• Chapter One
    He ran for all he was worth, blonde hair plastered against his head from sweat and wind, blue eyes filled with fear. He concentrated on one thing – escaping whoever was following him.
    Someone with black hair and eyes to match; and sharp fangs – yes. Fangs. The boy was being chased by someone with fangs. At first, because of this mysterious person’s demeanor, he’d thought he was seeing an angel. But he had been wrong, and now he was going to pay for it.
    Just as the blonde “damsel in distress”, as it were, rounded the corner into an alley that out darkened the nighttime streets of Birmingham, someone grabbed his arm. He stood frozen, trembling from head to toe as this person lowered the collar of the boy’s shirt. Something pierced the skin on his neck. He cried out….
    Nathaniel jolted awake in bed, panting heavily and covered in a cold sweat. His pillow was also soaked with sweat. The blonde boy looked around the room and caught his breath slowly upon realizing that there was no one in his bedroom. No one in the apartment, even.
    Nathan lived alone in a one bedroom apartment on South Avenue in Birmingham, England. It was quaintly decorated, simple beige walls and white carpet. The blonde was only seventeen, but had a job, went to school and got straight A’s, and still had time to go to church. Of course, being a devout Catholic, Nathan had to make the time.
    He’d been having these strange dreams for a while now – maybe a few months – each ending in him being chased and bitten by this mysterious person with black hair and eyes . He’d repented for these dreams many times, being as the church deacon thought that they were some sort of symbol of evil inside him, for which amends must be made immediately.
    Stephen, however, hadn’t been so sure. Stephen was the peculiar boy that lived in the church. Being that he didn’t have a job – or, rather, couldn’t get one, some people thought – he helped at the church in exchange for room and board. He never really said much, but when Nathan had brought up his dreams and said something to him, the black-haired boy had had plenty to say.
    “Sounds to me like you’re having vampire dreams.” he’d said with his trademark sly-and-all-knowing smirk. Nathan’s attention was captured. That was another thing about Stephen. He could always get your attention, whether or not you wanted to listen to him.
    “Vampire Dreams?” Nathan had echoed stupidly, blue eyes glazed over by whatever spells this handsome black-haired boy had cast.
    Stephen had nodded. “Yeah. They’re the kind of dreams a mortal starts having when a vampire is considering biting them. Sort of like a warning, you know?”

    It was no secret that Stephen knew everything there was to know about vampires, though apparently he tried to keep this fact a secret. He’d researched them a lot before he’d moved to the church was what he’d claimed, but some people thought differently.
    One of these people was Seth Andrews. He believed that Stephen was a real-life, bite you and suck your blood vampire.
    “No way!” had been Nathan’s original reaction to the ‘news’. “That’s not even possible, because vampires don’t exist.” The blonde had set his lower lip, crossed his arms over his chest, and held his head high.
    “Yes huh! And they do so exist! My friend’s cousin knew a guy, who knew this guy who’s nephew’s best friend’s mom’s cousin got bitten by a vampire.”

    As Nathan remembered these conversations, he realized how closely resembled the man in his dream and Stephen were. He quickly shook the thoughts out of his mind. Stephen was NOT a vampire. They didn’t even exist, so why was he debating this? Yet, as he went through his Sunday morning routine, he couldn’t help but wonder. Could it be possible?
    He ran a comb through his unruly blonde hair and sighed, deep blue eyes filled with concentration. He always liked to look has best on Sundays, but it wasn’t really for church.
    He shook the image of Stephen’s gentle smile and onyx eyes out of his head. He hated to admit it, but the boy was…well, he was beautiful. His lobe length black hair and soft grey-black eyes contrasted well with his pale, flawless and cold skin. He was tall – at least a head taller than Nathaniel – and a bit on the strong-yet-feminine side. He had an older brother, or so Nathan was told, but no one had ever met the boy, and apparently Stephen didn’t like to talk about him much.
    Nathan scrubbed his teeth and spit into the sink, looked into the mirror and smiled, then frowned. People always said that they envied his appearance, but to himself, he was just so plain. His medium-toned skin and blonde hair gave away his German ancestry – and so did his height. He was only about five foot-seven, while Stephen was about six feet. The only feature about himself he only remotely liked was his eyes. They were rather large, and a deep shade of blue.
