til the blood runs red

/ By kaitoXi [+Watch]

Replies: 155 / 3 years 10 days 4 hours 47 minutes 46 seconds

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He smirked. "Glad you're in a good mood." He did look like a fisher, no denying it. "Finish picking out your accessories, princess, and let's get moving."

Just leave? That was his style. Corrupting the golden boy, what a perfect way to go. He raised an eyebrow. Would Aries be okay with that? [i Maybe too late to ask that after I already bit him,] he thought, a mixture of shame and amusement rising at the thought.

He tilted his head. Go alone, or with a chaperone? He certainly didn't think Aries had suggested a chaperone for [i his] sake. "I'd think that was at your discretion, not mine," he murmured. Especially after the bite.

Lech led the way to Silas's office. He didn't know where Silas's office was, but Silas smelled distinctly of human and not-human at the same time. It was an almost tingly edge to the usual human smell, and it made him extremely easy to pick out from a crowd. He'd always noticed it, but never had the motivation to pick out who smelled like that. But now that he could match the scent to a name and face, he could lead them to Silas with no hesitation.

Silas looked up from his computer as the two arrived. He glanced at Kaien, then away, embarrassed. He hadn't meant to look in--wait, wait, he was being super suspicious right now. He should act like nothing had happened. "Hey guys, what's up?" he asked, forcing himself to smile.

He never lasted long in groups. This wasn't the first time. They'd notice that he knew, and it would be awkward, and he'd be on his own again.

"Are you coming with us?" Lech asked, looping an arm over the wall of his cubicle. His hand dangled over the edge, fingers half-clenched. Silas's eyes were drawn to it, how pale it was, how perfectly sculpted the fingers. [i How did I never notice?] It was so obvious, now that he knew.

They were looking at him expectantly. Silas startled and realized he'd been asked a question. "Uhm, uhm--coming?" Where? To lunch? He took in their clothes, and the memory hit. Silas' eyebrows shot up. [i Shit!] "Oh, man, I totally forgot! Give me a second, I gotta go--get dressed!"

Lech gestured for him to go. He made eye contact with Kaien as Silas ran for the wardrobing room. "Last chance to ditch him," he whispered, raising one eyebrow. They didn't have to take Silas with them. If they disappeared, he'd probably just sit back down in his cubicle, like usual.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 21d 2h 15m 53s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

He glanced up at the sound of footsteps, indicating someone’s entrance. He knew who it was well before Lech strolled in, looking, for all intents and purposes, [i exactly] like someone you’d see skulking through mud and muck. Or a fisherman. He kind of looked like a fisherman, too.

“Howdy there, partner,” he said in mock-salute, tugging the gloves on. They didn’t fit [i nearly] as well as his, but they fit well [i enough], which was about as much as he’d expected. Beggars couldn’t afford to be choosers, in his case. “Dunno about me, but [i you] sure look ready to catch a big one. Pick that out yourself? We could find you a nice hat, if you’re looking to complete the outfit.” Kaien’s clothes didn’t matter. He was planning on tossing them after today, and their owner had known that when he’d handed them over for Kaien’s convenience.

Lech’s question pulled him up short, though, and he paused. Tagalong…? Who was…

It dawned on him at the same time as the recollection of his and Silas’s conversation from last night. Right. Silas, who was apparently some type of clairvoyant or something. He didn’t much like that, to be honest-- even more than last night. “Probably,” he said. Silas’d mentioned something about seeing him tomorrow, in any case, but all of that was word of mouth. “We can leave, and then if he comes looking for us, or calls, we’ll know for sure.” But that meant being alone with Lech, and potentially talking about something other than strictly work, and Kaien hadn’t yet decided how he felt about the whole biting thing.

Or, [i well]. He knew how he felt about it, but he also knew he’d been the one to initially suggest it. Kind of. He’d offered Lech an alternative, but had he really expected a starving vampire to skip out on a chance to feed? It hadn’t crossed his mind, then-- because he hadn’t cared either way-- but now? [i Ugh.] Professional. He needed to be a professional about this. How he felt was second to the job.

“Let’s go ask,” he said ultimately. “He should be on this floor.” He needed to check. To know. What if Silas had lied? What if he’d seen everything Kaien’d gone up to last night and was currently in the process of ratting him out to Aries via email? Him [i and] Lech. No. He couldn’t take the risk. Silas’d promised to keep quiet, but people were fickle. “Would you prefer it if we went with just the two of us?”
  cigarette smoke / disir / 21d 3h 9m 59s
Lech woke with a start. After the initial jump, he stared at the wall, slowly computing why he'd woken. The noise? There were more people in the office now, for sure. It usually wasn't enough to wake him, if he meant to sleep. Honestly, that was most of what he did in his office: sleep. [i Maybe I should put a bed in here and be done with it.] But then what would he do with all the stacks of paperwork? Couldn't put them on the bed.

A scent. It was a scent.

