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You Cure The Light

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All his life Yusuke Kitagawa has pursued his dream of becoming an artist however his stubborn nature when it came to his art left his mentor and foster father in a dilemma, Ichiryusai Madarame had fallen ill and required medications however the fee was not cheap but an opportunity had arose for the two “You must accept this offer, Yusuke.” the old man wheezed while rocking back in an old wooden chair, Yusuke was staring at the open envelope; the letter was an invitation to the Kurusu family mansion, an offer to paint the portrait of the king in exchange for wealth, the amount of money could pull Yusuke and his mentor out of poverty but Yusuke was still willing to reject the offer.

“Listen to me boy! I do not wish to live like this no longer!” Madarame raised his voice, startling Yusuke, he glanced at his mentor wearily “This is far too suspicious to be real.” Yusuke did not sell his paintings, how would he gain a reputation high enough to reach such a person? “Suspicious?! It is an opportunity you must take!” the old man cough “For my sake.” the man rubbed his old hand along the wooden arm of the chair “And your own.” Madarame tone was filled with venom

Yusuke squeezed the letter making the paper crinkle “I do not wish to accept it.” he muttered “Your wish does not matter; you’ll depart tomorrow, do not bother returning if you come back empty handed.”

“What if it’s a scam? A prank?” Yusuke asked in desperation

“Did you not hear me? Do not return.”

Yusuke averted his eyes in pain “Tch..!” he was hurt by his mentor's arrogant attitude but he had nothing else, only his paintings and this man...how could he deny Madarame's requests when he raised him? “O-Of course...I will accept the offer.” Yusuke was filled with sorrow, this went against all of his beliefs but what choice did he have? “That’s a good boy.”.

Yusuke’s home creaked with age, it made focusing on his artwork difficult, him and his Mentor didn’t have much, it was hard enough trying to afford food and now with Madarame being sick Yusuke was forced to go without proper meals, his fingers and toes were always so cold and his stomach would roar at him

If Yusuke listened to his screaming stomach he would surely be punished, Madarame frequently hit the boy with wood and whips as punishment, Yusuke’s life had always been like that however he found himself harboring hatred towards his mentor, a feeling he was disgusted by, Madarame had given him a second chance at life yet he started developing these feelings, It made Yusuke sick he could think like that.

Yusuke placed his worn down brush onto the easel, he was unable to paint today, he was frightened to go to the mansion and it was affecting his ability to draw, he decided it would be best if he prepared for today

He stood from his stool and approached his clothing; he only had 4 complete outfits, one being his pajamas, he stripped and put on his most ‘fancy’ outfit that being merely a pintuck white shirt with a black vest, a loose black bow tie and black dress pants

This outfit was Madarame’s wedding attire at least that is what he told Yusuke when he gave it to him, Yusuke has never questioned it but there was no evidence that Madarame was ever married or even had a partner.

Yusuke adjusted his tie, it was hard getting it right without a mirror and his fingers felt numb and lacked a sense of touch, he didn’t even know why Madarame was sending him there today, would he be painting the portrait today? Dread boiled inside Yusuke, there was no way he could paint a portrait today, he couldn’t even do his morning practice. Yusuke's stomach growled, he placed his pale hand on it hoping that it would remain quiet when he met the royal family.

“You best be off.” Madarame had not moved from his rocking chair, Yusuke approached the man “How do I look..?” the old man glanced at Yusuke “Do something about that hair in your face; royalty doesn’t accept messy hair.” Yusuke really didn’t care how he looked, he only wanted to delay the portrait

“Must I really go today..? It is so sudden.” Yusuke held his hand to his chest, it ached, he knew the answer already but still hoped his mentor would realize his anxiety

“Do you want me to die?”

“Of course not-”

“Then listen to me! Stop questioning me!” the old man shouted interrupting Yusuke, Yusuke frowned and cupped his hands “I fear I will mess it up..”

“I don’t care how it turns out as long as those pigs pay us!”

Yusuke’s entire being disagreed with that mentality, all his artwork was important to him even this one “But I must make worthy paintings..” the old man sighed “Yusuke, do you understand our situation?”

“Yes..”

“Must I force the other option?” Yusuke became distressed from those words “N-No!” “Then listen to me.” “R-Right..” Yusuke gulped

“The royal family waits for no one, Yusuke..go on.” “I...I will return.” Yusuke turned to the wooden door and left the house quickly, almost running away from Madarame’s threats.

Yusuke walked along the depressed village, heavy fog filled the air; everyone in the village knew and sometimes talked about the royal family and everyone hated them but the minute they could hear them their voices turned to praise and love, Yusuke didn’t hate nor like them, but he was frightened by them Like many in the village Yusuke had heard rumors of people never returning once they went to the mansion, the police didn’t get involved or cared so many people have gone missing without search although Yusuke cannot remember a time when the village wasn’t like this, it had remained the same all throughout his 21 years of life

Many missing person posters were scattered on the brick walls, Yusuke wondered if he disappeared tonight if Madarame would put one up for him.

Yusuke arrived at the gate of the mansion, he brought the letter with him to show the guard, they allowed him in and escorted him inside

the mansion was massive, it was filled with bright lights, all with beautiful golden designs around them, long red drapes hung from the high walls and acted as flags, the tiles were marbled and long red rugs lay on the floor leading up to the large staircase

“The master will speak to you shortly.”

The king himself was going to talk to Yusuke? He thought he’d be going through his adviser or something, Yusuke was not prepared for this encounter and found himself sweating with anxiety, he hoped he’d be able to worm his way out of the exchange somehow but knew he probably wouldn’t.

Yusuke waited patiently hoping his stomach did not growl as he spoke to the king and suddenly the mansion was filled with sounds of joy, Yusuke followed the gaze of the man who escorted him and saw who they were cheering at

The king himself, the man looked young, about the same age as Yusuke, was this man truly the king? Perhaps he was the prince? The man elegantly stepped down the staircase allowing Yusuke to see his features; the man had ruby red eyes with well kept long eyelashes, wavy black hair, healthy lips, his skin was pale but had pink hues to it, it looked soft like his hair did; he wore a black trench coat with a long collar and a gray collared shirt, black dress pants and dark gray Cuban heel boots

He did not look very kingly to Yusuke, more like a rebellious teenager...the most noticeable feature to Yusuke however was his red gloves, why would a king wear red gloves that stand out so much, they were almost blinding, perhaps he knows nothing about royal family attire but the man looked very odd to Yusuke

He also found the man to be a bit attractive although that might just be his artist spirit calling out to him.

It was quite obvious Yusuke was staring at him in awe, the man stepped off the staircase and extended his gloved hand towards Yusuke

“As beautiful as his own artwork.” the man chuckled

every servants attention was on the two, Yusuke felt uncomfortable and it seemed to be visible to this man “Ah, where are my manners? I am Akira Kurusu, the one whom you’ll be painting.” Yusuke nodded nervously and some servants gasps, was it disrespectful to nod?

Yusuke couldn’t speak, he was too stunned at what was going on and wished he was dreaming it

“A quiet one, hm?”

it was very obvious to Yusuke he was doing something wrong which made him even more nervous, what was he meant to do?

Akira twirled around “Come then, perhaps you’ll gain your tongue in private.”. Akira went back up the the staircase and Yusuke followed loosely behind him with his hands in front of his stomach, their footsteps sounded so loud to him and Akira led him into a room, once Yusuke stepped inside he closed the door behind him.

Yusuke took in the sight of the room, it was a..bedroom? The bedroom looked more like a guests room than a king's, it only had a single bed, a closet, a large window with white drapes keeping all of the sun out and a red couch; all looked beautiful, royal decor but this was too little for a king.

Akira walked deeper into the room next to the bed and Yusuke shuffled awkwardly to the couch “So, the portrait.” Akira said while staring down at his hand, he was rubbing his gloved thumb against his finger almost like he was experiencing withdrawal.

“Why me?” Yusuke had gained his voice back although still nervous

“Pardon?”

“Why did you choose me? I do not have a reputation.” everything was making Yusuke uneasy

“That’s exactly why.”

Akira’s words sent a chill down Yusuke’s spine “Although I wouldn’t say you have no reputation; perhaps not one you wish for. You're known as the stubborn artist.” Akira turned to face Yusuke and made eye contact “You know they say you have quite the ego, like a narcissist unable to part from his work.” Akira explained “That is absurd..” the thought that people branded him as such annoyed Yusuke

“Why do you address me like a commoner?” Akira glared into Yusuke's eyes, Yusuke averted them nervously “My apologies...I have no experience with royalty.” Akira dismissed Yusuke’s words with his hand “I kind of like it.” he chuckled

“Excuse my rudeness but...I feel like I am unable to perform today..”

“Oh?”

Madarame’s words thrusted inside Yusuke's mind changing his entire attitude “But I will try my best..” Yusuke stepped forward carefully “I did not bring my supplies..” “Don’t worry, we’ll provide them for you.” Akira said in a calming tone.

Akira shifted his body language, folding his hands onto his elbows “I have a question for you, Yusuke..is it?”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Would someone miss you if you were to disappear?” Yusuke’s eyes widen, he became very uncomfortable “Um..What is with such a strange question..?”

“Have you heard the rumors?” Akira’s tone was more sharp now “Yes..I have.” Yusuke brushed his hair to the side with his finger nervously “Do you believe them?” Akira asked “No..” Akira stepped forward and Yusuke was taken aback stepping closer to the wall behind him

“Would someone miss you?”

Yusuke thought back to Madarame… “No,..no one would.”

“Oh? A tragic backstory?”

Yusuke cupped his hands together and his eyes darted around the room “Why is it so dark in here..?” that question had been on Yusuke’s mind the entire time, the room was only lit by some lamps, why when there was such a big window in the room?

“Do you not like dim rooms?” Akira asked, it was obvious to him that Yusuke was uncomfortable “I cannot paint in them.” Akira’s hand started to twitch, he tried to hide it by turning to the side

“You can leave for today, if you are unable to paint then I have no need for you.”

“I can’t leave..!” Yusuke shouted that before he even realized it

“Why not?”

“B-Because..”

“You have no one, right?”

“I..” “You really should be going.” “I..won’t..” Yusuke mumbled

“You won’t..?”

“If I leave I won’t have anyone left, I can’t leave!”

“Tch..You’re annoying.” Akira turned his back to Yusuke being disrespectful, Akira’s sudden change of heart surprised Yusuke, he seemed more mean now “A-Annoying..?” the countless insults Madarame had abused Yusuke with for years suddenly had an impact on him; Akira turned back to face Yusuke and stepped towards him “Fine then.”.

Akira pushed Yusuke against the wall with force, holding his wrists tightly “No one would care if you died.” Akira stared into Yusuke’s eyes it made him feel exposed but most of all he was uncomfortable, he wanted to run away and his fight or flight kicked in

“What are you doing? Unhand me!” Yusuke wriggled his wrists

“The perfect prey and yet..” Akira closed his eyes tightly and let Yusuke go

“Leave and do not come back.” Akira’s facial expression was filled with annoyance

“I cannot, my father will abandon me if I come back with nothing!” although Yusuke was scared he was more scared of Madarame

“Nothing..? Oh, yes the money..”

Akira walked away and pulled a case from the closet, he opened it and pulled out folded up cash, Yusuke stared at him in wonder

“If this is truly what you want.” Akira walked back over to Yusuke and shoved the money into his chest “Now leave.”

“W-Why..?”

“I don’t like you.” Yusuke grabbed the money and looked at it “So why give me money..?”

“You really think money is an issue for me?” Akira chuckled touching his lips “You are so naive.”

Yusuke had to confirm the social cues he was getting “The portrait..” “Forget it.” Akira’s tone was sharp

“..Why the sudden change?”

Akira averted his eyes and clenched his fist “I’m tired of this, do not come back.” Akira left the room in a hurry leaving the door open “W-Wait..!” Yusuke was so confused it’s like Akira’s personality completely shifted.

Yusuke stepped out of the room and down the stairs with the money held tightly to his chest, the servants stared at him in awe, whispering things he could not hear, why are they surprised?

Yusuke purchased Madarame’s medication before running off back home, he couldn’t keep that encounter out of his head, what did Akira mean by prey? Perfect prey? Why did he touch Yusuke like that? he wished to learn more but perhaps that truth would hurt him more.

Yusuke arrived home and shoved the medication into Madarame’s old hands, he hid the remaining cash in his pockets to get himself some food “You have more.” the old man growled, he sensed it from Yusuke’s demeanor “W-What..?” Yusuke was caught

“You have more money, where are you hiding it? WHY are you hiding it?!” the old man screamed “I..I did not mean to hide it..I just wish to purchase myself a meal..”

“Give it to me.”

“B-But..”

“Now Yusuke!”

Yusuke was defeated and pulled the remaining money out, handing it to his mentor “This is nothing!” the old man ripped it out of Yusuke’s hand

“I...I did not get very far in the painting..it will last us another two weeks.” Yusuke lied, he didn’t want to meet Akira again

“No..we need more.” Madarame was annoying him with his greed “We have enough!”

“Do not raise your voice at me unless you want your body to be sold!”

“Tch!” Yusuke held his aching chest, how could his father suggest that...that was the other option Madarame talked about, perhaps that is why Yusuke started to hate the man “You will return and finish the painting pulling us to the heavens!”

“I cannot...the king is too busy.”

“He asks for a portrait and isn’t even there? I do not care, you will beg to finish it.”

Yusuke gave up, his fear of Akira would have to be pushed aside “I...I understand..” Yusuke dragged himself to his bedroom he has lost the will to fight, he cried himself to sleep that night, like so many others.

Chapter Text

The next morning Yusuke put on the same outfit, he wished he could shower but Madarame wouldn’t let him yet because it would cause the bills to increase. They now had enough to buy food and pay rent but Madarame was acting like the money Akira had given Yusuke was nothing, it was the most they’ve had in awhile and yet Madarame's greed consumed him.

Yusuke returned to the mansion despite his fear, Madarame would abandon him if he returned with no money again and this was his only chance at obtaining some, Yusuke made sure to show the letter to a different guard this time

It seemed to have worked and the guard brought him inside. Yusuke had to talk to Akira again, perhaps he could make a deal with the man.

Yusuke approached the staircase only to find Akira arguing with a servant

“Find me another target already, why are you so useless?!”

“Please my king we are-” the man noticed Yusuke

Akira followed his gaze and his eyes locked onto Yusuke’s “I told you not to return!” Akira seemed much more irritated this time

Yusuke climbed up the stairs wearily, his body hurt from the lack of food “I must talk to you about the portrait.” he said holding back his anxiety

“My king..” the servant peered over Akira’s shoulder and Akira shrugged him off “Fine.”.

Akira led Yusuke back into the same room and now they could talk more privately

“I am very thankful for your gift...and I apologize for not listening to you however..-”

“Why are you so ignorant?!” Akira clenched his fists in anger “I’m s-sorry..” Yusuke didn’t know why he was so angry but it scared him even more, perhaps this wasn’t a good idea.

Akira approached the suitcase, it was still out on the bed, Yusuke approached him carefully

“Please, allow me to do something for it..”

Yusuke didn’t want to just be handed it, he felt like he had to work for it, Akira groaned he seemed unfocused

“Your life is so shit you return to this hell hole?”

“Uhm..” Yusuke wasn't sure what he should say

“No, it’s something else, no one could be that blind.” Akira glared at Yusuke for a while and then he suddenly pushed Yusuke against the wall, startling him

“Fine, if you wish me to release you from your pathetic life I will!” Akira pulled down Yusuke’s collar and dug fangs into his neck.

Akira held Yusuke against the wall with his body and pinned his wrists against the wall “Ahha!” Yusuke screamed out and struggled, pain filled his body and his fight or flight kicked in

He tried to push Akira off of himself but he was in utter shock and felt weak, where Akira was biting him became hot and started to burn “Agh! S-Stop it!” Yusuke screamed and wrestled harder but his malnourished body wasn’t strong enough

He found himself getting tired and his body relaxed...perhaps this was a better end for him than continuing to live his life away, his breathing became less pace and his body became numb

“M-Make..it..q...quick..” he didn’t want to feel the pain anymore, he just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up, to never face Madarame again, to never be abused by words or by hand.

Suddenly Akira let go of him, pulling his fangs out of Yusuke’s neck

Yusuke collapsed and held his bite tightly

“Dammit!” Akira shouted and turned his back to Yusuke, grabbing his face, through heavy pants Yusuke looked up at Akira, he was so tired but Akira was a monster and now Yusuke knew his secret and he now knew he would not be able to get out of here alive, this was only postponing the inevitable unless he fought back, Yusuke pulled himself up wearily.

Akira had let his guard down which might allow Yusuke to keep on living, he rushed over to the window and pulled the drapes open, allowing the sun in; Akira became startled and then froze.

Yusuke had heard about vampires and how the sun burned them, he had to try something, even if his life was nothingness right now it would never become something if he allowed himself to die but Akira started to laugh like a maniac and Yusuke’s knees buckled causing him to fall down

“I’m not burning?!”

Akira’s eyes lit up and he smirked, he glared at Yusuke, Yusuke was utterly defeated he couldn’t do anything and Akira would probably torture him as punishment

“You.”

He moved over to Yusuke and kneeled down, his steps sounded so loud to Yusuke

“You’re mine now.” He lifted Yusuke's face up with his fingers and Yusuke’s eyelids became too heavy to hold open anymore and everything faded to black for him.

Yusuke woke on a soft bed, he pulled himself up and noticed someone sitting on the bed, it was Akira although his clothing was different, he was wearing a ruffled front white shirt and dress pants; something more casual for royalty, although he still had those red gloves on

“Ah, you’re awake.” Akira turned to face Yusuke, Yusuke was filled with fear recalling what had happened and Akira noticed it

“Do not fear, I’m not going to harm you.”

Yusuke’s throat was dry and he felt so drained, he could fall asleep again

“You haven’t eaten anything.” Akira pulled over a tray of food, it looked delicious and Yusuke’s stomach roared at the sight “Don’t worry, it’s not poisoned.”

“Why…” perhaps Yusuke dreamed the whole thing in his state? He touched his neck and felt a bandage on it “Ah..” he let out a noise of surprise

“Just eat, then we’ll talk.”

“I do not-” Yusuke’s stomach interrupted him “You accept money but not food?” Akira chuckled, Yusuke touched his forehead, he was so tired

“Why…?” his voice sounded tired as well “Eat then I’ll talk.” Akira crossed his legs and crossed his arms, waiting for Yusuke to eat

“No.”

“Must I feed it to you myself?”

“...” Yusuke pulled the tray over “That’s a good boy.”

“Tch!” Madarame would always say that to Yusuke once he submitted to him, it caused him pain

”I see you have issues with that phrase.”

“Be quiet..” Yusuke inspected the steak, it looked well cooked and juicy, his mouth watered

“That’s not how you address your new king.”

Dread filled Yusuke's body from those words, did he turn Yusuke? he quickly felt his teeth but they felt normal

“I didn’t turn you.” Akira sighed “You’re easily startled.”

“You..monster!” Yusuke gritted his teeth and his anger settled in “There’s the anger.” Akira glanced at the steak

“I’ll leave until you finish.” Akira got up and left the room; there’s no way that door was unlocked, Yusuke was trapped and his stomach screamed at him again so he gave in, chowing it down.

After eating the entire steak Yusuke looked around the room, it was a different room from the other that...Akira bit him in, he touched the bandage again confirming the reality

Yusuke had heard drowned out rumors about vampires existing, people said the police hid the existence from the public and if you spoke about it out loud they’d throw you into a prison, Yusuke always though they were old folklore and his understanding of reality was beginning the swirl out of control.

Akira came back into the room, Yusuke was hugging a pillow on the bed with his face burrowed in it, trying to deny what was happening to him

“Yusuke Kitagawa, right?”

Akira approached the bed and sat down, Yusuke glanced up from the pillow

“I’m sure you..have questions.” Yusuke remained silent, he didn’t want to talk to such a vile creature

“If you just listened to me you would never be in this mess to begin with. This is your own fault.” although it angered him Yusuke knew it was true but he was desperate to bring money back to Madarame, anything to escape the other fate.

“The letter was a set up. I need to feast on humans, my appetite is larger than other vampires.”

“O-Other..?” Yusuke couldn’t believe there were more of them

“Yes, this whole mansion is filled with them.”

“W-What?!”

“I lure humans here with the promise of wishes and wealth and then feast on them, what I did to you.”

“But..” Yusuke swallowed “I uh..” Akira touched his hand “I usually eat my victim's life essence as well..”

“E-Essence..?”

“Because my appetite is so large I can’t merely drain a victim...humans have life essences and draining that kills the person however..it satisfies my cravings more than anything.”

That meant he had blood on his hands which anger Yusuke even more “You murderer!” he shouted

“You could..call me that.” Yusuke threw the pillow at Akira in anger “All those missing people, you’re the reason behind it!” Akira pushed the pillow away, on the floor

“Yes, I am.” Yusuke held his head in disbelief “I cannot believe this!” he felt like he was going to puke from his emotions.

“You think I like the fact I must kill people?” Akira said with a sigh “Yes! You wouldn’t do it then!”

“Life isn’t as simple as wants, people are always forced to do things they do not want to, that is the price of living!”

Akira’s words held truth behind them for Yusuke’s situation too which only made him understand it more “Tch..” Yusuke had no clue where his fate was heading

“Why didn’t you..kill me?”

“I don’t know.” Akira sighed “You cannot leave here with what you now know.” Akira picked the pillow up as he spoke “Which is why you’ll be staying in this room, it has a ensuite and everything that a human requires to live.” he placed it down onto bed gently

“I will do no such thing!” Yusuke kicked the pillow at Akira, making him annoyed

“Tch...You’ll be looked after here, you will be fed 3 full meals each day and allowed the freedom to do as you wish within this walls.”

“No! I am not staying with monsters!”

“Don’t you already live with one?”

Yusuke eyes widened

“Transferring into a life with more should be easy for you.” Akira stood up “Unlike there, you’ll have freedom here.”.

“N-No..” Yusuke mumbled, he hugged his knees tightly “F-Father..”

“He won’t miss you.”

Yusuke gulped “If you wish for anything ask the man with a red gem pin on his suit, he’s my adviser.”

“Why me..?!” Yusuke burrowed his face into his knees

“There is one other thing…”

"What..?” “I will drink your blood frequently, you won’t feel nearly as drained as you do now...I won’t take as much.”

“No.” Yusuke would never allow such a thing, Akira crawled onto the bed next to Yusuke

“Do you truly wish to return to the life of a poor artist with a good for nothing father?!”

“I can’t...abandon him.” “You will abandon him, as he has abandoned you...however you’ll be rewarded and he’ll be punished.”

Yusuke made eye contact with the man “How is this life a reward?!”

“How is it not? You now have a functioning home with every wish to you granted in a heartbeat, food, warmth, I’ll even buy you expensive painting equipment, all for just a bit of your blood.”

Akira clenched his fist in front of Yusuke “That or death.”

“I..”

“You’ll never experience hunger again.”

“Why..? Why do you want my blood..?” “If you hang around you’ll find out.”

“I will..” Yusuke glanced at the steak knife and his fight or flight kicked in again “Do no such thing!”

Yusuke grabbed the knife and lunged at Akira, Akira grabbed Yusuke’s wrist tightly, stopping the knife and pulled him close by his back, almost into a hug; Akira chuckled

“I guess I should’ve expected that.”

Akira squeezed Yusuke’s hand causing him to drop the knife “Hn..!” he groaned at the pressure on his hand

“I know you’re scared but..” Akira raise his lips to Yusuke’s ear “Who’s the bigger monster? Him or me?” and with that Akira let Yusuke go, getting up from the bed

Yusuke hugged himself in uncertainty, a chill ran down his spine, he was so confused and frightened by his fate; if Yusuke escaped would Madarame even want him back? Would he even believe him?

The answer was so obvious to Yusuke but he still held onto the last bit of hope

“I need an answer now.”

Akira crossed his arms and Yusuke gulped, he needed to decide now; what was the point of holding onto a hope that simply couldn’t exist no more? Madarame was beyond redemption and there was no guarantee he wouldn’t try to sell Yusuke off..

“I-I...agree..to it.” he stuttered and his answer made Akira smile “Excellent, get some rest.” Akira left the room, leaving Yusuke to think about his decision.

Chapter Text

The next morning Yusuke woke on the same bed, he was hoping it was a dream but the room he was still in confirmed the fact it was not, it was insane to him that vampires actually existed, that vampires had existed without the village knowing for certain for so many years

He wondered how Madarame reacted to him not coming home last night, he was hoping that perhaps he’d look for him but Yusuke knew that was very unlikely.

Yusuke felt dirty and Akira told him there was an ensuite in here, he got off the bed and approached the closet, it had many outfits neatly hanging in the closet, Yusuke pulled one out and went inside a room Akira didn’t last night, it was a bathroom, he would be able to clean this filth off.

Yusuke got into the shower and removed the bandage around his neck, he allowed it to fall onto the wet shower floor, it had some blood on it, Yusuke felt his neck and touched the bite marks, they stung when he touched them but again the reality of Yusuke’s situation was being forced into acceptance, something he simply didn’t want to.

Yusuke changed into the provided outfit, it was a white pintuck shirt and black dress pants, not much different from his others beside the fact the shirt was pure white, he sat down on the bed and touched his neck in awe again

he heard the door open and inside stepped Akira with a tray of food, he closed the door and approached Yusuke calmly “Good morning.” he greeted Yusuke with a smiled, Yusuke became a bit flustered realizing how beautiful Akira actually was, it was a shame the portrait was a ruse

“I’m sorry if you’re not fond of porridge, it has some fruit in it however.”

Yusuke took the tray gently “T-Thank you..” he was starving still, the steak was delicious but didn’t fill his stomach

“If you want more just ask.”

Yusuke glanced at the door “How when I am locked in here..?”

“Eh..Just knock on the door and someone will be there.” questions popped into Yusuke's mind “...Do vampires not eat?”

“We do not have to however our stomachs can feel empty.”

“Are you undead..?”

Akira laughed, he seemed amused “Now you’re interested?”

“If I must stay here then yes.”

Akira sat down on the bed next to Yusuke and made eye contact, he seemed more friendly now “I won’t be draining you today.”

“Why..not?”

“I would like to however your body will take some time to recover; I did almost take your essence after all.”

“Why not just lock me up in a jail cell and feast on me whenever you feel like it?”

Akira chuckled at the thought “I’m not that cruel.”

Yusuke’s understanding of vampires was nonexistent “..Why did you not burn? I thought that was the most common way to kill a vampire..”

“Perhaps 500 years ago.”

“Huh..?”

“We evolve, like everything else.”

“But you said..-”

“Forget about that.”

Yusuke picked the spoon up idly “Why..didn’t you kill me?”

Akira thought about it for a bit “Hm..Perhaps I pitied you. People don’t usually answer my questions like you did.”

“That no one would miss them..?” “No, the fact you still cared for your father even after acknowledging he wouldn’t miss you.”.

Yusuke narrowed his eyes and glanced down at the porridge “It’s not that I care..”

“Hm..?”

“I was merely saving myself from his punishments.”

“At least you're honest with yourself now.” Akira crossed his legs and Yusuke wanted to understand more

“What about your parents..?”

“My parents? I don’t have any.” Akira didn’t seem fazed

“So vampires don’t..?”

“We do. They are dead.”

Yusuke hung his head low “I’m sorry..” why was he feeling sympathy towards a killer?

“Why? Everyone dies.”

“Vampire’s aren’t..immortal?”

“Of course not.” “So..”

“I’m not telling you. Not yet.”

“I’m sorry it’s just..” “For what?” Akira asked

“Uh..s-sorry-” “Why do you keep apologizing?”

“Um..”

“He must’ve really crammed it into your brain that you do everything wrong.” Akira scratched his head awkwardly and Yusuke sighed

“Anyway, I’ll allow you to eat in peace.” Akira got up “Just knock on the door if you need anything.” he left the room, Yusuke questioned whether or not if Akira truly was a bad person, he didn’t seem it but it could all be a facade.

Yusuke had stayed in that room for two days now, he occupied himself with a sketch book Akira had brought him but he found it very hard to draw anything, he didn't feel lonely, he never really had anyone to spend his time with, he would mostly stay in his room locked away from society but now he had to accept a brand new one.

“I-It hurts..!” Yusuke let out a gasp as Akira dung his fangs into the boy’s neck, Akira rubbed Yusuke’s palm gently, perhaps to sooth him?

They lay down on the bed together, Akira was on top of Yusuke but it was more comfortable than being pressed against a wall, Akira pulled his fangs out and sat up

“That’s enough, thank you.” he wiped his bloody mouth while sliding off Yusuke

Yusuke pushed himself up still panting from the pain

“Your body will get used to it eventually.”

Yusuke touched his throbbing neck “Yusuke..are you scared?” the sudden question frightened him “..Now I am..”

Akira chuckled realizing his mistake “Sorry, I just wanted to ask you something.”

“What..?”

“Are you..comfortable here now..?”

“..Of course not.” “I mean do you think you’ll try and run away?”

“Why would I tell you that?” “I guess you don’t trust me yet.” Akira sighed

“I’m sorry...but I do not understand the purpose of these questions..”

“Because I want to allow you to leave this room.”.

“Huh..?”

“I want you to remain in the mansion, you aren’t allowed outside...if you get caught trying to escape let’s just say...you’ll be punished worse than your father could ever achieve.”

Yusuke wanted to get out of this room, he has been in here for 4 days now and it was getting boring, even with his painting equipment and sketch book Akira had brought him.

Yusuke wasn’t sure if he like it here...he wasn’t sure if he even liked Akira

Today was Yusuke’s first draining however he didn’t feel ill like last time, only a little light headed which seemed to be fading

“I do not think I will try...I have nothing to return to now..” Madarame certainly wouldn’t of accepted Yusuke back now

“Fantastic.” Akira adjusted his shirt “We have a garden, you are allowed out there but not outside the front of the mansion. I can’t have anyone seeing you..” Akira realized he said too much “Anyway please do not make me regret this decision.”

“I..won’t.”

“I hope to see that.” Akira got off the bed.

“Will I...eventually turn..?” Yusuke asked “No, turning people is a more complicated process than this.”

“Will anything...happen to me?” Yusuke needed more reassurance

“No, unless I drain you too much you should be fine.”

The reality of being a blood bag for Akira hadn’t really settled in until today, until it actually happened

“Will my body forever be tainted with bite marks?”

“Afraid so, I can’t get your blood unless I break the skin.”

Yusuke sighed; he really didn’t want to be a blood bag for Akira but he had no other choice

Yusuke got off the bed “Will you abandon me one day? Once I stop being useful?”

“I don’t think you’ll ever stop being useful.”

“But..”

“I think you should worry about now and not the future.”

“What about the others..? Won’t they drain me..?”

“Their urges are satisfied by other means.” Akira extended his hand out toward Yusuke “If anyone else tries or does you are to inform me immediately.” his voice was filled with malice

Yusuke glanced at Akira’s hand only to realize he was giving him something, he grabbed it “A-A button..?” “Keep it on you. If anyone tries to harm you, press it and I will come.”

Perhaps Yusuke shouldn’t leave the room if it truly is that dangerous outside that he needs a distress button “Maybe I..shouldn’t leave.”

“That is your wish but I’m merely preparing for everything; it’s truly not that bad outside. Most of my servants have never actually feasted on a human and feed through blood bags or other vampires.”

“Uh..”

“Yes, we can drink our own blood but it isn’t very satisfying…” Akira ran his hand through his hair “Think of it as...eating only 4 grapes when you have an entire branch.”

“..Why do you feast on humans then..? Do you just enjoy it..?” Yusuke wanted to understand Akira more

“I have already said; my appetite is much larger than all of the other vampires here.”

“Because you’re..king?”

“..Somewhat, there is another reason..”

“That is?”

“Stick around and you’ll find out.”

Yusuke sighed and glanced at Akira’s hands “..I never see you without gloves..” “I just like gloves.”

“You seem obsessed with covering your hands..” “You’re reading far too into this.” “..Perhaps I am.”

“Anyway, goodnight Yusuke.” Yusuke still had more questions

“Do you need sleep..?” “Of course I do...vampires can go 3 days without sleep before it really starts to affect us.”

“I can’t believe vampires are real..” he mumbled “Your village is a bit stupid, eh?” Akira chuckled “Anyway, goodnight.” Akira left the room he seemed to be in a hurry.

Yusuke wasn’t sure how he felt about Akira, was he friend or foe? He seemed friendly but was also shrouded in mystery; however Yusuke was starting to..appreciate being here, the fact he could eat 3 full meals a day made his life worth living just from the seer joy he felt when he saw food he had permission to eat

He has not heard his stomach scream at him at all these past days

The fact he could shower every day relieved him, he’d never have to fear his own odor ever again and would never have to feel dirt sticking to his body, to never feel sweaty and gross tossing and turning in bed from the discomfort of it all, the fact he had clean clothing everyday waiting for him.

Madarame truly did sent him to heaven, just a completely different one.

Chapter Text

Yusuke had decided to leave the room today, after mentally preparing himself for everything he stepped outside the room

He was upstairs and could see the main floor over the railing, the entrance, his eyes locked onto it and doubts filled his mind, he shook them off and turned and walked down the passage

Servants rushed by him without paying much attention to him, unlike the first time he came here, he may as well explore and get used to the mansion if he was going to be staying here.

The mansion truly was beautiful, filled with golds, whites and reds, Yusuke had never seen something so fancy before, the most fancy thing he had seen in his entire life was a brand new bread shop; he was getting his inspiration to paint again, he became giddy at all of the wonderful ideas his mind started to create with the mere sight of the mansion.

Yusuke climbed down the large staircase, he wondered how everyone living here could do this everyday, it was quite exhausting, perhaps his body would get used to it one day as Yusuke walked onto the main floor he noticed an odd looking door that had warning signs all over it

He approached it carefully and read them, they were science warning signs, there were many skull signs; Yusuke didn’t actually know what it meant, perhaps toxic..? He pushed the door open, he was sure this room would look completely different and allow him to become even more inspired.

He stepped inside only to see Akira in a lab coat with large glasses on, he had black gloves on and was examining blood vials..?

“Nothing, like last time-” Akira noticed Yusuke “Y-Yusuke?!” a pink hue covered Akira’s cheeks “What are you doing out?!” he pulled his glasses off quickly

“I’m...allowed out?”

It was odd seeing Akira like this, he was almost completely different from what he displayed to Yusuke it was almost...adorable

“Yes but- Zeriya!”

Akira called out, Zeriya..? What an odd name almost sounded fiction “Yes, my lord?”

A tall man stepped into view, he had white-silver hair with short bangs slightly covering his eyes and a long ponytail, he had red eyes as well which made Yusuke question if all vampire’s had red eyes, he wore a butler tuxedo with a red tie and Yusuke noticed a red pin on his suit, wasn’t this Akira’s adviser..?

“Show Yusuke around.”

“But the tests..?”

“They can wait.”

“As you wish.” the man bowed and approached Yusuke “Come then, let me show you around.”.

The man took Yusuke to the kitchen first and explained the rules “Now that you’re allowed out I would prefer it if you brought dirty dishes back to the kitchen.”

“I’ll..try but I’m not that comfortable yet.”

Yusuke felt uneasy next to the man, he was pretty intimidating to him

“Do as you must..”

Next he took him to the laundry room “When you..are able to, bring all dirty clothing here and place them in the white hanger.”

The man held his hand up and rubbed his finger with his gloved thumb “If you have any staining or dark colours you place them into the blue hanger.” he pointed at it “Also any bodily fluids, like blood, go into the green hanger and socks and underwear in the red hanger.”

This was quite a lot to learn simply about laundry but it’s probably for hygienic purposes

“I...I understand.”

It would take Yusuke some time to understand the order “Repeat back to me.”

“Eh..?”

“The order.”

“Um...red: underwear and socks, green: blood, blue: stains, white: tops and pants.” Yusuke was almost out of breath “That is correct. There is also a memo sheet in here just in case.” oh thank god Yusuke won’t have to be scared of doing laundry then, he nodded.

Next he took him to the garden Akira mentioned “Whatever you do, do not cut or break the flowers.”

“I will not.” Yusuke had no interest in destroying art

“My master puts a lot of effort into this garden, we do not need a human coming in here and destroying it.”

“I understand, I will be respectful.” Yusuke bowed his head

The garden was gorgeous and filled with many types of flowers, flowers Yusuke has never seen before

“If you would like to take one I suggest you ask the master himself.”

“Thank you for informing me.” Yusuke was getting a bit more comfortable next to him

“I uh...have a question..” “Yes?”

“Do...all vampires have red eyes?” “No, only powerful ones.”

“So that means..”

“I have served the Kurusu family for many years and will continue doing so.”

How old was this family? How long have they existed? “..How old is Akira?”

“..Akira..?” he didn’t sound happy and Yusuke realized why “U-Uh..the king.” “Ask him yourself, he won’t tell you but...he’s young for a king.”

“Why..? why is he king if he is not ready yet..?”

“I never said he was unfit to be a king.” “O-Oh..”

“The master is mature however he can be a bit stubborn and childish too.” Zeriya looked like he realized he said too much “Anyway enough about that.”

The information Yusuke had gained about Akira made him even more curious about him “..The king is a scientist..?” “It’s one of his many hobbies, he likes to research things.” perhaps Akira was much more normal than what Yusuke ordinary thought.

Zeriya showed him the rest of the rooms explaining that some of them are guests rooms, they had a downstairs where the servants slept, a basement and that Yusuke wasn’t allowed back into the room Akira first led him into

“..Is it because..A-..the king feasts on humans there?” Yusuke asked nervously “Precisely, the door locks the minute the master closes the door behind them and only he can open it, you’ll be trapped if you close the door behind yourself in that room.”

So Yusuke would’ve never been able to escape had he managed to kill Akira and now knowing that the others are vampires too..they would probably all eat him as punishment, a shiver ran down Yusuke’s spine at the thought “I see, I will avoid the room..”

“That is majority of the mansion, I must get back to the master now.”

“Thank you for the tour, I very much appreciate it.” Yusuke bowed “But uhm...where is the king’s room?”

“Why would you need that information?”

“To ask him things..”

“Hmm..Just come to me for that, the master is too busy to be answering your questions right now.”

“O-Okay..” Yusuke felt more comfortable with Akira but he shouldn’t be a bother, the others would simply hate him if he started demeaning Akira’s attention “I must be going, you understand enough to get back to your room?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Zeriya turned and walked off, Yusuke wanted to check something before going to his room.

Yusuke wanted more information on Akira’s family and the history of the vampires, he went to the library that Zeriya showed him, he was sure they would only keep information they wanted others to know about but simply that much would be enough for Yusuke, if he was going to be living the rest of his life with them then he wanted more answers.

Yusuke trailed his finger along the spine of many books, speed reading the titles of each; there was a lot of information books, from animals to plants but he eventually found one that had no title at all, he pulled it out; it was a dusky old brown book if any book was going to have the information Yusuke desired then it was definitely this one

He opened the book up only to find a language he couldn’t understand, he sighed; it seemed they were always one step ahead of him, Yusuke pushed the book back into it’s slot and approached a window, he pulled the drape open and looked outside, the weather was actually quite nice today.

Yusuke wondered how Madarame was reacting to his disappearance, if Madarame was searching for him would he find him?

Madarame knows where Yusuke went so he should be able to point the police in the right direction and Akira mentioned not allowing him outside, so if he was seen inside the gate would someone report it?

No matter how you looked at it Yusuke looked out of place here, surely someone could put the two pieces together but...does Yusuke truly want that now?

Even though his situation is quite scary he found himself warming up to the idea; Yusuke started to question his fate more and more, perhaps he was suffering from Stockholm syndrome?

Yusuke cupped his chin, he felt wrong but comfortable

Like he should be angry and trying to fight back however he didn’t have an desire to do that...especially when he actually thought about what might happen with Madarame...surely his mentor would never believe him and probably call him insane, perhaps he was safer here than at home.

Chapter Text

The next morning Yusuke bubbled with inspiration, looking at all the pretty sights had made him motivated to start painting again

He wanted to paint out in the garden but was unsure whether or not that was okay however he found himself packing the easel up and tucking it under his arm as well as a canvas, his urge to paint was stronger than his hesitation, he opened the door slightly and peered outside, no one was there.

Yusuke made his way to the garden a few servants passed him but again they paid no attention to him, he’s glad no one was gawking at him, it made him feel a little more welcomed.

Yusuke pushed the garden glass door open and went inside, it was large greenhouse so he was certain he’d find the perfect spot, the garden had a long rocky path with flowers aside it, it led to a large circle of bright green grass with flowers around the edges of it with an outside table to the left.

Yusuke set the easel up on some rock tiles and placed the canvas down on it, he gazed at the garden only to hear people talking, he looked around and saw Akira with Zeriya kneeling down near a patch of dirt, it seems like they were planting some seeds

“I do not think this will show us anything my lord.”

“I may as well try, perhaps something crazy will give me an answer to something even more bizarre.”

Yusuke didn’t think Akira actually planted the flowers, he thought Akira’s effort meant he picked the types out not actually do it himself, he was quite surprised actually; from his understanding of kings Akira was nothing like them but perhaps vampires were different.

Yusuke found himself approach the two, they heard him and turned their heads to look at him

“What are you doing here?” Akira ripped his glasses off again, it seems like he was shy about them

“I wish to paint the garden, it is quite beautiful.” “Ah, I see.”

“I didn’t think you were the type of person to actually..do things.” Yusuke probably sounded rude but he didn’t mean it like that “What else am I going to do?” Akira questioned

“Do you not leave the mansion?”

“The master has not left the mansion for 10 years.”

Akira grabbed a bunch of dirt and threw it at Zeriya “Do not speak!” Zeriya flicked the dirt off his chest “Yes, my lord.”

Yusuke found himself giggle at the display, it was odd hearing his voice sound happy, he rarely did “Do we assume you?” Akira grumbled

“I guess so.” Yusuke smiled, he didn’t know why but he felt much better today

“My lord..” Zeriya removed his glove and licked his thumb, he rubbed his wet thumb on Akira’s cheek “You have dirt on your face.”

Akira swatted his hand away “Do not baby me!”

“You must remain clean.”

Akira sighed, Yusuke was assumed seeing the two in a much more light-hearted way but at the same time he questioned his feelings...could monsters who kill his kind truly be good people?

Akira wiped his cheek with the back of his gloved hand rapidly “Anyway what do you want?”

“N-Nothing, I will allow you to get back to your gardening..” Yusuke turned around

“My lord you made it worse.”

“Don’t do this to me!”

Yusuke giggled again and walked back to his canvas, he didn’t bring a stool out with him so he must stand but he didn’t mind, he hadn’t done much these past days.

Yusuke painted the pretty flowers and the garden but he couldn’t help but keep thinking back to Madarame, he was the man who taught him how to draw and paint, was it really okay for Yusuke to continue on using his skills even though he abandoned the man?

Yusuke couldn’t get that question out of his head, he was becoming more and more guilty for leaving Madarame.

Yusuke sat on his new bed and hugged a fluffy white pillow, he shook his head “No, those skills...they are mine, not his.” even though he reassured himself out loud he couldn’t help but continue on doubting it, he wanted to believe what he was doing was right but he just couldn’t “No...I had no choice. I had to abandon him..”

He burrowed his face in the pillow, of course it wasn’t his fault, he was forced into this situation by...himself, had he not of been so desperate perhaps he would’ve picked up and carried on with the second chance Akira gave him but...why did he?

Why did Akira give him two more chances at life?

“You still don’t like it here?” a sudden voice filled the room

Yusuke looked up to find Akira in front of his door, he approached the bed

“I...can appreciate it..” Yusuke answered

“But not like?”

“..I don’t know.”

“I suppose that’s natural...you’ve only been here 6 days.”

Yusuke had a lot on his mind he just wanted to talk about it with someone “Do you..think my father hates me now..?”

Akira sat down on the bed and crossed his legs “I don’t know your situation but if you were desperate enough to beg royalty to their faces then he hated you a long time ago.”

“Tch..” Akira was far too blunt but at the same time Yusuke needed reality forced into his mind

“That’s just how I see it with my limited knowledge though.”.

“Well...My father become ill, his symptoms would be relieved with herbal medicine but...it was far too expensive for us to afford...he blamed me, said if I was selling my paintings that we’d never be in that situation...I believed him and felt guilty and tried to earn some money but there were barely any jobs that would take me.”

Yusuke sighed, he didn’t know why he was telling Akira this but he felt like he had to get it off his chest

“He began blaming me for everything, that if I had just sold my paintings everything would’ve been fine, he resented me for it...it only got worse.”

Akira placed his hand on his own knee, Yusuke hugged the pillow tighter

“He started to leave late at night...that’s when he started to threaten me….said he’d..s-sell me...if I didn’t start earning more money..”

Recalling it hurt Yusuke’s heart but at the same time it felt like it needed to be released

“What an awful man.” Akira clenched his pants

“That’s when you sent the letter...and now I’m here.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, I figured it was something awful.”

“Mm..” Yusuke felt a bit better “So am...I the bad guy..or is he?”

“Why do you even think that’s a question?”

“Eh..?”

“Without a doubt it is him, everyone will answer the same.” Akira shuffled on the bed “I don’t know your life however I don’t think you’ve done anything bad.”

“Is that why you let me live..?”

Akira averted his eyes “N-Not exactly..”

“So you kill innocent people?” Akira made eye contact again “How am I to know whether they’re innocent or not..?”

“..How do you find people? How did you find me?”

“I have sources.”

“The..Mayor?”

“You could say that.”

“Tch...of course he’d sell out his own people.”

“Humans are easily manipulated is all.”

“...”.

“Anyway, I need your blood.”

“Again..?”

“It’s been 2 days.” “..Why do you even need it? You said it barely satisfies you, so why?”

“I can’t tell you yet.” “It’s my body, I think I have the right to know.” Yusuke wouldn't of minded as much had he known the purpose

“You will know in time.”

“..I just told you something important and you can’t even give me answers..?”

“Do you think I owe you something?” Akira chuckled “I’m sorry about your situation but I don’t like being told or guilted into giving out information to a person that might try and escape.” Akira crossed his arms “Please try and understand my situation too, I am risking a lot by allowing you to live.”

“So..I’m the first..?”

“Yes and I’m risking everyone by doing it.”

“..So why?” “Because I felt like it.”

“There must be another reason.”

Akira was getting tired of being questioned “Yusuke..enough.”

Yusuke averted his eyes “I’m sorry..” there was a small silence between the two

“Are you hungry? One of my servants made a cake.” Akira asked “Eh? But..”

Akira got up and extended his hand out towards Yusuke

“But..my blood?” Yusuke mumbled

“Forget about that.”

Yusuke stared at Akira’s hand with surprise “...” he took Akira’s hand and pulled himself off the bed, letting go

“Come on then.” Akira said.

Chapter Text

The next day Yusuke thought back to last night, why did Akira change his mind? He enjoyed a strawberry cake with Akira and a few others last night, it was actually fun for Yusuke, he needed it the most last night and perhaps Akira realized that.

Yusuke got dressed for the day, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do today, he glanced at the painting he made yesterday, he was alright when he drew it but now when he looks at it he feels nothing but guilt, he hoped he could over come it.

Suddenly Yusuke heard joyous voices coming from outside his room, what was going on..?

He opened the door slightly and looked outside, he noticed Akira descending the stairs in a red dress shirt and black pants

Yusuke watched for longer and his eyes widen, he noticed Akira extend his hand out to a boy who looked familiar...too familiar, it was one of Yusuke’s childhood friends, he saw him quite often at the bread shop and they exchanged friendly conversations but they never really became friends again, Akira was going to kill him.

Yusuke pushed the door open completely, he had to stop Akira

“What are you doing?” a man in a suit stood near Yusuke’s door “Please go back inside, it’s only for a bit.”

“I must talk to Akira!”

“He is busy, it’ll have to wait.”

Yusuke got an idea “it cannot..i-it’s about my blood!”

“But...the master is too busy.” the man let his guard down and Yusuke rushed past him.

Akira’s words thrusted into Yusuke’s mind, he couldn’t be seen by Naoya if he was, Akira would surely kill him.

That's when Yusuke realized something, he rushed into the room Akira first led him in and heard someone call out to him, he hoped they didn’t have another room with this locking mechanism but this was Yusuke’s only chance at halting them, he couldn’t let Akira kill another innocent person even if he knew he’ll be angry at him, Yusuke had to try.

Yusuke waited in the room, hoping what he did wasn’t futile, he was anxious and then the door opened, making Yusuke’s heart jump out of his chest

Akira stepped in and slammed the door shut “What do you think you’re doing?!” he shouted “Y-You can’t kill him, I know him!”

Akira walked over to Yusuke causing Yusuke to step back, Akira grabbed him by the collar

“You think I care?!”

“He’s my childhood friend, I know he’s innocent!”

“Friend..? What kind of friend leaves you to your abusive father?!”

“That’s-!...That was never his choice, he doesn’t know!”

“I don’t care who he is. Now get out.” Yusuke gritted his teeth in anger

“You truly are a monster!”

“Tch..!” Akira grip tightened “Did you ever stop to think how this affects me? I don’t have a choice, I have to feast to continue living!”

“So take my blood instead!”

“It’s not enough..!” Akira pushed Yusuke away

“Please Akira, don’t do this..!”

Akira sighed, clearly annoyed

“..Please.” Yusuke stepped closer and grabbed Akira’s hand, cupping it “I beg of you..”

Akira looked at Yusuke’s hands holding his own “Prove to me you’re a good person, n-not a monster..”

Akira swatted Yusuke’s hands away gently “Alright..”

Yusuke smiled, he felt like he achieved something “Thank you so much, Akira.”

“You owe me.” Akira left the room and the door closed behind him “Wait, the door!” Yusuke went over to the knob and twisted it but it was locked, he was trapped.

Yusuke sat down on the couch hoping nothing bad was happening and Akira came into the room, holding the door open “He’s gone.”

“P-Please tell me-”

“I didn’t, I meant he left.”

“Thank god..” Yusuke was relieved he could actually convince Akira

“Now get out of here..I have to find someone else.”

Yusuke got up and left the room “Thank you, Akira.” “Whatever..”

Akira closed the door and walked away into the opposite direction, Yusuke wanted to make amends so he followed him; Akira went into a room Zeriya never showed him, he stood outside the door thinking about what he was going to say, he breathe in and pushed the door open, stepping inside.

Yusuke was greeted to the sight of Akira unbuttoning his shirt, he was halfway done before noticing Yusuke “What are you doing following me?!” he hissed and buttoned his shirt back up quickly

“S-Sorry...I just wanted to talk to you.”

The room was larger, it had a double bed with red and black blankets, a closet and a desk as well as a half red couch pushed up against the bed frame; this room was more fit for a king, it must be Akira’s

“I don’t want to talk to you. I am busy fixing your mess.” Akira went over to his desk and sat down, pulling out a large book and opening it

“I do not wish for you to kill innocent people..” Yusuke approached Akira

“I didn’t do it, did I? So get off my back.”

“Yes and I’m very grateful of that fact.” Yusuke leaned his hand onto the desk “Please, let me help you find someone else.”

“No..”

“I must make up for it.”

“You really want to help me pick someone to die? You’ll be assisting me in killing them.” Yusuke gulped “So go away.”

“Um...Still, I must do something..”

“I want you not to do that again.”

“I...I cannot promise that.”

Akira sighed

“I can...help you pick a bad person, I know the village better than you.”

“So bad people deserve to die?” “A...really bad person.”

“Do what you want..”

“Thank you, how do you choose?”

“This book, I have the names of all the villagers born these past 40 years.” “W-What..? Why does a book like that exist?”

“It has their name and address however sometimes the address is outdated, as well as their birthdays.” Akira explained calmly “Where did you get such a thing?”

“Your Mayor.”

“Tch..How could he..?” Yusuke always expected the authorities were corrupted but not like this

“He sold the villagers privacy for wealth although he doesn’t know what I use it for.”

“So...they don’t know you’re vampires..?” “I do not know.”

“Make it him, pick him.” Yusuke gritted his teeth and Akira laughed

“And take away my power? No thank you. All he wants is money and I have plenty.”

“But..he’s corrupted..” “So am I.” Yusuke swallowed “But..” he sighed

“Plus older people don’t satisfy me as much, their life essence is used up.” Yusuke gulped at his thought “S-So that means..c-children..”

“No, about the age...17 is when it is the biggest..at least-”

“So you’ve-?!” Yusuke couldn’t even get the words out.

“...I won’t deny that.”

“How could you?!” Yusuke couldn't believe this man had done such a thing, he seemed so nice before

“I was desperate, I was so close to turning into a husk..”

“H-Husk..?” Yusuke has never heard that before

“I suppose I can tell you that..” Akira mumbled and turned his chair to face Yusuke “If we don’t satisfy our cravings we transform into husks.”

“I thought...you’d die..” “It’s a fate worse than death.” Akira steepled his hands

“We lost our minds, our ability to control our own body however...we are still conscious, we can see and hear everything but cannot control anything, we’re trapped inside our own body forced to watch it do unspeakable things.”

“U-Unspeakable things..?”

“Think about it...However they don’t just want blood, they rip apart flesh and bath in their victims, it’s a game to a husk and our previous selves are forced to watch.” Yusuke held his chest in emotional pain “T-That is so awful..”

“Are we truly monsters when we’re only trying to avoid that fate..?”.

“H-How can those things...live right under the nose of the village..?”

“Because I don’t allow it to happen.” Akira turned his chair back to his desk and leaned on his hand

“..What do you mean?”

“Stray vampires usually come in seeking refuge and I take them in and look after them...although we haven’t had a stray vampire come here in 4 years so...I’m probably looking after all of them..at least the ones in this area.”

“How many of you are there..? Are your numbers truly that small that you can all fit in this mansion..?”

“Not exactly...I have another manor up in the hills, the rest reside there.”

Yusuke was stunned, he felt multiple emotions just from this one conversation and didn’t know how he feels about all of this, he couldn’t process all this information at once.

“Anyway I need to find someone quickly...I’m experiencing withdrawal..” Akira touched the page of the book, he ran his finger down it, Yusuke leaned down and peered over Akira’s shoulder, trying to read the names, he saw one that struck out to him, he pointed at it “Choose this man, he’s the one Madarame mentioned when talking about my..body…”

“He’s 37..”

“So..? I know he’s a bad man.”

“I don’t like the taste of older men...plus doesn’t he run a prostitution ring? How can I convince this man?”

“Um..Money..?” Yusuke had no idea

“He already has that, he’s selling people's future and freedom.”

“Oh…”

“See? It’s not as simple as that. Older people are harder to convince.”

“Why don’t you say you wish to buy someone..then free them?”

“He is not going to personally hand them to me.” Akira ran his hand through his hair “There will also be a witness of his disappearance.” he sighed “Now you should understand how hard this is for me..”

“Why don’t you just...drink a lot of blood?”

“I would have to drink our entire supply to satisfy, I have other people to look after and they come first.”

Yusuke didn’t realize how caring Akira actually was, no wonder his servants love him and are joyful when he feeds himself, his chest felt warm at the thought of it, he touched it “You’re very kind, Akira..I’m sorry I called you a monster..” he blurted out and Akira’s cheeks grew a red hue causing him to turn his face away “I-I do what I must.”

Yusuke smiled perhaps he come become Akira’s friend despite their differences

“That’s enough for today...I’ll look more at another time.” Akira stood up

“You should take some of my blood to tide yourself over for now.”

“I would prefer not, I might not be able to control myself..”

“I trust you.” Akira shook his head “Another time.”

“Okay..” Yusuke bowed his head out of respect “Thank you for doing what you did today.” “It’s fine, just remember it.” “Mh!” Yusuke moved his hair out of his face “I’ll leave you alone now.” he waved slightly and left the room, thinking back to their conversation.

Chapter Text

Yusuke stayed in his room the next day, he was thinking about what Akira told him, he was finally able to grasp some concepts of it but worse of all he felt his emotions scattering all over the place and becoming much more hard to cope with which made him question himself, he rarely showed any before but now he felt he was becoming far too emotional.

Although he was upset with what Akira had done he was realizing the world wasn’t as black and white as he previous thought, he also felt like Akira had intentionally left details out on purpose, when you tell someone something so morally crushing you’d think it would be done in a less vague way but most off all he got the vibe Akira...showed remorse for it, perhaps it was more complicated than he thought.

If Yusuke was going to stay here for the rest of his life then he should think up a goal, a purpose, becoming an artist was..easy while living with Akira, Yusuke was no longer a poor artist which was his largest struggle before but now he could ask for anything and it be given to him, the only enemy he is facing at the moment is his art block

He feels guilty whenever he paints now and he’ll have to overcome it but he doesn’t know how...perhaps friendship could help him move on, but whenever he thought about becoming closer to Akira his humanity rejected it, was he merely too caught up in his old way of life? Was he narrow minded? He had to broaden his horizons if he was going to live comfortably with vampires but it was still a scary thought.

Yusuke wasn’t very good at socializing so he could come off as rude without meaning to, perhaps he shouldn’t ask them as much questions as he is but he found himself wanting more and more information and perhaps it’s because the information he was getting is making him question his rejection.

 

The next day Yusuke decided to leave the room, his art block wasn’t going to get better by staring at a canvas, last time it was lifted by seeing the beautiful sites of the mansion but he felt like this time wouldn’t be so easy.

Yusuke went to the library, it seemed that the important books were in a different language but he just wanted to read something to take his mind off things, it was racing ever since he got here and it needed a rest.

There were barely any fiction books in here, most were research books or poems, Yusuke noticed a chess board, it looked quite nice, he went over to it and ran his finger along it, it was so clean “Do you like chess?” Yusuke jumped at the sudden voice, he turned to the voice “Can you teleport or something..?” he sighed

“No, I can’t.” Akira folded his arms “What are you doing in here?”

“..I was looking for a book.”

“There’s thousands in here.”

“I mean..a fiction book, one to relax my mind.” “Hmm..I don’t really have those..” “Oh, I see..”

“Chess can relax the mind.” Akira suggested

“..It’s a two player game.”

“I can play with you.”

“Eh..? Why-..” Yusuke stopped his question and smiled slightly “If you want.”

“I won’t go easy on you.”

Yusuke took a seat near the board “I have never actually played..”

Akira came over and sat down on the opposite side “I’ll teach you.”.

After Akira explained the rules to Yusuke the two had a match together “Checkmate.” Akira moved the king piece in front of Yusuke’s

“Eh..?”

“You can’t block it, I win.”

“I see, thank you for playing with me.” “You actually did pretty good.”

“T-Thank you.” Yusuke said causing Akira to smile slightly

“That was quite fun...even though I wasn’t sure what I was doing..” Yusuke moved his hair away and remembered something.

“Did you..find someone?” Yusuke asked “Yes, yesterday.”

“I see..”

“Are you concerned about me now?” Akira chuckled

“I...I think so.” Yusuke touched the board out of awe, he wanted to paint it and Akira blushed slightly, raising his hand to his face, trying to cover his embarrassment

“After what you told me...I’ve realized I’ve been too judgmental..I’m sorry.”

“It’s the normal reaction.”

“That doesn’t make it right..”

Akira smiled “Well I’m glad you acknowledge it, I accept your apology.”

Yusuke smiled “Thank you.” Yusuke touched his hair idly “M-May I ask you a question?” “Sure.”

“Does..anyone know about your existence besides..?”

Akira averted his eyes and thought about his answer “Yes..”

Yusuke knew if he asked who, he probably wouldn’t of answered “I see, thank you for telling me.”

“It’s nothing you need to worry about, you’re safe here.”

“..Although it’s odd I feel safer here than with Madarame..” “Madarame..? You said that name before as well..” Akira asked

“My father...My foster father.”

“He’s not your biological..?”

“No, I don’t know much about my real parents...I heard my father left because he was in danger and my mother died from an illness when I was 3..”

“I’m sorry to hear that..” Akira frowned

“I wish to meet them but...it is odd, how can I miss someone I never met before..?”

Akira folded his arms, listening

“My mother knew Madarame and that’s why he adopted me..”

“Was he..always bad?”

“Um...He was strict but I also feel like he cared for me..when I turned 15 though he changed.”

“How old are you now?” Akira leaned on the board

“21...How about you?”

“Uh..” Akira shifted uncomfortably “I don’t tell others my age..sorry.”

“Why not?” “I don’t like to..”

“I see..” Yusuke wasn’t going to push it, after all it wasn’t really important, he was a vampire he aged differently to Yusuke “What about your parents..?” Yusuke asked, he was interested in why Akira didn't seem to care much about them “Hm? They died when I was younger.”

“No, I mean what they were like.”

“They were..okay, I guess?” Akira shrugged “I don’t really know how they are meant to be like.”

“Well..did they harm you?”

“No.” Akira scratched his neck “Most of my childhood was about learning how to be a leader.”

“So you didn’t have fun?” “I did, but I also had to be prepared, they both taught me different things.”

“What did you do for fun?” Yusuke asked, he was actually interested in how vampires were raised

“I used to visit the pond in the yard quite often and watch the fish.”

Yusuke chuckled at the thought “That’s a bit odd for a child.”

“What did you do?” Akira asked “I would read or play games with other children at my school, I also drew.”

“I see, you’re quite the artist hmm?”

“Yes, I enjoy painting.”

“Maybe I can see your paintings one day..” “Eh..? I thought you already did?”

“No, you don’t show them to anyone, how could I?” “O-Oh that’s right...the portrait was a set up..”

“Sorry to change the subject but I uh...might come feed on you tonight.”

“A-Alright..” Yusuke wasn’t going to continue on questioning why, he already knew it was suspicious, perhaps the answer might reveal itself soon

“While I do enjoy this conversation I must be leaving now.” Akira got up “Okay, I’ll see you..later.” “Yeah, seeya.” Akira left the library, leaving Yusuke to ponder on Akira’s childhood.

Later that day Yusuke decided to try and sketch in bed, he was starting to be able to draw again without being consumed by guilt. Yusuke’s meal eventually arrived and he enjoyed it, however it was another steak but he had two this time, was he being spoiled?

Yusuke fluffed his pillows out and prepared for bed when Akira entered his room, this time Yusuke was more prepared for it

“Sorry it’s so late, I’ll be quick.”

It was midnight, Yusuke was usually asleep by now but he got hooked on drawing “It’s okay.” Yusuke sat down on his bed and mentally prepared himself for the pain, Akira approached the bed quietly “Sorry if it hurts, your body should eventually get used to it.”

“It’s..alright, I believe it’s nothing compared to the pain I might’ve suffered had I stayed with Madarame..” Yusuke saying deep things like that just before Akira was going to bite him made Akira a bit guilty, he scratched his head trying to compose himself again and got on the bed, Yusuke lied down “I’m..going to do it now.”

Yusuke nodded and Akira crawled on top of him carefully, he leaned down next to Yusuke neck “I’m biting you.” “Mm.” Yusuke gave a noise of approval, closing his eyes and Akira bit down on Yusuke’s neck, he squirmed under Akira from the sudden pain “Nn..!” he settled down as the pain became more tolerable, he grabbed onto Akira’s back for comfort and clenched his shirt, he started to pant as Akira was draining him

After a bit longer Akira pulled his fang out, licking the spilled blood and sat up “Thank you, that’s enough.” he wiped his mouth and slid off Yusuke

Yusuke sat up, holding his bite mark “Akira..?” “Yes?” “Can I..see your fangs..? I haven’t had a good look at them..”

Akira chuckled at the weird question “What an odd request, but alright.” Akira opened his mouth, Yusuke shuffled closer to get a better look but Akira’s upper lip was covering them

He gently placed his hands on Akira’s face and lifted his upper lip up with his thumbs gently “W-Wow..” they were smaller than what Yusuke thought they would be, he moved his thumbs away

“What?”

“They are..smaller than they feel..”

Akira chuckled again, he seemed to be in a better mood today “What? Did you think they were as large as a walruses?” Yusuke chuckled at the image that popped into his mind “I suppose I did.”

Yusuke stared into Akira’s eyes before noticing his hands were still on his face, he pulled them away and blushed slightly, averting his eyes “S-Sorry..” “For?” “Uh..” Akira chuckled again, Yusuke was embarrassed, he heard rustling and looked back up

Akira rubbed a large non-woven dressing on Yusuke’s bite mark “E-Eh..?”

“I forgot to do this last time.” Akira smiled “Sorry.” he apologized

“M-Mm..It’s okay..” Yusuke shook his head slightly trying to reassure Akira, his heartbeat became faster, he didn’t know why

“Anyway I’ll let you get some rest.” Akira got off the bed “Goodnight, Yusuke.” “G-Goodnight..” Akira left the room with a wave and Yusuke placed his hand on his chest, questioning it.

Chapter Text

Yusuke thought more about the Husk aspect of the vampires, it seemed like torment but the more he thought about it the more he realized Akira shouldered the burden of avoiding it for everyone else not just himself.

If Yusuke was a vampire and had to deal with that haunting fate he'd probably give up, he realized that they must be really strong willed people to want to continue on.

He became more conflicted on the terms of killing humans now, if they truly had to do that to avoid that fate then they could never become a 'good person' by his definition of it no matter what they did, it's like their entire being rejected them doing 'good' things, Yusuke realized that perhaps he should broaden his definition of it, it was far to cruel to simply ignore their reasons.

 

The next morning Yusuke felt like he was being shook, he fluttered his eyes open only to see Akira standing over him, he rubbed his eyes to clear the sleep out of them

“Come with me.” Akira said quietly

“H-Huh..?” “I want to show you something.”

Yusuke pulled himself up

“Get dressed, I’ll be waiting.” and with that Akira left the room.

Yusuke got up and moved over to the closet, he changed into his usual clothing, he was still sleepy and felt like his hair was messy, he hurried into the bathroom and brushed his hair quickly, he didn’t want to keep Akira waiting.

Akira led Yusuke outside the backyard of the mansion. Yusuke inspected Akira's attire as they walked, he wore that white ruffle front shirt again and dress pants, it seemed to be his casual wear as well as that red dress shirt.

Akira led Yusuke to a pond with some koi fish inside and abruptly stopped in front of it

“I think it’s time I told you.” Akira said staring at the pond “Hm..?”

“The reason I drink your blood.”

Yusuke swallowed, he was a bit nervous about this but he was ready to know the truth

A short silence filled the atmosphere

“I...I was cursed 10 years ago and apart of that curse was..I would burn in sunlight, I suppose the curse devolved me..” Akira's eye's never left the pond

Yusuke put his hands behind his back and grabbed his wrist, listening to Akira

“Your blood for..some reason causes me to no longer burn.”

Yusuke couldn’t imagine why.

“I do not know why your blood has this effect on me, I researched it and tested it and have found no answers...the effect doesn’t last forever though..” Akira closed his eyes “I can finally feel the warm embrace of the sunlight again without it piercing my skin.” Akira opened his eyes slowly and made eye contact with Yusuke “And it’s all thanks to you.” he smiled.

Yusuke stared at Akira blinking, bewildered.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, I didn’t want to risk it all...I didn’t want my second chance to run away..” Akira looked back at the pond “This is actually the first time I’ve been outside properly in such a long time.”

Yusuke knew there was another reason but what he was hearing was completely different from his theories, he thought it made Akira more powerful or prolonged his life, he didn’t expect it to be something so..important.

“I’m sorry if I’m being selfish but..” Akira placed his hand on Yusuke’s shoulder as he spoke “Please...continue giving me another chance at life..?”

Yusuke nodded and found his tongue “I don’t...have anything left...if I can give someone else something so important back to them then….I will.”

Akira smiled “Thank you..so much..Yusuke.” tears welled into Akira’s eyes and he wiped them away quickly

Yusuke was surprised at the sight.

“..Thank you so much..”

Yusuke smiled; he started to like Akira despite his wrongdoings, he didn’t mind continuing to live like this, this was now his life and he was grateful he gave it a chance.

Akira had given him a second chance at life, now it was Yusuke’s turn to give Akira another chance.

 

The two sat down next to each other, watching the fish in the pond.

“Is this why..you let me live..?” although Yusuke was confident in his decision it revealed even more questioned.

“No, I didn’t know until I bit you...and you tried to kill me.”

“A-Ah!..Sorry about that..” Yusuke frowned

Akira waved his hand reassuringly “Don’t apologize, we were enemies.”

“So..that’s why you reacted like that..” although the details were fuzzy Yusuke remembered Akira laughing and saying he didn’t burn.

“Y-Yeah...I was exhilarated..”

“10 years without sunlight..?” Yusuke asked and Akira nodded “Who cursed you?”

Akira averted his eyes “I don’t know..” perhaps Akira wasn’t ready to reveal that yet.

“That’s why..Zeriya said that..” Yusuke's memory was putting the pieces together.

“Mm.”

“Why does my blood..do that?” Yusuke asked

“I don’t know, I tested it and nothing points to it being unusual which is why I must ask...who were your parents?”

“I only know my mother's name..”

“Do you mind telling me..?”

“Sayuri Kitagawa..”

“It doesn’t ring a bell. I thought maybe your parents were of royal blood or something.”

“I don’t think they were...M-Maybe Madarame knows..”

“I doubt that plus...I’m not going to request you to ask him.” Akira sighed “I guess it doesn’t really matter why.” he smiled slightly “As long as it continues having this effect then I am happy.”

“Mh, me too.” Yusuke smiled

“You’re very kind for doing this for me, Yusuke.”

“I’m...I’m glad..you think that.” Yusuke sighed with relief “I guess you won’t abandon me then.”

“I wouldn’t anyway.” Akira said in a soft tone

Yusuke averted his eyes, his cheeks became hot “W-Why..?”

“I let you live for a reason, before I knew of your bloods effect.”

“Will you tell me now?”

Akira chuckled “To be honest; I don’t really know myself, I just had the urge to.”

“Hm..”

“Perhaps it’s because I pitied you, I’m not really sure.”

“I see...well I’m glad you did. You gave me another chance at life, I think you deserve one too.”

“Thank you, Yusuke.” They smiled at each other warmly.

 

The two basked in the sunlight together before Akira realized it was still early morning “Come, let’s go get you some breakfast.” Akira stood up.

“Oh right, I haven’t eaten yet.” Yusuke didn’t have the chance to.

“I won’t let you go hungry ever again.”

Yusuke was happy Akira thought about him and the two went back inside and ate breakfast together.

“So you said you don’t have to eat?” Yusuke asked while cutting his pancakes, they were eating together at the kitchen table, Yusuke has only eaten here once.

“Yeah, our stomachs feel empty if we don’t though.” Akira answered

“Vampires are very strange...I feel like I’m learning something new everyday.”

“Because you are.”

“I suppose..”

Yusuke still had one thing on his mind “So..the gloves?” Yusuke has never seen Akira without gloves, he probably wore them to bed too, it was a bit suspicious.

“I literally just like them, not everything has a purpose.”

“So then if it’s something as simple as that..you’ll be willing to remove them?”

“Why do you want to see my hands so much..?”

“I’m wondering if they are different from mine, for..artistic purposes.”

Akira sighed “Fine.” he pulled off his right glove and presented his hand to Yusuke “See? It’s normal.”

Akira’s nails were a bit long but everything else looked normal

“What about the other?” Yusuke asked “It’s exactly the same.”

Akira pulled his glove back on

“So it should be easy showing me then?”

“Why waste my time, just eat.”

“Alright.” Yusuke ate the piece of pancake on his fork, he became flustered at the question that popped into his head but he should be about to ask it

“Do you um...have a mistress..?”

“Huh?”

“A-A queen?”

“No..”

“Do you want one?”

“What’s with these strange questions..?”

“Should I not know my king's status..?”

“You don’t have to call me that.”

“Eh? But the others..-”

“You’re special.”

Yusuke’s cheeks grew a pink hue on them “I guess I don’t really serve you..”

“To answer your previous question; I need to continue the bloodline so I’ll eventually have to.”

“How do vampire’s pick a mate..?”

“The same as humans.”

“So it’s not based on..power?”

“It’s a factor but...not enough to reject a mate.”

“Do you...like anyone?”

“No.”

Yusuke realized these questions were a bit out there “Thank you for putting up with my..silly questions, I’m just curious about everything.”

“It’s alright, you’ll be staying with us for the rest of your life, I don’t blame you for being curious.”

“...Will you turn me into a vampire eventually?” Yusuke didn't want that, especially after learning about husks.

“I don’t know how that’ll affect your blood so..no.”

“But I’ll die quicker than you.”

Akira averted his eyes “I don’t really want to think about that..”

Yusuke didn't realize that was an odd thing to say until his saw Akira's facial expression “I’m sorry.” he apologized.

“It’s fine, relax.”

“Thank you for answering my questions.”

Akira nodded and they finished their meal together.

 

Yusuke went back to his room after and spent the rest of the day painting, it seemed like his art block was lifting as he grew closer to Akira.

Chapter Text

The next morning Yusuke’s mind bubbled with questions about Akira, he wanted to know more about him.

What was he like before the curse?
Yusuke knew it would be awkward asking Akira himself, he had to ask an outsider, he had to ask Zeriya.

Yusuke descended the large staircase hoping to find Zeriya, however he was greeted by three servants standing around and talking.

“Oi, we want to talk to you.”
Yusuke became startled after one spoke to him “Me..?” he pointed to himself

“Yeah, you.”

All three of them moved closer to Yusuke and it made him apprehensive.

“Why is your blood so magical?”
It seemed like the others were informed about it, perhaps they knew before Yusuke even did.

“Did you inject yourself with weird drugs?” A girl asked

“I wonder if it has an affect on us..” A man with orange short hair and brown eyes stepped closer.

“Don’t even think about it, Sugimura.” the girl with blonde hair in pigtails and blue eyes pointed at the orange haired man

“The master will rip you apart if you touch him.” A boy with blonde short hair and brown eyes said

“You really think I’m going to do it? Ann? Ryuji? Really I thought you guys trusted me.” Sugimura shrugged nervously

“So anyway.” Ann nudge Sugimura out the way as she spoke “What did you do to make your blood like that?”

“I...I didn’t do anything..” Yusuke mumbled

“Ah, just forget it. As if you think he knows when the king doesn’t even know.” Ryuji looked annoyed

“What are you three up to?” A intimidating voice filled the room and the three jumped, Zeriya walked over to them “Don’t you have unfinished work?” he furrowed his brow

“Ah..y-yes.” Sugimura nodded nervously

“We were just going to do that right now!” Ann grabbed both of them by the wrists and pulled them away in a hurry.

“What are you doing talking to servants?” Zeriya glanced at Yusuke

“I-I..wasn’t, they spoke to me..”

“So ignore them.”

Yusuke didn't want to be rude to them.

“The master is out doing business, if you’re looking for him, he is not here.” Zeriya said

“Actually..I was seeking you.”

“Why?” Zeriya asked “I wanted to ask you some questions..” Yusuke answered

“..Alright.” Zeriya sighed “Let’s go somewhere more private then.”.

 

The two went into the garden together and stopped in front of some flowers.

“So what is it?” Zeriya asked

“It’s about..Akira.”

Zeriya looked at Yusuke with an annoyed look on his face, Yusuke quickly realized “T-The king..”

“What about him?”

“Well..he told me the reason.”

“I know.”

“He’s..the only one who kills humans?” Yusuke asked

“That is correct.”

“That makes him even abnormal to his own kin..?”

“Yes.”

Yusuke looked at the flowers in front of himself “How was Akira-..the king like before the curse..?”

“I suppose you’re more trustworthy now.” Zeriya moved some of his hair out of his eye “He was..happy.”

“Happy..?”

“Mm, he would indulge in all of his hobbies over actually being the king, almost like a child; Cooking, gardening, experiments, fishing, reading..pretty much everything you can do here...I gave him a hard time about it.”

“..I see.”

“He would also feed stray animals, especially cats; I cannot remember how many times I said no to his requests of adopting them.” Zeriya looked at his hand, clenching it in front of himself “I regret..being so hard on him about it but he had to step up, it was just after his parents had passed away.. I never thought that perhaps he was doing all those things to handle his grief.”

“How did his parents..perish?” Yusuke frowned

“Nobody knows for certain but...my theory is they were hunted..on their way to the manor.”

“That’s..horrendous..” Yusuke clenched his chest

“Akira wasn’t ready to be a leader, after all it is a two person job.” Zeriya disclosed

“Hm..?”

“The king and queen rule just as much as each other, they are both equals.”

“I thought the king would..-”

“Not here, I believe the master's mother was better than his father actually.” Zeriya chuckled

Yusuke smiled slightly “Were his parents loving..?”

“Of course, both of them spent just as much time with the master as each other.”

“That’s great to hear.” Yusuke wondered why Akira didn't seem fazed by it then.

“The master bonded with his mother with gardening and his father with cooking.”

Questions about the curse popped into Yusuke's mind “W-When did the king get cursed..?”

“1 years after his parents had died.” Zeriya answered

“Do you..know why?”

Zeriya shifted uncomfortably “I suggest you ask the master yourself.”

Yusuke nodded “So..how was he after getting cursed..?”

“He was destroyed, I have never seen the master so broken before..” Zeriya sighed and continued “I remember when it first happened the master was withering away, we all tried to feed him our blood but he said it would be a waste due to our previous efforts...that’s when I got the idea to lure a human to his bedroom and allow him to eat them...unfortunately we didn’t have much time, the master was visibly turning into a husk...we had to settle with a young boy..”

Yusuke shifted uncomfortably “That’s what he meant…” he commented

“The master broke the boy's neck before draining him, I remember him apologizing continuously..” Zeriya frowned slightly

Yusuke had to confirm something “So before he didn’t kill..?”

“He didn't. The master did have a larger appetite than us all naturally but he could satisfy his urges with blood bags provided by hospitals...We never hurt anyone..until he was cursed.”

Yusuke frowned while listening

“That child was the master's first kill...and from that day onward he had locked himself away. Adapting to his curse was not only his job however, we all had to, we had to seal all the windows with thick drapes and cover all the glass doors, we also...had to adapt to having to assist in killing people.”

Zeriya put his hand on Yusuke’s shoulder “I managed to convince the master to continue on living for his kingdom, for his people...and from that day forward he has dedicated his entire life to becoming a leader. I have served this kingdom for longer than the master has been alive for and I have never seen such leadership before, he truly is the a magnificent leader and we have all noticed it, we are the most loyal to him and are happy when he eats because of that fact, the fact he didn’t simply give up on us..even though it was extremely hard for him not to.”

Zeriya moved his hand away “However...the master must be lonely..” he revealed

“Lonely..?” Yusuke asked

“He doesn’t interact with anyone outside of this family, the only time he does is when he is making deals with humans or when he is going to eat; another thing that the curse has broken..”

“He used to talk to others..?”

“Yes, he was able to leave the mansion and did so quite regularly.” Zeriya flicked his ponytail idly “Vampire’s have always lived among humans but when he got cursed all of us cut back on our interaction with them...as there was a chance that he may eat someone we know.”

“W-Wow...this is..a lot to take in..” Yusuke stuttered, his brain was being overloaded.

“Yes, our history is quite long.”

“So..where is the king now?” Yusuke asked

“I believe he is making a deal with a new hospital that opened up nearby.”

“You don’t go with him?”

“I would like to but he rejects me.” Zeriya answered.

Yusuke moved some of his hair away “W-What is um...your relationship with him..?”

“My relationship with the master..?” Zeriya asked for clarification

“Yes..”

“My entire life is dedicated to him.”

“I see..” Yusuke stepped towards the flowers “Gardening was how he bonded with his mother, yes?” Yusuke caressed a flower peeking out of the bush.

“Yes.”

“This greenhouse...would it cause him to burn if he stepped inside?” “That is correct.”

“So then...did he continue gardening..?”

“..He would tell me what flowers to use and I would plant them for him however...he could never actually see the garden without the sun seeing him so..he never did until now.”

“I never quite grasped how important sunlight could be for a person..” Yusuke said softly

“Which is why you must continue allowing the master to live, this is the most exhilarating thing that has happened in his life for 10 years.”

“I have already made my decision.”

Zeriya bowed “Thank you.”

Yusuke smiled “I’m glad I can give this back to him.”

“You are very kind to want to give him this back after everything.” Zeriya said softly

“T-Thank you..I just wish I could cure his hunger too..”

“This is a miracle enough, we’re all happy with just this fact.”

“Thank you for telling me all this, it only makes me more confident in my decision.” Yusuke moved some hair behind his ear.

“If it has that affect then I am always willing to tell you in more detail.”

Yusuke nodded “Perhaps another time, my mind is still processing all this new information.”

Zeriya chuckled “As you wish; is there anything else?”

“No, thank you.”

Zeriya nodded “Then I have work to return to.” he turned around and left the garden, Yusuke caressed the flower again staring at it “Akira is..lonely..?”.

 

Yusuke went back to his room and processed all the information he was given while hugging a fluffy pillow, he thought about what Zeriya said, how Akira was lonely, all of his relationships with humans must’ve always been a give and take situation, a deal; he probably hasn’t felt a genuine friendship in such a long time and Yusuke found himself wanting to show Akira that, it would certainly benefit both of them, Yusuke had no one and Akira had no one; perhaps they could confide in each others.

It was now obvious to Yusuke that Akira had been through a lot, his entire life was ripped away with a curse that branded him a monster.
Yusuke felt guilty for calling Akira that, he didn’t feel like his apology was enough; it must’ve cut deep when he said it.

Yusuke found himself moving on from his old ways, the more time he spent here the more he liked it, the more his mind opened up to options he thought impossible, he has found that missing goal in his life, he would dedicate himself to opening himself up to more options and exploring them, perhaps with a companion.

Chapter Text

Two days passed without much interaction with Yusuke and Akira however whenever they did see each other they would exchange smiles, Akira seemed to be busy but Yusuke started to believe he was avoiding him.

 

Yusuke left his bedroom, it seemed like every time he opened the door he found himself feeling and learning something new.

Yusuke wanted to sketch some of the flowers and try to paint them again without that guilt, he pushed open the door to the garden and walked on the rocky path, the flowers appeared even more beautiful to Yusuke now, perhaps because he now knows what they represent.

He continued on the path before noticing Akira sitting down at a fancy outside table, Yusuke was a bit anxious and crouched down near a bush, watching Akira.

Akira was with Zeriya enjoying tea and talking to each other, Akira had a rose in his hand and was inspecting it while he talked; Yusuke couldn’t hear them, he was too far away, he didn’t know why he was spying on them, he swallowed his doubts and stood up, brushing off leaves that stuck to his pants.

Suddenly he heard Akira groan in pain, he looked up to see Akira shielding his face and he had dropped the rose, his skin was sizzling, soon cuts and blisters appeared on his face and Zeriya pulled the man up out of his chair.

Yusuke found himself rushing over to them in a panic “Shield him!” Zeriya ordered as soon as he saw Yusuke, he hurried to Akira’s side and helped shield his body, they hurried over to the garden door; they pushed inside and Zeriya pulled down a large drape, covering the door.

“Are you okay?!” Yusuke kneeled down next to Akira, touching his back reassuringly, it felt hot.

“Y-Yes...I just timed it poorly..” Akira wrenched in pain.

Zeriya came over and kneeled down in front of Akira “We must take care of your wounds.” he didn’t seemed panicked, like he has experienced this many times before; he placed his hands on Akira’s face and lifted it up, inspecting his wounds “It’s not that bad, come, let’s go clean them.”

Zeriya pulled Akira up and began guiding him to the direction of Akira bedroom.

Yusuke stood up and clenched his chest, he wasn’t sure what to do; should he go after them or stay away?
He should at least understand how they patch his wounds up, he went to Akira’s room, he was worried for Akira, it looked really painful.

He pushed the door open and went inside “How is it?” he asked as he moved closer
Akira was sitting down on the bed and Zeriya was cleaning his face with wipes “It is fine, you do not need to worry.” Zeriya reassured Yusuke but he was still worried.

“W-Why did that happen..?” Yusuke frowned

“It seems the master got distracted and lost track of time.” Zeriya pressed the cloth on one of Akira’s cuts on the bridge of his nose and Akira hissed in pain.

“Go away Yusuke...I don’t want you seeing me like this..” Akira sighed

Yusuke stepped forward “No, I must.”

Akira groaned, Zeriya rubbed non woven bandages on Akira’s cuts “There, they should heal quicker if you drink from our supply.”

“No, I don’t want to..”

Zeriya sighed, like he has had this conversations many times before “Alright..” Zeriya glanced at Yusuke and gave him a wink “I’ll be going then.” he left the room with the cloth, what was Zeriya trying to tell Yusuke..?.

 

The two stayed in silence for a bit, Akira was looking down at the ground, he had a dressing bandage on his cheek and nose, Yusuke found himself move closer and sit next to Akira “So...that’s what your life has been like these past years..?”

“I suppose..”

Akira was being distant and Yusuke wanted to cheer him up “Your garden is very beautiful.” he smiled

“Mm..”

“I can see why you would get distracted in there, it’s like a fairy tale.”

“It’s alright..I guess.”

“Don’t be modest, it’s wonderful, your effort shows.”

“Eh..?” Akira made eye contact

“I can now feel the emotions you put into each flower patch.” Yusuke shifted closer “Zeriya..told me.”

“Why..?”

“I asked.”

“I see..”

“Does it hurt..?” Yusuke asked in worry

“A bit...it’ll settle down later.” Akira rubbed his ear

Yusuke unbuttoned his collar and revealed his neck “You should drink.” he realized what Zeriya was telling him with that wink.

“..I can’t rely on it..” Akira looked back at the ground

“Why not?”

“Because it might vanish one day..”

“So? I give you permission to rely on it.”

“But..I’ll become dependent on it..” Akira made eye contact again

“That doesn’t mean you can’t live your life to it’s fullest again, is that not why you’re happy you found it?”

“...”

“Because it’s another chance?” Yusuke added

“You won’t..leave me?” Akira's tone was low

“You don’t trust me yet?”

“No, I just..worry I might wake up to you gone..like everything else.”

“I promise I’ll stay, this is now my life and I enjoy it.” Yusuke smiled

Akira averted his eyes “...I’ll be relying on you.”

“I won’t make you regret it.”

Akira smiled slightly

“We both give each other another chance at life.” Yusuke said softly, it seems like he was convincing Akira.

“That is true.”

“You will never have to crush another rose in agony if you take my offer.”

Akira looked back up “When you put it like that…” he moved closer to Yusuke “I’ll take your offer.”

Yusuke pulled on his shirt.

“In return I’ll keep you safe, away from your father.” Akira smiled

“Thank you.” Yusuke smiled back

Akira grabbed Yusuke upper arms and moved closer to his neck
“We promise each other?”

“We promise.”

He learned forward and bit down on Yusuke’s neck “Mnn!” Yusuke groaned in pain and wrapped his arms around Akira, he felt his heart beat get faster, Akira pulled his fangs out and licked the punctures, Yusuke’s body became hot and he felt his heart beating in his ears.

“Thank you, Yusuke.” Akira sat back down properly

“It’s okay.” Yusuke smiled

Akira pulled out the dressing he used on Yusuke last time and rubbed in onto his fresh wound “You taste sweeter today.”

“E-Eh?!” Yusuke blushed slightly

“It must be because your body is healthy again.”

“Y-Yes, I feel healthier too.” Yusuke brushed his hair to the side, he questioned why he was flustered today.

“Are you hungry?” Akira asked with a brief smile “I could..eat something.” Yusuke never felt that dire hunger ever again and he wanted to express that to Akira

“I think we have another cake ready.”

“Oh, the last one was lovely.”

“Then let’s go enjoy it.”
They smiled at each other and left the room, going to enjoy cake together.

 

Late at night while lying in bed Yusuke questioned his feelings for Akira, he cared about him now and wanted to see him happy, the happiness Zeriya described, although the vines were unraveling from Akira, Yusuke still felt like there was one major piece missing in his story; the curse.

It seemed to be a very sore subject for everyone so he didn’t want to go poking his nose into everyone's business seeking an answer but Yusuke questioned if curses and magic ever existed, there has never been any evidence of it, he found himself craving more information on the curse.
Could Akira touch the moonlight without burning?
Did a witch curse him?
How did they curse him?
He couldn’t think of answers but at the same time he never knew about the existence of vampires, the world was much broader than he thought and he wanted to continue on learning about it, he wanted to continue being by Akira’s side.

Chapter Text

The next day Yusuke wanted to try and sketch the flowers again, he got distracted last time by Akira but he enjoyed it so it was worth halting his painting.

Yusuke went into the garden, this time it was empty, he sat down on the grass to be with nature and began sketching the sight he saw, he wanted this painting to be his best work so he was practicing the shapes of the flowers and bushes on his sketch book first.

He wanted to show Akira the finished painting, Yusuke wasn't certain if Akira actually wanted to see his painting, he has never shown his paintings to anyone but Madarame and he started to doubt his ability.

Yusuke was finishing his sketch off while listening to the birds chirping, he was absorbed in the nature around him and enjoyed it, he has never been able to do something like this, to just enjoy the nature around him, he was always cooped up in the village or in his room while living with Madarame, Akira gave him the chance to see new things but at the same time..Yusuke was trapped.

Maybe one day when Akira trusts him fully he’ll allow him outside but would he even risk it? It wasn’t only a matter of trusting Yusuke, others could force him to go back to Madarame; would Akira ever risk that? Yusuke wasn’t quite yet at the stage of craving the outside world but he knew he eventually would, he’d just have to wait for an answer to present itself.

Yusuke finished his sketch, he felt like it was a good enough reference to begin painting and stood up closing his sketchbook, he tucked it under his arm and turned around only to be startled by Akira’s presence “I thought you’d be in here.”

“Um..yes, I am working on a project.” Yusuke told him

a brief smiled formed on Akira’s lips “What kind?”

“A painting. I wanted to paint the garden.”

Akira placed his hand on his hip “Didn’t you already do that?”

“..N-Not well enough.” Yusuke got rid of the old painting

“I see, a retry.”

“Yes, I hope this one turns out well..”

“I do too.”

“..You were looking for me?” Yusuke asked

“Perhaps.” Akira moved over to some flowers, Yusuke walked over to him, setting his sketchbook down by his feet.

“Do you like flowers?” Akira asked as he touched a blue hydrangea flower.

“Yes, they are lovely.” Yusuke smiled slightly

Akira broke the flowers stem with his gloved thumb, he presented the flower to Yusuke “I think this type of flower suits you best.” He smiled.

Yusuke stared at him bewildered, soon he realized he should take it, he grabbed the stem gently off Akira and stared at the flower in awe “T-Thank you, it’s lovely.” butterflies formed in Yusuke’s stomach once he realized Zeriya had said that the flowers were rarely cut, he began blushing from the nice gesture

Akira chuckled in delight “We have a dance ball coming up soon, the other vampire’s residing in the manor will be coming down, you’re allowed to join us if you wish.”

“A-A ball..?”

“Mm, I suppose in a way it’s a celebration.”

Yusuke has never had such an opportunity before, it would be interesting “I would love to.” he smiled

“You still have that button right?” Akira asked

“Yes, of course.”

“Then you’re prepared.”

Even Yusuke knew you had to dress up nicely for dances “Um..W-What shall I wear..?” he asked

“Zeriya will bring you something.”

“I see, thank you.”

“I believe I should be the one thanking you.” Akira said
They smiled at each other.

The questions from last night popped into Yusuke’s head “How..much does the curse actually affect you?” he asked

“What do you mean?” Akira asked for clarification

“Does it cause anything else bad to happen besides your hunger and skin?”

“No, my nails grow quicker but that easily manageable.”

“What about the moonlight..? Does it burn you too?”

“Yes but it is much more slower...I’ll have to be outside for an hour before my skin starts to crack.”

“So..you didn’t leave the mansion at the night?”

“I may burn slower but the pain is just the same.” Akira answered

“O-Oh...I apologize.” Yusuke frowned slightly

“You apologize too much, your questions don’t offend me.” Akira sighed

“I’m sorry-” Yusuke stopped himself “It’s a habit...I feel like I offend everyone..”

“Well shake that habit because that’s not true.”

Yusuke lips formed a wide smile “You’re very kind Akira, I’m glad I met you.”

Akira turned his face away but Yusuke could see that his cheeks were red, he had the urge to paint the sight but he just chuckled as a response.

“M-Me too.” Akira mumbled

Yusuke’s cheek burned with heat, he quickly raised the flower to his face trying to cover it and gain his composure back “W-Would you like to see my painting once it’s finished?”

Akira made eye contact “Of course.” he smiled slightly

“This will be the first time an outsider will be seeing my paintings, it’s actually pretty exciting.” Yusuke grinned

“We could even host the reveal at the ball if you wish.”

Yusuke waved his free hand in front of himself defensively “Ah! N-No, that would surely cause me a heart attack!”

Akira chuckled “Okay, we’ll keep it a private viewing then.”

Yusuke sighed with relief “T-Thank you.”

“You also thank me too much.”

“..Oof..” Yusuke breathe out in defeat and Akira laughed at his reaction “Anyway that’s all I wanted to tell you, do you have any more questions?” Akira asked.

“Are you the one spoiling me with food? My portions have become larger.” Yusuke tilted his head.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Akira’s facial expression betrayed his words

“Y-You are the one!”

“No, you’re imagining things.”

“My weight gain is not imaginary!”

“I don’t notice anything different.” Akira turned around and power walked away “I knew it was you!” Yusuke raised his voice so Akira heard him, he chuckled to himself and looked down at the flower in his hand and smiled at it.

 

Akira’s kindness warmed Yusuke’s heart, not many people have displayed this amount of kindness to him and he was beginning to desire their interactions together, he knew Akira could fill his void and he could do the same for him, Yusuke didn’t realize how much he actually enjoyed friendship, the two being so different made it even more enjoyable, they were able to teach each other things they never knew before, he hoped that Akira felt the same way.

Chapter Text

Yusuke worked on his painting in his bedroom, he was making progress and didn’t have that guilt consume him anymore, he started to think about Madarame and his old life less each day and he wasn’t trying to revive the thoughts; he has accepted his fate and he will enjoy it to the fullest.

He stared at the canvas, it felt like it was missing something and he knew exactly what it was.

The next day Yusuke made his way back to the pond Akira had shown him, he wasn’t even really sure if he was allowed out here, you could see in the backyard briefly by the gates but Yusuke couldn’t get out of here so he shrugged off the thought that it was an issue.

He began sketching the koi fish in his sketchbook while kneeling down, he wanted to add a pond to his garden painting and this was the perfect one.

Yusuke lost track of time and began adding too much detail to his sketch, he enjoyed watching the fishes swim as their colours reflected off into the water, the crystal clear water was beautiful to him, the entire pond was, he understood why Akira enjoyed this pond as a child.

Yusuke finished his sketch and placed his sketchbook down onto the grass stretching his hands out, he stood up and stretched his body out, it was a bit stiff from staying like that but he became too engrossed on his drawing, he had gained his ability to draw back and it made him happy.

Suddenly he felt a hand grab his wrist and swing him around “There you are!” Akira said, he looked panicked.

“What’s the matter?” Yusuke asked out of concern

“I thought I lose you..!” Akira gritted his teeth “Thank god you’re safe...”

“I-I’m sorry, I thought I was allowed out here..” Yusuke apologized

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?! We’ve been searching for hours!”

“I...I didn’t know..I’m sorry Akira.” Yusuke frowned

Akira let go of Yusuke’s wrist and exhaled

“I’m really sorry, I’ll make it up to you-”
Akira interrupted Yusuke by pulling him into a hug “Don’t do that to me again..” Akira burrowed his face into Yusuke’s shoulder.

Yusuke was flabbergasted, he didn’t know what to do or think, he gained his composure back and patted Akira’s hair “I’m sorry, I won’t..” it was really soft, like what Yusuke first thought it’d be like.

Akira pulled away gently “No, I overreacted..you’re allowed out here.” he sighed

“I will make sure to inform someone before I go outside from now on, I’m sorry I caused you stress.”

“It’s okay..” Akira touched his arm nervously

Yusuke picked his sketchbook up, he wanted to cheer Akira up, he presented it to Akira “I was drawing the fish.”
Akira stared at the paper in awe “I got too absorbed in my sketch and lost track of time, I’m sorry.”

“It’s wonderful, Yusuke.” Akira smiled slightly

Yusuke smiled “I wanted to add this pond to my painting.”

“W-Why..?”

“Hmm..” Yusuke thought about why he wanted it in and found his answer “This painting...it will represent our friendship.”

“F-Friendship..?!” Akira's eyes widen with surprise

Yusuke nodded with a noise of agreement “I wish for it to represent that, I’m really happy when I’m next to you..”

“Friendship..?” Akira averted his eyes and raised his index finger to his mouth, shielding it “I-I guess that’s okay..”

“I’m happy it’s now official.” Yusuke chuckled

“It’ll be more so once you complete the painting.”
They smiled at each other.

“Ah yes, I must complete it before the ball!” Yusuke said happily

“The ball is in 3 days so I suggest you hurry it up if that’s your goal.”

“Oh my..that’s not enough time but..I shall try!” Yusuke was determined for some reason

“Well..I have to go tell the others I found you..” Akira twirled a strand of his hair onto his finger

“Oh right, please apologize to them on my behalf.” Yusuke bowed slightly

“I will sort it out, don’t worry.” Akira winked at Yusuke and walked off back to the mansion; Yusuke found his heart jump out of his chest at the sight “W-Why does it beat so fast when I’m near him..?” Yusuke clenched his chest.