    He stood up on his tiptoes, then huffed and settled back onto the balls of his feet.
    “Why do I have to be so short?” he sighed, muttering to himself. He quickly dressed in a white shirt with a red tie, blue jeans, and his nice black sneakers.
    Nathan hummed a song as he fixed his own breakfast, which consisted of…toast. Burnt toast. He sighed once again, silently wishing that his life could consist of a little bit of adventure every once in a while. He shoved his toast into his mouth, burning his tongue, and ran out the door, fingering the intricate cross that he wore around his neck.
    At church that day, Nathan stood along with everyone else as they sang their hymns. But as he looked around, he noticed that Stephen was standing in the back and staring at him with a blank look on his face. Nathan gave him a quizzical expression, and Stephen smiled kindly and apologetically, mouthing something about zoning out. But Nathaniel wasn’t paying attention to Stephen’s words.
    He was too preoccupied with the boy’s particularly sharp incisors.
    End of Chapter one.

    Chapter two

    “Hey Nathan.” A melancholy voice from behind the blonde cut into Nathan’s head. He was jerked in an almost immediate transition from thoughts to reality as he saw Stephen walking towards him. He forced a smile.
    “Hi,” his voice was weak and shaky. He cleared his throat and sighed. “I’m tired. How are you, Stephen?”
    The other boy shrugged. “Not tired.” He smiled, “we vampires don’t need our sleep.” His voice dripped with sarcasm. Stephen was no stranger to the rumors that Seth had started about him being a vampire, but for some reason, it didn’t bother him that everyone thought they were true.
    “Why do people think you’re a vampire?” Nathan sighed with agitation, “You live in a church and you love spaghetti and garlic bread. You can’t be a vampire, right?”
    Stephen shrugged with a smile. “Well, it’s possible, I suppose, but I don’t sleep in a coffin or anything. And I’m not afraid of garlic or crosses, so most likely…no. I’m not a vampire.”
    “Most likely?” Nathan swallowed, “What do you mean by that?”
    Stephen smirked. “Don’t worry. That’s my business, but…you’ll figure it out.”
    Nathaniel swallowed bile as he saw those fangs again. He felt sick. The blonde covered his mouth with his hand and shoved past Stephen to the bathroom. He heaved into the shiny white bowl as images filled his head of those sharp fangs sinking into his neck.
    The door to the bathroom opened, and a confused voice filled the room.
    “Nathan? Hey, are you alright? I was just kidding…” Stephen. Nathan sighed, flushing his breakfast down the toilet and stepping out of the stall with a sheepish grin.
    “I know…I’m just a bit…um…under the weather, I suppose.” Nathaniel replied. Stephen looked unconvinced.
    “Are you sure?” he asked, placing an icy hand on Nathan’s shoulder. The blonde shuddered, but nodded, knowing that any visible reaction to this touch would cause Stephen’s concern to deepen. Stephen smiled and released Nathan’s shoulder, turning to leave the bathroom.
    “Wait, Stephen!” The ravenette froze and turned, looking at Nathan with his onyx eyes. Nathan swallowed. “Do you know…how can you tell if someone’s a vampire?”
    Stephen looked at him evenly, seeming to hesitate. His gaze softened slightly at Nathan’s nervous expression.
    “Sometimes, Nathan, it’s hard to tell.” He turned and walked away.
    Late that night, as Nathan left the church, he considered what Stephen had said. How hard could it be to tell if someone was a vampire?
    “hmph. Maybe he just said that because he really doesn’t know.” Nathan determined, swinging his backpack by his feet. “Man, I wish it didn’t take so long for me to get home…” he heard a crash from behind him, a few grunts, and turned around in time to see Seth tackling Stephen to the ground and holding something in his hand – and this something was on fire!
    “Seth! What are you doing!? Get off of Stephen!” Nathan tackled Seth and grabbed the flaming object, -which he now realized was a sharp piece of wood – and threw it into a nearby puddle of water. Seth glared at him.
    “Do you know how much I paid for that!?” Seth yelled accusingly, “That’s the only way to kill a vampire! Now I have to –“ Nathan’s eyes widened and he cut Seth off.
    “You were actually trying to kill him?!” he asked, confused, “Why would you try to kill him!?”
    “Because he’s a blood-sucker!”
