[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (6)

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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

Summary:

For all the short time Paul had been acquainted with Rick Grimes, he had never heard the tough police officer’s voice break like when he informed Paul, “Daryl was shot.”

Alternate universe. Established relationship.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4     Chapter 5


 

I never dreamed that I’d love somebody like you

Wicked Game

Daryl closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. The quintessential scent of blood was flooding his nostrils, making his head swim and his heartbeats quicken. It had been relatively calm, his heart, almost dormant in a sense as the paralysis had spread to his entire torso. But soon as Paul had come back – left for about five seconds – with a blood bag, it started thumping against his ribcage like an impatient fist knocking relentlessly on the door. It may be just his imagination but the numbness seemed to recede, if only a little, and he felt a prickling sensation along his spine as well as the tips of his fingers and toes. He started to grasp how essential blood was to a vampire, which he was about to become. The thought twisted a knot in his stomach, from anxiety or anticipation he couldn’t tell.

“I jus’ rip the bag an’ drink?”

“I brought a straw in case you need,” Paul replied, tone coated with light teasing. He sat down beside Daryl and resumed their earlier position.

“Nah.” A beat, and then Daryl asked, “Is that how ya often drink it, with a straw?”

During their time living together, not once had Daryl seen Paul drink. He always took his ‘daily supplements’ – his own words, to make it less awkward for the both of them – when Daryl was not home, taking extra care in clearing away the empty bag as well as the metallic taste in his mouth. Truth be told, Daryl thought he probably wouldn’t be too bothered if Paul was less meticulous in covering up his vampiric traits – surely he wouldn’t pass out if he happened to come across a used blood bag on the kitchen counter – but Paul, being Paul, was adamant. Daryl suspected this was a result of a past incident but he wasn’t one to pry into private affairs unless there was a valid reason. Now that Paul just mentioned a straw, Daryl wondered if that was how he usually did it: slurping the bag’s content like he drank a slurpee.

Paul rounded his eyes comically and then snorted. “No, drinking blood from a blood bag is weird enough, no need to make it weirder, right?”

“Weird as compared to chompin’ a random guy’s neck? Thought vampires prefer that.”

“I’d not like to upset my dentist, thank you,” he said. “But yeah, most prefer the veins to a blood bag. Hot meals beat frozen meals any day. Not to mention there’s the urge inherent to us, our natural inclination to violence. Some are just better at suppressing it than others.”

Daryl looked into Paul’s eyes, illuminated by the dying rays of sunset, and felt fear surging in his heart. “What if I belong to the ‘others’?” He didn’t realized he had sucked in a breath. “What if I start killin’?”

Paul’s gaze was the softest Daryl had seen as it was fixed on him like he was the only thing in the whole world worth seeing. He was transfixed by the subtle yet constant glide along the color spectrum Paul’s irises did. It was a mesmerizing challenge trying to figure out the true color of his eyes, one Daryl enjoyed but would never tell.

“I know it’s hard,” Paul began, “especially for newcomers. When I turned, it was like hell to me. New, perplexing, exhilarating hell. But I was fortunately to not go through it alone and you won’t have to either, I promise…” He took Daryl’s hand in his, giving it a squeeze. “I will be with you for as long as you want to have this old bat by your side… Even when you don’t want me anymore, you know how clingy I am.”

The playful smirk on Paul’s lips after he deliberately stressed the word had the tips of Daryl’s ears aflame with embarrassment. The pressure of Paul’s powerful thighs clamping either side of his waist in a few times they did it on the kitchen counter was too fresh on his mind for him to not react even though he was technically paralyzed from the neck down. Dam Paul and his knacks for innuendo.

“Ya sure ya ain’t proposin’ because that sounds hella like a proposal,” Daryl said, trying to gain some purchase for his embarrassment.

The playful smirk vanished entirely, replaced by a serious expression. The change had Daryl shoot him a quizzical look.

“Yes, Mr. Dixon,” he said, holding his gaze, “this is me proposing to you. Will you do me the honor of becoming my partner for life, or un-life, to be more precise?”

Daryl just stared at him, all the air knocked out of his lungs. It was as if his brain had been short-circuited, and in this moment, he entirely forgot his need to breath. The spontaneity and casual manner in which the proposal came would have led him to doubt whether Paul was merely making a joke but for the way he articulated each word. Paul might be a world-class joker but when he spoke like this, slow and clear, he meant every word coming out of his mouth, even if they were the most absurd of absurdity. The raw earnest blazing in his eyes set Daryl on fire.

This was just like when Paul said the three simple words and changed his life forever for good.

“Daryl?” A fearful note in his key. “Are you alright? Am I too sudden?”

Daryl sucked in a long breath, finally remembering that he needed to breathe. The heat on his face was almost unbearable and he doubted the color would be pretty – he knew he colored easily. Another proof that Paul was dead-serious was that he hadn’t jumped at the opportunity to tease him like he normally would.

“Might as well get on one knee,” Daryl muttered, and didn’t mean a word. He only needed to say something to distract himself from the maelstrom of emotions.

Yet Paul, having super hearing, didn’t miss a syllable. He gently let Daryl lean on the tree and immediately knelt before him.

That was not the end of Daryl’s surprise though, for Paul reached into his pocket and procured a small, velvet box. Daryl’s heart was one step from leaping out of his chest.

Like a scene from a romantic movie, Paul carefully opened the box to reveal a ring with a simple, almost plain design whose main highlight was a round stone. Dyed in the color of the clear night sky, it made a stark contrast to the silver of the ring. Daryl recognized what it was at once.

“A daylight ring?”

“Yes,” Paul confirmed. “Had my witch buddy Tara made them for a while now, you know, just in case.”

“Them?”

Paul beamed, wriggling his hand. On his ring finger was an identical, if slightly smaller, ring. “A pair. Figure it’s time I got a new daylight ring. Would love to have you put it on my finger but you know, the sun. Later, maybe?”

Daryl couldn’t help a smile as he shook his head. It wasn’t that Daryl daydreamed about Paul proposing to him every frigging day but he did entertain the thought once in a while. And when he did, his vision certainly looked nothing like this, with himself propped against the tree and Paul on one knee, a daylight ring in his hand. He imagined it to be normal and casual, the two of them sitting in their frequented bar, two shots of whiskey in front of them and some trashy music blaring at top volume above their head, and somehow the words just rolled off their tongues – did not matter who said them. Nonetheless, when you were in a relationship with an ancient vampire, ‘normal’ was rather off-limits.

“Tell me ya ain’t the first vampire to propose with a daylight ring an’ a blood bag ‘cuz it’s real romantic.”

“I’d love to claim it as my original idea,” Paul laughed, “but no, it was Maggie’s. She and Glenn have been happily married for seven years. Unlike how some movies tend to portray, vampire relationships can be healthy.”

He took Daryl’s hand and pressed it to his cheek, his beard tickling the skin of Daryl’s palm. “That’s what I hope for our future, also what’s been on my mind since I realized I had fallen harder than a teenager for the hottest cop in town. So what do you say, Mr. Dixon?”

Daryl wished he could move, even just his hand, so that he could physically expressed his affection, which was overflowing his heart at the moment. Unlike Paul, who was always able to eloquently put his thoughts into carefully crafted words, verbal expressions were never his strong front; he could never find the right words – and the courage to say them for that matter – at the right moment, right now for example. At the start of their relationship, he had been very certain that his tight-lipped tendency would bore the man as it had done his few previous partners, and eventually Paul would leave him for good. Contrary to his belief, Paul hadn’t once voiced his displeasure with Daryl’s stunted verbal capacity, nor had he left him, and this was the one time when Detective Dixon was actually glad that he had been proven wrong.

“A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will suffice, you know,” Paul urged. “I’m still kneeling here.” He lowered his voice to whisper. “Please, please say ‘yes’.”

“Jus’ wonderin’ if ya got the right size ‘s all. Should be awkward as shit if it didn’t fit.”

Paul’s eyes lit up like the first creak of the sun after hour-long rain. “Only one way to find out, right?”

And with that he slipped the ring smoothly on Daryl’s finger. The lapis lazuli stone twinkled. He wondered what question Rick and Carol would pulverize him with once they saw the ring, knowing Daryl Dixon was never a man of accessory.

