Snod had been the victim of many sins throughout his life. He had succumbed to wrath more times than he could count, and he was getting quite familiar with lust. Pride was one he had dabbled in, having taken much pride as a victorious hunter time and time again.
This was the first time he had felt the wicked prick of envy.
He hated how easily Mark interacted with Frankie, and he despised his confidence in how he touched him and smiled at him. He hated even more how Frankie responded, grinning brightly and resting his hand on Mark’s shoulder.
Snod could feel ripples of happiness and longing in their bond, and he knew these were Frankie’s feelings for Mark. They weren’t as strong as the lusty desire that he knew Frankie felt for him, but that brought him no comfort. This was worse because these emotions seemed so much more genuine.
Frankie truly did care for Mark, very deeply.
Snod knew he had no right to be jealous. He had no claim on Frankie, and they hadn’t agreed to any sort of exclusive relationship. Their intense sex life was the result of their blood bond, and it was simply that: sex.
Frankie’s promise to explore something more once the effects of the blood had worn off held little promise when he was looking at Mark the way he was now.
Furthermore, Snod knew in one month’s time he planned to return to the Order and devote himself to his old life. There was no reason to be envious because he wasn’t planning on keeping Frankie. This life was not meant to be.
Even so, he found himself gritting his teeth and imagining breaking each one of Mark’s fingers every time he touched Frankie.
“Calm down,” Lorenzo soothed, breaking into his angry thoughts. “I can hear your damn ears steaming from here.”
“He has no right,” Snod huffed, downing his drink in one giant gulp.
“Are you and Frankie, uh, dating?” Lorenzo asked, smiling shyly.
“No,” Snod replied flatly.
“Okay. Right. But you two are sleeping together?” Lorenzo clarified.
“Yes, I have carnal knowledge of his body.”
“Got it,” Lorenzo said with a few slow blinks. “Okay, so, Obe, let me ask you… Is it okay if I call you ‘Obe’?”
“No,” Snod growled.
“Fine!” Lorenzo groaned exasperatedly. “What do I call you?”
“My name is Obadiah Penuel Snod.”
“The fuck kind of name is that,” Lorenzo wondered out loud.
“It’s my name!” Snod growled.
“Did your parents hate you?”
“Call me Snod and don’t you dare speak ill of my parents—”
“Fine! Okay! Chill out, Sally Psycho!” Lorenzo waved his hands in surrender. “Listen, Snod. What do you want from Frankie?”
“What do you mean?” Snod demanded, instantly suspicious.
Lorenzo presented Snod with a fresh drink, something fruity and tart, explaining, “I don’t know what’s really going on with you guys, but here’s the deal. If you wanna be with Frankie, then fucking be with him. If you’re just screwing him because you’re some kind of hot for coffins vampire groupie, then you need to back off because Frankie deserves to be happy. He deserves something real, you feel me?”
Snod slowly gulped down his drink, but said nothing. His thoughts were swimming anxiously, teetering between considering his own happiness and the certain damnation that came with it. A life with Frankie, something real, was not possible.
“He could have had that with Mark!” Lorenzo ranted on. “And even though you’re kind of scary, and I’m very sure you could probably kick my ass, I swear I will find a way to fuck you up if you break his heart. Frankie kind of gave me the impression that you weren’t gonna be sticking around long… So, if you’re just passing through, you need to fucking chill with all of this über jelly grouchy bullshit because it’s not fair to Frankie to act like you give a flying bucket of crap.”
“What?” Snod stared, the slang zooming right over his head.
Lorenzo groaned again, trying simply, “If you’re not going to be Frankie’s boyfriend, then don’t act like a jealous boyfriend.”
When Mark’s hand reached up to touch Frankie’s face and playfully adjust his glasses, Snod couldn’t stand it any longer. Boyfriend or not, the rage he felt boiling up inside of him was too much.
Snod began stalking toward them despite Lorenzo yelling after him, “Oh, don’t do it, bitch!”
He whirled around to glare at Lorenzo, snarling at the challenge. He stood up to his full height, biting back, “Or what?”
