Iris paused. His plans to go out and feed were by then completely forgotten, his stomach twisting with anxiety rather than hunger. "...Lawan?"

Lawan looked down at himself, running absent fingers over the fabric of his dress. "You weren't expecting me?"

Iris blinked, closing the remaining distance between them. "I don't know what to expect anymore."

Lawan touched Iris's shirt.

Iris took Lawan's hand in both of his own and pulled Lawan into a hug.

Lawan wound his arms around Iris and nuzzled his shoulder. "You smell good."

Iris laughed warmly and pressed his mouth to the top of Lawan's head. "So do you." His own arms slid around Lawan's waist.

Lawan cuddled close and closed his eyes. Some kind of tattoo curled around his upper arms, just under his shoulders.

Iris stepped in the direction of the bed and brought Lawan with him. When his legs hit the mattress, Iris sat them down, huddling Lawan securely in his lap. He reached up and dragged his fingers gently through Lawan's hair, then down his neck and over his shoulders. "This is a look I've never seen before," he murmured.

Lawan smiled, resting his head against Iris's shoulder. "You said you wanted to see my hair."

Iris petted Lawan's hair. "I did. It's very pretty." He brushed it aside and bent his head to kiss Lawan's forehead. "What about over here?" His fingers trailed down Lawan's shoulders beneath the straps of his dress.

Lawan glanced over and smiled again. "Do you want to see it?"

Iris nodded.

Lawan sat up and unzipped his dress, pulling it down to his hips and turning to show Iris his back. Twisted together on his skin were two serpents, spanning from his neck to the small of his back. Each snake had one wing which stretched over to curl around his arms like possessive hands.

Iris stared at it, fixated, and slowly traced the sinuous design with his fingertips from top to bottom. "This is pretty too..."

Lawan glanced at Iris over his shoulder, smiling slightly. "I liked this one the most, so I kept it. Some of the other ones I would have liked to keep, but the inks wouldn't stay."

Iris smiled too. He leaned in and kissed the most prominent vertebra at the base of Lawan's neck. "Why did this one stay?"

Lawan looked absently to the side, smiling. "I had it done with a special permanent ink. It can be toxic for mortals."

"I see." Iris kissed across Lawan's right shoulder. "It would've been a shame to lose it..."

"Mhmm." Lawan ran his fingers over Iris's knee, testing the fabric of his pants. "I was sad to lose some of the other ones..."

"Were they as impressive as this one?" Iris brushed Lawan's hair aside as his mouth ventured up the side of his neck.

Lawan bit his lip and tilted his head invitingly. "Some of them."

"Can you describe some of them?" Iris clasped his hands in front of Lawan and parted his lips to suck lightly on Lawan's throat.

Lawan leaned into Iris, running his fingers along Iris's arms. "I've had a lot... I liked the tribal Tehre ones a lot. They covered almost the whole body in whorls and pretty intricate designs. Took months to complete."

Iris nuzzled the underside of Lawan's jaw and nibbled on his pulse point. Distantly he remembered the time Tarren had gone pen-happy and doodled designs all over Ashley. "Full-body tattoos? Sounds nice... would've been fun to...explore."

Lawan laughed. "They were pretty."

Iris smiled slightly against Lawan's skin. "I bet." His hands wandered up Lawan's chest, tracing every dip and curve, every groove between his ribs, along the way. He kissed Lawan's throat more, and as he felt the pulse beneath his lips again his stomach growled. He stilled, resting his head in the crook of Lawan's neck. "Sorry..." he murmured.

Lawan arched and made a quiet sound as Iris explored him, relaxing as Iris stopped. "For what?"

"On my appetite's behalf," Iris elaborated, again feathering kisses along Lawan's neck, his eyes halfway closed.

Lawan ran his fingers across Iris's arms, tilting his head slightly. "Don't you like to... feed while making love? I find it very exciting."

Iris's breath ran suddenly short and his mouth stilled again. Then, a slight smile crooking his lips, he said, "I would have to agree." Reaching up with a hand to turn Lawan's face, he craned his neck and initiated a sidelong kiss.

Lawan turned in Iris's lap, sliding his arms around Iris's sides and kissing him fully.

Iris sighed into Lawan's mouth and tangled his fingers in the newly purple hair at the base of Lawan's neck. His other arm slid around Lawan's waist, pulling him close as he kissed him deeply.

-

Lawan rested his head on Iris's shoulder with a soft yawn, stretching an arm and leg over him.

