I walked down an aisle of the grocery store with their plastic basket hanging off my arm. I was aware of two brown eyes on me. Devin had wanted me to wear small shorts with “JUICY” written across my ass, but Jason thought it was too “on the nose.” I wanted to wear a heavy jacket, but it was vetoed since it didn’t “accentuate my form.”
Whatever that meant.
I didn’t mind being dressed and appraised by these two vampires. They were members of a vampire group called “The Collective,” and they were paying me enough to go along with their advice. I understood they needed a human for their task, and they’d be a better judge of what would appeal to vampires more than I would. Still, I wasn’t about to let myself get completely steamrolled. I wasn’t the best actor, and if I wore anything too far out of my comfort zone it would be obvious I was placed here rather than choosing to be here.
My goal was to free an Ancient vampire referred to as ‘the Forever King,’ and to free him I would have to get close to another Ancient vampire named Rust who held him. Ancient vampires were vampires who’d lived through centuries and often went long periods without feeding without losing themselves to their hunger. While they don’t look human anymore, their new traits are often still seen as appealing rather than repulsive. Some are said to have additional abilities, though I’d never encountered any myself. I’d seen an Ancient in passing during my time at the Hunter’s Guild, and I’d seen Rust while I worked in Neverward. He didn’t give me a second glance, though I struggled to keep my eyes off of him.
Ancients were not common, and I knew I was lucky to have even seen the one at the Guild. Ancients usually had a colony composed of vampires and humans and let those that followed them interact with the outside world. They insulated themselves among people they trusted and cared for and chose carefully when to leave and interact with others.
Rust was an exception. He dated a human that lived outside of the colony and owned most of the property in Neverward. I didn’t know if it was an investment or if he had plans to simply use Neverward as an extension of his colony down the road. He also seemed to get pleasure out of bothering a vampire in the building I worked, so there was little reason for him to stay isolated. The only reason I knew he had a colony of his own was because of the Collective’s information on him. I knew he kept the Forever King somewhere, and the Collective had searched the commercial properties in Neverward already, which meant he had to be somewhere else that was protected.
I didn’t know why or how the Forever King was being held, but I did know that the Collective was happy to pay me an obscene amount of money to do it. I didn’t want eternal life; I just wanted scads of money to disappear into the world, and they were more than happy to offer it. It took months of set-up to make me look like a normal human living in Neverward, and now was the trip to spring the trap.
So I stood in a grocery store in a fitted, purple tank-top and a pair of black skinny jeans. I was tall, broad, and muscular with a ball cap covering my red hair. I was allowed to wear my hat, at least, and I felt less obviously like bait on a hook with it. Still, it was hard to ignore the eyes on me.
I grabbed a plastic container of instant coffee to pretend to look at it before letting it slip out of my fingers. When I bent over to pick it up, I tilted my basket in a way that everything inside fell onto the floor. It was mostly fruits with a couple packs of extra-large condoms.
With a heavy sigh, I started picking everything up while making sure my ass was gracefully in the air.
Yes, I did feel like a proper idiot.
I’d been around vampires for most of my life. Like most humans in the scene, I understood that there were some good and some bad ones much like humans. I travelled with a hunter for some time and saw the worst of the worst, and I learned a number of tricks. I knew from experience that I could handle myself in a fight. I left the Hunter’s Guild after I retired from hunting Feral vampires, and a couple years later I heard about this job through quiet whispers and volunteered for it. I was well-suited for the job, and I couldn’t turn down so much money that I could just disappear into the sunrise forever with complete financial freedom. I volunteered as soon as I heard about it. The set-up would take a while, and I knew it was sketchy since it was explicitly being hidden from the Guild, but I was being paid throughout the process. As far as I was concerned, it was better than being always on the move and scrounging up jobs.
As I picked up my fruit, a man hunched down next to me and helped me pick up the items. He was a few inches shorter than me with short, sandy-brown hair. His athletic frame was squeezed into a yellow tank with the words “SUNS OUT, GUNS OUT” on them. He had on a small pair of white shorts, and I did take the time to appreciate the way his junk bunched up in the front of them. I was used to seeing him in sweat pants and flip flops, and I knew this would be his idea of dressing up.
“Thanks,” I said.
“Hopefully nothings bruised,” the man replied, inspecting the fruit.
“Only my ego, I think,” I said. “I swear I’m not a clumsy guy.”