Lech let out a deep sigh. Ah. So Kaien had arrived. It was truly embarrassing that he was attuned to the kid's presence to that extent after one bite, but that was the price of his pride and not eating for far too long. He was awake now, though. Nothing he could do but get up and face the music. Or, in this situation, two young hunters and an office full of humans.

He emerged from his office, startling a passing office-lady who nearly dropped her files. "Sorry!" she stammered, then took off, hurrying as fast as her heels could carry her. Lech stared after her, still a bit sleep-drunk. [i My outfit that bad?] his brain spat out about a minute too late. He shook his head, yawned, and wandered over towards Kaien.

[i It's not all bad,] he said in his mind, running through the conversation. [i If you get lost or captured, I can find you very easily.] Yes, because Kaien really wanted to hear that Lech was now stalking him at a low level for the rest of his life. Or at least the next two or three weeks. No, that was a good point, wasn't it? [i It doesn't last too long, probably,] he threw out there. Imaginary Kaien didn't look too impressed at that one, either. [i It's normal for vampires. It's not like I did something special just for you.] Oh yeah, yeah, [i that] was the ticket. Let Kaien know he wasn't special [i and] get weirdly defensive.

And there he was. The man himself. Kaien was... rifling through the wardrobe room, looking for who knew what. He looked the boy over. A big pair of waterproof boots, hopefully. "You ready for the sewers?" he asked, leaning against the wall to wait while Kaien searched. Kid hadn't seemed too excited about it last time they'd talked about it, but hell, who was? If Kaien had been all about the sewers, he would've been much more worried.

"Is the tagalong coming?" he added casually. He couldn't remember if Silas was heading into the sewers with them or not. Was he a part of the partnership now, or had that been a one-off?
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 21d 21h 9m 12s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

Ugh.

[i Ugh.]

“Kaien, [i there’s someone unconscious on the--]”

“[i Shut up,]” he muttered, the flat of his palm pressed up to the left side of his face. Ugh. Ugh. What a fucking spectacle. Annoying. He’d woken up a total of thirteen minutes ago, and he was already annoyed. Annoyed because he had control of himself again, annoyed because of what he’d done last night, and most importantly, because of what he’d let transpire in that abandoned building.

[i Ugh.]

“[i Hangover?]” his host asked, observing Kaien’s taut form from his leisurely recline on the couch. ‘Someone unconscious on the floor,’ and here he was, taking up the entire couch.

“[i Worse,]” he said, and, without a second glance at the ground, padded through the main area and into the adjoining bathroom. He stepped up to the sink and flicked the overhead lights on, bathing the room in artificial rays. He didn’t look half as horrible as he felt, from what he could see reflected in the mirror. In fact, he looked pretty good all around. Healthy. Radiant skin, bright eyes. The works. He inclined his head to the side and leaned in, focusing in on the smooth, unblemished skin of his neck. That side. That was the one Lech’d bitten into. Figures he wouldn’t have gone for the mangled side. Fucking vampires. [i Fucking vampires,] fuck.

He was furious, and made more irritable by the fact that he’d let it happen. He’d allowed it. He’d let a vampire bite him. After all that talk of trauma, and scars, and hate, the moment his control slipped, all of it ceased to matter. His past hadn’t mattered. The unhealing scar on his neck hadn’t mattered. His detest hadn’t mattered. None of that. He’d let Lech bite him just because it’d been convenient for him in that moment, and nothing more.

Kaien took a breath. Held it. Released.

[i Ugh.]

--

His thoughts were… muddled, at best. He couldn’t focus. Too many things--there were too many things bouncing around in his head, and he was having trouble grabbing hold of any one concrete thought. Just another in a line of a hundred downsides. The memories were all there, as were the reasonings behind all his actions , and that was really just making this entire experience three times as trying.

That was how his ability worked. It [i wanted] this- for him to get overwhelmed by the whys and the whats and the moral yeses and noes that popped up every time he woke up to realize that all those things he’d done last night, and the day before, and the day before, suddenly weren’t just arbitrary anymore. Guilt never hounded him, however, no matter what he’d remember doing, but it didn’t have to. He never felt guilty. He never cared, like he assumed he was supposed to--like he expected he would’ve, if his ability, and the consequent catch, had manifested as anything else.

He pushed open the doors to hq to find it sufficiently lively, people milling about and chattering idly away. Trish noticed him immediately--he was beginning to think she’d singled him out--and greeted him with a tiny wave, a smile on her face. She never looked tired. He remembered that about her. He gave her a nod, and continued deeper into the building without a word to anyone.

The sewers. He didn’t want to go. He [i really] didn’t want to go, but that was the difference between this Kaien, and the Kaien of last night. One knew the meaning of responsibility, of dedication to finishing the job and finishing it [i right]--[i the one that’d had the foresight to borrow a set of clothes from his friend and spare his own wardrobe]--and the other wouldn’t have gone simply because the sewers smelled and didn’t go with his mood.

