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eat my heart

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"Not to frighten you or anything," Jaehyun starts, looking down at the cream swirling in his coffee, "but there's a kid who's been looking at you for like 30 minutes."

Johnny, neither easily frightened or deterred by much, turns around to see this kid. Not that he really thought Jaehyun was lying, but sure enough, there's a kid sitting a couple seats behind them in a grey hoodie who averts his gaze after making eye contact with Johnny.

He slowly turns back around to face Jaehyun, quietly taking a sip of his coffee. It's night time, about 8pm, so for all intents and purposes, Johnny shouldn't be drinking coffee. Except while his human body wouldn't have tolerated it, he's not in his human body anymore.

"Let him look. It's probably his bedtime soon anyway."

As Jaehyun and Johnny sit and talk for the better part of an hour, the kid ends up staying there the whole time. Johnny’s kept him in the back of his mind, only because he can feel him looking. When they get up to leave though, the kid doesn’t get up right away. Maybe he was just being a creep.

Johnny doesn’t see him again the next time he goes with Jaehyun, later that week. He didn’t think he would since he hadn’t seen him before, but somehow not seeing the teenager at the cafe he frequents at night- night, an overall uncommon time for anyone to be drinking coffee, much less some fetus- quells his nerves a little. What was it about him that made Johnny like this? It was just some kid. Jaehyun seems to take notice too, telling Johnny that the kid must’ve heard them the day before.

Two weeks later, the cafe bell rings as Johnny walks through the door, a cheerful “welcome” greeting him on the way in. He doesn’t take much notice until he gets to the counter and orders two coffees, one for Jaehyun, and he looks up to see the boy from weeks before focused on him instead of his order.

“Also with no cream- are you getting that?” Johnny asks. The boy takes his eyes off for a few seconds, not even embarrassed like Johnny thought he would be.

“What’s your name?”

“Jaehyun.” The cashier gives him a quick smile and starts to prepare his order. Johnny quickly texts Jaehyun to tell him he's waiting and that the little weirdo is back but he’s working there now. He gets three question marks in response and then his name gets called. Before thinking about it, he pockets his phone and walks towards the counter, only to see the boy and remember that he didn’t tell him his name for the order.

“That’s not my name, but thanks anyway,” Johnny says, grabbing the coffees.

“Then why did you come?” the boy asks back, smile on his face.

“I’m the only one in here.”

“Okay.” The smile doesn’t falter at all. “Enjoy!” he calls out as Johnny walks away. Jaehyun busts through the door as Johnny sits down and strolls over to where he is, looking around to see the boy behind the counter, staring openly at Johnny. More annoying than being late, Johnny hates how Jaehyun doesn’t say anything about the boy and that the boy hasn’t done anything since giving him the coffee either. He just sits there, eyebrows raised, looking at his phone and periodically sipping his drink. Johnny takes out his phone to text him to say something, good lord.

Jaehyun clears his throat and starts saying something about how his flat has a leaky faucet and Yuta won’t fix it or something, Johnny doesn’t know. The cafe is silent except for Jaehyun’s chattering, which is exactly how Johnny knows that boy isn’t working either. He reminds himself to find out that kid’s name because he found out his somehow. Don’t they have name tags?

The last thing he wants to do is acknowledge him by looking over, plus Jaehyun is still talking. He’ll catch it when they leave, probably.

“Do they have name tags here?” Johnny asks around the cup at his lips. He wants to be hushed about it, mostly because he doesn’t want to run into the chance of the kid introducing himself. Somehow, that’d be arguably worse. If he found out Johnny’s name without introduction, Johnny can certainly find out his.

“Hmm?”

“Name tags.”

“Doesn’t every place?” Johnny looks up in thought. Maybe every place does. He makes a mental reminder to look for the dude’s name tag, if he’s even wearing his own.

