He was being hunted.
Tiny sounds in the night, little notes that didn't ring quite true. Echoes in dark alleyways that didn't belong. Flickers of movement on the edge of his vision as he prowled through silent, midnight parks. A feeling of pressure, of being watched as he walked in sleeping suburbs.
His silent, invisible stalker had been following him for three weeks. Its mistake was getting too close in a public area, where it couldn't actually attack. He'd caught an aura of hunger strong enough to reach him even across a crowded nightclub, and instinct had propelled him into the safety of the busy streets, trusting the nightlife of New York to keep him safe until he could make a coherent plan of escape. By daybreak, he'd been on a plane across country.
Denver had been a failure, he'd sensed the pressure again a few hours after nightfall. Taking a night train south was a risk, but he knew staying still would be even more dangerous. Travelling day and night, trusting the trains to keep him moving even while he rested, he sensed the distance growing between the hunter and its prey. Yet somehow, a few hours after he arrived in Miami he felt the pressure again. Panic began to assert itself, a clutching fear that no matter how hard he ran, the unseen predator would find him, follow him, and eventually catch him.
In desperation, he fled for his only hope of safety: Louisiana.
The city of New Orleans was basking in the late summer heat when he arrived, music and rum and magic blending together to create a heady, decadent fog. The French Quarter wrapped him in its suffocating embrace and he disappeared into the side streets, searching out familiar items of protection and wincing as the more skittish of the patrons made signs of protection at the sight of him.
Approaching his last destination, he cast his eyes over his own reflection in the shop window. Messy hair, his undercut starting to grow out from neglect, black bangs hanging almost in his eyes. His olive skin was sallow from the stress of running, his almond shaped, dark eyes looking tired. He could see the fear in them, and he scrubbed his hands over his face, pushing his hair back with a soft growl. Ducking under a display of dried chicken feet, he entered the den of Papa LaFontaine.
“As I live and breathe, Otabek Altin! It's been what, four years?” As the creole Houngan stepped forward and caught the smaller man in an embrace, he gave him a tiny shake. “You in trouble, boy. How long you been running?”
“Hmm. Determined one, isn't it. Have you seen it?”
“Only a glimpse.”
“Well come on in back. May as well see what can be done.”
The back room of the shop was fashioned as a working space, with a shrine set on one side. Red curtains concealed the thick stone walls, brief glimpses of the protective marks and sigils visible as the fabric moved. Candles sputtered into life as they entered, the flickering light making the skulls and bones on the altar seem to twitch.
Black eyes wandered over him, assessing things only the old man could see. “Lets have a look at you then” he said, Otabek dropped his bag and coat on the floor, stripping out of his clothes with a sigh.
“It's marked you. How did you let it get this close?”
“I... I didn't! I mean... I would have noticed. Right?”
“Hmm. Maybe. Maybe it had ya distracted? Anyway, I'll see if I can remove the mark.”
“If it was close enough to mark me, why didn't it go for me straight away?”
“It doesn't just want ya for a meal, boy. It's after ya soul. It must have known you'd run.”
“There's no way I'd let a vampire get close enough to mark me. I'm not that bloody stupid” Otabek said, hugging himself under the scrutiny of the old man. Even as he spoke, a memory asserted itself and he flushed, his certainty vanishing. Despite the heat of memory running through him, he forced himself to stand still and keep his body relaxed as the hoodoo priest went to work. Viscous cold liquid snaked across his skin as the Houngan began chanting and painting sigils on his body, the smell of fresh blood and herbs filling his nose, overpowered by the memory of the scent of sweat and the taste of vodka.
Swigging from the bottle beside him, Otabek left the DJ booth and dropped off the edge of the stage, the crowded dance floor swallowing him as he moved to the beat of his last track. His closer was always his current favourite, so he could dance away his comedown from the set. Tilting the vodka bottle again, he caught another glimpse of white blonde hair and green eyes in the depths of the club.
Those eyes had been watching him all night, as the tiny blonde twisted and writhed to the music, keeping a careful distance from the booth. Slender, pale limbs teased by flourishes of lace and velvet as he moved, his hair flicking loose around narrow shoulders. Fragile as glass, yet every sweep of his hands and twitch of his hips spoke of a deeper strength. When he met Otabek's gaze, his green eyes seemed to burn with an inner fire.
When Otabek left the stage at the end of his set, he'd searched for those eyes and his heart sank when he failed to find them. Now, spotting the tiny blonde, he pushed his way through the crowd until he was behind him on the dance floor, letting his movements match the rhythm of the smaller dancer.
Pale hair ghosted over his shoulder as the blonde leaned back against him, their hips fitting together like keys in a lock. Otabek groaned as he wrapped one arm around the other man's waist, feeling strong muscles moving under his grip. The blonde laced their fingers together, grinding back against him and tipping his head back, eyes slipping closed as Otabek took his first taste of his lips.
They danced together for hours, taking sips from the bottle of Vodka and sharing the fiery liquid between deep kisses. At some point they left the club, finding their way into a nearby alley and letting their movements become intimate, sensual. The blonde weighed nothing as Otabek lifted him and pressed him against the wall, wrapping his legs tightly around the Kazakh's hips as they devoured each others mouths, teeth nipping at Otabek's shoulders and throat, pure lust overriding every bit of his common sense.
Time had raced away from them, and as he'd been considering how to suggest moving their dance to somewhere more private, the blonde had slipped out of his arms, gazing towards the lightening sky with an expression of frustration. Pressing in for one last, fierce kiss, he'd turned and fled the alley leaving only the fading heat of his presence and an ache in Otabek's heart. He hadn't even really noticed the tiny bite marks on his neck and collarbone until a few days later, when they were mostly healed.
“Figured it out?”
“Fuck. I'm such an idiot.”
The Houngan laughed at him, pushing a glass of spiced rum into his hand. They were sat on a collapsed leather couch, the drying mixture of herbs and blood on Otabek's shoulders and back flaking onto the ancient leather. He'd reclaimed his jeans, but left his torso bare to avoid smudging any of the protection symbols seeping into his skin.
“They're the original seducers, creatures of depravity and sensuality. If it wanted your attention, you'd have no choice in the matter.”
Pulling a face, Otabek sipped the rum. “Why me” he whined, slightly pathetically.
“You know damn well why. That angel blood you're carrying be like catnip for them. It's amazing you're not dead yet, or ghouled. You've only lived this long because ya have good friends like me.”
Nephilim. Half angel, half mortal. The lore spoke of great, forbidden love affairs between the warriors of heaven and the humans they protected, and the children that resulted from such blasphemous relations. The Angelic war to destroy the Nephilim had been long and bloody, and without clear resolution. Fought when the Pharaohs of Egypt still ruled under the guidance of animal headed gods, it had claimed the lives of thousands of innocents and fractured the cultures of humans all across the world.
What was less known was the fate of the Nephilim who survived the war. Hiding in the depths of human society, they had protected themselves with powerful magics and blended in with their mortal cousins. Inevitably, they bred into the population and their offspring passed their powers and bloodlines into the human realm.
Their half human, half angelic blood was a powerful tool for rituals and was valuable in a number of black markets; it was also an irresistible lure to any number of supernatural creatures. Vampires, who drew immortality from consuming human blood, were said to prize nephilim as trophies, slaves and occasionally as consorts. Nephilim could never become full Vampires, but sometimes would be turned into the equivalent of an immortal Happy Meal, exchanging their blood for an eternity of sensuality and debauchery on the arm of a powerful vampire. The exchange was permanent, irreversible, and required the nephilim to give their soul to the vampire freely and without restriction.
For thousands of years, each generation bred dozens of lesser nephilim, often gifted with incredible artistic talents and and reliant on their preternatural senses and innate gifts with human magic to keep themselves safe and hidden.
Nephilim like Otabek Altin.
The music in the club is inspired by my Cyber Industrial playlist.
Bless you deviant lot, you're already giving this fic so much love. Thank you!
The whimpering of the boy at his feet was distracting, his irritation at the noise clearly visible to the more experienced subjects. He clicked his nails against the crystal glass in his hand and immediately the boy was led from the room, hushed and terrified. He immediately regretted the move, reflecting that snapping the young man's neck might have relieved some of his frustrations. More irritated than before, he stood up and drained the deep ruby liquid in the glass before hurling it across the room. The crashing impact made every human in the immediate area flinch, and sent shards of crystal flying in a dozen different directions. Curling his lip petulantly, Yuri Plisetsky stalked out of the parlour and went in search of someone to shout at.
His favourite target was easy to find; Viktor Nikiforov was in his study, supposedly reading but actually enjoying the antics of his pets as they played on the floor by the fire. Yuri sneered slightly as the human and the dog tucked themselves in behind Viktor's chair at the sight of him, terror written in the lines of their bodies and the set of their faces.
“That was a very expensive set of antique crystal glasses” Viktor purred as Yuri stalked in, “I'll have to commission new ones to replace them. You know how hard it is to get things to match after a few hundred years.”
“I don't give a fuck” the smaller vampire snarled, throwing himself at the couch.
Viktor tutted and closed his book. “You've been extra volatile since you got back. What's the matter.”
Yuri bit his lip, the urge to whine battling with a hatred of talking to Viktor. Eventually, frustration won out and he sat up, digging his long nails into his palms and glaring at the fire.
“I found a nephilim... in New York. He... got away.”
“You lost him?!”
“Shut the fuck up” Yuri retorted, “I didn't lose him. He got away. I tracked him to Louisiana, then he vanished. He must have had contacts there. Hoodoo, probably.”
Viktor raised an eyebrow. “I don't know which is stranger – you losing someone, or wanting to follow them in the first place.”
Making an unhappy noise, the blonde curled up onto the couch. In his peripheral vision, he could see the human edging towards the door in an attempt to get away from the murderous aura Yuri was projecting. “Your pet is trying to escape” he pointed out, and Viktor rose from the desk.
Capturing the human's lips in a quick kiss, he spoke a few words of reassurance in quiet Japanese and sent him and the dog out of the room. Crossing to sit on the couch opposite the smaller vampire, he put his chin on his hands and looked at him curiously.
“What's your plan?”
“Gut every human in New Orleans until I find him?”
The silver haired vampire laughed. “That's a terribly impractical plan.” He raised his hand and a dark shape flew out of the shadows above the bookshelves, silently alighting on his wrist. The raven made a clicking sound as he stroked its back, its eyes gleaming red as it glared at Yuri. “May I offer an alternative?”
The Louisiana motel was dirty, with cockroaches hiding under the tub and water damage around the light fittings. Flinging his bag at the bed, Otabek stared around him miserably. His apartment in New York seemed an impossibly long way away, and he missed his friends, his belongings, his life. Knowing he would probably never be able to return there made him feel even worse, and he sat down heavily, pulling a bottle of vodka out of his coat pocket. He snapped the seal with a grimace and took a long drink, the liquid burning his throat and making his eyes water. As the alcohol hit his stomach he lay back on the bed, his head falling to the side as he watched the raindrops race down the filthy window.
A dark, expensive car pulled into the motel parking lot, easing to a stop by his room. Already feeling the ache of too much travel and too much vodka, it took a few moments for his senses to pick up on how out of place it was. When he finally noticed, the occupant had already climbed out of the back seat and was walking towards his door. White blonde hair and a long black trench coat, the tiny frame dwarfed by the heavy material. In a surreal twist, the figure was accompanied by a large black bird, who perched on its shoulder
Cursing, Otabek scrambled to his feet and leaned back against the wall, out of sight of the window. His skin still itched from the protective sigils and spells, there was no way the vampire could have tracked him through the mark. How the hell had it found him?
He held his breath as the creature knocked on the door, a slow staccato that made his heart slam in his chest. Caught... I'm caught... there was no back door, not even a window to climb through. Worse, the motel was a public space, so the vampire could just...
Thoughts skidded to a halt as the knock came again. The vampire could just walk in, it didn't even need permission in a place like this. Why the hell was it knocking? Just to terrify him? LaFontaine's words echoed in his mind; it's after ya soul. He shuddered, easing a bit further back from the window and trying to calm his mind. He needed an escape plan, now.
“You may as well let me in, Otabek.”
It knew his name. Of course it did, he'd been DJing at that club a long time, he was well known. Stupid, stupid... he'd grown too used to being safe. He'd let his guard down, got too comfortable.
“I'm only knocking out of politeness you know.”
It sounded as if it was holding back a horrific temper, and only by a hairs breadth at that. Shuddering again, Otabek pushed himself away from the wall and approached the door, resting his hand on the handle. He wondered how far he'd get if he just pushed open the door and tried to run for it. Not far enough.
“How did you find me” he asked, his voice sounding rough in his ears. A loud caw answered his question and he swore again. If it had access to familiars, it was either very, very powerful, or knew something that was. The thought that he'd been targeted by either option made his whole body break out in a sweat.
“Otabek, I'm running out of patience. It's raining out here, you know. Open the door, or I might decide go to and amuse myself back in the city until you start feeling chatty. At least one person there helped hide you from me, sooner or later I'll get to them.”
There it was... the threat to innocent lives that always accompanied the whims of monsters. With a snarl, Otabek wrenched the door open and glared at the creature standing outside.
The vampire was even more stunning than he remembered, and his rage and terror stuttered as his libido stood to attention. Ivory skin, pale blonde hair, high cheekbones and huge, turquoise eyes. Its face was delicate and sharp, with a pointed chin and sculpted nose. Although it was slightly shorter than him, the image of fragility was caused more by its build; a long, slender neck, narrow shoulders and slim, elegant limbs under the bulk of the coat. Gazing at it with a suddenly very dry mouth, he realised that it couldn't have been much more than a teenager when it died. Fifteen or sixteen years old, at the most. It was utterly, horrifyingly beautiful, and he had no absolutely no way of escaping it.
It was also soaking wet and radiating fury, the bird perched on its shoulder giving him an equally angry look from its red, gleaming eyes. As he dithered in the doorway, the vampire stepped forward and pushed him back into the room with a single finger. The push was enough to throw him back several feet, and he landed on his back on the bed.
A loud caw echoed in the room and the bird took off, flying back out into the night as the vampire kicked the door shut behind it and dropped the heavy wool coat onto the floor. Stepping lightly, it crossed to where he was lying and climbed onto his hips, gazing down at him as water dripped from its hair. He dug his hands into the bedsheets, watching the various shades of anger moving across the creature's porcelain features.
“I don't like hunting” it told him, running a finger down his chest, its delicate claw easily slicing the fabric of his t-shirt. “You've managed to irritate me considerably, Otabek.”
The thing was cutting his clothes off with its nails, scolding him like a child that had run away from home. He made a sound like a trapped animal, grabbing its knees where it was straddling his hips and attempting to push it off him. It was like trying to move a building, even though there was almost no weight on his body. The thing was wearing skin tight leather jeans, and even though he was fighting for his life, there was still a part of him that panted with lust.
Ghosting its palms over his collarbones and upper chest, it tilted its head to the side and let its nails run over the tanned skin beneath its hands. The light scratches bled instantly, pain searing through his body. He cried out, turning his head away as the vampire raised one delicate finger to its lips and licked the blood from its fingers. Its eyes closed in bliss as it tasted his blood, and he scrabbled helplessly at the bed, whining in something close to blind terror. Any moment now there would be long fangs and white hot agony as it ripped his throat out.
Yuri bent over him and tasted the bloody marks on his chest, purring in pleasure with each sweep of his soft pink tongue. He could feel the combination of terror and lust making the nephilim shudder and shake; he was rock hard against Yuri's thigh and his pupils were huge, but his body was quaking with fear and his hands were trying to claw his way out from under the blonde.
“You taste like the most delicate sin” the vampire murmured, resting its arms on Otabek's chest and sinking its fingers into his hair. “I've waited a thousand years for you... I refuse to wait any longer.” It tugged his head to the side and he closed his eyes, a prayer on his lips. An image of his mother came into his mind and suddenly everything became very still and calm. He was going to die, and see her again. A small smile crept over his face, and he whispered her name as the vampire's fangs entered his throat.
There was water somewhere near him, splashing and trickling. Someone was moving a damp cloth across his body, and he could hear voices talking softly. An odd echo to the sounds coupled with the humid warmth that wrapped around his body. Was heaven a bath house? Otabek opened his eyes and found himself staring at a young Japanese man, who froze in the act of washing his chest.
“Ah... you're awake. Good. Drink this” the other man said, pressing a hot cup of fragrant tea into his hand. “Do you have a headache?”
“Mmm... yeah. Why... what... where am I?” He sniffed the tea and then winced as the cloth moved again, stroking clean water over his body. Looking down at his chest, he saw lines of scratches running from his collarbone to his nipples. The pain in his throat was worse, and he groaned and raised a hand, feeling for damage.
“You're... well, you're home” the Japanese man said with a slightly sad expression. “This is your home now.”
Otabek stared at him blankly for a moment, then pushed himself to his feet... or at least he tried to. The instant he started to rise, nausea overcame him and he wobbled, his mind spinning and his vision darkening. The other man gently eased him back down into the steaming water, making a soothing noise.
“Slowly... take it slowly. The tea will help with the sickness, but you lost a lot of b-blood. You need to recover. Please, take it slowly.”
“What the fuck is this place. Who are you?”
Sitting beside the steaming tub, the other man sighed. “My name is Yuuri Katsuki, but please don't call me that in front of him. He... he doesn't like that we have the same name. Call me by my surname, or just Katsudon.”
“In front of who.”
“Boyar Yuri Plisetsky. Your principal.” Seeing the blank look in the Kazakh's eyes, he sighed again. “The vampire who owns you” he explained, sadly.
Heavy bass pounded through the east wing of the house, the music throbbing with urgency and heat. Otabek froze in the corridor, his eyes widening as he recognised the track. Looking back at him, Yuuri made a hasty come here gesture which he ignored. Instead, he followed the sound of his own music, blaring out at nightclub volume from somewhere deep in the 18th century manor house. With a nervous glance around them, Yuuri trailed after him, trying to talk him into coming back to safety.
The music was coming from a large reception room, the doors slightly ajar. It was dark in there, scattered with flashing strobes in a myriad of colours. The smell of dry ice reached his nose, and he realised he was looking into a miniature nightclub. He peered in through the doors, Yuuri making a terrified noise next to him and trying to tug him away. As he saw the figure in the centre of the room, his breath caught in his throat.
Yuri Plisetsky was one hell of a dancer.
Tiny and fragile, he moved around the dance floor like he was floating over the tiles. He was clad in simple black leggings and t shirt, the only traces of ostentation was in the thick eyeliner and the lace ties that held his hair out of his face. Barefoot, he whirled and twisted in a strange combination of modern cybergoth, ballroom and ballet. His innate, inhuman grace tied it all together, creating a style that was him and him alone.
The music was drawn from the last five years of Otabek's career, a mix he'd released as a limited edition only a few months before this whole nightmare started. The way the vampire danced to it, he was clearly very familiar with the tracks, transitioning easily and automatically.
Surreal and harmless as the scene was, Yuuri was still frantically trying to tug him away from the door. It was only when the vampire twirled and the light caught his face that Otabek saw the blood on his lips and splattered over his throat, disappearing into the black fabric. His hands were also patterned with red, and there was blood in the few strands of loose hair that floated around his face.
Fear doused Otabek like ice water and his vision widened, taking in the rest of the room. Nearly hidden in the dry ice was a slumped figure, its head at an abnormal angle and its limbs splayed out on the ground. Its face and neck were shredded, but a surprisingly small amount of blood remained. Making a tiny keening noise, he tried to back away but Yuuri had frozen behind him and was blocking the way. As he looked up again, he realised why.
The vampire had stopped his dance and was stood in the centre of the room, head tipped back and hands held loosely at his sides. He looked like a statue, no breath shifting his chest or throat despite the frenetic activity of mere moments ago. Although he was facing the nearby sound system, he was watching the nephilim from the corner of one bright green eye.
Yuuri made a tiny sound of horror as the vampire turned and faced the door, and Otabek reached behind him instinctively, gripping his arm hard. The expression the vampire was wearing was mild curiosity mixed with a great deal of rage, something that Otabek suspected was his natural mental state. He looked like a tiger that had spotted a possible meal, but wasn't quite hungry enough to hunt. If the prey made the wrong move, the chase would be on. Yuuri, trembling at his back, felt like he was seconds away from trying to run, and Otabek was almost certain it would be the death of him.
His own music was still pounding from the speakers, yet when the vampire spoke the voice sounded as clear as if he were whispering directly into Otabek's ear.
Dance with me
Shuddering, Otabek gently released Yuuri's arm and stepped into the room. The other man squeaked with distress then fled, taking the chance to escape while the vampire was distracted. The Kazakh had nothing but respect for his sense of self preservation.
The mix shifted track again and the vampire turned his attention away from Otabek, letting the music wind its way through his body until he was moving almost as before. The difference, Otabek realised, was that he was keeping his movements within the realm of possibility for a human. He was dancing the way he'd danced the first time they'd met, when the nephilim had been stupid and careless and horny, and had let the vampire draw him in with the merest flash of green eyes and pale, inviting flesh.
Trying to ignore the corpse on the floor and the blood staining the vampire's porcelain skin, he closed the gap between them and rested his hands on Yuri's slender hips. As he let the dance draw him in his eyes slid shut, the intoxicating scent of the vampire washing over him. He smelled like roses and a drop of honey, mixed with blood and woodsmoke; the result of his activities in the few hours since he'd last washed his hair.
As the vampire turned and wrapped his arms around his neck, he fought down the shudder and nausea, keeping his eyes closed. Perhaps if he didn't have to see the blood, he might make it through this without vomiting or passing out. He knew he had moments before he would have to taste it and braced himself. When the vampire's cold, bloody lips met his, he returned the kiss, twisting his fingers into blonde hair and drawing him tightly against him. His traitor libido was purring happily at the touch, while his rational mind screamed and threw itself against the walls at the taste of human blood and the feel of the monster under his hands. Aware that he was shaking like a leaf, he tuned into the pulsing of his libido and let his body take over, forcing his mind into a protective stupor as they danced.
The first few days at the house had been a blur. Otabek had spent most of them recovering, tucked up in an apartment he seemed to be sharing with Yuuri Katsuki and a large chocolate coloured poodle. The rooms were spacious and included a kitchen and living space, but the door was locked and there were thick, densely packed bars on the windows. It was a stately, luxurious cell.
Yuuri seemed to be his cellmate and nurse, and when Otabek was awake he tried to comfort him as best he could. His methods seemed to be providing total honesty and deep sympathy, but it was quickly apparent that his situation and that of the nephilim were quite different.
“You don't... belong... to Yuri?”
Yuuri shuddered, shaking his head. “No. My principle is Viktor. You haven't met him yet – he's the head of the coven. He's... nice. Kind. Mostly gentle.” His soft tones spoke volumes about his love for his vampiric master, and Otabek felt something heavy and painful at the back of his throat.
“Yuri is different?”
A nod of his head, then Yuuri spoke in a whisper. “Yuri is... different. Yes. Viktor is a gentleman, Yuri is a savage. His subjects rarely last more than a few months.”
“Us. The people they chose to keep here at the house.”
“How long have you been here?”
Yuuri looked at the ceiling, thinking. He was brushing the poodle, Makkachin, and the dog gave him a look as he paused, whining until he started moving the soft brush through its fur again.
“What year is it?”
“2-2016. The start of October.” Nearly my birthday, Otabek thought with a pang.
“Hmm. Two years” Yuuri said, smiling a little wistfully. “I met Viktor in March 2014.”
Needing to know the answer, but not wanting to annoy or upset the other man, Otabek thought about how to frame his next question. Sensing the hesitation, Yuuri smiled again and offered an answer before he could speak. “I chose to stay here. Viktor doesn't like taking anything by force.”
Not like Yuri. Damn.
Otabek realised his throat was rough and his eyes were hot with tears, despite his attempts to be stoic and brave. He scrubbed his eyes with his fist, ducking his head to try and hide the expression of despair he knew was on his face. Yuuri made another sympathetic noise, offering him the brush to help him cover his distress. Gratefully, he took it and began brushing the poodle, letting his tears fall silently into the thick brown fur.
His first official meeting with his owner did not start well.
Yuuri had been instructed to bring him to the main parlour, but he paused as they reached the door and tilted his head, biting his lip. Otabek could clearly hear shouting in what sounded like a very old dialect of Russian, the tones of the tiny blonde vampire distinct and furious. Interspersed were deeper tones in the same language, and Yuuri was clearly unable to understand the words, based on the worried expression on his face. That must be Viktor.
“Brace yourself” Yuuri murmured, “he's in a temper. A bad one, by the sound of it.”
“What are they fighting about?”
“Politics probably. It's the only thing they really talk about, and they're usually on opposite sides of most debates.” Looking sideways at Otabek, he made a worried noise in the back of his throat. “If you can't avoid his attention, just try to keep Yuri happy. Unless you're tired of living already.”
The room was spacious and was defined by five individual alcoves, spaced evenly along the walls. Each clearly belonged to a different person, and was decorated to their tastes, with furniture and fabrics scattered to make it seem homely. From inside, each occupant could see and be seen by all the others, but had the illusion of a private space.
In the centre of the room was a beautifully patterned marble circle, marked with a five pointed star which formed a raised path to each alcove. There were five leather loungers, each lined up with the respective alcove, to allow the vampires to sit together if they wished, with enough space between each for several people to walk.
Two of the loungers were occupied, while Otabek's owner paced the space between them. The first contained a reclining silver haired vampire, all long limbs and soft white skin. He was watching the enraged blonde with an amused look. Opposite him, resting a hand in the hair of the beautiful Thai boy knelt beside his chair, was a tall, tanned vampire with bright hazel eyes. When he spoke, his accent was thick and european and he purred sensually. The boy he was casually caressing was staring at him in adoration, despite the bite marks healing on his throat and wrists.
As the doors opened to admit Yuuri and Otabek, the blonde spun round with a snarl. Seeing the Kazakh, his expression somehow became even fiercer and he spat something in Russian at Viktor as they crossed the floor.
Yuuri immediately abandoned Otabek to seek safety on the corner of Viktor's chair, eagerly submitting to the circle of his arms. Unsure of the expectations of him and terrified of making the blonde any angrier, Otabek stood gazing at the floor and tried not to flinch as the smaller vampire resumed his pacing and shouting.
“Yuri” the european vampire interrupted, “do something about your new pet. He looks about ready to fall down in terror.”
“Don't tell me what to do Giacometti” the blonde snarled instantly, and the tanned vampire laughed, shaking his head.
“Fine, do what you like. If you break him, you'll have a long wait to replace him.”
Otabek twitched slightly, remembering Yuri's words at the motel. I've waited a thousand years for you. He risked a glance up and instantly regretted it, as furious turquoise eyes locked onto his. Shuddering, he forced himself to breathe evenly as the blonde glared at him.
When the voice came, it was as if it had been whispered into his ear. He flinched slightly, his mind struggling to process. He was watching the blonde when the voice sounded, and he knew he hadn't moved his lips.
Sit down beside the black chair and don't make a sound.
The black chair was next to Viktor's and had the beautiful sheen of expensive leather. Carefully avoiding touching the furniture, Otabek sat on the floor beside it, hunching over to make himself as small a target as possible. The vampire called Giacometti made a soft noise of amusement, and Viktor tapped his fingers against his lips.
“Seung-gil is going to want to steal him from you” the silver haired vampire said, and Yuri snarled again. Giving Viktor a furious look, he turned on his heel and flung himself into the sleek black chair beside Otabek.
“Any of you fuckers touches him, I'll rip you to pieces.”
Otabek hunched in further on himself, wishing they'd switch back to Russian so he didn't know they were talking about him. It was only when Yuri spoke again that he recognised the curious doubling sensation, and realised with dismay that his mind had picked up enough of the language they were using to begin automatically translating for him. It was a nephilim skill he usually enjoyed, but not one he had any control over. Any language became understood once he'd heard enough of it. He was already familiar with modern Russian, obviously the dialect the vampires were using was close enough.
“Relax, Yurio. You've marked and claimed him, he's yours. Now let us enjoy our envy in peace.” The tanned vampire sounded deeply amused and sarcastic, but there was a seriousness behind his words.
“Fuck you, Christophe. Fuck all of you.”
“Mmm. Don't suggest that to Milla, she might take you up on it” Viktor said, producing a rude retching noise from the blonde. The silver haired vampire laughed and touched his nose to Yuuri's cheek, turning his attention to the human. In Japanese, he enquired how the new arrival was settling in.
“He's healing well” Yuuri said, avoiding eye contact with Otabek. “I'm teaching him about the house as best I can without...”
“Without a tag? Yurio, you're keeping your pet locked up?” Giacometti sounded surprised, but Viktor only laughed.
“Christophe, has it been that long since you've been around a Nephilim? Tags don't work on them. He won't be free range for a very long time, isn't that right Yurio?”
“For the last fucking time, it's none of your goddamn business. Now where the fuck are Mila and Seung-gil? I want to get this introduction protocol bullshit over with.”
They bickered for another half an hour, and by the time the other two vampires entered the room the angry aura of the blonde seemed so consistent that Otabek's fear reduced to a dull simmer. When the large doors opened to admit the last two members of the coven, that anger spiked so high that it jerked Otabek out of the almost-doze he'd fallen into.
The female vampire was a tall, pale woman with scarlet hair and huge eyes. Sliding into her chair, she pulled the brunette she'd entered with into her lap. The pet was a slightly built woman with a tan and almost violet eyes, who looked at Otabek curiously. She didn't even look at the other vampires, and snuggled into her owner's body every bit as comfortably as Yuuri.
In stark contrast, the pet belonging to the other vampire looked nowhere but at the floor. He was wearing a vicious looking collar and leash, and knelt beside his owner without a word. The raven haired vampire sat elegantly in his chair, a slim asian with high cheekbones and black eyes.
Otabek reeled slightly under the combined weight of their auras, and to his astonishment discovered that it helped if he let the rage of the blonde wash over him again. Closing his eyes, he forced himself to breathe calmly and focused on the fury coming from the vampire next to him.
“So... this is your new pet” the female, Mila, had leaned forward curiously. “He looks...”
“He looks like a massive pain in the ass” the other newcomer said, twisting the leash in his fingers. Otabek shuddered, sorting out the languages he was listening to. The asian was speaking Korean, something he'd heard enough in New York to recognise instantly. The woman used the same archaic Russian as Yuri and Viktor. They all seemed to be able to understand each other, although the humans dotted around the room clearly couldn't. He wondered if the vampires had a similar skill to him.
Next to him, Yuri had stiffened as the Korean spoke, now he narrowed his eyes. “He's mine, Seung-gil, and I'll manage him” he snapped, “if any of you get any ideas about getting involved...”
“He's going to be almost impossible to control” Seung-gil replied, his expression like ice. “If he causes any problems...”
“Yuri will deal with it” Viktor interrupted, leaning forward, his expression serious. It's been a long time since we've had a Nephilim around, so lets not mince words. He belongs to Yuri. There will be no interference with him whatsoever. Not through you, or through your schemes or pets. Am I clear?”
An awkward silence, then the other three vampires nodded with various degrees of reluctance. Otabek realised he'd been holding his breath, and exhaled as quietly as he could.
You understand them, don't you.
The mental voice was a soft whisper that seemed to creep in and wrap around his thoughts, and he glanced up at Yuri. The blonde was watching Seung-gil with a look of hatred on his face, his nails tapping on the arm of his chair. As Otabek looked at him, he glanced down out of the corner of his eye.
Yes Otabek thought, and a sensation of pleasure drifted into him from the blonde.
Keep that between us came the response, and he ducked his head, schooling his face to stillness.
Yuuri was ordered to return Otabek to their rooms and get him ready to see his owner privately that evening. As Otabek patiently waited for his roommate to translate what Viktor had told him into English, he was reminded painfully of his childhood, learning that not everyone could do this, and that he had to keep it secret. His mother sobbing at the clear proof of his heritage, holding him to her and telling him over and over again that he had to be careful, fit in, stay hidden. The memory brought a lump to his throat and he closed his eyes as tears began to fall, silently. He was so tired of crying, but it was the only thing they hadn't taken from him.
The human sat next to him on his bed as he cried, resting his shoulder against him. At some point, Otabek leaned his head on that shoulder and Yuuri tucked him into his arms, making soothing noises. Once the Kazakh had cried himself out, he gently disengaged and began looking through Otabek's closet for simple clothes.
“Yuri hasn't picked anything special for you, so tonight just wear these. When you get back, drop them in the trash.”
The white linen slacks and shirt seemed absurd, considering they were almost certainly going to be bloody by the time Yuri had finished with him. Otabek couldn't face putting the words out there, and instead just stared at Yuuri.
“He likes...” Yuuri faltered, then forced himself on. “He always dresses his subjects in white. He likes to see the blood.” Otabek shuddered and began changing, eyeing the scars on his chest. He wasn't healing as fast as he should be, probably due to blood loss.
“They're not so bad” Yuuri said, sympathetically, noting his expression. “We all have similar, well... apart from Sara. She's... Mila insists on her being perfect.”
Curious, Otabek decided to prod Yuuri a bit. “So us... pets... are we allowed to talk to each other?”
“Sometimes. Some of us. Most of us.” Yuuri paused, realising he'd just given a non-answer. “We don't see Minami much. He belongs to Seung-gil” he added, shivering slightly.
“Mmm. How did you know? Most people think he's Japanese.”
“I have a good eye, and I lived in New York for a long time. Why...”
“You saw the collar?”
Otabek nodded. He'd been around the BDSM scene as a DJ, but even the most extreme sadist would have avoided that contraption. It had looked brutal, with sharp points digging inward from the leather, designed to constantly cause pain when being worn.
“Minami gets h-hurt a lot. Sometimes we're allowed to help him. Not always though.”
“Jesus christ. I thought Yuri was the worst...”
“He is, but for different reasons. Seung-gil is violent and sadistic, but Yuri is pure crazy. One minute he'll be calm and the next he'll rip someone's throat out.” Yuuri seemed to think he was scaring Otabek, because he raised his palms and made soothing noises. “I'm sorry...”
“So he's unpredictable. I can work with that” the Kazakh said, sitting back on his bed and running his fingers over the soft linen of his clothes. Unpredictable was... well, a bit more predicable, when you had his skill set. The spikes in a person's aura indicated their mood; the more extreme the spike, the more extreme the emotion. Most humans were very faint, auras like wispy smoke, and were difficult to read correctly. By comparison, the Vampires were written in twelve feet high neon.
The suite was extensive, taking up most of the ground floor in the east wing. The doors opened onto the large parlour, fitted with a huge sound system and a lighting rig, obviously intended for parties. Beyond that was a massive bathing space, opposite a lounge almost as large as the parlour. Most of the walls were covered in shelves containing books in over a dozen languages, and a massive entertainment system took up another wall. Otabek was mildly astonished to see games consoles and a blu ray player, all showing signs of frequent use.
Yuuri was telegraphing utter terror of being in the private space of the blonde vampire, and Otabek stopped him as he heard music coming from what was probably a bedroom. “Go back. I'll... I'll be OK from here.”
“I... are you sure?”
“Go” he gave the Japanese man a gentle push back towards the door, and with a grateful whimper, Yuuri fled.
Following the music, Otabek found himself in a massive bedroom, fitted with a canopy bed large enough to sleep four or five people. Everything in the room was either black or dark purple, and the sheets were satin. Feeling ridiculous in his white outfit, Otabek looked around for the vampire and tried to prevent the trembling in his limbs.
When he entered the room, the vampire appeared from behind Otabek, moving silently. Only a very faint trace of his aura advertised his presence, and the nephilim carefully avoided reacting as he ghosted past him. When Yuri turned to look at him, his lips were curled in a savage smile.
“Your senses are excellent” he said, “most vampires struggle to detect me when I don't want them to. What gave me away?”
“Anger” Otabek said, his voice shaking slightly. “You're angry all the time...”
“Hmm... well, lets see what we can do about that” the vampire ran his eyes over the Kazakh's clothes in disgust. “What the hell did Katsudon put you in?”
“H-he said you liked white on your... subjects.”
“Learning the words of the slaves already I see. Get that crap off” Yuri snapped, folding his arms over his narrow chest. “Nothing any of the others do applies to you. Especially the larder. I'll arrange new clothes for you.”
Otabek stripped out of the white clothing with a shudder, reduced to just a pair of white boxer shorts. Yuri raised an eyebrow, and he lost them too, flushing slightly. The vampire circled him, letting his fingertips trail over the nephilim's shoulders and back as he took in the sight of his pet.
“Very impressive. How old are you?”
“T-twenty one. Twenty two in a few days.”
“A samhain baby... how fitting” Yuri stopped in front of him and tilted his chin to look at his face. The vampire's furious aura had returned with full force once he'd started talking, but now it was beginning to flicker and dance with sometime darker; hunger, and lust. Otabek felt himself tensing for the attack he knew was coming, knowing he wouldn't be able to fight and probably would be punished for trying, but knowing he was going to fight anyway.
“Are you afraid, nephilim?”
Yuri's lips peeled back in another savage smile, and he gripped Otabek's jaw firmly, pushing him onto the massive bed. As the vampire straddled his hips, the Kazakh realised with horror that his body was responding again to the close proximity of the blonde. He closed his eyes as he felt the vampire's hands on his torso, waiting for the pain of fresh scratches, or the agony of fangs in his throat.
He wasn't prepared for the feel of soft lips on his own, and his eyes shot open in shock as Yuri kissed him. The touch was firm and insistent, and after a moment he parted his lips obediently as the vampire's cold tongue pushed into his mouth. Shuddering, his hands found their way into thick blonde hair and he battled back a moan as the creature on top of him began moving his hips in lazy circles, teasing more physical reactions out of the nephilim.
You can fight if you want... I'd prefer compliance, but I don't mind breaking in a spirited new pet.
The mental voice was soft and seductive, but the words made Otabek's skin crawl. He should be fighting, he knew that, but the reality was that he was grinding his hips up against the vampire and almost purring into his mouth as they kissed. Desperately trying to regain some mental balance he tugged his hands out of Yuri's hair and broke away from his lips, panting for breath.
An icy touch on his hip made him flinch, as Yuri shifted his weight to gain access to Otabek's lower half. Whimpering slightly as he felt frozen fingers wrap around his arousal, the Kazakh covered his face with his hands and began saying a silent prayer that the monster didn't decide to rip his cock off, terror and lust fighting for dominance inside him. He felt cold lips engulf the aching head and moaned aloud as lust won; he grabbed handfuls of blonde hair and ground his hips up, pushing deeper into the pliant, chilled mouth working him.
The vampire pulled away after an agonisingly short amount of time, leaving Otabek panting and desperate for more, eyes tightly closed. When their lips met again, he could taste himself and feel the residue of his own heat inside the creature's mouth. His mind nearly abandoned him as Yuri slipped back onto his lap and he realised that somewhere during the oral sex, the vampire had removed his own clothes. When the vampire moved him into position and sank down around him, Otabek's prayer failed, no longer able to separate horror from desire.
Morbid curiosity made him ease a hand between Yuri's thighs and he gasped as he felt the hard length under his fingers. The touch brought a soft moan from the vampire, and he opened his eyes to look up at him. The blonde's head was tipped forward as he rode him, hair hanging in his eyes and lips parted, his chest moving as he drew breaths to articulate his pleasure. His body was sculpted from ice, his skin pearlescent in the dim light of the bedroom. Slender and beautiful, somehow the pleasure he was taking from the nephilim's body gave him an inhuman animation that sent Otabek's libido into overdrive.
The sight nearly undid him, and he arched up and dragged the monster into a harsh, bruising kiss, deliberately shifting his angle to push deeper inside the vampire's body. A much louder moan told him he was in the right place, and he held Yuri's hips still, taking over his motion and grinding up into his prostate with every thrust. In moments, he could feel the flutter and pulse of the vampire's muscles as he edged closer to climax. Deliberately avoiding the question of how an undead monster could orgasm, Otabek closed his eyes and braced his arms on the bed, his own pleasure consuming him.
As Yuri came, he hunched over and sank his hands into Otabek's hair, moans and mangled phrases dropping from his lips as his body twitched and throbbed with pleasure. The nephilim surged and bucked as he hit his own climax, emptying himself inside the vampire with a growl and wrapping his arms around him, pressing frozen flesh against the heat of his own skin. For long moments they rocked together, and then Otabek felt his head pulled to the side and long fangs slid into his throat.
The motel had been agony; when Yuri bit him he'd thought he was going to die and his terror had eclipsed everything else apart from the pain. The vampire had taken deep draughts from him, bleeding him almost dry. The agony had been unbearable, and Otabek had passed out in moments. This time, wrapped in a post orgasm haze, the fangs in his throat created an entirely different experience. Shuddering, Otabek cried out as he slammed into a second climax, his entire groin pulsing with a dry orgasm from the pleasure being driven into his throat. He was only barely aware of Yuri leaning back, licking blood from his lips as he watched the nephilim's reaction. When he came back fully to his senses, he was curled up in a ball on the bed and the vampire was sat on the chaise lounge opposite, wearing nothing but a pair of black slacks and a satisfied, amused smile.
Some history of the vampires.
Pushing open the door to the apartment, Otabek staggered slightly and then stripped out of the white clothes, ignoring the traces of blood on the collar. As instructed, he dropped them in the trash and then threw himself in the shower.
Yuuri arrived back a few hours later, waking the Kazakh gently from where he'd fallen asleep on one of the couches. Pushing a hot cup of tea into Otabek's hand, he gave him a quick check over for injuries, making surprised noises when all he found were a few bite marks on his throat.
“How did you get back here?”
“Some young boy. He sent for him, told him to bring me back and make sure I was locked in. I think he was one of the...” he faltered, refusing to use Yuri's word for the humans that seemed to exist in the house as servants and eventually, meals.
“I can't believe you're in such good condition.”
Otabek stared at him, not knowing what to make of that. “He was... not what I expected. He wasn't crazy” he said, finally. Yuuri shook his head in amazement.
“Don't get too used to it” said a voice from the doorway, and they both glanced up.
“Phitchit” Yuuri said, his expression changing to genuine warmth and pleasure. He hugged the newcomer, introducing him to Otabek, who recognised him from the room earlier.
“I saw you before... with Giacometti?”
“That's right” the Thai sat down on the other couch, taking a cup of tea from Yuuri with a warm smile. He seemed to almost radiate light and happiness, a sharp contrast from the Japanese who permanently felt tense and anxious. “And you're Yuri's new toy. I thought I'd come see how you coped this evening.”
Otabek paused, sipping his tea for a moment to organise his thoughts. His fingers idly traced the dressings Yuuri had applied to his neck, aware that he wasn't feeling as light headed as before. “I survived.”
“The tea helps” Phitchit said, gesturing with his cup. “We all drink it. It's made with dandelion, yellow dock and nettle, increases the iron in your blood.”
“You don't seem too drained” Yuuri said, cautiously. “Yuri's known for being greedy... most of his subjects die of blood loss fairly quickly.”
Phitchit made a disgusted noise. “It doesn't help that he bleeds them out when he's done feeding on them. It's insane, even by the standards of this place.”
“Viktor says its because he's impotent” Yuuri sniggered, and Otabek stared at him.
“Impotent. Means he can't... well, you know. Because of being turned too young, or something. Viktor says that's why he's so angry all the time.”
Phitchit snorted. “Chris agrees, although he uses much nastier words. Anyway, Yuri's got a mean streak that he takes out on his food.”
“I... I don't unders...” Otabek cut himself off, remembering the last thing Yuri had said to him before he'd been sent away. Don't tell anyone about what we do in these rooms. It's our secret.
“I can't remember the last time he had a... guest... in his suite, either” Yuuri was saying.
“Maybe he doesn't like the mess in his rooms” Phitchit shrugged, watching Otabek curiously. “You've gone all flushed, are you OK?”
The conversation moved on to domestic gossip after that, the two older men exchanging news and rumours. Otabek learned more about the house in an hour of listening to their talk than he had managed in a week. Curiosity prompted him to ask occasional questions, and once he was more involved, Phitchit seemed to feel comfortable asking one of his own.
“How come you're living with Yuuri?”
“Huh? I... I don't know. No-one's said anything. Is... is sharing not what you all do?”
Phitchit laughed, shaking his head. “Not the pets, no. We all have our own rooms. Well, apart from Sara and Michele, but that's because they freak out if they're separated for too long. They're twins” he added, seeing the blank look on Otabek's face, “Michele belongs to Christophe. You met Sara earlier today.”
“How many... pets... do they usually have?”
“Historically, one. Two at the absolute maximum.”
