Talk about a hangover.
Akihito clutched his head and groaned as he came around. Honestly, he would prefer unconsciousness to this. Closing his eyes, he tried to will himself back into the comforting oblivion of sleep but he was stuck awake with a killer headache and his entire body throbbed. With a sigh of defeat, he sat up and looked around the room to get his bearings. Except, this wasn’t his apartment. Or any of his friends’ places. He sat on a rather comfy bed and the room would look like most of the world’s barring the tacky pin-up posters of males and females alike that hid the walls.
Shit, he didn’t go home with anyone, did he? Akihito wracked his brain but all he could remember about last night was going out with his friends to one tacky club after another. His memories got fuzzier and fuzzier until he blanked out about halfway through their evening. He winced as his head throbbed in time with the bedroom door opening and he idly wondered how much he drank to feel this level of death.
A man stepped through the doorway and his vision swum as he squinted, trying to take him in. He was tall and fit with greasy black hair and a goatee. He leered over at Akihito and his skin crawled. Who the hell was this guy? He looked skeevy as fuck. Shit, had he really gone home with that? He liked guys, sure, but even drunk Akihito had standards. In fact, drunk Akihito had higher standards than sober Akihito. It was like the opposite of the coke bottle glasses.
His friends thought it was hilarious but Akihito was actually relieved. It meant that if his drunk ass escaped from his friends, he very rarely made stupid decisions about taking people home or going home with them. In fact, he had only ever drunkenly gone home with one person and the man had been cut like a god. That had certainly been a pleasant wake up call.
This was not.
“Wha-?” Akihito croaked on the word as his dry throat screamed its need for water.
“Hey cutie, wow you look even better awake.” He held out a cup and Akihito accepted it gratefully. He can curse his drunk self later; the man might creep him out with that awful leer but at least he was considerate.
He gulped down the liquid and nearly moaned at the taste. Never had something tasted so fucking good as this did right now. The splitting headache dulled at once and even his limbs stopped trembling. What was in this? Holy water? Having downed nearly the entire cup already, Akihito pulled back to peer inside and gasped. The liquid was a dark red and thick. How the hell had he ever thought it was water?
He threw the mug across the room in surprise.
What the fuck did he just drink?
“Hey now,” the man scolded as he moved closer, “that’s a waste of prime blood.”
Akihito blinked, his mind reeling in shock. Blood? It didn’t taste like blood. Where was that metallic tang? He had tasted his own blood before and it certainly didn’t taste like that. But it begged the question why it felt so good on his tongue and why it tasted the like the clearest of waters.
Now that he was looking for it, Akihito could pick out the different taste in his mouth compared to his memories of water. There was a hint of something metallic lingering and it was sweeter than water. It also seemed to cling to his mouth. He brought his hands up in horror as he gagged, stomach roiling. He had consumed someone else’s blood!
“Relax pretty baby. You need to finish that up or your turn won’t go so smoothly.”
“Turn?” Akihito questioned, mind still whirling. Oh fuck, please don’t let that mean what he thought it meant.
“Vampire.” The man flashed him a glimpse of his long pointed fangs as he leaned way too far into Akihito’s personal space. “I turned you.”
“WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU TURN ME?” Akihito bellowed. He grabbed the vampire’s collar and tried to shake him but his body was weak and he ended up just clutching onto him for support instead.
“Easy, baby, easy. I found you passed out on the street with alcohol poisoning. Reckon you would have died before you made it to the hospital. I did you a favour.” The vampire reached out a hand and ran it through Akihito’s hair like he was some favoured pet. He shuddered at the contact and tried to pull away but the vampire wasn’t having it. He pulled him right up against his chest and cradled him like a kid needing comfort. “Just relax, that’s it. Turning is a bitch but I got you, baby.”
“Why the fuck do you keep calling me that?” Akihito tried to push himself away but he was too weak to escape the hold. His head was starting to throb again and his limbs trembled as he felt weaker by the moment.
“You’re mine now, pretty little thing. I saved you, sired you, and now you’re mine to keep,” he replied with such complete and utter certainty that Akihito felt sick.
“Oh hell no.” He tried to push himself away again but it had even less effective than before. He seemed to be getting even weaker, his movements sluggish and his body unwilling to respond.
“Oh, yes. I’ve been on the lookout for a perfect little morsel like yourself for years. It’s rare to find such a delicacy that’s able to be turned and not already claimed. Such a shame that most human’s DNA doesn’t react to our venom. Still, my prowling paid off in a big way.”
