Austria, 1990: Sebastian

He'd come. Julian had come. Despite all the doubts, all the uncertainties, all the waiting, Julian had finally come. Sebastian had almost convinced himself that it was hopeless after all, resigning himself to night after endless night of eternal, empty waiting, as the world turned and the years passed. Never could he hope to actually catch up with Julian, and so he had chosen instead to wait and hope that Julian's flight would eventually bring him back here, to this place, where everything had begun.

And it had, although the wait had seemed like an eternity in itself, and even as he caught sight of the object of his desire, heart in his throat, he'd already begun to fear that the single glimpse would be his last. One word, and Julian would run again.

Of course, he'd spoken anyway. How could he not, when some part of him half believed that what he saw was only a mirage conjured up by his own desperate longing?


But a mirage would not start at the sound of its name, although the image of a man torn between remaining and fleeing was one that Sebastian had seen over and over when he closed his eyes. He didn't know what to do, for any move he made would break the spell and either Julian was truly standing there, watching him, or else he had finally fallen into madness as Julian had always said he would.

Yet in the end it was not he who broke the frozen tableau, but Julian, stepping through the broken stone wall and into the ruined ballroom with careful, measured steps. It wasn't until he reached the little corner of broken stone that Sebastian had situated himself in that Sebastian realized he hadn't himself moved. He felt caught, held in some intangible web that left him incapable of doing anything more than staring up at Julian.

Perhaps there was nothing for him to do. Certainly he'd always been the pursuer, the instigator before, but this time felt different somehow. Julian hadn't run, indeed, had come toward him, and was even now reaching up to brush cool fingertips across his cheek.

Sebastian didn't think that had ever happened before, but he couldn't be certain, as his mind had decided the best way to deal with the impossible was to shut down entirely.

A trickle of awareness, belated realization that he'd seen Julian's lips move but hadn't heard any words - or more likely, simply hadn't processed them - brought Sebastian out of his daze enough to mumble a befuddled "Wha?"

Fortunately, Julian didn't seem particularly annoyed at having to repeat himself. "I asked how long you had been here, in this place." A delicious shiver ran up Sebastian's spine. Oh yes, Julian's voice was just as intoxicating as the last time he'd heard it.

"Um, dunno... few years?" Sebastian managed, beyond wondering how he was supposed to think enough to calculate passing time - think at all - when Julian's fingers had never left his face and, indeed, were ever so slowly shifting position across his skin.

Julian's lips were moving again, that delicious voice flowing over him like an intimate caress, and it was only with extreme effort that he managed to make sense of the words' meaning.

"How did you know that I would come here?"

Know? He hadn't known. He'd hoped, dreamed, prayed, but he hadn't known. Trying to predict with any certainty what Julian might do would be like trying to predict the wind or the weather. Impossible to hold, all anyone could hope was that the bad would pass and the calm return, hopefully without sweeping you completely off your feet.

Although, in Sebastian's case, he wouldn't really mind being swept off his feet, as long as the one doing the sweeping was Julian.

Julian, who was still watching him, waiting for an answer.

"I didn't," Sebastian said truthfully. "I just thought... I'd never manage to catch you if I tried to follow you, but maybe if I stayed in one place then eventually you had to pass by..."

Julian blinked, fingers stilling as he drew back a pace, something in those beautiful honey-brown eyes that Sebastian couldn't quite identify. "But... why..." His fingers slid away from Sebastian's face to gesture around them at the crumbling relic of another time. "Here?"

He looked so uncertain, almost helpless, and in that moment Sebastian realized that Julian was, for probably the first time, trying to muddle through on instinct rather than his usual cool, aloof logic. Julian had no more of an idea of what was going on, and likely what he wanted to happen, than Sebastian did.

So Sebastian stood, stepping into Julian's space, please to see that despite a slight tensing of his shoulders, Julian did not move away. "Because this is where I saw you, for the first time," Sebastian said softly. "Standing at that window, watching the dancers." A slight smile tugged at his lips. "Watching me."

