A scream-- decidedly not female --from the alley Farfarello had
followed a hooker into jolted Ken into full awareness. He'd been
uncomfortably fighting off the twinges of death the city harbored, leaning
against the bike rack and blowing warmth into his hands.
He ran to the alley, twisting his wrist-- with a metallic shink
his bugnuks shot out, ready for action.
Farfarello was lifting his head from his unconscious victim, eye
glowing like a cat's as he stared at the skinny figure scrambling up from
between two dumpsters.
A kid, Ken realized with a muttered curse. He slowed to a walk,
lowering his arm so that his coat sleeve covered the silver-plated
Farfarello, mouth bloodied, hesitated and glanced towards his
Ken walked closer slowly, peering at the quivering figure in the
He was fifteen, maybe. A skinny kid with wide, horrified eyes and
greasy, unkempt brown hair. His cheeks were a little gaunt; Ken guessed
that under the thin jacket the boy's ribs were probably starting to
"Farfarello," Ken murmured warningly.
Farfarello's eye narrowed, but he pulled away from his prey and let
her slide down the wall so she was sitting against it, head lolling. But
still alive. Her bright golden hair fell around her face, revealing
the bloody bite on her neck.
The kid, who Ken had expected to bolt, cried something out in
Ken, who had been taking a few careful steps towards him, came to an
immediate halt. Farfarello reached up belatedly to wipe his mouth
clean. He glared suspiciously at the boy as he lapped the blood from his
"What did he say?" Ken demanded.
The boy glanced towards him quickly at the foreign tongue.
"He said 'you're one of them'," Farfarello translated slowly.
"I guess this Nathan guy isn't too careful about keeping his people
discreet," Ken observed irritably. "So.. if he knows what you are, why
isn't he running--"
Farfarello moved so fast it made Ken jump. Seeing it out of the
corner of his eye, for a second he thought his lover was running away. But
no-- he was moving backwards. Farfarello slammed into the wall
with a grunt of surprise and fell in a heap.
Ken jumped back, mouth dropping open. He shot a shocked look towards
the boy, who looked terrified and furious all at once. He started
"Wait wait!" Ken shouted, putting himself in between the Vampire and
the boy. "Stop--"
The kid's head turned sharply towards him. It hit him next: an
invisible blow to the chest, like being hit by a car. Ken cannoned into a
pile of trash and rolled onto the pavement, gasping for air. He spit
out a mouthful of blood and cursed colorfully.
Farfarello was getting slowly to his feet, his eye narrowed
"He's a telekinetic," Ken coughed, pushing himself painfully into a
sitting position. "Tell him to knock it off!"
Farfarello ignored him, glaring at the boy, who was panting with fear
and adrenaline, eyes glued to the scarred Irishman.
"Farfarello," Ken started insistently.
"He said we took him away," Farfarello interrupted quietly.
"Took who away?" Ken groaned, getting up carefully.
"I don't know. He must have run into some of Nathan's and thinks
we're with him."
"Well tell him we're not!" Ken snapped.
Farfarello glanced towards him, arching a brow. "Would it matter?" he
"Well then tell him I'm not a Vampire," Ken insisted. "Maybe I can
talk some sense into him."
Farfarello turned his fierce gaze back on the boy, but before he could
speak, the kid looked right at Ken.
"Liar," he accused heatedly. In Japanese.
Ken's eyebrows shot up. "Wait... you understand Japanese?"
The boy shut his mouth shut tight and glared at both of them. "Stay
away from me," he warned after a moment. "I'll.. I'll hurt you."
"That's not much of a threat," Farfarello murmured.
"Farfarello, shut up," Ken growled, wincing as he touched his ribs.
He tried not to let his temper show in his tone or face. "Look, kid,
we're from out of town, in case you didn't notice--"
The boy blinked, scrunching up his nose. "Too fast-" he
Ken sighed, speaking more slowly. "We're not American. We're just
"Well go away!"
"We're here on business," Ken explained.
The boy only stared at him. Farfarello translated 'business' into
English, and the boy shook his head hard. "Go away!"
