[Siegfried x Karna] It’s Not Impossible If the Grail Is Involved (6)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Fate/Grand Order

Rating: T

Pairing(s): Siegfried x Karna

Genres: fanfiction, fluff, humor, genderbent

Characters: Siegfried, Karna, Arjuna, Jing Ke, original characters


“Key words: ‘you think’, Archer. Nausea isn’t equivalence of morning sickness.”

Sequel to Sharing Warmth, A Drunken Mishap and All the Valentine’s Chocolate Combined. Sort of.

Part 6

Rhys squinted his eyes and studied the mess of red and blue lines he had exposed and tried to modify so that the communication device was compatible with his charger. At the moment he was doing the opposite of what he had done a few hours earlier: he was putting the lines back where they belonged, hoping with anxiety bubbling in his chest that he hadn’t screwed up anything and broken the device for good. It was the only thing that connected him and Chaldea; he desperately needed it if the three of them still wanted to return home safe and sound.

Once everything was back in place, Rhys plugged the device in with trembling fingers. He considered it the ultimate blessing that Mr. Shou’s little dwelling had an outlet. Why and how a cottage alone in a bamboo forest had electricity supply was of little importance to him as long as he could charge his communication device. Maybe that was what the windmill-like contraptions in the yard were used for.

The LCD screen flared up together with a beep had Rhys’s heart nearly leap out of his chest. He screamed internally, not wanting to disturb Mr. Shou and Iori’s sleep when they had done him an enormous favor. They each had retired to their room at the back, leaving the full use of the living room to their new and strange guests. They needed the energy for tomorrow’s journey and Rhys would have followed their example if he hadn’t had to do something important first: charging his device and consulting with either Gilgamesh or Davinci, depending on his luck.

Never before had he found the grainy hologram of a certain Davinci-chan so lovely, so endearing. It brightened the small, dimly lit room.

“Never thought I’d say this,” Rhys began, “but so glad to see you, Davinci, instead of Gilgamesh.” A pause. “He’s not there, isn’t he?”

“No, he got into a quarrel with his younger selves and now Enkidu is trying to have them reconcile with each other, or at least not try to kill each other and reduce Chaldea into rubbles in the process.”

“Who had the brilliant idea of putting them in the same breathing space?” Rhys muttered.

“It’s beyond me,” Davinci replied. “Maybe they ran into each other. Good thing we still have Enkidu to get them in line. How are things on your side? I heard from Gilgamesh but I need to see with my own eyes to assess the situation.”

Rhys summoned Karna, who was outside the cottage, guarding it, via their mental connection. Karna’s slender frame instantly materialized beside Rhys, casting a shadow on the young mage’s face. Behind him was Siegfried. “You called, Master?” Karna asked.

“Yes, please come closer so Davinci can have a look.”

Karna wordlessly did as he was told.

Davinci’s hologram put on a monocle. “Hmm, it’s certainly bizarre but also extremely interesting. I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’d love to study it. If only I could Rayshift there myself. Also, what gorgeous figure! I’d love to draw it.”

Rhys scowled. Only a man who had traded his original body for a female one could say this was interesting. “Please keep your perverted side in check, Davinci.”

“You know I can’t help myself when I see beauty.”

Something crossed Rhys’s mind. “Wait, If Gilgamesh had told you then everyone in Chaldea might have already learned of this.”

A chill ran along Rhys’s spine, making him shiver despite the sweltering weather. He dreaded thinking about what if a certain first-rate Archer knew. He had a penchant for overreacting, that one, which was a major understatement.

Davinci pouted. “What did you take the King of Heroes for? A chatterbox? He only told me because it’s my duty to supervise the missions. Now, please tell me if you have checked the other pools and made any discoveries.”

“That sounds a lot like Gilgamesh’s advice. Those are dangerous so no, we didn’t check. Fortunately someone did and we were able to learn the results.”

“Ooh, tell me.” Her voice didn’t contain her skin-crawling gleefulness. It was probably a scientist’s terminal disease: to be curious about everything and eager to explore them despite how perilous they might be.

“Each pool turns the creature that falls in into something else, dogs, cats, pandas, etc., you name it. And provided you managed to find the proper pool, you can turn them back.”

“Hmm, define ‘proper’, please.”

“For example you threw a mouse in some pool and it turns into a cat. If you could find a mouse pool then problem solved.”

“Interesting,” Davinci hummed, stroking her chin. Probably a past habit when she still had a beard. “By that premise, if we find a male pool, Karna will return to normal?”

“Theoretically speaking. One tiny problem: there is no such pool in that area.”

There was a prolonged silence on the other line, which Rhys felt impatient to fill in as not to waste time. He needed rest as much as any normal human and now his eyes began to weigh down.

“There’s a solution to that, albeit temporary,” he said, standing up, not waiting for Davinci’s response. He left for a few seconds and came back with a kettle in hand. “Karna, do you mind?”

Karna shook his head and took the kettle. The palms of his hand glowed red and soon after, there was steam rising from its mouth. With his usual stoicism, he poured the water over himself. For the third time in the day, he got really wet.

OK, that sounds so wrong.

A soft gasping sound passed Davinci’s lips.

The steam cleared and the original Karna appeared. Almost at the same time, Davinci exclaimed, “Meravigliosa! Subarashii! Marvelous! This is definitely one of the rare miracles I’ve the chance to witness. Simply marvelous.”

Karna’s face was expressionless while Siegfried’s had soured. “He can only keep this form for a short while,” he said, and Rhys noted the annoyance in his tone. But he couldn’t blame Davinci though; from a scientist’s perspective, this unfortunate incident was a golden chance to study the unknown, and this, this was nothing sort of a miracle.

“When he’s dry, he’s back to being a woman.”

Davinci cleared her throat. “Well, it’s troublesome. Let’s see… “ Rhys heard the sound of keyboard. “It appears in the second Karna turned from woman to man, the magical reading pivoted, meaning a large amount of magical energy was involved. As far as I know, there’s one thing that has that much energy…”

“The Grail!” Both Rhys and Davinci said in unison.

“We speculated as much,” Rhys said. “It seems we came pretty close to it.”

“Any clue on where it is or whose hand it is in so far?”

“Yes, the man we met here provided us a clue, which we will set off to check tomorrow.”

“Now that’s the silver lining,” Davinci chuckled. “Anyway, we will be keeping contact tomorrow. Can your communication device hold up?”

“Probable. I’ll make sure to fully charge it.”

“The best of luck to your team.”

“Thank you.”

“Ah, Rhys, there’s something I need to say before goodbye.”


Davinci’s voice lowered, as if to confide a secret. “Gilgamesh only told me but I might have discussed with Foxy over lunch, you know, to figure out the cause…”

Rhys’s heart dropped. Foxy. Tamamo no Mae. Chaldea’s unofficial news hub. He was surprised a certain demigod Archer had not barged into the control room with his thunderous temper and his Agni Gandiva activated.

To be continued

[Siegfried x Karna] If We Close Our Eyes


Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Fate/Grand Order

Rating: K

Pairing(s): Siegfried x Karna

Genres: fanfiction, AU

Characters: Karna, Siegfried


“I was in some sort of pool, afloat though I don’t know how. But instead of water, it was some dark and viscous liquid much like mud. And it was boiling, although I wasn’t burnt. It was hard to describe; the heat was there and I felt it – terrifyingly real for a dream, as I recalled later. I wasn’t burnt in the sense that my skin wasn’t blistered and come off or anything; rather, I was melting, no, the right word should be dissolving.”

Sequel to Till I Break You

Karna stirred and opened his bleary eyes to the burning sunlight flowing through the open window. He squinted his eyes out of reflex and grimaced, until a figure blocked the sun and provided the much-needed shade.

“You were kinda drooling on the textbook, you know,” a familiar voice said, and a hand handed him some tissues.

Karna lifted his head and caught sight of Siegfried’s face. His lips were slightly curling at both ends and he was having a Slurpee in his other hand. His long hair was tied back in a high ponytail, his tie was loosened and the top button of his white shirt was undone.

Spring was receding rapidly to make place for summer and the weather was getting hotter by the day. Along with the heat came the conclusion of their semester and the long-awaited summer vacation.

Karna consciously touched the corner of his lips and found no traces of drool. He shot Siegfried a glare but snatched the tissues nonetheless. Just in case.

“Stayed up late last night?” Siegfried asked, sitting down on Karna’s table, which earned a reprimanding look from Karna. It wasn’t that Karna disapproved his act; Siegfried had done it countless times before, and Karna was fine with it. Mr. Steinfield, however, wasn’t, and he was more than happy to give Siegfried a detention should he catch him.

Siegfried shrugged and didn’t budge.

Karna nodded. “Got into a fight with Arjuna last night over moronic things.”

“How moronic?”

“Video games. Someone was being a sore loser.”

“So you had a hard time falling asleep? You often do when you two fight.”

“Not this time though,” Karna bleated, pillowing his head on his arm. What he would trade for a real pillow right here, right now. “I… was having a nightmare. When I woke up, it felt like I hadn’t slept a wink.”

He motioned his hand for Siegfried to share the Slurpee with him, which the other student did. Siegfried was even thoughtful enough to bring the straw to his lips. “What was it about?” he asked.

Karna lazily took a long drag of the refreshing cold drink. Wild cherry huh? Siegfried’s favorite while his was watermelon but wild cherry wasn’t too bad. The sweet coolness on his tongue dispersed somewhat the cloying mist in his head and soothed his rampaging headache. “It was weird,” Karna began. “I was in some sort of pool, afloat though I don’t know how. But instead of water, it was some dark and viscous liquid much like mud. And it was boiling, although I wasn’t burnt. It was hard to describe; the heat was there and I felt it – terrifyingly real for a dream, as I recalled later. I wasn’t burnt in the sense that my skin wasn’t blistered and come off or anything; rather, I was melting, no, the right word should be dissolving.”

“Dissolving?” Siegfried echoed, wincing. “As in acid sulphuric?”


“Sounds horrible. It had to be excruciating.”

“The thought was, yes, but I wasn’t in pain. In fact, I felt almost nothing. Weird, huh? Could feel the heat but not the pain. I thought that too, until I realized I had no lower body and no limbs. Only my head, neck and shoulders connected to a torso. And I knew, without having learned how, that soon what was left of me would dissolve—”

“Okay, okay, okay, stop right there before that image burns into my head.”

“That’s not the worst of it,” Karna said, half irritated because Siegfried cut him and half amused by his reaction. He was too sleepy and lethargic to decide which was dominant. “The same dream came back just a few minutes ago.”

“A recurring dream huh?” Siegfried wondered, stroking his smooth chin pensively. “Maybe your subconscious was trying to tell your something.”

“Looks who has just become Sigmund Freud,” Karna deadpanned.

“That’s Fox’s major, not mine, along with horoscopes. Wanna meet her after school and consult her?”

“I want to go straight home and sleep until tomorrow,” Karna replied, yawning dramatically audible. “Maybe the day after tomorrow.”

Furrowing his eyebrows, Siegfried looked down on Karna’s I’m-a-lazy-cat form. “Then I suppose our date is canceled?”

Karna’s half-lidded eyes shot open. “What? What day is today?”

“Friday.” A beat. “And my parents are out of town until next week and yours by the end of the month.” Another beat. “I got pizza and Netflix and PS4. Just enough to last us through the weekend.”

Karna’s eyes shone the brightest this entire morning and afternoon. “It’s not canceled,” he protested. “Just let me snatch some shut-eye and I’ll be good.”

Siegfried beamed triumphantly. “But didn’t you just say you wanted to go home?”

Seeing through his taunt, Karna pouted. “Between Arjuna’s spicy tantrums and his bland curry – same thing this whole week – and Netflix and pizza, I’ll go with Netflix and pizza.”

Siegfried arched an eyebrow. “You don’t mean Netflix and chill?”

Karna gave him a hard pinch, almost sending the other student off the table. Despite that, Siegfried was laughing so hard his eyes were brimming with mirthful tears. His laugh was contagious and Karna found himself laughing along.

“Anyway, just forget that weird dream and take a nap,” Siegfried said. “I’ll wake you up when break’s over.”

“Don’t get too bored doing so,” Karna replied, resting his head on his folding arms.

Mouthing “I won’t”, Siegfried looked around the class. Once he had made sure they were definitely alone, he bent down to place a light kiss atop Karna’s spiky head. His heartbeat quickened, excited by the prospect of spending the whole private weekend with Karna.

With his eyes shut tight, the corners of Karna’s lips curved into a smile as he tried to do as he’d been told, pushing that horrible nightmare to the far corner of his mind.

… along with a tidbit of truth he had withhold from Siegfried so as not to worry him: he wasn’t alone in that dream, because Siegfried was right next to him…

… dissolving.

Karna stirred and opened his bleary eyes to the purple sky that stretched far beyond his eyesight. The sun was present in the sky yet he felt none of the familiar assuring warmth from the sunlight, for the sun was not the blazing wheel of his father’s chariot but a gigantic black hole outlined with ominous light, from which dark mud continuously poured down the vast sea under. Hot and cold engaged in a continuous battle, each with its own ferocity.

Soaked in lethargy, Karna let out a feather-soft sigh and attempted to move his limbs, only to be sharply reminded that they were no longer attached to his body. Already dissolved in this sinister mud, their presences a lingering phantom in his fading memory. It would be a matter of time before the rest of his body and his consciousness succumbed to the same fate.

“You awake?”

The familiar voice was a gentle breeze that dispersed some of the soupy mist in his mind.

Coming into his sight was a face of doleful horror: where the skin had been smooth and adorned with the light pattern indicating the powerful dragon blood was now charred and falling off, partly revealing the teeth. The other half of the face, unmarred and still retaining its handsomeness, was masked by unspoken sorrow and agony.

Karna wished he still had a hand – just one hand was enough – so that he could press his palm against Siegfried’s cheek and hope to ease away the sadness and pain he had endured.

“I was dreaming,” Karna whispered, forcefully taking his eyes away from the horrific wound on Siegfried’s face while they were being magnetized towards it. It wasn’t its grotesqueness that shook him; rather it was the jarring truth of whose hand had inflicted such cruelty: his own. “It was a bizarre drea—”

His speech stopped short when his gaze landed on Siegfried’s shoulders. His usual armor had been stripped off, and in Karna’s sight was a blood-crusted stump. “Your arm…” His breath got stuck in his lungs, pressed down with incredible pressure.

“Ah,” Siegfried let out a sigh of resignation. It made a weird soft wheezing sound through his wound. “It’s only inevitable. My only regret is that now I’m unable to hold you with both arms.”

Jabbed by the sharp pain clouding Karna’s irises, he quickly added, “It didn’t hurt at all, only a minor discomfort, the nagging feeling of phantom limbs.”

He cut himself short, realizing Karna probably knew it all too well; after all he had been submerged in this dark mud long before Siegfried.

“Tell me about your dream. I want to hear it.”

“It was a… strange dream,” Karna began. “It wasn’t a nightmare, no, maybe it was but let’s say it wasn’t a nightmare in the conventional sense.”

“How strange?”

“It was… peaceful and normal and these two alone were the telltale signs of bizarreness.”

“Because peaceful and normal do not apply to us Servants?”

It was a question that came out of his mouth but his tone indicated a statement.

“We were humans in that dream. Not just you and I but Tamamo, Kiyohime and every other Servant we’ve acquainted. Humans living human lives, going to school, fooling around, having fun.”

“That sounds…… tempting,” Siegfried sighed.

It took him a while to find the word, and the courage to voice it.

“It was… beautiful. Sunlight pouring through the wide-open window, enveloping me in its pleasant warmth, like Father’s large hand softly patting my head, my shoulders. So beautiful that it was terrifying.”

“Can we Servants even dream?”

“If it wasn’t a dream then what was it?”

Silence, only the bubbling of the mud to fill the space.

“Another world, perhaps?” Siegfried said, at last.

“You mean a parallel world?”

“Yes. I prefer to think there is another world out there where we are humans. Maybe there are myriads versions of us.”

Karna temporarily shut his eyes, contemplating Siegfried’s theory. It fascinated him, excited him even, to imagine himself and Siegfried as humans as in his dream. Humans who weren’t heroes having to shoulder the weight of saving an incinerated world. Humans who led their lives as carefreely and ignorantly as humans could.

“Perhaps there is,” he replied, his tone hinting a sliver of joy. “It was blissful to be able to catch a glimpse of such a dazzlingly peaceful world.” A pause. Long enough for Siegfried to start pondering if he should interrupt his train of thought or wait. “Is it selfish to wish to be in that world even for just a few moments?”

“It’s a little odd hearing the selfless Hero of Charity claim to have a wish,” Siegfried teased. “Might take a while for me to get used to it.”

Karna managed a smile and even a gesture as small as that seemed like great exertion. His time was probably not long. The next time he closed his eyes, perhaps…

“I didn’t have a wish when I was summoned,” he said, “and then I met you. I wished to fight side-by-side with you for as long as our time in this world allowed. And now…”

“And now?”

“I only wish to be with you, even though it seems impossible now.”

“It’s not impossible. I’ll be with you till the very end.”

As if to assure Karna as well as himself, he kissed him on the lips, which had become even paler than normal and long lost its warmth, together with the rest of his body. What he was holding in his arms resembled a cadaver, with almost no life left in it.

“And I with you,” Karna said. He felt warmth and moisture on his cheek, and was unsure whose tears they were.

“If we were ever summoned again…”

“If we ever were summoned again…”

They said in unison and their sentences were cut short almost at the same time because Karna had closed his eyes. With that his body disintegrated into thousands light particles.

Karna stirred and opened his bleary eyes to the sounds of plastic bags being rustled. One glance at the window told him that dust had already settled in. The sky was dyed a purplish color and the sun was a half ball of dimming light disappearing behind the countless houses and buildings. The temperature had become a bit milder with the soft breezes scented with the faint smell of roses from the garden one story below. The honking of vehicles echoed from the distance. He straightened his back and sat up from his half-sitting, half-lying position on the couch. He had always loved this couch in Siegfried’s living room – so fluffy and comfy that once you sat down, you never wanted to stand up. In front of him Siegfried was busy laying the boxes of pizza, fries and drinks on the coffee table. It seemed a bit too much for the two of them; luckily they were both big eaters.

“Caught a nap?” Siegfried asked, opening the boxes of pizza to reveal a Seafood Deluxe and a Pepperoni Superb. Steam was raising and an enticing aroma fought off the scent of roses to fill the living room. Despite the uneasy feeling in his stomach, Karna felt his mouth water at the sight and scent. His appetite was catching up to him.

“Yeah,” Karna replied, ruffling his spiky hair. His hair was probably sticking in all directions but he couldn’t care less.

“I just went out to grab some drinks, just in time for the pizza delivery guy to arrive. Here.”

Siegfried opened a coke can and handed it over. Their fingers brushed and Karna received it with silent appreciation; his throat was often very parched after waking up. The cool liquid quickly washed away his thirst. “I was having a dream,” he said.

“Don’t tell me it was that dream again. If you keep having the same dream like that it’s really worrying.”

“I’m pretty certain this is the last time it visits me.”


“Well, the ‘me’ in that dream died. No, more like vanished or erased. I’m not so sure what that was supposed to be. His body became countless spots of lights and disappeared. Anyway, I knew that ‘me’ no longer existed.”

“That’s disturbing,” Siegfried commented.

“It was a just a dream, nothing more. And I want a slice with that juicy prawn.”

“Right,” Siegfried said, handing Karna what was seemingly the biggest slice. As for himself, he took a piece of pepperoni pizza. “After dinner, what’s the plan? Netflix or game?”

With his mouth half-full with pizza, Karna said. “We still have to decide who’s gonna clean up and take out the trash. That means game.”

“Oh? Is that a challenge? Alright. Game on.”

Karna shrugged and finished his slice, savory and chewy. Just the right kind of junk food to soothe his hunger. As he stretched his arm to get another, he tried to temporary push the last vestige of his dream to the back of his mind: the look on Siegfried’s scarred face while watching Karna turn into particles of light. He had a hunch that look was likely going to haunt him for some time before the memory worn off.


 [Siegfried x Karna] All the Valentine’s Chocolate Combined


Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Fate/Grand Order

Rating: T

Pairing(s): Siegfried x Karna, (implied) Cú Chulainn x Diarmuid, Vlad III x Nero, Yan Qing x Sasaki Kojirou, Achilles x Atalanta

Genres: fanfiction, fluff, humor

Characters: Siegfried, Karna, Kiyohime, Yan Qing, Sasaki Kojirou, Gilgamesh (kid), original character


Valentine’s Day. Chocolate. Love confessions. Kabedon. And Servants.

Sequel to Sharing Warmth and A Drunken Mishap

“It’s called kabedon, KA-BE-DON.”

“Kabedon?” Siegfried mechanically echoed. The sound felt odd on his tongue even if he tried his best to imitate Kiyohime’s pronunciation. Despite having a couple Japanese friends, Kojirou and Kiyohime being his closest chums, not to mention his Master, he was still unconfident articulating Japanese names or words.

“What is it?”

“It’s super popular in Japanese pop culture, just so you know. When a guy uses that on his intended partner, his love confession will have one hundred percent chance of success. Works like A-rank magecraft.”

