Chapter 1: rozhdeniye
The Bolshevik's blood was sweet.
Fangs clicking back into place as harmless human canines, the Englishman sighed nostalgically. Like the sweetest, headiest wine.
It was almost a damn shame to drain the Bolshevik nearly dry, but once the Englishman's fangs sank into that pale neck it was easy to lose control, almost as if he were newly turned and sloppy.
Well, the pretty Bolshevik looked a right mess, throat all but mangled with all that blood still gushing out from between the torn ends of his flesh. The distasteful gurgles had quieted somewhat, but the poor sod was still breathing. Shallow and sharp. And by the devil, his heart was still beating.
A fighter, this one.
The Englishman gave him a once-over, lying there in the filthy ground of the alley. His silver hair was obscenely long for a man's, and those pretty eyelashes he'd batted in that inn, out of sight from all the other patrons, were nearly as long as a woman's. He was a student, he'd said in surprisingly fluent English. After that he'd spoken as though he were one of the dozen hardened revolutionaries in the inn, spouting the same slogans they all shouted in the streets before the Czar's men ran them down.
Once the Englishman told the man he was not a Royalist, those blue eyes shone like stars, and the Englishman's suspicions were confirmed. After all, the Bolshevik looked like he was starving for more than just a friendly chat, so it was no use to Glamour him.
Slow, calm blood tasted bland. Fear tasted sour. Rapid, lusting blood tasted like paradise, something the Englishman wasn't going to experience anytime soon. The Bolshevik would, once that stubborn heart stopped its quivering.
And God, its owner had quivered in his arms after some hushed words from the Englishman, leading him to the deserted alley where the human had boldly embraced him, kissing him with a passion that would have been enjoyable were the Englishman not so hungry.
After that it was easy to overpower the poor lad, and he likely didn't even realize it, even as the light left his eyes and the warmth left his body.
It was a memory the Englishman would relish for the next thousand years, at least. Just as with all those other times. Every drop from every human he'd drained down to the last, dead drop.
Ah. He'd spent too much time remembering. He ended up missing that last heartbeat. A shame. The Bolshevik was a lovely one. Almost in an unearthly way. Were their roles reversed, the Englishman might have been the one dying in a filthy alley.
But for now he was drunk on glorious, angelic blood, losing track of how much time had passed. Minutes. Hours. It was all the same to a vampire.
Anyone might have mistaken him and the corpse beside him for two drunks, a single pair out of many in Saint Petersburg.
The Englishman let out a laugh at that, licking the drop of blood that trickled out of his mouth.
Less than a second later his own black blood burst out of his mouth when something sank through his chest, and the smell of silver and burning flesh filled his nose as he stared into the Bolshevik's blue eyes.
The Englishman's last thought was that he could hear no heartbeat.
Chapter 2: chelovek
Well. Terrible days.
I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and their loved ones, as well as taking every precaution possible. We're going to see the end of this. How soon that is depends on us.
Now for the entertainment!
Trigger warnings for BLOOD and VIOLENCE
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Someone threw an expired coupon at me
What a bag of dicks
Are you okay?
Just mad I guess.
And tired and glad it happened right when my shift ended. Made it home okay too.
Good because we're still owed a night O U T
Dancing? At a club? In an attempt to expand your teeny tiny horizons?
Suddenly I wish I'd taken a double shift.
I promise you're going to have SO MUCH FUN
Plus I'll owe you.
Isn't taking me out for dancing and drinks after a shitty shift good enough in terms of paying me back? 😊
You're adorable and you deserve to find a one night stand tonight
I can think of seventy things that are way more likely to happen
Oh stop with the self sabotage and get your ass to Mars
I'll send you the address!! WEAR SOMETHING CUTE
"Holy crap, he's gorgeous."
Phichit was right; he was. The "he" in question being a tall, silver-haired man standing a short distance away with a drink in his hand. He wore a dark gray v-neck under a brown jacket, and jeans that practically hugged long, long legs. And his face. God, his face. People just didn't look like that, not that angelic. Yuuri was blatantly staring at this point, though he was trying his best to figure out if the guy's eyes were gray or blue...
Blue. Definitely blue.
Yuuri had been attracted to a lot of people in his life but this was the first time he actually felt 130% tempted to actually approach that person, like something was actually drawing him in almost physically. If it weren't for the feeling of Phichit's hand on his shoulders Yuuri would've been halfway across the dance floor right now, the pulsing beat vibrating through his feet and up his legs, adding an additional tremor to his already out of control heartbeat.
That felt like the easy part. Walking over like he'd been lassoed would've been awkward enough, especially when he could come up with absolutely nothing to say, just like with every other person he was attracted to. So nights like these usually ended up with him drunk and exhausted from dancing alone, since the awkwardness seemed to radiate off of him enough to keep people at bay, even if they did approach him first.
"Too gorgeous," he murmured, leaning in towards Phichit and managing to drag his eyes away from the silver-haired stranger with the beguiling eyes. Blue. Gray. Something like that. It was going to be hard to tell with all the flashing lights and the fact that the drinks were starting to get to him. Yuuri wasn't a lightweight by any means, but it was easy to test his usually high tolerance when no one really approached him or returned his interest. He took another long sip before adding, "God, he's way out of my league. Most of the people here are." It wasn't all that different from any other time when he and Phichit went out, which wasn't all that often.
He could feel the pity and exasperation from his friend's gaze, even as Yuuri kept his own stubbornly averted. Phichit meant well, but the pity rankled something fierce. Even from someone as close to him as Phichit. "You've got to stop doing that, Yuuri. You need to go out there and make things happen. Just go out on that dance floor, have a beautiful connection with another human being, and get your dick sucked."
And that made his skin prickle even more, but with embarrassment. "Wouldn't that be nice?" he muttered, wondering bitterly how on earth his best friend managed to be so...well, himself, and here was Yuuri, a handful of years older and behaving like he was the younger of the two.
"Yeah, it would!" Phichit exclaimed, giving Yuuri a shake while they both looked in the angel-guy's direction. Yep. He was still holding that drink in his hand, smiling with that gorgeous mouth and those perfect eyes scanning the room like he was looking for someone. Someone who wasn't Yuuri. Phichit went on right in Yuuri's ear, saying in a hiss under the music, "We're supposed to visualize the things we want, right? So visualize running your fingers through that silky, silver hair while he's got those pretty lips wrapped around your-"
"You know, you're welcome to head over there, with all the visualizing you're doing." Yuuri only half meant it as a joke. Yeah, he could easily imagine all of that. In fact he probably would once he was in his own room and under his covers, especially when he walked out of the club alone, like usual, but there was a kernel of truth to his proposition. He knew that Phichit could easily conquer anyone in here. Even leggy guys with pretty eyes.
Phichit sighed and finally released Yuuri's shoulder, taking a sip of his drink before saying casually, "I'm just trying to kickstart a new era in which you don't have to get your rocks off listening to fake whale sounds in guy on guy porn."
This time Yuuri did choke on his drink, and hoped to God no attractive silver-haired guys saw him hurriedly wiping at his chin, his cheeks a flaming red as he stared at Phichit incredulously. "You heard that?!" he exclaimed, mortified even if Phichit had a valid point about...whale sounds.
"Nah, I just watch the same stuff," Phichit said with a shrug. The same qualities that caused such mortification in Yuuri were pretty much the same ones he was always so thoroughly envious of, but Phichit reminded him to have fun, to live his life, as pathetic as it was sometimes. Phichit was his best friend, and Yuuri knew that despite his envy he could never really hate the younger man. "Go ahead, talk to the guy! He looked interested in you too," Phichit said, honestly believing in such a thing, which was another reason why Yuuri loved him so much. That he really believed Yuuri had a chance with someone as attractive as the man they'd been looking at.
And yeah, Yuuri couldn't help but think about what it'd be like to actually stroll towards the guy and confidently ask him if he would like to dance. Yuuri liked dancing, and he was good at it. He'd dance with the other man and allow himself to get distracted by the stimulation of movement enough to ask the man for his name. And while it wouldn't do much good, Yuuri looked up in his direction, wanting at least one more glimpse.
Disappointment hit him harder than it ever had in his entire life when he discovered that the guy had disappeared. "I don't see him anymore."
"Shit...!" Phichit cursed, frowning and glancing around frantically. He quickly set his glass on the bar and gave Yuuri a quick 'stay put' gesture. "Wait here, let me go find him for you!"
"Wait, Phichit-" And Phichit was gone, effortlessly sliding in between the moving bodies on the dance floor while Yuuri was left on his own with only the pounding beat of the music to accompany him.
Well. That and his drink. But that soon disappeared too once Yuuri finished it off, the alcohol numbing his tongue, throat, and mind. It was just as well. The guy seemed to good to be true, and Yuuri hadn't seen any indication of the interest Phichit had claimed to see.
It was a nice fantasy while it lasted, though. To somehow get the most attractive person in the room to dance with him. Only in his dreams.
"Want to dance?"
She appeared out of nowhere and her sudden, unexpected words caused Yuuri to nearly choke on his drink. When he managed not to embarrass himself he hurriedly cleared his throat and gaped at the woman who had appeared in front of him out of nowhere. She was...gorgeous. Her eyes and hair appeared to be the same striking shade of brown, and her hair was long and wavy. It looked like it would be soft to the touch, and her lips were dark red and plump, her smile and gaze inviting as she held a hand towards him while her hips spun in slow circles.
Yuuri couldn't help but stare, his eyes feeling absolutely glued to her. He didn't know how he was supposed to respond, and he was so utterly caught by surprise. No one had ever looked at him like that, like...God, Yuuri was stuck looking at her eyes, and he could see something like hunger in them. What was wrong with him. If anyone was out of his league it was her, with those dark, jewel-like eyes that kept him captivated. Her perfume was indescribable, sweet and flowery, and as captivating as her eyes and her smile. Yuuri felt frozen in the moment, or else he was taking a stupidly long time to answer her. But his tongue felt so numb, way more numb than necessary. He hadn't drunk that much, had he?
He still hadn't answered? What was wrong with his mouth? This girl was incredible and she was asking him to dance. And probably waiting for an answer...After glancing from side to side to make sure she wasn't actually talking to some other person who happened to be next to Yuuri. Oh god. It was just him. She was talking to him and waiting for an answer goddamn it Yuuri open your mouth-
"Uh...Y-yeah!" he managed in a pathetic voice, setting what remained of his drink on the bar and very briefly wondering at his insanely good luck right before she took his hand in a strong grip and effortlessly tugged him towards the dance floor.
He hardly had a chance to stop in his tracks because the lights began to flash and the music started to pound again, and the girl was dancing with such devilish enthusiasm that Yuuri could hardly resist. Mere moments and she'd intoxicated him much faster than the alcohol had, especially with the way she danced so gracefully with that entrancing smile on her face and Yuuri unable to take his eyes away from her.
He loved to dance, he always had. But this, dancing with another person, another warm body, unleashing every emotion trapped in his heart, for once, and he didn't even know this girl's name. But she was dancing with him, close to him, her body practically touching his and setting Yuuri's flesh on fire under his clothes. He'd never danced with anyone like this, and he realized it was a feeling he could get really used to really quickly.
"You're adorable," the girl said, her smile luminous and her voice somehow bright and clear in Yuuri's ears, like she was the only thing his senses could focus on. It certainly felt that way, the way his eyes chased her and lost sight of everything else around him. They were chest to chest now, and Yuuri felt like he could hardly breathe, and when he did his lungs filled with the scent of her perfume. "And such a good dancer."
She put her hands on his shoulders and Yuuri's pulse skipped. He swore that for a brief second she saw her eyes widen, but decided to preoccupy himself with making his tongue work. Swallowing thickly, he somehow made himself heard pathetically over the pounding music and replied, "I-I took a lot of dance classes..."
But her eyes appeared to glow with genuine interest, and she actually dragged her hands down to his chest in a slow movement. "I can tell. Ever think of giving lessons?" she asked, her face very much closer to Yuuri's.
