Hot. That was the first thing that crossed Varian's mind when he got out of his truck and entered Parker's Tack and Tools. It was a ridiculously hot Tuesday afternoon and Millie wanted him to work.

Was she crazy? Well, he couldn't complain much anyway because he needed the paycheck.

Walking in, not caring that he was probably glaring, he went right to his usual job, bypassing Millie who was currently at the register reading a magazine. Stocking tools could be useful, so he entered the back room, stacked a couple boxes and brought them out to the shelves.

The first one he opened held average hardware tools. Nothing too particularly interesting.

From the corner of his eye, Varian noted Millie looked up from her magazine and arched an eyebrow at him, but she didn't really seem interested in talking to him. All he'd do is complain about the weather anyway.

Despite the coolness of the store, he was still feeling pretty tired from the heat.

"One would think North Dakota wouldn't be so annoyingly hot since it's north. But apparently not." Varian muttered out loud.

Millie's snort from the register made Varian aware she'd heard him.

"Glad to see someone is amused." Varian remarked sarcastically, rolling his eyes and focusing on stabbing a wrench on its hook, but he did it a little too roughly because the hook bent. "Damn it!" he growled.

"Boy, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something?" Millie asked.

Lifting his gaze from the hook he turned to look at Millie. She hadn't even looked up from her magazine.

"If it was one more degree hotter I couldn't come to work. And this whole summer is supposed to be like this! Of course I'm frustrated." Varian snapped. "And Nathan's leaving soon, and he and Jecklynn don't along, and her stupid horse Cane keeps trying to get at my mares."

"Varian. Relax before you overheat or something." Millie mumbled waving her hand.

"I am overheated! That's the problem." Varian said.

Taking a moment to think about it, he did feel pretty out of it. He'd been tired earlier, but he hadn't thought it was attributed to the heat. And his head throbbed.

"I think...I'm going to sit down." he mumbled, sitting down on the floor and leaning his head against the wall.

"Care for a fan?" Millie asked, finally lifting her gaze from her magazine, glancing over to Varian.

Glaring at her, he gave a huff of annoyance. "No thank you."

Millie raised an eyebrow in response before looking back down to the magazine she was still engrossed in.

Letting her be, Varian relaxed and finally found himself able to calm down. Until the door to the store opened and the two people he did not want to see strolled in casually. Justin and Andrea.

Andrea decided to look around the store while her brother glanced around until he spotted Varian and just kind of stared at him.

Sighing, Varian rubbed his temple. "Death sounds nice about now."

Millie snorted again, and Justin made a face at Varian before turning to Millie and saying, "It's a little hot outside."

"No shit Sherlock." Varian commented, pulling himself into a straighter position.

"Someone's in a bad mood." Justin mumbled to himself.

There wasn't a point in mumbling around a Changed vampire, Varian heard it anyway.

"I am not in a bad mood, I'm just trying to cool down."

"If you say so. Hey Millie, when does Nathan get in?" Justin asked. Millie rolled her eyes and shrugged in response.

At least Justin would be occupied by Nathan when he got there. Getting up from his spot on the floor, Varian paused a moment to steady himself before sighing and fixing his sight back on the wrenches. He should probably get back to work.

"Getting back to work Millie. I'll bend the hook back for you if you'd like."

"Leave it. I'll have Nathan fix it when he gets in." Millie mumbled.

Varian arched an eyebrow. "I think he'd have more difficult of a time bending it back than I will, but if that's what you want."

"So, Varian," Justin suddenly piped up, leaning against the counter, "How's life?"

"Fine. Why?" Varian asked suspiciously. What was Justin getting at?

"Oh, you know. Just curious. I can't be curious about a friend of mine?"

Friend huh?

"Your track record proves otherwise. What do you really want?"

"Oh, so I suddenly have an ulterior motive? Okay. I see how it is." Justin stated, obviously faking a hurt expression. Was he pretending to wipe a tear from his eye?

"If you're genuinely curious, I'm frustrated with a lot of things. One of them being how ridiculously hot it is outside." Varian relented.

"Well, I wouldn't say 'ridiculously'. Hot, sure, but I think 'ridiculously' is a little bit of an exaggeration."

Varian decided that Justin was not genuinely interested. "For a Changed vampire it is. Now what do you want?"

"A hug!" Justin responded with a wide smile, holding out his arms. Thankfully Andrea walked over and smacked the back of his head.

"Thank you, Andrea." Varian said before glaring at Justin.

"Welcome Varian." Andrea replied cheerfully, while Justin decided to just roll his eyes.

That brought out a smile from Varian and he decided he liked Andrea. Turning and actually picking up a wrench, he got back to stocking the hooks.

"So, Varian- have you and Nathan had sex yet?" Justin asked loudly with a rather convincingly innocent smile.

In the process of grabbing a wrench, Varian paused. "Why do you keep asking that question?"

"Because you guys have been dating for how long, and you haven't done it? I mean, Andrea's been dating her boyfriend for a week and they'd already had sex!" he said, and Andrea gave him a glare that made Varian shudder just thinking about being on the opposite end of it.

"Relationships based on sex are doomed to failure. I don't see why it's so important to sleep with your significant other just because you've been dating for a long time."

"You always avoid this question." Justin replied with a sigh and a smile.

Why was he smiling? Varian didn't really get Justin, he was strange.

"Because it's an annoying question and it gets old quickly." Varian explained.

"Well if you answered straight, I'd stop asking."

The temptation to having Justin stop asking that question was too great.

"Alright. Fine. No. We have not had sex. Are you happy?" Varian asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Disappointed. Nathan and I shall be discussing this." Justin stated, narrowing his eyes.

"What the hell is there to be disappointed about? Geez! You can't make him have sex with me." Varian snarled.

"Well I would think that you guys would want to. I mean, you're teenagers. Raging hormones and shit."

"Not all of us are sex fiends, Justin." Varian said lowly. He was definitely pushing the wrong buttons. "We don't need to have sex to have a good relationship."

It was after that particular moment that Nathan decided to walk in, reducing Justin to mumbling under his breath and sighing quietly. Nathan paused upon seeing the twins and Varian.

"So... " he mumbled.

Varian really didn't want to deal with Nathan at this moment, afraid he'd say something stupid. So he opted to remain silent and instead went back to work.

Justin turned to Nathan and held his hands up, saying, "I didn't do it!"

Andrea used this opportunity to roll her eyes. "Justin's been asking about your sex life again."

Sighing and hanging his head, Nathan walked past them to get his apron.

Varian concentrated on hanging up the last of the wrenches.

Nathan came back out and stood by the register, crossing his arms over his chest before saying, "Justin, stop harassing my boyfriend. One more time and my foot will go up your ass."

Justin huffed and replied with, "Well if he wasn't so easy to annoy..."

Varian looked up from his work and glared at him. Today he was touchier than usual, yes. But that didn't mean Justin could be so invasive.

"Justin. Shut it." Nathan replied seriously.

He stuck his tongue out at Nathan.

"It would be helpful if you would listen to Nathan for once." Varian finally decided say.

Justin frowned at what Varian had said, putting his hands into his pockets before looking at Nathan and saying, "So you guys really haven't had sex?"

Nathan's expression, however, went blank and he slowly turned to look at Justin before saying "One. More. Word."

A familiar presence made itself known to Varian's senses and he couldn't help but laugh as the door to the store opened and rapid footsteps quickly made their way towards him.

"Dear God, woman, turn the AC up! It's a fucking furnace in here."

Hair dyed black and partially streaked hid one of Evan's brown red-tinted eyes, his fair skin contrasting sharply with the dark make-up around them.

Millie raised an eyebrow, and Nathan frowned slightly.

Justin and Andrea appraised him silently.

"Everybody else knows where I'm at. It was only a matter of time before you showed up too, Evan." Varian commented, smiling despite himself.

"Do you know how hard it is to find you?!" Evan fumed. "You didn't come back to school and I didn't know where you were, nobody knew where you lived except Jecklynn, but she wouldn't say anything!"

Justin shuffled over to Nathan and mumbled, "Who's Evan?"

This of course, to Varian's amusement, caught Evan's attention and he fixed his gaze on Justin, placing a hand on his hip. "Well hey there, cutie. I haven't seen you around before."

Staring back, Justin got all wide-eyed and blushed slightly, staying still and silent as Nathan laughed and said, "That's Evan. He's gay. Super gay. Gayer than you, even."

Justin glared at Nathan slightly.

Varian however, stifled his laughter before speaking up as well. "Well I'm interested to see how this works out."

Keeping his gaze fixed on Justin a moment longer, Evan looked up at Nathan. "Is he free game?"

Squeaking loudly, Justin blushed further as Nathan laughed harder, bending over and wrapping his arms around his stomach.

Varian arched an eyebrow at Evan. "What happened to Klay? Did his warranty expire or something?"

"Eh. One tap wonder. He's more of a steady going type, I prefer my freedom." Evan replied glancing to Varian and then fixing his gaze on Justin again. "Look at how red he's getting. It's so cute."

The afflicted party looked anywhere but at Evan and covered his mouth with one of his hands as Nathan straightened up again and cleared his throat.

"It's not very nice to tease somebody, Evan." Varian said, glaring at the other Changed vampire. "If you're going to flirt with somebody, do it properly."

The opportunity to see Justin squirm for once was far too good to pass up, but he wasn't going to let Evan have his way if it meant Justin could get hurt from the encounter.

"I don't want to toy with him. I want to keep him." Evan scoffed, returning Varian's glare before walking towards Justin. "What do you say? Interested?" he asked him.

Justin looked back to Evan and blinked a few times, but otherwise kept his silence.

It was odd not hearing him say anything for an extended period of time, but Varian was enjoying the payback for all those days he'd had to suffer. Who would have thought it'd come in the form of Evan?

Nathan rolled his eyes and pushed Justin forward slightly, saying "Well, go on. We all know you want to."

Hiding his smirk, Varian bit the inside of his mouth to keep from laughing. He didn't want to ruin this moment.

Justin glared at Nathan for a second before looking back to Evan and nodding very slightly after a minute of some kind of mental debate. His face however, betrayed him, as it kept getting redder.

Evan grinned. "Now see, not so difficult." he purred reaching out and grabbing Justin's wrist gently, pulling him close.

Varian could see what was coming next and wondered if he should just watch or give them a little more privacy and look away. Turns out he didn't have long to decide, because the next thing he knew Evan had Justin in an intensely sweet lip-lock.

As disturbing as it was to watch, he didn't have much time to process it either, because as soon as it happened, it ended, and Evan pulled away from Justin and smiled at him.

Apparently Evan was a lot more serious than Varian had thought he was, because that wasn't just a "you're cute, lets make out kiss." It was almost a claim.

Nathan stared at the pair- which, Varian couldn't blame him, he was virtually right next to them- and raised an eyebrow. Justin, on the other hand, remained in a somewhat shocked silence. This was probably the only time Varian would ever see him this quiet and awake.

Blinking, Varian shook his head and glanced at Nathan. "Did that just happen?" he asked.

"I think it did." Nathan replied.

From the register, Millie, who'd remained quiet this whole time shook her head and sighed. "Great. Just what I've always wanted. A store full of gay hormonal teenagers."

Varian found himself biting his lower lip to keep from laughing and quickly and averted his gaze from the crazy woman.

