By the time the clock struck eleven that night, Sean’s demeanor had at least thawed enough to offer James whatever food or drink the servants had on store in the kitchen. Sean himself wasn’t even aware of what that may include, as it was a room he or Claire rarely found themselves any reason to go into. James had finished a plate of what had to be much more modest fare than he was used to at the palace, but he seemed more interested in making his way through their supply of wine that night.
James already seemed to be feeling the effects of the wine as the clock chimed eleven, which caused Sean’s eyes to move toward it in response to the loud eruption of sound in the otherwise silent room. He and James had been sitting there for a while now, both nursing their respective drinks and neither adding much to the conversation. Yet, despite that, James still seemed content to extend his stay in their home that night, regardless of the guards who still waited outside, as their orders were to do so until told otherwise.
“So, where’s that from?” James finally asked as Sean took another small sip of his own drink.
“Where’s what from?” Sean returned, thrown by the man finally resuming communication.
“The blood. I mean that’s what you’re drinking, right?”
“That being the only thing I drink, yes” Sean affirmed with a slight narrowing of his eyes over at the obviously drunk sovereign-to-be.
“So, where’s it from?” James repeated as he poured more wine into his own glass.
Sean just shook his head, but hid his sigh long enough to answer, “mostly butcher shops, or whatever animals happen to wander out of the woods near our property line” Sean answered simply enough.
“And that’s all you drink usually? Animal blood I mean” James clarified without being asked to.
“No” was Sean’s simple response, which did cause a slight flash of sobriety to cross James’ face, short-lived though it had been.
“So, you do usually drink from people, people blood” he added the extra clarification once again.
“Yes” Sean answered simply as he took a larger sip then.
“You kill people then?” James responded, eyes only widening slightly as his only real reaction to the idea.
“No, not so far today” was Sean’s original response to that particular question. Then he reminded himself to be wary of his sarcasm possibly not being accurately interpreted by the currently inebriated brother of the king “we rarely kill anyone. If we did, it would be somewhat difficult to remain unknown to the human world, wouldn’t it?”
James squinted a bit, as though trying to translate Sean’s words, despite them being spoken in the native tongue they both shared “so you just bite people but don’t kill them?”
“Yes” Sean agreed, once again returning to his monosyllabic responses.
“What people?” James pressed.
“You seem very concerned with my eating habits, James” Sean finally allowed himself to return curiously.
“Well, you’re so thin. Can’t help wondering if you’ve been” James let out a small giggle “biting enough people?”
“And I can’t help wondering if you’ve been drinking enough wine” Sean returned flatly.
“I’m still awake, so answer: Not nearly enough” James laughed again. He then attempted to compose himself for a moment before continuing “but you are. You’re so thin, and pretty, and that hair, and complexion, and those eyes…. You’re like a really pretty girl; Tall, but pretty” James giggled again, causing Sean to raise that brow once more.
“And you’re like a very drunk man” Sean sighed once more as he moved to stand.
“See? Tall” James shook his head as he took another sip of the wine.
“Not to be rude to my future king, but it is rather late, and you are rather drunk. Won’t you be expected back at the palace soon?” Sean attempted to hide his impatience under a guise of civility.
“Pfft” James allowed “I’m not the king ‘til my brother kicks off. They won’t even notice I’m gone.”
“Your brother may not notice, but I’m sure there are others who will, like perhaps your wife and children” Sean stated pointedly.
James scoffed, but his expression darkened slightly before he responded, “My wife died two years ago, after we already lost six of our children as well. I don’t mean all at the same time, but… dead, nonetheless” he added the clarification as he poured more wine after making an imaginary toast.
That confession was enough to throw Sean more than a bit as he took a moment to find any response, his mind immediately flying back to how shattering it was for him to lose just one child nearly a century earlier “I didn’t know” was the only one he could find, softly spoken as it was.
“Oh don’t worry; my ever so benevolent big brother is giving me some new wife next month. I wonder if I’ll even get to meet her before the wedding. Probably not. I met Anne before our wedding, and she ended up pregnant. So I’m guessing that’ll be a no this time.”
“But to lose six children… And your wife… that…” Sean couldn’t think of more words then as he just took a closer seat, now around the corner of the table from James rather than at the other end, where he had been seated earlier.
“Oh don’t worry; my wife was ready to go. She would finally get to see our other kids again, and wouldn’t have to put up with my cheating on her any more. Better deal for her than being married to me ever was.”
