[ScuDeacon] The Vamp & the Tramp

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Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: Blade Trilogy

Rating: Mature

Pairing: Deacon Frost x Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer aka Scud

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe

Characters: Scud (vampire), Deacon Frost (human)

Warnings: language, brief mention of tortures, stalking

Summary:  

“He’d be so fucked if he allowed the subject of his obsession to one day end up a drained, mutilated beyond recognition and maggot-infested corpse in some muddy alleyway.”

Or… Scud was obsessed with a certain human. Said human was captured and sold on the pet market. Could Scud sit still with the knowledge that his human might end up in the palm of a sadistic vampire and suffer the worst fate imagined? Hell no.

Scud shifted his weight from his left leg to his right, feeling confined and itchy all over in his fancy suit – like a claustrophobic trapped in a closed room. Ironically he had almost wrecked his wardrobe in searching for this piece which consisted of black dress pants, black waistcoat and jacket, and a wine-colored silk shirt. Never a fan of formal attire Joshua Frohmeyer was; for him it was always trashy T-shirts, ripped jeans that had a bit too many holes to consider publicly appropriate, hoodies or denim jackets and well-worn snickers. He felt comfortable and confident in his casual clothes even though his choice of fashion was frowned upon by many of his kind, who fancied showing off their status and wealth in thousand-dollar tailored suits, Rolex watches and Italian shoes. In turn, Scud snorted and sneered and retaliated with sarcastic remarks whenever he ran into one such “pompous dick” that had the urge to establish their so-called higher place in the social ladder to him by making fun of his fashion taste. This more often than not resulted in Scud limping to his shabby studio with a few broken bones that’d take hours to heal – lover, not fighter – but the young bloodsucker would do it again and again, consequences be damned. The inability to learn and zero self-preservation sense was probably the reason why Scud’s sire had left him to his own devices a couple years past. An utter failure, she had spat through gritted teeth before vanishing from Scud’s life as fast and suddenly as she had crammed herself in. To this day not once had Scud missed her; as far as he was concerned he had been doing pretty fine surviving on his own. She had been a lousy mentor he could have done without anyway.

With a soft grunt, Scud fixed the straps of his mask for like, the thirteenth time, looking for something to divert his anxiety other than biting his nails. It was one of the persevering vestiges of his human days, thanks to which he was never able to grow his claws out like his fellow bloodsuckers. It was ugly and disgusting, Scud was painfully aware, but it somewhat calmed the rushing of blood in his veins and eased the god-awful feeling of his own skin tightening on his muscles. The blaring music from the giant stereo system overhead and the mixture of various brands of perfumes and colognes did nothing but aggravating his condition. God, Scud hated this place no less than he did his suit and all the mask-wearers present here; all he wanted was to push his way to the entrance, turn the engine of his Impala on and drive the fuck home, where an unopened box of Krispy Kreme and the whole seventh season of The Walking Dead were faithfully waiting for him – die-hard (no pun intended) fanboy of a certain sexy Georgian redneck. He couldn’t, not when he had painstakingly dug this piece from the bottom of his drawer and braced himself against the hellish traffic to drive half the town here, and that was where his misery lied. He breathed noisily through his nostrils, ran a hand through his dark chocolate strands, for once styled and gelled, and flopped down on one of the plush chaise lounge lining the walls. His eyes traveled the length of the auditorium to the stage in vain hope to find the sole reason which had brought him out of the comfort of his home to this torment. He heaved a sign, having expected to find an empty stage and still being disappointed. They wouldn’t show the ‘merchandise’ before the midnight show started and now it was roughly half an hour to midnight. Pouting, Scud grabbed one of the cocktails from a bunny-masked server’s tray – he could grab the server instead and no one would bat an eye but he decided to be a gentle-vamp and settle for the drink – and decided to kill the time by judging other patrons and enjoying the privileged treatments reserved for the potential customers of this facility. O negative, with lime juice, honey and a dash of Vermouth, not his favorite but definitely not bad at all.

When Scud was on his third glass, the technicolor lights dimmed and the blasphemously loud rock music turned into a soft classical piece. Scud downed the remaining content of his glass in one gulp and instantly veered his attention back to the stage, which was carpeted in deep crimson and glaringly empty. He expected it to be occupied pretty soon. Gingerly leaving the comfortable spot he had been attached to for the last half an hour, Scud moved like a shadow towards the center stage, trying his best to avoid bumping into any of the mask-wearers. Being as conspicuous as possible, that had been his top goal since stepping through the gate. Once tonight ended, he expected no-one here to have a sliver of idea that someone of his description had entered this building. Scud found his ideally neglected corner where lights didn’t quite reach with little effort. That it also provided him with an unobstructed view of the stage came as a plus. He appeared to be on Lady Luck’s favored list at the moment; hoped it’d last until his ‘business’ was done. Leaning against the wall, he checked the glowing screen of the little multi-purpose electronic device that served as his watch. Six more minutes.

The low whirring noise of the motors was all Scud’s enhanced hearing picked out despite the cacophony of sounds flooding the auditorium. By the MC’s booming voice, the auction had commenced and the merchandise was being brought into display. From the basement under the stage ubiquitous metal cages were elevated, each of which containing a dazed-looking young man or woman in fifty shades of chains. These humans were known around Scud’s community as ‘pets’, harvested or ensnared from every nook and canny of this city, encaged and drugged so that they were pliant while the vampires examined them and bid on the ones that caught their eyes. They were always at the apex of youth – late twenties to early thirties at most – and ranging from good-looking to stunning. The vampires liked them young and healthy – to make quality food source, and their beauty made them fancy accessories for their potential masters, who would likely show them off to their peers. As a matter of fact, the price of a pet was tied to their appearance: no bidding price was ever too outrageous for an exceptionally gorgeous pet.

Truth was, Scud had never intended to keep a pet. No, it wasn’t the act of dehumanizing a living, breathing human that disturbed him at all; it was the whole masters-can-do-whatever-the-hell-they-want-with-their-pets stuff that he found pretty cringe-worthy. A number of vampires treated their pet humans kindly, just like a number of humans treated their pet animals kindly, and while some masters were simple-minded abusers, some defined and worse, exceeded, the definition of ‘depraved’. Hadn’t Scud the unfortunate to know? If he had a pet, Scud would make sure all the things he did with his pet were fun and pleasure rather than torture and pain, which he himself was outrightly against. Unlike some other bloodsuckers, Scud was pretty squeamish when it came to pain: he enjoyed being on neither the giving nor the receiving ends. Not every bloodsucker was a sadist or masochist, thank you.

Nonetheless, the bottom line was he had no pets simply because he couldn’t afford one. Not all vampires were created equal: while some lived like kings and queens, others like Scud struggled every single day to make ends meet. His meager savings and odd jobs barely managed to pay his rent and at the fifteenth of every month, he suppressed the primal urge to chomp his landlord. He wouldn’t, of course, because that’d cause a lot of trouble, and Scud loathed trouble. Forget everything you know about vampires’ preternatural ability to accumulate wealth – that’s some TV bullshit made by humans who know next to nothing about the vampire world.

Scud had told himself he could be patient if he wanted, repeating it like a mantra in his head as he waited and waited, tapping his foot on the granite tile in sync with each drop of his patience vaporized. His fingers and lips were itching for the cylindrical shape of a cigarette, which he couldn’t have because the asshole suckhead who owned this building happened to be pretty crazy about the idea of ‘going green’ and prohibited smoking on the premise. Dumbest thing Scud had ever heard. The craving for a smoke made his skin crawl underneath his suit and he chewed his lower lip until he tasted copper, all in the effort of trying not to curse verbally. Contradictory to the sloppy impression he might give, Josh Frohmeyer was quite an organized and methodical bloodsucker, so naturally he hated wasting his time. Moreover, he loathed wasting his time in a place he abhorred, among the company that would look down on and jeer at him if they were to cross paths outside these plaster walls. But waiting was Scud’s only option right now: the pets were sold in rounds and in each round, one cage was open for the customers to have a closer inspection and decide if the human was worth their dough. And the only one Scud had his eyes on was scheduled in the final rounds, which translated into some more time wasted worrying his lip and tapping his foot.

Scud strained his eyes a little but even so, he failed to get a clear view of the last cage on the right as he would like. Inhabited that cage was the reason Scud had come all the way to this hellhole instead of being at his home sweet home, a male in late-20s. Like other pets here, he was drugged and chained and slumping against the metal bars. Despite his pristine white shirt, pressed slacks and neatly combed hair, he looked worse than Scud’s fond memory of him. The young vampire was used to seeing this man three to five times a week in a more disheveled state: loose strands of sandy hair falling in front of his forehead and frosty blue eyes, his tie loosened around his open collar and his sleeves rolled up asymmetrically to his elbows. Every time Scud saw him, the man always seemed to be in a hurry to catch the last train home. So worn out by a hard day’s work that once he sat down in his seat, his tense shoulders relaxed under his creased shirt, he dozed off almost instantly, never having noticed a young, pale man in trashy tee and ripped jeans following him all the way to the threshold of his door. Scud found that image much more attractive than this pliable pet ready to be sold. His stomach twisted partly at the thought of what those vampires had done to this human during the week since he’d been abducted and partly at a peculiar gnawing feeling inside him that spelled guilt. The worm of conscience, you could say. He had been there to witness the abduction and done absolutely nothing to help. Scud was a lover, not a fighter, which was, if he was honest to himself, a poetic euphemism for ugly cowardice. He wouldn’t fare well in a one-on-one combat; what had he had against a group of three possibly older vampires?

Yes, he had just expressed concern and guilt over the misfortune befalling a human even though Joshua Frohmeyer had made a solemn vow on his first night after the turn to not give a fuck about any asses other than his own. Now that in retrospect, he realized he had spent too much time and effort on this particular human than considered healthy, and that was something considering bloodsuckers had painfully low standards for what were deemed healthy. It was clearly not fascination – fascination was when someone caught your interest and after a certain amount of time it would eventually fade. Fascination was not stalking someone from their workplace to their home week after week simply to get a look at their face because the shrine you’d built of their photos at home lacked the allure of only the living person could exude. Fascination was knowing by heart every big and small detail of someone’s life despite not having spoken a word to them. Fascination was not coming up with a plan as elaborate as it was risky and insane and that could cost your immortality with one misstep while you could be safe and enjoying yourself with comfort food and cable TV. So no, it was clear as hell not fascination; obsession was a better-suited name once he was done psychoanalyzing himself – had watched more than enough TV shows to be able to do that. Since his obsession with this man was bordering on lunacy, tonight Scud would leave this place with him strapped into the passenger seat either breathing or not.

And what Scud would do with him after that, no one could tell, not even Scud himself. If there was one blind spot in Scud’s plan, that was his action following its success.

If his crazy plan was successful. His gut feelings were assuring him that it would; this was the single most painstaking project he had ever worked on, proofreading each tiny detail to perfection. His sire would roll her eyes if she were to learn that her failure fledging was able to reach such level of dedication. On the other hand, it was also his guts that were churning with a fear that his plan would utterly fail and he wouldn’t live to see another night. Scud was a coward who was afraid of death amongst other things and he had every reason to be: after all he was still a young man in human age and a baby in vampire age. In spite of his fear, Scud remained in his post, waiting for that man’s cage to open.

Lost in his musing, Scud had missed it when it finally did and the human was dragged out of the cage. His legs seemed wobbly and he struggled to not stumble by the harsh pull of his collar. Scud looked up in time to see the host grabbed his jaw and turned his head sharply towards the audience. The human’s eyes instantly came ablaze with defiance and if it wasn’t for the cold nimble fingers gripping his jaw like vices, Scud imagined a ‘fuck you’ would be rolling from his colorless lips, following by a spit; his hands clawed vainly at the vampire’s wrist. The seams of the vampire’s lips distorted as he tried to keep his professional smile from becoming a scowl as he clenched his hand and yanked the chain, forcing the man to drop to his knees with an audible thud. Laughter roared around Scud and he caught a strings of comments, “wild”, “in need of discipline”, and “good to break”, to name a few. He snorted and checked his watch.

This round finished sooner than others because somehow the human’s defiance despite being under the effect of drugs had turned a couple of vampires on, especially those whom Scud knew to have pain kinks. They had come to this pet market looking not for subdued and obedient humans but the ones with a little bit of fire in them like this young man; they would make the breaking so much more fun and gratifying. Scud knew the bloodsucker who won the bid pretty well in spite of the long-horned goat mask hiding his entire face; he wouldn’t mistake that distinctly low-pitched laughter – like the gurgling sound of water in the gutter – for anyone’s. Francis had the reputation for being a sadistic bastard with an insatiable lust for fucking those who caught even his slightest interest, literally and figuratively. His sole redeeming quality was that he didn’t discriminate between males and females, white and colored, humans and vampires; as long as they were young and pretty enough and having a spirit then he would derive pleasure from breaking them apart so both their beauty and spirit were ruined beyond repair and they would be tossed away unlike trash. Plus he was old and wealthy and capable of getting away from his atrocities. And reasonably, Francis was the one whose manners and habits baby and toddler vamps like Scud taught themselves to learn by heart so that they could stay a mile from him at all cost. Scud didn’t need a much imaginative mind to visualize what hell was awaiting the young man.

He’d be so fucked if he allowed the subject of his obsession to one day end up a drained, mutilated beyond recognition and maggot-infested corpse in some muddy alleyway.

Scud straightened his gait and hurried after Francis and a handful of his closest underlings out of the auditorium to the huge parking lot. If his heart was still beating, perhaps it would have already burst through his ribcage. Scud was beyond grateful it wasn’t; the adrenaline, however, was fueling his entire being and giving him a false sense of confidence that he could take on the world.

He couldn’t, that went without saying. Scud didn’t even have the guts and strength needed to confront Francis and steal the human – his burly henchmen would beat Scud to a pulp if he so much as stood in their way and after that, tossed him into the backseat to join the human. Crouching on the cement ground, Scud hid behind one of the SUVs, watching Francis strutting to his vehicle. The human had fought his new ‘owner’ with all what was left of his might, which had earned him a heavy kick in the guts and a slap that left a bleeding cut on his left cheek thanks to a vampire’s claw. As a result, he was out cold and being dragged all the way to the car like a filthy rag doll, his shoes skidding across the cement making an irritating sound. Although his remaining life was seemingly bled dry, Scud knew his human was still kicking; Francis was a motherfucking sadist but also a sadist who had expert control of his strikes so as not to snub out the real ‘fun’ before it even began.