Was she being purposefully coy? People tended to...not notice Yuuri like this girl did. But here she was, her body glued to his and her mouth so close to his. "Me? Uh..."
And he was acting like an idiot. Well fucking done, Yuuri.
"You're really nice too," she added, her arms draped over Yuuri's shoulders.
His hands. This was the part where he had to do something with his hands. Right. Why did everyone else make this look so easy? He couldn't even understand why this girl was dancing with him! "I...haven't really said much."
"Well, the shy guys are always the best ones," she reassured him as he finally put his hands on either side of her waist. "Nice and considerate. And you've got the cutest blush too. Would you freak out if I told you I can hear your heartbeat?"
He had no trouble believing it. In fact he had no trouble believing anything she said because his mind was mush right now as he felt her body under his palms. She was soft and curvy and pretty and she smelled amazing. "I-I'd say you've got some freakishly good hearing?" he answered with an attempt at a grin.
She grinned back, thankfully. "It's a gift."
Yuuri managed a soft laugh and he just...stared at her. What was happening to him? He'd never stared at anyone so...blatantly before, but he couldn't help it. He just couldn't look away from her, and it felt like his body was moving towards her all on its own. And she felt so warm and good against him...
"I'm really glad you decided to dance with me," she said, those luminous eyes gazing right at him. They were a liquid brown so wonderfully warm and inviting...
"I never even got your name," Yuuri finally thought to ask...somewhere in his brain.
She smiled at him and leaned in towards his ear, pressing their bodies much closer as she whispered sweetly, "Do you want to get out of here, Yuuri?"
He didn't have a chance to say anything else, not before Sabrina suddenly drew back and looked right into his eyes.
Then Yuuri felt like there was no need to answer. His mind went blissfully blank, and it was the most glorious feeling, especially with Sabrina's lovely scent surrounding him.
Then it was cold.
The winter air hit him like a slap, harder still than the impact of his back against something solid.
Dazed, Yuuri inhaled sharply and glanced around him in confusion. An...alley?
How did he get here out? Where was Phichit?
Who was this girl standing in front of him?
She cut him off with an effortless shove into the wall, her teeth bared in a grimace as she held him there and said with a hiss, "Sorry. I was getting claustrophobic in there."
Sabrina. That's right. She danced with him. "H-how did we get here?" he asked frantically, still trying to regain his bearings even as her scent assaulted him.
He remembered it all. She was pretty, she'd let him touch her, she was close enough to kiss. Now...fuck, his feet weren't touching the ground. His feet weren't touching the ground, and...God, was she holding him up by the arms? Her smile turned dangerous as she closed the gap between them, her sweet breath filling his lungs as she licked her lips and said, "Does it matter? We're all alone now, cutie. You looked like you wanted me to come and get my hands on you. Wasn't this what you wanted?"
He watched her mouth, watched the unmistakable sight of her white teeth...Holy shit, they were growing longer and...sharper. She was salivating too, and some base instinct of Yuuri's told him that he needed to get loose and run, but he couldn't move, he couldn't even kick her because she felt as solid as a tree...
Fear bled into his thoughts and took over in less than a second. He was in danger, real danger from this girl and if he didn't do something quick...He squirmed, his eyes on her elongated canines and a scream caught in his throat. His heartbeat was painfully rapid and his feet kicked uselessly, and the only thing Yuuri could think to do was try to pull her hands off of him. But that was hopeless. Her arms were like iron.
"Don't ruin it. Look at me and let it happen. Let me hear that heartbeat." A low growl built in her chest as she bared her teeth at him, then the sound melted into a filthy moan as she inhaled deeply. "Wow...Fuck, you smell fucking delicious...I really wanted to have more fun with you, Yuuri, but...I'm just so fucking hungry..."
She opened her mouth wide and Yuuri shut his eyes, still kicking and clawing fruitlessly.
It was the part where he was supposed to watch his life flash in front of him right?
Was it so unremarkable that there was nothing to see?
Another voice. Male this time. It was soft and calm.
Yuuri's eyes shot open to see someone standing behind Sabrina, and it was-
Fuck, it was...The silver-haired guy he'd been staring at earlier.
When had he gotten there?
His eyes, icy blue, were right on Sabrina, who froze with shock and looked over her shoulder with a furious hiss of, "What the fuck? Victor-"
Yuuri briefly spotted a glint of silver before it disappeared between Sabrina's shoulders with a sickening noise, and then Sabrina threw her head back with a choked cry as her bulging eyes pushed out black tears, the same black as...whatever flowed from her mouth and nostrils in the instant before she burst into liquid...nothingness. A gooey puddle of steaming nothing.
Yuuri didn't want to look at it. Well, he couldn't look at it because he fell and ended up landing on his side, hard, in the middle of all the mess of what used to be Sabrina. He frantically crawled away from it, his back hitting a dumpster as short heaving breaths stabbed at his chest, where his scream still lay trapped.
What...in the flying fuck...just happened?
Why was Sabrina trying to fucking eat him? What was the blue-eyed guy (Blue! Fuck, they were blue this whole time!) doing here and where the hell had Sabrina gone because that pile of...of black, steaming gunk couldn't be her?!
Yuuri stared at it, his instincts still screaming at him to get up and run as far away as he could, but he couldn't, it was so cold and his legs didn't want to work...Legs. Long legs clad in jeans, moving towards him.
He looked up and at the man, who held a silver knife in his hand, still steaming with whatever the black substance was. He took it out of view, and he was looking at Yuuri too, with luminous blue eyes, as he crouched in front of Yuuri and asked, "Are you alright?"
Yuuri gaped at him, noticing that his glasses were stained with black sludge. So were his shirt and pants. Because...Sabrina had...
Fuck, she was all over him.
His breathing was a hideous noise, because the other man raised his hands, a fresh and furious burn on the palm that had held the knife, and said soothingly, "Breathe, just breathe. You're safe, you're alright,"
Yuuri didn't scream, but there was no disguising the terror he felt when he flinched away from the man and exclaimed in hushed tones, "You...you killed her!"
The man went still very briefly, his gentle smile fading for a moment before it brightened again and he said, "Yes, I did." He got to his feet and fluidly tugged Yuuri up as well, making sure he could stand upright before releasing him. The movement caught Yuuri off-guard, but he managed to stay on his feet. He would've darted away had settling realization not kept him frozen. The man added almost sheepishly, "I'm sorry, I had no choice but to do it now, out of sight."
Out of...Mother of God, was he serious?! "Why? Why?! She was...How could you do that?!"
She was...She was just dancing and smiling at Yuuri one moment, and then...And then the next she was slamming Yuuri against a wall and salivating like she wanted to eat him.
What the hell was going on.
He was still breathing hard and fast, and he was seconds from bolting out of the alley to...anywhere but there when the man raised his hands again and said in that infuriatingly calm voice, "Listen to me. I know what this looks like, but think for a moment. Do people usually explode in showers of black blood when they get stabbed?"
No. No they didn't. Yuuri quickly glanced down at the mess around him, on him. "It...It is black."
"Yes it is," the other man confirmed, looking over his own shoulder and at some spot behind Yuuri. The cold wind tousled his silver hair, but he wasn't shivering. "She wasn't human. I'm sorry, but she lured you out here with the intent to drink your blood. I would have gotten rid of her earlier, but I couldn't risk every other human in the club witnessing that. It's not easy to Glamour that many people at once."
Every other human...Sabrina wasn't human.
Yuuri stared at the man for several moments before letting out an incredulous huff and exclaiming in a crazed voice, "What good does that do me?!"
"Oh. No good at all, I suppose!" the man realized, as though it were a total surprise. He clicked his tongue and reached into his pocket for a fucking. Plastic pack. Of tissues. "You're a mess, and you must be freezing. I'm sorry about that,"
He tore the pack open and tugged out a tissue, then began to gently clean the worst of the mess on Yuuri's face.
Yuuri flinched at the touch, but it warmed him too, oddly enough. His face certainly felt warmer. "Drink my blood," he said quietly as the man took his glasses to wipe them clean on his own shirt. "You're...you're telling me she was a vampire?!"
Holy shit, he'd actually said it, hadn't he?
But it couldn't be true, right? Less than thirty minutes ago Yuuri was worrying about being a virgin at twenty-three and now it turned out that there was such a thing as blood-sucking vampires?!
Next to that, Yuuri's worries seemed so stupid and meaningless. But...shit, life was normal five minutes ago!
Yet here he was, covered in black blood and getting his face cleaned up by a...vampire slayer?
"I know, it sounds unbelievable. But unfortunately all too real," the man remarked casually as he took his jacket off and covered Yuuri's trembling shoulders with it. Yuuri's cheeks warmed even more at the feel of it. It was...warm, and it smelled nice. Like roses. It distracted him enough that he almost didn't hear the man add, "I've been hunting her for a couple of weeks and she finally made a mistake tonight. I shouldn't have let it get as far as it did, though. I'm sorry...Uh...what is your name?"
"I-it's Yuuri," he managed to say, his throat feeling dry and his heart beating very painfully.
"My name is Victor," his savior replied quietly. Then he carefully took Yuuri's face in his hands and brought his own in very close. Yuuri gasped in surprise but couldn't flinch away, not when his gaze felt caught in Victor's very, very blue one. Then Victor said very softly, "Don't worry, I'll make it so you never have to remember this again-"
Roses. Roses in his lungs and blue eyes, dominating Yuuri's vision. It was that same blissful sensation as..
Yuuri gasped and tore both himself and his gaze away, demanding, "Wait, stop! What do you mean?!"
Victor looked about as shocked as Yuuri felt, his empty palms in the air. "...I'm going to erase that from your memory."
"No!" Yuuri shouted, clutching the jacket to his body as the cold threatened to penetrate into his bones. "That...That's what she did, right? To bring me out here?"
He couldn't remember getting here. He couldn't remember consciously following her. No, he was just...lost in her eyes and suddenly she was...
...She tried to kill him.
Victor lowered his hands, his smile disappearing. "...Yes."
Fuck..."That means...You're like her too?"
Victor looked away very briefly, then looked right at Yuuri and said, "I am. But I won't hurt you. Now, just let me-"
"Please...Please, don't," Yuuri begged, taking a step back and clutching Victor's jacket harder. "Don't, I swear, whatever just happened, I swear I won't tell anyone! Just...please don't...I'm begging you."
It didn't make sense. It would be...normal to want to forget something like this, right?
He should've been begging Victor to make him forget, to let him live out his life as a normal person who didn't know that vampires existed.
Someone who wasn't inches away from dying.
But then again that wouldn't be the truth. It still would have happened.
She would have still...just done that to him so easily, digging into his mind and making him obey her whim.
No. It didn't make sense. He wanted to forget it, of course. Just forget he'd ever danced with a girl named Sabrina. A vampire.
A vampire like Victor.
Fuck, he was confused. Scared shitless. Fucking terrified and overwhelmed and he wasn't thinking straight at all, but...God, the world had just turned upside down and it was going to stay upside down whether or not Yuuri remembered it. After all he was just one person in the whole mess of things. One human.
And Victor was looking at him with such surprise, those eyes appearing to be drinking in the sight of Yuuri as he processed just what he'd said, and after Yuuri had had several moments to change his mind over and over about whether or not he wanted his memory wiped, Victor quietly said, "...Alright."
Yuuri would have time to regret it later, because he supposed their minds were made up.
Why did he feel relieved? Because he didn't have to choose now?
"Let me take you back inside-"
"I can't go back in there," Yuuri quickly said, stepping away again and shaking his head.
"You came in with another man. Is he your boyfriend?"
That almost made Yuuri laugh. It wasn't the first time someone assumed that. "My...my friend. He's my best friend. Phichit."
He heard Victor exhale before he asked, "Do you want me to go find him? I'll be quick."
Yuuri could only manage a couple of nods, and looked up at Victor, who looked him over carefully before nodding and quickly making his way out of the alley.
Yuuri heard a door open and heard muffled music, and felt relieved that Sabrina hadn't taken him far.
Oh. Right. He was standing in a puddle of Sabrina.
