Author's note: Thanks to Arianstar and Desolate Butterfly for reading early versions of the story and pointing out what needs fixing and improving.
Disclaimer: I'm merely borrowing Tony Foster and Henry Fitzroy from Tanya Huff. No infringement intended.
By Kate Red
Tony snapped awake. And it took him a moment to figure out where he was.
Glancing at the television, he realized the TV show he'd been watching had been replaced by two women who were enthusiastically hyping a three-in-one throw/blanket/wrap for 29.95. He grabbed the remote and put the TV on mute. The antique clock chimed six times: Sunrise was in thirty-eight minutes.
Still no Henry.
Throwing a nervous glance at the pewter sky outside the window, Tony bounded from the couch and reached for the phone. He called the vampire's cell. Again. After a couple of rings, the voicemail message came on. Again. Tony slammed the phone back on its base. Where could Henry be? His worry-addled brain responded with graphic images: Henry lying in a gutter, helpless. In a red velvet room, nibbling on the neck of a blonde bimbo. Staked to the ground, screaming at the rising sun. Up against a wall outside a hip club, enjoying the attentions of a lantern-jawed Roots model. Held down by two men and about to be beheaded.
Aaargh, fuck it.
He swiped the celebrity magazine from the coffee table on his way to his room. Kicked the door open, kicked the door close. Plopped face down on the bed and screamed his worry and frustration into his pillow. Tony tried to convince himself, Henry's a big boy, he can take care of himself. Not if he was captured by a mob who knew exactly how to immobilize a vampire, a tiny voice in his head responded.
Thoughts of death and mayhem had him standing up and pacing, frequently spearing the sky outside with a worried glance. Who could he call? It's not like there was a police hot line for missing vampires. Detective Sergeant Mike Cellucci? But he was in Toronto, opposite end of the country. Plus, the good sergeant only cared for one particular vampire. And it certainly wasn't Henry.
He toyed with the idea of going to Cellucci's former partner on the force for help. But Victory Nelson, newly turned Child of the Night, was as weak as a newborn kitten. She spent most of her time these days — and nights — sleeping in the condo's master bedroom. Henry explained it as her body's way of adjusting to the transformation.
Tony forced himself to stop pacing and sit down. He even managed to flip through the celebrity magazine he'd picked up in the living room. It took about 15 seconds before he felt the urge to send it flying across the room; he settled for turning the pages with a bit more force than necessary.
Tony's head jerked. He recognized the sound; it was the front door closing. He bounded from the bed, tossing the magazine toward the general direction of the night table. He missed, and the magazine slid to the floor, opening to a page that featured an up-and-coming young actor with his arms wrapped around a busty blonde. The lettering next to the photo identified the celebrity as Lee Nicholas. Tony's thoughts, however, were nowhere near actors, young and hot they may be. He sprinted toward the living room, afraid of what he would see.
The vampire was shrugging out of his light coat just inside the door when Tony skidded into a halt across the room. There was no sign Henry had been in a fight for his life. No sign he'd been hurt. In fact, the bastard son of Henry VIII looked as immaculately groomed and stylish as he did when he left the condo about 10 hours ago.
"Hey," a warm smile lit up Henry's face. "You're still up."
Tony nearly sagged against the wall with relief. Henry was fine. He wasn't hurt. He wasn't dying. Tony's eyes dropped to his hands and realized they were trembling. He clenched them into fists to try and still them. Then clenched them even tighter as fury surged within.
The smile slipped from the vampire's face as he noticed the flush in Tony's face. The blood sang to him and he took a step forward only to be stopped by the look in his young lover's eyes. Waves of anger and hurt hit him like a punch.
"Tony? What's wrong?"
Wrong? Everything was wrong. He wanted to lash out at Henry, punish him for the emotional roller coaster he'd just put him through, but Tony found himself unable to speak. So he fell back on that most eloquent physical expression of all — a shrug.
"S'nothing." He was going for casual, but the word came out stiffly.
"Look, it's nothing. Don't worry about it." With that, he turned around, fully intent on escaping to his room. But Henry called his name again and, this time, there was Power in it, a command he had to obey. Tony tried to wipe the emotions from his face before he turned back. Henry's words told him he was unsuccessful.
"Tell me. I'll take care of it."
Tony bit his lips before a hysterical laugh came out. He'll take care of it? Henry was it. Tony blew out a breath, trying to expel all the feelings churning inside.
"I'm fine, OK. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
With that, Tony crossed the room swiftly. But Henry was faster and Tony found his path blocked.
"Talk to me now."
"Tony ..." Henry cupped Tony's cheek as he searched the young man's face. The anger was gone. It was all hurt now. And Henry realized he preferred the fury. The pain in Tony's eyes made him want to rip somebody to shreds.
The gentleness in Henry's tone had Tony blinking to ease the sudden sting behind his eyes. In a voice that sounded like a whining child to his ears, Tony heard himself speak.
"Henry ... you forgot. I waited for you and ... you forgot."
Without waiting for a response, Tony spun around and ran out of the condo. He heard Henry call again, but this time he was able to tamp down his blood's instinctive response to the vampire's call.
He sprinted toward the stairs, taking the steps two at a time and jumping the last three steps of each floor to hasten his descent. Henry could easily follow if he wanted. But he couldn't think about that now. He just needed to get away.
So he ran.