“Does it?” Siegfried asked, somewhat incredulously. He might not be an expert in the field of magecraft, but he had never heard about such a powerful… spell, or ritual, or whatever that ‘kabedon’ was – he still hadn’t learned of its form. Was it some Oriental secret?

“You baka dragon,” Kiyohime chided, not unkindly. Siegfried was sure her combination of words would be quite a painful prick in many linguists’ eardrums but he wasn’t going to point it out to her. “You know nothing.” This seemed to be her catchphrase these days – someone had spent most of her free nights binge-watching that fantasy show on TV, her most recent obsession beside their Master.


“That’s alright. Now, remember, no, learn it by heart, the key to kabedon is the force you put into your hands when you have him against the wall, or any flat surface. It shouldn’t be too strong or else he’ll mistakenly think you want to assault him and probably respond in kind, not to mention the risk of punching a hole through the wall, which I seriously doubt our Master’d appreciate. But it shouldn’t be too weak either, or else you’ll end up looking like a wimp. It should be gentle, yet intimidating, to highlight your masculinity…”

“Aren’t he and I both male? Why should I need to emphasize my masculinity?”

Kiyohime sighed deeply – she had a penchant for being dramatic, that dragon girl. “Needn’t I tell you everything? Hah, I’ll be blunt so you can grasp it. Do you want to be seme or not?”

“Uhm… I’m not sure what ‘seme’ means.”

“Geez, it means being on top, and you put your d*** into his b***! For goodness’s sake, do some research!”

Siegfried looked absolutely horrified like a little lamb in front of a furious lion. “Kiyohime, yo-your language!” Siegfried stammered. “That’s not lady-like at all.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never thought of that before. I won’t buy it.”

Siegfried’s face went from ghastly pale like he’d seen a ghost to red as though a can of tomato sauce had just spilled beneath his skin. He admitted he had fantasized that a couple times, when he was sleepless and buzzing with energy – their young Master had a rather impressive pool of mana for a Magus of his age – and the quiet hours called for some dynamic activities. Nevertheless, he was deeply aware that although they might be sharing a bedroom and some body contact, the road to Siegfried’s daring fantasy to become a reality was still much long.

“I… I still haven’t told him my feelings.”

“Do you think they’re reciprocated?”

“I think so…yes…” Siegfried replied, his voice lower, bearing a hint of doubt. “He certainly doesn’t abhor the room sharing or the body contact. That proves we aren’t just friends, right? Then that one time he kissed me… it was a drunk kiss but once he knew what he had done, he didn’t seem disgusted or anything. And he also defended me against his brother…”

Kiyohime sported a serious look foreign to her countenance. Her eyebrows furrowed, her lips were set in a neat straight line and she stroked her chin. For some reason, looking at her, Siegfried felt a sense of unease. “You want to know what I think?” Kiyohime asked.

Siegfried nodded.

“I thought he liked you before, and that’s why I went to talk to you about this whole ‘kabedon’ thing, but I was wrong. He didn’t like you, buddy…”

Siegfried’s heart literally dropped. So… Karna didn’t really like him, and everything up until this moment had been his misinterpretation of Karna’s friendly acts due to their cultural differences. Or worse, his own shameful distortion of their friendship. Gott, from now on he couldn’t bear looking straight at Karna anymore, let alone staying in his room or fighting alongside him…

“Hey, Sumanai-kun, you listening to me?”

Kiyohime asked in a worried tone, waving her hand in front of Siegfried’s red-rimmed eyes before his self-flagellation trainwreck went further south. “I haven’t finished my sentence. I said he didn’t just like you, buddy, he likes you. So rest assured, the feelings are mutual.”


Siegfried had heard about the light at the end of the tunnel. This had to be it.

“Ho-How do you tell?”

“Maybe he’s always close to you so you haven’t realized but Karna is pretty distant to every other Servant and staff here. Polite, well-mannered but distant nonetheless. Even to our Master. I can tell he has a miniscule comfort zone and he doesn’t let anyone in easily. And you, you got right into the heart of it, invited and welcomed by him, no less. That’s saying something.”

Siegfried got elevated into the sky but his pessimism had to pull it down to earth; that way it’d hurt less when his bad luck kicked in. “What is that something?” he murmured.

“That something means he regards you highly, probably higher than he does the rest of us. He cherishes you, Dragon-kun, is that clear enough for you?”

“Is that so?”

“That’s right,” Kiyohime replied, patting his shoulder. “I’d say it’s the most opportune time to confess your feelings – though I suspect he’s already known. What else is Valentine’s Day for?”

So it was that time of the year in Chaldea. Technically Valentine’s Day lasted one day but in here, people kind of stretched it to a whole week. Although missions were still carried out – because the world was helpless in saving itself, there was no overnight ones as the evenings were saved for partying, boozing, playing games and, ahem, some adult activities of course; they were mostly grown-ups here save a few kid Servants. Since this was his first year in Chaldea, Siegfried was somewhat surprised by how lively this place became at this time. Then his surprise quickly turned into bafflement when he witnessed Cú Chulainn pulled a flustered Diarmuid into a shady corner and…

Well, he averted his eyes and went the other way, afraid that his presence was interfering with their intimate moment. That the two of them were courting each other, or to use the modern vernacular – hooking up, was no secret in Chaldea, and everyone here was perfectly cool with it. It was just they were usually a little less open with their affection.

By the time he witnessed Achilles offering a brightly decorated box of chocolate to Atalanta, who turned him down for like the twentieth time, Siegfried had gotten used to it. It was certainly fun to see the Servants engage in human activities, and it reminded him that before they were Servants, summoned here by the earnest wish to protect this world, they were human beings with emotions.

“So,” Siegfried turned back to the subject, “once I have him against the wall with that kabedon thing, what should I do next? Just say how I feel?”

“Of course that’s what you’ll do, but before that, you’ll look into his eyes and make sure your gaze is filled to the brim with your passion, as if he were the only person in the whole world you have your eyes for, the center of your universe.”

“That sounds… abstract and I doubt that I can pull that off.”

“You can, trust me. I’ve seen you gazing at him several times,” Kiyohime said with a wide, confident beam which made Siegfried redden. “That will have him speechless and his heart go fonder. As you entrance him with you fiery stare, you bring your face closer and closer to his, until they are only inches apart and you can feel each other’s breath. And then, in your sultry voice, you tell the three magic words.”

“I’m not sure that I have a sultry voice,” Siegfried meekly confessed. He was quite convinced that his voice was rather bland.

“Don’t worry. Just use that voice you used when you and Sasaki-kun performed that duet on Master’s birthday. Honestly I was surprised by how sexy your voice could be.”

The tips of Siegfried’s ears peeking out from his silver mane turned bright red.

“What if he rejected? I mean, it could be too sudden and—”

“Oh boy, you’ve gotta believe in the magic of kabedon. If a man did it to me, I’d surely melt in his arms and be his faithful wife for ever and ever.”

Only if you didn’t bake him first, Siegfried mused but kept his lips tight because Kiyohime was hugging herself with that absolute look of euphoria on her face, and everyone in Chaldea knew better than to intervene with her fantasies lest them got flambéed by her Berserker temper.

Siegfried waited for Kiyohime to come down to earth again with patience. She did, after a while, and clapped his biceps with a grin on her face. “Go for it, Dragon-kun. We shall wait for your good news.”

“We?” Siegfried echoed incredulously.

“Oops,” Kiyohime mumbled, covering her mouth using the sleeve of her black kimono. “Well, that you’re into Karna is no breaking news to us lot. You’re quite transparent when it comes to feelings, you know.”

“Right,” Siegfried heaved a sign, having already heard from Kojirou about the long list of Servants who had seen through his discreet growing affection for the Lancer. It still felt a little embarrassed, though.

“By the way, Emiya sent me a message to tell you to drop by the kitchen to get some chocolate. Before you ask what it’s for, it’s for you to give Karna and it’s complimentary, so don’t worry about paying him back later. And be hurry before Altria hogs them all. Emiya always has a soft spot for her never-ending appetite.”

Probably as adept in dessert-making as in weapon-tracing, Emiya had sort of opened a small startup of handing out chocolate on demand. That meant any Servants and even Masters who wanted to follow Valentine tradition or just simply yearned for some sweet delicacy could ask him in exchange for a little IOU at a later time – mostly just getting him some exotic cooking ingredients on their missions. All the heart-shaped chocolate candies Achilles had been using in hope of winning Atalanta’s heart had come from Emiya. For those who were a bit closer to him, mostly sharing the team with him, the red Archer, however, would offer them his culinary artworks without charge.

“I will, thank you,” Siegfried replied.

He just hoped Karna did have a sweet tooth for Western confectionary.

Siegfried was strolling along the corridor, an oval red box secured in his palm. This was what he had gotten from Emiya, and although it was rather small as compared to the Archer’s usual boxes, he had assured Siegfried that the quality was on par, if not a tad superior. This was his experimental récipe and so far he had only received positive feedback – had pleased even royal tastebuds like Nero’s or Vlad’s. How did he know? Well, after both of them had come to him separately to give compliment on the other’s chocolate. Anyway, since he and Siegfried was on friendly terms – those with shit luck tended to band together, to quote Cú Chulainn, the red Archer had thought Siegfried should try it.

The next step in executing his plan (despite its absurdity but that was what he got asking love advice from a Berserker) would be to find Karna and a suitable place, or alternatively, to find Karna at a suitable place. It was a bit difficult to meet the Lancer outside their shared room recently because one, he and Siegfried had been assigned to different tasks related to their class and as such, they hadn’t had a chance to fight alongside each other for a couple days; and two, when both of them actually had some spare time fighting-free, Karna was swept away by the newly arrived Arjuna, who had insisted on challenging his older brother to a duel whenever he could, or felt like to, which not only occupied all Karna’s time but also left him all wound up and frustrated when he retired to the bedroom. And that was really something because Karna rarely displayed his emotions. The brotherly feud was even worse than Siegfried had read about them, and as far as he was concerned, Arjuna’s obsession with Karna seemed to be treading on the thin line between natural – as they had been arch enemies in life – and unhealthy. In Kiyohime’s eyes, however, all of that was meant to minimize the time Siegfried could spend with the Lancer as a certain someone was red-flagging ‘brother complex’ everywhere and it had her feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Although Siegfried had no idea what a ‘brother complex’ was, if it was something that could cause even Kiyohime to be uncomfortable then he was sure he did not want to know.

Siegfried stopped short when he reached a turn and gazed at a spot on the wall with nostalgic expression. Right here, just a few months ago, that incident had happened. Embarrassing and crazy as it had been, it was also a fond memorial trinket. Despite the sore fact that it had been purely alcohol-induced, it was their first-ever lip-to-lip encounter and it never failed to heat up the tips of his ears every time the memory surfaced. Come to think of it, Karna could have drunk-kissed just about any of the Greek heroes at that table, even Hektor or Achilles, who was on good terms with him; nonetheless, somehow he had managed to perfectly time the exact moment of Siegfried’s approaching him. Coincidental or not, it proved that finally Lady Luck had graced him with her smile; perhaps, for once, he could allow himself some hope that Kiyohime was right about his feelings being reciprocated.

So engrossed in his thought that Siegfried didn’t sense the presence – or rather presences – coming towards him. Everyone in Chaldea exuded unique presence, although the nuance could be not easy to point out. Servants, however, could effortlessly distinguish between a staff member, their own Master, or a Servant. Still, that was only plausible when they weren’t spacing out like Siegfried was at the moment.

On hindsight, Siegfried couldn’t have detected the presences coming towards him given the nature of the Servants. That didn’t not make the experience any less mortifying on his side.

All of Siegfried’s scales on his tail stood on their ends when a hand tapped him on the shoulder, startling his nostalgia into shattering. He was one step from materializing Balmung when he heard a voice.

“Oi, Brother Dragon, why are you staring at the empty wall?”

The voice registered in Siegfried’s mind as overly familiar so he turned around and was faced with Yan Qing and Kojirou. Yan Qing had one arm casually slung on Kojirou’s shoulder, and Kojirou didn’t seem to mind the gesture. These two were getting rather close these days, Siegfried noted, and it made sense as they had a lot in common culture-wise. He had also heard that Yan Qing was Kojirou’s brand-new roommate.

“I was spacing out, honestly,” admitted Siegfried.

“Is that a chocolate box from Emiya?” Kojirou pointed.

Only now did Siegfried remember he was having something in his hand. Well, there was no use hiding something once it was spied, so he nodded, abashed.

Kojirou and Yan Qing exchanged a mirroring smirk.

“We just saw Karna talking to our Master,” Yan Qing, jerking his thumb towards the direction they had come from. “They’re likely still there.”

“And that troublesome brother of his has been accompanying his Master on a mission and probably won’t return until the evening,” Kojirou helpfully added.

Siegfried couldn’t contain an internal defeated sigh, fully aware that his affection for Karna was now officially the most badly hidden secret in all Chaldea.

“Well, best of luck, Brother Dragon,” Yan Qing said, “and if you want to surprise Karna, trying hiding that box somewhere other than your hands.”

And off he went on with Kojirou to do whatever Assassins liked to do in their free time.

It was either his luck had been upgraded overnight or his Master, like many Servants in Chaldea, could clearly read his motif, because by the time Siegfried approached the pair, their Master and Karna’s discussion had just finished. Leaving the Servants to themselves, their Master bid them goodbye to leave for the Master Hall, but not before he (un)intentionally winked at Siegfried.

The corridor suddenly became so engulfing with only the two of them.

The course of actions for his plan were spinning in Siegfried’s head like a roulette. Pin him against the wall, gaze into his eyes, confess your feelings, finish with a breath-taking kiss, his mental voice was undoubted Kiyohime’s. It sounded simple enough, the plan, and it was indeed simple, which required no-brainer, yet Siegfried found it to be the most energy-draining, nerve-wrecking thing he’d ever done in his entire existence. His heart was certainly not helping at all, banging its fleshy self against the rib cages with an iron will to be liberated.

But to chicken out at this crucial moment was not what Siegfried – not as a dragon-slaying hero but as a man – would ever do, so he balled his fists and made up his mind. “Karna…” he took one step up, swallowing the molasses in his throat and getting himself prepared for battle, urgh, for action; there wasn’t that much difference after all. But alas, fate was not so kind-hearted as to allow him this chance because Karna suddenly raised his voice, effectively halting Siegfried. “I have something to tell you,” he said in his ever-cool tone, not indicating any hint as to what he was about to speak.


Not expecting this turn of event, Siegfried postponed his intended words and looked into Karna’s pale face, which turned out to be a fatal mistake as he was instantly captivated by the Lancer’s intense gaze. He always thought Karna’s eyes, a clear, icy blue like a frozen lake during winter, to possess a mystic spell to pin someone’s down and demand their undiluted intention so that they couldn’t not focus on anything else but him. Sabers were known for their high magic resistance and still, more than once Siegfried had found himself at the mercy of that enchanted gaze. Or perhaps it was something other than magic, something more complex that subtly penetrated his consciousness to beckon his suppressed desires. Whatever it was, it was sure to get him every time. He wondered if Karna was aware of his effect on Siegfried as he slowly but steadily advanced, causing the Dragon Slayer’s feet to take unconscious steps backward.

By Karna’s commanding gaze, Siegfried was soon backed against the wall. His eyes not straying from the Saber’s face for even a split second, not even to blink, he raised his hands as if about to deal a blow. Siegfried knew he wouldn’t, though; it was completely uncharacteristic of him to attack a stranger out of the blue, least of all his ally and friend. Unlike his hot-tempered, irrational brother.

With a soft – but still edible – sound to let Siegfried be aware that he’d used a modicum of his god-blessed strength, Karna planted his palms against the walls, caging the Saber, and brought his face close enough to Siegfried’s that they could feel each other’s breath. His sharp, feline eyes were scrutinizing the Saber’s expressions. Despite his shorter stature and much leaner frame, Karna looked intimidating, predatory even, with Siegfried regrettably being his chosen prey. Worse, the prey had already given in the moment he got mesmerized by those frosty blue eyes, pitifully without resistance.

“Uhm… you have something to tell me?” Siegfried opened his mouth, struggling to find his voice, which came out a little hoarse. He needed to somewhat dispel the intensity in the charging atmosphere and his own anxiety of waiting for Karna’s response.

Being almost chest-to-chest, Siegfried could inspect the crimson jewel embedded on Karna’s flesh. It was a secret of Karna’s, which he’d discovered after spending months in close proximity with the Lancer, that his jewel seemed to convey his feelings far better than his impassive expressions. The stronger his emotions got, be that joy, grief, excitement or anger, the clearer and shinier the gem became. Siegfried was startled to see its gleam, which, coupled with his rising body heat, denounced that the Saber wasn’t the only one affected by their situation. Siegfried hoped against hope that nobody would pass by this corridor and ruined this moment for them.

“From the day we first accompanied our Master into battles,” Karna began rather solemnly, after a moderate pause, his eyes boring into Siegfried’s, “I’ve always considered you a reliable comrade, to whom I could trust to cover my back, an opponent worthy of my spear, and a friend whom I can talk and laugh with. But that isn’t all…”

The heat radiating from him was getting stronger, to the point that Siegfried thought it might sear his skin. Alright, technically it couldn’t, but he wouldn’t mind if it did.

“As a matter of fact, I really like you,” Karna hesitated, “and it’s much different from comradeship or friendship. It’s similar to the special bond shared between Diarmuid and Cú Chulainn, or Emiya and Altria, or Nero and Vlad…”

Siegfried just stared at Karna, his need to blink forgotten as he was stunned by the raw honesty in his voice and the earnest fire burning in his eyes. Even in his wildest dreams had he never dared to imagine Karna confessing his feelings to him, and in such straightforward manners. Sure he had heeded Kiyohime’s advice and gathered up his courage to tell Karna the exact same words, yet always a part of him, a not-so-tiny part, was prepared to take rejection, and possibly awkwardness following afterward. If Karna wasn’t having him against the wall, he might want to do the silly thing of giving himself a good punch just so he knew he wasn’t in a twisted dream.

Wait a minute! The caging, the intense gaze, the confession… all of these struck him as familiar.

“So, what do you say?” asked Karna.

“The three magic words!” yelled the chibified Kiyohime dressed in pink kimono with a pair of fluffy wings behind her back. Siegfried mentally winced at her shrill voice inside his head.

“Is this… kabedon?”

So much for the three magic words. The chibi angel Kiyohime banged her head on his shoulder pad.

In a rare astounded expression which Siegfried had thought as nonexistent in his repertoire, Karna widened his eyes. His jaws were slightly slack but no words came out. After a few good seconds, it was a curt admittance: “Yes.”

“Did you, by any chance, get it from Foxy Lady?”

Foxy was Tamamo no Mae’s nickname in Chaldea because her full name was a bit cumbersome. Technically she wasn’t a fox spirit but as she had once said, she didn’t mind being referred as one, having been mistaken by thousands before. That foxes were extremely adorable was an added bonus. Besides, what irked her much more than being mistaken for another species was being addressed by a generic name, which, once called, would turn at least a dozen heads around.

To put it short, the relationship between Karna and Tamamo no Mae was similar to that between Siegfried and Kiyohime: odd, yes, but genuine in spite of their vast cultural differences, beliefs and moral codes.

Another “Yes” came from Karna. Was Siegfried imagining or his pitch just got a bit higher?

No wonder, Siegfried thought. Those two Servants were very close friends and essentially partners-in-crime. He wouldn’t be too shocked if they had had this all set up.

“Funny enough,” Siegfried said, “Kiyohime gave me the same advice and I was going to tell you the same thing.”

“So…… that was why you came looking for me?”


An awkward silence stretched between the two grownup Heroic Spirits, who were staring at each other – no intensity this time – like two clueless adolescents who’d just learned that their feelings were mutual but had no idea what the next step should be because, well, they were utterly clueless. It appeared although both of them had carefully thought it through and carried it out, neither was prepared for the possibility that it might actually succeed.

Siegfried did know what to do. Back in his era and country, when a man proposed he’d just get on one knee, offer his intended partner a flower, preferably a red rose, and promise to fight and triumph all her other suitors… or try to win her family’s favor so that he could ask for her hand. However, that was only applicable when his intended partner’s gender wasn’t the same as his and he wouldn’t risk looking like a crazy fool or worse, provoking Karna to anger. Karna had never shown his temper but who knew how calamitous it could be. Best not to try it.

“So…” both said in unison and fell into silence again.

The faintest shade of cherry dusted Karna’s white cheeks, and the ice in his eyes had thawed enough to put a glaze over his irises. Looking at him, Siegfried was reminded of that New Year’s Eve, and of the drunken but turned out to be the most marvelous kiss he’d had in centuries. It ignited in him so fervent a desire to relive that scene right here, right now, that all the confusion and hesitation were swept clean. This time, their minds would be the clearest state and there was no one around to spoil this intimate moment.

So he stopped thinking and just sprang into action. His hand went to touch the side of Karna’s neck, feeling the cool warmth of the earring dangling near his shoulder, and as the Lancer’s eyes enlarged, Siegfried bent his head and gently capture his parted lips.

