die Kunst der Verführung

At first, he thought the other boy was just shy. It had been a while since he saw another boy his age. He tried to sit next to him at meals and tried to strike up conversation, only to be met with a blank stare.

Sure it stung a little, but he was used to a pretty low level of popularity. If he hadn't been the leader's son, he'd have probably ended up the butt of all the jokes and maybe a favorite for torture practice. As it was, he had a pretty high level of protection that he was grateful for.

But he was very lonely. The only place he was allowed to get dirty was the kitchen, and he had to clean up right after he was done. Perhaps his dad wasn't the fatherly type. His mother was long gone. He didn't know whether she had died or whether the prospect of being stuck to two werewolves for the rest of her life had scared her away. Or, he supposed, it could have been his father's personality, werewolf or not.

The point was, he was very much alone. His father had little time to spend with him and even less patience for his weak ways. He learned very early on that he wasn't as tough or as brave as a normal werewolf. He also learned he had to be clean at all times, and the rooms had to be clean at all times—except the kitchen, of course, where he could finally relax.

He was a very nice boy. But that was the problem. He was supposed to be cold and mean. No one gave him an out just because he was a minor. No one ever had.

It was a bit of a let-down when the other boy wouldn't talk to him. It was also weird, because despite not wanting to talk, he sure liked to watch Gil a lot.

One morning, Gil was up early, and saw the other boy was as well. It was as good a time as any to try for a peace offering, he thought. He made the boy some pancakes, placing them in front of him a little nervously. The other boy licked his lips nervously and said, "Danke."

Suddenly, Gil felt like an idiot. Of course the boy didn't want to talk. He obviously didn't speak much English.

"You're welcome," he said softly. He received a shy smile.

"What's he like, Dad?" At the look on his dad's face, he cleared his throat. "I mean, Leader."

"His name is Ralph. It looks like 'Ralph', but I guarantee you it's pronounced 'Rafe'. He's from Germany and he speaks only the most rudimentary English. He's a strong one, and I don't think he has any family to return to. He'll serve us well."

"No, but what's he like?" Gil pressed.

"Beyond what I just mentioned, I could care less. He's not blood-thirsty yet, but he'll learn."

Gil nodded. "Thanks." He quietly shut the door behind him on his way out. He was startled when he ran into the other boy.

"My English is better than that," he said in a low, rumbling voice with a thick German accent.

"Would you like to see my room?" Gil asked.

He received a pleased nod.

Ralph made a face at the utter cleanliness of the room. It seemed more like a den than a bedroom that way, although there was a big bed on the side of the room. It was a pretty spacious room, and the bed was queen-sized. Ralph sat down on it with his back to the wall that lined the right side, a little scared when Gil yelled.

"No! No, you have to take your shoes off," Gil said frantically. He made a dive for Ralph's boots, unlacing them, sliding them off. Only when they were off the bed did he seem to calm. Ralph was giving him a weird look. "Well, you do," he insisted, kicking off his own before he sat up too, against Ralph and the headboard, back to the wall too.

"Hm, okay." He paused. "Gil? Give me Kissen."

"Excuse me?" Gil squeaked.

"Kissen." He rested a hand under his head, tilting his head and closing his eyes in a sign for sleep. "Kissen."

Gil looked a little weirded out now, so Ralph sighed and reached over him for a pillow, sitting it behind him. "Kissen," he said firmly.

"Oh. Oh, pillow."


"Mhm. I thought you meant..." He puckered his lips to show what he meant, then laughed a little.

"Ah, der Kuss. You are...mm, you know, Schwuler, ja?" he teased softly.



Gil raised an eyebrow. "Homo?" He wondered if that meant what he thought it meant.


"No," Gil said defensively.

"Mm. It's too bad." Ralph laid his head on Gil's shoulder.

Gil swallowed. "Well...maybe I am."

"Maybe," he repeated, still teasing. He pulled Gil a little closer by the waist. "Maybe so is Ralph."

Ralph was just so...interesting. Everything about him. The things he wanted for breakfast, the way he started to put on this little bloodthirsty act for Gil's father. The words he still had trouble with. After revealing their sexuality to each other, Gil and Ralph hadn't broached the subject again, though they'd kept glancing at each other with a certain sort of longing they pretended didn't exist, at least out loud.

Until one day when the two of them had just gotten back from a kill. They were still bloody and very exhausted. They had collapsed in the front room until the leader had shooed them off to the showers. They had been worked hard, but still had enough energy to steal peeks at each other.

Well, okay, it was just Gil stealing peeks at Ralph at first.

"Gil, I am nackt," Ralph protested, covering himself with a laugh.

"I know," Gil said. He looked away, but his eyes kept returning to Ralph's naked form. "Sorry, sorry. You're just so...you know."

"Sexy?" He grinned softly, a little unsure, hands still blocking his friend's view.

"Uh...yeah." Gil's cheeks pinked a little. "You really are, Ralph."

"Danke," Ralph breathed, biting his lip. "Uh...Gil?"


"You are nackt too. Aren't you...upset?"

"Upset? What, like nervous?" Gil looked down at his naked body and suddenly was. He giggled, shifting a little, but not covering himself up. "No, I'm not. We're friends. It's fine."

Ralph grinned. "Du flirtest," he laughed.

He bit his lip against a smile. "I am not. I'm...just...not nervous about it."

"You want me looking. You know you look pretty. A very big thing to hide in such little Unterwäsche."

Gil felt his knees grow weak. "Who's flirting now, Ralph?" he teased.

"Maybe I could share your Bett diese Nacht."

"Ralph!" He laughed at the very idea. "Just because we like to look at each other doesn't mean we need to jump into bed and mate!"

"No! We...uh...kuscheln."


"Uh, like hug."

"Oh, cuddle? You just want to cuddle?"


"Okay, that can be arranged."

Of course, it wasn't even a week later that their resolve broke and they ended up going pretty far. Gil was told he was "laut" in bed, even for a "Werwolf", and that the love bites Ralph had given him were called "der Knutschfleck."

He couldn't look his father in the eye at all the next day, but it was worth it for the soft, "Gute Nacht, miene Angel," he'd received.

He had replied clearly with, "Ralph? Ich liebe dich."

He had never seen Ralph smile that widely before.