Fandom: All for the game
Riassunto: Neil is half-demon, he just disagrees on what of the two halves should be considered the demonic one. (Or Incubus!Neil. But still Demi!Neil)
Note: Scritta per la M1 della 2° settimana del COWT9 per "Fantasy"
Warning: Canonical level of violence; Mention of rape and dub-con (since we're dealing with Incubus and Succubus); Drake's scene is in here, although it's just mentioned.
His mother had tried to explain it once. She had talked about the desire, the all consuming hunger, the way the rest of the world faded and all she could feel was the need to feed. To consume. To bed.
Alex, his name at the time, hadn't really understood what she meant. These tales, these feelings she talks about, usually start and die with her stories, with her warnings.
He's an anomaly, as a half demon he feels none of his mother hunger, but he's still as effective as she is. It's not a necessity for him, convincing people to sleeping with him, stealing their vital force. It's just something he can do.
His mother is different. As a full fledged Succubus, she has needs she has to take care of, she has nights and men and wants. If she doesn't eat, she starves and she enters a trance where she isn't able to think. Able to survive.
It's not something they can afford in their life on the run. Alex, however is completely unaffected by it and because of it, he’s the one that usually stops his mother before she can kill her victims. A trial of bodies wouldn't be easy to hide, and they can't afford to draw more attentions to themselves.
It usually goes like this: Mary finds her mark for the night, they have sex and Mary steal as much as their life force as she can before Alex (Chris, or whatever his name is) stops her.
It's not an infallible method and they have left a body or two around. Bodies of innocent people. Bodies that Alex still can't forget.
"It's the only way to survive," his mother tells him, "I can't keep us safe if I'm hungry. You should have stopped me."
Alex knows she's right in a way. Mary and Nathan are a different kind of killers, but killers all the same. One does it for necessity, the other for pleasure.
Neil is half-demon, he just disagrees on what of the two halves should be considered the demonic one.
When he asks his mother why she married Nathan, she doesn't really look at him. "You can't understand, Abram." She uses his true name, the one only for them, the one that would bind him to anyone who used it. "The hunger is encompassing, the need... and for all of your father's failures, his vitality never runs out. I could had my fill and finally be satisfied."
He doesn't understand, but she knows that. Still, he thinks he might understand her better. She's a victim of circumstances just as much as everyone else, in a way. But, what he doesn't understand is: "Why didn't you kill him? You could take all of his life away..." They could be free, finally.
His mother's smile, like most things about her, is a fleeting thing, bitter and scared. "He knows my name. You won't ever gave your name to any human, you understand me, Abram?"
She takes his arm and holds on to him hard enough to bruise him. A normal human would have broken its arm.
"I understand," Max says. "I never will," Max promises.
The first time he kisses someone, he does it because a part of him is curious. HIs parents have always been convinced that he doesn't have any of his mother's powers if not for his appearance.
Succubus, and Incubus, are supposed to be beautiful in order to attract possible victims and feed. Chris' good looks, Lola used to say, were really wasted.
He kisses the girl because it should be fine, because he wants to understand his mother, and because he can. It's nothing more than a moment of curiosity. He doesn't particularly want to kiss her, but it doesn't disgust him either.
The girl's lips are soft against his and, for a moment, it's just as uncomfortable as Chris imagined it to be. Their skin is touching, and she obviously doesn't really know what she's doing (not that Chris does, but at least he has seen his mother with his victims enough to be aware of the general rules). Then, then she gasps and pushes forward. Her hands scramble to get a hold of his shoulders and she throws herself at him.
Chris feels the energy, the roar in his ears before he can even realize what's going on. He feels her life, everything that makes this girl alive pour into him, greedily.
A kiss isn't enough to kill her or harm her, really, but he could take her life easily.
It's that thought, too similar to something Nathan Wesniski would think, that makes Chris back away. Makes Abram recoil from his instincts and push the girl away.
He misses her force immediately, but he doesn't desire her. He's not hungry for more, he just feels more energetic. Stronger. Faster.
