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Lance was exhausted. He was tired of trying and failing to get gigs, tired of being underpaid, tired of rude people who didn’t appreciate the long hours he put in till his fingers were stiff and numb from playing.

But tonight, he was mostly tired of that goddamn vamp he’d played one too many times. Waiting for Allura’s voice to come in. Waiting for the spotlight to fasten on her. She was one of the only gateways to a booking he could get nowadays. No more solo Lance, astounding audiences with his tickling of the ivories all by himself, huh? Then, the music would call for another repeat, another mind-numbing collection of notes to vamp, vamp, vamp.

He was so, so tired. He rubbed the back of his neck and sagged against the rough brick wall, letting his duffle bag rest on the top of one of the garbage cans lined up next to him. He grimaced down at it, watching insects take flight. Gross, but...

He felt like he could pass out right here, right behind the bar he’d been playing for the last few hours. Not like anyone would notice. Or care. No passersby would glance at his prone body, nobody would come looking for him. Why would they? He lived in a shitty apartment that he never went home to and chased money instead of friends or family or anything else in exchange for pursuing the career he’d wanted so desperately. Dazedly, he brought up his clenched fist to stare down at bills – too few, not enough to make rent.

Congrats, McClain, you made it.

He didn’t hear the quick footsteps behind him until the guy was on him, hand clamping over his mouth. Another arm yanked him in hard against a body, even as he tried to struggle away, his efforts in vain.

He screamed into unforgiving fingers as the sharp, shooting pain in his neck exploded through his body. The money fluttered to the ground as he went to scramble for something, anything – a hand seized on his duffle and he swung, with all his might –

The person at his ear came away with a grunt and an awful rip – it was Lance’s skin, he could feel it, it fucking hurt, and he jumped back, scuttling away from this crazy person, and promptly tripped, falling into the depths of the garbage cans with an echoing crash.

“Dammit!” the unfamiliar hiss kicked Lance’s heart into higher overdrive as he fought to get himself upright again. The other person in the alley beat him to it.

Fingers clenched in his three-day-worn shirt collar hauled him up, leaving him to blink in shock. It was really dark, but neon lights from buildings surrounding, a bit of yellow streetlight, spilled into the alley enough.

The man was pale, dark hair hiding most of his face, Lance’s blood dribbling from his mouth, and those eyes.

Lance could only stare in distinctly deerlike fashion at the glowing metaphor for headlights (although honestly they actually seemed to be emitting light) that held him in their grasp. The man’s eyes were blazing scarlet, and Lance knew this guy wasn’t human when the flick of a tongue and its resulting flash of sharp canine set his head swimming.

He’d been caught by some nightmare of a creature whose face had a long scratch up the side – courtesy of the charms from one of his little sisters on his bag – and it looked pissed. Like, completely livid.

Lance was fucked. So it was with much trepidation but also a resigned kind of relief that he found himself passing out.

At least he’d die painlessly.

His head hurt when he woke up, pressing the heels of his palms into his eyes as he screwed them shut further. He was lying on surprisingly silky fabric, he realized, and sporting a nasty case of weird sleep haze – dry mouth and heavy limbs. He stretched his mind back, trying to remember...

Blood. Pain.

Lance shot up and gasped a pained, voiceless moan. No, that hurt.

A low laugh. “So you’re awake. Finally.”

Lance spooked, shoving himself backward across the bed in a second, hitting the wall hard. The vampire – because that was what he was, wasn’t he – was sitting in a chair next to the bed, regarding him with unreadable, unsettling eyes.

“Where am I? Wh-what are you? Fuck, fuck, let me go, please, please!”

A roll of the eyes now. The vampire stood, drawing closer to the bed, closer to Lance. “One question at a time.”

“Please, just − I’ll leave, and I won’t tell anyone, just...”

“You smell disgusting,” the vampire remarked, fingers curling around Lance’s ankle before he could withdraw it. He began dragging Lance closer, who squeaked and struggled. “But you’re also the first human I’ve followed in a while who presented me with such an easy opportunity. You’re going to take a shower and then I’m going to drink from you, because I haven’t eaten in much, much too long.”

“No!” Lance kicked at him, feeling nails bite into his skin. Was this how he was going to die? “H-hang on – I have – I was supposed to um, hang out tonight, and my – my friend Hunk will notice if I don’t show up! He’ll call the police!” A complete lie, he hadn’t seen Hunk in months, since the big guy had gotten a position at a five-star restaurant, but –

A chuckle erupted as piercing red eyes considered him. “You drive a hard bargain. Do as I say for the time being and I’ll pay you.”


