Characters: Quentin Kinley, Tyler Jordan Graham, Olivia Maheu
Word count: 3240
Notes: Vampire/werewolf AU some more. Worldbuilding!
Liv pulled as much research as they could find about the werewolf and vampire couples from history, going back almost 600 years. Neither faction wanted these rumors to spread and did what they could to suppress the information, but the witches kept their own records, and what those couples did when they did great things sent ripples through the entire night world. The vampires and werewolves called these couples traitors, abominations, pariahs; when they took power, it was almost always by force, earning grudging respect by challenging alphas and outmaneuvering elder vampires. The witches had a different name for them, though. The romantics called them soulmates; the history books called them catalysts.
Tyler Jordan and Quentin weren't unusual at all in being outcasts, as far as the history went. The last catalysts to make a change, the ones whose peace treaty lasted from 1893 to 1941, had been outcasts too: Margaret Abilene, the widowed mother of four young werewolves who were taken from her after her grief at losing her mate drove her to a suicide attempt, and Thomas Carpenter, the eccentric vampire who pulled her out of the Hudson River and couldn't keep himself from returning to her after that night, against all reason and rule imposed on them by others. Their story wasn't all to survive: Liv pulled some strings and got hold of the book of poems that Thomas had written over his sixty year association with Margaret. Most vampires stagnated creatively, the older they got; Tyler Jordan had already felt the urge to write music ebbing away from him before he'd met Quentin, but since they'd met it had surged again, as fresh and vital as it had been when he'd been alive. Those poems didn't come from undeath. They clearly sprang from a love as blooming and vernal as any pair of young lovers had.
"She lived sixty years after she'd been cast out," Quentin said, reading one of the last poems in the book, "and back then people reproduced young. She couldn't have been any older than I am when they met, but she only looked middle aged when she died. What's that about?"
"Magic, of course," Liv said, studying a photograph of Thomas and Margaret taken in 1937. Her dark hair was only lightly touched with grey. "One of the side effects of habitual feeding. Tyler Jordan's venom isn't just not poison to you, it's the opposite of poison."
"A panacea?" Tyler Jordan suggested.
"And Quentin's blood is literally giving you life. I don't know how long you could keep each other going... no catalyst in written history has died from natural causes. They all meet violent ends, one way or another."
"Sooner or later," Tyler Jordan said, and he put down the photograph he'd been looking at: the last catalysts the witches knew of, a sun-kissed boy and a pale girl who looked very, very young and very, very seventies, and who hadn't survived an entire year after coming together before they'd been hunted down and beheaded by the vampires of Los Angeles. Quentin frowned down at the picture.
"They didn't have help," he reminded Tyler Jordan. "We've got Liv on our side."
"You've got more than just me. You've got a whole coven of witches who want to see you ascend. There hasn't been a same-sex catalyst couple since the 1500s. They're actually hanging in the Louvre, they were painted by Michelangelo. Vanilla humans don't know it's a werewolf and a vampire. They think they're just minor nobility."
"Really?" Tyler Jordan arched his brows at Quentin. "I guess we've got good timing. Gay rights on the rise, and all that."
"Believe me, my queer-as-fuck coven is one hundred percent behind the two of you dragging the night world into the twenty-first century, finally. Witches are way more progressive than wolves, and..." They looked back down at the picture of Thomas and Margaret and set it down. "You're not the only gay wolf. Just the only one who's out. And you're not the only wolf mated outside of pack. Witches and wolves aren't deadly to each other, but it's still verboten, at least from the furry end of the equation."
"There's another gay wolf? Who is it?" Quentin asked, head tilted. "Do I know them?"
"You might. He's not from your old pack."
"Is the witch from your coven?"
"Yeah. He's--" Liv shook their head. "You can ask him about it when you meet him. You are planning on meeting the coven, right?"
"Yeah, as long as none of them is secretly trying to be the ones to kill us first..."
"That's not what witches do when it comes to the rest of the night world," Liv said. "Mostly we observe. Sometimes we help. But we're not the ones who think you're inherently wrong."
"I just didn't want to meet anyone while we still feel so vulnerable," Tyler Jordan said, nudging the photo of the catalysts from the seventies.
