**Disclaimer: These characters and the plot are mine. I do not make any money writing this story.**

**Warning!! This chapter contains yummy slashiness.**

The Gift

Chapter Twenty-Four

~*~

Edmund woke to the soothing feeling of his hair being curled, and when he looked up he gazed into lovely lilac eyes and a face he thought he would not see again for a long time.

He sighed in relief, as this familiar face he was quite happy to see was not encased in anger, or in resentment, and it was not blood drunk. He was simply Bryan, and he looked a little sad, but the anger was gone from his eyes. In his mind Edmund could not deny he was worried the vampire would disappear for months, just as Davet had said. The boy honestly didn't know how long he would coupe without the vampire, despite their recent quarrels. Their togetherness, especially romantically, had made Edmund slightly dependant of the vampire's haunting company.

Edmund lifted his head and then pushed himself up on his elbow, staring at the vampire, in shock to see him. "Master-"

"I didn't mean to wake you." Bryan interrupted quietly, almost sadly as though he enjoyed watching the boy sleep and regretted waking him. Gently he allowed the hand that stroked Edmund's hair to fall to his side. "Sleep some more if you wish."

Edmund pushed himself up into a sitting up position, recognizing the smell of the perfumes that were in the bathroom, and noticing that the vampire wore his long black bathrobe, falling open at the collar bone to reveal his perfectly sculpted white chest. Bryan had been here already for quite a long while, it seemed.

Edmund looked at the chords in Bryan's perfect neck, afraid to look into the creature's eyes as if to endure more of his unworldly wrath. "Master, you've been gone for three nights. I didn't think you were..." Edmund trailed out, not wanting to make the vampire angry.

Bryan's soft joyless smile fell a little and he turned his eyes away.. "This castle may be my home Edmund, but with I must carry memories of a tumultuous past. Even for an undead creature...they can be overwhelming."

The vampire sighed softly. "I needed to leave this place and be somewhere quiet where I could think."

Edmund sat upright in the bed and noticed the sadness in the vampire's eyes; it was something different, something Edmund had not seen before in his vampire master. Instantly, almost instinctively, he knew that what he mentioned as 'memories of a tumultuous past' had somehow had something to do with their latest quarrel.

Bryan looked back to Edmund, sadness gone from his eyes and he smiled quite handsomely, as though at one moment he had worn a sad mask that had suddenly changed to a laughing one. "Davet's told me you've celebrated a birthday."

Before Edmund could open his mouth to utter anything, Bryan produced a small gift-wrapped box from the folds of his robe and held it out to Edmund in his long white fingers. "I needed time to pick something just right for you."

The vampire placed the small box in Edmund's hand and the boy stared at it in awe, as he had never received a gift that was wrapped so lavishly with silk ribbon and bright patterned paper before. He felt guilty about wanting to open it; he didn't want to disturb the careful folding and perfection that someone had put into the wrapping of the box. But he did, slowly. He took off the white ribbon and softly unfolded the paper from the box, and his heart pounded as he fingered the small satin box in between his fingers, nearly petrified about what it could have been. When he finally worked up the courage, he opened it he gasped loudly.

Usually for his birthdays in his village with his family, Edmund received new clothes to replace old tattered ones that his mother or one of his sisters would spend months making, or he would receive small hand-held instruments carved from wood like little flutes and ocarinas. One year he received a whittling knife that later snapped when his brother tried to use it to sharpen one of the hunting knives, and another year he was given an old book that he couldn't read. He had always been thrilled when he received presents on his birthday, as hapless as they were.

Nothing could have prepared him for this. In his hand, in the box, sat a beautiful deep blue stone encased in gold. A sapphire.

Shudders left the boy's throat and he placed his fingers at his lips as if to stop from making noise. He was overcome with disbelief. "Master...is this-"

"Genuine? Yes." and Bryan smiled grandly. "I chose it carefully to match your eyes."

Edmund was afraid to touch it, like it would melt when he picked it up. He tilted the box and the firelight was caught in it, making the blue glimmer an entirely different shade, a shade of blue he had never seen before. He shuddered, literally speechless.

Bryan watched gleefully, glad that Edmund obviously liked the gift. He had secretly known for a long time that Edmund had an upcoming birthday but was at a loss as to what to give him, the castle already held pretty much everything a young man could want. When he was away from the castle, he had passed a jewelry shop that sold precious stones from across Spain, and did some investigating before making a prompt decision, plainly when he set eyes on the stone.

At a loss of what to say, Edmund decided his actions would speak larger than his words. So he set down the box as carefully as he could and crawled into the vampire's lap and kissed him, initiating for the first time ever. Bryan grinned to himself, complying with the boy's tasty kiss as he ran his hands up over Edmund's sides and eventually around the boy's body, to hold him tight.

