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Black Eye

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“All right,” Lance began as he popped the stopper on the last vacutainer collection tube and set it to the side. “Someone from the office will call you with your results in a few days,” he said, removing the needle from the patient’s arm and quickly covering it with a small cotton swab.

“Th-Thank you,” she replied, face a little pale, and then shuffled out of the room and down the long hallway toward checkout.

Lance sighed, placing the vials in their proper place and cleaning up his area. He tugged on one end of the latex-free tourniquet and sent it flying, landing perfectly in the trashcan in the corner.

“Nice three-pointer,” someone said from the doorway. Lance smirked, having no trouble recognizing the voice – or her scent for that matter.

“Thanks, Pidgey.” He turned toward her, flashing his teeth. “I’ve got your patient’s specimens all set for the lab,” he said, grabbing the tray and handing it over. “I’m sure she’s fine.”

Pidge quirked a brow, but took the tray. “I think so, too, but procedure says we rule everything out,” she said with a slight roll of her eyes. Then she fixed Lance with a look. Pidge always seemed like she was going to ask him something. Like, for example, how he was able to perform this job without any incidents. Or maybe if she could finally get a sample of his blood. But instead, she just turned and pointed two doors down with her chin. “We need your expertise with the patient in room five.”

Lance’s sensitive ears picked up rapid breathing and an accelerated heartbeat. “Hunk,” he said. It wasn’t a question. “The big guy’s a little squeamish when it comes to needles.”

“You don’t have to tell me,” Pidge returned. “But I finally convinced him to keep his appointment.” She gave a wicked grin. “Told him about all the diseases he might have and never know about if he didn’t finally get tested.”

Oh, and people thought Lance’s kind were evil. No, no. Doctors like Pidge, getting their required hours working in the hospital’s clinic…now they were pure evil incarnate.

“And you needed your best phlebotomist to take care of him for you?”

“No,” Pidge replied flatly. “I need your vampirical super strength to hold him down while James extracts.”

Lance huffed, but followed after her. “I could do both, you know,” he muttered and Pidge just snorted.

Perhaps other vampires might find Lance’s particular line of work impossible. What with the temptation of vials upon vials of blood at his disposal, easily acquirable. But Lance turned his nose up at the mere idea of nipping any of the samples. For one, he was immediately turned off by the overpowering smell of antiseptic that hung heavily in the air of the clinic. And secondly, there was just something uniquely unappetizing about anticoagulants and the various other additives that ruined otherwise perfectly good sustenance.

So, yeah, Lance had no trouble controlling himself at work.  And, if he was a braggart – who would ever accuse him of such! – he was actually extremely good at his job. It also helped that his bosses, who just so happened to be Pidge’s parents, knew what he was and didn’t care in the slightest.

Lance was pretty sure Colleen might have even had a little crush on him. Despite the fact that both Matt and Pidge exploded with laughter when he brought it up. They probably just didn’t like the idea of their mom thinking Lance was cute. That was all.

 But anyway, Lance loved his job. He started before the sun came up, was inside all day, and finished his shift at dusk. It was perfect, really. And it paid the bills and had enough left over for even his most recent…addiction.

Real talk: Lance did not have a problem, okay? He’d just been…overindulging as of late. But who could blame him?! After all, it wasn’t every day that a vampire found a feeder human with whom they were so compatible. And Shiro was…

Shiro was something else.

He was tall, dark, handsome… and delicious. There was no better feeling than being wrapped in those strong arms, his lips suctioned over the human’s pulse point.

Shiro was intoxicating. And Lance was addicted.

Though, after the last time, Lance was feeling a bit different. It had been his third night in a row and there was a new barista at the coffee shop. Keith was his name. Oh, he was pretty – infuriatingly so – but nothing Lance couldn’t handle. There was something about the familiarity between Keith and Shiro, however. Lance’s Shiro.

Okay, okay. Shiro didn’t belong to him. But he’d said that no others had tasted him between Lance’s visits. And sue Lance if that didn’t get him hot and bothered, okay? He had a bit of a possessive streak.

And the way Keith said Shiro’s nickname – or whatever it was – all breathy and hot. ‘Takashi…’ Even the memory had heat pooling in Lance’s belly. He wanted to know more. And, simultaneously, not to know what Keith’s relationship with Shiro was at all.

When his shift was over, Lance bid farewell to Matt – it was his turn on clinic duty – and headed outside. It had gotten colder, the air crisp and filled with the distinctive scent of decaying leaves. But Lance didn’t mind the temperature. In fact, it gave him an excuse to wear his favorite jacket.

He was walking the familiar route home when he spotted the very object of his affection. What luck! Lance had never seen Shiro outside of the coffee shop. He looked even better under the glow of a streetlamp, his perfect cheekbones dusted pink and his heartbeat fluttering deliciously, audible to Lance even from this distance.

Lance wanted to call out to him. To, what? Ask him on a date? Maybe. Why not? But the words died on his tongue when Lance noticed the other person talking to Shiro.

It was Keith.

Eavesdropping was something Lance did for fun. Vampires had excellent hearing, after all. But he almost wished he could turn it off. Not because he didn’t want to hear what they had to say. But because some sort of weird possessive energy was rolling off of Keith in waves.

And although Lance served no master – his makers had ditched him, leaving him half-dead, after all – he felt the strangest urge to bow to the other vampire’s will.

It was odd and disconcerting.

But Lance was a curious person. And impulsive as Hell.

He snorted. Wasn’t that the reason he’d been turned in the first place? Curiosity and an inability to turn down the promise of a good time?

And so, despite the waves of ‘Get back. He’s mine,’ being sent his way, Lance happily skipped over toward the couple.