I knew the man that went by Lupin. He picked up the affectionate nickname for being loyal and cheerful like a dog. Rust employed him to run one of his many businesses, an arcade/bar called “The Barcade.” He was a human who Rust drank from often, but never drained dry. Devin and Jason knew he ran errands when Rust couldn’t go outside or was back at the colony. Rust let very few humans get close to him, so the easiest way to infiltrate was to connect with his happy-go-lucky human.
There were successful vampire and human relationships, and the Hunter’s Guild only hunted vampires that intentionally harmed humans, actively harmed vampires, or a combination of both. Rust had only ever been on their radar as one of the Ancients. He seemed quite harmless otherwise, but very private. I managed to get as much information as I could without re-joining the Guild or drawing suspicion. This is where I learned that Rust didn’t live with Lupin full-time, but neither the Guild nor the Collective I worked for knew where his permanent residence was. I knew it would take time for him to trust me and that was fine. This job would be my last one, and since I was being paid for the process I saw no harm in spending time on it.
So I first had to befriend Lupin, slowly make Rust want and trust me, and then learn where he resided and hope the Forever King was trapped there. I thought he’d be kept in a cell, so I could potentially feed him myself and free him. As an Ancient, I figured he’d have little difficulty escaping once freed from wherever he was being held. I started work at a café in the building across from the Barcade, and Lupin did come in often for a meal or to meet friends who worked in the building. I never minded Lupin’s appearance. I liked looking at photographs of him, but now, seeing him in person, with mere inches between us and a large smile crossing Lupin’s face, I found my heart pounding a bit faster.
He was too handsome.
“I believe you,” Lupin said. “Though I am a sucker for a pretty face.”
The corner of my lip rose. I tried not to be too flattered. I had been blessed with a neutral face that looked a little pissed off – it took great effort to look happy and I used up all that energy working at the café – and I smiled slightly for Lupin’s benefit. “I think that’s everything.”
Lupin picked the condoms off the floor and held them out to me. I tried to act sheepish as I took them. Lupin asked, “Hot date?”
“Just hopeful,” I replied. “I’m going to a club tonight.”
“Wait, I know you,” Lupin said as he stood up. “You’re Thom – the barista from the café.”
I nodded and he offered me a hand up. I took it and said, “That’s right. And you’re Frappuccino, extra whip.”
Lupin’s smile widened. “You’re good. I usually go by Lupin though.”
“What way are you walking?” Lupin asked.
“I’m just browsing,” I said. “Can I walk with you?”
Lupin nodded, and I walked beside him as Lupin pushed his cart. His cart was pretty full, but I thought he lived alone in his apartment above his arcade. Lupin said, “You don’t strike me as the clubbing type.”
“Yeah,” Lupin said. “Something about you seems too serious for it.”
“You saw me working in the café and you think I’m too serious?”
Lupin smiled. “I checked you out when you weren’t with customers. You look serious when there’s no one around to flatter.”
Lupin surprised me. I hadn’t expected him to watch me so closely that he’d notice or realize that the serious expression was my default, not the chipper barista one. “You caught me,” I said. “Guys don’t usually approach me, but I’m usually too flustered to do it myself.”
“Really? You strike me as the kind of guy who just takes what he wants,” Lupin said.
I hated how well Lupin read me. He knew I was tensing up, and as I watched Lupin, I noticed him smile. Did he already know exactly what I was up to? Lupin asked, “Did you take one look at me and thought that I was the type that liked clubs and being the pursuer?”
“No,” I said, laughing weakly.
“I saw you checking me out in an earlier aisle.”
“Okay, I don’t like instant coffee, but I swear I didn’t mean to drop everything. Just the coffee so you could see my ass.”
“Listen, you’re cute,” Lupin said, “but I’m spoken for.”
“A guy that looks like you couldn’t be single.”
Lupin said, “If you want to go out sometime to scope out guys together, I’m happy to oblige. We’re going to a club tonight.”
“My boyfriend, myself, and a few others,” Lupin said. “We’re kind of in an open relationship.”
“When he’s in town, I only see him, but he sees other people,” Lupin said. “So he might make a pass at you, and that’s fine with me.”
“Any chance the three of us might hook up?”
“Maybe,” Lupin said with a grin.
“Then I’m in.”
Lupin said with a laugh, “Do you usually do this? Aggressively hit on your customers when they’re in the wild?”
“No,” I said. “I just don’t want to let the chance slip through my fingers, all right? I’m not dropping anything else today.”