When they broke after a few sweet moments, Edmund broke into a big happy smile. "I love it, Master. It's beautiful."

The vampire nodded, smiling, and laid a kiss on the boy's lips before Edmund picked up the box again and began to examine the sapphire a little more carefully in the low light.

"I looked at all kinds of gems, rubies and diamonds and even emeralds the size of dates, but when I saw this one I knew it was the one for you."

Carefully, as though it were burning hot to the touch, Edmund lifted the stone out of its place and brought it up into the light. It was then he realized that on the back of it there was a pin attached, and a stopper.

It wasn't just a sapphire, it was a sapphire earring.

Disappointment slowly waved over Edmund, as he did not have a pierced ear and wasn't very clear on how one would go about getting one. He pretended he hadn't noticed the pin by focusing on the blue in the gem stone, turning it this way and that to make it glimmer different shades in the light.

But he hadn't fooled the vampire, who only smiled at the boy's embarrassment.

"I know you haven't got a pierced ear, but you would look gorgeous with one."

Edmund looked up at the vampire as he produced a long thin needle between his fingers from the folds of his dark cloak, a little smirk teasing on his lips.

Edmund stared at the needle and back at the sapphire. He was in love with the thought of wearing this gem in his ear where everyone could gaze upon it, and he was not about to forfeit the beautiful gem just because his ear wasn't pierced. Sure he was worried it would hurt, but he was prepared to take the needle and hold the privilege of wearing it.

Without another word, they both stood, and Bryan directed Edmund to a chair by the fireplace as Bryan sterilized the needle with a single lit flame on the mantel.

There was a cautious way the vampire went about doing this, however. And soon followed by a sigh, he spoke lowly with a bit of shame in his voice.

"Edmund, I've decided that I've been overprotective, to put it mildly. I'm not pleased to say circumstances in the past have made me wary of leaving the castle...but I'm not about to suffocate you."

Edmund blinked, wondering if this conversation was going in the direction he had hoped, just as the vampire looked over to him with complete seriousness. "I would like to take you to Au Corsante, tomorrow night if you'd like."

The boy stared at Bryan in disbelief, wondering if he had really heard it or just imagined it. "You mean it, Master?"

"Yes I do."

Edmund quieted, biting on his lower lip to contain his obvious excitement, and instead focused on the searing hot needle in his Master's hand as the vampire approached him. Edmund straightened in his chair and swallowed tightly, clasping the sapphire tightly in his hands and remembering why he was having this done. He wanted to wear the sapphire.

"Edmund, take a breath and hold it. It will be over soon." The vampire instructed patiently.

The boy took a breath and held it as the needle went in and out the lobe on his left ear like butter. It burned and Edmund sank his teeth into his lower lip to keep from crying out in pain, clenching his eyes tightly because he knew tears would soon be on their way. He told himself it didn't matter if it hurt, he was going to wear the sapphire in his ear.

After letting it sit for a few moments, burning a hole in his lobe, Bryan took it out, and Edmund reached forward and gathered the vampire's robes in his hands, and held to him like a child. Once the pain had subsided ever so slightly, he knew that it was done, and he was going to wear the gem in his ear. He pressed his face into his master's shoulder and murmured. "Thank you."

Bryan smiled, and upon seeing the hole begin to bleed, took the bud in between his lips and began to suckle.

~*~

Later that evening, Edmund opened his eyes to the sleeping face of his Master, and felt the heaviness of the sapphire where it now hung in its new home. The lobe was no longer throbbing as it was, although Edmund was sure it was quite right. Indeed sex had numbed the pain.

As the vampire fell into a mimic sleep, Edmund stayed awake and laid on his side staring at the vampire in awe, feeling the weight of the sapphire heavy in his lobe but he was glad, seeing it as a way to remember why and how it was there, because the vampire cared very deeply for him.

Edmund smiled as he looked upon the naked vampire, eyes closed and long black eyelashes resting on his powdered cheekbones, one arm draped across his chest and the other curled under his head. Edmund wondered what it must have been like for Davet to encounter him as a child, to really see him as a creature of beauty, like someone he had never seen before.

But then Edmund remembered back to the night he himself had first seen the vampire and realized that he too had been entranced by the vampire. He had been just too scared to realize.

Edmund's eyes wandered down over the vampire's marbled body, unable to help it as his eyes swept over his chest, and his long chiseled torso that lengthened and broke at long muscular legs that were hard and soft at the same time, and hairless. Edmund hadn't really ever taken the time to appreciate the beauty of the vampire's body before, nor had he ever had an instinctive appreciation for what a work of art the body was.

At that moment, however, he simply could not tear his eyes away. And then as he felt a tingling sensation in his cock and the weight of the sapphire in his lobe, Edmund decided that he hadn't really thanked the vampire for the present properly, and thought of something he could do that his vampire master would love.