Abram feels like a demon.
He runs away and he is faster than he normally would be. The girl's life pushes through him and makes him more dangerous. Makes him the weapon his father always wanted him to be.
An Incubus not driven by his hunger, by his needs.
Chris almost vomits on the side of the road.
His mother notices. Chris doesn't know how, she says it's the smell of want and desire. He reeks of human arousal and it's making her hungry.
Chris, who knows how cruel his mother can be, but also scared and confused, tells her the truth.
She beats on him, tells him that he was an idiot. He will never be able to forget the sensation and she's convinced that the hunger will grow, like a parasite.
Chris isn't so sure.
She dies one year later.
It shouldn't be possible, really, but she was already weakened when his father's men found them. She hadn't been eating as regularly, and it had started to slow her down.
"The next city," she told him, driving, "we feed at the next city."
She always said we, even if Abram hadn't tasted another human's life force since that day.
Now, watching his mother's corpse burn (ironic for a demon) he thinks that maybe he should have been feeding. That maybe, had he been stronger, like she was, this could have been avoided.
Now, alone in the world, he wonders how he would ever be able to survive.
He goes to Millport since his mother had already set an identity for him there. Neil Josten is a name that flows on his tongue as easily as the other one hundred names he has used in his life.
It's irrelevant what his human name is, after all, and he finds it easy to take a mantle and abandon the previous one.
Neil, however, finds it harder to exist on his own.
He joins the Exy team, even if he shouldn't, because there's nothing else he can do. He's already alone, his mother a corpse he let down one time too many, and now he just wants to play Exy for a while.
He's faster that anyone else thanks to his demon blood, but no one really knows it. It's freeing, really, being able to focus only and entirely on Exy.
It's less freeing when his coach tells him Kevin Day is here to see him. He doesn't know how much Kevin knows of him or the world they come from. He knows his father killed someone in front of Kevin, and that's enough. The demon stuff is just another complications on top of an already shitty situation.
He tries to run, but he receives a racquet to the gut. It hurts, but not as much as it would have been a normal person. Neil thinks, had he been human, he might have cracked a rib.
The blond boy that hit him raises an eyebrow, looking almost impressed with Neil's resistance.
"Don't break him, Andrew!" Wymark says from behind them.
"What did you want me to do? Let him go? He's a runner," Andrew shrugs and simply puts the racquet back in its place.
Of course, Andrew Minyard, he was mentioned in some of the articles about Kevin. He should have realized he wouldn't have let Kevin come alone.
Andrew studies him, tries to piece him together like a puzzle and Neil almost laughs in his face. There are too many sides of Neil, too many secrets about Adam, too many fragments in his life that will never fit together again.
He's not something that can be figured out.
Neil still joins the Foxes. He doesn't know why he does it. He tells himself it's for Kevin, to protect him from something a normal human would never be able to survive, to make sure that at least one of them makes it. But is it really everything there is?
Maybe he's just tired of running. Maybe he already knows that his days are numbered, so why not do something about it?
Andrew is a thorn in his side, of course. Putting his nose where it doesn't belong and sneaking into his room to read his journal. Neil knows because his clothes are put back all wrong, and because his entire bag reeks of Andrew. His sense of smell might not be as keen as Mary's, but he can still pick up things when he has to.
It's why he feels the drug the moment he takes a sip of the soda. It's not entirely a surprise, he thinks. Of course this entire night was a trap, carefully orchestrated by Andrew to finally try and get some truths out of Neil.
Too bad for him, Neil's truths aren't easy to acquire. Still, what should he do? A normal human wouldn't be able to pick on the faint, barely there, taste of the dust. How could Neil explain not drinking?
Drugs shouldn't really affect him as much as Andrew hopes anyway. He will drink this one and then stop for the night. It should probably be okay.
He drinks half of it before Andrew's stare becomes piercing enough that even a normal human would figure out that something is wrong. So Neil, who feels the beginning of the drug course through his veins—a faint buzz that reminds him a little of the high from the kiss, in a way—dramatically widens his eyes.