Paul cupped Daryl’s face and kissed him, slow and long. No tongues, just lips touching lips in the chastest manner possible without losing the intimacy.

“Next is to consummate our engagement,” Paul spoke against his lips.

He had braced himself against the taste of blood.

Even though the undead side of him had desperately craved for it, the human side, or what was left of it, was appalled by the thought that soon he would have blood in his mouth, down his throat. Human blood, which had been drawn from the veins of living human beings. It could be the young man he had passed on the street, the freckled cashier at the supermarket where he brought his groceries, or the young blond waitress (Beth?) at Carol’s diner who always served him with a smile. Knowing that the blood had been donated to the blood bank and no killing had been involved didn’t provide much help in easing his nausea. Daryl swallowed dryly a few times, trying to quench it but still feel it clawing at the inside of his throat.

“It’s gonna be OK, I promise,” Paul assured him, probably sensing his tension. He tore open the bag and carefully lifted it to Daryl’s lips. Daryl squeezed his eyes shut…

… and immediately fluttered them open when the blood filled his mouth. His earlier doubts vanished at once, his nauseous feeling washed away like footprints by the waves and the only thing that mattered on his mind was the taste on his tongue. Blood tasted like blood, metallic and thick, whether it was in a plastic bag or oozing from a nick on his finger; his peculiar undead biology didn’t give it a different flavor. He had thought he’d be repulsed by it but he wasn’t; rather, he was experiencing a sensation not unlike arousal, only it had absolutely nothing to do with sex. Shutting his eyes, he swallowed and swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing frantically. He vaguely heard Paul saying something but was unable to catch his words; the rushing of blood in his ears was thundering, drowning every other sound. There was fireworks exploding behind his eyelids and electricity sizzling beneath his skin, rapidly charging him, altering him, making him feel more alive than he ever had. Goosebumps raised on his arms, and his hairs stood on ends. Fueled with the virulent energy from the blood, his dead limbs came alive and before Daryl was aware, his arms had stretched out and wrapped around the only body available around here. The thundering of blood in his ears faded into two types of heartbeats: one erratic and arrhythmic, the other steady and calm. He focused on the calm one, trying to will his frantic heart to sync with it. Success came easier than he thought.

When the last drop blood had been infused with his system, Daryl snapped his eyes open. He was pretty sure the scenery hadn’t changed in a few minutes; rather, the one who had undergone a thorough transformation was him, for now he was seeing with the eyes of newborn baby who saw the world for the first time and was completely enthralled by the sheer beauty of every simple thing he had sorely missed before this moment. And Paul, when his eyes found him, was beautiful beyond any vocabulary he could racked his muddled brain for description, perfection etched in the curve of his plush lips, the small dip of his nose bridge, the ever-shifting blue of his eyes. How such an exquisite creature had fallen in love with him despite all his grievous flaws was an enigma Daryl could never understand. A single tear rolled his cheek, mingled with the blood on the corner of his lips.

“Daryl… Are you alright?” Paul’s voice was laced with genuine concern for the pained expression on Daryl’s face.

That was the last straw; the dam holding off Daryl’s emotions broke. He cupped Paul’s face and wasted no millisecond in pulling the man into a kiss. It was more of a crushing of lips than an actual kiss, all bare instincts and force and no techniques. He devoured Paul’s lips like his life depended on it, like this was the last time he was allowed to love Paul the way he desired before being flung into a barren, loveless land where he was all alone for eternity. His hands hiked up Paul’s damp shirt and roamed over the smooth, cool skin of his back, which was quickly covered in goosebumps. Paul’s hands blindly tangled in Daryl’s dark hair, scratching his scalp with his filed nails while he tried competitively to match Daryl’s burning passion with his own.

Despite the rawness, the blood, the messiness, it was perfect.

Neither knew how much time had passed when they pulled apart at last. The whites in Paul’s eyes had turned solid red, contrasting with his blazing blue irises in an alluringly freakish wonder. Dark veins surfaced around his eyes, slithering beneath his skin like having a life of their own. From his parted lips, his fangs gleamed. Daryl’s heart skipped a beat in consternation. This was the vampire Paul, the side well-hidden under layers and layers of carefree attitude, sweet words and bright smiles, the side which he had had no intention to let Daryl see lest it frightened and disgusted him. Until today. Without any warning, he laid bare the proof of his inhumanity to his lover. Daryl wouldn’t lie and say he was unaffected but his apprehension was transient as a heartbeat. In the mirrors that were Paul’s eyes he saw himself – same blood-red eyes, dark veins and fangs – and understood. Showing Daryl his bestial features was meant to be construed as neither intimidation nor menace; rather, its meaning was perspicuous in the gentleness of his eyes despite his look: an acknowledgment of their similar nature, that from now on they were equals sharing not only the same roof but also the same essence in their veins.

“How do you feel?” Paul asked once his face had returned to normal.

A multitude of words raced through his mind and he only caught one. “Thrilled,” he replied tersely.

“Thrilled?” Paul echoed.

Daryl looked into Paul’s eyes and nodded.

Thrilled at the privilege of being given the chance to witness how the flux of time was and would be constantly and eternally shaping what human called the reality. The endless possibilities. Thrilled at knowing the best part of it was that he wouldn’t have to go through time alone. They would have each other for as long as possible or as they could tolerate. Daryl was not such a wide-eyed romanticist that he would naively believe in an everlasting love, yet he was not too cynical to think that their relationship would reach a definite end too soon. Planning ahead of the future wasn’t his specialty because Daryl Dixon was a man of present. For now he would cherish having these brilliant eyes looking at him, and him alone, with all the affection their owner’s big heart could muster.

He said none of those but had a feeling Paul understood, having trained himself to be fluent in Daryl’s language of silence.

Paul’s lips were red and smeared with blood from their kiss. It was a temptation Daryl found himself unable to resist and so he gave in, titling his head and cleaning the blood with a swipe of his tongue.

It was sweet. Not honey-sweet but blood-sweet. That meant he was starting to get the hang of it.

Taken by surprise, Paul let out a soft gasp. After that he sought to meet Daryl’s with his own tongue but the detective was quicker by a millisecond.

“I’m hungry,” Daryl said as if it was the most usual thing in the world. He wasn’t hungry for food and he had a feeling Paul got it.

“Sorry, that was the only blood bag I brought.”

“Guess I can bear it till we get home.”

His first challenge as a bloodsucker, right. He wished he could spot the squirrel from earlier.

He was about to stand up – his legs felt solid again, strong even – when Paul reached out and pulled his wrist, telling him without word to not leave this spot yet. His eyebrows arched slightly in question.

Paul’s smile was leaning towards the mischievous side. He tilted his head, undid a few top buttons of his shirt and bared his neck. The last sun rays fell onto his pale skin, adding a golden glow to it.

Daryl didn’t miss the implication in this act. “Ya sure? ‘cuz I’m not sure I can control myself.”

He knew he couldn’t. Earlier, he had only stopped drinking simply because he had drained the bag.

“Absolutely,” Paul replied, his smile widening. “Vampire trivia number one: A vampire cannot drain another vampire to death. Worst case scenario is you have to carry my immobile ass back home. Vampire trivia number two: Blood sharing between vampires is very… intimate.”

“Intimate how?”

“Erm… like naked spooning.”

Daryl felt a tinge of jealousy. Fully aware that it was unreasonable to be jealous of Paul’s past so he tried to keep it from his tone. He wasn’t sure if he succeeded.

“Ya done it before?”

“Last time was roughly three hundred and sixty years ago,” Paul said defensively – he must have sensed something from his lover. “Hadn’t wanted to share my blood with anyone until you. Come on, I insist.”

Daryl stared at the blue vein barely visible under Paul’s pale, thin skin and gulped. He could hear the blood inside and it was practically beckoning him in a language that his new fangs were fluent. As he ran his tongue along his teeth, he found the pointy ends ready to pierce the delectable skin and sink into the veins. With one quick glance at Paul’s face, searching for any tiny signs of disapproval and finding none, he lowered his head.

Daryl inhaled deeply, allowing his mind to swim in Paul’s natural scent of sandalwood mixed with rains. He surprised the older vampire with a long, deliberate drag of his tongue along silky skin. He grazed the tender flesh just below his ear – not quite biting yet – and began to suck with the least amount of pressure. This was one of Paul’s erogenous zones, which he had committed to mind.