He exhaled raggedly and leaned against the wall, feeling suddenly dizzy and disgusted at the mess around him and on him. "Vampire," he muttered, dragging a hand over his face. "Vampire..."
He kept going over it in his head but it didn't make anything better. Sabrina was still dead. She'd still tried to kill him and she'd exploded in a shower of black blood because Victor stabbed with a silver knife.
God, it was cold. Yuuri wanted a bath. He wished he were back home. Home home, with its hot springs and delicious katsudon and the room he'd grown up in...
That was Phichit.
His voice dragged Yuuri out of his thoughts, and he turned to see his friend running towards him with Victor following closely. Phichit's eyes were full of fear that was giving way to relief but also shock at the state Yuuri was in. "Yuuri, are you okay? Fuck, you weren't at the bar and I couldn't find you! What happened?! What's that on your pants?"
"I...don't know," he answered, realizing that Victor's jacket wasn't long enough to cover the black stains on this pant legs.
Phichit exhaled, looking satisfied that Yuuri could at least stand upright and respond. "He said you came out here with a girl. Where..." His eyes went wide and he urgently asked, "Did she do something? Are you alright?"
"I'm okay," Yuuri replied, making an effort to keep his voice from shaking. "Victor helped me."
He looked up at the taller man, whose eyes were right on him. It felt like a hundred questions were passing between them, ones they couldn't really ask in front of Phichit. Not after Yuuri had promised to keep quiet about everything that had just happened. Phichit turned towards Victor and exclaimed, "Holy shit, thank you so much!"
"I'm glad I could help," Victor said with a bright smile.
"Should we call the cops, though? What did she look like?" Phichit asked, hurriedly looking between the two of them.
"We dealt with her and she won't be hurting anyone," Victor told him before lifting his eyes towards Yuuri again. "Are you sure you're feeling alright, Yuuri?"
"Y-yeah..." He could hear the silent question, and nodded in silent answer to it. He'd promised after all...and he wasn't about to break a promise to a fucking vampire. "Yeah. Thank you, Victor."
The other man gave him such a warm smile that it shook Yuuri to the core. "It was no problem." He stepped towards Yuuri, who somehow stayed put, and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, slowly running it down his arm. "You two should call a ride. Good night, and get home safe."
He said it so softly that Yuuri's voice caught. He even forgot to nod as he stared at Victor as he turned around and walked away, rounding the corner and going out of sight.
It was just him and Phichit, standing there dumbstruck. "...Yuuri, what the hell happened out here?" Phichit asked, worry in his voice.
He couldn't say anything. Not to Phichit. All Yuuri could do was stare at the spot where Victor had disappeared and clutch his jacket closer.
Oh. He still had Victor's jacket. And it smelled just like Victor. "...I have no idea..."
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Take care, everyone.
Chapter 3: sekret
His clothes were ruined and there was no incinerator in sight, and he wasn't about to start a fire anywhere in or near his apartment. All he could do was try and figure out some way to hide them, not wanting to even look at them after tearing them off his body. He couldn't just toss them into the trash, looking the way they did. It wasn't...red blood, but the texture was sure to call someone's attention. He couldn't think of any other solution. Not now, not when everything was still so vividly fresh in his mind.
Someone had tried to kill him. Hypnotized him to lure him out to...to fucking drain his blood.
Yuuri couldn't believe he actually had to accept that it had happened. He'd danced with her, he wanted to dance with her and keep staring into her beautiful face...Or maybe that had all been a trick too.
Maybe he'd just made it all too easy for her to hypnotize him.
He was leaning on the sink, clad in only his boxers. He'd wrapped his ruined clothes in an old towel and thrown them into a plastic bag until he could figure out what he was going to do with them. And that only got harder every minute that Phichit stood outside the bathroom insisting on talking to Yuuri about what had happened to him.
"I still don't get why we shouldn't get the cops involved!" Phichit demanded, bringing it up for what felt like the hundredth time while Yuuri's entire worldview just imploded. "It doesn't matter that it was a girl who attacked you-"
"Phichit! It's not that!" Yuuri nearly shouted. Had that been the case, the only case, he would have called the police the moment it was safe to do so. His hands were so clammy and the shower had barely done anything to warm his body up. He still felt so cold and fucking scared out of his mind-
"Then what is it? Because all we've got to go on is that guy Victor's word that she wasn't going to be trouble-"
Yuuri slammed his palm against the sink (ow) and hurriedly opened the door to glare at Phichit, who glared right back. Still, Yuuri shot back, "You've got my word too. I was there."
Phichit kept frowning at him, just as defiant. "Your shirt and jeans were a mess too, and you looked terrified as fuck!" His frown then softened after a few moments of stubborn silence from Yuuri, and he quickly asked, "Was it Victor? Was he the one who-"
"No! No, Phichit he..." Yuuri sighed, realizing how stiff his shoulders were as he remembered how Victor had helped him. Every gentle word out of the man's...vampire's mouth. One vampire wanted to kill him, and the second..."He saved me. He didn't do anything to hurt me, okay? I'm not lying! He told you the truth. There's no fucking way she's ever going to hurt anyone again."
He couldn't tell Phichit the entire truth, and the guilt of that gnawed at him and cooled his irritation. Phichit was his first friend in the U.S., and was always so good and honest and kind. But...Yuuri had promised Victor, and he was sure to sound crazy if he mentioned vampires and the fact that Sabrina was dead. Hell, the 'dead' part would really scare Phichit, and Yuuri honestly didn't know how he'd react to hearing how Yuuri's mysterious savior had killed someone.
"Did he kidnap her?" Phichit then asked point-blank.
"No," Yuuri answered, as straight-faced as he could. That was the truth, at least. There hadn't really been much left of Sabrina to kidnap...Unless she being splattered all over Yuuri's clothes counted as kidnapping after he went home...
Morbid. Ew. And gross.
Phichit stared at him before nodding slowly, still frowning slightly. "Okay. There's something he did to her...And he saved you. But you're not telling me what."
The guilt stung again, but...the truth was too much to handle and while something inside Yuuri screamed at him to share it with Phichit so he could feel a little less crazy. "I promised I wouldn't," Yuuri said in a small voice, knowing how worthless that sounded.
"So you're afraid of him?"
Victor was a vampire too, just as capable of killing Yuuri as Sabrina had been. Yet he hadn't. Not when he had Yuuri to himself in that alley. It was...confusing. And yet, Yuuri was alive. Victor had saved him and let him go home and live. And he hadn't...Glamoured the memories out of Yuuri's mind merely because Yuuri begged him not to. "...I don't have a reason to be afraid of him. He saved my life, Phichit."
The younger man looked more worried than irritated now, but Yuuri's stubborn silence won out in the end and Phichit sighed in defeat. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be freaking out on you, it's just...I got so scared when you disappeared and then he came and told me you were in the alley and you looked like that..."
He looked like he was about to cry, which had Yuuri feeling all the more ashamed. He tore himself away from the painful look on Phichit's face and dug into his drawer to find a shirt and pull it on. He took a deep breath and finally looked up at Phichit. "I'm sorry I scared you."
"Hey, that wasn't your fault," Phichit replied with a weak smile. "I shouldn't have forced you to go out dancing."
"It wasn't the dancing...That was the fun part. Until my dance partner ended up trying to kill me."
A wry laugh burst out of Phichit's mouth and Yuuri couldn't help smirking. Then the younger man asked, "Why though? Was it for your wallet? Maybe she wanted to extort your parents? It's happened to mine before. They got a call telling them I was in jail in Singapore."
"Yeah, that was probably it." It was the easiest explanation, even if it was a total lie.
Phichit reached over and put a hand on Yuuri's shoulder, giving it a comforting squeeze. "Are you okay?"
Yuuri shrugged, feeling that familiar discomfort rise at the focus on him, on the reminder of his fear, his weakness. If it were anyone else but Phichit he would have violently shoved their hand off of him. "I'm just glad it's over. And...is it crazy that I'm kind of angry at myself for not asking for Victor's phone number after all of that?" he added with a grin, reminding his stubborn, idiot self that Phichit was his best friend. He was just trying to help, to be a good friend. And even if he couldn't leap to Yuuri's defense the way he wanted to, maybe they could move on and laugh about it at least.
Phichit's laugh sounded genuine. "Just a little. Listening to you talk about it, he does sound really heroic. He even gave you his jacket!"
Right. The warmest jacket Yuuri had ever worn was slung on the back of Yuuri's desk chair. "...Yeah, I know I need to give it back-"
"No, no, I mean that was a sick, romantic ass move! And he made sure you were okay and everything!"
Yuuri stared at Phichit incredulously. "A minute ago you wanted to call the cops on him!"
Phichit's smile became utterly sincere, which made Yuuri feel even worse. "I trust your judgment, Yuuri. I know you're not the fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants type."
But he was the type to keep the existence of vampires a secret from his best friend.
Chapter 4: mechtat'
Hands squeezed around his throat, cutting off his air.
His hands felt like flying bands of cloth, ineffective against whatever held him. At the same time they weighed so much, Yuuri could barely move them.
Whoever held him just tightened their hold on him, and he smelled metal. Rust. Blood.
And under it all, the scent of roses.
Then he fell-
And landed in his bed with a short scream.
Yuuri panted harshly in the darkness, his heart racing painfully.
He saw...nothing. Just darkness.
He heard his own violent breaths and...whimpers. Soft whimpers. He felt something small and soft land beside him.
Vicchan. Right. That was Vicchan cambering on his lap and frantically licking at his jaw.
Yuuri trembled. He stayed that way for several moments that seemed to last forever before he exhaled shakily and wrapped his arms around Vicchan, squeezing him and burying his face between his ears as he tried to get himself under control.
Vicchan's fur smelled like strawberries.
Yuuri had tried to calm himself down earlier that evening by giving Vicchan a bath. And it worked. It was supposed to have worked.
Yuuri sighed and kissed the poodle's forehead. "Good boy," he murmured, feeling like there was an ongoing earthquake in his chest.
With his other hand he reached for his phone, turning the lamp on until everything was halfway illuminated. He could see Vicchan in front of him, and imagined he could see worry in his black eyes.
Without a word, Yuuri untangled himself from his sheets and walked on half-steady feet towards the chair where the jacket had hung for the last week.
Yuuri sat in that chair. He didn't take the jacket and throw it over his shoulders. No, he wasn't going to resort to that, because...
He sighed. Victor was a vampire. And you just...didn't wear a vampire's jacket.
But it still smelled like roses. No blood. Just roses.
Insomnia wasn't conducive towards a shift gone well at a popular retail store, especially during a huge sale and a coupon event.
At least he had the weekend off.
But Yuuri had somehow survived and made it to the end of his shift, pain well-settled on top of pain as his nervous exhaustion bled into his muscles. Work was a good enough routine that he could feel somewhat normal, at least until his traitorous memory brought back a sight, a sensation.
That wretched bell of knowledge that had been rung, telling him that there were dangerous things out there that were apparently never bound to fantasy. Vampires were real, and they were evidently hunting among humans, and Yuuri had almost been killed by one.
It was a miracle that his fear hadn't led him to mess up at the register.
Adding to his exhaustion was the convenient mask he could put on when speaking to customers, turning Yuuri into a people-pleaser who wanted to get through each transaction as quickly as possible so he could avoid potentially volatile situations that would probably make him want to die. When he clocked out and got his jacket on he felt a minimal amount of tension trickle out of him, but he was still too jumpy and tired to feel like a normal human.
How the hell was he supposed to feel normal when he'd narrowly survived a murder attempt?
That alone would be enough to tear anyone's mental stability apart, but here he was coping with that and all the wretched knowledge that came with it.
He felt like everywhere he went there were unwanted eyes looking at him the way hers had.
And it wasn't as if he would have...readily chosen just to follow her out. Right?
He was almost certain he wouldn't have. Not even for her pretty face.
When Yuuri managed to find his way out of the store and walk down a few blocks, he shivered from the cold and the utter disregulation of his body, his skin burning with pain and his stomach clenching like he wanted to throw up.
Hopefully he was worn out enough that he'd pass out as soon as he got home and hopefully not endure more nightmares that heavily featured blood and fangs...