Lorenzo was clearly shaken, but still stubbornly replied, “Death by robot in your future, dude. Death by fuckin’ robot!”
Snod ignored him, getting back on target and moving quickly toward Mark and Frankie. He was stumbling a little bit, and he had no idea what he was going to do. He did not possess a wide array of social skills and any tact he may have had was lost from all the alcohol he’d been guzzling down.
He boldly approached them without any care about interrupting their conversation. He showed his teeth in what could have passed for a smile and said loudly, “Hi.”
Mark did not look pleased with the sudden intrusion. He scoffed, scanning over Snod with a very forced smile. He wrinkled his nose as if he smelled something unpleasant, asking politely, “So, Frankie. Who’s your… friend?”
“This is Obadiah,” Frankie said, gently placing a comforting hand on Snod’s arm. “He’s new in town, and he’s staying with me for a little while.”
“Staying with you?” Mark scowled, his eyes wandering back to Snod with a new and intense scrutiny as if he had missed something important. The forced smile returned, and he asked stiffly, “Where are you from, Obadiah?”
“Around,” Snod replied shortly.
“He’s from the Lancaster area in Pennsylvania,” Frankie explained quickly. “He was part of the Amish community there, out on Rumspringa. He’s not planning to go back, so I’m helping him get a fresh start.”
Snod made a face at the lie, though Frankie told it well.
“Little old for that, aren’t you?” Mark asked Snod with a faint smirk. “Thought the Amish did that when they were teenagers.”
“Late bloomer,” Snod replied with a venomous sneer.
“Well, isn’t that sweet,” Mark oozed. “You know, that’s one of the things I love about you, Frankie. You have such a kind heart. You’re always taking pity on the less fortunate.”
Snod knew it was meant to be an insult, but he grinned anyway, boldly sliding his arm around Frankie’s waist as replied, “Oh, but I’ve been very fortunate. He’s been showing me a whole new world, and it’s been… intense.”
Frankie laughed weakly, and his thoughts were volatile.
I’m going to kill you.
Snod only smiled more brightly, very pleased with himself when he saw how Mark was beginning to put the pieces together.
“He just means that I’ve been helping him adjust to life outside of the Amish community,” Frankie interjected quickly. “Watching movies, shopping…”
“Sex,” Snod proudly added. He clicked his tongue, whispering loudly, “Lots of it.”
Mark looked furious, and Snod couldn’t have been any happier until he saw Frankie’s enraged snarl. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
Frankie turned to Mark quickly, meeting his eye and staring at him intently, his voice echoing softly as he commanded, “Forget what Snod just said to you.” He snapped his gaze to Snod, growling in that same peculiar tone, “And you! Not another word until I tell you that you can speak!”
Snod felt dizzy, and he tried to bark back, but he found he couldn’t get his vocal cords to cooperate. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t say a damn thing. He grabbed at his neck, cursing that his scapular was back in his pants pocket at Frankie’s home.
“It’s been really good seeing you, Mark,” Frankie said hastily, giving him a quick hug. “We’ve gotta run, please take care of yourself.”
Mark let the embrace linger and rubbed the small of Frankie’s back. “Good to see you, too. Whenever you’re done doing whatever this is that you’re doing? Charity work? Yeah, maybe give me a call?”
Frankie looked surprised, pushing him away with a blink. “Wow!” he exclaimed with a bitter laugh. “It’s funny. You told me I was wasting your time because I missed a few of our dates and didn’t want to go out anymore. But now that you see me with someone else, you’re suddenly interested again?”
“Forgive me,” Mark sighed, trying to pull Frankie back into his arms. “I didn’t think—”
“No, you didn’t think at all, did you?” Frankie’s aching heart was very palpable through the bond, and he shook his head as he said, “Goodnight, Mark.”
Snod couldn’t speak, but he gave Mark the biggest smile he could and wiggled his fingers into a little farewell wave.
“And you!” Frankie snapped, grabbing Snod’s wrist. “Outside! Now!”
Snod stumbled along as Frankie dragged him outside the club. The moment they were out of sight from any onlookers, Frankie held him close and blinked them into a secluded alley. For a dumb moment, Snod was hopeful that Frankie wanted privacy to give him that blowjob he had promised him.
