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It had been several hours since Raphael had received Simon's text saying he had arrived home, but with all the work they still had to do they had not been able to see each other yet. In fact, Raphael had no idea where in the hotel Simon even was located. And with day approaching, Raphael set out in search of his boyfriend.

He finally found Simon in one of the studies, huddled over a desk with a few lamplights on and typing away on his laptop.

"There you are," Raphael announced. "Still working on that report?"

An interesting thing happened in the month that Simon had been back at the hotel. Clary once tried, but failed, to unify the downworlders and Shadowhunters. But it turned out that Simon made a good mediator between the vampires and Shadowhunters. Because Simon and Clary would always be close, he still joined Clary and the others on missions - with a strict understanding that he was never to jeopardize the safety of the clan ever again. And with his continued involvement with helping the Shadowhunters, some of his fellow clan members began to join him. The older vampires didn't see much sense in this, but the the newer vampires were eager to help. When that began, Raphael was a bit concerned since past involvement with the Shadowhunters never ended well. But Simon, ever the optimist, saw no reason why Raphael should prohibit it as long as it benefitted relations between the clan and the Shadowhunters. Eventually, Raphael agreed as long as Simon was up to the task of leading them on these missions and documented them with an explicitly detailed report that matched a report written up by Alec Lightwood, who was now the successful head of the New York Institute.

"I follow orders now. Didn't anyone tell you?" Simon said, looking up at Raphael and winking at him before resuming his work.

Raphael smiled and walked over to place his hands on his boyfriend's shoulder. "How much more do you have left?"

Simon sighed. "Not much. Give me fifteen minutes and I'll come to bed."

"Or… you can come to bed now and finish this tomorrow before going to the Institute," Raphael said, dropping a kiss onto Simon's neck.

Simon laughed. "Actually, the whole reason I'm in here is so you don't distract me."

Raphael leaned on the edge of the desk and crossed his arms. "You find me distracting?"

"Uh, only a lot," Simon said, eyebrows high as he met Raphael's smirk.

Raphael laughed and paused to watch Simon type before speaking again. "I want you to come to bed. There's something I have to speak to you about." At the concerned crease in Simon's brow, Raphael said, "It's nothing bad. Lo prometo."

Simon glanced at his laptop then back at Raphael. "Okay," he said, saving his work and closing his laptop. He turned the lights off and followed Raphael to their bedroom.

Once inside their room, Simon and Raphael speedily changed into mismatched sets of sweatpants and comfortable t-shirts.

"So… what did you want to talk about?" Simon asked, climbing onto the bed after Raphael.

"Well, admittedly, I wanted to start off with this," Raphael said, bringing Simon down to lie across his chest and kiss him.

Simon smiled and accepted the kiss blissfully.

They stayed like that for a long while, just kissing. When Raphael slid his tongue forward to meet Simon's lips, he could feel the tips of Simon's fangs poke out, among other things.

"Eager for something?" Raphael whispered.

Simon didn't know what game Raphael was playing so he just asked, "What are we doing, Raphael?" They hadn't had sex yet. Being with Raphael was different. Simon's few sexual experiences had previously only been with girls. And with them he had always waited for them to make the first move, not wanting to come off as an aggressive douchebag. And even though he didn't know how to navigate a relationship with another guy, he figured the same rule should apply. Especially since out of everyone he'd been with, Raphael seemed content enough to just make out for a whole hour or more. He had never experienced just kissing and touching someone for that long, and it's not like he disliked it, so Simon was also content enough to just make out. And honestly, that kind of build up caused Simon to have some pretty intense dreams.

"You know, I can feel you," Raphael said, a little louder this time.

"What?" Simon asked, feeling a bit lightheaded, high on Raphael's kisses.

"When you're pressed up against me, I can feel that you're hard."

Simon stopped, embarrassed. He laughed awkwardly and lied down beside Raphael. "Oh, sorry."

Raphael turned to face Simon, propping himself up on an elbow and stared down at him.

"What?" Simon asked.

"I've never had sex."

"With anyone?" Simon tried not to blurt the question out but he couldn't help it.

Raphael smiled delightedly. "With anyone."

"By choice?"

"Yes." Raphael interpreted Simon's silence as encouragement to continue so he did. "I'm asexual - and aromantic, on the spectrum anyway. Such terminology unfortunately was uncommon when I was a human." Raphael sat up to make himself more comfortable and Simon copied his action. "So I thought, eventually, I would come to want someone the way everyone else seemed to want each other. But then I was turned, and you already know that story."

Simon nodded attentively. Raphael did tell him that story (back when Simon came home from his first mission in leading the vampires). About the vampire who stalked Raphael's neighborhood and kidnapped children. About how Raphael and his friends tracked him down, only for the vampire to turn Raphael against his will and set him loose on his friends. But, how at the horrible realization of what Raphael had done, he overcame his primal, newborn vampire senses and did the unimaginable - he killed his sire. And just before he could fling himself into the sun, consumed by grief and disgust at what he had become, Raphael was found by Magnus and went to live with him for a while.