Chapter Text

Yusuke spent the entire morning painting his project, it was now lunch time and his brush started to play up, he dipped it into his water bowl but it didn’t seem to help.

He raised the paintbrush up to his face and inspected the bristles, he flicked them with his finger into the direction of the rooms door to clear the green paint out only to notice Akira had entered the room.

Akira was holding a tray of food, Yusuke’s lunch, Yusuke had flicked green paint onto Akira by accident, he had watery green paint on his face and shirt.

“Ah! I’m sorry!” Yusuke set his brush down and got up quickly, he pulled out a handkerchief from his pants pocket and approached Akira.

“It’s alright, I should’ve made more noise..” Akira couldn’t wipe the paint away while holding the tray.

Yusuke wiped the paint away on Akira’s face gently with the handkerchief “I truly am sorry, I was too absorbed in fixing my brush to hear you.” he frowned slightly.

“It’s okay Yusuke, please don’t stress.” Akira said reassuringly

“I’ll set this down.” Yusuke grabbed the tray off Akira and set it down onto his bed, he went back over to Akira, he was wiping his hair with his gloved hands.

Yusuke wiped the paint off Akira’s shirt “I’m sorry if I have ruined it..”

“It’ll wash out.”
They finished cleaning most of the paint off Akira and Yusuke still felt his apology wasn’t enough.

“I truly am sorry Akira..” he said

“It’s really not an issue Yusuke..” Akira smiled “It’s good you enjoy painting that much.”

“...”

“Is your paint brush causing you trouble?” Akira asked

“Oh..yes, I believe so.”

“I’ll buy you a new one then.”

“That’s not necessary..”

“It’s not an issue for me.” Akira said as he placed his hand on Yusuke’s shoulder “I’ll buy you whatever you want, so cheer up.”

“I don’t feel like I have the right to accept such things..” Yusuke mumbled

“Of course you do, this is your home now.”

“M-My home..?”

“Mhm, w-we’re...friends, remember?”

“Ah, yes.” Yusuke smiled “I’m sorry for acting like that...it’s just..very odd to me. I’m being rewarded instead of...punished..”

Akira frowned and stepped forward, he hugged Yusuke gently “I’m sorry you had to deal with such an awful man...I-I’ll protect you now..”

Yusuke began blushing and his heart beat increased, Akira had hugged him twice now and he became flabbergasted each time, he was rarely hugged but found himself enjoying it, they were very comforting.

Akira pulled away gently before Yusuke could respond “S-Sorry, do you not like that..?” he was blushing too “I-I didn’t mean to..make you uncomfortable..” he moved some of his hair behind his ear nervously.

“No, it was quite comforting actually...I like it.” Yusuke smiled.

“You do? I thought..I was becoming too handsy..” Akira smiled slightly until he turned to the side massaging his temple “Excuse me, I’m acting a bit strange today..” he sighed “I think I’m nervous about the ball..”

“I don’t believe you’re acting strange, I like you Akira.”

Akira turned his face away “H-How's the painting?"

"It's going really well, I want it to be my best painting."

"Friend..ship...?" Akira mumbled

"Ah, yes..Because it will represent our friendship too." Yusuke smiled

"...I'm sorry, I have to go." Akira said as he rushed out the room.

“D-Did I...say something wrong?” Yusuke mumbled to himself, he was concerned but reassured himself he didn’t, Akira must be nervous just like he said and Yusuke was choosing the believe it was that reason, not allowing doubts prick into his mind.

Chapter Text

Yusuke spent the next day trying to complete the painting, Zeriya had given him a suit but he didn’t really pay much attention to it, he felt like he had to finish the painting in time.

It was now midnight and the ball was tomorrow, he still had a few more finishing touches to add, he felt tired however he was determined to finish it before bed.

However Akira came into his room “Sorry but I need your blood so no accidents happen tomorrow.” Yusuke knew after the draining he would be far too tired to continue it “Alright..” he put his paint brush away and stood up from the stool, covering the painting with a sheet “I’m sorry to take you away from it.” Akira said

“No, it’s fine, my body wants me to sleep anyway.”

“..I’m sorry about how I acted yesterday.” Akira apologized

“Oh that? It’s fine, aren’t you just nervous?”

“Mm, I am, I rarely see the manor vampires..”

“I knew you were just nervous, don’t worry about it Akira.” Yusuke reassured him

Akira smiled “Thank you..” he approached Yusuke “I got you this..” he presented a brand new paintbrush to Yusuke “I don’t know anything about paintbrushes but Zeriya said this was a good one so..”

Yusuke took it with care “Thank you very much Akira, this is lovely.” he smiled

“I’m glad you like it, hopefully it makes your painting easier.”

“It definitely will.” Yusuke placed the brush down onto the easel

“I look forward to seeing your painting.” Akira smiled

“M-Mm..” Yusuke yawned, he was tired.

“Let’s hurry this up so you can rest.”

Yusuke nodded and got onto his bed and laid down, his eyelids were so heavy, Akira came over and crawled onto the bed.

“Wow, you’re really tired..maybe I’ll do it tomorrow morning.”

“No..I might fall asleep during it though..”

“That’s okay.” Akira crawled onto Yusuke carefully

“I’ll still have tomorrow right..?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Then there is no problem.” Yusuke yawned and turned his head to the side.

Akira pulled off the patch on Yusuke’s neck, his wounds were almost fully healed “I’m going to bite you.”

“K-..ok.” Yusuke said while struggling with a yawn.

Akira smiled slightly and leaned down, he bit Yusuke’s neck but he barely reacted to it, he must be really tired “A-Akira..” Yusuke moaned “Mmh..?” Akira felt Yusuke relax under him, did he fall asleep?

Akira finished drinking Yusuke's blood and looked up at him, Yusuke had fallen asleep, Akira pulled out a patch from his pants pocket and placed it on Yusuke’s new bite “Yusuke?” Akira called out but was only answered by a soft snore.

He smiled and got off Yusuke and the bed, he pulled down the blankets underneath Yusuke and slid his arm under the boys legs, he lifted them up and pulled the blankets out from under him, he tucked Yusuke in “A sleeping beauty, hm?” he whispered to himself as he caressed some of Yusuke’s hair out of his face “Goodnight, Yusuke.” he left the room quietly, allowing Yusuke to rest.

Chapter Text

The next day was the ball, Yusuke worked on his painting the minute he woke up, he finally managed to finish as the guests arrived, there was a knock on his door “Are you ready Yusuke?” Zeriya asked.

Yusuke was still in his pajamas and hadn’t even showered yet “No, I’ll be out in a bit.”

“Are you having trouble with your suit?”

“No, please give me five minutes.” Yusuke covered the painting

“The guests have already arrived, you’re going to be late.”

“I apologize.” Yusuke ripped his suit out of the closet and hurried into the bathroom, he threw his clothes off and got into the shower.

Yusuke put on the suit, it had a blue tie and blue gloves, Yusuke slid the gloves on and thought how Akira could like wearing gloves all the time, wouldn't his hands get hot?

The suits jacket had cloth extend over his backside, like the butler ones, it was strange to him but he didn’t have time to examine the suit, he brushed his hair and tried multiple styles but just ended up using his usual one, he was ready; he pushed opened the bathroom door and left his room.

 

Yusuke found Zeriya watching the others dance, he approached him “Where’s Akira?” he asked

“Put your mask on first.” Zeriya shoved a fox masquerade mask in Yusuke's hands

“I-It’s a masquerade..?”

“Yes.”

Yusuke tied the mask on, he has never worn such a mask before.

 

“Now follow me.” Zeriya grabbed Yusuke arm and pulled him into the garden, he looked around making sure they were alone “The master is..feeding himself.”

“Huh?” Yusuke didn't understand

“The fool wasn’t looking for a target, he got too distracted by...something.”

“Wait..Then who is he eating..?”

Zeriya sighed “The vampires that live in the manor interact with humans much more than we do, after all they don’t have to see or do what we must...some of them brought humans as their partners..”

The puzzle pieces clicked into place in Yusuke's mind “That means-!”

“Yes, it does.” Zeriya sighed again “He is such a fool...he hasn’t eaten since that time you interrupted him.”

“B-But...he came into my room last night, he seemed perfectly normal..”

“Exactly, he has learned how to hide his withdrawal too well now..” Zeriya ran his hand through his hair “Even I was fooled by it.”

“So...this means someone is missing..” Yusuke frowned

“I’m certain it is someone’s lover.”

“W-Would someone from the manor be okay with this?”

“Of course not! They have less loyalty to the Master..”

“What..why?” Yusuke asked

“Because some of them fled away from his curse, they couldn’t handle how we must deal with it and fled like the cowards they are.” Zeriya moved his hair away “..In my opinion.”

“There is going to be discord..” Yusuke mumbled

“Don’t tell anyone at all, only we know..although it won’t take long for them to figure it out..”

“I won’t, where is he now?”

“He’s in his bedroom with them..he seduced them.”

“I see..”

“We must get rid of the body, I’m going to need your help.” Zeriya said

Yusuke's eyes widened “M-Me?!”

“It’s why I told you.”

“I-I can’t!”

“Why not?!”

“B-Because..i-it’s wrong..” Yusuke mumbled

“Do you still brand my master as a monster?!”

“No..!”

“Then you’ll help, you lost the right to shield your eyes from this when you agreed to his future.”

Yusuke shook his head in disbelief “This is absurd..”

“We must hurry, others will began questioning our absence.” Zeriya grabbed Yusuke’s wrist and pulled him to Akira’s bedroom despite his pleas.

 

Zeriya pulled Yusuke into the bedroom “Are you prepared my lord?”

“Yes, I’m finished.” Akira stood near the bed, there was a woman's corpse lying on the bed, her eyes were wide and Yusuke felt his stomach and head spin, he held his mouth and dry heaved at the sight.

“Stop overreacting.” Zeriya scolded

“No...he is human after all, they shield themselves from the reality of death.”

“I-I can’t do this..” Yusuke begged

“We must, I’ll do most of the work.” Zeriya walked over to the bed

“Close her eyes, maybe that’ll ease him.” Akira ordered

Zeriya slid the woman’s eyelids down “I hope you realize this is your fault.”

“I know.” Akira waved Zeriya’s lecture off.

“Yusuke, go downstairs and outside the mansion and wait at this room's window.” Zeriya ordered

“But..I’m not allowed out the front.” Yusuke really wanted to not be apart of this.

“Now you are.” Akira said

“We must make sure she doesn’t continue bleeding and..it is quite gross so unless you want our job I suggest you hurry.” Zeriya said
“Drag the body as far as you can, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Master you avert the guests concerns.”

“Yeah yeah..” Akira sighed

Yusuke was shaking he couldn’t do that “I-I can’t..”

“Yusuke, this will prove I can trust you.”

“B-But..”

“For me, please Yusuke?”

“...I-I will try..” Yusuke was going to try and just turn his brain off, if they truly needed his help then he'll try, he wanted to prove he was loyal to Akira despite this being one of the hardest requests he could've asked for.

“Hurry then.” Zeriya said

Yusuke rushed out the room, he went outside the front of the mansion, no one paid attention to him which was extremely odd, he followed the mansions wall in the direction of the room and eventually found the right section, he couldn’t believe what he was doing, now he really was no longer innocent.

 

Zeriya popped his head out the window “I’m throwing her out.”

“WHAT?!” Yusuke was panicking and suddenly the woman's corpse fell down next to him and he screamed in horror.

“Shut up! I’m coming down.”

Yusuke kneeled down and burrowed his face, he grabbed his head “I can’t do this, I can’t do this!”
he glanced at the body “Ahh! My god!” he covered his face “Hnn! Ugh!” he felt sick and vomited on the ground “A-Ah..o-okay..hah..” he tried to calm himself “Pleaaaase!” he begged as he stood up and saw the corpse again “Ugh, oofah!” he retched.

“As if you haven’t even started!”

He looked up to see Zeriya “..S-Sorry I just..” he was on the verge of having a panic attack but for some reason Zeriya's presence soothed him.

“Tch!..” Zeriya grabbed the woman’s arms “Grab her feet.”

“But-”

“Now!”

Yusuke stood up, he moved behind the corpse still shaken up.

“You can close your eyes.” Zeriya said

Yusuke gulped and grabbed the woman’s ankles, he closed his eyes tightly, he tried to think about anything else.

“We’re moving.”

Yusuke felt the corpse being pulled and began moving with it “Y-You...b-bit her..everywhere..”

“That’s what I mean by stopping the blood.”

“Please..can this..be a dream? Nn!”

“The master is with the others, hopefully it takes them awhile to notice.”

“I-I can’t believe..Akira fucked up this badly...and is dragging me down with him!” Yusuke rarely swore but he felt like this was the perfect time to.

“You must get used to this if you wish to live with us comfortably.”

“A-Agh..I know..”

“This is far enough.” Zeriya said and stopped

Yusuke felt the corpse stop and walked into it slightly making him dry heave

“Put it down.”

Yusuke drop her ankles

“Gently..” Zeriya sighed

Yusuke opened his eyes slowly

“Help me bury it.” Zeriya ordered

“B-But..”

“Yusuke.”

Yusuke knew it was a one person job to do that but he felt like he was being tested, a lot of things weren't making any sense right now like it was a test of his loyalty “O-Okay..”

Zeriya gave Yusuke a shovel and they began digging where Zeriya ordered. They placed the corpse inside the grave and began throwing dirt back onto her

“I-Is this how you..usually do this?” Yusuke asked, he had to distract himself.

“No, we usually burn the corpses but...the incinerator is inside the basement. I’ll dig her back up later and burn her.”

“W-When you said..you dedicated your entire life to him...I thought you were exaggerating..”

“I most certainly am not.” Zeriya said

“I-I see that now..”

“That’s enough, no one will come back here and see the dirt patch.”

“O-Okay..” Yusuke sighed with relief, he felt lightheaded from all of his emotions.

“I’ll get you another suit.”.

 

Zeriya gave Yusuke another suit and he had another shower, he couldn’t believe what he had just done, but it...was for Akira and to him that made it worth it.

Yusuke got dressed, it looked exactly the same, he put the mask back on and left his room once again. It was a shocking experience but he was going to try and distract himself from what he had done, this should definitely prove his loyalty so at least now he wouldn't be questioned by the others.

Chapter Text

Yusuke descended the stairs to find everyone circled around Akira and a man.
“You have her fucking scent on you!”

Yusuke pushed through the others to get a better look.

“What the fuck did you do?!” the man pointed at Akira

Akira was wearing what Yusuke had first seen him in however he had a bird-like mask on “I suppose I should be honest.” Akira cupped his chin, supporting his elbow with his other arm “I ate her life essence.”

“Tch..!” the man gritted his teeth “You fucking traitor!”

“I didn’t betray anything.”

“You said they’d be safe!” the man shouted

“I said they could come.”

“You fucking bastard!” the man stepped closer in a threatening manner.

“I suggest you think about this; you attack me and your life is over.”

“Tch..!”

“It didn’t take much to convince her, all I had to do was call her pretty a few times and she practically threw herself at me.”

“Shut your mouth!” the man shouted.

“She wasn’t very loyal if she did that.”

“Fuck you.”

“In a way I saved you the heartbreak.”

“You didn’t save me shit..” the man approached Akira and grabbed his collar, Zeriya stepped forward and Akira halted him with his hand.

“Hitting me won’t bring her back.”

“But it’ll make me feel better!” the man swung his fist and punched Akira in the cheek, causing his mask to fling off.

“I-I suppose that’s right..” Akira grabbed the man's hand holding his collar and the man swung at him again but this time Akira caught it “I’ll give you another chance.”

“Fuck you.” the man spat in Akira’s face, the crowd gasped.

“W-Why isn’t anyone doing anything?!” Yusuke asked, pulling on a man’s shoulder “They aren’t going to kill each other.”

“Are you kidding?!” Yusuke couldn't believe how useless everyone was being, was this normal? it didn't feel normal to him at all.

Akira’s nails pierced into the man hands, his gloves ripped apart as they grew
“Tnh!” the man let Akira go and he did the same, stepping back.

“Well then, why is everyone gawking? Return to your previous self's.” Akira swung around and went up the stairs, people began whispering to each other and Yusuke went over to Akira’s mask, picking it up and following him.

 

Yusuke followed Akira into his bedroom but he wasn’t in there, Yusuke heard water running and followed it, there was an ensuite in here, he placed the mask on the dresser and he pushed the door open and saw Akira washing his face, he stepped inside and approached Akira, touching his shoulder, it startled Akira and he turned to Yusuke quickly.

“What are you doing?!” Akira quickly pulled a nearby towel onto his hands and wiped his face

“Are you alright?” Yusuke asked with concern, today was extremely stressful for him but he still managed to care for Akira's well-being.

“I’m fine.” Akira mumbled

Yusuke noticed Akira’s ripped gloves on the sink “How is your cheek?”

“I’m more concerned about the spit.” Akira shifted uncomfortably “Now get out..”

“Why..?”

“Because I said so.”

Yusuke wanted to tell him something now that he had the chance “I finished the painting.” he smiled slightly.

“Oh?”

“You can come see it after the ball.”

“As if today hasn’t been ruined for you yet.” Akira muttered

Yusuke averted eyes “It’s been...hard..but I feel okay when I’m next to you.”

“..You’re strange.”

“Huh?”

“How can you still like someone like me..? I’ve put you through a lot..” Akira sighed, he seemed upset.

“Because we’re friends and friends forgive each other.” Yusuke touched Akira’s hands over the towel and grinned

“R-Right..friends..” Akira mumbled

“But..why did you cover your hands once you noticed me?” Yusuke asked

“Er..”

“There’s something wrong with your left one...isn’t there?”

“Sheesh...it’s like you have a sharp eye for these things..” Akira said sheepishly

“Can I pull the towel off..?”

“I may as well no longer hide it..”

“So is that a yes?”

Akira nodded “Yes.”

Yusuke gently pulled the towel away, Akira twisted his left hand, presenting the back of it to Yusuke, Akira had a scar on the back of his hand, it looked similar to a sun pattern.

“H-How did you get it..?” Yusuke asked

“It appeared on my body when I got cursed.”

“How did you get cursed?” Yusuke thought it would be okay to ask now that he proved his loyalty.

Akira averted his eyes “I don’t know...probably a witch.”

“I do not believe that.”

“So don’t.”

Yusuke sighed in disappointment “I’m sorry. Thank you for showing me.”

“It’s fine, you won’t see it again.”
Akira left the bathroom and Yusuke followed him, Akira went over to his closet and pulled out a new pair of gloves.

“Why not..?” Yusuke asked

“Because I don’t like looking at it.” Akira slid the gloves on

“O-Oh...you don’t have to be ashamed of it.”

“But I am.”

Yusuke frowned “I’m sorry..”

Akira sighed “Come on, we have to salvage this party.”.

 

~~~~

“How can you...be so calm?” Yusuke asked, him and Akira were now standing near a party table, talking.

“What do you mean?”

Yusuke moved some his hair behind his ear nervously “....Well you got punched and..killed one of your owns partner..”

“His anger was to be expected.”

Yusuke frowned slightly “..Do you not feel guilt?”

“Not really, she was willing to cheat on her partner, I didn’t even really have to try and convince her to my room.”

“But...wouldn’t she of known you are a vampire..? Why was she not suspicious of you?”

“Because I try to avoid them but...desperate times called.”

“Why...didn’t you feed?” Yusuke wanted to know why it even got to this stage.

“Tch...s-stop it.”
Yusuke’s eyes widen from Akira’s pained facial expression.

“I’m so sorry!” Yusuke said as he touched Akira’s arm trying to comfort him.

“It’s fine..” Akira averted his eyes

“I didn’t mean to offend you, I’m really sorry..” Yusuke mumbled

“You didn’t..” Akira sighed and looked around, he pulled on Yusuke's arm, allowing him to whisper in his ear “I was hoping your blood would fix my hunger too.” he let go.

Yusuke frowned “I’m sorry it doesn’t..”

“It’s not your fault, I was a fool to even try and test it.” Akira adjusted his glove “It’s not the only reason.”

“Hm..?”

“..Interacting with you so casually reminded me of my old self...it reminded me that killing people was wrong...that they are sentient beings too...I guess I wanted my old self back..” Akira said sadly

Yusuke averted his eyes “I-It’s a cruel fate...I’m sorry you have to go through this..” Yusuke cupped Akira’s hand “But I’m here with you now, at least I can give you your sunlight back.” he smiled

“..I should remain lonely...it’s easier that way.” Akira mumbled

“You can’t avoid me now; our fates are intertwined.”

“I guess they are..” Akira averted his eyes.

“I won’t let you be lonely ever again, you’re still a good person regardless of what you must do to continue surviving, Akira.”

“Am I really..?”

“Of course!”

A smile formed on Akira lips “I suppose if it’s coming from you; it must be true.”

Yusuke blushed “E-eheh..”

“Would you like to dance?” Akira asked.

Yusuke glanced at the dance floor, it was a slow dance where you hold each other closely “U-Um...I’m still a bit light headed from before..”

“I understand.”

“Sorry..”

“Don’t apologize but I must calm this party down so..”
Yusuke noticed he was still holding Akira's hand and let go “Ah! Y-Yes!” he bowed

Akira chuckled “You’re so strange..” and with that Akira walked off into the dancing people, Yusuke clenched his chest; he knew if he danced like that with Akira he’d feel his beating heart and probably have a heart attack.

 

Yusuke watched the others dance, he reflected back on today; from finishing his painting, to dragging a corpse and seeing a new side of Akira; he felt sick whenever he thought about the corpse so he pushed it out of his mind...now only Akira remained in it; it seems like Akira spending time with Yusuke also affected him, Yusuke made him question himself again...

Yusuke realized how much pain Akira must be in from what this curse has done to his life, Yusuke knew if he was Akira he wouldn’t be strong enough to continue on with that guilt, you’d have to convince yourself that what you were doing was right if you wanted to remain sane.

Chapter Text

Yusuke continued watching them, he felt like he was being too asocial but he was too stressed out to try and make new friends, he just wanted a nap.

He noticed Akira dancing with a woman, she was resting on his shoulder, Yusuke found a new feeling boiling inside of him; jealousy.

Yusuke watched to two move around elegantly and he shifted uncomfortably, he didn’t like this new feeling he was experiencing and had the urge to go up to Akira, he tried distracting himself from it by picking up the first food item he could and shoving it in his mouth only to find that it tasted disgusting.

He looked at what he picked up, he read the label ‘Black Caviar Crostini’ he grabbed a napkin and spat it out, there was no way he could continue forcing himself to eat it once he found out what it was; he knew caviar was very expensive but to him it tasted badly, he questioned why it was so expensive when it tasted like that, he threw the napkin out and saw Akira again.

The caviar didn’t distract him at all, the feelings were starting to overwhelm him, he sighed and touched his hair idly, his eyes locked onto the two and he made his decision.

 

Yusuke pushed through others to get closer to Akira, he got close enough and now his stomach screamed at him with anxiety, he approached Akira trying to ignore his body's fight or flight and tapped his shoulder, Akira turned to him, stopping his movements.

“U-Uhm..” Yusuke gulped, he had lost his tongue, he couldn’t talk.

“What is it, Yusuke?” Akira asked

Yusuke shook his head and gain some composure back “U-Uh..I-I..” he clenched his fists “Take...t-that offer..”

“Huh?”

“The dance..” Yusuke mumbled

“Oh, of course.” Akira let go of the woman “Thank you for the dance.” he grabbed the woman's hand and kissed her knuckle; Yusuke’s jealousy hit the max, the woman smiled and walked off, Akira turned to Yusuke “Well?”.

 

“I-I don’t know how to..” Yusuke mumbled, he was flustered but determined to do this.

“I’ll teach you.” Akira placed his hand on Yusuke hip and it made his body jolt “Put your arm around my shoulder.” Yusuke listened, the fabric of Akira’s coat felt nice “Next we intertwine our fingers.” with their free hands they touched their palms together and Akira intertwined his fingers with Yusuke’s.

Yusuke felt his face burning but the jealousy was gone “Now move with me.” Akira began moving his body and Yusuke followed his movements.

Eventually he got the hang of it and stopped stumbling “D-Dancing is...actually quite fun..” Yusuke broke the silence

“You enjoy it?” Akira asked

“Yes...I’m sorry if I keep stepping on your toes..”

“That’s alright. When I first starting dancing I tripped over and broke a vase.” Akira smiled

Yusuke chuckled “Really? You must’ve been adorable as a child.” he smiled back

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you're gorgeous now.” Yusuke blurted that out without much thought so he tried to salvage it “I-I mean...I would like to capture your beauty.”

“..My beauty?” a pink hue formed on Akira’s cheeks

“Uh..I would...like to paint that portrait.” Yusuke mumbled

“Hmm...I suppose you could become my personal artist.” Akira chuckled “I’ll have to see that painting before I make that decision though.”

Yusuke remembered “A-Ah, yes..that was today..” he kind of wanted to just fall asleep after this.

“Is it no longer?” Akira asked

“How long is the ball going to last..?”

“It’s ending soon.”

“Okay...perhaps we can fit it in then..”

“Have you eaten yet?” Akira changed the subject

“N-Not yet..” Yusuke had flashbacks to burying the corpse “I-I don’t think I will..”

“Why not?”

“I feel..a bit unwell..”

“Ah..I see.”

The rhyme of the music changed and Yusuke noticed others leaning their heads on their partners, would he have to do that with Akira? His heart was beating fast enough simply by touching him and now he would have to move even closer?

“Are you alright?” Akira’s voice snapped him out of his trance, he must’ve noticed him staring at others “Uh..y-yes..”

Akira stepped forward causing their chests to touch, Yusuke entire body became hot, the tip of his ears felt like they were going to burn off from his body temperature

“Are you uncomfortable like this?” Akira asked

“..N-No..” Yusuke found himself wanting Akira to touch him more, he swallowed his anxiety and tried to rest his head against Akira's but he couldn’t move very well, all he managed to do was bring his face closer to Akira’s.

Their lips were so close and their eyes were locked onto each others Yusuke realized that and averted his eyes “Ah! Sorry!” he burrowed his face in Akira’s neck.

“Are you okay?”

Yusuke realized he was now touching Akira even more “Ahh! Yes, I just have to go toilet!” he pulled away quickly and rushed through the others, he felt someone staring daggers at him but ignored it, he found the bathroom and rushed inside, locking himself in a stall.

 

Yusuke pulled the toilet seat down and sat on it, he clenched his beating heart with both his hands, he knew his reaction wasn’t normal; no one has ever made Yusuke feel this way, he was confused by his feelings but had an idea of what they now were “I-It’s so..obvious..” he was alone in the bathroom and talking aloud helped him compose himself “I….think I...have intimate feelings..for Akira..”

He hugged his knees “N-No..I don’t..want to..ruin everything.” tears welled into his eyes and he pulled the mask off, it was digging into his cheeks, he wiped his eyes and sniffed “I don’t..want to feel this way..” Yusuke sobbed into his knees; he thought his feelings for Akira were wrong, he didn’t want to ruin what they had together, he thought that if he told anyone they might scold him for it, he was used to being punished for seeking more so that nature started to apply here.

Yusuke thought it would be selfish to demand his attention, he knew Akira would eventually need to create an offspring and Yusuke couldn’t give that to him “M-Maybe...they’ll..g-go away..” Yusuke hoped his feelings would vanish but there was another part of him; he also wanted them to grow, he wanted to experience love deep down, he wanted to be with Akira.

Yusuke didn’t just develop these feelings because Akira was nice to him, it was so much more than that but he was confused, he didn’t know what to do...he didn’t want to leave Akira, he didn’t want Akira to hate him but he also...wanted to tell Akira.. “T-They will go away..” he wiped his tears “I’m s-sure of it..” Yusuke decided he was going to hide his feelings; that way he could continue being by Akira’s side without the risk of rejection.

 

Yusuke calmed down and washed his face, this one day has made his entire world shake and he felt like it was going to continue shaking.

Yusuke pushed the bathroom door open and stepped outside
“Are you alright?” Akira was waiting for him

“Y-Yes..I just feel a bit sick..” Yusuke seeing Akira after admitting he had feelings for him was exhausting.

“I’m sorry we had to make you do that..” Akira was talking about the corpse

“..It’s alright..I had to see it at least once..” Yusuke sighed, he wanted to get out of this conversation.

“The party's over.”

“Oh, I see.”

“Would you like to do the viewing now?”

Yusuke shook his head “M-Maybe tomorrow, I think I need some sleep.” he rubbed his eye wearily, he hoped it wasn't obvious he had been crying.

“Alright..” Akira frowned slightly

“Goodnight, Akira.”

“Goodnight.”

 

Yusuke went back to his room and prepared for bed.

Yusuke lay in bed hugging a pillow, he buried his face into it, it was now obvious to Yusuke that he had an attraction for Akira and a affect on Akira...but was it enough for Akira to feel the same way?
Did Yusuke even want that?
He was content with living his life like this but was it wrong if he wanted to seek more?

Perhaps this was why he was willing to drag that corpse today too..

He thought about how the other vampires would’ve reacted; he doubted they’d like it, wasn’t a relationship between a vampire and human a sin?

Yusuke was trying to think up any reason to justify keeping his feelings to himself, he has probably had these feelings for much longer but they only continued to grow more and more before it eventually thrusted into his face like today...would his feelings really vanish if that was the case? He shouldn’t avoid Akira, he didn’t want to; it’ll only make him even more suspicious but if he wanted his life to remain the same then he’d have to lock his heart away and swallow the key.

Chapter Text

The next day it stormed, Yusuke's bedroom was filled with the sound of rain hitting the windows, it hadn’t rained in quite awhile but it was fitting weather for how Yusuke felt.

He stayed in his room glancing at the covered painting a couple of times, the painting wasn’t a representation of their friendship, it was a representation of Yusuke’s feelings; how could he be so blind to his feelings?
Did he just shield himself from them?
He has never experienced anything like this so it’s not necessarily odd he didn’t pick up on it sooner but Yusuke was unsure if he truly did want to hide his feelings.

He continued to question whether if Akira felt the same, perhaps if he knew that it would be easier to deal with.

It could just Akira being nice to him but he felt like there was something else; why would Akira want to experience his first time going outside with Yusuke if he didn’t care..? Yusuke shook his head trying to clear the thoughts that anyone could like him more than friends, thinking about those things will only make it harder to hide his feelings.

Yusuke remained in his room, he needed time to process everything; his chest ached whenever he thought about hiding his feelings and that's all he could think about, he couldn't get it out of his mind, it was glued to him, it was making him frustrated and the emotions he was experiencing were pushing him on the verge of tears again.

There was a knock on Yusuke door, he had kept all the lights off, he couldn't be bothered to turn them on.

“Yusuke?” he heard Akira’s voice behind the door

Yusuke just wanted to be left alone; he didn’t want Akira to see him like this, he hadn’t moved from his bed, he was still in his pajamas with his messy hair, he hadn’t even showered, although he didn’t smell, he had no motivation to do anything at all.

“Yusuke? Are you alright?” Akira called out to him again and Yusuke couldn’t ignore him anymore “I am fine.”

“I’m coming in.” Akira opened the door and stepped inside, closing the door behind himself, the sound was much more louder to Yusuke than usual “Wow, it’s dark in here.” Akira commented as he approached Yusuke “Are you okay?”.

“Yes..” Yusuke was far too depressed to act like he was okay.

Akira frowned slightly and sat down at the end of the bed, looking at Yusuke with worry “I’m sorry...I didn’t want you to see that..” Akira must’ve thought Yusuke's reserved demeanour was because of the corpse.

“N-No..it’s quite alright.” although it was super gross and made Yusuke vomit, he had already released his feelings about that, something new was eating away at him.

“Are you unwell? Do you need medication?” Akira asked

Yusuke shook his head, he was getting a headache from the loud rain.

“Did...I do..something wrong..?” Akira glanced at the floor sadly

“No, of course not!”

Akira frowned “So then...why haven’t you shown me the painting..?”

“I’m..sorry, I didn’t think it was important to you..” Yusuke sighed, he had forgotten all about the painting.
“I promise I’ll show it to you tomorrow.” Yusuke would have to pull himself out of this state if he wanted to keep that promise.

Akira smiled slightly “Okay.”

Yusuke realized he was hurting Akira by acting like this, he told himself he wouldn’t avoid him but he was doing exactly that, perhaps that could motivate him to keep on going.

“You ran off before we could finish our dance..” Akira said softly

“S-Sorry...I had to..vomit once you mentioned food..”

Akira slid closer to Yusuke “Then shall we finish it?”

Yusuke didn't really know what that implied “U-Uh..”

Akira smiled “I guess I’ll just finish it off with our tradition then.”

“W-What do you mean?” Yusuke asked

Akira grabbed Yusuke’s hand from the pillow gently, his hand was much more warmer than Yusuke's, he raised Yusuke's hand to his lips and gently kissed Yusuke’s knuckle “Thank you for the dance.”

Yusuke stared at him bewildered until he felt the heat on his cheeks, he burrowed his face into the pillow.

Akira chuckled “Don’t be embarrassed, it’s just a tradition.”
he got up “I’ll go get you some fresh food; you haven’t touched your breakfast.”

“U-Uh..O-Okay..”

Akira gave Yusuke a smile before he left the room.
Yusuke stared at where Akira had kissed him, it burned with a sensation Yusuke has never experienced before and the more he thought about it the more hot he became.

 

Akira returned to the room with a tray, it had a bowl of soup and a jug of water resting on it, he approached Yusuke carefully and set it down on the empty nightstand.
“Do you need anything else?” he asked.

“N-No...this is enough, thank you.”

“Alright, I’ll let you eat then.” Akira picked up the other tray Yusuke hadn't touched.

Yusuke was feeling a little better simply by talking to Akira again, he thought it'd make him feel worse but it had the opposite affect “I’m sorry I didn’t show you the painting..” he said softly

“We always have tomorrow; I just hope you feel better tomorrow.”

“I’m sure I will.” Yusuke smiled slightly

“Get some rest then.” Akira smiled back “Goodnight, Yusuke.”
“Goodnight.”

Akira left the room with the tray “...I’m so blind..” Yusuke glanced at the bowl of soup “It’s obvious he cares about me..”.

Chapter Text

The next morning Yusuke felt better, he felt like he could talk to Akira again without feeling guilty, he was going to continue hiding his feelings unless..he got an answer as to what he must do.

Yusuke got prepared to show Akira the painting, he had a shower, got dressed and brushed his hair; everything he avoided doing yesterday, he felt like it wasn’t right to act like that if he wanted things to go back to normal, he still wanted to remain by Akira's side regardless of his feelings for him, even if it’ll be a little more awkward and aware now.

Yusuke had asked Zeriya to go get Akira for him, while waiting he moved the easel into different directions and positions, trying to get it just right for the reveal, he was nervous but ready to do this now.

Akira came into the room with his red shirt on, Yusuke realized how attractive Akira actually was in clothing that hugged his form “Are you feeling better?” he asked as he approached Yusuke.

“Yes, much better.”

A slight smile formed on Akira's lips “You look it too.”

“Uh..T-Thank you..” Yusuke moved his hair slightly, he had to compose himself if he wanted to appear normal.

“Well then, I’m sure this painting is excited from being finally revealed.” Akira said

“Sorry for the wait.” Yusuke apologized, glancing at the covered painting.

“No, it’s fine, other things..happened..”

Yusuke grabbed onto the cloth and pulled it off, butterflies formed in his stomach from finally showing one of his paintings to someone else, it made his anxiety even worse from the fact he was showing it to someone he loved.

Akira stared at the painting with admiration “It’s truly magnificent, Yusuke.” he grinned.

The painting was of a pond with different types of flowers around it, flowers that were present in the garden, koi fish swam in the pond with lotuses resting on the water's surface, there was a Blue Hydrangea floating in the center of the pond.

“It’s gorgeous.” Akira glanced at Yusuke, his eyes were filled with respect.

“Thank you, it represents a new future for me.” Yusuke smiled

“We can hang it up if you like.”

“E-Eh...Not yet..” Yusuke wasn't ready for everyone to see his paintings yet

“Maybe one day.” Akira suggested

Yusuke was happy Akira even suggested that “Yes, maybe.” but he just wasn't ready yet.

“You should continue painting, I’m sure it’s your passion.” Akira stepped closer to Yusuke making eye contact.

Yusuke tried not to blush but he couldn't control it “I will.”

“No matter what?” Akira asked

“Eh?”

“You won’t ever stop painting regardless of what happens?”

“O-Of course.”

“Do you promise?” Akira pushed for an answer

Yusuke found these questions strange “...Is something going to happen..?”
He placed his hand on his chest with worry.

“No, I just don’t want you to give up.” Akira clarified

“..I won’t.”

“Can you not promise it?”

“I promise I won’t give up.”

Akira smiled “Good, I want my mansion filled with your paintings one day.”

“I-I’m not that good..!”

“Yes, you are.”

“T-Thank you..it means a lot for my artwork to be complimented.” Yusuke blushed slightly

“Did your father not like your art work..?” Akira asked with concern

“He...always said they weren’t good enough..” Yusuke mumbled

“He’s a blind fool.” Akira sighed

Yusuke touched the painting carefully “I suffered the worst kind of art block when I first got here...it’s why I needed a retry.” he paused “I felt guilty whenever I painted, after all my skills are all his, he taught me them and forged me into the person I am today...I don’t think about him much anymore and I question if that’s wrong...should I not at least miss him? Do I truly hate him so much that I can no longer recognize what he did for me..?” Yusuke pondered out loud.

“You don’t owe him anything.”

“Eh..?”

“He choose to raise you and he also choose to be cruel to you. So what if he raised you? He also caused you pain and made you suffer, no good man would treat his own child like that if he was anything of worth.” Akira glanced at the painting.

“But...you have taught me that..the world isn’t so black and white.”

“It isn’t however you don’t have to forgive him just because he raised you.”

“But...what if there is something else to him..? An unseen answer for his behaviour?”

“Only you can choose whether to explore that or not.”

“How can I..?”

“Um..” Akira shifted uncomfortably
“Just because there might be a reason...it doesn’t always make it right..the victim decides that.”

“But I...I can’t decide that here..”

“...Do you wish to leave?” Akira averted his eyes and clenched his chest, it seems like he was upset with the thought.

“No, I do not know what I want. I suppose I was just rambling..” Yusuke scratched his cheek awkwardly, he truly was just rambling but maybe it held some truth behind it.

“I...don’t think I’m ready to allow you out yet.” Akira mumbled

“I understand. I suppose I was just applying the logic you taught me to him as well..”
Yusuke sighed “He told me himself that I should not return, it’s quite obvious how he feels about me..”

“I’m sorry it’s like that..” Akira rubbed his nape nervously

“My life is no longer like that.” Yusuke touched the blue hydrangea in the painting carefully “It’s now something so much better.” he smiled

“I’m happy to hear that..” Akira smiled but it felt different from usual “Are you hungry?” he asked.

“No thank you, I’m going to go look for a new project today.” it might help Yusuke stop thinking about Akira and his feelings.

“I hope you find one.”

“I’m certain I will, this mansion has many beauties in it.”

“I would love to help you look but uh...I must deal with what happened at the ball..”

“Oh yes...is he okay..?”

“I think so..he eventually realized she wasn’t being very loyal.”

Yusuke thought back to what he did “I can’t believe I saw a dead person..” he sighed

“I know..I’m sorry.”

“I don’t understand how you can handle doing that..”

“I must if I wish to live...it’s for my kin.” Akira twirled a strand of his hair onto his finger “Even if they end up hating me for it sometimes..” his eyes became filled with sorrow.

“..Zeriya told me the ones whom reside in the manor are cowards..” Yusuke mentioned

“That’s..his opinion.”

“You disagree?”

Akira sighed “....I just don’t acknowledge it..”

“Oh..I’m sorry.” Yusuke frowned

“No, it’s fine; it’s normal for even my own people to reject..me.”

Yusuke touched Akira’s shoulder, comforting him.

“It’s funny how a human wants to be my friend but not my own people.” Akira chuckled but it didn't feel joyful at all
It seems like Akira’s loneliness was true, even if he was surrounded by people who loved him the fact that there was any amount of rejection on the other side ate away at him.

“I’m truly sorry, Akira.” Yusuke apologized

“No...Monsters should know their place.” Akira sighed

Yusuke cupped Akira’s hand “I’m so sorry I called you that..” he shook his head “I didn’t mean to hurt you..tch..” tears welled in Yusuke’s eyes “..I’m so sorry, Akira..” the realization of the pain he may of caused Akira in his ignorance overwhelmed him.

Akira stared at Yusuke in astonishment “W-Why..are you crying..?”

“Because...your pain..your suffering, it upsets me..! You do not..deserve this..” Yusuke pulled Akira’s hand to his cheek and pressed it against it, his gloved hand felt cold “I-I won’t...allow you to be alone no more!”

“Thank you...Yusuke.” Akira said softly and smiled, his eyes gleamed.

“We’ll always be friends..” Yusuke mumbled softly

“..I would like that.”

They smiled at each other and Akira stepped forward, leaning his body against Yusuke's, hugging him “Thank you..Yusuke.”

Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira, his heart was ready to jump out of his throat but his desire to comfort Akira was stronger, his embarrassment could come later.

They stayed like that for a bit, comforting each other until Akira pulled away gently “I feel better now.”

“I’m glad.”
they smiled at each other again and there was a slight pause in their conversation.

Akira shifted awkwardly and his cheeks became overbearingly red "Y-Yusuke I-...N-Never mind.."

"What is it Akira?"

Akira scratched his head awkwardly "I...just wanted to know if you're okay..?"

Yusuke was confused "Of course I am.."

“..I’ll let you go find that project now.”

“A-Alright..”

Akira waved and left the room, Yusuke felt achieved, not only did he show his painting to Akira he was also able to comfort him “..As long as I can keep his smile genuine..I want nothing else.”.

Yusuke found a new project to work on that day although it took him quite awhile, he wanted explored the possibilities for it first.

Chapter Text

The next day Yusuke left his room, he started to crave being next to Akira, to talk to him and see his smile, to learn more and more about the man he harboured such strong hidden feelings for.

He started to wonder how Akira felt about him even more, the fact he was willing to touch Yusuke like that made him a little excited, it could mean Akira liked him too or..it could mean Akira is just handsy sometimes either way he wanted an answer.

 

Zeriya had informed Yusuke that Akira wished to speak to him outside, it made Yusuke excited, what would he learn today?

Yusuke went out the backyard and saw Akira standing near a long wooden bench, he approached him.
“You summoned me?” Yusuke asked, trying to hide his excitement.

“Yes..I wanted to experience something with you.” Akira said

“W-What do you mean..?”

“First...let me take some of your blood so there are no accidents.”

“Alright...how long does the effect last actually..?”

“..It depends how much blood I drink.”

“Oh, I see.”

Akira stepped closer “Sorry, I probably should’ve done this yesterday..”

“I don’t mind it, Akira.” Yusuke pulled the patch off his neck “I’m ready.”

“Wow, you’ve gotten used to this pretty quickly.”

“Anything for you, Akira.” Yusuke smiled and Akira blushed slightly “Okay, I’m doing it..” Akira wrapped one of his arms around Yusuke and leaned closer to his neck, biting it; Yusuke didn’t flinch, however it was weird doing it standing up, especially outside; it’s like Akira wasn’t being very cautious..which was odd to Yusuke.

Akira pulled away “Thank you.” he wiped his mouth

“You’re welcome.”

Akira pulled his gloves off and shoved them into his pocket

“E-Eh..?” Yusuke reacted to it out loud

Akira glanced at the bench “I used to walk on top of this bench with my father guiding me; it always made my mother upset.” he chuckled “She got upset because my father was rather clumsy, she didn’t want me to fall and hurt myself.”

Akira moved closer to the bench and caressed it “I remember my father taking me out here quickly for one more lesson before he died…”

Yusuke frowned, they both had lost their parents so he could relate to the despair of it.

“I inherited his clumsiness...so he wanted to teach me how to walk properly with this..” Akira glanced at Yusuke “..I wanted to see if I can make it to the end without stumbling now.”

Yusuke kind of understood what Akira was trying to ask “I would be glad to help you.” he smiled

“Really? You don’t think it’s childish?”

“Of course not..I find it..adorable.”

Akira grinned “Thank you, Yusuke.”

Akira stepped up onto the bench and Yusuke went over to his side “I’m going to need your hand.” Akira said happily “Of course.” Yusuke held his hand up to Akira and he took it, it was weird touching Akira’s skin instead of a glove, Yusuke liked the change.

“Are you ready to begin?”

“Yes, of course.”.

The two slowly walked together, it was peaceful, the fact Akira had asked Yusuke this made him happy, he could’ve done this with anyone tall enough, yet he picked Yusuke.

Yusuke started to wonder if keeping his feelings to himself was truly a good idea, why would Akira want to experience something so deep and dear to him with Yusuke had he not felt something special? This was a direction, a hint, Yusuke did not expect and perhaps he should act on it.

He watched the boy he loved move slowly on the bench, the way his hair would bounce with each step and their hands locked together, all of it intrigued Yusuke, it's almost like they were a couple.

Akira made it to the end without stumbling, he jumped off and cheered “I did it!”

Yusuke chuckled at his excitement “Of course you did.”

“Thank you Yusuke...this was the best farewell gift.”

“F-Farewell..?”

“Oh, sorry; I got my words mixed up.”

“O-Okay..” Yusuke became worried, he didn't think that was a mere mistake.

“Here you go.” Akira cupped Yusuke’s hand and dropped something into his palms, Yusuke looked down at it “A-A ring..?”
A black ring with a bright purple gem lay on his palms, it shined against the sunlight.

“Red and blue creates purple.” Akira smiled “So I thought I should give you a gift to remember our friendship.”

“It’s gorgeous, Akira.”
Akira was acting strange but Yusuke didn’t want to acknowledge it just in case he was wrong, perhaps he was nervous again? “I certainly will treasure it.” Yusuke caressed the ring “Thank you, Akira.” he smiled.

“I’m glad you like it.”

“I love it.” Yusuke said happily

“Thank you for today, it means a lot to me.”

“You’re welcome, I’m happy I could be of assistance.”

“Are you hungry?” Akira asked

If it meant Yusuke could spend more time with Akira then he would overeat if he had to "I could eat."

“Come on then.”
The two went back inside the mansion, Yusuke held the ring firmly and they enjoyed another cake together.

 

Yusuke lay in his bed, staring at the ring “He likes me..too.” he turned, eyes still locked onto the ring.
Akira could’ve asked Zeriya to do that with him, after all he was taller than Yusuke and the two had a history together but he picked Yusuke; he obviously had it on his mind for awhile too, he even bought a gift that represented them together quite well.

Even as oblivious Yusuke is to his own emotions even he could see that Akira felt something, it only made him want to confess but the fear of rejection was still there, there were many reasons as to why the two couldn't be together romantically, Akira was the type of person to prioritize goals over his well-being and desires and that might just be enough of a reason for him to reject Yusuke.

Yusuke hoped Akira would confess to him so he understood what he was doing but things don't always turn out perfectly.

Chapter Text

The next morning Yusuke was greeted to a knock on his door right after he dressed himself, he answered it; Akira had summoned him up to his room; Yusuke wondered what for.

Yusuke went to Akira’s room, he pushed the door open to be greeted by blinding light, it seems like Akira had opened all the windows in his room and allowed the sunlight to fill it, he noticed Akira sitting on his bed, staring out the window, Yusuke went over to him “You summoned me?”.

“Ah, yes; please sit down.” Akira said, he was expecting Yusuke
Yusuke sat down next to Akira quietly and they made eye contact

“I have good news.” Akira said

“Hm..? Good news?” Yusuke asked

“Yes.”

“What kind?”

Akira smiled but it felt forced “I’m letting you go back home.”

Yusuke's eyes widened with surprise “W-What..?!”

“You’re free to go Yusuke, this will no longer be your prison.”

“My..prison..?!” Yusuke didn’t understand why Akira was saying such things but it made him extremely worried, he never thought of this place like that and started to question if he ever implied it to Akira recently.

“Yes, I have organized a case of cash for you to do whatever you wish with, you can return to your father or go on your own path.”

Yusuke questioned why Akira even thought he wanted that, it was causing him panic “...You’re insane if you think I want that!”

“Oh?” Akira's demeanor was extremely strange, Yusuke couldn't read it.

“I wish to continue being your light, your friend!”

“How much of that is the Stockholm syndrome and not the true you?”

“Stockholm syndrome?!” Yusuke knew it wasn’t that, he started to panic even more, did he ever give Akira that impression or was it something else?

“I’m no fool, Yusuke. No one can like me as a friend, no outsider; it’s impossible.” Akira shook his head “Your attitude is feeding my illusions that it might actually be true..”

Yusuke needed to prove himself again “Because it is Akira!” he shouted, he knew it wouldn't be so easy especially since Akira seems to be struggling with insecurities.

“It’s not! Your mind just created your feelings so you can survive!” Akira shouted back

“I know what that mentality feels like more than any other because of Madarame...and it is nothing even close to what I experience with you! You’ve never abused me..”

“That doesn’t matter; I know it’s not real!”

“Please Akira...my feelings are nothing like that..” Yusuke clenched the blanket, he felt his entire world starting to slip away

“I selfishly locked you away for my own happiness, I manipulated you through what your father did to you; how am I a good person?!” Akira gritted his teeth “Stop making me question my place! I learnt it 10 years ago and will continue to accept it!”

Yusuke now understood why Akira was doing this “I reject your offer.”

“Why?! Why don’t you want to leave me?!”

“Because..I love you, Akira.”. Yusuke blurted out those words and realized, causing his face to become extremely red.

Akira eyes widened “What…?” he muttered

Embarrassment could come later, right now Yusuke had to convince Akira “Those are my true feelings for you Akira. I know they are not fake, I didn’t get closer to you out of fear, I did it on my own free will; free will that I had gained from being here with you...Yes, our meeting was unfortunate but the fact it turned out like this makes it all worth it to me.”

“...You can’t possibly love me...You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Akira continued to deny Yusuke's feelings

“I do Akira. I had many chances to escape if that was truly what I wanted, the first day I left the bedroom I had the chance, when my fear was the highest. No one was guarding the door...I could’ve tried but I didn’t want to.”

Akira averted his eyes

“That night you made that mistake, the one at the ball, you asked for my help but I no longer believe you actually needed me, you were trying to scare me away with the reality of what you must do...I think that’s why you allowed me outside alone, to see if I would run away from that reality. When I went outside no one even tried to stop me, they didn’t even ask me about it...and I don’t believe others knew about your mistake just yet...that shows me you never ordered your servants to lock me inside...you told them not to stop me, didn’t you? It was like that from the start.” the puzzle pieces were clicking into place in Yusuke’s mind, it was merely a theory but it held weight to it.

“..No…” Akira was denying it but he knew Yusuke was right.

“If I wanted to leave then I could’ve but I choose to stay and..” Yusuke grabbed Akira’s hands with care “ I will continue on staying, I do not wish to leave you! I want to stay by your side and be your happiness, I want to continue learning about a world I was blinded to, I want to keep on learning the complexity of people and want to experience it myself!”

“.....”

“I-I know you..feel something for me too, it’s why you’re trying to get rid of me...you believe you’re not allowed happiness because of your curse, you’re so ashamed of it you have locked yourself away...but you don’t have to do that anymore, when will you break the curses hold on you Akira?”

“S-Stop it..” Akira didn’t want to hear how much he actually exposed to Yusuke.

“Yesterday...you were trying to convince me to stay weren’t you? You wanted to feel happiness one last time before throwing it away but..” Yusuke caressed Akira’s hands “I will never allow you to experience loneliness again, Akira. That is my choice.” he smiled

Tears welled in Akira’s eyes “W-Why do you not see it..?! I am the curse!” he held his tears back.

“No you’re not, Akira is inside of you too, you’re screaming out for help...and I want to help you.”

“Tch..” Akira sniffled

“Your life doesn’t have to remain like this Akira...I’m willing to be here besides you, I want to be here for the rest of my life...it’s all me Akira, nothing else is influencing me.”

“Even…” Akira swallowed

“Yes. I want to be with you knowing what you must do, I want to be with Akira, the one in front of me.” Yusuke smiled “I love you Akira...so please make the choice yourself, choose what your heart desires. Show me our time together meant something to you and the emotions you displayed during them were real...like mine.”

Akira thought about his choice carefully, he knew what he wanted but it was difficult to commit to it.
Yusuke caressed Akira’s fingers in his hand, he wasn’t sure if it was appropriate but he wanted to reassure Akira his feelings were indeed real.

Akira leaned forward slowly, his eyes locked onto Yusuke’s as he moved his lips closer “You won’t regret this..?”

“Of co-”
Akira pressed his lips against Yusuke’s, interrupting him, Yusuke closed his eyes slowly once he noticed Akira had his closed, he was able to focus on it more once he closed them, Akira’s lips felt soft and had a sweet taste to them, Yusuke could smell Akira’s scent much more than usual, he kind of smelt like coffee beans, he felt the sunlight shining onto them, he felt Akira bring his hand up onto the back of his neck and caressed his nape with affection, Yusuke wanted to show Akira he was enjoying their moment together so he placed his hand on Akira’s cheek caressing it.

Yusuke has never kissed or been kissed by someone before so he wasn’t sure how he should express himself during them but he allowed his body to move on it’s own, without much thought perhaps that was the best way to do it.

 

Akira broke their kiss slowly, staring into Yusuke’s eyes, his cheeks were extremely red “I-I was asking myself..” he raised his hand to his lips touching it, he couldn’t believe he just kissed Yusuke.

Yusuke intertwined his fingers with Akira’s other hand carefully “Thank you..for choosing me.” he smiled with absolute joy

Akira sighed and leaned his head onto Yusuke’s shoulder.

“I have to...tell you something before we proceed..” Akira mumbled sheepishly

“What is it Akira?”

“...It’s not a curse.”

“Hm..?”

“I wasn’t cursed by a witch…”

“..I see..” Yusuke was finally going to know the truth about Akira's condition but it wouldn't make him doubt his decision, even if it was something terrible however he felt like it was something traumatic that happened to Akira, not another.

 

“10 years ago...I confided in a man I met at a flower shop in a more distant village...I would buy exotic seeds from the shop he worked at, we grew close; I told him about my parents. Anyway I ended up falling in love with him..” Akira wiped his eyes “I confessed to him eventually and he felt the same but...he didn’t know I was a vampire...I was planning on telling him but..." Akira paused

He continued after gaining some composure "2 days in our relationship he revealed to me that his parents were viciously murdered in front of him as a child….by a vampire, the vampire allowed him to live because ‘nobody will believe you; I’ll enjoy watching you squirm for a place in this world.’...”

Akira sighed heavily and hugged Yusuke’s arm tightly “Obviously that crushed the man I used to love...so I knew I couldn’t tell him; I was scared to...he told me he was passed around in shitty orphanages having to deal with people denying the truth..” he clenched Yusuke’s arm “I felt bad for him and wanted to make him happy...After awhile he had picked up on me being a vampire, I don’t know when; I was blind to it."

Yusuke listened patiently, he wanted to hug Akira but knew it probably wasn't appropriate.

"One night...we were in this room together..looking out these windows at the moonlight..I started to feel a bit peckish and he asked me a strange question ‘Do you like the way you are?’ I answered ‘Of course’ and excused myself from the room to drink quickly...I returned and he was gone.” Akira closed his eyes tightly, it was hard for him to talk about this

“I looked around for him...and then suddenly...I felt a sharp pain in my back...I was in a state of shock and he used it to his advantage..he stabbed my left hand with a syringe and injected me with fluids. I screamed in agony, my veins felt like they were being consumed by acid, it...was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my entire life...my servants heard me. He was talking to me but I could barely hear him over my screams, I thrashed around on the floor begging for the pain to stop…”

Akira burrowed his face in Yusuke’s arm “All I heard him say was he had ‘cured me of my disease’ and that ‘now you no longer have to hurt people’. My servants came into the room and he asked me that question again ‘Do you like being a vampire?’ I answered the same...if you can even call it an answer in my state...it made him go berserk and flee out the open window, some of my servants followed him but we were all pretty convinced he had died from blood lost from the fall.”

Akira sat up and removed his gloves “That is why I’m like this, it’s ironic that his cure only made me worse…”

“..Jesus christ…” Yusuke couldn’t believe what he was hearing, it was insane to him how much Akira was able to endure without losing his mind, he wanted to comfort him so he wrapped his arm around Akira but Akira pulled away rejecting it, it caused a prickling sensation in Yusuke's heart.

“It’s why I can’t be with you. I..I like you a lot but...I just..can’t do it again..” Akira sighed heavily, he was stressed.

“..That’s not true..Akira..”
At least Yusuke now knew why Akira was pushing him away.

“I don’t want to go through that betrayal ever again, regardless of my feelings.” Akira rubbed his eye, it was obvious he was upset.

“W-Wait...please give some time to process this..” Yusuke begged for more time, he couldn't let Akira slip away just like that.

“Why? I’m still a monster regardless of why.”

“P-Please..Akira”

Akira sighed and waited quietly.

 

They sat in silence for a bit, Akira moved to the center of the bed and Yusuke was trying to articulate what he was going to say but he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to talk about them so he decided to ask for clarification.

“The syringe did this to you..?” Yusuke asked, he didn’t want to give up on Akira even if he was being distant, he would try and convince him when he got the cue that he could.

“Yes, it’s also why I have that scar on my hand..” Akira touched the scar on his hand, he hated it.

“Is he dead..?”

“We don’t know, we couldn’t find him..” Akira answered

“W-What was his name..?”

Akira narrowed his eyes “Akechi Goro.”

Yusuke sighed “..I don’t know him..”

“He isn’t from your village..”

“What did he mean..by cure you?”

“His father was a scientist..he probably thought he could create a cure for vampires..”

“But...you didn’t eat people back then, right?”

“No, I didn’t. I satisfied my urges with blood bags from hospitals..like everyone else.”

“So...why did he believe you were hurting people..?” Yusuke knew he couldn't exactly judge, he did try to kill Akira once he found out what he was but it was out of fear...not this.

“Probably his trauma...he probably thinks we all kill people..”

“Why...did a vampire kill his parents..?”

“I don’t know, not everyone likes the idea of hiding away in a mansion and living a more normalized life..”

Yusuke thought Akira had most of them under his control but it seems like he was wrong “This is so awful..” Yusuke clenched his chest.
He didn’t know what to say or do, he felt awful but he knew he couldn’t give up on Akira.

“We tried everything, I ate and ate but never felt satisfied, I realized that perhaps the injection fucked with me and I couldn’t ever be full again...so I rejected food it wasn’t helping..I didn’t want to be a burden anymore..and..then Zeriya eventually forced me to...kill a teenager...that person I mention before..” Akira explained

“Y-Yes...he did mention that to me...but in a more vague way..”

“I locked myself away after that, I wanted to die but...Zeriya slapped some sense into me...well more like beat it into me...and now I’m here..”

“H-He beat you…?” That upset Yusuke even more, it was pretty awful treating someone like that after that traumatic experience.

“Yeah...I wasn’t in the right mind so I don’t blame him for it...I have to look after the others regardless of what I feel like..I don't live for myself after all...at least no longer.”

“..Why have you suffered so much?! It’s not fair!” Yusuke clenched his fists, he became overwhelmed by his frustration and sorrow.

“Because that’s how my life turned out..”

Yusuke gritted his teeth “Why?! You don’t deserve this! It’s so frustrating! I-it makes me want to cry..”

“Yelling about it isn’t going to change it..Yusuke.”

“B-But..” tears rolled down Yusuke’s cheeks “I hate t-this...why..?” he wiped them, he wanted to hide his tears, he felt like Akira should be the one crying not him.

“Why do you cry for me..?” Akira asked softly

Yusuke crawled closer to Akira, he got the cue he was waiting for “Because it’s so unfair...it hurts me to hear about you suffering..!”

“...So run away.”

“No, I will do no such thing!”

Akira averted his eyes “...How can you want and care for someone like me..?”

“B-Because regardless of your..curse; I know you’re a good person.”

“You keep saying that, it seems you don’t even know the definition..”

“Akira...you’re still scared .”

“Don’t be ridiculous..”

“You’re scared I’ll hurt you...or betray you...but.” Yusuke grabbed Akira’s hands and intertwined their fingers “Why would I want to? I agreed to be your light, I realized my mistakes of judgement, I jump at every chance to be with you...I want to continue being with you...whether it be friendship or love I do not care; I am content with just being with you...even though my feelings want more, I’m willing to put them aside if you’re not ready yet.”

Akira sighed “..I told myself your feelings towards me were fake...but deep down, I wanted them to be real..as I grew closer to you I..started feeling things I haven’t in so long...I thought that maybe it was your bloods effect but...I didn’t stop feeling them; even when I had none of your blood in my system...I stayed up every night questioning it and thinking about you..” Akira shook his head slightly

“I knew you were falling for me...it was quite obvious but...I didn’t make any attempts to stop it...because I wanted...you to love me..I continued to feed my illusions of happiness...I loved the feelings I was experiencing even if I thought it was fake I craved it, like a drug...and now you’re telling me it was all real..?” Akira questioned

“Yes, all of it was real Akira.”

“But...it can’t be..” Akira frowned slightly

“Why not?”

“Because….”

“If you say because you’re a monster I will cry again.”

Akira sighed “Y-You really want to be with me..? L-Like that…?” he blushed

“Yes, I do.” Yusuke nodded

“But..I can’t.”

“..Why not?”

“..I don’t want to be hurt again..”

“Do you truly think I want to? Is that what your heart truly wants Akira?”

“..I- but..”

Yusuke grabbed Akira’s face gently, forcing him to make eye contact “Please, look at me and think of me as Yusuke. I am not that man and never will be, so why would I want to hurt you?”

“It-”

“Stop making excuses Akira, I will never hurt you like he did, I never will or want to do such a thing...so please...give me your genuine answer.”

Akira's cheeks became extremely red, they almost shined because of the sunlight “I-I...I want to be with you..Y-Yusuke..” he smiled

Yusuke grinned “I’m so happy you feel the same.”

“I’m...not very good at these types of things..” Akira mumbled

“Oh, neither am I; this is my first relationship.”

“Huh?!”

Yusuke chuckled “We’ll learn together Akira.” Yusuke let go and caressed Akira’s cheek “Like we have been doing this entire time..”

Akira let out a noise of happiness “I love you, Yusuke..” his eyes gleamed

“I love you too, Akira..” Yusuke leaned forward and touched Akira’s forehead with his “I’ll continue being your light...and now your heart.”

“Thank you so much..Yusuke..”

Yusuke pressed his lips against Akira’s gently, Akira wrapped his arms around Yusuke’s neck holding him close, their chests touched and they could feel each other's heart beat with a synced rhyme, they shared a loving gentle kiss until they were both satisfied, Yusuke broke it slowly, their cheeks were extremely red, Yusuke found Akira to be very adorable like this, he had always craved to be this close to Akira and now he finally got it.

Chapter Text

Yusuke got an idea, he thought it would be very symbolic “Where’s that suitcase?” he asked as he held Akira close.

Akira raised his eyebrow out of curiosity “Hm..? It’s by the sofa.”

Yusuke gave Akira a quick squeeze before getting off the bed “What are you doing..?” Akira asked

“Proving my love for you.” Yusuke found the suitcase and picked it up, Akira crawled to the edge of the bed watching Yusuke.

Yusuke approached a window and opened it, throwing the suitcase out with a proud grin, they heard it hit the ground “There. As if you thought I’d accept such a thing.” he rubbed his hands together proudly

“..W-Why..did you just throw my money out the window?” Akira stared at Yusuke bewildered

“W-Was that not..right..?” Yusuke blushed with embarrassment, he thought that would be romantic or something.

Akira started to laugh loudly which caused Yusuke’s doubts to fly away “Hah..D-Did you..really just do that?” Akira asked as he struggled with his laughter, he covered his mouth trying to settle down.

Yusuke smiled as he watch his new lover laughing with joy.

Akira settled down and got off the bed with a snicker “Ahh..I’m dating such a dork...I love him so much.” Akira smiled as he approached Yusuke.

“D-Dork?” Yusuke has never been called that before but he didn’t mind it

“You’re the best Yusuke.” Akira grabbed Yusuke’s ears and caressed them “My future looks so bright now.” Akira looked so happy.

Yusuke wanted to capture this moment, he would nail it into his brain if he had to, he wrapped his arms around Akira’s lower back, he wanted to treasure this moment, Akira wrapped his arms around Yusuke’s neck and hugged him “Thank you Yusuke.”

“Now you’re the one thanking me too much.” Yusuke chuckled

“I must express my gratitude in some way.” Akira rubbed his cheek against Yusuke’s neck slowly “Y-Yusuke..there’s something I want to do with you..” he blushed

“What is it?” Yusuke asked

Akira moved and leaned closer to Yusuke's face, he kissed Yusuke, their kisses turned more intense and Akira slowly led Yusuke to the bed, he pushed him down on it, licking Yusuke’s lips a final time “Take your clothes off.” “EH?!”.

~~~

“Y-You tricked me..!” Yusuke blushed, they were now in the bathtub together, Akira suggested they bathe together and while Yusuke was nervous about it he trusts Akira.

“Oh..?” Akira hugged Yusuke from behind “You wanted something else~?”

“Ah!..D-Don’t talk like that!..” Yusuke felt like his ears were going to burn off

Akira rubbed his cheek on Yusuke’s neck “I know you’re not ready for that yet.” he kissed Yusuke’s neck gently.

“Why are we even in here..?” Yusuke asked

“I don’t expose my body to..others so I thought..I should with you.”

Yusuke turned around to face Akira “Thank you Akira.” he placed his hand on Akira’s chest, on his heart “Thank you for accepting me into your heart.” he grinned

Akira placed his hand over Yusuke’s, holding it “Thank you..for even wanting to be in it..” Akira blushed.

Yusuke knew nothing about relationships so he needed guidance “So...where do we go from here?”

“What do you mean?”

“Will...you tell the others; about us..?” Yusuke asked

“Not yet..but I will.”

“Okay.” Yusuke leaned his back onto Akira again “I-It’s quite nice...being like this..with you..” he looked up at Akira.

“Honestly...I’ve been wanting to touch you like this for awhile now..” Akira ran his hand down Yusuke's chest carefully “I can...finally feel your skin properly..”

Yusuke's cheeks couldn't grow any redder “W-Will you continue wearing the gloves?”

“Not when I’m with you..” Akira hugging Yusuke tightly.

Yusuke smiled “I like feeling your hands instead of a glove.” he touched Akira’s hand resting on his stomach.

“I like touching you properly too.” Akira closed his eyes, enjoying his time with Yusuke.

“I-I’ve never kissed someone before...I hope i’m not bad..” Yusuke touched his lips, he couldn’t believe he actually kissed Akira, his body just moved on it’s on own and he allowed it to.

“Mm..I think you’re pretty good but that might just be my feelings for you blinding me.” Akira chuckled

Yusuke pouted, he moved his wet hair away “That's a bit rude.”

"You make me feel good so...y-you're doing it right."

Yusuke smiled "I'm happy I finally told you my feelings.."

“..I’m happy you did too, it made me realize my own were much larger than I previously thought..”

“So..we’re boyfriends now..eheh..” Yusuke scratched his cheek idly

“Y-Yes, we are.” Akira’s cheeks burned from the reality that the two were actually together now.

Yusuke turned around to face Akira again “W-What about your offspring..?” Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira’s neck, hoping he wouldn’t care Yusuke was male.

Akira leaned forward “You’ll give me all the offsprings I need~” he joked

“A-Ah..I’m being serious..”

“Hm...I don’t care about it.”

“Eh..?”

“My feelings developed for a male and I wouldn’t change it.”

“B-But...I can’t give you a child..”

“It’s not like I want one.” Akira chuckled

“But...your kingdom..”

“We’ll worry about that in the future but..I really don’t care about that, I care more about you.”

“O-Okay..” Yusuke was happy with Akira’s reply, if Akira didn’t think it was an issue then Yusuke wouldn’t either.

“I just want to express my love for you right now.” Akira leaned forward even more

“A-Akira I’m naked!”

Akira kissed Yusuke “Mh..!” Akira licked Yusuke’s lips, begging to be let in, Yusuke opened his mouth slightly unsure of what to do and Akira thrusted his tongue inside his mouth “Mnfh!” Akira danced his tongue around Yusuke’s, they rubbed their tongues against each others “Mmh!” Akira broke their kiss, saliva snapped from their tongues.

Yusuke shielded his mouth with his hand “M-My body...is burning..” he felt like he was going to explode.

Akira chuckled “I could make it burn more~”

“Ah! You’re so perverse!” Yusuke pushed his hand into Akira’s cheek

“I guess that’ll have to wait.” Akira mumbled, his voice was a bit muffled because of Yusuke’s hand.

Yusuke rubbed his palm into Akira’s cheek

“A-Alright..” Akira grabbed Yusuke’s hand gently “I’m sorry if I’m a bit rough.”

“EHH?!” Yusuke jammed his hand back into Akira’s cheek with more force, he was so embarrassed.

“I-I meant with expressing my love!”

Yusuke stopped and sighed with relief, he had the vibe Akira was joking though.

“You know I’d never let anyone else touch me like that, right?”

“Y-You need to word things better..”

“You just have a dirty mind.” Akira chuckled

“How can I not? I’ve never experienced something like this a-and now..we’re naked..!”

“I don’t blame you, I make people think dirty sometimes.”

Yusuke sighed, he wanted to change the subject “M-My feelings for you...they feel stronger..”

“Oh?”

“M-Maybe because I...expressed them..”

“That sounds about right...m-mine do too..” Akira scratched his wet hair nervously “D-Do you want to sleep..near me tonight?” he asked sheepishly

“Of course.” Yusuke smiled

“Thank you...i-it’s my favourite part..”

“You’re adorable.”

Akira blushed and got an idea, a way to get away from melting from Yusuke’s compliments “Time to get out.” Akira scooped Yusuke up and stood up, stepping over the bath “What are you doing?!” Yusuke shouted.

~~~

The moment the two got dressed Akira got excited again and picked Yusuke up, he really just wanted to express his love for the boy. Yusuke clung onto Akira for dear life and Akira settled Yusuke down on his bed while kissing him.

The two embraced and kissed each others lovingly, expressing their pent up love for each other, they touched each others hair, Yusuke really like the feeling of Akira’s hair wrapped around his fingers, even though his hair was curly he could move his hand in it with ease, it could be his pillow it was that fluffy and Akira liked the silky soft feeling of Yusuke’s hair, it was almost like an expensive doll’s hair it was that silky, he could relax just by touching it, it was that lustrous.

They lay on the bed together with their legs intertwined, holding each other “S-Sorry if I’m a lousy lover..I’ve never had a relationship before..” Yusuke apologize

Akira chuckled “You’re not even close to lousy.”

“Are you just saying that to save my feelings?”

“No, I believe it.”

Yusuke smiled “Thank you Akira.”

Akira caressed Yusuke’s cheek “I’m sorry I didn’t believe your feelings...it’s just..I was scared of growing close to someone..especially a human, I feared no one could truly like me for who I now am and..it was easier being lonely so I would push people away but you..confronted me about it. I don’t think I can express my love or gratitude for you in mere words or actions tonight Yusuke..” he leaned forward and kissed Yusuke’s forehead “Please know that I love you with all my heart..”

“You saying it is enough to make me believe it Akira.” Yusuke rubbed his nose against Akira’s

Akira squeezed Yusuke “I’m so happy...I haven’t felt such happiness in such a long time.”

Yusuke smiled and moved slightly, he kissed Akira’s cheek gently “I’ll preserve that happiness for the rest of my life.”

Akira pressed his forehead against Yusuke’s “...Even though I’m a monster?”

Yusuke caressed Akira’s cheek “You’re not a monster to me..and never will be again.”

“T-Thank you...I just need to hear it again..” tears formed in Akira’s eyes “I’m...not a monster?” he sniffled.

“You never were Akira.”

“Nnh..” Akira groaned

Yusuke rubbed his nose against Akira’s again “Please don’t hold back your tears anymore, you no longer have to.”

Akira shifted and shoved his face under Yusuke’s neck, looping his arms around Yusuke, holding him close and began sobbing, releasing his sorrow.

“Akira..” Yusuke said soothingly and raised his hand into the boy’s hair, stroking it gently “I’m here for you now.”.

Yusuke comforted Akira’s bottled up pain, he was happy with how things turned out; Akira’s suspicious behaviour yesterday had an answer and now the two could be together, Yusuke wanted to fill Akira’s void the minute he learnt about it and he found himself being even more content with his life now, he had someone to support him and he’d support them in return, he was so happy he’d be able to develop his relationship with Akira even more now that the two have accepted each other into their own hearts.

~~~

 

Akira had asked Zeriya to get the two dinner, he kept Yusuke a secret but Zeriya knew, they ate together, remaining in each others presence, they had to settle with eating on the couch on trays because Akira didn’t have a table in his room and the two wanted to be alone together.

“Why is my food so resplendent?” Yusuke asked as his eyes gleamed.

“It’s lobster.” Akira answered

“The shell is absolutely gorgeous.”

“Mm, they are kind of pretty.” Akira agreed, he enjoyed watching Yusuke become inspired.

“I wish to paint it, the shapes are also very intriguing.”

Akira smiled “You’re cute when you find something you like.”

Yusuke blushed and pointed his face idly “I still become flustered when you compliment me..” he exhaled

Akira chuckled “Is there any particular reason why you paint?”

“Hm..I believe it’s because my mother was also a painter.”

“I’m sure she’d be proud of you, your art is amazing.”

“Thank you Akira. There is one thing on my mind however..”

“What is it?” Akira asked

“You...seem close to your parents but..you don’t seem sad that they are gone..”

“I’m not sad they are gone.”

“..Why?”

“Because...they don’t have to see what I’ve become.”

“Akira..” Yusuke frowned

“I want them to remember my past self, them being dead tells me they are resting with only those memories, so I’m not upset.”

Yusuke touched Akira’s hand reassuringly

“Don’t get me wrong I’ve accepted what I am but..sometimes doubts do creep in.”

“I understand..I just hope I can help you heal.”

“You already have.”
They smiled at each other

Yusuke wanted to tell Akira more about his mother “My mother..her artwork was well known in my village, I think that’s why I never displayed my paintings...because I didn’t want to fail her and Madarame calling my paintings poor only increased my anxiety.”

“I don’t understand how he could dislike your paintings..but you’ll never fail your mother Yusuke.” Akira touched Yusuke’s arm reassuringly “I’m certain she’d be proud of you, you’ve been through a lot and still have your head held high, you’re very strong Yusuke.”

“I-I’m?..Strong?” Yusuke always felt like he was a weak person

“Mh, you managed to turn a scary situation into one that gives you strength, that speaks volumes of how strong you truly are.”

“I’ve..never thought about it like that.”

“Well..people aren’t usually aware of these types of things.”

Yusuke smiled “Thank you Akira.” his smile was filled with joy.

"Anything for you Yusuke." Akira smiled back

"T-There's another thing on my mind.." Yusuke blushed

"What's up?"

"You...really thought about me that much..?"

"Every night, I would question if your feelings were real, I would struggle with the thought for hours...and after you said you wanted to explore Madarame's reasoning I just...I doubted it even more.." Akira said

Yusuke frowned slightly "I didn't mean I wanted to leave."

"I know that now...I-I guess I became a little unstable from the thought I'd lose you...plus..I knew what I was doing was wrong so..I wanted to give you the choice but when you chose me I just...couldn't believe it."

"I'll always choose you Akira." Yusuke slid closer to Akira and leaned on him

"Thank you Yusuke." Akira leaned his head on Yusuke's.

~~~

It was now late at night and they were preparing for bed “I’ve never slept with another person before..” Yusuke said

“It’s comforting.”

Yusuke smiled “I’m sure it is.”

“I...don’t sleep well so..I’m sorry if I awake you.” Akira mumbled

“How come..?”

“I just can’t...I wake up every hour.”

“That’s okay...Maybe I can help you sleep.” Yusuke was a pretty light sleeper so he’d probably wake up but as long as he was next to Akira he didn’t care

“Maybe.” Akira started unbuttoning his shirt and Yusuke became flustered, he glanced at the bed, it was much bigger than his, the biggest bed he has seen but it was very comfortable when they were kissing on it.

Yusuke was looking forward to sleeping with Akira in it, he glanced back at Akira, Akira had his bare back towards him, he was hanging his shirt up in the closet, Yusuke noticed a scar under his right shoulder blade, he found himself moving on his own closer to Akira, he touched the scar gently and kissed it “I will heal you, Akira.”

"Eh..?" Akira turned around slowly and cupped Yusuke’s chin “It’s already happening.” he smiled

Yusuke caressed Akira’s hand “My..Akira.” he smiled “Our fates have been intertwined by another thread.”

“A purple one?” Akira chuckled

“I believe so; I wish to paint it.”

“You may paint whatever you wish.” Akira moved his hand to Yusuke’s cheek “You’re..allowed outside now..”

“I always was.”

“Well..now it’s more official, I will grant you even more freedom.” Akira said

“Aren’t you worried?” Yusuke asked

“..A bit but..I know your love for me is strong so..I trust you.”

“My future looks so bright now.” Yusuke chuckled

“Does it?”

“Mm, it did before as well but...now it’s blinding.”

“I suppose that’s a good thing.” Akira smiled and moved his hand to Yusuke’s, grabbing it, he gently pulled him to the bed “Which side do you want?”

“Either is fine.”

“Okay.” Akira turned around and tried to pick Yusuke up but he dodged.

“Don’t you dare.”

“Why not? You don’t like it?”

“It’s quite strange!..I’m taller than you too, how can you pick me up with such ease..?”

“Because I’m strong..? I’m going to be making you feel a lot of weird things so I suggest you get used to it.”

Yusuke exhaled “I suppose if they are good things I don’t mind.”.

 

The two got into bed together, Yusuke rested his head on Akira’s chest and they intertwined their fingers together, the two experienced a loving warmth. “Are you warm enough?” Akira asked.

“Y-Yeah..” Yusuke stared at Akira’s bare chest, it was more awkward now that he didn’t have to be like that “D-Do you always sleep shirtless..?” he asked

“No.”

Yusuke burrowed his face in Akira’s chest, blushing; he knew what that implied

“Your face is very hot.”

“Shh..go to sleep.”

“But I wanna keep looking at you, being with you like this.”

Yusuke lifted his face up “Akira…?” he wanted to ask something

“Mm..?”

“How do you...feel about..your ex..?”

Akira chuckled “If you think I have any positive emotions left for him you’re mistaken.” Akira squeezed Yusuke’s hand “He destroyed my life when he had so many options, he can go to hell. I hate his guts and nothing else remains but my hatred for him.”

“Do you..think he’s still alive..?”

“I hope not and if he is I hope he got trampled by a horse.” Akira was really bitter about it.

“I see...but why didn’t you tell me about him sooner..?” Yusuke wondered if it was a lack of trust or simply something else.

“Because it shows my weakness..”

“Did you think I’d do the same..?”

“I didn’t but...there’s always my defense mechanism..”

“I see..”

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner but..it’s hard for me, I don’t like acknowledging that one mistake destroyed my life..”

“Has this never happened before?” Yusuke asked

“Not that I’m aware of..”

“I guess he made the drug himself..” Yusuke mumbled, he wondered if there could possibly be a cure for Akira’s condition.

“I’m certain he did; he’s the only one dumb enough to think it’s possible.” Akira sighed “I just wish there was a cure for what he did...accepting you into my heart doesn’t really change the fact I still have to kill your race to survive..”

“S-So..turn me.” Yusuke still worried about the husk aspect but he knew Akira would look after him to the point that he’d forget all about it.

“No, I will do no such thing.”

“Why not..?”

“There’s no guarantee what I have won’t transfer to you...same as a child.”

Yusuke’s eye widened at the realization “I didn’t even..think about that…”

“Now do you see..? This doesn’t just affect me, it affects our entire future...do I truly want to continue this curse through my bloodline..? I don’t think I do.”

“I-It shouldn’t..”

“I don’t want to risk making another person like me.”

“..This didn’t even cross my mind..I was so concerned about you I didn’t...see it like that..”

“I’m going to transfer my leadership over to Zeriya once my time is up.”

“Huh..?!”

“He doesn’t know but...I think it’s for the best. Even though I’m royal blood I...I screwed everyone over with my one mistake.” Akira mumbled

“Akira…” Yusuke caressed Akira’s cheek, comforting him

“This is why I don’t blame the ones in the manor; they have every right to despise me.”

“..No..” Yusuke was overwhelmed by sorrow, he wished he could change everything but he knew he couldn’t.

“I don’t know why you want a screw up like me but...I’ll accept it.” Akira caressed Yusuke’s cheek “I may as well make you happy before I go..”

Yusuke burrowed his face in Akira’s chest “This is so unfair..!”

“I know it is but...there’s nothing we can do about it, all we can do is accept it..”

Yusuke began sobbing from his sorrow and Akira comforted him by stroking his hair “It’s okay, Yusuke. I’ve accepted my fate..” Yusuke sniffled “I-I want to make you...h-happy..at least…”

“You do Yusuke.”.

Chapter Text

Yusuke woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar room, he remembered this was Akira’s room.

He framed his fingers to get a better look at the sight he awoke to, he moved his hands around the room and trailed his eyes with it until Akira appeared through his fingers.

Akira smiled “What are you doing?”

Yusuke moved his hands away “S-Sorry...I used to do it quite often as a child..it helps me focus on my surroundings.”

“I’ve never seen you do it before..”

“Because...Madarame would always slap my hands with a belt if I did it…”
Yusuke smiled “But he’s gone now. I feel safe enough to do it again.”

“You’re adorable.” Akira leaned down and kissed Yusuke’s forehead gently “Can I kill your father?”

Yusuke jolted up and accidentally banged his head into Akira “Ah-! O-Okay, I won’t!” Akira rubbed his forehead

“S-Sorry...it just surprised me..” Yusuke rubbed his own forehead, it stung a bit “..I don’t want you to kill him.”

“Why? He hurt you enough; I think it’s time for payback.” Akira frowned slightly

“N-No...I don’t want revenge.”

“Fine, I won’t.”

“Thank you.”

Akira sighed “I have to go talk to the hospital again...they are having a short of supply and cutting how much they give me..”

Yusuke wondered how that actually worked “How many hospitals do you..deal with?” he asked

“About 5 right now.”

“That’s not a lot..”

“I know and they aren’t even close...I’m probably going to have to go even further to find a new one..”

“How did you..get them before..?” Yusuke wanted to know how the vampires managed to feed themselves without him fixing Akira's skin.

“Well...my father had already organized deals with some...but Zeriya went and I talked to them through a phone he was holding..”

“That sounds unproductive..” Yusuke ran his fingers through his hair, brushing it.

“I got less agreement that way too...it was really rough when it first happened but we pulled through..” Akira scratched his hair “I might..be gone for awhile today...I might not even come home..” he sighed

“Oh..” Yusuke finally got Akira and now he had to leave for a bit.

“It’s why I...did that yesterday. I knew this was coming.”

“..I understand.”

“I’m sorry, Yusuke.”

“No, I’m not upset, it’s necessary..I’m just going to miss you more now.” Yusuke chuckled

Akira smiled “I’m glad you understand.” he leaned forward and kissed Yusuke’s cheek “I should...take your blood, just in case..”

Yusuke smiled “Of course.”

“I’ll be taking more than usual..I don’t want to get stranded.”

“That’s okay.”

“I’m sorry I have to bite you so much..”

“Do you honestly think I mind?” Yusuke asked

“Not really.” Akira moved closer, the sound of bed sheets moving filled the room “I’m going to do it.”

“Mm.”

Akira leaned towards Yusuke’s neck and bit him, Yusuke found his body reacting differently to it, he wanted to embrace Akira.
Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira and burrowed his face in his neck “Mn..” he let out a soft moan, he closed his eyes and patiently waited for Akira to finish.

Akira pulled his fangs out and kissed the bite mark “Sorry..” he sat up “I don’t have any patches on me..I’ll go get one.”

“No, it’s fine..” Yusuke touched the bite lovingly “I don’t mind leaving them exposed..”

“Oh? Are they possession marks now?” Akira chuckled

“I suppose they could be.” Yusuke leaned closer to Akira “I guess I’ll have to mark you before you go.”

“Seems you’re getting more comfortable with this.” Akira smiled and caressed Yusuke’s cheek “Do you want to taste my blood?”

“Eh..? Wouldn’t that turn me..?”

Akira chuckled “No, the process can’t be an accident.”

“What do you mean..?”

Akira caressed Yusuke’s bottom lip with his thumb “I bite your tongue and pour my blood between the punctures and then I take your life essence.”

“B-Bite my tongue..? That sounds quite painful..” Yusuke's tongue felt sore from the thought

“I know, I have to bite pretty hard too.”

Yusuke shuddered at the thought

“Anyway..do you want to mark me or not?”

“Y-Yes, I do.”

“I don’t have all day, pick a place.”

“A-Anywhere?”

“Yeah, wherever.”

“Hmm..Your thigh.”

Akira blushed “M-My thigh..?” he rubbed his bottom lip awkwardly

“Mm.”

“Why not my neck..?”

“The others aren’t allowed to know yet.” Yusuke smirked

“But..”

“Are you scared?”

“N-No, of course not..!”

“So let me do it.”

“...Unless you want this to turn into something else I suggest you pick another area.” Akira mumbled, his face was extremely red.

"Hmm...I don't know any other places that are hidden."

"Hm.." Akira looked at his body, trying to find a place "How about my stomach?"

"You're far too muscular for that to work."

"I-I'm not that fit..."

"Yes you are, you have a very nice body Akira, I want to paint it." Yusuke smiled

Akira crossed his arms and exhaled loudly "I don't know then."

"Your butt." Yusuke chuckled

Akira looked like he was about to explode "W-What did I just say before..?! J-Just bite my shoulder."

"If I must.."

"H-Hurry it up...Zeriya is going to wake me soon.."

They shifted their position so Yusuke was on top of Akira, Yusuke found Akira to be adorable like this, he wanted to hug him and never let him go but their time was limited.

"Yusuke..?" Akira called out

It broke Yusuke out of his trance, he was too busy staring at Akira "Sorry, I got distracted by your beauty." he leaned down close to Akira's neck.

Akira blushed more "Ah.." he moaned softly, his mind was turning to mush from Yusuke's compliments.

"I suppose I should begin then." Yusuke trailed kisses down Akira's neck

"T-That's my neck Yusuke.."

"I know." Yusuke bit Akira's neck gently

"O-Of course you wouldn't listen..." Akira chuckled, amused

Yusuke added more pressure to his bite and Akira looped his arms around Yusuke.

"Yusuke.." Akira moaned and closed his eyes

Yusuke broke Akira's skin with his teeth and small amounts of blood poured into his mouth, it tasted metallic

"Y-Yusuke..ha.."

"My lord it's time to awake-" Zeriya said as he opened the door
Yusuke stopped and glanced at the door only to see it being slammed shut "..Oops.." he realized.

"Ah! He saw us!" Akira sat up pushing Yusuke off gently "Great...you took too long."

"It's not my fault.."

"It totally is." Akira sighed "Now I have to explain myself."

"I'm sorry, I just wanted to be with you for longer."

Akira giggled "I'm not mad Yusuke, I'm glad you want me."

Yusuke smiled "I see."

Akira crawled off the bed and approached his closet, opening it and pulling clothing out "Feel free to stay in here if you like."

"Hm..I can invade your privacy." Yusuke joked

"Good luck, I don't have anything like that." Akira got dressed "Also learn how to bite."

"What?"

Akira touched his neck "It's uneven."

"Quite the critic." Yusuke chuckled

"I am, it's my profession after all." Akira chuckled "Anyway I have to go." he approached Yusuke

"Alright, farewell Akira."

Akira leaned forward and kissed Yusuke's cheek "Bye bye." he gave Yusuke a quick smile before leaving the room.

 

Yusuke stayed in Akira’s room for a little longer, he was hugging the pillow Akira slept on, smelling his scent from it; Yusuke thought about their time together, to him it was the best experience he has ever had, he was so happy he was able to confess and reassure Akira about his feelings, now he had two passions in his life.

 

###

“My lord?” Akira stepped into the horse carriage as Zeriya spoke to him “Yes?”

“I am coming with you today.” Zeriya stepped inside

“Why..?” Akira asked, he was a bit annoyed

“We must talk.”

Akira sighed “If it’s because of what you saw-”

“It has nothing to do with that.”

“Then why? I want you to look after Yusuke for me.”

“Because you’re becoming reckless.” Zeriya said

“That’s not true..”

“How is it not? The ball made that quite clear.”

“Stop giving me shit for that...I know I screwed up.” Akira just wanted to go back to his room with Yusuke again.

“We must talk about the source.”

Akira leaned on his hand “Yusuke has nothing to do with this.”

“How does he not? You didn’t eat because of him and that caused issue.”

“I didn’t eat as a test.”

“No, you are eating far less now, ever since he arrived.”

“So what?”

Zeriya sighed “It is causing the others concern..and the ball made that much worse.”

“What do you want me to do about it? Lick their shoes?”

“You are their king, you must avert their concerns.” Zeriya tugged on a rope, informing the rider to start moving, the carriage began pulling

It annoyed Akira “I want you to stay with Yusuke.” he ordered

Zeriya crossed his arms “No, if our home is truly his then he will require no babysitting.”

Akira sighed “Their concerns are unreasonable, they will go away in time; I do not have to acknowledge it.”

“You must show them the kingdom is your priority to them.”

“They want me to make sure they have food, they want me not to eat humans they are close to, they want me to do this and that; when will it ever be about what I want..?!”

“Your wants no longer align with theirs..?”

“Tch..I didn’t say that.”

“You aren’t preparing for a future for us; even before you met him.”

“I am in a different way.”

“Why a different way? Why when the previous has worked for us?”

“Because I’m different.” Akira said

“That is true but..I feel like I must pressure you more, you are becoming of age.”

"So...? I love Yusuke, I'm not leaving him."

"I'm just informing you that your attitude will not work forever, some will realize you aren't willing to continue the bloodline."

Akira sighed, he didn't want a child because of his curse and because of Yusuke, but he is the last one alive in the Kurusu bloodline so the pressure was there.

"..Some may already have. The man you hurt with your recklessness has gone missing as well as two others."

Akira's eyes widened with surprise "...What?"

"This is the first time it has happened in quite a while...I'm certain Yusuke is the reason." Zeriya sighed

"So you're saying I can't be with him...?" Akira's chest ached and he looked down at the floor sadly.

“All I am telling you is that you must prove your priority to them again before this continues to happen.”

“It won’t...Yusuke has accepted me for who I am, I won’t try to return to my old self again..” Akira muttered

“I don’t feel like this is going to settle down without action.”

"I'll think about it, I'm sure there is something else I can do.."

"You may try but...I don't understand why you're so reluctant to continue your bloodline, it has to happen eventually."

"Ask Yusuke, perhaps he'll tell you.".

###

Yusuke went back to his own room and began sketching Akira while sitting on his bed, he now had someone to share his life with and he would treasure every moment, the two seemed inseparable now, Yusuke would remain by Akira’s side and Akira would remain by his.

Yusuke is glad he blurted out his feelings for Akira now that he knew Akira probably never would’ve confessed in the first place, he was upset with what he had learnt about Akira's curse, not only was he betrayed but he was damned to a cruel fate; Yusuke was so focused on helping Akira that he never thought that his fate might’ve damaged the other vampires, it must be crushing Akira in more ways than one, Yusuke just hoped that he’d be able to pick up the pieces for Akira, to just be a positive force in his life and continue on supporting him.

~~ ###

It was now raining and Akira had finally returned home, he managed to get back at midnight after striking a deal for more blood bags even if it took quite a lot of money to convince the hospital. “You should get some rest.” Zeriya said as he pulled a jacket over Akira’s shoulder.

“Yeah, I am..” Akira rubbed his eyes

“I’m sorry we had to discuss that right after you..accepted him but I am worried about the state of the others.”

“I know, I was just grumpy..”

“I will try to assure them too, I hope whatever you choose works.”

“I’ll find something, a kid isn't going to fix this.”

“I figured you’d say that.” Zeriya chuckled “But if Yusuke was a woman would you have a child with him?”

“No, it’s not about that…”

“..You look tired, I won’t push the subject no longer but..I don’t understand your reasons.”

“Good.”
Akira went upstairs, he went to Yusuke’s room and pushed the door open “Yusuke, I’m home.” he stepped inside and closed the door behind himself quietly.

Yusuke was asleep with his sketchbook in his hands, he even left the lamp on; Akira approached him slowly, trying not to wake him, he took the sketchbook out of Yusuke’s hands gently, he glanced at the page and noticed a drawing of himself smiling, it made him smile and he closed the book, resting it down on the free nightstand, he picked the pencils up and placed them down on the book.

He scooped Yusuke up gently and pulled the covers down, he placed Yusuke inside and turned the lamp off, he removed his shoes and jacket and crawled onto the bed next to Yusuke, he pulled the covers over them and lay down.

Akira turned to face Yusuke and placed his hand on the sleeping boy's cheek “Goodnight, Yusuke.” he whispered and wrapped his arms around him.

“Mmh...Akira…?”

“Go back to sleep..” Akira lifted his hand up and stroked Yusuke’s hair.

“Mm..” Yusuke burrowed his face in Akira’s neck and Akira closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Akira woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep, he heard the birds chirping and saw the sunlight cracking through the drapes but now he had someone to be with while he was awake, he has suffered from insomnia every night since he was 'cursed', he lived with the thought it was all the people he had to kill tormenting him one last time.

He soothed Yusuke while the boy slept and in return it had relaxed him; usually if he woke up in the middle of the night he’d do things to distract himself from his tormenting thoughts but he didn’t have them anymore now that he had Yusuke.

 

Akira felt eyelashes fluttering against his neck, he looked down to see Yusuke awaking “Good morning.” he greeted him in a soft tone.

Yusuke looked up at Akira, rubbing his eye wearily “M-Morning.” he yawned and blinked, clearing his vision “Wait...why are you..here?” he mumbled.

“I wanted to sleep near you once I got home.” Akira answered as he twirled Yusuke's hair around his fingers.

“Oh..okay.” Yusuke burrowed his face in Akira’s collarbone and breathe out “I’m glad you’re here..”

Akira smiled, holding his lover close “Me too.”

“Wait..” Yusuke pushed himself up, rubbing his eye “My sketchbook, where is it?” he yawned again

Akira was a bit upset it was over, he wanted to hold Yusuke for longer “I put it away, don’t worry.”

“What about the ring you gave me?” Yusuke looked at Akira

“Um..I didn’t see it.”

“Oh no!” Yusuke shoved his hands under the pillows, searching for it

“What’s wrong?” Akira asked as he pushed himself up, watching Yusuke.

“The ring you gave me; I kept it under my pillow!”

“I’m sure it’s somewhere.”

“I can’t find it!”

“It probably fell off the bed.” Akira leaned off the bed and looked on the floor, he reached out and searched for it.

“Is it there?” Yusuke asked

Akira sat back up “No.”

“Where is it..?!” Yusuke grabbed his face, he started to panic from the thought he had lost that precious ring.

“Settle down..” Akira touched Yusuke’s shoulder to reassure him “I’ll buy you a new one.”

Yusuke clenched his chest with both hands and sniffled “B-But..that one was special to me..”

Akira scratched his head, unsure of what to do “Alright..I’ll have someone come in here and look for it properly.”

“Really? Thank you, Akira.” Yusuke smiled happily, maybe it wasn’t gone.

“Anything for you.” Akira smiled back and patted Yusuke on the back of his head

“I am not a dog.”

“..Okay, someone is grumpy in the morning.” Akira chuckled as he moved his hand away

Yusuke noticed Akira’s gloves were on, he grabbed them and pulled them off “Now that you are my muse, I must shape you properly.”

“..Your muse?”

“Yes, I get quite inspired to draw you now.”

“You didn’t before?”

“I did but..I can actually do it now.” Yusuke leaned forward and started to unbutton Akira’s shirt.

“W-What are you doing?” Akira’s cheeks grew red

“I must get in my morning practice, there is no better muse than my lover.”

Akira grabbed Yusuke hand gently, halting him “Wait Yusuke; I’m not...comfortable..with this.”

“Why not?”

“I have no idea what you’re doing.”

“A nude portrait.”

“N-Nude..?” Akira bit his lip

“Ah, I have never had a living subject before.”

“L-Living..subject?! Please rephrase that.”

“From books..”

Akira exhaled with relief “Thank god..I thought there was a weirder side to you.”

“The books were very poor reference.” Yusuke tried to continue removing Akira's clothing, he didn't think it was inappropriate

“Not yet, Yusuke. I want to show you something.”

“But I didn’t practice yesterday morning.”

“You can practice whenever you want, you don’t need a schedule.” Akira spoke calmly

“But I am the most inspired in the mornings due to my vivid dreams.”

“You would prefer to practice over a date with me?”

“D-Date?!”

“Mm, I want to do something with you.” Akira smirked, he knew he won Yusuke over.

“Then off we go.” Yusuke hurried off the bed and he rushed into the bathroom “Wait..!” Akira called out but it was too late, he followed Yusuke quickly.

~~~

“Are you unable to clean yourself without me now?” Yusuke asked as the two sat in the bathtub together due to Akira’s nagging.