It appeared he had struck the right nerve because his enhanced hearing was soon filled with Paul’s audible moans. A mix of pride and affection was swelling fast in his heart. God, he loved this man so much there was no turning back now.

“Tease,” Paul breathed.

Daryl couldn’t help a smug grin before biting down for real this time.

Paul was right.

This was euphoric and intimate and the only thing that stopped them from trying outdoor sex was Daryl’s own stubborn conservativeness.

That and the guilt of draining Paul to the point of paralysis.

Despite his state, Paul teased and laughed at him all the way home while Daryl stoically endured.

He did retaliate, however, when Paul was full with blood and naked and shamelessly stretched out on their bed like a satiated cat.

And much later, he got to slip the daylight ring onto Paul’s finger.

End

That’s the end; hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for all your kudos and comments and patience; they gave me the courage to finish it.

That’s the end; hope you enjoy it. Thank you so much for all your kudos and comments and patience; they gave me the courage to finish it.

I did say in one of my comments that I imagined Paul, as well as Maggie and his little circle of friends, to be a friendly neighborhood vampire – the kind of vampires that don’t hunt and kill, drink mostly from blood bags and try to fit in with humans – and I kept it in mind as I was writing. Daryl didn’t want to become a vampire but he didn’t abhor the idea either mainly because he hadn’t met any other vampires and thus hadn’t witnessed any atrocities that may be committed by ‘normal’ vampires.

 

[Desus] Gossip

Part III of When There Were Me & You

*Roommate AU: Detective Daryl & art student Paul

*Sequel to MOTORCYCLE

“So, tell me again,” Tara drawled, putting the cap on her marker once she had finished the Pride flag on her best friend’s cast, “how in the world did our little ninja fall off the stairs and break his leg?”

Paul let out a groan, rubbing a hand over his face. Tara seemed to take immense pleasure in making him recite the reason he had had his leg broken; he was one hundred percent certain by tomorrow all of his class and probably half the campus would have known of his embarrassing accident. Talk about the power of gossip. He wouldn’t live it down for months to come.

“It was bad luck, Tara, sheer bad luck,” Paul bleated. “Remember when we went to a Tarot parlor and the–”

“Tarot reader.”

“Tarot reader warned me of an imminent accident?”

“Yeah, you kind of laughed about it ‘cuz you didn’t believe it. You only came because I dragged you with me and you were pretty tipsy.”

“Guess I’m a believer now,” Paul said, clapping his hands in a mock prayer. “I got up late and was rushing down the stairs when I stepped on something I’d left there and forgotten to clean up – and tripped. Next thing I knew, my leg pained so much that I couldn’t move an inch. From what I’d gained from the first-aid sessions, I figured I might have broken my leg.”

“You were binge-watching that zombie show the night before, weren’t you? What’s so good about that series that everyone’s crazy about it anyway?”

“It’s good and I’ve tried to engage you in watching it with me a few times. Besides, I put half the blame on my alarm clock. Damned thing was broken and didn’t go off.”

Tara reached for the apple and the knife on the table and began peeling its skin with deftness. She got rid of the seeds and quartered the apple before handling Paul a piece, which he took with a “thanks”.

“I’m still pissed off, y’know,” Tara said with a mouthful of apple, making funny crunchy noises, “that you didn’t phone your best friend first when you got the accident. I’d have rushed to your apartment.”

“Sorry, Tara, I was in panic. I was really lucky I got my phone in my pocket and didn’t crush it when I fell. I dialed the top number of my emergency list and–”

“Your roommate called the ambulance and raced home,” Tara finished for him. “I’m shocked you put your roommate’s number first in your list and not mine.”

“He insisted. Said roommates should look out for each other.”

Tara raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “Wow! My ex roomie couldn’t have cared less if I’d died and started decomposing in my room so long as I didn’t get in her way.”

Paul wrinkled his nose. “Good thing you moved out.”

“Yeah,” Tara agreed. “Did the doctor say when you will be released?”

“He said I could go home now that I was checked and no other injuries were found. As a matter of fact my roommate is checking me out as we speak.”

“Can’t say I’m not jealous that you have such a nice roommate. Any indication on his sexuality?”

Tara finished the question with a wink.

“Well…” Paul hesitated, lowering his head to hide a hint of a smile threatening to spread across his lips. “Probably not straight, from what I’ve gathered.”

A sudden clap on his shoulder would have made him jump if his leg wasn’t broken already. Tara sounded as though she had just come across an epic epiphany. “I say you go for this heaven-sent dude. Your ‘hot cop’ is definitely hot but last time you said he was straight as a flagpole. Believe me, my friend, pursuing a straight person only ensues heartbreak. Been there, done that.”

Paul was just about to open his mouth when Tara continued, “Tell me, what does he look like? I know looks ain’t important in a relationship but it’s a plus if he happens to be hot right?”

“About that–”

Paul was cut short by the door to his room being opened. Daryl stepped in, pushing a wheelchair in front of him. His black leather jacket slung over his shoulder, he was only wearing his navy blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up his elbows.

“Yer good to go,” he informed, moving toward Paul’s bed. His narrow eyes landed on Tara. “Sorry, ya must be…”

“This is my best friend, Tara Chambler. Tara, this is Daryl Dixon, my roommate…”

He deliberately stressed “roommate” as a reminder. “He’s a detective.”

Tara stared at the cop with rounded eyes for several seconds as shocking realization began to dawn on her. Daryl looked a little confused under her direct stare. “Oh right,” she spoke at last, sounding timid by her rather rude behavior, “Nice to meet you, Detective Dixon.”

She held out her right hand.

“Just Daryl’s fine,” replied Daryl, shaking her hand. “Nice to meet ya.” He turned to Paul and started gathering a few things in the cabinet by his roommate’s bed, which weren’t many, and put them into a small satchel. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah. Can’t wait to get out of the hospital.”

Daryl nodded in silence. Once again Tara watched in awe as he bent down and scooped Paul in his arms as if the young man was a little boy. His muscles flexed under the dark fabric of his shirt and darn, Tara had to admit, she was being momentarily straight.

Carefully, he put Paul on the wheelchair and wheeled him out of the door. Tara followed the two of them to the parking lot.

Once Daryl was done settling Paul on the passenger’s seat, Tara turned to Daryl and said, “Well, I guess I must go now. Thank you so much for taking care of my best friend, Daryl. It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

“It’s no problem,” Daryl said, a bit awkward. Tara took that he was the strong, silent type who could be occasionally socially inept. She also knew that her best friend was a sucker for this type.

Suppressing a chuckle, she gave Paul a meaningful look as she waved her hand. “Get better soon, Jesus. Our class surely misses your ninja tricks.”

Not five minutes after they left the hospital in Daryl’s car, Paul’s phone buzzed. He giggled, knowing without glancing at the screen that it could only be Tara.

“THE HELL JESUS? U NEVER TOLD ME UR HOT COP N UR ROOMIE WERE ONE N THE SAME?” Her text, written all in capitals, read.

“Pretty sure ‘hell’ and ‘Jesus’ shouldnt be in the same sentence,” Paul texted back. His giggles got Daryl’s attention, who gave him a questioning look. “Just Tara’s text,” Paul explained.

He got Tara’s reply five seconds later.

“IM RECONSIDERING OUR FRIENDSHIP”

“Dont be. Never said they werent one person either. Wanna give u a surprise”

“U BETTER EXPLAIN NEXT TIME WE MEET!!!”

“Rite rite. But until then plz tell none of our friends”

“FINE”

“Thk u. luv u”

He put a smiley emoticon at the end of the text before sending. Then he put his phone in his pocket.

“Yer friend Tara seemed surprised to see me,” said Daryl once he saw Paul putting away his phone.

“Because you’re hot?”

“Didn’t look like that.”

Paul chuckled. “She just texted me. She didn’t know my crush and my roommate were the same person.”

“Ya didn’t tell her?”

The question came out more like a statement.

Paul shook his head, smiling. “I love Tara, she’s my BFF but she’s tightly weaved into the gossip web at our college. Guess that’s part of being in the department of journalism.”

“Ya don’t want yer friends to know about… us?”

