The air was particularly unpleasant on this day, warm and humid and heavy. Takahashi Keisuke was leaning against his car, staring into the darkening sky and feeling a headache coming. He wasn’t sure if it was the result of the weather or the lack of a decent meal, but either way it was distracting him from what he was here to do; training. Most of Project D’s team members had left by now, which left him, his brother, and Fujiwara as the only remaining ones on Mt. Akagi. Keisuke knew that it would probably be best if he returned home as well given his condition, but there was no way he was letting Fujiwara gain even more of an advantage over him than he already had. Besides, he would get restless if he didn’t do his daily amount of training, and Ryosuke would be pissed at him if he knew that he went up here in the first place despite knowing how bad it was.
It was really bad.
Honestly, Keisuke should have anticipated it. He hadn’t had blood in weeks, much less actual fresh blood that was generally much better than the stale crap from the blood bags. But fresh blood was hard to get your hands onto and in hindsight Keisuke really should have relented and taken one of the blood bags from the fridge before doing anything else today, even though he hated the taste.
The thought of fresh blood alone made his hands tremble and he balled them into fists to stop the tremors. He should go home. He really needed to go home.
Shit. Keisuke closed his eyes and bit his lip before taking a deep breath and turning around to the owner of the voice. It took a lot of effort not to snap at Fujiwara with his terrible timing, especially because Keisuke was busy being angry at himself for being so careless, and the headache and dizziness didn’t help his mood either.
“What is it?”
Fujiwara was holding two cans of vending machine coffee in his hands. He held one out to Keisuke. “You look tired,” he remarked when Keisuke stared at the proffered coffee. He guessed that’s what it looked like to the world around him, and while tiredness was definitely also a part of the problem, it was only a minor side effect. But of course, Fujiwara wouldn’t know what was actually wrong with him.
Keisuke knew the caffeine wouldn’t do him any good either, but it was a well-meaning offer and he accepted the can from Fujiwara, hoping that the other would get lost now that his little coffee delivery was done.
Of course he didn’t.
Instead he chose to walk over to the guardrail, looking down into the valley while holding his own can of coffee without bothering to drink from it. Keisuke couldn’t help but notice how low the neckline of Fujiwara’s white shirt was, or maybe it was only his imagination that made it seem like there was an unnecessary amount of vulnerable skin showing. Fujiwara had his back turned and didn’t notice Keisuke’s fixed stare at his neck. It was frustrating and infuriating, but Keisuke couldn’t even blame him for dressing like a viable midnight snack for any hungry vampire around. How was he supposed to know?
Keisuke’s fingers clenched around the can of coffee in an attempt to keep himself grounded. He needed to go somewhere else, somewhere no overly eager teammate would come across and distract him. Most importantly, he needed to go home and rip into one of those damned blood bags. Heck, at this point even the thought of stale blood bank stuff was very alluring. He turned to leave, sensing that every minute he spent around normal humans right now was a giant risk he really shouldn’t take. And he shouldn’t be thinking about fresh blood. And definitely not about how it could be so easily available to him at the moment…
He heard Takumi sigh quietly behind him, the noise easily carrying over to him on this windless day. It was only on a reflex that he turned around to check on his teammate.
It was too much all of a sudden; the heat and his ravenous hunger and the sight of Fujiwara’s exposed neck and his inattentiveness that would make it so easy to just-
Before he could stop himself, Keisuke lunged at him with a growl. One hand tightened in Fujiwara’s hair and harshly pulled his head to the side before he even got the chance to turn around, his surprised yelp not even registering in Keisuke’s clouded mind. He had missed this, he had longed for this; soft warm skin bared right there for him to sink his teeth in and finally get the meal he had postponed for so long. He wrapped his other arm tightly around the struggling body to keep him still, then nuzzled his neck instinctively searching for the perfect spot to bite. The anticipation was burning through him as he took a deep breath to inhale the warm scent of human skin before the faint echo of a speeding pulse guided him to the right spot.
Without further hesitation, he greedily sank his fangs into the soft flesh.
There was a flinch and a yell and renewed struggle, but Keisuke didn’t care about that in the least as warm blood immediately started flowing from the wounds and flooded his mouth. He almost moaned in delight at the feeling and the taste; this had got to be the best blood he ever tasted. Any lingering thoughts about 'home, fast' and 'blood bag' were swallowed completely by the sensations as Keisuke stilled his thirst.