The voice was familiar and musical in the cold night air, and Yuuri recalled the rosy smell on the jacket still slung over a chair in his apartment.
He also remembered the feeling of hot, black blood soaking his clothes, and the terror of not knowing how he'd gotten in that alley where Sabrina had gone from alluring girl to ravenous beast. Yuuri stopped breathing and looked up, mind knocked out of its wallowing state as he realized he'd nearly walked into the silver-haired man--vampire--who had saved him.
...And had also let him go without poking into his mind to erase his memories. Victor was smiling at Yuuri like they were old friends, looking every bit as lovely as the moon that shone behind him. The wind tousled those silky bangs that hung over one eye, and Yuuri almost let that perfect sight lull him into forgetting that there was an honest to god vampire standing in front of him. He blamed fear and exhaustion for making him blurt out, "Oh my god, you're here to kill me."
Victor's eyes widened comically and he broke into a breezy laugh that sent a burst of warmth into Yuuri's chest. "No, I'm came here to buy a coat and pay for it with my coupons," he said, gesturing towards the building lying a few blocks away with an open palm that bore a vivid burn scar.
Yuuri stared at it, still feeling clammy throughout his body as his brain struggled to catch up and articulate his thoughts. Vampires weren't supposed to have scars, right? Especially not ones that looked fresh.
What the hell, why was he suddenly engaging in an internal debate when living--uh...undead?--proof of the existence of the supernatural was standing right in front of him, looking at him with that angelic face that looked so human even when Yuuri had seen that very same man slaughter another of his kind. "I..."
There were a million questions whirling around in his tired mind. Curiosities, terrors, and an odd fascination that rooted him to the spot, caught in the sight of Victor's very blue eyes. He was so tired and entranced, even without whatever ability vampires apparently had that made minds go blank and become susceptible to suggestion. But...Victor had saved his life, and Yuuri had barely thanked him. But he was definitely a creep when it came to the man's jacket.
Apparently taking his silence for fear, Victor's expression softened and he said, "I didn't plan on running into you tonight. Trust me. I'm not going to hurt you." He then gave Yuuri a...rather slow once-over, one that made the younger blush. Then Victor said lightly, "You look terrible."
On second thought, Yuuri wanted to die. Definitely. Because that was just what he needed to hear right about now, especially from an attractive man. "I haven't...really slept well since--"
The garbage bin in the nearby alley exploded.
Well, not really. Something had just hit it with explosive force, the noise making Yuuri jump back with a short scream as he turned towards the commotion and found himself staring again.
There were two of them; one tall and strong and the other scrawny and feral-looking, and somehow the scrawny one was winning, straddling his bigger opponent with fierce, enraged growls. His eyes were a burning green, and his hair was a fine yellow color, long and messy as he fought and snarled, the smell of burning flesh cutting through the air.
His arm flew up and Yuuri caught the glint of a sharp knife, much like the one Victor had used that night. The man under the boy hissed and fought still, but the boy was faster, arm racing down through the air.
It was probably instinct that told Yuuri to shut his eyes before the inevitable happened, because he immediately smelled blood again, and heard the cut off scream before the splatter.
"Yuri!" he heard Victor shout, and he froze, eyes flying open and his heart racing painfully as he took in the nightmare in front of him.
The boy, every inch of him covered in blood, was staring right at him, those eyes bright and defiant and enraged. His white teeth were bared in a snarl as he hissed, "Who the fuck is this?!"
Chapter 6: monstry
Welcome back to Dark Paradise, loves!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yuuri was moving.
Fast. Faster than he ever thought possible. But he didn't realize it himself. More like his body realized it before his brain did, and when it finally caught up Yuuri couldn't catch enough breath to scream.
"VICTOR, FUCKING WAIT!"
That kid. From a second ago. He was screaming.
Yuuri was screaming too, clinging to Victor's neck as they flew, faster than Yuuri once thought possible. Yes, this was Victor. He'd grabbed Yuuri moments before and they were flying through the air.
No. Not quite right. Yuuri felt the pumping of Victor's legs below and realized the vampire was running.
And of course as soon as Yuuri realized that, Victor came to a sudden stop, holding on to Yuuri tightly, a hand curled over his head to stop the sudden snap.
Yuuri held on even tighter then, the entire world spinning while he clung to the rock-solid body, trying so fucking hard to breathe normally, but he was 100% sure he was going to be sick.
"Are you alright?" a soft voice asked in that lilting accent, and Yuuri smelled the roses again. He shook, all of him shook, as he drew his head back while holding on to the long and pale neck of the man holding him in a bridal carry with a sure and careful grip. His head still whirling, Yuuri forced himself to hold on to that familiar face as an anchor point.
And those blue eyes. They were beautiful and captivating as ever. And they were holding Yuuri in their depths like mirrors as their owner smiled at Yuuri like he had less than a few minutes ago. "I don't get a lot of chances to run at my natural speed with a human in tow."
Right. The vampire thing.
Would it be completely pathetic of him to pass out immediately?
He tore himself away from those eyes, his arms trembling over Victor's shoulders. "...Can you please put me down?" he asked in low tones, his face on fire.
"Yeah, put him down and glamour him, you idiot!" a familiar voice snarled from behind Victor. Yuuri's head quickly spun towards the source, and spotted the same blood-spattered boy from before, looking at him with such rage that Yuuri almost stopped breathing again. "If you won't, I'll do it."
Victor then set Yuuri down, hands lingering along his body as he regained his balance on shaking legs. Yuuri found himself holding on to the man's arms, in spite of himself, and stared at the boy as his pulse raced. Fuck, he had to get it under control somehow, because they could hear it. But he realized what the boy had threatened, and wanted to run.
He'd run like a rabbit, and he'd be caught. One or both would catch him and he'd be as dead as...as Sabrina.
But then Victor turned his back on Yuuri, facing the boy and speaking in an iron-like voice, "You'll do no such thing, Yuri."
"Why the fuck not? Either you glamour him or try to turn him."
"Because I won't let you," Victor said, taking three steps towards the boy he called Yuri, Yuuri finding himself trailing after him and carefully watching the boy's expression as his heart kept stupidly racing. Then suddenly Victor's hand flashed forward and he was holding Yuri's chin in his hand, the grip hard as a vice and practically lifting the boy onto the tips of his toes. "And you know what will happen if you challenge me, Yura."
Yuuri saw...Yuri's lip lift in a growl as he glared at Victor like he wanted nothing more than to tear into his throat, and to Yuuri's horror the smell of burning flesh filled the air. He looked and found that Yuri was gripping a silver knife, similar to Victor's, and it was...burning him. "Hey!" Yuuri suddenly exclaimed, darting forward and grabbing the boy's wrist. "Let it go, you're hurting yourself!" he urged.
Yuri snarled at him too, and Victor shook him a little with a growl of his own. "Put it away Yuri. Your fangs too."
The fangs disappeared with a click, and Yuri reluctantly stowed it into the inside of his jacket. Victor finally let him go, and Yuri lifted a hand to rub his jaw while glaring at Victor balefully. "Since when do you keep a pet human, Victor?"
"Don't be rude, Yura," Victor scolded, like a parent scolding an unruly child and not a...a vampire, covered in black blood. Victor then turned his smiling face towards Yuuri, pointed at Yuri and said, "Yuuri, this is my ward, Yuri!"
"Wait, what the fuck." Yuri's glare hardened. "We've got the same fucking name?"
"...It's pronounced differently," Yuuri mumbled nervously. Was he really discussing the subject of names with a vampire in public?
Oh. Yuuri gave his surroundings a once over and realized they weren't exactly in public. No. An empty lot behind a disused factory. He knew this spot, as it was close enough to the store and one area that explorers were particularly keen on.
Victor looked at Yuri again and smiled sweetly, reaching up to playfully poke his cheek. "That job back there? Terrible. Appalling. You're lucky no one else saw it, Yura. I managed to hide the remains of my first kill when I was freshly turned, and you can't even do that without chasing them down like a farmer chasing a crazed chicken."
First kill. Yuuri's jaw dropped as he stared at Victor, his heart racing again at the casual reminder that he was very much a killer. And he was critiquing Yuri's actions like he was grading the kid's homework.
"The fuck got the jump on me," Yuri snarled, peering down at the ruined front of his jacket with dismay. "The job's done anyway. You're really gonna bitch over some property damage and a shitty human you won't glamour?"
Yuuri tensed at that word again. Glamour. The hypnosis Victor could have put him through the first night they met. But he didn't. Not after seeing how much the idea horrified Yuuri.
That night...his clothes had been ruined then, and when he looked down he realized they were in nearly the same state all over again. "I'm...I've got...vampire blood on me again."
"So you do," Victor murmured, touching his bottom lip thoughtfully as he looked at them both. He then snapped his fingers with a wide smile that almost looked like a heart. "I've got just the thing!" He turned to Yuuri and gave him a bow worthy of an aristocrat or something, still beaming at Yuuri. "If you don't mind the exhilarating ride again, I'm happy to open my home to you so you can relax, have a change of clothes, and get some answers at no risk to your safety. What do you say, Yuuri?"
His eyes twinkled as he made the offer, and the lizard brain instincts that kept one alive were screaming at Yuuri to say no and run away, because Yuri still looked like he wanted to kill him.
...But he didn't want to exactly walk a long way back to the bus stop at night with his clothes looking like he took a dip in the evil black goo from Star Trek. "O-okay," he said hesitantly, his lizard brain instantly letting him know just how stupid he was.
Victor looked like Yuuri had just made his night while Yuri let out an irritated groan.
Chapter 7: rasskazy
The scariest thing Yuuri had ever faced before that fateful night in the alley next to the club were the demanding Karen-types who came into the store every day and somehow managed to all end up at his register right before closing. They would reduce Yuuri to terrible mumbles and ensure that the rest of his night was as miserable as possible, condemning him to reliving the dreadful interactions for days afterward.
At least Karens weren't vampires.
He was only slightly less terrified tonight, after experiencing that exhilarating sensation of flying through the air tethering himself to Victor's solid, strong body. Phichit would have had a damn field day, seeing Yuuri clinging to some god with unbelievably sexy hair and legs. Or maybe he wouldn't have been able to see Yuuri, since he supposed the three of them were reduced to mere blurs as they raced to the Detroit suburbs.
Yuuri had kept his eyes shut tightly through the entire ordeal, his glasses tucked safely into his pockets as he clung to Victor and flew, moving faster than he'd ever thought possible without the aid of a fucking jet engine. And once again, Victor was holding him securely, his palm cradling Yuuri's head securely.
He still smelled like roses. Yuuri couldn't help but think of that, even now, when he was covered in blood and just a tiny bit worried about what he was getting himself into, accepting an invitation to a vampire's lair...in the suburbs of Detroit.
So he was more than a bit surprised to find himself in front of a regular-looking house once Victor and the other Yuri slowed to a gradual stop. Still perched in Victor's arms, Yuuri asked in a quiet, shaky voice, "...This is where you live?"
"We rented out the castle with the coffins and chains, so we're stuck here in the meantime," he heard Yuri drawl beside him before the lanky teenager trudged in the direction of the front door. "Get him inside before the neighbors peek outside and think you murdered him."
Yuuri froze at the jest, and then felt Victor's hands tighten on him for just a split second, oddly warm for someone who was supposed to be undead...He turned to look at Victor, who was already facing him with a lovely, calm expression that made Yuuri forget to breathe for a few seconds. He was close enough that Yuuri could see just how fine those silver lashes were. "He's an awful tease," Victor said with a sudden smile, like they were just normal people having a casual conversation. "We blend in and our neighbors mind their business. So we don't need old decrepit castles in the woods."
"Right," Yuuri murmured, blushing when he realized he was staring right into those blue eyes. He tore his gaze away and asked in a pathetic voice, "Could you...put me down, please?"
Maybe it was just his imagination, but he swore he felt Victor's hands squeeze him again before the other man set him down. To his embarrassment, Yuuri almost stumbled after landing on solid ground, but Victor was right there, steadying him with sure hands beneath his shoulders, and there again was the rosy scent that made Yuuri's head swim.