“Of course I’m able to, I just don’t want to.” Akira said

“I don’t usually have baths..” Yusuke mumbled as he looked down at the tub, while they were larger than usual tubs he wasn’t fond of it becoming a daily routine.

“It’s more awkward in the shower.” Akira said as he scooped up some bubbles from the bath, they sparkled in his hand, some bursting.

“So where are we going today?” Yusuke asked out of curiosity

Akira blew the bubbles in the the direction of Yusuke “The garden.” he said

Yusuke was assumed by Akira’s antics “The garden? I thought you meant outside..”

“There’s not much to do outside.”

“Bakeries are quite nice.” Yusuke had a favourite one in his village, he wanted to visit it again.

“I’ll take you outside soon.”

Yusuke’s lips formed a smile “Alright, I look forward to it.”

Akira slicked his damp hair back with his hand “Although...bakeries? Really?” he asked

“What's wrong with bakeries?”

“It’s a weird choice.”

“I like drawing the cakes.”

Akira chuckled happily “Of course it’d be because of that.”

Yusuke pouted “What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing, I’m just amused by your definition of fun.”

Yusuke grabbed a shampoo bottle that was nearby “How was yesterday? Did it go well?” he asked

Akira sighed “It went okay...it’s starting to cost more to keep their mouths shut about it though.”

Yusuke became curious “How do you even earn money?” he didn't have a very good understanding of these types of things, perhaps he could learn from Akira.

“I own a few businesses and farms that earn it.” Akira answered, he idly started to pick up bubbles

“Their profit goes to you?”

“Pretty much.”

“I see..”

The two started to wash each others hair, Yusuke was lathering shampoo into Akira’s hair as the two spoke more.

“..Something happen.” Akira said while waiting for Yusuke to finished

“What do you mean?” Yusuke asked

Akira rubbed his temple out of annoyance “..Some vampires fled.” he wanted to inform Yusuke about more.

“What..does that mean?”

Akira sighed heavily “Not much beside the fact there are some no longer under my control.”

That made Yusuke worry, it could lead to a lot of terrible things happening “You must go find them.”

“Why..? They made that choice themselves.”

“Because they’ll hurt people if you don’t..”

“They don’t want to be here. I can’t drag them back...They might return once the hunger has settled in, after all they are manor vampire’s.”

“I hope they do...” Yusuke couldn’t help but feel his presence was starting to affect the others.

~~~

After their bath together they got dressed and prepared for Akira’s idea of a date.

 

“Why am I blindfolded?” Yusuke asked as he was being pulled along by Akira “It’s a secret.” Akira answered, the two were walking in the garden to their destination, Yusuke could hear the sound of the leaves and bushes flowing through the air much more louder than usual.

“Okay, we’re here.” Akira stopped and Yusuke bumped into him slightly

“Can I remove it?” Yusuke asked

“Yes.”

Yusuke lifted the tied up cloth off his eyes, he blinked a couple of times to regain vision “A picnic?”

Akira nodded “You like these types of things?” he asked

“I’ve..never actually had one.”

“Well now you can experience it with me.” a slight smile formed on Akira lips “I’ll be your first with quite a lot of things, hm?”

“Well..I was sheltered..” Yusuke mumbled

“Now you have the freedom to do whatever you like.”

Yusuke smiled “Mh!”.

They sat down on the red blanket, a basket with multiple food items rested on it, breads, fruits, cakes and some red wine were perfectly presented in the basket, some flowers poked out the top being used as decoration.

“Do you drink?” Akira asked glancing at the wine bottle.

“No, I never have.” Yusuke answered

“Do you want to try it?”

“Um...isn’t it alcohol?”

“This one is.” Akira picked the wine up out of the basket and confirmed it by the label.

Yusuke thought about it before giving his answer “I will...try it but I don’t wish to drink it.”

“Hm? Why not?”

“I don’t want to get drunk.”

Akira chuckled, his voice almost echoed throughout the garden “You won’t from one glass.”

“I’ll try it first.”

Akira pulled the cork out, he grabbed a perfectly cleaned wine glass that shined against the sunlight, he poured in the dark red liquid until it reached a satisfying level “Here.” he gave the glass to Yusuke.

Yusuke inspected the glass “Hm..”

“What?”

“This is a bit much, no?”

Akira sighed, wiggling the glass in his hand slightly, begging Yusuke to take it “Just try it.” he demanded

Yusuke grabbed the glass carefully and slowly took a sip “Hmm..It’s weird.” he placed the glass down on the red blanket “I’m not sure if I like it..”

“Suit yourself.” Akira closed the bottle and placed in back into the basket once done he picked Yusuke’s glass up raising it to his lips

“..You drink?” Yusuke asked

“Sometimes.”

“Just don’t get drunk please.”

“The ball had alcohol too. Why are you concerned now?”

“It’s unsightly.”

“To be drunk?” Akira asked for clarification
Yusuke nodded

“I suppose that is true.” Akira took a sip from the glass and placed it down in front of himself carefully.

Yusuke pulled an apple out of the basket “I’m not allowed to show affection, aren’t I?” he rotated it in his hand, ensuring it had no bruises.

“..Not yet, sorry.”

“If it makes your job easier then it doesn’t bother me.”

“I’ll tell them once the concern of our ‘future’ and ‘priority’ settles down.” Akira spoke in a contempt manner

Yusuke didn’t understand “Hm..? What do you mean?”

Akira sighed “They think I don’t care about our future anymore..”

“..Because of me?”

“No..this has been brewing longer than you’ve been here.”

“Then why do they think that?”

“I’m...reaching the age where I’m meant to have a child..”

“But..what you told me about it transferring..? Are they not concerned?”

“They don’t know that’s my reason.”

“Why haven’t you told them?”

“Because if I do..it’ll be harder to pass leadership. I need to force it.” Akira averted his eyes “They will also force me to test if it transfers..” he twirled a strand of his hair onto his index finger “In other words, throw morals out the window for our future.”

“..You don’t want to?” Yusuke asked softly

“You made me not want to.” Akira sighed “This is so annoying, why can’t it be easier..?”

Yusuke placed his hand on his chest “..I won’t judge you for your decision.”

“So you won’t judge me for kidnapping someone, turning them, locking them into a cell, shoving them outside in chains probably burning them and starving them for a week to test if it transfers?”

“Um..”

“Then killing them once I’ve got my answer; regardless of what it is?”

Yusuke shifted uncomfortably from the thought

“Exactly.” Akira drank the rest of the wine from the glass and grabbed the bottle again, pouring another one
“I would just prefer to avoid that altogether.”

“Your situation is quite...dire.” Yusuke was unsure of what to say

“I need to do something to gain their trust back but..I’m running out of options.”

Yusuke got a dreadful idea “...Would letting them drink my blood help with that?”

“What..?”

“They think I’m your property, yes? Wouldn’t sharing me show them you prioritize them?”
Yusuke played with the apple in his hands, trying to calm his nervousness.

Akira furrowed his brow “I’m not doing that.”

“If it helps you I-”

“No.” Akira interrupted Yusuke with a stern tone and shook his head slightly dismissing the thought “You’re not my property..”

“Okay..I’m just suggesting things.”

“Don’t worry about this, I’ll think of something.”
Akira was glad Yusuke was interested in helping but would just prefer him stay out of it.

~~~

“Why must I close my eyes again?” Yusuke heard stems breaking and twisting, he was ordered to close his eyes once Akira got an idea.

“Because I said so.” Akira answered

“I don’t serve you, I don’t have to listen.”

“You serve me in other ways~”

“Okay now I’m opening my eyes.”

“No, not yet.”

“What are you doing? I can hear things breaking.”

“You’ll find out in a minute, just be patience.”

Yusuke sighed and waited a little longer, his curiosity was boiling.

“..Okay, open your eyes.” Akira said once finished.

Yusuke opened his eyes to nothing out of the ordinary then felt something being placed on his head, he touched it “F-Flowers.”

Akira was behind Yusuke, kneeling down “Mm, a flower crown.” he shuffled over to Yusuke’s side so they could face each other.

Yusuke looked at him “A-A flower crown..?” he continued to touch it in awe

“Yes, made from Blue Hydrangea flowers from my garden...also a few others because Blue Hydrangea stems are too hard..”

“A-Akira…” Yusuke’s eyes lit up and he blushed from the nice gesture

Akira smiled happily from Yusuke's reaction “They were a bit annoying but I managed.”

“I love you Akira, you're so nice to me.” Yusuke smiled happily, he loved Akira's gift.

Akira leaned forward, the two stared into each other's eyes lovingly and Akira moved his face closer to Yusuke’s slowly, their lips almost touched before Akira bit his lip and pulled away “Ugh..W-Why am I so flustered..?” Akira rubbed his eyebrow nervously, his cheeks were red.

Yusuke giggled, Akira always managed to make him happy “You’re cute.”

“S-Shut up..” Akira placed his hand on his chest “I-It rarely beats this fast...but when I’m with you..” he exhaled “It feels like it’s going to explode..”

“Can I feel it?” Yusuke wanted to touch Akira but..subtly seeing they weren't allowed to touch yet.

“I-I guess..” Akira mumbled

Yusuke shifted his body to face towards Akira, he leaned forward and placed his hand on Akira’s over his heart “I can feel it through your hand.” he chuckled “Oh..? It’s becoming faster..” he noticed

Yusuke felt Akira’s other hand touch his chin, lifting his face up to his own, Akira kissed Yusuke, it was short but sweet one

“I-I thought we weren’t-..” Yusuke blushed heavily

“S-Sorry..I couldn’t help myself.”

“I-I see.” Yusuke sat up and moved some of his hair behind his ear, trying to gain some composure back

“D-Do you feel the same..?” Akira asked sheepishly

“What..do you mean?”

“N-Never mind...it’s too embarrassing.”

“What is it?”

Akira plopped down onto Yusuke’s lap, resting his head on the boys thighs “Just...stay with me..like this.” Yusuke smiled and started stroking Akira’s hair gently.

It was peaceful resting in the garden like this, almost like a fairy tale.

The two enjoyed each other's presence until they decided to lie down together on the blanket holding each other's hand, Yusuke lifted up Akira’s hand to his lips and kissed Akira’s scar “Why do you keep kissing them..?” Akira asked

“Because I wish to heal them.” Yusuke caressed the scar with his thumb tenderly

“Yusuke..” Akira spoke softly, his voice was filled with affection.

“I always thought your gloves were odd, the moment I saw you. You hid your pain away..” Yusuke smiled as he nuzzled Akira's hand “I guess my over observant nature came in handy with you.”

“You’re pretty pushy too.” Akira chuckled

“At first I thought you were the prince, I never knew a king could look like you.”

“Is that an insult?”

“No, I just figured...kings were old while you are young and beautiful.” Yusuke circled his thumb on Akira’s scar, if only he could removed it.

“If I was an old bag would you still be interested in me?” Akira asked

“Of course.”

“You’re so strange..”

“I don’t care much for appearance beside aesthetic painting purposes.” Yusuke leaned his head on Akira’s shoulder lovingly “I just managed to get an attractive man.”

Akira blushed “W-What else did you think about me?”

“That you had mood swings or two personalities.”

“I get a bit..rough when I’m hungry...speaking of which I should probably eat.”

“How long has it been..?” Yusuke asked, he wondered if Akira ate without him noticing.

“6 days.”

“I-Isn’t that a bit-”

“Yes but I’ve been distracted with you..”

“Is it..unhealthy to wait that long..?”

“Yeah...I should be eating every 4 days but..”

“Akira, you must take better care of yourself.” Yusuke was going to start worrying about Akira's health if he kept this up.

“...” Akira leaned his head on Yusuke’s “I don’t like..eating with you here...it feels wrong.”

“I have accepted that aspect of you, Akira.”

Akira sighed heavily “I know, it’s just...being with you has shoved the reality of my actions in my face..” Akira closed his eyes “It’s pretty tiring having to be like this...but I know I can’t give up.”

Yusuke squeezed Akira’s hand “It’s...a necessary evil, you wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t have to.”

“..You’re right, I don’t know why I’m starting to doubt myself again..” Akira sighed again “..Maybe because I’m scared I’ll lose you to someone like me…”

“Tell me how to kill a vampire.”

Akira opened his eyes “Eh..?”

“If I know that, I can defend myself.”

“Well...you damage the heart and then destroy the brain, that would certainly kill one.” Akira explained

“Now you don’t have to worry.” Yusuke smiled from the thought.

“Pfft...it’s not easy doing those things, especially for a wimp like you.”

Yusuke jolted up and let go of Akira’s hand with no care “That’s rude!” he pushed on Akira’s chest with his fist, displaying his offence.

“It’s true, you’re really weak, there's no way you could overpower a vampire.” Akira sat up, reclined, holding back his laughter.

“That was when I was underweight!”

“That won’t change much.”

“You haven't even given me the chance to test it.”

“Okay, we will.” Akira lunged at Yusuke, straddling him and pinning his wrists above his head
“I didn’t mean like this!” Yusuke struggled underneath Akira, he groaned putting all his strength into trying to break free but it was no use, Akira was simply too strong for him.

Akira's point was proven “See?”
Yusuke sighed in defeat

“There’s no way you can defend yourself against a vampire.” Akira sounded so smug

“Well...I have you, you can protect me.” Yusuke smiled slightly

“Mh, I promise.” Akira got the urge to kiss Yusuke, he leaned down close to Yusuke’s face causing them to blush, he brushed his lips against Yusuke’s gently.

 

“My lord, I have found the ring that you have requested-..” Zeriya spoke as he approached them, Akira jolted up making eye contact with Zeriya.

“I told you not to come in here!” Akira slid off Yusuke, he was angry they were interrupted.

“You didn’t tell me what to do with it.”

Akira stood up and walked over to Zeriya
Yusuke sat up, watching them.

 

“Give me it.” Zeriya dropped a ring in Akira’s extended hand “Thank you.”

“I have information for you.”

“You can say it here.”

“..The vampire’s that fled turned back up at the manor...apparently they got lost.”

“Really? That’s wonderful news.”

“Mm..” Zeriya looked like he wanted to say more.

Akira raised his eyebrow “What is it?”

“I just...don’t believe it.”

“It’s a bit silly but..at least they’re back.”

“You don’t want me to investigate it?” Zeriya asked

Akira glanced at Yusuke “No, people can make mistakes sometimes, no matter how silly.”

“As you wish. Have you decided what to do yet?”

“..Not yet but I’ll find something.”

Zeriya sighed “Very well...just think harder, before the others find out about you two.”

“Right..” an idea formed in Akira’s mind but he was unable to unravel it, if he could do that then maybe he could ease the stress of the kingdom.

“I’ll let you get back to your date.” Zeriya said as he walked away

“I-It’s not a date!” Akira raised his voice, he sighed composing himself and walked back over to Yusuke.

“It feels like one.” Yusuke chuckled

“Shush you.” Akira sat down on the blanket, he lied down on it and spread his arms and legs out knocking the wine glass over “Oh crap.” he sat up once he noticed he hit something.

“A-Akira!..”

The wine glass spilled onto the blanket, liquid seeped towards them “Get off it.” Akira ordered as he jumped off the blanket, Yusuke got up and moved onto the grass “You need to be more careful.” Yusuke crossed his arms and frowned.

“It’s just a blanket.” Akira sighed as he looked at the destruction he caused “Our date was ruined anyway..”
Akira stepped closer to Yusuke "Here's your ring by the way.".

Chapter Text

Two days had passed, Yusuke and Akira tried not to make their relationship obvious by sleeping in separate rooms however Akira would sneak into Yusuke’s each night so the two could be together more privately, Akira used the excuse he was drinking Yusuke’s blood so it wouldn’t cause suspicion.

Which is why Yusuke was concerned while waiting for Akira tonight, it had reached 1am and there was still no sign of Akira, maybe he just didn’t want to sneak in tonight but Akira was always so enthusiastic about it.

Yusuke knew he was probably stressing over nothing but his worry overwhelmed him and he left his bedroom trying not the make a sound.

The mansion was dark, the windows barely lit the place. Yusuke made his way to Akira’s bedroom from his muscle memory, he bumped into a few walls but eventually reached Akira’s room, he could see light crack through the door, he must be awake still.

Yusuke twisted the doorknob opening the door, he saw Akira sitting at his desk looking at something, he had 4 coffee mugs scattered on his desk. Yusuke stepped inside closing the door carefully, trying not to cause any sound.

“Akira..?” Yusuke called out in a low tone, the room was only being lit by a lamp on Akira’s desk, he approached Akira slowly.

Akira turned his head to face Yusuke “Ah, you’re awake still..” he yawned

Yusuke blushed slightly “I-I was waiting for you..”

“Sorry, I’ve been busy with work..” Akira rubbed his forehead wearily, he seemed tired.

“That’s okay, I was just wondering what was..happening.”

Akira smirked “Are you that addicted to me you can’t go one night without me?”

Yusuke’s cheeks grew redder “That’s-...I-I was just concerned.”

“I should probably go to bed but…” Akira jabbed his pen into his temple, trying to stay awake “I have too much work..”

“If you’re tired you should rest.”

“I can’t...I need to figure this out.”

Yusuke wanted to show affection to Akira, he side stepped behind Akira and grabbed his shoulders, massaging them softly.

Akira moaned “I need that..thank you.”
“What must you do?” Yusuke peered over Akira’s shoulder as he massaged them.

“You know how I mentioned my people's trust in me was shaky due to...recent events?”

“Yes, I recall it.”

“I have this idea in my head but can’t unravel it, I think that might hold the answer.”

“You’re relying on a clouded thought far too much.”

“I know but it’s driving me insane, Zeriya’s nagging is only making that worst.”

“I’m not sure how I can help with that...I would just talk to someone until they trusted me..”

“Yeah...talk to 300 people individually..”

“I did say I don’t know.”

“Ugh!” Akira slammed his face into the book on his desk causing a loud thud.
“A-Akira!” Yusuke quickly ensured he was alright “Are you okay?” he lifted Akira’s head up gently.

“I’m fine..” Akira said as he covered his nose, it was bleeding “I’ll go get tissues!” Yusuke searched for tissues and eventually found some.

~~~

“Why did you do that..?” Yusuke asked as he tried to hold back his laughter from the sound of impact.

He wiped Akira’s bloody nose carefully.
Akira groaned “I didn’t actually think I’d hit it that hard…”

“Akira..” Yusuke covered his mouth with his knuckle, trying not to laugh.

“See? It’s driving me to smash my face into inanimate objects...it's so annoying.”

“I think it has stopped bleeding..” Yusuke moved the tissue away “It seems I’m dating a dork too.” he chuckled

“S-Shut up..” Akira blushed from his embarrassment “I do think I need sleep however..”

“I can stay in here tonight, right? I don’t think I was seen.” Yusuke asked as he threw the tissue away “A-After all...I don’t really trust you to sleep on your own after that.”

“Yes you may but do not tell anyone about this.” Akira touched his nose

“I won’t. You seem exhausted, let’s go to bed.”

~~~

The two got into bed together, it was cold tonight and once they got into some warmth it became more obvious, they leaned onto a pile of pillows cuddling before going to sleep.

“I still can’t believe you did that.” Yusuke chuckled, recalling it

“Shut up, it was an accident okay?” Akira grumbled

“Right right..accident.” Yusuke allowed himself to release some of his laughter, Akira turned his face away, blushing from his embarrassment once again.

Yusuke settled down “Ahh...How long will we have to keep this up for though?” he asked

“Huh..?”

“Sneaking around.”

“I don’t know-...Wait keep talking..” Akira ordered

“What, why?”

“Just do it!”

“Um...Can’t we just present our relationship already?”

“Present! Yes!”

“...What?” Yusuke was extremely confused

“Present our relationship!” the clouds in Akira’s mind started to reveal “We will present our relationship with a Feathermoon ceremony!”

“F-Feathermoon...what?” Yusuke couldn’t understand Akira, he was talking too fast.

“We’ll go to the manor too, we’ll hold the ceremony there!”

“W-Wait Akira-”

“Let’s go tomorrow!”

Yusuke covered Akira’s mouth with his hand to shut him up “Stop talking for just a second!” he furrowed his brow “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say..” he moved his hand away, allowing Akira to speak once again.

“Tomorrow we’ll go to the manor and present our relationship there with a ceremony; that’s the idea that has been stuck in my mind these past days.”

Yusuke didn’t know much about the manor “Tomorrow..? That’s a bit sudden..” he expressed his concern

“If I tell the manor about us before the mansion they’ll be happy about it, after all the two are kind of..rivals..”

Yusuke glanced at the clock “Can we just...go to sleep and discuss this in the morning?”

“I suppose we could..”

Yusuke yawned, once he settled into bed his exhaustion hit him “I’m far too tired to talk about something like this now..”

“Alright..” Akira lay down on his side, pulling his pillow down to rest on it and wiggled deeper into the covers “Although I’m probably not going to get any sleep with that buzzing in my mind.”

Yusuke squirmed into the bed, he got used to sleeping in his own bed so the amount of room he had was a welcoming change, he rolled over and hugged Akira tightly from behind, nuzzling the boy’s neck with affection “You figured it out so now it’s time to sleep..”

Akira grabbed Yusuke's hand that was resting on his own chest “Yeah...I’ll shut up now.” he closed his eyes and pressed his back onto Yusuke for warmth.

“Good night Akira.” Yusuke closed his eyes “Goodnight..”

~~~

Yusuke woke up the next morning to the sound of rain hitting the windows, he raised his hand to his face and rubbed his left eye open to see the room being dimly lit from the sunlight peeking through, he turned his face to where Akira slept.

Akira was actually asleep, Yusuke was used to him waking up before him but today was different, the rooms atmosphere made him want to go back to sleep, it was really cozy but he knew he shouldn’t.

He should probably sneak out of the room before someone came to wake Akira but he simply didn’t want to, he wanted to remain in the presence of his love especially since it felt like this.

Yusuke slid closer to Akira and draped his arm around him, he stared at Akira’s sleeping face, he looked so peaceful while he slept, Yusuke leaned down and raised his hand onto the boy's cheek caressing it, he pressed his forehead against Akira’s with care and closed his eyes, enjoying Akira’s presence being so close.

Simply by being next to Akira he forgot about all the suffering he went through, the man he thought was filled with darkness was now his light and hope.

“Yusuke..?”

He heard Akira’s voice and opened his eyes “Good morning.” he greeted Akira with a smile and snuggled up to Akira, resting his head next to his lovers.

“Mm..Morning..” Akira rubbed the sleep out of his eyes “You’re..really close.”

“Is that a problem?” Yusuke asked

“No..”

“Did you sleep well tonight?”

“I think so..”

Yusuke rubbed his index finger along the bridge of Akira’s nose “How about your nose? Does it hurt?”

“No..” Akira chuckled, Yusuke could hear his voice echo throughout his body from being this close to him. “Sorry about that...sleep deprivation and hunger don’t go well together.”

“..What? You still haven’t eaten?”

“..I’ve been busy.”

Yusuke sat up a bit annoyed at Akira’s negligence “Akira..why are you doing this?”

“I’m not doing it on purpose..” Akira sat up, touching Yusuke’s shoulder “I’ve been busy with you and work...I haven’t had the chance to look for a target.”

“You have to eat or you’ll turn...into a husk..”

“I know..I’m sorry, I’ll start looking today but..first the manor.”

“You should eat before even thinking about going there.”

“I will, I have to organize it anyway.”

Yusuke smiled slightly, he felt more reassured about Akira’s hunger now “So..what were you talking about last night?”

Akira scratched his hair “I haven’t been to the manor for 11 years now. Now that I’m able to go outside I should visit them...it’ll show I care about them just as much as the mansion, not having much interaction with them has made their trust shaky and I believe this could help with that.”

“I see..”

“We’ll go together and hold a Feathermoon ceremony there, that way our relationship will be known and I’ll gain their trust back.”

Yusuke has never heard that word before “F-Feathermoon ceremony..?”

“It’s uh..” Akira paused “A ritual that shows others who I have chosen to be my mate.”

Yusuke’s cheeks grew red “S-So like...marriage..?” he touched his bottom lip, the thought of committing to something like that was a bit overwhelming for him.

“Kind of..? It just shows I’m serious about you.”

Yusuke moved some of his hair behind his ear nervously “I-I’ve...never actually..thought about this.”

“Don’t worry it’s not creepy or anything, it has toned down over generations...it’s literally just a party and at night we light floating lanterns and release them.” Akira spoke in a calm manner

Yusuke smiled “That sounds like fun and a sight worth painting too.” he wanted to dabble in the culture of the vampire’s they seemed so different from where he came from.

Akira leaned closer to Yusuke and leaned his head onto Yusuke’s “We can get married afterwards too.”

Yusuke’s heart skipped a beat “A-Ah..!” he clenched his beating heart, trying to calm himself.

Akira smiled “Maybe we should space them out a bit so you don’t faint from the stress.” he chuckled happily “But I’m serious about you Yusuke..”

“M-Mm..I-I am too w-with you..Akira.” Yusuke smiled back

Akira giggled “Sorry, I didn’t mean to fry your circuits.” he grabbed onto Yusuke’s arm and hugged it “My love for you is only growing stronger each minute.” he smiled happily and pressed his cheek against Yusuke’s shoulder.

“I-I feel the same Akira..”

~~~

The two decided to express their love for each other a bit before departing but they lost track of time and Yusuke realized it.

“W-Wait Akira...I should probably leave.” Yusuke mumbled as Akira trailed kisses down his neck “Why?” Akira asked as he licked Yusuke’s ear.

“Mn..B-Because...we’ll get caught..”

“So let us.”

“Akira..”

Akira sighed “Right..” he relaxed his body and hugged Yusuke underneath him “I don’t want you to go..” he whined

“We’ll meet up later if you wish.” Yusuke lifted his hand up into Akira’s hair and began stroking it.

Akira pressed his cheek onto Yusuke’s collar bone “How about..we go eat breakfast together?” he suggested with a grin

Yusuke thought about it “We could..”

“Avoiding each other entirely will also make us suspicious so let’s go eat together.”

“Okay, I can also learn more about the manor then.”

“Great, it’s decided then.” Akira got off Yusuke and hopped off the bed.

“W-Wait...put some pants on first.” Yusuke sat up looking at Akira’s attire, he only had boxers on and a black pajama top, Yusuke had only noticed it once they started kissing “I don’t even remember you going to bed in that.” he sighed

Akira giggled with a proud look “Because I removed them in the middle of the night.”

“W-Why..?”

“Because I was getting hot with you literally breathing down my neck.”

“Sorry..I fell asleep pretty quickly.”

“It’s fine, they are probably in the blankets still.” Akira said as he pulled the covers down, he found his pants and slid them back on “Now can we go?” Akira extended his hand out towards Yusuke, Yusuke smiled at it “Of course.” he took Akira’s hand.

~~~

The two sat down at the kitchen table, no one else was around yet so they had to prepare their own food, Akira chose a vanilla cake and Yusuke had cereal “Do you always eat so unhealthily?” Yusuke asked as he glanced at Akira’s plate full of cake.

“My body doesn’t function off food so..yeah.” Akira stretched his body out, Yusuke could hear his joints cracking which wasn’t very pleasant.

“You should still eat healthy.” Yusuke suggested trying to dismiss the sounds.

Akira picked his fork up and stabbed the cake with it “Yes, grandma.”

Yusuke sighed “You’re a bit witty today.” he chuckled “At least you’re in a good mood though.”

Akira wanted to discuss their visit more “We’re probably going to the manor tomorrow so pack your things tonight.”

“Why are you in such a rush to go there?”

“So I don’t have to hide our relationship anymore and..” Akira’s cheeks grew red “I’m..actually looking forward to the Feathermoon ceremony.” he mumbled

Yusuke smiled, he thought it was cute for Akira to be excited about it “What’s the manor like?” he asked.

“It’s basically a small village with lots of open fields, some crops too.”

“Is it..dangerous?”

“..It can be but mostly because of the wild animals and the lack of nearby towns or hospitals.”

“I see..to be honest I’m a bit anxious.”

“I’ll protect you Yusuke.” Akira smiled

“N-Not because of that...just going somewhere completely new makes me anxious but..it should be good for my art works, the sights are getting dull here...I-I also want..to make you happy.” he blushed slightly, he would dismiss his anxiety for Akira’s sake.

“You don’t have to stress about it, we won’t be staying long only for like..3 days.”

“You don’t like it there?”

“..I’ll lose my mind if I stay there, especially because of the noise.”

“Hm?”

“Our children are raised there...and they play near my bedrooms window..”

Yusuke chuckled “You seem like you don’t like children.”

“It’s not that it’s just...they scream a lot.”

“That’s unfortunate, I don’t feel like I’ll be able to paint with that noise.”

“You’re suffering with me.”

Yusuke sighed in defeat then heard a girl come into the kitchen “Ahha! I knew you were eating Haru’s cake!” she pointed at Akira.

Akira sighed loudly “Do you mind? I’m having a private conversation here.”

“Oo, what are you talking about?” Ann grinned

“How shit your cakes are.” Akira chuckled, amused by his own joke

“...I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.” Ann crossed her arms displaying her offence

“You made a banana cake, I don’t like those especially fake banana.”

“It was Ryuji’s idea!”

“When did he ever have good suggestions?”

“I heard that!” A loud voice rang out from around the corner and a boy with blonde hair appeared, walking inside, Yusuke knew they looked familiar but couldn’t remember why.

Akira sighed again “I’m going back to my room.”

“No, wait a moment please." Ann begged

“What do you two want? You’re not usually up this early..” Akira asked

“R-Ryuji broke one of the washing machines...and some others things.” Ann admitted

“Don’t you put this all on me!” Ryuji’s voice was so loud

Ann pointed at Ryuji “It is your fault, you tried to dye your clothing it in!” the two bickered

“Can you manage to make my life anymore harder..?” Akira grunted and leaned on his hand, annoyed.

“Ryuji wanted to personally apologize, right?”

“You said red looked better!”

“So buy red clothes not dye them!”

Yusuke ate silently watching this unfold.

“Enough...you’re giving me a headache.” Akira groaned “I’ll get it fixed..now can I resume my conversation?”

“Yes you can, just make sure you confess to him already.” Ann smirked and pulled Ryuji out of the room before she paid the consequence for it.

“T-They know..?” Yusuke blushed slightly from the thought

“No...She’s just guessing.”

“Well..she guessed right..”

“Don’t worry about those two, just prepared for tomorrow.”

“W-Wait, we’re doing the..ceremony as soon as we arrive?”

“Yes, why wait?”

“I see..” Yusuke would have to prepared himself big time if he wants to be ready for this.

"It'll be okay Yusuke, I'll be with you."
They smiled at each other and Yusuke nodded.

It was a bit worrisome for Yusuke but he knew the others would accept him if he did it, he wanted to be apart of their family and this was the right way to go about it. He'd be able to experience a completely new culture and refine his relationship with Akira even more.

Chapter Text

Akira and Yusuke prepared suitcases for their trip to the manor, they were to leave early tomorrow morning to avoid attention. Akira made sure to drink some of Yusuke’s blood to avoid any accidents. Yusuke was still nervous about it and got barely any sleep last night.

 

“You need to keep yourself warm.” Akira said as he pulled a jacket over Yusuke’s shoulders, it was raining today causing their trip to be a bit more difficult.

“Sorry, I’m just...I haven’t been out here for a while..” Yusuke replied as he stared at the environment, the two were waiting outside for the horses to finish eating so they could depart.

Yusuke held the umbrella over them, shielding them from the rain.
“You can come out here whenever you want.” Akira said

Yusuke smiled slightly “I know, I always could.”

“I still put it in your head that you couldn’t..” Akira sighed, crossing his arms

“That is true but I’ve forgiven you.” Yusuke turned his head, glancing at Akira “Because in the end, it turned out to be much better than my previous life.” he smiled

“You’re weird.” Akira chuckled and a smile formed on his lips

“I am merely telling you my feelings.”

“I know, I just wish I met you 10 years ago instead of him.”

“I..would’ve been 11.”

“Okay that’s weird, maybe not.” Akira shook his head in embarrassment

“How old are you?” Yusuke asked, seeing if he’d get an answer now

“I’m not telling you, not even now.”

“It was worth a shot.” Yusuke chuckled “Come, the carriage is ready.” Akira said as he grabbed Yusuke’s free hand, they began walking over to it.

“I’ve never been in a vehicle before..” Yusuke mumbled, staring at the carriage

“Just don’t puke.”
Akira helped Yusuke into the carriage and got inside himself, sitting next to Yusuke.

“I do have motion sickness..” Yusuke informed him

“Maybe we should get a bag.”

“No, I don’t think I will vomit.”

“Alright.” Akira tugged on the rope, informing the rider they could start moving, he closed the doors to keep the rain out.

“It’s quite calming in here.” Yusuke smiled from his comfort, the carriage began to move.

“Kind of romantic, mm?” Akira wrapped his arm around Yusuke, squeezing his shoulder, Yusuke blushed and leaned his head on Akira’s shoulder “M-Mm..I could fall asleep like this..”

“Sorry to pull you out of bed so early...you can rest if you like.”

It was still rather dark outside, the sun was slowly peeking out onto the land.

“I..think I might.” Yusuke closed his eyes, he didn’t get much sleep because of his anxiety and because he didn’t have Akira to soothe him last night, once their relationship was out in the open, the two could become more intimate together in public.

~~~

Yusuke felt like he was being pushed, he opened his eyes slowly to be greeted with bright lights peeking into the carriage, he closed them from the sudden shock and rubbed them, clearing the sleep from his eyes.

“We’re here.” he heard Akira’s calming voice

Yusuke yawned

“You’re so cute.” Akira chuckled, caressing Yusuke’s cheek with his bent finger

“Mhh..” Yusuke rubbed his eyes open, the sun didn’t hurt them as much

“Come, we have to let the horses rest.” Yusuke felt Akira grab his hand, pulling him carefully out of the carriage, it was no longer raining but the ground was wet.

Akira felt eyes leering at him, he looked around trying to find the source but brushed it off once he didn’t see anything odd “I have to go get changed into something fancy..” he sighed

Yusuke stared at the manor in front of them, the walls were white with a brown door, it had balconies with black gates and large windows, the ground near the manor was covered in plants and bushes.

“You alright?” Akira asked, giving a slight squeeze on Yusuke’s hand

“Ah, sorry...I was just taking in the sight..” Yusuke was still waking up

“We must hurry to our room before someone sees us.” Akira said and he begun pulling Yusuke into the house.

“O-Our room..?”

“Yes, we’ll be sharing my bedroom.” Akira pulled Yusuke up the staircase, Yusuke didn’t have any time to take in the sights of the inside, he was soon pulled into a bedroom “Why are we rushing..?” Yusuke finally asked

“I haven’t been here in 11 years...they’ll be offended if they see me like this.” Akira let go of Yusuke’s hand and moved over to a luggage bag, he unzipped it, pulled out clothing.

Yusuke stared at the room, this one was more modern than Akira’s, the walls were white, with brown wood decor, the bed frame was brown while the bed was pure white with two light grey pillows, they also had a balcony and an ensuite.

“As you can see...the manor is more open than the mansion.” Akira begun talking while removing his clothes “So I’ll be drinking your blood more often to avoid burning.”

“That is fine.” Yusuke stared out the window, being absorbed by the open nature of this place, he wanted to paint the landscape.

“Alright, time to get hounded.” Yusuke looked back over to Akira, he was wearing a suit with golden buttons, a golden metal feather insignia on the label of the black jacket, he wore a black button up shirt underneath with a black undershirt, peeking out like a tight turtleneck, he had a long red ribbon tie on with black gloves, black pants and black formal shoes on.

“You look lovely.” Yusuke complimented him with a bright smile

“Thank you, you should get dressed too.”

Yusuke's brain started to wake up and he realized “Huh..?!”

“You’re my partner, I must have you by my side.”

Yusuke was still concerned about it, he wanted to postpone it “..D-Do we really have to do this today?” he asked and exhaled, trying to calm down.

“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

“I didn’t talk to anyone at the ball…I don’t know anyone, I have no idea what we’re even doing..”

“So?”

“..They’ll think I’m rude..I should understand what’s happening at least.”

“Yusuke, I’ll explain it a bit more once you have gotten dressed, so don’t stress.”

“O-Okay..I-I’ll try..”

“Then get changed, I made sure they prepared a suit for you.” Akira said as he walked into the ensuite to brush his hair.

Yusuke held his chest; he was riddled with anxiety, as if just being in a unfamiliar place wasn’t enough, now he’ll have to partake in a formal greeting and ceremony.

 

Yusuke put on the suit he was provided, it was a double breasted navy blue suit with gold buttons, it had a red bow tie and he wore a white shirt underneath, with the same pin Akira had.

He touched the pin, maybe this had some symbolism to it that Yusuke was unaware of.

Akira stepped outside the ensuite “Ah, you look lovely.” he said as he approached Yusuke

“What is this pin?” Yusuke asked, he had an idea it was for the Feathermoon ceremony but was uncertain.

“It symbolizes our relationship.”

“Ah..I see, t-the Feathermoon ceremony..right?” Yusuke asked for clarification

“Yeah..” Akira touched his hair nervously “You know how I said it wasn’t creepy..?”

“Um..Yes.”

“It kind of is..”

“What..?! You lied to me..!”

“I-I didn’t lie...just..I wanted to explain it more once we got here..plus I didn’t even think I would be allowed to do it.”

Yusuke crossed his arms and averted his eyes “You shouldn’t trick people like that..it’s unfair.”

“I know, I apologize but..I didn’t actually think the elders would accept it.” Akira twirled a strand of his hair onto his finger

“So..what’s this creepy ritual..?”

“Well...we undress and bathe in water filled with Starlight roses then we paint symbols on each others chests with my blood with raven feathers as our brushes under the moonlight.”

Yusuke shifted uncomfortably “W-With others watching..?”

“Yeah...although you can put on a towel and get into the water and then remove it, you don’t actually have to be naked in front of them, you can’t even see through the water.” Akira reassured him

“..I suppose it’s not actually that bad, j-just don’t try anything..”

“If I was interested in embarrassing you I would’ve done it a long time ago.”

“That is true..” Yusuke sighed “I just wish you didn’t lie.”

Akira wanted to avoid that topic “So you’re willing to do it?”

“Yes...I’ll do it if I won’t be shamed.”

“You won’t be, it’s a tradition everyone respects.” Akira grabbed Yusuke’s hand and raised it to his lips, kissing it “Thank you Yusuke, you truly do understand.”

Yusuke’s cheeks grew a red hue “I-I want to be accepted into your family, I also want to learn more about your culture so I'll do it.” he smiled

“I’ll show you each symbol and explain them to you.”

 

The two sat down on the bed and Akira grabbed an old book presenting the pages to Yusuke and explaining each one “This one defines protection, you’d use it on your partner if you thought they were sickly.” Akira explain

“Perhaps I should choose that one, the way you’re going about your eating at the moment will make you sick.”

Akira averted his eyes “Can we not talk about that?”

“Did you eat yesterday?” Yusuke expressed his concern

“...Yeah.”

“You don’t seem confidant.”

“I did. Can we get back to this now?” Akira bent the page's tip back and forth nervously

Yusuke didn't notice “Yes, we may.”

Akira turned the page “This one defines tranquility.”

Yusuke was still confused and wanted some more clarification “..None of them are sticking, perhaps if you told me what this tradition is about I can choose.” he suggested

“Well..we do it to vow our relationship to our ancestors, if we don’t they will reject it causing misfortune to you.” Akira explained

“Only me..? why not you too?"

“Because I’m already accepted as king, you’re an outsider, you can never become my queen if we don’t do this...although you’re male so..not really a queen.”

Yusuke's heartbeat hastened “W-Wait, this defines me as your queen?!”

“It doesn’t..define it like marriage would, it makes it possible...without judgement.”

Yusuke hearing the word 'judgement' popped a question into his head “D-Do same sex relationships happen often..?”

“They do, the only issue is not being able to have a heir, they usually make you seek other options, once you’ve made a child with worthy blood they don’t give a shit.”

“That’s only because you’re king, right..?”

“Yeah, it’s one of my obligations as king but..” Akira sighed “I already explained why that won’t happen with us.”

“I..understand a bit more now.” Yusuke started to figure it out more, the symbols still confused him though

“I’ll let you pick your own symbol.” Akira said

“Wait..are any of them offensive?”

“Yes.”

Yusuke didn't want to offend anyone “Tell me so I don’t pick it on accident.”

Akira smirked “I think I’ll allow you to squirm for a bit.”

Yusuke furrowed his brow “I agreed to do this, you can’t make me screw it up.”

“..Yusuke, I need to know something.” Akira changed the subject, his demeanor changed with it

“What is it?”

Akira placed his hand over Yusuke’s “Y-You really love me, right..? This isn’t just a crush..?” he asked softly

Yusuke smiled, wanting to reassure Akira “Of course I love you, this isn’t simply a crush, you make me feel things I never thought existed..and I want to keep on feeling them for the rest of my life.”

“T-Thank you Yusuke...I’m sorry if it feels like I’m rushing things..I just wanted to know if you truly do love me..”

Yusuke intertwined his fingers with Akira’s “I don’t blame you for being insecure about it, hopefully this ceremony can assure you I truly do.”

Akira threw the book away and slid closer to Yusuke, leaning on him “I’m certain it will.” he spoke softly

Yusuke touched Akira’s face, bringing it closer with his fingers and pressed his lips on Akira’s, it was a short kiss but it felt longer.

“It amazes me how forgiving some people can be Yusuke.” Akira smiled and rested his hand on Yusuke’s shoulder, blushing.

“I knew there was another side to you Akira, I’m glad I was willing to explore it.”

Akira chuckled “While I absolutely love this moment you should hurry and pick a symbol, the party is about to start.”

“You must help me, I do not wish to be disrespectful.”

“I will guide you but I’m not going to pick it for you.” Akira wanted to know what Yusuke would pick without him interfering then he would truly be reassured.

Yusuke smiled, more reassured he wouldn't stuff this up “That sounds like a plan.”

Chapter Text

Akira adjusted Yusuke’s box tie, they were preparing to leave the room to join the party.

“You look lovely Yusuke.” Akira smiled, he trailed his hands down Yusuke’s chest and grabbed his hand “Are you ready?”

Yusuke nodded nervously “Y-Yes I am..” he moved his hair to the side, trying to calm his anxiety

“I may have to leave you alone for a bit but I promise I’ll return as soon as I can.” Akira placed his other hand on the doorknob

“I understand..I suppose I should met some others while I wait.”

“If you wish just stay away from my..other advisor.”

“You have two?”

“One here and one at home; Zeriya is better just...avoid him please.”

“Why?”

“I hate him.”

“..I’ll avoid him but I want to know why you hate him.”

“I’ll tell you later, we’re making everyone wait.”

“Okay.”

Akira opened the door and walked outside with Yusuke, still holding his hand firmly. The two stopped at the top of the staircase and Yusuke could see why, a crowd of unfamiliar faces stood at the bottom of the staircase, their eyes lit up once they noticed the two.

Multiple party tables had desserts and cozy meals on them, they were scattered around the room and a black rug was perfectly placed in the middle of the floor.

The decor of the manor was similar to that of the front, it was a more cozy build compared to the lavish nature of the mansion, the room was filled with big windows that allowed the light in, the only thing that was the same as the mansion was the marble flooring.

Yusuke felt Akira squeeze his hand and he was pulled back to reality, he trailed his eyes along the unfamiliar faces, many people of all shapes and sizes stared back at him, butlers and maids were perfectly aligned on the sides of the others acting as a shield and about 8 elders stood behind the others, their faces were expressionless.

“Greetings, my lord.” A tall man stepped towards Akira, his black hair was slicked back but had a left fringe covering his eye slightly, Akira’s facial expression instantly turned to disgust at the sight of the man.

“I have come to visit my people who reside here, my humble apologies for not departing sooner.” Akira’s tone was more firm, he was able to put aside his disgust for the sake of formality.

Yusuke was impressed with Akira’s ability to act, he was quite good at it.

Akira pulled Yusuke along, descending the staircase, the crowd expressed their joy through awes under their breath as the two moved closer, they reached the bottom and Akira waved at the crowd with a smile “Shall we begin then?”

The servants threw red petals into the air, allowing them to fall and the crowd began to cheer and chatter among each other.

The crowd scattered around, talking to each other and some grabbing food from the tables, the noise was quite loud which made Yusuke’s head ache but he swallowed his anxiety as he watched them enjoy themselves.

“The master is here!” Three girls swarmed Akira almost jumping from their excitement “Why didn’t you dance with me at the ball, my lord?” one of the asked in a respectful tone “I heard you dance with Ume that’s so unfair!” another whined, almost stomping her feet.

Akira raised his hand to settle them “As you know..the ball had an unfortunate event, my apologies.” he bowed slightly.

Yusuke wasn’t really sure if they were flirting with his man or simply making conversation, he just stood there watching it unfold, he didn’t know how to insert himself into the conversation and wasn’t even sure if he wanted to.

“You don’t have to apologize, I know you’re busy.” the more respectful girl smiled

“Perhaps next time?” the giddy one grinned, her friend tugged onto her dress, she didn’t say a thing but seemed annoyed from her friends antics.

“Is this your partner?” the less childish one trailed her eyes along Yusuke, inspecting him.

It made Yusuke uncomfortable and he shuffled behind Akira, using him as a shield.

“Aw, he’s cute!”

Yusuke pressed his chin onto Akira’s shoulder and blushed slightly, he didn’t like being the center of attention.

Akira chuckled “Yes, he is, he’s a bit shy.”

“No, it’s okay, we understand.”
The girls smiled, they seemed friendly but Yusuke couldn’t speak.

“Excuse me but I must be going.”

The girls nodded
“Okay, but you owe me that dance still.”
“Please enjoy yourself.”

“Thank you and I shall repay you soon.” Akira turned around and grabbed Yusuke’s arm, pulling him into the opposite direction away from the girls and towards a table.

Yusuke was more comfortable now “Someone’s popular.” he teased with a chuckle.

“It’s a gift but also a curse.” Akira sighed and stopped in front of a table, turning to face Yusuke “I have to go speak to my...other advisor, I’m sorry but it’s private so you’ll be alone for a bit.”

“Now..?”

“Yes, the sooner I do it the less I’ll have to worry.”

“Worry about what?”

“It’s business stuff, I won’t be long.”

“A-Alright...I’ll wait for you.”

Akira nodded and turned, walking off into the distance.

Now Yusuke was alone with a large crowd around him, he decided he should look for something to paint and maybe introduce himself although he wasn’t sure who he should trust and who he shouldn’t so he would put that off until Akira returns.

He was finding it hard to observe the place, he was overwhelmed by others, he never liked large crowds but he would have to get used to it if he wanted to stay by Akira’s side.

Yusuke framed his fingers and trailed his eyes along it until he landed on a chocolate fountain on another table to the right of him, it intrigued him, he stepped forward to inspect it “So you’re the one whom the master chose?” he heard someone talk to him, he turned to them only to be greeted by a familiar face, it was the man that fought with Akira at the ball.

“H-Hello..” Yusuke managed to say, he didn’t expect someone to approach him especially this guy.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your full name?” the man asked with a stern look

“My name..? Yusuke Kitagawa.” Yusuke thought it was an odd question but he figured not everyone knows who he is.

“Ah, I thought so.” the man smiled slightly, holding his chin

Yusuke held his hands in front of his stomach “I’m sorry for your...loss.” he bowed

“Thank you but..I’m moving on now...although I’m glad the master has had a change of heart.”

“..What do you mean?”

“Do you not know? We’re all the weak vampires, he threw us out here to make sure we wouldn’t bring him down...there’s even a town nearby that hunts us; one of the many towns that actually acknowledges us and they try to kill us.” the man chuckled

“I-I had..no idea..” Yusuke wasn’t certain if he could trust this information, he could just be trying to put doubts in Yusuke’s mind.

“There’s still a lot you don’t know about him.”

“Huh..?”

The man sighed and shook his head “Anyway I have to go find my son, farewell.” he turned around and walked off in a hurry

Yusuke held his chest and pondered on the man’s words, he felt like he knew Akira more than the others but now he wasn’t so sure anymore.

###

Akira finished his conversation with his advisor and was making his way back to Yusuke until a hand touched his shoulder, stopping him.

“It has been quite a long time, Akira.” A raspy voice shot towards his ear and Akira turned to it.

“You still won’t refer to me as your king?” Akira asked as he inspected the old man in a robe

“You still haven’t earned it.” the old man shook his head with a chuckle.

Akira crossed his arms and tilted his head, displaying his annoyance “I’m in a hurry so make this quick.”

“Always to the point I see..”

“Get to it already.” Akira’s tone was stern

“Hmph...Are you certain you want to go through with the ceremony?”

“Yes, I am.”

“So you’re willing to turn him?”

“....Not yet.”

“You do realize no one will accept his authority if he remains human, right?”

“I’m not doing this because I expect that...I doubt he even wants authority.”

The old man glared at Akira “Why do you always choose useless partners?”

Akira became offended and wasn't willing to deal with the old man's slander “Why do you torture me with your bullshit? The quicker you die the less crap I’ll have to deal with.” Akira turned around “Now if you’ll excuse me I must go talk to a more amiable being.” Akira walked away hearing the old man groan.

###

The party continued on, Yusuke sat down near one of the tables, fiddling with the pin on his jacket.

Even though he was permanently staying with Akira he still had a hard time adapting to the more social aspect of it all, he didn’t have anything to talk to the others about besides Akira and that subject was just..strange, the only hobby he had was being an artist and it seemed like no one here was interested in that, in order for Yusuke to like someone they must be the one to initiate the conversation not him.

He continued to think about that man’s words, the thought repeated in his head again and again, he couldn’t get it out, he made a mental note to confront Akira about it later but right now he had to prepare himself for the ceremony.

“Sorry I’m late.” Akira said as he approached Yusuke

“I-It’s fine..” Yusuke moved his hand to his hair, playing with it nervously

“Is something wrong?” Akira asked

“No..”

Akira furrowed his brow “You seem uncomfortable...did someone touch you?” his voice was filled with malice

“N-No, of course not!” Yusuke waved his hands to emphasize his protest, he sighed and touched his hair again “I’m just terrible at socializing...”

Akira crouched down in front of Yusuke, grabbing his knee “You don’t have to force yourself to talk to others.”

“I..don’t want to disappoint you or the others..yet here I am letting little things get to me..”

“Yusuke..” Akira rubbed Yusuke’s knee to reassure him “You’ll never disappoint me, I’m so proud of you for even willing to do this. Some of the others are really nice people and understand your anxiety, not everyone here despises me for my curse; this place is just bigger and can hold more people so they were lumped in.”

A slight smile formed on Yusuke’s lips “Thank you Akira, I feel a little better now.”

“Come, I’ll introduce you, i-if you want that of course.”

“I do, this is my home too.”

Akira smiled and grabbed Yusuke’s hand, helping him up, once they both stood up Akira leaned towards Yusuke and kissed his cheek “You’re the best Yusuke.” he grinned.

It caught Yusuke off guard, he didn’t think the two were allowed to do such things, his cheeks grew red “U-Uh..” he moaned.

Akira chuckled “You’re so cute!” he squeezed Yusuke’s hand “I just want to hug you but I know it’s not really appropriate.” he raised his hand to his face and scratched his cheek, trying to contain his excitement.

“S-Shouldn’t we..go?” Yusuke mumbled, watching his boyfriend hold his excitement in

“O-Oh yes, sorry I lost focus.” Akira looked around and saw a familiar face, he pulled Yusuke to the direction of it.

The two talked to a few other vampires and some humans at the party, Yusuke was actually able to join a few of the conversations and it helped his self esteem tremendously although he felt like he wouldn’t of been able to do it without Akira, time felt like it passed quickly as they engaged in more conversations and enjoy a few desserts together.

Yusuke had learnt that Akira had this irresistible charm simply by analyzing the way he spoke to others, it may of been what initially captured him too.

The ceremony would begin soon; first they would release the lanterns and then perform the ritual Akira spoke about earlier, Yusuke had already picked a symbol so now all he had to do was mentally prepare for it however he felt like it would be easier to do now that he had actually communicated with some of the others.

Chapter Text

Nightfall came and the servants were preparing the sky lanterns while the others awaited inside the manor.

Akira and Yusuke were being harassed by two twins, they demanded they give them food.

“I’m not your parent, I can’t say what you can and can’t eat!” Akira raised his voice, he was getting sick of being nagged.

“But you’re king, which means you can give me what I want.” the little girl frowned, she just wanted some marshmallows covered in chocolate.

A young girl tugged on Yusuke’s sleeve “You’re the queen, right? My mother doesn't have to know.”

Yusuke stared at the young girl bewildered “Um..” his cheeks grew red from the thought “W-Where are your parents..?” he mumbled

“I’ll tell you if you allow us to eat marshmallows.”

“..What’s your names?” Yusuke asked

“I’m Justine and the one biting the king’s leg is Caroline.”

“What?!” Yusuke turned his head to see exactly what she described, Akira was pulling on the girl’s back trying to pull her off his leg.

“Ah, get off! I am definitely not allowing you to eat them now!” Akira shouted, grabbing the child's ankles and pulling them
Caroline clung onto Akira’s leg with her fangs dug in, she would fight for those marshmallows.

“W-Why is your sister biting him..?” Yusuke asked, watching in surprise.

“If you want her to stop I suggest you give us what we want.”

“You have fangs you’re not meant to bite people, your parents have taught you nothing!” Akira scolded her while shaking her.

Justine tugged on Yusuke’s sleeve again “He might hurt her, you know? You should just avoid that.”

“Ahh..A-Alright.” Yusuke turned to the table and grabbed a packet of marshmallows, giving it to Justice.

“Thank you. Caroline it worked you can let go now.”

Caroline let go of Akira and pulled her fangs out, he held her by her ankle in the air “Don’t reward them!” he scolded Yusuke.

“Let me go before my shirt falls down, you idiot!” Caroline tried to wiggle free and held her shirt tightly.

“A-Akira you might hurt her.” Yusuke expressed his concern

“Don’t be fooled by their appearance, they are stronger than you!”

“Justine don’t just stand there, help me!” Caroline tried to kick Akira but she couldn’t reach

“Sorry, I found it interesting.” Justice approached Akira “Don’t you dare!” he shouted

She kicked him in the crotch forcing him to let go of Caroline, she fell to the floor with Akira, but Caroline quickly got up “Good idea Justice!” the girls high-fived and ran off together with the marshmallows, they were victorious.

Akira held his crotch and whimpered “Agh..I-I didn’t want...kids anyway..” he clenched his teeth from the pain.

“Akira are you alright?!” Yusuke rushed to Akira’s side and kneeled down, ensuring he was okay.

“You..caused this..nnh..” Akira pushed himself to sit up “You have to..kiss it better later.”

Yusuke’s face burned “EHH?!” his heart was ready to jump out of his throat.

Akira chuckled, although it made his pain worse “I’m kidding, but..you’re an idiot sometimes..” he sighed in defeat.

“I-I didn’t want you to get hurt or for you to hurt them..”

“If I wanted to hurt her I would’ve..” Akira groaned and looked at his pants, where Caroline bit him “Great..she ruined my pants..” he had two small holes in his pants and was bleeding from the bite mark.

Yusuke looked at the wound “We should clean that.”

“Something else hurts more than that.” Akira groaned and shook his head slightly “You fell right into their trap..”

“Sorry...I just wanted the situation to be over..” Yusuke blushed and averted his eyes “S-She also called me queen..”

Akira smiled, despite his pain “You’re warming up to the idea?”

“I...I think I am..”

“Help me up.”

“Ah, yes.” Yusuke helped Akira stand up, he inspected his leg again “We should really clean that up..”

“First; you don’t reward bad behaving children, they are going to try that again now because they know it works!” Akira groaned and squeezed his legs together in pain “Oh god...it hurts when I raise my voice..”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to do..” Yusuke frowned

“Ugh..I can’t be mad at you..” Akira sighed “I’ll yell at you later...let’s clean this up before the lanterns start.”

They made their way to the bathroom and cleaned up Akira’s bite, they covered it with a non-woven bandage.

“Aren’t you going to change your pants?” Yusuke asked as he watched Akira pulled his pants back on.

“I don’t have time, the lanterns are ready.” Akira fastened his belt “Come on.” he grabbed Yusuke’s hand and intertwined their fingers “You’re ready to do this?”

“Yes, I am Akira.”
They smiled at each other and left the bathroom, making their way outside the front of the manor.

 

The two made their way towards the large crowd, everyone was outside, picking their lanterns, the sky lanterns ranged from many designs, shapes, colours and styles.

“What one would you like to pick Yusuke?” Akira asked as he tried to find one he liked

“I’m not sure..” Yusuke looked down at the lanterns, he knew he would find one that intrigued him eventually

“We should share one.” Akira suggested happily

Yusuke’s cheeks grew a slight red hue “Are you certain?”

“Mh, pick one that you like.”

“You’re not going to help me?”

“You’re the one that has an eye for beauty.”

“I suppose that is true.” Yusuke kneeled down, getting a closer look at the lanterns that lay in front of him

Akira looked up at the sky “Looks like the clouds have cleared and allowed the stars out.”

Yusuke was too focus on finding the perfect one to reply, he found a purple one he liked and leaned forward, grabbing it and stood up “I believe I have found one.” he presented it to Akira

Akira inspected it “It’s beautiful Yusuke.” he smiled.

Yusuke had chosen a purple lantern with moons decorating it, they almost glowed a light purple.

Yusuke smiled at Akira “I think you should light it, I might ruin it.”

“No, we’ll do it together.”

“..Okay, I’ll try not to ruin it.” Yusuke sighed

“You won’t.” Akira chuckled “Why are you doubting yourself so much?”

“I just wish to get it right.”

“You did amazing meeting others and even got bribed by a child and you don’t think you can handle this?”

A smiled formed on Yusuke’s lips “Sorry, I suppose I’m just anxious again..”

Akira grabbed Yusuke’s shoulder “You got this, captain.”

“Mh, I do.”
They giggled together at their awful jokes.

“Come, we’re going to light them now.” Akira couldn’t hold Yusuke’s hand because he was holding the lantern with both, so he just looped his arm around Yusuke’s and guided him to the lighting station.

Akira grabbed two lighters and they went into the crowd together, preparing to light their lantern.

“Let the ceremony begin!” Akira raised his voice so the others could hear him, the area was filled with cheers and soon people started to light and launch their lanterns.

Yusuke and Akira watched the night sky fill with the lanterns, they sway beautifully, lighting up the land with dim lights of different colours.

“Shall we light ours?” Akira asked with a grin and grabbed the lantern.

They turned to face each other, holding onto the lantern and Akira gave Yusuke a lighter “You just press that button, it’s a safety one.” Akira explained

Yusuke nodded, glancing at the lighter in his other hand.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

The two lifted the lantern up and moved their lighters underneath it, they pressed their lighters against the flammable wax.

“When I say ‘I love you, Yusuke’ light it.”

Yusuke blushed “C-Could we used something more..sensible?”

“No, we can’t.”

“O-Okay..”

“I’m about to say it.”

“I am ready.”

“I love you, Yusuke!”
The two lit the wax and pushed the lantern into the air

“I love you too, Akira.”

Akira shuffled closer to Yusuke, grabbed his hand and intertwining their fingers “You dork.” he chuckled and leaned his head onto Yusuke’s shoulder.

Yusuke leaned his head onto Akira’s and they watched their lantern sway higher up into the air, it shined brightly in the dark sky.

“Hey, Yusuke? I believe our lantern wants us to do something.”

“Hm? What do you mean?”

Akira shifted and grabbed Yusuke’s cheek, kissing him.

Yusuke enjoyed their moment together, the thought that they were surrounded simply vanished, he felt like the lanterns filling the sky shined on the two.

Akira broke their kiss slowly “For us to kiss.” he finished his sentence as he cheeks burned with his emotions for Yusuke.

Yusuke turned and wrapped his arms around Akira, holding tightly onto the boy “Akira…” he spoke softly, they turned their heads to face their lantern and Akira hugged Yusuke, tucking his head under Yusuke’s chin, his wavy hair caressed Yusuke.

Yusuke raised his hand up and cuddled Akira’s jaw, pushing him closer.

They watched their lantern while holding one another, their eyes gleamed as they watched it move further away, the night sky shined brightly with the lanterns, the sight truly was beautiful.

 

They sat down together, Akira sat on Yusuke’s lap while he held Akira from behind, they didn’t care about being formal no more, they just wanted to watch the lanterns float away while holding each other.

Soon the lanterns were barely in sight and they helped each other up, getting ready for the next step.

“Oh..My suit is wrinkled..” Yusuke sighed as he looked down at his suit

“You’ll be taking it off soon.” Akira grinned

“So...how does that actually go..?”

“We’ll get into robes with a tied towel on underneath, once we get into the water you’ll remove it.” Akira explained calmly

“I see..”

“Also you’ll have an assistant, don’t worry if they touch you inappropriately I’ll lunge at them.”

“W-While naked..?”

“Yes.”

Yusuke chuckled at the mental image of that “Perhaps I should lie just to see that.”

“Then you’ll have blood on your hands.”

Yusuke smiled happily “You’re very protective of me.”

“Of course, I must protect the love of my life.”

“I could feel safe anywhere with you.” Yusuke held Akira’s hand up to his chest “You truly are the best thing that could’ve happened to my life.”

“You’re so sweet Yusuke.” Akira pressed his hand onto Yusuke’s chest, closing his eyes and absorbing the sound of Yusuke’s heart beating “I wish to hear this heart beat for the rest of my life.”

“And you will, Akira.” Yusuke caressed Akira’s hand on his chest and they smiled at each other “Come.” Akira moved his hand and grabbed Yusuke’s “Let’s go prepare for the ritual.”

Yusuke nodded with a moan filled with happiness.

~~~

The two prepared for the ritual, they weren’t allowed to see each other before it, they undressed and put on robes and a towel underneath, exactly what Akira described before.

Yusuke’s assistant was telling him the rules and requirements for it.

“You must give a speech as to why you picked that symbol.” she informed him

“A-A speech..? Yusuke asked for clarification

“Yes, I will help you rehearse it, but you must form the speech yourself.”

Yusuke listened to her quietly

“You’ll use a raven feather to draw the symbol, but don’t worry too much about getting it exactly; it will be messy.”

“Okay..” Yusuke’s anxiety had shot up again but he was more worried about getting it wrong than actually doing it.

“I will be there aside you to assist you during it. Do you have anymore questions?”

“D-Do I kiss Akira..?”

“You do eventually, an elder will guide you two with what you must do.”

Yusuke nodded nervously

“Any more questions? The master is ready.”

“I’m...ready.”

~~~

Yusuke was guided to a pond, a crowd of people circled it, awaiting their arrival.

Yusuke stared down at the pond, the water was almost pure dark blue, the stars in the sky shined brightly reflecting on the water’s surface, blue petals floated peacefully on the surface, it almost looked like a galaxy, the grass around the pond almost had a white glow, swaying in the wind.

Yusuke looked up only to notice Akira on the other side of the pond, he had a black robe on unlike Yusuke’s white one, he had an assistant too and soon an old man stepped towards the pond with a book.

The sounds from the crowd instantly went quiet as they watched the ritual commence.

Yusuke felt his assistant push his back lightly, informing him to get into the pond.

Akira and Yusuke stepped towards the pond, almost in a synced rhythm, Akira removed his robe and Yusuke noticed a cut on his wrist, he snapped himself back into focus telling himself, it’s probably for the ritual, he removed his robe nervously and his assistant took it.

They both stepped inside, the water was cold and reached up to Yusuke’s waist, he was relieved he wasn’t tall enough for it not to censor him properly.

The old man with the book took something from Akira’s assistant and placed it down on the right and left of the pond.

Yusuke glanced at it, they were small white bowls filled with Akira’s blood, it was their paint.

“Let us begin the Feathermoon ceremony!” The old man wheezed.

Akira removed his towel and placed it on the ground next to him, the water rippled from his movements but Yusuke couldn’t see anything, the water was simply too dark, the stars continued to glitter in the water.

Yusuke got his cue to remove his own, he placed it on the ground with a slight tremble, he composed himself trying to keep all of his attention on Akira.

They were both given long raven feathers from their assistants, Yusuke wasn’t sure if they were real or fake, he knew it was a very bad paintbrush though.

The old man stood to their side and opened the book, letting out a cough and begun speaking “Announce the symbols you have chosen for your partner so our ancestors understand if it is truly dignified.”

Yusuke wasn’t sure if he should speak first or if Akira should, he would be more eased if Akira did and Akira must’ve noticed that.

Akira placed his hand over his chest as he spoke “I have chosen Redemption; Yusuke Kitagawa has granted me to right to rewrite my sins, he has carved a new path for me, one filled with a more faithful future to our ancestors, one that was ripped away from me due to my undying sin, I will no longer drown in sin with him by my side and for that I will forever be grateful and wish to have him with me forever.”

Yusuke smiled, he didn’t believe he had done that, only given Akira his sunlight back, but he knew they had to convince Akira’s ancestors that their relationship benefited everyone, not only them.

Yusuke realized he had to speak next “I-I..have chosen Serenity; Akira Kurusu has granted me the right to a future with contentment, I will forever remain by his side due to that fact, he has opened my eyes to a world that grants me an opportunity to grow as a person and I will never turn it down, I will support his decisions as king and will watch him grow as a triumphant king, I will guide him back on path if he ever falters.”

The old man hovers his hand over the books open page “Your speeches have been granted permission to paint your symbols.”

Yusuke and Akira stepped towards each other, they dipped their feathers into the bowls filled with blood and held the feathers over each other's chests, their eyes locked onto each others.

Akira smiled which only made Yusuke smile back, they pressed their feathers onto each other chests and began painting their symbols.

Akira looked like he was trying to hold his laughter in, he must be ticklish, the feather was really difficult to draw with but Yusuke still managed to make his look much better than Akira’s, it was rather peaceful being out here like this.

The only sounds they could hear was the water adjusting and the wind swaying the grass slowly, the water glittered and blue petals floated around the two, almost closing in on them, they could hear the feathers moving slowly onto each others skin, it was ticklish so Yusuke knew why Akira’s face was getting redder, he seemed to have more restraint than Akira though.

They finished drawing their symbols, Yusuke’s looked much neater than Akira’s and he could thank his artistic skills for that.

The old man inspected their drawings, his eyes lingered on Yusuke’s chest far too long “The master should take drawing lessons from you.” he glanced at Akira’s chest, confirming his statement.

“You’re ruining my ceremony, get back to it..!” Akira scolded under his breath

The old man coughed “Now you must link your minds as one with the moon crest.”

Yusuke and Akira were given dove feathers while their raven ones were taken away, Yusuke inspected it, he wasn’t actually informed about this part.

“Could I have some assistance with this hair please..” Akira sighed as he held his hair up, revealing his forehead.

A few snickers came from the crowd.

Akira’s assistant leaned over and placed a large clip in his hair, holding it back so his forehead was visible.

Yusuke’s assistant did the same without him even asking, he wasn’t used to have his hair held back out of his face.

Yusuke didn’t know what to do, he started to panic a bit.

“Draw a circle on my forehead with it.” Akira whispered

Yusuke nodded, he wasn’t sure why this part was left out of the explanation. He dipped his dove feather into the blood again, he pressed it against Akira’s forehead and drew a circle, he looked cute with his hair up like that.

Now it was Akira’s turn, however he dipped his fingers into the blood and rubbed it onto his lips like lipstick, he grabbed Yusuke’s cheeks and pulled him down, kissed his forehead “I can’t draw circles apparently.” he smirked and let Yusuke go.

It caught Yusuke off guard and he started to blush, he tried to stop himself, he even trained before the ritual to try and keep his cheeks clear for it, but he just couldn’t anymore.

Akira grabbed Yusuke by his ears and pulled him down again, pressing their foreheads together, the blood rubbed together, causing it to smudge a bit, Akira still had his blood on his lips so he licked it off a bit.

Yusuke felt his heartbeat become faster as he stared into the eyes of his love.

Akira closed his eyes, absorbing their moment together “Yusuke..” he said softly as his cheeks grew red, he must’ve been holding it back too.

Yusuke closed his eyes too, he completely forgot about the crowd and felt the moonlight shine onto the two, he rubbed his nose against Akira’s lovingly.

“You may now vow your unitement.” The old man said

Akira pressed his lips against Yusuke’s, Yusuke could taste Akira’s blood as they caressed their lips together, he wrapped his arms around Akira and trailed his hands along the boys back, probably rubbing blood onto it from the ‘paint’ on his fingers.

Akira broke their kiss slowly, caressing Yusuke’s cheek, causing blood to rub on his face “Yusuke…” he spoke softly “Akira…” Yusuke replied in a soft tone, their eyes gleamed as they stared into each others eyes.

The crowd cheered happily, it seems like the ritual was complete.

Akira hugged Yusuke, causing their chests to touch, it made their symbols smudge, he raised his lips to Yusuke’s ear “Ar jar’ruk noy’ sin.” he spoke another language Yusuke didn’t understand, perhaps it was the one he found in that book.

Yusuke squeeze Akira, he could find out what he said later, once they finished their celebration, his eyes glittered with his emotions, he truly was happy to be here.

Akira grabbed Yusuke's hand and intertwined their fingers, he lifted their arms up into the air and the crowd roared with joy.

Chapter Text

The ceremony was over and everyone departed, they were satisfied with how things went.

Once Yusuke and Akira washed off they returned to their bedroom, Yusuke was exhausted, talking to others and being on his feet all day drained him, he sat down on the end of the bed, pulling off his tie with an aspirated sigh.

Akira couldn’t contain his excitement anymore and lunged at Yusuke, hugging him tightly “I’m so proud of you!”
Yusuke fell back on the bed from the impact, he was too tired to try and sit upright with Akira clinging to him “Thank you, Akira.”

“Sorry, I just really need to hug you.” Akira said as he nuzzle Yusuke’s neck, like a cat rubbing its scent on something.

“Wait..” Yusuke pushed himself up, causing them to sit up, Akira sat on Yusuke’s lap “What did you say to me?”

“Hm?”

“During the ritual, you spoke a different language.”

Akira’s cheeks grew a slight red hue “O-Oh, that..”

Yusuke figured Akira’s demeanor was due to it being vulgar “Was it offensive?” he asked

“N-No..it’s nothing like that.”

“I noticed a book in your library that was written in a different language too.”

“We used to speak another language, but it was abolished about..100 years ago, Zeriya knew a bit and taught me some phrases, I can’t actually speak it.” Akira explained

“You won’t tell me what you said?”

Akira twirled a strand of his hair onto his finger, “I-It’s hard to translate but...it’s super positive, it holds a large significance...hmm..Let’s just say you wouldn’t hear people saying it carelessly.”

Yusuke smiled “Is it a way to express your feelings?”

“Yes, if I had to translate it, I would say it means ‘I devote my heart to you’ but...it doesn’t fit properly, it’s far too sacred for me to comfortably translate it like that.”

“Hm...How often would I hear those words if I lived in that era?”

“Probably never but if I had to...I would say once every 70 years.”

“I-It’s that tremendous?”

Akira's cheeks grew redder “M-Mm..”

Yusuke blushed heavily “A-And you said it...t-to me?”

“Y-Yes...I mean it too..I meant everything I said during the ceremony.”

Yusuke grabbed his mouth, trying to compose himself, his heart beat was the fastest he had ever felt and his ears burned, the realization that Akira loved him that deeply almost made him tremble.

“I-I did say I was serious about you..” Akira mumbled, trying to compose himself as well

“I-I..believe it, A-Akira...I’m just..s-surprised at how much..someone could actually..l-love me..”

“Of course it’s possible, you’re an amazing guy, Yusuke.”

“T-Thank you, Akira..”

Akira hugged Yusuke tightly, rubbing his head onto Yusuke's “You’re worth so much, Yusuke...you truly have changed my life and I hope I can support however you need.”

Yusuke burrowed his face in Akira’s shoulder “Thank you so much, Akira...I’ll never have to doubt my worth ever again..” he never realized that he could heal too from all the abuse Madarame put him through, he had hid it away like Akira did, he didn’t even realize he needed healing, but now he had it, it was a completely new feeling and he would treasure it.

~~~

They hugged each other in bed, preparing to sleep, the moonlight shined in the room, onto them.

“I’m really proud of you, Yusuke. You did tremendously well.” Akira felt his eyes well with tears, he wiped them quickly, he didn’t know why he was moved to tears, he was happy and yet he felt like he was going to cry.

“Hm?” Yusuke moaned as he tried to get a better look at Akira’s face

Akira sat up, covering his face with his hand, his tears dripped down through his fingers “W-Why am I..crying..? T-They won’t stop.” he was becoming frustrated, he truly didn’t understand why.

“Akira…” Yusuke sat up and touched Akira’s back “I believe they’re tears of happiness...a-at least that’s what I hope they are..”

“T-That’s possible..?”

“Of course it is.”

Akira wiped his eyes with a smile, “I didn’t know that..”

Yusuke leaned towards Akira and kissed his cheek “You’re cute.” he smiled

Akira moaned and shifted, he lunged at Yusuke again, causing them to fall back onto the pillows, they giggled together as they held each other.

“I’m still learning things from you..” Akira’s eyes glittered as he held Yusuke tightly

“I am learning things from you too, Akira.”

“I probably cried because I’m so proud of you.” Akira chuckled happily

Yusuke smiled “I'm glad but..Akira, I have a question.”

“Yes?”

“..I wasn’t told about the last bit of the ceremony..is there a reason or was it merely an oversight?”

“Um...I’m not actually sure, it could be due to the fact that..I’m meant to turn you at that part.”

“O-Oh, I see..”

“Don’t worry, I would never do that without your permission..I probably will never do it anyway.”

Yusuke shifted their position to face each other and he held Akira’s lower back “Thank you for considering me.”

Akira smiled “Of course I would.” he moved his hand, grabbing Yusuke’s and intertwining their fingers, bringing their hands in between their chests “I...I want to live again, Yusuke...even though I’m still cursed..you’ve given me enough light back in my life to make me want to live for myself.”

“I’m so happy to hear that, Akira.” Yusuke spoke softly

Akira burrowed his face in Yusuke’s chest, he was a bit embarrassed about what he was telling Yusuke “I-It started to develop once you confess to me and..today has made me understand it.”

Yusuke closed his eyes tightly, he felt like he was about to cry “A-Akira...you’re going to make me cry tears of joy too.”

“Good.” Akira chuckled “Ahh..I need sleep..” he sighed

“Me too, however..the covers are uneven.” Yusuke complained

“Huh?”

“If you don’t fix them, I’ll be unable to sleep.”

“I got it..” Akira yawned and pulled the covers up properly “Better?”

Yusuke smiled “Much better.” he pulled Akira closer

Akira rested his head on Yusuke’s chest and kissed their hands that were together “Goodnight, Yusuke.” “Goodnight, Akira.” the two drifted off to sleep while holding one another.

~~~ + ###

Akira woke up in the middle of the night, it was 4 am and he covered his ears with a pillow due to the fact he could hear every single one of Yusuke’s heartbeat, he could hear him breathing louder than he should, it echos throughout his body; he was experiencing withdrawal, his body wanted to eat Yusuke.

Akira had lied about finding a target, no one responded to his letters, he decided to start drinking blood again from their supply to prolong his need for life essences, but he was reaching his limit, his body simply couldn’t live off blood properly.

Akira would’ve never drank from their supply before, he knew it was useless and didn’t wish to waste it, but his desire to avoid killing others was much stronger, he knew it was futile to fight back but Yusuke made him want to try.

He knew Yusuke had accepted him like this, but he still desired change, he felt another void in his heart form right after falling for Yusuke, he thought at first it was him wanting to be with Yusuke and while that was true, this specific void wasn’t filled by it, he figured it had to do with his curse but he didn’t know what.

Akira couldn’t handle his body craving to eat his lover, he felt disgusted, he didn’t want to feel this way towards Yusuke ever again and yet his body screamed at him for food.

He glanced at Yusuke, confirming that he was sound asleep, he pulled himself out of bed trying not to wake Yusuke and grabbed a dressing gown, pulling it on and leaving the room quietly, he simply couldn’t handle being next to Yusuke like this.

Akira moved through the dark manor until he reached an office, it was his but he barely was here so it couldn’t be labeled as such, he went inside and saw his advisor, just like he thought.

“Did you find someone yet?” he asked as he approached the desk, his advisor was looking through the book Akira had gotten from the Mayor.

“Not yet.” the man sighed

“Tch..!” Akira clenched his teeth, he was easily agitated, especially by this guy “Why are you so useless?!”

“You do realize no one would come this far, right? The nearest town is 4 hours away and they...are aware of such things.”

“I’m reaching my breaking point..” Akira grumbled

“I’m searching but I doubt anyone would come here.”

Akira crossed his arms and sighed “Do we have another room I can stay in?” he asked

“Why?”

“I do not wish to be near Yusuke like this..”

“Did you ever stop to think that..perhaps his life essence could fix you?”

“...What?”

“If his blood simply has that effect to fix your skin than I’m certain something greater-”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence!” Akira shouted, interrupting his advisor

“...I’m merely addressing it.”

“I don’t care, if that thought ever crosses your mind again, I’ll rip out your throat, do you understand?!”

“..Of course, my lord..”

Akira grabbed his face with his hand out of anger, trying to calm down “I do not need your foul opinions, just do your job!” he left the room, he couldn’t stand the sight of his second advisor.

That had crossed Akira’s mind previously, but he buried it the moment he interacted with Yusuke properly, the thought made him physically ill.

Akira sighed heavily, everything was perfect yesterday and his curse had to come and ruin his mood, it felt like a parasite, the moment he became happy it had to come back, destroying him all over again.

He made his way outside, perhaps the moon could help calm him, he couldn’t go back to his room, even though he desperately wanted to be next to Yusuke, Yusuke always managed to make him forget about his curse but it has gotten to the point where even that wouldn’t work.

He sat down on the gravel, it poked him but he didn’t care enough to move, he hugged his knees and burrowed his face in them.

The reality that he may actually have to go ‘hunt’ dawned on him, he didn’t want to hurt his people again, especially after yesterday, so in order to prevent that he may actually have to go to that town.

It was extremely risky, after all he has never actually had to hunt, his life was on autopilot until Yusuke came along, he would prioritize finding a target once he did, he would simply do work for his kingdom, he had no joy in his life and now that he did it scattered his schedule, making him make mistakes, adjusting to a large change wasn’t easy and that’s why cracks showed.

He simply couldn’t make another mistake, he could at least try and salvage this one even if he did risk his life doing so.

~~~

Akira stayed like that for hours, analyzing every option he had and trying to predict the outcome, it all led to the same conclusion; to go hunting.

He heard the birds chirping, he looked up to notice it was now morning, time passed quickly, his bare feet felt numb from sitting like this for hours, he was so absorbed in trying to find an answer he had lost track of everything.

He pulled himself to stand, his legs ached with pins and needles, he wondered if Yusuke was awake yet, he didn't really want to face him though, especially since he lied.

Suddenly a bouncy ball shot near Akira, it settled down in front of him, he looked around, but didn’t see anyone, he picked it up and squeeze it, almost popping it.

“Hey, be careful with it!” he heard a child’s voice and soon a young boy with black hair and a hat stepped towards him.

Akira extended his hand towards the child, giving him his ball back and stepped towards the door.

“Wait.”

He stopped and glanced at the child, he could sense he was a human so he wanted to avoid him.

“You’re the king, right?”

“Ah.” Akira answered with a distant tone

“So why are you out here in your pajamas?” the young boy laughed, wiping his eye “I never thought I’d see royalty like this.”

Akira sighed “I’m going.” he tried to walk off, but the child stopped him by grabbing his hand “I said wait!”

“What do you want? I’m busy.”

“You look upset.”

“Leave me alone then.”

“Are you upset because something happened with the queen? Yous looked happy at the ceremony.”

“..It has nothing to do with him.”

The boy's cheeks grew a slight red hue “I-I’m not one to think like this, but...it was pretty cool; the ceremony.”

“Thank you...I guess.”

“I heard about a king, but never saw him s-so I never actually believed you were real..”

Akira wanted to know who's kid this even was “What’s your name?” he asked

“Shinya. I moved here with my mum because my step dad suggested it, it’s actually pretty cool.”

It didn't ring a bell so he shrugged it off “Well, I’m Akira...now will you let go of my hand?”

“D-Do you want to play with me? No one is awake at this time, but it’s the perfect time to train.”

“Train..?”

“Mm, my school's a war zone.”

Akira was confused, he didn't know human schools could be labeled like that “..What?” he expressed his confusion

“I’ll tell you if you help me train.”

“Will you leave me alone after it?”

“Probably.”

“..Fine.”

The two bounced the ball together, Akira just wanted to be left alone and, if this would satisfy Shinya enough to make him go away then he would do it, it didn’t help the fact that Akira could literally hear the boy breathing every single time.

Akira eventually got sick of playing and grabbed the ball, stopping their play session “That’s enough.” he approached Shinya and gave him the ball back “I have to go now.”

Shinya looked down at the ball and held it to his chest “You don’t wanna know why my school is a war zone?”

Akira sighed, he did have a soft spot for kids reaching out, even if he acted like he hated them sometimes “Fine.”

The two sat down on the grass, Shinya bounced the ball in his lap as Akira watched him, he wasn’t sure why this kid was so interested in him.

“C-Can I call you Akira?” Shinya mumbled

“I suppose.”

“Hey, maybe we can train like this more often?” Shinya grinned

Akira fixed his hair up, it was poking him in the eye “Sorry, but I don’t live here..”

“Is that why you’re never here?”

“There’s multiple reasons.”

“Oh, I see, has it got to do with cur-....corse..? I dunno..I hear my step-dad say it sometimes..” Shinya had trouble saying the word

“Curse?”

“Yeah! That one.”

Akira nodded “It’s one of the reasons.” he buried his hunger, telling himself he would eat later

“Do you like video games?” Shinya asked, rubbing his nails on the ball

“I..don’t know what that is.”

“Really?!” Shinya almost jumped from his surprise

“Yes..?”

“Man, you’re so old.” Shinya giggled

“No, I just don’t have time for such things...whatever it is.” Akira had never heard that word before, he figured it was something humans did, but he was isolated from them for quite a while so his lack of knowledge wasn't unusual

“A game, you control it with a controller, they are all different and stuff.”

Akira crossed his arms “Great explanation.” he smiled slightly

Shinya got embarrassed “Ugh, you’re just old!” he pouted

“Right..”

Shinya sighed “Anyway...I have to train because the other kids declared war, so I have to be strong for my mother's sake, but..” he looked down into his lap, fiddling with the ball in his hands.

“Why did they..’declare war?’” Akira asked

“We used to be poor...now I suddenly have things we used to struggle to get...the other kids don’t like that..”

“They..bully you for that?”

“They declared war; it’s not bullying.”

Akira scratched his hair nervously “..That sounds like bullying to me.”

“You don’t even know what a video game is, I doubt you even know what bullying is.”

Akira didn’t go to school when he was younger so, he never really had to deal with bullies, he was home schooled, “Sounds like you’re in denial...Do you think it’s shameful to be bullied?”

“It’s a war not bullying...I fight back.”

“That doesn’t make it not bullying...have your parents put it in your head that it’s shameful to admit to it?” Akira expressed his concern

“If I label it as that then they’ll have to worry...I don’t want them to.” Shinya mumbled, throwing the ball up into the air and catching it

“They would be happy if you were honest about it, they could even help you.”

“I can’t tell my mum now...she hasn’t come home since leaving for a party..”

“Hm? Why not?”

“I don’t know, but..my step-dad said you’re the reason why.” Shinya frowned “Where is she? Why isn’t she coming back?”

Akira’s eyes widen from his realization that this child was related to the woman he killed at the ball, he didn’t know what to say but he felt dreadful.

“I don’t think it’s true, you seem nice, but...is it?”

Akira averted his eyes “I…”

“We moved here because mum found it hard to find work back in our old town, I like it here more than my old home, but...now she’s gone, it only makes the war worse; d-do you think it’s selfish to ask my step-dad to move schools?...I..don’t want to run away from war but...it’s hard now that mum is gone…”

Akira felt like he should be honest, he wouldn’t want to be left in the dark had he lost Yusuke “...I..I am...the reason.” he mumbled

“S-So it’s true..?”

“Yes...it is, I’m sorry, nothing I can say could possibly justify it..”

“O-Oh..I see..”

The atmosphere became dark, Akira wasn’t certain if it was a good idea, but he would hate to have such a thing hidden from him, even as a child, he felt like false hope could hurt someone much more than the truth about death.

Akira remembered he hid a necklace he was planning on giving Yusuke in his gown, he put his hand into his pocket and felt it, he pulled it out and presented it to Shinya.

“I was going to give this to my boyfriend, but...you can have it.”

Shinya stared at the necklace

“Nothing I can do will ever justify my actions, if I could erase them, I would but...I can’t, so..I wanted to give you this, feel free to do whatever you like to it, smash it, sell it, throw it away; anything that could even ease your suffering just a tiny bit.”

Shinya took the necklace “I-It’s pretty cool..” he inspected it “C-Could you...tell me why you did it..?”

Akira showed Shinya his left hand “Do you see this scar..? It makes me do things I never wanted to do…” he sighed heavily, “I can blame it as much as I want, but...I know in a way..I’m valuing my life over others a-and now I actually want to live...I’m such a selfish fool..I should be the one that is no longer here..not them.”

“O-Oh..”

“Sorry, I’m rambling, but...you’re allowed to hurt me if you want, I won’t fight back.”

“...I don’t want to hurt you..”

“You sure? It could make you feel better.”

“It won’t..Thank you for being honest though..”

They sat in an awkward silence, Shinya fiddled with the necklace, trying to form his words.

“Hey..” Shinya called out

“Hm?”

“Do...you want to play another game..?”

“..You want to after-”

“I have to still train!” Tears rolled down Shinya’s cheeks “I-I have to be strong!..Mum is looking down on me, I need to win this war for her!” he sniffled and wiped his eyes with his arm “I-I..h-have to be strong...for her!” he hiccuped

“Shinya..” Akira spoke softly, he wanted to comfort the boy, but he knew he was the reason he was in pain in the first place

“I-I..can’t..give up..”

“If you truly want to play another round...I’m willing to.”

Shinya stuffed the necklace in his jacket pocket and stood up “Don’t go easy on me!” he sniffled

“I won’t.”

They played fetch, Shinya tripped over a couple of times, pushing himself to his limits, but told Akira to keep on going, they played until Shinya’s lungs felt like they were going to burst.

“O-Ok..” Shinya wheezed, trying to fill his lungs with air again.

“Are you okay?” Akira asked as he placed his hand onto the boy’s shoulder.

“Y-Yeah..” Shinya smiled “Thank you...A-Akira..” he gained some of his air back and reached into his pocket, pulling out the necklace and put it on.

Akira stared at him in awe, he didn't understand Shinya at all, just like he didn't understand Yusuke at first.

“E-Even if you took Mum away...I know she’s watching me..so I’ll fight.”

Akira crouched down to reach Shinya’s height “I truly am sorry I took her away...I do not expect you to forgive me, you’re allowed to hate me.”

“..I don’t want to hate you.”

“..Why?”

“I dunno...m-maybe..I see you as my big brother..” Shinya’s cheeks grew red “I thought you were scary before...I thought maybe you would’ve lied to me and then would've been rude to me but...you’re different s-so...my heart is too.”

“..Big brother..?” Akira repeated the child's words in awe

“M-Mm..I thought kings were scary and mean...and while you did do a terrible thing I just...I dunno...but I do know I have to fight, I won't run away now.”

“I will help you fight if you wish.” Akira smiled slightly

“R-Really? My step-dad won’t even help...he thinks it’s childish..”

“I don’t think it’s childish to stand up to bullies..”

“Thank you, bro!” Shinya stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Akira’s neck, hugging him “School doesn’t seem so scary anymore!” he grinned

Akira’s eyes widened and he started to tremble, he didn’t understand why Shinya was being nice to him, perhaps he was too young to truly understand it but...it felt invigorating confronting one of his victims.

Akira placed his hand on Shinya’s back, making sure the kid didn't fall “You’ll train with me again?” Shinya asked

“O-Of...course..”

Shinya stepped back, breaking their hug “Thank you, I feel stronger now! Like I leveled up!” he pumped his fists.

“L-Leveled..up?”

“Ugh...you’re so uncultured.”

Akira chuckled “I’ll allow you to say those things to me.”

“No, you’re meant to fight back, like stealing my stuff or something!”

“But I don’t want to.”

“Ugh..you’re not a very good bad big brother.”

“You want me to be mean…?”

“Yeah, it’ll make him stronger.”

“No, it won’t, I assure you.”

“Hmm..Okay, I just have to train extra hard.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Akira pulled down on the boy’s hat with a smile

“H-Hey..!” Shinya blushed slightly

“Get smoked..? Interesting clothing brand..” Akira stood up, flicking the hat

Shinya fixed his hat up, “It’s not a brand!”

“It’s not-”

“Shinya, what are you doing?!” Akira was interrupted by a screaming voice, he noticed a man approach the two angrily, it was Shinya’s father, the vampire at the ball that Akira fought with.

“I’m just-!” Shinya was interrupted from his father pulling on his arm roughly, pulling him away from Akira “Ow..!”

“Stay away from my child!” the man growled at Akira “Wait, Dad, we were just talking!” Shinya protested

“Sorry I didn’t-”

“Stay away from my family, as if you even think you have the right to speak to him!” the man shouted again, interrupting Akira.

“I don’t…” Akira mumbled

“Know your place!” The man dragged Shinya away by his arm despite his protests.

Akira sighed heavily, his chest ached, he clenched his top, he hadn’t felt such pain for a little while now, he almost got used to it not being there but just like everything else it would always manage to creep in.

He actually enjoyed interacting with Shinya, he hoped he didn’t cause the boy anymore trouble than he already had, he was surprised he was able to hold his withdrawal in near him though.

Akira was thrown back into the grave he managed to pull himself out of, would it always be like this?
Causing tragedy and then trying to attain undeserved happiness? It was a very painful life, one filled with the constant feeling of being torn apart.

Akira glanced up at the sky, his hunger was still screaming at him, it would never leave him no matter how he felt or what he did, he didn’t want to hurt people anymore, no one..even people he didn’t know, he didn't want to make any more children parent-less due to his desire to live, he simply wanted it all to stop.

He was given another chance at happiness and was grateful for it, but perhaps that has made him realize, this path to an even greater extent than before...he got the answer to what he must do about his hunger, to make it the last one he would experience, he would end this tragedy himself.

Chapter Text

Yusuke finished in the shower and put his clothes on, he was brushing his hair when he heard someone enter the bedroom, Akira must’ve returned, he placed the brush down and stepped outside the ensuite, only to be greeted by Akira’s advisor, with an unpleasant look Yusuke inspected the man.

“There you are!” the man raised his voice and grabbed Yusuke’s arm, pulling him towards the door

It startled Yusuke “What are you doing..?!” he demanded an explanation, he hadn't even talked to this guy before.

“The master has locked himself in a room and won’t come out.”

Yusuke woke up to Akira gone, he was a bit worried but he assured himself that Akira was just doing work or something, but now he was being told differently and it shook him a bit “..What? Why?” he mumbled

The man sighed “He’s saying his time is up..”

“W-What..?”

“Just come on!” The man pulled Yusuke out of the room and hurried to a closed door within the manor, Yusuke was uneasy next to this guy, especially since Akira told him to avoid him.

“He has the master key, he even broke it in the lock..” the man sighed heavily, holding his head.

Yusuke still didn’t have a grasp on the situation, he had just woken up a moment ago “Why did he lock himself in..?” he asked for clarification

“He wants to die, it might just be his hunger clouding his mind but, I can’t get him out.”

“D-Die..?! That completely contradicts what he told me last night..” Yusuke held his chest, it started to ache, it was shocking to hear such a thing after yesterday, he thought Akira was happy.

“Maybe you can convince him, I believe he’s just frustrated.”

Yusuke thought about what the guy said and something popped out “Wait..his hunger? I thought he ate?” he asked

“He must’ve lied to you. Look, just hurry it up before your blood wears off and he burns to death.”

Yusuke stepped towards the door and tried to open it but, it wouldn’t budge “A-Akira, it’s me Yusuke..could you open the door, please?” there was no answer “Akira, please...let’s talk about this..what’s wrong?” he knew something must've happened to Akira for him to completely change overnight.

The moment Akira heard Yusuke's voice his chest started to ache with an agonizing pain, like his lungs were being crushed, he had been staring into nothingness, waiting for the inevitable, that his curse's reliever would fade from his body and allow him to experience his skin burn until his body and mind were no more, a fate he had always desired..until now.

Akira begged his mind to stop plaguing him with doubts about his decision, if he just disappeared Yusuke would no longer have to feel like he has to accept such corrupt behavior, that he would be allowed to label Akira again as what he truly thought of himself, a monster, a parasite that takes other people's life away to fulfill his own. Akira would do this even if Yusuke begged him not to, he filled his mind with the thought that Yusuke would be better off without him.

Despite telling himself Yusuke would be better without him, Akira found his voice begging to be released, to talk to Yusuke one final time “Everything…” he finally spoke, his voice was muffled and low as were his emotions.

“Please open the door, I want to talk to you properly..”

“No..Yusuke, if I see you I’ll regret this..” Akira found himself being far too honest, information that he shouldn't be telling Yusuke but his throat burned with words, wishing to be released.

“I don’t understand... you were so happy yesterday; the happiest I’ve ever seen.. did something happen?” Yusuke heard footsteps behind the door, Akira was getting closer to it.

“You make me feel happiness again, Yusuke, but I’ve become far too comfortable with it..I even admitted-...do you know how insane that is? I have no right to want that..” Akira denied what he truly desired, to live.

“Akira, that’s not true, you’re allowed to want to live.”

“...You gave me another chance...I think it’s time I stop taking others.” Akira placed his hand on the door and leaned on it, he wanted to feel Yusuke's presence one last time “Thank you, Yusuke...but I want to sleep now..” he closed his eyes, trying to adsorb Yusuke's presence as much as possible, he craved to be with him but he knew he couldn't, he wasn't allowed to.

Yusuke heard Akira’s movement “..Akira, please don’t leave me alone..” Yusuke placed his hand on the door, trying to feel Akira’s presence again “I need you..”

“I will die along with my curse, but...you still have a future, you can stay by Zeriya as he leads the others..” Deep down Akira knew that wasn't true, but he had to convince himself or he'd regret this, he had to convince himself he was a burden who only halted Yusuke's future not complemented it.

“I don’t want such a future, I want you, Akira!” Yusuke's desperation started to crack, he wanted a future with Akira, one he envisioned so vividly.

“I can’t live the rest of my life being happy knowing what I must do. I’m fulfilled again Yusuke, all because of you but..because of that..I need to stop, I can’t handle this anymore..” Akira's voice almost cracked, he tried to keep his voice calm but the more he heard Yusuke's voice the more reality set in.

Yusuke started to panic, it started to feel like he couldn’t convince him, “Please, Akira I love you, just open this door!” he cried out.

“I’m sorry Yusuke, you mean everything to me and that’s why I won’t do this anymore, I now know what it feels like to fear losing someone, I’m just a parasite taking away other people to fulfill my own selfish life, I don’t ever want to feel the pain of losing you so I won’t force others to feel it no more.”

“There must be something we can do, you don’t have to throw your life away...please Akira, I need you! No one can ever make me feel the way you do, I want you to live beside me! We promise each other didn't we..?"

Akira didn't respond, he couldn't, his composure was starting to crack and his will to live clenched in his throat, he almost wanted to scream it out, to return to his previous state of self loathing without a conscious, it would've been so much easier if he could.

“Ugh..I’m getting tired of this..” the advisor grumbled, he pushed near the door “Are you that selfish you’re abandoning your kingdom?!”

Yusuke glared at the man, “What are you doing..?!” he knew such a thing would only push Akira closer to the edge.

“Yusuke holds no future, if you die he dies with you.” The man threatens

“..What?” Akira mumbled, his throat felt dry.

“I’ll personally kill him if you kill yourself.”

Rage surged through Akira's body, he almost opened the door from that just alone but the darkness was still gripping him down “Don’t you dare..!” he shouted

“Then open this door and stop me.”

“Stop it! You’re making it worse!” Yusuke pushed the man’s shoulder roughly, he wanted to convince Akira alone, but this guy was making it even harder.

“No, your coddling has turned him into a bitch.”

Yusuke furrowed his brow, he tried to ignore the man, getting angry would only make it harder to think up a solution.

Akira gripped his aching chest and begged that it would stop, the constant feeling of being torn apart could never leave him “..I just want to change...” he begged, his voice was barely audible.

An idea popped into Yusuke’s mind, one he suggested a long time ago “Akira...you can.”

“I can’t..”

“Who cares if you can’t, you have a duty to fulfill!”

“Shut up! Just go away...you don’t even care about him!” Yusuke shouted and clenched his teeth, he was becoming frustrated.

“Tch..you have 5 minutes to get him out before I rip him out.” The man walked off, Yusuke glared at him until he was out of sight.

Yusuke turned his attention back to the door, he knew what he should do, but he should help Akira come to that conclusion himself “Why is it that you wanted to hurt Madarame?” he asked

The question caught Akira off guard “What..?” he muttered.

“Why did you ask me if I wanted revenge?”

“B-Because he hurt you..”

“If I wanted you to hurt him, would you?”

“..Yeah..?” Akira felt like this questions were odd, the answers were obvious weren't they?

“Would you regret it?”

“..I don’t think so..”

“Why is that, Akira? Why would you not regret killing him?”

“Because-..” Akira’s realization interrupted him, he froze as thoughts and reasons raced through his mind.

There was a long, awkward pause, Yusuke waited for Akira to speak again, but he didn’t hear him, he started to worry something had happened “Akira…?” he called out

Yusuke heard the doorknob twist and turn and something metallic hit the floor, soon the door swung open, Akira stood in the door frame “..Because he’s a bad person...who hurt you.” Akira smiled at the sight of Yusuke again and the aching in his chest dulled "I can...target corrupted people now.."

Yusuke pulled Akira into a hug, squeezing him tightly and caressing his hair, they fell to the floor while hugging “A-Akira..” Yusuke felt tears well in his eyes, he was so glad it worked.

“I-I don’t...want to die, Yusuke..” Akira admitted again but this time it didn't feel so wrong, he burrowed his face in Yusuke’s chest and clench his top, sobbing into it, he released his sorrow “You don’t have to, Akira..” Yusuke soothed his lover until he calmed down completely.

Akira sniffled, he sat up and wiped his tears, “I’m sorry, Yusuke..” he mumbled

“You don’t have to apologize...opening the door was enough for me..” Yusuke spoke softly

“I..don’t want to hurt people anymore..so I-”

Yusuke pulled Akira close again, he just wanted to hug him and never let him go “It’s okay, Akira..I understand..” he didn't want to be angry at Akira at all about it, he just wanted to make him feel better again.

Akira closed his eyes and enjoyed Yusuke’s embrace, perhaps if he went back to his bedroom he would’ve changed his mind on trying but.. this made him realize he could have justice back in his life.