His voice lowered at the last word. Knowing his boyfriend, Paul immediately picked up the sign. “No, it’s not that I’m embarrassed or anything,” he assured. “Quite the opposite actually.” He didn’t realized his own voice went lower as well. “It just… I want to be certain this… thing between us is real, you know, before I tell my friends.”

Daryl frowned. “It’s real.”

Then Paul’s hand was gently squeezed by a larger, callous hand. Daryl’s sharp eyes spoke of earnest when they were fixed on his face. Paul’s chest swelled with emotions and he would definitely kiss him senseless if Daryl wasn’t driving right now. He longed for the moment they got back to their shared apartment just so that he could be affirmed that this thing between them was very much real and happening.

Looking down at his cast, Paul groaned internally. His leg would get in the way and they would have to find a way to get around it.

“What will we have for dinner?” asked Paul, changing the subject.

“We can get pizzas an’ drinks at Glenn’s an’ we can eat while watching that zombie show yer so crazy about in the evening.”

Paul’s eyes lit up at his words like the sky in the fourth of July. He beamed brightly at Daryl, who responded with a tiny smile.

“I can ask for nothing more.”

End

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (5)

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

Summary:

For all the short time Paul had been acquainted with Rick Grimes, he had never heard the tough police officer’s voice break like when he informed Paul, “Daryl was shot.”

Alternate universe. Established relationship.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4


 

… And No One Could Save Me But You

Wicked Game

The rain had toned down to a drizzle.

Daryl had cut down his speed to no longer be at break-neck level, just barely within the speed limit. The impulse to indulge in reckless speed had died with the rain and now it was merely a scratch at his guts.

Something on the side caught his sight, and the brain part that was responsible for his curiosity deemed it worth a stop for closer inspection. He supposed he wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere and could spare a minute or two.

It was the decomposing carcass of some pretty large animal, probably a buck, that he saw in the grass. Daryl got off his motorcycle and squatted in front of it. It was easy to tell the creature been dead for some time by the bones with brown chunks of flesh clinging to them. The eyeballs were gone, leaving vacant sockets from which streams of red ants poured out. It was a disturbing sight from which most humans should avert their eyes as they hurried past and yet somehow Daryl had been inexplicably drawn in. A part of him, a feeble, normal and human part, was weirded out and wanted to just get on his bike and ride away while another, stronger, more pressing part had his eyes fixed on the gouged out sockets as if there was an enigmatic pull from within the twin voids. His hand was halfway reaching out when he had to stop himself from actually touching it.

It was death, Daryl rationalized, which had prompted this bizarre fixation. Death was the one thing that he and this creature had in common. All living things had to die – that he had learned from a young age with his dearly departed mom, and the scene his eyes so drank in was the inevitable end of every human. It was his mom’s end when Daryl was but a snotty five-year-old and twenty-two years later, his old man’s. It was Merle’s end eight years ago and it would soon be his. Except it could not be his. While the concept of immortality was unnatural according to nature, it was also ironically nature that had permitted its occurrence. Paul had expired his lifespan for a couple centuries and his could be not be a unique existence – many times Daryl had pondered about all the vampires out there, cloaking themselves under civilian guise and blending in amongst their designated preys. Now the same existence was offered to Daryl. Had he ever thought about it or wanted it during the late nights he went to bed and woke up in the morning with a vampire snuggling to his side? Would he want it now that it was his only option to continue that mundane domestic routine, one that he would give the world for? Daryl couldn’t answer it, not yet. But he was beginning to consider it, whether he truly desired immortality. Weird as it may sound, the mortal fear of death inflicted upon him by studying this macabre scene did spark a light in his fog-shrouded mind. The light grew in intensity until it pierced through the confusion and uncertainty plaguing him since his body sprang from the bed. A final, concrete decision wasn’t within his grasp yet but he had seen a vague outline of it. Although there was a haunting dreadfulness in the notion of walking the earth till the end of time, he couldn’t deny a forbidden sense of thrill lacing with it.

When the rain had stopped he couldn’t tell, lost in his own mental world. Daryl stood up and made to his motorcycle. Not too keen on wearing a stuffy helmet with his dripping hair, he decided to forgo it.

The scenery was laminated in gold and silver when Daryl entered the woods – gold from the radiant sunlight after a heavy rain and silver from the myriad droplets of water clinging to the tree branches and leaves. He had switched off the engine and was walking his motorcycle so as not to wreck the perfect serenity of nature and scare off the little creatures making this place home. He took a moment to close his eyes, take a deep breath to enjoy the clear, cool air spiced with the soothing scent of damp wood before parking his vehicle a few feet from a particular tree. Under its canopy he spotted a figure that couldn’t be more familiar to him. He was leaning casually against the trunk, his hair wet and crudely swept back. His thin white shirt appeared transparent and sticking to his skin. In his hands was a small brown squirrel which his fingers were petting now and then. Signing softly, Daryl thought he should be surprised to find Paul here but in fact, he wasn’t in the least. Being a sneaky prick was one of Paul’s less endearing vice Daryl had learned to tolerate.

“Ain’t ya gonna eat it? Why bother playin’ with yer food?”

Paul’s huge eyes left the critter and traveled to Daryl, and the detective could feel his gaze lingering on the strands of dark hair cupping the sides of his face. Huffing, Paul laid the squirrel on the ground. It immediately ran off and disappeared in a blink.

“Detective Dixon,” said Paul, “please don’t jump right to the conclusion that I bore any ill will toward that poor animal when you’re having no evidence.”

“First time I met ya, ya were chompin’ a squirrel,” Daryl snorted, “an’ havin’ a couple more layin’ dead at yer feet.”

“Good Lord, you caught me at a bad time once and I’m never going to live it down. Firstly, that wasn’t our first meeting. We first met when I moved into the derelict house opposite from yours.”

“A brief glance–”

“But still counts. Secondly, I hadn’t made my contact with the local blood bank yet and was on the brink of starvation. You don’t like me when I’m starving.”

“I thought ya a weirdo. Turns out it ain’t too far from the truth.”

“So I’ve been told,” Paul replied with a small smile. He crossed the distance and stood close to Daryl. “You didn’t break up with me because of my quirks, crazy as they are.”

“I’ve met worse,” Daryl said, his hand itching to tug a loose strands of hair behind Paul’s ears. So he did, earning a wider smile from the shorter man. “Ya followed me here, didn’t ya?”

To his surprise, Paul declined, “No, believe me I did want to, but I didn’t. I just didn’t feel like showing up at my class so I called in sick. Having plenty of sick leave can come in handy. I thought a lot, you know, about us, about our life together all these years, about our future, if we have one. And I had a feeling that you would come here, seeing how this place has claimed a special spot in your heart. Now here we are. Must be destiny.”

Paul punctuated his speech with a nervous chuckle.

“I thought a lot too, ‘bout–”

Out of sudden, Daryl felt as if his legs had vaporized right under him. He would collapse face first into the thick carpet of decayed leaves on the ground if Paul weren’t extra-quick to catch him. His ample strength made up for his smaller stature and he supported Daryl’s most of weight with ease. Gently and slowly, he helped Daryl sit down under the tree. All the carefreeness had drained from his handsome countenance; now he was wearing the same pained expression Daryl had seen earlier in the morning. It caused an ache in Daryl’s side and erased his concern about his own condition, even just temporarily.

“What’s happenin’ to me? Why can’t I feel my legs?”

“It’s beginning,” Paul explained. “The paralysis that signals your time is running out and continues until you’re…”

“I’m dyin’, got it. Shoulda known I’m runnin’ on borrowed time. First it’s my leg, then my arms an’ torso and finally my head, righ’. Fuckin’ sadistic, I’d say.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” Paul replied. “Have heard about it but never been through it myself, though.”

“How long did it take ya to make yer decision?”

Since they were sitting shoulder to shoulder, with Daryl leaning against Paul’s chest, he felt a puff of air on his cheek from Paul’s laughter. It wasn’t the full, hearty laughter Daryl had gotten used to hear; it was soft and deprived most of humor. “I practically leapt at the chance to be turned, so you can guess it took me no time at all. I was a vampire before I had even registered the weight of my own death.” Taking a short pause, he continued, “I had been severely sick for a while and my family ended up taking me to the House of Death, where they expected me to spend the rest of my remaining days. Fewer mouths to feed. Looking back, I couldn’t blame them; I expected to die there as well. Then my sire came to me with an offer in exchange for my indentured service. I guess I just didn’t want to die.”

