"Get cleaned up," Lestat said sharply to Louis as they walked into the burned estate. "And clean the boy up."
Louis, stiffly, took hold of the boy's arm and led him away from Lestat. Lestat grinned to himself. That had been a rather fun night out. Though he was still angry at the boy for leaving- and was still expecting to hear where he'd tried to go- Louis's furious attack had made the whole night worthwhile.
But as for Daniel's whereabouts…Lestat walked over quietly to the door and placed his ear to it. He had a feeling that Louis would be curious as well.
"Here," Lestat heard Louis say softly, and then a splash of something wet hitting flesh. Louis seemed to be cleaning the boy from the dirt and grime of the city. Lestat could imagine him, gently and tenderly washing him with a wet cloth. "Stay still."
There a few moments of silence, and then Daniel said, voice shaking, "You're not a sadist."
"Huh?" Louis sounded a bit taken aback. Lestat could sympathize. It seemed like a non-sequitur.
"Lestat. He said I made you into a sadist. A sadist enjoys hurting other people. Lestat's a sadist. Not you."
"I…" Louis sighed heavily. "Thank you, Daniel."
Lestat rolled his eyes as Louis said, voice breaking, "You got hurt."
"Yeah," Now Daniel's voice was sharp and somewhat cold.
"Louis, if you say you're sorry I swear to God I'm going to punch you in the dick."
Louis let out a broken laughter, and the sound of splashing water commenced. The next silence was nearly ten minutes long, ending when Louis said quietly, "You shouldn't have left, ma chere. That…that wasn't very smart."
"Yeah, I know, I know," Daniel replied. "I didn’t think he'd notice. I was just going to find a phonebooth."
"Good," Louis breathed out. "Good. But why didn't you just tell me-"
"I don't have to tell you everything-"
"But you do expect me to tell you everything."
"Hi, I'm the reporter. I'm not the subject. You were the one who decided to talk to me, remember?"
"Daniel, if you were trying to call your bosses-"
"I'm a freelancer, buddy."
"Daniel. Are you trying to publish a story about us?"
"What? No! I just wanted to call my fucking dad!"
Lestat grinned. How sweet. They were so busy with one another they seemed to have forgotten Lestat could hear them.
Or at least Daniel had forgotten.
"Daniel, hush," Louis said harshly. "Lestat-"
"Can hear you," Lestat sing-songed, loud enough to be sure the other two wouldn't miss him. "And is very interested indeed."
All he heard after that was silence. Well, he didn't need a response from the boy at the moment. He could be patient.
"Yes," Lestat sighed, pleased, as he looked around the entrance hall to the mansion. It was brightly lit, with a huge chandelier hanging above it and flickering lights (soft enough to resemble candlelight) hanging from the walls. There was a large staircase leading up from the hall, which was covered in a white carpet. The staircase led to an indoor balcony, and Lestat could see quite a few doors up there. The real-estate agent (who was hovering in the background, watching Lestat look around with anxious eyes) had told him that the mansion hosted four bedrooms, three studies and a library on the top floor. "This will do."
"Ah…it's a bit-um, excessive?"
Lestat turned to look at Daniel, who had walked into the mansion after him. The boy was dressed in a pair of jeans, white shirt and blue vest, similar to the clothes he had worn nearly two weeks earlier when he'd been turned. Lestat had taken him and Louis shopping three days later, but they had to use Daniel's credit card, and since the boy wasn't the richest, Lestat couldn't get the tailored suited he'd wanted. Now, though, that they managed to get some money (Lestat hadn't told Louis how he got that money-sometimes it was safer not to tell Doom And Gloom Incarnated everything), Lestat needed to dress the boy better. He'd already gone out to get himself clothes, leaving his companion alone with their child. He'd returned to find Louis pinning the boy to the wall, kissing him and grinding against him.
They'd stopped as soon as he'd come in, unfortunately. It did make him realize, though, that it would probably not be wise to leave the two of them alone too often. There was no need to allow the two of them to grow closer than they already, clearly, were.
"Excessive? Don't be ridiculous," Lestat scoffed, continuing his scan of the mansion. He walked left, past the staircase, to an enormous sitting room which hosted- he was pleased to see- a beautiful, marble-white grand piano. The room's colouring was golden and white, and it was tasteful though certainly rich-looking. "I think it's…perfect."
Daniel blinked as he came into the room, and rubbed the back of his neck, "Aha. Sure. Does this look like the place you lived in with Claudia?"