At least he was aware of what was happening this time. Yeah. That train of thought only led to memories of another terrifying night when he ended up covered in black blood. Victor gestured in the direction Yuri had taken off in, saying brightly, "After you."
This was usually the part where lightning tore through the sky and thunder shook the earth. And maybe a wolf howled just as the Mystery Machine pulled up.
"This is...a long way from my neighborhood," Yuuri commented idly once Yuri unlocked the door and kicked it open, leading the way in to a very warm and well-lived in place, as though an entire family lived here.
And indeed, there was an incredibly candid-looking photograph of Victor, Yuri, and two other young people in different poses framed in the living room above a blue couch. One was a beautiful redhead and the other was a man with black hair and a much-too serious expression compared to the other three who were mugging for the camera. "Friends of yours?" Yuuri asked Victor.
"Mila and Georgi. They live here too," Yuri threw over his shoulder as he started to take off his blood-spattered jacket. He glowered at Victor and added, "Hey, when you said that shit about a change of clothes, you didn't mean mine, right?"
Victor shut the door behind him and waved the young man off. "Off with you, you little Batbrat. Before all that blood gets on my floors," he ordered, smiling brightly when Yuri answered by flipping him off before stalking off up the stairs.
"Er...He has a point," Yuuri said, still a bit dazed. "What did you mean about a change of clothes?" Suddenly he was self-conscious about getting blood on the carpet even though he wasn't as much of a mess as Yuri was.
Victor turned that smile on him, making him forget to breathe again. Then he nodded his head towards the stairs and said with a wide smile, "I meant you could put on something of mine! After you take advantage of my shower and body wash, of course."
Lizard brain: ACTIVATED.
Yuuri could only stare at Victor, feeling his face burn up while his brain did the absolute minimum and Victor stared at him with that goofy-looking expression while poking his forehead. "Did you hear me, Yuuri?"
Vampires had pets too. And normal suburban houses that were clearly out of any normal twenty-year-old's price range.
Whatever. Yuuri could forget about the latter when he was half-heartedly fighting off what appeared to be Vicchan's larger doppelganger while a beautiful-looking siamese cat sniffed in his direction with curious, wide eyes. Victor introduced them as Makkachin and Potya, and apparently Yuuri had interrupted their sleep on Victor's bed when he went in there to receive whatever clothes Victor picked out for him and hurriedly put them on while the vampire stepped out for a minute.
Going from vampires and monster gore to cute animals was a total 180 from how the evening had been going, and Yuuri very much appreciated it, especially when his brain and heart were still recovering from the simple facts that he:
(a) got naked in Victor's shower
(b) used Victor's body wash to get rid of the vampire...gunk
(c) he was standing in Victor's bedroom, which had a bed, a desk and a chair, a well-stocked closet, and a damn bookshelf
(d) was wearing Victor's clothes. Specifically sweatpants that barely fit and a long-sleeve shirt that fit very loosely around Yuuri's shoulders.
At least the thing wasn't slipping off, but Yuuri didn't have the shoulders to fill this thing out properly, though it was a slightly tight fit over his belly. He looked up at Victor, at those broad shoulders specifically as he stood leaning against the door frame, watching the poodle and cat gang up on Yuuri. "Well, you certainly look like you're about to get comfortable," Victor quipped.
This could have been a normal night. Yuuri, in Victor's bedroom, wearing his clothes...Well, not quite normal. Being in another man's bedroom was definitely a first. "...Thanks for this, but I should really give this back to you as soon as possible. A-and your jacket too."
The jacket that smelled amazing, and helped keep the nightmares at bay. That reminded him of feeling safe during the worst night of his life, even if he was still so shocked and terrified. His life hadn't been in danger tonight, so this meeting was already a step up from the last time. Victor snorted softly and waved a hand, saying, "The jacket's the least of my worries right now. One of my wards is hopeless at his job and it looks like your luck is bad enough that you keep getting caught in the middle of a hunt."
Hunt. Was that what he called what happened on both nights? "So...you're some kind of hunter?" Yuuri asked dryly, frowning as Makkachin finally settled down and placed his head on his lap. "You hunt vampires?"
He watched Victor's smile fade the slightest bit, his shoulders briefly going stiff before he gave an emphatic nod. "We certainly do. Well, I hunt. Yuri scampers and makes messes, as you can see."
Just...how much of life as he knew it was total bullshit? He shook his head in disbelief, trying to put together this new information and everything he'd gone through. He knew Victor had killed Sabrina, saving his life, but he hadn't thought about why. After all, vampires drank human blood. "Why...why would you hunt your own kind?" Yuuri asked, dragging his hand through his hair as a cold sweat ran down his back.
Victor's eyes darkened slightly, though he was still smiling as he shrugged and explained in a light tone, "Because I don't believe in slaughtering innocent humans for food, and certainly not in making a sport of it. I was turned by a vampire who decided to do just that one night, a very long time ago."
"...How long ago?"
Those eyes dimmed, like he was caught up in an awful memory. "...More than a hundred years ago now," he said with a tired grin.
So...not quite a twenty-something year old. Yuuri felt his heart race again as he processed that bit of information. "I...S-sorry, I just...You're over a century old?!"
For a few moments there was just the sound of Yuri turning on the shower, and Victor replied with only a few nods, a cloud of melancholy wrapping up his tall, attractive form. His bangs hid one of his eyes, making him look so much more closed off. Even so, he was still smirking. "Amazed at my good looks?" he remarked lightly.
Yuuri exhaled sharply, his shoulders sagging as he looked down at Makkachin's head. The dog's tongue lolled out of his mouth, like he didn't realize that his owner was a goddamn immortal. "More like shocked," he muttered, still feeling clammy as all fuck. "Fuck, I don't...I don't even know if this is worse than the night that girl, Sabrina, tried to kill me!"
He looked up and watched as Victor's face showed surprise and then concern, all lightness fading as he stood straight and looked right at Yuuri. "You poor thing, you're still afraid. How could you not be?"
Yuuri couldn't help letting out a sardonic laugh, his knee starting to shake uncontrollably, disturbing Makkachin. The dog decided to back away and curl up next to Potya as Yuuri blurted out, "I'm not exactly used to getting attacked by vampires and getting covered by their guts, Victor."
The other man cleared his throat and looked away for a moment, biting his lip and staring at some unknown spot before he looked at Yuuri again. "I'm sorry. I can still help you forget about it if-"
"No!" Yuuri exclaimed, shaking his head frantically at the thought of parts of his memory just disappearing without him knowing again. "No, please. No...digging around in my head," he urged in a soft voice.
"Just thought I'd offer...It must be difficult, dealing with everything."
"...How would you feel after someone tried to kill you?" Yuuri asked dryly, glancing up at Victor.
The other man returned his stare steadily, his smile gone. "...Well, I do know how it feels. I didn't exactly volunteer for this," he said in a low tone.
Well, Yuuri certainly felt like an asshole now. Every inch of him burned so much more now, guilt jumping into the mix of complicated emotions in him. "I'm sorry. This isn't your fault. You didn't exactly tell Sabrina to pick me out."
"But I did let her glamour you," Victor said, to Yuuri's surprise. He looked sad as he suddenly moved to sit beside Yuuri, his arm brushing up against Yuuri's. "And if I hadn't gotten there in time she would have killed you."
His eyes darkened for some reason as he said that, and Yuuri couldn't take his eyes off him. He followed the line of his arm, all the way down to his hand, his palm turned up.
There was a burn there, vivid and painful-looking. Yuuri couldn't help seizing Victor's wrist to look at it, clearly remembering the silver knife he'd used on Sabrina...and the one that had burned Yuri's hand earlier when he made that other vampire explode. "...Your knife is silver, right?" he asked, looking up at Victor's face as he felt the color melt away from his.
Victor let out a soft laugh and explained, "It's one of the only things that can kill a vampire for good, aside from the sun or a wooden stake."
"Yeah, I kind of figured that out that night," Yuuri muttered. "But...doesn't it hurt?"
"Very much," Victor said mildly. "Still, it almost reminds me of...my humanity, I suppose. And a silver knife is always a good thing to have when hunting ferals."
"...Like Sabrina?" Yuuri asked, thinking of her prettiness compared to the wildness of the vampire Yuri...blew up.
"Like Sabrina, yes," Victor said with several nods. "Synthetic blood isn't popular. Ferals say it will dull our instincts, and anyone who willingly drinks it denies what we are."
"...Synthetic blood..." This was beyond Yuuri's limited experience, and he couldn't believe he was sitting here just accepting it. But what choice did he have? Especially with all the evidence right in front of him. "So...vampires like you...the ones who drink synthetic blood...They won't drink any human blood?"
"Not unless that human willingly consents and is already one of the hunters," Victor replied with finality. "No glamours. No coercion or killing. Blood freely offered is a gift. Otherwise, synthetic blood is more than enough to sate the hunger." His blue eyes darkened again with disgust as he added, "Those like Sabrina would rather indulge their baser instincts and act like wolves among sheep. So I and other like-minded vampires have decided to execute these rogues before they kill any innocent humans."
"God..." Yuuri shook his head again and let go of Victor's hand to take his head between his palms, trying his absolute best to ground himself in this crappy excuse for reality. "God, I...Give me a minute..."
Then he felt a firm touch at his back, unexpected but enormously soothing. Then he heard Victor say in a gentle tone, "It's a lot to take in at once, I know. It certainly was for me even after playing at revolutionary in Russia."
"Being sleep-deprived doesn't help much," Yuuri said, rubbing his hot nape and peering up at Victor, who was gazing down at him with an understanding smile. Yuuri couldn't help but return it, deciding to blame it on being slap happy. "It's just...you think you know the world around you and...It's like...what else is out there?! Werewolves?"
To his shock, Victor nodded sagely. "Yes, and contrary to popular belief, we are friendly with each other. Oh, and the Loch Ness Monster is real. Her name is Beasag."
Victor laughed while Yuuri had an internal crisis, but then he laughed too, very aware of how crazy he must have looked and of Victor's grounding touch on his back.
He looked up again, wearing a shaky smile as he gazed at Victor's face. Specifically at those lovely eyes that looked so unexpectedly warm.
He had no clue how long he stared, but he did look away reluctantly and quietly said, "I...should be getting home."
Well, he was pathetic. But what was he expecting? Life was unpredictable, but not enough that Yuuri was going to stop being...well, his pathetic self.
"...I'll drive you," Victor proposed in a soft voice. Yuuri turned back to find him smiling again before adding, "It'll be much easier on you than running at high speeds."
Yuuri would have laughed if he hadn't been interrupted by Yuri barging into the room clad only in a towel and looking at them with vicious triumph, snarling, "Your pet's not going anywhere, you fucking relic. I just texted Yakov and he wants you to bring him to his place."
That was...a lot out of him at once. Yuuri blinked at him but couldn't muster up a reaction. Not until Victor stood up with a low growl. "You did what?"
"You heard me," Yuri replied with a smirk. "You should've listened to me when I told you to fucking glamour his ass!"
Victor glared right at Yuri but made no move towards him like he did earlier, but merely glowered at him in obvious displeasure while Yuuri realized that he was probably in a lot of trouble. Swallowing, Yuuri tried not to shake too hard as he took out his phone and pulled up his conversation with Phichit.
Do you still have the spare key I gave you?
Do me a favor and please go feed Vicchan
Of course I will :)
I'll let you know in a little while
If anyone would like to help me in a more personal way, if able to, please check out the links on my twitter: @ducksfucka
Chapter 8: vybor
Shaky panic was making itself right at home in Yuuri's chest, and the storminess he sensed from Victor didn't help one bit.
They weren't racing this time. No, whatever this little trip was, it wasn't...urgent enough that Victor and Yuri needed to get Yuuri there as quick as possible. That's good. Right? They were in a car, nevertheless, still fast enough that every block driven made Yuuri want to disappear more and more. Victor was driving, and his knuckles looked absolutely white on the steering wheel. He was still furious at Yuri, it seemed, having rounded on the little vampiric punk back in their house and starting a Russian shouting match.
