The change of train, at Charles de Gaulle, on the outskirts of Paris was so rapid that the most romantic city in the world barely pinged on Xavier’s radar. Ben was travelling on to the French capital and waved them farewell a little bit ruefully, and then the three of them were running for another train, a single deck conveyance this time but with so many carriages that it might well stretch all the way into Paris without leaving the platform at the airport station.

This train whistled across vast empty plains where, Dominic explained, some of the major battles of the First World War had been played out. Tiny clusters of identical white gravestones dotted along the route were the only remnant now of that terrible conflagration. After the long run up from Agde it seemed a very brief journey indeed before they were tilting into a deep cut in the earth and the train was suddenly swallowed into blackness. Rayne’s fingers reached for Xavier’s as the lights came up slowly in the carriage and they thundered down into the tunnel beneath the English Channel, on the final leg of their journey home.

Xavier, who had never really been bothered by any kind of claustrophobia, did his best to distract Rayne, but even he wasn’t completely unaffected. It was an odd, slightly disorientating feeling that only got better as long as he didn’t look out the windows. Of course, he thought, mostly his nerves were just an echo coming back from Rayne. Just a couple of weeks ago this would have been such an alien thought that just acknowledging it in private seemed bizarre.

Rayne’s heart steadied when they emerged again, less than twenty minutes later. No matter how many times he made that journey he would never get used to the idea of being in a rat run less than ten yards wide, and barely half a mile under the sea. It freaked him out almost as much as planes unsettled Dominic. As they came up from the depths Kent, the county of his birth, was huddled under a pall of grey cloud as usual.

“Can’t you tell we’re back,” he remarked sarcastically.

Xavier looked out, taking things in as they passed. The overcast sky wasn’t like the fog that rolled in off the bay in the mornings and usually dissipated with the sun. This was a bit more like having a bowl turned over the world and Xav wondered if the sun was even out, although it must have been up there somewhere above the low hanging clouds, illuminating the day. Despite the iron-grey sky though, the countryside itself was pretty, and very green.

He was used to the city, where there wasn’t much green at all but even the parks and the outer suburbs, where there were more lawns and trees, were different to this. It seemed to Xavier like the land outside was trying to make up for the colourless sky by being so vibrantly bright. It almost didn’t look real, as if the train was rolling though a painting, and he couldn’t help being charmed.

Gradually fields and trees gave way to hamlets, then towns, then finally the sprawling conurbation that was outer London. Tower blocks warred with the grey crawl of the slums in Rotherhithe and Erith then they picked their way through the rambling mazes of Penge and Catford, where the walls were decked with violent graffiti and public parks were outnumbered by public housing. The train spilled over the colourful urban splash of Brixton High Street and slowed as it reached the slow wind of the great grey Thames, clattering smoothly over the iron span of Blackfriars Bridge and into the heart of the city that had been Rayne’s home on and off for so long now. He felt a little frisson of excitement to be back here after all this time away.

And then they were drawing into St Pancras International and people began to rise from their seats and gather their bags, ready to leave the train.

Throughout the long trip from Naples Xavier had shown a sort of passing notice to various parts of the landscape rolling by, and although he’d paid polite attention to Dominic when he told him some bit of history or something his interest had been on the surface at best. For the most part he’d been far more involved with being twined around Rayne than watching the countryside racing by outside.

Whey they finally stepped off the train and he took a look at the building they were in it was the first time Xavier actually got to stop and gawk a bit. Dominic and Rayne were both watching him with indulgent grins but Xavier didn’t care. He couldn’t seem to stop looking up. The arching framework of iron and glass overhead and the sheer size of the building had him massively impressed. He followed along in a sort of bemused fog, knowing he was slowing them down but totally unrepentant. It was probably the coolest structure he’d ever been in. However, he had no idea that the outside of the building would be just as worthy of admiration.

“Holy shit!” he murmured, staring up at the huge, red-brick gothic turrets straining up towards the faint shafts of sunlight that tried to battle their way through the clouds. “It looks like someone parked a castle on top of a railway line!”

Rayne was laughing quietly at his awe-struck expression.

“It’s brilliant isn’t it? They’re supposed to be turning bits of it into apartments. I’d sell my whole fuckin’ family for one of those!”

Xavier looked at him with an odd little smile. It was cool that Rayne remembered little things like this, given how patchy his memory had been since Dominic and Mikka brought him back from Paris. And it was the first time he’d even mentioned having any kind of family. That set another small rill of nervousness off in Xav. Rayne had a whole life here that he knew nothing about.

“Shall I find a taxi or do you want to take the tube?” Dominic called out over the almost deafening rattle and grind of the city street beyond the station’s elevated forecourt. The sound of engines revving and idling was almost incessant. Horns sounded sporadically like the wind section of an orchestra tuning up for a performance and the rise and fall of sirens as one emergency vehicle or another cut through the nose to tail traffic sang in Xavier’s ears.

Rayne was smiling beatifically though. He looked genuinely happy to be here. The grey London skies and chaotic city landscape suited him and he blended comfortably into his surroundings.

“We could walk,” he suggested now.

“It’s at least two miles, Ray. Let Xavier get settled before you drag his arse around the capital at least.” Dom was laughing though, and shaking his head. “What do you think, Xav. Cab or the famous London Underground?”

Xavier actually hadn’t minded Rayne’s idea, he was used to doing a lot of walking and the bustle around them suited him just fine, not to mention that he was more than ready to shake off the relatively forced inactivity of their trip. However, he realised Dominic wasn’t really relishing wading through all the chaos and probably wouldn’t thank him for making him walk a couple of miles when they’d barely stretched their legs yet.

“I’d rather not get on another train for a while,” he said a tad dryly.

Rayne lit a cigarette, making up for lost time but Xav noticed something in his face as he half turned away, pulling on the filter. His lover looked slightly puzzled for a moment, as if he was trying to remember something.

“Maybe we should get a cab,” he demurred finally, glancing at Dom. “You can drop me… us off, yeah?”

If Dominic noticed anything amiss he was polite enough not to mention it, but while he was hailing them a cab Xav looked questioningly at Rayne.

“Anything wrong?” he asked, so quietly that no mortal would have heard him above the din of the street, but he knew Rayne would.

The little vampire chewed on his lower lip distractedly. His eyes were still watching the traffic below but he said; “I… I used to sell my arse for a living down there.” He gestured with the smoke down the steps towards the shabby art deco frontage of King’s Cross. “I remember that, but… but I can’t remember where I’m supposed to live, Xav.”

There was a sudden haunted look behind those distant eyes; a brief flash of undiluted fear, there so quickly that he might have imagined it, then gone again. Rayne took a long pull on his cigarette and discarded it, grinding the stub under his heel. Dark hair tumbled forward framing his ashen features and screening them and for a moment he looked as fragile as a lost child. Then Xavier saw Dominic waving to them frantically from the foot of the steps. He must have flagged down a cab.

Xavier slipped his arm around him and kissed his cheek.

“It’ll come back to you, Rayne,” he murmured comfortingly, guiding him down the steps. “It might take some time, but you’ve been remembering more every day,” he soothed. “Maybe it’ll come back when we get closer.”

Rayne pulled a sceptical face. “I’m just glad that Miz Warren’s here. I hope sheknows where I live or we’re just a bit fucked.”

He slid an arm around Xavier’s back though as they descended to street level and joined Dom in the purring black cab. The driver stowed their bags in the boot and then he was behind the wheel and they were off.

“Can you drop us first?” Rayne asked Lord Warren quietly, leaning towards him on the back seat. “Xav’s a bit knackered.”

“Sure,” the older man responded cheerfully. “Not a problem.” He leaned forward to tap the glass partition separating them from the cabbie. “Can you take us to Chepstow Villas first, darling?”

“Course I can, mate,” the driver said cheerfully. He glanced at them in the rear view mirror then remarked; “Are you the bloke out of that band? Whatsis? Whipsnade? The ones that set fire to the BBC when you were on Top of the Pops that time?”

Rayne licked his lips warily, his expression betraying that he certainly didn’t remember doing anything like that.

“Yeah,” he said tentatively. “We didn’t burn the place down though. I’d remember!”

“Thought so,” the driver laughed. “You still get all those Japanese girls camping out on your doorstep?”

“You’ll find out in a few minutes, won’t you?” Rayne told him, turning to wink at Xavier. Under his breath he murmured; “I bloody ‘ope so, at least we’ll know which fuckin’ house it is.”

Dominic turned his head and gave the singer a rather strange look at that. He was frowning slightly as if he wanted to ask a question but wasn’t sure how to begin.

Xavier might have given Dom a hint under other circumstances, but at the moment he was processing several things that were requiring his full attention. Uppermost was that Rayne had been recognised almost immediately as a celebrity and next was the possibility of fan-girls lying in wait for him.

He knew Whipsnade had been bigger than just some local group that played the bar circuit and smaller venues, but they had never quite made that leap across the Atlantic and the phrase ‘Big in Europe’ to Xavier translated as ‘Never heard of you’…not unless you went digging on your own anyway. Generally, bands like that didn’t get any airplay except for maybe some of the smaller stations between the time the bars closed and before the morning commute started.

He was… a little startled.

His startlement did not abate when a few minutes later the cab rattled steadily out of a narrow thoroughfare lined with small bohemian looking shops and cafes and pulled up in front of a row of large, neat, white-painted, three-storey houses with iron railings and steps up to the front.

Rayne put a hand to his mouth but it was hard to tell if the expression on his face was thinly disguised shock or amusement. One thing was for sure, either someone on this block had been murdered or it was the home of someone fairly notorious. There were notes and cards and flowers in various states of decomposition tied to the railings in front of one of the houses. Small cuddly toys were wedged between the bars wherever there was space. Ribbons fluttered everywhere. It looked like the aftermath of an explosion in a gift shop.

There were three young Asian girls outside the house in question and a skinny emo kid with long dark hair poking out of a black hooded top and ebony jeans so tight they looked as if they’d been sprayed on. The latter, who could have been either gender, it was hard to tell, was sitting on the top step watching with an expression of supreme disdain as the giggling Japanese girls took turns to photograph one another in front of the decorated railings.

“Jesus!” the singer whispered huskily. “I can see no one’s been round to tidy the place up for a bit.”

He reached for the door handle as the cab pulled up as close to the step as it was possible to get. Dominic put a hand on his arm clearly still wanting to ask about his earlier comment but at that moment the three young girls spotted them in the cab and all hell broke loose as they mobbed the car.

Lord Warren changed his mind about the topic and shouted; “Ray, I’ll pay the cab and bring your stuff round later on when it’s quieter. You and Xavier get in. I’ll call you when I get home, darling.”

“I owe you.” Rayne grinned at him, then shook his head incredulously and opened the door.

As he and Xavier scrambled out of the taxi the girls swarmed over them like a rash, screaming and practically fighting for his attention. The cab driver was laughing with disbelief and called; “Good luck, mate!” as he pulled away from the kerb, leaving them to it.

Rayne’s arm tightened around Xavier’s waist as the younger man joined him on the street. He kept a smile plastered on his face but remained firmly polite with the girls, as they bombarded him with inane questions about where he had been and what he was going to have for dinner and sang little bursts of his songs to him off-key.

He signed autographs and posed for pictures with them patiently but when one of them looked a little defensively at Xavier and demanded to know who he was, Rayne called a halt to the proceedings without answering the question.

“We’ve got stuff to do now. It was nice meeting you but it’s been a long day and I’m sure you’ve got more places to see, yeah?” he reminded them with a fixed smile.

They pressed more toys and notes on him and remained in a giggling huddle on the street as Rayne and Xavier climbed the steps. The emo child had not moved from his or her post on the top step whilst all of this was going on. There was a smirk on its face though now. Rayne leaned on the railings beside the door and handed the kid a tiny, purple, stuffed hippo.

“There you go, don’t say I never give you nothin’,” he said dryly.

“You’ve been gone ages,” the kid told him, and only when he tipped his head back to look up at them was it plain that he was a boy. His pale, hazel eyes were rimmed in black eyeliner that made them look almost golden in the weak sunlight and he wore black lipstick and chipped ebony nail varnish.

He took the toy though, pressing it briefly to his nose then stuffing it into a pocket of his hoodie.

Xavier, who had remained somewhat shell-shocked throughout, now came out of his bemused state long enough to take a good appraising look at the skinny boy sitting on Rayne’s step. He had almost immaculate skin, cream coloured and dotted with odd little freckles on the bridge of his small, upturned nose. His lips were cherubic but slightly chapped. Black was almost certainly not his natural hair colouring. He had a slightly wasted and unwashed look to him that the girls had not.

“How long you been sitting here?” he asked.

The boy looked at him as if it took an extreme amount of effort to tear his eyes off Rayne for even a second. Xavier found it a bit spooky.

“Who’re you?” the boy asked, although with slightly less hostility than the girls had shown.

“Don’t see how that’s relevant to how long you’ve been cooling your heels on that step,” Xavier retaliated.

The boy gave him a strange look, as if he was either trying to figure him out or calculate if he was being teased. “Day or so… Long enough.”

Xav glanced up and down the street at the nice well-kept houses, none of which were as colourfully bedecked as the front of Rayne’s.

“Are you serious?” he asked, looking back at the kid. “When was the last time you ate?”

“What? You my nan or somethin’ now?” the skinny child flashed back with a bit of sneer.

Xav ignored it. “You got any money?”

“Xav…” Rayne spoke softly but Xavier was already pulling out his wallet.

“Here.” He dropped some bills in the kid’s lap since he hadn’t moved. “Go get something to eat, okay?” he suggested as he followed Rayne up the stairs.

“He’ll get bored with you,” the boy shouted at his retreating back, crumpling the notes into the pocket of his tight pants. “He gets bored with all the guys he fucks sooner or later.”

As they both turned to stare at him he tapped the side of his head and said; “Iknow. I watch and I know what happens.”

