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Red Dahlia

Chapter Text

As Eric stepped into the small flower shop, a bell on the door tinkling to alert any employees of his arrival. He thought for a second that there was no one inside. He hadn't been greeted by anything other than the bell, but upon further inspection, he saw that there was, in fact, someone.

The person was sitting behind the checkout counter, slightly hidden from Eric’s view by a few plants, and they appeared to be deeply engrossed in a book. Eric cleared his throat as he approached the counter, and the figure, a young man, jumped and looked up.

Up close, Eric could see that he was incredibly thin and pale, almost sick-looking. He wore oval, wire-framed glasses, and had the most beautiful green eyes Eric had ever seen. He had short brown hair that stuck up at odd angles, as if he hadn't even bothered to brush it that morning.

“My apologies, sir! I must not have heard you come in. What brings you into the shop today?” He said, marking the page in his book-- it was about flowers, Eric noted-- and setting it aside.

“No worries…” He paused, looking for a nametag, “Alan. And you can call me Eric, ‘sir’ is too formal-sounding for me.” He glanced around the shop, taking in all the flowers, before continuing, “I'm here looking for some flowers for my store. I, uh, own a bakery.”

Alan nodded, “Alright then, Eric.” He stood up, and Eric guessed he was about five inches shorter than him. “So, a bakery, huh? That’s pretty neat. Have you got any specific flowers in mind?”

Eric rubbed at the back of his neck, suddenly embarrassed, “Um, not really. I don't know a thing about flowers. I was hoping you could help me out.”

“Yeah, of course.” Alan tapped a finger on his chin for a second in thought, before he walked out from behind the counter and through the shop, grabbed a few red and yellow flowers, and brought them back to the counter.

“These mean ‘hospitality’ and ‘success’. I figured that seemed fitting for a bakery.” Alan said, waiting for Eric’s opinion.

“I couldn't agree more.” Eric said with a smile, “How much?”

“For these it’s gonna be about $14.99”

Eric nodded and grabbed his wallet out of his pocket, taking out a twenty dollar bill and handing it to Alan.

Alan handed him his change and his flowers, and thanked him for his purchase. Eric responded with a polite nod and left the flower shop, making a mental note to come back again.

 

Alan arrived home that night and, immediately after setting down his things, flopped down face first onto his bed. His roommate, Ronald, had heard him come in and appeared in the doorway a few seconds later.

“You're home.”

“You're awake.”

“Yeah, well, I have a thing tonight.” Another party probably, knowing Ronald. “You look like shit.”

Alan turned over so he was on his back. “Thanks for reminding me.” He sighed, “I feel like it, too.”

“You wouldn't if you ate.”

“Ugh, gross.” Alan said as he pulled a pillow over his face.

“Alan, seriously? It’s not that bad. Plus, you've been doing this longer than I have. Honestly, I'm surprised you aren't dead yet, you're a terrible vampire.”

“Gee, thanks.” Alan sat up, letting the pillow fall into his lap. The movement made him feel slightly nauseous, but he ignored it and looked at the calendar on his wall. A date around two weeks ago was marked with a large red check mark. “I’ll be fine for a few more days.”

“Whatever. The fridge is stocked, so help yourself whenever.”

“I’ll get around to it.”

“Sure. So, how was work today?” Ronald asked, leaning against the door frame.

“Boring. I read for most of the day, and tended to the plants. Although, we did get a customer a few hours before my shift ended.”

“Oh? And what were they like?”

“Tall. And handsome. He has hair kinda like yours, it’s blonde with dark brown cornrows on the side. He said he owns a bakery.”

“A bakery, huh? That’s interesting.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Alan flopped back down, groaning. “I really don’t feel good.”

“Eat.”

“No.”

“Fine then, just don't come crying to me if you end up taking your hunger out on a customer.”

“Why are you still here?”

“Don't you have homework that you should be doing, instead of groaning about the situation you put yourself in?”

“Go away.”

“Fine, I have to get ready for the thing later, anyway.” Ronald held up a peace sign before kicking off of the doorframe and heading into the other room.

Alan remained where he was for a few more minutes before deciding that Ronald had a point, and he should probably get some of his schoolwork done.

He pulled himself out of bed and walked over to his desk, where he kept his laptop, and sat down in his desk chair. Alan did online schooling, which he found he rather enjoyed, and was studying botany.

He logged into his school account and saw that there were fifteen assignments due by that Friday. He checked the calendar again, it was Tuesday. He could do this.

 

Alan looked up from his work hours later, when Ronald came into his room to let him know he was heading out soon. “Do you know how to knock?”

“Your door was wide open.”

“Fine. What are you even going to?” Alan asked, swiveling his chair to face his roommate.

“A party.”

“What kind?”

“Just a get together with a few vamps.” Alan highly doubted there would only be just ‘a few’ at the party.

He waited for Ronald to either continue or leave, and when he didn't, Alan sighed, “Is there something you want to say?” He could guess what he was about to ask.

“Well,” he said, dragging out the word, “I was wondering if maybe you'd come with?”

“Absolutely not.”

“But, Alan!”

“But, Ronald!” Alan said, mocking Ronald’s whining.

“You're so lame.”

“Yeah, I know. Just go already.”

“Alrighty then, see ya later.”

“Close the door on your way out, and don't get killed.”

Ronald, who had begun to walk out of the room, looked back over his shoulder and flashed a grin, “Wasn't planning on it.”

After the bedroom door closed, Alan turned back to his desk, but decided he was done with school for the day, and shut his laptop. He stood up to walk back to his bed, but halfway through decided the floor was more inviting. He laid down on his back and stared up at the ceiling. He was too tired to think, and somehow too tired to fall asleep.

 

He wasn't sure how much time had passed, but he figured it was quite a bit when he heard the front door open and shut. He hoped Ronald would leave him alone for once, but his hopes were dashed when he heard a knock on his door.

“What do you want?”

“Can I come in?” Ronald sounded serious, lacking any of the cheer he usually had.

“Yeah, sure.” Alan made no move to get off of the floor, but he got rid of any sign of annoyance in his tone.

The door opened, and Ronald walked in. Alan was thankful for the fact that vampires could somewhat see in the dark, otherwise he was sure he would have been stepped on. Ronald walked past Alan and sat down on the bed, not questioning what he was doing on the floor.

“What’s the matter, Ronald?”

“Nothing really. It's just that… the party ended in a not-so-pleasant way.”

“How so?”

“Well, our group-- there was about six or seven of us-- was walking back from the pub, and it turns out there was a hunter that recognized a couple of the other vamps and, um, yeah, I don't think I need to tell you what happened after that.”

“Did the hunter get a good look at you?”

“No clue, but I doubt it. He was pretty concentrated on the other two.”

“Did anyone get hurt? Or...?” Alan trailed off, not needing to finish his question, dreading the answer he would receive.

“Most of us ran off once we realized, me included. I didn't exactly wanna stand around and wait for him to come after me, too. The two he was after probably got a few good cuts and bruises. I’m not too worried, though.”

“Did you see what he looked like?”

“No, sadly. It all happened pretty fast and we were all some level of drunk, plus he was wearing dark clothes and a hood.”

Alan merely provided a soft hum of acknowledgement.

“Um, if it’s alright… could I stay in here with you tonight? I don't wanna be alone.”

“Yeah, of course. Lord knows how many times I’ve stayed in your room. I know it probably won't be for a while, but you can have the bed to yourself when you feel like going to sleep. I think I'm gonna stay down here for the rest of the night.”

“Thanks.” Ronald looked down at Alan, almost as if he was just realizing he was on the floor, “Now that you mention it, why are you on the floor?”

“Didn't feel good.”

Alan heard a sigh come from Ronald, and knew what was coming next. “Al, you really gotta eat. This isn't healthy.”

“It’s gross.”

“I don't enjoy it either, but I still eat. I know there's more to it than that for you, and I’m not gonna pry, but you've gotta get over it eventually.”

Alan looked away; he knew Ronald was right, but he didn't want to accept it. He heard Ronald shift on the bed, and then saw light softly illuminate the room. Probably from his phone.

He figured now was as good a time as any to try to sleep, and shut his eyes.

Chapter Text

There was blood. There was a lot of blood. And screaming. Someone was screaming. At first it was incoherent, but then he could make out a word. His name.

“Alan!”

Alan startled awake. He quickly sat up, and a wave of nausea hit him. He covered his mouth and tried to will it away. It took a minute, but eventually he calmed down and the nausea went away. Ronald was beside him, rubbing his back.

Alan waited a moment before he trusted himself to speak, “What time is it?”

“Time for you to get up. That's why I woke you, your alarm was going off.” He said, and held up Alan's vibrating phone. Apparently it had been left on silent the night before.

“Oh. Thanks.” Alan grabbed his phone, turned off the alarm, and tossed it onto his bed.

“Are you gonna be alright today?”

“No worse than I was yesterday.”

“Alright, if you're sure…”

“I am.”

Alan gently nudged Ronald away from him so he could stand up, stumbling a bit as he did so. Ronald moved to steady him, but he held a hand up and assured him he was fine.

“Need any help getting ready?”

“I’m not five.”

“‘Kay.”

Alan walked over to his dresser and pulled out a clean outfit that would be suitable for work. He took the clothes with him to the bathroom and set them down on the counter before turning on the shower.

After showering and drying off, he changed into his clean clothes and put the dirty ones in the laundry basket. After that, he brushed his teeth and combed his hair.

He left the bathroom and went back into his room to grab his house key, phone, and bookbag. Ronald was still on his bed when he entered.

“I’m leaving now. Get out of my room.”

“Okie doke.” Ronald said, and left the room.

Alan grabbed what he needed, and left the room shortly after Ronald did, shutting the door behind him. He headed to the entrance to their apartment, put on his shoes, and left.

 

The walk to work had tired Alan out quite a bit, and he was thankful for the day’s dismal weather as he sat down behind the counter of the flower shop and put his head in his hands.

He had work from opening at nine a.m. to closing at five p.m and he already would rather be at home. This was going to be a long day.

Most of the day passed by uneventfully, with Alan occasionally getting up to tend to the plants. He found that he couldn't stand for long periods of time without feeling lightheaded and nauseous, and he couldn't concentrate on his book either. So he mostly found himself sitting at the counter with his chin resting in his hand while he tapped the fingers of his other hand on the countertop.

A few hours before closing, he heard the bell on the door jingle and perked up, trying his best not to look as miserable as he felt. He looked up to greet whoever walked in, and he noticed it was the customer from the day before.

“Oh, hey! Welcome back!” He tried his best at a convincing smile. “What can I do for you?”

The customer, Eric, smiled back. “I thought the idea of a houseplant seemed rather nice.” He punctuated his sentence by holding up a small paper bag that Alan had failed to notice, “And I brought you something from my bakery, as thanks for yesterday.”

Oh. Alan’s smile fell a bit at that, considering human food made vampires sick. “Thank you very much, that's very kind of you.” Eric held out the bag to him, and he took it. “As for houseplants, we have some over there,” He gestured to a corner of the shop, “Feel free to take your pick.”

“No problem, I can't wait to hear what you think of my baking.” Eric said, and turned to go look at the plants Alan had pointed out to him.

While he studied the plants, Alan had a small crisis. He expected him to eat the pastry that he had brought. Alan looked inside the bag, and was faced with a vanilla scone. He could make up an excuse, but he didn't want to hurt Eric’s feelings.

Eric eventually came back to the counter and set down a small succulent that he had picked up.

Alan took a look at the price and entered it into the cash register before turning back to Eric, “Will that be all?”

“Yep.” Alan nodded and told him his total, and Eric handed him the money.

After the transaction was complete, there was a bit of an awkward silence before Alan decided to speak, “So, let’s try this scone you’ve brought, shall we?” He said, trying to sound enthused as he pulled the pastry out of the bag and brought it to his mouth.

He took a bite, and wow. His enthusiasm had been fake, but his amazement at how good Eric’s baking was was genuine. He swallowed the bite and looked up at Eric, “Woah. Your baking is amazing, Eric!”

