Author's note: The movie Henry is watching is "Ashes and Diamonds," considered a classic in Polish cinema. I figured he'd be interested in it as it is set during World War II (It was mentioned in "Blood Trail" that Henry fought as a member of the Resistance).
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters. The talented Tanya Huff does.
Ashes and Diamonds
By Kate Red
Tony shuffled out to the living room, knuckling the sleep from his eyes. He had no idea his child-like actions reminded Henry just how young his lover was. Nineteen to his 450-plus.
"I guess I didn't tire you enough if you're still awake at this time of the night."
Tony flushed. He didn't want to tell Henry he woke up when he realized he was alone in bed. Henry wasn't much of a cuddler. The vampire didn't make a habit of lingering after he's finished feeding. But lately, he'd been waiting until Tony fell asleep before he slipped out of the bed and went to his own room.
"Come." Henry patted the space on the couch next to him.
Tony sank on the couch and saw Henry was watching a black-and-white movie. One with subtitles. Big surprise. Not.
"What aaaaaa—" a big yawn interrupted his question.
Henry picked up the remote from the coffee table and started to change the channel when Tony's fingers wrapped around his hand.
A red-gold eyebrow lifted. "Are you sure? You were yawning before you even began watching," Henry noted, but he put back the remote on the table.
They sat together quietly for a while, Henry absent-mindedly brushing his fingers lightly against Tony's neck, both engrossed in the mission of a young Polish soldier named Maciek to assassinate a government official. Halfway through the movie, Tony began fidgeting, trying to find a more comfortable position on the couch.
Henry patted the young man on the shoulder.
"Why don't you go on to bed? Go on." There was laughter in his voice. "I'll even tuck you in."
Tony's answer to the teasing was to elbow him lightly in the ribs. Then, he suddenly shifted to a lying position and then dropped his head on the vampire's lap.
Tony grinned at Henry's startled expression.
The vampire retaliated by bopping Tony's head with a throw pillow, then slipping it under the younger man's head.
"Good. Now, hush."
When the last scene on the screen faded to black, Henry looked down, careful not to jostle Tony as he fully expected him to be asleep. The eyes that stared back were very much alert.
"That didn't suck."
Henry's mouth twisted into a wry smile. "I'm sure Andrzej Wajda would appreciate your review."
"The film's director." Henry swept back a lock of Tony's hair. "I'm surprised you finished it. You don't usually like films that don't have lots of explosions."
"Hey!" Tony protested. He suddenly sat up, missing hitting Henry's chin by an inch. "i don't always watch action films."
"Of course not." The gleam in Henry's eyes said he wasn't done teasing. "You also enjoy ... what do they call them? Chick flicks?"
There's really no defense against the truth, so Tony gave Henry his most mature response: He stuck out his tongue.
Henry chuckled. "Go on now, go to sleep. You've school tomorrow."
"Not until the evening."
Tony reluctantly stood up, stretching before heading to the master bedroom. He paused at the door and turned back toward Henry, who was now fluffing the throw pillows on the couch. Tony shook his head. Sometimes, Henry does things that make Tony forget he is living with a vampire — who also happens to be the bastard son of Henry VIII.
"Movies are amazing, aren't they? For a couple of hours, you get entertainment, sometimes education, maybe even enlightenment. Must be nice to be able to do that."
Interpreting the look on Henry's face as surprise, Tony was embarrassed by his sudden eloquence. He mumbled a quick, "G'night," and all but ran inside his room.
He'd settled under covers when the door opened and he saw Henry's silhouette.
"Is that what you want to do?"
Tony shrugged, knowing Henry could see him very clearly, even in the darkness.
"I don't think Spielberg has to worry about me just yet. I still got to finish my GEDs," he said dryly.
Henry laughed quietly. Underneath the wise-ass response, he got his answer.
"Good night, Tony. I'll see you tomorrow evening."
"Good night, Henry."
Tony lay awake a while longer, thinking of movies and possibilities.
"Maybe a TV show for starters," he said to himself. Tony smiled as sleep finally claimed him.
Tony let himself into the condo the next evening, dropping the backpack full of books for his night classes next to the small table near the door. "Henry!" he bellowed. No one answered. Must be out on the Hunt, he thought.
He'd settled on the couch in front of the TV when he noticed the box on the coffee table. He was surprised to see his name written on an envelope placed on top of it. He immediately recognized Henry's handwriting; he'd teased the vampire numerous times about his ornate penmanship. With hands that had become slightly unsteady, he pulled the card from the envelope.
"I read somewhere Spielberg began with this.
He set the note aside, then carefully opened the box. Inside, he found a 12 mm cine camera.