"Why did you put in this?" he asks, low and dangerous. Andrew doesn't seem particularly impressed or scared, but he thinks he has no reason to be.
"Something to finally make a liar tell the truth. Still, it's not enough. Drink up," Andrew doesn't smile, of course he doesn't. He's not on his pills tonight, as sober as he's ever allowed to be.
Neil wants to laugh in his face.
"Fuck you," he says, standing up and moving. He’s too fast for Andrew to catch up and he’s sure that the other would have forced him to finish the drink.
He isn't sure where he wants to go, but he needs to get away from Andrew and everything this night rappresents.
And then. Then he runs into Nicky.
The other looks drunk, probably drugged up by the dust, and he turns towards Neil and smiles. He hugs him before Neil can stop him and asks him: "Are you going home already? It's not that late! Andrew won't be pleased."
"Frankly," Neil tells him, trying to put some space between them, "fuck Andrew."
Nicky blinks and then shrugs. "You're too sober for this," he tells Neil and then, before he can even react, he sees Nicky put something into his mouth and then kiss Neil.
It's a shock. Not because of the dust Nicky pushes in his mouth, but because of the energy filling Neil up immediately. Nicky's eyes glaze over and he pushes forward, the kiss becoming less of a mean to drug Neil, and more of a need.
Nicky is desperate, Neil can feel it.
If this was his mother, Nicky would be dead. He knows that too well, but because it's Neil, he pushes Nicky away as hard as he can. The other, weakened by the energy Neil has just stolen from him, can't hold himself up.
"What the fuck? What's your deal, Josten?" Aaron growls from the vicinity, but Neil can't listen to him.
He feels stronger. Faster. And the feeling, mixed with the drugs now in his system, isn't a good combination.
For the first time in his life, he thinks he might actually feed if given the opportunity, and the thought scares him enough that he starts to run. He runs past Andrew at the bar, talking with the bartender; he runs past Kevin, looking too drunk to even notice. He runs out of the club and keeps running until he stops and he's halfway back to Palmetto already.
The energy has finally dissipated and he hopes no one saw him run faster than a human could ever be. He feels like Neil again and Abram recedes back inside of him.
Neil thinks that this war with Andrew must stop. He can't really tell him the truth about his demonic abilities, but he can craft a half truth. If he gives him enough about Nathaniel's life, which is a tragedy all in itself, he might be able to keep Abram locked down.
It's a sacrifice that has to be done.
The situation gets better after that.
Nicky doesn't really say sorry about the kiss, they don't talk about it at all, and Neil is happier that way. He can only hope that Nicky will attribute his sudden exhaustion on the drugs and the alcohol and never question anything surrounding their kiss.
He and Andrew have a deal and the truce that follows that it's enough to make him careless. Neil taunts Riko, knowing full well that he shouldn't and Seth dies.
Neil isn't new to the feeling of being the cause of someone's death. His mother's victims arrived long before Seth did. He's sorry, but he's not as sad as he should be. So much death, the thinks has desensitized him, he thinks.
The other strange thing that happens is that him and Andrew get closer. There's something soothing about Andrew's apathy. He's a harbor inside the storm and Neil, who has never seen anyone more real than Andrew, can't help but be attracted to it.
They tell each other truths, and Neil even tries to lie as little as possible. He omits, he skirts the truth, but he never actually lies.
Thankfully Andrew never thinks about asking him if he's a demon. It's a small mercy.
Neil thinks he can relax and then Drake happens.
They are at the Hemmick's house and Andrew isn't at the table when Neil smells it. Years on the run with his mother have accustomed him to this kind of smell. It usually meant he was supposed to intervene and stop his mother from killing someone.
Abram reacts to the familiarity, but for once the violence and anger that rises inside him is all Nathaniel. "Where's Andrew?" he asks, standing up.
Everyone looks at him strangely, and he hears Luther say something, but he doesn't stop. He's fast and he's strong and he's pissed. He listens to Aaron take the racquet, but Neil doesn't need it.
