It’s not the first time Simon has noticed how attractive Raphael is. He actually notices it quite a lot, like when he addresses his clan with a reserved, professional voice to show him for the leader that he is, or when he offers Simon one of his rare smiles, or when he’s just sitting somewhere, still like an ancient sculpture, carefully crafted by the best artists of old times.
But the first time he feels the overwhelming urge to kiss him is one night right before dawn, when most vampires have already found their way back to their room.
Simon is still roaming the hotel, restless and wide awake despite the late hour. Raphael had retired to his chambers hours ago (“Chambers”, Simon thinks to himself, it’s called a bedroom, you pretentious dick) so he doesn’t have anyone to talk to. At least, anyone he really wants to talk to.
Sure, the other clan members are nice enough, but nobody can beat Raphael’s dry, sarcastic presence. Simon thinks he needs someone like that – someone who tells him to shut up and glares at him when he’s being weird again – to keep him sane.
So he finds himself gravitating towards Raphael’s chambers, but stops dead in his tracks when he hears soft piano music coming from his room.
It’s a soft melody, one Simon doesn’t recognize, accompanied by barely audible humming.
In any normal circumstances, Simon would turn around and leave. But this is Raphael. Simon didn’t even know he played the piano, let alone hummed while doing so.
So, as per usual, his curiosity wins from his manners and he knocks on Raphael’s door.
The music in the room falters and there’s some shuffling before Raphael opens the door, looking displeased like always.
Except, he doesn’t look totally the same.
Simon’s breath catches in his throat (he really needs to learn to stop breathing) as his eyes travel over Raphael’s frame. He isn’t in his usual suit or leather jackets and his hair isn’t slicked back with hair gel. Instead, he’s wearing plaid pajama pants and a grey shirt and his hair is curling naturally, even falling in front of his eyes as he frowns at Simon.
“Can I help you?” He asks eventually.
Simon snaps out of it and stutters: “I – I, uh, didn’t know you played the piano.”
Raphael rolls his eyes at him, but he doesn’t look half as threatening as he usually does. This look de-ages him immensely, and he actually looks barely older than seventeen now.
“I do. So, is that all?”
“Can I listen? Please?” He blurts out before he can think about it. He justifies the statement by thinking he’s a musician after all, and it’s kinda his duty as one to listen to other people’s music.
He expects him to blatantly refuse or just throw the door in his face, but after a few seconds, he steps aside for Simon to enter.
Simon almost trips over his feet as he walks into Raphael’s room, totally amazed that the older vampire let him in in the first place.
Raphael motions over to one of the lounge chairs in his room, almost looking – sheepish. Simon quickly takes a seat and waits for him to take place behind his huge piano again.
Raphael sighs, lets his fingers hover above the keys, and then starts playing.
It’s not a complicated symphony; Simon can easily mimic the movements on his legs as he listens, but Raphael somehow manages to make it sound special and unique. He has a way of moving as he plays, swaying lightly as if he’s being carried away with the music, that just absolutely mesmerizes Simon. He could watch him play the piano for eternity and be content.
When the melody comes to the end and the music fades, they’re both quiet for a few moments. Then Raphael turns around to Simon, raises his eyebrow in question.
And he looks so adorable, like a teenager, like a human teenager. Simon kinda wants to die all over again.
“Well?” Raphael asks.
Simon wants to reach across the room to kiss him senseless in that very moment. But instead, he just says: “That was really beautiful, Raphael. I – I actually play the guitar, you know.”
Raphael offers him a small smile, one you would miss if you blinked.
“I know. I hear you play sometimes. You’re pretty good.”
“Thank you. Do you… want to jam sometime? You know, together?”
Raphael looks away from Simon’s face. If he didn’t know better, Simon would think he was shy.
“Yeah, that sounds nice.”
Simon feels his lips tug into a bright grin.
“Cool! Tomorrow night?”
“Sure. Same time here?”
“It’s a date!” Simon smirks.
He doesn’t realize he just basically asked Raphael out on a date until he’s back in the hallway.
There’s something extremely attractive about a man jumping to your rescue.
