[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (2)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: K+

Pairing: Desus – Daryl Dixon x Paul “Jesus” Rovia

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, vampire AU

Characters: Paul “Jesus” Rovia, Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes


What if Jesus and Daryl were a pair of human-vampire lovers?

Alternate universe. Established relationship.

Chapter 1


It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do

Wicked Game

The morning earlier…

Paul could hear footsteps even before they descended the stairs. A small smile crept to his full lips as he tried not to get overexcited and to focus his attention to the task at hands. Without his intention, the little organ inside his left chest was syncing with the soft thudding sounds of bare feet on light wood – apparently someone wasn’t too keen on gray squirrel slippers. It amazed Paul each time how effortlessly his own body fell in tune with another despite all their fundamental differences, both physical and biological.

The footsteps halted midway down the stairs and there was silence enveloping the space of their small kitchen. It wasn’t suffocating, the silence, nor was it tense; rather, it felt warm and cozy to the point Paul was somewhat lightheaded. If he was in a cheesy mood, he’d say the light in the kitchen was rose-tinted by the tiny bubbles of affection floating in the air. Well, not out loud at least. Daryl was never fond of cheesiness, if the snorts and huffs every time Paul tried something that could be defined ‘cheesy’ in his dictionary were any indications.

“I know I’m pretty as a little pea but if you keep staring like that, I’ll blush,” Paul said, whipping his head around and grinning at the topless man on the stairs. Paul’s eyes unabashedly drank in the tantalizing sight of broad chest and relaxed muscles of his biceps on blatant display. The tattoos seemed to glisten on tanned skin.

“And I thought ya were incapable of embarrassment,” Daryl snorted, hands on his hips, where the sweatpants hung low, showcasing his hipbone, “especially after what we did las’ night.”

Paul’s lips formed a pout. “Aw, let the old man have some dignity, will you? Anyway, up so soon? I was planning a breakfast in bed…” he practically purred the last few words. “… and maybe something else.”

Daryl ran a hand through his perpetual bedhead with a halfhearted intention to make it less, but actually more, of a mess, all just to hide the crimson burning the tips of his ears. Paul found this habit of his lover absolutely endearing; as a matter of fact, he launched at every chance he got to make Daryl blush, which then would be vehemently denied by Daryl. Daryl Dixon didn’t ‘fucking ever blush’ (his words); it was just the sudden spike in temperature causing his ears to redden. Right. Paul laughed at him nonetheless.

At the moment Paul wasn’t laughing. Out of 365 days there is one where you have no right to make fun of the man and that is his birthday.

Daryl crossed the short distance and stood next to Paul. His calloused fingers from years of handling a gun and occasionally crossbow combed the sun-kissed dark honey strands of his – boyfriend, lover, significant other – titles didn’t matter as long as he was crystal-clear about his feelings for the other man. The silky smoothness and warmth from his fingertips ignited tiny sparks in his stomach. Like a languid big cat he rested his chin on the shorter man’s shoulder and wrapped his arms around Paul’s lithe form in a loose embrace. There was so much strength in this small frame, which Daryl was fortunate to know. Paul smelled like sandalwood and clean laundry basked in sunshine when Daryl nuzzled his nose at Paul’s neck. The perpetual upward curve at Paul’s lips was a sign that he wasn’t the least displeased at being bothered while he had some eggs and rashers of bacon to keep from turning into charcoal.

“I woke up an’ the bed was empty so I figured ya could be downstairs. Didn’t know ya were cookin’ breakfast.” He paused, then added, voice close to a whisper, “S’cold when ya left.”

“Right, right, sorry about that,” Paul said, nodding. “Now please move so I can set the table.”

Paul felt his reluctance to get off and couldn’t help a chuckle. Daryl grabbed two plates and silverware from the cupboard and placed them on the table, then sat down himself.

Paul scraped the egg and bacon from the frying pan and laid them on the plates, together with slices of toast. He grabbed the coffee pot and poured them each a steaming mug.

Daryl studied his breakfast for a good thirty seconds and then glanced at Paul’s. Sporting a comical look, he asked, “Ya sure ya didn’t capture aliens and put ‘em on our plates?”

Paul’s left eyebrow arched a little as he sipped his coffee. “I feel entirely justified to blame the eggs. The shells didn’t break properly.”

“Nothing breaks properly in yer hand.”

Paul’s benign smile turned wicked. “I beg to differ,” he said, low and sultry. However, Daryl didn’t take the bait and kept a straight face.

“Happy 44th birthday, Mr. Dixon,” Paul said, raising his mug.

Daryl also lifted his own mug. “Yeah, to all the gray hair ‘m havin’ and goin’ to have.”

Sadness flashed Paul’s countenance but didn’t stay. “You know you could stop it right now if you want.”

“I like bein’ human, Paul,” Daryl replied. “Agin’ is annoyin’ as shit when ya think about it, what with the gray hair and achin’ joints, but it’s part of it, of bein’ human, which I intend to be as long as humanly can. S’just when ya reach a certain age, ya can’t help whinin’ like a damned brat sometimes.”

Paul chuckled but unlike before, it couldn’t ward off the melancholy already settled in the depth of his blue orbs. “Guess I never know since I won’t ever reach ‘that age’.”

Something akin to guilt crept into Daryl’s face. He forked a piece of egg, chewed a few times then swallowed. “Thanks fer makin’ me breakfast. Alien guy here tastes much better than he looks.”

Paul appreciated his attempt to shift the subject. “Aliens don’t taste strange to you?” he asked, smiling a little brighter and more genuine. “You’re weird. And you’re welcome.”

They spent the rest of their breakfast in comfortable silence, only broken once or twice by a spontaneous tease coming from Paul. At the end of the meal, Paul cleared away the dirty dishes and took out a carton of grape juice from the fridge. “A dose of vitamins for your long, hard day, Detective Dixon,” he said, pouring a glass and holding it out for Daryl.

Much to his surprise, Daryl didn’t take it as usual, staring at it instead.

“What’s the matter?”

“Can I not take it?”

A small crease made it to between Paul’s fine eyebrows. “You always have a glass every morning,” he said.

“S’just…” there was a note of hesitation in his voice. “I’d like to not have to drink blood on my birthday.”

Paul’s eyes were widened and his mouth slightly agape. Then realization sank in, weighed down his tone as he stated matter-of-factly, “You knew that I slipped my blood in all along.”

“The color of grape juice may hide the color but the taste can’t,” replied Daryl. “Ya do know yer vampire blood has a weird, unmistakable taste, don’t ya?”

Paul heaved a sigh. “No… It’s been a while since I actually tasted my own blood. I’m sorry. I really am. I just—”

“Don’t be. I know ya care fer me, I really do. I appreciate it. But all these risks are part of my job of bein’ a cop. Part of my life as a human.”

“I can’t lose you,” Paul rasped, feeling something hot swelling in his ribcages. It made his perfect vision blurred. “I won’t lose you. As you may already know, we vampires are emotionally fragile creatures. I’ve already lost once and it sucked so hard it took decades to recover. I almost thought I would never be able to.”

“I know,” Daryl reassured him, kissing the top of Paul’s head, taking advantage in their height difference, “I know. Just one day, alrigh’?”

“I see,” Paul resigned. It was no use pushing Daryl on this matter once Daryl’s mind was made, and he never wanted to push his lover. His hands went to the back of Daryl’s head, pulling him down for an encounter between lips. They kept it deep but remotely chaste, as both telepathically felt chasteness best suited this situation.

Somehow Daryl thought he tasted the tanginess of blood from the tip of Paul’s tongue as it shyly licked the seams of his lips. But then he wasn’t sure so he kept it to himself.

There’s a high chance that it might not have been enough.

There was only one thought that had been circulating around Paul’s head for hours and that was it. In a cruel twist of fate that the one day Daryl had refused to take his daily dose of Paul’s blood was also the day he had been fatally shot. Yet Paul, being the overly cautious old bat his friends Maggie and Tara often jested, had manipulated Daryl into taking his blood without his knowledge. A few viscous drops from his fangs nicking his tongue and lips might just be his last thread to life that Daryl had against the tight clutch of death. Nonetheless, they might not be enough. Although Paul had heard plenty stories about turning a human with only a couples of drops of blood, he had never tried himself. One would assume he must have had abundant experience in creating fledglings having walked the earth this long but the truth was he had only ever turned one man, who had already perished under the unforgiving sun a century past. Daryl would be his second, provided his blood helped him survive this ordeal.

Their shared bedroom was in complete silence. The air was stiff, the lights were out, and the once cozy bedroom usually doused in the heady scent of passion now resembled a tomb. Daryl’s body was lying immobile on the bed, covered only by the duvet. Paul was sitting on a chair by the bed, his hands unconsciously clasped in a silent prayer. He wished he could pray but the rational part of him decided against it, being fully aware that no deity of any religion would listen to a bloodsucker’s plea. It was very quiet but he couldn’t hear his own heartbeat. Maybe he was having none, his heart going still since it wasn’t syncing with a living being’s. A myriad of scenarios paraded in his mind, none of them positive. If Daryl were to never wake, he doubted if he had the will to go on alone.

Paul pressed the button of his iPhone. The screen flared and a 7:30 glared back at his strained eyes. It had been five hours since Daryl was shot and three and a half hours since Paul sat in this position, still as a stature. He felt weary not because he was physically exhausted as most humans did; hours of waiting had worn him out mentally. His mind was dangling on a taut string, made heavy by the anxiety that it could break the next moment. The screen turned off and the room was pitch black again.

Paul laced his fingers with Daryl’s as if it could actually keep him from death. The turning could take hours and to him, all hopes were not yet lost, not when Daryl’s skin didn’t feel rigid like a man who had been dead for hours would.

A hundred years could go and still Paul wouldn’t have forgotten that moment. Daryl’s forefinger twitched slightly. A millisecond later, Paul’s heart leapt out of his ribcages as Daryl’s body sprung forward.

To be continued

As stated in the first chapter, the vampire mythology used in this fic is one borrowed from CW’s The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Vampire blood lasts for 24 hours in a human body and during that time, if a human dies, he or she will come back to life.

[Diệp Phó] Hải Thị Thận Lâu (6)

Pairing: Diệp Phó – Diệp Khai x Phó Hồng Tuyết

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe

Rating: 10+

Nhân vật: Diệp Khai

Chú ý: còn 1 cp khác nhưng chưa được tiết lộ


Diệp Khai đã ở Niệm Lâu được hai ngày… hoặc hắn cho là vậy. Khái niệm thời gian trong lâu dường như bị biến dạng theo một cách hắn không thể diễn giải bằng ngôn từ mà chỉ có thể cảm nhận bằng trực giác.

Chương 1    Chương 2     Chương 3    Chương 4    Chương 5

6. Thời gian

“Phòng của khách quan vẫn là gian phòng ngài đã ở qua ở cánh đông, nếu ngài không vừa lòng, tiểu nhân có thể thu xếp gian phòng khác theo ý ngài. Xin ngài yên tâm, khi trở lên, ngài chắc chắn sẽ tìm được phòng mình, không thể nhầm lẫn. Phòng tuy không khoá nhưng tiểu nhân xin lấy tính mạng ra đảm bảo tuyệt đối không ai bước vào phòng ngài nửa bước khi chưa được ngài cho phép, kể cả tiểu nhân. Ngài có thể tự do đến bất cứ khu vực nào trong lâu, chỉ ngàn vạn lần xin ngài đừng vào căn phòng ở cuối cánh đông. Ngài cần phục vụ chi, xin cứ sai bảo, tiểu nhân xin cố hết sức thực hiện.”

Đó là những lời Vân Thâu nói với Diệp Khai, sau khi Diệp Khai quyết định sẽ lưu lại Niệm Lâu; sau khi Vân Thâu khẳng định bất kể Diệp Khai đang kiếm tìm điều gì, chắc chắn hắn sẽ tìm thấy điều đó ở Niệm Lâu; sau khi Diệp Khai, mặc kệ giọng nói trong đầu không ngừng thì thầm rằng đây có thể là một trò lừa quỷ quyệt, một cái bẫy chết người, đã lựa chọn tin tưởng Vân Thâu. Chính bản thân hắn cũng không rõ vì sao mình có thể đặt niềm tin vào một điều mơ hồ từ miệng gã thiếu niên chưa trải bao nhiêu tuổi đời. Hơn ai hết, hắn hiểu điều hắn kiếm tìm đã chết từ rất lâu, chưa kể còn do chính tay hắn chôn cất và lập mộ bia. Thế nhưng, chính hắn cũng biết rõ suốt bao nhiêu năm qua điều đó chưa từng thôi ám ảnh hắn, giày vò hắn trong mỗi giấc ngủ ngắn ngủi, trong mỗi bóng dáng hay sự vật tình cờ trôi qua đời hắn, và sâu thẳm trong đáy lòng, Diệp Khai vẫn đang tìm kiếm nó, vẫn đang trông đợi vào một phép màu, một điều không tưởng. Hắn đã điên rồi, hắn có thể khẳng định bằng tất cả chút tỉnh táo còn sót lại trong thần trí của một kẻ điên lâu năm; truyền nhân duy nhất của Tiểu Lý phi đao năm nào đã phai mờ, chỉ còn lại một kẻ mà hồi ức và tiếc nuối là tất cả những gì giữ cho hắn còn thở, còn cử động. Và Diệp Khai hài lòng với việc làm một kẻ điên, vì chỉ kẻ điên mới dám tin vào hứa hẹn từ một căn lầu mà chính sự tồn tại của nó là điều hoang đường nhất. Nó cho hắn một tia hy vọng và chỉ kẻ điên mới thấu hiểu hy vọng đối với hắn quan trọng thế nào.

Niệm Lâu cam đoan hắn sẽ tìm được điều hắn muốn tìm ở đây, chỉ là nó không hứa hẹn bao giờ và bằng cách nào.

Đúng như lời Vân Thâu nói, hắn không tốn chút sức đã tìm được chính xác căn phòng dành cho mình. Hắn không nhớ vị trí của nó trên hành lang miên man, cũng không biết cánh cửa của nó có điểm gì để phân biệt với vô số cánh cửa còn lại; kỳ lạ ở chỗ khi bước qua một cánh cửa, bỗng dưng hắn có cảm giác thôi thúc không thể lý giải, như thể đằng sau cánh cửa có một giọng nói vô thanh hay một cánh tay vô hình níu kéo ý thức hắn, nài nỉ hắn dừng chân. Cánh cửa nhẹ nhàng mở toang khi hắn mới áp bàn tay lên mặt gỗ đen bóng, bên trong đúng là cảnh tượng căn phòng hắn đã ghi nhớ, từng đồ vật đều không lệch vị trí. Trên giường vẫn còn vệt lõm do hắn đã nằm cả đêm trên đó.

Diệp Khai không nhớ vị trí phòng nhưng lại nhớ như in từng chi tiết nhỏ nhất, ngay chính bản thân hắn cũng thấy kỳ quái.

Diệp Khai đã ở Niệm Lâu được hai ngày… hoặc hắn cho là vậy. Khái niệm thời gian trong lâu dường như bị biến dạng theo một cách hắn không thể diễn giải bằng ngôn từ mà chỉ có thể cảm nhận bằng trực giác. Qua ô cửa sổ trong phòng, hắn phân biệt được ngày và đêm, nhờ vậy, hắn đếm số ngày hắn trải qua dưới nóc nhà của Niệm Lâu, mỗi ngày tương đương với một vạch trên khuôn giấy trắng tinh trải trên bàn. Giấy là hắn tìm được trong tủ cùng với bút, nghiên và một thỏi mực chưa từng được sử dụng. Bình sinh hắn mới lần đầu thấy một căn phòng trọ lại trữ sẵn giấy, bút, những món mà bình thường khách trọ muốn sử dụng đều phải báo chưởng quầy để chưởng quầy sai tiểu nhị đi mua, cứ như ý nghĩ vừa hình thành trong đầu thì đồ vật liền xuất hiện.

Đếm được ngày không có nghĩa hắn nắm bắt được thời gian. Nói không ngoa khi hai ngày vừa rồi là hai ngày dài nhất hắn từng trải qua, dài theo nghĩa đen. Ngày đầu tiên, hắn đi dọc hết hàng lang cánh đông với hy vọng nhạt nhoà rằng sẽ nhìn thấy bóng dáng gầy gò quen thuộc của Phó Hồng Tuyết đi vào một trong những cánh cửa ở đó. Hành lang dường như dài vô tận, hắn đi mãi, đi mãi vẫn chỉ thấy những cánh cửa sơn đen giống hệt nhau đều tăm tắp. Khi chân hắn đã mỏi nhừ, suýt nữa khuỵu xuống thì hắn thấy bức tường trắng đánh dấu kết thúc chiều dài hành lang cùng căn phòng Vân Thâu căn dặn hắn không được bước vào. Khác với huynh đệ của nó, cánh cửa này không khép chặt mà chừa ra một khe hở; chỉ một khe hở mảnh như sợi tơ thôi nhưng đủ ma lực để khiêu khích kẻ đứng ngoài ghé mắt nhìn trộm. Diệp Khai cảm nhận được ma lực đó như chân nhện bò dưới da và mấy lần hắn đã suýt phản bội nguyên tắc làm người của mình để đầu hàng khiêu khích. Đứng trước cánh cửa, hắn chiến đấu trong trận chiến câm lặng chống lại thôi thúc bao lâu không rõ trước khi quay bước, dứt khoát đi về hướng ngược lại.

Ước chừng một khoảng thời gian tương đương với lúc đi, Diệp Khai mới trở về phòng mình. Hắn đinh ninh lúc này đã xế chiều, mặt trời đã ngả bóng, thế nhưng khi nhìn ra cửa sổ, hắn vô cùng ngạc nhiên khi nắng vẫn mạnh hệt như lúc hắn rời phòng – khoảng đầu buổi chiều. Bóng của cây cổ thụ hắn không rõ là loài cây gì in đậm trên mặt đất khẳng định nghi hoặc của Diệp Khai…… và đảo loạn hoàn toàn cảm nhận của hắn về thời gian trôi đi.

Như thể bao trùm lên toàn bộ Niệm Lâu là một lực lượng mạnh mẽ đến mức có thể thao túng dòng chảy thời gian.

Đêm thứ hai ở Niệm Lâu, Diệp Khai gặp một giấc mộng quái dị. Ngay khi bật dậy khỏi giường với một thân đẫm mồ hôi lạnh, hắn liền chẳng nhớ được chi tiết nào từ giấc mộng. Điều duy nhất đọng lại trong đầu hắn là những điều hắn thấy trong mộng, bất kể chúng là điều gì, kỳ quái đến nỗi Diệp Khai cảm thấy sợ nếu hắn cố nhớ lại. Có lẽ không nhớ lại là điều tốt. Tim hắn đập thình thịch trong ngực và cảm giác mỏi mệt thâm nhập vào từng bắp thịt. Hắn thở ra một hơi dài, liếc ô của sổ trên tường. Trời vẫn còn tối đen như mực, vì vậy Diệp Khai nằm xuống, nhắm mắt với hy vọng sẽ ngủ lại và tiếp nối giấc mơ ban nãy. Chính vì nó để lại trong hắn một cảm giác không hề dễ chịu, hắn càng tò mò muốn biết chính xác nó là điều gì.

Diệp Khai trở mình trên giường không biết bao nhiêu lần nhưng giấc ngủ vẫn không trở lại. Mồ hôi dính dớp trên da thịt khiến hắn khó chịu, sau mấy lần đấu tranh với chính mình, hắn dứt khoát ngồi dậy. Bầu trời bên ngoài khung cửa sổ mở vẫn tối đen, không gian im ắng, đặc quánh, không một tiếng kẻng báo canh. Hắn vơ áo ngoài, khoác lên người, xỏ chân vào giày rồi bước ra khỏi cửa.

Hành lang dài hun hút được thắp sáng bởi những ngọn đèn trên tường. Sự tò mò thoáng qua trong đầu hắn, không biết những khách nhân sau cánh cửa sơn đen im lìm này đang làm gì, say giấc nồng hay cũng trằn trọc bởi mộng mị như hắn để rồi quyết định rời phòng, xuống đại sảnh tìm chút rượu để trôi qua đêm dài. Với mỗi bước chân Diệp Khai thầm hy vọng cánh cửa sẽ mở ra và hắn được gặp một kẻ mất ngủ giống như mình. Có khi bọn hắn sẽ làm mấy chén rượu và tâm trạng cả hai sẽ cùng khá lên không chừng.

Tuy nhiên, ngay cả khi cầu thang dẫn xuống đại sảnh đã ở trong tầm mắt, Diệp Khai vẫn không có cơ hội gặp bất cứ khách nhân nào. Những cánh cửa im lìm như thể đằng sau nó không phải phòng ở mà là một quan tài đá được đúc vuông vắn theo hình thể của thi hài bên trong, và hắn, Diệp Khai, là con người sống đang sải bước trong một lăng mộ khổng lồ.

Đại sảnh vẫn sáng trưng đèn đuốc như ban ngày, chỉ khác là vũ đài trống trơn, không có vũ cơ yêu kiều lả lướt thâu tóm trái tim của khách nhân. Bàn ghế không ai ngồi, nhờ vậy Diệp Khai lần đầu có cơ hội nhìn rõ căn đại sảnh này rộng lớn đến mức nào, nếu không đặt chân vào và tận mắt quan sát thì chẳng ai ngờ căn tiệm xập xệ bên ngoài hoá ra là một kỳ quan bên trong.