"We lived in a lot of places with Claudia," Lestat replied, smiling to himself. If he'd expected Daniel to stop asking quite so many questions, or perhaps to grow apprehensive around Lestat following the other night's confrontation, he'd been wrong. Daniel did not seem to change the way he interacted with Lestat at all. He had a rather remarkable ability to bounce back from anything and everything.
It really should not have surprised him, given the fact that the boy had been nearly killed by a vampire and his reaction was too rush to his car and proclaim, "Good stuff."
And so, after a single night where Daniel watched Lestat wearily, hanging to Louis's side, they were back to the questions and back to the curiosity.
Lestat was rather glad Daniel was back to his normal state. He enjoyed Daniel's questions, despite Louis's suspicion to the contrary. Perhaps it was because that when Louis had asked him questions, it had been in order to learn more about vampires, about his new nature. Daniel, though- what Daniel found interesting was Lestat himself, and Louis. The fascinating things for Daniel were people.
It was good for Lestat's ego.
"All right, is it similar to where you lived when Claudia tried to kill you?" Daniel asked, walking past the sitting room to the dining hall beyond. "Holy shit, are those candlesticks made of gold?"
"Ah, very nice," Lestat smiled at the real-estate agent as she walked in after them, and she blushed deeply. Pretty little thing. He was going to have to feed from her after they bought the mansion.
"The previous owners went bankrupt, the bank took possession of most of their things," The woman said, clearing her throat. "All the furniture comes with the house. Shall we move on to the kitchen…?"
"Daniel," Lestat clicked his tongue. "Don't be rude."
"Why, do you want to see the kitchen?" Daniel raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, of course, now why wouldn’t I?" Lestat walked over to the boy and grabbed the back of his neck, whispering, "Why wouldn't I, I'm a simple human. And so are you."
"Yeah, yeah," Daniel snorted and pushed Lestat away slightly. "Simple humans. That's why we're going to live in a castle."
"This is not a castle," Lestat sighed, rather put off by his son's lack of taste. "This is a house. If you want a castle, I'll get you one."
Daniel just rolled his eyes.
"We’ll take the mansion, my dear," Lestat told the real-estate agent.
There. This was better. Lestat smirked as he leaned on the open door frame, looking into the bedroom. Louis was sitting on a sofa chair, a leather-bound book in his hands, reading quietly. This was familiar. Louis sitting somewhere, comfortable and calm enough (not happy or pleased- Louis very rarely was happy or pleased) that he did not jump up when he sensed Lestat's presence.
Lestat sighed deeply, and Louis's eyes flickered up for a moment before returning to his book.
"Where is Daniel?" Louis asked.
"The basement," Lestat replied. "Watching…a show about vampires."
Louis's eyebrow went up, though he didn't look at Lestat, "About vampires. He asked me about Dracula, you know? When we first met."
"Oh, Dracula," Lestat rolled his eyes. "Well, this one is about a blond girl who kills vampires."
Louis frowned, "What, a human?"
"I think…some sort of enhanced human?" Lestat shrugged. "It hadn't been entirely clear."
Louis hummed, clearly already losing interest. Lestat understood that. As far as he was concerned, Daniel could be biting his own toes off and he would be pleased. The important thing was that Daniel was far below, blasting the show in full volume, and Lestat was alone with Louis without any child to interfere.
"I've missed you," Lestat murmured, walking into the room and placing his hand on Louis's shoulder.
Louis stiffened, but didn't move.
"The world is rather dull without you, darling," Lestat said as he moved around the chair, fingers moving past Louis's shoulder to his neck as he did so, and coming to a stop on the white skin under his shirt. It was their first night in the new place, and Lestat hadn't had time to take them shopping yet. So Louis wasn't wearing the silk shirt and tailored suit that Lestat would have liked to see him in.
Louis swallowed, "Well. Is it interesting, now?"
"Oh, much more interesting," Lestat sighed, leaning forward to rest his chin on Louis's shoulder, his nose brushing Louis's cheek. "But I'm still missing something."
He waited to see if Louis will flinch away from him, but the other vampire just turned slightly, so they were eye to eye, the tips of their noses brushing against one another.
"Missing something, hmm?"
"Oh, yes," Lestat whispered, gently caressing Louis's soft skin. It still felt so good, so perfect for him. Louis was perfect for him.
Well. at least his body was.
Louis swallowed, eyes closing, and slumped forward, face burrowing into Lestat's neck. Lestat grinned, triumphant, and was glad that Louis couldn't see his smirk. He brought his hand up to caress Louis's hair gently.
"That boy, he is beautiful, and he's so very alive," Lestat whispered into Louis's ear. "And you want him. Of course you do. I want him as well-"
Louis jerked, but Lestat tightened his hold on his hair, keeping him in place.
