Rating: R (character....death?, angst, blood, sex)
Summary: Vampire Ohkura Tadayoshi meets a young man (Yasuda Shota) one evening and both their lives change forever.
Ch1 // Ch2 // Ch3 // Ch4 // Ch5 // Ch6
A/N: I'm confused as hell - I could have sworn I'd posted this chapter here over a week ago but either it was deleted for some reason or the post didn't go thru, so...I'm posting it now? *sheepish smile* The next chapter is coming right away....
Ohkura and Maru had been up for some time, silently watching and waiting for some sign of a change in Yasu and taking turns at his bedside. Maru had gotten up to go make some coffee, leaving Ohkura alone with Yasu for a little while, his head still full of so many questions he thought he would burst if he didn’t get answers soon. So much had happened to him in such a short time that he was starting to go into shock a little, or so it felt like; half the time he didn’t know who he was any more and it was very disconcerting. Finally he reappeared, mugs in hand.
“Here,” he said quietly, placing one of the steaming mugs on the bedside table next to Ohkura, then went to sit by the window with his own mug, staring thoughtfully outside at the passersby who walked by, oblivious to the drama within. He’d been one of those people himself not too long ago and found himself wishing for his life back.
Nodding his thanks, Ohkura’s attention remained on Yasu, his fingertips gently making patterns across the pale skin of Yasu’s hand as he held it in his own. He was then shaken from his reverie by Maru’s question.
“Ohkura? Can I ask you something?” Maru asked suddenly, unwilling for the silence to continue any longer. Taking a sip of his coffee finally, he nearly choked, spitting out the liquid in shock. “What the....? This is disgusting! Why can’t I drink my coffee?”
Ohkura gave a dry laugh. “In case you hadn’t noticed, you’re not mortal any more. Your body will refuse anything that isn’t blood, basically. That means anything you once ate or drank...you can’t anymore,” he said with a small sigh. He barely remembered how hard it had been for him when he’d first been changed, so he didn’t know how to explain it very well.
“Why do you even have coffee then?” Maru whined, then put the mug aside and went to get a tea towel to clean up the mess, depositing the dirty cloth in a hamper beside the door before returning to his seat. “It’s pointless...”
“I do have human...friends, you know,” Ohkura replied in amusement at Maru’s reaction. “I don’t feed from everyone I come across...nor should you.”
Maru looked at him in surprise. Did he have the same mind-set as Subaru then, where he felt it was better to rid the world of criminals if they had to feed? His thoughts were interrupted by Ohkura’s words as he continued.
“While it’s true that I’m hardly guiltless when it comes to my feeding habits, I don’t feed from children or pregnant women. You’ll be able to tell with time when a woman is carrying a child, even if she isn’t aware of it herself. I do have some morals...” he added as he saw Maru’s expression, his tone amused.
“It pays to be observant. Sometimes if I have the time, I wait and see – if the person is a family man with mouths to feed, I will leave him alone. Or alternatively, if the person is a single mother... I don’t tear families apart like that if I can help it. I had a family myself so...”
Ohkura trailed off into silence, his eyes sad. Maru nodded thoughtfully, then asked his next question. “I guess those are the...images I saw on your desk? What are those things anyway? They’re some kind of weird photos, aren’t they?” he asked as tactfully as he could, hoping he hadn’t angered the older vampire.
“Yes, those are pictures of my family...that I had taken after...” Ohkura replied softly, pain in his voice. It was still hard for him to talk about the family he missed even after all these years.
“They’re a primitive form of Daguerrotype printing. It had only just come out in Japan around the time...I was changed, and I was desperate for any form of contact with my family so I bought one of the first ones to be imported. In order to keep them safe, you have to keep them under carefully sealed glass. They’re all I have left...”
Maru nodded his understanding. “I see. I guess we all have things like that, ne,” he replied knowingly. He himself had brought several things with him – a small photo album, a seashell, and a crayon drawing his little sister had drawn for him.
“What happens now? To me, I mean...” he asked after a small pause, staring out the window again.
Ohkura looked at him measuringly, not quite sure what he meant by his question.
“I don’t know what you mean? You’re welcome to stay here for a bit if that’s...”
“No, I don’t mean that. I mean, I’m a vampire now. I won’t get to see my family or friends any more, right? Presumably now they know I’m dead, or something along those lines, although with the security cameras...they’re going to suspect something happened...”