“Michele's a bit unusual. Mila didn't want him, but there was no way Sara would cope if anything happened to him. So Christophe took him on to keep him out of the way” Yuuri said, a bit sadly. “He's only really in this mess because of his sister.”
“Chris rarely goes near him” Phitchit added, looking a bit smug. “I'm his favourite.”
Yuuri made a noise of warning, and Phitchit stared at him. “What?”
“You chose to be here too, didn't you?” Otabek asked, looking at the floor. He was sat cross legged on the couch, tucked under a blanket with his tea warming his hands. Tiredness had started to reassert itself, and he knew it was the blood loss. Normally, after an hours nap he'd be ready to go another three rounds.
“Of course. Why... oh. OH. God... I'm sorry. I had no idea. Shit.”
“It's OK. I'm done with crying for today” Otabek said, aiming for sarcasm and missing every so slightly. Yuuri gently patted his shoulder.
“It still doesn't explain why you're not in your own apartment” Phitchit said, frowning. “I mean, even if you were... well, if you haven't... anyway, why haven't they just tagged you?”
“It's a tattoo... its some kind of principals thing. It stops people from wandering off... or leaving the house at all, actually.”
Otabek chewed his lip, remembering what he'd overheard in the coven chamber. Tagging... it sounded like a binding spell. It wouldn't work on him, but the humans obviously didn't know that. Yuuri didn't seem to know how fast he would heal either. Did that mean...
“How much do you understand when they talk to each other? The va... the principals?”
“Not much, almost nothing when it's the Russians talking to each other. You'll get used to that, don't worry” Phitchit laughed.
“I understand some of what Seung-gil says, but he freaks me out so I try to ignore him. Besides, only getting one half of a conversation is annoying” Yuuri said, shrugging.
“What did they tell you about me?” Otabek asked, deciding to go for broke. Phitchit shook his head, but Yuuri looked a bit uncomfortable.
“Only that Yuri had a new pet. It was a pretty big deal” Phitchit said, “Yuri never keeps pets.”
“Viktor said you were... special. That I had to look after you while you settled in, and to let him know if any of the other principals came anywhere near you.” Phitchit looked at Yuuri in astonishment, and Otabek made a slight face.
“Did he say why I was special?”
“No... just that Yuri had gone to a lot of trouble for you. I... I was hoping you'd tell me once you'd settled in. I didn't realise you h-hadn't chosen to be here. Not until the first night.”
So they don't know what I am. That was probably good, he could use allies in this place if he was ever going to escape.... he blinked as the thought entered his head, and realised he hadn't even considered trying to escape until now. He'd been so mired in despair and fear that it hadn't crossed his mind.
“Does anyone ever get out? People who... who didn't chose to come here?” he asked, and the two humans made almost identical noises of distress.
“No” Yuuri said, shaking his head firmly. “Some try. They always get caught.”
“Subjects who misbehave get given to Seung-gil to dispose of” Phitchit said, his voice tiny. Yuuri nodded, his eyes very serious.
“Otabek, don't even think about trying to escape. Even without a tag, they'd catch you. If Yuri didn't kill you outright for running away, Viktor would make him hand you over to Seung-gil. You... you don't want that.”
Otabek wondered about that, suspecting that he might have a little more wriggle room to abuse than the humans in the house. Yuri wouldn't easily give him over to any of the others. Any tiny light of hope in the darkness. The reluctance of the vampires to kill a nephilim might give him the edge he needed to escape. If he could get back to New Orleans, he could hide again. Now he knew they used familiars, he'd know what to look out for.
It occurred to him that he had no idea where exactly he was, and he expressed this thought.
“Alaska” Yuuri said, smiling slightly at Otabek's curiosity. “Apparently, Viktor and Mila came here with the Russian settlers in 1733 and established the coven. Yuri joined a bit later, and the other two arrived in the mid 1800's.”
“Yuri's older than that though” Otabek said, and the other two nodded. “Seung-gil is the youngest, he was turned sometime in the 1600's. The rest are a lot older” Phitchit said as he stretched. “That's enough of a history lesson for me. Yuuri's endlessly fascinated by this stuff, and of course Viktor tells him anything he wants to know.”
“Not everything” Yuuri said, “he hasn't told me why you're so important” he added, looking at Otabek. Phichit gave the Kazakh a curious look and nodded.
“It's probably too soon for you to talk about yourself” the Thai said, his voice gentle, “but when you're ready, we'd like to get to know you.”
Recognising the genuine empathy from the other two through the pulse of their aura, Otabek decided he needed to give them something. He desperately wanted allies, but he also needed to test them, find out how much they would keep from their owners, or the other humans in the house. Leaning forward, he lowered his voice.
“You can't tell anyone OK. I don't know how much I'm allowed to tell you.”
The two humans nodded, assuring him that they would stay silent.
“Yuri... found me in New York. I was working in a club, DJing. He must have been watching me for a while... I tried to escape from him and he followed me to Louisiana, where he caught me. He was pissed that I'd run so far. I thought he was going to kill me... then I ended up here.” It was a terribly abridged version of the story, but he could see from their expressions that it was almost more than they could handle anyway.
“How the hell did you get away from him in the first place” Yuuri breathed, staring at Otabek like he'd just admitted to being able to fly.
“I... knew what he was. Or at least, I suspected. I've been around some interesting people in my life, learned a bit about... well, this sort of thing.” He watched their expressions shift from amazed to respectful and almost felt sorry for them. Lying to people wasn't something he enjoyed. But he couldn't risk them finding out the truth about him.
If they realised he wasn't entirely human, he'd probably lose the closest thing to friends he had found in this hell.
Otabek lay in a haze of pleasure and pain, shivering from the instant orgasm he experienced every time Yuri's fangs entered his throat. The blonde had been on him the moment he set foot in the suite, slamming him into the wall beside the door hard enough to make his bones creak. The pleasure of the bite had rendered him nearly senseless, and Yuri had carried him through to the bedroom before sinking his fangs in again.
It had been three days since they'd first had sex, and the enforced waiting period for Otabek to recover had clearly inflamed the vampire. In between bites, he'd been hectic and his aura pulsed with hunger and desire, mixed in with frustration and the normal undercurrent of rage. Once he'd had his fill of Otabek's blood, he'd shredded his clothes and mounted him, drawing the Kazakh's libido to attention with little difficulty despite the anaemia.
Leaving Otabek in his bed, Yuri made his way through the suite to the bathroom, standing naked under the shower for long minutes before washing his hair and then slipping into a deep, hot bath. Letting the heat of the water mix with the heat from the angelic blood he'd over-indulged in, he leaned back and watched the patterns in the steam, his mind wandering aimlessly. After a while, he threw his vision to the bedroom and checked his pet was still breathing. After being alone for a few minutes, Otabek had clearly recovered enough to drag the covers around himself and curl into the pillow. The nephilim cried for a while, then fell into an exhausted sleep.
Viktor had chastised him, after that first day. Yuuri had reported to him that Otabek had been drawn and tired, and had taken several days to recover to the point where Yuri could risk drinking from him again. Of course, the moment he'd smelled the nephilim approaching, his greed had taken over and he'd taken even more than the last time. He sighed, berating himself for being so impulsive. Now he'd have to wait even longer for the next taste.
“You're going to break him if you're not careful.”
Yuri glared across the room, his fingers tightening possessively in Otabek's hair. The nephilim was leaning against his calf, listless and apathetic. As Giacometti spoke he twitched, then stilled again as he remembered he wasn't supposed to be able to understand the other vampire.
“So what if I do. He's mine.”
“No-one's challenging you on that, Yuri” Mila replied, looking over the screen of her laptop. “You're so defensive. Chris just means it would be a terrible waste, that's all.”
The problem was, they were right. Yuri had plans for this nephilim, and they didn't involve burying him because his owner got addicted to his blood and accidentally drained him dry. Narrowing his eyes, he skimmed his Instagram feed for a way to change the subject and then made an annoyed noise. “Have you two seen the photographs from San Francisco?”
“Viktor's having a good time at the ballet” Mila laughed after a moment. Giacometti hadn't bothered moving, his pet was massaging his shoulders and his eyes were closed in bliss.
“Showing off” Yuri corrected, watching Giacometti from underneath his lashes. The adoration the Thai pet was projecting was almost palpable, and it looked healthy and happy. Giacometti was easily as greedy as Yuri, yet somehow he kept his pet in good condition. For the first time in centuries, Yuri felt a sense of inferiority to the taller vampire, and snarled under his breath.
A light mental touch interrupted his self reflection and he sensed Otabek tentatively requesting contact with him. He'd picked up the technique after their first night together, finding it infinitely easier than verbal communication in his exhausted state. Yuri had been astonished and then fiercely proud. Now, he opened his thoughts up to the nephilim with a slight curl of his lips.
I'm tired. I don't... don't want to embarrass you by falling asleep in front of him.
The Kazakh understood which aspects of the other vampires Yuri loathed the most, and Giacometti's easy style and contented pets were currently making him furious.
Go. Don't stumble on your way out.
Carefully, Otabek rose to his feet, offered a small, formal bow to Yuri, and then left without so much as a wobble. Impressed with both his perception and flair, Yuri watched him until the door closed, and Giacometti's amused chuckle dragged his focus back to the other vampire with a growl.
Yuri avoided Otabek completely for a week, only mentally contacting him a few times a day to check on his recovery. When he was sure the nephilim was fit to be used again, he sent along a small package to the suite when he was getting ready for their meeting later that evening.
“White pepper, aniseed oil, and some weird looking goop. What is all this?” Yuuri asked, peering into the small box. Otabek shook his head, amused despite himself.
“It's for a potion” Otabek said, taking out the ingredients and beginning to blend them together in a dish. “Makes it more difficult to smell my blood.” Seeing the blank look on Yuuri's face, he shrugged. “Yuri knows how ill I was last week. If I don't smell quite so... tempting... he's hoping he'll be able to control himself a bit more.”
Understanding dawned, and the Japanese man curled up on the couch. “So it's like anti aftershave?”
“Pretty much.” Specially tailored for nephilim blood, but you don't need to know that. “Except not for the skin. I have to drink it” he pulled a slight face.
“Yuck. What's the goop?”
“Hmm. Probably better not to ask” Otabek said, wrapping the mixture in the muslin cloth it had arrived in and starting to squeeze the juices into a glass. The smell was far from pleasant, but if it meant he would survive the night, he'd happily bathe in it. Knowing that the vampire had been craving him all week had made him increasingly nervous for their next meeting; Yuri's aura had been full of fury and hunger every time he'd looked at him, until the brief confrontation with Giacometti in the coven chambers, when he'd started avoiding him altogether. Another week of waiting would not have improved his temper.
Holding his nose, he swallowed the liquid and gasped as the heat of it hit the back of his throat. The 'goop' was infused with magic and Yuri's own blood, and it burned all the way down his throat. Doubling over, he coughed his way through it until the pain receded, then dry retched into the sink. The mixture had already absorbed into his body, and he heaved helplessly for a few moments. He felt Yuuri's hand on his back, rubbing soothing circles, and was struck by a surge of gratitude for the other man.
Yuuri and Phitchit had both kept their promise of fidelity, and said nothing about Otabek's history. Instead, Phitchit's visits had become more regular as the three men developed a level of trust, and Otabek learned that before his arrival, the two of them had spent a great deal of free time in each others company. After a few days, he'd woken up one morning to find Phitchit asleep in Yuuri's bed, the Japanese man making coffee in the small kitchen and looking distinctly relaxed and satisfied. He had no judgement whatsoever for their need for genuine human contact; anyone attempting to survive in this house of horrors deserved nothing less than respect and compassion.
Yuri wrinkled his nose slightly as Otabek entered the suite, the delicious scent of the nephilim's blood tainted with a slightly bitter aroma. The potion was working, and he hated that he had been forced to over-season his meal in order to control himself.
“Come here” he indicated the long couch he was laid out on, and Otabek crossed to him warily. “You smell terrible” he added, and saw the relief on his pets' face. “Well. Less than delicious, anyway. I'll send you a supply for the next few months, while I... adjust to you.” Sitting up, he drew the nephilim into his arms and kissed him, purring against his lips as he felt the tip of Otabek's hot, wet tongue slide into his mouth. Every time he touched his new pet, Otabek responded faster and more enthusiastically, letting his real personality creep out.
The first time they'd kissed, in the shitty nightclub in New York, he'd known Otabek was a naturally confident, dominant lover. Heated by a huge quantity of human blood and magically disguised from the nephilim's senses, he'd played him like an instrument, flaunting his apparent fragility and teasing his libido with the promise of submission. In the deepest parts of his mind, Yuri hoped one day to have enough trust in his pet to indulge that fantasy. Until then, he would give the nephilim as much control as he dared, and punish him severely if he tried anything stupid.
Feeling the vampire become pliable under his hands, Otabek pushed him back onto the couch and eased his knee between his slender thighs. He was still very nervous, knowing how easily Yuri could turn on him and savage him again. The encounter of a week ago had firmly disabused him of the notion that he could cope with Yuri's more aggressive side; the repeated attacks had left him so weak he could barely eat or drink, and it was only through Yuuri's careful nursing that he'd made a full recovery. He hadn't expected the vampire to melt into his kiss, and he was desperate to avoid annoying or over exciting him.
Pressing his lips to the blonde's throat, Otabek tugged on his shirt and the vampire disrobed for him, every movement sensuous and graceful. The sight of him had its usual catastrophic effect on the Kazakh's libido, and in moments they were on the floor, grinding against each other as Otabek stripped. Knowing by now that the vampire had absolute, conscious control over every part of his body and therefore didn't require much in the way of preparation or teasing, Otabek pinned his shoulders to the ground and dragged his hips into his lap, pushing inside of him with a groan.
As the nephilim hilted himself, Yuri let his head drop back onto the floor, riding the waves of heat his pet was pounding into his body. His claws sank trough the thick rug beneath him and left scratches in the stone as he vocalised his pleasure, wrapping his legs around Otabek's broad back. When the Kazakh leaned in to capture his lips and deliberately ground up into his prostate, he forced open his nerve endings and cursed in bliss as his body soared towards climax. The heady scent of the nephilim was still bitter, and when his fangs sank into his throat he knew that this time he could control himself and drink safely as they hit their climax together.
Otabek was learning things about his present situation. Specifically, he was learning very quickly that none of the vampires in the house were what they seemed. The carefully crafted personas they showed to each other were very different from the reality. Reasoning that any information might be valuable in an escape attempt, he had begun to study his captors carefully.
The coven of vampires in Alaska seemed to be one of three in the North America area, with at least one more nearby in Canada and several smaller groups in South America. Their primary activities were around controlling human assets and gaining personal, financial and political power. It seemed like a game for them, something to fill the endless centuries. They played with the human societies they were involved with, with each other, and with their cousins in other covens. The last aspect was the most dangerous, and therefore the most rewarding, and all five of them were involved in several schemes each and a number of group efforts.
Individually, Yuri was the easiest for him to understand, since he had direct experience with the tiny blonde. To the rest of the coven and his enemies around it, he was a hauntingly beautiful living doll clad in an excess of gothic clothing, with a homicidal streak and anger management issues. The general opinion was that he was impotent, self destructive and impulsive. None of the other covens seemed to take him seriously as a threat, and the Alaskan group used that frequently to further their schemes. Within the coven itself, he was tolerated and warily respected, but not taken very seriously on a personal level.
The reality of Yuri was that he was a frighteningly intelligent master manipulator. Most of his temper tantrums were over irrelevant things, and used as a distraction while he achieved his real goals, usually based on invisibly undermining the other four vampires. The child-like exterior he maintained was a further distraction from his mental prowess, and the rumours of his impotence seemed to have been cultivated specifically to make Giacometti underestimate him. He actually had a very keen and active interest in sex... at least, sex with his nephilim pet. He ignored everyone else, and only showed that interest when they were alone together. He seemed to have a number of abilities that the others lacked, including his telepathy and the ability to view people and situations from afar. Otabek was sure that each of the vampires had their own tricks and skills, but finding out about the other four was very, very difficult.
Next on the list was Viktor, and most of his information came from listening to his owner complain about him, and discovering Yuuri Katsuki became chatty while being given back rubs. The silver haired coven leader was unfailingly polite and refined in public, with an extensive network of contacts in both the mortal and supernatural world outside of the house. He often visited other countries, leaving for days or weeks at a time, and travelled extensively within America. When attending social events he liked to take Yuuri on his arm, and Otabek discovered with a shock that the normally subdued Japanese man cut an extremely attractive and extravagant figure in a tailcoat.
Privately, Viktor was the eldest and most powerful in the coven, and enforced his position through dazzling interpersonal skills and a set of abilities that made even Yuri cautious around him. It had been one of Viktor's familiar that had helped Yuri track the nephilim in Louisiana, and the cost for Yuri to get his help had been very high. The biggest revelation about Viktor had come through a conversation with Yuuri, in which he'd described how Viktor had been utterly enamoured with him from first sight, and heartbroken when he'd been terrified after discovering his true nature. For Yuuri, it was a fantasy fairy tale of his wooing the vampire lord, but Otabek saw it from a different perspective. Viktor had never intended to let Yuuri go, but he'd given every impression of it being Yuuri's choice, and gained himself a loyal, obsessed pet who adored him and gave him everything he asked for. Viktor didn't like taking anything by force, true, but that was only because he found it so much more fun to make people think they were giving things away of their own free will.
Viktor specialised in the aristocracy and royalty of the world, and was an expert in using the insane wealth and influence of those he controlled. He also had an extensive knowledge of the occult, with an entire section beneath the house that not even Yuuri was allowed to enter. Yuuri was totally unaware of the reality, and just did as he was told without questions. Otabek knew about it purely because he'd been in the area when Viktor had exited his dungeons and the impact of so much dark magic moving past the temporarily opened wards had made him pass out. Yuuri had been oblivious of course, and convinced that the reaction was another case of anaemia, but Viktor had given the nephilim a knowing look when he regained consciousness.
Christophe Giacometti was the last one he had any deeper intel on, and that was through the simple tactic of indulging Phitchit's insatiable need to talk. The Thai was also an insomniac most of the time, so when he felt strong enough to handle it, Otabek stayed up late with him and prodded him in seemingly harmless conversational directions.
The tanned vampire was originally Swiss, and projected a permanent aura of debauchery, decadence and hedonism. Obsessed with pleasure, he kept a large stable of humans as regular sexual partners and easy meals. Although Phitchit was his official pet, the Thai boy also had jobs that revolved more around managing that stable and making sure Chris had instant access to whatever carnal delight he craved. Lazy and indolent, he rarely left the house, preferring to conduct his business online with a goblet of blood and Phitchit's lips wrapped around his cock.
In private, Giacometti was a fearsome social opponent and an expert at controlling scandal and drama. He controlled large numbers of high level human figures using methods that varied between open bribery and financial corruption, through to old fashioned sexual indiscretions. His interests seemed to be mostly the High Society, and he outright owned a number of fashion houses and restaurant chains. Viktor used his contacts extensively when wining and dining his own marks, and Giacometti was closer to the silver haired vampire than any of the others.
The major ability he had seen Giacometti display was a skill with languages that went beyond simple learning. He seemed to be able to speak anything and everything, well beyond even Viktor, who spoke at least ten languages himself.
Mila Babicheva was the politician of the group, with fingers in the pies of governments all over the world. She was an excellent mimic, and when she wanted to wind Yuri up she would often do impersonations of his latest rage, until he hurled something at her. Her other abiltiies appeared to be based around telekinesis – Otabek had observed her moving things in her alcove without touching them, and she often pulled Sara to her from several feet away when she was feeling playful.
Her private persona was an unknown factor; she kept Sara very close to her at all times and even Yuuri and Phitchit didn't know much about her beyond what she chose to display.
Lastly was Seung-gil Lee, and he was most definitely the biggest unknown threat Otabek had to find a way to deal with. Quite apart from his sadistic treatment of his pets and his general hatred of the other vampires, he was clearly jealous of Yuri's acquisition of the nephilim. Unable to simply steal Otabek thanks to Viktor's intervention, he had resorted to taunting Yuri and keeping him on edge with thinly veiled threats to Otabek's safety. If he intended to terrify the Kazakh, he was doing a good job.
His main area of influence appeared to be military, and he often spent weeks away from the house making arms deals, visiting war zones and moving weapons. During those times, Otabek would gain rare access to his pet, Kenjirou Minami, who would appear like a ghost in Yuuri's apartment and wrap himself in one of the huge comfy blankets Yuuri had in endless supply, drink tea and sit in silence listening to the rest of them talk. Yuuri explained that Seung-gil kept the boy mostly isolated and forbidden to speak, so when he had a chance to socialise he enjoyed the luxury of just being around people but was overwhelmed easily.
Otabek had struck up a friendship with the heavily scarred and skittish boy through music. Music was the nephilim's primary artistic expression, and Yuri had given him access to the sound system in his private parlour, taking an astonishing amount of pleasure in listening to his work. Being able to create had gone a long way towards helping his adjustment to the house, so Yuri had also given him an acoustic guitar for his birthday. The first time he'd started to play while Kenjirou was in the room the boy had sat next to him in rapt fascination and actually clapped when he finished. Since then, he'd made a point to learn a new song every time he found out Seung-gil was going away, and played it just for Kenjirou. He didn't know yet if he would be able to use the boy to influence Seung-gil, but he was willing to try anything.
Three months had gone by before Yuri commented on his information gathering, and Otabek wondered how he'd ever thought he was getting away with hiding anything from the blonde. They were lying in bed, Otabek trying to recover enough of his wits to make the trip across the house back to his apartment. Since learning how Otabek's translation skills worked, Yuri had developed a habit of reading to him in various different languages and dialects during their post coital/feeding relaxation. It was clear he wanted those skills sharp and ready for his own reasons, but listening to the lilt of the blonde's voice as he read stories from mythology and history was actually very soothing.
Yuri was reading an ancient Nordic text, a story about the God of Mischief, Loki, and how he'd attempted to trick a giant, getting caught because he'd been found eavesdropping. Closing the book with a smirk, he cast an eye over the dozing nephilim and poked him gently in the ribs.
“You should listen to this story” he said, running the pads of his fingers over some recent scars. “There's a lesson here for you.”
“Lesson?” Otabek looked up at him and saw a glint in his eyes that he had learned to recognise as Yuri preparing to drop a bombshell on him. Tensing slightly, he shifted his weight closer to the blonde and prepared for the worst. “What lesson?”
“Well. In the end, Loki, who is a very powerful God mind you, discovers that despite all the information he's managed to steal and all the mortals he's managed to manipulate, Odin knew exactly what he was doing all along, and told the other Gods so they could capture him and punish him for his schemes.”
Otabek went pale and covered his eyes with his hand, a wave of useless anger rushing through him. “How did you know?”
“You haven't tried to escape yet which means you're attempting to lay the groundwork as well as you can. I won't bother telling you not to try, it's inevitable. Just know that you'll get one reprieve, and only one. Once I bring you back, if you try again I'll let Viktor destroy you. There won't be enough of your soul left to go to heaven.”
Unable to respond to the horror of that threat beyond a soft whimper, Otabek curled up under the satin sheets and shivered as Yuri calmly went back to reading.
CW: Descriptions of abuse, dubious consent
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“You're going away?”
“For two weeks.” Yuri eyed the nephilim, watching the hectic emotions play over his face. “If I thought you'd behave yourself, I'd take you with me. Unfortunately, I can't trust you yet.”
Otabek looked at the floor, trying to slow the hammering of his heart. Two weeks without the vampire's presence... two weeks of not being used and drained... two weeks of celibacy, or at the most, disappointing masturbation, his traitorous libido pointed out. Shocked that his brain had even put sex into the mix as important, given his hellish situation, he missed the last thing Yuri had said and raised his head, blinking.
Shaking his head at his pet, Yuri sank his fingers into his hair and pulled him into a kiss. “Daydreaming of running away?” he purred, and Otabek twitched slightly. “I wouldn't recommend it while I'm away. If you do, you'll probably be caught by Seung-gil, and who knows how long he'll keep you before reporting to Viktor.”
The nephilim went pale at that, shuddering and pressing against Yuri unconsciously. The blonde kissed him again, more seriously this time, running the tip of his tongue over Otabek's teeth. “I'll miss you” he added, and his pet made a noise of disgust.
“You mean you'll miss my blood” he said, slightly petulantly. Yuri laughed and tilted his chin up, holding him there until he made eye contact.
“I'll miss you” he repeated, and watched as his brown eyes widened, a soft flush spreading over his olive skin. The blonde released Otabek's jaw and shifted his hands to his shoulders, running his fingers over the thick muscles in his neck. The battle raging inside the nephilim was always fascinating to watch.
As lust won over hatred and fear once again, his pet drew Yuri into his arms and kissed him hard, the touches deep and lingering. Tasting the heat of his mouth, the vampire sighed happily and tugged him down onto the couch, both of them eagerly shedding their clothes. Pushing Otabek onto his back, he rested his weight on his hips and smirked down at him.
“You hate me so much, yet you're always so hard for me, Otabek” he purred, wrapping his fingers around his pet's cock and stroking him firmly. The Kazakh growled and tried to sit up, but Yuri held him down with a single finger on his sternum. “It's as if your mind and body are constantly at war.”
As the vampire worked his arousal, the nephilim closed his eyes and wriggled under the unmovable finger on his chest. Teasing him about his physical reaction to the blonde was an unexpected new torture, and his moans of pleasure were mixed with whines of distress at the words.
“Are you ashamed of yourself when you get hard for me?” Yuri asked, moving himself into position on Otabek's hips and preparing his body to accept the nephilim's eager length. His pet's face had gone completely red now, and was trying to stifle his moans by biting his lip.
Easing himself down onto Otabek's arousal, he deliberately emptied his lungs so he couldn't moan in pleasure. The silence made the nephilim open his eyes and look up at the blonde, and Yuri braced his hands on his shoulders, rising up almost all the way before pushing back down and hilting his pet. With a low cry, Otabek grabbed his wrists and arched up against him helplessly, crying with shame and fury.
“Do you hate yourself for liking this?” Yuri purred, leaning down and tasting the salty tears on his pet's cheeks as he lifted himself again then bore down, even slower this time. He continued to shift the sensations his body was producing, delaying the nephilim's climb to orgasm until he replied to at least one of the blonde's cruel questions. It wasn't torture for the sake of it, Yuri had plans that required the nephilim's genuine compliance. He'd never get that if he didn't start forcing his pet to acknowledge his desires.
Riding him slow and deep, Yuri deliberately kept his own nerves numb and unresponsive, not even allowing himself to get hard. He knew it felt like being fucked by a statue, and that despite that, his pet was mewling and panting with lust. Pressing his lips against the Nephilim's throat won a horse cry of desire to feel his fangs, to feel anything that would let him release. His pet wasn't used to being kept waiting like this, his climax was usually swift and brutal once they got going.
“Answer me, or I won't let you come” Yuri told him, ghosting his fangs down his throat. “You know I can chose how to bite you... it can hurt, if I want it to...”
Otabek did know, thanks to a 'Vampire 101' session with Yuuri and Phitchit a few weeks previously. Groaning, he closed his eyes and gave in, raw need overriding the shame and humiliation. Grinding up into the vampire's body, he panted out his admission of desire.
“I hate you... I fucking hate you so much... and I want you... I need you so much... please let me come! Please!!”
Grinning triumphantly, Yuri increased his speed and let his body respond, taking himself rapidly to orgasm with a cry of bliss. His twitching muscles worked the hard length buried inside him and at the last moment he sank his fangs into the nephilim's throat. His pet lost himself in the most intense climax of his life, and somewhere inside the screams and moans, he cried out his owner's name like a prayer.
In the four months since Yuri had captured Otabek in a dingy Louisiana motel and brought him to the coven house, the vampire had watched the nephilim go through several mental adjustments. At first, he had been sunk in a pit of despair, barely able to function most of the time he was in Yuri's presence. Not uncommon, for an unwilling pet, and Yuri's abuse of him while he was learning to control his hunger hadn't helped. The bleakness had begun to lift as he adjusted to the house and its occupants, and Yuri had taken steps to avoid draining him dry. Putting him in Yuuri's apartment had been another good move; Viktor's pet was compassionate and understanding, but more importantly he worshipped his owner and was a living example of how to be content inside the nightmare of being a vampire's pet.
Giving Otabek access to music had been a reward for his journey out of despair, and the nephilim had blossomed almost immediately. Yuri's passion for dance and his love for the music his pet created had also broken down a few more barriers between them. The sex had shifted from a pursuit of pleasure during feeding to a more mutual experience, with Otabek only crying afterwards if Yuri had been too greedy with his blood.
As the nephilim's natural resilience returned, he began to look for ways to escape. Yuri had observed his careful manipulations of the other pets with something close to physical pleasure. The blonde vampire specialised in espionage, and discovering his pet also had natural talents in that area was deeply satisfying. He had spent several months stalking the nephilim before that first meeting in New York and already had a reasonable idea of his skills and abilities, but there was no way to tell how he would perform under pressure.
One other thing Yuri knew was that Otabek would absolutely make an escape attempt. No amount of fear would dissuade that, his pride and heritage would force him to try. So the blonde had patiently waited until Otabek shifted from information gathering to planning, and then calmly set out the terms of his recapture – that he would only get one reprieve, and if he tried again afterwards, Viktor would flay his soul. The response had been an immediate drop back into despair, which Yuri had coaxed him out of with presents; a new set of decks and a very expensive keyboard for Yuri's private parlour. Losing himself in music for a few weeks seemed to settle him down again, although the blonde knew he was still planning.
Privately, Yuri found the complex mixture of love and hatred from his pet completely adorable.
The trip was unavoidable – some of Yuri's schemes in Russia had come unglued, and it needed personal attention. Leaving his pet alone in the house was a risk, and Yuri was forced to make some unpleasant deals to ensure his safety. Some of Otabek's hair had been enough to secure Viktor's protection for his absence, the offer of actual physical essence of a nephilim making the coven leader squeak in happiness. Handing out bits of his pet irked Yuri considerably, but not as much as the last deal he had to make; a deal which brought him here, standing in front of the door to the Korean's suite. Telling himself not to lose his temper and blow the whole thing, he knocked on the door.
Seung-gil's pet opened the door, eyes on the floor and silent as always. The boy was wearing black leggings and a silk robe open at the front, revealing the elaborate patterns, runes and sigils that were scarred into his body. He stepped aside to let Yuri enter, and the brutal collar he always wore gleamed in the dim light inside the suite. Underneath the leather, the blonde could see the thick ring of scar tissue around his neck resulting from years of wearing the thing. No bite marks at all, which meant Seung-gil probably used other parts of his body for feeding. It was enough to make even a vampire shudder.
The creature himself was reclining on a couch in his parlour, a book resting on his chest as he watched Yuri enter. Biting back his instant flare of hatred and rage, Yuri raised an eyebrow and waited to see if Seung-gil would offer him a seat. He genuinely didn't expect him to, so was astonished when the other vampire sat up and indicated a chair, ordering his pet to bring refreshments for his guest.
Sitting carefully, Yuri quickly ran a new simulation through his mind, evaluating the Korean's behaviour. Seung-gil obviously knew Yuri was going away, and had expected him to come to treat with him for the protection of his pet. Of course, Viktor's orders should have made it unnecessary, but they both knew how short an attention span the coven leader had over things that didn't directly inconvenience him.
Tall goblets of blood were delivered, and Yuri sniffed his before raising his glass in a toast. Caucasian male, probably part of the standard larder. No signs of tampering or magic, so he risked a polite sip, then set the glass aside. Kenjirou knelt beside his owner, and Seung-gil sank his fingers into the boy's dark blonde hair.
“When do you leave?” the Korean asked, and Yuri curled his lip. Not even an attempt to be subtle. Well then.
“Saturday. I'll be away for two weeks.”
“You're leaving the nephilim here, I assume?”
“And you'll be looking for any chance to get your hands on him.”
Seung-gil laughed, an unsettlingly empty sound. “Viktor forbade it. I wouldn't dream of crossing our mighty leader.”
Yuri suddenly decided he was tired of playing games and didn't want to spend any more time on his sadistic coven mate than he had to. In fact, he wanted nothing more than to spend the next two nights in bed with his pet. Waving away Seung-gil's comment, he fixed him with a serious expression.
“What do you want to keep him safe from you? You have exactly one chance to make a deal, or I'll move him into Viktor's suite until I return.”
Seung-gil eyed the blonde speculatively. It was unlike Yuri to be so direct, or to consider owing Viktor so many favours. Tapping his fingers against his jaw, he glanced down at his own pet and then smiled slightly.
“I'll agree to leave Otabek completely alone for good, as long as you agree to let me borrow him occasionally. Not in a physical way” he added hurriedly, as the blonde's eyes narrowed, “I want his skills. Specifically, his healing abilities.”
“He may not even have any. I've had other priorities for testing.”
“He has demonstrated a high personal healing factor. I anticipate similar output towards others. The outfits you put him in are quite revealing” Seung-gil added as Yuri raised an eyebrow. “Fresh wounds seem to heal completely in a few weeks, without scarring.”
Yuri was aware of that, but it irritated him that he'd been careless enough to let the others see it as well.
“You know a lot about nephilim. Has Viktor been setting you homework?”
“Not at all. I used to have one of my own” Seung-gil said, pulling a slight face. “I broke him, of course. This was before I came to America.”
“You wasted a nephilim?” Yuri indulged in the outrage with amusement, knowing how close he'd come to doing the same. Seung-gil was even greedier with blood than he was, not to mention all his other... predilections.
Seung-gil eyed him as if he could see his thoughts, then shrugged. “Keeping his skills all to yourself is very wasteful too. Not to mention, selfish. Let me borrow him if I accidentally break my pet, and I'll stop harassing both of you.”
Yuri rose from the chair and extended his hand. “Blood oath” he demanded, and Seung-gil sighed.
“You really don't trust me at all, do you.”
As they each ran a claw over their palms and clasped hands, sealing the deal in blood, Yuri allowed a genuine smile to cross his face. “What would the world be like if vampires trusted each other?”
Oh Otabek, your heart is in so much trouble
CW: descriptions of injury
I was asked about a posting schedule in a comment - I don't really have one, i'm usually so keen to get new chapters up as soon as they're finished! I'm sorry! Generally when I'm working on a fic I post at least once a day, so by 9am GMT there will be chapters up from the previous day <3 (I live in the UK).
Bookmarking will usually spam your inbox when I post, apologies in advance!
The human was dressed in grey linen, indicating that she was one of the servants that maintained the house and were occasionally used as messengers and meals. Otabek still hadn't adjusted to the hierarchy of humans in the coven manor, and was unprepared for the look of terror on her face as she addressed the favoured pets.
“Seung-gil sent for me?!” Otabek's voice was tinged with horror, and beside him Yuuri was making strangled noises. “You're sure?”
“Please sir... don't make me go back to him a-alone...” she begged, eyes on the floor. Otabek held up his hands quickly.
“I'll come, don't worry! But... did he say why?”
“This must be what Yuri mentioned... their deal. Otabek... do you want me to get Viktor involved?”
The nephilim chewed his lip for a moment, then shook his head. “Yuri promised that Seung-gil wouldn't hurt me if he borrowed me.” He didn't feel as confident as he was trying to sound, and as he left the room with the servant he added “if I'm not back in two hours, get Viktor involved!”
The servant fled as soon as she let him in Seung-gil's suite, locking the door behind him. Despite his terror, he looked around carefully. This could be the only chance he'd get of gathering intel on the Korean, he couldn't waste it.
It was dark in there, dim lighting that was illuminated only by pockets of candlelight. Blinking, his eyes adjusted and he followed the natural path of the suite, looking for the vampire or his pet. His eyesight was excellent in anything brighter than pitch black and the vampire was projecting a strong aura of anticipation, so he didn't react at all when Seung-gil stepped out of a doorway in front of him. Gesturing him into what seemed to be the vampire's bedroom, he leaned on the wall beside the door and watched as the nephilim took in the hideous scene.
Kenjirou was on the bed, and he was dying. The pallor of his skin and the number of bite wounds on his torso and thighs indicated that he'd been bled nearly dry, but he had also been badly beaten. Too many bones were broken, too much skin and muscle torn. He looked like he'd been savaged by a wild animal. Otabek knelt beside him in horror, watching the life drain out of his body.
Otabek's head snapped up and he fixed the Korean with a look of utter helplessness. “I... I can't! I've never...”
“You can, and you will. Or I'll become... irritated” Seung-gil folded his arms across his chest, tapping his fingers on his arm.
Turning back to the dying boy, Otabek shuddered and reached out, laying both hands on Kenjirou's chest. His breathing had stopped entirely now, and his heart was fluttering, only just holding on. Closing his eyes, the nephilim tried to remember what his mother had told him about healing.
He'd never done it, even as a child. The warnings had always terrified him... about the pain, and the risk. His mother though, had been a strong healer and had been revered in their tiny community as one of the best for generations. She had taught him the basics, but he'd pulled away in fear and she'd never pushed him.
Forcing himself to breathe slowly, he focused on the failing pulse and visualised a light spreading from his skin into the boy. It required ultimate compassion from the nephilim and a willingness to be healed by the injured person, he remembered that much. Trying to find a way into something completely unknown, he found himself trying to connect to Kenjirou's thoughts the way he spoke to Yuri.
Minami-kun... can you hear me?
Otabek? How... what is this? It hurts...
You're dying, Minami-kun. I'm so sorry.
Dying... I... I don't want to die! Help me!!
Otabek's eyes snapped open, and Seung-gil hissed as a soft, white light flowed out from under his hands, seeping into the dying boy. Usually brown, his eyes shone like pure gold, his vision locked on something only he could see. Stepping hastily out of range of the light, Seung-gil watched as Kenjirou's wounds began to close, bones snapping into place and knotting together. He shuddered and twitched, lungs and heart heaving as his body rose off the bed, the light getting brighter and brighter.
The light encircled both the boy and the nephilim until it swallowed them completely, and then suddenly disappeared, leaving Kenjirou whole and breathing again, although unconscious. Blinking in the sudden darkness, Seung-gil stared in wonder at Otabek, the after-images from the light playing tricks on his eyes. For a moment, it looked as if the nephilim had grown huge, feathered white wings.
Otabek started to shake as soon as the light faded, his face contorting in agony as he felt the pain of every injury he'd healed rush into his body at once. With a hoarse scream he collapsed, falling from the bed onto his knees on the floor. Stepping over to him, Seung-gil picked him up by his shirt and pushed him against the wall, pressing his nose against his throat and inhaling deeply. The nephilim's blood smelled strangely bitter, but still delicious, and it was all he could do to keep his fangs out of his flesh.
“Stop screaming” he advised, “I'm having enough trouble keeping my hands off you as it is. Screaming always makes me so hungry... and horny, too. I'm certain you don't want that.”
Gulping back his cries, Otabek hung limply from his grip and tried to focus on him. His body was wracked with pain, but a creeping exhaustion was starting to dominate now.
“Will my pet live?”
“Y-yes... this time. You... you made a deal with Y-Yuri...”
“What of it?”
You're going to keep doing this to him aren't you? Now you know I can f-fix him... you're going to keep hurting h-him.” Otabek's voice was rough with tears, but the outrage and horror was unmistakable.
“Mmm. Probably. Maybe next time I'll send for you in advance, and make you watch?”
“He'll die if you do this again. His soul won't take it.”
Seung-gil lowered the nephilim to the floor and looked at him curiously. “Explain that” he demanded, folding his arms to avoid the temptation of damaging the creature in front of him.
"Kenjirou is strong, and he wants to live” Otabek said, forcing his knees to support his weight and leaning against the wall. “That won't last. The closer he gets to death, the more it will claim him. Eventually, he just won't want to come back. Once that happens, nothing I can do will help him. He'll die.” Taking a deep breath, he forced his voice to sound firm. “If you want to keep Kenjirou, you can't do this again.”
Hissing softly, Seung-gil braced his hands on the wall either side of Otabek's head and leaned in. His eyes were pitch black, the pupils like slits despite the darkness of the room. Otabek was put in mind instantly of a hunting snake, and quivered with fear, unable to break from his gaze.
“You're very brave, to speak to me like that. You... telling me what to do?” Curling his lip at the terror in the nephilim's eyes, he ran his tongue over his fangs and wrapped his fingers around Otabek's throat, squeezing until the Kazakh began to gasp for breath. “If you can't heal him next time, you'll be the one who gets broken.” Yanking him away from the wall, he threw him across the room like he was weightless, an empty smile on his face as Otabek cried out from the impact with the door.
“Now get out.”
Yuuri leaped up as Otabek staggered back into the apartment, rushing to the other pet's side as he collapsed onto the floor, tears streaming down his face. Snapping an order to fetch Viktor at the servant who'd nearly carried him back, he knelt beside the Kazakh and ran his hands quickly over his body, searching for injuries. Finding nothing worse than bruises, he wrapped his arms around the inconsolable man in bafflement. He was still sobbing brokenly when the elder vampire arrived ten minutes later.
“Seung-gil sent for him... he was gone about an hour, but when he came back... he's not injured, but he won't stop crying. I don't know what to do!”
“Please make some lemon balm and chamomile tea, and fetch him another blanket.” Viktor knelt down in front of the nephilim and pushed his hair out of his eyes, observing the unfocused pupils and the shaking in his body. He flinched when Viktor touched him, whimpering between sobs. “Some pain relief too, please Yuuri.”
Settling the blanket around Otabek's shoulders, Viktor waited until the tea was ready then pushed the cup into his hands muttering a quick incantation and then holding the nephilim's fingers closed around the warm ceramic. “Otabek, can you hear me? It's Viktor.”
The name cut though the fog in the nephilim's mind, and his eyes moved to the vampires face, his expression frightened. The vampire was speaking English, and his voice was oddly melodic and soothing. He could feel magic wrapping around him, but was too exhausted to even care what Viktor was doing to him.
“I'm not going to hurt you, Otabek. But I need you to calm down and tell me what happened. Can you do that?”
“It... it hurts...”
“Mmm. Drink the tea, it will help.” He waited until the pet had finished the cup, his sobs reduced to occasional whimpers as the combination of spellcraft and herbs did its work, then brushed his hair back from his face again. “What happened?”
“K-Kenjirou... he was d-dying... Seung-gil... he made me... it hurt so much... so tired...”
Viktor tutted under his breath and stood up, lifting the drowzy nephilim like a doll and carrying him through to his bed. Tucking him under the sheets and watching until he fell into an exhausted sleep, the coven leader thought through his options. When he turned back to Yuuri, his expression was bleak.
“Keep an eye on him for the next few days. Don't let him leave these rooms, and don't leave him alone for too long. I'll send along some herbs; make a tea from it and make sure he drinks it at least twice a day. Don't drink any yourself, or share it with anyone.”
“W-what happened?? He said Minami-kun was...”
“I'm sure Kenjirou is fine. However, I'm going to go and have a little word with Seung-gil. He's taken advantage of Yuri's inexperience one time too many.” Taking a last look at the nephilim, he shook his head. “Do whatever it takes to help him” he ordered, then walked out of the suite with a determined expression on his face.
Kenjirou opened the door to Seung-gil's suite, and Viktor eyed him carefully. The boy looked healthy and to the coven leader's magical sight, glowing with an inner light. His mental state seemed to be unchanged, as he led the tall vampire through to the parlour with his eyes on the floor. Seeing him, Seung-gil raised an eyebrow at the uninvited guest, and Viktor held up a single finger for silence.
“What exactly was your deal with Yuri?”
“Exactly none of your business.”
“The safety of this coven is my business. What you did tonight threatens that.” Seung-gil made a rude noise. “Yuri is going to try to kill you for what you did to his pet.”
“The nephilim was fine when he left here.”
Viktor tapped his fingers against his jaw, watching the younger vampire with something close to loathing. “He was not fine. You know how his healing works. Better than Yuri does, or he would never have offered his skills to you. Which is, of course, the other reason why he's going to try to kill you. You've humiliated him.”
Laughing, Seung-gil made an insolent bow towards the coven leader. “If that will be all, my lord...?”
Eyes narrowing, Viktor made a tiny gesture with his fingers. Instantly, black smoke erupted from his hand and looped around the smaller vampire, slamming him into the wall hard enough to dent the plaster and pinning him there, legs dangling a foot from the ground. Watching Seung-gil's expression change from arrogant to terrified, Viktor stepped over to him and twitched his fingers. The black smoke twisted and writhed, beginning to squeeze. As his bones cracked and fractured, Seung-gil let out a wail that was half agony, half fury.
“Not only have you caused instability in the coven, you also came very close to damaging a nephilim. One that didn't belong to you. In direct violation of my orders.”
