Title: Tears of Solace
Author: Aijin
Warnings: vampires, angels, slash
Note: This is with the same characters as were in "Cinnamon". While it's not necessary to read them in any particular order, I view this as happening before the other.

The silent figure crept as close as he dared to the two before him. He slid down the wall to a sitting position, soundlessly lighting a cigarette.

Nicholas was near giddy as his nerves stood on end. He took off his glasses and wiped the lenses on the hem of his shirt, glancing tentatively at his love. "Matthew, are you absolutely sure?"

The bigger man faced his the other with a stony face. Nicholas had been questioning him nearly every five minutes on the dot. He sighed in annoyance. "Yes, yes -- I'm positive!" Nicholas flinched at Matthew's harsh tone. Matthew dropped his voice and continued softly. "Darling," he rested his hands on Nicholas', sensing the tension coursing within he smaller man. "You know as well as I that a little hunting is far from out of the question -- we're vampires, it's expected."

    "But we're on vacation! Besides, we haven't hunted for nearly a decade, it just seems wrong."

Matthew's face tightened dangerously. "What, Love, is wrong about us?" He spoke with a deadly venom, instantly eating away at Nicholas. "We can't change who we are any more than a mortal can will themselves otherwise! Do not begin to question our ways now just because you've been victim to one too many television evangelists!"

    "I'm... I'm sorry, Dearest, you know best." Nicholas said meekly, sarcasm gone from his voice.

The older vampire stood confused for a moment concerning his lover's tone. He sound so deflated and far away. Matthew growled lowly and turned from Nicholas.

Matthew had noticed, very recently, for only the passed couple decades or so, that Nicholas had seemed drawn to the mortals. Nicholas had taken an interest in them mere years after being turned, almost as if he had never been a mortal at all. But lately, he had taken  an almost loving interest in them. He became fascinated by their views of life and love, how everything was precious because their years were numbered. Nicholas had even taken a few mortal friends.

Yet -- what was so wrong with that?

Simply, vampires were not known to be kind toward the truly living. Scholars of all sorts back in Olde chalked it up to jealousy, Believers said it was because vampires were of a higher divinity, yet, vampires simply believed in the practice of sticking to your own kind.

Matthew looked down to the people passing to and fro on their nightly business. Mostly, they were men and women tucked in long coats, fighting the biting cold and hustling to some new sale. With Christmas nearly around the corner, so to speak, shoppers at all hours of the night scouring the shops for the best toys or prices had come to be expected.

Matthew sighed deeply. He turned once again to his lover and noticed a slight tremor running through the lithe frame. Gingerly, he captured the other in a chilly embrace. Nicholas did not make to pull away from Matthew nor did he embrace the other man.

    "Nicholas, darling, forgive my temper, will you? It runs on it's own accord, you realize."

    "Your temper and you drinking run hand in hand, Dearest; if I forgive the one must I forgive the other?" Nicholas pushed out of Matthew's hold to look sternly at his lover. "You seem all but possessed when you stumble and ramble, drunk on the wine of the acre and it is  a wonder I don't sport marks from your bouts of violence in your belligerent states."

Matthew was stunned that he wa accused of such. Nicholas had only thrice mentioned his partaking of liquor and never then had it seemed such an ordeal. Certainly Matthew had never struck him!

    "Nicholas --"

Nicholas sighed. "Matt, we need to cut out of this reverie. It's nice to relive times of the past but not like this, not when we argue. It's too painful."

Matthew was thrust suddenly forward in time, back to the present he shared with his Nick. He looked again to the people moving below and finally noticed them to be accompanied by loud cars. The people weren't in elegant, long coats with tails nor tall hats; they were dressed simply -- tennis shoes and jeans.

    "Nick... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to -- "

Nicholas held up a hand to stop the other. "Don't apologize, I'm at fault here too. Let's just drop this hunt and go home, Matt."

    "Have I ever -- Nick, you never said I hit you when I drink -- Nicholas, are you okay?" Matthew gently grabbed his lover's face, cupping the cool cheek and tilting Nicholas' head upward.

    "Matthew -- "

    "While all this is touching," a smooth, low voice cut into their moment. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you two to go back home."

Both vampires turned angrily to the source of interruption, flashing fangs in aggression.

