Actions

Work Header

Downpour

Work Text:

It was late into the night when the Reaper finally set out to find a meal. He had postponed his hunt, waiting for the seemingly endless thunderstorm to relent, but it was soon apparent that he had two options; to go another night without feeding or simply endure the lashing the rain was ready to provide.

The hunger, he so often found, proved harder to ignore.

After more than an hour of fruitless searching, however, he was beginning to regret his decision. He had managed to expend what energy he still possessed from his last kill, and with nothing to show for his efforts. He should have guessed that a storm would keep the townspeople in their homes, but he had naively reassured himself that there would be some weary traveller he could easily take advantage of…

Trust the humans to suddenly gain common sense.

Every now and then, the odd rustle in the trees caught his attention as he moved through the forest. He was travelling mostly on foot, he wasn’t so foolish as to fly in such weather. Thunderstorms and flying were never an advisable combination, no matter what Doctor Junkenstein might have claimed. And more than that, the creatures waiting out the storm in the trees were hardly the kind of meal he was thirsty for. Pigeons and crows didn’t exactly nourish him in the way he desired.

He was on the verge of admitting defeat and returning to the castle with his tail between his legs when a strange scent caught him off guard. It seemed oddly familiar, at least he thought familiar was the word, but he could never be sure. The memories from his human life were all but gone, just the shadow of a dead man left to this eternal damnation. The endless suffering of an unquenchable thirst that led him to rip out the throats of whatever hot-blooded creature was unfortunate enough to cross his path.

But even then, he still found enjoyment in this twilight life, the danger, the theatre of it all, the costuming, the thrill of the hunt.

Something was missing, something that evoked a hunger in him. What was it? Well, he wasn’t sure. There was something he needed, and his instincts, of course, told him it was blood, yet no amount of killing and maiming seemed to fill this nameless void.

Which only left something from his former life, but he had no way of knowing what. Whoever he had been was long dead, and he was now reliant on the protection of the other freaks at Adlesbrun castle, who in a strange turnabout of events relied on him as well… It seemed they needed each other, and while he couldn’t say he cared overly for his companions or their motives, it was nice to feel needed.

Even if that did just boil down to them rousing him at all hours to fight off the weekly angry mob.

Still, this scent… it seduced his weary limbs into braving the storm a little longer, away from the safety of the castle, until he came across a small clearing where he finally found the source.

A lone traveller, or at least he assumed so. No sign of any companion, and the scent that had caught the Reaper’s attention was emanating solely and steadily from this one individual. He crouched beside a tree, holding onto the trunk as he observed his prey.

The traveller seemed injured, propped against a large stone and overtly lethargic. If it wasn’t for the lit cigar hanging from his lips, the Reaper might have thought him to be dead… but there it was, the steady pulsating glow of the cigar from underneath his hat; the brim wide enough to hide his face and shelter his smoke.

It was strange, a surprise even, but now the Reaper realised what the smell was.

Maybe in his previous life he had smoked. If that were the case, he certainly no longer had a taste for it, yet the smell didn’t repulse him. If anything it intrigued him.

The Reaper observed his prospective prey, watching as he occasionally kicked out his feet, his hand grasping at his side and even amongst the loud thunder and torrential rain, the Reaper could hear his heartbeat, and how faint it was. It didn’t take long for the Reaper to realise that his meal was injured, and he instantly felt overcome with exhaustion. To hunt in these conditions only to find nothing but a maimed vagabond…

At least he was smoked, the Reaper joked to himself, trying to decide whether this was a total loss or not. He had options, had been in tight spots before, but at this moment in time they all seemed a lot of effort for very little payout…

That was, until the stranger raised his head to exhale slowly and the Reaper found himself utterly captivated, observing the way smoke plumed from the traveller’s dry lips, wisps of his beard fluttering as he sighed heavily. It was enough to make the Reaper hesitate and against every instinct, his rational mind quashed his thirst and began instead to plan what to do next.

Now was not the time to feed.

He traced his gaze over the man, slowly, taking the time to indulge his eyes in such a handsome individual. Perhaps it was his good looks that made Reaper retract his fangs, or maybe it was the traveller’s clothing, his heavy, decorated leather was unusual, far from those offered at the local leatherworkers. But it didn’t matter, for whatever reason it was he found himself slowly rising, feet moving of their own accord.

There was something about this man that he was drawn to.

As he moved closer, another strong wind ripped through the forest, hitting the Reaper at the exact moment the stranger raised his head, showing his face as the cigar fell from his lips. Whether it was the gust itself that caused it to fall, or the sight of the Reaper, his costumed monstrous appearance helped by the way his long coat billowed outwards, he couldn’t say. But it was dramatic, which was the Reapers intention when it came to his wardrobe, and the loud clap of thunder only added to this; a flash of lightning illuminating his own body in a way that was surely enough to scare the very soul out of a man…

And yet the stranger seemed utterly unfazed, barely batting an eye as he mumbled under his breath and shifted a little, wincing in a slightly pathetic and yet strangely endearing way.

The Reaper was confused. He had closed the distance between them, revealing himself to the stranger, but where the delicious combination of fear usually stoked his sense of theatre and bloodlust into a frenzy, here he was met with... disinterest?

It was just as well he didn’t mean to kill the man straight away, what a waste of an entrance.

The Reaper lowered his hands and crossed his arms, clearing his throat as loudly as he could, but the rain was not helping the situation. Maybe the man was more injured than the Reaper first thought, perhaps he was too far gone. What wretched luck. He couldn’t believe this, finally a morsel worthy of his attention, beautiful and intriguing enough to play with before his meal, and he was at death’s door.

With the smell of the cigar gone, something else lingered in the air. Blood, a lot of blood but… it had a strange tang to it. The Reaper found himself smacking his lips behind his mask, trying to place the flavour that so heavily hung in the air but it wouldn’t come to him. Infection perhaps? Some type of disease?

If that were the case better to release the wretched thing from life before it suffered any longer, infections in the blood made for poor meals - even if it couldn’t kill him, the Reaper knew the effects an unclean meal could have on his system.

He’d lost a very fine coat that way.

The Reaper glanced down at the man’s body again, trying to ascertain the extent of his injuries but it was still dark, and his leathers were slick from the rain, and it was then that he noticed the metal arm. He quirked an eyebrow beneath his mask; whoever this man was, he was no peasant, and the Reaper found himself pondering again. If he could survive an amputation… then some care might see him through the infection and any blood loss. He could nurse this stranger back to health, in the safety of the castle, and then he could feed on him when his blood was clean and nourishing.

And in the meantime… the Reaper could feast in other ways. Maybe.

A thought crosses the Reaper’s rational mind; that the complicated prosthetic might be a cover for a birth defect, rather than the result of a grisly wound. But a deeper thought, a dark and possessive instinct tells him that he is right about this man, about the strength in his wounded body.