Sean swallowed again before moving on through the conversation “so you did have at least one child who survived?”
“Two girls, eleven and eight now” he allowed only a short-lived smile “but they’re girls, which is why I’m apparently in such desperate need of a new wife; According to the king, anyway. Though our great and mighty Charles II has yet to even have one of his own children, so I guess directing me to keep having them is the next best thing.”
“Sounds like a less than ideal life” Sean admitted.
“Hence all my fucking ‘entitlement’” James called Sean on his earlier words “99% of politics is acting, after all, isn’t it?” he let his voice taper off as he took another sip.
“I can see why you want more. Why you turned to our kind” Sean admitted quietly, beginning to understand this man much better now that all that alcohol had caused James’ walls to come tumbling down, along with that entire guise of pomp and privilege. There was another long silence as Sean continued to sit there next to him at the table as James continued to stare down into his now nearly empty wine glass “so why did you come here tonight in the first place?” Sean had to ask.
James allowed a slight scoff before answering “Tonight’s my fortieth birthday, and the only place I wanna be, apparently, is among the dead” he accented the words with a sad shrug. He then allowed himself to look back up at Sean, whose face was much nearer to his now than when he was at his previous seat at the end of the table “you really are incredibly…” though James chose to look down again instead of finishing that sentence.
Sean finally allowed a small smile as he too looked down, “don’t worry, it’s a Kindred thing” he attempted to assure the other man.
“A Kindred thing?” James raised a brow, seeming to be gaining a slightly tighter grip on sobriety now.
“Why you think I’m incredibly…” Sean just smiled again “it makes it easier to gain the trust of those we feed on: The magnetism I mean. Most of us have it, which is why humans are so drawn to us, regardless of gender” he added more quietly.
James said nothing at first, though when his response came, it was not in reaction to the part of the sentence that would have been expected “so are you planning on feeding on me then?”
Sean averted his eyes once more before speaking “I’m not sure you’d want that, if you’re already finding me so… pretty” he allowed a small laugh.
James only narrowed his eyes slightly as he inched his chair closer “I’ve heard other ghouls talking, and they made it sound like being bitten feels really good. Good like making love does” he clarified once more.
“That would be the consensus among those who have been bitten, and actually remember it” Sean agreed.
“It really feels that good?” James pressed.
“I admit it’s hard to believe until you actually experience it” Sean conceded.
“Well, then make me a believer” James stated simply, as he leaned closer.
Sean took a moment as his eyes moved to the other man’s neck now being offered freely to him, “I’m surprised you haven’t asked Claire to bite you if you’ve been this curious about it all.”
“It’s true; I have been this curious, but this is the first night I’ve been this drunk too. Liquid courage we’ll call it” he smiled as he was the one to bravely place his hands on Sean’s shoulders and lean closer still.
Sean was now faced with the proximity of that vein, combined with the much less satisfying animal blood he had spent most of his recent nights drinking since the servants had been accompanying Claire to the theatre all month. As those two factors collided, Sean gave into that urge which was greater than most any other since his death, and moved to sink his fangs into James’ neck, causing that wave of climactic pleasure to wash over them both indeed.
When Sean began to feel the slight slowing of the other man’s pulse at last, he finally willed himself to remove those fangs and allow both of them a moment or two to recover from the intense moment they had just given one another. James’ breath came quick as he collapsed against Sean’s chest, his fingers clinging desperately at his shirt.
Knowing James would still need a moment more to recover, as Sean honestly still did as well, he finally managed “so are you a believer now?” he asked as his own state of afterglow caused his fingers to curl so lightly into the other man’s shoulder length golden locks.
His breath still trying to return to him, James allowed a throaty laugh as he still held Sean tightly against him “You literally just made me come… by biting me” he let out another breath as Sean couldn’t help his own chuckle.
“I always forget how intense it really is for those who don’t know what to expect the first time. Guess I should’ve better prepared you” he confessed, his fingers still curled in the other man’s hair.
“You sound like you came too” James admitted, finally turning to look up at him.
Sean allowed another smile down at him “I technically can’t; by the very strictest definition of the word… but it still feels like I do, every time” he admitted.
James smiled too but it was a more contemplative one that time “Does this mean we just had sex without even taking our clothes off?”
Sean allowed another chuckle, “not by the strictest definition.”
Another pause from James before he finally spoke again “so, would it really make any difference now, you know if we actually did?”