"We're not going to hurt you," Ken said quietly, holding out his hands
in a sign of peace. His sleeve slipped up with the movement, showing
off his weapons. The kid's eyes got big.
"They're silver," Ken snapped before he could start throwing them
against the wall again. "For Vampires. Not little boys."
"I'm not a little boy," the boy snapped, eyeing him warily. "..And
you're a liar."
"We don't have time for this," Farfarello reminded his lover
"I know." Ken shook his head, tugging his coat tighter around him.
"C'mon, let's go. We're going to be late."
Farfarello offered the boy one last long look, then followed as Ken
The boy watched them go, torn. He was obviously afraid of them, but
Ken glanced back at him once, and hesitated. He was so young.
Younger than Omi had been. Thinking of his young friend made a lump rise in
his throat. He stopped and turned around. Farfarello halted, watching
him with a reproachful look. Ken ignored him, digging in his pocket.
"Look, kid, you shouldn't be out at night," he sighed. "Don't you have
"Not anymore," the boy said bitterly. His heated gaze flicked towards
Farfarello. "Thanks to them. Why are you with him if you're
not a Vampire?"
"That's none of your business," Ken informed him shortly. He pulled
out a twenty dollar bill and tossed it onto the ground. "Here. Go get
yourself some food. And get inside before someone takes a bite out of
"I don't want your money!"
Farfarello touched his elbow, and Ken shrugged, turning to follow his
When they reached the end of the alley, he looked back once, in time
to see the kid snatch up the money and run in the opposite
They met the American Lord's advisor half an hour later in Central
Ken was too on edge to really appreciate the flora around him in the
midst of such a metallic city. He had come to a realization shortly
after leaving the hotel-- something that had started as a tickle on his
senses and had almost become overwhelming by the time they met with their
They were in a city of death.
Even here in this darkened park there were traces of death, some of it
only days old. And passing through the city on the way to the park, he
had been assailed with it from all sides.
For the first time he realized just how strong his Necromancy was
becoming. He had felt murders from miles away, some that had happened
He'd heard that New York had an incredible crime rate-- especially
compared to the relatively peaceful streets of Japan. He was just now
coming to fully understand that.
The echoes and tremors vibrating in his body through his Gift were
giving him a headache and making him feel as if he was walking in a
dream-- or a nightmare. It frightened him a little at first, but by the time
they reached the park his anxiousness had taken a sharp nosedive into a
foul temper. Farfarello was intuitive enough to stay silent. He kept
his hand pressed to Ken's lower back and tried to soothe him through
their Vampire-Feeder bond. It helped a little, but Ken was concentrating
too much on keeping track of what was going on to thank him. He picked
at the little bits inside of him that made up his Gift, trying to make
the noise and the ominous feeling lessen while Farfarello spoke in
English to the advisor.
When Ken trusted himself to split his attention, he concentrated on
the man before them. Turned, the faint twinge of his scars told him. A
middle-aged man in a polo shirt and slacks, his salt-and-pepper hair
neatly slicked back. He had a beard, Ken noticed, fascinated despite
himself. Japanese men did not have beards. At least nothing this thick.
He could barely see the man's lips. He had a deep voice and a slight
beer belly from his previous life, but he looked brawny enough in the
arms. Farfarello realized his lover had finally settled himself down and
turned his head to look him over carefully before speaking. The
advisor's pale eyes turned on him as Farfarello spoke.
"His name is Kevin," he murmured in Japanese. "He says his master is
ready to see us now. It will be better when we get to his lair."
Ken nodded silently. He had spent almost a year in the midst of
Vampires, and knew how to ignore or block the faint aura of death that hung
over each like a dark cloud. He found himself longing for the comfort
and sanity of the hotel, but didn't say so. Kevin was sizing him up
with his unimpressed eyes, probably wondering if he would be able to
handle the meeting.
Ken met his gaze steadily, giving a short nod of greeting. "Ken," he
introduced himself, remembering at the last second that Americans
called each other by their given names.
Kevin nodded back, not bothering to introduce himself; Ken assumed
he'd heard Farfarello say his name. He was still too out of it to be
anything but vaguely annoyed at everything in general.