A few moments passed before he decided to give the man a sharp kick to his leg.

“Hey, what’re you…” The stranger started, tilting his head upwards before smiling and laughing. “Ha! What are you then, buddy? An angel?” he coughed out, his breath catching as he chuckled.

The Reaper was glad his mask hid his small smile. He had to admit, that was cute. Clearly, the man was delirious, but there was no harm in exchanging pleasantries until he figured out how to move him.

“I suppose you could say that,” he finally said, crouching down beside the man, grimacing slightly at the thick mud surrounding his body. He had been here a while, that much was clear, it could only be some fluke of nature that the man had survived this long the Reaper decided.

Or perhaps it was a sign.

He wasn’t sure what kind of sign that would be, perhaps the universe had seen fit to gift him not only a meal for his thirst, but for his other appetites also.

“Lemme guess, you’re the angel of death?” The man coughed weakly, looking down at his stomach as he moved his hand just enough to reveal the start of a large wound. The thick leather of his coat was shredded and sticky with blood, and the Reaper could feel his nostrils flaring for all the wrong reasons as the scent floated through his mask - it was rancid. “Well, nice to meet you, the name’s McCree,” he drawled, sinking down a little more as he let his head hang. “But I guess you can call me Jesse, what's the point in decorum if yer the last person to see me alive…”

The Reaper found himself nodding, because he was correct, he would be the last person to see him alive, whether it was now, in five minutes or five days. Whilst the Reaper enjoyed the hunt, a man resigned to greet his fate with a smile was an interesting turn of events.

If this man, Jesse, wasn’t going to put up a fight, then the Reaper could do whatever he wanted.

However, before he could enjoy anything, the Reaper had to address the stink. Jesse was filthy, soaked in mud, blood, and whatever else he was sat in. His wound seemed to be festering, but as the Reaper reached out to touch it, Jesse winced and covered his stomach again.

Jesse visibly swallowed, his tongue darting out to moisten his parched lips. “I’m not scared,” he said quietly, barely audible over the sound of the rain.

The Reaper nodded again, unsure as to what to say. People always said strange things when they thought they were going to die. Maybe it would be cruel, to keep Jesse alive when he was so resigned to death. But the Reaper was hungry and lonely, and more than that; he was selfish.

Why shouldn’t he have some company? There was more than enough room for two dead men in his chambers.

And if Jesse expired before he could treat him, he could always hand him over to Doctor Junkenstein for spare parts. Waste not, want not, after all. He was a considerate neighbour if nothing else.

“I’m glad I’m not alone,” Jesse admitted to himself, his voice so small that even the Reaper strained to hear him, but if anything that made it worse, that this man with seconds left wanted only to talk to him. Something inside the Reaper stirred, thoughts moved to strange places until Jesse spoke again. “When I first noticed you… I coulda swore you were him, but I guess I ain’t so lucky,” he continued, and the Reaper felt somewhat lost, but his eyes never left Jesse’s. “You feel like-” he whispered, pressing his face into the Reaper’s palm as he weakly raised his hand to the Reaper’s mask.

But before his fingers could gain purchase, his hand fell back down to his side, and the Reaper let out a small sigh as he regarded the man, pale and unconscious, collapsed in the mud. Maybe this was fruitless, maybe the Reaper was going soft in his old age, or maybe he was just as delirious as this stranger, his hunger leading him to ruin; like a sailor swallowing seawater.

Better becalmed with company, the Reaper mused, determined to not overthink it.

Whatever his reasoning, he gathered Jesse into his arms and disappeared back into the night, returning to the castle with as much haste as he could muster.

-

Back at the castle, the Reaper began filling the metal tub in his chamber whilst Jesse McCree lay on his floor, drifting in and out of consciousness. This wasn’t how he had thought his night would have progressed, and his body was keen to remind him of its needs. He still desperately needed to feed, and just being around a human, even in Jesse’s foul condition, was truly testing him.

It would be worth it in the end, he tried telling himself, but the more he looked at Jesse in the dim light of his bedroom… well, it seemed less likely that he was going to feed any time soon. Even if the Reaper managed to see Jesse recover, there was something niggling the back of his mind; something persistent but insubstantial, that lingered at the back of his mind but would not be shifted to the forefront. It was like he had a mental block in place that he just couldn’t shake.

He had time, he lied to himself as he moved from the fireplace to the tub, his eyes fixated on Jesse’s motionless body even as he poured the water in. He just had to wash him, everyone washed their food, he reasoned with himself as he moved to undress the other man.

It was nothing more than that, at least for now. He just needed to bathe the man and see what he had to work with, and as he peeled off the many layers of his sodden leather, the Reaper couldn’t help but notice that the wound didn’t seem as bad as he first assumed, but there was still a lot of blood and dirt, maybe he was going to uncover something hideous, some festering wound that might prove this all futile.

But the Reaper’s mind soon drifted away from wounds and infection as he uncovered his chest. It had been a while since he had seen another man so close, and he couldn’t stop himself from removing his gloves just so he could touch the thick hair across his chest, his fingertips pressing down on a few scattered scars hidden beneath.

It was then that Jesse roused just enough to raise his head, letting out a small sigh and the Reaper found himself desperate to elicit another as he dragged his fingers along his neck, tracing Jesse’s large Adam’s apple before snapping himself out of it. He was getting distracted, and he forced himself to continue the task of undressing him, Jesse completely unconscious as the Reaper tugged the tight, wet leather from his lower half.

He gently lowered Jesse’s body into the water, hoping it wasn’t too hot, but he had no way of knowing, however, the foul smell in Jesse’s blood left the Reaper inclined to disinfect him like a surgeon would a blade.

A real surgeon, that is.

Doctor Junkenstein liked to rest his tools on any flat surface - no matter how sticky.

As Jesse’s body sank, the dirt turned the water brown and even through the fog of his exhaustion he let out a sigh, the sound of relief not even stopping when the water lapped against his wounds. The Reaper wished he knew why he cared so much, why taking care of this stranger meant so much to him, but his hunger was clouding his mind as much as anything else.

Was this really all preparation for a meal?

Jesse groaned as the Reaper moved his hands away to crouch beside the tub. He couldn’t take his eyes off Jesse’s face, the small expressions he made even as he slept were beautiful… He had no memories of his previous life, and few from his new one that were worth commenting on, and he wished to commit these human movements to his memory now, so small and unintentional.

“Just relax,” he said under his breath as he dipped a cloth into the water and slowly began dragging it over Jesse’s chest, trailing it down his chest and stomach with care, brushing the dirt away to reveal an almost golden tone in the candlelight. He was beautiful; almost glowing as the Reaper washed away the filth and he couldn’t even bring himself to blink, afraid he might miss some moment that would be lost to eternity without him to witness it.