Evan seemed completely enraptured in Justin, and, probably just to spite Millie, pulled him away from everybody else to some chairs on the other side of the store, sitting down and probably trying to get him to talk.

Poor guy had no clue what he was in for, but Varian would let him find that out himself.

Millie hummed to herself, still shaking her head, and Andrea put her hands on her hips. "I think I'm gonna go outside. Where it's a little less homosexual." before leaving.

Nathan appeared to still be trying to process what happened. Varian knew the feeling. He was kind of shocked himself. Though, he should probably give Justin a heads-up about Evan before he and Andrea left.

"How did I even become friends with him in the first place?" Varian asked himself. He figured there was no point in answering that, so he let it go. This day was strange.
_

Did that really just happen?

Yes, Nathan supposed, it did.

He just watched his best friend kiss the gayest guy he'd ever met.

Well damn.

Nathan turned to Millie, clapping his hands together. "Well then. Anything I should do? Since I actually work here?"

Millie sighed, glancing over to where Varian was. "Yeah. Mr. Vampire over there bent a hook earlier. Go fix it for him."

"Okay then." Nathan replied, walking over and kneeling down to get a better look at the bent hook. Which was pretty damn bent.

Nathan was trying to figure out the best way to unbend it since he was pretty sure Varian would be able to do a better job. Why the hell did Millie tell him to do it?

Nathan glared at the hook as Varian grabbed another box and opened it, continuing with restocking the shelf until he glanced over and sighed. "I can fix that for you. I offered to do it earlier, but Millie wouldn't let me."

"Please do."

Varian walked over, grabbing the hook and bending it back into place with a flick of his wrist. "So annoying how flimsy things can be." he muttered.

"For you, maybe. We don't all have freaky vampire strength." Nathan replied simply. Which was true. Though he supposed that 'freaky vampire strength' was very helpful at times.

Varian turned to Nathan. "Contrary to popular belief, our strength only increases when we exert energy. I'm not freakishly strong most of the time."

Nathan waved the comment away with a quiet sigh. "Either way."

"But it is my fault for the hook to have gotten bent, so it's only fair I'd fix it."

"Thanks." Nathan replied, reaching up and lightly squeezing one of Varian's shoulders before heading back for the register. He didn't feel like working today. At all.

He did however notice Varian standing still, then smiling before going back to work.

That made him feel a little better, he supposed. Until Millie started talking.

"So," she began, "Elle told me you got some responses from a couple colleges. What'd they say?"

Nathan rolled his eyes slightly. He didn't want to talk about the fact that he'd been rejected from the first couple colleges he applied to.

Varian glanced over, but didn't leave his post as Nathan hesitated on answering.

"They were rejection letters." he mumbled.

Out of the corner of his eye, Nathan could see Varian's expression soften, and he sighed before going back to work. Millie hummed quietly.

"That's a shame."

Nathan had to agree with her, but he just shrugged after a second. It wasn't the end of the world. "Not that big of a deal. I applied to every college in the state, so...we'll see."

One of them had to accept him. He wasn't leaving the state to go to college. That'd been decided a while ago.

Nathan glanced over to Varian at this point, noting that he continued with restocking, and doing some rearranging. He was somewhat distracted though when Andrea finally came back in.

"Okay, now that my brother's not kissing anyone, it feels a lot less awkward in here." she said, clapping her hands together in front of her. Her comment made Nathan smile- she wasn't the one right next to them.

Varian looked up and shook his head. "I don't think that image will ever leave my head."

"Oh, I don't think it'll be leaving anybody's." Andrea responded, making Nathan laugh. The two had a point.

"Yeah, well, now Justin has a Changed vampire on his hands." Varian said with a smirk. "But I feel bad for Evan, because right now Justin isn't talking."

"Why do you feel bad for him?" Andrea asked curiously.

"Because he thinks he's captured a docile little lamb, when we all know Justin is anything but." Varian shrugged. "Hopefully it'll teach him not to jump on everything that has a penis."

Nathan snorted, hanging his head as Andrea nodded and glanced over to Evan and Justin. "Point taken." She said.

That made Nathan think though. What was a relationship between a human and Changed vampire like? Humans would age normally. So if they got married, in a couple decades the human would be all old, and the vampire would look exactly the same. For some reason, it was a disconcerting thought.

"It'll be a learning experience for both of them." Varian continued, nodding. "But you should probably warn Justin that Evan isn't the type to settle down into a relationship."

Andrea shrugged back. "Justin'll be fine. I think he could use some heartbreak. Might make him stop harassing you two."

Doubtful, Nathan thought. Very doubtful.

"Well, in that case, by all means, let him remain oblivious." Varian replied quickly, getting back to work.

"I get the feeling that wasn't the happiest response I've ever heard from you." Andrea commented, crossing her arms over her chest and walking over to stand by Nathan.

He couldn't help but agree with Varian though. Justin should know something like that. What if he gets really attached to Evan? That wouldn't end well.

"I just like to be left alone. My personal life is my personal life and I have boundaries." Varian replied, still working on restocking the shelves. "And Justin crosses every single line. He's not as bad as others I've had to deal with because he can actually be decent, but he gets under my skin quickly."

"He gets under everyone's skin. He's Justin." Andrea replied. Nathan shrugged slightly, sighing.

"Well, what if Justin starts to really like Evan? If he wants to be in a relationship, but Evan doesn't? We'd have to deal with a depressed Justin. I think it would be better to just tell him now. Before he can really...attach himself." Nathan said.

"I'm not so sure Evan's going to play him. I get the feeling he isn't fooling around this time." Varian interjected. "But I want Justin to have a warning. If Evan decides he isn't who he's looking for."

Nathan agreed.

"Then, someone should give it to him. Someone related to him." Nathan said, lightly bumping into Andrea, who sighed and rolled her eyes.

"It might be easier for him to accept if it came from somebody he was close to." Varian agreed. "But I can talk to him if you don't want to, considering Evan is somehow in my circle of friends."

"He'd probably trust you more, since you know Evan." Andrea replied.

"Never thought I'd give Justin advice about how to date a Changed vampire." Varian chuckled. "But I've seen weirder things happen."

Nathan shrugged slightly, and Andrea only sighed. It was sort of odd.

Varian didn't say anything else after that- only going back to work. He, Nathan decided, was a workaholic.

As strange as the time at the store was, it was even weirder having to talk to Justin about Evan who flounced out of Parker's Tack and Tools, happy as a clam.

But, he did get the feeling Evan wasn't fooling around this time. He was genuinely interested in Justin, which was the weirdest part about today. Shaking his head, he tried to think about something other than one of his friends hooking up with one of Nathan's. That shouldn't even happen in real life, yet it had clearly done so.

He needed to go into town to the library so he could return some books. Letting that thought surface, he wondered what all he could do at the library since he was going to be there. Was there something he needed to look up? He couldn't think of anything.

Once he was there, he got out and entered the building, the lobby bustling with people rushing to get out of the heat and into AC and shuttling books back and forth. As a High School student, he'd often come here to do research and use the computers. He knew his way around here like the back of his hand.

Moving quickly, but not fast enough to draw attention, he dropped his books in the return box and headed for the computers. It was his typical routine when he was here, so he followed it without question, not thinking about it until he was actually seated at one and staring at the screen. He had access to vast amounts of data but needed something to focus on.

Usually he did his research on people, but who was he going to look up now? He didn't have a paper on a president or important political person. The only thing he had to worry about was Nathan going to college.

Nathan. He could look up his boyfriend he supposed. But how could he do that without feeling like a stalker?

Then again, Nathan didn't exactly offer up much information anyway.

Typing his current name into a search engine, Varian waited to see which documents popped up. There were a lot more Nathaniel Vogel's than he'd expected, so he narrowed his search.

Nathaniel Vogel Mandan, North Dakota

One name popped up.

Nathaniel Vogel, born Nathaniel Tyler Parker on August 10th 1993 to Daniel and Ellenore Parker...

There was no mistaking the information. He'd found Nathan. He had no interest in actually clicking on the link, but the birthday in the description caught his interest. August 10th? That was four days from today.

The twerp hadn't told him his birthday was coming up. Of course, he hadn't asked, so it wasn't really that unexpected. Weren't birthdays something you usually covered with your partner though? Before it happened?

Then again, this would provide a perfect opportunity for him to be sneaky. Nathan hadn't told him his birthday was coming up, so as much as he knew, Varian was still oblivious. So Nathan would spend his birthday with him and not bring it up, thinking Varian didn't really know.

He could have fun with this, he decided. He only had to pretend to remain oblivious, as he had a feeling Nathan wouldn't bring it up.

August was the worst month in the whole year, Nathan officially decided. Even for North Dakota.

After work, since Varian had gone into town, Nathan was stuck with the twins. Not to say he didn't enjoy spending time with his two best friends, but...not when they were constantly arguing.

"You had no right to tell Varian, and Millie, that I had sex with my boyfriend! It's my business! Not to mention grilling him about having sex with Nate!"

"Uh, hello Andrea, my role in their relationship is 'the obnoxious best friend'! If I don't bug them, who will?"

Nathan hung his head, sitting at the table in the twin's kitchen with a cup of soda, listening to them go on.

"Then keep my business out of it!" Andrea yelled, groaning in frustration and going upstairs to her room. Justin sighed, rubbing the back of his neck and sitting across from Nathan.

"Isn't she such fun?" he asked. Nathan snorted, shaking his head.

"Why exactly do I associate with you two again?"

"Love. Unconditional love."

Nathan thought the answer over. "No, no, I don't think so."

Justin rolled his eyes, leaning forward with his elbows on the table. Nathan was somewhat apprehensive about that. The only time Justin was ever quiet was when he was thinking or nervous.

"So...about that Evan guy."

Son of a bitch. Nathan was hoping to not have to think about that again.

"What about him?" he asked with a small sigh. Justin shrugged slightly, looking down to the table.

"Varian told me earlier that he wasn't really one to get into relationships. And I was wondering if you knew anything about him."

"You know," Nathan began, knowing he'd get an annoyed look for his next comment, "The best way to begin a relationship is to find out about the person by asking them yourself."

And what an annoyed look he got. He rolled his eyes.

"Okay, fine. Yeah, Evan's not the type to get into relationships. But Varian also said he didn't think Evan was fucking around with you. He might be really interested. As for info on Evan...he's super gay. That's all I've got. I've talked to the guy once, if that, and...he's just really gay." Nathan said while shaking his head. Justin smirked slightly.

Nathan was expecting another question, but when none came, he frowned. Glancing over to Justin, he could see him thinking hard about something, chewing on his bottom lip. "What?" Nathan asked.

"Is...is Evan a vampire? Like Varian?" Justin asked quietly. Nathan sighed.

"Yeah, he is."

"Is it...weird, being in a relationship with a vampire? I mean, I know you're one too and whatever, but."

Nathan thought that over. He'd never considered his relationship with Varian 'weird'. Maybe a lot of other things, but not weird. Then again, Justin had a point with both himself and Varian being vampires. They were just two different types.

This was an odd conversation.

"Um. No, not really. For me, at least." Nathan finally commented. Justin snorted quietly, pausing before putting his head down on the table.

"Oh my God, this is weird. This is weirder than the time we found-"

"-Let's not go there. Please." Nathan interrupted quickly. He wasn't sure where Justin was going to go with that, but thinking back on all the weird things they've found, he didn't want to know.