Eric chuckled, and Alan decided that it was a sound he enjoyed hearing, “Glad you think so.” He pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Alan, there was an address written on it. “That’s my bakery. You should stop by sometime.”

Alan nodded, and went to put the rest of the scone in the bag, but then realized he had eaten the entire scone without thinking. He decided that would be a problem for his future self to deal with, “Yeah, for sure! I look forward to seeing what else you have to offer.”

Eric smiled and grabbed his succulent from the counter. “I look forward to seeing you again, Alan.” He waved with his free hand and left the shop.

 

That evening, Ronald heard Alan come home. It sounded like he was in a hurry, and when Ronald heard retching coming from the bathroom he no longer had to guess why.

Ronald sighed and stood up, making his way over to the bathroom where Alan was currently bent over the toilet and emptying the contents of his stomach, his glasses on the floor beside him.

Ronald walked over and picked the glasses up, setting them on the edge of the sink so they wouldn't be stepped on. He waited until it seemed like Alan was done before asking any questions.

“What the hell did you do, Al?”

“Ate a scone.” Came Alan’s mumbled reply.

Ronald sat in stunned silence for a second before simply asking, “Why?”

“‘Cuz Eric gave it to me.”

“Eric?”

“Customer.”

Ronald sighed and helped Alan stand before flushing the toilet and closing the lid, “Alright, come on, dumbass. It’s time for you to eat something that won't make you violently sick.”

Ignoring Alan’s weak protests, he practically dragged him to the kitchen, before sitting him on the floor against one of the cabinets. He went into the fridge and grabbed one of the cartons of blood-- animal, never human-- and poured a glass, which he handed to Alan.

Alan took it and brought it up to his mouth, and Ronald grabbed the bottom of the glass to make sure Alan finished it. Sure enough, he did, and Ronald put the glass in the sink, rinsing it out with water first.

He heard Alan’s voice from the floor, “God, that’s disgusting. I preferred the scone.”

“Yeah, well, you're gonna have to drink some more later. That wasn't nearly enough to last you for the amount of time you usually go without.”

“I figured you'd say that.”

“Seriously, though, a scone?”

“I didn't want to hurt his feelings.”

“Oh my god, you like him!”

“Do not!”

“Do too! Why else would you eat a scone for someone?”

“I…” Ronald grinned down at Alan, happy to have won this argument.

“Just don't do it again.”

“Well…”

“What?”

“He kinda invited me to his bakery and I might have told him I would go and was looking forward to trying more of his food.”

“Alan!”

“I know!” He said, burying his face in his hands.

“What are you gonna do?”

“I have to go, don't I? I mean, I told him I would.” Alan paused for a moment, “Plus, he knows where I work so it’s not like I can just avoid him.”

“Yeah, okay, you can figure this out on your own. I've done enough for tonight.” Ronald said as he turned to leave the kitchen. He paused in the doorway before adding, “By the way, your glasses are in the bathroom.” And with that, he made his way back to the quiet comfort of his room.

 

It took Alan a good half hour to gather enough motivation to get up off of the kitchen floor and head to his room. When he got there, he sat down on his bed and took out his phone. He could hardly make out the time displayed on his lockscreen, and wondered why for a second before remembering that Ronald had said his glasses were still in the bathroom.

Suppressing the urge to groan, Alan stood back up and went to the bathroom to grab his glasses. He grabbed them from the edge of the sink and put them on, slightly surprised at how he hadn't noticed earlier.

On his way back to his room, he passed Ronald, who was heading towards the kitchen.

“Hey, Al.” He drew out the ‘L’ sound, which he usually did when he wanted something.

“What do you want?”

“Well, I was planning on going out next week with a few friends, but since most of them canceled I was wondering if you’d come with me?” He looked at Alan a second before adding, “And before you say no, remember that you owe me.”

“I owe you?”

“Yeah, for tonight.”

“I…” Alan tried to think of an argument, but couldn’t, “I guess you’re right. Sure, I’ll go out with you. Can’t promise I’ll have a good time though.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” He waved off Alan’s comment with his hand. “Anyway, I was coming out here to get you another glass, but I guess you beat me to it? Since you're already out here.”

Alan opened his mouth to correct him, but the thought of having to drink more blood left a bad taste in his mouth, so he decided against it, “Yeah, you guessed correctly.”

“Oh. Cool, then. Guess I’ll just go back to my room.” Ronald gave Alan a quick pat on the shoulder before turning and going back the way he had came.

Alan felt bad about lying to him, but he figured he would just make up for it by eating sooner.

He got back to his room and went to lay down on his bed, before he glanced at the calendar on his wall. He picked up a red marker from his nightstand and made a red check mark on the current date, then placed the marker back where he had grabbed it from.

Finally, he was able to lay down and relax. Well, more like lay down and think about what he was going to do about the whole Eric situation.

He stayed up late that night, mulling over his options. He didn't have work the next day, since it was his day off, so he could afford to stay up later than he usually did.

Alan spent a good couple hours weighing the pros and cons of visiting the bakery. In the end, he ended up with a rather pathetic list that looked something like: ‘Pros: I get to see Eric again, Eric won't think I'm an asshole, I get to taste Eric’s baking again. Cons: I have to eat more food.’

To him, the pros outweighed the cons.

Chapter Text

It was a few days after the scone incident, and Alan had decided to use his day off to visit Eric’s bakery. He figured it was better to get this over with sooner rather than later.

Alan stepped into the bakery, already feeling slightly nauseous. It was either because of anxiety or the smell of freshly baked goods, or maybe it was both?

His attention was pulled away from his nausea by Eric, who had noticed him and was now waving at him from behind the counter. Alan waved back, suddenly very aware of the situation he was in. He took a deep breath and approached the counter, thankful that the shop was only slightly populated and that there was no line.

“Hey, Alan! Long time no see.”

“Hey to you too, Eric. And it’s only been a few days.”

“Feels like it’s been longer. So, do you see anything you like?” He gestured over to the glass case containing various baked goods.

Alan, in fact, did not see anything he knew he liked. Besides the vanilla scone, he hasn’t had any human food recently enough to remember what it tasted like. Though, he figured anything made by Eric would taste good. He looked through the case, and decided a small cake pop wouldn't be too bad.

“One chocolate cake pop, please.” He said, pointing at the ones in the case.

“Sure thing. Anything to drink?” Eric replied, grabbing a cake pop and putting it in a small paper bag before placing it on the counter.

“Just water, please.” He could drink water. Water was fine, water was safe.

“Alrighty, just a sec.” He said, and went about filling a plastic cup with ice water.

He finished, and set the water down next to the bag containing the cake pop. He told Alan his total, and Alan handed him the amount needed, letting Eric know he could keep the change.

Alan grabbed the cup and bag, and hesitated a moment, unsure of whether or not Eric expected him to eat in front of him. When he wasn’t promoted by Eric, he decided that he would just grab a table.

He picked a table next to one of the large windows that covered the front of the bakery, and took his laptop out of his bag and set it down on the table. He might as well be productive while he was here.

Before he started working, he pulled the cake pop out of its paper bag and took a hesitant bite. As expected, it was amazing. He looked towards the counter, where Eric stood. The man was looking at Alan; he had probably been waiting to see his reaction. Alan smiled and gave him a thumbs up, not brave enough to shout his feedback across the bakery to Eric.

Eric seemed pleased with the simple gesture, and went about doing whatever it was he did behind the counter.

Alan finished the cake pop (again, he didn’t want to hurt Eric’s feelings) and started working on an assignment in one of his classes.

 

He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he finished, but the sun was now low in the sky and the amount of people in the bakery had thinned out considerably.

“It’s almost closing time.” Eric said from behind him.

Alan nearly jumped out of his skin at the sudden noise. He took a second to compose himself before responding, “Oh, in that case, I’ll get going now.” He paused as he began to pack up his laptop, “The cake pop was very good, by the way.”

“I’m glad to hear you say that.” Came Eric’s reply, “And, uh, I was actually wondering if you wanted to hang out sometime? Somewhere other than our places of work, that is.”

Alan considered it, “I would like that, Eric.” He took out a pen and scrap of paper from his bag and wrote his phone number down before handing it to Eric, “Here. So we can keep in touch.”

Eric took the scrap and pocketed it, “Thanks, I’ll talk to you later, then?”

Alan nodded, “Definitely.” He stood up and slung his bag over his shoulder, “I’ll go ahead and let you close up. I look forward to hearing from you.” In truth, he really just wanted to get home at the moment. Standing up had made him realize just how sick he felt.

“I also look forward to you hearing from me. Good night, Alan. Have a safe trip home.” Eric said with a smile.

Alan waved to the other man as he walked towards the door of the bakery, “You too, Eric.”

 

Alan’s trip home had been safe, if not rather uneventful. He opened the door of the apartment and was slightly surprised when his roommate didn't shout a greeting from whichever room he was in. Did he have a shift tonight? Alan could never remember Ronald’s schedule. Perhaps he did, or maybe he had just gone out for whatever reason.

Alan shrugged and took his shoes off, making sure they were tidy in the entryway before heading to his room where he set his bag down next to his desk and noticed a note placed where his laptop usually sat.

It was a note from Ronald, which read: ‘Hey, Al. I’ve got a shift at the pub tonight. I should be home by 3 but if I’m not, you should probably worry. ;P

Alan usually would've been annoyed by the fact that Ronald had been in his room when he wasn't home but, since the note was somewhat helpful and answered his question, he let it slide just this once.

It was still early in the evening, so he had plenty of time before he had to start worrying about where Ronald was. He still felt slightly sick from eating at the bakery, and had a lack of anything else to do, so he decided he would sit and read while he waited.

He grabbed the book he had been reading recently and took a seat on the couch in the living room. That way, he wouldn't miss Ronald coming home. Though he highly doubted he would miss him even if he wasn't in the living room.

It was a while before anything happened. About an hour after he sat down to read, Alan’s phone notified him of a new text message. He checked his phone to find that the text was from an unknown number, which meant it was probably Eric.

He opened his messages app, and sure enough, the first message was ‘Hey! :)’ followed by ‘This is Eric btw.’

Alan added him as a contact before responding, ‘Hey Eric! What’s up?’

‘Just wanted to see if you still wanted to make plans to hang out.’

‘Yeah, absolutely. What times work for you?’

‘Afternoons, mostly. But I have Sundays off.’

‘I’ve also got Sundays off!’

‘Does this Sunday work then?’

‘Yeah! Where were you wanting to go?’

‘The park? If you want to. If not, then my place is fine.’

Alan felt like if he went to Eric’s house, there was a hundred percent chance that he would end up eating something, so he chose the park. They decided that they would meet up in front of Eric’s apartment, which was on the way to the park, at 2PM. They talked about nothing in particular for a while before Eric told Alan that he had to go run some errands, and would talk to him later.

Since there was still time before Ronald would be home, Alan continued reading his book, which now seemed rather boring after his conversation with Eric.

 

It was 3:30 when Ronald finally came home, just as Alan was starting to worry about where he was. Alan was right to worry, however, as Ronald had a bloody nose and a split lip, with what looked to be the beginnings of a black eye. His glasses were also slightly askew.

“Ronald, what the hell happened? Are you okay?” Alan was on his feet in an instant, hands on Ronald’s shoulders and a worried expression on his face.

“I’m fine, Al. Some guy got pissed and we ended up in a fight, no biggie.”

Alan felt like there was more to the story than that, but decided not to pry. “You don't look ‘fine’ to me. Come on, let's get you cleaned up.” He said as he led his roommate into the bathroom.

“What about you? How did your trip to the bakery go?”

“I threw up in an alleyway on the way home.” Replied Alan as he got out rubbing alcohol and a washcloth.

“Dumbass.”

Alan paused in the middle of wetting the washcloth, “I don't have to help you with this, you know. I could be sleeping right now.”

“Sorry, but it’s true.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not the one who got into a fight with some drunk dude in a pub.”

“And I’m not the one who ate food because of a human I barely know.”