“Fuck off,” Rayne told him in a harder tone, stepping forward with heat in his pale eyes. “You know fuck all. Now get off my fucking doorstep before I call the fucking police, all right!”

Xav touched the back of his arm gently.

“C’mon Ray, just leave him be,” he said, which was more generous than he wanted to be, but what Rayne was saying was right. The kid didn’t know anything, other than what he saw. He did look back down at the teen though, meeting those large, hazel eyes that were more hostile now.

“I’m just sayin’,” the boy muttered, shrugging his shoulders.

“That would be my problem, wouldn’t it. Go on and go home or something. Rayne’s been travelling a lot, he’s tired. He didn’t mean to snap at you.” Xav said it mainly because he didn’t want to hear about some kid OD-ing or washing up in the river with a note saying how heartbroken he was over Rayne Wylde telling him to fuck off.

The kid sneered at him as he backed slowly down the steps to the street.

“Just remember it, right, when he dumps you for a younger cunt. Remember what I said.”

Rayne shoved Xavier’s hand away snarling; “Right! That’s enough! That is fuckin’ well more than enough!”

He went for the kid, who turned on his sneakered heel and fled, laughing harshly. Luckily twilight was coming down on them now and the three Japanese girls had disappeared when the boy began to get aggressive. Rayne’s fangs were out and there was a hunger in his eyes that was nothing at all to do with pleasure.

“Shit!” Xavier hissed, running down the steps after them. “Rayne, stop! The kid ain’t worth it.”

He didn’t know why Rayne was getting so worked up about what some fucking brat said to him anyway. Maybe it was just because he knew Xav still felt a bit raw from the way he had run out on him in Italy.

His lover did not give chase but for a moment he seethed in silence before turning back towards the house. His cellphone was in his hand and he was dialling a number already, expression irritable. Rayne moved fluidly up the steps again, juggling his keys from his jacket pocket with one hand and the small black mobile cupped to his cheek with the other. As he selected a key and slid it into the lock he was murmuring; “Hiya, it’s me. Yeah… yeah, I’m back… about an hour ago.”

There was a little pause during which he tilted his head as the door swung inward and waved Xavier through it. They stepped into a wide, cream tiled hallway, painted a soothing shade of mint green and Rayne flipped another key from the bunch without even thinking about it, slotting it into the navy blue painted door to their right. He was still talking to the person on the other end of the line in a low, confidential tone that was slightly accusatory now, “Have you been down here recently? Yeah? Well have you seen the fuckin’ state of the place?”
His eyes met Xav’s and widened with helpless frustration before rolling back towards the phone. He pushed the internal door open, leaving the younger man standing in the entrance to a wide, cream-painted hallway with a varnished wooden floor and a long, blue and gold rug underfoot. There were black and white frameless prints hanging sporadically on the walls; a couple of misty cityscapes and a picture of a young Asian male on a bicycle. Behind the door a large pile of post was shoved up against the wall, sliding down to the boards again like a paper avalanche.

Xavier looked around casually while Rayne talked on the phone. He was curious about who was on the other end, but more curious about the space he was in and thinking of how he might cajole Rayne into a better mood.

“I’m going to crash,” Rayne said grimly into the mobile. “Not tonight. No… listen to me… not tonight. Just… just fuckin’ well get something done about the front will you? It looks like fuckin’ Christmas out there!”

He tapped Xavier’s shoulder as the younger man was staring up and down the hallway at a loose end and pointed towards the doorway on the left, then made a slight shooing motion with his fingers.

“Really?” he exclaimed into the phone at the same time, in a voice that said he’d never been less interested. “You’re telling me!”

The doorway Rayne nudged Xavier toward led to the lounge area, and Xavier’s first impression was that it didn’t really look like anyone lived here. He could still hear the low murmur of Rayne’s voice in the hall talking to whoever it was he’d called automatically, without thinking about it. Xav looked around. It was a bit stark for his taste really, done in mostly black and white, and so spotlessly clean it looked like a show room, the kind you might find in the property pages of a classy magazine. What colour there was came mainly from the artwork which he was immediately drawn to, being a mixture of monochrome photographic studies and oriental painting. As he looked around the impression of starkness seemed to soften a little. There were ornaments and odd little personal touches like the sculpture of black stemmed, cream-coloured lilies by the window and a tangle of bleached, bare branches, festooned with fairy lights in the open fireplace. It was very nice, very sleek, and very ordered.

He was left to his own devices for about five minutes during which he could hear the low buzz of conversation out in the hallway and feel the slight prickle of Rayne’s mood. He wasn’t angry, just a bit irritable and… slightly embarrassed. Xavier could not figure that out.

He bit his bottom lip and worried at it for a moment. This place was vastly different to how Xav was used to living. When he finished a slow traverse of the room he felt a bit awkward and didn’t know what to do with himself. He was almost afraid to sit on or touch anything for fear he’d mess it up. When Rayne finally came through into the lounge he was still playing with his phone but at least he wasn’t shouting at anyone. He looked up now and smiled awkwardly at Xav.

“Sorry, I guess I’d forgotten what a fucking mess I live in, as well.”

Xavier chuckled incredulously.

“You could operate in here! It’s hardly a mess,” he said, deliberately misinterpreting to lighten the mood a little.

“I’m not sure if there’s food. Do you wanna have a shower and go out to eat or just get naked and crash?” His lover winked at him suggestively and put the phone down.

Xav snaked his arms around Rayne and kissed him softly. “I’m not hungry, we can stay in.”

Rayne put a hand on his forehead.

“Are you sickening for something?” he asked in a lightly mocking tone, adding quickly; “Not that I’m complaining.”

He pulled Xavier closer so that his lips could take possession of his lover’s mouth. For a long time that was all the sound there was in the room, just the rustle of their clothing and the soft wet noises of their conjoined lips. Xavier melted into the kiss, a curious kind of relief washing over him. His shirt was whisked over his head and he pushed Rayne’s shirt down his arms, both their hands reaching for the other’s fly simultaneously. Xav felt his jeans sliding down his narrow hips at the same time as he eased his hands under the waistband of Rayne’s pants and over the smooth curve of his cheeks.

The soft wet sound of his kisses along Rayne’s skin travelled down his torso as Xav slowly sank to his knees. He let his lips trail very lightly along the stiffening length of Rayne’s cock, a little purr of pleasure in his throat as they got naked together.

“You smell so good…” he murmured, nuzzling into the crook of his hip. “Taste even better…” he breathed, wet tongue coming out to lick slowly up the underside of his lover’s shaft.

“Fuck!” Rayne laughed under his breath. “I thought we fed you on the train. Want some more, eh?”

He swayed a little on the balls of his feet, fingers trailing through Xavier’s hair as that warm, sweet mouth caressed his rising cock. For a little while he could put all the anxieties of the last hour or so to the back of his mind. He was here, home, and later he could wander around the place and touch things, re-orientate, remember.

But for now…

“Oh fuck… that feels good,” he breathed, closing his eyes as his beautiful, bare lover went down on him again.

Xavier slid his mouth very slowly up from the base of Rayne’s cock to the tip, his cheeks hollowing with suction before he went down and came back up the same way, keeping it slow and sensual. When he came back up on the fourth or fifth stroke Xavier let him slip all the way from his mouth and wrapped his hand around the base, stroking him gently. His lips moved down to lick and suck on Rayne’s smooth orbs, pulling first one and then the other into the heat of his mouth and rolling them on his tongue.

“Shit… I am gonna fall over if you keep doing that,” Rayne exhaled finally, crouching to kiss his lover’s beautiful mouth then taking his hand and drawing him over towards the futon where he sank down with a little sigh and lay back on the crisp white covers.

Xavier slid down with him, lust overriding his earlier hesitation about touching anything. One thigh came to rest between Rayne’s, his throbbing erection in the little hollow of his hip, rubbing soft skin over soft skin as he bent his head to kiss his lips again. After another long slow tangling of tongues he broke off, a little smile curling his lips, his eyes half closed and lit with desire through his long, golden lashes.

“It’s nice to finally have you alone.”

Rayne’s fingers stroked through his hair, caressing his scalp and pulling him slowly into another kiss. He spread his legs and his hips rose and fell, circling lazily against Xavier’s nakedness. His right foot slid hungrily up and down the back of his lover’s left leg as he enjoyed the heat and intimacy of Xav’s body on his.

“I’m sorry I went a bit mental out there,” he murmured huskily when their lips parted again. “I didn’t mean to freak you out. I’d forgotten…”

He broke off and shook his head quickly.

“It’s okay…” Xavier said, placing warm soft kisses along his collar bone, soothing him before he could get angry with himself again. “You didn’t have to jump down the kid’s throat though. What he said didn’t bother me.” Which was mostly true; it wasn’t exactly a surprise to Xavier that Rayne got bored quickly or never made a connection at all with his lovers. That he might want to get rid of him some time soon though drove a nail into a very tender insecurity that Xav usually kept so well buried he could deny it even existed.

“He needs to learn not to be so fuckin’ pushy,” Rayne growled, a hostile edge creeping back into his voice as he thought about their doorstep encounter.

Xavier stilled, looking at Rayne curiously. The way he said that was not a reaction he would have expected to a simple, random encounter, it sounded more personal.

“You know him?”

Acid green eyes stared back at him for a moment, reflective and unblinking. In a quiet, atonal voice, Rayne said; “Kids hang out on my step, all the time, it doesn’t give them squatter’s rights.”

Xavier gave him a funny look, but he could definitely tell this subject was a somewhat touchy one and he didn’t want to get into any kind of talk that was going to spoil the evening. He let it go with a little smile, smoothing his fingers into Rayne’s hair and nuzzling lightly along his jaw.

“No, it doesn’t.”

Rayne too mellowed, towing him down into a long, slow, sweet tasting kiss. He stroked the flat of one hand gently down Xavier’s belly, into the curl of his groin and his fingers splayed around the root of his lover’s throbbing erection, caressing his balls playfully. Their tongues sparred and Xavier ground against him on the comfortable day-bed.

“You are so amazing,” Rayne whispered when Xav came up for breath. “Sit down on me, sweetheart. I wanna be inside you so badly. I need to watch you riding hard on me, gorgeous.”

Xavier’s slow grin was full of passion as he slid up onto his knees over Rayne. His hands caressed down that lean, cool, scarred torso and then he reached a hand behind his hip to angle him right, the ride he’d already taken on him a few hours ago making a quicker entry not a problem. Still, he took it slow, savouring the feel of it sliding into him and the expression on Rayne’s face as he looked down between his spread thighs with a gaze that could have melted flesh.

Xav tipped his head back, closing his eyes when he had the head of Rayne’s cock completely inside him. A low throaty groan lifted from him as he sank down a bit more and when he rolled his head back around to face front and looked at Rayne again, his eyes positively smouldered.

“I love the feel of you inside me,” he murmured huskily.

Rayne leaned back into the soft white coverlet on the bed and closed his eyes with a little hiss of satisfaction. His hands were stroking firmly up and down Xavier’s thighs as he felt his lover’s deliciously tight arse swallowing him in.

“So warm,” he sighed breathlessly. “That just drives me crazy for you, Xav. I love the way you dance on my cock. Turns me on so fuckin’ much!”

Xavier looked down on his lover’s beautiful face as he lowered himself slowly, a centimetre at a time, until he touched base on his pubic mound, with Rayne buried all the way to the root in him. The deliciously full feeling was enough to make him crazy with desire. His own cock stood straight up against his belly, bobbing slightly as he began to roll his hips and grind against him more eagerly.

He usually liked to lean forward after a little bit because he loved to kiss while he had Rayne deep inside him, but this time he leaned back, his arms braced behind him on either side. His thighs flexed, bringing him up and down on Rayne’s stiff pole. Rayne arched his back beneath his lover, driving his lean hips up hard between Xavier’s flexing thighs. As Xav dropped down on him he thrust up to meet the blond so that they were grinding fiercely against one another on the bed. Rayne’s cool fingers wrapped around Xavier’s aching shaft and fisted him hard as he pulsed in and out of the younger man’s snug, wet sheath, driving himself faster and harder, then sinking back on the mattress gasping before either of them reached their peak.

That was so good Xav’s head was spinning. A very light sheen of perspiration glistened on his torso.

“Come up off me, I want you in my mouth,” Rayne growled hungrily. “I wanna suck you off.”

It took Xavier a few seconds before he could gather his wits enough to comply. He curled his body slowly forward, making them both moan at the sensation, and lifted himself up off Rayne’s cock. He eased up and forward a little, his hands resting on the mattress just above Rayne’s head, putting his dick right above his face. He was so hard his cock was still straining straight up his belly, leaving smears of gloss on his golden skin and poking at his navel.

Rayne’s hands coasted smoothly up his thighs to cup and fondle his cheeks as his studded tongue lapped hungrily at Xavier’s throbbing balls. He took the younger man’s hot, firm nuts in his mouth one at a time, sucking lasciviously on them, drawing them down from his scrotum in his mouth, then letting them pop back with a little grin. His tongue wriggled slowly back and forth up the quivering shaft, alternately tickling and licking his leaking prick. As he reached the head his fingertips gently brushed Xavier’s stretched ring and he pressed two of them steadily through into the blond youth’s clenching anus. His fingers fucked slowly in and out as his lips enfolded Xavier’s blood-engorged dome and he nodded down on it with a moan of pleasure.

Soft fronds of ebony coloured hair tickled and caressed his lover’s cum-damp belly as Rayne opened wide and swallowed him deeper, turning his head slowly so that Xavier’s cock head rubbed up against different parts of his mouth and tongue almost constantly. Now it pulsed against the roof of his mouth. Now it was in the pouch of one cheek. Now it stroked urgently past the tightness of his pharynx and began to buck into his throat, frantic with need. Xavier’s little sounds of pleasure came in an almost constant flow like a song.