“Fancy seeing you here,” Lance greeted, making sure to only address Shiro. Though, he felt Keith’s gaze burning holes into the side of his head. “I was thinking really hard about staying home tonight,” he lied. “But now that I’ve seen you…” he trailed off, his own cheeks heating.

Typically, vampires didn’t blush. But Lance had been gorging himself on Shiro for days now, and it was easy to push a bit of that excess blood to the surface. After all, he really only needed to feed once a week. But he took pleasure in feasting upon the delicacy before him.

“Oh?” Shiro asked, voice breathy and eyes half-lidded. And, wow, that was such a good look on him. And knowing that it was Lance that had that effect on him…did wonders for his self-esteem.

“He’s not going in tonight,” Keith’s voice interrupted. Oh, Lance had nearly forgotten he was there. “He’s staying home,” Keith said firmly, his gaze no longer on Lance, but on Shiro. “Right?”

Shiro opened his mouth and then shut it.

“You can’t say you’ll disappoint your customers,” Keith continued, acting as if Lance wasn’t even there – the gall! – and then crossed his arms over his chest. “You can tell him now that you’ll be out.”

Tell who? Oh, wait. Keith had finally acknowledged Lance.

But Lance spoke to Shiro instead. “You’re going to be out tonight?” He didn’t mean to pout, it just sort of happened.

As he mentioned before, Lance only needed to feed on occasion. Once a week. Heck, he could probably get by with every other. But Shiro had him coming back for more. And the idea of not having him tonight was disappointing. Still, Lance was stronger than that.

“Have I been taking too much?” he asked, worried for Shiro’s health. Each feeding was small, but Keith and Lance had shared the night before, and maybe that was too much even for Shiro’s larger form.

“No, no,” Shiro said, shaking his head. But Keith said, “Yes,” at the same time.

“I’m not a child,” Shiro hissed at Keith under his breath. “I don’t need you to-”

“Apparently, you do,” Keith argued.

And suddenly, Lance felt like a third wheel. Like he was witnessing something not meant for him to see. He didn’t like it.

“Geez, Keith,” he found himself saying. “What are you, his dad?” And for a brief moment, when both Shiro and Keith turned his way, cheeks bright red – yes, even Keith’s – Lance faltered. “You’re, like…not his dad, right?”

Shiro chuckled, but covered it by coughing into his hand while Keith snapped out of it and snarled. “No, I’m not his father.”

Lance, finally feeling a bit more in control of the situation, stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets and continued, “Sorry. Just thought I’d ask. I mean,” he paused, cocking his head to the side, “I didn’t know how old you were, so-”

“Not old enough to be his father,” Keith answered through clenched teeth. “Lance, was it?”

Pfft, like he could forget someone as memorable as him. Still, Lance nodded.

“Shiro and I were in the middle of a conversation, so, if you don’t mind-”

“But I do mind,” Lance retorted playfully, sidling over to Shiro and leaning his head on the human’s shoulder. “And I think Shiro was starting to mind, too.”

Keith blinked, looking between them. Then he growled and threw his hands out. “Fine,” he snapped. “Do whatever you want.” And then, with speed only vampires possessed, he was gone.

“I’m sorry you had to see that,” Shiro said, his pulse thudding loudly against Lance’s temple, rhythmic and alluring. It was distracting, but not overly so, as Lance still found himself wondering…

“Lovers’ tiff?” he asked, ducking his head sheepishly and hoping the answer would be a definitive, ‘No.’

To Lance’s surprise, Shiro snorted. “No, nothing like that,” he answered with a chuckle. “Keith’s just a little overprotective,” he sighed, gaze drifting toward the direction in which Keith had disappeared.

Lance glanced between it and Shiro and then cleared his throat. “And you’re sure he’s not your dad, right?”

Shiro laughed again and turned his attention on Lance. “He was only turned less than a decade ago,” he answered. “We’re the same age.”

Ah, Lance nodded. “Fair enough. Though,” he paused. “You might not want to advertise his vampirical age,” he stage-whispered. “It’s kind of an unspoken rule in the vampire community.”

“I had no idea,” Shiro replied, brows raising to his hairline. “Keith never-”

“It’s no big deal.” Lance waved him off. “But the older you are, the more powerful, blah blah,” he explained. “So, lots of vamps try to front, wearing cravats and the like to prove they were turned centuries ago.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Anyway, he might be upset that you outed him as a younger vampire.”

“And how about you?” Shiro asked, derailing Lance’s tirade. “Would it be a breach in etiquette for me to ask for your age?”

Lance gave a slow smile and drew closer, his nostrils flaring as he inhaled Shiro’s tantalizing scent. “Well now, that depends,” he purred.

“On?” Shiro questioned, drawing nearer and bending so their noses nearly brushed.

“Which age you’re after,” Lance breathed. “Human? Vampirical? Eternal?”

Shiro took a step back, much to Lance’s disappointment, and grinned. “Let’s just start with whether or not you could buy me a drink.”

A little spark of excitement lit up inside Lance and his fangs elongated without his permission – talk about embarrassing – but he managed to calm them down enough to speak. “Why, Shiro. Are you asking me out on a date?”

“I think Keith may have been right about me taking the night off,” Shiro replied. “I’ve been feeling a little woozy, if I’m honest.”

Guilt flooded Lance’s belly, extinguishing said spark. But he perked up again when Shiro flashed him another bright smile. Lance returned the sentiment. “Well, lucky for you, your man is perpetually twenty-one,” he said while jerking a thumb toward his own chest. “What say we get you rehydrated?”

