Hanael wasn't entirely sure what woke him. He spared a glance at the clock -- it was just going on towards 3am. The house was quiet, but a sleeping, content kind of quiet. Nothing seemed amiss.
Kash was sprawled on the far side of the bed, taking up almost half of it all to himself. His expression was relaxed, gentle in sleep, and the sound of his slow, steady breathing was soothing.
Khamuel was nowhere to be seen, but at this hour of the morning, that was hardly unusual. But then again... with all the changes their lives had been through lately... Hanael wasn't so sure about that.
When he'd actually given the matter some proper thought, it hadn't taken him long to come to the realisation that Kash must have anticipated this and had been prepared for it when he'd decided to make his move. Looking back, Kash's actions up until now -- that he could understand, at any rate -- told him that Kash had realised he wasn't going to give up Khamuel, and had thus decided that he could accept a threesome.
But Kash had at least had that choice. He'd considered it in advance, and then he'd made his move anyway. Khamuel, on the other hand... he'd had the situation thrust on him without warning. He'd handled it admirably, and Hanael wanted to hug the living daylights out of him for that. But that still didn't belie the fact that he hadn't made the choice on his own. And Hanael was worried about what he was really thinking, inside that complex little head of his.
When it came to relationship talking, when it came to love and romance and caring, Hanael knew full well that he himself was as likely to bury his head in the sand and try to avoid discussing it entirely. But he also knew exactly what kind of problems that caused.
Right from the start, he'd kept forcing himself to be more open with Khamuel than he felt comfortable being, and he knew that things had gone so well so far because of that. Which meant that he had to make sure to keep forcing himself... especially now, when things were so topsy-turvy.
He climbed out of bed, fumbling around on the floor until he found his pyjama pants, and pulled them on. Then he closed his eyes and focused on figuring out where exactly Khamuel was.
His ability to sense where his loved ones were wasn't anywhere as useful as Kash's -- he had to concentrate hard to make it work, for one, and it had an incredibly limited range, for another. But it was good enough that with a bit of effort he could tell whereabouts any of them were while they were in the house or the yard.
He ignored all the others, sleeping soundly, and focused on the presence he recognised as Khamuel's. He was downstairs, outside the front of the house.
Hanael slipped quietly out of the room and made his way down the stairs.
When he stepped out on to the porch, he found Khamuel lying on his back on the old loveseat, stretched out along one half of it, his legs hanging over the side, one foot swinging idly. His Nintendo DS was lying next to him, but it was switched off; his hands were pillowing his head, and he stared up at the ceiling, his thoughts obviously elsewhere.
Hanael closed the door quietly behind him, and simply stood there for a moment, watching Khamuel. He had no doubt that the vampire knew he was there, but Khamuel continued to stare upwards, paying him no attention whatsoever.
Hanael sighed softly, and at last Khamuel's head shifted, his gaze moving over to where Hanael stood.
"It's late for you to be up," he said.
Hanael moved across the porch, sitting himself down on the free half of the loveseat.
"Something woke me up." He smiled a little. "Maybe because you weren't there."
Khamuel's head craned upwards to look up at him. Hanael found it odd to be looking at him upside down, and wondered if he looked as odd to Khamuel.
"I'm never there at this hour," the vampire reasoned, and Hanael couldn't help but be both amused and yet somewhat disheartened by Khamuel cutting through his flight of fancy with his usual reasoning.
"That doesn't stop it from being.. lonely sometimes," he replied softly. Khamuel's eyes narrowed a little, and then he shrugged.
"Kash is there."
And Hanael wondered if they'd reached the core of the issue.
"Maybe so, but it's not the same," he said.
They stared at each other. Khamuel's expression was impossible to read from this angle.
"I thought one warm body would be as good as another," Khamuel said suddenly, his voice sour.
Hanael froze, his eyes wide, his earlier worries realised in that single sentence.
"Kham --" he started, not even sure what he was going to say, but Khamuel sat up suddenly, and Hanael was presented with a view of his back; a tangle of long white hair and not much else.
"No," he said, sounding tired now. "Just forget I even said that."
Hanael opened his mouth to say something. But then he closed it again, realising that he had no idea what to say.
Khamuel glanced over his shoulder at him, and the tangle of hair resolved itself into his face in profile, his deep red eyes almost black in the darkness, and his lips, usually so expressive, pressed tightly together; flat, devoid of character. And Hanael hated that that flatness, that tiredness, had been caused by him.
"I'm sorry," he said softly. He didn't know what more he could say, and he could hear his own voice trembling with the emotion he felt; with the strength of his regret for getting all of them into this situation. But he didn't know what else he could do.
Khamuel's expression seemed to soften then, and his lips quirked a little, some of the flatness leaving them.
"You're always too sorry for everything," he muttered, and then he climbed off the loveseat, moving over to the porch railing. He rested his arms atop it, and leaned against it, facing away from Hanael, again leaving him with no impression but that of his white hair cascading down his back.
Hanael sat forward in the loveseat, torn between wanting to get up and go to Khamuel, and not wanting to disturb him while he was being so contrary and prickly.
"I had a pretty good idea this was a likely eventuality, you know," Khamuel mused, and Hanael froze all over again. Khamuel, too? How had it been so apparent to both of them, but not to him?
"I seem to be the only one who didn't," he said in a small voice.
Khamuel half-turned so that he was leaning sideways against the railing, no longer blocking Hanael out. He smirked a little, his expression knowing.