Julian looked away, though he still did not move despite how close Sebastian stood. "Your music... it was..." He shook his head, pale wisps of hair freeing themselves from their loose restraints to drift forward and frame his face. It made him look... young. Which he most certainly was not, as Sebastian had reason to know, but the illusion was eerily fascinating.

"Would you like me to play for you?" Sebastian asked, seized by a sudden notion. And perhaps it wasn't a very well thought out plan, but he'd always seemed to find the most success while going off his instincts and hunches.

Indeed, it seemed his subconscious was better at figuring Julian out than he was, for the ancient vampire's eyes widened briefly before he once more looked away. "I... would like that," he said quietly.

Although he was loathe to step away from Julian's immediate presence, he had offered, and for Julian he'd long accepted that he would do anything. So Sebastian returned to his makeshift seat and repositioned his harp, idly running his fingers across the strings as he considered what to play. Nothing modern, Julian wouldn't likely even recognize one of those, but nothing too dated either. Maybe...

Settling into the calm he always wore while playing, Sebastian positioned his fingers and opened his mouth, giving voice to the first few words a capella before bringing forth harmony from the harp to accompany him. His world narrowed down to the strings beneath his hands and the complex weaving of melody and harmony around a song he'd written long ago, yet until now had never been performed for anyone's ears save his own. It had always been too private, too personal, to share with another.

Sebastian wondered if Julian would realize that the song was all about him, the way Sebastian saw him.

When the final notes were allowed to die and he finally brought himself to look for Julian's reaction, he wasn't certain what to think that it didn't seem as though Julian had moved the slightest for the entire song. He was staring a point just above Sebastian's head, and the music had long since faded entirely into silence before he slowly blinked and seemed to realize it was over.

Hesitantly, Sebastian stood, stepping toward his beautiful obsession, mind whirling with confusion over what to say.

The final decision, however, was whisked away from him as Julian's pale brows furrowed and he cocked his head to one side. "That was..." Honey-brown eyes caught his own.

"About you," Sebastian supplied, obeying the unspoken request for confirmation. He wanted to do something, say something to explain himself, as Julian continued to simply regard him with that intense gaze, but the words died before they could even begin to form. Instead he merely waited, with his heart in his throat, for the verdict.

"It sounded..." Julian hesitated, then his tongue darted out briefly to wet his lips. The sight was almost mesmerizing. "... lonely."

With no small amount of effort Sebastian pulled his thoughts away from Julian's lips and forced them onto his words instead. Difficult, with the object of his affections so very close - all he had to do was reach out to be able to touch - but he managed regardless.

"A little," Sebastian admitted, "but it was also motivation, in a way."

Julian's brows furrowed. "Motivation?"

Hoping he wasn't pressing his luck, Sebastian stepped just that little bit closer needed to put him right where he wanted to be, his body only a bare handspan from Julian's. "A reason to live," he confessed, unsurprised when Julian tensed. "You always like to say I should already be mad, and you're probably right, because if I'd never seen you that night I don't think that I..." He trailed off, uncertain how to finish. When he'd been made a vampire, he'd had nothing to lose by the change. No family, no real friends; it hadn't seemed like much of a sacrifice to give up the sun as well. But he'd always been fond of people, of being around people, and the isolation that resulted from becoming a vampire had slowly begun to wear on him.

Until Julian.

It had been like seeing the sun again, rising in the night sky. Beautiful and untouchable, but also unforgettable. It had shaken him from his growing apathy and given him something else to focus on, though at the time he hadn't thought he'd ever see his sunlight again.

Then had come a chateau in France, a single dance by torch and candlelight, and nothing had ever been the same again. He'd never been in any danger of madness, for if he had fallen into that he would have been ever more denied even those far too brief encounters with his sun that walked in moonlight. Unfathomable. And so he lived each moment, each night, each turn of the years, counting the time until his path and Julian's crossed once more.