Black, snake-like eyes fixed on bright blue, and Seung-gil made a choking noise that sounded like an argument or excuse. Viktor's smoke clenched tighter, and his lungs collapsed under the pressure, rendering him speechless.
“Let me be crystal clear. I have plans for that nephilim, and for its owner. You will not interfere again. For you, Otabek Altin no longer exists. Your deal with Yuri is void.” Observing the immobility of the other vampire, Viktor curled his lip in a smile. “Blink once to acknowledge and agree. Or I'll dismember you and seal you in a tomb for a century until you learn to behave.”
Pitch black eyes blinked, once, and Viktor nodded. Walking out of the suite, he added “avoid Yuri until I've had time to speak with him. I don't want any violence in this house.”
As he left the room, the smoke disappeared and the vampire dropped bonelessly to the ground.
The pets were playing cards when Yuri arrived back at the manor. Otabek froze mid way through dealing, his eyes becoming unfocused as he sensed the vampire's aura. Yuuri poked him curiously, and without thinking he said “he's back.”
“Yuri? How the hell do you know that?” Phitchit demanded, and Otabek shook himself.
Covering quickly, he shrugged. “I thought I heard a car. Probably my imagination.”
Phitchit seemed to accept that, but Yuuri was eyeing him speculatively. Biting his lip, Otabek returned to dealing, aware of the other man's gaze on him.
Ever since the incident with Kenjirou, a week ago, Yuuri had been different around him. Not wary, exactly, but more observant. Otabek suspected he may had said or done something during his recovery, but his memory was blank. His last memory was arriving at Seung-gil's suite, and then a gap until he woke up in bed, with Yuuri nursing him again. Viktor's pet had filled him in on his state upon his return to the suite, and told him he'd been asleep for two days.
Viktor himself came to check on him once he was awake, and they spoke quietly about what Yuri did and didn't need to know. The coven leader assured Otabek that Seung-gil wouldn't be going near him again, and that Viktor would update Yuri on the situation. He seemed to know that Otabek couldn't remember anything, and ordered Yuuri to keep looking after him until he was fully recovered.
Otabek expected Yuri to summon him immediately, so was surprised when his owner didn't contact him until two days after his return to the house. Arriving at the suite, he could feel the furious aura of his owner. It felt like he had dialled it up to eleven, and a hurricane had apparently gone through the rooms. The enormous, unexplained crashing and slamming noises of a day previously suddenly made a lot more sense.
The parlour was mostly intact, apart from some huge dents in the walls and a section of floor tiles that seemed to have been smashed into a thousand pieces. The bathroom was just wreckage, and the lounge appeared to have caught on fire. The only room that was untouched was the bedroom, and it was there he found Yuri sat on the bed.
The vampire was wearing his usual black leggings and t shirt, but his hair was loose around his face and his skin was dusty, as if he'd been sat for hours without moving or breathing. As he looked at his owner, the stress and abstinence of the last two weeks hit Otabek like a brick and he shivered. With horror, he realised he had missed the blonde, and his heart was filled with joy at seeing him again. Unable to prevent silent tears of rage and shame from gathering in his eyes, he stepped into Yuri's periphery and waited to be noticed.
Turquoise eyes shifted to him, and then the vampire slowly uncoiled, shaking dust from his skin like a statue suddenly coming to life. Straightening up on the bed, he crooked a finger at his pet and Otabek went, kneeling in front of him and twitching as he restrained his urge to reach for the blonde. When Yuri pulled him into a kiss, he couldn't hold back a broken sob.
Yuri's mental voice sounded almost as broken as he felt, and he pressed against him harder, pushing them both back onto the bed.
Don't... don't talk about it. I can't remember. I don't want to.
I've dealt with him. It won't happen again.
Otabek was already shedding his clothes as he nodded, the desire in his kiss almost matching the hunger in the vampire's aura. He stripped Yuri just as quickly and was inside him in moments, burying his face in his hair and crying out from the first sexual relief he'd had in two weeks. As he worked the cold, but beautifully responsive flesh beneath him, he could feel Yuri's fangs brushing against his throat. Hitting his climax wasn't enough, and to his utter humiliation he heard his own voice moaning for Yuri's fangs, begging to be violated.
The second wave of orgasm when Yuri bit him made him cry out in bliss, and the third and fourth bites to his chest and shoulders overloaded him so much that he blacked out from the pleasure.
The door was unlocked. Otabek had been sat staring at it for ten minutes, trying to keep his breathing even and calm.
Yuuri had left with his usual wave and had nudged the door closed with his hip, trusting it to latch behind him as usual. For some reason, the door had bounced on the lock and popped back open a tiny bit. Yuuri hadn't noticed, and headed off to Viktor's suite for the night. Otabek had been watching the door ever since. He estimated fifteen minutes between Yuuri possibly realising his mistake and returning, at which point he'd find Otabek calmly ignoring the open door like a good little pet. After fifteen minutes, it was probably safe to assume he wasn't going to notice.
Twenty minutes passed, and Otabek slowly got to his feet and crossed to the door. Listening carefully, he confirmed that the corridor was empty, then eased the door open all the way. He was taking a huge risk, but he couldn't miss this opportunity.
Since Yuri's return from Russia, things had become even more heated between them. Aware that he was coming dangerously close to emotional dependence on the vampire, Otabek had started seriously planning his escape from the house. He knew Yuri checked on him using his abilities fairly regularly, so he had spent several weeks digging through his memory for charms and spells he could do fairly easily that might hide him from the vampire. In the end he'd come up with a very risky one, which involved stealing a piece of Yuri's hair. He'd made the charm during the day when he knew Yuri would be asleep, and had hidden it beneath his mattress. Now, it was tucked into his fist as he crept along the corridor towards the back of the house.
The fit of temper which had destroyed Yuri's rooms gave Otabek a chance to look at some of the surviving books, as he helped the servants clear up the mess. He'd volunteered a little too eagerly, and caught a knowing look from Yuri, so had made an elaborate play of stealing a book about vampire lore and sneaking it back to his room. In reality, his target had been to get a glimpse of a map of the immediate area that he'd noticed on an unburned shelf. Confirming his physical location had been the goal, but he'd noticed something else, and his plan had formed.
Now he made his way to the rear of the house, using the staff corridors on the third floor to avoid Viktor's suite. The coven leader occupied the entire central ground floor of the manor, with the other four in the wings. Yuri was below Giacometti in the east wing, and Seung-gil was below Mila to the west. The third floor contained the suites set aside for the favoured pets, with the fourth floor and attic taken up with servants quarters, kitchens and so on. The house operated like a miniature city, and it was almost impossible to navigate without experience. Otabek had very limited knowledge of the layout of the house thanks to his permanent incarceration, so was using a very basic bit of spellcraft to navigate – an enchanted needle that pointed him towards his destination, namely the back entrance of the property.
His first breath of clean, evening air in over five months made him want to weep, but he was far to exposed to enjoy it. A reminder of that came as he slipped into the gardens and heard unfamiliar voices coming from around the corner. Freezing, he fought back panic and looked for somewhere to hide. There was nothing on the balcony that would hide him, so he flattened himself against the wall of the house, closed his eyes and incanted a hurried spell of concealment.
Stretched out on his sofa, Viktor was running his fingers through Yuuri's hair as he felt the spell trigger, and paused mid stroke. His head tilted to one side, and then he smiled. Noticing the pause, Yuuri glanced up at him curiously.
“Stay here my love, I have to go pay Yuri a visit” Viktor said, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze. “If I'm not back in an hour, go back to your rooms and dig out your first aid kit.”
Yuuri gaped at him. “W-why would I need that?”
“Otabek's trying to escape.”
Yuri opened the door on the second knock, his expression annoyed as usual. He gave the smiling coven leader a fierce glare.
“When did you last check on your pet, Yuri?”
“What? This morning. Why.”
“You might want to check again.”
Turquoise eyes unfocused for a moment, and then he snarled. “Where the fuck is he?”
“Hiding from you. He managed to get all the way out to the gardens before I noticed.”
“Why the fuck are you watching him?”
“Is that really important? Anyway, I wasn't. He used a bit of magic to hide himself and I felt it go off.”
Swearing, Yuri threw the book he was holding back into his suite. “I knew he was up to something. How the fuck is he hiding from me!? Where is he?”
“I have no idea, I only know where he was five minutes ago.”
“Fucks sakes. Where?”
“I'll show you.”
Yuri gave him a furious look. “You're going to tag along? Why?”
“To make sure you don't lose your temper and break him when you catch him” Viktor said with a grin, and Yuri snarled again, slamming the door to his suite and heading towards the gardens.
“Fine. But I'm handling this.”
“Of course, kotyonok.”
It felt like forever since he'd last been able to run.
Sure, he'd been using the gym equipment in Yuuri's suite, and had run miles on the treadmill to work off his stress and anxiety. It was nothing compared to the feel of grass under his feet and chilled air in his lungs. Letting his pace stretch out and feeling the burn in his muscles, Otabek sprinted across the fields south of the manor, and with every step he felt the aura of the vampires fading behind him, like a poison being drained from a wound.
His destination was a mile to the south of the house, and he covered the distance in less than fifteen minutes despite the rough terrain of winter fields and ditches. Scrambling over the high wall of the disused graveyard, he dropped to the other side and rolled, fetching up against a long forgotten headstone, half buried in the long grass. Dragging himself to his feet he looked around and saw the low ruins of the chapel that was his best chance of salvation. Finding the spot of the altar, the nephilim fell to his knees and pressed his hands to the earth, feeling the pulse of the ground beneath him.
Yuri's voice drifted across the graves, and Otabek closed his eyes, the prayer he had been incanting faltering on his lips. He ground his teeth together as he fought back the surge of longing from the sound of his voice.
“How long are you going to kneel in the dirt?”
Raising his head, Otabek's lips peeled back in a grin. “Consecrated dirt” he corrected, “and until sunrise. Then I'll be on my way.”
From his perch on the wall of the graveyard, the vampire clapped his hands slowly. “Very impressive. How did you hide from me?”
Otabek held up the talisman and gave it a shake. “You should be more careful with your hair” he said, and heard Viktor laugh from nearby. His heart sank, he hadn't even noticed the coven leader, he'd been so focused on the approach of Yuri's irritated aura. Viktor was equally unable to enter the area of the old church, but his magic was an unknown factor.
Watching the nephilim, the last of Yuri's irritation faded and he was overwhelmed by a fierce pride in his pet. Otabek had made it out of the house, got himself to safety and even now was planning several steps ahead. He had a destination in mind beyond a ruined churchyard, that was certain.
“What's your plan, Yuri?” Viktor leaned against the car door and watched the smaller vampire curiously, sensing the shifts in his mood. “Do you want me to fetch him for you?”
“Don't even think about touching him” Yuri snapped immediately, and Viktor shrugged, a smile curling his lips.
“How are you going to get him out of there then?”
Yuri stood up on the wall and tucked his hands in his pockets. “I don't intend to” he replied, and Otabek's head snapped up, staring at him in astonishment. “You'll feel better after running for a while. When you're ready, I'll come and get you.”
As Viktor laughed in delight, Yuri dropped from the wall soundlessly and padded back to the car. “Get in, baldy” he snapped to the older vampire, and the two of them began bickering as the driver pulled away. Staring after them in shock, Otabek realised he was shaking from head to foot. His knees gave way and he collapsed onto the ground, tears running down his cheeks.
Was he really free?
Sitting in the back of the car, Yuri began to smile as Viktor paused his chastisement. Curiously, the silver haired vampire raised an eyebrow. “What the hell is there to smile about” he demanded, “you just let your pet get away. You're not even going to follow him?!”
“I don't need to. He'll come back on his own, sooner than you think” Yuri replied, mentally replaying the look on Otabek's face as he'd collapsed onto the ground. The nephilim's tears of relief had been a perfect contrast to the unconscious look of hurt and betrayal on his face as Yuri walked away.
"kotyonok" is a Russian endearment meaning 'kitten'. Viktor uses it because he knows it pisses Yuri off XD
“Beka, there's a really cute guy wanting to meet you! He's just your type, as well”
The nephilim glanced up at the enthusiastic young goth leaning over his table. She gave him an encouraging smile, tugging on his arm. Sighing, he drained his fifth double vodka of the evening and let her pull him in the direction of the dance floor. Maybe this one wouldn't be a total disaster.
It had been two months since he'd left Alaska. Following a southward trail of contacts and potential safe havens, he'd wound up in Seattle and found himself a room and a job tending bar in a goth club. His days were spent reinforcing the wards of protection on his home and his body, and mixing tracks that sounded as bleak and depressive as he felt.
His nights were either working the bar, DJing in various goth and rock clubs, or dancing. No matter where he was, he drank heavily. It was the only way he could get any sleep, but even drinking whole bottles of rum and vodka at a time didn't chase away his nightmares. Every evening he awoke in a cold sweat, and breakfast usually included opening a new bottle.
Naturally charismatic despite everything, it hadn't taken him long to make friends. They were also traumatised in some way or another; anyone embracing the rock scene usually was. Able to fit in, and getting access to some fairly potent drugs, he'd dabbled with a variety of their methods of coping in the first few weeks. Unfortunately. nephilim blood was resilient to most types of substance abuse, so after a while he just stuck with the cheapest option of drinking.
Pretty soon, his preference for men had been noted and his new friends had started trying to set him up on dates with guys from the clubs. Since escaping from Yuri, he'd discovered to his horror that his libido was in overdrive, but his body had betrayed him; he couldn't even satisfy himself any more. Even getting hard was difficult, staying there for any amount of time was impossible. He'd thrown himself into a variety of one night stands to try and cure the problem, and even taken Viagra. Nothing helped.
When he was prowling for one night stands, he barely even noticed that he was deliberately choosing short, slender blondes. One terrible night, drunk out of his mind on the strongest vodka he could find, he'd experimented with chilling his hand in ice cubes until his fingers hurt, then pleasuring himself. The frozen touch actually got a rise out of him, until the humiliation and horror of what he was trying to replicate got too much and he cried himself to sleep, unfulfilled.
His friends sympathised with the little they understood of his plight; by the second month were actively trying to help him find a special someone who would get him over “the ex of Doom” as they called it. They'd dug enough vague information out of him while he was drunk to understand that he'd left Alaska to get away from a psychopath who'd badly abused him. Adamant that a new boyfriend would help, his friends had started pushing people towards him and the hook ups had begun. Every single one had ended the same way – he drunkenly provided pleasure, but could achieve none for himself.
He was being dragged towards those very friends, who were dancing with a small blonde guy he didn't recognise. He looked about the right height and build to suit what they'd come to understand as Otabek's “type”, and with a sigh he let his friend shove him towards the stranger. A sense of deja vu rippled through him as he was pressed against the blonde by the pack of humans around them, his arms slipping unconsciously around the tiny waist. He caught the faint scent of roses and honey, and his heart leaped in his chest.
Otabek made a tiny sound of horror and lust as the blonde turned into his arms and he looked down into bright turquoise eyes; the whole world went silent for a long moment before he remembered how to breathe.
I said I'd come for you when you were ready.
The silent voice wrapped him like a warm, familiar blanket. He felt icy skin as the vampire slipped his arms around his neck, pulling him into the dance. The humans around them were oblivious of the lethal creature in their mix, senses dulled by alcohol and the vampire's unnatural abilities. They saw only a beautiful, fragile young man using his charms to stun their friend into awestruck silence.
How did you find me...
I never lost you, Otabek. I just gave you some space.
Yuri pressed against him, resting his head on his shoulder as they danced. Otabek's body was moving entirely at the whim of the vampire, his conscious mind had given up for a while. At some point he felt cold lips on his collarbone, and knew he'd moaned despite himself.
You're going to kill me. It wasn't a question, but Yuri shook his head anyway.
Of course not. Why would I do that?
I ran away. I humiliated you in front of Viktor. In front of the coven.
Yuri ran a fingertip along Otabek's jaw, a smile curling his lips. His aura was so subdued that the nephilim could barely feel it, even this close, but there was almost no rage there. Instead, a feeling of pride and longing crept into his senses. Hunger, too, of course. As they moved together, Otabek realised with a sense of inevitability that he was aroused, for the first time in months.
I was so proud of you for that. You were amazing, Otabek. Nothing less than spectacular.
Closing his eyes, the nephilim leaned his cheek against Yuri's hair and inhaled deeply, the scent of the vampire washing over him and obliterating the club smells of sweat and alcohol.
Are you ready to come home with me?
The question should have stunned him, should have sent him screaming from the club. Not made him tighten his arms around the frozen body pressed against him. Not drawn a sigh from his lips and a pulse of heat through his groin.
How have you done this to me?
He needed an answer to that question above all else; he could feel madness trying to claw its way into him through the battle between horror, and the aching desire for the blonde.
Yuri smiled, running his fingers up into his hair. As he pressed their foreheads together, he looked into his beautiful brown eyes and saw the conflict written there, even clearer than the last time he'd seen him. Sensing how close his nephilim was to breaking, he decided to be honest.
It's what my kind do, lyubov moya. I've spent a thousand years seducing the unwilling. Once I decided I wanted you, you never stood a chance.
Otabek whined softly, his gaze moving to the soft lips so close to his own. It would be so, so easy to give in; to kiss him and let him do anything he wanted. So easy, and so dangerous... because he knew what Yuri wanted from him. The patience and tenderness of the normally explosive blonde confirmed what the Houngan suspected all those months ago.
Yuri wanted nothing less than Otabek's willingly given soul.
The first few days after Otabek escaped had been torture for the blonde. He had to suffer the ridicule of his coven mates with the notable exception of Seung-gil, who refused to even acknowledge the nephilim, let alone comment on his absence. Viktor had been sceptical of his assertion that Otabek would return willingly, but he hadn't pushed the matter. Deliberately keeping any information about the escape from the other two meant their assumptions that he'd lost control of the nephilim went unchallenged. They had begun with teasing, and ended with outright condemnation of his weakness.
Only a major tantrum had put an end to it, with Viktor ordering the matter dropped after Yuri physically attacked Giacometti in the main parlour. The reminder to both the other vampires that Yuri was older and stronger than them had been timely, but had also brought something interesting to Yuri's attention.
When he'd launched himself at Giacometti, he'd instantly realised he was a lot stronger than he had been last time he'd got involved in a fight. He'd hurriedly restrained his strength to the expected level, and let Viktor pull him off the frightened Swiss, retreating to his rooms to “sulk” and privately consider change in his strength.
When he'd trashed his suite after Seung-gil had abused his pet and Viktor had banned him from retaliation, he'd been in a blind fury and hadn't even noticed how excessive the damage had been until a few days later. Luckily, none of the others had seen the aftermath of that incident; they'd wisely decided to keep out of Yuri's way until he'd calmed down. Reasoning that he wouldn't have spontaneously increased in power, he theorised that the most likely cause was the regular supply of nephilim blood he'd been indulging in. It was impossible that Viktor didn't know about this side effect, but Yuri felt no desire to confirm anything to him. Instead, he'd affected a sulky, moping attitude that sent the ridicule in entirely a different direction, and left the coven treating him like he was a pathetic teenager in love.
Monitoring Otabek had taken up the rest of the time. He used his abilities to watch the nephilim settle in to Seattle and begin a spirited attempt to drink himself to death, moving a few human pieces into position to ensure that his pet was provided for in his absence with a room and a job. He arranged a DJ spot for him to see if music would slow the degeneration of his pet's mental state, but all Otabek seemed to want to do was create mournful dirges and pickle his liver. After a few weeks, Yuri made his way to Seattle to keep a closer eye on him; if he did anything to indicate he was about to harm himself terminally, the vampire wanted to be close enough to intervene.
To his amusement, he discovered that his pet seemed to be very preoccupied with the lack of sexual satisfaction in his life in the absence of the vampire. Yuri watched as a small procession of pretty blonde boys came and went, with Otabek sinking deeper and deeper into misery and alcoholism after each one. When he began actively refusing one night stands, Yuri knew he had reached his limit.
Integrating himself with Otabek's human friends was the work of a few days, and it only took a couple of dropped hints to have the nephilim delivered into his arms on the packed dance floor.
They danced for hours. Otabek was astonished when Yuri happily interacted with the humans around them, not even making silent threats to their safety. Eventually, they found themselves curled up on the chill out floor, nestled into a huge leather couch. Yuri was tucked into Otabek's lap, running his fingers through the nephilim's hair as comfortably as if they were in his suite at the manor. Occasionally he'd press his lips against the Kazakh's throat or forehead, but he refused to initiate a proper kiss, determined to let Otabek do it. The vampire seemed to know that once he made the decision to kiss him, he'd give in all the way.
After while, the nephilim set aside one of the bottles of chilled vodka Yuri had bought for the table and looked at the vampire in his arms.
If I say no, what will you do?
Yuri rested his cheek on Otabek's shoulder, twisting their fingers together. I'll wait until you say yes.
You're so sure that I will. I could kill myself instead.
You'd prefer hell to an eternity with me? That's harsh, Otabek, I'm not that bad.
Otabek shuddered at the matter-of-fact tone of the vampire's thoughts. Hell isn't real... it's just a story.
Unexpectedly, Yuri sat bolt upright in his lap and laughed out loud, a genuine sound of mirth. Looking down at the nephilim, he shook his head, speaking in his archaic Russian dialect. “Seriously? I mean, seriously? Ah you amaze me, my love. After everything, especially given what you are, you seriously believe that?”
He didn't, but it was the last hope that he had, and his expression must have said as much. “Then I can never escape you” he replied, speaking the same language. “You won't let me die naturally, and I can't kill myself.”
Yuri touched his lips gently with a fingertip, smiling down at him. “Correct” he said, “but that isn't why you'll come back.”
“How can you expect me to go back to being a prisoner?”
The blonde raised an eyebrow. “Is that what you think? Oh no, no my love. Things will be very different this time.”
Otabek's heart lurched painfully, heat pooling in the base of his spine as the blonde's tone turned sultry. “No locks on the door? I don't believe you.”
“Why would I need to lock you in when you choose to stay? Otabek, you're not making much sense.”
“Like the others... Yuuri, and Phitchit... they chose as well...”
Yuri curled his lip in an unpleasant grimace. “I told you before, nothing any of the others do applies to you. If I wanted a housebroken pet, I'd pick a human.” He leaned down and softly kissed Otabek's jaw, purring into his ear. “I don't want a lapdog, my love. I want a wolf who chooses to sit by the fire and reap the benefits.”
“You want my soul.” His voice was tiny, only Yuri's supernatural hearing allowed him to catch the words over the music in the club.
“For now, I just want you. Your body, your heart, your blood. I want you in my bed, and in my veins. I've missed you so much, Otabek.”
Groaning softly, Otabek raised his eyes to Yuri's bright turquoise gaze. The vampire wasn't smiling now; his expression had shifted to endless desire. It was like gazing into a black hole, everything about the creature pressed against him was drawing him in.
It's OK to hate me. You can love me and hate me at the same time, you know.
As he looked into the vampire's eyes, his body twitched at the memory of frozen kisses, of icy flesh wrapped around him, and of the agonising pleasure of his fangs. Shuddering, he leaned up and captured Yuri's lips with his own, his hands sinking into his hair.
Take me home.
Nowhere near the end yet, don't worry! Next chapter will be very much smut.
Very short chapter of pure smut. You're welcome.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yuri's limo was waiting outside the club when they left, engine purring. Opening the door for the vampire, Otabek could see the curious eyes of the humans reflected in the blacked out glass of the windows. He knew from listening to Yuuri and Phitchit that the limos owned by the coven were designed for safe daytime travel, and the drivers were all under the tight control of one of Viktor's spells. Mute evidence that Yuri was in serious debt with the coven leader due to Otabek. Again.
Sliding into the seat opposite the vampire, he watched as Yuri purred the order to return to Alaska. The driver acknowledged with a dead sounding voice, and Otabek wondered with a tinge of horror if it was even remotely human. Looking at the blonde was distracting, so he occupied himself with making a drink until he noticed Yuri closing the divider between the cab and the interior of the car. Complete privacy, uninturrupted hours of driving ahead. He twitched as Yuri sat up and removed his jacket, letting the fabric peel slowly away from his arms and torso. The blonde curled his lip as he saw the nephilim's hungry expression, and stretched his body deliberately, lengthening his limbs and reclining on the leather seat, letting his legs part with a sigh of pleasure. Two months of being desperately, agonisingly horny and having no way to release it kicked in, and Otabek launched himself across the car at the vampire, kneeling between his legs and crushing his lips in a breathless kiss.
He heard Yuri laughing in delight inside his mind and shoved him onto his back on the seat, dragging his clothes off violently, hearing fabric tear under his hands. Stripping himself quickly, he snagged the lube he'd started carrying with him on the off chance that he might actually be able to get hard on a night out. Slicking his fingers and wrapping them around himself, he bucked at his own touch before he could get anywhere near the blonde.
“F-fuck... fuck... it's been s-so long...”
“Don't waste that” Yuri murmured, pulling the nephilim on top of him. They both cried out as Otabek entered him, and the vampire wrapped his legs around his pet's waist immediately, locking him into place.
Letting the nephilim take control of the pace, Yuri reached up behind him and gripped the edge of the seat, shifting his knees to Otabek's shoulders and opening up his nerve endings with a loud gasp of pleasure. His pet hammered into him with something approaching a frenzy, all raw need and panting lust. The sex was rough well beyond what a human could take, although the nephilim didn't seem to know or care that he would have broken a normal man and left him raw and bleeding.
His own body well on the way to orgasm, Yuri moaned as he felt the pace change, the nephilim getting close to release within minutes. The vampire was less interested in the physical climax, and more the way that Otabek was intending to come, and he grabbed one of the nephilim's hands, pulling his wrist to his lips and running his tongue over the skin, groaning at the feel of the pulse and the scent of his blood.
“Ahhh... f-fuck... yes... Yuri, yes!” Otabek pressed his wrist to the vampire's mouth, heat coiling in his gut and groin as he worked the blonde's body. As he felt fangs slide between the tendons and his veins opened, he arched helplessly and screamed in pleasure, filling the vampire with come and blood and heat and life.
They collapsed onto the seat, Yuri removing his fangs with huge reluctance, the angelic blood burning its way down his throat and spreading warmth throughout his entire body. The secondary pleasure of his orgasm was a slow, sensual pulse around the cock still inside him, and he moaned happily when he felt Otabek stirring again almost immediately. Dragging the nephilim into a kiss, he rolled them onto the floor of the car, the cramped space making Otabek sit up against the opposite seat. Inhuman agility made it possible for Yuri to move them without disengaging, and the moment he was in Otabek's lap he began circling his hips, working his pet back to hardness in moments.
“Y-Yuri... I can't...”
“Yes you can. I can feel it.”
“N-no... please... I can't... no more blood...”
Understanding, Yuri smiled and sank his tongue into his mouth, starting a deep, slow thrust down onto him. Between breathless kisses he purred reassurances, letting his hands sink into Otabek's hair.
“No biting... I promise... this is just for you... Fuck me, Otabek...”
A growl of lust ripped from the nephilim and he tightened his grip on the blonde, arching up against his thrusts. The Kazakh was panting and moaning in minutes, and begging for release not long after that. As Yuri took hold of himself and stroked himself over the edge, his pet made a helpless noise and came hard, burying his face into the cold skin of the vampire. Keeping his teeth out of Otabek's flesh was a challenge without the potion, and in desperation Yuri sheathed his fangs in his own arm instead, protecting his pet from his vampiric impulse to bite, and muffling his cries of pleasure.
They uncoiled some time later, and Otabek stared at the bite marks that were already healing in Yuri's arm. “You... you bit yourself?”
“Mmm... better me than you” Yuri said, tugging a blanket out of the seat box and wrapping it around them both as they curled up together on the floor of the limo. He tucked Otabek into his arms, taking care to avoid pressing him directly against his skin. Looping his arms loosely around him, he ran his fingers through the mop of sweaty hair, savouring the smell of musk from his pet.
“I promised I wouldn't bite you.”
“You... you meant that?
Yuri nodded, kissing him softly. “It's time we started trusting each other, don't you think?”
Shaking his head in astonishment at the words, Otabek watched the wounds close, marvelling at the way the skin seemed to flow and merge until there wasn't even a mark left. “No scars” he said, and Yuri laughed.
“Vampires don't scar.”
“Your neck... your back...”
Yuri made a soft noise of surprise, and then shook his head. “You really are observant. I got those marks as a human. My last day as a human, actually.”
Mumbling sleepily, Otabek wriggled until he was pressed into Yuri's chest, a layer of blanket separating him from the lukewarm flesh of the vampire. He could feel the heat of his blood draining out of the creature already, the skin cooling under his hands.
“Will you tell me about it?”
“You just want a story to fall asleep to” Yuri said, kissing his forehead. “I'll tell you the story of the jealous King, the scheming servant and the hunter's wife instead.”
Shaking his head, Otabek sat up a bit and pressed his lips to Yuri's throat, tasting his own sweat still clinging to the blonde. “No fairy tales. I want to hear your story.” Watching the vampire's lips twitch in surprise, he repeated Yuri's words back to him. “It's time we started trusting each other.”
Yuri backstory incoming THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
The story Yuri offers to tell Otabek is a Russian fairytale which translates to "Go I Know Not Whither and Fetch I Know Not What".
Russia, near the Black Sea. 965AD.
Wolves howled somewhere deep in the snow banks along the river, and the men on the boat gripped their weapons tighter, watching for flashes of grey in the treeline. The river was close to its yearly freeze and they'd already had to drag the boat through thick surface ice once; none of them liked the idea of having to deal with a pack of starving wolves if it happened again.
Somewhere further upstream, was light and warmth, a welcome prospect for the battered and tired raiding party. At their feet in the bottom of the boat lay the results of their month long travel; looted furs, some gold, weapons and three women who would be sold as slaves later in the year, when the ice retreated from the trade routes. Satisfied with their haul, the warriors pulled oars for home, racing against the onslaught of a bitter winter.
Knelt in the bow, eyes scanning the snow banks and his sword clutched in his hand, the boy emulated the men around him as he watched for wolves. His skin was still marked with the blood of his kills, and a fierce pride burned in his chest. His shoulders and back ached from the blows of his enemies, his blood matting the thick furs of his clothing and sealing the wounds, soon to become his first scars of victory.
He had proven his strength in time to join one of the last raids of the year. Tiny and fragile compared to his brothers and father, nevertheless he stood beside them as a man. When he returned to the village, he would celebrate his arrival in adulthood, and his place in the raids next spring would be assured.
“Smoke! Smoke ahead!”
The men tensed as the helm gave the cry, the sharp eyes of the navigator picking up the drift of dirty smoke against the darkening evening sky. The boy's father pushed his way to the bow and stood beside his youngest son, shielding his eyes from the glare of the snow in the dying light. The oarsmen pulled harder, snarling and cursing their vessel to a dangerous speed in their haste to reach the village. Leaning against the thick wood of the hull, the boy held his breath as the curve of the river brought their destination into sight. As the men saw the remains of their home, there was a universal cry of rage and horror.
Fire had gutted the central longhouse, and smoke billowed through the collapsed roof. The gatehouse was shattered, the logs and turf spread impossibly far. From the river, bodies could be seen as humps under the snow, with frozen red stains as their markers. The women and children, and the few men too old to raid, were scattered through the ruins of the village where they had been cut down. Shieldmaidens and mothers alike had died with weapons in their hands.
Ordering the boat ashore, the boy's father took charge and spread his men out to approach and search for the attackers, weapons readied for battle. As the boy took his place beside his older brother, he felt a cold rage clutch his heart and his vision darkened, searching for any enemy he could cut to pieces. Moving with stealth, the raiders entered the ruins of their home with murder in their eyes and hatred in their souls.
The longhouse was still burning, the smell of roasting meat mixing with the scent of blood. Horses and humans alike had been trapped by the falling roof, and the smell of them turned the boy's stomach. His father was snapping orders to search the remaining buildings, so he struck east for the grain store and worked his way around the inner walls, trying to ignore the corpses under his feet. A movement ahead of him caught his eye, and he bared his teeth, praying to Vidar that he would find someone to kill, to punish for this outrage.
A shockingly loud scream came from his left and he spun in that direction, bracing for an attack. Silently, he eased his way along the wall of the grain store, trusting his height and slender frame to conceal him behind the low building. As he peered towards the centre of the village, his mind shut down for a long moment in defence against what he was seeing.
There was some kind of black water on the ground, moving and flowing over the screaming form of one the raiders. As it moved over the man, it seemed to consume him until there was nothing left but his head, which continued to scream. The sounds didn't stop until the viscous liquid poured into his mouth and nose, and out of where his eyes should have been. As the form of the man disappeared, the black sludge flattened onto the ground and continued to move, searching out new victims.
Backing away from the insanity before him, the boy tasted blood in his mouth where he'd bitten his tongue to keep from screaming. He locked his fingers around his sword, refusing to drop the blade despite the horror that was overtaking his mind. There was no fear yet, just a creeping sense of wrongness that obliterated his rage and his sanity. Operating only on base, animal instinct, the boy turned and fled.
When his mind returned to him, it was fully dark. Somehow, he'd tucked himself under a ruined section of the gatehouse, hidden from sight. He was holding his sword in a death grip, but his fingers were so cold he was sure they'd break if he tried to use the blade. There was almost no sound, only the bubbling of the river behind him and the soft thump of snow falling from overloaded tree branches.
Moving cautiously out of his hiding place, the only light the boy could see was the dull glow of the smouldering longhouse. Despite the risk, he knew he needed the warmth of the fire to survive, and picked his way across the village carefully. Here and there, he could see fresh corpses, as yet unburied by the lightly falling snow. He saw the faces of his father and brothers, locked in frozen screams at the moment of their deaths. Hatred and fury settled into his chest, heavy as a rock.
As he neared the source of heat, he saw an unknown figure outlined against the glow. The man was tall and slender, and stood looking out into the darkness with his back to the fire. The flickering glow threw odd shadows across his body, but the boy could see he was wearing only a thin robe and no boots. It was impossible that he was stood calmly, rather than freezing to death on the spot.
The boy ducked behind a fallen section of the longhouse roof as a dark shape flew out of the night and perched on the man's outstretched arm. It looked like a raven, but this bird was no servant of Odin. It had blood red eyes that gleamed in the firelight, and as the man spoke to it in a strange, lilting dialect, it seemed to shrink until it disappeared into the man's outstretched palm.
The boy gripped his sword tighter as the man turned to look back at the fire, and he saw the gleam of blood on the pale face and throat. Sudden understanding made the rage in his chest burn through him in a fierce wave. This man... this creature... was responsible for the deaths of his family. This monster... this thing...
A red mist slipped in front of the boy's eyes and he exploded from his hiding place, his war cry echoing in the silence of the murdered village as he launched himself at the figure. He caught a glimpse of blue eyes and a flash of silver hair as the man reacted to his attack, and then he was flying backwards. Landing hard in the snow, he knew his ribs had broken from the impact as he coughed up a lungful of blood. Forcing himself to his knees despite the agony, he saw another flash of silver before he was on his back again, and those bright blue eyes were directly above him. Pale hands gripped his shoulders, pinning him down as effortlessly as if he were trapped beneath a fallen tree. Snarling, the boy spat blood directly into the face of his enemy as he tried vainly to free his sword arm from under its knee.
“Such a tiny one” the creature said, gripping him by the throat and squeezing until bones broke in his collar, shredding the skin and opening his carotid artery. The boy thrashed, gasping defiance and hatred even as his life blood pooled beneath him, fighting against the immovable grip. When the creature bent its head to drink from the red flow, he snarled and slammed his forehead into the creatures skull, stunning himself with the impact but refusing to die without leaving a mark on the thing. Choking on his own blood, his vision fading fast, he saw the creature's expression of astonishment and spat in its face again with the very last of his strength. The last thing he saw was sea blue eyes above a blood red smile.
Somewhere nearby he could hear singing, in an unfamiliar language. Opening his eyes slowly, he found himself staring at the uneven roof of a natural cave. He could smell a wood fire nearby and feel warmth on his skin, but his body was like ice, and insanely light when he tried to move his limbs. Sitting up, he discovered he was under a pile of furs, and blinked in confusion, trying to understand why he was still so cold.
The singing broke off as he woke, and he sensed movement deeper in the cave. A tall figure approached the fire, and the boy snarled as he recognised the sharp features and silver hair of his attacker. Lacking a weapon, his hands clenched into fists and he dragged himself to his feet, rage bubbling up inside him.
“Sit down” the creature said, and his knees folded under him instantly. Shocked at the betrayal of his body, the boy stared at down at himself.
“Get used to doing what I say for a while, kotyonok. At least until you learn some manners.”
Spitting fury at the nickname, the boy tried to stand up again and found his body unwilling to move. “What the fuck...”
“If you don't settle down, I won't even let you talk” the silver haired man said, prodding the fire into a blaze and then crossing to where the boy was kneeling, smiling down at him. “Do you have a name? Or should I just call you 'kitten' forever?”
The creature had bloody streaks in his hair and on his face, and the boy barred his teeth in a snarl. “Do what you want, djǫfull. You'll eat me soon enough. Be sure I'll choke you when you do” he growled, and the creature laughed out loud.
“Eat you? Oh no, no. I've already done that. You were delicious” he added, his lips peeling back in a grin, revealing long fangs. “You tasted of fury and hatred and such will to live. So much so that I couldn't bear to kill you. So I gave you something in return for the feast.” The creature reached out and parted the furs around the boy's body, dragging his fingers along his bare chest. The blonde watched in horror as his flesh was opened to the bone, skin and muscle parting under the dagger sharp nails. The vicious cuts leaked a tiny amount of blackish blood, and then began to knit and heal almost before he'd had time to react to being flayed. With a wrenching scream, he tried to pull away from the creature and found his body still wasn't willing to move.
“What have you done to me????”
“I've given you a vessel fit for your raging spirit. One that will never be broken, or die. I've given you life eternal. Aren't you grateful?” The tall figure tilted his head to one side, and smiled again, his eyes sparkling with joy at the fury and terror in the blonde. “Now let's start again. My name is Viktor. What's yours?”
Vidar is the norse god of vengeance.
Djǫfull is the old norse word for devil, or demon.
Yuuri opened the door to his suite on the second knock, dripping from the shower and wrapped in a towel. He stared at the visitor in shock until Otabek poked him in the chest gently.
“Otabek.... yo-you're back?! You're not dead... how...”
“Sorry to disturb you. Mind if I grab my stuff?”
Stuttering, Yuuri let the nephilim into his suite, mouth opening and closing in astonishment. An explosion of delighted barking told him that Makkachin had noticed the Kazakh, and the sound grounded him. Following the noise, he laughed as the two of them reunited on the floor of the lounge.
“Did you miss me too?” Otabek asked the dog, getting his face washed in response.
“I did” Yuuri groaned tearfully, throwing himself onto the nephilim's broad back and engulfing him in a hug. “Viktor said you'd escaped...”
Pulling himself out from under the two pets, Otabek sat on the couch and eyed the mostly naked Japanese man. “Clothes, tea, then we'll talk” he begged, and Yuuri grabbed his towel tighter around himself with a squeak.
Ten minutes later, they were sat on opposite couches, Yuuri was fully dressed and they were both clutching steaming cups. Makkachin was lying on Otabek's feet as if he was never planning to move again, giving out occasional sighs of contentment. Amused at the dog, Yuuri pushed his damp hair out of his eyes and fixed Otabek with a worried look.
“I would say 'welcome back', but...”
“It's OK” Otabek said, sipping the healing tea with a sigh. “I... I chose to come back. Sort of. Well. Urgh” he passed a hand over his face, trying to explain something even he hadn't fully processed yet. “I came back for him, exactly as he knew I would.”
“Otabek... what's a nephilim?”
Completely thrown by the unexpected question, Otabek stared at Yuuri with his mouth hanging open.
“After you left, they talked about you a lot. I kept hearing them saying that word, over and over again, and they were all angry. It was making Yuri furious. Even Viktor was complaining about it; I'd never heard him so angry, he was cursing in at least five languages at one point. Eventually, Giacometti pushed it too far and Yuri tried to tear his head off in the parlour. It was terrifying” Yuuri shuddered at the memory of the moment the blonde had snapped, covering the distance between their alcoves so fast he seemed to shimmer from one side of the room to the other, landing on Christophe's chest and snapping his neck with a deafening crack.
Viktor had leaped up and pulled him away before he could actually remove Giacometti's head, and the tanned vampire had collapsed, hanging at a weird angle until his healing kicked in and he slowly recovered. Yuri had fought Viktor's hold for a few moments, then stormed out of the room with an enraged snarl, throwing a torrent of abuse at the coven leader and shutting himself in his rooms for a week.
Otabek stared at Yuuri in surprise as he described the attack, and the terrified reactions of Mila and Seung-gil.
“After that, well, Yuri started sulking and they changed to teasing him for being in love with his pet. I asked Viktor if it was true, and he said that if it was, it wasn't surprising, because of what you were. He seemed surprised that I didn't understand, and refused to tell me anything else.”
Shaking his head, Otabek folded his legs under him and thought about his answer. Yuri had never banned him from telling the other pets the truth about himself, it had been his decision. His reasoning had been based on his need to escape, which no longer seemed to apply. He still wanted Yuuri and Phitchit as his friends, but if Yuri was serious about giving him a much longer leash than the other pets, they probably deserved to know why.
“How much do you know about Christian mythology? The Catholic church, the Bible, stuff like that?”
“Mmm. Not much. I was raised Shinto.”
“OK. So in the Christian tradition, there is only one God, and he has an army of creatures called Angels, who help him run the universe. They're really, really weird, they make youkai look pretty tame. Things made entirely of lion heads surrounded by human legs, stuff like that.”
“Right? Well, the mythology says that some of them stayed on earth after God made all the humans and animals, and took on human forms to help look after His creations. They apparently became... enamoured... with the human women, and mated with them. The children were half angel and half human, and they were called nephilim.”
Yuuri's eyes widened and he made a soft noise of wonder. “I'm descended from those original children, thousands of generations removed” Otabek said hurriedly, “I'm barely any different from a normal human... but there are some differences. For a start, my blood is more powerful, and vampires can't get enough of it.”
“You're an angel??”
“No! Only a tiny bit... we're rare though... even when we have babies they don't always inherit the genes. I'm... well, I suppose I'm even rarer than most.” Seeing the stunned but confused look on his friend's face, he sighed again. “Normally, nephilim are so rare we don't dare intermarry. Too much risk of being directly related, no-one wants to accidentally commit incest. So most of us have one nephilim parent, and one human. The constant diluting of the blood means each generation is slightly weaker than the last. We're also mostly African or Arabic, since we're directly descended from the original population of humans.”
Holding his hands up and gazing at his olive skin, he sighed again. “I'm a bit different. Both my parents were nephilim. My mother was really, really rare – she was American, and Caucasian. My father was Arabic, and they met in Kazakhstan, where I was born. Her race meant there was almost no risk of interbreeding, and they were in love... so they were given permission to marry. He... he died just before I was born, and she took me to America to live with her family there.”
“So you're blood is a lot more powerful... that's why Yuri wanted you?”
“And why the others were so jealous. Nephilim like me are born once, maybe twice in a generation.”
“I thought you were the same as me... but you're not.” Yuuri's voice was subdued and sad, and Otabek covered his face with his hands.
“That's why I didn't tell you! I... I needed friends in here, Yuuri. I thought you'd hate me if you knew I wasn't... wasn't quite human.”
“Never!” Yuuri said, leaping up and crossing to the Kazakh. Hugging him roughly, he pressed his face into his shoulder. “I'd never hate you. After everything you've been through... it explains why Yuri didn't kill you for running away though.”
“Mmm” Otabek relaxed into his hug, relief washing through him. “I knew he wouldn't kill me, or let any of the others have me to punish. I... I was counting on it when I ran away.”
“But... then why did you come back?” Yuuri sat back, looking at him curiously. Otabek shook his head, wrapping his hands around his cup again.
“Yuri... gave me enough space to make me realise that I... I needed him. That I wanted to be with him. That he'd tainted me... and I couldn't live without him.”
Yuuri made a sympathetic noise. “That's what they do, it's what they're best at. Even someone like you couldn't fight it?”
“I tried. I really, really tried. He was watching me the whole time I was away, waiting for me to break. When I finally did, he came to fetch me.” Sighing, Otabek gazed at his tea, wishing it contained any kind of alcohol. “He knew I'd come back with him eventually. That's why he didn't bother to chase me in the first place.”
They packed up Otabek's clothes and his music equipment, which had been left in Yuuri's spare room. Half way through the process, Otabek's hands started to shake and he began to feel sick, withdrawal from the vast quantities of booze he'd been consuming for nearly two months.