His voice quieted at the last sentence, and there was a slight tremble in it.

“Ya never said anythin’ about this until t’day.”

“It’s no rainbows and unicorns so I’d rather not tell it at a drinking party.”

“Ya ever regretted it? Becomin’ a vampire.”

Paul brushed his dampened fringe out of Daryl’s forehead. “It’s had its ups and downs and there were some dark periods when all I wanted was to lie desiccated in the coffin like a dead man that I was. But, to be honest, I’ve never regretted. It’s a wonder beyond measure to see the world change little by little until it’s no longer the one you were born in, and to see yourself change with it in order to adapt. Given the chance a second time and I would have made the same choice again.”

Silence stretched between them after Paul finished. Daryl seemed to be in contemplation of what he’d said so Paul didn’t feel the urge to break the silence. Instead, he laced his fingers with his lover’s.

Daryl’s fingers only twitched but gave no otherwise response. Paul’s heart sank like a stone thrown into a cold, bottomless lake.

“Take my left hand,” Daryl said. “Ain’t numb as shit yet.”

Paul took his hand, the one that could feel, and brought it to his lips. He kissed every knuckle, mumbling, “I’m sorry.”

“Because you compelled Rick to forget what he saw?”

“Yes, Rick, the doctor, the nurses. I’m sorry I broke my vow.”

Daryl felt Paul’s hand gently squeezing his.

“On the way here, I thought a lot, ‘bout many things,” he said, picking up from earlier. “I thought ‘bout whether ya’d undo Rick’s compulsion, how he, Carol an’ a handful of people I know would react.”

“The compulsion would instantly wear off with a vampire’s end,” Paul said. Although his tone was light and maintaining its casualness that was very Paul-like, Daryl’s lungs felt chilled as he took in a cold breath.

“But ya won’t…”

“Nothing lasts forever, Daryl, even vampires. Sometimes the end comes sooner than we expect.”

“Where would vampires go?”

“Frankly I don’t know. No one has ever told me and I don’t know who to ask. Well, certainly not my late sire, God bless his soul, if he had one. Where do you think humans would go? I know you aren’t the most religious man I’ve met but ever given it a thought?”

Daryl shook his head. Paul shifted to give him a little more comfort even though Daryl’s torso was heavy like lead and just as numb. It took no Einstein to figure at this rate, he’d soon be completely paralyzed.

“I spotted some carcass on the road. Probably a buck an’ dead for some time. I was magnetized to it – death attracts death, I guess. As I looked, I remembered my mom an’ Merle, even the sick bastard I called my dad, how they all looked like this beneath the earth, an’ how I’d look like that too. I thought ‘Well, death sucks’.”

Daryl had always a man of few words and more actions; this was by far his longest speech. Thus Paul patiently waited for him to perhaps regain his breath and gather his thoughts.

“I ain’t hopin’ we’d be united in some sunlit heaven or shit. Ain’t no teenager. Maybe I’d end up in that dark limbo again, all by myself, an’ that’s fuckin’ scary. But what’s even scarier is that I know I won’t never see ya again, won’t never wake up to yer shit-eatin’ grin again, won’t never feel yer touch or yer warmth again. That hurts so much, ya know.”

“I know,” Paul whispered, his breath fanning Daryl’s cheek. “I know.”

“I don’t wanna die. There’s a chance I’ll regret it one day but right now I don’t wanna die an’ leave ya.”

A drop of water fell onto the skin below Daryl’s eyes, too hot to be the rainwater dangling on the leaves.

“So you’ve decided…” Paul croaked.

“Ya don’t mind haulin’ my immobile ass back to the house, right, ‘cuz I don’t suppose ya brought a blood bag along.”

When Daryl craned his neck and looked up, he saw Paul frantically wiping his eyes. A smile had formed on his lips, wide enough to show his white teeth. This was the first true smile Daryl had gotten from him today, same as the one which had caused his heart to skip a beat when he stared a little too long at the ponytailed young man carrying his stuff into the derelict house across from his. While his torso was still numb, the heaviness on his chest had been lifted.

“On the contrary, I always come prepared” was Paul’s reply.

To be continued

Finished it for a while but I was busy writing another Desus fic so I delayed editing and posting it. Immense apologies to you who have been waiting for an update. Next chapter is the last.

[Desus] Motorcycle

Part I of When There Were Me & You

*Roommate AU: Detective Daryl & art student Paul

IMG_3974
Photos not mine, but the edit is

“Hop on,” Daryl instructed, lightly patting the passenger seat of his motorcycle.

Paul eyed the sleek majestic structure of steel with both awe and wariness. This beast had been the object of his silent admiration since the moment he first saw his roommate, clad in black leather and donning a pair of shades, riding it into the garage; but he had never actually touched it – that it was Daryl’s ‘lover’ was nothing sort of truth. Still, that hadn’t stopped him from fantasizing about sitting his ass on the passenger seat and wrapping his arms tightly around the rider’s firm middle as they raced along the endless highway into the blazing sunset. Okay, the sunset bit was a little cheesy, even for him. God knew how many times Paul Rovia had woken from a dream like that to the sad, disappointing reality that he had been harboring a heavy crush on his older roommate, Detective Daryl Dixon, since he moved in two months ago, and his feelings were probably unreciprocated because Daryl was likely as straight as a flagpole.

He had to be, right? One look at the guy and you can practically sense his machismo seeping out of his pores.

Growing impatient with Paul’s standing rooted in his spot while a dumbfounded look was painted on his face, Daryl patted the seat again, louder this time, to shake the art student out of whatever reverie he was having. “C’mon, we don’t have a whole day.”

“Err… Thank you, but I can take the bus,” Paul replied, internally groaning. While every cell in him was yelling ‘yes’, his rational mind was firmly stating ‘no’ and sadly, it was the one to have the final say about what could leave his mouth and could not. Don’t give yourself false hope, Rovia. You will only have many sleepless nights ahead.

“Bus stop’s ten-minute walk,” Daryl said, “five if yer runnin’. And ya were already half an hour late.”

Indeed today Paul had woken up half an hour later than usual – damned his late-night marathon of The Walking Dead and his broken alarm. He wished his hair was long enough to hide the flushed tips of his ears. Been thinking about growing it out for a while.

But wait, Daryl noticed!

A helmet was thrown at Paul and he deftly caught it.

“Unless ya wanna be late. Get on.”

Daryl put on his own helmet. Truth was Paul didn’t want to show up late at his favorite professor’s class and he could really, really use a ride. Especially when the rider happened to be Daryl.

Muttering a “thank you”, Paul put on the helmet, which was a little big for him but he would definitely not complain.

The seat, on the contrary, was a little small so he had no choice but to sit very close to Daryl, like body-touching close, which he would definitely not complain either.

The engine roared and in an almost careless move, Daryl stepped on the accelerator. The sudden movement had Paul let out an undignified yelp. Out of pure reflex, his arms wrapped around the detective’s torso, and he was holding onto Daryl so tightly it must be a bit uncomfortable. But Paul had spared it no thought; he was too busy being afraid that the next bump might send him flying to the side of the road.

Daryl was riding along the highway so naturally, he wasn’t going slow. Paul dared keep his hold on Daryl, emboldened by the fact that the cop hadn’t complained about having Paul’s chest pressing against his back. A giddy smile spread across his face. Maybe, just maybe, this is not false hope at all.

Little did he know, Daryl couldn’t contain a little smile either. Sure, he’d rather stuff his head in the sink than admitting the reason for his out-of-character move earlier was to have a certain roommate cling onto him for dear life.

End

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (4)

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

Summary:

For all the short time Paul had been acquainted with Rick Grimes, he had never heard the tough police officer’s voice break like when he informed Paul, “Daryl was shot.”

Alternate universe. Established relationship.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3


The World Was on Fire…

Wicked Game

As Daryl was riding down the route the rain showed no sign of stopping anytime soon and the incessant noise on his helmet became more maddening, as if it was possible. He had traveled in worse weather, so this had never been a huge issue to him. Yet back then he hadn’t had supernaturally enhanced senses, which translated into overactive reception of each and every stimulus, however small and would be easily brushed aside were he normal.