It was only when a faint frown creased Julian's brows that Sebastian realized he'd fallen silent, a rarity for him. Julian had to be wondering what was wrong by now, although it wasn't really so much a matter of something being wrong as it was something being right after so much wrongness. It was overwhelming, dizzying, and, though he didn't really want to admit it, the solitude of his waiting had been starting to eat at him. He wasn't the kind of man who was meant to be alone.

No one was, although Julian might choose to argue otherwise.

Except that Julian was here now, after all that had happened, and he hadn't disappeared again, which meant that maybe, just maybe, neither of them had to be alone anymore.

He wasn't sure which of them moved, as he wasn't really aware of either of them moving, but one of them must have because quite suddenly all of the difficult things that Sebastian had been trying and failing to say were swept away beneath the brush of gentle, uncertain lips. Sebastian tilted his head back further to better account for Julian's greater height, his hands moving of their own accord to Julian's waist and slowly up his chest, impeded only by the thin shirt Julian wore. There was a quiet sound - his? Julian wasn't really the noisy type - then a hot tongue pressed against his lips and Sebastian opened up welcomingly to it.

Oh, that was nice. A little hesitant, but it was Julian and Julian's odd need to distance himself didn't really lend itself well to confident kissing. Fortunately it only took the slightest bit of coaxing to get Julian to lower those icy walls and prove that the ice king could be very, very hot when given the right motivation.

Julian pulled away first, gradually, giving Sebastian's lips one last, lingering caress with his tongue before awareness slowly flickered back into amber eyes. Sebastian licked his own lips, the taste of Julian still lingering on them, and some small part of his mind wondered if his knees would give out if he let go of Julian's shirt.

"Damn. That was..." Sebastian licked his lips again. "Where'd you learn to kiss like that?"

It wasn't remotely surprising when Julian looked away from him, but the faint blush that stained his cheeks was. It was also rather arousing.

"I watch," Julian said quietly, his eyes carefully focused on something far off in the darkness.

"You learned how to kiss by watching someone else kiss?" Sebastian asked, incredulous.

"I was curious," came the rather embarrassed-sounding mutter, and Sebastian rather thought that Julian had missed the entire point of his question.

"Not that, I meant... I didn't know it was possible to kiss like that without... uh..." Sebastian eyed the pretty blond speculatively. "Have you kissed anyone before?"

Honey-amber eyes flicked briefly to him before looking away again. "No."

Sebastian lightly bit his lip as a second thought occurred to him. "Uh, have you done... um... anything before?"

Julian swallowed, visibly steadying himself before turning his head to meet Sebastian's eyes. "It was far too dangerous," he said quietly, "to put myself at risk of coming to care for someone."

Sebastian tried to comprehend that and failed. He himself was somewhere in the vein of eight hundred years old. Julian, insofar as he could tell, was much older than that. He absolutely couldn't fathom going his entire life without ever having sex. No wonder Julian was so prickly.

Exhaling slowly, Sebastian stood on his toes so that he was that small distance closer to Julian's eyes. "And now?" he asked softly.

A slight shudder went through Julian's body, though he did not pull away. His tongue darted out to wet his lips, and Sebastian stared at it until it retreated, and then he stared at the wetness left behind. It was almost hypnotizing, that faint glistening sheen across Julian's lips. Like a siren song, one he was helpless to resist.

This time he was certain the quiet moan had to be Julian's, because Sebastian was far too focused on exploring every contour of Julian's mouth to have anything left to make noise with. It was a fascinating mix of hot and cool, the faint coppery traces of old blood and something else he couldn't identify, and then there were the dangerously sharp points of Julian's teeth to work around that made everything all that much sharper, more real. He almost didn't want it to end, except that there was so much more he wanted to do. With Julian and to him.

With great reluctance Sebastian broke the kiss, nibbling lightly at Julian's lips and jaw before pulling away completely to sink to his knees, hands sliding slowly down Julian's sides until they rested on his hips. Beneath them he could feel Julian startle, heard the querying sound somewhere above him, but only paid attention to them enough to make idle, soothing strokes with his thumbs as he leaned forward and gently nuzzled the thick black fabric over Julian's groin.