Vân Thâu đang ngồi ở quầy, một tay cầm bút, một tay thoăn thoắt gảy bàn tính còn cặp mắt thì chăm chú vào cuốn sổ lớn mở trước mặt. Đại sảnh trống hươ, tiếng bước chân của Diệp Khai đặc biệt gây chú ý. Hắn đi mấy bước, gã đã ngẩng đầu, bàn tay ngưng gảy, và nở nụ cười với Diệp Khai.

“Ngươi không cần nghỉ ngơi sao?” Diệp Khai thấy mình buột miệng hỏi.

“Tiểu nhân chỉ được nghỉ khi lâu ngừng hoạt động,” gã đáp, “mà như khách quan thấy đấy, Niệm Lâu không bao giờ ngừng hoạt động.”

Diệp Khai đảo mắt một vòng quanh đại sảnh. “Ta không thấy người khách nào cả, chẳng lẽ như vậy vẫn chưa tính là ‘ngừng hoạt động’ sao?”

Vân Thâu nheo mắt. “Ngài chẳng phải một vị khách đó sao?”

“Chẳng lẽ ngươi đoán trước được ta sẽ xuống đại sảnh giữa đêm hôm khuya khoắt?”

“Ngài không phải vị khách đầu tiên hay duy nhất không an giấc trong phòng mà xuống đại sảnh tìm người bầu bạn—”

“Ngươi cho rằng ta tìm người bầu bạn?” Diệp Khai cười cười, ngồi xuống chiếc bàn gần quầy nhất.

“Hoặc tìm rượu,” Vân Thâu đáp, không chút thất thố nào vì bị ngắt lời.

“Nói đúng đấy. Nếu giờ ta muốn rượu, ngươi có thể đáp ứng chứ?”

“Mong ước của ngài là mệnh lệnh với tiểu nhân. Chỉ là Niệm tửu là loại rượu duy nhất ở Niệm Lâu.”

“Thật sự không còn loại rượu nào khác sao?” Diệp Khai rên.

“Không phải khách quan muốn tìm say hay sao?” Vân Thâu hỏi ngược lại. Gã nháy mắt, một tay khum quanh miệng, nhỏ giọng, “Chỉ giữa ngài và tiểu nhân thôi, tiểu nhân tiết lộ cho ngài một bí mật nhỏ…”

Trước cử chỉ của gã tiểu nhị, Diệp Khai bật cười. “Bí mật sao? Ta thích những bí mật vì chẳng có bí mật nào mãi mãi là bí mật.”

“Ở Niệm Lâu, mọi thứ rượu đều là Niệm tửu, và ngược lại, Niệm tửu có thể là bất cứ thứ rượu nào. Đó là điều khiến thúc phụ tự hào nhất…”

Vừa nói gã vừa với tay lên kệ, lấy xuống một vò gốm đen cỡ nhỏ được niêm phong bằng giấy đỏ. “Tiểu nhân mạn phép đoán loại rượu ngài ưa thích nhé…”

Vân Thâu đặt vò gốm và hai chiếc ly xuống trước mặt Diệp Khai. “Trúc Diệp Thanh?” gã hỏi, rót đầy hai ly rượu.

Diệp Khai không đáp, nhấc ly rượu đưa lên mũi, hít sâu, tận hưởng hương thơm của rượu trước khi uống.

Đối diện hắn, Vân Thâu cũng uống cạn ly của mình, trong lúc uống, ánh mắt gã không rời Diệp Khai.

“Lần cuối ta thưởng thức Trúc Diệp Thanh ngon như thế,” Diệp Khai thốt, “có lẽ là năm năm trước. Không có lẽ là lâu hơn, tám năm, chín năm, mười năm. Ta không nhớ được thời gian, chỉ nhớ chính xác hương vị. Hương vị của Niệm tửu lần trước đúng là tuyệt hảo, tuy nhiên nếu so với hôm nay thì không bằng.”

Vân Thâu rót đầy hai ly rượu. “Nếu vậy xin để tiểu nhân kính ngài một ly,” gã nói.

“Ta cũng kính ngươi một ly.”

Kính tới kính lui, đến ly rượu thứ năm, Diệp Khai thấy trước mắt mình tối sầm. Ký ức cuối cùng của hắn trước khi mất đi ý thức là đại sảnh bừng sáng bởi ánh nắng đổ qua ba ô cửa sổ.

Thật kỳ quái!

Còn tiếp

Chương này là bằng chứng của sự mất kiểm soát đối với ý tưởng mà bạn Joel thường gặp. Lẽ ra nó chỉ là vài đoạn văn thôi và chương 6 này sẽ có cameo của một cặp nhân vật trong tiểu thuyết bác Cổ. Kết quả là sao? Kết quả là ‘vài đoạn văn’ trở thành > 2k chữ, đủ trở thành một chương.

[ScuDeacon] The Vamp & the Tramp


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


“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?

[Diệp Phó] Hải Thị Thận Lâu (5)

Pairing: Diệp Phó – Diệp Khai x Phó Hồng Tuyết

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe

Rating: 10+

Nhân vật: Diệp Khai

Chú ý: còn 1 cp khác nhưng chưa được tiết lộ


“Ta có thể ở lại bao nhiêu lâu?”

Không chút do dự, Vân Thâu đáp ngay, “Đến khi nào ngài muốn.”


Chương 1    Chương 2     Chương 3    Chương 4

5. Thật hư, hư thật

Trong cuộc đời mình tính đến thời điểm hiện tại, Diệp Khai đã ba lần trải qua tình trạng ‘chết lặng’. Cơ bắp toàn thân căng cứng, mọi cử động đều đình chỉ và cứ như vậy, hắn giữ nguyên tư thế đang có như thể một người đang sống sờ sờ bỗng dưng hoá thành pho tượng đá cứng ngắc với đôi mắt chăm chăm nhìn về phía trước đến quên cả chớp mắt còn ý thức hoàn toàn tắt lịm. Tình trạng đó kéo dài đến khi Diệp Khai tự mình phá vỡ câu chú – và lần trước hắn đã mất chẵn ba ngày ba đêm – hoặc ai đó giang tay kéo hắn ra.

Diệp Khai lần đầu tiên nếm trải cảm giác thế giới của hắn toàn bộ đổ sụp chỉ trong chớp mắt khi sư phụ cho hắn biết sự thật về thân thế hắn. Con trai của Bạch Thiên Vũ và Hoa Bạch Phượng, đứa trẻ lẽ ra đã mang cái tên ‘Phó Hồng Tuyết’ chất chứa toàn bộ oán thù và ủy khuất của người mẹ đã sinh ra nó; đứa trẻ lẽ ra đã lớn lên trong đủ mọi đòn roi khắc nghiệt để đến tuổi trưởng thành sẽ cầm thanh đao đen đến Biên thành báo thù; đứa trẻ lẽ ra nên gánh vác những đau khổ, tủi nhục mà ‘Phó Hồng Tuyết’ đã và đang chịu đựng. Diệp Khai nhớ rõ khi đó hắn vô cùng căm giận, căm giận đến mức muốn sát nhân, thế nhưng hắn không thể trút căm giận đó lên sư phụ – không bao giờ có thể, mặc cho sư phụ tổn thương hắn đến mức nào – và phẫn nộ cộng với đau đớn vì bị phản bội, lừa gạt suốt chừng ấy năm cuộc đời bởi người hắn tôn kính nhất trở thành một hố đen với những cánh tay mang ám chú kéo tuột linh hồn hắn xuống đáy. Lẽ ra hắn sẽ mãi ở dưới đó nếu không phải chính sư phụ lại là người kéo hắn lên, lần nữa cho hắn thấy ánh thái dương.

Giằng xé giữa ân nghĩa và căm phẫn, trong một khoảng thời gian dài, Diệp Khai không biết đối mặt như thế nào với sư phụ.

Lần thứ hai Diệp Khai không may mắn như thế. Lần thứ hai, hắn ngồi bên miệng giếng ở lối vào Biên thành, ôm lấy thi thể cứng lạnh từ bao giờ của Phó Hồng Tuyết. Không có sư phụ ở đây để kéo hắn lên, chỉ có gió và cát cùng cơn lạnh thấu xương thấm vào tủy xương bầu bạn với hắn, thấu hiểu nỗi đau câm lặng đang mỗi giây, mỗi khắc thét gào trong đầu hắn. Trong giếng chẳng còn nước, chỉ có cát sỏi, trong mạch máu Phó Hồng Tuyết cũng chẳng còn máu, chỉ có một vết đen ngòm mỗi khắc một bành trướng, lan sang và nhanh chóng chiếm trọn ngực trái Diệp Khai.

Giữ nguyên tư thế ấy, Diệp Khai bất động ba ngày ba đêm nhưng bản thân hắn không hề cảm nhận được thời gian đã trôi qua. Hắn cũng không nhớ nổi bằng cách nào hắn thoát khỏi tình trạng ấy, chỉ biết rằng trong đầu hắn dường như có một ngọn nến: ngọn nến vụt tắt, hắn chìm trong bóng tối, không vùng vẫy, không phản kháng, không ý thức, không tri giác; ngọn nến cháy sáng, hắn choàng tỉnh, lặng lẽ chôn cất Phó Hồng Tuyết, lập bia mộ và lời thề mỗi năm vào ngày này, hắn sẽ đến thăm người huynh đệ không cùng cha mẹ của mình một lần.

Rời Biên thành ngày đó, Diệp Khai chỉ mang theo mảng đen đã thay thế trái tim trong lồng ngực. Bao nhiêu năm trời, mảng đen ấy thay thế vai trò của trái tim, giữ hắn tồn tại.

Lần thứ ba chính là hiện tại, hắn nhìn thấy Phó Hồng Tuyết ngồi ở chiếc bàn trong góc trống phía tây đại sảnh. So với ký ức hằn sâu trong đầu Diệp Khai, ngoại hình Phó Hồng Tuyết không hề khác biệt: vẫn thân hình gầy mảnh dưới y phục đen đơn bạc, vẫn nước da trắng tái, vẫn ngũ quan như điêu mài, vẫn đôi mắt đen như thu trọn màn đêm và trên hết, vẫn trẻ trung như lúc Diệp Khai đặt hắn xuống ba thước đất. Khác biệt chẳng qua chỉ là thanh đao đen đến chết hắn còn nắm chặt đã không thấy bóng dáng, tuy vậy, đao khí tỏa ra từ hắn còn thuần khiết, bén nhọn và ác liệt gấp mấy lần năm xưa. Nếu ngày đó Phó Hồng Tuyết không chết trong vòng tay hắn, Diệp Khai hoàn toàn tin tưởng đây nhất định là cảnh giới mà hắn sẽ đạt được. Phó Hồng Tuyết của hiện tại không mang đao cũng phải; có thanh bảo đao nào lợi hại hơn chính bản thân hắn chứ?

Nhưng trên hết là hắn đang cười! Dù chỉ là một độ cong rất nhỏ trên cánh môi nhưng Diệp Khai có thể khẳng định Phó Hồng Tuyết đang mỉm cười. Không còn chứa đau khổ và hận thù, tròng mắt hắn phản chiếu nụ cười trên môi.

Diệp Khai từng ảo tưởng rằng hắn sẽ là người đem lại nụ cười đó cho Phó Hồng Tuyết, và ngược lại, Phó Hồng Tuyết sẽ trao nụ cười đó cho hắn, và chỉ riêng mình hắn, trong những lúc lòng ích kỷ và ham muốn chiếm hữu của hắn nổi lên.

Hiện tại, Phó Hồng Tuyết trao nụ cười đó cho người mặc áo trắng.

Giống như Phó Hồng Tuyết, y không mang kiếm nhưng toàn thân y đều là kiếm khí, phàm là kẻ học võ tất đều cảm nhận được áp lực kể cả khi y không hề phát ra nửa tia chiến ý. Nếu đao khí của Phó Hồng Tuyết hừng hực như lửa, áp đảo đối phương thì kiếm khí của người áo trắng lạnh lẽo khoét vào bất cứ yếu điểm nào đối phương vô tình lộ ra. Thân mang kiếm khí như vậy, y tựa hồ không giống một con người.

Nhưng đây là Niệm Lâu, nếu y thật sự là một vị tiên, một ác quỷ hay một thanh kiếm thì chuyện đó cũng không quá kỳ lạ. Nếu một người vốn đã tạ thế rất lâu rồi có thể ngồi ở đây thì có chuyện gì là không thể?

Tuy nhiên, đó không phải điều Diệp Khai nghĩ, hay nói chính xác hơn, trong giây phút này hắn hoàn toàn chẳng nghĩ ngợi gì cả; tất cả những gì hắn làm chỉ là nhìn.

“Khách quan, ngài vẫn ổn chứ?”

Giọng nói trong veo như nước suối đầu nguồn của Vân Thâu nhẹ nhàng kéo hắn lên khỏi hố. Diệp Khai chớp mắt, quay đầu lại và bắt gặp khuôn mặt của Vân Thâu. Gã vẫn đang mỉm cười nhưng khác với bình thường, nụ cười này của gã dường như phảng phất sự tiếc nuối trước nỗi mất mát chưa được gọi tên.

Đây nên là sự tiếc nuối của một người đã đứng tuổi, đã trải đời, không phải của một thiếu niên mới chỉ mười sáu, mười bảy.


Diệp Khai chỉ kịp thốt lên một chữ trước khi nhận thức ùa về và hắn nhớ ra vì sao mình đứng lặng ở đây, nếu không nhờ giọng nói của Vân Thâu thì chẳng biết mình sẽ chôn chân nơi này đến bao giờ. Từ lưng chừng cầu thang hắn đáp xuống đại sảnh, nhẹ nhàng như chiếc lá khô lìa cành. Len qua bao khách nhân tụ tập gần vũ đài để ngắm Điệp Vũ, hắn tiến đến góc vắng phía tây.

Diệp Khai khựng lại, nhìn chăm chăm chiếc bàn bằng gỗ đen trống trơn, không có rượu, không có món ăn, càng không có người áo trắng và người áo đen. Mặt ghế mát lạnh khi hắn đưa tay sờ.

Hắn nhớ, rõ ràng Phó Hồng Tuyết đã ngồi ở chính chiếc bàn này cùng với người áo trắng, thậm chí hắn còn cười với y. Tay trái ôm đầu, đôi môi tái nhợt của Diệp Khai không ngừng mấp máy. Không thể nào, chẳng lẽ trí nhớ không đáng tin cậy của hắn lại giở trò quái quỷ? Không thể nào! Nếu chỉ đơn thuần là trí nhớ có vấn đề thì hắn đã chẳng chết lặng giữa cầu thang như vừa rồi. Trí nhớ không thể gây ra phản ứng mãnh liệt đến nhường đó, chỉ giác quan có thể.

Vân Thâu không biết đã đứng sau lưng hắn từ lúc nào. Diệp Khai vừa ngoái đầu lại đã trông thấy gã. Gã không cười, đôi mắt đen và sáng như hắc diệu thạch nhìn thẳng vào mắt Diệp Khai.

Cơn giận không rõ nguyên cớ dâng lên, Diệp Khai túm cổ áo Vân Thâu, đồng thời áp người gã thiếu niên vào một cây cột gần đó. Trước công kích bất ngờ, khuôn mặt Vân Thâu không đổi sắc, ánh mắt gã vẫn không cố kỵ mà nhìn thẳng vào khuôn mặt Diệp Khai.

“Ngươi cũng thấy hắn phải không?” Diệp Khai quát lớn, không chút kiêng nể những khách nhân xung quanh. “Thanh niên áo đen đó ngươi cũng trông thấy phải không? Hắn đâu rồi? Hắn đâu rồi?”

Không ai để ý đến giọng quát tháo của hắn, không ai ngoái lại nhìn, tất cả đều dõi theo từng bước từng bước đôi chân tuyệt trần của Điệp Vũ thực hiện.

“Khách quan thứ lỗi, tiểu nhân không thể và cũng không được phép quản hành tung của bất cứ vị khách nào của lâu,” Vân Thâu nhẹ nhàng đáp, giọng gã chẳng chút nào giống giọng của người đang bị uy hiếp.

Bàn tay nắm cổ áo Vân Thâu thả lỏng nhưng chưa hoàn toàn buông, Diệp Khai không ngạc nhiên trước câu trả lời của gã thiếu niên. Gượm đã, gã nói vậy liệu có phải gián tiếp xác định Phó Hồng Tuyết mà hắn nhìn thấy không phải ảo ảnh hay sản phẩm của thần trí bất minh hay không? Phải rồi, nếu không nhìn thấy hẳn gã đã tỏ ra bối rối trước lời nói và cử chỉ của Diệp Khai, làm sao còn bình tĩnh thế này? Phó Hồng Tuyết là thật! Hắn đang ở nơi này và Diệp Khai có thể gặp lại hắn!

Rất lâu rồi Diệp Khai không biết cảm giác sung sướng tột cùng là thế nào. Như một cơn sóng thần nó đột ngột ập đến, nhận tràn thần trí hắn, khiến hắn quên mất nơi đây là Niệm Lâu cùng những truyền thuyết tăm tối bao quanh nó.

Hắn không biết mình đã rơi lệ cho đến khi bàn tay trắng trẻo, nhỏ nhắn như tay thiếu nữ của Vân Thâu gạt đi giọt nước mắt vừa thành hình bên khoé mắt hắn.

Đây là bàn tay của một tiểu nhị sao, ai tin?

“Ta…” Diệp Khai nghẹn ngào. “Ta… Hắn… hắn ở đâu?”

“Xin ngài thứ lỗi, đây không phải điều tiểu nhân được phép tiết lộ.”

Bàn tay Diệp Khai rơi xuống, buông thõng bên mình. Hắn đã phần nào đoán được câu trả lời trước khi Vân Thâu nói ra.

Vân Thâu chỉnh trang vạt áo trong chốc lát rồi nhìn Diệp Khai, mỉm cười. “Nhưng đây là Niệm Lâu, chỉ cần khách quan muốn tìm, có ai hay vật gì lại không tìm được?”

Đôi mắt Diệp Khai vụt sáng khi hắn ngước nhìn Vân Thâu. “Ngươi đã nói, thúc phụ ngươi muốn giữ ta ở lại.”

Vân Thâu gật đầu. “Tiểu nhân đã nói thế.”

“Điều này còn đúng không?”

“Tất nhiên là còn, thưa khách quan. Ngài là khách quý của lâu, là vị đại hiệp thúc phụ ngưỡng mộ đã lâu, được hầu hạ ngài là vinh dự của tiểu nhân.”

Diệp Khai không mảy may để ý đến lời tán dương của Vân Thâu; bây giờ hắn chỉ quan tâm một điều duy nhất. Cho dù Vân Thâu từ chối lưu hắn, hắn cũng tìm ra biện pháp để ở lại Niệm Lâu bằng được.

“Ta có thể ở lại bao nhiêu lâu?”

Không chút do dự, Vân Thâu đáp ngay, “Đến khi nào ngài muốn.”


Còn tiếp (?)

Fic này hoàn toàn dựa trên diễn biến phim nên nếu fan nguyên tác đọc đến chi tiết Lý Tầm Hoan đánh tráo Phó Hồng Tuyết và Diệp Khai thì xin đừng chửi bạn Joel tội nghiệp; đây hoàn toàn là tình tiết máu cún biên kịch của phim đã tạo ra.

[Diệp Phó] Hải Thị Thận Lâu (4)

Pairing: Diệp Phó – Diệp Khai x Phó Hồng Tuyết

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe

Rating: 10+

Nhân vật: Diệp Khai

Chú ý: còn 1 cp khác nhưng chưa được tiết lộ


Là bằng hữu cùng vào sinh ra tử, là huynh đệ bất kể huyết thống, cũng là nguyên nhân của cơn ác mộng đáng sợ nhất với hắn.

Trên hết, là một người đã chết.

“Phó… Hồng… Tuyết,” Diệp Khai khó nhọc thốt lên ba chữ.

Chương 1    Chương 2     Chương 3

4. Phó Hồng Tuyết

Diệp Khai tỉnh lại cùng với cảm giác một bàn tay lành lạnh, mềm mại vuốt ve khuôn mặt hắn. Hắn không nhớ mình đã thiếp đi lúc nào, không, chính xác thì hắn không thiếp đi. Sau ba chén Niệm tửu, hắn thấy trước mắt tối sầm rồi mất đi tri giác. Khả năng đầu tiên hắn nghĩ đến là mê dược, nhưng nếu đây là mê dược thì lạ quá, cảm giác đầu tiên khi hắn tỉnh lại không giống mê dược chút nào! Mê dược có rất nhiều loại, thế nhưng cảm giác đầu tiên khi tỉnh hầu như chỉ một: thần trí rối loạn, đầu óc bưng bưng do tác dụng của thuốc chưa rút đi hoàn toàn. Hắn dám khẳng định vì hắn tự tin mình đã thử qua rất nhiều loại mê dược trên thế gian, từ nhẹ đến nặng, từ phổ biến đến hiếm lạ. Với kẻ mất ngủ kinh niên, mê dược là giải pháp cuối cùng nhưng xem ra ngay đến nó cũng không cho hắn được giấc ngủ trọn vẹn.