Normal. Daryl received a mental kick at that word. Thinking of himself as formerly normal brought forth an implication that Paul was different, strange, abnormal, all of which accompanied by negative connotations according to Daryl’s conservative and biased upbringing that he had fought to leave behind in the dust. Daryl had not once thought Paul was the ‘other’ despite having learned the seemingly younger man was anything but an ordinary thirty-something. Heck, for Daryl’s limited knowledge of vampires, Paul defied lots of stereotypical traits of a vampire as portrayed in pop culture. He didn’t look pale, for one. While his skin tone was decidedly fairer than Daryl, who preferred spending his time in the sun than in an office, he was nowhere near chalky. He wasn’t brooding nor would he sit for hours wallowing in his existential crisis and guilt while having his victim’s blood on his chin and their lifeless body by his legs. At least Daryl had never seen him in such state during their two years of living under the same roof. He opted to live in a modest two-story house and drive an economic car and wasn’t filthy rich. He taught teenagers self-defense martial arts at the local center Monday to Thursday, volunteered on Friday, loved tending to his little garden of flowers and herbs and sometimes had friends – a majority of which being humans – over on Friday night to trash the living room and get wasted. He went to see the latest movies, often dragging Daryl with him if the cop wasn’t working overtime, teared up at particularly emotional scenes and ranted about it later on his wall; his Facebook account had quite a number of followers. All in all, Paul posed extremely well as a human, aside from a couple quirks like his personal blood stash (supplied by the local blood bank) in his fridge or his inability to have hickeys, but hey, many humans possessed more peculiar quirks. Daryl would say he blended in with humans even better than the homicidal detective himself did in some of his more trying days.

This line of thought was going nowhere so with a soft grunt, Daryl abandoned it for another. Ironically enough, to not think was entirely the point of racing his motorcycle along this straightforward route leading into the woods. To feel the wind, the sun or the rain on his skin allowed him a temporary getaway from his jumbled thoughts while the woods with all its wild animals provided him with solace, just like it had given him shelter from his old man’s temper and leather belt. A couple hours later, he rode back the track feeling lighter, better and ready to deal with whatever shit coming his way given his line of profession.

Nevertheless, it was impossible to sweep all his thoughts under the rug and not think of anything for a while no matter how much Daryl wanted to; heck, even if he was hypothetically able to shut them all up, he knew he wouldn’t gain a fragment of peace for his mind. Literally going through death and being pulled back to life was no shit joke and anyone with a mind couldn’t spare it no thought at all. As a matter of fact, there were so many thoughts bustling about inside Daryl’s head that he had no idea which to focus on. It was similar to working on a case where there were so many clues, many suspects and many motives, all lurking behind a thick veil that Daryl had to lift so as to see for himself which was relevant and which was red herrings. Right now his helmet was the veil. Rivulet after rivulet of water blurred his visor and distorted his view. With his left hand he undid the clasp around his chin and took off his helmet.

Drops of rain felt like nails being hammered on Daryl’s face. Soon his hair was soaked, strands of his long bang clinging to his forehead and temples. He brushed them back with a sweep of his hand, recalling how Paul loved to do this when Daryl was fresh out of shower so that he could plant a kiss on Daryl’s forehead, on the lines that had formed there. His eyes saw the road better without his visor as his mind was clearer without the torturous noise and a prominent thought emerged from numerous others. Like a man lost at sea spotting a lighthouse, he swam toward it. Going back to be human was impossible, so he had but one option to go forward from there and make the decision: to die today as a human or to live forever as another sort of existence. Other questions all paled in front of this crucial one, to which he had promised Paul an answer before the sun went down the sky.

Daryl was not surprised to find out Paul hadn’t slept a wink that night. He himself had had only brief patches of sleep interlacing with extended moments of lying with his eyes shut but his mind open, conscious and drifting between the dark limbo realm and the real world. And when he had indeed slept, his dreams were fragments of his dying instant rewinded over and over. He had thought not of his own death but of his untimely parting with Paul, and regret penetrated deeper than the iron in his chest.

Daryl opened his eyes to the sight of Paul propped up by his side, his hand caressing Daryl’s cheek gentle and cool as a ghost’s touch. His eyes were sunken, and the usual light in them dimmed. His lips were set in a straight line. Daryl hated that he saw every sign of exhaustion etched on Paul’s handsome countenance with such clarity.

Dawn had already broken, the sun was up and their bedroom was enveloped in a glowing silken veil.

“Morning,” said Paul, softly. There was a hint of hoarseness in his voice Daryl only scarcely heard. “Did you sleep well?”

“Did ya?”

“No,” Paul admitted. “I closed my eyes and tried to find sleep but to no avail. Technically I don’t really need sleep to function so I figured I could afford a sleepless night. And you?”

“I got some sleep an’ a couple of dreams.”

“Bad dreams?”

“Past dreams. Didn’t matter no more.”

The answer he gave didn’t soothe the worry in Paul’s eyes but he didn’t push Daryl for more detail. He pecked Daryl on the lips before sliding out of the duvet and sitting at the edge. “What do you fancy for breakfast? Bacon and sunny-side eggs? Cereal? Or pancakes and maple syrup?”

Before Paul finished listing the choices, Daryl too had slid out from under the duvet. The air instantly raised goosebumps on his bare skin as he padded to their wardrobe.

“Daryl?”

“I… I need some time,” said Daryl, picking a simple button-down navy blue shirt and a pair of washed blue jeans from the clothes rack. “To process it, to think abou’ it. On my own. I hope ya understand.” He threw his black leather jacket over the shirt and put on his leather fingerless gloves.

Paul’s gaze dropped to the dip in the mattress where they had laid. “Of course,” he replied softly, head nodding.

He looked as though he was enduring a silent pain that Daryl couldn’t help but crossing the room and pulling him into his embrace. He felt Paul’s breath ghosting on the skin of his forearm and shivered. It still mesmerized him how a vampire’s breath could be this warm.

“Give yourself as much time to think as you’d like,” Paul murmured against his skin, “but please come to me before sundown.” He sniffed. “No matter what your decision is, I need to know… and I will respect it.”

The last words seemed real struggle for him.

Daryl kissed the top of his head. “I will.”

And then he let go, feeling Paul’s eyes on him even when he was descending the stairs.

The first thing Daryl did once he was standing on the threshold of the door was stretch his arm out to the early morning sun. He had half expected the heat and his skin being set aflame despite Paul’s previous explanation that he wasn’t yet a vampire. Instead he only felt a light warmth, and his skin remained perfectly normal, no blistering, no bursting into flame. Stupid. Daryl chastised himself before stepping out to his motorcycle. He put on his helmet and ignited the engine.

Daryl hadn’t had a definite destination in mind but before he was able to come up with something, his body had autopiloted and taken him down the path he traveled every morning to work. On that path there was a diner where he often had a decent breakfast of eggs and bacon and a hefty dose of caffeine to brace himself against another crazy day at the office. Sometimes Rick joined him, sometimes he ate alone, savoring the comfortable silence in his usual booth by the window and away from the rest of the patrons.

Daryl felt a familiar tug once he was close enough to the diner and could see it. Since he had nowhere else he wanted to go first, he decided he could stop by, ordered his usual food and figured out what to do with his last day as human. His heart was weighed down a little with the word ‘last’; after today, there would either be a vampire or a cadaver buried six feet under.

That remained to be seen.

His footsteps halted just before his hand pushed the glass door open. What if Rick was also here? After all, this diner was a part of his best friend’s morning routine as much as it was his, although recently both of them had not frequented it as much as they used to, favoring homemade meals instead.

The last thing Daryl wanted right now was to run into his best friend, who had witnessed his death and was likely to flood him with questions should he see him walking around all fine and alive, so he turned on his heels. Just when he was about to stride back to his bike, the door opened.

“Daryl!” called a voice. “Been a while since you came here. Come in, come in.”

For a second, all the blood in Daryl’s veins seemed to stop flowing and he stood frozen in his spot. That was unmistakably Carol’s voice. Carol was good friend to Rick and Daryl and the reason why they had become regulars here was because Carol owned and ran this little cozy diner.

