Ugh...I needed to get into another fandom like I needed a hole in my head (that was NOT a Lincoln joke!) Lol, anyway, here I am delving into a new fandom! This was for a prompt on the AL:VH kinkmeme and it has been pestering me for nearly two weeks now O.o I'm going mainly book-verse for the setting but I'm totally stealing that bathtub from Henry's house in the movie. That thing was awesome! Hope you all like it! :D
Disclaimer: I own nothing =/
It was well after midnight by the time Abe finally arrived back at the cabin, his feet dragging with heavy, leaden steps across the ice encrusted ground. Henry was downstairs, absently flipping through the pages of a very weathered, yellowing copy of Virgil's Inferno that had been read at least one hundred times over. He had just been making a mental note to peruse the shelves of a book store the next time he ventured into town when he heard the approaching footsteps of the young hunter outside. Turning the top corner of one of the pages, he set the book down on the table and got to his feet, walking over to the stairs that led to the upper floor of the cabin.
Abe had just come through the front door by the time Henry reached the top of the stairs, his appearance as bedraggled and miserable as a dog that had just come out of a storm. His long coat was damp and heavy from the constant spattering of rain that had accompanied him the entire way home and his hair hung in dark, curling tendrils that stuck to the back of his neck. There was a bruise forming along one side of his jaw and another, mostly hidden by the shadow of his hat, disappearing upward across the side of his head.
His axe hung from his left hand limply, the tip of the blade very nearly dragging the floor as he stepped into the cabin. This level of carelessness caused Henry to frown; Abe treated his weapons as an extension of himself and took great care to preserve their quality. It was unusual, then, to see him dragging the blade along the ground beside him, mindful enough of the floor but disregarding the preservation of the weapon itself. He noticed the way Abe's right arm was pressed to his side protective, limiting its movement with each step and keeping it tucked firmly against his ribs as he took another step into the house. Henry frowned again.
"You're injured," he said simply, giving the younger man a critical look as he walked further into the cabin. Well, trudged would be a more appropriate term.
Abe shrugged his good shoulder and shook his head. "It's nothing, I just wrenched my arm during the fight."
"Your movements are slow and stiff," Henry continued, unconsciously sniffing the air for any scent of blood that was not vampire and very human. He didn't smell anything other than the damp wool of Abe's coat and the earthy scent of mud on the bottom of his boots.
Abe laughed humorlessly, tiredly, and glanced back toward the door. "I just walked back two miles in the rain and sleet, Henry; forgive me if I'm not as quick on my feet as I usually am."
Henry nodded his assent, remembering the effect cold and rain could have on the human body. It had been many years since he'd experienced such sensations but he also remembered how debilitating they could be. "Come downstairs where its warmer and you can change out of that sodden coat."
Abe didn't need anymore invitation and gladly followed Henry out of the empty cabin and down into the underground portion of the house. The downstairs level was indeed significantly warmer than the drafty cabin above, the insulation of hard packed earth keeping the room warm and comfortable. The sudden change from cold to warm caused Abe to shiver, a movement which jostled his injured shoulder and made him wince.
Henry noticed the tightening of his jaw, the lines of pain around his eyes, and led him over to the wooden table taking up most of the space between the living room and the kitchen. Abe propped his axe against the wall and dropped his hat onto the table before sinking down into the nearest chair, biting back another grimace as his hand bumped against the edge of the table and sent a shockwave of pain shooting up to his shoulder. Henry's hand was on him then, steady and reassuring, and it seemed to lessen the pain a bit.
"Let me see your arm," the vampire requested softly, waiting patiently for Abe's permission to move any further. The younger man nodded and attempted to remove the heavy, wet layer of his coat but halted almost immediately when his shoulder protested. Henry saw this hesitation and offered assistance, carefully coaxing the sleeve of Abe's coat away from his injured shoulder and down his arm, freeing his hand with a very small tug at the end. The other sleeve came away easily, slipping off without as much resistance as the other side. Henry took the care to drape the coat over the back of the chair so it would dry properly before turning his attention back to the hunter.
Abe's shirt was the last layer of interference, the cotton completely soaked from the coat and clinging to his chest and arms like a second skin. It took a bit more work to remove the shirt seeing as Abe could barely lift his arm more than a couple inches before it began to ache in objection but between his and Henry's combined efforts, the shirt finally met the same fate as the coat and Abe was left stripped to the waist.