There was a sharp intake of breath in response, then Julian's hands fell to Sebastian's head, clenching almost painfully around handfuls of hair. Sebastian smiled and did it again, rewarded by a choked moan from the man above him, then let his hands slip forward to deftly undo the simple fastenings to Julian's pants. Far too easy to undo for a man who didn't want anyone near him, but then again it was highly doubtful anyone would even be able to lay a finger on this man unless he permitted them. As he was permitting Sebastian.

It was a heady thought, though not as heady as the sight of Julian's cock poking through the opening Sebastian had made, not quite hard yet but certainly far from soft. This was Sebastian's doing; Sebastian had done this to him. Made him react like this. For all of his careful distance, Julian was far from the cold statue he pretended to be.

Sebastian let his breath wash across the heated flesh bared to him, irrationally pleased at the shudder that went through Julian's entire body even as the hands clenched in his hair tightened past the painful point. It didn't matter, so long as he had this, had Julian, at last.

He blew softly again, not even giving Julian time for the tremors to subside before sucking the whole of him into his mouth. Not something he'd want to try that quickly if Julian had been fully hard - he was still working around that dratted gag reflex, you'd think being a vampire would get rid of that little frustration - but the semi-hard length he had now was just at the limit of what he could easily take and gave him a little bit of time to play before he wound up with more than he could handle.

The hands in his hair jerked hard, making Sebastian's eyes sting with tears of pain and he pulled slightly off of Julian's cock lest his fangs accidentally scrape something they really shouldn't. He waited until the grip on his hair subsided a bit before pulling off the rest of the way, giving the tip of Julian's cock a loving lick before looking up to see what effect his actions were having upon Julian's beautiful face.

Julian had that shocked, wild-eyed look as though someone had hit him, although he didn't really look upset, only overwhelmed beyond his self-imposed limits. He seemed to be staring at nothing, and his fangs had elongated to the point where Sebastian could easily see them through the slightly-opened mouth. After a long moment he looked down, and the tension on Sebastian's hair eased again as Julian licked his lips and tried ineffectually to make words form.

A slight smile on his lips as he admired his handiwork, Sebastian winked. "Trust me," he murmured, bending his head to return to his temporarily-abandoned task.

Distantly he noted Julian throwing his head back and arching into it, but most of Sebastian's attention narrowed down to his task and inflicting the maximum pleasure that he could. If Julian fled from him again after this, he wanted it to be so memorable that Julian would never, ever forget.

Time ceased to exist. All that mattered was the steadily-growing flesh in his mouth and around his tongue, and the helpless, pleading sounds that tumbled forth in Julian's voice, never quite fully formed enough to become true words. Sebastian sucked and licked, teased and hummed, using every trick he'd ever picked up in eight centuries of life to drive Julian to utter distraction. He knew it the moment that Julian's control finally snapped, felt the tremble and surge in the hard flesh before him, then there was hot fluid spilling into his mouth and down his throat.

It surprised him at first how different Julian tasted from others he'd been with in the past, before he realized that this was the first time he'd been with another vampire, and naturally the taste of blood would permeate all parts of a vampire. Although there were other tastes as well, such as the sharp, salty taste like mortal humans, and more of that indefinable quality that Sebastian decided must just be the taste of Julian himself. It was a taste he thought he could quickly become addicted to, given the opportunity.

Rising slowly after making certain to lick Julian completely clean, Sebastian let his hands gradually drift up Julian's body until he was standing straight again and looking into Julian's slightly-dazed amber eyes.

If he felt just a little bit smug, well, that was entirely justifiable.

Julian licked his lips, blinking slowly as focus slowly returned to his gaze. He swallowed, still seeming slightly dazed, and licked his lips again. "That..." Julian shook his head.

Sebastian smirked. "Fun, isn't it?" He stood on his toes again, silently cursing Julian's greater height, and leaned close enough that he could almost dart his tongue out and across those entirely too tempting lips. Dropping his voice, he added sensually, "And that's only the start..."