Diệp Khai loại bỏ nghi vấn bị hạ dược. Hắn cảm thấy như mình vừa thức dậy sau một giấc ngủ dài không bị gián đoạn, một giấc ngủ thật sự, yên bình và không bị những ký ức xa xưa quấy nhiễu. Cảm giác thư thái không biết bao lâu rồi mới được biết đến khiến Diệp Khai gạt qua một bên vô vàn nghi vấn khi hắn thức dậy ở một nơi hắn không biết là đâu, bên cạnh một người hắn không biết là ai. Cơ bắp toàn thân thả lỏng, mắt vẫn còn nhắm, hắn cho phép bản thân buông lơi cảnh giác, hạ xuống đề phòng để tận hưởng sự chăm sóc dịu dàng từ bàn tay người lạ. Rụt rè như thể hắn sợ bàn tay chỉ là ảo giác, sẽ tan biến nếu hắn lỗ mãng, Diệp Khai chạm vào bàn tay.

Bàn tay ngưng động tác nhưng không hề biến mất. Những ngón tay thon dài, mát lạnh nhẹ nhàng đan lấy ngón tay hắn.

Trong ký ức của Diệp Khai, hắn chỉ biết một bàn tay có nhiệt độ thấp như vậy. Hiển nhiên, bàn tay đó không hề mịn màng, cũng chưa từng ban phát cho hắn nửa điểm dịu dàng bất kể hắn thèm khát điều đó thế nào.

Nếu vậy, hắn đã thật sự tỉnh chưa, hay đây là một giấc mộng đẹp đẽ, ngọt ngào và không thật?

“Khách quan, ngài đã tỉnh.”

Một giọng thiếu niên trong trẻo như suối lọt vào tai Diệp Khai. Giọng nói này sao mà quen quá, hắn đã nghe ở đâu rồi thì phải. Cả cách xưng hô trang trọng nữa, lâu lắm rồi không ai gọi hắn là “ngài”, cũng phải thôi, ai đi gọi một lão già lôi thôi, rách rưới, trong hầu bao chỉ vài đồng tiền lại nay đây mai đó là “ngài”. Diệp Khai chỉ lờ mờ nhớ mình đã ngạc nhiên thế nào khi đặt chân vào căn lầu và được tiếp đãi như khách quý bất kể bề ngoài thế nào… Căn lầu… phải, căn lầu mang tên Niệm Lâu. Còn giọng nói như thế chỉ có thể là gã tiểu nhị tuổi đời còn nhỏ nhưng ăn nói lễ độ, hơn nữa còn rất biết làm vừa lòng khách. Vân Thâu… một cái tên rất ý nghĩa.

Diệp Khai từ từ mở mắt, một gương mặt mờ mờ xuất hiện trong tầm mắt hắn. Hắn chớp mắt vài lần, đưa bàn tay không cầm tay Vân Thâu lên dụi mắt. Gương mặt Vân Thâu trở nên rõ ràng, gã đang cười, nụ cười ôn hoà, ấm áp như vạt nắng xuyên qua cửa sổ, chiếu xuống đầu vai hắn. Cảm giác chệnh choạng khi vừa tỉnh giấc đã rút, thần trí hoàn toàn tỉnh táo, Diệp Khai nhận ra hai điều: một, bây giờ là buổi sáng, xét theo cường độ của nắng thì có lẽ hiện đang là giờ Thìn. Hôm qua hắn đến Niệm Lâu vào buổi chiều, bây giờ là buổi sáng, chẳng lẽ hắn đã ngủ một đêm ở đây? Nhắc đến việc ngủ, điều thứ hai Diệp Khai nhận ra là hắn đang nằm trên một chiếc giường vô cùng êm ái, khác xa những tấm gỗ ép ngụy trang giường ở những quán trọ xập xệ hắn thường trú. Và có giường tất có phòng, hắn đảo mắt một vòng quanh phòng, thu thập những chi tiết về nơi đã chứa chấp hắn một đêm. Phòng không lớn hơn một căn phòng trọ phổ thông bao nhiêu; ngoài chiếc giường hắn đang nằm, trong phòng còn một chiếc bàn, vài chiếc ghế cùng một chiếc tủ trong góc, tất cả đều được chế tạo từ gỗ mun đen bóng. Trong không khí tản mác hương hoa nhưng hắn không thấy một nhành hoa nào, cũng không dám khẳng định đó là loại hoa gì. Giống như diện mạo của Vân Thâu, hương hoa cho hắn cảm giác vô cùng quen thuộc nhưng đào bới ký ức một hồi, hắn vẫn không tìm ra nửa điểm manh mối. Bỏ cuộc, hắn thở dài, bàn tay đang đan lấy tay Vân Thâu bất giác xiết lại. Thật kỳ lạ, tiếp xúc với da hắn nãy giờ vậy mà bàn tay của Vân Thâu vẫn hệt như ban đầu, tựa hồ thân nhiệt hắn vô phương thẩm thấu qua làn da mong manh của gã. Diệp Khai biết trên thế gian có một môn công phu kỳ dị như thế: thân nhiệt người luyện luôn luôn thấp, dù phơi mình dưới nắng nóng hay ủ trong chăn bông cũng không thể nào ấm lên. Nhưng với tuổi đời của thiếu niên này ư? Không thể nào… trừ khi gã bắt đầu luyện từ khi mới lọt lòng hoặc giả, tuổi thật của gã lớn hơn diện mạo rất nhiều.

Công phu có thể cải lão hoàn đồng Diệp Khai không phải chưa từng nghe qua.

Tính tò mò nổi lên, ngón tay Diệp Khai lần xuống cổ tay của Vân Thâu, nhưng hắn chưa kịp bắt mạch môn thì gã thiếu niên như linh cảm được ý đồ của hắn, nhẹ nhàng thu lại bàn tay.

Không rõ vì sao Diệp Khai chợt cảm thấy có chút hụt hẫng. “Đây vẫn là Niệm Lâu sao?” hắn hỏi.

“Đây vẫn là Niệm Lâu,” Vân Thâu cười đáp. “Tiểu nhân được lệnh thu xếp để ngài ở lại căn phòng này. Vì gấp gáp nên có chi sơ sót, mong ngài lượng thứ.”

Diệp Khai cười nhạt, ngồi dậy. “Chỉ sợ hầu bao của ta chẳng đủ chi trả ba ly rượu chứ đừng nói đến tiền phòng.”

“Về chi phí thì xin ngài đừng bận tâm. Được tiếp đãi ngài là vinh hạnh của lâu.”

Cười nhạt biến thành cười lớn. “Vinh hạnh sao? Một gã ăn mày như ta thì đem lại vinh hạnh gì?”

“Xin ngài đừng nói thế, danh tiếng Tiểu Lý phi đao Diệp Khai thúc phụ ngưỡng mộ đã lâu, chỉ mong được một lần tiếp đãi. Thúc phụ đã căn dặn rất kỹ, nếu là ngài thì mọi chi phí đều thuộc về lâu.”

Tiếng cười của Diệp Khai tắt hẳn, nét trào phúng trên mặt hắn cũng biến mất, chỉ còn lại sự nghiêm túc. “Tại hạ cũng rất mong được diện kiến chủ nhân Niệm Lâu để đích thân cảm tạ sự rộng lượng của người.”

“Xin ngài thứ lỗi, thúc phụ đã giao Niệm Lâu cho tiểu nhân tiếp quản, một mình ngao du sơn thủy, chưa biết chừng nào mới trở về.”

“Thật đáng tiếc,” Diệp Khai chép miệng, đứng dậy, phủi phủi những nếp nhăn không thể nhìn thấy trên y phục cũ nát đến hắn còn chẳng nhớ mình đã mặc từ khi nào. Câu hắn vừa thốt hoàn toàn không phải lời khách sáo; hắn thật sự thấy tiếc vì lỡ mất cơ hội diện kiến vị chủ nhân của căn lầu truyền kỳ này. Niệm Lâu là chốn tàng chứa vô vàn bí ẩn, đến gã tiểu nhị cũng không phải một thiếu niên tầm thường, chủ nhân của nó liệu sẽ là nhân vật thế nào, Diệp Khai rất hiếu kỳ. Tiếc là hắn còn việc muốn làm, vả lại ăn uống trên sự chiêu đãi của người chưa từng gặp mặt, hắn không quen.

Vân Thâu cũng đứng dậy, lùi lại, giữ một khoảng cách cố định với Diệp Khai.

“Tại hạ vẫn còn một số việc cần làm, không tiện làm phiền quý lâu. Nếu còn duyên hạnh ngộ rất muốn cùng thúc phụ của ngươi hàn huyên,” Diệp Khai nói.

“Thúc phụ cũng đã nghĩ đến việc này nên đã căn dặn tiểu nhân không được phiền nhiễu công chuyện của ngài. Chỉ là, trước khi rời lâu, xin ngài cho phép tiểu nhân đưa ngài đi tham quan một vòng quanh lâu. Đây cũng là dặn dò của thúc phụ.”

Diệp Khai dĩ nhiên không thể khước từ. Người ta tận tình tiếp đãi hắn mà hắn còn khăng khăng từ chối thì chẳng phải thất lễ lắm sao? Hơn nữa, hắn thật lòng muốn biết bên trong căn lầu này nhìn như thế nào.

“Xin dẫn đường.”

Vân Thâu mỉm cười, chậm rãi bước đến cửa. “Thỉnh khách quan.”

Bên ngoài cánh cửa là một hành lang dài hun hút khiến Diệp Khai không khỏi ngỡ ngàng. Hắn mường tượng Niệm Lâu rộng lớn hơn vẻ bề ngoài rất nhiều nhưng đến mức này thì hắn chưa nghĩ tới. Hai bên hành lang là những cánh cửa sơn đen giống hệt nhau, khi Vân Thâu đóng cánh cửa sau lưng Diệp Khai, nó liền gia nhập hàng ngũ những cánh cửa khác, không hề phân biệt. Trên cửa không hề có số hay bất cứ ký hiệu nào làm dấu, Diệp Khai tự hỏi bằng cách nào khách trọ có thể tìm được căn phòng của mình.

Như đọc được suy nghĩ của hắn, Vân Thâu cười, đáp, “Khách quan đừng lo lắng. Tuy những cánh cửa giống hệt nhau nhưng tiểu nhân xin đảm bảo ngài luôn tìm được căn phòng của mình. Đó là điểm đặc biệt của Niệm Lâu.”

Diệp Khai nhẹ gật đầu, không tiện hỏi sâu thêm.

Hành lang tưởng chừng không có điểm dừng, vậy mà hai người chỉ đi mấy bước chân đã đến cầu thang. Tiếng nhạc, tiếng trò chuyện huyên náo từ đại sảnh bên dưới vọng lên.

“Căn phòng ngài đã ở thuộc cánh đông,” Vân Thâu giải thích. “Niệm Lâu có bốn cánh: đông, tây, nam, bắc, tất cả đều dẫn xuống đại sảnh nơi ngài đã xem Điệp Vũ tiểu thư biểu diễn…”

Trong khi Vân Thâu tiếp tục thuyết minh, Diệp Khai chầm chậm bước xuống bậc thang.

“Ngoài ra Niệm Lâu còn một hậu viện. Bây giờ đương mùa mai nở, hậu viện một mảnh trắng xoá…”

Đến giữa cầu thang, bước chân Diệp Khai đột ngột ngưng lại còn người hắn như hoá thành một pho tượng đá. Ánh mắt hắn đăm đắm nhìn vào góc phía tây của đại sảnh.

Góc phía tây như thế nào? Chỉ là một góc ít náo nhiệt hơn phần còn lại của đại sảnh, giống như góc mà Diệp Khai đã ngồi uống Niệm tửu hôm qua.

Bàn trong góc chỉ có hai người ngồi, một người áo trắng, một người áo đen. Tuy bên người họ không thấy bóng dáng của kiếm, đao nhưng hai tấm lưng thẳng băng như thân trúc chẳng khác hai thanh kiếm, đao sắc bén đã tuốt vỏ. Người áo trắng nhất định dùng kiếm, Diệp Khai dám đem tính mạng ra khẳng định, thậm chí Diệp Khai còn có thể hình dung thanh kiếm y không mang theo cũng trắng toát, lạnh lẽo hệt như chủ nhân của nó. Còn người áo đen chắc chắn dùng đao, thanh đao vốn là vật bất ly thân của hắn cũng đen tuyền như hận thù chủ nhân nó mang trong tâm. Đây không phải suy đoán mà là điều Diệp Khai biết, cơ bản vì hắn biết người áo đen, cũng từng nếm thử sự bén nhọn của thanh hắc đao trên chính da thịt mình. Trong cuộc đời mình, Diệp Khai đã trải qua vô số thương tích nặng hơn, nguy hiểm hơn nhưng vết đao đó là thứ duy nhất để lại một vết sẹo trong lòng hắn.

Và người dùng đao chính là người duy nhất có thể tổn thương hắn.

Là bằng hữu cùng vào sinh ra tử, là huynh đệ bất kể huyết thống, cũng là nguyên nhân của cơn ác mộng đáng sợ nhất với hắn.

Trên hết, là một người đã chết.

“Phó… Hồng… Tuyết,” Diệp Khai khó nhọc thốt lên ba chữ.

Còn tiếp

[Fanfic] Doppelgängers (2)


Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Boondock Saints, Blade

Rating: Mature

Pairings: Connor MacManus x Murphy MacManus (yeah, it’s incest, or twincest), Deacon Frost x Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer aka Scud

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, zombie apocalypse

Characters: Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Scud, Deacon Frost

Warnings: incest/twincest, vampirism

Summary: On their journey to the south, Connor and Murphy encounters some of Murphy’s doppelgängers along the way.

Sequel to Methuselahs – might turn into a series

Scud – Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer (Blade II)

Part I

Part II. To Wake a Vampire

With the cooler snuggled under his arm, Scud scanned the mostly vacant space, hoping to find none of the intruding signs. He let out a puff of breath in relief before tiptoeing his way to the rusty door in the left corner, avoiding stepping on all sorts of hazards littered on the ground: usual garbage, bricks, dissembled metal parts, jagged glass pieces, broken syringes, et cetera, et cetera. He was fairly sure the place had seen better days before zombie apocalypse. The bolt creaked as Scud slid it out and opened the door just enough to reveal a dark passage. He squeezed his frame through the rather small opening, wincing as the cool, damp air hit his face. He slid the bolt back in place, checking that it was secure enough to barricade intruders and descended the staircase, the soles of his boots on metal loud enough to wake the dead. The bottom of the staircase was a confined cellar lighted only by a stained bulb on the low ceiling. Scud had to crouch a little so as not to give his head a concussion. The air was stagnant, and layer upon layer of dust produced a smell that tempted his nostrils into a sneeze. Good thing Scud kind of got used to it so he was able to contain his sneeze.

“I’m back, D,” Scud announced, placing the cooler on the ground, causing the dust to flutter in the air. “Look what I’ve brought. I consider myself very lucky today.”

No response came out of the shadow where the feeble light of the bulb was shy of reaching. The eerie silence, coupled with the lighting and atmosphere, gave off the vibes of an old tomb which hadn’t seen daylight since forever. That it was buried beneath the earth surface didn’t really help.

A tomb for a dead man, how fitting, Scud mused. He stepped gingerly to the edge of the shadow and rummaged with his hands for a couple seconds before his fingers found an arm that was so cold and rigid that it might very well belong to a cadaver. Instead of jolting with fright, Scud smiled fondly to himself as he grabbed the arm and started pulling it out of darkness with all his strength. Inch by inch, the arm was revealed to the light, followed by the messy head, the torso under a shirt that was sullied to the point its original color was no longer recognizable, and finally the whole body. “You sure sleep like a log, D, a very heavy log,” Scud panted, a light sheen of sweat glazing his forehead, sticking his long bang together despite the generally lower temperature in the cellar. He had landed his ass on the ground and was now supporting the unconscious man’s torso with his own, slinging his left arm around the stiff shoulders. “D, wake up,” he called, patting the hollow cheek. “C’mon D, open your eyes, I brought your favorite for dinner.”

Between the cadaverous skin tone, the absence of body temperature and pulse and the unresponsiveness, Scud couldn’t decide which made the corpse in his embrace more……. corpse-like. But Scud knew as clear as the sun that Deacon Frost, his former master and suckhead in his care, wasn’t dead. Well, technically dead, but not dead-dead but rather dead-alive; he was just hibernating like a couple of animals did when winter arrived and the food supply became too scarce, the only difference being that he wouldn’t wake up at the first creak of spring and would hibernate into oblivion if no one was kind enough to put food into his mouth.

Joshua Frohmeyer considered himself kind enough; that was why he was rolling up his sleeve. The pristine white gauze had been besmirched with a shapeless maroon blotch but it was still good thanks to Murphy. Scud clucked his tongue, wishing that the older man hadn’t been so good in bandaging that now the tight knot was giving him a hard time trying to undo it with one hand and a considerable weight leaning against his torso. After some unsuccessful minutes, he resorted to using his teeth to tear the bandage. He fingered the gash, finding it dry. The bleeding had long stopped and the skin had begun to tighten in the initial process of healing. Without giving himself a proper warning, Scud jabbed his forefinger and middle finger into the wound. Blood spurted out instantly in response and although he was hissing – having low tolerance of pain used to be the reason for Josh to be jeered at and name-called various degrading terms, he was rather satisfied with the result. The tips of his fingers dipped into the crimson liquid and smeared it on the vampire’s ashen lips. The vivid red contrasted horribly with the pasty complexion, giving the vampire a look that was ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. It briefly reminded Scud of some Asian horror movie he had watched on a worn VHS as a kid (blame his double-shift, stressed-out single mother), of the ghosts with stringy black hair, skin too pale and lips too red that would haunt his sleeps for weeks to come

“C’mon D,” Scud pled, caressing the vampire’s lips, pressing a finger into the small crease between the upper and lower lips. Then he waited for his blood to drip in the cavern of the vampire’s mouth. Scud could be very patient when he needed to; after all, patience was the one factor that had made his relationship with the notoriously short-tempered Deacon Frost work through. His arm had become mostly numb when he received a reaction: the jaw twitched and the cold, dry tongue slowly licked his finger before wrapping itself around the digit. Shriveled eyelids pulled back to reveal the frosty blue Scud was all too familiar. The pupils were enlarged and unfocused while the irises were veiled; all signs pointed out that Deacon was not yet fully himself, his mind swinging back and forth between the light of consciousness and the need to feed like a relentless pendulum. Scud really shouldn’t be surprised when his finger was pricked by something pointy; he let an undignified yelp escape his lips nonetheless.

“I thought we were way past nibbling, D,” Scud complained. For some reason unclear even to himself, he kept his finger in the bloodsucker’s mouth.

A deep, animalistic growl from Deacon’s throat reverberated in the confined cellar when he allowed Scud’s finger, shimmering with a mixture of blood and saliva, to slip from his mouth. The cracking of bones immobile for too long was heard as he mechanically peeled himself off his former pet’s body and lowered his head to the source of the strong coppery tang teasing his newly awakened sense. Scud expected the pain of being punctured where his flesh was already damaged but there was none; instead, he was caught off guard by the clammy sensation of a tongue lapping his raw wound. Soon after a pair of chapped lips scraped his skin and suction applied. He felt keenly how his blood was drawn out of his veins in small but steady streams. It was odd, really, and he couldn’t say if he’d ever get accustomed to it. After the initial nick of the finger, Deacon only sucked, not bit and for that, Scud was rather grateful. The vampire held his wrist in his steely grip even though he didn’t have to; Scud wouldn’t move an inch when being fed on, a lasting habit instilled in him during his days as a pet: if he struggled he’d be hurt; if he remained still he might even gain some pleasure from the act – some shit about vampire saliva containing aphrodisiac elements, aside from anti-coagulant, he had read that somewhere, perhaps Whistler’s archives. A reimbursement of sort, and Scud certainly wouldn’t complain as he draped his other arm over the vampire’s shoulder.

Scud lost track of the time – he always did while feeding happened – and he might as well die sorely without the knowledge of the exact moment his last breath was squeezed out of his lungs and his mortal coil severed. Willingly or not, every time he allowed master to sink his teeth in his flesh, he was put in a trance that was not unlike riding a fucking drug high: everything was hazy and nothing seemed to matter as much as the sound of blood rushing in his veins in a hurry to be extracted from his body. Again, the chemical substances in vampire saliva working its magic on a calm, pliant prey. Thankfully for Scud, his bloodsucker had excellent control of his own body functions, honed over the decades, and he knew precisely the moment to stop so that no irrevocable damage was done. With one last lick Deacon loosened his grip on Scud’s wrist and lifted his head, gazing into the glassy blue eyes with his bright, piercing ones full of life from the warm, new blood in his system. Their situation was reversed: it was now the vampire that supported the human’s weight.

It wasn’t until there were lips crashing onto his own and a tongue demanding entrance with purposeful licks did Scud finally snap out of his trance and into immediate response. While his tongue joined Deacon’s in a hungry, passionate tango, his hand grabbed the back of Deacon’s head, bony fingers weaving through the dirty strands, pulling them, forcing the vampire to crane his neck backward so as to have an illusion of gaining dominance from a powerful creature that could off him with a flick of his wrist. Deacon allowed his former pet the pretense, even played along with him; he was in exceptional mood after waking from so long a slumber to a scrumptious hot meal. Not entirely satisfied but enough to keep him active for a while. Scud tasted mostly the same as he had remembered, minus the slight bitterness of nicotine; he wondered if Scud had willingly given up the killer joints or it was simply too difficult to find cigarettes in this apocalyptic world.

It was very much like feeding, when they made out, in that Scud lost track of the time until they separated at last, Scud flushed and panting heavily whereas Deacon looked pale and calm as ever, with only a gleaming sheen of saliva on his lips as evidence.