The frustration and sadness in Maru’s tone touched something in Ohkura.
“Sadly, no, you can’t be in contact with them anymore unless you want them to know you’re a vampire and have them try to kill you. If you want that then I won’t stop you, but I hope for Yasu’s sake you don’t...” he replied quietly. “I don’t know him that well but I know he’d be even more devastated if anything happened to you. I’m sure he feels it’s his fault, even though it’s not...”
Not for the first time, Ohkura cursed Ryo mentally for what he’d done. It had complicated things so much he wasn’t sure he could take the strain of having to deal with so much at once. He could only imagine what Maru and Yasu were going through themselves. He’d have to talk to Hina and see if there was anything the older vampire could do to help them adjust better.
Almost as if it were his cue, Yasu began to move on the bed, a low moan the first sign that he was starting to wake up. Ohkura focused his attention on the young man anxiously, noting how his face was contorting in pain and wanting to make it better for him.
“Yasu....Shota,” he whispered, worry in his voice. “Shota, wake up and come back to us, please...”
Yasu’s eyes opened, a vivid red hue to them that made both Ohkura and Maru remember Subaru’s words. He needed to be fed and soon, before he became out of control.
“It hurts, Tacchon....I’m so hungry,” the young blond whispered in return, his voice sounding pained. “So hungry...”
“Shhhh, we’ll help you,” Maru replied from his position on the other side of the bed, having moved there when Yasu began to wake. “Just wait until you feel better, ne...”
“Maru?” Yasu looked confused to find Maru there, looking from Ohkura to Maru then back to Ohkura.
“What...why are you here? I don’t understand...”
“We’ll explain everything in due time, but for now we need to get you fed,” Ohkura replied smoothly with a glance at Maru to stay quiet for now. Looking at Maru’s blood-stained clothing, he sighed.
“Look after him for a minute while I get you some clothes you can wear for now,” he said quietly, getting up and gently pulling his hand from Yasu’s, the younger vampire moaning softly at the loss.
Given Yasu’s reaction, Ohkura felt he was going to need more help than Maru could provide him; he recognised the warning signs in the youngest vampire and it wouldn’t be long until he needed to feed as well. As he rummaged around his drawers looking for clothes of the appropriate size, he grabbed his cell phone and dialled.
“Hina, I need some help here. Yasu’s woken up and he’s close to being out of control...and Maruyama...”
He was cut off by sounds of a struggle in the other room, panic shooting through him as he grabbed the nearest things to hand and bolted from the room, the phone lying forgotten on the floor with the call to Hina still open.
Yoko arrived back at Hina’s in time to hear him finishing a call, the man putting the phone down as Yoko entered the room, an inquiring expression on his face. While he’d been tempted to take his time in getting back to Hina, he knew the longer he waited, the harder it would be on him and was keen to get it over with. On the way back, he’d had time to think about what Subaru had said to him and about what Hina had said before he’d given him the job of looking after Ryo, and admitted that he’d been wrong about so many things.
“There are a few leads we’re going to have to follow up soon, but you know why you’re here, don’t you?” Hina said, getting straight to the point. Yoko nodded uncomfortably and took the seat Hina waved him to.
“I know sorry doesn’t quite cut it-“
Hina sighed and cut Yoko off before he got any further with his apology.
“No, it doesn’t. I really don’t understand you at times, Kimi. You have as much reason to hate this situation as I do and yet you got yourself involved in it without even thinking about the consequences. What if Ryo had succeeded and killed Yasuda? We wouldn’t have had just one rogue to deal with then, but two - you know Ohkura would have killed Ryo in return and most likely himself as well. Why don’t you think about these things?”
His frustration was apparent to Yoko, who hung his head even further, shame written all over his face as he endured the scolding he knew he more than deserved. “Why do you put me in this position, Kimi? I can’t be without you but I can’t tolerate this kind of disrespect either. You know the rules and you deliberately flout them and one day I’m going to have to...”
The pain in Hina’s voice reached Yoko, who choked up as he tried to respond. “Shingo...I never mean any disrespect, you know that. I just...” Yoko tried to explain as best he could, a plea for understanding in his voice.
“You know I have to be doing things. I can’t just sit here and do nothing but eat and sleep all the time. I need something to do – this enforced idleness is killing me. Can you really blame me for wanting to do anything rather than sit around doing nothing?”