“Yeah…” Daryl managed a hoarse respond. “Been a while.”

“I almost thought I’d lost my two loyal customers. But what can I say? Nothing beats homemade food made by gorgeous partners.”

Carol winked playfully at him and Daryl forced a small smile despite the uneasiness twisting his guts. From her tone and demeanor, it appeared she might not have heard about his incident. Something didn’t click right. Had Rick not told her anything?

“You’re looking a little pale. Is everything alright?”

“Nah. Just been lackin’ some sleep’s all. Work’s been hectic.”

Carol held his hand gently, jerking her head toward the door. “Come on in. I’ll have them prepare your usual.”

A refusal was formed in the back of his throat but never found its way out of his mouth, so he allowed her to lead him inside. The air was stiff since there weren’t a lot of customers yet, and Daryl was surprised to be able to sense it so acutely, almost as if he could ‘read’ the currents. His preferred booth was fortunately unoccupied. After telling her employees to prepare his order, she lingered by his table to catch up with his life since the last time they had had a chat. He tried his best to carry the conversation as casually as he normally did, but he knew for sure he must have slipped a note of reluctance in his tone or his body language, which Carol was likely to pick up on, keen woman that she was. Still, if she noticed something off about her friend, she didn’t point it out at once or even gave away her suspicion with a frown and for which he was grateful. Carol was sharp but she also respected privacy – she wouldn’t prod the subject unless her friends decided to tell her, eventually. This was one of the many reasons they had been close friends for years.

Nevertheless, Daryl was mentally relieved when the young waitress brought out his order and a rush of customers came through the door and Carol had no choice but to leave him. Sitting by himself, Daryl stared at the food laid out before him for several seconds as though hypnotized by the tendrils of steam rising from the sizzling eggs and the coffee. The smell was the same as he remembered, and so did the taste when he slowly chewed a mouthful of egg. The only difference was his sore absence of appetite. His empty stomach was still grumbling at the sight of food, but when he actually swallowed it down he felt… unfulfilled, like having swallowed nothing. He put down his forks and reached for the coffee mug. Again, same warm smell, same bitter-sweet taste, just the lack of savory on his side. He guessed he shouldn’t be surprised. After all he was dead, and whereas his senses were overloaded with sensations, they were at the same time desensitized to the normal delights of a human. Food did not arouse his appetite, unlike blood, whose sight and scent had caused his throat to constrict and his mouth to parch.

The noises and chatters that were typical to this place had become too much for him to bear. Not wanting to upset Carol by leaving food on the plate, Daryl finished the meal with haste and made to the door, giving a quick goodbye to his friend on the way out.

The fresh air somewhat soothed his nerves. Inside his pocket, his phone buzzed and Daryl pulled it out, half-expecting it was Paul sending him a text. Instead it was Rick, asking Daryl to take a day off to recover from his… flu and not to worry about the case because he had it covered. Daryl peered at his screen, trying to register what was going on. Rick had been at the scene and there was no way he would have confused a fatal shot with the common flu, unless Paul had altered his memory – one of the vampire tricks Paul had up his sleeves. Daryl had always thought compulsion, or the tempering with the human mind and free will, to be absolutely repulsive and Paul had sworn to never use it on Daryl or his friends. Perhaps this was the first and only time Daryl actually didn’t feel a spark of anger and betrayal when finding out that Paul had broken his vow.

Daryl typed a short reply to Rick. As he hit the button ‘send’, a question raised in his head of how his friends, Rick and Carol, and everyone he knew would react if he were to die today. He wondered if Paul would undo his compulsion and give them the truth or he would make up something else, something that was less sudden and more expected like a terminal disease. That wasn’t the real reason for the sudden chill creeping up his spine though; he shuddered at what he would do if he was the one to possess compulsion. He’d rather no one remember him than anyone be grief-stricken by his death. Especially Paul, with his heightened emotions that always made things take a turn for the worse.

That thought refused to be shaken off his mind long after Daryl revved up the engine and rode off.

To be continued

Sorry about the slow update. Here’s a little confession: this was supposed to be the last chapter but as I wrote, the number of words kept increasing to the point I decided that I should split it up into more chapters. If nothing changes, there’s two chapters left.

Carol wasn’t in my original idea at all.

 

[Desus] (The World Was on Fire) and No One Could Save Me But You (3)

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

Summary:

For all the short time Paul had been acquainted with Rick Grimes, he had never heard the tough police officer’s voice break like when he informed Paul, “Daryl was shot.”

Alternate universe. Established relationship.


Chapter 1     Chapter 2


The World Was on Fire…

Wicked Game

The morning after…

The rain battering his helmet had never felt so maddening as Daryl was riding his trusted old friend at break-neck speed. This was beaten track for him, one he had raced down countless times before, many of which during a downpour just like this. Odd torrential rains had never much bothered him; as a matter of fact, he rather enjoyed a cool down after a series of sweltering days. The smell of the first drops of rain splattering on the burned asphalt road was unpleasant to some but not Daryl, quite the opposite actually, and the heavier the shower hitting his body became, the better his mood improved. The sound of water violently beating down on plastic was not infuriating in the least; rather, it had a calming effect on his mind. Daryl supposed this was subconsciously tied to his less-than-peaceful childhood, of which he had spent the better part hiding from his father and his dear old leather belt, taking shelter somewhere in the woods whenever the old man was ‘under the weather’, hoping the heavy rain and rolls of thunder would mask the deafening beats of his scared heart.

The old man had been gone for years, and the sight of a worn leather belt no longer made him on edge, but remnants of the past were still residing deep within his psyche, at times manifesting into sporadic bouts of anxiety and depression, of which the rain proved to be an effective, albeit temporary, therapy. It gave him a sense of security to race down the empty lane on a rainy day.

But this time it wasn’t the same, and Daryl doubted things would be the same after yesterday’s afternoon.

Before Daryl was aware that he had been shot, there had already been a bullet bursting out of his back. As he fell down to the tile floor, all he saw was a huge shapeless bright red blotch on the wall behind. The blotch swelled until it occupied all his vision and he went blind. He heard Rick’s panicked shouts somewhere across the room but he couldn’t picture his best friend’s face. Daryl knew he was done for and the only thing on his mind was the mute sadness overflowing from Paul’s ocean-blue eyes.

And then there was darkness. It sounded like some cliché shit but that was exactly what it was for Daryl. Nothing but undiluted darkness that caused him to doubt whether he had lost his sight. In fact, all five of his senses were rendered completely useless: no light to see, no sound to hear, no scent to smell in the air – provided there was air after all, no flavor to taste – even the tang of blood in his mouth had gone – and nothing to feel. He found out soon enough that he couldn’t move his fingers, his limbs, his head, his whole body. Total paralysis was a terror Daryl had never experienced before, which made his father’s inebriated rage and merciless leather belt a child’s play in comparison. Nothing beat being entirely alone in the dark where you were unable to move an inch. Despair in its most appalling form. He wanted to scream, to hear his voice. He did, and discovered grimly that he had none. A burning need to cry was hurting his head but he didn’t, doubting if he had tears. He thought of Paul, of his blue eyes, twinkling with mischief, and his kind smile in that morning. Regret cut through Daryl like a hot knife through butter at how he hadn’t a chance to say goodbye to Paul, and at how Paul would feel upon receiving his body. At how Paul would grieve over his corpse, his tears filling the hole dug out by an ill- but actually well-aimed iron. Vampires were emotionally fragile creatures – the words were reverberating in Daryl’s mind – and dangerously so. Over his course of six centuries, Paul had only lost once, and once was enough to scar him for life. Daryl had never thought it would be this soon when he made Paul relive that cycle of agony and century-long recovery process. His regret already transformed into guilt.

