Sometimes, like this morning, Allistair lingered in bed while Devin went about his morning routine. It wasn't that he was still tired, though he let the mage mockingly call him lazy for it; he just liked to lie there with his eyes closed and enjoy the scent of Devin's hair in the pillows, and the lingering warmth between the sheets. He didn't dare admit this to Devin, however, who he imagined would find it a bit disturbing.

The vampire smiled slightly. His lover, if they could consider each other such, was almost comically prudish, but... they were working on that. Yes, indeed.

He took a deep breath. The scent of steam, tinged with soap, was rising now as Devin took his shower in the adjoining bathroom. That was something else to look forward to — the enticing sight/smell combination of the mage, still quite damp and wearing only a towel, wandering back into the bedroom to retrieve his clothes. Some morning, Allistair would just ambush him when that happened, and drag him back to bed...

The mental image made him shiver pleasantly, but it would be a while, he thought, before he could dare do something so forward. Devin was far too skittish for something that playful.

His musings were suddenly interrupted by the faint sound of... singing? His curiosity had him out of bed in a moment, following the sound to the bathroom door.

There'll be times
When my crimes
Will seem almost unforgivable
I give in
To sin
Because you have to make this life livable

But when you think I've had enough
From your sea of love
I'll take more than another riverful
There was really no mistaking the low tenor voice, but its richness, and the depth of emotion it carried with the words, was a pleasant shock. The singer was clearly singing, and not just mumbling a tune absently; the enunciation was clear and deliberate, as one would expect from one of Depeche Mode's songs, and each note was shaded with feeling. Who would have ever guessed that the taciturn mage could sing like this?

"...Devin?" The singing halted, and the vampire smiled, easily picturing the cross look on the other man's face at the moment. "Please, go on..."

"Why?" Even through the steam and the door, Devin's voice conveyed his annoyance.

"You have a wonderful voice... and I want to hear the rest of the song."

There was a moment of silence. Allistair imagined that the mage was struggling with the compliment, as he often did. Finally: "I'm just singing in the goddamn shower." There was a hint of embarrassment there.

Oh, why hadn't he noticed how very expressive Devin's voice was before? Perhaps because the younger man spent most of his words on negativity. Regardless, it should have been a hint about his singing potential, Allistair thought to himself. Maybe it was just the fact that Devin seemed to have no interest whatsoever in performance; it was hard to imagine him singing for anyone other than, well, himself. Allistair had caught him in a private moment, most likely, but he wasn't sorry for it.

"Please go on," he urged. "I can't imagine where you've been hiding that voice all along, but I want to hear more of it."

"You're not going to let this drop, are you?"

"Probably not."

The sound of water ceased and the hot water pipes groaned above; Devin had finished his shower. For a moment, Allistair thought the mage was too irritated to continue his singing, but then the voice resumed where it had left off, this time without the muffling effect of the water.

Yes, and I'll make it all worthwhile
I'll make your heart smile

Strange highs and strange lows
That's how my love goes
Will you give it me
Will you take the pain
I will give to you
Again and again
And will you return it?
By the end of the chorus, Allistair was singing along quietly; he had heard the song before, even before he had met Devin, the consummate Depeche Mode fan. He wondered if the mage had chosen this song for some particular reason, or if, as songs do, it had simply popped into his mind and insistently demanded to be let out.

The door opened, and Devin stepped out, moisture still in beads on his skin. He gave Allistair a bit of a flat look, but he continued to sing as he looked away.

There'll be days
When I stray
I may appear to be
Completely out of reach
I give in
To sin
Because I like to practice what I preach
His voice was somewhat distorted as he moved around the room getting dressed, but it was still much clearer here than it had been through the bathroom door. Allistair contented himself with sinking into the single chair in the room and listening with his eyes half-closed. Devin's voice was untrained, that was clear, but he sang with surprising confidence and grace, considering how truly introverted he was. Perhaps it was, along with his magic, one of the rare things he was actually proud of — although his reluctance to sing once he knew Allistair was listening suggested otherwise.

Now dressed except for his shirt — which he would hold off on until his hair was more thoroughly dry — Devin walked back over to where Allistair sat and leaned against the battered old desk. There was something surreal about him standing there in his faded, threadbare black jeans, singing like ... an angel? No, the vampire realized, like a Faerie. That was where this amazing sound came from, most likely. If he really applied himself, Devin could probably out-mesmerize a vampire if he wanted to; he had the eyes, and clearly, he had the voice.

I'm not trying to say
I'll have it all my way
I'm always willing to learn
When you've got something to teach
Devin didn't look at Allistair while he sang, as if he couldn't make eye contact and maintain his composure well enough to keep up his performance. But Allistair knew the song well enough to know how this verse ended; the same as the first verse, actually. Slowly, he rose from the chair and stepped in front of the mage, forcing him to look up into his eyes as he joined in on the next two lines.
Oh, and I'll make it all worthwhile
I'll make your heart smile
Some of the surety dropped from Devin's voice as he met Allistair's gaze, but he pressed on. The vampire didn't let him move into the next chorus, however. Slowly, so that Devin could get away if he really wanted to, he leaned down and kissed the slightly shorter mage. He could feel Devin's sudden tenseness, but he could also tell that the younger man was honestly trying to relax, to let himself be touched. He wanted this then, this closeness, he truly did. Allistair felt warmed and elated; that made his heart smile.


Back to the Office

This takes place sometime between chapters 8 and 9 of Deprivation; just a little slice-o-life. X3