“Sounds like a date,” Shiro replied. And Heaven and Hell, Lance could have ascended – or descended – right then and there. But he managed to keep his cool. He wasn’t sure if it was against the rules for the shop’s feeders to go out on dates with their clients. But they weren’t in the shop now, were they?

“Right this way,” Lance said, offering his arm. “I know a place.”

Knew a place was more like it. Lance hadn’t ventured into a club in months. Ever since he discovered the coffee shop, he’d stopped looking for random hookups and one-bite stands. And ever since he’d started feeding on Shiro…

“So, you and Keith...” Lance began as they neared the club’s entrance, unable to curb his curiosity. “You know each other?”

Shiro smiled as he fished his wallet out of his pocket and pulled out his ID. “Yes, we live together.”

Lance immediately deflated. He didn’t mean to, but there he went. It wasn’t like he and Shiro were actually going out. Lance was just a very loyal customer. Shiro was probably just being nice.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” a familiar voice interrupted Lance’s thoughts. “Been a few months, I think.” Lance looked up to see an equally familiar face, the other’s sharp fangs glinting in the bright flashes of light that flickered from inside the club’s dark interior.

Lance was great with a face and even better with names. But he didn’t want to make it seem like he was a party guy. What if Shiro didn’t like that? What if he was put off by him going out to clubs?

Then again, Shiro worked at a shop that provided human feeders to vampires for money, so, maybe Lance was thinking too much.

“You’re thinking too much,” Shiro confirmed, giving Lance a pat on the back. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

“Oh.” Lance flushed, the warm blood – Shiro’s blood – rising to his cheeks and spreading to his ears. “Sorry, right. Um, Shiro, this is Kinkade. He’s a bouncer here.”

“Nice to meet you, Kinkade,” Shiro said, extending his hand. “And you know my name already,” he chuckled as he pointed to his driver’s license.

“Takashi Shirogane,” Kinkade read aloud. “The pleasure’s all mine.”

Takashi… Now, where had Lance heard that name before…?

‘So good for me…Takashi…’

That’s right! That was the name that Keith had used. So, Shiro was the nickname, after all.

It was looking more and more like there was something between Shiro and Keith.

“Have fun,” Kinkade said when he handed Shiro back his ID. “There’s a two for one special on drinks.” That was meant for Shiro. Vampires could eat and drink the same things as humans did, but it left something to be desired. Besides, it was much more pleasurable to consume alcohol through someone else’s blood.

“Thank you.” Shiro pocketed his wallet and placed a hand on the small of Lance’s back. “Shall we?”

Lance was getting some seriously mixed signals. Obviously, Shiro wanted to go out with him tonight. He’d even called it a ‘date’ earlier, hadn’t he? But he also lived with Keith and let Keith use his given name. And…

“Something on your mind?” Shiro asked once they reached the bar, the steady thumping of the bass nearly drowning out the words, if not for Lance’s superior hearing.

“Why are you here?” Lance blurted before staring down at his shoes. He caught Shiro’s sudden intake of breath and cut him off before he could answer just yet. “With me, I mean,” he continued. “I’m just-”

“A really cute guy I know?” Shiro offered, placing a hand under Lance’s chin and tilting it up. “I’ve been working a lot lately,” he admitted. “Both my day job and at the shop.” He released Lance’s chin and smirked before adding, “I’ve been in very high demand, as of late.”

Lance blushed again.

“I thought going for a night out might help me relax a little,” he said. “And I like you, Lance.”

“Um…” Lance swallowed. Yeah, he was supposed to be the apex predator, the sensual beast that lured in and seduced his victims, okay? But Shiro was sort of turning things around. Not that Lance minded. Not in the slightest. “So, you…like me?” Some of his confidence was coming back now. Lance leaned against the bar and grinned up at Shiro. “Like…like me like me or…”

“I’ll admit I wanted to get to know you better,” Shiro said, lifting a hand to run it through his hair as he, too, blushed. “So, I was glad we ran into each other earlier.”

Lance bit his lip, batting his eyelashes as he drew nearer to Shiro, playfully hip-checking him. “So, you’ve been wanting to ask me out, huh?”

“Maybe…” Shiro flirted right back.

All thoughts of Keith and Shiro’s relationship forgotten, Lance placed a hand on either side of Shiro, his palms sliding against the smooth bar top as he caged the taller man in. “And…now that you have…” He traced the tip of his nose up the side of Shiro’s neck, feeling the pulse jump beneath the sensitive skin. “What are you hoping will happen?”

Lance knew that he couldn’t take from Shiro again tonight. He’d been too greedy already. Plus, Shiro had said he’d been feeling lightheaded. And Lance wasn’t about to put the man in the hospital – Pidge would have a field day! – so, he backed off and bit, blinking up at Shiro with a coy little smile.

“I honestly hadn’t expected to get this far,” Shiro replied with a laugh. “But, why don’t we start out with you buying me that drink?”

They ended up going for the two for one special. Shiro happily sipped on something blood red in color that smelled so sweet, Lance could practically taste it. He left his own glass completely full on the bar top. And once Shiro was done, his lips and tongue stained red, Lance took him from his stool and led him out onto the dance floor.

Oh, how long had it been since Lance had last gone out for a night like this? And with such a handsome partner, too! Too long, he decided as he spun around and accidentally bumped a little too hard into Shiro’s chest.

“Sorry,” Lance apologized, but sucked in a breath at the dark look Shiro was giving him. Shiro’s eyes were half-lidded and his pupils were blown wide. He reached for Lance’s hand and placed it on his shoulder as he moved to the beat of the fast-paced song.

“Don’t apologize.” Shiro clicked his tongue. “I like it when you touch me.”