Kevin beckoned, speaking to Farfarello, and led them through the park
"He has a car waiting," Farfarello translated, hooking his thumb in
Ken's beltloop to keep his hand steady against his back. "He will take
us to his master's place."
Ken nodded again, tugging absently at his coat sleeves, making sure
they concealed the bugnuks underneath. "Any hint so far as to what to
expect?" he inquired quietly.
Farfarello shrugged his shoulder slightly, his eye seeming to glow
like a cat's in the dark. "He assured me Nathan was a good host."
Ken stumbled over a root and wished for his lover's night vision.
"Maybe there's hope for him after all."
"Yes. Perhaps he is not the fool Park was."
"Famous last words," Ken joked-- then immediately hoped he was
Laura was only half paying attention to the teacher's roll call as she
doodled in the margin of her notebook, head lowered so that her
shortly-cropped hair fell forward just enough to frame her face in a
protective curtain, allowing her to avoid eye contact with any of the other
students. Felix had made his decision; this would be their last day in
Osaka. Tomorrow they would gather their belongings and move on to Nagoya
to continue their search for the elusive members of Schwarz. A part of
her hoped they would find the men just so that it would be done with,
and Felix's temper would improve. But mostly she hoped they would not
be found so quickly. She found she enjoyed traveling and seeing new
places. Even if it was all very strange and a little frightening, it was
still exhilerating in its own way. She was visiting places most
Americans her age would never see. Learning new cultures, meeting new
And the Japanese were so polite! It was a nice change from the
harshness of Rosenkreuz's school for the Gifted. With only two cities down,
she hoped to be able to spend many more days all over Japan. She
smiled to herself, scribbling a little cat face next to her half-hearted
history notes. Maybe they would never find Schwarz. Then they would be
able to travel to--
Laura jumped so hard she snapped the lead from her pencil. The
teacher didn't seem to notice, but students nearby tittered. Laura ignored
them for once, looking around wildly. She stared in stunned disbelief
at the smiling girl seated beside her.
Aya caught her gaping and looked at her curiously. "Nani?"
"N-nothing," she stammered quickly, ducking her head again and staring
at her notes blindly.
Aya?? The girl who was so nice to her? This was
Fujimiya Aya of the enemy group Weiss?
She felt like smacking herself upside the head. Of course. It made
sense. She could have sworn she'd seen Schuldich that day when Aya had
offered her a ride home. A glimpse of long orange hair-- she'd freaked
and bolted, then immediately chided herself for reacting such a way.
The hair had been pulled back, and anyway, she'd barely gotten much more
than a peek. And how would Aya know such a man?
There had been that alliance Felix had reported... the two teams had
supposedly teamed up against the Vampires and Rosenkreuz, taking out the
Four as well as Felix's original team. But everyone had assumed the
alliance would splinter after the war.
"Laura-chan," Aya hissed.
Laura looked up quickly to find the whole class staring at her and
giggling while the teacher peered sternly at her over her clipboard.
"She called your name," Aya whispered out of the side of her
"Uh- here. I mean hai!" Laura stammered. She blushed furiously as
some of the students laughed outright. She lowered her head, hiding
behind her hair, and tried to ignore her shame as she grabbed an extra
pencil and scribbled hasty notes about her revelations.
Fujimiya Aya, sitting less than two feet away from her!
Felix would be happy to hear this.
Laura bit her lip, pencil hesitating over paper. Would he hurt her?
Weiss wasn't technically a target; Schwarz was. They were the
traitors. Weiss was to be taken out only if they got in the way.
But Felix was known for holding grudges. What if he decided to take
care of Aya as well? Laura felt torn between loyalties. It was her
job, and Felix was her team leader, but Aya had been so nice to her... the
nicest to her so far in her time in Japan.
You have to, she told herself firmly. It's your duty to report this
to Felix. Especially if she can lead you to Schwarz.
Crushing her guilt and anxiety with difficulty, she closed her
notebook and slid it and her pencils into her bookbag.
She raised her hand hesitantly, waiting until the teacher noticed her
"I don't feel well," she said quietly. "May I go to the nurse's
"Can't it wait?" the teacher demanded impatiently.