Good thing, too. Lech knew where he lived now. If Kaien hadn’t shown up, who knew? Maybe Lech would’ve decided to pay a visit and drag him out, and that [i definitely] wouldn’t have gone over well. Kaien was stubborn on the best of days.

He took the stairs one by one, taking his time. Gloves. Before anything else, he needed to pick up a pair of gloves.
  cigarette smoke / disir / 21d 22h 27m 0s
There was no success to be had at the tiny dive bar that was now his territory. No success to be had anywhere. He wasn't sure how large this territory he had won was, but it certainly lacked any prey worth having. There was no class. No... taste.

Neither did any of them seem particularly interested in him. He sighed to himself on the way back home, scratching his head. It turned out removing himself from the scene for a few decades was a terrible idea, huh? And he'd never exactly been part of the scene in the first place. Rather than seduction, he'd rather have the thrill of the chase, cold night air and the rush of the dark. But that was no longer an option.

He slammed the door behind him. To hell with it. He'd starve again. It was less effort. Made him feel less like a pile of worthless shit, and that was saying something. Too lazy to find his way past the entryway, he plopped down in the foyer to sleep. Fuck it. Fuck it all.

--

He was up at the crack of dawn, well before the sun rose. Only a few hours of sleep, but it didn't much matter. He didn't need much sleep. Ideally he'd sleep through the day, but he was working for humans, now, and humans worked during the day.

Lech had to flick on the lights in his apartment to find his overalls and boots, it'd been so long since he'd used them. He found them tucked away in a distant corner of the laundry nook, sealed inside a plastic bag to save him the reek. He found a pair of old clothes he didn't care for, sweatpants and a t-shirt someone had handed him for free that promoted some bar or another. He caught a glimpse of himself in a passing mirror and grimaced. How could anyone go out on the streets dressed like this? Did they see themselves?

With the overalls and the boots on, he looked even worse. Redneck fisherman was the description that came to mind, no matter how flawless his hair and skin.

Lech sighed deeply. There was no helping that. At least once he pulled the watertight jacket on over it, the whole thing started to look more like a uniform.

No one was on the streets to see him look like a fool on his way to the headquarters. He slunk into the office, head swiveling to look out for Aries. No sign of the man so far. Good. He slid into his office--dank, dark, dusty and unused--and slumped into his chair. Might as well get a nap in before Kaien showed up. Even if the sewers were underground, being up during the day still wore him out. He wasn't built for it. Lech managed a bit of a doze as the rest of the staff slowly filtered in, humans arriving at much more reasonable hours than his early time.

--

The train last night had been delayed. Silas lurked in his cubicle, staring at the screen and mired in his own self-hatred. He'd said fifteen minutes. He'd meant to stick to it. but the damn train had been half an hour late. So now he had a certain image of Kaien plastered to the inside of his brain. He rubbed at his eyes and sighed out. Damn it. Damn his eye.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 33d 23h 4m 1s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

See him tomorrow? Kaien doubted it, but he stood quiet, observing Silas’ form get farther and farther away, until ultimately, he disappeared behind a corner and our of Kaien’s field of vision.

He didn’t trust him-- it was completely plausible that Silas’ had lied about everything he’d told Kaien, but that he’d just done it very, very well- well enough to potentially convince him. Rookies like that existed. [i He’d] been that kind of rookie- manipulative, and a liar, the type of person who solely looked out for himself and his interests. Granted, he was still all of those things, sans rookie status. Was Silas those things, too? He could be. Kaien doubted it, of course- something about Silas’ expression, his eyes, that didn’t hide pain all too well- but he hadn’t survived thus far by trusting his initial hunches.

Well, he thought, no use pondering. If Silas continued unnerving him, he’d handle it. Or him. But, for now, he’d take Silas’ word for it. He had nothing else to go off of, in any case-- he wouldn’t pretend he understood that ability of his.

He retreated back into the office. Approached Silas’ desk. He’d left it on, his pc. Unattended. Kaien leaned over the chair and gripped the mouse, waking the screen up with a brief jitter. [i Dear A] greeted him in black serif font.

Kaien stared at the screen for a long moment, then turned away from the computer and made for the exit. Whatever. It didn’t matter. It was a non-issue, he decided, flicking the lights off on his way out. It was late. He didn’t need to think about these things right now.

The receptionist- Trish- waved at him eagerly when he passed, and he smiled at her in return- a brief simper that slipped away as soon as he looked back at his front- and in the next several seconds he was back outside. He had his jacket. He had his keys. He has Silas’ confidence, or as close to it he was likely to get at this point in time. All things considered, he was ready to go home. Get some rest. Prepare his body for tomorrow’s traipse through the sewers. Pick out a durable outfit, a pair of sturdy, odor-resistant boots. Show his dedication to his job- to this [i city.]

His city. His home.

