Special deliverika!

Lavender Heights 
Rika received nothing in response. It was terrifying in a different way, like she'd been locked out of his favor somehow.

She took the glass and pressed her lips to each other after drinking a sip, wondering if he was about to tell her he was done with her or something. Permanently.

Why was this the outcome of it at all? It had been something he'd said and she only wanted the space to handle it without making it a thing, but just the act of taking that initiative was enough to sour him without him even... being accused or anything. It was unfair, she recognized that. Why was she being punished for it? And why did it writhe sadness in her so immensely?

It was all so awful enough that she wanted to apologize again, but Rika knew better than to do that to herself. He hadn't given it any dignity the first time, and surely he could pick it up from her feelings as easily as he picked up the "upset."

Drink passed along, he stared at her for a moment, considering a suggestion. But he found he didn't even want to solve it that way, finding himself so utterly faultless here. There was no mistake to wipe away. If he'd said something horrifying in his high, how fucking convenient of her only to respond to it in trying to leave sooner.

He could feel her misery, but it was a sense largely disregarded. There was no drive within him to comfort, not yet. Inevitably it would attack him later, some regretful feeling that he could assign elsewhere.

For now, he felt something like disgusted, or betrayed, or simply lied to. He stalked to the island to stand parallel to the couch, leaning his elbows against the counter.

"I literally don't know what you're upset about," he said eventually, tone seeking to be flat but leaning into something childish.

One sip and the magic of life came to her. Two sips and he challenged her to a conversation, his tone sparking guilt in her. Three sips and Rika found the words to answer.

"It wasn't... your fault," she answered as she looked into the glass, and she was very much trying to tell herself that too. "Just said something that scared me a little. And I just. Thought I should leave and calm down about it."

Rika was not calm right now. Her words were a struggle to craft; truthful, but she was afraid that if they left her wrong he would tip into the anger she'd seen on his face before.

"I just didn't want to make you mad."

Because he was strong enough to break her bones! And also because, by now, she'd come to like him very very much, and she didn't want to ruin whatever this was, and she just needed to compartmentalize and chalk it up to some high vampire babbling and nothing else. Nothing ever else.

Scared her! He'd scared her! Cuddling this wretched woman in his lap, how frightening! If he'd had the glass, he might have thrown it at her just to offer some small hint of how fucking scary he could be.

It would be smarter to begin comforting her now. He knew this route. Apologize, go back to the couch, sit with a bit of space between them but eventually encourage her closer. Gentle, kind, considerate fucking Beauregard, perpetually soothing someone for one reason or another.

"I don't even recall what I was talking about," he said. Now was the time to suggest that perhaps they dial back on the feeding and her drinking and "intoxication," something that inevitably wouldn't stick and be primarily be a sentiment to upset her. "I am sorry to have frightened you with whatever it was."

Beauregard didn't like the way that sounded, even if it came across sincerely enough. His own words were working to piss him off.

"If you need help carrying something to your car, let me know."

She would probably leave the food behind to be his problem. It hardly mattered. Pissy and disinterested, he moved from where he leaned against the island with the intention of heading into the bedroom, then the bathroom, to fix his hair and double check his face for blood and... perhaps brush his teeth primarily out of spite.

God. He didn't even remember, but he apologized.

But it was an apology that rang inherently less sincere for the fact that he didn't know what he'd said. What could he possibly apologize for, and how could he really grasp the importance of it to her?

Rika could only nod. "It's okay." Accepting it and not getting into it further seemed safer. She wanted to believe it was okay, anyway.

He made his offer and it was tempting to refuse just... in the vein of wanting to be less trouble to him. But what if refusing was insulting? She nodded again through a sip, and answered with a "thank you" after. But he was already heading away to his room.

That left her feeling like she wanted to fold up and cry, but Rika held her breath against the urge and decided her energy was better used just...

Packing up her things. And the sandwiches too, for what it was worth. She could cry later when he couldn't call her out on it.

Beauregard found increasing desire for distance, thankful that at least she hadn't followed him to the bathroom. That was the grand trouble of having these sorts of interactions in his own home.

Finding what privacy he could, he adjusted his hair a bit, briefly admired his teeth, checked his shirt for any unfortunate staining. He listened keenly for her outside, and then...

Decided, just to soothe some paranoid tick in his brain, to push forward with a force of negation so that she could not slither nearer, invisible, without his knowledge.

This earned him a low throbbing behind his eyes, and as he put a hand to each side of the sink, Beauregard hung his head tiredly.

It wasn't long before she was done. Rika even went through the effort of washing the glasses and the plate she'd used.

Everything would be dried and left as if she'd never been there tonight at all. And then she... lingered at the island. Waiting. But minutes still passed, and silence continued, and Rika nibbled at her lip.