“Ohhh…that feels amazing!” he whispered as the smooth dome of his head moved in and out of the tight constriction of Rayne’s throat. His hips rotated slowly, pushing in short thrusts between his lover’s lips and back onto his probing fingers. Rayne was hitting exactly the right place inside him and edging him closer and closer. Xav brought one hand down to caress Rayne’s face, his fingers sliding around to cup the back of his neck as he whimpered with pleasure.

“Mmmhh…uhhhhh, oh, Rayne…” He could feel the rise, his belly going tense as he passed the point where he could have stopped. “Oh babe I’m gonna come so hard…” he got out as the first intense pulse burst through him.

He felt the coolness of Rayne’s nose, rubbing and nuzzling in his crotch as his lover took one final, urgent thrust and eased back, sucking slow and gentle on the bucking shaft between his lips. The little vampire made a small, muffled noise of appreciation deep in his throat as he swallowed the first urgent spurts of hot release, still caressing Xav in slow circles deep inside and stroking himself steadily with the other hand.

By the time the last quaking pulse shuddered through him Xavier felt like his limbs were going to melt. He eased out of Rayne’s mouth, shivering with delight as his tongue swirled around the ultra sensitive head of his cock and he slid back down Rayne’s body to kiss him.

“Thank you, that was fantastic!” he murmured against his lips.

Rayne kissed him long and slow, still undulating against Xavier as they tangled on the low, white futon. He rolled Xav under him and rubbed his cock lazily against his lover’s naked belly, streaking his warm, golden skin with pearly spill. When their lips parted he was still licking his chops like a well-fed cat.

“You are fuckin’ delicious,” he purred seductively at last, kissing his way down to Xavier’s stomach and licking up the salty trails hungrily. “I just wanna spend the next month in bed with you and we can call out for food and stuff. How does that sound?”

Xavier beamed a smile at him.

“That sounds perfect to me,” he chuckled softly.

Rayne’s hands spread Xavier’s thighs and he lifted his lover’s firm arse cheeks up off the bed. Vigorously he shoved himself back into the sexy blond, thrusting hard in his hot, moist channel and mewling with delight at the way Xavier’s firm rectal muscles gripped and milked him.

Xavier groaned, his neck and back arching, and he twined his arms and legs around Rayne and rocked in counter point to his rhythm. He thought after that powerful orgasm it might take him a little while to recover but he was still hard, still hot and ready, a low thrum already starting to build again inside him. He tightened around Rayne, his muscles rippling in little waves as he bucked against him and urged him on harder and faster. He wanted to get his lover off so they could start all over again… He didn’t think they would actually stay in bed a month, but they could at least make love all night.

Rayne seemed keen on that idea at least. He pulsed urgently between Xavier’s naked thighs, then pulled his lover up into his arms and knelt back, urging Xav to ride on him again whilst they kissed and necked passionately. Rayne’s fondling hands were sliding all over his body, pinching and stroking, clawing and caressing. He gripped Xavier’s arse tightly at one point and leaned forward, really slamming into him whilst biting his neck and shoulder – not enough to draw blood but enough to leave a raw red mark for a little while. Xavier’s fingers dug into the taut muscles of Rayne’s back and shoulders, undulating with him. Molten heat poured into him and he gasped out little cries of ecstasy at the rougher handling, his body on fire as Rayne nipped at him and slammed into him.

“Fuck! Oh…god…fuck me…!” he moaned, hot breath spilling over Rayne’s ear.

“Uhhh… ohhh yeah!” Rayne was panting harder with him, lowering Xav back to the bed now and turning him half on his side so that he could straddle his mate’s right thigh whilst the left heel hooked up over his shoulder. Xavier’s back arched, his beautiful body glistening with sweat and droplets of cum and Rayne gripped his left thigh hard, bucking into him so that his balls slapped Xav’s arse with every stroke.

“Gonna. Make. You. Fuck. King. Scream.”

He grunted each word in a hoarse, hungry voice as he slammed his hips furiously between his lover’s wide spread legs. His free hand snaked across Xavier’s perspiration jewelled chest and he pinched the blond’s erect nipples hard, twisting and pulling on them, one at a time, loving the urgent judder of his partner’s tight body around his cock each time he tugged on a small, sensitive bud.

Xavier loved and hated his sensitive nipples played with, and of course Rayne knew that well enough! His hand reached down to grip his cock, stroking at a fast pace as Rayne bucked into him like he wanted to drive right through him. He panted hard, putty in Rayne’s hands now, the blood pounding in his veins as he approached another earth shattering climax.

“AAaaafuckin…uh, yes! Uhhh! Uhhh!” He did end up screaming for him as a fresh gout of cum pumped from his balls and spilled over his hand.

Rayne curled over him and drove himself down into Xavier as he felt the inferno that was the younger man’s thrashing, pulsing, spasm-ridden body tow him violently over the edge. He had been trying to hold off but had not expected to bring Xav back up so quickly. The ignition of that sexual spark in his loins took him by surprise but it was no less welcome for all that.

The sound that escaped his lips was more of a sigh than a scream but it shuddered through him like the aftermath of a small earthquake. Rayne was almost purring again as he subsided into Xavier’s arms and buried his face in the sweat soaked hollow of his neck. His tongue was still lapping gently at Xav’s salty skin, loving every scent and flavour of him, every little keening, satisfied sound, the wet, silken caress of his cock, the rising heat of his flesh.

“You are so amazing,” he whispered huskily at last. “I think I may just have to manacle you to my bed like Elian did. That was out of this world.”

“You can chain me to your bed any time.” Xavier said with a weak chuckle, still trying to catch his breath. He hoped Rayne would anyway and could not hold off a little grin.

Rayne snuggled up to him, showing no physical signs of his ardour having waned, though he let his delicious lover rest for a little while in his arms and just curled around him in a tangle of limbs. He loved the rapid rise and fall of Xavier’s chest against his own as the younger man caught his breath. With someone he had just met he would not have dared to be as rough as he had been but he trusted Xav to tell him if it hurt, just as Xavier trusted him to stop if he asked.
His memories were still confused but he was sure that he would have remembered being in a relationship like this before. He needed to open another window into his past and he hoped that when Matty showed up that would help. The impulse to ring Matt Greening had been automatic, even though if asked he would have had trouble remembering the other man’s name. Maybe biting him would help. He hoped so.

For now he just snuggled closer to Xavier, enjoying the warmth he shared so freely.

“We can move to the bedroom if you want,” he suggested huskily, licking Xavier’s earlobe and kissing him there.

At the moment Xavier was amiable to just about anything Rayne wanted, but that was one suggestion he found particularly enticing. He smiled a slow sexy smile at Rayne.

“You come up with the best ideas sometimes,” he teased and let Rayne pull him up from the futon and lead him naked through the house toward the bedroom.

It had been dusk when they came in and now it was full dark but Xavier followed Rayne though the gloom of the inner hallway without any problems. In the bedroom Rayne turned on a bedside lamp and Xavier was happy to see more colour in this room than there had been in the lounge. The dark wood floors carried through into the bedroom and the walls were a sort of deep rust colour, saved from feeling too dark and cave like by the fact that the room itself was very spacious. The accent colours in the drapes and on the bed were done in lighter coppers, creams, and pale green. The bed was big enough for about six people (which didn’t surprise Xavier, and made him smile) and had a heavy wrought iron frame that made him think that maybe Rayne hadn’t been joking about chaining him up to it, and that sent all sorts of delicious ideas running though his head.

The overall feel of the room was warm and safe, like a sanctuary, and Xavier liked it instantly. He liked it even more when Rayne pulled back the bedspread and tumbled him across the sheets, coming down over him and resuming where they’d left off. Sprawled on the cool comfortable bed-sheets, Rayne began an intimate oral assault that lasted the better part of the next thirty minutes. He took his time, kissing Xavier long and slow on the mouth, his tongue exploring within as his gentle hands meandered over his lover’s beautiful body. Long fingers combed through Xav’s damp golden curls and snaked down the back of his neck as Rayne’s mouth found the pulse in his throat and began to kiss and suckle on him there. He was intensely aroused by the thump of Xavier’s heartbeat beneath the delicate layers of skin.

Rayne’s cock throbbed against his lover’s naked belly as his hands caressed up and down Xavier’s back and the blond arched up off the mattress, pushing against him like a contented cat. The Vampire’s lips curled in a smile as he drew his tongue slowly down the line of Xavier’s collar bone to his torso and began to plant small, tender kisses on the moist flesh of his heaving breast. He cupped and squeezed the small, firm globes of his young mate’s incredibly sexy arse and flicked the tip of his teasing tongue against the stiff buds of Xav’s erect nipples, loving the way that he bucked and writhed when he was licked there.

“You are so fuckin’ gorgeous,” Rayne whispered to him, his breath flowing like a warm balm over the damp skin below.

Xavier’s lean graceful body undulated slowly with Rayne’s every touch, moving with him almost as if he knew where he was going to stroke or kiss or lick next, before even Rayne did. The smooth feel of the tops of Rayne’s sharp teeth skating over his pulse sent electric tingles dancing across his skin and his cock stiffened to full attention once more. He moaned softly, longing for his lover’s bite, but at the same time wanting to hold off, almost like when he couldn’t decide if he wanted to cum or make it last. He wanted Rayne to bite him but was glad he held off because he could go on for a long time like this but if Rayne bit and fed from him deeply he would be done for the night.

Rayne thoroughly explored him with his mouth and Xavier thoroughly enjoyed every minute, then Xav tilted his body and switched their position, taking his turn to caress every inch of his lover with his lips and agile tongue. He moved down Rayne’s slim body, tasting his skin as he went. After a long stop at his hard cock he kissed down the inside of his thighs all the way to his ankles. Kneeling between Rayne’s legs he held his calf in one hand and stroked Rayne’s cock with the other as he nipped at the side of his toe then laved it with his tongue. His half-closed eyes watched Rayne’s expression. Some guys thought it was just fine to rim their asshole but got freaked out if you touched their feet.

Rayne just melted into the firm but yielding embrace of the mattress and let Xavier guide him with his mouth and his clever fingers. The toes of his other foot stroked up and down his lover’s naked back as Xav explored him, happy to let him set the pace for a little while. That was another thing, Xavier knew how to touch him. He was so comfortable with the blond’s skilful caresses.

It was almost scary to be back here in the place that he called home. Something was sure to wreck this bliss. He had a sinking sense of prescience about it but tried to push it to the back of his mind. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe it was just not being able to remember everything that was making him paranoid.

This felt almost too good to be true.

Xavier continued to lavish attention on him, knowing each of Rayne’s most sensitive erogenous zones and taking his time to pamper him the way he liked it. Only when the vibe started to change, when they were both moving from enjoying the sensual play back into wanting something harder, did he move Rayne’s legs apart further and push his knees back up towards his chest. He dipped down to lick a wet line between his lover’s cheeks and tease his puckered hole with his tongue.

Rayne almost always like to top him, but when he was particularly mellow and in just the right mood he liked Xavier to lead. Xav ordinarily didn’t move in that direction unless Rayne asked for it, but he could just tell right now that this was what his lover wanted. Scooping Rayne’s knees over his arms he leaned forward, nudging his hard leaking cock head up between his cheeks and slowly pressing it down on the dimple between them. He let his body weight press him in further until he was buried deep and his lips touched down on his mate’s cold mouth, kissing him with rising passion.

Rayne melted around him, hooking his knees over Xavier’s shoulders and upper arms, running his feet up and down over his naked back and rising and falling arse as they coupled on his bed. He uttered a low, long groan and began to writhe against Xavier eagerly as he felt the blond sinking slowly into him, filling him with that lush heat.

“Christ! That is just… ohhh fuck… so good!” he exhaled in a soft whisper.

“Mmmm, yeah…” Xavier breathed into his mouth between kisses. He slid his arms around Rayne, pulling him down on his cock with each thrust of his hips, fucking him steady and deep. “You feel so good…” he murmured, kissing down the side of his throat and nipping him there lightly. “Like that, sweetheart…?”

Rayne’s hands stroked into his blond curls and by way of a reply he towed Xavier’s mouth back onto his, kissing him ravenously as he rode the strokes of his lover’s beautiful hard penis inside him. If this was his fate, he would relish it.

Xavier kissed him with heated passion, his hips bucking harder and faster into the tight grip of his lover’s body. His hands slid further up Rayne’s back, curling over his shoulders. He rode him long and deep for a good while, then slowed, not wanting to end it and then began to build them both up smoothly again. He lost track of time, lost track of how often he brought them up to the edge without tipping them over. All he knew was that it was long and sweet and hot.

By the time he was ready to end the sensual tease his skin was slick with sweat, little beads of perspiration running down his body, his breath coming quick and rough in his throat. He rolled agilely to his back, pulling Rayne up on top of him without even missing a stroke. One hand gripped his hip and the other wrapped around Rayne’s jutting cock, stroking him in long firm glides of his hand as he bucked up into him like his life depended on it.

His lover moved astride him as if they were magnetically linked, sliding smoothly into place over him and riding down to meet each upward thrust into his body. Rayne’s eyes were closed and his long, black lashes curled like commas, punctuating the paleness of his smooth cheeks. Small white teeth clenched fiercely behind his parted lips, glistening with the moisture of their hungry kisses. He moaned a low note, deep in his throat and a little quiver ran through him as Xavier’s hand worked him over. Each time his palm caressed the underside of Rayne’s cock head, the vampire shuddered again, keening urgently, his spill slicking Xavier’s deft fingers.

Rayne drove down harder, making his dark hair sway like a damp curtain across his face. The whimper in his throat became a growl as he rose and fell and twisted like a lean, nude cowboy in the saddle of Xavier’s jolting pelvis.