Akihito tried to calm his panic as the vampire caressed his hand down his cheek before sitting him back in bed. He watched the man with narrowed eyes as he picked up the cup and disappeared from the bedroom. Footsteps echoed down the hall and he was surprised when the sound didn’t dim any for him. In fact, if he closed his eyes and listened closely, he could hear the people in the next few houses moving around.
His mouth itched and he brought up a hand to feel along his teeth, dreading what he would find. Sure enough, twin fangs now sat in his mouth. Holy shit, he was a vampire. He had never had any interest in being anything other than his human self and now he didn’t have a choice but to be some night-time monster? He thought there were laws in place to prevent such things. The vampires were few and reclusive and he could have sworn that their leaders had signed agreements about territories and turning and the like. Looks like this guy never got the memo.
But fuck was he hungry. Akihito didn't recall ever being this hungry. His fangs itched and his body craved food. No, blood. It needed blood, he realised with a start. The sleazy man returned and gave Akihito another leer coupled with an approving once over. Clearly the man thought he had gotten quite the catch. He would be pleased with the obvious compliment if he wasn’t so pissed off over his sudden change of circumstance. Without his consent, no less.
He opened his mouth to angrily retort when he caught sight of the red blood in the cup and snatched it from the vampire’s hand before he even knew what he was doing. Akihito’s body screamed hungrily at him and he knocked back the blood with a burning compulsion stronger than he could have previously believed possible. The taste was exquisite on his tongue.
“The initial hunger is pretty bad but after your first proper feed you’ll come right. I have a few regulars that exchange their blood so I’ll let you have a feed on one of them when they come over tonight. But that should help your hunger while your body changes. You were out during the most painful part of the turning, not much more to go now.”
Loud knocking interrupted the vampire and he sighed as a voice called out. Akihito could suddenly smell the man outside. He had a different scent than the vampire in front of him. His scent was much stronger and it called to Akihito. Human. That had to be the difference. He took a deep breath in and frowned. He wanted to eat. The blood in the cup only made him crave more but the man on the step smelt off somehow, even as his body ignored that in favour of the idea of more blood.
“You don’t want that one,” the vampire said, amused. “An addict. His blood is tainted by the heavy drugs. Stay here and drink up, you’ll get something sweeter soon.” His gazed roamed over Akihito’s body, lust and anticipation clear on his face.
Akihito’s skin crawled as the man left the room. He was suddenly reminded that he had been taken to be a pet or worse. In fact, he was certain by the lustful leers that it was less a pet more a permanent bed warmer. Shit, he needed to get out.
After considering his options, Akihito drained the last of the blood from his cup, ignoring the implications of that, before carefully pulling himself to his feet. He wobbled as he tried to stand and he grit his teeth as he slowly moved forward. He didn’t have time to look for his shoes but thankfully he still had his clothes on. His hearing seemed even sharper than before and as he listened to the exchange between the human and the vampire, he realised the vampire must be a drug dealer.
They were haggling over the price of something called ‘crystal’ and the vampire wanted cold hard cash for it even though the human kept offering all sorts of things, including his blood and his body. Akihito shuddered at the desperation in the addict’s tone. He felt a pang of sorrow for the man to be so needful of the substance but he was grateful for the distraction. Their argument bought him time to escape.
He dragged himself over to the bedroom window and peered out. They were in a house on the first floor and the window opened wide enough for him to climb through. Score. Clearly the vampire wasn’t expecting him to run. But man, fuck that. He didn’t ask to be turned and he sure as hell wasn’t sticking around to confirm if he was only after him for his ass. If only his body didn’t feel so weak.
Swinging the window open wide, he leaned out to make sure there was nothing up against the house and let out a relieved breath when he found clear earth. This he could work with. Easy peasy. With one ear on the conversation with the vampire and his ‘client’, Akihito hoisted one protesting leg over the window sill. He tried to slowly manoeuvre himself around to get the other leg over but his weak body couldn’t handle the strain and he toppled to the dirt with a thud.
He groaned at the impact. Shit, that was the last thing he needed but at least he was outside the house now. He stilled suddenly as he realised the vampire would easily have been able to hear that if he was paying attention. Thankfully he was still arguing with the addict but he wasn’t willing to task a risk by hanging around.
It was even harder to pull himself up this time, at least on the bed he had been at knee height. He took a minute to steady himself against the side of the house and he looked around, hoping for a sign of where he might be. Out in the suburbs somewhere. The house beside him was unkempt and rundown but he could hear someone watching TV inside. Akihito cautiously stepped out onto the street and noticed that all the houses were much the same. Even the footpaths had pockmarks and weeds growing in the cracks and the road was small with the odd old car parked. Definitely nowhere near where his apartment as it was closer into the city.