An elbow slammed into his stomach and he grunted, but the pain didn’t register through the pleasured fog in his mind. He simply tightened his hold and angled his head a bit to get better access. The feeling of his prey struggling against him and the strong, hammering pulse sending the blood to his mouth drove him into even higher ecstasy; this was good, so good, and he kept drinking and drinking until-
“KEISUKE!” Someone ripped him away from his meal with such force that he stumbled backwards and lost his balance. He landed on the ground unceremoniously and tried to understand what was happening among the shock and the part of his mind that told him to go back to drinking. Two pairs of eyes stared down at him, Fujiwara pressing a hand to his neck where blood trickled through his fingers and next to him Ryosuke who was wide-eyed and breathing heavily. He looked like he had run here. Some part of Keisuke registered that his brother was furious, but there was still blood clinging to his teeth that he now licked off and that stirred the fire of hunger once again. “What are you doing!?” Ryosuke shouted at him while Fujiwara was still shocked silent. There was a drop of blood running down his neck and Keisuke followed it with his eyes until it got absorbed into the white fabric of Fujiwara’s shirt, staining it red. It was hard to keep focus.
Ryosuke seemed to feel like that as well, because he stopped shouting and turned his head to look at Fujiwara. The scent of blood hung heavily in the humid air. Keisuke could see his brother’s expression, suddenly turning into something strangely dazed, eyes wide and dark and with a feverish glaze clouding them.
Keisuke knew what was going to happen before he saw it go down in front of his eyes. 'Shit,' the one tiny part of his mind that was still capable of forming reasonable thoughts supplied. He watched from his position on the ground as Ryosuke grabbed the shocked Fujiwara with the speed and grace of a hunting predator and sank his fangs into his neck right next to the wound that Keisuke had left behind. Fujiwara yelped and kicked out, attempting to shove Ryosuke away. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much a human could do against a hungry vampire.
Keisuke struggled to his feet, scarlet rage clouding his senses. 'That's mine! Mine!', the wild and still-hungry part of his mind shouted furiously, and he lunged at his brother with an enraged growl. Ryosuke pulled away for a moment to snarl at him, keeping his grip on the struggling human firm as Keisuke crashed into him and tried to shove him away. The warm scent of blood was driving him insane and he desperately wanted more, but so did Ryosuke. He refused to let go and instead chose to simply go back to drinking, completely ignoring Keisuke. The latter huffed in frustration but accepted that he wasn’t going to be able to get his brother away from his prey. He settled for the next best thing instead and went for the other side of the neck where the skin was still unhurt, biting into it and almost sighing in relief upon receiving what he wanted; some more warm and delicious blood. Both of them had worked themselves into a frenzy now that they had fresh human blood at their disposal, and neither was going to stop soon. It felt so right, the warmth and strength under Keisuke’s grip, his prey struggling like a little bird against the jaws of the cat that had caught it. Fluttering heartbeat sending blood to where he and Ryosuke were accepting it greedily…
But then, suddenly, something was odd. Keisuke, whose hunger was now largely sated, could suddenly see a bit through the veil of his blood rush. Fujiwara was a dead weight against him and Ryosuke was still drinking like an animal close to starvation, breathing heavily against Fujiwara’s neck.
Something was undeniably wrong.
Keisuke blinked the haze away and looked at Fujiwara’s face. The younger didn’t move anymore. His eyes were closed; he had passed out.
A spike of panic pierced through the remnants of his daze. “Ryosuke,” he panted and weakly gripped his brother’s shoulder, exhausted now that his blood rush was subsiding. “Aniki, stop…”
Ryosuke stilled and blinked, as if attempting to get his senses back, and Keisuke desperately fought against a new wave of hunger that a new whiff of the blood brought him. “Stop,” he repeated, not sure anymore if he was pleading at his brother or himself. He tried to push Ryosuke away from Fujiwara, with success this time. The brothers simply stared at each other for a moment, blood smeared around their mouths, and straining with the effort of not giving in to their instincts again. Keisuke looked back at Fujiwara, who hung limply in Ryosuke’s arms.