"So, moderately off topic, but how long have you and Varian been dating?" Justin asked. Nathan frowned slightly.

"Um...a while? Months, at least. I can't really remember the exact date..."

Well. If he thought about it, they'd really agreed to it on Venerra's birthday, at the zoo. But this had been going on a little before then.

"Hm. Just wondering if you guys had an anniversary or something coming up. Since you're not getting married, I can't buy you a stripper for your bachelor party. So I figured your anniversary would be the next best thing."

Nathan gave Justin an unimpressed look, raising an eyebrow.

"What? Fine then, your birthday."

"Which is in four days."

"Your twenty-first birthday."

Nathan smiled slightly, shaking his head. Part of him figured Justin was just messing around, but...well, it's Justin. He could be unpredictable.

"No strippers, Justin." he commented. Justin rolled his eyes, leaning back in his seat.

"Fine, no strippers. What are you doing for your birthday, anyway?"

"I don't know." Nathan honestly hadn't thought about it. Compared to everything else going on, his birthday felt unimportant. He'd probably just spend the day with Varian.

Had he even told Varian when his birthday was? No. He hadn't.

He'd tell him later. Several months later.

"Oh, hey! Heard from any colleges?"

Nathan frowned. "You were in the store when we covered his."

"I was occupied."

Rolling his eyes, Nathan sighed. "I got rejected from the first couple I applied to."

"Oh, that sucks."

Nathan sighed. He agreed with Justin though. It did, in fact, suck.

Once home, Varian didn't have a whole lot to do. It was still relatively hot out, though it was cooling down enough to where he could actually be outside for a short extended period of time, so he decided to do that.

Helen had once again taken Venerra. Only, she'd taken her somewhere into town this time, which he knew she'd enjoy. He wasn't too worried about her. Helen would bring her back later in the evening.

Sitting down on the front porch steps, Varian rested his chin in his hand and sighed. He was used to Nathan coming over after work, but he'd gone with his friends instead. Not that he could blame him.

Speaking of friends, Varian had gotten to see two out three within the last two days. Jecklynn wasn't a surprise, he could visit her anytime he wished, but Evan? He shook his head. Evan was not expected.

And apparently he wasn't with Klay anymore.

Why Justin? Of all people to pick seriously, it had to be Justin. And Justin just had to accept Evan's almost criminal advances. It was amazing he wasn't sued for extended periods of sexual harassment.

"Should probably talk to Evan sometime." Varian mused out loud to himself. He needed to know if he was serious.

About talking to friends, he recalled that he had yet to confront Jecklynn on her behavior. He could go over there and do it now, he supposed.

Getting up off the porch, he set off towards her house at a relatively fast pace. She wasn't very far down the road, so he arrived there rather quickly. Jecklynn was kneeling out in the yard, looking to be tending some flowers around one of the stone fences Helen coveted so much.

"Hey!" he called out to her.

She looked up and a grin spread on her face. "Come on in, I'm nearly done here." she replied, waving him over.

Crossing the distance between them, he looked to see exactly what she was doing. "Replanting?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said from her kneeling position, patting the dirt around a small flower she'd moved over before straightening up and standing. "You wanna come sit on the porch?"

He nodded, following her up the steps to Helen's small white, two-story farm house. Jecklynn seated herself on a wicker chair, while he chose a stool.

"So, why'd you come? Lonely?" she asked, pulling a lock of honey blond hair out of her face. Those aqua butterfly bobby pins still held back the waves of hair. He'd never seen her not wearing them.

He smiled. "Bored is more like it. But, I guess lonely too. Nathan usually comes over after we're done with work."

She turned to him interested. "Not today?"

"Justin and Andrea snatched him." Varian said. "He might show up later."

She nodded. "So, Nathan. When'd you become friends with him?"

Varian arched a brow at her. "We never were friends. Kind of skipped that part and just started going out."

She frowned. "You seem like friends."

Varian sighed. "He's my boyfriend, Jecklynn. We're dating. Have been for a while. Why is that so hard to get over?"

She glared at him, which had him blinking in surprised. Since when did Jecklynn with her sweet attitude glare at anyone?

"I don't think you should be dating. It was too sudden." she said.

"Actually, for me, it was pretty slow." Varian stated. He didn't get why Jecklynn didn't like Nathan that much. "Why don't you like him?"

She pressed her lips into a line. "Is that why you came over here? To lecture me?"

Now she was defensive? And avoiding the question.

"I just don't understand why you aren't happy for me, Jecklynn. I want to know why."

She sighed, biting her lower lip before looking over at him. Had her eyes always been so dark? Varian couldn't remember.

"I'm not unhappy for you. I'm glad you have someone you really seem to care about," she began. "But I just can't help but wonder if he's the right person for you."

"I feel like he is."

Which was the truth. Everything about being with Nathan felt right, even if nothing else in his life did.

"Well, if that's how you feel, than that's how you feel." Jecklynn relented. "I am happy for you. I just wish you didn't narrow your options so quickly."

Varian looked at her incredulously. Had she really just said that?

"I'm gay Jecklynn." he said. "I thought you knew that."

She ducked her head. "I do know that."

Varian wasn't sure what else to say to her, but thankfully, he didn't need to worry, because something told him he should probably get home.

"I gotta go, I'll see you later, okay?"

She nodded, looking up at him. "I'll be around."

_

Nathan hadn't spent much time at the twins' after his odd conversation with Justin, deciding to go to Varian's. Surely he wouldn't still be in town.

He pulled into the driveway, noticing Varian's truck as he got out of his car and glanced around.

Odd. Varian usually spent most of his time outside, but...Nathan couldn't see any sign of him around the farm. Frowning, he walked up to the house, expecting the door to open. Varian had those odd 'someone's on my property' senses and usually met the person as soon as they got there.

But the door remained closed. Now Nathan was just downright confused. Where the hell would Varian be? Nathan could always check the house, but he was pretty sure Varian wasn't in there either. It wasn't like he ever took a break or anything.

What would he do now? His boyfriend, who was almost always at his house, wasn't at his house. Nathan always knew where Varian was. He walked over to his car, leaning against the side of it and sighing heavily as he looked down to his feet.

He wanted to know where Varian was. But Varian didn't have a cell phone. So he had no way to get a hold of him.

They should fix that at some point.

But that was beside the point. Nathan felt vaguely abandoned. He didn't know why, since Varian was free to go wherever he wanted, but still.

He wondered if that was how dogs felt when their owners left. He wanted to get a dog now. And take it everywhere.

And now he was getting depressed if he was thinking about buying a dog. He didn't even like animals.

But where the hell was Varian? Shouldn't he have shown up by now?

"You know, if I'm not in sight, you can usually find me down the road."

Nathan jumped, looking up to see Varian walking toward him. "Holy shit! A little warning, you gave me a fucking heart attack!"

But, on the plus side, Varian hadn't been randomly abducted or anything...which was good.

"Your heart sounds fine," Varian said with a small smile. "I'm surprised you didn't sense me right away."

"Well sorry, I was busy thinking about my boyfriend being MIA. And dogs." Nathan replied, saying the last part with a small frown. His thought process got weird when he was worried.

"I had to talk to Jecklynn. I'm not going to drive if I can walk."

"Oh." Jecklynn. Oh. Okay then. Sure. That made sense.

Well, now that Nathan thought about it, yeah, it did. Varian said he was going to talk to her about being a bitch.

Now Nathan felt stupid. Not that he'd mention it.

"Anyway, I felt like I should come back, so I did. Guess I was right." Varian continued, putting his hands in his pockets and watching Nathan.

Nathan nodded slightly, crossing his arms over his chest. "So, what'd you talk to her about?"

Might as well ask. He was sort of curious.

"I wanted to know why she was being so witchy. She's not usually like that."

"'Witchy'? Interesting word. Not my first choice of vocabulary, but, you know."

Varian smirked, taking his hands out of his pockets and heading toward the bench by the pasture fence. "She got all defensive. Didn't tell me too much."

Nathan walked over as well, but stood next to Varian instead of sitting as he scrunched up his nose. "Well, it's not like most people just come right out and tell the person they like that they like them."

Because, let's face it, it was obvious that she liked Varian. Painfully obvious. If Jecklynn wasn't female, Nathan would be sorely tempted to punch her in the face.

Well, he was already tempted.

"Makes life easier." Varian commented, then shrugged. "Sucks for her."

"Well, you're in a relationship, so even if she did, it wouldn't really matter."

Ha. Take that, Jecklynn. Nathan refrained from shaking his head at the thought.

"Plus, there's the whole thing about her being a girl. I'm not interested in vagina." Varian commented. "Couldn't do anything with it even if I wanted to."

Nathan snorted, actually shaking his head that time. "Yeah, I know. Gay." he mumbled with a small smile.

"And all the oddities that come with it." Varian agreed, then turned to look at Nathan. "You miss me that bad when I wasn't here?"

Nathan glanced over to him, shifting slightly. "Well, yeah. I almost always know where you are, so...it bothers me a little when I don't."

Nathan briefly wondered if he could tattoo 'Property of Nathaniel Vogel' somewhere on Varian. Just to be on the safe side. He didn't see Varian going for it though.

"Well, it's too early for field work, so if I'm not around in the vicinity to greet you, you can find me at Helen's."

"I'll keep that in mind."

Varian smiled before finally sitting on the bench, looking up at Nathan. "So, I was thinking."

Nathan raised an eyebrow. "Of?"

"Getting some extra help around here."

"Ah." Nathan nodded, sitting next to Varian and leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. "Mom and I were talking about that the other day, too."

Varian glanced over curiously. "Why?"

Nathan understood the curiosity. It was an odd conversation, even to him. "She was worried about you, believe it or not. She was asking what you were going to do once I left for college."

Varian paused, taking a moment to think that over before looking slightly distraught. "I'm not her child, why would she be worried about me?"

"I guess she's getting used to you," Nathan said with a small shrug, "You are dating her son, after all. She wants to make sure you'll be okay. You know, she's not that bad when she's not bitching about something."

It was true. Elle was actually rather thoughtful, when something didn't piss her off. Nathan wanted to say 'it's a mother thing', but, well, considering Varian's own mother...

"I don't know how I feel about that." Varian said quietly, folding his hands in his lap and looking down at them. "I'm used to doing things on my own, nobody caring."

Nathan smiled slightly at that, reaching over and rubbing Varian's back. "Yeah, well. Not everyone in the world is a complete jackass."

Varian looked up and sighed. "I still don't like asking for help. But with the weather like it is, I'm going to have to."

Nathan only hummed in response, glancing up to the sky.

"Did Justin talk to you?" Varian asked, glancing up as well.

"A little, yeah. Most of the time it was listening to him and Andrea argue."

Which, while it was entertaining, Nathan could only take so much of.

Varian smirked. "The whole sleeping with her boyfriend already ordeal? I saw the look she gave him. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that." he paused, shivering. "Nope. Definitely not."

"No, trust me, you don't. I was once, and for a whole week I was terrified that she'd sneak into my house and murder me in the middle of the night."

Varian turned to Nathan curiously. "What'd you do?"

"Registered her on every dating site I could find."

Took her almost a whole year to delete all the accounts. Who knew there were so many dating sites?

Varian paused before laughing. "It'd be worth it. Probably the only thing worth it."

"Oh, it was very worth it." Nathan agreed with a small laugh of his own.