But when he saw Frankie’s hands planted firmly on his hips and his beautiful face set in a furious scowl, he figured now would not be a good time to bring it up.
“On your fuckin’ knees,” Frankie snarled, pointing a long finger in Snod’s face.
Snod dropped immediately, unsure if his immediate compliance was voluntary or a result of Frankie’s power. Regardless, the fire he saw in Frankie’s eyes instantly transported him back to that first morning when Frankie had pinned him so aggressively on the sofa.
“You are such an immature, selfish, insecure fucking brat!” Frankie seethed, his fangs fully bared and hissing savagely. “I step away for a few precious moments, a few fucking seconds, and you just had to come barging over like a total jackass!”
Snod still hadn’t been given permission to speak, so he had no choice but to listen to Frankie’s rage. There was something strangely enticing about seeing him so angry and while Snod couldn’t explain it, he could feel himself getting undeniably hard.
“You had no right to say that to Mark!” Frankie continued to shout. “For fuck’s sake! We’re not together, Obe! I am not yours! I care about you, I do. I am willing to give you a chance when the blood wears off if you really want to be with me. But who’s to say you’re not just gonna wake up one morning and suddenly decide you don’t wanna date an unholy creature, huh? And then what?”
Snod frowned, his cock continuing to stiffen uncomfortably in his pants.
“You’re such an asshole, and you know what, so is Mark. You’re both fucking assholes!” Frankie raked his hands through his hair, groaning loudly. “God, what is wrong with me, am I just attracted to fucking jerks? God, ugh!”
Snod thought Frankie’s lips looked particularly pretty as he panted and huffed, even more turned on as he watched him get more and more worked up. Frankie was unfairly sexy when he was angry, and Snod was doing his best to listen, but it was getting difficult to focus.
“If we’re not gonna work out, I don’t need you burning my bridges over some petty, bullshit jealousy,” Frankie went on. “I’m crazy about Mark, but you… I could be crazy about you, too. But I have to know that you really want this. That you want me.”
Snod wished he could speak, although it was probably better that he didn’t. All he could think was that he did want Frankie. He wanted him far too much. He reached out for him, gently resting his hands on his thighs and smothering his cheek against his hip.
Frankie gasped softly, his hands moving over Snod’s neck, his nails digging in hard. The moment they touched, the desire between them became inescapable. Frankie was pressing closer, growling softly when Snod slid a hand back over his ass. “Stand up,” he ordered sharply. “Right now.”
Snod was up on his feet and wrapping himself around Frankie in a second. He mouthed along his throat, backing Frankie up against the brick. He would fuck him right here if he could. All he could think about was coming, grinding their hips together as he sought out friction.
“No,” Frankie snarled suddenly, grabbing Snod by his neck and switching their positions. He pressed him face first against the wall, hissing angrily in his ear, “Tell me truthfully; do you think you deserve pleasure after the way you’ve behaved?”
Snod groaned, grateful that he could speak again as he croaked softly, “No… no, I don’t. I want you… I want you to punish me. I’ve crossed you and I need to be punished.” He closed his eyes, vividly recalling the way Frankie had spanked him before. He burned deep inside to feel that again, pleading, “Please.”
Frankie made a soft sound, something strangled and urgent, his free hand sliding down to cup Snod’s ass through his pants. “Do you want me to spank you, Obe?”
“Yes,” Snod whined, shamelessly arching into Frankie’s touch.
“Fuck,” Frankie hissed, squeezing Snod’s ass greedily. “Drop your pants. Right fucking now.”
Snod wouldn’t have needed to be under Frankie’s spell to obey. He was so desperate, jerking his pants and underwear down around his knees without any thought to who might be able to see them. He plastered himself across the wall, groaning as his cock rubbed against the cool and rough brick. “Fuck…”
“You embarrassed me!” Frankie growled, barely giving Snod any time to brace himself before his hand came down on his ass with a violent smack. “You made a total fool out of me in front of Mark!” Another slap. “You were beyond disrespectful!”