“Why didn’t you just go away?” he asked.

“What?” Scud was feeling lightheaded from the blood loss and the head-reeling kiss, so he didn’t grasp the meaning of Deacon’s question.

“I ask why you didn’t just go away,” Deacon repeated. “You’re no longer my familiar, or any vampire’s for that matter. You’re free to go wherever you want, do whatever you want. And frankly there was nothing I could do if you let me down here to rot.”

“You hit your head on something or old age’s finally catching up with you?” Scud scoffed, wrapping the wound on his arm with the bandage he had undone earlier. The human grunted in frustration as he struggled to tie the knot with only one hand until Deacon unceremoniously patted his hand away to finish the task himself. “I’m no one’s pet now, true, so whatever I’ve been doing since the world literally ended is my own free will. How many times have I already explained this to you, huh?”

“It’d be easier for you if you didn’t have to drag a desiccated body around, wouldn’t it?”

“I don’t know, D,” Scud replied, shrugging, “but I’d have better chance at survival keeping an active vampire with me in the world swamped with zombies.”

“The thing is, Scud, I can’t be active without blood—”

“That’s why I brought this,” Scud said, tapping his forefinger on the cooler. “Pocketed it among other supplies from a medical facility only infected recently. If you go on a stringent diet, it should last you a while. After that, well, there’s me.”

“I understand the free will and all but why’re you doing this?”

Scud exhaled an exasperated sigh like he was fed up with explaining himself to this muddle-headed suckhead, which, of course, he wouldn’t say out loud. Deacon’s temper had gotten tamer since their master-pet dynamics was broken but it still wasn’t something to be taken lightly.

Cupping Deacon’s cheeks with both hands, Scud said, “Because you, Deacon Frost, is a good fuck. That and yours is the only cock around that isn’t festered and falling off.”

Deacon smirked, flashing the human his gleaming fangs. Cupping the back of Scud’s neck with one hand, he brought their faces closer until their lips were merely a couple inches apart. His breath ghosted over Scud’s nose and lips, chilling and blissfully not stale. On the other hand, it didn’t give the feeling of human breath either, more like a puff of cool air than anything. With those frosty blue eyes, Deacon mesmerized the human as he got rid of Scud’s tattered jacket and slipped a hand under the shirt, drawing imperfect circles with the tips of his fingers on bare skin. Scud shivered with the touch, goosebumps raising on his skin.

“So eager to drain me right after you pumped some energy in me, huh?”

“God knows I’ve been starving,” Scud whispered, pouring truth in every syllable and capturing Deacon’s lips to punctuate. The coppery taste was still there but since Scud was too used to tasting his own blood that he wouldn’t mind. He wasted no time in decimating the chasteness of the kiss, transforming it into rough smashing of tongues and teeth. The temperature in the cellar had risen up a few notches and their clothes were in the way, so Scud sought to rid themselves of the offending garments, an incredible feat considering he did it without destroying the fabric or breaking the contact. Once they were bare skin against bare skin, Scud instantly wrapped his legs around Deacon’s waist as the vampire laid him down on their scattered clothes. As Deacon brought three fingers to Scud’s mouth, he took the cue and dedicatedly coated them with his spits. They’d need more than just saliva for proper lubrication but Scud simply couldn’t give a damn; it wasn’t like he had been lucky enough to come across an adult shop with its merchandise untrashed. A soft moan escaped his lips as Deacon dipped the first finger inside him, from the pain of having been neglected for so long rather than pain from the intrusion itself. The second and third fingers joined in easily enough since Scud had already been slick with his arousal. His body reactions spelling loud and clear how much he yearned for Deacon brought a wave of affection surging in the vampire’s cold, dead and still heart. He prepared himself by smearing the early dews along his shaft and eased his way in Scud’s entrance, kissing the human with a tenderness that surprised even himself as he did. Only when he was fully inside Scud did Deacon allow a sharp breath to be exhaled from his pale lips. He too had been waiting too long for this moment.

When Deacon entered him, Scud caught a glimpse of heaven despite knowing so damn well the likes of him would never make it there; heck, hell suited him better anyway. When Deacon began moving just seconds after – the vampire had never been renowned for his patience, deep, sure thrusts that aimed for the secret spot inside that made him lose his mind, Scud felt his heart go up in his throat, chocking him, rendering any words on his tongue incoherent groans and hisses. His jagged, gnawed fingernails dug into Deacon’s shoulder blades, decorating the plane of his back with various lines ranging from pink to crimson. The vampire grunted, his hips speeding up in response to the human’s urge.

When he came Scud didn’t know that he did as his soul seemed to disengage from his body and float to heaven, his eyes temporarily blind by the pure light there. His soul did return however, and he felt Deacon’s orgasm keenly as though it was his own. He fed on the warmth spreading inside him as Deacon rode the waves of high until he came to a halt and collapsed on top of Scud.

Thoroughly drained, as he had joked. Scud found tiny pride in his heart for that.

“How did you get injured?” asked Deacon, fingering the bandage.

They were spooning on top of their discarded clothes, Deacon being the big spoon.

“Scraped myself while running for dear life. Almost got torn apart, y’know.”

Deacon’s fingers stilled.

“But I got my ass saved by a pair of Irish brothers.”

Deacon furrowed his eyebrows. “There’s still uninflected humans out there?”

“Uninflected, yes, but human, no. They didn’t tell me what they were exactly but my money’s on ‘bloodsuckers’. They had that same hungry I-wanna-bite-you look as you when they saw my blood. But they did an awesome job keeping their teeth in check, I give them that.”

“And here I though my race had been extinct by the zombie outbreak.”

“Not your race, though, as they walked unharmed under the sun.”

Deacon scoffed. “Like the Daywalker?”

“Nah, not really. I’m pretty sure B couldn’t have been able to destroy a horde of zombies bare-handedly without breaking a sweat.”

“No vampire, pureblood or not, could. Mindless as they are, those walking corpses are a force to be reckoned with.”

“The brothers wanted me to come with them.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I don’t know,” Scud admitted, half truth, half not. “Maybe because two’s a company and three’s a crowd and I don’t like crowds.”

“Or maybe because you already have one bloodsucker too many in your life,” Deacon chuckled dryly.

“Yeah. But they told me there was a human community in the south. You think we could go there? I drive by day and you by night.”

“You say it on the premise that I could drive.”

Scud’s eyebrows nearly shot to the ceiling. “And you couldn’t? What kind of vampire—”

“The kind that can afford drivers. I didn’t say I couldn’t; it’s been a while since I was behind a wheel. But I suppose can manage some driving with the junk you have there.”

Scud huffed. “Just make sure you won’t kill me in my sleep and we’ll be fine.”

“We’ll see about that,” Deacon replied, brushing the bangs out of Scud’s forehead to land a light kiss there. “My biological clock dictates there’s about two hours left till dawn. You could use some sleep.”

Scud rubbed his eyes as he tugged Deacon’s lower lip playfully. Releasing it, he said, “Do me a favor and haul yourself into the trunk before sunrise, will you?”

A snort was Deacon’s answer.


Sorry the smut is a bit short.

[Fanfic] Doppelgängers (1)


Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Boondock Saints, Blade

Rating: Mature

Pairings: Connor MacManus x Murphy MacManus (yeah, it’s incest, or twincest), Deacon Frost x Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer aka Scud

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe, zombie apocalypse

Characters: Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Scud, Deacon Frost

Warnings: incest/twincest, vampirism

Summary: On their journey to the south, Connor and Murphy encounters some of Murphy’s doppelgängers along the way.

Sequel to Methuselahs – might turn into a series

Scud – Joshua “Josh” Frohmeyer (Blade II)

Part I. Doppelgänger

“Yer alright, lad? Can ya stand?”

There was something like a jolt of electricity shooting through his entire being once Murphy’s eyes, silver and hidden behind his shades, and the kid’s met for the first time. The very same blue (that both he and Connor had once had) changing minimally when the light was reflected on the irises, Murphy noticed, and he needed no mirror to tell the kid was wearing an eerily exact replica of his own visage, from his suntanned eyebrows, half covered under his long, messy bang, the tip of his nose, to the small dip between his lips and the little mole above his mouth. Younger, but the same. Alive, but the same. Human, but the same. He saw the black pupils boring into his face enlarging as if the kid was on drugs, undoubtedly no less flabbergasted by their uncanny resemblance than he himself was. Yet Murphy masked it better; he wouldn’t have lived for a hundred odd years and was unable to conceal his emotions.

The word ‘doppelgänger’ sprung to his mind and he couldn’t help shaking his head, smiling to himself, which confused the kid even more and it was shown on his face. Feeling a twitch of guilt at that, Murphy repeated his earlier question, offering his gloved hand.

With a wince, the kid took his hand, and Murphy all but lifted him up to his feet, gently and carefully as his inhuman strength allowed. Under the tattered red jacket and baggy khaki pants, the kid was probably quite thin, if his pale gaunt cheeks and light weight were any indications. Murphy felt sorry for the kid who bore all tell-tale signs of malnourishment and fatigue; he might not have had a decent meal and good sleep since forever. Life wasn’t particularly easy for humankind these days, what with the apocalypse and the plague spreading all over the world. A dead men’s curse that was way more sinister than just massacring humans: it turned the infected into mindless starving cannibals and damned them to keep on walking and feeding even when their maggot-infested flesh had fallen off their skeletons. War, hunger and death reigned by its side like the Four Horsemen, making the earth a more dreadful place than Hell.

Connor and Murphy had been going for months without seeing an uninflected human before they encountered this boy. It was Connor who had spotted him, a living scent so thin it was mostly buried under the sea of putrefying smell, yet it struggled, and it fought in a flimsy hope to be detected, to be saved before it resigned to its fate. Connor had always had keener senses and firmer belief than his younger twin, and if there was even one survivor within their sensing radius, it was Connor that found them first and came to their rescue. This time it was no different. The undead had been but an arm’s length from ripping the boy to pieces and making him one of them when Connor tore through the mass of rotten flesh like a furious tornado, Murphy closely behind. And now, while Murphy was speaking to the human to calm him from the shock of nearly losing his life, Connor was putting the rest of the hoard to peace.

They had recently taken this job although the Lord hadn’t assigned them any task concerning it. Their job was to destroy evil, but since evil was too scarce in this apocalyptic world, they took it upon themselves to put any dead souls crossing their path to rest.

“I am Murphy,” Murphy elucidated, his tone assuring as he felt the light tremor where his hand made contact with the kid. From shock or apprehension he couldn’t tell. Maybe both. “That’s me brother, Connor. What’s yer name?”

“Josh…” the kid replied, a mere whisper. He cleared his throat and repeated, fearing the stranger hadn’t been able to hear him, “Joshua, actually. But people call me Scud, like, y’ know, stud.” He laughed nervously. He used to make this statement every time he told people his name, thinking it his trademark default introduction. It didn’t feel right as before, and he felt like an awkward teenager making a fool of himself in front of his heaviest crush.

“Or cuddle,” Murphy quipped. “Aren’t ya tha cuddly type?”

“Close but not really.” Scud wanted to scratch his perpetual bedhead and realized his right hand was still in Murphy’s. Separated by a layer of leather and yet somehow Scud could tell his hand was cool. Like way too cool for a normal human being clad in leather in the early July weather. It should have but didn’t weird him out, and Scud decided he really didn’t mind having his hand held by another; physical contact was so rare nowadays he was almost starving and he wanted it to last as long as he could manage. Besides, he wasn’t stranger to lower-than-normal body temperature after all.

Something else tickled Scud’s spidey sense. The human often prided himself on having exceptional survival instincts; otherwise he wouldn’t have made it to today, having wormed his way through the dangerous underground world of vampires and now zombie wonderland; the incident today was but a chink in his luck. That was to say Scud could sniff it out when danger was rearing its ugly head, which was about now. There was nothing ordinary, or if he dared think, human, about his saviors. From their ubiquitously pallid skin tone, Murphy’s unusually low body temperature to the ease with which his brother Connor laid waste to the zombies with no weapon other than his gloved hands. These mindless walking corpses didn’t possess much more strength than their former human selves; still, what made them the single mass-destruction force were their gargantuan number and unrivaled savagery. Scud had had the privilege to witness them decimating a whole club of suckheads, and till this day, he had never had a more harrowing experience. Yet here none of them had been able to lay a single decomposing finger on Murphy’s brother. As a matter of fact the remaining ones appeared hesitant in attacking, milky, soulless eyes darting back and forth between their destroyer and the disembodied parts scattered around their feet in a too-human manner. If Scud didn’t know so well he might be convinced they were scared.

Maybe Scud didn’t know so well as he believed.

And, if he did know better, he too should be scared by this pair of brothers. He wasn’t afraid, perhaps a little bit wary but afraid, definitely not. That Murphy and he were bearing striking resemblance might have something to do with it. To judge a book by its cover, that was Joshua Frohmeyer.

Again, Scud was no stranger to the inhuman. Had served some, had killed some, had screwed some. Had even loved one. All before another kind of undead ruled the world.

“Ya aren’t afraid o’ us, are ya?” Murphy asked, gazing toward his brother, who was sending the last of them to the afterlife.

“Well, not really…” Scud spoke, trying to not sound like he was telling a blatant lie because he wasn’t. “How can you tell? I don’t think I’m shitting in my pants or something.”

Murphy sniggered at the kid’s lack of refinement. “No, yer not. But fear has a smell an’ it’s unlike shit, I tell ya. Yer not reekin’ o’ fear though; yer reekin’ o’ fresh blood.”

Without waiting for Scud’s response and still holding his hand, Murphy rolled up the kid’s torn and dirty sleeve. A deep-red gash that ran from Scud’s upper arm to elbow was revealed to his sight. It looked nasty and it was weeping blood, and though it had the possibility of getting infected, it wasn’t something life-threatening. Fortunately just a flesh wound. The strong alluring metallic scent, however, was rawly fraying Murphy’s nerves. His mouth felt parched, his throat constricted and a tremor passed from his head to his toes; he was very tempted to run his tongue along the gash and gathered all the ruby nectar that was all going to waste anyway.

The mesmerized look plastered on Murphy’s countenance alerted Scud. “Uhm… Murphy?” he called, none-too-subtly attempting to yank his hand from the older man’s vice-like grip. Why was he staring at his bloody gash like he hadn’t eaten for months? What was he, a suckhead?!

At Scud’s voice, Murphy snapped out of his sanguinary trance. Grunting audibly, he let go of the human’s hand and started pacing around the place they were standing, which happened to be a medical facility. After emptying a few drawers out in a devil-may-care manner, he found a bottle of antiseptic, hopefully unexpired, and roll of clean gauze. He poured almost half the bottle on the wound, feeling a sense of guilt budding in his chest at Scud’s hiss, before bandaged the kid’s forearm to his elbow. Thankfully it didn’t require a deft hand or much skill as Murphy hadn’t had to treat a wound for decades, just rolling the gauze up the arm and making sure it was secure enough but not too tight that it hindered the blood flow. Once he was done Murphy was even a little proud of himself. Not the best dressing in the world but this would do in the meantime.

“Ya should thank yer luck that ya didn’t get infected,” Murphy told Scud, his voice coming out an octave lower than normal. “If ya did, I’d have no choice but ta put ya ta rest like ‘em corpses.”

“Thank you,” Scud mumbled, examining the knot on his bandage for a few seconds before covering it with his sleeve. “Must have hurt myself while running for my life. But no, I was incredibly lucky I didn’t get my ass bitten.”

Out of the corner of his eyes Murphy saw Connor approaching, brushing off bits of flesh from his jacket and frowning as they left stains on the leather, and turned around to call out to him. “Come, Connor, the lad’s alrigh’.”

The astounded look on his twin’s face was the same as his when Connor scrutinized the kid for any other injuries than the one Murphy had bandaged, and… perhaps to catch a glimpse of his soul, a habit he didn’t share with his brother – Murphy only dissected a human’s heart when he was certain he would sink his fangs into their neck whereas Connor wanted to see for himself how each person looked like on the inside. Under Connor’s intense gaze, the kid seemed to squirm, a tiny movement one wouldn’t notice if one weren’t a sense-freak bloodsucker. His blue eyes looking at Connor spoke of distrust, his lips pressed firmly and he was clutching his wounded arm in a defensive stance. Apparently he was more comfortable in the presence of a man whose face was identical to his.

Having realized he might be intimidating the young man with his stare, Connor cast his eyes down and he cleared his throat in an attempt to break the tension he had unconsciously created. “Glad ta hear yer unaffected.” He glanced around. “There’s enough fuckin’ body parts ‘round here.”

Sudden Murphy raised his voice, startling both Connor and the kid. “Ya wanna come with us? Yer all by yerself, aren’t ya? It’s not easy ta survive on yerself. Maybe next time ya won’t be so luc—”

Murphy didn’t know why he cut himself short once Connor placed a firm hand on his shoulder, but he did shut his trap at once. In the temporary silence engulfing the three of them Murphy already regretted his offer. Not only had acted impulsively again, making big decision without consulting with his brother first, he also had broken their vow to never have a human companion again. A human would neither adapt to the peculiar lifestyle of bloodsuckers nor feel entirely safe in the company of those whom they knew well to have a crave for their vein. Plus, the inevitable agony of outliving the human was something they could do without. Knowing all that and still, Murphy felt the need to take this lonely and vulnerable young man under their wings and give him protection and care so that never again did he have to run for his life or suffer injuries. Part of his rationality doubted if he would bear the same thought if the boy didn’t look more like Murphy’s twin than his real one. There had to be some sort of mystical connection beyond their nearly identical faces; Murphy just failed to figure it out.

Scud’s eyes flicked between his two survivors, neither of whom gave him a total sense of safety, or at least that was what his instincts had been telling him for the last hour; they were far more lethal than the living dead, or even the suckheads he had spent the greener years of his youth living amongst. Despite so, he felt inexplicably drawn to one of the brother. He wanted to trust Murphy, wanted to tail behind him, even if that meant giving up his hard-earned freedom to wear the collar – he doubted he would protest if Murphy were to clasp a literal collar around his neck or tattoo his glyph on his skin, turning Josh Frohmeyer the man back to Scud the pet all over again. And this time he wouldn’t defile his master, he would obey. Better be pet than dead, torn apart and eaten.

Nonetheless, he wouldn’t come with Murphy and Connor, not while he was still breathing and moving on his will…

Still clutching his arm close to his body, Scud fingered the fabric of his sleeve, under which he knew there wasn’t only the damaged flesh but also an unmarred glyph spelling the name of a certain suckhead in suckhead language. He hoped that Murphy only thought of it as an exotic tattoo and nothing else.

Because of it, Scud would turn down Murphy’s offer for protection.

“Nah, thanks, really appreciate it but I can’t go with you,” Scud said, kicking the cooler by his legs with a childish bore. It was the sole reason why he had come here and almost lost his damned life. “Got a place to go…… and someone to go back to.”

Those last words came out light as a breath but Connor and Murphy heard them just fine. Murphy’s eyes widened as his jaw dropped slightly. On the other hand, Connor looked calm as though he had already known the answer, anticipated it even. His hand on Murphy’s shoulder gave a reassuring squeeze, his head nodding.

Murphy felt a little knot in his chest as he watched the kid haul the cooler on his shoulders. It spiked his sense with a strong familiar smell and he briefly wondered what Scud intended to do with it.

None of his business though.

“Ya take care,” said Murphy, fully aware this was farewell. “There’s a thrivin’ human community if ya move ta tha south. We’re headin’ there.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for this information and for saving my ass.”

With that Scud began walking away from them. Murphy’s eyes were on him until the kid’s sight completely vanished. He took little assurance in that Connor had erased the undead in the vicinity and the kid should be safe. For now.

“Wow, that kid looks like yer twin than me. Ya sure ya haven’t fathered any offsprings along the way?” Connor quipped. “Should I be worried there are little Murphies runnin’ around?”

Murphy smacked his brother’s head, laughing hard. “None that ya know o’.” He took a pause to compose himself. “The doppelgänger legend is real and we jus’ saw mine.”

“‘M envious. When do we get ta see mine?”

“Hopefully tha next time we round tha corner, find a distressed human an’ ya got ta put on yer hero hair,” said Murphy. “I kinda hoped tha kid would go with us even though after Rom’s death we swore we’d never take another human. Who knows, he might not have enough luck ta see another day.”

Connor exhaled than took in a breath – all out of human habit than necessity. “‘M pretty sure tha lad has enough bloodsucker in his life already. Saw how he fidget ‘round us?

“Wait, did ya jus’ say there are bloodsuckers other than us?”

“‘M surprised yer surprised, Murph. After all we exist, an’ tha world is swarmed with walking corpses, so I don’t get why the idea that vampires exist is far-fetched. I stole a glance at his soul, didn’t I?

Murphy chuckled. “Wish I had done tha same. That way I wouldn’t be curious by how our ‘cousin’ looks like.”

“Pretty like Twilight, minus tha sparkle,” replied Connor.

(To be continued)

Note: Please excuse my attempt to write dialogues with the Irish accent.

This takes place after the events in Methuselahs, so Connor and Murphy have been vampires (created by Judas’s blood by God’s order) for roughly a century. The setting is zombie apocalypse although it’s not like The Walking Dead (I haven’t watched that series despite Daryl Dixon’s probably Norman Reedus’s most famous role). My initial was that Connor and Murphy encountered many Myrphy’s doppelgänger, or other characters Reedus’s portrayed over the year (like Scud from Blade II, Young Man from Dark Harbor, Travis from Gossip, John Rollins from Messengers II: The Scarecrow), on their way to the south (as stated at the end of Methuselahs). I started with Scud because he seems to be a fun character to write and I ship ScuDeacon pretty hard (blame Deuces Wild for that, fun movie, just watch it); let’s see if inspiration will hit me and I may write more for other characters.