Lupin’s smile turned a bit weak. He said, “How about we have coffee later?”
“Yes,” he checked his watch. “You won’t want to go to your café. Do you know the coffee shop on the order up here?’”
“How about there in an hour and a half?”
“I’ll see you then.”
We parted ways and I checked out with my fruit and condoms. I considered ditching them, but I was worried Lupin would see me and the fruit looked really good. So I left with them and headed back to the bakery Devin and Jason used as their cover. I updated them on my progress and gave them my purchase - except for the condoms. They agreed it was odd that Lupin wanted coffee first, but it was worth investigating. Jason reminded me that Lupin could still be a threat. He was physically strong and, after having a vampire drink from him for so long, he likely had increased stamina and strength. Devin added, “We already know he has a killer ass.”
I sighed as Jason agreed that Lupin’s butt was very pert.
With nothing left to do, I went to the coffee shop early. I ordered a tea and sat down. I went over my cover story in my head. A recent graduate trying to find a career and a place to settle. No ties to anyone. Free to be consumed by a vampire.
Lupin stepped in and offered me a wave. I leaned forward to watch Lupin order his coffee. He seemed like a regular late twenty-something. Busy. Happy. I eyed his shoulders. My eyes dropped to his ass, but I heard Devin’s cheery voice calling it “killer.” I wondered how Lupin got wrapped up in all of this. Lupin sat down across from me and said, “It feels good to put my feet up.”
“Have you been out most of the day?”
“Yeah, and I’m still going out later tonight,” Lupin said. “Are you planning to stay long in my beautiful city Neverward?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “I was kind of hoping for better work than at the café. I have an apartment though, so I guess I’m established enough to stay for a little while.”
“You came to a city where you don’t know anyone?”
“I chased a guy who turned out to be in a relationship in the next city over,” I said. “So I came here to lick my wounds and see if it’s a nice place to stay. I don’t have much of anyone anymore.”
“Happens to a lot of us,” Lupin said. “Rarely do people find out about vampires in a fun, sexy way. You just haven’t found your people yet. You will.”
“What about you?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Are you from here?”
Lupin played with the handle on his cup of coffee. “I was following someone, dated this one vampire for a while, met my now-boyfriend, and decided to stay with him,” Lupin said.
“Oh cool. How long have you been here?”
“Probably at least a decade now,” Lupin said. He shifted in his seat and his shoulders slackened. I thought Lupin looked a lot smaller with some of his confidence gone. Lupin added, “Feels like a lot longer.”
“And your folks?”
“Passed away a while ago,” Lupin said. “There’s no one left for me, so here’s the only home for me.”
Of course, I knew all of this. The Collective’s file was extensive, and since Lupin’s family had been killed by a rogue vampire, he had a file at the Guild. I replied, “It sounds like you’ve been through a lot.”
“Too much for one cup of coffee,” Lupin said, laughing weakly.
“Well, I hope your boyfriend treats you right.”
Lupin nodded. “He does. I’m fine with our relationship being open, but, um, listen. If you come tonight, listen to me, okay?”
“I just mean, he’s really intoxicating. You might not want to listen to me, but if I tell you to go, you need to go, okay?”
“Is there something I should be concerned about?” I asked.
I was relieved, really. It meant if Rust was just planning to drain me dry in one go, Lupin would warn me. My main concern was that Rust would see through me and just try to kill me in one shot, so I’d have to protect myself. Most vampires couldn’t get away with killing someone without being flagged by the Guild, but I knew Ancients sometimes got special treatment. And if they found out I had any ties to the Collective, they might consider Rust as acting in self-defence.
“Not really,” Lupin said. “He just - he has his own orbit, you know? I don’t want you to get stuck in it unprepared.”
“Does he take advantage of you?” I asked.
Lupin grinned. “Sometimes he takes me for granted, but he doesn’t really take advantage. I think I know him too well for that.”
“Yeah,” Lupin said. “I couldn’t be positive, but I never feel like I’m being taken advantage of, so I suppose I’m not.”
“This really sounds like the grounds for a healthy relationship,” I said.
“He’s done a lot for me. I can deal with a few,” Lupin hesitated and searched for the word, “eccentricities.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
The conversation turned casual as we spoke of our drinks and the weather here compared to the climate of our native cities. I almost forgot I was on a mission and not just enjoying a conversation with a friend. We shared a few silent moments, and I was comfortable with him even in them. Lupin didn’t press to fill the silence. Lupin excused himself shortly before sunset and gave me a time and address to meet him at the club. “If I haven’t scared you off,” Lupin added with a laugh.