Alan shot Ronald a glare, which effectively quieted the younger vampire. Pleased, Alan continued going about wetting the washcloth and cleaning the blood off of Ronald’s face.

“So, do you wanna tell me the full story as to why you came home all bruised and bloodied?” Alan asked as he finished up.

Ronald looked vaguely uncomfortable at the question, “There's not much to tell. Grell provoked some guy, I stepped in, and got punched a couple of times. That's all.”

“It wasn’t the same guy that she’s been obsessed with lately I hope?”

“Nah, I didn't recognize him. I just hope this doesn’t become a reoccurring thing.”

“If it does, you're on your own.”

“That's an empty threat and you know it. You care about me too much.”

“Try me.” Alan said, placing the wet washcloth in the sink and guiding Ronald out of the bathroom, “Go get yourself an ice pack, and keep it over your eye. Your lip should heal within the hour if you’ve been better about eating than I have, which I know you have. If you need me, I’ll be asleep in my room.”

“Sure thing, mom.” Ronald said, earning himself another glare from Alan, “For real though, thanks, Al.”

“It’s no problem. Like you said, I care about you too much.” Alan replied as he walked away and got ready for bed.

As he fell asleep that night, he hoped that nothing would go wrong the next night, nor the day after that when he would be meeting with Eric.

Surely everything would be fine.

Chapter Text

The next day, Alan had work from the usual opening time to the usual closing time with nothing even remotely interesting happening in between, giving him plenty of time to worry about the events of his future date with Eric.

Customers were few and far between, as was ordinary, so Alan spent most of his time at the register, rereading the same page of his book over and over until something or other happened to pull him out of his thoughts.

The hours passed quickly, with Alan deciding that the worst that could happen the next day was if Eric decided to bring food with them to the park. And even then, that wasn't necessarily the end of the world.

By the end of his shift, he was feeling less anxious about their impending ‘date’, if it could be called that. Now, the only thing he had to worry about was going to the pub with Ronald later.

As he packed up his stuff and got ready to leave, he couldn't help but feel uneasy at the thought of going to the pub. He simply brushed it off as nerves and went on his way home.

 

When Alan got home, he really felt like taking a nap. He had been considerably tired since somewhere around noon, a sign he needed to eat again soon, which he was going to ignore.

Ronald was on him in an instant, “Welcome home, Al! I hope you didn't forget about going to the pub later.”

“Wouldn't even dream of forgetting about it, since I know you would give me hell if I did.”

“Good. Now go get ready! We’re leaving in, like, half an hour.”

“Hold on, geez. I just got home, give me a sec.” Alan said, exasperated.

He took his shoes off and dropped his bag off in his room, then began to put together an outfit before changing out of his work clothes.

Alan had settled on a mustard yellow cable knit sweater with a white collared shirt underneath, paired with a simple pair of blue jeans. He went back into the living room where Ronald was waiting on the couch.

“Who’s gonna be there, anyway?” Alan asked.

Ronald shrugged, “I don't know the full list, but Grell is definitely gonna be there, and I'm pretty sure she said she’s bringing someone. Will’s a maybe, he always is, but other than that I’ve got no clue. Maybe one or two others.”

Alan considered it for a second, “That’s not that bad, actually. I would've guessed there were more coming.”

Ronald shrugged, “My guess is a lot of them are more worried about the hunters after what happened the other night. I don't blame them, really.”

“Makes sense. I wouldn't go out either. Unfortunately, I’ve got an annoying roommate who I owe.”

“Ah, yes, it’s so unfortunate that I’m making you go out and be social with other vampires.” Ronald’s reply was absolutely dripping in sarcasm, which Alan didn't appreciate.

“Alright, I get it, I’m a sad shut-in who never talks to anyone besides you. No need to sugarcoat it.”

“You are, which is why I’m making you come with me tonight. Out of love, also because you owe me.”

Alan let out an exasperated sigh, “You do have a point, though. It’s not like it’ll kill me to be social every once in a while.” Ronald gave Alan one of his smug looks, instantly making him regret deciding to say that, “Don’t give me that look.”

“Fine,” Ronald turned around, but Alan could still hear the smug grin in his voice, “Anyway, we should get going soon; it’s a bit of a walk to the pub.”

“Yeah, I remember.” Alan said, “It’ll probably be sunset by the time we get there.”

Ronald quickly stood up, “Then what are we waiting for? Let’s get going!”

Alan made sure he had his phone and keys before joining Ronald, who was bouncing on the balls of his feet, in the entryway and putting on his shoes.

They both left the house, Alan making sure to lock the door behind them, and started on their walk.

 

When they arrived at the pub, Alan’s attention was immediately drawn to the flash of red among the other patrons. You really couldn't miss her in a crowd; it was like how poisonous animals are bright colors so you know that they're poisonous, except it was Grell, and she was a vampire, rather than a poisonous animal.

Ronald noticed her about the same time Alan had, and quickly began making his way over to her table, waving and calling to her while Alan trailed behind him.

As they arrived at the table, they noticed the new face sitting next to Grell. Surely a vampire, since Grell didn't quite mix well with humans.

“Hello, darlings!” She greeted, and gave them a wide smile, fangs on full display, “Always a pleasure to see you, Ronnie!”

“It’s great to see you too, Grell. Even though last time I saw you I ended up getting decked in the face.” Ronald responded as he took a seat, ever at ease with Grell, despite her personality.

“Oh, hush. You know you love me.” Grell countered before turning her attention to Alan, “And, Allie, what a rare sight! You're looking as sickly as ever.” Grell mocked surprise, placing one hand over her heart in a theatrical manner.

“I’m aware, thanks, and I’ve told you already not to call me that.” Alan replied. He wanted to be annoyed, really, but there was something endearing about her, and he could never bring himself to be truly bothered by her behavior. He sat down next to Ronald

She waved Alan off with a dismissive gesture, “Sure, sure.” She then put an arm around the man sitting next to her, “Anyway, this cutie is Othello. He’s recently moved here, but I know him from a while back.” Alan couldn't help but wonder at that. Knowing Grell, ‘a while’ could be as far back as the 1700’s.

They introduced themselves; Ronald doing so enthusiastically, obviously glad to meet someone new, while Alan introduced himself politely, trying to keep a balance between his customer service voice and a tone that would be a dead giveaway to the fact that he would really rather be anywhere but here.

Once they got introductions out of the way, Ronald turned to Othello, “Born or turned?”

Alan winced at the question and Othello rubbed his neck a bit awkwardly, “Cutting straight to the chase, huh?” He gave a small laugh, slightly uncomfortable, “Born, I guess. Technically, I’m a dhampir, but it gets tiring having to explain what that is all the time.”

Ronald looked slightly confused, “Dhampir?”

“Half-and-half.” Alan cut in, “Half vampire, half human.” He elaborated.

“Oh, interesting.” Ronald said, processing the information, “I've never heard of that before.”

“Don't meet too many people who know about us these days.” Othello said, seeming rather surprised anyone at the table had known, “What about you, Alan? Were you born a vampire or turned?”

Alan tensed a bit, “Turned.” Came his simple reply. He wasn’t particularly religious, but he silently prayed Othello wouldn’t ask any follow-up questions.

His prayers went unanswered, however, as Othello leaned forward, resting his chin in his hands, and asked his next question, “How were you turned? I always find those stories so fascinating!”

Alan could hear Ronald suck in a breath through his teeth and Grell let out a small ‘Oh.’ as he abruptly stood up, “I’m going outside for some fresh air.” He paused before adding, “Don't bother checking on me.” Accompanied by a pointed look at Ronald.

 

When Alan got outside, he leaned against the nearest wall and buried his face in his hands, taking deep breaths and desperately trying to keep himself calm.

He reminded himself that the vampire who had turned him was no longer alive, having been killed by hunters long ago, and he was safe now. At least, as safe as any other vampire was.

 

A few moments passed, and Alan heard the door open, followed by Ronald’s voice, “Al? You alright? I know you don't like that question, but you should come back inside. I explained the bare minimum to Othello, so it won't be brought up again.”

“It shouldn't even be such a common question, in my opinion. Not everyone can have their hot girlfriend turn them like you, you know.” Alan said, not looking at Ronald, before continuing, “Thanks, I appreciate it, but I’m gonna spend a little more time out here. By myself.”

“Right. Well, I’ll be back to check on you in…” Ronald checked his watch, “About ten minutes.”

“Don't bother. I’ll be back inside before then.” Alan heard Ronald mutter something, unable to make it out, followed by the sound of the pub door closing behind him.

Alan took a few more minutes to recompose himself, during which William arrived at the pub and walked inside, merely giving Alan a polite nod as a form of greeting. He didn't look it, but the guy was a proper old man. Alan was always a bit taken aback when he remembered that William and Grell were from the same time period.

Alan chuckled to himself slightly, and was getting ready to head back inside when a stranger came and leaned against the same wall as him. He had black hair that was mostly hidden by a hat and was wearing a rather warm-looking coat. The stranger was oddly familiar to Alan, but he wasn't able to put a name to the face. Probably someone he’d seen at the pub before.

“Want a smoke?” The stranger asked. It was a harmless question, yet Alan felt a sense of unease from it.

“Oh, uh, no, thanks. I don't smoke.” Alan answered, watching the man carefully from the corner of his eye, getting ready to cautiously make his way back inside.

Multiple things happened in the span of the next few seconds.

First, the stranger reached into his inside coat pocket to retrieve what was presumably a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Second, he withdrew his hand and swung it towards Alan’s chest, to which Alan reacted by trying to stop the man’s arm, though only managing to push it downwards. Third, Alan felt something connect with his stomach, accompanied by a sharp pain.

Ah, so that’s where he had known the man from.

He looked down in disbelief, and almost outright laughed when he saw a wooden stake sticking out of his abdomen. He stood still for a second, before realizing that the man- the hunter- was still there, and he was still in danger.

Alan stepped away from the man, staggering a bit before steadying himself and preparing to either fight or run. He wondered how many minutes it had been since Ronald had talked to him. Surely if he took longer than ten minutes to return to their table, Ronald would come check on him again.

All he had to do was effectively protect himself against his attacker until Ronald came outside. Peace of cake. Or, it would be if he had actually eaten more recently than four days ago; the trip to Eric’s bakery hadn't helped him any either.

He realized this a moment too late, because the hunter had lunged at him, and Alan had been over-confident in his abilities. His back hit the pavement, sending a jolt of pain through his side, and he was sure he would've cried out if the hunter hadn't covered his mouth with one hand. This was it, this was the end for him.

He was going to die.

Chapter Text

He was going to die.

...Or so he thought.

 

Alan squeezed his eyes shut and braced himself for what he knew was coming next, feeling the tip of a second stake being positioned over his heart. The hunter had let go of his arms and uncovered his mouth to do so, but he didn't dare move a muscle. At this point, it was easier to just accept his fate.

The man raised the stake, and Alan tensed. He waited for the impact, for his death, but it never came.

The pub door opened, and Alan heard a familiar gasp. He cautiously opened his eyes and tilted his head to look toward where Ronald now stood.

He was still, eyes wide and mouth slightly agape. Alan gave him a pleading look, silently begging him to help. However, Ronald only shakily made his way back inside, and Alan felt an indescribable sense of betrayal. The one person he even remotely trusted anymore had abandoned him when he needed him most. Surely this wasn't real, he was just caught in a nightmare and would wake up in his room any second.

He stared at the door, even as he felt the hunter– whose name he still couldn't place– prepare to end his life once more, desperately hoping it would open again.

And it did.

It opened, and Alan nearly cried from the sheer relief he felt at the people who walked outside. Ronald had gone back inside to get Grell, who every vampire hunter generally knew not to mess with. It was an unspoken rule amongst them, as she was wild and exceptionally violent, adhering to no rules but her own.

He felt the hunter stand up, the weight being lifted off of Alan’s body as he got ready to defend himself against Grell. Alan let out a breath that he wasn't aware he had been holding, and sat up with great difficulty.