He dug his phone out and dialed a familiar number. Placed the phone up to his ear, and waited. The call rang twice, and then the other side of the line clicked, a voice coming through. Amiable. Pleasant. Glad to hear from him. Kaien started walking.

“[i Hey,]” he said, the language coming to him as easily as breathing. “[i You at home?]” A response. Kaien grinned. “[i You’re inviting me over?]” He carried on with his leisurely stroll without shifting course. More words from the other line. “[i Your friend? Hmmm… the address?]” He received the street, and the number. He switched the phone to his other ear. “[i Sure. I’m in the neighborhood. I’ll be over when it’s done. No, don’t bother. I’ll let myself in.]” He ended the call, and put the phone away. Now that [i that] was done…

Pocketing his hands, he altered his path slightly, ducking into one of the many tiny alleyways scattered on both sides of the main street. This wouldn’t take long.

// i’ll save us both the hassle of reading through kaien’s debauchery-- feel free to timeskip to the next day, or however you’d like to proceed!
  cigarette smoke / disir / 34d 44m 7s
For Kaien's sake, too? How? How could that be? He blinked, trying to take a moment to figure it out. His hand lifted to the silver again, stroked it back, then forward, hiding the color. This was weird. It was strange. He couldn't understand it. But for now, he'd listen to Kaien. Listen to him, but keep an eye on him.

Kaien stepped away. Silas nodded. Slowly, but he nodded. For now. Until he got more proof, figured out what was going on. Determined, he grit his teeth and pushed his hair back firmly. If no one else knew, he did, and he'd make sure nothing bad happened to Kaien.

It took a moment for Kaien's words to filter through his thoughts. When they did, he startled and shook his head. "No, no no no, of course not! It's-- until I touch someone else, yes. But I usually pet my cat when I get home, so, so it won't..." he grimaced. The number of strangers he'd accidentally seen getting it on when he forgot, or didn't notice... "I won't, I'm not a voyeur or anything. When I get home, that's it. And if I bump anyone else on the way there, the curse watches them instead."

It had a short attention span, this curse of his.

Had he seen anything else? He peered at Kaien. Was there something else he should have seen? "No," he confessed honestly. It was a curse, not a useful ability. It existed to cause him pain. Sometimes he forgot that. Sometimes it let itself be useful, to make him forget. "No. It just-- it only shows me things that it thinks will bother me." He grimaced again. [i Or better yet, that will get me killed.]

He paused at the hallway. "So, uh, I'll see you tomorrow?" he asked. He checked his watch, then showed it to Kaien. "I'll be home in fifteen minutes. If you're worried about... that I touched you."

--

Lech sighed and wiped his hands on the rooster's shirt. He had the rooster by his shirt-tail, and didn't see fit to release him until his hands were clean. Dark blood smeared over an expensive graphic. He grimaced. How unsightly. He should be in there, seducing The Youth, not out here, beating its face in. It really wasn't his style, squabbling over territory, but that was what he'd become: a pathetic peon, weak enough to have to fight newborns like this one. "This territory is mine," he declared, and dropped the rooster to the floor.

A grunt. The rooster's face twisted into a snarl, and for a second, he thought the child might leap at him, but in the end, he looked away. Lech suppressed the desire to sigh again. What an accomplishment, dominating this thing. If his sister was watching, she'd be rolling in laughter. "Th--the slaves are, are in--"

He kicked the rooster in the gut. "Keep your slaves. I don't want them."

The rooster coughed, then frowned. "B... but, the accords..."

Lech waved them away. "I've had enough of rules," he growled. No pathetic slave-eating vampires were going to stand in the way of him hunting his way. His sister was one thing, and that was more than enough. Anyone else was going to meet the heel-end of his boot.

In a worse mood than after he'd finished the fight, he stalked back into the bar. Accords. What damn fools. Who? Who'd they signed them with? Which body was regulating them? Aries would be pissed if he started a turf war, but damned if he wasn't in the mood for it. Everyone was trying to tie him down, but he wasn't going to stand for it.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 39d 2h 42m 53s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

That changed things, somewhat. Complicated them.

For one, there was no longer a point to deceiving him. Not now, about this, at least.

Kaien unpocketed his other hand and rested it atop Silas’, skin on skin, his touch delicate.

[i Kill him.] The impulse came as it always did- unbidden, spontaneously, and at the perfect moment, when Kaien felt he wanted a quick solution to a possible problem. He could do it. It’d make everything a lot easier, for a time. Just a thought, and Silas’ body would crumple to the ground, his insides turned out. It wouldn’t even have to be messy. Not really. He could wait until Silas went to sleep. Do it then, with a touch. Brains were one of the most sensitive organs, he’d learned. Rupture a brain in the right place, and a person would never wake up again.

But that was the issue with quick solutions, too. They were only temporary remedies, and proved annoying down the line. Kaien didn’t [i want] that. He wanted it easy, simple, straightforward, and wanted it in such a way that it left no room for contingencies.

