Ch. 29: "Vampire on the Roof"
Disclaimer: WK does not belong to me. Neither do the lyrics that proceed each chapter- they're taken from various songs from the "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack. Any songs from different sources will have a disclaimer at the bottom. Don't sue. =pp
It seems what's left of my human
side is slowly changing in me
(will you give in to me?)
Farfarello felt decidedly refreshed as he slipped out the back door around five the following morning, while everyone else was still asleep.
His senses were sharper than they had been in years, and he felt... more alive.
The urge to kill, to drink, was humming inside him, but he ignored it. He was hungry, but the drink he had taken last night would last him for a few hours before it began to get unbearable.
He was still in a small state of shock at Ken's willingness to help him- to offer himself as a victim. No one had ever done that before. No one wanted a Vampire attached to their throat.
The only problem, he mused as he walked down the street, was that along with his renewed strength and calmer attitude, the fog in his mind was beginning to clear. And with this new clarity came unwanted memories, always teasing at the back of his mind, ready to spring on him the moment he let his guard down.
He kept these memories at bay by running random pictures through his mind, meticulously recalling every detail.
"Verrat", turning to smile at him in the kitchen, her messy dark hair in a loose bun, stray strands hanging in her face and by her shoulders, so different from the braids she had worn for years. Her simple cotton dress hanging on her slender figure, stained from where she had been cleaning all day.
No. That picture only twitched at older memories, memories best left forgotten. Memories of another girl with a thin red braid and an open smile...
Ken trapped underneath him on the bench in the basement where the Adakashi brothers had kept the children. His face had been pale, a stark contrast to the tanned arm he had tried to ward Farfarello off with. Wide eyed, chest heaving in fear and exertion.
Quite a difference from the fearless young man who had practically dragged him from the alleyway yesterday and glared into his eye with no hint of fear.
He'd reached the apartment before he knew it, and tugged the brass key from his pocket, finger brushing against the key to the flower shop he'd stolen from Ken what seemed like ages ago. He walked up the steps, ignoring the startled look of the janitor. He found the room on the fourth floor and inserted the key.
The door swung open at his slight push, and he went still, his senses immediately on the alert. Why was the door unlocked? Was there someone else inside?
He crept inside on silent feet, nudging the door shut behind him, listening for an extra heartbeat, testing the air with bared fangs for body heat.
There-- very faint.
He stalked towards the bathroom and carefully pushed open the door.
Verrat squealed, splashing water at him from where she was lounging in the bathtub. "KYAAA!! Hentai! Tasukete!"
Farfarello leapt back like a startled cat, eye flaring wide. He retreated hastily and stood awkwardly as he listened to the girl sloshing in the tub. A moment later she appeared in the bathroom doorway, wrapped in a towel, her wet hair trailing over her shoulders and down her back. "Niisan!" she gasped. "It's you. You scared me!"
"I didn't know you were in there," Farfarello muttered sourly, averting his gaze. Damn, the meds had really worn off if he was able to experience something akin to embarrassment. "Why was the door open?"
Verrat covered her mouth with a hand, looking abashed. "Ah- gomen nasai. I didn't know I hadn't locked it."
Farfarello turned a stern gaze on her. "Someone else could have come in," he growled. "Are you daft?"
But Verrat was looking at him curiously, head cocked to the side. "You look better, niisan," she said with relief. "Some of your color is back." Her lip trembled. "I was so worried after you left so suddenly, and didn't come back all night..."
Farfarello's mouth twitched nervously. "Oi- you aren't going to cry--"
"Don't ever do that again, niisan!" Verrat said firmly, glaring at him. "I was worried sick! You could have at least called." She looked hurt. "I hardly got any sleep." Well that explained why she was up at not even six in the morning.
Farfarello scowled at her.
Verrat ignored the look, turning huffily. "I'm going to finish my bath. Then I'm going back to bed. There's eggs in the fridge if you're hungry." She shut the bathroom door firmly behind her.