He heard Grell taunting the hunter, though that he couldn't quite make out what she was saying, as he was too focused on trying to stand up and get to Ronald. Grell seemed familiar with the man, which gave Alan some idea as to who he was; but not much, considering Grell was familiar with practically everyone.

Ronald waited until the hunter stepped away from Alan to close the distance between himself and Grell, before rushing over to kneel down beside his roommate. He looked worried, rightfully so, but began helping Alan stand, putting an arm around him and carrying most of his weight.

Alan winced and made a small noise of protest, and only then did Ronald seem to really notice the stake in his side, “Shit. Sorry, Al. Are you gonna be able to walk?” His voice was hushed, as to not draw the attention of the hunter.

Alan nodded stiffly, unable to speak through the pain, and gave Ronald a thumbs-up.

Ronald looked skeptical, but gave him a quick nod anyway, “...If you’re sure.” He spared one last glance at Grell, taking a second to make sure she was alright by herself; even though she was a force to be reckoned with, she wasn't untouchable, having taken her fair share of hits before. He made sure that Alan was okay once again, before taking off and leading him away from the pub, in the opposite direction of their house.

After a good couple minutes of running- or fast-paced limping, in Alan’s case- Ronald finally slowed down (which Alan was thankful for; the jostling had been sending small jolts of pain through his side) and began heading in the true direction of their home. Alan didn't recognize the neighborhood they were in, but Ronald seemed to know where he was going and Alan trusted him, so he didn’t bother to ask.

After a few more minutes, Alan began to recognize more and more buildings and shops, but he also began to notice his vision going black around the edges. He chose to ignore this, however, in favor of getting home in a timely manner. He would rather not hang around and wait for the hunter to find them, so he pushed himself to continue on.

 

Alan must have eventually passed out sometime after that, because next thing he knew, he woke up to a warm bed and a metallic taste in his mouth.

He sat up with a start, not recognizing where he was at first. It took him a second, and he wasn't sure where his glasses were, but after he took in the room and the young blonde vampire asleep in the chair next to him, he realized that he was, in fact, safe and sound in his own bed.

He winced and the memories of what had happened earlier in the night came rushing back to him, and he gingerly touched his side. He felt no stake; instead, he felt clean bandages, leaving him to wonder who had removed the stake from his abdomen.

“The one day I decide to go out…” He said as he carefully laid back down, more to himself than anyone else.

Either Ronald was a lighter sleeper than Alan remembered or he had already been on the verge of waking, because after Alan said this, he began to stir.

It took a couple minutes, but he eventually woke up enough to notice that Alan had also woken up, and he perked up a bit, “Hey, sleepyhead. You worried me.” He was trying to keep the mood light, probably to mask how he truly felt about the situation.

“Sorry, I just wanted to get out of there as quick as possible.” He said, and he meant it, “What happened to the stake, by the way? Surely you didn't remove it.”

“Ah, yeah, no. It was Undertaker, actually. He did a good enough job, said you were lucky the stake didn't actually puncture your abdominal cavity.”

Undertaker was an old vampire, older than everyone Alan knew, and he was well-known for killing many a hunter back in the day. Somewhere along the way, though, he had betrayed the vampires and began selling information to the hunters. He hadn't aligned himself with either side, and still aided other vampires from time to time, but most were wary of him.

Alan pulled a face, showing his disdain for the man, “Wasn't there anyone else you could’ve called?”

Ronald shook his head, “Grell and Will were both busy dealing with the whole vampire hunter situation, and I haven't had a whole lot of experience pulling stakes out of my friends.”

“Fair enough. I'm just not too fond of the thought of him being in our house.” To be honest, the thought of him simply knowing their address left a bad taste in his mouth.

Speaking of bad tastes in his mouth, “Hey, could I get a glass of water? My mouth tastes… metallic.” He realized why as he finished the statement, and wasn't sure whether to be disgusted that he had drank blood or glad that he had been unconscious for it.

“I figured you'd ask that,” Ronald said, grabbing a glass of water from the bedside table, helping Alan sit up, and handing the glass to him, “Sorry, but we had to help the healing process speed up since someone refuses to feed himself like a normal vampire.”

Alan gratefully took the glass, finishing half of it off with a few large sips, then handed it back to Ronald, “It’s fine. Better than if I’d been awake.”

“True that. You're still gonna have to drink more later, though, since you’re so bad about eating.”

Alan groaned, and Ronald lightly flicked him on the arm, “In my defense, I didn't think I was going to be stabbed last night.”

“No kidding! It gave me a right shock when I came to check on you and you were pinned under Sebastian Michaelis!” Ronald exclaimed, and the hunter’s identity finally clicked in place for Alan.

“I knew I’d seen him before.” He said, rubbing his face, “Hasn’t he been missing for a while, though? No one’s seen him since his contract with that one kid ended a few years back.” It was true, Sebastian had been hired by a young noble, Ciel Phantomhive, to hunt down the vampires that killed his family. He had finished the job, and hadn't been heard from after that.

“He’s been back for a while now, actually.” Ronald admitted, somewhat sheepishly, “I didn't think it was important, so I didn't say anything, but he’s been training a new hunter. Long story short: the training ended, now there’s two extra hunters to look out for.”

“That’s pretty fucking inconvenient.”

“Sure is. Still can't believe he recognized you, honestly. It’s been, what, six years?”

“Yeah, somewhere around there. Feels more like months to me, though.” Alan said, and Ronald made a noise in agreement, “That reminds me: how long was I out?”

Ronald spares a glance at his watch, “You passed out maybe thirty minutes after we left the pub around eight-thirty, and it’s a little past one o'clock right now, so about seventeen and a half hours?”

“Oh.” Alan said, not entirely sure what to say to that, and then, “Oh shit! I have to go, I’m supposed to go meet Eric in an hour!” He quickly sat up, ignoring the ache in his side, and began to get out of bed.

Ronald was quick to stop him, grabbing him firmly but gently by the shoulders and looking him in the eyes, “Alan, I love you like a brother, but there’s no way I’m letting you go out on a date with a human right after you’ve been staked by a vampire hunter.”

“I can't just stand him up, Ronald! I told him I would be there, so I’m going.” Alan jerked out of Ronald’s grasp, wincing when the movement caused a sharp pain in his side.

“Christ, just text him and reschedule! It’s not like he’s going anywhere!” Alan considered it for a minute, apparently taking too long to answer because Ronald continued, “If you don’t, I will.”

“...Fine.” Alan said, and took his phone when Ronald handed it to him. He squinted at the lock screen, barely able to read the date, “Can I have my glasses?”

“I don't know, can you?” Ronald teased as he grabbed Alan’s glasses and handed them to him, “There you go.”

“Thanks.” Alan put them on and unlocked his phone before opening his messages and tapping on the conversation between him and Eric. He typed out a quick explanation, saying that something had unexpectedly come up and he wouldn't be able to make it, but he would love to reschedule and meet up some other time. He turned to Ronald, “There, I sent it. Happy?”

“Very.” Ronald gave him a pleased look, and stood up to leave. As he did, he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like ‘Stubborn bastard.’

Alan stuck his tongue out at him- rather childishly- as he left, then looked back at his phone, feeling it buzz in his hand.

Eric had messaged him back; He sounded disappointed, but was understanding and willing to reschedule. He said he didn’t have another day off until the next Sunday, but he could pick Alan up after work on Wednesday, since his shift was shorter.

Alan figured he would be healed enough to be back at work by Wednesday, so he agreed, saying that that day worked for him, and he was already looking forward to it.

As long as they didn’t go to the pub.

Chapter Text

When Alan was due to return to work on Wednesday, Ronald forced him to get a ride to work from Grell, which Alan agreed to grudgingly, but was thankful for nonetheless.

The short ride consisted of Grell more so talking at him than to him, of course she did ask about how his wound was healing, to which he responded that it was healing fast and well- both lies.

He liked Grell, he really did, but he was thankful when she pulled up to the storefront of the flower shop so he could get out of the car and start his work day, even though it didn't entail anything particularly exciting.

He unlocked the door and entered, hearing Grell drive away once he did so. He dropped his bookbag behind the counter, next to the stool, before grabbing a spray bottle and filling it up in the back room.

He watered a handful of the plants before finally taking his seat behind the register and pulling out his book, where he would stay until his shift ended.

 

Close to the end of his shift, Alan heard the bell on the door chime and looked up. He expected a late-afternoon customer, but was pleasantly surprised when he saw it was Eric instead.

As Eric approached the counter, Alan stood up to greet him with a hug, “Hey, I wasn’t expecting you until later.”

Eric smiled and returned the hug, “Patience isn’t one of my strong suits.” He quietly laughed as the hug broke.

As Alan pulled away, he subconsciously brought a hand to his side, since it was still sore due to slow healing, “Fair enough.” He said as he went to get the spray bottle from behind the counter once again.

Eric noticed Alan wince at the hug, and immediately gave him a concerned look, “Are you alright?”

“Huh? Oh,” Alan was confused for a second before realizing what Eric was referring to, “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a bit bruised from running into my kitchen table.” He gave a short laugh, “Clumsy me.”

Eric studied him, and Alan was worried he’d somehow seen through his lie, but then Eric ruffled his hair as he chuckled, “Gotta watch out for those table corners, they always get you when you least expect it.”

Alan laughed and tried to smooth out his hair with his fingers, “Sneaky things, those table corners.” He then gestured to the spray bottle he now held, “I just have to water some of the plants and then we can go.”

Eric nodded, leaning on the counter to watch as Alan carefully went through and watered the plants, “Sure thing.”

It didn't take longer than five minutes for Alan to finish. Returning the watering can to its place behind the counter, he put his book back in his bag, slinging it over his shoulder before removing his name tag and turning to face Eric, “Alright, let’s go on this long-awaited date, shall we?” His eyes widened after realizing what he had said a second after the words left his mouth. Cheeks heating up, he quickly corrected himself and stumbled over his words in the progress, “Or, well- you know, not a date but- unless you want it to be?”

Eric laughed, and put an arm around Alan’s shoulders, “I would like that.”

Alan, too embarrassed to say anything, simply nodded and let Eric lead him out of the flower shop.

 

Upon arriving at the park, they decided to walk around for a bit before finding a place to sit down. Every time they passed some flowers, Eric would point them out and ask Alan about them, and eventually Alan started explaining them to him before he even asked.

It was a beautiful day, mostly clear skies aside from a few clouds, which meant Alan got tired out fairly quickly. Eric seemed to notice despite his best efforts to hide it, and suggested they take a seat underneath a tree.

Alan agreed, and they both sat down in the shade. He was sure there were going to be grass stains on his jeans later, but if they were acquired while on a date with Eric, he didn't really mind.

They sat in comfortable silence for a while, watching the various people go by, before they decided to lay down and watch the clouds. Alan had his head on Eric’s chest, and Eric had an arm around Alan.

They took turns finding pictures in the clouds, sometimes arguing over whether or not one was shaped like a puppy or a kitten.

“This reminds me of how my parents used to take me to the park all the time when I was little. I’d always tire myself out, and we’d spend the rest of the afternoon watching the clouds.” Eric said, “Did your parents ever do anything like that?”

“I don’t remember my parents.” Alan replied, “I haven’t for a while now.”

“Oh, sorry for asking.” Eric placed his hand on top of Alan’s.

“That's alright, my friends are all the family I need.” He smiled at Eric, “And now I have you, too.”

Eric smiled back and squeezed Alan’s hand before changing the topic to something more lighthearted.

They talked about their hobbies (Alan liked to read, and Eric liked to draw, though he claimed he wasn't very good), their favorite kinds of movies (they both liked horror, though Eric preferred the more cheesy kind), and many other topics.

When there was nothing left for them to talk about, they just laid there together in the grass, watching the blue sky blend into pinks and oranges as the sun set.

 

The sun had dipped considerably below the horizon when they decided that it was as good a time as any to start walking home.

Eric was the first to stand up, extending an arm out to Alan to help him back up onto his feet. “I’ll walk you home, if you’ll let me.”