He wrung out the cloth before folding it into a neat square, trying to put off the moment, but he knew it was inevitable. The Reaper’s body felt so heavy as he leaned over, the hem of his jacket trailing into the water, but he couldn’t bring himself to care with all his attention on the task at hand.

Jesse seemed completely out of it, and he barely reacted as Reaper moved the cloth down to where he thought the wound was, slowly blotting at the area, the brown, sticky blood enough to turn his stomach. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting, judging by the state of the slashes on his clothes, but it was smaller, somehow, than he thought it was a moment ago now that it was cleaner. He had seen a lot worse; done a lot worse, even. This was some sort of animal attack, perhaps - there were wolves and bears in the forest. He wasn’t the only apex predator.

“Who are you?”

Reaper didn’t turn his head as he heard Jesse’s croaky voice; instead, he let the cloth fall into the bath. What was he supposed to say to that? He didn’t know who he was.

Instead of answering, he cupped a small amount of water and let it cascade over the puckered cuts on Jesse’s side, his fingers falling to trace the gash across his stomach, fresh blood oozing out as he applied the smallest pressure, just enough to make Jesse gasp and oh, what a beautiful sound. He slowly craned his head to look up at him, the steam catching behind his mask, warming his face as he observed Jesse parting his lips to let out a soft sigh; a small smile gracing his lips.

The smell was intoxicating, the sweetness of Jesse’s fresh blood mingling with the underlying scent of dirt and his natural body musk but still, there it was. The tang; a bitterness that made him hesitate, that stayed his bloodlust.

“Or is a better question… what are you?” Jesse asked, a smirk on his face as he weakly reached up and ghosted his fingers over Reaper’s mask.

But Reaper didn’t care for his questions, wouldn’t dignify them with an answer as he swallowed hard, unable to resist running his hand over Jesse’s delicious skin again. How long had it been since he had touched another man like this? A quick glance at Jesse’s face told him this was allowed, wanted even, but it still all felt so strange.

He let his fingertips dance up and down Jesse’s stomach, gently tapping against the surface of the water as he watched Jesse’s reactions. Maybe this was all a dream, or maybe he had died again; succumbed to his hunger out in the storm, and this was some twisted afterlife.

One with handsome men needing baths.

Then a sharp pang of hunger tore through his body, and he was brought back to reality.

“M’startin’ to think you ain’t an angel,” Jesse mumbled, sinking down into the tub and Reaper let his hand linger; let it drift up his body as Jesse sunk deeper. “I don’t mind, I guess. If I’m dyin’, this is nice…” he said in a voice that was almost not there, and Reaper found himself nodding, pressing his hand down onto his chest, sliding it to Jesse’s neck and he allowed it so willingly, his heavily lidded eyes boring into Reaper’s mask.

He could take him now, infection be damned, he could take what he needed.

But it wasn’t what he wanted right now. The Reaper wasn’t about to waste this; he had so very few pleasures in life, and Jesse McCree would be a nice, if temporary, distraction.

He adjusted himself, kneeling beside the tub, his jacket still draped into the bathwater but he didn’t care. He would end up soaked by the end of this but he couldn’t resist. Jesse McCree was exquisite.

With one hand on Jesse’s face, he dropped the other to his stomach, slowly pushing lower, his fingertips sliding through the wet tuft of hair spreading from his navel to the base of his cock and just the smallest nudge of his nails against Jesse’s dick was enough to make Jesse let out a contented sigh, his eyes closing as he leaned into Reaper’s hand.

“Make sure I’m good an’ clean down there,” Jesse said with a small grin and Reaper couldn’t help but smile behind the mask. Just hearing him make light of the situation; hearing his thick drawling accent, it felt so familiar but he didn’t know why.

He was cheeky. Reaper hadn’t thought he had much taste left for comedy, but the smile he was hiding beneath the mask was genuine enough.

The Reaper had already seen Jesse’s flaccid cock when he had undressed him, had consciously chosen to pay it little mind, but seeing it harden as he wrapped his fingers around it was pure eroticism. His eyes greedily took in his beautiful body as he tested the waters, so to speak, slowly running his fingers along Jesse’s cock, pausing at the tip before he tugged his foreskin down, his own tongue darting out as he glanced down into the water.

It was somewhat overwhelming and yet he managed to keep his cool; managed to make it look like he wasn’t going insane behind the mask; that seeing a man this delicious, naked and hard, right here in his chambers, wasn’t enough to push him over the edge. He was in control, or at least that was what he told himself as he leaned in closer, his hand sliding down lower, seeking and finding the other man’s balls with ease and he couldn’t resist cupping them roughly as he leaned in close enough to hear Jesse’s breath against his mask.

Jesse opened his eyes just enough to stare at the Reaper and suddenly he felt so naked, like Jesse was looking through his mask and deep inside him. Part of him wanted to end it all right there, to throw caution into the wind and tear into his throat, regardless of any infection or disease just to squash these weird feelings.

But the other part of him ultimately won out, the part that wanted to share a blissful moment with this beautiful creature before he met his untimely end. After all, there was no guarantee he would survive the night, no guarantee the Reaper would ever experience another moment like this, with anything other than his corpse.

So he did what any sane vampire would do. He climbed into the tub, his hand groping down for Jesse’s cock as he adjusted himself, leaning in to press his masked face against his neck as he started to stroke him, the water lapping loudly between their bodies. This was highly unlike him, irrational even; his costumes were the only thing the Reaper had left that gave him any sense of joy, and yet how quickly he disregarded them in exchange for one moment with this man.

But he couldn’t waste time pondering his own behavior as he felt Jesse’s cock throb in his hand, dick sliding in his loose grip as he inhaled deeply, the soft thud of Jesse’s pulse enough to make his own cock rouse from its slumber but his thirst felt like nothing but a dream. All he could think about was Jesse.

He could hear Jesse gasping; his soft moans the sweetest melody to his ears, every noise punctuated by the loud thud of his heartbeat. He was so weak, but he could feel Jesse’s hands grabbing at his arms; at his shoulders, and he was so lost in the sounds of his body that he hadn’t realised that Jesse was clinging to him, his lips against Reaper’s ear.

“Fuck,” Jesse whispered, his voice so strained and all Reaper could do was move his hand faster; press their bodies closer. He didn’t know what he needed right now, to feed or to rut, or just to be closer to him. He could feel Jesse resting his chin on his shoulder, could feel him trembling, his hands dragging down Reaper’s back as he tried to thrust into his hand but he clearly lacked the strength, body almost spent.

Reaper knew he was a man of few words, knew he couldn’t offer Jesse anything that might make this situation any better but the other man seemed content just whispering under his breath, pleas of desperation as he reached his climax and all Reaper could do was revel in his profanities and praise. It was dizzying; Jesse’s thunderous heartbeat, the steam from the hot bath; the sheer heat coming from the other mans heaving body, it was all enough to make the Reaper want to rip off his mask just to breathe. He felt like he was suffocating.

