by Kass


Thanks to lomedet for audiencing! Written for Yuletide 2008.

"Of all the people I didn't expect to see tonight, I think you top the list." Josef stood by the crackling fire -- an affectation, in Los Angeles, but Lucard had no stones to throw on that account -- holding a snifter of brandy in his cool palm. "I can't remember the last time you set foot on these shores."

"What," Lucard asked, affecting surprise. "I can't decide to visit an old friend?"

"Old fiend, you mean," Josef corrected him. Ahh, yes: there was the sharp glint of his smile. This was what Lucard had been looking for.

Lucard smiled back, letting his teeth show. "Aren't you going to offer me a drink?"

Josef crossed to the bar and set down his glass, retrieving another and holding it aloft to catch the firelight. "What's your pleasure? I seem to recall you liking armagnac. Or I can call for one of the girls if you'd prefer"

"I have fed recently. Armagnac will do." Lucard tossed his cape over his shoulder and sat on the leather sofa, taking advantage of Josef's engagement at the bar to look him up and down. He hadn't changed, naturally; they never did.

Josef handed him the snifter wordlessly and each of them tipped back a long swallow of his brandy. Like cold liquid fire.

"I just destroyed Margo Burton," Lucard said presently. "You'll see her death on the morning news, no doubt, as a footnote to the death of her novelist husband."

Josef raised an eyebrow. "Now that surprises me."

Lucard gave a shrug. "She disappointed me."

"She disappointed you years ago," Josef corrected.

Lucard bit back a grimace. "Fair enough. But when our paths crossed again..."

"Let me guess: she chose her husband over you."

"She wanted me to spare his life! Pitiful," Lucard spat.

"Mm. Yes, well, mortals do have a way of valuing their lives unreasonably," Josef said. His voice was mild but his gaze was piercing.

Not caring for this turn of conversation, Lucard changed the subject. "You've become quite pedestrian."

Josef made a show of looking down at his clothing: form-fitting blue jeans, a striped charcoal-grey shirt open at the collar, a velvet blazer. "And you still look like it's the last century. You didn't need black tie just to drop by."

Lucard drained his snifter and Josef followed suit.

"Can I offer you another?" Josef asked. "Or -- you know," he said, as though the idea had just occurred to him, "I have a pool table downstairs."

"Still playing games, I see," Lucard mocked.

"Well, one does get to spend a lot of time handling sticks." Now Josef was standing right in front of him, between Lucard's splayed legs. "That used to be one of your pastimes, didn't it?"

With a snarl Lucard stood, right in Josef's space, but Josef didn't flinch. "That's more like it," he said.

Lucard couldn't tear his eyes away from Josef's mouth, which was quirked into an ironic smile. "I do not wish to play billiards," Lucard murmured.

"We'll dispense with formalities," Josef agreed.

Even looking back, later, Lucard wasn't sure who closed the distance between them.

The hunger in Josef's eyes warmed him as the brandy had not done. And although it had been at least two hundred years since their last assignation, he remembered what Lucard liked: neckplay, lips and tongue skating dangerously along his jugular.

"It's been too long," Josef whispered into his ear, palming his balls and tugging almost enough to hurt. "After all these years, I'm touched that you came to me! It's almost as if you cared."

Lucard did not want to audibly agree. Instead he pushed Josef down onto the bed. Josef looked up at him with an insouciant smile that made him burn to gain the upper hand. He slid down Josef's body and mouthed his cock.

Josef squirmed upward beautifully, muttering curses. Lucard closed his eyes and tried to push Margo's farewell out of his mind. He could have given her the world. He could have given her immortality. And she had almost changed her mind; had she guessed what was in store...?

Josef's moan brought him back to the moment. "Alexander." The syllables sounded lush in his voice, and the intimacy of the first name suggested he was close.

Lucard pulled back before he could climax, admiring his handiwork. "Turn over," he said.

It was almost comical how quickly Josef scrambled to obey. Hands and knees, his long back arched in invitation.

"You must have lubricant," Lucard mused.

"Bedside table, top drawer." Josef sounded desperate. Quite gratifying, really.

Yes, Lucard thought: this is what I came here for. To be so wanted. And then, slicked and aching, he pressed his way inside.

"Move, damn you!" Josef gritted.

"If you insist." He felt unreasonably proud that his voice did not shake.

And then all he could feel was movement and friction, craving like bloodlust, the tightness in his body building toward release.

Lucard was fastening his tie when Josef reappeared, resplendent in a burgundy silk bathrobe which revealed his golden chest in the most tantalizing way.

"So," he said, "I'll expect to see you..." His voice trailed off. "Next time you kill off an old flame?"

Lucard graced him with a wry smile. "Most are long-gone, as you know."

Josef crossed to his humidor and withdrew a cigar, snipping off the end and lighting it with a tiny butane torch. "Too bad," he said, exhaling. The smoke was fragrant; Lucard would smell it on his clothes.

Lucard opened the sliding glass door. The sun would rise soon, gilding Josef's swimming pool and the ocean beyond it. It was time for him to fly home. He was about to step across the threshold when Josef spoke again.

"Don't stand on ceremony on my account."

Lucard looked back. Josef's mouth curled around the cigar in a manner that was little short of obscene. Subtlety, Lucard acknowledged to himself, had never been Josef's strong suit.

"You could always drop by just..." Josef shrugged. "For the fun of it."

"But I like these little rituals," Lucard said. "If we don't have ritual, what do we have in this world?"

Josef didn't respond, just puffed on his cigar and watched him go.

The End