No. No, no. Silas was off limits. [i Anyone] from the hunters’ guild was. He had to keep reminding himself of that.

He blinked up at Silas’ question, gaze trailing languidly from his hands, across his torso, landing on his expression. Why was he covering for Lech? “I’m not,” he said. Pointless to lie now. Silas seemed sure. “I’m covering for myself. I was covering for myself then, too. Whatever you think you [i saw,]” because he hadn’t answered Kaien’s question- hadn’t told him [i what], exactly, he’d seen, “was for my sake, too.” He took a step into Silas’ space, removed the other’s hand from his, but held on. “It was a one-time thing,” he assured him. Silas could keep a secret. He didn’t have to hurt him. He didn’t even have to think about [i trying] to hurt him. “Don’t tell Aries. Don’t tell anyone. Forget it. Whatever you saw, forget it.”

His grip on Silas’ hand fell away and he established a distance again, inclining his head towards the door, urging Silas to leave first. He followed him through the door.

“So,” he began, falling into step at his side as they walked towards the nap rooms. “You said ‘after that moment’- what’s that mean? How’s it work? Are all my secrets up for grabs now, forever?” He didn’t much like the sound of that. “Did you see anything else?”
  cigarette smoke / disir / 39d 3h 15m 17s
He shook his head. He'd run off. Like a coward. Hadn't wanted to be near Lech, near anything. Couldn't take it anymore, so he'd run. Left Kaien, even though he'd known he shouldn't. Known what would happen if he did. And it had. It had happened. He knew it. It had almost happened right before his eyes, and later, later...

Unconsciously, he let go with one hand and cupped it over his eye, the one right below the silver streak. It continued, that streak. Into his eyebrow, and if anyone looked close enough, into his eye, a streak of silver shot all the way through to his pupil. He'd been cursed. A long time ago, but curses didn't fade with time, no matter what he hoped. "I see things," he confessed. "Hidden things. Secret things. If I meet someone, touch them... then, sometimes, I'll see their secrets. Anything secret they do after that moment... I'll see it." His hand clenched tighter on Kaien's. "Not every time. But... sometimes."

It only worked on the last person he touched. Only worked on things they did after he touched them. He tried to avoid it by swapping it out as often as he could, with the hope whoever it was he'd touched last wouldn't do anything secret before he touched someone else. And then he went home and he touched his cat. Her secrets were all things like pooping in the potted plant, so that was fine. But he hadn't made it in time this time, so he'd seen their secret. Not all of it. Just snatches. Pain on his neck. Icy skin against his. A vision of Lech, seconds after it happened, blood on his lips. And he'd only touched Kaien, which meant Kaien had been bit.

All because he was a coward who was weak enough, stupid enough, to leave Kaien alone when he knew the man was vulnerable and had a vampire on his heels.

Kaien... didn't want him to tell? He frowned, confused.But... but Lech was a vampire. "You're covering for Lech?" he asked. "Why?"

He sighed. What was he doing here this late? "Working," he mumbled. If he couldn't sleep, he might as well work. There was always backlog, always paperwork. And he was shit in the field anyways, apparently, so he should just get used to that. He breathed in and let go, stroked his hair back nervously. "I was going to go to the nap rooms in a bit."
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 39d 5h 8m 52s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

Huh. So [i that’s] what it was. Kaien [i did] frown this time, staring down at their joint hands, then back up at Silas. That was it?

“Silas. Silas,” he interrupted, pulling his hand back and letting it drop by his side. “Shut up. You’re jumping to conclusions.” Now that they were this close, Kaien could see the anxiety, slipping off of Silas’ skin in waves. He looked guilty- just like that time in the apartment, that single moment- as if any of it had anything to do with him just because he’d happened to see something. That’s what Kaien had been curious about- whether Silas would decide to keep quiet about what he’d seen- but to claim he’d gotten [i bit…]

He [i had,] of course, but nothing Silas had seen would’ve pointed to that.

“When did you run off?” he asked, leaning further back against the table. He didn’t know whose cubicle it was, but surely they wouldn’t mind. “I remember you carrying me off, and I remember telling you to leave- that’s it.” Threatening him wouldn’t work. He didn’t [i want] to threaten Silas, in truth. Good, honest Silas who clearly hadn’t been sleeping all that well because of this.

“Nothing happened after you left,” he lied easily. He was a good liar, when he wanted to be. When it suited him. “I’m still human,” or as close to one as he’d ever be in this life. But now that he’d mentioned it, Kaien wanted to know. He had to know, so he could decide what approach to take. “What do you think happened, Silas? What do you think you saw?” As far as Kaien remembered, Silas had made his entrance before either Lech or him had made any moves against each other. Lech had leaned in, Kaien had tugged him back, and then Silas had kicked Lech in the head and hightailed it out there with Kaien in tow.

That was the last he’d seen of Silas.

… [i had] Lech told him something? Or had Silas just made his own assumptions?