He might not have lived in the nicest area either, huge old apartment blocks jam packed together with creaking pipes and terrible internet, but it was certainly a step up from this. His body protested every movement but he wasn’t willing to stay a minute longer in this area. There was no way he could fight off a vampire at full strength while he was weak and uncoordinated from being turned. Right now, he was the equivalent of a baby to other vampires.
Focusing on putting as much distance between him and the vampire, Akihito set off as fast as his body would allow. He didn’t know which direction was the best so he was left just walking until he found a sign or landmark that would help orientate him.
He stopped after taking what felt like only a few steps and turned around. He had moved a block in what, two seconds flat? Holy shit. He gaped in surprise before taking a few hesitant steps forward. This time he walked at normal speed. Concentrating, he focused on moving as fast as possible and gasped when the world blurred and suddenly he was another block down.
Well, maybe he would get home faster than he thought. Although, it would be very obvious to passers-by just what he was if he did that. It seemed like late afternoon judging from the sun sitting fairly low on the horizon but it was still light out. Weighing up his options, Akihito decided to risk it. It would be worse hanging around and getting caught by that vampire that wanted to keep him as a bedwarmer than possibly getting questioned by a random vampire about why he was being obvious in daylight. He doubted a human that saw him would risk the chance of approaching. He certainly wouldn’t in their shoes.
Vampires might technically be integrated into society but it wasn’t so simple as that. They rarely mixed with most humans, preferring to keep to themselves except for a few humans that offered their blood. There were still news articles of rogue vampire attacks or blood feuds with hunters or even the odd old money vampire charity case, but certainly nothing frequent. And he had never heard of any unconsenting vampire turnings in recent years.
There were strict laws about the vetting and turning of what few humans could become vampires. Most people’s DNA didn’t mesh well with that of a vampire and they couldn’t be turned but apparently, Akihito was one of the few that could. He had never bothered to find out before. He had no interest in being something else.
The travel into the city took hours, and it didn’t take long before he became too weak to use his newfound super speed. His only consolation was that he had been able to use it enough to get fairly close to a friends’ apartment. They would know what to do. Or at the very least, he could crash on their couch until he felt a little less like death warmed over.
It felt like days by the time he dragged his shivering body up the steps to the third floor of the building to pound desperately on his friend’s door. He waited but there no one answered. He strained to hear any sound but the apartment was empty although a few of his neighbours were home.
Well, shit. That hadn’t been in his plans. Whatever.
He was too tired to care much and with a great sigh, Akihito curled up on the doorstep. At least he might nap a little until Kou got home. His body welcomed the sleep with open arms and he quickly drifted off.
“Akihito! Wake up, Akihito! Are you okay? Akihito!”
He groaned in protest as someone shook his shoulder. The voice was too loud in his ears and he swatted at the offending arm weakly.
Finally recognising his friend’s voice, he blearily tried to look up. Sleep fogged his brain and he blinked, trying to clear his vision. He felt worse than the first time he woke.
“Holy shit!” Kou jumped away and stared down at him with wide eyes. “Your eyes! What happened? Akihito, are you okay?”
“What?” Akihito croaked out in reply.
“Okay. Okay, calm down.” Kou stopped to take a deep breath before stepping forward again. “Let’s get you inside first.”
Akihito let himself be half carried, half dragged inside with no protest. Suddenly so close to his friend he noticed just how good he smelt. He took a deep shuddering breath and his fangs itched desperately. He wanted to sink his fangs into friend’s neck and suck deep from his essence.
Catching his thoughts suddenly, Akihito reeled back as though struck. What the hell was that? This was his best friend, for fucks sake. Why was he thinking about such things? His entire body throbbed with the need to drink from his friend even as he felt sick for the very thought. What had he become?
“Here, sit down and tell me what happened. We lost you last night and you still weren’t picking up this morning. I just swung by your place to see if you made it home okay but you weren’t there. And your eyes… Akihito, your eyes are red.”
Akihito looked around wildly for a mirror and Kou pulled out his phone. He tapped away at the screen for a few seconds before handing it over. The screen was set to take a selfie and he stared down at the phone in disbelief. His blonde hair was matted and his face was pale with huge black marks under his eyes. But oh, his hazel eyes were gone and in their place red irises glowed. He bared his teeth and saw the twin long fangs he had felt earlier.
There was no disputing that he wasn’t human any longer.
He never wanted to be a vampire.
The phone dropped from his nerveless fingers as horror overtook him.
“Akihito? What happened?” Kou whispered, fear and confusion warring in his voice.
