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Cecil was hungry. Carlos didn't have to ask him to know, not anymore, not when he'd learned the signs so well. He was a little sluggish, less like himself, not as cheerful and strange. Carlos knew it would only get worse; first he'd get snappy and tired, then soon he wouldn't have the energy even to do that. Carlos wasn't sure what came after that, because he was going to make sure it never happened.

Cecil never pressured him to do it. Cecil never pressured him to do anything; Carlos pressured himself. He felt like that kind of a lot with Cecil, like Cecil did so much for him that he could only ever be playing catch up, and giving blood seemed like such a good way to repay him.

Then he actually did it, and now there was no way in the world he was possibly going to give it up.

"I'm ready," Carlos said, squirming a little on Cecil's fingers, trying not to make it too obvious how impatient he was feeling.

"I just want to make sure, dear Carlos," Cecil said, kissing him sweetly. His fangs were already out, which made it slightly awkward, but it wasn't worth worrying about, not if it meant not kissing Cecil. "I never want to hurt you."

"You never have," Carlos told him, pecking him on the lips. He'd already learned that that was the right answer, if he wanted to allay the fears that Cecil might never really overcome.

Cecil hitched Carlos's leg up, putting it around his waist as he positioned himself at Carlos's entrance. Carlos moaned as he pushed inside, spreading him out and filling him up. It felt so good just like this, but it was going to feel so much better.

Cecil lowered his mouth to Carlos's neck, kissing it softly. "Carlos," he whispered, and Carlos bit his lip at the feeling of Cecil's fangs entering his skin. It never got any less painful, and Carlos tried to hide that fact as best he could. It was so worth it, because the pain was momentary, so meaningless next to what came afterwards.

And then Cecil started to move, rocking slowly into Carlos; Carlos had just enough time to wonder how Cecil could be so coordinated at a time like this before Cecil started to suck. It was a sensation like nothing Carlos had ever felt before, the slow drain, the strange moment of desperation and fear that Carlos couldn't seem to shake no matter how much he wanted this. It was nothing, though, just made what came next that much sweeter.

Carlos's whole body relaxed as Cecil slowly took him over; there had to be some scientific explanation for it, the way that Cecil could control him like that, take away any will he had. Unfortunately, Carlos was never going to figure it out, because there was no way he could be the least bit methodical about recording his observations, not when it was so good, so all-encompassing. There was nothing in his head, nothing but Cecil, no desire for anything else, no thirst for knowledge or need to understand.

Carlos, Cecil said, in that way he only could during times like these, bypassing Carlos's ears and going straight into his brain. My gorgeous, darling Carlos, let me, just let me-

"Yes," Carlos moaned; Cecil didn't have to be controlling him for that, because there was nothing else Carlos wanted, nothing but Cecil above him, giving to him, taking from him. He got so strong when they did this, reinforced by fresh blood, and he held Carlos down, pushing him hard into the mattress, as if Carlos would think about moving, as if he could. Even if Cecil had let him, he wouldn't have moved an inch, wanting this far too badly to leave for even an instant.

Carlos groaned as Cecil sucked harder, taking more from him, fucking him faster. Every moment felt like it stretched out forever; Carlos felt slow and heavy, caught up in Cecil, Cecil's will. Maybe he should have been terrified, probably the best course of action when one was actively being fed on by a vampire, but he'd never felt safer. Cecil would take care of everything; Carlos didn't have to do anything but let go.

Things were moving faster now, speeding incrementally; time never worked in Night Vale, but it was even more meaningless when Cecil had him, expanding and contracting, distorted until it had no form at all. Nothing mattered except for Cecil's need for him, the steady push of Cecil's body into his.

You're so good, Carlos, Cecil said. So beautiful, so delicious, give it all to me, give it up-

This time Carlos couldn't say anything, couldn't even move to make any sign of how much he wanted to, but somehow he knew that Cecil knew anyway. Just as long as Cecil kept taking him, Carlos didn't care, not about anything but getting more. Cecil was fucking him hard now, rough, animal, using him like an object, like something meaningless and cheap, but his mind said something different, all but shouting how much he wanted Carlos, how much he loved him.

Carlos could feel as Cecil got closer, reaching for it; he sucked harder, more, until the edges of Carlos's vision blurred, until he felt like he might black out at any moment. Carlos, Cecil said, his voice filing Carlos's head, almost overwhelming. My Carlos, my precious Carlos, come on, come for me-

Carlos's body jolted, his back arching as he came, but Cecil didn't let him get away, holding him to his chest tightly, bearing him down as he thrust faster. Carlos had the clear sense, for just a moment, that he was going to die, that Cecil was going to kill him this time, but it was so hard to care. It was probably worth it, dying to satisfy Cecil like this, dying in this kind of pleasure.

Carlos could feel it when Cecil came, just like it was happening to him, like there was no separation between his body and Cecil's. Cecil clung to him, shaking; Carlos managed to bring an arm up to put around him. He wasn't sure whether it was through his will or Cecil's, but he was certain it didn't matter.

Cecil slowly took his mouth away from Carlos's neck; even with his caution, Carlos gasped at the sudden feeling of disconnect, the loss of Cecil in his mind. Cecil held him tight, reassuring him with his body, keeping him steady as they came down. Cecil's mouth tasted of copper when Carlos kissed him, but it wasn't as important as the comfort of it, the connection that he so desperately needed.

They lay there for a long time holding each other, unable and unwilling to let go. Cecil stroked Carlos's hair, comforting him; it was hard, afterwards, coming back from where he'd gone, getting back his control. He regained it slowly, sighing as he managed to relax again, melting into Cecil's arms.

"Here," Cecil said, reaching back and picking up the bottle on the nightstand. "Drink up."

Carlos wasn't entirely sure what went into the bottle; it tasted vaguely like oranges and made him feel much better, which was what mattered. Cecil rubbed his back as he drank, taking the bottle away when Carlos was finished and setting it back on the nightstand. He pulled Carlos to him again, holding him close as he recovered. It would be a few hours before Carlos felt up to doing much of anything, but already he was feeling a little better.

"Why does a vampire live in the desert, anyway?" Carlos asked idly.

"I was born here," Cecil said, twirling a strand of Carlos's hair around his finger. "The heat and light doesn't bother me much, not when I spend most of my days in the studio anyway. As long as I have plenty of blood, I'm fine."

Carlos laughed. "I don't think that's going to be a problem." He stopped, considering. "What did you do for blood before?"

"Well, I mostly used interns," Cecil said, shrugging. At Carlos's shocked expression, he added, "I just snacked, honestly, they die because of the unbreakable station curse, not because of a little vampirism."

"It seems a little unprofessional, doing something like that at the station," Carlos said.

"Carlos," Cecil said, frowning. "I hope you know that it's not like this all the time. With the interns, it was just a little nip from their wrists from time to time. It's not at all like what we do. I only do it this way with you because I want it to be special. You give me so much, Carlos. I just want to make it good for you."

Carlos kissed him softly. "It's good for me," he said. "You're always good for me."

Cecil smiled brightly, pulling Carlos closer. Carlos could hear his heartbeat, the sound of his own blood in Cecil's veins. He shut his eyes, listening to it, letting it soothe him.