Set before Blurred Nights.
In two hours, the sun would set. Two hours after that, Marc, Blake, three more vampires and twelve humans would be taking over a demons’ camp. All they could hope was that it wouldn’t be too late for the prisoners.
“I still don’t see why we have to risk our lives for them,” Blake said, raising his eyes from the sword he was sharpening on a wet stone. “If they were stupid enough to let themselves be caught, they deserve to be killed.”
“They didn’t let themselves—” Frustration dripped from each one of Marc’s words, barely controlled until he took a deep breath. He glared at Blake, without getting much in lieu of a reaction. “You wanted to be turned to fight demons. We are fighting demons. Why are you being such a prick?”
Blake’s face lit up with a sinful grin. “Speaking of—”
Any other time, Marc would have been more than open to the suggestion he was sure was coming. They were overdue for this talk, however, and it was time for Blake to understand a few things.
“Shut up. Listen, for once, and learn.” He sat by Blake, and waited to have his full attention. “Centuries ago, vampires and humans used to be allies. Vampires would spend their nights hunting down demons, and the humans who lived around their lair would come and pay a daily blood tribute.”
Blake let out a little incredulous noise. “Never learned anything like that in school. Not that I went to school a lot, I’ll grant you that, but it sounds like some fairytale if you ask me.”
“I told you to listen,” Marc snapped, then calmed down again. “Human history is unreliable. It depends too much on oral traditions and books that were changed to suit whoever was repeating or copying them. Vampires live long enough that centuries can be shared from Sire to Childer and lose few details. It was only ten generations between my Sire and the time I am telling you about, and the memory is still fresh. Our clan back then was two dozens of Childer strong, all obeying their Sire and protecting the villages they were allied to. Something happened, something terrible that nearly wiped out the entire clan, and those who remained stopped protecting the villages. There was just too much ground to cover and not enough fighters. The clan broke the Pact first. We’ve been doing our best to make up for it since.”
Blake raised an eyebrow. “When you say ‘we’—”
“Yes. That includes you too. You’re part of the clan, aren’t you?”
A smile pulled at Blake’s lips. It had only been weeks since his turning, but it hadn’t taken Marc long to realize that belonging—to a clan, to a Sire, to anything or anyone—was something Blake craved.
“Of course. I’m just saying—”
“I know what you’re saying.” Marc sighed wearily. “Everything has to be a game, for you. And everything can be. Everything except that. This is what our clan is about, and you will fall into line. Am I making myself clear?”
“Clear as crystal. Can we fuck, now?”
Marc blinked at the deadpan suggestion, delivered with burning eyes and an impish smile. “This is the reason why I sired you. So that you would help me continue our clan’s work. Do not treat the matter lightly.”
“And here I thought you had turned me because you liked fucking me.”
This time, Marc growled, a low, warning sound that made Blake’s grin waver.
“I understand,” he said quickly. “If it is what our clan does, then I will do it too. It’s not like I don’t enjoy killing demons anyway.”
Closing his eyes briefly, Marc snorted. This was Blake in a nutshell; complaining and arguing and making his life difficult for the simple pleasure of being contradictory. And as much as his Childe could get on his nerves sometimes, Marc wouldn’t have it any other way.
Set before Blurred Nights, sequel to the previous bit of flash fiction.
It had been a bit of a surprise for Marc, when coming back to town, to catch Blake’s scent in the street where they had once shared an apartment. He had hoped to find his Childe again, of course, but he hadn’t believed he would find him exactly where he had left him five years earlier.
Hands buried in his pants pockets, he followed the trail, and tried not to rehearse what he would tell Blake. He had done enough of that while driving back. Whatever he wanted to say, it would all disappear with the first look Blake would give him. Marc would know, then, if he had a chance at repairing what he had broken or if it was useless to even try.
It didn’t take him long to find Blake, in the back alley behind a bar they had once patronized together. He wasn’t alone, which, seeing the circumstances, Marc couldn’t really blame him for. What was unacceptable, however, what sent him forward with fists balled up and an angry growl rising from his chest was the sight of his Childe’s fangs in a human’s neck.
With one hand, he wrenched Blake away from his prey, and, without a second thought, started raining punches on him.
The very first lesson he had given Blake, the night after he had sired him, had been that human lives were to be protected, not seen as a commodity. The lesson had taken time and effort to sink in, but with Marc’s help, Blake had reined in his instincts. And now this?
He caught Blake in the stomach with a right hook and sent him stumbling back. Only the brick wall behind him stopped him from falling to the dirty alley ground. Marc took a step forward, but before he reached him again, Blake’s prey had thrown herself between the two of them, oblivious to the blood marring her right shoulder where the strap of her dress left it bare. She was livid.
“What are you doing, you freak! Leave him alone!”
Shocked by her intervention, Marc froze, a fist still in the air and ready to swing until he finally dropped it. In front of him, the girl had turned toward Blake and was holding him to her, muttering a string of nonsense in which the word ‘hospital’ was prominent.
“I’m fine, Rose. Just fine. That’s just my Sire’s way of saying hello. He’s never been too good with social niceties.”
The words came with a bloodied half-smile for Rose, and a look as cold as winter for Marc. More reassurances convinced the girl that Blake didn’t need medical attention, only to go home and clean up. It took a little longer to dissuade her from accompanying him, but she eventually left, departing with a hateful glare toward Marc.
He didn’t apologize. A Sire just didn’t apologize to a Childe, not when the Childe had disobeyed so blatantly. But because Marc had been mistaken, because the girl had obviously been a willing participant rather than a victim, he wrapped an arm around Blake, mindful of his ribs, and slowly, almost painstakingly, helped him home. Neither of them said a word the entire way there, or even when they had entered the familiar apartment.
Marc washed his Childe’s wounds where the skin had split and blood spilled under his knuckles. He bandaged them as well, even if they both knew it was useless. And when Blake was tucked in between threadbare sheets, Marc presented him with his wrist.
Blake could have refused, then, and Marc would have left without another word, this time for good. He could take a hint. But Blake sank his fangs into the inside of Marc’s wrist and drank, slow sips to make it last, and the ‘welcome back’ in his half-closed eyes had the same elusive feel as forgiveness.
They slept in the same bed, but Marc had never felt as far away from Blake, even when half a continent had separated them. They didn’t speak until the next afternoon; only then did Marc understand that Blake could forgive blows, but wouldn’t forget as easily being left behind.