“Yes, I can,” Hina said firmly, his eyes angry. “There are much more productive uses of your time than getting into trouble the minute my back is turned, you know. What do you think I’ve been trying to tell you for so long I’m surprised it hasn’t sunk into that thick head of yours! We still have our duties, in case you had forgotten,” he finished with a sigh, pinching the bridge of his nose as he felt a headache coming on.
“No, I haven’t forgotten, but you haven’t given me anything to do for a while now. I’m tired of waiting...”
Yoko was interrupted by the phone, startling them both with the insistent ringing. Hina picked it up and glanced at Yoko with a startled expression on his face that quickly turned to panic as he heard shouts on the other end of the line.
“It’s Ohkura,” he said unnecessarily to Yoko, who turned pale as Hina’s expression changed.
“I think he’s dropped the phone – I can hear shouting but that’s about it. I think we have to go. It sounds like Yasuda’s awakened and gone out of control...”
Yoko nodded as Hina put the phone down and followed him out the door, their intense talk left for another time; Yasu and the others came first right now. It made him feel even more ashamed of himself and his role in the situation the younger vampires were finding themselves in and he vowed he would do whatever he could to set things right.
It didn’t take them long to arrive at Ohkura’s townhouse, the shouts audible to them outside as Hina unlocked the door and let himself and Yoko in. Hina was the only one other than Ohkura who had a key to this particular place, being the only one Ohkura trusted without reservations. As they entered, they could hear Ohkura shouting and Yasu screaming, the lack of any sound from Maru disconcerting. What exactly had happened, they both wondered, looking at each other in dismay.
They found out soon enough as they entered Yasu’s bedroom, finding it in complete disarray, Maru sprawled unconscious on the floor with Ohkura doing his best to hold a wild and utterly out of control Yasu back from doing who knew what. Hina took over from a grateful Ohkura, smacking Yasu hard across the face to grab his attention as Yoko went to attend to Maru.
“Stop it right now, Yasuda,” Hina growled menacingly, his fangs bared as he tried to deal with Yasu, who still struggled in Ohkura’s arms but no longer screamed in anger. “If you don’t stop going out of control like this we won’t have any choice but to kill you. I am sure Ohkura has told you this before so there’s no excuse for this behaviour!”
Ohkura nodded silently, his arms still around Yasu’s chest as he held him back.
“I did tell him, and I offered to kill him myself if he felt he couldn’t handle it but he said he could... I can’t do this, Hina. He won’t listen to me – he keeps going out of control every time he needs to feed and I don’t understand why. I don’t know what to do...”
Hina knew the admission cost Ohkura a lot, hearing the sadness and frustration behind his words, but he knew they would have to put emotion aside if they were to get anywhere with Yasu right now.
“What happened?” he asked, one eye on Yasu, the other on Yoko, who held Maru carefully as he assessed his condition, looking up at Hina with a nod. It seemed Maru would be fine, but it looked like it had been a narrow escape for them all.
“While I was talking to you and getting some clothes for Maru to wear so we could go and feed, it seems Yasu went out of control and attacked him, knocking him out before I could get to them. I just really don’t understand it. Why does he keep doing this?”
Ohkura seemed close to tears now that the adrenaline was wearing off, the knowledge that this outburst could cost him the one he held most dear upsetting the young vampire. He took it personally that he’d been unable to help Yasu gain control over his vampiric urges; he’d tried his best but his best wasn’t good enough and that was also a huge blow to his ego.
While their attention was diverted, Yasu managed to struggle free of Ohkura’s arms and leapt at Hina who easily dodged the attack. Hitting the wall behind the older vampire with a thump, Yasu turned quickly and warily began to move around the room, avoiding Ohkura as he occasionally tried to attack the others, his eyes fixed on Hina. It enraged the younger vampire that Hina seemed merely amused rather than angry or upset.
“You know something, don’t you?” he snarled, shaking his head a little to clear it when his mind fogged over briefly with hunger. “You know why this is happening to me....”
He didn’t elaborate, just waited patiently for Yasu to exhaust himself on random attacks that more often than not, failed to reach his intended target. When he got too close for Hina’s comfort, the older vampire stepped into the attack and punched Yasu in the stomach, sending him to one knee as he looked up at Hina with red eyes full of fury.