"That's because sometimes you can be incredibly clueless when it comes to yourself," he stated. Hanael looked down at his hands, not sure how to respond to that. He knew sometimes he missed things about himself, but he didn't think he was completely blind.
"C'mon, Kash was trying to make moves on you the day I met him." Khamuel snorted.
"He was?" Hanael blinked, thinking back to that day. He remembered, then, how close Kash had been to him, how warm his arms around his shoulders had been, how throaty and beguiling his voice had seemed. At the time, Hanael had been caught up in his own confusion of conflicting emotions, but now that he thought about it...
He sighed. "You're right. He was." How could he not have noticed, even then?
Khamuel chuckled softly, his eyes sparkling even in the dimness. "He totally was." Then he looked away again.
"I hated him back then, I really did. All the things he could be for you... that I couldn't be..."
"Kham -- " Hanael wanted to protest that, refute it, but Khamuel held up his hand.
"Let me finish," he said sharply, and Hanael sighed, and nodded.
"I just wanted to get rid of him. I got caught up in me versus him. I even stopped considering you properly. But then... we came to that sort-of truce, and... funny, how you can change your opinion of someone so much."
Khamuel turned around further to face him fully, leaning his back against the railing now, shoving his hands in his pockets, but his gaze still wandered. One foot remained on the floor, the other folding up under him to balance against one of the rails, tapping against it quietly.
"I found that I could get along with him. Pretty well, even. And... that it wasn't so bad, to have another Walker around." He focused his gaze on Hanael properly at last, and Hanael met it. There was a lot he wanted to say already. But he also wanted Khamuel to have his say, just as he'd asked. So he kept quiet.
"All along I knew that he wanted you as badly as I do. And that he wouldn't give up, either." And then he smirked. "But I also realised that there's a lot more of you in him than even he realises. And that... makes him attractive to me, too."
Hanael stared at him, barely knowing what to make of that statement.
"I've been ready for this... for some time now." Khamuel's lips quirked, and then he looked away. "But... I've always been the selfish type. So... give me some time to get used to it, okay?" He continued to stare off to the side, as if something there had caught his attention, far more interesting than the conversation they were currently having.
Hanael wanted to cry for him and hug him all at once. He'd been so caught up in his own confusion and pain over the last few months that he'd diminished his understanding of what Khamuel -- and Kash -- had been going through. But this hadn't been an easy time for any of them.
And the more he thought about it, the more he realised that it must have been hardest of all for Khamuel. At least he himself could say that he'd had experience with being loved and loving in return, of relying on others and having them rely on him, even if it had been sparse. And Kash could say the same. But Khamuel, oldest of them all, had been alone all his life, whether he'd wanted it or not. Hanael had already changed his life so much just by becoming a part of it... and every time Khamuel might feel like he was getting used to the changes, something else came along to upset his balance all over again.
Hanael suddenly felt so overwhelmingly grateful for all the things Khamuel had accepted for his sake, all the changes Khamuel had allowed to occur just to stay with him, and all the ways that Khamuel himself had changed, as much for him as for anything. He knew he wasn't going to be able to hold back the tears this time.
He slid down off the loveseat, onto his knees on the porch, bringing them to an even height. Tears blurred his vision, but he could see at least that Khamuel was turning to face him again, and he reached out his arms silently, wanting nothing more than to hold him tight right now.
Khamuel's warm little body pressed itself up against him, arms wrapping around his bare back, and he wrapped his own arms around the vampire, clutching him tight, and buried his face in Khamuel's shoulder.
"I will never, ever give you up," Khamuel whispered in his ear, his voice fierce and possessive.
Hanael felt a smile cracking through his tears; Khamuel's possessiveness was infectious.
"As if I would ever let you," he whispered back, and Khamuel's grip tightened on him.
Hanael nuzzled against his neck, feeling yet again how much he adored Khamuel just as he was. He knew that the vampire hated his childlike body, but to Hanael, he was just right; he fit so perfectly in his arms, melded so perfectly against him, that Hanael felt that he'd been made just so, just for him. One warm body was not even remotely the same as another. He wondered if Khamuel understood that.
Sometimes, in the throes of passion, he blurted out an incoherent version of what he felt. But he doubted that Khamuel fully understood. Maybe now was the time to say it, now while he still felt able, now while they were both raw and open and letting slip things they might never normally say.
"You are perfect to me," he whispered, and Khamuel seemed to still in his arms. "More than perfect. I wouldn't change a single thing about you, even if I could... and that includes your size."
Khamuel pulled back, bringing them face to face, their noses bare inches apart, and stared at him. His expression was absolutely unreadable, but his eyes were big and dark and they trembled with emotion, even in the dimness. Hanael stared back at him, hoping that his expression reflected the adoration that he felt for this snarky, spitfire little vampire that he was lucky enough to call lover.
Khamuel stared at him for so long that Hanael started to worry; started to fear that he'd said the last thing that Khamuel wanted to hear. He opened his mouth, finding the words 'I'm sorry' rising unbidden to his lips, his answer to everything that he didn't know how to fix.
Then Khamuel was kissing him, hard and forceful and demanding, swallowing up his apology before it even had a chance to sound. He closed his eyes, submitting to the kiss, so strong and vibrant that it almost felt like Khamuel was trying to swallow him whole. And as Khamuel's fingers tangled in his hair, as Khamuel's body pressed itself up against his, he silently blessed the fleeting moment of courage that had given him a chance to say what he really felt.