Not that he'd ever do it again, but still.

Varian was pleased to know that Nathan had been worried about him. He didn't think it was that big of a deal that he'd been gone, but he supposed to Nathan, it would be. There weren't too many ways to get a hold of him.

Although, the dating sites thing was peculiar. Why would people use technology to get together? He decided to voice his thoughts so Nathan could comment. Maybe he'd have a good reason, though Varian figured he'd probably shrug, shake his head, or just say he didn't really know. Or a combination of those things.

"Maybe they're too shy to go out and find one themselves." Nathan answered with a shrug.

Well, he'd gotten the shrug part right. Plus one for him.

Varian thought about that for a moment. Shyness was so inhibiting. He didn't see much point in it. And if you were Justin it only attracted Evan's attention.

"Shy? Who has time to be shy?"

"Obviously not you." Nathan replied with a laugh. "Just how some people are. We're not all as blunt as you are."

Varian smiled. "Oh, I'm definitely not shy," he said. "People can't find as much to pick on if you're not afraid to express yourself."

Nathan frowned slightly. "Hm. I don't know that I agree with that, but, if you say so."

Now it was Varian's turn to shrug. That particular defense mechanism had proven handy many times, but it'd also been a hindrance too.

"Sometimes it's useful, sometimes not." Varian relented. He wasn't going to go back on what he'd said because it was partially true. "Besides, I couldn't have as much fun with you if I was shy."

In the background, Varian heard hooves approaching. One set he recognized as Cana's easily. The other he wasn't quite sure.

"Point taken." Nathan agreed, drawing Varian's attention away from the hoof beats.

He was about to respond when a familiar whinny sounded from the edge of the large pasture. This time though, it wasn't Cana that had called a greeting.

Nathan jumped in surprise, but Varian was used to random horse calls, so he just turned lazily to see who it was. Cana stood there, but next to him was an excited looked Epona. He hadn't seen her this excited in a while.

"Suppose you guys want out huh?"

Nathan looked over to the horses too and raised an eyebrow at them.

Not to Varian's surprise, Cana nodded his head, snorting impatiently. Epona, on the other hand, perked her ears forward when Nathan turned to see and nickered to him. Interesting.

"Fine. I'll let you out. So demanding." Varian muttered, getting up from the bench and quickly crossing the distance to the gate, unlatching it and stepping aside.

Cana walked out and nipped at his hair affectionately, making Varian duck to protect it as much as possible. "Leave my hair alone you gigantic beast."

Epona trotted past Cana and made a beeline for Nathan, slowing to a walk as she approached him, and stopping about ten feet away, watching him.

Nathan stared at her. Varian figured he wasn't used to any horse but Cana really paying him any attention, and glanced between her and himself.

"You already know she's not going to hurt you," Varian said, walking back over to the bench, Cana following obediently behind. "She wants to get closer to you, but she doesn't want to scare you."

All Nathan did was sigh and lean back against the bench.

Epona took this reaction as permission to go closer to him as she walked up to him and dipped her head down, snorting softly. Cana glanced over curiously before turning to Varian, nudging his shoulder. Varian reached absently to stroke Cana's snout.

Doing a similar move, Nathan rubbed Epona's snout instead. This had her swishing her tail happily and extending her neck so she could nuzzle his cheek, lipping at strands of his hair in the process.

Varian couldn't help but smile at Epona's display of affection. She really seemed to like Nathan.

Nathan on the other hand, tensed up for a second before rolling his eyes slightly, sighing.

Ears swiveling in Nathan's direction, Cana snorted indignantly before pacing and whinnying to get his attention before walking over and sidling up next to Epona, snorting at Nathan.

Varian rolled his own eyes before resuming his spot on the bench. Of all the reactions Cana could have, he was jealous of Epona. What an idiot.

Frowning slightly at the two horses, Nathan reached over to rub Cana's snout instead of Epona's. This seemed to make him happy, but Epona apparently wasn't going to have him.

"I'm seeing where this going and I'm not sure I like it." Varian commented, watching as Epona flattened her ears back and nudged Cana. He responded by tossing his head and using his height advantage to lean over and nip one of her ears. It certainly wasn't a love bite.

"No shit." Nathan mumbled, retracting his hand and folding them in his lap while also taking to watching the two horses.

Setting his jaw, Varian eyed his horse. "Behave, or I'll put you in your stall for the evening."

Cana looked over at him, flicking his ears forward before pawing the ground.

Varian crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm serious. Do you like your freedom?"

The massive red roan snorted, looking back at Epona and Nathan before dropping his head and stalking off to nibble on a patch of grass near the pasture fence.

"Thought so."

"Well that was interesting." Nathan remarked.

Varian turned to him curiously. "What was interesting? That Cana got jealous or I had a conversation with my horse?"

Nathan appeared to think about what he'd said for a minute before shrugging. "Both."

Honestly, Varian couldn't see what was wrong with talking to animals. They were pretty intelligent, and Cana had a habit of talking back, even if it wasn't verbal.

"I talk to my horses all the time. As you can see, they understand what I say." Varian replied, gesturing to the sulking Cana.

Epona flicked her ears towards him, tossing her head before focusing back on Nathan.

"I know. Still odd to see I guess. I mean, I used to talk to my pet fish, but, he'd just ignore me." Nathan said, raising an eyebrow at Epona but keeping his hands in his lap.

Varian pulled some hair out of his face, it was at the awkward stage where it was too short to tie back, but too long to keep out of his way. "After everything you've seen me do, you really shouldn't be surprised I talk to my animals." he said with a chuckle.

Which was true. Nathan had seen him do some weird stuff. He should be used to this by now.

Just as Varian was used to Nathan's non-verbal responses. Like the nod he gave after.

"I'd dare say you talk less than I do." Varian commented, smiling.

Nathan smiled too, then jumped slightly- in what Varian presumed was a sudden thought. "Oh! By the way, I have a question."

Questions usually meant personal matters. Varian didn't mind those though, he'd told Nathan he'd help him learn as much as he could. "Yes?"

"How would a relationship between a human and a Changed vampire work?"

Well, that wasn't too unexpected, considering his human friend had just hooked up with Evan, a Changed vampire. Unfortunately, there were a lot of answers he could give.

"Hm. Not much differently than a Mortal and a Mortal, a Mortal and a human, or a Mortal and Changed vampire." Varian began, thinking over what he wanted to say. He'd deliberately left out a Changed vampire and a Changed vampire. Those relationships were a little different. "The people involved have to learn about each other. Of course, the Changed vampire is highly touch oriented, so the human can't have a very big personal bubble."

That nod returned. "Justin and I were talking about it earlier, so that's why I was asking. He's nervous I think, about being with Evan."

Varian couldn't help the snort. "As he should be. Evan will jump him as soon as he gets the chance."

Nathan raised his eyebrows. "Well that's easy. Just get him drunk."

Varian grimaced at the thought of that. Alcohol and Changed vampires shouldn't be in a mix. Hopefully Evan would know not to kiss Justin if he was drinking, but Varian honestly didn't know how much Evan knew about that.

"Not a good idea, because once Evan kisses Justin he'll be affected by the alcohol too."

"I'm willing to bet Justin will only have sex with him if he's drunk. And, since I have absolutely no idea what alcohol does to a Changed vampire, it's not like I can go and warn Justin about it or anything." Nathan responded, shrugging casually and glancing over to Varian.

Sighing, Varian rubbed the back of his neck. Nathan was seriously bringing that back up? It was about the only thing he'd really get embarrassed over, honestly. But, Justin needed a warning, so might as well come out with it.

"As you know, Changed vampires are highly sexual beings. The only thing really keeping us from turning into nymphomaniacs is our other instincts. Alcohol suppresses them. So, put alcohol in a Changed vampire's system and you get one really horny vampire."

Nathan seemed to rather enjoy his response, because he snorted quietly and used his hand to cover his mouth, hiding a smile. "Ah. That is highly interesting." he murmured.

Varian felt his face heat up before he averted his attention from his boyfriend. That was highly embarrassing. If he had the chance to ever do that again, he'd rather tell him he couldn't have erections again.

"Don't even think about it." he growled.

"I have no idea what you're talking about." Nathan replied, clearing his throat and composing himself again, then smiling and hanging his head. "I'm sorry, really, it's just, an interesting thought."

Glad to see someone was amused. Hesitantly, Varian looked back over at Nathan. He was still pretty embarrassed to having to admit that, but he'd get over it.

"Evan is skilled in the art of seducing. If he wants sex, Justin won't have to be drunk. Plus, Evan's a lot stronger than Justin. He could just pin him down if he really wanted to."

Nathan raised an eyebrow at the last part, humming quietly to himself. "Well, if it happens, it happens. I'm not going to be a dick like Justin and pry into their sex life. Mostly because I don't really want to know."

"Sad thing is, we'll both probably have to hear about it anyway." Varian sighed. "But it won't be too bad for Justin. Evan's not a top."

"Oh Jesus Varian...mental images..." Nathan groaned, leaning forward and covering his face with his hands.

Snickering, Varian took great pleasure in making Nathan uncomfortable. "Payback. Anyway, on a more serious note, Justin has to be careful about what he says to Evan."

Nathan uncovered his face and rubbed at his temples, glaring slightly at Varian. "Why?"

Ignoring the glare, Varian figured Nathan should already know, but decided to explain it. "Changed vampires are sensitive to what people say to them. Even if he meant it as a joke, if Justin said something that could be viewed as offensive, it'll hurt Evan."

"Justin's offensive in general."

"I'm aware." Varian commented dryly. He could be an idiot sometimes, for sure. "But he'll learn quickly if he's serious about being with Evan. Nobody wants to get on the bad side of a Changed vampire."

Nathan snorted quietly, leaning back against the bench. "I can't tell if he's serious or not. I mean, Evan's the first guy he's ever been with." He replied with a shrug.

Varian looked up at Epona who was pretty much all but forgotten. She'd wandered off a bit when they'd been talking, and was now sidled up to Cana, working at a patch of grass near his. Well, they were getting along now, which was good.

"That's always a little scary. First person makes the biggest impact."

Anyone's first person made an impact. You couldn't forget your first, no matter how hard you tried.

Nathan hummed in agreement, nodding. "He asked me a couple questions, about dating a vampire. Don't think I was much help though."

"From a human perspective, maybe not. But you have a good idea about what it's like to be with a Changed vampire." Varian pointed out. Nathan had been with him for a long time, compared to most Changed vampire relationships. They were either really short, or lasted for life. "Although, my case is quite a bit different than Evan's. You've had to put up with a lot more than Justin will."

"That was my thought. I figure dating you isn't the same as dating Evan."

Varian smiled in amusement. "Certainly not. I don't throw myself at you. Much."

Smiling back, Nathan reached over, putting his hand on Varian's knee. "Not that I'd complain if you did."

"Hm. We'll see. You tend to change your tune when I actually do something to you." Varian replied.

It was interesting how Nathan would complain about it in passing, but when things actually happened he didn't seem to mind. Most of the time.

"Eh. I get nervous." Nathan said simply.

Nervous? That was odd.

"Why? Whenever I ask if I can do something you always tell me not to, but then you get nervous?"

"Hell if I know. I've always been like that." Nathan shrugged.

Varian took a moment to process that. It was understandable getting nervous, he remembered getting nervous at the beginning. He never knew what Grant was going to do, so he was always out of the loop.