Neil rushes towards the stairs, taking them two at a time, and when he arrives at the room that emanates that smell he crushes upon it, breaking it immediately at the hinges.
There's Andrew there, lying on the bed. There's blood, yes, and another man. He doesn't need to look to know what's happening. Abram can taste it in the air and it's pungent enough to make him high.
"Oh," the man says, but nor Neil nor Adam nor Nathaniel care.
Aaron gasps behind him, but Neil surges forward, grabs Drake and throws him across the room. It's something that a normal human of Neil's stature shouldn't be able to do, but he doesn't care.
The taste of sex in the air, unwanted as it might have been, is enough to wake his demon side and it won't be so easily sated. He turns toward the man, but he sees Aaron swing the racquet and hit the man on the head. Neil also notices the piece of glass in the man's hand, a weapon he was probably going to use on Neil.
Abram would have loved to see him try.
When Neil finally drags his gaze back to Andrew there's a sick part of him that wants to inhale the smell. He almost vomits on the spot.
"Oh, this is really not good," Andrew says, removing his armbands.
That, Neil thinks, is an understatement.
Andrew won't accept the deal. He doesn't want to leave Kevin alone, Neil knows, even if it will cost him the possibility of finally not taking the drugs anymore.
Neil won't allow him to do this.
"Give him to me," he says, in german, and Andrew turns on him like a wild animal.
"Why should I trust you? You're more liar than man." Andrew isn't wrong, after all. Sometimes he thinks he's half-demon and half-lie.
"Don't trust Neil Josten, then," he pushes. "Trust me."
"Oh, are we finally getting somewhere? Are you going to tell me your birth name?" Andrew's smile is a weapon, a knife to substitute the ones he has left at the Hemmick.
And Neil will let him curve him up.
There are so many rules he has broken by coming here, he thinks. This, is just another one to add to the list. The most important, the final one.
He trusts Andrew, however, more than he ever trusted anyone else.
The fact that Andrew won't know the power Neil is about to give him, won't know the significance of it, doesn't matter. Neil is giving up the only thing he can.
The only thing that will always be true.
"Adam is the only name you need to know," he informs Andrew, "you. And only you can use this name."
Of course he wouldn't be able to stop Andrew if he decided to tell it to everyone else, but that's not who Andrew is. That's not what this is.
Andrew nods and walks away.
Riko knowing about his dad wasn't as much of a shock as him knowing about his mother.
"It's a waste," Riko says, close to Neil's face, "that you didn't hereditate all the useful abilities from that whore of your mother. We would have had fun."
Riko's face is too close to Neil's. If Riko kisses him, he will know that Neil does have his mother's powers. He doesn't know what he would do with them, the same thing his father did with his mother, he thinks.
Thankfully, Riko simply uses a knife to cut Neil's skin. "Well, at least she gave you a thicker skin. That will be very helpful to us."
Neil returns after Christmas and his skin is a canvas of Riko's perversions. Since he knew that Neil was more resilient than most, he never held back.
He knew he could push Neil farther than normal human, and he did. And he enjoyed every minute of it.
Knowing that his sacrifice didn't help save Andrew isn't enough to make him regret it. If he had stood by he would have never forgiven himself.
Andrew calls him an idiot, but Neil doesn't care.
"You were supposed to be a side effects of the drugs," Andrew growls. Neil doesn't really understand, he fears, but he shakes his head.
"I'm real," he says, low. It's a promise to Andrew as much as to himself.
"You're a pipedream." Neil wants to laugh, a demon like him will never be a dream.
Discovering that Andrew likes him is enough of a shock already, but Neil is comforted by the knowledge that Andrew doesn't want to like him. Doesn't want to act on his feelings.
Hearing Andrew ask him "Yes or no?", however, is earth shattering.
Neil isn't stupid enough not to realize what Andrew means, what he wants, and God Neil wants too.
