5 – interlude

Tate shrugs, everything about him easier since they got answers. Never mind that those answers were that the world was maybe about to end. “He does that sometimes, Ar.”

“No, like he hasn’t answered in over a month. Wait no, let me amend that – he hasn’t just not answered anything in over two months. He also hasn’t logged into anything.”

Sighing, Tate levers himself up and off of Ari’s bed and crosses to where Ari sits in front of the computer. “You’re telling me you can see when he checked what last?”

“And from where, if I actually look,” Ari says, clearly absorbed in whatever is on the screen.

He folds himself over Ari’s back and presses a kiss to his chest. “Babe that’s a little creepy.”

“Yeah well, if he’d answer his phone-“

“Still creepy.”

“He’s your friend. Are you not worried? I mean, demons coming through all over and then the guy goes missing? I think that’s on the list of times you’re allowed to pull out the extra checks.”

“For one,” Tate says, turning Ari away from the screen, “he’s your friend more than he ever was mine. We just like, swapped blowjobs for a couple of years. And even then, he’d still fuck off for months. This isn’t really unusual for all that the timing is extremely inconvenient and yeah, kind of concerning. And for two-” he cups the backs of Ari’s thighs and picks him up easily, “-still creepy that that’s a thing that you can do. Maybe hot? Jury’s still out.”

Ari laughs and kisses him. Lets Tate bring him back to bed without any argument.

“And for three,” Tate says softly, brushing his thumb along the edge of Ari’s jaw, “if this is something that makes Cole disappear, I don’t want us any closer to it than we already are.”

He frowns, then. “That’s fucked up though. It’s my fault he’s even looking in the first place, and if anyone else knows enough to do something-“

“Baby. This is a thousand something year old vampire who does this for a living. The guy’s practically invincible. Like, sent me a fucking selfie with a bunch of girls on spring break at some beach in the middle of the day.”

“Yeah but-” Ari huffs, scowling. “We can’t do nothing.”

Tate sighs again and blankets Ari with his body like that can somehow make the rest of the world go away. Like that can keep him safe. He noses at the mark on his shoulder – Tate always knows where it is, even covered by his shirt.

“Please,” he says, his voice coming out rough and muffled. It makes Ari go still under him, actually listening now. “If he responds, that’s one thing. Obviously if he asks for help, we’ll try, and if and when it hits here, we’ll deal with it. But promise me you’re not going to go looking for… the source of this shit. Please.”

Ari wriggles his arms free and wraps them around Tate’s back. “I promise,” he says. “As long as it’s not on our doorstep, I’ll stick to like, research. Keep trying to figure out how to get you out of this entirely and how to keep us safe.”

He exhales slowly and nods, then kisses the bite mark through Ari’s shirt. “Just research,” he says, followed by a yawn.

“Nap time?”

Grumbling, Tate bites at Ari’s collarbone.

“You probably should. I have shit to do so I’ll be up.” Because awake means Ari can watch. Can listen. Can wake him up if she starts to get too close.

It seems inevitable that she’s going to find them eventually. They’ll deal with that then – everyone who needs to has been made aware of the situation, and they’re all on the same page. Reuben has put many of his operations on hold, and Ari has more or less been working from home since he and Max got back.

But they’ve got something to go on now, and a sort of routine that kind of works. Tate naps in bursts throughout the day, then Ari sleeps at night. It has them both almost functional again. The biggest struggle now is getting Tate to sleep; he’s like a little kid, always fighting it. Wanting to see what Ari is working on or feeling guilty for not doing his job and trying to help.

Fortunately, Ari has found a workaround for that, too.

You think I don’t know what you’re doing?

Ari breathes a laugh. “I’m not trying to be sneaky,” he says, sighing at the feeling of Tate’s hands already spread across his skin.

“Mhmm,” Tate hums, dragging kisses trailed down Ari’s throat.

It makes Ari groan – never any less effective, no matter how many times Tate does it. They strip in stops and starts until somehow Ari ends up on his back on the bed with Tate between his legs.

“This isn’t- you’re supposed to be going to sleep,” he protests.

“Uh huh. And your sneaky plan to make me do so was to sit on my dick.”

“It’s- worked so far,” Ari manages, hips canting toward the wet heat of Tate’s mouth of their own accord.

Tate hums again. This time he doesn’t bother to pull away to respond – he just keeps licking Ari open with slow, teasing swipes of his tongue.

“Tate, fuck-“

“Getting there,” Tate replies, voice thick with want.

And Ari can feel it: the building need at the base of his spine and the way he keeps angling his hips against the mattress in search of friction.

Come on. I’m good.

With a whine, Tate presses a final kiss just below Ari’s bellybutton and moves up the bed. Ari can taste himself when their lips meet, moaning into Tate’s mouth. A second follows the first as Tate lines himself up and pushes inside in one smooth, steady thrust.

God, I could do this all the time,” Tate groans, pausing as he bottoms out.

“You’d get bored eventually.”

“M mm. Haven’t so far. Wouldn’t.”

Ari breathes a laugh and kisses him. “It hasn’t been that long yet.”

“Yeah I guess. But think about how much sex we’ve had in that time.” And then, “Pft, can you imagine if we were human and couldn’t go again?”

“Babe. I was human,” Ari says with a laugh. “Or have you already forgotten? And it’d only be you who couldn’t go again, but yeah that would be unfortunate.”

Settling back onto his knees, Tate grunts something like an acknowledgement as he pulls out slightly.

“Not that we’re gonna keep going today, because you need to sleep.”

Another noncommittal sound.

“Tate. One. That’s it.”

He slams back in, rapidly settling into an unrelenting pace.


“Are you still talking?” Tate asks, strained.

Ari growls and drags him down, kissing him with a force to match his thrusts.

They don’t stop at one, but after the second, Tate flops down on top of him, his face pressed under Ari’s chin.

“You’ve gotta let me up before you pass out though.”

“No, you’re trapped here forever.”

“Tate,” Ari protests, laughing. “I have work to do.”

Tate grumbles and somehow manages to fit them even closer together.

With a sigh, Ari says, “Fine, at least hand me my phone?”

He groans dramatically as he reaches for it, but a second later Tate drops Ari’s phone on the bed.

“Thanks.” The kiss he presses to Tate’s temple leaves his lips tasting of salt, but Ari can hardly be bothered. Not when days before he’d wondered if he’d get this again at all.

A drowsy hum is all he gets in response before Tate’s weight sinks onto him fully.

And now, he waits.

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