Arriving at Otabek's new suite on the third floor above Yuri's, he gave a soft moan of relief as he saw several bottles of vodka waiting for him in the kitchen. Dashing to them and ripping one open, he took several big swigs and coughed as the liquid blazed a fiery trail down his throat, ignoring the look of horror Yuuri was giving him. There was a note attached to the bottle, written in English in Yuri's spidery writing: for the shakes. You have four bottles left, after that you'd better be clean.
“What the hell, Otabek?”
“Slow detox” Otabek murmured, leaning heavily on the counter and poking the note with an irritated finger. “I hit the bottle pretty hard in Seattle. Yuri's giving me a chance to withdraw at a sensible pace. If I don't, he'll probably bleed it out of me himself. I guess he doesn't like drinking alcoholic blood.”
“It changes the flavour, apparently” Yuuri nodded sadly, “most of the time I don't drink, but when I do Viktor gets really... well, he doesn't complain, but he prefers it when I'm sober.”
Otabek carefully set the bottle down and looked around the kitchen. “Is it me, or does this place look different to yours?”
“Mmm. It should have same layout as Phitchit's. He's next door, by the way. Although this one seems to have an extra room.”
They explored, finding a large master bedroom, a spare bedroom for the frequent occasions the pets shared space when their owners were away, and a large wetroom with a huge claw footed bathtub next to the elaborate shower. The last room was off to the side, and Yuuri pushed the door open curiously. “What the hell is this? There's a massive window in the middle, and the other side is all padded.”
Otabek made a startled sound and dashed into the room, his eyes huge. “Oh my god... it's a recording studio!” he gasped, crossing to the mixing desk and running his hands worshipfully over the dozens of tiny dials and switches. Yuuri gaped at him, and then started laughing softly, his voice tinged with amazement.
“You're right, he knew you'd be back... there were workmen in this suite the week you left, and I saw them carrying in the glass. None of us knew what it was for though.”
Barely able to hear him over the excited hammering of his heart, Otabek stared through the thick, soundproof glass at the equipment left for him. A huge 76 key arranger keyboard, a six string electric guitar and four string electric bass both with multi FX pedals, and a ludicrously expensive looking condenser mic. Everything a musician could possibly need to create high quality studio tracks. Glancing to the side of the recording booth, he noticed the smaller mixing decks and synthesier keyboard from Yuri's parlour were also there, snuggled against a sleek looking Apple iMac.
“This stuff is worth a fortune” he breathed, and Yuuri laughed again.
“Money doesn't really mean anything to them, you know that. Yuri probably just sent out for one of the best of everything.”
Nodding, Otabek forced himself to leave the room with great reluctance. As they made their way back to the kitchen, he picked up a deep sense of amusement and satisfaction from the vampire two floors below him. Tentatively reaching out to his owner, he let his thoughts flow across to him.
Welcome home, Otabek.
Otabek makes electronic music, mostly cybergoth and industrial like this <3
CW: descriptions of injury, harm, implied death.
Lots of smut!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The suite was quiet and dark, lit only by a few candles throughout the rooms. Curiously, Otabek searched with his senses, trying to locate his owner. Normally, there would be music coming from somewhere, or a furious aura to track. Tonight, there was nothing.
He'd been summoned, so Yuri should be here. Making his way into the bedroom, he decided to wait for the vampire to return. Eyeing the massive bed, he saw no harm in making himself comfortable.
The bed was an abomination of a thing, with enough space to sleep at least five people and a huge, wrought iron frame. “Four poster bed” didn't come close to describing it, it was more like a room in its own right. Not for the first time, Otabek wondered why such a tiny creature needed so much space, especially since he didn't usually have bed-based company. It was easy to see a debauched sex addict like Giacometti having a monstrosity like this, but it seemed odd on Yuri.
Stretching out on the black satin sheets, Otabek discovered something hard under the pillow, and smiled with amusement as he dug out a Nintendo Switch, complete with the latest Wolfenstein game. Yuri's fascination with technology and games in particular had come as a major shock to him; the first time he'd entered the suit and found the vampire playing Call of Duty while spitting abuse via a headset, he'd nearly laughed out loud. Only his survival instincts had prevented him from mocking the vampire while he was already in a fury.
Tucking the handheld back under the pillow, he lay back and wondered again where his owner was. It was really unusual for Yuri to not be waiting for him; normally the blonde would be in his arms the moment the door to the suite closed. The bed was comfortable, and Otabek let his eyes close and his mind drift, trusting his senses to pick up Yuri's aura. Rolling onto his side, he slipped into a light doze.
The arm that slipped around his back made him flinch hard enough to bruise himself against the immobile flesh of the vampire lying behind him, and he made a deeply undignified sound of shock as he thrashed. Yuri laughed at his reaction, holding him tightly so he didn't hurt himself again. Cold lips pressed against his neck, and he grabbed the hand on his chest as he gasped for breath, his heart hammering in his ears.
“Where the fuck did you come from??”
“I've been watching you from the corner for twenty minutes.”
“Bullshit!” Otabek rolled over to look at his owner, and saw the delight on his face. “You... you were hiding?”
“Mmm. Practising controlling my aura. I wanted to see if I could hide from you.”
Touching his lips to Yuri's jaw and forcing himself to take a few deep breaths, he nodded. “Mission accomplished. You scared the shit out of me.”
“I know. You smell even better when you're panicked, did you know that?”
Otabek pulled a face. “Great. So I can look forward to more heart attacks in the future?”
“No... I can't deal with you when you smell this delicious. I'll end up breaking you again.” Yuri tightened his grip on his pet, watching the flicker of fear on his face. “Luckily my self control is at an all time high tonight.”
“Oh good” Otabek said, still nervous and tense in his owner's arms. It had been a long time since Yuri had let his greed for nephilim blood take over, but the memory of Otabek's resulting anaemia and sickness hadn't faded.
Yuri laughed and ran his fingers through thick brown hair, stroking the scalp until Otabek's eyes slipped closed and he murmured softly. His pet was a very tactile creature, with a weakness for gentle touches that the vampire hadn't truly appreciated until very recently. Since Otabek's return to the manor, he had been more relaxed and calm around his owner, leading to all sorts of interesting discoveries.
Using the light grip in his hair to hold him still, Yuri trailed cold kisses over his lips and throat, down to his collarbone. The scent of his blood was still spiced with the honey of panic, and the vampire needed to get rid of that before he even considered tasting him, or the temptation to drain him dry would be overwhelming. Moving his hands to the front of Otabek's shirt, he pushed him onto his back and stripped his chest, sitting on his hips. As usual, Otabek responded once they became intimate; he was already achingly hard under Yuri's thighs.
Brown eyes were watching him warily, and Yuri knew his pet was still concerned about his owner's hunger. Proving that he could behave, the vampire lowered his lips to his pet's smooth chest and ran his icy tongue over a nipple, letting his other hand slip down the plane of his stomach and into the waistband of his slacks. As he wrapped his fingers around his hot, throbbing length, the nephilim groaned and let his head fall back onto the pillow.
Stripping Otabek's thighs, Yuri licked a trail down to his arousal, getting louder groans with each touch until his lips pressed against the head. At the frozen touch, his pet covered his mouth with his hands to stop the cry of bliss, his hips arching off the bed. Yuri smirked at his reaction, licking him slowly from root to tip before swallowing him effortlessly.
Their first nights back at the manor had been a strange mixture of lust and tenderness. After reuniting with Yuuri and exploring his new suite of rooms, Otabek had been overwhelmed with confusion and distress about how happy he was to be back in the manor, and in Yuri's arms.
Yuri had spotted an opportunity to deepen his pet's desire for him by appearing vulnerable and submissive, and let the nephilim take a little more control in the bedroom. Manipulating Otabek had been simple enough; he'd just allowed the nephilim to believe he wasn't experienced in human foreplay, and the dominant brunette had jumped at the chance to pleasure his owner in 'new' ways.
He had taken a few weeks to detox completely, and in that time Yuri had been very frugal with his blood. Refusing to bite his pet more than once a session meant a reduction of orgasms for the nephilim, which he clearly hadn't approved of. The vampire had been keen to keep his pet happy, and had used some of the brunette's preferred techniques back on him, reasoning that anything Otabek enjoyed giving, was probably something he also enjoyed receiving. The first time he'd brought his pet to orgasm with his mouth, Otabek had nearly had hysterics, convinced he would be punished for his lack of self control. Yuri had been so amused by it that he'd 'punished' him by making him return the favour.
In his experiments with pleasuring the nephilim, there was one thing Yuri hadn't yet done. He was saving it for a time when he wanted to really surprise his pet.
Pulling his lips away from Otabek's weeping cock, he ran his tongue over his inner thigh and let his fangs ghost over his flesh, winning a deeper moan.
I want to do something to you... something you'll like.
Otabek was too far gone in pleasure to respond mentally, and when he spoke his voice was hitching and breathless. “W-what is it...?”
Let me fuck you, Otabek.
The nephilim's eyes shot open and he stared down his body at his owner, who was running icy kisses up his inner thigh. “R-really? You... you want to...”
Yes. Will you let me?”
“You're actually asking?”
“N-no... no. Please... please don't.” He winced as he said it, expecting a rush of fury and rage from the vampire. He was astonished when Yuri eased himself back up his body with a slight smile and kissed him softly.
“Shame... you'd definitely like it.”
It's OK. I won't suggest it again.
Stunned, Otabek nodded and then cried out as he felt cold fingers around him, easing him inside the blonde. Pushing up into the vampire's body and wrapping his arms around him, he lost himself in waves of bliss and relief that his owner was keeping his promise to build trust between them.
Yuri snuggled up to the nephilim until his pet fell asleep, then left the room and went in search of dinner. Although Otabek's blood had cooled eventually, his refusal to obey his owner's request had infuriated the vampire to the point where he didn't trust himself to hold back if he tasted the nephilim. Getting through the rest of their time together without expressing his rage had been challenging enough.
Padding through the manor until he reached the second floor of the central wing, he eyed the five portals of the inner sanctum and confirmed that the only other occupant seemed to be Mila, her door firmly closed. Slipping into his room, he reclined on the leather couch and pressed the button that would summon one of the interchangeable humans that served as the coven's primary food source. After a few moments, a slender young man with long, dark hair slipped through the back door of the room and knelt in front of the vampire, barely controlling the trembling in his limbs.
The human smelled absolutely terrified, and Yuri's lips peeled back from his fangs as he slowly, deliberately let go of the vice grip he had kept on his rage since Otabek had uttered the word 'no'. As he lifted the human into his lap, he rested his hand on the slim chest and curled his fingers inwards, sinking his claws through the boy's flesh. The agonised scream as he raked his claws through muscle and bone made him growl with hunger, and he lowered his head to lap from the bright red flow, pinning the writhing human on his back.
An hour later, Yuri emerged from the private feeding room freshly showered and satisfied, smelling of his usual shampoo and humming a little with pleasure as he headed back to his pet, looking forward to curling up with him and dozing until sunrise. Behind him, the cleaners entered the main space, whimpering softly at the sight of the dismembered body and the blood spatter that drenched the room from floor to ceiling.
I wonder why Otabek said no???
Yuri is an utter savage and I love him.
Zayachy Island, Russia, 1704
Viktor eased himself into his seat at the council table and ignored the glare from Georgi, aware that his lateness had been noted but too distracted by the unexpected gathering to care. A flash of red caught his eye and he smiled as his youngest child made her way across the room to him.
“Delayed by dinner again?” Mila leaned on the back of his chair and watched the gathered vampires warily.
“Mmm. A particularly adorable Chinese boy. I might keep him for a while.” Scanning the room, he mentally ticked off familiar faces. “Where is he?”
“Far left corner. Talking with Dimitri.”
Viktor looked and spotted the craggy, middle aged profile of his sire, talking with Viktor's youngest brother. Sensing eyes on them, they glanced over at the main table and the silver haired vampire laughed quietly at the satisfaction in the old man's expression.
“What's this all about anyway?”
“Dimitri sealed the deal. The Tsar confirmed it this morning. Saint Petersburg is to become the new capital.” Georgi's voice was quietly furious, and Viktor laughed again.
“Then your schemes failed, dear brother?”
“I don't have any idea what you're talking about” Georgi said, comfortably.
“When this is done, Mila, come to my house. We need to talk.”
Mila nodded and gave Georgi a disgusted look, then slipped back to the less privileged of the assembled vampires.
The gathering stilled as Yakov made his way to the head of the council table and took his seat; a carved monument of oak and bone, displaying the ultimate power of Russia's Vampire Tsar. Viktor managed to avoid curling his lip at the sight of the ancient Vampire, pushing the hatred down deep inside and schooling his expression to careful fidelity.
Snow was thick in the garden, and Viktor couldn't resist the opportunity to make patterns of footprints as his child joined him. Poking at the ice-bound pond with a toe, he listened to her summary of the activities of the human court following Peter the Great's grand announcement of his plans for the new city. After a few minutes she trailed off, aware that his attention was elsewhere.
“Yakov will be king of the world soon” Viktor said, watching his dogs romp in the white drifts. “The port at the new Capital will spread his influence throughout Europe, and even across the vast seas eventually.”
“You'll be a key tool for him.” Mila's voice was carefully neutral, and Viktor sneered.
“Will I? How exciting” he drawled, picking up a handful of snow and letting the flakes fall through his fingers.
Watching her sire, Mila narrowed her eyes. “Something's changed. You're not furious any more.”
“I got a letter from Yuri.”
“What?? Yuri? He... it's been centuries. Why... wait, wait” she braced her hand on a statue and shook her head, trying to reorganise her thoughts. “Where is he?”
“British America. Apparently he's been exploring the New World. Did you know that the Norse settled in Greenland of all places? He's been there since the 13th century.”
Shocked, Mila sat down heavily on a snow covered stone bench. “All this time... you always said he wasn't dead. Why contact you now though, when he's been hiding from you all these years?”
“Who knows why that demon does anything. Perhaps he missed trying to kill me.” Viktor sat beside Mila and lowered his voice, pitching it so even a vampire would struggle to hear from a distance. “He's picked up on a rumour that the British Americans are unhappy about their continued rule from afar. The little monster smelled an opportunity that he can't exploit on his own. He wants my help, can you believe it?”
She couldn't, but the look in Viktor's eyes was convincing. “You're going to go?”
“We're going to go. I need your support.”
“Will be busy with the new trade routes to Europe. Georgi will be distracted by his endless war with Dimitri, especially since he lost this last battle. I can persuade Yakov that I'm establishing interests in the colonies, but not if I leave you here.”
“A whole world away from him... from Dimitri... from Georgi... it sounds like a dream.”
“Possibly a nightmare. Remember we're going to Yuri's territory.”
Mila pulled a face. “He can't still hate you. Not after all this time.”
Viktor laughed, and wrapped his arms around the redhead happily, knowing from the banter in her tone that he had her full support. “That boy will hate me until the sun burns out. It's one of my favourite things about him.”
The ship was icebound and sluggish as it loomed off the coast, the salt spray picking up flashes of moonlight as it crashed against the hull. Unnoticed in the darkness, two figures dropped from the stern and entered the water soundlessly, covering the two miles to land at an inhuman pace. The icy water froze on their clothes as they pulled themselves out of the shallows, heading toward a dense forest of evergreens. Guided by a dark, winged shape, they moved through miles of undergrowth like ghosts, unnoticed even by the beasts of the land.
A furriers camp was nestled deep in the trees, and the smouldering campfire illuminated the two figures as they approached. Around the fire, several men were unconscious and bound, bleeding from small cuts and grazes where they'd been battered and dragged around. A few were already dead, blood staining the snow from torn limbs and fractured skulls.
In the centre of the circle, warming his hands on the glowing embers of the fire, sat a blonde boy. No more than 15 years old, his furs and pale skin were streaked with blood. As they entered the circle of light, he coaxed the fire back to life with some fresh logs, and the flames highlighted his bright green eyes.
“You're ten years late. Good thing I was keeping an eye on you” he said, and gestured to the bound humans around him. His accent was thickly Nordic, even though he spoke fluent Russian. “I picked up dinner.”
“It took longer to organise the expedition than I expected, and then the weather was vile on the crossing” the female figure said, shrugging. “We nearly had to swim from sixteen miles off the coast.”
Acknowledging the captive humans with a slight smile, the tall male turned and grabbed the nearest one, opening its throat with a soft growl of hunger. The female paused, eyeing the boy cautiously before making a gesture of gratitude and turning to her own meal. Unfazed, the boy poked the fire and ignored them until they were done feeding, then busied himself dragging the corpses away from the camp for the wildlife to dispose of as the other two dried their clothes out by the roaring blaze.
“So what's happening in the colonies?” Viktor asked, once they'd swapped brief histories of the last few centuries. “Your letter mentioned troubles within the British settlers?”
Yuri threw another log on the fire and pulled his furs tighter around himself, his eyes fixed on the dancing flames. “Over the last few years, the British elites have become frustrated with their continued rule from the mainland. The younger generation particularly object to the taxes and duties; the ones born here. I anticipate an attempt to break free of the Crown within the next century. Possibly even in decades.”
“It would definitely be beneficial for us to influence that process. I assume you're on the side of the colonials?”
Mila raised an eyebrow. “Why would you assume that?”
“Yuri has a soft spot for the abused and disenfranchised” Viktor shrugged, smiling at the annoyed growl from the blonde. “Something to do with being abused and disenfranchised himself, I suppose.”
“Go fuck yourself, Viktor.”
“Ahhh. Pay up, dear sire” Mila laughed, holding out her hand. Ruefully, Viktor pressed a small piece of gold into it, and Yuri frowned. “We made a bet on how long it would take you to tell him to go fuck himself. I bet less than two hours. Viktor was optimistic and said three.”
“I'm always optimistic, especially about my beloved children.”
Snarling slightly at their banter, Yuri prodded the fire again. “There's a complication, one I can't overcome alone. A small group of Spanish vampires have allied themselves with the Crown loyalists, and are taking steps to prevent the rebellion.”
“Anyone we know?”
“Doubtful, they were all created here. The major thorn in my paw is one Leo Cortez. We've been trying to kill each other for centuries, but he's proved impressively resilient. Now he's surrounded himself with three others. They're all younger than me, but together they are powerful. It's too much for me to take on by myself.” His expression showed how much he hated admitting that, but for once Viktor let it slide.
“The addition of our skills should help. What's your plan?”
“Unclear at the moment. I'm waiting for a few more pieces to fall into place. You and Mila need to integrate yourselves with the British aristocrats, to begin with. I've arranged two invitations for a very exclusive party in Pennsylvania next week.”
“Two? You're not coming?”
Yuri glowered at Viktor, then gestured at himself. “It's amazing how difficult it is to be taken seriously at human gatherings when you're stuck in the body of a fifteen year old boy.”
Mila laughed out loud, shaking her head in sympathy. “My dear brother, you should try being a woman some time.”
Sighing, Viktor stood up and brushed snow from his clothes. “Alright, enough family bonding and reminiscence. How long will it take to reach this Pennsylvania place? As much as I enjoy a spot of rural living, I'm keen to see what the Americans consider a hot bath."
There was a new aura in the house. Otabek was dozing in Yuri's bed, half listening to his owner reading to him in German when he felt it, and it jerked him awake instantly. Sitting bolt upright, he frowned and shook his head.
“What's the matter?”
“Someone new... I just felt them arrive.”
Yuri closed his book, his expression edging towards irritated already. “A stranger?”
“Mmm. Viktor's really happy. Mila too.”
Yuri was already moving towards the door, and gestured for Otabek to come with him. “Stick close to me until I know who it is” he ordered, and the nephilim nodded, feeling the possessive tones flowing from the vampire. He knew Yuri wouldn't want him out of his sight while he was in that mood.
The doors to the main parlour on the ground floor were open, and they heard Viktor's warm laugh as they approached. Yuri stomped into the room trailing Otabek behind him and froze when he saw the newcomer. The anger in his aura jumped into the red, and Otabek cautiously eyed the unfamiliar vampire.
Slender and dark haired, the Chinese vampire looked around twenty years old and wore a smart suit, dressed like a modern businessman. He and Viktor were both speaking Mandarin but Otabek could easily understand them thanks to his years of eating out in New York. The nephilim used the pause before Yuri moved to his seat to touch on the other auras in the room, curiously.
Mila was talking to the new vampire animatedly, and her aura buzzed with fondness and joy at his presence. Unusually tense, Giacometti was leaning against the wall nearby, and his aura pulsed with concerned static. As Yuri entered, that pulse shot up and he shifted his weight slightly, preparing to react to violence. Otabek remembered that Yuri had recently tried to decapitate him, and bit his lip nervously.
Seung-gil was the only one not radiating some extreme emotion; the Korean was immersed in his laptop and only occasionally casting glances towards the others. As he sensed Otabek's eyes on him, he shut the computer, gave Viktor a glare and then walked out of the room, his aura filled with fear and fury. He hadn't spent more than half an hour in the nephilim's presence since Otabek returned to the manor.
“Mind giving us some space, Chris?” Viktor asked, noticing Yuri at the door. “You know how these reunions can be.”
The tanned vampire nodded and left, glancing sideways at Yuri as they passed each other, aura flaring with worry. Otabek's owner ignored him completely, his anger focused on the newcomer like a laser. Reaching the central seating area, he folded his arms across his narrow chest and ground his teeth as the Chinese vampire turned to face him.
“Yuri, how are you? It's good to see you again!” the Chinese vampire was smiling, and his aura radiated pleasure at seeing the tiny blonde. The contrast between the two of them made Otabek's head hurt.
“What the fuck are you doing in America, Guang Hong?”
“Visiting family of course!”
“Bullshit. You're here because of Him.”
The capital letter was unmistakable, and Otabek noticed Viktor's blink of surprise before the coven leader could mask it. Guang Hong's aura shifted, becoming cautious.
“His presence on this continent is just a coincidence dear brother, I can assure you. Viktor said I should drop in any time I was in the US, so here I am.”
“Leo's here?” Viktor's voice was a little too sharp, and Otabek felt the Chinese vampire's aura shrink a little more. Carefully, he reached out with his mind for contact with Yuri, and felt the blonde open up his thoughts to him.
He's hiding something.
I figured. Let me know if anything changes.
Yuri turned and threw himself onto his chair, and Otabek immediately sat down next to it, moving as unobtrusively as possible. His position next to the blonde couldn't be disguised though, and Guang Hong gave him a look of surprise, taking the opportunity to change the subject.
“Yuri, you got yourself a pet?”
At the mention of pets, Otabek did a double take and realised he was the only mortal in the room. None of the others had brought theirs with them, not even Chris and Seung-gil.
Why aren't Yuuri and Sara here?”
Mmm. Good question.
Yuri sat cross legged on his chair, physically projecting a relaxed, careless attitude. His aura spoke volumes about how on edge he was, and Otabek wondered again at the inability of vampires to read each other. As they sat down together and began catching up over a few decades worth of personal histories, the nephilim reassessed his value to his owner yet again, as he silently reported to Yuri on the shifts and tweaks in the emotions of everyone in the room.
“Wait, you're saying you can't read auras?”
Yuri nodded, leaning back in his chair and closing his eyes as Otabek brushed his hair. The vampire had discovered that small, intimate moments like this were very important to his pet, drawing him emotionally closer to his owner each time. The nephilim had a natural talent for massage and pampering, so Yuri indulged him whenever his fingers twitched towards a hairbrush, or he wanted to join the vampire in the shower after sex. When the vampire chose to open up his senses and let himself experience the pleasure of the soft touches, it usually made him purr like a kitten.
Working the brush gently through the vampire's thick blonde hair, Otabek thought about that. “So vampires don't know what others are feeling?”
“Mmm. I've known a few who could read thoughts, but it was a terribly invasive skill and only really worked on weaker vampires or mortals. I can only speak to people, if they don't speak back I can't make them. And I don't know if they're lying to me, at least not just through that.”
“Wow. Not even Viktor can do it?”
“He can get some information using spells, but that's even more invasive and usually breaks the target. Permanently.”
Otabek winced and started braiding, sighing happily at the feel of the soft hair beneath his fingers. Since finding out Yuri was born a Viking, he'd spent several weeks with Phitchit and Yuuri researching how to do authentic Nordic braiding. The first time he'd done Yuri's hair in that style, the vampire had stared at himself in the mirror for nearly an hour, lost in memories that made his aura flicker and spike in soft, nostalgic tones. When he'd come out of it and reached for his pet, the sex had been mind blowing.
“Did you know I could? Before you... before we met?”
Changing the language changes the events. Since returning to the manor, Yuri noticed Otabek had started shifting the way he spoke about their first months together, avoiding words that reminded him of the abuse and pain he'd suffered. His mind was taking steps to heal itself, and deal with the new reality of his situation.
“I suspected. Most strong nephilim are fairly powerful psychics, and aura reading is a big part of that. I wasn't prepared for how good you are at it though, that was a nice surprise.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your range and sensitivity is excellent. I had to really push myself to hide from you. You can pick up the others approaching from quite a distance away, as well.”
“It's because I know them. Distance makes things... foggy. It's easy to miss someone approaching unless the aura is really familiar.” Hearing his owner boast about his abilities made Otabek strangely proud, and he fought down the complex feelings that created by concentrating on his braiding.
“So the more you know someone, the harder it is for them to hide from you, or lie to you?”
“Pretty much. It's annoying though, since I can't turn it off. Sometimes it's a nightmare, especially when the five of you are together. If more than one of you is having a strong emotional reaction to something, I end up with a migraine after a while.”
“I've never seen you in pain after a meeting.”
“I... I've learned to shut the others out... by focusing on you. Your anger, especially when you're around Viktor... it's like a blanket, I can wrap myself in it and just float.”
Stepping back, Otabek brushed his hands together with a satisfied noise. Yuri turned and eyed himself in the mirror, running his fingers over the myriad of tiny braids that encircled his head.
“You know this is a women's style, right?”
“A shieldmaiden would have worn her hair like this.”
“Oh fuck! I'm sorry! I'll change it...”
“Leave it” Yuri said, his expression amused. “I always wondered why the women got to look better than the men. It never seemed fair to me.”
Guang Hong and Viktor spoke for hours, with Mila chirping in periodically, her Chinese slightly more stilted but good enough to communicate. Yuri spent most of the time in silence, glowering at the slender newcomer. After a while, Otabek decided to prod him a little for answers, to try and make sense of the aura shifts he was reading in the room.
Who is he?
Viktor's youngest child. Techincally, my brother. And Mila's, of course.
You mean Mila is also Viktors...
You didn't know that?
He... he really likes having children... Otabek's mental tone was sligthly awestruck, and Yuri growled out loud in response.
He likes having minions. Becoming a vampire is no joke. It takes centuries to get out from under your sire's control. More, if they are powerful. Mila's still not there yet, he can pull her strings like a puppet. Guang Hong isn't quite as under the thumb, but that's because he's been physically away from Viktor for centuries.
The responding spike in rage and unexpected emotional pain made Otabek rapidly change tactics.
Why is he trying to conceal why he's here?
Yuri made a disgusted sound and stretched out on his couch, running his fingers through Otabek's hair to calm himself down. His lover is here. Leo Cortez... or Leo de la Iglesia, as he's calling himself now. He arrived in America about three months ago. Leo is a very old enemy of mine.
Lover... vampires can fall in love? I mean... real love?
Of course. Come on Otabek, think it through. What are you always saying about emotions, auras and so on?
They're much stronger... OH! Oh my god. Otabek stared at Yuri in astonishment, and the blonde raised an amused eyebrow. You mean vampires feel everything more, not just anger... I... I hadn't realised.
Some of us have more control over our emotions than others Yuri replied, sneering at Viktor slightly. Viktor tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, using his emotions as a battering ram. If he's upset or angry, everyone around him just wants to make him smile again. It's ingenious, but very wasteful.
What about you?
You tell me.
Otabek thought about that. You're always angry... so no-one expects anything else from you. You can hide what you're thinking and doing behind rage and tantrums, and no-one will question why you're throwing a fit over nothing.
Very good. Plus, I really am angry all the time. Being trapped in this coven stokes my rage beautifully.
Yuri closed down, withdrawing his thoughts from Otabek for a moment and the nephilim filed that comment away for later dissection. When the flow of mental speech resumed, it was in the form of a question.
Is it just his aura you can read? Or can you pick up thoughts as well?
I... I don't know. I've never tried... but that wasn't true, was it? Something stirred, some memory of soft mental speech, pushing his mind out towards someone. Too vague to be helpful right now. I'd need to practice on you. Or on one of the humans... but I'd prefer to start with you, to see if you can tell what I'm doing.
Mmm. We'll practice later. If you can, I want you to do it before he leaves.
Otabek relaxed against the chair, enjoying the feel of the blonde's fingers in his hair. It occurred to him how easily Yuri could turn that touch into agony, just by switching from fingertips to claws. The thought held no fear for him; he trusted the vampire not to hurt him for no reason. Astonished at how much had changed between them, he fell to watching Viktor's lips moving as they continued to talk.
Yuri... Viktor's lying.
What he was just saying about having orders from his sire? That was a lie.
How do you know?
I... I don't know. I just do.
What could Viktor be up to??
The presence of a sixth vampire in the manor caused the tension levels of the house to rise considerably. The human staff reacted with something approaching a panic, unsure how dangerous this new predator was or what would be expected from them. Otabek discovered with astonishment that it was down to the favoured pets to calm and managed them, and expressed this to Yuuri one afternoon. They had spent several hours setting up one of the guest suites for Guang Hong; a smaller set of rooms on the fourth floor. It required the relocation of several staff, as well as a complete clean and refurnish. By the time they were done, he and Yuuri were dusty and tired, as were the handful of staff that had been helping them.
Retreating to one of the staff kitchens, the little group sat around a table and ploughed through sandwiches and hot drinks. The two pets requested the root tea that was integral to their health, and Otabek noticed the curious looks on the other humans faces as he took his cup. Yuuri gently pointed out that he was a new face to them, and he blushed slightly. He'd never really had any contact with the humans who lived and worked in the house before.
Walking back to Yuuri's suite, Otabek voiced his concern over his lack of understanding of the house and its staff, and the smaller man laughed.
“This is why I still do your food shopping.”
Otabek froze and stared at him. “You do what??”
“You've never wondered where the food in your kitchen comes from?”
He hadn't. He voiced his shame about that as well, and Yuuri shook his head with amusement.
“It's fine. I just... well, you weren't in a fit state to take care of yourself when you first got here. Understandably! So I took care of things for you. I supposed I should have stopped when you... got back, but you were settling in with Yuri and everything was so different for you...”
Raising his hand to stop the flow of words, Otabek shook his head. “What are you saying, Yuuri? You're babysitting me??”
“I'm just saying, there's a whole world inside this house you haven't come across yet. Pets normally have a lot of contact with the staff, that's why they were so curious about you. They think you're an elite or something, too good to deal with them.” Yuuri frowned a little, adding “for all I know, you might be. Has Yuri ever said anything about it?”
“Mmm.” Otabek winced, remembering Yuri's words. Nothing the others do applies to you. “I should be pulling my weight, not relying on you. Yuri won't object.” Hopefully, he mentally added.
Learning about the house took days. Yuuri hadn't just been doing his shopping, he'd been organising his cleaning, laundry, even the maintenance of the music equipment in his suite. Understanding just how much he'd been babied and carried was humiliating, and he was determined to put a stop to that as soon as possible. Beyond that, he discovered that the favoured pets had their own important roles in the day to day running of the household that he'd been completely oblivious to.
Sara seemed to completely control the manor finances, Phitchit was mostly in charge of the welfare of the staff, and Kenjirou was tasked with recruitment and the unfortunately frequent disposal of bodies. Yuuri expressed his feelings about that with a shudder, explaining that Seung-gil's pet was the only one desensititsed enough to actively search for the staff that would likely die at their posts.
Michele's primary role was house and garden maintenance, and he managed a small team of workmen who were housed off site, since he argued that letting the vampires eat skilled workers was ridiculous. Yuuri ran the hospitality side, making sure everyone was fed, watered and medically cared for, and organising the house for the infrequent supernatural guests.
Otabek was apparently considered either a freeloader or an elite pet by most of the staff. The discovery of this put him in such a bad mood that even Yuri noticed.
What's the matter with you tonight? You look ready to chew through the furniture. It's adorable, by the way.
Carefully forcing his face into neutral, he shrugged and forced his focus back to the music. He was working through a new mix, but had been so distracted that he'd missed the point where his owner stopped dancing and crossed to the decks. The thoughts carried a sense of mild irritation that he wasn't concentrating, blended with curiosity.
I'm freeloading here. Everyone else has jobs to do.
The raised eyebrow was a definite warning sign, and Otabek elaborated hurriedly.
I know I'm not like the others, you made that very clear. I just... I had no idea how much they were doing. How little I was doing.
Yuri leaned against the DJ booth and tilted Otabek's chin so he could look into his eyes. What's the problem? You don't like an easy life?
No! I... I don't like it. Not having a role... it makes me different. I hate being different. I've never liked it. The nephilim sighed, leaning in to Yuri's touch. I've spent my whole life trying to blend in, hide, be normal. Now I find out that even in this place, I don't fit in.
“Part of it is my fault” Yuri said, sometime later. Otabek was curled up on the bed, his head on the vampire's thigh. They'd been sat in silence for an hour, something they'd started doing recently. In the past, Otabek would have been dismissed when Yuri no longer wanted to interact with him, but since the arrival of Guang Hong, he'd been reluctant to let Otabek spend too much time alone. The nephilim had been happy to simply doze when Yuri was lost in his thoughts, working through things; the drift and ebb of his owner's hectic aura was almost soothing. It was hard to believe that being bathed in constant rage could become a relaxing, domestic sensation, but after nearly six months of being back in the house, it had become a source of comfort.
As Yuri spoke, Otabek shook himself out of his thoughts and turned over, lying on his back so he could look up at the blonde. The vampire had been like a statue for an hour, and as usual when he first began to move again he looked unworldly and surreal. Fingers ran through Otabek's hair gently as his bright green eyes looked down at the nephilim.
“I don't usually keep pets. You're the first I've had since joining the coven; about a hundred years, give or take a decade. The other pets took over from their predecessors, and developed the spread of their jobs and tasks organically, out of a desire to help each other. You weren't a replacement, so there wasn't a role for you to step into.”
Otabek was amazed that Yuri knew that much about the activities of the pets, and said so.
“I know about everything that goes on in this house” the blonde said, shrugging. “It's my job to know what people are up to. When Phitchit arrived about four years ago, he took over running the staff from Mila's pet at the time, who was getting too old for her owner and knew she wouldn't be around much longer. When he arrived, Kenjirou wanted to help him because Phitchit was always kind to him. And so on.”
“How... how often to the pets change?” Otabek winced slightly, carefully avoiding the words die or get killed.
“Depends on the owner. Viktor tends to keep his the longest, he's less interested in the way they look. Giacometti gets through them pretty quickly, I'm guessing Phitchit's still around because he's able to keep himself pretty. Mila's a very fickle creature, Sara's probably on a permanent tightrope. Seung-gil just replaces pets as he breaks them.”
Shuddering, Otabek brushed his lips against Yuri's thigh. “How long will you keep me?”
The fingers running through his hair paused, and then Yuri drew him up to kneel in front of him. “That depends on you, doesn't it?”
Otabek lowered his eyes, shivering slightly. “I... don't... I don't understand...”
“Yes you do. You said it in Seattle... that you knew I wanted your soul.” Yuri kissed his jaw affectionately. “I decided not to talk about it again until you raised it.”
“Do you even know what you're asking from me?”
Yuri nodded, leaning back. “A trade” he said, “your powers and abilities at my command forever, in return for immortality. You'll never age or die, but neither will you suffer the flaws of being a vampire. You'll never have to taste the death of a human, or say goodbye to the sun.” His voice sounded strangely wistful at the last, but Otabek shook his head, his expression dark.
“You don't understand. At all.”
The blonde raised an eyebrow, his expression surprised. “The lore is clear...”
“Vampire lore. Yes?”
“Then how could you understand.” Otabek sighed, rubbing his hands over his face. “No vampire would ever understand what it means for a nephilim to accept a dark pact. What it does to our souls.”
Looking at his pet, Yuri saw the pain in his eyes, and the fear in his voice. “Explain it to me” he said, gently.
Shuddering, Otabek looked down at his hands, aware that he was very close to crying. “W-when we die, we know where we're going. We have a... a guaranteed ticket, if you like. We don't know what it's like, or how it works, or which human tradition is right, but we know heaven exists. It's like a call, we can hear it when we're near death. The first time you bit me, I could feel it, trying to pull me in.”
“Also exists, but again, we don't know much about it. Only that it's... well, as bad as it can be. Very rarely, a nephilim will end up there, if they tarnish their soul enough. That's what the b-bond to a v-vampire does.” His voice broke as he spoke, tears slipping down his cheeks, and Yuri softly brushed them away.
“If you accepted the bond, you'd be immortal... you'd never have to fear death, or what comes after...”
“Not immortal, Yuri. Bonded to an immortal, living as long as they do. If you died, so would I.”
“I have no intention of dying” Yuri said, smiling slightly. Otabek shook his head, trying to find the words to explain his fear and doubt to the vampire.
“The bond asks me to tarnish my soul, and risk an eternity of damnation if you died. What could you possibly offer me in return, that would be worth that?”
Here be plot.
CW: descriptions of physical injury, violence.
Slipping into his chair in the main parlour, Yuri eyed Guang Hong distrustfully. The Chinese vampire was stretched out on a temporary couch beside Viktor's chair, lounging comfortably. Nearly a month since he'd arrived at the house, he showed no signs of wanting to leave.
Viktor was discussing some obscure aspect of American politics with him, and the smaller vampire was giving every impression of being fascinated by his words. In sharp contrast, Otabek's mental speech was reporting on the shifts in his aura as Yuri and the nephilim had entered the room. Guang Hong was tense, and full of hatred for the blonde.
Settling back in his chair, Yuri ran his fingers through the nephilim's hair as a cover while he reached out with his vampiric senses. Casting his gaze to the south, he confirmed what he'd noticed earlier and curled a lip slightly. Time to drop a few bombs on his younger brother. Inturrupting Viktor rudely, he spat a question at his sibling.
“Guang Hong, why don't you invite Leo to the house? It seems rude not to, considering he's only just down the road.”
The room froze, even Seung-gil paused from scrolling his phone, eyes unfocused as he listened to the conversation. Christophe actually uncurled from his pet, and Mila closed her laptop to stare at Yuri in astonishment. Ignoring their reactions, he continued, ignoring the warning look from Viktor.
“It's been a long time since I got a chance to spar with him. It might be fun.”
“Yuri, that's enough” Viktor's voice was curt. “I know you have... history... with Leo, all three of us do. That's not Guang Hong's fault. Every time you speak to your brother you're rude, and combative. I'm sick of hearing it.”
“Mmm. So you're happy that there's an enemy less than a mile away, and a spy for it in our midst? Or are you so arrogant that...”
There was a sudden black blur, and Otabek blinked as he realised Yuri was no longer sat beside him. The blonde was hanging in the air, nose to nose with Viktor in the middle of the room, snarling in rage, and wreathed in some sort of black smoke. The rest of the vampires in the room were making a variety of strangled, terrified noises.
“Get off me, asshole” Yuri hissed, and Otabek realised that the smoke coiling around the blonde's arms and legs was coming from Viktor's fingers. His senses belatedly put together what had just happened, and he realised Yuri had been yanked away from him by the taller vampire's magic. Horrified, he watched as the smoke continued to wrap itself around his owner's body, looping around the slender limbs and throat.
“Why can you never keep a civilised tongue in your head” Viktor asked, his voice sounding furious yet very tired. “Or obey simple orders, for that matter?” As he spoke, the smoke began to contract, squeezing the flesh beneath it and forcing Yuri to arch backwards. Otabek twitched, the urge to protect his owner nearly overwhelming.
Stay out of this. The silent hiss from Yuri was unnaturally calm considering the position he was in, and Otabek sank his fingers into the chair, a soft sound of helpless fury slipping from his throat.
“Perhaps it's time I taught you some manners, Yuratchka” Viktor said, his anger making his voice snap over the nickname. Yuri struggled in his grip, and managed to hiss out something obscene in Russian before Viktor bent him even further backwards, nearly folding him in half. The sound of the blonde's spine breaking made Otabek's stomach turn over, and the slender vampire went limp as a dead fish. Not satisfied, Viktor continued to squeeze, breaking more bones until Yuri was completely immobile.
Tell me what you can see.
Blinking, Otabek stared at the others and forced himself to concentrate on the auras. All the pets in the room were universally cowering, and Yuuri was actually in tears as he watched his beloved owner unleash his terrifying power. The three coven members were hovering somewhere between horrified and fascinated, each of them drawing away from the scene out of a sense of self preservation. They were all out of their seats and pressed against the walls of the parlour, Guang Hong included.
Turning his focus to the cause of the deeply one sided fight, he shook his head in puzzlement, and then the truth of what he was seeing crashed down on him like a ton of bricks.
Guang Hong is delighted. He's so happy right now, he's almost glowing. What the hell are you two doing?? Viktor's not even remotely annoyed, and you...
Viktor twitched his fingers and Yuri flew through the air towards the door, crashing through Guang Hong's chair and shattering it, his body bent in an unnatural jumble of limbs as he hit the ground. He gave the limp body of the blonde a last prod as his smoke retracted back into his fingers, getting a furious, helpless snarl in return.
“Have I made my point, Yuri?”
The blonde gasped something that sounded like a curse, and Viktor snarled. Turning his attention to Otabek, he gestured at the vampire crumpled on the floor.
“Get that out of my sight.”
Lying Yuri carefully on his bed, Otabek sat beside him and watched in fascinated horror as the vampire's bones healed, popping joints back into place and straightening broken limbs. The process took less than ten minutes, and by the end of it Yuri's eyes were burning with hunger.
“Lounge. Under the sideboard. Bring both bottles” he growled, and Otabek ran to get out of range before Yuri lost his grip on his self control. Finding two bottles of blood in the warmer, he shook his head as he brought them to his owner. Watching Yuri down the first one like a college student on spring break, his expression darkened even more.
“You could have told me what you were planning.”
“No” Yuri said, snatching the other bottle and taking a more reasonable swig. “I needed you to react naturally. You're a terrible liar, Otabek.”
“What exactly was the point of those theatrics? Viktor wasn't angry with you, and you... you were talking to him, I could feel it.”
“Oh? You're getting more sensitive. Excellent. Still no mind reading though?”
“No, and don't avoid the question. You scared the shit out of me in there.”
Yuri lowered the bottle and smirked, letting his mental gaze travel to the parlour. Sure enough, Guang Hong was seated comfortably in Yuri's chair.
“The point, my love, is that I'm about to be exiled from the coven. Guang Hong's going to take my place.”
Two days ago...
“You're sure Leo's here?”
“He's in a hotel down in Anchorage. He arrived a week ago.”
Viktor stretched out on the couch in his study, eyeing the blonde. “Guang Hong's in touch with him?”
“By email, yes. The content's encrypted, but his proxy setup is terrible, so it was easy enough for my people to track.”
“I have no idea what you just said, but I'll take your word for it. So Yakov's finally making his move then.”
Sipping his glass of blood, Yuri watched the emotions playing over the face of the coven leader. “You knew it was coming. You've been pushing your luck. When did you stop communications?”
“You knew about that?”
The blonde pulled a face that said you even need to ask? and Viktor laughed. “Fair enough. Three months ago. It was time to pull the plug.”
“More like 'light the blue touch paper', you mean.”
“Well maybe. Yakov was making a move to consolidate his hold here, I had to block it. Backing out of the Russian conglomerate was the most effective way to do that.”
“So you pulled your support to Russia, and Guang Hong arrives with reinforcements less than three months later.”
“He wouldn't really use Leo against me, would he? Talk about a nuclear strike.”
Shrugging, Yuri put his glass down. “If he can negate your magic, Leo's the obvious choice. He could pull this house apart single handedly. Not to mention, all of us.”
“If he can negate me. Which he probably can. Yakov wouldn't have sent him in here unprepared.”
“That's your problem, o mighty sorcerer. My biggest job is dealing with Leo and breaking Yakov's support back in the motherland.”
“Mila can deal with Leo.”
“Oh? Can you trust her? She adores Guang Hong, and she's never been fully in the loop about the purpose of this coven.”
“I brought her here because she was the only one I trust. I trust her more than I trust you” Viktor said, giving Yuri a reproachful look. The blonde shrugged.