Yuuri had been torn between terror and awkwardness in the middle of it, and then he realized this was something Victor wasn't going to be able to rescue him from. He looked a bit grim when he apologized to Yuuri and said that he would have to bring him to this Yakov person. It sounded like a serious enough matter that even Victor was concerned and telling Yuuri that there was nothing to be afraid of.
Bullshit. Yuuri was trying very hard not to lose his mind due to fear, and he had to wonder if he was even going to live to see daylight again. He looked down at his phone and wondered if it was worth telling Phichit more information like he'd demanded after Yuuri asked him to look in on Vicchan. But Yuuri didn't want to drag Phichit into this if he could help it.
"Why the fuck are you letting him keep his phone? He could be calling the fucking cops!" Yuri snarled from the backseat, where Victor had unceremoniously tossed him like a sack when he tried calling shotgun. Yuuri didn't dare look over his shoulder to peer at the teenager or else risk getting his head bitten off.
Pocketing his phone and hunching down so maybe the headrest would hide him semi-effectively, Yuuri kept his eyes on the road, though he did take a second to glance in Victor's direction, his blue eyes cold with anger even though the rest of his expression looked eerily calm as he replied, "I don't want to hear another word out of you after your little stunt, Yura."
Frosty. Very. Enough that even Yuuri felt less inclined towards talking. Well, more than he already did, at least. Maybe it was a vampire thing, given the whole...monster thing.
Suddenly Yuri was leaning over Yuuri's seat, hissing into his ear with barely-concealed and vicious glee, "Maybe you've got Victor wrapped around your finger, but Yakov's different. He'll deal with you."
Yuuri froze in his seat, trying not to show any sign of weakness to this little vampire punk. He was terrified enough as it was without all these threats that involved Yakov. Yuuri pictured someone...ancient, at least. Powerful enough that Victor so obviously respected him enough that he didn't see any way out for Yuuri. Victor's hand suddenly covered half of Yuri's face before it shoved the teen backwards, and Victor sneered, "You're better at terrorizing humans than killing rogues." That same hand settled on Yuuri's shoulder, soothing and grounding. "Don't listen to him, Yuuri. Yakov is a good man. I'm sure he just wants to speak with you. He would never harm a human."
I want to believe you, Yuuri thought. "Just...who is this Yakov?" he finally asked, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible.
Victor's tone changed the slightest bit when he answered lightly, "He's my teacher and boss. He took me in when I was a fledgling and gave me guidance. He did the same for Yura back there and our housemates."
"Except you conveniently forgot him telling us over and over again to glamour any human witnesses no matter what," Yuri snarled, though he stayed put in his seat and sounded like he was smirking.
No matter what. Yuuri's heart gave a leap at that little bit of information, and he turned to look at Victor incredulously, recalling how readily he'd decided not to make Yuuri forget what happened with Sabrina a lifetime ago. "Is that why...that night...you told me you had to...Victor, are you the one in more trouble here?" Yuuri asked once he came to that realization. A secret this big needed to be kept, and...well, it made sense that this Yakov would want it guarded from just any human.
Victor replied in that same light tone with a wide smile, "Oh, definitely! Thanks to this little informant Yakov might just shout at me until I go deaf!"
"And...you still listened to me?" Yuuri asked, wondering now if he'd even done the right thing. He'd hated feeling so...invaded after finding out just what Sabrina had done to him, so when Victor was about to do the same his first instinct had been to beg Victor not to do it, not wanting to have his head dug into and his memories manipulated. Now...Yuuri had to wonder if that had been the right decision. It might have been easier to just let Victor do what he was supposed to do, allowing Yuuri to live in blissful ignorance.
The look on Victor's face softened to something considerably more melancholy. "You looked...You'd been through so much already. Glamouring you when you were so terrified seemed...cruel."
"HE WOULDN'T HAVE REMEMBERED, YOU STUPID FUCK," Yuri shouted from the backseat.
"Oh, be quiet," Victor snapped, frowning again. When he glanced at Yuuri the frown disappeared, and he ruefully said, "I'm sorry that you got dragged into this, Yuuri."
Staring at the silver-haired man, Yuuri wanted to say something. He wanted to apologize for being so selfish, for getting Victor into whatever trouble there was ahead, now that they were driving into yet another residential area.
But no words came, and Yuuri sat in miserable silence. Telling Victor to go ahead and glamour him like he should have back then didn't feel right either.
Fortunately the feeling of dread stayed at the same level once they arrived at Yakov's home, which appeared just as normal as Victor's house with a decently kept lawn and...a distinct lack of flowers, he realized. There was light filtering out from the closed curtains, and he could have sworn he saw something moving at the door. Maybe it was just the darkness playing tricks on him, but less than a second after he got out of the car he found himself facing a girl. A pretty girl with incredible blue eyes who was peering at him, up close and personal, her lovely face framed by wavy red hair that reached her chin. She was smiling widely as she asked excitedly, "Is this him? The human Yura told us about?" Her head darted forward to quickly press a kiss to Yuuri's cheek, causing him to blush as he gaped at her and tried to catch up with what was happening. "Nice to meet you! I'm Mila! Another vampire, if you couldn't guess! What's your name?"
Another vampire. Mila. Of course, he recognized her from the photograph in Victor's house. God, even his housemates were here to witness...whatever this was? He realized that the "trick of the darkness" was Mila running at him at full speed to greet him with a friendly face and an outright introduction, and Yuuri reminded himself to be as polite, even in this outlandish situation. "I-I'm Yuuri," he managed, sounding weak to his own ears.
Mila's eyes glittered before she broke into a giggle, exclaiming to a glowering Yuri, "You guys have the same name! That's so cute!"
Yuri rolled his eyes, thoroughly annoyed as he shut the car door, hard enough to make Yuuri wince. "Would you just stop? Freak."
Another figure appeared behind Mila in an instant, making Yuuri flinch with shock right up against Victor's front. The older man's hands were on his shoulders to steady him, but that didn't quite work for Yuuri's galloping heartbeat. Unfazed, Mila clicked her tongue at Yuri and taunted, "Poor baby. Are you jealous because you're not getting attention?"
Yuri snarled lowly at her, and it was so odd to watch them interact like...siblings, almost. Regular people who teased and prodded and annoyed. It was hard to keep thinking of them as any kind of normal when that other man suddenly appeared, his hair midnight-black and his expression somewhat bored. Victor was the one who asked, "Georgi! What are you two doing here?"
Georgi gave a brief shrug. "Reporting to Yakov after our patrols. You should have seen his face when he got the kitten's text. I thought he was going to throw his desk at something. Now what is this all about, Vitya? I didn't think you were the type to keep a bloodbag around."
Yuuri felt his entire body grow cold, and he quickly looked at Victor with incredulity. "Bloodbag?!" he exclaimed, legs feeling like jelly even though his dumb lizard brain was attempting to urge him to run away as fast as he could.
"That's a disgusting term, Georgi," Victor said with distaste, as though Georgi had done something as mundane as belch at the dinner table. He kept a hand on Yuuri's shoulder and led the way up to the door, explaining in a soft voice, "There are humans among us. Voluntarily, of course. Some of them donate blood to our kind, and it's earned them an immature nickname." Once they were at the door, Victor clarified to the other three, "Yuuri isn't my donor. He's the man I saved from that rogue who would hunt in nightclubs."
Sabrina. That really did feel like a lifetime ago. Yuuri still remembered standing frozen with terror as he realized what she intended to do with him right after his mind went blank and he just danced to her tune, unaware of what was about to happen. "So I wasn't the first one she tried to kill," he surmised, trying his best to keep his voice from shaking.
"Of course you fucking weren't, stupid. What, did you think you were special or something?" Yuri drawled, glaring at Yuuri like he was particularly stupid.
Victor shook his head and rapped on the door with his knuckles, murmuring, "Just ignore him. We'll clear this all up soon."
Quickly getting tired of Victor's attempts to placate him, Yuuri couldn't help but shoot back, "Considering the fact that I keep hearing how furious your boss is, I'm not exactly feeling encouraged here!"
And as if his luck couldn't get any worse, the door opened and a round, solid shape appeared, belonging to an intimidating-looking man who reminded Yuuri of a horned owl fixing its sights on a morsel of prey. He was balding and there were shadows under his eyes as he glared at them all, finally settling on Victor before he said in a low, dangerous tone, "You'd better have a good explanation, Victor Leonidovich."
Like it was a social visit, Victor mercurially greeted as he swept into the house with Yuuri and the other three in his wake, "Yakov! How are you?"
Aren't you in enough trouble? Yuuri thought tersely, his heart galloping once again after entering the house and finding himself in a rather Spartan home compared to Victor's. Hell, what did he know about vampiric interior decorating? Yuuri didn't even know if he was coming out of this alive or with his mind intact. He wasn't sure if he wasn't going to ask Victor to go through with the glamour after all just for the sake of maintaining the peace.
Yakov, however, looked stormy and incredibly imposing as he shut the door, locked it, and rounded on Victor as he answered in a booming voice, "Wondering why you, of all people, would let a human witness go without glamouring him!"
Victor looked totally unfazed as Yakov glared at him from less than two inches away, saying with a bright smile, "We're being unspeakably rude to our guest. Yuuri, meet my boss and teacher; Yakov Feltsman. Yakov, this is Yuuri Katsuki! The rogue Sabrina tried to kill him a few weeks ago."
It was...eerie to hear him speak about it, and even eerier to see Mila and Georgi exchanging a knowing look that made that night real all over again, more so than when Phichit only knew the half of it. And now Yakov was looking at Yuuri, his frown less angry and more thoughtful as he gazed at him. Meanwhile Yuuri's heart was still galloping, and he realized too late that it was doing such a thing in a living room full of vampires. I...can't control it, though! Yuuri thought in a panic, suddenly feeling like a rabbit cornered by foxes.
While he was standing as stiff as possible, like it was going to help him be less noticeable or slow his heartbeat. Shit! How the hell am I supposed to do that?!
Victor then stepped halfway between Yuuri and Yakov, and explained in a steady voice, "It's true, Yakov. I didn't glamour him that night after he saw me kill Sabrina because...well, he simply didn't want me to!"
He explained it so casually, turning his gaze towards Yuuri as though that explained everything perfectly. Yuuri stared back, suddenly inches away from committing murder because how dare Victor blame him?!
It's true, though, his mind supplied.
Oh, shut up.
Behind him, Mila giggled and said, "See? It's the cute ones with glasses that you have to watch out for!"
Yuuri blushed, torn between irritation and anxiety over being the center of attention. Georgi was looking at him like he was a curiosity and Yuri was still glaring at him with clear dislike. Yakov, however, was still looking at Yuuri, and then sat down on an armchair to keep doing...more of the same, like he was trying to pick Yuuri apart. "Why ask such a thing after such a violent experience?"
"Victor told me what happened that night," Yakov explained, his furrowed brow wrinkling even more as his frown deepened. "And we were already familiar with this Sabrina's methods. She could have drawn out killing you or else drained you outright, and you would have had to experience such a death without the benefit of a glamour," he added with icy bluntness that brought the terror of that night right back into the forefront of Yuuri's thoughts, in living color. He only just managed to understand Yakov when he continued, "In my experience, humans don't cope with such discoveries easily, particularly the ones where it turns out that the world is also home to the supernatural. Frankly, Yuuri Katsuki, I'm not sure if you're one of the few who can."
Yuuri could feel the stabs to his pride and felt a flush of humiliation race across his skin, and he knew that it was so fucking visible to everyone else. He stood there, staring at Yakov and feeling torn down by Yakov's assessment. He doesn't know me, Yuuri thought, his face heating up as he balled his fists at his side, feeling furious and pathetic all at once. He glanced at Victor, finding him gazing right back at him thoughtfully, looking like he was asking, Well? Are you going to take that?
Taking a quick breath, Yuuri answered as steadily as he could, "I think I've handled it well enough these past few weeks." Even if it feels like my life is coming apart.