~~~

Yusuke wiped Akira’s left over tears from his eyelashes “Do you feel a bit better?” he asked

They went back to their bedroom after holding each other, Yusuke ensured Akira was okay while he sat on the bed with a few crinkled up tissues.

“Y-Yeah... although I’m hungry..” Akira sighed, Yusuke's presence almost made him forget the weight of his actions.

Yusuke kneeled down in front of Akira, moving the boy’s hair out of his face, like he was caring for an elderly person.

“I’m sorry I lied...I just didn’t want you to worry..” Akira apologized, he felt guilty about it, but Yusuke was far too understanding, making his guilt dry up the more he talked to Yusuke.

“I don’t care about that…” Yusuke burrowed his face in Akira’s knees “I’m just glad I didn’t lose you…” he clenched the bed sheets, the thought of losing Akira pained him more than anything.

Akira reached his hand out and caressed Yusuke’s hair, “I’m sorry..Yusuke..” he leaned forward and hugged Yusuke's head, he just wanted to touch him again.

Yusuke wrapped his hands around Akira “No...you don’t have to apologize for being in pain…” his voice was a bit muffled

Akira stroked Yusuke's hair lovingly “Do...you truly believe I can do it?” the thought he would be able to use his curse for something of value felt less tiring.

Yusuke looked up at Akira, making eye contact “Of course I do..”

Akira sighed heavily, he wanted to explain the situation to Yusuke to make sure he didn't blame himself, he felt bad for not considering Yusuke but it just kind of happened. “I talked to one of my victims...although it went pretty well, we were interrupted and I just...it pushed me to the edge..”

“That’s why you tried..?”

“Yeah...I felt like I had reached my happiness and it was time to end my misery..”

“You’re allowed more happiness, Akira..you don’t have to end it..” Yusuke shuffled forward, hugging Akira's stomach.

“Yusuke..I’ve been..feeling an empty hole in my heart for awhile now...I think I’ve realized what it is..”

“Hm?”

“My entire life has changed because of you..but one thing remains the same; the way I handle my..curse...t-that’s the hole..”

Akira played with Yusuke's hair as he spoke “What you said about Madarame...I can now..hurt evil people; that might fill the hole. I’m hurting normal people because it’s easier, I’ve always been scared of confronting the reality of my actions...but I did..and while it hurt a lot...Shinya understood..but even if he didn’t, I feel like it still would’ve felt…” Akira paused, trying to find the right word

“Refreshing?” Yusuke suggested as he caressed Akira’s back

“Mm, I’ve always locked myself away from reality...but I want to change, completely, not partially, I want to change all the way..!” Akira grabbed Yusuke's hair and closed his eyes tightly, “E-Even if it’s hard or scary...I don’t want to give up.”

“Akira..” Yusuke said softly

“I want to be the person I used to be, Yusuke! I-I can do it with you by my side. The biggest struggle I had with corrupted targets were they are too smart, but...if I go to them...I can finally use this damn curse for something of worth!”

Yusuke’s lips formed a smile “Akira…” he listened to his lover spill his heart out.

“I can go outside again, I don’t have to lure people anymore, I can target those corrupted men who were willing to harm you, the one you suggested so long ago...I-I can actually do it, Yusuke!”

“I’ll be by your side the entire time, Akira.” A small part of Yusuke always wanted Akira to do this once he realized how much Akira's curse actually hurt him, if this could help with Akira's pain than he would do anything to ensure that it would continue to happen.

“I will no longer settle for the easy route no more, I want justice back in my life and I’ll reach towards it again..” Akira's lips formed a wide smile “Yusuke, you’ve made me realize the missing piece in my life...I can already feel the hole filling..”

Yusuke stood up and pulled Akira into a tight hug “I’m so glad..” he supported Akira’s head with his hand, Akira looped his arms around Yusuke “Redemption...I was drawn to that for a reason but...why was I so blind for this long..?”

“You now know what you want to change, Akira, that is simply enough..”

“Yusuke..”

The two held each other in a warm embrace however Akira’s time was running out and they had to decide on what they must do.

“I do not wish to be too joyful about your decision as it may come across as I believed something was wrong with the way you handled it previously but...I’m proud of you Akira, I think this change could truly help you.”

“I won’t think that Yusuke, but thank you for considering it.”

Yusuke broke their hug slowly, “I must admit...I am a bit worried..” this would mean Akira would be in danger of getting caught and if he was they would surely publicly execute him.

“I know it’s dangerous...but I need to do this, I can’t keep living the easy life anymore, it hurts far more than this possibly could..”

“I know you need to, Akira...I’m just scared of seeing you hurt...but if this can help you emotionally than I’m all for it.”

“Thank you..I still won’t go after Madarame though..not until you give me permission.”

“I appreciate it.”

“We can talk more once I get back.” Akira stood up, “The town is 4 hours away, postponing this anymore will only make me more unstable, I’ll find a corrupted person and take their life essence instead of a person I don’t know morally.” merely saying that made Akira's heart fill with atonement.

Something dawned on Yusuke “W-Wait..I was told they hunt vampires..” he expressed his concern

“...That is true.”

“You can’t go there, it’s far too dangerous..!” it’s dangerous enough going to any town to hunt, people who are aware of vampires are even more dangerous, it caused Yusuke stress, he just managed to convince Akira and now he could potentially lose him to something else.

“I was planning on going there anyway..”

“But..”

“This change isn’t going to be easy, Yusuke, but I must do it for the sake of my sanity...Shinya’s mother will be my last victim who I didn’t understand; bad guys should fight other bad guys, it’s only fair to everyone else.”

Yusuke sighed heavily “I-I know..but please hide your identity..”

“Of course, that’s the first rule.” Akira approached his luggage and opened it, pulling out clothing “I don’t wish to drink your blood in my state, but...I can feel it running out..” he started to change his clothes.

“I trust you, but I-I should come with you.” Yusuke suggested, he would be much more comfortable with helping Akira find someone than staying home.

“No, you don’t even know a vampire’s full strength yet, until you can win a wrestle against me; you won’t be fighting.”

“But I wish to help you, at least then I know you’d be safe.”

“No, Yusuke...I can’t risk you at all, if I lost you I-...I wouldn’t even hesitate to end my existence.”

Yusuke would have to just swallow his worries, he wants Akira to be happy and not destroyed by his curse no more, it was a challenge they would both have to face but the outcome could change Akira's life even more.

Yusuke wished he could be of more use, he’d support Akira’s decision all the way but he still felt useless, he pondered if he could do anything else for Akira.

“Okay...how do I look?” Akira’s voice snapped Yusuke out of thought, he glanced up at him.

“You’re wearing..your dance attire?”

“It’s the only thing I have that covers my entire body, plus I have this neat mask too.” Akira fiddled with the birdlike mask in his hand

“I think a bag over your head would be much wiser.” Yusuke suggested

“I’m not a mugger..” Akira sighed “I promise we’ll talk more about this in more depth, but I really need to get going.” he approached Yusuke.

“H-How will I know if something happened..?”

“I won't come back.”

Yusuke sighed “Please come home..”

“I promise, I’ll fight to the bitter end.”

“I just wish I could do something..” Yusuke was hoping Akira would change his mind, but he knew he was too stubborn to even consider Yusuke coming along.

“You already have done so much, Yusuke, don’t doubt yourself please.”

“R-Right..” Yusuke pulled Akira into another hug “I’ll be here..waiting..” he narrowed his eyes, he didn’t like the thought of having to wait.

“You’ll be on my mind the entire time.” Akira shoved a dagger against Yusuke’s chest “Stab me with this if I don’t stop.”

Yusuke’s eyes widen slightly and he stepped back, looking down at what touched him “What..?!”

“The moment I taste your blood..I might lose control, just stab me in the leg or arm, it should be enough to shock me back into control.”

“I do not wish to do that..!”

“Fine...try squeezing my nose first, but if that doesn’t work stab me please.”

"No."

"Yusuke...prolonging this any longer will cause more chaos to happen, please just do it.."

Yusuke took the dagger with a heavy sigh “Alright..but I don’t want to..”

Akira moved closer and pulled Yusuke’s collar down, he gulped at the thought he might lose control, he could almost see Yusuke’s veins popping out at him, he sighed, composing himself “I’m biting you.”

“Okay..”

Akira leaned towards Yusuke’s neck and bit him, he was a bit rougher than usual which made Yusuke groan, Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira, pressing the dagger's handle onto the boy’s back slightly.

Akira felt himself losing control so he pulled his fangs out quickly with a gasp “O-Okay...that should be enough.” he wiped his mouth, he was much messier than usual too

Yusuke touched the bite, it stung a bit “I knew you could do it.” a faint smile form on his lips, he realized how hungry Akira actually was from this.

“I need to go, I can’t linger around here no more.” Akira kissed Yusuke’s cheek, touching his arm, “I promise I’ll return and we’ll have a long chat about the future.” he took the dagger from Yusuke’s hands carefully.

Yusuke nodded nervously “Please be careful, Akira.”

Akira gave a nod and a slight wave, he left the room, he would go to that town and find a target that wouldn’t wreck him with as much guilt no matter what.

~~~

Yusuke waited for Akira to return back, but it was reaching nightfall and each minute passed made him worry more, he hugged Akira’s pillow, hoping he could see him again, he knew this change could help Akira a lot, he’d still probably feel some guilt but not as much as he does right now.

Yusuke wished he could help ensure Akira’s safety, he wanted to start training just to do that, but...that’s not Yusuke at all, maybe in the future when it’s more set in stone he could ask Akira to train with him so he could eventually go with Akira, but he knew Akira would still reject it regardless of how strong he became.

He started to think that maybe he could find something to cure Akira instead.

Yusuke was torn, he didn’t want Akira to have to hurt anybody but he didn’t want Akira to be hurt either, he knew Akira’s decision was the right one, but his worry and dread still existed, curing Akira’s condition could simply make that vanish.

He wished to never see Akira locked himself up like that again, if he could find something, anything at all that could help Akira’s curse then he would feel achieved, he wouldn’t feel so useless, he hoped this feeling would vanish but it was starting to feel like it wouldn’t.

~~~

Yusuke managed to fall asleep despite his worries for Akira’s safety, he heard the door slam shut and jolted up, startled from it “A-Akira..?” he called out

The room was dark, he couldn’t see very well, he rubbed his eyes to clear his vision and looked up at the clock, it was 2am, he watched the figure as he reached for the lamp, turning it on.

“Akira?!” Yusuke became even more worried once he saw him, Akira was covered in blood and had cuts all over him, he was holding his right arm tightly.

“Akira, what happened?!” Yusuke pulled himself out of bed quicker than lightning and rushed to Akira’s side, he noticed his cuts better, some had glass shards in them.

“I-I did...it Yusuke..ahh..” Akira clenched his right arm tightly “I...I think I dislocated it…” he groaned

Yusuke helped Akira sit down on the bed, he stumbled on the way there, but they managed “What happened..?!” Yusuke’s dread came alive, although it was a different kind.

“I-I’ll..explain after…” Akira breathed out heavily

“We must remove your clothes to see if there’s any more damages..” Yusuke spoke as he slid Akira’s jacket off his left arm, he touched his right “I can’t-! Don’t touch it..!” Akira shouted in pain

Yusuke pulled his hand back “S-Sorry..” he apologized and kneeled down, removing Akira’s shoes carefully “W-What do I do..?! I’m not a medic..!” he became frustrated with his lack of knowledge.

“G-Get...Tae..” Akira spoke wearily

“Tae..?” Yusuke confirmed the name and Akira gave a slight nod

“O-Okay, I’ll be right back!” Yusuke rushed out the room, he eventually found Akira’s second advisor and asked him for help, the man got the woman named Tae and they returned back to the bedroom.

“Sheesh, never seen you screw up this badly.” the woman said as she approached Akira, she had a case with her and kneeled down in front of him, opening it.

“I-I think his arm is broken..” Yusuke glanced at Akira’s right arm, it looked wrong to him and Akira reacted badly once he touched it at all.

“No, it’s dislocated.” She replied while pulling things out her case.

“I’ll prepare the cloth.” Akira’s advisor said as he walked into the ensuite.

Yusuke didn’t like the guy either, especially after what he pulled when Akira locked himself in that room, but Yusuke didn’t know how to treat wounds as large as Akira’s, it made him feel even more useless.

“I’ll pull out some glass while he does that.” Tae pulled out a metal tray and medical forceps, she set the metal tray down on the bed “Ugh..I’ll have to remove your clothes soon.” she leaned forward and began pulling small glass shards out of Akira’s hand.

Akira sighed “That’s..fine..” he groaned in pain

Yusuke didn’t know what to do, he wanted to comfort Akira, but he didn’t want to get in the way, he started to feel a headache developing.

“It’s ready.” the man said as he stepped out of the ensuite with a cloth in his hands, he approached Akira.

“Hurry up then, I’m going to be up all night patching him up..” Tae growled

“My lord-”

“Just do it already!” Akira’s shout was followed by a groan

The man went behind Akira and crawled up to him, he wrapped the cloth around Akira’s mouth

“W-Wait! What are you doing?” Yusuke asked frantically

“Suppressing his screams.” Tae sighed, it seems like she was getting irritated by Yusuke.

Akira bit down on the cloth and Tae grabbed his right arm “You ready?” she asked

Akira nodded and she snapped his arm back into place, his screams of agony were muffled from the cloth but it echoed throughout Yusuke's body.

Yusuke clenched his chest, it hurt seeing Akira in so much pain but he knew this might happen.

Physical scars to heal emotional ones, he knew they would always be in a situation where they could never be balanced.

~~~

Tae removed Akira’s clothes and pulled out glass shards for hours and Yusuke helped clean Akira up, he felt better being able to finally do something.

It was starting to reach daylight, Yusuke had completely cleaned Akira with soapy water and Tae was finishing up on the rest of the glass.

Yusuke sat next to Akira and comforted him by holding his hand the entire time, his chest still ached, seeing Akira hurt was enough to make him want to search for a cure, while he sat with Akira he was trying to figure out where he should start, he remembered Akira saying something about his parents...perhaps that was a good place to start.

“That’s all of it.” Tae said as she stretched her hands out “Once I bandage your arm up I’m done.” she pulled out a white bandage and wrapped it around Akira’s shoulder, arm and chest, pinning it in place “Woo...it’s over.” she let out a noise of relief and grabbed a blood bag, shoving it in Akira’s lap “Here.”.

“No..I don’t need it.” Akira shook his head slightly, he looked exhausted

“It’s for your wounds, you dumbass.”

Akira took it and she stood up, “God! I need a raise or something for this shit.” she stretched her legs out

“I’ll reward you, don’t worry.”

“You better.” she closed the suitcase and picked it up “Anything else?”

“No, thank you.” Akira replied

Tae left the room with a nod, leaving the two to be alone together.

Yusuke shifted awkwardly, he didn’t know what to say, Akira looked so tired, so he didn’t want to hammer him with questions, but he also wanted to know what happened “Akira..” he spoke softly as he caressed Akira’s hand.

“I got the...target I wanted, but..ran into some trouble.” Akira let out a small chuckle even though it hurt his body “But I didn’t give up...I had you in my mind the entire time, Yusuke.” a small smile formed on his lips.

“Will...I always have to see you in pain?” Yusuke asked with an upset tone

“No, I’ll get better at it...and soon it’ll be second nature for me...it feels so different knowing my target is a shit-stain..”

“..I’m glad you feel different.”

Akira shifted and turned to face Yusuke “This has been the way I’ve wanted to deal with my curse for such a long time..and now I can.” he smiled, “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest, maybe I won’t have to hate myself as much anymore..” he sighed, “It’s still hard...and I may falter but...you’re here now.”

“I promised I would help you when you falter at the ceremony and I will keep it, Akira.” Yusuke slid closer to Akira and held his arm “But...I feel..useless, you keep saying you can do this because of me but I know it’s not true...it’s all because of my blood not actually me..”

“It’s not just because of your blood, it’s your support too..you even helped me realize this, that was all you, Yusuke..”

“Still...I can’t stand the thought of you going into danger...I need assurance you’re okay..”

“What can I do to help with that? I’ll do anything to make you feel better.”

“I-I want to come with you...or at least help you in some way, I can’t sit idle like this knowing you’re in danger..”

“....” Akira thought about it “..I don’t know..maybe you can help me pick the person...but I’ll need a criminal book instead of a name book..”

“How did you find this one?”

“I stalked him.”

“Maybe I can help with that.”

Akira chuckled “You? Stalk someone? Right..”

Yusuke pouted with a sigh “I have to do something..”

Akira lifted his hand up into Yusuke’s hair and stroked it, like he was patting a cat, “You will Yusuke, we just have to figure it out.”

Yusuke smiled “I feel a bit better now.”

Akira leaned forward and pressed his forehead against Yusuke’s “Please confide in me, if you have any worries or doubt, please tell me, Yusuke…” he lifted his hand up to Yusuke’s cheek and caressed it “I’m sorry if I’m not very supporting...I’ve been going through some stuff but now..I have my answer. I promise I’ll be a better boyfriend.”

“I don’t think that at all, Akira...I know you’ve been through a lot..”

“But you have too.”

“Yes, but...mine isn’t a permanent disease like yours..”

“That doesn’t matter, I need to be here for you to rely on too..” Akira slid his head onto Yusuke’s shoulder and grabbed his top “I’m so glad I have you, Yusuke...thank you, you support me so well...I need to return that type of support.” tears formed in Akira’s eyes, he blinked them away.

“You do, Akira.” Yusuke hugged Akira, he didn’t want to hurt him so he tried to be gentle as possible “Even though it may be hard for both of us, I know this is the right decision, Akira...I hope to see you no longer destroyed and maybe this can grant me that..”

“I’m certain it’ll change a lot Yusuke...I hope all of your wishes are granted soon.”

“Our future looks even brighter now, I wish to paint it.” Yusuke grinned

Akira chuckled “Of course, my love.”

Chapter Text

Yusuke watched the beautiful man sleep in his arms, he looked at all the patches Akira had all over his body, the amount of scars he may form from just his first target...Yusuke sighed, telling himself that he would have to get used to seeing Akira in pain either way, but he started to crave a miracle.

~~~

“Mm..” Akira moaned, waking up from his slumber “You’re awake.” he heard Yusuke’s soothing voice, he rubbed his eyes open to see Yusuke, sitting up with his sketchbook in his lap “How long...have I been asleep..?” he pushed himself up despite the pain.

“5 hours.”

“Damn..doesn’t feel like it.” Akira sat up on his knees, allowing the blankets to slide off his exposed back.

“How do you feel?” Yusuke asked, closing his sketchbook.

“Do you want the truth or a lie?”

“The truth of course..”

“Like shit.” Akira yawned, rubbing his eye again.

“..I see.”

Akira slid closer to Yusuke “Whatcha drawing?” he peered at Yusuke’s closed sketchbook.

“Nothing of importance.”

“Everything you draw is important.” Akira said as he leaned on Yusuke

Yusuke opened his sketchbook back up to show Akira “I was just drawing the lanterns from the ceremony..”

Akira’s eyes gleamed as he looked at the drawing, he caressed the page “It’s amazing, Yusuke.” he smiled

“Um..Akira..” Yusuke made unwavering eye contact “I have been thinking while you have been resting and...I want to become your queen.”

“W-What..?”

“That way I can ease some of your stress, I can help you with the kingdom, so then when you do go after a corrupted target your mind is more at ease and you’re less likely to make mistakes and get injured.” Yusuke explained

Akira averted his eyes “...I would prefer it if you just stayed out of everything.” he mumbled with a sigh

“No, I will sit idle no longer, I wish to help you.”

“You should just focus on your art.”

“When will you stop treating me like I am a child..?” Yusuke sighed “I’m an adult, I can make my own decisions.”

“Me wanting to protect you is not treating you like a child; you don’t understand anything about what I must do.”

“So teach me, I am willing to learn.”

“..It’s not just about that..if you are serious I’ll have to turn you...and I will never do that.”

“I do not mind, if your curse transfers I can handle it with you, at least then I’ll know you’re safe.”

“No, Yusuke. You’re not thinking about this clearly..”

“I know what I am saying.”

“Clearly you don’t if you are even willing to risk becoming like me!” Akira grabbed his hair out of frustration, “It’s not all better just because I’ve changed who I kill, they are still people who also should have the chance at redemption; if I label them as anything else then I’ll be labeling myself the same. It only makes me feel less shitty seeing them do bad things before killing them, but the reality is the same…I’m not suddenly righteous because of this.”

Yusuke sighed wearily “....I’m sorry, I’m letting my feelings cloud my judgement.” he touched his hair, he just wanted to help Akira with this but every attempt was being rejected.

“What’s wrong?” Akira asked

“I already told you, I feel useless..”

Akira placed his hand on his own knee, circling it with his finger “Do I make you feel that way..?” he asked with a worried tone

“No, it’s the fact I can’t contribute to causes I care about.”

“You care about...contributing to my hunger?”

“..I don’t know what it is. I just wish to help you in some way.”

“You do, Yusuke. I have been telling you that you do this entire time because it’s true, I wouldn’t lie.”

“..You’ve lied about some other things.”

Akira played with his hair nervously “..I thought you didn’t care about that..”

“I don’t, I am merely pointing out that you are indeed capable of lying.”

Akira sighed loudly “You’re really racking my brain here..”

Yusuke chuckled, he felt better telling Akira his feelings “Sorry, I’m just getting restless.”

“We’ll find something for you to do once we get home, okay?”

“Okay..”

“We both need a vacation it seems...yesterday was so stressful..” Akira stretched his arms out with a yawn

“Isn’t that what this visit is; a vacation?”

“No way, I never get vacations...Does this feel like a vacation to you?”

“No..”

“Then it isn’t one... Oh, by the way we’re going home tomorrow.”

“Has it been 3 days..? I’ve lost track of time.” Yusuke tried to remember how many days have passed

“Who cares, I can’t stand it here anymore..”

Yusuke glanced at the patches on Akira's body, “You should get more rest, your body needs to heal.”

Akira ignored Yusuke and latched onto his arm, looking up at him “No, let’s go on a date.” he grinned

“D-Date..? You’re injured..”

“No way am I letting this affect us.”

“I believe you need rest Akira, you’ve been through a lot.”

“I believe I also need to spend some quality time with the love of my life.”

“I’m not going anywhere...so just rest.”

Akira pouted and pressed his chest against Yusuke’s arm “You don’t want to go on a date with me?”

Yusuke’s cheeks grew a slight red hue from the sight “I-I never said that.”

“Come on, please? I need your love, it’ll heal me more.”

Yusuke’s cheeks grew redder and he raised his other hand to his face, rubbing the bridge of his nose awkwardly “F-Fine…” he gave into Akira’s demands

“Yay!” Akira nuzzled Yusuke’s arm, celebrating.

“I need a shower first, I’ve been sitting here with you all day.”

“Wanna go in together?” Akira smirked

“A shower not a bath..”

“That’s fine.”

Yusuke's cheeks grew red with embarrassment “Eh..? No, it isn’t..!”

“Why not?”

“I-It’s more...exposing..”

“So? We touched each other at the ceremony while naked.”

“I do not trust that grin on your face, I will settle with a bath..” Yusuke sighed, Akira really likes bathing with him it seems.

~~~

“Why did we switch positions..?” Akira asked

“B-Because I do not wish to hurt you.”

The two got into the bubble bath together, Akira sat on Yusuke this time due to his wish not to hurt Akira, it made him flustered even more than usual.

Akira exhaled and leaned back onto Yusuke , looking up at him “You’re not going to touch me?”

“U-Uhh..”

“You’re allowed to.”

Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira with hesitation “I-Is this okay?” he mumbled

“Mm.”

“Are you still in pain?” Yusuke wanted to change the subject before Akira started to tease him about it.

“No, don’t worry.”

Yusuke looked at Akira’s body, he had cuts everywhere now that the patches had to be removed “But...you have cuts everywhere, does the bath water not sting them?”

“Nah, I’m fine.”

Yusuke touched Akira’s right shoulder gently, it was red from his injury “What about your shoulder?” he asked out of concern

“It’s fine too. I’m a vampire I can handle these injuries.”

“Okay..” Yusuke was still worried despite Akira’s reassurance

“Hey, Yusuke?”

“Yes?”

“Once we get back to the mansion, we’ll visit your village.”

Yusuke wasn't sure why Akira suggested that “W-Why..?” he asked

“I guess it could be a date but..don’t you miss it?”

“I’m not sure…”

“You don’t want to?”

“Hm...if it’s with you then I am fine. They had some pretty good food stands that would sometimes give me free food so...I’d like to thank the owners.”

Akira chuckled “I’m glad someone showed you some kindness there.” he smiled

Yusuke raised his hand and rubbed Akira’s wet hair, like a cat “Especially you.” he leaned down and kissed Akira’s cheek “You treat me well, Akira.” he whispered in Akira’s ear

“A-Ah..” Akira’s cheeks grew red, he exhaled, trying to compose himself, but something popped in his head, he wanted to tell Yusuke it even though it was extremely embarrassing for him.

“Y-Yusuke..?”

“Yes?”

Akira grabbed Yusuke’s hand and placed it onto his own chest “B-Before I met you...I didn’t feel emotions very well...I used to be numb. A lot of...people would confess their feelings towards me, girls, guys...I rejected all of them...when they cried asking ‘why’ I-I...didn’t feel anything, I knew I should’ve but I just couldn’t. Then you came along and my emotions returned without that dull feeling, e-even before I fell in love with you; I believe that’s why I didn’t kill you that day...I actually pitied you..”

Yusuke always thought he was a pretty boring person so him capturing the attention of Akira was strange for him. “Why...would I have such an effect..?” he asked.

“I usually don’t talk to my victims, I killed them once I lock them in, but you intrigued me so I wanted to actually talk to you for a bit and then...I didn’t want to kill you no more.” Akira intertwined his fingers with Yusuke’s, “W-What I’m trying to say is...y-you too..make me feel things I never thought possible again...so please don’t think you’re useless.”

“Thank you Akira, I feel a bit better now.” Yusuke smiled and nuzzled Akira’s neck.

"Ugh!" Akira covered his flustered face "W-Why is this so embarrassing..?"

"I do not know, but it makes me feel better so thank you for telling me." Yusuke squeezed Akira, causing their cheeks to rub.

"Nnh.." Akira groaned

~~~

They got out of the bath and prepared for their date, Akira suggested they go for a walk as there wasn’t much else to do at the manor, Yusuke thought it was a good idea so he could draw the landscape, however he forgot his sketchbook destroying that plan.

Akira and Yusuke walked through the park, they were both dressed in something much more casual, Akira wore a black tight turtleneck with dark jeans on while Yusuke wore a black and white stripe V neck top, with a cream drape blazer over it and black pants.

They held each other's hand as they looked at the nature around them, it was a rather large area, the wind blew calmly, swaying the grass slowly, they even went passed some strawberries that were growing, it was a refreshing change after the depressing state of yesterday.

Akira’s legs started to ache but he didn’t want to cause Yusuke worry so he pushed himself to keep on moving, he didn’t want to show Yusuke his wounds did hurt him, he only wanted to ease Yusuke’s mind; he got the idea that perhaps talking to Yusuke would distract himself.

“Hey, Yusuke?”

Yusuke was too busy trying to absorb the nature around them, he really wanted to draw it once they went back so he was trying to nail it into his head.

“Yusuke..” Akira called out again, but got no answer.

Akira pulled on Yusuke’s arm and it snapped him back to reality “W-What is it?” he asked

“Can we sit?” Akira couldn’t handle his aching legs no more

“But there’s a blueberry bush over there, I've never seen one up close before.” Yusuke was oblivious

“A-Alright..” Akira pushed himself even more, but started to stumble, Yusuke caught him “Are you alright?” he asked

“Y-Yeah...just a bit tired still.”

“We’ll return back to the manor.” Yusuke suggested, he was a bit frustrated at his lack of notice for Akira's state.

“No..I just need to rest for a bit.” Akira deflected Yusuke's suggestion with a small wave of his hand

Yusuke nodded and the two found a spot and sat down on the grass, today's weather was nice, no clouds were in sight however it was the afternoon due to their sleep in.

“Are you cold?” Yusuke asked as he inspected Akira’s clothing choice with his fingers framed

“No.” Akira replied, not acknowledging Yusuke's antics.

“I never thought I’d see you dress so..normal.” Yusuke retreated his hands into his lap

“My other clothes can be a bit heavy, plus I can here, no reputation to maintain outside of parties.”

“You look quite cute.” Yusuke smiled “You look cute in everything.” he wanted to draw Akira sitting out here with nature but again he forgot his sketchbook.

Akira blushed slightly and leaned on Yusuke’s arm “You look handsome too.”

“A-Ah..Thank you.”

Akira smiled and wrapped his arms around Yusuke’s, hugging it “It’s pretty peaceful out here, I don’t usually get the chance to just absorb nature like this.”

“It is isn’t it? Nature is such a great subject to draw.”

Akira lifted his hand up, pressing his fist against Yusuke’s head gently “Is that all you have in this brain of yours?” he chuckled

“No, you’re in it too.”

Akira hugged Yusuke’s arm tightly, looking down into his lap, “I-I’m so sorry, Yusuke...for pulling that stunt...it was a pretty weak attempt so I’m not really sure if I can label it as that but...I’m sorry I put you through that..”

“Akira, I don’t hold any negative feelings towards you about it.”

“..Why are you so understanding? It makes me feel too privileged..”

“I just know what it’s like to feel like you’re reaching the edge...I was before I met you.”

“B-Because of Madarame?”

“Yes, I always felt like I had no control over my life and I was swirling down even more once he got ill.”

The thought of Yusuke being depressed makes Akira angry, “I want to kill him more now..” he muttered

“It won’t achieve anything, maybe he’s regretting his actions now that I’m gone and I feel like that’s enough of an achievement.”

Akira twirled a strand of his hair onto his finger, “You have a unique way to look at it…” he didn't understand Yusuke not wanting revenge, but he would respect it.

“How do you feel about Akechi Goro...was it?” Yusuke blurted out

That question caught Akira off guard “W-What?!” he expressed his surprise

“The man who made you like this; do you wish to kill him?”

“He might already be dead..”

“If he wasn’t would you kill him?”

“I don’t know...I feel like someone would’ve run into him by now if he truly was still alive.”

Yusuke remembered that man telling him he didn’t understand Akira completely, he thought maybe it could’ve been related to his relationship with Akechi, he wanted to explore it more.

“Can you...be honest with me?” Yusuke asked

“Of course.”

“I want to understand why someone would suddenly turn on their partner like that…”

“You mean Akechi..?” Akira raised his eyebrow

“Yes. Did you abuse him?”

Akira’s eyes widened and he let go of Yusuke’s arm “What..?! How could you even think that!”

Akira's raised voice surprised Yusuke a bit “I-I don’t think it at all, I just want to understand your relationship with him a bit more...I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you..” he frowned

“I loved him the same why I love you; I did nothing to him to deserve this..!”

“I wasn’t meaning to imply that, Akira...I just wish to understand it more..”

“I do not want to talk about him so please stop.” Akira lifted his knees to his chest, hugging them.

“I’m sorry, I won’t.” Yusuke didn’t want to offend Akira but he thought it would be okay for him to ask questions about it, maybe his questions were a bit extreme and that’s why Akira took offence but only extreme things would want you to do that to someone.

“No..I overreacted, I’m sorry too.” Akira sighed heavily, “I don’t like talking about him because then I have to realize my mistake even more.” he averted his eyes, “When I think back to it..there were some hints to him knowing what I was but...I chose to ignore it.”

Yusuke wrapped his arm around Akira and pulled him closer by his head, Akira leaned on Yusuke, closing his eyes.

“It’s strange...I hate the fact this has happened to me, but if it didn’t I never would’ve met you..”

“Would you change it if you could?”

“No...I didn’t vow my heart to you only to want to change our fate.”

Yusuke’s eyes widen “What..?!”

“I still hate my curse and I still hate everything I’ve done but... I love you more than that, if I threw away our fates then you would still be with Madarame filled with misery, I will suffer just to make you not.”

Yusuke was stunned, he didn’t know what to say.

“You make my suffering numb though so..I’m not really suffering, only when I have to eat again, but...that might start hurting less and less now.”

“Akira..” Yusuke spoke softly, he shifted and hugged Akira, they lay down on the grass together, he now knew that man was lying, there was no way there was another side to Akira he didn’t see, maybe that contributed to him feeling useless too.

“Yusuke..” Akira lifted his hand up and caressed Yusuke’s cheek “I promise things will become easier from now on.”

“Mmh..” Yusuke felt like he was going to cry, but he blinked them away, he slid his hand under Akira’s shirt and rested his hand on the boy’s chest, he wanted to feel his heartbeat.

“Y-Yusuke..?” Akira’s cheeks grew red and his heartbeat hastened

Yusuke straddled Akira and started to tickle him, Akira squirmed underneath him, trying to dodge his hands, Akira covered his mouth trying not to laugh, but they broke free, his laughter rang out loudly. Yusuke smiled at the sight and moved his hands around tickling Akira more.

“Ahah! S-Stop it!” Akira cried out, he could’ve easily pushed Yusuke off himself if he truly wanted to “Hah!” Akira covered his mouth suppressing his laughter, he got embarrassed.

Yusuke liked hearing Akira’s voice in such a cheerful way, he leaned down, close to Akira’s face “Don’t suppress them.”

“Mhn..!”

Yusuke bit down on Akira’s knuckle gently, telling him to stop suppressing them and Akira moved his hands away, above his head.

Yusuke stopped tickling him and Akira let out a few more chuckles before settling down “Ha..” Yusuke stared at the flustered boy, he wanted to kiss him and now he could, Yusuke pressed his lips against Akira's lovingly, their kiss developed into an open mouth one before breaking it.

“Mhn...I love being with you, Yusuke..”

Yusuke rubbed his nose against Akira's “I love this too, Akira..” he leaned his forehead against Akira’s, and lifted his hands up onto the boy’s cheeks, caressing them

“I love you, Yusuke.” Akira grinned

“I love you too.” the two stared into each other's eyes lovingly before Yusuke kissed Akira again, this time it was shorter after it he got off Akira, sitting near him.

Akira sat up, reclined, giggling slightly.

Yusuke noticed some grass in Akira’s hair, he lifted his hand up and pulled it out, he shook his hand trying to get it off his thumb.

Akira chuckled at the sight of Yusuke being hopeless with grass.

Yusuke eventually got it off and he sighed, glancing back at Akira.

Akira crawled over to Yusuke and latched onto his arm, pressing his chest against it “Let’s go for another walk.” Yusuke nodded and they got up, going for another walk together.

Akira swung their hands as they walked, like a child with their parent.

"Hey, Yusuke?" Akira broke the peaceful silence.

"Yes?" Yusuke replied, he noticed a playground in the distance, it must've been for the children.

"What do you want for your birthday?"

"Huh?"

"You have everything that I know you want.." Akira's cheeks grew a slight red "I-I can't figure out anything else...I could buy you more painting equipment but that's boring.." he sighed from his need to even ask Yusuke this.

Akira had always spoiled Yusuke, there wasn't anything else that he really wanted besides curing Akira's curse and that wasn't possible, Yusuke thought more about it but there was simply nothing else he desired.

"Humans celebrate every birthday, right? That means I'll have to get a special gift each year...it's the only reason why I'm asking now."

"..I don't know." Yusuke wasn't sure, he stopped celebrating his birthday at the age of 15, he thought that was when everyone else did too.

"I stopped celebrating them when I was 17...maybe humans are the same-" Akira realized he said something completely wrong, he started to tremble from his mistake.

"Hmm..? So you're over the age 17..at least I know that now." Yusuke chuckled, he managed to trick Akira into revealing information about his age without even trying.

"SHUT UP!" Akira's face burned red, he covered his face "H-How...Ahh, god dammit!" he vented his frustration

"Hm...If I assume you stopped celebrating your birthday once you got cursed you would...come to the age 27 now."

"I will make you my next target if you don't shut up!" Akira growled, he was so embarrassed.

They continued to walk in silence, but every now and then Yusuke would chuckle, causing Akira to stop and give him a death glare, it only made him want to do it more, so he kept teasing Akira about it subtly.

Chapter Text

They continue walking outside the manor, Yusuke would see a tree that intrigued him due to its shape and would tug on Akira’s sleeve, trying to gain his attention, Akira was amused and would display interest each time.

But as they walked on the healthy grass Yusuke started to feel guilty about what he asked Akira about Akechi, he tried to figure out why he did and he soon started to realize it was because of what that man said, he tried not to let it affect him but it clearly was.

“Akira?” Yusuke turned his attention towards his boyfriend “Yes?” Akira replied, glancing at Yusuke.

“I’m truly sorry about what I asked...it was unacceptable.” Yusuke couldn’t keep it to himself no longer.

“No, it’s fine.” Akira shrugged it off

“I don’t believe it is..” Yusuke sighed, he stopped walking which caused Akira to stop as well.

“I’m not mad you’re interested in that, I just didn’t expect it so I reacted badly.”

“I have to tell you something.” Yusuke mumbled

“Hm? What is it?”

“...I talked to the man you fought with at the ball..he told me some strange things; I believe that’s why I’m being careless.” Yusuke played with his hair nervously, “I told myself I wouldn’t let it affect me but…”

Akira crossed his arms, the fact that guy even talked to Yusuke annoyed him “What did he say?” he asked

“That I don’t know you and you threw the vampires who reside here away so they wouldn’t bring you down.”

Akira furrowed his brow “That’s not true, they get to choose where they live, I don’t get involved in that.”

“What about the other one?”

“How would he know what I’ve told you? He’s just trying to slander me, Yusuke.”

Yusuke sighed with relief “I thought it may of been that but I..wasn’t certain.”

“I’ve told you pretty much everything about me, that’s important, unless you want to know my shoe size or my childhood there really isn’t anything else.”

“Your childhood sounds interesting.”

Akira reached out and grabbed Yusuke’s hand “It really isn’t.”

They began walking through the park again, Akira swayed closer to Yusuke as they moved.

“Are you 27?” Yusuke blurted out

Akira’s face became red “I told you to drop that!”

“I want to know now that you brought it up.”

“I’m not 27 and I wasn’t 17 I am no number and it will remain like that.”

“Why are you so protective of your age?”

“There are some subjects that you’re not even allowed to know and my age is one of them so drop it.” Akira grumbled

Yusuke sighed in defeat “Fine, but I do wish to know your birth date so we can celebrate it again.”

“I don’t want to celebrate it.”

“It can be just the two of us.”

“Fine.” Akira stopped and Yusuke stopped with him, Akira leaned closer to Yusuke’s ear and whispered his birthday into it.

Yusuke smiled “Thank you, I will make sure it is a special day for you.”

“Just leave me alone about my age now.”

“I will.”

They continue their stroll until Akira let out a noise of surprise and hurried forward, Yusuke watched him only to notice Akira was approaching a white cat with blue eyes, it didn’t seem startled by Akira getting closer, he kneeled down next to it and Yusuke went over to his side.

“It’s adorable!” Akira’s eyes glittered as he reached out towards the cat, the cat rubbed its chin against Akira’s hand.

“Friendly too.” Yusuke pointed out and kneeled down next to Akira, watching him.

“I want it!”

Yusuke glanced at the cats purple collar “I think it’s already owned, it has a collar on.”

“What?! The manor now has cats?!” Akira patted the cat on the head, it’s fur caressed his fingers and palm.

Yusuke felt like Akira should know that, not him “You don’t?” he asked

“No, Zeriya always scolds me. I have been betrayed.” Akira frowned, but it was quickly replaced by a smile once the cat started to purr.

“Huh..?”

“If I can’t have a cat, then no one can.” Akira joked around, but this made him want to move to the manor, he has always loved cats but was never allowed them.

The cat rolled over onto it’s back, revealing its belly and Akira squealed in delight “It’s mine now!” Akira rubbed the cat’s belly.

Yusuke found the sight adorable, his worries about Akira’s state were vanishing as he watched him be happy again, he knew Akira wasn’t very emotionally stable and he worried that Akira might try to kill himself again, all he could do was look out for the warning signs and try to prevent it again.

He just hopes that if Akira ever started to feel like that again, he would tell him, he wanted to talk to Akira about it, but at the same time wanted to leave it alone, he didn’t want to bring it up and cause Akira stress, all he could do was show Akira he could tell him without judgement through actions.

Yusuke snapped himself out of thought, he had to make sure Akira didn’t steal this cat, “It already has an owner.” he chuckled, watching Akira pat the cat gently.

“I really want a cat! They’re so sweet.” Akira grinned, the cat stretched out with a yawn.

Yusuke knew what he wanted for his birthday now “I want a cat for my birthday.” he said.

“Eh..?!” Akira blinked at Yusuke, puzzled.

Yusuke has never owned a pet before but if it made Akira happy he was willing to experience it “If you get it for me Zeriya cannot scold you for it.”

“Are you serious..?!”

“Mm, Anything for you.” Yusuke reached out towards the cat and touched it’s paw “Oh my, it’s quite soft.” he caressed the cat’s front paw gently.

“They don’t like that.” Akira pointed out

The cat seemed to be getting annoyed by Yusuke “I have been won over simply by the paws alone. I shall draw them!” he became excited, he now knew why Akira liked this animal so much.

The cat rolled over and stood up, it licked its paw, then ran away into the distance “No, don’t go!” Akira called out to it “Dammit.” he sighed in defeat.
Akira glanced at Yusuke “You were joking about the cat right?”

“No, of course not.”

“Huh..? You can’t be serious.”

“Why can’t I?”

“Because it’s your gift not mine.”

Yusuke placed his hand onto his chest “Your happiness is my happiness.”

“You’re a sweetheart, but no.” Akira stood up, brushing off his knees.

“I don’t want anything else.” Yusuke stood up as well, making eye contact “I just want to see you happy.”

“I am now that I have you, Yusuke.”

“You also really want a cat so I’ll get you one.” If anything could ease Akira’s suffering at all Yusuke would obtain it no matter what, he would go out and buy one right now..if he could but there’s no shelters nearby.

Akira crossed his arms and turned his face away, he blushed “I-I’ll only agree to it if you can’t think of anything else.” he mumbled

“Okay.” Yusuke placed his hand on Akira’s shoulder and smiled “Come, I think we should go back now, it’s getting late.”

The sky was becoming pink with orange hues, clouds started to creep into sight.

“N-Not yet..” Akira grabbed Yusuke’s hand “I want to spend more time with you..like this.”

“We’re sharing a room.” Yusuke chuckled, he thought Akira meant privately.

“The sunlight is out here, I like experiencing it with you.” Akira intertwined his fingers with Yusuke’s “Let’s go to one more placed before going back.”.

~~~

Akira led Yusuke to a playground by his hand, he stopped near the swings.

“A playground..?” Yusuke asked as he stared at it, they were a bit too big for this sort of thing.

“Mh, I want to push you on the swings.”

Yusuke glanced at the swings, he has never used a playground before, so he didn’t know how they worked “What do you do with it..?” he asked

“You sit on it and I push you...and you’ll..swing.” Akira had trouble trying to explain it

“They look dangerous..” Yusuke wondered how two chains could handle this weight.

“I wouldn’t be asking to do this if they were.”

“..Okay, I trust you.”

Akira led Yusuke towards a swing and made him sit down, he stepped behind Yusuke, getting ready to push him.

“Grab onto the chains or you will get hurt.” Akira ordered

“Uh, yes..” Yusuke listened, gripping the chains tightly, he became uncomfortable and wanted to get off “I’m not really-”

Akira pushed him, interrupting Yusuke, the swing moved and Yusuke clung onto the chains “A-Ah! Wait!” he begged

“What?” Akira asked

“I have motion sickness...this will surely cause me to be sick.”

Akira chuckled “You’ll be fine, relax.”

“..Okay.” Yusuke sighed, if this made Akira happy he was willing to vomit.

Akira pushed Yusuke on the swing until he was more comfortable with the concept of it, but he started to feel light headed, he decided it would be best to inform Akira so he didn’t vomit on him “I’m feeling a bit..ill..” he mumbled.

“Okay, we’ll stop.” Akira moved over to the other swing near Yusuke’s and sat down, Yusuke’s swing slowly came to a halt and Akira watched him, smiling.

“That was...quite weird, but also fun.” Yusuke commented, his dizziness would soon fade.

“I can’t believe you’ve never used a playground before..” Akira was upset with the thought of Yusuke’s childhood, it must’ve been lonely.

“Is it odd? My village isn’t that wealthy, I wouldn’t expect they’d waste time and money creating playgrounds.”

“Must’ve been really crappy growing up there.” Akira dragged his foot, looking down.

“It was..okay, I wouldn’t say my childhood was bad...even though I didn’t have any friends.”

“No friends? But that guy you stopped me from draining was..?”

Yusuke moved his stray hair strands out of the way, “I...used to consider him a friend, but...now that I’ve actually experienced friendship I’m not certain if it qualifies.”

“How was your relationship?” Akira asked, glancing up at Yusuke.

“We used to recommend books to each other...that was it.”

Akira sighed “If only we met sooner..”

“We’re together now, we won’t be broken apart.”
They smiled at each other, their eyes lingered on each other until Yusuke realized his staring nature was being returned “Ah..” he stuttered and his cheeks grew red.

Akira smiled happily, he kicked some of the bark and begun talking “You know, I was always scared to come outside again..” he looked up at the fading sky, “After we made our deal I only touched the sunlight through windows to confirm my theories, I didn’t want to touch it for long due to the fear I would burn..”

“It might’ve been really shocking..”

“I believe I developed Heliophobia...or at least something like that..I had to train myself to get used to it again and then when I took you outside and told you I felt so happy, that’s when I noticed I had this weird tendency around you...I felt too comfortable.” Akira’s cheeks grew red as he looked down at the bark “W-What I’m trying to say is...you soothe me.”

Yusuke’s lips formed a wide smile “You soothe me too, Akira, but..I do hope you will confide in me too.”

“I will, Yusuke.” Akira's lips formed a slight smile.

“I-I mean...if you ever feel like..you’re reaching the edge...you can talk to me about it.” Yusuke just wanted to assure Akira he was here for him.

“I will, do not worry, Yusuke...I don’t want to die even if I...crave to just disappear sometimes, I will get better with this, I promise you.”

“I’m happy you’ve changed the way you deal with your curse to something you…” Yusuke didn’t know how to articulate what he was trying to say.

“Despise less? Me too, there’s too many bad guys hurting good people so I’ll hurt them instead. I promise I’ll get better at doing it, I’ve never really had to fight so when I did I kind of got my butt kicked, but I still won.” Akira lifted his hand into his hair with an awkward laugh

“I’m sorry I’ve been acting strange...I suppose it was my shock from almost losing you.” Yusuke apologize, he poked the swings chain.

“That’s fine, Yusuke, you don’t have to apologize for that.”

“W-Well..I made us have our first argument..” Yusuke frowned

Akira chuckled “It ended pretty quickly, I don’t even consider it an argument.” Akira stood up, it was time to go “Hey, have you eaten?”

“Um..No, not yet actually.”

Akira moved closer to Yusuke, extending his hand out towards him, “Come, let’s go eat dinner.”

Yusuke nodded with a grin.

Chapter Text

The next day burned with the intense heat of a summer day, even though it hadn’t reached that season yet.

The manor was filled with muggy air as the air conditioners tried to keep it at bay, but the air conditioner in Akira’s bedroom was broken, leaving the two to suffer through the heat if they wished for privacy.

“It’s so hot..” Akira complained as he rolled onto Yusuke’s back, the boy paid no attention to him as he was hyper focused on his morning practice, he was drawing the cat they saw yesterday in his neatly kept sketchbook.

Akira started to get annoyed and the heat only made his mood worse, he wanted to distract himself from the heat, but every attempt at conversation with Yusuke was shot down with a mere nod or moan.

Akira dragged himself closer to Yusuke as he lay stomach down on the boys back, he reached his hand out and grabbed Yusuke’s cheek, pulling it and poking it to try and break his focus, he watched his fingers pitched Yusuke’s cheek but there was still no response.

“Pay attention to me!” Akira ordered like a child wanting ice cream from their mother.

“I’m almost done.” Yusuke finally spoke, eyes still locked on his drawing.

Akira wiped the sweat off his forehead and grabbed Yusuke’s shoulders, allowing him to peer down at Yusuke’s drawing without slipping off, he could only see the shade of the grey-lead at this angle, Yusuke’s head was in the way “How are you not dying?” Akira asked while poking Yusuke’s cheek again.

“I’m used to this heat.” Yusuke replied as he flicked off the eraser shaving that had formed on his sketch.

“I’m dying!” Akira whined, he burrowed his face in Yusuke’s neck, the contact made his face burn more from Yusuke’s body temperature.

Yusuke ignored Akira and concentrated on his sketch again, he thought Akira was over exaggerating, he wanted Akira to get off him, but asking such a thing would surely result in Akira doing something much worse.

Yusuke felt Akira breathe on his neck and soon he felt his clothing being pulled by Akira’s finger, Akira’s lips caressed his neck, causing him to acknowledge him again “What are you doing?” he asked, trying to glance at Akira but he wouldn’t be able to without tilting his head.

“If you don’t pay attention to me, I’ll bite you.” Akira’s voice held a hushed tone and a hint of mischief.

Yusuke sighed, wishing Akira would just let him finish his practice in peace “You should pack your things.” he suggested, hoping Akira would listen but he knew he wouldn’t.

“I’m not doing such a thing with this heat.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“Ugh!” Akira groaned, releasing his full body weight on Yusuke “I’m telling that idiot to fix this..” he muttered as he pulled himself off Yusuke and the bed, his bare feet touched the burning floorboards, causing him to rub them until the burning sensation dissolved.

Akira pulled his clothes off as he dragged himself to the closet, he put on something more suitable for his status and left the room pulling on his shirt to create a fan as he moved through the manor.

He reached his destination, the office, and pushed the door open, he was hit with a wave of cold air as he stepped inside, the change was welcomed.

Akira looked around the office until his eyes locked onto what he expected, he approached his second advisor in a stern manner.

The man placed a book in the well-kept bookshelf, it slid in perfectly, he turned to face his master and allowed himself to bow.

“The air conditioning in my room is broken.” Akira said as he moved into his advisor's personal space, invading it.

“I will get it fixed, my lord.” The man’s last words held a hint of contemptment, causing Akira to grab him by his cheeks and glare into his eyes.

“If you dare speak to another about what happened here I will personally rip you of your poise and self respect, do you understand?” Akira’s voice was full of venom, his eyes never wavering contact.

“Yes, my lord.” his advisor's tone was more respectful this time.

Akira dug his nails into the man's cheeks with enough pressure to leave a mark “If you dare threaten Yusuke’s existence again, I will throw you and your father to the hunters, allowing them to torture you and him, do you understand that as well?”

“..Yes, my lord.”

Akira pushed his face away with force, satisfied with his answers “I will no longer allow anyone else to influence my decision, not even the elders, you’re allowed to gossip about that though, if anything I implore that you do.”

The advisor bowed again and Akira left the room with no regards.

Akira returned to his bedroom and was hit with heated air the moment he stepped inside, he glanced at Yusuke, who was still on the bed, drawing “They are going to fix it which means we have to get out of here.” he lied, they could stay in here while it was getting fixed but that would bother him far more.

“Really..?” Yusuke asked as he pushed himself up, he brings his sketchbook into his lap and closed it, resting his pencil down on it.

“It’ll be loud and we’ll be in the way. Come, there’s a waterfall nearby, we could go there.” Akira suggested, he placed his hand on his hip waiting for Yusuke’s eyes to light up with a confident grin.

Yusuke’s eyes lit up the moment he heard the word ‘waterfall’, he got excited “Can I bring my sketchbook?” he asked even though he would anyway, his inspiration was boiling from the thought.

“Yes, you may.”

Yusuke sprung up off the bed and set this sketchbook down, he hurried to the closet to get dressed into something more appropriate.

~~~

They made their way to the waterfall Akira described, it was quite far and the sun still stung with heat, by the time they got there Akira was almost reaching a pant just from the weather alone.

The two finally reached their destination and Yusuke’s eyes gleamed with joy the moment he saw it, the water flowed with a crystal clear shine and the rocks were perfectly placed around the waterfall, they were low enough for you to get near the water without it splashing up on you.

The sounds of the waterfall were very powerful but the water flowed with grace once it reached the pond, it wasn’t that large, but big enough to enjoy it as a bath if you wished.

They approached it, once near, Yusuke squatted down and set his sketchbook down on the ground that was tucked under his arm before, he placed down a brown bag he brought too.

“It’s beautiful.” Yusuke said in awe, he found the sight absolutely breathtaking, he sat down near the rim of the pond and pulled his sketchbook onto his lap.

Akira squatted down near Yusuke, watching him flip through his sketchbook for an empty page “I knew you’d like it.” Akira said as a smile escaped his lips.

The sun shined down brightly on the waterfall almost making it glow.

Yusuke found an empty page and started to draw the sight, his eyes flicked upwards at the waterfall and then fell back down to the page, trying to confirm every single detail.

Akira glanced at the waterfall, he knew why Yusuke wanted to draw it, but the heat was almost unbearable, he didn’t understand how Yusuke wasn’t affected by it at all, his shirt stuck to him making him even hotter and his feet burned from being buried in socks and shoes.

Akira watched Yusuke drawing until he couldn’t handle the heat no more.

Yusuke heard clothes rustling and glanced at Akira out of curiosity, he saw him removing his clothes and a flush appeared on his cheeks from the sight “A-Akira..?” he wondered why Akira was undressing outside like this.

“I’m going in.” Akira read Yusuke’s mind, he removed everything and grabbed onto his boxers, ready to pull them off, but was stopped by Yusuke yelling at him “What are you doing?!”

“I need to cool off, I didn’t just bring you here to watch you draw.” Akira looked down at Yusuke, making eye contact.

“You can’t ruin natures beauty by using it as a bath.” Yusuke scolded

A smirk formed on Akira’s lips “Am I not an addition to its beauty?” he spoke with a flirtatious tone.

Yusuke was cornered, he didn’t really know how to respond to that “I...I suppose you are.” he managed.

“Then I’m going in.” Akira said as he removed his final clothing, Yusuke snapped his eyes away before he could see, he fiddled with his pencil, eyes locked down on it with cheeks burning bright red from his embarrassment, Akira was quite indecent in hot weather.

He heard Akira get into the water and raised his head “H-How will you dry?” the words escaped his lips the moment he saw Akira leaning over a rock in front of him.

Akira raised his wet hand into his hair, trying to cool off his body “The sun?” he watched Yusuke until another smirk crept on his lips “You should join me.”

“No.” Yusuke replied without allowing a millisecond to pass, he re-positioned and started drawing again.

“Oh, come on.”

“No.”

Akira groaned in defeat, perhaps Yusuke will join him after he has finished his sketch.
Akira shrugged and enjoyed the cool water, wetting his entire body, it was a pleasant change, walking this distance in this heat was painful but now he could enjoy himself.

Yusuke decided to add Akira into his sketch without his knowledge of it, his sketch was progressing to a state he was more comfortable with as time passed peacefully; the wind blowing the bushes and trees filled the air, simply having nature around them like this was very therapeutic.

Yusuke finished his sketch and placed his closed sketchbook down with a sigh, he has been drawing ever since he woke up because he felt like his skills would falter from his lack of practice, even though it was his passion he was starting to get burnt out, he shouldn’t draw anymore and he knew that.

 

He felt like his paintings always lacked something and he felt like he was reaching the answer, the more time he spent with Akira, he wanted to add a few things to his painting he presented Akira and then give it to him as a gift but he was scared he would ruin the painting if he did that, he could just give it to Akira as it is now but he really wanted to add those things, it wouldn’t feel right if he didn’t.

Yusuke felt Akira’s hand reach out and grab his shoe, it startled him a bit and his eyes darted onto Akira “W-What..?” he asked, his shoe was now wet.

“You’re staring at your sketchbook, is something wrong?” Akira asked as his facial expression displayed his concern.

“N-No..I was just thinking about something.” Yusuke replied, he moved his hair back out of his eye, it misplaced from his startled movements.

“What’s up?”

Yusuke didn’t want to tell Akira his plan, he wanted to keep it as a surprise, but he couldn’t lie very well, he racked his brain until he found something that held truth, but wasn’t exactly what was on his mind “I was wondering if I’d ever be good enough to paint that portrait.”

“Of course you are, we can do it whenever you want.” Akira smiled, trying to reassure Yusuke of his skills.

“Thank you, Akira.”

Akira moved his hand away “Come closer, I want to kiss you.” he said trying to hold back a smirk.

Yusuke set his pencil down and complied, leaning forward, but Akira pulled onto his arm with enough force to throw him into the water, he was engulfed in cold water until he found his footing and raised up for air, gasping in surprise from the sudden change.

Yusuke wiped his face desperately and opened his eyes “Why did you do that?!” he snapped at Akira, Akira’s smirk only made him more irritated.

“I said I wanted to kiss you, I didn’t say where.”

Yusuke was drenched, he thought he would drown “I don’t wish to kiss you now, you’re a jerk.” he wasn’t really angry, but it shocked him, he looked down at his clothes and sighed heavily, he would have to walk home wet.

“You finished your sketch which means it’s bonding time.”

“Unsolicited bonding time is not what I want.” Yusuke crossed his arms with a low hum, his body language turning more defensive.

“I’m sorry, I just thought you looked hot.” Akira stepped closer to Yusuke, causing the water to ripple “In both ways~” he placed his index finger under Yusuke’s chin with another smirk.

Yusuke felt his composure cracking, he quickly turned his back towards Akira with a “Hmph!” and tried to gain it back.

“Are you really that mad at me?” Akira pouted even though he knew Yusuke couldn’t see it, he touched Yusuke’s wet back with his hand gently.

“..Very.”

Akira reached down, shoving his hands under Yusuke’s shirt and tickled his armpits, Yusuke tried to dodge his hands by squeezing his armpits shut but he would only move to another area.

Snickers escaped Yusuke as Akira’s hands danced around trying to find his sweet spots, his suppressed laughter soon broke free “S-Stop..hah!” Akira reached his belly button which tickled him the most, his laughter turn embarrassingly loud and he squirmed, quickly turning around to face Akira to try and stop him.

Akira stopped and he placed his hands on Yusuke’s back, he had a big grin, he was amused watching Yusuke laugh like that.

“E-Enough..” Yusuke breathed out trying to settle his laughs, he soon calmed down and a smile escaped his lips, he couldn’t suppress it no more.

They stared into each other's eyes with a glitter until Akira pulled Yusuke’s shirt up over his head and threw it away, he touched Yusuke’s cheek as he moved in closer for a kiss.

Their lips locked, Yusuke moved his hands to Akira’s back, feeling every crevasse and line of his perfect physique, their chests touched as their movements grew more intense.

They pull apart and open their eyes in-sync, they communicated their feelings for each other merely by their eyes, no words needed to be spoken, Akira shifted down and rested his cheek on Yusuke’s collarbone “Yusuke..” he moaned his name.

Yusuke wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and hugged him, he become a little flustered once the reality Akira was indeed naked settled in but he enjoyed their moment together quietly.

 

They got out of the pond once they were both satisfied, they sat down in front of the pond waiting for the sun to dry them a bit, Akira put his boxers back on due to Yusuke’s nagging and they sun baked.

Yusuke twisted his shirt, trying to get all of the water out of it “I can’t believe you..” he grumbled, he had the urge to throw Akira’s clothes into the water just so he had to suffer with him but he wasn’t mean enough.

“I had to get you into the water somehow.” Akira deflected the misfortune he caused Yusuke.

Yusuke pulled his wet shirt back on, he couldn’t get any more water out of it, he just wanted to go change “Let’s go.” he said as he stood up.

“Huh? Already?” Akira’s facial expression had a hint of disappointment.

“I have to change and the air conditioner should be fixed by now.” Yusuke picked up his sketchbook and equipment, he shoved them into the bag he brought them in, he started to wish he brought towels too.

“Fine..” Akira let out a sigh full of disappointment and got up, pulling his clothes out from the pile he placed them in and putting them on.

Yusuke zipped the brown bag up and pulled it up onto his shoulder, he glanced at Akira and saw him struggling with a button on his shirt.

“Hey, Yusuke.”

He heard Akira’s voice before he actually spoke.

“Help me with this.”

Yusuke let out a small growl and stepped closer to Akira, he knew he was perfectly capable of buttoning up his own shirt, maybe the heat was getting to the both of them.

He grabbed the buttons Akira was struggling with, only to feel Akira grabbed his shirt roughly and pull him down into a kiss.

Yusuke pulled away and shielded his mouth as a red hue formed on his cheeks “Y-You tricked me..!”

Akira smirked and buttoned up his shirt with ease, teasing Yusuke even further.

“W-Why are you acting like this?” Yusuke asked

A chuckled escaped Akira as his eyes locked onto Yusuke’s “I’m just feeling a bit cheeky today.” he explains and soon extended his hand out towards Yusuke “Come on, let’s go back.”

Yusuke furrowed his brow and swatted Akira’s hand away “Stop with the tricks..” he grumbled and grabbed his bag strap, he wasn’t angry at Akira he was just embarrassed he kept falling for it.

“Aww.” Akira chuckled again and they made their way back to the manor.

Yusuke grabbed Akira’s hand while they walked, giving into his affection for him, he couldn’t pretend to be mad any longer.

~~~

They returned to the bedroom and now the air con worked, which meant Akira could no longer put his packing up off any more. They were returning to the mansion at nightfall to avoid attention.

Akira nagged Yusuke to help him pack his stuff and Yusuke eventually complied, they were almost finished when Akira remembered an important detail.

“It’s good we’re leaving today, the police might come to question us about my target.”

Akira suddenly talking caught Yusuke off guard, they hadn’t talked much besides a few jokes about Akira’s wide range of colourful underwear.

“What do you mean?” Yusuke asked for clarification

“They might come here, asking questions.” Akira folded up one of his shirts and placed it into the luggage neatly.

“..Who did you kill?” Yusuke asked, the two hadn’t actually talked about that detail much, Yusuke thought he wasn’t allowed to or they might fight again.

“A guy who ran an illegal brothel and abused his wife quite often.”

Yusuke’s gut swirled at the thought “I see..and how do you know this?”

“I already said, I stalked him, I watched him do it with my own eyes and eventually moved in but...he was well protected so I had to deal with his bodyguards first.”

Yusuke watched Akira fold his clothes, his eyes lingered on his visible wounds, they were fading pretty quickly “Do you heal quicker than humans?” he eventually asked.

“Only if I drink blood; which I’ve started again, but...I should probably stop.” Akira spoke as he struggled to zip the luggage bag shut.

“Why?”

“It’s a waste and we don’t have much. Once we get back to the mansion I’ll strike a deal with the mayor and get a crime book, things should be more simple once that happens.”

Yusuke fixed the bed up once Akira took his luggage off it, they were done packing.

“I see..” Yusuke wasn’t really sure what to say, perhaps he should let Akira drink his blood more and more often so he doesn’t have to starve himself until his body can no longer function off his last victim.

Akira stood up and brushed his knees off “Let’s go eat.” he smiled the moment he looked back up and saw Yusuke.

~~~

Yusuke was eating his dinner, grilled lemon chicken with a garden salad as Akira shoved a forkful of cake into his vision.

“Open wide.” A happy grin formed on Akira’s lips as he moved it closer.

Yusuke swallowed his mouthful of food and leaned his head back slightly, trying to get away from the cake “You’re...feeding me?” he asked with a bewildered tone.

Akira nodded happily, responding with no words.

Yusuke watched Akira’s happy spirit as thoughts raced through his mind.

Only a few days ago Akira was absolutely torn apart, but now he was blooming with joy. If Yusuke was still a stranger and met Akira just like this, it would’ve never occurred to him that this man carries such a large burden on his shoulders. Yusuke didn’t wish to pat himself on the back, but it was quite obvious he was the reason why Akira was healing.

Seeing Akira happy like this was the best accomplishment for him, it made him feel worthy again and capable of things that Madarame told him he couldn’t.

Yusuke opened his mouth and accepted Akira’s piece of cake, they smiled at each other and Akira let out a happy hum.

~~~

The two had showers and waited in their bedroom for the carriage to be prepared, it was reaching the time they were leaving at.

They sat on the bed together one final time, Yusuke was flipping through his sketchbook as Akira leaned on his back, looking over his shoulder at each one.

Akira thrusts his hand forward at the page, pointing at it “Oo, Is that the cat we saw?!” he asked, almost jumping from his excitement.

Yusuke returned to the page and left it there “Yes, it is.”

“Wow, it’s even more adorable in your drawing!” Akira grinned as he hugged Yusuke from behind.

A small chuckle escapes Yusuke “Thank you.” he continued to flip through the pages until Akira spoke again “Is that the flower crown I made you?”

“Yes, although it died quite quickly.” Yusuke frowned slightly, but it was soon replaced with a smile, “I’ve been drawing our moments together; they inspire me the most.”

“That’s so cute.” Akira chuckled “I’ll replace the flower crown with a real one.” his hands touched Yusuke’s chest with a small affectionate pat.

A deep red hue flashed on Yusuke’s cheeks “A-Ah..”

Akira giggled at his reaction and pressed their cheeks together.

They were interrupted once the door swung open “The carriage is ready.”

 

They went outside, everything was ready to go, Akira helped Yusuke step inside the carriage when he felt those leering eyes again, he looked around but saw nothing.

“Is something the matter?” Yusuke asked, he sat down in the carriage looking at Akira with a worried frown.

Akira looked around again, confirming nothing was wrong “I-I guess I’m just paranoid now that I’ve hunted..” he stepped inside the carriage and pulled it shut, once done he sat down near Yusuke.

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t worry.” Akira gave Yusuke his reassuring smile and Yusuke’s worry faded.

Chapter Text

Yusuke and Akira slept in the carriage while holding each other’s hand, it was reaching morning, the dark sky was starting to crack with some lights as the carriage came to a halt, they had arrived home.

They were woken up by the rider banging on the carriage, he got sick of waiting for them to leave.

Akira rubbed his eyes to clear his vision, then turned his attention to Yusuke, he was waking up too “Let’s transfer to a bed..” he yawned

“Mm..” Yusuke was much more tired than Akira, his eyelids still felt heavy.

Akira helped Yusuke out of the carriage, the moment they were out Yusuke latched onto Akira’s arm, resting on it.

They made their way into the mansion as birds chirped and were greeted by Zeriya “Did you enjoy your stay?” he asked with a bow.

“Yeah..it was alright.” Akira tried to fight back a yawn but was eventually defeated.

“You should go rest.” Zeriya suggested.

“Yeah, we-” Akira was cut off by two figures dashing towards him shouting words he couldn’t make out yet, Ann and Ryuji stopped in front of him.

Ann thrust her pointed finger into Akira’s face “How dare you hold the Feathermoon ceremony at the manor!” her voice was filled with irritation.

Ryuji crossed his arms, displaying his annoyance too “So uncool, dude.” he spoke as he shook his head in disappointment.

Yusuke almost fell asleep on Akira’s shoulder, but the sudden yelling pulled him back to reality.

“I never thought you’d do it and then when you finally decide to you hold it at the manor?! How could you?!” Ann’s voice got louder as she expressed her offence.

Akira eventually realized they were angry with him “Well..I’m actually serious about this guy..” he defended.

Ann furrowed her brow, “Doesn’t matter, you were meant to do it here, I wanted to see it, the least you could’ve done was invite us!” she waved her pointed finger as she scolded.

“Yeah, why didn’t you invite us?” Ryuji backed up his friend.

“The manor was starting to distrust me not you guys..” Akira raised his hand up and held Yusuke close by his head “Now if you don’t mind...my husband needs some rest.” he pushed past them with Yusuke and walked up the stairs.

“WHAT?! You married him too?!” Ann almost screamed as she turned around watching them walk away.

“I thought we were friends!” Ryuji shouted, somehow he was more quiet than his friend.

A smirk formed on Akira’s lips as he heard them screaming at him while he went to his bedroom.

Yusuke was far too tired to acknowledge what was happening, he just moved when he felt Akira move.

They reached Akira’s room, Yusuke fluttered his eyes open a bit from the sound of the door closing behind them and the sight of the bed relieved him, he let go of Akira and dragged himself over to the bed, collapsing on it.

“You can’t sleep in that..” Akira shook his head as a smile crept on his lips at the sight.

Yusuke moaned, shifting his position to reach the pillow and tried to sleep, his leg hung off the bed slightly.

Akira approached Yusuke and pulled his shoes off, laying them down near the bed, he glanced at Yusuke again and heard him snoring lightly.

“Sheesh..” Akira scratched his nape, realizing how tired Yusuke actually was, he didn’t understand why, they mostly slept on the way here so he shouldn’t be that tired.

Akira got changed into his pajamas, waiting to see if Yusuke would move, but he didn’t, he wasn’t even in the blankets.

He approached Yusuke and pushed him onto his back gently, he really was out of it “This all over again..?” Akira talked to himself in a whisper, thinking back to the nostalgic memories.

Akira lifted Yusuke’s legs up and pulled the covers out from under him, he tucked Yusuke in and caressed his hair out of his face, revealing it.

He leaned down and kissed Yusuke’s forehead “Goodnight, sleeping beauty.”

~~~

Akira woke up to Yusuke still asleep, he was starting to get worried, but decided not to wake him.

He shuffled through letters he had missed while on his trip, they were left on his desk, Zeriya must’ve put them there.

Akira ripped one of the letters open and pulled out its contents, his eyes scanned the page, a letter informing him a hospital will be providing him with less blood bags due to a rise in demand, he gripped the letter, causing it to crinkle, he furrowed his brow in anger at the letter.

Hospitals didn’t hold deals very long, after a few months they would begin to question why a rich guy needed so many blood bags and sometimes money wasn’t enough to shut them up and continue the deal.

It was starting to get more and more harder to feed everyone, especially now that Akira was also drinking from their supply, this confirmed to him that he should stop and perhaps find another hospital willing to strike deals with him.

He threw the letter down on the desk in front of him and opened another one, he pulled out its contents and was presented with a white page covered in charcoal scribbles, he raised his eyebrow at it and shrugged it off.

It was most likely a prank, some children would creep over to his mailbox and shove letters inside as a joke.

Akira inspected the letter for longer, it was a bit creepy, he suddenly heard Yusuke sneeze which made him jump out of his skin “W-What..?!” he spoke in a startled tone and his eyes darted over to Yusuke.

Yusuke protected his nose as he sat up, he groaned, his head ached, his body felt heavy and his nose was runny, he must’ve caught a cold.

Akira placed the letters down on the desk and walked over to Yusuke “Are you okay?” he asked, he noticed Yusuke’s nose looked puffy and his cheeks had a redder hue to them than his usual pale tone.

“I believe so..” Yusuke reached for a tissue box that was resting on the nightstand and wiped his nose clean.

Akira kneeled down “You look..different.” he didn’t really know how to say it without insulting Yusuke.

Yusuke sniffled “I feel sick..” he sighed, “It must be because you threw me in the water yesterday.”

Akira jolted up and worried crept in “Let’s take you to the hospital!”

“..What?”

Akira reached out towards Yusuke trying to pick him up, but Yusuke fought back “What are you doing?!”

Akira pulled the covers down “We must take you to the hospital!” he shoved his arm under Yusuke’s knees and lifted them up, pulling him closer.

“Stop it! It’s just a cold!” Yusuke shoved his hand into Akira’s cheek and squirmed.

“You need medicine!”
They continued to fight each other.

“Akira!” Yusuke shouted

Akira stopped “Why don’t you want to go?” he frowned as intense worry showed on his face.

“I don’t need to! It’s a cold!” Yusuke pushed Akira away, although it took all of his strength.

“A hospital can fix that..”

Yusuke groaned and pulled the covers back up “It will go away in a few days, a hospital is for extreme illnesses, this isn’t one.”

Akira grabbed Yusuke’s hand and cupped it “So you can’t die?” he mumbled

“No, I won’t.” Yusuke sighed loudly “I’m happy you’re worried about me, but..I’m fine.”

“I’ll go buy you some medicine just tell me which one and I’ll be right back.”

“Sleep, I need rest.” Yusuke grabbed more tissues and held them over his nose “Not being pulled out of bed the moment I wake up will probably help too.” a small chuckle escaped him.

“I’m sorry, I’ve never seen a human sick before..” Akira’s cheek grew a slight red hue from his embarrassment, “I-I’ll go get you some soup, it helped you last time you seemed ill.”

A small smile formed on Yusuke’s lips “That would be nice.”

“Okay, I’ll be back in a bit.” Akira gave a small nod and left the room in a hurry.

Yusuke sighed, he wasn’t used to someone going berserk with concern when he got sick, his chest felt warm from the knowledge that Akira cares about him so much, even if he is sometimes a bit extreme about it.

 

Akira returned to the room with a tray full of bread and soup, it had a jug of cold water and two bottles that looked like some medicine “Zeriya said this should help with your cold.” he approached Yusuke and set it down next to him on the bed, it had legs so it was more convenient.

Yusuke reached out towards one of the pill bottles and grabbed it, inspecting the label “Viagra…?” he raised his eyebrow, he has never seen this word before.

Akira snatched the pill bottle off of Yusuke as his cheeks burned with embarrassment
“I-It’s-...I forgot to put it back!”

“Are you trying to tell me something I don’t-”

“No! It isn’t even mine, I just grabbed it because it looked..medical..t-then Zeriya explained what it was...I just forgot to put it back, okay!” Akira looked like he was about to explode from his embarrassment.

Yusuke shrugged “I don’t even know what it does...why are you reacting like that?” he glanced down at the tray and grabbed the other pill bottle, inspecting it.

Akira grabbed his face, trying to compose himself “I’m done.” he muttered, “I’m...going to go put this back.” he turned towards the bedroom door and ran out with the pills.

Yusuke pulled the tray onto his lap and began eating his soup, the warmth soothed his body, he would be better in no time.

He missed this room, it holds fond memories, he was certain he would be allowed to stay in here until he was better, but he didn’t want to be an inconvenience, he knew Akira was behind on his work as he had noticed him reading the letters and getting mad.

 

Akira returned to the room when Yusuke was almost done with his soup, he had been gone for a while.

“Sorry, I got stopped on my way back.” Akira approached Yusuke “Are you feeling better?” he asked as he placed his hand on his hip, inspecting Yusuke.

“Yes, I do..” Yusuke moved the tray off of himself, he couldn’t eat anymore.

“Are you still hungry?” Akira glanced at the almost empty bowl.

“No, I’m going back to my room.” Yusuke tried to get up, but Akira stopped him by his shoulders “No, stay in here.” Akira gave a reassuring nod with a smile.

“I should let you work in peace.” Yusuke trailed his eyes down as he spoke, trying to avoid Akira’s eyes.

“No, please stay in here, you’re not burdening me.” Akira kneeled down and forced Yusuke to make eye contact.

“A-Alright..” Yusuke shuffled down and lay back down onto the pillow, he still felt fatigued.

Akira placed his hand over Yusuke’s that was resting over the covers and leaned his head down onto the bed.

Yusuke glanced down at him “You don’t have to stay with me like this..” he mumbled as a light flush covered his cheeks.

“I want to.” Akira spoke with a soft, soothing tone, he closed his eyes, absorbing Yusuke’s presence.

Yusuke closed his eyes and they rubbed their fingers against each others with affection.

Yusuke had fallen asleep pretty quickly and Akira stayed with him until his legs started to feel numb from the awkward position, he stood up and grabbed the tray off the bed, placing it down on the nightstand after re-positioning the tissue box.

 

He went back over to his desk and sat down, he pulled the letters close to him until his eyes flickered onto the name book he picked his targets from.

Akira’s eyes lingered on the book until he reached out and pulled it close, he opened it, flicking through the worn pages wondering how many people were still alive in this book, he wanted to burn it as it represents his old life but he knew he shouldn’t do something as reckless as that.

He closed the book and pushed it away not letting useless thoughts get to him and returned his attention back to the letters.

Time passed as Yusuke slept and Akira worked, he wrote a letter to the hospital in the hopes that they would change their mind, but he knew they wouldn’t, next was filling out forms and updating salaries and welfare to keep things running at a smooth pace.

Akira got bored of writing the same information over and over again and glanced at a letter he had not opened yet, he pulled it close and opened it, pulling out its contents, he unfolded the letter and his eyes scanned the page as he read it a faint smile appeared on his lips.

It was a ‘Thank you’ letter from a charity he donated to, it increased his mood and he placed it down, his desk was covered with papers, he sighed at the sight and stood up, he needed a break.

He approached Yusuke to check on him, he was still asleep, he turned his attention to the medicine he gave Yusuke, he picked it up and looked inside only to notice it had 2 pills left, that wasn’t a lot and he didn’t know how long Yusuke would be sick for, he decided to go buy him some more.

~~~

Akira walked through the wet and cold village, it had rained without him even noticing, he held an umbrella over himself as he felt eyes leering at him, he looked out of place here and the locals were willing to let him know that.

He walked around until he reached a pharmacy, it didn’t look very well kept as the sign was fading with rust on it, but as long as their medication works he didn’t care, he went inside, it looked dusty, perhaps he should find another one.

Akira closed up the umbrella and went over to the counter, he had to wait in an uncomfortable line until he was served, the employee's eyes lingered on him for far too long until they finally spoke “Yes?”

“I need medication for a cold.”

“...Which one..?”

“The strongest you have.”

The employee turned around and shuffled through boxes until they handed him one, they seemed like they wanted to get rid of him as soon as possible “This should help.”

Akira pulled out his wallet “Do you take 100-dollar bills?” a nervous smile crept on his lips, he knew the answer.

~~~

Akira just shrugged off the bill and acted like it was a tip, he needed the pills for Yusuke so he would throw money away to obtain it.

He almost got out of the village, but he heard meowing, which made him stop, he followed it until he was led into an alley with a black cat near a Dumpster, it looked skinny, it must be hungry, Akira looked back out the alley way and noticed a pet store across the street.

Akira made his way over there and bought as much cat food as a 100-dollar bill could purchase, he now had 3 big plastic bags filled with cat food, a bed, a double cat bowl and a water bottle to fill the bowl up with.

He returned to the alley and scared the cat with his movements, it started to growl and hiss at him, but he just smiled and moved closer, he set the bags down and pulled out everything besides the endless cans, he filled the double bowl up with water and opened a can, shaking the food into it because he forgot to buy a spoon.

He pushed the bowl closer to the cat and it sniffed it, inspected it, and soon 5 black kittens came out from behind the Dumpster, moving over to the bowl and begun eating.

The mother ignored the bowl, allowing her children to eat and that’s when Akira grabbed out another can, opened it and shook out the food on the floor near the bowl “Sorry, I didn’t know there were more of you.” he apologized to the cat and it soon began eating, still cautious of him.

Akira watched them eat happily when he decided after their meal he was going to try and get them into a cardboard box and take them to a shelter.

He also couldn’t take the cans home, he didn’t have a cat, even though he wanted one so he would donate them to a shelter as well.

That’s when his anxiety crept in, he was outside with the sun shining down on him, the last time he drank Yusuke’s blood was 2 days ago that was enough to make it stop working, even though he could feel when it was running out the feeling was not consistent, meaning it could suddenly not happen.

He tried to ignore the tight feeling that was developing in his chest, but his mind raced with the thoughts of being stranded, his legs wanted to get up and just return home but his heart wanted to stay longer and help these animals.

His anxiety started to trick him, causing the burning sensation in his hands to start, he looked down at them, but they weren’t, he breathes out, trying to calm down.

Even though it may not seem like it, he was always anxious to go outside for long periods of time, especially in unknown areas, Yusuke helped his anxiety tremendously, but he wasn’t here causing it to plague his mind, a knot developed in his throat and he closed his eyes tightly, begging for it to stop.

“..Yusuke..help me..” he begged nothing, his breathing became less paced, he started to hate his skin being exposed to the light, his anxiety caused him to tremble when he heard the cats in front of him begin to purr.

He opened his eyes and looked at them, the mother cat was caring for her young, grooming them, the thought that they would be left here to starve again if he ran away made his chest ache, but his body still felt tight and heavy, he looked back and noticed a clothing store nearby, he made his decision, he pulled himself up and dragged himself to it, he would fight this anxiety.

He purchased a grey hoodie and put it on, covering his head with the hood, having his skin exposed made his anxiety worse, so if he could trick his mind into feeling covered, it could help it, he returned back to the cats in a hurry, having his body covered by a jacket eased him a bit but he knew this wouldn’t protect him if he started to burn.

Akira coaxed the cats into the closed cat bed, he purchased before even though it took a long time, he grabbed a cardboard box and placed the bed inside so they were steady, a few kittens hopped out but he helped them back inside even though the mother hissed at him for it.

He wrapped the bags around his arms and picked the cats up, he left the alleyway, looking for a shelter.

Even though it was extremely uncomfortable and heavy Akira managed to reach a shelter, he wondered why they hadn’t been taken to it when they were so close.

The tight feeling in his chest never left, but he had to prove to himself he was capable of doing this without Yusuke.

The employee was shocked he gave them so many cans, he wished he could stay longer, but he knew he shouldn’t “Please take care of them.” he bowed and his hoodie swayed into his vision, he looked at the resting cats all huddled up in the cat bed and got an idea.

He removed the hoodie and handed it to the employee “Use this as a blanket for them.” he smiled slightly as she stared at it in awe “A-Are you certain..sir?” she asked, taking it.

Akira nodded and glanced at the cats again, he waved at them and left the shelter even though the employee told him to wait.

~~~

Akira rushed home, but he felt achieved, it was hard not to just run away, but he managed to win this round against his anxiety, he knew it wouldn’t just suddenly vanish but it did make it hurt less.

He returned to his room after washing his hands and now Yusuke was awake, he was drawing in his sketchbook, a grin appeared on Akira’s lips as he approached Yusuke, setting the medication down on the tray.

The noise caused Yusuke to glance at it “You bought more?” he asked.

“Yeah, you didn’t have much left so I went out and bought some.” Akira spoke as he sat down on the bed near Yusuke.

“Thank you..but it wasn’t necessary.” Yusuke knew his cold would go away soon and the pills only relieved his symptoms, it wouldn’t make it go away.

“If anything can help you then it is necessary to me.” Akira slid closer “But..enough about that, how do you feel?” he pushed Yusuke’s sketchbook down slowly to see him properly.

“I feel...better, my headache is gone.”

Akira smiled “I’m happy to hear that.” he reached his hand out and felt Yusuke’s face, “You feel a bit hot, do you want the air con on?”

“No, that would make me worse.” Yusuke let go of his sketchbook and pencil “You..smell odd.” he wasn’t sure if it was his nose being blocked or if Akira truly did smell different, it wasn’t a bad scent...more of a wet cat scent.

“I do?” Akira grabbed his shirt and sniffed it “It must’ve been those cats..”

Yusuke tilted his head in a curious manner “Cats..?” he asked

“O-Oh..! Don’t worry about that.” Akira waved his hand to reassure Yusuke with a small grin.

“Hmm..” Yusuke was only willing to let it go due to his illness, it was a bit hard to talk.

Akira shifted and lifted Yusuke’s hair up, he leaned forward and planted a kiss on Yusuke’s forehead “Just get better, my love.” he smiled.

Yusuke’s cheeks grew a slight red hue “I-I will.”

Chapter Text

The next day Akira had important business he wouldn’t discuss with Yusuke which meant he had to drink more of Yusuke’s blood despite him still being ill, Akira decided it would be best if he bit Yusuke’s wrist however it hurt more than usual, Yusuke simply wasn’t used to it, causing him discomfort.

Yusuke returned to his bedroom while waiting for Akira to get back, he felt better than yesterday, but his wrist throbbed every time he moved it.

He decided to start adding the things he wanted to his painting after all he was drawing reference for it yesterday and putting it off any longer felt wrong, especially now that he was ill Akira wouldn’t let him out of his sight, he needed to do it privately.

Yusuke worked on his painting, but his wrist was still sore, mixing paints felt like a chore, he wasn’t sure if it hurt more due to his illness or if Akira made a mistake, he tried to ignore it but it would dwindle his focus.

He put a bandage on it and returned back to his painting, he was starting to make progress when his bedroom door swung open.

Akira stepped inside Yusuke’s room with a scowl, Yusuke’s attention snapped to him and he covered the painting quickly once done, he looked at Akira, he was giving off an intense aura, Yusuke has never seen him this angry before.

“That fucking rat!” Akira boiled with anger, he wanted to take his frustration out on something, but he knew he had to keep his temper controlled.

“W-What’s the matter..?” Yusuke asked with worry as he approached Akira.

Akira grabbed his face out of anger “That stupid Mayor!” he snapped his hand back and clenched his fists “He won’t give me a book!”

“W-What..? Why?” Yusuke watched Akira’s angry movements, they were a bit frightening.

Akira clenched his teeth “..I don’t know!” he turned his shoulder to Yusuke “I offered him everything, even my hand in marriage and the fuck still won’t strike a deal with me!” he was reaching a shout when suddenly his nails grew into sharp claws, ripping through the fabric of his glove.

Yusuke looked at Akira’s hand in awe.

Akira held his hand to his chest, almost protecting it “Sorry, I’m just pissed off..” he sighed, trying to calm down.

“I-It’s okay…” Yusuke hasn’t seen Akira like this since the day they met, it was a bit unnerving, he didn’t know what to say, one wrong move could set Akira off again although he doubts Akira would do anything stupid during his rage.

“I can still do it, I don’t need his stupid criminal book..!” Akira pulled his ripped gloves off and his nails returned back to normal “I’m sorry you had to see that but being near you calms me.”

“That’s fine, Akira... Did you try buying another book?” Yusuke felt like Akira had calmed down enough for him to ask for clarification.

“Yes and he rejected every single offer, it boggles my mind, his greedy, but won’t feed his greed even more for just a book?..It’s frustrating.” Akira sighed loudly “I’ll just have to go in blind, like I did at the manor.”

Yusuke averted his eyes “But..that’s dangerous..”

“I don’t care, as long as I don’t return dead, it doesn't matter how much I get hurt.”

“But I do!” Yusuke clenched his chest with his hand, “I don’t want you risking your life!”

“And what’s the other option?! Return back to killing innocents?! I’m not doing that!” Akira’s eyes widened as he realized he was yelling at Yusuke, he blinked and averted them “I’m sorry for raising my voice...but there’s no other option.”

“There has to be!”

“There isn’t, if there was I would take it, but there simply isn’t. I’ll haggle him some more but, ..he won’t give me it.”

Yusuke sighed heavily, “This is unfair..” he mumbled, and something popped into his mind, he remembered Akira saying something about his parents maybe being the reason as to why his blood fixes Akira’s skin, perhaps if he learnt more about them he might be able to lead them to a cure.

Yusuke trailed his eyes on Akira, trying to figure out if he should tell him the thought that popped into his mind...he decided to keep it to himself, Akira would only shoot him down, telling him not to bother considering it.

“I promise you, I won’t die.” Akira scratched his hair, trying to break the awkward silence.

Yusuke crossed his arms “It’s not like you have the choice in that matter, but..” he sighed “I have to accept it, I suppose..”

“It’s just a bump in the road, we’ll get there, but enough about that.” Akira stepped closer and cupped Yusuke’s chin “How do you feel?”

“Do you want to know my emotions or health?” Yusuke out stared Akira “B-Both..” Akira mumbled.

“I feel better..in terms of health. I think it’s time we discuss how I can be of use to you with your hunger..”

“Yusuke..” Akira shook his head as he moved his hand away “Not now.”

“You said we would once we return here..” Yusuke furrowed his brow.

“You can...make sure all my gear is ready and in good condition.”

“I don’t know...how to do that.”

Akira sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose “Can we not talk about this, please?”

“Right..I’m sorry.”

Akira touched Yusuke’s arm gently “We’ll find something, I promise, but now isn’t the time.”

“I know, I apologize. P-Perhaps we could go to my village soon..” The only way Yusuke would obtain information on his parents was...to go back home, he would do this for Akira’s sake, if he could simply make Akira’s curse vanish then he knew the two’s future would be certain.

That caught Akira off guard “T-That’s a bit random..” he mumbled

Yusuke brought his index finger to his lips, almost like he was hushing himself, “You said we would once we returned and I’ve warmed up to the idea even more.” a faint smile formed on his lips.

“Alright, we’ll go whenever you like.” Akira raised his hand up on top of Yusuke’s head and pat it with a smile “Sorry about the yelling..”

“It’s fine.”

Akira glanced at Yusuke’s wrist and grabbed it, inspecting it “Does the bite bother you?” he asked, looking back up at Yusuke.

“..It hurts a bit, but I’m just not used to it, it will fade.” Yusuke glanced back at his painting “Now if you don’t mind..I would like to return to my painting.”

“Should you really be painting in your condition?” Akira asked with a worried look.

“The symptoms are well controlled, I’m fine. The medicine you brought really helps.”

Akira smiled “I’m glad to hear that.” he glanced at the painting, “Come to my room once you’re finished.” he realized it was a good thing Yusuke was painting again, he must be doing something important if he was painting while sick so Akira wouldn't disturb him.

“I will.” Yusuke smiled and Akira left the room with a wave.

Yusuke turned his attention back to the painting and then his wrist, he grabbed it as thoughts raced through his mind, if he wanted to know more about his parents he would have to see Madarame again.

Yusuke worked on his painting until he no longer could, he didn’t like keeping things from Akira, but if he didn’t he’d never be allowed to do this, he had the urge to talk to Zeriya about the book he found in the library but if it had anything of use then they would know by now.

He racked his brain for any information about his parents, he remembered Madarame telling him that his father left due to being in danger and to not be bitter about it, that was the only thing he knew about his father, perhaps there was more.

 

As Yusuke lay in bed with Akira that night he realized that Akira would never let him help ensure his safety, although it pained him and he still wished for it, he would just have to accept it, they could yell at each other as much as they liked, but they wouldn't reach a conclusion, it was one of the first things they disagreed on but that was bound to happen eventually. Yusuke knew that if he was given the chance to look for something, then he would feel more fulfilled about this subject.

~~~

The next day Akira offered to cook something for Yusuke, it intrigued him so he agreed, he felt even better today and his painting was almost finished.

Akira cooked in pots as Yusuke watched him, it was odd seeing Akira cook, but Akira was pretty odd in general, so the fact a king like him would cook isn’t that far fetched.

“You look magnificent.” Yusuke complimented Akira with a smile.

“I just put on an apron..”

The aroma that filled the kitchen smelt pleasant.

“You look magnificent all the time. Will you tell me what you’re cooking now?” Yusuke knew the answer but, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

“Nope, you’ll know once it’s done.” Akira was too focused on cooking, he barely glanced back at Yusuke.

Yusuke thought it would be a good idea to make small talk, Akira was pretty pissed off yesterday and Yusuke kind of blew him off, he made up for it later, but he needed to think about his idea alone, this could truly fix their future if there was something, if there was nothing then..they would continue as is but there was still hope and Yusuke would cling onto it.

“I remember seeing you with glasses on...why do you not wear them?” It had been on Yusuke’s mind for a while, he spent even more time with Akira but never saw the glasses again, it was a bit strange.

Akira almost flicked boiling water on himself, the question caught him off guard and his cheeks grew red.

“Do you need them?” Yusuke asked as he leaned on his hand.

“N-No…” Akira put down the spoon before an accident could happen, he fumbled.

“Hm?” Yusuke applied more social pressure.

“T-They just...help me focus when I’m..testing stuff.” Akira exhaled, picking the spoon back up and returned his attention back to the pots.

“..Testing stuff?” Yusuke watched Akira with an intense stare, even though he had his back to him.

“Mm, I experiment with things sometimes.”

“...For a cure?”

“It...was the reason I started, yes.”

“I see..” Yusuke glanced at the culinary beside him, he didn’t trust himself not to blurt out his plan to Akira so he searched for another topic “Do you need help?”

“No, I’m almost done.” Akira turned down the oven as he spoke.

Yusuke heard footsteps, he glanced at Akira’s feet, but they weren’t moving.

“Ah, I thought I smelt the master’s curry.” Zeriya spoke as he walked into the kitchen.

“..Curry?” Yusuke repeated his words.

“You idiot!” Akira snapped

Zeriya raised his eyebrow “What? Why are you greeting me with insults?”

“It was a surprise! You ruined it!” Akira flicked the spoon at Zeriya but he was too far for any liquid to reach him.

Zeriya glanced at Yusuke “Not really a surprise when he’s in the kitchen..” he patted the back of his head, “Perhaps you’ll be willing to cook more often now?”

“No way, I got used to being lazy.” Akira spoke as he pulled down plates and placed them on the counter.

“At least you admit it…” Zeriya exhaled “Anyway, I have information for you.”

“So say it.” Akira spoke in a direct manner.

Zeriya shifted uncomfortably, but decided to tell him anyway “Well...I regret to inform you, but one of the landholders passed away, specifically one of the farm owners.”

Akira’s lips formed a small frown, although his attention was still locked on serving up the dish “That’s awful.”

“Yes, however now one of his heirs must take over and he didn’t leave a will stating which one.” Zeriya stepped towards Akira and they made eye contact, “You must decide in his stead, but..I don’t think you should give an answer through a letter no more.”

“So you want me to go there..?” Akira turned his body to face Zeriya as he held the spoon still.

“That would be wise now that everyone knows you can go outside.”

Akira exhaled, “Alright..I’ll go.” he returned his attention back to the plates.

“Wonderful, the sooner the better. Oh, please leave me some curry too.” A slight smile formed on Zeriya’s lips and he turned, leaving the kitchen.

Yusuke watched Akira pour the curry onto the plates, “You own a farm..?” he asked, it was the only question he could find without the room filling with an awkward atmosphere.

“I own many things, how do you think I’m rich? Although my parents set everything up for me.” Akira scooped rice onto the plates and picked them up, turning his attention to Yusuke, “I just have to keep it running.”

“I see..” Yusuke’s mouth watered at the sight of the food, but he tried to hide it.

Akira moved closer to the table and placed the plates down, one in front of Yusuke “I might be gone for a bit..” he sighed, pulling a chair out and sat down on it, crossing his legs and leaning on his hand “Like I needed more shit to deal with..”

“I understand, don’t worry.”

A smiled formed on Akira’s lips as he pulled his own plate closer “You’re so good about these things.”

“Why would I not?” Yusuke wanted to eat, it looked so good.

“Hm..I figured you’d want all my attention.”

Yusuke chuckled, shielding his mouth “No, I need a break from you actually.”

Akira let out a little gasp “How dare you..!”

They smiled at each other and giggled, knowing it was merely a joke.

Yusuke picked the spoon up beside him and pointed it towards the food “Let’s see if you can cook.”

“I haven’t cooked in ages, so it’s probably bad.” Akira watched him intently, waiting for him to try it.

Yusuke scooped some of the curry up and tasted it only to feel his mouth explode with wonderful flavors “My goodness!” he expressed his wonder.

“What?” Akira tried to keep his cool, but he knew why Yusuke reacted like that.

“It’s delicious!”

“Really..?” Akira picked up his spoon and scoop some up, trying it, “Hm..Could be better.”

“Could be?! This is the best thing I have ever tasted!” Yusuke bubbled with excitement.

Akira blushed slightly and tried to cover his face with his hand, “Don’t overreact.” he mumbled

“I assure you I am not, it truly is magnificent.”

Akira lifted his hand up and twirled a strand of his hair onto his index finger shyly, “W-Well..thank you.”

“I wish to awake to this meal every morning!” Yusuke’s eyes glittered with enthusiasm

“N-Nice joke.”

“I’m not kidding, this could go wonderfully with my morning practice!” Yusuke held the spoon to his chest, daydreaming about the idea.