Scud held his breath, counting every step that led them to his designated spot, where he had planted a couple of UV bombs – his latest invention which he was proud to call his magnum opus. He had gotten the material for his bomb from the pawn shop that had given him the axe because he had spitted in the pot-belly owner’s face at the suggestion of a blowjob. Naturally Scud had sought compensation in his own way. Making the ping-pong-sized bombs had been no easy job; but a more challenging task had been getting them to where they were supposed to be. Like a damned rat he had sneaked in several days before the auction, spread the bombs in every section of the parking lot, and scurried off under the guards’ nose. The process itself was another Scud’s unsung masterpiece, and it had cost him many a night since he had to lay low and wait until it was most vacant – usually near dawn – and he could only have planted one or two at a time; otherwise they would have been discovered and his plan foiled.

And yeah, after this night, he would have to spend a couple others to retrieve the unused bombs. Couldn’t leave them here; that would be a waste and a risk Scud couldn’t afford.

X marked the spot. Scud allowed a tiny triumphant creeped to his mouth as he pressed the blue button on his watch device. Screams were heard and the nauseous smell of sizzling flesh invaded his nostrils. He dared rise to his feet to see the aftermath.

The scene presented to his vampire eyes gave Scud both the chill and thrill. Chill because this was a vampire’s worst horror:  the expensive shoes and suits remained good as new on top of a sizzling gooey mess vaguely shaped in human form. The black smoke gave off a foulest stench ever known to vampire senses. Thrill because his bombs had worked perfectly the way he’d designed: soundlessly and deadly and most importantly, there wasn’t a single clue leading back to their creator. Clean as a whistle! Scud seriously considered advertising them on the black market; someone out there, be it human or vamp, would pay dear cash for these babes.

A grip on his left ankle startled Scud in the worst way and he almost toppled over, landing face first into one of those gooey puddles. Luckily for Scud, he managed to catch his balance just in time and glancing down, he was greeted with the disfigured face of Francis the Sadist. His skin had peeled off, baring the raw muscles underneath, his eyeballs bulging, nearly falling off his sockets. He was a nightmare made flesh and briefly Scud mused, if one’s appearance reflected one’s soul, Francis’s look wouldn’t stray too far from this. But it was not in Scud’s habit to judge when the only thing he wanted was to get the fuck out of here. He produced a sprayer from his pants pocket and gave Francis a generous amount. His ankle was released from the grip as Francis was writhing on the ground and howling. After a few seconds, he joined his subordinates, another indistinguishable puddle to be cleaned off later. Scud grinned. No better cure for burned skin than a spray of garlic essence.

Some time later, Scud was racing his car through the heart of Los Angeles, his blood tuning in with the death metal on the CD player. He felt like the fucking Dark Knight at this very moment, having rid the city of its filth in the quiet depth of the night and asking for neither recognition nor celebration. It didn’t stem from an unselfish intention nor was it for the sake of goodness but hey, anyone who looked at it would say “Good riddance”, wouldn’t they? Several future asses were saved tonight and the city was one evil fewer, all thanks to the Scudster. B should be so proud of him. For the first time in his life, Joshua Frohmeyer had experienced a sense of heroism, of justice, buzzing in his every fiber from head to toe. It was like the best kind of drugs, and he was fucking on clouds nine.

Heroic or not, his act was not without reward though: in his backseat the young human was lying, unconscious and breathing shallowly but very much alive and very much…… his.

(To be continued?)

About the title, if you think Disney’s Lady and the Tramp then bingo!

Should there be a second part?

[Tiêu Liên] Like I’m Gonna Lose You

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Art: Victoria Frances
Pairing: Tiêu Liên – Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang x Liên Thành Bích (Tân Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang)

Genres: BL, fantasy, alternate universe – AU

Rating: 10+

Nhân vật: Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang, Liên Thành Bích, Thẩm Bích Quân

Chú ý: Hình tượng và tính cách Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang, Liên Thành Bích và Thẩm Bích Quân lấy từ phim truyền hình Tân Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang (2016).

Preview:

Đôi tay anh nhấc lên rồi dứt khoát hạ xuống, mười ngón tay thanh mảnh dồn sức bóp chặt cổ người nằm trên giường.

Không chống cự.

Liên Thành Bích chỉ buông tay khi âm thanh “tick, tick, tick” tắt hẳn. Anh nhìn xuống đôi tay mình, mỉm cười nhẹ nhõm.

“Xin lỗi, Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang.”

“I found myself dreaming

In silver and gold

Like a scene from a movie

That every broken heart knows”

(Em thấy mình đang mơ

Trong màu vàng và bạc

Như một cảnh trong phim

Mà mọi con tim tan vỡ đều biết)

Liên Thành Bích nghe thấy ca khúc mà anh vô cùng yêu thích. Giọng ca dịu dàng của Jasmine Thompson từ xa vọng lại, thoáng chìm, thoáng nổi như ý thức của Liên Thành Bích lúc này.

Dạo gần đây Liên Thành Bích hay mơ. Mỗi lần như thế, tuy ý thức anh như chiếc phao thả trôi dòng nước nhưng anh đều nhận thức được là mình đang mơ. Và chính vì biết mình đang mơ nên anh không cảm thấy dù chỉ là một tia sợ hãi.

Cảnh tượng xung quanh không hề thơ mộng như ca từ trong bài hát, đối lập là đằng khác.

Xung quanh Liên Thành Bích không có màu vàng, màu bạc hay ánh trăng mà chỉ có lửa.

Bốn phía là lửa, khắp nơi đều là lửa.

Lửa bén đến chân Liên Thành Bích rồi, chỉ mấy phút nữa thôi sẽ thiêu cháy anh.

Đó là nếu như khói chưa giết chết anh trước.

Liên Thành Bích từ từ khép mắt, tận hưởng cảm giác bàn tay của thần chết chầm chậm bóp chặt tim, phổi.

Sẽ không lâu đâu, Liên Thành Bích tự nhủ.

“We were walking on moonlight

And you pulled me close

Split second and you disappeared

And then I was all alone”

(Chúng mình đang đi trên ánh trăng

Rồi anh kéo em lại gần

Chỉ một khắc thôi và anh biến mất

Rồi còn mình em ở đây)

Giai điệu của bài hát vẫn nhẹ nhàng và êm dịu như thế, tựa như lời an ủi một người sắp chết rằng cái chết chỉ là một giấc ngủ sâu, không có gì đáng để sợ hãi, hoảng loạn. Cuộc đời cũ chấm dứt, cuộc đời mới mở ra, tươi sáng hơn, tràn đầy hy vọng, không còn âu lo, đau khổ, vĩnh viễn yên bình. Nhưng đó không phải lý do Liên Thành Bích bình thản tiếp nhận cái chết của chính mình. Anh không sợ hãi chỉ vì anh biết chắc chắn đây là một giấc mơ, và một giấc mơ dù kinh khủng đến mức nào cũng sẽ chấm dứt. Chỉ cần anh chết trong giấc mơ, anh sẽ bừng tỉnh, biển lửa không lối thoát này sẽ trở thành một câu chuyện phiếm lúc nhàn rỗi.

Liên Thành Bích bình thản đón nhận cái chết, người khác lại không thể. Lẫn trong tiếng hát của Jasmine Thompson là một giọng nói đang tha thiết gọi tên anh, và nếu Liên Thành Bích mở mắt, chắc chắn anh sẽ thấy khuôn mặt tràn đầy kinh hãi và đau đớn của Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang vì cố sức vượt qua bức tường lửa và thất bại.

Liên Thành Bích không mở mắt.

Đã bao lần Liên Thành Bích bảo Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang bỏ cuộc nhưng Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang, với bản tính bướng bỉnh của mình, chưa lần nào nghe lời. Một là cùng thoát, hai là cùng chết, Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang nói. Kết cục luôn là cả hai đều bị lửa nuốt chửng trong khi lẽ ra một người có thể sống sót.

Liên Thành Bích căm ghét kết cục này nhưng không thể nào thay đổi nó. Việc duy nhất anh có thể làm là không nhìn và chờ giấc mộng này chấm dứt.

Lửa đã tắt, trần nhà mà Liên Thành Bích nhìn lên là một màu xám xanh, bốn bức tường xung quanh cũng là màu xám xanh.

Khi sáu bóng đèn neon đồng loạt bật lên, chúng trắng toát lạnh người. Khi đèn tắt, chúng thành màu xám xanh ảm đạm.

Chúng không bao giờ trở thành màu đen bởi vì vẫn còn ánh sáng lọt qua khe cửa. Bên ngoài phòng là hành lang quanh năm suốt tháng một màu trắng toát.

Đã quá nửa đêm nhưng bước chân người chưa hết hối hả.

Trong phòng, tiếng hát của Jasmine Thompson dịu dàng nhấn chìm âm thanh của những đôi giày vải trắng vô trùng miết lên sàn gạch…

… cùng những tiếng “tick, tick, tick” khô khốc đều đặn.

“I woke up in tears

With you by my side

A breath of relief

And I realized

No, we’re not promised tomorrow”

(Em bừng tỉnh trong nước mắt

Và anh ở kề bên

Em thở phào nhẹ nhõm

Và chợt nhận ra

Không, chúng mình không được hứa hẹn ngày mai)

Tiếng hát phát ra từ chiếc máy phát nhạc mini đặt trên chiếc tủ cạnh giường. Tối nào cũng như tối nào, Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang đều bật bài hát này, không chỉ vì đây là bài hát Liên Thành Bích thích nghe nhất mà còn để giảm bớt tiếng ồn. Bằng một cách bí ẩn và diệu kỳ nào đó, bài hát đã len vào giấc mơ của Liên Thành Bích.

Tất nhiên Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang không biết, Liên Thành Bích không hề thấy phiền vì những âm thanh đó. Ngày nào cũng nghe, sau một thời gian bất cứ ai cũng quen mà thôi.

Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang đang ngồi bên giường ngủ gật. Anh vẫn mặc nguyên bộ com lê như ban sáng đi làm, chỉ tháo bỏ cà vạt cùng cởi vài chiếc khuy trên cùng cho dễ thở. Một tay chống đầu, tay còn lại nắm chặt tay Liên Thành Bích.

Như thể anh sợ chỉ cần mình buông lỏng ngón tay một chút thôi, Liên Thành Bích sẽ trượt khỏi tay anh.

Bản tính của Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang là hễ có được thứ gì, anh sẽ nắm thật chặt, nhất quyết không bao giờ buông tay. “Dogs with bones,” Liên Thành Bích từng trêu anh như vậy. Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang không giận, chỉ tếu táo sửa lại: “Sói, không phải chó. Và tôi không ngậm chặt xương, chỉ giữ chặt cậu thôi.”

Không cần nói cũng biết lúc đó Liên Thành Bích cảm động như thế nào. Chỉ là bây giờ, anh rất mong Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang buông tay.

Hình ảnh cả hai cùng chết cháy trong mơ không phải sản phẩm của trí tưởng tượng mà là ẩn dụ của tương lai, là nhắc nhở không ngừng của tiềm thức.

Cơn ác mộng trong đời thực này sẽ kéo dài bao lâu nữa? Năm năm? Mười năm? Cả đời?

Không chỉ tiềm thức mà ý thức của Liên Thành Bích cũng hiểu rõ.

Nếu Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang không buông thì Liên Thành Bích phải là người dứt khoát.

Liên Thành Bích ngồi dậy, bước đến bên Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang.

Dù đang ngủ nhưng nét mặt Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang không hề thư giãn. Căng thẳng, phiền muộn, mệt mỏi hằn lên từng đường nét anh tuấn.

Đây không phải nét mặt một người mới hai mươi sáu tuổi nên có.

Liên Thành Bích vòng tay ôm Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang thật chặt, đồng thời hôn lên trán, lên khoé mắt, sống mũi.

Đôi môi Liên Thành Bích chạm vào môi Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang, nhẹ như cánh hoa đào lìa cành, đáp xuống mặt hồ như gương dưới gốc cây.

Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang vẫn say ngủ.

“So I’m gonna love you

Like I’m gonna lose you

And I’m gonna hold you

Like I’m saying goodbye”

(Vì vậy em sẽ yêu anh

Giống như em sẽ mất anh

Và em sẽ ôm anh

Giống như em đang nói lời vĩnh biệt)

Điệp khúc chấm dứt, Liên Thành Bích rời Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang, trở lại giường. Đôi tay anh nhấc lên rồi dứt khoát hạ xuống, mười ngón tay thanh mảnh dồn sức bóp chặt cổ người nằm trên giường.

Không chống cự.

Liên Thành Bích chỉ buông tay khi âm thanh “tick, tick, tick” tắt hẳn. Anh nhìn xuống đôi tay mình, mỉm cười nhẹ nhõm.

“Xin lỗi, Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang.”

Thẩm Bích Quân bắt đầu ngày hôm nay như mọi ngày khác. Cô đến bệnh viện đúng bảy giờ bốn mươi lăm phút sáng—cũng là giờ bắt đầu ca làm việc, thay đồng phục, vấn mái tóc dài đen mượt thành một búi gọn gàng sau gáy và đội lên đầu chiếc mũ của y tá. Môi điểm nụ cười, cô sẽ đến phòng y tá trưởng làm thủ tục có mặt. Tiếp theo, cô sẽ ghé phòng B204 để kiểm tra tình hình của bệnh nhân phòng đó như thường lệ. Sau khi đã ghi đầy đủ các chỉ số như huyết áp, nhịp tim… vào sổ theo dõi và chắc chắn bệnh nhân không gặp vấn đề gì, cô mới thật sự bắt đầu ca làm việc của mình.

Năm năm qua, mỗi sáng Thẩm Bích Quân đều thực hiện chừng ấy công tác, chưa từng thay đổi. Cô làm việc ở bệnh viện này được năm năm, bệnh nhân ở phòng B204 cũng nằm tại căn phòng đó được năm năm.

… và người thân duy nhất của bệnh nhân đó, một thanh niên trạc tuổi anh ta, đã đi lại bệnh viện này được năm năm. Ngày mưa cũng như ngày nắng, ngày thường cũng như ngày bão, người ấy đều đúng giờ xuất hiện tại phòng bệnh: một lần vào tám giờ sáng trước khi đi làm, một lần vào sáu giờ chiều sau khi tan sở. Thỉnh thoảng anh sẽ qua đêm tại phòng bệnh và sáng hôm sau, Thẩm Bích Quân sẽ gặp anh trước tám giờ. Cả hai sẽ trò chuyện vài câu không đầu không đuôi trong lúc Thẩm Bích Quân làm nhiệm vụ rồi cô để anh lại với bệnh nhân còn mình thì đi làm việc. Buổi chiều cũng như vậy, sau khi thăm khám xong xuôi, cô liền từ biệt người thanh niên ấy để ra về, kết thúc một ngày làm việc.