He has never wanted someone like he wants Andrew. He wants to kiss him, he wants to smell the arousal off Andrew, wants to taste the air while Andrew is deep into the throw of passion.
For the first time in his entire life, Neil feels it. The hunger. The need. The dip void in his chest that demands to be feeded.
For the first time in his life, Neil feels what it means to be an Incubus.
And that, ultimately, it's why he has to say "No."
Nothing is harder than those two letters but he looks into Andrew's eyes and he doesn't regret it. He thinks back to Drake, to Andrew's blood. He won't hurt Andrew like everyone else hurt him. While Andrew would be able to control Neil, he doesn't know it.
Andrew doesn't look hurt, he simply nods and backs away, but Neil knows that if he doesn't say anything this thing between them will flicker out, suffocated by Neil himself.
He's not strong enough for that.
Neil extends his hand, pushes it towards Andrew's and lets it hover. "Yes or no?" he asks, mimicking Andrew's earlier question.
The other hesitate before replying. "Yes."
Neil puts his hand over Andrew's and that, already, feels almost too intoxicating. His hunger wants more, but Neil won't give in to it.
"I just... no kissing. I can't kiss. But it's a yes for anything else. Always a yes for you," Neil hopes that Andrew can see the truth in Neil's words. It's the only thing he can give Andrew, and he can only hope it's enough.
"Always yes, until it's no." Andrew seems to think about it, but his hands turns and Neil feels their fingers rouch.
"Always yes, until it's a no," Neil acknowledges.
Maybe he won't ever be able to kiss Andrew, but what does it matter? This is more than enough.
The hunger doesn't pass. Neil has no control over it, it hits him every time he thinks about Andrew, every time they are together. He understands now his mother need to feed, it's all consuming and sometimes Neil thinks he can't function because he's so hungry.
He runs. He trains. He plans.
Neil keeps his mind busy, but it's not enough. There's always something that brings him back to Andrew, to this need.
They don't do much, not really. Since they can't kiss, because Neil won't allow them to, and since most of the time they can't touch, because Andrew doesn't want to, they mostly spend all their time on the roof.
It's nicer than anything Neil could ever imagine.
When he receives the first text of his countdown, he looks at it and decides to ignore it, for a little bit longer.
When he receives a shower of blood for his birthday and sees the Happy birthday, Junior he has everything he needs to put it all together. He could run, sure, but he made a promise.
He made a deal.
Most importantly, for the first time in his life, he doesn't want to run. That's more important than anything else.
He knows, however, that he has to void the deal with Andrew, that he can't hurt the other this way.
"You have to let me stand on my own," Neil gives him as an explanation. He doesn't say I lied to you since day one, he doesn't say Sometimes I want you so much I'm sick with it, he doesn't say I think I might love you.
There's nothing to be gained by saying any of that. He will disappear from Andrew's life as suddenly as he appeared and that's all there is to it.
That's all there will ever be.
"Thank you," he tells Andrew, with three guns in the room pointed not at him but at the humans in the room. "You were amazing."
He's going to die, he knows and for a moment he looks at his team and feels the hunger gnaw at his gut. It's not even just the usual hunger for Andrew that's been a steady companion to him lately, it's a hunger for things he will never have, for things he allowed himself to want and now has to give up forever.
Neil, Abram, looks back at Andrew and asks, low, "Yes or no?"
Andrew seems confused for a second and then he notices Neil's gaze, fixed on Andrew's mouth.
"I thought that was a no," the other says. It's not a yes, so Neil takes a step back.
"I told you. It's always a yes for you," he replies, with a smile.
"Until it's a no," Andrew reminds him.
And Neil, bold of the knowledge that he will never see Andrew again, says: "If it was up to me, it will always be a yes."
Andrew obviously doesn't understand, but before he can ask, they are all steered towards the exits. Romero watches him like a hawk and Andrew's gaze is throwing daggers at Neil's back.
He won't live long enough to answer Andrew's questions and that might be cruel in itself, but Neil doesn't regret any of it.