Simon really doesn’t want to sound like the one-dimensional damsels in distress in basically every superhero movie ever (except Deadpool, he wouldn’t dare speak badly about Deadpool), but it’s a total ego boost if someone goes out of their way and risks their own life to save you.
They’re just coming home from a night of clubbing with some other vamps (Simon didn’t want to come at first, but then he’d seen Raphael in leather pants and he’d almost fallen out of bed in an attempt to follow him downstairs) when they’re attacked.
Simon is walking next to Raphael, as he always is lately, when one of the vampires in front of them is blown off their feet and crashes into a wall. Raphael is immediately in front of him, a protective arm extended in front of his chest.
The others come to a halt, their fangs and claws out and their legs bent to face whatever is attacking them.
They hear the growling before they see it, and when they do, Simon’s stomach turns into a tight knot.
He’s heard of werewolves gone rogue, omegas without a pack to protect them and an alpha to guide them. Raphael has told him stories about deformed creatures, more beast than man. That’s what happens when you get kicked out of your pack: you become some sick, morphed animal, not able to distinguish between friends and foes.
The werewolf attacks again, flinging itself at one of the vampires close to where Simon is standing. Raphael pushes him back, grabs into the fur of the wolf to pull him off.
The beast goes flying, a high yelp ripping through the night air.
“Get ready!” Raphael screams and the vamps get into formation as if they’ve practiced this before – which, to be fair, they probably have. Raphael pushes Simon in the middle of their circle, right behind him.
The werewolf is slower to attack now, circling them to find a weak spot. Simon is terrified as he looks in its eyes and sees nothing. No humanity, no recognition, not even anger. It’s like staring into a black abyss.
Suddenly, the werewolf leaps forward and lands right in the middle of the circle, now only inches away from Simon. It exposes its huge teeth and Simon gulps, but before the werewolf can use them to rip them apart, Raphael jumps in front of him.
The werewolf lunges forward anyway and sinks its teeth in Raphael’s shoulder. Raphael hisses and tries to pull away, but the jaws of that thing are like steel.
Luckily, the other vampires jump on the wolf and claw and bite and rip till it falls to the ground and doesn’t get up anymore.
“Raph, are you okay?” Simon asks worriedly. He reaches out to support him, and to his surprise, Raphael lets him.
Raphael leans on him heavily as he looks down onto the hand he had pressed to his shoulder. It’s wet with blood.
“I’m fine,” he says through clenched jaws. “I’ll heal.”
“Dude, are you sure?”
“Yeah. Just – just don’t let go, okay?”
Simon nods, heaves Raphael’s uninjured arm over his shoulders to support him. They walk back to the hotel like that. Raphael occasionally lets out a grunt as they walk, but otherwise he remains silent.
Once they’re back at the DuMort, Simon takes it upon himself to make sure Raphael is okay. He helps him out of his clothes, gently cleans the wound and endures the string of swearwords leaving Raphael’s lips. Then he wraps some bandages around his chest and arm to make sure the wound is covered so it can get the chance to heal and finally helps Raphael lie down.
“Thank you, Simon,” Raphael mutters once he’s lying down. His eyes are already fluttering shut.
“Hey, you literally saved my life back there. It’s the least I can do.”
Raphael smiles up to him.
“Yeah, I did. Didn’t I? How much did I resemble one of those superheroes you like reading about?”
Simon grins at him, even though Raphael can’t see with his eyes closed.
“You came pretty close. Next step is getting you in tights.”
Raphael full on laughs now.
“I’d have to be dead before you got me in those.”
“Well, technically, you are dead.”
“Shut up,” Raphael says, but he’s still smiling.
“Fine, I’ll let you rest now. Goodnight.”
“G’night,” Raphael mumbles.
As Simon stands to leave Raphael to it, he has to fight the urge to bend down and press a soft kiss to his forehead.
One of the most surprising things Simon finds out about his new clan is that they celebrate Halloween.
Not only do they celebrate it, they take it very seriously.
On October 31st the hotel is completely decorated with all the tacky Halloween decorations they could find in WallMart. They even brought out their own coffins to prop up in the lounge room and in front of the hotel as some kind of inside joke.