And Lance would have swooned – if he hadn’t thought better of it and caught himself. Shiro was saying all the right things. He was being so bold. He wasn’t acting at all like the nearly shy feeder from the coffee shop. And Lance was not complaining. In fact, he was starting to like this side of Shiro even more.

Lance was so distracted by his newly enhanced attraction, that he didn’t realize Shiro had leaned in close until the other’s lips brushed against his neck. Lance’s breath stuttered and he let out a moan at the feel of it.

“Sorry,” Shiro apologized against his neck, his warm lips brushing his skin. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

So much for superhuman reflexes, huh?

But Lance rolled with it. He moved his hand from Shiro’s shoulder and placed it against the back of his head, pulling him even closer. “Don’t apologize,” he repeated Shiro’s earlier words. “I like it when you touch me.”

Shiro chuckled, warm air puffing against Lance’s neck. “I was thinking,” he breathed, hips swaying as the song changed to something a little slower, almost sensual. “What if I bite you tonight?”

Another moan spilled from Lance’s lips without his permission, but he did nothing to stop it. Oh, he’d never… That was so – “That’s so hot…” Lance managed, his fingers tangling in Shiro’s short hair. “Holy shit.”

No human had ever suggested that. Then again, most of Lance’s interactions were either with his roommate, at work – all business – or with feeders. And when teeth were in involved, they were only interested in Lance doing the biting.

“You like that?” Shiro almost growled and Lance really did swoon, his legs crumpling under him. Now Shiro was supporting him completely. “I can tell.”

Lance’s head was swimming. What was it about Shiro? He’d never felt this way before with anyone. But when the blunt tips of Shiro’s canines dragged against his skin, all thoughts flew from his mind. Lance’s grip tightened in Shiro’s hair, his other hand flying up to grip his broad back.

Everything was amplified, the steady pounding of the bass – which was somehow perfectly in time with Shiro’s own heartbeat – and the pleasure-pain sensation of Shiro’s teeth on him. Oh, and when Shiro bit down, Lance nearly lost it, his eyes rolling into the back of his head.

Sometime later, Lance’s eyelids fluttered open. The room was hazy, red-rimmed. It was like when he’d gone too long between feedings. Only, there wasn’t the burn in his throat or the empty feeling inside. He just felt… good. Great, even. Hell, wonderful!

“Shiro…” he whimpered and then hissed when Shiro slipped a leg between his. “A-Ah…!”

“Didn’t want you to fall,” Shiro explained. Which made sense. But did he really have to grind against him like that?

“Yes,” Lance answered his own question aloud. He was lost in the moment. Every place that Shiro touched was hot. Lance’s fangs elongated and his jaw ached, but he knew better than to bite Shiro now. He wasn’t that far gone.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Lance spotted something that doused the heat in his body like a bucket of ice water. He pulled back, ignoring the way Shiro’s teeth scraped against his skin just a bit too hard.

He didn’t even feel it. He was too distracted by… But no. She couldn’t be here. They’d left. They’d left him and never returned. They were gone.

“Lance?” Shiro questioned, voice still gravelly, but there was a hint of worry in his tone.

It was impossible. They’d abandoned him. There was no way.

Lance didn’t realize he’d started shaking until Shiro held his hands in his. “Lance, are you okay?”

Everything sounded like he was in a tunnel or a glass tube. The music was muffled and Shiro’s lips moved with almost no sound coming out. Lance’s fangs fully extended and he bit his bottom lip hard, the metallic taste of his own blood filling his mouth.

“No…” he hissed, pulling his hands free from Shiro’s grasp and placing them over his ears. He squeezed his eyes shut tight. “No…”

They’d left him. They were gone. He didn’t want to see them.

Lance was hyperventilating, he was pretty sure. He couldn’t breathe. He didn’t need to breathe, of course, but his body couldn’t seem to remember that. He took a staggering step backwards and nearly tripped over something behind him. He had to get out of here. He needed to leave right now.

He wasn’t sure how, but he was suddenly outside, the music and the echoes of merriment from the club far away. Slowly, a voice was reaching him, no longer muffled.

“Lance?”

Who was that?

There were hands on his shoulders now, holding him steady.

“Lance, are you all right?”

No, he wasn’t. They were here. They were here. They’d come for him. His chest ached and his throat burned. They’d come back for him.

But he didn’t want them!

The hands on Lance’s shoulders pulled him closer, pinning him against a strong chest. He struggled in the other’s grasp. No, they’d gotten him! They would hurt him again!

Lance clawed at the arms holding him until he managed to pull far enough back to strike. His fangs sunk deep into his captor’s arm. He distantly heard a startled yell, but he ignored it. He needed to escape.

Though… the blood rushing into his mouth was familiar. And…soothing…

Lance was about to relax and feed properly when someone gripped the back of his shirt, hauling him away from his captor with inhuman strength. Lance hissed and flailed wildly, wanting to get back to that delicious, soothing warmth.

There was a growl in his ear, deep and commanding, and Lance nearly threw himself to the ground. Anything, if it would appease its owner.

“Wait!” a familiar voice shouted. “I don’t think he meant to hurt me,” he said. “He was having some kind of panic attack!”

Lance wasn’t sure what to do. He was being held by the scruff, unable to even turn his head to apologize. But instead of receiving a beating or being thrown to the ground – as he might have expected – he was spun around.

Dazed, Lance tried to get his bearings, only to have a wrist shoved right under his nose. He opened his mouth to say something – anything – but stopped when he smelled fresh blood.

“Drink,” the new voice, though still slightly familiar, ordered.

Lance shivered, but obeyed. He placed his hands on either side of the cut, cradling the arm before him, and then pressed his mouth against it, savoring the unique flavor.

This was different.

