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cover up is caving in

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Joe is undoing his seatbelt and striding for the washroom as quickly as he can without drawing attention to himself as soon as the warning light blinks off overhead. He gives a strained smile to the fight attendant he passes, pulls open the door, and locks himself in the cramped space. Braces his hands on the tiny plastic sink and peers in the mirror with apprehension.

Shit. He looks exactly as starved as he feels.

His cheeks are drawn and his eyes a little bloodshot. People might assume he’s hungover, except for the otherworldly feverish glossiness of his constricted pupils. The tips of his fangs poke at the inside of his lip, begging to be released, and he has to swallow back a keen of loss and aching emptiness, the same sound he’s been squashing down since they pulled away from the gate at JFK.

Despite distant guilt for ignoring protocol, Joe slips his phone out of his pocket and thumbs it off airplane mode.

 

Joe: i fucked up

Joe: im so hungry

 

Only has to wait a few seconds for a reply.

 

Nicky: Relax, my love. Don’t breathe if you can help it.

Nicky: Only a few hours to go.

 

Joe abruptly wants to cry. He wants Nicky’s arms around him, and he wants his soothing presence nearby, and the threatening tears are angry, too, because he knows better than to let it get this bad. He can’t think of a worse place to be in this state; locked in a metal tube kilometers above the ocean, rows of unsuspecting passengers minding their own business, nothing currently but a flimsy bulkhead and wavering self control between his teeth and their throats.

He wonders if having access to Nicky for feeding has whittled away at his discipline. Wonders if a full year of feeling so satisfied all the time has ultimately fucked him over.

 

Nicky: You will be fine.

Nicky: The car will be waiting for you outside – don’t linger in the airport.

Nicky: I will be ready for you at home.

 

Joe squeezes his eyes shut, cementing that image in his brain. Nicky, opening the door. Eyes bright, neck bare. Opening his arms to Joe, tilting his head back, cradling his lover close and welcoming his desperate bite with a content sigh-

He has to stop before he really loses it. He shakes his head and puts his phone away again, stares at himself in the mirror and rolls his shoulders. Deliberately seals off the back of his mouth to halt any airflow through his nostrils, and exits the washroom.

 

Somehow, Joe makes it through by digging his fingers into the armrests and closing his eyes and pretending to sleep, every muscle clenched. He has the window seat so no one needs to squeeze by him to get up, which is a relief, but the woman sitting next to him sometimes brushes his arm as she rummages through her backpack, and a fresh wave of want rolls through his body each time. He must nick and heal the inside of his mouth over a dozen times before the pilot finally announces the beginning of their descent into Heathrow through the overhead speakers.

Once the plane comes to a stop, he feels a bit like an asshole when he immediately stands and grabs his stuff from the overhead compartment and shoulders past the few people ahead of him, but it’s necessity at this point. He walks quickly up the ramp and through the gate, and hooks a right for arrivals, weaving around clusters of travellers as best he can. He doesn’t stop at the carousel for his luggage – a problem that can be dealt with later – instead storms right outside and for the car he now recognizes by sight.

Blissfully, he doesn’t have to say anything to the driver. Just collapses in the backseat and rolls the window down and gulps in clean, human-free air as they pull onto the motorway.

The drive passes in a blur. He’s slipping beyond hunger, slowly. It just hurts. Physically, yes, but there’s also a bruising part of his mind that’s feeding him pangs of loneliness and resentment, exactly the kind of cocktail that could make for a truly spectacular massacre in more dire circumstances, and it’s distantly sort of frightening.

It won’t get to that.

Nicky is waiting for him.

The car pulls up to Nicky’s building, and Joe launches himself out, the concierge letting him in without hesitation. Up in the elevator (empty except for him), down the hall (thankfully also empty), until he’s outside the door and lifting a fist.

It opens before he can knock, and Nicky stands there, already naked from the waist up and with his newly grown-out hair twisted back into a hasty knot. Ready and willing.

Joe is frozen.

Nicky reaches out.

“Amore,” he says softly. “Come here.”

And Joe thaws.

Something other takes over. He bursts inside and forcefully elbows the door shut, grabs Nicky by the shoulders and twists around to shove him against it before wrenching his head to one side and pushing hard on his chest to hold him still. Spares a brief coherent moment to lick, laving venom on skin to soothe the coming sting, before finally succumbing and biting deeply.

The sound he makes is animal.

