Standard disclaimers apply…
This story is rated PG-13 for the usual reasons…adult themes.
Some friends and I were speculating that Josef probably never had a chance to develop a taste for several of our favorite foods during his mortal life…which seems a pity.
A Josef Fanfic
Lucky held the oversized mug up to her mouth and breathed in the aroma of the steaming coffee. "Oh, I so need this," she said.
Josef looked at her and raised one eyebrow quizzically. "The way you girls talk about coffee—it sounds almost like the way I feel about blood."
Lucky considered. "Warm, invigorating, smells great…I can see that. It is pretty necessary for our survival. Or at least our sanity."
"I have noticed that you all seem to stay fairly caffeinated." He snapped his fingers with a sudden crack. "Every time I drink from Faction, I'm up half the day."
"Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?"
Josef shrugged. "A bad thing if I let it bother me, a good thing if I can turn it to my advantage. Which, usually, I can."
Lucky smiled and laughed. "I sometimes wonder, Josef, if your sire realized just how much potential you had when she turned you."
"My sire," Josef replied, and Lucky thought he was smiling to himself more than to her, "saw what my sire wanted to see, and nothing beyond that."
"Well," Lucky said, "that was—cryptic." She took a long sip of hot coffee. As much as she loved to hear stories of Josef's past, she knew that teasing at him for information never worked. He would, as he always did, tell her what he chose. She suspected that the time since the last unguarded statement he'd made—to a human, anyway—could be measured in decades, if not centuries. "I simply cannot imagine life without coffee."
Josef gave her a sardonic look. "I'm not the one to ask about that, doll. You might want to hit up Mick on that score. As I understand, he used to practically live on the stuff before he was turned. I, on the other hand, never tasted it."
"What can I say? I never had chocolate, either. The other staple of the freshie diet, I sometimes think. The sad fact is that those items hadn't made it to my part of the world before I was turned. "
Lucky shook her head, mournfully. "That is a shame. But half of the amazing part of coffee is the smell—does it smell good to you?"
"It's not—unpleasant. Nothing so good as, say, you."
Simple words, but somehow from him, it gave her a shiver of delight. Maybe it was the look in his eye. Lucky laid her hand on Josef's arm. "You need to be careful, or people will start accusing you of being sweet. It'll ruin your reputation."
"Well, we don't want that. I trust you tell the others I'm forbidding and distant at all times?"
"Why, Josef, you know perfectly well I'm too terrified of you to tell the others anything, she said lightly.
The vampire gave a mock growl, frowning. "That's as it should be. You freshies are getting uppity with me lately."
"Uppity? What a thing to say, Josef." Lucky giggled as she offered him her wrist, but she was getting an idea.
When next she saw Josef, she walked up to him with a mischievous smile.
Josef looked puzzled, then caught her by the shoulders, inhaling the scent of her bare neck. "You smell—different," he said.
He nuzzled her neck again. "No, not bad. Just not—not like my Lucky."
She smiled and stretched her neck further. "Maybe you should take a little taste."
"Hmmm." He slipped her arms around her and she stood quiet in the embrace of the vampire. Even knowing what to expect, she gasped slightly at the touch of his lips, at the cool pressure of his tongue sliding over her skin. "The taste—" he murmured, "it's so familiar, and yet I can't place it."
"Delicious." He licked again, nibbling lightly, but not enough to break the skin. "But then, you're always a treat. What have you done?"
It was hard for her to speak; she was slipping into the euphoria she always felt near him. "I had a lover once—before I knew you. I always knew when he drank a lot of coffee. I could taste it in his skin. Coffee with cream, even though he drank it black. And I thought—I thought if I drank enough—maybe—"
"That I could taste it? The coffee?"
"Yes. I've been swilling espresso for days."
"Well, if you've gone to all this trouble, perhaps I should take a scientific approach to evaluating it."
"Your usual aesthetic approach would probably serve you just as well, Josef."
"And who says that a thorough, methodical survey would necessarily obviate the inherent aesthetic appreciation of your—efforts."
"Josef, you know when you use big words it turns me on."
He smiled. "What are you—some kind of closet sesquipedaliaphiliac?"
Lucky laughed. "There's nothing closet about it…and you made that up, you—you rampant neologizer."
Josef snickered. "Rampant is right. Now, do you want to continue this word game, or," he inhaled again, "let me sample this increasingly tantalizing aroma and see if it tastes as delectable as it smells?"
"By all means, please feel free to carry on with your experimentation."
"Let's see. If I were tasting, say, a new bottle of an aged single malt—"
"Aged? Excuse me."
"To perfection, my dear. Now be quiet. Where was I? Oh, yes…very fine single malt. First, I would test the bouquet…inhale it, analyze it." He breathed in. "It's not easy to separate your natural scent from the other components…but, ah, yes, I can tell something is added." Another breath. "The coffee aroma is distinctive…it combines well with you, Lucky. Now, the next step, another taste of your skin. Only your skin, right now." He set his lips to her neck, carefully. The touch of his tongue against her skin, as always, made her tremble with anticipation, and although the slight motion made his hunger flare from desire into need, he controlled it.
"How was the first taste, Josef?"
He lifted his head, and even that was an effort. His eyes had gone to silver ice, and he smiled at her. "Promising, very promising. I think I begin to see what you mean about—creamy."
"And next?" Lucky asked, a little breathlessly.
"And next, a sip."
She felt him inhale again, felt his mouth again, and this time his fangs pierced her. That sweet familiar pain spread through her veins like fire. Again exerting his considerable control, Josef took only a small mouthful of blood from the first surge, and swirled it carefully over his tongue, tasting, savoring. There was nothing, he thought, like the blood of a willing freshie. He supposed it had something to do with endorphins, he supposed a biochemist could spell it out in terms of hormones and chemical reactions, but really that didn't matter. What he knew, and had known almost all his long life, was that the blood of the willing filled him with a light that blood alone could not provide.
"What do you think?" Lucky whispered.
"Mmmm," the vampire responded, swallowing, "piquant, slightly spicy, but with a pleasing mellow smoothness."
"I'm gratified to hear it." Her eyes were closed, the punctures in her neck seeped slowly, the startling red against her pale skin inviting him to drink deeper. He set his mouth to her throat again, and began to pull in earnest, the blood, a strange mixture of familiar and new flavors, burning across his tongue to fill every sense, to slake every longing hunger.
For Lucky, as always, had it not been for the support of his arms around her, she would have fallen. As it was, her head drooped against his shoulder, and she gave herself over to the sensations his feeding evoked.
When he finished, when the flow of her blood had slowed, eased to a stop under the soft strokes of his tongue on her wounds, he stood for a moment still breathing in the strange rich scent from her skin. Finally he raised his head, licking the last traces of blood from his lips. "Coffee," he said. "Hmmm."
Josef made no other comment, but walking into the kitchen the next day, Lucky found a gleaming new espresso machine.