Finally screaming in rage and frustration, Yasu made a final effort and switched tactics, going after Ohkura, who stared at him in shock as he went down with Yasu on top of him. It was just what Hina had been waiting for.
Maru regained consciousness just in time to see Hina grab Yasu and pull him off Ohkura, throwing him to the floor and sitting on him with an odd expression on his face. Sitting up groggily, he looked at Yoko, who pressed a finger to his lips in warning.
“Now if you’re quite through trying to attack us, are you ready to listen?” Hina asked softly, ignoring Yasu’s struggles to get free. When it went on for longer than he felt it should have, he smacked Yasu again, causing the young vampire to stop and look at him, a trickle of blood flowing down the side of his mouth.
“There, that’s better,” he said now that he’d gotten Yasu’s attention. “Yoko, can you take Maru to the living room please? Only Ohkura and I need to hear this....unless Yasu decides at some point that anyone else needs to know.”
Yoko nodded and helped Maru stand up, the youngest vampire’s eyes starting to glow reddish in the afternoon sunlight that filtered through the bedroom window.
“I’ll take Maru out to feed and come back later, shall I?” he replied, leaving with the younger vampire when Hina nodded then turned his attention back to Yasu, who watched him with anger in his eyes.
“I know why this keeps happening and I intend to stop it, but it’s not going to be easy, particularly for Yasuda,” Hina said to Ohkura, ignoring Yasu who was trying to catch his breath, rage still lurking in his gaze as he watched the two older vampires. Ohkura looked startled, then relieved.
“Whatever you can do, I know it’ll be for the best for his sake. I just...” Ohkura sighed, reaching down and taking one of Yasu’s hands, half expecting he’d pull away from him but happy to find he didn’t. “I just wish things were easier for him. He’s already been through enough...”
“I know, but that’s why we have to do this now, while we can. It’s not going to be easy for me either, because I bear part of the blame...”
When Ohkura looked at him sharply, Hina nodded and sighed.
“His parents...I knew them. They were contacts of mine and were giving me information and...Aika found out. Aika is the name of the woman who changed you...and Ryo,” he explained, nodding again at Ohkura’s indrawn breath. He hadn’t known the name of the woman who’d killed him, but hearing it brought all the pain of that time back.
“Despite the lengths I went to in order to keep their identities secret, she found them, and unfortunately I was unable to protect them. Or Yasuda and his sister later on,” Hina went on quietly, his voice cracking. “I sent Subaru but he was too late – she’d already gotten to them and was about to kill Yasuda. He stopped her just in time.”
Hina looked down to see Yasu looking at him with an odd expression on his face, as if the repressed memories were starting to come back to him as Hina explained what had happened.
“I...she...” he whispered, his voice making both Hina and Ohkura wince at the pain he carried.
“Long black hair, with eyes as black as midnight,” Yasu went on, sounding almost as if in the middle of a dream. His eyes glazed over as he began to remember the past he hadn’t known he was repressing.
“She came to the door and I let her in because she said she was a friend of my mother’s...”
“What a pretty little boy you are,” the woman smiled as the young Shota opened the door and stared up at her with curiosity in his large brown eyes. “I bet your parents love you a lot, don’t they?”
Shota smiled and nodded cheerfully.
“Are they home? I need to talk to your mother...I’m an old friend of hers...” she went on as he made no effort to move or invite her in. Nodding again, Shota finally moved away from the door, gesturing for her to enter as he ran to get his parents, shouting boisterously.
“Mama! Papa! A pretty lady is at the door looking for you!” he shouted, oblivious to the panicked looks on his parents’ faces as they realised who their visitor was, too late as she came into the room, a blood-thirsty smile on her face.
“Mitsuru, you really should teach your child to be more careful,” she said softly as Shota belatedly realised that the woman who’d been so nice to him wasn’t actually a friend of his parents at all but an enemy. His mother stood in front of him, her arms going behind her to make sure Shota stayed where he was, whispering to him to stay quiet while his father stood in front of his mother in a protective stance.
“Leave my family out of this,” Shota’s father whispered defiantly as the vampire moved in closer, a knife in his hand. “It’s me you want, so leave Shota and Hiroko alone.”
He slashed at the woman in desperation as she inched ever closer but she was too quick for him, tearing out his throat in front of Shota and his mother’s horrified eyes. Smiling as the blood ran down her chin, she reached for his mother just as Shota ran in front of her, screaming and beating at the woman in an attempt to protect her as best as he could. It was to no avail as a dark shape grabbed him away from the woman in the nick of time.