Setting his jaw, Varian shoved that thought aside. He really didn't want to think about that. It bugged him to no end that those memories would never go away. He was stuck with them, and not even sleep could save him from their torment.

"Well, I'm not going to hurt you." Varian finally said. "My natural inclination is to please you. I'd have to fight instinct to do anything else."

"I know that." Nathan mumbled, squeezing Varian's knee lightly.

Good. He should know that. However, despite the attention his knee was getting, Varian felt like his lips were being neglected. Eh, he'd have plenty of time to worry about that later. Right now he was just enjoying himself, spending time with Nathan.

"That makes both our lives easier." Varian said, smiling.

As long as Nathan knew he wasn't going to hurt him, then Varian was happy.

_

August tenth.

Fuck.

Nathan sighed, rubbing his hands over his face before glancing to the clock on the nightstand beside his bed. He'd actually gone home last night instead of just staying at Varian's, out of Elle's request.

He knew it was just because she wanted to be the first one to see him that morning. She was probably worried about him spending all day at Varian's and not seeing her. Which, if Nathan had his way, would have been highly accurate.

Sitting up slowly, Nathan climbed out of bed, shuffling his way down the stairs and into the kitchen for something to drink.

"It's about time. You'd think you'd be excited for your twentieth birthday."

Glancing into the kitchen to see Elle and Eric sitting on the couch, Nathan gave them a blank look. "I'll be excited for my twenty-first."

Elle rolled her eyes as Eric ducked his head, hiding a small smile. "So, I guess you're going to Varian's today?" Elle asked, raising her eyebrows.

Nathan nodded, walking over and standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room. "Yeah."

"You spend an awful lot of time over there." Eric spoke suddenly, making Nathan frown slightly. Did he not know about him and Varian? Of course he spent a lot of time over there.

From the innocent look on Elle's face, no, Eric didn't know. Great. She cleared her throat, shifting slightly. "Uh, Nathan? I was thinking that maybe sometime soon you could have Varian and...um..."

"Venerra."

"Right, Venerra. I was thinking that maybe you could have them come over for dinner sometime."

Was she serious? Did she really just invite them to dinner? Nathan wasn't sure whether to be happy or suspicious.

"Oh. Uh. I guess."

She nodded, settling back into her seat with a small, accomplished smile before the house phone rang, making her jump up to grab it as she left Nathan and Eric alone. Nathan wasn't sure what to say, so he opted for silence instead, glancing around the room. Eric cleared his throat, surprisingly speaking first.

"Your mom seems really interested in that Varian kid all of a sudden."

Nathan snorted, crossing his arms over his chest. "Yeah, I guess. Sort of surprised me, considering how she was when they met."

"Well, you know your mother," Eric sighed, "She didn't exactly have the best experiences with vampires."

"Yeah...um, Eric?"

"Hm?" Eric looked over, raising his eyebrows in question as Nathan hesitated. How would he react to finding out the real reason why Nathan was with Varian all the time? Nathan wasn't too worried about it, but Elle wanted them to come over for dinner. He didn't want things to be awkward.

"Well...you know Varian and I met in the beginning of Senior year, and then he got sick so I took care of Venerra, and then he got better, and we were talking a lot more and everything, and he told me I was Mortal, and then I found out about Grant, but we'll get to that another time, and we work at the same place, and I'm at his house all the time and, well, long story short, we're kind of, sort of in a serious relationship...together...me and Varian. Who's a guy."

So he may have rambled a little bit. What kid didn't when coming out to their parents?

Eric stared back with a blank expression, blinking a few times before shaking his head slightly. "Um...just to make sure I've got this straight- you and Varian are...together? As in 'dating' together? There's not some alternative meaning behind 'together', is there? You're not off doing drugs or something, 'together', right?"

Nathan couldn't help himself as he started laughing, holding his sides and shaking his head. "What the hell? Drugs? You think I do drugs? Jesus, no, I mean dating! Good God, what did you do as a kid?"

Eric held his hands up, shrugging slightly. "Just making sure. I've heard terms where I thought they meant one thing and they meant something completely different." he said, dropping his hands and looking at Nathan seriously. "I'm glad you told me though, I appreciate it. I have one rule though."

"What?"

"No kissing at the table."

"Ew, that's gross," Nathan replied, scrunching up his nose, "We'll be eating, I'm not kissing him with food in my mouth."

Elle came back at that point, glancing between Nathan and Eric. "What were you talking about? I heard Nathan laughing all the way upstairs."

"Bath salts, Mom."

"Not funny, Nathaniel."

Smiling, Nathan headed back for the stairs. "Um, excuse me sir. Where are you going?" Elle said, making Nathan turn around and snort quietly.

"Varian's, duh. Where else do I ever go?"

Elle thought for a second before waving him off, and he couldn't help but overhear Eric and Elle's following conversation.

"So...they're dating?"

"Yes dear."

"And Nathan spends the night at his house?"

"Yes dear."

"...You don't think they're having sex, do you?"

"If they are, I don't care. Neither of them can get pregnant."

Nathan snorted, closing his bedroom door and getting dressed.

The drive to Varian's felt shorter than usual, which Nathan thought was odd as he pulled into the driveway and stepped out of the car. It was about ten in the morning by that point, and it was already ninety degrees. Nathan vaguely wondered how the temperature could be that high in the northern part of the country.

Nathan wasn't surprised when he didn't see Varian outside, but his truck was still there. He wasn't sure if he'd be inside the house or not, considering the incident of a few days ago, but it was worth a look. Walking up to the front door, he tried the handle and noticed it wasn't locked, walking into the living room. Varian wasn't in there, or the kitchen. Might as well check his bedroom.

Opening the door slowly, Nathan glanced around, then was momentarily shocked.

There, on the bed, was Varian, sleeping and cuddled up under his covers. Nathan couldn't help the smile that crossed his face as he stepped over silently, watching Varian for a second before sitting on the edge of the bed. He was surprised that Varian didn't wake up, and while he didn't want to wake him up himself, he was bored.

Well. What's the worst that could happen? Nathan reached over, poking Varian's shoulder a few times. Most romantic way to wake someone up, ever.

Note the sarcasm there.

Varian stirred for a moment before opening his eyes and glaring at Nathan, though it wasn't very threatening, being half asleep and all. "Poke me anymore than that and you'll find out what happens rather quickly."

Nathan smiled innocently. "That actually tempts me to poke you again."

Varian rolled his eyes, turning away from Nathan and pulling the blanket up to cover his face. "I don't feel like molesting you right now." He muttered from under the blanket.

Nathan laughed at that as he leaned over and pulled the blankets away from Varian's face, kissing his cheek and sitting back up again. "Glad to see you're in a happy mood this morning."

It was fun to bug people who were half asleep.

"I'm not in a bad mood. Just tired. I'm actually really happy to see you."

"Oh, tired? Well, if you'd like, I can always leave and come back when you're actually awake..." Nathan said casually. Of course he'd do no such thing, and he had a feeling Varian knew it, but still.

Where would he go anyway? The shop? The twins' house? No thank you. He actually wanted to enjoy his birthday.

Varian glared at Nathan in irritation before snagging his wrist, yanking him down onto the bed, and on top of himself. "I don't think so." he growled lightly.

"Alright, could've just said no." Nathan laughed, putting his hands on the sides of Varian's face before he started humming the theme song to Legend of Zelda.

He was in an abnormally good mood.

Varian smiled before reaching up to run his fingers through Nathan's hair. "I recall disagreeing with your statement just fine."

Nathan shrugged at that, leaning down and quickly pecking Varian on the lips while still humming away.

Alright, so maybe he was in a really super unnatural good mood. Border lining on uncharacteristic.

"You're happy. I don't think I did it this time though." Varian said, looking up at him curiously.

Well, it was Varian. Nathan was always happy to see Varian.

"Combination of things. You. Eric. Elle. You. Mostly you, just cause, well, you're you. Oh, by the way, Mom wants you to come over for dinner sometime with Venerra."

Varian froze, staring at Nathan for a little while before finally blinking and swiftly returning to hiding under the blanket.

Oh hell no.

"Aw, c'mon Varian! She's trying to be civilized! Besides, she makes really good food! And Eric wants to meet you!"

He would try and pull the blanket back down, but let's face it, Varian would just pull it back up. Damn him. Nathan failed to see how the idea of having dinner at his house warranted such a reaction. His mom wasn't that bad. She was just a complete bitch on occasion.

Varian grabbed his pillow and pulled it under the blanket with him, retreating a little further. "Sounds absolutely terrifying," he muttered.

"Varian, she's not that bad. Besides, you've never even met Eric." Nathan replied, leaning up slightly to lift the blanket up, peering down at Varian through the opening.

He narrowed his eyes at Nathan, clutching his pillow closer to him. "If he's anything like your mother I could do without."

"Hey, we are talking about the woman who gave birth to me here. If she hadn't of had sex, I wouldn't be here." Nathan replied, raising his eyebrows at Varian.

He felt as though his boyfriend was being slightly childish. It was dinner with Elle. He was acting like he was going to Hell to eat with the Devil or something.

Varian sighed in defeat. "I am kind of curious to see what your house looks like."

Hell yes.

"The term 'dollhouse' has been passed around by the twins." Nathan said thoughtfully. As previously said- it wasn't his fault that his mom had nothing better to do all day than clean.

Varian cracked a small smile before finally coming out from under the blanket, throwing his pillow at Nathan lightly.

"Not nice." Nathan said before putting the pillow off to the side and sighing quietly while watching Varian.

"How am I supposed to sleep without a pillow?" Varian asked, looking pointedly at Nathan.

He still wanted to sleep? Really?

"Ah, well, you know, sleeping is so...overrated."

"Not when it's like a hundred degrees outside." Varian grumbled, laying down on his side anyway and pulling his blanket back up, using one of his arms as a makeshift pillow.

"It's only ninety degrees outside, now come on, get up! I'm bored!" Nathan rolled his eyes slightly as he complained. His good mood was going fast.

"I'd say 'make me' but you probably would." Varian commented before sticking his tongue out at Nathan and hiding back under his blanket.

Nathan glared slightly. "You're so mature. Varian, come on, I'm serious. Up."

"It's too hot to work, so I wanna sleep."

"No one said 'get up and work'. I just said 'get up'." Why was Varian being so difficult? Was this what heat did? Nathan made a mental note to check real estate in Alaska.

"You can try, but the most you'll manage is partial."

Did he really just say that?

"Varian Joll. No innuendos. Now, get. The hell. Up." Nathan replied, poking Varian's side to emphasize the last two words.

Varian jumped and scrambled away from Nathan, pulling the blanket off himself and panting. "What'd I say about poking?"

So Varian was ticklish...this could be interesting.

"What did I say about getting up?" Nathan replied with a blank expression before moving quickly, poking Varian's side again.

"Hey!" Varian snapped, sitting up and glaring at him. "I'm up. Geez."

Nathan smirked back. "Yeah, you're up. Not gonna save you, sorry." he said before tackling Varian back onto the bed, wrapping his legs around his waist to hold Varian in place while repeatedly poking both of his sides. Varian squirmed underneath him, laughing and trying to get away.

"Get off!" he gasped.

"Nah, don't think so." Nathan replied calmly, not letting up on the poking. It'd taken Nathan several minutes to get Varian up, which meant he'd endure several minutes of tickling. Or at least until Nathan was physically thrown off. Whichever came first.