Lola kisses him in the car and, for once, Nathaniel puts all of his powers into it. She wanted to taunt him, remind him of the fact that he was useless, defective, an incubus that couldn't drain a person's life force.
So he punishes her for it.
He steals and steals and she gets weaker against him. He can't kill her, not without an orgasm, but if he manages to make her weak enough.
Before he can achieve anything, however, he feels the burning sensation of a blade being jammed into his side. He has to interrupt the kiss to scream in pain and he sees the moment Lola realizes what happened.
"Oh, you little minx," she says, with a smile, "This might be more fun that I expected." After that she takes the dashboard lighter and puts it on his face. "An incubus with an ugly face, isn't that ironic?"
He's going to die, Nathaniel knows that very well, but he stores the energy he got from Lola. He keeps it in himself and tries to find strength from it.
He will die, sure, but he won't make it easy for them.
When Nathaniel see his father for the first time in so many years, he feels small again. He's nine years old and his father is pointing a knife at his chest because Nathaniel is useless, because he can't make everyone in the room full of lust for him like his mother can.
Nathan Wesniski calls him Junior and Nathaniel is back to that night his mother took him and ran, and the nightmare that never really ended, only morphed in something else.
When he sees the Butcher of Baltimore, he thinks that it's impossible that his father doesn't have any demonic blood inside him. A demon of wrath, or one of war.
"Lola told me that you're not completely useless, Nathaniel," Nathan says, but he sounds bored, indifferent. "That might have changed something years ago, but you and your mother have done too much. You realize that, right?"
Nathaniel is weak. He wants to cry, he wants to tell his father that he doesn't need to do this, that he hasn't done anything to him, but he knows it's too late for begging. And Andrew doesn't like the word please, so Nathaniel won't say it.
"I'll cut off your legs first," his father says, taking a cleaver, "so you will never run away from me again."
Nathaniel shakes, the horror of the situation making him weaker than ever. He hates himself almost as much as he hates his father.
"Then I'll have my fun with you," he continues, raising his weapon. Before he can do anything, however, a sound distracts him. A gun, to be precise.
Nathaniel turns and he sees a man on the stairs. He remembers him vaguely, Stuart Hartford, his mother's brother. A demon as well, but of an entirely different breed.
Fire crackles in his hair and, for the first time in his life, Nathaniel sees a wrath demon at work.
Unfortunately, the Butcher is used to the world of the supernatural and knows how to fight against a demon without being too much in disadvantage.
It's only when he sees Lola picking a weapon and moving to intervene that Nathaniel decides to finally use the energy he had been storing all this time. He pushes against the pain, his ruined hands, his aching body and he crashes onto her, sending her spiralling to the ground.
"You'll pay for this, Jun-" she starts, but Nathaniel does the only thing he can and he kisses her. Her energy flies into him immediately, and she stops struggling, trying desperately to deepen the kiss.
Nathaniel lets her and then reaches for one of Lola's knives. He interrupts the kiss and looks at her in the eye not as Abram, but as Nathaniel. He directly kills a person for the first time today and he makes sure he does it the human way.
Nathaniel kills her and Abram just looks down at the dead body of this woman that terrorized him all his life.
He blinks, looks back and his father is dead at his uncle's feet.
Neil survived, he thinks, hysterically and realizes he has no idea what the fuck that means.
The FBI wants his confession and everything he can tell them about his father. Neil will tell them anything they want, but he has two conditions: half an hour with the Foxes and ten minutes alone with Andrew.
He receives five minutes with Andrew and twenty with the Foxes and that has to be enough.
Andrew's issue is more pressing, so he now sits alone in a room, looking intently at the door and fearing the moment it will open.
Neil has reached a decision and while he isn't sure if it's the right one, there is no turning back from this.
When Andrew enters he has a cut on his forehead and a violent edge to his eyes. Neil's hunger roars back to life, almost as it never vanished in the first place. He needs Andrew. And that's why Neil won't ever let himself have him.
Still, Andrew runs into the room, stopping in front of Neil's chair. He's looking at his injuries, cataloguing every single detail. If Neil had been a normal human, he would probably be dead.