“Yes,” Snod gasped, each brutal spanking rocking his hips against the wall. The burn was making his dick ache, grinding against the brick even though it hurt. He felt so very small with Frankie crowded behind him, holding him so firmly in place as the burn in his cheeks made his eyes water. “I was bad… I’m sorry… I’m so fucking sorry…”
Frankie was relentless, purring in Snod’s ear, “I know you are, Obe. That’s okay. I’m going to help you learn. I’m going to teach you how to be good for me…” He spanked Snod’s ass again, hard enough to make him cry out. “There, my good boy. You’re taking it so well…”
“Fuck, Frankie!” Snod whimpered, clawing at the wall and humping the brick as he sought out friction. The pain was making every other part of his body especially sensitive and he knew he was going to come soon, just from the smack of Frankie’s hand and grinding against the wall like a dog. He whined anxiously, his face flushing with shame as he cried, “I’m gonna come… I’m—”
“No,” Frankie said, his cool fingers sliding around to cruelly squeeze Snod’s cock.
“Urghh!” Snod grunted, the wave of pleasure that was about to wash over him knocked back into a frustrated puddle. He was sweating and on edge, trying to thrust into Frankie’s hand. “Please…?”
“This is a punishment, remember?” Frankie gave Snod’s cock another firm squeeze before letting go. He nipped at his shoulder, pressing his own hard cock into Snod’s hip as he scoffed, “You don’t deserve to come, Obe. Not until I’m sure you’ve learned your lesson, not until I’m satisfied…”
“Then let me satisfy you,” Snod pleaded, reaching back to grab Frankie’s side to keep him close. “Allow me to earn your forgiveness, Frankie. I can take you right here, right now, however you want me. I’ll do whatever you ask of me.”
“Mmm, Obe…” Frankie’s fangs grazed over Snod’s throat as he considered the juicy offer before pulling away suddenly. “No. This is a problem. We can’t just fuck the problem away. Especially when the fucking is part of the damn problem!”
“But I want you!” Snod groaned impatiently, pounding his fist into the brick. “I want you more than anything.”
“You want to have sex with me,” Frankie steadily corrected him, pulling his pants back up with a long sigh and affectionately patting his shoulder.
“Yes, but I want more. I want to watch Disney movies with you,” Snod tried, earnest and vulnerable. The alcohol was an extremely liberating potion, and soon he couldn’t believe the things he was saying. “I want to fall asleep next to you, and wake up with you. I want to cook for you, even though you can’t eat it. Oh, but you could still watch me. I want to drink more with you. Shirts. I want to fold shirts. Match socks. Dance.”
Frankie was honestly touched, warmth flowing over the bond and seeping right into Snod’s chest. He cradled his face lovingly, allowing him to draw back in for a tender embrace. His eyes were bright, gazing warmly at Snod as he said, “One month… if you still want that in one month, then yes. You can have it all.”
Snod had to kiss him, their mouths passionately crashing against one another’s. He didn’t care about learning that stupid name or returning to the Order in that moment. His heart was pushing him right into this beautiful vampire’s arms, and he never wanted to leave.
The temperature of their kiss turned to boiling within moments, Frankie again being the one with some semblance of willpower and pulling away before things went too far.
“We need to get back and check on Lorenzo,” Frankie said, adjusting his glasses that had been knocked askew during their heated make-out. “No telling what kind of trouble he’s gotten into.”
Reaching down to shift his uncomfortably erect cock, Snod scowled but nodded obediently. His cheeks were still blazing hot from Frankie’s strong hand and he was eager for release. He glanced at Frankie, grinning shyly. He didn’t have the heart to ask out loud, but he could definitely think it.
“You lost all your blowjob privileges when you decided to tell Mark about all the sex we’re no longer having!” Frankie huffed, aiming for angry but he was smiling wide. “Come on!”
Frankie brought Snod back to the club to check on his friend, walking with him arm in arm as they approached the dance floor. At first, Snod thought Lorenzo was having some kind of seizure. His long braids were whipping about violently and his body was shaking as his arms flailed around him.
Most of the other patrons had given him plenty of space, letting him convulse at a safe distance.