Ryosuke cursed. He hastily lay their teammate down on the ground and started pressing down on the wounds that still oozed blood, now dripping onto the dry asphalt like dark raindrops. It appeared that a big dose of panic was very useful in chasing away any lingering appetite for blood, because neither of them felt any desire to lap it up anymore. Keisuke choked on a deep breath he was trying to take to fight the rising nausea as the gravity of the situation settled in. “Fujiwara,” Ryosuke said urgently and lightly slapped the teen’s cheek, but it didn’t get him to wake up. He cursed again. It sounded foreign to Keisuke’s ears.
“Get a first aid kit. Hurry,” he ordered, a harsh edge to his voice that would have pissed Keisuke off in a different kind of situation. But this time he only turned around and sprinted towards his car where one of the first aid kits was supposed to be situated. His hands scrambled around behind the seat until he found it, and he nearly bumped his head on the doorframe at his hasty retreat.
He ran back to where Ryosuke still kneeled next to Fujiwara’s unconscious form. His aniki almost ripped the kit from his hands and tore it open while Keisuke could do nothing besides standing there numbly and watch.
It was almost surreal. Keisuke had difficulties comprehending what had gone down in the last few minutes. It couldn’t have been more than five, but it seemed like half an eternity had passed since Fujiwara had turned his back to him with no idea of the danger he was in.
Keisuke found himself wondering what Fujiwara had thought during the whole ordeal. Even in the unlikely case that he was one of those people that willingly let vampires feed on him: This had been an assault. How soon had he noticed what was happening? How much had he tried to get away because he sensed the danger before he lost consciousness? Keisuke didn’t remember any of that. The only thing he remembered was the intoxicating taste of Fujiwara’s blood that still lingered on his tongue and that now didn’t feel intoxicating anymore at all. Keisuke thought he was going to puke. He had attacked Fujiwara because of his own carelessness and then dragged his aniki in as well when he fell into his blood rush.
Fujiwara would definitely survive it if it had been only Keisuke. But two vampires, and in a blood rush as well? There was a very real possibility that he could die.
Fujiwara could die.
Not only had Keisuke been irresponsible, he might have just killed someone because of it. And not even just someone – though that would be bad enough already. No, it was his fault that Fujiwara was bleeding out on the still sun-warmed asphalt of Mt. Akagi.
He could say with some certainty that he had never felt worse in his entire life.
He stared down at where Ryosuke was desperately trying to fight the blood loss, and he wished for nothing more than for his aniki to fix this mistake like he had fixed Keisuke’s past mistakes as well. It was a selfish and useless wish.
Ryosuke was mumbling something under his breath that Keisuke could only discern the meaning of after a few moments of concentrated listening. It was a steady stream of “No, no, please, I’m sorry,” and Keisuke couldn’t remember ever hearing anything as horrible. His aniki didn’t beg. He didn’t plead. Keisuke always thought that Ryosuke could look at the worst injuries and accidents with the calmness a surgeon ought to have, right before doing what was necessary to fix whatever had happened. Of course Keisuke knew that not everything could be fixed. Of course he knew that seeing a person you knew and cared for inches away from death would be almost unbearable for even the best doctor in the world. But still, seeing his aniki in desperation and despair like this was almost incomprehensible to him, and he felt something inside himself shatter.
He sank to his knees as well, almost as if all strength had suddenly left his body. Ryosuke’s attempts were getting more desperate and frantic by now, and it felt like a heavy rock settling in his stomach when it dawned on Keisuke that there was no more saving to be done. His brother’s hands were coated in blood. There was just too much of it.
“Takumi,” he whispered, not daring to ask for forgiveness. They hadn’t been close enough friends to be on first name only basis, but it felt like the proper thing to do. To show that he was sorry.
Keisuke didn’t even dare to look at Ryosuke’s face now that he had stopped his attempts to revive Fujiwara as well. He was afraid what he would see there. There was an odd silence when Ryosuke slowly pulled his hands back, as if the whole word held its breath in mourning. Or maybe there was only something wrong with Keisuke’s ears, because he could only feel his own sobs and not hear them.
He wished that all those age-old legends were true. That a vampire’s bite merely transformed the victim and it would soon after rise from the dead, reborn as a creature of the night. But legends were legends. Dreams were only dreams.
In this night, both of them lost something much more than just a dream. The world still held its breath. And then, like the echo of one powerful exhale, an anguished scream pierced through the nightly silence. For only the second time in many years, Takahashi Ryosuke openly wept.