The cafe closes at 9:30 and Johnny and Jaehyun finish up exactly ten minutes before. As they leave, Johnny glances over at the kid behind the counter, who’s focused on wiping down the counters and then finding the broom. Unfortunately for him, he tries looking again for the silver name tag he remembered everyone wore, but the kid’s back is to him. He gives up quickly, settling on finding it later.

“Goodnight Johnny,” he hears right as the door closes. He’s too tired to look back.

About a week later, on the dot, Johnny shows up by himself just to find out this person’s name. He’s walked by the cafe enough times to know that he only works night shifts, from about dinner rush to closing. He’ll never go in those days, and he’ll only walk if there’s other people walking in front of the window too, only because he doesn’t need him figuring out how not desperate he is to find out his goddamn name. Somehow, the cashier always manages to catch his eye.

Apparently, Johnny thought too hard about giving up because the universe gave up for him. Right as Johnny orders his dumb coffee and he looks at the kid’s apron for his nametag, he hears a hushed, “Mark. My name is Mark.”

“Thank you, but I wasn’t asking.”

“But you were trying.” Johnny looks up to see Mark with the same smile on his face as the first time. “Weren’t you?”

“Well you found out my name, so I thought the sentiment should be returned.”

“I’m glad. Here’s your coffee.” Mark says, smile still bright.

For the next few weeks, Mark made small talk with Johnny, much to the latter’s disdain. He doesn’t really talk about himself much if at all, but he loves to ask about Johnny, who begrudgingly gives some details. If Jaehyun is with him, Mark will ask Jaehyun as well, smile seemingly never falling. Jaehyun likes Mark actually.

 

Johnny takes the same route home everyday from the cafe. It’s a quiet and smaller path, not up the main street the cafe sits on but one off to the side. He finds it’s not only quicker to get home but it’s easier too. Really the only issue is how poorly lit it is though it’s a minor problem to him.

“Hi Johnny,” he hears from the shadows. Mark’s brown hair becomes visible even in the bad light as he comes out from one of the side alleys between buildings, hands behind his back. “Heading home?”

“Sure, don’t follow me,” Johnny grumbles. Mark only giggles and trails behind him a few feet. He pretends he doesn’t hear the stretch of latex or smell of iron that leaves as quickly as it comes.

“You’re a vampire right Johnny?” Mark asks after tagging along for a block or two. “I’ve only heard of them in this neighborhood but I didn’t think I’d actually find one. There are others too aren’t there? Can you show me them?”

“No," Johnny replies sharply. "Don't you need to get home or something?"

"Why not?" Mark asks, completely dodging Johnny's question. "I think you're so cool Johnny, I want to hang out with you more, please.”

"Absolutely not."

“But I wanna be friends. I’m like you Johnny, I like blood too,” Mark begs. Johnny turns all the way around to look at him.

“Needing blood and liking blood aren’t the same thing.” Mark just ignores him, skipping to get in front to look him in the eyes.

“Please Johnny, I’ll be so good. You can drink from me, we’ll work so good together,” Mark whines. He bounces in place like a child. “Please.”

Mistakenly, Johnny said yes. Why was it of all people Mark had to take interest in, it had to be him? Of every vampire that lives in this town, it was John Suh who was now tasked with watching over a child. He didn’t even know this kid, only knew that he stalked him somehow and found out his name and that he wasn’t human. Johnny otherwise knew nothing about Mark, but maybe that worked both ways. The limited knowledge Mark has on him means he could probably ditch him at any time and Mark wouldn’t have any idea where he went.

 

It's some really ridiculous time in the day when Johnny gets a knock on the door of his flat.

He wasn't expecting anything, no package or company, so he hesitantly looks through the peephole only to find Mark on the other side, hands behind his back as he rocks on his heels. Johnny lets out a groan as he opens the door, Mark's face lighting up as he sees the other.