Varian yelped at the poking before attempting to shove Nathan back, failing, but somehow managing to work his way towards the edge of the bed with Nathan still attached.

"I swear to God if you make us fall off this bed." Nathan said with a smile, letting up on the poking only slightly for fear of falling. He didn't want to fall off the bed. He hated falling off beds.

"Then let me go." Varian said, struggling to get out from under Nathan again and getting them even closer to the edge, trying to fend of Nathan's pokes.

A futile attempt.

"You've still got another minute," Nathan informed him, trying to inch them back toward the middle of the bed. It didn't work too well, since Nathan was multitasking.

Varian growled before shoving away from the bed, sending the pair right over the edge and onto the floor.

The fucker.

They laid there for a second, as the impact of the floor had caused Nathan to roll off Varian, who was laughing and panting for breath before he shifted to look at Nathan.

Nathan sighed and sat up, leaning on his arm to look down at Varian. "See, if you'd just gotten up, we wouldn't be laying on the floor right now," he said with a smile.

"I was up. Then you decided to attack me with pokes. Now I'm laying back down. Who's fault is that?"

"Yours for not getting up earlier."

Varian scowled at Nathan slightly, then stopped and started grinning instead. Odd.

"I don't know how I feel about the sudden facial expression change." Nathan mumbled, scrunching up his nose. Varian grabbed Nathan and shoved him over on his back, climbing on top of him and straddling him, looking down with that grin still on his face.

"Well, now I'm up, and you're still not." Varian said, letting his gaze wander down.

Nathan stuttered for a second before sighing. "I thought I said no innuendos." he mumbled.

"You're no fun." Varian pouted.

Nathan laughed, reaching up and rubbing Varian's arms. "Oh, I'm sorry. Would you like a different response?"

"Yes, actually." Varian said, then paused. "On second thought, I have to get dressed, so never mind."

Nathan opened his mouth to say something, then closed it again, frowning. Dressed? Wasn't Varian already dressed?

Varian got up and headed for his closet, starting to look through his clothes. Nathan didn't understand why he needed to get dressed again, but he didn't comment and only sat up silently, sighing as he watched Varian.

Picking out, as far as Nathan could see, some jeans, another tank top, which happened to be white, Varian brought the bundle of clothes to the bed, setting them on the edge before glancing at Nathan. "I can't imagine it's very comfortable on the floor."

No. But Nathan didn't want to get up. Though, since Varian mentioned it, he was interested, groaning quietly as he slowly got up from the floor, sitting back on the bed and crossing his legs.

Varian watched him for a second before pulling the tank top he was already wearing off and tossing it in his hamper without even looking.

Alright. Shirtless Varian. Unexpected, but wonderful to look at, Nathan decided.

Varian was still watching Nathan while going for his belt and unbuckling it.

Who the hell wore a belt to bed? Nathan was about to voice his question, glancing up to Varian's face before the question died in his throat.

Nathan knew what Varian was doing. He was undressing himself intentionally.

Holy shit.

Varian smirked, still not looking away from Nathan as he pulled the belt out of the loops and tossed it aside, going for the button on his pants next.

Nathan exhaled loudly, intently watching Varian's hands while his own fingers twitched slightly. This was so not fair. Varian wasn't allowed to just randomly seduce him by taking off his clothes.

Not that Nathan had any intention whatsoever of stopping it. But, unfortunately, Nathan couldn't help but notice that his fingers weren't the only extremities that were twitching.

The smirk on Varian's face widened into a small smile as he undid the button on his pants, pulling the zipper down as well, freeing his hips until he let the pants drop, stepping out of them and kicking them aside to join his belt.

By this point Nathan was oblivious to pretty much everything, focusing on Varian's hands and watching them intently while folding his hands in his lap.

Well...guess he got a stripper for his birthday after all. All that was missing was a lap dance.

Varian took his time removing the last layer of clothing, pulling down slowly before stepping out and kicking away, like he had with his pants, before standing there in plain sight.

God damn. Fuck Grant. Fuck impotency.

Fuck. Varian should be naked more often.

Nathan's eyes widened further as he moved one arm, putting his elbow on his knee and resting his chin on his hand, observing Varian silently.

Then he was distracted by the fact that, yes, Varian had given him an erection.

Varian smiled fully after a minute, wasting no time in pulling the fresh clothes on, much to Nathan's displeasure. He couldn't voice that as he was too busy thinking about how to not make it obvious that he was highly turned on.

Varian seemed to notice anyway.

"Need help with that?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at Nathan, who opened his mouth and then closed it again, opting to hum affirmatively.

"Remember the porch?" Varian asked.

Porch. Porch. Por- oh. The porch. Yes, Nathan definitely remembered the porch. And the hand job that came with it.

Nathan nodded after a second.

"I'm going to get behind you, like that. You need to get comfortable." Varian said, moving to get up on the bed behind Nathan and allowing him time to adjust his sitting position.

Comfortable? With an erection? Ha. He's funny. Nathan snorted quietly, moving back toward Varian and pressing his back to Varian's chest.

Varian shifted a little before reaching around, quickly undoing Nathan's pants and pulling them down along with his boxers. "You okay?"

"Yeah." Nathan mumbled quietly.

Varian wasted no time in getting to work, stroking Nathan slowly and deliberately. Nathan in turn hissed quietly through his teeth at first, biting his bottom lip. Varian kept the slow pace, tightening his grip a little and seeming to explore the length of the shaft, sliding his fingers over the head and back down. Closing his eyes, Nathan leaned into Varian further, feeling his breathing picking up slightly.

Squeezing a little harder, but maintaining his pace still, Varian swiped his thumb over the tip, pressing it briefly before returning to his stoking motions, making Nathan moan quietly.

In response to Nathan's moan, Varian immediately adjusted his pace, gripping tighter with his hand and pumping Nathan.

"Shit," Nathan moaned out, lifting his hips slightly out of reflex.

Varian leaned into press his face to Nathan's neck, stroking him a little faster before nipping him.

Nathan wasn't prepared for that.

"Fuck!" he let out loudly, bringing one hand up to weave through Varian's hair.

Varian smirked at Nathan's outburst before nipping him again, pumping his hand harder.

"God fucking...shit." Nathan opened his eyes to glare slightly at Varian, though he felt like it didn't exactly come out too well. "Do you have to do that?"

"Yes I do." Varian replied, nuzzling Nathan's neck for a moment, only to nip him again to prove his point, biting harder than before.

"My G-...if you keep doing that, I'm gonna cum. Faster than expected."

"No you won't." Varian replied, brushing his lips against Nathan's neck before licking a line up to pull on his earlobe, tugging at him faster and swiping his thumb over the tip again a couple times. Nathan moaned a few unintelligible words, even to himself, as he closed his eyes again, lifting his hips.

"Holy shit, Varian..."

Varian stilled his hand then, keeping his grip at the base and releasing Nathan's ear lobe.

What. The hell.

Nathan opened his eyes after a second, frowning and looking over at Varian, still breathing heavily. "Um...Varian...what the hell?"

"I said you weren't going to come, didn't I?"

Nathan stared back for a second, then glared. Was Varian really not going to let him cum? Because that was bullshit.

Snickering, Varian leaned in and nibbled on the shell of Nathan's ear. "Unless you want to." He said softly, his hand going back to stroking Nathan slowly.

"You fucker." Nathan murmured, closing his eyes again and sighing quietly.

"Not true. I've never fucked anybody." Varian replied, nipping at Nathan's neck again.

"This is not the time to be technical."

"That's right, you want to come, don't you?" Varian teased, stroking Nathan faster and sliding his lips down Nathan's neck lightly, down to the dip by his shoulder where he sucked, making Nathan moan.

Squeezing harder, Varian went back to pumping the shaft, moving his mouth to tug on Nathan's ear lobe again and using the tip of his tongue to lave the flesh gripped in his teeth.

The feeling made Nathan shiver, moaning again. "Shit..."

"Expletives are good." Varian murmured, letting go of Nathan's ear to kiss his neck and shifting his hand to pay attention to the head, thumbing the tip a couple times before going back to stroking him entirely, tugging harder. Nathan gasped quietly due to the attention to his head and moaned again, unable to formulate an actual response.

Varian responded to Nathan's gasp by repeating the earlier attention, only letting his hand linger and rubbing the head itself, squeezing harder before sliding back down the shaft and up quickly. At the same time, he nipped Nathan's neck, biting harder than he had earlier.

"Oh fuck I'm gonna cum...I swear to God if you stop again I will ignore you for the rest of the week..." Nathan warned through a loud moan.

"Go ahead," Varian replied, nipping again and moving his hand a little faster. "I won't deny you a second time."

Thank God, Nathan thought, feeling the start of his orgasm as he tensed up slightly, moaning loudly through the entirety of it.

"Oh holy fucking hell, God damn..."

He should probably tone down the cussing at some point. But he'd worry about that later.

Varian had continued to stroke him throughout the orgasm, stopping when Nathan was finished, though he made no move to get up as Nathan tried to calm down.

So far- best. Birthday. Ever.

"Well, now that that's done, I can finish getting ready."

First order of business, wash his hands. Pulling away from Nathan, Varian slid off his bed and went into his bathroom, turning on the faucet before commencing the process of getting soap on his hands, lathering said soap, and then proceeding to cleanse his hands.

Nathan on the other hand, snorted, falling back onto the bed and sighing loudly. He seemed pretty content, despite the fact that he hadn't put his junk away yet.

Smiling, Varian turned off the faucet and grabbed a hand towel to dry his hands with before getting his toothbrush. He didn't want to kiss Nathan with morning breath.

From his peripheral vision, Varian noted Nathan still laid there on his bed for another minute before getting up and fixing himself, rubbing his hands over his face briefly.

He forgot that he had his toothbrush in his mouth for a moment before the plastic smacked his right fang. Wincing, Varian fought the urge to clamp his teeth together. It always hurt whenever he did that. He was still surprised that he actually had done that, honestly. He hadn't hit his fangs since he'd first gotten used to them.

Must be side-tracked.

Taking a moment for his fang to stop throbbing in pain- one of the few things that actually did hurt- he finished brushing and spat into the sink, blood mixing in with the toothpaste. He paused. He didn't think he'd hit it that hard.

Rinsing out his mouth quickly, Varian spat again, noting there was significantly less blood. Tonguing his fang, he winced again when a jolt of pain ran through his jaw and forced him to clamp it shut. The pain was temporarily alleviated before it returned as a dull ache.

"Ow," he muttered, running his tongue along the fang again, this time a little less pain accompanying his action.

Nathan looked into the bathroom and raised an eyebrow.

"Not that important," Varian said, putting his toothbrush away and heading out of the bathroom towards Nathan who was still lounging on his bed. "I just smacked a fang with my toothbrush."

It really wasn't that important, but he figured he'd explain. Of course, it hurt a lot more than he was letting it off to be.

Nathan frowned slightly. "Ah."

"Random word of advice, if you need to distract a Changed vampire for a period of time, hit them in their mouth. Hurts like hell." Varian stated, going to his closet to hunt up socks and his boots.

He supposed that if Nathan was ever corned by one at college, then he'd have some form of defense. He felt a lot better with Nathan knowing that, even though he doubted he'd ever need it.