Qua những cuộc trò chuyện chóng vánh như thế, Thẩm Bích Quân biết được bốn điều: một là thanh niên mỗi ngày đến thăm bệnh họ Tiêu, đang làm việc tại một công ty tương đối lớn, thu nhập cũng không tệ, vì vậy khả năng tài chính của anh không những đủ để duy trì sự điều trị của bệnh nhân phòng B204 mà còn đủ để bệnh nhân được ở phòng riêng, không phải ở chung với nhiều người khác.

Duy trì sự sống cho một người hôn mê không biết chừng nào tỉnh là một việc rất tốn kém.

Thứ hai, thanh niên họ Tiêu đó là thân nhân duy nhất của bệnh nhân, ngoài ra không có người thứ hai. Suốt năm năm, Thẩm Bích Quân chưa bao giờ gặp ai khác ngoài thanh niên họ Tiêu trong căn phòng đó.

Thứ ba, bệnh nhân ở phòng B204 mang họ Liên và nguyên nhân khiến anh ta rơi vào tình trạng này là do ngạt khói từ một vụ hỏa hoạn.

Đó là một vụ hỏa hoạn lớn, chấn động thành phố, dĩ nhiên Thẩm Bích Quân đã nghe tới. Tuy nhiên, điều khiến cô chú ý là những vết sẹo chằng chịt trên cả hai bàn tay của thanh niên họ Tiêu. Bình thường, anh đều đeo găng tay đen, chỉ khi ngồi xuống bên bệnh nhân, anh mới tháo chúng ra.

Thẩm Bích Quân không dám hỏi, cô chỉ dám phỏng đoán những vết sẹo đó có lẽ là do bỏng lửa.

Thứ tư, thanh niên họ Tiêu chắc chắn rất yêu bệnh nhân trong phòng B204. Bằng quan sát và bằng trực giác nhạy bén của mình, từ ngày đầu chứng kiến họ, Thẩm Bích Quân đã nhận ra điều đó. Thời gian chỉ chứng minh cho nhận định của cô mà thôi.

Ngoài bốn điều trên và những thông tin cơ bản về bệnh nhân được lưu trong hồ sơ bệnh viện, Thẩm Bích Quân không biết gì hơn. Theo quy định của bệnh viện cộng với bản tính nhạy cảm, cô không đào sâu vào quá khứ của hai người họ.

Thế nhưng điều đó không hề ngăn cản Thẩm Bích Quân yêu mến cả hai con người ấy; cô xem họ không chỉ là một phần của công việc mà là một bộ phận trong cuộc sống của mình.

Sáng nay, khi Thẩm Bích Quân đến phòng y tá trưởng, cô nhận được chỉ thị là từ nay trở đi, cô không cần theo dõi chỉ số sức khỏe của bệnh nhân phòng B204 nữa.

Vì sao? cô hỏi.

Bởi vì bệnh nhân phòng B204 đã qua đời vào rạng sáng hôm nay, thi thể đã được khám nghiệm và đưa xuống phòng lạnh, y tá trưởng đáp.

Thẩm Bích Quân rời phòng y tá trưởng với cảm giác phân nửa linh hồn cô đã bị sụt xuống một hố đen.

Mới hôm qua các chỉ số còn bình thường cơ mà, làm sao hôm nay lại ra đi đột ngột như thế, cô không hiểu.

Chầm chậm đi dọc hành lang, Thẩm Bích Quân tình cờ nghe được hai y tá trò chuyện.

“Chị nghe tin gì chưa? Bệnh nhân phòng B204 vừa qua đời rồi,” một y tá nói.

“Sao đột ngột thế? Nguyên nhân là gì?”

“Em nghe các bác sỹ nói là trụy tim, nguyên nhân hoàn toàn tự nhiên.”

“Thật vậy không?”

“Bác sỹ nói vậy mà, nhưng em thấy hơi lạ…”

“Lạ gì cơ?”

“Thì em nghe các chị y tá bên kia nói trên cổ bệnh nhân có một dấu nhàn nhạt, tựa như ngón tay ấy.”

“Không phải là… chứ? Nghe nói đêm qua người nhà bệnh nhân đó ở lại phòng…”

“Nếu vậy thì bác sỹ phải phát hiện ra ngay chứ, đằng này… nhưng chị nói không phải không có lý.”

“Thì thế. Chị nghe nói là năm năm trôi qua rồi nhưng bệnh nhân đó không hề có dấu hiệu tỉnh lại. Có khi nào thân nhân kia tuyệt vọng quá rồi—”

Thẩm Bích Quân bước nhanh qua hai y tá nọ, không quên tặng họ một ánh mắt sắc lẻm khiến cả hai sững người, gián đoạn cuộc nói chuyện.

Mưu sát ư? Thật vô căn cứ. Không đời nào người thanh niên họ Tiêu kia lại làm vậy, không đời nào! Anh ta yêu bệnh nhân phòng B204 đến thế cơ mà. Thẩm Bích Quân cảm nhận được, và cô dám khẳng định anh ta không tuyệt vọng đến mức làm nên chuyện này. Lần trò chuyện gần đây nhất cô còn thấy hy vọng lấp lánh trong đôi mắt mỏi mệt của anh ta.

Nhưng, cô hiểu được anh ta bao nhiêu phần mà dám khẳng định?

Bước chân Thẩm Bích Quân chuyển hướng, không đến phòng bệnh y tá trưởng mới phân công mà đến phòng B204.

Phòng trắng toát, trống không như chưa từng có một bệnh nhân đã ở đây chẵn năm năm.

Trên chiếc tủ cạnh giường là chiếc máy phát nhạc mini.

Thẩm Bích Quân nhận ra chiếc máy. Ngày nào thanh niên họ Tiêu cũng bật bài nhạc duy nhất trong đó, để chế độ tự động lặp lại mỗi khi bài hát kết thúc. Anh từng nói đây là bài hát mà người nằm trên giường lúc trước thích nhất.

Trong lòng dâng lên thôi thúc lạ kỳ, Thẩm Bích Quân cầm nó lên, nhấn nút “play”.

Kỳ lạ một nỗi, bài hát dài gần bốn phút trong máy giờ đã bị thu gọn chỉ còn đoạn điệp khúc.

Da diết và ám ảnh như lời trăn trối.

“So I’m gonna love you

Like I’m gonna lose you

And I’m gonna hold you

Like I’m saying goodbye”

(Vì vậy em sẽ yêu anh

Giống như em sẽ mất anh

Và em sẽ ôm anh

Giống như em đang nói lời vĩnh biệt)

Nếu lắng tai nghe thật kỹ thì Thẩm Bích Quân sẽ nhận ra một giọng nói lạ ẩn sau giọng hát:

“Xin lỗi, Tiêu Thập Nhất Lang.”

Hết

Đây là lần thứ mấy bạn trẻ Joel viết truyện có yếu tố hoang tưởng lấy bối cảnh bệnh viện (và phải phòng B204 mới chịu)? Chắc bạn bị bệnh viện ám ảnh…

Cảm hứng để bạn viết fic này là lửa (tại sao thì bạn không rõ), chết cháy (please đừng hỏi tại sao >”<) và quan trọng nhất là ca khúc Like I’m Gonna Lose You bản cover của Jasmine Thompson (mà bạn nghe được trong tập 11 – Wild at Hearts của The Originals mùa 3). Nếu bạn muốn nghe thử, hãy nghe bản này, đừng nghe bản gốc. Cá nhân bạn Joel thấy bản gốc hát vừa nhanh vừa giật, không còn chút cảm xúc nào. Có lẽ vì nghe bản cover trước nên bị ấn tượng như vậy.

Đây là fic bạn Joel viết với hy vọng sẽ hack não người đọc một tý. Bạn không thấy hack não? Okay, bạn Joel fail rồi ~~.

[Fanfic] What’s Your Order?

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Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: Dracula (2013), Penny Dreadful (2014)

Rating: M

Pairing: Dracula/Alexander Grayson x Dorian Gray

Genres: fanfiction, crossover, humor, probably a little OOC, modern AU

Characters : Dracula/Alexander Grayson, Dorian Gray

Warnings: reference to violence and murders …

Preview:

Dorian was wrong. Alexander wasn’t jealous at all, perhaps annoyed, irritated, enraged—who wouldn’t be when arriving home after a hard day’s work to find their bedroom trashed by their partner’s having a fun row (sometimes maybe two or three) with a virtual stranger, again—but absolutely not jealous, not after, like, eight times of this month alone, not mention the whole year, and the years before.

Alexander Grayson arrived home at the ripe hour of 10 p.m., worn out and very much frustrated. His mood was not particularly high, that was for sure, as he had had another scorching debate with his board of directors about the new regulations to be introduced in his corporation (whose idea was it to have invented this damnest thing called ‘‘board of directors’?), and having to restrain himself from tearing their stubborn conservative heads from their senile necks had consumed the majority of his vitality, so much so that he ironically abhorred the notion of going on a late-night hunt in spite of the hunger clawing inside his throat. He hoped there were still a few blood bags in the refrigerator—cold, tasteless meal was better than no meal at all.

His low mood reached a new low when he spotted a pair of Converse snickers discarded in a devil-may-care fashion at the entrance to the living room. Nothing annoyed the former Romanian monarch than untidiness and cheap knockoffs except the combination of both. The continuous giggles from his, no, their bedroom his super hearing picked up further grated his strained nerves.

Alexander all but kicked open the door (unsurprisingly unlocked) to their shared place, causing a loud enough noise to shock the king-sized bed’s occupants out of their heated session, well, one of them at least, as the other was too used to his ruthless treatment of the furniture in the house, sometimes even played along and had his fair share of damage. On the luxurious bed were two male bodies arranged in a position that left very little imagination for what sort of activity they were engaging. His winter-blue eyes glided over their uncovered skin, both possessing an intoxicating pale complexion so contrastive with the deep scarlet of the bed sheet, and their piercing gaze seemed to claim all he wanted at this moment was to rip their birthday suits off them like peeling grapes and string the remains on a pole. One of them squirmed visibly to his murderous intent blatant in the air while the other, again, was too accustomed to it to produce even the smallest reaction.

“Welcome home. You’re back just in time,” greeted the fearless one with a smile more suited for a civil, fully-clothed summer occasion amongst the elite peers than a debauched setting that he himself had architected. He laid a hand on his ‘bedmate’ who was feeling more and more unnerved by the second. “Josh, I’d like to introduce you to my landlord and the master of this fancy house, Mr. Alexander Grayson.”

“You don’t own this mansion?” the young man called Josh asked with great disbelief at the truth just revealed to him.

“I am, shamefully, a no-good freeloader.” A careless shrug and a more careless smile which might appear childlike and innocent to those who hadn’t learnt of his less-than-pure nature. “Mr. Grayson here is gracious enough to allow me to stay for an indefinite time length, provide for me also, otherwise I would be crawling on the street right now, begging for change from passers-by.”

Said the guy who had possessed the electronic key to unlock the security system and strut into this pseudo palace like he owned every inch of it. A dazzled Josh had drunken this impression like a fish and harbored not a doubt.

With the look of someone who had been kicked in the face with a spiky boot, Josh gathered his discarded jeans and T in haste, and just when he was about to bring his ass out of this awkward situation, he was grasped by the arm. “Don’t be in such a hurry to leave. There’s still more fun to be had. The night is young after all.”

If it were a mere few minutes ago Josh would be enchanted by this beautiful young man’s flair for literary, heck, by anything that came out of those kissable lips naturally—who could resist that alluring British accented voice—but as he could feel on his goose-bumped skin the tension in the atmosphere skyrocketing, he only felt the urge to vaporize from this lavish suite. He had only wanted some no-strings-attached fun with a gorgeous creature all right; there was no need to get sticky in a bad jealous case.

Damn, wasn’t his grip too strong for a sissy-looking dude?

“But Dorian,” Josh said, “I think I’d better go now. Got some business to attend to. See ya later.”

… Provided Dorian survived his ‘landlord’ first.

“Darling,” Dorian drawled, and it took his next words for Josh to realize he wasn’t referring to him, “dear Josh is dying to leave and obviously I’m failing to persuade him. Would you come and grace us with your skills? We could use a fraction of your multi-talents.”

What the heck? Josh cursed in his head. Is this Dorian dude out of his fucking mind? Normally Josh wouldn’t turn down a tempting opportunity to get some booty with not only one but two good-looking guys (he did find the other man, Mr. Grayson or whatever, attractive despite everything) but no, not this time. The thought of fucking, or being fucked for that matter, by a guy who looked like he wanted to skin you alive and string the remains on a pole and might very well attempt it wasn’t very hot, thank you very much.

How someone with an unimpressive build like him could at the same time be so intimidating, wondered the captain of his college’s football team.

“But of course,” said Alexander, stalking towards the bed with a menacing air shrouding his suited form.

Out of the corner of Josh’s eyes but within Alexander’s, Dorian was smiling his little weasel smile. Surely he enjoyed the next turn of event, and he didn’t bother to hide that he was very much turned on just by watching his darling bloodsucker sink his elongated fangs into Josh’s vein with more force than necessary. Someone must have had a rough day, no doubt.

Alexander drank deep and completely free of mercy, as befitting his status as an ancient vampire, and those who were unfortunate enough to find themselves at the receiving end of his pointed incisors, alas, never truly comprehended the cause of their deaths. Poor, poor Joshua. He hadn’t a chance to scream, let alone struggle.

Without neither its life nor Alexander’s arm for support, the corpse dropped at the feet of the bed in a brief, dull thump, its head lolling to the side as it was barely connected to the neck by a few torn shreds of flesh.

Talk about anger issues.

Nevertheless, Dorian wasn’t the least disturbed by the obscene degree of bloodshed (or the lack of it, since the vampire hadn’t had a single drop wasted) in this confined suite, if his joyful humming of a nameless tune and the everlasting smile plastered on his face were anything to go by.

Alexander scanned the hopeless state of their bed—crumpled bed sheet and what the hell were those whitish stains—and spent longer to examined Dorian. Although what he saw was nothing strange to him, he couldn’t help a growl at the conspicuous red butterflies dotted his milky clavicles, flapping their tiny wings further and further below.

“Was he any good?”

“Tasted like the frat boy trash that he was,” Alexander remarked. “It was a miracle he didn’t do drugs. Where did you pick this?”

Dorian reclined on the bed, pillowing his head with his right arm. “Places frat boys frequent, which are plentiful in this metropolis. It took me hours to single out one that was neither snorting cocaine nor hooking with someone. Clean frat boys are so rare a species these days.”

With his free arm Dorian reached out to Alexander, fiddling with the golden cufflink on his shirt and soon abandoning it for his lean fingers instead. “Come on, I deserve a compliment for my effort, don’t I?”

“Judging by the look, I’d say you were overcompensated. Thank you for the meal. It was indeed better than blood bags.”

He gave Dorian a quick peck on the lips, shading the light pink with a smudge of red.