At the word "hungry" Farfarello felt his canines stretch, and prodded them absently with the tip of his tongue, coaxing them to shrink to normal size once more. He was getting hungry... But he didn't want to go out and Hunt if he didn't have to.
Yes you do, his subconscious whispered.
Farfarello frowned and turned sharply, going over to the front door and shutting it, making sure it was securely locked this time. He did want to Hunt- wanted to sink his teeth into a throbbing jugular and drink until he was bloated.
But that would mean breaking down all the walls his insanity had built up around his memories and emotions. His temporary embarrassment at bursting in on a naked Verrat was warning enough; so were the fleeting brushes of memories that had teased him on his way here. Memories of her.
He didn't want that.
Schwarz would get the meds today. And if he got really hungry... His fangs lengthened again, and he carressed them with his tongue in anticipation.
There was always the angel to satisfy his thirst. He'd been willing last night, he might consent to do it again. And his blood was rich and filling: the blood of one who played with death every day, a healthy young man's blood. Just thinking about how the boy had gone limp in his firm but careful grip, the sharp cry he'd given when his neck had first been pierced... and the taste of flushed skin and blood.. Just thinking about these things made his breath come faster and his teeth ache.
He shook his head irritably to stop those mental images and glanced towards the clock on the wall. Just now six. No one would be up and about in the flower shop for at least another hour or so. That gave him some time to establish more firmly the "brother/sister" relationship with Verrat that would soon lead to Abysinnian's breakdown. His fangs flashed in an eerie smile.
Ebbing of insanity or no, years of torturing had become a hobby of his, and one that he was unlikely to give up any time soon.
Oh, yes, Abysinnian would suffer. And not only for his own personal pleasure this time.
He would pay for putting his hands on Farfarello's pet.
Schuldich stirred to drowsy wakefulness at the sound of voices upstairs.
Je-SUS! He winced. It felt like someone had tried to fuck him with a broom handle. He shifted very carefully, wedged between a warm body and the back of the couch. He lifted his head and stared down into Yohji's sleeping face with a carefully emotionless face. After a moment he gave the lanky man a shove.
Yohji squawked as he landed painfully on the floor, and Schuldich allowed himself a small smirk, sitting up gingerly and gritting his teeth at his aching bottom. "Rise and shine, Kudou. Unless you want the others to come down here looking for us."
Yohji glared daggers at him, pushing his tangled hair back from his face. "Asshole," he muttered, and reached for his jeans.
Schuldich reached over and plucked up his own pants, digging his cigarettes from the back pocket and lighting one before pulling his clothes on.
Yohji shot him an amused look when he noted how carefully the German was moving, and Schuldich glared murderously at him. "Out of the way, Kudou," he said shortly, brushing past and walking upstairs.
"What, no good morning kiss?" Yohji teased, following him.
Schuldich whirled suddenly, catching the other man by surprise, and slammed him into the wall. He stubbed his cigarette against the wall and grinned.
He swallowed the assassin's angry cry in a rough, bruising kiss that stole the other man's breath away. He deliberately nudged his knee in between Yohji's legs, brushing it against his crotch, and Yohji moaned quietly.
Abruptly Schuldich withdrew, and leered at him. Then he turned and walked calmly upstairs.
"Schuldich, you bastard," Yohji shouted up at him, frustrated at his new hardness.
Schuldich ignored him, and walked into the kitchen, where Omi was making breakfast. He glanced towards the clock. Almost eight thirty. Jesus. Too early.
Omi looked up at his entrance, worry on his face. "Farfarello's missing," he said bluntly.
Schuldich frowned. Great. Just what they didn't need right now. What if getting a taste of Ken's blood last night had tempted him to Hunt? "He'll be back," he said with more confidence than he really felt.
Crawford was already seated at the table, calmly sipping his morning coffee and perusing the newspaper.
Where's Abysinnian? Schuldich shot at him playfully. Wear him out already?
Crawford lowered his paper marginally to offer the other man a dirty look.
Schuldich held up his hands defensively and edged towards the coffee maker. Sheeeesh, just joking. Chill out.
