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This Is Not a Nightmare

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The library is always packed during finals, even this late at night. Since seats are at a premium, Charley doesn't look up when someone sits down across from him at the study table, just continues poring over his history notes.

After a moment though, he realizes that the newcomer isn’t doing anything. There’s no sound of a backpack rustling, no laptop booting up, and Charley gets the tingling feeling of being looked at. He peeks up to see if it's someone he knows, and immediately thinks he must be hallucinating. Exhaustion is getting to him, or he's asleep and having a nightmare - something - because this absolutely can’t be real. Jerry, his old neighbor, the vampire, who Charley had staked in the heart and watched turn to dust is sitting there staring at him. 

“Hey,” Jerry says.

Charley’s stomach drops. “I killed you,” he whispers.

Jerry’s mouth quirks, and he leans forward to speak softly. “I know. I’m impressed, kid. Really I should thank you for the vacation. I feel so well-rested.”

Charley’s brain absolutely does not want to process what he’s seeing, but a clear thought hits him. What does this mean for the people Jerry turned - for Amy? Charley blinks, hoping it will all go away, but Jerry’s still there when he reopens his eyes.

“Why are you-” Charley stops. It seems like a stupid question. “How did you find me?” he settles for instead, frantically trying to think back to the last time he heard from his mom.

Jerry beckons Charley in close like he has a secret to tell. Against his better judgement, Charley hunches over. “There’s this thing called Facebook,” Jerry murmurs into his ear, and then chuckles. “Too bad you and Amy broke up by the way, but those high school things - you know.” Jerry pauses and glances around the library floor. “I bet you’re getting some real nice college pussy.”

Charley doesn’t respond. He’s trying to come up with a plan, but really all he can think of is to wait for a good moment to run. Maybe pull a fire alarm? He’d gotten complacent in the year and a half since Jerry. To be honest, he’d really just wanted to forget that vampires were a thing. Beneath the table, Charley palms his phone out of his pocket. He keeps his eyes on Jerry. Maybe he can text Peter. If Peter even still has the same number, fuck. Maybe he can text his mom to try and contact Peter, and warn her, and warn Amy, and-

“Like that,” Jerry interrupts his thoughts. He follows Jerry’s gaze to a girl coming out of the restroom. “Is that what you’ve been up to, Charley?” Charley just eyes Jerry warily. He’s had practice texting stealthily of course - he is a teenager, but trying to absolutely not look down for even a second is still a challenge. If these weren't such dire circumstances, it would probably be funny to see what his autocorrect is coming up with. “What would you do to stop me from killing her?” Jerry asks. “Are you still a hero?”

This is insane. Having this conversation with this monster is insane. So many people are around and completely unaware there’s a shark in the pool. Charley barely beat him once. “I’d...I’d fight you,” Charley says, shaky.

There’s a ghost of a smile on Jerry’s face. “And if I won?”

“I’d...I don’t know. Tell you to kill me instead I guess.”

That answer seems to surprise Jerry, but he looks pleased. “Nice,” he offers, “but too easy. Would you pick a replacement?”

“No!” Charley says, a little too loud, earning himself some dirty looks from other students. Jerry’s smirk widens. Surely at least one of them must think it’s weird to see this grown-up hanging out at the campus library. Jerry certainly doesn't look like a professor, with his muscles and his wife beater and the whole dark, slightly sleazy thing he has going on. Fuck, they probably think he’s a dealer or something.

That gives him an idea, and Charley slowly pushes up from his chair. Jerry's eyes narrow in warning. “Hey, this guy's a pervert.” Charley starts off uncertain, but steels himself and gets louder. “This guy’s flashing people!” Jerry stands, looking murderous. It’s a gamble, but Charley thinks he knows him well enough to know that he won’t do anything this public. “He's not even a student!” Charley adds wildly, and then just starts yelling for security as he dashes for the emergency exit.

He heads straight for his dorm (and he really hopes Jerry needs an invitation for that, or he’s totally screwed), because he still has some gear gathering dust in the closet - or maybe under the bed. He’s totally fallen off the ball with this supernatural crap.

As soon as he’s in his room, he calls Peter while he starts digging through his stuff. He calls him four times in a row, leaving increasingly hysterical voicemails before Peter finally answers on the fifth attempt.

“Do you know what time it is?” Peter grouses. “I don’t actually - I’m genuinely asking.”