Amazing.  

Powerful. 

And, as he heartily swallowed a few more gulps, everything went dark.

Chapter Text

Long, blonde hair swaying back and forth as she danced. Dark eyes, blinking at him from across the floor. He smiled and she returned the gesture, motioning for him to join her.

Lance was a flirt. He loved the fun little back and forth – even if, most of the time, not much came back – so he eagerly set his drink to the side and made his way toward the prettiest girl he’d seen all night.

They danced. She laughed at his jokes. And when he mentioned it was getting late, she invited him to her place.

He’d really felt a connection. They kissed in the back of the cab. And Lance was so enthralled, he didn’t even mind when she flashed her fangs. Most people knew vampires existed, he was pretty sure. And now Lance was the lucky man heading home with one.

The mood shifted when they arrived at her apartment. They weren’t alone. Nyma – the pretty blonde – as it turned out, had a live-in boyfriend.

Lance had half an apology stuttered out before Rolo closed the distance between them, putting a hand on Lance’s hip, and whispered, “We’re cool, right?”

And okay. Yeah. Lance could definitely be cool.

The rest was a blur. Lips against his skin. Hands roaming his body, removing his clothes. Lance arched his back with a hiss when they bit down. His neck and inner thigh burned with a strange sensation. Hot pain and electric pleasure.

They fed.

And fed.

And…fed…

The world started to fade, dark spots appearing in his vision. And despite the two bodies on either side of him, Lance began to shiver. It was so cold…

“Shit,” a harsh whisper from between his legs.

“…too much…” came another.

But Lance was floating. He tried to lift one of his shaking hands, but he found that he could not. It was easier to sleep.

So he did.

 

Lance awoke to an unfamiliar ceiling. At home, his had little glow-in-the-dark stars stuck all over it, courtesy of his awesome roommate. But this was blank.

He closed his eyes. At least the windows had blackout curtains.

Lance’s eyes snapped open.

He wasn’t home. Was he…was he back there? Did they find him?

“N-No,” he managed, gaze shifting to take in the room. They wouldn’t come back. They’d abandoned him. Turned him and ran. Left him confused and terrified, his throat burning with a thirst impossible to quench.

Besides, this room was completely different.

Lance looked around once again, just to make sure. There wasn’t much to look at, honestly. There was the bed, complete with dark, dark gray – almost black – sheets. They were soft. Probably a high thread count. And across from him there were two dressers – mismatched and from completely different bed sets.

Other than that, there were only a few articles of clothing scattered on the floor.

Lance took a deep breath and then stiffened. He recognized that scent. Calm washed over him as he sighed. “Shiro…”

“Sorry to disappoint,” a voice called from the doorway, startling him.

Lance whipped his head toward the source. “Keith.”

They stared at each other for a moment before Keith uncrossed his arms and pushed away from the doorframe to step closer. “How are you feeling?”

“How am I…” Lance blinked, furrowing his brow, trying to remember how he’d gotten here. Had he gone home with Shiro? And if he had, why didn’t he remember? That was definitely something he wanted to remember.

A delicious fragrance caught Lance’s attention, a faded, but no less enticing aroma coming from the open closet door. It was definitely old, long-since coagulated. But he was certain it was the scent of Shiro’s blood.

Lance froze. Had he bit him? It was too soon. Shiro had been feeling lightheaded. “Shiro-”

“Is at work,” Keith finished for him as he crossed his arms over his chest once more, his dark eyes narrowed. “Though, I would have preferred he stayed home, given what happened last night.”

Lance wet his lips and thought hard. As hard as he could. He remembered running into Shiro and Keith and then going to the club with Shiro. They’d dance and Shiro had… Shiro had bitten him. Oh… Heat flooded Lance’s entire body as he remembered. And then he’d-

“No.” Lance’s eyes widened.

“Ah, remember now?” Keith asked with a scowl. “How you totally freaked out and nearly tore Shiro’s arm off?”

“I-what?” Lance drew back.

“He said you were having some sort of panic attack,” Keith went on, ignoring Lance’s complete shock. “But it looked like bloodlust to me-”

“No!” Lance shouted and then lowered his voice. “No, I’m…I wouldn’t.” He shook his head. Only once had he ever been that thirsty. Only once before… “I…” He brought a hand to his forehead. “I thought I saw someone last night,” he said, trying to keep his body from shaking at the memory. “I must have…”

“Hey.” Suddenly, Keith was right next to him, sitting on the edge of the bed. “I didn’t mean to upset you.” Though his tone still read annoyed, when Lance looked up, Keith looked earnest. “I just…” He sighed. “Shiro was in danger and when I found him, you were…” he trailed off.

“Yeah,” Lance said after a moment. “I probably would have killed me if I’d been in your shoes.” He brought his knees up to his chest. “Is Shiro… Did I hurt him too badly?”

“The stubborn ass wouldn’t drink any of my blood to heal,” Keith said with an aggravated growl. “But the venom in your saliva did its job. He didn’t even need stitches.” Keith picked at a loose thread on the comforter. “The idiot even went to work today.”

Work… Work!

“Shit!” Lance exclaimed, springing out of bed and falling to the ground. He hissed and then realized his legs were tangled in the sheets. “Damn it.” He tried to pull himself free without tearing them. After all, he was in a hurry, but he was still a guest.

“Whoa!” Keith shot up and was at Lance’s side in an instant. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“What time is it?” Lance asked instead.

Keith sighed, but craned his neck to look down the hall. Maybe at a clock Lance couldn’t see from his position: a tangled mess on the floor. “It’s just about noon-”

“Shit!” Lance cursed again. “I’m so late for work.” Again, he struggled to break free, but stopped when Keith put a hand on his shoulder. Lance looked down at Keith’s hand and the other immediately snatched it back, his own gaze upon it as if he, too, was surprised he’d made physical contact.