It felt natural when Karna, after a moment of stillness due to being taken off guard, responded with the same gentleness the Saber offered. His mouth closed, and his lips glided leisurely against Siegfried’s. It felt natural when Karna’s arms rested limply on Siegfried’s shoulders, caging him in a loose embrace. It felt natural when Siegfried pressed his body against Karna’s, immersing himself in the precious, one-of-a-kind warmth that emitted from the son of the sun god, and his hands palmed the sides of Karna’s slender hips. It felt also natural when Karna tried to press harder into Siegfried’s form even though it was impossible, and his fingers threaded into Siegfried’s silver mane, drawing idle circles at the sensitive skin on the back of his neck, sending shiver down his spine.

Everything in this moment felt just natural while nothing of it should, and truth was, both of them paid it no mind, focusing instead on the sweetly unique flavor that spelt of the other. Out of a taciturn agreement, they kept the kiss chaste as to commemorate the cement of their relationship, knowing this was their first true kiss, and with a swelling confidence, not their last.

A sheen of moisture coated Karna’s lips once they parted and he unconsciously licked them. Siegfried’s Adam’s apple bobbed.

“I, uhm, got this from the red Archer,” Karna said, rummaging through his fiery cloak for a while and pulled out a red square-shaped box. Siegfried was baffled to see that it had such use. Wasn’t it weaved of fire? Shouldn’t it burn? But the box wasn’t, though. Maybe Karna put a spell or a charm on it or it was just how the cloak’s magic worked – burnt not what its owner wished no harm.

The box looked perfect and Siegfried didn’t need to see the inside to know its content. Hadn’t him gotten a similar one from Emiya?

“Tamamo said it was a modern tradition to share this treat with your loved one…”

As he spoke, his fingers carefully unwrapped the ribbons and opened it to reveal… shapeless brown goo that might appear disgusting if not for its strong, pleasant aroma. Karna immediately paled.

Siegfried tried so hard not to laugh that it actually hurt. “I guess that’s why Emiya traced that gargantuan fridge first thing when he entered the kitchen. These chocolates can’t stand the heat, not even room temperature,” said Siegfried, clearing his throat. Being that close to Karna’s body, it was sure to catch some of his body temperature, which was tad higher than a normal person’s.

“Point taken,” Karna deeply sighed.

“I got some from him too,” Siegfried said, taking out the chocolate box he had hidden in his cloak of invisibility, hoping that his chocolate would fare better. His tone dropped once he saw the box in his hand. Inside, the once-beautiful oval box of chocolate, though not melted, had been misshapen and became the very symbol of a trampled heart. Must have been the result of his being backed against the wall.

“Yours is melted and mine is crushed,” Siegfried sighed, “we’ll make quite a pair.”

They both burst into hearty laughter.

This might be the first time he’d heard Karna laugh, loud and true, and the sound was music to his ears; he would much love to hear it every day from now on.

“But we can still have what they call,” Siegfried said, dipping a piece of his chocolate into Karna’s melted chocolate, “a mockery of chocolate fondue.” As he finished, he brought the piece to Karna’s lips, which the Lancer took into his mouth. His gorgeous eyes shone as he exclaimed, “It’s so delicious!”

“It is,” Siegfried agreed, licking his fingers. He bent down and claimed the second kiss only minutes after the first. Sure the chocolate was sweet, but the lingering aftertaste on Karna’s tongue was sweeter than all the Valentine’s chocolate combined.

Epilogue 1

I immediately noticed something weird as soon as I entered the main cafeteria looking for dinner after relaxing in a long, hot bath. I had taken my time in the bath, partly to soak my fatigue off and partly to avoid the rush hour at the cafeteria, when Masters and Servants came back from their missions, all clamoring for steaming-hot food and beverages. After that, they spread out to enjoy their leisure time, and the cafeteria would be mostly vacant save a few staff members.

But today was different. Rush hour had been over for at least half an hour, and still there was hardly an empty table in the space. On closer inspection, the cafeteria was occupied mostly by Servants, not Masters, and the majority of them being Heroic Spirits of the bow. Why they gathered here was a bafflement to me because the cafeteria wasn’t the Archers’ favorite hangout; they much preferred the training ground, where they could compete with one another to see who was the best marksman or markswoman.

I quickly grabbed my portion of foods – mashed potatoes, salads and honeyed chicken, and an extra-large cup of goat milk yoghurt – and strode to a table at a corner, who had been claimed by a Servant. A small one in both size and age, who was in contract with me, he had his eyes glued on the iPad screen, watching some sort of anime, and a spoon was dangling from his mouth while a half-full bowl of fruit salads topped with whipped cream sat on the table. Were he a normal kid, I would like to remind him it wasn’t a good habit to watch TV while eating, but to do that with the ancient king of Uruk, I’d risk exposing myself to a month of pranks. The king, no matter a child or an adult, never fancied being told what to do.

“Oh hi, Master,” Gilgamesh put out the spoon and greeted, peering at me through his golden lashes.

“This place is so packed today,” I commented. “Any idea why the Archers are gathering here like it’s an Archer convention?”

“Well, a certain Archer is taking the whole training ground as his personal punching bag and no one wants to get accidentally skewed by his divine arrows, so, here we all are.”

“And by ‘a certain Archer’ you mean…”

“Look around Master and see if you can spy the one who isn’t present.”

“Is that a challenge for me?” I asked, winking.

Gilgamesh winked back but gave no answer.

I did a quick scan of the cafeteria and quickly gave up. “Beats me. I don’t have hawk eyes like you Archers.”

“Lazy as ever, Master,” Gilgamesh giggled. “It’s Arjuna. He seemed to be in particularly foul mood when he entered the training ground, and before the Servants there knew what or who had pissed His Highness off, he was ready to shoot anything and anyone.”

“Any idea who or what?” My gossipy bone was tickled just by hearing this.

“I can’t be sure, Master, but I have a good guess.”

“And what may that be?”

“To your far left, Master.”

I did as I was told and found a table where Emiya, David and Robin were bickering about something. Again.

“Not sure how they are related to Arjuna.”

A puzzled look crossed Gilgamesh’s face. He stood up from his seat for the added height and said, “Not them, Master, behind them.”


I craned my neck to see what Gilgamesh was trying to show me. Once I see who were sitting there, a sense of understanding swept over me.

It was Siegfried and Karna at that table, sitting side by side. In front of them was a chocolate fondue, and they were taking turn dipping pieces of diced fruits or biscuits in the chocolate while having shining eyes and a wide smile on their faces as they did. It seemed they were tightly wrapped in their own pink bubble that neither was able to sense my stare. My Servants looked happy though, happier than I’d ever seen them, in each other’s company. My best shot was that one of them, or both, had finally worked up the nerves and worked out the tension between them.

Turning to the petite king, I nodded and said, “I think I have to agree with you.”

“Too bad Arjuna probably doesn’t,” replied the king in a childish voice and adult wisdom.

Epilogue 2

Much later, when all the suppressed feelings had been told and the chocolate converted to a minuscule amount of mana, as they were about to go to sleep, wrapped in each other’s warmth as they usually did, a question struck Siegfried.

“I was wondering about something,” Siegfried said.


“When Foxy Lady told you about this kabedon thing, did she mention anything about ‘seme’?”

“‘Seme’? What does it mean?”

Unbeknownst to Karna, Siegfried breathed a sigh of relief. “Never mind that, probably just some Japanese slangs she and Kiyohime picked up surfing the net.”

Compared to heavy warriors like Siegfried and Karna, Kiyohime and Tamamo no Mae were summoned to battles less often because their Master had a problem with the former’s mana consumption and the latter’s skills were better suited to specific missions.

Karna didn’t ask anything else, seemingly brushing the matter off as Siegfried had told him. But the Dragon Knight knew tomorrow he’d likely consult with his close Japanese friend. That was alright though. Better he hear from Tamamo no Mae than Siegfried himself.


[Diệp Phó] Hải Thị Thận Lâu (8)

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


Trái tim Diệp Khai giật thót, không khỏi nghĩ đến ảo ảnh đốt xương trắng cùng giọng nói buộc tội cay nghiệt trong đầu. Lẽ nào tất cả đều do khúc nhạc gây ra?

“Nói vậy hẳn Sở huynh đã quen thuộc với nhạc khúc của vị Hoa công tử kia nên không bị ảnh hưởng?”

Chương 1    Chương 2     Chương 3    Chương 4    Chương 5   Chương 6     Chương 7

8. Khách nhân họ Sở

“Tại hạ chậm trễ nên chẳng còn bàn trống. Các hạ liệu có thể cho phép tại hạ ngồi vào ghế trống ở bàn các hạ không?”

Giọng nói trong đầu Diệp Khai im bặt rồi lui vào một góc tăm tối trong tiềm thức, chờ cơ hội khác trỗi dậy. Diệp Khai bừng tỉnh, liếc nhìn bàn tay. Sạch trơn, không có máu cũng chẳng có tiểu đao. Hắn ngẩng lên và nhìn thấy một nam nhân đứng bên bàn. Nam nhân trạc ba mươi tuổi – đương độ tuổi sung mãn, thành thục nhất, sở hữu diện mạo tuấn tú ít người bì được. Không chỉ vậy, dù hắn chỉ thong dong cầm quạt đứng đó thôi, toàn thân cũng tỏa ra mị lực khiến nam nhân muốn kết bằng hữu với hắn còn nữ nhân sẵn sàng sà vào lòng hắn. Nếu nói tướng mạo chỉ là một phần thì mị lực của hắn phải là mười phần mới tạo nên khí chất của con người đang đứng trước mặt Diệp Khai. Loại người như hắn trên thế gian không nhiều, khi xuất thế chắc hẳn là một nhân vật truyền kỳ. Diệp Khai bỗng vô cùng tò mò muốn biết thân phận thật sự của người khách đầu tiên mà hắn tiếp xúc từ khi đặt chân vào Niệm Lâu.

“Mời ngồi,” Diệp Khai cười, làm động tác thỉnh. “Còn nữa, tại hạ chỉ là một lãng tử, huynh đài hà tất phải khách khí.”

Người nọ cũng mỉm cười, ngồi xuống đối diện Diệp Khai. “Nếu huynh đài đã nói vậy,” hắn nói. “Tại hạ họ Sở. Dám hỏi tại hạ nên xưng hô với huynh đài thế nào?”

Người nọ chỉ xưng họ, không đề cập tên, nguyên nhân có lẽ vì hắn vốn là một nhân vật tiếng tăm trong giang hồ. Niệm Lâu là chốn ngoạ hổ tàng long, Diệp Khai không lấy làm lạ. Tuy nhiên, những người bước vào đây đều đã rũ bỏ quá khứ sau cánh cửa sơn đen sờn cũ; họ Sở không chừng chẳng phải danh tính thật sự. Diệp Khai nhận ra ý tứ đó, liền đáp lại theo cách tương tự. “Tại hạ họ Diệp, chữ ‘diệp’ trong ‘diệp thụ’.”

“Ra là Diệp huynh. Dám hỏi Diệp huynh phải chăng mới vào Niệm Lâu?”

Diệp Khai hơi bất ngờ trước câu hỏi của người nọ. Ở đây có bao nhiêu người, chẳng lẽ hắn đều quen mặt?

“Sở huynh thật tinh mắt, tại hạ đúng là mới ở đây được đôi bữa,” Diệp Khai đáp, rót hai ly rượu và đặt một chén trước mặt người họ Sở. “Mời.”


Người nọ không khách sáo, cầm ly rượu uống, động tác nhanh nhẹn nhưng không mất thanh lịch. “Diệp huynh quá khen, tại hạ chẳng qua chỉ là suy đoán dựa trên phản ứng của huynh khi nghe khúc tấu kia thôi.”

Tò mò trong Diệp Khai lập tức dâng cao. “Phản ứng của tại hạ sao?”

“Vì những người ở đây được một thời gian đều đã quá quen thuộc với khúc tấu của y, chẳng ai có biểu tình giống như huynh. Từ đó tại hạ mạo muội suy đoán Diệp huynh là tân khách.”

Trái tim Diệp Khai giật thót, không khỏi nghĩ đến ảo ảnh đốt xương trắng cùng giọng nói buộc tội cay nghiệt trong đầu. Lẽ nào tất cả đều do khúc nhạc gây ra?

“Nói vậy hẳn Sở huynh đã quen thuộc với nhạc khúc của vị Hoa công tử kia nên không bị ảnh hưởng?”

Hắn không ngờ người họ Sở cười khổ, đưa chén rượu lên miệng nhấp một ngụm rồi hướng ánh nhìn về vũ đài bây giờ đã trống không. Ánh mắt hắn tràn ngập một thứ tình cảm Diệp Khai không dám gọi tên nhưng lại vô cùng quen thuộc: hắn chắc chắn đó là thứ tình cảm đong đầy ánh mắt hắn mỗi khi hắn dõi theo bóng lưng gầy gò của Phó Hồng Tuyết.

“Tại hạ không dám khẳng định bản thân hoàn toàn miễn dịch với cầm khúc của y,” người họ Sở cười đáp. “Đôi lúc cầm khúc ấy cũng khiến tại hạ nhức nhối tâm can, tất nhiên là những lúc như thế, y vô cùng cao hứng.”

Diệp Khai không khỏi ngạc nhiên trước những lời của người họ Sở. Họ là hai người hoàn toàn xa lạ, mới chuyện trò được đôi câu vậy mà hắn không ngần ngại để lộ tâm tư trước một người mới gặp. Ở chốn giang hồ lòng người nông cạn khó dò, chuyện này có lẽ không bao giờ xảy ra. Tuy nhiên, nơi đây là Niệm Lâu, là chốn mà mọi ranh giới đều bị xoá nhoà, bởi thế mà lòng người cũng rộng mở hơn chăng?

“Sở huynh dường như hiểu rất rõ vị Hoa công tử kia. Huynh và y có quen biết?”

“Y và tại hạ từng là bằng hữu. Tiếc là tình bằng hữu đã chôn vùi dưới mấy tấc đất.”

Diệp Khai đặc biệt chú ý đến chữ ‘từng’. “Còn hiện tại?”

Không còn là bằng hữu tức là đã trở thành kẻ thù? Diệp Khai tự hỏi. Nhưng cả hai lại cùng là khách nhân của căn lầu, sớm tối đều có thể nhìn thấy nhau, chẳng lẽ mỗi lần chạm mặt là một lần người sống ta chết?

“Là ‘niệm’ của tại hạ,” người họ Sở thản nhiên đáp.

Ra vậy. “Ý huynh Hoa công tử kia là nguyên nhân huynh bước vào Niệm Lâu?”

“Khách nhân của Niệm Lâu đại khái được phân thành hai dạng: dạng thứ nhất do chính lâu mời vào, vì được mời nên dạng này có quyền từ chối. Dạng thứ hai bước vào lâu do trong tâm có niệm, và dạng này hiển nhiên không có quyền lựa chọn.”

“Vậy Hoa công tử kia có lẽ thuộc dạng thứ nhất còn Sở huynh thuộc dạng thứ hai rồi.”

Người họ Sở nâng chén rượu, nhấp một ngụm, trên gương mặt anh tuấn thấp thoáng vẻ bất đắc dĩ. Không phải sầu não, không phải bất lực hay căm phẫn mà là cảm giác dù biết mười mươi nhưng vẫn không thể tránh được điều đó xảy đến với mình, tuy nhiên, chính điều đó lại là điều bản thân thầm mong muốn nhưng ít khi dám đối diện thừa nhận.

“Huynh nói không sai,” người họ Sở đáp. “Tại hạ ôm chấp niệm trong lòng, tìm kiếm Niệm Lâu trong nhiều thời gian, cuối cùng cũng đến được. Tại hạ đã nghe nhiều về những truyền thuyết nơi này, cũng biết đến việc người bước chân vào Niệm Lâu không thể trở ra, nhưng tại hạ không tin vì sau đó tại hạ vẫn có thể trở ra thế giới bên ngoài.”

“Vậy sao?”

“Nhưng sau cùng, tại hạ nhận ra đó chỉ là ảo tưởng không hơn không kém. Thứ trở ra thế giới bên ngoài chỉ là niềm lưu luyến của tại hạ mà thôi, còn bản thân tại hạ trước sau chưa từng rời khỏi chốn này.”

Trái tim Diệp Khai nhói đau nhưng thình lình bị một chiếc kim đâm vào. Hắn từng muốn rời đi và thiếu niên Vân Thâu cũng không hề ngăn cản hắn, tuy nhiên rốt cuộc hắn lựa chọn ở lại chỉ vì một bóng lưng hao hao Phó Hồng Tuyết. Hoàn toàn tự nguyện, không hề bị ép buộc, hắn đã cho là thế. Bây giờ nghĩ lại, liệu đây có phải cách mà chốn huyền bí này dùng để giữ chân hắn hay không? Nếu hắn vĩnh viễn không thể tìm được Phó Hồng Tuyết, có phải hắn sẽ vĩnh viễn ở lại đây? Như Hoa công tử, như người họ Sở, như bất cứ khách nhân nào khác.

Như Phó Hồng Tuyết.

Diệp Khai trước sau vẫn là lãng tử, cho dù hắn đã đánh rơi gần hết cái hào sảng, phóng khoáng của một lãng tử, mà đối với lãng tử, bị bắt buộc vĩnh viễn dừng chân lại một chốn là một bi kịch tương đương với chém đứt đôi cánh của chim ưng và nhốt nó trong lồng, chỉ tưởng tượng thôi cũng đủ khiến mồ hôi lạnh bò dọc sống lưng.

Nhưng, nếu trong lồng có một thứ đủ sức hấp dẫn để giữ chân chim ưng, khiến nó quên đi nỗi đau bị tàn nhẫn tước đoạt tự do thì sao? Huống chi con chim ưng già nua, mỏi mệt từ lâu đã chẳng còn thiết tha bầu trời rộng lớn, chỉ biết ngày ngày tự rỉa vết thương mưng mủ, hoại tử của mình đến toét máu.

Trong đầu hỗn độn bao luồng suy nghĩ, Diệp Khai nhất thời chưa biết phản ứng thế nào.

Người họ Sở thấy hắn trầm mặc, ánh mắt thất thần bèn lên tiếng, “Vào cũng đã vào rồi, huynh đã tìm thấy ‘niệm’ của mình chưa?”

Diệp Khai như bừng tỉnh, vội hỏi lại, “Xin hỏi Sở huynh đã ở đây lâu chưa?”

Người họ Sở nhướng mày, nét mặt thoáng hiện vẻ ngạc nhiên trước câu hỏi đột ngột từ Diệp Khai. “Tại hạ ở đây chưa thể tính là lâu nhưng cũng không phải mới bước vào hôm qua, hôm kia.”

“Tại hạ mạn phép hỏi, huynh có quen thuộc hết những khách nhân ở đây không?”

“Tại hạ không dám nhận quen biết nhưng đại khái cũng biết được sơ lược danh tính. Phải chăng Diệp huynh muốn đề cập đến ‘niệm’ của huynh?”

“Hắn họ Phó, tên là Hồng Tuyết. Không biết Sở huynh đã từng tiếp xúc chưa?”

Trái tim Diệp Khai co bóp mãnh liệt trong lồng ngực còn lòng bàn tay rịn mồ hôi. Đây chính là lúc hắn xác nhận sự hiện diện của Phó Hồng Tuyết trong Niệm Lâu. So với cách nói lấp lửng của Vân Thâu, lời của người thứ ba, không có liên hệ gì với hắn hay Phó Hồng Tuyết có tính xác thực hơn nhiều. Trên hết, người họ Sở này là người đầu tiên ở Niệm Lâu dường như không có ý định làm loạn thần trí hắn.

“Phó Hồng Tuyết sao?” người họ Sở lẩm bẩm. “Có phải thanh niên mặc độc một màu đen, chân phải có tật, ít nói ít cười?”

Diệp Khai tưởng chừng xương lồng ngực đã gãy trước nhịp đập dữ dội của trái tim. Hắn mở miệng nhưng không nói nên lời, móng tay cắm sâu vào lòng bàn tay trơn trượt mồ hôi nhưng hắn không cảm thấy bất cứ cảm giác gì.

“Diệp huynh không sao chứ?” người họ Sở thấy sắc mặt Diệp Khai cổ quái liền ân cần hỏi thăm.

“Tại hạ không sao,” Diệp Khai nặng nhọc đáp. “Sở huynh quen biết Phó Hồng Tuyết sao?”

“Tại hạ đã có vinh hạnh thử đao pháp của hắn. Đích thực là khoái đao thiên hạ vô song, vượt xa bất cứ cao thủ dùng đao nào vào thời tại hạ. Nhưng Phó Hồng Tuyết và tại hạ chỉ là sơ giao, hắn và Diệp thành chủ mới là thân giao.”

Diệp Khai không để ý đến cách dùng từ kỳ lạ của người họ Sở hay Diệp thành chủ được nhắc đến là ai; lúc này, hắn chỉ quan tâm một điều duy nhất.

“Sở huynh biết Phó Hồng Tuyết ở đâu không?”

“Việc này…” người họ Sở ngập ngừng. Một cách vô thức, Diệp Khai đếm từng nhịp chờ hắn lên tiếng. “Tại hạ không dám khẳng định chắc chắn, chỉ vài lần loáng thoáng nghe được gian phòng của Phó Hồng Tuyết là gian phòng cuối cùng của cánh đông.”

Trái tim Diệp Khai rơi thẳng xuống đáy vực.