But isn't that the theme of Neil's life?
However, they don't have time for this now.
"I need to tell you the truth," Neil says, in German.
Andrew shakes his head. "I choked it out of Kevin."
Poor, poor Kevin. But that's not what Neil is talking about. "No. Not the truth about Nathaniel Wesniski. The truth about Abram."
Andrew freezes, confusion playing on his face. There is no easy way to explain this, so Neil simply does it in the most straightforward way possible.
"My mother was a demon, a Succubus. She ate the life out of people while having sex with them. I'm half Incubus, while I don't need to feed, I do drain people of their energy." Andrew doesn't interrupts him, he listens attentively. There's no trace of disbelief on his face.
What did Neil do to earn his trust when everything he ever did was lie?
"Abram. Abram is the name my mother gave me. My true name. A human with that name can control me, if you use it, I'm powerless to resist you."
This, it seems displeases Andrew. "And you gave it to me?"
"I couldn't give you the truth," he says, unable to lie anymore, "but I wanted you to have something true. Something that would never become a lie, no matter how much I ran."
"Are you dangerous?" Andrew asks
Neil shrugs. "Yes. My mother... she lost control many times, if I hadn't been there to stop her, she would have killed a lot of innocent humans. We can't always... stop. The hunger is too strong."
"Do you feel it?"
And that, was the hardest truth of all. "Only for you."
Andrew looks at him and then says: "Ask me a truth."
Neil blinks, surprised, and shakes his head. "No, Andrew I don't want..."
"Ask me a truth," Andrew repeats, and this time it sounds like an order. "I want to take my turn, but you've given me too many truths without nothing in exchange."
He doesn't want anything in exchange, Neil thinks. This wasn't part of the game, he just wanted to have anything of Neil he cared to have. But Andrew wants a question, and Neil doesn't want to disappoint him.
Still, he feels terrible when he asks: "Do you want me to go?"
Andrew looks betrayed by the question, by Neil forcing him to show any emotion. It's a low blow, but Neil is hurt all over and so so tired.
The "No," that Andrew gives him feels like a gift. "My turn now. Is this why kissing is a no?"
Neil sighs and nods, ashamed.
Andrew remains silent for a second and then asks him, again: "Yes or no?"
Neil almost takes a step back, before remembering he's seated in a chair. "Andrew, haven't you listened to me? I... I'm dangerous. I'd drain you, I..."
"Neil," Andrew's voice is calm, strong. Sure. "I won't let you be one of them. Yes or no?"
And Neil, who is weak beyond measure, says "Yes".
They kiss and, for the first time, it's Neil who gasps helplessly into it. He doesn't move forward, doesn't touch Andrew in any way, but he's desperate for the contact. Andrew's force pushes into him, satisfying his hunger, and Neil knows that he should stop, but he's not strong enough.
Now, Andrew will know what monster Neil is.
It lasts a second and then, then Andrew pushes back and says "No".
Neil freezes in place, if he could he would throw himself as far away from Andrew as he could, but the other boy is still holding on to him by his neck and so he has to stay put.
Andrew seems to be lost in his thought and he says, quietly. "You were worried about this? This is nothing. I didn't even feel it. I'm always exhausted dealing with you and Exy anyway, I don't feel any different."
Neil is too surprised to say anything. How is it possible? He felt Andrew's energy flow into him, feels it now still under his skin. But Andrew wouldn't lie and wouldn't let Neil take advantage of him, he knows so...
"My mother and my father," he says, out of breath. "They were able to be together without my father being too debilitated. My mother said it was the reason she married him in the first place, because he had so much vitality."
Andrew furrows his brow, confused and then huffs. "I don't know what that means and I don't care. But this means we're done with this useless charade, right? I'm tired of dealing with the other idiots. It's time to go home."
Neil looks at him and has to ask, once again, "Are you sure?"
Andrew looks at him and then he stands up. "Come home, Abram."
And Abram does.