Dorian licked his lips and grinned like a cat. “Where’s my reward?” he purred, tugging Alexander’s arm with some considerable strength, the kind of which had impeded Josh’s fleeing out of his designated fate—a quintessential bonus from decades of diligently mixing blood with a vampire. It took no Einstein to get what kind of ‘reward’ he was determined to claim.

Alexander replied with a smirk that stated his refusal to be pulled down into maybe a kiss and what hotly ensued. When it boiled down to this tug-of-war play, there was no guessing who would be the ultimate winner between an immortal whose strength grew with time and one who did not. He indulged Dorian from time to time though, knowing how his mate adored a taste of domination over a mighty creature, however ephemeral it might be.

As it was proven that Dorian was unable to drag Alexander to his level, he borrowed the vampire’s strength to lift himself off the bed. His arms draped around his lover’s toned shoulders and leaned on him for support as if he suddenly became boneless and couldn’t stand on his own. Although he was a good few inches taller than Alexander, in his drooped posture, he appeared to be somewhat inferior to the straight-backed vampire in height. He moistened the skin on Alexander’s neck with his tongue as he breathed, “Don’t be so jealous over a little plaything.”

Alexander’s first thought was directed to denial, but then he was quick to remind himself how ridiculous and undignified it would be having to argue this triviality. Plus, it would only serve to prove Dorian was correct.

“Am I?” he asked with a slight arch of his fine eyebrows and a tiny curve of his lips. Then, not waiting for any response, he said, “I’m going for a shower.” Short and crisp—Dom mode on.

Of course Dorian wouldn’t be Dorian, Dracula’s companion, if he was deterred by the commanding tone. “May I join you? I could use a bath also,” he whispered, nibbling the line of Alexander’s ear with his perfect human teeth.

Tickling. And arousing as hell. Trust Dorian to never fail in tempting his other lust beside the one for blood.

Since that was what Alexander had in mind as well—his keen vampire sense couldn’t stand the frat-boy odor permeating Dorian’s skin in the process, he let Dorian maneuver him into their deluxe bathroom.

“Be sure to rid off the trash later.”

“Yes, darling.”

This was one out of various occasions when having a possessed, flesh-devouring portrait in their basement could come in handy.

“And the cheap Converse knockoff, too, while you’re at it.”

Dorian was wrong. Alexander wasn’t jealous at all, perhaps annoyed, irritated, enraged—who wouldn’t be when arriving home after a hard day’s work to find their bedroom trashed by their partner’s having a fun row (sometimes maybe two or three) with a virtual stranger, again—but absolutely not jealous, not after, like, eight times of this month alone, not mention the whole year, and the years before. It was true Alexander’s fury had been peerless the first time such incident happened—so long ago that he hardly recalled that victim’s appearance. Was it a man or a woman? Blonde or brunette? Fair-skinned or tanned? Muscular or lean? Anyway, no matter how that one looked, they had been certainly attractive enough to catch Dorian’s eyes and Dorian, being simply Dorian, would never be unsuccessful in getting what or who he wanted once they had managed to intrigue him. The thrill in the new things, he claimed. To Alexander, it was a quirk in his character he didn’t quite appreciate. Needless to say how he had felt upon returning home to see a stranger taking his place on the bed. His mask of civility had quickly succumbed to his bestial wrath, and the beast manifest to tear that unfortunate somebody’s head clean off their neck in one swift strike. Truly a sight to behold later: with red splattering the wall behind the bed and soaking the mattress and almost every object destroyed. The room had to be repainted and refurnitured afterwards. The blamed culprit of all this hellish scene remained cheekily unfazed, much to Alexander’s chagrin, and there was no way to swipe that smirk off his face even when Alexander had him against the wall in one of their roughest copulations in their long years together (if a record had been kept, that was).

Well, theirs was far from the healthiest relationship; so were the majority of relationships involving immortal partners. Living forever kind of had that nasty effect your mentality, except when you were already messed up to begin with.

There wasn’t a single monogamous bone in Dorian’s youthful skeleton, and soon after their room was done with renovating (more like rebuilding), another incident happened and its result was devastatingly indifferent from the first. Then the third, the fourth and the fifth made up a chain of heads torn, walls smashed and general rebuilding. Dorian’s attitude remained the same as he rode through Alexander’s jealous tantrums as if nothing serious occurred and all of these violent bursts were just exotic spices to fight off the monotony of their immortal, sometimes too bored, existence.

“Darling,” Dorian called, stretching his long, graceful limbs on where his body was draping over, the plush sofa, “I know you grew up and have lived most of your life in extravagance, but do you think it’s terribly wasteful to spill their precious juice in that manner?”

Alexander propped up on his elbow, his body language showing that Dorian had gotten his attention. His mood had improved a great deal and his jealous flame put out after hours of ‘blowing up steam’ in practically every surface in the mansion. As proof of their unholy recreation, their sleeping chamber was a hopeless mess and there was a stiff cadaver, head and body detached, at the foot of the bed.

“I did take great consideration in picking only the prime-aged, healthy and cocaine-free ones after all. Well, if you catch my drift…”

Oh. Realization dawned on Alexander’s chiseled features as well as a minuscule portion of mortification. In his jealous frenzy, he hadn’t really retained much rational thought, but to think about it now… yes, it was indeed a waste to let it drench the walls and carpet while all of its vitality could have been spent on energizing his vampiric mechanism instead.

However, in Alexander’s defense that he wasn’t a brute blinded by jealousy, being a vampire did exaggerate his emotions in a way that more often than not resulted in dismal outcomes.

“So… that’s why you brought them home?”

“If it was merely for fun, I would be fine anywhere, say, the not-very-sanitary restroom at the back. Save the trouble. However, I wouldn’t say I take no pleasure in watching you put out their lives.”

Alexander couldn’t help a laugh. “All is a sport to you, isn’t it?”

“Something to keep me out of boredom when you’re away. Since you work hard to provide for the freeloader that I am, I suppose the least I can do is make sure you are not malnourished, to return the favor, so to speak.”

“Positively housewifey.”

Dorian didn’t deny.

Since then Dorian had transformed his nocturnal pastime into a real manhunting. Alexander was surprised to find out Dorian was every bit a sufficient hunter, even more than himself if he had to admit, even though his looks and manners suggested otherwise. Or perhaps they were played to his advantage. Humans, no matter aged or young, green or experienced, couldn’t help being on guard when around Alexander, who exuded dominance and conquest through his every pore—such came as his default mode, but Dorian, with his easy smiles, shining eyes and sensual voice, could charm his way into their hearts within a matter of minutes. And before they realized how enormous their mistake was to put trust into this seemingly harmless youth, they were already caught in his toxic sway.

Being the former monarch who had reigned over a part of Eastern Europe, Alexander had his pride and a reputation amongst his bloodsucking peers to uphold and thus, he never abandoned his hunting habit to be fed like a domestic beast. To savor the taste of his prey’s despair was a predator’s ecstasy and vampires were nothing if not the predators at the top of the food chain. Dorian of course had no dispute over it, as he, though sincere in his words, was never diligent in his work. He went out if he was in the mood for some brief fun the mortal world could offer; if he wasn’t, he simply stayed in and locked himself in a marathon of whatever series available on their paid cable networks. But that was not to say Alexander never received a pleasant surprise from his ageless lover. From time to time he would come home to find dinner already served: slender or robust, light-skinned or dark, they came from different walks of life to this mansion to meet their ends at the fangs of an ancient vampire. The sight of their occupying his bed touched his nerve each damnable time—blame it on his amplified emotions, yet he would never say he didn’t enjoy the tastes their veins offered in abundance. He wasn’t aware he had a specific ‘type’ until Dorian casually pointed it out that the tall, slender brunette lasted him much longer than others.

No one said keen observation wasn’t Dorian’s strength.

Alexander wondered if Dorian noticed that it came to tall, slender brunette, none of these humans gave an exquisite and prolonged ecstasy like one unique individual…

“So, darling, what’s your order for tomorrow night?” Dorian asked one random evening while casually flipping through the channels.

From his side of the sofa, Alexander lifted his eyes from the pages he had been reading for a couple hours. His eyes studied Dorian’s form thinly covered by the silky bed robe, paying a little more attention to the delicate blue vein than the rest.

“Order for?”

“Dinner, darling, and by that I don’t mean the Antoine’s where we dined the fortnight—superb meal by the way.”

Alexander was genuinely surprised. “Why brings this up all of sudden? Normally you would pick according to your preference and I wasn’t complaining.”

Dorian had finally found something to last him for the rest of the night and stopped flipping through channels. “Season three was out already,” he murmured. “I was thinking about something different for tomorrow. Special even.”

“What’s the occasion?” Alexander asked as he simultaneously worked his memory. Nothing particularly stood out.

Dorian didn’t look too upset. “Ah, remember the night you were seen feeding on a lovely barmaid and you gorged out the voyeur’s heart afterwards?

That night,” Alexander laughed.

“Well, lately I’ve been somewhat reminiscent of London and the 19th century. One question struck me: How would it be now if I hadn’t followed you to that dark alleyway, merely heading back home as my dearly departed butler—God bless his soul—often preached?”

“It would have happened at another night, another location,” replied the vampire, “because you were never good at doing as told.”

A light chuckle. “So, what’s your order? Any type, any build, any color… I’ll try my very best.”

“Oh, I’m afraid that may leave you out of home the whole night.”

“You’re underestimating the allure of the Crescent City, darling. The mortal population has never been short of variety.”

Alexander’s gaze landed on that spot on Dorian’s neck again and he felt aroused just imagining what was running underneath. He tamed his lusts with little effort; saving for tomorrow night was what was in his mind.

“Tall, slender…” he answered after a while. “… dark of hair and light of skin… with a pair of amber-colored eyes. If you catch my drift…”

Always trust Dorian to read between the lines.

End

Set in the distant future of Why Won’t You Die?, together with Like It Rough

 

[Trilijah] Untitled 07

07

14_zpszx5lu9w0

Continuing after Offer

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

Christmas in general wasn’t an event which Darren would get too excited about. Maybe years and years ago he had had a true Christmas, complete with a decorated tree, glittering ornaments hanging around the house, big meals and the anticipation of Santa Claus’s arrival churning in his little tummy, but it was such a once-upon-a-time that the vague memories seemed like someone’s fairytale, not even Darren’s. His less-opaque experiences of Christmas were comprised of his father’s lack of presence and his mother’s sore absence until it was well over. Off to celebrate with somebody else other than her only son, obviously. He hadn’t had even a proper dinner, let alone decorations and presents. His last Christmas as a human had been spectacularly dismal. Being the swimming team’s captain and the school’s golden boy, Zack had the responsibility to uphold his status by throwing the biggest party in town… right under Darren’s room for two days straight. God knew Darren had had to bar the door to prevent his room from being mistaken as some makeshift fuck-space. The voracious noise guaranteed that he wouldn’t have any decent sleep without the blaring music penetrating his dreams. And don’t even mention the glorious mess afterwards.

It was funny how his first Christmas as a non-human was truer in both sense and spirit than his many dulled and meaningless ones. The Mikaelsons were many things, Original vampires, founding fathers and mother of New Orleans, ancient monsters with a millennium’s worth of blood and more often than not harbingers of misfortune and disasters, but none could say they didn’t possess a merry spirit. That spirit particularly flared when it came to celebrations. Celebrating in proper manners and style was just as deadly serious as any other business to them, those ancient beings whom young ones would think as having gone through too many lifetimes to even care for the differences between Christmas and Thanksgiving. Darren had had the exact same expression and was then proven very wrong when he woke up one morning to witness the biggest Christmas tree of his life so far erected in the middle of the yard. The holiday spirit hung thick in the air with the influx of servants rushing in and out of the compound to meet their wealthy employers’ many elaborate demands. His legs moved on their own why his mind was so entranced by the atmosphere that it got a temporary shutdown, and he blended right in with the human servants and offered his vampiric hand to the job. None questioned his sudden appearance nor his preternatural abilities on blatant display, wordlessly accepting him as another helper. Conveniently compelled, all of them.

“My my, aren’t you a helpful one?”

He heard Rebekah’s footsteps on the stairs and her voice rang in his vampire ears like clear silver bells amongst the sea of indistinct noises. She looked a little less than her best, having just returned from a foreign trip and in the middle of adjusting to the time zone by burying herself under her blankets. In fact, these were her very first words to Darren since she laid eyes on him upon her return. He had noticed the sharp edge in her tired eyes at once, being too accustomed to that mildly-surprised and doubtful look people often gave him thanks to a certain ancient doppelgänger.

“You’re Darren, aren’t you? The kid Elijah picked up during his ‘fun’ time as a history teacher? God, my brother actually thought being a teacher was fun,” Rebekah said, leaning against the wooden rail.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Darren replied. He was thankful that Rebekah didn’t refer to him as his former history teacher’s pet. If only he got a dollar every time he heard such…

“Didn’t you have a home? Were your parents OK with their son’s turning into a vampire?”

“Well, my dad fled from my mom and my mom fled from me,” said Darren with a shrug. Bringing her up hurt less these days, and it was surprising even to him how he could mention her in such a nonchalant tone. “I think she’s better off without a child anyway. She remarried after all, and suddenly I had a hotter and undeniably wealthier dad than my biological one.”

“You sound bloody like Flowers in the Attic, don’t you know that? Tell me, have you any siblings?”

“No, not really,” Darren sounded uncertain, “I was the only child, unless you count my ex-stepbrother. What’s Flowers in the Attic anyway?”

Rebekah waved her hand. “Nevermind. I heard you recently became one of The Strix.”

Darren nodded while hanging golden and silver tinsel on a branch. “I still had no idea whatsoever why I was qualified as ‘passed’.”

One blink ago Rebekah was leaning against the rails and in the next, she was standing by Darren’s side with one hand on her jean-clad hip, startling him.

“Did you know Tristan had me staked and cursed and then Aurora bloody dumped me at the bottom of the ocean? Those two bloody loons,” Rebekah asked, her blue eyes squinting.

Of course Darren knew all about it. One of the first things Tristan had drilled into him on day one was the significant events with the Mikaelsons from past to present. It was like going through History 101 all over again, except that his ‘teacher’ was extra-homicidal and would prefer to send him home with a neck snapped than a bad grade. The number of surprise tests being taken up to eleven was yet another spice added into the hellish stew.

In sum, yes, Darren knew all about the nasty things Tristan and Aurora had done to the Original sister, and how she had retaliated afterwards. What he didn’t understand was why Rebekah brought it up to him merely after some minutes of idle conversations. It caused anxiety to rise in the pit of his stomach.

“I did,” he replied, glancing warily at Rebekah and expecting a blow. He would consider himself extremely lucky to get away with only a broken neck.

Rebekah’s unexpected slap on his taut back caused him to lose his balance and tumbled down, only to get caught by her arms.