“Oh god! Ohhhhh my fucking god!!” he panted as the rapid pulse within him lit the spark that tickled the fuse, that blew the centre of him all to hell and back. He lurched in Xavier’s pumping hand and blasted the blond’s chest and handsome, sweat-sheened face with several good hard bursts of hot, pearly semen.

Xavier licked his lover’s salty spunk from his lips, his tongue coming out to lap up the strip that had landed on his chin while he still pumped his hand up and down on Rayne’s throbbing cock.

“Uhh! Oh fuck…oh, Ray!” He cried out his name as he started to come inside him, before the last quivering pulse of his lover’s orgasm had even stopped squeezing around him.

Rayne folded bonelessly against him, gasping almost as if he was in pain as his trembling arms wormed beneath Xavier’s body. He slumped against the small inferno that was his bucking, yelping, frantically orgasmic lover and pulled him into a deeply appreciative embrace. Sucking in a slow, shuddering breath he squeezed his glutes tight, clenching and releasing around Xavier as he felt that hot, beautiful cock begin to burst inside him.

“Jesus!” he exhaled in a small voice. “Uhhhh… sweet jesus, Xav! So… fucking… Ohh!”

He shook his head, lost momentarily for words. Instead he clung to his sexy, delicious young lover and held him as tightly as his quivering limbs would allow.

Xavier’s heaving, bucking body eventually slowed as the powerful pulses coursing though him faded. His own arms had wrapped around Rayne and he hung onto him like he thought he might float away if he let go. Gasping for breath, heart hammering in his chest, he cooed happy, contented, nonsensical things, and if he didn’t utter those three little magic words he still let Rayne feel how much he loved him with every frantic beat of his heart. He felt the sharp nick of Rayne’s teeth at his throat, just enough to spill a few drops and he shivered, a little moan escaping him as Rayne’s tongue licked over his skin.

Eventually his heartbeat slowed and his breathing returned to normal. His limbs felt like lead, the mattress under him (which was incredibly comfortable, managing to be somehow both soft and firm) seemed to suck him in, willing him to keep his eyes closed and tumble down into sleep.

“That was fantastic…” he whispered against Rayne’s temple, still holding him tight. There could not possibly have been a better way to spend his first night in London, he thought with a sleepy grin

Rayne folded around him, his body fitting snugly into every curve of Xavier’s hot, tempting form. He let his lips and hands slide over the younger man’s skin as he whispered; “Get some rest. You’re gonna need it!”

Xavier chuckled softly, not at all unhappy with that prospect. His fingers stroked absently along Rayne’s back, but his eyes felt too heavy to open and after a little while he did succumb to the pull of sleep, blissfully content and peaceful.


When Xavier’s breathing slowed to a rhythmic rise and fall under his hands that he could measure time by, Rayne gently eased himself out from the tangle of his limbs and wrapped the heavy folds of the duvet around him. The apartment was protected, he was not sure how he remembered that but he had some idea that the protection came from Dominic Warren. Xavier would be safe here. But the vampire was hungry and he had already taken enough blood from his beautiful mate.

Planting a fond kiss on his sweat-damp forehead, Rayne rose from the bed and made his way by touch through the silent, dark, spaces of his home. As his fingers brushed over certain objects he found himself assailed by random memories, little pieces of thought and emotion. The stone bookend that Sadie had made for him; a little fragment of pumice from some beach many years before; those peacock blue crystal doorknobs that he bought in Covent Garden with Matty so very, very long ago.

He let his fingers release the faceted dome and walked into the cool, moonlit space of his bathroom. There were two bathrooms in the apartment. One adjoined his bedroom and there was another leading off the corridor from the kitchen that his guests could use. He made his way into the cool, spacious, silvery gloom of this chamber now.

The water felt good, cascading down on him, cold but utterly reviving and refreshing. He loved to immerse himself in water like this. Usually he liked it piping hot but tonight the chill was fitting. He was still warm from his urgent union with Xavier. Sometimes that was good and he clung to the heat from a lover as long as was decent but tonight he needed a clear head. Tonight he needed to hunt.

It was never properly dark in London. The city street lights cast a sickly pall through the torrential rain, spilling over the night sky. It was like eternal twilight even at four in the morning. Not everyone slept either. There were always prospects lurking in the shadows.

Rayne took them without thinking. It was so easy.

With Xavier he was always careful but it was different out here. The night unclouded his senses and suddenly everyone was blood. He could feel them and smell them before he saw them, sensing their type even before he bit down and let the heat and the coppery warmth spill into his mouth. The night was filled with pissed up, drugged up club bunnies, ripe for the picking and he tapped their sweet veins without a moment’s hesitation. This was the truth then. He was a monster; a leech.

Not so much of a leech that he could not pull back and enjoy the dazed, appreciative kiss of his buxom blonde victim, however. Her mouth was silken soft on his, kissing the beautiful, shadowy predator gratefully as he enjoyed the hot spill of her blood, sliding down his gullet, sating his ravenous hunger.

He flagged down a cab and put her into it when he was done, sending the girl home. After the black taxi rattled away into the night he was still hungry. There were times when he understood why the older vamps and the less ethical ones just picked a victim and drained them. It did not make him like them though.

The hum of traffic was just winding up and the low rumble of the underground trains creeping like vast steel caterpillars beneath the streets of west London added their counterpoint to the early morning symphony. He could hear birdsong now and the air was cool and comforting on his face. It was the smell of home. The rain had stopped and he walked back towards Portobello Road but turned right, heading for Notting Hill. He was not sure how he knew which way to go but he followed his instincts.

He had been walking for several minutes when he became aware of the footsteps of his shadow. For a little while he walked on, pretending not to have noticed, then turned smartly into one of the gated gardens off Kensington Park Road. He moved into the shadows beneath the trees there and waited for the small, black-clad, hesitant figure to follow.

The boy lifted long white hands to his hood and pushed it back, almost sniffing the air. His upturned nose twitched a couple of times and he turned his head, looking into the undergrowth where Rayne Wylde had been standing moments before. As he took a step in that direction, the vampire slid out onto the path behind him and the speed of his attack carried the younger man into the bushes and threw him up against the bole of a plane tree.

A hand slapped over his mouth before he could scream and Rayne bit him hard on the neck, just beneath his right ear. The blood and memory swirled through him, filling him with energy and an intense, mindless rage. He did not take much but it was enough. Pulling back with a hiss of restless anger, he shoved the boy away from him and turned, shaking his head as more missing pieces of the jigsaw slotted into place.

The boy – Clinton Radley, he had a name now – stumbled and reached out to catch himself against the trunk of another tree, turning as he did so with outrage in his glistening golden eyes. He touched a hand to the bite on his neck but it was already healing and the young lad found himself suddenly face to face with the man his beloved mum had fervently believed was his biological father. A man still licking Clinton’s blood off his fangs and his soft, cold lips.

Rayne stared back at him, suddenly realising that neither of them had ever properly acknowledged this fact. Clint had been staking him out for years, since he was about eleven years old, in fact. He was a regular fixture on the doorstep of the singer’s house but he never told Rayne Wylde why he was there and Rayne, though he had sensed through the scent of Clint’s blood that the boy was kin to him, had never spoken to him of the matter or even asked him who his mother was. Paternity suits were a fact of life in the music industry and given Rayne’s lifestyle, he was no stranger to them. But Clint never asked him for anything. He seemed content just to be close to the singer. Although right now that was questionable.

“You fuckin’ maniac!” he yelped in a shrill, anxious tone, rubbing his neck and staring at his hand in bewilderment as if he expected there to be more blood. “You fuckin’ bit me!”

Rayne licked his lips again. The boy needed a wash but his blood was sweet. Jabez had been right about that. His Sire had been trying to convince him for years that he ought to build up a reserve of potential feeders who were not only blood descendants but offspring fathered since he was Turned. They were born Dhampir, the Everman claimed, able to smell out vampires, but also carriers of the richest, sweetest blood. Just a few drops of blood from a Dhampir of his line would give him more strength than pints of ordinary mortal swill; his Sire’s words, not his own.

With Clint’s blood came that memory, unbidden, and more; a sense of the boy’s hunger and loneliness that he had never previously even guessed at. He lowered his head, suddenly ashamed.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I won’t touch you, I just… I was pissed off that you were stalking me again. I thought after the last time, after the court order and everything that this was gonna stop.” Rayne looked up at him, his face very quiet and serious.

“I ‘aven’t got anyone else,” Clint said, a shade defiantly. “Gran and Gramps dumped me. You’re all I’ve got left now.”

“I can’t adopt you, Clint,” Rayne told him wearily. “It’s not that easy.”

“I’m not asking you to,” the boy retaliated. He shook his head. “You don’t get it, do you? I never said a word to that judge about the reasons why I was following you. Did you never wonder why?”
“I know why.” Rayne leaned back against the tree where he had first bitten his son.

His son.

It felt strange to acknowledge the truth. Bewildering and a little bit exciting too. He had a son; a child of his blood, who was Dhampir. Jabez would be proud of him.

“You’re… Claire’s kid?”

The boy scowled at him darkly though the fronds of his black-dyed hair as if he would clam up on Rayne for that but after a moment he relented, muttering; “Chloe; her name was Chloe. She was a real person with feelings not just something for you to use, you dirty cunt! You thought you could pay her off and it would all go away, didn’t you?”

“I didn’t think that, Clint,” the vampire exhaled softly though the memories were spilling back into him now like a rain of dark water. He remembered a small, oval face and red-brown curls that trickled around it; copper coloured eyes and a smile like sunshine that warmed his blood. “I didn’t think anything, if you want to know the truth. I didn’t rape her. She came to me of her own free will. She told me she was old enough and that was good enough for me. Your mum and her best mate used to hang out on our step like you do. We invited them in sometimes, just to smoke and talk and listen to music, stuff like that. We had a party one time and the girls came to bed with a couple of us. We didn’t have to push them, they were well up for it. Then I had to go away on tour. We were gone nearly a year but when we got back she’d had you and your fuckin’ grandad was trying to take us to the cleaners. I swear to god I didn’t even know she was pregnant. I’d not have left things like that.”

“You lied,” Clint growled at him, coming closer but staying out of arm’s reach this time. His eyes were hot with suppressed fury. “Gramps told me. You stood up in court and lied about shagging her. You said it must have been someone else.”

“It never went to court,” Rayne said impassively, though the anger was beginning to churn in his gut again, turning like a slow whisk in a vat of pimiento jelly. He didn’t remember everything clearly but he was as sure about that as anything. Little pieces of the past were slotting into place. He remembered Matty’s frustration with the legal process and how it had been his young manager’s idea to steal a march on Chloe’s parents by admitting to everything out of court so that they could settle it without the press getting wind of the situation. Matt had been sharp enough to figure out that if the Radleys went to the police then they were all in trouble. “Your grandfather’s been biggin’ it up to you. We never went to court. They asked for a paternity test, I consented to it, and we paid what your grandparents asked for your upkeep. Fair’s fair, Clint.”

“But it’s not fair, is it?” the young man raged at him, his eyes brimming with hot, angry tears. “None of it’s fucking fair! You get it all and you left her with nothing and walked away.”

“I paid for what happened, it was the most expensive fuck of my life!” Rayne half turned to go but the boy went for him. He saw the flash of early daylight on the blade of the knife in Clint’s shaking hand before it jabbed into his arm and he swore virulently, throwing the boy off him. The weapon was only a small flick knife but it went in deep and he curled his fingers around it now, yanking it out with a bark of pain. The blood soaked his ruined sleeve briefly then it turned to dust, trickling down to the grass at his feet and he felt the rent in his flesh begin to heal, fast and tight, prickling like a thousand tiny needles were pulling the skin and sinew back together.

Jabez was right, that blood was something else. He had been hungry and bone tired before biting Clint but the speed of his recovery from the attack was almost scary. Rayne flexed his fingers, staring at the ragged tear in his shirt-sleeve that was the only remaining sign of the assault.

Clint was staring too and his eyes widened as he realised what was happening.

“What the fuckin’ hell are you?” he whimpered, backing away rapidly. “Jesus Christ!”

He turned and fled before Rayne could say a word but this time the vampire let him be. He had the feeling that this would not be the last time their paths crossed. Folding the knife in his hand, he slipped it into his pocket and headed back towards the house, mulling over the new memories he had gained.


The darkness around Xavier seemed too thick, as if it clung to him, made him slow and clumsy, and no matter how he tried he could not see into it. He could hear though…his own breath coming short and shallow, his heartbeat rushing in his ears. He took a deeper breath and held it, trying to hear beyond the small space around him. At first he couldn’t hear anything, and then he could make out the sounds of angry voices, the male voice furious and scathing, the woman’s voice pleading and sobbing.

He knew where he was suddenly, and tried to make himself smaller. Huddling in the bottom of the closet he squeezed everything down tight and crossed his fingers on both hands, hoping that his mother’s boyfriend wouldn’t come into his room tonight, wouldn’t find him hiding in the cupboard. His back and buttocks were still hurting from the last time.

Rough hands suddenly jerked him up by the arms, yanking him from the closet and through time by twelve or thirteen years. The smell of decay hit his nose and made him gag as he blinked his eyes in the sudden murky light, and then he wished he couldn’t see as the rotting corpse that had once been a woman reached for him. He screamed as her cold putrid hands touched him and he struggled as her teeth sank into him. Over his screams he could hear the vampire, Steffen laughing mockingly, his un-gentle hands reaching down between Xav’s legs to fondle him roughly.

In his sleep Xavier rolled over and flung the covers off, his body struggling against the nightmare even as his brain refused to let him wake him from it.

The scene changed, Steffen and Jeanette were gone, and he was standing on the London street outside Rayne’s house, surrounded by blocks of white houses, the world strangely devoid of colour except for the scarlet that ran in sticky ribbons from his neck down his bare chest. He saw a smudged figure in black and grey in front of him. He thought it was Rayne at first but as he was reaching for him the figure looked up and he saw it was the kid that had been on the front step, his sneer firmly in place, those almost golden eyes glaring at him with hostility.

