"Hey, what's a good rhyme for 'hate'?"
"Hmm... Date, great, late, abate... devastate?"
"Ah, thank you."
"Another poem for The Beast?" Viago asked, looking up from his lute.
Vladislav nodded. "I think it's my best yet." he paused. "Do you think I should sign it in blood?"
Viago shrugged. "Bit of a waste. And it never looks as impressive as you think it's going to."
"You're right." He signed it in ink instead, taking the time to make his signature appropriately elaborate. After a moment's deliberation, he decided against dotting the 'i' with a skull, on the grounds that that probably would be a bit much. "Do you want to hear it? I'd like to get a second opinion— make sure it properly conveys my intense hatred and loathing."
Viago sighed. "Alright. But make it quick— it's nearly morning, and I haven't even closed all the curtains. Hey, speaking of which, is Deacon back yet?"
"Odd. He's not normally out this early. I hope nothing's wrong."
"He'll be fine. I think he said he was meeting Stu and the pack, and you know how weird those guys get about not killing anyone while you're out with them. He probably had to stop for a bite on the way home." As if on cue, they heard the front door open. "See, he's back already." He paused and sniffed the air. "Hang on, is there someone with him? I smell blood. Living blood."
Viago sniffed too. "Seriously?" he frowned. "I thought we agreed we weren't going to bring victims home at this close to dawn. What if one of them escaped into the sunlight and we couldn't get them back? They could tell people we are vampires! We had a whole flat meeting where we agreed this. It's one of the house rules! I made a chart!"
"Well don't tell me, tell him. Go downstairs and tell him to get rid of it. Perhaps he's just got a new familiar."
Viago shook his head and left the room, muttering under his breath about house rules and the importance of maintaining secrecy and "why do I bother anyway if people aren't going to listen?" Vladislav started reading over his poem again.
"I point towards you all my hate,
You are the one I'll devastate."
Something about it just didn't sound quite right. He'd have to ask Viago once he'd finished dealing with Deacon and whoever it was he'd brought home. Viago was always better at this sort of thing— probably it came from having been a dandy. Just as he was thinking this, he heard a yell from below. "Bloody hell! DEACON?!" He tossed the poem aside and ran to see what was the matter, flying down the stairs so as not to waste time walking.
Viago and Deacon were standing at the bottom, Viago looking even paler than usual, Deacon looking... surprisingly well. Better than Vladislav could ever remember him looking. His pallor was gone, and his cheeks had actual colour in them. He looked around. There was nobody else in the room, yet the smell of fresh blood was stronger than ever, making his mouth water and his throat ache. He looked again at Deacon. His jaw dropped. "Wait, you're– you're a..."
Deacon grinned, a little sheepishly, and shrugged. "So... I kind of pissed off a witch." The teeth he bared were a lot smaller and flatter than usual.
"What do you mean, you 'pissed off a witch'?" Viago asked, once he and Vladislav had recovered from the shock, and they had all gathered in the kitchen for an emergency flat meeting. "What happened?"
"Well, I was walking back from town," Deacon explained, "hoping I might find somebody to eat on the way, since the wolves wouldn't let me eat anyone at the club."
"They're so sensitive about that." Vladislav said. "Honestly, we let them get snacks."
Deacon nodded. "Anyway, so I passed this witch on the way and she recognised me from the Unholy Masquerade. So we got to talking about what happened, and things got a little... heated. Turns out she liked that guy who was with The Beast, and then she started saying all this stuff about Stu. So then I said some stuff back and she just freaked out and turned me into a human." he shrugged. "You know witches, no sense of humour."
Vladislav raised one eyebrow. "What exactly did you say, though?"
"Well... I kind of called her a hideous old hag who was the offspring of a dog with three heads and a serpent with two tails, which was itself the offspring of the sexual intercourse between a five legged cow, a plague of frogs and, like, a really ugly ferret, which was itself the offspring of—"
"So she's probably not going to be turning you back then."
"Probably not. Witches can never take a joke." he yawned, once again giving both his friends a view of his noticeably human teeth.
Viago suppressed a shudder— Deacon without fangs just looked unnatural. "Maybe we should sleep on it." he suggested. "It's nearly daylight. Let's all just go to bed and then we can decide what to do tomorrow, when we're not all so tired and we have more time." he shot a hopeful look at Deacon. "Maybe it'll have worn off by then, ja? Maybe it's one of those spells that ends at sunset."
"Maybe." Deacon didn't sound as optimistic, but he stood up anyway. "Good morning then."
"Good morning." they both called as he left the room and made his way upstairs, Viago adding "Sweet dreams!"
He stood up himself and began shutting the curtains, flinching when he saw that the sky was already turning orange. "Shit. Can you help me with this Vlad? I'm never going to get them all done on time otherwise."
"Just leave them open then. It's not like anybody sleeps down here anyway. Good morning."
"Good morning! See you in the evening!" Viago called after him, still trying to get the curtains arranged so no that no light could peek through. Just as he'd got them perfect, there was a scream from upstairs. Followed by a crash, and then a lot of swearing— some of it in English.
He ran into the hallway, to find Vladislav standing frozen at the bottom of the stairs. They both stared at each other.
"Doesn't..." Vladislav paused, and they both listened as the swearing switched between what sounded like about four languages over all, only two of which Viago understood. "Doesn't Deacon usually sleep... upside down?"
Viago ran up the stairs. Above him, Vladislav flew on ahead, sounding like he was only just managing not to laugh.