"Hi Johnny," Mark says cheerfully, slipping in past him. Johnny rolls his eyes when he closes the door and turns around to look at Mark, who has already made himself comfortable on the couch. He's got one of the throw pillows in his hands, messing with the softness. How he even managed to find his house, Johnny doesn't know, but he hasn't expected really any normalcy from Mark since he sleuthed out his name.

"What do you want?" Mark's eyebrows furrow.

"Jus' wanted to see you." Johnny walks over to stand in front of Mark, and is taken back by the coppery scent he gives off. He isn't visibly bleeding, nor are any cuts on his body that he can see. Where was this coming from? He must be making a face because Mark looks at him confused. "What?"

"Mark, what did you do?" Mark looks hurt. "What were you doing before you came here?"

"I was just on a walk…" he mutters, picking at the threads on the pillow. He looks up at Johnny with big eyes and Johnny grips his face in his hand, squishing his cheeks.

“Where?”

“Here.”

"Then why do you smell like blood? Don't lie to me," Johnny warns. Mark scowls as best as he can and yanks his face away, Johnny's nails leaving red scratches behind on his cheeks from where they dug in to hold him still. He knows the answer, and he just wants to hear Mark say it with his own mouth, realize the consequences of his own actions. “Did you hurt yourself?” he offers.

“Not myself.”

“Then you better stop coming here if you killed someone.” Mark’s gaze snaps up at Johnny’s. “I’m not a criminal Mark, I don’t want people tracing you back to me.”

“I’m not either!”

“You killed people!”

“Because they deserved it!” Mark screeches. He starts coughing hard, throat irritated from raising his voice. “They’re not good people,” he forces out between coughs. “They hurt others and they make their life awful, and they deserve to die. They’re monsters, I hate them!” His jaw is clenched hard enough that Johnny can see the veins running down the side of his neck, his masseter muscle flexing.

He wants to wait until Mark calms down so he can talk about this with him, but Johnny doesn’t know if he will. With caution, Johnny goes to sit next to Mark and tuck his sweaty hair behind his ears. The cushion he has is deformed, cotton pushed into all the wrong places as Mark tries to knead it back into place.

“How do you know they’re bad?” Johnny asks calmly.

“I can feel it. If I make eye contact with someone I can feel if they’re bad people. It’s like there’s something wrong. It feels bad.”

“And you know?” A nod. “Do you want to talk about it?” A shake.

He gets up and pulls the cushion gently from Mark’s grip, placing it at the arm of the couch and pushing Mark to lay down onto it. They don’t say anything to each other as Johnny does all this, grabbing the blanket on the ottoman and putting that over Mark as well. The younger’s eyes close almost immediately after Johnny is done.

 

He really shouldn’t- honestly, he shouldn’t- but if Johnny is getting fed up with Mark, he will bite him just so he can calm down.

Again, he really shouldn’t, but Mark doesn’t even fight against it. If he’s gotten too jumpy for what time it is, or too rowdy for whatever reason, Johnny will just tug him aside; maybe into a bathroom or outside of a building if they’re in public, Johnny will just drag him over and bite him. Take out some blood, loosen him up.

“Johnny, take me home,” Mark says. Johnny immediately considers biting Mark right then and there, in front of all the patrons and everything. The older had reluctantly taken him out to a bar because Mark said he was feeling an itch, which was a bad idea on his part because Mark is giving him a headache now and he isn’t going to leave him alone.

An itch- the keyword that they like to use because Johnny doesn’t want to say urge to do something illegal and stupid, also known as killing, or nearly killing, someone because Mark just wants to see blood pour. If Johnny’s feeling it, it’s a free meal so what’s he to say?

“You had an itch, so get it scratched.”

“Johnnyyy,” Mark whines. He’s got a hand on his arm now and Johnny tips back straight whiskey. “Not anymore, I don’t want it anymore.”