“So Jerry came back to life,”  Charley says, because there doesn’t seem to be any way to lead in to it.

There’s a pause. “Well that’s…unexpected.”

“Uh, yeah,” Charley half-laughs, buzzed on adrenaline. “Have you heard of this kind of thing happening?”

He hears some rustling from Peter’s end. “Not off the top of my head. I can poke around.” There’s another pause. “I don't think I'm turning back into a vampire, so there's some good news.”

“What the fuck, dude?” Charley says. “I need to know what to do!”

“I’d advise you get out of town,” Peter tells him.

“Hey, I got him before. Maybe I just have to kill Jerry every few years. I can handle that. Maybe.”

“Oh for fuck’s sake. Get out of town and come meet me, alright? Same fabulous penthouse stocked with goodies that can hurt creatures of the night.”

“Okay,” Charley says, thinking aloud. “I just have to wait until the sun comes up, then I can - what? Hop on a bus?” He’s on a college student budget after all.

“I will buy you a plane ticket.” The tone of Peter’s voice suggests he is disgusted by the thought of bus travel. “First flight to Las Vegas out of - where are you?”

“Sacramento.”

“Consider it done, mate.”

There’s a small part of Charley that thinks Peter might immediately get distracted, or pass out or something, but it's only five jittery minutes before his phone buzzes with the flight details.

He doesn’t want to panic anyone, but he sends Amy a Facebook message just telling her to watch out. The break-up had been, well, practical, if not quite one-hundred percent amicable, but he still cares about her. He wishes she was farther away, maybe on another continent and out of danger, but she’s just down in Santa Barbara. He texts his mom too. ‘Hey, remember how vampires are real? There's been some activity lately. I'm fine, just don't invite any strangers in. And maybe stay home at night. :)’ He hopes the emoji strikes the right balance between ‘take this seriously’, and ‘everything will be okay.’

The door opening makes him jump, but it's just his roommate Dan. Charley’s relieved for a bare second, but then Dan says, “Hey bro, your, like, dad or someone is here.”

Fuck!”

Dan looks at him sympathetically. “I know that feeling, dude. Parents, you know?”

“Just - don't talk to him. You didn't tell him he could come in did you?”

“Wow, intense, man. No, I just said I'd tell you he was here.”

It’s a relief that Jerry needs the invite, Charley thinks, but only a small one considering how he fucking blew up their house last time. Charley doesn't want to find out what Jerry will do now if he’s ignored. His heart hammering in his chest, he walks over to the door. Dan had left it cracked open, and Charley can see Jerry leaning on the frame, peering inside with a furious glare. As soon as he spots Charley though, his face goes relaxed and friendly. Charley shivers.

“That was real cute back there, guy.”

“Thanks,” Charley says dryly.

Jerry reaches a hand out, fingers hovering close to the invisible barrier. “Now, you gonna be a good boy and come out here?”

Dan suddenly pops up behind him, probably trying to be supportive, or maybe just nosey.

“Dan,” Charley stutters, “Dan this is-”

“Jerry Dandrige,” Jerry says, flashing a toothy smile, “Charley’s stepdad.”

Before Charley can stop him, Dan is sticking his hand out over Charley’s shoulder and right through the doorway. Jerry grasps it, and gives Charley a pointed look.

“Oh, Charley never mentioned - hey, is your mom here too?” Dan asks.

“No, just me, just in town on business,” Jerry says, eyes still on Charley. It’s rapidly getting weird how long Jerry’s been shaking Dan’s hand.

“Just leaving,” Charley grits out, subtly trying to elbow Dan back and away from the vampire. Jerry lets him go easily, but the tension doesn't lessen.

“Awkward,” he hears Dan whisper under his breath.

Then, as if things couldn’t get worse, Charley hears a group of people coming down the hall. Jerry’s smile turns predatory. “Okay,” Charley snaps, stepping across the threshold.

Jerry immediately gives him a slap on the back. “Okay sport, walk your old man to his car, alright?” he says genially. Charley can't contain his eye-roll, because, creepy.

“Is that really necessary?” he mutters. Jerry just grabs the back of his neck and pushes him towards the stairwell.

“Nice to meet you,” Jerry calls over to Dan. Charley struggles in Jerry’s grip enough to turn his head and add that he’ll be right back. A thumb digs into the base of his skull in what Charley suspects is a - You wish, buddy. But to his surprise, once Jerry’s manhandled him down to the the building’s entrance, he lets him go. “No hard feelings,” Jerry says, and holds his hand out. Charley stares, dumbfounded.