“I’d like that, thank you.” Alan smiled at him and he stood up. He wanted to spend more time with Eric, plus the thought of walking home alone only a few nights after he’d been staked unsettled him.

As he began to sling his bag over his shoulder, Eric stopped him, “I’ll carry it for you.”

Alan gave him a quizzical look, but let out a small laugh and handed his bag to Eric anyway, “And they say chivalry is dead.”

Eric laughed, “I’m reviving it.” He held out his hand to Alan, who didn't hesitate to grab it, “You lead the way, I don't know your address.”

Alan nodded, and they began their walk home.

 

“We should do this again sometime.” Eric said as he dropped Alan off at his apartment, seeming almost reluctant to let go of his hand.

“I completely agree.” Alan smiled at Eric and gave the other man’s hand a small squeeze before letting his own drop to his side, “I had a lot of fun, Eric.”

He let out a small noise of surprise when Eric leaned down and placed a kiss on the top of his head, “I did too. Goodnight, Alan.”

As Eric pulled away, Alan stood still. He kept his gaze down, knowing he was blushing immensely, and struggled to get out a ‘You too, Eric.’ before he turned and headed for his apartment building.

 

As the apartment door shut behind him, Alan realized for the first time that he was hopelessly in love with Eric.

Chapter Text

Good things for Alan never seemed to last, as he had a particularly terrible dream the night after his date with Eric.

It started out as a recurring nightmare of his, one where he relived being turned- watching his family being murdered in front of him and then being forced to drink the vampire’s blood, but then it had transitioned to one where all of his friends had been killed by hunters, and he was next.

He startled awake, quickly sitting up right as the hunter in his dream had plunged a stake into his heart. He must’ve cried out or screamed, because soon he was aware of Ronald’s presence in his room.

He felt the bed dip beneath Ronald’s weight, and then felt a hand on his back, “Hey, it was just a bad dream. Everything’s fine.”

Alan took a few deep breaths as Ronald continued to repeat soothing things to him while rubbing his back.

He calmed down relatively quickly; several decades of living together had made Ronald fairly good at knowing how to handle Alan’s nightmares.

“Do you want me to stay in here tonight?”

Alan nodded, only managing a quiet whisper, “Please.”

He felt Ronald’s hand leave his back as he stood up to pull Alan’s desk chair over to the side of the bed.

It was times like these when Alan was glad their sleep schedules were so different- Ronald’s being more traditionally ‘vampiric’, while his own was more human.

“Come on, lay back down, I'm not going anywhere.” Ronald said as he sat down in the chair.

Alan nodded and complied, “Thank you.”

“It’s no problem, Al.” Ronald replied softly, putting his hand back on Alan’s back, keeping it there until he fell asleep.

Alan slept peacefully for the rest of the night and, when he woke up, the chair next to his bed was empty.

 

Since the nightmare, Alan had had an even stronger aversion to blood than usual. Ronald had been bringing him a glass every day since he had been staked because the healing process took energy, and less energy meant a greater need to drink blood.

Alan only took a few sips of each glass at first, but as the days went on and Ronald insisted he drink more, he began to sneak the glasses into the bathroom to dump them into the sink.

He was sure Ronald had some suspicions that he was lying about drinking blood, but he didn’t bring it up, and Alan was fine with that.

 

Eric came over one night, after Alan had invited him to watch a movie or two, to which Eric had eagerly agreed.

When Eric arrived, Ronald answered the door instead of Alan, who had neglected to tell his roommate about the fact he was having company over.

“Hey, can I help you?” He asked, leaning against the doorknob.

“Uh, hi, I’m Eric. Is Alan home?”

Ronald’s lips formed into the shape of a silent ‘Oh.’ before he turned and called into the apartment, “Al! Your boyfriend’s here!”

It didn’t take long at all for Alan to appear in the doorway behind Ronald, not-so-subtly elbowing the younger vampire as he smiled at Eric, “Hey, glad you could make it!”

“Yeah, of course!”

Alan opened the door further and Ronald, who had still been leaning on the doorknob, stumbled a bit before walking back into the apartment, “Come in. We can't really watch movies on the doorstep.”

“Aye, you have a point.” Eric said as he stepped inside, Alan carefully shutting the door behind him.

“If you don't mind, could you take off your shoes?” Alan asked, to which Eric complied, and started walking into the living room from the entryway, “Also, I don’t have a TV in my room, but I do have a laptop and would rather not deal with Ronald.”

“Hey, I'm not that bad!” Ronald said from where he was sitting on the couch.

Alan rolled his eyes, not bothering to respond as he led Eric towards his room.

Right as Alan opened his bedroom door, Ronald called out from behind them, “Try not to have too much fun in there!”

Alan shot him a glare from over his shoulder while Eric laughed, but was met with one of Ronald’s classic shit-eating grins.

 

Once they entered his room, Alan shut the door behind them and sat down on his bed. Eric remained standing, looking around at the decorations. Alan noticed his eyes linger on his calendar, though he didn't ask about it.

He wasn't used to uncomfortable silences when with Eric. They were usually talking about something or other, and even when they weren’t, the silences were usually comfortable.

He began to fiddle with loose threads at the hem of his sweater, then cleared his throat awkwardly, “So, um,” Alan gestured towards a shelf above his desk that was filled with various movies, “Feel free to look through my collection, I'm not sure if any of those are good, though.”

Eric laughed and turned to the shelf, beginning to search through the various titles. Alan kept his focus on the loose ends of his sweater, looking up when Eric spoke, “Why do you have this?”

He was holding up a DVD of a cheesy romance movie, and Alan groaned, running a hand through his hair, “Oh, god, that. It was a joke gift from Ronald. Though I have to admit, it’s incredibly entertaining to make fun of.”

“I think I’ve decided, then.” Eric said, walking over to the bed.

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Terrible movies are no laughing matter, Alan.” Eric said, only managing to keep a straight face for about half a second before cracking up at his own joke.

Eric’s laughter was contagious, and Alan soon found himself unable to contain his own, “You’re such a dork.” He said, letting out a snort.

“And you’re not?” Alan grabbed the DVD from Eric’s hand and playfully smacked him on the arm with it. He stood up to get his laptop off of his desk and brought it back over to his bed, sitting back down and patting the space beside him, “Sit down.”

Eric sat down as Alan put the DVD in, leaning back against the pillows and making himself comfortable.

Alan hit play on the movie and got comfortable next to Eric, complaining almost as soon as the first scene ended, “Oh my god, I forgot how awful even just the beginning is.”

“Seriously, what executive heard the pitch for this and gave it the okay?”

Alan snorted, “A straight one.”

“Very true.” Eric said, laughing along with Alan. “Though, I would like to thank them. I mean, we wouldn't have this top-quality entertainment otherwise.”

Alan laughed even more at that, “Top-quality in one aspect, at least.”

They continued like this until the movie ended, still laughing even after the credits rolled.

Eric wiped a tear from his eye, “That was absolutely terrible, please tell me you have more.”

“Oh, for sure. Ronnie’s given me so many of them over the years.”

“We’ll have to watch all of them, then.” Eric stood up and went over to the movie shelf, picking out a few more seemingly-terrible movies and turning off the light as he went back over to the bed, “That way we can decide which one is the worst.”

 

As the night progressed, Alan and Eric’s commentary on the various movies became more and more infrequent, and consisted mostly of small laughs.

Alan had cuddled up closer to Eric as well, but he didn’t seem to mind because he started playing with Alan’s hair.

Either due to fatigue from not drinking blood, or simply due to Eric running his fingers through his hair, Alan found himself starting to doze off halfway through the last movie.

By the time the credits rolled, he was fast asleep.

 

Alan, an early riser as always, woke up before Eric with time to spare before his alarm went off. His head was still resting on the other man’s shoulder,

He sat up carefully, not wanting to wake Eric, and got out of bed. He went into the kitchen, making note of the fact that Ronald’s door was closed, meaning he was most likely sleeping, and got himself a glass of water.

As he stood in the kitchen, he couldn’t help but worry. It was a work day for both of them, what if Eric was late? Or what if he wanted breakfast?

Oh god, what if Eric wanted breakfast? Alan and Ronald didn't have ‘breakfast’ in the human sense of the word, since it would just go to waste in their apartment.

Alan started to absentmindedly bite his nails thinking about it. Eric was a baker, and Alan was sure that he could cook as well, so it would be an issue if he insisted on making breakfast.

Eric decided to appear behind Alan in that moment and put his arms around his waist, causing the smaller man to jump slightly. Eric chuckled, “Mornin’. Sorry for startling you.” Alan could hear the tiredness in his voice, and he found it deeply endearing despite his anxiety.

Alan leaned into the hug, trying not to let on how anxious he felt, “Morning, Eric. Did you sleep well?”

Eric merely hummed in response, which Alan took as a ‘yes’, and rested his chin on Alan’s head, “Do you want breakfast? I could make us something simple.”

Alan had been expecting the question, but that hadn’t made it any less nerve-wracking. “Oh, uh, we weren't really planning on having someone stay the night, so we didn't go shopping.” Alan said, hoping his lie was believable, “Why don't we stop by somewhere, like a small cafe or something? I have work soon anyway, we can go on my way there.” He suggested.

Eric pulled out his phone to look at the time, as if he had just remembered something, “Actually, now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve got time. I have some errands I have to run before work.”

Alan was slightly surprised when he felt genuine disappointment at not being able to go to a cafe with Eric. He knew it was for the best that he couldn’t, yet Alan wanted to spend more time with him, “That’s too bad, I was hoping to have some company on my way to work this morning.”

Eric was silent for a moment, thinking, “I could walk you about halfway before I’d have to start heading in a different direction.”

“Sounds great.” Alan said, pulling away from Eric, “I should go get ready for work now, so you have enough time to stop by your house before work.”

Eric nodded and Alan set down his glass of water and went to get ready, only taking a few minutes before he entered the living room.

“Ready.” He stated, smiling at Eric.

“Same.” Eric replied, and they headed on their way.

 

As the days passed, and Alan still refused to drink blood, he could feel himself getting worse.

It was a wonder that Ronald hadn’t said anything to him, because surely he’d noticed. Perhaps he wanted to avoid confrontation, or maybe he had just gotten tired of playing the role of Alan’s mother all the time.

Either way, Alan was stretching himself too thin and they both knew it.

The breaking point had been when a kind older woman had come in to purchase some flowers.

Alan had been checking her out, and she had been leaning on the counter, which had been close enough for him to notice the smell of her blood. The smell registered in his mind and he stiffened; humans were fragile creatures, he could end her easy enough, weak as he was, and, oh, she smelled so nice.

He shook his head to clear the thoughts and apologized, calmly finishing ringing her up and wishing her a nice day. He watched as she left the shop and, immediately after the door closed behind her, lost his composure.

These kinds of thoughts were nothing new, he’s had them before, and multiple times he’s ended up attacking someone, whether it be Ronald (one of the reasons he’s so insistent that Alan eat regularly) or some human who was unlucky enough to have been around him when it happened. He took a shaky breath as he covered his face with his hands and tried to ignore how suddenly hungry he was.

“Oh, God.” He groaned. He hated to admit it, but Ronald had been right. Ronald had always been right. He should have listened. He made his bed, and now it was time to lie in it.

 

Eric arrived at the flower shop to pick up Alan, as they had arranged on their walk together the morning after their movie date.

For a second he thought it was empty, since the only thing he heard upon entering was the chiming of the bells.

Once they were welcoming, but now they seemed slightly foreboding. He realized why when he picked up the faint sound of muffled sobbing coming from behind the counter.

“Alan?” Eric called out, cautiously making his way to the counter when he received no answer.

He looked behind the counter, and found Alan there in the small space underneath. His knees were drawn up to his chest, and he was hugging them close with one arm, using his other hand to cover his mouth.

“Alan?” Eric said, crouching down and reaching out to touch him gently on the arm.

“Don't.” It was quiet, and muffled by his hand, but the tone made Eric recoil slightly.

“Hey, It’s okay. It’s just me.” Eric spoke softly, and tried again to put a comforting hand on Alan’s arm.