Henry dropped into the chair beside him and reached out, carefully palpating the injured limb with gentle fingers. Abe closed his eyes, jaw clenched tightly because right now even gentle hurt, but sat still as Henry examined his arm. There were four, distinct, finger-shaped bruises beginning to form on his forearm along with a matching thumb on the inside of his wrist. The joint of his shoulder was stiff and a bit swollen, purpling slightly near the socket, but there didn't appear to be anything broken or damaged beyond repair so Henry felt relieved at the prognosis. He knew all too well what vampire strength had the ability to do to the human body and a bit of a strain was nothing that couldn't be fixed in a few days. "I think you'll be fine. There doesn't appear to be any significant damage. Let it heal for a few days and it should repair itself."
Abe nodded drowsily and slumped back into the chair a bit when Henry released his arm. He was dimly aware of the vampire rising from the table and disappearing into the kitchen but he had little mind to follow his movements from there. The truth was, he was utterly exhausted and wanted nothing more than to curl into bed and sleep for about three days. The hunt should have been an easy one, a single vampire that would quickly meet the pass of his blade. It wasn't simple though and he wasn't alone. The banker had decided to host an after hours meeting that included two other associates of the vampire nature. Where Abe had gone in expecting one vampire, he'd gotten three.
The element of surprise had been the only thing that took down the first one, his head tumbling to the floor and showering the floorboards with thick, black blood before he ever had a chance to turn around. The other two were prepared though and leapt at him with crazed fury. One had hit him in the face, catching him in the side of the jaw and sending him tumbling to the ground in the puddle of black blood he's created a few seconds before. Hunter's instinct prepared him though and he fell with his blade facing away from him, landing on his back and thrusting the axe upward just as the vampire descended on top of him. It broke through his ribs with a terrible crunch and found his heart, a gurgle of black blood bubbling up from his throat and staining his teeth. Abe pushed him off and was getting to his feet when the last vampire grabbed him by the arm, jerking him off the floor and tossing him high into the air. Abe's back connected with the ceiling and he fell, landing on the table with thud that seemed impossibly loud in his own ears.
His right arm was injured, he knew that much, and was relieved enough to find it hadn't been ripped off completely. He couldn't move it though, not without inciting a large amount of pain, but the fight wasn't over. He had about a split second to change hands before the vampire was on him again, sharp teeth gnashing and gleaming. Abe wasn't that coordinated with his left hand, not as much as he was with his right anyway, so it took a second to find the right grip and bring the blade down on the back of the vampire's head. The vampire sagged a bit, one hand scrambling along the back of its skull in an attempt to dislodge the axe, but one more push sank it in deeper and it stopped moving all together, dying in a heavy heap on top of the hunter's chest.
Abe lay there breathlessly for several minutes, surrounded by the bodies of the former bakers. The air was heavy with the scent of their blood, toxic and sharp like the smell of rust and iron. Abe was covered in it, his hands, his coat, his face were sticky with the smears and droplets of the foul, black substance. He struggled into a sitting position, pushing the dead vampire off of him and sliding off the table. His right arm ached and throbbed with each heartbeat and it was nearly impossible to lift it more than a few inches away from his side. He kept the axe clutched in his left hand, ready to swing again at any moment if the threat arose, and took one more look around the room before making his way to the door. It had begun raining while he was inside, the cold November air spiked with rain and sleet that stung his face as he stepped out onto the street. Everything looked cold and grey in the damp, frigid shade of night. Now all he had to do was walk the two miles back to the cabin…
Abe started a bit and looked up to see Henry hovering near his elbow, offering him a mug of something hot and steaming. He blinked a few times, feeling foolish for having fallen into a state of half-sleep while still sitting at the kitchen table. He took the mug Henry offered to him with his left hand and mumbled a weary apology.
Henry just gave him a small smile and shook his head. "Don't apologize for something you have no control over. You're tired and you're injured, it's understandable that you would be feeling the pulls of sleep in a moment of quiet." Henry nodded down to the mug like an invitation. "Drink that, it will help."
Abe took the explanation without complaint and lifted the mug carefully, taking a small sip of the hot drink inside. He coughed and nearly choked as it burned all the way down his throat. "This tastes like it's mostly whisky," he coughed, swallowing reflexively out of surprise.
The vampire smiled again and walked back toward the kitchen. "It mostly is."
Abe sat in comfortable silence then, listening as Henry busied himself with something in the kitchen that he didn't really have the mind or energy to follow at the moment. Occasionally Henry would disappear from the kitchen into one of the back parts of the house but where he was going, Abe had no idea. The hunter's gaze drifted around the room carefully, eyes coming to rest on one of the flickering oil lamps sitting on the table. It was surprising to him how easily he'd become accustomed to living in Henry's underground world, how normal it seemed to retire from world above at night and climb down the stairs into the cozy home beneath. True, his hatred of vampires had not decreased in the least over the past few months but he found a friend in Henry, a confidant and a companion he trusted more than he thought possible. Henry gave him pause in his unrelenting, all consuming hatred. He told him to judge them not equally and it was because of Henry alone that Abe didn't.