“See! I told you. He’s gone, ‘ain’t ‘e?”

Xavier’s stomach rolled sickly and he shook his head. “He’s coming back.”

“If he comes back it will only be to tell you it’s time for you to leave.”

“Shut up! You don’t know anything!” A sudden surge of rage gripped him and he wanted to beat that smug look off the kid’s face.

“I know. I know a lot of things you don’t know. I know about him…” He pointed with his chin and Xavier looked. There was a shadowy man that he couldn’t really see well, he was cloaked in menace. He wasn’t doing anything but standing there and yet Xavier feared him, felt a dread well up in him that was nearly choking him.

“He’s going to come for you,” the kid whispered.

Xavier was shaking his head.

“No…” He didn’t want that man anywhere near him.

“He’s going to come for you, and then you’re really gonna be fucked.” The boy giggled and it was probably the most sinister sound Xavier had ever heard. ” ‘ere…take this.”

Xavier turned his head as something was dropped into his hand. He looked down at a small vial with ashy grey powder inside, and his hand started to go numb, a sweet blissful numbness that rushed up and over him in a heavenly warmth. It made him moan aloud it was so good and he wanted it so much…make the world go away…make everything go away…

He suddenly turned his hand and dropped the vial on the pavement. It smashed and the contents leaked out as dark red blood. He looked up and the shadowy man had moved closer, hovering over the boy and reaching for him. Panic and sick dread clawed at Xav. He tried to yell a warning but his throat locked tight. He choked and tried to scream but all that came out was a desperate whimper as he sat bolt upright on the bed.

Xavier was alone in the bedroom. He listened to the hollow silence while he got his hammering heart under control and he took a few shuddering breaths. Just a nightmare; an incredibly vivid one, but nothing that could hurt him. He sat for a few moments more, not wanting to replay the dark dream but unable to help himself. Finally he wiped a hand over his face and sighed. Xavier was sort of glad Rayne wasn’t still in bed with him, he would have felt awkward having to explain.

Still feeling unsettled he got up and padded across the room toward the adjoining bathroom. Again he was struck by the absolute pristine quality of the room, the tile looked like it had never been touched and every piece of glass or chrome positively gleamed. After using the toilet he went to the shower, adjusted the water temperature and stepped in, washing off the efforts of the night before and clearing his head of the residuals of the dream. By the time he finished and stepped out his belly was telling him how unhappy it was that he’d chosen to indulge his libido all night instead of eating dinner.

After drying off he wrapped a towel around his waist and wandered though the house toward the kitchen, although he didn’t really have any hope of finding anything there but maybe there was at least coffee in the cupboard. Even as he was thinking it the smell of fresh brewing coffee reached him and he started to smile, then he stopped short with a sudden zing of shock as a little tingle went up his arms and the nape of his neck. He recognised the feeling well enough now. There was a vampire really close, but it wasn’t Rayne.

Standing stock-still he listened to cups and plates clattering against the smooth granite worktop and heard someone obviously at work on a semblance of breakfast. Not knowing what else to do he picked his way carefully into the lounge, his heart beating double-time. He did not even have a hand on the louvered door that was half folded back between the kitchen and the living room when a cheerful voice with a cockney accent that could cut glass remarked; “I can smell you, you know. There’s no point hiding.”

Again Xavier froze for a second. Rayne was gone and there was a vampire in the kitchen. What was he supposed to do? Logic finally asserted itself. Rayne had told him vampires couldn’t come in unless they were invited, so this one must have been invited before. That meant he most likely knew Rayne and since he was puttering around in the apartment, and had made it clear he knew Xavier was there, it didn’t seem all that likely that he was about to get his throat ripped out or something.

Coming forward into the kitchen only a little hesitantly Xav said, “I wasn’t hiding.” His eyes met with the other man’s warily as he remembered just a little too late how dangerous it was to look them in the eye. “I just didn’t expect anyone.”

The strange vamp was taller than Rayne by a good head, but just as skinny. He was wearing slim-fit, pale blue, denim Capri pants with a hipster waistband and little diamante sprinkles on the pockets. His fitted, short-sleeved white shirt was cut just high enough to show off an artful flash of midriff and the little paw-print tattoo inside the curve of his left hip. Dreadlocked hair the colours of every type of honey tumbled to his waist and the eyes that looked back unblinkingly at Xavier were a deep, dark-chocolate hue with little flecks of gold in the iris.

There were silver rings on just about all of his long, slender fingers, including the thumbs and also on a couple of his toes. (He wasn’t wearing shoes, Xav noticed, though he was wearing pale blue metallic nail polish). A number of chains and pendants hung in the open neckline of his shirt and his wrists were draped in bangles and bracelets too. The adornment did not stop there, for he was pierced all over the place. His ears practically bristled with studs and silver hoops from the lobes right around the curving shell of his ear and even his tragus on both sides sported a glittering stud. He wore a diamante nose stud and a silver spike labret between his chin and lower lip. The bottom lip was also pierced with two little silver snakebite rings and he had another pair in his left eyebrow and a barbell through the right one.

Xav was willing to bet that the body mods did not stop at his face. The stranger’s shirt was tight enough that he could see the outline of a pair of hoops in the guy’s nipples and short enough to expose the flash of a jewelled belly bar in his navel.

The vampire’s dark eyes travelled up and down Xav’s body, lingering on the towel around his middle before returning to his face.

“Obviously!” he remarked in that spikey accent that made Rayne’s angular, Estuarine tones sound smooth by comparison. “Where’s Wylde, lover boy? He’s up and about early. I’d have thought he’d still be in bed, given the incentive.”

Again he eyed Xavier’s towel, which was starting to feel much too small.

Xavier’s expression was neutral, although one brow arched ever so slightly. The vampire was not exactly hostile but…there was just something about his tone that got under his skin, like he was not-so-subtly mocking him. Xav let his eyes travel over the long lean frame in front of him, since the vamp wasn’t being subtle about sizing him up either.

“He’s not here…obviously,” Xav said blandly, handing him back just a little of his attitude. “Who’s asking?”

His opposite number made a little snorting sound through his glittering nostrils and tossed those honey coloured dreads back from his face as he chuckled; “The bank manager’s asking. Inland Revenue are asking. The NME are mildly curious.” He leaned back against the counter where coffee was perking temptingly. “Matthew J Greening, that’s me. I handle his PR, I used to manage his band, when there was a band to manage. Now they all sit on their arses and wait for the cheques to come through the door and I make sure it happens.”

His eyes raked Xav again as the little blond slipped by him to pour himself a mug of coffee.

“Is there any cream and sugar?”

Matt made no move to get out of the way or answer the question, but he was still studying Xavier critically when he murmured; “Ray takes it black. And you are…?”

Xavier made a small face and blew across the black coffee before taking a sip. “Xavier Gavrilov.”

Matt made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a snort. He shook his head.

“Yahweh! You couldn’t make that up!” he snickered. “Did he bring you back with him or just pick you up at King’s Cross, lover?”

Xav gave him a chilly little smile. “We met at a club actually, where I worked.”

Matt whistled through his teeth.

“My my, how much did that cost him?” he asked sarcastically. “I mean, I bet you don’t come cheap, do you babe? And shouldn’t you be getting back to work soon, anyway? I bet the lunchtime shift’s just warming up.”

Xavier took another small sip of coffee and lifted his long lashes slowly to fixed Matt with an icy glare.

“You look like you would know,” he said and set the mug down. “I’m a dancer, not a hustler, and we didn’t meet at some club around the corner. We met in San Francisco. Rayne brought me with him to Italy before we came back here.”

Matt laughed without parting his lips, a little huff of sound that conveyed his cynicism most effectively without wasting words. Though ultimately he could not resist spilling them.

“You must have been a good lay!”

Xavier’s lips compressed and his eyes narrowed slightly. He was starting to get more than a little irritated.

“It’s a bit more complicated than that. Why are you here, anyway?”

The lanky stranger looked him up and down almost dismissively as if he had no place asking a question like that but at last he responded; “I’m just keeping an eye on my assets, chicken. When one of my stable does a runner and doesn’t show his face for weeks on end I feel the need to check up on him when he does finally raise his head. Rayne’s not a relationship sort of guy, you do know that, don’t you?”

This last remark was thrown in with an almost casual disregard for Xavier’s feelings. The vampire was watching him though, measuring how he caught the curveball. This one was not as scatterbrained as he looked. He was trying to figure Xav out.

Xav returned the dismissive look with disdain to spare. It didn’t matter that Matt was only pointing out something Xav already knew. He was getting really, really tired of everyone that saw him with Rayne assuming that he was a whore and in the next breath warning him he was going to be shown the door any minute.

“Maybe he’s just not a ‘relationship sort of guy’ with you,” he snapped back.

“Just don’t make yourself too comfortable is all I’m saying,” Matt Greening advised with a little sniff. “Any idea when he’s going to get his arse back here, sweetcheeks? I ‘aven’t got all day!”

“You should keep your opinions to yourself is all I’m saying, princess!” Xav shot back. “If you don’t want to wait I don’t see an anchor keeping you here.”

The tall, lean vamp sucked in a little hiss through his extended fangs, the first indication he had given of being remotely riled by this hostile exchange.

“Put your claws away, chicken. You don’t wanna get hurt,” he warned in a low tone. “What’s his is mine, know what I mean?”

He licked his lips with a suggestive and entirely unfriendly smile.

Xavier blinked, the wolfish fangs suddenly reminding him of Steffen. He had forgotten for a moment that he was talking to a vampire. How stupid could he get? He was standing there in nothing but a towel antagonizing someone that could rip his throat out before he could even move.

He didn’t like the too hungry gleam in Matt Greening’s eyes either.

Fuming, his pride smarting, he backed off. He might be stupid but he wasn’t crazy. If the vampire wouldn’t leave it might be better if he took off until Rayne got back. Turning on his heel he stalked out of the kitchen. His clothes were still on the floor next to the futon and he whipped the towel off his lean hips not caring that the vampire was right behind him.

Matt certainly didn’t waste time on preserving Xavier’s modesty and grinned as the pretty little yank dropped his towel and wriggled into his jeans.

“Nice tush!” he remarked cheerfully. “He’s not losing his taste, at least! Front door’s that way.” And he pointed a long finger in the direction of the hall, waving it in a small circle and flicking it skyward as if it was a magic wand, then went back to the kitchen with a dismissive chuckle.

Xav pulled on his tee shirt and headed for the door, still fuming. He slammed out and when he was on the other side of the door hissed irritably. “Bitch!”

He could have said more to Matt Greening perhaps, could have stayed and sparred verbally with him all morning in fact, but two things stopped him. One, he didn’t really know what this irritant was to Rayne, and two he was a vampire. He was not really interested in finding out if he could push Matt Greening to violence when he knew that it would end badly for him.

Xav stalked down the pavement and it was only when he got a couple of blocks away that he realised he’d left his phone in his luggage, which Dominic still had. He had very little cash on him and what he had was in euros, he didn’t really know where he was or where he was going, and he was still hungry.

“Fuck! Just fan-fuckin-tastic!”

He kept going, not willing to go back. He vaguely remembered where Dominic said he lived, but didn’t know if he had the name of the place right and no clue what direction it was anyway. He heaved a sigh. Okay, he remembered passing a bunch of shops and stuff on the taxi ride in. He would just go window shopping for a couple hours, try not to get lost, and hopefully Rayne would be back by then.
Xavier tried to cool off as he continued to walk. His empty belly coupled with the nightmare that had woken him and the testy exchange with Matthew Greening had him in a pretty foul mood.

He shouldn’t have let Matt get under his skin. It was stupid to let him push his buttons like that, but within moments of meeting him the vampire had managed to poke hard at two sensitive areas by assuming he was a whore and then reminding him that he better not get too comfortable with Rayne. He wasn’t sure which bothered him more at the moment. People treated you different when they thought they could buy you. The way they looked at you and talked to you were like you were subhuman, like they could do anything they wanted to you and it didn’t matter. That was true enough when he had been hustling and it was probably why it made him so automatically defensive now when someone talked down to him like that.

It hadn’t been all that long since he’d had to sell his body to get by. Crawling out of the pit he’d been in had been harder then anything he’d ever done, and even though he had gotten out of it he hadn’t crawled all that far. Dancing at the club was still selling himself in a way but at least he didn’t have to fuck anyone if he didn’t want to, and it brought in good money.

Now he wasn’t even doing that and until this morning he hadn’t really thought about how dependent he was on Rayne right now.

Xav found a bench while he was mulling all of this over and sat down, chewing thoughtfully on the side of his thumb and not really seeing the peaceful day in front of him. What was he going to do here? He didn’t have to do anything really, but living off Rayne didn’t sit well with him. He was not extremely worried, it was just that there was a part of him that never quite rested, a part that said he always needed to be sharp and on his game, a part that knew that if he didn’t watch out for himself the wolves that were always just a few steps away would close in and he would be right back where he started. He had been able to sort of ignore that part of himself for a little while, had allowed himself to just enjoy being with Rayne and be happy… and he was more than a touch pissed off that Matt Greening had sent him back down into a spiral of doubt.

Xavier finally picked himself up off the bench and set off to retrace his steps, quite a bit more dejected then when he’d set out. With any luck Rayne would be back and Matt would be gone.


Rayne let himself back into the apartment about thirteen minutes after Xavier stormed out, having come back to Chepstow Villas via a completely different route. As soon as he set foot through the door he was aware of a presence in the building that was not Xavier. His nerves prickled a warning then he stepped into the lounge and found Matty sprawled out on his futon playing Final Fantasy on his laptop, a large mug of black coffee steaming happily on the floor beside him.

“What have I told you about leaving hot cups on my floor boards?” he asked, folding his arms and pretending seriousness.