Kaien considered him, the fine tremor in his hands, the tension lining his shoulders, and decided that, no, he didn’t want to threaten Silas after all. His meddling would have to go, though. He straightened, tucking his hands into his pockets once again. He hadn’t cleaned the blood off, yet, from when he’d wiped his face.

One thing at a time. This, first.

“I’m not telling Aries anything,” he began after a pause, “because there’s nothing to tell. And you’re not telling him either, because it’s not your story to tell.” Besides, Aries knew. He had to. It hadn’t occurred to him before, when he’d almost exposed Lech on the rooftop, but Aries wouldn’t have hired anyone he didn’t have a handle on. It came with being the boss. “You should worry about yourself instead. You look like shit. What're you doing here this late, anyway?”
  disir / 39d 5h 45m 48s
What the hell. What the hell. What the ever-loving [i hell]. How long was Kaien going to stand there? Was this a blood-slave thing? Was he a vampire too? Was the virus spreading? Silas tried to ignore him, but his eyes kept snapping back to the man anyways, nervously. He fiddled with the spreadsheet, but he had nothing to do with it anyways, and now he felt like it was awkwardly obvious that he'd just been pretending to work.

No. This was ridiculous. People didn't just walk in on his cube and stare at him. Kaien wasn't his supervisor. Silas cleared his throat. "Uh, can I help--?"

Shareena? Who? Silas stared at Kaien, uncomprehending. It sunk in slowly. That girl. The dead girl. Right. "Um, no, I mean--"

Kaien didn't look great. He looked like shit. Silas couldn't take it any more. He stood from his seat and grabbed Kaien's hand, trying to feel if it was still warm. It felt cool, but he didn't know if that was the cool of the night or the cool of undeath. "Kaien, you got bit, didn't you?" he whispered urgently. His eyes scanned the side of Kaien's neck; no bite marks. But that didn't mean anything. Only one lineage had the never-healing bite marks, and it'd been long enough anything else would've healed.

He couldn't take it anymore. He couldn't say nothing. This was his job, and he'd failed it. He'd seen Lech go for the bite and done nothing. Run off. He was pathetic. A failure of a hunter.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have run off," he babbled. His hands were shaking. He could feel a panic welling up, tried to push it down. "I shouldn't have, I just didn't, are you okay?" His eyes searched Kaien's face. Hands tightened their grip on the other man's. "I've been trying to talk to Aries but he won't--I don't have enough clout, he won't see me. You, though, you can talk to him--you should, Kaien. He's a menace. If he did it to you, who knows who else he's going to--"

He took a deep breath and shook his head. Ran back his hair. He hadn't slept well since that night. Couldn't think of anything else but his failure. "We have to report this. Even if he turned you, I'm sure Aries will understand--please, Kaien. Help me with this."

He looked crazy. Felt crazy. But what was he supposed to do, turn a blind eye and pretend like he hadn't seen a thing? Let a vampire continue to turn the hunters? Who knew how many hunters had fallen victim to him in the decades he'd worked here? He'd looked it up, and was amazed no one else had noticed yet. Lech had worked here for far too long to look as ambiguously young as he did. Someone had to have noticed. But no one had. Were they all under his thrall?
  Silas / kaitoXi / 39d 7h 15m 54s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

“So, she uses theeesee- what’re they called, thheee… ” she trailed off, torso spread out across the desk, fingers gripping the edge. Her eyes followed the man shuffling around in the back room. She’d claimed this was her job, but all she’d really done was walk Kaien over and gesture to the man currently searching for his jacket.

Not that he minded. Listening to her talk about this girlfriend of hers, and those [i cats,]… there were worse ways to spend interludes like these.

His jacket was presented to him, and his gaze slid from the receptionist’s face to the man. He was red in the face, his breathing hurried. Kaien reached for the jacket without comment.

“That’s it?” the receptionist asked, leaning into his side to take it in. “Does it have your stuff?” Good question. He patted down the pockets, then, satisfied with their contents, nodded. Everything was there. Not that he was surprised. Hunters weren’t in the habit of pick-pocketing.

She shot him a grin, showing off a perfect set of teeth, and stepped back to let him slip it on. “My job’s done, then.” She dug through the pockets of the oversized denim jacket she wore and pulled out her phone. Handed it to him. “Put your number in!” No explanation, no nothing. He blinked at her, once, twice, then proceeded to punch the digits in, and gave the phone back.

“Cool, thanks! I’ll text you!” A twirl on her heel, a confident pivot in the opposite direction, and she was off, presumably back to her workplace. Kaien turned back to the man at the counter, let his stare linger for not even half a second in silent goodbye, and then he was off, too, in search of the [i second] reason he’d come here.

He found Silas in one of the offices, hunched over a computer. He didn’t announce his arrival but Silas spun around regardless, and the surprise that etched itself into his expression when their eyes met was… something. For several moments, Kaien couldn’t figure out why Silas would be surprised to see him, and after those several moments, the curiosity dissipated like a snuffed match.