"N-no, sensei. I think I'm going to throw up."
"Ewww," some girl said from across the room. A couple people laughed.
Two boys closest to Laura scooted their desks away a few inches. Laura
could feel her face burning, but kept her eyes glued to the
"Very well.." the teacher conceded at last. "Take the hall pass."
Aya's hand shot up, and she flicked a narrow look towards those
laughing. "Sensei," she called. "I can take her to the nurse."
Laura felt a lurch in her stomach. Wasn't her guilt bad enough
without her own enemy trying to help her? "N-no, that's all right," she said
quickly, jumping to her feet. "I'm fine."
Aya looked startled, then concerned and a little hurt. "All right...
I'll see you later. Feel better soon."
"Thanks," Laura mumbled, clutching her bag to her chest and hurrying
to the front of the room with a bowed head. She took the hall pass
silently and exited the classroom.
She made a beeline for the girl's bathroom, locked herself in a stall,
and pulled out her cell phone.
She dialed Felix's number by memory, her heart pounding, but the line
was busy. She hung up and stared at the phone, gnawing nervously on
her bottom lip. He must be taking one of his naps. Or his battery could
have run out. Now what? The third member of their team didn't have a
cell phone... just thinking of the narrow-faced man speaking into a
cell seemed ridiculous somehow.
On impulse she dialed the number again, and this time it rang.
Felix picked up on the third ring, sounding grumpy as usual. The
sound of his English-accented voice had the usual affect on her, as well.
She cringed and clutched the phone with both hands to her face. "What
is it, brat? Aren't you supposed to be in that fucking school?"
"I-I am," she stammered, lapsing back into her native tongue at his
rough words. She hesitated, then burst out unthinkingly, "You never said
she was a girl!"
"What?" Felix sounded even more annoyed now. "What the hell are you
"Aya Fujimiya," Laura practically hissed into the phone, straining her
ear for any sound of the door opening and a student wandering in. "You
never told me Fujimiya was a girl!"
There was a long silence on the other end of the phone. Laura waited
for several moments, and was just about to ask if he was still there
when he spoke again, more calmly this time. "What are you talking
"Aya Fujimiya-- she's in my class. I thought Fujimiya was supposed to
be a man. A man with red hair and a cold attitude. This is a girl!
And she's.. she's nice."
"Bollocks," Felix muttered. "That. It's his sister."
"Shut up. Let me think." He was silent again for a long time. Laura
waited tensely. "Fujimiya's real name is Ran," Felix said at last.
"The files were never changed. At least, not the ones you saw. Aya is
his younger sister." She could practically hear the sneer in his voice.
"Oh, this is perfect. Does she walk home?"
"No. Someone gives her a ride." She hesitated uneasily, anticipating
the anger her next words would undoubtably provoke. "I saw a glimpse
of him last week. It looked a little like Schuldich."
"What!" Felix sounded incensed. "Why the fuck didn't you say so last
week, you stupid little girl??"
Laura cringed. "I-I'm sorry," she said hastily. "I wasn't sure.. I
only saw him for a second.."
"You're useless, you know that?" Felix growled. "Never mind," he
snapped a moment later. "That just makes it even better. Listen: today
you're going to ask her to drive you home--"
"With Schuldich??" Laura squeaked, horrified. "Wh-what if he
recognizes me?? Or- or what if Naoe is with him, and he recognizes
"Shut up," Felix snarled. "That idiot won't recognize you. You were
on different sides of the school, and he left with Schwarz for Japan
six months after you started your training. As for the Prodigy, if you
haven't seen him at that school, you don't have to worry about
him. He must be going to a different school with the Tsukiyono brat.
They might be in a totally different city. Now keep your mouth shut and
do what I tell you."
Laura fell silent and listened as he outlined his plan for the capture
of Schuldich of Schwarz and Fujimiya Aya.
Kevin brought them to a large building that Ken mistook as a hotel at
first. When Kevin pressed the button by the door and spoke into an
intercom, he realized it was an apartment building. And as he followed
the two Vampires up the stairs, he guessed it was one for wealthy
tenants. Like the kind Schwarz must have stayed in back when they were
working for Rosenkreuz.