His one and only Fledgling beamed up at him, unconcerned, then rolled over onto his back holding out his arms for a hug.

“‘Allo Lover, I ‘aven’t ‘alf missed you,” he chirped affably.

Rayne knelt down on the edge of the day bed and let himself be pulled into a protracted snuggle. He curled up on the mattress and rested his chin on Matty’s shoulder, arms around his skinny ribcage.

“You’ve still not shifted that mess off my front step,” he complained in his ear.

“There’s a bloke coming round this afternoon. It’ll get sorted,” Matty promised with the easy confidence of someone used to getting his own way. “Where’ve you been, babes? I thought you were coming straight back, then I start to hear rumours about you causing agg with some vamp high-ups in Frisco. An’ then I woke up in the night, ’bout three weeks back feelin’ like I was gonna have a heart attack. I was out of it for days. You had me worried, lover. You never called or nothing. I thought you was dead, babes.”

“I thought we had it in hand,” Rayne lied, feeling a sudden pang of guilt for that. Of course what had happened in Paris would have hit Matt harder than anyone. Even Xavier. “It’s sorted now, sweetheart. You don’t need to worry. I’m back for a while. I’ll handle things.”

Matt brooded for a moment in silence. Then, unable to rest until he knew the answer he asked; “So who’s the blond piece what was mooching round here in a towel this morning?”

Rayne sat up fast, looking down on him almost guiltily. “You’ve met Xavier? I thought he would sleep until I got back. Damn!”

Matt pulled him down and kissed his lips softly, shaking his head. “Bad boy, youhave been fooling around with him haven’t you? I thought he must just be a feeder at first.”

“You’d better not have freaked him out,” Rayne told him, pointing a warning finger at Matt’s breast.

Matt beamed angelically at him. “Would I do something like that?”

“He went back to bed then?” Rayne still did not sound convinced.

Matt was unable to not look shifty at that. “Um… he said he wanted a bit of air. I’m sure he’ll come back. He didn’ even take a coat.”

Rayne shot back out onto the street and did a quick circuit of the area but there was no sign of Xavier. The boy had certainly ducked under the radar. He knew that if he tried he could go back to the house and track his lover from there but maybe Matt was right and he would come back of his own volition. And if Xavierwas put out by Matt’s appearance, after this morning’s little spat with Clint, Rayne was not sure that he had the will for another row.

When he got back to the apartment there was no sign of Matthew Greening and he managed a little sigh of relief for that and helped himself to the last of the coffee. It was one of his few mortal pleasures. Although he no longer got the rush from it, the warmth and comforting smell of caffeine always made him feel better. More human.

He downed the scalding brew then went back to the bedroom, deciding that he would try and get some sleep until Xav got back. When he stepped into the bedroom however, Matt was sprawled out naked on his bed, stroking the handcuffs from his dresser drawer up and down his chest with a very naughty little smile on his face.

“If he’s gone shopping he’ll probably be hours!” he chirped happily. “And I know you want to.”

The worst of it was, he did want to. He wanted it so badly. And he felt like a dog as he unbuttoned his torn shirt and cast it aside. Matty was already sliding the cuffs around his bony wrists and looping the connecting chain over the head rail. Rayne could see that he was hard, aroused by nothing more complex than the act of restraint.

For Rayne it was a need of a different kind, a need to know. He unbuttoned his fly and wriggled his pants down, reaching for the elastane cords that would bind his mate’s ankles to the rail at the foot of the bed and leave him open and submissive to his Sire’s hunger. Matt arched and whined with pleasure as he was bound and the ball gag pressed into his open mouth. Rayne strapped it tightly, stiffening for Matt’s absolute submission and sank his fangs into his Fledgling’s proffered throat, absorbing the memories with his blood.

It turned him on, that submission, but it was also the reason they were no longer together. He always felt stained when Matty left, as if he was some kind of animal, preying on the younger man’s subservient nature. It was not the case, he knew it. Matty had never begged him to stop and never would, and he was strong enough to break free if he didn’t want to play, but he still felt dirty. And, at the same time, he loved it.

Being with Xavier was so different. Xav could yield and often did, but he was also more purposeful in getting what he wanted, and he was not shy of topping his lover when he needed it that way. Rayne adored that about him. He had always enjoyed being with a mate who could give as good as he got. It felt more balanced somehow.

Matty was a spoiled child. Still! He had never had it rough as a kid and he still clung to the belief that there was something exciting about surrendering all control. Okay, he had been working as a prostitute in Manchester when they met, having run away from a perfectly nice and comfortable home in a relatively leafy Tottenham suburb. But he had not been a whore for very long, and he was absolutely dreadful at it, having absolutely no self-preservation instincts. The reason they got together in the first place had not been for sex but because Matty had been robbed whilst he was blowing a trick down a side street. The guy had done a runner without paying and his mate had nicked Matt’s sleeping bag and his coat, together with most of his takings.

When found by Rayne and Ciaran, the guy who was later to become Whipsnade’s bassist, whilst they were sharing a squat in the city and (in Rayne’s case, certainly) pretending to study at University there, Matty was begging for handouts on a corner of Oxford Road. He was clad in just a glittery boob-tube top, tiny denim cut-offs, purple tights and hand painted Doctor Marten boots. It had been about five weeks before Christmas and the temperature was minus five degrees. Rayne took pity on the scrawny, shivering kid and they took him back to the squat and thawed him out with soup and pizza. Later that night, Rayne kept him warm in his bed and one thing led to another. When Rayne returned to London about six months later, Matt came with him and they were lovers for over seven years afterwards.

Rayne had never been comfortable with the relationship though. It sometimes felt more like keeping a pet than having a lover who shared his life and dreams. Matt had a tendency to bound around him like a puppy and it began to slowly drive him crazy. As the band grew more successful he spent more and more time away from Matt, in the beds and bodies of other, more casual, lovers. Finally, whilst Whipsnade were on the road in Germany in the mid-nineties, the situation came to a painful and ugly head. They had a massive fight and Rayne finally found the balls to dump him, formally. For nearly three years they did not talk, although Matty was still officially the manager of Rayne’s band.

Rayne still felt like a mongrel about that. Matt had never wronged him, never really betrayed him. The only thing that worked in their relationship was the sex, though. It was that sexual spark that healed their friendship. Sex with Matt was always amazing, even if it did leave him feeling tainted afterwards. It was like being hooked on a drug that he could not quit. They had been casual fuck buddies ever since they mended the rift and Matt never complained that Rayne didn’t want to take it further. Nor did he make any conspicuous effort to get himself a proper boyfriend.

Now Rayne stroked his body against Matt’s and licked hungrily around the black rubber ball between his mate’s lips, feeling Matty’s long, lean cock strain against his belly. The younger vampire whimpered, arching his back, trying to spread himself wider and make himself completely available. Rayne took advantage of that, shoving into him fiercely and pressing his mouth to Matt’s throat as he fucked himself deep inside his Fledgling. Even in Unlife, Matt needed his dominance. He had not wanted to Turn the younger man, in truth, but Matty’s petulant demands wore him down. Finally, Jabez had landed him an ultimatum, to either Turn the wretched boy or put him out of everyone’s misery. He did so in a tone that suggested, not very kindly, that he would do the latter himself if Rayne did not deal with it.

As he stroked his length hard and fast inside his ex, Rayne bit down on him again, not to feed this time, but to taste a little more of what he had given Matty when he Turned him. Just like the afternoon on the beach when he bit Xavier and recovered the memories sewn into his lover’s blood, sinking his fangs into Matty’s neck opened another doorway for Rayne into his past. He bucked furiously between Matt’s skinny thighs as he drowned in the well of memories. All of their shared past came flooding through him like a torrent and he finally understood now why he had been so reluctant to come to bed with the younger vampire. Matt’s love for him was like a hot thread of pain running through both of their bodies. He loved with a child-like, almost scary intensity.

Rayne fought tears from the well of emotion he had opened. He channelled the passion back into sex and gave Matt what he thought he needed, taking full advantage of his former lover’s subservience as they writhed and bucked on the huge bed. The combination of Rayne’s pulsing sex deep inside and the rub of the metal cuffs on Matty’s wrists and the tight cords around his ankles, not actually restraining him but presenting an illusion of restraint that was almost as good as – if not better than – the real thing, brought him to his peak. Matt groaned like an animal as he jetted his spill against his mate’s bare belly.

The fierce contractions of his tight arse, and the added stimulus of the little rings and studs he had allowed himself to be pierced with around his ring and scrotum, served to bring Rayne over too. His fangs withdrew from Matthew Greening’s neck and he came hard in his thrashing, ecstatic Fledgling


Xavier had no trouble winding his way back the way he’d come. The time he’d gotten lost in Naples in the middle of the night had been something of a fluke. He usually had an excellent sense of direction and as long as he was in a city atmosphere he did all right finding his way around.

He was still preoccupied with his thoughts when he trotted up the steps behind a young woman juggling her shopping bags while trying to get the key in the door. Xav did the chivalrous thing and offered to hold her bags while she got the door opened and then slipped in behind her. Rayne had given him an extra key to the flat last night which he’d fortunately found still in the front pocket of his jeans, but he hadn’t had an extra for the front door yet.

As soon as he was inside the apartment he stilled for a second and waited. He’d never consciously tried to sense if there was a vampire around, he just sort of sensed them naturally after having been with Rayne as long as he had. He found that trying wasn’t really that hard, he almost immediately got a tingle along his skin that let him know the vampire was still here and his lips compressed a bit with irritation. Then his features smoothed again as he realised Rayne was here too…and then, as he came further into the house, he also figured out where they both were.

He almost turned around and walked back out. He’d already spent a not very happy morning having doubts about their relationship and now if he didn’t miss his guess he was going to have to put up with some heavy gloating as well.Great! With a sigh and a roll of his eyes he wished for once that Rayne wasn’t such a horny bastard. Monogamy wasn’t something he ever really expected (or wanted), in fact he was pretty sure that whole concept led to at least half the misery in the world. He wasn’t going to get all bent out of shape if Rayne fucked someone else, but did it have to be that someone else?

Well, he had choices. He could still turn around and leave. He could go sit and wait for them to come out. Or… he could go see what they were up to. He sauntered down the hall as he decided on choice number three. The sight that greeted him as he slipped through the bedroom door curled his lips in a little smirk, his sky blue eyes darkening just a little.

“Hm… what I wouldn’t have given to know where that that gag was earlier.” His gaze moved from Matt’s dark eyes to Rayne and his expression softened. He came forward and gave him a little kiss on the corner of his mouth. “Hi babe. When you’re done can we go get something to eat? I’m starving.”

Rayne rolled off Matt as his lover kissed him and sprawled for a little while on the bedcovers, just looking up at Xavier, measuring his expression, his reaction, his emotional state. He was not sure what was the most disturbing, having Xav catch him on top of Matt or the idea that he was so comfortable with his lover that he was not even disturbed by Xavier’s presence in the house whilst he and Matt were fucking.

“I was just wondering where you’d got to,” he said casually, once his breathing was back under control and Matt’s spunk was slowly drying on his chest. “Hope you don’t mind us starting without you?”

Matty looked less composed. His dark eyes were wide as he watched the little exchange between his ex and his ex’s current mate. No doubt he was also quite conscious of the fact that he was still shackled to the bed, unable to say anything.

“I took a walk.” Xavier said quietly, some of the smugness fading as he debated saying any more about the reason for his hasty unscheduled stroll around the neighbourhood. Predictably, he guessed, Matty hadn’t been forthcoming about exactly why Xavier had slammed out earlier. His eyes flicked back over to the restrained vamp, holding his wide eyed gaze. “Didn’t Matt tell you?”

Those brown and gold flecked eyes narrowed a bit. Xav had the upper hand at the moment and they both knew it. The very fact that Xav was standing there meant that perhaps Matt had miscalculated slightly about his connection to Rayne. Not only had he come back, but Rayne must have given him a key to get in, and he certainly wouldn’t have done that if Xav were just a casual fuck he’d picked up. Xav could be a prick and tell Rayne that Matt had thrown him out, which wasn’t exactly true, but he certainly hadn’t made it a comfortable place for Xavier to be. Instead he just let a little grin creep across his face and gave him back some of the leering he’d gotten that morning.

“Are you inviting me to stay then?” he asked, his eyes coming back to Rayne once more.

Rayne pulled him into a tight embrace and kissed him rather more heatedly feeling the relief loosen his muscles as he realised Xavier wasn’t about to make a meal of this.

“I thought I did that last night,” he whispered into his lover’s mouth. “I can reiterate the offer if you really insist though.”

That wasn’t really necessary. Xavier answered silently with another kiss, this one hot enough to make his love tingle all the way down to his toes. Deciding he was over dressed for the occasion he leaned up on his knees and peeled his shirt off. He popped the button on his jeans and unzipped in a slow tease, the look in his eyes melting hot before he leaned in and caught Rayne’s lips again.

Rayne swept him down, pulling him onto the bed and devouring his mouth instantly. His hands slid inside the warmth within his lover’s tight jeans and he pushed them down smoothly as he rolled Xavier onto his back and soaked in his delicious heat again, caressing him slowly all over. Matt pulled on the cuffs and made a little noise of protest as the other two began to rub against one another right beside him.

Xavier turned his head slightly as Rayne released his lips to nibble down the side of his throat. He was about to say something smart but Rayne’s lips slid over and sucked gently on the little dimples where he marked him and instead a little gasp came out, his eyes sliding half closed. He blinked once and managed a slow smile.

Rayne nipped him, but only gently, barely piercing the skin with the points of his sharp little fangs. He swept his tongue over the sweetness of Xavier’s blood, licking it up and Matty groaned again, hungrily this time. His own fangs extended, sinking into the rubber ball in his mouth and he strained on the cuffs, wanting to feed; wanting to share his Sire’s delicious treat.