Oh, but he liked the faint blush that stole across Julian's pale cheeks before a scowl wiped it away. Although the scowl was rather hot too. Of course, Sebastian was privately of the mind that everything about Julian was hot, with good reason. Because everything about Julian was hot.

"You are impertinent," Julian muttered, but there was no real ire in his voice. Rather, there was something far hotter, burning deep within the depths of those unfathomable eyes. It sent a pulse of heat surging through Sebastian's body to pool in his groin, making his already-snug pants almost unbearably tight.

Unable to resist the challenge, Sebastian reached up to tug Julian's head down the distance he needed to touch their lips together. "But you like me impertinent," he murmured against those enticing lips, shivering as those eyes flashed only moments before his mouth was utterly claimed, sharp teeth digging into his lower lip, tearing, drawing blood. He had only a moment to gasp in surprise before the taste of his own blood was joined by that of another's, sweet and more potent than the finest of wines, rushing through him like electricity. The taste of their mingled blood defied comparison, being so much more than anything Sebastian had ever experienced before, and he knew without a doubt that this time the helpless moan was his own as he leaned further into that mouth that sought to devour him whole.

Julian shoved him back, trapping him between the broken wall and Julian's own firm body, savaging his mouth with a passion and intensity that had to have been building up for centuries. He was barely aware of Julian breaking the kiss, but he was very much aware of the hot lips moving across his throat and the sharp teeth nipping at sensitive skin. Cool hands slid beneath the hem of his shirt, spreading out across his stomach, fingers flicking at his nipples and making him scream.

The hands withdrew, Julian taking a step back to watch him with a faint, worried frown.

It took a few ragged breaths to regain the ability for speech, and Sebastian was still panting uselessly as he shook his head. "It's not... I'm fine. I promise, I'm fine."

Julian still looked doubtful. Sebastian was about to groan aloud at the sheer unfairness of having come so close only to lose him over something so stupid when suddenly the ancient vampire was once more invading his space, invading his mouth, and Sebastian all but melted into it.

There were hands everywhere, his and Julian's, touching, caressing, exploring that which they had always desired but never before been permitted to have. Sebastian was hot, hot as only blood had ever made him before, and the sudden coolness as Julian ripped off his shirt was startling. More startling still was the singular intensity in Julian's eyes as he licked and nibbled his way down Sebastian's chest, his entire world reduced simply to Sebastian and Sebastian alone.

Which was why the first pale rays heralding dawn caught them both unaware.

Sebastian hissed in pain, closing his eyes against the brightening sky. Julian's mouth stopped what it was doing, and for a moment Sebastian keenly felt its loss despite the danger they were in. He felt Julian straighten, then the hands on his hips tightened.

"I apologize," came the honey-rich voice. "I had forgotten you would feel it."

Sebastian opened his mouth to ask what Julian meant, for surely the faint, growing light was paining him as well, but he got no chance as he was quite suddenly hefted across a firm shoulder, his harp shoved into his hands, and then they were moving faster than the wind itself.

Once more Sebastian was forcibly reminded that, for all his inexperience in matters of the world, Julian was very, very old. And in their world, age translated to power.

Power that Julian was using to take them to safety, although they could have simply dug themselves deep into the earth...

Then the stinging of his skin ceased and Sebastian opened his eyes to find blessed darkness. He had only a moment to look around at the sparsely furnished, windowless room before abruptly finding himself once more pinned to a wall and kissed senseless.

Forgetting the sun, forgetting to wonder where they were, forgetting everything but the man before him, Sebastian surrendered completely to Julian's embrace.

So lost was he in kisses and caresses that wildly surpassed even his most desperate dreams, Sebastian did not at first notice when Julian withdrew, and the hands moving gently over his skin seemed to indicate that the lapse was only temporary. But Julian did not resume the kisses, and finally Sebastian's mind unclouded enough to process the uncertain expression on his ancient lover's handsome face.


"I..." Julian looked away, embarrassment in his voice and posture. "I am not certain what to... do next."