But before he could do a thing, Jesse let out a long groan and the Reaper looked at his face just in time to see a smile as Jesse stared forward and whispered the name ‘Gabe’ before passing out in his arms.

-

After tucking Jesse into his bed, the Reaper was left feeling unnerved.

Jesse was completely responseless after his orgasm, and the Reaper couldn’t decide whether it was a good or bad sign, it could have been either. At least that was what he was telling himself. Just because he was a vampire who hadn’t had sex in a long time, didn’t mean he couldn’t give hand jobs that literally made people come so hard they passed out. Sure, it was more likely that he had succumbed to a fever or something like that, but Reaper was trying to remain somewhat optimistic.

Something about Jesse had awoken something in him. He couldn’t place it, didn’t understand it and Jesse uttering another man’s name had confused him further still. The Reaper was not so proud or foolish to deny a dying man his babbling, but something about it rubbed him the wrong way.

Maybe it was the name itself.

“Gabe. Gabriel?” He said under his breath as he dug through the dirty heap of Jesse’s clothes. The name was alien enough to him, and yet there was something about it. He glanced at the now cold bath and then towards the door, where Jesse had been looking when he had said that name. Nothing out of the ordinary there now, perhaps he had seen one of the castles supposed ghosts?

The Reaper lazily eyed his chambers, his focus falling on the large oil painting of himself that dominated the other wall, it had been a gift from Doctor Junkenstein, something he had insisted on commissioning from a local painter who he had, sadly, been a little overzealous with. A pity, since the Reaper thought the artist truly had some talent.

Maybe Jesse had mistaken his portrait for another man, he was almost completely delirious after all.

Shaking his head, the Reaper put the thought from his mind as he pulled out the satchel Jesse had been carrying with him and wasted no time in opening it.

He was already planning on murdering the man, so theft wasn’t really anything he blinked at.

The Reaper reached into the satchel and pulled out the largest item, one that couldn’t be ignored, one that, if anything, made him wonder even more about the man asleep in his bed. It was a revolver. It was impressive, expensive even. He weighed it in his hand, enjoying the measured weight of it as he checked the chamber, unsurprised to find it empty. A quick sniff of gunpowder told Reaper all he needed to know. Jesse had clearly encountered something, a wolf most likely, maybe a rogue farmdog, and shot at it before it made its mark on him. The whole chamber, by Reaper’s best estimate.

He placed it gently on his sideboard, making a mental note to bury Jesse with it, calculating how much time it would take him to dig a respectable grave in this weather.

He was going to bury him, the Reaper realised in that moment, not give the body away to Doctor Junkenstien. It was an odd instinct, for sure, but it felt right. The man who had looked death in the face and chuckled, would not be torn into spare parts by the Doctor’s lumbering pet, he would be buried in the ground like all good men deserved. But that was a problem for him in a few days time, for now… he reached back into the bag and pulled out a hip flask, nothing special and a quick shake confirmed that at least some of the stink on Jesse was whiskey, to dull the pain if nothing else, the Reaper was sure. He almost tossed it aside before the glint of an inscription caught his eye, and he curiously ran his thumb over the engraved letters that simply read ‘And I live with no other thought than to love and be loved by you - G.R’.

The Reaper found himself looking over at Jesse before he placed the flask by the gun and continued rummaging, a daunting feeling lingering over him that he chose to ignore. Love was the concern of the living, and Jesse would not see another day outside of these walls, he was the Reaper’s now. He pulled out a wad of papers, most of them handwritten notes long destroyed by the rain, but he managed to pull out a few surviving communications.

The first made him roll his eyes. A wanted poster for himself and the other inhabitants of the castle. They were everywhere in the town, handed to every patron of the tavern. The Reaper was surprised to see the price on his head had increased when he had made such an effort recently to stop killing muscular young farmhands, and focus more on travelers passing through. He tossed it over his shoulder with a roll of his eyes before staring down at the second.

He paused for a moment as he tried to read the smudged writing. It was a missing poster for a ‘Gabriel Reyes’ and then a reward for his return that made the price on the Reapers head look like peanuts. He squinted at the picture but the rain had destroyed it beyond recognition. It seemed to say something about vampires, but again, missing people around these parts were hardly uncommon… since he was responsible for about thirty percent of them.

He was slowly putting things together in his head when he tossed the paper aside and saw a dirty, battered photograph that made him suddenly feel like his unbeaten heart was wringing itself out; some kind of pressure in his head building as he tried to process what he was seeing. He found himself suddenly scrambling around the room, searching for a mirror that would show his reflection; searching, he knew, in vain for anything to remind him of his own face.

The Reaper was almost frantic, his mind almost completely gone as he caused chaos in his own chambers before he recognised what he already knew.

He stepped towards the painting as he looked between the photograph and his portrait. The photograph was simple, two men stood in front of a building that seemed to be some sort of monster hunting agency. One of the men was Jesse McCree, the man laying half-dead in his bed. And the other man? Well, Reaper found himself taking his mask off to feel his face as he stared down at the photograph and then looked up at his portrait, just to confirm what he already knew. He didn’t need to turn over the photo to confirm the name of the individual, but he did it anyway.

And surely enough, in large cursive on the back, the words: “Me and Gabe, first day of business!”.

He felt sick. He felt confused. He felt everything he hadn’t felt for the past who-knows-how-long. Everything felt like it was flooding back to him, not memories, but emotions and feelings that he had assumed died the night he had.

He looked over at Jesse. Did he know who was behind the mask? Or was this just another stop on the trail? Did he think Gabriel was here as a captive? Or had he discovered his partner’s fate and come to finish him off? If they were monster hunters… He knew how they thought, their steadfast honour, their lack of compromise - he had killed enough of their kind in his time here at the castle.

What was he thinking? ‘Their kind’? That was him. That was who he was. If that had been his life, he could certainly never return to that and he hated knowing that this meant he could never let Jessie live. He had never planned to, of course, but with this new information it made it an impossibility.

At least everything was starting to make sense. Even if he couldn’t remember Jesse, something deep down had responded to the other man’s presence. Maybe it was the way he spoke, the way he smiled… Reaper let out a small sigh, shaking his head. Maybe it wasn’t that romantic, and it had simply been the act of touching a dick that had awoken the Reaper from his emotional slumber like some kind of vampiric Snow White.

It didn’t really matter, he thought as he took a seat beside the bed, his eyes fixated on Jesse’s beautiful sleeping form. He was still hungry and he couldn’t risk letting Jesse go, even if they had been something.

