They Say Only Thieves and Vampires Wander Around After Dark

For the shipping contest, my two own characters from the fantasy RPG of Skyrim.

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1. They Say Only Thieves and Vampires Wander Around After Dark...

Though ash had caked itself upon the stronghold windows, Count Elasaid Lefanu could tell the sun was setting. The faint, fresh scent of starlight was starting to mix with the heady varieties of blood within Miramerkhan, and the dim firelight within the ancient stronghold's tomb was no longer blinding. The black paws of Black Shuck twitched against the side of the vampire's casket as he lay spread across Elasaid's crossed legs, snoring through being used as his master's table. A loose buckle rattled in his grey palm as he worked, reinforcing the leather straps on the undead noble armour draped atop his sleeping death hound.

"Got here early then, that's good." The vampire jolted at the familiar voice, armour flung into his bare chest as Black Shuck scrabbled up out of his lap, barking and wagging his stump of a tail. "I know, I'm glad to see you too. Come on, down boy!"

Elasaid looked over as the thief in leather armour thunked down next to him in the casket, tugging back his hood and scratching behind Black Shuck's stubby ears. "Ellin didn't give you my message then." He purred, fangs snicking together as the thief's pulse rang in his ears.

"Oh she did, I just chose to ignore it as I think you're more important." The thief chuckled, slipping a pale hand into Elasaid's ash grey one.

"Did she tell you why today was dangerous for someone like you, Leoren?" Elasaid's slender fingers wove between the thief's delicate ones, wrapping around his hand and tightening.

"Yes and I don't care."

"What?"

"There's at least twenty different ways I'm in danger just in the Rift alone, what's one more? Besides, like I said, I think you're more important."

Leoren leaned across and kissed Elasaid's ash-grey cheek, his thumb stroking the back of the vampire's hand. The sound of his pulse was even more deafening to the vampire's pointed ears, and the ironish, fizzy scent of Breton blood was almost intoxicating. "There's thousands of other Bretons out there, Elasaid. You can always find another to replace me."

"Don't say that!" Elasaid drew closer to his thief, his cool and slender arm drawing Leoren against him. The vampire's soot grey hand cupped his cheek, thumb brushing the fawn freckles scampering across the Breton's cheeks. "I'll never find anyone quite like you."

"Well I admit there's no other Breton quite as handsome as me, so I'll give you that one." He chuckled, blowing a cheeky kiss at the vampire. "Sun's gone down, should be safe for a good few hours." Leoren got up, taking the vampire's hand and pulling him to his feet.

"We're heading out?"

"Of course."

"I-I can't though. It's the summoning day of-"

"The one you should distance yourself from. Don't think I haven't seen how you've managed to frighten yourself over the past few weeks. I'm not letting you hurt yourself for anyone or anything."

Leoren took the vampire into his arms, holding him to his chest and resting a hand on the back of his head. Loose waves of black hair tumbled through the Breton's pale fingers, shifting like water ripples as the grey-skinned vampire rested his head on his shoulder. "He can only enter Mundus if summoned in, like all the Princes. If you don't summon him, he can do you no harm." Leoren muttered as Elasaid settled into the crook of his neck.

"My Lord will be furious though."

"Let him. As long as you do not summon him, he can be as furious as he likes, but can do you no harm at all. I promise you this."

He leaned down to kiss Elasaid's forehead, mirroring how the vampire held him around his back. "Come on, let's get going. Got plenty of time if we head off now."

"I-I can't though."

"Of course you can, the sun's gone down. No risk now."

"But...what if I run into anyone?"

"Only thieves and vampires wander around after dark. You're one, I'm the other, so we'd be amongst our own kind. I'll even find a quiet spot for us."

"I...I don't think I can."

Leoren paused, biting his lip, a cheeky smile forming. "I won't force you, but I know someone who will."

Elasaid looked back at the thief, fangs pushing into his lower lip as the ironish smell of Breton blood became almost unbearable. "How?"

"Like this." He kissed the vampire's nose, letting go and leaning to scratch Black Shuck behind the ears. "You wanna go for a walk, puppy?" The thief chuckled as the death hound perked up, stumpy tail wagging and leaping up on its back legs. "Eh, wanna go for a walk?"

Leoren looked back up at Elasaid, a smug smile on his face lit by the golden glow of the vampire's eyes. "Did you have to do that?" Elasaid asked, folding his arms across his bare chest.

"Yes," the thief chuckled, "now you have no excuse."

Leoren draped his arm around the vampire's ash grey shoulders, pulling him close as he guided him out from the tomb. "I'll be right with you the whole way."