“Don’t give me that eye as if I were about to bloody bash your skull,” she chided him, not harshly. “I’m mean, true, but not that mean. Plus, even if I wanted to, I would never hear the end of it if I so much as lay a finger on Elijah’s boy.”

Just when he thought not being referred as ‘pet’ was an improvement…

“You’re having your arms around me, not your finger.”

Smiling, Rebekah released him from her grip. “You’re witty, aren’t you? I like that. The thing is, kid, you’d do better to stay far away from that bloody lot, especially Aurora and that stuck-up twit who might be your distant ‘relative’. I would have stuck that bloody cursed stake right up his arse if my brother hadn’t already done so for as long as I could remember.”

Darren’s face put on an expression that could only be classified as ‘comically horrified’. “I’m pretty sure I don’t want details.”

“About the stake-up-arse part or the other?”

Her feigned innocence couldn’t fool a kid, let alone a straight A teenager.

“Neither,” he said, trying not to sound like a huff. “Moreover, why are many people assuming I’m related to Tristan? It’s been more than a thousand years and right now most high school students know the gene pool is not limitless.”

There was that elder’s half disappointed and half amused look like Aya often gave him again. Well, at least Rebekah didn’t overact like Aurora.

“Have you ever heard the name Tatia? It must have popped up somewhere in your Strix’s supernatural Wikipedia, huhm?”

Darren nodded. “She was the reason why we are here and not six feet under?”

“Not bad for a high school student,” said Rebekah with a smile. “Tatia was but one link of a long chain of related people magically looking like carbon copy of one another. Want to hear more about that bloodline?”

“Something tells me that involves racing through basically every shop in New Orleans in a late Christmas shopping.”

He had learnt that Rebekah was Aurora’s sire, and if Aurora was a terminal shopaholic, he didn’t see why Rebekah was any different.

“I’m liking you more and more, kiddo. Now you wait a few minutes while I freshen up and you’ll help me get my niece a nice present.”

“Alright,” Darren replied, sounding a little defeat.

Nice kids got presents from Santa Claus while naughty ones got none, that was common knowledge. For years and years Darren had been convinced that his name was forever on Santa’s naughty list, for rarely had he received a present that wasn’t from the online game developers. To be fair, Zack did give him a present in their first Christmas, which was nice if you overlooked the tiny fact that he had gotten it from one of his many admirers at school. There was even a Merry-Christmas card directed to him inside the box.

Fortunately Darren had made good use of that hand-knit scarf.

This year was different though. Darren supposed somehow he had miraculously gotten off the naughty list and even made it to the other one. He had started the day by helping with decorating the house and then escorted Rebekah on her shopping escapade as she raided the shops in Nola − not yet an expert but he had acquired excessive experience from countless times playing Aurora’s bag-carrying boy. He spent the other half of the day babysitting Hope so that Hayley could do a late Christmas shopping for her in-laws, who happened to be plenty, while being involuntary accomplice in Freya’s arson. Moral of the story: never allow a witch and a baby vamp in the kitchen. Period. Compulsion and money existed for the sole purpose of preventing these incidents. The only good thing to come out of it was their providing quite an entertainment for the little hybrid girl.

So, Darren had been a “good, extra-helpful kid” as per Rebekah’s words and thus was entitled to receive a number of presents on Christmas night, much more than all the gifts he had been given in his entire human life. Hayley brought him some homemade desserts from her in-laws in the bayou and, unlike Freya’s failed attempt, they were edible and actually delectable. Point taken: Wolves cooked much better than vampires and (ancient) witches because they had to do it on a daily basis instead of staring into a chef’s eyes for some seconds or having absurdly wealthy vampire siblings. For helping Freya, whether in burning down the kitchen or cleaning up the mess afterwards, the Mikaelson witch had made it so that his daylight ring was firmly attached to his finger, thus no more worry about dropping or having it stolen by some elder vampire bullies. Aya sent him a black envelope containing a sleek black card that granted him access to The Strix’s exclusive bar and a whole year of free-drinking. Not keen on another hour-long lecture about underage drinking from his former history teacher slash sire slash unofficial guardian, he tucked the card in the depth of his jeans pocket with the intention to pay it some visits in the near future. The most unexpected gift was from Klaus, who had ordered a complete set of flat-screened TV, surrounding stereo system plus gaming arcade installed in his room. “You entertained my sisters well and since it’s Christmas, I can be charitable,” he nonchalantly declared, stunning Darren. Somehow the set had occupied most of his living space but being the self-entitled hikkomori who could stay inside for days to play a new video game that Darren was, he couldn’t really complain.

“You’ve got quite a huge Christmas stocking, haven’t you?”

A large hand on his shoulders woke Darren from his trance of contemplating the massive wardrobe Tristan and Aurora had delivered to the Mikaelson compound when the clock struck twelve. The elegant card that accompanied this extravagance read: “Dress well when you’re back to school. PS: The ties are entirely Aurora’s contributions.”

Yes, Darren was coming back to school in spring because according to Tristan, “A Strix without at least two degrees is no Strix at all.” If Darren wasn’t a nerdy kid who had spent most his life devoted to studying and playing games, he felt that he would revolt and run away − one didn’t simply become an undead in order to come back toiling at school.

“Can I just wear the hoodies and jeans Rebekah bought me?” Darren asked Elijah, who had just entered his room with a tumbler of bourbon in his hand. “Not these suits and funny ties?”

He finally understood why Tristan, who wore mostly grim and solid colors would opt for ties that appeared so out-of-character. They all came from Aurora, no wonder. Somehow Darren was convinced even if Aurora gave him jester’s outfits, Tristan would wear them with his head held high because they were his sister’s gifts imbued with love.

“You wear whatever makes you feel comfortable,” replied Elijah with a smile. “Take that little weasel’s words for reference, not commandment.”

“Aren’t you and him wearing suits 24/7?”

As far as Darren could observe, that style was strictly instilled in every member of The Strix. As (reluctant) one himself, he thought he was no exception.

“Out of choice, Darren, which I think should apply to you also. “Speaking of Christmas gift…”

A carefully wrapped box was laid next to Darren, startling the newbie vampire. “…mine is a bit humble being put next to these grandiose displays, so I thought I’d wait until deep in the night to give it to you personally.”

“Elijah…I…”

“Come one, Darren, open it,” he urged.

Darren’s eyes widened with every layer of the bordeaux-colored wrapping being peeled off. He was rendered speechless with what he was holding in his hands.

“Judging from your expressions, I can safely say I’ve chosen a decent gift. Being newly introduced to vampirism can be such an overwhelming experience that you’ve neglected what you loved. This fourth installment of the series is to be released a week later, but as I have some acquaintances in the company…”

Since his wording procession had come to a block, Darren sought to express his heart-swelling attitude in a tight hug. “It’s… perfect… Thank you, Elijah,” he murmured in the front of his sire’s jacket.

“What do you say we put Niklaus’s present to good use right now? The night is still much young,” said Elijah with gentle pat on Darren’s back. “But before that, would you kindly surrender Aya’s black card? I believe we’ve already discussed extensively about underage drinking.”

End

 

[Trilijah] Untitled 06

06

a9743a27-d603-42a0-afd8-18fd0b360ae9_zpsgszccdxv

Continuing after Offer

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3     Part 4

Panting with exertion and clutching his side, Darren took a step back and scanned his opponent through blood-veiled eyes: five feet seven in height, built like a goddess of war and standing in her immaculate outfit without a single bead of sweat – the perfect opposite of his current state: mussed hair, bloodied face and dirty clothes. As soon as he felt his ribs putting themselves back together, he charged at her with all the strength and speed his infant vampire body could muster.

So close. He was so close in landing a blow on her that he could actually feel the texture of her sleeve through his fist when she flashed behind him to land a kick on his back, sending Darren across the dome room and into the steel wall.

He took small comfort in the dent he made in that mass of metal. At least his spine didn’t break for nothing.

“OK,” a voice said, or boomed, judging from where he was lying, flushed against the concrete floor and next to a pair of killer heels. “Time out, please. I want to borrow Darren.”

No one ever said Aurora’s timing wasn’t flawless.

“Sorry, Aurora,” Darren bleated, turning his head to the other side so it didn’t look like he was gazing up her mini-skirt. “I’m a little busy here. Do you mind coming back at another time?”

She was probably hit with the urge to ravage every boutique shop in New Orleans… again. Since Tristan was always busy dealing with one business or another, Aurora felt entirely justified to grab the closest thing, ahem, person to her brother for substitution.

Aya held out her hand in front of him, which Darren unceremoniously took. As she helped him to his feet, more like pulled him to his feet, she smiled and said, “That was actually an improvement, kid. Next time, try to be less obvious about your aim.”

“Thanks,” replied Darren with a slight groan, straightening his back. There was no pain like a broken spine; he was sure to remember it for the rest of his un-life.

“A Strix who cannot at least defend themself is no Strix at all,” Tristan had told him after Darren’s admission to The Strix with a gentle pat on his shoulder. While the high-schooler-turn-vampire wasn’t particular enthusiastic about his newly granted membership of this douche (Elijah’s implication) organization, he too agreed that he should find a way to be stronger. According to Tristan, Elijah had tons of enemies and who knew some of them might see “Elijah’s little pet” (he hated it when Tristan referred to him as such) as possible leverage. If there was a role for him in the Crescent city, the last thing Darren wanted was for it to be the damsel in distress’s.

‘Twas the brief summary of how he had ended in this special training room with the strict Aya as his coach. Looking out for our baby brother as she said, hence a variety of wounds and broken bones Darren hadn’t known were possible on a body until he experienced them on his own.

So much beating had he taken in these weeks that he forgot to ask sometime whether Elijah had trained her in the same way back in her early vampire years.

“Aurora, we’ve agreed that Darren’s training time is sacrosanct,” Tristan, who occasionally joined their session to monitor Darren’s progress, spoke from his chair.

“That’s what you said. I didn’t say a thing. Come on, let the poor boy catch a breath!”

“Whatever you say, sister.” Tristan was defeated.

“So, Darren, what’s your last name?”

“Uhm… Hayward,” Darren answered while wiping his face with a towel.

Aurora scribbled something down on a large sheet. “Good, that means your father is a Hayward. And your grandfather’s?”

“…Hayward, too.”

“Great grandfather’s?”

This was getting weird. “Possibly Hayward?”

“Charming. And your great-great grandfather’s?”

“How should I know?” Honestly all except his own last name were mere guesses. He had never met his grandfather for goodness’s sake and researching his paternal family’s legacy wasn’t exactly his pastime so…

“How could you not know?” Aurora was positively offended. “As you ancestor, I am very disappointed.”

Darren rolled his eyes at her. “Since when you became my ancestor?”

The look on Aurora’s face suggested that Darren had just said something so retarded she was rendered speechless.

Well, nobody would say Aurora didn’t possess a dramatic flair. She would make a perfect drama queen if she didn’t have a tendency to eat her co-stars.

“Oh please, Aurora,” Tristan sighed. “Would you be so kind to us as to abort this ridiculous and futile research of yours?”

“Excuse me, what is that research?” asked Aya, whose interest just got piqued.

“My dear brother, have a little faith,” Aurora said, flinging an arm around Darren’s shoulders. “Isn’t this little one a profound reminder that we should discover our lost and scattered bloodline?”

“You mean the de Martels?”

“Yes, Aya, our family whom we had involuntarily left behind thanks to a certain Original jerk.”

“There’s no concrete evidence that Darren is our descendant. It may turn out to be a case of looking alike, which happens all around the earth as we speak.”

“Looking alike? Please, have you looked in the mirror recently, Tristan? Anyone with half an eye can tell he’s your spitting image, down to those large blue eyes. Doppelgänger blood runs in the family.”

Tristan looked as if he would prefer to embed himself into the wall than further engage in this discussion with Aurora. Darren, in the other hand, was interested.

“How is your process so far?” Aya asked, glancing at Aurora’s sheet. “Oh, a family tree with… not many branches.”

Darren tried to contain his laughter. Aurora’s accomplishment so far was putting up their parents’ names on top, followed by hers and Tristan’s with a glaring blank space between them and Darren’s name near the bottom.

“I got blocked right here. Tristan, do you remember our cousin Maria? She was expecting a baby when we left.”

“As I recall, we had many cousins from both our paternal and maternal sides.”

“Is there any chance that Tristan had sired a bastard, or several, before he was turned?”

“What makes you think so, Aya?” Tristan’s voice was edged with frost.

Still, Aya was unfazed. “No offense to your person but isn’t that the common way of noble sons back then? Going around and bedding any fair village maiden that caught their eyes?”

“I will have to defend my brother’s honor in this matter, Aya,” said Aurora. “Unlike those lecherous noble dicks, my brother had never done such thing, and this sometimes prompted our lord father to question whether Tristan was truly his son.”

Aya squinted her dark eyes. “Not once?”

“Absolutely. He had taken a personal vow of chastity until marriage and meant to uphold it.”

“Meant to?” Darren echoed, and got a chill from Tristan’s glare.

“Then along came Eli—”

“The training session ends for the day,” Tristan cut her short. “Aya, would you please see to it that Darren gets home safe?”

“Hey, I still want to ask him a few more—”

With a slight jerk of his head, Tristan instructed them to ignore his sister. Aya gave a small nod and took Darren’s arm. “Let us go, kid.”

Once they were out in the hallway, Darren finally gave in to his laughter. Aya couldn’t help a few larger-than-usual smiles despite her trademark stoicism.

“Are they always like that?”

Aya nodded. “Aurora loves to make Tristan uncomfortable and it doesn’t help when Tristan’s all oversensitive about his millennium-old affair with you-know-who, despite it is no longer a secret to everyone around.”

Darren agreed. With Aurora’s spilling the tea at such frequency, it would be very strange if there was a Strix who didn’t know.

“Thanks to the boss, we still have a few hours to spare before I give you a ride back to Elijah. Do you feel like going for a drink?”

“I think I’m capable of escorting myself back to the Mikaelson compound, Aya.”

“I’m doing my job, kid. One thing you should bear in mind: here insubordination isn’t taken too well, no matter how small the deed.”

“All right,” Darren muttered. “But isn’t it a bit early to go to a club?”

To tell the truth, Darren hadn’t really been a club-goer in his human days, and neither had he been a drinker. A few sips from time to time at Zack’s constant parties and that was all. He would rather hole himself up in his room and play the newest video game all night then go out and drink. That must have been the reason for his near-bottom status at the school.

Aya’s lips formed a tiny amused smile. “If you’re thinking about all those noisy squalors littered the French Quarter, no. Let me introduce you to our private bar, where only the best spirits and blood are served.”

“Do they have, like, age restriction?”

“No admission of vampires under three hundred.”

“Maybe I’ll come back three centuries later,” Darren replied.