Except this building was full of Vampires. He could sense them behind
every door they passed.
"Why don't we take the elevator?" Ken grumbled as they reached the
fifth floor and kept climbing.
"I'm assuming it's broken," Farfarello said dryly, and moved his
shoulder to avoid his lover's irritated swipe.
"Here," Kevin said at last, gesturing to the correct door.
Nathan, the American Vampire Lord, lived on the top floor in an
elaborate suite that was nicer than anything Ken had ever seen in his life.
He stood gaping in the threshold despite himself when they entered,
staring at the enormous space just in the living room and at the expensive
furnishings and decor. There were at least a dozen Vampires in the
room, all of them beautiful, and all of them dressed in sexy, black formal
wear. They were watching him and Farfarello like vultures.
Farfarello and Kevin were already heading for the group, so Ken
hastily toed off his shoes and followed.
"Ah, that's right," someone murmured. "The quaint Japanese custom of
removing one's shoes before entering a house. I'd forgotten. It's
been years since I last visited Tokyo."
And there was Nathan, lounging in a leather armchair, a goblet of wine
in one hand, a lock of golden hair from the woman behind him in the
He was certainly more pleasing to the eye than his predecessor had
been. Ryan Park had been as average-looking as a man could be. Nathan
was his complete opposite. He wasn't as old as Park had been, for one
thing-- Ken could sense that much right off the bat. And where Park had
looked like the type of man you never even noticed, Nathan looked like
he should be modeling clothes in a studio instead of relaxing at home
in an expensive silk suit with a small, careless smile of greeting on
his thin lips.
His hair was raven-black and longer than most American men liked to
wear theirs, nearly touching his shoulders. It had been brushed back
with a little gel, but some strands from his long bangs had escaped and
were drifting across his brow rebelliously. His eyes were dark-- so dark
Ken mistook them to be brown or black at first. But as he came closer
he could see they were more of a dark blue. Perfect eyes, perfect
nose, perfect face.. His smile widened slightly. Even perfect teeth. No
wonder he could afford to surround himself with beautiful people, Ken
thought, glancing around at the other Vampires, who remained still and
silent as statues. There were only three humans in the room that he
could sense-- himself, the blond, and a red-headed man.
Farfarello was in no way as impressed with the glamor around him as
his lover was. He came to a halt and fixed his host with a steady stare.
Ken, who had thought they had dressed decently enough for such an
important meeting, bit back a wince.
They must look pretty plain to them all-- even vulgar. Ken himself,
while he had been told he was 'cute' by girls, was no knock-out like Ran
or even Yohji. And there were always the scars on face and throat.
His new leather trenchcoat made him look like a rebel or a punk, despite
the dark slacks and the nice gray sweater Aya had given him for his
birthday. Farfarello was wearing plain black pants and a long-sleeved
black shirt; he'd unbuttoned the first few buttons at the top. Ken had
thought he looked great, and for Farfarello, it was fancy. But in the
midst of costly suits and dresses, Ken suddenly felt pathetic and poor.
And surrounded by all the attractive men and women, Farfarello's scars
and patch only stood out all the more.
Nathan gave them each the once-over, then set his wine aside, released
the blonde's hair, and rose smoothly to his feet. "So you are
Farfarello," he murmured, extending his hand. "I've heard quite a bit about
Farfarello didn't offer his own hand, and after a moment Nathan
dropped it without so much as a blink. He turned his gaze on Ken. "And this
must be your Feeder and partner, Ken Hidaka. I'm sorry-- that's Hidaka
Ken shook his hand briefly-- a strange American custom, but when in
Rome... He curled his hand up into a loose fist at his side when he was
done. Nathan's hands were cold as ice.
"I've heard a lot about you," Nathan continued, clasping his hands
behind his back. "Both of you. From some of those who escaped when you
fought that idiot Park."
Farfarello didn't look like he was going to speak, his golden eye
turning to take in everyone there-- and probably all the exits --so Ken
spoke up. "Uh, your Japanese is very good."