In anger at being deprived of killing Shota, she slashed at Hiroko, catching her in the stomach with her fist, then pulled her close and sank her fangs into Hiroko’s neck, drinking deeply as Subaru tried without success to stop the young Shota from seeing what had happened to his mother. Suddenly Shota went limp in Subaru’s arms, making it easier for him to kick out and stop the woman before she realised he was there.
“You’ve done enough. Murakami and Yokoyama are on their way here to get you, so you’d better stay right where you are,” he advised warily, still cradling the young Shota.
He was aware of the woman’s hungry eyes on the young boy and made a warning hiss at her to stay away, shocked when she whirled around and disappeared out the door again. Cursing at his bad luck and timing, he waited for Hina and Yoko to come and deal with the mess she’d made, making sure to keep the unconscious boy away from his parents’ bodies.
By the end of Yasu’s hushed narration, both he and Ohkura were in tears. Hina let him up to be cared for by Ohkura who carried him back to the bed and sat on it with him, holding him as they both cried. The older vampire didn’t escape the emotions; he went to sit by the window until he could control his expression again – he still felt terrible over his role in Yasu’s parents’ deaths even though in reality, there wasn’t anything he could have done at the time.
“So...so that was Subaru?” Yasu asked quietly, his voice still choked, but much calmer than he had been. Hina nodded soberly. “I see. So that’s why he seemed familiar to me when I met him later on. But none of this explains why...”
“Actually it does,” Hina replied as he pulled his chair closer to the bed. “Because of the trauma of seeing your parents killed in front of you, and almost dying yourself at the time, you subconsciously have a strong hatred of killing. That’s about the only way I can explain it. Basically this means that in order for you to be able to feed, you need to be almost out of control before you can allow yourself to kill someone. It’s not really a good state to be in, because it’s very easy to turn rogue or get caught. You have to get over it...”
“The only problem we have now is that you need to feed now but we can’t allow you to leave like this. Not when we can’t control you and you can’t control yourself. I bet you’re so hungry right now it’s actually physically painful for you, right?”
Yasu nodded, tears still making streaks down his pale face. Forcing himself to relive those painful memories might have given him insight into why he’d always been against killing, as well as his extreme reactions to death, but he still needed to feed.
“That’s what we thought,” Yoko announced with a small smile on his face as he returned with Maru and another man, unconscious in his arms. “Since we can’t let Yasuda-kun out yet, we thought we’d bring him a little snack...”
Maru rolled his eyes at Yoko’s choice of words and went to sit on the bed beside Yasu, the younger man apologising profusely for attacking him. Waving it off with an easy smile, he took up where Yoko left off.
“Subaru told me something when he was teaching me to hunt last night and I think it might come in handy for you, too,” he said quietly as Yoko deposited the man on the bed and Yasu eagerly began to feed, the blood an incongruous sight on the pretty young man’s face.
“If you have no choice but to do it anyway, you might as well do some good and rid the world of criminals while you’re at it. While it’s not the best solution, it’s at least something...and it’s what I plan to keep doing,” Maru added with a sidelong look at Yoko, who pretended to ignore him. It was clear that they’d argued over it while they’d been gone and that Maru had won, much to Yoko’s obvious chagrin.
Hina nodded, pleased that Subaru had managed to impart some of his values to the youngest vampire. Subaru had been right – Maru was a good man and would be welcome to their little group should he choose to remain with them. He’d have to talk to both Yasu and Maru at some point and explain things fully to them so they understood what they’d be getting themselves into. He did have a few more things to say before he could let them go.
“The other reason I came was to give you some news,” Hina said as Yasu finished, his eyes still red but the signs of overwhelming hunger and need disappearing from his face now that the edge of his hunger had been relieved. “We’ve had a reliable tip that Aika is in Tokyo now, and Yoko and I are going to go after her. Because of the mess Ryo’s made here, I figured we’d all go and give things some time to die down here.”
Yoko glanced at Hina, surprise on his face. Hina hadn’t mentioned any of this to him when they’d been talking but to be fair, they had been interrupted so he hadn’t had the chance. He was eager and willing to get going though; he needed to be active and this was the perfect chance to make it up to them if he could help Hina catch her, once and for all.
(The moment most of you have been waiting for: Yasu wakes up but...)