Comprehension flooded Sebastian. He'd gotten so caught up in Julian's mouth and Julian's hands and Julian's touch that he'd completely forgotten that Julian had no real idea of what he was doing. He'd said he'd learned to kiss from watching, but Sebastian highly doubted Julian would have watched anything more than kissing. Watching but being unable to participate would have driven anyone insane.

"Oh," Sebastian said with a smile, pulling Julian back to him. "We just need to lose the pants and find some kind of lubricant."

Julian blinked in confusion. "Lubricant?"

"Um." This was strange. He'd never had to teach anyone the basics before. "Something slippery... to, um, not make it rub painfully when, ah..."

For a moment those honey-brown eyes simply looked lost, then they widened. "Oh." Julian looked thoughtful.

Sebastian chuckled weakly. "Yeah, oh. Not something I usually carry around, but spit does work in a pinch..."

Pale blond brows lifted, then a slow smile spread across Julian's face. Sebastian shivered. He'd always known that Julian would never hurt him, but in that moment there seemed to be nothing human left in him. Not so much as even a memory.

Then the moment passed and Julian was kissing him again, gently steering him across the slightly uneven floor to a worn, threadbare mattress and the thought briefly crossed his mind that perhaps this had been an old bunker at one point but the thought skittered away again as Julian lowered them both down.

The coarse material of the mattress was rough against his back, but Sebastian barely noticed. He was far more interested in the silken fall of pale hair above him, the honey-brown eyes darkened with desire, the long, pale fingers slowly undoing the zipper on his jeans.

When those cool fingers brushed across his aching cock, Sebastian whimpered. This was so far beyond anything he'd been expecting. Wanting, wishing, desiring, oh yes, but he hadn't allowed himself even in his deepest dreams to picture what it might actually be like. What the feel of Julian touching him would be like. What it would do to him.

And Julian was hardly one to rush anything. He took his time, studying Sebastian's hard length, touching it, stroking it, cupping it in his hand and fondling it, running his fingers one at a time over the sensitive head, apparently fascinated by the glistening pre-come forming there. Sebastian would have laughed at the intent expression on his face if he was at all capable of doing more than making soft moans and writhing helplessly.

Although his entire body screamed at him for relief, Sebastian could do naught but endure the slow, patient exploration beneath Julian's fingertips. While it was the first time Julian had ever touched him like this, it was also the first time Julian had touched anyone, and Sebastian would never dream of denying him his curiosity. Even if it was slowly driving him insane.

He could have laughed at the irony, of having escaped the madness of being a vampire only to fall prey to it now, if Julian's thumb wasn't stroking slow patterns up the underside of his cock, cool breaths sliding teasingly over the aching heat of him, and-

Sebastian screamed aloud, his body arching up off the mattress as a wet tongue swiped across the head of his erection. A moment later Julian swallowed him whole and Sebastian lost it entirely, shooting his release down Julian's throat.

When he came to himself again, Julian was licking him clean and looking entirely pleased with himself. Sebastian couldn't blame him. He couldn't remember coming that hard or that fast in all his life. And he'd hardly been celibate. But Julian either had incredible natural talent, or Sebastian had wanted him for so long that the wanting gave everything an added edge. Or both. Probably both.

Julian's fingers traced idle patterns along Sebastian's thigh, teeth following shortly after to give the skin a gentle nip. While Sebastian was still trembling from that, the fingers slipped lower, stroking his balls for a moment before moving behind them.

"May I?"

It took embarrassingly long for Sebastian to figure out what he was being asked, or that he'd been asked a question at all, but when he finally did he moaned quietly as all the blood in his system rushed straight toward his groin. It took everything he had to work up the coordination to flip himself over onto his stomach, spreading his legs wantonly.


Julian's hands grasped his thighs hard enough to leave bruises, and if he'd been human he'd probably be panting hard. As it was he took one ragged breath as his hands slowly unclenched, sliding up the backs of Sebastian's thighs and curving slowly over the sleek muscles of his ass. Sebastian had never wanted something more in all his life.

"Julian," he begged.