He reached out and brushed Jesse’s hair from his forehead. He was sweaty, but the Reaper wasn’t sure if it was a fever or something else. He was far from a healer, and though he could perhaps seek help from the Witch but who knew when she would next return to the castle. All he could do was wait it out and hope whatever was in Jesse’s system didn’t taint his blood beyond recovery.

For purposes of feeding, that was.

He wouldn’t be cruel to Jesse though. Whatever they had had was something special, he could see that even just from a flask and a photograph. Jesse had come looking for this Gabriel and even if the Reaper couldn’t truly understand, he would attempt to give Jesse just that before the end. He felt like he owed him that much.

-

One night turned into several and Jesse never woke. The Reaper never left his side for more than a few moments. He had asked for help from the Witch, but she had said that whatever kept Jesse from waking, it was beyond her help. That had frustrated him more than anything. The longer Jesse stayed, the more he hated the idea of killing him.

His hunger grew with every passing moment, rats from the cellar only doing so much to stave off his hunger and yet… he was losing the desire to kill him. The Reaper spent hours staring at the photo of Gabriel Reyes and Jesse McCree, trying to remember just who he was but nothing came, just strange feelings that were so deep and raw they made him feel almost nauseous.

He didn’t know what to do anymore - well, more he knew exactly what he had to do but he wasn’t sure whether he could bring himself to do it.

He pushed back the curtains in his chamber, staring out into the courtyard. It was a beautiful night, the full moon hung heavily in the sky and the days of heavy rain had left a mist in the air. He couldn’t resist opening the window, letting the dewy air hit his skin and it just made him feel alive in a way he seldom experienced.

Or was it… he glanced over his shoulder at Jesse, his hand sliding up to stroke his own neck, his body suddenly feeling heavy. He didn’t feel human… his skin was colder, his pulse nonexistent. If Jesse touched him, he would realise in an instant that the man he was searching for was no longer there.

Swallowing hard, he turned away from the window, taking small steps towards the bed. Jesse was sprawled on top of it, a thin sheet barely covering him and Reaper could see a sheen of sweat coating his body; his beautiful, muscular, hairy, tanned body. He suddenly needed something to drink; just some water to ease the dryness he felt in his mouth, but as he stumbled past the bed, the soft thud of Jesse’s heartbeat grew louder, his fangs throbbing in his gums as he tried to hold back.

Just for a moment, he told himself. He wished he could remember what they had; wished he could be the man Jesse had been searching for, that he could be a happy ending for the beautiful, vulnerable body exposed in his bed. He had these feelings; these emotions but… no matter how he thought about it, there was no way it would work out. It was ridiculous to even ponder it… and yet he found himself hesitating, his hands lingering as he traced the edges of his dressing gown.

At one time in his living death the Reaper had thought silk to be the ultimate luxury, and yet a light touch against Jesse’s skin proved otherwise as he reached over and brushed the back of his hand over his cheek, his body naturally gravitating into the bed. He didn’t try to stop himself. What was the point? Why did he continue to postpone the inevitable?

Maybe it would be better if Jesse never roused from his slumber. Perhaps it would be kinder to just let him drift away into oblivion, his last memories those hazy moments in the tub. And yet, the Reaper found himself allowing his gown to fall from his shoulders, uncovering his naked body in the pale moonlight; his own skin so lackluster in comparison to Jesse’s.

He needed to feed, he knew this. He was growing weak. If he left it much longer, he would expire beside Jesse, but maybe that would be a fitting end. If he could not bring himself to feed, if he were instead to simply drift away with this stranger in his arms…

All the evidence did seem to suggest Gabriel Reyes was a romantic, maybe that explained the Reaper’s natural flair for the dramatics.

He moved to lie down, resting on his side as he removed his mask and threw it behind him.

He didn’t need that any more.

He couldn’t stop himself from thinking about the man he might have once been. The man who loved Jesse McCree, who seemingly gave his heart to him. He wondered how long they had been together, had they been partners in business before they became lovers, or was it the other way around? No matter who Gabriel Reyes might have been, the Reaper couldn’t imagine being around a man like this and not falling in love instantly.

It had only been a few days and he had already formed an attachment. He wasn’t so foolish as to think it was love, no, how could he differentiate between love and lust right now? His mind was blinded by his insatiable hunger, and as much as he thought about Jesse McCree, he had never forgotten about his true intentions. He knew why he had brought Jesse home; knew what he had to do. No amount of new information could change that.

He shifted closer, sliding his leg over Jesse’s thigh, shifting to perch his head on his hand as he gazed upon him, the moonlight illuminating his beautiful, glistening body and he couldn’t resist running his free hand over Jesse’s chest, a small sigh escaping his lips. There were so many maybes going through his head, and only one certainty.

Trailing his fingers to Jesse’s neck, he couldn’t stop himself from inhaling deeply as he felt Jesse’s pulse; so much stronger than it had ever felt and before he could move; before he could either flee or attack, Jesse looked up at him, his eyes heavy.

“...Gabe…?” He whispered, reaching up and placing a hand on the Reaper’s face, and it hit him that he didn’t have his mask; that Jesse had woken up to find the love of his life next to him, very naked. The Reaper was frozen in place, his eyes darting back over Jesse’s face, trying to read his expressions as the other man acted out his thought process, surging forward to crash their lips together.

It caught the Reaper completely off guard; his entire body going limp as Jesse kissed him, and he let him push him down onto his back; let Jesse climb between his legs and he knew that no matter how badly he wanted to feed, he needed this just as much.

And why shouldn’t he have it? He thought to himself. If Jesse wanted this before the end, who was he to deny him?

He let himself sink into the mattress, staring up at Jesse the entire time, watching as he pulled away, panting. He tried to mimic him; tried to remember what it was like to have his breath taken away and just looking at Jesse was enough to conjure forgotten instincts from the dark recesses of his mind.

“Gabe… I knew I’d find you,” Jesse whispered, leaning down to kiss him again, his hands sliding up to the Reaper’s face, his fingers feeling out every one of his features as he almost tried to devour him. It was ironic how hungry Jesse seemed, but thoughts of irony flew out of the open window as the Reaper felt the sheet between them slip away, Jesse’s hard cock already pressing against his thigh.

It was enough to make the Reaper forget any reservations he was still clinging to; made him forget why he was here, even if just for a moment, to allow them both to enjoy this. He wanted Jesse to indulge in his body; he wanted to feel what Gabriel Reyes had felt.

He could feel how much Jesse needed him by the way his hands frantically ran up and down his body, pulling the Reaper closer as his tongue delved into his mouth and all the Reaper could do was let it happen. It was delectable, and he had to break the kiss to throw his head back and let out a long moan, his hands sliding up to Jesse’s shoulders as he stared down between their bodies. Jesse’s thick cock hung down, the Reaper’s own still soft but not disinterested… it just took a while. He was still weak, and trying to suppress the urge to feed on Jesse took up a lot of energy.