“Never,” I replied.
The music pounded in my ears. Earlier Jason and Devin argued over my outfit, again. I wanted part of myself to remain so Rust and Lupin wouldn’t see right through me. I think they might have been stalling because if I got in here, I wouldn’t be able to associate with them freely for a while. Since neither Jason nor Devin could agree on a top, I made the final call. I wore a black shirt with the sleeves ripped off. It received a sigh from both men, but they didn’t argue with me. They squeezed me into a pair of distressed, grey skinny jeans with my knees nearly completely exposed. I was still allowed to wear my hat, but Devin pinned a rainbow pin onto it.
The three looked at me before sending me on his way. “I can’t believe this is who we’ve pinned our hopes on,” Devin said.
“It might work,” Jason said. “He’s right. He should stay as true to himself as possible.”
They let me go and wished me luck. It was strange leaving them and knowing it would be harder to communicate from here on out. It was possible Rust knew there were vampires after the Forever King, and it was even possible he knew exactly who they were. But Devin and Jason were no longer connected to me.
And now I danced in the club with strangers. Devin tried to teach me the hip ways to dance and, after they argued about it, Jason took over. I feared the worst, but I fit in quite well. I carefully guided hips against my own, and I managed to get a few drinks bought for me.
I took a break at the bar and scoped out the room. I saw Rust before I saw Lupin. He was the tallest man in the room. I knew his skin was a rich grey, but under the club lights it looked almost purple. His ears were pointed at the tips, and they pierced through his thick, black hair that hung onto his forehead. His eyes were black with red iris, and when they scanned the room, I noticed flecks of gold intermingled with the red. They flickered like fire as they darted around the room.
It was often hard to tell the difference between a human and a vampire, but an Ancient was easy to spot. It was different, too, seeing him now in a club rather than walking through the café on his way to somewhere else. He didn’t wear a shirt - just a glowing necklace. His jeans hung low, failing to hide the start of a treasure trail. I found myself failing to pry my eyes off of him. My mouth went dry.
For a second I thought I was going to die. If I couldn’t control myself, the mission was bound to fail. Seeing Rust now, I knew if I moved my legs I would only step towards him. I never felt so weak and so attracted to a person before. I wasn’t sure I could flee even if I wanted to.
I wanted Rust to see me. I wanted those eyes on me. Desire overwhelmed my thoughts, and none of them were about the success of my mission. Fear crawled beneath it. Fear because Rust was too beautiful. Fear because I was losing control already.
I nearly jumped as two hands landed on my shoulders. Lupin said against my ear, “Saw you dancing earlier. You look great.”
And like that, I fell out of it. Control returned to me. I was safe. “Thanks,” I said, placing my hand on top of Lupin’s. “I couldn’t see you.”
“Looks like you couldn’t take your eyes off my boyfriend.”
“That’s him?” I asked, pointing towards Rust.
“You’re better looking,” I said.
“Then why can’t you stop staring at him?”
“My neck is sore,” I said. I turned my head to look at Lupin. Our noses brushed together, and I knew that even if I couldn’t have Lupin, I wanted to get him out of whatever Rust had him wrapped up in. If he was the type of person who could keep someone else locked up, was Lupin even safe? I asked, “Do I get a dance at least?”
I hooked my fingers into the front of Lupin’s jeans to pull him a bit closer. Lupin grinned, and I pressed my leg between his. I felt heat there. Lupin had changed his clothes since shopping. His loose, white dress shirt was unbuttoned, and he wore a glowing necklace like Rust. He’d traded his shorts for jeans, though I wasn’t sure why. I wondered if Rust dressed him like how Jason and Devin tried to dress me. “You’re what I’m here for,” I said.
As scared as Rust made me, Lupin countered all of it. I felt safe with him. I felt as though Lupin would protect me. And I felt possessive. I wanted him. I would complete my mission and get my cash, but it was nice to have a person beside me the whole way that I wanted to protect. I knew it would keep my head on straight.
“Be careful,” Lupin said, so softly that I could barely hear it through the music. “Tread lightly.”
In a second Rust was on us. His striking eyes looked at me with disdain. I still felt an unbelievable attraction to the man, but it was no longer crippling. I kept my fingers hooked into Lupin’s jeans. I felt stronger next to him. I’d be safe so long as Lupin was near.