“Fortunately I’m old enough for the both of us,” said Aya, ruffling his mussy black hair.

Hours later, Elijah wasn’t nowhere pleased to see a stone-drunk Darren delivered home. In reply to his question, “Whose idea was it?”, Aya merely shrugged.

Needless to say, he would definitely have a few words with his youngest protégé about underage drinking.

End

[Trilijah] Untitled 05

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Continuing after Offer

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

“You should do best to stay away from him… and put a shorter leash on your psychotic sister or God help me—”

“You yourself know Aurora doesn’t like to be controlled and it’s not that I can restrain her either. I say it again, as I’ve said it before, it’s in my best intention to protect my sire line, your sire line, Elijah. Perhaps you could do the same.”

Over the distance of a very large room, their bickering voices were still booming in Darren’s ears. Turning to Aya, the dark-skinned beauty Tristan had assigned to look after him (not that he needed, or wanted for that matter, any ‘babysitting’), Darren asked nervously, “Is there any possibility that Tristan and Elijah might end up killing each other?”

The tension between those two was so palpable it could be cut with a knife.

Aya smirked, ruffling Darren’s hair, much to the younger vampire’s chagrin. “That’s what I love about newbies. Their naïveté and ignorance are truly adorable.”

“I don’t think it’s amusing that someone doesn’t know something just because they’re new to the game,” he rebuked.

“You’re quick-tongued, aren’t you? I could see why Elijah sired you, aside from the visible truth that you’re Tristan’s doppelgänger. You might turn out to be his descendant.”

Darren truly didn’t want to think of it that way, that Elijah made him because he was a carbon copy of Tristan, but he started to believe it was indeed the case. Plus, Aurora’s earlier question and Aya’s ambiguous tone were leading him to an uncomfortable conclusion.

“To answer your earlier question, no. Since we are all sired by Elijah, if he dies, unfortunately so will every one of us, young or old. As for Tristan, Elijah will not kill him no matter how Tristan has annoyed him, merely juggling with threats and promises of tortures. In reality, there has never been any serious bloodshed known between them. The two of them have been that way since our first encounter.”

“When was that?”

“Take your age and multiply it by a few dozens. Shortly after that, Elijah sired me. Just so you know, Tristan’s age nearly doubles mine.”

Darren mouthed an impressed “wow.” He still found it a little challenging to adapt to the concept of vampiric age. Seeing those ancient beings with youthful faces like Elijah, Aurora, Tristan and now, Aya wasn’t exactly helpful either.

“I think they have stopped quarreling.”

Aya’s stern-looking face suddenly sported a mischievous smile. “They’re far from done, kid. Just switched to a… less linguistic activity.”

Darren was about to ask “What does that mean?” when he saw a flash of redhead.

Aurora. Again. Dressed in a fiery dress to match her fiery hair and beaming with a smile so bright the sunlit room went dark for a moment.

Her undeniable beauty was a sight for sore eyes, yet Darren’s eyes weren’t sore and her presence sorrily embittered the blood he had been sipping from a blood bag provided by Aya. It was still too fresh in his memory to not recall the ‘fun’ they had had as Aurora brought him along on her one-day New Orleans tour.

“Aya, where’s my brother?” Aurora asked, leaning against the wall.

Aya shrugged and cocked her head slightly to the side. “Elijah’s here.”

A perfect eyebrow raised. “How long has he been here?”

“Long.”

“Shagging each other again, no doubt,” she muttered with a huge dark cloud eclipsing her beaming face.

Darren was glad he wasn’t chewing anything, otherwise he might bite off his tongue. That didn’t mean the air to his nasal passage wasn’t blocked for a few good seconds.

Seeing his face going beet-red, Aya couldn’t help a smile while Aurora started her evil cackles. “Oh my, I shouldn’t have said so bluntly in front of children. Should go for euphemism next time.”

“Your tact is hardly renowned, Aurora,” Aya commented.

Aurora promptly ignored her and gleefully took Darren’s arms. “I was going to have my brother go shopping with me but since his afternoon and evening are booked, you’re coming with me, mini-Tristan.”

Aya might object to Aurora’s whims, saying something like she had been instructed to keep an eye on their newest member; nonetheless, before she had a chance to open her mouth, Aurora had teleported Darren out of the mansion.

Well, so much for ‘babysitting’.

End

[Trilijah] Untitled 03

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Elijah Mikaelson (The Originals) & Darren (Wasted on the Young)

Continuing after Offer

Part 1

“Oh la la, it’s really true as the rumors spread,” cried the beautiful redhead that popped out of nowhere. It took a crushing bear hug from her for Darren to realize she was referring to him (who else in this empty yard?). Feeling a little suffocated (as if he needed to breathe), Darren tried to wriggle out of her iron embrace without unfavorably hurting her with his new vampiric strength, and only when he failed epically did a realization strike him: she was no ordinary woman but a supernatural being – a vampire like him – with God-know-how-many years in difference. She looked slim, yet Darren wagered she had to be at least thrice his strength, probably more.

Well, this was New Orleans, where the Original family dwelled, so it was unsurprising to find bloodsuckers lurking at any corner. His first lesson learnt here.

And if this diabolical strength confined in a fragile-looking figure was not convincing enough as proof of her vampirism, her demonic speed as she grabbed him by the waist and teleported them both from where they were standing was another stamping piece of evidence.

Darren was sauntering around the Mikaelsons’ compound, leisurely weighing his options to have a beignet or a blood bag for breakfast when she materialized like a David Copperfield trick, dressed to the nines and wearing a wide grin. The next thing Darren knew was that he had been practically kidnapped by a much-older vampire whose intention for him was as vague as her supernatural age.

“You’re a fan of beignets?” she casually asked in her sing-song tone after dropping a puzzled Darren in front of a shop. And not waiting for a decent reply, or any reply at all, she grabbed the infant vampire by the arm, leading him inside.

Even when he was seated in a very nice table basking in the early morning sun, on which placed practically every type of beignets the house could offer, Darren was still a little behind what was really going on.

You have to excuse him though, since it wasn’t every day he was abducted by an elder who was going to murder him alive with too many choices of beignets and a diabetic amount of ground sugar.

“I’m Aurora,” she cheerfully introduced herself, reaching for a beignet and rolling it in the plate of sugar before taking a happy, large bite. “And you?” she asked once she had finished swallowing.

“Darren,” he answered warily, his eyes alternating between the vampire Aurora and the sweets.

“Well, Darren, don’t be shy. Beignets in this shop are the most heavenly. It’s not like you’re going to gain any pound. Or…”

Aurora glanced around and beckoned a waitress to her side. “Or… you want something less in cholesterol and a little richer in nutrition? After all you’re growing, aren’t you?”

Again, Darren had no idea what this vampire meant until the waiter grasped a knife and stoically spilled her blood. With wide eyes and suppressed gasp he watched red juice fill two cups.

The sporadic few patrons in the shop seemed not to notice anything unusual. Probably compelled, all of them.

Placing one cup in front of Darren, Aurora dismissed the waitress, now looking a bit paler. She took a sip and sighed. “A little salty but not too bad. You know, my old friend Lucien said Cajun people taste better than others, probably the best. I think he was bluffing. Do you? He couldn’t have tasted all the world, could he? Oh, have your food, Darren. Haven’t you been taught not to stare at a lady while she’s eating? I’ll be embarrassed.”

Darren had no choice but to bring the cup to his lips like an obedient child who was told to drink his milk. Too busy to watch out for Aurora’s move at the corner of his eyes (not that he could try anything if she wanted to do something) that Darren lost the chance to savor the blood as he normally did. Breakfast was the most important meal of the day, human or vampire.

“May I ask why you abducted me?”

The surprises look on Aurora’s face was as if only now did she realize she had kidnapped him. “Oh, you’re not over 18 right? Is that a crime?”

Darren would turn 18 in two months from now, but thanks to Elijah, he would never pass 17.

He nodded.

“That’s too bad,” Aurora sounded like she was moaning. “I’m so, so sorry. I still have to take you with me though.”

“Why? It’s not like I’ve known you, let alone offended you.”

Aurora looked at him with a spark in her eyes and smiled a smile so sweet Darren actually felt uncomfortable. He shifted his eyes to the array of beignets and tried to busy himself with which choice to make.

“Did I tell you look like someone?”

“No, you didn’t,” he replied truthfully. “But since I came here I’ve been receiving a lot of curious looks from the local vampires although I have practically never met them in my life.”

“Did Elijah tell you anything?”

“He once said I looked like someone he’d known for a long time. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to probe into—”

Darren’s speech was interrupted by Aurora’s giggles. “What’s so funny?”

Only when her giggles subdued did she answer, or rather, ask him, “Has he bedded you yet?”

Darren gloriously choked on the piece of beignet he had been chewing in waiting for Aurora’s reply.

“You’re bit too young but who knows? Maybe that depraved Original fancies green grass. You’re certainly the type, especially with these huge blue eyes of yours. Kind of like a puppy. Oh how I wish he could look so cute like you.”

“No!” protested Darren. “There’s nothing like that. What made you think so?”

“No?” Aurora echoed with a surprise note in her tone. “He’s been worrying himself sick over nothing, that silly boy,” she muttered under her breath.

Not that Darren couldn’t hear her. “Who’s ‘he’?”

“You’ll get to know soon enough,” she said in normal volume. “You see, Elijah kind of likes you and I kind of hate his guts, so you can’t blame me if I want to have him running amok searching for his favorite pet for a day. Or two. In the mean time, I’m going to bring you to ‘him’.”

“What business does ‘he’ have with me?” Darren asked incredulously.

Aurora shrugged. “I haven’t a clue. He may kill you, you know, rip out your heart like Elijah so loves to make his kill. His jealousy is tyrannical, as they say.”

Darren clenched the fork in his hand so hard it snapped into two.

“But I doubt it so. That silly brother of mine treasures his sire line more than they actually deserve. Ah ah, don’t think about calling Elijah,” she warned, seeing him sneaking a hand into his jeans’ pocket. “I can break both of your hands quicker than you can pull it out. Or I can simply twist your daylight ring off your finger and let the sun work its magic.”

Darren grunted and put his hands back on the table.

“That’s a good boy. Now I can offer you two choices.”

Darren smirked. “Now I even have a choice. Awesome.”

To his surprise, and embarrassment, Aurora pinched his cheek with her manicured hand. “Aw, you look much cuter than him when you do this smirk. And yes, darling, you do. You can choose to behave and eat your beignets and we’ll happily go on a city tour before we come to him. Strongly advised. The second option is simpler: I snap your neck and drag you to him like a dumb potato sack.”

Defeated, Darren reached out for a beignet and bit off an angry, frustrating chunk. Aurora’s smile deepened.

“Tristan, oh, Tristan,” Aurora called with deafening volume once they entered a mansion, the final destination of their ‘happy’ New Orleans tour. “Come and see what I’ve brought for you, dear brother.”

“For a thousand times, dear sister, I strongly dislike beignets,” a male voice spoke, accompanied by steady footsteps.

Darren looked around, seeking the source. When he found it, his eyes enlarged with disbelief.

It wasn’t “look like” as Aurora and Elijah had said; this man, Tristan, was how Darren would probably look ten years later, unarguably much more refined. The dream version of himself. In fact, he doubted if he would ever reach this man’s level, no matter how many years added.

By the slight expression on his face, Darren could tell the initial surprise was mutual, although Tristan handled it more elegantly.

“The rumors are true, after all, that Elijah brought home a mini-you to be his pet.”

Tristan smiled, but unlike Aurora’s honeyed smile, Tristan’s was cold and didn’t reach his winter-blue eyes. “You know the Mikaelsons are notorious for their peculiar pastimes. And I do prefer this to your sugary beignets, sister.”

Turning his gaze to Darren, Tristan added, “I’ve heard so much about the doppelgänger legend, but never once have I thought that I would have one myself. Tell me, how are you called, my shadow self?”

End

[Trilijah] Offer

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Wasted on the Young x The Originals

Rating: T

Pairing: sort of Elijah Mikaelson (The Originals) x Darren (Wasted on the Young)

Genres: fanfiction, canon divergence

Preview: “You are too young, Darren, too young to put a stop to your life when you have yet to take advantage of what this vast world can offer. But I have no right to stop you either – revenge is a noble cause. So, this is my offer, Darren, to keep seeing this world, albeit through non-human eyes.”

Offer

Extras: 01   02   03   04   05   06

Mr. Mikaelson was unlike any teacher Darren had studied with.

He was young, for one, while most Darren’s teachers had long passed 30s. Some had even passed 50s. Darren heard from the senior students the school had made it policy that no freshly graduated teacher could get a teaching position here. Ripe fruits were required, not green grass, so to say. Although Mr. Mikaelson wasn’t graduated yesterday, he couldn’t be older than 30 – how he got the entrance ticket was as mysterious as his person, but he could be a rare case of looking younger than his real age, of which none seemed to be sure. Still, in contrast with his youthful countenance, his speech and manners were similar to those of a man living in a century past.

A classic gentleman straight out of Jane Austen’s novels, Xandrie commented. The 21st-century Mr. Darcy. She might have had a little crush on their history teacher, too, if she wasn’t teasing Darren when she confided her “little” secret to him. Darren saw nothing wrong with it, though, if you asked him. He himself was much fascinated with Mr. Mikaelson.

Mr. Mikaelson taught history, a subject that was forever deemed a yawn by the majority of kids in this school. Granted, history teacher here all fell victim to a grievous plague of uncreative, tedious teaching – having students recite passage after passage from the textbook, giving comments on their ability to remember details rather than their understanding, and the long, never-ending exams. It took great love in history for both Xandrie and Darren to find the courage not to doze off in history classes.

Nonetheless, Mr. Mikaelson was vastly different. The moment he strode confidently in the classroom he traded the text book for his unlimited resources of illustrious stories. In his pleasant cadence, history was no longer dead figures with names, dates and a few descriptions; they came alive with passionate zeal to change the world. He wasn’t teaching anything, he said it himself, merely playing the role of a storyteller. How the stories, its characters and their motives were to be interpreted was up to the students. There was no telling whether his method had successfully instilled the knowledge in his students; however, the students all agreed on one thing: with Mr. Mikaelson around, history classes were much less intolerable.

For those with a love of history like Xandrie (and Darren, too, when he wasn’t busy trying to show that he loved physics more), Mr. Mikaelson’s presence was god-sent. Not only was he an inspiring teacher, he was also willing to stay for hours if a student wanted to discuss something. Thus, Xandrie took advantage of this and stalked (her own word) him around the campus so that she could talk to him about her history project, more often than not dragging along a mildly reluctant, mildly interested Darren. Mr. Mikaelson was practically a gold mine for Viking history and culture, which Xandrie’s project focused on and better still, he showed as much enthusiasm about the subject as she did. Before long, Darren unknowingly found himself drawn into the discussion although his prior knowledge of the Viking was limited to the Norse pantheon, and even that was due to his favorite RPG game featuring some Norse mythology.