“If that’s what it will take, you’ll leave this place with much more than I’m sure you make playing seedy joints like the one you did tonight.”

Lance gaped. “W-what do I look like, some kind of − some kind of...blood prostitute, you monster?”

Fingers suddenly dug into his chest – the vampire had moved faster than Lance thought possible. His face was twisted in the dim light, fangs on display. Lance trembled. “Perhaps not, then, I could just take your blood and leave you drained in that alleyway, if you’d prefer? Since I’m a monster?”

He’d hit a nerve, and he really was going to die. He tried to twist away. “N-no, please, I’ll...”

“I’m hungry, and I’m thinking you’re starting to seem like more trouble than you were worth, kidnapping and all,” hissed the vampire in his ear. “Your life is on the line. So take the deal or don’t.”

“I’ll shower,” Lance whispered. “I’ll take it.”

He dallied for as long as he could underneath the hot spray, wincing as soap dripped into the wound on his neck, pretending he wasn’t going to have to face that creature on the other end of this. But eventually, there was a banging on the door, and Lance reluctantly shut off the water to grab the fluffy towel the vampire had left for him. Dawdling further still, he took his time rubbing himself down and fiddling with his hair. His clothes had vanished, only a pair of pajama pants in their place, which put him even more on edge, crossing arms over his bare chest.

But the vampire did leave him be until he slowly, unwillingly padded back down the hall to the bedroom.

The vampire’s house was dark, but strangely rich, ornate. No cramped apartment; a house, and likely a big one at that. Nothing you’d think to find downtown, which scared Lance – he had to be far, far from home, nowhere he could simply escape outside and walk a few blocks to reach a landmark he knew.

Peering around the bedroom’s dark depths as he stepped in, he couldn’t see anything but the faint outline of the four-poster he’d woken up on, a bit of moonlight spilling across its sheets through the curtains. Lance’s feet took him towards it without his permission. Briefly, he considered simply giving up all reason and trying to nap on it again – he still felt exhausted − but a ghost of a laugh behind him stopped him dead. A crimson pair of eyes had blinked open in the corner, intent on his, hypnotizing as they drew closer soundlessly. In a trance, he backed up until his thighs bumped mattress, and he couldn’t anymore, so he fell backwards.

Lance felt the vampire’s lips first, mouthing over his skin, a touch of tongue sliding over his collarbone. He shuddered at the cold, screwing his eyes shut. The sting of fangs biting into him jolted him, tensing as the pain traveled up and down his body. One hand clenched at the sheets, the other at the man’s back, blunt nails digging in.

“Mmm,” the vampire hummed against him, teeth sliding back out as his breath played across Lance’s neck. “So you’re actually tolerable when you’ve cleaned up and shut up.”

“You shut up,” Lance whispered hoarsely.

A dark chuckle and another bite. Shit, it hurt.

But as the vampire sucked at him, lapping at missed blood dripping down his skin, Lance felt a strange, floating euphoria begin to creep over him. He was going to pass out again, he was sure of it, but for now...

“You’re enjoying it, aren’t you?” The vampire had pulled back to stare him in the eyes, and Lance met the seductive red glow of his irises through half-open lids. He felt warm all over, like he was covered in a fuzzy blanket.

“Y-yeah,” he giggled, inhaling sharply as an arm snaked under his shoulders to pull him up. The vampire looked flushed now, red high in his cheeks, his lips rosy – from all the blood he’d drank − as he pressed them to Lance’s cheek. Lance squirmed weakly as again, his tongue darted out.

“Stop licking me!”

“Would you prefer this?”

The vampire sealed his lips against Lance’s, then his tongue was in Lance’s mouth, and Lance’s head was spinning.

The taste of his own blood was metallic and disgusting, salt and heavy thickness, but Lance felt too high to care.

He whimpered into the vampire’s kiss, fingers sliding over cloth, skin only just barely warm with body heat, fastening in hair. Fistfuls of black hair, pulling him closer.

A tooth nicking his lip, more blood. He felt drunk, utterly intoxicated, like when he and Hunk had stolen a bottle of something much too potent from Hunk’s parents liquor cabinet and between them, had drank the whole thing in a few hours – they’d been maybe fifteen, and the next morning, had vowed to each other to never to drink again. It hadn’t been worth it.

But this, this was something much better than loopily wondering out loud about the mysteries of the universe and laughing hysterically at the oddest of things, this tingling, pleasant heat gathering everywhere.