Johnny knows Mark is lying, mostly because Mark has this awful innate drive to do bad things that he loves to tell Johnny about. The second he had agreed to let Mark be around him consensually, he should have known that he was just attracting trouble. But Mark is still whining, and Johnny doesn’t want any more whiskey, so he turns to look at Mark, one hand reaching out and grabbing his face.

“Stop whining,” is all Johnny says before letting him go and walking away, Mark getting dragged along because he hasn’t let go of Johnny’s arm yet, and Johnny didn’t anticipate him doing so either.

The bathroom is clean for a bar but its still seen better days, Johnny would know. Not trying to get caught, he pushes Mark into one of the stalls and locks the door behind him. He can see Mark’s eyes glitter, because anytime Johnny gets them alone like this, only good things happen (at least in Mark’s mind they’re good). His fangs have made an appearance and Mark only gets more excited.

“Oh Johnny, please bite me, please,” Mark begs.

“You’re literally unbearable,” Johnny snarls out, nipping at Mark’s pale skin. The younger has already tipped his head to the side, ready. When Johnny’s pretty fangs pierce the soft skin on his neck, Mark’s eyes flutter closed as he hums out Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. He practically melts into Johnny’s arms as he slumps against the stall. There’s a knock on the stall door that both of them ignore, an echoey slew of cusses after bouncing off the bathroom walls.

After a minute or so, Johnny pulls away. Blood wells up in the small incisions that Johnny wipes off with his fingers. Just as expected, Mark isn’t making Johnny’s ears ring anymore.

"No itch?" Mark can barely focus on him only because he’s trying to savour the feeling, but he shakes his head anyway.

“Take me home?” Mark murmurs.

 

Mark is pretty much laying on top of Johnny, arms cuddled around him as he presses his cheek into his chest. There’s no heartbeat for Mark to listen to, but he tries hearing it anyway.

He’s been somewhat restless these past few days, Johnny has noticed. The younger will just walk around the place aimlessly, spinning his butterfly knife around his fingers before settling down somewhere for a while. Then he’s back at it again. It’s probably just his itch again, yet Johnny knows it doesn’t normally hit him for a while after his last kill.

Right now seems to be the longest stretch of time that Mark hasn’t gotten up and wandered, not looking for anything or waiting for anything. Johnny rubs his thumb against Mark’s back as the other rests between his shoulder blades.

Mark grumbles lowly. He pushes his face right into Johnny’s chest and exhales. Johnny hopes there wasn’t something stressful that had been on Mark’s mind that had made him so restless. Mark places his hands on Johnny’s chest before pushing himself up. Like a dog, he tilts his head a little at Johnny, who looks at him. Then Mark gives a rough grind down onto Johnny’s lap.

The older’s hands move from Mark’s back to his hips to hold him still. “This is what made you so antsy?” Johnny antagonizes.

“No, I just want it now,” Mark says, still rhythmically pushing his hips forward.

“Then why were you so wired these past few days?” Johnny asks. The boy in question only gives him a smirk and places his hands over Johnny’s, guiding.

In time, Johnny eventually ruts up into Mark as well, four layers of fabric holding him back from really giving Mark what he wants. The latter looks rather blissed on top of him, falling forward to lay his whole chest onto Johnny’s. Without thinking, Johnny brings his hands down to cup Mark’s ass, groping him roughly. Mark can only pant out little noises next to Johnny’s ear, only letting out a broken moan or two.

“Bite me please,” Mark whines. Johnny’s fangs have already started to peek out- a purely Pavlovian response- and he knows Mark didn’t even have to ask for it to happen. Still, he teases him.

“You always come so hard once you’ve got my teeth in you. I’m not even fucking you Mark but you already want it so bad.” Mark doesn’t say anything, barely even lets Johnny know that he’s listening to him at all. He can feel Mark’s hand between them, fingers clawing at the waistband of his pants. “What if I kill you? Aren’t you scared of me?”