Còn tiếp

Bạn Joel thừa nhận từ lúc hình thành ý tưởng viết fic này bạn đã nhất quyết phải lôi lão họ Sở mà chắc ai cũng biết đấy là ai cùng vị mỹ nhân nào đó thường xuyên dây dưa với lão (ít nhất trong đầu bạn Joel là vậy) vào fic.

Bạn tính viết dài hơn nhưng tính lười lại nổi lên nên bạn để cliffhanger, đợi chương sau giải quyết tiếp.

Btw, chuẩn bị nâng rating lên rồi ~~.

[Diệp Phó] Hải Thị Thận Lâu (7)

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


Vừa hướng ánh mắt đến người đó, Diệp Khai liền ngây ngẩn, trái tim bất giác lỗi một nhịp. Thân vận trường bào tuyết trắng tương phản với cổ cầm cùng mái tóc đen nhánh như dòng thác đổ xuống vai, cầm sư trên vũ đài đích thị là một mỹ nhân hiếm có, mắt tựa tinh tú, môi tựa cánh đào, phong thái thanh cao, thoát tục, so với Điệp Vũ không hề kém cạnh.

Chương 1    Chương 2     Chương 3    Chương 4    Chương 5  Chương 6

7. Hoa công tử

Diệp Khai tỉnh dậy trên một chiếc giường, đó là điều đầu tiên hắn nhận ra. Có giường ắt có phòng, chỉ là ánh mắt hắn quét một lượt khắp phòng cũng không nhận ra dù chỉ nửa điểm quen thuộc. Đây không phải phòng hắn, Diệp Khai khẳng định, căn phòng này nhỏ hơn, đồ đạc cũng ít hơn mặc dù đồ đạc phòng hắn vốn chẳng nhiều nhặn gì. Ngoài chiếc giường hắn đang nằm, căn phòng gần như trống trơn, không bàn ghế, không tủ kệ, càng không có vật trang trí. Trên bức tường trắng toát không có ô cửa sổ, Diệp Khai vô phương biết được thời điểm hiện tại.

Căn phòng này tựa hồ không phải nơi ở của con người mà giống như một gian nhà kho đương lúc vật chứa vừa được chuyển đi. Nhận định đó khiến tâm tình sau khi tỉnh dậy vốn không mấy tốt đẹp của Diệp Khai càng trầm xuống. Hắn chống tay, ngồi dậy, trong lòng bất giác gọi tên gã tiểu nhị.

Ngoài cửa có tiếng bước chân. Diệp Khai vừa ngẩng mặt lên thì cánh cửa nhẹ nhàng mở ra và một người bước vào.

Diệp Khai ngẩn người, trái tim trong ngực đã vọt lên cổ họng, tắc nghẹn.

Hắn lại nhìn thấy Phó Hồng Tuyết.

Phó Hồng Tuyết vận áo vải thô xám, mái tóc chảy xuống vai, lưng như dòng thác đen nhánh. Trên tay bưng một chiếc khay gỗ nhỏ đen tuyền, Phó Hồng Tuyết tiến đến bên giường.

“Khách quan, ngài đã tỉnh, xin ngài dùng chút canh giải rượu cho nóng,” ‘Phó Hồng Tuyết’ nói với chất giọng trong vắt như dòng suối mát.

‘Phó Hồng Tuyết’ vừa mở miệng, ma thuật liền tan biến. Con người trước mặt Diệp Khai lại là gã tiểu nhị nhỏ tuổi, lễ độ và không bao giờ nghỉ ngơi của Niệm Lâu.

Nói đúng ra thì gương mặt Vân Thâu không hề biến đổi, điều biến đổi chẳng qua là góc nhìn và nhận thức của Diệp Khai.

Từ ngày đầu tiên bước vào Niệm Lâu, trông thấy Vân Thâu, Diệp Khai đã nghĩ gã rất quen thuộc. Giờ phút này hắn mới rõ thì ra Vân Thâu có nhiều nét rất giống Phó Hồng Tuyết. Tất nhiên gương mặt gã không giống hệt Phó Hồng Tuyết – nếu không Diệp Khai đã chẳng thể bình tĩnh ngồi trên giường nhìn gã – nhưng ở góc độ và ánh sáng nhất định, không riêng Diệp Khai mà bất cứ ai quen biết Phó Hồng Tuyết cũng sẽ khẳng định Phó Hồng Tuyết và gã là song sinh huynh đệ.

Diệp Khai dụi mắt bằng cả hai tay. Khuôn mặt Vân Thâu tựa như biến đổi, lại tựa như không.

“Ta đang ở phòng của ai?”

“Là phòng của tiểu nhân,” Vân Thâu đáp. “Ngài say quá, không thể tự trở về phòng mình, mà tiểu nhân chưa được ngài cho phép nên không dám bước vào phòng ngài, đành đưa ngài về tạm phòng tiểu nhân.”

Diệp Khai cười nhạt, đón lấy chén canh, uống một ngụm. Nước canh thơm mùi thảo mộc nhưng không nồng, trôi xuống cổ rồi vẫn còn đọng lại vị ngọt thanh trên lưỡi. Nước canh dịu dàng sưởi ấm và làm đầy bao tử từ hôm qua đến giờ chỉ có mấy ngụm rượu của hắn.

“Ngươi cứng nhắc vậy sao?”

“Quy tắc là quy tắc, phận tiểu nhân nào dám bất tuân, nhỡ khách quan trách phạt, tiểu nhân gánh không nổi.”

Diệp Khai cười nhạt. “Nếu lần sau tại hạ lại quắc cần câu thì đành phiền tiểu huynh đệ dìu ta về phòng mình. Tỉnh lại ở phòng lạ, lại còn là phòng của một mỹ thiếu niên, ta bối rối lắm.”

Vân Thâu như không nhận ra ý cợt nhả của Diệp Khai, từ tốn đáp, “Ước muốn của ngài là mệnh lệnh với tiểu nhân.”

“Thật chứ?” Diệp Khai cười cười. “Bất cứ điều gì ta muốn sao?”

Vân Thâu nghiêm túc đáp, “Bất cứ điều gì ngài muốn.”

“Hiện tại ta muốn thêm một chén canh giải rượu nữa. Ta thật sự rất đói.”

Vân Thâu nở nụ cười ra chiều thông cảm. “Nếu vậy thì ngài thật sự may mắn rồi.”

Diệp Khai nhướng mày. “Ta may mắn?”

“Hôm nay Hoa công tử cao hứng xuống bếp làm món chay đãi mọi người trong lâu. Không phải tiểu nhân tâng bốc nhưng trù nghệ của Hoa công tử thật sự là thiên hạ vô song. Chỉ tiếc là y không nhiễm khói bụi, rất hiếm khi trổ tài, nếu có trổ tài cũng chẳng đến lượt chúng ta được vinh hạnh nếm.”

“Vị Hoa công tử này là nhân vật thế nào, sao ta chưa từng nghe danh y.”

Diệp Khai tự phụ nếu trên đời có một trù sư thiện nghệ như thế, hắn không thể không biết tên.

“Vì y vốn không phải trù sư,” Vân Thâu đáp. “Trù nghệ chẳng qua chỉ là một trong những tài năng của y mà thôi, ngoài ra còn có cầm, kỳ, thi, hoạ, không gì không trác tuyệt.”

Diệp Khai thấy rõ sự thay đổi trong giọng điệu Vân Thâu. “Người dường như rất ngưỡng mộ y?”

“Tiểu nhân ngưỡng mộ rất nhiều người,” Vân Thâu cười đáp. “Bao gồm cả ngài.”

“Một gã khất cái ngay đến mấy lượng để trả tiền rượu cũng không có nổi như ta thì có gì để ngươi ngưỡng mộ?”

“Tiểu Lý phi đao mà không đáng ngưỡng mộ thì hỏi trên đời còn gì đáng ngưỡng mộ?”

“Nhưng cái ngươi ngưỡng mộ là thanh đao, không phải con người ta.”

“Không có người thì đao chẳng qua là con dao cắt thịt, gọt trái cây, chẳng có gì đáng ngưỡng mộ.”

Diệp Khai cười lớn. “Đối đáp khá lắm. Sư phụ ta hẳn sẽ rất thích ngươi, tiếc là ngươi sinh quá muộn.”

Vân Thâu lắc đầu. “Thúc phụ lẫn tiểu nhân đều vô cùng ngưỡng mộ Lý thám hoa, tiếc là Niệm Lâu không bao giờ có cơ hội đón tiếp ngài ấy, cho dù ngài ấy chưa tạ thế đi nữa.”

Ngưng một nhịp, Vân Thâu thốt, “Vì niệm của ngài ấy không ở trong lâu.”

Diệp Khai cũng đoán được điều ấy.

Một ý nghĩ chợt loé lên trong đầu hắn. “Hôm nay dưới sảnh rất đông người?”

“Vâng, nhưng ngài yên tâm, tiểu nhân đã chuẩn bị sẵn một bàn cho ngài, chỉ cần ngài bước xuống ắt sẽ có chỗ.”

“Có phải tất cả khách nhân trong lâu đều có mặt không?”

Như thể gã đọc được suy nghĩ trong lòng Diệp Khai, mà có khi thật sự là thế, ánh mắt Vân Thâu ánh lên tia sáng còn nụ cười bên khoé môi càng sâu hơn. “Hoa công tử cả trăm năm mới cao hứng một lần, dĩ nhiên hiếm người muốn bỏ lỡ.”

“Hiếm người” không đồng nghĩa với “tất cả”, Diệp Khai thất vọng than thầm. Còn đang đứng ở lưng chừng cầu thang, hắn đã quét ánh mắt một lượt khắp dễ đến trăm khách nhân trong đại sảnh. Nếu hỏi hắn còn chút tự tin nào ở bản thân, Diệp Khai sẽ nói là nhãn lực; hắn tự tin trong các khách nhân đủ mọi lứa tuổi, đủ mọi phong thái ở đây, hắn chắc chắn sẽ nhận ra sắc áo đen của Phó Hồng Tuyết. Nhưng nhìn một lượt chưa đủ lại thêm một lượt nữa, hắn vẫn không nhìn thấy sắc áo của Phó Hồng Tuyết đâu, ngay đến người áo trắng lần trước kề cận bên Phó Hồng Tuyết cũng chẳng thấy bóng dáng. Nghĩ đi nghĩ lại, Diệp Khai dẫu thất vọng nhưng không thể phủ nhận việc Phó Hồng Tuyết và người áo trắng kia không xuất hiện là lẽ đương nhiên. Phó Hồng Tuyết chưa bao giờ là người thích náo nhiệt, nếu không nói hắn còn muốn tránh xa; còn người toàn thân tỏa ra kiếm khí còn lạnh hơn băng giá, nói y là kẻ ưa náo nhiệt e chỉ có thể là chuyện đùa.

Diệp Khai nghe thấy bụng mình sôi lên òng ọc. Phải rồi, vì hắn than đói nên Vân Thâu mới mời hắn xuống đây thưởng thức mỹ thực của vị Hoa công tử nào đó. Nhắc đến hắn không khỏi tò mò rốt cuộc vị Hoa công tử kia là nhân vật thế nào và trù nghệ của y diệu tuyệt đến mức nào.

Y như lời Vân Thâu nói, vừa đặt chân xuống đại sảnh Diệp Khai đã thấy một chiếc bàn nhỏ còn trống ở mé tây, trên bàn đã bày sẵn mấy món thức ăn cùng một vò rượu gốm đen còn nguyên niêm phong. Đại sảnh rất đông, người người chen chúc ấy vậy mà một chỗ còn trống lại không ai vào ngồi. Là khách nhân ở đây quá tôn trọng quy tắc hay tiểu tử này bản lãnh chẳng vừa?

Bàn nhỏ nhưng vị trí đắc địa, từ đó có thể nhìn trọn vẹn vũ đài. Chỉ khi ngồi xuống, Diệp Khai mới phát hiện điều này, đồng thời để ý đến người ngồi so dây cầm trên vũ đài. Không phải mỹ nữ Điệp Vũ múa những điệu tiêu hồn, thu hút cả ánh nhìn lẫn trái tim khách nhân, trên vũ đài hôm nay là một người ngồi xếp bằng, trước mặt là một thanh cổ cầm đen tuyền. Vừa hướng ánh mắt đến người đó, Diệp Khai liền ngây ngẩn, trái tim bất giác lỗi một nhịp. Thân vận trường bào tuyết trắng tương phản với cổ cầm cùng mái tóc đen nhánh như dòng thác đổ xuống vai, cầm sư trên vũ đài đích thị là một mỹ nhân hiếm có, mắt tựa tinh tú, môi tựa cánh đào, phong thái thanh cao, thoát tục, so với Điệp Vũ không hề kém cạnh. Có điều mỹ nhân lại không phải mỹ nữ, y phục trên người cùng hầu kết đã rõ ràng nói lên giới tính của y. Diệp Khai thở hắt một hơi, đã đoán được chín, mười phần thân phận của cầm sư. Nếu đây không phải vị Hoa công tử Vân Thâu đã nhắc đến thì có thể là ai? Tuy nhiên, điều khiến Diệp Khai không khỏi băn khoăn là vì sao một nhân vật xuất chúng như vậy mà hắn chưa một lần nghe nói đến? Chẳng lẽ y không thuộc giang hồ mà là một quý công tử danh môn? Không, như vậy càng không đúng; nếu là quý công tử thân phận cao quý, không giao du với nhân sĩ giang hồ, cớ gì y chế biến mỹ thực chiêu đãi khách nhân ở đây, hơn nữa còn tấu đàn cho mọi người thưởng thức?

Niệm Lâu quả nhiên chốn ngoạ hổ tàng long, càng ở lâu càng bắt gặp nhiều điều bất ngờ.

Thức ăn trên bàn bày biện đẹp mắt nhưng nếu nhìn kỹ thì tất cả đều là đồ chay, không món nào là thịt cá, đúng như Vân Thâu đã nói. Diệp Khai mỉm cười, gắp một tai nấm hương mọng nước còn bốc khói. Cũng may hắn bình sinh dễ tính, chay mặn đều xuôi chứ không như một lão bằng hữu họ Tề của hắn, bữa cơm nào không có chút thịt mỡ thì gã đều chê nhạt miệng, nuốt không trôi. Nếu là lão Tề ngồi ở vị trí này thì mỹ thực của Hoa công tử ngon lành đến mấy gã cũng không thèm đụng đũa. Nhắc đến mới nhớ, đã bao lâu rồi không nghe giọng cười sang sảng của gã?

Vân Thâu không nói ngoa, trù nghệ của Hoa công tử đúng là thiên hạ hiếm gặp, hương vị thanh tao, ngọt lành, khiến người ta ăn rồi liền muốn ăn nữa. Diệp Khai cho rằng chén canh khi nãy Vân Thâu mời hắn dùng cũng tính là mỹ thực nhưng so với các món ăn của Hoa công tử thì vẫn còn kém một bậc. Xem ra hạnh vận của hắn vẫn còn rất khá nên mới may mắn được thưởng thức.

Diệp Khai ăn rất nhanh, chẳng mấy chốc trên bàn chỉ còn chén đĩa không. Khi hắn buông đũa, bắt đầu nhấm nháp bình rượu được dọn kèm thức ăn cũng là lúc Hoa công tử đã so dây đàn xong.

Đại sảnh đang rộn rã bỗng im phăng phắc. Diệp Khai kinh ngạc nhìn quanh, thấy tất cả khách nhân đều hướng ánh mắt về vũ đài. Trên môi vương một nụ cười phớt, Hoa công tử bắt đầu dạo đàn.

Nói về âm luật và cầm nghệ, Diệp Khai tự nhận mình là kẻ dốt đặc, bảo hắn phân tích một bản nhạc thì hắn đành bó tay chịu chết. Tuy nhiên, hắn chưa tệ đến mức “đàn gảy tai trâu”, ít ra hắn còn biết được đâu là bản nhạc hay, đâu là cầm sư giỏi. Khúc này Hoa công tử tấu lên một chữ “hay” chẳng đủ diễn tả một phần tinh hoa của nó, tiếc là khả năng miêu tả của Diệp Khai có giới hạn. Nếu thần tiên thật sự có thật, tiên nhạc có lẽ cũng đến nhường này thôi.

Nhưng mà…

Đây không phải một khúc nhạc bình thường, Diệp Khai cũng không phàm tục đến mức cho rằng Hoa công tử kia sẽ tấu một khúc nhạc bình thường, phổ biến đến mức người ta có thể nghe thấy ở bất cứ đâu, dưới bàn tay của bất cứ cầm sư nào. Khúc nhạc này rất lạ; cái lạ không nằm ở giai điệu hay tiết tấu mà ở chuyện nó vẽ ra trước mắt người nghe một khung cảnh chân thực đến nỗi chỉ cần khép hờ mi mắt, người ta liền thấy nó hiển hiện như thể nó thật sự tồn tại trước mặt họ.

Diệp Khai chưa bao giờ tin một khúc nhạc có thể tạo ra điều kỳ diệu như thế nhưng sự thật rành rành, hắn bác bỏ thế nào được. Chưa kể, không nhắc đến thì thôi, nhắc đến rồi hắn liền thấy mi mắt nằng nặng. Hắn chậm rãi khép hờ mi mắt, để ngòi bút của khúc nhạc vẽ lên bức họa trong tâm tưởng hắn một cách rõ nét nhất.

Diệp Khai trông thấy cát, bốn bề đều là cát. Trời xanh trên đầu, cát vàng dưới chân, cảnh tượng này khiến hắn nghĩ ngay đến sa mạc ở Biên thành.

Sa mạc ở Biên thành ư, hắn chột dạ nghĩ.

Ý nghĩ vừa thoáng hiện, khung cảnh được dệt nên từ trí tưởng tượng đã xuất hiện một bóng lưng. Người đó vận y phục đen tuyền, giữa sa mạc cát vàng như một chấm đen nổi bật mà đơn côi. Chân phải hắn có tật, mỗi bước đi đều chậm chạp và khó nhọc, chân trái bước lên một bước dài, chân phải kéo lê theo sau, để lại trên mặt cát một vệt đỏ thắm vô cùng chói mắt. Người vận y phục dường như không biết đến đau đớn, cứ một đường thẳng tắp tiến về phía chân trời cát vàng mù mịt.

Diệp Khai thảng thốt kêu lên một tiếng. Cho dù không thấy được diện mạo, hắn vẫn nhận ra con người cô độc đó là ai dựa vào bóng lưng. Đó là hình ảnh đã khắc sâu vào linh hồn hắn, đến chết cũng không thể quên.

Diệp Khai muốn đứng lên đuổi theo người áo đen. So sánh tốc độ của hai người và khoảng cách giữa họ, hắn tự tin mình có thể đuổi kịp. Thế nhưng, tay vừa chống xuống bàn, Diệp Khai lại nghe thấy tiếng đàn da diết như một lời nhắc nhở cay nghiệt rằng những gì hắn đang chứng kiến đều là ảo giác, là hải thị thận lâu giữa sa mạc bát ngát, chỉ có thể nhìn thấy chứ tuyệt không thể chạm đến.

Tiếng đàn mỗi lúc một mãnh liệt, nắm tay của Diệp Khai siết mỗi lúc một chặt, móng tay đã khảm vào da thịt ứa máu.

Người áo đen rốt cuộc đã ngã quỵ, dòng máu tươi nhanh chóng bị sa mạc khô cằn nuốt lấy. Gió đại mạc lạnh lùng cuốn cát vàng phủ lên thân thể bạc nhược, vùi lấp nó như thể thiên nhiên thương xót con người bất hạnh, tiến hành mai táng hắn, tiễn đưa linh hồn hắn về với đất, với trời…. Cho đến khi những gì còn thấy được chỉ là một đốt xương trắng gầy guộc nhô lên khỏi cát.

Tiếng nhạc dừng lại, Diệp Khai mở mắt, ngơ ngẩn hướng ánh mắt về phía Hoa công tử nhưng chẳng hề nhìn thấy y. Trong mắt hắn chỉ còn đốt xương trắng cùng nỗi sợ hãi khi hình dung thi thể Phó Hồng Tuyết vùi dưới nấm mộ Diệp Khai chính tay đắp.

Vì ai mà Phó Hồng Tuyết phải chết?

Diệp Khai nghe thấy một giọng nói trong đầu.

Vì ai mà Phó Hồng Tuyết phải chết?

Câu hỏi lặp lại một lần, rồi một lần nữa, mỗi lần giọng nói càng giống giọng hắn hơn.

Vì ai mà Phó Hồng Tuyết phải chết? Nhớ ra chưa?

Vì Diệp Khai.

Diệp Khai là ai?

Diệp Khai là ta.

Vậy Phó Hồng Tuyết vì ai mà chết?

Vì ta.

Diệp Khai nhìn xuống hai bàn tay mình. Đập vào mắt hắn là màu đỏ chói mắt.

Chính ta đã giết Phó Hồng Tuyết.

Phải. Chính ngươi. Ngươi không chỉ lấy đi vận mệnh của hắn, cuộc đời của hắn mà sau cùng còn tước đi mạng sống của hắn.


Ngươi nghĩ hắn có hận ngươi không?


Giọng nói trong đầu hắn không đáp, chỉ cười nhạt.