So when the vampire finally pulled back, Lance found himself whining low in his throat in protest, chasing those lips and teeth. He was too hazy to question himself, but he wanted more, fuck the consequences.

The exhale of a laugh was shakier than usual, no put together, completely-in-control predator anymore. The vampire’s eyes were blown as he stared into Lance’s, glowing red only barely visible now.

A thumb swiped at Lance’s cut mouth. The vampire’s hair was a mess from Lance’s clutching, an unsteady, slight smile on his own lips. Lance tugged on his hair again, needing them back on his, and the vampire hissed, resisting with obvious effort.

“I did say I wouldn’t kill you,” he growled.

“More,” Lance mumbled, and the vampire’s eyes widened.

“That’s not a good idea. It...really hit you hard, didn’t it?” The vampire’s voice was wobbly as he started to push himself up, off of Lance. “I shouldn’t.”

“Yes, you should! C’mon −” He didn’t have the vampire’s name, so he was left trying to clumsily clutch at his shirt front and mouth unknown words. The vampire raised an eyebrow.

“Trying to get my name out of me? You can call me Keith, I suppose.”

Even this far gone (or perhaps especially this far gone), Lance knew how to give bedroom eyes. And he was good at it, dammit.

Good enough that the vampire almost looked like the hypnotized one now, swaying a bit as his eyes drifted down to where Lance could still taste blood. His lips pulled up over his fangs, brow furrowed. He looked almost in pain.

But Lance knew how to seal the deal now.

“C’mon, Keith,” Lance murmured, trying not to slur his words. Yes, that was appropriate breathiness, a hint of a moan. “Bite me.”

Keith’s snarl was guttural and the sudden pain was sweet at the underside of Lance’s jaw.

Yes, he thought woozily, floating away. This was nice.


He felt like he’d been run over by a truck. And then a few more. He didn’t want to open his eyes.

“Lance, dammit, wake up! Fuck, please don’t die.”

The voice was fairly unfamiliar, and the hands shaking him were annoying. He resolved to wake up just to tell this person to leave him be, but when he tried to shove them away, his arms would barely move.

“I hate it when they die. Come on, don’t make me do this...”

Keith. Keith the vampire. Had bitten him. What?

“I went through your disgusting things for you, searched your wallet to figure out who the hell you are – you have to get back to...what’s his name, Hunk, you have bars and places to play at, come on − I said I’d pay you, you dick, you’re not dying on me now!”

He’d really rather not die.

“Oh god.”

Skin brushed against his mouth, thick liquid dripping past parted lips – disgusting, more blood?

There was so much of it now, invading his mouth, slipping down his throat. Still gross, but now...Lance weakly found himself sucking at the wound.

“I’m sorry for this,” muttered Keith above him. “I’m really...sorry.”

Chapter Text

The dark alleyway was almost unlit, but Lance could see just fine − a single figure was leaning up against the wall, a cigarette at the person’s lips. No companions, no passersby.


Lance’s throat was burning. His teeth ached, like when he used to try to bite through a frozen popsicle, sitting on the front step of his house in the pleasantly hot glare of the sun.

Of course, now this ache was customary. He just needed to eat.

He couldn’t do it in the hot sun anymore, though. Popsicles weren’t exactly palatable either.

Lance readied himself as the figure dropped their cigarette and ground it under a shoe, heading back for the alley door. He could jump them just as they passed him, silently blending into his surroundings.

He was so hungry. But he couldn’t just stop by the nearest cheap diner and inhale the special.

No, Lance needed to sink his teeth into someone and suck them dry.

His body pounded with the memory of a heartbeat as he leapt, on them in a moment. The person cried out as he clamped down, collapsing under the weight and pain.

He could feel the bloodlust taking hold as he gulped, a frenzy rushing over him – he was desperate, panting, the new blood rushing through him, he needed more –

“Lance! Let go!”

The fingers clenched in his shirt and dragging him back were stronger than a mere human’s. Lance hissed at Keith, shifting into a defensive crouch before he could even get his bearings – instinctual.

Keith’s fangs were bared, shielding the body behind him. “I told you no killing! You were about to drain that guy completely!”

Lance glared, wiping drops of blood away with a finger, sticking it in his mouth as his sire knelt beside the figure, pressing his own fingers to the person’s neck and exhaling in relief. They had a pulse. They’d be fine. “This is your fault. You made me this way.”

“Yes, and I won’t have it happening again, dammit.”

Lance knew his own eyes must glow like Keith’s, with some terrible hungry power that was still entrancing – it still caught him even with his actual humanity gone now. But Keith’s gaze held too much. Lance should have dropped his own eyes, but it rankled him, this power play. He wouldn’t break it.