Xavier moaned softly, his eyes slipping all the way closed. He brought one foot up to caress along the back of Rayne’s calf, his fingers gliding over his back as his hips rolled up against him.
Rayne kissed his way lower, his tongue trailing over his collarbone and down his chest to flick lightly over his nipple, the little nub rising up sharply as he blew a cool breath over it and made Xavier moan again.

This time Matty’s sound of protest was a little louder and he rattled the chain a bit harder. Xavier opened his eyes, the pupils dilated with desire.

“Aren’t you going to let him go?” he asked Rayne in a slightly breathless murmur.

Rayne knelt back between Xavier’s thighs for a moment, studying his struggling Fledge with a thoughtful expression on his face. Then a small, wicked grin curved his soft lips slowly.

“Nah,” he exhaled mischievously. “He likes it too much.”

He bent almost double, from the waist, taking the head of Xavier’s cock in his mouth and letting it slide seductively between his lips. At the same time he reached over and with one hand he began to wank Matt’s ladder-studded cock shaft slowly, making the younger vampire wriggle and groan, thrusting his hips in desperation. Xavier hissed in a slow breath as Rayne’s mouth closed over him, his neck arching back and his hands sliding in a gentle caress into Rayne’s dark hair.

“Ohhh… that feels so fuckin good!” he breathed out. He curled his hips, pulsing slightly between the silky lips around him. Rayne took him down deeper and pulled up quick, repeating the motion several times until Xavier was writhing under him, the sexy little moans pulled from his throat until he was practically whimpering.

“Je-sus…” he panted, his fingers tightening in Rayne’s hair as his sleek body undulated.

Rayne’s hands glided up his thighs to his lean hips, pulling Xavier’s arse up off the mattress and lifting him so that he could stroke his tongue slowly up and down the underside of his lover’s throbbing shaft. Xavier’s thighs were straddling him and his bare feet were resting on his shoulder blades whilst his blond hair still spilled over the duvet cover. Gently Rayne blew a warm breath over Xavier’s balls.

“You are red hot, sweetheart,” he sighed happily. “Let me see you sucking Matt’s dick while I get you wet for mine again.”

Beside them, Matty whimpered urgent agreement, nodding his head rapidly.

Rayne had pulled him along the bed a ways when he lifted his legs up and Xavier needed only to turn his head and bend slightly to have Matty’s cock at his lips. He brushed his lush mouth ever so lightly over the very tip, teasing with a tiny flick of his tongue. He kept the tormenting little touches up a bit longer then he ordinarily would have, keeping the touch of his lips and tongue maddeningly light until Matt’s needy groans were good and frustrated and Rayne’s slippery tongue wriggled inside him. With a deep groan of his own he finally opened his mouth and took Matt’s cock, engulfing him in wet heat and sliding down his shaft with a most satisfying suction.

“Mmmmmm…” he purred, taking that nice long cock further down, curling his tongue skilfully around the Prince Albert head bolt when he came back up and then nodding down again, abandoning the tease entirely as he got down to doing one of his most favourite things.

Rayne buried his face in his lover’s groin, laving his tongue slowly over Xavier’s balls as he watched the way that his belly rose and fell. Xav was the conduit between himself and Matt, a writhing living circuit between their two undead bodies. Amazingly he could feel Matt through the contact with Xavier’s lips. He pressed his tongue against the softness of his lover’s well fucked hole then lowered him slowly until his own straining head was surging against Xavier once more. Now he could watch Xav, twisted around half on his back and half on his side, going down on Matty as they both pressed into the mortal boy.

The sight turned him on like nothing on earth.

Xavier’s eyes were closed, his dark tawny lashes fanned across his cheeks and a blissful look on his face as he slid his lips up and down on Matt’s hard, straining cock. He moaned deep in his chest as Rayne sank into his arse, a surge of electric lust running through him. He reached one hand over to stroke the base of Matt’s cock while he nodded up and down on him, applying his tongue in tantalising ways to the adornments in Matt’s pierced dick.

Rayne gripped his hips and began to stroke more quickly inside him, loving the way that Xavier clenched around him and enjoying Matt’s little wriggling movements and the purrs of sexual pleasure rising from his throat into his gagged mouth as he pretended to struggle with the cuffs and the ankle ties.

Xav’s thighs tightened around Rayne, his body rocking with each of his thrusts to meet him. His hand slid down to cup Matty’s balls, his fingers tickling along the silver cock ring behind them as his hot mouth continued to work on him. His other hand reached for his own throbbing prick, stroking in quick time now with Rayne’s driving rhythm.

Rayne let him turn fully onto his side so that it was easier to lay his head on Matt’s silken belly and take that lean, pierced cock into his mouth more deeply. He reached down to stroke and fondle Xavier’s balls, thrusting slowly into him with one of Xav’s thighs between his legs, a constant warm pressure on his scrotum and nuts, and the boy’s other leg looped back over his hip, pulling him in urgently.

Matty squirmed restlessly under Xav, biting down on the ball gag and emitting a low, needy humming sound as the hot young mortal swallowed and slurped on his dick. His golden curls were soft and warm and felt wonderful sliding over Matt’s bared abdominals. The skinny young vampire tugged hard on the wrist cuffs holding his arms above his head and undulated rhythmically beneath Xavier. Watching his beautiful Sire fucking the boy with slow, sinuous movements of his lean, naked body was almost as delicious as being on the receiving end of that long, lusciously potent cock himself.

Xavier flowed between the two of them, a rippling wave of warm flesh. The new angle was better, letting him get to more of the cock jutting in and out of his mouth. The jewellery made it a little trickier to get Matt into his throat, but Xavier was nothing if not a determined pleasurer. He slipped down and down, letting the hot pool of his saliva slick over Matt’s shaft until he had his lips wrapped around his base and could nod easily up and down on him.

A slippery ooze spilled in little drops from his cock as Rayne fucked him deep and slow and Xav’s hand rubbed incessantly up and down on his shaft, his breath coming harder and his moans of pleasure quicker as he edged closer. Last night’s long succession of lovemaking had exhausted him, but he was perfectly happy to go again… and again… and again! He was close now, the pitch of his moans climbing to a little whine in his throat as he tugged quicker on his prick and squeezed around Rayne, bucking his hips faster.

Rayne was caressing him steadily, the little purr rising in his throat a wordless signal of his pleasure. In spite of his recent coupling with Matt, he was feeding on the surge of desire that poured off Xavier in waves. Matty too was rising to a delicious peak and the soft, muffled cries he uttered as Xav sucked and teased him melted into the mix of superheated emotions that Rayne shared with them both.

He loved watching Xavier come and had spent enough time with the blond boy to know that he was agonisingly close now. Rayne slowed his stroke and stilled inside him because if he carried on banging Xav like this he was going to burst too. And he wanted Xavier’s sweet explosion in his mouth. Rayne had been trying to hold off feeding from his lover but he could still suck the come from Xav’s balls several times a day without enervating him too seriously. And semen was almost as nutritious as blood.

“Can you hold off?” he whispered, leaning low over his mate’s glowing body and touching his lips to the young man’s neck. He licked the dimpled bite marks there very tenderly. “I don’t want you to come until we’ve both enjoyed you, sweetheart. I promise it will be worth your waiting.”

His breath was a slow caress along the line of Xavier’s neck.

Xavier’s hips stopped circling and his hand went still but his body quivered like a high strung race horse denied the finish. His eyes opened a crack, the blue almost swallowed in black desire. That was his only acknowledgement that he would try and hold back; then they closed again, his throat contracting around the smooth head of Matt’s cock as he swallowed and resumed sucking him off. He had to take his hand off his own cock or he wouldn’t be able to resist.

Being denied like that was frustrating but at the same time it got him really, really hot. His dick stood up against his belly like a steel rod, so engorged it was flushed a dark red that begged for relief.

“You are so fuckin’ beautiful,” Rayne whispered to him, slowly stroking his hands over Xavier’s smooth, golden arse and quivering belly as his lover struggled to comply. “We are gonna make you feel so good once you’re full of our spunk and tied up tight on my bed. Do you trust me, sweetheart?”

“Mmuhh-huh…”Xavier made an affirmative sound that was just a shade desperate as he sucked greedily on Matt’s straining cock. His lips and tongue went to work hard on him and he squeezed and stroked Rayne with his inner muscles as he moved with him, refocusing all this energy into bringing them both all the pleasure his body could give.

“Good lad,” Rayne crooned, and began to drive into him harder and faster whilst caressing his silken arse and hot, naked thighs. A low, hungry keening sound began to rise in his throat as he fucked Xavier the way he had last night, driving himself deep so that his balls were grinding between the blond youth’s bared cheeks before he slid out and shoved himself in again, and again, and again.

Matt’s skinny hips bucked up from the mattress desperately as he pulsed in Xavier’s suckling mouth, loving the way that the mortal’s groans shivered up his sensitive cock shaft and tickled deep in his clean shaven balls. It was Matt that exploded first, flooding Xavier’s mouth as he whined eagerly into the rubber ball gag between his jaws. His fingers curled around the chain between his handcuffs and he arced up from the bed like ten thousand volts had just been discharged into his cock.

“Fuck, yessss!” Rayne hissed breathlessly, his eyes dancing with cool green fire as he watched his horny Fledgling coming hard in his boyfriend’s mouth. Rayne’s balls clenched hard and he slammed into Xavier one last time, head back, fangs fully extended, bursting into his deliciously submissive lover with a howl worthy of a hunting werewolf.

Xavier’s pulse was speeding, beating like a wild thing as he shuddered between them, caught up in the ecstasy and still holding on to the urge to come by a thin frayed thread. He almost did anyway, teetering on the edge and panting hard. It was a sweet torture though, and he felt a surge of a different kind of warmth fill him as his lover howled with unrestrained pleasure. He swallowed down Matt’s salty sweet semen and milked Rayne’s throbbing cock for all he was worth until both men began to slow their frantic thrusting into his body.

Rayne pulled out of him slowly, leaving his lover feeling wet and empty inside, his hips aching from the spread position he had been forced to maintain. He rolled Xavier over on the bed and crouched over him, kissing the back of his neck then reaching up to unfasten the cuffs around his fellow vampire’s wrists. Matty pushed himself into a sitting position, still panting with satisfaction as he unfastened the gag and pulled it out of his mouth.

“That was awesome!” the tall skinny London vamp exhaled with a fanged, hungry grin.

“Pass me those ankle bracelets from the drawer, babe,” Rayne said, taking the rubber ball gag and pushing it gently against Xavier’s lips. He glanced down, meeting his mate’s huge blue eyes, asking wordlessly if this was okay for him.

Xavier held his eyes for a moment and then slowly opened his mouth to let Rayne push the gag in place by way of answer. He trusted Rayne implicitly. He was not so sure about Matt Greening, but as long as Rayne was there he knew he wouldn’t let anything get out of hand. Actually, at that point, he was almost horny enough not to care! Besides, just thinking about being bound was getting him so fuckin’ hot he could hardly stand it. He didn’t need the restraint all the time, but it did flip his switches like just about nothing else.

Matt was sitting up again now, holding a pair of chunky, silver curb chains with thick, solid looking links. He put them around Xavier’s ankles but fastened one inside the loop of the other so that his feet were chained together by the ‘bracelets’. Rayne buckled the gag, careful not to pull on his hair as he did so. He drew Xav to his knees and touched his lips to his lover’s mouth around the black ball. As they kissed, Matty put one of the handcuffs around Xavier’s left wrist and wriggled the other through the curb around his right leg before pulling it back up and snapping it tightly around Xav’s right wrist so that his wrists were now cuffed securely to his ankles behind him.

“Does he want the blindfold, lover?” Matty asked mischievously.

Xavier’s eyes were a little wide. He wasn’t afraid exactly, but something close, mixed with a large dose of excitement. It had been quite a while since he’d been restrained like this, and even longer since it had been with anyone but Rayne. Even then the extent of the bondage was usually light, Rayne pinning him down or tying his wrists with a scarf or something. He shifted slightly, experimentally flexing his wrists and pulling a little to see how much give he had. The minute movements of his muscles under his smooth skin were somehow sensual and very sexy in this submissive position.

His pretty eyes held Rayne’s gaze, not giving an indication one way or another in answer to Matt’s question. When Rayne gave a slight nod of his head Xavier closed his eyes and felt a piece of silky material dropped in place and tied behind his head.

His nostrils flared slightly as he drew a deep breath, fine tremors quivering up his spine and telegraphing down his limbs, his arousal nearly rolling off him in tangible waves. He flexed his hands again in the cuffs, the soft chink of metal on metal…the denial of speech and sight…restriction of his movement…all going straight to his head, both of them! He moaned behind the gag, dropping quickly into sub space. They weren’t even touching him and he was quivering with the need to come.

“Fuck!” Matt whispered excitedly. “Can you feel that? I never felt anything like that. He is so hot for this. It’s steaming off him! Can I taste him, lover?”

Rayne bent his head and touched his lips gently to Xavier’s neck, kissing him there, where the bites were. His tongue stud trailed along the line of his lover’s slender neck. His fingers tugged on the tails of the blind, pulling his head back. Now Matt began to lick the other side of his throat, kissing and nipping, teasing him gently. His forefinger and thumb gently pinched and twisted one of Xavier’s erect nipples.

Rayne’s breath was a balmy breeze on his chest then he was lapping at the other nipple, licking and circling it with his tongue then sucking it tenderly into his mouth and biting it very lightly. Matt continued at his neck, kissing him there and drawing his long, sharp fangs along the skin without breaking it.

Xavier was tingling with heat, the little moan from behind the gag was now a whimper of need. His senses were almost on overload. His pulse was leaping in his throat like it had a mind of its own, throbbing against the slight pressure of Matty’s fangs so very, very temptingly. In one small corner of his head he was confused though. Conflicted. When Rayne bit him it was all wrapped up with sex and sharing and… other things. He craved it, craved their connection. But that connection wasn’t there with Matt. His body wanted him to bite, but his head wasn’t sure that was what he wanted. Not that he was currently in a position to really debate it!