Maybe he'd fallen asleep. Maybe she should just go.

She gathered all of her stuff and decided to just position everything so that it would sit in front of her shirt. She didn't need any look from the doorman.

She moved to slip her shoes on. She moved to the door.

And then... guilt welled up at the idea of slipping away without even saying goodbye. So she just. Very softly, called out a "Beau?"

If he didn't answer, then he'd probably gone to sleep, and she could just text him later.

Beauregard had every intention of staying here until she left. He expected that she would slip out quietly, and perhaps he'd go hunting out of spite.

The headache did not soothe, but it did subdue, leaving some of his anger to taper away. Perhaps this could have been slightly less of a mess. Perhaps he could have been smoother about it all.

His hearing was keen enough to realize his name was being called, and it summoned him back through the bedroom and into the living room. She looked small and pitiful, arms laden high with what she was taking with her. He did appreciate, at least, not having to throw the food out and then take that trash out immediately.

Deciding it was best to put in some work now to lessen the misery going forward, he drew a bit nearer, close enough that she could approach him and set what she held on the island if it suited her.

"Come here, darling," he said gently, holding an arm out to invite her into an embrace. He felt little desire to be close, but this was... a test, decidedly, on several levels. The negation would fade accordingly, focused as he was now on his other ability.

He wasn't asleep.

Rika looked to his approach with some surprise on her face, and as he welcomed her to him she pressed her lips together to deny them their urge to tremble. She'd felt so intensely like she'd made a mess of things.

Carefully she turned and set everything down, and then went to him somewhat like a beaten dog being... tentatively forgiven. A very short and very small sound would muffle against him despite herself.

Of course she would cry. They always cried. He wrapped his arms around her, stroked her back with a hand to soothe. A few hushing sounds accompanied it all.

He could suggest her, but if it failed, it would all be so ugly.

Perhaps a smaller suggestion would do. He pondered future words, but for now would hold her until she was ready to pull away and face him for what would hopefully clear a little of this off of him.

It was everything she didn't want to do. Crying. But she did despite herself, putting in a valiant effort to at least fight the chance of ruining his sweater and scrunch her eyes shut against tears that wanted to fall. Rika's breath hitched mostly quietly for it.

The soothing was everything it needed to be, and she was so very willing not to think of him has he'd been in that moment. Terrifying, moreso the more she thought about it, but right now he was here and he cared for her and he had no chuckling desire to hurt her.

She would eventually pull away, wiping at her own eyelids before gazing up at him. "I'm so- sorry," she apologized again, because what if he didn't believe she was? But also for all this. Emotion overwhelming the empath.

Tears, naturally. That was how women sought to get their way. He stroked her back, hushing still, comforting as he stared past her to the wall and planned.

Eventually she did pull away to look up to him with eyelashes rendered dewy in her misery.

"There is no need to apologize," he said, looking to her eyes with purpose. "When you wake up tomorrow, you'll feel far better about all of this."

A kind success. Beauregard considered himself very merciful.

"Tonight, you are entitled to space as you need it. Perhaps take a hot bath when you get home. Have some more food."

He tilted his head a bit teasingly to what was left on the island.

"I hate to see you tearful."

It was an ugly look for a pretty face.


All of that was undeniably good advice. A hot bath. Food. Space. Feeling better in the morning was inevitable, she felt with more conviction than she knew, and Rika nodded.

"I- I'll try not to cry anymore," she promised, and really she would. Rika felt deeply uncomfortable and vulnerable with tears.

"Thank you. For not being mad at me."

It was a good thing she'd feel better about this in the morning, so she couldn't feel confused at herself when she thought it over.

Beauregard listened. Nodding. He looked upon this meek, weak woman. He was reminded of Kaylee. He was reminded of Raziyya at her ugliest. He was reminded of the way Safiya had cried to him.

He did not like it. Kaylee had likely gone off and killed herself; this was what Beauregard has decided.

It wouldn't be hard for Rika to fall down a similar path. It was a compliment, in a terrible way, the effort these women put into molding themselves to what they believed he wanted.

But in the end it was...


"Rika," he said gently, but firmly. "Do not make yourself into an image of what you think I like. I like you for who you are, and for what is unique about you. I have the... capacity to bend wills the way I'd like them, should I so choose. But I choose not to, with you, for so many reasons, and you should not do it in my stead."

He sought to rest a hand on her upper arm, some further confirmation.

"We will move on from tonight, and we can speak about it later, if you'd like. But do remember the woman you are, separate from these moments. Recall the spark. I would hate for you to lose that for my perceived whims. Does this... make sense?"

It was, of course, another version of bending her will. But it was a kinder one, he thought.