Akira just watched him with a grin.

~~~

They finished eating, but Akira had to discuss something with Zeriya “Can you manage the dishes?” he asked Yusuke with a small smile, hoping he’d comply.

“Yes, it’s only right that I do them as I didn’t help make it.” Yusuke stood up and approached Akira, he raised his hand and caressed Akira’s cheek, “Thank you, it was truly magnificent.” he smiled and moved his hand away.

“Y-You’re welcome, I’ll be right back, okay?” Akira wanted to just hang out with Yusuke for longer as he’d be gone all day tomorrow but this was important.

Yusuke nodded and turned his attention to the dishes.

Akira watched him for a bit before leaving the kitchen, he found Zeriya on the ground floor yelling at Sugimura.

Akira grabbed his shoulder and turned him around “I need a favour.” he said, ignoring Sugimura.

“I-I’m a bit busy, my lord..”

“It’s important.”

“Right.” Zeriya shooed Sugimura away and he left in a hurry, he turned his attention back to Akira “What is it?”

“I need you to fight me.”

Zeriya’s facial expression turned to confusion “What..?”

Akira crossed his arms and exhaled “Yusuke is nagging me to come when I go feed, I need to prove to him I can’t always protect him.”

“And...fighting me will prove that how?” Zeriya raised his eyebrow

Akira cupped his chin, deep in thought “Well...I'll lose in front of him.”

“I believe you would still win against me, you are of royal blood after all.”

“Not if I...go easy.”

Zeriya crossed his arms and shook his head “So you’re going to be dishonest?”

“No, I can..just manipulate it in a way that it achieves my goal.”

“Dishonest.”

“It’s causing us to fight and I don’t want that, especially with everything that’s going on at the moment. Please, Zeriya...Yusuke’s too naive to understand the weight of it.” Akira brought his hands together and visibly begged Zeriya "It could help my relationship."

“I’m not declining it...but lying to him isn’t a good thing either.”

Akira moved his hands and touched his bottom lip, “I already know that, but he’s not letting it go.”

“We’ll do this, but I’m not responsible for what happens.”

Akira smiled “Thank you.”

~~~

Akira led Yusuke downstairs, an area he has never been, it was covered by a door so it wouldn’t cross your mind that there was a lower level, its tone was more dark, the wall papers were dark red with flower designs and it was almost like a large hallway.

“W-Where are you taking me..?” Yusuke asked as Akira pushed on his back, beckoning him forward.

“The old ballroom.” Akira explained, they were reaching it so he grabbed Yusuke’s arm pulling him in.

The room was large, but empty, there were a few dance rails but that was it.

Yusuke looked around with a puzzled look on his face, he didn’t understand the purpose of it, perhaps Akira wanted to dance..? “What are we doing here..?” he asked

“I’m showing you what it is like to fight.” Akira gripped Yusuke’s shoulder before walking into the center of the room.

“W-What..? Why?”

“You wish to join me, yes? I will demonstrate what it is like.” Akira cracked his knuckles as he spoke.

“I-I thought..we were putting this on hold..” Yusuke looked around the room again only to notice Zeriya had come in without his jacket, he approached Akira.

“We are, with this.” Akira glanced at Zeriya “Are you ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be, my lord.”

They turned to face each other and Yusuke understood what was happening now.

“Wait, this isn’t necessary..” Yusuke shook his head with a frown.

Akira glanced at Yusuke “It is if you ever wish to come with me.” he returned his attention back to Zeriya “Ready?”

“Yes.” Zeriya said with a nod and the two began wrestling with each other in a fierce manner soon Zeriya grabbed Akira’s arm and threw him down to the ground, holding him there with his knee jammed into his throat.

Akira groaned and Zeriya let him go, Akira pulled himself up “A bit too hard, no?” he rubbed the back of his head and turned his attention to Yusuke “See? Even I lose.” he approached Yusuke “So how would you ever win..?”

Yusuke sighed heavily and held his chest “Which is exactly why I wish to go; to ensure you’re okay.”

Akira groaned at the realization his plan completely backfired, he felt like he was being stabbed.

Zeriya almost laughed “E-Excuse me, I have work to do now..” he left the room in a hurry, trying to hold it in.

“You can’t ensure I’m okay, you can’t even fight..!” Akira grumbled, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

“I know that, Akira...I-I’ve..found something else to do so...you don’t have to try and prove it to me no more.”

“Huh..?”

“Forget about this. I’ve realized that even if I do get stronger you’d still reject it so..I just have to accept it.”

Akira scratched his head nervously “Uh..R-Right...okay then.” he was a bit disoriented, he didn’t expect Yusuke to drop it that easily.

“I’ll support your decision, Akira I always have.” A smile formed on Yusuke’s lips as he placed his hand on Akira’s shoulder.

"So...we won't argue over this anymore..?" Akira wanted to confirm.

"Yes, we won't."

Akira looked back and grabbed Yusuke’s arm, pulling him to the center of the room “Let’s finish our dance.” he said with a grin.

Yusuke’s cheeks grew a red hue “W-What..?”

Akira wrapped his arms around Yusuke, placing his left hand on Yusuke’s hip and intertwining their fingers with the other “You remember it, right?”

“I-I do..but-” Yusuke’s heart began beating faster as he wrapped his arm around Akira’s neck, causing them to pull closer to each other.

“You ready?” Akira asked as he tightened his grip on Yusuke’s hip.

“Y-Yes..” Yusuke gave a nervous nod and they started to sway together.

Yusuke rested his head against Akira’s, what he was unable to do long ago.
They moved together slowly, without a word or sound, they enjoyed their moment together in harmony, almost like an apology to each other.

“Akira..?” Yusuke called out, breaking the silence.

“Yes?” Akira’s tone was soft.

“That night...w-when..I tried to kiss you at the ball...you didn’t pull away.”

Akira’s cheeks grew red “Um..”

“You wanted me to kiss you, didn’t you?”

Akira buried his face in Yusuke’s neck “S-Stop..talking..” his voice was muffled but held no ill intent.

Yusuke smiled and pulled back, he placed his finger under Akira’s chin and lifted his face up, he leaned down and kissed Akira “Mm..” Akira let out a moan as he lowered his eyelids, watching Yusuke kiss him with a gleam in his eyes, he closed them bringing his hands up into Yusuke’s hair.

Yusuke lifted his hand up into Akira’s hair as he applied more pressure into their kiss, he moved his other hand to Akira’s back, supporting him.

They pulled apart and pressed their forehead together, they stared into each other’s eyes with a glitter.

“Akira..” Yusuke spoke softly as he pushed Akira’s forehead with his own.

“Y-Yusuke..” Akira spoke softly, he allowed Yusuke to push him, but then he felt Yusuke’s hands grab his legs and lift him up “W-Wait!” he cried out but his knees buckled and Yusuke held him up off the ground.

Yusuke held Akira like a reserve-piggyback style as Akira clung onto him “P-Put me down!” he protested.

Yusuke rubbed his nose against Akira’s, ignoring his protests “Y-Yusuke, listen to me, if you don’t put me down...I..I will..-”

“You will what?” Yusuke asked with a smirk.

“Nnh..! I..ah..” Akira stutter “..Y-You’re so cruel!” he burrowed his face into Yusuke’s shoulder quickly with an aspirated sigh.

Yusuke held Akira close as he left the room with him in his arms.

“Knh! Just put me down!” Akira begged, but it was useless.

Chapter Text

Akira left to deal with the situation at the farm the next day and Yusuke finished off his painting in the meantime, he wasn’t sure if he should present it to Akira once he got home as he would most likely be tired, Yusuke would judge for himself once he actually sees Akira.

Yusuke wandered around the mansion, trying to find something else to paint for his next project, but nothing was causing that spark he gets when he wishes to paint something, he figured Akira’s room might hold something interesting, perhaps a vase or some flowers, so he made his way there.

He pushed the door open to be greeted by the empty room, the sunlight shined in the room, acting as its only light source. Yusuke’s attention was always locked on Akira when he was in this room so he could’ve missed something interesting.

He approached Akira’s desk, papers were scattered all over it and a few empty coffee mugs were holding papers down, it was chaotic, how did Akira get any work done keeping his desk like this?

Yusuke shook his head at the mess, he even noticed some coffee stain rings on some of the papers, destroying them, Yusuke hoped they weren’t important, he wouldn’t throw them out just in case they were.

He started to clean it for Akira, he pushed all the papers into a pile and sorted through them. Akira’s time was always occupied by something, whether it be Yusuke or work and it has only gotten worse ever since they got back from the manor.

Yusuke wanted to help Akira in some way just to relieve some stress off his shoulders, but every attempt would be shot down, when Zeriya called Akira stubborn he really meant it and it shows much more with his work, Yusuke wasn’t sure if he was a perfectionist or he simply preferred to do everything himself.

Yusuke neatly stacked the papers and set them down on the desk, he found some unopened letters under the papers and pulled open the top drawer with the intention to place the letters inside, but as he pulled it open he froze and noticed a pistol inside, he stared down at it.

He never knew Akira had a gun this entire time, while the sight was unnerving for someone like Yusuke he knew why Akira had it, although now knowing there was a gun in this room the whole time made his skin almost crawl.

Yusuke noticed a key next the pistol and his body just moved on its own, he grabbed the key out and inspected it, he pushed the top drawer with his hip and noticed the bottom drawer had a keyhole.

He squatted down and pushed the key inside, it fit perfectly, he placed the letters up onto the desk and opened the drawer, he saw photographs upside down, stacked onto each other, he pulled one out carefully and stood up as he turned it over.

Yusuke saw a family sitting in a garden together, no, he saw Akira’s family sitting in the garden.

Akira looked about the age of 8, he was hugging a woman in a dress and a man sat beside Akira with his hand on Akira’s small head, Akira had a huge grin on his face and was dressed in overalls, it looked like the perfect family photo, but the faces of the woman and man were scribbled out, nothing but black holes remained over their forms, like someone had taken a pen to the photo and drew over their faces.

Yusuke stared at the photo, he got curious and wondered if all of the photos were like this, he kneeled down and took out another photo from the drawer.

This time it was a photo of an older Akira, he looked like a teenager, he was with his parents again, but this time they were in front of the staircase of this mansion, Akira had glasses on and his attire was much more casual than anything Yusuke has seen him in, he seemed annoyed at having to take the photo but complied anyway.

The faces of his parents were scribbled out again, Yusuke frowned at the photo and he felt a pricking sensation in his chest, the reality that Akira scribbled out his own parents' faces dawned on him.

This was the only evidence of Akira’s parents' existence and it was tainted, this made Yusuke realize that if his parents were indeed murdered, then shouldn’t the others at least have photos or portraits of them, anything to confirm they existed at all?

Akira must’ve abolished anything that remained of them, it upset Yusuke, he knew he was prying at the moment and should probably stop, but he wanted to confirm if all of them were ruined, he had to know.

“What are you doing?” A sudden voice shot out towards Yusuke and he almost jumped out of his skin, his eyes darted towards it to see Zeriya in the room, holding some letters.

“I...I..” Yusuke fumbled and stood up quickly, the feeling he was caught settled in as he tried to figure out what to say.

“The master wouldn’t like you seeing those.” Zeriya’s tone was stern but held no ill intent, like a teacher telling a student the consequence of their actions, he approached the desk and placed down the letters, the awkward silence was filled with the sound of paper falling onto a desk.

“I...I apologize.” Yusuke glanced down at the photo in his hands, “I will...apologize to him personally too.” he placed the photo down on the desk, his eyes never wavered from it as guilt settled in.

“You do that and he’ll burn them.” Zeriya crossed his arms and thought about his next words “Just keep it to yourself, I have no intention to tell him.”

Yusuke’s eyes flickered on Zeriya and then at the photo, he wanted to know more about them more than his guilt consumed him “...Why am I not allowed to see them?” he asked after a long pause.

“It’s not necessarily you’re not allowed...it’s anyone.”

“But you know..” Yusuke mumbled, he was probably treading on thin ice, but he couldn’t just let this go now that he knew.

“Only because I was the one to convince him not to destroy them even more.” Zeriya raised his hand up and waved his index finger, “You don’t have to be jealous of me, I am merely his advisor, it would be impure and forbidden if I were to view him in any other way.”

“Eh..?” Yusuke paused and processed the information, he realized “Ah! No..! I did not mean it like that…” he touched his face nervously, “I-I’m not..jealous just curious..” now that he thought about it, he could see why Zeriya might've thought that.

“So you search in his room..?” Zeriya raised his eyebrow, Yusuke couldn’t help but feel like he was trying to make him realize what he was doing was wrong...even though he already did.

“It’s..not like that, I..came in here searching for something to draw and then saw the mess on his desk...one thing let to another and I found the photos.” Yusuke folded his arms onto his elbows as he spoke. The photos weren’t hidden very well anyway, anyone could find them.

Yusuke touched his forehead with a sigh, “I apologize, I just wish to help him..” those words just escaped his mouth, but he wasn’t going to bother salvaging it “..Are all the photos like this?” he asked, he already dug his own grave he may as well try and learn more about it.

“Yes, all of them, but…” Zeriya paused, he opened his jacket and pulled out a photo from the inside of it, he handed Yusuke the photo “All but this one.”

Yusuke looked down at it and took it gently, he carefully examined it as it was pretty worn.

The photo was of Akira as a baby, he was being held by his mother and his father was beside her, supporting her; their faces weren’t scribbled out this time, they were both really beautiful people, they looked ecstatic, like a perfect family.

Yusuke stared at the photo for too long, his chest felt warm, but also ached, two emotions were conflicting with each other, he was happy that they had something left to preserve their joyful memories but also grieved about their misfortune.

“I’ve always wanted to give it to him, but...there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t just destroy that one too.” Zeriya’s voice pulled Yusuke out of his trance, he was too engrossed on the photo.

“..Akira..” Is all Yusuke could manage to say, his eyes never left the photo, they couldn’t, they were glued to it, he needed to confirm every single detail that this photo displayed.

“I believe you should judge when to give it to him.” Zeriya said with a stoic facial expression, it betrayed the weight of his words.

“EH?!” Yusuke’s eyes darted back up at Zeriya, he never expected him to say something like that, his heart began to pound in his chest, he started to believe his brain just tricked him just from Zeriya’s facial expression.

“You’re serious about him, aren’t you?” Zeriya inspected Yusuke, he saw his hand start to tremble, it’s like he stopped functioning.

“O-Of course..” Yusuke coughed out, he breathed in deeply and then back out, trying to gain some composure back.

“Then you should be the one to give it to him, you know him on a more..personal level so perhaps you’d be able to judge when the right time comes.” Zeriya raised his hand to his face and cupped his chin, “Although if you get it wrong and he burns it; I won’t be very happy.” he glared at Yusuke “So choose wisely.”

“I…” Yusuke’s eyes met the photo again “..He’ll know I saw the photos if I give him this.” he breathed out heavily.

“Which is why you must pick the right time.”

Yusuke extended the photo out towards Zeriya “No, I do not wish to sully it, I’m not good at reading people… I would never forgive myself if I messed this up.” his eyes begged Zeriya to take it but he wasn’t responding.

“I believe you’re perfectly capable of this, if you aren’t when will you ever be anything of worth?”

Yusuke furrowed his brow, he was a bit offended “What..?” he muttered, it took every fiber in his body not to grip the photo, he likes to grab onto things tightly when he’s angry or emotional.

“You wish to help the master, right? How would you ever achieve such a thing if you cannot even handle the stress of giving him a family photo? This will show you’re capable of being his partner while also understanding him on an emotional level, it’s the perfect test.”

“A test..?” Yusuke repeated his words, he didn’t understand what he was implying.

“While the master may not care for the opinion of the others I do, it’s my job. Your relationship with him can’t remain a fairy tale forever, whether he likes to admit it or not, he needs someone to even the burden with, if you can’t give him this photo, then you’re not the right one.” Zeriya pulled down on his white glove in front of his chest as a small smile appeared on his lips.

“I wish to help him, but..he won’t even allow me to, he doesn’t...trust me enough, it seems..” Yusuke didn’t really understand the reason for it so he was just guessing but it did bother him.

“It’s not a matter of trust, he doesn’t want you getting involved because he wishes to shelter you from it.” Zeriya stepped forward, glaring into Yusuke’s eyes, “Look, if you do this then the others will support you even more forcing him to even it, but don’t feel like your time is ticking away, you can take your time with this.”

Yusuke held to photo close with both hands, looking down at it, trying to escape Zeriya’s eyes.

“I’m merely stating the future benefits of it, I’m certain emotional benefits will come as well.”

Yusuke thought about it, he cares more about giving this to Akira because he wants him to treasure the photo not hate it, but if this proved his worth even more to the others, it could really benefit him, he didn’t think much about being Akira’s ‘queen’ but the more time he spent with him the warmer he was becoming to the idea, he just wants to help Akira and being his ‘queen’ is a great way to achieve that.

“How..would giving him this photo have an effect on the others? If I give this to him it’ll be ours to cherish..” Yusuke asked, he made eye contact with Zeriya again, although it was still nervous.

“While that may be true the others have had to live with him not willing to see them, so if you’re able to give him a photo of their faces, they’ll respect you greatly and understand how much you actually cherish each other.”

“I want to give this to him because I don’t want him living in shame..I don’t really care about the other benefits.” Yusuke rubbed his finger gently on the back of the photo, it felt fragile “How...will I preserve it? It looks old.” he expressed his worry.

“If you agree to do this I’ll give you a box to lock it in, he might ask about it, but if you leave the key on you he won’t find it, it’s safer in there than my jacket..” Zeriya glanced away, then turned his attention back to Yusuke “If you’re able to do this then I’m sure you’d feel fulfilled.”

Yusuke thought about it again, he didn’t want to stuff up, but this could bring them closer and perhaps Akira would not feel as if he needs to shelter Yusuke as much, if he has the guts to do this then maybe he can prove to himself and Akira that he isn’t so fragile and capable of supporting Akira in more ways than one.

“..I’ll do it, I want him to have it.” Yusuke smiled at the photo “I just hope I get it right.” he would press it against his chest to try and feel the warmth from the photo, but such an action could rip the photo, he needed to be delicate with it.

“Excellent, I’ll bring you a box to keep it in then.” Zeriya smiled, it seemed genuine, he turned and was ready to leave the room but Yusuke stopped him “Wait.”

“What is it?”

“..Perhaps we could discuss this more over a cup of coffee? A-Akira won’t be back for awhile...so I have free time.”

“Very well then.”

~~~

After Zeriya gave Yusuke a box with a lock to place the photo in, the two went to the kitchen and sat down at the table, Zeriya made Yusuke a coffee even though he didn’t ask for it.

“P-Perhaps I should give it to him on our anniversary..” Yusuke rotated the coffee mug into his hands, watching the liquid move with it, despite being more comfortable around the others he was still a bit nervous near them.

Zeriya sip some of his coffee from the mug before replying “That would be odd, no? Isn’t an anniversary meant to be about you two? Giving him a photo of his parents would kill any mood.”

“I suppose that is true.” A nervous smile crept up on Yusuke’s lips “But..now I’ve been reminded I need an anniversary gift too.” he was starting to fret, he had much to deal with already and now more things were popping up, he knew he had to keep calm otherwise his plan would show.

Yusuke was still going to visit Madarame and try and obtain information on his parents, he just wanted to get it over and done with now that he has the photo to deal with.

“Worry about one thing at a time, that won’t be for a while.” It was quite obvious to Zeriya Yusuke was stressing out over it.

“Right, sorry.” Yusuke let out a sigh, “So..Akira drew over his parents face..?” he asked for clarification.

“Yes, I thought I made that clear.”

“You did..I..” Yusuke’s attention never left the cup, the atmosphere was really awkward, he didn’t even know why he asked Zeriya to do this.

After an awkward silence Yusuke placed his hand onto his chest with a smile, “I should paint it.”

Zeriya’s eyes widened with surprise, “What..?” he muttered

“The photo is fading, I might be able to revive it’s faded areas with my painting..” Yusuke didn’t know if he could do it, but he would pour his heart and soul into this piece, perhaps Akira will respond in a more positive way if he adds his own touch to it.

“..That would be…” Zeriya didn’t know how to express himself, which didn’t happen often, Yusuke completely caught him off guard.

“Perhaps that should be my next project, although I’m not going to get too excited; it will definitely be a challenge.”

Zeriya raised his hand to his face and covered his mouth, trying to gain his composure back.

Yusuke watched his awkward movement “Do..you think it’s a good idea?” he asked

“..I think it’s a lovely idea.”

“Really?! Then it has been decided.” A wide smile appeared on Yusuke’s lips, “I won’t fail you, Akira.”

"While we are meant to discuss something else..I would like to change the topic for a second." Zeriya said as he raised his mug to his chest.

"Hm? What is it?" Yusuke was completely perplexed that Zeriya had another topic he wanted to discuss with him, his curiosity almost oozed out as he waited for him to speak again.

"Why is it that...the master does not wish to have a child?"

Yusuke's eyes widen with surprise, he was expecting something, but still...this question, he didn't know how to respond to it, should he be honest or should he refuse to answer? Zeriya was already doing him a huge favor for not dobbing on him so it didn't feel right denying him information like that, Yusuke knew it wasn't his place to tell but Akira's kingdom would have to know eventually.

Yusuke fiddled with his cup as he tried to find his answer, if Zeriya was asking him, then Zeriya must be bothering Akira about it which would only stress him out more, Yusuke's odds were stacked against him, he didn't want Akira to stress, he didn't want Akira to find out about the photos, he didn't want to disrespect Zeriya.

"D-Do you promise..not to tell another?" Yusuke finally managed to speak, his tongue felt fat in his mouth, almost suffocating him.

"I do, I only wish to know as it is important."

"..." Yusuke tried to find how to articulate it properly "Akira...thinks it will..transfer." he sweated with anxiety, hoping Zeriya wouldn't react badly or if this was another one of his weird tests.

Zeriya let out a noise of surprise "His..curse?"

"Mm." Yusuke nodded nervously.

Zeriya averted his eyes and gain his thoughts, he turned his attention back to Yusuke "I..never thought of that."

Yusuke continued to fiddle with his cup, the coffee was probably cold now, but he was using it as more of a distraction than a beverage.

"I see, thank you for telling me." Zeriya's lips formed a smile.

"P-Please do not tell him I told you!...I will myself."

"Do not fret, he said I could ask you."

"E-Eh..?"

"Now back to the photo, while I said you could take your time with it don't take too long." Zeriya spoke as if nothing major had just happened.

It almost convinced Yusuke nothing major just happened either, he was willing to drop it because the photo was more important to him than wallowing in guilt "I won't, I wish to give it to Akira right now, but I know that is foolish." he glanced down at his cup, an image of Akira almost appeared in it, causing him to smile "I want to see his smile, I love it so much." he would've started day dreaming about him showing Akira the photo if it wasn't for Zeriya's presence.

"It appears that you are indeed quite serious about him."

Yusuke furrowed his brow "Why am I still being questioned on that? Have I not proved my love for him already?" it was getting a bit annoying, almost condescending.

"You have, I am just...being cautious. The master hasn't showed affection to anyone these past years and now he suddenly is with a human male with no previous experience, you're most likely a virgin in everything, meaning your love for him could break easily as it might just be infatuation; does that help you understand my caution?"

"I understand that, but still..I adored the Feathermoon ceremony, it was lovely but most of all our love was accepted; shouldn't that prove it's not infatuation?" Yusuke leaned on his hand, tapping his fingers onto his cheek.

"The fact he was even willing to do the Feathermoon ceremony with you baffles me. I'm almost starting to think he's infatuated with you, but...the way he talks about you contradicts that entirely."

Yusuke was interested in what Akira said about him to others, but he knew he'd never get that answered so he wouldn't bother asking "Or...you need to let go of this idea of 'infatuation' and just accept we really do love each other."

Zeriya demeanor turned more down "...I have already failed the master once, I'm not allowed to again." he mumbled

"Eh..?"

Zeriya placed his mug down and clenched his fists "I failed him with Akechi, I won't allow myself to again. I can't let it go, even though everything contradicts my caution I need to remain it. I can't love so I don't understand what would bring a person to do such a thing so I can never let my guard down, do you understand?" he relaxed again and folded his arms.

Yusuke didn't know he'd learn more about Zeriya from this exchange, but he felt relieved and much more comfortable, Zeriya was pretty intimidating much more than Akira could ever possibly be towards Yusuke again so it was nice to hear he wasn't a robot, especially since if Yusuke ever became Akira's 'queen' Zeriya would be the man advising him too.

Yusuke felt empathy towards him, but one thing stuck out "You can't love..?" he said it before he realized it.

"Advisor's are not allowed to love; it's one of our obligations and rules we must follow just like the king has obligations we do too."

"Wait..I thought high status figures were picked through bloodline and family, is it not the same for advisor's?"

"What do you mean?" Zeriya asked for calcification.

Yusuke paused and tried to figure out how to word it in a different way "Your parents, if they weren't allowed to love, then how does it pass down a bloodline like Akira's does? Are you not an heir?"

Zeriya remained silent until he decided "You're right in one regard, my mother was the previous advisor towards the master's parents but..she defied her duties and ended up pregnant with me as punishment she was forced to have me and I would become the next advisor."

Yusuke almost gasped "W-Where are your parents now?" he frowned

"Banished, both of them. The queen didn't like the idea of it, but the previous king decided it would be best, they could be together out of here but also punished for not obeying rules."

Yusuke glanced down sadly "That's awful.." he didn't know what to say, he was surprised Zeriya was even telling him this.

"Our society isn't all happy and fairy tale-like, but it's like that for a reason."

"..You're not upset about it?"

"Of course not, I vowed to do my job to the best of my ability. None of the rules I have issues with so it doesn't bother me." Zeriya pointed at Yusuke "I'm only telling you this because I'm..starting to like you, don't make me regret it by going all teary-eye on me."

"O-Okay..?" Yusuke shrugged, he wasn't sure what to do now but he was glad Zeriya was warming up to him.

"This conversation is over anyway." Zeriya stood up.

~~~

Yusuke asked Zeriya if they had any books after gaining some courage after that exchange, he asked a long time ago, but he figured Akira might’ve got the memo that he likes to read but Yusuke got the same answer; no fictional books.

Yusuke searched the library for something of interest, he needed a break, his mind has been racing ever since they got back from the manor and today only made that worse, Zeriya helped him look which was a bit strange but Yusuke didn’t question it.

Yusuke stumbled across that title-less book written in another language and decided to ask Zeriya about it.

“What’s this?” Yusuke asked as he held the book up so Zeriya could see it.

“A memento.” Zeriya replied without paying much attention to it, he continued reading the titles of the books neatly placed into the bookshelf.

“A memento..? You can read it, right?”

Zeriya stopped and turned his attention to Yusuke “Some of it.” he answered, crossing his arms.

“What does it say?” Yusuke asked as he opened it and flipped through the pages.

“Why are you interested?”

“Well...could it possibly have any information that could help..Akira?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

Yusuke closed the book and placed it back into its slot, he was a bit disappointed, but figured that would be the answer.

He found a book as the room was filled with silence besides books sometimes hitting the bookshelf, he excused himself and went outside the front of the mansion to read it.

Yusuke couldn’t remain in his room with the photo in there, it made him unable to focus on anything else, he wanted to paint it, but he wouldn’t start just yet, he has been painting the last few days and any more would just add unnecessary stress, his wrist also hurt sometimes pulling his focus away, he needed to be in perfect condition before starting that painting if he even wanted to attempt it.

~~~

Yusuke sat down outside the front of the mansion reading a book about plants, he would prefer something more fictional, but this would do, he just needed something to help him restart and this could help with that.

Even though all of his attention was on the book, the photo and Madarame kept creeping back into his mind, he was given two major tasks, one he gave himself and another he was guided to, if he could achieve these goals good fortune could come his way.

Time passed as his attention was glued to the book, it was a nice change not having to stress over things that hadn’t even happened yet. Now that he had the photo to deal with he wanted to rush his interaction with Madarame, perhaps in 2 days he’ll do it, it was causing him more stress than the photo was and just doing it already would help that vanish allowing him to focus on the photo more.

It reached nighttime without Yusuke even noticing, he heard noises, but was too busy reading the last page of his book to pay any attention to it, suddenly he felt a hand touch his shoulder and he turned his head to see it without a second thought.

“Why are you out here in the cold?” Akira asked as his facial expression turned more inquisitive.

Yusuke stared at Akira until his brain woke up “Um..” he looked down at the book in his hands, recalling what he was previously doing “I was reading.” he answered, looking back at Akira, confirming he was indeed there.

“Come, you’ll make your cold worse if you remain out here.” Akira said as he pulled Yusuke up, he grabbed his arm and pulled him back inside.

“I feel better..” Yusuke mumbled, he just let Akira pull him, he almost finished the book anyway, his mind started to wake up the more he moved.

Akira was about to pull Yusuke up the stairs, but he was stopped by Zeriya.

“I have information for you, my lord.” Zeriya said with a bow.

“It can wait, I just want to spend time with Yusuke.” Akira took a step before being stopped again.

“It is quite important.”

“I don’t care, it can wait until tomorrow.” Akira shoved passed Zeriya and pulled Yusuke up the stairs as they moved Yusuke looked back at Zeriya “Shouldn’t you find out..?” he asked

“He always over exaggerates how important something is..” Akira pushed his bedroom door open and pulled Yusuke inside, he let go of Yusuke’s arm and closed his door with a sigh “Finally..” he mumbled.

It took Yusuke a bit before realizing he was pulled all the way to Akira’s room, he looked down at the book in his hand, trying to grasp reality even more.

Akira walked over to his desk as he pulled his tie off “They were so overbearing...I’m exhausted..” he noticed his desk looked clean and let out a small surprised noise “My desk..”

“Oh, I cleaned it for you.” Yusuke stepped closer to the desk, “I didn’t throw anything out, so don’t worry.”

“Why?”

“Hm..?”

“Why did you clean it?” Akira folded his hands onto his elbows and looked at Yusuke with unwavering eyes.

“I thought the mess would be a bother that I could help you with it.” a small smile appeared on Yusuke’s lips “Perhaps I could help you even more.”

“Thank you..I suppose.” Akira glanced down at the bottom drawer with haste, he shrugged off the thought and turned his attention back to Yusuke “I mean..Thank you, you didn’t have to.” a smile formed on his lips and he approached Yusuke with ease, “I missed you.”

“Ah, me too.” Yusuke could smell Akira’s cologne from where he stood, it was quite strong, perhaps Akira doused himself in it to avoid the smell of the farm?

Akira reached out and grabbed Yusuke’s hand, he led him to the bed and the two sat down next to each other “I never want to deal with that again..” Akira sighed and plopped down on Yusuke’s thighs.

Yusuke couldn’t keep the smile off his face, “You must be exhausted..” he touched Akira’s hair, lacing it around his fingers.

Akira kicked his shoes off and turned to face Yusuke “I am, but now I’m with you.” he smiled and reached up, caressing Yusuke’s cheek.

Yusuke glanced at Akira's viable collar bone “I have a gift for you, but it can wait until tomorrow.” his eyes couldn't leave it now that he had noticed it.

Oh..?” Akira sat up and shuffled closer to Yusuke, “What kind?” he asked with a delightful smile.

“You can wait until tomorrow, it’s far too special for me to give it to you while you are tired.”

Akira raised his hand into his hair “Alright..I’ll clear my schedule.”

“Schedule?” Yusuke asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Mm, I have a meeting tomorrow, but I’ll cancel it.”

Yusuke shook his head slightly with a small frown “That’s not necessary, it can wait.” while he was excited to show Akira his painting he didn’t wish to burden him.

“No, you’re far more important than a stupid meeting.” Akira stretched with a yawn “I want to know now..” he let out a chuckle “So I’m going to sleep.”

Yusuke smiled “Okay. Could I..stay in here tonight?”

“You don’t even have to ask, you may as well move in here with me.” Akira touched his lips as he chuckled again.

Yusuke just smiled as he watched Akira, tomorrow he could finally show Akira his painting and after that..he’ll start on the painting of the photo.

~~~

“Why am I blindfolded?” Akira asked as Yusuke guided him to the garden with care “It’s only for a bit.” Yusuke replied, he guided Akira over to some flowers and stopped, he halted Akira, “Okay, you can remove it.”

Akira lifted the blindfold up off his eyes and looked around “The garden..?” he asked as he shoved the blindfold into his pocket.

Yusuke became a bit nervous about his next move, but pushed himself to do it, he reached out towards a red Amaryllis flower that was poking out of the bush in front of them, he grabbed the stem and broke it with his thumb, he turned to Akira and leaned forward, placing the flower in his hair “I think this type of flower suits you best.” his lips formed a wide grin once he noticed Akira’s eyes light up.

“Y-Yusuke..” Akira lifted his hand up and hovered it over the flower as his eyes twinkled, a bright smile formed on Akira’s lips “Thank you so much.” he thanked Yusuke with a serene tone.

“You’re welcome-”

Yusuke was interrupted by Akira placing his hand on Yusuke’s chest and leaning into it, a soft hug.

Yusuke looked down at Akira and cuddled him “There’s more.” he whispered.

Akira stepped back “Right, sorry.” his cheeks grew a red hue as he touched the flower in his hair.

Yusuke took Akira’s hand into his own and led him over to his painting, the painting stood in the middle of the garden.

Yusuke presented the painting with his hand “As you can see..this is the painting I first managed to make after arriving here but...I have edited it. I have added all the places you showed me your true heart.” he placed his hand on to his chest as he spoke, “I wish to paint even more painting that have such an emotional weight behind them. You taught me how to.”

Akira stared at the painting in awe, Yusuke had added the masquerade masks they wore at the ball, they rested by the pond together on the left with a purple thread attached to the masks, binding them, he also added a brown bench near the pond resting on the right side, the one Akira asked him to help him walk on.

“Yusuke..it’s wonderful.” Akira felt tears of joy crawl up but he wiped them away.

“Emotion has been the missing piece my entire life, it is the reason I did not display nor sell my paintings, I always felt like they lacked something..and that something was emotion. Now I’m able to capture it, all because of you.” Yusuke smiled, he could feel Akira’s joy emanating from him.

“Yusuke..” Akira folded his hand onto his chest, “I’m so happy, thank you.” he looked at the painting again and warmth filled his chest “This means so much to me..”

“I’m glad you like it.” a flush appeared on Yusuke’s cheeks, he tried to remain composed and elegant but, seeing Akira like his painting so much made it falter.

Akira stepped closer and latched onto Yusuke’s arm “Like it? That doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it, I absolutely love it, Yusuke...you didn’t have to do this.”

“I wanted to, a-after all...this painting does represent my feelings towards you.”

Akira moved in front of Yusuke and hugged him tightly “It’s amazing!” he wasn’t going to contain his excitement no more, he almost bounced from it.

Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira’s lower back and pulled him closer “Thank you, it means a lot to me that you actually like it.”

“Love it!” Akira demanded

“L-Love it..” Yusuke corrected himself

 

The two sat down in the garden together, Akira lay down on Yusuke’s thighs vertically as he looked up at him, Yusuke trailed his fingers along Akira’s jawline as they basked in the loving environment around them.

“Thank you, Yusuke. I shall hang the painting in my room.” Akira closed his eyes, absorbing Yusuke’s touch.

“That would be lovely, I’m honoured you would even suggest that.” Yusuke spoke almost in a whisper, he could sleep with how relaxed he felt.

Akira had the urge to propose to Yusuke, but he knew that would be..a bit much, he didn’t even have a ring and while he was totally ready to express his dedication to Yusuke he knew marriage was..different for humans, the two hadn’t even been together for a year yet and he knew he shouldn’t rush it, so he’ll resist the urge.

Akira opened his eyes and looked up at Yusuke, he watched his eyelashes flutter when he blinked and his mouth curled into a smile, Akira tried not to stare too much but Yusuke was beautiful, even at this angle.

“What?” Yusuke noticed Akira staring at him, he blushed slightly.

“N-Nothing..!” Akira darted his eyes away as a deep red hue appeared on his cheeks, he felt his heartbeat race, his reactions annoyed him sometimes.

Akira enjoyed Yusuke touching him gently, his fingers running along his jaw and cheeks soothed him, he could sleep just from the sensation alone, but he wanted to show his affection towards Yusuke as well “Come, lay beside me.” Akira ordered.

Yusuke listened, gently sliding Akira off onto the grass and shuffled beside him, he lay down and turned onto his side, looking at Akira “Like this?” he asked

“Mm.” Akira responded with a moan as he cuddled up to Yusuke, he touched Yusuke’s cheek as he leaned in for a soft kiss.

Yusuke supported himself by placing his forearm down on the grass near Akira’s head as he leaned in closer.

Their kiss grew more intense, Akira placed his hand onto the back of Yusuke’s head as he felt Yusuke’s chest press against his own, he opened his mouth, allowing Yusuke inside, he moaned as Yusuke’s tongue rubbed against his own, his body started to burn and not from the sunlight.

They both needed air, Yusuke pulled away once Akira’s fang pricked his tongue, he forgot all about them during their passion.

“S-Sorry.” Akira apologized both for his fang hitting Yusuke’s tongue and for allowing their kiss to reach that intensity in a public place.

“It’s okay.” Yusuke’s tongue didn’t exactly hurt, it just surprised him a bit, usually when they kissed like that Akira’s tongue would be in his mouth, probably for that reason.

Akira pulled Yusuke into a hug “You mean the world to me..Yusuke.” he cradled Yusuke’s head.

Yusuke pressed close against Akira “You mean the world to me as well, Akira.” .

 

The two sat up again and held each other’s hand, intertwining their fingers.

Akira leaned in and kissed Yusuke’s cheek “Sorry, I can’t stop kissing you.” he chuckled.

“It is fine, I enjoy them, Akira.”

Akira lifted his other hand into his hair and patted it with a sigh, “I feel like I’m becoming a sappy goofball because of you..”

Yusuke raised his other hand up to his mouth and chuckled into it “I believe that is a good thing.” he smiled

“I don’t, I have a reputation to maintain.”

Yusuke chuckled again and leaned his head onto Akira’s “I thought you were going to slap me for breaking one of your flowers..”

“Huh? Why?”

“Zeriya told me you don’t cut them.”

“Well...you’re special, plus I destroyed many of my flowers to make that flower crown.”

“I suppose that is true, you’re not a very good example.”

“They’re my flowers, I can do whatever I want to them.” Akira pushed his head into Yusuke’s.

“T-That is true..” Yusuke sat up straight so he wouldn’t fall over “Um Akira..?”

“Yes?”

“Could we go to my village tomorrow? I think it would be quite nice to see it again.”

“Sure, I’ll just have to postpone that meeting again.”

“Ah!..N-No, don’t do that. It can wait.” Yusuke tried to assure Akira with a smile.

“No. You want to go, we’ll go.”

“But I do not wish to be a burden..” Yusuke glanced down at their hands, he would feel bad if he took Akira away from his duties again.

“You’re not.” Akira rubbed his eye, almost like he was still tired “I need a break anyway.”

Yusuke’s lips formed a frown “Do you..not like being king?” that question had been on his mind after he got to know Akira's duties a bit more.

“It’s not that. Being king is my entire purpose, so I would never hate it..even if it can annoy me sometimes, it has been the one thing that has kept me going all these years, so I can’t hate it.” Akira lifted their hands up and kissed Yusuke’s “I wouldn’t of met you if I did.”

Yusuke smiled “That's good to hear, but..your entire purpose isn’t just to be king, you’re much more than that.”

“While your words are kind I know they are wrong. Just like me..my parents were forced to have a child, it isn’t really a choice in my position, however..I’m different, so..It doesn’t apply to me any more.”

Yusuke shifted uncomfortably and moved some of his hair behind his ear “Um..Akira, I have to tell you something.” his tone was indecisive.

“Yes?”

“I...told Zeriya your reason. I..didn’t mean to tell him your business, but I thought if he knew you’d be pressured less..I’m sorry.” Yusuke looked down into his lap, he felt guilty for it.

“It’s fine.”

“Eh?” Yusuke looked back up at Akira

“I kind of hinted that he should ask you anyway. They had to know eventually, I couldn’t hide it forever..”

“..You’re not mad?”

“Of course not.”

Yusuke grinned "That makes me feel less guilty." he let go of Akira's hand and wrapped his arm around him, pulling him into a side hug "I would love to visit that bakery with you.." he kissed Akira's cheek and nuzzled it.

Akira couldn't stop his cheeks from growing red "You mentioned a bakery before..is that where you wish to go?"

"Yes, I wish to visit the owner."

"Mh, I see." Akira was totally going to bribe the owner to know more about Yusuke as a teenager, he couldn't believe this guy hasn't had anyone confess to him, his looks alone were enough to attract attention although maybe he looked more unhealthy back then..Akira's stomach swirled at the thought but he shook it off.

The two enjoyed the embrace before Akira got an idea.

Akira leaned closer to Yusuke “Hey, the farm gave me some flower seeds, do you wish to plant them with me?” his lips formed a smile.

“Mh, that could be quite nice.” Yusuke smiled back at Akira.

 

Akira went to his bedroom while Yusuke waited for him to return, he looked around the garden trying to find an empty patch of dirt, he eventually found one, he didn’t know much about gardening so this could be quite interesting and the book he read yesterday could help with this too.

Akira returned with a small pouch and gloves, he gave the gloves to Yusuke.

Yusuke looked down at them, noticing they only had one pair “You’re not using any..?” he asked as he tilted his head out of curiosity.

“No, I could only be bothered to get one. I can’t let someone as beautiful as you get dirty.” Akira gave Yusuke a smirk before kneeling down and inspecting the patch of dirt Yusuke picked.

Yusuke slid the gloves on as he kneeled down “Is this good enough?” he asked, his eyes flickered from Akira to the dirt.

“Yeah, it should be.” Akira dug a hole in the dirt with his finger, Yusuke’s facial expression turned more confused as he watched him “isn’t that my job?” he asked, glancing down at the gloves on his hands.

“Yes. They’re probably going to die anyway, as I’ve never actually gotten these to grow before.” Akira opened the pouch as he spoke.

“What type are they?”

“Starlight roses; the ones used at the ceremony, they gave it to me as a..gift I suppose..” Akira pulled out a couple of seeds and dropped them into the holes he created.

“I see.” Yusuke just watched him, unsure of what to do, he wasn’t really helping.

“Cover them.” Akira ordered

“Uh..Sure.” Yusuke reached out and folded the dirt over the seeds, making sure they were evenly covered, he pressed the soft dirt down gently until Akira's hands reached out and guided him, it made him blush a bit.

“I think that’s-” Yusuke stopped talking once he felt Akira press his dirty finger onto the tip of his nose.

“Wow, it actually sticks.” Akira grinned, his tone was filled with mischief despite his words.

Yusuke wiped his nose with the back of the glove, he groaned lowly, he knew Akira did that one purpose “You know…” he smirked “My hands are dirtier than yours.”

Akira tried to get up, but Yusuke stopped him by grabbing his wrist “I’m not going to let you get away with that.” his eyes almost flashed with his intention.

“I didn’t do it on purpose!” Akira tried to get his wrist free, but Yusuke wouldn’t let him go “Come on, it was an accident.”

“Was it?” Yusuke reached out and caressed Akira’s cheek with his dirty glove “Oh, I apologize, I forgot I had them on.”

“Fine.” Akira’s facial expression turned into a mix of annoyance and playfulness, he reached out and grabbed dirt, throwing it at Yusuke.

“You have destroyed my shirt, you shall not be forgiven!”

Akira lunged at Yusuke and the two wrestled with each other, rolling around together, rubbing dirt onto each other’s skin and clothing, Yusuke reached up into Akira's shirt, wiping it on his back and Akira rubbed it onto Yusuke's bare stomach, soon their clothing was completely destroyed and their skin wasn’t much better.

“Take this!” Akira shouted as he smeared dirt onto Yusuke’s cheek.

“Stop targeting my face!” Yusuke grabbed Akira’s wrist, which caused him to lose balance and fall down onto his back.

Akira took advantage of that and straddled Yusuke “You have gloves on, it’s not fair!”

Their eyes met and there was a slight pause before it turned into a laughing fit, despite their conditions they laughed together with joy, realizing how silly they were acting, it was a playful act the entire time, neither had ill intentions although if they were caught that would require a lot of explaining.

They settled down and their joyful voices calmed down with them, reaching a mere chuckle or snicker.

Akira's eyes glittered as he touched Yusuke’s cheek and leaned down for a kiss, they enjoyed their kiss together, Yusuke was about to embrace him when Akira broke their kiss “I use horse manure as fertilizer so we should probably go clean up.” he revealed as a nervous smile crept up on his lips.

“WHAT?!” Yusuke screamed.

Chapter Text

Yusuke woke up as the room was illuminated by the light cracking through the drapes, early morning lights filled the room, giving it a relaxing and soothing atmosphere, he rubbed his eyes, pulling himself out of his slumber further.

He naturally turned his head to face where Akira lay beside him, he was resting on his stomach with his hair covering his face slightly, he held the white sheet over his mouth, shielding himself from the light as he slept.

It remained Yusuke of a precious child, sleeping peacefully in the tranquil light. An image flashed in his mind, the photos he saw, Akira was a pretty cute child, but Yusuke couldn’t see anything else the photos offered, not yet, right now they were just filled with torment but maybe one day they wouldn’t be.

Yusuke shuffled closer to Akira causing the room to fill with the sound of sheets rustling with his movements, he settled down next to him and he rests his head near Akira’s, staring at his sleeping face as he brings his hand onto the boy’s cheek and touches it tenderly.

Yusuke’s body was begging him to hug Akira so he did, he cradled Akira’s head in his arms with care, trying not to wake him, his body often yearned to touch Akira and for Akira to touch him even though he didn’t like to admit it.

Yusuke would’ve fallen asleep again if he didn’t feel Akira moving with slight movements, he was waking up “Nnh..” Akira groaned lowly as he fluttered his eyes open, he let out a yawn, waking from his slumber slowly.

“Good morning.” Yusuke’s lips formed a wide smile as he greeted Akira, he moved his hand down, allowing Akira some more room and to see him better.

Akira blinked, staring back up at Yusuke “Not going to kiss me ‘good morning’?” a small smile crept up onto his lips as he shifted his position.

“Oh..” Yusuke placed his thumb onto Akira’s chin and his fingers rested on the boy’s cheek, he leaned in close and pressed his lips against Akira’s.

Akira pulled the sheet over the two, covering them, light peeked inside, enough for them to see each other just fine.

Yusuke broke their kiss and distanced himself a bit, allowing Akira more room, his eyes adjusted to the change in lighting.

Akira pushed Yusuke onto his back and crawled onto his chest with a giggle, “Good morning to you too.” he nuzzled Yusuke’s chest, breathing in the scent from his clothing.

“You’re quite playful this morning.” Yusuke touched Akira’s back, trailing his hand along it.

Akira pulled his body onto Yusuke’s completely, their legs loosely intertwined as Akira patted Yusuke’s chest with a smile, “I’m always happy..--” he mumbled the rest as his cheeks grew redder.

Yusuke didn’t hear what he said and raised an eyebrow.

“N-Near you..” Akira finished his sentence as he plopped his face into Yusuke’s chest, he liked telling Yusuke these things but it still embarrassed him he was capable of it.

“You’re heavy.”

“Huh?!” Akira raised his head and grabbed Yusuke by the cheeks, pressing them in “I am not heavy!”

Yusuke smiled with a moan, “I said it to see your face again.”

Akira moved his hands and pouted, he was tricked, he purposely shoved his hand into Yusuke’s stomach to stabilize himself as he sat up on top of Yusuke, the sheet slid down off of them as he moved, it caused Yusuke to groan.

Akira yawned into his hand, “I have to get ready..” his words trailed off with his yawn.

“Wait.” Yusuke extended his hand onto Akira’s calf to halt him “Could we stay like this for a bit longer?” he asked with a gentle tone.

“Of course. We’re not in a hurry anyway.” Akira grabbed the sheet and pulled it down over them as he lay back down onto Yusuke, he rolled off and cuddle up with him.

“You didn’t have to get off..” Yusuke said as he looped his arm around Akira, his arm would probably fall asleep but he didn’t mind.

“I didn’t want to crush you with all my ‘weight’.” Akira spoke with a sarcastic tone, he grabbed onto Yusuke’s shirt and rested his head onto Yusuke’s chest with a small moan.

They held each other in a peaceful silence, sometimes poking each other's cheek or nose with a grin, they laced their fingers around each other’s, just enjoying the presence of each other.

 

“I’m going to fall asleep if we remain like this..” Akira’s eyelids were starting to feel heavy, he was far too relaxed and any more would push him into a peaceful slumber.

“Mmh.. Alright.” Yusuke was also reaching that stage, they had been lying together for quite a while.

Akira sat up, pushing the sheet off them with a yawn “I’m going to go have a shower, I’ll be out in a bit.” he said as he pulled the covers off and stepped out of bed.

“Not a bath together?” Yusuke asked as he pushed himself up and leaned on his hand, watching Akira.

“Nah, I’ll fall asleep in the bath.” a small chuckle escaped Akira as he went over to his closet and pulled his clothes out.

“Okay.” Yusuke sat up properly and glanced out the window.

Akira went into the bathroom with a small wave and Yusuke heard the water turn on.

Yusuke’s eyes met the desk drawer, he ignored it, moving all of his attention back to the window, he didn’t feel like drawing today, as much as he’s trying to ignore it a knot was forming in his stomach the more he thought about seeing Madarame again, he knew he couldn’t let Akira meet him or it’d only turn into a yelling match, still having Akira beside him would help tremendously.

Yusuke let out a small sigh as he touched his forehead, his anxiety would only get worse the more he thought about it, this was important, he had to do it because if there was even a slight bit of information that could help Akira it’d be worth it.

He heard a door open which snapped him out of thought, he glanced at it and saw Akira dressed in his red dress shirt and black dress pants, he had an untied black tie around his neck “I should drink some of your blood.” Akira approached Yusuke before he even registered it.

“Oh, right.” Yusuke mumbled, he noticed Akira’s hair was still a bit wet.

“Is something the matter?” Akira asked as he placed his hand over Yusuke’s forehead to feel his temperature, he slid his hand onto the boy’s cheek before Yusuke raised his hand onto Akira’s.

“I am fine, just waking up still.” Yusuke's eyes trailed down Akira “You’re dressed a bit..fancy for this.”

Akira moved his hand away and touched his shirt “Really? This is pretty normal, no?” he inspected himself.

“You look fine, you will just stand out.”

“I do, no matter what I wear. Anyway, I need your blood.” Akira leaned over Yusuke as he spoke.

“Wait, your tie.” Yusuke grabbed Akira’s tie and tried to tie it up, but he was struggling with it, Akira just watched him until he gave up “..It’s harder than it looks.” Yusuke sighed, letting the tie go.

Akira let out a small chuckle, he leaned closer and pressed his lips against Yusuke’s, it was a short kiss, “You’re cute when you’re hopeless.” he crawled onto Yusuke so he was more comfortable.

Yusuke just blushed and remained silent.

Akira’s lips formed a smile and he leaned close to Yusuke’s neck “Is here okay?” he waited for Yusuke to reply.

“Yes.” Yusuke wrapped his arms around Akira and allowed him to bite down on his neck, there was a sharp pain, but soon it dissolved into heat, Yusuke closed his eyes as he relaxed and waited for Akira to finish.

Akira pulled his fangs out and licked the remaining blood, he sat back up and caressed Yusuke’s cheek “I’ll go get you breakfast while you shower.” he pressed his nose onto Yusuke’s with a smile.

“Okay.” Yusuke smiled as he raised his hand onto Akira’s nape and rubbed it with affection, he leaned forward and kissed Akira again, he got a slight taste of blood in his mouth as he moved his lips with Akira’s, they departed and smiled at each other again.

“I’ll be right back.” Akira got off the bed and Yusuke, “Showers all yours.” he gave a slight wave and left the room.

Yusuke pulled the covers off and pulled himself out of bed, he touched the bite mark, he would have to cover it today.

~~~ + ###

Akira descended the stairs as he tied his tie up, he made his way to the kitchen to get Yusuke something to eat, he met Zeriya in there.

“You didn’t come receive the information I have for you..” Zeriya said the moment he saw Akira.

“Ah, sorry, I was busy with Yusuke yesterday.” Akira replied, he grabbed two coffee mugs from the wall cabinet and placed them down on the counter.

“The husband of the woman you killed fled again.”

Akira’s eyes met Zeriya’s and there was a slight pause before he replied “Again..?” Akira expressed his disbelief as memories from the incident at the manor came back to him.

“Yes, it seems serious this time as his residence has been cleared out of important items.”

“What about his..son?” Akira tried to keep his tone stern but simply couldn’t due to his acquaintance with Shinya.

Zeriya raised his eyebrow in confusion, but then it was gone in a flash, it was odd that Akira knew this man had a son, but he brushed it off “Yes, he is missing too. Two others are as well..just like last time.”

“Search for them this time.”

“Are you certain?”

“Would I say it if I wasn’t? I’m going out today, so update me once I’ve gotten back.” Akira said as he turned the coffee machine on.

“Yes, my lord.” Zeriya said with a bow.

The kitchen was filled with an awkward silence as Akira prepared breakfast for Yusuke, there were short glances at each other, but that only made it more awkward, why wouldn’t it be awkward?

Akira had hidden his reason for not wishing to create an heir for years and now it was out in the air, almost suffocating him, Zeriya knew and Akira knew he did, making their interactions difficult, it would remain like that unless one of them acknowledged it but neither one was budging.

~~~

Akira returned to the room with Yusuke’s food on a tray, he opened the door to be greeted by the sight of Yusuke buttoning his sleeves up, Yusuke noticed him and a smile appeared on his lips.

Akira closed the door with his foot and placed the tray down on his desk “Sorry it’s porridge, I just wanted to get out of there..” he sighed, recalling the awkward and intense atmosphere.

“Is something the matter?” Yusuke asked as he approached Akira, he tried to read Akira’s body language but nothing was odd about it.

“No, just business stuff.” Akira brushed off Yusuke's questioning gaze.

Yusuke looked at Akira until he turned his attention to the tray, he wasn’t really hungry but he knew he’d regret it if he didn’t eat, they could get something from the village but Yusuke would prefer to just get out of there as fast as possible.

Akira picked up a coffee mug from the tray and took a sip from it, waiting for Yusuke to eat already.

Yusuke ate in silence, although the atmosphere was warm, he offered Akira some of his breakfast, but he rejected it, he was always persistent that Yusuke eats as much as he could, he wouldn’t even eat a tiny portion off of Yusuke’s plate.

~~~

They made their way outside of the mansion, they walked together as they talked.

“You wish to walk there?” Akira asked, he didn’t really like the idea, after all he was on his feet all day at the farm.

Yusuke nodded “Yes, I wish to take in the sights.” the real reason why he wanted to walk there was to postpone it, he needed to put it into his mind that he was going there simply for a visit.

“Alright.”

They pushed through the gate and followed the footpath, it reminded Yusuke of when he first went here, he grabbed Akira’s hand as they walked, going to Yusuke’s old home, the weather was quite nice today making this a bit more easier.

~~~

As they reached the village Akira started to feel uncomfortable, he brushed it off as being merely his anxiety, but as they moved closer to the buildings a chill ran down his spine and dread consumed him, he hid it from Yusuke of course, he let go of Yusuke’s hand.

“Huh?” Yusuke reacted to it, a bit puzzled.

“We’re both men, I don’t know this villages stance on that..” Akira explained, his stomach dropped from having to be cautious of such a thing, but he catches enough attention, he didn’t have to drag Yusuke down with him.

“Oh, I see.” While Yusuke was a bit annoyed they even had to be cautious, he was glad it wasn’t something else as he really enjoyed holding Akira’s hand.

“So where are we going?”

They reached the village and walked past shops and houses, Akira could immediately feel eyes on him, he almost sighed out of disappointment but he kept it in.

“The bakery I’ve mentioned previously. I wonder if it’s still open.” Yusuke said, he was in awe from seeing his village again, the smell, the depressing atmosphere, everything about it brought back waves of memories, some more unpleasant than others.

“You lead the way, I’ve never been here..” Akira eyes scanned the village, he noticed missing person posters on some walls, swaying and almost ripping from the wind, a stabbing sensation filled his heart, even if he wasn’t behind every single case seeing the desperate cries for their love ones was enough to make his head spin.

Yusuke’s nose found a familiar smell, he looped his arm around Akira’s; whom seem to be in a trance and pulled him towards it.

Their footsteps rang loudly onto the old pavement and soon it came to a halt.

Yusuke stared in awe at the still open bakery, his eyes met a large green sign with ‘open’ on it in a large font.

“This is it?” Akira asked as he watched Yusuke not really respond.

“Yes, I wonder if she still owns it.” Yusuke spoke as he pulled Akira inside the bakery, their eyes adjusted to the new lighting and environment as a smell that only a bakery could have assaulted their noses.

Yusuke’s eyes met an old woman behind the register, his eyes lit up “She’s still here!” his thoughts escaped his mouth.

Akira nudged Yusuke “She..can hear you.” he murmured.

The old woman looked up at them and then a light flashed in her eyes “O-Oh, Yusuke..!”

Yusuke smiled as he approached the counter “Hello.” he said with an enthusiastic tone.

Akira joined Yusuke, he remained silent, not wishing to sully their reunion.

“My goodness.. I haven’t seen you in ages.” The old woman’s eyes wearily inspected Yusuke.

“I apologize, I have moved..” Yusuke found an excuse pretty easily.

The old woman’s eyes met Akira’s then she returned her attention back to Yusuke “Moved?” she asked for clarification.

“Yes, my father could no longer afford me..” Yusuke’s gut sunk, having to call Madarame that again made him feel ill.

The old woman turned all of her attention towards Akira, her eyes lingered on him until she opened her mouth and soon closed it, she mustered up the strength “Who may this be?” she asked.

“Oh, this is my-.. Best friend.”

“You made a friend?” a smile appeared on her lips as her sagged cheeks lifted up with it.

“Y-Yes, he’s my new neighbour..” Yusuke didn’t like lying to her, but telling her he was dating a royal king would simply be too much although she may know who Akira is and if she did this interaction would become even more awkward, she never mentioned it previously so Yusuke was confidant she didn’t.

Akira raised his hand into his hair and laced his hair around his fingers, he didn’t like being the subject of their conversation, but it was bound to happen “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” he said with a brief smile.

“I’m proud you made a friend, Yusuke.” The old woman didn’t really respond to Akira’s greeting, he didn’t know if she was being rude or simply oblivious.

Yusuke noticed it too, and swallowed, he became more nervous, what if she did know who Akira was?
“Thank you..” he replied.

“So how come you are here?” She asked as she placed freshly baked pastries into the cake shelf.

“I wanted to see you and also thank you.”

“For..?”

“Looking after me, it was very kind of you.” Yusuke said with a bow.

The old woman stopped and devoted all of her attention to Yusuke “Oh, that is quite alright, Yusuke.” a small chuckle escaped her as a small gleam of joy twinkled in her eyes.

“I have a gift for you.” Akira butted into their conversation, he shoved his hand into his pant pocket and pulled out his wallet.

Yusuke watched Akira with a nervous look on his face “What..are you doing?” he almost whispered in a harsh tone.

Akira pulled out a wad of cash and almost slammed it onto the counter “For looking after him, I am thankful too.” his facial expression was still filled with confidence, like he didn’t think what he was doing was bizarre at all.

The room filled with an intense silence, a few awkward glances reached the money screaming out on the counter.

“A-Akira..” Yusuke stuttered, he grabbed onto Akira’s sleeve and pulled on it slightly.

“I cannot accept this.” The old woman spoke a millisecond after Yusuke, like she was waiting for it.

“Please do, it is not an issue.” Akira ignored Yusuke clearly telling him to stop this nonsense.

Her hand reached out towards it, then stopped “A-Are you certain..?” she stared into Akira’s eyes, almost hoping this was a silly prank but the money looked real.

“Yes, please have it.”

The old woman grabbed the money and felt it with care, “T-Thank you very much.. But I don’t think I should be rewarded for being kind..” her voice almost cracked.

“No, Yusuke’s been through a lot and you shined some light into his life, for that I am grateful.”

“This is very kind of you to do..” She spoke as she glanced at Akira, her eyes felt too thankful.

Yusuke pulled on Akira’s sleeve again “Akira..” he was trying to get Akira’s attention, but he was almost like a stone.

“There is one thing you can do.” Akira spoke as he leaned his elbows onto the counter, he stared at the old woman in front of him with unwavering eyes.

“..Pardon?” she asked

“Tell me how Yusuke was like when he was younger.”

She let out a chuckle, “Oh, of course.”

“You planned, this didn’t you?!” Yusuke yanked Akira’s shirt again as he furrowed his brow.

Akira turned his head and shot Yusuke a smirk before returning his attention back to the old woman with a grin.

She began talking “He has always wanted to draw my bakery goods, I found it a bit odd but allowed him to.”

“Oh?”

“I then realized he was just a very..interesting boy and that’s how we met.”

“That sounds like Yusuke.”

They chuckled together at their obviously prying conversation, while the mood was much more warm-hearted Yusuke felt embarrassed.

“How was he as a teenager? Bring any girls?” Akira smirked as he asked that question.

Yusuke’s fuse blew “I need fresh air!” he turned and stormed out of the bakery, he held his cheek as he burned with his embarrassment.

He didn’t like them talking about him like that, even though he knew the answers he still got flustered when someone spoke about him.

Yusuke looked around the village around him, the paths were busy with people and local businesses shouted for attention, it was too noisy here, he’ll never relax again if he stayed here so he turned and walked down the path, he needed to clear his head and a walk would be wise.

~~~

Yusuke had settled down but he lost track of his walk and where he was, he scanned the area and saw a familiar house, there were barely any other people in this area, but even if there was nothing could pull his attention away from that house.

He forgot why he originally came here, but seeing this house again reminded him, his palms became sweaty and a suffocatingly tight feeling developed in his chest and throat, it was hard to breath, his heart pounded against the tightness in his chest, it felt like it was going to burst, he clenched his teeth to try and settle down but he started to tremble in fear as all the unpleasant memories of this house thrust into his mind.

“Is this your home?” A voice snapped Yusuke out of his torment as his eyes darted towards it.

A familiar face was not seen, however, a man shorter than him with brown chin-length hair with bangs stood beside him, the man had brown eyes with a reddish hint in them, however they were completely unreadable, he wore a tan pea-coat with black trouser, his jacket had a weird insignia on it.

Yusuke inspected the man wearily before he opened his mouth, but no words came out, merely a noise barely audible escaped him, the tightness in his throat started to ease up but he was still unable to talk.

“Sorry, where are my manners? My name is Kogoro.” the man extended his hand out towards Yusuke, expecting a handshake.

Yusuke stared down at the man’s hand until he forced himself to shake it, although he did not exchange his name.

A small smile crept up on the man’s lips and his demeanor turned far too friendly “I am here to clean this house out.” he shot a glance at Yusuke’s old home before returning his gaze back to Yusuke “It’s why I asked you.”

“C-Clean..out?” Yusuke coughed out.

“Yes. I work for the owners, the man who rented the house passed away.” the man shrugged “I’m going to have to burn everything, seems like he has no relatives.”

Yusuke’s eyes widen as a paralyzing grip filled his body, he was in utter shock that Madarame was actually gone, but now he didn’t have to face the man ever again, getting information on his parents should be easier right?

But it didn’t feel easier, it felt suffocating as thoughts of ‘what if’ and ‘buts’ filled his mind, an inescapable thought process for anyone.

Yusuke clenched his fists as he forced himself to move on forward, grief or whatever it is can come later “I-I...am a..relative.”

“Oh? What’s your name?” Kogoro folded his hands onto his elbows as a small sympathetic smile appeared on his lips.

“Yusuke Kitagawa..”
Yusuke swallowed his dread even though his body felt faint.

“Hm.. It’s familiar, I must’ve seen it on his record.” Kogoro’s lips turned to a grin “I guess I won’t have to burn his belonging anymore; such a relief.” he exhaled, displaying his relief.

Yusuke became a little bit suspicious of the man, but he didn’t know how this process went, he wasn’t given a chance to understand it because Madarame never allowed him to.

“Do you want to come in and see if you’d like anything?” Kogoro offered as he gestured his hand towards the house.

Yusuke glanced at the old house, he knew Madarame had kept some documents from him, those may hold the truth to his father’s disappearance and it was being offered to him with no requirements but even with that fact he still felt heavy, unable to act.

Yusuke forced himself to think back to Akira and the chance that he might be able to ease his curses symptoms, he breathed in “Yes.” he managed to say.

~~~

 

Kogoro led Yusuke into the old house, the door squeaked loudly as he closed it to keep the air out.

Yusuke looked around, it was dully lit by the windows, a smell that used to assault his nose quite regularly came back to him, he had become desensitized to it while living here and now it’s all he could smell, his eyes confirmed that indeed Madarame was gone, he felt no haunting presence in this house no more.

“All of his belongings are in cardboard boxes at the moment, I’ve been packing this place up for 3 days now.” Kogoro sighed as he patted his head, it was probably exhausting having to pack everything.

“W-When did he...pass?” those words left Yusuke’s mouth before he could even think about it.

“A week ago.” Kogoro gave Yusuke a sympathetic smile “Sorry about your loss.”

“No, it was...expected.”

Kogoro led Yusuke to one of the boxes “Most of the important belongings are in the other room.” Kogoro said as he was about to walk into the hallway.

“I see… Could I have a moment?” Yusuke asked with a sigh, the room's air felt suffocating and he started to feel dizzy.

“Of course.” Kogoro stepped away, allowing Yusuke some breathing room and privacy.

Yusuke stared down at the box and noticed a drawing he did when he was 7 years old, he averted his gaze from it, it caused his heart to sting, he shook his head, reassuring himself that he’d allow himself to get emotional later “I’m ready.” he said.

They went to Madarame’s old bedroom, their footsteps echoed throughout the house, this room felt muggy enough for Yusuke’s clothing to almost stick to his skin, but the room was far too dark, after all there were no windows in the room causing the darkness to consume the room.

“Did you clear the attic out?” Yusuke asked, trying to fill the darkness with something else.

“Of course.” Kogoro reached out and grabbed a lantern off of a shelf, he lit it with a match, “Sorry, the light in here is blown and the owner doesn’t wish to replace it yet.” he walked deeper into the room, the light revealed some of the room's surroundings.

Yusuke noticed some liquid on the floor near Kogoro’s feet, but he brushed it off, the house did have leaking issues so this wasn’t new, he followed Kogoro into the room and heard a tapping noise, he figured it was just a rat or something.

“The clothes are in the left box while papers and documents are in the right.” Kogoro said as he gestured his hand towards them.

Yusuke heard a bang above him “Did you hear that..?” he asked, making sure he wasn’t going insane.

“The noise? It’s just the house creaking.” Kogoro replied with confidence, making Yusuke a bit more at ease.

Yusuke heard a more consistent banging above him, the house was not creaking, that was nothing like the noises he heard while living here and dread overwhelmed him.

“You know how much of a pain packing everything up was?” Kogoro talked over it, like it wasn’t even there.

Yusuke’s nose met an overbearing odor, he shielded his nose from it with his finger “Is that...gasoline?” his thoughts escaped his mouth before he realized it.

Kogoro stepped into Yusuke's personal space and Yusuke stepped back as a response, fear shot up into his throat.

“Are you feeling unwell?” Kogoro asked with a concerned look on his features.

“Y-Yes.. I must go.” Yusuke turned but was pulled back by Kogoro clasping his arm.

“Do you wish to know his cause of death?” a devilish smirk appeared on Kogoro’s lips “He died in a house fire.” without a moment passing Kogoro dropped the lantern onto the floor, smashing it and a new flames replaced the liquid on the floor.

The smell of flames assaulted Yusuke’s nose as the area behind Kogoro was engulfed by fire, the banging up in the attic grew more intense as Yusuke stared at Kogoro in horror, he pulled his arm, trying to get free of Kogoro’s grasp but it was no use.

Yusuke was hit by something and everything turned black, he could no longer hear anything, he could no longer see anything, he could no longer feel anything as he was pulled into an unconscious state.

Chapter Text

Yusuke was starting to awake, a sharp, throbbing pain screamed in the side of his head and a tight pressure could be felt around his wrists, he opened his eyes blearily only to be attacked by sunlight, he closed them tightly, protecting them from it.

His body woke up more and more, the pain in the side of his head was becoming more bearable and memories were coming back to him, he opened his eyes again and while his vision was blurry he could keep them open this time.

He started to register his surroundings, he was outside the house and the way he was angled he was standing up, more like being held up, he felt a presence at his back yet it held no warmth, it wasn’t Akira.

His nose met an intense smell, the smell of wood burning, he forced himself to turn his head towards it “Ugh..” the pain caused him to groan, but he could see it, his old home burning to nothingness and...Madarame with it.

“You’re awake.” That horrible voice rang out from behind him, confirming that everything had indeed happened.

The binds on Yusuke’s wrists were pulled, causing the rope to dig in even more and he felt a metal object dig into his side, he knew what it was immediately.

“If you squirm or shout for help I won’t hesitant to put a bullet in you.” the man’s real voice and intention spilled out, nothing but malice and venom could be heard in his voice, the fact he was even able to hide this much ugliness was impressive.

It became quite clear this man wasn’t ‘Kogoro’ and he held deceitful intentions the entire time, Yusuke couldn’t help but blame himself for being deceived, an unpleasant taste filled his mouth as he muttered the words “Who...are you?”

“You might know me by the name Akechi Goro.” his voice was filled with mockery, “To think it would’ve been this easy..” he chuckled, almost celebrating his victory.

A chill trembled down Yusuke’s spine the moment he heard the name, he tried to contain his fear but simply couldn’t.

###

“Where is he…?” Akira grumbled to himself as he walked down the path, searching for Yusuke, he didn’t realize he embarrassed Yusuke to the point that he’d run off, he didn’t mean to at least.

“Go get the authorities!” A woman yelled across the street from Akira, he stopped and devoted his attention towards her, even if it was merely a squabble he found himself unable to move unless he heard the rest.

“W-Why?” The man she was yelling at was taken aback “There’s a house fire!”

The moment Akira heard the word ‘fire’ he could smell it, he could smell an off putting odor the whole time, but he shrugged it off as it merely being a blacksmith or something, perhaps someone even burning old belongings.

Akira glanced up at the sky and could see black smoke piling up in the distance, he broke into a sprint towards it, hoping Yusuke wasn’t involved, but a mind-numbing amount of dread started to consume him as his shoes pounded heavily onto the pavement.

A surge of adrenaline filled his body, he sprinted past various figures that blurred due to his speed, but he noticed they were hurrying away from it not towards it, perhaps the fire was worse than what he first thought or perhaps they were simply cowards, waiting for someone else to act instead of themselves.

The smell of the fire became overbearing and the smoke vacuumed into his lungs as he panted heavily for air, he wouldn’t stop, not for air or rest, he needed to confirm Yusuke wasn’t involved even if he injured himself.

Akira turned the corner to where his destination lay, as he moved closer the sight became clearer and he came to an abrupt halt, his eyes widened in disbelief from the sight, hoping it was merely a hallucination due to his lack of oxygen.

He dragged his body closer as a surge of rage filled his body, he saw Akechi holding Yusuke at gunpoint, a stupid grin crept up onto Akechi’s lips as he noticed Akira.

Akira’s mind went numb to reason or logic, he clenched his fists and all he saw was red, he almost charge at Akechi but the mockery that Yusuke was indeed in danger blared out at him.

“You move any closer and I really will kill him.” Akechi tightened his grip on Yusuke and shoved the nozzle of the pistol deeper into Yusuke’s side, there wasn't even a slight amount of hesitation or tremble.

Yusuke winced in pain at the sight of Akira, he was deceived by his own recklessness, perhaps if he didn’t let his need to feel useful or to do something cloud his vision this would’ve turned out differently, the reality that he has and will cause Akira pain due to it all destroyed him beyond anything he could’ve felt previously and seeing Akira forced him to see it like this.

“Akechi!” Akira shouted in rage, a trembling course of anger, hatred filled every fiber of his body and he lost control of his power, his nails extended into claws, stabbing inside his palms due to his clenched fists, he didn’t care, it didn’t matter, it won’t matter, it only made him more infuriated as blood dripped down onto the pavement.

The pain was nothing compared to what his heart felt, hopeless again, having everything taken away from him again by the same person, one false move could’ve destroyed everything he worked so hard for, to protect, to cherish for the rest of his damned life, the only thing that shined any amount of light into his life was in danger and nothing could ensure it wouldn’t disappear.

“We meet again at last..” Akechi’s tone was smug, he knew he had the upper hand and he was willing to gloat on it.

Akira gritted his teeth, trying to compose himself even for just a bit, his mind raced with questions, possibilities, he desperately searched for anything to ensure Yusuke’s safety, but he was too angry to find anything, “How did you find him?! How did you even find out?!” his voice almost cracked with his desperation, but he couldn’t show Akechi this was tormenting him, such a thing would only allow him to gloat about his victory even more.

“I guess I could tell you that.. You remember how some of your vampire’s went missing? They came to me.” Akechi let out a long chuckle before speaking again, “You broke the man’s heart and he came seeking revenge. He told me all about Yusuke and even investigated a little himself.. All for revenge on your sick nature.”

“No..!” Akira let out his disbelief, the taste of bile assaulted his tongue as memories came back to him, perhaps if he got Zeriya to investigate the first time they fled maybe this could’ve been avoided, maybe he would’ve caught them before it turned into this, he let himself make a mistake that could cost him everything, he started to feel sick as grief from his mistakes consumed him.

“Your people betrayed you once you gained happiness again, a little bit tragic, no?” Akechi cackled in laughter, he twisted the rope binding Yusuke’s wrists and made him groan.

Akira grabbed his face out of despair, despite his bloody hands, he glared at Akechi through his fingers with hatred as his eyes trembled rapidly with stress, his body felt heavy, his body begged him to release his madness, but he knew that would put Yusuke at risk.

Yusuke watched Akira’s seething movements as the light in his eyes begun to fade, he wanted to console him, to hold him and tell him everything would be alright, but he didn’t know if it would be, he didn’t know how this was going to turn out, he hoped someone would come and see them but the time felt like it was moving at a snail's pace.

“What do you want?” Akira wasn’t asking a question, it was a demand.

“I want you.”

The moment Yusuke heard Akechi wanted Akira and not him a new desperation formed “Akira, don’t comply!” he raised his voice as much as his lungs allowed him to, but breathing in the fire’s fumes made him cough afterwards.

Akechi grabbed Yusuke by the hair roughly and pulled it, making him wince in pain, “You interrupt again and I’ll kill you both!” he shouted.

Yusuke bit his lip, he didn’t want to show Akira Akechi was hurting him, it’ll only cause Akira to comply, he couldn’t let Akechi take him, even if he had to risk his life.

Akira grabbed his cheek, causing his claws to dig inside, “If you hurt him again, I will rip your jugular out!” it took every ounce of control for him not to just attack Akechi, he gritted his teeth to the point that they begun to hurt from the pressure, if teeth weren’t strong he would’ve broke them, he breathed out heavily, trying to settle down.

“How exactly would you do that?” Akechi let out a scoff “Listen to me and I’ll free him. I have no use for him after all.”

Akira's arms dropped listlessly to his sides and he glanced at the burning house, “Is this...Yusuke’s?” his thought escaped his mouth.

“Oh, that? His old man is burning with it.” A large smirk crossed Akechi’s face as he spoke with dispassion.

“Madar--..” Yusuke gulping cut him off, he tried to figure a way out of this, but he didn’t know how, his frustration settled in as he asked himself why he couldn’t protect what he loved, no matter what he was unable to ensure people’s safety because he couldn’t even ensure his own, this feeling would never leave him if he lost Akira.

A surge of rage filled Akira's body again, “What the fuck is wrong with you?!” he growled, he couldn't fathom why Akechi would go through so much effort to do this but a suppressed thought pricked at him each time he questioned it.

“I’ve talked enough, make your decision.”

“Don’t listen to him, Akira!” Yusuke begged as tears pricked up into his eyes, his heart ached with a paralyzing pain and his throat begged him to stop shouting, but he didn't care, the idea of losing Akira to this vile man made a taste of bile stir up and his stomach spin.

“I never said you could talk.” Akechi brought the pistol up to Yusuke’s temple and shoved it in with enough force to turn Yusuke’s head, Yusuke clenched his teeth, he was now being forced to look at his burning home but that was better than watching Akira lose himself.

“Stop it!” Akira shouted out in desperation, his mind couldn’t take it anymore, his heart felt like it was breaking into fragments as he watched Yusuke wince in pain.

“Hurry up, we cannot wait around any longer.” Akechi demanded, he reached into his pocket with the gun pointed at Yusuke.

Yusuke took this opportunity, he swiveled around and bumped into Akechi only to be kneed in the gut, it knocked all of the air out of him and he choked “You think I wasn’t ready for such an occurrence?!” Akechi chuckled as he watched Yusuke collapse.

Yusuke coughed out, his stomach ached and his lungs begged for air, he wheezed and groaned, the discomfort and pain was only amplified by the fact he couldn’t hold his stomach due to his binds.

Akechi stepped on Yusuke’s head, he stomped on it for a short period only to dig in into Yusuke it was a stupid idea, each time his shoe impacted Yusuke's temple he cried out, a tear rolled down his cheek, it hurt but it hurt more from the fact he had failed.

Akechi pointed the pistol at Yusuke's head with a grin, “This could’ve been avoided had you just been a good boy.” he slid his hand back into his pocket and pulled out a metal object, he threw it onto the ground in the direction of Akira, it clanked loudly onto the pavement.

Akira’s knees buckled as he watched it all unfold in horror “Stop it!” his body quivered as painful tears crept up into his eyes, he punched the pavement until his hand bruised and scraped, he dragged his nails along the pavement in anger, his frustration and despair was beyond anything he has felt in such a long time, seeing Yusuke in pain broke him, he begged for it to stop under his breath.

“Put that in your mouth, you have 2 minutes before I really do end him.” Akechi’s eyes flickered from Yusuke to Akira.

Yusuke dug his nails into his palms as he tried to deal with the pain, a black fog appeared in and out of his vision, he trembled, realizing his consciousness was fading again “D-Don’t….listen..” he breathed out, he tried to keep his eyes open.

Akira felt like he was on the verge of a heart attack as his heart pounded each time it did, it was engulfed in an agonizing stabbing sensation “..Nhh!” he groaned as the sight tormented him, a cold sweat filled his body as the sounds of Yusuke in pain assaulted his ears, he wanted to rip out his eardrums and eyes to force it to stop but he only gritted his teeth to the point that he made his gum hurt from the pressure.

A paralyzing grip took hold of each of his limbs, his mind raced for an answer, but he needs to release his frustration before that could happen. Akira gripped the pavement, his claws trembled from the pressure, threatening to break, he screamed out his despair as his nails snapped under the pressure and tears dripped down onto the pavement, he breathed out raspy breaths and the fog in his mind started to clear.

Akira pulled himself up and wiped his eyes with his sleeve, he dragged his heavy body towards the object, he made the only decision that seemed to hold a future for Yusuke. “I’m sorry.. Yusuke.” he apologized as he picked the object up with wavering hands, it was a metal mouth guard, it looked like a torture device.

“..No..” Yusuke’s eyelids became too heavy and his body felt numb, he was losing consciousness again, he forced himself to see Akira one last time before everything faded to black.

“Ensure he is safe!” Akira demanded, he gripped the device with enough force to almost break it.

“You break that and this will be all over for you.”

“I said ensure his safety!” Akira growled, he loosened his grip on the device and instead clenched his free fist, it stung with sharp aches due to his cuts, but he needed to contain his anger, his stomach dropped from the realization that there really was no way out of this.

“Someone will come for him, after all we have garnered some attention.” Akechi gaze met the burning house, it was pretty much gone at this point but he had to rub it in further.

Akira glared at him, wishing he could just kill him, but he wouldn’t act, not with Yusuke being in danger, “Let me say goodbye.” he ordered.

“We don’t have time for that!” Akechi barked

“You hit him when you didn’t need to, he’s not even awake!”

“Are you really trying to reason with me?” Akechi moved his foot off of Yusuke’s head but kept the gun pointed at him.

“I won’t try anything if you let me.” Akira was almost begging him, but he simply didn’t have the energy to act anymore, all of his emotions drained him, he would’ve collapsed from them if he wasn’t a vampire.

“Put the mouth guard on and I’ll consider it.”

Fighting was pointless, everything was, but if it meant Akira had the chance the be with Yusuke one last time then he’d comply.

Akira raised the mouth guard to his mouth and slid it in, the moment it touched his tongue it locked into place, it caused painful pressure to wrap around his fangs, his teeth already ached and this only made it worse, he couldn’t talk with this device on, it made sure he couldn't bite people.

Akechi beckoned Akira to come forward and he complied, he never stopped glaring at Akechi, he didn’t know why Akechi wanted him but he’d find out soon enough.

Akira reached Yusuke and kneeled down, he reached out to touch him when Akechi’s hand with a knife came into his vision, he immediately grabbed it, digging his broke nails in, he pushed Akechi’s hand away.

“I am cutting his binds, you imbecile!” Akechi reached out and snapped cuffs around Akira’s wrist, he pulled on it, yanking Akira’s arm “Give me your other one.” he ordered with a sharp tone but Akira just stared at him, making him more annoyed, but the longer they, took the more likely someone would see them so he let go of the handcuff “You have 30 seconds to do it yourself.” Akechi reached down again and cut the rope around Yusuke’s wrists without Akira stopping him this time.

Akira caressed Yusuke’s hair out of his face, he wanted to apologize to him for not being more cautious, he started to blame himself for it, believing if he hadn’t gotten distracted with gossiping maybe this could’ve been avoided, he wanted to give Yusuke something, but he had nothing on him at the moment, so he settled with his tie, he pulled it off and pulled Yusuke’s hand close, he placed his tie inside and closed Yusuke’s fingers around it.

“That’s enough.” Akechi grabbed the cuff and pulled Akira up, he snapped it around Akira’s other wrist and pulled the chain as he walked away, forcing Akira to follow him.

Akira looked at Yusuke one last time, as long as Yusuke was safe he didn’t care about his own well-being.

~~~

Yusuke felt his body being shaken, his entire body ached, especially his head, he was about to let himself go again but a rough jerk on his shoulder pulled him back, he opened his sore eyes and blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision.

His eyes snapped open and he pushed himself to sit up as fast as his body allowed, memories were coming back to him, he saw a figure kneeling beside him as his eyes darted around, searching for Akira.

“Are you alright?” the woman asked, her sympathetic gaze made Yusuke more worried.

“Where’s Akira?!” The words shot out, but his throat trembled, making him cough, her questioning gaze made him understand no one else was around besides him, he didn’t need words to understand that, but he wanted to deny it, for this to all be some night terror he was experiencing but the pain in his body made that an impossible reality.

Yusuke pulled himself up to his feet and a bout of vertigo hit him, he stumbled and the woman who appeared to be a medic of some sorts caught him “I’m sorry, but no one else is around. You need a hospital.” she finally replied and while her intention may be kind Yusuke wanted nothing to do with that, he wanted to find Akira, to see him again.

His gaze reached his now destroyed home, men were salvaging through it, pulling burnt wood out and relocating it in the hopes of anything showing up, giving them an answer as to why this had happened, despite knowing exactly why it did Yusuke felt no need or desire to tell them, his mind was in one place and the chances they could also be connected to Akechi crept in, his ability to trust others started to dwindle.

Yusuke felt his shoulder being stirred to a direction he had no desire to go, he pulled his body away from the woman and broke into a sprint, he needed to tell the others what had happened, he had to tell Zeriya, anyone who would understand, he felt fabric caressing his hand each time he moved it but ignored it.

His body screamed out at him, every foot pounding down onto the pavement shot a sharp ache up his body, his lungs quivered, they had already reached their limit yet he was pushing it further, his exhaustion was beyond anything he had felt in such a long time and the clouds in his memory invoked a bile of distorted nostalgia.

His lungs screamed for air, for him to stop, but he couldn’t, he wouldn’t, he had to warn the others, they had been betrayed and the thought that they could cause more damage if Yusuke didn’t deliver the information in time choked him with further dread.

 

Yusuke had reached the mansion, his heavy legs carried him inside as he pushed the now heavy doors open, he dragged himself inside and his knees buckled, he fell to his knees as the world tilted, but instead of feeling the pain of smacking into the ground he felt a broad presence grab him, it didn’t feel soft but it didn’t hurt either.

“Yusuke, what’s the matter?” A familiar voice was heard as Yusuke’s world spun and he gasped for air, he felt better when he closed his eyes, but such an action would surely pull him out of consciousness again “Akira is-” his throat betrayed his ability to talk, his body wanted to cough and he couldn’t stop it, his lungs burned begging for air, but coughing only dissatisfied them further, his body was in a state where he simply couldn’t do anything.

But despite that, he choked the words out “Gone.” the condemnatory reality settled in once he had admitted to it, despite his will to say more he simply couldn’t as the world faded to black again.

~~~

Yusuke awoke on a familiar bed, his eyes felt heavy and his body begged him to sleep again, but despite that he pushes himself to sit his sluggish body up, an intense ring shot in his ear once he had sat up, but he ignored it.

His gaze met a figure sitting on the end of the bed, his eyes lit up as hope fluttered in his heart, but once they turned to face him, his heart sunk, he had hoped it was Akira and while it may of seemed..rude to have such a visibly disappointed reaction to seeing Zeriya nothing could satisfy Yusuke as much as seeing Akira in a healthy manner again.

“Yusuke, please explain what happened.” Zeriya got straight to the point, prolonging his understanding would only allow evidence to be swept under the rug, but despite that he shot a glance towards a jug of ice water on the bedside table, pointing it out to Yusuke.

Yusuke recognized it and while he did want to babble about it, his throat felt like a desert, deprived of saliva, he reached out and poured himself a glass, once he had gotten a drop of water in his dry mouth he desired more and drank as much as his body needed.

“I have already sent out a search party for him but..” Zeriya realized he was being too pushy, a problem he told himself he would keep contained after he showed no compassion towards Akira after getting cursed, at the time he thought what he was doing was the best way and he had no assurance it wasn’t by Akira’s nonchalant reaction to it once it was brought up, but seeing the contrast of Akira then and now made him realize it was the wrong choice, it only caused Akira to push everyone away and don on a mask, an outcome he came to regret.

Yusuke’s gaze shifted back to Zeriya once he had placed his now empty glass in his lap, his fingers idly caressed the glass, he had noticed Zeriya had a suppressed scowl on his face, it would flick on and off as the room was still filled with an insufferable silence.

“Akechi...Goro took him.” While it did hurt to speak Yusuke knew this was far too important to curl up in bed and ask for more time “The manor..man told him, it’s how he found us..” Yusuke’s words were incoherent, but his mind was still foggy, he couldn’t articulate it properly with this pain shivering down his body.

“Akechi..?!” Zeriya lost his composure from hearing that name again, but he quickly gained it back once he realized he had lost it “You were at your old village, correct?” he understood exactly who Yusuke was talking about, after all they had gone missing this morning.

“..Yes.” Yusuke’s gaze reached the glass in his hands, he couldn’t help but feel an acute amount of guilt.

“Have some soup.” Zeriya pointed out the soup with his eyes and he got up, storming out the room, leaving Yusuke alone.

 

Yusuke glanced at the bowl of soup, he stared at it numbly, he had no desire to eat, he was thrown into a pit of despair as the scene replayed in his head again and again, he noticed black fabric next to it and reached out, pulling it close into his lap, it was Akira's tie, flashbacks from this morning returned to him, he wished he could go back to failing to tie it but that may never return.

Doubts, possibilities crept into his mind as he questioned why 'he was so useless'.

‘If only I overpowered him; I might’ve saved Akira.’
‘If I wasn’t so quick to trust I could’ve escaped.’
‘If only I wasn’t such a burden, Akira would still be here, alive.’

They wouldn’t stop, a way for the mind to torture the person further.

The soundless room only tormented him further, he would glance at where Akira once was, his desk, his closet, the empty space beside him, he choked on a sob as his emotions resurfaced, he pressed the tie onto his nose "..Akira..." he wanted to cry, he wanted to scream, but none of it would bring Akira back, he wasn’t sure if Akira was dead or alive but that question alone made his chest ache with an unbearable pain.

Yusuke wanted to feel something else besides this state of uncertainty and sorrow, but he knew he wouldn’t.

In the hopes that eating might ease his headache and gnawing sensation in his stomach, he ate the soup, but it had the taste of nothing, his senses were weak, almost like the light in his body and heart had extinguished, this incident had broken him, he only wished and carved for the soothing, intoxicating embrace from Akira, but it wouldn’t come.

~~~ + ###

“Wake up!”

A voice that only held malice shot out towards Akira’s ringing ears as cold liquid was thrown onto him, he couldn’t feel it against his skin at first, only the impact, but as he senses woke up and him along with them his body seized from the unnatural temperature.

His eyes cracked open only to be shut again due to cold water being thrown onto his face, an unwanted amount of water trapped itself in his mouth, lunging towards the back of his throat, his body reacted to it, he broke out into a coughing fit, trying to feel something else besides the feeling of suffocation.

“About time.” The voice was unwelcomingly familiar, a short sigh reached Akira’s ears once his choking had settled down.

Akira fluttered his eyes open, the surroundings were monochrome, it held no warmth, not a single positive energy filled this room, his vision was blurred so he didn’t know where he was but if he had to guess merely by the colours it was a prison. His gaze reached a figure and he heard the thud of a bucket hitting the ground.

His first reaction was to move his arm but no amount of pulling or thrusting would move it, the movements only caused an agonizing pain shoot up his arm, like it was being torn to its limit, he turned his head to see why he couldn’t move it.

Akira saw his arm being pulled by a chain, it was extended out as much as it possibly could without breaking, every time he breathe out a dull ache would be felt in both of his arms, he didn’t feel the pain before, when he awoke, he was numb, but now it was blaring out at him, all he could do was move his fingers but even sending out those signals made his muscles hurt.

“I’ll release the pressure once I’m done.” Akechi read Akira’s mind without considering it, it was merely a statement informing him of what would happen next, he wasn’t giving Akira this information out of sympathy.

Akira returned his gaze back to Akechi and each blink cleared his vision bit by bit, he noticed Akechi sliding on black gloves “What...do you want?” Akira knew he wouldn’t get an in-depth explanation of Akechi’s intentions, if anything it was a test to see if he could even talk.

“Your blood.”

Once those words reached Akira’s ears, he felt a sharp pain thrust into his neck, despite not being able to see what it was he knew it was a syringe “Tch..!” he gritted his teeth in pain, trying to tolerate it with pride.

“I wish I could take all of it but then.. My supplier would wither away.” Akechi pulled the syringe out without care as he spoke, his mocking gaze irritated Akira.

“What the fuck do you want?!” Akira released his resurfacing anger, he hated Akechi’s face, but he wouldn’t allow him to intimidate him, he glared back into his eyes with only the desire to harm them.

Akechi raised his finger to his lips and chuckled, he only antagonized Akira further with his silence.

But a cold sweat took hold of Akira’s body as a grim realization crossed his mind, his eyes darted around the room searching for it.

“Don’t worry, I know of your ‘curse’. I won’t allow the sunlight to reach you until you stop being of use.”

“The ‘curse’ you caused?” Despite Akira’s situation he was still willing to spit venom back at Akechi and that factor only annoyed Akechi.

Akechi grabbed Akira’s face with force, he dug his nails into the boy’s cheeks with the intention to cause him discomfort or pain, he glared into Akira’s eyes with only malice “Do not speak.” he kept his cool but it broke the instant he saw a smirk creep up on Akira’s lips.

Akira realized he had struck a nerve “A bit of a sore subject for you?” he teased

Akechi pushed Akira’s face away with force, it made the chains around Akira’s wrists to pull, it shot out an acute pain throughout Akira’s body, he gritted his teeth as hard as he could.

Akira groaned and heaved, his body started to burn from the pain, but his drenched clothing stuck to him, easing it for only a tiny amount.

Akechi felt some satisfaction seeing Akira suffer, but if he could wipe the smart-ass attitude Akira had in dire situations he would be much more satisfied, the thought of breaking another person made him smirk, “I’m sure your little friends are searching for you frantically.” he crossed his arms as he watched Akira wince with pain.

Akira’s pain had settled down a bit, he decided to question Akechi “How did you..get away with this?” he asked, without believing he would get an answer.

Akechi touched his chin as he thought about it “You know that little Mayor you think you have wrapped around your finger..? He works for me too.” he spoke with a smug attitude.

“What do you give him in return for this privilege? I know you are nothing.” A smirk crept up on Akira’s lips again, if he was going to be tortured, he may as well get some satisfaction from being a dick towards Akechi, “Perhaps your body?”

Akechi’s once calm hands turned into fists and he kicked Akira in the chest, his wet shoe left a trace of dirt on Akira’s clothing.

“A-aagh!” Akira screamed out in pain, he was thrown back from the impact, causing the chains to pull, his muscles felt like they were being torn apart, his eyes teared up from the pain and he choked on his pain.

“You still have that vile tongue of yours in this situation? You really have no shame.”

Akira felt his knees buckle from the trembling aches that filled his body, but he didn’t fall, he glanced down at his body through heavy pants and noticed his clothing had been changed, his clothes had been changed to a white and black prisoner uniform, he scoffed at it, his role here was only forced onto him further, “..You undressed me? Are you that desperate?” he questioned Akechi about it with a taunt of course.

“I have no desire to touch someone as vile as you.”

“As vile as me? You mean what you did to me?”

Akechi’s hands returned to a fist and he struck Akira, punching him across the face as he shouted “When will you just shut up?!” every word that came out of Akira’s mouth pissed him off further, if they weren’t begs or sobs they weren’t welcomed and he would beat that into Akira.

“Aha..!” The pain from his arms was more unbearable than Akechi’s punch “Unnh..” despite his body telling him to shut up from learning the pattern he spoke again “I..It’s already the first...day and you’re already..beating me..” a bout of laughter spilled from his body and it reconciled into a chuckle, he wasn’t a masochist but he found himself moved to laughter every time Akechi struck him, “..You do realize you’ll have to..feed me, right?”

Akechi lips formed a huge smirk, like he had won this encounter, he found a way to ‘checkmate’ it “No, I don’t.” he turned his back towards Akira, awaiting him to fumble.

Akira’s eyes widen as a dreadful sensation filled his stomach “Wait..!” but before his words could reach Akechi he had already left the cell, making sure to slam it shut, a light flickered in his eye as he glanced at Akira one last time through the bars.

“Wait, dammit!” Akira felt a new desperation gnawing at him as his pleas were being ignored, he swallowed his dread as he watched Akechi disappear into the corridor.

Chapter Text

Yusuke managed to fall asleep, but he wasn’t really aware of it, he didn’t remember trying to fall asleep, his memories were patchy and they became more vague each time he fell asleep, but despite that he still understood what had happened, reality was always thrusted back into his mind each time he opened his eyes.

He turned onto his back and stared at the ceiling, the side of his head hurt but he didn’t care to acknowledge it, he felt numb, his emotions, the ability to move, it all was met with a dull numbing sensation, he didn’t know what this feeling was and he wasn’t even sure if it was the correct response.

Yusuke didn’t know how to feel about officially losing Madarame as well, everything didn’t make sense, he was depressed, angry, confused all of his emotions clashed and produced a life that didn’t feel like living.

He reached out towards the ceiling in the hopes that maybe Akira’s hand would grab his own and he’d see him smiling, but it didn’t come, his arm drop listlessly down, he felt stupid for doing these things when he knew Akira wasn’t here but he had to urge to do them despite knowing that.

Yusuke pushed himself to sit up, he felt gross and the ache in his head worsened with movements, but he didn’t want to mope around in bed, even if that was the best option for him, he pulled himself out of bed and got a clean change of clothes, he decided to have a shower; to get Akechi’s demoralizing grip off of his body and in the hopes that it would help him feel a bit better.

While in the shower his wounds became more noticeable, he had a small bruise on his stomach, also around his wrists and a graze on the side of his head, it would probably bruise up soon, seeing them and feeling them reminded him of Akira’s wounds; Akira had self harmed in the attempt to control his anger and Yusuke’s wounds were nothing in comparison to that, they are probably not even comparable to what Akira may be like now, Yusuke’s thoughts trailed off into whether he’d see Akira again bruised and bloodied or as a corpse.

Yusuke held his mouth in shock as grotesque images invaded his mind, he felt sick and the intense smell of blood assaulted his nose despite no blood actually being in the room, his mind was playing cruel tricks on him, a tight sensation formed in his throat and a short intake of breaths turned into sobs as his grief poured out in the form of uncontrollable tears, his legs trembled and he fell to his knees onto the hard shower floor, he hadn’t cried with such force before, but his mind could no longer bottle it in, his despair had to be released.

 

After crying in the shower and dressing he did feel a small weight lift off his chest. Yusuke stared into the mirror, he touched the wound on the side of his head and decided he should cover it up, he placed a non-woven sticky bandage on it, but as he did that his shirt shifted and he got a glimpse of the fresh bite mark Akira had given him.

He unbuttoned his top button and pulled down on his shirt, enough to see it properly, he raised his other hand up and caressed it, there was no pain as the wound had already started to heal, but as he stared at it a realization thrusts into his mind; Akira will burn without him, if Akechi was keeping him in a place with sunlight, then he wouldn’t last long and even if he wasn’t, if Akira tried to escape he’d be unable to go outside without burning so..he couldn’t escape, he was literally trapped there.

If Yusuke ever wanted to see Akira again, he’d have to go to him; a direction that had been on his mind since losing Akira, but despite the determination he knew he wasn’t capable of defending himself or protecting another, it’s why he lost Akira in the first place, if he wanted to succeed he’d have to get stronger physically and mentally.

 

Yusuke left the bathroom and noticed a letter on the nightstand, he approached it and picked it up, he read it as his eyes scanned the letter.

‘Please come find and speak to me once you’re ready.‘
- Zeriya

 

Yusuke didn’t really get the chance to explain everything before Zeriya stormed out of the room yesterday and if he came back Yusuke was already asleep by then, he didn’t really feel like being in the presence of others but if it helped find Akira then he would.

He left the bedroom, but before he did, he got a glimpse of the painting he had made Akira hanging up in his room.