“I woke up in someone’s house. He said he was a vampire and that he turned me after he found me passed out on the street dying from alcohol poisoning. He said he was going to keep me like some bedwarmer but I managed to escape.”
“Fuck,” his friend swore before leaning down to pick up his phone.
Akihito leaned close and took a deep breath. His body itched to get even closer still. “You smell good,” he said absently before rearing back to look at Kou with wide eyes. Shit, was he just going to keep thinking about eating his friend every time he got close? Kou stared back in equal shock and shame flooded through him. There was no way he could ask his friend. No way could he put him through that. He pushed his friend away and stood up on trembling legs. He cursed as he nearly fell but a warm arm steadied him.
“Akihito?” Kou asked hesitantly. “Are you hungry?”
He stiffened in his friend’s grip as his body clamoured that yes, yes he was and beside him was the most delicious feast. He shook his head trying to deny it but he swayed as the effort unbalanced him.
“It’s okay.” Akihito shook his head even more violently at the words. “It’s fine. We’re best friends, right? You clearly need it and I don’t think normal food will cut it anymore. Come on.”
Kou dragged him back to the couch and the new vampire sat down heavily. He couldn’t believe this. He had been here, what? Five minutes? And already his poor friend was being virtually coerced into offering him blood.
“I don’t know much about this but my wrist should be fine, right?” Akihito refused to look at Kou even as he held his arm out in offering. “Akihito… Look, I get that you didn’t ask for this and it’s probably a bit weird for you right now, hell it’s weird for me, but it’s okay. You look like shit and if I can help, I will. You’d be the first person to do the same for me if I was in your shoes. You need blood to survive now.”
“But what if I drink too much? I could kill you,” Akihito whispered as he closed his eyes so he didn’t have to stare at the wrist being pushed further under his nose. It was so hard to ignore though and he felt his mouth watering at the very thought of sinking his teeth in.
“You know that’s a myth. Even starving vampires can’t completely drain someone in one sitting. Look man, as long as you don’t try and devour me like you do chocolate, we won’t have a problem. I promise to tell you if I start feeling woozy, okay?”
“Okay.” Akihito took a deep breath and opened his eyes before slowly reaching out for Kou’s wrist. The angle was awkward and after a moment of consideration, he lay down across the couch with his head touching his friend’s thigh. “Is this okay?”
At Kou’s nod, he grabbed his friend’s wrist again and draw it up to his face. His hands were trembling, part with a desperate hunger and part with incredulity over what he was about to do. Instinctively he ran his tongue over the inside of the pale wrist and he felt his friend’s heart beat on his tongue like a physical thing. It only took a moment for him to know exactly where to bite down and he eagerly sunk his fangs in, jerking at Kou’s pained gasp.
He tried to pull away but he couldn’t force his body to detach from his wrist. Not now when there was sweet cloying blood invading his senses. He felt like a man dying of thirst that had been given the cleanest of spring water. Thankfully it didn’t take much before he became full and he could retract his fangs. Blood trickled from the puncture points in Kou’s arm and Akihito quickly lapped up the streams.
He noticed that the blood flow stopped almost immediately under his tongue but then sleep tried to drag him under. His belly was full and a sluggish contentment took hold. He was asleep before his friend even had a chance to check his wrist.
Life had certainly been interesting these last few weeks. Akihito’s friends all agreed to give their blood if he needed it, sharing the task of sustaining him between them all. He had also somewhat gotten the hang of his new body but found he was a lot clumsier in this form than he ever had been as a human. A little internet research revealed the best way for him to drink blood and the pros and cons of his new form.
It had also cemented the fact that there was no going back to his human form. He was stuck as a vampire, doomed to outlive all his friends and family. Everyone had been trying to cheer him up but quite frankly, he hadn’t asked for this and he wasn’t down with losing everything he cared about. Sure, it wouldn’t be right away but it would happen soon enough.
His parents tried to convince him to report his unauthorised turning but Akihito refused. From what he had seen online they would force him to separate himself from his old life and start again. He didn’t want to join one of the stuffy houses that governed the vampires. They all had too many rules and politics that he wanted no part of.
He had gotten contacts to wear when he went to work but he couldn’t hide the fangs nearly as well. Still, it seemed that the owner of the bar didn’t particularly care as long as Akihito kept his head down and didn’t rub it in anyone’s face. He was grateful that no one had said anything and he was able to keep that part of his life normal, at least.