“Fine. Set her on Leo. Her skill set's better suited to a physical fight with him anyway. I'll focus on Yakov.”
“OK. Tell me what you need, and lets get our defences in place.”
“I need time and space to work. Specifically, I need out of this house, with no expectation of return any time soon, and you need to get Guang Hong to question his loyalties to Yakov. If he's conflicted, it will delay him pulling the trigger.”
“How the hell are you going to justify leaving the house, knowing he's here? He'd never buy it.”
“Hmmm. A screaming row would do it, or a physical fight.”
“You want me to exile you??”
“Now you're getting it. Invite Guang Hong to take my place, give him a few weeks to make his decision. Stall him.”
“Are you crazy? You'll be totally vulnerable out there.”
“Hardly. I've got a safety net already set up, I started moving pieces as soon as Guang Hong arrived. And I'll have Otabek.”
Viktor looked surprised at the mention of the nephilim. “He's that useful? Even without the bond?”
“More than you know” Yuri said, smiling slightly.
“A public fight then” Viktor said, stroking the bridge of his nose thoughtfully. “How much damage can you take?”
“Make it look good. I'll lay in supplies for the healing.”
CW: descriptions of rape, abuse, torture, buried alive.
Go straight to the second paragraph to skip the rape scene.
I don't write rape scenes casually. I'm a survivor myself, so I understand how triggering they can be. I do use them when the narrative calls for it, however.
Near the Black Sea, 968AD
Moans echoed through the longhouse as the silver haired vampire worked the cold, unresponsive body below him. His occasional instructions to the blonde to change position were met with ugly snarls, but the sire's power over his child's body was absolute. The only thing Yuri could control was his physical response; he forced his body into numbness and refused to allow even the slightest reaction to the unwanted stimulation. Discovering that he could control himself like this was his rebellion against the way his sire pulled his strings, and it kept him sane.
As Viktor finished and pushed the blonde away to get cleaned up, the silver haired vampire leaned back and surveyed the room. Bodies lay over every surface, packed so tightly at the back of the room they obscured the wall. The few survivors were bound and gagged near Viktor's chair, but he ignored them for a moment. Satiated from blood and orgasm, he watched his child kneeling in the corner, washing Viktor's fluids from his body with a disgusted grimace on his beautiful face.
“As much fun as you are, you'd be more entertaining if you actually enjoyed yourself. Instead of making me puppet you. I don't like doing that, you know.”
“You want me to enjoy it when you rape me?”
Viktor laughed, shaking his head. “Rape... what an odd word to chose. You don't rape your own property. You use it for its intended purpose, or you discard it.” His eyes narrowed, wandering over his child's slender back and chest. “I'll never discard you, Yuri. You're far too beautiful for that.”
Snarling quietly, Yuri rose and crossed to the door. “It stinks in here. I want some air.”
“Sit down. You're not going anywhere while you're in this mood.”
As the power behind Viktor's command forced Yuri's legs to fold, the blonde made a furious noise and buried his face in his hands. “How long must I endure being your puppet” he murmured, and his sire laughed again.
“Until the blood we share becomes thinner, diluted by the human blood you drink. Until then, you're basically an extension of my own body.” He thought about that for a moment. “I suppose masturbation would be a more accurate term than using my property.”
“How fucking long.”
“Mmm. One, two hundred years perhaps?”
Yuri stared at him, his eyes huge and horrified, and Viktor's laugh echoed in the fetid room again.
His first attempt on Viktor's life came a few nights later, when the silver haired vampire was bathing in the river. Stealing a blade from the last farm they'd sacked, he waited until the vampire was completely distracted and then launched himself silently from the bank, dagger clenched in his fist.
The resulting blow from the older vampire sent him spinning into a tree and broke several bones. As he slumped into the snow, Viktor stepped out of the river and looked down at him.
“Yuri... that was very rude. Apologise, or I'll have to punish you.”
“Go to hell” the blonde snarled, and Viktor tutted. Turning to gaze at the forest, he pursed his lips and considered his options as the smaller vampire's body began to heal.
“I don't think beating you will make very much difference, will it? You're pretty used to that by now. Hmmm... I know!” he said, clapping his hands in delight as an idea came to him. “Let's see if solitary confinement will make you a bit more appreciative of me!”
Forcing the blonde to walk back to the farm with him, Viktor used his magic to collect large tree branches and rocks and dragged them to the centre of the village. Gathering up all the remaining metal he could find amongst the ruins, in a very short space of time his magic had fused the materials together into a six foot box and a number of long, metal strips. Yuri could do nothing but stand there and watch in horror as his prison was constructed.
The blonde screamed in rage as the sorcerer bent the metal around Yuri's body, trapping his arms to his sides and locking his legs together. Tossing the struggling vampire into the box, his sire stared down at him with a sad expression.
“You're making me do this, don't forget. Apologise when I let you out, and I'll forgive you. Until then, you can think about what you've done.”
“Viktor!! Don't... fucking... don't do this to me!!”
With a sigh, the older vampire excavated a deep hole using his tendrils of smoke and dropped the box inside, then began filling it in. As he worked, Yuri's screams grew muffled and eventually silent, blocked by the weight of five feet of earth. Setting a magical ward around the grave, Viktor sighed again and shook his head.
“Children are so troublesome.”
“Good morning, Yuri!”
Digging up the box and dragging it out of the hole had been a bigger job that Viktor had expected. In the ten years since he'd buried his child, trees had grown over the spot and he'd only found it again by looking for the ward he'd placed around the grave. When he'd lifted the blonde out of the box, his child had been nothing more than an unresponsive mummy, emaciated to bone and leathery skin. The inevitable fate for a starving vampire.
Opening the throat of one of the humans he'd brought along and letting the bloody rain fall on the body of his child caused hollow eye sockets to open, and long, spindly claws to reach out for the prey. After draining another two humans dry, the blonde was starting to look more like himself again, and had returned to consciousness enough for Viktor to speak to him.
“Let's cut straight to it” Viktor eyed the smaller vampire, noting that as soon as he'd heard his sire's voice, the blonde had started snarling. “You've been down there ten years, Yuri. Time enough, don't you think? Are you ready to apologise for trying to kill me?”
The answer was a blur of movement, and Yuri's claws sinking into Viktor's chest. Slapping the blonde away, he shook his head. “Apologise, Yuri! Or I'll bury you again!”
“Go. Fuck. Yourself.”
Viktor clicked his tongue, infuriated despite himself. “Dammit Yuri, this isn't the life I imagined for you.”
“Kill me then” hissed the blonde, and understanding dawned. Astonished, Viktor laughed out loud and began wrapping the smaller vampire back in the metal restraints.
“Is that what you think? I'll eventually tire of trying to break you, and I'll kill you? Ahh... and of course, you'll die fighting me so you will go to your Valhalla. Oh Yuri, Yuri...” flinging the screaming, enraged blonde back into the box, he pushed it back into the hole and stared down at the writhing body of his child. “I'll never tire of you, Yuri. I'll never kill you. You're going to be very, very useful to me one day. Just wait and see. I don't want to break you, just tame you enough to trust you. That's all.”
As he buried the box again, the furious screams of his only child made him smile gently.
Time inside the box stood still, measured only by pain. At first, while human blood was still rushing in his veins, Yuri could sense the sunrises and sunsets and could monitor time. After a while, that awareness faded and was replaced by hunger. His body still responded to the movements of the sun, shutting down during the day and casting him into a death-like slumber. Each night he awoke to suffocation and darkness, and he used up what little air was inside the box on furious screams.
As his limbs withered, he was able to escape from the strips of metal that locked his body in position, and curled up on himself. He occasionally sobbed, his body so dehydrated that he was unable to cry any kind of tears. The hunger became an ache, spreading through his whole body until all he could feel was the pain. At the point of madness, his conscious mind retreated and he drifted inside the pain, and time went away.
Inside his tomb, he dreamed of strange looking cities, filled with more humans than he'd seen in his life. Blonde, brunette, even some reds. Through the mass of people, the devil walked, his silver hair flashing in the moonlight. Yuri watched as his sire feasted and cavorted, manipulating the humans around him until he was surrounded by luxury and had integrated himself with the leaders of the humans.
Sometimes he dreamed of other places. He saw thick evergreen forests hunted by beautiful, olive skinned men with waist length black hair and fearsome paint on their bodies. Oceans that swallowed raiding ships whole, giving back nothing but a few scattered bones. Endless golden plains, where tall men with obsidian skin hunted and danced, taking down fierce cats the size of horses.
The day Viktor returned to him, he saw him coming. The return to full consciousness was agonising, and his plan to be contrite and then escape went out of the window as soon as his sire began speaking. Blind, berserker rage settled over him, and he threw himself at the older vampire spitting hatred and fury.
When Viktor buried him again, he screamed so loudly he ripped his vocal cords.
“How long has he been down there?”
Viktor growled softly, unamused by his brother's question. “Over a century now. 120 years in total; the first few times I only left him a decade each. I'm at my wits end with him, Georgie. He simply refuses to behave himself.”
“Children are spirited. My oldest took a decade before she'd stop arguing with me over everything.”
“Arguing? Is that all? Mine actively tries to rip my head off every time he sees me.”
“Hmmm. You said he's Norse?”
“That's right. Why?”
“Maybe seeing you is the problem?” Georgi tapped his fingers to his lips, thinking. “Have you ever seen one of their warriors in battle? They're insane, they take 'bloodlust' to a whole new level.”
“You think I make him so furious that he turns into a berserker at the sight of me??”
“I'd be pretty pissed off with you too, after 120 years in the ground.”
Blood brought his senses back, and his voice was broken as he screamed from the pain of renewal. Drawing the source of blood and heat to himself, for a long time his only thought was the hunger. After draining the third human, his conscious mind returned to him and Yuri focused on the unfamiliar face in front of him.
“My name is Georgi. Your sire is my brother.” Noticing the snarl already forming on the exquisite face of the blonde, the older vampire raised a hand calmly. “His treatment of you has been... poor. And ineffective.” Offering the blonde his hand, he pulled him to his feet and ran his eyes over him, his expression sympathetic.
“Inexperienced sires often behave badly to their first children. I'd like to help you, if you'll let me.”
“Hold him while I cut his throat” Yuri growled, his voice stronger as his body healed. Georgi laughed, and shook his head.
“Sorry, that's the one thing I can't do. I can offer you the next best thing.”
“Freedom, Yuri. I can offer you freedom from him. A life away from this frozen hell. If you want it.”
Sheremetyevo airport was busy when the plane arrived, the late afternoon commuters pushing and jostling to get through customs. Otabek was led by a serious faced official to the large cargo hanger, where a carefully packed white coffin waited for him. Signing it back into his possession, he discovered a hearse and driver had been assigned by someone with the initials G.P. Sitting in the passenger seat as the coffin was respectfully loaded, he watched the sun starting the evening descent and worried.
Once the hearse delivered him and the coffin to a dacha slightly outside the capital, Otabek found himself at a loose end. Setting up the coffin in a windowless suite of rooms, he made sure there were suitable bottled supplies warming for the hungry vampire. The owner of the dacha was obviously a vampire as well, judging by the attitude of the staff to the unusual arrivals. Happy that Yuri probably didn't need to attack him or anyone else on sight when he awoke, Otabek carefully unsealed the coffin. Staring into it in astonishment, he felt a chill run through him.
Yuri's aura had been hectic and stressed when he'd settled into the coffin, and he'd insisted on Otabek waiting until he was unconscious from the rising of the sun before he closed the lid and sealed it. Staring at the remains of the plush fabrics and the contorted limbs of his owner, he finally understood why. The necessity for speed had meant the vampire would have spent several hours awake before the sun rose again on their journey and returned him to daylight slumber. Only the immense strength of the steel had prevented the vampire from clawing his way through the coffin when he'd woken up during the 10 hour flight.
Running his fingers lightly across the scratches and indents in the steel, Otabek felt a guilty sense of relief that he hadn't been close enough to feel the vampire's aura as he woke up in the dark and panicked. The dense population of the plane had completely overpowered the nephilim's senses, and he'd drifted through the flight in a light doze to avoid a headache. He wasn't used to large numbers of people any more.
Worry had nagged him all throughout the journey and the prospect of food made him feel sick. Now, looking at the state of his owner and the likely results when he woke up, Otabek was even less inclined to eat. Refusing the hospitality of the staff at the dacha, he simply sat on the couch opposite the coffin and waited nervously for Yuri to wake up.
Flickers in the vampire's aura telegraphed his return to consciousness a few minutes before his hands appeared at the side of the open casket and he pulled himself upright. Otabek used that time to open the bottles of warm blood and seat himself very carefully on the other side of the room, hoping that his owner would have enough self control not to attack him on sight. As he watched the slender vampire emerge from the coffin, he fought down a shudder and forced himself to breathe slowly and calmly.
One moment, Yuri was sat upright in the casket, then there was a blur and he was stood beside the bottles, emptying the first one down his throat. Otabek flinched badly at the movement, but held his nerve to watch as the vampire drained the other bottle more slowly. His eyes became more focused as he drank, and when he was done he turned his attention to the casket he'd just climbed out of. His aura spiked dangerously high and then he kicked it hard enough to bend the metal and slam it into the wall. Spinning on his heel, he stalked out of the room, trailing Otabek like a nervous cloud.
Pushing through a set of double doors and out onto the patio, Yuri seemed to straighten up at the touch of fresh air. He padded to the stone balustrade and leaned on it, deliberately filling his lungs and exhaling, wild spikes of emotion racing through his aura. Watching him from the doorway, Otabek made a soft sound of worry at the sight of him. He'd never seen the blonde so distressed, but he didn't know how to help him and he was certain trying to approach or interact with the blonde would end in violence. All he could do was silently watch.
A few minutes went by, then Otabek twitched as he picked up the approach of an unfamiliar aura. Another vampire was making his way through the house towards them, and without thinking he touched Yuri's thoughts, letting him know. The snap response from the blonde was enough to make him back off with a wince, but Otabek felt satisfied that he'd done his job. Physically retreating to the side of the patio, he watched the stranger step out into the night.
Tall and slender, this vampire had a haughty bearing and short, dark brown hair. His eyes were an intense indigo blue, and he was dressed casually. Clearly at home and comfortable, Otabek surmised this was the owner of the dacha. As he stepped out onto the patio he glanced at the nephilim briefly before turning his attention to the blonde.
“I saw the coffin in my suite. You seriously put yourself through that?”
“No choice... had to get here fast.” Otabek winced again at the broken sound of Yuri's voice.
“Please don't take it out on any of my staff here. I've got them all very well trained, I'd hate to replace them.”
“Fuck off” Yuri said, resting his chin on his hands. The rudeness felt almost companionable, and the stranger smiled slightly, his aura flickering with fondness and amusement. Turning his attention to Otabek, he gave him a more serious look.
“Sophia said you wouldn't eat until he woke up. Let's leave him to recover for a while and get you fed, yes?”
Go with Georgi. I'll call you when I need you. Don't starve on my behalf.
Even Yuri's mental voice sounded ruined, and Otabek bit his lip with anxiety before pushing himself away from the wall and following the vampire named Georgi. As he looked back at the blonde, he saw the dents his fingers were leaving in the stone wall as he forced more night air into his lungs.
Georgi installed the nephilim in the spacious kitchen, and Sophia, his cook, began making food and tea for him. When Otabek declined the offer of vodka with a look of longing, the brunette leaned on the table and smiled understandingly.
“You were in Alaska, I understand? You know my brother, and my niece?”
“V-Viktor is your brother?”
Georgi nodded, then shrugged. “We have the same sire, so yes. We were made by the same creature” he added, and Otabek made an ahh of understanding. “What do you think of Viktor?”
Eyeing the tall vampire, Otabek probed his aura to try and understand the context of the question. Finding nothing but curiosity and an edge of worry about unrelated things, he decided to go for honesty.
“Viktor is a demon, disguised in the finest silks” he said, and the cook dropped her spoon in shock. In contrast, Georgi laughed in delight and nodded.
“Very perceptive. I'm beginning to see why Yuri likes you. Most people see only the veneer of gentility and the easy laugh.” Pushing himself away from the sideboard, he gave Otabek a much more genuine smile. “Eat, drink, rest. Come back to the suite if he calls for you, otherwise Sophia will show you to a guest room.” Acknowledging Otabek's grateful nod, Georgi left instructions with the cook to restock the blood in the suite and look after Yuri's pet, then left.
Otabek carefully monitored Yuri throughout the next few hours, while the nephilim tended his own needs of rest and refreshment. The blonde stayed in the garden for most of the time, only coming back in when his aura began to pulse with hunger again. Making his way to the suite of rooms, he drank enough to satisfy his needs before sending a mental summons to his pet. As Otabek joined him he realised Georgi was there too, the brunette's aura a simmer of concern and worry that seemed to be his default state. Both the vampires were listening to a speakerphone call when Otabek slipped into the room, so he silently took a spot on the couch next to his owner.
The call was in Russian and sounded like logistics for something coming up in the next few weeks, and when it ended Georgi sat back with a disgusted look on his face.
“Your plan isn't going to work, Yuri. Too many variables, too much could go wrong.”
“I know” the blonde shrugged. “Why do you think I'm here? I need to close down some of those variables personally.”
“The risk is...”
“The risk is exactly the same as it was three hundred years ago when we started all this. As is the reward. Now isn't the time to get nervous, Georgi.”
The brunette growled and sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees. With his gangling frame, he looked rather like a puppet with its strings cut. “I still don't understand why you're doing this for Viktor... after everything he's done to you...”
Yuri shook his head, and to Otabek's astonishment he tucked himself into the nephilim's arms, his aura pulsing with an unexpected affection for the vampire sat opposite him. Faint, but more than he'd ever displayed to any of the other vampires Otabek had seen him interact with. Wrapping his arms around the slender blonde, Otabek reappraised the creature sat opposite him with this new perspective, and wondered at the unspoken centuries of history.
“That's why I'm doing this. To get out from under Viktor's claws forever.”
“He'll never relax his grip on you...”
“He's already started, although he probably doesn't see it like that. He exiled me from the coven.” The pleasure and pride in Yuri's voice and aura made something inside Otabek exalt, and he briefly tightened his grip on the blonde in a hug. Georgi just stared at the smaller vampire in astonishment.
“Bullshit...” his eyes narrowed and he seemed to be looking at something Otabek couldn't see. “Fucking hell, he really did. Not just a show, he actually did it. Your brand is gone.”
Yuri purred softly, nodding. “He knew Guang Hong wouldn't buy pretence. I had him beat the shit out of me and kick me out. He thinks I'll return once this is over, obviously.”
“He always was an optimist. He thought you'd come back after I sent you to America, as well. I still don't see how you're going to...”
“It's complicated, and we don't have time for irrelevant details. Lets just say that my actions here will be both leverage over him, and a threat if he doesn't do what I want. Which is to leave me alone forever, and never set foot in my country again.”
“You were the one that invited him to America, don't forget” Georgi's tone was irritated, and Yuri laughed.
“Still jealous that I didn't send for you?”
“You were too deep in your endless war with Dimitri. Besides, I needed Viktor to think I trusted him. He wouldn't have come this far if he wasn't certain he had allies.”
Sighing, Georgi leaned back. “And now we come to the end of it. Almost two thousand years of hatred, and soon it will be over. Out of the ashes, Viktor will rise, and you'll have your freedom.”
“So will you, remember. You can stake Dimitri out in the sun and claim your place at the Tsar's side; everything you've ever wanted.”
“Once Yakov is dead.”
“Yes” Yuri nodded, “once Yakov is dead.”
OMG they're plotting against the Vampire Tsar of Russia????
CW: ancient warfare, descriptions of war, torture, death.
Smoke billowed from the burning suburbs of the Byzantine capital, the stink of charred flesh drifting across the water to the Rus fleet. Watching the slaughter from the deck of the flagship, the three vampires stood silently, each lost in their own thoughts.
Heir and right hand of the Vampire Tsar, Georgi wore light armour and rested his hand on the hilt of his sword. Shoulder length hair pulled back in a topknot, he looked every inch the hardened warrior he was. His face was carefully blank, refusing to acknowledge the screams of the dying that reached his extraordinarily sensitive hearing. Only the fierce, enraged grip on his sword gave any indication of his feelings about what he was witnessing.
To the left, the Grand Magi of the Court ran his eyes over a small tome in his hand, throwing the shore occasional glances. Viktor wore an elaborate set of robes, dressed in the style of a scholar, and his silver hair hung to his hips, braided against the stiff breeze blowing over the Bosporus sea. His usually shining blue eyes were dark and hooded, and his lip was curled with disgust at the waste of life before them.
The central figure was the shortest, and physically appeared to be a middle aged male. Grey hair to his shoulders, thinning on top, Yakov's features were harsh and blocky, set in an expression of permanent outrage. His blue eyes glinted in the moonlight and he rested his arms against the bow as the fires took hold of the outer parts of the city.
“How long before they take the Isle of the Princes?” Yakov demanded, and Georgi frowned, looking in that direction. His supernaturally enhanced eyesight picked out figures moving through the monastries, cutting down guards and holy men alike.
“Not long. Maybe an hour.”
“You told them to bring captives back here?”
“As you ordered, your Imperial Majesty.”
Returning his attention to the shore, Yakov narrowed his eyes. “How many dead?”
“Over two hundred so far. Mostly women and children. As you predicted, there were hardly any soldiers left after the deployment of the navy.”
“Viktor, as soon as the twenty two prisoners are brought on board, get started with the ritual. I want to be back in Holmgard before the Emperor returns to the city and leads an army against us.”
Turning on his heel, Viktor disappeared wordlessly into the bowels of the ship to begin his preparations. Georgi shifted his weight, watching the progress on the Isle as Yakov brooded.
After a while, Georgi made an annoyed sound. “Dimitri's on his way back” he grunted. A boat appeared out of the smoke bank, a young man in his mid twenties standing in the prow while two soldiers rowed. Covered in blood and bearing a nasty wound to his shoulder, still he was grinning savagely. Bowing to the two vampires, he called up his report.
“The men are drowning and butchering, as you ordered. Taking the city itself with our remaining numbers would be diff...”
“Unnecessary. Focus on keeping the garrison away from the Isle. Send your men back with their orders, you come up here and get that shoulder seen to.”
As the human made his way to his owner's side, Georgi turned to look back at the Isle. Boats filled with sobbing prisoners streamed towards the fleet, cast into deep shadow by the fires from the shore. Holding himself utterly still, he watched until the last of the prisoners had been taken to Viktor's ritual circle, then stood watching the outskirts of the city burn as the axes fell and the screaming began.
“Dimitri's going to be given the Blood."
Viktor raised an eyebrow as Georgi strode into the room, nearly snarling with fury. The brunette cast his eyes around his brother's apartment, looking in vain for something to smash and eventually settling for hurling himself at the couch.
“This surprises you? The wound he took at Constantinople last month isn't healing properly, Yakov's probably worried he'll die.”
Georgi snarled again, clenching his fists. “You think this is a joke? He's usurping our place!”
“Your place, and no, he's not. Yakov wants to put him in charge of the military, but you're still the old man's right hand.”
“I am the head of the military branch” Georgi nearly screamed, and Viktor tutted. “How long do you think before that little shit decides to take my position as heir as well??”
“You don't give a fuck, because you're untouchable as a magi. Don't think I don't know.”
Viktor growled softly. The ritual he'd conducted for Yakov still burned in his memory and on his skin, and Georgi's assumptions about his position in the court rankled. Imbuing the already ancient vampire with powers beyond his natural gifts had cost the sorcerer dearly, in dark pacts and darker alliances. His soul had become so fractured, he was utterly unable to withstand the new power of his sire; helpless for the first time in over seven hundred years, Viktor's rage seethed and boiled behind his placid expression.
“Georgi. You're being ridiculous. Even if Dimitri wanted to usurp you as heir, he's three hundred years too young for that. Yakov's just moving pieces around for his own purposes.”
“Oh... oh really. You want to know what else he's moving around? He's sending you south.”
Viktor froze and turned to look at his brother, his face aghast. “I beg your pardon?”
“That got your fucking attention, didn't it. He's sending you to the Black Sea. Something about Norse invaders with strange magic. I'm sure he'll contact you about it in a few nights.” Smiling unkindly, Georgi gestured at the plush apartment and view over Holmgard. “Say goodbye to your reward of luxury living, dear brother. Apparently it's a brutal frontier down there.”
The travel to the Black Sea took nearly two months, owing to weather conditions and the fragility of the human soldiers Viktor had been ordered to accompany. By the time he arrived he was angry, bored and generally in a foul mood. Settling in for several decades worth of research on the magics the Norse had brought from Scandinavia, he amused himself by periodically accompanying the army on their pillaging of the enemy villages and farms.
Norse magic was powerful and bloody, and had him completely distracted. He only noticed he was being deliberately kept away from Russia and from the activities of his youngest brother when he contacted Yakov after nearly fifty years for permission to return home, and was refused.
Over a century passed, the isolation infuriating him. He received rare reports from Georgi, confirming what the brunette had always feared; Dimitri had quickly been recognised as Yakov's favourite, his raging bloodlust and ruthlessness appealing far more that Georgi's pious, narcissistic heroism or Viktor's weakened magical abilities.
Viktor could offer only commiseration, and continue his lonely existence on the very edges of Rus society. His few contacts withered without his presence, and in fury he turned his full focus to his magics, pushing himself brutally and without mercy, trying to undo the damage Yakov's ritual had done to his abilities. The casualties of his experiments numbered in the hundreds, and he took to living in the forests, tired of having to mask his darkened and damaged soul from humans.
So it was that he came across a savage, fearless warrior child in the depths of the Ukraine forests, and recognised the potential to create an unstoppable, unbreakable weapon for his revenge.
CW: descriptions of injury, torture
Plot and smut!! It's been too long since we had some smut <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Otabek sat on the bed and stared at himself in the mirror. His skin was pale from the lack of sunlight over the last six months, and his hair was a shaggy mess; undercut nearly grown out and bangs well over his eyes when not slicked back. He looked thin, an unhealthy sort of weight that spoke of poor health and bad diet. Standing up, he stripped out of the clothes he'd worn since Alaska, grimacing at the gritty, travel worn feel of his skin. Naked, he gazed at his reflection again.
He usually healed fast and well; only very deep wounds left scars, like the one on his leg where he'd crashed his motorbike and shattered his tibia when he was fifteen. Even that was faint, the pin marks gone and only the surgery scar really noticeable. Compared to that, the recent wounds had been light, but his constant mild anaemia and stress levels had taken a toll on his healing ability.
Scars dotted his neck and shoulders, mostly twin puncture wounds from the hundreds of bites inflicted by his owner. Similar marks littered the rest of his body; wrists, thighs, even a few on his back that he had to twist to see. The throat was Yuri's preferred feeding location though, and the damage there was very obvious. He was unmistakably marked as a vampire's pet, at least to anyone with a knowledge of the supernatural. Yet for the first time since he'd returned to Yuri's side, the proof of his ownership didn't make him want to cry.
Watching Viktor shatter his owner's body and throw him out of the coven had been the single most awful thing he'd ever had to witness. Partly because he was terrified and confused and genuinely afraid that if Yuri died, he'd end up belonging to the sorcerer himself. That fear had been real, but not the dominant source of his horror. The agony inflicted on Yuri had been mostly ignored by the smaller vampire, due to his unique ability to switch off his nerves and ignore physical sensations. Despite this, for Otabek the urge to protect him had been almost overwhelming and only Yuri's silent monologue had kept the nephilim's instincts in check. That desire to protect, to defend, had effectively broken the last shaky grasp the pet had managed to keep on his feelings for the blonde, and Otabek had carried him back to his suite weeping silently, clutching his broken body to his chest.
Exiling the smaller vampire from the coven had been a long, brutal ritual that Viktor had carried out without emotion, despite the endless screams from the blonde. Otabek could sense the magic stripping away pieces from the vampire's spirit, gouging away the 'brand' of the coven, as Georgi had called it, cancelling the magical protections and enhancements that came with membership. The physical injuries from the ritual had been just as extreme, leaving his clothing and body bloody and shredded. Yuri ignored the physical damage as usual, but was unable to shut himself off from that intense, spiritual pain and had writhed and screamed under Viktor's hands. Christophe had restrained Otabek physically; the Nephilim mindlessly snarling with rage and desperately trying to attack Yuri's tormentor, his hatred for the silver haired vampire drawing a red mist over his vision.
Once the brand had been removed, Yuri had been thrown at Otabek and the pair of them had been physically kicked out of the house, tossed onto the road outside the gates like sacks of rubbish, without anything more than the clothing on their backs. Picking his broken, unconscious owner up and casting a nervous eye towards the horizon and the coming dawn, Otabek had started walking towards the main road, refusing to look back at the brooding manor. Only when they reached the crossroads and Otabek felt them move out of the influence of Viktor's magical wards did he stop, setting Yuri down carefully and kneeling beside the blonde.
Lying on the grass, looking up at the stars and the scurrying night clouds as his body healed for the second time that night, Yuri started to laugh. The sound made Otabek want to weep again; he'd never heard a sound so ecstatic and broken at the same time. Yuri laughed until bloody tears slipped down his face, flattening his body to the ground and digging his nails into the turf. After a while, he simmered down to giggles and the occasional sob, and Otabek could make out words under it; finally free... I'm free...
An uber pulled up to them about an hour after they'd left the house, and Yuri dragged himself into the back seat, curling up in Otabek's arms. Giving an address in Anchorage, he pushed some bills across to the driver then closed his eyes, looking as if he'd drifted off to sleep. Otabek knew better; he could feel his aura pulsing and spiking as he used the last of his strength to contact people and observe situations far away. Otabek carried him into their room wordlessly, seriously worried by now about the approaching sunrise.
Lining the tub with spare towels and pillows in a pointless attempt to provide comfort, he settled Yuri into the windowless bathroom and drew a blanket over him, concealing him completely. Closing the door behind him, he blocked it with the table and then collapsed on the bed, the stress and exhaustion hitting him like a brick. Managing to stay awake long enough to hang a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door and lock it, he switched on the TV to make it obvious the room was occupied then passed out on the bed, fully clothed and too tired to even roll under the sheets.
Awakening almost ten hours later, he ordered a pizza using the motel phone and checked on his owner. Yuri was exactly as he'd left him, looking like a corpse tucked into the tub. Otabek used the toilet, washed his face and then shut Yuri back in safely until sundown.
Knowing they'd be thrown out of the house without any resources, Yuri had concealed a number of essentials on both of them. Otabek's jeans hid a smartphone, a slim battery charger, a set of keys without tags on, and an electronic keycard. Yuri had simply stashed as much cash as he could fit in the sides of his boots, knowing that Viktor would probably destroy most of his clothing while performing his ritual.
Paying for his food with some of Yuri's cash, Otabek sat down on the bed and ate, watching an ancient sitcom until he heard movement from the bathroom. Taking a deep breath, he braced himself for the assault he knew was coming, and unblocked the door. To his credit, the starving vampire did his best not to drain the nephilim dry and kept the bites in the realm of pleasurable rather than blindly attacking him on sight.
Once his raging initial hunger had been satiated, Yuri sat on the bed and let the nephilim curl up with his head on his lap, crying softly until the shock of blood loss receded. As he stroked his weeping pet's hair, he powered up the phone and began making calls and sending emails, activating his hidden resources. Periodically he'd throw his sight to the area around them, checking for movement from his enemies. When Otabek recovered enough to ask what was happening, he explained his plan to get to Moscow.
Stepping out of the shower, Otabek paused and eyed the door to his room. He'd been housed with the other servants and given a room with an en suite, with the expectation that Yuri would send for him when he was wanted. Now, though, he could feel the blonde's aura nearby. Wrapping a towel around his waist, he pushed open the door and peered out. No sign of the blonde in the bedroom, but after a moment he heard a soft knock on the door.
“Why are you knocking? It's not my room, I can't stop you walking in.”
“It's called politeness. I know, I don't usually bother with it.”
“You'd really go away if I didn't let you in?”
Shaking his head in amusement, Otabek opened the door and stepped back, gesturing his owner into the small room. Yuri ran his eyes over him as the door closed, then reached up and cupped his jaw gently.
“You look exhausted. Have you eaten this evening?”
“Not yet... Georgi said to just go to the kitchen when I was hungry, but...”
“I... I'm still feeling too nervous to eat” Otabek admitted, sitting down on the bed.
“You have to eat, no matter what. I can't have you collapsing on me.”
Yuri tilted his chin up and slipped onto his lap, straddling his thighs. Kissing the nephilim softly, he ran his fingers through his soaking hair.
Don't be afraid. I know what I'm doing.
Even Georgi's scared. I can feel it... so much tension all around... and you don't care if you lose, because if you do then you'll die, and you'll still be free...
“That's what you think?” surprised into speaking aloud, Yuri leaned back as Otabek flinched at the unexpected audible voice. “You think I'm risking my life for this, without a care in the world?”
“Yes... at least, a part of you is. You're happy... I can feel it... it's terrifying. You're enjoying every minute of it.”
Sighing, Yuri massaged the muscles in his pet's shoulders with his fingertips, carefully avoiding scratching him with his claws. “It's not that simple, my love. What you're feeling is my joy at being out from under Viktor's nose, for the first time in nearly four hundred years.” Kissing the nephilim again, he shook his head. “I have no intention of dying in this frozen wasteland. I'm going to win, Otabek. I always win, eventually.”
Otabek murmured something unintelligible, his fear and tension gradually fading under the words and touches of his owner. Looking up at the blonde, he wrapped his hands around his waist and pulled him against his chest, holding him tightly. Watching the nephilim's eyes slowly shift from anxious to lusting, Yuri leaned down and kissed him more seriously, easing his tongue between his lips as he pushed him onto his back on the bed.
I want you Otabek... can we have sex?
Y-yes... yes please... but...
Don't worry... I won't bite you... you can't take much more right now...
Groaning, Otabek shook his head. I want it... just... please don't take too much...
Alright... I'll be careful...
Sighing happily, the vampire stripped out of his clothes and grabbed the lube he'd brought with him, slicking them both then resuming his position on Otabek's lap. His movements gentle, almost tender, Yuri eased the towel away from his pet's groin, running icy fingers over the thick, hot flesh and letting his lips trail down Otabek's throat and onto his shoulders. As the nephilim moaned and his hips bucked up into his owners hand, Yuri drew his pet inside of him and hilted him smoothly, their growls of pleasure making his heart light.
As they worked each other's bodies, Yuri pressed his lips against Otabek's throat and let his fangs brush the skin, teasing his pulse with his cold tongue. His pet gasped and the blonde shifted his weight, circling his hips to rub the head of the nephilim's cock against his sweet spot, letting the sensations run wild through his body with a soft cry of bliss.
Moving faster, the blonde arched up for a better angle and braced himself against the wall behind the bed, watching emotions flicker over Otabek's face as he thrust up into his owner. His expression was unusually clear and uncomplicated; pure lust and adoration as he ran his hands over the vampire's body. For the first time since they'd met, there was no sign of fear or grief in the nephilim's eyes, no hesitation in his movements. As he had been the first time Yuri had seen him, DJing in a rock club in Brooklyn, he was lost in the moment and utterly, breathtakingly beautiful. Desire flooded the vampire just as it had done all those months ago and he leaned down, capturing his lips and moaning his pet's name into the kiss.
“Y-Yuri... ahhhh... p-please... please c-come for me...”
Easing his fingers onto his own arousal, Yuri drove his body towards orgasm, rubbing his fingertips over the throbbing head with each upward stroke. The nephilim wrapped his arms around him and then, in a move that spiked pure animal lust into his owner, he sank his fingers into Yuri's hair and pressed the vampire's lips against his throat. With a high moan, Yuri's hips bucked and he came hard, his fangs sliding into his pet's throat at the same moment as his body clenched around him. The pulsing of his owner's muscles and the pleasure from his fangs was overwhelming, and Otabek arched up helplessly, hoarse cries and moans ripping from him as he climaxed.
Honouring his promise not to take too much, Yuri withdrew his fangs after only a small taste of the elixir that was his nephilim's blood and collapsed on his chest, shaking and whimpering slightly as he fought the inevitable desire to drain his pet dry. After a few minutes, he felt Otabek withdraw from him, the loss of heat inside him making him murmur in protest. Suddenly becoming aware that he was dangerously close to the deathlike sleep of day and nowhere near his assigned suite, he shook himself and stood up.
“Stay here” Otabek murmured, tucking himself under the duvet and stretching out along the wall to make space in the single bed. “There's no windows, you'll be safe.”
“You want to wake up next to a corpse?”
“I want to wake up next to you.” Chuckling at his owner's bemused expression as the blonde slipped into the bed beside him and curled up in his arms, he vocalised the simple realisation that had surfaced during the wild flight from Alaska.
“I'm not afraid of you anymore, Yuri. I... I love you.”
Moscow hummed in the early evening, the city breathing and pulsing around them. Otabek and Yuri moved through it in disguise, trusting the mass of humanity around them to keep them hidden and safe. Both had new clothes; black suits with dark shirts and ties, with freshly trimmed hair in Otabek's case, the blonde opting for slicking back his hair instead of his usual braids or bun. Wrapped in scarves and gloves against the chill of the evening, they made their way on foot to their meeting at a four star hotel near the centre of the capital.
The blonde politely accepted cups of rich smelling coffee while they waited in the lobby, waiting for the receptionist to notify of their arrival. Pushing his drink aside untouched, Yuri reclined on a long couch, letting his eyes drift over the bustling room as they waited. Beside him, Otabek drank his coffee gratefully, monitoring their surroundings for any unusual auras or magical influences. As best he could tell, they were in a completely mortal environment, and Yuri was the only vampire there. Yuri had told him to be on guard whenever they were outside of the dacha, and in the city itself the blonde was on edge and prepared to respond to any attack instantly.
A sleek looking Russian in a similar black suit greeted them and silently led them to a suite on the third floor which had the appearance of frequently used meeting rooms. They were shown into a large office and the man behind the cumbersome oak desk rose to clasp Yuri's gloved hand enthusiastically. Approaching fifty, he was tall and slim with grey hair and a widows peak. Sharp, intelligent brown eyes completed the picture of a refined international businessman, but when he shook Otabek's hand the mob tattoos on his knuckles were immediately obvious.
“Yuri Voronov, it's good to have you here once again! Please, sit! My god, you never age. I wish I had your genes! Sit, sit!” He gestured them into chairs beside the fireplace and called for vodka, insisting that they each took a glass.
Drink it, don't accept a second.
What about you? You can't drink that?!
I do what I must. I'll deal with it later.
Baffled, Otabek watched as Yuri toasted with the Russian and took the shot flawlessly. Following his example, the Kazakh winced as the alcohol blazed a trail into his stomach, refusing a top up reluctantly.
“May I know your associate, Yuri?”
“Of course. Sergei Antonovich, this is Otabek Altin. He's a business partner.”
“It is an honour. You must be a close partner for Yuri to bring you here.”
“He's a key player for the Party” Yuri said, and the older Russian's face crumpled slightly.
“Yes, of course that is why you are here.”
“You expected something else?”
The gangster hummed for a moment, eyes narrowing as he rearranged his thoughts. “We dropped your cut to 9%, as a way to reach out to you. No channels were safe to get a message to America.”
“That answers one of my questions, at least” Yuri said, shrugging and arranging himself comfortably in the armchair. The light from the flickering fire made his skin look almost rosy, but Otabek knew from experience that the heat couldn't take the chill from his flesh. Only blood could do that.
“We were approached by one of your rivals. He made us a very serious offer to transfer our holdings to him.”
“A 5% bonus for the first two years. He also promised to murder our families if we refused.”
Yuri made an irritated noise in the back of his throat. “Did you get a name?”
“How many have died so far?”
Otabek blinked. “Wait... you refused him after that threat?” he asked, shocked into speaking. Both men gave him an amused look, and then Sergei raised an eyebrow at Yuri.
“Does he know about our history?”
“He knows about my... family history.”
Nodding, Sergei turned back to Otabek. “Boyar Voronov's family have been a generous patron of my family since the Crusades. I would bury my entire bloodline before I betrayed him.”
Unsure how to respond to the passionate declaration, Otabek bit his lip and nodded, immediately understanding Yuri's simple ruse of acting as successive heirs to the family name down the centuries.
“How many, Sergei?” The blonde's eyes were narrow as he repeated his question.
“Four so far, mostly because they were careless and stupid. I can protect my own.”
“Once the Party is over, Dimitri will no longer be a problem, I can assure you. Can you return to 15% dues?”
“Not easily. He's put a stranglehold on the docks at St Petersberg. I could go to 12% at a push.”
Yuri tapped his fingertips against his forearm thoughtfully, his aura spiking with irritation. “Go to 12% and stick there until this is over. After that, I'll reopen negotiations with the Yakuza and see what we can do to recover the losses.”
“T-that's very generous of you, Yuri. Thank you.”
“Any other nasty shocks for me?”
Sergei shook his head, smiling slightly. “Just the nightmare of logistics for the Party. You asked for lists of personnel for both teams, which was sent to your associates before you arrived.”
“I saw their response. They're next on my list of visits. They flagged something interesting; a man named Mikhail Antonovich. Your relation?”
“My nephew. A favour to his father, nothing more. The boy is fresh from the army and needed work.”
Otabek raised an eyebrow despite himself, and touched Yuri's thoughts. He's lying.
You're getting much better at humans. Thank you Otabek. The nephilim ducked his head, flushing slightly with pride.
“There's a great deal of risk involved, Sergei, are you sure you want direct family on this job?”
“Ah... yes, yes. It's fine, fine! He's a solid man, he'll make me proud I know it.
He's still lying, and he's angry and upset about the boy.
Mmm. I'll deal with that later.
“Talk me through the problems” Yuri said, and the gangster handed over a thick file.
“Blueprints and layout of the dacha. It's a massive nightmare, a complete maze. Extensively remodelled outside and in. Your plan to isolate the target in the east wing is going to be nearly impossible.”
Eyeing the floor plans, Yuri muttered something Otabek recognised as an old Norse curse word. “I'll have to go in from the start then. Once it kicks off, I won't get anywhere near the old man otherwise.”
“If you're recognised...”
“I won't be, don't worry.” He gazed at Otabek for a moment and then cursed again. “We're going to have to shave your head” he said, his voice betraying his dislike of the idea. Otabek touched his hair in horror for a moment as Sergei laughed at him, and then shrugged.
“Whatever you need. What will I be doing?”
“I need you on the inside with me, my eyes and ears as it were. The old man is bound to have a description of you by now though.” Swearing again, Yuri folded himself up in his chair, his expression dark. “I wanted you well out of the way. Damn it.”
“I'll make sure my men know to look after him” Sergei said, and Yuri nodded unhappily.
“Alright. What else?”
“Mmm. The two men you told me to watch for haven't reappeared. They left for America about three months ago, no sign of them back here since.”
“Good. It's nice to confirm things. If Leo de la Iglesia or Guang Hong Ji show up here, get word to me immediately and go to ground. That's one of two scenarios for complete abort of the plan.”
“What's the second one?”
Yuri laughed quietly. “Them striking first” he said, and Otabek made a noise of distress at the thought. “Don't worry. I'm keeping a very close eye on them. They know we're up to something, but they're too arrogant to think we'd go this far.”
The meeting concluded after another few hours of talking through logistics and moving on to other business topics. At the end, Sergei handed Otabek a leather wallet containing a number of bank cards and a decent amount of cash, and Yuri responded by giving the gangster the electronic keycard they'd brought from America. “For your troubles” he said, and the older man's eyes widened.
“Yuri... is this...”
“Take what you need out of it, don't get too greedy” the blonde said, smiling slightly. Sergei nodded wordlessly, holding the card as if it were rigged to explode. “I'll want that back once the Party is out the way” Yuri added, amused at the reaction.
They picked up a street cab a block from the hotel and Otabek ran his hands through his hair, brimming with questions but unsure of where to start. Eventually he turned to the blonde and slipped his fingers into Yuri's gloved hand.
You said you'd explain the plan once you confirmed the Bratva were still under your control...
Yuri eyed him and then leaned against the window, stroking his pet's fingers as he gazed out at the glittering Moscow night. As the cab headed east, he organised his thoughts.
Dimitri is hosting a large reception in two weeks. He's involved in some high level arms dealing and has just taken on a new contract for the Russian military; the party is to show off to Yakov and welcome his new associates into his little club. Georgi is attending, as are four of Yakov's minions from the old USSR. Six enemy vampires in total. Georgi will take out Dimitri, Sergei's men will distract the humans and I'll deal with any of the vampires that try to protect Yakov. I don't expect more than two or three of them will bother, they'll be too busy watching Georgi and Dimitri try to kill each other.