His mind goes blank and there’s barely anything of him left as pure instinct takes over, drinking greedily, sloppily, loving the visceral warm drip of excess blood at the corners of his mouth, sliding down Nicky’s neck, smearing between them and dirtying Joe’s shirt. And he gulps it all down, filling that void inside of himself, moaning and hearing Nicky’s answering moans and moaning louder because of them, a feedback loop, encouraging hands at his back egging him on because there really is no limit to what he can do to Nicky, what Nicky will let him do.

And he might never stop.

 

Time passes in a haze.

 

Eventually, slowly, Joe returns to himself.

His pulls go longer, more languid, tasting Nicky more for the joy of tasting him and less for greediness, and he soon calms enough to once again spread more venom around the fresh wounds before leaning back just an inch and taking a cleansing breath.

Nicky’s hands tremble on his biceps.

Alarmed, Joe pulls back and guides Nicky’s head forwards from where it had been pressed into the door, and he’s pale, paler than usual, lips tight like he might be sick.

“Shit,” Joe whispers in horror. “Nicky, shit, are you alright?”

“Mm. Yes.” Nicky gives him a shaky smile, mumbles, “Bit lightheaded.” Sets weak hands to the sides of Joe’s face. “Don’t fret, love, I will be fine in a moment.”

Joe wants to throw up himself. “You should have stopped me.”

“No.” And Nicky finds the strength to lift his chin and press a kiss to Joe’s forehead, disregarding the sweat cooling there. “No, Yusuf, you were in need. I loved feeling you lose yourself in me.”

“Still, Nico-”

“Hush.” He smiles again, cheeks already regaining some colour. “You cannot kill me again.”

Settling slightly, Joe huffs and palms Nicky’s waist, just to feel the solidness of him. “No, but I can still hurt you.” He finds Nicky’s eyes. “Did I?”

“Quite the opposite,” Nicky murmurs, swiping a thumb slowly across Joe’s reddened lower lip. He kisses Joe’s mouth, light. “It was incredibly arousing.”

“Yeah?”

“Feel for yourself.”

And Joe’s hand is guided onto a prominent erection, hard and hot under fabric of Nicky’s pants.

“Oh,” he breathes. Squeezes and relishes the surprised puff of Nicky’s breath. “Well, we should do something about this.”

But Nicky takes his hand away again and gives Joe a fond look. “Later. It has been a difficult day for you, and I would like to take care of you for a while.”

Which is how Joe finds himself ushered into the shower, wiped clean of Nicky’s blood and the stale scent of international travel, and deposited into a waiting bath. And he wants to melt because he loves Nicky’s bath, large enough for the two of them plus two others if need be, and the fact that it was already steaming and overflowing with sweet-smelling bubbles means that Nicky had prepared it at exactly the right moment for his return home.

He catches Nicky’s hand when he pulls away. “You coming in?”

“Of course.” He pulls back, Joe mourning the loss of his touch. “I have to undress.”

Oh. Yes.

Once naked, long and lean and everything Joe has been missing, Nicky steps to the edge of the tub. “Where would you like me?”

“Right here,” Joe says, spreading his thighs wide, and Nicky takes his hand for stability as he steps in and folds down into the water, sits and twists until he can stretch his legs out and lean into Joe’s chest and settle with a pleased hum. Joe hugs around his chest and rests his chin in the familiar curve of Nicky’s shoulder.

For a moment, lavender and lemon wafts around them in the soft quiet.

“I missed you, babe,” Joe soon mutters, abruptly overcome. He feels it when he’s far from his mate, an unhappy tug on their bond.

“I missed you, too.” Nicky slides a palm back to hold firm the back of Joe’s neck. “I was so proud you were chosen for the conference, but I have become used to having you in my bed each night.”

It’s accurate. Though Joe keeps his apartment, he spends most of his time at Nicky’s.

“Yeah,” Joe sighs. “I’m kind of useless without you.” He snorts. “Evidently.”

“Your supplier bailed. It was not your fault.”

“I could have vetted him more carefully,” Joe says, uncomfortable. “I felt so dangerous. I wondered if I shouldn’t have gotten on the plane.”

Carefully, Nicky shifts and turns, lying sideways along Joe’s chest. His eyes are wide with understanding as he sets a soothing palm on his shoulder.

“Nothing happened,” he gently says. “You’re strong, Yusuf. And kind. And I was worried, yes, not for your control but for your discomfort.” He stretches to kiss the corner of Joe’s mouth. “I hate for you to be in pain.”

“Mm, and what about the pain when we feed on each other?” Joe asks teasingly, trailing fingers along Nicky’s naked hip.

“That is fun pain.”

“Ah, fun pain.”

“I believe they call it masochism.”

And Joe chuckles, the last of the tension in his chest loosening.