“You killed my best friend,” he finally gets out.

“Technically, you killed him. And really he was your former best friend, wasn’t he?” Jerry says, giving him a condescending pat on the shoulder. Charley gets a stab of guilt in his gut. Technically, Jerry is full of shit, but that doesn't mean Charley doesn’t still feel bad about Ed.

“Give me your hand, Charley,” Jerry tells him, stern now. Charley does, however hesitantly. Jerry squeezes, not hard, which is another surprise, but then a sharp nail drags over his palm. There’s a quick flare of pain, and then Jerry pulls his hand back and licks the little bit of Charley’s blood off his fingertip and gives a hum of satisfaction.

That, more than anything else so far during this horrible, terrible shitshow of night, makes Charley’s hair stand on end. He's waiting for Jerry’s face to go all beast mode, bracing himself for a fight, but Jerry just gives him a look that Charley could maybe say is affectionate. “Night,” Jerry says, reaching out one last time to ruffle Charley’s hair.

Charley's knees are shaking his whole way back to the room.

He's got a bunch of text messages from Peter, completely incomprehensible, full of typos and exclamation points. Based on that he knows it's not going to be anything he wants to hear, but he calls Peter anyway.

“Well, I don't know exactly how to…” Peter starts and then trails off.

“I think he came back weird,” Charley says quietly, checking to see if Dan’s within earshot.

“He’s there ?” Peter shouts.

“Not now! He just...came by, and was creepy and menacing, but he didn’t hurt me. Why wouldn’t he just kill me? Is this some cat and mouse thing? Why the fuck is this happening?”

Peter sighs, sounding disturbingly sympathetic. “He might - I think he thinks - you're like his...mate?” Pete's voice goes up at the end, as if making it a question will soften the blow.

“You’re saying that in a British way, right? Because you’re British?” Charley tries, a little desperately

“Afraid not,” Peter says. “It seems to be a reverse siring thing. I’m making myself a Midori sour, and then I’ll do some more research; you just get here, alright? Silver lining: it’s probably not going to be difficult to get close enough to stake him again.”

“I hate everything,” Charley says, because he is so not prepared to deal with this fresh new hell.

“I don’t blame you, kid.”

Charley doesn't sleep a wink waiting for daybreak. He tries not to think about his conversation with Peter. He tries not to think about Jerry touching him. He really tries not to panic every time he hears someone out in the hall and worry that Jerry might have come back. He fails on every count.

Finally, the sun comes up. Charley’s ordered his Uber and got a bag ready to go. He’s got a wooden stake tucked into his jacket. He doubts he'll get it through security, but he’s not comfortable leaving the dorm without some sort of defense - even if it's daytime. Outside the sky is still all pink and baby blue, and campus is quiet and serene. Breathing fresh air makes Charley feel a little less cagey. He goes to check his driver's status, and that's when he gets hit in the back of head, and everything goes dark.

-

When Charley comes to, he immediately grimaces with the fierce pain throbbing in his skull. He's also got a crick in his neck and both his shoulders are stiff and sore. When he tries to stretch, he finds that his hands are cuffed behind his back. So the situation is already looking great when Charley realizes three things at once. First, his neck hurts because he was passed out slumped against a car window, second, the car is moving, and finally, he is about to throw up.

“Roll down the window,” he manages to say, feeling the dry heaves start. It’s too late though, and Charley just leans over as much as he can in his position and pukes on the car floor.

“Nice,” a voice deadpans when he's done retching.

Charley looks over and is simultaneously both unsurprised and filled with dread to find that Jerry is at the wheel. It’s night again, which means he’s been unconscious all day, which is disconcerting. There’s not much to see outside, but Charley can tell they’re on a highway.

It’s a lot to take in at once, but Charley asks the first thing that comes to mind: “Am I dead?”

Jerry snorts. “You would know.”

Okay, so not dead at least. “Did you knock me out?” is his next question, because if Jerry can somehow handle sunlight now the whole world is probably fucked.

“No, I paid someone else to do it,” Jerry says. “I just drugged you after he dropped you off. And after I ate him.”