Iris pressed a closed-mouth kiss to Lawan's lips and held him close, hooking his leg around the one that had slid over it.

Lawan smiled and returned the kiss, stroking Iris's arm absently.

Iris pressed his forehead against Lawan's. "Enjoy yourself?" he murmured.

Lawan laughed quietly. "I did. Did you?"

"Mhmm..." Iris closed his eyes, still smiling. "It's only the second time I've done it like that."

Lawan kissed Iris's chin. "I never understood why you don't do it like that every time."

Iris blinked his eyes open and gazed at Lawan. "I guess I...never considered it before Ashley... and I had qualms with feeding off of Ashley in the first place, feeling more like a parasite than a lover..." He rolled his head towards the ceiling and laid a hand over his eyes, a dry smile showing below his palm. "Rather silly, in retrospect..."

Lawan smiled and kissed Iris's cheek. "I understand how you feel. I'm like a parasite myself. But, you don't have to feel guilty about feeding off of me. I like it, and it's healthy for me. It stimulates the regeneration of my blood in the same way what I usually do does. It's rather bizarre, if you think about it."

Iris's hand slipped to his side and he turned his head back to Lawan. His smile had more humor in it now. "That's good to know."

Lawan nodded and kissed between Iris's eyes.

Iris fitted his arm around Lawan's waist, stroking the small of Lawan's back with his fingers. "What else should I know about you that I'm not yet privy to?"

Lawan laughed, laying his head back down. "Lots, I'm sure."

"That's quite unsettling, love." Iris smiled somewhat teasingly as his fingers stroked lower.

Lawan nuzzled Iris's shoulder. "I have been around for a very long time, you know. Things accumulate."

"Same answer, every time," Iris said softly, and kissed the top of Lawan's head.

Lawan looked up at Iris and kissed him. "What do you want me to say? I'm not trying to be evasive, I just don't know what kind of answer you want. Do you want my entire history, names of everyone I know, what?"

Iris shook his head, still smiling, and returned the kiss. "I know you're not trying to be evasive. I just thought it was interesting..." He tucked his free arm up under his head. "I don't really know what I want to know... which was the very problem that landed me in trouble with Ashley." He paused, collecting his thoughts, and then said more slowly, "I don't need to know your entire history; I guess I'm more interested in...the things that make you tick." He tapped Lawan lightly on the nose for emphasis before returning his arm to Lawan's waist.

Lawan smiled, tucking his arm against Iris's side. "You want to dissect me?"

Iris laughed. "I guess that's one way of putting it."

Lawan kissed Iris's shoulder. "And you don't have any specific questions for me? You know that makes it harder."

"All right," Iris trailed his fingers over Lawan's hip, "how about, who are four people who've significantly impacted your life? Are questions like that okay?"

Lawan laughed slightly. "Yeah, that's okay. Hmmmmm.." He closed his eyes and thought for a while. "Maybe... Auweh, the Master, Lucifer, and Ibis."

Iris raised his eyebrows, smiling a little. "Well, I know about Auweh, and I've met Ibis, but I'm not too familiar with...the Master...and Lucifer." His fingers smoothed down Lawan's leg as far as they could reach before moving back up. "Care to elaborate?"

Lawan breathed out a sigh and nuzzled Iris again. "Well... I never knew Master's name. This was back before Lamies was around, actually. It's a very long story. Do you want to hear it now?"

"Whenever you want to tell it."

Lawan sighed again and stretched. "Okay. I'll try to tell it in a coherent fashion. I actually wrote a book about it, but I don't think it's in a language you can read."

Iris shook his head. "Probably not."

Lawan made himself comfortable and relaxed. "So, I'm just going to tell you the whole story. Back then my name was Lamitzvah and I... didn't know as much as I do now. I didn't know very much about myself or the way things worked. Up till then I had just been struggling to stay afloat. Master was a vampire who owned a vast estate. I never knew exactly what he did, but as a side hobby he collected... you might say, the dregs of society, or people like me. Unusual people who weren't quite making it. In retrospect, that was one of the happiest, most peaceful times of my life. We lived in a 'harem,' but Master was effectively a eunuch. If we liked the idea of being a snack, he would feed from us, but otherwise he didn't ask much of us."

Iris had the barest trace of a smile on his face as he listened. He took Lawan's hand in his and laced their fingers, waiting for more.