~~~

Yusuke eventually found Zeriya in the kitchen, he probably didn’t look very presentable, but that was the last thing on his mind, Zeriya noticed Yusuke approach him and devoted all of his attention towards him.

“Are you hungry?” Zeriya asked, but he figured he would get a dismissive answer.

“No.”

“Thirsty?”

“No.”

Zeriya let out a small sigh and gestured his head towards the table, the two sat down opposite of each other and there was a small silence before Yusuke spoke “What is it that you wanted to know?”

“Well..I wanted to know if you saw how Akechi transported Akira?”

Hearing Zeriya refer to Akira by his first name blared out at Yusuke, but he decided it would be best if he didn’t acknowledge it.

“No, I blacked out.. The last thing I remember is Akira apologizing to me.” Yusuke’s stomach dropped as he spoke, he didn’t understand why Akira apologized to him, if anything it should’ve been the other way around.

“I see..”

“Akechi tricked me and used me as a hostage, it’s the only reason why Akira complied...even when I begged him not to.”

Zeriya let out a small chuckle, although it wasn’t out of joy, “Of course he wouldn’t listen..”

“What do you mean?”

“Akira has been taught that his life takes priority over everyone else's, regardless of who it is, he should always save himself, but..as always he doesn’t listen.” Zeriya let out a small groan once he realized what he said could seem offensive, “I’m not implying he should’ve..left you, I’m merely stating his..priority is you, perhaps that’s why Akechi targeted you.”

Yusuke narrowed his eyes as despair washed over him “I wish he prioritized himself...his life is much more important than mine.” his gaze lowered.

“Akira doesn’t see it like that, are you going to go against his wish?”

Yusuke’s eyes widen as he let out a small noise of surprise, “What..?”

A smile crossed Zeriya’s lips “He sees you as an equal. Despite his wishes to protect you he doesn’t view your life as any less, even if..in reality you aren’t equal in terms of strength and status, he doesn’t care for that, he wants you to live..even without him.”

Yusuke shook his head as a whimper escaped him “I don’t know..why..”

“Because he loves you, Yusuke. Do you doubt that?”

Tears welled up in Yusuke’s eyes, but this time they didn’t feel as painful, he wiped one away with his finger as a small smile crept up onto his lips “No..” he wiped his eye with his palm, “I don’t doubt it..”

All Yusuke needed to hear was his life was indeed valuable, even if he doubted it himself the fact others were able to acknowledge what he couldn’t overwhelmed him with relief, he knew he wasn’t allowed to prove them wrong because if he did, he’d allow his enemies to win, past and present, if he allowed their doubts to fill his mind, then he would never move forward, he would never see Akira’s smile again and that alone was enough to make him shake this feeling and drag himself towards the future he had always hoped for.

“It has only been the first day so there is some hope still left but..we didn’t find anything.”

“I wish to help, I want to look for him too.” Even if it meant Yusuke would have to see something one shouldn’t have to, he couldn’t sit idle while the others searched desperately, perhaps eyes that have seen an entire different life is what they needed to find Akira.

“While that would be lovely..” Zeriya’s scrutinizing gaze lingered on Yusuke before he spoke again, “You’re in no condition to do that. It seems like Akechi has connections to someone in power as law enforcers are roaming much more lately, even in rural areas, they are even giving ‘health’ examinations despite what they call them, they search your mouth..in other words they are on the lookout for vampire’s.” he sighed as he ran his hand through his hair.

“I’m human so they won’t suspect me and even if they do, I’ll pass the test.”

“Akechi found your identity through this connection, they know who and what you look like.”

Yusuke scratched the back of his head as he sighed “That is true.. There must be something I can do, I do not wish to sit in a castle while he rots in hell.” he was referring to Akira of course.

“You’ll be allowed to help us search once things have calmed down, it also gives you a chance to recover a bit.”

“I understand.. If you’re not busy would you mind..telling me about Akechi?” Yusuke already knew he was vile, but it could help him understand why Akechi took Akira and where Akira might be, if he wasn’t allowed to searched with them then he would do it with maps and such.

“There’s not much to tell..”

“What will he do to Akira?” Yusuke got straight to the point once it seemed like Zeriya had time to talk.

“I truly don’t know, although I assume it won’t be anything good.”

“He’s abusing Akira?”

“..Most likely.”

Yusuke slammed his fists onto the table in a fit of anger “And you expect me to sit here?!” his eyes widen once he realized he allowed his emotions to take over, he settled back into his seat with an aspirated sigh, “I apologize.. My emotions have been getting in the way lately.” he leaned his chin onto his palm, “It’s probably why this has happened, I’m letting my emotions get in the way of logic..”

“It’s normal to get emotional in this situation..but we mustn't let doubts or guilt plague our minds.” It seemed like Zeriya was talking directly about Yusuke’s feelings, he was able to read him quite easily.

“I know, but..I didn’t just lose Akira, I also lost all my childhood memories, mementos of my mother and...my foster father all because of one stupid mistake, if I had been..smarter than this all could’ve been avoided. All I have left now is Akira and he may be gone too..”

“As hard as it may be, toss away those useless thoughts. If you dwell on what you could’ve done, you’ll never get past this.”

“I know that..” Yusuke sighed heavily, “I will look at maps, perhaps there’s a hidden area or something, could you get me those?”

“I suppose I could.”

Yusuke felt even more weights lifting off of his chest from simply acknowledging his feelings, now he could officially do something in the effort of searching for Akira “Thank you.” he thanked Zeriya with a small bow and stood up, “I should let you get back to work but uh...I have one more request.”

“What is it?”

“..I wish to become Akira’s equal..in reality too, not just in his heart; could you help me with that?”

Zeriya shifted uncomfortably as his gaze lowered “I promise Akira I wouldn’t do anything like that..”

Yusuke furrowed his brow “I’m only asking you to help me become stronger; why wouldn’t he want that?”

“Because it puts you in danger..”

Yusuke clenched his fists “Simply being with Akira puts me in danger; I don’t care about that! How can I ever become the ‘queen’ if I can’t even defend myself?! If I ever want to be an actual equal to Akira then I have to fight to get there, I never will by living my life out the way I am!”

Zeriya’s eyes flashed like an opportunity had risen “Are you willing to go against Akira’s wish to obtain that?”

Yusuke bit his lip, but his mind was already set on the idea “I..am.”

Zeriya held his mouth as he went into a fit of laughter, Yusuke just watched him, bewildered, wondering if he had said anything odd.

Zeriya settled down as a few snickers escaped him “My my.. I guess you are serious.”

Yusuke’s facial expression just turned into confusion.

“What I said before about Akira, it’s not true, I was merely testing to see if you’re blindly loyal to him even if it may inconvenience you, it seems you’re willing to stand your ground.” Zeriya spoke as he stood up from his seat, “Even if you seem like a wimp.”

Yusuke crossed his arms with a sigh, he stared at Zeriya with a peculiar look on his face “There’s no point in these tests if Akira isn’t alright.”

“Oh? You have no interest in staying here without him?”

“I..” Yusuke averted his eyes, “I will know that answer once I find him.”

“I suppose that’s a good enough answer for now. Come on then, I’ll show you some maps.”

Yusuke allowed himself to bow again “Thank you, Zeriya.”

###

The cold, lonely prison was only filled with the sound of water dripping and the occasional rattle of Akira’s chains, the pressure was released and he was merely bound to the floor by his ankles and to his own wrists by cuffs so he was able to move around the cell, it wasn’t very big but it had absolutely nothing in it.

Not a bed, not a shower, not even a wooden chair, the only thing it had was a toilet and nothing about it screamed sanitary.

Akira searched the grey brick walls for any cracks or openings, but there was nothing, he had planned to burn the flesh off around his wrist to free himself from his binds but that opportunity didn’t exist.

Akechi hadn’t visited him since their last encounter, Akira didn’t even know the time or how many hours had passed, he thought he’d be able to track the time if he remained awake but that didn’t happen, he planned not to sleep anyway.

He wouldn’t dare to sleep in such a place, even when his eyes bleed with exhaustion, he would not give into that temptation, he had to know everything, see every moment and not allow anything to happen if he were to become unconscious; staying awake guaranteed that.

Akira hadn’t been given food or water so Akechi was sticking to his words, but what concerned Akira the most was the lack of life essences, if Akechi wasn’t going to give him blood to suppress it and if he wasn’t going to feed Akira people then Akira will turn into a husk.

“Tch..” Akira brushed the thought off as an unpleasant taste assaulted his tongue, there was no use dwelling on it, if Akechi wished to preserve Akira then he’d have to feed him, even if he disliked it, but despite telling himself that he found himself doubting it, even with the false reassurance he knew Akechi was indeed capable of starving him.

“Has the hunger settled in yet?”

Akira heard a muffled voice and looked around the cell, no one was at the door, no one was in the room, he remained silent, seeing if it happened again.

He blinked once, twice, and not a single sound could be heard again, he sighed to himself and shrugged it off, perhaps his mind was playing tricks on him.

“Watching you be frantic is quite entertaining; do you simply like stroking walls or are you imagining them as Yusuke?”

Akira’s eyes followed the voice and he saw a speaker, hanging up into the left side of the ceiling, it looked rather strange, it seems like a camera or something was attached to it as well which meant Akira was never truly alone.

Akira’s gaze left the camera and returned to his lap, he had no desire to talk to Akechi, especially when he was making stupid remarks like that. Akira did want a definite answer about his feeding but, he did have pride, groveling for an answer is exactly what Akechi wants and he wouldn’t give it to him.

“Are you ignoring me like a child?”

Akira ignored him, he turned his attention towards his nails, they had reverted back to normal, he lacked the strength to turn them into claws, they were in pretty bad shape anyway, they would take some time to heal and blood would fasten that process but relying on that was simply stupid, given his situation.

“Do I have to come down there?”

Akira fake yawned knowing full well Akechi could see him, he twirled the middle of his fringe around his finger idly as he heard a weird sound coming from the speaker, it was probably Akechi grumbling.

“Do you not want answers?”

Akira rubbed his bare foot, trying to warm it up a bit, Akechi didn’t even have the decency to give him socks or shoes, probably because he knew the floor was cold in here.

“Is your brain so fried you can’t speak the same language as I?!”

After ignoring Akechi for longer Akira heard the speaker turn off and soon he heard the cell door rattling and it open, he glared at it and saw Akechi enter the cell.

“Press it.”
Akechi ordered someone Akira couldn’t see, but Akira had a hunch of what he was referring to and pulled himself to his feet.

“Are you scared of me?” Akira spoke as his bare feet pattered down onto the pavement, he was moving towards Akechi with confidence.

Akechi let out an arrogant huff “Of course not.” he flicked his hair back as he watched Akira.

“Then talk to me without activating that pulling mechanism. I am restrained already, it’s not like I can hurt you.” Akira stopped in front of Akechi and the two’s eye contact didn’t falter.

“You have fangs; I’m not stupid.”

Akira smirked “You really think you’re that weak that you can’t even overpower a beaten and cuffed person?” he let out a derisive chuckle.

“Hmph, referring yourself as a ‘person’ is quite laughable.” Akechi gave a nod towards someone in front of the cell and took a step forward, his foot step alone echoed throughout the soundless room.

“Oh? I’m not a being in your warped mind?”

“No, you’re not.” Akechi placed his hand onto his hip while he watched Akira with wary eyes.

“So what am I? An animal? My body is exactly the same as yours besides a few changes here and there.”

“Your body is far more inferior than mine, but if you wish for me to label you as an animal I’ll gladly comply.”

“You kiss animals?” While Akira didn’t exactly like bringing up the fact that they were in a relationship, it seemed to piss Akechi off, which only tempted him to do it.

Akechi clenched his fists, but then relaxed them as he kept his composure “Do you like being beaten?” He asked with a sneer.

“Enough with the ridicule. What do you want?” Akira wanted to sit down, but sitting on the floor was uncomfortable, it was also cold so that didn’t help.

Akechi crossed his arms as he tilted his head, almost like he was trying to see Akira from a different angle “When was the last time you ate?”

Akira wasn’t actually sure, he had lost track of it however, he was hungry, he did stop drinking blood a few days ago so it was crawling up again. He didn’t know why Akechi even wanted that information, probably to torment him further so he just remained silent.

“You are literally the worse person I have ever spoken to.” Akechi let out a small growl as he turned his attention to the cell door.

Akira knew exactly what he was planning on doing so he just blurted out “A week.” once his voice reached Akechi he turned back around.

“So you’re hungry?” Akechi spoke as a small sneer crossed his lips.

“Why do you care?”

“I have to know when you’re going to turn. Can’t exactly have a ‘withered monster’ running about.”

Akira’s stomach dropped and a tightening formed in his throat “So you’re serious about not feeding me..?” he couldn’t exactly keep the worry out of his voice; the reality was he was terrified of becoming a husk, he has never actually seen one as it was extremely rare in the region they lived in, every vampire was terrified of becoming a husk, it was their one gnawing motivation to allow themselves to be dehumanized by others.

Akira only had an explanation and a biological understanding of it, even if he has been at that point previously, he wasn’t exactly in the right mind when it started and it was a long time ago, so he had forgotten what the transformation felt like, all he could remember is it isn’t pretty and there was only one way for him to stop it; which was to eat a life essence.

“Of course I am. No food, no water, no blood...no ‘souls’ or whatever you call them; I won’t be giving you any of those things. You don’t deserve nor need such things, I merely want you for your royal blood.”

Akira gulped as a small amount of fear started to show “I’ll die if you don’t, my blood along with me.”

“Oh, I’m aware. I won’t conform to any of your sick natures, even if it will eventually inconvenience me.”

Akira gritted his teeth as anger washed over him “You’re fucked!” he stumbled closer to Akechi and shoved his hands into Akechi’s chest “You’ll regret this!”

Akechi grabbed Akira’s hand and pushed them away listlessly “I assure you, I won’t.”

It took every fiber in his body not to try and strike Akechi, he knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to do that, especially while bound like this, he would wait for his opening and use it once it arises.

Suddenly Akechi grabbed Akira by the neck and swiveled him around, slamming him into the brick wall, his fingers curled around Akira’s neck as he watched him with an intense glare.

Akira’s face contorted as his pain became audible, his ears rang loudly from the impact. Akechi had smashed Akira into the wall with such force that it almost felt like his spine broke, but besides the pain Akira didn’t see it coming at all, perhaps his senses have become weak along with his body.

“I may as well take some of your blood now that I’m here.” Akechi said as he lowered his left hand as his right held Akira still, he pulled out a syringe from his pants pocket, he popped the cap off of it with his thumb.

Akira just prepared himself for more pain, he was curious as to why Akechi wanted his blood, but he probably wouldn’t of gotten an answer if he asked.

Akechi plunged the sharp needle into Akira’s neck, he felt Akira became tense, but he had no sympathy, he drew as much blood as the syringe could hold and pulled it out without care, he let go of Akira’s neck and placed a cap over it, returning it to his pocket.

Akira just glared at him as there was no real reason to fight back, at least not yet. Akira’s body had to regenerate if he wanted to win, but it seems like Akechi isn’t alone, so even if he did manage to overpower Akechi there were others prepared for him, making that task even more difficult.

Akechi lifted his hand and touched Akira’s blood seeping from the small hole the syringe caused “You should be used to being pricked. After all, you’ve taken many lives by a similar act.”

Akira hated Akechi touching him unnecessarily, he would prefer a punch over that, the way he touched him was irking. The touch was infuriating, it held no warmth or positive energy, it was absolutely nothing like Yusuke’s, it was the exact opposite and it only made Akira’s skin crawl.

Akechi let out a barely audible chuckle as his eyes lingered on Akira’s scowl, but he also saw a slight hint of fear in his eyes, which only made him want to taunt Akira more “I wonder what you taste like.” he tried to keep his tone seductive but it was difficult due to the fact he held no attraction towards Akira.

Akechi leaned into the crook of Akira’s neck and Akira immediately reacted, he lifted his leg and kneed Akechi in the gut, throwing him further away “I thought you didn’t like vile creatures like me!” his tone was sharp and held malicious intent.

Akechi held his stomach as he stumbled back a bit “You really think I would’ve touched you like that? I was moments away from choking you.” he chuckled, but at the same time groaned from the throbbing pain in his gut.

Akira touched his neck and wiped it rapidly despite there not actually being anything on it, he felt like washing it, like it was dirty “Tch..” he clicked his tongue in distaste.

“You really can press it now.” Akechi ordered.

But before Akira could react the cuffs around his ankles began to pull, he jerked back against it, but he was thrown onto the floor and was dragged back into the center of the room, where his chains disappeared into the floor, there seemed to be a windmill mechanic that rotated the chain around it beneath the floor as well.

“What kind of fucked up prison is this?!” Akira expressed his disapproval, but the chain in the floor had reached its limit and it tried to pull Akira’s ankles down into the hole, obviously they couldn’t fit so the metal only dug into his skin, he felt it pierce into his skin slowly which caused him to wince in pain.

Next Akira felt the cuffs around his wrists being pulled into the walls, but before it became a limb pulling torture device Akechi ordered it to be stopped.

Akira felt a bit relieved he didn’t have to go through that pain again, his muscles hurt enough from the other day, he was actually pretty surprised he managed to knee Akechi like that, his limbs felt heavy but it didn’t even cross his mind once the adrenaline settled in.

There was a stinging sensation in Akira’s back, his skin must’ve scraped from being dragged across the floor and his clothes became disheveled from it as well, he pulled his top down because it had lifted up from the thrashing movements, the uniform wasn’t exactly his size either, it was enough to fit him but it was still baggy.

Akechi’s footsteps echoed throughout the room as he moved closer to Akira; who was lying down on the floor, Akira’s chest rises with each unsteady breath.

“This cell was made specifically for you, does it suit your taste?” Akechi held his hand in front of his mouth as he laughed.

Akira exhaled heavily before speaking “So you planned to come after me this whole time?”

“No.” Akechi squatted down to reach Akira’s level “The opportunity arose and I need it to finish my research.”

“What are you even talking about?” Perhaps if Akira words this correctly, he would get an answer.

“Royal blood; specifically vampire royal blood, it seems to hold a higher potency and you’re the only royalty that I know. It truly is nothing personal.” The last bit of Akechi’s sentence was obviously a lie.

Akira scoffed “Don’t give me that bullshit. It’s quite clear it is personal.” he pushed himself to sit up, although his back was facing towards Akechi.

“You might be a tiny bit right, but I didn’t specifically look for you. Your lackeys sought me out and I merely responded to it.” Despite Akechi’s words being an explanation he still managed to sound smug.

“I’m going to become a mindless zombie and then eventually die, you may as well answer my questions, right?”

“I’m not sympathetic to your future at all, but I’ll be willing to exchange information with you if you give me something in return.”

“What could you possibly want from me?” Akira rolled his eyes as he spoke, he didn’t even want to look at Akechi while the two talked.

“More information on your race.”

“No way in hell.” Akira spoke sharply without allowing a millisecond to pass, he shifted his position so he could glare at Akechi.

“Then you won’t find out how I found Yusuke, what my goal is and much more.” Akechi stood up as he stared down Akira.

While Akira was interested in those things he knew telling Akechi anything about vampires was bad news, he obviously knew the basics so he couldn’t get away with beating around the bush to pry information out of Akechi.

If the others don’t find Akira in time and Akira agreed to this then Akechi would live on with that information, and it would merely be some form of closure for Akira before his time is up, so it wasn’t worth it.

“That information will be useless to me once I’ve turned into a husk so I’m still declining.” Akira might be able to turn the tables a bit with this offer though.

“We will discuss it in my office and you will be given a bedroom if you agree to it.”

“Be given basic rights before withering away? That’s even less worthy.”

“..I will consider feeding you.” Akechi’s gaze was averted for a split second before returning, like he despised what he just said.

“You’re truly that desperate for information about us..?” Akira was glad he found something Akechi desired and able to manipulate, but Akechi was difficult to read, even for Akira so this was becoming a difficult decision.

“Yes, I am, my research is much more important to me than punishing you.” Akechi folded his hands onto his elbows and his stare intensified “I will only grant you one of those offers, although it’s quite obvious which one you want.”

“You will guarantee it. A consideration isn’t worth this type of information.” Akira pulled himself up to his feet as he spoke, the chain in the hole was about to extend again so he could move around once more.

“Fine, I will guarantee it, but it’ll be on my terms. You get no choice in whom it is.” Akechi offered his hand to Akira, awaiting a shake to seal the deal.

If Akechi brought a child, Akira would flip out, he didn’t want to deal with that kind of guilt and torment again, but he was at his wits end, the desire to avoid a fate worse than death was stronger than analyzing and speculating who Akechi might pick, hopefully it was one of his guards or something.

Akira stared down at Akechi’s hand, he had no desire to shake it “I agree to it, but I’m not shaking your hand.” he watched Akechi pull his hand back to his side.

“I see a king like you can’t even conform to formalities.” Akechi let out a chuckle.

“We’re not friends. You’re not worth putting aside differences for the sake of formality.”

“The thought didn’t even cross my mind.” Akechi turned towards the cell door, “I have something much more important to be spending my time on.” his footsteps echoed as he left the cell.

Akira just made an unreliable deal with the devil, it truly depended on what Akechi wanted to know, there were some things Akira didn’t exactly care about him knowing, so if he desired that this deal wouldn’t be so demoralizing, but the biggest question out of everything is why Akechi wanted it, his goal was still hazy but Akira might unfold it soon.

~~~ + ###

The library was filled with tired yawns as nightfall came to fruition, Yusuke and Zeriya have been scanning maps of the area, trying to pinpoint where Akira could be.

The library door squeaked open as Ann pushed it with her side, she approached the table where Yusuke and Zeriya sat and placed down the two coffee mugs she was holding.

“Thank you, Ann.” Zeriya thanked her with a weary smile.

“No problem, but it’s like 2 am.. You guys should rest.” Ann allowed herself to smile as she placed her hand gently on Yusuke’s shoulder, “Especially you.” she gave him a concerned look as his gaze met her.

“Thank you for the concern, but I’m not tired.” Yusuke said calmly, he yawned afterwards which betrayed him.

“Those yawns contradict.” Ann giggled as she slid her hand off Yusuke’s shoulder, “Come on, you’ve picked out where we will search tomorrow. Don’t overwork yourself.”

“Hm..” Yusuke didn’t exactly want to sleep, whenever he closed his eyes, he was only met with vivid images of the scene replaying over and over, but being in the presences of others calmed them, despite not wanting to be around others before, now he did, knowing how much it was actually helping him deal with this.

“Ann is correct. We can continue this in daylight and I’ll even consider teaching you some self defense.” Zeriya has been trying to get Yusuke to sleep for hours now, but Yusuke acted like he didn’t hear him and started talking about the maps.

“..Okay, but promise it.” Yusuke was reaching his limit, hopefully he’d instantly sleep once he hits the pillow like yesterday.

“I promise.”

Yusuke pushed himself up out of his seat, he bowed and said “Thank you. Goodnight.” before leaving the library with a heavy sigh.

Ann watched him leave with concern “Do you think he’ll be alright?” she asked as her eyes met Zeriya.

Zeriya stood up and stepped forward, he looped his fingers around the coffee mugs and offered one to Ann, she took it with care and he sipped his before speaking “No, I don’t.”

Ann furrowed her brow as an intense frown formed on her lips, she shifted her gaze away “I hope he will be.. He’s so happy with Akira, I hope that returns despite this.”

“The chances of that are low. Trauma changes humans and depending on this outcome he could change further.”

Ann sighed heavily, “We change too from trauma, why are you referring to him as being any different?”

“Because it feels different. Akira told me to protect him, but I don’t know how to, he’s eager to do thing and I don’t know if I should deny or allow such things..” Zeriya raised his free hand into his hair with a sigh “In other words; I’m confused.”

“You’re such a negative Nancy.” Ann allowed herself to chuckle, “I’m hoping he’ll be okay; both of them. Just keep doing what you’re doing, it seems to be working, I’ll also help more.”

“Hope is all we have yet it’s so unreliable..” Zeriya sighed heavily, “I apologize, I have only proven your point further, it must be from the fact I haven’t slept since finding out about this..”

“You should go rest too. I’ve already written letters to everyone about Akira’s absences so don’t stress about that.”

A smile formed on Zeriya’s lips “Thank you, Ann, you didn’t have to.”

Ann leaned her arm onto Zeriya’s shoulder with a grin “No problem, boss. Now go get that well deserved rest.”

~~~

Yusuke returned to Akira’s bedroom with the ring he had given him long ago, he sat down on the bed and kicked his shoes off.

His gaze met the ring within his palm, he clenched it “I will find you.. Akira.” he spoke to himself in the lonely room.

It was hard not for the motivation to falter, but Yusuke kept one conversation he had with Akira in his mind every time doubts crept in and it helped push away those doubts.

“You managed to turn a scary situation into one that gives you strength, that speaks volumes of how strong you truly are.”

‘And I will do it again. No matter how dark this world may become to me, I will ensure I do everything in my power to reach the future, I hold dear, to bring you back into a life you didn’t believe you deserved and if that is impossible to do, if you are no longer in this world; then you will live on in me...because that’s what you want..right?’

Yusuke wasn’t sure if he was able to grant Akira’s wish, he will know once he sees Akira again, no matter his state he has to see Akira again, whether he be alive or dead, barely hanging onto sanity or a broken mind; he needed to see him again so their broken halves could intertwine once more.

Chapter Text

The moment Yusuke heard the search-party had, returned he went downstairs to greet them, as he approached them, he noticed grimaces on their faces, simply seeing that answered the question on his mind.

They scattered about, having a moment's rest before they were to depart again, they gave Yusuke sympathetic looks as they walked passed him.

Yusuke noticed a familiar face, shaking a flashlight around due to its battery being dead, it was Ryuji, Yusuke hadn’t talked to him much, they would sometimes meet in the laundry mat and exchange kind words but that was about it, Ryuji seemed very adamant to find Akira which made Yusuke grateful.

Ryuji noticed Yusuke approach him and he tried to hide the disappointment from his face, but he wasn’t very good at holding back his expressiveness.

“Did..you find anything interesting?” Yusuke asked, but he knew the answer already, if anything he was merely asking to start conversation so he didn’t have to go back to that lonely room, he could go to his own but doing so only reminded him of the photo and that was something he didn’t want to acknowledge right now.

“Nah.. sorry.” Ryuji shifted his gaze down at the flashlight, he fiddled with it, he dropped it a short distance into his palm and repeated the movements, “But some good news; we’re narrowing it down..”

“I suppose that is good..” Yusuke tried to smile, but he couldn’t really when he felt no joy “Thank you for your efforts, they are appreciated.”

Ryuji allowed himself to smile, “It’s all good. I want to find him too.”

“Narrowing it down..? If anything we’re just wasting our time.”
They were interrupted by Sugimura giving his unwanted opinion, he stepped into their perimeter even though he wasn’t invited.

“Agh..Go away.” Ryuji scratched the back of his head as he glared at Sugimura, he gave him an intense dismissive look, he was basically begging him to leave.

“First off.” Sugimura said as he snatched the flashlight off of Ryuji “It’s dead. Secondly; I’m not going out there again, I have better things to do.”

“Like what? Harassing the girls? Just listen to Zeriya’s orders or you’ll be in trouble.” Ryuji crossed his arms and furrowed his brow with a disappointed shake of his head.

Yusuke couldn’t help but get annoyed by Sugimura, he reeked of bad news the moment he interacted with him, but he didn’t know him well enough to commit to his hunch.

“I’m swapping out with someone else, I’m sick of searching for a worthless king.”

“You can’t, we already have another group looking for the other missing people!”

“‘Worthless king’?” Yusuke asked with a displeased tone, his stare turned into a glare and he folded his arms with distaste.

Sugimura glanced at Yusuke, but then turned his attention back to Ryuji “Find me a replacement.” he barked.

“No.” Ryuji waved Sugimura off with a dismissive thrust of his hand and gave Yusuke an apologetic look.

“I have been on enough searches. If you don’t find a replacement then I suggest you work twice as hard because I won’t be there.”

“I’ll replace you, at least then everyone is putting effort in and not just some.” Yusuke was making a dig at Sugimura now that his true colours started to show, he made sure Sugimura understood that when he glowered at him.

Sugimura shifted his gaze slowly to Yusuke and it turned into a glare, he took on a body language that tried to seem intimidating, but it didn’t work on Yusuke, “There’s no point in even that. We’re not going to find him, if we were, we would’ve already, just give up.”

“How can you say such things?!” Yusuke couldn’t help but show his annoyance, his voice became bitter and his face contorted with disgust.

“Quite easily. We should be preparing to move on. He chose to go with Akechi knowing it’d endanger his life and us, he’s nothing but a selfish, self-serving fool.” Sugimura stepped into Yusuke’s personal space as he spitted out his insults.

“Selfish?! How can you be such a brat when he ensures you’re fed a healthy amount of blood, so you don’t have to go out there yourself and risk your life only to feed?! To spit in the face of the man who grants you privilege is beyond despicable!” Yusuke felt an uncontrollable amount of offense and anger and it could be seen in his tone and seething body language, he clenched his teeth, trying to calm down but the words coming out of Sugimura's mouth filled him with rage.

“Risk my life? I won’t have to do such things with snobby humans like you staying here!”

“Yo, dudes, chill!” Ryuji quickly tried to diffuse the situation by acting as a wedge between them, “Come on, we’re all just stress out!” he tried to calm the intense atmosphere but it didn’t falter, they had garnered some attention from the others which made Ryuji panic.

Sugimura glanced at Ryuji with a scowl “Just keep this whore on a leash before I stop him from running his mouth.”

Once those words reached Yusuke’s ears all he could see was red, it cut deep being labelled as such due to his previous dilemma with Madarame, he didn’t know if Sugimura knew that and was using it as a personal insult, but it didn’t matter, what he said was beyond callous and for the first time Yusuke felt like hurting someone physically.

And that is what he did, his fist collided with Sugimura’s jaw in a fit of rage as barbaric insults danced on the tip of his tongue, it was but a flash of lack of control and just as quickly as it had happened the weight of his actions settled in just as fast, his stinging knuckle became aware as he stared back at Sugimura with a mix of belligerent and dissolve.

His mind could only focus on his intense heartbeat as raspy breaths from his exertion escaped his lips after an unwanted amount of remorse washed over him.

Ryuji held a seething Sugimura back, he begged for help, for someone to help diffuse the situation and his calls were answered once Zeriya intervened.

Zeriya led Yusuke away as Sugimura screamed insults at him, the two disappeared into the library, gawking eyes with a few snickers escaped the crowd that had formed from interest, they watched the whole thing unfold, some were pleased while some were concerned but the situation had to be contained.

“I-..I’m sorry..” the words escaped Yusuke’s lips the moment the two no longer had eyes on them, he stared down at his reddened knuckles, he didn’t know if what he had just done was justified but he couldn’t stand the words coming out of Sugimura’s mouth.

There was a huge difference between defending yourself and being the aggressor, but despite their differences each action came to Yusuke naturally, they were both things you don’t consciously think about, they just happen and that’s what had happened with Yusuke and he felt apologetic for it, not necessarily towards Sugimura, it was more for his actions, for losing control when he was once able to control himself in intense situations, his emotions were beginning to pour out in a disheveled mess.

“It is..alright, please just settle down.” Zeriya briefly placed his hand on Yusuke’s shoulder, a concerned look crossed his face, but it was contorted, his facial expression jumped and mixed until it settled on a smirk and he chuckled.

..He laughed…

Yusuke stared at him bewildered and his feelings became even more confused, he simply didn’t understand why Zeriya thought this was a laughing matter, but not being scolded did cheer him up a bit.

“That is definitely going to leave a mark.” Zeriya commented on Sugimura’s mark on his face, he placed his hand over his mouth, his movements held a mix of amusement and trying to be serious.

“..What?” Yusuke expressed his confusion, he was waiting for a lecture about his need to control his temper, but all he got was a mimic of a teenage boy subtly praising his friend.

“Perhaps I won’t have to whip Sugimura into shape now that you’ve done it for me.” Zeriya gave up on trying to remain a pundit and just gave Yusuke a smile “But don’t go around punching people please.”

Yusuke let out an aspirated sigh as he touched his forehead “You’re more confusing than Akira..” he allowed a thin curl take over his lips as his eyes soften and an awaited relaxation took hold of him.

“We’ve all had to urge to punch Sugimura before, don’t feel too guilty for it.”

“..Why is he still here if he thinks so lowly of Akira?” Yusuke frowned slightly once he recalled what Sugimura said about Akira, it hurt, it hurt someone could express such distaste so casually like that while living in their home, while he may be free to criticize Akira fairly nothing about what he said screamed fair, it was only malice.

“Because he knows living here is a much better life than out there, but sometimes a man can’t admit a hand is feeding him due to egotistical pride.” Zeriya gestured his hand outwards as he spoke, “Many people here have different minds, sometimes they clash or become distorted such a phenomenon has taken hold of him, but Akira does not kick people out, even if he should.”

While that was an understandable explanation and one Yusuke was grateful for something stuck out to him, but he wasn’t really sure if he should acknowledge, a pensive look took hold of his face.

Zeriya noticed it, “What is it?” he asked, awaiting Yusuke’s answer patiently.

“Um..” Yusuke thought about it as he played with a displaced strand of hair, “Akira...doesn’t kick people out?” he was reluctant to acknowledge it because talking about Akira in a casual manner hurt, he only felt his feelings deepen for Akira even more when he learnt something new about him, that wouldn’t stop just because he was gone.

“Mm, no matter if they spit in his face, scream, slap him, punch him or even rip his clothes he wouldn’t get rid of them, while it may be admirable, it does and can cause chaos despite knowing that he could never bring himself to kick someone out.” Zeriya’s gaze turned sympathetic once he noticed a small glimpse of pain in Yusuke’s eyes.

Yusuke knew it would hurt, but he still wanted to know these things, they flickered a better understanding of Akira in him and he wouldn’t simply stop seeking that, he will operate on the assumption that Akira is still alive because that one was much more bearable.

“I’ll..apologize to Sugimura later.” Yusuke returned back to the main topic, he didn’t want to get caught up in a reminisce conversation about Akira because he knew it’d only hurt him more once he returned back to that lonely room.

“No, do not worry about that.” Zeriya brushed off the idea with confidence, he wasn’t merely saying it to avert Yusuke’s feelings of regret, Sugimura had to understand that people weren’t just going to put up with his rude remarks forever, Sugimura wasn’t capable of apologizing for his actions so Zeriya didn’t want Yusuke wasting his time.

“I should, what I did was wrong..even if he was being a jerk.” Yusuke let out a sigh, he grabbed his shirt to steady his mind as his composure returned.

“Trust me, do not bother.”

Yusuke’s lips formed a frown, he didn’t exactly want to make a habit out of lashing out at people with violence, but he knew his feelings weren’t very stable at the moment and if Zeriya was telling him not to stress over it then he wouldn’t.

“Seeing you’re in a fiery mood how about we do some self defense training?” Zeriya suggested with a grin.

“Ah..” Yusuke’s face took on a pensive look as he tried to figure out if that’s what he wanted, he did want to learn but at the same time, wasn’t he being forgiven too easily?

Maybe Zeriya just wanted to leave it be due to the situation, but every time Yusuke did something ‘wrong’ he felt like he was forgiven far too easy here, dropping plates or accidentally bumping into someone, they were all forgiven with simply a smile and a nod...or maybe this was the normal way and Madarame simply made groveling for forgiveness a chore.

Yusuke did like it here, it was his new home, even if Akira wasn’t in it currently, he was still allowed and greeted with open arms by the people that mattered, he thought maybe the reason why people tolerated him here was because of his relationship with Akira but that was proving to be false.

They showed him compassion, sympathy and the desire to ensure his safety and health, maybe he was blinded to it before or maybe it simply became more noticeable given the situation but the others did care for him, even at the manor. When he said he wanted to become a part of their family, he wasn’t sure if it would actually happen, but this was proving to him that it was possible and it made keeping the smile off of his face difficult.

Yusuke returned back to reality and his eyes met Zeriya’s “Please teach me.” he bowed as he spoke, he was ready to be completely intertwined with his role, or at least he’d fight for it.

~~~ + ###

The numbingly cold prison was starting to get to Akira, he hadn’t felt warmth for a while now and the fact he craved Yusuke’s warmth only made it sting more, the temperature wasn’t low enough to freeze to death but it was enough to cause intense discomfort.

Akira hoped Yusuke was alright, that he managed to get home safely without trouble, he knew he didn’t make the wrong decision, he would do it again if it were to repeat, but despite that he did want to see Yusuke again, even if it was just for a slight moment.

He told himself ‘a slight moment’ would be enough, but he knew it never would be, he wanted to live out the rest of his life with Yusuke and as the hours passed the reality that he may never actually get that chance settled in.

All Akechi had to do was move Akira’s location again and again to keep him away from his kingdom until his use dried up. Akira wasn’t sure how much Akechi’s power and privilege extended, he said he was connected to the Mayor that governed 3 towns and 2 villages so just based on that he wasn’t untouchable..but was what Akechi doing even a crime?

Killing Madarame surely was but kidnapping and torturing Akira..would any town, even see it as a crime?

Not many towns acknowledged vampires and the ones that did, labelled them as monsters that deserved to be hunted, they had no one but themselves and that’s why kingdoms like Akira’s exist, even when they did interact with humans the isolation was still certainly there and a fear of being found out could never be forgotten.

But even with this ‘humans vs vampires’ dynamic Akira could never bring himself to hate them, unlike a lot of others, even after having his life destroyed by one, he could never bring himself to judge them as a mass entity, they were all individuals, who all had different minds and they too could be guided to enlightenment and understanding, Yusuke proved that and so did the humans residing at the manor, they could and are capable of living in harmony.

 

While Akira tried to keep his tired eyes open he heard the cell door shudder and slam, he raised his head wearily to see whom it was, even if it was kind of obvious.

His eyes strained to see who it was, his eyelids felt heavy and the cold environment just made him want to sleep, to snuggle up in a warm bed beside Yusuke but he knew he wouldn’t be granted that wish.

“I don’t want to stay in this chilly prison while we talk so we’ll be going to my office.” The moment Akechi said that two of his guards approached Akira.

One of them clicked a shock collar around Akira’s neck as Akechi explained its purpose in a smug tone “The voltage is quite high already so I suggest you keep still.”

It felt tight around Akira’s neck and it made breathing kind of difficult, it was pretty uncomfortable, but Akira just had to endure it, hopefully he could gain some form of comfort from Akechi’s office if it was warmer than in here.

The other guard wrapped a black blindfold over Akira’s eyes, they didn’t allow any time to be wasted, their movements were quick and steady, Akechi probably trained them how to contain their fear of being bitten.

Next Akira was gagged with a black cloth, it had an unpleasant taste to it, the man tied the cloth tight enough that it was hard to even move his tongue around, it almost made him cough.

Akira was pulled to his feet and he heard his binds be quickly replaced with ones that allowed him to leave the room, his ankles were bound closely together and his wrists were stuck together, he could barely pull them apart, it didn’t help that every movement made the metal dig into his already opened wounds.

An animal control pole was looped around his neck and fastened, he was thrust forward towards the cell door with it, he complied and allowed them to guide him out.

Akira felt tiles instead of pavement under his feet as he walked with them, he heard an overwhelming amount of footsteps, like there were 20 people following and ensuring he didn’t try anything, it did make him worry a bit, he didn’t really have an opening to do anything so all he could do was comply with them.

 

They led him to Akechi’s office, once inside he was chained to a chair in front of a desk and his blindfold and mouth gag were removed, he blinked, taking in the new surroundings.

The place looked like a standard office, it paled in comparison to Akira’s, nothing looked odd or out of place, books were roughly placed in the bookshelf and a pen and stacks of paper resided on the desk, just awaiting things to be written on them.

The window was covered which made Akira a bit relieved, the last thing he needed was the pain of burning, but at the same time if he could look outside he might be able to figure out where he was.

Akechi came over and sat in the office chair in front of Akira “You can go away now.” he gave his guards a dismissal order.

“No. I will ensure you don’t kill each other.” One of the guards stood his ground while the other left “This isn’t a matter where mistakes can be made, Akechi.” the man gave Akechi a quick glare, ensuring he understood his words.

“Tch..” Akechi clicked his tongue in distaste and an unsatisfied look took hold of his features “Akira would be more comfortable with just the two of us.” he gave Akira a quick smirk, basically telling him to back him up.

But Akira merely smirked back “I would prefer if someone else watched.” he shot a glance at the man, “After all.. Akechi can’t control his anger.”

“Then it is decided.” The guard moved to a corner where he was almost invisible, he stood there without much movement, like a guard should.

Akechi gave Akira an annoyed glare and clicked the remote in his hand, causing the shock collar to turn on.

It sent a zap down Akira’s spine and almost echoed throughout his body, an instantaneous cramp settled in and his muscles became tense, but it calmed down and left merely a sting on his neck, it hastens his breathing as he tried to calm his body down.

“Well then, let’s get started.” Akechi placed the remote down on the desk near him and set up his pen and paper as questions danced on his tongue.

Akira really didn’t feel like being interviewed and he had questions of his own, perhaps he could sneak them in here and there and get answers.

“How many vampires are there actually?”

As if Akechi thought Akira knew that answer “I don’t know.” Akira replied easily, it was a pretty absurd question.

“How many live with you?”

Akira didn’t feel like answering that, but it was merely a number, it won’t be giving out too much information “300..”

“All in that mansion? How could you all possibly fit?” Akechi tried to pry more information out of Akira but it wouldn’t work.

Akira just remained silent, telling Akechi there was a manor filled with vampires nearby a town that hunts vampires was simply too much, it risked their lives and while Akira’s was on the line he wouldn’t put theirs in danger to ensure his own.

Akechi let out a grumble “Fine, that doesn’t really matter..” he dismissed his question and asked a new one “Do you have any contact with any more royal vampires?”

“No.”

“That’s hard to believe.” Akechi waved his pen around, he was starting to get annoyed his paper was still empty.

“All I remember is we were in contact with one while I was still the prince. Perhaps I forgot the important details due to your barbaric beatings.” Akira’s lips formed an impertinent smirk as he leaned back in his chair.

“Don’t fuck with me if you want to be fed!” Akechi clenched his pen while he raised his voice “Just answer the question.”

“Answer one of mine first.” Akira wouldn’t budge without Akechi complying.

“..What is it?”

“How did you get them to betray me?” Akira was still worried about them despite the betrayal, he was worried for Shinya the most though, perhaps the kingdom has found them already but he would never know.

“I did nothing. Once they sought me out I did strike a deal with them, but they came to me, not the other way around.” Akechi answered it as there weren’t many reasons not to.

“Where are they now?”

“They devoted themselves to my cause..”

“You killed them?! What about a young child? What did you do to him?!” Akira started to seethe with rage with merely the thought of potential outcomes for Shinya.

“A boy..? I don’t remember a child, only two men and a woman.” Akechi replied with confusion but it didn’t convince Akira.

“Don’t fuck with me!”

“I don’t have to prove my honesty to you! I never saw a kid with them! I’m not speaking of this no more so answer my question.”

Akira settled down a bit, maybe Akechi was telling the truth, which meant Shinya might be safe still, it relieved Akira, he never wanted a child to get caught up in this mess but it seems like Shinya’s father was persistent about it.

While the answer wasn’t complete getting more out of Akechi was a chore and he wouldn’t budge right now, perhaps later.

Akira let out a sigh, he wasn’t sure if telling Akechi this was a good idea, but right now Akira had to look out for his people and himself “I don’t know where they are exactly, but there’s one royal family to the west, I’m not in contact with them and I’ve never met them.” he was being honest, the Mayor had no power in that area and even if Akechi tried something they should be safe, last Akira heard they absolutely despised humans.

Akechi wrote it down as Akira spoke and he paused slightly “Ugh.. You’re like some type of incurable parasite.. No matter.. It’ll only take time.” he let his thoughts spill out.

“..What do you mean?” Akira asked as a mix of irritation and confusion crossed his face.

“There’s more vampires than I was hoping for, it won’t deter me though.”

“Deter you?”

The guard stepped forward and whacked the desk with a rod “The boss doesn’t want our goal being spilled to a prisoner. Keep your mouth shut.” he interrupted them with a sharp tone.

Akira originally thought Akechi was the boss, but apparently he wasn’t, it intrigued him, but he kept quiet, waiting for Akechi to reply.

“I will tell him whatever I damn please, I serve no one, our goals merely align so don’t even dare to think you have the authority to tell me what to do.”

“I won’t be responsible for what happens if you do.”

“Then don’t be!” Akechi snapped “Get out of here, you’re destroying my concentration!” he almost jump out of his seat with rage but he contained himself.

The guard glanced at Akira, realizing the squabble with Akechi would also reveal information, he decided it would be best if Akechi was the only one to get into trouble and with a sigh he left the room.

“Finally..” Akechi let out a heavy sigh “Working with others is simply sickening.” he leaned on his hand and watched Akira with wary eyes, until he saw a smirk form on Akira’s lips.

“So you’re a lapdog?” Akira saw an opportunity to make Akechi more emotional and perhaps he could get him to blurt out what was interrupted.

“Not even close, I am merely using them like they are using me.” Akechi let out a small chuckle, he circled his finger over his smile, “I’ll be done with them soon.” he seemed to like the thought of that, perhaps because once he is done with them his goal would be too.

“If they're the reason you have this much power, then you’ll be nothing without them.” Akira knew Akechi didn’t like relying on others, so throwing it into his face that he was indeed relying on others should set him off.

But it didn’t, “I’ll be everything without them once I get my reward.” Akechi seemed happy when he thought about his ‘reward’ and it made Akira’s head spin.

“What is this ‘reward’?” Akira asked, not expecting an answer.

There was a pause, the room was only filled with the sound of a clock ticking as the two glared into each other’s eyes, both of them thought about the consequences of what they would say in this room.

Akechi made his decision with a sneer “It’ll be more fun if you know. Things were starting to get boring as the fire in your eyes is dying out, so let’s make this more interesting.” he laid out his thought process, but that wasn’t the only reason he wanted to do this, he was annoyed Akira called him a lapdog and in a way this showed he wasn’t.

“Won’t your master get mad?” Akira mocked him with a small laugh, taunting him even more.

Akechi grumbled lowly as he furrowed his brow “I will be praised and given a place I’ve always deserved once I’ve gotten rid of all you vile creatures!” he snapped, allowing his anger to show.

“Get rid of us..?” Akira asked for clarification without letting his anger seep out, there was just something about the way Akechi talked that infuriated Akira.

“I will force each and every one of you to admit to being a failure by design and seek out the salvation I have carved for you. Admitting you’re wrong, admitting you’re vile creature whose only purpose is to hurt others is the second best thing I could be granted!” Akechi rambled his distorted desires with a content grin on his face.

The words coming out of Akechi’s mouth pissed Akira off even more “Failure by design? What the fuck are you even going on about?!”

“Vampires are inferior, everything about them screams abominable, you have to prey on humans to avoid turning into mindless zombies whose only desire is to harm others out of sadism. That is what vampires truly are, you ARE those things and you’re merely suppressing it because you can’t handle the truth of your purpose! You’re nothing but the definition of evil and you must be extinct!” For the first time there was a glee of joy in Akechi’s eyes as he became exhilarated from expressing his goal.

“You’re literally fucking insane!” Akira jolted up out of his chair despite his ankle being locked to the foot of it, he was absolutely baffled by the words coming out of Akechi’s mouth, but despite how insane they may seem it makes sense he would villainize vampires after his childhood trauma.

Honestly, it took Akira by surprise that it took him this long to put the pieces together, Akechi’s entire motive to betraying Akira was under the guise of ‘curing’ him and perhaps the retaliation only made Akechi more distorted, he could no longer see vampires as people, he saw them as things that needed to be rid, that needed to be fixed and perhaps Akira keeping the fact he was a vampire while the two were together only confirmed to Akechi that they were deceitful devilish beings.

“Insult me as you like, but you know it is true. You’re terrified of becoming one of those things because you know that is what you truly are. Humans avoid death while Vampires avoid becoming monsters, their true selves; which is more flawed? Clearly you, your entire existence is erroneous and the fact that some of you desire to be humans proves that!”

The two were almost at each others throats as they argued over the desk, Akechi tightly gripped Akira’s top as they screamed at each other further.

“You can’t judge an entire race based off of the actions of a few! Humans are very capable of distorting and becoming just as terrifying as a husk, but the worst thing of all is it is actually a choice for humans! You have no reason to hurt others to remain fed, your body doesn’t require that type of function and yet you still manage to become one of the most twisted beings on the planet! Did your childhood not prove that?! That both of us are capable of being evil?!” Akira gritted his teeth after yelling out his words, he had to contain his anger but being this close to Akechi made that difficult.

“Humans can be redeemed while Vampires can never be, it is in your blood and body to be disgusting while it is born and breed into a human's! I can grant you that redemption if you just admit you’re wrong!” Akechi pushed Akira away with a hard thrust as he screamed out his words, anyone nearby could definitely hear them.

“Many humans desire to become vampires too, why would people desire that if your worldview was absolute?! This isn’t a matter of natural selection, you lunatic! People aren’t born equal; what if a vampire child loses their parents to human hunters, would that child be justified in hating them and trying to destroy them all?! Every situation can happen to the both of us, we’re both capable of redemption it doesn’t matter how our bodies operate!”

“That’s rich coming from someone who literally eats people's souls to survive!” Akechi tried to contain his rage by clenching his fists and teeth, but every time Akira talked it pushed him further into an uncontrollable rage.

“I am only like this because of some distorted human trying to play god! This is all your fault! I never would’ve done such things if I didn’t have to, it sickens me that I even have to, but don’t try and act like justice! You’re as much as a murderer as I am! You killed a man who had nothing to do with this and I am certain you have killed others as well! You don’t get to feign innocence here!”

Their fiery argument was interrupted by that guard returning in the room and banging on the wall with a rod, their rage wasn’t settled down by it, but it was halted for a brief moment to take in their surroundings, they had focused entirely on each other while arguing and the realization that there were other people around prickled a bit.

Akechi breathed out heavily and tidied up his hair as a small bit of embarrassment settled in, he was merely moments away from attacking Akira but this stopped him entirely.

Akira pulled his chair closer and sat back down with a sigh, Akechi was beyond movable from his stance and he merely wasted his time trying to reason with Akechi, there were some people who simply couldn’t be changed, Akechi’s obsession with vampires only worsened over the years, maybe it would’ve been better if he died that day, because his existence was quite sad to Akira.

But Akira to a degree did understand where Akechi was coming from, sometimes it’s easier to remain sane by pushing something away and while Akira didn’t judge humans, he did force himself to see them as a necessary food source to remain sane, even with that though Akira could never bring himself to become so bitter towards a race, Akechi was simply being vindictive.

Akechi sat back down as he stared at Akira “You have not changed at all these past 10 years, you still act like vampires hold anything of worth. It’s truly sad you’re that delusional that you think you’re a good person after everything you’ve done.”

“I don’t think I’m a good person! I know I am valuing my life over others, but I don’t live for myself, people rely on me and I can’t just abandon them because I have to do terrible things to survive! You know I would never hurt a soul if I didn’t have to, so don’t try and act like I do this because I’m a sadist, you’ve destroyed absolutely everything for me! How dare you think you can sit there and judge me!” Akira realized his anger was taking over again, he tried to calm himself, even for just a bit, but Akechi’s words cut deep, it was the only thing that consistently upset Akira, always having to admit to it, he could never escape it, even if he suddenly was able to stop it the weight of his actions would remain with him for the rest of his life, he would never be free from what Akechi has forced upon him.

The guard got sick of the arguing again and snapped “Wrap this up already!” he had better things to do instead of babysitting these two.

Akechi glanced at him but then another smug look crossed his face “Your kingdom won’t rely on you for much longer.”

Akira narrowed his eyes as a bitter taste assaulted his tongue “What do you mean?” he asked in a harsh tone.

“Let’s just say.. Hospitals don’t like giving blood bags to vampires, soon they’ll run out and seek other options.” Akechi smirked with another glee in his eye, it was obvious he was referring to his ‘salvation’ from that alone.

“You’ll never convince them to take your side, no matter what it is.” Akira refuted Akechi’s predication, but a little nagging feeling was telling Akira that some may actually be convinced.

“..We don’t have time to discuss this. Unfortunately, our time was cut short but perhaps another time.” Akechi stood up but was stopped by Akira telling him to “Wait.”

“What is it..?” Akechi crossed his arms with another sigh, it was quite obvious he was irritated by it.

“Be honest with me, did you ‘curse’ me on purpose?” Akira has wanted to know that for a very long time, there were multiple things to suggest both ways, but theories could only satisfy someone so much before it reached a craving for an answer, despite the answer Akira’s opinion on Akechi wouldn’t change, the action still happened, regardless of original intent.

“No, I didn’t.” Akechi replied with ease which only made it feel like he was being honest.

Finally getting a straight answer made Akira a bit emotional, he bit back his tears, crying in front of them would be humiliating “So why then..? I never did anything to you to deserve this, I tried so damn hard to make you happy, I did everything I possibly could to preserve it and this is how you repay me..why?” he couldn’t help by murmur pleas but once he released them he pulled himself to gain his composure back and be less emotional about it.

Akechi averted his eyes, was it out of regret or simply annoyance?
“We’re done here.” he didn’t answer Akira’s question and instead left the room with heavy footsteps.

~~~ + ###

“You actually did a good job.” Zeriya said as he patted Yusuke on the back with commandment.

They were heading to the library after some self-defense training, it was a bit difficult as Yusuke wasn’t used to physical confrontation, but he got the hang of it after a little while and started to succeed a bit more.

“Thank you, although I’m quite exhausted..” Yusuke’s body wasn’t used to physical activity, it’s not because he’s lazy, it’s because his body was always weak due to poor diet, as a child, he barely ran around or played sports due to it, in a way it’s a reason why he confided in art, he didn’t have to be physically strong to paint or draw but he found his wrists hurt less with a healthy body.

“That’s to be expected.”

They arrived in the library and sat down at the same table they did the other day, Yusuke had already picked out locations yesterday, so he wasn’t exactly sure why Zeriya wanted to spend time with him further.

“I have a question for you.” Zeriya said as he settled in his seat, the library was dead silent so his movements were amplified.

“Yes?”

“What is it that you actually want? I know we’re going behind Akira’s back with all this ‘queen’ talk and preparation and I have also been pushy with it too..so I was wondering if that is actually what you want and it’s not mere pressure?” Zeriya noticed he never stopped to ask if that is what Yusuke truly wanted, he automatically assumed it must be absolute; in a way it was and while Akira could rule by himself forever the others needed someone else to look up to.

Even if most loved Akira there was always this thought of ‘He’s busy’ or ‘I don’t wish to burden him’ so people allowed their problems be unheard under the guise that they were a bother to him, one person can only handle so much and despite Akira’s adamant attitude towards it, he does crack under the pressure.

In a way, it’s the reason why Zeriya was pressuring Akira to find a mate and create an offspring, Akira’s life was extremely stressful and while a child would amplify that, having a partner to even the burden with would make the kingdoms concerns and Akira’s life a bit better.

“Um..To be honest, I don’t really understand what it means to rule or have authority, I may be optimistic about it, but..I don’t really know what it entails.” Yusuke was a bit reluctant about it, the reason why he even wanted it was to help Akira and that wasn’t a really content reason.

“I understand, but you must know; none of us expect you to suddenly start ruling, it is a slow process and while I do make it seem like it’s..urgent it is better that you slowly ease into it rather than be thrust into it.” Zeriya allowed himself to smile “In other words; I will teach you what in entails over the years and eventually you’ll become it..if that is your wish.”

“..Does Akira even know about this? When I mentioned the idea to him, he seemed..opposed to it.” Recalling their conversation at the manor made it quite clear there was something else to it, whether it be Akira simply wishing to protect Yusuke or a desire to rule alone.

“..He might not like the idea because you’ll have to become a vampire; specifically you’ll have to be turned by him with a ritual that can endanger your life. The ritual is a part of our culture, we simply can’t have a human ruling over us, a human has never ruled over us and it won’t happen simply because of Akira’s situation… The thing about an offspring will have to be analyzed a bit better, but the situation with the queen will not budge.”

“..Why can’t someone else turn me if he’s scared his curse will transfer? I don’t wish to be taught only for him to reject me..that would be pretty humiliating..”

“Because it is a slap to his manhood..it would be extremely embarrassing if he let someone else turn his lover, you form a sacred bond with that person, it’s basically cheating.”

“Then I have absolutely no desires to take that route. H-How about we just focus on getting Akira back before committing to this, you can still teach me things, but I think another time would be better.”

“I am asking you if you want this..we got into too much detail about it, so just answer that.”

“I..” While it may be extremely complicated and they may run into some trouble Yusuke was still willing to give it a shot now that he understands it a bit better and that it won’t be an instant process “I do, I wish to remain with Akira for the rest of my life, even if that means giving up my humanity.”

Zeriya’s lips formed a relieved smile “Then we both understand what our future can entail?”

“Yes, we do.” Yusuke allowed himself a small smile back, Akira meant everything to him, Yusuke didn’t fall in love with people easily, so he knew his relationship with Akira wouldn’t merely fade away no matter what, if Akira was no longer in this world, than Yusuke would remain loyal to him, he didn’t exactly need love in his life, he did go his whole life without it and 6 years without parental love, he only wanted Akira’s love, his mind was set on that man and it wouldn’t be easily swayed.

“Then that settles-” Zeriya was interrupted by two people arguing quite loudly behind the door.

They heard Ann and Ryuji’s voices and soon the door swung open and Ann trotted inside immediately towards Yusuke with concern “Is he alright?!” she grabbed him by the cheeks and circled his head around, checking for fresh wounds.

“I already told you he punched Sugimura not the other way around!” Ryuji shouted, he wasn’t able to convince Ann and has been trying to get her to calm down since.

“I don’t see anything new..” Ann pointed out as she stared at Yusuke’s face, her lips formed a concerned frown as she continued to examine him.

Yusuke was a little uncomfortable, usually when someone was this close to his face, it was Akira and it ended up with a kiss somewhere but he let her ease her own concern.

Ann let go of his cheeks and smiled “He’s not hurt.” she let out a “Phew” and wiped the sweat off her forehead.

“Do you two mind-” Zeriya was immediately interrupted by Ann storming up to him with a pointed finger.

“I leave to do one thing and he’s getting into brawls?! Why didn’t you stop it?!”

Zeriya glanced down at her hand and sighed “He’s not hurt so just settle down.” sometimes Ann’s concern could become a little overbearing and it only amplified with Akira gone.

Ann realized she was overreacting a bit and scratched her cheek nervously “Eheh..Sorry, I just want to keep him safe..”

Ryuji made his way over to Ann and placed his hand on her shoulder “He decked Sugimura pretty good, even gave him a bloody nose.” he grinned, recalling Sugimura’s state.

“Does everyone just universally hate Sugimura or something..?” Yusuke asked as a concerned frown curled his lips, he didn’t understand why everyone was acting like it was a good thing.

“Yes.” All three of them spoke at the same time, there was a slight pause before Ann and Ryuji shared a giggle.

“Zeriya always forces us to team up with him on cleaning crew.” Ann said, she placed her hand on her hip and flipped her pigtail back.

“Can you like stop that now?” Ryuji furrowed his brow as he stared at Zeriya.

“No, he’s good at polishing, he complements your weaknesses quite well.” Zeriya dismissed their pleas quite often, but it was simply an inconvenience to listen to them, Ann was good at dusting and tidying areas while Ryuji was good at scrubbing areas but the two lacked the ability to polish stuff.

“Enough about that jerk. I bought the ingredients you wanted and a little extra but could I cook tonight?” A glee sparkled in Ann’s eyes as she asked kindly.

“NO!” Ryuji’s voice echoed throughout the library like a child who was about to throw a temper tantrum.

They waited for Ryuji’s outburst to ease from their ears before Zeriya spoke, “I don’t see why not.”

“Please don’t let her touch an oven!” Ryuji begged

“Oh come on, I burnt the broth one time! One time!” Ann turned her attention to Ryuji and the two begun to argue.

“You tainted my entire experience with Ramen for a week! Who manages to burn broth?!”

The two were quite loud, causing Yusuke to develop a headache, he glanced at Zeriya and saw a vein almost popping out of his head as he tried to deal with their bickering.

“You’re over exaggerating!”

“Enough you two!” Zeriya raised his voice, “I don’t want to cook tonight anyway, so Ann can, deal with it Ryuji.”

“But-” Ryuji tried to retort, but Zeriya interrupted him.

“No buts, it is decided.”

Ryuji grumbled in defeat, Ann chuckled at him and looped her arm around him as she grinned widely “Just deal with it, Ryuji.” she teased him.

Yusuke couldn’t help but feel some amount of joy simply watching their bubbly personalities collide, it was nice that everyone here wasn’t super serious even in a grim situation like this, watching them cheered him up.

“Ugh..just please don’t burn anything..” Ryuji begged in defeat as Ann poked his cheek with delight.

“I will help her if you’re concerned.” Yusuke said as he got out of his chair, he hadn’t cooked much so this could be interesting.

“Really?” Ryuji’s eyes lit up, he thought Yusuke might’ve been good at cooking and that’s why he suggested it.

“Of course, I would like to take my mind off things anyway.”

Ann immediately let go of Ryuji and basically ran up to Yusuke, pulling him into a tight hug “Ah, you’re so sweet! Let’s cook up a storm!”

Yusuke was baffled Ann hugged him, perhaps everyone in this household was handsy once they started warming up to you, he remembered Akira displaying concern with that but despite not knowing Ann extremely well the hug was quite nice, it wasn’t as soothing as Akira’s but it was nice nevertheless.

Although he didn’t know what to do, so he just stood there but she didn’t seem to mind his lack of a reaction, she stepped back and placed her hands on his upper arms “On tonight's menu is Sea Bream, do you think you can handle fish?”

“Uh..Sure.” The reality that Yusuke was cooking started to settle in a bit and he became a little nervous.

~~~

Ann and Yusuke made dinner and..it turned out to be a complete disaster, they didn’t descale the fish properly, they didn’t remove all the bones, Yusuke gagged when they cleaned the guts out, although it did give him an idea for a potential painting and they had to prepare so many fish to feed everyone, the more they did it the better they got but the damage was already done.

Whoever cooks everyday Yusuke felt sorry for, it seemed to be Zeriya but the real reason why they had to make so much was to actually raise morale, having a feast together after the morning incident and not being able to find anything helped morale, people’s hope was starting to dwindle and little things like these could bring it back up.

Yusuke got a few compliments and applauds from unfamiliar faces and Ann got teased by Ryuji relentlessly, but some others noticed that and made sure to applaud her as well so she didn’t feel too bad about it.

It was more about the effort than the actual meal, after all, they didn’t really need to eat, but bringing everyone together like this felt warm and fuzzy despite the dire situation.

This really was shaping up to be Yusuke’s home and he started to lean towards an answer to the question Zeriya asked about him remaining here without Akira, at first everything was extremely lonely and distant, he didn’t feel like he could or should reach out towards others, their presence and words made dealing with the fact that Akira was missing a little more easier, him not allowing his mind to plague him because he was occupied with something else made it less bitter but he would never stop yearning for Akira.

~~~

Yusuke returned to Akira’s room that night and tightly hugged Akira’s pillow as he tried to drift off into a slumber, today cheered him up a bit so sleep came a bit more natural than it had recently, Akira’s scent still remaining on the pillow eased him too, he started to wish Akira had taken something from him instead of giving Yusuke his tie, Akira must be extremely lonely, so much more than Yusuke felt and merely the thought almost brought Yusuke to tears.

Chapter Text

Akira was forced to return back to the prison the same way he got out, he was half expecting Akechi to come in here to finish off their chat, but he didn’t, resulting in Akira thinking back on their argument.

While Akechi rambled on about his desires, he never said how’d he’d achieve his goal, it was probably along the lines of the same thing he did to Akira or maybe it was simply killing all vampires, but if that is what they wanted why continue to leave vampires a secret?

There was something else to this and Akira couldn’t exactly figure out what it is. Akechi said he’d be praised for it so he’d probably receive the credit for causing extinction to vampires, but people barely knew they existed so how could anyone praise him?

Akechi’s goal just seemed very childish and bitter, he wanted to be upheld as a hero and yearned for positive attention, he probably wanted to prove to the world he wasn’t a ‘useless’ orphan anymore, he wanted to prove people wrong, that all the people who denied and declared him as insane for begging and pleading them to understand his parents were murdered by vampires wrong, that he was right all along.

The more Akira tried to understand Akechi’s current life the more it appeared depressing, it’s quite obvious he’s the one being used, he wouldn’t be given that reward he craves and the fact Akechi didn’t notice that boggled Akira’s mind..or perhaps Akechi knew deep down but couldn’t stop because there was no other purpose in his life.

But despite all that what he was doing wasn’t justified, he had completely lost his mind and was pretty comparable to the monsters he hated so much, if his life continued down this path then he would resemble a human husk.

Akira felt a little bit stupid for getting emotional when he asked Akechi the truth, he didn’t want to show any of these people he had a weakness, it would be better for him if they continued to label him as a strong, menacing, emotionless vampire who was only savage, but this was really starting to get to him.

He started to stress over his food again, he hadn’t been fed any blood, he hadn’t been fed anything and doubts started to prick in, what if Akechi asked about another royal family so he could replace him..?

It being a personal matter did cloud Akechi’s mind and if he could replace Akira his goal could be achieved easier and with less stress, Akira was starting to believe he made the wrong decision in telling Akechi that, that agreeing to a deal with Akechi in the first place was the wrong idea.

A lonely, prickling sensation filled Akira’s stomach as he started to lose hope, that he would never get to see Yusuke again.

He hugged his knees and buried his face in them, all he wanted was to hear Yusuke’s voice again, to be given the reassurances that he wasn’t someone who should be treated like this, he was hoping the only reason why Akechi’s words cut deep was because of his hunger, but deep down he knew it was that brooding amount of remorse and guilt that would always live inside of him crawling back up.

Akira’s confidence was starting to crack, the thought that he didn’t deserve to live started to creep up again and intertwine around him like a prickly thorn, the thought that maybe this treatment was deserved danced and trickled down his skin, causing him to shiver but before his mind destroyed him further with that plague he heard the cell door open.

He looked up, his vision was blurry and it took a moment for it to regain vision and what he saw almost made him gulp.

He saw 4 unfamiliar faces, 3 males, 1 female, all in some type of military uniform, Akechi was nowhere to be found and while he didn’t exactly want to see Akechi’s dumb face either this made him shiver with a sense of uncertainty, he knew to a degree what Akechi would do to him, but he had no idea what these people would do which only made his stomach sink with anxiety.

Akira’s fear started to seep out and he tried desperately to hold it back, showing them he was scared would only crave their sadistic behaviour, he told himself he shouldn’t automatically assume they were like Akechi, that guard in the office seemed..to a degree aware of Akira’s discomfort so maybe they weren’t all interested in physical violence, he was able to hold back his fear while telling himself that.

They approached Akira without making a vocal noise, their footsteps echoed very loudly in the prison.

“W-What do you want..?” Akira asked as they got closer, although he couldn’t keep the uncertainty out of his voice.

But he was only replied with snickers and chuckles of amusement as they gagged him with another cloth, the taste of it was much more foul than the previous one, Akira didn’t know what it was, it was so gross he hadn’t even tasted something quite like it, but it was probably to deter him from trying to bite, two of the men held him down on the ground roughly by his shoulder as the other two replaced his binds once again.

Akira did squirm a bit and he felt his strength be much more weaker than the first day here, he started to feel like a helpless human, like what he tried to help Yusuke understand, he started to dwell on that, believing maybe he was a bit harsh in trying to make Yusuke understand the strength disparity between humans and vampires, but he felt like it was an important topic to teach Yusuke, but now he had a better understanding of the weak part of it and he didn’t like it at all.

They looped that animal control pole around his neck and almost choked him with it, they roughly pulled him to his feet and shoved him out of the prison.

Akira was really starting to get worried now, they hadn’t blindfolded him or used that shock collar like before, maybe Akechi wanted to talk to him again and couldn’t be bothered with all the preparation because he knew Akira was weak..or wasn’t getting out of here.

They led him down a corridor, the brick walls remained grey out here, but the floor was replaced with white tiles, what he felt under his feet before, the corridor felt pretty haunting, it had barely any colour and the lights were awfully bright..or that could just be Akira being far too used to dark rooms now.

Suddenly he was thrown down onto the floor with his back arched at the end of the corridor, his face was pushed into the cold tiles by a rough hand, he clenched his teeth, trying to get used to the pain of being slammed into solid objects, his breathing turned into a pant and that overwhelming amount of uncertainty washed over him.

“You enjoy these things, right?” A male voice shot out towards Akira’s ear “Look over there.” the hand gripping Akira’s head forced his head at an angle where his cheek touched the floor, but what he was forced to see made him gulp.

He saw 3 dead rats lying on the ground nearby his face, one was decapitated and their lifeless bodies were covered in blood, blood pooled on the ground where they lay, the odor was pungent, not only was it blood, but it was also their unhygienic and bacteria filled fur.

Akira’s stomach felt a bit sick, he didn’t like seeing dead animals, even if they were rats, he didn’t even like seeing dead humans, but one was required if he wanted to live.

“You love this shit, don’t you?” another male voice teased him, Akira felt another person hold him down with the pole.

“..N-Nnh..” The cloth in Akira’s mouth made him unable to talk, but his face contorted with disgust and he closed his eyes tightly, kind of wishing he remained in that prison.

“No! You don’t get to look away!”
Akira heard a female voice say with a stern tone, she gave the thumbs up and Akira was pushed towards it.

Akira’s eyes immediately snapped open and his nose almost touched one of them before they stopped, blood smeared onto his cheek, the smell was unbearable and his eyes began to tremble with stress.

He started to squirm and tried to get free, he couldn’t handle this torment anymore, his mind was becoming fragile and it was starting to show, they only wanted to tease him and the fact Akira tried to tell himself they weren’t as bad as Akechi made his heart sting with despair.

“Hey, you know what that weird taste is?” The woman’s face appeared in Akira’s sight as she placed her finger over her lips, “It’s the rats.”

They began laughing at Akira as he choked and coughed, trying to remove the cloth from his mouth, his body shivered with disgust as the taste of bile danced on his tongue, his stomach spun as the realization settled in that he couldn’t remove it, he squirmed with more force, desperately trying to get free but they simply held his weak body down.

“Do they taste nice?” one of the males laughed with distorted amusement.

“Their rotting bodies must taste good to someone like you!”

Their taunts were beyond callous, but they didn’t give a damn, they loved watching Akira tremble with disgust.

Akira’s body couldn’t take it anymore more and neither could his mind, his body convulsed with disgust and forced him to puke out stomach acid, it caught onto the cloth, so vomit dripped out of his mouth, he felt the liquid touch him and if he had food in his stomach he would’ve puked from that sensation alone.

It was humiliating, it was dehumanizing and absolutely demoralizing, the fact he actually thought they could be different made a bubble of insane laughter stir in his stomach, his mind begun to crack as their tormenting acts ripped every bit of confidence and pride he had left.

He choked on a sob and he couldn’t stop his eyes from tearing up, his dignity was beginning to rip, he felt so humiliated and all he could do was cry and beg for it to stop.

“What do you think you’re doing?” A sharp, familiar voice rang out towards the group.

There was a brief relaxation in the hand shoving Akira’s face into the floor as they turned their attention to it despite that Akira still couldn’t move his head very well so he just decided to close his eyes tightly.

He would allow the sweet embrace of periodic unconsciousness take hold of him just to escape this humiliation if he could, but the disgusting smells mixing together and creating something even more foul made that arduous, every time he became aware of what was in his mouth pulled him right back to reality only to haunt him further.

“You’re not the only one who's allowed to have fun with him, Akechi.” A prickling voice with a hint of annoyance replied back.

A few of them snickered, probably looking at what they had done to Akira with delight, their behaviour was pretty disgusting, but if you hate something enough, you stop thinking about the morality of it all, you would have to be that kind of person to want to imprison and allow torture and probably hunt vampires too.

To a degree, Akira started to compare himself to them, he wasn’t innocence by no means and he didn’t believe he was, but he couldn’t do this to another person, even Akechi; kill them, yes, but to humiliate and torment them? No.

“Well, I need his blood, so I’ll be taking him from you.” Akechi came closer and almost seize Akira from them “The fact that you let him out to do something as silly as this is pretty dangerous.”

“There’s 4 of us, we’re fine.”

They let go of Akira and he was pulled to his feet, he stumbled due to his quivering body and still closed eyes, he didn’t want to open them, to see anymore, perhaps it would’ve been better if he did allow himself to sleep.

The cloth in his mouth felt absolutely disgusting and his cheek being covered in a mix of blood and bile made him want to just collapse so he didn’t have to feel it anymore. He was guided back to his prison cell with what they had just done to him sinking in deeper and in a way that traumatized him.

If Akechi hadn’t intervened, they could’ve done even worse things to him, like trap the rats in his mouth or something, he didn’t want to think about it.

He realized how sad it was that he actually prefer Akechi’s beatings over that, at least with that his dignity wasn’t being torn apart. Maybe they did that to him because he showed a glimpse of his weakness in that office, he didn’t know how they saw it, but gossip probably exists, before that everyone besides Akechi avoided him, they didn’t talk or make any moves, he started to believe the fact he showed another emotion besides anger and hatred made them realize they could get a spark out of breaking him.

Akira was thrown back into the prison and was left alone for a bit, Akechi just placed him inside and left, he didn’t know why, but that didn’t matter.

He immediately ripped the cloth off and out of his mouth and desperately wiped his mouth and cheek with his sleeves, he couldn’t help but tear up as he desperately tried to get the filth off of his body, his sleeves became dirty and seeing them only choked him further, this was absolute torment and the spark of wanting to live that Yusuke managed to build up inside of Akira started to crack.

Akira told himself to never allow another moment of weakness show again, he wasn’t certain if that was the reason this had happened, but showing emotions in general was bad here, they could manipulate it and break him down further if he did.

While Akira was trying to remove his top he heard the cell door open and close again, he glanced up at it and saw Akechi with a bucket and a wet rag, he approached Akira and dropped the bucket filled with water down onto the ground he then handed the rag to Akira without a word.

Akira stared at Akechi for what felt like hours, simply waiting for a smirk to cross his face, but it didn’t come, Akira took the rag off him with caution, he looked at it, wondering if there was any type of weird dangerous chemical on it, but it just felt like water.

He pressed it onto his cheek and it didn’t sting or cause discomfort, it really was water “Why..?” he murmured, this wasn’t exactly ‘kindness’, but he didn’t expect Akechi to do even something like this.

“I don’t exactly want to smell it either.”

Of course it was something that inconvenienced him, Akira almost laughed when he mumbled “Everyone is capable of redemption, huh..?” he was mocking the way he thought, the words he spoke during their argument started to seem bleak, the way Akira thought of things was starting to shake, but he was trying to keep them upright, telling himself it was merely his hunger clouding his mind.

If he thought of it in any other way, then he too would be labelled by his own words, he too would be labelled as someone incapable of redemption.

Akira started to wipe the tainted areas with the rag, even if it was merely soapy water, it was so much better than his dry sleeves that only managed the smear the blood around, but his top was now tainted too and if he really wanted to escape this sickening feeling he would have to change.

“The least you can do is get me a change of clothes. Unless you want the smell to remain of course.” Akira worded his request in a blatant manner, there was a chance Akechi wouldn’t comply, but there wasn’t much harm in asking.

Akechi just kind of grumbled and left the cell again, it relieved Akira a bit, he didn’t exactly want Akechi to watch him clean himself, even if it wasn’t in any exposing areas, although he did question how he would change..his wrists were chained together and so were his ankles, he couldn’t remove his clothing properly like this.

He managed to get it all off, but the taste lingered in his mouth, no amount of brushing or washing could clean out that nauseating taste, not even if he had the proper tools to clean it with, he was in a way, hoping they were only lying to mortify him and the revolting flavour was simply something else, but he didn’t want an answer either way.

Akechi return, the echoing sounds of the room due to movement sounded much more dull than usual, maybe it was due to Akira’s exhaustion.

Akechi placed down two towels and a change of clothes, it was the same uniform Akira had on but at least it was clean and the towels looked to be soft and clean as well, seeing these necessities made Akira question if he was actually being held in someone's house or at least where some people slept, what he saw of it didn’t make it feel like a home, but he could be in the basement.

“How can I..change exactly?” Akira asked while gesturing his head towards the chains.

Akechi let out a sigh, “You’re really annoying.. I should’ve just left you in your own vomit.”
Of course Akechi would use this in a way to make jabs at Akira, but he didn’t really feel them.

Akira just felt numb after the initial shock, while Akechi’s remark would’ve pissed him off previously he didn’t really care right now, all he wanted was comfort and that wouldn’t come.

Akechi kneeled down in front of Akira and grabbed his wrist “If you try anything I won’t hesitate to go after Yusuke again, do you understand?” his tone was threatening and Akira knew Akechi didn’t exactly have a problem with being cruel to people who disagreed with him so he just responded with a brief nod.

Akechi pulled out a key and pushed it into the keyhole in the cuff “Even if you kill me the others don’t have a problem with killing humans either, so unless you want the same treatment you’re feeling right now to happen to Yusuke, I suggest you don’t even let it cross your mind.” after speaking he waited for Akira to nod again before continuing.

Akira knew that even if he did make a move nothing good would come out of it, he can’t fight, he barely could even keep his eyes open, making a move would be suicide yet when he noticed he might be able to escape this torment with death, the desire for it started to resurface, but he suppressed it with the assures that there was still a chance to see Yusuke again.

He gave Akechi the awaited nod, there’s no way in hell he’d even risk Yusuke having to feel like this, even if that meant he’d just had to endure it for whatever is left of his hellish life, the torture could get worse, but even if it did, the thought that Yusuke was protected from this darkness was enough to make him endure it.

Akechi twisted the key and unlocked the cuffs around Akira’s wrists, there was a very slight pause, simply waiting for any type of movements, but Akira didn’t move, he decided to fill the tense air with speech while he undid Akira’s ankle cuffs “I found Yusuke just like you did, I connected his birth certificate to a man named Ichiryusai Madarame and used him for information on your sweetheart and eventually lured Yusuke into a comfort zone in his village once you had been noticed by one of my men.” he spoke as he worked on removing anything that would hinder Akira’s ability to change.

“You talked to Madarame..? What did he say?” Akira tried to distract himself from the urge just to bite Akechi by replying.

“Nothing important.” Akechi stood up as he stared Akira down “You have 5 minutes before I come back, I don’t care if you’re naked or not when I take your blood.” he turned with a squeak of his heel and left the cell with a shudder of the doors poles.

He left with such haste that it kind of put Akira in a perplex, but he didn’t want Akechi seeing him naked so he pulled himself to his feet and started to remove his clothes, he decided to clean the sweat and gunk off his body with one of the provided towels with it covered in soapy water from the bucket, it did sting his wounds, he dried himself with the other one, next he slid on the new, clean prisoner uniform, he felt a little more refreshed after that.

Akechi still hadn’t returned, either he was quick in changing or Akechi was late, he lost his sense of time a while ago.

Akira examined his wrists, they were in pretty bad shape, scrapes and open wounds wrapped around his entire wrist and the worry of infection came in, his body wasn’t in a healthy state, he was prone to infection now and the chance became higher with the way he was being treated.

He also noticed he had lost weight, it was bound to happen, he wouldn’t last very long at the rate, the ligaments in his fingers were starting to crave the sensation of grabbing onto someone while he feasted and his fangs and jaw were starting to ache and cramp, he need a life essence, blood simply wouldn’t satisfy at this point.

The thought of jumping whoever entered his cell did cross his mind, but the threats being held against Yusuke were enough to make him brush the thought off.

Akechi came back and each of his breaths were starting to amplify in Akira’s ears, but merely a moment of trance passed and his binds were back on. Akira did want to keep the dry towel even if it was a bit wet to use as a cushion or blanket due to his spine and backside numbing from discomfort, but asking Akechi that was too much, if anything it displayed weakness again and he was scared to do that.

So he would swallow this torment in the hopes that further torture wouldn’t come. Akira felt his eyelids becoming too heavy and now that he was a bit more comfortable than before sleep could come, his blinks became slower in pace, each blink closed longer than the other as his body begged for them to be remained shut.

As he started to doze off into a slumber, he didn’t exactly want, his body started to drift off, he would’ve fell onto Akechi if he didn’t steady himself, he felt a hand grab his elbow and pulled his listless arm straight, his sleeve was pulled up and he felt a sharp pain sting in the area of his median cubital vein, it pulled him out of his awaiting slumber.

Akira saw Akechi pull the syringe out and placed a cap over the needle, putting it inside his pocket “Perhaps I could have some blood of my own now?” Akira asked, his tired voice gave away his exhaustion, but that was inevitable.

“You don’t get to decide that.” A dismissive answer.

Akira let a soft grumble escape his lips as he asked “Do you even regret doing this? I haven’t exactly given you any reasons to actually hate me..” he recalled that glimpse of aversion in the office when he asked if Akechi cursed him on purpose, maybe he was thinking too far into it, but it felt like there was something there.

“I hate you because you still haven’t learned anything, even after acting like you’re suffering from the fact you’re a murderer. You act as if your mutated body pains you, yet you still carry on; those aren’t the actions of someone in remorse.” Akechi stood up as a glare peeked out, “You act as if I’ve destroyed your life yet you give it a delusional future of happiness. That isn’t a destroyed life, you don’t rot, you don’t yearn and crave for a place in this world. You were born in prosperity and fortune and never had to grovel for a place in this world, you were born into one and you act as if that’s toxic just because you have to kill? Everyone kills because that is how this eat or be eaten world operates, everyone has blood on their hands, even if they believe that dead being is beneath them or lacks sapience and sentience.”

Akira averted his eyes, he didn’t exactly expect a full explanation as to why Akechi hated him, but he got one, Akira did share the thought that he didn’t deserve happiness because of what he was doing, but Yusuke made him stop thinking about that, made him stop questioning and worrying over it, because even if he didn’t deserve happiness he was still alive and living beings crave that regardless of their actions, anything to just nullify the pain for a bit is what a lot of people craved..at least that’s what he told himself.

“Is that what you tell yourself so you can sleep at night..? That everyone murders so it’s okay for us to do it too? If that is the case, then why do you hate vampires? They are just partaking in this ‘eat or be eaten’ world, your prejudice contradicts that mentality.”

“Me trying to eliminate a contestant isn’t a contradiction, it’s my purpose, the only one I was allowed after that night. Proving everyone wrong is the only thing I will gain satisfaction from, everyone who branded me insane will grovel at my feet, begging for forgiveness once I am given that bright place in this world. Ensuring their safety while they sleep, no fear of being attacked by the man or woman whom lured them home that night, they will never have to fear falling in love with one!”

Akechi seized Akira’s top roughly and glared into his eyes “Getting rid of these deceitful being that call themselves vampires will bring humanity into prosperity!”

Akira let out a mocking chuckle “They don’t even know we exist, no one will give a shit. Humans don’t live in fear from us, they only fear themselves. That person who felt scared sleeping that night was because they were forced to live with an abusive father and they didn’t wish to sleep out of fear, that person whom was lured wasn’t lured by a vampire, but by a serial killer who humiliated them before death.” he retorted everything Akechi said with a spin onto it besides the last part “You can’t blame all of humanity's problems and distorted desires onto us.”

A large smirk crossed Akechi’s face “Oh? And what of the fear of falling in love with a vampire? Do you not have anything to say about that?!” he jeered as he expected Akira to remain silent.

It was quite obvious this was personal so Akira wasn’t going to bother hiding what it was about “I lied to preserve your feelings, it wasn’t out of malice, if it was, I wouldn’t of had doubts or tried my hardest to keep you happy. The only time I saw you smile was when I showed you affection, I didn’t wish to break that, I didn’t want you to be hurt that I was the exact same thing that killed your parents...so I hid it, so I never had to risk causing you pain or ambivalence.”

Akechi clenched his teeth and jerked Akira back “Don’t lie to me! If you gave a fuck about me, you would’ve accepted becoming human!”

“So I have to give up who I am to love a human? We don’t have to be the same to want to grant each other happiness.” Akira remained calm despite Akechi’s shouting and physical confrontation, he didn’t really have the energy to get angry, but he probably would’ve been able to remain calm while talking about this even if he did, because this was something engraved into him.

Akechi threw Akira back with a thrust “Humans and vampires can’t be together, they can’t grant each other happiness, they ARE enemies!” he shouted with a clenched fist.

“If that is the case; why did you stay with me after finding out what I was? I know you noticed eventually, but you didn’t react so I was lured into a sense of security before you attacked, was that on purpose?”

Akechi’s eyes widened for a second before his eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed in anger “Of course I did it on purpose! I never wanted to be with you once I found out!!” his hair almost frizzled as a brooding amount of anger took hold of him.

Akira hadn’t seen him this angry before, he must’ve hit another hidden nerve.

But before Akechi went on a rampage, he stormed out of the cell, the slam of the cell door echoed in Akira’s ears with a sting it was that loud, the bars screamed with the same anger Akechi felt and it took awhile for them to settle down.

Akira felt perplexed after that exchange, but he got the hunch that Akechi would return.

~~~ + ###

Yusuke heard sounds of movement as he woke up from his slumber, someone was in the room and it made him a bit paranoid, he waited and heard it again so he pushed himself up and rubbed his eye to clear some of his vision.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

He saw Zeriya placing down letters on Akira’s desk, he relaxed at the sight of something familiar “You didn’t..I was waking up anyway.” he yawned, allowing his body to wake up even more.

His gaze reached the letters and Zeriya noticed it “It’s a habit to bring them in here. I’ll leave you be.” and with that Zeriya left the room.

Yusuke pressed his lips together and let out a small groan, he reached for his pants that had been on the floor due to waking up in a cold sweat from nightmares in the middle of the night, he didn’t recall what they were about, but they were bad enough to shake him.

He felt something hard underneath the fabric of his pants under his thumb as he pulled it onto the bed, he slid his hand into his pocket, hoping nothing would pop out and bite him, he pulled out the unsuspected object and he realized what it was while looking at it.

It was the button Akira had given him a long time ago, he forgot it even existed due to the fact that he never actually had to use it, how did it even work? Was there an alarm in Akira’s room or was it some sort of alarm he kept on him? Not wanting to hear any loud noises or wishing to find out Yusuke put it back into the pocket.

Things..still weren’t looking good, they hadn’t found a single clue as to where Akira was being held. Yusuke couldn’t even draw or paint to keep his mind off it, he was unable to convey anything, after understanding how to put emotion into his work, his current emotions actually started to intervene with his ability to draw.

It was a good thing, but also a bad thing, he remembered while living with Madarame his ability to draw didn’t dwindle often, only in extreme cases of anxiety, a bitter taste touched his tongue once he realized that every single painting he had kept at his old home was now gone, all of his progression...

He would never find anything about his parents, Akechi destroyed the chance of maybe finding out why Yusuke’s blood fixed Akira’s skin and he couldn’t help but hate Akechi for everything.

At first, he didn’t really want to judge Akechi too harshly, as Yusuke did react to finding out Akira was indeed a vampire in a bad manner as well, but that reasoning had become lost under pain. Yusuke didn’t really know what he’d do if he saw Akechi again, but he had the hunch he’d react in a similar way Akira did.

Brushing off those thoughts, he got prepared for the day.

~~~

Once Yusuke had left the room, he was greeted by Ann giving him coffee and biscuits on the main floor “I’m sorry about yesterday's dinner..eheh..” she let out a nervous giggle while scratching the back of her head with a slightly trembling hand.

Yusuke facial expression turned into a mix of confusion and forgiveness “You don’t have to apologize to me. It was..interesting, a new take on the art world.” he reminisced about it, he actually enjoyed cooking and was hoping that maybe one day he could cook for Akira.

“Hey..” Ann folded her arms as her voice became more soft “Could..I asked you some advice?”

“Me..?” Yusuke blinked as perplex took hold of him, he would’ve pointed at himself with a tilt of his head if he wasn’t holding coffee and biscuits.

“Mm, how do I make a human not think I’m bad just because I have to drink blood..?” Ann averted her eyes briefly as a light flush formed on his cheeks “I mean...I know I accepted the lack of contact with them when I decided to stay by Akira’s side, but...there’s this girl I like and I want her to like me too, but..while knowing what I am.”

“Do you love her?” Yusuke asked quite blatantly, but he didn’t really mean to imply it, it was merely a question.

“Eh..!” Ann’s cheeks grew redder “N-No b-but...it could bloom into that if she accepts me.” she touched her chest “Ngh..you’ve embarrassed me now.” she pouted.

“I believe most..reasonable humans are willing to accept the blood drinking, but..when you start killing things that starts to blur the line.” talking about this reminded Yusuke of Akira, to a degree it was about Akira, everything here managed to lead back to him in some form, every conversation or action led back to Akira in some way at least..in Yusuke’s heart it did.

Pretty much everything he did was led back to Akira, always a thought of ‘I hope I can do this with Akira one day’ or ‘I wish to do this for Akira one day’ Akira just had such an impact on Yusuke’s life that he couldn’t get him out of his head, even when he thought he was distracted by it, it crept in.

“W-Well, I’ve never killed anybody, so there’s a chance she’ll accept me?!” Ann seemed excited and hopeful and because of that Yusuke started to realize this was something they always had to deal with.

Telling the wrong person was such a fear engraved into them that they would simply prefer to avoid humans or ignore their feelings of wanting friendship or unrequited love; the mansion vampires seemed much more fearful of it than the manor though, but...now with Akira deciding on picking criminals they could start up their interaction again.

“Yes, there’s a chance. If I can accept Akira with that large of a baggage, then I’m sure she can accept you with the smaller one.” obviously there was a big difference between her and Akira, and while Yusuke was merely talking from the heart, he did believe other people were capable of accepting their differences.

Ann almost cheered as a large smile took hold of her face “I’ll tell her I wanna be friends once Akira is back!” she waved her hand in front of Yusuke, almost jumping from excitement “Deal?”

Yusuke looked at it, realizing his hand situation, he shoved the biscuits in his mouth and took her hand and gave it a shake “Dnnhl.” a brief nervous smile curled his lips as he tried to keep the biscuits in.

Ann let out a laugh, she wiped the tear that had formed in her eye from her giggles “I guess that’s one way to get you to eat.” she smiled.

Yusuke just gave a nod as he chewed the biscuits, his mouth was overloaded with them, but he didn’t want to spit it out, even if he might suffocate.

~~~

Yusuke wanted to go into the garden, he hadn’t since showing Akira his painting and that place was also special to him, the garden has always been beautiful and his inspiration to draw boils the most in there.

He didn’t have much to do today, Zeriya didn’t ask for him, Ryuji was on another search and Ann had to go out again to buy ingredients, even if Yusuke was eating at a slower rate it felt like the food dwindled quickly, maybe it has always been like this or it could be due to the search team just wanting to relax with a comfy or sweet meal before heading back out.

Either way Yusuke had free time and he decided to spend it on observing the flowers, he saw the Blue Hydrangea flower bush and had the urge to go over to them, so he did, listening to his body's wants.

He kneeled down and touched them, his fingers caressed the soft petals, it was almost therapeutic.

“Should...I come at another time?”
Yusuke heard a soft, unfamiliar voice and jumped, he was too focused on the flowers to hear anyone come in here, he turned his head to see them.

He saw a girl with chin-length curly light auburn hair, she wore a blue collar dress with white stocking, but the most outlandish feature was her red eyes.

Yusuke had almost forgotten the fact powerful vampires had red eyes, only Akira and Zeriya had them so he was surprised to see another person with them, maybe he hadn’t noticed her, but he hasn’t seen this girl before.

“N-No, it’s quite alright.” Yusuke replied, but the surprise could be heard in his voice, he noticed she had gardening equipment and understood what was going on; she tended the garden while Akira was gone.

Maybe Zeriya’s too busy to do it so he got this woman to do it, but her presence was off-putting, especially those eyes, it would be rude to ask why or how she has them, so Yusuke just decided to leave, he didn’t want to disturb her while she was tending the garden, even if his sudden departure could be seen as strange.

~~~

Ryuji had returned from the search and looked for Yusuke, he wanted to show him something he had found, even if it wasn’t really a clue he thought it might cheer Yusuke up a bit.

Yusuke heard the library door open, but he didn’t pay much attention to it, he decided he should read a book on how to treat wounds big and small..because if they did find Akira alive he wouldn’t be in a good condition.

Yusuke had devoted these current days on improving everything about himself, his knowledge, his strength and his ability to talk to others, he always had the desire to do it, but time zoomed by and now that he had nothing else to do because he couldn’t muster the drive to do his previous plans, he decided to start doing this.

He sat on one of the bean bags in the corner of the library because his neck got sore reading on the table, but he felt the presence of someone come closer to him and peeked over the book.

“Hey, I found something interesting today.” Ryuji said as he stopped in front of Yusuke, a necklace swayed in his hand.

It was the necklace Akira gave Shinya, but neither one of them knew that, Yusuke was given vague information about Shinya and never saw the necklace before and Ryuji wasn’t even there.

“Looks like someone lost it, it’s a bit dirty, but it looks like something Akira would buy.” Ryuji explained as he pointed at the necklace with his other hand.

“Mm, it does.” Yusuke closed his book because it’d be rude if he read it while Ryuji talked to him, he set it in his lap and got a better look at the necklace “Where did you find it?” he asked with a bit of curiosity.

“The halfway point between the manor and mansion, so it’s probably not related to us, but it’s pretty neat.”

Yusuke was a little amazed they were searching that far out, the locations were pretty far apart, they looked smaller on maps “I wouldn’t say it isn’t related..” he laid out his opinion with a touch of his chin.

“How? It’s too far out.”

“Yes, but people running away don’t exactly stay in the location they ran from...that’s why it’s called running ‘away’. It could be related to the-..” Yusuke’s words trailed off into silence, he remembered the guy who attacked Akira at the ball, talking to him at the manor...he sighed, realizing he was deceived again.

Ryuji noticed the sudden look of worry on Yusuke’s features, “What’s up?” he asked.

“N-Nothing.. I was just going to say it could be related to the other missing vampires.” Yusuke fiddled with the book, trying to figure out why that guy talked to him, he seemed pleased once he got Yusuke’s full name, Yusuke never thought giving out his name would be important, but things were showing him otherwise.

“It could be.. Hey, let’s go ask Zeriya.” Ryuji grabbed Yusuke’s wrist and pulled him up out of the bean bag.

Yusuke was perplexed by the sudden nature of Ryuji’s grab and because of that he allowed Ryuji to pull him out of the library.

Ryuji led him to an office and pulled him inside, his movements were too quick for Yusuke which caused him to stumble, however he steadied himself once he realized he was in a new environment.

“What do you two want?” Zeriya noticed them before they noticed him, he wasn’t exactly happy they barged in without even a knock first.

Ryuji placed the necklace on the desk and let Yusuke go “Does this belong to any of the vampires that deserted the manor?” he asked as a small hopeful glee sparked in his eyes.

Zeriya examined it carefully, it almost felt too long “No, I’ve never seen it.” he reached out and picked it up, rotating it for a better look “It does look like something Akira would buy though..”

“Eh?! So that means he secretly gave one of them a necklace?!” Ryuji blurted out without any thought.

Yusuke’s eyes lowered as he folded his arms, his facial expression sullened, he didn’t want to consider what they could possibly imply.

Zeriya noticed Yusuke’s discomfort and sighed at Ryuji’s lack of awareness “No, Akira’s eyes are only set on one person.” he tried to figure out who’s necklace this was when the answer thrust into his mind, his eyes widened slightly at the realization “I remember Akira being concerned for a missing child when I informed him, this could be it’s.”

Ryuji raised his eyebrow “it’s?” he asked with an unblinking expression.

“Sorry, I do not mean to offend, but I don’t know the child at all.. Wait.” Zeriya opened one the drawer and pulled out some paper with such haste it dazed Ryuji, his eyes scanned every inch of the page before speaking again “Shinya Oda is his name, human, aged 14. Does this ring any bells?”

Yusuke touched his lip, trying to remember his previous conversations with Akira “Yes, Akira mentioned that name before..” the sullen feeling eased in Yusuke once he grasped the situation.

“It must be his but-..” Zeriya cut himself off, he wanted to talk to someone about this privately, Ryuji had the tendency to blurt things out so saying it in front of him was an issue.

“Well, I guess Yusuke can keep it now.” Ryuji crossed his arms with a small grin “We’ll re-search that area too.”