Lòng bàn tay truyền đến cảm giác lành lạnh. Diệp Khai nhìn xuống tay. Hắn trông thấy ánh mắt thẫn thờ của mình phản chiếu trên thân ngọn tiểu đao.

Còn tiếp

Lại là cameo của một nhân vật (tương đối) quen thuộc với những ai đọc Cổ Long và có đọc nhưng fanfic khác của bạn Joel. Chương sau cũng có cameo nữa.

[Siegfried x Karna] Till I Break You

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Fate/Grand Order

Rating: M

Pairing: Siegfried x Karna

Genres: fanfiction

Characters: Siegfried, Karna


I will never set you free

Till I break you

~The Devil Within~

Featuring Karna Alter

Warning: torture, a bit of body horror

The first thing to be registered in Siegfried’s mind after unmeasurable span of losing consciousness was that he was submerged in some sort of mud up to his waist.

The second thing was this mud was… strange, for a lack of more descriptive word. It felt like mud – thick and clinging to your body, sinking you slowly – and didn’t feel like mud at the same time, for no mud should be blood-red and scalding hot. In fact it seemed to resemble molten lava more than mud in the way it burned and consumed everything it made contact with until there was nothing left. Siegfried could feel the intense heat on his skin and if he had been someone else, he would have been reduced to liquid. That he hadn’t was probably all thanks to Fafnir’s blood giving him draconian traits, one of which being the immunity to every sort of heat. Heat wouldn’t kill a dragon, for they were a magical species born out of and reveling in heat. Still, that wasn’t to say his sensation was numb enough to not be bothered by the discomfort; he just suppressed it to deal with other, more urgent matters.

Matters such as the grim realization that he was restrained. The flesh of both his wrists was pierced and threaded with chains, which bound his hands together and hung them above his head; even if he craned his neck, he was unable to see where the chains began as they seemed to extend into the fathomless dark sky. Strangely enough, he felt almost no pain despite such severe crippling wounds. His wings received the same gruesome treatment, pierced at the roots with chains. Siegfried couldn’t help a rueful smile at the irony of his state: the only reason he hadn’t sunk into this bottomless mud was because he was suspended by those chains. The only part of him that was free was his tail, but his tail alone couldn’t do much anyway.

With a grunt, Siegfried yanked the chains above his head with everything he had, testing them, and was unsurprised but nonetheless disappointed that they were sturdy enough to render his dragon blood-imbued strength futile. Should have guessed so. Who- or whatever had subdued him must have employed a kind of magic that ensured he was unable to break free by himself. After all, they had nullified his armor of Fafnir enough to injure him. The chains didn’t serve only that purpose though. Where they bit into his flesh and bones, it seemed there were thousands leeches latching their tiny hooks to his open wounds and sucking off his already diminished mana. Just sweet. At this rate, very soon his energy would be dried up, and then he would be completely useless, a lamb on the altar waiting to be sacrificed.

But the boiling heat, the bindings and the mana-leeching aside, what truly gnawed his insides was the mysterious matter lurking in the mud. He had no idea what it was, only that it was pure, undiluted evil far beyond the scope of his imagination, or the capability of one individual. From the mud it seeped into his pores, penetrating him, searching and trying to reach the core of his being, devouring each and everything that made up the Heroic Spirit Siegfried. This was a fight he could not prevail; and worse, he wasn’t able to defend himself against the corrosion force. That bred into his mind a horror he had never experienced in his entire life and the next.

“You’re very resilient, aren’t you?” A voice echoed in the otherwise mute endless space, alienly familiar. The paradox squeezed his heart and jabbed his guts. “Is it in your nature or the armor of Fafnir’s power? Formidable, I’d say. Well, either way, you will give up eventually, just like every other. All it takes is a little more time, and time is what we have in abundance.”

The voice became clearer and more like a real voice than a distanced echo as Siegfried felt slight waves of movement slapping his body. A figure came into his vision, emitting ominous vibes. When he finally saw who that was, he couldn’t contain a gasping sound.


No, this couldn’t be Karna. Something was wrong, so incredibly wrong. Surely this Servant – even this was an assumption – bore remnants of Heroic Spirit Karna’s appearance, but that was as far as resemblance went. Everything else just screamed different and alarmingly wrong. His armor had been discarded and the golden lines on his body had all turned red and glowing like highlighted blood veins. The red gem embedded in his chest had lost its brilliant shine and dyed black, and from afar it looked like a gaping hole left behind after his heart had been gouged out. His exposed skin was starkly pale as always; however, there was tortuous crimson markings that crisscrossed on his chest, crawling up his neck all the way to his cheeks. What made them a truly grotesque sight to behold was that those markings seemed to be squirming beneath his skin as if possessing a life of their own. To add to this nightmare-fueled appearance, his eyes, once blue and clearer than the clearest ocean, had turned scarlet and the whites had become pitch-black so that it looked like his eyeballs had been removed and glaring embers had been stuffed into their places.

This was not how the Heroic Spirit of the sun should appear. This was the form of a malevolent spirit, rising from the pit of hell to seek vengeance on the living.

“Who… are you?”

Pale lips moved, and a cruel smile was carved into the marmoreal visage. A sultry voice spoke, “So ironic that you ask me who I am while you just uttered my name.”

A hand gripped Siegfried’s chin and lifted his head so that he was gazing straight into those embers. “I am Heroic Spirit Karna, son of the Sun God Surya. Aren’t you the man who whispers my name every night as you hold me in these arms?”

And he kissed him. No, it was wrong to call it a kiss as they were in this state. It was a forceful press of his lips on Siegfried’s own, followed by brutal invasion. His fingers on Siegfried’s chin dug into his jaws, forcing them to open and keeping them that way so that his tongue was free to ravage his captive’s mouth in a sinister manner the real Karna would never have known. He licked the slightly pointed tips of Siegfried’s teeth and nicked his tongue, spicing the kiss with the coppery taste of blood. Then, in an act of unjust retaliation, he bit Siegfried’s tongue, drawing his blood to mix with his own. Leaving no chance for protest, his tongue roughly coaxed Siegfried’s into a sanguinary tango.

This savage encounter of lips tasted like rusty iron, charcoals and soot. Most of all, it tasted like hell and despair.

“That wounds me,” Karna chuckled, giving a final lick to Siegfried’s abused lips. “You’re usually more passionate. Where has that fervent passion gone?”

“Where is Karna?”

The chalk-white face looked shocked. Feigned, Siegfried doubted. “Why, standing in front of you, of course.”

“It can’t be. He has—”

Siegfried cut himself short because his mind suddenly conjured a vivid scene of inferno.

It had started a normal mission with the two of them accompanying their Master to a singularity. Find the Grail. Fix the disturbances. Restore the timeline. Bring the Grail back to Chaldea for safe keeping. They had gone unscathed through several missions like this before; this one should have been the same. And yet…

There was something abnormal about this timeline’s Grail. Siegfried and Karna had both felt it, but they had been unable to neither put it into words nor find a ground reason for it, only a nagging feeling that just couldn’t be shaken off, lurking at the corner in their minds like an obnoxious pest. When they could finally put a name to it, it had already been too late.

This timeline’s Grail had been tainted by an evil possessing far more powers than the likes of mages could ever imagine. However, that wasn’t the worst of it. In a desperate attempt to decimate the corrupted Grail, his Master had ordered Siegfried and Karna to unleash their Noble Phantasms, resulting in a catastrophe of the biblical scale. The matter inside the Grail – the same thing in which he had been being marinated, Siegfried only realized now – spilled out from its crack, indiscriminately consuming everything in its way like the fiery wrath of God.

They had lost sight of their Master in the midst of chaos and soon, their hope of getting out of this hell. The events in Siegfried’s head were jumbled and hazy like a hay fever dream, and the only thread binding him to the reality being Karna. The mud-like matter from the Grail was lethal to Servants like them, and they soon came to a grim discovery that neither Siegfried’s armor of Fafnir nor Karna’s Kavacha and Kundala could protect themselves from its insidious effects.

Their manifested bodies were created by the Grail and right now, they were up against the Grail itself. Needless to say, they had been on the losing side before the fight even began.

“Consumed by the Grail’s matter after he used his last strength to push you out of the way?” Karna finished for him.

A loud bang shook Siegfried’s brain. That was exactly what he was recalling, and what his mind had forgotten up to this moment. The mind had its own defense mechanism, which had tried to shield itself from the traumatic image.

Karna flattened his body against Siegfried’s, seemingly clinging to him with his arms winding around Siegfried’s neck and his naked chest touching Siegfried’s. Frigid yet burning, an icy flame his skin emitted. Siegfried’s armor allowed him to be immune to all kinds of flame but not this one. His skin was seared and he bit back a groan, grinding his teeth.

“Shall I give you a taste of what he went through after that? Just so you know, he did struggle, just like you have, and failed. And you will too. I’m looking forward to it.”

Karna kissed him again, but this time it was only a ghostly brush.

A blood-curling scream tore its way out of Siegfried’s lungs.

At his apparent suffering, Karna smiled, a diabolical curve on his otherwise expressionless face. His hands cupped Siegfried’s face, and he brought his mouth close to Siegfried’s yet not making contact, nearly drinking in the Dragon Knight’s heavy pants. His smile widened in the sadistic enjoyment of Siegfried’s torment.

“Such a lovely sound. I can listen to it all day,” Karna let out a soft, sinful moan. “Got it now? That Karna is gone, and I need you to be gone, too.”

He caressed Siegfried’s cheeks with faux tenderness while leaving a charred mark that completely erased the glowing pattern on the skin. His blood evaporated in pinkish puffs of smoke. Like a wounded animal, Siegfried hissed. On his tongue was the taste of his burnt flesh.

“I have no use for you as you are now, futilely opposing the inevitability,” Karna murmured to his ear, nibbling the lobe. “I need you to disappear so that another you will be born, a ‘you’ who loves me and fights with me the same way you did him. Together we will—”

“Incinerate the world and every single living thing in it?”

“I prefer the word ‘renovate’. For new, better things to be born, the old things must be wiped clean. That is how the god Shiva is both destruction and creation.”

“You talk a lot, but sorry, I have to pass.”

“Your answer is no.”

Karna faced him, looking taken aback. “Are you clinging to the foolish hope that he could return? He won’t, I assure you. The Grail has already obliterated him. Don’t you want to be united with him?”

“No,” Siegfried stubbornly repeated. “I’m fully aware this is a fight I haven’t the slightest winning chance, but if I gave in, it’d be the greatest betrayal to us both.”

Siegfried thought he had shocked Karna, if his expression was to be trusted. He wondered if this altered Karna still possessed the ability to discern truth. If he did, he would know Siegfried meant his every word. Perhaps that was the reason he was looking flabbergasted.

“It’s a shame,” Karna muttered, shaking his head.

What is he talking about?

“It’s truly a shame. If possible, I do not desire for you to be hurt more than you already were. Unfortunately, you just have to be difficult and although I may have time in abundance, I cannot say the same about my patience.”

Siegfried wanted to say something to rebuke but suddenly his intended words all liquefied into blood. Then the blood burst out of his mouth, drenching his chin and dripping down his chest.

It was so quick that he almost felt no pain except a bizarre tightness in his right chest, like being short of breath except he wasn’t. Looking down, he saw a wrist at the place where his heart was. The reason why he didn’t see the hand was because it had disappeared into his chest, breaking his ribcages and at the moment, was literally holding his heart. He swore he could distinctly feel each and every small callus on weapon-seasoned fingers. The hand gave his heart a teasing squeeze, like a naughty child’s hand kneading a clump of model clay. But even a seemingly harmless act as such could have a ghastly result: another gush of blood came out of Siegfried’s mouth in a heart-aching cough.

That was just the beginning of it.

A small ripping sound like a leaf being plucked from its stem registered in Siegfried’s ears. He wondered what it was and looked down to his chest. There he was treated with a morbidly surreal sight of his own heart thumping with twice its normal beats as though trying to grasp onto whatever life that was about to extinguish.

“Such an intriguing little thing,” said Karna, tilting his head to examine the heart in his palm. “I imagined it had to be… different, maybe bigger or something due to the dragon blood. Turns out it is just the same as a normal heart, which means if I squish it, you’ll die.”

He would. Siegfried knew that he could survive a few minutes without his heart, but he wasn’t immortal and that was his limit. Odd was how he had a vague dejà vu that something similar had happened before, which was his entire base to believe he could go on a little more after his heart, his mana core, was removed.

“You see, the truth is I cannot kill you since, I don’t know, it’s just a terrible idea. But I still need another ‘you’, so I’m going to do this.”

Karna scooped a handful of the mud with his free hand. Just when Siegfried had an inkling of his intention, and was horrified by it, Karna dripped the sinister matter onto Siegfried’s heart.

Would you feel something on your heart once it’d already left your body?

The answer was yes, at least in Siegfried’s case. He felt each and every drop as it fell onto his heart, hot and melting like pure acid. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. The rhythm was maddeningly steady and serene, bringing forth a deceptive illusion of droplets of rain falling from branches and leaves to be received by the generous soil. Scream after scream ripped apart his vocal cords as excruciating agony penetrated his every cell. Violently his body twisted and turned and yet once again failed to relinquish his bounds.

He barely registered the moment his heart was unceremoniously shoved back into the hole in his chest, this time, without the accompaniment of Karna’s hand. Flesh grew on its own to fill the wound and in a blink of an eye, his chest was whole and spotless as though everything had been nothing more than a drug-induced hallucination. Was it assuring? Not in the least, for the very instance his wound closed up, Siegfried felt it, the pure, undiluted evil that had given him the enormous sense of dread. He had felt it inside him, eating him away; now he felt it all over him, drowning him, choking him, killing him. He wanted to scream – needed to hear his own sounds – and yet all that was left for him was the crunching noise of parts of his soul being voraciously masticated. Death was his final thought, and it resounded in his mind in the form of Karna’s chuckles, before all things were drenched in the color of the sinister mud.

Siegfried opened his eyes to darkness, sweating. Surrounding him was darkness and a dead silence that usually accompanied it like a faithful servant. It was a moonless night where the clouds were thick enough to block any starlight. He reached out blindly with his hand and only when he felt the steady rising and falling of a chest that the bud of panic in his breast was squashed. Although the body lying beside him was merely a replica of the living and the breathing, as well as other bodily functions, more of a lingered habit than a necessity, it still radiated reassurance to calm the irritating dragon inside Siegfried. He hugged the body close to his own and was mildly surprised when slender fingers intertwined with his. They were frigid like a cadaver’s while they used to be warm like sunlight but he didn’t mind; right now coldness was what he needed for his rising temperature.

A snap of the fingers and darkness cowered before a ball of flame dancing around the place.

The electricity in this complex had been long cut off but who needed electricity when you could easily control fire?

“That dream again?” Karna asked, touching Siegfried’s scaly cheek with his free hand.

“Ah,” Siegfried agreed. “It fades a little every day but it’d take a while before it’s gone completely.”

“I underestimated his resolution,” Karna sighed. “It seems he put all his strength in that final moment just to torment you even though he knew it was futile.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from the other ‘me’. He held on until the end although the moment he truly broke was when you told him about the other ‘you’.”

“And yet he boasted such bold words. If he had given in, it would have spared him the agony.”

Stroking Siegfried’s barbed tail, Karna smiled. While the tail had been pretty intimidating before, now it was undoubtedly an eldritch abomination in its own right. Still, Karna boldly smoothed his hand along the length, not minding the possibility of the barbs injuring him. The tail flapped lazily in response to his ministrations.

“Though I get most of it was necessary but weren’t the mutilations a bit over the top?”

Karna shrugged. “I did what I had to. It wasn’t that I enjoyed it.”

“Is that so? From the look on your face back then, I have to say otherwise.”

“Fine, a little. However, ‘he’ wasn’t you, so breaking came pretty easy. You know I can never hurt you.”

“Can’t say you never try,” Siegfried deadpanned, then proceeded to make Karna swallow any rebuttals by locking their lips. Stunned only for a second, Karna quickly regained his footing and responded in kind. It was a far cry from any passionate kisses but rather a vicious battle to see who would triumph and who would eventually yield to the other’s dominance. After a while, Siegfried emerged victorious thanks to his slight advantage in stature. He pushed Karna down the old mattress and settled between his open knees.

“Are you certain you don’t want to get some sleep?” Karna said, chuckling. “It’s still some hours before the dawn breaks, and we’ll have a long day ahead.”

Even if he said so, Karna had already dematerialized his outfit, leaving his slender body bare to Siegfried’s hungry stare. Littered along his body were numerous scarlet marks that emitted eerie light on top of wriggling underneath his patsy skin like living creatures. What might appear abominable in normal sense didn’t dampen the intense lust raging in slit-pupiled eyes as they raked along the body, drinking in every small curve, every dip, every remnant of a lifetime’s battles. Siegfried raised a clawed hand and drew a red, spiderweb-thin line from Karna’s chest to his abdomen, then lowered his head and lapped the swelling blood with his forked tongue. He even went so far as to dip his fangs into his lover’s flesh, leaving neat twin holes on either side of Karna’s navel, eliciting a lengthy moan from pale lips.

“I’m feeling rather low on mana. Would you care to replenish some?”

He too got rid of his outfit in a cloud of mana, revealing toned chest and abdomen. It would be a body worthy of admiration, a perfection sculptors throughout the eras had tried to achieved, if it weren’t for the dark scales covering the majority of the naked skin. The pattern on his chest, once glowing with green light, had turned red and now resembled molten lava. His wings had enlarged, and when he spread them, they would cover them both.

“Didn’t we just have mana transfer a few hours ago, you insatiable beast?”

“Weren’t you who made me the way I am?”

“I have myself to blame then?”

Siegfried flicked his tongue against one of the numerous red marks on Karna’s skin the way a snake would feel the ambivalent environment, only he wasn’t teasing rather than feeling. By the disapproval moan Karna made, he knew he was doing right. “At this rate I’d soon turn into a dragon.”

“Perhaps, perhaps not,” Karna replied. “It doesn’t change a thing between us. I’m used to laying with a hungry beast anyway. Let’s do what we must so you’ll have enough for the day ahead us.”

“How generous, o Hero of Charity,” Siegfried laughed. “If you so insist, it’s be rude of me to decline, wouldn’t it?”

Karna made no comment other than a mix between a chuckle and a moan as he felt Siegfried slowly, but surely, penetrated him, body and soul.


This is a break from my usual fluffy crack SiegKar fics. I was inspired by some fanarts featuring Siegfried Alter with red eyes, red marks and a muzzle over his mouth (why? He bites?).While I personally loved the idea of the muzzle, I also wished to create my own version of Siegfried Alter. As for Karna, I’ve seen some fanarts of Karna Alter with red, slightly longer hair – probably based on one of his unused designs; however, I still prefer him with his usual short white hair so I kept that.

[Siegfried x Karna] Sharing Warmth

Source: pixiv.net

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandom: Fate/Grand Order

Rating: T

Pairing: Siegfried x Karna

Genres: fanfiction, fluff, humor

Characters: Siegfried, Karna


Siegfried needs warmth. Karna is warmth.

Surrounding Chaldea was a boundless area of rocky mountain ranges, gnarly trees that had only branches on which snow clung instead of leaves and blinding white. Siegfried didn’t know how the outside world, the actual world, was like – he had accidentally overheard the Doctor and Mash discuss a few times but hadn’t really paid any attention – but here, in this world where Chaldea resided, Chaldea itself was the only spot where life could be found, and even that was a bit stretched since the major population of this facility wasn’t qualified as ‘living’.

The inhospitable, desolate environment, of course, didn’t bother Siegfried at all; he had seen, had been to, worse areas, being a traveling knight during his lifetime. Moreover, in Chaldea it was always bustling with all sorts of activities that it was impossible to be distressed over the lifelessness of the landscape. What bothered the fabled Dragon Slayer was the weather, trivial as it might sound. Under normal circumstances, Servants weren’t affected by temperature, and even in the most severe condition, a number of them were still wearing entirely weather-inappropriate outfits – bearing too much skin or burying their whole bodies in fur. The same could be said about Siegfried: his outfit wasn’t the most covering, showing most of his chest and back and not once had he felt the slightest touch of chill. However, all had changed when Siegfried’s Master succeeded in his third stage ascension. Fafnir’s blood flowing in his veins had given him both significant boost in all stats and draconian features: he had grown a pair of curved horns, wings and, to his own embarrassment, a scaly tail, all of which he still hadn’t figured out the uses for; it wasn’t like he would use his horns to gorge or his tail to whip his enemies – that was unsightly and unknightly. And his wings could only carry his own weight in a short distance at best, never minding another. His youthful Master was quite fond of his new half-dragon hybrid look though, and he had openly announced Siegfried his “coolest-looking Servant”, much to a couple other Servants’ chagrin. As long as his Master was pleased, he guessed he didn’t mind Elisabeth’s childish nagging or the looks of disdain from a certain King of Heroes; the king had nothing but insults and scorn for just about everyone in Chaldea anyway, deeming them all “lowly mongrels”.

Siegfried supposed it made perfect sense that once his humanity receded for him to lean toward the slumbering dragon inside, drawing its powers and using them with more ease, he would share its weaknesses, too. Dragons, big and small, were creatures of fire and even the strongest of them wouldn’t fare so well in freezing weather.