Yohji walked in a second later, still looking peeved. He slouched at the table and lit a cigarette. "Where's Aya?" he asked Omi.
"Looking for Ken-kun," Omi answered with a sigh, brushing past Nagi to reach for the plates.
Yohji raised his eyebrows. "Ken's missing?"
"So is Farfarello," Schuldich said with an amused drawl. "Put two and two together."
Yohji cursed, sitting up straight. "You mean that idiot went after.. him?"
Omi shrugged helplessly, and handed the plates over to Nagi, who simply floated them to the table. "I don't know. Maybe. He might have noticed Farfarello was gone and went out to stop him from... well..."
"Doing anything rash," Nagi finished smoothly.
"Rash? Rash??" Yohji repeated angrily. "Isn't that something of an understatement? When did Aya leave?"
"About half an hour ago." Omi set a pan on the stovetop. "He should be back soon. I doubt Ken-kun left very early. He couldn't have gone very far."
Yohji muttered something unintelligible.
"Cheer up, Kudou," Schuldich mocked, offering a mug of coffee. "You aren't a morning person, are you?"
"Fuck you," Yohji shot back without thinking.
"Too late," Schuldich murmured, smirking.
Yohji glanced quickly at the others, but the only one who seemed to have heard was Crawford.
The American arched a brow at the both of them, then raised his paper, blocking his face from view.
"You didn't have to come looking for me," Ken muttered, half rebellious. "Hold still."
Aya held his left arm still as Ken Healed it, glancing around at the writhing, charred carcasses piled in the alleyway. The flames still licked at his right arm, and he quenched them with a thought. Stupid bloodsuckers.
"Done." Ken released his partner's arm and looked around as well, giving a little shudder. "Urgh. I guess now we have to find some wood. I hope they don't crawl away while we do that."
Aya glared at him. "Why did you go after him?" he asked bluntly. "Are you insane?"
Ken scowled. "I can look after myself."
"You were doing a great job when I showed up," Aya said with scornful sarcasm.
Ken bristled. "Hey, give me a break. I could've outrun them."
"Outrun a dozen Vampires in a narrow alley?" Aya frowned darkly. "You shouldn't have left the shop in the first place."
Ken's scars were throbbing at the presence of so many undead, but he ignored it. "Well what if that idiot went out to get some breakfast or something?" he snapped defensively. "We're responsible for him, whether we like it or not. And everyone else was asleep."
"You should have woken up one of them," Aya said curtly. "They know how to handle him."
"Aya, if you don't quit acting like Schwarz is our enemy, you're going to be so busy watching them you'll forget to watch your back for them." He gestured towards the snarling, burned Vampires.
"They ARE the enemy, Ken," Aya said brutally. "This 'truce' is only temporary. And don't forget it, or you'll be the one getting struck from behind-- probably from that lunatic."
"Look, are we going to stand here and argue all day," Ken burst out in exasperation, "or are we going to kill these things before they crawl off?"
They stood tensely, glaring at each other for a long moment. Finally Aya turned sharply and began prying a piece of wood from a nearby crate. Ken headed for another crate, muttering sourly to himself.
Once they had stabbed all the Vampires and tossed their messy remains in a nearby dumpster, they began searching for a hose to wash off their arms and hands.
Ken flinched, reaching up to clap a palm over his scars.
Aya noticed the motion and frowned. "Those still hurt?"
"Only when Vampires are around," Ken said quietly, glancing around. "We didn't miss any, did we?"
"No." Aya moved only his eyes, his hand straying slowly for his katana- a habit. He knew the steel wouldn't work on their enemy. "There might be more. Or a spy."
"It doesn't hurt enough to be a lot of them," Ken muttered out of the side of his mouth. "You're right, it's probably a spy. See anything?"
"No..." On a reflex, Aya looked up, and caught a flash of movement on one of the rooftops. "Up there!" He dashed for the fire escape.
"Ch-chotto, Aya!" Ken cried, running after him.
