The house, far removed from the sanctity of the serene village, was in shambles. Poorly reinforced walls of rotten wood, an overgrown lawn behind a broken fence, and wounds of an axe on the door, it was a patched up, miserable wreck. A road had once led from the long gone gate, but it hadn't been walked in years and years, until Mikasa stalked up to the front door.
It was a night after the full moon, but clouds hid most all stars and light from above. For all humans having the misfortune of looking upon the house, they would expect it to be deserted and forgotten, perhaps haunted. But despite the covered up windows, and the fatal, looming darkness, Mikasa knew it was not so.
Once she reached the porch, her black cape floating behind her in the nightly breeze, she took a second to observe the state of it. See the broken planks, the signs of combat, and the few ways someone had tried to mend its misery, with poor labour and poor material.
She stepped up the two steps, soundlessly moving over the worn wood, and knocked on the door. Once, twice, and then a third time, each with a polite second in between. Hiding her hands under her cape, so that it fell above her front and hid her fine garments beneath, she waited patiently after.
There was life inside, and the knocking had echoed. The house was set upon a hill it had once owned, as the name The Ever Heights, once embedded onto the gate, had told. Behind the forest surrounding it the outlines of the village could be seen, lit up faintly by the few torches placed outside. To one with a keen sight, the view was magnificent should one turn around to look.
But Mikasa remained rooted in place, staring ahead at the door until she heard movements inside.
Whoever was in tehre took their time crossing the floor, but they had reinforced the windows from inside with tall furniture, and could not simply push it away to look out. They had to walk to the door and turn the knob to see who the invader was.
Mikasa heard one, two and then three locks turn before the door was pushed slightly open. The host opened into only slight, and she – for it was a woman – peered out with a suspicious, dark look in her one exposed eye.
Mikasa met the look with eyes even darker. Her face was the perfect mask of calm, beautiful like a noble lady's, and the way she could enchant and mesmerize the strange minds of men had been retold to her over and over again.
The woman pushed the door further open, but did not sway in her position, still partly hid behind it. Despite the shadows cast upon her features, Mikasa could see enough of her to make a judgement.
Brown, shaggy hair in a ponytail behind her back, wearing straps of hemp clothing, barely hiding a bony body marred with claw marks, the woman stood before her with a shameful expression. She looked like she had been told she was pretty as a child, but that beauty had faded behind her pain and dirt as she had aged.
"Who're you?" the girl asked in accent Mikasa could not place. Her eyes were furrowed with suspicion and something else, and she hid one of her hands behind her back, most likely carrying her favourite weapon of choice, or whatever she had found first.
"My name is Mikasa," she replied. The fabric of the host's clothing had slid down to reveal a pale neck, scarred by an old slash of something razor sharp and lethal. The scandalous amount of skin she showed made her appear desirable, for one with taste for wilderness.
"Lady Mikasa," the woman said, as she looked at the expensive black coat around Mikasa's body. "Why're ya here?"
She sounded troubled, Mikasa thought, but sympathy was her long past. She had come to this house for very specific reason, and for that, she had no place in her heart to care.
"To feed," she replied, and she took one step closer to the door opening.
"I'm sorreh," the host said to her, clutching her weapon behind her back. "But I barely have enough ta feed maself."
Mikasa placed her hand on the door frame, scarlet nails curling around the rotten wood, and instinctively, the host stepped back. Perhaps she mistook the paint for blood, or she was smarter than her appearance betrayed.
"Lady Mikasa," the woman tried. "Mah name's Sasha, and I… I dun think ya should be here. There's a town down there, just down the hill, ya can go there. They've got foods and meats, and a lady like yaself would be warmly welcomed, I'm sure."
Mikasa stopped her feet at the door opening, and she looked over at Sasha, who was trembling. But she looked nervous, Mikasa observed, not at all scared for her own life.
Perchance, and she thought this with long forgotten pity, Sasha had already been to hell and back, and feared not the dangers of night.
"Look I…" Sasha bit her bottom lip, about to plead once more, but the action caused Mikasa to flinch. With jaw like teeth, yet unlike all the nocturnal creatures she knew, Sasha looked less human in that instance than Mikasa appeared when thirsting at worst.
"There's a… there's a reason I found this place," Sasha said, mumbling without meeting Mikasa's eyes. "And… today's ta wrong moon, but not too far off. I'm still no good like this."
Mikasa had never seen a creature like her, but she knew the name, and she knew the legends. Sasha's feral appearance, and sad choice of words, gave her away too quickly.
"You're a werewolf," Mikasa stated, and she watched grief flicker in those brown, wolf-like eyes.
Sasha nodded her head, and dropped the axe she had carried behind her back. It made a loud, cracking sound, another damage to the house.
"I'm up here… so they'll be safe down there," Sasha told her. "So that's why, Lady Mikasa… ya shouldn't be here. No one should."