“They already know you’re not coming in.” Keith was quick to recover.

Lance blinked. “They…do?” Keith nodded. Then Lance narrowed his eyes. “…how?”

Keith coughed into his fist. “I may have looked through your wallet.”

“You-” Lance gaped, placing a hand over his unbeating heart, scandalized. “That’s an invasion of privacy, Keith!” he said, finally beginning to feel more like himself. This was a weird – read: awful – enough situation as it was, Lance may as well try to lighten the mood.

It worked, given the way Keith rolled his eyes. “You were sleeping like the dead,” he said, ignoring Lance’s snort at his turn of phrase, “and your phone kept going off, so I found your work ID in your wallet, gave the robot voice your personnel number, and told them you’d be out today.”

Oh, so Keith had answered the automatic call. Which meant he’d done so pretty early this morning and that Pidge probably didn’t even question why he wasn’t at work. But Keith’d said Lance’s phone had kept ringing…

“Hunk!” Lance gasped. Of course his roommate was probably worried sick. He hadn’t even told him he was going out last night, let alone that he’d freaked out and spent the night at someone else’s place. He needed to call him back right away. “I need to-”

“I told him you were sleeping,” Keith said.

Oh.    

Lance sat up, leaning his back against the box spring and mattress. “Thank you, Keith.” He gave a little chuckle. “You really thought of everything.”

“I just did as Shiro asked,” Keith replied with a shrug. And, curious, Lance was about to question what all that entailed, but Keith went on. “Whatever you saw last night must have really shaken you up,” he said. “Took it out of you. I’ve never seen a vampire sleep so much.”

Lance kicked his foot out, completely missing Keith’s shin. “Hey, you think I look this good without a little beauty rest now and again?” he purred and Keith rolled his eyes once more. Lance swallowed, sobering up a bit. “Hey, thank you for taking care of me last night,” he said. “And I’m sorry about Shiro. I’ll apologize to him properly the next time I see him.”

Keith took a deep breath and then replied. “Yeah. And I’m sure Shiro will be relieved when he finds out it wasn’t his fault.”

“His fault?” Lance raised his brows. “He thinks what happened last night as his fault?”

Without answering, Keith stood up. “Anyway, I’m going to go grab a blood pack from the refrigerator, you want one?” Lance must have pulled a face because Keith snorted. “Too good for the bagged stuff, huh, Lancey?” He shook his head. “Well, you really took it out of me last night, so I’ve got to replenish before I-”

“Wait,” Lance interrupted, slowly getting to his feet. “I took it out of you?” A strange image flashed through Lance’s mind without his permission. One of Keith above him, his chest bare and his long hair in his face. Lance’s cheeks burned. His imagination needed to calm down. At least, he hoped that was just his imagination.

“I told you that you were freaking out, right?” Keith said. “So, the only way to calm you down was to offer you my blood.” He held his arm up and suddenly, Lance remembered. The feel of his lips against Keith’s smooth skin, the taste of his blood, dark and strong…potent.

“Holy shit…” Lance gasped, his fangs elongating at the memory.

“I’ll try not to abuse my power,” Keith threw out as he walked out of the room and down the hall, presumably to the kitchen.

But Lance was still trying to digest what he’d just learned. Keith had offered him his blood to calm him. Which made sense because, Lance was in such a state that he’d bitten Shiro. But if Lance had Keith’s blood inside him, the other could…

“Ugh…” Lance groaned.

Though not as powerful as the bond between a Maker and their progeny, there was a deep connection formed when one vampire drank from another. And, to a much greater extent, if a human were to consume vampirical blood. But Lance was still caught up on the fact that he’d drunk Keith’s.

Keith already gave off a… well, vampires didn’t really have Alphas. But if they did, that’s the sort of vibe Lance got from Keith. Like Lance needed to bend to his will or some shit – rude! – which was really weird because Keith wasn’t even that much older than him, vampirically speaking.

Lance groaned again, his head cradled in his hands. He was missing a day of work, his roommate knew he’d gone off with some stranger, and now he was trapped inside until nightfall.

Many people believed that vampires would burst into flames or turn into dust if they went out in the sun, but that just wasn’t true. And they didn’t sparkle, either. Vampires were just…allergic to sunlight. Sort of like their intolerance to anything containing garlic – a damn shame, in Lance’s opinion. It was more of an inconvenience than anything else. But it still stung. And Lance didn’t even know how far he was from home, so there was no telling if the walk would be manageable or not.

“Did you fall asleep again?” Keith’s voice drifted down the hall.

Lance could pretend. Though, honestly, he hadn’t felt more well-rested and awake in ages. But tempting as it was to go back to sleep, he knew he should probably be more appreciative of the hospitality he’d been offered and make an appearance outside of the bedroom.

So, with a deep breath – again, not necessary, but a force of habit from his years as a human – Lance called toward the kitchen. “No, I’m up! Just a sec!” And with one last look around the bare bones, college dorm of a master bedroom, Lance walked out of the door.

Shiro and Keith’s apartment was pretty small. It was a one bedroom with a living room and kitchen. It was still pretty nice – if not in some serious need of the touch of anyone remotely tidy. Still, there were no dishes in the sink and everything appeared to be sanitary, otherwise.

When Lance made it to the tall counter that divided the kitchen from the living room, he caught Keith looking at his phone. Keith typed something quickly before setting it down on the countertop and opening the fridge.

“So,” Lance said, never one to let an awkward silence linger longer than it should. “It’s just you and me until nightfall, huh?”