"Well. Should I ever need to punch one or something, I'll keep that in mind."

"That's why I brought it up." Varian replied, finally finding socks and grabbing his boots, going back to his bed and sitting on the edge of the left side, pulling the socks on.

"Can't see why I'd ever be in a situation like that." Nathan mumbled, putting his hands in his pockets and standing by Varian.

Varian shrugged. "Just in case. Not all Changed vampires are like me. They don't all have control. You're bound to meet at least one at college, and I want you to have a defense mechanism." he said, pulling his boots on and fastening them before looking up at Nathan. "Because I can't be with you when you're gone."

Nathan frowned at what he'd said, crossing his arms over his chest. "You know, that thought had never even crossed my mind."

Never? Nathan had never thought that Changed vampires could be dangerous? Didn't help that he was used to an abnormal Changed vampire though.

"One of the drawbacks of being used to an abnormal Changed vampire." Varian said. "You forget my kind are dangerous."

Which was true. Changed vampires in general were considered highly dangerous. Especially to Mortals.

Nathan nodded slightly in agreement to what Varian had said.

Was there anything else Nathan could do to thwart his kind? Varian pondered that for a moment. "You could also threaten to call the cops. Those about the only defenses you'd really have."

"Well damn. Can't really do much against you guys." Nathan said with a small frown.

Varian sighed. "As a Mortal vampire, you're going to have to fend off my kind a lot."

Nathan rolled his eyes. "Oh yay."

Getting up from his bed, Varian glanced at it, noting how entirely disarrayed it was. The blanket hung half on and half off the bed, his pillow was all the way across his usual sleeping spot, and the sheets would now have to be changed.

Sighing again, Varian decided to ignore his bed for a bit. "It's not that difficult. We tend to ignore people that put up a fight. No use trying to get blood from them if they're so defensive."

"Still. I'll just...cross that bridge when I get to it, I guess. That reminds me, I left some mail in my car. I'll read it later." Nathan mumbled.

Probably some more college letters, Varian figured. Of course, now that Nathan had mentioned them, he was curious. What were they about? What did they say? What did college papers even look like?

"More college stuff?" Varian decided to ask. "Might as well look at it now. That could be important."

"Doubt it. More rejection letters probably." Nathan groaned, slowly shuffling off to his car.

Smiling at Nathan's attitude about it, Varian followed him until he hit the living room. He wasn't going outside unless he had to. Ninety degrees? No way. Plopping on his couch, he crossed his legs and settled his hands on his lap, clasping them together.

With all the time indoors that he'd had, he'd managed to keep his house clean. Glancing around, Varian noted it was a little too clean for his taste. He'd have to find something else to occupy himself with besides cleaning.

He supposed he could read some more. But he'd already read the books in his house. Several times at that.

Summers bugged him. Helen usually had Venerra, like today. Which, was just fine for Varian, but he wanted time with his sister too. Maybe he'd talk to Helen about not taking her as much.

His musing were cut short as Nathan came back in with four letters in tow, sighing before sitting next to him and flipping through his mail. "Yep. All colleges."

"Rejection letters aren't that bad," Varian brought up. "They tell you which schools to tell people not to go to. If they won't let you in, make them lose money."

Humming quietly in response, Nathan opened the first letter and read it with a bored expression. "'We regret to inform you that we can not offer you admission.' There's a shocker." He read, moving on to the next letter.

Varian frowned at Nathan's tone. Was it as nonchalant as he put it, or did it bug him more than he was letting on?

"'We cannot offer you admission at this time.'" Nathan read again and opened the third, glancing over it as well. "'We regret to inform you that'..." he began and trailed off, sighing quietly and putting the three he'd read down, holding the fourth one in hand and staring at it.

"How many colleges does North Dakota even have?" Varian thought out loud, watching the last letter Nathan held intently. For Nathan's sake, he wanted it to bring some good news. Even if it was he was accepted but had to wait a semester.

"Twenty-one." Nathan mumbled, putting the fourth letter down with the rest and rubbing the back of his neck.

Varian didn't see the point in not opening the letter. It was the last one. Might as well get it over with. Looking at it sitting on top of the stack of opened letters, he glanced at Nathan.

He didn't seem really interested in opening it. Varian, however, wanted to know what it said.

"If you don't open that, I will." Not really a threat, but he was really curious about it.

"Knock yourself out." Nathan mumbled.

"Don't mind if I do," Varian replied, reaching over and snatching it off the pile of opened letters before sitting back and examining the letter.

It was white, like the usual letter, but in the upper left corner was "UND" in green letters merged together with an orange flame sticking up from the unfinished curve of the "D" at the bottom. "The University of North Dakota" followed the logo in small black print as well as the address. The envelope was kind of big.

Although, the others were too.

So this was what a college letter looked like. Well, the envelope anyway. He was definitely going to open it now. It felt like a folder inside it. Tearing it open, Varian was indeed met with a folder.

Opening the folder as much as the envelope would let him while it was still in there, he grabbed the letter and pulled it out, looking it over.

At the very top of the letter, centered, was the green letter logo again. At the far right upper corner was the University's address as well.

Continuing on with looking the letter over, Varian noted the date on the left side.

November 30, 2012

Nathaniel Vogel
(His address)

Dear Nathaniel:

Congratulations on being admitted to The University of North Dakota. Welcome to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. You are in for a great adventure!

And the letter went on, talking abouthow he was hopefully familiar with the experiences surrounding his field of study, and several things about the University that he might not know and should be interested in. Like special programs designed for leadership or clubs.

Well, they weren't all rejection letters. Funny that the one he'd open was the one that accepted Nathan. Varian wondered how he should break it to Nathan.

Deciding to remain quiet about it, he put the letter back in the folder and looked at the envelope. So, Nathan might be going to The University of North Dakota? UND was pretty close to Mandan. If he remembered correctly, it was only about five or six miles away.

"Yeah. That's what I thought." Nathan mumbled. Apparently he thought he'd gotten another rejection letter. Was he truly that bitter about it?

Varian cleared his throat. "How do you feel about UND?"

Nathan frowned slightly and shrugged. "Wasn't one of the main ones I was looking at. It's close by though, so that got me interested."

"Interested enough to go if you were accepted?" Varian asked, a small smile peeking through despite how he tried to hold it back.

"I...guess?" Nathan said, frowning further and glancing at Varian.

"Let's go with yes, because you were."

It was so hard not to smile in the moment that was there between what he'd said and Nathan's response. That moment felt like an eternity, even though it couldn't have been more than a few moments.

Nathan dropped his frown and stared at Varian for a second before speaking. "Uh...sorry, but can you repeat that? Because it vaguely sounds like you just said I was accepted."

"That's because you were." Varian laughed. "On November 30th. To the 'School of Medicine and Health Science'."

"Holy shit," he said, grabbing the envelope and looking at the letter himself, surprise written all over his face.

Varian finally allowed himself to smile before settling into the couch. "Congrats."

Nathan nodded absently, still engrossed in his letter.

Varian would have let him stay engrossed in it, but he wanted attention too. "Feeling rather left out. That letter is getting more attention than I am."

Glancing over, Nathan laughed, putting the letter down again before moving closer to Varian and kissing his cheek, wrapping his arms around his waist.

That was better, but not enough.

"Why do you always go for my cheek? My lips are much easier to get to." Varian commented, turning into Nathan and placing his hands on his shoulders.

"Because I can." Nathan replied, leaning in and pressing his lips to Varian's.

Varian didn't hesitate to kiss Nathan back, running one of his hands up the back of his neck and burying it into his hair, the other sliding across his shoulders and pulling him closer as he leaned back a little towards the cushions, pulling his legs up onto the couch.

He liked it when he could feel Nathan on him, it was comforting in a way, and he craved his touch of course. Who wouldn't want to be touched by their boyfriend?

Nathan lightly nipped at his bottom lip, bringing one hand up to run it along Varian's neck and shoulder.

Sighing at the nip, Varian parted his lips enough to let Nathan in, shivering in anticipation of the wet heat that would invade his mouth, running his hands back down to Nathan's shoulder's and his sides, where he pulled on him to get him closer.

Nathan's tongue found his mouth easily, sliding inside as he pressed against him, reaching around to his back and lightly scratching a line down his spine.

Due to the one layer of cloth on his torso, Varian felt Nathan's nails a lot easier than he normally did. The rivulets of pleasure that spread along his trail traveled through him, making him moan softly into Nathan's mouth as he pulled him down with him onto the couch, breaking the kiss to pant lightly before capturing Nathan's lips again with his own.

Smiling into the kiss, Nathan scratched Varian's back again, making Varian suppress a shudder as the pleasure licked down his spine in hot flames at the increased pressure of his nails. At the same time he ran his other hand up Varian's stomach and chest, the combination of nails biting into him and a gentle touch having him unsure of what he craved more.

Gasping at the pleasure entering his system, Varian grabbed the hand exploring his torso, pulling it down to the hem of his tank top. "I can't imagine cloth feels better than skin," he murmured against Nathan's mouth. He wanted Nathan's hands on him, not his clothing.

Granted, he was setting himself up for frustration, but at the moment, he didn't care.

Nathan laughed quietly, sliding his hand under Varian's shirt, and Varian held his breath as it ran back up to his chest. At this point, he was breathing heavier, his heart pounding in his chest as he wondered silently if Nathan would actually touch him instead of passing over to his shoulders like he usually did.

Surprisingly, those fingers didn't pass over. They lightly tweaked one of his nipples, sending a jolt of pleasure straight to his groin and he gasped, squirming, the hand he had on Nathan's side lighting digging his nails into him. It was weird feeling that, but he wasn't about to pull away like he had last time. He was curious about why he was feeling it now, after so long.

However, his pondering was cut short at Nathan's lips pulling into a wide smile and he broke the kiss, bending down and trailing light kisses along his neck and jaw, his fingers pinching and rolling his nipple around between his fingers.

Varian bit his lip, arching up into Nathan and whimpering, squeezing his eyes closed and gripping the couch cushion in his hands before surrendering himself to a moan, turning his head away, panting heavily. Nobody had ever reduced him to such primitive reactions so quickly before.

If Nathan kept that up, he'd have to call a stop, lest his resolve to abstain from sex be threatened.

"Feeling less left out yet?" Nathan asked before biting Varian's neck.

The feeling of his teeth on his skin had him clutching at Nathan's shoulders, moaning again. "Yes." he gasped as soon as he could. "It's enough...I can't..." Varian cut himself off, trying to catch his breath. "Can't do it...anymore."

This pained admittance had Nathan laughing quietly and kissing the area of his neck he'd bitten, sitting back up. "Good."

Varian sighed, relieved that Nathan was stopping before pulling himself up to sit too. "Very good," he breathed. Not aware of what he'd said until it was actually out of his mouth.

Once it was said though, there was no point in trying to take it back. Might as well just let it be.

His response had Nathan smiling at him, and Varian looked him over. He didn't look the least put out. How annoying.

_

Nathan always enjoyed doing that to Varian. Even if he couldn't actually have sex with him.

But, now that both of them had been sexually satisfied- well, frustrated in Varian's case- Nathan was getting...bored. Not that he didn't enjoy spending time with his boyfriend, but still.

Part of him wanted to go outside, for some odd reason. But Varian had complained that it was 'too hot'.

Worth a shot though.

"...Hey Varian."

"Yes?"