Most vampires went out tonight, terrorizing the neighborhood with their true scary forms (without really harming anyone, of course) but Raphael decided to stay in.
Since Simon’s crush is rapidly evolving into something he doesn’t want to think too much about, he decided to keep him company.
“Do you really want to spend Halloween with me rather than to go out?” Raphael asks. They’re both sitting in the lounge, watching a horror movie on the big ass TV installed there.
“Yeah, why not. I’m a bit too old for trick or treating and I’m not really interested in clubbing. Besides, this is one of my favorite movies.”
He can feel Raphael’s gaze linger on his face but refuses to meet his eyes. If he does, he’s scared he won’t be able to hold back anymore and will just smooch that horrible man straight on the lips.
They watch the movie in silence for a while. Raphael even startles once when a zombie emerges from behind a corner and attacks one of the main characters, but he tries to hide it by shifting on the couch. Their thighs are touching now, and though they both have cold skin, Simon feels like he’s been set on fire.
Before he can get too worked up about their contact, the bell of the hotel rings.
“I didn’t even know we had a bell,” Simon says.
“That’s because you usually just broke in or stared at the building until I came out,” Raphael teases. Simon throws a pillow at him, which he easily dodges.
Simon follows him to the door, curious to see who would ring the front door of a hotel. When Raphael opens it, there are three children standing in front of him.
“Trick or treat!” They say in sync, holding out pillowcases for him to drop candy into.
It’s amazing, really, to see how easily Raphael’s whole being can change. He’s seen it around him, how his expression can soften if Simon is around. He’s seen it with other clan members and even Magnus, but he’d never thought Raphael would be someone to like children.
But, as Simon watches in amazement, Raphael sinks down to his knees to meet the children’s eyes.
“Well, what do we have here?” He says cheerfully. Simon almost doesn’t believe his own two ears.
A little girl, she can’t be much older than eight, is the first one to speak.
“I’m a vampire!” She says around fake fangs. Raphael’s eyes shoot up in surprise.
“Oh, really? Let me see your vampire face.”
The girl scrunches her nose and holds up her hands as if they’re claws. Then she growls softly.
“Oohh, that’s really convincing. And what are you, young man?” Raphael shifts his attention to a boy standing behind the girl, wearing a Batman costume.
“I’m Batman!” He says with the lowest voice he can muster. Simon chuckles from behind Raphael, and the older vampire looks over his shoulder to smile at him.
The third child, a girl dressed in a princess costume, looks between the both of them before bluntly asking: “Are you two in love?”
“Wh- what?” Simon stutters dumbly.
“I have two dads,” the girl says proudly.
“Do you?” Raphael asks.
“Yep! And they’re really in love!”
“Well, that’s great, pumpkin.”
“So – are you? In love?”
Raphael pauses for a split second before replying.
“No, we’re just friends.”
“Then why are you living together?”
“Well – uh…” Simon mumbles.
“You see, little girl,” Raphael jumps to his rescue, “This guy and me – we’re vampires. And this is our vampire lair, where we sit and drink blood and sleep in coffins.”
The eyes of the small girl dressed as a vampire turn huge.
“Really?” She says breathlessly.
“Yup. See that coffin over there?” Raphael nods to one of the coffins standing outside. “That’s mine.”
“Yes way!” Raphael shoots back.
“Cool! Can I see your fangs?”
Raphael shoots her a grin, exposing his fangs to her.
“Wow! What’s it like being a vampire?”
“It’s pretty cool, except we can’t go out during the day or we’ll turn to dust. So no tans for us, unfortunately.”
The girl nods like she understands, like she has the same problem. She wants to ask something else, but then there’s someone calling her name. Simon looks down the street to see a group of parents impatiently waiting for their kids to return.
“Here’s your candy, don’t eat everything all at once,” Raphael says as he gives each of the children a chocolate bar.
“Okay, bye Mr. Vampire! Bye, Mr. Vampire’s boyfriend!” The princess girl waves before the three kids run off, giggling and hissing like vampires.
When Raphael stands up again and closes the door, Simon is still speechless.