"But you also want me," He continued. "And I also want you."
"You do, I know you do," Lestat hummed and tenderly moved Louis's head to face him, cupping his cheeks with his hands. And as his thumbs caressed Louis's cheek bones he added, "But if you don't…well, I know for certain that Daniel does."
Now Louis pushed himself away from Lestat, standing up and walking away from the chair. Lestat smirked up at him, pleased by the reaction, and waited.
"Daniel doesn’t-" Louis shook his head, seemingly unable to utter that clear falsehood. Instead he rubbed his eyes and said quietly, "I don't want you to touch the boy. He's good. You'll ruin him."
"Well, that's charming," Lestat drawled, placing his chin on his open palm. "Not that it matters, though, what you think. You say Daniel is an adult-well, let him make adult decisions."
"No," Louis snapped. "You will not touch him that way, I will not allow it."
"You will not?" Lestat replied, mockingly. "You'll stop him? Hold him down and keep him from me?"
"If you want-" Louis sounded as though he were chocking. "If you want-"
His words were choked off when Lestat gracefully stood and walked over to him, placing a hand on Louis's chest, "I want, Louis."
"And you'll leave Daniel alone?" Louis whispered as Lestat led him to the bed. He was reminded, suddenly, of when he'd come to Louis to turn him, and found him in bed. He'd walked him out of bed that night, gently and tenderly. They had been strangers then, had known nothing of one another. All Lestat had seen was potential. Now, though…now he knew what he'd be getting.
"I promise," Lestat lied as he unbuttoned Louis's shirt and pushed him down on the bed. He hovered over Louis for a moment, drinking his beautiful form in, and then straddled his thighs and leaned down.
"All right," Louis closed his eyes as Lestat leaned in and kissed him gently.
"There," Lestat purred, slipping Louis's now limp cock out of his mouth. "Was that so bad?"
Louis just looked up at him, eyes empty, and Lestat sighed.
"Why do you always look so…well, dead, after we're done?" Lestat complained, rolling his eyes as he licked his lips and pulled away from Louis, zipping his pants up and straightening his shirt.
In response, Louis curled into himself and buried his face in his hands. Lestat rolled his eyes and slipped out of the room. He walked down the stairs, fingers trailing the handrail, and made his way to the kitchen, where he found Daniel…
Making a chocolate cake.
"What. Are you doing?" Lestat stomped into the kitchen, all of the good will he'd build up during the hours spent with Louis entirely disappearing. God above, if Daniel had started missing his humanity he was going to destroy something.
"Canoeing in the Nile," Daniel said dryly, and then looked above the bowl to grin mischievously. And despite the fact that he had just come, Lestat felt his cock twitch in response. Daniel was such a charming boy. "I'm making a cake. What do you think?"
"And why, prey tell," Lestat jumped on top of the counter next to Daniel, and placed his hand on the boy's neck. "Are you making a cake? To eat?"
"To smell," Daniel said promptly. It sounded as if he'd thought about that answer before. Lestat narrowed his eyes as he watched the child, the way the soft yellow light hit his raven hair, which somehow made him look younger than he normally did. Though, Lestat mused, he did not look so young. It was only Lestat and Louis that saw him as a child. The humans around him would not see him as such.
But the day Lestat cared about how humans saw his companions would be the day he knew he'd turned into Louis.
"To smell," Lestat said flatly.
"I like the smell of chocolate cake," Daniel said again, his voice rather nonchalant. His hands, though, were slightly shaking as they carefully moved the batter from the bowl to a pan. "Especially when it cooks. It's a great-"
His voice was choked off when Lestat grabbed Daniel's neck, hard.
"Why do you like the smell of chocolate cake, Daniel?" He purred, licking his lips quickly, and shook Daniel hard. A strand of the child's hair fell across his forehead, and Lestat pinched it with his two fingers, gently placing it back in place. He kept a tight hold on Daniel's throat, and used it to pull him closer. "Tell me, my darling."
Daniel shivered as Lestat let go of his throat, but stayed in place, allowing Lestat to play further with his hair, "Why do you want to know?"
"It's not about want, Daniel," Lestat said softly, brushing Daniel's ear. "You're my son, I need to know everything about you. And you want to know everything about me. I think it's only fair."
"Yeah, but you don't tell me shit," Daniel raised an eyebrow. "So why should I tell you anything?"
Lestat frowned, and then grinned, suddenly pleased.
"Oh, you clever, clever boy," Lestat purred, and grabbed Daniel's shirt, pulling him in. "Tell me why you enjoy the smell of a human fucking meal and I'll tell you…something. One question."