Then again, what life? One where he was displaced from home in another country, and another state away from his family while he tried to get a move on getting his degree while trying to keep a roof over his head and take care of his dog. All of that was hard enough without adding vampires and werewolves to the mix.
And yet, here he was, telling a powerful-looking vampire that he was definitely handling everything well, putting aside the nightmares and anxiety attacks that made him feel like he was back in that alley again, with Sabrina bearing down on him like some kind of demon out of hell. But he'd...gone on with his life as best he could, even with the burden of that horror and the massive secret he was keeping.
"Do you?" Yakov asked, giving Yuuri a hard stare that didn't bode well. "Because now you have a choice, and it's a choice many humans have made in the history of our group."
Coven, more like, Yuuri thought bitterly before registering Victor's sharp inhale from where he stood. He glanced at the older man, finding him frowning and looking between Yuuri and Yakov with...worry? "And...what choice is that?" Yuuri asked, struggling with himself to maintain eye contact with the old man and reminding himself over and over again that he could be strong. Stronger than anyone else believed.
"You can allow the glamour," Yakov said, finality in his voice. "Or you join us and become our responsibility, in order to keep our existence a secret from the rest of humanity. It's a simple choice, Yuuri Katsuki, and it's one you have to make now."
His heart sped again, and Yuuri felt doubly trapped. He glanced at Yuri, who was sneering like he was enjoying watching Yuuri twist in the wind. Beside him, Mila and Georgi were focused on the entire conversation, and Victor was still frowning like he was worried about something. Only now he was looking only at Yuuri, still seemingly attempting to communicate something.
Just forget. Let them do it. Forget that you were almost killed. Forget that Sabrina was going to tear you apart. Forget that your parents almost lost a child.
Yuuri caught himself gazing at the silver-haired man, at those deep blue eyes that swirled in the light of the room, intensifying his stare all the more. What are you trying to tell me?
That sent another stab through Yuuri's heart instantaneously, and he had no idea why. What he did know was that he had a choice now, and...well, that was what mattered, wasn't it? They were giving him a choice. Yakov could have glamoured him as soon as he locked eyes with him, but he didn't. No one reached into Yuuri's mind to leave him a husk to blindly follow orders. A small difference between then and now, but significant nonetheless.
So it wouldn't be...difficult to just allow them to glamour him and make him forget the drastic changes in his life, and the most traumatic experience he'd ever had.
Easy. Simple. Normal. Extremely...easy.
Obviously the choice everyone in the room expected Yuuri to make.
His pride prickled again, like dying embers flaring. He'd handled this. He'd handled everything. Alone. Even Victor had acknowledged it hours ago, and now...God, was there really a difference in then and now when Yuuri felt the smallest doubt about going through with the glamour? His memory would still be manipulated, and he'd once again be ignorant of everything he'd discovered, everything Victor had revealed to him.
Yuuri looked at Victor again, at those vivid blue eyes, and took a deep breath so he could say as calmly and firmly as he could, "It's easy, then. I'll join you and you won't have to glamour me."
He watched a smile light Victor's face up, and felt such satisfaction at the look of shock that erupted on Yakov's face.
Even better was Yuri's roar of, "WHAT THE FUCK?"
If anyone would like to help me in a more personal way, if able to, please check out the links on my twitter: @ducksfucka
Yuuri's phone kept buzzing with frantic messages and calls from Phichit, and all he could do was send quick replies that amounted to "I'm safe" each time to make sure his best friend knew he was still alive. It didn't look like it stopped Phichit from worrying, but there was nothing Yuuri could do about that.
Not when he was coping with possibly making the stupidest decision of his life.
He was back at Victor's house, and they were alone since his housemates stayed behind with Yakov Feltsman. Yuuri had hardly paid attention to them after their explosive reactions to his decision, especially Yuri swearing up a storm in English and Russian while Yuuri's brain went into flight mode and told him just how badly he fucked up. "Why did you let me do that?" he asked, hand limp on Makkachin's head as it rested on his lap. They weren't in Victor's bedroom again, but in the living room, Yuuri sitting on a couch where Makkachin decided to join him.
"Do what?" Victor asked genially as he sat across from Yuuri on an armchair, looking far from frazzled.
"PISS OFF A VAMPIRE?!" Yuuri exclaimed angrily, causing Makkachin to lift his head up with a huff that sounded annoyed at the disturbance. Yuuri glanced down at him with a guilty pang and put his hand back on top of his head, scratching at it in an effort to calm them both down, which was jard when his other leg was bouncing up and down uncontrollably.
"Oh, Yakov isn't angry. Just surprised. So was I, in fact," Victor replied with an effortless shrug, still smiling as though everything were still so normal.
Yuuri looked up at him with a frustrated glare, thinking that it would have been better if everything really were still normal, and he could just be some nobody trying to get through each day. "That's good to hear," he said acidly.
Makkachin whined plaintively and peered up at Yuuri, who petted his head guiltily. What good would it do to complain about this? He was the one who had the bright idea to act brave in front of Yakov.
Victor cleared his throat and explained, "I brought you back here because there are certain things we need to discuss in private, and we do need to discuss them tonight unfortunately."
"Are you kidding me?"
"I am not. Either we hash brown this out or I glamour every memory of us out of your head."
"Hash...brown?" Yuuri asked uncertainly.
Victor blinked. "Isn't that how the saying goes?"
Yuuri shook his head with a short sigh, staring at the floor between them as a painful tension gathered in his body. His heartbeat was awfully unsettled with mounting anxiety, and all he could do was take deep breaths. The room smelled like citron, sweet and pleasant. "I...I don't want to forget," he said quietly, thinking that it was less about someone reaching into his brain and shutting it off and more about the idea of forgetting Victor being...painful.
"Most people would," Victor said, his smile turning sad in an instant. "Most people would want to keep thinking of the world as a normal place, made for their comfort and well being. There are no monsters wandering around, and they're happy thinking they've learned all there is to know about this earth. Suddenly the world tilts and one more secret tumbles out, and it's a disturbing one."
Yuuri watched in fascination as the light in Victor's eyes disappeared as he spoke, his voice becoming soft and contemplative, like he was almost speaking to himself, or thinking aloud. His smile faded too, and even when he set his gaze on Yuuri again it did not reappear. "Considering what you've just decided to do, your world has just spun out of control, and only you can stop it. But it won't look the same as it was before Sabrina. It's why my offer to glamour you will always be on the table, no matter what you choose now."
"And I won't take it," Yuuri quickly said.
"Why?" Victor asked, voice firm.
Suddenly Yuuri had to scramble for some viable answer. He bit his lip and tore his gaze away from Victor, heat dancing its way up his neck to his face. His job interview had been one of the most nerve-wracking things he'd ever gone through before tonight, and now that seemed like a pleasant conversation. What was he supposed to say anyway? Especially to Victor? When he himself wasn't sure why?
Well. That wasn't entirely true. It was easy to get halfway to the answer when Victor was right in front of him, and he thought of the simple fact that he was alive because of Victor. "Because...You saved my life. You gave me your jacket and...This is so damn cliche and sounds stupid, but you made me feel safe."
Safe. And yet Yuuri was acting like a coward.
Victor blinked at him again, looking more than a bit incredulous. "Me? A vampire? Safe?"
"You're not the one who tried to drink my blood and leave me for dead in the alley behind a club," Yuuri answered wryly, skin still feeling hotter than he'd ever felt it before. "What are my options?" he asked, trying to drag them back to the more important topic than his need to ensure Victor existed in his world.
Victor stared for a few moments before clearing his throat and explaining, "There are a few roles you might be suited to, depending on your skills and...well, wants, honestly."
"Have you ever handled a weapon?" Victor asked unexpectedly, no trace of humor in his expression.
Yuuri's stomach did a horrid flip as he imagined doing such a thing. Ever needing to. Fuck, if I'd had something silver on me that night... "N-no!" he stammered, stomach doing violent flips right under his heart.
Victor's eyes hardened again, and he asked insistently, "A gun? Could you fire one without hesitation? Would you be strong enough to sink a knife into someone even when they're looking you right in the eye?"
"I-I just..." Yuuri stumbled on his words, too suddenly overwhelmed to think quickly enough to keep up with Victor's stream of questions. "...I'm a cashier, I don't...do guns. Or knives."
He endured Victor's hard gaze before the vampire visibly backed off, eyes looking to the side as he looked thoughtful again while Yuuri struggled to get his heartbeat under control. Then he suggested in a lighter tone, "You could also work behind the scenes, helping us track targets and analyze patterns, retrieve autopsy reports, and arrange transport."
If Sabrina didn't kill me, Victor's going to. "Autopsy reports. Right. Anything else?"
"Well...we have our research and development branch, the armory and our Donors."
Yuuri sighed and shook his head. "I have my bachelor's, Victor, and in case you didn't notice I have a job I need to show up at because I have a dog and an apartment I'm responsible for."
Victor chuckled softly and grinned at Yuuri, replying, "We pay well enough that the state's minimum wage is a joke around here."
"...The Donors too?"
Yuuri would be lying if he claimed he didn't have a thousand questions when it came to the Donors. None of the other vampires he'd met tonight were accompanied by a human. Were they prisoners, then? Paid for their compliance? Their lives, even? "So...what, do you just pick a human and bite them?"
"We're all in this to protect humanity. Blood is an unfortunate need we have, but we've grown beyond the compulsion to just rip a chunk out of a human's throat to sate our hunger," Victor explained, his tone careful and steady. "If you've ever donated blood the procedure and amount are the same."
"I thought synthetic blood was enough."
The older man shrugged and said, "It dulls our instincts. It doesn't...live the way real blood does. It fills you up, but it feels like something important is missing."
"So...you don't like the synthetic blood?" Yuuri couldn't help asking, even though he knew asking bordered on rudeness.
"Honestly? I haven't had human blood since the Second World War," Victor confessed with a little smile. "I've never had a Donor either, so synthetic blood suits me just fine."
"And you call...what you did to Sabrina having dulled instincts?"
"I've had a hundred years to push myself, Yuuri," Victor assured with a smirk. "At this point, I'm more proud of my stubborn self than put out by a lack of genuine blood."
A hundred years. Somehow that little fact caught Yuuri off-guard in the worst way, especially now. Looking at Victor, the man looked no older than...maybe his early thirties, at the latest. Weighing his options, Yuuri supposed he would be best suited to either donating blood or trying his luck in research. However, Victor seemed...content without real blood, and just how was Yuuri supposed to make that kind of offer? He kept his eyes on the floor as he told himself for the hundredth time that night that this was his life. Get used to it. "...What kind of research does...research involve?"
For the second time that night, Victor was the one who looked surprised. But it was brief, and then his smile disappeared as he replied, "Would you believe that some of us are seeking a cure for this condition?"
Yuuri gaped at him incredulously. "You're what?"
The other man got to his feet, and Makkachin lifted his head to follow Victor with his eyes. Yuuri did the same, watching Victor's expression turn flat, without a trace of its previous light. He made his way towards the window, drawing back the curtain to stare out at the street. "Is it so shocking? I didn't exactly choose this. I was just a would-be Bolshevik lured into a back alley tryst by a handsome Englishman. Suddenly his teeth are in my throat and everything is going dark. When I woke up, all I wanted to do was kill and drink blood. And so I killed him."
It was too familiar. It hit Yuuri that it could have happened to him too, if he were fortunate enough not to just die. Victor had been in his shoes a century ago, only he'd transformed somehow and killed the vampire who had taken his life. No wonder he looked so bleak now, staring at...nothing, like he was reliving a moment that had occurred a hundred years ago. Thinking about what went wrong. What he could have done differently. "...Why did you have that knife on you anyway?" Yuuri asked, and it was all he could ask in that moment.
Then Victor let out a bitter laugh as he turned towards Yuuri again. "It was a gift from my grandfather. He was a lunatic, but wise and loving, and he had a thousand stories he would tell over and over again. He'd tell stories about demons and shadows in the night. My parents thought it was all fanciful nonsense, but I loved the old man." He shook his head reflectively. "When I thought about it all afterwards, his stories made perfect sense. He was warning me, trying to prepare me. I couldn't save myself, but I could put this little weapon to good use. On his deathbed he begged me to make sure I always carried it with me, and...I did. I thought it would make me look like a fierce revolutionary."
