“Be grateful for the life you have. Not every vampire is born the way you are.”
Those were his father’s words once.
After his mother’s disappearance, the distance between father and son grew.
Discussions and interactions became brief when possible; at least, that was probably what he father preferred, but Adrien sought his dad, trying to speak with him more to give their naturally cold lives some warmth. It worked a few times, and in one instance, he was able to convince his father into letting him help; of being a presence. It had been in his favor…
… And quickly, Adrien became disregarded again.
For what he was, he could have a full schedule planned for a complete twenty-four hours – twenty-four hours, seven days a week; all three-hundred and sixty-five days unless it was a leap year on the Gregorian calendar - and that whole time, he could probably never see his father once. It was only by potent senses that he could tell if his dad was even still dwelling in the same modernist Manor, the whites and blacks making the interior seem so large and so empty.
It made it hard to stay grateful.
Not even a half-century old and Adrien already wondered how long he would have to live this life – if it could be called living. He thought, learned, and loved so he had to be living – Cogito ergo sum one could say - but what was the point of it all if there was no one to share it with? His mother had, but anyone around his apparent age? What was it like for the others? The harpies and foxes, the nymphs and fairies; they were always passing outside of his tinted windows and beyond the Manor’s fence. Heck, he wouldn’t even mind meeting a werebeast if it just meant making…
… A friend.
He hadn’t done this before, but he had to try if only to see what it was like for once.
All those stories he’s read of others like him – of vampires going out to hunt and seduce, a few to terrorize, but others to fall in love. Adrien wanted to have a turn being a real vampire even if it meant breaking one of his father’s rules and sneaking out. His father was out of the country for work and Nathalie had gone with him meaning no potions to avoid the sun, but Gorilla wasn’t at the Manor to keep him in at night.
Adrien still opened the window with some trepidation, pleased that it didn’t squeak, and smiling once it was far enough. Pulling himself up onto the ledge, he held onto the windowsill while he stared into the brilliant night sky, its moon waxing at three-quarters and glowing brightly.
He missed this.
Actually standing out during the night and enjoying it instead of being pushed to another appointment. He gave himself a minute to let the cool air muss his hair and clothes, and let his eyes dart across the sky as he attempted to make out constellations through the light pollution. His over shirt disappeared as he let his wings morph and unfold, relief flooding him with the urge to take off close behind.
And he let it envelope him, allowing his wings to rise as the next breeze came, their large, leather-like membranes filling and the exhilarating lift he felt upon the first flap.
His first take off in so many years. Were there any other ‘teenager’ vampires like him? He was sure they had flown into the night like this before, rising beyond gates and walls where only wind and sounds and lights were weightless forces surrounding them. Did they go out during the day too? Were they not confined behind tinted glass and freely allowed ways to go out into the sun instead of potions? And it was always potions; he had been allowed on the internet. There were other, more comfortable ways to go out into the sun without Nathalie possibly bewitching her brews to keep him on schedule.
The night time appeared surprisingly lively, reminding him of the morning hours. Nocturnal beings and others only capable of going out in the evenings like him without concern of the sun flocked the streets now consumed by night and electric lights. He kept high above them, watching adults hurry on their way to work, children playing and pretending to hunt each other, and teenagers laughing and gossiping among themselves. It looked fun, normal, but he didn’t spot any vampires close to his age. And the longer he observed, the more he began noticing that only certain sections of the city were actually ‘awake’ with other parts of the city dark and if he strained his hearing, he began to pick up on people breathing softly.
What was it like to need sleep? Sure, he could sleep, but he didn’t have to. His mom said he would sleep when he needed to recuperate, but he didn’t understand. He really didn’t understand a lot about himself.
Sighing, he considered flying further – maybe towards the Eiffel Tower – when a blinding burst of red caught his attention. His wing shielded his eyes when it became too intense, but it dimmed quickly enough that he could spot the building from whence it originated from. Curious, he allowed his body to drift towards the roof – towards the balcony on that dark building, a Patisserie from what he could make out. He heard sneezing accompanied by some spluttering and a short sigh.
“How is this spell so difficult?”
Though inquisitive about the subject, he found himself more tuned to the voice. It sounded like a girl… it looked like a girl from what he could see. And landing without a sound on the rooftop chimney, he was indeed looking down at a girl. Her dark hair pulled into pigtails looked almost blue in the moonlight and her pale skin glowed despite being dusted with ash. She swiped her hands at a pale pink and simple cotton t-shirt before shaking off her sweatpants with a sigh.
“Okay… okay, let’s see…”
Blinking, he watched her wave a hand and the soot spot disappeared before she crossed her way over to a small table. There, a book sat open and she narrowed her eyes in an attempt to read the small text in the moonlight alone. “I did that, but that still… oh. Oh … guh, who am I kidding? I’m going to set the classroom on fire tomorrow trying to get this right!”
“Get what right?”
The words were out before Adrien recalled she didn’t know he was there.