“Don’t.” Came Alan’s voice again, louder this time, “Don't come near me. I don’t want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt anyone. Not again.”

“I know, it’s okay, you won’t hurt me.” He kept his voice low and held out his hand this time, letting Alan decide to take it.

“You don't… you don't know that! You don't know what I’m capable of! I could kill you right now if I wanted to!” Alan was getting more distraught, and Eric let out a sad sigh. He didn't like seeing the other man in such a state, it was so much unlike his usual self. So much unlike the strong, stubborn, polite yet snarky man he had come to know.

“Alan,” He said, tone gentle, but firm, “I know.”

Alan seemed to understand what he was implying, hand dropping from over his mouth as he finally looked up, almost like he was just now seeing him. “You…” He laughed softly, “You know. You know I’m a monster... so why are you still here? Why do you still care?”

“You aren’t a monster, Alan. Far from it. I’m here, I care, because I love you.” Eric startled himself, the words had just left his mouth. They had felt right to say in this moment, and he didn't regret them one bit.

Alan was stunned as well. Tear-filled green eyes met soft hazel eyes, then flicked down to Eric’s outstretched hand. He hesitated a moment, before he released his hold of his legs and grabbed the other’s hand.

Eric pulled him carefully into a hug, and Alan tensed for a second before relaxing into it. It was nice, he thought, like a warm, loving home- something he hadn't known in years.

Alan knew, deep down, that he should put as much distance between himself and Eric as he could, but he was selfish, and the hug was comforting in a way he hadn’t experienced in a long time.

He found himself letting his guard down even though the voice in the back of his mind was telling him not to, but the hug was warm- Eric was warm- and he smelled so nice. Soon, the scent of Eric’s blood was the only thing Alan could focus on.

His judgement was clouded, and despite the protests of that voice in his head, he buried his face into the crook of Eric’s neck, took a deep breath, and bit down.

Chapter Text

Alan can’t remember the last time he’s tasted human blood. It’s sweet, unlike the animal blood that he’s used to.

The moment the blood hits his tongue, it was as if a switch was flipped; He came back to his senses all at once, pulling away and starting to apologize profusely, switching between muttering ‘I'm sorry’ and ‘I didn't mean to’.

Eric put a hand over where he was bit, applying pressure, “Alan,” he spoke softly, not showing any signs of anger like Alan thought he would, “It’s okay. I’m not mad, I know you didn’t mean to.”

Alan continued to mumble apologies even after he brought up a hand to cover his mouth. He kept sparing glances at the space underneath the counter, making it seem like he was considering retreating back to where he had been when Eric had arrived.

Eric knew he would have a difficult time getting him to come back out, so he grabbed his arm and- forcefully, but not roughly- pulled him up so that he was standing. “Alright, let’s get you home so you can eat.”

Alan shook his head, which at least let Eric know that he was listening. The taller man sighed and released his grip on Alan for a brief second to grab his bag from the floor and sling it over his good shoulder, “I know it doesn't sound like a great plan right now, but you can't just stay here forever. You know that, right?”

Receiving a nod from Alan, Eric wrapped an arm around him and began leading him out of the shop, “Good. Let’s just hope no one pays too much attention to us on the way home, then.”

 

They were fairly lucky in that nobody really spared any looks in their direction during their walk; only a few concerned pedestrians gave them a concerned glance or two. Nothing to warrant much worry on Eric’s end, though he was slightly worried that one of the concerned passersby would call the hunters.

He figured that most of them just assumed he had been bitten and Alan (who had been silent since leaving the shop, aside from quiet sobbing) was shaken up from witnessing it and everything else had already been taken care of by a hunter. Technically, they wouldn't be wrong, since Eric had been bitten and Alan was shaken up by it; he was just shaken up for a different reason.

Along the way, Eric tried his best to get Alan to calm down. Despite his best efforts, he continued to cry. Eric knew he could hear him, but he was either choosing not to listen or the comfort just wasn't registering in his mind. Either way, Eric continued to gently reassure him for the rest of the way to his house.

 

A few more minutes of walking found them standing in front of Alan’s front door, and Eric, not wanting to wait for Ronald to answer the door and let them in, pulled his hand away from the bite and opened Alan’s bag, grabbing his house key and unlocking the door.

Ronald’s voice came from the other room, having heard the door open, “You’re home already? I thought you had a date with-” He cut himself off as he came out into the living room and saw the state the two men were in, “Holy hell… Okay, uh, Eric,” He gestured vaguely behind him, “Go wait in the bathroom while I get Alan something to eat, I’ll be in to clean the bite after I deal with him.”

Eric nodded and let Ronald take Alan, who had calmed down slightly since arriving at his apartment (at least, he wasn't audibly sobbing anymore), and went to their bathroom to wait for Ronald.

He looked in the mirror, examining the bite. It wasn't too terrible; granted, it was still pretty bad and hurt like hell, but it definitely wasn't the worst he’s had. Eric sighed and sat down on the toilet, wondering how this whole ordeal would affect his relationship with Alan.

He didn't hold any ill-will towards the vampire- in fact, he sympathized with him- but he had no way of knowing how Alan felt about him. He obviously felt extremely guilty, but would he want to avoid Eric entirely because of that, or would it dissipate once he calmed down?

Through his thoughts, Eric could hear Ronald arguing with Alan in the kitchen from where he was waiting; after a few seconds, the arguing died down and all he could hear was silence, then footsteps heading in his direction.

Ronald appeared in the doorway moments after, “I know he’s probably apologized a million times already, but I'm sorry on his behalf.” He said, opening the cupboard and grabbing some bandages and rubbing alcohol, “I’d noticed he hadn't been eating lately, but I didn’t think he would let it get this bad. He’s usually better about this.”

“It’s fine,” Eric replied, wincing slightly when the rubbing alcohol is applied to his wound with a washcloth, “I shouldn't have gotten so close to a starving vampire.

Ronald scoffed as he began to bandage the bite, “Yeah, that was pretty dumb of you.” He gave Eric a pat on the back as he finished bandaging, “Still, thanks for not notifying the hunters. I had my doubts about you at first, but I'm glad to know that you're actually a good guy.”

Eric simply nodded, not entirely sure what to say to that. He let the silence continue for a bit before asking, “Can I see him? Or do you think that would make things worse?”

“He’s a right mess at the moment,” Ronald sighed, tossing the washcloth into the sink and putting the first-aid supplies back in the cupboard, “But, I don't see how it could get any worse. Worst thing he could do is bite you again.” It was obvious he was expecting a laugh but, upon receiving none, he continued, “Plus, maybe you could convince him to eat. He won't listen to me.”

“I can try, though I’m not sure how well I’ll do.” Eric said, standing up.

“I’m sure you’ll do fine. He’s stubborn, but if there’s anyone he’ll listen to besides me, it’s you.” Ronald replied as he left the bathroom and headed towards the living room.

 

Eric followed him soon after, heading for the kitchen when he didn’t see Alan in the living room.

Sure enough, he was sitting on the floor, leaning against one of the cupboards with his knees drawn up to his chest and his head down.

“Hey,” Eric spoke first, feeling that if he waited to let Alan speak, they would get nowhere, “Are you okay?”

Alan’s reply was muffled, but still loud enough for Eric to hear, “Peachy.”

“Alright, that was a stupid question.” Eric put his hands up in surrender, though Alan couldn't see him, “Obviously you aren't okay, but, Alan, I’m not mad at you. I’m just worried.”

“You should be mad. I bit you.” Alan pointed out, making Eric roll his eyes.

Eric knelt down next to Alan, making sure to stay at least arm-length away, “You didn't mean to. I know that you wouldn’t have done it under normal circumstances.”

“I could've killed you, Eric!” He raised his head to look at Eric, eyes wide and filled with unshed tears, “If I hadn't stopped myself…” He trailed off as he covered his mouth, a sob escaping him.

“There's no point in thinking about the ‘what if’s.” Eric reached a comforting arm out to Alan, doing so with caution, “It didn't happen, and it’s not going to happen. Don't be so hard on yourself.”

“God, will you stop that?!” Eric jumped slightly, startled at Alan’s sudden outburst.

He quickly retracted his hand, not really looking to get bitten again, “Stop what?”

“Stop being so forgiving!” Alan ran his hands through his hair, balling them into fists, “Get mad, yell at me- hell, call the hunters on me! It would be better for everyone if you did!”

“I’m not going to do that, Alan. You don't deserve it.” Eric reached his arm out again, placing it on Alan’s shoulder and rubbing small circles with his thumb, “You’re struggling; that doesn't make you a bad person.”

Alan made a frustrated noise but, knowing Eric was right, let his arms drop and resigned himself to silence.

Now that he wasn't being yelled at, Eric moved closer to Alan and cupped his cheek with his hand, using his thumb to wipe away the silent tears still streaming down his face, “Come on, you need to eat.” His voice was gentle, reassuring, even a bit pleading, “If not for yourself, then for me? Please?”

Alan opened his mouth to argue again, but then hesitated, reconsidering, “Okay, fine, I’ll eat.”

Eric smiled and stood up, grabbing a glass full of blood from the counter that he could only assume Ronald had left before tending to his wound. He kneeled back down and handed it to Alan, “I'm not gonna make you drink the whole thing at once, you can bring it to your room if you want. Baby steps.”

Alan considered the glass for a second, before taking a sip then pulling a face, “Thank you, Eric.” He lowered the glass, tracing a finger along the rim, “And, I'm sorry for yelling at you like that, it was completely uncalled for.”

“You're fine, don't worry.” Eric said, and stood up again, holding a hand out to Alan, “I'm sure the kitchen floor can't be all that comfortable, let’s go to your room.”

Alan nodded and grabbed Eric’s hand, pulling himself up while being careful not to spill the blood. Once he was standing, Eric put an arm around his shoulders and began to lead him to his room. Alan almost pointed out that he knew which way his room was, but Eric’s arm felt rather comforting, and he decided he would like it to be kept where it was.

 

As they left the kitchen, Alan immediately noticed Ronald, who had very obviously been eavesdropping from his place on the couch but was now doing a poor job of pretending to be engrossed in a comic book.

Alan laughed under his breath at his roommate’s terrible acting skills and rolled his eyes, taking another sip from the glass in his hand and allowing himself to continue to be lead by Eric.

They entered Alan’s room, Eric flicking on the light switch and Alan heading for his bed. He set down the glass of blood on his nightstand, surprised to find that he had already drank about half of it without realizing.

Alan sat down on his bed, Eric joining him moments later. They sat in a comfortable silence for a while, Eric reminding Alan to keep taking sips of the blood every so often.

When the glass was finally empty, Alan set it back down on his nightstand before laying down, worn out from the events of that day.

Eric laid down beside him, and neither of them broke the silence for a while. It was only broken when Alan decided to ask a question that had been in his mind since they were at the flower shop.

“Hey, Eric?” He asked, getting a ‘Hm?’ in response, “How did you figure it out? Me being a vampire, that is.”

Eric thought for a second, “I had my suspicions for a while, since you seemed so nervous around food. What really confirmed it though was meeting your roommate.” Eric laughed quietly, “I've seen him at the pub hanging out with the redhead.”

Alan hummed, “Makes sense. He isn't exactly the most careful when it comes to not standing out.”

“It’s the hair, really. You don't see that many people with that kind of hairstyle around here.” Eric pointed out.

“True. Though it’s not like yours is any better.” Alan laughed, running his fingers through the loose part of Eric’s hair, “It’s terribly ridiculous, yet incredibly endearing.”

Eric chuckled, “I would say something about yours, but I can't think of any way to describe it besides ‘adorable’.”

Alan felt his cheeks begin to heat up, and buried his face in Eric’s chest, “You’re the worst.”

“I love you too.” Eric laughed, kissing the top of Alan’s head, “And, for what it’s worth, I'm proud of you.”

He looked up at Eric, smiling softly, “That means a lot to me, Eric. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Alan.” Eric replied, grabbing the hand that was in his hair and entwining their fingers, “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Alan said, and he found himself thinking that it would be quite alright if they could just continue on like this forever.