Guang Hong and Leo should have been there as well Otabek guessed, and Yuri smiled in satisfaction.
Viktor has him distracted in Alaska, and Leo has actually moved into the coven house with him. They've been given my suite and everything, it's working out very well. Guang Hong is completely compromised; Viktor abandoned him just after he was made and left him with Yakov to raise, but he's still his sire. He's always hated that Viktor ran off when I summoned him. The chance to destroy my standing in the coven and replace me was like catnip for him.
Leaning back against the door, Otabek copied his owner in watching the streets slip by. They were moving out of the city now, heading deeper into the suburbs. The area was distinctly run down, with poor lighting and piles of rubbish on the corners. Here and there, a burnt out car loomed out of the darkness as they passed fetid alleys and dilapidated high rise flats.
Yakov's stronger than Viktor. How are you going to kill him?
Yuri grinned savagely. You remember my trip away, not long after I brought you to the coven house?
Not really. I think Viktor did something to my memory.
Mmm. I was here delivering a little party favour from Viktor. Yakov has a very specific and inflexible diet; most of us do after a few millennia. His larder is kept at his dacha in northern Russia, and only a few people are allowed anywhere near that place. Of course, his trusted middle child is one of them.
Viktor sent me to deliver a very complicated charm for him to plant at the dacha. It's been secretly drawing the vitality out of Yakov's food source for over eight months. Yakov won't know any difference, but it will have weakened him to the point of not being able to use his more... exotic abilities. The rest will be down to brute strength.
You're going to fight him?? Surely he's stronger than you??
He was... until I met you his mental voice purred, turns out a regular supplement of nephilim blood can increase a vampire's strength considerably. Which is why Viktor put the idea of a nephilim pet in my head in the first place.
“Viktor did what??” Otabek's tone was outraged, and Yuri shushed him with a glance towards the human driver, who had flinched at the sudden shout. His mental voice took on an apologetic, comforting tone.
Well, he suggested a communal pet for the coven to share, and taught us all how to identify strong nephilim a few centuries ago. Obviously he knew I'd never share it if I found one.
Fuck... I... I really never stood a chance, did I?
With a sad smile, Yuri turned and pulled Otabek into a tender kiss. No, you didn't. Neither of us did, really. We're all pawns for Viktor in the end.
More plot, and some fluff <3
Update: this has taken me over the 50k mark needed for NaNoWriMo! Ahhh!
Leaving the cab, the driver making a hurried exit from the less than salubrious area, Yuri led the way to a high rise that looked abandoned. Drawing the set of unmarked keys from Otabek's pocket, he unlocked the barrier to the main entrance and moved quickly into the depths of the building. The keys had come all the way from Alaska with them, and Otabek had been curious about their purpose as well as the keycard.
“What was that card for, anyway? Sergei looked like you'd give him the crown jewels.”
“It opens my vault in the Bank of Russia.”
“Y-your vault? You have an entire vault?”
“Yakov founded the bank in 1860, and we all have vaults there. He insists on keeping our main resources under his control. Once Sergei uses the card, it will send red flags to Yakov that I'm activating my contacts here, which is exactly what I want. He'll start trying to find me, while I'm sitting hidden right under his nose. Layers of distraction... it won't be enough to make Dimitri cancel the Party, but it will keep Yakov busy so Georgi can make his moves.”
“So you're bait. Again.”
“I don't trust anyone else to do it” Yuri grinned, and Otabek rolled his eyes.
“You've given a gangster the keys for your vault. How much is in there anyway?”
“A few million rubels worth of cash, plus antiques and artefacts I've collected over the years. It's all irrelevant though” he said, looking at the shocked expression on Otabek's face. “Money and things... they're only important for the first few hundred years. After that... well, everything rusts and rots eventually.”
They were heading down into the basement of the building, and the temperature was starting to climb noticeably. There was almost no light once they moved below street level, and Otabek paused as his vision adjusted.
“Can you see OK?”
“Of course.” Yuri pressed his lips against the nephilim's nose to demonstrate, and Otabek caught him in his arms, returning the kiss. “Come on... we're nearly there.”
Walking silently behind his owner, Otabek stripped out of his jacket as the warmth increased. “Are you leading me into hell?” he demanded, and Yuri laughed.
“Technically, yes. Not today though.”
Otabek let that one go.
They reached a steel door with an odd sheen to it, and Yuri paused as he unlocked it. “Brace yourself, it'll be brighter inside.”
“What's this?” Otabek asked, poking the door.
“Lead and aluminium lining. Prevents EMP interference and remote scanning, or so they tell me.”
“So who tells you?”
“Welcome to the heart of my information network” Yuri said, and pushed open the door, spilling soft blue light into the corridor.
The temperature was instantly explained once Otabek saw the corridor behind the door. Stretching as far as he could see in every direction were computer servers. The rooms were freezing cold, and the huge vents clearly emptied out into the building they'd passed through. The corridor was a small glass box separating them from the computers, and signs in Russian and English indicated that the rooms beyond were sealed and sanitised.
Staring around him in astonishment, Otabek automatically tried to estimate the cost of the computing power around him, forcing himself to stop once he began to get a headache. “This is insane. This belongs to you?”
“Of course not. I just pay for it and use it. It belongs to the Twins, and by extension a large amount of the world. They tell me it's an integral part of the Deep Net, which I take to mean something illegal and therefore indispensable.”
“You don't understand how it works or what it does?”
Yuri raised an eyebrow. “Correct. However, I know how people work, and people run this. Those people work for me and are loyal.”
They had left the server banks now and were moving through corridors with yellow tinted lighting and the occasional domestic touch; potted ferns, side rooms with guest beds, and tiny kitchens. Otabek could sense they were approaching a small group of humans, and passed this on to his owner. Yuri nodded, and led them through to a large communal space, complete with workstations, a lounge and kitchen, and a gaming corner. The corner was currently occupied with seven young men and women who were cheering on another two playing Mario Cart on an enormous wall mounted TV.
Hearing the door open, one of the men at the back of the group spun round and crossed the distance, his expression overjoyed. Otabek stared as he caught Yuri in a hug and the vampire returned the gesture, handling the human carefully to avoid damaging him. Wondering why it seemed surreal, the nephilim realised he'd never seen Yuri voluntarily touch another person apart from Otabek himself. This human must be special.
“Yuri! Welcome, welcome! You got my messages?” The young man spoke with a heavy French accent, his dark hair and eyes contrasting with a glowing tan.
“Where's your brother? We need to talk.”
The human immediately led them away from the crowd of people and towards a glass walled office set to the side of the space. Inside, Otabek could see an identical man working on a PC. As they approached he waved, piloting his electric wheelchair towards the set of couches beside his desk.
“Augustin, Antoine, this is Otabek. Antoine's the ugly one” Yuri said, gesturing to the man who'd met them at the door and getting a laugh from both of them. Otabek politely shook hands and allowed himself to be guided into a seat. Yuri kicked off his boots with a sigh and sat cross legged beside him on the leather couch, rubbing a hand over his face. Recognising the gesture, Otabek looked at his watch and frowned. The sun would be rising soon, and Yuri was feeling it already. There was no way they'd get back to the dacha in time; the vampire would have to rest here.
“I don't have time tonight to go over everything” Yuri said, and both twins nodded understanding. A certainty stole over Otabek that they knew exactly what Yuri was; there would have been no disguising the chill of his flesh when Antoine hugged him after all. “Just tell me what you know about Mikhail Anotonovich, lets get things moving before I need to sleep.”
“He's definitely a plant. There's a money trail to his wife and kids dating back from his last tour. We think he was working for Dimitri while he was a Quartermaster, moving guns and ammo through Afghanistan.”
“His placement on the team?”
“Dimitri knows you're moving pieces in the Bratva. When Sergei started putting a domestic team together, Dimiti put Mikhail onto it to keep in the loop. You were right to order Sergei to operate under black ops rules; as soon as he briefs the team, Mikhail will report to Dimitri.”
“OK. Is there a room I can use for today?”
“Of course” Antoine said, “do you need an encrypted line in there?”
“No. Just get word to Sergei to hold off releasing any info until I can speak to him tomorrow.” Yuri pushed himself upright and staggered as his legs refused to work properly, cursing as Otabek caught him. “Pushed it too much” he muttered, and the nephilim scooped him up in his arms.
“Look after Otabek for me” Yuri muttered as Antoine led them to the guest room. “And you” he touched his pet's jaw gently, “make sure you eat something today.”
Otabek nodded, noticing that the door only opened outwards. As he tucked the vampire into the bed and pulled the covers over the blonde, Yuri lost the battle against the sunrise and went limp, utterly defenceless as the sun rose over Moscow. Gesturing Antoine out, Otabek pushed the door firmly shut behind him.
“Does this door lock from the outside?”
“Here” Antoine locked it electronically and handed Otabek the key card. “You hungry?”
“Mmm.” Glancing around, Otabek grabbed a chair and placed it in front of the door, folding himself into it and giving the twin a firm glare. Nodding, the Frenchman smiled approvingly. “I'll bring you some food. Do you drink?”
“Water or tea please.”
“You're in Russia, my friend! No vodka?”
“I'd cheerfully kill for some” Otabek sighed, running his fingers over the stubble on his jaw and blinking back his exhaustion. “But then he'd cheerfully kill me. I'll stick with tea.”
Food turned out to be several huge, America style burgers and fries, and was gratefully devoured. Antoine brought his own portion and ate with the nephilim, keeping him company and answering some of his questions about the hidden data centre below a run down part of Moscow.
“Yuri found us in France, in the process of leaving our employment with Google. We'd managed to get ourselves in quite a lot of trouble poking into government and UN activities and were being investigated for espionage as well as being fired. He offered to make the charges go away and give us jobs for life, if we agreed to work for him out of Moscow.”
“Yuri saved you?”
“He really did. He eventually built up this little team, who owe him massively one way or another. Everyone is loyal to him.
“Why here? He doesn't live in Russia any more.”
Antoine shrugged. “Russia has one of the best intelligence networks in the world. We're tapped into it here, and into their hardline for China, which is essential if you want to actually get anything out of the Chinese data networks. Plus, we're guaranteed privacy.”
“You saw the state of the building up top, yes?”
“It's radioactive.” Antoine laughed at Otabek's expression, and shook his head. “Not really. But this area got caught in an accidental toxic spill a few decades ago, and was condemned. It's technically a no-go zone, although of course the government won't admit it, or that they were transporting nuclear waste through the capital city and got butter fingers. Technically this area is permanently listed for 'rejuvenation' that will never happen, but the reality is that Yuri bought it and buried the evidence of the cleanup to keep it isolated. It also means we can hide the energy use and outputs from the servers as necessary maintenance to 'manage' the spill.”
“Hiding in plain sight. Yuri does that a lot.”
“He's had a lot of practice over the centuries.”
“That was my other question; how do you know about him?”
“You can't hide something that big from a spy network! Although he did try” Antoine laughed, “and he had us fooled for about five years or so. He made the mistake of setting us on one of his relatives, I forget which one, and the data and money trails didn't make any sense at all. Then we came across some old photographs taken in America back in colonial days, and... well...”
Raising his eyebrow, Otabek indulged in a bit of curiosity. “I'd like to see those photographs, if you still have them?”
“Sure” Antoine nodded, “we purged the originals but we kept copies because Yuri got all emotional about seeing them, and it was adorable.” He darted into his office and returned with a tablet, flicking through secure files until he found the images.
All three of them were in the first picture; Viktor in the middle, with Yuri and Mila to his left and right respectively. They were leaning against the wall of a wooden building, Viktor reclining with a wide smile and an arm around Mila. Yuri was slightly apart, a clear gap between them despite the group photograph.
The other shots were variations of the first, with Mila and Viktor laughing together in one, and Yuri glaring at the camera. Another had them posing with long, flintlock rifles and a in a third they were holding glasses of whisky beside a sign that read 'Saloon'.
Staring at the old images in wonder, Otabek zoomed in on his owner. All three of them were dressed in the fashion of the day, Mila in huge layered skirts and Viktor in a multi piece suit, his hair braided down to the middle of his back, much longer than he had worn it at the coven. In every image, Yuri was dressed the same as Viktor, his hair loose around his shoulders; old enough by the standards of the day to bear arms and count as a man, despite his frail appearance. In each picture, Viktor was grinning and Yuri was furious. Otabek guessed the photographs had been Viktor's idea.
“He doesn't change much, does he?”
Otabek grunted, passing the tablet back. “He's even angrier now” he said, leaning back on the couch and fighting back a yawn. “When you found out, why didn't you run a mile?”
“100k a year salary, free accommodation and access to every dirty secret the world has ever tried to hide, plus he promised not to eat us. Why didn't you?”
Shrugging, Otabek gave the Frenchman an amused look. “I tried. It didn't take.”
After a while, and a few more badly concealed yawns from the nephilim, four of the young technicians carried a large leather couch from one of the offices in front of Yuri's door, blocking it completely and giving Otabek a chance to stretch out and get some sleep. Antoine gave him a blanket and pillow and left him to it, closing the door to the corridor and switching off the light. Feeling pleasantly full and oddly safe with the twins, Otabek settled down and slept, his breathing unconsciously syncing with the soft, daytime pulse of Yuri's aura.
CW: reference to buried alive, torture.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Letting himself into the room shortly before sundown, Otabek sat next to the unconscious vampire and watched him as he slowly returned to the semblance of life. The nephilim was only just starting to get used to seeing this process; until they'd left Alaska, Yuri had deliberately kept him away during his initial awakening each evening. The blonde explained that he usually woke up hungry, and not always completely in control of his instincts. It was safer for the nephilim to be out of the way, but in their current situation that wasn't an option. Otabek knew if Yuri woke up hungry around scared humans, there was likely to be a death.
Bright green eyes opened, and Otabek sighed with relief as he felt his owner take control of his hunger as he sat up carefully, pushing his hair out of his eyes. Leaning forward to kiss the blonde, Otabek wrapped his fingers around the back of his owner's slim neck and guided his fangs into his throat with a low cry of pleasure, twitching as he climaxed without Yuri even touching him. As the nephilim collapsed shuddering against the vampire, Yuri cradled him in his arms and drank slowly, savouring the taste of him without taking too much. When he had taken the edge off his hunger, he pulled away and rested his head against Otabek's shoulder, face turned away from his skin as he got himself under control.
“Mmm.... no... yes, for now...”
Relieved, Otabek tilted the vampire's chin towards him and kissed him firmly, leaving no doubt what he wanted. Orgasm from the blonde's fangs alone was indescribable, but it always left him wanting a more human experience afterwards, to ground himself. He pushed the blonde back onto the bed and ran his hands over the vampire's body, his pupils blown wide with desire. Loving the demanding impatience from the nephilim, Yuri melted under his hands, purring into his ear as they began ridding themselves of their clothes.
An hour later, they made their way back out to the communal area in search of the twins, and in Otabek's case, dinner. One of the technicians showed the nephilim the pantry and microwave, and made them steaming hot tea. Yuri wrapped his hands around his mug, enjoying the heat and watching Otabek eat leftover pasta and meatballs with half a pound of cheese on top.
“I live on protein” Otabek explained, catching his expression. He gazed at the tea cup in Yuri's hand and a thought struck him. “I've never seen you drink or eat before. I thought you couldn't? How did you drink that vodka yesterday?”
Yuri shrugged. “I can eat and drink, it just doesn't go anywhere, so I usually don't. I threw up once we were out of the hotel, when you were calling a cab.”
“T-that's disgusting” Otabek paused eating, looking a bit sick.
“That's why I don't usually eat or drink” Yuri said, amused by his pet's discomfort. “Some of us actively enjoy the flavours and textures, so they eat and drink regularly. Giacometti does it a lot, which should surprise no-one...”
Antoine appeared after a while and the three of them made their way to Augustin's office. Otabek barely reacted as Yuri settled himself into the nephilim's arms exactly as he had done in the dacha, curling up in his lap. He was beginning to recognise this as an indication that Yuri was comfortable and secure wherever they were, and willing to let his affection for his pet creep out. The twins gave Otabek a look of surprise, then grinned at each other knowingly, and Antoine threw a crumpled up banknote at his brother with a wink.
“Did we hear from Sergei?” Yuri asked, ignoring the antics of the twins.
“He's waiting for your call” Augustin nodded. “You can use this line, it's secure” he added, passing Yuri a smartphone.
“What did you decide to do about the spy?” Antoine asked, and Yuri's lip curled slightly in amusement.
“What do you usually do when you find a spy in your organisation?”
“Abuse it until it breaks” Antoine said casually, and Otabek winced.
“Why am I constantly surrounded by psychopaths” the nephilim mourned, and Yuri patted his cheek sympathetically.
“We're technically sociopaths, if that makes you feel any better” Augustin pointed out, and Otabek rolled his eyes at him.
“Make this work for me” Yuri said, handing the phone to Otabek in disgust. “I'm too hungry, my brain doesn't have the patience for technology right now.”
Sergei answered on the third ring, his voice subdued when Yuri greeted him over speakerphone. “Yuri, thanks for calling back. I understand there's a problem with the teams?”
“Unfortunately. You've been infiltrated, Sergei. Your nephew is owned by Dimitri.”
The lengthy swearing in Russian made Yuri smile unpleasantly. “You're sure??” Sergei asked, sounding angry and hopeless.
“Certain” Augustin replied, and Antoine nodded. “He's bought and paid for, I'm afraid, has been for about three years.”
“You must be the infamous Twins” Sergei said. “You have proof? I'll need it for his father once he's dead.”
“Plenty of it, but don't worry Sergei, I don't intend to kill him, or make you do it. I intend to use him. It just means you'll need to be a bit creative with your briefings to the teams, that's all, and he'll need to be assigned to the external squad. I can't risk Dimitri seeing him.”
Yuri outlined his plan, with Augustin and Antoine providing documents and calculations as he spoke. Listening with horrified fascination, Otabek found himself wondering how Viktor ever thought he had Yuri under his control. The vampire was mentally working at least a dozen steps ahead of any defence or counter attack his enemies could come up with, outlining backup plans within backup plans. Even the twins seemed impressed, and Sergei's voice was even more respectful, and slightly awestruck, by the end of the evening.
After tying up the last loose ends with the twins, they walked the four blocks to the edge of the 'rejuvenation' zone, Otabek's arm around Yuri's waist. He could feel the blonde beginning to twitch from hunger, and the nephilim kept him tucked tightly against his body; if the vampire lost control and attacked someone, Otabek wanted to make sure it was him and not an innocent bystander. Once they were in a district with a cab service, Otabek secured them transport and distracted the blonde with kisses until they were back at Georgi's dacha and in the vicinity of warm, bottled blood. Yuri's reaction to food was visceral; he ploughed through five bottles before he was satisfied, mute testament to how much he'd been fighting his hunger over the last 48 hours.
Otabek was reminded once again of Yuuri's comment that the blonde was greedy, and wondered about the truth of it. Using his abilities clearly took a toll on the vampire, drawing energy from him each time far beyond the strength needed to simply move about and talk. He knew that Yuri was almost constantly watching the coven in Alaska; he could feel the spikes every hour or so as the blonde threw his vision across the sea. The fuel requirements for that much supernatural activity would explain his excessive hunger. Curiosity won out, and Otabek decided to quiz his owner once he was curled up in his arms, satiated and relaxed in the hours before sunup.
“What's happening back in Alaska?”
“Guang Hong's been alerted that I'm in Russia, and Viktor's keeping him distracted by getting him to search my rooms and computer for an idea of what I might be up to here. The sorcerer is faking some spellwork to try and track me, and Mila's pretending to track me using her contacts. Giacometti and Seung-gil have been 'away on business' since Guang Hong was initiated, and they've taken their pets with them. They don't want any association with what's about to happen; it needs to look like a family squabble as much as possible.”
“Look to who?”
“The Council of Elders” Yuri opened his eyes at Otabek's surprised huff and shook his head with a sigh. “There's still so much you don't know... you were struggling enough to get your head around me, the coven...” He stroked Otabek's jaw gently, his hands still cold despite the blood he'd consumed. “Once this is over I'll teach you the intricacies of our world. For now, all you need to know is that once Yakov is dead, Viktor, Georgi, Mila and I will need iron clad evidence of the necessity of his murder. Guang Hong will almost certainly play the victim in all this, and the rest of the coven will lie low and deny any involvement.”
Taking his hand and lacing their fingers together, Otabek shifted questioning tactics. “Watching them from so far away... how do you do that?”
“Mmm... we all have different skills, my love. You know that.”
“But I don't understand how it works? Why are you all different?”
Yuri raised an eyebrow. “You're going for a scholarship in vampirism?” he asked, his voice gentle and a little proud. Otabek shrugged, and kissed his forehead. “I can't help being curious. It's always been my biggest weakness. That, and short, feisty blondes.”
“Hah. You'd have to raid Viktor's library for the details, but my understanding is that our powers are developed in the first few centuries, as our blood thins. Until then, we're basically puppets of our sires...” his voice broke slightly at that, anger and pain in his eyes. Pushing his emotions down, he made himself continue. “Once we begin to break free of that slavery, our 'gifts' surface. Apparently the situation we're in during that time helps direct our powers, although that's something Viktor claimed to only realise after me.”
“I... I'm sorry, I still don't understand...”
Shuddering, Yuri pressed his face against Otabek's shoulder and sank his claws into the leather couch, making the thick fabric puff and split. “I spent most of my first century in a box buried six feet underground. Viktor's 'punishment' because I kept trying to kill him. My physical strength was limited from confinement and starvation, but my mind was free to roam and develop.”
Otabek made a horrified sound and clenched his arms around the blonde, his own nails pressing against the icy flesh until they hurt from the pressure. “Monster... devil...” he spluttered, outrage fighting with an urge to weep for the pain his owner must have experienced. Georgi's words when they arrived came back to him... “I saw the coffin in my suite. You seriously put yourself through that...” He shuddered and felt Yuri start to relax against him, drawing comfort from the intense emotional reaction of his pet.
“Georgi... he knew?”
“He saved me. He convinced Viktor to stop torturing me and try a different tactic to make me behave, specifically leaving me the hell alone for a while. Once Georgi dug me up, he sent me to the Norse settlement at Greenland, and then on to the New World as a scout. By then, I'd learned to throw my vision great distances, and watch people whenever and wherever I wanted to. The telepathy came a bit later, sort of an extension of the Sight. It only worked short range until I met you though.”
“My... my blood strengthened it?”
“Probably... but also your mind. You were the first person I could talk to without being able to see. Your natural abilities in that area helped me develop mine.”
“Glad to be of service” Otabek said, sarcastically. He tugged Yuri's claws out of the couch and kissed his knuckles gently, making him purr. “I thought I knew why you hated Viktor, but every time we talk about your history with him, I find another excellent reason underneath the last. I'm amazed you haven't killed him yet.”
“One of the biggest ironies of being a vampire” Yuri said, sadly. “Our blood ties us to our sire until we grow so powerful that we can break free of their influence, at which point our bond with them has grown so strong that we don't actually want to kill them any more. I hate Viktor with something close to mania” he clarified, “but I don't even have the slightest urge to kill him. Georgi and Viktor have the same problem with Yakov” he added, “which is why Viktor turned this whole thing over to me. I'm not bound to the old man, I've only met him once and I wasn't a fan; he made Viktor look almost angelic. I'm delighted to kill him, the world would be better off.”
Otabek choked slightly. “What the hell did he do that was so awful??”
Standing up, Yuri pointed Otabek to the bed. “I'll tell you the story before we sleep” he offered, and the nephilim sighed happily as his owner stripped out of his clothes and stepped into the circle of his arms.
Yakov backstory chapter incoming <3
CW: descriptions of warfare, torture, atrocity, cannibalism, eaten alive.
New tags added to the fic.
Georgi strode through the ruined townhouse, trying vainly to get some of the soot and ash off his face before he met with his sire. Directed to one of the only intact parts of the building, he paused outside a set of double doors and eyed the guards.
“He's... eating” one of the men said in a sick voice, and the other one winced a little. Georgi hummed through his nose for a moment, and then shuddered, steeling his nerve. The summons had said 'immediately', after all. Opening the door, he stepped inside and inhaled shallowly, the scent of blood and human terror thick in the air.
“You summoned me, sire?”
“Georgi. Sit down. Are you hungry?”
He wasn't any more. “No, thank you.” Sitting gingerly on a couch as far away from Yakov as he could, he fixed his gaze slightly to the left of the old man, trying to avoid looking at the contents of the table. He couldn't block out the sounds from the ancient vampire though; the crunch of bone and snap of sinew as he pulled apart the raw meat in front of him, and the sound of relentless chewing.
“Give me an update on the battle.”
Shuddering from a whole different type of horror, Georgi shook his head. “It's mayhem out there. The Crusaders have seized some of the towers at the Golden Horn and gained a foothold in the city, and the Venetians are fighting from shipboard against the Varangians at the walls. The stones are soaked in blood.”
Yakov paused from his meal, his eyes gleaming. “Once the city has been breached, go amongst the men and set them upon the temples and churches. Burn everything. I want Celestino to see the smoke from Rome itself!”
“T-the churches? Yakov... those are Christian soldiers... they'll never...”
“What part of 'encourage' don't you understand?”
“Give them a chance to rape and pillage, and they'll soon forget their paltry Israelite god. Put any man who refuses to the sword or the torch, and drive them into a frenzy. I want the streets to run red.”
Georgi rose to his feet, his face contorted with fury and horror. “I... I will not give that order” he spat out, shuddering from the effort of refusing his sire's direct command. “Y-you go to far...”
Before he could defend himself, or even see the movement, Georgi found himself grappled by Yakov's blood smeared hands; he heard the bones in his neck creak as the ancient vampire dragged him to his knees before him and throttled him into silence.
“Will not? You will not? You dare refuse me? Me?? Your sire???”
Yakov threw him across the room like a rag doll, slamming him into the double doors. Too stunned to try and get up, Georgi stared up at him wordlessly.
“Give the orders, Georgi!”
“I will not.”
Snarling, Yakov picked him up and wrenched open the door, throwing him out into the corridor hard enough to dent the stone wall opposite.
“Then what good are you to me? Get out of my sight... go back to Russia and wait for me there. I'll deal with you when I get back. Someone get Dimitri in here!” he added, slamming back into the room. He crossed to the pair of bound, terrified humans at the side of the suite and threw one of them onto the gore smeared banqueting table, roaring his final order before he began taking out his anger by feasting on the flesh of the living, screaming man.
Georgi blinked as the newly annointed Heir to the throne bounced into the office, the mood of the younger vampire irritatingly cheerful. Setting aside the latest draft of the Carcassonne campaign plans, he raised his eyes and took in the manic grin on Dimitri's face.
“You look like you just ate the cat and the cream.”
“Guess who's coming home?”
The older sibling didn't need to guess, he'd already seen the summons. “Viktor's been recalled to Moscow” he said, and Dimitri deflated a little.
“You already knew.”
“He's bringing his child with him!”
Georgi blinked in shock. “Yuri?”
They stared at each other in confusion for a moment, then Dimitri shrugged. “Her name's Mila. Apparently he met her in France a few years ago. She's so young she's practically still warm!”
“Not your type then” Georgi said, nastily, and Dimitri laughed.
“I wonder if Viktor would let me borrow her for a few nights. After all, he's not exactly a fan of women, from what I understand? I expect she'd enjoy some attention.”
“Unlikely to enjoy attention from you, most women dislike being gutted on a first date” Georgi turned his back on his brother and returned to his papers. “Or was that treatment special for the last one?”
“You're just jealous of my reputation with the fairer sex.”
“The only woman you could ever get in your bed would be unconscious or already dead.”
“Good thing I prefer them that way! I'm looking forward to seeing Viktor again, this place has been so boring stuck with just you!” the younger vampire said as he stalked out of the room, still laughing. Georgi sighed, pushing his papers aside again and resting his chin on his hands. What new atrocity did Yakov plan that would cause him to summon Viktor, after so long?
The sound of knocking on the door to his rooms made Georgi wince, fighting the urge to cover his ears. Prowling to the source of the irritation, he gazed at the wood, listening to the conversation on the other side. A melodious female voice speaking French, and then a reply in the same language, a soft, Russian accented male. Viktor, fresh from his homecoming party and keen to reunite with his younger brother.
“Georgi, I know you're in there and I know you can hear me. Why didn't you come to the party tonight! It was fun!”
Snarling soundlessly, Georgi gave the wood a death glare and then wrenched the door open. The brightness of the corridor outside his dimly lit rooms nearly blinded him and he cursed, turning away quickly and letting the pair enter behind him.
“Wow, Georgi, it's really dark in here! Can I...”
“You even twitch your fingers in here, Viktor, and you'll be out on your ear.”
“Fine, but I'm lighting a few lamps. You live like a mole.”
Sighing, the brunette dropped back onto his couch and narrowed his eyes from the glare as Viktor busied himself with the lights. The redheaded woman sat carefully on a chair, watching Viktor worshipfully. This, presumably, was the new child, Mila.
“Why didn't you come to my party, Georgi? I missed you. Dimitri was being insufferable, I could have done with you there as a balm.”
“Dimitri has developed a bad habit of making me his primary foil while in public” Georgi shrugged. “My solution is not to go to anything unless I'm ordered to.”
Sitting next to Mila, Viktor looked sympathetic. “Things are that bad?”
“Mmm. Why are you here, Viktor?”
“I told you, I missed you! Plus, I wanted to introduce you to Mila. Isn't she stunning? She was a ferocious power in the court of Philip II of France, I just had to have her” he finished by giving Mila a gentle squeeze, and Georgi raised an eyebrow.
“I see you're treating her better than Yuri, at least?”
“Who's Yuri” the redhead asked, her Russian excellent and only slightly accented.
“Keeping secrets already Viktor?” Georgi laughed, and Viktor shrugged.
“I saw no need to mention the dead. Yuri was my first child” he explained, but Georgi snorted aloud with amusement.
“Yuri's not dead, you idiot. He just hates you so much he doesn't talk to you.”
Viktor stared at him in astonishment. “What the fuck did you just say? He's not dead? Where is he??”
“Exactly where I sent him three hundred years ago; America. He drops me a letter every now and again, updating on the progress of the Western colonisation of the continent. Things are going rather badly for the Norse settlers at the moment, I understand.”
Viktor looked crushed. “He never writes to me... I thought he was dead. How could he be so cruel to his sire?”
“Really? Really?” Georgi shook his head. “Viktor, your capacity for self delusion is staggering. If I were you I'd still be checking under my bed for the little monster every night, even after three hundred years.”
Brightening, Viktor gave Mila another squeeze, getting an affectionate noise out of her. “Well, that's my second piece of good news tonight!”
“What's the first” Georgi asked, warily.
“Yakov wants me to stay in Moscow. He's got plans in the works for a campaign in central Europe, and he needs my help.”
“The latest Crusade is aimed at France” Georgi shrugged, “it's going to shred most of Carcassonne. Your homeland will be at war I'm afraid, my lady.”
Mila frowned, her eyes thoughtful. “There are troubles with the Cathars in that area, issues of religious fervour and political will. This crusade is aimed at resolving those tensions?”
“Unlikely” Viktor said, “if Yakov's involved in it, the tensions will spill over into some level of horror.”
“What does he want from you?” Georgi asked, his tone suspicious.
Viktor paused, and eyed Mila. “This goes no further, child. This is very serious, and word of it spreading could cause great misfortune to all of us.”
“I will never betray you” she said, her voice sincere. “You can trust me, Viktor.”
Smiling, he turned his focus to his brother. “Carcassonne is a religious hideout for the Cathars, but it also holds something far more interesting to me, and to Yakov. There's a rumour that the elders of the city know the whereabouts of a true blood nephilim. Can you imagine!! Two nephilim parents, not just one... how powerful it would be...”
Georgi made a rude noise. “There hasn't been a confirmed true blood for five thousand years. The best anyone's seen are mongrels from Iran or Kazakhstan, so weak they can barely spot us coming. They make a delicious pet for a few decades, but they aren't much use beyond that.”
“But if it's true... if they really do know where one is...”
“Then Yakov will have you trap it, and he'll probably eat it alive. And what a waste that would be” Georgi sighed, shaking his head. “He dragged you back from France, just to send you back to France? On a wild goose chase? Viktor, you've been played.”
“W-what do you mean?”
“He's testing you, making sure he can still pull your strings after you've been independent for so long.” Georgi leaned back, watching a line of ants climbing the wall on the other side of the room to distract himself from the growing understanding and resulting fury in Viktor's expression.
“The world's becoming smaller, Viktor. Hundreds of warring states are rising from the ashes of the Roman empire, and Byzantine is in chaos. You're lucky you missed Constantinople, it was like walking through hell, and that's only the beginning of Yakov's plans. He wants to watch the whole world burn, and he's planning to use us to set the fuses.”
CW: violence, death, dismemberment, character death, torture.
Tags added to main fic.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
A fully shaved head didn't suit Otabek, apparently. Yuri took one look and slammed the door shut in his face, the sound of things breaking indicating how little he liked the new look. Sighing, the nephilim rubbed his hand over his scalp and padded back through the dacha, resigning himself to sleeping alone. He made it about half way across the house before Yuri's silent voice brushed his thoughts.
Get back in here... I'm leaving the lights off though.
What's the point in that? You can see in the dark. There was a very long pause before the blonde replied with something close to a mental whine.
Just come back. This could be our la... no, I refuse to say that. This is the last night before the Party, that's all. I... mmm. Get back in here.
I don't want to spend it without you either.
Yuri let him in with a shudder at his hair, leading him to the bedroom. To Otabek's surprise, he didn't immediately draw him into a kiss; instead, he pushed Otabek onto the pillows and curled up in his arms, running his fingertips over the nephilim's arms where they were wrapped around his slender chest.
“I'm worried about tomorrow night. It's a bad plan” Otabek said, brushing his lips against Yuri's hair as he held him close.
“The plan will work.”
“Even if it does, it's still bad. A lot of people are going to die. Not just vampires... the guests, the catering team you're smuggling me in with; if any of them see what happens then Sergei's men are going to kill them. Right?”
“Yes. It's unavoidable.”
Otabek breathed through his nose unhappily. “Exactly... and then there's the fight itself. You don't know for sure how weak Yakov has become, if you can beat him or if he'll just crush you. Or if Georgi can beat Dimitri... or if...”
“Shhhh” Yuri put a finger to Otabek's lips gently. “We've been over this before. You already know all my answers. This isn't helping.”
I don't want you to die. Otabek switched to mental speech in distress, certain his voice would break if he tried to speak aloud.
What about you? You don't fear death for yourself?
N-no... t-there's still light inside me... I can feel it. I know where I'm going if I die... but that's the problem! I... I'll go there alone. Without you.
Yuri sat up in his arms, stroking his jaw with a trembling hand. THAT'S what you're afraid of? Being separated from me?
Otabek's reply was a fierce kiss, and when he pulled back to breathe he saw a red sheen in Yuri's eyes. Sighing, he reached out and wiped away the blood tears before they could fall. “Why are you crying?” he murmured.
“After everything I've done to you... this is how strongly you feel?”
“You always knew this would happen. That I'd fall in love with you. Wasn't your plan to seduce me, all along?”
Yuri lowered his eyes, shaking his head. “It was... but...”
When he spoke, it was a whisper. “I didn't know I would love you back” he sighed, and Otabek chuckled as he drew him into a kiss.
“Idiot. You can't spend over a year seducing an angel, and not fall in love yourself.”
“May I have your attention please?”
The conversation in the room quieted as Dimitri stepped onto the stage, a wide smile on his face as he tapped the mic stand. Spread over a dozen tables, the party guests turned to look at him, comfortably wined and dined, and willing to tolerate speeches. Near the front of the room, the table containing Georgi and Yakov was highlighted by a spotlight. The old man was curling his lip in a cruel smile that seemed to be the closest he could get to appearing pleased, while Georgi's expression was deliberately, carefully neutral.
Disguised as serving staff and pressed against the wall near his assigned table, Otabek cast his eyes around the room. Spaced out along the walls were the other waiters, dressed in white and black just like him. Dotted in between them were guards in black suits, all armed and supposedly there to protect the guests. In reality, they were all Sergei's men, waiting for the cue from Georgi before they moved into action.
The tables themselves contained a mixture of humans and vampires. There were four vampires that Otabek didn't know, plus Yuri. Avoiding looking at his owner for a moment, he focused on the humans in the room. Almost exclusively, they were arms dealers or high level military. Most of them had partners on their arms, and were dressed to impress, although none of the military men were in uniform; the company wasn't legal enough for that. To the left of the stage and two tables back, close to the emergency exit of the room, was Yuri's table. The blonde was doing what he did best; hiding in plain sight.
For starters, he wasn't blonde right now. The long, brunette wig was made of human hair and very well fitted, and his make-up included a spray tan that gave him an olive complexion. Considering the amount of skin he was showing, it had been necessary to give him the full treatment. Masquerading as a paid consort to the high level army officer sat beside him, he wore a long, backless red dress that shone and glimmered, using his natural slenderness to excuse the lack of breasts or hips. Looking like an emaciated supermodel, he had affected a feminine tone and spoke exclusively in French. A slim red scarf sat on his throat, hiding the only obvious indication of his masculinity, and he wore brown contact lenses to disguise the unusual colour of his eyes. Neither Yakov or Georgi had given him a second glance when he arrived, although a great many of the other men in the room couldn't stop staring at him, and their dates did not seem impressed by their behaviour.
Dimitri had launched into a big, officious speech, welcoming the weapons manufacturer being honoured by the evening and heaping generous praise on Yakov for no obvious reason other than to be obsequious. The old man seemed to be lapping it up, and laughed cruelly when his youngest child managed to get a dig in at Georgi. As the brunette's face crumpled into an angry pout, Yuri's silent voice touched Otabek's mind.
Georgi's starting. Get ready to leave when he makes his move on Dimitri. I don't want you here when it kicks off.
How can I guide you when I'm not in the room??
I just need confirmation from you once Yakov moves. Keep a read on his aura and tell me where his security take him if I lose sight of him.
Finishing his speech, Dimitri left the stage and the catering team went to work, clearing away the contents of the tables and moving them to the sides of the room, creating a space for dancing. The occupants began to gather in small groups, and Dimitri attached himself to the most important looking like a charismatic limpet. Rising from his chair, Georgi bowed respectfully to Yakov and then headed towards the door nearest Dimitri, looking as if he intended to leave the party.
“Georgi! Don't worry, it's not past your bedtime yet! Stay here and look pretty for me a while longer” Dimitri called after him, getting a laugh from the humans around him. As Georgi froze in the doorway, Otabek noticed Yuri moving almost carelessly towards the group closest to Yakov, on the other side of the room.
Apparently making an attempt to brush off the insult, Georgi took another step towards the door, and Dimitri responded with a second jab, predictably unhappy about not getting a rise out of the older vampire.
“Come now Georgi, there are some smaller investors I'd like you to meet. Perhaps you would feel confident enough to fetch them drinks, if you really pushed yourself?”
Whirling, Georgi crossed the distance to his brother at an inhuman speed, and had the younger vampire by the throat in seconds. Yakov reacted before any of the humans around had realised what was happening, with a snarled order for them both to stand down. Otabek could see the effort it took Georgi to ignore his order and bare his fangs at his brother, and at that point one of the women in the group screamed. Then, all hell broke loose.
The attack on Dimitri was the sign Sergei's men had been waiting for, and without hesitation they opened fire on the room, spraying the ceiling with bullets, not aiming to wound or kill, but to cause chaos. Humans scattered everywhere, and as ordered, Otabek followed the crowd running for the nearest exit, knowing full well that it would be blocked from the outside by Sergei's second team the moment the gunshots rang out.
Yakov was striding across the room towards his brawling children when the gunfire started, and instantly two of the other vampires moved to redirect him. Like Special Forces with the President of the United States, they threw their bodies in the way of any possible violence and began herding him towards the emergency exit, straight past the cowering group containing Yuri. The other two vampires headed towards Georgi and Dimitri, who had both descended into berserk fury and were trying to tear each other's heads off in the middle of the fleeing humans.
The protection detail for Yakov succeeded in getting him out of the room as Sergei's men began rounding up the party guests, forcing them into a pack in the corner of the room. Otabek was shoved roughly in with the others, as the men had been instructed to do. Their orders were to keep him with the rest of the humans and therefore unremarkable for as long as possible, but to let him make moves if he needed to. Closing his eyes in genuine fear as the vampires nearby tried to slaughter each other and the gunshots echoed around him, he forced himself to concentrate on the receding auras of the primary target.
Darting away from the humans and through the door after Yakov, Yuri slipped out of his stiletto heels and ran barefoot along the corridors following Otabek's directions. The dacha was a complete maze, and Yakov's safe-room was hidden somewhere in the depths of it. Trusting the nephilim's abilities, he dashed through the corridors and stairwells, following the silent instructions. Yakov and his guards were moving at a slower pace due to Yakov's reluctance to leave, but his protection detail had clear orders about actions required in case of an attack, and weren't letting him get his own way.
Yuri could move much faster, and he reached them just as they entered the safe-room. Hitting full speed before the door could be closed, he slammed through it like a missile, denting the steel and forcing it back against the wall. As the three shocked faces turned to him, he leaped onto the first guard, catching his arm around his throat and using his bodyweight to snap the vampire's neck like kindling, hurling him to the floor. Landing lightly, he spun and kicked the other vampire clean across the room, breaking his spine with the impact against the wall.
The attack took seconds, and Yakov had barely made it back out into the corridor before Yuri was facing him, hands raised into claws and fangs bared. The old man's face was contorted in rage and without hesitation he threw a punch towards the smaller vampire, who dodged out of the way at the last moment. The punch shattered the wall like glass, and Yakov snarled as he spun again. The second attack caught the blonde in the chest and threw him almost the whole length of the corridor, spinning him around and slamming him into the wall at the end with an impact that splintered his sternum and ribs instantly.
Blows three and four broke more bones and left Yuri crumpled in a pile on the floor several feet away; he dragged himself to his feet as Yakov covered the distance, snarling with glee at his victory. Grabbing the blonde by the throat and pinning him against the wall, he laughed in his face and threw one final, devastating punch.
Which Yuri caught with his bare hand.
Amused at the comically shocked expression on the old man's face, the blonde clenched his fingers, crushing Yakov's fist. The old man howled in pain, and Yuri followed the motion by kicking his legs out from underneath him and forcing him onto his knees. Grabbing the other hand as Yakov tried to claw his face, he curled his lip and shifted his grip. With a sickening tearing sound, he ripped both the ancient vampire's arms off at the shoulders.
Standing over his helpless prey, Yuri inhaled as his ribs snapped back into place, the damage he'd taken to lure the other vampire into the overconfident close range assault beginning to heal the instant he allowed it and pulling his wig off. Snarling furiously, Yakov tried to kick out at him and he knelt on the other vampire's chest, bracing his hands either side of his head and leaning down so they were nose to nose.
“Who the fuck are you” Yakov growled, thrashing as Yuri wrapped a hand around his throat.
“You don't recognise me, grandfather? That's a shame. Viktor was so sure you would.”
“Y-Yuri??? How... how are you so strong?! T-this is impossible!”
“A message from my sire” Yuri continued, keeping the older vampire pinned and letting his claws sink into the flesh of his neck. “I apologise for the pretentiousness, but I'm quoting directly and you know how he is. He says; when you get to hell, tell them I sent you. There. Isn't that so very Viktor?”
Yakov snarled again, overwhelmed by rage and pain. Shaking his head, Yuri bent down to purr into his ear.
“Unfortunately for Viktor, you won't be going to hell. I have a much better use for your soul.”
As comprehension widened the old man's eyes in horror, Yuri grinned and bared his fangs, biting deep into the ancient vampire's throat. Ignoring the wild flailing and screaming, the blonde pulled draught after draught out of him until Yakov stilled and his eyes glazed over. Yuri clung on and kept drinking, drawing every last drop until his prey became grey and fragile to the touch, every ounce of supernatural blood and power being consumed by the blonde.
As the old vampire's body slowly turned to ash and dust, Yuri howled in agony, his body arching he consumed the soul of the other vampire and it immediately began to fight his own for dominance. His irises became completely black and his body began shaking as the titanic battle raged inside him. Spasm after spasm ripped through him and his jaw clenched, cutting off his screams as he collapsed in the empty corridor.
Oh Yuri, what have you doooone~
CW: death, killing, guns, burning buildings, black magic, religious references.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The moment Otabek sensed the collapse of Yuri's aura, he pushed his way out of the press of humans, shouting at Georgi as he and Dimitri wrestled in the centre of the room. Neither of them were able to land a killing blow, and their battle had destroyed what was left of the furniture in the room as they slammed each other against walls and into tables.