“Who the fuck are you?” Rust asked.
“This is the guy I told you about,” Lupin started.
Rust pushed me off of Lupin. I didn’t trip or stumble. I knew it was only an ounce of Rust’s strength, but it was a good test. I wanted Rust to be curious enough about me to keep me around, and I wouldn’t get that far by playing meek.
“What’s your name?” Rust asked. Lupin opened his mouth, but Rust cut him off to say, “I want to hear it from him.”
“Thom McDade,” I replied. “But I’m not opposed to changing my last name if Lupin wants me to.”
Heat rushed to Lupin’s cheeks. “I have no idea why he’s like this.”
“Did you lead him on?” Rust asked.
“No, I mean, aside from inviting him here, but I thought you’d like him. You said you needed more humans.”
Rust approached me. I could hear my heart pounding over the music. Rust touched my chin and stuck his thumb under my upper lip. He checked my teeth. It wasn’t uncommon for newly turned vampires to pass as human, so I couldn’t blame him for checking. When he drew his finger out, I licked my teeth. “You need to learn some manners,” Rust said.
“I bet your boyfriend could teach me.”
I couldn’t tell if anger or amusement burned in Rust’s eyes. I supposed if it was anger, I’d already be thrown to the other side of the room. I bit my bottom lip and watched Lupin. Lupin winked at me. Rust said, “You’re in over your head, kid. Do you know what I am?”
“A complete dick?” I asked.
Rust tilted his head and stood straighter as if I couldn’t tell he wasn’t even close to human. While I doubted I could fight him in a club packed-full of his allies, I did doubt that Rust would kill me in front of Lupin. Rust’s red eyes shifted off of me for a split second to check Lupin before watching me again. I knew I was safe as long as Rust didn’t want to piss off Lupin.
Rust gently wrapped his hand around my neck. I knew he could snap it in a heartbeat, though I also knew he was more likely to drain the blood from it. Rust’s cold thumb felt my pumping jugular through my skin. I kept my eyes on Rust’s, waiting. I thought the gold flakes in his eyes flickered. I didn’t flinch, and I didn’t stand down. Rust said, “You know exactly what I am. You don’t care.”
I didn’t reply, but I wasn’t about to break eye contact. My expression stayed stiff as Rust’s thumb stroked my neck softly. Rust licked his teeth as he watched me. Rust asked, “What do you want? Did you seek out Lupin to become like me?”
“As much as I believe in Lupin’s good looks, I doubt you’re here just for him.”
Rust’s long nails dug into my skin. They pressed against my veins. I said, “Maybe I just want to see him somewhere safe.”
Rust grinned. “Nowhere is safe, and I don’t trust you.”
“He doesn’t,” Rust said, “but he really wants to fuck you.” He shoved me away by my neck, and I made sure to regain my step easily. Rust continued, “Go ahead. Dance with him. All I ask in exchange is a bit of blood.”
Rust offered me a smile, and Lupin’s fingers twined in with my own. Lupin pulled me onto the dance floor, and the music pounding in my ears drowned out my heartbeat. Lupin draped his arms around my shoulders, which reminded me to grip his hips. “He likes to watch us,” Lupin shouted over the music. “Make sure we’re in his eye line.”
I caught Rust’s eye and grabbed Lupin’s ass to pull him close against me. Lupin grinned at me and pressed his leg between mine. I tried to get into the beat, moving my hips and body against Lupin’s. I’d practiced enough to pass as someone interested in dancing, but I felt Lupin keeping his distance. When Lupin turned, I pulled him back against me to curve his back against my chest. I pressed my groin against Lupin’s ass and traced my hand down his inner thighs. I nuzzled against Lupin’s ear. Lupin ground up against me, wrapping his arms around my neck.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
Series: Gay Vampires of Neverward
Length: ~58,000 words
Estimated Reading Time: 200 Minutes
Thom has been hired to free an Ancient vampire called "The Forever King" from another vampire named Rust. In order to do so, he must gain Rust's trust and find out where the Forever King is being kept. He decides to form a relationship with one of Rust's humans, Lupin, and infiltrate the colony from there. He finds himself quickly falling for Lupin and doesn't want to deny his strong attraction to Rust either. While he enjoys Rust and other vampires thoroughly using him for sex at the colony, he begins to question whether or not he should go through with his mission and what the consequences will be if he fails. This is a plot-light novel with an emphasis on sexy situations. This series is written in the third person and contains explicit sex between consenting adults.
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