Carefully, as he did not want to wake Bryan up, Edmund slid closer to the vampire and maneuvered himself between Bryan's legs, brushing them slightly but Bryan did not stir. Carefully he nestled himself in between the vampire's long hard white legs, making himself comfortable, and he took a breath. For a moment he wondered if this was really worth doing, but he decided it would make the vampire very happy.

Edmund's fingers smoothed over the hard curves of the vampire's hipbones, and he breathed heavy against the perfect belly and into that simple navel. He let out his tongue and let it touch the vampire's cool skin in all its smoothness, its perfection, and Edmund's eyes fluttered closed, sliding downward, completely unable to help himself. The vampire's body was godly, unbelievably perfect, beautifully smooth.

He settled himself between the hard toned thighs of the vampire and stared at his master's well endowed cock. Although he'd never done anything like this before, he was comfortable with his master's body, and he was convinced that this would please the vampire vastly, and it would be a nice way to thank the vampire for the sapphire. That and they would be going to Au Corsante the next night.

Edmund took a breath and began to tease his Master's cock with the tip of his nose, brushing it along the length as though he were trying to coax it awake. His master's nether regions were perfectly trimmed, and like every other part of the vampire, his cock was white and smooth and perfect, as though he truly were carved from polished marble.

Tentatively, as he had never done it before, Edmund let out his tongue and gently touched it to the mushroomed tip. His Master tasted different here, saltier but just as smooth. Edmund laid his palms flat against the vampire's inner thighs and spread them carefully, giving himself better access to the vampire's cock.

It was then that Bryan stirred. He made a quiet noise, much like a soft groan, and Edmund lifted his eyes, waiting for the vampire's surprise.

And indeed the vampire was surprised; he looked down and his eyes widened at what he saw. "Edmund...what are you-"

"I just wanted to thank you." Edmund said softly, and ever so slowly began to take the vampire's cock into his mouth, watching as the vampire's eyes rolled to the back of his head.

Edmund was surprised at how it filled his mouth so quickly but he didn't let it falter his task at hand. He took hold of the vampire at the base and worked him with his mouth, slowly at first, taking time to spoil the skin with his tongue and swirl around the tip, just as his Master had often done to him.

The boy sucked slowly and then hard, as long as his breath would allow. He concentrated on breathing through his nose and kept at it, tasting and sucking and swirling his tongue as he went, closing his eyes and concentrating hard.

Bryan shuddered, resisting the urge to hold Edmund's head in place and make him bob. The boy's mouth was so hot and glorious, and he could tell that Edmund was taking special care not to let his teeth even so much as skim him. His white hands went to the sheets and he grasped them and pulled, making soft noises as he enjoyed himself. He wanted to watch Edmund but at this point he couldn't even lift his head, too gone in the pleasure. He pictured Edmund in his mind, sweet little boyish Edmund that he loved so dearly, and he knew he was not far from completion.

Edmund suckled and suckled, hard and then slow, pulling and wrapping his tongue about the head and then going down again and engulfing the vampire. The boy's jaw was beginning to get sore but he didn't let that stop him; he continued until he could hear the vampire make noises of desperation.

Bryan's breath pitched, and he could feel himself coming closer to completion. He suppressed a groan in his throat, and his fingers curled again in the silk of the sheets beneath him. He found himself moving his legs ever so slightly to curl around the boy's frame, wanting to clench his thighs against Edmund but restraining, allowing the boy to continue with no added pressure. He let his head back and enjoyed himself.

Too soon he felt his orgasm roll up over him, from the organ that was constantly pleasured and up through his spine, shooting along his bones until it reached his voicebox, and the vampire let out a moan of such satisfaction. He stilled his body for moments, stiffening as he released, opening his mouth and baring his fangs as though instinctively, and when it washed over him he collapsed down onto the sheets with Edmund still in-between his legs, basking in the love of the afterglow.

Luckily, as the vampire had begun his release, Edmund had pulled back but Bryan's essence caught the corner of his mouth and the rest spilled down along the boy's arm stretched out beneath him. As quietly as he could, Edmund brought in air as quick as he could until he could feel himself catch his breath. But he had hardly any time to do so before he was jerked up to his knees and pulled into Bryan's lap, the vampire's mouth crashing against his and that ever forceful tongue forcing itself into the boy's mouth.

Edmund wriggled uncomfortably in the vampire's lap, his erection brushing Bryan's belly, responding to the kiss the best he could but Bryan was so forceful that it was hard to keep up with him. It wasn't until the vampire pulled from the kiss that Edmund had a chance to breathe again.

But he could tell from that lustful glint in his master's lavender eyes that the night was far from over, that his gift to the vampire would not go unrewarded, and what had been a terrible throbbing in his ear would soon become a gentle numbness.

~*~

Next Chapter: A little trip to Au Corsante. What's in store for them next?