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Andrew wakes up to a stranger in his room, and a struggle with his heart.

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For several long minutes, Andrew stared into the hysterically wide hazel eyes of a woman he'd never met. It was early dawn, and she was bound with thick leather cord into a sitting position, her knees pushed up against her and tied with more knots than Andrew could conceivably see from his position on his new make-shift bed.

Auburn hair spilled over her shoulders, and Andy had a feeling that some of the red wasn't fresh dye, but blood. She didn't look any more than seventeen.

His dark eyes scoured the area swiftly-- Daniel's door was open, and a quick glance told Andy he hadn't come back after the party. The main door to their room was shut, but that didn't mean anything. Thompson never had cared much for Andy's privacy.

He'd given him too much last night, and Andrew hated himself for it. Tears that the other man didn't deserve to see, and now, well, now he'd gone and done this.

Whimpers echoed from the captive woman's throat, her body shuddering against the bounds as Andrew, nauseous, reached for the note that had been left on the floor, inches away.

"If you won't hunt her with me, maybe you'd like her as a playmate, instead?
-Padraig"


Illness rose in him as he stared, inches away, at the woman who'd been tied to the table, head bound back, metal working with leather to keep her in place.

Shivering, he knew he'd have to keep her. She'd know their secrets, and Thommy had made it that way. Andrew had never hated him more than as he stared at his caramel-colored hand, watching his fingers contort and grow until they were long enough to pass for deadly teeth.

Her screams increased as he approached her, the thread-bare carpet squeaking as she rocked backwards frantically, and finally Andrew slammed his left hand against her, opening his shaky throat for the first time.

"I won't hurt you. But you can't stay tied up. So stop moving, and let me cut this bullshit off of you."

It didn't sound convincing, even to Andy's own ears, but she stopped rocking as his pointer finger approached the thick leather strap that crinked her head back, sliding beneath it and tearing with the strength he hated himself for possessing.

He continued working on the binds of her head until he was able to pull the ball-gag out of her mouth, and she was able to look at him and attempt a head butt in his general direction. If Andy hadn't felt so disgusted at the whole thing, he might even have laughed at her.

But that was the old Andrew, the one he hated, and the one Thommy seemed determined to bring out.

"Don't kill me," she whimpered, rocking back and forth with more vigor now that her head was free. At least she had the good sense not to scream. "Please. Don't kill me. Please. I won't tell anyone. Don't kill me."

Her repetition flashed Andrew onto the horror of Lorence's convulsing body, the life leaving him even as Andrew tried to stop himself, tried to fix things.

"I-I won't hurt you," he repeated, when the scene had faded enough for him to see. "But I can't let you go."

Fresh tears arched down her face, and Andrew had to glance back at his shaky hands as anger welled in him. Not at her, but at Thommy -- but neither aggression would really get the man anywhere.

Instead, he used it to rip at the strips that held her knees tightly in place. Maybe, if he got lucky, she'd kick him a few times. Make him really feel like the ass he was.

"What's your name?" he asked softly as he worked.

But before she could answer, a thick voice sent her into shrieking panic, her back slamming against the wall, Andrew's fingers slipping, slicing her, even as he tried to hold her still. "She's yours to name," Thommy had said, before walking into the room. "A street rat-- your toy."

Andy heard Thommy settle on the edge of his couch-bed, but refused to look at him. Refused to let the man see how much he hated him.

"I told you I had a gift for you." He paused, and Andrew heard footsteps again. The woman fell onto her side as she struggled to get away, with what little free range of her limbs that Andy had managed to give her before Thompson had arrived. The ass.

His fingers were like whips as they settled on his shoulder, rubbing circles on Andrew's raw bones. "I saved her from us."

"You brought her here to begin with," Andy countered, looking back and falling into Thommy's eyes. The Stead was hell, and Thompson was their ring leader.

Sighing, Thommy settled cross-legged on the floor with Andrew, fingers now moving to pull him closer. Every inch of the other man fought the blonde's attractions. He hated that Thompson was enjoying this.

"I won't eat anything again, not unless you approve it," Thompson finally said, giving up on drawing Andrew near. Breathe was harsh beside them, the woman slipping around them like a worm from the fisherman.