Kaien let himself into the room and strolled over until he was stood just several feet away, where he leaned up against the wall, crossed his arms, and stared.

And stared.

And stared some more.

Finally, after a good several minutes of that- after he was satisfied- he responded, disregarding Silas’ question in favor of his own. “What’re you thinking about?” he asked, inclining his head to accompany the harmless inquiry. “Still upset about what happened to Shareena?”

He pushed off the wall and stepped forward, approaching the desk adjacent to Silas’. He sat at the edge. Tiny movements. “Me? I’m great.” He [i was,] but coupled with the blank countenance- his lips pulled down into the beginnings of a frown- he didn’t look all that convincing. “It’s been great- how about you? How’s work been?”
  cigarette smoke / disir / 39d 17h 59m 40s
He didn't look back as the kid called his name. He'd find out if he was kidding or not tomorrow, when Lech dragged him out of his cushy office and out under the streets. Nothing like a little slogging through the mud to build character and forget a little bite or two. Out into the night. He turned his feet toward the city's bars and nightclubs.

The night slid past, slick as oil. His skin felt electric, his body warm. The hunt was on. Neon signs beckoned. Lights called to him. It wasn't his preference, this nonsense. Obeying someone else's rules. Even now, it made him sick. How could he? Bow his head to them like some kind of dog. It was pathetic. Moreso because the orders came from humans at the top. Even if it was his whore of a sister, at least it wouldn't be--

He bit his cheek. That line of thinking got him nowhere. Onward. He had to move on. He stepped into the bar and was instantly enveloped in shitty music and noise.

A hand on his shoulder. He turned. The first thing he saw was a shock of green hair standing on end. A mowawk. He stared. [i What fresh hell.]

He was tugged down to the speaker's height. Green eyes bored into his. "Stepping in on my territory?" the man demanded. He raised his lip, showing off his fangs.

Lech sighed. Already? "Then, shall we?" he suggested, gesturing out the back of the club.

The other vampire spat. "You think you're good enough? Back down, old man."

In that moment, he felt [i unbearably] old. What a hassle. This whole thing. He was almost tempted to back down and walk away, except that he couldn't possibly take the blow to his pride that was publicly backing down from a man who looked like a mutant rooster. He already hated dealing with other vampires. This fool didn't know what he was, but the ones who did... he didn't know which was worse, the adulation at what he had been or the disgust at what he had become.

He drew a pair of gloves from his pocket. "Shall we make it official, then?" he offered. He couldn't help speaking formally. Something about this upstart made him desperately want to separate himself from The Youth. The green rooster was undeniably The Youth. Kaien was as well, but it was bearable, because he bore his wounds on his back, where no one could see them. This fool had never seen a real wound. Even his turning was probably something he'd desperately begged for.

The rooster rolled his eyes. "Jeez, go back home to your mausoleum already, grandpa. Fine, fine. Let's go out back." He tipped his head. It was probably supposed to be a low-key signal, but he'd apparently forgotten that his head was a glowing green cock's comb. Lech couldn't possibly miss the heavy-set men moving 'subtly' to the back. "C'mon."

Reluctantly, he followed the men out.

--

[i Aries--I've discovered something terrible about a hunter among us. Please respond ASAP so we can]

Silas sighed. Too informal, and somehow, also too formal. He deleted the email again and put his head in his hands. How did he say it? He couldn't just name names. Vampires were tricky little fucks, and he liked his family. If someone else saw it first--he didn't want to die. But he had to tell Aries. If he let this go, he'd never forgive himself. Kaien was in danger, he was in danger, the whole place was in danger! A vampire so easily walking amongst them, and no one even noticed? It was horrible!

[i Dear Aries,]

Footsteps from behind him. He slammed the backspace button. Quickly, he scrambled, opened a random spreadsheet and grabbed up a random piece of paper. When Kaien appeared, he almost jumped out of his skin. Alive? He was alive? "Kaien, you're--" he started, then stopped. Wait, a blood slave. Kaien could be a blood slave. He couldn't trust him. Couldn't say a thing. He faked a smile. "Um, how are you doing?"
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 39d 19h 17m 14s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k2_zps6odp3n0i.png]]

Kaien blinked.

“Lech.”

Lech’s figure continued down the street.

“Lech, I’m not going into the sewers.”

He kept walking.

“Lech.”

His partner’s shadow disappeared, and Kaien looked out into the darkness for several more seconds, contemplating, but ultimately he turned his back to the street and pivoted towards the entrance to hq. Whatever. Lech could handle it. He [i would], more aptly, because Kaien had, in three seconds time, imagined about a hundred different things he could do that weren’t [i that], and at current, there was nothing to dissuade him from doing any one of those hundred things instead. Traipsing through the sewer system? Yeah, he’d pass.