Mark’s hair flutters beside his face. “You’ll never, you like me too much.” Johnny lets out a half laugh. He brings one hand up to tug the younger’s head to the side, baring his throat for him. Mark doesn’t even jerk anymore when he feels the teeth push past skin, the sensation of his blood leaving his body no longer foreign, yet still as welcome and euphoric as it was the first time. He’s nearly purring, and Johnny doesn’t need to see to know Mark’s eyes are rolling slowly into the back of his head right now.

“I really don’t,” Johnny jokes in between kisses to the cut.

“Shouldn’t you be scared of me?” Mark asks. He lifts his head up from beside Johnny’s face, looking at him with his pupils blown wide into Johnny’s own. It seems Mark doesn’t like Johnny’s lack of an answer, too busy staring up at Mark’s eyes full of mischief, so he gets up off Johnny’s lap like that, and he walks away.

Belatedly, Johnny realizes Mark has left the flat. The television is still playing and Johnny is still hard, Mark’s blood running through his veins. He groans and turns off the TV, getting up to go take a shower. A voice in his head tells him to call Mark or even go find him, but rational Johnny knows the hunters are out by this time, and Mark will come back like he always does.

It’s 6am when Mark slips under Johnny’s covers, the metallic smell of someone else’s blood underlying Mark’s own sweetness. On the brink of sleep, Johnny hears Mark sniffle and huff, a faint warm wetness soaking through his shirt. It might be the first time he’s ever heard Mark cry. He brings up his arm to wrap around Mark’s waist and bring him closer.

 

Johnny only intended to go out on a walk. Sure it was late, yeah it was stupid and there were hunters out and the like, but Johnny felt the urge to and Mark didn’t stop him. Normally, Johnny is good enough to not get caught by anyone (well, except Mark), still he managed to get at the end of someone else’s blade tonight, and he blames his lowered guard on Mark and his weaseling into Johnny’s life that made him go soft.

He knows he isn’t going to get killed mostly because a blade is not going to stop him. The dude isn’t even holding him down all too well either, despite knowing that the tables can turn. Was he just trying to prove he could capture a vampire, or did he actually have another weapon on him?

“Are you not scared?” the man taunts. Johnny really has no reason to be, and he doesn’t scare easily. “A hunter’s got you by your neck but you’re not struggling. Waiting for someone?”

“Not really, but if he shows up, don’t you get scared,” Johnny replies. The chances of Mark actually showing up are about 50/50 if only because Johnny knows Mark has a tendency to trail after Johnny wherever he goes. He doesn’t always do it, and he doesn’t do it for malicious reasons. Only out of fear that Johnny might get caught in a situation like this will he tail him on his night walks. He’s started growing out of the habit yet Johnny knows Mark’s itch to be around him has surpassed his other by this point.

The stranger makes a confused noise. Almost as if the devil had been summoned, Johnny hears footsteps on the concrete outside the alley he got caught in. Maybe it’s the fact that Mark’s blood is pumping through him from his feeding this morning, but something tells him the human has found him.

“Mark?” Johnny calls out. He hears footsteps patter towards the opening of the alleyway, and sure enough, there’s Mark in all his wide-eyed glory. “Markie, come here.”

“Get out of here kid,” the man warns. Mark watches him regrip his blade and press it into Johnny’s skin, making an indent as it gives. “I’m not gonna do this in front of you.”

“Aw, but you don’t have to,” Mark says. His voice doesn’t waver but his hands shake a little, and Johnny catches on. The man looks confused for a second before bringing his face back to a scowl. He turns to face Johnny.

“What, did you call a fledgling here to protect you?” Johnny stays silent. “All bark and no bite, huh.”

Johnny knows Mark is desperately trying to get his attention, but Johnny also knows he can probably handle the dude himself. Except Mark’s high energy is buzzing from him and Johnny doesn’t want to just ignore him, especially since Mark essentially found him in this predicament after going out after Johnny, just how his heart told him to.

