The apartment was only half lit when he came home, everything shrouded in long fingers of shadow. He inhaled deeply, felt the darkness ripple over his skin, and the room seemed to flex and expand around him. It was easier, in here. He could breathe.
He loosened his tie and shed his overcoat, vest, deposited them all on a chair by the door. He massaged the front of his throat where the fabric had been, wincing slightly at the pain. His skin felt papery under his fingertips and he knew without attempting the mirror that his complexion must be deathly. He stumbled into the living room, hoping against hope that he could just rest.
No such luck. His chalice was sitting there, poised on the edge of the sofa, glistening and golden even in the low light. Tempting him to drink.
A bottle sloshed and he forced himself to look toward the movement. He envisioned that wetting his lips.
Edward filled a glass and sucked down the red wine with gusto, those strange eyes of his lidded and unfocused. From the looks of him, it was not the first cup he had taken.
"I lowered the shades for you," he rasped lowly. His shirt was unbuttoned at the top, Alfons's treacherous eyes reported, his collar hanging wide open.
"Thank you," Alfons said. He wasn't sure where to look. Edward shifted a little on the couch, tossing his head sinfully. His ponytail trailed along behind him like a waiting viper.
"You should drink," Edward said.
Alfons turned his head away, face hot despite the chill in his bones. "You know why I can't."
"And you know why you need to."
Edward stretched again, arching upward off the couch. Flourished the curve of his strong, smooth neck.
"You're drunk," Alfons despaired, wringing his hands together.
"Yes," Edward said. He tipped his glass precariously in Alfons's direction. "Drink with me."
Locked eyes with him. "Drink."
He was powerless to resist that stare.
The shadows deepened around them, danced, and his feet moved with them, drawing him closer, bringing him to Edward's side. His flatmate favored him with a lopsided grin, offered the goblet freely with an unsteady hand. He took it gently and stroked the man's arm, more to calm his own nerves than anything else. He could still see Edward's lip marks on the edge of the glass.
He sat down and took a swig of wine, trying to fortify himself, and Edward made a questing noise, nosed closer toward the goblet. He pressed the cup to the man's lips and tipped it back, sharing. Edward sputtered a little and little trickles of the wine ran out from the corners of his lips. Alfons followed them down along the curve of Edward's jaw, and beneath his chin, down to his neck. He put the glass aside, drank the wine by lapping it from skin.
Edward squirmed only a little, gasping at the sensation of lips on his neck. Alfons could see little hairs standing up on the back of the man's neck. Heard tiny sounds, knew he was driving the man crazy.
"Just do it," Edward demanded, and Alfons conceeded.
He brought his fangs out, and drove them home.
And for the next few glorious seconds, all was heat again; all was fire. Precious liquid burned down his throat, blew away what he had been, renewed him. Edward arched underneath him and his expression, what Alfons could see of it, was pure rapture, his eyebrows lifted, his mouth formed into a perfect, ecstatic grimace. He could see Edward's strength draining even as his own increased, and though the instinct was there (just a little more and the heart's blood comes out) he could not, would not, do that to him.
He forced himself to pull away.
Edward slumped back onto the couch predictably, horribly peaky, and Alfons caught him as he started to tip. He brushed the bangs away from his roommate's forehead, worried at the cold sweat.
Edward looked up and gave him a weak smile.
"Feel better now...?"
"Yes," Alfons said quietly. "Thank you."
"Good," Edward said, and swallowed painfully. Alfons would have to make tea tonight. "'m glad..."
His eyes slid shut and Alfons stroked him and waited, listening to the sweet rhythm of his breathing until it evened out into the shallow stages of sleep. Then, only then, did he risk pressing a gentle kiss to Edward's forehead. Edward would need care now, a light bath; he had probably come in his pants. Just another reason Alfons could not bear it if not for the wine. They both knew Edward did not forget, but that tiny shred of illusion made what he took just a little more bearable.
You say you do this because you owe me, but nothing about this could ever be 'equivalent'.
With no effort at all, he bent down and gathered the man into his arms, rose slowly to his feet. The little sun still filtering into the room no longer touched him.
Stepped into the shadows, and then they were gone.