**CW: mention of blood**
Knox trudged along the sidewalk, feeling dead on his feet as he returned to his apartment. The sky was still inky, though it was beginning to lighten, promising that the sun was going to rise soon. There weren't many people out, a few cars driving past, more sleepy-eyed individuals on their way to work. Otherwise, the streets were empty, and he was grateful he'd just clocked out. It felt quiet and peaceful, the promise of his bed beckoning him after such a long night. When he'd taken the job as a night clerk at a convenience store, he hadn't anticipated how much his body would protest being awake all night. It paid decently though, and it gave him a chance to study as the store was empty most of the time.
He was nearly to his apartment, passing an alleyway when something made him pause. A strange feeling washed over him, making him turn toward the alley and peer into it. It was nearly too dark to see past the streetlamp, and he could just make out a few broken chairs from the restaurant in the accompanying building, an overflowing dumpster. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, but a small whimper had him stepping past the sidewalk and into the darkness.
Looking back on it, that probably wasn't the best move. Knox knew about the creatures that lurked in the night, the ones who would love nothing more than to catch a vulnerable human off guard. Still, he crept forward, holding his breath so that he didn't breathe in the stench of trash. There, on the other side of the dumpster was a figure. The person was curled up against the brick wall, arms wrapped their legs and face buried in their knees.
"Hey." He said to get their attention. The figure looked up, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Their eyes were glowing red.
The person, no vampire he supposed, was pale even in the dark, fangs dropped and digging into their lower lip. He felt frozen for a moment under the hungry gaze of a natural predator, until their head fell back onto their knees with a groan. They mumbled something, too low for him to understand.
The vampire clearly doesn't want to hurt him, giving him an out to what could possibly be a dangerous situation. Most people would turn tail and get the hell out of there, but most people didn't know that vampires even truly existed. Knox doesn't have an explanation for what he does next.
"The sun's coming up soon. My apartment isn't far." He said, stepping tentatively toward the vampire.
The vampire flinched back against the brick, "Stay... stay away. You don't want to do this." Their voice is hoarse and slurred from the awkward way their fangs sit in their mouth.
"You'll die if I leave you here."
"You might die if I go with you."
"I have faith," He argued with more confidence than he actually felt. He took the vampire's hands then, which were unpleasantly cold, and pulled them up. They stood only barely, bodily leaning against him as if even being upright was too difficult.
"You're so warm," they breathed, leaning in closer, "you smell good too."
"Don't start getting any funny ideas," He huffed, deciding not to focus on how the vampire is looking at him like he's a particularly juicy piece of steak. Instead, he pulled them toward his apartment, which is only a few buildings away. They reach it in no time, and he unlocked the door just as the sun is breaching the horizon. He has to invite the vampire in properly, which is probably the worst idea he's ever had, but it's too late and now a very hungry looking vampire has access to his home.
"My name is Knox, by the way." He moved to close the curtains in the living room, hoping that the sheer things will protect the vampire from the sunlight. If not, he supposed that he could always just stick them in the bathroom or something. He glanced back to the vampire, finding them curled up again where he'd dropped them on his tiny couch. Their eyes are pinched shut, breathing ragged even though he was pretty sure vampires didn't need to breathe, and he almost felt bad. "Uh, is there anything I can do to help?"
It takes them a moment to answer, as though they're doing their best to get their brain to work, "Uhm, yes." They wiggled around for a moment to reach into their pocket and pull out their phone. "Can you charge my phone? I-I need to contact my nest- I'm too far away."
"Sure." He took the phone and hooked it up to the charger he kept in his living room. He turned to look at the vampire then, finally taking in their features. Despite the terrifying vampire fangs and red eyes, he's clearly handsome, with red hair, that's unkept in a cute way and a splash of freckles across his nose. It was strange to think of a vampire having freckles, but it wasn't like he's ever interacted enough with one to know. He was sure he'd had run-ins with them before, but usually their vampire-ness wasn't something so blatant. He's in nice clothes, a large t-shirt and baggy pants that looked like something from a street wear catalogue.
"My name is August. You seem weirdly fine with my uh..." August introduced himself, vaguely gesturing towards his face.
"Your fangs?" He filled in with a little smile. "Well, I was a little surprised to find a vampire in an alleyway, but I am aware of your kind, yes."
"But you're human... right?"
"As human as they get." He said, tone bitter tinged, suddenly feeling the tiredness ache deep in his bones. He knew he had enough coffee grounds left for a pot- he'd been saving it for his next morning class, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He moved to the kitchen then, "I'm gonna make some coffee. You can have that right?"
Knox was going on twenty-three hours of wakefulness. He realized this as he watched the coffee slowly drip into its pot. He'd planned on using this day to rest up, maybe clean up his apartment a little, but now he has a supernatural creature taking up space on his couch. A potentially dangerous one, and he couldn't just sleep knowing that. Even if in the long run, August could overpower him easily, it still didn't feel right to try and take a nap while someone in close vicinity was probably thinking about sucking all the blood out of his veins. Once the coffee was done, he poured himself a cup and dumped a bunch of sugar in it. Then he made another for the vampire, asking him if he'd like any in his. He declined, so Knox gave him the cup of bitter grossness without anything to sweeten it. They both sip their coffees in silence for a moment.
"Does drinking liquids help?" He asked.
"No." August swallowed thickly, meeting his gaze again. The hunger is still there, simmering in a way that made him squirm.
"I'm gonna change." He mumbled and fled to his bedroom.
He's halfway through taking his pants off when there are three, hard knocks on his door. He quickly slipped into his sweatpants then, moving quickly to the front door. He hardly glanced towards August as he went, but he definitely caught the desperate look on his face, and then he was unlocking the knob and swiftly opening it.