The second part is for Scud and Deacon.


[Cảm nhận] Vice Versa (fanfiction)

Warnings: spoilers, ngôn ngữ không đứng đắn, xen lẫn tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt

Nguồn: pixiv.net (Hình chỉ có tính chất minh họa, bạn đem vào vì thấy hợp với fic)
Tên: Vice Versa (tạm dịch là Ngược Lại)

Tác giả: drunkenCharm

Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/347153/chapters/564083

Thể loại: slash fanfiction, alternate universe, supernatural, angst

Độ dài: 10 chương/78,347 từ

Ngôn ngữ: tiếng Anh

Fandom: Blade

Pairing: Deacon Frost/Scud (Joshua Frohmeyer)

Rating: M (dành cho người trưởng thành – mature)

Tóm tắt: Scud never chose to be a pet, but somehow he ended up as one. Here comes the misery.

(Scud chưa bao giờ chọn làm pet nhưng bằng cách nào đó, gã lại trở thành pet. Đau khổ bắt đầu từ đây.)

Cảnh báo: có tình tiết rape và tra tấn

*Ghi chú: tuy là fanfiction nhưng bạn có thể xem đây là một câu chuyện hoàn toàn độc lập.

Khá lâu rồi bạn Joel không viết review cho fanfic. Không phải bạn ngừng đọc mà trái lại, bạn đọc nhiều là đằng khác. Tuy nhiên, bạn thuộc kiểu kén ăn nên số lượng fanfic khiến bạn hài lòng ít hơn rất nhiều so với số bạn đọc. Khi đánh giá mức độ hài lòng với một fanfic, điều đầu tiên bạn để ý là cách viết. Fanfic tiếng Trung không bàn đến vì bạn không biết tiếng Trung nên tác giả viết sai hay đúng ngữ pháp, câu cú lủng củng hay không thì qua bộ lọc thần thánh của Quách Tĩnh ca ca (tức QT – phần mềm Quick Translation), truyện nào cũng na ná nhau, ngôn tình giông giống đam mỹ còn kiếm hiệp với tiên hiệp là anh em một nhà (hay mỗi bạn thấy thế nhỉ?). Với fanfic tiếng Anh thì khác; do bệnh nghề nghiệp mà bạn cực khó chịu khi tác giả ẩu tả trong dấu câu, ngắt câu, ngữ pháp, trình bày… – giống như ăn cơm mà mỗi miếng lại nhai phải sạn vậy. Dẫu biết tác giả fanfic phần lớn là amateur nhưng bạn nghĩ cẩn thận luôn là một đức tính và chăm chút cho những gì mình viết ra, đứa con tinh thần của mình, không bao giờ là thừa. Vì vậy, cách viết là điểm đầu tiên bạn ‘soi’ khi đánh giá một fanfic, tiếp theo mới tính đến nội dung có ‘máu cún’ không, nhân vật có OOC một cách vô lý không, tình tiết và tính cách phát triển có hợp lý không, tác giả có quăng lôi cho mình đạp hay không, vân vân và vân vân. Cũng do kén chọn quá mà số fanfic bạn Joel cảm thấy hài lòng đã ít, số bạn muốn viết review còn ít hơn (điều này một phần còn vì bạn đọc nhiều oneshot hơn long fic mà oneshot dù hay đến mấy nhưng ngắn quá nên bạn không biết viết bài tán nhảm thế nào). Vice Versa của tác giả có bút danh drunkenCharm là một fanfic đáp ứng đầy đủ những yếu tố trên: cách viết tốt, nội dung hay, phát triển tính cách nhân vật và tình tiết ổn, không quăng lôi cho bạn đạp, và quan trọng hơn là fanfic đã hoàn thành với kết cục HE. Đọc xong một fanfic như vậy mà không có mấy dòng bày tỏ quả hơi phí, cho nên sau đây là cảm nhận của bạn Joel về nó (nãy giờ là lan man *icon packman*).

Ở đầu bài là tóm tắt truyện do chính tác giả viết, và do đây là fanfiction nên có lẽ tác giả cho rằng tóm tắt ngắn gọn như thế với người đọc – phần lớn đã quen thuộc với fandom Blade – là đủ. Nhưng với người đọc chưa biết gì về fandom thì tóm tắt này có phần sơ sài và chưa đủ lôi cuốn. Joel xin mạn phép viết lại một tóm tắt mới:

Thế giới trong Vice Versa là thế giới nơi sinh vật hút máu đặc biệt nguy hiểm – còn gọi là ma cà rồng – sống lẫn với con người. Phần lớn con người không hề hay biết sự tồn tại của ma cà rồng, chỉ một phần nhỏ được biết và phần nhỏ này chính là familiar và pet của chúng. Nếu như familiar thường lo những việc từ lớn – như đâm thuê chém mướn – đến nhỏ – như dọn dẹp nhà cửa, vườn tược – cho ma cà rồng thì pet phục vụ những nhu cầu ‘riêng tư’ hơn như ăn uống hay giường chiếu, ờ bạn hiểu ý mình rồi đấy. Nhân vật Scud của chúng ta là minh chứng của câu ‘Không có nhọ nhất, chỉ có nhọ hơn’: không những bị bắt cóc và ép trở thành pet mà gã còn gặp phải chủ nhân là một ma cà rồng biến thái lấy việc ngược đãi, tra tấn pet làm niềm vui, mặc dù việc đó bị cộng đồng ma cà rồng lên án (giống như bạn là người và bạn ngược đãi chó, mèo nuôi trong nhà ấy mà). Trong lúc bị hành hạ thừa sống thiếu chết, Scud được Deacon Frost, một ma cà rồng đối thủ của chủ nhân mình, cứu và đưa về nhà hắn. Tuy nhiên, cuộc đời lần nữa chứng minh ‘Ánh sáng cuối đường hầm là ánh sáng của đoàn tàu xe lửa’ khi Scud nhận ra Deacon tuy không hành hạ Scud nhưng dường như hắn còn nguy hiểm hơn cả chủ nhân cũ của gã. Và Deacon tuyên bố Scud là pet của hắn. Quá tuyệt luôn.

Đó là tóm tắt/giới thiệu câu chuyện về cuộc sống chung (bất đắc dĩ) giữa một con người vốn không muốn trở thành pet nhưng đã quen làm pet và một ma cà rồng chưa từng nghĩ đến việc có pet nhưng khi không lại rước pet về nhà.

Bạn Joel biết đến Scud dù bạn chưa bao giờ xem bất kỳ phần nào của Blade trilogy và cũng không có ý định xem. Bạn biết đến Scud do gã là một trong những nhân vật do Norman Reedus thể hiện và được khán giả yêu thích, bằng chứng là gã xuất hiện khá nhiều trong fanart về Norm trên pixiv.net. Dưới con mắt của họa sĩ fanart, Scud… lầy lội theo một cách rất đáng yêu: nếu không phải bu bám Daryl (và gọi thợ săn zombie siêu badass này là ‘Daryl-chan’) thì là giành giật Connor với Murphy (bằng donut mới buồn cười) hoặc cư xử như bạn trai/pet nham nhở của Blade (kiểu như thanh niên nghiêm túc Blade số nhọ vớ phải gã bf đầu óc tưng tưng). Kể cả khi đứng một mình trong fanart, Scud trông vẫn cực hài hước với mái tóc dài bờm xờm, vẻ mặt ngáo đá, thường trực bên miệng là chiếc bánh donut gần như trở thành trademark và thỉnh thoảng còn thêm ba Powerpuff Girls bên cạnh. Những fanart đó đã cho bạn Joel ấn tượng Scud là một tên cà lơ phất phơ, vào phim với mục đích gây cười là chính – một trong số ít những vai hài hước của Norm, giờ mới để ý – và những việc khác là phụ. Tất cả những điều trên đều không xuất hiện trong Scud của Vice Versa. Nếu chỉ dùng một từ để miêu tả Scud trong fanfic này thì bạn sẽ chọn từ ‘broken’, từ trên xuống dưới và từ trong ra ngoài. Số phận thử thách Scud ngay từ lúc gã còn nhỏ bằng việc bắt gã chứng kiến mẹ mình bị ma cà rồng sát hại dã man. Gã bị đưa vào viện mồ côi, gặp phải những người một là vô cảm trước bi kịch của đứa trẻ mất mẹ hai là muốn lạm dụng gã. Gã trưởng thành, thoát ly viện mồ côi và sống trong những góc tối của thành phố Los Angeles hoa lệ cho đến ngày bị bắt cóc và ‘chào đón’ đến một thế giới còn tối tăm và nguy hiểm hơn cuộc sống vốn không mấy sáng sủa của gã: thế giới của những ma cà rồng giàu có, quyền lực. Có lẽ cuộc đời cảm thấy gã chưa ăn đủ khổ nên quyết định ném gã vào bàn tay một ma cà rồng bệnh hoạn chỉ coi pet là những món đồ chơi tức thời, chơi một lúc rồi bỏ, và dĩ nhiên ‘bỏ’ đồng nghĩa với chết, hơn nữa còn chết rất đau đớn. Như một con gián, Scud lê lết qua những đày đọa đó, dù là sống hèn, sống nhục nhưng vẫn là sống, cho đến ngày gã được Deacon cứu và cuộc đời gã sang trang mới. Về một mặt nào đó, Scud rất ‘cường’ bởi trải qua bao nhiêu chuyện như thế, gã vẫn chọn sống tiếp thay vì tự chấm dứt đau khổ của mình. Tuy nhiên, vượt qua được không có nghĩa là gã còn nguyên vẹn, lành lặn. Những vết sẹo rải trên người gã, trong tâm hồn gã, khiến gã ‘broken’. Từ ‘broken’ ngụ ý rằng thứ gì đó vẫn còn thể sửa chữa được,” bạn Joel từng nghe Elijah Mikaelson (The Originals) nói; thế nhưng đã broken đến mức độ của Scud thì liệu còn sửa chữa được không, và ai nguyện gánh vác trách nhiệm đó khi người duy nhất chi phối, tác động lên cuộc sống hiện tại của Scud chỉ có Deacon Frost.

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Deacon Frost là ai?

Là một ma cà rồng không thuần huyết (ma cà rồng thuần huyết sinh ra đã là ma cà rồng, chưa từng là người) những ma cà rồng khác chỉ nể hoặc ghét chứ chẳng yêu thương gì. Là một ma cà rồng vốn từng là người nhưng lại căm ghét và khinh thường con người, xem con người là đáy của chuỗi thức ăn, thái độ với pet thì không cần phải nói. Trước khi đọc fanfic này, bạn Joel chẳng có tý ấn tượng gì với nhân vật Deacon Frost; nếu như fanart Scud khá nhiều (vì Norm khá nổi) thì bạn tìm đỏ mắt may ra chắc được vài tấm fanart của Deacon. Bạn bắt đầu chú ý đến Deacon khi thấy trên AO3, số fanfic ship Deacon/Scud nhiều ngang ngửa số Blade/Scud, dù xét theo canon thì Blade và Scud mới là cặp dây dưa ân oán tình thù. Tò mò, bạn google và (không bất ngờ), Deacon hơi bị đẹp trai (khuôn mặt gần giống Wes Bentley bên American Horror Story và bạn rất thích Wes Bentley). Với máu ship trai đẹp với nhau bất chấp không gian, thời gian và logic, bạn Joel ‘duyệt’ ngay cp Deacon x Scud. Bạn cũng biết được Deacon là boss cuối của Blade phần 1, và, qua những oneshot đã đọc trước Vice Versa, bạn hình dung Deacon là một tên khốn bị điên (hay tên điên bị khốn), máu nóng (hơi lạ với ma cà rồng nhỉ), tức dễ nổi cáu, nhưng ngụy trang dưới vẻ mặt lạnh lùng cho hợp với cái tên ‘Frost’, có khuynh hướng bạo lực và thích chơi SM (tất nhiên hắn là S),… – hay ít ra thì các tác giả khác đã hình dung hắn như vậy. Cũng hợp lý thôi vì Deacon là boss cuối mà, hắn hiền lành nhân từ tốt bụng ấm áp vân vân và vân vân thì hoá ra Blade, hero của phim, thành kẻ xấu à?! Trong Vice Versa, Deacon vừa giống canon cũng như phiên bản của nhân vật này ở các fanfic khác vừa khác biệt. Giống ở chỗ hắn vẫn nóng tính – một núi lửa chực phun trào ‘cosplay’ seme băng lãnh, vẫn tàn nhẫn trong cả lời nói lẫn hành động, vẫn ưa dùng bạo lực và giết người không ghê tay, tóm lại là cách chuẩn ‘người tốt’ vài năm ánh sáng thôi, không nhiều. Hắn kéo Scud lên khỏi bờ vực cái chết không hẳn vì lòng nhân từ hay cái gì tương tự trỗi dậy mà vì mục đích cá nhân, và trong suốt chiều dài truyện, hắn không dưới một lần tổn thương Scud, tinh thần lẫn thể chất. Thế nhưng, Deacon trong đây khác biệt ở chỗ hắn vẫn còn một ‘soft spot’ dành cho gã pet hắn nhặt về (cả nghĩa đen lẫn nghĩa bóng) và tuy đúng là hắn có mục đích cá nhân với Scud – nói trắng ra là lợi dụng – hắn thật sự không muốn gã con người đã trải qua quá nhiều đau khổ này chết hay chịu (thêm) tổn thương. Đây là điểm vớt vát thiện cảm của bạn Joel với Deacon vì bạn không tiêu hoá nổi thể loại quan hệ mà một đứa bạo hành đứa còn lại, cho dù đứa bị bạo hành chấp nhận bị bạo hành.

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Nếu là trong thực tế, hai kẻ kỳ lạ như vậy khó mà sống dưới một mái nhà chứ đừng nói đến phát triển tình cảm. Tuy nhiên, đây là truyện và tình tiết truyện buộc cả hai phải chung sống và phát triển tình cảm, nếu không thì lấy gì cho độc giả đọc giải trí. Cả Scud lẫn Deacon đều là những cá nhân tràn đầy mâu thuẫn và chính điều này tạo nên sự thú vị khi người đọc được quan sát hai nhân vật tương tác, ảnh hưởng lẫn nhau. Một mặt, Scud rất ham sống, gã chịu đủ mọi tủi nhục trút lên mình chỉ với mục đích là không bị vứt xuống một cái hố nào đó chồng chất những kẻ như gã, tàn tạ, rữa nát và bị lãng quên như chưa từng tồn tại. Ý chí sống còn nơi gã đủ mạnh để gã cầm cự đến thời điểm gặp Deacon thay vì cắn lưỡi ngay sau lần đầu bị lạm dụng. Thế nhưng trong đầu gã thỉnh thoảng lởn vởn những suy nghĩ mang khuynh hướng tự sát và có nhiều lúc, gã rơi vào trạng thái ‘đếch quan tâm’ – muốn đánh muốn giết ra sao cũng được. Gã sợ bị tổn thương, bị tra tấn và cố gắng hết sức để làm vừa lòng ‘chủ nhân’, cả chủ nhân cũ và chủ nhân hiện tại, Deacon; cũng chính gã lại có suy nghĩ chuyển hoá thành hành động khiêu khích Deacon để xem tên suckhead (từ Scud dùng để chỉ ma cà rồng với ý khinh miệt) ngoài lạnh trong nóng này khi nào sẽ bùng phát và dung nham sẽ tràn xuống, thiêu chết gã. Scud thèm khát sự quan tâm, chăm sóc, gã cảm động với mỗi cử chỉ lịch sự, chưa nói đến tử tế, nhỏ nhất, vậy mà bản thân gã cảm thấy mình không xứng đáng nhận được sự tử tế và tệ hơn, tất cả những gì thối tha cuộc đời quăng vào mặt gã đều do gã đáng bị như thế. Suy nghĩ thường thấy ở nạn nhân bị rape và bạo hành đây mà. Cuối cùng, Scud một mặt ghét ma cà rồng, hiển nhiên rồi, Deacon không phải ngoại lệ, mặt khác gã vô thức để mình bị Deacon thu hút; well, sao trách Scud được khi bỏ qua tính khí không mấy dễ chịu, Deacon vẫn là kẻ hấp dẫn và thực tế là hắn đã trải qua vô số (bed)partners trong cuộc đời bất tử của mình (nghe đồn trong canon Deacon là bi). Chuyện phải đến (tác giả bảo) sẽ đến: từ bị thu hút Scud dần chuyển sang có tình cảm với Deacon; tình cảm đó phát triển như thế nào và đến mức nào cũng như kết cục ra sao, Joel để bạn tự mình đọc và khám phá.

Giống như Scud, Deacon cũng đầy mâu thuẫn. Đầu tiên là việc hắn cố tỏ ra mình là kẻ lạnh lùng, tàn nhẫn. Có lẽ bao nhiêu thế kỷ lăn lộn, tranh giành quyền lực, lãnh địa trong thế giới ma cà rồng đã tạo ra một Deacon như thế bởi nếu không, hắn chẳng tồn tại quá một năm, nhất là khi hắn không phải ‘thuần huyết’. Như đã nói trên, hắn có một soft spot dành cho Scud: không chỉ lo cho Scud nơi ăn, chốn ở tử tế, hắn còn nghiêm túc thực hiện cam kết bảo vệ pet của mình khỏi mọi nguy hại trong khi chính hắn lại chán ghét việc ma cà rồng nuôi pet người. Bất tri bất giác, hắn quan tâm Scud và sự quan tâm đó thể hiện qua những hành động nho nhỏ nhưng đủ để Scud cảm kích, thậm chí có lúc hắn còn cảm thông với gã con người số khổ này. Chỉ là những lúc như thế lại có một giọng nói trong đầu Deacon nhắc nhở rằng hắn là ma cà rồng, hắn nổi tiếng vì sự căm ghét con người (lý do vì sao thì Joel sẽ không spoil để bạn đọc tự cảm nhận), để rồi hắn quay ngoắt 180 độ và tổn thương Scud bằng lời nói độc địa hay hành động. Sau mỗi lần như thế, hắn hối hận và tìm cách ‘bù đắp’ cho Scud – tất nhiên là theo cách không tổn thương đến ego của hắn, và vòng tròn lặp lại. Nói theo suy nghĩ của Scud thì cuộc sống của gã ở căn hộ sang trọng của Deacon sẽ dễ dàng hơn nhiều nếu ‘chủ nhân’ ngưng làm gã bối rối và nhất quán trong cách đối xử với gã: mặc xác gã tự sinh tự diệt hoặc dứt khoát giết quách gã cho xong. Vấn đề là ở chỗ đến chính Deacon còn không xác định được hắn nên đối xử với Scud thế nào thì làm sao Scud đòi hắn nhất quán được. Mất một lượng chữ không nhiều, không ít để hắn chạy vạy tìm lời khuyên từ những người mình tin tưởng rồi não hắn mới ‘thông’ và tìm ra giải pháp cho mối quan hệ giữa hắn với Scud.


Nếu gọi tình cảm giữa Deacon và Scud là ‘tình yêu’ thì e rằng hơi miễn cưỡng bởi vì từ đầu đến cuối cả hai chưa từng nói yêu nhau (may mà không nói vì nếu nói thì bạn Joel thấy… sến). Tuy nhiên, tình cảm giữa Scud và Deacon là chân thật và dù nó không đẹp đẽ, không hoàn hảo thì nó vẫn tồn tại đủ mạnh để gắn kết hai kẻ lạ kỳ này với nhau đến cuối truyện và có thể là sau đó. Bạn Joel nói rằng tình cảm này không đẹp đẽ do nó không tạo nên một mối quan hệ lành mạnh. Ngay từ ban đầu nó đã mang màu sắc chiếm hữu: Deacon cứu mạng Scud nhưng hắn không hề cho Scud tự do – quyền cơ bản nhất của con người. Scud sống trong căn hộ sang trọng của Deacon đúng nghĩa từ ‘pet’: cả ngày gã quanh quẩn bên chiếc ghế xôpha và mấy mét vuông quanh nó bởi vì ngay đến ban công Deacon cũng cấm gã bước ra; cánh cửa chỉ mở khi trợ lý của Deacon mang thức ăn đến và sau đó lần nữa khoá lại. Scud cam chịu cách đối xử của Deacon giống như gã cam chịu nhiều điều tệ hại đã xảy đến với gã; dần dần, gã có tình cảm với Deacon và tình cảm sinh ra trong cảnh ‘cá chậu chim lồng’ mang hơi hướm Stockholm syndrome. Cả Scud lẫn Deacon đều không đả động đến vấn đề này, hệt như cả hai không đả động đến nhiều vấn đề khác trong mối quan hệ của họ, tỷ như Deacon chưa từng hỏi tên thật của Scud hay muốn tìm hiểu quá khứ của gã trước khi trở thành ‘Scud’, và Scud cũng không có ý định chia sẻ với Deacon, và chúng ta, người đọc, chỉ biết được quá khứ của Scud qua những đoạn flashback rời rạc. Hay như khi tình cảm đã xác định rồi thì Scud trở nên phụ thuộc vào Deacon: gã tiếp tục sống chỉ khi Deacon còn tồn tại, nếu Deacon chết, gã có thể không tự sát nhưng ý chí sống còn nơi gã đều bay biến. Điều này khá lãng mạn, nếu ta bỏ qua chuyện nó ‘độc hại’ đến việc xây dựng một mối quan hệ tình cảm lành mạnh và bình đẳng. Có lẽ tác giả ý thức được điều này nên giữa Deacon và Scud không phải love mà là “this is as close as they will ever come to love”, và về mặt nào đó, nó rất hợp với Scud và Deacon trong fanfic này. Và thay vì khẳng định một tương lai bên nhau vĩnh cửu như nhiều câu chuyện tình người–ma cà rồng khác, cái kết chỉ đưa ra một hy vọng, hay một hint về tương lai như thế. Với tư cách người đọc đã dành ra khá nhiều cảm xúc cho fanfic này, bạn Joel hài lòng với điều đó.