The voice laughed. "I would only be afraid of those if I had blood," a slight man stepped from the dark shadows, flicking his cigarette to his feet. He grinned at the two, am arrogant smirk, running his hand through his dark hair. "Or perhaps if I were in dentistry."

Nicholas' eyes narrowed at the slur. "Hilarious, Bartholomew, same as always."

    "Please -- it's 'Bart' now, what with the current times and all, Nick."

    "It's still 'Nicholas' to you."

Bartholomew raised his hands in his defense. "Okay, okay, no cause for violence over a nick-name." He chuckled. "Glad to know you remember me, Nicholas."

    "Never forget a stench." Nicholas retorted.

Matthew looked from the newcomer to his love. "You know this one?" he asked lowly.

Nicholas nodded curtly. "Unfortunately, I do."

    "And the pleasure was all mine, I'm sure. Just who is your friend, Nicholas?"

Nicholas growled lowly as he wrapped his arms around his lover's waist. "This is my lover."

Bartholomew stepped close to Matthew, examining the vampire wit a critical eye. He let out a low whistle. "Not bad, Nicholas, not too bad at all." He smiled and stuck out his hand to Matthew. "I'm Bart."

Both Bartholomew's words and hand hung in the air with no reply. Rolling his eyes, he turned from the pair and took a few steps away before turning back. He leaned against the wall before speaking. "You vamps are all alike. 'Oh, Heaven forbid we act civilized toward a non-mortal. It's out of the question!' Hn." Bartholomew  spoke harshly, lighting up a cigarette and placing it to his lips as if to punctuate his sentence.

Matthew glared at the dark haired man, nearly freezing the air between them. Nicholas sneered.

    "You two make a lovely picture." Bartholomew held his hands up making the figure of a camera. "You capture the true essence of a vampire, nasty and cruel."

    "Go away, Bartholomew!" Nicholas nearly roared. He quickly regained his composure and pushed his glasses up his nose. "Just go away."

Matthew inhaled deeply and suddenly his eyes were alight with fire. "Angel!" h yelled, gripping Nicholas tighter. "You're one of them! Come to tell us we're not to hunt, have you? Is that it -- protecting your precious mortals?"

    "Matthew -- "

    "Yes, you foul scum of Hell, I have. You're ot to kill any tonight, not a one."

    "Don't talk to him like that." Nicholas warned.

Matthew snorted. "You're a Death Angel and yet you forbade us from killing -- from assisting you!"

Bartholomew approached the pair in a slow, calculated walk. He withdrew the cigarette from his mouth and blew the smoke downwards. Raising his face, he stood as tall as Matthew, ,and looked him in the eye. "Vampire," he said quietly, as one would speak when scorning a child. "I take lives when they are to be taken and only then. My handling of the soul is so cautious -- so painstakingly gentle -- so I can ensure that each spirit will make its transition."

Bartholomew moved closer to Matthew, his face mere inches from the other's. "Vampires are quite unlike Death Angels. Do you realize what happens to your victim's soul?" He paused for a moment.

    "Yes," Matthew hissed.

The Death Angel laughed outright, a bitter, sardonic laugh. "They don't merely die and go to Hell, Vampire. No, their fate isn't that kind."

    "Shut up, Bartholomew, shut up!" Nicholas eared at the dark haired man's flesh with his nails.

Bartholomew shrugged off Nicholas. His eyes twinkled with an eerie light, he was enjoying himself. "Matthew," his voice was a breathy whisper. "Matthew, your victims experience the most terrifying and beautifully painful departure you can imagine. It feels as if they're being ripped into tiny pieces, chewed, and viciously spat into the bowels of Hell -- many times over." He smiled as Matthew winced. "That's it, Vampire, imagine that agony, that glorious suffering all because of you."

    "No!" Nicholas shouted, his voice tight as the blood tears fell from his eyes.

    "Yes," Bartholomew glowed in their realizations. "But I'm sure the mortals don't mind suffering for the sins of the undead, you think?" He brushed his lips across Bartholomew's, taunting the vampire.

A low growl sounded in Matthew's chest. is eyes glazed with a golden hue. In a moment he had sprung on Bartholomew, tackling him to the ground. With strength beyond mortal limits, Matthew forced himself on the other. He held Bartholomew's head to the side, exposing his pale neck. With a feral cry, he sunk his fangs into that flesh.

