Overwatch Fic: What Cost the Heart’s Desire?

This one is dedicated to Marshy, whose spectacular art inspired it! For bloody76week.

Rating: Mature
Reaper76
Warnings for Vampire Gabriel, Slasher 76, murder, cheerfully evil characters, sexy blood, unsexy blood

Also on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/21072158

***

After so many centuries of life he’d lost count, Gabriel craved a companion. After years of searches and attempts to court, seduce, or in desperation simply seize a partner in his vampiric unlife, none of them had ever fulfilled his needs.

So finally, he decided to make one.

The ritual required meticulous care. The components had taken years to assemble. But at last he was prepared. Wading into the pool of liquid black that lay in the deepest reaches beneath his palace, he called upon the dark powers that fueled his existence, to summon his perfect lover from the very stuff of the abyss.

The face took form as he watched, fascinated by the movements of the fluid darkness sculpting itself into elegant cheekbones and a strong jaw. When the head was fully formed, color began to seep in, till the figure had turned ivory-pale with a pink flush of life.

A strong, graceful column of throat took shape next. Before his eyes, it began to flutter with pulse, and then flowed out from its base to broad, well-favored shoulders. The patience of an immortal’s life broke under his eagerness, and he reached out to touch almost before the gray had fully fled from beneath the skin, admiring the span and slope of them. 

Over and over, through the years, he had tried to imagine his perfect match. Instead of gaining clarity, the image in his mind had grown more murky with every attempt. Watching the man take shape before him, inch by inch, Gabriel felt as if he were discovering his heart for the first time, and yet each feature as it formed jolted through him with a shock of recognition. 

Gabriel pulled him up from the muck as the spell shaped him, inch by inch, until he lay stretched out, sleeping and naked, on the bank of the pool, the blackness fleeing from his legs and feet to leave behind pale, well-formed calves, and long-boned feet with perfect seashell-pink toenails.

He was long and lean and perfect all over, athletic and strong. Gabriel ran his hands down the lovely body, and felt as if he might vibrate right out of skin when, under his palms, the voluptuous chest rose and fell with breath for the first time.

His own, his perfect companion, the one crafted for him and him alone. Gifted to him by his own dark lords to break the ages of loneliness he’d suffered.

The man lay, beautiful and shamelessly bare across Gabriel’s thighs, while Gabriel watched every twitch of his body and flicker of his face for signs of his awakening. Who would he be? What would he think when he saw Gabriel for the first time? How would he react as Gabriel introduced him to his world?

And then, a faint groan vibrated in the long throat that Gabriel’s fangs already ached to pierce and taste. Thick blond eyelashes fluttered, and the man opened his eyes for the first time. Blue.  Blue as the sky, and golden as the sun Gabriel hadn’t seen in so long that till now he’d forgotten what it looked like.

Those gleaming eyes darted, curious and confused and seeking but unafraid. Gabriel leaned over him, his unbeating heart in his throat with the nerves, he imagined, of a groom waiting at the altar for his bride.

The man’s eyes caught on his, and widened. His mouth curved, in a smile that began shy and then turned dazzling.

“Gabriel?” His voice had the rust of an old man’s. Somehow the roughness suited him, as if it were a beauty mark that accentuated his flawlessness. Or as the flaw it marked his uncanny perfection as real.

His first word, Gabriel’s name. It felt sacred, if a vampire sworn to dark masters could be touched by such a thing.

“I’m Gabriel,” he said, after a moment of finding his voice.

The man lifted his hand to brush it over Gabriel’s cheek. “I…think I’m Jack.”

***

Gabriel was beside himself. It had only been weeks since he pulled his beautiful Jack from the murk of the portal to the realm of the dark powers that fueled his existence, but now his beloved was falling apart before his eyes.

He had given much in that ritual, much to buy the privilege of a companion in his long existence. But the powers he served were cruel, to their servants as much as to every other soul. He had hoped he’d paid enough to secure their favor, but now it seemed that they chose to taunt him instead. By giving him everything he had ever wanted, and then taking it away again.

Jack’s sunlit beauty was fading.

Oh, he was still beautiful. Strong and handsome, with that dazzling smile and the boyish eyes. He still had that ready, terrible wit that made Gabriel want to laugh and groan at the same time. He was still learning the world! Each night, Gabriel took him traveling to see new sights, and drink in the delight that shone in his face at the strange beauties of the world.

But his hair was turning moon-gray, more every night, and lines of age had begun to form at the corners of his eyes and mouth. He groaned now, when he levered himself from a chair where he’d sat too long, or when he rolled out of bed after the two of them had taken their pleasure of each other.

Gabriel had tried feeding him blood; his own first. It had seemed reasonable, to think that the man created for him might need the nourishment of a vampire’s blood. But its ageless properties  hadn’t touched him.

