"Would you still love me even if I turned out to be what you hated most?"
Lance's words echo in Keith's mind over and over and over. Keith had laughed and told Lance that of course he would, nothing could stop him. Keith had promised Lance he would still love him even if he became what Keith hated most.
Keith just never thought it would ever happen.
But here he was. Lance hadn't spotted Keith yet. Keith was far away with night vision binoculars that specially made by the Holts, looking at Lance. Looking at Lance hunched over a deer, mouth burrowed in it's neck. Lance was drinking the creatures blood. Keith went cold.
Keith was a vampire hunter. His mom and Dad had been hunters too, but his mom had left when Keith was just a baby, and his Dad had been killed by a vampire when Keith was only 10. Dad had been trying to protect Keith. Keith managed to get away, his Dad did not.
Vampires where monsters. They held no compassion for any creature, and cared for no one but themselves. They only cared for power and blood, willing to kill anything or anyone to get such. They had to be stopped, and Keith was willing to do the job. No matter what it took, Keith promised, for his Dad, he would not leave a single vampire left on Earth, or die trying.
Lance was making that difficult.
"We should go talk to him." Shiro said besides Keith, starting to move forward.
Shiro was Keith's mentor, and like an older brother to him. Shiro was a great hunter. Shiro was patient, and good with people. Shiro was willing to talk to vampires, make them trust him, and get his way into the inside. They where easier to kill that way. Keith's envious of Shiro. There was no way he could ever do that, he'd be too overwhelmed by anger towards the monsters to even pretend to get along with him.
It was stupid, really, for Shiro to think Keith could just go up to that vampire just to "talk." In any other circumstances, Keith couldn't do it, even if Shiro has been training him towards such.
But maybe the story would be different this time. It's Lance. Keith wouldn't ever kill Lance. He would kill a vampire, but he wouldn't kill Lance. The only question is, who is Lance more of?
Keith nodded besides Shiro, clicking a button on the sides of his binoculars to make them turn back into goggles. He pulled the hood of the cloak over him, and pulled up his black bandanna. Shiro gave him a look, as Keith usually didn't try too hard to hide his identity, but didn't say anything.
Shiro walked towards Lance. He walked with confidence, not rushing towards the vampire in order to give him warning, but not inching forward out of fear. "We have to treat them like equals," Shiro had said once. That also meant the hunters had to act like they where equals. That they weren't below the vampires just because they didn't have the same power.
Keith walked right behind Shiro, trying and failing to match his confidence. Keith was walking at the same pace, sure, not too fast but not too slow. But where Shiro was smooth and fluid, Keith was stiff and choppy. Keith was like a wounded animal, ready to fight or flight at any given moment.
Lance noticed they where there. The vampire turned away from his meal, hissing at the hunters, blood dripping from his teeth.
"We're not here to hurt you," Shiro said, lifting his hands up. How Shiro could fake the sincerity in his voice Keith would never know. "We just want to talk to you, if you're willing," Shiro finished, waiting for the vampire to respond.
Keith used to wonder why Shiro would always tack that onto the end. The "only if you want to" shit. But it seemed to work, it seemed to make the vampire feel safe.
The vampire looked between the two hunters. He stared at Keith for a moment, and Keith wondered for a second if Lance recognized him.
Lance stood up from the deer, taking a napkin out of his back pocket to wipe his mouth. He looked up at Keith and Shiro, the red now faded into Lance's royal blue eyes Keith remembered so well.
Lance crossed his arms, and looked at Shiro,"What do you two hunters want?"
Lance didn't seem to recognize them, thank god. Keith doesn't know what he'd do if he did. He can just act like this is just another mission, that Lance is just another vampire that he's eventually going to kill. But at the same time, Keith can't. He can't ignore who this man in front of him is, what this vampire means to him. Keith doesn't know what he's going to do when he eventually has to kill Lance. He's a vampire, Keith's suppose to kill him. But Keith, he'd- he'd just freeze up, completely wanting to kill the vampire, but unable to kill Lance, and he'd freeze up and get himself killed. Keith doesn't think about it anymore.
Pilotely, very very pilotely, Shiro tells Lance,"There's been a few humans murdered in this area, each with vampire bites on there necks."
Lance's eyes go wide. "What." He whispers.
Lance didn't already know about that? That means that he couldn't have been behind the attacks. That or Lance is acting.
Keith- Keith honestly isn't sure. Lance is a terrible liar. You can tell he's faking it, or over-exaggerating, or whatever as soon as you hear him. But acting on the other hand? Lance is amazing at that. He's was a theater kid, back in high school, and he's involved in the local community theater now. Keith has seen him act, and Lance is so amazing, Keith forgets that the man onstage is Lance. He completely becomes his character, completely becomes someone else.
Lance can't be lying, Keith knows he isn't. But he could be acting, he could be pretending to be this other version of Lance, this hardly-a-vampire, couldn't-hurt-a-fly Lance.