“Yuri's in trouble!” he bellowed, barrelling past the pair and heading into the maze of corridors towards the last place he'd last sensed the blonde, not bothering to wait for Georgi's response. Taking lefts and rights by instinct rather than thought, he nearly tripped over the fallen body of his owner as he rounded the final corner.
Otabek collapsed on his knees next to the blonde, staring at him in horror. Dark, viscous blood was leaking from his mouth and nose, and his eyes were entirely black. His body twitched and writhed uncontrollably, and his aura was shockingly faint. Unable to comprehend what he was seeing, Otabek did the only thing he could think of; he screamed for Georgi, counting on the other vampire's enhanced senses to let him hear his cry.
The horror and fear in Otabek's voice drilled into Georgi's ears like a wake-up slap, and with a roar he closed his hands on Dimitri's throat, ignoring the agonising blows to his ribs and head as he sank his claws in. Not bothering to defend himself gave him the edge over his brother, and with savage joy he forced the younger vampire to his knees. Snarling, he tore his hated rival's head from his shoulders, and then kicked the quivering body across the room, throwing the head in the opposite direction. Then he was up and running towards the sound of the frantic pet's voice.
“What the fuck happened” Georgi hissed as he saw the state of the vampire in Otabek's arms.
“I don't know, he won't wake up... his eyes... his aura's nearly gone, and there's some... something wrong inside him... it feels like he's fighting for his life!”
“How do you kno... never mind. Give him to me!”
Georgi snarled at the instant recoil of the pet and knelt in front of him. “Otabek, give him to me. Sergei's men are in the main room with the witnesses, and they need orders. Those have to come from Yuri or you, they've not been told to obey me. Give Yuri to me, and go and finish the plan. I'll get him back to the dacha. Go, now!”
Reluctantly, Otabek released the blonde into Georgi's arms and headed back the way he had come, sensing the older vampire moving towards the east exit of the building. Running into the main ballroom, he found himself at gunpoint before Sergei's men recognised him and lowered their weapons. Focusing on one crisis at a time, he forced himself to assess the situation, fighting down the suffocating fear for his lover.
There were three vampires in this room, and he had sensed the auras of another two near where he'd found Yuri, both incapacitated but very much still alive, as were two in the main room. Dimitri was very clearly decapitated and dead, not even a flicker of his aura remained. Ordering four men to go and collect the other two vampires, he turned his attention to the humans cowering in the corner.
Fourty eight men and women in total; eleven catering staff, and the rest all party guests. Sergei's men had trapped them in a corner and were holding guns on them, keeping them contained and silent. As Otabek stared at them, one of the gunmen stepped across to him and turned him away, speaking in his ear.
“Sir, with respect, it's obvious you're not trained for this... just give me the order then go, I'll deal with the witnesses.”
Shaking him off, Otabek glared at him. As he was about to speak, one of the vampires nearby stirred as his body healed, and the nephilim shuddered.
“First things first. Those two, and the two being brought in; they need to die. Cut their heads off, and put them with the other one.” His voice shook as he gave the order, and he winced as the trained killers made quick work of despatching the remaining four vampires. As they piled the bodies next to Dimitri's corpse, Otabek retrieved the heir's head and put it with the rest of the body parts with a shudder.
Breathing slowly through his nose, Otabek closed his eyes for a long moment, bracing himself for what he knew had to be done. The plan had to be carried out, and Yuri wasn't there to do it. If Otabek didn't finish the job, he knew Yuri's neck would be on the block for murdering Yakov. The plan was that no evidence would remain of foul play, giving Viktor and Yuri essential leeway to manipulate the Council of Elders. If even one witness talked, that would all come crashing down. The men Sergei had selected for the assault were all chosen because they were ruthless, unbreakable killers, loyal to the Bratva leader who would never betray Yuri, but the rest of the humans in the room were liabilities, loyal to Dimitri and Yakov. They had to die.
For a heartbeat, he entertained the idea of just walking out of the room and letting Sergei's men do what needed to be done. He imagined telling himself that he wasn't responsible, that he was only a tool for Yuri. The words rang hollow and empty in his mind; from the moment he'd agreed to return to the vampire's side, he'd stopped being his unwilling tool and become his accomplice. No amount of sophism could erase his choices. If he walked away now, he wasn't just a murderer, he was a coward. Opening his eyes, he turned to face the group of humans and took a deep, painful breath as he gave the order.
“Kill them, then burn everything.”
As the gunshots rang out, Otabek forced himself to watch the humans in front of him die, fighting the shaking in his body and refusing to allow himself to turn away until last human fell. Then he strode out of the room, his expression locked into stillness as the external team brought in the gasoline. He didn't stop walking until he reached the cars, and then he watched from the back seat until the first flames licked the roof of the dacha. Only then did he allow himself to crumple, curling up into a ball in the privacy of the retreating vehicle and sobbing out his agonised grief as they drove back to Georgi's dacha.
Georgi shook his head, leading the nephilim through to the suite assigned to the blonde. “No different” he said, gesturing Otabek inside.
Yuri was on the bed, and his aura was even weaker than before. His limbs still twitched occasionally, but the spikes in his aura were faint, and the sense of wrongness was growing.
“What happened to him, Georgi. Did Yakov do this??”
“No” the older vampire sighed, sitting opposite the bed. “Yuri did this to himself. I... I can't believe he did it, but...”
“What did he do?”
“He ate Yakov” Georgi said, wincing. “His soul, I mean. Consumed it, is more accurate. Stupid little bastard, it's taboo for a very good reason! Yakov's fighting back.”
Otabek stared at him. “Please... please you're not making sense...”
Sighing, Georgi reached over and pulled one of Yuri's eyelids open, showing Otabek the black orb of his eye. “Vampires souls are strong, they can sometimes survive death. When Yuri consumed his soul, the old man refused to go quietly. He's in there right now, battling for dominance. Yuri's fighting back, but if you're right and his aura is weak, it means he's losing.”
“Why would he do this??”
“For the power, I assume” Georgi sat back and rubbed his hands over his face. “Consuming a more powerful vampire gives you some of their strength and abilities, but the risk is huge. It's not done, for this exact reason. It's too big a gamble, no matter how much power you stand to gain. Yuri probably thought he'd have the advantage because it's his body, but it doesn't work like that...”
“No” Otabek shook his head, looking at the trails of blood on his owner's face and neck. “He thought he'd win because of me... because he was fuelled by my blood. He's an idiot!” Moving to kneel beside his owner on the bed, he rested his hands on his torso, feeling for the wavering aura of the younger vampire. “Once Yakov got into him, he had access to my blood as well. He lost the advantage instantly. Yakov... Yakov's going to win!”
“Blood is blood, why would yours be any different?” Georgi raised an eyebrow, and then leaned forward up as Otabek closed his eyes and spread his palms over Yuri's body. “What are you doing?”
“N-nothing... there's nothing... oh God. I... ahhh!” Otabek cried out suddenly, falling away from the bed and wrapping his arms around his head with a breathless scream of pain and shock. Georgi dropped to the floor beside him, too confused to do more than reach a hand towards the writhing pet.
“Fuck... fucking V-Viktor... he... he blocked my memories...” gulping air, Otabek struggled upright, staring at his hands. “I thought if I tried to heal him... but I didn't know how... and then... then all the memories came back. Viktor must have used a spell... but it won't work.” Tears streamed down the nephilim's face as he looked at the baffled vampire knelt next to him. “I... I can't feel it any more. The light... it's gone. I... I killed those people... and I've damned my soul...”
“Otabek... what...” Georgi moved hurridly out of the way as the weeping Kazakh returned to kneeling beside Yuri's twitching body. “What are you talking about?”
Staring down at his owner, Otabek reached out a trembling hand and brushed a few strands of blonde hair out of his face. “I can't heal you... I don't know how to help you” he murmured, straining his senses to catch the fading pulse of Yuri's aura. It was nearly overwhelmed by that wrongness that he now understood was Yakov's soul fighting to take possession of its new host. It wasn't enough that Yuri was losing this fight, he could sense the pain and terror within his lover's aura. Yakov would consume him utterly, just as Yuri had tried to do to him.
Closing his eyes against the waves of grief and pain rippling through him, Otabek leaned down and kissed Yuri's cold lips, the vampire's thick, dark blood tingling on his own. The instant the blood touched his skin, Otabek's awareness of Yuri's aura flared and he could hear his owner's voice in his mind.
Otabek... w-what's happening to me...
Memories of healing Kenjirou flooded back again, and Otabek wept with helplessness. You're dying... Yakov's trying to eat your soul. I... I can't save you! I can't... there's no light left inside me... I can't heal you...
It's dark... please... please don't leave me in the dark again! Please!! Otabek!!!
“He's terrified... oh God... what can I do? He's losing...”
“We can destroy him” Georgi said, and Otabek's eyes slammed open in horror. “If he loses the fight, Yakov will take his body and return. He'll be weakened, but strong enough to kill you, me and probably Viktor as well.” The older vampire rose, resting a hand on Yuri's head. “If we kill him now and destroy his body, then we destroy Yakov as well...”
“Don't fucking touch him” Otabek screamed, shoving Georgi away from the bed furiously. Astonished, the older vampire fell back against the wall, staring at the furious pet.
“How did you... how... you pushed me! How are you strong enough to push me?!”
Staring down at the blonde, Otabek shook his head. “No... no... I... I won't let you die... that's it! You need my strength... that's how you win... but how... how do I... oh... OH.”
Taking a deep breath, Otabek knelt beside Yuri and lifted his hand, using the vampire's claws to slice his own palms, pressing his bloody hand to Yuri's chest under his shirt and covering his heart while letting a few drops from the other palm fall onto his forehead. Raising his hand, he made the same marks on his own forehead and chest, ignoring Georgi's confused babble of questions. When he spoke, his voice was calm, lilting as he spun the ritual words he needed from his deepest fears and nightmares, and from the fire of his love for the vampire under his hands.
“The heart and sacred chakra points, the meeting of soul, mind and body. I open the way between us, and join us. I do this of my own will.”
Closing his eyes Otabek exhaled slowly as the magic took hold and the blood darkened and disappeared into their skin. Georgi backed away from the bed as shadow flowed out from beneath Otabek's palms, slowly coiling around the vampire and his pet. When he spoke next, Otabek's voice was melodic, but there was a strange doubling effect to it. Blinking, Georgi realised he could hear Yuri's voice mingled with it, speaking the same words along with his lover.
“I have committed the greatest of sins... I have lied, stolen, lusted and killed. I have danced with this demon, and given him my body, mind and soul. The light has faded, and only shadow remains, and I have welcomed it. I have done this of my own will. ”
The power of the dark magic Otabek was invoking made Georgi's skin crawl, but he was too terrified to flee. He huddled against the wall and watched as darkness crept into Otabek's eyes and his irises flared silver. The merged voice rose into a shout, echoing in the room and making Georgi's ears ring.
“I chose this demon, this monster, this cursed soul; I place him above all others and I bow before him... and he bows before me... I renounce my place in heaven...” and here Yuri's voice spoke different words, uttering my place in the hall of my fathers “...and I chose damnation at his side. I chose him of my own will, and by my own will we are joined!”
Yuri's eyes flicked open, the blackness in them swirling and shimmering into silver as Otabek's power flowed into his soul, strengthening him and overpowering the invading force instantly. The darkness surrounding the pair of them deepened, and Georgi squinted as after images seared into his eyes, giving the impression of huge, black wings arching from Otabek's back and curving horns jutting from his forehead.
Yuri's body lifted off the bed, floating several feet above the sheets as Otabek raised his hands, and the darkness obliterated the sight of both of them for a moment, flaring until not a speck of light remained in the room. Then it was over, the darkness gone, and Yuri was nestled in Otabek's arms, blinking sleepily up at his pet as the blackness of Yakov's soul disappeared, devoured by the silver that left permanent flecks in the bright green and deep brown of their eyes.
Dear readers and comment leavers, thank you so much <3 your horror and fear for Yuri and Otabek during this trying time in their lives has given me so much joy. Truly, I am blessed <3 XD
We're on the home stretch (ish) now, so strap in for fluff, smut, angst and plot resolution in the next dozen chapters or so!
Plot and a tiny bit of smut~
They travelled to Alaska the slow way, with layovers to avoid the sunrise. Yuri refused to fly in cargo ever again, and spent the flights curled up in Otabek's arms, dozing or reading. Since recovering from the fight at the dacha, his abilities were stronger than ever, yet he felt fragile, as if his soul was cracked and splintered. Physically touching the nephilim was the only thing that made him feel solid.
“Fractured is probably the right word for it” Otabek said, somewhere over the Atlantic on the last leg of the journey. “Consuming Yakov and then bonding to me... you put too much strain on your soul.”
“How long will it take to recover?” Yuri had developed a habit of speaking in Old Norse when they were together, so permanently exhausted at present that he barely noticed he was doing it. Otabek hadn't felt like pointing it out yet.
“One more thing we'll have to figure out the hard way” the nephilim brushed his lips across Yuri's hair, pulling him tighter into his arms. The comfort of physical contact went both ways; when he wasn't holding or at least touching the blonde, he felt like there was something missing from his hands and found himself searching for what he'd lost.
The first few hours after the bonding ritual went by in a blur. Georgi laid in supplies for Yuri and then left the suite, implying that he was expecting an explanation when they'd recovered. Once the door closed behind him, Yuri tried to stand up and immediately collapsed back into the nephilim's arms. Otabek scooped him back into the bed, then curled up under the covers next to the blonde and fell into a dead sleep.
Waking up in the late afternoon, Otabek discovered Yuri wrapped around him, still and sallow as a corpse. Untangling him looked like a lot of effort, so the nephilim didn't bother; he lay awake until sundown, feeling the cold, dead weight against his body. To his surprise, he felt nothing but contentment and comfort.
The vampire awoke as the sun dipped below the horizon, and his aura immediately flared with hunger. Pushing a bottle into his hand, Otabek felt the call of his bladder and went to leave the bed. The instant they physically separated, both of them cried out in pain and collapsed, Yuri instinctively huddling into a ball as he tried in vain to shut down his pain responses. Groaning, Otabek dragged himself back onto the bed and grabbed Yuri's wrist, and the pain vanished. Panting hard, they stared at each other in horror for long minutes before crawling back into each others arms helplessly.
Georgi found them in the kitchen later that evening, Yuri sat on the counter with his legs looped around Otabek's thigh as the nephilim made himself some dinner. The blonde was drinking from a chipped ceramic cup, a bottle of blood on the work surface next to him.
“What's all this?”
“Sophia's sick. I sent her back to bed, I can cook a steak by myself.”
“I mean, what's with the PDA?”
Yuri looked blankly at his uncle as Otabek chuckled. “Necessity at the moment. Turns out, physically being apart is very painful. A side effect of the ritual I think.”
Georgi slid onto a chair and gave Yuri a very serious look. “Speaking of which... thanks for forgetting to mention that your pet was a nephilim.”
“I assumed Viktor told you. I'm not going to apologise for your shitty intelligence network.”
“You can definitely apologise for trying to kill yourself though” Georgi snarled, and Yuri raised an eyebrow.
“I did what had to be done.”
“What does that mean?” Otabek demanded, looking up from plating his steak. “Georgi said you... you ate Yakov to get more power... how was that necessary?”
“You think that's why I... oh Georgi, why are you always so naïve?”Yuri hopped off the counter, resting his hand on Otabek's hip as they joined the other vampire at the table. “Yakov's power was completely incidental. I did it because of Viktor.”
“I don't understand” Georgi said, folding his arms. Otabek grunted in agreement, slipping his toes behind Yuri's ankle so they could both use their hands. Sighing, Yuri poured out a second cup of blood and pushed it across to Georgi in a gesture of conciliation.
“Yakov's soul had to be destroyed.” Seeing the blank looks, he elaborated. “Viktor gave me a message for him before I killed him; when you get to hell, tell them I sent you. He wanted me to think Yakov's soul would be going to hell, no other reason to posture like that. Why?”
Both the other two men shrugged, and Yuri rolled his eyes. “Does it get lonely, always being the smartest person in the room?” Georgi said nastily, and Yuri glared at him.
“Sometimes, yes!” he growled. “Viktor wanted me to kill Yakov cleanly, and at the dacha. He made it very clear that Yakov had to die inside the building. He claimed it was to prevent any additional witnesses, but my guess was that it was to do with the charm he had you plant. I believe he intended to steal Yakov's soul.”
“What? How... why would he do that?” Otabek demanded, pushing his empty plate away.
“You inhaled that steak” Yuri pointed out, and the nephilim shrugged.
“I might inhale a second one in a minute, I'm still starving. Explain what you mean, please.”
“Vampire souls are powerful, you both know that. Yakov claimed to be nearly three thousand years old; Viktor said once that he was originally Babylonian, born in the last days of the Sumerian Empire. Imagine what Viktor could do with a soul that powerful under his command.”
They both did. They both shuddered.
“The only option was to keep it from him, and I didn't know how to guarantee that. I had no way of knowing what the range was on the charm, or if Viktor had backups against me moving the kill zone. The only option was to destroy Yakov's soul, and there's only one way to do that without access to serious black magic, which I didn't have.”
“Consume it” Otabek said, shivering. “Did you know you were going to lose?”
Yuri looked sheepishly at the table, refusing to meet the nephilim's gaze. “I thought I'd have an advantage from your blood, the same as I did in the physical fight. I... I never expected to... for you to... to have to...” he faltered and stopped, twisting his fingers together as Otabek glared at his empty plate.
Wincing at the unspoken levels of tension and grief between the pair, Georgi pushed himself away from the table. “So now you can't even take a leak without Yuri having to hold your hand. How long's that going to last?”
“No idea” Otabek said, moving back to the hob and firing up the pan for a second steak. Yuri slipped his arm around the nephilim's waist, fixed to him like an irritated limpet.
“Hopefully not too long” the blonde said, leaning against his lover. “We need to get back to Alaska before Viktor realises Yakov's soul is... not available.”
It took three days before the pair could stand to be physically apart, and during that time they made another interesting discovery about their new dynamic. After talking with Georgi and feeding Otabek, they went back to the suite and fell back into bed, both still utterly exhausted. Curling up around each other, Otabek dozed while Yuri's mind flitted across continents, checking on movements and activities of various individuals. After an hour or so, the nephilim poked him gently in the ribs.
“Can you knock that off? Every time I start drifting off to sleep properly, I have weird dreams about people I don't know. I'm assuming I'm picking up what you're seeing?”
“Wow... like mind reading?”
“No, like bloody annoying, because I want to sleep.”
“Would you prefer I look at people you do know?”
Otabek sighed and opened his eyes. “I'd prefer it if you stopped, so I can sleep.”
“Sleep when I'm asleep.”
“Yuri...” the note in the nephilim's voice was irritated, and the blonde curled his lip.
“So that's how it is between us now? You get to be grouchy and rude?”
“Yes, that's how it is. I'm not your pet any more, you can't punish me if I do something you don't like.”
“Oh can't I?” Yuri's voice was also irritated, and in response, Otabek twisted his grip on Yuri's hand and deliberately dragged the vampire's claws across his palm. Instant pain flared and blood flowed, and he winced, but Yuri's reaction was a lot stronger; the vampire yanked his hand away with an oath, then stared at the thin red lines on his own palm as the cuts sealed shut on both of them.
“What the fuck” Yuri snarled, and Otabek shrugged. “I noticed it while you were asleep yesterday. I caught my hand on your claws by accident and we both bled. You were... well, dead... so you didn't feel it, but I figured you would if you were awake.”
“So... so I feel what you feel??”
“Looks like it. That might fade after a while, but it's pretty strong at the moment. You'll have to be nice to me.”
Staring at his hand, a mischievous expression crossed Yuri's face. “I wonder if it only works for pain...” he mused, wrapping himself around the wary nephilim and pushing him onto his back on the bed. Comprehension dawned, and Otabek raised an eyebrow.
“You don't want to go there” he said, “you're not used to uncontrolled physical sensation. You might not like it.”
“Rubbish” Yuri sank his fingers into Otabek's hair and kissed him, snaking his tongue into his mouth and slipping on top of his hips. Growling, the nephilim wrapped his arms around the blonde's tiny waist and wriggled, swapping their position and pinning Yuri underneath him.
“Fine... if you want to experiment, I won't complain... but if you need to stop, just say so.”
“I won't need to sto-ahhhHHH!” Yuri cried as Otabek ran his tongue up the side of his throat, grinding down aginst the blonde with a smirk. The sensations doubled in his body, the feel of the nephilim's lips and tongue mixing with waves of pleasure from the friction Otabek was providing for himself. Utterly bemused and overwhelmed by the experience, Yuri instinctively tried to shut down his nerves, and discovered to his shock that he wasn't able to block out any of it.
His immediate reaction was to push Otabek off, and that ended up with both of them howling in agony as they were separated. Snuggling back into each others arms, they panted for long moments as they recovered, and Yuri growled in protest at the situation.
“Maybe we should leave that for a while...” Otabek suggested, and Yuri growled even louder.
“Just... just go slower” he said, pulling Otabek back into a kiss. The nephilim responded as gently as he knew how, feeling the spikes and flares in the vampire's aura as the physical sensations doubled once again. Otabek rolled onto his back again, letting his lover set the pace.
“It's... it's so m-much” Yuri moaned, running his fingertips over Otabek's chest and shivering. “It's like being touched by a ghost... and I can't shut any of it down. Not even when you touch me... it's like you're overriding my ability...”
Sitting up, Otabek held his hands carefully. “I can't imagine how horrifying that must be for you” he said, looking seriously into green eyes flecked with silver. “I... I don't think I can stop it...”
“It... it's OK because it's you” Yuri brushed their lips together in a kiss and shivered again. “J-just let me touch you... I'll get used to it.”
Trying not to overload himself again, Yuri stuck to light kisses and touches, working his way down Otabek's body until he could kneel between his legs, tugging their clothes off as he went. Hooking the nephilim's knee over his shoulder, he ran his tongue up Otabek's thigh until he found the pulse point, then touched his fangs to his flesh briefly, telling him what he wanted. “Can I?” he purred, and the nephilim moaned, wrapping Yuri's hand around the hard length of his cock to ground himself before nodding.
The impact of the heady, delicious taste of the nephilim's blood and physically experiencing the pleasure of his orgasm as Yuri's fangs entered his flesh made Yuri come so fast and hard that the vampire blacked out.
By day five, the physical link between them started to fade, to their immense relief. The sharing of any extreme physical experience only went one way; anything painful or pleasurable Otabek felt hit Yuri, but the nephilim didn't get a corresponding response from the blonde, and after a few days of hearing Yuri protest and complain every time he so much as stubbed a toe, it began to wear a little thin. Once the shared sensations faded, it left only one problem for the vampire to deal with; his inability to shut Otabek out.
Since becoming a vampire, Yuri had always able to close down his nerves; to shut out awareness of anything that was happening to his body if he wanted to. He speculated it was a response to the intense physical trauma of his death, and the treatment he'd received at the hands of his monstrous sire for over a century afterwards had only improved those abilities. The blonde's instinctive reaction to being touched was to shut down, and it took conscious will to prevent that and let himself feel the other person. At least, it had done until the bond between himself and the nephilim. Now, even if he wanted to shut Otabek out, he couldn't.
“Think of it like drinking strong vodka” he explained. “Normally, when you're given a glass, you start by sipping, then gradually you might take longer drinks as you're getting used to it.” He was curled up in Otabek's arms, after another failed attempt at sex. Every time they became intimate, the inability to control what he was feeling made Yuri recoil, and his fear instantly killed any lust between them.
“So right now, you're being forced to swallow the whole shot” Otabek said, sadly.
“Exactly. I mean, I want to drink it, but it's just... just too much.”
Otabek held him gently, resting his nose against his scalp. “I feel like I'm violating you” he murmured, his voice thick with guilt, and Yuri immediately turned to kiss him, shaking his head.
“No. No! You... you're doing everything I ask, it's not your fault. I just... don't know how to deal with this.” Sighing, he snuggled back down and ran his fingertips over the muscles of Otabek's arm as he held him.
“Maybe it'll fade, like the other things?”
“Maybe. Doesn't feel like it though. What about you? Is the mental thing fading?”
Otabek nodded. “Thank god”, he sighed. For the first few days, every time he fell asleep his dreams were filled with Yuri's mental visions; like an unwilling passenger while the blonde journeyed around the world, watching different situations unfold. He woke up exhausted, and his mood had rapidly soured. The only time he got any sleep was during the day, but then his dreams were dark and cold, the silence of Yuri's mind during his daytime deathlike sleep, and he frequently woke up crying, more exhausted than ever.
As that faded out, just as Yuri had found with the physical link to the nephilim, he discovered a second level of connection which seemed to be more permanent. “There's something else though, something weird. I've always been able to feel magic, but now I... I can see it. The wards Georgi has on the dacha, the ones he gets his human friend to maintain? I can see them, they look like spiderwebs covering the house.”
“Can you understand them? I mean, you could do a little magic before, but those wards are very black magic... if you're saying you can do that kind of magic now...”
“Mmm... I don't think it's that simple. It's more like I can see the... the fabric of them, and I can touch it too. I'm pretty sure I could take them apart, and probably make them myself... but not using spells, or books. It's different.”
“Maybe it's because you're... you're tapped into the source of the power. Viktor always said he drew his magic from... dark places.”
“You can say the word 'Hell', I'm not going to cry.”
“You did last time.”
“Maybe I'm getting over it” Otabek snapped, and Yuri winced.
“Fine. Perhaps the reason is because you've got one foot in Hell and the other in this realm, and that's exactly how black magic works?”
There was nothing but a snuffle in reply, and Yuri sighed, reaching up to brush away the tears staining his nephilim's cheeks.
Gathering in Georgi's study, Otabek sat on the couch in front of the large screen TV as Yuri connected his phone to the network and dialled the twins, putting them in control of Georgi's PC. In moments, the TV displayed “calling... Encrypted line”, and Yuri settled into Otabek's arms, Georgi perched on the arm of the couch next to them, his aura pulsing with nerves. After a few rings, the call picked up and Otabek blinked in surprise. The man in the centre of the screen was unfamiliar, but sat beside him calmly was Yuri's old coven mate, Christophe Giacometti. The Swiss vampire was as tall and sultry looking as ever, and had his pet tucked under his arm. Phitchit's eyes widened as he saw Otabek, and he gave him a tiny wave, beaming from ear to ear.
A slender human female sat beside the other vampire, and Georgi rolled his eyes, muttering something about 'hereditary pet obsession', making Yuri grunt in amusement. Noticing the bearing of the other vampire and the way the Swiss deferred to him physically, Otabek concluded that he was looking at Celestino, Giacometti's sire.
The elder vampire appeared middle aged, tall, with long, flamboyant brown hair held back with a single band and what seemed to be a permanent half smile. His eyes were pale green, and he had an impressive bone structure, with high cheekbones and a strong jaw. He looked every inch the Roman commander he had been in life.
“Ciao, Celestino” Yuri leaned forward from his position on Otabek's thighs and adjusted the angle of the webcam to include Georgi in the frame. “You remember my uncle?”
“Of course” the elder vampire nodded, “I would never forget a fellow Son of the Empire.” Georgi bowed slightly more respectfully, and Otabek noticed Giacometti rolling his eyes in the background. “I asked my eldest to sit in, I hope you don't mind.”
“Mmm. Has he forgive me for trying to tear his head off yet?” Yuri asked, his lips twitching in a tiny smile. Celestino laughed out loud and slapped Giacometti's leg in a friendly manner, and the Swiss raised an eyebrow.
“Oh you did? I must have missed that” he said, comfortably, and Celestino laughed again.
“Everyone is friends here” the Italian declared. “Now... you have something to tell me I think? It must be important, to warrant a call like this?”
“I'm only sorry I couldn't deliver the news in person, this was the best I could do; I have to return to America and my flight is tomorrow.” Sitting a little more upright and composing his expression, Yuri's tone became professional. It was a marked contrast to the amusement and enjoyment flaring in his aura, and Otabek had to focus on the screen to avoid another headache.
“It is with regret that I must inform you of the death of Yakov, Second Seat of the Council of Elders. I confirmed a few days ago that he and his youngest child, Dimitri, have both perished. Yakov's dacha has been destroyed by fire, which also destroyed their remains, and the remains of another four vampires, as well as over four dozen humans.”
Celestino folded his arms across his chest and tapped his fingertips on his bicep, his gaze steady and calm. Beside him, Giacometti looked very deliberately shocked, the emotion not quite touching his eyes.
“Have you been able to determine cause of death?”
“Nothing that I would be confidant sharing.” Yuri said, matching Celestino's gaze. “Would the Council of Elders like me to begin a formal Investigation?” Beside him, Georgi blinked and turned to stare at the blonde, his expression unreadable but his aura pulsing with confusion and surprise. Giacometti looked similarly puzzled.
“I will confirm once the Council has met. What is the line of succession for the Russian clans?”
Georgi leaned forward. “Viktor is the de-facto heir, with Dimitri's death, due to age. He has my full support, I don't intend to challenge for the throne.”
“Well then. I'll prepare a formal invitation for Viktor to attend the Council in Rome. Georgi, will you be acting as his second?”
“Technically that should be Yuri, as his eldest child.”
“Completely impossible” Celestino said, shaking his head. “That would be a conflict of interests that the Council wouldn't be willing to condone.” Georgi and Giacometti both displayed the same expressions of astonishment, and Otabek knew he was missing something important. Yuri chuckled softly at their expressions.
“What a shame” the blonde said, “you'll have to do it Georgi, Mila's still too young for anyone to take her seriously in that role.”
Celestino laughed, and nodded. “Alright, then let's get the pieces moving.” Sobering a little, he settled his features into a studied, deliberate expression of sadness. “I am very sorry for your loss, of course.”
“Will you be coming to Rome, Yuri?”
“No. I hate Italy at the best of times, even more when it contains Viktor. I'll send my report by the usual channels.”
“Very well. Your hatred of my country not withstanding, it's been good to see you again. See you soon, Georgi.” With a wave, Celestino ended the call and Yuri sat back, exhaling loudly and letting his face relax into an amused smile.
“Yuri... what the fuck was that” Georgi demanded, and the blonde snuggled deep into Otabek's embrace, eyeing his uncle.
“What was what?” he asked, a little too innocently.
“Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest?? And why are you asking about launching Formal Investigations???”
“You used to be Yakov's heir, yet you don't know how the Council works? Any individual can only hold one formal title. I can't take the role of Viktor's lieutenant, as I already hold a Council position.”
Georgi exploded upright, nearly screaming in shock. “What the fuck did you just say?? What fucking position??”
Grinning, Yuri gave up with the nonchalant act, too amused as his uncle's reaction to pull it off any longer. “Where do you think the Council gets all its intelligence from? I've held the position of Spymaster since the 14th century. Of course, they never use my name, and I never appear in person; even Dimitri didn't know. And Yakov probably thought I was under his control, just like the rest of the Council do. He was wrong, of course. I work for them, but I don't obey them.” Watching Georgi's face shift from blood red outrage to pale shock, he laughed again and ran his fingers through Otabek's hair, delighted at the reaction. “There, now you know something even Viktor doesn't. Don't you feel special?”
Landing at the International Airport in Anchorage, Otabek busied himself with getting a decent meal while Yuri checked in with the Twins and shuffled some resources around, finalising the purchase of a comfortable town house in the city. Neither of them wanted to spend any more time at the manor than absolutely necessary.
Arranging vampire safe property and ensuring it contained supplies for the blonde was one of Antoine's specialities, and in a few hours they were walking into a spacious hallway, complete with dark oak furnishings and black leather couches. Yuri tucked into a warm bottle of blood while Otabek explored the secured, light proof basement and the elaborate suite on the second floor. Discovering the kitchen was well stocked for both of them, he made himself a second dinner while Yuri spoke with the Twins.
They had discussed the plan once they arrived in Alaska at length, but now the reality was upon them and Otabek felt nervous and unprepared. Yuri patiently set aside an hour to quiet the nephilim's fears, curled up in bed stroking his hair until he dozed off. Once they were rested and showered, and Otabek had relaxed a little, Yuri called a taxi and they made their way to the coven house to give the Russians the news about Yakov and Dimitri.
Yuri glanced at the nephilim as the taxi pulled up outside the manor, alarmed at the tone of his voice. Otabek was staring up at the house with a shocked expression, his skin grey and his hands shaking as he gripped the door handle.
“What is it?”
“The house... it's... it looks like it's breathing...”
Getting slowly out of the car, Otabek passed a hand over his eyes, trying to get his brain to adjust to what he was looking at. His new ability to see spells and magical effects revealed the full extent of Viktor's protections upon the coven house, and it was staggering.
Wards of warning and defence hung like spider webs from every inch of the building; thick, black ropes forming an ancient, impenetrable net over windows and doors, snuggling around the chimneys and hugging the walls. Within the webs, Otabek could see movements of things tending the magic, maintaining it against entropy and assault. Those half hidden shapes made his skin crawl, although to a part of him they felt familiar and comforting. Shuddering, he averted his eyes, watching the way the webs shifted and flexed. It made the building seem alive, in some hideous parody of sentience. It was hard to imagine that no one else could see it.
“If we go in, can you get us back out if you need to?” Yuri's voice was tense, and Otabek reached for his hand instinctively.
“Yes... I can see the weak spots, places I can break it. It won't be easy though, it'll take a fair bit of power.” As he spoke, the wards lifted away from the main entrance and revealed the door as it opened, inviting the pair into the house.
“Right then. Let's get this over with.” Yuri strode forward, tugging Otabek by the hand as the nephilim shivered. “Don't let him know about your ability until you have to” he added, and Otabek hunched in on himself, concealing his horror at entering the building.
Four figures awaited them in the lobby of the manor, and Yuri stopped a short distance away from them, Otabek tucked in behind him. Raising his chin, he nodded to Mila and eyed Guang Hong and Leo where they stood either side of Viktor. Otabek could only stare at the coven leader and bite back a soft whimper at what his new sight revealed.
The webs and skittering creatures on the building were repeated here, wrapping around Viktor's body like a robe. His ocean blue eyes seemed hollow and pale to the nephilim, and his skin was translucent. Beneath it, Otabek could see runes and symbols etched into his muscles and bones, littering his body with dark marks and stains. His entire frame was wrapped in fluctuating black magic, both powering and protecting him. Shuddering, Otabek lowered his eyes and forced himself to concentrate on Yuri's voice, knowing that he would need to act instantly if the blonde gave the word to escape.
“Yuri, what a lovely surprise” Viktor purred, and Otabek felt the hatred flare in the blonde. The extreme spike of his aura sent a wave into the nephilim, and hatred ignited in his own heart, fuelled by Yuri's emotions. Curling his lip, he pressed closer to his lover, resting his hands on his hips. The physical connection steadied both of them, and Yuri raised his chin. Otabek ignored Viktor for a moment, watching the reactions of the other vampires as Yuri spoke.
“It falls to me to inform you that your sire and youngest brother are dead” the blonde said, his voice emotionless. Mila pressed her hand to her throat in an almost comedic gesture of shock, her aura telegraphing her hidden delight at the news as she played the horrified grandchild.
On the other side of Viktor, Guang Hong reacted very differently. His aura shimmered with outrage, horror and grief, and he sagged back against his lover with a low cry. Leo slipped his arms around his waist, his own aura flickering with concern and suspicion as he looked at Yuri. Otabek remembered the rumours about his physical abilities, and shifted his weight, subtly moving to Yuri's side and into a position where he could intercept if the Latino made a move.
Viktor nodded when Yuri finished speaking, and folded his arms across his chest. “Do you know what happened to them?”
“It seems a fire broke out in Yakov's dacha. No remains have been confirmed.”
“I see. Georgi?”
“Is safe and well. He escaped the fire, although he was unable to rescue anyone else. Another four of Yakov's subordinates also perished, along with a number of humans.”
“How do you know... did you do this???” Guang Hong hissed the words, his hands bunching into fists as he pushed himself away from Leo. Viktor clicked his tongue, making a soothing gesture at his youngest child.
“Lets not throw accusations around. I expect the Council will want an investigation soon enough...”
“They're considering it” Yuri said, and Viktor raised an eyebrow. “It was my duty to inform the First Seat as soon as I could confirm the deaths. That took priority over reporting to you. You'll receive an invitation to take the Second Seat within a few days.”
“Duty?” Viktor sounded suspicious, and Otabek tensed. “What possible duty could you have to the Council above your own sire? And why would they tell you anything about their plans?”
Yuri shrugged, disinterest on his face. “Georgi doesn't intend to contest your claim to the throne, and will take the position as your second” he continued, and Viktor's expression darkened even further.
“That position should be yours” he snarled, “that is your duty, as my eldest child...”
“I'd rather rip out my own intestines than be shackled to you back in Russia” Yuri said, comfortably, and Otabek hissed as he saw Mila's expression change to genuine shock. “It was always going to be Georgi at your side, not me.”
“You did plan this” Guang Hong gasped, and Viktor finally turned his attention on his youngest child.
“Be silent, boy” he said, raising a hand to stop the protest. Otabek winced as Guang Hong's mouth clamped shut against his will, his aura glittering with panic. Obviously, Viktor hadn't demonstrated his power over the younger vampire before, and Guang Hong wasn't expecting it. Yuri winced as well, memories of pain and fear making his aura spike and jump. “You address your elders and betters, you will not speak again until you have learned manners.” Beside him, Mila's eyes widened at the coldness in her sire's voice, watching his cruel treatment of the Chinese vampire with disbelief.
Get ready Yuri's mental voice slipped into Otabek's thoughts, and the nephilim braced himself, taking deep, slow breaths to keep him calm as Yuri addressed his sire again.
“I'll be generous to you, Viktor” Yuri said, and their attention snapped back to him, Viktor's face contorting in confused anger. “I'll give you two days to pack and get on a plane to Rome. Once you're off American soil, you can consider your invitation to my territory revoked. Set foot here again, and I'll kill you.”
Stunned into speechlessness, the four vampires stared at the blonde for long moments before Viktor managed to find his voice. “What did you just say to me?” he murmured, astonishment dominating over rage as he tried to understand what had just happened. The rage wasn't far behind though, and Otabek narrowed his eyes as black smoke began to coalesce underneath Viktor's skin.
“You heard. You have two days to get out of my country” Yuri snarled, folding his arms across his chest defiantly. “I gave you what you wanted; Yakov's seat on the Council, and his throne. I want you out of my country and a world away from me, forever. That's the price, now pay it!”
“Arrogant, impudent little wretch” Viktor snarled, and he raised his hands, black smoke pouring out of his fingertips and launching towards the blonde. Yuri didn't move, but beside him Otabek sprang into action.
With a snarl, the nephilim threw his arm in front of the blonde and stepped into the path of the smoke, a wall of blackness appearing in front of him. Viktor's smoke struck it full speed and shattered, breaking like glass and crumbling onto the floor. As the sorcerer stared at him in absolute bafflement, he lowered his arm and curled his lip.
“You will not touch him again” Otabek growled, and Viktor screamed with fury, flinging another wave of magic at the Kazakh. Slow to react, the nephilim failed to get his wall up in time and was wrapped in the smoke, his body arching as he was painfully compressed. With a roar, Otabek flexed his body and a dark aura surrounded him, pulsing against the smoke. As power exploded outwards from his body and shattered Viktor's magic again, Otabek dropped to one knee, overbalancing as he felt unexpected weight tugging at his back and forehead. Forcing himself back to his feet, he stared at the expressions of utter terror on the faces of the four vampires. Viktor backed slowly away, holding his hands out in a gesture of surrender, while Guang Hong and Leo clung to each other and Mila tucked herself behind the nearest pillar.
“Thank you, my love” Yuri said, and Otabek blinked as the vampire's voice shook slightly. “You understand the situation now, don't you, Viktor?”
“Y-you bonded him...” Viktor murmured, and Otabek curled his lip, his fury rising at the sound of his voice. “You actually managed it... h-he's... he's a...”
“M-monster” Guang Hong choked, and beside him Leo whispered “el diablo...” Otabek growled, and Yuri touched his arm gently. As he turned to look at the blonde he felt the tug of unknown weight on his back again, and he looked over his shoulder, wondering what was attached to him. The glance made him look straight into one of the big mirrors beside the staircase, and he stared at himself in shock.
Huge, curved, feathered black wings stretched from his shoulder blades, leaving his shirt in tatters around them. As he stared at himself, he realised he could feel the flex in them as he moved. They were so unexpected that it took him a moment to notice the rest of his body; long horns that curved from his forehead and back over his head, shining like obsidian and ending in sharp points, eyes like gleaming black pools, and skin bleached almost white. The only reason he didn't have an immediate screaming fit at the sight of himself was the touch of the blonde on his arm; he could see Yuri's expression of carefully controlled determination in the reflection and it slapped him into sobriety. If he broke now, Viktor would kill them both.
Turning back to the enemy vampires, Otabek laced his fingers through Yuri's, noticing that his nails had become long black claws. Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to calm down, deliberately slowing the flow of magic within him. He instinctively recognised that as the cause of the transformation; as he'd reacted to Viktor's attacks, his body had shifted into a physical form that could handle so much dark power in one go. Curious, he watched in the mirror as the demonic appearance wavered and blew away from him like smoke, leaving him looking normal, but with a torn shirt and ruffled hair.
Yuri eyed the nephilim and then turned, leading him towards the exit and the waiting taxi as he spoke over his shoulder. “You have two days, Viktor. Now get out of my country, or the family will be needing a new heir.”
Otabae noooooo :( :(
Yuri leaned on the bedroom door, listening to the muffled sobbing of his nephilim on the other side. Otabek had locked himself in the room as soon as they'd returned from the manor, refusing to even look at the blonde. That had been nearly six hours ago, and Yuri's patience was starting to wear thin.
Resting his shoulders against the door, he reflected again that he could open the door with a kick, and reminded himself why he wasn't doing that. Since Russia, the urge to control and possess the Kazakh had disappeared; more proof that he was no longer the vampire's pet. In its place, Yuri had found he wanted to keep Otabek happy, and see him smile. It was baffling, and the vampire had been struggling to accept it for weeks.
Now, listening to his nephilim weeping, feeling an ugly grief and guilt clawing its way up his own throat, Yuri understood the nature of their relationship for the first time. They were partners now, equals. That was why he couldn't just kick down the door.
Sighing, Yuri checked his phone. Two hours since he'd last tried to speak to the nephilim and been ignored. Time to try again.
“Otabek, please let me in.”
No response, although the snuffling and sobbing seemed to quiet a little. Tilting his head, Yuri thought he could hear movement on the other side of the door. Not for the first time, he longed for Georgi's hearing.
“Go away.” The voice was broken and soft, and Yuri raised an eyebrow. Speech was an improvement, better than desolate weeping anyway.
“I can't do that. Not while you're this upset.”
Definite movement; it sounded like the nephilim had crossed to the door and was leaning against it. Yuri resisted the urge to use his sight and look into the room, reasoning that was probably as bad as kicking the door down.
“Please... please just leave me alone, Yuri. It... it hurts to be near you right now.”
“What? I don't...”
“I can feel how upset you are... about me, of what I... became...”
Yuri cursed quietly. He'd been working hard to control his aura, knowing Otabek would feel it, but obviously he hadn't been as good as he thought.
“You're so bad at reading me these days” he murmured, closing his eyes. “It's like you only see the parts that confirm what you want to see. I'm not upset with you. I'm... fuck...” With a sigh, the blonde slid down the door, sitting cross legged with his back to it. “I'm horrified at what I've done to you” he murmured, clenching his fists and digging his claws into his palms. Watching the marks from his nails bleed and then heal, he shook his head.
“Do you know why I never made any children?”
There was a pause, and when Otabek replied he was a lot closer. Yuri suspected he was sitting against the other side of the door. “N-no... I hadn't thought about it.”
“The thought of turning someone into a monster like me was abhorrent. I hated the very idea of it. When you explained to me what the nephilim bond would do to you, I decided I'd never ask it of you, for the exact same reason.”
There was an even longer pause, and then Otabek opened the door, peering down at the vampire incredulously. Yuri got to his feet and looked at the tear streaked cheeks of his lover, feeling a deep ache inside at the distress and pain in his eyes. Otabek had stripped off the ruin of his shirt, and his skin on his shoulders was red as if he'd been scratching at his back.
“That's right... but of course, you don't believe me” it was a flat statement rather than a question, and Otabek hung his head. “You'd know if I was lying” Yuri pointed out, making the nephilim shrug.