"I want to go outside."

Varian sighed. "It's too hot out."

"Humor me." Nathan replied. After all, it was his birthday. Not that Varian knew that, but still.

"Fine. But you should know I don't do so well with heat."

"You'll be fine, just...stand in the shade." Nathan replied with a small shrug, standing up from the couch and stretching before heading for the door. He'd been surprised- he didn't think it would be that easy.

Varian sighed again, getting up and following Nathan reluctantly. Nathan turned to look at Varian, smiling slightly. "Aw, come on, it can't be that bad."

Varian crossed his arms over his chest, arching an eyebrow at Nathan. "I think you've smiled more times today than I've ever seen you smile the whole time I've known you."

"Oh, you're complaining? It's a good day, I'm allowed to smile." Nathan replied defensively. "In that case, I'll stop smiling."

An empty threat. But Varian didn't know that.

"I didn't say stop, nor was I complaining." Varian replied. "I do believe I've mentioned that I like it when you smile."

Nathan rose an eyebrow at that before going out into a particularly sunny area of the yard and putting his hands on his hips.

He wasn't even doing anything and he was hot. What the hell? Weren't they basically almost in Canada? Don't people always complain about Canada being cold? So why was Mandan so damn hot?

"It is too damn hot for North Dakota." Nathan voiced his opinion quietly. Varian hung back near the house in the shade, making Nathan look back at him and frown slightly. "Varian! Why is it so hot?"

"Maybe because we live in a state with cliffs and mountains that both reflect and trap heat under the thermal blanket we call clouds."

Well fuck.

"Fucking clouds." Nathan sighed, looking up at the sky and squinting his eyes.

Varian smiled and walked out to where Nathan was in the yard. "If we're going to be outside, we'll need to go somewhere before I get heatstroke."

"And where do you propose we go?"

"Out of the sun." Varian stated, heading off toward a treeline that skirted the back yard and pasture.

"Well maybe I like the sun..." Nathan mumbled in response, putting his hands in his pockets and following. He didn't, of course. He just felt like being difficult.

"Well, you see, the nice thing about having eighty acres as your back yard means there are places you can go that have both sun and shade."

Nathan nodded thoughtfully. "And I assume we're going to one of said places?"

"Through those trees is a little clearing and a pond. Trees provide shade, clearing provides sun." Varian stated, pointing to the trees ahead of them.

Nathan nodded as they got closer, the pair entering the clearing. Nathan's eyes immediately went to the pond. The idea of the swimming suddenly sounded very good.

Varian made his way to a shady spot under a tree and sat facing the pond, looking out over the water. "Didn't know you had a pond." Nathan commented, sitting next to him.

"Technically I have three. This one is the closest to the house, and the most suitable for swimming."

Nathan raised his eyebrows interestedly. "Swimming, huh?"

Varian smiled. "Yes, it's a past time that people tend to enjoy."

"Oh, you're so funny." Nathan replied, rolling his eyes before looking at the pond. "We should go swimming."

"I'm trying to decide if you're genuinely interested, or just want to see me naked again."

"I'm interested. Seeing you naked is just a plus. A wonderful, wonderful plus."

Nathan hadn't meant to say that last part out loud. Oh well.

Varian snorted. "Why? I don't have anything you don't."

Nathan rolled his eyes. "Varian."

"Alright, alright, fine. Naked Varian it is." Varian said, getting up from his spot on the ground and pulling his tank top off.

"Damn right." Nathan replied, though he made no move to get up as well. He was perfectly fine with watching Varian undress again.

Varian went for his pants next and paused, turning to Nathan. "I'm not stripping for you again," he said, "But if you feel like helping..."

"I will most certainly do that." Nathan replied, hopping up from his spot and walking over to Varian. He'd wanted to watch Varian, but this worked too.

Varian moved his hands and turned toward Nathan, giving him better access to himself as Nathan smiled slightly. Leaning up to kiss Varian quickly, Nathan unbuttoned his pants, Varian helping in their removal. "I'm surprised it took you this long to touch my pants."

Nathan paused, thinking the comment over before continuing with removing Varian's pants. "Eh." was his only response. He honestly wasn't surprised. Their relationship wasn't really based on sex, so he had no reason to touch Varian's pants.

Varian didn't comment further as he was finally naked once again, much to Nathan's enjoyment. He watched Varian for a second silently before he began pulling his own clothes off. Once both were completely clothing-free, Nathan grabbed Varian's wrist, pulling him toward the pond and straight in. Thankfully, the pond wasn't much more than five feet deep.

"I can get in by myself you know."

"Don't care."

Nathan was fully aware that Varian's legs work. But, as he said, he didn't care.

Varian smiled at that before turning and hitting the water, splashing it at Nathan, who turned away and narrowed his eyes at Varian.

"Oh you asshole." Nathan murmured, splashing Varian back.

"I never told you I was nice." Varian replied with a laugh, pulling back into deeper water and sinking down, the water level just under his chest. Nathan stuck his tongue out in response.

"Adorable," Varian said sarcastically. "But if you're not over here I can't do anything with it."

Well then. Nathan stared back for a second before sighing, moving closer to Varian and wrapping his arms around his waist. "Damn you."

"Oh yes, to the seventh layer with Lucifer no less."

"Yes. Yes indeed."

"As long as you come with me." Varian said, leaning in and giving Nathan a quick kiss before splashing him and quickly moving out of the way, to the deepest part of the pond.

Oh hell no.

"Oh. Okay. I see, this is how we're gonna do things. Mkay." Nathan replied with a slight glare, splashing Varian back several times while moving forward toward him.

Varian laughed and splashed back. "Again, never said I was nice."

"Oh. Yeah, I can see that."

Nathan had continued to splash Varian to the point that Varian held up his hands, trying to block some of the water. "Okay! I'm done! No more splashing."

Nathan splashed him one more time. Just because.

Varian glared back, reaching up and wringing some excess water from his hair as Nathan smiled back innocently. "I love you." he said.

"Because that just makes everything all better." Varian said, dropping his glare and walking over to Nathan, who shrugged slightly.

"Seems to work with Mom and the twins..."

"You don't think Venerra hasn't tried that? Cuteness doesn't affect me." Varian said. Nathan tried to hide a smile, clearing his throat.

"Well damn. Worth a shot."

Varian began heading back toward the shade under the trees. "Speaking of your mom, how's she treating you?"

"Uh...pretty good. Nothing too out of the ordinary. It's almost like the way it was before senior year." Nathan said with a shrug, following Varian.

Getting out of the water, Varian sat down in the sun and watched Nathan, who remained in the pond. "That's good right?"

Nathan thought about it for a moment. "More or less, yeah."

"Does Eric know?"

"Hm? About what?"

"About me. Our relationship." Varian said.

"Oh! That. Well, actually, I told him earlier this morning, about us. After mom asked to have you and Venerra over for dinner."

Varian blinked and nodded. "How'd he take it?"

The memory of Eric's response made Nathan smile slightly. "Um...he asked if we were doing drugs."

Varian smirked. "Like I'd invest in a pastime that is for one, not healthy at all, two, completely useless with no effect on me, and three, blows money faster than I could earn it."

"Well I told him we were together, and he asked if there was an alternative meaning. I thought it was funny that he immediately went to drugs. He seemed alright with it though. He does, however, have one rule."

"Not particularly fond of kissing with food in my mouth."

"Holy shit you're psychic." Nathan said with a small frown. Really, who just guesses that?

"Not at all." Varian laughed. "I just know parent mentality. Who wants to see people kissing while eating? Ew."

Nathan laughed, shaking his head.

"I was thinking. Your coming out experience seems pretty extreme, how do you feel about it?"

Nathan shrugged. "I don't know. I mean... Mom didn't really take it too well, but Eric and Millie and everyone else didn't really seem too surprised."

"A lot of people seem to know or suspect before the person involved actually comes out." Varian said. "Or they're just open-minded."

Nathan thought that over, nodding. "Yeah, that's true."

"Did you expect to tell your mom the way you did?"

"...No, not exactly. To be entirely honest, I'd never actually thought about coming out to her."

Varian took a moment to think that over. "Why not? I would think it'd be frustrating to not be yourself around your family."

"I don't know. Just never really crossed my mind, I guess. I'm sure it would be frustrating, but if I was in a serious relationship with someone, then I wouldn't keep it from my family." Nathan replied, giving Varian a pointed look. After all, Varian was the reason he came out in the first place.

Varian smiled. "You did for a while."

"I was waiting for the whole 'vampire' thing to blow over. Besides, if you'd met Elle earlier, she might have scared you off."

"If I want something, I'm going to go after it. She couldn't have scared me off no matter how hard she'd of tried."

Nathan smiled back. "I don't doubt that she would have tried very hard. But that's good to know."

"Like I'd let you go that easily after everything that's happened." Varian replied, shaking his head. "You learn to fight for things when nothing ever goes your way.

Nathan's smile faltered slightly as he thought about that comment before he nodded, finally getting out of the pond and sitting beside Varian. He felt a little uncomfortable, being naked and all, but he ignored it. "I suppose so. Good point."

As fun as getting naked in front of Nathan was, sadly the day had to come to a close, and after they'd dried off from their pond excursion, Varian found himself back at the house with Nathan by his car. The setting of the sun had taken away much of the heat, making it bearable for him to be out for a bit.

Still didn't mean he wanted Nathan to go. He'd much rather have Nathan stay and provide company, but he figured Elle would probably want him back. It was his birthday after all. Which he'd made no mention of. In fact, Nathan certainly didn't seem to want to tell him at all, which had him smiling.

"So, this was a highly interesting day."

To say the least, most certainly.

"Let's go with yes," Varian said. "But you're mom is probably expecting you, so I'll let you go."

Nathan rolled his eyes slightly, leaning back against his car. "Oh yay."

"It can't be that bad to go home." Varian replied, looking Nathan over. Certainly he'd like to spend some time with his family.

"It's...not, it's just..." Nathan started and then trailed off, shrugging slightly.

Stepping over to Nathan, Varian bent a little so he was eye level with Nathan. "You'll see me at work. It won't kill you to go home tonight."

Nathan smiled slightly. "Yes it will."

Leaning in, Varian pressed his lips to Nathan's. It wouldn't kill him to go home, but it would kill Varian if he left without a kiss. Nathan seemed to be on the same wavelength as him, as he smiled into the kiss and wrapped his arms around Varian's waist before kissing him back.

There was nothing more than Varian would like to stand there kissing his boyfriend, but Helen would be bringing Venerra back soon, and Nathan really should go home for the end of his birthday.

Returning the kiss, Varian pulled away. "You should go home though."

Nathan groaned quietly. "Fine, I'm going, I'm going." he sighed, digging into his pocket for his keys and turning toward the car.

"And Nathan?" Varian asked.

"Yeah?" he replied, turning back slightly to look at Varian while unlocking his car door and opening it.

"Happy birthday."

And there wasn't anything barring the smile from his face as he stepped back, retreating to his house.

Nathan, however, dropped his keys and turn to watch Varian leave with a surprised expression. "Uh...thanks...I think..."

Varian wasn't about to let Nathan think he could away with that, though it was fun to make him think he didn't know.

"Hide anything important from me again, and I won't let you off so easily." Varian replied, opening his front door and stepping into the house. He didn't wait for Nathan to respond, just went inside and closed the door, smiling the whole time.