    Stephen’s voice cut into the argument, not quite yelling, but speaking very harshly. “Shut it, fleabag, you don’t know anything.”
    “What are you…” Nathan’s confused blue eyes pierced Stephen’s onyx ones.
    “Don’t listen to him!” Seth cut in. “He thinks that just because I hate vampires, that makes me a werewolf. He’s taken to calling me fleabag. Nathan, get out of here, before he decides to use one of us as a blood donor!”
    “I think you’ve said enough, Andrews. I could call the police right now and have you arrested for attempted murder.” Stephen glared daggers at Seth, a warning look. Seth glowered but ran off, obviously wanting to wait to continue his “great plan”.
    “What was he doing?” Nathan asked. Stephen’s gaze immediately softened when he looked at Nathan.
    “He was doing exactly like he said. He was trying to kill me.”
    “With a six inch flaming stick?!” Nathan’s eyes widened. “That thing was on fire! He could’ve –“
    “ - really hurt you, Nathan.” Stephen cut in. “I’m glad you stepped in, but he wouldn’t have regretted hurting you. Next time, let me handle it.”
    “N-next time?” Nathan swallowed nervously. “There’s going to be a next time?”
    Stephen sighed. “I’m assuming so, Nathan. Do you want me to walk you home? With Seth walking around, and what you just did, you’re not exactly safe on your own.” Nathan nodded. Stephen picked up Nathaniel’s backpack and slung it over his own shoulder. They walked in silence for a few moments before Nathan even dared to speak.
    “Stephen…will you answer a question for me?” he asked nervously.
    “Yes, Nathan.” Stephen sighed, “But right now, it’d be better if we didn’t talk about vampires, alright?”
    “But I want to know. Are you a vampire, Stephen?” Nathan’s gaze was so innocent and pleading. Stephen sighed, a slow, deliberate breath that said he really didn’t want to discuss the issue at hand. But he opened his mouth and began to speak.
    “Before I answer that question, you have to know my whole story, Nathaniel. And that could take a while.” He said.
    “We’ve got a mile until we get to my flat,” Nathan replied simply, “explain away.”
    Stephen sighed again. “I don’t know quite where anyone in my family is, except my brother, who lives in London. But we’re not British, which is why neither of us have an accent like yours. We’re both American.”
    “I always wondered…”
    “Once, when I was…heh, this is going to sound very strange to you, but when I was seventeen, I became…very ill. I was in the hospital for a very long time, and my family was fearing the worst. My brother…well…we were very close. He was my best friend and I was his. So when my family was informed that the doctors had done all they could for me… and that I probably wasn’t going to pull through, Isaac was devastated. He…well you should know my brother was…” he hesitated, “very…special…”
    “Meaning he was a vampire, right?” Nathaniel interrupted.
    “…Yes. Yes, my brother is a vampire. But…because we were so close, he was…hysterical. He didn’t want me to die – not only because he would be losing a little brother, but also because he would be losing a best friend. I was the only one in our family who knew that he was a vampire. And… so he explained to me that vampires live forever…I was scared of dying, but I was even more scared of becoming a vampire. I’d seen him turn one of his friends, and frankly, it wasn’t pretty. So I had previously made him promise that he would never turn me – I was too scared. But…when he saw me in so much pain…he just couldn’t leave it alone. So…he bit me and I turned into a vampire. So I froze at seventeen.”
    Nathan stared in awe. They had just reached his flat, and frankly, he was terrified. His dreams flashed through his mind once more. “So…you’ve been considering…you’re going to bite me?”
    Stephen sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “I’ve…considered it.” He muttered. “You’re blood seems to…attract me. But I thought I’d done a pretty good job at hiding it…”
    “what…do you mean you’re going to suck my blood?” Nathan asked, backing away from Stephen and running into his front door. He cringed and held his arms up defensively. “Please don’t hurt me…”
    Stephen put a hand on Nathan’s shoulder kindly. “Relax, Nathan. I would never hurt you.” Nathan’s expression lightened slightly.
    “R-really? You p-promise?”
    “Of course I wouldn’t hurt you. You’re my best friend.” Stephen smiled gently.
    Nathan looked him over. He seemed genuinely sincere in his promises most of the time, so Nathan decided to believe him.
    Which was his first mistake.