And guilt seemed to be a way to pass the time in this limbo state because at some indefinite point of time, Daryl’s guilt receded into the dark at a slight tug at his fingers. All of sudden he could feel now. His overwhelming relief was short-lived however, since the tug hastily became a violent pull. It hurt, really. By instinct Daryl rattled his sleep-addled limbs and tried to fight the pull. His struggle was only promised more pain and an inevitable defeat as he was dragged forward into an invisible gaping hole…

… whose other side was a tight, lung-crushing embrace, which only loosened at his gasp. He didn’t gasp due to the crude embrace – frankly it was nothing compared to the pull – but rather by the earth-whooping swift from dead to alive. Daryl’s ears were ringing with his name being repeated over and over but he couldn’t respond just yet. His head was spinning so he was reluctant to open his eyes. Still he recognized the voice and that, coupled with a warm, living presence washed away the horror of the limbo. He found his quivering lips mumble a name and though it came out softer than a whisper against snow, he knew it would be heard. For why else there was a hand gently messaging his nape and a pair of full lips lightly pressing on the sweaty tip of his ear?

“I thought I’d lost you…” Paul rasped. Then he immediately captured Daryl’s lips. It was very passive, the kiss, and like none of the passionate make out sessions they’d had before; no gliding, no sucking and certainly no tongue, and yet in it passiveness it profoundly conveyed his hopeless attempt to reach inward to Daryl’s soul and touch it just so he knew his lover was not lost to the Ripper’s clutch. There was salt on Paul’s lips from his unrestrained tears.

When they finally pulled apart and Daryl opened his eyes, he was greeted with the sight of a tear-stained face. Paul’s eyes appeared huge not only because they were wide-open but also due to the twin hollows under his lower lashes. Grief affected the inhuman as much as they did human, Daryl noticed with a twitch of pain in his chest. His thumbs caressed the skin below Paul’s eyes as if this mere simple gesture could rub away the impact of his death on the vampire.

“When we kissed this morning, you…”

Paul exhaled. “Yes,” he admitted, “I made you take my blood with neither your consent nor your knowledge. I can bear you getting mad at me, lashing out at me, never speaking to me or looking at me again; it’d give me hell but I can live with it. But I can’t bear the thought that something terrible might happen to you out there, an armed robber, a drunken driver, an accident, and you’d be taken away from me. So I’m glad I did it, I really am. Easily the wisest thing this old bat has done for centuries.”

Daryl waited patiently for him to finish. Then, to Paul’s utter surprise, he said two words:

“Thank you.”

Daryl didn’t know what he thanked Paul for. Saving his life? Not quite. Their relationship had gone past that point of saying those words because if the situation had been reversed, Daryl knew he would have done exactly the same. That was the reason why he had not found it in his heart to immediately confront Paul upon first discovering his sneaky act even though Daryl Dixon liked it the least when people did something behind his back. But it seemed to be the words that needed to be said at this moment despite their artificial meaning, even more so since he didn’t know what else to say. He wasn’t mad at Paul, no; why should he be? He was just exhausted, body and soul.

“Thank you,” Paul whispered against his temple, “for forgiving me.”

In an attempt to change the subject, Daryl did a quick scan of his surroundings, feeling strangely relieved that this was their bedroom rather than a hospital room or worse, the morgue.

“I was in the dark,” said Daryl. “Pitch black. No light, no sound, nothin’.”

“I know,” Paul replied, nodding. “I was there. All vampires were. We dub it the ‘threshold of death’.”

“I thought about ya, about how abrupt things were, how we didn’t get to say goodbye at least.”

“We don’t have to say goodbye,” Paul hushed, pressing his palm to Daryl’s cheek. Daryl’s stubbles tickled his soft, thin skin. “Not yet. Hopefully never.”

“Am I like you now?”

Outside the open window the crescent moon was high in the starless sky. Were it daylight, Daryl would be stretching out his arm to test if the sun should make his skin sizzle like rashers of bacon in hot oil. In order to provide evidence to his confession, Paul had taken his daylight ring – his sole protection from the sun – off his right ring finger and exposed his hand to sunlight. Daryl remembered having to use the fire distinguisher before his boyfriend became a living torch.

Paul shook his head. “Not yet,” he said. “Just a moment.”

He flashed out of the room a blurred of colors using his preternatural speed. It still struck Daryl as both awed and unsettling even though he had witnessed Paul’s abilities countless times before; he guess it was a grim reminder of Paul’s inhuman nature despite his very human appearance – too human that Daryl subconsciously chose to forget their fundamental difference. But this time, alongside awe and unsettlement, there was a rising curiosity. Daryl wondered how it felt to move at a speed the human eyes couldn’t follow, and whether Paul had trained himself to get adjusted to it or it had naturally become a part of him amongst other vampiric attributes.

Paul returned with a blood bag in his hand, retrieved from his personal stash. Daryl’s throat and mouth suddenly felt very parched while his stomach churned with the sight of crimson. In spite of the sealed plastic container, the sanguineous scent hung thickly in the air.

It appeared the blood flipped a switch inside Daryl. His senses became much too keen – his eyes being able to make out the creases in the curtains and his ears picking up the distant roars of vehicles even though their home resided in a quieter suburban residence – and he was overwhelmed. To say it was uncomfortable was an understatement. The pricking underneath his skin did nothing to help but aggravate his condition.

“It must feel terrible,” Paul said, sitting down on the edge of their bed and reaching out to Daryl with his empty hand. “The enhanced senses and the sudden acute awareness of your surroundings.”

“Ya went through the same things?”

Soon as the question left his lips, Daryl realized it was stupid and redundant.

Paul nodded. “You’re in transition,” he explained. “Neither human nor vampire. Neither dead nor alive. My sire told me that it’s because you’re trapped between two worlds: one foot is in the living world while the other stays in limbo until your decision.”

“My decision?” Daryl echoed.

“To take the final step and become a vampire or…” his throat clogged and the struggle to finish the sentence was evident in his creased eyebrows and his mouth agape. “… to die. This time for real.”

“The final step bein’ this?”

As if handling a fragile and sacred object, Paul handed the blood bag to Daryl with both hands.

Daryl looked down on the tempting object in his hand, thinking about how its content was practically singing to him. Just one gulp and this current discomfort would be gone. And so would the man named Daryl Dixon. He locked eyes with Paul. Although the vampire was sitting as quiet as a statue, his whole body was radiating a silent plea. His straight, stiff back. His fingers curling into fists on his laps. The tight press of his lips. The blue of his eyes shifted ever slightly when the feeble moonlight hit them as if there was a miniature ocean in each. The oceans were shadowed with an imminent storm.

Daryl’s left chest where the bullet had hit ached. Without looking, he fingered the wound, finding it bloodless, mended and whole. He bit the inside of his cheeks until he tasted copper.

His heart throbbed as Daryl gingerly set the blood bag on the nightstand. “How much time do I have before I kick the bucket for real?” he asked.

Paul’s voice was uneven. “Twenty-four hours, the exact same amount of time as the vampire blood stays in your system. Starting when you wake up from your limbo.”

“Tomorrow evenin’ then?”

Paul nodded.

Something about his downcast eyes told Daryl that Paul had already known what he was to say next. The vampire had always had good intuition.

“Tomorrow evenin’ then.”

To be continued

Sorry about another cliffhanger.

So if a person dies with vampire blood in their system, they stays dead for some time (I made up the limbo stuff in this fic) and wakes up neither human nor vampire. Then they have 24 hours to decide if they want to live as a vampire or die a human. If they want to become a vampire, all they need to do is consume human blood.

[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

Summary:

For all the short time Paul had been acquainted with Rick Grimes, he had never heard the tough police officer’s voice break like when he informed Paul, “Daryl was shot.”

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 eggs 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 couple drops of blood, he had never tried it 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 statue. 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

Preview:

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

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Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: Blade Trilogy

Rating: Mature

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

Genres: fanfiction, alternate universe

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

Warnings: language, brief mention of tortures, stalking

Summary:  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, he had just expressed concern and guilt over the misfortune befalling a human even though Joshua Frohmeyer had made a solemn vow on his first night after the turn to not give a fuck about any asses other than his own. Now that in retrospect, he realized he had spent too much time and effort on this particular human than considered healthy, and that was something considering bloodsuckers had painfully low standards for what were deemed healthy. It was clearly not fascination – fascination was when someone caught your interest and after a certain amount of time it would eventually fade. Fascination was not stalking someone from their workplace to their home week after week simply to get a look at their face because the shrine you’d built of their photos at home lacked the allure of only the living person could exude. Fascination was not 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

Preview:

“Ta có thể ở lại bao nhiêu lâu?”

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

“Tốt.”

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.

“Ta…”

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.”

“Được.”

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.