But with the way Jesse shifted, with the way he settled his own dick atop the Reaper’s before he dipped his head to press his lips against the his neck… he was certain his body wouldn’t take long to catch up, and in the meantime he could only revel in the attention Jesse continued to lavish on him.

He pushed his hands down his shoulders, gripping his back as Jesse thrust his hard dick against him and he could feel how much his cock was leaking, the musty smell filling his senses, driving him wild. Jesse seemed to be in a trance as he rutted against him, his teeth dragging against his neck, threatening to do what the Reaper was so desperately stopping himself from doing.

The Reaper knew he had the power of persuasion, but this was something else entirely.

Jesse clearly had a burning desire, his movements desperate as he moaned deeply, muttering over and over, his deep voice enough to make the Reaper’s toes curl. Jesse needed more and he wanted to give him more.

“Fuck… Gabe…” Jesse mumbled against his collarbone. He must have known deep down that the Reaper wasn’t the Gabriel he remembered; his cold touch, greyed skin… but there was no hesitation, no hint of horror or disgust as he pressed his forehead against the Reaper’s chest, rolling his hips with a hypnotic rhythm. “I wanna be inside you so bad…”

The Reaper closed his eyes, swallowing down the large lump in his throat. He tried to speak, but nothing came out; his mouth completely dry. All he could do was raise his hips, letting Jesse’s cock slide between his legs, the thick head pressing against his asshole and he felt a deep throb pulsate through his body.

He blindly reached to his nightstand, clumsily shoving his hand into the drawer and grabbing the vial of oil he knew he kept in there. He didn’t need to say anything, Jesse was already taking the oil and dripping it onto his fingers before he even had the chance to offer it to him and the sight was so erotic that the Reaper could only stare. He could almost feel his eyes glowing as he watched the oil drip down Jesse’s hand, splashing onto his own stomach and Jesse’s only response to that was to reach down and trace patterns into dense hair below his navel, chasing after those stray droplets of moisture.

He couldn’t stop himself from pushing against his hand, his body desperate for it to go lower and Jesse didn’t disappoint. If anything,the Reaper felt a curl in the pit of his stomach as he realised that he knew he wouldn’t, knew Jesse McCree was incapable of failing him - of failing Gabriel Reyes. The way his slicked hand slipped over his cock, feeling out every inch of skin as he pushed lower, his face completely captivated by the way the Reaper’s body shivered under his ministrations.

Jesse’s touches were enough to drive him to the brink of insanity, frantic, void of hesitation and yet… so erotic; so skilled. Just the way his palm pressed down against his balls before he slipped his fingers lower, the pads brushing against his asshole and he didn’t even attempt to tense up. He had absolutely no reservations; he needed Jesse inside him right now; needed to feel his fingers stretching him open.

He didn’t wait for any permission; not that it was needed as the Reaper hitched his leg up, his ankle easily caught by Jesse’s mechanical hand and he didn’t know where Jesse’s strength had come from; where he had mustered this energy but he seemed almost like a man possessed as he pressed his fingers inside the Reaper with no resistance, a guttural moan ripping from the Reaper’s throat as he allowed himself to be lost in the sensation of pure bliss, Jesse’s fingers working him open and all he could do was throw back his head, his body naturally rocking to urge Jesse’s fingers deeper.

He couldn’t stop himself; all sense had gone out of the window. He reached down, grabbing Jesse’s wrist as he glared up at him, his eyes definitely glowing by now as everything in him grew so desperate. “I need...more,” he snarled, knowing that voice wasn’t what Jesse needed to hear; he knew it threatened to rip him out of the fantasy but Jesse didn’t seem to care. He seemed to hear what he wanted to hear as he pulled his fingers out with a lewd slick sound.

“Shh, don’t worry, I’ve got you,” Jesse murmured, his metal hand sliding down the Reaper’s chest as he stared into his eyes; both of their mouths hanging agape as Jesse trailed his almost clawlike iron nails across his skin, pressing down hard enough to draw blood but of course nothing came. He instinctively moved to distract him but Jesse seemed to ignore it; seemed to not notice as he moved his metal hand to the Reaper’s neck, his sharp nails tapping along his jaw, and he could barely see, his vision so clouded with lust but he could feel Jesse’s cock pressing against him, pushing inside so slowly that it felt like he was tearing apart at the seams with frustration and relief, all the feelings erupting into a deep growl he let trickle out of his throat.

Jesse wasted no time in lurching forward and covering the Reaper’s mouth with his own, his tongue feverenty seeking to match the same passion his hips had as he buried himself deep inside the Reaper, and he could feel his cock throbbing inside; could feel how strong his pulse was and it felt like electricity running throughout him. He felt so… alive.

“Mmm fuck, you feel so good,” Jesse moaned loudly against his lips and he didn’t care how loud they were being; didn’t care who could hear them. The other inhabitants wouldn’t ask questions when he had so visibly fed and he couldn’t resist sliding his hands into Jesse’s hair, yanking his head back as he bucked up against him, letting him moan loudly; wantonly.

He could see him gasping; could see the sweat dripping down his face and he couldn’t resist looking between their bodies to watch the way Jesse rolled his hips, his beautiful muscles flexing with each movement. He could watch it all day, but his body had other ideas. As Jesse reached forward to grip the headboard, he continued to thrust into him, and the Reaper’s mind slowly started to drift. He tried to focus on how good it felt to be under Jesse; to have a man like this give him such attention but stronger, darker instincts were starting to kick in.

He found his gaze lowering to the thick muscle of Jesse’s neck, his eyes flaring red as the large vein protruded as Jesse worked himself up into a frenzy, fucking the Reaper with all his energy, completely ignorant to what was about to unfurl.

Part of the Reaper was glad that Jesse found himself in such a trance; that he would end his life on such a high. But the stronger part of the Reaper, the wilder part was losing sense of Jesse as anything but a gourmet meal. He pulled him down closer, the gentle moonlight bathing them in a beautiful glow as he ran his nose up and down Jesse’s neck, inhaling deeply. There was still a strange scent but he was too far gone now. His whole body throbbed as Jesse thrust into him; short, shallow motions that would have been everything, but instead his mind filled with another bliss; the incomparable sensation in his gums as his fangs unsheathed themselves fully, as they only did before a meal.

He could feel saliva pooling in his mouth; the bloodlust coursing through his veins as he clung to Jesse, letting him seek pleasure in his body; letting them share in this a moment longer, but he knew he couldn’t let him reach his peak, lest the other man regain his strength or his sense before the Reaper could feed.

At the end of the day, Jesse McCree was a monster hunter; a vampire hunter, and the Reaper was a vampire.