She shrieked and he yelped, falling backwards from his perch and crashing onto the roof. He groaned, refusing to move while the spots popped before his eyes, but conceded to shifting because he found tiles were surprisingly uncomfortable pressed against his wings. Sitting up, his hand rubbed the back of his head to alleviate the pain – physical pain for once. That wasn’t his smartest move, but he hadn’t been thinking.
Raising his eyes, he jumped at seeing the most incredible sky blue eyes. It took him a second to realize it was the girl peering at him, but he didn’t know if she was angry or… intrigued.
“Who the heck are you?” she growled. Ah, nope, she was definitely mad at him.
Scrambling to his feet proper, he fixed his appearance, swiping at his shirt and making sure to fold his wings in. “S-Sorry. I’m, uh, my name’s… Adrien.”
She didn’t say anything, her eyes still scrutinizing him and her arms crossed over her chest. He shuffled uncomfortably on his feet and felt his wings give a shiver. Though used to being stared at, he wasn’t looked at this long unless it was his father or the make-up artist on set. Even a photographer setting up their shot would’ve looked away once by now.
Letting out a low ‘hmmm’, the girl finally leaned back, “You look… familiar, but whatever. Adrien, right? What are you doing on my roof?”
Deciding now wasn’t the time to try making up a story, he just told her the truth. “I was flying… and then I saw your spell. Or explosion? Whatever you were doing…”
Despite his response earning a brief glower from her again, she moaned and covered her face with her hands. “It was really, really bright, wasn’t it? And loud. Gosh, I probably made some Weres deaf. Maman’s not—oh no, I probably woke my parents!” It was a second after she said that when both of them saw a light turn on downstairs and a voice yelled.
“Ah, quick! Hide!”
Panicking, Adrien almost took off again, but opted to duck behind the chimney. Just in time as the girl – Marinette apparently – did something. It sounded like creaking hinges and metal strained momentarily until it locked in place.
“Are you trying to practice again? It’s late, sweetheart. You’re going to wake up the entire street.”
“I didn’t mean to! I accidentally recited the spell wrong.”
“Honey, are you trying to read in the dark again?”
“Should’ve used a light spell.”
Adrien bit his lip, stifling the urge to laugh, but also swallowing an exclamation. Belial was a demon, wasn’t he? Royalty even! Who was this girl, and why was a noble demon in her house?! Peeking out from hiding, Marinette was standing next to an open hatch with her hands clenching her hips and tapping her foot.
“I’m going to bed! Good night! Tell Alice I said hi!”
He missed practically the entire conversation, but she was closing the hatch and letting out a breath when he next blinked. Arms back at her sides, she whipped around to face him again. He wished he did something a little more dignified than flinching, but he couldn’t help it. “So, Adrien…” she started while he sidled out of hiding. “I’m Marinette, but you probably heard that. Anyway, I have to get to bed. It’s kind of late and I have school in the morning.”
“… You go to school?”
She blinked, raising an eyebrow, “You don’t? Though… you’re a vampire, right?” He nodded and she sighed, closing her book, “You probably don’t need to attend school since I already imagine you know everything. You’re lucky.”
“Actually, I’d like to try going to school.”
That must’ve been the wrong thing to say. She froze again and stared at him with bulging eyes.
“You want to go to school?”
Silence fell between them, and she hugged her book tightly to her chest. Shifting again on his feet, his own eyes widened when he heard her begin to laugh.
“You’re weird, but if you want go to school, you better enroll soon. And hey, maybe you could go to mine. It’s right over there.” And his eyes followed as she pointed to the building across the street from their current location. “It’s a public school so it’ll be hard to study strictly vampire powers, but you’ll get to meet all kinds of people. I’ll even introduce you to my best friends.”
Staring at the school longer, he turned back to see Marinette’s brilliant expression and felt something stutter in his chest. It couldn’t be his heart, but he’d like to imagine it was. “I’d really like that.”
Again, he felt that same stutter as her eyes twinkled.
“Great! I’ll see you at school then… or around. It’ll probably take you a day to finish the enrollment paperwork,” she said, idly tapping her chin with a finger. “I have to go to sleep now, but maybe we can talk another night?”
“Huh? Yeah, yeah! We can.”
He felt himself doing something he hadn’t really done in forever: smile. And not one just for his photoshoots, but it was a real, genuinely happy smile. He also saw something she hadn’t done before; something that abruptly made her scent palpable: blush.
“T-Then see you morrow-to… I-I mean torrow, I MEAN tomorrow! Good night!”
Adrien thinks she heard him before disappearing through the hatch in sudden haste, but even if she didn’t, he’d make sure she caught it tomorrow.
She wanted to see him again.
His wings fluttered in delight and he felt lighter than air taking off. He was unconcerned about how the night air was now laced with unpleasant tension, or how an old man was watching him from the park across the way. This was the start of something new and he couldn’t wait to break the rules again.