"That's bullshit," Andrew responded. Thommy was close, less than a foot away, and he could see the stony fear in his eyes, even as he'd said it. Thommy couldn't live like Andrew, couldn't spend a month without seeking out a human from some big city to snack on. It was one of the things he hated about the man.

"I talked to Arri -- I won't. I want you to like me, and if that means not eat--"

"I'll never give a damn about you." The minute he'd interrupted, Andrew wished he hadn't. Fear settled into his stomach. He usually argued with Thommy, but rarely so boldly -- not after the last time Thommy had tortured him for acting up.

Pale eyes glanced at the woman crawling away, and then Thompson was on his knees, catching her up swiftly, and setting her on his lap. "Someone will keep me company," he purred. His hand was covering her mouth, body ducking away from her as she tried to rear into him.

"Leave her alone." Even to Andy his voice sounded childish, frightened. How did he ever think he could protect someone else from Thompson, not to mention himself?

"Oh, I won't hurt her," Thompson assured. The metallic glint in his eyes said otherwise. "But I thought you didn't like her?"

It was a trap, and Andrew saw it even as he walked into it, stomach knotting. "I'll keep her, name her, but don't kill her."

A smile glimmered from Thommy's face as he pushed his gift towards Andrew's waiting lap. "I knew you'd like my gift."

Andrew let her squirm away, and then shivered at her terror. "Doesn't mean I like you."

Leaning forward, Thompson hovered over Andy, his pale face smiling curiously into the man. "Why? I'd do anything to make you happy."

"You'd rape me first, and kill her," Andrew spat.

Clouds arched over Thompson's face. "I thought you enjoyed it?"

Words couldn't slip out of Andrew's face -- he was too contorted in anger. Torture be damned.

Hands grew into talons quickly and he shoved Thompson backwards, only to have the blonde fall -- simply, easily, crashing his head with a crack into the wooden base of the couch behind him.

Seconds passed, with only the whimpering girl staring inches away, and Andrew barely daring to breathe at his audacity.

Finally, slowly, Andrew crept forward. He wasn't dead, Andy knew that. He was probably barely even hurt. But he'd taken the fall, and that was what intrigued him.

Staring over the blonde, who's eyes were firmly shut, Andrew didn't let his guard down, stomach tense, but instead allowed himself to place a thumb, rubbing curiously over Thommy's face. Blood was along his chest-- Andrew hadn't realized he'd slashed into him that hard.

"You hate me." The words made Andrew jump. But when the blonde man didn't move, Andy returned to where he'd been sniffing at the blood on Thommy's chest, checking for the scent of humanity that all of their kind had after feeding. It wasn't there.

"Maybe."

It was just as simple, but his explanation faltered as Thompson's eyes opened, blue with a crack of blood twisting in them. "I wouldn't hurt you again. Maybe once I did-- but I just want you to be safe."

It was a plea, from the man on the ground, who'd given him the woman that was ever twisting for the door. He was deranged, sick, and Andy couldn't stand him. But even Andrew'd done things he wasn't proud of-- Lorence, of god, he hadn't meant any of that ---

"Maybe," was all Andrew said, before Thompson's lips were reaching up to claim him.

And even as his mind rebelled, something, a small part of him, caressed Thommy's lips wildly back.

When he pulled back for breath, fingers still dangling in Andrew's hair, Thompson nodded slowly. "It's small here, no room for you."

Andrew was shaking his head in protest, even as Thommy's fingers tightened slightly in his hair, and his burning, blood-tainted lisp slid back against Andy's own with a bruising intensity.

Groaning, Thommy pulled back, and shook his head a moment to clear it. Andrew easily saw that the blood had already filtered out of his crystalline eyes. "She can stay with me," Thompson finished, pulling himself up and stumbling back towards the door. "You can visit her whenever you want."

Without another word, the blonde threw himself out the door, leaving a surprised Andrew and a panicking young woman in his wake.


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"Honey From a Thorn" - - ((by Morgan O'Friel))
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"Life is ever
Since man was born,
Licking honey
From a thorn."

- Lois Ginsberg

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