“What?” Raphael shrugs. “I used to have four little brothers. I know my way around children.”
And Simon really really really wants to kiss him right then and there because that is by far the most adorable thing he’s ever witnessed in his entire life, but instead he just nods and turns around to continue the movie.
“Okay, will you finally tell me where we’re going?” Simon asks impatiently. He’s sitting in the passenger’s seat of Raphael’s car, the window rolled down completely and the music softly playing in the background.
Raphael smiles mischievously as he glances at Simon before focusing back on the road. Simon is sure he doesn’t have to – he could probably drive with his eyes closed.
Raphael is looking rudely handsome tonight, clothed in a dark leather jacket and dark jeans to match. One of his elbows is propped up on the window frame, hand on the steering wheel while the other hand is working the stick shift. He totally looks like a 50s Greaser boy, and Simon can’t help but pull out his phone and snap a shot of him like that.
“Hey, don’t sneak pictures of me,” Raphael protests.
“Oh, come on. You know you’re looking extremely hot tonight. I bet there are like a gazillion selfies on your phone right now.”
“What are selfies?”
“Are you seriously telling me you don’t know what selfies are? I can’t believe this is the end of our friendship.”
“Relax, I’m just kidding. And you’re wrong; I don’t take selfies.”
“Then what do you take pictures of?”
Raphael shrugs and looks in his rearview mirror to see if there are any cars approaching before switching lanes.
“Wh- me? Really?”
“Yeah. You can check if you want.”
He moves to whip out his phone and hands it to Simon. He doesn’t have a password and Simon immediately goes to his pictures.
There aren’t a lot of pictures, but at least half of them are of Simon. One of them is of him playing the guitar, his eyes closed and his lips parted as he hums out the words. Another one is of him leaning against the doorframe, head turned as he talks to Stan.
“Why would you take pictures of me?”
“Because you’re pretty to look at,” Raphael replies casually, as if he hadn’t just called Simon pretty. “Don’t you like them? You can delete them if they make you feel uncomfortable.”
“No! No, not at all. It’s fine, I – uh. Just never noticed.”
“There are a lot of things you don’t notice, Simon.”
“Well, I’d show you, but I’m driving.”
Simon would be bright red if he could still blush and his stomach fills with butterflies. Suddenly, he can’t wait for them to pull over.
Luckily for him, Raphael stops the car only five minutes later. They’re on the parking lot of a hill looking down onto Brooklyn, the bright stars above them and the even brighter city lights beneath them.
They get out of the car and Raphael immediately takes place on the hood, patting next to him for Simon to sit down too. Simon feels nervous, as if this is their first date or something.
“So… why did you bring me here?” He asks after a while.
Raphael looks at his hands in his lap.
“I – uh. I know you still miss being up during the day. I just wanted to show you the night can be just as pretty,” he says softly, almost shyly.
He glances at Simon through his eyelashes, waits for him to respond.
“Would it be really cheesy for me to say you’re even prettier?” Simon says breathlessly.
Raphael nudges him in the shoulder with a chuckle.
“Yeah, that’s too far even for you.”
“Okay, how about I do this instead.”
Their shoulders knock together as their lips do. Raphael moves his upper body so they can kiss more comfortably, his hands settling on Simon’s neck where his pulse used to be. When he tilts his head to deepen the kiss, Simon can’t stop the whimper from leaving his mouth. Raphael laughs into his mouth, carefully twirls his tongue around Simon’s.
One of Simon’s hands is resting on Raphael’s thigh, slowly drawing circles on his jeans. The other one is gripping into Raphael’s thick hair to pull him closer.
They don’t really have to pull back to gasp for air, since neither of them needs to breathe. They could just sit there for eternity, getting lost in each other’s touch.
But Simon pulls back anyway, letting his forehead rest against Raphael’s.
“So, was this one of the things I didn’t notice?” He breathes against his lips.
“You know. You totally being into me,” Simon jokes.
“Yeah, you’re pretty blind when it comes to that.”
“In my defense, you’re not really the flirter.”
“Maybe. But I’m a pretty good kisser though, right?”
“Yeah, you’re pretty great,” he admits, and then he moves to kiss him again.