“I thought you said no hard feelings,” Charley grumbles. He twists against the cuffs and wishes he knew how to get out of them. There’s got to be some Youtube tutorials. What he’s for sure learned in the past twenty-four hours is that there’s a lot of knowledge more practical than Philosophy 101 he could have been pursuing his freshman year. If only he’d anticipated Jerry somehow coming back from the vampire-dead and kidnapping him.

“Well,” Jerry says, cocking his head thoughtfully, “Maybe a few hard feelings.”

Charley does not like the sound of that, so much so that he decides to risk turning around to fumble behind himself for the door handle. Not that diving out of a moving car seems like a particularly wise idea, but still probably better than whatever torture Jerry has in mind. But that all quickly becomes moot because nothing happens when Charley tries to push the door open. “Child locks,” Jerry says smugly. He could try to kick the window out, but not faster than Jerry could stop him. He could try and get Jerry to crash, but that would most definitely hurt him more than the vampire. Charley sighs, frustrated, and drops his head back against the seat.

“Go to sleep,” Jerry says, reaching over to pat his knee. Charley does - not because Jerry told him to, but because his adrenaline is crashing and whatever Jerry doped him with is dragging his eyes closed and it’s suddenly impossible to stay awake.

The next thing he knows he’s being jostled as Jerry carries him down a flight of stairs. Charley starts struggling, feeling like a fish caught on a line. He’s still cuffed, and Jerry’s arm is hooked under his knees, limiting how much he can kick. Charley grunts as he's tossed onto a mattress. There's not much chance to get his bearings before Jerry is looming over him, but it looks like the kind of bland finished basement he and his friends grew up hanging out in.

Jerry kneels up over him and settles his hands on Charley’s shoulders, pressing him down into the bed. It makes the cuffs dig uncomfortably into his back, and Charley reflexively lifts his hips to try and take the weight off his wrists, and - yep, that’s Jerry’s crotch, and Jerry is definitely hard, and Charley is suddenly terrified.

“Here’s the thing, Charley,” Jerry says, a husky murmur close to his ear, “I’m an old-fashioned guy, and I want to do our first time right - you know, in the neck, but I don’t want to take too much, so I need you to be good and try not to jerk too much and make me tear your throat open.”

Charley immediately does the exact opposite of being good and tries to buck Jerry off of him. All that gets him is a laugh and Jerry grabbing his hair. He’s pinned all the way down to his calves. He can dig his heels into the bedding, but that's pretty much it. His head is pulled back, and Charley has never felt so naked as he does being this vulnerable and exposed underneath a predator.

“Oh, Charley,” Jerry says, “I've been waiting a while for this.”

Charley’s not embarrassed at the way he whimpers. He gives himself a pass considering the situation. He gives himself another pass for the way he closes his eyes and stays very still as fangs pierce his flesh. It hurts, like the jab of an extra thick needle, and it’s gross to have to hear the slurping noises as Jerry sucks, but the worst part is actually that Jerry’s grinding their hips together. In another context the pressure would probably feel nice, but all together it's like Jerry’s getting to vampire second base, and Charley is again trying very hard to not think about the mate thing.

After about a minute, Jerry pulls back with a contented groan, and then tugs a corner of the off-white comforter up to apply pressure to the bite. He wipes his mouth with the back of his other hand and then licks the smear of blood clean.

Charley's feeling dazed, but he still has it in him to slur, “Did you pick these out?” He tips his head to indicate the blanket.

“I put a lot of work into getting this place ready for you, Charley,” Jerry says with a mean little smile.

Not thinking about it, Charley’s brain shouts. “Probably not the best color scheme,” he manages. “You know, with the vampire thing.”

Jerry barks out a laugh. “You're funny, kid.” And then - “I'm going to mark this whole place up with your blood. I want you to have to look at it.”

“Why are you doing this?” Charley’s voice comes out much whinier than intended, but he’s so tired and hungry and hurting all over. Of course, he knows the why, kind of, even if he’s still refusing to think about the implications.

The humor disappears from Jerry’s expression. He drops the blanket and then pushes two fingers into Charley’s neck, one at each incision, and it feels like getting bitten all over again the pain is so sharp. “Because you're mine, Charley,” Jerry growls.

Charley’s fear spikes like a jolt of electricity, and he’s back to his futile squirming. Jerry rides his hips down hard , and Charley feels it all the way through to his aching wrists. “Get off me,” Charley snarls. He keeps repeating it, and each time he does it turns a little more pleading. But Jerry’s a heavy, unmovable weight over him, the bracket of his thighs squeezing Charley’s legs still.