Lawan gathered his thoughts for another moment before continuing. "Everyone called me Lamies, as a nickname. I was there for many years, and eventually, as I spent more time with Master, I was more myself with him. We spent long hours talking about the state of my being." He laughed. "I told him about creating characters. He's one of the only few people I showed myself to, this self. He named me Lawan." Lawan smiled softly in memory. "I loved him more than any other person I'd loved before or since. Of course, it is true about idealizing the past, but it ended so wrong. I had opened up to him, but when he was finally opening up to me, everyone was killed. I was so shocked and so traumatized that somehow, the Lamies you know came into being to take over for me. He killed all of the intruders. I still have no idea what was going on, it was all so sudden and senseless. Everyone I'd come to know and love over all of those years was just gone, just like that."

Whatever sort of a smile Iris had been wearing was gone. He tightened his fingers around Lawan's hand before raising it to his lips, and murmuring a warm "I'm sorry" against the skin.

Lawan kissed Iris's cheek. He smiled slightly. "I still have Jemih's horns. Did I tell you that? Jemih was an imp who was in the harem. He was still alive when I found him, just barely. He told me to take them and keep them safe. He was my closest friend there. We were always getting into trouble, trying to one-up each other."

Iris's smile returned a little. "Where do you keep them?"

"In my den. My little home-thing." Lawan settled the arm Iris had stolen over his chest and started playing with his hair. "I keep a lot of things there. I have a picture of the Master. They didn't have photography in that world, but I told him about it, and he let me take his picture. I took some sneaky pictures of everyone else, too."

"I'd like to see those sometime." Iris leaned over Lawan and kissed him. "If that's all right with you."

Lawan returned the kiss and smiled. "No one has ever been there before, besides me."

Iris kissed Lawan again. "You don't have to take me there, if it's that personal..."

Lawan hummed and kissed Iris's nose. "I kind of want to share it with you... It might be fun to show you everything. I have accumulated a lot of stuff."

Iris produced a somewhat giddy smile. "Does this mean I'm special?"

Lawan laughed. "Of course you are. I wouldn't tell you all of this and show myself to you if you weren't."

Iris laughed too and gave Lawan yet another kiss, this one more lingering than the others. "I'm happy."

Lawan smiled and kissed Iris slowly. "Silly."

Iris indulged the kiss for a bit before pulling back with a last lick to Lawan's lips. "So what about this other person, Lucifer?"

"Mmmm..." Lawan kissed Iris's shoulder. "Lucifer is some kind of immortal, I don't know what. He usually goes by Lucy. We actually," he laughed, "we own a brothel together. It's mostly Lamies who goes there, when I'm in character. Lucy let me in on some secrets, I suppose, I don't remember what, but now he's really the only person I can go to when I need help."

"Why's that?" Iris let himself fall back onto the bed, one arm tucked under his head again while his other arm was around Lawan's waist.

Lawan settled himself partially over Iris and nuzzled Iris's neck. "I don't have a lot of immortal friends. He's pretty much the only one, and he's very nice about it. Now there is Lani and Tarren, and I can go to them if I really need to, but I don't like to bother them. Ibis is important to me but we don't really interact much. He's too busy. He's not in a place to help anyone anyway."

"Ah, I see." Iris's hand came up to pet Lawan's hair. "Lani and Tarren were nice..."

"Mhmm." Lawan closed his eyes. "They're very young, though."

"How old?"

"Mmm, I think they're somewhere over a hundred, but under two hundred. They're not very old at all. Lani hasn't even come into his second set of horns yet."

Iris chuckled. "Lani... Well, I feel old for once. How nice." He leaned his forehead on Lawan's and kissed him. "You know a lot of interesting people."

Lawan smiled. "I get out a lot."

"Apparently. You make me seem like a regular recluse." Iris mirrored the smile.

Lawan laughed. "Well, this is the first time off your own planet. I'd call that pretty reclusive."

"Hey, interplanetary travel isn't exactly commonplace where I come from. All social interaction happens within the confines of our own atmosphere, thank-you-very-much." Iris tweaked Lawan's nose.

Lawan wrinkled his nose. "I wasn't criticizing you. I don't mind your reclusive habits." He smiled.

Iris laughed. "So you say. One day you'll leave me for a gregarious brothel-owner, I can feel it."

Lawan laughed. "Oh, I think I've had enough of that for now."

"For now," Iris noted. He smiled, tangling his fingers in Lawan's hair.

Lawan chuckled and leaned up for a kiss.

Iris bent his head to meet Lawan's lips and took them in the most engaging kiss yet.