Johnny gives a quick glance over to Mark, permission glinting through his eyes for the less than a second he looks at Mark, and the latter takes it with bounds and leaps.

Mark runs from where he’s standing, one arm braced against his front and the other to grab the man’s weapon welding hand. He pushes the other from in front of Johnny, who steps out of fighting vicinity while rubbing his neck. Mark shoves hard to get the person onto the ground, a wheeze as his back hits the concrete. The knife clatters noisily somewhere as Mark disables him.

One of the man’s knees comes up and catches Mark in his side. He gets his foot right onto Mark’s thighs and kicks, rolling the younger over, and standing himself up. Mark is anticipating him kicking while he’s down, but it doesn’t come.

“Get up outta here. I’m not fighting a child.” Mark scowls and looks directly into the man’s eyes, the latter breaking gaze for just a second at how fired up Mark still looks. He stands up on weakened legs and walks over to him, the man not backing away either. Meaning for a handshake, the other party sticks out his hand, which Mark grabs to tug him closer into the fist aimed at his solar plexus. The man nearly doubles over, but Mark brings his fingers around his neck before he makes it down.

Mark has his hands wrapped around the person’s throat as he bares his teeth, huffing. His forearms sting as the man grabs at him, digging his nails into unmarred skin and dragging down, clawing angry red lines as he chokes. Mark cries out, pulling his arms away before rearing back. He gets one good punch in before the other grabs his shoulders and forces him back, slamming him into the garbage can behind him, air forced out of his lungs.

Coughing loudly, Mark drops back to his knees, the wetness of the alley soaking into his jeans.

“You’re so stupid,” the stranger hacks out, spitting onto the ground next to him. “If you wanted to up your kill count for the Registry, you should’ve just said so.”

Mark hangs his head, glancing up through messy bangs at Johnny for just a moment before lunging forward, right hand brandishing the previously dropped knife. Momentum carries him to where the man sits on the ground, pushing him down as the hilt of the blade meets the black jacket he’s wearing. Lucky, Mark thinks as the blade sinks between two ribs. The man screams out below him, the sound echoing in their close quarters. There’s some blood that’s forcing it’s way up his throat but he still finds the energy to scream. Mark winces, the sound loud in his ears, and he feels for anything he can find on the ground to stuff in his mouth.

“Oh my god, shut up!” Mark yells at him. He grabs the handle and drags sideways, making a deep gash running from the man’s intercostals to his sternum. Red pools onto the dark ground and wets Mark's fist, causing his grip to falter and the cut to be noticeably less neat than the other ones he makes. Frustrated at the even louder screaming, he buries the blade down further until his own hand meets the slick, marred skin, and twists. The stranger wheezes below him, choking around mouthfuls of blood, and eventually falling to silence.

“Don’t breathe too hard,” Mark says, tearing the blade out of him and wiping it on the man’s own jacket. He pockets the blade, careful of its edges as he turns around and walks towards Johnny, a hop in his step.

“Johnny! I saved you Johnny, I did it,” Mark says, voice happy from where it was a few seconds ago. Johnny nearly gets whiplash from how quick Mark’s demeanor changes.

“Yeah, you did.”

“Aren’t you proud of me?” Mark trails his hand along Johnny’s arm to hold his hand. Johnny looks down at the motion, seeing the scratches the man had made puff angrily, blood welling from where he dug the deepest. He’ll need to disinfect that once they get home. Johnny’s other hand comes out of it’s pocket and traces the lines lightly, Mark’s smile breaking a little at Johnny’s lack of response.

“I’m proud of you sweetheart. Let’s go home, yeah?”

 

(“Was he bad?” Johnny asks, running a wet washcloth over Mark’s arms. The younger sits in the tub between Johnny’s legs, head resting on his shoulder. He stares blankly at the ceiling, seemingly unresponsive to any of Johnny’s actions.

“No,” Mark replies airly, eyes still unfocused, “But he was bad to you.”)