Jerry shoves Charley’s shirt up to his armpits. His cold touch leave goosebumps in its wake. Charley watches Jerry’s hand change, going a corpse-like gray, nails lengthening and thickening into claws. He touches his index finger just under Charley’s left nipple, and taps there twice before he drags down an inch, and then over. He does it slow enough that Charley can feel the shape of a five point star coming together as it’s carved into his skin.

Jerry bends and laps at the blood that beads up, and then shifts just a little to tongue his nipple. Charley can’t help but gasp as Jerry alternates between the two, and the soft pleasure and the sting blur together. Charley feels his dick twitch and start to harden, and no, that cannot happen. He focuses on every point of pain until his body gives up on enjoying any of this.

When it seems like Jerry has coaxed all the blood he’s going to get out of the cut, he sits up and goes to undo his pants. Charley slams his eyes shut in denial, but he can’t block out the dirty sound of Jerry touching himself. “Look at me,” Jerry says. He shifts his weight forward and Charley feels like his wrists might break. He reluctantly drags his gaze up to Jerry’s. “No, look at my cock, Charley.” Charley shudders and shakes his head. A threatening claw digs in below the star. It makes it through at least two layers of skin before Charley finally obeys, and there’s Jerry’s cock jutting out of his jeans,  big and hard and looking as dangerous as the rest of him. Jerry’s fisting it loosely, dragging the foreskin back and forth across  the shiny head. Charley’s never seen an uncircumcised dick in real life before. Then again, Charley doesn’t see a lot of naked dicks in general, cut or otherwise.

“I’m going to fuck that tight little ass of yours,” Jerry says, low and smug. “You ever done that, kid? Been experimenting at all?”

Charley’s almost tempted to say yes, just to not give Jerry what he clearly wants, but self-preservation wins, and a sullen “No,” comes out instead.

“Good boy, saving that sweet cherry for me,”Jerry practically purrs. It makes Charley’s stomach twist, a little nauseous and lightheaded at those words. Jerry’s working his erection harder now, and Charley can’t seem to look away from the obscene pull of Jerry’s hand on that thick cock. That’s Jerry’s cock, and Jerry wants to fuck him with it, and less than a day ago Charley was studying for finals and totally sure he never had to worry about Jerry again. And it’s like Jerry can hear his thoughts, because he says, “You’re going to cry for me,” just as Charley’s throat gets tight and he starts to feel overwhelmed. Jerry jabs his thumb into the top of the star-cut, and Charley does. He sobs, beating his head back against the pillow because it’s the only movement he’s capable of. It feels like Jerry is going to go right through his chest and stab his heart - and wouldn't that be just perfect payback?

He hates the high, wounded noise that comes out of his throat. Jerry, however, sighs in appreciation. “It’s okay,” Jerry murmurs. “You tried, but you can let go now.” He smooths Charley’s hair back from his forehead and leans down to nuzzle the side of his face, and - fuck, he’s licking up Charley’s tears and breathing filth into his ear. “Gonna keep you so full of my cum.” The slap of flesh gets louder. “Gonna teach you to come on my cock. Gonna break in that sweet mouth of yours.” Charley’s so thankful his eyes are still watering and he can’t see Jerry anymore. It’s already too much knowing Jerry is jerking off over him and hearing- “Fuck, Charley, I’m going to put my whole hand in you and see how hard that makes you cry.”

He’s dimly aware of the shots of cum that land cool on his sternum up to the base of his throat. He knows Jerry’s watching as a few more tears trickle down his temples. Jerry strokes his chest in a way that might be comforting if not for the slight bleach smell of the semen getting massaged into his skin and the twinges of the cuts Jerry keeps grazing

When his crying has petered out, he’s flipped over on his belly. The cuffs click open and Charley’s arms flop uselessly at his sides. A few seconds later Charley screams into the pillow as the sensation of pins and needles assaults him. Jerry scratches the back of his neck like he’s petting a cat. “You want something to eat?” 

There's no way Charley can respond to that. He tries to burrow further into the mattress and away from reality, feeling the wobbling threat of another bout of tears. Jerry tugs on his hair. “I’m going to get you some food. What do you want?” Charley just shakes his head and hiccups.

“Fine,” Jerry says, and then Charley hears him walking away and up the stairs. He hears the door open and close and a lock turn, and only then does Charley let himself fall apart