And, unlike any of Xandrie and Darren’s teachers, Mr. Mikaelson didn’t stick around. Though rumor had it that he was only a temp, no one knew exactly why he wasn’t kept around, regarding his fast-grown, immense popularity with the students. One day their old, boring history teacher returned, and the same tedious cycle of reciting and ridiculously long tests was resumed like Mr. Mikaelson had been merely a transient breeze over an everlasting dessert.

Xandrie actually cried a lot that day and Darren had lost his interest in just about everything for a whole week. Perhaps it would have been better if he had just left without a word as other kids believed – that way Xandrie and Darren would just simply hate him, and hatred was so much easier than sadness. The last of their session together, Mr. Mikaelson had taken them to an elegant café hidden in a bustling street, where he had given each of them a farewell gift. A well-preserved old book with voluminous descriptions and gilded illustrations of the Norse gods for the Viking-obsessed Xandrie and a cream-colored envelope in which Darren’s name was scripted in sleek black ink. It wasn’t until he had gotten to his own private world that he dared open his present: an extremely rare edition of a single he had only dreamed of, with the singer’s signature to boot. Later he would remember clutching the CD to his chest till he fell into sweet dream.

No matter how much the two of them had angsted over his leave, Mr. Mikaelson wasn’t likely to return – not in the near future at least, and thus they carried on with the mundanity of their high school life while nurturing tiny hope for a spark of another brilliant teacher.

Not everything looked bleak, though. On a slightly happier note, Xandrie and Darren had gotten much less awkward around each other, all thanks to prolonged sessions of Viking history. Xandrie was determined to finish her project, saying it was her “homage” to Mr. Mikaelson and Darren, shyly, offered his help in putting together a video for her presentation. Their combined effort, with no small thanks to Mr. Mikaelson’s previous help, was a success.

For a while they did think that somehow they would make the most out of their remaining days in high school. They would go to college together, Xandrie to pursue a literature major and Darren a degree in physics. Then Xandrie would become a writer and Darren would apply to an international corporation, perhaps Apple. The brief period with Mr. Mikaelson had emboldened them in such a way that they believed they could, and they would succeed with the right motivation and effort put in.

To have so much hope for the future, that was where their flaws like, for fate was an uncontrollable factor that was the major force behind just about everything. Zack happened. That horrendous party happened, and their lives spiraled out of control. Out of sanity. For Darren, the future ended in that afternoon when he, all beaten up and bloodied, fell to his knees beside Xandrie’s still-warm body.

At that moment he didn’t cry, nor did he in her funeral a few days afterwards.

School didn’t matter, end-of-year project didn’t matter and his recently demoted status never had a place in his mind. His routine never changed: he went to school and went straight home – not home now, house – no training or hanging out at his favorite spot in the park, locking himself in his own dark, private world where the only light was Mr. Mikaelson’s parting gift. And that tiny beam was not enough to light up his mind, dark and hopeless as his world.

In that vast darkness only one thought resided, and Darren intended to carry it out.

Quite unexpectedly, he saw Mr. Mikaelson again one evening on his long walk home, still very handsome and dapper as his memory of the man served, and that twisted a knife in Darren’s wound, reminding him of their brief happy time together, of Xandrie as a bright and living girl.

He felt Mr. Mikaelson’s gaze a tad longer than normal on his face the moment their sights met. Probably because of the fading purple bruises.

“Family business,” Mr. Mikaelson explained first thing after they sat down at a quiet table as a way of reducing awkwardness. “I only arrived this morning. How was Xandrie’s project?”

“It was good,” replied Darren, stirring the steaming milk coffee in front of him. The smell was pleasant, but he wasn’t going to indulge the taste. Milk coffee was Xandrie’s choice drink and he ordered it simply because he didn’t know what else to choose.

“Are you coming back?”

“I’m only passing by, I’m afraid, to see how the two of you are going.”

Darren could feel Mr. Mikaelson’s eyes gliding over his cast before he continued, “Did something happen while I wasn’t here? Some months ago I rarely saw you without Xandrie.”

Heat and moist pooled around the rims of Darren’s eyes. Though he could fight the tears, he wasn’t able to edit the quiver out of his voice as he stated, rather monotonously, “If you had arrived a week earlier, you could have attended her funeral.”

Of the brief time Darren had known Mr. Mikaelson, he had not seen many of the man’s expressions that were outside the spectrum of politeness. The safe ones for a high school teacher, as he had told them. Now he was witnessing a storm gathering in the depth of his dark eyes. He looked saturnine, sort of intimidating, and if Darren hadn’t known better, he would probably fear that he was the unfortunate subject of Mr. Mikaelson’s less-than-pleasant emotion.

Yet the foreboding storm only gave hints and never came, for the next moment his eyes were serene again. No, not serene, just calm and entirely different prior to the news of Xandrie’s death.

“You know, Mr. Mikaelson is very nice but he’s someone you should never cross,” Xandrie said.

“How can you tell? Did you get on his bad side?”

“He seems to be always in control with his manners and emotions and someone who does that all the time is someone you shouldn’t mess with.”

“How did she pass away?” Mr. Mikaelson asked.

At his question Darren experienced an emotional stab. There it was again, the irrational and somehow not entirely unjustified distrust for the adults that had prompted him to lie about the real cause of Xandrie’s suicide. To the police, to the school counselor, to every grownup that felt the need to inquire him. Would they have cared had he spoken the truth? Would they have done anything to give Xandrie the late-served justice she no longer cried for? Would anything change?

Darren wasn’t sure whether Mr. Mikaelson was any different; however, he wanted an ear.

“She shot herself with a gun stolen from her dad…” he spoke at last “… was what they wrote on the paper…”

He barely held himself together at the end of the first sentence. His voice was shaky, his throat clogged and his vision blurred with the strain he imposed on himself to halt the tears once again.

Mr. Mikaelson’s hands on his heated cheeks felt so pleasantly cool that Darren didn’t question the purpose of his strange gesture. He found himself involuntarily leaning in.

“If words are too difficult, you can show me. Relax. Open your mind to me.”

It wasn’t Mr. Mikaelson’s words that did the trick, Darren was vaguely aware. It was the soothing cadence of his voice that sipped into the various cracks on the barren surface of Darren’s mind, gentle as a stream of water and just as penetrating. It was a false safety of an alluring dreamless sleep that his exhausted mind didn’t want to fight, so he gave in entirely, allowing its wave to crash gently on his shore and wash away the footprints.

When he came to himself again, Mr. Mikaelson’s expressions had changed. The calmness that masked his face did nothing to veil the dark storm of understanding that had returned to his eyes.

“Wasted on the young,” he mumbled, breathing a sigh. “Is there any other way?”

“Is there?” Darren repeated, with a hint of query. Somehow he knew Mr. Mikaelson had learnt not only what had happened but also what would happen in that prolonged touch, although he had no idea how exactly.

As if having found an incredible idea or just hearing something very funny, Mr. Mikaelson laughed. “Do you know what a false dilemma is, Darren?”

“I don’t.” Neither did he have the faintest reason of Mr. Mikaelson’s sudden change of mood.

“It is what you think you have, Darren while there is always another option…” he said in that confident tone used in a classroom Darren had found inspirational, but right now its charm was lost to the only student in vicinity. Smoothly Mr. Mikaelson undid his cuff link, rolled up the sleeves of his jacket and shirt just enough to bare his wrist. While Darren was pondering what he was having in his mind, Mr. Mikaelson took a butter knife and… slid it against his exposed wrist.

Blood, red and flowing just like Xandrie’s, filled the small cup. Darren’s heart was tattooing again his thin ribs.

“… which is what I can offer.” Mr. Mikaelson’s voice was firmly assuring as he placed the cup on a saucer and arranged it in front of Darren as though a cup of tea served.

“If I told you to drink it, would you?”

Just seeing the redness made nausea rise in Darren’s throat. “It’s your blood,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“Is it? What proof do you have to decide that it’s blood? It could be tomato sauce.”

“It came from your—”

Darren’s speech halted as if the air to his pharynx experienced an abrupt block. He was staring at Mr. Mikaelson’s wrist that had been brought forward so that he could get a better look. The skin was whole, smooth, indicating no recently inflicted wound. Like a magic trick, except that it was terrifyingly confusing rather than fascinating.

“I did slice it open,” Mr. Mikaelson said, cocking his head to the side, “there’s trace on the knife if you want evidence. However, it healed in a matter of seconds.” He fixed the sleeves of his jacket and shirt to their former state. “As do most physical damages on me.”

Darren wasn’t sure if he was hearing right. Things had become a tad hazy after Mr. Mikaelson’s telepathic touch.

Paying little attention to Darren’s wide eyes, Mr. Mikaelson continued, “Mine is a kind of existence that is very far from yours or Xandrie’s, or any human’s in the school for that matter. If I really have to put a name to it, I’d say ‘vampire’.”

Darren supposed he should have some sort of reaction, freaking out perhaps, at the mention of something as ridiculous and unreal as “vampire”. Never a fan of Twilight he was. Instead, his rationality seemed to take it as a matter of fact, no question nor denial.

“You are too young, Darren, too young to put a stop to your life when you have yet to take advantage of what this vast world can offer. But I have no right to stop you either – revenge is a noble cause. So, this is my offer, Darren, to keep seeing this world, albeit through non-human eyes.”

“If I drank your blood, I would be like you?”

Again, he was less than certain why he had uttered such a ludicrous question.

“If your human life ends in the next 24 hours, absolutely,” he said. “In case you are wondering, it’s not my habit to go around and give my blood to every human I meet.”

“Then… why me?”

“There are reasons, some of which I can tell you, and some, I cannot. You, for example, look like someone I’ve known for a long time. Like a spitting image yet younger, purer… kinder. On top of that, you have a light about you that I do not wish to see snuffed out.”

When Darren looked into Mr. Mikaelson’s dark eyes and what awaited him was nothing but sincerity. His eyes hurt so much that he needed not a mirror to tell the whites had become red as if they could drip blood.

“Would you give Xandrie this option, too, if she were here?”

“Had I known what was to happen, both of you wouldn’t have been human on the day I took my leave.”

At those words, Darren’s restraint shattered and like a broken dam, he wept.

Darren kept the cast on in spite of the perfectly healed bones and muscles underneath. Mr. Mikaelson’s blood had restored all damaged tissues and as he was walking home now, it was humming in his veins like a strong drug.

Was this how it was like to get high? Was this how he would feel always after this night?

He couldn’t know yet, and he didn’t want to either. He wanted to focus all his mind on the task at hand.

He kept the cast on so that he wouldn’t draw attention from Zack or any party-goers. Not now, at least. His recently demoted status actually served his plan.

Quietly, diligently, Darren set everything into motion.

The soft buzzing from the device was more pleasant to his ears than he had thought. If only Zack hadn’t made so much noise every time the gun pointed at him though.

It wasn’t out of his expectation at all, how Zack would still retain that many sycophants even after his unclean deeds had been exposed. Loyalty was not something Darren fathomed they would possess; still, he wasn’t surprised to be proven wrong. He was calm as if he had never known calmness in his life.

If he concentrated hard enough, he could block out all sounds to listen to the melody of Mr. Mikaelson’s blood mingling with his own. Together they sang of a chance.

It would be a tie but for one vote, and one was enough to decide who should carry on with his life. The device ceased its momentum, and the gun shot its only bullet.

When Darren next opened his eyes, he was lying on a cold metal surface, stripped naked and burning with a thirst he had never felt before. As he clambered off the examination table, his limbs made rigid by the low temperature in this room and thus clumsy, a pair of arms gently caught him.

“I read the news,” a voice said, its cadence so mellifluous to his ears that he wouldn’t mind hearing it again and again, no matter its contents. “So I knew you would be brought here. Drink it and you’ll be fine.”

A blood bag was handed to him and he ripped it open without questioning why the sight and thick, metallic smell of blood aroused him rather than nauseated. Curiously he took a small sip. The cold taste seared through his tongue like a blade, awakening the still-slumbering cells it touched. It was abominable, the last thread of his former self protested, to drink human blood like he did a Coke, but he simply couldn’t stop until the bag was dried.

That he had never felt more alive than in this moment was an overused cliché Darren realized he was mentally repeating. A new sense of awareness washed over him, making sense of all the alien changes going through him. This scorching thirst. The tang of blood on his tongue and surrounding his nose. Not even his reflection on the polished surface, blood-red dying the whites, making his pale blue irises extra-freakish and dark veins crisscrossing the area around his eyes, was the least unnerving.

“Come to New Orleans with me, Darren.”

As Mr. Mikaelson’s beckon, he reached out.

End

This is how I imagine Elijah’s pastime would be when he isn’t caught in his family drama: being a history teacher who infiltrates schools or universities now and then to mingle with the young and bright minds.

[Trilijah] Haunting

Haunting

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Wasted on the Young x The Originals

Rating: T

Pairing: Trilijah – Elijah Mikaelson x Tristan de Martel (though they merely appear around the end)

Genres: fanfiction, canon divergence

Preview:

As long as Darren was dead and unreal, he could deal with those spontaneous ‘visits’. Ride through them like he had ridden through a mediocre college and a mediocre decree and this mediocre auto repair shop in this mediocre backwater no-where.

As long as Darren wasn’t flesh and blood.

Until he was.

Set after the end of Wasted on the Young

In his regular darkest, loneliest hours, filled with cheap booze and nicotine, Zack allowed his thoughts to cling onto the tendrils of smoke and wandered from his addled head. Somehow, no matter where they strayed to, when the tobacco bags were crumpled and the bottles drained, smashed, they all spiraled back to one subject: Darren.

Zack had experienced his very first dark and lonely hours with Darren. Darren who had bound him to the couch and sat next to him, silent as a ghost waiting for the light of heaven. Before them was the device Darren might have intended for the end-of-year project, yet Zack was sure as hell no criteria had been associated with a loaded pistol that pointed at each of them every time a vote was counted. While Zack’s confidence was chipped by the seconds, for the number of times the gun directed its mouth to him was as many as the number it did Darren, his step brother’s expressions were serene as when he was playing one of his favorite computer games. His hands, whole and broken, folded on his laps, and his blue eyes seemed to emit a soft, eerie glow as he gazed into the gun’s hole as though it were something to be adored, lost to the world at large.

Zack wasn’t above begging him to stop, although all his pleas went deaf in Darren’s ears. He had been adamant in his murderous attempt.

The gun pointed at Zack and he squeezed his eyes shut, expecting a sharp, charring pain between his eyes to signal the abrupt conclusion of his life. Then he heard a “click” sound and felt the sticky warmth plastered on half of his face. Too warm that his skin felt burning. When he dare open his eyes, the gory sight scene of Darren’s head lolled to a side, blood gushing out from where his left eye used to be was enough to haunt him for life.