So Gabriel had tried others’. From a werewolf servitor, next, with the thought that the infamous, monstrous vitality of the shapechangers might support him. Then a maiden’s, because perhaps his dark lords would look with favor upon such an act. When all of those failed, he had tried magic, performing additional spells and rituals, and event had invited Jack to swear himself to the powers that had created them both.

Nothing. Nothing, nothing.

Jack seemed untouched by the progression of his deterioration. With only a few weeks of life behind him, he hadn’t the experience to be afraid, or the frame of reference even to grieve at his own brevity. But Gabriel’s distress touched him. He let himself be dragged everywhere, in search of a cure, and obliged Gabriel in every suggestion and attempt. When each one failed, he would slide into Gabriel’s arms to bump their foreheads together, and tell him filthy jokes until even Gabriel’s mood couldn’t keep him from laughing.

Where such a new creature learned so many dirty limericks was beyond Gabriel, but it only made him love Jack more. Need him more.

Tonight they lay naked together near the edge of a cliff under the moon. Gabriel rested on his side, up on one elbow for a better vantage on his lover.

How many more times would he be here to look at? To touch? Gabriel felt he didn’t dare take his eyes away.

They had traveled far tonight, because Jack had asked to see the lands that sprawled away from the castle when he looked out through the high windows. When they had reached this overlook above the city at the foot of the mountain, Jack had stopped, stunned by the warm glow of humanity that filled the valley below like a colony of fireflies. 

Gabriel, in his turn, had been stunned—as he felt he was on an hourly basis—by the sight of wonder on his lover, and had been unable to resist sampling the taste of it on his lips. And then every other part of him. And then to coax more of those melodic moans from Jack’s mouth, until Jack had begged for release.

Now, sated, with moonlight slipping across the bare curves of his body as if it too were astonished by the beauty it found there, Jack let an arm dangle over the edge of the rocks they sprawled across, and looked down again into the lights of the city.

“I want to go there,” he said sleepily.

Gabriel hesitated, torn. Saying no to Jack felt almost impossible, but for ones like them, wandering into a human city on a whim might be unwise. 

Long square-tipped fingers reached out, as if he might scoop the lights out of their nest. “I feel drawn there.” Jack’s voice sounded dreamy, almost entranced. Gabriel raised himself up a little more to catch the look on his face. At his movement, the haze cleared from Jack’s eyes and he turned back to Gabriel. “Please? It’s…I want to go.”

And thus it was.

It wasn’t so late that the town was entirely in bed when they arrived. Jack stared around himself like a tourist. The lights of the street caught in his eyes and gave him a glow of childlike innocence. More than one passerby paused to take a second look at him, before shying off from the aura of Gabriel’s menace.

He didn’t have to try, in order to exude a sense of predatory threat. He made the extra effort anyway, whenever some human’s eyes ran speculatively down Jack’s body.

They walked past pubs where songs and laughter poured out, and a night market where light crowds of men and women browsed and haggled, dancing as they walked to the buskers’ music. Following a smell that wafted up and down the street, Jack made a beeline to a stall where little racks of meat pies were stacked to cool in the evening air. He lingered over them, sniffing, till Gabriel bought him one. Jack tasted it, lit up, and devoured it on the spot, in a few big bites. The woman selling them laughed like he’d just paid her an extravagant compliment, and Gabriel bought him another to nibble as he walked. The second one lasted longer.

“I’ve never seen so many people in one place,” Jack said, as they left the market square and headed off into the darker side streets.

Gabriel shrugged, but then looked around again, drawn by the thought of how it must have seemed through Jack’s perspective. “This is how humans live. In groups. They’re social creatures. They get lonely by themselves.”

“You were human once.” Jack’s eyes glinted in the blue light of a gas street lamp as they passed under it.

“I was.” Gabriel nodded. “A long time ago.”

“Do you get lonely? Is that why you made me?”

It was on the tip of Gabriel’s tongue to wave away such a thought, but…wasn’t it true? “I…was only lonely for you.”

No one else, after all, had ever assuaged it.

Jack watched him for a few steps, thoughts seeming to pass beneath the shadows draped across his face. Then he looked away, mouth twisting as if he’d tasted something bitter. 

Gabriel’s heart panged at the thought that Jack had discovered sorrow, and on his account. He thought to speak, but the words were arrested in his mouth by the way Jack froze in place, staring into the mouth of the alley at his right.

There’d been movement in the alley, and the scent of sharp, strained human sweat. Gabriel had noticed it but dismissed it as unimportant. Now it stopped. Gabriel’s eyes pierced the darkness to make out a scruffy man standing over a body some distance down from them. The one he was standing over was alive, his blood still sloshing rhythmically in his veins, but in no shape to put up a fight.

The tableau hung for a few heartbeats. Jack’s shoulders were sprung with a strange tension that reminded Gabriel of a hunting werewolf. The man stared back, still as a statue. Then all at once, he turned and fled away from them.

With a huff like a like a hound gathering itself, Jack took off after him.