The doors were pushed open wide as he let himself in, eyes searching the spacious hallway before landing on the front desk, and consequently, the new receptionist. She looked somewhat familiar.

Kaien approached, hands in his pockets. The receptionist glanced up, distracted, but as soon as she took in his features her expression lit up in recognition.

“Oh!” she said, a smile softening the sharpness of her face. “It’s you!”
Kaien stared. So, he knew her? [i Of] her? She had pretty recognizable characteristics- riddled with piercings and tattoos as she was- but he couldn’t put his finger on it…
“From the library!” she said, and he snapped his fingers. Right. [i Right,] from the library.
“The front-”
“Front desk, yeah! You always used to sneak in at around eleven with those friends of yours, right?” She looked pleased to see him, but he couldn’t figure out why. He was [i marginally] sure they’d never interacted apart from askance greetings in the mornings at the start of her shift, but she’d never told on him, so he must’ve never caused her any trouble either. Not that he knew of, at least.
“Small world!” she said, tapping a blunted nail on the counter. “Who’re you here to see at this hour? Do you have a- uhh, no… not a reservation… does- does anyone know you’re here! That’s it. Does anyone know you’re here?” One corner of Kaien’s lips tipped up into a smirk, and he shook his head.
“Just here to see if anyone picked my jacket up.” Her eyebrows scrunched in confusion. “From the crime scene? Few days ago? Shareena?” She eyeballed him for several more moments before her eyes widened in realization.
“Oh..! Oh, you work here! Okay! Makes sense! Okay! Uh, riiggght- okay, I have to ask. It’s bothered me for [i years]. Those friends of yours- they weren’t human, were they? They weren’t, right?” He nodded, still smiling, and she returned his nod, gaze trailing down to focus on the counter. “I knew it… oohhh, I would’ve been [i so] fired if I’d snitched… wow… okay! So, lost and found?”
“Lost and found, yeah.”
“The cops might’ve picked it up, but probably not… I’ll check, and let you know? If it’s here, then it’ll be in one of the… anyway, I’ll see. It’s probably here. Are you coming in tomorrow?”
“You think you’ll have it by tomorrow?” He kinda needed it. Disregarding the fact that it wasn’t technically [i his,] it was his only one. “It’s got my keys inside. And my wallet. I can pick it up on my own. Just tell-”
“Nooo, no no, this is my job. The pay’s- it’s [i ridiculous,] so I have to keep this job. Girlfriend’s cats only eat this gourmet cat food that’s- anyway! I’ll get it. We can go look now, actually.” She stood. Pulled a set of keys from a tiny hook on the underside of the counter and rounded the front desk to stand next to him. She looked up at him. “Did you get taller? You look taller. I think. Follow me.”

She tucked the keys into a side pocket and began a brisk walk down the main hall. Kaien followed a few paces behind. Would Silas still be in? He seemed the hardworking type. He’d check, he decided. He had a few questions to ask.
  cigarette smoke / disir / 39d 20h 21m 14s
He shook his head. "A whole parade of lovers," most of whom were more worried about their wives finding out, or it being some kind of prostitution sting, "but nothing concrete. None of them knew her well, shall we say. She was an adult actress for a few years, back when that building we were dragged to was a porn studio, but that's circumstantial at best, a coincidence at the worst."

Watching Kaien react to the idea of entering the sewers was hilarious. Prime theater. He could replay that face over and over again and never get sick of it. "Hope you've got long overalls and tall boots," he said with a smirk. He didn't want to go in the sewers either, but they had to get to the bottom of this somehow.

All sorts of stuff, huh? He let out a long sigh through his nose. The kid's problems weren't his business, but he wished he'd show a bit more determination about actually finishing the job. All sorts of stuff, and some of it involved that much blood. "I'd better not be getting a call for bail sometime soon."

Of course he was avoiding Aries. Did the kid think he was stupid? He just raised his eyebrows at Kaien and let that speak for itself. Drawing himself up a little straighter, he crossed an arm over his waist and propped the other against his chin. No, he hadn't seen Aries. Neither was he intending to. At least not until it wasn't obvious at a glance that he was looking better, or until he'd found other prey. He didn't want to find out what Aries would do if he knew he'd bit the golden boy. He had gotten lucky that Kaien seemed equally reluctant to let the man know.

Not that he wanted Kaien to know he considered that lucky. The kid already had enough of a hold over him if he so desired.

"He's been avoiding me," he purred quietly, satisfied with this fact. Someone knew what he should be afraid of. Aries had brushed him off, and he suspected that Silas knew better than to try badmouthing one of the eldest hunters around to just anyone. If it ever looked like he might actually pluck up the nerve to bust into Aries's office, he'd go have a [i word] with Silas and make sure he knew exactly what he was dealing with.

"I'll see you tomorrow for the sewers," he said, giving Kaien's perfect hair a good scruff as he walked by. Out on the town for some hunting, then back home to sleep.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 44d 22h 39m 50s
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