In short, Siegfried felt cold. Much as he was bothered by this newfound affliction, he didn’t breathe a word to his Master; the young Magus had already had his hands full with fixing the singularities and seeking required items (most of them painfully rare) for his Servants’ ascensions, so Siegfried wouldn’t want to add to the heap of responsibilities. This issue of his was entirely personal, as he appeared to be the only Servant to be at inconvenience. Kiyohime seemed comfortable enough in her usual thin kimono, but again he and Kiyohime were fundamentally different from each other – her full-blooded while him only a human imbued with dragon blood.

So, the Dragon Knight dealt with this matter in his own way of solving most problems in his life: if he could not fight it and triumph then he would endure it with all the stoicism his years as a knight had trained him with. It was not something fatal, Siegfried told himself, and his stats as well as fighting capability were not reduced so he could still go to battles when his Master required him to. Compared to that, his own discomfort was trivial.

Nonetheless, he still subconsciously expressed some reluctance when asked by Karna for a sparring session.

Siegfried and Karna had been summoned to Chaldea in the same occasion. Needless to say how elated their young Master had been to see their forms materializing in front of his eyes; the chance of summon each of them was abysmally low and it could be a miracle itself to get them both at once. Their Master had declared that he had used up all his luck in this lifetime, jumping into the magic circle right after the completion of the ritual, flinging his arms on Siegfried’s shoulders – he would have done the same with Karna but for the fear of being charred by the Lancer’s cloak of fire. His grin had been so wide that Siegfried had feared that it might hurt.

Perhaps his Master’s delight has been contagious, perhaps he had been immensely pleased with this unexpected turn of event, Siegfried had felt a warm tinge of happiness in his heart. He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt such a pleasant feeling. Always putting others’ needs and wants before his own, such was the essence of his knighthood, and he had followed that way of life to the extent he had forgotten how it felt to be happy on his own, not because he had fulfilled others’ wishes, making them happy. When he looked to his left side, Siegfried saw a small smile clinging at the corners of Karna’s lips, and he knew it was mirrored on his own.

Not so long after their collective arrival, on a random day when they had scavenged some time to relax before the next fighting chapter began, Karna had asked Siegfried to spar with him. There had been no malice or challenge in his even tone, only an earnest desire to cross weapons with a worthy opponent. Naturally Siegfried had agreed; he too had been yearning for a chance to see for himself if the son of the Sun God Surya was as great a warrior as history had recorded.

It didn’t surprise Siegfried in the least that Karna had chosen the vast landscape outside Chaldea to be their fighting ground. Siegfried would have suggested the same location for two reasons: one, the training ground in the facility, although huge, was never not crowded. The number of Servants were growing by the week and not all of them were taken to the battlefield, so naturally, those who found themselves off-mission would want to sharpen their skills or simply have some constructive fun with a like-minded fellow. Siegfried didn’t fancy the rambunctious atmosphere and closed, crowded space – his Master had told him that he might be a little claustrophobic, and he suspected neither did Karna. Another reason was that both his fighting styles and Karna’s were highly destructive in nature, therefore a large space in the wild where they could stretch their limbs freely was much preferred than an indoor area. When Karna suggested that they headed out of Chaldea, Siegfried simply nodded.

From then on, they had been continuing their sessions on a weekly basis at least, or whenever they could procure some free time and wanted a little exercise. The Saber had enjoyed them to a great extent; the Lancer had proven that he was true to his legend and much more. Siegfried had an impression that he had crossed swords with Karna before, perhaps in a different timeline, but even if he raked his brain, he couldn’t recall it. That didn’t matter though; to be able to encounter an opponent of such caliber, Siegfried considered himself extremely fortunate in spite of his pathetic E-rank luck.

It hadn’t posed a problem to Siegfried, fighting in this lethal weather that would normally kill a mortal, until recently. He felt the sharp blade of the chill acutely in his marrows and to say it was inconvenient was a blank understatement. Much as he tried, the Saber sometimes failed to contain the light quiver in his arms. Needless to say, his sparring companion had seen right through him.

Karna, being Karna, had to point it out. “You are shivering,” he said.

Someone else might find the Lancer’s bluntness offending but not Siegfried. He hadn’t detected any malice the first time he had found himself at the receiving end of Karna’s straightforwardness, and over the time, he had grown rather fond of this particular quirk. Honesty made for a more relaxing relationship.

It was no use hiding things from Karna, who was hailed as a walking lie-detector, so Siegfried opted for the truth. “I’m cold. It wasn’t an issue before but after my third ascension, I’ve inherited more of Fafnir’s traits. Being susceptible to cold weather is unfortunately one of them.”

If Karna was someone else, he might suggest the Dragon Slayer do something about the cold, perhaps putting on more fabric or covering his bare chest, but this was Karna and it’d rain candies in Chaldea before he said such things. Instead, to Siegfried’s surprise, he simply stepped closer and took the Saber’s hand into his slightly smaller one. Karna’s fingers were long and delicate and it was a mystery how he was able to wield his enormous lance with them. However, such thought did not occur to Siegfried until their sparring session was over, late into the night. Right now, all that was on the Wandering Hero’s mind was how warm Karna’s skin was. Not the kind of warmth that made you uncomfortable but the pleasant warmth like the first sunlight signifying spring’s arrival after a long, arduous winter. That kind of warmth had spread from his fingers – where their hands were connected – to his every muscle and bone like a gentle stream of water chasing away the cold that had been nestling in his body. Siegfried could help neither the small sign from his lips nor the blush on his cheeks.

“Do you feel better?” Karna asked, his face still wearing that serenely emotionless mask. Yet somehow Siegfried could detect an iota of concern in his voice. It could be his optimistic imagination though.

“Yes, it’s really warm,” replied Siegfried. He didn’t clarify whether “it” referred to Karna’s hand or the bloom in his heart. Unconsciously he touched the light on his chest with his free hand while the other remained in Karna’s, daring to interlace his fingers with the Lancer’s nimble yet powerful ones. Karna didn’t comment on Siegfried’s remark or object to the small gesture.

The vast barren landscape outside Chaldea suddenly became small and its flesh-biting blizzard seemed a little more tolerable.

The Wandering Hero’s cold could only be warded off for a while but not vanquished and so from then on Karna continued providing Siegfried with his sun-warmth in a similar manner: touching. Somewhere along the line, Karna’s touch extended to other parts of Siegfried’s body, not only his hand. And he did it so casually, so naturally, that Siegfried almost couldn’t believe it had happened. One late afternoon, after a satisfying fight, Karna asked in his usual, familiar even tone whether Siegfried felt cold. Siegfried was about to open his mouth when he had to swallow his words back because a warm palm was pressed against his chest, right on the pattern of light. Jaws slack and speechless, he searched Karna’s face for any unordinary signs and found none, his face still pale and beautiful and showing no visible emotions. Yet he was touching Siegfried’s chest, causing his dragon heart to jump in surprise and then thump wildly against his rib cages. He wondered what was in Karna’s mind if he felt his raging heartbeats.

And if he really did, he said not a thing; the riddle of whether Karna was aware of his effect on his sparring partner remained Siegfried’s to be solved.

Karna did ask for his permission if he could touch the Saber’s back. It might be cold, he explained, feeling the need to assure the Saber as it was a sensitive spot for him, pun not intended. Siegfried momentarily tensed, startled by the sudden offer, and then relaxed. Indeed it was a spot he’d rather have no one touch, not even his past lovers. The only time it had been touched, with the tip of the betrayal blade, he had ended up on the side of an untrodden road, bleeding to his death. Yet Karna would never hurt him in such a cruel manner, stabbing him behind the back, and he trusted Karna and his sense of fairness and honor more than he trusted anything in his life. Then, with a light nod, Siegfried gave his consent.

For a millisecond Siegfried thought he had been scalded, that despite his trust for the revered Indian Heroic Spirit, Karna had tried to harm him. It had felt so hot where Karna’s hand made contact with his skin but Siegfried soon came to the realization that it was an overreaction produced by the very sensitive, very human part of him that had been neglected by touch for so long. The heat quickly faded into a warmth which was just a notch higher than the one he had grown accustomed to. It made his toes curl and a strange sensation traveled down his spine. Siegfried wasn’t sure what it was but he didn’t like it, so he tried to quench it down with the shameful thought that he had hastily doubted the purity of Karna’s intention. Seeing how he was unable to restrain a soft moan from escaping his throat, Siegfried was sure he had failed.

It took a while for him to notice that Karna had retreated his hand. The heat pooled on his leaf-shape patch of skin and wormed its way into his flesh. It would keep him warm for days, he didn’t doubt, while Karna was taken on a new mission.

Karna was as expressionless as ever but somehow, by a trick of light or a transient hallucination, he thought he had seen the Lancer’s lips form a tiny smile. His heart skipped a beat; his gaze was magnetized towards those pale, thin lips. Had they always looked so tempting or he had only realized it just now? Tempting enough to touch them with his own lips, feeling the texture, tasting the flavor, if there should be any. What was wrong with him? Siegfried mentally slapped himself. To harbor such thought toward his respectful opponent and companion, how could he?

Fortunately for him, Karna saved him from dwelling deeper into his own embarrassment and probably not finding his way out: he brushed his hand on Siegfried’s wings, making the Dragon Knight nearly jump out of his skin. “Can you fly with these?” he asked, his tone hiding a childish curiosity.

“Not really far,” Siegfried answered, feeling the urge to scratch his… horns, “and I’m unable to carry an extra weight.”

He was not sure if Karna’s soft hums were of disapproval or something else. He seemed to be quite fascinated with Siegfried’s wings, smoothing his palm over the thin, velvety skin that made up most of the wings or lightly picking a scale with his fingernails. He had probably never seen a dragon in his life before, and Siegfried had heard that the Eastern concept of a dragon was vastly different from the Western one.

The Dragon Knight nearly dropped his jaws when Karna asked him for a demonstration.

At the end of the day, Siegfried obliged the Lancer’s request, seeing no point in not granting such a simple wish and disappointing a friend although he found the notion that Karna would be disheartened by something so trivial very unlikely.

Siegfried was not fine. The blizzard had been raging outside the walls of Chaldea for a few days, resulting in the temperature dropping abysmally lower than normal, which, of course, was bad news for Servants with draconian traits. Even Kiyohime, who never appeared to care about the weather, was complaining. For Siegfried, it was another example of how his E-rank luck was trying to screw with his life. Between the diving temperature and Kojirou’s snores (the Assassin usually didn’t but it appeared to be a temporary condition caused by the weather; otherwise the Japanese swordsman was fine), Siegfried had been having sleepless nights.

Technically, Servants didn’t need sleep. Nor did they require food, drinks, rooms or entertainment. Nonetheless, here in Chaldea, the staff had aimed to provide the majority of the population the living conditions as human as possible. Servants were spirits now, but they used to be flesh and blood and though some of them might never admit it, they did miss being a human and indulge in mortal pleasures. They might not need food to fill their stomach, but their taste buds delighted in flavors. They didn’t drink to survive but to enjoy the pretense of getting lightheaded from alcohol. And some, like Siegfried, found comfort in having a feather-soft mattress under their back after a hard fighting day and just drifting off to dreamland.

Siegfried hadn’t known he was having circles around his eyes – or capable of having them for that matter – until Karna pointed it out. Their young Master was quick to confirm that.

“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed the magus in a rather dramatic tone – such was his flair. “Did you not sleep well, Saber?”

Shame burnt his cheeks hotly for allowing such trifle to concern his Master. “I’m sorry, Master…” he opened his mouth, ready to brush the matter off by telling his Master that he was alright and it wasn’t something worth his attention.

“He’s been cold,” Karna said matter-of-factly.

“Karna…” Siegfried groaned softly. Some time ago he had shifted to calling the Lancer by his true name instead of his class like the normal courtesy between Servants. In turn, Karna had grown used to addressing Siegfried by his name.

His Master’s face lit up as if he had made a great discovery. “Right! The weather has been beyond horrible these days. I keep hearing Kiyohime’s complaints but have never realized that you’re affected too. Sorry, Saber. What terrible Master I am.”

“No, Master. It’s not your fault.”

“Siegfried can come to my room.”


Did he hear it right, Karna’s suggestion, or were his ears deceiving him?

“Brilliant idea, Lancer!” the young magus applauded. “You’re the only occupant so there’s plenty of room, it’s super-warm and Siegfried’s half-dragon so he should be fine.”

“… half-dragon so he should be fine”, what was the meaning of that?

Karna nodded in agreement.

While Siegfried was busy picking up his jaws from the ground to voice his protest, his Master had already made the arrangements for his moving into Karna’s room.

Thus when the night came, the Wandering Swordsman found himself wandering the corridor outside Karna’s room, his pillow in hand. The door was closed, and no sound was coming from the inside. Should he knock or just wait? It would be rude if the Lancer was taking a shower or doing something private.

The door was noiselessly pushed open and Siegfried’s dilemma was solved. Karna’s sharp gaze softened to see the swordsman towering awkwardly in the glaring fluorescent light, a pillow stuffed under his arm. His glacial eyes sparked with amusement when they lingered on the white pillow case, decorated with a chubby dragon. There was only one Servant whose pastime was embroidery in Chaldea and sometimes, he’d give out his products to those he deemed a worthy warrior. Karna himself had a towel with a sun sewn on it.

Karna opened the door fully in an inviting gesture and Siegfried wordlessly entered.

Karna’s room was about the same size as his and Kojirou’s but the sparseness of furniture made it appear more spacious. This was due to a rather unpleasant fact that his cloak of fire tended to spread fire to the things around it and to prevent such a grievous disaster from taking place, his room was especially insinuated to be fireproof and furniture was kept to minimum. Having led a minimalistic lifestyle, the son of Surya had never breathed a complaint.

“So… we’re going to sleep on the floor, aren’t we?” Siegfried asked after scanning the place and finding no sight of a bed. Frankly he didn’t mind lying on the marble tiles; soon as he set foot inside the room, he had immediately felt the gentle warmth – Karna’s warmth – dancing on his skin. Having been a traveler in a dark age for most of his life, he found this to be a luxury.

“Not really,” answered Karna before laying his cloak of fire on the floor. Without its fluffiness, the Lancer looked really thin and fragile, as if he could be easily swept away by a gush of wind. Siegfried could trace the outlines of his protruding hip bones underneath the skin-clad suit. His face felt hot for no obvious reason. Karna lied down on the cloak and gestured Siegfried to do the same.

Fire could not harm a dragon, Siegfried had learned that from his battle with Fafnir. That explained why when his skin was touched by Karna’s cloak, although he immediately knew it was neither fur nor fabric but a flame mystically shaped and weaved into a piece of garment, he wasn’t burned. The distinctive heat of fire was there and were it not because of his dragon blood, he would be instantly reduced to smoking charcoal. The grim realization did not deter him from curling on the cloak so that he could get the maximum contact. It felt so nice, really, to have the heat coursing through his body, chasing away every vestige of the cold. The dragon in him reveled in the fire, energized by it. Siegfried nuzzled his cheek into the cloak, feeing blissful sleep descending on his eyelids.

Never did he know that from a short distance from him, Karna was watching his exposed back with a smile.

The nights after that, they continued sleeping in the same room even after the blizzard had passed and Siegfried was no longer plagued with chill. He hadn’t felt it for a while; Karna’s warmth during the night was more than sufficient to keep him well during the day. Still, he was hesitant to return to his former dwelling: for the very first time in his life he had harbored a selfish desire. After having spent most of his existence being a wish-granting hero, to want something for himself was a foreign and thrilling experience. As long as Karna was willing to accept him, Siegfried was determined to indulge himself, and as far as he was concern, the Indian Heroic Spirit didn’t seem to mind.

Days turned into weeks and weeks to months since Siegfried’s migration to Karna’s room. During that time the distance they’d put between their bodies out of a taciturn agreement had grown shortened little by little every night so that every morning, they woke up just a little closer to each other than the night before. Neither paid any mind to their body’s tendency to gravitate towards the other, thinking it a natural occurrence, until one day…

Siegfried woke up somewhat disoriented, not knowing what time it was or whether it was day or night; there was neither clock nor window in Karna’s room – their room now – to tell the time. Judging by his grogginess he assumed his Master wasn’t in need of him; otherwise his Servant system would flare in full operation in response to the Master’s summon. In a rare bout of indolence, the Saber decided to close his eyes and treated himself to some more sleep when he was jolted by a newfound realization. He was pretty sure he had he had kept his arms by his side when he drifted off to sleep last night, and yet at the moment he found his left arm in a rather compromising position: draping on someone’s waist, with his hand splayed over said someone’s stomach. Okay, it wasn’t “someone” since this room had no third inhabitant. Siegfried’s face felt scorching as though his skin was set aflame, and he’d rather face Fafnir one hundred times than learn what had happened during the night for him and the Lancer to be loosely spooning. This position spelt intimacy and though Siegfried wasn’t abhorred by the idea of getting intimate with Karna (maybe because it was Karna and not someone else), the thought of them lying together, back to chest, and sharing more than just warmth had never crossed his mind. His era had had a less than accepting attitude towards intimacy between two men and Siegfried doubted if Karna’s had been any different. But time had changed, and humans had become more tolerant of one another’s differences. It was the knowledge the Grand system had given him, perhaps so that he wouldn’t experience a social shock. He hadn’t thought it was necessary, seeing that he had not been exactly averse to that kind of relationship as a human. As a Spirit, he had even fewer reasons to care. This thing between him and Karna was just… overwhelming, to say the least, but not necessarily bad.

On a trivial side note, Karna’s waist was really small, or should he say “slender”; he was not stranger to the Lancer’s figure – the spearman’s outfit didn’t leave much to imagination, but to actually trace its hard curves… Thin and fragile though might he look, Karna was still a man in every sense and his body didn’t possess the softness of a female one. Siegfried preferred the hardness anyway, as it was partially proof of his merit as a warrior. And to hold a warrior in his embrace, feeling his waist fit into his hands… Verdammter Mist! He had to stop this train of thought before it got out of hand. It was… indecent to think about your friend and companion that way! What had gotten to him these days? Had he been possessed by some unknown force lurking in Chaldea? His magic resistance wasn’t the highest of all Sabers but it was certainly not that bad.

Anyway, first thing first, he had to take his disobedient arm back and put some appropriate distance between himself and the Lancer. Quietly as the shadow of the moon moved so that Karna wouldn’t be roused from his sleep. And then he only needed to think this was a passing incident and act like it had never happened. Just like that and they were back to friends and sparring partners.

“You’re awake?”

A voice drenched in silky drowsiness startled Siegfried, causing his dragon heart to skip several beats and race up to make up for that. Almost at the same time, a hand quickly caught his wrist midway so that any hope of quiet retreat had become a pipe dream. The Dragon Knight felt as though he had been caught red-handed, pun somewhat intended.

“Ah… y-yes… I j-just woke up,” Siegfried stuttered. He was mildly relieved Karna had his back to him so he couldn’t see the Saber’s flustered face.

“We have a day off,” Karna casually replied. “Master informed me no mission is carried out today so every Servant has the day to do whatever they want.”

Siegfried had no idea while Karna was telling him this – actually he did understand why Karna was telling him this: yesterday he had missed the Master-Servant session – but what puzzled him was why Karna was using such a relaxed tone. Was he not aware that the Saber had had his arm around his waist and they had been spooning throughout the night? Was he not offended by such an unchivalrous and disrespectful act?

“What’s your plan?” Karna’s voice once again disconnected him from his thoughts.

“I… Actually I don’t have any plan.” Five minutes ago he hadn’t even known that their Master allowed them a day to do as they pleased.

“Good, I have a plan,” Karna said, and to push Siegfried to a whole new level of confusion, his hand catching Siegfried’s wrist pulled with a subtle yet unyielding force so that the Saber’s arm resumed its former position: on Karna’s waist. Siegfried was pretty certain that was a deliberate act; he just failed to fathom the message Karna sent him. So, not only was he not offended, but he actually… encouraged the intimacy? Whatever it was, it made Siegfried blush so hard the tips of his horns might be turning red.

Karna, whether genuinely ignorant of his effect on Siegfried or feigning to be, continued seamlessly, “I’m thinking about spending the morning replenishing our energy with sleep. How does that sound?”

Others might be surprised by Karna’s proposal but not Siegfried. For his time of acquaintance with the Lancer, Siegfried had learned that he was quite a sleepworm whose greatest pastime beside fighting worthy opponents was holing up in his room and slumbering the day away. He had knocked on Karna’s door one day only to find the Heroic Spirit flesh out of sleep even though it was mid-noon.

Wait, the key word in Karna’s sentence was “our”. Did he mean for Siegfried to join him?

“You mean, you and I?” Siegfried blurted, somehow getting his hope up for no sound reason.

“Yes, unless you are occupied with another plan.”

Karna’s hand hadn’t let go off his wrist but he could sense a molecule of hesitation. “No, I have no plan,” Siegfried answered truthfully. Sleeping didn’t sound too bad, especially with Karna. Especially with Karna spooning against him. Gott, what had happened to him?

“Good. How about a little fun after lunch?”

Blood rushed hotly to Siegfried’s face. “A little fun?” he echoed, his mind running amok on what this “little fun” could be.

“A spar outside, how about that?”