"It does," Rika nodded, and it was almost a frantic agreement. She hadn't meant to do that, make it seem like she was behaving a certain way for him. Not wanting to cry was a very Rika-centric move.

Still, it was a good lesson to learn. She had to make sure first and foremost that she was making decisions for herself; not for him.

And yet. "Hahahaha, I've thought about breaking your pretty little wrist. I won't! But I'm strong enough."

That remained, some weighty threat that shadowed her decisions.

She reached out for his hand, quieted, remembering that very light tug he'd given at her wrist that had felt like a threat, and she pondered the words to say. "You'd never want to hurt me, would you? Even if I... upset you somehow."

The distinction was there. He'd expressed just that; some interest in breaking her. She didn't even know why. Not that any context would excuse it anyway.

Her agreement came in a way that seemed too enthusiastic to be sincere, but he'd done all he could there.

Why she was taking his hand was beyond him, and the question that followed was rather specific.

Tsk, tsk, Beauregard. What was it you'd said? Or perhaps it wasn't even something he'd spoken, but instead some memory she'd lifted from his clothing. That was even more insidious.

His brows furrowed slightly, and he chose his words with great care, realizing that she'd likely pulled some thought straight from his head. Nosy bitch.

"Being a vampire means that, in certain moments of frustration, one's first inclination is violence. It is an ugly and monstrous thing, but it is overcome with time. I cannot claim that the thought has never crossed my mind, not simply with you, but with anyone. But I am myself enough again now, in a century of practice, to shove that beastliness aside."

Moments of frustration. Did that make sense, really? That he was a vampire and that was all it was? He'd seemed so cheerful about it. Proud. He'd been lauding his strength, what he was easily capable of. Now here he was talking the urge down, saying he was capable of moving it aside. Assigning it to moments of frustration.

At least he didn't deny it entirely. She nodded, and opened her mouth as if to speak, but Rika couldn't find the words to commit to.

Things said and done under influence were often revealing enough of someone's inner thoughts. Their inclinations. She could bother to explain the sincerity of before. But maybe it was best to take him at his word now and just be watchful going forward. Careful.

Praise. Relief. Something. Say something, express one of those. Pick safe paths, be unquestioningly trustful, don't make this more of a thing. Do not make this more of a thing.

"That's good," she said, eyes wandering to her things. It was good. It was good. She believed that it was good that he fought down the urge to casually break her when she frustrated him, or... apropos of nothing. Any other time. It was good. "You're- you're so good. To me. Even just being honest about that, I appreciate it. Did you... still want to walk me to my car?"

It was good, he was good, everything was good. Please say yes, or no.


She was unconvincing. Beauregard found it all ugly. He was thankful she was leaving.

If she hadn't told Niamh and likely her other unnamed friends so much, he might have wiped her memory of this entire relationship. That was how charmless this was.

"If you'd like. I don't want to crowd you, but I'm always happy to accompany you."

His smile was not the most convincing, but he was tired of this.

She wished he'd just make the decision on his own. Of course she would like. Of course. She was feeling weird but that didn't mean she didn't... like him anymore, she just needed to work it out it in her head and feel better about it all in the morning.

AHHHH. Wake up, Rika.

"Okay. Let's go," she decided, offering a small smile for it. "Don't wanna skip out on dessert. Plus I need you to hide my shirt."

She'd walk a little behind him for it, if he'd allow it.

Right. Her shirt. Beauregard felt little in the way of shame for it, but it did inspire some sense that it was embarrassing to be around her.

"Apologies for the shirt," he said, wincing in something that looked like sympathy. He would gather what he could carry for her, troubled by her walking behind him but understanding it.

It would be at the elevator, door closing, that he decided to speak of something at the tip of his tongue.

"It may be best not to encourage... quite so gluttonous a feeding at one time," he said, a bit stiff for fit. "Or perhaps to have you drinking a bit less. If I am not clearly remembering conversations, it's probably best I am not so drunk as to have those conversations in the first place."

She'd accept the apology just fine.

The advice was... less wanted than she expected. It was good advice, maybe. But up to tonight, everything between them had been fun.

"Do either of us really want that?" she asked, rhetorically thoughtful. But it was enough to trigger a landslide from the silence in her, and she decided to follow it up with... dispelling the mystery, she guessed. "You held my wrist and said... you've thought about breaking it. That you were strong enough to. I didn't know if it was a warning, or. I don't know."

Her face sought to rest against his arm.

"I don't want anything to change. I'll feel better about it tomorrow."


There was, at least, the explanation. It was less beastly than he'd expect, but truly, Beauregard, you dreadful lightweight. His mouth dropped open just a hint, mind racing to find a gentler explanation. It was almost funny, truly, because it was so absolutely something he would say. He even began to remember it now, holding her fragile little arm. At least he hadn't talked about smashing her face on the kitchen island.