Bầu không khí truyện nhuốm màu ảm đạm từ những đoạn flashback và suy tư của Scud cũng như suy tư của Deacon, vì vậy bạn Joel ‘tự ý’ thêm tag angst vào thể loại. Truyện cũng rải rác một số chi tiết hài, ví dụ như khi Scud va đầu vào nắp chiếc ‘quan tài’ kiêm giường ngủ của Deacon (bạn trẻ này có chiếc giường thiết kế kiểu quan tài với nắp đóng–mở), Deacon đã rất thông cảm đưa cho gã một……. bịch máu trong tủ lạnh để áp lên vết thương giảm đau; tuy nhiên sự hài hước khá lép vế trước sự angst bao trùm suốt mười chương. Truyện có tiết tấu khá chậm, không nhiều tình tiết gay cấn vì tác giả dành khá nhiều câu chữ để đi sâu vào nội tâm của hai nhân vật chính. Chương 10 kết truyện, theo cảm nhận của bạn Joel thì hơi vội vã và anti-climatic, đặc biệt là sau cliffhanger lớn tướng cuối chương 9 “Deacon chết rồi!” Bạn đã trông chờ một cuộc showdown giữa Deacon và chủ nhân cũ của Scud sau tất cả những khiêu khích, đe doạ, dằn mặt nhau ở các chương trước, thế nhưng điều đó không xảy ra (có phải bạn đã spoil?!), và bạn có chút thất vọng, nhưng xét lại truyện này nhấn mạnh vào tâm tư, tình cảm của nhân vật mà, đòi đánh đấm, hành động, cái kết hoành tá tràng thì có vẻ làm khó nhau quá *icon packman*, vậy nên bạn hài lòng với những gì tác giả viết, dù chưa thật sự thỏa mãn.

Tóm lại, Vice Versa là một fanfic đáng đọc, và càng tuyệt vời hơn khi bạn không cần xem Blade, cũng chả cần biết Scud là ai (biết gã do Norm thể hiện thì tốt^^), Deacon đến từ vì sao nào hay chuyện gì đã xảy ra ở canon là phim mà vẫn có thể thưởng thức trọn vẹn cái hay của truyện. Với những bạn thường đọc Đam Mỹ, sao không thử đọc fanfic này nhỉ, vừa đổi gió vừa rèn luyện tiếng Anh một chút (yên tâm là tác giả không đánh đố người đọc bằng từ ngữ quá cao siêu đâu).

Chút chuyện bên lề trước khi kết thúc bài:

Chuyện bên lề 1: Đây không biết là lần thứ bao nhiêu bạn Joel gặp fanfic mà nhân vật của Norm ‘nằm dưới’ (hint: Vice Versa có cảnh ‘xôi thịt’). Không rõ anh chú ăn ở thế nào mà fan gái khi viết fanfic rất hay ‘ưu tiên’ để anh chú ‘được’ áp thôi, bất kể đối phương là ai. Ngay đến men-lì như Daryl còn không thoát nữa là các bạn còn lại.

Chuyện bên lề 2: Thú thật là bạn Joel đến giờ vẫn không hiểu fan gái dùng cơ sở gì để ship Deacon x Scud. Đồng ý là hai bạn chung series nhưng người ở phần 1 kẻ phần 2, không có tương tác gì mà sao fan gái ship như đúng rồi thế nhỉ?! Mà 1, 2 fanfic, 1, 2 fanart còn hiểu được vì đa số crack cp đều vậy (chỉ 1, 2 người ship nên hàng ít), đằng này số fanfic và fanart từ Mỹ sang Nhật ngang ngửa số Blade x Scud rồi.

(Không lẽ nên xem phim để tìm hiểu?!)

Chuyện bên lề 3: Nhà bạn Deacon bộ có cái hồ bơi lộ thiên thả một đàn vịt cao su (?!) hay sao mà sao fanfic nào cũng nhắc đến vậy??? Nếu thật thì quan ngại cho tâm sinh lý và gu thẩm mỹ của bạn suckhead này quá.

Chuyện bên lề 4: Bạn muốn viết một fanfic ship Deacon với một trong những nhân vật của anh chú Norm, nhưng đang phân vân không biết nên chọn Scud theo truyền thống hay Travis (Gossip) hoặc Young Man (Dark Harbor) cho mới lạ?

Chuyện bên lề 5: (cập nhật 28/03/17) Bạn Joel rốt cuộc đã hiểu vì sao cp Deacon Frost x Scud ra đời. Số là ngày xửa ngày xưa có một bộ phim tên là Deuces Wild nói về hai băng đảng – Deuces và Vipers – ở Brooklyn vào thập niên 50. Số là ân oán tình thù giữa thủ lĩnh băng Deuces, Leon Anthony (Stephen Dorff – Deacon Frost), và thủ lĩnh băng Vipers, Marco Vendetti (Norman Reedus – Scud) là mâu thuẫn chính của phim. Đến đây là bạn đoán được rồi nhỉ?

[TBS] Methuselahs


Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: The Boondock Saints

Rating: Teens and up

Pairing: Connor MacManus x Murphy MacManus (yeah, it’s incest, or twincest)

Genre: fanfiction

Characters: Connor MacManus, Murphy MacManus, Romeo, mentions of others

Warnings: incest/twincest, vampirism


“Ya emit fear, Rom,” Murphy lazily cut him. “We smell it. One of tha many perks…”

“… of being vampires,” Connor finished for him. “Can’t blame ya though. We’re afraid of ourselves too.”

“But the priests all call you guys the Methuselahs. The long-lived ones, not some bloodsucking shits!”

Murphy sniggered. “Vampires,” he corrected. Let’s not bullshit it an’ call it like it is.”

The Lord had spoken to them thrice during their long lifetime.

The first time happened right after they had killed the two Russian thugs, turned themselves in and not been convicted. Their powerful awakening. Thunders from the dry, clear sky roared and deep understanding seared through their consciousness. His voice boomed and it resonated in their eardrums as their bodies sprang forth from the rickety beds, every muscle taut like a bow string, every fiber fiercely alive. A spiritual orgasm it seemed. In that dark, damp cell reeking of moss and old-timed filth they saw more than they ever had under the hot, glaring sun. Their eyes had been sewn shut and now they were cut open and staring at the ultimate truth.

“Destroy all that which is evil…” Connor began.

“… so all that which is good may flourish,” Murphy finished, flawlessly, not missing a beat.

And thus they faithfully heeded His command, picking up loaded guns and shedding blood in His name. Never once had they doubted the merit of each successful job.

Even when they were surrounded by God-fearing men, firearms raised and eyes behind plastic visors warily following the slightest move of their limbs. He was silent the whole time, giving them none of His guidance. They could do nothing more than dropping their guns to their feet. Executioners by the law of God surrendered to the law of man and put behind steel bars. Steel bars that could rust and turn to dust but never their faith. Together they prayed every night in their shared cell, hands clapped and faces lifted toward the tiny hole served as the window, bathed luxuriously in the thin stream of moonlight. After that they sought to comfort each other in the only way they knew since they were old enough to be aware of their heart’s desires and give in instead of fighting to suppress them. Sweaty skin on sweaty skin, ragged breath on ragged breath and naked limbs tangled on top of the rigid cement surface making a lame excuse for beds. With nothing to smoothen the passionate thrusts, they made do with what their own bodies produced and learned to grow accustomed to pains that would sting for days, barely faded until the next encounter. This was the only heaven they could reach, confined between closed walls without His guidance. Their refuge in difficult time. The Lord had not condemned them when they first did, and He sure wasn’t doing it now.

Neither did He speak to them, not in this sealed place, in this stale air. He would not speak to them in this place so stained with human faults although the last time he had reached them inside a cell. But that time was different. They understood and so they waited for the next sign, however long it might take. They even told Romeo such, when they saw one another during the brief break in the yard. Patience was a virtue rare that one had to fight to attain.

The second time the Lord raised His voice, it was in the secret cellar embedded deep in the bowel of the earth, under the holy foundation of an ancient church, mostly isolated from urbanization. Smecker and Eunice had busted them out of the Hoag by the skin of their teeth – not so bad for former FBI agents who had been classified ‘deceased’ for a couple of years. Then they had taken the brothers on an extraordinarily bumpy ride out of the city and into the road less ventured, till they reached this tomb of a Catholic church. It must have been glorious in its old days, but now all remained was layer and layer of dust piled up on the pews and altars like snow from yesteryear. The statue of Jesus Christ had been removed, leaving behind a glaring empty space. The basin for the holy water was filled with cobwebs. Neglected. Deserted. Lifeless. Void. Murphy, always the first to open his mouth while Connor was busy contemplating their new location, voiced their collective concern of where they were and why.

Smecker and Eunice, unable to answer, exchanged a look.

“Because the Lord has spoken,” said a voice behind the closed door of the confessional, “His voice loud and clear. And we obey.”

Connor and Murphy instantly reached for the guns hooked by their belts, given to them by their rescuers for self-defense. As they stared at the wrinkled but benign face, the well-worn rosary hung in front of the faded robe, they lowered their weapons, crossing themselves as they spoke at once, “Forgive us our impudence, Father.”

Wordlessly they followed the servant of God like sheep did their shepherd; Smecker and Eunice and Romeo trailed after them, also in silence. Down the stone steps they descended into the earth, the light going weaker and weaker until the candle in the aged priest’s hand became the only source of light.

Up until now, Connor and Murphy had never forgotten the moment they reached the end of the stairs and were graced with the blinding light from a thousand candles carefully arranged into a circle whose center was the statue of Jesus on the crucifix. His bronze skin was polished and glistened as if there was potent life moving underneath it. As they gazed at Him, speechless and awed, the Lord’s voice was a tidal wave crashing down on their consciousness, washing away the vestiges of their three years in prison so that their sand was pristine for His words to be etched on, bold and clear. Smecker, Eunice and Romeo watched them step in the circle and sink to their knees at the feet of Jesus Christ, all their movements synchronized like a machine, and they all realized they had never truly seen the brothers till now. They had seen the boys fool around, had witnessed they kill, but they had never looked at Connor and Murphy like this: solemn and faithful as they knelt in the presence of God, awaiting His command with their heads held high and their absolute belief illuminating their skin better than a thousand candles.

The old priest presented to them a wooden cup, or should they called it a ‘grail’ as it was rather distinct and bore a striking resemblance to the holy object described in the Holy scripture. No explanation needed to be given; the Lord had passed it down to them in their previous trance. It was Connor who took the grail and sipped its dark contents. Connor who always called the shots in whatever situation they were in. Connor went and Murphy flowed. Connor began the sentence and Murphy finished it. Connor drank from the grail and soon Murphy did too. It was salty, coppery and thick, what they drank, and it burnt through their throat like liquid flame. Images flashed like a film fast-forwarded: the supper, the crucifix, the crown of thorns, the unforgiving sun, flesh smoldering and the falling of bones, blood boiling… The final confirmation of what they just consumed. They felt themselves die, their flesh rot and their bones withered. Turned to dust, and dust to nothing. A thousand dawns condensed in a few seconds. From nothingness they were reborn, different and yet the same. They were Connor and Murphy MacManus and also they were not. They felt that they could understand the truth of the universe and also their knowledge did not amount to a grain of sand.

They opened their eyes and saw everything in a new light. The old priest, Smecker, Eunice, Romeo and a handful of other priests standing in the shadowed corner, hands clasping in mute prayers. Their surroundings were sacrilege beyond their vocabulary. Their senses flared and not only could the brothers make out every single detail on their features, they could also hear their heartbeats and the flow of blood singing in their veins. They had never heard more captivating music.

With their new eyes they looked at the statue of Jesus. In a split of a second his visage was altered – morphed into the face in their visions, one with the clouds of treachery in the fathomless depth of his eyes – before it returned to Jesus’s.

“Perhaps he too wished for redemption,” the old priest whispered, probably to himself but Connor and Murphy heard him all the same. A look of understanding crossed their faces: the dark-colored liquid they had consumed was blood and they didn’t have to ask whose; they just knew.

Nonetheless, their transformation was both complete and incomplete. In order for them to become what He willed them to become and serve Him, the brothers needed to be ‘baptized’. A seemingly abandoned eastbound warehouse, a storage and transiting place for one Asian gang’s heroine. Imagine the poison spread to Boston and all the state, countless lives festered and rot.

The old, stern priest gave them the location and they needed info but no weapon. The church was never in possession of firearm; it was against the principle of God. They wouldn’t be in need of guns and bullets anyway, the priest informed them, and they knew without any experience that he was right. Still, Connor and Murphy took the guns Smecker and Eunice had provided, meager as they were; otherwise their hands would feel empty without the cold, sleek metal. With their rosaries snuggled against their chests, giving their skin a burned imprint, they ascended the stairs and disappeared into the night.

“So…” trailed Romeo, lost for words as he was looking warily at the brothers, with their blood-soaked faces and clothes and silver eyes shining brighter than the fluorescent lights in their humble, temporary hideout.

They were on the move most of these days: slumbering by day and moving and hunting by night. The sun did little harm to them given the protection they had, but they both agreed their nature and activities were more appropriately confined to the cloak of night. Because in the night, the evils stirred, and so did they.

Connor and Murphy flopped down on opposite ends of the grease-stained couch in the middle of the place, never minding that their long limbs tangled uncomfortably. Although they were brimming with fresh blood, having fed on a whole branch of an Italian mafia organization, they were weary to the bones. They did not find the effort to peel themselves off the couch and wipe the blood, starting to congeal on their turtlenecks and pea coats.

Blood was a nasty thing. Hard to wash off and more often than not ruined the whole article. They found themselves out-wearing clothes at alarming rate these days.

“You guys alright?” Romeo found his voice at last. He had been feeling pretty useless these days. Redundant. Un-needed. Retreated to snooping on gangs in the local area and reporting to the brothers, but actually being on the ‘field’? Scarce as the Mexican desserts’ rain. Though neither of them said it out loud, it showed in their eyes that they’d rather go by themselves, just the two of them. Romeo found himself uncomplaining about this arrangement; he wasn’t sure he was after having witnessed the boys hobble back to the threshold of the abandoned church, their faces red like the Devil’s.

“Aye, Rom,” Murphy replied, “we just had an all-you-can-eat buffet. Why aren’t we?”

They weren’t. At all. Not after they had managed to drag each other back to the abandoned church drenched in blood. An orthodox form of baptism and oh-so fitting to this new existence they had been bestowed. For the good to flourish the blood of evils should flow like a river and in it they would swim and bathe and drink. It was the Lord’s will and He was always right, therefore it was right and it should feel right. But somehow it didn’t. Not when bits of human flesh scattered in their mouths and human blood fouled their breath and clung to their skin. Weren’t going for the flesh but it got stuck in between their teeth all the same. Felt like fucking cannibals although they had to constantly remind themselves that they were literally of another species merely masquerading as humans.

“You guys need a towel or something… to wipe the-the…” Romeo stuttered, using clumsy gestures to make up for his verbal inadequacy.

It was always like this after the boys came back, an awkward, heavy silence engulfing the confined space between the three of them until Connor and Murphy snapped out of whatever occupying their mind, which could take hours, even days, each time stretching just a little longer than the last. Back then it was never like this. Back then they would have scotch or tacos or sometimes both after a mission well done because good food and alcohol were best companion to their raging adrenaline. All of that felt like once upon a time.

“Yer afraid of us, Romeo.”

It was Connor who spoke, his voice bordering on fatigue. Not physically, of course. Never physically.

“No—yes—no, I mean—”

“Ya emit fear, Rom,” Murphy lazily cut him. “We smell it. One of tha many perks…”

“… of being vampires,” Connor finished for him. “Can’t blame ya though. We’re afraid of ourselves too.”

“But the priests all call you guys the Methuselahs. The long-lived ones, not some bloodsucking shits!”

Murphy sniggered. “Vampires,” he corrected. Let’s not bullshit it an’ call it like it is.”

“For tha record, we drink blood,” Connor said, his forefinger raised. “Shitton of it an’ we still want more. A lot more. Never enough. Never satisfied. Even as yer standin’ there, we see ya as a talkin’ blood bag. No offense ta yer person. It’s just the way we’re.”

Romeo dug and dug and found no humor in Connor’s joke. The truth was glaring too hard that any halfhearted attempt at humor dried up instantly.

He and the boys were different. They had been before but their difference could be effortlessly brushed aside due to their faith, their views and their purpose, due to their being humans. Now it wasn’t so easy to overlook their difference as it’d grown into a fucking ravine.

“Don’t worry, we keep our teeth in check,” Murphy assured him. “Barely, but we try. Moreover, these serve as our muzzles, ta make sure we won’t sink our canine into undeserving jugulars.” His finger tapped unrhythmically at the bangle around his left wrist, nail on metal creating a unique tone.

Around Connor’s right an identical bangle gleamed. Each one was carved with a cross and then filled with crimson liquid, which had crystallized and now looked like dark ruby. The old priest told them it was Jesus’s life essence collected from his crown of thorn. It served both as a protection and a reminder, a safety lock should their guns ever get out of control. To wear Jesus’s blood on their hands while Judas’ was flowing in their veins, they thought it the biggest irony to ever happen in their life.

“And if we take them off, well… tha sun, tha flame, wooden stakes, garlic, holy objects… ya name it, it’ll work wonder on us. Before ya know, ya’ll be scoopin’ up our fuckin’ ash from tha floor.”

“For how long?”

Connor reached into his pocket for his crumpled pack of cigarette. He gave one to his brother, bit one between his lips and lit them both. “Till there’s no evil left…” he replied, inhaling and blowing a ring of smoke, a far cry from the perfect circle his brother could produce with ease.

“… which is probably when humanity ceases ta exist,” Murphy murmured. He held the fume in his lungs, enjoying the burns since he knew it couldn’t do him any lasting harm. “Maybe then we’re finally be able ta retire from our job.”

Romeo’s gaze was transfixed on the tendrils of smoke curling around the boys’ fingers. The ‘Veritas’ and ‘Aéquitas’ inks only they knew how long they’d had glimmered on marmoreal skin. Their peculiar blood bleached and smoothened their skin – Connor’s lost its golden tint while Murphy’s became pure snow – so much so that they resembled a pair of marble sculptures if they remained immobile. The inks on their hands seemed even more alive than them at times. It didn’t help that they had developed a habit of lapsing into catatonic state when immersed in thought, which was unsettling to the only human in this odd trio.

“What would become of you guys then?” Romeo asked, feeling a shudder creeping his spine. Somehow he was afraid to hear their answer. He knew by then he would have already been long gone; not only him though, everyone they knew, Doc, Smecker, Eunice, Duffy and Dolly, would have been long gone and the boys would be left alone on their path. Such thought pained him so much he almost choked on his breath.

Murphy finally exhaled the smoke, having been able to hold it in longer than he could as human because he only breathed out of habit rather than necessity. His eyes on the plume of white smoke escaping his twin’s lips, Connor whispered, “And as the Almighty God created you…”

Murphy’s lips curved into the smallest of a smile. “… Now he calleth you home.”

Romeo could only hope that would be the case.

So he prayed for that every night before going to sleep, from that day to the day he left this realm.

The Lord had not spoken to them for a long while, and the brothers felt safe to assume He was pleased with their job; otherwise He would have them known by one biblical reference or another. The MacManus twins roamed from state to state and even went abroad, leaving in their wake a series of bizarre and gruesome murders where the victims’ throats were mangled and their blood mostly drained. They still saved their signature offing method to the one of the highest rank at the scene, more often than not having already shat himself after witness the carnage they’d engineered, to leave a nod for the human law enforcers and for the world at large that it was truly them and not copycats. On the other hand, they thrived on anonymity, drifting from one major city to another like shadows and keeping the lowest profile. Not once had they turned their heads upon hearing their names and deeds.

Romeo stuck with them through and through despite the fear still inaudibly present in his dark pupils, at times feeble as a dying cigarette tip and at times a vivid torrent threatening to manifest into something unsightly that could break their bonds for good. As a matter of fact, Romeo was the one to stay with them the longest, after the others had heeded His calling. Doc was the first, naturally, expectedly. His death descended upon him on a humid summer afternoon, swiftly and soundlessly. In the incessant cicadas’ cries he collapsed onto the floor, the glass he was cleaning slipping from his dotted hands and shattering into pieces. Connor and Murphy attended his small funeral from afar, wanting nothing more than to approach Doc’s coffin so that they could bid proper farewell to the old man who had become their family besides their Da and Ma. They couldn’t in apprehension that their presence would probably crush the solemn peace old dear Doc deserved. That and the fact they were failing to contain their tears, red and shining as they drew stark crimson streaks on their pallid skin. They no longer cried tear; when their heightened emotions became too overwhelmed, it was their victims’ blood that spilled instead.

