Night had a five o'clock shadow; sharp lines and dark edges. When he looked at me, he saw my soul. Not just the good bits either, he saw it all. He knew I smoked a packet of Marlboros a day and didn't tip my waiters. He knew I was depressed and used alcohol as my way to relieve stress. He knew I slept around; Barry last night, Michael before that.

He knew all this by just seeing me, flicking those steel grey eyes at me, raking them over me like I was some foreign object that had to be inspected. Then his gaze met mine, his lips twisted in a knowing smirk and he dipped his head.

"Nice to meet you." Rough and rolling, his voice was like a cigarette. And I wanted it.

"You too," I said, making no hesitation in running my eyes down his body. Long, lithe, lightly muscled. He was wearing dark dress pants and a partly unbuttoned charcoal shirt. Dark glossy hair curled around his ears, gently kissing his shoulders, framing a face full of sharpness and shadows. Thin pink lips, the lower slightly larger, currently curved lopsidedly. Straight nose, piercing eyes, thin black brows. Pale skin, like it had never been touched by sunlight.

"Want to take a walk?" It was late, I was alone, and the three empty glasses before me told me I'd had more than enough alcohol. But I shrugged, flashing him a seductive grin and letting him hook an arm through my elbow.

"Sure do."

He led me outside, his steps short and long, fast and slow, almost like he was gliding. Fresh crisp air bit at my flesh, hungry for warmth and I pressed my side against his, coyly lowering my lashes while looking up at him. His gaze, steel blue, never faltered, but his smile sharpened.

"Are you cold?" he asked, his voice the only sound I could hear.

I nodded, knowing it would lead him to try to warm me up. True to my thoughts, he slipped his arm around my waist, drawing me tight against him. I thought I would be able to feel his body heat through his clothes, but I couldn't, and I felt the same coolness as before. But I liked the feel of him so close and I slipped my arm around his abdomen, slipping my fingers beneath his shirt and resting my hand against the bare flesh of his hip. I thought he would react, but he didn't.

"It's a nice night, isn't it?" It seemed like he was speaking of more than one thing, but I knew of only the dark sky above and the silence of midnight.

"It is," I said, pressing myself tighter, gripping a little harder, feeling his skin mold around my fingers. "Perfect, almost."

"Almost?" He sounded amused, looking down at me through long, curling lashes. "What stops it from being perfect?"

Shrugging, I answered, "It's a bit cold."

"The cold sets it apart from Day," he said. "Not everything can be warm and sunny. The cold makes us shiver, makes us seek warmth—" His fingers dug into my hip. I shivered. "—it is what makes us feel alive, what makes us breathe and wake in the morning, yearning for more, more life." He pushed me aside, against the trunk of a tree I had not seen. His body enveloped mine, pressing me back, back into the roughness of bark. It scratched my skin, rubbed it raw.

Our bodies made a single shadow. Still, no warmth seeped from him into me, and I felt another shiver race down my spine. His fingers were there a moment later; tracing the path the tremor had taken. His breath was cool on my cheeks, his voice husky in my ear. "You shiver because it's cold. It makes you feel alive."

I watched his lips, the words just barely pronouncing themselves in my mind. I nodded, my body urging me to lean forward, to taste his breath. He pressed harder. I felt every bone of his body knock into mine, sharp, painful. But the pain mingled with my desire, two intense emotions battling to be felt.

He leaned closer, his lips grazing my temple. He pressed an open-mouthed kiss to skin and the sudden cold shook my body. His tongue trailed down my cheek, to my jaw, sliding over my bottom lip so quickly I could not catch it in time. I pouted up at him.

His laugh was rich, like smoke, curling across my senses and fogging them. "Night is only short, such a fleeting darkness which leaves at dawn, giving way to such ruthless light. Day is so cliché and overrated." His smile touched my cheek and his eyes grinned down at me. "Everyone forgets Night."

I no longer knew what he was talking about, but I didn't care. He was attractive and so close to me I could hear his slow heartbeat over mine. Every inch of my body tingled with desire and excitement. I needed him like I needed another cigarette. He was my drug and I his addict.

His hands were on my stomach, beneath my shirt, making me tense and shy away in their coldness. But he pressed them into me, gripping my ribs, his fingers running the ridges of the bones. "Night comes alive at midnight." His mouth went to my hair, his breath tickling my skin. "Do you know what time it is?"

I found thought, feeble and lost, but pulled it to me, giving it voice. "M-midnight?"

His grip tightened. He pressed so hard I gasped out in pain. "That's right. And Night is alive."

Then he kissed me. It was deep, probing, and as soon as my lips opened and let him inside, such a freezing cold swept through me that I shuddered and tried to move away. But he held me fast, so tightly, his fingers claws that pierced my flesh.

Cold spiralled into me. It clutched my insides, made ice of my blood. My head split with such pain I felt my body collapse under me. But he held me up, into the tree, into his body, still kissing me, kissing coldness through his lips.

His breath was as sharp as his features and as cold as his eyes, steel grey and frozen. I fell into the freezing depths of his clutch, knowing the cold would kill me like the cigarettes I smoked every day. I knew it would kill me but I kept kissing him, kept kissing away my life.

He pulled away for an instant but my world was so cold and dark I did not notice. He breathed frozen breath in my ear, the breath of darkness and oblivion. "Its midnight," he said, pressing his lips to my flesh and pulling blood up from its frozen stream. "And I'm alive."

He kissed my lips and my life was lost to Night.