And Vampire damned Angel.

The Death Angel cried out -- in pain, in pleasure, in humiliation.

Matthew continued to feed hungrily, greedily drinking the blood of the innocent.

In a sudden flurry of movement Matthew confusedly found himself thrown into the wall. "What...?"

Bartholomew looked to his savior with hooded eyes. He felt his soul cry out for the sinful touch of the Vampire. "Nicholas -- " his voice was husky with desire. " -- finish it. Please. Oh, God, please!"

    "Leave, Bartholomew. Any more and you'll not be an innocent any longer." Nicholas spoke with an voice that echoed of times gone by and wisdom gained.

    "He deserves to die!" Matthew shouted from where he sat against the wall.

    "No," Nicholas said softly. "No one deserves that except those that are already damned, Love, no one. Not even this Death Angel. Go on now, Bartholomew." Nicholas' eyes betrayed a deep sorrow, the depths of which Bartholomew cold tell were immeasurable.

    "I..." Nicholas shook his head.

    "Do not speak of this. I offer my apology yet I speak only for myself; know not every vampire out there is the same..." Nicholas allowed two blood tears to leave mournful tracks down his pale cheeks. "Leave us to our ways, Bartholomew." he whispered. "Please."

Bartholomew got up shakily, the exhilaration of Matthew's attack still strumming a deep chord within him. He nodded to Nicholas, dipping his head in a gesture of gratitude. He turned sharply on his heel and was gone.

    "Why'd you let him go?" Matthew demanded, getting to his feet and dusting his pants.

Nicholas turned to his lover slowly. He stared deeply into Matthew's eyes, seeking a soul yet finding naught. He sighed deeply. "What kind of cruel beasts are we, Love? We damn the innocent to a fate that should be ours alone."

Matthew's voice softened to comfort his lover. "We cannot change what we are, darling, no more than the Death Angel can give life." He guided his lover down to sit upon his lap.

Nicholas' shoulders slumped. "I wonder, sometimes, if my eternal suffering of unlife is a thing like their eternal suffering of death." He gripped his lover tightly. "My tears are all I can offer, Matthew, is it any solace?"

Matthew laid a gentle kiss atop Nicholas' hair. "Yours are tears of an angel fallen, darling, they are more than the souls of the damned would have ever received."

Nicholas' shoulder's shook as he allowed his blood to flow for his victims. In a sinful crucifixion of the soul he did not posses, he offered his lone comfort.

Matthew held his lover close. "You weep bitterly for those we've all killed, don't you? Not solely your crimes, Nicholas, but for the victims of all." His voice was quiet and deep. Nicholas offered no answer.

    "Ah, love, you are no vampire, so truly you must be an angel for no man nor beast would suffer so for the lives of others."

They sat, Vampire and Other, as hours drew on.  Matthew gently stroking the back of his smaller lover.

Nicholas at once stood. He looked to the darkened sky, as though seeking answers. "I can no longer offer my sorrow for those souls, Almighty -- my grief will never be mine own so long as I walk this Earth though I shall shed no more tears for the sakes of your innocents. I cannot change what I've been, but know, Omega, that as long as your children are taken I too, am taken from myself." He whispered the words, truly meaning every one.

With a slow glance down Nicholas met the eyes of his lover. Again, he sought naught -- but he understood. This was their death, their unlife. This was their eternal suffering in exchange for so many others.

Matthew stood, unbidden, and draped his arm around Nicholas' waist. He slowly led them inside the building, toward their apartment.

    "I'm no angel, Matthew." The bigger vampire stopped and looked at him curiously. Nicholas spoke with strength behind his voice. "I am but a vampire."

Matthew took Nicholas' hands in his own. He stared deeply into the other's eyes. "You are no angel, daring, but so true is your suffering. You are something rare, compassionate." He drew the smaller vampire into an embrace. "I love you, Nicholas."

A silent figure threw down his cigarette and crushed the tip. He turned on his heel, walking away from the scene before him. "You are Other, Nick. Thank you." A smile graced the Death Angel's lips before he was gone.

A little weird, I'm aware of that. I hope you understood my meaning, though if it was lost... well... that' my fault not so much yours. Please review and let me know what you think. I'm considering doing another piece about Bartholomew. ^_^ Lemme know if it'd have any readers, mm?

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