He stood in the long corridor outside of the entrance to the bathroom. It had been a long time since he had been here, but every detail seemed to be etched into his memory. The tile had been hand picked, carved in India; its detail played beautifully, swirling rose and ivory marble. The fixtures were gold, glimmering in the half-light of the room. An enormous bath tub took up one end, octagonal in shape, edged with more ivory tile. In the center of the room was a vast walk-in shower, it was there that his gaze stopped.
His gasp came sharply when as he looked through the smoky glass to survey the very masculine silhouette he had been hunting. Explaining his sudden presence here would take hours, but all the trouble he had gone to would be worth it. Just looking at him, even without seeing his face was like looking at a work of art; his art, his creation, his child fledgling.
He edged himself into the bathroom quietly. The sound of the gushing water covered up any noise giving him some relief. Armand's preternatural senses were always good; Marius quietly begged whatever god was listening that he wouldn't be heard. His mind raced and his heart thundered as he slowly began to undress. His clothing fell quietly to the floor, piece by piece, sending a soft warm rush around his lean naked frame. He had worn little that night, hoping to find this peaceful interlude with his angel. Standing there, absolutely nude, he took a deep breath and continued on his path.
The large mirror spanning the wall caught Marius' eyes as he studied his own body while he walked. Nothing about him had changed in the time that had separated them. His hair was the still pale yellow that Armand had always enjoyed. His eyes were still a cold and icy blue. Without looking away, he continued his journey towards the shower with featherlike footfalls.
He stood merely inches away from his Immortal Beloved, sheathed under a heavy torrent of water. The humidity clung to Marius' frame so thick he could barely breathe, but he lingered in it with mounting desire. It was then that he heard the distressing sound, the resonance that pushed away him away from his enjoyment and replaced it with pain: Armand stood but inches from him, crying.
Slowly he reached out for the handle. The gold fixture was cold to the touch, even for the warmth of the bathroom, as he pulled against the latch. The door swung open smoothly, and released a cloud of warm, wet air. Armand's body spun around towards him in an instant, ready to attack or defend. He had pictured this scene with his fledgling a hundred times before; each image he'd envisioned was beautiful, but none could compare to seeing his Russian lover once again.
Before beginning his descent to the shower, Marius had settled on offering Armand a smile in the form of a greeting. With his mind already made up, Marius looked up at him through the steam, and flashed a centuries old grin to set his boy at ease. He stood absolutely still, like a statue frozen in time, and then drew the door closed behind him. Blood tears still covered Armand's face, along with the look of shock and surprise. Marius reached out gently, stoking one tears path, and tilted his head to watch him. His eyes met Armand's with love; Armand's met his with pain.
"Amadeo," he spoke, "my beautiful angel. I have missed you." The sound of it filled the close space between them, echoing off the walls with a slightly Latin resonance. "Please don't cry."
Marius slowly reached out to touch Armand's sloping shoulder. He moved his hand down the length of him to his hip, spreading his fingers gingerly to wrap around Armand's marble-like flesh. Softly he began kneading it, bringing the other hand to rest on the opposite side, reaching to pull him into his embrace. Armand had yet to pull away, so he drew him closer until Armand's body was pressed tightly against him, breast to breast.
The stark white color of Armand's skin indicated he hadn't fed. It looked to him that it had been a considerable time since he had taken blood. Marius moved his hand to his chest and stood back for a second, letting the water wash over him. He doused his hair, running his fingers through it, to pull it out of his face and back over his shoulders. When he stepped back to him the only thing that separated their bodies was a thin veil of water clinging desperately between them.
He wrapped his arm around Armand's back as he slowly sank towards him into the mist. Armand's tears were streaming down his face once again; pain contorted his gorgeous face, wrenching Marius' heart. He called out to him again, as if from a dream, "Armand, please. Hush, now." His words were soothing, softly spoken lullabies in the night. "You don't have to be alone, my suffering predator, my untamed hunter. I told you once that you never should be. I know your ache, my love, I can feel it, I can feel it right here inside me," he paused for a moment, touching his own skin. "But I promise you Amadeo, it will be alright. Everything will be alright, Angelo. Hush."