Duffy’s and Dolly’s deaths came next, unexpectedly. Two years after Doc – the twins had been counting so they could remember – the news hit them on a crispy dawn in a modest B&B that two of their few friends had departed from this world. The TV was small and occasionally shown a static screen, and on top of it were the small, unphotogenic pictures of dear old Duffy and Dolly. Perished on the line of duty the news said. They had uncovered a cocaine-distributing lair of a Chinese gang, and as the Asian mafias paid a high price, the two brave detectives paid with their lives.

Despite their immortal bodies crying for a needed rest when the sun peaked through the clouds, they raced to the airport and caught the earliest flight to Boston, the blood of their recent kills buzzing in their systems. In the same week the two law enforcers died, the Chinese gangs supposedly responsible for their demises were wiped from the map in a manner that could only be described by the evening news later as ‘gratuitously brutal’.

They prayed and asked for His forgiveness as they, His hammer, had struck down with a personal cause.

Smecker’s and Eunice’s deaths were, fortunately, thankfully, a couple of decades later, when the two former-FBI-agents-turn-vigilantes reached their ripe old age. The brothers attended both funerals, lying about being the deceased’s old friends’ children coming to pay respect on behalf of their parents every time a curious person raised a question. They managed to keep a solemn and dry face throughout the service, saving their tears for later, when they were back in their hideout, which was usually a cheap motel where no receptionist would ask for their IDs as long as they had enough cash. Only then were they allowed to mourn their old friends, sobbing their blood tears into each other’s shoulder in both sadness and relief that Smecker and Eunice would be welcomed to the Silver City and joined by Greenly, Duffy and Dolly.

When it was finally Romeo’s turn, they were in a dingy motel somewhere near the border. The brothers had spent a few years in Mexico partly because Mexican soil was a futile bed for cartels and all sorts of wayward souls, and partly because they knew their friend’s time was near. It wasn’t a guess or a hunch but rather a hidden power they had discovered within themselves not too long after their turning. They had never told Romeo once that every time they sank their fangs into a human being’s vein, it was not only blood that they drew; it was the soul of that individual they drank, every flaw and every sin they had committed up until the moment of their death rolling on the brothers’ tastebuds – scrumptious if they were asked about the taste. The Lord was unmerciful to sinners and there was simply no redemption for those who found themselves at the ends of His Methuselahs’ teeth; their souls were torn apart, consumed and completely eradicated altogether so that they would never again soil the earth with their sins. So as not to pass wrong judgement Connor and Murphy were bestowed the ability to penetrate a human soul and obtain everything there was to know about that human, including their exact time of death. They kept that bit from Romeo, not intending to add more reasons for their friend to be afraid of them than he already had.

The brothers sat by Romeo’s deathbed, Connor to hold his shaking, bony right hand and Murphy the other. The couple last few years had robbed Romeo of his eyesight, and their friend no longer saw with his eyes but with his hands instead. He could tell with astounding precision which brother by merely a touch of his shriveled skin, and his occasional seizures could be calmed by Connor and Murphy holding his hands. How a simple gesture could do such wonder was beyond them, but it gave them huge relief that they were able to relieve their last friend of his pain, even just a little. Maybe there’s something holy in you that you never realize after all, Romeo said in one of his rare lucid moments, temporarily free from the clutch of painkillers.

“It’s been one hell of a ride, and I’m glad I’ve stayed with you guys as long as I could.”

With those words Romeo used up his last breath, his hands gone limp and slipping from Connor’s and Murphy’s grips. Their last friend, no more.

They didn’t shed a tear before, during and after Romeo’s Mexican funeral because if they did, Romeo would no doubt rise from his coffin only to laugh his ass off at their ‘being pussies’. Instead the twins brought whiskey and tacos to his grave, pretending for a night that time had rewound a couple of decades, their friend was with them and they could actually taste the delicious burn of chili sauce. Every kind of food tasted like ash on their tongues; only the blood and souls of the sinned possessed flavors. Being blood suckers had its perks like that.

The MacManus twins had started this mission by themselves and from now on they would carry on by themselves; no helpers, no friends, and the least connection to the human world if they could help it. No more blood tears and gut-wrenching pain in the inevitable loss of yet another mortal they’d outlived. Day after day the brothers battled loneliness with their cool skin gliding smoothly against the other’ and with their cold, hard arms wrapped around each other’s lithe form until they were thoroughly washed and cleansed again and again by their powerful twin climaxes. This was the only heaven they could reach as they lay curling around each other like the time they had shared their mother’s womb, and they found solace in their thought that their Da and Ma and their few but precious friends were enjoying eternal peace in the Silver City. One day, they hoped, when it was all over, the Lord would allow them to be reunited with their family and friends.

Without a short notice, apocalypse descended like God’s wrath, only it wasn’t the Beast that brought it but rather an outbreak. No one knew its exact cause, what with numerous unbacked theories floating around, but everyone knew it was deadly and it spread faster than an asteroid plunging into the earth’s atmosphere, and the damage it wrecked was nothing but awe-striking. One day it was peaceful and fine with people swarming the bustling streets just like any other day and the next, the same people were ripping their friends, their family apart with their bare hands, their eyes veiled by an opaque milky sheen, their skin falling off their flesh and soon, their flesh off their bones, and the single force driving their entire being was chomping as much meat, organs and brain as possible, preferably from their own kind. Those who miraculously didn’t get infected by the lethal disease soon found themselves slaughtered and devoured, and what remained of them would join the rapid-growing legion of mindless cannibals.

It was utter chaos that made Lucifer’s domain pale in comparison.

Connor and Murphy had slept over a day, bone-tired after a large-scaled mission, and when they rubbed their cold, sleep-laden eyelids and rose from their shared bed, the world outside their apartment had spiraled into absolute hell. Electricity was cut and the water supply soon followed while the waters in the lakes and river surrounding the city were already contaminated with blood and body parts. Everywhere the brothers went it was practically the same scenario: the buildings burnt and destroyed, the streets littered with bodies piled up, the dead roaming the earth, hunting the few surviving humans. Connor and Murphy managed to save some of them, but even those they’d saved soon succumbed to either the lethal virus lurking in their bloodstream or the severely degraded living conditions of no water and scarce food. Before long the brothers found themselves the only remaining proof of the human society. Oh the irony.

They had prayed to Him the very night the world turned upside down, beseeching His signs, His guidance. Their prayers went unanswered; around them only the incoherent snarling and hissing of the once-humans pervaded the air, His voice unheard, unspoken.

They began to think the Lord had forgotten them, and the human race in general; why else would He allow this catastrophe to happen? Even if there were a second coming of Christ, what would the savior do when there was no one left to save but a pair of God-blessed bloodsuckers? Then after some time, that thought had slowly warped into a belief made more and more concrete with each night passed that it was the Lord’s beckoning them home. They were supposed to destroy evil so that the good may flourish right? Well, take a look around. Was there any evil left? Any good? Everywhere it was the putrefying stench of dead minds that was alienated from both good and evil. Good and evil had both been flung into oblivion, alongside civilization, religion, the human society. They hadn’t seen a soul for such a long, long time they didn’t think they would be able to see through one if they happened to meet one. Starvation couldn’t kill them; no, that would be too generous of it. It gnawed at their insides, sapping their life force, sucking the marrow out of their bones and making them truly feel their age. They became sluggish, lifeless, the ‘Methuselahs’ not much different from the moving corpses surrounding them. They were worn out, body and soul, their faith as dry as their mouths. Hour and hour they asked each other when He would finally allow them their long-awaited retirement.

“If ya ask me,” Connor said, running his right hand absent-mindedly up and down his brother’s forearm, “the flame has certain poetry in it. Imagine our ash scattered in the wind. We could be everywhere. And as a plus, we won’t be worryin’ about our remains becomin’ zombies’ snacks.”

Murphy laughed, feebly. “Now ya wanna build a fuckin’ pyre or somethin’. For all I know, we can barely move our arses from this fuckin’ spot, let alone stand up and gather twigs. Hungrier than Bobby fuckin’ Sands here.”

Connor smacked his twin’s head without any real force, not that he had any left. “Yer fuckin’ retarded when yer hungry, ya know. ‘M not talkin’ about the fuckin’ pyre; ‘m talkin’ about the sun, man.” He flicked a glance at his right wrist, the ornament piece around which glinting as it caught the moonlight. He lifted his other hand, fumbled with the clasp for some seconds before he succeeded. The silver thing dropped to the ground with a clank. “If ya get what I mean.”

Murphy breathed a small laughed and did the same with his own bangle. It landed next to its brother. “The sun it is,” Murphy said. “I wish we had a joint right now. Wouldn’t it be heavenly ta have our last smoke before we’re crisped?”

Connor tsked but he laughed too. “Ya remind me the last time ya fought a horde of zombies fer a pack of cigarette.”

“Fuckin’ worth it. Literally the last pack on earth.” He took a short pause. “Ya think they have cigarette there, where we’re goin’?”

“Smoking might be a sin condemned, depends on where we’re goin’.”

“I hope Ma an’ Da are there,” Murphy whispered, after a while. “An’ Rocco, an’ Greenly, an’ Doc…”

Connor continued, seamlessly, “an’ Dolly, an’ Duffy, Smecker, Eunice, an’ Romeo. I miss them, Murphy. Really miss them.”

“Aye, so do I.”

Connor pulled Murphy’s head down so that his brother’s chin rested on his shoulder while he enveloped Murphy with his body.

“What’re ya doin’?” Murphy bleated, his voice muffled by the thick, coarse material of Connor’s jacket.

“Holdin’ ya like any big brother does.”

“Who appointed ya big brother?”

“C’mon Murph, we both know ‘m tha older one; just look at our sizes. We came ta this world intertwined, we’ll leave it the same, don’ ya think?”

Murphy huffed indignantly but protested no more. “Aye,” he said, clinging to Connor and burying his nose in the crook of his brother’s neck. His twin smelled old. He betted he had the same smell.

“Hey, want me sing ya a lullaby?”

“Fuck that.”

Connor’s frame shook with a laugh. He did not sing though; instead he was humming an old tune they used to hear their Ma singing to herself as she was preparing dinner in the kitchen. Murphy could almost sniff at the aroma of her stew dangling in the air. He had loved it and always asked for second.

With Connor’s humming in this ears, Murphy was lulled into the familiar dream of lush green Irish field, where he and Connor used to run barefooted, sun beams dancing across their naked, sweat-glistening backs.

It was almost comfortable when the first sun ray hit them, like reliving good childhood memories; nonetheless, it didn’t last long. It was hot, unpleasantly hot, and after a couple minutes, it became agonizingly hot. There was smoke rising through their outfits, then the fire started and their intertwined bodies were engulfed in white-hot flame. If they weren’t too busy trying to hold onto each other as they writhed in tremendous pain, they would be amused by how very much they resembled meat on a barbecue. Their skin sizzled, blackened and then burst, revealing the pinkish flesh inside, only to be cooked to a deep brown. The smell was hinting toward charcoal.

Still, the brothers made not a noise. Despite their being roasted alive, their minds were crystal-clear and they felt an odd sense of peace and content spreading along the flame, for they knew their suffering would be short-lived, and what awaited them once they were reduced to ash were the familiar faces of their loved ones, radiating with warmth welcome.

Or so they hoped.

It was as if someone switched the only neon bulb in the room off and darkness instantly took over. One blink ago it was a sun-lit midsummer day and the next, the sky was a solid black. Moonless, starless black. The flame died like a dying ember dumped into water before it finished its job on them. Connor and Murphy looked at each other and if their heavily disfigured faces were still capable of expression, they would both be painted with a look of bewilderment.

A single pillar of light penetrated darkness to bathe their bodies, or what remains of them when the skin and flesh had been melted off. Confused, they tried to crane their necks and looked up, yet it was so blinding that even with their enhanced vision, they saw nothing beside white.

And then His voice poured down on them. They were literally bathing in His words, His command.

Their path had not ended. He still had a mission for them, His Methuselahs.

They hadn’t felt the tears until they stared at each other’s face and noticed the shining red streaks, a stark contrast against their marmoreal skin. Their faces had healed. The light felt like warm liquid, gently submerged them, cradled them. They were in their Ma’s womb again, warm and safe and whole. Their bodies had been restored as they had been on the very night of this immortal existence. As they rose to their feet and stood with their backs straight, their heads up, they were two angels freshly descending on earth: pristine, mighty, divine. His power were coursing through their veins like electricity, changing them, rewiring them, renewing them so that they were once more His chosen servants, fitting to carrying out His assigned task. Not only their flesh but also their minds were revitalized with a flooding sense of purpose, of worth, of hope. Torching like this single pillar penetrating through the eclipsed sky. A hundred years of doubt, of uncertainty, of starvation and fatigue and despair from seeing the world doomed beyond save, washed off, clean. Just like the time in the secret underground church the twins were reborn a second time. From the very threshold of death they came back, stronger than ever, and they were ready to begin their journey anew.

The boys picked up their own bangle and clasped it around their respective wrist. The metal was unmarred, unsoiled and its cool, firm grip gave off reassurance and promise. This time, the Lord had shown them a glimpse of their longed peace. As long as they kept up their good work, the gate of His home would never close for them.

The sun had come up again, promising a humid day. The boys looked at each other and they burst into laughter.

“At least He shouldn’t leave us naked like this,” Connor said. “It’s symbolic, I guess, the rising from ash an’ all, but indecent.”

“Aye,” Murphy agreed, brushing off tiny spots of ash from his shoulders and arms. There was no telling if it was Connor’s ash or his. “Especially when we’re surrounded by such a large audience. Not a really fan of naturalism.”

Connor glanced at the mass of undead forming a tight circle around them but shying from approaching or attacking. Perhaps they were awed by what they had witnessed with their milky eyes, soulless as they were, or they were cautious merely out of primal instinct.

“Remember when I said I’d tell ya when we’re gettin’ low?” Connor asked. “Now we’re really gettin’ low, robbin’ tha dead of their clothes.”

Murphy wrinkled his nose, not trying to mask his disgust. “Jus’ wash ‘em first.” Taking a pause, he then added, “Then we’re goin’ south. Let’s hope one of those junks still work.” He glanced at the abandoned vehicles by the side, paying attention to one particular chopper; he hoped against hope that it wasn’t too broken because he really wanted to ride it. “I’d hate to walk; it’d be a long, long way.”

“Aye, ta south.”

To deep in the south, where the Lord had shown them, where a small yet persevering tribe of humans resided. Those survivalists had banded together to form a community of sort. And that was all the twins needed to know.

Where there were humans, there was good and there was evil.

Where there was evil, there were them. The Saints, the Methuselahs, the Shepherds of God.

Ready to obliterate the bad seeds so that the good may flourish.



Please excuse my attempt to write dialogues with the Irish accent.

I was inspired by the Trinity Blood manga in which vampires are called ‘Methuselahs’. The vampiric traits like silver eyes, pale skin and blood tears are my own inventions though.

[FDTD] Sink Your Teeth into My Neck


Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: From Dusk Till Dawn TV Series

Rating: Teens and up

Pairings: Seth Gecko x Richie Gecko (yeah, it’s incest), Seth Gecko x Kate Fuller x Richie Gecko (yeah, it’s threesome)

Genre: fanfiction

Characters:  Seth Gecko, Kate Fuller, Richard ‘Richie’ Gecko, Kisa/Santanico Pandemonium

Warnings: 3some, incest, language


“You fucking turned me into a monster!” Seth roared, finally snapping. “Now you’re egging me to act like one!”

“Monster, that’s how you’ve always seen us, despite all what you’ve been through,” Richie gritted through clenched teeth. “That’s how you’ve always seen me. Welcome to the club, big bro. We’re all equal.”

Amongst Richie’s many antics that came as bonuses of his culebra status, there was one in particular that Seth had mixed feelings about. Others, well, let’s say Seth’s attitude towards them ranged from annoyed (his keenness to pick up random, if not sometimes weird, talents from his kills) and disturbed (his habit to glare with slit-pupil eyes, bare his fangs and growl – positively animalistic – when they got into a heated fight) to downright disgusted (the bloody – no pun intended; he wasn’t British – mess he created with a meal, although recently he had taken Kate’s advice of ‘drink ‘em, turn ‘em, stake ‘em’ to clean up after himself but Seth figured it was Richie’s sanguinary lust rather than the mess that upset him – scared him actually). So, negative in general.

Feeding (Jesus how that word left a bad taste in Seth’s mouth), however, wasn’t the only culebra tic that involved blood; there was another and that was the one thing getting Seth’s feelings bewildered. For a lack of better, more scientific term if there was ever science about this whole serpent business, he would call it ‘being in heat’, courtesy of Kate when she accidentally walked in on them in the middle of it. Her reaction? She just grabbed the nearest sit-able object, sat down and observed them, wearing a look of amused curiosity on her pretty face, till they finished and descended from cloud nine and offered her own understanding from her high school biology’s knowledge. It was four-part awkward – embarrassing even for thugs like Seth and Richie – and six-part aroused to be the sole focus of her smoldering gaze, and if Seth hadn’t already flushed from what Richie’d done to him, he might have blushed like a fucking teenage punk. “Many girls like watching guys in sweaty action,” Kate had nonchalantly explained it to them later, “bonus points if the guys are hot. It’s not very different from guys watching porno.” Preacher’s daughter, right. They both came to a realization that they had vastly underestimated their little princess. Kate Fuller never ceased to amaze them, for better or worse, and they were heads over heels for her because of that.

Back to the ‘being in heat’ business. He didn’t know if snakes, both with and without legs, were ever ‘in heat’ and he didn’t really care; nevertheless, when he contemplated it at some point during his idle time, Seth had to agree that Kate’s term was really the best description. He had thought it came sporadically at first, but as it’d happened again and again, he had begun to believe there might be a pattern, which he was too occupied with many other affairs to try figuring it out; for Christ’s sake he had no habit to keep a calendar for his little brother’s ‘periods’. No luck asking Richie when it arrived either; the fucking dumbass probably had even less idea than Seth. He could safely guess it didn’t bother Richie as much as it should have, and fairly so because it didn’t hamper his ability to plan a job or execute one and when it came to pay a visit, it always conveniently happened where it could be thoroughly dealt with. The lucky bastard.

So, here was how it basically went: some time during a humid day (Seth theorized that it had something to do with the temperature, what with his brother being cold-blooded and all but he was no zoologist), Seth was doing whatever shit he was doing in their place, binge-watching a show, having a chilled beer, working out, heck, even taking a brief shower to cool himself, when Richie emerged from their room while he ought to be slumbering his ass out like a nocturnal creature would. Then he stalked to Seth, having that dazed look as if he was sleepwalking, suddenly grabbed Seth by his collar (if he was wearing a shirt), fanged out and sank his cute little fangs into his elder brother’s goddamned jugular. What he did he did with a viper-strike speed that left Seth very little to absolutely no chance to defend himself. One could argue that Seth should have learned a thing or two after having been jumped so many times but no, culebra-Richie in heat was a dozen-plus times faster than culebra-Richie and even if Seth fully knew it was coming from all the telltale signs, all his fucking reflex was never enough to get him out of Richie’s clutch. At first he had tried to run but a few steps was the best he could manage. Damn all the shades in the place once and his inability to just incapacitate Richie with a lead twice – couldn’t find it in his heart to hurt his little brother, even if big culebra boy could take so much more than a mere bullet. In grim retrospect, Seth was convinced that if every culebra normally behaved like Richie did, the Mexicans wouldn’t have survived long enough for the Spanish conquistadors to land on the shore and convert them.

The first time Richie had jumped him, Seth had been convinced that his brother had intended to kill him for good. Maybe he had been containing his urges for so long and it had backfired on him; maybe he had finally lost it, his bloodthirsty culebra side taking over; maybe he had reached what was called the ‘ripper’ state (got that term from a teenage vampire show that was a bit too violent for teenagers) and sought to rip anything on legs in sight. Seth had feared for Kate when she got home despite knowing their girl could handle much more than Seth ever gave her credit for, but if it was Richie, Kate’s guard would go way down, making her the perfect prey. Seth tried to jerk himself free, kicking and using many tricks from his dirty book but Richie’s grip was uncompromising. All his efforts had been in vain, just like the first time at Titty Twister.

That fucking first time.

Reality proved that Seth’s overthinking tendency once again got ahead of the situation – in most situations it was an advantage, allowing him to judge and react promptly. Richie’s fangs did find his artery but didn’t sink in as deeply as necessary to mangle the flesh like Seth had watched him in the act before. He took his damn sweet time to mouth at Seth’s neck, his lips dry and cool yet feeling like amber pressing on Seth’s skin. His snake tongue darted out between his lips to gather the droplets seeping from the twin wounds while his arms caged Seth and his hands roamed over his brother’s body, cupping a little here, squeezing a little there, altering between tenderness and sadism and making Seth shiver against his taller frame, his hairs standing on end. It was so wrong on so many levels, to have your own brother touching you in all the wrong places, and yet to Seth it felt so damn right he could weep (it was figurative speaking). He thought he was supposed to feel profound shame but he didn’t; rather, he enjoyed Richie’s ministrations, questions of moral and such be damned. Again, what aspect of their life that wasn’t wrong for others but right for them: from growing up without a mother figure, becoming orphans at young age and professional criminals when they got older to sharing the love and body of one girl and being more than cool about it? As far as Seth was concerned, this was just another bullet point in the long, seemingly unending list of Gecko quirks.