"One question?" Daniel asked, and Lestat saw Louis from the corner of his eyes, rushing into the kitchen and freezing at the entrance, eyes widening when he saw Lestat and Daniel. "And you'll answer?"
"A yes or no question," There was no reason to give Daniel too much power.
"Lestat, what are you-"
Lestat hushed Louis with a single raised finger.
"Let us finish here, Louis, mon cheri," Lestat said, keeping his eyes trained on Daniel. "You first, sweet boy."
"Did you kill your maker?"
Was someone screaming? He could hear screaming, he swore, but looking at Daniel he could tell that the boy couldn't hear anything odd. He was looking at Lestat, fascinated and intense-
The screaming must have been coming from inside Lestat's mind.
He could feel Louis's eyes on him, watching in fear. But he could not bring himself to look away from their son. Louis had never asked him that- he'd asked about Lestat's creator, of course. But he'd never asked if Lestat had killed him.
Lestat swallowed, waiting for Daniel to demand an answer. But the boy kept looking at him with amber eyes, silent and waiting. It seemed to Lestat that he would wait until the sun came up and burned them to ashes.
"No," Lestat said, rather shocked by how much he sounded as though he was about to cry. "No."
"Ok," Daniel nodded, and his eyes were widening, filling with excitement. "So what-"
"One question, Daniel," Lestat grabbed his throat again, squeezing. "We said one question-"
"Lestat, don't," Louis took a step forward. "Don't hurt him."
"I'm not hurting him!" Lestat bellowed, pulling Daniel in so he was trapped between his legs, their chests flushed together. "Am I hurting you, petit chaton?"
Daniel shook his head immediately.
"There," Lestat gently turned Daniel, resting his back against Lestat's chest, and placed his open palm on Daniel's chest. "See? The two of us are quite all right."
Louis swallowed, taking another careful step forward as Lestat grabbed Daniel's chin, moving his face so they were looking at each other.
"And now, you tell me," Lestat purred.
Daniel nodded, "Yeah. Fair's fair. Though…it's not a very interesting story at all."
Lestat shrugged. He didn't care very much for the answer at the moment. He just needed his authority over the boy made clear.
"Well," Daniel started fiddling with his fingers. "My mom used to make those cakes. And…I used to help her. That's it. I told you, it's not interesting."
Oh, but that was very interesting indeed for Lestat, who looked up and grinned at Louis, "Daniel, darling, you told Louis that you wanted to call your human father, yes? Why not your mother?"
"I told you," Daniel snapped, trying to move away from Lestat's hold. "You asked why I want to make the cake, and I told you. Now let me go-"
"I want to know why you didn't want to call your mama," Lestat hissed as Louis rushed forward. "Do you hate her? Was she mean, Daniel? Did she hit you-"
"Leave him alone, can't you see he doesn't want to answer?" Louis yelled.
"Or perhaps she's dead? Did she die, cheri? Is she dead-"
"Ohh, I know," Lestat grinned, kissing Daniel's ear. "Did she, perhaps, slip into your bed at night when papa was sleeping and-"
"No she left!"
Lestat grew still, and his hands grew limp as Daniel escaped from his arms. Louis moved to hold him, but Daniel shoved him off, as well, glaring, and turned back to Lestat.
"My mother didn't hit me," Daniel hissed. "And she wasn't a fucking pedophile, you absolute fucking creep. She just left us, all right? She disappeared when I was ten and she left a note-"
Daniel's voice broke, but as Louis made a move as though he wanted to hug him, Daniel raised a hand to stop him.
"She disappeared and when I came home from school one day I found a note for my dad."
"Did you read it?" Lestat asked, curious.
Daniel shook his head, but then answered.
"Yeah. I read it."
"And what did she say, Daniel?" This time it was Louis who asked, voice soft and gentle. "Will you tell us?"
Daniel looked at Louis, as though the kind tones were lolling him in, and said quietly, "She said…she said that she loved-that she loved me. But she met someone new who was going to give her a new life. And that was it. She didn’t even say she was sorry."
"I'm sorry, Daniel," Louis said softly, and this time, when he walked over to gather Daniel into his arms, the boy let him, collapsing against him.
"It's ok," Daniel mumbled against Louis's neck. "It was a long time ago."
"Things that happen a long time ago can still hurt," Louis said, and there was a far-away look in his eyes that told Lestat that he was thinking about Claudia. And then he shook himself and looked back down at Daniel, "Let's put the batter in the oven."
And Daniel burst out laughing.