A cool hand brushed against his uninjured shoulder, pulling him from his reverie once more. Abe blinked again, entirely frustrated with himself for drifting off again. Henry didn't seem bothered by it though; in fact, he seemed a bit amused at the sight of his hunter continually drifting off at the kitchen table with his head cradled in one hand. "Come along, Abraham. Let's get you out of those wet clothes."
Abe knocked back the remaining contents of the mug, wincing a bit at the burn, and allowed Henry to help him up from the table and lead him away from the living room. He half-expected to be led to the bedroom to change into a set of dry clothing but was somewhat surprised when Henry ushered him away from the bedroom and toward the bathroom instead. Henry must have noticed the look of confusion that crossed his face because he offered an explanation in response. "Sending you to bed cold will do nothing to benefit your current condition. In fact, it will only increase the chance of you catching your death. Also, you're filthy and I refuse to allow you into the bed until you've cleaned yourself."
The younger man vaguely considered protesting but knew it would be a losing battle. Henry could be remarkably persistent when he wanted to be and Abe simply didn't have the energy to argue right now. He stayed silent and allowed Henry to lead him into the bathroom, barely maintaining the strength to lift his feet as he walked. The metal tub had been filled halfway with hot water, which explained Henry's trips between the kitchen and the back of the house, and the room was warm and comfortable with the effect of the rising steam.
Abe turned, expecting to see Henry stepping out the door and leaving him his privacy but the other was standing resolutely behind him. "You don't have to stay in here," Abe commented softly, the words coming out as a mumbled mess thanks to his fatigue.
Henry smiled faintly. "On the contrary, I'm afraid I do. I've plucked you once from the watery perils of drowning and I'd rather save myself the trouble of letting you fall asleep in here and let your head slip under the water."
Abe wanted to protest and insist he could bathe himself without Henry's supervision but that would take entirely too much effort from the completely tapped well of energy he had left. So instead he just shrugged and went about undressing, taking off the remainder of his clothes with what seemed like far too much effort in his own mind. Henry seemed to have no problem with Abe's current state of undress even if the younger man felt the tingle of a flush creep up his neck and color his cheeks. He shouldn't have been embarrassed, it certainly wasn't the first time Henry had ever seen him naked, but the level of vulnerability he felt from both his injury and his exhaustion put him in an overly sensitive state. He hated feeling vulnerable and at the mercy of others, he'd hated that feeling ever since his mother had died, and now was no different. He knew Henry would never take advantage of him, he always waited for Abe's permission to do anything, but it was still uncomfortable to be in such an exposed position, literally.
Divested of the remainder of his clothing, Abe stepped into the tub and sank down into the warm water. The sigh of pleasure that escaped his lips was nearly obscene and he would have been embarrassed about it if he'd had the energy to care. He leaned back against the back of the tub, closing his eyes and relaxing as the water lapped against his skin and wrapped him in a warm embrace. His thoughts were drifting, body relaxing into the water, and he realized rather belatedly that Henry had been right; he was about two deep breaths away from falling asleep in the tub and he was pretty sure he wouldn't have the energy to pull himself back up if he went under now.
A gentle hand touched his shoulder and Abe blinked his eyes open to see Henry handing him a bar of soap. He sat up and reached for it with his right hand before his sleep-addled mind had caught up with the action. A sharp jolt of pain shot up his arm and caused his shoulder to throb angrily and he couldn't quite hide the grimace that contorted his features.
Henry noticed this and frowned for a moment, sitting in contemplative silence before coming up with a practical solution. He settled on the most obvious one and dropped to a kneel next to the tub. "Lean back," he instructed softly, waiting patiently for Abe to follow his directions before he began. Once the younger man was leaned back against the edge of the tub once more, he dipped the soap into the water and began to carefully glide it over his skin in long, slow motions. Abe looked like he wanted to protest or at least insist that he could do it himself but the lines of fatigue that crossed his face indicated he was in no position to argue at the moment so he remained silent and allowed Henry to continue with his work.
Henry carefully worked the soap over the length of Abe's arms, mindful of his injured shoulder, and washed it away with warm sweeps of water that swirled into tiny bubbles on the surface of the tub. He washed his hands gently, taking special care to rinse away the dried, black blood beneath Abe's fingernails and in the creases of his palms. The soap glided across the smooth muscles of his chest and torso, the heat of the water warming the chilled skin beneath his hands. Abe's head was tipped back, his eyes closed, and judging from the slow, even rhythm of his breathing, he was very nearly asleep.