Slowly, hesitantly, one finger slid along his crease, lightly at first before returning with a little bit more confidence. After the third pass Julian's palms cupped his butt, spreading his cheeks wide and allowing cool air to pass across the heated skin of his puckered hole. That alone would have made him shiver, but Julian made it worse by blowing softly on him again.

Sebastian writhed. "Julian..."

The first touch of a tongue came as a surprise, and it was only Julian's firm hands on his ass that kept him down. Nothing could keep him from gasping out his pleasure, however, as Julian's tongue speared into him over and over, wetting him, spreading him open. He attempted ineffectually to hump the mattress, unable to move more than a hair's breadth with those inhumanly strong hands holding him down. He babbled, begging, pleading, the words jumbled and incomprehensible, mixed with the occasional desperate entreaty of "Julian."

Then, finally, just as he reached the point where he truly could not take any more, that wicked tongue withdrew and something much larger brushed across his slickened skin. Sebastian managed a faint, pleading moan, all his muscles quivering in anticipation.

The first press was an exquisite torture, the embodiment of everything he'd ever wanted all at once. He almost came a second time, right then and there, only in the next moment the rest of Julian slid inside and Sebastian's entire body short-circuited, leaving him incapable of doing anything but simply feeling.

Julian wasn't the most skilled lover, or the most energetic, but he was still the best Sebastian had ever had, because this was the man Sebastian loved more than anyone else in all the world. In all of time. And with each thrust he gained confidence, picking up on Sebastian's silent cues, every passing moment increasing the pleasure tenfold.

If he could, he would have wished for it to last forever, yet even for two immortal vampires there must be an end. It came when Julian's thrusts became irregular, hasty, and he finally let Sebastian up enough to rub himself against the rough mattress beneath them. That was all it took for Sebastian to clamp down hard around Julian's cock, the fabric below him soaked with the evidence of his release. For the first time Julian made a sound, a quiet, helpless moan, and then he held perfectly still.

Sebastian didn't know how long they lay there, utterly spent, before Julian finally roused himself enough to slide out of Sebastian's body. Sebastian whimpered at the loss, not wanting to admit it was over, part of him already tensing up in anticipation of Julian leaving again.

But instead Julian joined him on the mattress, pulling him close and holding him. Just holding him. To Sebastian, it was what was meant by the phrase 'a perfect moment.'

He wished he knew how to ask what would happen next. He'd never really thought about the future before, beyond looking forward to their next encounter, but now he found himself viewing it with equal parts dread and hope. Everything, everything depended on what Julian did next.

Part of him didn't want to know. Part of him had to know.

"Julian?" There was no change in the arms encircling him. "What... what happens next?"

Now there was a change, a momentary tightening of those arms, Julian drawing him even closer. Then they relaxed and Julian made a soft sound that could have been a sigh.

"Now..." He shook his head, pale threads of hair slithering across Sebastian's skin. "I am tired of being alone."

Did that mean what Sebastian thought it meant? He felt like his heart was in his throat. Even if he'd been able to form a response to that, he'd never have been able to force the words out past the lump.

Fortunately, Julian spared him having to try. "I wish to know what it is like to live in your world." His voice softened. "If you would have me."

It was nearly impossible to choke the words out. "You... you'll stay?"

Julian's arms tightened again. "If you wish."

I wish you'd stay forever.

He didn't realise he'd said it aloud until he found himself flat on his back, Julian leaning over him, his unbound hair falling all around them like pale golden sunlight.

"Forever is very literal, for vampires." There was something strange in Julian's eyes, something thought he'd seen once or twice before in brief, passing moments, but this was nearly all-consuming. Desire? No, though there was a hint of that. Hope? Not that either, though perhaps there was some of that too.

It was the throbbing of his own, long-silenced heart that finally gave him the clue he needed. He leaned up, brushing his lips ever to softly across Julian's own, whispering the words just as they parted.

"I love you."

That look in Julian's eyes flooded them completely, and Sebastian knew, finally, what it meant. It meant that Julian would never leave him again.