Rating: PG-13 for language
Spoilers: Blood Rites
Synopsis: What was Thomas up to that Harry catches him in a dark alley shirtless and covered in body glitter? Takes place between Blood Rites and Dead Beat.
General Disclaimer - All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: A thousand thanks to cornerofmadness for both encouraging this and betaing it (and for researching flavored body glitter). She finally got to Blood Rites so I could talk about Thomas. All blame for the crackified concept lies with me, but I take no responsibility for the quoted text in the story. That belongs to its author. As always, constructive criticism is welcome.
All That Glitters
I should have figured something was up when Thomas brought back three tubes of body glitter along with the groceries. My brother might be what Calvin Klein underwear models want to be when they grew up, but he prided it all on good genes and what he called “discerning taste.” He doesn’t like what I call it, but hey, my apartment, my word choice. But between the fancy shampoo, soap, cologne, shaving cream, and hair gel that had appeared in my bathroom since he moved in, maybe I was justified in dismissing the body glitter as Another Piece of Thomas’ Junk.
In my own defense, I’m not sure how I was supposed to have seen it coming. It’s not like I spend every day wondering “How will my half-brother’s vampiric nature assert itself today?” Still, after tonight, I might start.
The door to the bathroom squeaked open and Thomas came out before my train of thought could go too far down
“So why did you decide to slather it on and go wandering around town?” I was being polite—at least, less sarcastic than I could be. Mouse, who has been growing about a foot a day, nosed his way under my right hand with a doggy grin and I gave him an absent-minded pat, refusing to be swayed from grilling my brother.
“It’s really none of your business, Harry.” Thomas looked around uncomfortably, and I wondered for maybe the tenth time why my brother had been wearing all that glitter.
Mouse licked at my fingers but I ignored him, still staring at my brother. “I found you in an alley, Thomas. You were feeding on some woman. Hell’s bells, it’s my problem when you hurt people!” I shot back.
Thomas’s grey eyes narrowed and his lips thinned. “I’m not in the habit of running around
I opened my mouth for a smart-ass remark out of instinct, but Thomas’s words actually made a certain amount of twisted sense. Realizing my mouth was still hanging open, I snapped it shut and stared at my brother. “You’re hurting those women you’re feeding from,” I said lamely. I hated to lose an argument, especially when I had to concede that it might really be better on the whole for Thomas to be feeding from a bunch of random women than one exclusively. The memory of Justine, frail and ethereal, flitted through my mind and I could tell by his frown that Thomas was thinking of her, too.
“It’s better than the alternative. Than all the alternatives.” Thomas ran the towel over his face and hair one more time before he dropped into the armchair, letting the towel fall to the ground next to him. I muttered a silent thanks to Lily for my cleaning service instead of complaining about Thomas being a hopeless slob and eyed him again.
“Still doesn’t explain what you were doing in that alley. Who was she anyway?” Despite living with a sex vampire, running into one going at it in an alleyway outside a normal, everyday bookstore filled to the brim with screaming, hysterical women is out of the ordinary, even for me. And that was even before I noticed the glitter.
I’d expected Thomas to clam up, but he merely shrugged. “Some woman who threw herself at me at the bookstore.” He smirked, and I almost wanted to punch him, he looked so self-satisfied. “She dragged me into the alley and jumped me.”
Eyes rolling, I shook my head, not sure whether to be nauseated or jealous. Maybe both, in equal amounts? “There were a lot of women in that bookstore for a Friday night,” I remarked instead. I could buy Thomas getting jumped by women, I mean, I’m fairly certain a number of straight men would jump him on a bad day. My instincts, however, told me there was more to the story; Thomas just happened to be in the vicinity of a bookstore full of women? Yeah, I’ll believe that the day my flying pig brings me breakfast. “What was it, a reading for a romance novel?”
“What is this, Twenty Questions?” Thomas looked more embarrassed than defensive, and I fought to keep the grin off my face. I stared at him some more until he sighed and caved. To his credit, it was a reluctant sort of caving. “It was a book release party for something called the Twilight saga. Some book that managed to get ridiculously popular with women.”
The name rang a bell and I racked my memory, trying to figure out where I’d heard it before. When my eyes fell on the fireplace, the light bulb went off over my head and I dove for the pile of stuff the cleaners had left piled neatly beside the hearth. A baseball cap, a couple of newspaper classifieds, a phone book, and a black paperback about the same thickness as the phone book. “I knew it sounded familiar,” I said, triumphantly holding up the book. “I almost set it on fire last week.”
His expression of dawning horror was enough to make me flip to the back cover and read the description. My jaw dropped so fast I was almost surprised it wasn’t accompanied by the old fashioned kaching sound. “You have got to be kidding me.” I stared at Thomas, who was beginning to look like he wanted to die. “Is this for real? ‘And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him’?”
It was starting to be physically painful to keep myself from laughing, but out of some tiny smidgeon of consideration for my brother, I only allowed myself a small chuckle. The very model of respect and self-restraint, that’s me. “It’s for real,” he answered with a sigh.
I began thumbing through the book out of morbid curiosity. This thing was massive. “You bought a book about vampires falling in love with humans.” For once, I tried to keep the colour commentary out of my voice; Thomas was understandably sensitive about Justine and, despite my mouth getting me into trouble, I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings. “How is it, at least?”
Thomas barked a laugh and shook his head, slightly less embarrassed. “Terrible. People can’t write decent vampire books.”
“They might do better if you gave interviews?” I ignored the look he shot me and continued flipping through the book. “Well, if it’s that bad, you didn’t go to the bookstore to get the new one. What were you doing, picking up women?” Pause. No denial. No. Freaking. Way. “You’ve got to be kidding me, Thomas. You were picking up women at this book release party?” My brain caught up to my mouth a second later, and I clapped a hand to my head. “Hell’s bells. You were picking up women who already have a thing for vampires.” It must have been like shooting fish in a barrel.
One of these days, Thomas is probably going to kill me for being a smartass, but he was too embarrassed for it to be today. “It’s just easier when they’re already willing.” I kept my mouth shut; it was too easy. “You wouldn’t believe how much those fans want to believe in sp—sexy vampires.”
“You probably didn’t help matters,” I pointed out. “You had to have been playing up the sexy vampire thing. Still, that doesn’t explain the body glitter.”
I have to give Thomas credit for one thing. He knows when he’s beat, and in this case he knew that I wasn’t going to let go of the glitter thing. Have I mentioned how disturbing it was to find my brother not only having sex with a strange woman in an alley, but doing so while covered in body glitter? He sighed and waved his hand at the book I still held. “Page 260,” he muttered.
It took a few tries to get there; geez, this book is how long? I skimmed the page, wondering what Thomas meant, then promptly had to reread it just to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. “ ‘His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday’s hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface.’” I stared at Thomas, slack-jawed and in even MORE disbelief than before. “You tried to pass yourself off as a sparkling vampire.”
Thomas’ face was faintly pink, which meant that if he had been any other person in the world, he would have been redder than a fire engine. “It was stupid, I know. But at least I didn’t bring anyone back here.”
I didn’t respond right away, being too busy laughing my ass off. Finally, I managed to gasp out, “The Glitter Court. Thomas Raith of the
I took a deep breath and sighed, hoping I was not going to regret what I was about to say. “Thomas, you can bring home all the vampire loving women you want as long as you don’t get glitter on anything in the apartment.”