Nathan's intense stare landed on him again, making him want to squirm.
"Why thank you," he purred. "I like to be.. well-rounded. I must
admit, you're more attractive than I imagined."
Ken didn't know what to say to that.
Farfarello's attention snapped back to their host, his eye narrowing
just a little.
"Tell me, is it true? That you are a Necromancer?" Nathan's eyes were
boring into Ken's.
"Yes," Ken said quietly, flicking a look towards his lover.
"Ahh," Nathan breathed, eyeing him like a piece of rare art.
Farfarello's lip lifted in the faintest hint of a sneer. Or a
"This is my Feeder," Nathan continued, finally looking away from Ken.
He held out his arm, and the blond who'd been standing behind his chair
sauntered up. "Her name is Natasha."
Natasha and Nathan. How cute, Ken thought with a mental roll of the
eyes. Natasha offered a sultry smile to the two guests. She was
attractive, Ken admitted to himself. A wonderful body and beautiful golden
hair. Farfarello glanced her over dispassionately, the slight tension
in his shoulders easing.
"..And this is Eric." Nathan extended his other arm. The human with
shortly-cropped red hair and green eyes came over to lean against him.
His shirt was open, revealing a hard body and toned chest. Ken kept
his eyes firmly on the handsome man's face as he nodded a silent
"Two Feeders?" he asked after a moment, glancing at Nathan again. He
was immediately trapped by the dark eyes again.
"Yes," Nathan murmured. "It's not uncommon to have more than one.
You are the only one for your Lord because you are also his partner." His
lips quirked in a small, amused smile. "And because he is evidently
more faithful than some. Or so I assume."
"We came here to discuss the peace treaty," Farfarello cut in, staring
hard at the taller man. He seemed tense again; something only Ken
could tell. It didn't show in his face or tone, but Ken knew his lover
well enough to recognize the slightly stiff set of his shoulders.
"All work and no play, hm?" Nathan still looked vaguely amused as he
turned his attention back to Farfarello. "You're in New York City. The
Big Apple. Don't you want me to show you a good time first?"
"I've been here before," Farfarello informed him crisply.
"Have you?" Nathan looked at Ken.
"Uh... no," Ken admitted. "I've never been to America. This is all
pretty new to me."
Nathan's lips split in a wide grin. "Well that settles it then,
doesn't it? You simply must come out with us tonight. I wouldn't be a very
good host if I didn't show you around, now would I?"
"Uh..." Ken glanced towards Farfarello.
"Come, Farfarello," Nathan chided gently. "You wouldn't drag your
lover all the way to the big city and not let him enjoy the night life a
little, would you? He may never get a chance like this again."
Farfarello's lips were pressed tightly together as if he were fighting
to keep his patience. His eye flicked towards Ken, and he hesitated.
Ken wondered if he was remembering his request to do some sight-seeing.
"....Fine," he said at last. "But-"
"I know, I know," Nathan said, waving his hand dismissively as he
turned to retrieve his wine goblet. "We will discuss the treaty. But only
after I've had the chance to show you some of the places we go at night
here in New York."
Ken looked around at the silent entourage. "Should.. should we go
back to the hotel and change?"
"What you're wearing is fine," Nathan assured him, looking them both
over. "Don't worry. You look good in that. And I like the coat. It
Nathan finished his wine with a gulp and set the crystal on the fancy
end table with a decisive clink that made the other Vampires stir in
readiness. He offered another gleaming smile. "Let's be off.
The blond minced her way over to Farfarello and laid a hand on his
bicep with a wide smile.
Farfarello arched a brow at her before glancing towards Ken.
Nathan extended his arm like a gentleman offering to escort a lady to
a ball. "Shall we?"
Ken blinked, looking first at the arm, then at Farfarello, then up at
Nathan's smiling face. When Farfarello made no comment, he reached out
awkwardly and took the arm.
As they all headed for the door, Ken tried to get a sense of how
Farfarello was feeling on the bond between them. Not happy. That was about
all he could get. With an internal sigh, Ken resigned himself to a
night with the enigmatic Nathan and his strange crew. Maybe it would be
Back to 'Gravewalker' page