His grip tightened in Jesse’s hair, the sounds of him panting mingled with the sound of their skin sliding together made him close his eyes, just for another second, just to appreciate what Gabriel Reyes had possessed and then lost. He could hear soft words between Jesse’s gasps for air, could hear him repeating how much he loved Gabriel, how much he needed him and it was all too much.

The Reaper let Jesse push inside one last time before he sunk his teeth into the flesh of his neck, his mouth filling instantly with what he hoped would be the sweet taste of Jesse’s blood but instead he felt his eyes instantly widen as a foul, putrid liquid poured out of his mouth.

It took him just a moment too long to figure it out.

Before he could do anything, Jesse had roughly pulled himself away, seemingly unbothered by the wound on his neck as he flipped the Reaper onto his front, dragging his hips up with no regard for his shocked gasps. In a way, this was more than fair, the Reaper having just tried to rip out the other man’s throat. But it was more complicated than that, the Reaper now knew, his realisation still sinking in as Jesse thrust back inside him, the howling wind just enough to distract him from the way Jesse hunched over him, fucking him harder and faster than before.

He felt the blood dripping from his mouth, the foul taste lingering and as he watched the curtains blow open further, the moonlight flooding the room and he could feel what had begun when he had flung his windows open come to a climax. Jesse was completely frantic, his metal hand grabbing the Reaper’s shoulder, his other holding his waist, keeping him in place as he fucked into him with a frenzy, his skin glistening under the moonlight and the Reaper could only let it happen; the taste of inhuman blood in his mouth doing something strange to his mind as he tried to turn to look at Jesse, tried to take in what he knew was happening, what he could feel as Jesse’s nails turned to claws against his skin.

“Oh… fuck,” the Reaper managed to spit out, letting the rest of the blood drip from his mouth as he watched Jesse out of the corner of his eye; watched as the hair on his skin grew thicker, heard as his bones creaked and warped and… he felt a deep shudder within him, his body finally reacting to what was happening, Jesse’s blood was far from fresh but more than enough to pump life into his old veins. He could feel Jesse’s cock buried deep inside, growing thicker, longer, stretching him out as Jesse hunched over him again, snarling and groaning as he continued to fuck the Reaper through his transformation.

The Reaper had witnessed many things in his short time as a vampire but this… this was certainly one for the history books. However, before he could turn himself into a best selling author, Jesse pushed him down into the bed, his claws dragging along the Reaper’s skin as he rutted into him and all the Reaper could do was lie there and take it, the feeling of Jesse’s huge dick inside him was enough to turn him feral.

It felt so good that he couldn’t even bring himself to care that Jesse had turned into a mindless monster - a werewolf. He should have guessed it sooner… the stench that filled the room, it was undeniable now as Jesse’s whole body pumped pheremones into the air as he pounded into him roughly, his cock still growing inside.

The Reaper could feel his stomach swelling; his whole body feeling like it was going to explode as Jesse rutted into him harder; faster, his claws dragging down his skin, managing to draw blood now and that fresh smell in the air was enough to drive them both wild. He could only buck back against him, letting out loud grunts to match Jesse’s, his own cock throbbing, leaking under them, untouched and desperate for contact.

Jesse’s now wet nose pushed against the back of his head, inhaling deeply as he growled and he could tell Jesse needed him to submit; understood that much about his kind. This was clearly his first time; that attack, in retrospect, had been by a werewolf. Jesse McCree had become a monster and his first thought hadn’t been to kill him, it had been to make him his own.

The Reaper almost felt guilty about biting him.

That was until he felt Jesse clamp down on his shoulder, the long rows of fangs sinking deep into the Reaper’s cold flesh as the base of his cock started to swell inside him, but just as quickly, Jesse released his shoulder, clumsily lapping at the wounds with a long sloppy tongue as he whined. Stupid mutt, the Reaper couldn’t help but think but all thoughts quickly disappeared as Jesse slammed into him harder and he couldn’t stop himself from reached down and pressing against his own stomach, feeling the tip of Jesse’s cock protruding.

If there were any advantage to being undead, it was this. There was no way Jesse would have rearranged Gabriel Reyes’ guts like this, no way Gabriel would have even survived it… If he even survived it now. Maybe he was too cocky. He couldn’t think straight as he felt Jesse’s dick grow larger inside him, the bulbous base stretching him to the point where he felt like he was ripping in two, his body completely destroyed, and yet his own cock still hung heavy; unspent.

He knew his hunger was insatiable but he hadn’t known that his other needs would be so voracious. He had been sleep walking through this entire life and now he felt… alive.

Jesse’s large claws moved to his chest, the other arm now nothing but a muscular nub that pressed hard against the Reaper’s neck as his movements stuttered, his dick already leaking inside and both of them could feel it; both of them falling still, panting heavily.

He knew Jesse was trying to feel his heartbeat with the soft pad of his paw but the lack of it didn’t seem to bother him as he moved to rub his muzzle against the Reaper’s ear, his large teeth glinting out of the corner of the Reaper’s eye and he could only shudder in response, his body twitching as his own cock dripped and he knew he was so fucking close.

Jesse snarled into his ear, his dick finally stilling, his thick knot stretching him in a way that made him just reach out in response, the feeling of being so full made him feel like he couldn’t breathe even though he didn’t need to and all Jesse could do was pant against his face.

“You’re mine,” Jesse growled out as he dug his claws into the Reaper’s chest, dragging them down as he pressed his muzzle into the Reaper’s neck, his dick pulsating in the Reaper’s ass and he just simply tried to press back against Jesse. He could feel it instantly as Jesse climaxed and he closed his eyes, reaching out for anything and all he could find was Jesse’s large, hairy arm wrapped around his middle as he pulled him back, holding the Reaper up as he started to fill him.

He felt so small, so completely wrecked as Jesse held him, his huge form completely encompassing the Reaper’s still human-like stature. His head simply lolled from side to side before he just let it hang down, watching as his cock twitched, his stomach swollen as Jesse started to pump his load into him.

He wasn’t sure if he passed out, but he felt himself going dizzy, consciousness drifting through him as he shook against Jesse, his large arms holding him tightly as he rutted into him, still grunting; still snarling and all he could do was go limp and let Jesse fill him up.

His whole body felt weightless as Jesse collapsed forward, pushing him down into the mattress as he weakly thrust against him, his cock already softening inside him and he could feel Jesse’s fluids beginning to leak out of him. His own cock ached but he couldn’t move, his body trembling as Jesse shifted, his large paw sliding over his body and every inch of skin his touched felt on fire; for the first time in forever he felt heat and he could only groan.

Jesse tried to pull out but his whole body tensed up and he found himself gripping Jesse, mumbling nonsense under his breath and all Jesse did was nuzzle against his face, pressing him back down into the bed as he continued pushing him softening cock into the Reaper, his hole leaking around Jesse’s thick knot.