Though volcanic ash had stretched far enough to cake itself upon the shallow slopes of Miramerkhan, it had spread itself thin enough to allow frost-caked grass to poke through the cinders and be crunched underneath Black Shuck's paws. The death hound loped in circles around Elasaid and Leoren, clouds of breath tumbling from his fangs as he sniffed the frozen ground.

"You're not cold, are you?" The vampire leaned his head on Leoren's shoulder, taking in one shallow breath and letting it go in a frozen cloud. "You're doing that. Mortals do that when the air's cold."

"I grew up in Skyrim, this is nothing for me. Are you?"

"No, can't feel it anymore. It shines out here." He leaned closer into Leoren's side, breathing in the strong scent of Breton blood. "It's like everything is covered in diamonds."

Leoren reached down, taking the vampire's hand and drawing it up to hold his ash grey hand over his own heart. "Yeah...it's pretty when the frost sets in. If you go up further north, there's a good layer of snow that never fully melts, even in summer. If you like, I'll find an excuse to sneak you up there."

Elasaid smiled, looking across at the thief that held him. "That would be wonderful."

"Well when I get the chance, we'll take a trip to the hold of Winterhold. Bit empty and a long trek, but it's beautiful up on the glaciers after dark, and it's not full of assholes like Eastmarch. Trust me, nobody would mind if you went hunting in Windhelm or one of the Stormcloak camps that refuses to quit."

"You mean that?"

"If you want, go ask the young Miss Felaano. She got caught in Windhelm twice and saw the racism present there on both occasions, including being caught in it herself. She could probably give you a list of the worst offenders."

Leoren guided the vampire to sit next to him on a rocky outcropping, pulling him close as Black Shuck wandered nearby, sniffing the stone arch marking the border between Morrowind and Skyrim. "You glad I took you out here now?"

Elasaid leaned on Leoren's shoulder, thumb brushing the back of his hand. "Very...thank you, love. I forgot how beautiful the winter could be."

"When did you last get to see the winter?"

"About four hundred and fifty years ago."

Leoren rested his free hand on Elasaid's cheek, his thumb brushing the curve of his cheekbone. "Guess we've got a lot of lost time to make up together," he whispered, before pressing his lips to the vampire's.

It was only for a brief moment, but still a faint peach blush grew across Leoren's cheeks once they parted. "I love you, you know that. You make a wonderful partner," he whispered, stroking Elasaid's cheek.

The vampire went silent, almost paralysed. "You love me?"

"Of course I do, you're a wonderful partner. If I didn't love you, would I let you do this?" The thief pulled his hair and leather armour aside, exposing his pale neck with a smattering of healing bite wounds standing out in berry red. "Been a few days since you last got blood. Go on, I don't mind."

Elasaid lay his ash grey fingers on Leoren's neck, his pulse pressing against the pads of his fingertips. "But...what if I...you know, give you what I have?"

"I have cure disease potions on me at all times, just in case. There's nothing you could do that could infect me with vampirism."

Elasaid drew closer, his arms wrapping around the thief's waist. "I love you too, Leoren. For more reasons than you could ever imagine."

He leaned in and bit his neck, fangs sinking into an old wound as Leoren clung tight in return. "I thought vampire bites were supposed to be unbearable. Never felt a thing when you do it." He smiled, lifting the vampire up onto his lap. "I know nothing bad's ever gonna come from you against me, love."

Leoren's fingers wove into the vampire's soft hair, cupping the back of his head and caressing as the fangs hooked into his vein. "We've all got our pasts, all done things we regret, all made mistakes. That doesn't mean I don't love you though. Oblivion, I consider you the best partner I've ever had."

He paused, looking up as Black Shuck padded over to check up on his master, sniffing the thief's leather boot before loping off towards a clump of skinny birches. "You've cared, and I mean genuinely cared, Elasaid. That's why I love you. Well, one of the reasons at least. Would be too dangerous for me to list all the reasons why I love you. The sun would come up halfway through and shelter's a good distance away, even when running. Safer to just tell you one reason per night. At least...if you want to stay with me for that long."

The vampire's fangs retracted from Leoren's neck, his arms tightening around the thief's body as his lips brushed the fresh wound. "Please stay..." He whispered, claw-like nails digging into the soft leather of the thief's armour as he gripped tighter.

"Promise you'll stay too?"

"Gods bear witness, I promise to stay with you, Leoren Arcinox. I love you."

"Then I will, as I love you too, Elasaid Lefanu."

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