Chapter Text

Eric had decided to stay at Alan’s house since the day he was bit, as well as taking it upon himself to become Alan’s ‘caretaker’ of sorts, going so far as to take days off from the bakery and making Alan do the same. He reminded Alan to eat, and watched him to make sure he actually did, instead of merely saying he did. Alan was reluctant at first, wanting to stick to his original schedule, but they had reached a compromise (which took a while due to how incredibly stubborn Alan was) at one glass every other day.

Truthfully, Alan didn't really mind Eric’s presence all that much. In fact, it felt entirely natural, as if they had already been doing this their entire lives. It was almost like Eric had already moved in, as he had brought some of his stuff over from his house the first day he stayed. Ever since, Alan kept finding more and more of Eric’s things around the apartment.

At first, there was a slight awkwardness (mainly from Alan’s end) due to lingering guilt about the bite, but that had quickly dissipated within a few days and they were now comfortably settled in together, however temporary the arrangement was. Of course, Ronald was uneasy about living with a human who could very well turn his back on them at the drop of a hat, but after seeing how happy Eric and Alan made each other he relaxed a bit.

 

Alan had been reading in the living room when the sound of the front door opening and closing brought his attention away from the book he was currently engaged in. Ronald was in his room at the moment, probably asleep, so Alan knew it meant Eric was home from running errands.

“Eric?” He called from where he was laying down on the couch, his book face-down on his chest.

“Yeah?” Eric called back, stepping into the living room. Alan heard the sound of shopping bags being set down, which registered as unusual to Alan since Eric usually came back from his errands empty-handed.

“Just making sure it was you.” Alan replied, sitting up to look over the back of the couch, his book falling into his lap as he did so, “What have you got there?” He asked, gesturing towards the bags with his chin.

“Who else would it be?” Eric laughed, ignoring Alan’s question.

Alan shrugged, “Ronald, I guess. Or a hunter, you never know.” He gestured to the bags again, “What did you get?”

“He’d have to have actually left the house first.” Eric pointed out, then looked over to the bags and sighed, “I wanted to surprise you, but since you insist on ruining my plans, I suppose I’ll just give them to you now.”

He walked over to the bags and pulled something out of one, keeping his back to Alan, “Turn around.” He instructed.

Alan raised an eyebrow, but turned around without question. There was a bit of an awkward silence before Eric asked, “Are you turned around?” To which Alan replied that he was.

Alan heard Eric’s footsteps on the hardwood approaching the couch, and then becoming muffled when he reached the rug. He looked up at the taller man, trying to figure out what Eric now held behind his back.

He leaned over, attempting to at least get a glimpse of what Eric was holding, but Eric turned away, not letting Alan see. It was reminiscent of an older kid holding a toddler’s favorite toy just out of reach, complete with Alan pathetically whining for Eric to just show him what it was already.

After a few more seconds of Alan’s whining, Eric finally let out an over-dramatic sigh and pulled a bouquet out from behind his back, extending it out for Alan to take.

Alan, who could only stare as he noticed the type of flower the bouquet was made of.

Tulips. Eric had brought him tulips.

As he took the flowers, Alan could feel his cheeks warming; did Eric know what tulips meant? He had to, there was no way he couldn't. Flustered to the point where he could barely form a response to the gift, he said the first thing that came to mind, “We should probably get these into a vase.”

He mentally slapped himself at that. The man had just declared his love for him in the most overly-romantic way and here he was, worrying over which vase they would look best in.

His nerves calmed when he heard Eric laugh, “You're right, it’d be no good if they died right away.” He offered a hand to Alan, “Shall we?”

Alan laughed with Eric and took his hand, standing up, “I’m sure we have a vase in the kitchen somewhere.” He said, and began walking towards the kitchen.

He quickly spotted an empty vase on the kitchen counter near the sink, and rinsed it out before filling it up with water. He then grabbed a pair of scissors from a drawer and trimmed the stems of the tulips before placing them in the vase.

“They look lovely.” Alan said, finally able to find the right words, “I love them, thank you, Eric.”

“They do.” Eric replied, wrapping an arm around Alan’s shoulders, “I’m glad you like them.”

Alan leaned into the gesture, savoring it for a moment, “Where should we put them?”

“Good question.” Eric said, thinking, “Maybe on the coffee table?”

Alan thought for a second, “Let’s go put them there, then.”

Eric nodded and withdrew his arm from around Alan’s shoulders in order to carry the vase, which Alan couldn’t help but be disappointed about.

Once they were back in the living room, Eric set the vase down on the coffee table as Alan watched from where he now sat on the couch. When he finished arranging the flowers, he stepped back to admire it.

“You were right, they do look nice out here.” Alan commented, then patted the space next to him, “Now come sit down with me.”

“I think so too.” Eric said, sitting down and getting comfortable. He looked over at Alan, “What’re you reading now?”

“Nothing that interesting. Just an old book of poems I found laying around.” Alan said, moving to lean against Eric.

“Who’s poems?”

“Not sure. The cover’s worn and I have a terrible memory.” Alan said, letting out a breathy laugh.

Eric hummed and leaned his head to the side to rest it on Alan’s, beginning to read over his shoulder.

Eventually, Alan ended up with his head in Eric’s lap and Eric’s fingers running through his hair, and Eric had ended up using his free hand to turn the pages of the book Alan had been reading, but was now resting on the arm of the couch.

Alan closed his eyes, late afternoon drowsiness combined with the sensation of Eric’s fingers gently running through his hair putting him to sleep.

 

Alan was jolted out of his half-asleep state as Eric’s phone began to ring. Eric’s smile disappeared as he checked the caller ID and his facial expression shifted to one of what Alan could only interpret as vague panic. He hurriedly excused himself and went into the other room to answer the call. Alan couldn't make out what Eric was saying, but he sounded rather frustrated with whatever was being said on the other end.

Eric ended the phone call with a huff, and Alan tried his best to seem like he hadn't just been trying to eavesdrop as Eric walked back into the room, “What was that about?” He asked casually, trying not to seem as curious as he actually was.

“Nothing important,” Eric said, waving it off with his hand, “Just someone wanting me to meet with them about something concerning the bakery.” He pressed a kiss to Alan’s forehead, “Which, unfortunately, they insisted on happening right this second.” He added as he went to put on his coat.

Alan frowned slightly, “Do you have to go? I was just about ready to take a nap.”

“Trust me, I would much rather stay here with you.” He laughed, “I’ll try to make it quick. It won't take longer than an hour, promise.”

“You better keep that promise.” Alan said, leaning over the back of the couch to point accusingly at Eric, “Or else I might just bite you again.”

“That reminds me,” Eric pointed back at Alan, “When I get back, you need to eat.”

Alan pulled a face at that, making Eric laugh, “Take your time then.” He said, turning away from Eric to focus his attention back on his book.

“You can’t avoid it forever, Alan.” He paused, before muttering, “Well, I guess technically you could, but that wouldn't be pleasant for anyone involved.”

Alan laughed, “I was only kidding. I’m used to this schedule now. The taste, on the other hand...” He trailed off, not needing to complete his thought for Eric to get the point.

“I know, it’s unpleasant.” Eric said, and went back over to the couch to give Alan one last kiss, “I’ll see you soon, okay?”

Alan gave Eric a kiss on the cheek in return, “Okay. Hurry back.”

“I will.” Eric replied, giving a small wave as he left the living room and walked out the front door.

 

Just as he promised, it was about an hour before Eric returned, the sound of the door closing starling Alan slightly. After living for hundreds of years, hours began to seem more like a few minutes; with the distraction of his latest book of interest, it felt like barely any time had passed for Alan.

“Al? I’m back!” Eric called from the entryway.

“I noticed!” Alan called back, “Come cuddle with me again!”

“Give me a second.” Eric chuckled, walking into the living room and resting his elbows on the back of the couch, “Plus, wouldn't you rather move into your bedroom, where your actual bed is?”

Alan acted as if he was considering it before answering, “You do raise a good point.” He smiled up at Eric, “I’d like that.”

“Alright then.” Eric grinned, before picking Alan up bridal style, earning a surprised squeak from the vampire.

“Eric!” Alan protested, “I’m perfectly capable of walking on my own!”

“While that may be true,” Eric said, grinning smugly, “I gain an immense amount of satisfaction from carrying you.”

“I don't see how.”

“It’s simple: you're adorable when you're embarrassed.”

Alan buried his face in Eric’s shoulder to hide his blush, “Just take me to my room already.” He said, Eric’s shoulder effectively muffling his words.

Eric chuckled and kissed the top of Alan’s head as he started walking towards their room. He wasn’t sure when he had started considering it ‘their’ room instead of ‘Alan’s’ room, but he wasn't wrong in thinking of it like that, considering they both slept in there.

Once inside the room, Eric moreso dropped Alan onto the bed than set him down, the shorter man landing on the mattress with a soft thud.

Alan would have complained, but Eric didn't give him the chance; He jumped into bed right next to Alan, wrapping an arm around the other and pulling him close.

 

Alan had just begun to doze off when there was a knock at the door. Eric gently moved Alan off of him and stood up, leaning down to kiss his forehead, “I’ll go get it. I’m sure it’s probably just some salesman.”

Alan mumbled an acknowledgement, along with something that Eric could only guess was supposed to be ‘make it quick’. He chuckled quietly and walked out of Alan’s room and towards the front door, preparing to tell whoever was at the door that they were fine, thanks, and he hoped they had a wonderful afternoon.

He hadn't thought to look through the peephole before opening the door, but he desperately wished he had the second he saw the man standing in the hallway.

“Fancy seeing you here, Slingby.” The man greeted; Eric took a few moments too long to collect himself than he would have liked, but eventually managed a response.

“Sebastian.”

Chapter Text

“What a pleasant surprise. I wasn't expecting to see you so soon after our meeting earlier.” Sebastian said, his tone threateningly polite.

Eric searched for a response, a believable lie, anything, but he was left speechless. It was obvious as to why he was there, and he knew there was no way to get himself out of this mess.

“I was wondering what it was that had you so preoccupied that you couldn't show up for your scheduled check-ins.” Sebastian continued, staring disdainfully at Eric, “I'm disappointed, Eric. I expected better of you.”

In a moment of panic, Eric attempted to close the door on Sebastian, but was stopped just before he could shut it all the way.

“I thought I taught you to respect your seniors, did I not?” Sebastian tutted, pushing the door back open and stepping past Eric, “Now, I was under the impression that a vampire lived here. That couldn't possibly be you, so where are you hiding him?”

“I’m not hiding him anywhere, Michaelis.” Eric said, finally managing a sentence, “He shouldn't have to feel like a prisoner in his own home.”

Almost as if on cue, Alan walked into the living room at that moment. He was still half-asleep, rubbing at his eyes from under his glasses, “Eric, come back to bed already. I’m getting cold without… you…” He trailed off as he finally noticed Sebastian standing there, his eyes widening in shock.

“Alan…” Eric started, but was unable to finish his thought.

Alan continued to stare at Sebastian, “This is a nightmare.” He muttered, then pinched himself, as if he would wake up in his bed next to Eric, the idea of a vampire hunter standing in his living room not even slightly present in his mind.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, this was very much real, and very much not a nightmare. He looked to Eric for some sort of explanation, anything at all really, but received nothing.

“Right on cue, Mr. Humphries. We were just talking about you.” Sebastian said, making Alan’s attention shift back to him.

“How…” Alan began, taking his time and choosing his words carefully, “How did you get this address?”

“Do you even have to ask?” Sebastian chuckled, “I’m sure you’re well aware that The Undertaker will do anything you ask as long as the payment is good enough.”

Right, of course. Alan had forgotten that Undertaker had been the one to tend to his wound after being staked by Sebastian. ‘If only’ after ‘If only’ came to his mind: ‘If only he hadn't gone out with Ronald that night’, ‘If only he hadn't been staked’, ‘If only Ronald hadn't asked Undertaker for his help’.