He moved faster than any human. By the time Gabriel finished blinking in surprise, he was out of sight. Slower and more puzzled, Gabriel started off after him, only to pause when he reached the unconscious man. They’d clearly interrupted a mugging. The victim stirred a little, groaning and clutching his head.

It would be a shame to waste. “It isn’t your night,” Gabriel murmured to him, as he bent low to take his own meal.

When he’d finished, he left the remains in a small pool of blood, and followed Jack’s trail by scent.

The path wound through the city. After more than a mile of streets and alleys, and even a couple of rooftops, Gabriel had begun to think Jack must be toying with his quarry. No mere human could have run this far without Jack being able to catch him. Or perhaps it was inexperience. The trail twisted and turned with tricks Gabriel recognized from cunning prey. He finally caught up with his lover behind a mews. The horses inside woke at Gabriel’s unnatural presence, screaming and whinnying. There were thuds as some of them kicked and pawed at their boxes. They’d wake the stablehands, who might come exploring to find the trouble. Gabriel would deal with them if it came to it. But first to find Jack…

…Who broke from his hiding place behind a row of barrels, leaping over them to sprint for the man who’d just turned up the intersection of the alley. At the sound of pounding footsteps, the man twisted to look behind him, then screamed, but Jack was upon him before he could even straighten himself out to flee. He tackled the man to the ground with such force that they rolled together across the pavement, the man hooting and snarling with terrified anger.

Jack rolled up onto his knees with the mugger in front of him, Jack’s belt around his throat. The man clawed at the belt, then at Jack’s hands. Then, as he grew more desperate, he threw himself backwards against Jack and began to thrash and kick, trying to knock Jack off balance or strike him or do anything that might break him free. Jack only shifted a little, widening his stance to steady himself.

As the man’s thrashing began to falter, Gabriel circled, fascinated, wanting to see Jack’s face, wondering what had brought this on. His lover’s eyes were slitted in concentration, his teeth bared, his entire focus on the life slipping away beneath his hands.

Human voices raised around the front of the building, followed by a bang and clatter. The stableboys were coming out to investigate. Gabriel glanced in that direction, wondering if he needed to intervene. He was loathe to interrupt Jack at whatever he was doing. Killing a man, was what he was doing, but why?

At one and the same time, the dead man slipped from Jack’s hands to the ground in a discarded heap, and a human shape came round the corner of the building to flinch in shock as it saw them. Gabriel lunged for Jack, scooping him up and leaping to land on the roof of the mews, and then bounded again, streaking faster than any human could follow from roof to roof until they were many streets away.

He came to rest finally on a big stone civic building near the city’s center, where he lowered Jack reluctantly out of his arms to stand beside him.

Jack was glowing. Quite literally. He was breathing hard, almost panting, and each puff of breath came out like a cloud of drifting embers. His eyes shone with the same burning light. At first glance, Gabriel thought it was a trick of the strange light, but no: the silver of his hair was turning back to golden blond as he watched.

Jack grinned happily at Gabriel. “I feel better.” He stepped close in an endearingly unself-conscious cuddle, and Gabriel wrapped him automatically in his arms.  “I think…I think that was what I came here for.”

“To kill?”

“Mmmm.” His warm nose nuzzled against Gabriel’s throat. His soft tongue lapped where a human’s pulse would have been. He smelled exhilarated and aroused. Proud of himself, and hoping for affection from Gabriel to confirm it.

Gabriel felt his lips twitch upward. He slipped one hand downward under the unbleted waistband of Jack’s pants. “You didn’t even eat him.”

Jack’s breath puffed against Gabriel’s jaw as he laughed. “I’m not a vampire. It was… He was just so…” He was vibrant now with the life that had been growing pallid and worn within him. He pulsed with it, till it made Gabriel’s fangs and veins ache with every kind of hunger. Unable to resist even if he’d wanted to, Gabriel raked the points of his fangs lightly over Jack’s pale throat till beads of blood welled up, and then licked them away. 

Jack burrowed against him eagerly—only to pull away again, too jittery with excitement to stay still. “I felt it draining out of him. His life. Pouring out like he was a fountain, down over me. Like that waterfall you showed me.” He pressed back in for a kiss, unmindful of Gabriel’s sharp fangs against the delicate lining of his mouth. Gabriel let him have his way, kissing him deeply till he drank blood and breath and pleasure all from Jack’s mouth. 

When he released him, Jack was gasping, but his eyes shone, with joy and desire as well as that feral light he was radiating. Gabriel grinned at him proudly. The dark powers had marked him after all. They had given Gabriel everything he’d asked for.  His perfect partner. “It seems,” he murmured, “I’ll have to teach you to hunt.” His chest swelled at the thought.

Jack shuddered as Gabriel slid his fingers up into that sun-gold hair and tugged him close again. “Is it like this for you?” Jack asked, squirming appealingly in his arms. “How can you stand it?”

“I’ll show you that too.” Jack tipped his head back with a moan as fangs entered his throat, and sank willingly to the rooftop beneath Gabriel as he began his lesson.

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