Keith wonders if Lance was acting when while he was around him. Keith wonders if Lance was just playing him, pretending to love Keith just so that way he could lure him into a false sense of security, before luring him out into the woods where he'll never come back from. Keith wonders if Lance was just being a predator playing with his play. Keith wonders if Lance is planning on killing him.
Keith goes stiff, and he glares at Lance. He wonders.
A voice whispers in Keith's head, if he was just stalking you, he'd of killed you already. Flirty-vamps, the one's who take advantage of someone, pretending to be into them only to suck the blood out of them later, they don't wait this long. Its the first few dates or so. If the prey takes longer to trust the predator, the vampire moves onto someone else.
If Lance was a flirty-vamp, he'd be starving himself.
"Do you know anything about this?" Shiro asks Lance.
Lance shakes his head, his eyes still wide. "No, I had no idea." Lance looks worried.
Keith isn't surprised. Hunters come out after a killing. A killing alerts a hunter that a vampire is in the area, and as their job, they have to take care of it. Lance has to be worried about his own safety, of course he does. For a vampire, even talking to a hunter, even talking to Shiro, you know you're dead.
Keith wonders why they never strike first. Keith wonders why Lance hasn't killed them already. After all, Lance doesn't recognize Keith, and he doesn't know who Shiro is.
Keith was planning on inviting Shiro over soon to meet his boyfriend, but he guesses that wouldn't exactly be a good idea.
"Do you mind telling us if you find out any information?" Shiro asks the vampire.
Ah, of course, that card. The give-me-a-way-to-track-you-card. Keith's seen Shiro use that a couple of times before. Shiro offers the vampire his number, and then the vampire gives theirs back. Now all Shiro has to do is tell their friend Pidge Holt to track it, and the vampire is dead. Or they can find a coven. Its one of the smartest things Shiro ever does.
"Of course!" Lance says,"Anything to help you bring the vampires who are attacking people down."
"You want to bring down your own people?" Keith can't help but say. He's never heard a vampire say this before.
Keith gulps, realizing he spoke. He hopes that Lance doesn't recognize his voice.
"You must be a newbie, huh?" Lance asks him, and Keith really, really, was not expecting that.
"He is," confirms Shiro.
Shiro turns to Keith,"We work with peaceful vampires to help bring down the bad ones. The peaceful vampires help us protect our people, and we provide the peaceful vampires with protection from the bad ones."
Lance hums and nods, agreeing with Shiro.
This- this wasn't what Keith expected. Shiro wasn't trying to lure the vampires into a false sense of security. He wasn't trying to get into their circle and destroy them from the inside out. No, Shiro was trying to get them to trust him. Shiro was letting them know that he wasn't a danger to them.
Just the last few vampires they've "worked" with, tried to stab them in the back. Keith and Shiro stabbed first.
Keith doesn't know what to say, or do, or think. Vampires are evil, Keith knows they are, but Shiro is willing to work with some. Shiro, one of the bravest, smartest, and kindest people Keith's knows, is willing to trust a vampire.
And, and Lance. Lance is so funny, and selfless, and he'd do anything to protect his family. Lance is golden hearted. There's not a single evil bone in his body.
And Lance is a vampire.
Keith doesn't know what to think.
"So you're willing to help us?" Shiro prompts Lance again.
Lance nods,"Of course." Lance pauses. His lips set into a line, and his eyebrows pull together just slightly. He looks so determined, so sincere, and Keith knows he's not pretending. "I have love ones in this town. I'd do anything to keep them safe."
He's talking about me.
Shiro nods, and pulls out his phone for Lance to input his number.
After Shiro and Lance share their numbers (Keith's never shared his number with a vampire so Shiro didn't question when Keith didn't share his with Lance), Keith and Shiro head home.
Keith plops down on the couch, his gear left with Shiro.
Keith sighs, burrowing his head into his hands. "God..." He mutters.
"Tough day at work?"
Keith jumps, surprised to see Lance standing infront of him. He's wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, his hair soaking wet.
Lance speaks again,"You okay dude?" And Keith can smell a hint of mint.
Lance got home before Keith did, brushed his teeth, and took a shower apparently. He's trying to hide what he had been doing. If Keith hadn't literally met Lance in the woods, it would've worked.
Keith thinks again about seeing Lance in the woods. He thinks again about seeing Lance hunched over that deer, or the red eyes and the bloody fangs, or how Lance wiped away blood with a napkin.
Keith thinks about what Shiro said. How hunters work with vampires to protect each other. Keith thinks about Lance, and how he's willing to put himself in danger, willing to bring down his own people, other vampires, to protect his loved ones, to protect Keith.
Keith thinks about his Dad.
"Fine." Keith mutters, turning away from Lance,"I don't want to talk about it."
Lance sits next to Keith, and rests his hands over Keith's leg. "Stressful?"
Keith resists the urge to flinch.
He looks up at Lance, up at those blue, blue ocean eyes. Keith remembers the red.