When Richie finally began to suck, he did it at such a torturously low pace that the earlier panic of his brother going off the rail receded from Seth’s mind, replaced by puzzlement and, well, if he had to admit it, arousal, a huge rush of blood traveling south. Brutality wasn’t the only essence of Richie’s feeding; there was also speed, sharp, ruthless speed that allowed his victims five to eight seconds to struggle at most; unlike how many sappy shows took artistic license in portraying vampirism, Richie didn’t prefer to drag out his meal, and if there was something to savor, it wasn’t the taste but the satisfaction that his culebra system had been efficiently nourished and he had absorbed some useful skill from the once-whole soul.

Richie drank languidly, taking small sips of life essence from Seth. Blood was the conduit of the soul, as he liked to remind his brother, and Seth hallucinated his soul was inevitably leaving his flesh suit, piece by piece, due to Richie’s pull. What did his soul taste like on Richie’s culebra taste bud? He had plenty of sins and he wondered if that had any particular effects on the flavor because Richie seemed determined not to let go of him until he was satiated. One of his arm held Seth in place, keeping him standing although Seth’s legs were liquefying, while the other dipped below his waistband. His tight jeans strained against Richie’s knuckles as he started to fondle Seth.

Nobody ever questioned Richard Gecko’s multitasking ability, certainly not Seth.

Before he had fully registered what the heck Richie’s problem was, Seth found himself flat on his brother’s cool naked body, trying damn hard to catch his breath with heavy pants after exertion in the state of blood loss. He had no more clothes than his brother, his skin was uncomfortably sticky and his neck throbbed with dull pain. He lifted his forefinger to scratch the wounds and was unsurprised to see reddish brown crusted under his fingernail.

“The fuck, Richard?” Seth growled, voice hoarse. He forced himself to unlatch from Richie’s body and grimaced with a sting immediately shooting up his spine from where he’d been ‘duly fucked’. Guess some irresponsible idiot of a brother had hastened the prep. “Didn’t we agree that you kept your fangs 31256 fucking miles away from my neck?”

Richie rubbed his eyelids and opened his eyes, the whites of which being bloodshot.  “I don’t know, man,” he replied, half-groaning and Seth could almost hear honesty in his voice. “I woke up with this incredible urge blazing in my guts to re-taste the first blood I’ve ever had. I couldn’t help myself.”

“That’s it? You were in the mood for a snack after your nap and you jumped me?”

“Your blood,” Richie corrected. “In case you forgot, the first blood I’ve had was yours.”

“You know what, Richie,” Seth said, curling his fingers, “I’m having this incredible urge blazing in my guts right now to knock your fangs off with my fist.”

Then he acted on it. Nobody ever doubted that Seth Gecko was not a man of his word.

(No fangs was knocked off but Richie suffered a temporarily broken nose, which healed right after the first crimson drop dotted the duvet. Kate still questioned it however.)

After a couple more broken noses and the extension of his flame tattoo, Seth decided to give Kisa a call because there was nothing abnormal about chinwagging with his brother’s ex in his free time. Fire-forged friends, he and the serpent queen were.

He was considerate enough to call at the time she wasn’t burying herself under the bed sheet to avoid the sun. Kisa, on the other hand, wasn’t considerate enough to not find his current situation with Richie amusing. Seth could hear her laughter bubbling on the other line, waiting to burst.

“That’s what happens when Richard didn’t listen to me,” Kisa said.

“Excuse me?”

“His first blood has to be his first kill, Seth,” she replied. “Culebra system’s funny like that. Usually it doesn’t pose a problem as baby culebras don’t have enough self-control to spare their first victim like Richard did. It takes a lot of practice.”

“His first blood happens to be mine,” Seth snarled. “Are you saying Richie should have done me?”

Kisa, being Kisa, possessed no tact bone in her snake skeleton. “Yes, he should. But he didn’t, and now he’s plagued with an occasional craving for your blood. I’m surprised you’re still alive after, what, how many times already? Are you still man?”

“Every goddamned bit,” he barked. “Tell me how to fix it.”

“Putting half a state between you and him. The distance should help.”

“Not an option.”

“Killing you.”

“Fuck that.”

“Killing him.”

“Fuck you.”

“Then it’s incurable.”

Did he hear a chuckle from her?

“Thanks a ton.”

Grunting, he hanged up.

As time went, Seth began to accept that he might not abhor Richie’s little ‘episodes’ as much as he thought he had and that where the confusion started. He still felt anger, and if he dared to admit, vulnerability, shimmering in his stomach when his brother ‘was in the mood for a snack’, but each time it took Richie a little less effort to have his older brother squirming in his tight embrace, fully aroused and ready for come what may. Seth was surprised himself to discover that he could get hard while his neck got bitten – had never been one to have blood kink or enjoy any blood-related kind of foreplay. Nevertheless, he supposed what really got him was the side of Richie that lurked under his calm and collected exterior yet rarely surfaced. He was never not treading carefully around Seth and Kate as if subliminally scared by the prospect of his culebra instincts triumphing his human mind and hurting his two dearest people in this world. It particularly showed when they engaged in copulation: Richie was always thoughtful, always gentle and always held back; no matter how Seth and Kate tried to coax him into adding a little roughness to their ritual for the sake of fun, he didn’t comply. But this Richie was different: he acted less on his rationality and more on his nature, meaning he had foregone his usual self-imposed restraint. That made him more open, more vulnerable and generally more like the little brother that was the core of Seth’s protective-big-brother syndrome. How Seth just loved it.

So, when Richie once again wrapped his arms around him and penetrated his jugular vein, Seth only muttered a small curse under his breath and resigned to his fate, hoping the boring part would pass quickly for the fun one to start. It was a sweltering afternoon in June and he was aching to release a bit of the heat by some sweaty actions – not the soundest logic to exert in hot temperature but still. It was a shame Kate had left earlier to attend Scott’s rock concert; he would much prefer her to be home – her presence and her gaze on them showing unveiled excitement made things all the more better.

That meant Seth wasn’t prepared for a stab of heat entering his bloodstream through the puncture wounds and the burning sensation went straight to his brain. It was pain, pure searing pain, the kind one couldn’t describe unless they had been injected with a syringe full of acid and somehow survived that to put it into words. Seth’s vision went white in milliseconds and his voice’s crying Richie’s name came out broken. He tried to break free but Richie’s arms were unyielding as they snaked around his torso like iron vines. Seth realized, perhaps for the first time, with grim despair how wide the gap between his own strength and Richie’s was. He might have won their fights before using tricks but in a fair test of brawl like this, he against Richie would not be different from a Xibalban jaguar warrior against a newborn culebra. His last thought before his brain shut down was “It’s really bad.”

It was also his first thought when his brain restarted and he found himself in the darkness of their shared bedroom. The lights were completely off and since their room was underground, there was no window and streetlight to give some indications of time, yet Seth knew it was precisely six hours till dawn thanks to the grandfather clock on the wall. That was when his entire being was alarmed: despite the ink-thick darkness engulfing the room, he could see the hands of the clock as if in full light. Not only the hands of the clock but just about every object in this room and all the characters on the movie posters. Sight was not the only aspect this weird sudden acuteness touched; his sense of smell and sense of hearing were also enhanced. As his nose singled out the many scents mingled in the air, the sweats dried and forming a sheen on his skin, the new turquoise paint Kate had picked for their room’s makeover (Richie’d complained about the smell for hours on end), the lavender-sweet perfume on Kate’s vanity, sounds flooded into his ears and strangely enough, he could distinguish them as he did the scents. Because his hearing had gotten so keen, the beating of his own heart, in sync with another’s, was thunderous.

Seth was certain he wasn’t born a superhuman and a few hours ago, he had had none of these super-senses. It was as if his ordinary senses had been scooped out and replaced with extraordinary. For all he knew, it could only mean one thing.

Seth made out Richard’s features effortlessly: the lines of his jaw, the shape of his nose, his cheekbones, even the blue tint in his eyes, fixing on Seth’s face like there was nothing else in the world worth seeing. Normally Seth would be so turned on by such look and would want nothing else than to drag his brother into the carnal pleasure they both knew was sinful and wrong but neither cared. But today Seth got a humongous turn-off looking at Richie’s face: his expression was serene but focused, a stark contrast to the shadow clouding Seth’s, and the fact that his brother looked so calm, with no hints of remorse for what he had done, was a claw raking Seth’s insides, tearing him to shreds. Anger wasn’t enough to describe the torrent of Seth’s emotions at the moment, for anger was too simplified a word for what he was feeling. He wasn’t just furious; he was wounded by a bone-deep knowledge that his own blood had betrayed him, and god, was there even a greater agony than betrayal?

Holding that calm yet intense gaze, Richie extended his hand to Seth’s cheek. His skin no longer felt so cold as before; it felt normal and to Seth, everything that felt normal at the moment was freaky, just like what he’d turned into.

Been turned into.

“Now your fear due to our difference in strength is no more,” Richie said, his tone even. “Is that what’s been going inside your head the whole time? To be the only man in this snake pit and having to be on gua—”

Seth’s fist connected with his jaw, knocking his remaining words back and making him swallow them. The crunching noise beat against his eardrums. Painful, all this enhanced senses were; how a man could get used to them, he wondered. Still, it would not halt his hand from clamping around Richie’s neck. How fragile his brother’s bones felt under his fingertips. His fingers clawed, and he was raging with tangible, physical urge to rip Richie’s throat out. It would be a piece of cake with his newfound strength. The beast in him was hissing and spitting venom. The eyes in the vanity fair’s mirror staring back at him were glowing amber and in the center, two vertical black strips resembling a snake’s tongue stood out.

You’ve found your own venom, Kate’s words hauntingly echoed in the back of his head.

“Do it,” Richie wheezed, struggling to find his voice against the steely constriction applied on his throat. “I know you want to do it, rip my throat out. Do it now. Vent your anger. Don’t hold it in.”

The fingers tightened; a fraction of strength added and flesh would tear and bones would snap. Seth held it right there, just one short step between retaining his humanity and giving in to bestiality. Eventually he would give in – a bloodsucker could only withheld for so long before he had to feed. He didn’t know how long he was able to postpone the inevitability.

“You fucking turned me into a monster!” Seth roared, finally snapping. “Now you’re egging me to act like one!”

“Monster, that’s how you’ve always seen us, despite all what you’ve been through,” Richie gritted through clenched teeth. “That’s how you’ve always seen me. Welcome to the club, big bro. We’re all equal.”

“We had a fucking promise, Richard, one you trampled on and dumped into shithole: you keep your venom to yourself! Never to Kate. Never to me!”

Richie laughed; although it came out chocked and distorted, for Christ’s sake he just fucking laughed. It was a harrowing sound that sent chill down Seth’s spine, if his snake skin could still feel chill. He supposed the chill was mental rather physical.

“What about our promise to never keep a secret from one another, huh?” Richie deadpanned, human eyes staring into Seth as if intending to drill the question through Seth’s skull and into his brain.


“Blood is the conduit of the soul, remember, brother; when your blood is rushing to your cock, your mental defense sadly weakens. And if all that soul-sharing shit ain’t enough…” said Richie, taking the advantage of Seth’s grip going lax to sit up a little and open the drawer of the nightstand. He took out a crumpled piece of paper, somehow managed to straighten it out with one hand in awkward angle and handed to Seth. Seth’s eyes snapped back to his dark human ones as he scanned the contents. A lump formed in the back of his throat.

“Really, Seth?” He was using that bitingly sarcastic tone he often used to mock Seth, sometimes for fun and sometimes to drive him insane. “Cancer? The great Seth Gecko, professional thief, Xibalban slayer, dying of lung cancer?”

Seth was mute. Richie, not waiting for any reply, continued, “You know what stamps your ass as a particular jerk, besides planning to keep it to yourself till the last day and just leaving behind a note saying ‘Hey, I’m off for a romp with that bitch Amaru, you guys stay and behave’? You don’t think you can survive it at all. You already give up before it begins.”

Seth thought he needed a Jupiter-sized bottle of scotch to swallow his lump. He managed to do it without and raised his voice. “So you pried into my stuff and then my head and decided to take matter in your own hand. Damning me to the fate of a reptile, is that what your genius snake brain says is the right thing?”

“It is the right thing,” Richie retorted. “Don’t think for a second that I’d stand by and fucking watch my brother die of cancer. I did what every brother would do.”

“No, you did it because you’re a selfish bastard—”

“Who doesn’t want to lose his brother,” Richie cut him sharply. “Tell me if it’s so wrong for me to want you to live. Think about Kate. You honestly want her to suffer another loved one’s death?”

“You leave Kate out of this. She has—”

This time, it was Richie’s fist rather than his words that cut Seth off. Having received an unexpected blow, Seth fell flat on the mattress, losing his threatening stance.

“That’s for Kate, prick,” cursed Richie. “She’s one of us. She is us.”

The cut on Seth’s lips healed before any blood spilled and any pain registered, but he was in no mood to pay attention to such triviality. He sprung back and in a fraction of a second, he resumed his hold on Richie, his eyes supernaturally glowing.

He was mildly disappointed that his brother was mostly submissive except for his eyes, two twin amber flames that were identical to Seth’s. The roof of his mouth itched. Must be his fangs aching to be out.

“Don’t use her as an excuse, Richard,” Seth hissed. “You crossed a line and that’s that.”

“Right, I crossed my line, after you crossed yours. Guess that makes the two of us, huh? Well, you may hate it, or me, as much as you like, but there’s no undo button for what I did and—”

A phone buzz halted Richie’s speech. Kate’s name appeared on the screen of his phone on the nightstand. He gestured for Seth to pick it up.


Kate sounded excited on the other line. Though her voice was almost drowned in the sea of loud music and louder cheers, Seth had no trouble hearing her.

“Oh, Seth, I call to let you know that I’m gonna be home a bit late. After-concert party and all. So don’t worry about me, ‘kay?”

A moment of hesitation and she continued, a shift in her tone, “Please don’t kill Richie while I’m not home.”

Seth’s voice reflected his confusion. “What did you say? You knew what he did?”

He heard Kate take in a breath. “Yes. We’ll talk about it later, alright? For now, please don’t kill Richie.”

She repeated as though she sincerely believed, or feared, that he would tear Richie’s head from his neck. A portion of Seth’s wrath dissipated because of her pleading tone; as the same time, realization dawned on. He hang up.

“She knew, didn’t she?” Seth asked. He didn’t dare voice his suspicion that Richie and Kate might have planned it together.

“She found that piece of paper,” replied Richie. “Your blood confirmed it. Your mortality is inevitable because you’re fully human, unlike us, and it’s a subject we all try to skip around. But neither of us wants to lose you. At least not that soon.”

Seth’s rage had already reached its peak and now, he no longer felt it so scorching in his chest. Instead, exhaustion seeped in, exhaustion and something else.

The itch in his mouth only worsened. He tried to be ignore it and failed.

“You know, Kate refused to be turned even on the verge of death…”

“Her father also asked her to stake him because he didn’t want to become a bloodsucker.”

“I know. Her blood showed me when Malvado cut our palms. You know what else I got from her blood? A deep regret that perhaps she should have tried to convince Jacob to continue living. She doesn’t want to go on without you. Neither do I.”

His stomach was churning. In his ears, the rush of blood, both in his veins and Richie’s, became tidal waves. He only caught about half of his brother’s words.

Richie’s hand caressed the side of his face, fingers dry and cool. “What I was saying earlier is there’s no reversing what I did—”

“So I just have to roll with it, don’t I?”

“You won’t know if you’re cut out to be a culebra until you become one,” said Richie, slightly pressing his thumb at the corner of Seth’s lips. “From what you’ve done so far, I’d say you’re rolling with it just fine.”

Fine my ass, Seth mentally cursed as his self-control slipped and he bit Richie’s thumb, eliciting a shudder from his brother.

Richie tasted bitter, like bourbon-bitter and just as intoxicating.

For the very first time Seth had experienced the mystical engine of soul-sharing. Images flashed before his eyes like fast-forwarding a movie at top speed.

“Easy, brother.”

The thumb was removed from his mouth. Dazed, he stared at Richie’s face with yellow eyes, his mouth agape and his fangs glistening with saliva.

He didn’t expect Richie to crane his neck and bare his vein to him. “Come on, brother. Satisfy your hunger. You’ve fed me so many times, and I think it’s time for me to return the favor.”

Seth just smirked. Even without Richie’s offering himself to him, he would take it; he was ravenous and the prospect of finding a prey didn’t seem very appealing to a newly turned culebra with zero experience in the hunting business. If he had to spend the rest of his time as a snake, he might as well learn to be one properly. Not today though; today he wanted ready meal.

One hand pressing into Richie’s chest to hold him down, Seth dived in.

“How is he?”

“Belly full, neatly tucked in and peacefully sleeping,” Richie answered, gesturing to the body sprawling on top of his. Seth wasn’t exactly light-weighted and he hadn’t been able to relax for the past few hours. Half of his own body had gone numb, something he hadn’t known a culebra was capable of. Kudos for new discovery.

Kate was standing at the door, clad in form-hugging jeans, leather jacket and a Fanglorious tee –  special edition. Her hair was let loose and a bit tousled and her makeup smudged.

“Did you have a good time?”

“It was fun,” Kate replied, approaching the bed with ease in spite of the thick darkness. “The after-party was really wild though. I haven’t attended a party for so long I was a bit overwhelmed.” A short pause, her eyes gazing down at Seth. “So he’s a culebra now.”

“Yes. He was pissed off. Probably still is when he wakes up.”

Kate sat down on the mattress, her hand reaching to touch the side of Seth’s face as a habit. She decided against it, not wanting to disturb his sleep. “Shouting-pissed-off or punching-pissed-off?” she asked, scanning the walls. “Not shooting-pissed-off, I guess?”

“Biting-pissed-off,” Richie said, half-chuckling. “He nearly drained me. I almost believed he wanted to kill me in wrath but no, he was just hungry, like every other newly turned culebra.”

“No wonder you look so haggard,” Kate commented.

“Your eyesight has been upgraded again, I see.”

“I’m belonging more and more to the night as time passes. You want the neck or the wrist?”


“Feeding, Richie. It’s too late to get you some pervert who messes with underage girls and expects to get away with it. You don’t want to show up in front of your employees tomorrow looking like the walking dead, do you?”

“Technically, I’m mostly dead,” he quipped. “Wrist, that’d be easier to moderate my drinking.”

Unceremoniously she brought her right wrist to his mouth and unceremoniously, he took her offer. They had done it a couple of times before, her feeding him when preys were dire, and every time, he went to great lengths to give her the least discomfort as possible.

She tasted like sweet strawberry popsicle on a summer day, cool and soothing just like he remembered, but today there was a little spice added to the usual flavor. She had been drinking at Scott’s party so it didn’t startle him. He caught glimpses of the concert through her bloodstream: Scott screaming at the top of his lungs, the fans chanting his name like he was some sort of god, Scott pulling her to the stage, them singing together and having quality sibling-bonding time.

She had had a good time. Richie smiled upon learning that. He retracted his fangs shortly after, flicking his tongue against her pulse to bid adios to her soft, fragrant skin. Above him, she moaned.

Gochisousama deshita, as the Japanese say ‘Thank you for the meal’.”

A small smile graced her lips. “The way Seth is, I suppose we can kiss goodbye to all the love gloves stuffed in the drawer.”

Richie nodded. “He wasn’t particularly happy about that. Said I ‘castrated’ him and ended the Gecko bloodline.”

“Always elegant with his choice of word. Besides, I’m not sure I should have babies with the queen of hell’s blood making me more Xibalban every day.”

“We can adopt,” he suggested, “if that’s what you want.”

“Kids adopted by a family of snakes? Sounds very Grimm. Besides, I’m eighteen, Richie. I haven’t reached the age to seriously think about having children yet.”

Kate shrugged out of her boots and her jacket and stripped down until she was only wearing her tee and her panties. She let out a long, open-mouthed yawn while she pulled her bra out under the tee and discarded it on the heap of clothes. “Right now I want to have a long sleep. Urg, Seth’s hogging you, again. Is there’s still space for me?”

“There’s always space for you,” Richie answered, patting the mattress on his right.

She grinned, climbed on the bed and nestled against his right side. “Fitted like a glove,” she mumbled. “We have a lot to talk about tomorrow.”

“We do, but for now, goodnight, Kate.”

“You mean, good morning?”

“Yeah, good morning, Kate.”

Then he kissed the top of her hair, taking in the scent of her hair, and closed his eyes.

Richie might have drifted off for a few minutes when Kate’s voice raised. “Do you think the ‘first blood, first kill’ rule applies to culebras as well?”

“I haven’t heard about it, not from Kisa,” he replied sleepily. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, it just hits me that Seth’s first blood was yours, so…”

A moment of silence. “Right…” Richie muttered under his breath. “I may need to give Kisa a call tomorrow…”

The next evening he gave his ex a call and later wished he hadn’t.



As I was writing this story, it suddenly occurred to me how incredible it was for Richie to not only keep his venom for himself but also control his thirst to not drain Seth in 1×10. He was a newborn culebra and starving and moreover, he’d had tasted Seth’s blood. Yet he was able to take just a little blood and stop although he had stated ‘I couldn’t help it’ earlier in the labyrinth.

This story happens in the same universe as other FDTD fanfics I wrote Don’t Think About Tomorrow (We’ve Only Got Today) and ‘Tis a Night at Jacknife Jed’s (which explains why Richie can speak Japanese).

Title came from Simon Curtis’s song Flesh.