“..That sounds good.” Zeriya’s tone was strange, Yusuke noticed it but Ryuji seemed oblivious.

“Welp, I’ma go drink some blood, getting a bit hungry. Oh!” Ryuji looked like he remembered something and grabbed Yusuke’s sleeve “Come with me, you can check out the vault.”

“Vault..?” Yusuke furrowed his brow in confusion.

“Yeah, it’s like a mega fridge where we store all the blood bags.” Ryuji nodded his head as his grin grew “It’s on the third floor, come on-” Ryuji was interrupted by the sound of Zeriya jolting out of his chair.

“No!-..Ryuji..you mustn't of been here, but I’ll be personally handing out the bags, no one is allowed in the vault.” Zeriya quickly fixed his tone into something more stern.

Ryuji turned his attention to Zeriya with a big “Huh?!” he scratched his head with an intense amount of confusion taking hold of his features “Why? Is someone stealing again?”

“No. It will be like that until Akira returns, so I suggest you look harder if you want it to normalize again.”

“Aw man..!” Ryuji whined.

Zeriya glanced up at the clock “It’s time to go out on another search, you can eat once you’ve gotten back.”

Ryuji looked like he was about to argue the point, but he merely sighed with a nod “Alright...Seeya Yusuke.” he left the room with slouched shoulders.

It was a bit awkward, so Yusuke was about to leave when Zeriya spoke again “I would like to discuss something with you.” he said as he walked around his desk and moved closer to Yusuke.

“Yes?”

Zeriya’s eyes averted for a second before speaking “The situation is becoming more dire.”

Yusuke’s facial expression turned inquisitive “What do you mean?” he was worried about what that could imply.

With a long, drawn out sigh and straightening up his shoulder Zeriya shot a glance towards the paper he was previously looking at “It’s better if I show you.” he went back over to his desk and rummaged through the drawer until he pulled out a letter and gave it to Yusuke.

Yusuke took it with care, his eyes lowered and scanned the note, his expression turned more confused once he finished reading “A hospital?” he clarified.

The letter detailed an established deal being cancelled, primary the hospital was withdrawing from the exchange of providing blood bags to Akira, however the letter was very informal, any respectable establishment wouldn’t dare to write something like this to Akira.

“It’s strange, yes? It’s not necessarily odd one would cancel, but the letter is so informal I feel as if they probably had a gun to their head as they wrote it, regardless of that, the letter is telling the truth...and it’s not the only one.” Zeriya crossed his arms with another sigh, “We only have 2 hospitals sending us supplies…” his facial expression displayed a flash of worry before returning to deadpan.

“Is that why you won’t let them get their own blood; because they’ll notice?”

“Yes, if they find out they’ll only worry. We have a week's supply, we barely have any stock due to it being needed at the manor, there’s significantly less people here so we require less, but I can see the remaining hospitals withdrawing too. You understand what this means, right?”

Yusuke averted his gaze as he frowned “You’ll..have to find food elsewhere..” this situation only seemed to get worse, but Yusuke wasn’t sure why Zeriya was entrusting him with this information.

“Exactly. We must find Akira before it comes to that point and because of that you’ll be allowed to help us search now, I implore that you do.” Zeriya’s tone almost held a hint of desperation in it.

“I don’t mind, my injuries don’t hurt anymore.” Yusuke tried to give him a reassuring smile, it was difficult because he too didn’t know how this would play out, a looming future was heading their way and Yusuke couldn’t help but feel Akechi was the reason for it.

“There’s another thing.” Zeriya’s gaze turned more apologetic “Akira’s..last order to me was to search for the traitors, however...the situation has become more dreadful, I’m starting to feel like we should give up on them and put all of our efforts into finding Akira.” a small frown crossed his lips.

“..But a child is missing..” Yusuke’s worry escaped his lips before he even noticed it.

“I need your opinion; not one filled with emotion, but one with reasoning. Should we continue searching for the others?” Zeriya’s body language displayed his assertion, his eyes almost pierced into Yusuke as he waited for him to answer.

“Uh..” Yusuke’s face took on a pensive look as he tried to articulate his opinion “I believe that..if we find them, we’ll also be finding Akira in a way, they could lead us to him and then be punished later.” he ran his hand down the back of his head nervously, ruffling his hair, “At least that’s what I hope.”

“Hm..it sounds wise enough. Plus, if I disobeyed Akira’s order I’d be better off dead.” Zeriya let a chuckle escape his lips with a small smile.

“Eh? Akira punishes you?”

“No, but he might throw dirt on me again.”

Yusuke remembered it, where he started to honestly question if they were bad people, a chuckle escaped his lips as he reminisced in the memory.

Brushing off the more light-hearted memories Zeriya glanced up at the clock “The next search will be in two hours, I’ll teach you a few things in those hours.”

Yusuke gave a slight nod, after all he hadn’t done much today, so the chance made him a bit excited.

~~~ + ###

Akira fell asleep using the more dry towel as a pillow but his rest was disturbed by hard kicks to his stomach and face, once he figured out what was happening he felt the pain.

A few guards decided to disturb Akira’s sleep with violence, kicks, punches, yanking him, he just lay there, trying to endure the pain and keep his whimpers to himself, despite trying his hardest to not show a reaction, they started to seep out the longer it happened, he thought they might’ve got bored by now but they didn’t, taking their precious time to cause him agony.

As throbbing pain convulsed through his body, he thought about Yusuke and his home, his kin waiting and calling out to him to not give up, but as time passed those memories, that assurance, started to fade away.

His mind distorted the thoughts as his body begged for the paralyzing pain to stop, he started to believe they were his punishers, the men and women who laughed as their hatred for what he was poured out, they punished him for his everlasting sin, for all the lives he took to preserve his own, deep down he knew they weren’t his punishers because they too deserved to be punished.

“Do you like the taste of your own blood?!”
Their taunts echoed in the prison cell and so did his inevitable cries.

Akira was given refreshment before, a new pair of clothes and a somewhat clean body, enough refreshment to doze off, but it was ripped away from him, everything was ripped away, they doused him in the bucket of water Akechi left out of negligence, his once dry and somewhat comfy clothes now stuck and stung his body as his open wounds soaked up the soapy water.

They gagged him with his previous uniform sleeves, the foul taste assaulted his tongue and suppressed his cries, his tears of pain poured out and dripped, soaking in whatever caught them.

He shielded his head as a foot stomped mercilessly onto it, his fingers bruised and scraped and fragments of his nails chipped off, he thought that maybe his feet would be spared, but they proved him wrong, cutting the soles of his feet with pocket knives so every step screamed out in pain.

Akira couldn’t handle it anymore, but it wasn’t a choice, his body started to be taken over by a numbing sensation, pins and needles coursed through his body as his hearing became numb, any sound his torturers made were muffled and his voice only came out in a mere quiver.

As his eyelids became too heavy to bear, he heard the sound of a whip, he wanted this darkness to take him, to just be embraced by unconsciousness, but he felt his top be forced up and for the first time he actually panicked, he didn’t want them to see the scar on his back, he didn’t want them to see his body, only Yusuke was allowed, so he fought back, he had a fear of his body not being covered to a degree, it was due to the sun, even if it wasn’t in the room the fear was deep inside of him, engraved in him, his skin being exposed made him feel valuable.

Akira’s struggles didn’t hold any strength, his body was broken and he couldn’t stop them, he cried as he begged them to stop, but they didn’t listen, hitting his exposed back with the whip, for some reason, the pain hurt more than anything else.

Time passed and his lack of a reaction begun to upset them, they got sick of it and gave up, they left the cell once they realized they weren’t going to get anything else out of him, they were satisfied with it though, they would allow his body to heal only to do it all over again.

Akira lay there as his lifeless eyes stared at nothing in particular, his breathing erratic, he couldn’t cry anymore, his eyes stung with his despair as his vision blurred, he was punished for sleeping so he wouldn’t do it again, he knew he shouldn’t of slept from the beginning, but he got too comfortable.

Was this the life he was going to have to bare with until the bitter end? He craved death.

Everything Yusuke had worked hard to build up inside Akira shattered one by one, the undeserved life’s thorns, no longer pricked, they dug in deep and he would allow the remedy to take hold of him.

Suicide..was never an option for Akira, it is why he referred to his attempt at the manor ‘weak’, no matter what he felt his kin would pull him out of it, whether that be harsh words, physically stopping him or words that managed to give him hope, it was impossible for him to do it, no matter what he felt, but now..? He could die without them stopping him.

Because everyone here wanted him to die and suffer, there would be no sweet words or harsh realities being crammed down his throat, he could allow death's embrace to take him and utter words of freedom here.

But even when he told himself freedom could come Yusuke and the smiles he manages to cause plagued his mind “Stay out!” he shouted as he grabbed his hair, his eyes trembled with stress as the memories of his happiness assaulted his mind.

“No-..stay away!” Because you can’t return.
“I can’t-” his voice cracked under his stress.
“You can’t-” his voice trailed off into a cough as his lungs begged him to shut up.

Why do they always come back to stop him from giving up?
Why can’t they just let him go?
Why can’t he just give up?

Because despite everything his will to live still remained lit, it had become dull, but it was still enough for his mind to remind him he had a life outside of his torment, all the promises he made to Yusuke would be destroyed if he allowed the darkness to take him, the promise to his people and to his parents would mean nothing if he gave up on them.

The moment he was born, he was given a purpose and that purpose had stayed with him through all the hardships, it wasn’t enough to make him happy, but it was enough to force himself to move on forward, despite the amount of guilt that plagued him that purpose never stopped being there, and now, he had Yusuke; two of those things clashed and developed a life worth fighting for.

Akira curled up into a ball as he murmured “Why..?” over and over again, he placed his bruised hands over his chest, his heart, and felt the slow beat as he hoped to feel Yusuke’s again “..Forgive me..”

~~~

Akira sat up and nursed his wounds to distract himself from his frazzled mind, his hunger was at its max, if he wasn’t fed a life essence, he would turn, but his withdrawal felt numb due to his body's state, but soon it will creep up into his mind and that’s where it hurts the most.

He heard the cell door open and there was a flicker of hope that it was his victim to eat, even if they only fed him to heal his body and tortured him again, he hoped it was food, anything to not become a husk, but..it wasn’t.

Akechi approached him with a smug look on his face “Wow, it looks like someone gave you one hell of a beating.” he wasn’t involved in it, Akira’s blood must be really important if he gave up the opportunity.

Akira just remained silent, his throat ached from the lack of moisture and daring to talk might rip his throat.

“Aww.” Akechi kneeled down as he taunted Akira with pitiful noises, he reached out and grabbed Akira by the chin “This pretty face has seen better days.” he chuckled because Akira swatted his hand away with disgust.

“..Don’t..touch me..” Akira’s dry throat could be heard in his voice, but he didn’t really care.

“You’re starting to look like you deserve; dead inside.”

Akira let out a drained sigh “Why are you so blind..? It’s obvious they are only using you..” he always felt like Akechi was...smart, even if he doesn’t like to admit it now, it baffled Akira that he thought he would get praise.

“I am using them in return. Anything that stands in my way will be used or rid, it doesn’t surprise me that you think using people is wrong.” Akechi’s gaze turned into an accusing glare, “After all, you never had to.” his tone was full of distaste.

“You won’t get anything out of this. Unless..every village and town is suddenly informed of our existence you won’t be praised by anyone, because there’s no one to praise you.” To a degree Akira was trying to convince Akechi about how silly his goal was, but it wouldn’t reach him.

“I was promised I would be credited. They are merely waiting for me to complete my goal before announcing it, chaos would happen if we tell them now.” There was a small glimpse of doubt in Akechi’s eyes before it faded away into nothingness.

“...How the hell are you even going to obtain it? Killing all of us is an insanely long task, almost impossible. You won’t do this.”

“I don’t have to be told what I can and can’t do by you! It won’t be an impossible task because vampires will be coming to me.” A smirk crossed Akechi’s face once he finished speaking.

Akira just shook his head with an annoyed look on his face, “You’re insane..” he muttered, he didn’t have the energy to get mad or yell.

“I’ll make you all admit you’re flawed beings by destroying your need for blood, your body will slowly shift into a human-like function and you’ll have to live the rest of your life as your enemy; a cure for your sick natures and so many are willing to embrace it.” Akechi let out a cackle as in basked in his desire for his achievement “And you’re the one dooming everyone! Your blood allows me to replicate the elixir, allowing my work to fasten and my praise to come at a quicker rate!”

“..So that’s why you need it..? A ‘cure’ for vampires? Like I’d believe that nonsense.” Akira let out a dry chuckle “It won’t work.”

“Believe what you want. Your lackeys already betrayed you for that salvation, unfortunately..their bodies had a negative reaction to it.” Akechi chuckled bitterly, “Not that I care, it only allows me to increase its succession rate.”

“..Why go through so much effort for a race you don’t give a shit about?”

Akechi averted his gaze for a split second before it returned “Killing vampires would be pretty boring, making them admit they are abhorrent creatures is far more satisfying.”

“What do you do to the ones that do decide to turn ‘human’?”

“Nothing in particular, I’ve killed all the ones I received my data from because they were merely test subject, but once it’s complete, I suppose you’ll be given ‘freedom’.”

“I am certain you’ll just turn us all into slaves, there’s no way you’ll grant anyone ‘freedom’.”

“Perhaps you, but not your kin, unlike you they are capable of salvation, they prove it by wishing to be human.”

Akira started to chuckle, he was amused by the fact Akechi’s goal was so flawed “Like you know my family more than me.” he struggled to speak as his chuckles concealed his voice.

“Shut up! Your people grovel at the chance to get away from you! They hate you, they hate the fact they have to rely on you to be fed, so once I tell them they no longer have to they will take my side!” Akechi clenched his fist as his anger took over.

“Is that how...you got them to betray me?” A cough forced itself out of Akira’s throat, his body has never been this damaged before, but he could tolerate it.

“They didn’t wish to rely on you anymore; live out the rest of their lives as humans without your looming presence, but they’re dead now, nothing could be done.” Despite understanding their reasoning and being the cause of their death due to a bad reaction to the elixir Akechi didn’t seem to care, he was devoid of any empathy.

Akira didn’t speak, allowing the words to settle in with apprehension, a brief frown took hold of his cracked lips from the reality that Shinya was now alone, but he didn’t allow Akechi to see it “..Did they even know it wasn’t guaranteed?” he finally asked the question on his mind.

“Of course, but they were still willing.”

Akira pulled his knees to his chest, a depressed sigh escaped his lips while he realized they hated him so much that they’d risk death, they’d risk abandoning their children just to get away from him, it cut deep...maybe those smiles that helped him endure his beatings were merely fake, even Yusuke’s, it hurt to think about, but those distorted thoughts dug into him, not allowing him to be free again, the same thoughts that go through his mind when he attempted suicide; that they would be better off without him.

Akechi noticed Akira wasn’t chained to the mechanism that stretched out his limbs, he quickly re-chained Akira to them, but Akira didn’t react, he only stared hollowly into his lap.

“So careless..” Akechi breathed out, but Akira still didn’t respond “Are you ignoring me now?” he mocked Akira, but he didn’t speak a word.

Akechi grabbed Akira’s listless arm and took more of his blood with a syringe, he watched Akira as he did it, but Akira was totally unresponsive, stuck in his own mind.

Giving up on their conversation Akechi left with Akira’s blood.

~~~

Akira felt like he was being pulled up when he noticed the pulling mechanism had been turned on, he had sat there merely in a trance before it, allowing his once bright thoughts destroy and chip his mind into insecurity.

The soles of Akira’s feet hurt as he was forced to stand on them unless he wanted all of his weight to be on his arms which would probably hurt way more, he had almost forgotten this prison was abnormal, it was probably more fun for them to torture him without hindrance and they probably got kicks out of watching his body writhe in pain.

His vision remained blurry, he heard every person nearby breathing, the sound echoed and assaulted his ears and the urge to bite down onto something was beyond bearable, each heartbeat of his captors pulsed through him, his body was begging him to eat, but he couldn’t.

The door squeaked open and Akechi went over to Akira with a blood bag in his hand and once Akira noticed it, a flicker of hope coursed through his body, even if it was just blood it could heal his wounds and suppress becoming a husk for just a mere bit longer, he honestly thought Akechi had lied, that he deceived their deal, but even as his mind tried to destroy him he still wanted to go back home.

He would prefer death over becoming a husk and while this wasn’t enough, it was a start, a chance to avoid that abhorrent fate, a chance to maybe see Yusuke and his kin again.

“I almost got a smile out of you.” Akechi chuckled once he noticed Akira seemed hopeful.

“I’ll need a person..” Akira avoided Akechi’s taunts and got straight to the point, his tired mind wasn’t really capable of sarcasm or wit right now.

“That can wait..” Akechi spoke as he cut the blood bag open with a pocket knife “After all..” with a swift movement, he smashed the blood bag into Akira’s face and pushed it with as much force as he could muster, the blood dripped and almost exploded onto its surroundings as Akechi screamed “I will never conform to your sick natures!” as he rubbed the bag into Akira’s face a large smirk crossed his lips.

Akira choked as the blood lunged at the back of his throat, he swallowed it despite the humiliation, but the rest dripped and smeared all over his face, his eyes remained closed, the humiliation and the betrayal contorted his face as he waited for the torment to end.

Akechi threw the broken bag away, he watched Akira’s body language cease, a total lack of energy as his head hung low, “You should really shake hands while committing to deals, you know?” his tone remained callous.

Each drop of blood amplified as the room remained silent, until Akira’s shoulders started to quiver and a low chuckle escaped his lips, a bubble of insanity stirred in his stomach as his mind ripped and shattered from it all.

Akira begun laughing, it was low at first, but as it escalated, the demented nature of it turned more distorted as his absent heart started to pour out in an inappropriate manner, it was completely unconstrained, his insanity spilled out and echoed in the room until the overwhelming amount of insane laughter residing in his stomach became satisfied.

Deranged snickers escaped him, he lost himself as his mind shattered in a mess of betrayal and hurt “Everyone is capable of redemption?!” he laughed at himself, now believing his beliefs were childish “What kind of foolish thoughts are those?! One held by an absolute idiot!” he mocked, jeered and even dismiss the way he once thought, whether it be permanent damage or merely his mind's way to cope, he didn’t know and he didn’t care “Fuck believing you’re anything of worth, I’ll personally rip your redemption from you myself!”

Akechi watched him with a highly satisfied look on his face, he had broken Akira, destroyed the way he thought and to him, it only proved him right about everything “Isn’t it far more satisfying to release your true nature, instead of suppressing it?” he sneered as he touched his lip, licking the blood that had drenched his finger.

“I’ll rip everything from you; like you’ve done to me!” Akira shouted, but as he tried to fight his binds an image of Yusuke flashed in his mind, he halted and as his mind slowly lost its momentum he began to calm down.

Akechi chuckled out of delight “That’s it, just accept who you truly are.” his voice trailed off into an offensive satisfaction.

Akira hung low as breathless pants escaped his lips, his exertion had tired him and seeing Yusuke again, even if it was just in his mind halted his madness, a beckoning not to give in.

“We’re enemies after all, it’s okay to hate me, to want to watch me suffer and humiliate me.” Akechi reached out and grabbed Akira by the chin, lifting his face up to make eye contact with dancing fingers “Isn’t it, Akira?” his tone held a hint of sadism as he awaited Akira’s reply with rapture.

“...No, it’s not.” If Akira wasn’t halted with that memory of Yusuke he would’ve replied with something else entirely, something Akechi would absolutely love to hear, but before he could toss away the way he thought completely and descent into a person he never wanted to be, he was saved.

However, Akira was conflicted, he would definitely love to kill Akechi but if he did, he’d only be proving Akechi’s point about him, he didn’t want to lower himself to the same standard as Akechi even if that was incredibly hard to avoid, despite that his mind was too frazzled to come up with a conclusion but he knew giving Akechi the answer he wanted wasn’t right.

Akechi’s eyes widened with distaste as he almost felt betrayed by Akira’s word, he was certain he had broken him and yet he didn’t get the answer he desired, his teeth gritted and he shoved Akira’s face away “Stop denying who you are! It sickens me beyond anything!” he shouted with an outwards fist.

“You..won’t break me, not even my heavy conscious could.” The blood on Akira’s face had almost cleared and he felt a bit of strength return from the blood that had managed to drip into his mouth, knowing this was his last meal, he decided not to be careless with it “I will always preserve what I believe in, I will fight for it, even when the entire world is against me because giving in, only creates more people like you.”

This entire place was filled with people like Akechi, breaking and hurting anyone else who held different beliefs or were different, once they caved, in it only strengthen them and Akira wouldn’t grant them that unless it was absolutely necessary.

“How can you sit on that golden throne as everything is torn apart?! This can’t possibly affect you if your reaction is unmoving! You don’t know what it’s like to yearn for a place, a reason in this damn demented world that’s why you’re so stubborn!”

“Weren’t your parents murdered? Why are you doing the exact same thing as that vampire did to you?! You just made a child fatherless with your damn promises, how can you not see how distorted you’ve become?!” Akira shouted back, he couldn’t understand Akechi’s reason or logic at all and it infuriated him.

“You do the exact damn thing, you fucking hypocrite! Killing is a part of preserving my purpose in life, I will do anything to keep it!”

“I do..but just like you I do it because I have to and it’s not for a fucking purpose but to god damn live!”

The two were far more similar than they had previously thought despite that they clashed and still managed to be completely different, they simply couldn’t understand each other even with some similarities, if anything that made it harder.

“Life without a purpose isn’t a life at all! Just because yours is a literal fact doesn’t make my reasons less!” Akechi gripped his own hair as his face contorted with disgust and anger, it’s like he was begging Akira to get out of his mind.

“You make no fucking sense at all, you tell me vampires are bad because they are ‘wrong’ and now you act like you don’t give a crap about killing innocent people?! How the hell are you better than us?!”

“It’s not about killing! Nothing possibly good could come out of your existence, your entire body rejects you! If anything I am doing you a favour, it’s why it is called salvation! I am granting vampire's another chance!”

“You’re literally insane! I knew you were fragile, but to think you’ve sunk this low into reasoning and logic baffles me!” Akechi’s motive made no sense to Akira, it felt like there was something missing to it that he wouldn’t tell Akira.

Akechi hates vampires due to watching his parents be murdered by them as a child, but he goes through to effort of trying to turn them into humans, it started to feel like he was just jealous of Akira, for being born into wealth and a purpose, maybe he has deluded himself so far that he believes only he is allowed to kill and everyone else, especially vampires aren’t, but Akira wouldn’t get the answer this way.

“I’m insane?! You’re the one believing vampires are worthy of living despite the fact their entire existence is rejection! A purpose meant to hurt others not to keep it!” Akechi’s nails almost started to dig into his palm with the amount of pressure he was clenching them, that small blink of discomfort caused him to realize wasting his time and voice arguing with Akira was pointless, he was too stubborn despite everything.

“You’re hurting others, regardless of your reasons! Your reasoning is so blurry, it’s almost like you’re delusional!” Akira noticed a shifting relaxation in Akechi’s body language and it put him off, to a certain degree it calmed him down, realizing that he really should conserve his energy.

“..I heard you’re still conscious as a mindless ghoul, that you hear everything and see everything..perhaps I’ll allow you to turn and then feed you, I don’t like backing out of deals after all and this could easily solved that.” A big smirk twisted Akechi’s lips, his eyes became even more black as the weight of his words settled in the air.

Akira clenched his fists and tried to lunge forward, but his binds stopped him, the rattles of his chains screamed out and so did he body, begging him to stop, but the adrenaline had settled in and he saw red “You fucking bastard! You won’t get away with this! Once my kin find you they won’t show you any remorse!” he allowed his binds to pull him back into place, he was only making his wounds worse, he needed to regenerate.

Akechi laughed with pleasure and a glee sparked in his eyes, “I will be the judge of that.” and with a squeak of his heel, he left the cell.

“We’re not done here!” Akira shouted at Akechi as he left, but his voice was merely ignored “Tch..” he clicked his tongue with displeasure, feeling hopeless “You’re..beyond..despicable..” he muttered insults to himself as he hung low, he figured Akechi would betray the deal, but to keep him alive after he turned was just so monstrous, it was only to torment him further and now Akira was forced to dwell on it with his already cracking mind.

A gnawing depression swelled in his stomach as he was left all alone with only his memories of happiness, memories he wouldn’t reach, each breath, each minute dwindled his hope into nothing as he tried to pick up whatever fragments of him were left.

Chapter Text

While Zeriya was teaching Yusuke how to treat wounds, even Akira’s burns, they were interrupted by a frantic Ryuji being a complete mess of words and shouts, he was barely understandable.

“Speak properly and slowly!” Zeriya seemed to have enough of Ryuji’s blabbers and almost shouted at him with a stern voice.

“I found this weird fortress thingy that had these weird insignias all over it!” Ryuji’s words became more coherent once he calmed himself down.

“Are you certain it isn’t just another restaurant?” Zeriya’s words seemed to be backed by a previous endeavour because Ryuji’s cheeks flushed with a pink hue.

“No! Look, I even drew it!” Ryuji rummaged through his pockets until he pulled out a crinkled piece of paper, he presented it with a sly grin.

Zeriya stared at it with his arms folded, his eyes darted between Ryuji and the piece of paper “It’s blank.” he expressed his confusion.

“EH?! Oh..” Ryuji turned the paper around, but this time his grin was gone and his face grew redder.

“This is like a child’s drawing, I can’t decipher it.” Zeriya dismissed Ryuji’s ability to draw with a furrowed brow.

“Could I see, please?” Yusuke asked politely, he didn’t want to interrupt their conversation, but it could be something related to Akechi.

Zeriya stepped out of the way, allowing Yusuke to peer at the drawing, he took it carefully from Ryuji to examine it more closely “It’s..familiar.” Yusuke tried to figure out where he had seen it, but it was really badly drawn, it merely had the silhouette.

Before Yusuke even noticed Zeriya had shoved a piece of paper and pen in his face “Redraw this abomination.” he almost demanded.

“That’s a good idea actually.” Yusuke took it and went over to a nearby desk, he copied Ryuji’s drawing down on the more well kept paper until something about it popped into his mind, it almost startled him as the realization settled in.

“What’s wrong?” Ryuji placed his hand on Yusuke’s shoulder with concern “You’re as white as a ghost.” a frown curled his lips.

“T-This is...the same insignia I saw on..Akechi’s jacket.” Yusuke forced the words out with a quivering voice.

“Huh?! You serious?!”

Zeriya shoved to Yusuke’s side, “Are you certain?” he asked, desperation could be heard in his voice.

“Y-Yes.. I remember it clearly now.” Yusuke held his forehead to help ease his stress, a throbbing headache took over as his heart fluttered with erratic beats, he felt sick.

“Was anyone in the area, Ryuji?!” Zeriya asked without allowing a millisecond to pass.

“Y-Yeah, but we thought they were cops!”

Zeriya stormed out of the room and Ryuji followed him with panicked words spilling out of his mouth.

Yusuke’s eye met the insignia again and a mix of hatred and resolve coursed through him “I won’t be fooled again.” as his grip tightened on the paper, crinkling it, a brief smile spread on his lips.

~~~

“I’ve sent out another team to survey the area with Yusuke’s drawing, if it even remotely looks like it, we will prepare to infiltrate with the new information we’ll gain.” Zeriya fumbled with his words as he turned to Ryuji “I swear if is a false lead I’ll double your workload!” he seemed frantic.

“I only found it; Yusuke’s the one saying it’s related!” Ryuji became a little flustered and frustrated he was the only one getting punished if it was incorrect.

Zeriya let out a drawn out huff “We don’t need false hope.” his eyes lowered for a second “I’ve already made the order that people capable of fighting make their way near the location from the manor, if it is confirmed, we’ll be infiltrating tonight.”

“R-Right..”

“I suggest you either conserve your energy or start training, there will definitely be combat.”

Yusuke overheard-...eavesdrop on their conversation behind the door, he knew their conversation would be about Akira and he was willing to spy if it was about him, Akira was too important to be left in the dark about it; why was he even being left in the dark about it? They probably didn’t want to give him false hope but he was the one who drew it, it’s quite obvious he knows.

Their conversation drifted into details about weapons and protection and that’s when Yusuke decided to stop, as long as he knew what was going on and that it was being looked into thoroughly he was satisfied.

He made his way downstairs to the kitchen to get something to drink, he became a bit parched due to stress, the fact they found something after this long relieved him, but shock came too, he knew he shouldn’t get his hopes up but it was a pretty strong case; finally, he could see Akira again.

“Hey, you look a bit pale, you okay?”
A gentle hand clasped his shoulder, he heard Ann’s voice and her presence as he turned his attention towards her.

“Yes.. I’m just a bit..thirsty.” Yusuke gave her a brief, reassuring smile to ease her concerns, he wasn’t sure if she knew so he wouldn’t bring it up.

“What do you feel like?” The concern on Ann’s face eased and was replaced with a smile.

“Just some water please.” The moment the words left Yusuke’s mouth Ann had already grabbed a glass.

She gave him cold water from the fridge with some ice with a wider smile, Yusuke took it with care and drank it, he had enough to quench his thirst, but not enough to make this a weird awkward pause “Thank you.” he thanked her with a slight nod.

Ann just replied with a big smile, she seemed cheerful today, more than usual, so perhaps she had already heard.

Yusuke remembered that girl he saw in the garden and decided to ask her about it, he was a little bit more paranoid now, he had never seen that girl, she appeared powerful; could she be a returned traitor? His thoughts trailed off like that until the words formed and forced out of his mouth, “I saw this..pretty girl with red eyes..” although the words that did manage to come out were strange.

It confused Ann “Hm? What do you mean?” she asked, her face turned more curious.

“In the garden; she had..puffy hair and had gardening equipment.” Yusuke clarified, but he didn’t really know how to word it, it started to seem more like an observation than a question so he added “Who is she?”

“Hm..” Ann took on a pensive look, but then it exploded as she realized “That’s Haru...I think.” her words trailed into a nervous huff.

The name held a hint of familiarity to it even if Yusuke couldn’t decipher why, it made him more comfortable “Oh, I see, I’ve rarely seen her.”

“She always hangs out on the third floor, probably to avoid Sugimura.” When Ann said his name she let her voice become scornful.

“Why does she avoid him?” Yusuke..knew why people would avoid him, but it was interesting to hear the reasons.

“He’s absolutely in-love with her, obsessed, obviously she doesn’t want that so she avoids him.” Ann twirled a strand of her pigtail onto her finger “He doesn’t...necessarily harass her, because that’s a huge no-no here, but he’s overbearing.” her facial expression turned to a grimace “He flirts with a lot of the girls too, so he’s a sleaze.”

“I would prefer it if he flirted with me instead of upsetting me, leading me to..violence.” Yusuke had a little frown curl his lips as his head tilted.

Ann let out a hearty laugh, she shielded her mouth with the back of her hand to conceal it “If he flirted with you, he wouldn’t be here anymore.” she settled down with a smile.

Yusuke scratched his cheek as a small flush appeared on his cheeks “Akira is pretty..protective, hm?” it was..nice, to have someone who would do anything to ensure your safety, especially when Yusuke never had that previously, but the fact he loved Akira made that ache a bit, he wanted to return that insurance towards Akira’s safety and he couldn’t, leading to an almost dreadful feeling.

“That man would die for you- eh!..I mean figuratively n-not literally!” Ann fumbled with her words as panic settled in.

“It’s okay, Ann. I know what you mean.” Yusuke gave her a small smile to assure her she didn’t offend him.

Ann almost let out an audible sigh of relief as she started to calm down, Yusuke genuinely didn’t seem upset by it which made that easier, but she didn’t know if she should remain on the topic of Akira or switch back to Haru, wishing to tread lightly she decided on Haru “B-But yeah, Haru’s really nice, I’m glad she came here.”

“Came here?” Yusuke asked, some curiosity came back in, he had never heard anyone refer to someone or themselves like that, it almost felt like they were all raised here.

“Yeah. Haru’s actually a princess, she abandoned her duties and her father to come here because she...hated the fact her father despised humans.”

“P-Princess?!” Yusuke was taken aback by the new information, the world only seemed to expand more and more “Won’t her father want her back?”

Ann shifted uncomfortably, she clasped her arm as she thought about how to word this “Akira..liberated her; bought her freedom while he was still the prince.” she hoped she didn’t make it sound weird.

“W-What..? He sold his daughter..?” Yusuke’s lips formed a frown as he thought about the familiar dread.

“Yes, it wasn’t cheap either.. Akira stole a lot of money from his parents to do it.”

“Akira stole from his parents? Why weren’t they willing to save her?” Yusuke hoped that asking questions like that to other people was okay, he only questioned Akira and Zeriya about the previous king and queen so he wasn’t sure if he was treading on thin ice.

“They thought it was a little silly; a silly reason to want to abandon your father, but Haru said, seeing him like that pained her and she couldn't persuade anyone to change their views, not only that, but they would..kill any human who came too close or trespassed on their property.” Ann explained without any hesitation, reassuring Yusuke his questions weren’t offensive.

“O-Obviously his parents would’ve noticed, right?” Yusuke was so entranced by their conversation that it didn’t even hit him they were talking about Akira again.

“They did and he was punished. Reduced amount of blood for 2 months, all of his work and training was doubled and he was rarely allowed to leave his room for those 2 months...he was also slapped by his father in front of everyone; to assert authority.” Ann turned and leaned on the counter as she folded her arms, recalling it all.

“I know..discipline is to be expected, but that’s a bit..much.” Yusuke let out a sigh, his frown deepened.

“That’s actually quite tame, for royalty standards, of course. Now Haru lives in comfort, besides the occasional Sugimura flirt of course.” Ann chuckled for a brief moment.

Yusuke didn’t exactly want to question if Akira was punished more severely, it didn’t seem like it with how much Akira loved his parents and Akira’s not the type of person to forgive abusers.

Ann let out a delighted sigh “He has always done stuff like that; help others, even if it ends up hurting him..” she reminisced in her memories.

“And that’s why it’s absolutely deplorable what Akechi did to his body..” The venomous words spilled out of Yusuke’s mouth without them meaning to, he noticed he was grasping his glass far too tightly and set it down, he hoped Ann didn’t hear that.

But she did “I know right, literally the worse person for that to happen to. I mean..it’s horrible in general, but Akira’s so selfless so...having to do what he must, is haunting.”

“..I suppose that’s why I’m so attracted to him, because he is nothing like what his curse tries to define him as.” Even though it kind of aches, it was nice to talk about Akira in a more..personal sense again and with the new location being found Yusuke could speak about him more freely as his hope was starting to answer him.

Ann’s lips formed a smile “Akira really loves you, you know? And trust me, I know. I was raised with him, I know when he’s serious about someone.” she thought it would be nice for Yusuke to hear that after such a mute.

Yusuke smiled as a mix of happiness and grief overwhelmed him “I know..” he said softly “He tells me everyday, through his mannerisms, his eyes, his words...everything..” he lifted his hand up and brushed his fringe to the side “Sorry, I’m getting a bit emotional.” he let a small delighted huff.

“Don’t apologize for such a thing.” Ann tilted her head with a smile and pointed finger “It’s healthy to let it out.”

“Mm, I feel better now.” Yusuke clasped his hands together as his emotions calmed down, but a bitter taste touched his tongue as his thoughts trailed back to Akechi, he wanted to ask questions about him without..getting angry and he felt like their conversation was trailing off so he did “Do you..know anything about Akechi?”

Ann was a little surprised by that question “K-Kind of..” she displayed it with a stutter.

“..Why is he doing this? Do we even deserve this..?” Yusuke’s tone became bitter.

“No, I don’t think we do, but..I don’t know why he’s doing this. I’m sorry, but I don’t know that much about him.”

“Oh, I see.” Yusuke gave her an apologetic look, realizing these questions were too much.

“Akira… Akira didn’t talk about him often, he was pretty reserved about their relationship, probably to not upset Akechi because he was a bit..reserved himself.” Ann played with her pigtail as she spoke “Akira talks about you way more than he ever did about Akechi, but it’s probably because you two are completely different. Akira wanted to tread very lightly with Akechi due to his trauma.”

Yusuke listened to her intently, once he heard Akira talks about him more, a light red hue spread on his cheeks “What does..Akira say about me?” even though it was off topic he was interested.

A smile curled Ann’s lips as she winked “He told me about his feelings for you; watching him fumble, trying to understand it was so cute.” she chuckled heartily “He also told me you touch him too softly, like an angelic touch.” she realized the words that spilled from her mouth and blushed with embarrassment “I-I don’t- He didn’t say where- h-he just said that! Okay?!” her pout intensified as a little bit of frustration settled in because Yusuke was expressionless, she fumbled not knowing if she said something weird due to it.

“Does he like it rough?” Yusuke asked, expression still unblinking.

“Ngh!” Ann’s cheeks grew even redder as she held her head, trying to find words, she was so confused as to what Yusuke was asking that she started to mumble nonsense.

Yusuke noticed Ann’s embarrassment and didn’t understand it, he was only asking her if Akira preferred a firm touch, he always tried to touch Akira gently because he was precious to him, but if Akira liked to be touched more firmly he’d like to know.

“C-Could we..change the topic..?” Ann finally grasped herself and mumbled, she was almost as pink as her lip gloss once she stood up straight.

“Uh..sure.” Yusuke raised his hand into his hair and patted it nervously “I was only asking if he was complaining about it.” he clarified.

“O-Oh! Of course it was that!” Ann’s eyes lingered on Yusuke as she calmed down “..Now that I think about it..” she mumbled under her breath, only for her ears to hear “Anyway..he wasn’t complaining.” she grinned as she patted the back of her head nervously “Sorry about the confusion..” she let out a happy giggle.

“No, it’s okay. I should’ve clarified sooner.” Yusuke gave her a small reassuring smile, he still didn’t understand why she was flustered but he wouldn’t question it.

“Going..back on topic, all I can really remember about Akechi was; Akira expressed concern about Akechi, saying he was kind of obsessed with an old piece of paper whenever he went to visit him at his house, although Akira never saw the contents of the page, he didn’t want to pry or upset Akechi so he let it go.” Ann explained, her cheeks returned to their original colour.

“A piece of..paper?” Yusuke asked as his eyebrow raised in confusion.

“Yeah, as I said before Akira never found out or never told me what it had on it. That’s...all I really know or can recall about Akechi. I’m sorry, but Akira rarely talked about him and the two didn’t exactly live together like you two do.”

Yusuke gave a nod “You don’t have to apologize, I understand.” it seems like not a lot of people here knew much about him, at least not personally.

“I...don’t understand how he’s still alive to be honest, he would’ve been really injured..” Ann allowed her thoughts to spill out with a sigh.

“Akechi?”

“Yeah..he should’ve been injured..he shouldn’t of been able to escape..”

Curiosity came back, it often did when talking about Akira’s past “Were you there?”

“Yes, but I was with Akira the whole time, I didn’t go look for him… Akira kept fading in and out of consciousnesses..it was a very scary time.” The unease in Ann’s voice confirmed her feelings at the time, almost like she was exactly in that moment again.

“It must’ve been..” Yusuke’s eyes narrowed as he thought about the distasteful situation.

There was a sombre pause in the air, Yusuke wasn’t really sure on what to say, but before he could change the topic to no longer sink in the awkward atmosphere Ann spoke up, “I might regret saying this but..” her eyes lingered on Yusuke and she made up her mind “I think someone let Akechi get away.”

Yusuke’s eyes widened with a little surprise, the accusing words floated in the air, sinking deeper and deeper “W-Why do you believe that..?” he asked once he mustered up the strength.

“A gut feeling..” Ann’s arms folded as she glanced at her feet, forming the words in her head, she made sure no one was listening to their conversation by peeking out the door. “There was..this woman..she was madly in love with Akira’s father, but the queen; Akira’s mother and him grew closer, eventually leading to marriage and the birth of Akira...call me crazy, but I feel like she hated Akira because of it, she expressed her bitterness under her breath in the laundromat but I overheard her, that’s how I know of this.”

“Y-You think she..?” Yusuke stuttered, but it was interesting hearing these things, especially from a different perspective.

“..Yeah. Once Akira’s parents died, I found her crying over Akira’s father’s clothing, I comforted her, believing she was only upset they were gone, but there was an intense glimpse of hatred in her eyes whenever she looked at Akira, she never expressed her hatred outwards, but it’s obvious now that I think back on it. Once Akira got cursed...and we had made the decision on how to handle it, he gave everyone the chance to go live at the manor, she did, despite not caring for humans...and now she is missing along with the traitors; she is a traitor.” Ann words trailed with some bitterness, she seemed convinced on her hunch by her words alone.

“T-That’s.. a lot of information to process.” But it made sense, however Yusuke has never heard anything like this out of Akira’s mouth, perhaps he was blind to it or simply labelled it as something else.

“I know, I was young at the time, so I didn’t really understand it, but now I can see it. I am certain she let Akechi get away, she was on the search team that night.” Ann's lips formed an intense frown as she scratched her cheek nervously “A-Although..I’ve never told anyone this, not even Akira…” an exasperated sigh escaped her lips “It doesn’t matter now..but I should’ve told him.”

“You couldn’t of possibly known, please don’t blame yourself.” Yusuke placed his hand on Ann’s shoulder to assure her.

Ann’s lips turned to a smile “Thanks.” she let out a small chuckle “It seems like everyone falls in love with the Kurusu boys and then do..strange things.”

“I can see that. Black haired beauties seem to be their definition.” A small chuckle escaped Yusuke’s lips, the words he was saying felt strange, but they wanted to come out “I can definitely see where Akira got his beauty from though.”

“Eh?! You’ve seen his parents?!” Ann’s sudden change in demeanor and voice surprised Yusuke, then the words hit him.

The words spilled out without a second thought, he completely forgot Akira’s parents were hidden from the world, he didn’t know what to say, but he felt anxiety wash over him and sweat, he gulped, Zeriya and his secret was out, but it was only to Ann and she seemed very trust-able “Y-Yes..I have.” he finally managed to say.

“How?!” Ann realized her raised voice and chuckled with a pat of her nape “Sorry, but I thought everything was destroyed of them..”

“Zeriya..saved a photo of them and showed me.” Even though Yusuke had made a mistake it felt nice talking about this to someone else, if it wasn’t Ann then it would’ve probably been Akira and he’d prefer Ann to be the one he stuffs up with because if he did with Akira…’Oof’ is all he could define that as.

“That sly prick!” Ann pressed her lips together, almost pouting “But it’s nice to know there’s still something left of them..”

“I am actually going to paint it, try and restore the photograph as it’s quite old and worn.”

Ann almost jumped with excitement, a huge grin stretched her lips as her eyes twinkled “That’s amazing! And so sweet! I can’t wait until it’s done!” it seems like everyone would be pleased to see Akira’s parents again.

Which made this even more intimidating, the amount of pressure this piece holds is significant and he hadn’t even started on it, but he would once Akira is okay, he was pretty excited about this piece as well and the fact the photo was such a great muse would help his determination, he would pour everything in this piece if he is granted the chance to create it.

“I-I’m not that good..” Yusuke’s words trailed off with embarrassment as a light red hue touched his cheeks “I haven’t even started it...and Akira’s not allowed to know.”

“Don’t feel like you gotta rush it, take your time. After all this...isn’t the best time to be painting happy memories.” Ann touched Yusuke’s arm to reassure him “But it will be soon.” her smile never faded.

“Thank you, you’re very kind, Ann.” Yusuke said with a small smile.

Ann let a happy giggle out “We’ll bring Akira back home, I promise it.”

Yusuke didn’t know what to say so he nodded, making sure to leave that small smile on his face.

~~~ + ###

Akira faded in and out of consciousness as his sombre future grasp and pulled him into agonizing pain, his memories jumbled and distorted into nothing but twisting nature and he couldn’t do anything to stop it.

He fought against it, but soon it would evaporate him and he would become nothing more than a savage and sorrowful being.

Every time he awoke he was only met with the pain of his mind collapsing on itself, it felt like his mind was being literally eaten, festering away into nothing coherent, no amount of thrashing or groans eased it, the pain remained intense until he fell back into a life-less state.

He laughed at himself for trying to reason or even trying to understand his captors, but what else could he possibly do? There was a chance of humanity in them and he could’ve played with it, but there was absolutely nothing, they were devoid of any empathy or regret making it feel all useless.

He felt like something was trying to take over him, it would do anything to quench his thirst but he held it back, doing that made it fight back harder, destroying his memories, telling him to just let go, to be free of the torment, it created ‘fucked’ up imagery in his head about all of his loved one, trying everything to make him let go.

It felt like there was another person inside of his body, trying everything in its power to take control, it made him hear voices that weren’t truly there and once he acknowledged it was all in his head, he would feel pain, the worse pain he had ever felt, everything his captors did to him paled in comparison to this, because it went for his emotions.

As his mind deteriorated, it slowly took over and he began to give up, the images he was forced to see chipped away at his sanity and he wanted it to stop, it genuinely started to feel like there were no happy memories left, each time he recalled one it would twist it into something unimaginable, no amount of thrashing or shouting stopped it, he was left all alone in his mind as he desperately clung onto Yusuke.

Akira lay there with nothing but his mind torturing him, he desperately tried to push it away when he heard the cell door open, his eyes were closed so he didn’t see who it was and he didn’t care, it could’ve just been another figment of his imagination.

“Hurry it up, we need to prepare other things over the goddamn prisoner!”
Akira heard a sharp voice, but he couldn’t open his eyes, they felt glued shut.

He felt a presence get closer to him, their heartbeat, their breathing, it started to feel like someone was actually there but he was too frazzled to truly know.

Their presence loomed over him, he started to feel like he should actually do something about it, an attempt to eat something, an attempt to push away his transformation, but his mind reminded him Yusuke would be in danger if he did...in other words; give up.

But what would be the point in that? If his kin couldn’t protect Yusuke from Akechi then Yusuke would always be in danger, especially if he died or allowed this thing to take over him, he wouldn’t give up and this pushed him to act.

As soon as he felt a hand reach out towards him, he seized it, biting down on whatever it was as adrenaline settled in, the sensation of flesh touched his tongue and his eyes snapped open, what he saw delighted him and revered his bloodlust.

A yell filled the room as Akechi desperately tried to push Akira off, grabbing his hair and pulling it back, but it only made Akira’s fangs drag, ripping his skin further “Press the damn button!” he shouted as loud as he could, he gritted his teeth trying to deal with the burning, throbbing sensation that had taken hold of his hand.

Akira felt a small amount of control and strength course through his body as he drank Akechi’s blood, but in a split second he felt the binds on his wrists try and pull him away, he bit down as hard as he could, he wouldn't let go, no matter how much it tore his body to fight his binds, he pulled and fought against their pressure until a scream of the chain snapping echoed in the room.

The sound was so loud, disorienting those around, it echoed in and through the surrounding guards bodies and it was accumulated by another scream.

Akira was able to extend his claws simply from the blood he had drained from Akechi, his strength slowly returned and with his free hand he held Akechi’s arm, to keep it in his mouth, he dug his nails in bone deep to hurt him even further.

Akechi’s groans of pain filled the room, “Get this fuck off of me!” he seized Akira’s hand and tried to remove it desperately “Hnnh!” but each pull ripped his skin further, contorting his face more and more, his hand was almost drenched in blood and Akira’s grip on him only became stronger each second that had passed.

In a flash multiple guards had surrounded and grabbed Akira, trying to pull him off of Akechi, but each time they did Akechi’s screams of pain amplified “Cut his fucking mouth!” Akechi ordered with his voice filled with agonizing pain.

No time passed, a guard ripped out a pocket knife and tried to stab Akira’s cheek, but before they could, Akira had let go, slingshotting them back into each other.

It all happened so quickly that conscious thoughts were simply gone, only actions spoke now.

Akechi was quickly guided out of the cell while clasping his damaged hand, he left a trail of blood as he escaped.

Akira was left in a disorder of disorientated bodies, he lunged forward onto his feet trying to seize Akechi before he got away, but he was jerked by the chains on his ankles, a course of anger and defeat washed over him but before he could attempt to remove his binds he was seized by the guards.

Not giving into defeat, he attacked the first person that had touched him, digging his claws into their face, his other hand was still chained so his efforts were futile, he was thrown to the floor and a knee jammed into his nape kept him down and a mix of bloodlust and sweat was forced to settle down.

Erratic breathing filled the room as each tried to grasp what had just happened, it had all happened so fast and that’s exactly why Akechi was cautious with Akira, but he was lured into a sense of security by believing Akira was asleep.

Akira had tried but it wasn’t enough, perhaps if his body was in a healthy condition he would’ve won, but even if he did, it would only be postponing the inevitable, he couldn’t exactly escape here, even if he was given the chance, he was only trying to avoid becoming a husk and he got some satisfaction from biting Akechi, but unfortunately it was all futile.

He squirmed and wrestled against his opponents, he wanted to kill them, to destroy them like the vermin they were, but there were too many of them, they held his body down and with a swift stomp to his temple he was knocked out of consciousness again, left only with his tormenting mind, a bitter taste touched him as he hoped his actions didn’t have consequences, but at the same time, he felt exhilarated from the fact he had hurt Akechi even if it was merely physical.

###

They managed to confirm the insignia was the same and the mansion was filled with chaos, everyone preparing to risk their lives in this attempt to free Akira, most were trained on how to fight, after all what use would plain servants have? But most hadn’t actually needed to use their skills, leading it to diminish a bit.

Yusuke was waiting for someone to give the thumbs up that they were ready to go, but it started to feel like he might be left behind which he wouldn’t allow at all. Akira would need him, not just on an emotional level, but to also help him to escape, only Yusuke’s blood could stop Akira from burning so if they were even considering leaving him behind they would be hearing a mouthful.

As anxiety and anticipation settled in Yusuke heard the awaited sound of the bedroom door opening, Zeriya stepped inside with a scowl on his face.

The two looked at each other until Zeriya spoke “Sorry, but..in order to keep you safe...you must stay here.”

There it was, Yusuke expected it to happen and that’s exactly why he already had an argument formed “Akira will need me.” he stood up from the bed and approached Zeriya “..My blood more specifically..”

“We’ll take a syringe filled with your blood.” It seems like Zeriya had considered it, but still gave the answer Yusuke didn’t want.

“What if it is destroyed..? Please, Zeriya. I need to go.” Yusuke was almost pleading him at this point, he was desperate to see Akira again even if the outcome wasn’t something he desired.

Zeriya shifted comfortably with a drawn out sigh “We do not wish to risk you.” he was still unmoving.

“I will come regardless of what might happen to me. I promise you I won’t be a burden. I’ve desperately prepared for this day...please!” Yusuke voice trailed with his plea, it would take awhile for them to even get there so Yusuke’s time was short.

“..If you make me-” Zeriya was interrupted by Yusuke perking up, already knowing the words about to come out of his mouth “You won’t, I promise!”

“Right.. Then let’s get moving.”

Yusuke prepared to leave, even though Yusuke didn’t know how to use one he took the gun out of Akira’s drawer, if he needed to he would use it.

He made sure to visit the garden while the carriages were being sorted, one last time, with the ring Akira had given him in his palm he basked in the nature and prayed that good fortune would come his way, that he would be able to see Akira healthy and happy again and that his own happiness would return too.

~~~

On the way there Yusuke’s anxiety became intense, it was nightfall at the moment, probably the best time for them to do it, but as the carriage dragged closer he started to worry about what he might see, no one really talked on the way there, leaving the carriage to almost feel empty.

He looked around in the carriage, Ann, Ryuji, Zeriya and Sugimura accompanied him, while Sugimura’s presence was off putting he was the only one without a face of relief, despite the stress everyone was happy they had finally found Akira and if they could save him Ryuji’s reward would be enormous, Yusuke had the small urge to ask what he’d want just to make some conversation on this silent trip, but kept it to himself.

Yusuke’s thoughts trailed off to Akechi, he’d have to see him again and merely the thought created a distasteful flavour in Yusuke’s mouth and his stomach spin “Will..we kill Akechi?” the words escaped Yusuke’s mouth without him even noticing, he hadn’t even planned to talk.

“That’s Akira’s decision.” Zeriya replied to him quite easily, which eased Yusuke a bit.

The sound of the carriage pulling and the horses hooves pounding on the ground filled the air again, but Ann shot Yusuke a reassuring look.

“To think I would be the one to find him.” Ryuji let out a happy chuckle, it hung in the air until Ann replied “You did a great job; the both of you.” Ann’s lips formed a smile.

“Pleasantries can come later. This won’t be easy, they have weapons, some of us may even die so I suggest you keep your mind in the right place.” Zeriya brushed off their almost cheerful conversation, it seems like he wanted the seriousness of this situation to sink in.

But it didn’t really need to, everyone knew how serious and even dangerous this was going to be, it could completely destroy their future or revive it, an outcome that only strength would dictate.

Chapter Text

As the carriages halted near their destination Yusuke was shaken awake by Ryuji, he fell asleep on the way there, for some reason the sounds calmed him and made him sleepy, but rest could later. The sound of shoes hitting the gravel road filled the area as they all got out of the carriages.

They gathered and Zeriya started to count them.
“There’s 25 of us...at the moment.” While Zeriya’s words may of seemed negative he added, “We’ll group with the others.” to make it sound more..morale raising.

Zeriya handed out weapons to everyone from a bag, from knives to guns and bats each were given something and a pocket knife to increase the chances of them winning if they were overpowered.

While the group was checking out and even comparing their weapons Zeriya draped a duffle black jacket over Yusuke and pulled the hood down “You will remain with me unless ordered otherwise, do you understand?”

Yusuke held the hood up so he could actually see, it almost poked him in the eye “Yes, I do.” he didn’t know why Zeriya gave him a jacket, perhaps because it is cold out here, but he couldn't really feel it with knowing what will come next.

With one glance of their surroundings, it felt like they were absolutely nowhere, surrounded by trees, it was basically a forest and Yusuke couldn’t see off into the distance due to the darkness, it had an eerily feel to it but the amount of people that were nearby allayed that.

“Here..” Zeriya extended his hand out towards Yusuke, a pocket knife lay in his palm “It’s easy to use. Stab anyone who tries to harm you, exactly like how you butchered that fish.” a small smirk spread on his lips as he recalled all those poor Sea Bream.

“..Right.” Yusuke took it carefully and placed it in the jackets pocket, his pants pocket was already full, the gun he took from Akira’s drawer was being held in it, although he never told anyone he took it, he didn’t exactly have to..did he?

“Let’s go meet up with the others now.” Zeriya raised his voice enough for everyone to hear him over their small conversations.

The group started to move through the trees and bushes, each time someone touched one it would rustle and the sound was only amplified by how many were following through, steady steps became muffled under the sound of grass crushing as they moved as one.

The dark night sky only seemed to get worse as they moved deeper and deeper into an area dense with tall trees, it was a bit frightening, some animals would cause the bushes to rustle with their own movements, making Yusuke a bit more paranoid.

Zeriya halted the group with the back of his hand “Something’s wrong.” with that one observation everyone crouched down, peeking over the bushes they were able to see the fortress Ryuji had found, however it was barely lit leading it to almost blend into the darkness.

“What do you mean?” Ryuji asked with a concern filled voice.

“The other group; from the manor, was meant to be here..” Zeriya looked around, trying to find them but there was simply no one else around.

“Maybe they’ve already gone in?” Ann suggested, although she knew it was unlikely.

“I never gave such an order.” Zeriya rubbed his temples with a bad-tempered expression “We don’t have the time to find out...come on.” he gestured to move forward and they complied.

“How are you going to open the door?” Ryuji spoke in a hush tone, yet his voice still managed to be loud.

No guards were at the front, making this even more strange, with a few more steps they reached the entrance, Zeriya pushed it lightly and the door moved with a slight squeak “It’s already open..” his observation escaped from his lips as he tried to make out anything from the small crack.

A strong, foul smell assaulted Yusuke’s nose, he covered it with his sleeve, trying to mask the awful odor “What’s that smell..?” even with his nose covered the smell was potent, leading him to feel nausea.

Zeriya pushed the door open slowly, a foot in the door and the sight made him gasp as it swung open, his eyes widened with disbelief.

Multiple corpses lay inside, some mutilated, some in..better conditions, weapons covered in blood lay beside them and the foul odor became apparent, pools of crimson blood were scattered and smear all over the walls and floor, making this a horror show.

Zeriya pushed himself inside to get a better look, the lighting was dim inside and the light flickered, but the missing groups whereabouts became obvious, luckily they had taken some guards down with them as they were easily identifiable by their uniforms, but the scene was quite terrifying for innocent eyes and could make many feel sick by the amount of blood that had sprayed on the walls from the life-taking brawl.

“We’ll deal with this once Akira is secured, let’s move.” Keeping things together Zeriya ordered the group to follow him, they carefully stepped over the lifeless bodies to get through this death lingering corridor.

Yusuke felt sick from the metallic smell festering in the air and the sight, but he had seen this previously and also touched a corpse so he was able to keep it together, he held the jacket over his nose as he followed them, Ann kept looking back, giving him a nod and a brief smile to help him through it, this was the darkness he had accepted by coming here and he expected even more.

He heard sniffles and light whimpers behind him and it spooked him; maybe reading horror novels with crying ghost girls as the scare factor wasn’t a good idea anymore, it was far more chilling than words could describe, even though he knew such things weren’t real he found each step over a new body become harder as the whimpers amplified.

Yusuke had enough of being scared by his own mind and turned his head to see them, he saw a girl, clearly shaken up bump into his back, her hands wiping her face paused as she stared back at him.

“Are you okay?” Yusuke asked, the words just came out naturally in a whisper, she seemed far more emotional than Yusuke did, but her face was familiar, she was one of the girls that complimented him on his cooking.

“M-Mmhn..” Her noise of approval came out lowly with another sniffle, her hands never stopped rubbing her face.

Yusuke glanced forward and the group was starting to grow a distance, a little panic set in, he extended his hand out towards her “Hold my hand, I’ll guide you with your eyes closed.” he tried his best to smile.

She stared at him, then his hand, a brief smile spread her lips as she grabbed his hand gently “T-Thank you..” while her voice was buried under her emotions, there was gratitude in it too.

Yusuke helped guide her through it, making sure to tell her to increase her step distance when they reach a corpse, he was far more focused on guiding her than on the abhorrent scenery, which helped calm him too.

They finally reached the end of that torment, but grieving and emotions could come later “Keep moving.” Zeriya made sure to keep them in focus as they reached a splitting corridor, he glanced both ways and decided on the left side.

While they had reached the end and were moving even further away from it the girl never let go of Yusuke’s hand and he didn’t ask her to. Each footstep started to echo as they moved deeper into the tendrils of incalculable fate.

~~~

They reached a section that had patrol guards roaming and this is where they’d make their presence known, they broke into a sprint and destroyed anyone who got in their way, using brute force was their only option, every time they were spotted or seen they were immediately attacked with all sorts of weaponry.

It was quite distressing seeing people dying, the sounds, screams and smell sent a shiver down Yusuke’s spine and everything would remain in his mind forever, losing Madarame and the echoes of the attic door being bashed in was enough but this was almost paralyzing, the ghastly nature of cessation would linger in him.

His grip on the girl’s hand tighten as bile assaulted his tongue, he wanted to throw up, but he held it in. Yusuke’s legs started to feel heavy as his feet pounded on the tiles, desperately trying to ignore everything around him and press on for Akira’s sake, but the woe situation made him tunnel vision.

They reached another corridor, it seemed like an endless maze of hallways at this point, they had already ran in so many of them only to turn into another one, as they ran through one, an adjacent hallway made Yusuke feel uneasy, but he saw Zeriya and Ann run pass it without being troubled, now it was his turn, but a swift figure lunge at him from it.

Everything suddenly began to swirl as Yusuke was pushed, he lost balance and plunged towards the ground, his backside ached the most from the sudden impact, but as his disorientation faded and the fog that had taken hold of him briefly began to disappear, the sight his eyes landed on hurt him far more than the fall.

A knife, plunge into the girl’s stomach as she fought against the man that had stabbed her, she had protected Yusuke, pushing him out of the way only to be met with a knife, the crimson liquid dripped and seeped out of her wound as groans of pain filled the air.

“Hnn!” She groaned as her strength faded and she started to be overpowered by the man that had stabbed her, her gasps of pain became more audible when he pushed the knife in deeper.

Yusuke watched in horror until his daze diminished, he desperately fumbled for the gun in his pocket only to hear a gunshot pierce the man’s skull and a loud thud was accompanied by it.

The gunshot echoed and stung Yusuke’s ears, they rang with pain which disoriented him further, he held his ears as his eyes locked on the after match.

Zeriya rushed to them after killing the guard, he yanked Yusuke up to his feet only for him to fall again, Yusuke’s body trembled as his mind crumbled under the stress and trauma, his shock settled as raspy breaths escaped his lips in an irregular rhyme.

“Are you okay?!”
He heard Ann’s voice before feeling her presence, she clasped his shoulder gently as her worry was deeply displayed on her face.

Yusuke didn’t care about himself, he cared more for the injured girl, she lay on the floor in a pool of her own blood as her breathing became weaker. He shuffled quickly to her and turned her onto her back “W-We must help her..!” he expressed his dread with a quivering voice, he didn’t know if her wound would kill her, by the way she moved it started to feel like she would.

“We can’t. Staying here will only give them another chance.” Zeriya’s facial expression was etched with ambivalence, but he knew Akira was close and taking longer risked him.

“What do you mean we can’t?! We have first aid we-” Yusuke was interrupted by Zeriya yanking him up by his shirt “And risk Akira for it?! He hit an organ, we don’t have that type of first aid!” Zeriya’s frustration boiled into a shout.

Yusuke clenched his teeth as despair washed over him “Tch..” he let out a noise of sorrow and distaste, his eyes shut with a quiver of forming tears as Zeriya let him go.

“It’s….okay..” The girl forced herself to speak despite the pain throbbing in her stomach “I can…be..with-” a cough filled with blood forced itself out of her throat, interrupting her.

An intense frown curled Ann’s lips, she averted her eyes from the pain “W-We’re..falling behind..” she said the only thing she didn’t want to, she wanted to at least try and save this woman, but they couldn’t without risking Akira.

“..Please, can we..stay with her while..” Yusuke’s plea trailed off into silent whimper, even if he didn’t know her, he wanted to make her death comfortable, no one should die alone like this, especially if he could prevent that loneliness.

Zeriya gave a silent nod, he leaned on the wall as the gloomy atmosphere became apparent, he had ordered Ryuji, Ann and the others to go on forward while they waited for her to fall unconscious.

“...Tell..the king...I don’t..” Another cough rippled her throat, she lifted her hand up and Yusuke grabbed it, hopefully comforting her one last time “I...I don’t regret...dying for..him..” a weak smile spread her lips as her eyes slowly closed.

A sob forced itself out of Yusuke, he knew coming here would only be filled with sorrow and dejection and he hadn’t even reached Akira yet, his tears pricked his eyes as he tried to contain himself, her grip on his hand became limp as darkness took hold of her.

Yusuke hung his head low as he tried to recover, but he heard a crunching sound, his eyes opened and he saw Zeriya stomping on the head of the man that had killed her, Yusuke stared with wide eyes as the revengeful nature of it settled in.

Zeriya kicked the man’s corpse away from her swiftly and turned to Yusuke after a few grunts escaped his lips from his exertion “Let’s go.” his eyes were filled with pain but his facial expression remained stern.

Yusuke weakly nodded and set her down gently on the floor, he placed her hands over her chest and stood up with a sniffle “M-Mmn..” his voice wouldn’t come out just yet, but it didn’t really need to.

~~~

They carried on as even more lives of their loved ones were destroyed, their morale was decreasing by the minute as the weight of this confliction ripped them all apart.

Heavy footsteps kept pounding and pants escaping the lips filled the air, their exertion, their emotions tired them as they reached their destination, they stopped near a staircase.

“..Yusuke.” Zeriya grabbed Yusuke’s shoulder as the decision he’d have to make weighted him down, but it was the only way to secure two fates.

Yusuke turned to look at him “..Yes?” his reply seemed to gain the attention of the others who were catching their breath.

“Akira is downstairs...while Akechi is upstairs, which do you wish to go to?”

“Akira, of course.” Yusuke became a little confused by the question, Zeriya also had an inscrutable facial expression, worrying him.

“There is only 10 of us left and Akechi is still guarded..I know Akira won’t want him getting away again and we can stop him from escaping if we go there, but...one person needs to get Akira.” The weight of Zeriya words hung in the air as furrowed brows took hold of the group.

“You can’t possibly be thinking of sending Yusuke alone down there!” Ann was the first to protest.

“There are no guards down there, Ryuji already surveyed the area. It’s the easier job.” While Zeriya didn’t want to do this, he had to, it was the best way to secure both goals, everything was going to be risked or something would be lost if they tried something else.

“Screw Akechi, we came here for Akira!” Ann’s anger took hold of her, but her protests weren’t being backed up by anyone even if they agreed.

“Akira would not want Akechi getting away, he will simply do this again. We can end this, right here and now if we play this correctly.” Zeriya folded his arms with a long sigh “It’s the only way.”

“I’ll do it.” Yusuke agreed to it with determination, he glanced at Ann as he spoke “It’s safe and if it isn’t I can protect myself.” he had no interest in pursuing Akechi over Akira, but it was good Zeriya asked.

“No, this is far too risky!” Ann clenched her fist in the air “Let’s just get Akira-” Ryuji interrupted her by placing his hand in her hair and ruffling it “I thought we should never disobey orders?” Ann often said that to Ryuji and now he was using it against her.

Ann touched her now messy hair “This isn’t the time for jokes!” she pulled her hair ties out with a huff, allowing her hair down.

“You look so much better like that.” Ryuji tried to cheer the mood up but he was only met with a hard punch to his upper arm, “This is serious, Ryuji!” Ann’s scowl grew even more.

“Aah..Just listen to Zeriya. Yusuke’s quite capable.” Ryuji rubbed his sore arm with his lips pressed together.

“Look..if it makes you more willing I will go check on Yusuke once we’ve secured Akechi.” Zeriya rubbed his temples with another sigh, trying anything to make them agree.

“Don’t worry about me, Ann. I’ll also be with Akira.” Yusuke tried to reassure her with a brief smile, but she just sighed heavily.

“F-Fine...Please be safe.” Ann’s scowl turned to intense worry and a frown.

“I promise you all.” Yusuke bowed as he spoke, “I will save Akira.”

The remaining group smiled and they gave nods of approval, their morale seemed to be a little bit better now.

Zeriya glanced at Yusuke “I will see you soon.” and with that he ordered his group to follow him up the stairs, they listened but Ann stopped and glanced back at Yusuke one last time before disappearing to a higher level of the building.

~~~

Yusuke made his way downstairs, he slowly walked with caution in the corridor, he was highly alert, but not a soul was in sight, he eventually reached a cell door with an odd control panel beside it, nothing in the cell was conceivable, it was only filled with darkness and the atmosphere felt of a similar nature.

A light push was able to get it open, it wasn’t locked which was a bit strange, but perhaps Ryuji unlocked it when he came down here, Yusuke felt the presence of another person, of Akira, inside the cell, he would’ve yanked the door open and lunged inside if he wasn’t worried about someone creeping up on him, he looked around one last time before entering the cell.

Yusuke made sure to keep the cell door open as his eyes adjusted to the newfound darkness, a suffocating smell of dry blood assaulted his nose as his presence in this room sunk in.

He was able to see better and stepped forward with movements filled with hesitation and anticipation, he saw a figure lying on the floor in a disheveled mess, his stomach swirled with excitement and sorrow as he moved closer.

That’s when he heard the loud shudder of the cell door slam shut, he reacted to it and saw a man spinning a keychain around his finger “About time one of you rats came by..” he let out a small sigh “Only one though? Oh well..” he shrugged and disappeared out of sight, leaving Yusuke inside this dreaded cell “Akechi better reward me for waiting that damn long.” he talked to himself as he walked off.

Yusuke quickly seized the bars and shook them, but it truly was locked, he didn’t see or even feel that man’s presence before, a small amount of hopelessness washed over him as he tried to open the door, but he assured himself Zeriya would come eventually, freeing them both.

He turned his attention back to the figure, he was near Akira in merely four strides, but it almost felt like a lifetime, like a part of him knew this scene would echo in his mind while he slept, he felt tears creep up simply by looking at Akira’s state, each detail etched into his mind as he kneeled down, he wiped his tears away and reached out towards Akira, caressing his cheek gently, to try and give him any sort of comfort after the amount of pain he must’ve endured.

Akira panicked from someone suddenly touching him, the sensation; while gentle, felt like sandpaper against his cheek in his mind, he jolted up and grabbed their hand tightly simply trying to stop them, but his eyes widened in disbelief from the face he saw “Y-Yusuke..”

Yusuke stared with wide eyes as the change in Akira’s eyes blared out at him, they were..yellow, bright yellow, they almost glowed in the darkness, his eyes never left them, hoping one blink would return them back to normal and it was merely his mind playing tricks, but they never returned to their original colour “Y-Your eyes..” he stuttered in disbelief.

Akira let go of Yusuke’s wrist as his face contorted with his disappointment “You’re..not real.” he gritted his teeth and grabbed his hair with a shake of his head “Just stop!” he begged desperately as he hung his head low in his hands.

“A-Akira..” Yusuke was taken aback by the sudden change in demeanour “It’s me, Yusuke..” he tried to assure Akira by touching his shoulder but his hand was simply slapped away.

“I can’t take this anyone, make it stop, please!” Akira grabbed his face with trembling hands as his begs rang out in the air, audible pleas were muttered under his breath, his eyes trembled with stress through his fingers as his body quivered "I give up..I-"

Yusuke watched Akira’s broken mind pour out in horror, his heart stung and he felt more tears prick in his eyes, he didn’t know what to do, every time he tried to touch Akira he was pushed away and he didn’t want to cause him any more stress “Akira..it truly is me..” his emotions spilled out in his voice.

“Why does everything I love come back to hurt me?!” Tears rolled down Akira’s cheeks as he shielded his face tightly “No more...please..” he shook his head, begging for all of it to just end.

Yusuke watched Akira’s tears drip down onto the pavement, everything in his entire body ached with sorrow as he watched his hope descend into madness, but he wouldn’t give in, preparing for the pain that may come, he pulled Akira into a warm hug and held him firmly in his arms “Please Akira...It really is me..”

Akira didn’t move or respond enforcing the way his body temperature felt, his icy cold skin against Yusuke’s somewhat warm one conflicted as Akira almost felt lifeless, devoid of any warmth, as he held Akira in his arms the chilling nature of his body would forever be etched into his mind.

“Yusuke..” Akira’s voice came out in a whimper as he pressed his face into Yusuke’s chest, this warmth, it felt so real that it started to feel like it was actually there, not just another figment of his distorted imagination, even if it was fake he would allow himself to bask in the delusion before his final conscious breath escaped his lips.

“We’ve come to bring you home..” Yusuke cradled Akira’s head with a gentle smile, his tone remained soft and warm “You’re safe now, Akira..” he sniffled as his emotions of relief overwhelmed him, his hope finally answered him and he felt happy because the presence in his arms was true.

Akira sniffled as his sobs escaped him in a quivering voice “..Y-Yusuke..” all he could say was his name, engraving it in his mind.

Akira sat up straight to see Yusuke’s face again, he trailed his fingers down Yusuke’s cheek, feeling his skin once more “Y-You’re...actually real.” feeling Yusuke’s face again made him realize that Yusuke was indeed real, that this wasn’t just some vivid delusion “How..?” his hands never left Yusuke’s face, he felt every inch of it, etching the feel of it back into his mind.

“..I’m sorry we took so long, please forgive me..” Yusuke reached up and caressed Akira’s cheek again, his once soft and delicate skin now felt rough and worn, his eyes did not shine with the light they once held and all of it made Yusuke’s stomach sink with grief.

A dark liquid caught Akira’s eye, he grabbed Yusuke’s jacket “You’re..hurt!” a cough rippled out of his throat for raising his tired voice, but his concern for Yusuke was far greater than his care for himself.

“I-It’s not mine..” Yusuke mumbled as he recalled how difficult this situation was, but now he was with Akira again and all he had to do was wait for Zeriya to come free them.

The concern remained in Akira’s eyes despite Yusuke’s words, wishing to give Akira comfort Yusuke removed his jacket and draped it around Akira “You’re really cold..” he was surprised Akira wasn’t a shivering mess with how cold he felt, he pulled the hood onto Akira’s head slowly, hoping to warm him up.

Akira averted his eyes as he held Yusuke’s hands loosely “L-Let’s get..out of here..” he noticed his chains were off, the metal that dug into his flesh no longer restrained him however he couldn’t recall why they were off.

“The..door is locked, but don’t worry, Zeriya is coming for us.” Yusuke gave Akira a smile as he intertwined their fingers together, however Akira didn’t respond to it, Akira’s brow furrowed as he realized what was going on.

“You have to get out of here..!” Akira stomach twisted with his hungry as his relief turned into desperation “I’m turning...Yusuke..!” he gulped as the sick nature of what may come set in the air.

“Zeriya-” Yusuke was interrupted by Akira shouting over him “You have to leave!” the desperation in his voice and facial expression turned Yusuke’s stomach with worry.

Akira pushed on Yusuke’s upper arms with no strength at all, he was beckoning Yusuke to leave, but his efforts were futile “Please..I don’t want to..” his voice trailed off into a silent sob.

Yusuke’s face crinkled with worry as he pressed his lips tightly together, he started to realize what was going on, but his hope that Zeriya would come before this situation worsened was stronger than his fear for his own life.

“Aw..I was hoping I’d trap all of you in there with him..no matter.” Akechi’s muffled voice rang out in the empty air through the speaker he had previously used.

It startled Yusuke a bit “What’s..that?” he asked as Akira’s arms listless dropped to his side.

“Akechi..” Akira replied with distaste, his eyes lowered as the reality of what he might do chipped away at him.

“Oh, is that Yusuke? My my...This is going to become quite tragic quickly.” Akechi’s muffled voice was followed by a chuckle of satisfaction.

“Shut up! I won’t allow you to win!” Akira raised his knees to his chest as he shouted in the absence air, he desperately tried to find something, anything in his mind that could help him, but nothing was there, it was like a wasteland of destroyed memories and logic.

“Don’t listen to him, Zeriya will be here soon.” Yusuke touched Akira’s knee with a small smile, he tried to give Akira some hope by holding his hand, but Akira wasn’t responding to any of it.

“Hm, How about this... I’ll open the door once there’s only one of you left, whom it may be is up to you.” Akechi proposed a demoralizing solution to their dilemma with a smug tone.

If Yusuke remained in here Akira would turn into a husk and kill him, his control on it was fading away and he’d be able to see the entire thing, he desperately wanted to avoid that fate “..Do you have any weapons, Yusuke?” he asked while making eye contact.

“N-No..I don’t.” Yusuke lied, knowing exactly why Akira was asking him, he wouldn’t give in or listen to Akechi’s offer, no matter what “Just wait Akira, we’ll be okay.” he tried to give Akira reassurance but a part of him started to doubt it too.

“No, we won’t be!” Akira gritted his teeth as his desperation poured out “I don’t want to kill you..!” he grabbed his face roughly, shielding his eyes from this hideous world.

“But you do, your body craves to bite Yusuke, right? Your body screams at you for denying it, for denying who you are.” Akechi’s taunts filled the room, echoing in Akira’s ears.

“No-!” Akira covered his ears as he shook his head “No, you’re wrong!” voice cracking whimpers escaped his lips as his tears slipped down his cheeks.

“How am I wrong? Are you really that delusional that you can’t even admit to your hunger?” Akechi continued to taunt Akira and he actually started to affect Akira.

“I-I don’t..want to..” A great tremor of sobs overtook Akira as tears raced down his cheeks, short intakes of breaths filled the sombre air as his shoulders quivered with his dire emotions “Yusuke...I don’t want to...see you..like this..” his words came out in a trembling manner.

Yusuke was heartbroken from seeing Akira like this, to ease his pain he pulled Akira into another hug, Akira listlessly dropped into his arms as Yusuke held his head firmly “It’s okay...we’ll be okay..” his voice also came out in a whimper, he tried to keep himself together for Akira’s sake but reality was becoming bleaker by the minute.

The sound of someone standing up from a chair came out lowly from the speaker and it felt like Akechi’s presence was now gone.

“Yusuke..I love you..” Akira clenched Yusuke’s shirt under his aching fingers, the only thing that didn’t cause him pain was Yusuke’s warmth, but that would soon vanish.

“I love you..too...Akira.” Yusuke closed his eyes tightly, his tears started to seep out and trail down his cheeks, he tucked Akira’s head under his chin, he would simply wait for an answer with Akira in his arms, whether it be his hope or his despair.

While it was nice to be able to hold one another again, they would eventually have to give into torment, they held each other in a mix of an ebbing and affectionate silence until Akira spoke again “You..have to kill me, choke me.” the weight of his words sunk in deeper and deeper until Yusuke couldn’t deny it anymore.

“W-What..?” Yusuke stuttered as his eyes widened, his entire world started to fall apart once he realized Akira was serious.

Akira broke their hug with no energy “Please Yusuke...I can’t hold it back any longer.” his bottom lip trembled as he tried to remain strong, his tone hitches under a hiccup “Once I turn..I can’t come back, I have no future anymore.”

“No, I would never-” Yusuke was interrupted by Akira shouting “Don’t let me turn, please! End it, end it before I withered away!” his sharp voice rippled through the air.

“Just wait for Zeriya..please..!” Yusuke’s powerless fate was being forced into acceptance as his pleas were falling on deaf ears.

“We will both die! I can’t go on but you can!” Akira’s heartbroken voice cracked, he grasped Yusuke’s hands and held them together “P-Please...don’t make me see it..don’t let me kill you..” he held Yusuke’s hands up to the bridge of his nose as fresh sobs escaped him.

“I can’t..!” Yusuke continued to reject the one reality he never wanted.

“My memories...they’re all gone..all demented into something haunting, the only one I have left is the Feathermoon ceremony, I don’t remember anything properly, do you truly wish for me to live like that?” Akira knew what he was saying was a bit selfish, but there really was no way to get out of this, he would die so Yusuke didn’t have to.

“They...They will return once you’ve eaten..” Yusuke held onto that one last bit of hope desperately, even if it would cost him his life.

“They won’t..” Akira kind of knew they would, after all it was only his hungry literally clouding his mind into something desolate, but he couldn’t tell Yusuke that because he wouldn't listen to him if he did.

“I am not killing you, r-regardless of how bad this may seem...I won’t!” Yusuke wouldn’t do it, he couldn’t do it, destroying the love of his life with his own hands would traumatize him beyond anything, he wouldn’t be able to live on with such a weight on his shoulders if he committed to it.

No matter how much Akira begged him, no matter how much Akira shouted at him or cried, no matter how much it ached, he wouldn’t give into that fate, he couldn’t destroy the one thing that changed his life completely and if that meant a painfully tragic death then so be it.

“Please..I’m in so much pain, just trying to hold it in...put me to sleep, Yusuke!” Akira wiped his sore eyes frantically, his emotions were suffocating “I don’t want to live anymore..!” his head hung low as he muttered pleas.

Yusuke watched Akira with fading eyes, he had accepted death and it was visible on his face, his stance was unmoving and he just wanted to be with Akira until the end.

“Why?! Why won’t you listen to me?!” Akira sorrowful voice rang out, he started to realize Yusuke wasn’t going to do it and it frustrated him beyond anything “You..idiot..!” he pounded his fists with no strength at all against Yusuke’s chest as he begged him to kill him.

"Please!"
"Please..!"
"Yusuke, please fucking listen to me!!"

Yusuke just watched, Akira’s fists didn’t hurt, it was obvious he wasn’t actually trying to hurt Yusuke by the way his arms listlessly moved over and over again. Akira was desperate, but he was absolutely mentally and physically exhausted, his pleas, his reasoning's weren’t reaching Yusuke and it produced a suffocating amount of helplessness.

Akira dropped into Yusuke’s chest as inward heaves filled with sobs escaped his lips “Why...won’t you save yourself?!” his dry throat forced out a cough as he choked on his emotions.

Yusuke wrapped his arms tightly around Akira “..It’s okay, Akira..” while his emotions were crushing him, he was able to put his pain aside to comfort Akira, he closed his eyes, trying to only feel Akira’s presence.

Akira’s begs trailed off into whimpers as his emotions had exhausted him, he couldn’t beg Yusuke to kill him anymore and instead took in his warmth, he hugged Yusuke’s chest as he cried into it.

Yusuke leaned back to allow their hug turn into something more comfortable, he brushed the hood off Akira’s head and began stroking his hair to comfort him, he basked in whatever light was left in Akira as he forced himself to only remember the happy times.

They held each other as their grim fate remained in the air, festering until it would come into fruition.

A smile curled Yusuke’s lips as his memories helped him through it “I remember when you…- When I threw that suitcase out the window, thinking was symbolic..” a small chuckle escaped his lips “It was...so silly..” to be with Akira in their joyous memories is a way he could accept dying.

“M-Mm..it was..” Akira for some reason could actually recall it, his memories were indeed still there and only Yusuke’s rambles revived them “I hadn’t..laughed that hard in such a long time…” a small smile formed on his lips as his tears calmed.

“I remember when I got sick, you looked after me...I would always be sick alone and had to nurse myself back to health before I met you, I was surprised you actually wanted to be near a sick person...and even kissed them.” Yusuke pressed his cheek into Akira’s hair as he spoke “Thank you for looking after me..”

A wider smile formed on Akira’s lips as he nuzzled Yusuke’s chest, “I-I’ve..always wanted to partake in the Feathermoon ritual..the moment I learnt about it.” a little chuckle escaped his lips, he wiped his eye before continuing, “I wanted to do it even though I didn’t have a partner, it was silly, but...it’s always been special to me a-and..” a sob interrupted him as the weight of his words crushed him “Y-You...granted me it..T-Thank you, Yusuke..”

Yusuke clenched his teeth as a sob begged to come out “Y-You’re welcome..Akira.” he couldn’t keep it in any longer, tears raced down his cheeks as his emotions torn him apart.

Low breaths filled the air as Akira’s eyelids became too heavy, his consciousness was fading away “I-I..love...you..” a single tear escaped his eye as the darkness pulled him away.

“I love..you too, Akira..” Yusuke’s shoulders quivered as his grip on Akira tightened, he held Akira securely while unaware that he was unconscious, his sobs trailed into silence, reminiscing in his memories was too much, despite the pain they caused him due to their situation his memories also made this possible.

Akira’s body started to feel light and lax and Yusuke noticed it “Akira..?” he peered down at Akira’s face and his eyes were close, “A-Akira?” he shook Akira lightly but got no response, seeing this made his grief and desperation suffocate him.

His movements caused Akira’s hand to droop down, Yusuke’s eyes widened as his desperation ate away at him “Akira?!” Akira’s limp body became etched into his mind as Yusuke’s shakes of him were giving absolutely no reaction “Please..don’t leave me..” tears stained his face as moans escaped his lips through the suppressed sound of hiccups.

Yusuke brought Akira up and buried his face in the boy’s chest “P-Please..!” his begs muffled in the sound of hiccups and sobs as his sombre fate became reality.

Yusuke sat there with Akira in his arms, yet it felt lonely, as Akira’s almost lifeless body lay in his arms he began wiping Akira’s once conscious tears away.
If Yusuke wiped Akira’s tears away previously Akira would always close his eye and his cheek would glow with a light pink hue but none of that happened now.

He heard the sound of something crackling but focused on wiping Akira’s face gently, his mind was too frazzled to freak out over it, but he started to become more aware of it as it grew louder.

Distorted muffles came from the speaker yet vocals also pierced out.
“G--et--away!”
“D--o--n’t--touch---th--”
“Ryu--ji!”

The sound of a gunshot could be heard and it destroyed the speaker, now it merely crackled until it stopped completely, Yusuke listened to it all, but it was too fuzzy to understand, he waited for another sound but none came, with a sigh he returned his attention back to Akira.

But before he could return to whatever his body craved in these last moments he heard the sound of something unlocking, he glanced at the door and while it was still closed he had the urge to check it.

Yusuke gently placed Akira onto the floor and stood up, each step he took towards the door echoed and throbbed in his mind, but he carried on and tried to open the door, one light push of the bars cracked the door open and he stared at it in shock.

He pushed it completely open and looked outside, no one was there “I-I have to feed Akira!” his thoughts spilled out as he turned back to Akira, he looped his arms around him and picked him up, Akira still drooped, if anything he was even more droopy, but it wouldn’t destroy Yusuke’s determination.

Yusuke carried Akira out of the cell and hurried down the corridor as the taste of freedom and resolve touched his tongue, he made sure to firmly hold Akira as he was completely lax.

He found a few rooms and peeked in them, he eventually found a medical bay and went inside, he placed Akira’s body down on the not so comfy bed with a kiss to his forehead and he took this moment to catch his breath.

Yusuke tried to remain calm as his mind frantically raced for a way to feed Akira, he searched the cupboards for anything useful, but there was nothing but medical supplies, he turned and almost tripped over from the sight he saw.

One of Akechi’s men was lifelessly sitting in the corner, Yusuke hadn’t even noticed him before and seeing him now did startle him a bit, he approached him with great hesitation and poked him, he was extremely cold, he was dead.

The corpse was useless, Akira needed someone alive and frustration set in, that’s when he got a rather strange idea, but it could work.

Yusuke started to remove the corpse's military uniform, all of the guards wore a uniform with the insignia Yusuke had drawn, if he could play guard he might be able to lure someone here, it was extremely risky but he didn’t exactly care, this was his only chance to save Akira if he wasn’t gone yet.

He undressed and replaced his clothing with the uniform, he tucked his hair into the hat just to maybe conceal his identity, wearing a dead guy's clothes felt gross and he thought he’d never have to do such a thing but strange things happened quite often to him now.

Yusuke had the urge to say goodbye to Akira before looking for someone, but he knew wasting anymore time only made Akira wither away. Suddenly he heard footsteps echoing in the corridor.

He quickly pulled the corpse to a closet while trying not to gag and shoved it inside the closet, it seemed like the man died from choking because he had no visible wounds, the corpse flopped, making it difficult to get into the closet but with one final push Yusuke managed to cram it in and close the closet with an exhausted sigh.

No rest could come though, his body moved quickly on its own as his desperation took control, he kicked his clothes under the bed and removed the jacket from Akira just in case, he crammed that under the bed too and now the footsteps were louder, they were closer.

With a deep breath Yusuke left the room, his eyes scanned the area until he saw two guards walking towards him, he gulped as his nerves kicked in but he told himself he had to keep it together, if he seemed anxious they would become suspicious, he tried to figure out what to say to them when he heard them talking.

One of the men gestured his hand as he spoke “Akechi still thinks they’ll take it?”

“Yeah.” The other guy replied to his friend as he looked down at a small walkie talkie in his hand “Should we just bail? No orders are coming through.”

“I don’t exactly want to partake in Akechi’s suicide mission..” His friend grumbled.

“So that’s a yes?”

Yusuke overheard everything and he could use this information to his advantage, swallowing his final anxious breath he approached them, they noticed him and glanced at each other.

“What are you doing down here?” One of them asked, although his words didn’t seem accusing, more like a genuine question.

Which meant Yusuke’s disguise worked, he felt relief wash over him but it stopped once he realized he should probably reply “I...was ordered to move the...prisoner's body.” he chose his words carefully, but a small part of him doubted their legitimacy.

“So they chose to kill him?” The other man asked while folding his arms.

“Yes, Akechi wishes to preserve his body.” Yusuke was going to add more, but being vague was probably the best idea, if he was too defined his words could contradict an unknown rule or order.

“Why are you using male pronouns..?”

Yusuke felt his stomach fill with butterflies as he gulped again “..Habit.” did they really not refer to Akira as a person? Perhaps these guys were just assholes, but Yusuke felt worried either way.

The man with black hair nudged his friend’s shoulder “Stop giving him grief, he’s only a rookie.” he let out a small chuckle.

His friend ignored him and sighed, he spoke, “I guess those are our orders too, considering we’re in the same section.”

“Some help would be nice.” Yusuke touched his hat, trying to distract himself from his sweaty palms and overwhelming amount of anxiety.

Yusuke led them to the medical bay, they asked why Akira was in there and he simply replied by telling them ‘that’s as far as he managed to get Akira before seeking help as the body is too heavy’, they seemed to buy it which gave Yusuke even more hope.

This is where Yusuke’s plan stopped, he didn’t know how to feed them to Akira or what to do, but he had to act before they picked Akira up.

“You sure he’s dead?” One of them asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, just fresh.” Yusuke tried to keep his face serious, but he hated the words he was saying.

“You can carry him first.” The black haired man placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder with a sly grin.

“Why do I always have to do everything?!”

The two bickered with each other, growing even more invested in their squabble, while they argued Yusuke got an idea, he decided to slip his finger into Akira’s mouth and prick himself with his fangs, he allowed his blood to drip into Akira’s mouth before one of them noticed him and shouted.

Yusuke yanked his finger out and quickly shoved it into his pocket, but it was obvious they had seen him.

“What did you just do?!” The black haired man pointed an arrow gun at Yusuke and from the look on his face he was willing to shoot.

“J-Just checking for a pulse.” Yusuke mumbled, but he knew it was all over, his legs began to tremble as the other guy pointed a gun at him, he raised his hands in defeat “You don’t-”

“You fucking traitor!” They accused him with venom, they were about to shoot when Yusuke tripped and fell onto his backside.

In his disorientation he heard bloodcurdling screams, once it faded, he noticed Akira was gone and a struggle on the other side of the bed, he could only see it in the cracks of the beds bars but it became obvious that Akira had lunged at them in those milliseconds.

Whether Akira was a husk or normal, he did not know. Yusuke watched in horror, blood sprayed out and stained the walls and screams of death and pain filled the air, to say it was terrifying would be an understatement, he shielded his eyes with his knees, desperately trying to drown it out, but it would forever etch into his mind and the sounds would linger in his ears.

It was impossible to drown out, quivering breaths escaped his lips as the screams settled down into gargling, the sound of bodies hitting the floor echoed in his mind as his panic poured out.

Yusuke’s body begun to shake, it felt like a lifetime even if it was merely a few minutes, he felt the dark presence of someone, something inching closer and he gulped, preparing himself for unimaginable pain.

He felt gentle hands wrap around him and clothing press against him, he waited, he prepared, yet nothing painful came, with great hesitation he raised his head to see what it was.

“Yusuke..” He heard the voice he desperately craved to hear again and the face staring back at him was whom it belonged to “A-Akira..” the words escaped his lips as he noticed new details about Akira.

Akira was covered in blood, his mouth and cheek, his clothing and his original crimson eyes returned, his eyes were no longer yellow leading Yusuke to feel more safe “I-It...worked..” he shifted his position to hug Akira “It actually worked!” his achievement happily escaped his lips as he nuzzled Akira’s stomach.

~~~

They held each other firmly as what just happened lingered in the air, their gratitude, their hope poured out and mixed together just like their warm embrace, they basked in their moment together before allowing the harsh reality to come back in.

They stood up, but Akira stumbled, Yusuke caught him and helped him onto the bed, getting a glimpse of the horror this room now held, he was desensitized to the smell at this point, but the quivering nature of his weak stomach remained, however it did get easier to see, to accept each time he was forced to.

Ignoring the horrifying nature of Akira Yusuke spoke, “I thought...I lost you.” he touched Akira’s hand, confirming he was indeed there.

“I..only fell unconscious again, it happens quite often...while turning.” Akira explained what had happened, but despite eating his body still ached and felt weak, he made sure to wipe the blood off his cheek so Yusuke would be more comfortable.

Which caused Yusuke to notice Akira was injured, freshly injured “You’re hurt!” he pointed it out with his voice as he grabbed Akira’s arm, lifting up his sleeve to see the wound.

Akira had a large cut, blood oozing from the wound, red ribbons trailed down his arm as Yusuke panicked again, “We have to treat this..” his voice hitched with his worry, he looked around the room, they were in the best place to get hurt after all.

“..I didn’t even notice it.” Akira touched the wound briefly, the pain of it didn’t exist, it was merely numb.

Focus plastered on Yusuke’s face as he searched for something that could help treat Akira’s wounds, he found gauzes, wet wipes, bandages and gathered them all, he placed them down on the bed next to Akira and got to work, cleaning the wound up and supporting a gauze over it with the bandage.

His mind didn’t really acknowledge the new dead bodies in the room, all of his attention was on Akira, and that was probably the best for his mental state, he had already seen enough horror for his mind to just balk and tunnel vision.

“I didn’t know you were a medic.” A half-hearted chuckle escaped Akira’s lips, he was trying to cheer Yusuke up a bit with idle chat but the atmosphere was too grim for anything to really work.

“I was taught a few things..” While being honest Yusuke got the idea to clean up the rest of Akira’s wounds, he grabbed Akira’s top and pulled it over his head slowly, he had forgotten to tell Akira what he was doing so it seemed a bit strange, but as he got a better look at Akira’s bare chest a small gasp escaped him.

Small tears pricked in Yusuke’s eyes as the weight of Akira’s condition sunk in deeper and deeper, it was bad at first glance but it got even worse as he saw more and more of Akira’s body, biting back his tears he got back to work, cleaning up Akira’s wounds.

“We..don’t exactly have the time for this.” The obviously dire situation couldn’t wait for wounds to be treated, it would be merely moments away before a guard came in here, they couldn’t idle and Akira felt like he had to point that out to Yusuke.

“But..you’re really..hurt.” A frown curled Yusuke’s lips as he wiped the blood off Akira’s face, it was hard not to just break down into a dishevel mess of tears again, but he knew he had to press on if they wanted to get out of here alive.

“We can deal with this later..let’s just get out of here.” This place was haunting enough, Akira didn’t want to stay any longer than he had to.

“Okay..” Yusuke stopped cleaning up Akira, but he made sure to bandage Akira’s feet and hands before stopping completely “You can wear my clothes..” he said when he pulled all the clothes he had stuffed under the bed out and placed them on it, sorting through them.

Even if giving Akira his clothing meant he had to continue wearing a dead guy's clothes then so be it, Akira’s weren’t in good condition due to the blood and they were obviously not comfortable or warm enough, Akira’s skin still felt extremely cold and it made Yusuke want to try everything to increase his body temperature.

“You look pretty cute in a uniform.” A small smile peeked out on Akira’s lips, he slid off the bed and started to change into Yusuke’s clothes, although his movements were obviously filled with pain.

A light pink hue took hold of Yusuke’s cheeks, he didn’t know why he was able to get flustered in a situation like this, but he did..compliments aside, he helped Akira get dressed and Akira wasn’t having any of it “You don’t have to help me.” a small furrow of his brow told Yusuke off.

“Are you truly going to be stubborn in a situation like this?” An accusation more than a question, Yusuke wasn’t going to allow Akira to be stubborn whether he liked it or not and started to button up Akira’s shirt despite his protests.

A light pat reached Akira’s shoulder as Yusuke finished up dressing him, he draped the jacket over Akira to give him even more warmth, he went to kiss Akira on the lips to finish it all off and because he really wanted to show his affection and gratitude but Akira backed away from it.

“W-What’s wrong?” The pain of being rejected trailed in Yusuke’s voice as his worried gaze reached Akira’s eyes.

Akira averted his eyes with a hint of pain “My...mouth isn’t exactly hygienic..” he clasped his arm as a small bit of embarrassment washed over him.

Yusuke couldn’t keep the relieved smile off his face once he heard it wasn’t something worrisome “I don’t care about that.” while Akira’s concern was nice Yusuke couldn’t give a damn.

“O-Okay...only a small one.” A light red flush appeared on Akira’s cheeks as he let out a small pout.

Despite his injuries Akira was really cute which only urged Yusuke to kiss him more, but he listened to Akira’s request, pressing his lips gently against Akira’s while loosely holding his upper arm.

A small step back and their kiss was broken, as Yusuke stared into Akira’s eyes lovingly he noticed he didn’t see those once bright and ecstatic eyes staring back at him, it was..to be expected, the amount of pain Akira must’ve endured would of traumatized anyone and Yusuke wouldn’t fret or ask about it, Akira would eventually return back to his old self...hopefully.

“Before we go, you should drink some of my blood.” Yusuke suggested with a small smile, he held Akira’s hand loosely as he awaited his answer.

“I’m..not hungry anymore.” Whether Akira was trying to deflect it or genuinely didn’t understand why Yusuke suggested that wasn’t obvious.

“To...go outside, I mean.” Yusuke clarified.

“O-Oh..” Akira touched his forehead, like he had a throbbing headache “My mind is..still foggy, I’m sorry..” it seemed like he genuinely was in a haze.

It upset Yusuke that Akira even felt the need to apologize for it “Don’t apologize, I understand..” he pulled down the uniform’s collar when a motion caught in his peripheral vision, he reacted to it, catching Akira in his arms.

“I-I’m sorry...I-” Akira lost his balance and his weight pushed into Yusuke even more, he felt woozy and the world spun, it caused tired breaths to escape his lips as he tried to calm his nausea.

Yusuke made sure Akira wouldn’t fall before speaking, “You need rest.” it wasn’t an observation or a question, he was in a way commanding Akira to rest, even if it was for a mere moment.

“No..” Akira dismissed it with a sigh, “I’m okay..” his words betrayed how he felt, his nausea remained intense despite no longer standing on his own, his body wasn’t only hurt it was in shock.