Right. A spar. What else could he be expecting? Siegfried mentally exhaled a sigh of relief. “A spar would be great. Since Master won’t be expecting us, we could fight to our heart’s desire.”

It was likely his imagination running wild but he heard Karna’s light chuckles. They were contagious and Siegfried soon found himself smiling. They were decidedly his favorite sounds.

After a while, Karna became quiet, his body going lax and inching closer to Siegfried’s, his back pressing against Siegfried’s bare chest. The warmth seemed to go all the way into his heart. It made him lightheaded and drowsy. Sleep found his way back to his eyelids easy enough.

Little could Siegfried guess this was the beginning of something special.


I had considered myself extremely lucky to be able to summon both Siegfried and Karna in one go. Perhaps I had used up all my luck in this lifetime and if I ever became a Heroic Spirit (unlikely) or a Counter Guardian, I would be granted with an E-rank luck. Perhaps the fabled wish-granting Hero had heeded my wish and the Hero of Charity had decided to show his charity. It was impossible to tell really; all I knew was that I was on clouds nine to have the both of them in my little party.

And the icing on the cake was the two seemed to get along pretty well. The biggest pain in the ass was having two archenemies on the same team. Trust me I’d been through that once. On a good day they’d go at each other’s throat every chance they got, giving me a migraine and grating the nerves of every other Servant. On a bad day I’d have to use a Command Spell to stop them from killing each other. In the end I was forced to give up both of them for peace’s sake. And so I’d clasped my hands and thanked The Man Upstairs I hadn’t summoned both Karna and Arjuna (how low was the odds?).

I felt terribly bad once I’d learned Siegfried had been enduring the cold. My poor Dragon Knight, too polite, too gentle to demand his Master’s help even though it was my responsibility to keep my Servants in their best condition. While I was raking my brain for a solution, Karna offered one. A perfect one, if I might add. The world needed more people like this ethereally beautiful Lancer, who was always so eager to give his help to those in need.

So far, so good.

Wearing a beam on my face, I strode to Siegfried and Karna once the battle was over to give them my congratulations.

“So, how’re you doing? No longer feeling cold?” I asked.

“Thank you for your concern, Master. I’m not cold anymore and ready to fight in full strength.”

That was just Siegfried being Siegfried.

“I’m just wondering if you’d want to move back to your room. Kojirou made a passing comment the other day about the room being too empty without you. I think the guy kinda misses his roomie.”

Soon as the words left my mouth, I felt a surge of heat licking my back. An enemy’s sudden attack? How could this be? I was having Siegfried in front of me and Karna a few steps behind my back; how could they not sense anything and act? Taking a gulp, I whipped my head to see what had just happened. To my surprise, there was no sign of a threat, just my Lancer casually leaning against his over-sized spear. The heat kept rolling though and I soon realized the source was Karna’s eyes. Had I ever mentioned that he could shoot sun beam from his eyes?

Oh, allow me to clarify myself. Karna wasn’t shooting sun beam at my back – he was too nice a Servant to try that; in fact, he was just standing there, leaning on his giant spear and staring at us with his glacial blue eyes. And yet somehow in his stare I could feel the heat. I knew I wasn’t imagining because when I turned to Siegfried, the big guy was giving me one of his smiles that spelt “I’m sorry”.

He really needed to change his habit of over-apologizing.

But why was he apologizing anyway?

“Sorry, Master, but I think I’d like to stay at Karna’s.”

Wow, wasn’t this the first time I’d ever hear him express his preference. Before, when it came to personal matters like this, he’d merely gone with whichever assigned to him. That was definitely an innovation.

“Well, that’s fine as well,” I said to him, patting his armored shoulder. “Karna’s is good. Fire and dragon, can’t find a better match.”

Just like that, the heat on my back vanished.

Siegfried lightly bowed to me and walked over to Karna’s side. He flashed Karna a smile, and the son of the Sun God instantly returned the gesture with a small but genuine one. Wasn’t that something new? I hadn’t seen him smile at any other Servant. Then Siegfried leaned down a little and whispered into the Lancer’s ears, which broadened the smile on his lips.

Looking at them, I couldn’t help an inkling that there was absolutely something going on.

Huhm, very interesting.


[Desus] Finders, Keepers (3) [END]

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: M

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

Genre: fanfiction

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

Warnings: Probably crack, Smut with plot

Summary: Jesus came to Alexandria to do trade and to see a certain grumpy hunter. However, he didn’t see said hunter; instead, just outside the walls of Alexandria he found a black cat – wait, was that really a cat?!

Chapter 1     Chapter 2



“What’s wrong? Is the food not to your liking?”

Paul asked with concern when he saw Daryl push away the bowl, barely touching its content. They were having pasta with tomato sauce tonight because Paul had received a fresh, juicy batch of tomatoes from Alan the gardener. Pasta was his best shot and he had hoped to impress Daryl. Though there were neither candles nor violin, having dinner together could be considered a date, right? Their first date. Paul had kept himself amused with his little fantasy as he boiled and strained the pasta while keeping an eye on the pot of simmering sauce. To see Daryl wasn’t enjoying the food in the least brought forth a profound disappointment.

His fingers twiddling, Daryl hung his head low and avoided eye contact with Paul as he spoke, “Food’s fine, very delicious. ‘s just I don’t have an appetite right now. Sorry.”

Although he was awkwardly trying to hide his face, Paul with his keen eyes could clearly see the odd blushes on his cheeks. The glaring light bulb above their head helped, too. Strange. The night wasn’t hot, quite the opposite actually, it was rather chilly, being autumnal and all. Despite that, there were beads of sweat rolling down his neck and blotching his shirt’s collar. Concern growing in his stomach, Paul watched Daryl shuffle back to their temporary-shared bed. There was an unsteady sway in his gait and a light tremble in his limbs. His pert ears had flopped and his tail trailed limply on the floor.

Paul pushed the chair back and crossed a few feet to the bed. “You don’t look fine to me,” said Paul with stern voice. Without asking for Daryl’s permission, he swept Daryl’s bang back and pressed his palm to the hunter’s forehead. God, he felt like freshly baked bread. As expected, there were sweats sticking to his palm.

“High temperature, excessive perspiration…” Paul muttered, “You’re having a fever?”

Daryl weakly swatted Paul’s hand away. “ ‘m not. ‘s jus’ too hot in here. Need to get out for some fresh air’s all.”

Daryl briskly stood up but his wrist was caught in Paul’s firm hand. He tried to shake it off but despite his lean form, the scout’s strength was no joke. His grip wouldn’t slacken even a little bit. “Nonsense,” he scowled. “The night is getting cold and yet you’re feeling hot, meaning there’s something wrong.”

“There’s nothin’ wrong with me.”

“Well, that doesn’t look like ‘nothing wrong’ to me. We should go to Dr. Carson and have him check you up.”

Daryl’s tone was dry. “Lookin’ like this?”

Paul bit the inside of his cheeks. He almost forgot Daryl wasn’t very keen on revealing his secret to more people than already had. Moreover, Dr. Carson was adept in treating humans; he doubted the good doctor had any experience in dealing with cat people.

Yes, cat people. Since “mangorath” was too cumbersome Paul had opted for “cat”. Mangoraths were a type of cats too, weren’t they?

“At least tell me what’s wrong so I can help.”

“ ‘s not somethin’ ya can help.”

Paul scoffed, feeling offended even though there was no ground reason for him to. Daryl’s problem might just be well out of his scope. Still, he disliked being dismissed like this without learning what was wrong first and in what way he might be able to offer his aid. It hinted at the hunter’s distrust of him, which twisted and twisted in the pit of his stomach until it became a heavy knot he couldn’t untie on his own. And there he thought they had gone passed that phrase. Paul crossed his arms in front of his chest, lifting his chin. “Oh, I believe I’m more capable than you give me credit for, Dixon.”

“Sure ya do, Mr. Know-All,” Daryl snorted.

That one liner was the last straw.

“I’m just trying to show that I care, OK,” Paul snapped, his voice louder than he would normally like, close to a shout. “Look what I’ve got: a hostile attitude like I’m being a nuisance.”

“Who asks ya to care anyway?” Daryl retorted, voice equally loud.

The seams of Paul’s lips curved into a smirk. “No one really,” he said, “but you’re a valuable ally of Hilltop and a dear friend of Maggie—”

“What great sense of responsibility ya’ve.”

Paul continued, unfazed by Daryl’s cutting him off, “and because I regard you as a friend who I can trust my back to in battles. If I didn’t trust you, I’d have kicked you out of the trailer the moment I saw you turn back.”

He locked gaze with Daryl, huge blue eyes glinting with muted challenge. Challenge Daryl to use his abrasive demeanor to defy that, to deny the bond that had been formed and reinforced between them over their time of acquaintance, whatever it was. Stubbornly Daryl glared at him with slit eyes, refusing to back down from challenge. His flopped ears had perked up, and his tail raised and wagged. Dogs wagged their tail when they were happy but cats did when they got angry – a tidbit of knowledge about animals Paul had gathered from books. The scout imagined Daryl wanted to bare his fangs and hiss – like the few furious cats he had seen – but had to restrain himself from displaying more animalistic behaviors than he already had. The blushes on his cheeks darkened, by anger or whatever was riding his nerves. Sparks flew in the dense air between them, the tension rising, simmering, bubbling, condensed; the tiny trailer became one huge balloon with too much hot air, waiting to burst.

Paul was about to open his mouth and burst the balloon – damn it, he was so not enthusiastic in a staring contest – when his vision experienced a horizontal shift. He should thank God there was a mattress beneath him when Daryl pounced on him in one swift movement; otherwise he would have had hit his head on something and gotten a concussion. It was safe to say Paul hadn’t expected this turn of event at all; a punch to his jaw, yes, he had anticipated it and even envisioned how he would dodge or counter, but this, not at all. He gasped in genuine shock, temporarily unable to comprehend the situation and commence proper reaction when Daryl climbed on top of him, straddling him. His thighs squeezing either side of Paul’s waist, Daryl bent down until their foreheads were inches from touching. Paul’s eyes opened so wide it hurt, enraptured by the blazing blue irises and slit pupils up close. Later he would claim that they possessed hypnotizing attributes.

“Ya wanna know what’s wrong?” Daryl roared – he fucking did, like a lion or tiger. “ ‘m fuckin’ in heat an’ yer scent’s drivin’ me insane. Bein’ in a tight space with ya drives me insane. I want to fuck ya senseless and that’s what wrong!”

Paul’s brain was racing to compute the meaning of Daryl’s words – he’d heard them perfectly fine alright but he was completely stunt by how raw and blunt they were as they had come out of the normally reserved hunter. His jaw slackened but no sounds were made. He lay very still, his need to breath temporarily forgotten as astonishment filled him. Out of sudden the sound of fabric ripping tore at his eardrums, snapping him out of his trance. What the—? He glanced down just in time to see a button flying into the air and his chest revealed to the hungry eyes of the cat man. R. I. P his favorite shirt, he moaned internally.

Paul couldn’t believe this was happening. To be pinned down to a surface (the mattress was a welcome luxury) by a weight on top of him and have his shirt ripped in the ravenous desire to get him naked was the wildest of his wild fantasies, reserved for the spectacularly lonely and horny nights, emphasis on the latter. However, his fantasies had involved a faceless man since he had had no particular object of infatuation – hadn’t had anyone for a long while. Until recently. The faceless man had gradually taken features: matted dark hair, narrow blue eyes, a beauty spot above his upper lip. Sometimes his fantasies had been so intense it caused Paul to subconsciously avert his eyes from the Alexandrian hunter the following day; he’d rather die than have Daryl know that he was harboring such impure thoughts about him. Nonetheless, this wasn’t a wild fantasy; this was very real and happening. Paul couldn’t decide if this was a most awesome stroke of luck or a foreshadowing of his impending doom as whoever up above had decided to allow him a wild ride before he officially kicked the bucket the very next morning.

Positive thinking, Paul Rovia, he reminded himself.

All of his jumbled thoughts were cut short by a sharp wedge of pleasure when a tongue licked a lengthy stride from the dip between his clavicles to his naval. Being caught entirely off-guard, Paul exhaled a sharp breath and then bit his tongue as the prickling sensation of stubbles on his areolar shot to his brain. Lips closed around his nipple like a hungry pup latching on its mother’s teat and tongue, the same tongue that had raised goosebumps on his skin, lavished the hardening nub. Gosh, his tongue! He had learned from a discovery show that the texture of a feline’s tongue was very different from a human’s and had had a cat licked his hand a few times before but never once had he imagined how it would feel on one of his erroneous zones! He was sure he’d remember it till the day he died.

So… Daryl had cat ears, eyes, tail and tongue. Paul wondered, with intrigued apprehension, what else on Daryl’s anatomy resembled that of a feline’s. He considered himself explorative but he couldn’t be sure he could handle it. And yes, he had enough brain cells left to figure where all of this was heading. It was very unlikely someone ripped your shirt in half and proceeded to lick your nipple and just wanted to cuddle innocently on the bed like five-year-olds. Plus, Daryl had said (more like yelled) that he was “in heat” and as far as he was concerned, that had only one meaning.

Never had Paul imagined their first time, if there was ever a first time, would be a mating. While he didn’t know how he should feel about it, he was sure he was very excited by the prospect. That his jeans had been reduced by one size at certain area was evidence.

Daryl spread his fingers across the firm plane of Paul’s abdomen while his mouth began to give the other nipple the same attention its twin had. Paul squirmed beneath him, trying to gain some friction through layers of clothing. It simply wasn’t enough. “Ouch,” he cried, feeling a sharp sting below his ribs. His cry seemed to wake Daryl from his lust-haze, for the cat man lifted his torso and stared at Paul with wide eyes, filled with something like horror. Instantly alarmed by his bewildering behavior, Paul sat up a little, looked down his body and sighed in understanding. There were three pink diagonal slashes from his ribs to his navel. Cats loved to scratch, whether they were angered or excited, and well, Daryl was a cat person with cat-like features. This shouldn’t be surprising at all.

“ ‘m sorry…” Daryl mumbled, voice shaking and brittle.

“It’s alright,” Paul assured him, fingering the marks. “Just some scratches. I’ve had worse.” He wasn’t lying; the marks stung but not enough to cause pain; they were mild annoyance at best.

“ ‘m sorry,” Daryl repeated, more desperately this time. “ ‘m really sorry.” His taut shoulders were shaking.

Then he clambered off Paul and appeared to be ready to bolt out of the trailer.

It took about three seconds for Paul to realize Daryl wasn’t just sorry about scratching him. He grunted in frustration and before Daryl had the chance to deal with the situation in his distinctively Dixonian way – meaning running away and possibly never showing his face to the Hilltop scout ever again, Paul got enough time to grab him by his tail.

Not his most elegant move but it worked. Daryl stood as still as a statue. His ears flattened on the sides of his head, black fur blending with dark hair.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Paul scowled.

A multitude of questions paraded through stormy blue eyes, so blindingly fast he couldn’t catch any of it. Paul almost felt pity for the man. Daryl’s jaw moved as if he wanted to open his mouth and say something, but then nothing came out. Paul could practically hear the gears inside his head grinding together to come up with something. He waited, his grip on Daryl’s tail not loosening, but even he could feel his patience was wearing as thin as a paper; it was difficult to remain patient when you were having a raging hard-on, but Paul tried, forced himself to because if he didn’t, he would lose the man for good.

“Outside,” he spoke at last. “I’ll sleep outside.”

Paul’s eyes were huge like goose eggs. “Looking like this?” he echoed Daryl’s earlier words, gesturing to the tail in his hand. His rhetorical question implied a fact Daryl had already learned during his time here: there were always a couple Hilltopers working late-night shifts who would pass Paul’s trailer on their way home and there was high chance they might spot a man with feline features. Just imagine the chaos.

Daryl was muted.

“Leaving me like this?” Paul went on.

Daryl’s eyes wandered down Paul’s torso to the visible bulge in his crotch and immediately averted his eyes. Paul licked his lower lip, feeling weirdly satisfied to see the cat man’s face reddened like the pasta they’d had.

“Ya’ll regret it,” he mumbled, just barely enough for Paul to hear.

“Oh, don’t say what I will and won’t, Dixon. You’re not me.”

“Feels like ‘m forcin’ ya into this, or worse, rap—”

“Don’t say that word,” Paul cut him sharply. “You really think you can force me into something I don’t want?” He laughed wryly. “That wounds me, really, that you think so little of me, that I’m incapable of at least defending myself. You and Rick don’t call me a ninja hippie for nothing.”

Paul’s hand let go of his tail to land on his chest. He flattened his palm against Daryl’s heart, feeling its frantic beats beneath the thin cotton fabric. Well, at least his heart was more honest than himself. Going on tiptoe, he captured Daryl’s lips in a chaste kiss. This would either make it or break it so Paul was extremely carefully. He kept it chaste so as not to shock Daryl but firm to convey to the man how determined he was in this matter. Assurance was what this man with a painfully low self-esteem desperately needed; he needed not only to know but also to feel that it was okay, that he wasn’t forcing or hurting anyone, that he was accepted. Paul’s heart ached for him as he kissed him.

Taken by surprise, Daryl stood absolutely motionless.

“Is this enough consent for you?” asked Paul once they parted.

A guttural snarl was his reply, and then Paul was sprawled on his back again, with a familiar weight on top of him. Guess that was a yes, he mused, before any musing thoughts were washed away by a tongue lapping at his skin. The same tongue with the bizarre and stimulating texture. This time it wasn’t his nipple but the scratches below his ribs. It stung a little but mostly it just tickled him. His skin there was notoriously ticklish and he really couldn’t help the giggles that rang in the quiet confined space. Sometimes he giggled like a little girl, he was aware. Daryl, however, was unaffected by Paul’s reactions, absorbed in his diligent task of ‘treating’ the injuries inflicted by himself. Another cat-like behavior which Paul really couldn’t complain. Tiny sparks were ignited inside him, quickly feeding to the center heat between his thighs. His jeans were very much in the way and he yearned to get rid of them.

Perhaps Paul’s desire was telepathically transmitted to Daryl because his hand stalked to the waistband of his pants and he started undoing the buttons and zipper with all the deftness and grace of a feline without disrupting his current task on Paul’s stomach. Cats, big and small, were smart creatures and Paul imagined this task would be easy as cake for them if they were to have hands and fingers instead of paws and claws. Well, this was a cat with hands in place of paws. Still, that was as far as grace went because soon as the button came undone and the zipper down, Daryl hooked his fingers on both Paul’s pants and underwear and just yanked them past his knees, effectively rendering the Hilltop scout from remotely appropriate to decidedly indecent in one go. Not that Paul minded though; rather, he encouraged Daryl’s act by lifting his long, slender legs and kicking the garments out to land haphazardly somewhere beside the bed.

Daryl hovered above his exposed member, proudly in full mast, and looked at Paul as if asking for some sort of permission to proceed. The Hilltoper gave him a tender smile marred by just the slightest hint of smug and buckled his hips; he wanted Daryl to see, or rather, feel the effect of what he had inflicted upon him. And perhaps that should be enough incentive for Daryl’s next move. Delightful anxiety rose in Paul’s stomach. Daryl was truly unpredictable and although he had lead Paul from one surprise to the next, Paul had an inkling he hadn’t reached his quota yet. The night was still young, and Paul had time to spare.

Paul gasped audibly when he felt the peculiar texture of Daryl’s cat tongue on him, this time not on his nipple or his stomach skin but directly on his pulsing member. It wasn’t a surprise he had anticipated but that didn’t mean it was any less welcoming. Daryl started at the root, a few swift strokes at first to test the waters, and then moved in smooth glides along the length to the tip. His tongue swirled around the head, lapping the sensitive skin there and eliciting a couple of ragged breaths from Paul, before flicking at the slit as if carefully tasting the early dews swelling from which. Paul’s fingers threaded into Daryl’s shaggy hair, finding the ears and scratching them with his blunt nails while Daryl worked on him. If Paul still had any intellectual capacity left, he’d describe Daryl’s technique, or lack-thereof, as very similar to a cat savoring its favorite treat; still, all of his focus now was on processing the toe-curling sensation from between his legs and how skilled Daryl was in giving head. Yet, there might be a chance the man might not be experienced in this expertise at all – he was just guided by his instincts and who would disagree that cats had excellent instincts? Certainly not Paul.

Finally Daryl had played enough, intentionally or not, and took Paul into his mouth. All thoughts seemed to fade for a moment as Paul squeezed his eyes shut and lost himself in the warm and wet cavern of his mouth.

In that moment, he wouldn’t have any regret if tomorrow was his doom.

“Mind your fangs, please,” Paul breathed upon feeling a grazing of sharp teeth along his shaft. Daryl’s hummed softly, contrite or defiance unsure, but he was more careful with his sharper-than-average teeth, which Paul was grateful for. He wasn’t a fan of pleasure mingled with pain after all.

Daryl didn’t finish what he’d started and let go off Paul with an obscene ‘pop’. Paul might have verbally complained if he were naive enough to not know Daryl’s intention. He wanted penetrative intercourse, and that was fine by Paul as long as they worked out their position. Since Daryl was quite literally a predator, Paul assumed he was a top – seemed natural that way. So was Paul, in most encounters, but being quite versatile in the matter of passion, he didn’t mind switching, especially when his partner was Daryl. He had immensely enjoyed the few times he had bottomed for his other partners; as a matter of fact, each time had left him wondering why he didn’t bottom more often.

