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Refugium

Chapter Text

"See you later, Johnny boy."

Jack watches as the name tag disappears into the shredder, a gurgling of unpleasant noises spitting out of the machine as it tries to digest the rectangular piece of plastic. Over in seconds, it still feels like a glorious ceremony after dealing with being called 'John' for two entire weeks. His name was Jack – that's all he went by, ever. The second the damn tag had been handed over to him, he kicked up a fuss in demanding a new one, but the drone of his immediate superior's voice said he'd have to live with it for now.

On day four, Jack had enough, and simply "forgot" the tag at home, only to be chewed out for not being in uniform. So ‘John’ returned on the fifth day, pissed off and all sorts of miserable to anyone unfortunate enough to be caught eyeing the vile piece of plastic fixed to his black shirt. That was the same day he nearly smashed the breakroom coffee pot. Who the hell even used coffee pots these days?

Day six, he brought the name tag in, completely mangled and bent out of place, claiming to his boss that there had been a small accident on the way home the night before. Flicking that damn ID tag into the road had been an almost spiritual experience, relieving a week's worth of frustrations in a second's time. No extravagant meal paid for by someone else or a night of passionate fucking would have improved his mood more swiftly.

Going into work the following morning, Jack had felt like a new man. But much to his dismay, a fresh name tag was waiting for him on the loose interpretation of a desk he possessed at work. It was also sporting the wrong name.

He suffered through the next week silently.

Walking back to his desk, Jack fixes the new, proper tag to his shirt, the faintest hint of a smile tugging at his lips. All things considered, the job wasn't bad. Perhaps it wasn't exactly what he had in mind; he hadn't dabbled around in IT work for a number of years now, but he wasn’t given much of a choice. The decision to leave his old occupation at Pandora Enterprises had been made for him by someone other than his boss.

Sometimes you just had to leave town. Killing someone was a surefire way to clear up any hesitancy revolving around the matter.

Jack had been raised under the mantra that when you find yourself in an unfortunate situation – when, not if – you had better be prepared to drop everything and slip into the shadows. Leave your life behind, bringing only the absolute essentials. Useless emotions like regret and memories laced with nostalgia were the heaviest things to carry, bound to get you into trouble if you were foolish enough to drag them along.

This new city, Promethea, was going to be better, proving to be a viable place to live for a number of years if Jack played his cards right. Triple the population of his old town, he'd be able to move around if problems arose, although the likelihood of any occurring was slim to none after what happened recently. His first major slip-up in his seventy odd years...? No, he'd certainly be more vigilant this time around. No growing careless and sloppy about feeding in the city.

Truth be told, he should've been in a more urban area from the start. The ability to remain anonymous among the crowds of people made the standard hoops he had to jump through far less daunting. Jack didn't need anything muddying up his life, he already had a special kind of challenge being a damn voleur.

A race most often associated with the concept of vampires, there were two subtypes. Sangvoleurs, those who fed on blood in order to survive, destined to a somewhat extended lifespan when compared to humans. They were the most common type.

Angovoleurs were the second and far more exclusive branch with a lifespan that was twice the average human's, without the messy need for blood consumption. Angovos, as they were more regularly called, fed off emotions, and only certain ones. Fear, despair… anything brought about through physical pain or stress were the typical candidates, and every angovo had their preferences much like a favorite meal.

Jack had won the genetic lottery. There was no doubting he'd be anything less than perfect just like his parents. After all, angovos could only be produced from two of the same, a pure lineage bred to live these extended lives of stealth and cunning when sized up to their blood-indulging counterparts. With no need for special hardware in the form of noticeably enlarged cuspids, flying under the radar was far simpler. A quiet life with endless potential was easily accomplished, assuming a few straightforward rules were followed.

Of course, Jack found himself in his current circumstances because he tried to find loopholes in said rules. As a consequence, he had to uproot his life and move away, forced to take a subpar job that made him literally...work. His previous employer had been good to him, allowing him to uphold one of those positions where everyone surrounding him questioned what it was he actually did… Outside of course pulling pretty little young things into his private office, locking the door behind them; he never much minded thatsort of work.