“Yup, it’s time to go,” Frankie sighed, weaving out onto the dance floor to retrieve him.
“Wait,” Snod said, gently reaching for Frankie’s hand. “I meant it, about… the dancing.”
“Huh?” Frankie laughed in surprise. “You mean… you want to right now?”
“Yes,” Snod said eagerly, desperately wanting to be close to Frankie again.
“One song,” Frankie said, holding up his index finger to emphasize his determination. “Just one, and then we have to get Lorenzo and go home.”
Snod grinned victoriously, eagerly wrapping his arms around Frankie. He stayed close, struggling to keep on rhythm. He wasn’t very good, but dancing gave him the chance to touch Frankie all over and he loved it. He blushed when Frankie’s hands grabbed his hips, helping him find the beat.
Dancing was a lot like sex, Snod began to learn. He wanted to thrust and slam, but Frankie was showing him how to roll his hips against his, seductively moving with the music. It was getting easier, and he smiled brightly when Frankie’s arms curled up around his neck.
The tempo of the music had dropped down, now a slow and throaty bass line that begged their bodies to grind together. Snod held Frankie’s hips, their foreheads pressed together as they danced, unable to tear himself away from those beautiful eyes for a second.
He knew Frankie wasn’t his boyfriend, but what if he could be? What if he forgot all about the Order, what if they could have a life together? With all the alcohol diluting his guilt, such a dream felt within reach.
His head was swimming beautifully. He could feel the bass reverberating in his bones, and the only sensation he could detect through the bond was pure joy. It was Frankie’s mixing in with his own, and Snod had never been so happy.
He wished the song could last forever, but the beat changed all too soon and Frankie was untangling their bodies.
“Let’s go,” Frankie said, taking Snod’s hand and leading him over to get a hold of Lorenzo.
Lorenzo’s erratic dancing had lost much of its momentum, and he positively melted against Snod and Frankie as they threw their arms around him. “Hey! You guys!” he exclaimed drunkenly. “Where have you been?”
“Sorry, Lorenzo,” Frankie said, guiding him out toward the front of the club. “Had to have a little chat with Obe! How are you feeling, buddy?”
“I’m fine,” Lorenzo replied in a very slurred voice that indicated he was anything but. He glared, squinting one eye to focus on Snod as he demanded, “What did you do? I swear, robots!”
“I didn’t do anything!” Snod growled, nearly dropping Lorenzo on the sidewalk out of spite. It wouldn’t have mattered if he had since Frankie could have easily held his friend’s weight by himself, but Snod still considered it all the same.
“Robots!” Lorenzo snarled. “Little tiny nano bots that will crawl in through your nose and eat… wait! Wait! Frankie!” He was suddenly excited, almost screaming, “I know how to cure you! I know how to make you not a vampire!”
“Lorenzo!” Frankie hissed, shaking his friend. “Shhhh!”
“Okay! I’m sorry! I’m drunk, but I’m a drunk genius!” Lorenzo cackled. “The special secret thing we can’t talk about because it’s a secret? It’s an endospore, and you can’t get through the walls. But we don’t have to get through. We can Trojan horse that shit! With robots!”
Frankie stared in bewilderment at his intoxicated friend. “What do you mean? How?”
“The phagocytosis! We couldn’t figure out how to penetrate the cell wall, but it weakens when it’s nom nom time!” Lorenzo went on excitedly. “I can make a tiny robot, a tiny cargo van robot, to deliver a load into the bacterial cell and boom! Okay. Not literally boom, because that would be bad, but it might work!”
Snod didn’t understand a word.
“Mother of God,” Frankie murmured, his eyes wide in amazement. “Lorenzo… you really are a genius.”
“I know,” Lorenzo said, holding his head proudly. He made a sour face suddenly, visibly shuddering as he mumbled, “Aaaand I’m gonna puke.”
“I’ll hold your hair.” Frankie smiled affectionately, guiding Lorenzo around the side of the club to revisit the colorful collection of drinks he had been chugging down all night.
Snod followed at a respectable distance, cringing in sympathy. He could relate.