"It was a terrible thing that happened to me, and it took me a long time to heal from it. During which, romantic relationships were the furthest thing from my mind. But that made me realize something. I realized that even when I was human romantic affection was also something I did not really desire. Unlike with sex, though, I wasn't opposed to the idea but I did not long for it either."

Raphael paused here to give Simon a moment to process what he'd heard so far or to interject a question. All Simon did, though, was smile that goofy smile and waited. Raphael shook his head slightly, unable to hold back his own grin and went on.

"Then when I came to the DuMort to serve under Camille, all my time was taken up by cleaning up after her messes and trying to reason with her and not provoke the Shadowhunters so much. But eventually I figured out my attraction to men. You know vampires - always trying to seduce someone into doing something. When female vampires tried this, I instantly rejected them. When male vampires tried this, I found myself curious. So I gave in a few times, of course it never went far. They were like experiments. I learned what I liked and what I didn't. Finally someone approached me wanting something more - a relationship. It failed miserably."

Both Simon and Raphael laughed at this.

"I tried to have relationships with other vampires but for one reason or another, sometimes completely unrelated to my orientation, it never lasted long. This was a stressful, unnecessary distraction from my vampire duties. I decided not to enter any further relationships since, at best, I found them to be quite boring. And then I met you, Simon Lewis."

Simon ducked his head down bashfully before glancing up at Raphael and finally speaking. "Me?"

"You are the most un-boring person I have ever met. From the way you talk-"

"The way I talk?" Simon asked.

"You're very passionate in everything that you say. Whether it's a new television show you've become interested in or when you convince me to form another alliance with the Shadowhunters. I find your passion very attractive."

"Keep talking and I'm sure to develop a praise kink, Mr. Santiago," Simon said coquettishly and winking.

"Then there's the way you can never fully sit still," Raphael said, pointing at Simon thumbing his hands.

Simon stopped immediately but laughed. "I thought you didn't like when I fidget."

"I suppose it grew on me. You can also be a little clumsy at times. But I find that charming as well."

"Ok," Simon began slowly, "so what I'm getting from all this is that you like me and want to be with me, but you're not interested in sex."

"No, Simon, I'm not. But understand this, I do not simply like you - I love you. Only you."

Simon inhaled reflexively. "I think I can live with that." He pulled Raphael into powerful kiss. "I love you so much, Raphael."

"There's something else I wanted to talk with you about," Raphael said between kisses.

"What's that?"

"Well, it's more of a suggestion," Raphael said, separating from Simon. "There is… something, that vampires do sometimes which is said to imitate certain feelings one would experience during sex."

"Blood drinking?" Simon asked.

"No, though that can be part of it. And I'm not sure how you would feel about any of this considering your last and only experience with such things, but-" Raphael was interrupted by Simon's barely stifled laughter. "What?"

"I don't think I've ever heard you ramble like this. That's usually my job. Is this how it is for you?" When Raphael only answered him with a fond glare Simon asked, "What are you trying to ask me, Raphael?"

"Lie back," Raphael said, pushing on Simon's chest lightly.

Simon went down easily and now their position from earlier had been reversed.

Raphael nuzzled close to Simon's neck. "I could bite you, if you wanted?"

As a vampire, Simon didn't need to breathe but he inhaled deeply anyway, feeling like he really did need it in that moment. He turned his head away, giving Raphael more room but still not giving an answer. Raphael's fangs were still retracted but his mouth was only just a hair's distance away from Simon's neck, making Simon's skin electric beneath Raphael's lips.

"Does this carry any significance in the vampire world?" Simon asked. He could guess what the answer would be but he wanted to hear Raphael say it.

"It did more so in earlier days. Vampires used it as a way to declare they were seeing someone. Others used it more possessively to stake their claim on someone - vampire or human. Neither tradition is common anymore. But some still hold on to it, in some way or another."

"But other people would know, right? Not just vampires, but the whole Shadow World?"

"What is it you want them to know, Simon?"

Simon turned his head back to look straight at Raphael. "That I'm proud of you, and I'm proud to be with you."

"Yes, they would know."

"Then, I want it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," Simon said with a firm finality and turned his head away again.

Raphael extended his fangs and licked a long stripe up Simon's neck to his ear. Simon shuddered beneath Raphael like he had a fever. Simon started to place a hand on the back of Raphael's neck but when Raphael scraped his fangs along Simon's neck just sharp enough to draw a few drops of blood Simon's hand reflexively flew down to touch himself through his sweatpants and squeezed gently. Simon groaned through the pleasure, his fangs popping out.

Intrigued by Simon's response, Raphael glanced down at Simon's hand. And Simon, sensing he committed a grave mistake, quickly removed it but Raphael was just as quick to catch his wrist.

"Sorry," Simon said.

"You have nothing to apologize for. You can do that, if you wish," Raphael said with an air of nonchalance that seemed too cool even for him.

"That?" Simon asked. Simon looked at Raphael. "What… you, you want me to just… like, jack off in front of you?"

"I'm fine with it. Would you be?" Raphael asked simply.