“Why do you even follow me around, huh?”

Keith looked away. The blood-muddled, drugged-by-Keith’s-teeth moments that had ultimately led to Lance’s technical demise had been just that − muddled and drugged. Keith had been just as crazy off bloodlust as Lance had been a few minutes ago. There was no reason for Keith to care, really, about his newly sired protege, as far as Lance could tell. And Keith had left him to run free for a while, or so Lance had thought, but then he’d think he’d caught a glimpse of silky black hair, a flash of red eyes every once in a while, and now here he was.

Head coming up to meet Lance’s gaze once more, Keith’s look was cool. “Because once you kill one of them, you’ll regret it for the rest of your existence. I should know. Eternity, as far as I can tell, seems like a long time.”

“Thanks, Mr. Righteous. Tell that to your next kidnapping victim, see if they’ll thank you for ruining their life.”

The proud shoulders twitched, slumped a little. Keith turned away. “I’m sorry.”

Lance wanted to dig in, drive a stake to his heart, hurt Keith the way the vampire had hurt him by turning him into this. He crouched at Keith’s back. His sneered words were quiet, but into Keith’s ear. He could hear every word. “What can I do with money, huh? Where the hell can I go like this? Not to anyone I know, I can’t even go home to my family. You should have just let me die.”

Keith flinched, full body, and turned. His eyes were hard, his words spat with anger, but his voice shook. “I’m sorry, okay? I never meant...”

“Why’d you do it? It wasn’t all guilt. You said it. You’ve killed before.”

A long silence. Keith’s eyes slid away. He didn’t deny it. Lance’s jaw tightened.

“I...I was...” Keith exhaled. “I was tired of being alone. And you deserved better than bleeding out and dying by my hand.”

“You didn’t know me!”

“I’d been to your shows. I knew who you were.”

“So you picked me out to kill like a stalker?”

“No!” His hands were in his hair, his brow furrowed. “I just thought – a guilt-free meal, Lance, I wanted to pay you, I knew you’d take it. And the more I watched you – you were...interesting.”

Lance huffed, glaring. A whiff of fresh blood caught him and he clenched his teeth. They still ached. It wasn’t enough.

“Take it. I’ve eaten.” Keith’s wrist hovered by Lance’s lips, who snarled and choked and bit.

“This...this isn’t a good enough apology,” he growled against Keith’s skin, and Keith nodded. But somehow, the way Keith had almost silently gasped and his eyes had fluttered half shut at the bite had Lance softening. Because maybe...well, fuck it, maybe he had been lonely too. And maybe Keith was really pretty with his fangs sinking into his lower lip, gazing at Lance, eyes liquid fire burning through thick lashes. But Keith had always been pretty in a darkly dangerous sort of way, it was just that now, drinking from him...

It tasted...really good. Nothing like the thin stuff he’d been taking that had barely satisfied him. Indescribable − somehow like cocoa from back home, like his best friend’s best cookies, like his favorite cocktail at his old staple bar, all at the same time but also not at all. He couldn’t stop.

“It was selfish −” Keith breathed, and Lance’s eyes flicked up to his half-gone expression, his words were tumbling over one another, “I never meant for it, I didn’t want to, but when I had to choose, I turned you ’cause I didn’t want more death on my hands but also mostly because I would watch you onstage sometimes and I −”

Lance broke from his wrist, feeling Keith’s blood run in rivulets down his chin, not caring as he watched Keith’s widening, darkening eyes trace its path. “You wanted to jump my bones.”

A caught animal in a trap reflected in his face now.

“The feeling’s mutual, you stupid stalker vampire,” Lance muttered, yanking the man closer. “Maybe I even kind of get it. Wanting someone around. I know I wanted it and I wasn’t even staring a life as long as yours in the face.”

Keith stared, throat bobbing. A finger hesitantly coming up to wipe away his own blood from Lance’s mouth. “So you’d consider...staying?”

Lance closed his lips around the fingertip. “Maybe. It beats the alternative of playing piano vamps for the rest of my life.”

Wistful thoughts were whirling behind Keith’s eyes. “To eternity?”

Lance exhaled an almost laugh, sitting back on his heels and gazing up at the peek of pink and yellow and orange − the sun on the city’s horizon, the signal they had to retreat to hiding places and safety. Drained of blood and reanimated as a supernatural creature was not how he thought he’d die. But if this was going to be his undead life...

He let his eyes find Keith’s. “To eternity.”