He stood back to watch his child's eyes. Armand had yet to speak, but his features gave all the truth away. Marius signed audibly, watching Armand carefully and lovingly as he spoke the thought into the small space between them, "The Vampire Armand with the auburn hair chasing against the water, rolling down his cherub face. How beautiful he is and always was." Marius breathed in as he finished his words while Armand blinked the tears and water from his face and fought to swallow the lump in his throat. A hoarse and ragged groan escaped him as he stepped back wiping at his face.
Suspicion and question fluttered angrily across his features. "What are you doing here?"
"You're starving Armand," Marius spoke gently with the temperate rushing water cascading over both. He reached out for his hand, wound his still warm fingers over Armand's and pulled him towards his neck in one violent thrust. Marius' neck bent to the side, using his force to overcome Armand's straining as his pushed his fledgling roughly against his collarbone. "Drink," he commanded sharply.
Armand thrust back against him in defiance. "No, I won't. You have no control over me now." He turned and twisted in his Master's arms, held tightly at the wrists, grunting with frustration.
"You deny me so quickly Angelo, but I know what you want. I can smell it, I can breathe it in the desire is so thick in you, the need so great. What do you want Armand, tell me."
The fight in Armand's spirit kicked into overdrive as he lashed out catching Marius off-guard for a moment, long enough for him to pry one hand free. The minute his hand was free he began striking Marius as hard as he could, his one fist flying with fury, with all the pain and anger of the ages of betrayal. Marius stood firm against each blow, leaning against the wall of the shower for support, until his fledgling slumped against him almost utterly spent. The lack of blood had made him weaker than he should have been; the sudden burst of energy used to break free had left him frail and panting. Everything had left him sobbing uncontrollably against Marius' chest.
Marius dropped his hand down to Armand's face and cupped his chin, pulling his tear-stained eyes up to meet his. "There will be time for explanations, Angelo. I promise you this. There will be time for all of it; for you to yell at me, hit me, whatever it is that you want. Right now love, you need to feed. Please, let me feed you. Please."
Armand looked at his maker with abandon. He shut his eyes as the water beat over both of them and took in a deep long breath, holding it for too long. He let it out in a short burst, wound his hands behind Marius' back and pulled Marius to him with a roar. His fangs sunk deep into his neck causing Marius to cry out with a soft scream as Armand began to draw. The blood flowed into him swiftly in thick hot bursts. Armand let his tongue lash out between his sharp teeth, lapping at the sweet enticing essence of his Master and one true love. The groan that escaped him was hungry and feral. Marius cried softly once more, letting his arms tenderly stroke Armand's spine from waist to hip with the slickness of the water coating his skin. The sensation, the familiar warmth, the seemingly unending draw was almost too much for both of them. In that one instant they shared a heartbeat, they breathed for one another and for no one else, they were a solitary being, sharing mind, body, and soul.
Finally Armand seemed mollified, letting Marius go sending him slumping back against the wall. Blood trickled down Armand's chin and his tongue darted out to lap it up. Armand threw his head back and laughed loudly, an angry, menacing laugh that Marius had only heard once before, as he hurriedly released his Master. Armand suddenly began shaking with tears again, dropping to his knees in front of Marius, shoulders hunching with mournful shudders. He slipped his wet arms around Marius' back and buried his head against the pit of his maker's stomach.
Marius stood against the back wall of the shower, weakly holding Armand to his cooling body. They both had been affected by the draw, yet Marius still willed himself to stand and hold Armand. Armand's blood tears were streaming down his abdomen, making beautiful red pathways along his ashen skin. He looked down at him and met his eyes; the pain looked more real than it had when he first saw him.
"Please," Armand whispered. "Please forgive me. I know why you've come. I understand now. I just…" He trailed off returning his face back to the warmth of his Master's stomach as Marius ran his fingers through his wet auburn curls.
"Amadeo," he spoke again, slurring the name. "Please, let us lie down with one another. I'm not sure how much longer I can stand here."
Armand looked up at Marius once more and struggling to his feet turned off the water. Without hesitation Armand dragged him into his arms and out of the shower. He wrapped a large white cotton towel around Marius' hips as he pulled him towards to the bedroom.
Marius shut his eyes for a few minutes, regaining his strength, and breathing in the familiar scent of his fledgling's home. Armand slid beside him on the bed in the room that had been shrouded in black linens, and sat back watching Marius' face. He wanted so badly to reach out and be sure that his Master was real, that this wasn't yet another dream. Quietly he sighed into the dark.