He didn’t know how much time had passed before Jesse’s dick slipped from him with a loud squelch, his eyes rolling into the back of his head as he clung to Jesse, fluids dripping from his ass as he trembled, his fangs aching as he pressed his face into Jesse’s collar, the dense fur so soft against his face but he couldn’t resist plunging his teeth deep into his shoulder and Jesse let out a loud yelp, his claws digging into the Reaper but he didn’t resist.

It tasted bad, worse than the roadkill Doctor Junkenstein’s creation gathered for him but something about it made his body come alive. He felt Jesse’s paw soon slide down to his ass, and bit down harder as Jesse pried his cheeks open with a delicate claw, letting his fluids drip out of the Reapers hole.

He felt himself getting lost as he sucked at Jesse’s shoulder, the taste soon dissipating to a mild afterthought. He barely noticed as Jesse moved to lay him on his back, slowly detangling their bodies, his werewolf form surprisingly gentle and he finally let out a deep sigh as his teeth retracted slowly, his whole form sinking into the bed.

He could see Jesse through lidded eyes; could see him sniffing his way down his body before he stopped at the Reaper’s hard cock. Feeding had been a brief distraction for the Reaper, but the breath against his dick was more than enough to remind him and he simply spread his legs, letting Jesse settle between them, his huge, hairy form an almost distant blur as he started to lose himself in the sensation of Jesse lapping at his cock.

His hand blindy reached down and he reached into his fur, tugging as Jesse’s nose nudged at his foreskin, his tongue delving into the crevices as the Reaper weakly thrust up against him, his body so heavy and full, every movement such an effort. He couldn’t stop Jesse as he nosed his way downwards, his tongue darting out to press against his asshole before he pressed inside, the Reaper unable to hold back a deep moan as Jesse began cleaning him.

“F-Fuck,” he whispered, his voice beyond strained, his own hands tugging at Jesse’s fur as he dragged his tongue to his balls, the large, wet muscle sliding over them, drenching them before he moved back to his dick and as he looked down, it was too much. He bit down on his own lip, throwing his head back as he came against Jesse’s enthusiastic tongue.

He went completely limp again, knowing that Jesse could literally do anything to him at this moment in time and he wouldn’t care. He knew about werewolves; knew they were violent, unpredictable… and yet despite that, he truly could not have predicted the way Jesse settled down beside him, his large limbs draped over his body as he started to nuzzle the Reaper’s face.

“Mmm Gabe,” Jesse grumbled, his voice so deep and gravelly that he barely heard it; almost mistook it for a snore. “You’re mine,” he repeated and the Reaper could only weakly roll his eyes as he settled down beside him.

That was a conversation for the morning.

-

When the Reaper awoke, he was alone, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to be disappointed. He had set himself up for a night with Jesse. Sure, it hadn’t gone how he thought it might have… but he had fed his body and his soul. If he still had a soul. He would have to check with the Witch about that, but for now, he felt complete.

He rolled over, smiling to himself as he licked his lips, the taste of Jesse still lingering and as he blinked slowly, his fuzzy vision became clear; crystal clear. He felt...strong. Healthy, if that could ever be said of a vampire. He was so lost in how good he felt that he hadn’t noticed Jesse stood by the side of the bed until he cleared his throat.

“Mornin’ sunshine,” Jesse said, his soft drawl pleasant on his sharp hearing.

He could see Jesse was dressed; could see he had bathed and was fully human once again. His eyes drifted to the window, the moon in the sky still large but…

“How long was I asleep?” He asked, pushing himself up and Jesse took that as a sign to sit on the edge of the bed.

“Oh, uh… I mean…” Jesse looked away, scratching his neck. “Honestly, I only got up about an hour ago. Took me that long to get this back on.” He held up his mechanical hand, which the Reaper could vaguely recall going flying during Jesse’s transformation. “Well, I mean, I also took a bath. I was real uh, sweaty.”

The Reaper raised an eyebrow, looking Jesse up and down. “Where did you get the fresh water? I’m certain I locked the door-”

Jesse let out a deep chuckle, shrugging. “Not gonna lie to you, boss, I used the cold bathwater left in the tub.”

The Reaper scrunched up his nose, shaking his head. “You’re disgusting.”

“That ain’t the first time you called me that,” Jesse quipped, a small smirk playing on his face and the Reaper wanted to say something but he was at a loss for words. Did Jesse think he remembered? Did Jesse understand? He hadn’t explained but… in retrospect, so much had been obvious.

He let a pregnant pause linger in the air, unsure as to what was next. His mind was flooded with possibilities; all his senses suddenly so sharpened and yet he couldn’t think straight.

“So, what’s the deal with the red bandana?” The Reaper finally settled on, feeling stupid as soon as the words had left his mouth. “Is that part of your vampire hunting uniform or just a stylish accessory?” He was curious from a fashion perspective, but he was merely biding his time, trying to work out how he was going to handle this.

Jesse wasted no time in replying, looking away nonchalantly. “It means I like fisting.”

The Reaper was rarely taken off guard but that caught him for a moment and he waited for Jesse to crack but he continued to act like he hadn’t just said the word fisting in casual conversation. “Wait, are you serious?”

Jesse shrugged again before he slowly turned towards the Reaper again, smiling and that was enough to make the Reaper’s body tingle; something inside him flickering to life again, that warmth he had been so desperate to feel for all these years. “Nah…” He said with a laugh, climbing onto the bed, his leather crunching and he couldn’t stop himself from taking in the sight. He hadn’t seen him this clean with clothes on and he had to say, he almost preferred him wrapped like this. “You really don’t remember a damn thing, do you?” He said as he climbed closer, fearlessly climbing into the Reaper’s lap.

The Reaper sighed, running his teeth over his lower lip as Jesse settled into his lap, his body such a comforting weight on him and he couldn’t stop himself from placing his hands on Jesse’s thighs, pressing down as Jesse cupped his face.

“It’s… been so long since I’ve had to remember, I’m not sure if I can,” the Reaper admitted. He didn’t know if he could ever get his memories back; didn’t know if he could ever remember what they once had, but Jesse seemed to either not hear him or not care as he leaned forward and brushed their lips together.

“Well,” Jesse said against his lips, smiling. “I’ve made you fall in love with me once before, I’m sure I can do it again.”

-

It was another week before the Reaper finally left his chamber and faced the other inhabitants of the castle.

The Summoner had failed to notice his disappearance and had promptly kicked him out of her lair for ‘smelling like a wet dog’.

The Witch had known, had claimed to have seen it in a vision but he was fairly certain her ‘sight’ could be chalked up to her having walked in on them during the fourth night of nonstop lovemaking.

And Doctor Junkenstein had simply congratulated him on his recent feed. When the Reaper asked him about his policy on dogs in the castle, his only rule was that the dog had to be house trained.

He was about ninety percent certain Jesse was.