Speaking of Ronald, he desperately hoped the younger vampire was at work right now, or at a party, anywhere but the apartment. Though, judging from the other’s silence, Alan could safely assume he wasn't home.

He silently thanked whatever higher being had decided to smile down upon Ronald, but was quickly brought out of his thoughts by Sebastian’s frighteningly calm voice.

“Though I was looking forward to seeing Slingby kill you himself, he was simply taking too long.” Sebastian explained, “So, I’ve decided to carry out the task myself.”

Alan turned to look at Eric again, “Eric… what…?”

Eric averted his gaze, suddenly deciding that Alan’s hardwood floor was rather interesting. Alan didn't need any further explanation than that; the silence was more than enough for him.

“He’s wrong.” Alan said, trying to make himself believe his own words, “Eric, tell me he’s wrong.” He kept his voice stern, though he knew that what Sebastian had said was true.

“Alan…” Eric looked as scared as he felt, but Alan couldn’t trust him anymore, no matter how much he wanted to. “Alan, please believe me when I say I love you.”

“Sorry, but I'm having trouble believing that considering you only got close to me so you could kill me.” Alan said through gritted teeth, glaring at Eric.

“Alan, please.” Eric said, seeming as though he was about ready to get down on his knees and beg. When Alan didn't respond, he let out a sigh and began to explain further, “Yes, I admit that at first… I just considered you an assignment, but now…” He trailed off, taking a few deep breaths, “Now, I couldn't possibly bear seeing you die. I care about you more than words can express.”

Alan began to say something in response, but Sebastian cut him off, “That’s a pity. You would have made a wonderful asset to our forces.”

“And what, exactly, is it that makes you better than them?!” Eric turned back to Sebastian, raising his voice, “What gives you the right to kill innocent vampires?”

Sebastian let out a wry chuckle, “Innocent? That one can barely even control himself.” He gestured to Alan, who shrunk back, hugging himself, “You yourself were a victim of his lack of self-control, so how can you stand there and tell me he’s innocent?”

“You don't get to decide who lives and who dies based on a couple mistakes, Sebastian. It isn't our place to play God.” Eric’s voice was firm, threatening; Alan hoped he’d never be in Sebastian’s position.

Sebastian tutted, “Unfortunately for you, I don't give a damn about that. Monsters like them shouldn't be granted the ability to run free in our world, doing as they please.”

“You’re not going to kill him.” Eric kept his tone firm as he stared Sebastian down, “I won't let you.”

“Well then,” Sebastian started, adjusting his grip on the stake in his hand, “It’s a good thing that I have no qualms about killing either of you.”

 

Sebastian moved quickly, almost too quick for either of them to react. In one swift motion, he closed the distance between him and Alan and swung the stake he held down towards Alan’s chest, who flinched and brought his arms up in an attempt to block the attack. This prevented very little, as it still connected, and the resulting sound was one that was rather unpleasant; a rather wet noise, mixed in with Alan’s scream of pain.

Apparently Alan’s sudden movement had been enough to throw off Sebastian’s aim; rather than driving the stake through Alan’s heart, it had been driven into Alan’s shoulder. Still painful, but significantly less fatal.

His legs gave out, and he would have hit the floor had he not braced himself against the back of the couch. He bit his lip, trying not to cry out again as tears threatened to spill.

Sebastian clicked his tongue in annoyance and pulled the stake out, resulting in the same unpleasant noise as putting it in had, “I would advise staying still this time, Mr. Humphries.” He raised his arm again, readying himself to bring it down on its original mark.

In the span of one second, Eric had run in front of Alan and grabbed ahold of Sebastian’s raised arm, somehow managing to turn the stake on him and drive it into his chest. He was left with little time to celebrate, however, because at the same exact moment, Sebastian had used his free arm to grab another stake from his belt and put it through Eric’s stomach.

 

Both men collapsed, one unmoving, the other panting heavily and struggling to make his way over to Alan.

Alan did fall to the floor then, hitting the floor with a thud as he stared at Sebastian’s still body, “Is he… Did you…” He swallowed, “...Kill him?”

“Hopefully,” Eric said, giving up on closing the distance between himself and Alan, “If I aimed it right, he’s in hell where he belongs.”

Alan was silent for a moment, before the events of that night finally hit him full-force and he let out a sob, unable to hold back his tears anymore.

“Alan…” Eric began, struggling to get the words out, “You alright?”

Alan let out a laugh through his tears despite himself, scooting closer to Eric, “I’m the one who should be asking you that.” He said, his voice cracking, “Though, I don't need to ask to know you're not. Eric, you need to get to a doctor.”

“I can't do that, Alan.” He coughed into his hand, and when he pulled it away, there was blood around his mouth and in his palm. He grimaced and cleared his throat, wiping his hand on his pants, “You’re the only one around to take me and… they'll find out you're a vampire if you go.” There was a pause as he took a deep breath, “You'll… you'll be turned in, Al, killed. I can't do that to you.”

Alan squeezed his eyes shut and covered his nose and mouth with his sleeve. The smell of blood, Eric’s specifically, was overbearing. He took a couple deep breaths, steeling himself, before wiping his eyes and dropping his hand, “Eric, please! I'm fine with dying, if it’s to save you!” He pleaded.

“I’m not.” Eric stated, coughing again, "I won't abandon you like that."

Alan winced at the amount of blood he coughed up, growing more desperate by the second, “Then I’ll call Undertaker!” He said, his voice becoming more frantic, “He can remove the stake and bandage your wound!”

He made to stand up and get his phone, letting out a pained noise when he put weight on the shoulder that'd been stabbed on accident, when Eric reached a hand out to stop him, “Don't.”

“What? Why not? He’s the next best thing to a doctor!”

“He can't know about this situation.” Eric tugged on Alan’s shirt, urging him to stay where he was, “It'll just be more information… to be bought off of him.”

“What do you suppose we do then?!” Alan raised his voice, instantly feeling bad about doing so and taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm his nerves, “I’m not letting you die, Eric. Not if I can help it.”

“Turn me, then.” He said, as if it was the simplest thing in the world.

Such a small request, and yet it was enough to make Alan freeze. His breath caught in his throat, and he felt anxiety well up in his chest, “I can't.” He whispered, “I can't do that. Anything but that.”

Eric grabbed Alan’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, “It’s our best bet, Al.”

He shut his eyes and shook his head, “It’s horrible, Eric. I don't want you to go through that.”

“I can handle it.” He said, giving Alan’s hand another squeeze, “If it’s you, I’ll be fine.”

Alan didn't speak, going over all of their options in his head. He would die if he took Eric to the hospital, and Undertaker wouldn't hesitate to sell them both out if he were to be brought into this. He hated it, but Eric was right; turning him was their best option.

Alan took a shaky breath, “Okay.” He spoke, trying not to let himself start crying again, “I’m sorry.” He said before he helped Eric sit up some, pulling his shirt down and exposing his bloody shoulder. “You have to drink my blood, but I suppose you already knew that.” He managed a weak laugh as he leaned closer, pressing a kiss to Eric’s lips, ignoring the taste of blood, “I love you, Eric.” He said softly, before pulling away and shifting so his shoulder was closer to Eric’s face.

Eric kissed back, muttering as his partner pulled away, “I love you too, Alan.”

That was the last thing he said before he brought his mouth to Alan’s blood-covered shoulder.

Chapter Text

That fated night had marked the start of their eternity together.

 

Alan had held Eric in his lap, trying his best to reassure the both of them that everything would be fine, until Ronald came home from wherever he had been. Ronald was, understandably, fairly confused and equally worried about the state they were in. Alan had explained to him- rather shakily- what had happened and why Sebastian Michaelis’ corpse was in their living room. From there, Ronald had called Grell and William to help clean Alan and Eric’s wounds as well as figure out what to do with Sebastian’s body.

Much to everyone’s relief, Eric had survived the ordeal and made a full recovery, though the week where his body adjusted to being a vampire was rather rough on him. Alan had mostly been the one to help him through it, but Ronald, William, and Grell had also helped out whenever they could. Once that part was over with, he’d adapted to life as a vampire rather well; better than Alan had, at least.

 

A year later found Eric and Alan living together in a small town in central Scotland. The hunting agency in London had become suspicious when Sebastian hadn't returned from his assignment, and eventually began to send hunters to scout out the area near Alan’s apartment as well as Eric’s house. For their own safety, they had gone to stay with Grell and William for a short period of time while they looked for a place of their own.

It ended up being a couple months before they had eventually decided to move back to Eric’s home country and found a place to stay. It was a small house with a nice garden, and the rent wasn't too bad either. They kept in touch with their friends from London, talking mostly about hunter activity in both areas and making plans to visit each other, though Alan was highly opposed to the idea of ever returning to London. Occasionally, near holidays or birthdays, they got packages from the others. Small gifts usually, though Grell’s tended to be rather nice pieces of clothing.

Eric and Alan sent packages in return, mostly books and postcards, but Alan sometimes sent pressed flowers along with a small note with the meanings- usually ones of well-wishes and positivity.

 

They were happy, and comfortable with what they had. Eric worked at a small shop downtown, making enough to pay their bills with cash left over (it wasn't like they had to spend much on food), and Alan stayed at home, tending to their small garden.

Alan felt bad for not working, feeling like he was just leeching off of Eric, but the other always assured him it was okay, and it wasn't like he could help it; Even though Eric had been true to his word, the fact that he originally had fully intended to kill the other vampire left Alan with a strong distrust towards strangers. Not to mention that he just about jumped out of his skin every time there was a knock at their door.

He still had nightmares, sometimes; about what could have happened that night, if he hadn't been able to save Eric. When he woke from those, panicked and disoriented, Eric held him close and pressed soft kisses to his head until he calmed down. And on nights when Eric was woken by similar nightmares, Alan did the same for him.

 

It was early in the morning, the sun just barely starting to rise, and Alan had recently been woken up from one such nightmare. He’d managed to not wake Eric as well, and had no desire to disturb his boyfriend’s rest, so he carefully got out of bed and quietly made his way outside to sit in the garden.

He was still shaking slightly, but sitting on the back porch and taking deep breaths, taking in the scent of the various flowers and plants in their garden was proving to be a very effective way of calming down.

The cool, fresh air was also helping bring him back to reality; thinking about and dwelling on the past was a bad habit of Alan’s. One he was trying to break, but still fell back into every once in a while.

 

He was suddenly pulled out of his thoughts by the sensation of a presence next to him and arms wrapping around his shoulders, pulling him close. Alan stiffened at the unexpected touch, then relaxed after a second once he realized it was Eric.

“Good morning, love. You're up early.” Alan leaned into the hug, speaking softly, as if speaking at a normal volume would break this illusion of a peaceful life he had built for himself and he would be brought back to reality, to that night, only to fail at saving Eric. Sebastian was lucky he was already dead, because given the chance, Alan wouldn't hesitate to-

Deep breaths, he reminded himself, it’s over now.

“I was about to say the same thing.” Eric said, burying his face in Alan’s hair and kissing the top of his head, “The bed got cold without you.”

Alan hummed, “Sorry, I just…” He sighed, closing his eyes, “Needed some fresh air.”

“Bad dream?” Eric asked, though he already knew the answer.

“Same as always.” Alan said, beginning to fiddle with Eric’s shirt fabric.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not really.” There was silence after that, and Alan let it hang for a moment before adding, “I’m glad you aren't dead.”

Eric chuckled softly, “I’m glad you aren't dead either, sweetheart.” He placed another kiss to Alan’s forehead, “I love you so much.”

Alan sighed happily, “I love you too, very much.” Snuggling closer to his partner, he started to think that he might actually fall back to sleep when Eric spoke again.

“Come inside,” Eric released his grip on Alan, gently easing the smaller man off of him despite his weak protests and rubbing one of his shoulders soothingly before standing up, “I’ll make you some tea. I think we could both use it right now.”

He made his way inside, and Alan was left alone once more. He waited a couple minutes before standing up and going over to the back door, taking a second to look back out at the garden.

With one last deep breath, he stepped inside, the scent of dahlia flowers fresh in his mind.