The bite didn’t come though and then Rayne was behind him, his arms curling around Xavier’s naked body, drawing him down, making him lie down on his side as he kissed his lover’s slim shoulders and the back of his neck, enjoying the way that Xavier’s muscles and tendons flexed against the restraints as he was kissed and stroked and gently manipulated. He kept the movements slow and gentle because he could feel how spooky Xav was; equally aroused and perplexed by their little game. Matty licked his torso, stroking the spike in his tongue up and down Xavier’s sexy little body, enjoying the way that he writhed whenever that searching tongue got too close to his cock head.

Rayne moved away from his back and Matty rolled Xav so that he was lying face up, his feet pulled up to his firm arse by the cuff and bracelet bondage and his arms towed down behind him, hands beneath his buttocks. Matt’s hands parted his knees and he went down between them, slowly stroking his tongue and fangs up and down the inside of Xavier’s firmly muscled thighs.

“Nice legs,” the younger vampire chirped happily. “Very nice. Very yummy looking.”

He nipped Xav down there now, making him jump. At the same time, Rayne began to kiss his throat again, then bit him very gently there, not bleeding him but just holding him with his fangs in the blond boy’s flesh. His hand stroked down Xavier’s rippling abs until the backs of his knuckles were brushing against the upper flank of his lover’s painfully hard cock where it curved up against his belly, oozing pre-cum onto his fingers where they touched the red-swollen crown.

Matt keened with hunger.

“Please let me feed,” he begged. “Let me taste him.”

He zigzagged his tongue tip back and forth along Xavier’s exposed scrotum, tracing the miracle inch back to his perineum and circling the wet, glistening ring of his well-fucked anus. Matty’s tongue plunged into Xavier there, loving the musk flavour of his channel and the salty tang of Rayne’s seed inside him.

Xavier’s head was spinning, emitting a constant soft ‘uh-uh-uh’ sound, muffled by the gag. Someone less flexible might have found the position he was put in less than comfortable but Xavier was fine, his lithe little body made a thousand small movements that were almost like a dance under his heated skin as they touched and kissed and licked him. Only Rayne’s hand on his face and his teeth at the side of his throat kept him from tossing his head on the sheets. His lean thighs flexed under Matt’s hands and his ring clenched and fluttered around his tongue. He wanted to beg them to fuck him, to bite him, make him come hard.

Matt lifted his head, his long, blond locks tumbling over Xavier’s flexing thighs as he let his tongue trail back up, slowly, between the hot little mortal’s tight, smooth balls. As Rayne came up from his lover’s throat his pale green eyes met Matt’s chocolate dark ones and they shared a keen, fanged smile.

“Please,” Matty whispered again, licking the base of Xavier’s cock so that he could rub the little tongue spike between the blond boy’s balls.

Rayne sat up, switching places with his Fledge wordlessly. He wrapped his cool fingers around Xavier’s straining cock and applied his tongue to the underside of the boy’s hot, fleshy helm. Matty bent over Xavier’s throat, licking where the pulse jumped furiously in his neck and watching him shiver and struggle under them. The younger vampire fisted his own cock excitedly as he breathed in Xavier’s need.

Xavier’s hips lifted in urgent little thrusts as Rayne licked up and down his length and he groaned like he was in pain when he flashed his tongue stud over the engorged head of his cock. He felt Matt’s hot breath at the crook of his throat, felt the edge of his teeth skating over his skin. Somewhere way down and far away something nagged at him, something important, but he was so far lost in sexual ecstasy it was less than even a fleeting thought. And then Rayne’s lips closed over the head of his cock and every thing scattered, nothing else existing except the surge of heat rising up behind his pelvis and exploding through him.
A powerful contraction forced a hard jet of cum from his cock and a tortured cry of relief from his throat. He bit down on the ball in his mouth and in the same moment Matt bit into the tender flesh of his throat and Xav screamed behind the gag while coming hard. He hadn’t any shielding up, he didn’t need it when he was with Rayne so he hadn’t thought about it, he was just wide open and helpless to do anything whilst in the throes of orgasm.

Rayne went down deep on him as he felt Xavier explode. His lover’s body juddered like a car hitting the brakes on a wet road, kicking frantically as Matt bit hard and began to gulp greedily from his neck, drinking him as he stroked his studded cock furiously. His Fledgling’s muted purrs of satisfaction were short lived.

As Xav keened and wriggled under them both, the tall, skinny, dreadlocked vamp knelt up with his lower jaw still drooling blood. His dark eyes were wide and white rimmed in the soft light of the bedroom. Rayne lifted his head, still licking salty creme from his lips.

“Fuck!” Matt exhaled softly, under his breath as he stared at the blond boy writhing orgasmically in his fetters, then looked accusingly at Rayne; “Bastard! You never warned me he’d been vamp bait back home. You fuckin’ bastard, Wylde!”

Matty reached for Xav, careful not to touch his skin as he pulled off the blindfold, staring into the wide, blue-rimmed eclipses of the mortal’s eyes.

Xavier stared back at him, his chest rising and falling in shuddering breaths. The warm lassitude from an incredible orgasm was spreading through his limbs, the experience no less fantastic for all that in the end he freaked out a bit, and seemed to have freaked Matt out too. He didn’t know what Matt had gotten from him exactly, but he knew it was dark. The memory of holding Elian out of his head so long and then crumbling when he bit him had jumped to his mind when he realised what was going to happen. And from there he thought it sped through to some tangled memories of being raped and savagely bitten by Steffen.

He hadn’t meant to share those things. The way Matt was looking at him now made him look away.

Matty looked down too though, because the vibes he was getting from the good-looking mortal lad were making him, if anything, a little harder and definitely more aroused. If he had still been human he suspected that he would have blushed.

Rayne licked his lips again, then reached forward gently and unbuckled the strap holding the ball gag in his lover’s mouth. He kissed Xavier slowly then looked up at Matt, catching hold of a handful of his waist-length locks and pulling him down into another kiss.

“I didn’t… I never thought,” he whispered softly. “I’m sorry. I should have warned you what went down before you came to bed with us. I thought Jabez would have told you.”

Matt shook his head, still feeling numb. “I haven’t spoken to him properly, just on the phone. He’s not been back to London since you went to the States.”

He swallowed, glancing at Xav again warily. There was that glimmer of envy in his eyes again, a look that almost defied understanding.

Xav still wouldn’t meet his eyes, his own discomfort clear. It was odd really. They’d exchanged a few catty words and then ended up fucking and it wasn’t the sexual intimacy that bothered him but that he’d seen something Xav hadn’t meant for him to see. Though he wouldn’t have admitted it, he was embarrassed. Matt had been alternately insulting and dismissive, and now had seen him when he’d been terrified and vulnerable. He felt tainted all over again. Worse, it was his own fault because he hadn’t even tried to keep it from the younger vampire. He swallowed hard.

“Ray…take the cuffs off please,” he asked in a slightly husky voice.

His lover moved to free him at once, unclipping the cuffs and gently rubbing the life back into Xavier’s hands as he helped the younger man to sit up. Matty rolled to the edge of the bed, reaching for his clothes automatically. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth and licked almost tentatively at the residual gore there. Then his tongue slid across his lips again as if savouring the faintest echoes of a sweet flavour.

Rayne slid his arms around Xavier, pulling him close. He was maybe so familiar with the taste of his lover’s memories that he could not see what had set his Fledgling and the blond mortal on edge so badly. But he could feel that Xavier needed his comfort and Rayne gave it unquestioningly now.

“That’s me gone then,” Matty said hoarsely. “Give me a ring if they don’t come and sort the junk out front for you this afters, yeah?”

Xavier clung to Rayne for a few moments; just breathing in the scent of his lover’s skin steadied him. He didn’t know if he should say anything or not, seeing as how Matt seemed intent on getting his clothes on and getting out quick. Should he apologise? A tiny vindictive voice said he should remind him which direction the front door lay as Matt had done to him earlier, but he wasn’t that much of an asshole.

Rayne looked up as his ex wriggled into the clothing he had shed in such a hurry earlier in the morning. His chin was resting comfortably on the top of Xavier’s head as he cuddled up to his new mate on the bed.

“Matthew,” he said softly now. “Are we okay? Are you mad at me for not saying anything? I didn’t wanna worry you, sweetheart. I never thought you’d pick up on what happened like this, I swear to you.”

“It was… it’s just a bit of a shock, that’s all,” Matt fumbled with his shirt buttons uneasily. “I mean… you never so much as went out of your way for any of us. But you wade into a Vampire War that’s not even on our turf, just for him?” He nodded warily towards Xavier.

“That’s not what happened,” Rayne said atonally. “I crossed swords with them first, and they picked on Xav because of me. I couldn’t just leave him there and run off home. Their Master was a vicious piece of shit, he treated his own vamps worse than mongrels. Ordinary mortals didn’t even ping on his radar. They were like insects to him, Matt. Like… oven chips or something! Something to eat. Occasionally something to fuck, if he was in the mood for something hot blooded and scared shitless in his bed.”

“Did he have you too?” Matt asked him awkwardly.

Rayne shook his head. “He wasn’t all that interested in men, I don’t think. But his second in command, a vamp called Steffen was. Or maybe he didn’t care what he fucked so long as it screamed and struggled for him. That got him off, knowing that he could make it hurt. You’d have liked him!”

He managed a slightly sarcastic little sneer and buried his face in Xavier’s hair again, surprised to find that the memory of Lagrado and Steffen left him shivering slightly.

Xavier had felt a tension coiling inside him tighter and tighter as Rayne talked and he was just about on the verge of telling him to please just shut the fuck up when he stopped. Steffen had brutalised and tormented him for hours, repeatedly. He still haunted his nightmares and he didn’t want to ever think of him again. He swallowed hard once more, his warm arms wrapped around Rayne, giving as much comfort now as he got. He took a shuddering breath and finally looked up at Matt.

“I didn’t mean for you to see any of that,” he said quietly. “I would have kept you out but…I just didn’t think of it, and I’ve been having some trouble blocking lately anyway.” He lifted one slim shoulder in a little shrug.

Matt Greening managed an uncomfortable half shrug by way of acknowledgement but he still did not look happy.

“It’s not your fault, chicken,” he said huskily at last. “But you shouldn’t hang around with bloodsuckers if you can’t shield. We’re the good guys…” He glanced up at Rayne as he said it; “…most of the time. But a real bastard would take advantage of that. And it’s not just what the Frisco vamps did you, either,” Matt added, letting Xavier know without going into detail that he’d seen more than just flashes of his memories of Steffen. “I kind of see why he brought you back here now.”

Xav bristled. It was on the tip of his tongue to tell him he didn’t know jack shit about anything, but he held it for one reason. He’d just realised Matt was being such a bitch to him because he was jealous. However, that didn’t mean he was gonna take his shit much longer. He gently pulled out of Rayne’s arms and slid off the bed, walking past Matt toward the bathroom.

“I’m workin’ on it,” he said without turning, flicking the door closed behind him with his foot.

Rayne watched the exchange in silence but now he reached out and caught Matt’s arm before his Fledgling flounced out too. Matty tried to pull free but the older vamp held him fast then pulled him back onto the edge of the bed.

“Don’t give him grief, sweetheart,” he implored gently. “It’s been a rough few weeks but he’s tougher than he looks. Give him a chance.”

“He must be good if he’s got you sticking up for him after all this time,” Matt retorted sullenly.

“Maybe,” was all Rayne would say. He smiled wearily. “He’s good for me, Matt. Don’t fuck this up. Please!”

Matty stopped struggling and sat down heavily on the mattress, sudden shock registering in his eyes. “You’re really hung up on him aren’t you? It’s not just a fling?”

“I don’t know sweetheart,” Rayne lowered his head with a little sigh. “Let’s take it one day at a time, huh?”

Matt’s hands slid up to his ex-lover’s slender forearms and he leaned forward impulsively and planted a kiss on Rayne’s nose. He wanted to do more but was not sure how kindly such a response would be received.

Xavier wasn’t trying to listen in but he heard a little bit of the conversation going on in the bedroom, enough to be grateful Rayne was telling Matt to lay off him. Xav was understanding but he had a limit on how much he would be pushed, and Matt seemed to want to push him from the get-go.

He turned the tap on and washed off the trickles of blood drying on his neck, noticing that the wound was already gone, nothing but smooth skin. At least Matt hadn’t got a good meal off him, he’d be surprised if he got more then a mouthful or two. He sighed as he finished cleaning up and turned the water off. So far things had not gone all that smoothly.

Plucking up his courage and trampling down his temper he took a deep breath and went back out. He was actually a little surprised to see Matt was still there, although to Xavier’s credit he didn’t let anything show one way or another on his face. Xav scooped up his jeans from the floor and as he shimmied back into them he remembered Dominic had said he’d stop by sometime.

“Dom hasn’t called has he?” he asked. “My phone’s still with my stuff.” Which would have been very nice to have had this morning when Matt so pointedly suggested he take his ass an’ hit the pavement. Xav was trying to be forgiving of that as well, but an empty stomach was making him cranky.

Rayne lay back on the bed and reached into the pocket of his discarded jeans for his mobile. He skimmed through a handful of numbers and mused; “Umm… only about six or seven times. Keen or what?”

He grinned and pressed redial, still sprawled among the pillows. Matt’s dark eyes moved from his lean, naked body to Xavier’s dispassionate face and back again. He pushed himself to his feet again. “Well, if I’m surplus to requirements…”

When Rayne seemed more interested in his phone and Xav less than enthusiastic about encouraging him to stay, he shrugged his shoulders and waved an airy hand. Then he headed for the door.

“Later!” he sighed, and was gone.

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