.

Mike’s body was too exhausted to react to the sound of his name on Henry’s tongue, but it gave a valiant effort.

“We solved the case,” Mike said without preamble.

“I’m happy to hear it,” Henry said.

“I . . . should we reschedule?”

“You should get some sleep,” Henry said.

“I just slept for twelve hours!” Mike protested.

“Sleep for twelve more. And eat something that isn’t 90% sugar.”

“Did you just make a cop and donut joke?”

“Would I do that?” Henry said. “Besides,” he went on as if Mike hadn’t interrupted, “if I took blood from you now, you’d only pass out. And not in the fun way,” Henry added before ending the call.

Mike glared at the phone before sticking it on the charger and going back to bed.

It was three more days before Mike ventured another call to Henry. He told himself he was merely doing what Henry had said, eating, sleeping, taking care of himself, but the real issue was, now that Mike wasn’t concentrating on solving the murder, and running on cat naps and caffeine, his brain had time to dwell on other things.

Like Henry dropping by the station to bring him those cookies. To check up on him. Mike knew he was over-thinking it, but that’s what he did, he turned things over and inside out until he could make sense of them. But no matter how much he mulled it over, Mike still couldn’t figure out what Henry was up to.

So Mike thought about it some more. Because the alternative was to think about what the hell he was doing. Mike was voluntarily allowing a vampire to bite him and drink his blood. If someone had told Mike a year ago that vampires were real, he’d have had them locked up. And if someone had told him even several months ago that he’d ever allow Henry to feed from him, he’d have laughed in their face.

And yet, here he was.

Mike felt guilty, that hadn’t been a lie, but there was no way Mike would’ve made the offer if he hadn’t trusted Henry on some level to not hurt or kill him. Even crazed from blood loss, pain, and hunger, Henry had had enough control to not kill Mike, even drinking from his throat.

Mike reached up and touched the small scar that remained only because Henry hadn’t been in any shape to exercise care when he bit into Mike’s flesh. It didn’t look or feel different from any other scar Mike’s body bore, but touching it did make the memory of the night Henry had bit him stronger.

In the middle of his shift Mike called Henry. He could barely hear Henry’s greeting over the background noises, and yet his body, like Pavlov’s dog, shivered anyway.

“I’m interrupting,” Mike said, feeling a twinge of disappointment that he refused to acknowledge.

“Not at all, Mike,” Henry said. “How are you feeling?”

“Better,” Mike said dryly. He had to admit, if only to himself, that Henry had been right – he had needed to sleep and eat.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Henry said, somehow managing to sound both sincere and amused. “What can I do for you?”

Do for me? Mike thought. “We talked about rescheduling . . .” He trailed off when someone called Henry’s name.

Henry must’ve moved the phone away from his mouth to reply because his, “I’ll be right there, Cassandra,” was muted.

“You’re busy,” Mike said when Henry came back. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have . . .”

“Michael,” Henry said sharply.

Mike was glad he was alone, because he had to reach down and squeeze himself, and he just barely managed to keep his moan from escaping.

“If I didn’t want to speak with you right now, I wouldn’t have answered the phone.”

“Alright,” Mike said, hoping he didn’t sound as rough around the edges as he was feeling.

Since there were only a few days before their next regular appointment, they decided to stick to the already established schedule and wait. Mike ended the call and refused to think about what Henry and Cassandra were probably doing right that moment. Or about why he cared.

~*~*~

By the time Mike stood outside Henry’s apartment, he’d worked himself into a state. He was thankful that no new file had landed on his desk, because between following up on cases that were rapidly going cold, all Mike had been able to think about had been his response to being bitten, and Henry’s little kindnesses, and his reaction to the idea of Henry with someone else.

“Michael,” Henry said when he opened the door before Mike had even raised his fist to knock.

“Your Lordship,” Mike said with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

“Mmm, I like that,” Henry said.

Mike rolled his eyes. “You would.”

Mike strolled past Henry and lost himself in the usual process of getting ready. When Henry sat beside him on the sofa, though, he leaned forward to pick up a book off the coffee table. He held it out to Mike.

“What’s this?” Mike said, reaching out, but stopping before he touched the book.

“My latest graphic novel,” Henry said. “I was at a book signing the other evening when you called.”

“A book signing,” Mike said, refusing to examine the sense of relief that filled him.

“I signed one for you.”

“For me,” Mike repeated dumbly.

“Are you going to keep repeating everything I say?” Henry said dryly.

Mike took the book. “I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this.”

“Aren’t you going to read it?”

“The book? Now?”

“Graphic novel,” Henry corrected. “And not the book, what I wrote.”

“You wrote something?” The book suddenly felt like a viper poised to strike. Mike stalled. “Can I read it, uh, after?”

Henry didn’t look fooled, but he merely said, “Certainly.”

Mike set the book back onto the coffee table, and when he sat back Henry reached for his wrist. Mike felt arousal seep through him like warm honey before Henry’s lips even touched his wrist. He slid down further in the sofa when Henry’s lips finally did brush his skin. Mike wanted to throw his head back as anticipation heated his lower belly, but he forced himself to watch.

Henry’s fangs dropped and he was poised to strike like the viper Mike had imagined earlier when Mike reached out and pushed the fingers of his free hand into Henry’s hair, tugged. Henry gave Mike a questioning look.

“Not there,” Mike said.

Henry glanced at Mike’s other arm.

“No.”

Henry’s expression turned impatient, and then his eyes widened when Mike tilted his chin just enough for Henry to get the idea. Henry sat up and lowered Mike’s wrist. Mike’s hand fell out of Henry’s hair.

“You don’t know what you’re asking,” Henry said.

Mike’s concern was just the opposite – that he knew all too well what he was asking.

“You don’t want to?” Mike said.