When Lorenzo had finally finished, Frankie carried him back out to the street to find the car. The whole ride home, Lorenzo was rolling around the backseat and babbling about iron and hemoglobin capsules. Snod thought it sounded like total nonsense.
Frankie seemed to understand most of it, and Snod began to tune them both out. He was still pretty tipsy, but definitely not as bad off as Lorenzo was. He was proud that his second night of drinking had ended with much less disastrous results than his first. He enjoyed the cool feeling of Frankie’s skin, smiling when he felt their hands intertwine.
Back at the apartment, Frankie tried to steer Lorenzo toward the couch to crash. Guided by some Pavlovian response, he resisted and stumbled into the guest room where Snod was supposed to be staying.
“I can totally carry him and put him out on the couch,” Frankie said apologetically, Lorenzo’s loud snoring already audible through the door.
“It’s okay,” Snod said, shaking his head. The apartment was spinning a little, and he desperately wanted to lie down. He stumbled toward the couch, kicking off his shoes as he went, saying, “I’m gonna watch Aladdin again.”
Frankie seemed surprised, but smiled as he said, “All right.”
Snod stretched out, glancing up when Frankie had blinked beside him to offer him a blanket and a pillow. He reached for Frankie’s wrist, tugging him down to steal a kiss. The thrill of his theft was lost knowing Frankie could have easily stopped him, but it was sweet all the same.
Frankie petted Snod’s cheek, saying, “If you need anything, my door is open.”
“And the chances…?”
“Of us having sex are absolutely zero,” Frankie cooed, patting the top of Snod’s head like a puppy. “Goodnight, Obe.”
“Goodnight, Frankie,” Snod replied with a sleepy pout. He beamed when Frankie kissed his forehead and put the movie on for him in a flash.
He was asleep before ‘Arabian Nights’ had even finished, jolting awake at four o’clock in the morning right on the dot. It felt like there was fire in his throat, he couldn’t breathe, and his heart was punching violently against his ribs. He didn’t know what he had been dreaming about at first, but it hadn’t been good.
He could still see bits and pieces, fading images of pain and blood, staring up at the wizened face of Sanguis, and he remembered intense fear.
He knew what it was now, sober and gasping for breath as the memory washed back over him like a splash of icy water.
His first lesson.
“Obe?” Frankie’s voice was in his ear, his cold arms around him, asking worriedly, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Frankie?” Snod clung to him, trying to shove the memories back down. “It was nothing. It was just a dream.” He stared at Frankie’s face, hauntingly lit by the light of the flickering DVD menu.
“Obe,” Frankie pressed, “I could feel you. You were terrified. I saw something, a little boy and an old man. The old man—”
“You saw my dream?”
“It’s possible to share images in the bond, yes. But the old man, he was beating the little boy… was that you?”
“Yes,” Snod replied quietly, looking down at the floor. His eyes felt hot, the last few stings of the dream pricking deeply. It was part of the Order’s ways. There were many lessons to learn.
The first he had learned when he was seven.
Frankie frowned softly, sliding his arms under Snod and picking him right off the couch. “Come on,” he sighed. “Let’s go to bed.”
“Are you sure?” Snod blinked back his tears, distracted by the obvious temptation. “But you said no sex.”
“We can sleep together and not have sex,” Frankie assured him with a short laugh. “I don’t feel right leaving you out there when you’re upset.”
“I’m not upset,” Snod pouted, flopping into Frankie’s bed.
“Uh huh,” Frankie said, letting his obvious lie go unchecked. He stretched out beside him under the blankets, pulling him close.
Snod didn’t think he’d be able to fall asleep again, but Frankie was holding him so tenderly, his cool hands stroking over his back. They didn’t say anything else, only held each other, and Snod couldn’t escape the warmth filling him up.
He had never known such happiness, and the Order wasn’t here to take it away. He wanted this dream to be real, a desperate voice deep inside of him telling him that he could have this. He could keep it, he could keep Frankie, and there was nothing wrong with wanting it.
A life together, to actually be his boyfriend, to fall in love, to have something real.
Snod pressed his head against Frankie’s chest, and for a precious few moments he thought he could hear the soft thumping of a heartbeat as he dozed off.
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