Aya ignored him, going up the ladder like greased lightening, and Ken hastily followed.
He pulled himself onto the roof in time to see Aya in a face off with their spy. They stood several yards apart, watching each other warily. Ken slowly edged up to his friend, panting. "Why hasn't he run yet?" he whispered.
"I don't know," Aya muttered back, obviously just as puzzled.
The Vampire held up his pale hands to show that he was unarmed, watching them with dark, shifty eyes. "Don't do anything rash," he said. "I'm not with the Lord."
"Lord?" Aya repeated.
"Agameddo?" Ken asked at the same time.
The Vampire nodded, still watching them a little warily. Obviously he had seen what Aya could do with his Gift. "Not all of us are with him," he said more quietly. "Not all of us... agree with him."
Ken stared at him blankly. He was rather short, with wayward dark hair and slanted eyes. He wasn't dressed as shabbily as the Vampires that had attacked him in the alley. In fact, if Farfarello hadn't taught him what to look for-- and if his scars hadn't been aching --he probably would have mistaken him for a guy who didn't get enough sun. Stylish sunglasses hung on the collar of his striped tee, and his jeans were faded but clean. His mind flashed back to the woman and child who they had encountered after running across Agameddo's territory with Farfarello. She had been dressed nicely, if he remembered correctly.
"There are a lot with him," the Vampire continued, "but there are some of us who live normal lives. You've probably passed us in the streets a dozen times. We feed when we're hungry, not for pleasure. We have jobs- families. Agameddo's plan to wipe out the humans in Tokyo doesn't... sit well with some of us."
"Why should we believe you?" Aya demanded.
"I'm still here, aren't I?" the Vampire pointed out. "I could have outdistanced you easily, the minute you reached for that ladder."
"Maybe you're just a coward."
The Vampire's eyes flashed, but he didn't make a move. "I'm here to give you information. And to warn you."
"Warn us about what?"
The Vampire bared his fangs slightly. "Warn you to pick your targets well. You had best learn to tell the difference between one of his followers and those of us who coexist with your kind. You wouldn't like all the Vampires in this city after your blood."
Ken spoke hastily before Aya could say something rash. "And what information did you have for us?"
"Agameddo is going to make his move soon," the short Vampire said, looking at him, eyes straying to the scars on both sides of his neck-- one pair from the first Vampire to attack him, the other from Farfarello. "If you're going to do something about him, you'd better do it soon."
"Where is he?" Aya asked curtly.
"Follow his signs," the Vampire advised, glancing around to make sure they weren't being overheard. "I hope you know I'm risking my neck telling you all of this," he added sardonically.
"That's your problem," Aya said coolly. "How many are with this Agameddo freak?"
"Aya," Ken hissed noticing the way their informant's eyes narrowed. "Uh, he's a little short tempered," he said quickly. "Sorry." Aya looked at him incredulously. Ken ignored him. "About how many followers does Agameddo have?"
The Vampire spoke to him, ignoring Aya coldly. "Well over a hundred. I hope you have strong allies." His fangs flashed in a humorless grin.
"Would you help us?" Ken asked on impulse. "The ones of you who coexist, I mean."
The Vampire tossed his hair from his eyes in a contemptuous gesture. "This is your fight, human. This is all the help you get. And this alone makes me Traitor-- as bad as that scum you are searching for."
"Farfarello?" Ken asked sharply. "Why do all of you call him Traitor? Because he's killed Vampires?"
"Because he hunts us," the man corrected venomously, eyes dark slits of hate. "He is one of us, yet he tracks us down and kills us for the mere pleasure of it. As if he could deny what he is by wiping us out." He pointed a warning finger at Ken. "That one is going to die. By Vampire hands. Don't try to stop anyone who tries to kill him. He has it coming to him. Children, Purebloods, Turned ones, ancients... It makes no difference to him. He kills indiscriminately."
"Well then there's at least one thing he and I agree on," Aya said quietly.
The Vampire glared at him, shoulders stiff. Aya glared right back.