Taking up a job as an IT technician after years of essentially playing around instead of working, Jack wasn't too enthused. The work itself was fine, he enjoyed dabbling around with the manual side of things, he just wasn't fond of interacting with coworkers and the idiots more commonly referred to as his superiors. Ah well, he already had plans on how to move up the ladder. He’d find a way into a corner office at Hyperion sooner rather than later.

The housing situation though... That had been a thrilling project from the start.

Staying in a cheap motel on the edge of the city when he had first arrived, Jack took his time in seeking out potential roommates. Or rather, he went about answering ads other people were putting out, attending interviews to feel out the best candidate. He could afford his own place surely, something small at least. Money wasn't the issue. No, he was hunting for a source of food.

Work smarter not harder, right?

Why would he spend his days wandering from bar to bar in search of some depressed piece of shit or overworked soccer mom to feed from, when he could simply return home from work and get his fill? Enjoy a delicate snack of typical morning stress before even leaving the apartment. Frankly, how hard could it be to find a high-strung individual in need of a roommate while residing in a city with an outrageous cost of living? The concrete jungle certainly claimed more victims than Jack would ever need.

The task wasn't difficult at all – he was almost disappointed with how quickly he landed himself a new apartment. He hadn't even employed the use of pheromones to lure the sucker in, receiving a call back only a couple of days after the interview. Handed over some cash to contribute to the next set of bills coming up, signed a few papers, and moved in later that day. It wasn't the shortest commute to work, but Jack would gladly forgo easier transportation if it meant he wouldn't need to fuss over a source of food on the regular.

Rhys was cute too, resembling someone Jack would've gladly invited into his office back at Pandora. A fun little snack in every sense of the word, the kid was an absolute wreck. Stuck in some...data processing job or...? Yeah, something along those lines. His landlord had recently bumped up the rent or whatever. Jack wasn't entirely clear on the details because honestly he didn't exactly pay attention during their first encounter, more singularly focused on analyzing potential for an ongoing meal.

The stress wafting off of Rhys was absolutely perfect, as far as Jack was concerned. It was more than obvious this kid wasn't getting anywhere fast with his current work predicament, and the housing situation city-wide wasn't going to let up anytime soon. The young, twenty-something didn't strike Jack as the most social type either, not precisely one to relieve the stress of the work week at the corner bar on a Friday night with friends in tow.

Jack’s mouth was practically watering as they sat across from each other during the interview process alone. Rhys had come across as tightly wound. The slight strain to his voice as he asked question after question, posture stiff and a little on the awkward side. Jack almost felt sorry for the guy, tempted to throw some pheromones his way just to loosen the poor kid up a touch. It was obvious Rhys was trying to remain composed, presenting himself as though the whole ordeal wasn't adding to his already stressed-out life. As if he had all the time in the world to interview strangers to see which would be least dreadful to have walking through his living room.

But when your means of nourishment came from devouring such emotions, you weren't going to gloss over anything. Jack picked up on it all, and his confidence in Rhys’s unknowing ability to provide for him hadn’t been proven wrong so far. Only a week into their cohabitation and his new roommate was curbing those after work hunger pains flawlessly. Jack was being reserved, of course, he didn’t want to suck the poor kid dry, not to mention that angovoleur feeding didcome with a drawback for the prey. Not that he cared so long as it wouldn’t become an inconvenience.

For Jack, everything was coming up roses. Glancing over the notes he had written down earlier, it’s a relief to see he wouldn’t be dealing with any one-on-ones today. He leans back at his desk, adjusting the glasses perched at the bridge of his nose. Simple software updates, then mess around with the CPU no one else had managed to get up and running yet. Perhaps he’d go out later if he wasn’t too hungry.

Straightforward tasks at work, settling into the new apartment nicely, a delectable source of food locked down for the foreseeable future… The week was shaping up to be perfect – how could it possibly improve?