Henry’s eyes flashed. “Don’t be coy, Detective,” he snapped.

“Michael,” Mike corrected, with as much of a smirk as he could muster up with his brain screaming ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ and his body whispering in his ear in Henry’s voice, ‘You’re doing the right thing.’

Henry moved then, faster than Mike could see. He straddled Mike’s lap and had his lips pressed to the pulse point in his throat between one breath and the next. Mike moaned. His head went back and he rocked his hips up.

“You think you know what you’re getting yourself into?”

“I think I’m going to die of old age before you . . .” Mike’s words turned into another moan when Henry closed blunt teeth on his throat and growled.

“Say it,” Henry demanded.

Mike hesitated, what blood hadn’t already pooled in his groin rushing to his cheeks.

“I don’t say this to embarrass you, Michael,” Henry said. “But if you can’t say it, you’re not ready for it.”

“I’m ready for it,” Mike insisted, ignoring the voice clamoring at the back of his mind.

As if he’d read Mike’s mind, Henry said, “Are you thinking with this brain . . .” He tilted his chin towards Mike’s head. “. . . or this one?”

Mike groaned and pushed into Henry’s hand.

“Fuck you,” Mike said, even as he tried to spread his legs to give Henry better access. “You said it was intimate, but we’ve already been pretty intimate,” Mike gasped. “You said you’d have less control, but you’ve bitten me there before and you managed to not kill me.”

Mike tilted his head and bared his throat so Henry cold see the tiny scar. “I trust you,” Mike said, and was surprised to find that he meant it.

“Then you’re a fool,” Henry snarled.

“Maybe you’re the one who’s afraid,” Mike said.

Henry laughed. “Michael, I’m much too old to let you double-dog dare me into biting you.”

“Hmm,” Mike hummed dismissively.

Henry’s gaze dropped to the spot where he’d bitten Mike before, left his mark on him. “I thought you were smarter than this,” Henry said, and Mike thought he was talking to himself as much as to Mike.

Before Mike could reply, Henry struck, fangs breaking the skin and lips sucking at the wounds. It hurt like fuck! There was a moment when Mike thought he’d made a terrible mistake, and then the pain faded, and every molecule in his body lit up with pleasure. So much pleasure that Mike didn’t know what to do with it, whether his body could contain it all. Mike wondered then if Henry had been right – maybe he hadn’t been ready for this.

It seemed like it would never stop. Pleasure crashing into him, over him, like waves in the ocean. Mike lost track of time. It could only have been moments, but it felt like forever. Henry had only to brush his hand across the front of Mike’s pants for him to arch his back and find release. It seemed that he didn’t stop coming until Henry broke their connection, and even then he was rocked with the aftershocks of his orgasm.

Mike had thought he’d felt wrung out before, but this was worse – or better, he couldn’t decide – all limp limbs and wool-headed. And this time, there was definitely a wet spot on the front of his slacks.

“Cookie?” Mike rasped as Henry laved gently at the bite.

Henry laughed. “I don’t know, Michael,” he said, eliciting a weak shudder. “Do you really think you deserve a cookie?”

Mike thought he really fucking did. And so did Henry, who handed over the entire bag with the glass of juice.

~*~

Later – after Mike had finished the glass of juice and two cookies, had cleaned up in the bathroom, and had sat watching Henry, who had kept his seat in the corner of the sofa, sketching – he picked up the book – graphic novel – and opened it. Henry had written a simple, Thank you, Henry.

Mike frowned. Thank you for what? Was Henry actually thanking Mike for letting him bite him? In a published comic – graphic novel? Mike raised his gaze to the dedication printed on the same page.

To M. I thought I was no longer capable of being surprised, and then you came along. H.

Mike closed the book and stared at the cover. “I handed you over to Mendoza.”

“Mmm,” Henry hummed in agreement.

His apparent lack of emotion – anger – frustrated Mike. “How was that surprising?”

“It wasn’t,” Henry said. He raised his gaze from the drawing pad and looked at Mike. “Your change of heart was.”

Mike glanced at the image of himself that Henry was sketching. When he’d first seen it, Mike had felt a frisson of something he couldn’t define, even after what they’d just done. He said, “You’ve been drawing me? All this time I thought you were working.”

“I am working,” Henry said. He flipped to a drawing of Vicki in armor.

“We’re warriors?”

Henry snorted. “Vicki’s the warrior. You’re the dim-witted Prince she has to protect.”

“Hey!”

Henry grinned at the pad as he resumed sketching. “Originally I considered making you the court jester.”

“Hey again,” Mike protested. After a moment he said, “Why didn’t you make me a warrior? You could’ve had me killed off very dramatically.”

“Only room in the story for one main warrior,” Henry said, “and we both know that Vicki’d kick your ass.”

Mike had thought about that, shrugged. “Fair.”

Now, Mike said, “What are we doing?”

Henry didn’t pretend to misunderstand. “Discovering that there’s more to each other than meets the eye?”

Mike thought that might be scarier than trusting Henry to not drain him dry, letting Henry see him vulnerable to the pleasure of the bite.

“Frenemies with benefits?” Mike said, only partly in jest.

Henry tilted his head to acknowledge the comment. “You said that you trusted me.”

“I knew that was gonna come back to bite me in the ass,” Mike groused.

“Well, maybe not in the ass,” Henry said dryly.

“Now you’re a comedian?”

“Not this decade,” Henry said, and it probably sounded sadder than he’d meant it to.

“So,” Mike said, wiping his palms nervously on his thighs. “Maybe we could to something. One night. That doesn’t include blood, or juice and cookies.” He reconsidered. “Well, maybe the cookies.”

Henry looked Mike in the eyes and smiled. “I’d like that.”

Mike was more surprised that he wasn’t surprised to realize that he’d like that, too.

The End