Keith peeked over the refrigerator door, one blood pack already in his mouth and a few others cradled in his arms. “Mpguess mpho,” he replied and then knocked the door shut with his hip. Lance raised his brows, but didn’t say anything. After all, he was a guest here.

A second later, Keith’s phone buzzed, skittering across the smooth laminate before Keith shifted his snacks into one arm and reached for it. He read whatever the message was and then growled deep in his throat, slamming the device none too gently back onto the countertop.

Lance itched to ask what that was all about, but even he knew when something wasn’t his business. Still, he found himself intrigued by Keith. Despite the fact that he wasn’t nearly as old as his aura gave off, he didn’t really seem like the type to have a cellphone. Odd, since he looked like he was in his early twenties. Still, he just seemed out of place to Lance.

Of course, he wasn’t even sure why that had popped into his head. What was he doing having an opinion on Keith?

Lance’s gaze shifted over to the vampire in question. He watched the other drink heartily – and rather angrily – from his blood bag, his Adam’s apple bobbing with each gulp. For no reason, heat began flooding Lance’s body as his gaze drifted lower to where Keith’s shirt had ridden up just the slightest bit from how he’d thrown the bag back.

Shit. Lance realized he’d been staring. Thankfully, Keith was still too upset or distracted to notice. But how embarrassing! It must have been one of the effects of Keith’s blood. Lance had never drunk another vamp’s before, so maybe becoming attracted to them was part of the deal. Vampires were the seducers of the supernatural world, after all.

He shook his head and focused instead on the laminate countertop, tracing the nonsensical patterns until Keith cleared his throat, getting his attention once more.

“Shiro’s on his way home,” he said, surprising Lance. A quick check of the clock on the microwave showed that it was only twelve thirty. Did Shiro work part time? Or- “I told him not to bother, since you’re fine. But he was worried about-”

And just as Lance’s face was nearly completely flushed, the door opened, revealing a sweaty and out of breath Shiro. He turned his head side to side until his gaze landed on Lance. Then he smiled, walking the rest of the way into the apartment and letting the door swing shut behind him. “Hey,” he greeted, still panting slightly.

Lance’s heart fluttered – or the vampirical equivalent – but he managed to play it off. “Hey, yourself,” he returned with a grin. He gave Shiro a onceover, taking in the human’s attire. Gym clothes, by the looks of them. Baggy basketball shorts and a tight black tank top that should have been illegal – given its contents. Of course, he wasn’t complaining.

Wow, how had Lance never seen Shiro out of a sweater before? Not that he didn’t look absolutely delectable in that, too, but Lance was getting off the subject, now wasn’t he?

“Did you run here?” Lance asked, gaze following a bead of sweat that had broken free from Shiro’s bangs and was lazily making its way down the side of the man’s handsome face, over his strong jaw, and teasingly toward his pulse point.

Shiro chuckled. “I might have,” he admitted. “The gym isn’t far from here.”

“The gym?” Lance blinked. “But Keith said you were at work.”

“I was,” Shiro replied, finally removing his duffel bag and setting it on the ground next to several pairs of shoes in the entryway – at least four times as many as there were people living in this apartment.

“Shiro is a personal trainer,” Keith answered, now on his fourth or fifth bag of blood. Wow, Lance really must have taken it out of him. “And his shift isn’t over until six.”

“I had two cancellations,” Shiro threw out before making his way over to Lance. Hesitantly, he reached out a hand before seeming to think better of it and letting it drop. “How are you feeling?” he asked instead.

“Much better,” Lance answered, reaching out for Shiro’s hand and bringing it up to his cheek. He both felt and heard Shiro’s pulse jump. “You’re warm,” he breathed, nuzzling into Shiro’s palm, not minding in the slightest that it smelled of sweat and something metallic – dumbells, maybe?

“I should shower,” Shiro said, but didn’t move. Instead, he stayed there, his eyelids drooping and his pupils dilating.

Lance felt good. Really good. He wasn’t even feeding, but something about just being near Shiro filled him with warmth and contentment. It made him bold. “Do you need any company?” he asked, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Shiro bit his lip and just outside of their little bubble, came an annoyed groan. “Haven’t you fed enough for one day?”

That snapped Lance out of it. He wasn’t going to drink from Shiro. Not after last night. He’d be satisfied just staying like this. But when he turned to explain himself to Keith, he found the other vampire right beside them, his eyes locked with Shiro’s.

“You wouldn’t need to feed right now if you’d finished your shift at work,” Keith said accusatorily.

“I told you I had two cancellations,” Shiro replied, voice still deep and velvety, but obviously tinged with something else.

“Likely story,” Keith replied. “Anyway, I did as you asked. Took care of everything.” He grabbed another two blood bags from the refrigerator and stalked over to the couch. “You’re welcome.”

“Thank you, Keith,” Shiro said, sounding mostly genuine. Though there was still something to his tone. Lance couldn’t put his finger on it, but Shiro almost seemed… “Sorry,” Shiro said, directed at Lance. “I went a bit too long and-”

“He’s hangry,” Keith finished for him.

“Ignore him,” Shiro said. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

Lance smiled. “Yes,” he said. “Keith really did take care of everything.” He paused, a fang coming to worry at his lower lip and, whoa, watching Shiro zero in on it did something to him. And oh, well, he’d plumb forgotten what he was going to ask.

“You can feed on me, if you want,” Shiro said, dark gaze never leaving Lance’s lips. “Keith told me that last night wasn’t because of me, but I still feel bad.”