“You’re not.” Yusuke wouldn’t allow Akira’s stubbornness to dedicate his decisions, he helped Akira back onto the bed and made him lie down.

“M-Maybe..for a bit..” Once Akira’s head reached the pillow the spinning in his head started to calm down, his body desperately wanted sleep, but this really wasn’t the time for it.

Yusuke sat on the floor, hanging over the bed and touched Akira’s hand, holding it “Just rest for a bit, I’ll protect you if anything happens.” he still had the gun on him and while he still..hasn’t taken the life of someone just yet he was willing to if that person was trying to harm them.

“..How? You have no weapons..” Akira turned his head to make contact with Yusuke, his voice was coming out softly due to his exhaustion.

“I..do.” Yusuke pulled out the gun from his back pocket and presented it to Akira “I couldn’t of possibly told the truth...knowing what you were planning on doing..” his lips pulled into a frown.

“Where did you get that..?” Akira stared at the gun until the familiarity became apparent “Is that mine?” he asked as he furrowed his brow with worry.

“Yes, you can scold me later, right now you need rest.” Yusuke placed it back into his pocket and grabbed Akira’s hand with both of his “I’m so glad you’re okay..” his soft joy could be heard in his voice as he lifted Akira’s hand up to his forehead and press it against it.

“Where..are the others?” That question had been own Akira’s mind for awhile but he didn’t really get the chance to ask until now.

“They are with Akechi, they are making sure he doesn’t escape.” Yusuke explained and the atmosphere was becoming less tense, even if they were in a dangerous place their presences calmed each other.

“And..how did we get out?” Akira turned on his side just to see Yusuke, he was extremely happy to finally be able to see him again, but he couldn’t deny they weren’t safe yet.

“..I don’t know, I heard noises and then it clicked open. I didn’t exactly question why it did, I just wanted to save you.” Yusuke lay his head on the bed as he looked at Akira “We’ll be home soon..” he spoke softly as he caressed Akira’s cheek, his affection for this man just wanted to pour out, but he was able to contain it.

“Thank you, Yusuke. You saved me again.” A heartfelt smile formed on Akira’s lips as his eyes slowly closed, their hands intertwined on the bed.

Yusuke closed his eyes as well, the only presence he felt was Akira and that eased him, even if it was a moment's rest they both desperately needed it.

Their exertion, their determination and crushing emotions all led up to this one moment, neither one of them gave up on each other because both of them felt the other was the definition of light within their life.

~~~

Akira fell asleep with the comfort of Yusuke, whether he would wake up to a gone world he did not know, but just being able to see Yusuke again fulfilled him.

Yusuke kept watch, awake, making sure no one dared to disturb them, he didn’t know how long they had been in here, but he wouldn’t move until Akira woke up again, being able to see, to be with Akira again made all of this worth it, no matter how hard it was and will continue to be Yusuke knew he would be okay as long as he had Akira.

As the somewhat warm atmosphere filled the air Yusuke heard the sound of footsteps echoing in the corridor, his fight or flight kicked in as he made his way to the door, gun firmly in his grasp, he awaited the nerving occurrence to come.

The footsteps grew louder and louder until they stopped dead-center in front of the closed door, Yusuke kept his nervous breaths in, he felt a trickle of sweat run down his cheek as his mix of preparation and fear overwhelmed him.

His heart pounded loudly in his ears as he awaited any motion, any move at all to occur, it felt like forever, just staring at the door waiting for it and when it happened his heart jumped into his throat.

But his determination to protect Akira was far greater, the door swung open with a squeak, it was now his time to act, with one swift movement towards them, he seized whoever it was and pointed the gun at their neck, but when his eyes registered who it was he was glad he didn’t just pull the trigger “Z-Zeriya..?”

“While I’m glad you’re able to defend yourself I would be satisfied if you got the gun out of my face.” Zeriya didn’t seem scared or startled at all, making the action not seem so deadly.

Yusuke’s arm dropped, he was glad it was Zeriya instead of someone else, but the tang of fear still lingered in his mouth.

Zeriya stepped pass Yusuke and closed the door slowly, making sure it didn’t make a sound “I see you didn’t have the easier time.” he spoke as he got one proper look of the room, it revealed the obvious quietus visuals.

“Yes, I..had a difficult time.” Yusuke kept a hush tone so he wouldn’t wake Akira, he moved back to his side to gain some comfort again.

“Akechi’s been secured, I came here as soon as he was, but it seems like you’ve handled your own.” Zeriya glanced at Akira as he spoke.

“He’s..in a really bad condition..” Yusuke spoke as he reached his hand outwards, he laced Akira’s hair around his fingers gently, his gaze on Akira remained soft and full of affection.

Zeriya folded his arms with a sigh, “I see that. Can he walk?” even if it wasn’t the best for Akira’s health they had to go, there was no guarantee that back up wouldn’t be called in.

“His feet are covered in cuts, but they are bandaged with socks over them so..maybe?” Yusuke’s gaze reached Zeriya’s, it became obvious they were going to leave, if needed Yusuke would gladly carry Akira so he suggested it “I can carry him, so he can remain asleep.”

“You can do that. We must get back to the others, I don’t trust Akechi at all.” Zeriya turned to the door and waited for Yusuke.

Yusuke made sure to slide Akira’s shoes on before looping his arm under Akira’s legs and lifting him up, although it was difficult he managed to hold Akira in a secure reserve-piggyback ride as Akira remained asleep, Yusuke was a bit surprised he didn’t wake him with the awkward movements, he must’ve been really out of it.

Zeriya opened the door for Yusuke and the two left the room, tracing their footsteps back to the staircase “I heard something on the speaker. Did you open the cell door?” Yusuke asked as the two walked together.

“No..? I left the moment I could. Why?” Zeriya’s facial expression was plastered with confusion.

“Well..I was locked in, I thought maybe you opened the door with a control panel or something once you reached Akechi.” Yusuke felt an uneasy worry creep up as his theory was being rejected.

“Nope, as soon as we cornered Akechi with our weapons and made him surrender Ann told me to go get you.”

“O-Oh..”

“Why? Is there something the matter?” Zeriya asked as they reached the staircase, they stepped up onto the first step before Yusuke replied “I...feel like something has happened in your absence.”

Zeriya stopped as the weight of Yusuke’s words lingered in the air with unease “Then we must hurry back.” he started to move with a quicker pace and Yusuke tried to keep up.

~~~

It took a while to get to Akechi, apparently he was in some sort of laboratory from what Zeriya told Yusuke, they exchanged what had happened to them in a calm manner as there was no guards around, they hadn’t run into one yet and if they did Zeriya would kill them.

As their footsteps pattered and echoed in the hall Akira started to wake up, the comfortable nature of Yusuke’s hold was enough to put him right back to sleep, but he felt like he was moving which caused him to open his eyes slowly.

His eyes woke up and he saw himself being carried further into the hall, the motion was enough to give him that information, he lifted his hand up and rubbed his eye, a yawn quivered from his lips as his body awoke more and more.

“You’re awake.” Yusuke noticed Akira waking up and a small smile took hold of his lips.

“Are we going home..?” Akira’s question held a hint of cutesy in it, at least in Yusuke’s eyes it did.

“We’re meeting up with the others, they are ensuring Akechi does not escape.” Zeriya replied to Akira’s question with sincerity.

Akira realized Zeriya was here too, making him extremely embarrassed, it was just a common reaction to get embarrassed when being treated like a ‘baby’ in front of his kin, it was engraved in him so even with the situation being as dire as this he still managed to feel this way “Yusuke, I can walk.”

“Are you certain?” Yusuke asked with concern, his expression turned more and more so.

“Yeah, I feel much better now.” It wasn’t exactly a lie, Akira did feel much better than before, his headache was gone and he didn’t have that sweat-inducing nausea.

Yusuke stopped and allowed Akira down, he made sure to hold Akira’s shoulder just in case he fell but he didn’t, “I don’t mind carrying you.” Yusuke thought it would be best if he did continue on carrying Akira, but he also wanted to see if Akira was able to walk in general.

“If I feel sick again, I’ll let you know.” Akira just wished to ease Yusuke’s concerns, but he knew that would not happen for a very long time, this incident had shaken both of them and it wasn’t even over yet.

“Please do.”

They continue onward, Akira was able to walk just fine, but his feet did sting occasionally, as they reached the laboratory Zeriya gave Akira a status update.

“We’ve...lost quite a lot of people here.” Zeriya’s tone was disappointed, he had hoped that they’d be okay and their lost numbers would be fewer, but what happened to the manor group made this harder, he still wanted to know what had happened to them, even if it was obvious.

“We’ll..collect everyone’s body before leaving.” Akira saw firsthand how ruthless their enemy was, it didn’t surprise him people had died but it did upset him.

“If it’s safe enough.” While Zeriya would be glad to retrieve everyone’s corpses, they were in danger enough, the current living did need to be prioritized over the dead even if it was upsetting.

They finally reached the laboratory and Akira pushed the door open, his demeanour changed to be much more bitter as they all stepped inside.

~~~

The open door only revealed the sight of Akechi pointing a gun at Ann and Ryuji, Ryuji’s injured body was being cradled in Ann’s arms as small pleas escaped her lips, shaky breaths filled the air as death stared at them.

Sugimura stood next to Akechi near a desk with a briefcase on it, it made it obvious he had betrayed them for Akechi’s so-called ‘salvation’ as he had a huge grin on his face, his demeanour was far darker than usual, he stared at his once allies and simply smirked.

Akechi noticed them and welcome them “Ah, the main guests have arrived.” he touched his lip with a chuckle.

Akira gritted his teeth at the sight of Akechi, it made him hostile again, seeing this man again after what he had done made Akira’s blood boil, he would attack him in mere minutes if Ann and Ryuji weren’t in danger.

They moved closer to the situation as it sunk it, it became more understandable and apparent as they stood in the room for longer. 6 other vampires worried and fretted over the outcome as they had been stripped of their weapons, they were unsure of what to do, they were simply told to secure Akechi and the table was flipped on them, leading them to not act at all, because if they did they would end up like the corpse residing in the corner.

“You really should consider whose side you’re on.” Akechi talked to them with a smug tone, he knew he was in a powerful position and was willing to gloat.

It seems like Akechi had given them a choice “Don’t you dare consider his word, he’s ‘salvation’ is a lie!” Akira tried to ease them back to his side, but honestly, with the amount of betrayals he had to accept he expected them to take Akechi’s side.

It was actually surprising that Akechi really was offering his ‘cure’ to them, but it’s obvious why he is, so he could get out of this situation alive and with even more research and test subjects, he could’ve probably escaped before they even reached him, but he didn’t because he wanted to secure his research or maybe he really was convinced that all vampires wanted to be ‘humans’.

“It merely takes some time to take effect, your buddy here has already had the serum.” Akechi smirked, he knew things that Akira didn’t, giving him the upper hand.

Sugimura didn’t seem different or off, it was almost like Akechi’s words were a lie, but Sugimura’s facial expression confirmed them, he seemed quite proud of himself for doing it “Being able to live a life without relying on blood is far greater, it’s nothing personal.” but it was selfish and Sugimura was the definition of that at this point.

The intense atmosphere choked the air, leaving nothing but the spoken words to linger in the air, fester in their minds. Akira didn’t know what to do or say, his mind was frazzled enough as it is and this only made that worse.

Akira decided words wouldn’t be enough, after all he couldn’t talk his way out of this and a small part of him didn’t want to, he gave Zeriya and Yusuke a glance, signaling them to take action.

Yusuke didn’t quite understand it, but once he saw Zeriya slowly inching closer he got the memo, a huge part of him wanted to get rid of Akechi, to be the one to get rid of Akechi, if he could do that he could protect and ensure Akira’s safely, but a little voice was telling him he was only hiding his anger and hatred for Akechi under the guise of protecting Akira.

“I’m sure he’ll die right after and if he doesn’t the fate you’ll give him is worse than death.” Akira furrowed his brow as he tried to keep his temper under control, but Akechi’s presence was rage-inducing, he was trying to distract Akechi so Zeriya could sneak up on him and getting angry himself would only make that more difficult, he had to get Akechi angry if they even wanted a chance of succession.

“Like the fate you managed to worm your way out of? You were only freed because your little friend sacrificed himself. You still manage to kill and hurt others without even partaking in it.” A satisfied chuckle filled the air as Akechi waved his gun mockingly, he didn’t seem affected by Akira’s words.

“Ryuji..” Ann’s sorrow spilled out as she tightly held Ryuji in her arms, he wasn’t unconscious, but he was in bad shape, a gun wound to his side and shoulder, all to ensure Akira was saved.

So Akira had to turn up the heat, even if Akechi’s words did sting, he couldn’t allow them to cloud his mind because Yusuke’s life and everyone else's was in danger if he did “So what? It’s better to have loyal dogs than ones that run away with their tail in between their legs, just like your so-called ‘allies’. You’ve been abandoned here along with your stupid ideals, but you should be used to that, right?” a small part of Akira actually got a kick out of being cruel, he couldn’t keep a chuckle in, he folded his arms, taking on a more smug body language.

Ann actually got a bit offended by what Akira was saying, especially after everything they went through to save him, to refer to them as dogs was pretty callous and she couldn’t believe the words coming out of Akira’s mouth.

“Allies? I already knew they would abandon me once things got tough, it’s how people work. I don’t need them, I don’t need or rely on anyone like you! You wouldn’t of been saved without anyone else risking their stupid life for you!” Akechi’s attention turned to Akira, but he kept his gun pointed at Ann and Ryuji.

“Why do you think they’re so willing to risk their life for me? Because I have something you don’t, something you’ll never gain and you can’t grovel for it no matter how much you try because you’re nothing and you’ll never become anything! Your praise is gone along with everything else you wished for. That satisfaction won’t reach you.”

A low growl escaped Akechi’s lips as his arm swung and pointed the gun at Akira “You don’t know anything!” his arm shook as his brow furrowed into deep hatred, he clenched his teeth as he clasped the gun tightly, finger shaking on the trigger.

"Everything you worked for is gone and I'll be the one to rip it from you! That satisfaction was never going to be yours and you knew that, but you had to remain a lap dog because no one else wants you in this world!" Akira shouted out his demoralizing insults, trying everything to break Akechi.

Yusuke’s tiny footsteps reached the perimeter of Akechi without being noticed, once he saw Akechi’s finger trembling on the trigger a surge of adrenaline filled him as he seized Akechi’s arms, with a hard thrust he forced Akechi’s arm upwards and knocked the gun out of his hand.

The motion happened so quickly it put most in awe confusion.

“Unhand me, you worm!” Akechi shouted as he fought against Yusuke’s crushing grip, but for some reason Yusuke felt stronger, was it simply the fact Akechi was injured or was it because Yusuke was fueled by hatred?

“I won’t allow you to take everything from me again!” Yusuke’s hatred escaped in a shout, he despised Akechi for what he had done and the fact he didn’t even give Yusuke the chance to grieve over it all made Yusuke not even willing to give him a chance, he couldn’t forgive Akechi.

Sugimura went to grab the gun as quickly as he could, but it was kicked out of his reach by Zeriya, Zeriya’s hand reached out and curled around Sugimura’s neck, seizing him with haste.

They had managed to overpower them in their distraction, Akira’s..somewhat plan worked. Akira was about to approach Yusuke and Akechi to help control him, but one step forward was accompanied with a throbbing pain in his shoulder and a loud gunshot filling the air.

“W-We’re dogs to you?! You even laughed! You laughed at everything we went through!” A female voice rang out, but it wasn’t Ann’s, it was one of the quivering group members, her shaky grasp on the gun Zeriya accidentally kicked towards her was pointed at Akira, making it apparent she shot him.

Everyone watched in horror as an absence of hope plunged back in, Yusuke held Akechi, Zeriya held Sugimura, neither of them could let go to seize this woman, leaving an overwhelming amount of defeat curdle in their throats.

Emotions were running high and they finally reached a boiling point, they clashed and produce a result no one wanted.

A chuckle filled the air “With allies comes betrayal, you should know that by now, Akira.” a smirk twisted Akechi’s lips, even if he was defeated he knew this evened the ‘battlefield’.

Akira grabbed his shoulder as the pain coursed through his body, as if he needed even more injuries, while the pain was enough to make him pant he could still function with it, he dragged his feet closer to the woman that had shot him.

“Akira what are you doing?!” Yusuke’s worried desperation poured out as he started to consider letting go of Akechi just to protect him, but if he did Akira would still be in danger, a dilemma he didn’t know how to answer.

“Fialy, please consider what you’re doing!” Zeriya shouted as his grasp on Sugimura tightened, he started to consider just killing him to protect Akira, but that would make him an abomination, even if Sugimura betrayed them, he was still one of them and killing one of his own without the order of the king or queen is against the rules.

“My sister died for you and this is how you repay her?! By spitting on her grave?! I won’t consider the words of a mad king!” Tears rolled down Fialy’s cheeks as she shouted out her emotions, her grasp on the gun remained shaken.

The rest of the vampire’s just watch in horror, they didn’t know who they should consider or how to act, Fialy wasn’t exactly wrong, they too felt like Akira’s words were far too harsh, but a gun would only make this unsolvable.

“He only said those things to anger Akechi, it has nothing to do with the way he feels!” At least that’s how Zeriya felt about them, but everyone else seems to think differently or is on the fence.

Akira’s heavy legs reached a halt in front of Fialy, he grabbed the guns nozzle and pointed it at his forehead “Kill me if you wish.” he was giving her the choice, based off her emotions; dying by his own people was a cruel death, but if they truly felt like they didn’t need him then he would allow them to rid him.

If Akira truly was a king where merely his words could shatter their trust, then he didn’t want to be no more, if they truly hated him so much that they would betray, do anything to escape him and even try and kill him then his purpose was rejecting him and he’ll give it the chance to cast him away.

He couldn’t exactly live out his life without them, the memories of it all was too painful and it’s all he knew how to do. He couldn’t go live out his life in a village or town with Yusuke, he was a vampire the chances of being caught were high and even if he wasn’t, people would suddenly start disappearing in that area, he also wouldn’t have the power to lure people, he’d have to rely on hunting and he would probably have to settle for lesser targets due to a lack of blood bags and medical aid. Akira simply couldn’t have another life with how things currently were and he wouldn’t force it, even if it upset Yusuke, he had to give them this decision.

“Akira, please!” Yusuke was reaching the edge and it could be heard in his desperate pleas, his fingers trembled as he was highly considering just grabbing the gun from his pocket and shooting her and Akechi.

The air filled with sniffles and whimpers and the intense atmosphere only intensified, leading everyone to have irrational thoughts.

With a quiver of Fialy’s shoulders, her arms ceased, dropping down in front of her as she choked on a sob, she couldn’t do it, even if Akira’s words hurt her beyond anything she couldn’t pull the trigger, because deep down she knew he cared and his words could only be a product of his condition, it would be selfish to take his life because she would be taking everyone’s future and making her sister’s death worthless.

Sighs of absolute relief filled the room, everyone worked their hardest to save Akira, having it destroyed after only just saving it would be tragic and crush everyone who cared.

Akira’s lips formed a small smile as he pulled her into a soft hug, although his shoulder did hurt, he was able to ignore it “I do not view you like that, I apologize for making it seem so.” he muttered his words in her ear and stepped back, now having to deal with Akechi.

Akira took the gun from her, which she gave him gladly after hearing those words, his footsteps toward Akechi echoed as a dark presence took hold of him again.

Yusuke had managed to hold Akechi from behind, every time he struggled Yusuke would apply pressure to his wounded hand, Yusuke noticed he was injured by the bandages around Akechi’s hand so he took advantage of it.

Sugimura didn’t exactly fight back or struggle, he knew he had destroyed what he had with his decision and was in a trance of trying to understand his future.

Akira reached Akechi with a loud halt of his shoes, he pointed the gun at Akechi’s forehead as his facial expression turned darker, the decision floated and fragmented in his mind as he stared at Akechi with malice.

“Go on then, you’ve already won.” Despite being at gunpoint Akechi still managed to be smug, infuriating Akira further.

Akechi’s eyes beckon Akira to do it, calling him to just announce ‘checkmate’, he didn’t seem scared or desperate, it’s like he wanted to die.

A large smirk twisted Akira’s lips as his eyes stared daggers at Akechi “No.” he lowered the gun with confidence, “You made a mistake, you showed me your weakness.” he spoke as he folded his arms, gun still firmly in his grasp “The one thing you want in life is a purpose, so I’ll rip your purpose from you and force you to continue on living without one!” a callous chuckle escaped his lips, he licked his index finger with a smirk as he watched Akechi’s facial expression turn to belligerence.

“Just kill-!” Akira interrupted Akechi’s shout by smacking him in the side of the head with the gun, enough force to knock him out for a while.

With a loud thud Akechi’s nearing unconscious body dropped, Yusuke had let him go, he simply didn't wish to hold him anymore.

Yusuke was bewildered as to why Akira didn’t just end Akechi right here and now, he was certain he would hear a gunshot eventually but it didn’t come, although his care for Akira’s wound was far greater than his distaste for Akechi.

He stepped over Akechi’s body and nursed Akira’s bleeding shoulder “Are you alright?!” his attention was simply on him at this point, after losing him so many times his brain could no longer function properly.

“What are you all standing there for?! Find some rope!” Zeriya ordered the remaining vampire’s and they jumped, scattering around the room to find anything useful, they were hesitant, but an order was an order.

“I’m..fine.” Akira turned, bumping his shoulder into Yusuke, he approached Ann and Ryuji, once he reached them he kneeled down, “Are you okay?” the words just came out, despite his frazzled mind Akira’s emotions and affections for these people remained.

“Y-Yeah...he needs some blood though..” Ann’s words were concealed in sniffles, she wiped Ryuji’s face with care, she wasn’t sure if he was unconscious or simply had his eyes closed causing her concern to be worse.

Yusuke was a little hurt Akira rejected him like that, but he swallowed it and approached them “He can have some of mine.” he now understood the condition Ryuji was in and was trying to help, his mind before was focused on getting the situation under control just like everyone else's but he was becoming more at ease now.

Ann looked at Akira like she was begging him to say yes, despite their home being Yusuke’s the order to never try and harm him was still in place and biting was apart of that.

Akira averted his eyes as he thought about it, he didn’t really want to allow anyone to drink from Yusuke just in case infatuation could happen or even his blood having some weird effect on them, but Ryuji was too important to him to simply say ‘no find someone else or even Akechi’ so he just nodded.

Ann smiled as she rolled Ryuji onto his back “Wake up, sleepyhead..” her voice came out softly and she awaited his answer.

“Is it….over..yet?” Ryuji’s voice was barely audible, it was sad in comparison to his usual.

“You need to drink, so Yusuke’s going to let you.” Ann informed Ryuji with almost a baby voice.

“..Okay…”

Yusuke got the cue to pull his sleeve up, he extended his arm close to Ryuji’s mouth and awaited that familiar pain he always used to feel. Ann guided Yusuke’s hand to Ryuji’s mouth, she gave him a quick smile before continuing.

Akira just got up and walked off, leading Yusuke to feel like what he was doing was wrong or would hurt him. Although he couldn’t hear, Akira just started talking to Zeriya so maybe Yusuke’s feelings were simply misguided and Akira didn’t want to waste time.

Ann guided Ryuji to bite down, but the pain Yusuke felt was a little different, or perhaps his feelings were just making it feel different but it felt like two thin needles digging in and the aching didn’t really cease like it did with Akira.

The group managed to find rope while Yusuke fed Ryuji and they tied both Sugimura and Akechi up, Akechi especially, Sugimura didn’t speak or even struggle much, he was fretting over his future but the fact Akechi was alive still despite everything he had done, helped allay Sugimura’s despair.

 

“9 of us are able to fight, although I don’t know if Ann will want to.” Zeriya gave Akira his observation as the two talked about how to get out of here.

“Why are you excluding me?” Akira folded his arms with a furrow of his brow, his eyes were filled with a mix of annoyance and something Zeriya couldn’t understand.

“Is that not obvious? Your new wound makes that even more so.” Zeriya’s gaze lingered on Fialy until he returned it back to Akira “What do you plan on doing with her?”

“Nothing. She was only emotional, I don’t blame her.”

“Right.” Zeriya’s voice trailed with a sigh, “If we run into any guards they might take notice of Akechi and surrender. What are your current orders?”

Akira’s frazzled mind thought about this carefully, he absolutely despised these people, they were sadistic, barbaric and unrelenting, the things they did to him did have an effect on his mind, he was so tempted just to say kill them all regardless of surrender, but that would be his hatred pouring out, it would seem hypocritical to allow his greatest enemy Akechi live even if he was merely doing it out of spite, Akechi was still going to live, was going to be given a chance to see wrong in his ways and maybe even find a place not filled with darkness in his own heart, if Akira killed these people he would be denying them that chance too.

But they could just be surrendering to save their own skin only to start up their distorted ways again, Akira would be in a way..allowing them to do it, he understood what they were about first hand and if they did follow that path he might be indirectly causing pain for other vampires or humans, this decision was harder than it needed to be and it caused Akira stress.

People who are in the wrong are usually guided to enlightenment by other people, it can happen naturally if the person is aware and conscious enough but that was rare. Akira wanted revenge, he wanted to cause pain to all those who slaughter his kin like they were nothing but at the same time he didn’t feel like he had to right to be their judge, to be their punisher, yet shouldn’t the victim decide their abusers fate?

“Ugh!” Akira’s face contorted with his confusion as he touched his forehead with a sigh, he didn’t know what to do, this decision felt like it had too much weight to it, one he simply couldn’t give an answer to.

“Are you alright?” Zeriya’s hand reached Akira’s shoulder, comforting him, although he wasn’t sure if he was in pain or something else.

“No, and I’ll never be alright..” The words Akira has wanted to say this entire time spilled out, regardless of the reassurance he gave everyone else he didn’t understand himself anyone, he became insecure and it felt like his mind was constantly fighting itself, against something else, he wasn’t sure if it was merely the shock of almost turning into a husk and it’s why he desperately wanted to go home, to go back to the norm, because he wanted an answer.

Zeriya was a little surprised by Akira’s words, he expected a nod or a simple yes like he always got, but he didn’t this time, making him fall out of rhythm.

“Kill anyone who stands in our way.” Akira turned his back to Zeriya after giving his order, his demeanour felt eerie compared to his usual stern one when giving an order.

Zeriya allowed himself to bow with his hand on his heart “Yes, my lord.”

~~~

They collected all of Akechi’s research and papers with Akira’s order, they had gathered everything and placed it in a large bag they managed to find.

Akira’s gaze caught the briefcase on the desk, everyone had ignored it so he paid attention to it himself, he clicked it open and the sight that stared back at him made his mind cease logic.

19 Vials of a purple liquid were neatly laid out in the case, it was the ‘cure’ Akechi worked so hard for, the amount there were made Akira question if there were more elsewhere, he tried to lift the firm up to see if there were anymore beneath them but it didn’t budge, there truly was only 19 in this case.

Akira choked on his laughter as it escalated into something mad, the absence in his heart poured out in demented chuckles. All of the torture he went through for this? For this little? It was amusing, it was sad, it was demoralizing and his heart couldn't take any more punches, the bleak realization that his treatment was all for some fantasy destroyed him even more and laughing was the only way he could express the new void in his heart.

Yet no one in the room understood why he was laughing, which made their worry stir in their stomachs.

Akira’s mind remained cracked and this shattered it even further “I went through of all this for that?! For 19 vials?!” his emotions poured out in his shouting at nothing in particular, the words just wanted to come out.

“A-Akira..?” Yusuke expressed his worry, watching Akira’s seething movements made his stomach ache and twist.

Akira gripped his hair tightly and his head hung low “Kill them all! I don’t care anymore!” his knees buckled under the weight of his emotions, smashing into the hard floor, he bashed his fists into the cold hard ground, trying to feel anything else beside all these conflicting and torturous emotions “I don’t care anymore..!”

Everyone watched in horror as the room filled with the sound of choking on sobs and laughter.

Yusuke had enough of watching and approached Akira, he didn’t know if he was wanted, but he did regardless of that, he kneeled down in front of Akira and wrapped his arms around him, pulling him into a gentle hug “You’re safe now..” he said the only thing he thought Akira wanted to hear.

Akira’s moment of weakness cracked out and lingered in the air. He grabbed onto anything his hand could find of Yusuke and sobbed into his chest, his stress and emotions reached a boiling point, something he could no longer keep inside.

~~~

“Are you feeling a little better now?” Yusuke asked with concern as he wiped Akira’s eye, that moment made him realize Akira was far more traumatized than he let on, they had gone in the privacy of another room while the others packed and prepared everything for departure, just to give Akira some breathing room.

“Somewhat..” Akira remained silent most of their time in this room, his body and mind just wanted to shut down.

Despite the crushing sensation in Yusuke’s heart he knew he had to be strong, he leaned forward and kissed Akira’s cheek “We’ll be home soon, I promise you that.” he tried to keep his tone steady and soft, he really wanted to cheer Akira up.

Akira just stared hollowly at nothing in particular, leaving Yusuke unknowing of what to do next, he had already treated Akira’s wounds the best he could with the equipment they had, he looked around trying to find anything at all, but they were in a storage room, nothing was useful in here.

With a heavy sigh Yusuke played with a strand of his hair to ease his mind, that’s when an idea popped into his mind and his face lit up.

Yusuke grabbed Akira’s hand gently and slid it under his shirt, resting Akira’s hand on his heart, “Do you feel it?” it felt a little weird doing this, but he knew Akira liked hearing his heartbeat and he was desperate to help Akira in some form.

“Yes, I do..” A light pink hue spread on Akira’s cheeks, he didn’t understand what Yusuke was doing, but it felt warm.

“You told me you wanted to hear this forever.” Yusuke inched closer to Akira as he spoke “And you will, Akira.” a smile formed on his lips, he stared into Akira’s eyes with affection.

Akira allowed a smile out “Thank you, Yusuke. You care a lot about me despite all of this..” a small aversion of his eyes followed his words.

Yusuke’s hand trailed along Akira’s cheek and reached his ear “Of course I do, you mean the world to me after all.” he was relieved Akira was responding to it.

Akira leaned forward and kissed Yusuke on the lips, a small movement back and their kiss was broken, Akira’s cheeks grew redder “S-Sorry..I know my mouth isn’t in the best state, but..your lips are really soft and warm..” he averted his eyes as the embarrassment settled in, something he would prefer over that crushing feeling.

Akira still felt extremely cold, despite how much time had passed his body temperature never raised, Yusuke was starting to believe it was a by-product of his mental state “It’s okay, I like kissing you.” he didn’t really know what to say, Akira’s mouth didn’t leave a weird taste on his lips or anything and he couldn’t exactly say Akira’s lips were warm because they weren’t, it felt like kissing a corpse.

“I feel better now, thank you.” Akira’s smile remained and the atmosphere became a bit warmer.

While Yusuke would love to continue it, they were given the signal to leave, but they still forgot to do something “You must drink some of my blood.” the words came out more direct than he intended.

“Oh, right..” It seems like that suggestion actually upset Akira, but Yusuke didn’t know why..was it because he had to remind him?

Yusuke pulled his clothing to allow Akira to bite him and Akira did without much hesitation, Yusuke didn’t realize how much he actually craved the nature of Akira’s bite until now, the mixing sensation of pain, heat and the fact Akira was in his arms doing it, he craved all of this.

~~~

They left the storage room and Yusuke felt a bit woozy, having been drained by Akira and Ryuji put his body in a bit of nausea, but he could handle it.

Akira noticed Zeriya had that briefcase in his hand and panicked with wide eyes, he stomped his way over to him, “What are you doing?!” his shout almost echoed in the room.

The prepared vampire’s turn their attention to Akira once they heard his voice, Ann was helping Ryuji on his feet and they all just stared at him with bewilderment.

“The..drug can’t be left here. We should look into what it actually does. I got an update about it from Sugimura.” Zeriya replied with a raised eyebrow.

“I never gave such an order!” Akira’s shout was mixed with a bit of pain and full of anger.

“I’m aware, but we must consider every option with a leveled mind.”

“That..shit is made with my blood and you want me to consider it?!” Akira clenched his fists as his anger boiled over, he couldn’t keep it in.

“This..isn’t just about you. As rude as that may sound, I must consider everyone’s opinion and we can’t deny some hold an interest in it. You can make an informed decision about whether we use it or not later, not now.” Zeriya knew Akira was in no state to be making a decision as heavy as this, throwing it away now, hiding it under the rug was dishonest and he wouldn’t give into that even if he did hurt Akira.

“I don’t give a fuck about what they want, my suffering is in those damn vials!” It infuriated Akira anyone would even consider this, to become some weird type of human, but he couldn’t deny some of his people would be interested in it, which is why he wanted to cast it away now, so he’d never have to be torn by that decision and those opinions.

“It is your role as king to listen to everyone. Right now you’re not, so I must step up as your advisor, this isn’t about being insensitive or denying what you went through and you clearly can’t see that in your state.”

Yusuke made his way quickly over to Akira before this could turn into a full blown argument and maybe even another battle of the death “You can get rid of it later, Akira. Just calm down and let’s get out of here before things get worse..” he placed his hand on Akira’s shoulder, but it was merely shrugged off, that hurt, but Yusuke didn’t actually know what the vials did so he couldn’t really give an informed opinion only a supporting one.

“..Whatever..” Akira’s eyes lowered as the aching in his chest intensified.

“S-Shall we go..?”

~~~

The taste of freedom was nearing as they approached the exit, they had to go through the corridor that lingered with death, unfortunately they had to reach the carriages before making a decision on what to do about the bodies, everyone had something in their hands, whether it be a bag filled with research, a weapon or another person.

They managed to get out of that hellhole and back to the carriages, everyone was exhausted, but luckily the carriage riders were alive, at this point they were expecting them to all be dead, but they were fine.

Akechi and Sugimura were crammed into a carriage with guns and weapons pointed at them, Akechi was still knocked out making this far more easier, but someone had to keep watch on them meaning they would be one down if they were going to gather corpses.

It became obvious backup wasn’t coming and Akechi was truly abandoned once things got tough, but they couldn’t let their guard down.

“Could you please ask Akira what his decision is?” Zeriya asked Yusuke with a pat on his shoulder.

While packing everything up Akira went in a carriage and ‘sulked’, Zeriya didn’t want to upset him further by asking him himself so he was asking Yusuke to do it.

“Honestly..I don’t even think he’ll talk to me. After your argument he has become really distant and hurt.” Yusuke frowned as he recalled Akira not saying one word while they escaped, not even when they stepped into fresh air, “I’ve never seen him this upset before..and it hurts.” his heart hadn’t stopped aching since Akira’s last words to him were ‘whatever’.

“He needs a good night’s rest, I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose...just how things are coming out right now.” Zeriya’s words seemed reasonable and they cheer Yusuke up a bit.

“Actually seeing the damage and imagining it is extremely different..” Yusuke thoughts spilled out from his lips, he didn’t really intend for them to.

“He’ll be back to his old self in a few weeks.” Zeriya turned “I have to go talk to the riders.” he was about to walk off when Yusuke stopped him “Do you truly believe that..?”

A slight pause and with a small shift Zeriya replied, “..No, I don’t.” after replying he walked off into the still dark distance.

 

Yusuke allowed the words to sink in as he grabbed his aching heart, he glanced at the carriage Akira was in and stepped towards it, he wanted to check up on him, but he truly didn’t know what to say or do with Akira, he seemed okay one minute and full of rage the next, maybe it truly was the lack of sleep and tomorrow he’ll be a little more consistent.

Yusuke pulled the door open only to find Akira asleep in the jacket Yusuke had given him, a small smile formed on his lips as he watched Akira sleep for a bit before closing the door, allowing Akira to rest.

 

Yusuke just told them to collect as many as they could, he knew that’s what Akira would’ve wanted and he helped them do so.

They managed to collect 26 bodies, some were absolutely mangled so they left those ones, they could only carry so much before their arms ached with exhausted agony, 26 was quite small considering 60 people had died, they still didn’t know what happened to the manor vampires but they could get that information out of Akechi if he was willing.

As the sun started to rise and streams of light peeked out onto the land they were given the order to go home, everyone was relieved they were able to go home finally, even if business felt unfinished here, everyone had reached their physical and emotional limit.

Yusuke stayed in the same carriage Akira did, he held Akira in his arms and Akira briefly woke up, grabbing onto whatever he could of Yusuke and falling back to sleep, Yusuke made sure to put Akira’s hood on to give him some cushioning and warmth, he was pretty tired himself, but he wanted to make sure they got home safely.

Each carriage was either filled with a depressing atmosphere or a tired one, the only people who seemed unfazed or not tired were the riders, but that’s because they never saw or had to deal with what everyone else did.

Zeriya kept watch on Akechi and Sugimura as the others tried to at least get some sleep on the way home, he was a little bit surprised Akira allowed Akechi to live, but he knew it was also out of spite, although that didn’t stop the fact Akechi would be staying with them, something many were detestable towards.

Chapter Text

The moment they got home everyone went to bed. Zeriya threw Akechi’s still unconscious body in a room that locked him inside and Sugimura in a similar one, now with those two dealt with until..next morning everyone could rest easy.

Yusuke couldn’t sleep, he didn’t even lie in bed with Akira, he just sat on the floor with his head resting on the bed while holding Akira’s hand. He didn’t want to get into bed because he feared he might hurt or discomfort Akira, even if it was accidentally in his sleep he wouldn’t risk it.

Once they arrived home Akira was still asleep in the carriage, Yusuke happily carried him to bed but Akira didn’t wake at all, he was completely out of it and Yusuke probably couldn’t wake him if he tried.

The bedroom now had a more cozy feel to it, Akira merely being in this room again made it feel like old times, but as the new day fell into nightfall Yusuke started to worry about Akira.

Yusuke’s eyes started to droop as the darkness in the room caused his brain ready for sleep, he started to drift off when a small moan coming from Akira woke him up.

He quickly checks on Akira, making sure he was okay, but his face was crinkled like he was having a nightmare, Yusuke instinctively placed his hand on Akira’s forehead, he still felt cold but Yusuke also felt like it was a cold sweat due to Akira’s skin being damp, like Akira’s body was having a cold feverish sweat during the night.

Small moans continued to escape Akira, his body started to slightly react to his nightmare, face contorting and turning, his fingers moving and body shaking, but it didn’t worsen, it remained small reactions.

Yusuke pushed his tired body up and made his way into the en-suite, he wets a face-washer and twists the water out of it until it was simply damp, he returns to Akira and brushes his hair off of his forehead, making sure the damp cloth touched him properly.

He dabbed it onto Akira’s face, soaking up his sweat before placing it perfectly onto his forehead, hoping to ease his fever. Yusuke had nursed Akira this entire time, only taking a brief moment away from it to have a shower and change into his pajamas, since then he had barely left Akira’s side.

Although his activities were starting to catch up to him, he had stayed awake for half a day; a day and a half if you count the infiltration; that hadn’t left his mind, the scenes kept replaying over and over again until his feelings towards them simply balked.

Yusuke took back his previous position, hanging over the bed and holding Akira’s hand, he did want to sleep near Akira, to hold him and hug him, but again, the fear he may hurt or discomfort Akira decided his actions.

A yawn couldn’t be kept in anymore as his blinks diminished until his eyes completely closed, despite his position not being a comfortable or healthy one he drifted off again, Akira no longer moaning made him able to fall asleep.

~~~

Akira’s body felt like a rock only filled with pain when he started to wake up, his eyelids were so heavy yet he couldn’t fall back asleep, he didn’t exactly feel refreshed but it felt like he had slept for almost an entire day.

The sound of birds chirping beckoned him to open his eyes, the sounds gave away the fact it was morning.

He managed to open his eyes and caught a figure in his peripheral vision, he turns his head towards it and saw Yusuke sleeping on his arm while hanging over the bed, his eyes followed Yusuke’s other arm and he caught the sight of Yusuke holding his hand loosely.

It a made a small smile creep up on his lips, with a small movement he re-placed his hand on top of Yusuke’s, squeezing his fingers around it lightly.

With his body waking up more Akira started to feel the gross sweat that had taken hold of his skin, his clothes almost stuck to him with how dirty he felt, he craved a warm shower so he pushed his body up only to feel a sharp pain shot up his arm, despite the aching he manages to sit up.

Yusuke felt the bed shake slightly and jolted awake, he touched Akira’s arm in his startlement while his eyes started to register what was going on, then his tiredness hit him, but he shook it off as he pulled himself onto his feet “Are you alright?” the words just naturally came out.

Akira didn’t respond, more like he couldn’t respond without ripping his dry throat, his eyes reached the bedside table, looking for water.

Yusuke understood what Akira was looking for and poured him a glass from the jug of water that had been sitting in here, it was probably warm now with how many hours had passed, but water is water and he didn’t want to leave Akira awake alone.

He gave Akira the glass with care and he almost drank from it instantly, gulping down all of the water to ease his dry throat, with a satisfied gasp Akira lowered the glass into his lap “Mm.” he responds late.

Yusuke smiled and took the glass from Akira, placing it back down as soon as he was done with that, he turned his attention back to Akira and started to brush his messy hair out of his face.

Akira tried to get up after Yusuke was done, but he was pushed back down by him “If you need anything I’m here for you.” Yusuke spoke as he caressed and cupped Akira’s cheek “Go back to sleep, I’ll take care of you.” he tried to give Akira a reassuring smile, but he was sure he had bags under his eyes.

“I..want a shower.” Akira pulled the covers off, his back ached with stiffness once he shuffled his legs over the bed’s edge to stand up “I’m alright, I can have one myself.” he replied to the question he knew Yusuke was going to ask.

One glance at Akira made it obvious he wouldn’t be able to shower by himself, not properly at least. Yusuke helped Akira off the bed, he was going to help Akira in the shower, regardless of Akira’s weak reassurance “I want to help.” he just didn’t really know how to word it.

“I’m fine..”

“You’re anything but fine.”

A pause, after it lingered in the air for far too long Akira just nodded and gave Yusuke a look of agreement, if it’d ease Yusuke’s concern then he’d let him help.

Yusuke helped Akira move around the bed, but once they reached the en-suite Akira stumbled, Yusuke caught him before he could fall and he felt something he hadn’t noticed before; Akira felt lighter, like he had lost weight.

“T-Thank you..” Akira made sure to thank him, although he was a little embarrassed he was this helpless in front of Yusuke, he always tried to be the strong one; emphasis on tried.

“It’s okay.” Yusuke’s lips formed a wide smile, he was so happy Akira expressed gratitude instead of stubbornness, perhaps not giving into his demands or protests was the best way to deal with Akira while he was hurt, obviously he cared about what Akira wanted and didn’t want to become overbearing, but Akira was in no condition to refuse help and Yusuke was glad he was realizing it.

Yusuke helped Akira into the en-suite and prepared the shower for him, he placed down a shower stool he had noticed in here a few times, after all he didn’t want Akira to stand and his shower was big enough, almost too big, he also readied towels on the rack so Akira could dry off without moving too far.

Yusuke began removing Akira’s clothing, but Akira stops him by grabbing his wrist “W-What are you doing?” Akira’s cheeks blushed even though he didn’t want to.

“You can’t shower with clothes on.” Yusuke’s facial expression turned a bit confused.

“N-No, I mean..are you going to join or wait?”

“I’ll join you. Why? Are you embarrassed?” Usually it was Yusuke being embarrassed over being naked in front of Akira; his embarrassment only happened because he was exposed to another person, not because he had a problem with nudity, seeing other people naked was fine but himself? Not so much, but that eased and he got more comfortable with it because of their baths together, Akira never seemed to mind it so it was a bit odd he was hesitant.

“...No.” Akira let out a sigh and averted his eyes; the truth was that Akira has always tried to look nice and presentable for Yusuke, he cared far more about his appearance now, he always wanted to look beautiful and be a good muse for Yusuke, but now he felt ugly; with his weight loss and body’s state he didn’t really want Yusuke to see him like this, in other words; he was insecure.

Akira let go of Yusuke’s wrist and let him remove his clothes, he felt like his insecurity was really silly for someone like him, he hadn’t even really noticed it until now, he knew Yusuke didn’t really care and if he showed any reaction towards it, it was out of concern not disgust, but even while knowing that Akira still couldn’t shake this feeling.

They got into the shower and Yusuke made sure the water wasn’t too hot or too cold for Akira, Akira sat down on the stool, although his body language was odd, like he didn’t want to be in here and covered as much as his body as he could, Yusuke brushed it off as him being merely embarrassed, but that wasn’t the truth.

Akira started to feel more comfortable when Yusuke actually started to wash him, his skin felt more refreshed and his hair no longer felt heavy, they didn’t talk much, Yusuke only asked if he was hurting Akira and he just shook his head.

As Yusuke scrubbed Akira’s back softly, he noticed large cuts down it, like he had been whipped quite viciously, seeing all of Akira’s bruises, scrapes, grazes and cuts made it obvious he had a horrendous time every day he was there, which only enforced Yusuke’s bitter hatred for Akechi.

He couldn’t help but feel distraught over it, he leans down and kissed the back of Akira’s neck, “You’re safe now, I promise you that.” his lips caressed Akira’s nape before returning back to work.

Akira’s eyes lowered to his feet as he recalled the guilty words he said that night “Yusuke...I’m sorry for the things I-I said, they were pretty selfish...so I apologize.” he found his voice, he felt guilty over the way he treated Yusuke that night, but he really didn’t know how to express himself anymore.

Yusuke smiled and made his way around Akira, he kneeled down in front of him and placed his hand on Akira’s thigh to steady himself as he looked up at him “I won’t deny it wasn’t difficult, but it truly is alright, I’m just glad you’re okay and helping you heal is all I care about right now.” he looked into Akira’s eyes with affection before placing his other hand on Akira’s cheek.

“So you forgive me?” A small smile forms on Akira’s lips as he stared back at Yusuke.

“Of course, an apology wasn’t even necessary.”

They smiled at each other before Yusuke leaned in close and pressed his lips against Akira’s, their kiss remained soft and full of affection, but Akira’s lips still felt cold despite the warm water showering down on them.

~~~

They got out after Akira rinsed off, some of his blood flowed into the drain, but Yusuke had to remove all of his bandages to wash him properly and Akira would prefer that over remaining dirty.

After wrapping a towel around his own waist Yusuke covered Akira in towels, one over his head, one draped over his shoulders and one around his waist, he looked like a cute mess of white towels, but Yusuke wanted to allow the towels to soak the water, not rub it and make his wounds open up.

“Where are my clothes..?” Akira looked around, but didn’t see any new clothes he could change into.

“Eh!” Yusuke expressed his realization with a vocal noise “I forgot to grab them, let me go get them quickly.” he bolted out of the en-suite and quickly searched Akira’s closet, he was in a hurry because he feared Akira might get a cold or worse if he remains wet.

He sorted through Akira’s clothes until he found something that seemed warm, a black chunky knit cardigan with red buttons, black pants, a pair of underwear, black socks and a white turtleneck, it should keep him warm if his coldness really was from temperature. Akira has become a little warmer than before, but it still wasn’t enough and Yusuke was trying everything.

He returned to Akira to see him patting himself dry, it was to be expected that he wouldn’t just sit there waiting for him, but Yusuke panicked when he saw some blood on the towel Akira was using, he quickly folded his clothes down onto the rack “You’re bleeding..” he expressed his concern as he turned his attention to the medical cabinet.

He had to replace Akira’s bandages anyway, but his wounds reopening wasn't something to ignore, as Yusuke sorted through the medical supplies he started to wonder if Akira’s wounds would get infected and if they did how to treat it.

Yusuke made Akira sit down on the bath rim as he got to work, he pretty much had to cover Akira’s entire body with bandages.

“Yusuke.” Akira called out as Yusuke was focused on bandaging his foot up “What is it?” Yusuke’s hands slowed, but they didn’t stop.

“You should go rest, I can do this.” Akira’s lips formed a smile, he seems genuinely concerned.

“I will tonight.” Yusuke’s voice made it quite clear he didn’t want to sleep, he couldn’t with Akira like this and he was kind of scared to, he didn’t want to wake up to Akira gone again or even dead, the fear that Akechi might try something lingered in him too, he did want to ask Akira why he let him live and what he was going to do with him, but Akira’s mind shouldn’t be worrying over anything else, only focused on getting healthy and he’d ensure that by choosing his words carefully and not letting others talk to him about business.

“It’s morning..that’s too far away.” Akira’s hand reached out and touches Yusuke’s cheek “You have bags under your eyes, it’s obvious your body craves sleep.” his smile turned wishful “So please, for me?”

Yusuke let out a sigh, his body did crave sleep, he had only managed to get 4 hours of rest before Akira woke up and if anything that made him feel even worse “I’ll have a short nap soon..” he complied, only because he didn’t want Akira to stress.

Akira gave a silent nod and Yusuke finished bandaging him up, he was about to dress Akira when he asked if he could brush his teeth first, Yusuke agreed and while Akira was brushing his teeth Yusuke went and got a new pair of clothes for himself, he forgot to grab his own when getting Akira’s, he changed into them and returned back to the en-suite.

Akira had finished brushing his teeth and let Yusuke dress him, but while Yusuke was pulling Akira’s top over his head he noticed Akira’s clothing didn’t really fit him properly, his thoughts trailed off to whether or not he grabbed the wrong size or if these were old clothes.

With a look down at his clothed body and a feel of his jacket Akira let out a sigh, “These are for winter.” he gave Yusuke a strange look, questioning if Yusuke was terrible at picking clothes or just grabbed the first thing he saw.

“They will warm you up..? Is something wrong?” Yusuke’s lips pulled into a line.

“No.” Akira let out a small chuckle with a shake of his head, a smile peeked out and with one step closer to Yusuke he leans his head into his chest.

Yusuke utters a moan of surprise, a wide smile crossed his lips as he reached his hands up to touch Akira’s shoulders, but as his palms pressed against the fabric of Akira’s jacket he felt them shake.

“T-Thank you..Yusuke..” A sniffle escaped Akira as his fingers curled around Yusuke’s shirt “You..saved me again..”

Yusuke’s facial expression softens with his smile still on his lips, he wrapped his arms around Akira and held him in a warm embrace.

“I’m so sorry I-...I dragged you..into this.” Akira didn’t want to cry, after all his eyes were sore, so he kept it in, but his voice came out shaky because of that.

“Shh..” Yusuke calmed Akira with hushful noises and by stroking his hair slowly, “You’re safe now, Akira. You’re not responsible for any of this.” he leans back to see Akira’s face and pressed his forehead against Akira’s “I love you.” he spoke softly as his thumb caresses Akira’s cheek.

Akira’s facial expression softened as he wraps his hands around Yusuke’s wrist “I love you too, Yusuke.” with a small movement forward he pressed his lips onto Yusuke’s.

~~~

They left the en-suite after holding each other and sat down on the red couch “Are you hungry?” Yusuke asked as he brushed Akira’s hair, he did have a few knots but nothing too bad.

“Not really.” Akira’s stomach did feel empty, but he didn’t want Yusuke to leave to get him food, even if it was for a few minutes, he just wanted to be next to Yusuke.

Yusuke knew Akira wouldn’t of been fed there, so he got kind of worried that Akira was rejecting food, but he wouldn’t push it further.

“You can have that nap after this.” Akira patted his lap as he spoke, making Yusuke aware he was implying he should sleep on his lap.

“Uh..I’m okay, I also don’t want to hurt you.” Yusuke finished brushing Akira’s hair, it felt soft again, he placed down the brush and Akira turned to look at him.

“You won’t, I promise.” Akira shuffles to the side of Yusuke and lightly clasped his shoulder “You’re so gentle, you couldn’t hurt a fly.” he lifts his hand up to his lips and chuckled into it, recalling things that could contradict his statement “Unless you wanted to.” he added.

“Ah, Ann said something similar to that.” Yusuke placed his hand into his hair as he tried to recall the exact words “About me touching you like an angel..or something like that.”

“Eh!” Akira’s cheeks grew red as he hid his face in his hand “W-Why are you gossiping with her about me?” he felt so embarrassed, wondering what else Yusuke managed to learn in his absence.

“Am I not allowed to talk about my boyfriend to other people? Because if that’s a rule I have failed quite greatly and so have you from what I’ve heard.”

“I-It’s not that..” Akira clasped his own arm with a huff “It’s just weird having my words come back to me.”

Yusuke smiled as he watched Akira’s awkward demeanour and red cheeks, his inspiration to draw again started to stir in his stomach as he found Akira in somewhat oversized clothing very adorable, maybe because they were reunited, he found every single aspect about him overly attractive now, like his heart just desperately wanted to pour out his attraction and love towards him because it missed him so much, it was a strange feeling, especially since he couldn’t convey anything on paper properly these past days but before he could notice words just came out of his mouth “You’re really cute, just watching you makes my heart flutter with inspiration.”

The words he didn’t expect to come out of Yusuke’s mouth did and it made Akira’s heart jump “R-Really..?” he couldn’t help but feel like a desperate school girl with a crush once he realized how he sounded.

“Of course, your red cheeks and pouty lips make it even more so.” Yusuke let out a chuckle, their conversation was taking a strange turn, but the silly nature of it made this feel like old times.

“Hnn..” Akira turned his face away, placing his palm onto his lips and curling his fingers up as he tried to ease his erratic heart beat.
‘What’s gotten into me all of a sudden..? It’s like I’m so desperate for his attention and approval..’ he tried to figure out why he was acting like a flustered mess all of a sudden, but the answer wasn’t there.

Yusuke noticed Akira’s weird behaviour so he pulled him into a side hug “What’s wrong?” his face crinkled with concern as Akira’s face was still turned away.

“I-It’s nothing, I’m just trying to work out what else Ann would’ve told you.” Akira lowered his hand as he spoke, he turns to make eye contact with Yusuke to make it more believable.

“She also told me you confess your feelings for me to her, she said she found it cute how you fumbled over trying to understand it.”

“Ah! Enough!” Akira covered Yusuke’s mouth with his hand, his entire face was red at this point, perhaps his emotions were overreacting because he wasn’t used to this type of interaction again; people treating him with dignity, he almost forgot what it felt like.

Yusuke grabs Akira’s hand and slowly removed it from his mouth, he caressed Akira’s palm with his thumb as he lowered their hands “I’ll stop, I didn’t know it was that embarrassing for you.” a smile formed on his lips as another light-hearted chuckle escapes him.

Akira pouted and exhaled, his pouty expression gave it away that he wasn’t mad or anything just teasing Yusuke.

The atmosphere genuinely felt loving and warm, something they both craved these horrible past days, but now they had it again and would cherish it.

Akira couldn’t contain himself anymore and he didn’t really have to, so he tackled Yusuke with an enthusiastic hug, but Yusuke lost his balance from the sudden light collision and fell back onto the sofa, he didn’t really expect Akira to glomp him with how sore his body would be, but as the light haze lifted he begun to feel how light Akira’s weight was.

Akira wasn’t exactly heavy before, but the difference was noticeable now that Yusuke’s mind wasn’t racing for his own life, he did notice some of Akira’s bones sticking out in the shower, but it was kind of hard to make out with how bruised he was.

But before his mind could trail further with that observation Akira nuzzled his chest and intertwined their legs together “Your scent and warmth is intoxicating..” he made eye contact while smiling “In a good way.”

“Are you alright?” Yusuke asked as he wraps his hand onto Akira’s lower back.

“I’m fine, being with you makes that more so.”

Yusuke allowed his worry to diminish with Akira’s words and a question formed in his mind, but he decided not to ask it as it could upset Akira, so he just basked in their affection for each other, he started to stroke Akira’s hair with his other hand.

“I’m not getting off so you better have that nap now.” Akira wiggled up, he kisses Yusuke on the cheek once he was close enough.

“I will only rest if you drink some of my blood.” Yusuke wanted Akira to drink his blood because he figured that will heal his wounds, Akira didn’t actually have any scarring whatsoever from what happened at the manor; when he was covered in glass and he believes it’s because Akira was drinking blood more consistently at that time, so he was hoping the same thing would happen again.

“Why? I don’t need it.” Akira’s facial expression took on a more confused look as he stared down at Yusuke.

Yusuke had the hunch that if he did tell Akira his reason for it, it could actually upset him, implying his wounds need to not scar and heal asap could lead to negative thoughts by intentions that were never there, maybe it was a bit silly to hide his reason, but he didn’t want to come off as insensitive, he didn’t know what would and wouldn’t hurt Akira anymore so he would just prefer not to risk it after what happened “I..” but he needed a decent reason or else Akira would figure it out.

He thought about a reason and found one, although it would embarrass him a bit, but that would make it more legitimate, his cheeks grew red as the thought lingered in his mind until it escaped him “I...like it when you..bite me, I-I’ve been craving it too..” he couldn’t believe the words coming out of his mouth.

“Oh?” Akira placed his index finger on Yusuke’s lips and rubbed them, “Have you become that addicted to it?”

“Y-Yes..” Yusuke continued to play along just so Akira would bite him already.

A low chuckle escaped Akira as his lips form a smirk, he pulled down Yusuke’s shirt with his fingers and leans in close to his neck, Yusuke could feel his heartbeat get faster as Akira’s breath caressed his skin.

Yusuke’s body shuddered as Akira licked and trailed kisses down his neck, his body started to become hot, but he tried to push it away, then he felt the mixing sensation of Akira’s bite, a moan escaped him as his body was enjoying this a little too much, its comfort with this type of interaction started to diminish and now that it returned his body started to overreact a bit.

Once Akira’s bite started to settle in so did his body, his tiredness started to overwhelm him and he allowed his eyes to close, he started to drift off when he felt Akira’s fangs pull out and his lips caress his wrist, Yusuke opened his eyes to see what Akira was doing.

Akira pressed his lips against the bite mark Ryuji left on Yusuke’s wrist “I only wanted my fangs inside you..” a drawn out sigh escapes him.

“Oh..” Yusuke wasn’t sure what to say, so he just asked a question instead “Is that why you walked off..?”

“Huh?”

“I-In..the laboratory.” Yusuke almost gulped, maybe that question wasn’t a good idea.

“No, although I can’t really recall much..it’s all fuzzy.”

A yawn escaped Yusuke while Akira was talking, he didn’t want to seem rude so he apologized “I’m sorry..” he didn’t really want to push this subject further, if he did he knew it’d eventually be about Akechi.

Akira smiled with a small moan “You should have that nap now.” he buried his head into the crook of Yusuke’s neck “I’ll sleep with you..” after the shower Akira did feel a little fatigued and his comfort only made that more so.

“Should I get a blanket, or do you want to go on the bed..?” While the sofa was comfy it wasn’t really somewhere you should sleep.

“No, let’s stay like this..” Another tired moan escapes Akira’s lips as he closed his eyes slowly, Yusuke’s warmth was so comfortable he started to drift off.

Yusuke was a little worried about this position, he could turn in his sleep and throw Akira off if he moved too quickly. Even if Akira was on top of him, he was able to sleep like this and Akira wanted to remain like this so he swallowed his worry and wrapped his arms securely around Akira, hoping it was enough to keep him in place.

His eyes started to close as the comfort of Akira eased him, he was asleep in mere minutes.

~~~

Yusuke heard the sound of someone knocking on the door, he waited for a second and it came again so he opens his eyes and started to wake up.

He was greeted with the sight of Akira sleeping next to him, fingers curled over his shirt and pressed up against him, although Akira’s hands were lax so Yusuke was able to get up without yanking him with him.

As soon as Yusuke stood a throbbing headache took over, he touches his forehead to try and ease it while walking to the door.

He opened the door slowly and was greeted by Zeriya, he gave him a look like he wanted to talk privately so Yusuke stepped out of the room and closed the door behind him.

“How is he?” were the first words that came out of Zeriya’s mouth.

“He’s..better, although he’s asleep at the moment.” A yawn escaped Yusuke as he rubbed his eye awake, he still felt tired, but it was apparent he didn’t just have a nap, he slept far longer than intended.

“I see.. There’s a few things that need to be addressed soon, so if you could tell him I wish to speak to him later that’d be useful.”

Yusuke crossed his arms with a sigh, “Like what?” he didn’t exactly want Akira stressing over his duties.

“Well the first thing would be..what he plans to do with Akechi. I managed to get a look at Akechi’s hand when he woke up and..to say it is bad would be an understatement, he needs medical attention or it’ll most likely get infected.” Zeriya let out a drawn out sigh “I called Tae over a while ago so she could treat all of our wounds, she’ll be here soon and..I was considering she treat Akechi too.”

Yusuke glanced down for a second and found the words “He’s asleep and I’m not going to wake him up. I don’t believe Akira allowed Akechi to live only to get ill from an infection..so I think she should treat it.”

Zeriya’s eyes and demeanour took on a much darker aspect “How do you know that? How do you know Akira didn’t just allow him to live to torture him?”

The words hit with bewilderment and he couldn’t truly give an answer to it either only enforcing such a feeling “I-I...don’t..”

“Which is exactly why I need to talk to him, Tae won’t want to wait for an answer.”

Yusuke shook his head, he still wasn’t going to budge on that, Akira needed rest and to disturb him for this was quite silly, the worse thing that could happen is they heal Akechi’s wound without permission and Akira gets a little upset; not a dire mistake whatsoever “Just..get her to treat him too, if that’s the wrong answer, then it’s not like it prevents him from getting new ones, letting him get sick is harder to mend.” He expressed why he was saying no, hoping Zeriya would understand.

“I suppose that’s..good enough for now, but we still need to organize the funerals, decide on what to do with Sugimura, deal with the lack of supplies; there’s still a lot of things to do and the quicker we do them the better.”

“I understand how important those things are, but they can be dealt with as time passes, you don’t have to barge in and bother Akira about them all at once. He’s only been awake for a few hours, to stress him out with work will only worsen his condition.” Yusuke tried to keep his frustrations it, but it was reaching its limit, everyone had a ‘work, work’ attitude here and it was irritating, especially with what had just happened; can’t they just let Akira rest without demanding his attention?

“We’re behind on everything, if we continue to ignore his duties any longer consequences and conflicting voices will rise, they already are about Akechi. We need our king back before everything turns into chaos.”

Yusuke’s frustration hit a boiling point “Akira isn’t some emotionless puppet who handles everyone else's stress! He’s not in any state to be making these decisions and you said that yourself! His health will only decline with everyone nagging him!” he couldn’t help but raise his voice, it made him a bit guilty once he realized it, perhaps that nap wasn’t enough, his tiredness only amplified his frustration making it come out wrong.

“..I apologize, I’m being pushy again.” Zeriya was too stressed out to even notice it at first, while everything did need to be addressed so did Akira’s health, his decisions would currently only be powered by his frazzled emotions resulting in worse outcomes than the current state “I will talk to him eventually..but, I’ll try and maintain everything until that time comes.”

Before Yusuke could speak or even apologize Zeriya had his back to him, walking away, it left an unsatisfied tang in his mouth and he made a mental note to apologize to Zeriya later about it, but it was quite distressing that people expect Akira to do things on the first day he was back, no wonder Akira is so stubborn about his work, because he has to be to satisfy his kingdom, but Yusuke knew if Akira did any of his duties his condition will become worse, rest and therapy was the best medicine right now not filling out forms.

~~~

Yusuke pushed the bedroom door back open and steps back in the bedroom, he closed the door with a light sound before he noticed Akira was awake.

Akira sat on the sofa, yawning and rubbing his eyes awake, once his hands lowered his face lit up at the sight of Yusuke “I heard yelling, is everything alright?” he struggled with a yawn, almost having to force the words out.

“O-Oh, Sorry..” Yusuke was a little upset with himself for waking Akira up by raising his voice, but he didn’t really shout..it was more of a mid-shout than one that would wake a person up, shrugging off the speculation Yusuke made his way over to Akira and sat down next to him “Everything is fine, don’t worry.”

The gnawing sensation in Akira’s stomach became more apparent as his body woke up, he placed his hand on his stomach to try and maybe ease it, but it wasn’t pleasant, so he gave into it “I’m a bit hungry..” if he was a human he would probably describe this as literally starving.

“I’ll go get you something.” Yusuke got up off the couch the moment he registered Akira’s words, but Akira’s hand caught his with a loose grip “Wait.”

Yusuke glanced back at Akira, waiting for him to speak “Can I come with you?” Akira didn’t want Yusuke leaving him, even if it was for just a minute, waking up to him gone was bad enough and the aching in his chest only started to ease once he noticed Yusuke was back.

“You have to go downstairs..” Yusuke’s worry came on in his tone, “I’ll be really quick.” he shot Akira a smile to ensure it, but there was another reason why he was saying no; because he didn’t want anyone to bother Akira about business or his decision, Yusuke had to hold back his own curiosity and he wouldn’t let someone just ruin it.

“O-Okay..” Akira let go of Yusuke’s hand as his eyes lowered, he knew this feeling inside of him was silly, Yusuke couldn’t be in his presence 24/7, so he would ignore it and hopefully it’d go away.

Akira looked a bit upset and Yusuke frowned at the sight, but he couldn’t let Akira come “I’ll be back real soon.” he made sure to assure Akira again before leaving to grab him something to eat.

###

Akira sat there, waiting for Yusuke to return as the aching in his chest amplified, it’s like he was experiencing separation anxiety, some issues were to be expected and hopefully this one would go away along with his insecurity about his appearance.

He looked around the room, trying to find something to distract himself as he awaited Yusuke, he noticed the letters on his desk and got up, moving over to it slowly. His hand reached out and grabbed a stack of them, as he shuffled them around, reading the titles, he noticed one was already ripped open.

With a swift pull the contents of the letter were out, he unfolded the letter and his eyes scanned the page, his brow furrowed with unease as he realized what it was.

Akechi did mention something about hospitals not wanting to give out blood bags and this letter clicked the pieces in Akira’s mind; Akechi must’ve threatened them in some way so that when he did offer his ‘cure’ to them they’d feel pressured to take it, like it was their best option, luckily that didn’t end up happening, besides Sugimura, so his plan crumbled but that didn’t stop the fact that they were no longer being given supplies when they needed it the most.

Akechi’s presence still lingered in Akira’s mouth, just because he was out of that hellhole doesn’t mean this was over, so many things were left unsolved or not acknowledge and idling in this room wouldn’t solve any of them, with a quick turn of his foot Akira was going to leave the room, but was stopped by Yusuke coming back into the room.

“Did you know about this?” Akira’s voice came out snarky as he held the letter up for Yusuke to see, he was a little annoyed he was left in the dark about something so important, something so critical and now he had to mend it.

Yusuke’s lips pulled into a frown as he set the tray of food down on the desk, eyes still locked on the letter “Yes…” he replied with honesty, he knew how important it was himself, but he didn’t want Akira rushing out to the nearest hospital trying anything to make them reason with him.

“I have to go talk to Zeriya.” One step towards the door and Akira’s wrist was lightly grabbed in Yusuke’s hand, stopping him from moving further away “Let go, I can’t just sit here while everything goes to shit.”

“You’re in no condition to be doing this. Zeriya can go in your stead, like he used to.” Yusuke’s grip on Akira’s wrist remained, he tried his hardest not to apply any pressure on it, but when Akira started yanking it that became a bit difficult.

“We have no supplies, I can’t just sit here while my people begun to starve, this is beyond my condition!”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the one who solves it, it’s dangerous out there and there’s no guarantee Akechi’s men aren’t just hanging around there waiting.”

“Stop trying to mother me, I’m perfectly capable of this! I can’t just leave this floating over our head like a damn cloud! Panic will be ensured if I don’t! We don’t need anymore stress in our lives, so just let go!” Akira’s attitude remains unmoved, deep down he knew Yusuke was right, but allowing Akechi’s influence to cause panic in his kingdom was something he was desperate to avoid, he didn’t want others to consider the cure and he didn’t want to them go hungry either.

“..They don’t know, only a selected few do.”
What Yusuke said stopped Akira, he just stood there considering it, even if there was less of them now it would be noticed and lying to them wasn’t something he should really do when it came to their feeding.

“..Akira.” Yusuke took a step forward, easing the distance between the two, he needs to convince Akira that this was a hasty and rash decision that could end up more badly than where they are currently at, but the only thing they would seem to work is if he poured his heart out so he did “This may..sound incredibly selfish, but..I need you. I-I..am still torn about what has happened, everything...from Madarame to you being kidnapped..all of it.” his voice came out shaky as the weight of his words stung him “I finally have the person whom I so desperately crave, who I ended up hurting the most with my mistake..I can’t let him slip away again, I need to be with him, to know he is safe because if I don’t I might just lose my mind..”

Akira’s head turns to face Yusuke as a mix of awe and shock takes hold of his features “Y-Yusuke..” He knew exactly what Yusuke wanted, what he was feeling like because he felt that way too, but it came to as a shock to him because he honestly thought he would worsen Yusuke’s mental state not ease it “I’m sorry..I didn’t even consider that.” and he would beat himself up over it, he had been so focused on other things that he didn’t realize Yusuke was probably traumatized too, was reaching and calling out to him.

Yusuke had tried to hide his dependence and desperation for Akira, but that was only making it seem like he was completely okay, like this hasn’t affected him when in truth it did “It’s okay..I was trying to hide it from you because..I don’t want you worrying about my problems..”

“That’s exactly my role and I was so selfishly blinded by pride..I failed it..” Akira’s body turns to face Yusuke, so he wasn’t talking over his shoulder “Please forgive me, my mind is still so cloudy...and things just aren’t coming out the way I want or mean. I’ve been a real jackass towards you...and all I can do is apologize for it..” He gestured his hand as he spoke, trying to emphasize his words with small movements “It’s not enough, but I truly am sorry..” He was pretty worn about it, he prided himself on being able to read others only to not understand his lover's intentions, it pricked in his heart and he didn’t know how to ease that ache.

Seeing Akira so crushed about it made Yusuke feel two conflicting emotions; he was glad Akira wasn’t brushing it off and understood it with such depth, but at the same time he felt wrong for saying it, like he had hurt Akira in a way where simply accepting his apology wasn’t enough, he knew Akira would beat himself up over it even when Yusuke doesn’t want him to “I forgive you with all of my heart, I was trying to hide it so it really isn’t your fault. I understand how..difficult things are for you and I don’t blame you at all for it, so please don’t beat yourself up over it.” He gave Akira a bright smile, but Akira still seems crushed.

“Didn’t we say we would confide in each other..? I don’t want you hiding those things from me, no matter my state.” Akira couldn’t help but feel like he gave off a vibe that Yusuke couldn’t confide in, it only tormented him further the more he considered it an option.

“You were just tortured and starved to death almost, the last thing I want you worrying about is anything else, I only want you to focus on healing, it’s why I’m saying no to your hospital visit and to telling you my..negative feelings, but if...you want me to..I’ll be more honest from now on.”

“Please do, I want my boyfriend to rely on me, especially in a situation like this..I’m not the only one suffering because of this..” Everyone was, Akira was anxious to step out of this room and see how many people truly were left in the mansion.

So many things were wrong right now and the stress of it all was reaching everyone, but if Yusuke needs Akira he couldn’t reject to try and solve other problems..even if he did try and solve them there was no guarantee he would perform properly, able to solve anything, he needed more time before rushing off to fix this and Yusuke made him realize that.

“I will..I promise you.” Yusuke might actually be able to grieve now, although simply being with Akira and making him smile or laugh eased his pain, if Akira healed he would too.

The air felt a bit thick, wishing not to dwell on this any further Akira suggested “Let’s look at your sketchbook, I want to see your drawings.”

~~~

They sat back down on the sofa together, Yusuke made sure to grab a blanket and wrap it around them because Akira was still a bit cold despite how much warmth he’s been trying to give him.

Yusuke slowly flicked through his sketchbook on his lap, allowing Akira to see each page with enough time before turning it, but Akira had to say something before getting too invested in it “I’m..going to speak to Zeriya about the hospitals later, is that okay?”

Yusuke glanced at Akira with a strange look “Of course it’s fine, I just don’t want you storming off to one in your current state. I know how important it is, but this is the first day you’ve been home and if others are willing to go in your stead then please let them.” he had to clarify what he meant before.

“I’ll sort it out after dinner then.” A brief smile formed on Akira’s lips as his attention went back to the sketchbook, he snuggled up to Yusuke with enthusiasm and a big grin.

Yusuke’s arm loosely draped around Akira, holding him in a side hug, his hand on his sketchbook started to turn the pages again, unfortunately he hadn’t added anything to it in Akira’s absence and he prepared the words just in case Akira noticed it.

The atmosphere felt warm and cozy again after their little disagreement left the air, Akira still felt odd about it, he wanted to mend his kingdom but he also wanted to be there for Yusuke, it felt odd not doing anything; often when something bad happened, he would use work as a distraction but now he had Yusuke telling him not to because in truth working didn’t distract him, it just made him numb to things and perhaps Yusuke noticed that, he would try his best to fulfill both now but today simply wasn’t the day to start on his kingdom.

“Is that me?” Akira asked once he noticed a sketch he hadn’t seen before, it was the waterfall they went to at the manor but he couldn’t recall Yusuke drawing him back then.

A light pink hue formed on Yusuke’s cheeks once he remembered he never asked to draw Akira that day “Yes..” he was honest, but this probably made him seem like a pervert.

“I look nothing like that now.” Akira forced a small chuckle as he played with one of his hair strands, he tried to make a joke, but it just came across as insecure.

Yusuke couldn’t deny Akira didn’t look as healthy as before, but the only reason that upset him is because Akira wasn’t healthy, he didn’t care for his appearance, “You’re just as beautiful though.” a heartfelt smile crossed his lips as he noticed a light sparkle in Akira’s eyes.

“T-Thank you..” Akira shyly rubbed his cheek onto Yusuke’s arm “It means a lot when you say that now..” he wanted to tell Yusuke how he felt so it would stop brewing inside of him, keeping it inside would just make it worse “You know.. I was starting to consider wearing makeup or something just to inspire you again..” a half-hearted chuckle escaped him once he realized how embarrassing that sounds coming from his mouth.

“Please don’t, u-unless you want to do it for yourself, but please don’t feel like it’s necessary, I find you beautiful with just the way you are.” Yusuke raised his hand onto Akira’s cheek as he spoke “I’m already inspired by your beauty.” his heartfelt smile returned as he gazed into Akira’s eyes.

“You’re so sweet, thank you, Yusuke.” Akira returned a smile as he inched closer to Yusuke’s face with his hand cupped over his cheek. Their lips touched, caressing with care and affection, after a few satisfied moans escaped Akira their lips disconnected for a moment.

Their cheeks glowed red as their affection for one another lingered in the air, no words really needed to be said once their eyes locked again.

Akira’s eyes lingered on Yusuke’s, his face inching closer again, letting Yusuke know he wanted to advance this further, to express their pent up love for each other for just a bit longer, Yusuke was a little worried about Akira’s injuries, but his body beckoned him to play along with it, to allow his affection to pour out in soft kisses and touches.

Their lips met again, moving in unison as their cheeks burned with their feelings for one another, Akira’s body slowly begun to move not breaking their kiss, the sketchbook fell onto the floor with a light thud as they were engulfed by their kisses, Akira’s body set down on Yusuke’s lap, a far more comfortable position for indulging into their passion for one another.

Hands reached and caressed, touching each other’s bodies, exploring them again, trying to get a feel again for every line and crease, etching their features in their minds again.

Yusuke’s fingers ran through Akira’s hair slowly, feeling his scalp and nape, he kept his hands as busy as their lips, stroking his fingers along Akira’s neck, his other hand rests on Akira’s waist with slow strokes, making sure he wouldn’t fall or slip.

Akira’s hands were all over Yusuke, running his fingertips over the tip of Yusuke’s ear and cupping it, his other hand wrapped and entangled in Yusuke’s hair, feeling the silky nature of it with his fingers as he rubbed Yusuke’s scalp with affection.

They expressed their love for each other with a light make-out session for almost an hour, gentle touches and sometimes light squeezes, their lips exploring each others bodies again from the crook of their necks to the tip of their ears, they both desperately needed to express this light passion.

“Is it okay if I unbutton your shirt? We won’t advance beyond this.” Akira wanted Yusuke’s permission before doing it, he had already felt around inside Yusuke’s shirt during their session, but that was a bit different.

“As long as it doesn’t hurt you, I’m fine with it.” Yusuke remained concerned for Akira’s injuries, he touched him as lightly as he could and was very careful with his hands, making sure he wouldn’t accidentally poke an open wound.

Each button on Yusuke’s shirt was undone by Akira, once it revealed he brushed Yusuke’s shirt to the side gently, exposing him further. Akira shifts down and pressed his lips against the area where Yusuke’s heart would be, light kisses circled and his finger tips briefly caressed the area as small moans of delight escaped Yusuke.

Akira’s cheek sets down on Yusuke’s heartbeat, the rhythm becoming more erratic the longer he stayed there, he was drawn to the sound of it because it meant Yusuke was alive, was with him, it enforced that reality when Akira needed it the most.

“A-Akira..?” Yusuke’s wonder for what Akira was doing escaped his lips, he probably ruined the mood with that, but Akira’s health was more of a priority to him.

Akira let out a happy chuckle and sat up straight again, he draped his arms onto Yusuke’s shoulders with a smile, “I love your chest, it’s so warm and cozy.” another chuckle came out when Yusuke’s eyes averted and cheeks grew redder.

Not allowing his mind turn into mush Yusuke changed the subject “I didn’t hurt you at all, right?”

Yusuke’s concern wasn’t annoying, but it was making Akira give automatic responses with how many times he’s asked “Not at all.” with a shake of his head, he emphasized his words “Is your pent up love for me satisfied or do you want more?” he couldn’t keep the smirk from creeping up on his lips.

“I’m quite fulfilled, but that doesn’t mean I’ll reject more.” It was nice to be able to finally express it again, Yusuke missed it quite a lot, especially the hugging and being able to hold Akira at night again, if he didn’t let his concern overwhelm him again that is.

Akira lightly kissed Yusuke with a smile on his lips, he disconnected their lips after a few seconds and patted Yusuke on the shoulder, “Come on, let’s go eat that meal now.” he unwrapped himself from the blanket and stepped off of Yusuke onto the floor.

“Ah, I forgot all about that..!” Yusuke mimicked Akira, removing the blankets hold on him and standing up, he had the urge to kiss Akira one last time before eyes were upon them, he briefly clasped Akira’s shoulder and moved in to kiss his neck, he mumbled Akira’s name breathlessly against his neck before standing back up.

Akira gave Yusuke a smile with a tilt of his head until his eyes lowered and his cheeks became bright red again “C-Can’t have you going outside like that..” he almost hushed in a whisper as his hands reached out and began buttoning Yusuke’s shirt back up.

A chuckle escaped Yusuke as he watched Akira’s hands delicately move in a rhythm, each button was carefully done back up and with a pat of Yusuke’s shoulder Akira was done, he reached his hand out again and encircled it around Yusuke’s.

They left the room together, going to get something to eat to fulfill their stomachs, Yusuke hadn’t actually ate yet, leaving his stomach craving for something, although he never really noticed it before, he was too focused on Akira.

~~~

Yusuke had to give a piggyback ride to Akira to get him down the stairs, he didn’t have to, it’s more like he wanted to and Akira complied with a little sigh, not out of annoyance more out of ‘ugh, my pride’, he became even more embarrassed during it when he noticed Tae enter the mansion and made her way down to the third floor with Zeriya.

Once they reached the kitchen Yusuke searched it while Akira sat down waiting; the tray of food he brought into the bedroom before was simply some toast and butter, he couldn’t find anything fulfilling and wanted to get back to Akira asap, but even with no time limit Yusuke couldn’t really find anything.

He decided on porridge and some fruit, he wasn’t the best cook and it was only the afternoon, so making a dinner felt strange, once he placed the bowl down in front of Akira his face crinkled with a bit of disgust.

“Do you not like it?” Yusuke asked, he watched Akira’s eyes shift from him to the bowl.

“Uh..No, this is fine..” A lie, and the higher pitch of Akira’s voice gave that away, he was craving something sweet, but he noticed Yusuke struggling to find something so he would just eat it, even if he actually disliked porridge.

“If it’s not good enough, I can find something else for you and I’ll eat that.” Yusuke turned to find something else when Akira spoke “You don’t have to. Shouldn’t that damn butler of mine be in here or did he slack off while I was gone?” he was referring to Zeriya and he was still a little upset with him over the briefcase.

“I think he’s busy with Akechi.” Yusuke realized his words with a gulp, while there wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with them he didn’t want to bring up Akechi at all.

“Doing what exactly..?” Akira had this tone and demeanour that Yusuke simply couldn’t make out; was it aggression, was it accusatory or was it curiosity? He couldn’t work it out.

With a sigh Yusuke pulled a chair out, joining Akira at the table, “That doctor lady is going to treat everyone's wounds, starting with Akechi.” keeping it from Akira seemed silly and if anything that would annoy him far more than telling him.

“Oh, I see.” Akira’s attention went back to his bowl and he began eating, leaving Yusuke with the urge to push this further, but he denied it by getting back up and finding something for himself to eat.

~~~

They ate together until Tae came and interrupted them, demanding Akira to go back up to his room so she could examine him, she muttered unsatisfied words under her breath until they all actually got into the room and placed her case down.

“Why is Yusuke with us..?” Not that Akira had a problem with it, but it was strange Tae wanted a private examination only to bring Yusuke along too.

“I’ll be examining him too. I have already done everyone else so I might as well check him too.” Tae grumbled out her words, she held a clipboard in her hand, ready to write down everything she saw “Who’s going first?”

“Akira can, his injuries are much more dire than mine could be.” Yusuke spoke with a respectful tone, he gave Tae a brief smile, but she simply turned away.

“Strip.” Tae ordered Akira without any enthusiasm.

“..Ugh..” With a sigh Akira starts removing his clothing, Yusuke helped him with care, once Akira was wearing nothing but his underwear Yusuke folded his clothes up and set them down on the bed.

Tae ordered Akira to sit down on the bed by whacking him on the head with her clipboard, Yusuke didn’t see it as he was too busy with stacking Akira’s clothes up neatly.

She started to remove all of Akira’s bandages and gauzes, Yusuke watched her carefully, trying to gain any medical information he could apply to Akira, once she removed everything she poked and prodded him with gloves on and wrote down everything important.

“Your wounds have been well looked after.” Tae uttered an observation under her breath, but it was loud enough to hear.

Yusuke became happy by hearing that, his face lit up and he happily nodded to himself, not wishing to interrupt.

Tae’s examination continued, she was inspecting Akira’s foot when she spoke again “Your soles are cut pretty badly and they won’t properly heal with constant pressure.” she let out a small sigh “You’ll need a cane to reduce the pressure on your feet, but unfortunately I don’t have one in stock, I already gave some crutches to Ryuji, so I’ll need to order more.” She stood up as she wrote more details and notes down onto her clipboard.

“..How is Ryuji?” Akira wanted to know how everyone was but at the same time he didn’t, after that outburst about the briefcase he couldn’t help but feel like they were upset with him, if they weren’t upset with him over that then they surely would be over Akechi.

“He’s fine. Worry about yourself.” Tae brushed off Akira’s concern with a shrug of her shoulders “I’ll bring you that cane tomorrow, but try not to walk too much while waiting.”

“I’m not an old man, I don’t need a cane..” Akira mutters his distaste for it under his breath.

“Well, start viewing yourself as one because you won’t be doing anything until you’ve fully recovered.” Tae knew Akira wouldn’t listen to her advice or medical opinion, he never did when it came to work.

Akira didn’t say anything, he already promised Yusuke he’d be there for him which meant he couldn’t work, admitting that to Tae would only result in her calling him 'whipped' so he remained silent.

Tae placed her clipboard down beside Akira and leans in closer, steadying herself by pressing her knee onto the bed in between Akira’s legs, her hands reached out towards his neck and her thumbs pushed and spread something on his neck “Are these punctures from needles?”

Akira was a little bothered by her knee being there, but he answered her, “Yes, why?”

Tae re-positioned and stood back up “I’ll be taking some of your blood.” she turned to her case and brought it onto the bed, clicking it open and sorting through it.

Yusuke had some worries about that “Is that safe to do with the way his body is at the moment?” he expressed them, he tried to word it as a concern not as an insult to her abilities, just in case she took offense.

“It should be fine, he might faint though.” Tae said as she pulled out a large syringe and prepared the nozzle, she gestured it in front of Akira trying to scare him.

Akira’s lips pulled into an unsatisfied line, then a sigh escaped his lips, he much preferred Yusuke over Tae, at least Yusuke was gentle.

Tae drew Akira’s blood through his cubital vein after preparing his arm for it, she had a small smirk on her face once she pulled the syringe out, she placed it into her case carefully after removing the nozzle.

“So why do you need it?” Akira asked and started to rub his arm, Tae was mostly silent during her examinations, but the way she was acting perked Akira’s curiosity.

“I’m testing for Hepatitis B, if Akechi used dirty needles on you he might’ve infected you.” Tae spoke calmly, she picked her clipboard back up and her eyes scanned the page before speaking again “Speaking of which; you haven’t had a check up for 3 years.”

Before she could continue her train of thought Akira jolted up with his fist in the air “I don’t have Hepatitis!” but his embarrassed filled anger allayed as a question popped into his head “C-Can I even get that?” his arm dropped as he bit his bottom lip with some dread.

“I dunno.”

“Some doctor you are!”

Tae shrugged with a little sigh “I’m just ruling shit out, no need to be an idiot over it.” with a click of her pen she jotted something down on the clipboard.

Akira sat back down with a grumble “If Akechi did that I’ll literally kill him.” he sighed with no satisfaction at all while crossing his arms, having Yusuke in the room while Tae says stuff like that really irked him, but his stomach swirled with sickness at the thought that Akechi could of potentially did that.

“Oh, no sex.” Tae’s eyes darted between Yusuke and Akira “Not until I get the results. You shouldn’t engage in or-” before she could finish her sentence Akira clasped her mouth with cheeks redder than his eyes “We get it, woman! You don’t have to go into detail!”

Yusuke folded his hands onto his elbow with a tilt of his head, he was trying to figure out why she said that with his cheeks being a bit red, he didn’t actually know what Hepatitis was, he made a mental note to ask Akira later because asking Tae would give him a very blunt answer.

Tae slapped Akira’s hand away with almost a scowl on her face “I’m just taking precautions, unlike you; not calling to get your vaccinations for 3 years.” she whacked Akira on the head with her clipboard again with a satisfied smile “It’ll be your fault if you have it.”

“I don’t have it! I’m a royal vampire, I shouldn’t be able to get infected!” Akira felt like Tae was just messing with him at this point, he knew she was a sleazy doctor sometimes, but she was right, he hadn’t had his vaccines for quite a long time, but he lost track of it and stopped caring.

“That may be right, but you should take precautions now that you have a boyfriend. I know you were safe before because you never got any action but-” Akira clasped Tae’s mouth again, interrupting her “I get it! You’re just trying to embarrass me now!” and it worked, he started to question why he didn’t just ask Yusuke to leave knowing Tae always tried to rile him up with a straight face.

Tae hit him on the head with her clipboard again, making him lower his hand and instead rub his head “Ahh.. You’re going to scramble my brain if you keep doing that!” the pain wasn’t bad, it just irritated him.

“Your brain is already scrambled if you’re acting like a teenage boy over this very basic examination.” Tae sneer quite happily, she was able to rile Akira up much more easily than before and she noticed it was because of Yusuke “I’ll do your vaccines while I’m already here, hopefully you haven’t given your boyfriend a sexually transmitted disease already.” she continued to taunt Akira with a smirk.

“Why are you acting like we’ve done anything like that? Are you hoping we do so you can see it?” Akira crossed his arms as a small smirk crept upon his lips, “I didn’t know you were into-” Tae cut Akira off by whacking him on the head with her clipboard again “As if, I’m just trying to irritate you.”

Akira just rubs the sore spot on his head as he glares at her “Are we done here or do you want to continue being stupid?”

“I’m serious about the vaccines, so sit back down.” Tae began rummaging through her case again while occasionally glancing at her clipboard to get the correct ones.

Akira listened to her and sat back down, although he wasn’t happy about it. The more he considered it the more confident he grew about not having Hepatitis, if he was able to get it, he would’ve been infected with all sorts of diseases a long time ago with how many people he has drank blood from, Tae was simply applying safe logic onto him which isn’t necessarily bad.

After 4 needles went into his upper arm Akira started to feel a bit drowsy, probably because of the blood test, but Tae speaking brought him back into focus “That’s all of them. I can’t keep track of them for you, that’s your job. I already have so many patients and it has only increased with this shit, so fucking remember this time!” Tae had the urge to hit him again, but she denied it by reading her clipboard again.

“Yeah, yeah..” Akira brushed her off with an attitude she didn’t like at all.

“You haven’t had a prostate exam in a while either.” Tae couldn’t keep the sneer of her face.

“You came here to check my wounds not to give me a full examination, you damn witch! You’re literally the incarnation of death!” A mix of anger and embarrassment filled Akira’s voice as the scowl on his face grew more intense and so did his red cheeks.

Tae let out a chuckle with delight “I’m only joking, your boyfriend can do that for you.”

“Fuck off!” Akira shouted at her without allowing a millisecond to pass.

Another chuckle filled the room “I might come back to get more of your blood, but I should have the results in a few days, maybe sooner.” Tae decided to go back on topic, it would take her awhile to get home and it was starting to get dark.

After Tae re-bandaged Akira he let out a grumble and got dressed quite quickly, the last thing he wanted was for her to consider other examinations.

“If it means anything, I highly doubt you have it, I’m just taking care like a doctor should.” Tae put aside her teasing and flipped her clipboard to a new page, turning her attention towards Yusuke whose cheeks were red “While we’re on the topic..have you had your vaccines?”

“Um..” Yusuke shifted nervously while placing his hand in his hair “I do not know...Madarame never let me take responsibility for those things.” saying Madarame’s name again made a tang of unease touch him completely overriding his embarrassment.

“Geez..” Tae sighed with her disapproval “You two are really unprepared.” a look of disappointment took hold of her features as she glanced at her case “I have vaccines made specifically for vampires, I don’t know if they’ll work on you.” she spoke as she closed her case and looped her hand over the handle, lifting it off the bed “I’ll take you to a nearby clinic, they should have your record on file and we can see which ones you’ve missed.”

“Wait, you’re taking him away?” Akira’s discomfort with that seeped in his voice and body language.

“Yeah, it’ll only be for a few hours, I’ll do his examination there too.”

Yusuke didn’t exactly want to leave Akira even if it was for a few hours, but this was kind of important and Tae was offering to do it now so he couldn’t reject her kindness like that “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” he gave Akira a smile as he approached him “We can have dinner together once I get back, I can try cooking you something too.”

“Hnn.. Alright.” A heavy sigh left Akira’s lips “Please come back safe.” his hand reached out and grabbed Yusuke’s, softly rubbing his fingers against it.

“I promise.” Yusuke spoke as he brushes Akira’s hair behind his ear softly, his lips caressed Akira’s cheek before he stepped away.

“Let’s go before you start making out.” Tae tapped her foot impatiently, her body language turning more so as seconds passed.

“Don’t you dare touch him.” it wasn’t really a threat more of a reminder.

“I’m a doctor, I will touch what is necessary.” Tae shot Akira a small smirk before moving to the door and gesturing Yusuke to follow.

“I’ll be home as quickly as I can.” Yusuke smiled at Akira again before following Tae out of the room.

~~~

Yusuke didn’t really know Tae, he only saw her at the manor when she patched Akira up back then, but he got the vibe she hid her kindness through teasing and harsh words, the way she hit Akira on the head with her clipboard gave that away, it was pretty clear she wasn’t trying to hurt him that’s why Yusuke didn’t protest, even if she probably shouldn’t be doing that either way.

On the way to the clinic he decided to talk to her, letting the thick air of awkwardness fill the carriage was uncomfortable for him, she didn’t really care.

“Do you think Akira will make a speedy recovery?” The first words that came out of Yusuke’s mouth had a hitch of nervousness due to the fact that she was pretty intimidating, but he tried to even it out to be more normal.

“As long as he drinks blood on a consistent basis, he should be just fine.” Tae replied without much interest, she wasn’t used to people asking her questions, they usually just nodded when they had concerns because she gave off an unfortunate bad vibe by her mannerisms.

“Have you heard about..the lack of supply?” Yusuke was only asking because of what she said, Akira would definitely reject the leftovers, making his recovery take longer, he started to consider letting Akira drink his blood daily, but he’d have to tell him if he committed to it because he wouldn’t be able to trick Akira into doing it forever.

“Yeah, I have. I’m in contact with a few clinics and hospitals about it now, but I can only do so much with my status before I become suspicious.” Tae crossed her legs and allowed her leg to dangle, it moves slightly with the carriage’s motions and her arms took on a similar body language, leaning back and crossing her arms over her chest loosely, she seemed quite comfortable like that.

“Thank you for that, it means a lot.” Yusuke gave her a smile but she just turned her eye contact away “I’m only doing it because I was asked, no need for appreciation.”

“I’m still thankful for it.”

Tae just muttered a grumble under her breath, although she didn’t actually say anything making it seem like she was a little embarrassed.

Moving on Yusuke asked her something else “Do you think Akira will be alright..? Mentally..I mean.” he clarified with a small sigh, expecting a negative answer, everyone seems to be saying he won’t be okay and Yusuke didn’t know whether to believe it or not.

“Sure, I think he’ll be just fine.”

“Eh..?” Yusuke had to blink twice before her words registered, he was expecting something else entirely.

Tae noticed the small bewilderment on Yusuke’s face and continued her train of thought “The guy’s life was turned upside down and was forced into an identity crisis, if he can survive that I’m sure he’ll get through this just fine.” she realized her words could be a little too hopeful, so she added more “He probably has some damage to his psyche and that will probably result in challenges in coping and functioning, but I believe he’ll be at ease again with some time and therapy.”

Yusuke couldn’t keep the smile from forming on his lips, he was happy he was finally given a different answer, a more hopeful answer, even if it wasn’t definite and especially from a woman who seemed pretty grim.

“I’m not a psychologist though, so my opinion is as good as dirt.”

“No, it’s not, it means a lot to me, thank you, Tae.”

Tae’s cheeks grew a pink hue as she stared at Yusuke’s smile, quickly she turned her face away while breathlessly mumbling “Whatever..”

~~~

Turns out, Yusuke had only forgotten one vaccination and it was for Polio, Tae gave him an examination there and simply told him he needed sleep, although she knew exactly why he didn’t, she even offered him sleeping pills but he declined.

Yusuke’s face lit up as the mansion came into view, he only was gone for an hour but it felt like an eternity, he never stopped worrying about Akira while there and he desperately wanted to see him again.

One step out of the carriage and a voice called him to halt, he turns back to the carriage only to realize it was Tae talking to him.

“I need to say something.” Tae spoke as she pulled herself out of the carriage, her heels crushed the pebbles as her feet hit the ground.

“Sure..?” Yusuke wasn’t sure what to say, he had already said goodbye to her, so he was wondering why she wants to talk further.

“It’s about Akira.” Tae’s heels crushed to a stop in front of Yusuke, making their height difference apparent.

“What about him?”

With a small sigh Tae’s hip poked to the side as her fingers curl over it “I understand.. How difficult he can be when he is ill or injured.”

This came out of nowhere, they hadn’t really talked about Akira, but Yusuke could sense she was genuine, but words wouldn’t come, more like they couldn’t come.

Tae’s lips pull into an unsure line “I dunno if he does it with you, but when he’s sick he tries to do things he simply shouldn’t. I’m thinking that could be happening now.”

“..You’re correct, he was trying to storm off to a hospital about the blood situation, I know it’s important, but..”

“He still hasn’t changed, huh?” A little chuckle left Tae’s lips as she now understood they were on the same page “Don’t take it to heart, he does it to everyone. He’s not used to relying on others and when he has to he gets grumpy, it’s really annoying.” Another sigh left her “I deal with it all the time ‘Don’t lift anything heavy’ literally the next time I see him I see the damage one would get from that type of straining… You get my point.”

“I do, I don’t want to mother him, but it feels like he has no stop button, he’s always trying to do something even when he shouldn’t, especially when he shouldn’t.” Yusuke’s hand engulfed in his hair as he recalled previous occasions “Right after getting injured at the manor he wanted to go on a date..I-I gave in, but I won’t this time. He’s very good at hiding when he’s hurt or sore.” He admitted them to Tae with his cheeks growing a bit red with embarrassment.

Tae’s lips formed a small smile to assure Yusuke it wasn’t something to be shameful over “He’s too self sufficient when it comes to being hurt, just slap him on the head or pull his ear to whip him into shape when he’s trying to do dumb shit.”

Yusuke couldn’t keep the amusement off his face “I do not wish to injure him further, but I may apply that to future endeavours.”

“Hey, if you make him bed ridden he can’t do dumb shit. Heh, jokes aside, don’t let it deter you, he does appreciate it, but he’s a prideful bastard sometimes.” Tae shook her head with a small grin as she muttered, “Oh, he got so much worse with this once he became king.” under her breath but loud enough for Yusuke to hear.

Yusuke smiled at her “Thank you, your words are appreciated. I’m glad to find out he doesn’t just do it to me.” A part of him couldn’t help but feel like Akira was just trying to appear strong for his sake, but this completely allayed that; it was just how Akira is.

“No problem, I’ll come by tomorrow to drop off the stuff and check over his wounds again.” Tae gave Yusuke a nod before turning back to the carriage “Seeya.” she gestures her hand as she pulls herself back in.

Yusuke allowed himself to bow, “I will see you tomorrow, Tae.” he smiles at her again before turning to the mansion door and going inside.