“Let me help you,” Paul offered, his hands eagerly undoing the button of Daryl’s pants while the man fumbled with the buttons of his shirt. He retained enough self-control to not ruin the shirt like he had done Paul’s unfortunate one since it was borrowed. Their hands moved almost in tandem and by the time the shirt had joined the small heap of clothes on the floor, Daryl could shimmy out of his pants and boxers. Then there was no barrier to obstruct Paul’s appreciation of him. Like his fantasies, Daryl was well-built, just the right balance of hard, toned muscles and soft flesh promising gentleness to the touch. So Paul touched him, running his palm along Daryl’s body like Daryl had done to him, and halted as he reached the heat between the man’s legs, thankfully very human. Paul let out a mental sigh of relief and began to gauge Daryl’s size using both his eyes and hand. To accommodate this size, he would need some preparation. He only hoped the lube he kept in his drawer hadn’t expired yet. And the condoms too, while he was at it.

Twisting his torso, he reached for the small nigh table lodged between the bed and the wall but Daryl stopped him by pinning his hips to the bed with his large hands. Well, Paul could fight, yet he didn’t, puzzled by Daryl’s intention. It would be much easier if Daryl would just talk, but the cat man appeared to deem any sounds coming out of his lips other than words sufficient for communication. He gave Paul’s length a few quick strokes before situating himself above the scout.

Uh oh. Paul knew what Daryl intended to do. “No,” he protested, his voice edged with haste, “let me prep you first or else you’ll be hurt.”

Daryl didn’t reply. A stoic expression masking his face, he gingerly sunk down Paul’s shaft. Soon as his tip went past Daryl’s entrance, blissfully not as tight as he’d imagined and surprisingly slick – as though he had found the time to prepare himself, Paul choked on the words he was about to say. Literally choked on them. Another huge surprise he didn’t see coming. His mental capabilities were reduced to just be able to feel the warm and wet tightness clenching around his length inch by delicious, torturous inch. Tenacious as always, Daryl made no attempt to stop until he was fully sheathed and settled on Paul’s thighs. Both froze, prioritizing the fundamental need to find their breaths first.

“You’re alright?” asked Paul, brushing back Daryl’s long, damp fringes. “Did I hurt you?”

Letting a whiny breath, Daryl nodded and then shook his head as if he couldn’t decide which should be the answer. He bent down, munching on Paul’s lips while his lower half was motionless for several seconds. Paul happily obliged him even though the pleasure spiking up his spine was one step from driving him crazy. He suckled Daryl’s lower lip, tugging the fleshy part between his teeth, all of the previous chasteness gone. His tongue entered Daryl’s mouth, found Daryl’s own and coerced it into a sensuous tango. It was both the same and different to feel the texture of Daryl’s tongue with his own rather than his skin. He thought he tasted himself faintly in Daryl’s mouth. Saliva dribbled down the sides of their mouths but both were too far gone to care.

It seemed an eternity when their mouths parted, connected only by a slim silvery string. Daryl placed both hands on Paul’s hips and began moving, erratically and slowly to test his adjustment. Paul threw his head back, inhaling deeply. It didn’t take long until the hunter found and established a rhythm and pace that matched his burning need, which, of course, suited Paul’s as well. And then, there was nothing stopping him from chasing the pleasure to his heart’s desire.

Things were a tad hazy afterward, and Paul didn’t recall much detail besides ragged breaths, loud moans and maddening pleasure coursing through his entire body, head to toe. Paul’s rickety bed groaned with their combined weight and movements and in hindsight, Paul was thankful he lived in a trailer and thus having no neighbors; otherwise they would clearly hear his debauchery. It wasn’t that he was ashamed or anything; he just didn’t fancy gossips in a tight-knit community such as Hilltop. The two of them reached their peaks almost simultaneously, a rather impressive feat for their first time as far as Paul was concerned. While Paul coated Daryl’s inside with his seeds, Daryl spilled his on their stomachs and the sheets underneath them, and marked Paul with an impressive love bite on his collarbone that would take days to fade. Not that Paul minded getting a quaint souvenir to remember their heated ride; if someone inquired he’d just blame the cat – nothing sort of truth. The hunter’s face as he orgasmed was the most vivid memory in Paul’s mind because of its sheer beauty and perfection. Paul thought he had fallen in love. Scratch it. He was already head over heels in love with Daryl Dixon and this was the very first time he had felt so strongly and intensely with a man that his previous relationships seemed ephemeral and insignificant. It was as though he had never known love until he knew Daryl. He sincerely hoped this was not a one-time thing and that it would blossom into something meaningful and lasting.

The sheets were sticky with sweats and come and permitted a funny smell. Paul used his torn shirt to wipe the come off his and Daryl’s bodies. Doing the laundry should be on top of his agenda tomorrow but right now, all he yearned for was snuggling with Daryl and drifting off into a blissful sleep. The former was already fulfilled as the cat man’s arm was draping across his chest and his naked limbs were tangled with Paul’s underneath the sheet. His head was tugging beneath Paul’s chin while his tail moved lazily and disorientedly, tickling Paul’s calf. Paul stroked the roots of his flopped ears, earning low satisfied purrs from the hunter. Paul was certain he’d miss both the ears and the purrs once Daryl turned back into full human.

“You OK? Any sores?”

He recalled the haste penetration with no prep and heaved a sign. “Next time let me prep you first, OK? Don’t want you to feel any pain.”

Wait, had he already planned a next time while the outcome of this time was still pretty much uncertain.

“ ‘s fine,” Daryl replied, voice tired and sleepy. “My body has its own way of preparation, consider that a perk. Only minor sores. Though I may be walkin’ funny tomorrow.”

Sex appeared to make Daryl more loquacious, Paul noted. “Good thing you don’t have to leave this trailer until all of these are gone.”


Paul’s chest felt tight due to Daryl’s apologetic tone. “If you’re apologizing for tearing my shirt then apology accepted,” Paul said. “I’m well compensated anyway.”

“ ‘s not jus’ the shirt an’ ya know that.”

“I already told you that this thing between us was totally consensual. For the last time you didn’t force yourself on me.”

“I pushed ya down an’ tore yer shirt forcefully.”

“And I could have kicked you in the nuts and thrown you out,” Paul blurted out, without thinking. “Do you… do you metaphorically self-flagellate every time this happens?”

Paul felt Daryl tense against his body. Shit. Damn his stupid mouth. He could tell he’d poked a sensitive spot. No one liked being reminded that they periodically turned into animal, went in heat and fucked the nearest creature with legs.

Apparently Daryl hadn’t run out his surprise quota of the day (or month) because after a quiet moment, he mumbled, “With ya was my first time.”

“What? You mean you haven’t… Don’t tell me it’s the first time you turn into a cat!”


“Mangorath, right. What’s with that name anyway? It sounds like ‘mango’ and ‘wrath’. An angry fruit?!”

“Carol came up with it, dunno what she had in mind,” replied Daryl. “Anyway, ‘s not my first time turnin’. Been turnin’ since I was a teenager. Has somethin’ to do with puberty I guess.”

“But you said this was your first time?” Paul sounded incredulous.

“Before I ran into the woods and stayed there alone until the heat died. ‘s not so bad as when there’s a potential mate ‘round.”

His voice died at the last words and red crept up his bare shoulder. Affection swelled in Paul’s heart, threatening to burst his ribcage. “It appears I fit the bill of your potential mate. You don’t mind if I claim the position? Less hassle the next time you turn.”

“Don’t wanna force ya…”

“I happily, willingly volunteer myself,” Paul teased. “Besides, I happen to like you a lot, Daryl Dixon, so, no forcing at all.”

His teeth playfully gnawed the tips of Daryl’s ears, eliciting an embarrassed grunt from the hunter. “Ya kinda said it already… that ya liked me…”

Paul choked on his laughter, biting his tongue. “When? I don’t recall ever telling you about my feelings,” he yelped, “or anyone, for that matter, not even Maggie or Tara.”

Daryl snorted, pleased with himself for causing Paul a minor freak-out. It was simply unfair and annoying that the Hilltop scout always appeared calm and composed in whatever shit situation he found himself in. Daryl had made it his personal mission to make Paul lose his cool for once. “Ya told ‘Daryl’,” he deadpanned.

As realization dawned on him, Paul’s face darkened. “You… you furry little liar!” he stuttered, face flushed and heated.

“What did I lie to ya?”

“You said you didn’t remember—”

“Everythin’. This is among the bits an’ bobs I did.”

“Clever,” Paul scoffed, defeated. He didn’t know the Alexandrian possessed a devious witty streak in his stoic, solemn skeleton. There were a lot about Daryl he hadn’t known and he was terribly thrilled by the aspect of learning them day by day. Covering his face with his hand, Paul laughed, “Since the cat’s out of the bag, pun intended, I figure I can be perfectly frank about it and ask you whether the feelings are mutual.”

Daryl was so quiet that Paul began to think he might push too hard at the boundaries. From the first day he’d met him, he could tell the man had built wall after wall around him. To get past those walls required much time, and it simple couldn’t be done after one good sex, despite how satisfyingly mind-blowing it was. Before the scout officially freaked out and opted to take back his words, Daryl spoke, small-voiced, “At least I know who I should run to next time I turn.”

Paul breathed a lengthy sigh of relief. He hugged with all the strength of his body, trying to convey his overwhelming affection to the older man. “I’ll make sure to give you plenty of belly rubs and the best cream I could find.”

Daryl’s tail whipped Paul’s thigh, eliciting an undignified yelp. Despite the growl at the back of his throat, he was having a wide, toothy grin.


That is the end, hope you all enjoy it.

[Desus] Finders, Keepers (2)

Disclaimer: Characters belong to their respectful owners

Fandoms: The Walking Dead

Rating: M

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

Genre: fanfiction

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

Warnings: Probably crack, Smut with plot

Summary: Jesus came to Alexandria to do trade and to see a certain grumpy hunter. However, he didn’t see said hunter; instead, just outside the walls of Alexandria he found a black cat – wait, was that really a cat?!

Chapter 1



Paul retired to bed that night like every other night, with a bigger-than-normal cat occupying the remaining space of his single bed. He believed he should wake up in the morning like every other morning, with or without that said cat – sometimes ‘Daryl’ slept in, sometimes he didn’t. Certainly he didn’t expect to open his eyes to the sight of an arm draping across his chest, not in the loving ‘hold me, touch me’ way but in the unsexy and discomforting way. He blinked, stared at the arm for a few seconds, then blinked again, and again, and again. Still, the arm remained his reality, not his imagination. The weight felt very real though, making breathing a slightly more difficult task. He tried to rake his sleep-fogged brain for any indication that he had taken someone to his bed last night, and after a long while rummaging through the clutter of his memories, he came to a sad, disappointing conclusion that he hadn’t done that in years. His only bed companion was a four-legged animal that should be taking the space next to him. Alert coursing through him like electric current, Paul whipped his head to the side and saw a sleeping face.

It took all his restraint not to scream because said sleeping face belonged to the one and only Daryl Dixon. The human, grumpy one. As he dared to scan down Daryl’s form, the skin of his face was cooked by the heat of horror and arousal. His heartbeat went from 75 to 150 in a quarter of a minute, nearly giving him a heart attack. On his bed Daryl was curling in a fetal position, his shoulders bare, his arms bare, his entire body bare to Paul’s scrutiny.

Paul pinched his side hard, he just had to, and was barely able to muffle his yelp into the pillow. He needed to ensure this wasn’t a dream because it looked very much like a dream, a wet dream actually, one that left him panting and aching and needy in the middle of the night whether he was in his own tiny trailer or the room Rick had provided him in Alexandria, conveniently just a few strides from the dweller of the unsuspecting culprit of his predicament.

That Daryl was lying naked on his bed was not a dream but the reality, he told himself, feeling the soft warmth of his breath ghosting against his face since they were so close, noses almost touching. He took several quick breaths, trying to calm his overexcited heart. Daryl’s sleeping face helped a great deal too. In his slumber, the man looked breathtakingly peaceful, his perpetual scowl gone, his lines smoothed out and his sharp, slanted eyes hidden behind closed eyelids. His eyelashes weren’t particularly long but their length and curves put the finishing touch to the picture of Daryl’s visage. Paul subconsciously held his breath as he swallowed.

Something black on top of Daryl’s head twitched, catching Paul’s attention. Curious, Paul extended his head to shyly touch it. Silky fur and a familiar softness graced the tips of his fingers. Paul gasped in silence. Was it… an ear? Moreover, not a human ear but a cat ear!

Emboldened by his shock, Paul gave the ear a light tug to test whether it was an ornament (though chance that Daryl would wear any ornaments on his head, let alone cat ears, was a mighty zero) and would come off. It didn’t. Moreover it felt firmly attached to his skull as if a part of him. A part of him! Something in Paul’s brain clicked and thoughts started whirring in his head. Daryl was lying on his bed. The mangorath, which should be in his place, was nowhere in sight (except that Daryl might have crushed him with his weight but it was too absurd Paul didn’t even want to consider it). Daryl had cat ears on his head. Pointy and warm and soft to the touch. Like a certain mangorath’s. Daryl had mangorath ears. Daryl was part mangorath. Daryl was the mangorath!

Paul grimaced as a headache started pounding in his skull. How his brain had come up with such a conclusion and actually convinced him that it made some sense was beyond his comprehension. Morning drowsiness caused funny thoughts. He needed an aspirin or an explanation. Maybe both. Definitely both.

Daryl’s ear twitched again and Paul couldn’t help touching it again, relishing the sensation transmitted from the tips of his fingers to his brain. As he did, he began to think he might have developed cat-ear fetish and it mortified him tremendously; it wasn’t right to think that way about his ally, his friend, especially someone as stoic as Daryl Dixon. But if he didn’t tell, no-one, certainly not Daryl, would know, right? He just had to keep his less proper thoughts to himself and behave normally around the hunter, didn’t he?

Paul’s heart almost stopped when Daryl’s eyes suddenly opened, glacially blue with black slit pupils like a cat’s. During their time of acquaintance, he had observed and learned many things about the hunter, both in his features and manners, but he never knew that Daryl possessed cat eyes and eyes were the very first thing he took notice about Daryl, or any individual he met. The hunter’s eyes were narrow, blue and magnetically drew Paul in every time they locked gaze and most importantly, they were unmistakably human. Now those eyes had changed and they were staring at him unblinkingly. The mangorath often stared at him in the same way, with the same eyes, once again confirming Paul’s crazy theory that Daryl and the feline were one and the same.

Daryl let out a small whimpering sound that was more cat than human.

Paul sat upright as though being electrocuted and rushed to his drawer. He searched frantically for a shirt and a pair of pants that were Daryl’s size. Not once had he looked behind his back to see that Daryl had also sat up, stretched his muscles and was watching Paul piling up a small hill of clothes on the floor with his curious cat eyes.

“What yer doin’?”

“Finding some clothes for you,” Paul replied without thinking. Tch. Wasn’t that obvious? Then, amidst the hassle and embarrassment his brain actually stopped for a moment to think and realization sank in like a boulder. “What?! You can talk?!”

“‘Cuz I can talk,” Daryl retorted, his voice taking a higher pitch than usual. It sounded odd,… younger. “When couldn’t I?”

“I thought… Never mind.”

Coming back to his bed, Paul handed him a navy-blue shirt, a pair of dark jeans and a pair of black boxers. He looked anywhere but Daryl’s toned chest, uncovered and presented to his sight like a tantalizing treat. Daryl eyed the articles with suspicion.

“These haven’t been worn yet,” Paul felt the need to assure him. “A size too big for me.”

With that, he left the clothes on the bed and strode out of the door, giving Daryl his privacy. He closed the door behind his back.

The sky was still a peach-lavender hue. Paul leaned against the side of the trailer in only his cotton white shirt and sweatpants, taking quick, shallow breaths to calm his racing heart and clear his head. He supposed he ought to be thinking because this was the kind of situation that required thinking but he just couldn’t. Occupying his mind was the image of Daryl sporting a pair of cat ears and it kind of effectively blocked all other thoughts. He honestly had no idea what he should say to the Alexandrian hunter when he went back inside the trailer. Ask why he had transformed into an animal? Why he had turned back into human, sans the ears and eyes? What, too straightforward? Should he beat around the bush then?

The door to his trailer creaked open and Paul took that at his cue to come inside. His eyes swept over Daryl, who was sitting with his back against the wall, his knees hunched up to his chest, and he found relief in the sight of the hunter fully clothed. Less distracting if they wanted, actually needed, to have a serious talk about what was going on here. He looked somewhat bashful. Paul’s eyebrows hitched up to see a long, black… tail relaxing on the mattress. There was a pair of scissors on the multi-purpose table by the bed.

Daryl followed his gaze and lowered his head to hide the blush blossoming on his cheeks. “Sorry, can’t keep that in my pants. Cumbersome.”

Paul sat down on the edge of the bed, shaking his head. “It’s OK. You can keep the clothes. They don’t fit me anyway.” He made a vague gesture to the tail, Daryl’s tail. “I think I deserve some sort of explanation here.”

“Figured ya’d figured out on yer own already.”

“No I didn’t. All things seem to point out to me that you are my – what, mangorath pet, which ranks top in my list of most absurd things of this year, and that is something because we’re living in the world where the dead don’t stay dead. How is that even possible, beats me.”

“Not yer pet,” Daryl bleated.

“Well your family kinda sold you to me as such. Sorry I took their offer.”

Daryl made a low growl in his throat. He was displeased, Paul could tell. Clearly that hadn’t been his idea.

“ ‘m a shapeshifter,” said Daryl after a stretched moment. “Means I can change into an animal and back.”

Oh. That was the straightforward answer Paul had wanted but not expected to get from the tight-lipped hunter. Again, from the time he’d gotten acquainted with him, Paul knew Daryl to be the type not to beat around the bush. If he could use five words to express something, he certainly wouldn’t use six. And the explanation he gave made absolutely no sense and perfect sense at the same time. A shapeshifter in a world where the dead moved around? Not too far-fetched at all.

“I understand what a shapeshifter means but not how you can do that and why you haven’t changed back until now.”

“Dunno how,” Daryl replied, shrugging. “Was born that way I guess. ‘s in the blood. Comes at certain times o’ the year. Can’t control it, can’t do nothin’ ‘bout it.”

Paul nodded sympathetically. “Involuntary shapeshifter, I see. It must be real inconvenient.”

“Ya bet,” Daryl snorted.

Paul recalled the time when they had run away from the Sanctuary together. If Daryl could change his form freely, he would have escaped by himself long before Paul jumped off the truck’s roof and landed in Negan’s territory. Paul wondered what good it was being a shapeshifter who was unable to shapeshift at will. So far he only saw drawbacks. But of course he wouldn’t say it aloud in front of Daryl’s face; the man didn’t need someone to tell him it sucked being the way he was.

A bit lost in his musing, Paul let his hand inch closer and closer towards Daryl’s tail, driven by a subconscious desire to stroke it – a habit he had sort of formed during the last week. However, Daryl was one step quicker: his tail curled and retreated behind his back in a flash.

“Sorry,” Paul mumbled, face flushed. “Just a habit is all. Were you aware of everything when you were in that form? Do you remember anything?”

“I remember bits and bobs but not everythin’. Somethin’ the matter?”

A sense of relief and deflation filled Paul up at the same time.

“You don’t remember some of your behaviors… like demanding belly rubs, chasing the squirrels, stealing meat from the kitchen, et cetera?”

A hint of red spread upward Daryl’s neck. He shook his head. “While ‘m in that form, sometimes the animal instincts take over. Nothin’ too embarrassin’?”

“No, never mind,” Paul said, scratching his head. “How long before your… your eyes and ears turn back to normal?”

“Takes some time before ‘m fully human, two days normally, three at most.”

“Your family, do they know about your… special condition?”

“Cut yer euphemism,” Daryl grunted. “Ain’t necessary. Rick an’ Carol found out, then Rick told Michonne.”

Somehow Paul could picture the three of them throwing back their heads and laughing like a scene in George of the Jungle, pulling a prank on their brother like that. His family loved him to bits, there was no doubt, but they also had a really twisted sense of humor.

“Well, in the meantime, you can stay here until you change back,” Paul offered. “I don’t mind having a roomie.”

Daryl’s cat eyes peaked through his long bangs, his eyes perked as of showing Paul had gotten his full attention. “Ya sure ya don’t mind?”

“It’s not like you haven’t stayed here before. Besides, I can’t shoo you out of my trailer looking like this, can I?” Paul laughed in an attempt to mask nervousness spiking in his stomach all of sudden. Get a hold of yourself, Rovia. It was just two or three days; surely you can handle being in such close proximity with him without making a fool out of yourself and trampling your established friendship. Right?


“It’s nothing, really,” Paul said, waving his hand. “Now, what do you fancy for breakfast? I sincerely hope it’s not squirrels because I can’t find any this early in the morning.”

“Yer ridiculous,” Daryl grunted, but couldn’t keep a tiny smile from the corner of his lips.

To be continued

I had a mighty need to write cat!Daryl.


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


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


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.”


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.


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.