"I bet it hurt when you used it on that Englishman," Yuuri observed, recalling the burn on Victor's hand. Looking now, it was nowhere to be seen, so it must have healed...until Victor needed to use the knife again.
"Like nothing I'd ever felt before," Victor said in a soft voice, looking at said knife atop the coffee table set in front of the television set. "I...think it was mostly instinct that made me just...thrust this into his chest. I stared at what was left of him and I couldn't think. I just asked myself over and over, 'What happened? Why is my throat on fire? What did he do to me?' But he was dead and I was...intact, I suppose.But not alive. When you can't have a normal life, it doesn't feel like living. I haven't felt the sun on my skin in a century."
"...You want to be cured?" Yuuri guessed, gently moving Makkachin's head off his knee and standing up to go over towards Victor, pausing a few steps in front of him.
"I do. With all my heart," Victor answered with an earnest smile. Sincere enough that Yuuri's heart gave another swoop that made him feel weak. He hoped to God he wasn't blushing, but of course he was feeling the heat rise. To his relief, Victor added, "Research is well-paid, but it's mostly looking at old legends over and over again, seeing the same end result: the destruction of the vampire."
"Then...I guess I'd rather do research," Yuuri replied, heart still pulling its shenanigans in a more frantic fashion as he yet again realized how fucking unrecognizable his life was about to become. What was he doing? What was he committing to?
Victor seemed to be asking the same thing, eyes wide with surprise as he stared at Yuuri for several very long moments. "Seriously?"
It was Yuuri's turn to let out a laugh, one that was semi-manic sounding and desperate at that point. He rubbed the back of his neck and weakly explained, "It's something, it's work. It'll also let me...stay a part of this and avoid getting glamoured. And who knows? I might find your cure."
A big claim. But if Victor did get cured Yuuri wasn't going to be the one doing it. That was for sure.
Still, Victor was regarding him with dawning amazement and approval, his eyes bright again as he aimed a devastating smile at Yuuri. "You really are a brave one, Yuuri."
"No. Just stupid."
The windowpane was cool against Yuuri's forehead, one of the few things that offered any type of relief after all the turmoil of the past few hours. He inhaled deeply, Victor's perfume filling his head and making his heart beat grow steady. Safe. I'm safe here, he thought. He'd said as much to Victor, and it was...true. He just wasn't sure what was going to happen from here on in. Was he supposed to put in his notice at work? Could he just...quit?
He was too tired to think over it too deeply. It was 2 am and he wanted to shower and go to bed. They were approaching Yuuri's apartment building, Victor parking about half a block away from it. Yuuri could see the light in his apartment was on, and felt a pang of guilt for Phichit, who was obviously worried judging by his texts. Yuuri sighed and turned to Victor, who was gazing right at him. "Thanks for...for driving me back."
"You're welcome," Victor replied with a smile.
"I mean it," Yuuri added hurriedly, meeting Victor's eyes. "Thank you, for everything. You saved my life, and I don't know how I'll ever get over that."
The older man stared back before his smile widened, and he said sincerely, "I'm...honored by your trust."
"Kind of hard not to when you...Well...you trust me too, right?" Yuuri couldn't help asking, his heart doing those flips again.
Victor nodded, warm approval filling his expression. "You've been honest. Good too. And you could have said anything to anyone and put us in danger. I could be ashes even now."
Well shit. Did he have to put it so vividly? "Who would I tell anyway?" Yuuri asked with a dry laugh.
His laugh went on as Victor joined in too, the sound of it making Yuuri feel warmer still. Victor's gaze only intensified as their laughter faded, and Yuuri couldn't look away. "I could tell you were a kind man from the moment I set eyes on you. I could tell you were...beautiful too."
Victor's eyes appeared to burn then, and Yuuri felt hotter still and completely caught off-guard by the compliment. Had he really just heard Victor...Had the other man, this...remarkable man really said such a thing to him? "...You're the one who's beautiful," he murmured, glancing away towards the glove box as his face burned.
"You're a flatterer," he heard Victor say.
"What does that make you, then?"
"Smitten," Victor replied in a soft voice, and then Yuuri felt a touch on his cheek, gentle and cool on his skin. He inhaled sharply and he had to look at Victor again, his mind urging him to look look look. It would have alarmed him but every single bit of him was completely alert to what he was feeling, down to the aftershocks following each thunderous heartbeat. Victor kept smiling as he gazed at Yuuri, his eyes and smile unbearably sweet that it made heat continue to rush to Yuuri's cheeks. Huh. I wonder if me blushing...bothers him, Yuuri wondered absently, his eyes falling to Victor's soft-looking lips.
A second later Yuuri was leaning forward and his own lips got to feel just how soft Victor's were. He heard the other man's sharp inhale before that cool hand quickly moved to the back of Yuuri's head to tug him closer, and suddenly Yuuri felt their mouths clumsily mold together. Oh, his lips had to be so chapped, and Victor's were as soft as he'd pictured. He made some kind of quiet noise deep in his throat, realizing he'd closed his eyes at some point and...he wasn't doing much with his hands. Was he supposed to? How was this supposed to go? So far it seemed as though Victor were the one doing everything. His other hand caressed up Yuuri's neck to settle on his cheek, and he drew back, allowing Yuuri a hurried breath before Victor pressed their mouths together again with what sounded like a moan-
"Thank the baby Jesus you're back!" came the muffled shout from outside the car, followed by a series of hard knocks against glass that had Yuuri jolting away from Victor's hands. His heart hammering away, Yuuri turned to see a very shocked-looking Phichit peering into the car. Oh shit.
this is turning out to be a LONG night, ain't it?
Chapter 10: tselovat'
"I've been worried sick, and you're hooking up?"
Yuuri's cheeks burned as he submitted to this impromptu interrogation by his best friend, who looked caught between worry and glee after having recognized the "guy from the club" who saved Yuuri from "whatever they felt needed to be kept secret." But because of Yuuri's glowing endorsement (and probably because Victor looked like sex in tight jeans), Phichit trusted him.
But he knew Phichit was right to be worried. Whatever reassurance Yuuri sent him via text, it couldn't have been enough. If their positions were reversed, Yuuri knew he wouldn't have been as rational as Phichit was being.
Standing in their living room, Yuuri's guilt over worrying Phichit was only growing as his friend said tiredly, "Yuuri, do you have any idea how crazy I've been going? I was about to call the cops! Texting someone cryptic shit over and over isn't the best way to get them to think, 'Oh well he must be 100% okay! I'm just going to act like nothing's wrong and my best friend isn't possibly getting kidnapped!'"
Vicchan barked in apparent agreement from his perch on Victor's lap. The vampire's eyes had shimmered with delight when he set eyes on the tiny dog, and Vicchan leaped right at him as though he were an old friend.
Of course the Victor-Playdate left Yuuri to defend himself. "I'm sorry! This was kind of important."
At that, Victor finally spoke up, saying in a voice dripping with sugary courtesy, "I'm afraid it's my fault. Yuuri and I ran into each other at the end of his shift and...one thing led to another."
Another being a kiss that had turned Yuuri's world on its head. Turned him on his head, because of how he'd launched himself at it. He wanted it to last beyond those few seconds, to fully appreciate the sensation of those perfect, soft lips on his, sending a jolt right into his chest.
Of course Phichit interrupted them. And of course Phichit was blinking at both of them and slowly grinning in a way that let Yuuri know exactly what he was thinking.
Yuuri should only be so lucky. Phichit was probably imagining something that went much further than a kiss, and meanwhile Yuuri was feeling fireworks in the back of his head over a simple little touch of lips.
He couldn't help glancing at Victor, who was gazing at him knowingly with those intensely blue eyes, soft and burning low like glowing coals. His mouth, those lips looking like they'd be so soft to the touch, was turned up in a little smile like he knew what Yuuri was thinking about. With such a simple look exchanged between them, Yuuri felt like his mind was an open book, especially after tonight.
Victor gently picked Vicchan up and gave him a quick little peck on the forehead, causing the dog to wag his tail in wild excitement before Victor placed him back on the floor and got to his feet. "I need to head back home, or my young friends will worry. I'll give you a call tomorrow, then, Yuuri. Have a good night." Before Yuuri could prepare himself Victor's graceful hand was curling around his jaw, and he leaned in to press his lips against Yuuri's again.
Yuuri didn't breathe, his heart galloping as his mind raced to catch up, a voice in him begging him to memorize every single moment of it. Every millisecond and every movement. Down to the way Victor ran his other hand down Yuuri's arm and wrapped around his wrist, giving it a tiny squeeze that made Yuuri's heart skip a beat. Then Victor drew back, lingering enough that Yuuri saw how his long eyelashes brushed over the tops of his cheeks, and the way his eyes caught gold from light. He smiled, like a quick flash of light before looking up at Phichit and saying brightly, "Good night, Phichit!"
Yuuri was frozen, barely remembering how to breathe as Phichit opened the door for Victor and then closed it again. Then he rounded on Yuuri, his eyes twinkling excitedly as he exclaimed, "Yuuri, you've got to warn a guy before you bring your hook up home!"
"M-my what?" Yuuri mumbled, more fireworks going off in his head as his stomach fluttered. He was tired, excited, scared shitless after hours of surprises, some unpleasant and some wonderful. What exactly did it mean? Hell, Yuuri had half a mind to run after Victor to demand answers, because what did he mean by it? Both kisses? The way he touched Yuuri?
What else was Yuuri getting himself into? How was he going to go about quitting his job with hardly any notice? How was he supposed to explain every single change to Phichit?
Just how was his life going to change?
While Yuuri fought to breathe and all those questions whirled around his head, Phichit was still cackling like he was in the middle of concocting a dastardly plan. "I should've known. Fate brought you two back together. He saved your life and then you run into each other again? It's so freakin' romantic! Was it romantic?"
Phichit moved with big, dramatic gestures, and meanwhile Yuuri was observing his life from afar, still wondering if it was his life that was turning into something completely unrecognizable. He didn't recognize it. It was someone else's life, some braver person's. Anyone's but Yuuri's. He nodded, not quite feeling the movement of his neck, but still knowing he was doing it. "I-It was...a big surprise."
Vicchan whimpered and hopped onto Yuuri's lap, leaning his paws on Yuuri's chest and frantically bouncing on them to get his attention. Yuuri stared into those black little eyes and wrapped his arms around his dog, those points of contact warm and reminding Yuuri of where he was. Who he was touching. He smelled the dog shampoo and felt his glasses dig into the bridge of his nose as he pressed his face to the top of Vicchan's head for a few seconds before lifting it up again. He heard Phichit's sharp, excited gasp right before he sat down right next to Yuuri and asked with a wild smile, "Big? You said big? As in big? Please answer the question, because I look at that man and think, "Wow...Now there's a man who could cause a tornado in people's pants.""
A manic laugh burst out from Yuuri's chest, and he was suddenly so tired and shaky that he didn't know if he could even get up off the couch. He'd been kissed by the most beautiful person he'd ever seen in his life and signed his life away to something he had no clue about on a whim. He hated feeling so uncertain, and hated feeling like he was about to topple over and shatter at the slightest provocation.
It wasn't him who met vampires. Who nearly died because of one. Who joined some secret organization and then immediately after kissed an actual vampire. Phichit was congratulating some other idiot named Yuuri. "He, um..." He didn't even sound like himself. He felt the corners of his mouth lift in a smile and said, "He's got a really cute poodle."
Phichit gasped sharply, and looked incredibly offended. "Yuuri, have you been playing with other dogs? You really are a slut."
Yuuri laughed weakly, wanting to get into his bed and sleep forever to the thought of long, strong arms holding him, and soft lips pressing kisses to his nape.
That was when he remembered that Victor's jacket was still on his bed, still carrying that wonderful scent that followed the vampire.
The long night is FINALLY over.