Lance shook his head, placing his hand over Shiro’s to keep it right where it had settled on the side of his neck. “You shouldn’t feel bad at all,” he said. “I just thought…” He decided against dumping everything for now. After all, they hadn’t come for him, so it was probably just someone who looked like her. They were long gone and would probably stay that way forever. “I just got overwhelmed.”

Shiro pulled back and looked him in the eye. “If you’re sure…”

“I’m sure.” Lance nodded. “Besides, you shouldn’t be feeding me when you’re hungry yourself.” He chuckled. “No sense of self-preservation, huh?” He reluctantly pulled away and walked over to the fridge. “Do you want me to make you a sandwich or some…thing…” Lance trailed off when Shiro came up behind him, wrapping strong arms around his waist and pressing his chest flush to Lance’s back.

“That’s not the kind of hungry I am,” he said lowly, hot breath puffing against the nape of Lance’s neck.

Confusion should have been the very first thing Lance was feeling because, A. He and Shiro hadn’t even kissed yet. And B. They’d only seen each other outside of Shiro’s work once. But Confusion to a backseat to Arousal as Lance leaned back against Shiro, the scent of the other’s sweat wildly intoxicating.

“Seriously?” Keith asked from the couch. “You’re going to feed on him right here?”

Shiro chuckled against the sensitive skin of Lance’s shoulder before craning his neck to answer Keith. “This is the kitchen.”

“And I’m right here!” Keith growled in annoyance. “Control yourself, Shiro.”

Up until this point, Lance had sort of just been floating around in deliciously warm headspace. But now he was back to himself. “Shiro?”

“I’m sorry,” Shiro said, his arms tightening around him and his forehead coming to rest on Lance’s shoulder. “I was so distracted at work, I didn’t get to feed and…” He released Lance and took a step back.

“It’s okay.” Lance turned around and closed the distance between them again. It was becoming more and more apparent – given the wording – that Shiro was hungry for something other than food and that he wasn’t just alluding toward wanting sex. And Lance had fed on Shiro plenty of times, so it was only fair that he return the favor. “How do you feed?”

Shiro slumped his shoulders, a relieved expression washing over his face. He pulled Lance closer and breathed him in, one hand coming to trail up Lance’s spine. “Like this is fine,” he mumbled into Lance’s neck.

Lance was suddenly reminded of the night before. Not the horrible part, but just before that. When he and Shiro were on the dance floor. It felt just as amazing now. His fangs elongated, but he kept his mouth closed, his entire body shivering as Shiro touched him all over.

“This okay?” Shiro pulled back to ask and Lance nodded, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. It was more than okay. His entire body was alight with something indescribable.

And then, as quickly as the feeling had started, it was over. Lance opened questioning eyes up at Shiro, but the other just shook his head.

“I didn’t want to take too much,” he said. “Not when you aren’t feeding, too.”

Keith scoffed from the couch and before Lance could respond – his mind still fuzzy – Shiro whispered in his ear. “Don’t mind him, he’s just mad you’re the reason he-”

“Shiro!” Keith shot up, moving with inhuman speed to place his palm against Shiro’s forehead and push him as far away as possible. “Don’t you fucking dare.”

But Shiro continued, his eyes bright and his cheeks rosy. “You know, it wasn’t until you offered, that Keith and I actually fed on each other,” he said. “Known him for years, but we’d never-”

“That’s enough,” Keith said with such authority that it sent Lance sprawling onto the floor, eager to bow before the other vampire. “Shit,” Keith hissed. “I didn’t mean to-”

But Lance was already coming back to himself, the effects of Shiro’s feeding wearing off. He struggled to his feet on shaky legs and brushed it off – biting back the urge to snap at Keith. Not like he could, anyway, not until the other’s blood was out of his system, at least. “It’s fine,” he lied through his fangs. “No harm done.”

Shiro, too, looked like he was finally getting over the euphoria he’d experienced, the blush disappearing from his cheeks and his mouth forming a thin line. “I’m sorry, Keith,” he said. “I overstepped.”

After a beat, Keith relaxed his shoulders. “It’s all right,” he said. “I know how you get when you’re drunk.”

Okay, now that Lance was back to his senses, he had some questions. “Hey, not to intrude on this They Were Roommates moment,” he began. “But, um, what exactly is going on here?”

Keith and Shiro exchanged looks before turning back toward Lance.

“To clarify,” Lance continued, “What are you, Shiro? Because, I’m pretty sure humans don’t do what you just did.” He paused, face heating. “Not that I mind and, honestly, we could totally do that again,” he added. “But…”

Shiro took a deep breath. Keith was already back at the couch, probably to give them privacy. Or, more likely, to avoid having to answer any questions. “You’re right,” Shiro admitted. “I’m not human.”

Ah. Okay. That was fair. That also explained why Lance had been so attracted – read: addicted – to Shiro’s blood. Feeding day after day even though he barely needed to feed once a week.

“That’s okay,” Lance said, stepping closer and taking Shiro’s hand in his once more. It was then that he noticed the bandage around his arm. “This is from me?” he asked, already knowing the answer. Shiro nodded. “I’m sorry.” Lance pressed a kiss to the gauze.

“It’s okay, it’s just about healed,” he said. “Your healing saliva mixed with that feeding probably did the trick.”

“That’s good,” Lance sighed, still upset with himself. But he continued. “So, if you’re not human, what are you?”

Shiro looked a bit sheepish as he answered. “I’m a cambion.”

Lance furrowed his brow. He’d never heard of that before. Vampires, of course. Werewolves, sure. But a…cambion?

“It means he feeds on satisfaction,” Keith said, popping his head up over the back of the couch. “Delight, enjoyment…” He smirked. “Sexual energy.”

Lance raised his brows, his entire face burning.

Oh. 

That explained a lot.