This was not going well, Ken though ruefully. "Uh, thanks for your help," he said quickly. "But... Farfarello is our partner. And his old teammates might not be too happy if you tried to kill him."
"Jei," the Vampire said almost absently, still locked in a stare-down with Aya.
Ken blinked. "What?"
The Vampire finally looked at him. "Jei," he corrected. "His name is Jei."
Ken stared at him in surprise. "He--"
"Are you a Feeder?" the man asked abruptly.
The man's eyes strayed once more to his neck, and he flashed his fangs in an eerie smile. "You know what I mean. Let me guess-- you're that Traitor's toy. His Feeder."
Ken flushed with embarrasment and anger. "You-" he started angrily.
Aya's arm shot out, and furious flames leapt from his palm.
The Vampire dodged nimbly, and dashed across the rooftop with a surprising turn of speed. "Heed my warning, humans," he called over his shoulder. "The Traitor is ours!" Then he jumped from the edge and was gone.
Aya scowled angrily, and the flames vanished.
Ken didn't bother to admonish him for his attack. He stood stunned, feeling dirty and insulted. The short Vampire might as well have called him a whore, if "Feeder" meant what he suspected it did.
Aya turned to him, watching him for a moment before gesturing. "Let's go," he said gruffly. "We'd better find that monster before he drains all of Tokyo dry."
It took Ken a second to realize he was referring to Farfarello. "He wouldn't--" he started unthinkingly, then snapped his mouth shut so quickly his teeth clicked. What the fuck was he defending him for? That Vampire had just called him Farfarello's little food toy. He reached up suddenly, before he could think about the consequences, and covered his swollen left eye with his palm.
There was the familiar tingle, then a warmth on his face as his Gift did its work. He lowered his hand a few moments later and blinked, squinting a little as his eye adjusted to the light. Aya stared at him in mild surprise.
"Well?" Ken forced himself to ask. "How does it look?"
In answer, Aya pulled out his sword and held it up for Ken to see his reflection in the polished steel.
The swelling was gone, and his eye was clear and untouched. So Farfarello hadn't touched the actual eye after all. There was a wide white scar, however, running from an inch or so above his eyebrow, cutting off right above his eye, then continuing directly below it and going on halfway down his cheek. He sighed, touching it mournfully. A pity that his Gift didn't erase scars. At least it wasn't a horrible disfigurement, he tried to console himself. It made himself look more like an experienced assassin, a dangerous one. He tried not to let himself think that it made him look a little scary as well.
Aya sheathed his sword and reached out with a gloved hand, brushing a finger tentatively down the scar and frowning. "You can't get rid of it?" he murmured.
Ken ducked his head, brushing his still-dirty hands off on his pants uncomfortably. "No," he muttered. "Maybe if I had Healed it right away, but..."
"Then what about these?" Aya gestured towards the puncture scars on his neck without really touching them.
"I think it's because of some poison or something in their fangs," Ken said, walking quickly towards the ladder. "It doesn't matter. I won't get anymore. Anything that tries something like that again is going to get a stake through his fucking chest."
"I thought I told you not to do that."
Both men whirled at the quiet voice, Aya's hand snapping towards his katana hilt.
Farfarello stood watching them, arms crossed, his face an emotionless mask. His single eye was staring straight at Ken's face-- at his scar. "I told you what I would do if you did that," he continued ominously.
Ken's heart sped up. Oh Christ, was he serious? Farfarello lowered his arms and began walking towards him slowly.
"First the left hand," he said almost in a singsong tone, "then the right." He made a quick movement with his hand, and suddenly he was holding his gleaming serrated knife. "Pets should obey their master."
Ken staggered back, holding his arms protectively behind him. "Don't come near me, you crazy--" he started.
"Ken-!" Aya shouted in warning.
Ken's foot hit the edge of the roof, and slipped on the gravel there.
He tottered for a moment, face a blank mask of surprise, then gravity won the brief struggle, and he toppled backwards, into space and towards the ground far below.
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