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“You need blood.”

 

Noé has the audacity to look surprised and Vanitas fights the urge to roll his eyes. He unbuttons his collar, baring his neck, letting his actions speak for themselves. “If we want to get out of here in one piece.”

 

Noé is intently staring at him from where he sits crossed legged on the floor. He blinks. “You want me. To drink your blood.”

 

“Yes?” Vanitas quirks up an eyebrow. “You vampires grow stronger when you drink human blood, do you not? We need you strong if we are to ever see the wondrous sky of Paris again."

 

“Humans grow weaker when they get their blood sucked, do they not?" Noé has crooked his head to the side and his eyes are shining with mischief, but Vanitas knows he’s on the defensive. "I fail to see how your plan makes any sense.”

 

Most humans do. Don’t make a fuss. This is a one-time thing.”

 

Noé stares a split second too long before swallowing and looking away. “But… You, I mean. I’m…going to see your past. Doesn’t it bother you?”

 

Vanitas pinches his nose. Noé obviously wants to drink his blood and in all other circumstances he would flatter himself over it but Noé is a conflicted person, conflicted enough to fight with his conscience on a daily basis over the most trivial things. And in all other circumstances, Vanitas would respect that. After all, this impressive game of tug-of-war he plays with his own mind is one of those things that give Noé his refreshing personality and set him apart from most people Vanitas knows, but today, right now, Vanitas just wishes he could shove his morals aside to realize they do not have much choice. It is not like he is in any hurry to reveal the shadows of his past but they are running out of options and he has offered, for god’s sake.

 

He shrugs, melodramatic. “Yes, it is immensely bothersome. This is why I have conditions.”

 

“Of course you do.”

 

Vanitas glares and goes on. “One. You do not speak of anything you see in my memories. Not to me. Not to anyone. Ever. Not a single whisper, not even in your dreams.”

 

Noé nods. He still looks apprehensive, but this one rule seems to ease at least some of his reluctance.

 

“And two. Don’t be careful. I am not made of fine china.”

 

Vanitas can’t handle delicate, can’t handle tender, and sure as hell wouldn’t handle the velvet in Noé’s eyes if he decides to go soft on him. Dominique can have kind and gentle. He has no need for it.

 

If Noé finds his demand odd, he does not show it. He probably thinks it fits somewhere within the idea he has of Vanitas. Another piece to add to the puzzle. To which degree his perception of him is factual, Vanitas does not know and he refuses to speculate.

 

If it isn't, why are you so willing to trust him with your past?

 

“So?” He steps in closer to Noé, a challenge in his voice.

 

“Alright.” It sounds like an agreement as much as it does self-reassurance.

 

Noé stands up, brushing the dirt off his pants.

 

Vanitas gets bitterly reminded of their height difference but whatever nervy remark is unfurling on his tongue dies when Noé tugs on his hand to close the last of the distance between them. He leans in and takes a deep breath.

 

“You smell nice.”

 

Up close, his voice has this rough edge to it and Vanitas pointedly ignores the heat creeping up his cheeks. He lets out a forced chuckle. “My blood is divine, taste for yourself.”

 

Oh. This was a terrible idea. Noé hasn't moved and his hair is tickling Vanitas' jaw.

 

“Vanitas?”

 

“What? Out with it.”

 

Noé inches back to look at him and smiles. “I’m going to drink your blood because I want to.”

 

How arrogant. Vanitas knows Noé asks to make sure he has his undivided attention. The futility of it grinds his gears. Vanitas’ mind doesn’t roam like his does. He pays scrupulous attention to details and so what if that becomes his downfall.

 

Noé's pupils are dilated when he leans back in. He licks his throat with a low hum and Vanitas can't help a surprised gasp. "What are you...?"

 

He receives no other answer than the sharp pain of a bite piercing his skin.

 

It stings.

 

Noé is still holding his hand like they are dancing a bloody waltz, breathing him in and sighing in the crook of his neck and like this, Vanitas tells himself, anyone would be overwhelmed. If Jeanne drinking his blood was heavenly, this is extase.

 

Molten gold runs in his veins, brazing and hasty to spill in Noé's mouth, and Vanitas lets his head loll back with a soft exhale. Warmth is dripping along the curve of his neck like a caress, crimson drops blooming on his collarbones. Noé, as agreed, is not holding back. The ache of the bite is fading, a faint reminder concealed beneath a garden of pure bliss.


Vanitas' breath comes out ragged. His brain is shutting down. He's just barely conscious of Noé's other arm curled around his waist in a possessive grip and his own hand grasping at the vampire's shoulder with abandon.

 

He wouldn't mind staying like this forever. 

 

Noé shivers and parts from his neck, lips lingering on his skin in something kindred to a kiss.

 

Despite what Vanitas has vowed earlier he does feel weaker, his mind a fuzzy haze and his legs threatening to give up on him. Noé slowly lowers them to the ground, for once his instinct not unkind to Vanitas' pride. The vampire is trembling and it takes a few moments for Vanitas to register he is crying, quietly weeping in the curve of his throat, hand grasping at Vanitas' shirt like his life depends on it.

 

Vanitas does not expect the wave of guilt that washes over him. That first condition was useless. Noé doesn’t need to talk. He is just like an open book with his emotions and Vanitas hates it. He hates Noé for making him care.

 

This is why you don't love. This is why you can't care. This is why you won't change.

 

He sighs and cards his fingers through Noé's hair and murmurs, "I'm sorry". He means it.

 

You knew what would happen and you hurt him. You hurt him. You hurt him. You-

 

Noé shifts and tighten his embrace. "Sorry," he echoes, muffled by the fabric of Vanitas' blouse. "Thank you," he adds. He's kissing the blood that flourished on his throat and his tears dilute the ache.


Vanitas doesn't answer and shuts his eyes.