"Touch me Armand," Marius spoke as he opened his eyes to face his dark angel. "I know what you're thinking Amadeo. Touch me." His words were soft, erotic and inviting. With unsure hands, Armand reached out to him and put two fingers to his maker's lips.
"Angelo," he moaned against his fingertips. "My Botticelli, my stunning Botticelli artwork, carved here in this flesh, in this life."
If he had had the tears to weep again, Armand may have done so, but instead he drew his lips down to meet Marius'. The feather light stroke of them made them both whimper, forcing them into a deeper kiss. The second Armand's tongue reached out to part Marius' lips, a gasp of nearly deafening proportions escaped Marius and he lay under his fledgling quivering. Everything he had thought of imagined for so long became tangible in that moment. His fingers reached up and wrapped roughly in Armand's hair, pulling him as much into the kiss as he could possibly be, tasting his blood-tainted saliva.
Armand pulled back and Marius' eyelids flew open with a newborn fear. "No, don't stop," he pleaded breathlessly.
"I just want to look at you; I just want to be sure that you're here this time and that you're not a fantasy."
Marius reached up and ran his fingertips over Armand's brow, around his cupid-bow lips, behind his ear to smooth back his now dried hair, and then back over his neck. The flesh left behind tale-tell signs that the affection was needed, as Armand took his turn to shut his eyes. "I am here with you. I'm sorry I ever left. I promise to you, here and now in this instant that I will make it up to you. When I'm done making it up to you, I'll do everything again, just to show you how truly sorry I am."
Armand's movements were impelled by preternatural speed and before Marius could speak another word, his fledgling lay on top of his long, flat body, holding Marius' arms against the bed, kissing him ferociously. A slow growl radiated from Armand's chest as he released Marius' captured lips and bit hard into the flesh. Blood flowed down Marius chin as he bucked his hips against Armand's invasion, but his vampiric lover held him tight. Armand suckled the blood, drawing it from Marius in searing mouthfuls, his hands moving up his arms towards his shoulders. Marius moaned as he watched with eyes-wide as Armand continued his urgent display.
Armand released Marius' lip and arms at the same time, raking his long sharp fingernails across Marius' bare chest in two sweeping motions. The reddened welted pathways trickled with tiny droplets of blood and Armand's mouth swooped down graciously to accept every one. "Bleed for me," he nearly hissed, caught up in all he was doing, in all that he was.
Marius arched himself from the bed with the feeling of his fledgling's hot mouth against his chest. "My blood is your blood Amadeo, drink it in," he panted, helplessly underneath him. His cherub's long auburn tresses followed behind the trail his lips made, smearing blood into them which Marius hungrily sought to recapture suckling on the ends of each curl. The sounds of each vampire's desire echoed around the room, bouncing off the fixtures, settling into their own ears.
"I need you Marius, I've always needed you," he moaned. "Give me what I want, and never leave me again!" The words were spoken as more command than request. Marius smiled up at this angel, his dark angel and fought to touch his face softly. "I surrender to you, Amadeo. You have conquered me."
Shades of orange began creeping into the once dark sky. The sun had started its climb into the day, bringing a sleep that only death could match. Marius looked up at Armand's face, still so young, as he became wearier with each passing instant. "You must sleep now my love."
Armand's face gave witness to his protest. With a show of his own strength, Marius rolled his fledgling underneath him, so he lay pressed against the bed, cradled in his arms. "I won't hear any disapproval, Angelo. There are some things that just can't be argued with."
Armand shuddered with the speed and agility of his Master, capturing the softness of Marius' hair in his hands once he was settled underneath him. "I'm afraid to close my eyes. I'm afraid when I wake I'll be all alone again. You have no idea what it's like to wake to the smell of you, like something remembered only to cruelly find you missing. You have no idea what it's like to see remnants of old clothing that once clung to your form, and search each piece pitifully for the smell of you, the taste of you. You have no idea how painful it is, my Roman god, to feel you brushing against me in the dark, and find that you were never ever there." With the last thought, Armand's words slurred and soon sleep would overcome.
"Hush now, Angelo. I will be here when you wake. I promise you. When you wake I will fill each one of your senses, remake them into my own, and I will never leave your side until you are absolutely sick of me," Marius chuckled atop of him and they both smiled together, then Armand drowned into a peaceful slumber.
[Thank you for reading! Please vote or comment if you enjoyed the story. -smiling-]