"That was very ugly of me to say, wasn't it," he said. "As much as can be comforting, I have a sense it was an observation rather ominously worded."

He could not wait for her to go home.

"I have thought about breaking it, primarily in the sense that I am very strong, and you are very human. At times that fragility is frightening. The thought is almost... intrusive, in the way you might think about throwing your cell phone off a balcony just because you are standing there and could. Perhaps I'm the only one to experience that."

A slight chuckle.

"But it's the sort of thing one never acts on. I would never do such a thing, as my slovenly self poorly assured you."

That explanation felt so much more real. More than some assurance that it hadn't come from a place of deeper hatred for her, or something she was missing. Or even just a desire to harm. Just a... like he said. Doing it because he could, not because he wanted to. But he would never.

Rika didn't even realize she'd been tense, but she exhaled it all out in very genuine relief.

"God. That makes so much more sense," she said as she buried her face into her hands and shook her head. "I can't believe I — I was so dumb. I'm sorry."

Of course, she even felt that herself, about other people. Making someone sick because she could. Except she was worse, because she acted on it. Once upon a time Rika was sure she wanted to use this power to help people, but the more she found she was able to do with it the more it just felt good to do.

But at least he wouldn't break her. It wasn't even something he wanted to do.

If he heard her apologize her again he was going to vomit a shower of her own blood. It probably wasn't even warm anymore. Cold blood, from her body, to his, back to hers. Disgusting!

"The self-flagellation is exhausting, darling," he said, and the elevator door opened to the scent of rain from the lobby, but thankfully not the sight of it. "I'm sure the original wording lacked the same eloquence. I'm glad it's resolved now. You hardly need to beat yourself up."

She could do it, truly, just not in front of him. Such commentary was a social obligation he hadn't signed up for. Either he was required to reassure her, or he was some monster for not doing so.

Beauregard would comfortably lead the way out of the building.

Haha, oops. Stop fucking apologizing, Rika.

"Right. Yes. Done."

She'd follow him out to the car, thankful the rain had stopped, and moved to open the passenger's side door so he could put in the stuff he was carrying.

And she closed the door and looked at him, reaching for his hand with more confidence than she'd felt in the last... twenty minutes or whatever. To bring it up to her neck.

"Shall we?"

Beauregard was, truly, not interested in additional contact. He wanted quite the opposite. Perhaps an utterly silent flight around the Heights ending in stop at the planetarium where he could hide behind a closed door in his office for some number of hours until eventually he found a bed further downstairs to rest upon as a corpse when the sun came up. Some private place (because, in this moment, his home hardly felt like such a thing) free of some woman's emotional baggage.

But in the end, he knew better. He knew that to avoid this moment would cause a whole host of other issues. It was a kindness that at least his fangs were reactive to the promise of blood, not his personal enthusiasm.

So he would smile, flashing the teeth she would expect, thumbing at warm skin on her neck.

"How can I resist," he hummed, leaning in to bite at her neck in the public way they'd made this a habit. He held her a little more firmly, in hand and in his fangs, some tension remaining despite his best effort.

It would all, at least, still be painless.

There was comfort in him being unable to resist. Rika's shoulders eased, she closed her eyes, feeling flushed for it all. She felt good. Very, very good. Even the firmness of his grip felt good, like he really wanted it.

She'd let him drink until he pulled from her himself, looking up with renewed trust and affection at his face, looking to see him high on her one last time tonight.


It had been Beauregard's intention and, frankly, Beauregard's desire to make it very quick. But as he held her throat in his hand and drank from her neck, he did find he wanted more out of her than that. Something to make what had been a grand source of irritation more worthwhile.

So his grip held firmer, his body leaning in to pin her somewhat, drinking with a brief flash of greed better suited for the new moon.

This wouldn't last terribly long, hardly a full feeding, but his own rush into it left him feeling a bit dazed. He pulled away with fangs receding, brows slightly upward.

"Probably best you get home," he said with a slight huff, not quite an embarrassed sound, but an acknowledgment.

He squeezed, he pinned. Rika found herself wishing they were positioned a little better for a feeding like this, feeling her own brand of high from the draining feeling and the gentle strain of her breathing from the pressure he put on both sides of her throat.

She offered him her typical little whimpers, approving and encouraging. Fresh off of being afraid of him, she was now maybe too willing to trust, too happy to assign this to just him very much wanting what she could give him. Blood and warmth and her.

All that made the dazed look on his face leave a smile on hers. Her breathing was gently labored from the rush of it all, and she nodded.

"Night," she said. "Get home safe."

It was a joke. She would linger in her car for a few minutes after his blood from before kicked back in.

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