"You're not vulnerable. You're bound by your own principles. There's a difference. Either one of you is entirely capable of killing any of us witches if you got the jump on us. You just wouldn't do it." Liv took the picture away from him. "We're on your side. I, personally, plan on being the one to write the book about the two of you. I've already started it."
"Really? What does it say so far?" Quentin gave them a suspicious look, and Liv rolled their eyes.
"Oh, you know. Closeted wolf hooks up with flamboyant vamp and sparks fly."
"I'm not flamboyant," Tyler Jordan said. "I'm charismatic."
"I can't argue, I was totally closeted. Still don't think the pack knows, though. All they said was I smelled like death, not male death. I'm sure as hell not updating them on it."
"You've totally avoided all of them since that night?" Liv asked. Quentin nodded.
"I changed my phone number, deleted all my social media accounts. None of them has tried to email me. I haven't so much as driven through my mother's neighborhood since then. I stalk my brother's Facebook every couple of months but I never say anything to him."
"Good. Don't," Liv said. "Keep your head down until you can change at will. You'll catch them all off guard if they forced you out as an omega and you show back up as an alpha."
"I'm getting there," Quentin said. "The change hurts a lot less now. It used to take me five or six minutes to regain my senses afterwards. Now it's more like one or two."
"Barely," Tyler Jordan said. "Ninety seconds, last moon."
"You stayed up talking to me for fifteen minutes after I changed back last time," Quentin said. "You used to pass out as soon as the sun broke the horizon. You're gaining daytime."
"I know," Tyler Jordan said. "It's not a good thing. I miss sunrises so much, you don't even know. If I could just sit by a window... but the last thing I want to do is immolate myself now."
“That would be really stupid of you,” Liv said. “Quentin, don’t let him do that.”
“I’m not suicidal,” Tyler Jordan said, reaching for Quentin’s hand. “I have way too much to live for to waste it on a pretty sky. I’m in a dark room at least ten minutes before sunup, every day.”
“I take pictures of the sky for him,” Quentin said. “I know it’s not even close to the same thing, but it’s something.” He pulled Tyler Jordan’s hand up to kiss his knuckles. “Is that a thing that’s happened to other catalysts? Breaking the pull of the sun?”
“Well, I don’t know how literally to take these poems,” Liv said. They flicked through the book and stopped at a bookmarked page. “This one… if it’s not a metaphor… might indicate that Thomas actually went daywalking.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Tyler Jordan said, eyes wide. “That’s not even possible.”
“It’s a poem. There’s nothing to confirm it from an outside source, nothing in their correspondence to prove it’s anything other than just a poem.” Liv shrugged and handed the book to Tyler Jordan. “It looks like that was about halfway through their relationship. If it’s not just a metaphor… I wouldn’t even attempt it for at least a decade, maybe two.”
“Imagine if we could do that,” Quentin said in a hushed tone. “If we live that long. Watching the sun rise together.”
“I can’t imagine it or I’m going to cry, and vampires are ugly criers.”
“I can’t imagine you doing anything ugly.”
“You might reconsider when I have blood dripping out of my eyes,” Tyler Jordan said dryly, and he focused on the poem, humming quietly as he read it. “Shit. I don’t know how to take it. I mean, does he call her his sun anywhere else?”
“He calls her his moon. Which is just a cliche, really, but I know vampires have a hard time with novel thinking sometimes,” Liv said. Quentin snorted.
“Don’t call me your moon.”
“But you are, moon of my life.”
“Shut up, I never should have watched Game of Thrones with you. I can’t call you my sun and stars, that’s just too painfully incorrect.”
“You can call me anything you want to call me,” Tyler Jordan said. “As long as you call me yours.”
“Have you noticed any other changes?” Liv asked. “Anything substantive?”
“Well… I’ve been feeding on him every couple of days for a while now. And I don’t know if it’s adding up by minutes, or what, but every month adds about another hour to how long I stay warm from it. It’s about six and a half hours longer now than it was when we started.”
“You’re building up in each other’s systems. Have you been feeding from anyone else? You can’t be surviving on just him.”