Before he could process what was happening, a man was slipping past him. He was on the vampire in a moment, gathering him in his arms and murmuring, "It's okay, little one, you're safe," so softly that Knox vaguely felt like he was intruding. The new man was as equally as handsome as August, if not more, with a slimmer frame and dark skin. Knox shut the door and locked it. Then he stood awkwardly, eyes politely averted from the way to intimate scene, feeling awkward in his own apartment.
Someone cleared their throat, and when he looked up, there were eyes on him. The man was sat on his couch, seemingly entirely out of place in an expensive looking button down against the worn-out cushions. His irises were a startling shade of amber, head tilted to the side to accommodate the vampire on his lap. Something trailed down his neck where August's head was, and with a start he realized it was blood. The red substance dripped down to pool at his collar.
His eyes jumped back up when the man chuckled, tutting gently as he ran his hand through August's fiery locks. "Such a messy eater, huh, my love?" He murmured, and he was suddenly very much aware of the slurping noises coming from August.
August was drinking the man's blood.
It felt like he was suffocating, like there suddenly just wasn't enough oxygen in the room. "I'm just gonna..." He excused himself quickly, stumbling into his kitchen. He blindly got a cup down from the cabinet, filling it up with lukewarm tap water and downing it like he'd never had liquid before.
"Little human." There was a voice beside him suddenly, and he choked on his water. There were a few awkward moments where he was spluttering, the water he hadn't swallowed yet spilling into the sink as he leaned over it, trying to regain control of his lungs. A hand fell on his back, patting softly as he coughed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you."
"'S fine." He rasped when his lungs stopped seizing, wiping the water off his chin with his sleeve. The man's neck was clean now, though his collar was still stained red, and his weirdly perfect eyebrows were pinched in concern. As if suddenly realizing their proximity, he took a step back, and he couldn't help but breathe a small sigh of relief.
"I apologize for having not introduced myself yet, my name is Valentine. As I'm sure you've guessed, I'm one of August's nestmates." Valentine frowned then, eyes calculating, then gestured towards the table he used to eat at. "Please sit."
The vampire's tone left no room for argument, so Knox did as told. He sat, perplexed as he watched Valentine begin going through his cabinets. His frown only deepened as he took note of the contents. To be fair, they were pretty empty, but he hadn't had much time, or money to properly grocery shop. He could see the living room from this angle, and a small glance towards the couch explained August's absence. He was sprawled out, one leg thrown over the back cushions and an arm dangling to the floor. His chest rose and fell with each breath, and with his fangs no longer visible he looked almost human. Knox might've mistaken him for one, if not for the scene he'd just witnessed.
"Is he okay?" The words were out before he had time to reflect on them, but he supposed it was a fair thing to ask. He'd concerned himself with the vampire's wellbeing when he'd offered his help.
"He's fine now that he's fed. Poor baby isn't so used to being awake this late, settled right to sleep before I could even wipe his face." Valentine seemed fond as he spoke, now filling up a pot with water. There's a packet of ramen on the counter, and Knox recognized that the vampire is cooking him ramen. Or maybe for himself? Though he isn't sure why a creature whose main source of nutrients was blood would want a package of pure msg. "I'm afraid we'll have to remain here until the sun goes down, I can't risk my little love getting sun scorched. I'm deeply sorry for the intrusion, Knox."
"It's fine. I invited him in because I didn't want him to get hurt." He answered, even as his stomach swooped uncomfortably. He hadn't given Valentine his name.
The water began boiling not soon after, and Valentine dumped the noodles in. He completely forgoes the flavoring packet, instead adding what must've been half of his spice rack, then cracking an egg into the mixture. Once that simmered for a few minutes, he plated it and suddenly there's a steaming bowl of ramen sat in front of him.
"Thanks." He murmured, taking the fork as it's handed to him. He wasted no time digging in, even as Valentine sat down across from him, elbows on the table and hands clasped together. He's watching him eat, head rested upon his interlocked hands, but Knox can't find it in himself to care much. He's too exhausted, and the ramen is good.
"Do you like it?"
He merely nodded in response; mouth too full to answer properly. Valentine laughed softly, "I'm glad. You need to be eating regularly."
Knox was most of the way through his bowl when something dawned on him. The thought made him freeze mid bite, fork hallway to his mouth, but he dropped it in favor of studying the vampire across from him. He sat back in his seat, wiping the ramen broth off of his mouth with his hand, uncaring as the expensive looking creature across from him winced at his bad manners. "I didn't invite you in."
"You did not." Valentine agreed easily.
"Vampires can't go into someone's home unless they're invited in."
"I'm a different case than most." He smiled then, which only served to make him more suspicious, "If I meant any harm to you, you wouldn't be sitting across from me stuffing your face full of noodles."
"You're feeding me now so when my blood sugar spikes you can eat me."
"Please. You're much too skinny to taste any good." The vampire laughed, and it seemed genuine, "Finish your food. It's nearly time for you to get some sleep."
Again, the words were said with such finality that it doesn't seem worth arguing about, and he obediently finishes the bowl. He doesn't even protest as he's ushered to his bedroom, the door being shut behind him with a final little click. He's asleep before his head hits the pillow.
When Knox woke up, it's well past sundown, and he hadn't felt that well rested in years. There's no one in the apartment, and he's half convinced that he dreamt the two handsome vampires. That is until he opens his fridge, and he's met with groceries that he knows he didn't buy. He checks the freezer to find the same thing, as well as his cabinets teeming with food. He doesn't do anything but stare at it for a while, trying to figure out how they got all these groceries in without waking him.