The gun veered at him, its muzzle a grotesque eye staring questioningly at him. Zack was torn between the suspense that the gun would fire and the flimsy hope that it would not.

He saw the trigger move, and nothing came out. There had only been a single bullet in its chamber.

Zack spent the next hour in the company of a corpse, finding himself unable to stop staring in Darren’s wide-open, remaining blue eye and wondering whether it was his own life rather than Zack’s that his step-brother had planned to snuff in the first place. All the menacing speech and the voting had merely been a farce.

It may have been Darren’s greatest and most well-played farce.

Zack got out of it clean, just as he had gotten out of every of his mess clean. The evidence was clear – Darren’s handprints all over the gun and device, Zack being immobilized and the party goers’ witness – so the case was quickly closed, or rather, silenced by Zack’s father. And Xandrie’s shaky video too, while he was at it. The perk of having a hugely influential father with an enormous account. Cassi didn’t buy it though. She screamed and screamed and might have torn Zack’s face off with her bare, bony hands but for the police officers’ restraining and sedating her. Gave her enough to tranquilize a horse, he heard the officers mutter. It never occurred to him that the gold digger loved her son that much, judging from the abundant time she had left him to his own device, quite literally, for partying and fucking men. Zack supposed it would surprise Darren also, were he alive to witness his estranged mother’s love and grief.

Zack heard that Cassi had been sent to an institution and died soon afterwards. Somehow she had managed to sneak a razor blade into her room. Perhaps a visitor had given it to her, no one knew. What happened next was a poor cliché: a staff member saw her to bed safely and found dear old Cassi a rigid cadaver the next morning when he came in to check on her. Had cut her own wrists sometime in the death of the night and bled all over the sterile white floor. Left a nastiest stain as a souvenir for the janitor. Like mother, like son. All nut jobs. When Cassi’s news reached him, Zack wondered, like he had wondered many a time about Darren and Xandrie, if they were ever united in the afterlife, or whichever place the dead would go to.

Zack stretched his arm and reached into the old, worn hardwood drawer. His fingers rummaged for a few good seconds before they found the object of his drunken scavenger hunt – a sleek, black gun, the same model as the one Xandrie and later Darren had held against his face. Inside the chamber a single bullet was lodged.

He held the gun to his left temple, his forefinger toying with the trigger while his mind conjuring the myriad scenarios in which his corpse would be found. “Not today,” he mumbled to no one in particular, repeated it in louder volume and finally shouted. No one would hear him since the auto repair shop was only inhabited by homeless ghosts and Zack at this odd hour. Some day, yes, but not today. He put the gun into his drawer and locked it securely.

Zack purchased it some days after Darren had come back to haunt him. Not the kind of 24/7 haunting though. Sometimes his step-brother popped out from the middle of nowhere, across the street, at the table in the darkest corner, behind the shop’s smudgy glass door, in the broken mirror. Sometimes he was with Xandrie, the two of them in big matching hoodies that hid away most of their faces save huge, sunken eyes that drilled into Zack, and sometimes he was alone. Sometimes he appeared whole, sometimes with a bloody hole going all the way into his skull for an eye. He did nothing, merely looking until Zack could take no more and shouted at him, smashing every surface Darren could use to make his presence known, and then he simply vanished. Another day, or another month, and he would appear once again – the cycle never ended. Heck, this sapped sanity quicker than quick sand. So guess what? No scholarship for a nutty boy who had survived a trauma architected by his step brother: people pitied him and said all kind, encouraging words to him in front of his face and yet, when they turned their back, none would want to take a ghost-seeing student into their college. Zack guessed it was fair and square – after all he could no longer give them any medals. Swimming champion now became hydrophobic – the biggest irony. Couldn’t even go anywhere near water. Truth be told, it wasn’t water that scared the shit out of him. Not all kinds of water anyway. It was the pool that did, really. The pool with its chloride-filled water that no matter how he looked, it was nothing but Darren’s huge eye.

Nevertheless, Zack could live with that, as the last thread of rationality in him was able to determine that the ‘Darren’ he saw again and again was not real, but rather a fragment of… of what? He would not call it guilt, for if he did, it only meant that little fucker had won and Zack, no matter how messed and failed his life had become after Darren, would not lose to a teenage apparition. As long as Darren was dead and unreal, he could deal with those spontaneous ‘visits’. Ride through them like he had ridden through a mediocre college and a mediocre decree and this mediocre auto repair shop in this mediocre backwater no-where.

As long as Darren wasn’t flesh and blood.

Until he was.

Zack’s cloudy eyes lit up at the sight of a sleek black Ford steering towards him and making a halt. It was the first car to stop at Zack’s shop after a whole morning and half the afternoon of idleness, and a very fine one at that. The door open and from the inside a man stepped down, all in black and handsome as the vehicle itself. Probably a CEO or some important figure, judging by his designer suit, his cuff links and his watch. Heck, Zack used to possess the exact same one – daddy’s big present to compensate for his absence at his son’s coming-of-age birthday. He had loved it until the day he was forced to sell it.

He eyed the man with some fascination as the opposite door opened and another figure came into his sight. Designer suit again, adorned with gold cuff links flashing blindingly in the intense July sun. Zack had to squint his eyes in order to get a relatively decent view of the second man’s face.

He wished he hadn’t. In fact, he’d rather be blind than see that face.

Darren’s face. An exact duplication save few minor modifications. He looked older, for one, his face’s being a man’s instead of an adolescent’s, and there were some stubbles on his chin – a fully grown man – while Darren’s had been smooth. But the eyes were the same, a winter blue that seemed to pierce to Zack’s soul when his gaze glided over Zack.

There was not the slightest hint of recognition in those irises. Yet Zack was shivering despite the glaring heat.

Things processed like a hazy fever dream. Darren and his companion gave some instructions regarding their car – the usual maintenance job, gas fill and a wash. Zack found himself nodding but not really listening. He wondered if they took notice of his staring – couldn’t peel his eyes off that haunting face. Even if they did, Zack had a distinct impression that they wouldn’t give a damn about it. Men in expensive suits like them avoided unnecessary quarrels like germs: getting worked up over something as trivial as an inappropriate look was just too beneath them.

While they spent their wait in a poor excuse for a fast food stall at the back of the auto repair shop and ordered food out of politeness rather than necessity, Zack found himself wandering back to his locker. He unlocked the rusty drawer, rummaged through various trinkets and papers to seek for one thing.

A single gun. A single bullet.

“This is the day,” a voice whispered to him. “This is the day,” he repeated.

Wendy was dozing at the counter and her only two customers were having a chat in soft voice when Zack stalked to their seats, the pistol in his hand – safety lock flipped, ready to shoot. Darren’s companion saw him first. His dark eyes fell upon Zack’s face, then his arm, his fingers clenched around the grip. He must have noticed the strange thing in his hand too, for his eyes widened just a bit. Mildly surprised, not scared though. Strange man. Zack had half expected him to freak out.

Only when he paid attention to the subtle change in his partner’s countenance did Darren’s ghost turn his head, eyes slightly enlarged as if only now had Zack’s existence been registered to his brain. Funny how that used to be the other way around during high school: Zack, captain of the swimming team, the school’s golden boy and Darren an awkward nerd mostly invisible. Look at them now: the golden boy had become an alcoholic barely holding his job in a no-name shop and the nerd at the top of the world. Are you satisfied, Darren?

Zack laughed an ugly laugh and pulled the trigger.

The bullet drilled into Darren’s left eye and burst through the wall behind, giving its greasy surface a new coat of crimson. Avant-garde, that was the only word in Zack’s head, Zack who had basically skipped every art class. But, like some wise man once said, you could not appreciate art until you’d seen true art.

This was true art: the wall wet with Darren’s blood and Darren a warm cadaver sprawled face-down on the dusty floor.

…Except Darren hadn’t fallen. The force of a close-ranged bullet caused him to stagger a few steps back and that was it: Darren, standing and blatantly living in spite of a hole in his skull. His face, half-painted in blood, was relatively calm.

Mildly surprised, the same as his partner’s.

Zack wanted to scream his lungs out; nonetheless, his screams were muffed before they were released out of his throat.

Then Zack was laughing out loud, the kind of laughter that was no different than howl. He was witnessing the most bizarre freak show in the world and it was too amusing he wouldn’t want to stop laughing: Darren’s damaged flesh was restored like a movie clip in rewinding, his eye and face becoming whole and perfect as if nothing had happened.

Perhaps no event had truly occurred and everything was in Zack’s head. He blinked, feeling acutely the ache of having strained his eyes for too long. He looked down at his right hand, which was still holding the gun, his index finger hooking the trigger. Wendy was still dozing while Darren’s ghost and his friend were still sitting at the table, the food in front of them hardly touched. The space around him was him was buzzing with the old, familiar sounds of this auto repair shop he had called home for the last seven years.

Had his mind finally given in to his madness named ‘Darren’?

Shortly after the Ford left, disappearing beyond the never-ending highway, Zack saw Darren again. Sitting at the corner table where the pair had been and donning a costly dark suit instead of his usual hoodie. The face, however, was the teenage face Zack had gotten used to seeing.

Zack laughed, pressing the gun’s muzzle to his temple…

… and found it an empty gun.

Epilogue

Tristan loosened the cerulean tie around his neck. The air-conditioner in their car seemed powerless against this diabolical heat.

He started to regret taking this ‘runaway’ adventure with Elijah. A break from sire line war and constant family drama, with crazy sister and psycho brother to boot, Elijah had told him and he had been convinced. He must have been under compulsion back then, for now he regretted it deeply, along with the sour fact that neither of them had brought anything other than suits.

“You missed a spot,” Elijah casually remarked, holding out a handkerchief with one hand while the other was on the wheel.

Tristan flipped down a mirror attached to the roof and checked for said spot. Yet even when his face was clean, his jacket and shirt were beyond help.

Vampire blood was a nasty thing.

With an exasperated huff, Tristan ripped his tie, took off his jacket and carelessly threw them on the back seat. He considered getting rid of the shirt too but decided against it the very next second the idea was formed. Spending the rest of the journey in half-naked state wasn’t something he felt comfortable with.

“Well, it’s not every day that we stop at a backwater shop and I get shot in the face,” Tristan bleated. “Certainly a rare novelty.”

Elijah sniggered. “He had his eyes on you the moment we walked in. Still, I hadn’t imagined that he would do something to such extreme.”

“From what I saw from his mind, I wouldn’t call it ‘extreme’. That alone prompted me to spare his miserable life. Not without a small souvenir, of course.”

“What was it that you saw?”

Tristan smiled, reaching for the flask he kept in the car. He untwisted the cap and drank leisurely, using the time to stir Elijah’s curiosity.

“What if I told you that madman had been haunted by a ghost… one that was an adolescent doppelgänger of mine?”

End

[Trilijah] Untitled 01

01

Joel Goran (Saving Hope) & Darren (Wasted on the Young)

Set after Xandrie’s suicide (Wasted on the Young)

The first time Joel Goran saw that kid, it was at his hospital. Joel had just finished a real nasty case and was on his way for some refreshment when he spotted a boy sitting alone on one of the scattered benches along the hallway. His uniform all crumpled, his face bruised and his right hand basically smashed, he was waiting to be admitted in with his head hung low and his eyes staring blankly into the wall in front.

Maybe it was the boy’s lonesome state, maybe it was the subtle yet blatant hints of a huge mess he had gotten himself into, or maybe Joel Goran was generally a nice guy, Joel found himself buying an extra juice box and approached the boy.

Up close, the boy’s eyes were really large, giving him a child-like look. The irises were a striking blue, made all the more prominent by the red rims around his eyes.

Strangely enough, there were no visible tear stains on his face.

“Hey,” he called out.

Joel’s voice pulled the kid out of his trance and he lifted his head to eye the stranger speaking to him.

“I’m Joel Goran. Orthopedic doctor here,” Joel greeted, holding out the juice box.

The boy appeared somewhat hesitant to receive Joel’s treat. Stranger-danger or simply unaccustomed to kindness?

“Thank you,” he muttered, hoarsely. “I’m Darren.”

Since he had some difficulty attaching the straw to the box with only one hand, Joel offered to aid him. More hesitance. Joel just shrugged.

Darren finished it in a long gulp.

“You alone, Darren?”

“My friend’s filling up the forms,” replied Darren, his voice no longer raw but still quivering. So were his shoulders. He clenched the fist of his good hand so hard that the juice box was reduced to half its original size and his knuckles all went snow-white.

How small and helpless he looked.

“Hey, easy, easy! Are you all right?”

Something in this high schooler spelt a profound sadness that was injected into Joel’s veins like a drug so strong that it gathered heat at the corner of his eyes. “Are you in pain?” he asked out of concern, putting his hand on Darren in an act of reassurance.

And somehow that small act flipped a switch inside Darren, for he burst into tears the next moment. His good hand clung to the front of Joel’s surgical gown as he pressed his face into the doctor’s firm shoulders.

It was awkward, Joel knew, as he had never encountered such a situation before, nor had he been well trained to deal with it. Couldn’t say it did not catch him off guard.

Perhaps it was just a hunch, but Joel could clearly tell Darren wasn’t crying out of pains. Well, not the physical ones – wounds big and small littered on his face which could be treated with prescribed medicine – anyway.

The doctor Joel might not know what to do in this circumstance but the human Joel did. So he acted on his humane instinct, wrapping his arm around Darren’s small form.

“There, there,” he cooed, giving Darren gentle pats on the back. Worked every time with his child patients. “It’s alright. Just let it out and you’ll be fine.”

He dared not ask the kid what had happened, fearing he would carelessly probe into a purulent wound and worsen it.

Darren’s cry softened, turning into sobs, and sobs eventually ceased. When he looked up to Joel, his face was the very definition of ‘mess.’

Joel left and came back with some wet tissues for Darren to clean up.

He wished to stay with him a little longer, but by the time Darren had finished wiping his tears and snots, Madeleine’s red head poked from behind the door and called Darren in.

“Take care of him,” Joel mouthed to Madeleine before leaving himself. Summoned by the siren reverberating around the hall.

Work heaped upon work and Joel mostly forgot about the kid named Darren. By the time he did, it was already 3 in the morning. Darren must have gone home long ago.

Joel wondered what the boy’s parents would say about his injuries. Or worse, what they wouldn’t say. No matter how he looked, Darren fitted the image of a child neglected to a T.

Some time passed and when Joel saw Darren again, it was in a small black-and-white photo on the third page of that day’s newspaper. What he learned about the kid weighed heavily on his heart and mind for longer than he would wish.

The brief title read: “High schooler’s Firearm Suicide.”

End