“I go out two nights a week. I’m making do on about six pints a week, plus what I take from him, which isn’t even that much. I’ve never even taken a full pint from him at once, usually it’s just a few mouthfuls and we’re both reeling from it.”
“Do you really want the details?” Quentin asked, flushing slightly.
“I’m just going to assume you’re in bed every time you do it, but what does it feel like?”
“It’s like getting high,” Quentin said with a shrug. “I mean, I’ve never done hard drugs, there’s too many werewolves with addiction problems for me to ever fuck around with that. As weak-willed as I am, I’d go overboard immediately. But I imagine it’s what shooting up feels like. It hurts when his fangs cut me, but it’s absolute bliss right after that, for as long as his mouth is on me.”
“He’s like Madeira wine. Way stronger than you’d expect it to be. I kind of… lose touch with everything except him when I taste him.” Liv looked from Tyler Jordan to Quentin and back again, frowning slightly.
“Does this last after you stop biting him?”
“No, only while my fangs are in him. Afterwards… it’s a rush, still, but I’m not incapacitated.”
“And what about you?” Liv asked Quentin. “Only while the fangs are in?”
“I’m out of it for a little bit after that. Once the skin closes I feel good but not high.”
“Interesting,” Liv said, jotting a few things down in their notebook. “But you only do it when you’re safe, obviously.”
“I don’t ever feed in a crisis,” Tyler Jordan said, rolling his eyes. “And we haven’t been in a crisis yet, knock on wood. If we’re lucky, the inevitable crisis will happen after but not immediately after I bite him.”
“It’s something you’ll have to test, after a while,” Liv said. “Not right away. But you should try to decrease that vulnerability.”
“Do I tell you how to run your sex life?” Quentin asked, and Liv snorted.
“I try to stay out of vampires’ sex lives as much as I possibly can. I don’t need that combo of blood and sex and death anywhere near me.”
“Just the first two for me,” Tyler Jordan said.
“You’re a rare bird. In more than one way.”
“How soon do you think we’re going to need to challenge anyone, anyways?” Quentin asked, sounding a bit nervous. “It didn’t seem like Margaret and Thomas did much power-grabbing for a few years after they met.”
“The world’s changed a lot since the late 1800s,” Liv pointed out, “but I’m not trying to rush you into anything, just trying to prepare you for when you do get there. You may not have as much time as you’d like.”
“I’d like a couple of decades,” Quentin said. “Just to enjoy being with him without anyone trying to decapitate us.”
“Well, look at it this way,” Tyler Jordan said. “We’re going to have the rest of our lives.”
“Yeah, but I’d like them to be long lives.” Quentin leaned against Tyler Jordan and sighed. “You’re not even that much older than me in absolute terms.”
“I’m younger than you,” Tyler Jordan said, but he wrapped an arm around Quentin’s shoulders. “I’m twenty-four forever.”
“That’s why I said absolute terms,” Quentin said.
“You know, some witches have a theory about the catalysts and their relative ages, because they’re always within a decade of each other,” Liv said. “There are never more than two alive at any time, and they almost always die together. Some people believe it’s just the same two souls being reincarnated over and over until they finally get it right.”
“Well, that’s… depressing,” Quentin said. “Get what right?”
“I don’t know,” Liv said, shrugging. “I don’t subscribe to the theory myself. But that’s why some of the books call them soulmates instead of catalysts.”
“I think it’s romantic,” Tyler Jordan said. “But I would not call myself an old soul. No one has ever accused me of being wise.”
“You’re a wise-ass,” Quentin offered. “But if you were wise, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”
“Do you think you’re an old soul?” Tyler Jordan asked him. Quentin snorted.
“I don’t even know what that would entail. I don’t get deja vu or have weird dreams about past lives or anything.”
“Oh, shit,” Tyler Jordan said. He reached for the photographs again, studying the old black-and-white prints. “I didn’t even think about dreams. No, I totally have had dreams like that. I thought it was just brain static, but--”
“Vampires aren’t supposed to dream,” Liv cut in. “You’re effectively just dead while the sun is up.”
“Really? I never stopped dreaming after I was turned. But my dreams got a lot more vivid after I met Quentin.” He tapped one of the pictures. “Does the theory say that we’re always the same thing every time? Because I know I’ve seen Thomas’s face before.”