“So... so you... we... Yuri, are you saying I forced you to bond with me?” Otabek's voice was horrified, and the blonde raised his hands hurriedly.
“No... no of course not. I chose, the same as you... but it wasn't my plan. I... I didn't want to do this to you... Otabek...” stepping closer to the nephilim, Yuri reached out for him and then stopped, reluctant to make unwanted physical contact. “I'm so fucking sorry... sorry for all of it. I don't know how to... to make it... I can't fix things. I can't... I can't help you... and you're hurting so much...”
His voice cut off as Otabek took his hand, drawing the blonde close to him and wrapping his arms around him.
“You're not scared of me?”
“No... of course not.”
“I turned into... I was a...”
“You were beautiful” Yuri had been trying to avoid admitting that, but he sensed the nephilim needed to hear it. “So beautiful... and powerful... and you protected me. You're the first person who's ever protected me from Viktor, did you know that?”
Shaking his head, Otabek tightened his arms around the vampire, resting his cheek against his head. “I hated him so much... I thought it was just your hatred I was feeling, but it was more. I could see him, see him clearly. What he really is... he's like a paper man, held together by death and darkness. Something about him turned my stomach... I would have killed him, if I'd had the chance.” His tone left no doubt about how much that distressed him, and Yuri touched his jaw gently.
“Destroyed him. You can't kill what's already dead” he pointed out, and Otabek closed his eyes.
“Come with me” Yuri said, leading him across the hall to the windowless suite set aside for the vampire. Sighing, Otabek followed him and let him draw him onto the huge bed, tucking the blankets around them so he could lie against Yuri's chest without feeling the chill of his skin. Lying there in the dark, listening to his own heartbeat and soothed by the blonde's fingers running through his hair, he gave in to the grief and pain again and buried his face into Yuri's shoulder as he cried. Somehow, sobbing in his lover's arms lifted more of the pain than hours of crying alone had managed, and he eventually drifted into a troubled sleep.
Waking up around midday, Otabek found Yuri curled up around him and disentangled them with some difficulty, battling the rigor mortis that always marked the daytime sleep of the vampire. Padding through the quiet house, he fed himself and took a long, hot shower. Giving himself a few hours to just zone out, he put on some doom metal and lay on the couch, staring up at the patterned wallpaper on the ceiling and dozing.
His stomach woke him sooner than he expected, and he ate another huge meal, pausing as he eyed the packets of steak he'd demolished. Since bonding to the vampire, his appetite had been out of control; when he wasn't eating, he was hungry and thinking about food. A check in the mirror confirmed he wasn't gaining any weight, so he put that question aside for now and focused on finding more food. By the time his phone alarm told him it was nightfall, he'd emptied most of the kitchen and felt a little less empty and hollow. Warming two bottles of blood from the vampire's supply, he made his way back to his suite and pulled the blonde psudo-corpse into his arms, waiting for him to wake up.
“Breakfast in bed, Yuri?”
Yuri stirred sluggishly, accepting the bottle from Otabek without opening his eyes. Taking a large pull, he sighed and snuggled against the nephilim's chest.
“Nice surprise” the blonde murmured, and Otabek kissed his hair.
“I felt like being domestic.”
“Mmm. Did you eat today?”
“Like a train.” Seeing the confusion on Yuri's face, he pulled a face. “I'm eating like a horse at the moment. I don't know why.”
“You're living on hay and oats?”
“Don't be so literal. You know what I mean.”
“Mmm. I've been extra hungry too, every since... well, Russia.”
“Since the bond?”
“Y-yeah. Another side effect?”
“Maybe... or something else? I don't know... I'm not getting fat, so I don't care.”
“Mmm. You could stand to gain some weight.”
Otabek gave the blonde a sideways glance. “Says the emaciated waif.”
“Emaciated waif is a good look on me. You look better with muscle.”
“Good thing I'm not going to be ageing any time soon, you'd find me very unappealing as an old man.”
“Hah” Yuri snorted against Otabek's skin, his dry laugh muffled. “I'd love you no matter what, I just mean you seemed healthier when you were heavier.”
“There's that word again.”
Otabek tilted Yuri's chin up, making deliberate eye contact. “Love. You said it last night as well.”
“I said it in Russia too. What's your point?”
“You love me?”
Yuri rolled his eyes.
“You won't say it when I want you to?”
“Fine. I love you. Happy?”
Another eye roll. “How?”
Otabek drew him up into a kiss, and Yuri shivered as the sensations rolled over him, trying to relax despite the panic of having no control over what he was experiencing.
“It's been too long...” Otabek growled, pulling the blonde into his arms and stretching out on his back. Yuri slipped onto his hips, whimpering as the nephilim sank his hands into his hair, the yearning in his touches and voice firing the vampire's libido. Still, it was overwhelming and out of his control, and he couldn't help but try to pull away.
“O-Otabek... it... it's still a l-lot to t-take...”
Groaning at the feel of the blonde on top of him, Otabek decided that for once, he was going to be the demanding one. “P-please... I need you... please make me feel h-human again...” he pleaded, unable to stop fresh tears slipping from beneath his lashes.
Sighing, Yuri looked down at the beautiful, nearly broken creature below him and chided himself for being a coward. His nephilim needed him, and he was too scared to let him in. Forcing a deep breath into his lungs, he leaned down and kissed his lover, using the air to softly exhale his emotions into the kiss.
“For you my love, anything...”
Staring at his phone, Yuri muttered to himself in confusion as he made his way into the kitchen. Otabek was cooking a late dinner, and glanced up curiously at the spikes in the vampire's aura as he entered the room.
“Mila... she's reaching out to me. She wants to meet.”
“What? Why's she still here? You said she'd go back to Russia with Viktor.”
“I assumed she would... she's always been a devoted child. But I've just watched Viktor get on his plane, and she's still at the manor. So is Guang Hong, although he's busy trashing the place in a rage.”
Otabek stopped and hunched his shoulders. “Did... did you see Yuuri Katsuki?” Noting the blank look on the blonde's face, he clarified with irritation “his pet.”
“Mmm. He was with Viktor on the plane, he looked healthy enough.”
The nephilim exhaled loudly, relief flooding him. “I was so worried that Viktor would take out his temper on him” he murmured, and Yuri patted his shoulder absently, still frowning at his phone.
“You should have said, I'd have kept a closer eye on him. Ask, next time.”
“Mmm. What about the other humans at the manor? Are they safe?”
“Yuri!” Otabek turned and fixed him with a glare. “The people who lived there, worked there... they're all tagged, right? They can't leave? You just forgot about them, didn't you!”
Looking up, Yuri winced at the expression on the nephilim's face. “I... yes, all right, I forgot. I never...” sighing, he gave up and folded his arms across his chest. “Assuming Viktor didn't kill them all before he left, they're probably fine.”
“Seriously? You want me to...”
“You just told me to ask if I needed you to use your powers!”
Groaning, Yuri's eyes unfocused as he switched to his mental vision and skimmed the distance to the manor.
“They're all still there, mostly they're hiding on the upper floors because of Guang Hong's raging. Leo's trying and failing to keep him calm... seems Guang Hong is mostly destroying Viktor's stuff. Mila's hiding in her suite, with the twins.”
“Tell Mila we'll meet her” Otabek said, decisively. “We need to go back to the manor and get those people out; if she wants something from you, she can help us with that first.”
“Eh? And how exactly are you planning to rescue them? They're tagged, they can't just leave the house.”
“I know. I'll remove the tags. It's only a spell, I should be able to undo it.” Frowning, Otabek dished up his food and sat at the table, watching the emotions move over Yuri's face. The vampire had gone from bafflement, through irritation at being ordered around, and was now settling on mild panic at the thought of Otabek using more magic. “I'd like to get into his library as well, if we're going there anyway. That mess of defences on the house needs to come down; it's dangerous to any humans that go near the place. I could break it by hand, but he's probably got books on how to remove it properly, which would be easier...”
“Wait, wait. Wait. You want to study black magic? After what it did to you last time? Are you insane?”
“I'm stuck with it now” Otabek shrugged, pushing his empty plate aside. “I'm eating about ten times more than average, something's pulling all that energy out of me and I don't know what. I'm still having weird dreams and something is still bothering me about your aura and I don't know what that is either.” Growling unhappily, he let Yuri wrap his arms around him as the blonde sent a reply to Mila, giving a location in Anchorage to meet the following night. “If I don't start learning about this crap, it's going to drown us. I can feel it.”
A busy, Saturday night restaurant was Yuri's choice for the meet, and they booked an early table, arriving not long after sundown. The vampire had drained a bottle while waiting for the cab, and brought another with him, thanks to the restaurant Bring Your Own Bottle policy. Otabek ordered two large steaks with everything, and was busy polishing off the second one when Mila arrived.
She slid into the chair facing Yuri, and the twins sat nervously opposite Otabek. Ignoring the redheaded vampire, the nephilim turned his attention to the two humans, noticing how pale Michele looked beneath his tan. His eyes were hooded, and his sister had her arm through his as if she were holding him upright.
“Are you two hungry?” he asked, pushing the menu at them. Sara nodded, and ordered for them both, then turned to her brother and spoke quietly in Italian, getting a listless nod in return.
“What's wrong with him” Otabek demanded, and Sara winced, dropping her eyes.
“Viktor... he... he made Mila give Mickey to Guang Hong and Leo... after Giacometti left.”
Leaning over, Otabek gently pushed Michele's collar aside and took in the bandages covering his throat and upper body. “Goddamn Viktor” he hissed, and Yuri glanced over, interrupting his conversation with Mila at the tone of the nephilim's voice.
Taking in the state of the twins and Otabek's expression, he raised an eyebrow at the redhead. “The Perfect Sire did this? And you let him? I thought you cared about Sara?”
“I...” Mila stopped, her aura flickering with guilt, shame and grief. Otabek glared at her.
“She's not so impressed by him any more” he said, leaning back in his chair as the food arrived and snagging the third steak he'd ordered for himself. “She's begun to figure out what he is.”
“About time” Yuri muttered, then frowned at Michele. Sara was speaking to him gently, trying to persuade him to eat. “Is he going to live?”
“He's very ill” Otabek said, switching to Old Norse to prevent the twins from understanding him. “Severely anaemic, and badly traumatised. He's got other injuries as well as the blood loss.. they were rough with him.”
“Leo” Yuri snarled, glaring at Mila. “He's not physically capable of handling things gently. Especially fragile things like humans.”
“I can make up a potion that will help him, but I'll need to do it at home. And I'll need some of your blood.”
“Why mine? This is Mila's fault...”
Otabek set his fork down and turned fully in his chair, fixing the blonde with an furious expression and unconsciously switching to English, unable to concentrate enough on what language he was speaking through his anger. “The potion will draw on my blood to work, and yours will boost it. And no, this isn't Mila's fault, it's both your faults, for not giving a shit about the people in that house. So you will help fix it, without whining. Understood?”
Silence fell over the table as he spoke, and Otabek realised that Mila and the twins were staring at him in astonishment. Tilting his head to the side, he waited for Yuri's irritated nod before he turned back to his food and began eating, trying to ignore the terror in Mila's aura and the bafflement from the two humans, who were trying to understand how a pet could speak to a vampire like that and live.
“Y-Yuri... about the house...” Mila stopped as Otabek's lip curled, then forced herself on. “Guang Hong wanted to get into Viktor's workshops u-underground, but he couldn't open the doors. He was so angry... he's still angry with you for Y-Yakov... but he knows it was Viktor in the end. And the way he treated him after you'd left... after Otabek... after whatever Otabek did... Viktor was furious, and he t-took it out on us.”
Sighing, Yuri poured her a glass of blood in a gesture of solidarity, trusting the lighting in the restaurant to make it look like wine. “Did he hurt you?”
“He hurt all three of us. Leo included. I thought he was going to kill us.”
“So now you know what happens when daddy takes you to the woodshed” the blonde murmured, his voice hollow. “I wish I could say I'm sorry, but I can't summon up the empathy right now.”
“What are you going to do now he's gone?”
Otabek blinked and shot a thought to Yuri. This is what she's here for.
Raising his eyebrows, Yuri shrugged. “Leave, as soon as the manor is sorted out. Otabek intends to release the humans from their tags and strip away the wards, so the place isn't dangerous any more.”
Mila stared at the nephilim with respect and more than a little fear. “H-he can do that?”
“He is sat right in front of you” Otabek snapped, and the twins flinched. “Don't make the mistake of treating me like a pet, Mila.”
Yuri purred in amusement as Mila went pale then bright red, and patted Otabek's arm. “You're growing very sharp teeth, my love” he murmured proudly in Old Norse, and Otabek fought back a smile.
To the amazement of the everyone at the table, Mila bowed her head at the nephilim in a gesture of apology. “You're right, of course. I spent so long obeying Viktor's traditions that I forgot how to treat humans with decency. Georgi was a better example of how to live, I should have learned from him when I had the chance.”
Otabek blinked, then nodded, thinking of the happy, well cared for staff at Georgi's dacha. “I should have know the whole pet thing was Viktor's doing” he muttered, but Yuri shrugged.
“Viktor and Giacometti always liked the dynamic, they learned it from their sires. You saw Celestino; Yakov was similar with humans. Mila and Seung-gil just followed suit without questioning it. Too young to know better, I suppose.”
Shuddering at the mention of the Korean vampire, Otabek raised an eyebrow. “What about those two, anyway? Giacometti and Lee. Are they coming back?”
“No idea” Mila said, “Viktor disbanded the coven when he left, so there's no real reason for them to.”
“And so we arrive at your purpose here” Yuri said, sitting back in his chair and giving Mila a steely look. “I already think I know, but spit it out. What do you want from me? Why this meeting?”
To Otabek's surprise, Mila and Sara exchanged a long look and the Italian woman nodded. The vampire turned back to Yuri and laid her hands flat on the table, fixating on her claws as she spoke.
“We... we want to come with you. Wherever you decide to go. There's nothing left here for us... and I'm... I'm not strong enough to fight Guang Hong and Leo. He's so angry with Viktor, I'm scared he'll going to try to kill me to punish him... and Leo will do anything he asks.”
“So you want my protection, in case Guang Hong goes homicidal. Even though you hate me...”
“I've never hated you” Mila said, sharply. “For a long time, I found you baffling... your endless animosity for Viktor seemed so extreme, so ridiculous... obviously I understand it now! And I could never fathom half your scheming and plotting... but I respected your skills... and you're my brother. That... that matters to me.”
“You understand nothing about my hatred for Viktor” Yuri said, his tone forbidding, and the redhead winced. Sighing again, he relented a little. “You don't want to be anywhere near me, Mila. Sooner or later, daddy will get brave or stupid, and he'll try to get revenge on me for humiliating him. When he does, I'm going to kill him. If you're anywhere near, you might get caught in the crossfire.” Draining off the glass, he pushed himself to his feet. “Otabek will heal Michele, and then you can go on your way. Go find Giacometti or Seung-gil and ask them for protection, if you're that worried.”
“I can't! Giacometti is close to Viktor... and Seung-gil is... he won't help me. He's probably happier to be out of the coven than you are! He was only ever there to bring Yakov down...”
“We can talk about it later” Otabek interrupted, “Michele's just about falling asleep.” Standing up and grabbing his coat, he took Yuri's hand firmly, ignoring Mila's surprised expression. “Help us clear the house, and we'll talk about you coming with us.”
Yuri stared at him, his aura spiking between astonishment and irritation. “We will?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
She could be useful to you Otabek murmured in his mind, and the blonde pursed his lips. She's got more information on Viktor and his plans than anyone. If you're serious about going up against him, you need her on your side.
“Yes” Otabek said out loud. “We will.”
It's looking like my estimate of another 10 chapters after 50k was woefully inadequate... XD sorry!
CW: references to suicide, slavery, death by fire
The tag cloud is becoming bleaker by the chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The manor loomed over the landscape, intimidating now it was almost completely silent and dark. To Otabek, it looked like a beast crouching over the unwary villages nearby; a monstrous spider just waiting for helpless prey to wander into range. Tendrils of black magic reached out to touch them as they entered the building, recognising the two vampires as former occupants and reluctantly letting them pass. Otabek shuddered at the feel of the magic brushing his skin, glad he'd insisted on leaving Sara to look after Michele back in Anchorage.
Guang Hong and Leo were in the hallway waiting for them, and this time there was no welcome. Leo was stood firmly in front of the Chinese vampire, his expression bleak. Otabek warily assessed him, still struggling to accept that such a slender creature could be so terrifyingly strong. Then he remembered how easily Yuri manhandled him, and that Yuri was afraid of Leo's strength. Irritating the Latino was likely to be unwise.
“What do you want?” Guang Hong demanded, stepping to the side of Leo and glaring at his siblings.
“I need a reason to enter my own house?” Yuri demanded, and Leo growled softly.
“You want to start that fight again, Yuri?” he demanded, and Yuri raised his chin.
“Actually, no. I don't give a fuck what happens to this pile of bricks; if you want to burn it down or rot in it, go ahead. We're here for the livestock, and to deal with the mess that Viktor didn't bother to clean up before he left.”
“Livestock? Oh, the humans upstairs?” Guang Hong raised an eyebrow. “What do you want them for?”
Otabek snarled and Yuri laid a hand on his arm. Both the enemy vampires paled and Guang Hong took a step backwards at the nephilim's obvious anger, but Leo squared his shoulders. “Keep el diablo on a leash, Yuri” he suggested, “or I'll pull his wings off.”
“Tempting as it might be to watch you try, let's keep things civil” the blonde suggested, as Otabek curled his lip. “Mila, stay here with the boys while Otabek and I go to work.” Taking the nephilim by the hand, Yuri tugged him past Leo and up the stairs, towards the fourth floor.
The humans who staffed the house were huddled together in one of the disused guest suites, and there were far fewer of them than Otabek expected to see. Yuri found them using his nose; the smell of blood was strong up here, along with a secondary stink of putrefaction. Several people had died, and hadn't been removed for burial. By the time they reached the survivors, Otabek was shivering with fury.
Leaving Yuri outside the rooms to avoid scaring them, he spoke to the remaining humans for a while, trying to understand what had happened since they'd been gone. When he came back to the blonde, he was spitting rage and nearly incoherent. Yuri managed to get an explanation out of him in pieces, while he ranted.
“Viktor killed several of them in a fury while he was packing to leave. Just drank them nearly dry then threw them out of his suite to crawl away and die. The rest... without Yuuri here to look after their injuries, three of them got sepsis from being fed on and died in their rooms. Two others killed themselves when they realised they couldn't leave the house.”
“Can you remove the tags?”
“Yes... but they know what happened here... What you are...”
“Leave that to me” Yuri said, pulling out his phone. “Humans are flexible creatures, and the twins and I have some experience of arranging for memories to go away. They'll need medical treatment and accommodation too, I assume?”
“Definitely... are you going to bribe them not to talk??”
“Mmm... I think the twins call it 'compensation with a non disclosure agreement'. Get those tags off them, and I'll do the rest.” Yuri turned away and headed back down the corridor, wrinkling his nose at the smell of death. Staring after him with a mixture of respect and disgust, Otabek sighed, sick and tired of vampiric manipulation for one day. Focusing on the task ahead of him, he returned to the rooms and the desperate, terrified humans he had come here to save.
The tag was a relatively simple binding spell, and Otabek found he could understand the mechanics of it after a short examination of the thin lines of tattoo on the back of each person's neck. Removing it would be a little more complex; because he wasn't the creator of the spell, he was forced to break it instead of just shutting it down.
Yuri, where are you?
Back in the lobby with Mila, keeping Leo on his toes. What's wrong?
I'm ready to start removing these tags. There's fourteen in total, it's going to be a big job. I... I don't know if it's going to affect you or not.
Do you want me to come back up there?
Probably a good idea... if you keel over in front of Leo...
Good point, he might get over excited... Best not to show weakness. I'll be right up.
Calming the humans in the presence of the vampire took a while longer, and it was drawing close to midnight before Otabek was ready to start. To Yuri's eyes, it looked as if the nephilim were tracing the lines of the tattoos with his fingers, wiping away the black lines with each stroke. The impact of the magic he was working with began slowly; a frown on Otabek's face and a faint tingling sensation on Yuri's skin. After the fourth human was released from their tag, that frown had deepened to an expression of discomfort, and Yuri was fighting the urge to scratch at his flesh.
“How many more?”
“T-ten more... and then I have to remove the wards...”
“We'll come back for that. You can't...”
“We can't risk another visit, Guang Hong was furious enough when we g-got here, and you and Leo are dying to kill each other. I need to do this tonight.”
Murmuring softly in resignation, Yuri crossed to the window, glaring down at the driveway as Otabek continued to remove the tags. Each person went downstairs once they were freed, grabbing their few possessions on the way. A small shuttle bus had arrived courtesy of the twins, and Mila was supervising the loading of the humans, who all recoiled from Guang Hong and Leo, almost running to the redhead for protection.
Shuddering, Yuri shook his head. “You're right, this is my fault. I watched humans keep slaves for centuries. My family even had some, when I was alive. I loathed it, but I still let Viktor do it right under my nose.”
“Oh? What's changed your tune?”
Lost in memory, Yuri's voice was soft and sad. “I saw a plantation fire once, down in Louisiana, centuries ago when Americans still kept slaves. It was midsummer and the whole place went up; the main house, the slave blocks, even the fields burned. The humans were trying to get everyone out, the horses were screaming, the slaves were terrified... but they didn't try to run away in the chaos. Some of them refused to leave the houses and died in the fires, others ran to the slave owners. None of them risked trying to escape, because they knew they'd be caught, beaten, and hanged.” Leaning his forehead against the cool glass to soothe the itching under his skin from the magic, Yuri sighed. “These people have the same looks on their faces. Helpless, terrified, some completely broken... clinging to life however they can. We did this to them. I did this.”
“Viktor did it. You couldn't have stopped him, you know that.”
“Vikor...” Yuri growled, scratching his claws down the glass. “I hope he comes to try and kill me. I'll tear him to shreds.”
“We'll tear him to shreds” Otabek stood up, staggering slightly as exhaustion began to set in. “I'm done here. Let's take a look at his workrooms while I can still stand up.”
Approaching the hidden door in Viktor's suite, Otabek glared at the webbing of dark wards that blocked his path. The four vampires had gathered behind him to watch, once the humans had been packed off to the hospital in the bus. Sara was going to meet them and make sure Yuri's scheme for dealing with them went off without a hitch. Michele was still resting at the house, but his sister reported an improvement already, thanks to the nephilim's restorative potion.
Running his fingers along a section of black threads, Otabek curled his lip. He could feel the connection to the sorcerer who had cast the spell, and knew Viktor would be able to sense his interference with the magic. Knowing that Viktor would feel it when he began tearing apart the spells, he curled his lip in a bleak smile, his hatred burning inside him, renewing his strength. He hoped it hurt.
Gripping a weak spot with both hands, he sensed the protectors of the spells coming and turned his head, watching them advance along the webs. Inky black, many legged beings, they looked like oversized funnelweb spiders with eight glowing red eyes. Instinctively, he knew they were created from magic and would defend the webbing until they were destroyed. Gritting his teeth, he waited for the attack he knew was coming.
The vampires watched with bafflement as Otabek grabbed something invisible out of the air and squeezed, crushing the space between his hands with obvious effort. Panting slightly, he batted something else away and then turned back to the door, gripping and tugging until he was dripping with sweat. Beside them, Yuri wrapped his arms around his chest and shuddered as the nephilim used the bond between them, pulling power directly from the vampire's blood to work the magic. It was painful and draining, and it was all the blonde could do to stay upright and conceal his temporary weakness from the others. Biting his own tongue to stay silent, he sank his claws into his arms and fought back the rising rage and hunger, knowing that his only source of food was the nephilim in front of him, and if he lost control and killed Otabek, they would both die.
Ripping down the last of the webbing, Otabek collapsed to his knees with a groan, resting his head on the floor for a moment as he drew shaking breaths. He could feel the agony of the blonde, and his hunger, and knew he'd pushed it as far as he dared. The defences of the house were slowly falling around him; killing the protectors of the webs had undone most of the magic, and the rest would dissipate without their vigilance. Hugging himself, he dragged himself to his feet and pushed open the door to the workrooms, moving to Yuri while Guang Hong and Leo entered to search the basement.
Are you OK?
Silently, the blonde snuggled into his arms and pressed his face against his shoulder, his body twitching and shivering with pain. The physical contact restored both of them a little, and Otabek sighed as he rested his cheek against Yuri's scalp. Looking at Mila, he opened his mouth to suggest they explored the library, and at that moment Guang Hong screamed, a blood curdling cry of pure horror from inside the bowels of the house.
Now over 70k words :O
CW: references to buried alive, torture
Guang Hong was in Leo's arms in the middle of the library, his eyes tightly shut and his hands clenched into his hair as scream after scream ripped from his throat. The Latino was holding his lover as tightly as he dared and speaking in rapid, accented Chinese, trying to calm the smaller vampire. He looked up as Yuri, Otabek and Mila dashed into the room.
“What's wrong?” Yuri demanded, looking around for the source of his brother's distress. Otabek also stared around; with the exception of some of the darker tomes on the shelves, there was nothing here that should have caused harm or pain to any of them.
Shaking his head, Leo kept his attention on Guang Hong, speaking softly to him. Otabek frowned, the words doubling in his mind as he automatically translated. After a few moments, as the screams from the Chinese vampire failed to subside, the nephilim gasped in astonishment and stared around the room again in horror.
“Of course... the spells were binding them... Leo, you need to get him out of the house” he said, stepping towards the Latino and gesturing urgently. “The spells are still coming apart, it's only going to get worse.”
Yuri growled warningly as Leo glared at the nephilim, but then the taller vampire lifted the Chinese into his arms as if he weighed nothing and ran for the stairs, blurring with speed. Otabek glanced around the library once more and shuddered, then headed after them. Baffled, Mila and Yuri followed the nephilim, exchanging worried glances.
They found the pair out in the driveway, Leo knelt on the ground with his lover in his arms, holding him as the smaller vampire sobbed helplessly. Otabek crouched next to them, watching the pain and horror drifting across Guang Hong's face. As Mila and Yuri reached them, he glared up at the blonde, freezing him where he stood.
“You should have warned him. That was cruel, Yuri.”
“Warned him about what? What's wrong with him??”
“Black magic uses souls, you know that. The spells I tore down... all the souls that were binding them...”
Yuri shook his head, utterly confused. Next to him, Mila seemed just as lost.
“Y-you didn't know?” Otabek stared at them, then looked at Leo, who frowned.
“Guang Hong didn't know this would happen either” Leo said defensively, “Viktor always kept him away from his magic.”
“What's wrong with him?” Yuri demanded, his temper rising.
“They were... broken, somehow. Like there were parts missing from them... and he kept saying they were in pain...” Leo shuddered, cradling Guang Hong's head in his arms.
Watching Yuri's expression darken with confusion, Otabek took his hand. “Guang Hong's a medium, Yuri. He can see spirits, ghosts... it must have been horrifying. Once I broke the spells, whatever was left of the souls Viktor used were released into the house.”
“How do you know that?”
“Didn't you hear him inside?”
“I heard him speaking weird, old Chinese. I can't speak that!”
Otabek clicked his tongue, reminding himself once again that vampires were surprisingly useless at a lot of things he took for granted.
Yuri was staring at Guang Hong in shock. “He... he's a... Mila, did you know?”
“No! He never said... and Viktor... Viktor never talked about him to me.”
Leo laughed, a hollow sound. “Of course he didn't. It's why Viktor made him” he said, brushing hair out of the smaller vampire's face. Guang Hong's sobs had trailed off into whimpers, but his eyes were still tightly shut and blood stained his hands where he'd dug his claws into his palms. “Viktor was fascinated by his abilities as a human, and wanted to know if they would transcend vampirism. When he found out that Guang Hong could still see spirits, but couldn't communicate with them any more, he discarded him like trash.”
“H-he was an experiment?” Yuri's voice sounded deathly cold, and Otabek glanced at him, feeling the stutter of rage in his aura.
“That's right. Fantastic parenting from your sire” Leo growled, and Yuri curled his lip.
“I'd take being abandoned over being buried alive for a century, any day” Otabek hissed, and Leo stared at him, then gazed at Yuri in horror, his aura flickering with unexpected empathy. Mila was also staring incredulously at the blonde, and there were tears in her eyes as she hugged herself, her grief and growing loathing of Viktor written clearly in her expression. Pain crossed the blonde's face as Otabek spoke, and then he shuddered, turning away from the other two vampires.
Roused a little by their voices, Guang Hong pushed himself upright in Leo's arms and rubbed his hands over his face. “That... that was... not good” he murmured, blinking and looking up at Otabek. “A-all those people...”
“What did you see?” the nephilim asked gently, and Leo growled, wordlessly warning Otabek off. Touching his lover's throat affectionately, the Chinese vampire gazed at the house for a long moment before answering.
“They were... rotting. Missing parts... torn and tattered like wisps. The magic must have been eating them away, using them for power. I... I could see the tendrils of it breaking away from them as they appeared.”
Yuri cursed eloquently, clenching his fists. “It isn't enough that he torments the living and tortures the undead, he can harm the dead as well??”
“Are they suffering?” Otabek asked, as Leo helped Guang Hong to his feet. Nodding, the smaller vampire leaned back into his lover's embrace as he stood, his balance still unsteady and his body shaking from stress.
“They are. Badly. I... I can deal with it, but it won't be easy or pretty. I'll need to exorcise the house to put them to rest.”
“No!” Leo said, shaking his head firmly. “Last time you did that, you nearly killed yourself. Not again.”
Yuri, Mila and Otabek stepped slightly away as the pair argued. “We're not getting involved with that” Yuri said, and Otabek nodded, recognising the tones of a long standing domestic dispute from the lovers. Yuri slipped his hand into Otabek's and leaned against him.
“You're exhausted Otabek, and I can't take any more either. We saved the living; let Guang Hong deal with the dead.”
The argument was winding down, and it was clear Leo had lost. Bowing his head, he tucked Guang Hong back into his arms with an irritated growl before turning his attention back to Yuri.
“You've done enough damage for tonight, Varangian. Time for you to leave.”
I still need access to the library Otabek sent the thought to Yuri, and received a silent snarl in response.
Enough screwing around with Viktor's crap. It's done enough damage for one night.
Bowing his head, the nephilim gave up and wrapped his arms around the blonde, feeling guilty at how exhausted and hungry his lover was. To his surprise, Otabek realised he wasn't feeling hungry himself, for the first time in days. Wondering about that, he waited silently as Yuri called a cab, watching Leo and Guang Hong make their way cautiously back into the house. The Chinese vampire covered his eyes as they approached, and Leo carried him through the front door, toeing it shut behind him. Although it looked like a gentle kick, the entire wall shuddered and the frame splintered, dust puffing from the stones surrounding it.
“He's as exhausted as the rest of us” Yuri murmured, as Otabek blinked in surprise. “He struggles to control his strength when he's tired.”
Michele and Sara were asleep on the couch when they got back to the house, and Mila gazed at them sadly as Yuri pushed past her and made a beeline for his supply of bottled blood.
“Please don't send us away, Yuri” she murmured, “all this... this horror... Viktor's a monster, and he's going to come for us all, I can feel it. I... I didn't know about Guang Hong... or what he did to you... what else don't I know? What else could he have lied about?”
Otabek sat next to the twins, gently shaking Sara awake as he felt for Michele's pulse. The Italian woman smiled at him and filled him in on the status of the humans they'd saved, while Mila and Yuri talked.
“How's he doing?” Sara asked, as Otabek checked her brother's injuries.
“He'll be OK, he just needs a lot of rest. I'll make up another dose of the potion tomorrow, but after that he just needs to eat properly and take normal painkillers if he needs them.”
“Yuri's contacts were amazing” Sara said, stroking her brother's hair as he slept through Otabek's examination. “There was a lawyer waiting at the hospital, and a bunch of private nurses... they were so good with all of the survivors. I... I hated leaving them behind” she added, her eyes gleaming with unshed tears. “At the house, I mean. I'm glad you went back for them. Thank you, Otabek.”
Lowering his head, the nephilim hunched his shoulders. “We didn't get there soon enough. At least five died, probably more.”
“You saved fourteen people. Don't feel guilty, please don't. You... you did more than we could.”
“She's right” Yuri said, standing in front of the despairing nephilim. “You did more than any of us. And you're exhausted. Come to bed.”
Otabek followed him upstairs silently, lost in his own dark thoughts. Mila led Sara to the spare set of rooms on the third floor, the vampire carrying the unconscious twin like he was a child curled up in her arms. As Yuri pushed the door to their suite shut, Otabek saw Sara fighting back tears as she looked at her brother.
“Are we taking them with us when we leave?” Otabek asked as he sat on the bed, almost too tired to get changed. He considered a shower for all of five seconds, before recoiling from the idea of that much effort.
“Talk tomorrow, sleep now” Yuri begged, dropping his clothes on the floor and collapsing onto the mattress. Otabek nodded and curled up next to him, every muscle and joint protesting from the exertions of the night. The blonde wriggled into his arms, and the touch immediately soothed and comforted both of them. Kissing Yuri's forehead, Otabek tucked them under the duvet and lay back, watching the flickering shadows on the ceiling. The blonde usually avoided electric lighting wherever possible, but tonight he'd lit extra candles, subconsciously trying to chase away the darkness of the last few hours.
Glancing around the room, Otabek made a mental inventory of the boxes piled almost the ceiling. Packing up the remains of Viktor's library for transport had taken him three days; mostly because he refused to let any of the humans touch the books. Too many of them had warding spells or weird shimmers over the covers, and he didn't trust any of them not to hurt or kill. Yuri had refused to help after the first book made his hand tingle; he'd busied himself packing up the recording studio instead.
Guang Hong had contacted Yuri, asking him to come to the house and collect everything he wanted to keep. Mila and Sara had accompanied them, leaving Michele in charge of receiving the boxes at the other end. The Italian had mostly recovered from his injuries, but flat out refused to go anywhere near the manor, and showed signs of mild PTSD and trauma. He flinched whenever anyone touched him, and spent most of his nights in the suite he shared with his sister, avoiding the vampires. The thought of going near Guang Hong or Leo was entirely too much for him to take.
The Chinese vampire had spent the previous few days recovering from the horrors of the breaking wards on the house. Once he felt strong enough, he had carried out a lengthy exorcism to rid the manor of the broken, tortured spirits trapped inside. Otabek had been shocked to see the impact it had on him; his skin was pale and he looked frail, his body shivering as he rested in the protective circle of his lover's arms. The nephilim could barely feel his aura, and he understood why Leo had been so against him doing the ritual.
The Latino worked silently, obeying Guang Hong's commands to tolerate Yuri and help with the packing with only the occasional grumpy look at the blonde. Despite his relatively cordial attitude, Otabek reviewed his belief that he could use his powers to go up against Leo when he saw him in action while packing up the house.
One of the removal vans was in the way of the exit when Leo was heading through, and without thinking about it, the Latino pushed the fully laden truck out the way with the back of his hand, leaving a scuff mark two inches deep in the drive as several tons of vehicle were shoved across the gravel. Realising his mistake, he glanced around hurriedly to check there were no humans watching, and rolled his eyes at himself for being careless. Otabek, watching from the window, added Leo to the list of creatures he never wanted to be punched by.
Once everything was packed up and the remaining human bodies had been carefully buried in the grounds, Yuri and Guang Hong agreed a plan for the house. No-one wanted to stay there; after everything they'd seen and experienced, the manor had become a place of nightmare. Despite removing the spirits, Guang Hong asserted that the house was still tainted in some fundamental way, and Otabek agreed with him. To his magical sight, there was a haze of shadow across the grounds, seeping into the walls and floors. It wouldn't be long before it attracted more dark energies, and humans would probably always be at risk here. Yuri listened to their analysis, his arms folded across his chest and his eyes narrow as he looked back at the house, before smirking and declaring that he'd wanted to burn it down for centuries.
Several hours later, wondering if he would ever get the smell of gasoline out of his nose, Otabek watched as the manor house smouldered and then caught, lighting the area as bright as day. The Twins back in Moscow were using their computer skills to keep the Anchorage fire service away until the house was fully ablaze, and the little group of eager arsonists had gathered to watch the fire from a safe distance. To the nephilim, the fire seemed a tiny but determined warrior compared to the darkness it was trying to consume; he could see the miasma of the house fighting back, but he knew it would eventually lose.
They'd put fuel in every room on every floor, and stacked all the empty gas cans in the very middle of Viktor's dungeon. Yuri had kicked everyone out, claiming the right to light the fuse as technically he owned the house, and set the fire using a small block of explosives nestled inside the pile of cans. Trusting his newly enhanced vampiric speed to get him out before the first explosion, Yuri met them on the other side of the valley less than a minute after triggering the bomb. Tucking the blonde into his arms, Otabek let the complex feelings of liberation and relief from the little group wash over him as the coven house burned.
They returned to pure chaos in Anchorage; the boxes and equipment from the manor had arrived and took up most of the space in the town house, and there were two additional vampires to host for at least one night. Michele locked himself in his room the moment he saw Leo and refused to come out or speak to anyone, leaving Otabek and Sara to deal with unloading the last of the vans.
Yuri tolerated about an hour before he shut himself in his suite, his aura jagged and harsh with his dislike of having so many vampires around him. For the first time, Otabek found himself able to see his discomfort; until now, he'd only been able to perceive the broadest strokes of the vampire's aura, picking up the stronger moods and emotions. Since the bond, it had been come much easier to perceive the details, although he was still learning to understand what he was seeing. Now, as he watched Yuri desperately trying to put space between himself and the others, he recognised the claustrophobia and instinctive distrust that affected the vampire when he was around his own kind.
Wanting to provide comfort but knowing his lover needed space, Otabek decided on a practical approach. Speaking firmly and allowing no opposition, he assigned rooms to the vampires and sent them all to bed, lessening the crowding and giving Yuri freedom to move around without tripping over siblings or enemies. Keen to avoid potential hunger rages or abuse of the humans in the house, the nephilim dished out supplies from Yuri's stash to keep the three guests fed and satisfied until sunrise.
Taking advantage of the temporary peace, Otabek spent a few hours labelling and cataloguing the library boxes for transport, keeping himself distracted while Yuri relaxed. The blonde insisted on using a removals firm for their relocation, and Otabek was paranoid about damage and the potential hazard of the books. An hour or so before sundown, he picked up a spike of hunger from the blonde and decided they both needed a break.
Leaving Sara in charge of the less dangerous boxes, he brought several warm bottles up to Yuri's suite and watched the blonde work for a while, curled up on the bed listening to the lilting French and concentrating on Yuri's aura as it flickered and spiked, the hunger tailing off as he drained both bottles. After a while, comforted by Yuri's presence, he dozed off.
Otabek awoke to the feel of cold lips against his own and reached instinctively for the blonde. Gazing up into silver flecked green eyes, he smiled as Yuri kissed him again.
“You're still tired” the vampire said, running his fingers over Otabek's jaw.
“Not that tired” the nephilim said, pushing the blonde onto his back and nuzzling his throat. Yuri murmured and stretched underneath him, wrapping his ankles around the nephilim's calves and slipping his hands into his hair. Drawing the Kazakh into a deeper kiss, the blonde purred as his lover began removing their clothes.
“I-is it OK?” Otabek paused, waiting for Yuri to nod before wrapping his hand around the vampire's length, keeping his touches light. Since becoming unable to shut the nephilim out of his physical awareness, the blonde had also lost the ability to control his reactions to his lover's touches; when Otabek stroked him, he arched up against his hand, mewling helplessly in pleasure. Licking a wet line over the vampire's stomach and down, the brunette swallowed him easily and began working his fingers inside him, moaning at the breathless, lusty sounds the blonde was making in response.
Lost in sensation and pleasure, Yuri sank his hands into Otabek's hair as he sucked him, his back arching off the bed as the nephilim's long fingers rubbed slow circles inside him. Unable to block any of the pleasure, he floated in it instead; letting the waves break over him faster and faster, his hips bucked and he crashed into orgasm, his whimpers and cries echoing in the small room. Shuddering as his muscles clenched and heat flooded throughout his body, he sank his claws into the bedsheets, breathing in the musky scent of the nephilim working between his thighs.
Groaning, his lover trailed kisses back up his slender frame, keeping a gap between them as he asked permission, desire making his voice tremble as he spoke.
“P-please l-let me fuck you Yuri...”
“Yes...” the vampire wrapped his arms around his nephilim and pulled him on top of him, crying out with bliss as he felt Otabek's hot, thick length push inside him.
“Y-yes... fuck, yes... ahhhhh!” Locking his ankles behind his lover's back, Yuri clung to him and buried his face in his neck as Otabek started a slow, deep thrust, growling into the blonde's ear as he worked his throbbing body.
“Look at me, my love” the nephilim murmured, and the blonde fell back onto the pillows. Lost in the depths of sliver speckled brown eyes, the vampire cried out as he felt his body rising towards climax again, the grind of his lover inside him utterly irresistible. Wrapping his hand around his cold length, he leaned up and captured Otabek's lips, stroking himself over the edge as his kiss muffled the sound of the nephilim's moans. Shuddering as he released, Otabek lay beside him for a moment catching his breath, before pressing Yuri's lips against his throat and murmuring his need, still unsatisfied despite the pleasure of his climax.
“Please... please Yuri... t-taste me...”
Purring with longing and hunger, the blonde sank his fingers into his lover's hair, gently pulling his head aside and easing his fangs into his throat. Otabek's hips bucked against his thigh in an intense, dry orgasm as the pleasure from the bite shot through him. The elixir of his nephilim's dark, twisted blood burned the vampire's throat and ran through his veins like lighting, and they clutched each other in mutual bliss as they subsided, murmuring words of love and adoration against sweat slicked skin.
Guang Hong and Leo left the following evening, vague about their plans but indicating they were travelling south. The tension between the two old enemies had reduced enough for Leo and Yuri to exchange nods, but they were still too wary of each other to share their intentions beyond leaving Alaska. Sighing, Otabek and Guang Hong eyed their respective partners with amusement and then shook hands with the cautious beginnings of friendship.
“If you need anything from the library, I'll be keeping it safe. Just let me know.”
“Thank you, Otabek. I know it's in good hands with you. When it's time, I'll be in touch.”
“Time for what?”
Guang Hong just smiled bitterly as they left.
“Time for what??” Otabek demanded, looking at Yuri and Mila.
“Time for Viktor to die” Yuri said, and Mila nodded.
“Guang Hong's determined to kill him” the redhead explained, wrapping her arms around herself with a shudder. “Viktor may have been his sire, but Yakov was his father. He'll never forgive him for the murder, or for what he saw in the manor.”
“We all have excellent reasons to want him dead” the blonde growled, stalking back into the house. Ignoring the piles of boxes Yuri forced a long breath into his lungs and then exhaled, eyes unfocused as he cast his sight far to the east.
“The Twins have purchased a house on the outskirts of Portland, and are getting everything we need set up at the moment. Flights are booked for a weeks time, to give us a chance to send everything off with the movers.”
“Maine is over eleven hours away” Otabek fretted, “you're not travelling in cargo again. No way.”
“We'll lay over in Calgary and Minneapolis to avoid the sun” Yuri agreed, watching Mila carefully. “The house is big enough for at least four vampires and a number of humans. It's not a manor, and it's within the city limits, but if it will suit you...”
“We can come with you?” Sara wrapped her arms around Mila, surprised enough to actually speak to the blonde without prompting. Yuri nodded, gazing at the redhead.
“If you want to. You were right, Mila. Viktor will come for us all, eventually. When he does, I'd prefer to have allies close by.”
The five of them left Alaska the following week, flying east on a cold, winters evening. Looking out of the plane window as the tarmac dropped away beneath them, Otabek gazed across the landscape to the blackened ruin of the manor. Beneath his arm, Yuri watched his face silently, his aura fluctuating and wild. As the plane turned and began to chase the dawn towards Calgary, the blonde drew his nephilim into a deep kiss, purring against his lips. When he spoke, his mental voice was rich with love, and tinged with an entirely new emotion; hope.
That's it, it's done! Finished!! Oh my god *cries ugly fangirl tears*
I'll be revising in January along with the rest of the NaNoWriMo tribe, but until then I'll be working on the sequel. Add the series to your bookmarks or subscribe to my pseud to get updates when I start posting! Working title is "Bloody Soul", and it will pick up from their arrival in Portland. It's going to have a wider scope and will be told from a number of POVs. I hope you'll like it!
Thank you all for your support and general love for this fic. Every kudos and comment means so much; I squeak like a happy rat every time I look at my inbox <3