His job at a local bar proved a boon to his newly nocturnal life. Akihito discovered that while he could walk around and do things during the day, he was weaker and sluggish during that time. Thankfully shops stayed open late in the city so he could get anything he needed once the sun had gone down and his video gaming hobby didn’t have a time of day attached to it so his life was mostly unchanged.
The main difference was that he went to work at the bar like one would a morning job; get up, go to work, and have free time afterwards. It’s just that it was pitch black for his ‘free time’ instead of sunny. He sighed as he walked. The bar had been fairly quiet that evening and he had been feeling restless. Taking the long way home, Akihito soaked in the quiet of the night with only a few cars and the odd wanderer interrupting his peace.
He was just pondering what the hell he should be doing with his suddenly extended life when he came upon the most delicious aroma. A limo sat at the curb near the end of the block with its bonnet popped. Someone was leaning over staring at the engine while another all but yelled down his phone. But it was the third man that caught Akihito’s attention, however. He stood off to the side, watching the proceedings with an irritated air before moving his attention back to the phone in his hand. His scent tickled Akihito’s nostrils and it was like the finest swiss imported chocolate combined with the fattest, juiciest steak cooked to perfection.
Akihito swore he had never met anyone that smelt that good to his vampire senses. His enhanced sight took in the broad shoulders and trim waist line even through his business suit. The man was virtually sex on legs.
It would be so worth taking a chance to see if he could get a little taste of that.
People were surprisingly receptive to being asked straight up if he might be allowed to take a drink. Akihito didn’t feel entirely comfortable always relying on his friends for his meals and had successfully bartered with a few different people. This would be the first time he was considering maybe getting a taste in a different way as well. It had been ages since he’d last gotten laid. Months ago, in fact. Long before he became a vampire. Even then it wasn’t a regular occurrence. He had to see if the man was actually interested in guys though.
Unconsciously, Akihito super sped up until he was right up in the man’s personal space. He started to speak but stopped as the wonderful aroma overtook him even more. Closing his eyes, Akihito leaned in and took a deep inhale.
“Holy shit, you smell amazing.” That had not been what he meant to say. He opened his eyes and looked up into amused golden eyes. The man had a handsome face to match his built figure and Akihito might be trying not to drool. That could very well be his smell doing that though. “Can I have a taste? Just a little, I don’t need much.”
Ah, shit. There was being upfront and there was being way too intense. He was being way too intense judging by how rigid the man was. Akihito swore he was better at people skills than this but the man was distracting in every way and he had completely lost his brain-to-mouth filter.
He stepped back out of the human’s space and slipped off his hoodie in what he hoped was a show of trust. The man continued to stare at him so Akihito offered up a hopeful, “Please?”.
Never hurt to be polite, right?
The man huffed out a laugh and Akihito grinned back. That was promising.
“Is that a yes?” he asked hopefully as he tried to step up to the human’s side. In his distracted state, he didn’t rein in his eagerness and he stumbled over his own feet before landing hard on the pavement. Well, that wasn’t the best impression so far. He gave an embarrassed laugh as he hauled himself back up. At least the man hadn’t shooed him away yet.
“How old are you?”
“That’s rude,” he countered with a pout. This was not going the way he had hoped. Akihito briefly wondered if it was even worth continuing this. What, was he worried he wasn’t legal or something?
“How many years as a vampire?” the man insisted.
“Not years,” Akihito muttered back and the man’s eyebrows jumped into his hairline.
“You’re just a fledgling?”
“And? Is that a problem? Look, I just want a little bit of a taste. How about we do a trade?”
“A trade?” He seemed sceptical but he didn’t say no or move away.
“That’s your ride over there, right?” Akihito gestured behind himself to the broken-down limo. At the man’s nod, he continued, “I have a friend who’s a total gearhead and I’ve learnt a few things, I might be able to help out. So, I get you up and running and in return, I get to eat you just a little.” Akihito flushed slightly at his poor choice of words. Ah well, he had put his foot in it long before now. “I mean, it doesn’t look like your friend over there is getting you guys a ride anytime soon.”
It was true. The man on the phone was all but screaming down the line at this point, his volume was enough to make Akihito wince as it assaulted his sensitive ears. It would almost be worth it just to get his peace and quiet back.
“All right,” Akihito grinned at the man’s agreement. “But only if I get a taste of my own.”
His heart thudded wildly in his chest, was this delicious morsel of a man actually offering to take him home? Wow, he had hit the jackpot tonight.
“Yeah,” he breathed out as he let the man’s scent wash over him again. “I’m up for that.”
A dark smirk met his words and suddenly Akihito wasn’t sure who would be eating who at the end of the night but it didn’t matter. First things first though, he needed to check out the car.