“Nothing says you’d have to be,” Liv said. “Really? You think you might have been Margaret?”
“Maybe, I don’t know. Do vampires really not dream? I never told anyone I did, but no one told me that I wasn’t supposed to.”
“How have you been a vampire for six years and you’re still so clueless about vampire facts?” Liv asked, writing a few more things in their notebook. “Your sire slacked off like crazy, apparently.”
“My sire kicked me to the curb after like two weeks when I refused to kill anyone,” Tyler Jordan said. “I’m not a well socialized child of the night. My squad of vegetarian vampires is just a bunch of eccentric misfits. And I’ve avoided most of them since I started getting weird looks when they smelled Quentin on me. If there’s a “Bloodsucking 101” course I didn’t get enrolled.”
“Please tell me you guys have friends besides me,” Liv said. “That’s sad. You’re going to get so codependent.”
“You’re a little late to warn us about that,” Quentin said dryly. “I have friends, okay. Not supernatural friends. People I hang out with and play videogames with.”
“And smoke weed with,” Tyler Jordan added. “You taste different when you’re high.”
“Yeah. You taste mellow,” Tyler Jordan laughed.
“You probably shouldn’t put yourself at a disadvantage like that,” Liv said. “But I should definitely introduce you to some of the coven if that’s what you like to do.”
“Do witches smoke magic weed? Color me intrigued.”
“You’re an idiot.” Liv shook their head.
“What? It’s a legitimate question!”
“You’re going to get along with Felix, I can tell. Let me know when you’re ready to meet the coven, I’ll make cupcakes or something and you can deal with all the questions everyone has for you.”
“I can’t eat cupcakes,” Tyler Jordan said, a little bit whiny.
“I’ll eat the cupcakes and then kiss you,” Quentin offered. “Secondhand cupcake taste is better than no cupcake taste.”
“And on that note, I think I’m going to go home,” Liv said, collecting the papers and books into a pile. “Look through my recipe book, I guess.”
“Make chocolate ones,” Tyler Jordan requested. “I miss chocolate.”
“Does that mean you want to be social?”
“Yeah, let’s do it this weekend. I mean, if that works,” Quentin said. “We have to get out of this bubble. I’m ready to meet some witches. And wizards?”
“We’re all witches,” Liv said. “Witch is not a gendered term. We’re all over the gender spectrum. Cool, I’ll get people together on Saturday night. You two try to remember how to be around people.”
“I’m not unsocialized,” Quentin said, a hint of a growl behind his words. Liv just smirked and shook their head at him. “Tell your stoner witch buddies to bring their magic weed.”
“Down, boy,” Tyler Jordan said, catching a finger in the collar of Quentin’s shirt. “Make friends without substance use.”
“Oh, this is going to be a party,” Liv said. “I’m definitely making someone else host it. The last thing I need is a stoned werewolf terrorizing my pets.”
“What the hell,” Quentin whined. “I get along fine with animals! Ed, tell her!” The cat looked over from the couch at the sound of his name and meowed curiously. “See? Ed vouches for me.”
“That’s because he’s part of your weird pack,” Liv said. “No, seriously. This will be fun. I’ll text you.” They stood up and slung their bag over their shoulder. “See you in a couple days, then.”
“See if you can find any more stuff about Margaret and Thomas,” Tyler Jordan requested, walking them to the door. “Especially about this daywalking thing.”
“It’s just a poem,” Liv said. “But I’ll look.”
“Thanks, Liv. You’re the best.”
“I know,” they said with a grin, and closed the door behind themselves.
“This is going to be a disaster,” Quentin said, and Tyler Jordan came over to wrap his arms around him.
“It won’t be a disaster. It’ll be fine. We’re minor celebrities. You’ll smoke witch weed and get all flowery about how we’re soulmates and it’ll be fine.” He kissed the top of Quentin’s head. “Really. It’ll be fine. Trust me.”
“I do,” Quentin said, turning his head up to kiss the edge of Tyler Jordan’s jaw.
“We have a couple days to work on our codependency issues,” Tyler Jordan added, and Quentin snorted.
“Hopefully we’ll have a few decades to work on those.”