Simon gulped. He had never done anything like that before. Being naked with someone was one thing but this was a different kind of vulnerable. To have someone watch you while you touched yourself? Not that Raphael would actually be watching him, but still, it was a little terrifying. Yet, also strangely erotic to think about.

"Ok, yeah," Simon said, licking his lips. "But you swear you'll say something if you feel uncomfortable, right? You're not, like, doing all this because you feel like you have to? You're not doing this just for me?"

Raphael made a strange frown-smile. "I'm not doing anything I don't want to here, Simon. I do want to make you feel good. I just have to go about it in a different way. And I'm enjoying it so far. I've never seen this side of you before, and I like it."

"Ok, good. You can go back to doing that whole neck thing then because I really like that," Simon said enthusiastically. He freed himself from Raphael's hold and pulled him down into a kiss before maneuvering Raphael back to his neck.

Raphael smirked against Simon's skin, kissing, and licking, and scraping. Simon's hand instantly went to the inside of his pants. He started off slow and built up the pace gradually. There was so much Raphael wasn't doing to him, but he was happy to learn that it didn't feel less than his previous experiences. And because Simon knew this was something he would only ever have with Raphael, it actually made him feel better.

It felt like it had been hours. Raphael still hadn't bitten him, he just kept teasing Simon's neck. Simon realized his eyes were shut tight and opened them to search the alarm clock on his night stand.

"How the hell has it only been forty-five minutes?" Simon groaned, half in pleasure and half in disbelief. "Time really is relative."

Raphael laughed, dragging his fangs against Simon's neck yet again. "Tell me when."

"When what? Like, when, when? When I'm gonna-"

"How do you manage to be this much of a dork when you're masturbating in front of someone?"

"Ok, you need to stop teasing me in all the ways right no- shit!" Simon gasped. "Ok, now, now! Like, right now!"

Raphael didn't hesitate. He plunged his fangs into Simon's neck, holding Simon firmly by the chin. He did not want to make a mess so he made sure no blood spilled onto the bedsheets. And then Raphael was thankful Simon came in his sweatpants because he so wouldn't be the one to do their laundry if that weren't the case.

There was nothing that could have prepared Simon for how good and hard his climax hit him. Distantly, he was aware he had made an embarrassing snarl-moan when he came. He couldn't spend anytime worrying about that, though, because he'd just experienced the best orgasm of his life. He shut his eyes tightly and shuddered through the end of it, wiping his hand on the inside of his sweats and then resting it on his stomach. Simon just lay there momentarily while Raphael retracted his fangs and licked Simon clean of any stray blood.

"Feeling sated?" Raphael whispered, his thumbing stroking Simon's cheek in gentle circles.

"You have no idea," Simon said hazily.

"I… really don't."

Simon hummed noncommittally before catching on and then he erupted in laughter. "Wait," he exclaimed, looking at Raphael. "Was that an ace joke?"

Raphael only shrugged. He rested his chin on Simon's chest and began running a hand through his hair.

"Funny," Simon said. "I feel like I could sleep for a century."

"Don't. I'd miss you." Simon only smiled in return and when he stayed silent Raphael said, "And don't fall asleep like this. Go wash up, sucio."

Simon reluctantly got out of bed but obeyed. He was back in only a few seconds - one of the benefits of being a vampire. He stood at the foot of the bed, though, and pointed at his neck. "Hey, uh, what the fuck is this?"

Raphael smiled slyly. "I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."

"My neck is purple, Raphael! Are you sure you're not a zombie instead of a vampire?"

"I'm sorry, Simon." Raphael's apology was genuine but it was hard to hide his equally genuine amusement. "I've never known of this happening to anyone before. And I didn't know that would happen now. But you're a vampire, there's no reason why it shouldn't be healed by tomorrow night. Though, the bite wound will remain for a while."

"Fine…" Simon grumbled, settling beneath the covers with Raphael. "Because seeing anyone, but especially Alec, in this condition would be totally embarrassing!"

"I don't think he's the type to taunt someone about their relationship," Raphael said assuringly.

"Whatever, I'm just gonna finish the report first thing tomorrow, meet Alec to compare notes, and then come straight home."

"Duermate ya, Simon," Raphael said.

"Hey, wait a second," Simon said.

"Yes?"

"You just drank my blood, didn't you?"

"Yes…?" Raphael repeated, unsure where Simon was going with this.

"Well, doesn't blood drinking have side effects, even on vampires? I know not so much with older vamps, but you're still pretty young for a vampire."

"It only makes me feel… good. But it's hard to describe. It's a content sort of feeling, like I know that no matter what mistakes I make or hardships I suffer everything will be alright. I feel at peace. But I don't feel any sort of arousal that is so common with most people."

"Huh, makes sense. It's not like vampirism would be a cure for asexuality. Like that's a thing," Simon said incredulously.

"Evidently not," Raphael said. "Now go to sleep."

Simon turned his body towards Raphael. He draped an arm over his chest and dropped a kiss onto his shoulder before whispering, "Te amo, Raphael."

"Te amo, Simon."