Henry's hand dipped a bit further into the water, traveling over the planes of Abe's stomach and brushing just past the line of his hips. The younger man stiffened a bit, eyes opening slightly and suddenly very much aware of the location of his mentor's hand. His body reacted before he did and he could feel himself harden as Henry's hand continued to rub slow, smooth circles across his lower abdomen. His hips rolled a bit, back arching just slightly against the back of the tub and he heard Henry chuckle next to his ear.
"There will be plenty of time for that when you're better rested," he assured softly, pressing a light kiss to the younger man's temple before moving his hand back above the surface of the water and setting the soap to the side. Abe made some kind of noise of protest in the back of his throat, somewhere between a groan and a sigh, but seemed to relent to Henry's logic. He was so exhausted at the moment he was pretty sure he'd fall asleep in the middle of anything they did so it was better to wait until the veil of sleep had left his mind.
"Tilt your head back," Henry's voice was soft and close, hovering just next to Abe's ear, and the younger man felt a shiver ripple through his body at the words. Henry's voice had always had that effect on him in one way or another but it was different when he was this close. Abe complied immediately and let his head drop back against the edge of the tub.
Long, slender fingers guided water through the damp tendrils of his hair, working the tangles loose and caressing his scalp gently with each pass. Abe was pretty sure humans couldn't purr but he was about to see if that theory held true. Each pass of Henry's hand washed away the cold dampness that had plagued him the entire walk home and replaced it with tender, gentle warmth. Henry continued to card his fingers through Abe's dark hair long after he deemed it clean, smiling a bit at the look of absolute peace on the younger man's face. He hadn't seen him look this relaxed since they met and he was hesitant to break the peace now but he knew sitting in the tub any longer would be counterproductive to everything they'd just accomplished.
Eventually all traces of the hunt and the rain and sleet were washed away and Abe was considered clean enough to get out of the tub. It took a moment for him to regain his bearings when Henry gently shook him awake and even longer for him to finally get to his feet and step out of the tub. His body was stiff and uncooperative now that it was back to standing and he was a bit wobbly as he tried to step into the pair of pants Henry handed him. The vampire stood to the side, silent and patient, ready to help if needed but allowing Abe the dignity to get dressed on his own. Once the younger man was sufficiently clothed, Henry placed a gentle hand in the small of his back and led him out of the bathroom and down the hall to the bedroom. He'd take care of the tub later.
Abe all but collapsed onto the bed the minute he got close enough, long limbs sprawling out across the mattress in disarray. Henry smiled a bit and nudged one of his legs over, moving it further onto the mattress so that he foot wasn't hanging off the side of the bed. Abe reached out with his uninjured arm and caught Henry's arm, tugging it until the vampire was forced to comply and settle on the bed next to him. Not that he hadn't intended to end up in that position eventually but he was more concerned with getting all of Abe on the bed first.
The hunter turned into him then, curling against his chest and stomach like it was a natural fit. It seemed somewhat remarkable to him that in the beginning to their friendship, Abe had wanted almost nothing to do with Henry or anything he stood for. Henry was a vampire, the very representation of everything the hated and vowed to spend his life destroying and to be rescued and taken into the home of such a creature was almost more than he could bear. But as time wore on he found himself drawn to the quiet, intelligent, tragically beautiful man who had been alive for over two hundred years and seen more of this country than Abe ever thought possible. He found solace in Henry's home, comfort in his arms, and a peace he hadn't known since his mother died. Abe wasn't sure he wanted to let any of that go now that he'd found it again after so long. Now, in the darkness of the room with Henry's body pressed close to his, he felt home for the first time in almost ten years.
Henry wrapped his arms around him, careful of his injured shoulder, and held him close. Abe was easily a foot longer than him on the bed, his long legs taking up the majority of the mattress, but he seemed so incredibly small in Henry's arms. He sometimes forgot that even though he'd been training him to be a ruthless killer, a destroyer of the evil that plagued this nation, Abe was still so young. He was little older than a boy, a young man just on the threshold of life and greatness, and he had experienced far too much misery in his young life to ever have a mundane existence. Henry knew his fate though, knew the great things he was destined to accomplish and it gave him hope that the misery he had suffered was not to be in vain.
Abe reached out carefully, capturing one of Henry's hands and bringing it to his face, placing a very soft, feather-light kiss to the palm of his hand and the inside of his wrist. His eyes were closed, breathing soft and even, and he was nearly asleep again. Henry smiled and leaned down, pressing the line of his jaw and corner of his mouth with gentle kisses before tucking the younger man's head beneath his chin and holding him close. "Sleep, Abraham," he said softly, his voice little more than a whisper in the stillness of the room. Abe didn't need anymore invitation and gladly closed his eyes, drifting into the warm tugs of sleep while wrapped in the tender embrace of Henry.
Hope you all liked it! :D