In the first years of bloody nights and unholy murder, Mikasa would have understood her. She would have seen the desire to protect people from the monster she had become, as she had done the same thing in those early years. Repressing her existence, feeding on rats, puking up tainted blood, and struggling in the wild to live away from man, ack, she had lived with such hatred. But when she had next seen one of the living, her thirst had been colossal, and she had thought to herself: "Just this one."
One had turned into two, two into three, and the more of life's liquid which slid down her throat, the stronger she grew. She saw humans turn on each other and murder and she saw them slaughter cattle the way she came to slaughter them. The world was cruel in all shapes, and sympathy for the lesser kind benefitted her as little as it did them.
Watching Sasha with her self-inflicted claw marks made pity catch up with her, a century later. Sasha was no human, no hypocritical weakling to feast on, as she had thought. To make a discreet kill in the ramshackle of a home, where she had smelt blood so beautifully in the night, Mikasa had planned this to be simple. Instead she saw a creature more feral than herself, denying her very nature.
"Bound by the moon," Mikasa stated in compassionless monotone. "Beasts wearing human skin at day, ripping themselves apart each full moon, and desiring to rip even more."
Sasha's eyes widened, this time in terror, perhaps when she realized that Mikasa was not turning away in spite of the danger.
"Do you hurt yourself to not hurt them?" Mikasa asked.
Sasha looked down, with her mane of hair falling over her face.
"I… I try. When mah claws grow and my jaw changes, I try to destroy this thing called mah body. Then I try to control mah urge, and as long as these walls can hold me, I can."
Brown, shaggy fur was scattered on the floor, alongside the shattered chairs and tables. Flecks of blood, old and fresh, tainted the entire inside of the walls like morbid paint.
"Mah pa… I've always been this way. And I used to live with mah pa, and our clan. He told me I needed control, so I wouldn't hurt 'em humans, even though I wanted to. He said they didn't choose ta be human, like I didn't choose to be this. I left them ta…" she looked up at Mikasa, on the verge of tears as she revealed her tale to the first one who could hear it. "Ta learn control. So please, Lady Mikasa, ya must go. It's not safe here, because I still wanna tear ya apart!"
The admission made her clamp a hand over her mouth, shocked by her own bluntness. Her claws were thick, and dug into her own skin as she clenched her hand over her jaw.
"It is safe to me," Mikasa told her calmly. She was still standing in the door opening, looking in on the horror show with an air of dignity around her. Class came naturally, once she had killed enough nobles looking to woo an ethereal beauty.
"Didn't ya hear?" Sasha yelled in panic. "I'm a monster!"
The tantrum died down, the silence filled with angry huffs from Sasha's side, when Mikasa did nothing. The clouds shading the night were moving, and the overgrown grass and weeds rustled with the growing winds, but the two human clad women stood still, as time seemed to do the same for them.
Sasha took her eyes off her for just a second, to wipe her dirty face clean of indignant tears, and her mistake was soon punished. In the slight gap, Mikasa had moved, and as soundless, shadowless and reflectionless as a creature of her kind was, she had done so without notice. She had crossed the floor, stepping inside a house not owned by a human, and stopped right in front of the self-proclaimed monster.
Sasha's eyes widened in terror, and she shot back, scrambling against the wall.
"What're ya- How- no, get back!" she cried out, clawing at the wall behind her even as she made sure to not look away from Mikasa.
"You say you are a monster," Mikasa commented. Her gaze swept over the house again, as if to look for proof. Grabbing a chunk of brown fur, she held it in front of Sasha's face. "And this is why?"
"I'm a werewolf! Ya said so yaself! I wanna main, and I wanna kill humans, even though they're not all bad!" Sasha shouted without relent, her voice seemingly shaking the poor structure of the house. "I tried fittin' in, being human, but I was too strange and then came a full moon and I… I got no control, so I'm here."
Mikasa cut off the rant, the ravings of what appeared to be a lunatic, and took a step even closer. Her presence made Sasha squirm, but there was no escape, and nearly no space between their bodies. "I had perfect control, but I hid as well," she said with near softness in her voice.
The statement caused for more confusion, so she stroked a hand over Sasha's hair, and pulled it away to inspect the wound on her neck. The skin was dry, and the thought of feeding of another beast was appalling, yet the sight made her lick her lips.
Mikasa locked eyes with Sasha once more, and opened her mouth just slightly, so that her fangs poked out. Sharper and longer than Sasha's set of jaws, their purpose was iconic for even a werewolf, raised in the wild with a clan of her kind, to know.
"Ya're a vampire," she barely whispered.
Mikasa leaned closer, and breathed against the exposed neck. Ghosting her lips and fangs across the skin, she expected more resistance than she gained.
"Unfortunately," she said when she leaned back, "your blood does not suit my tastes. You are a beast, not human. Same as me."
Sasha shook her head. "Nah, not same as you. Ya're a beautiful human copy. Ya can choose. I'm just…"
Stroking her hand down the neck, Mikasa looked at the lost creature with pity once more. She felt how Sasha leaned into her touch, even though the hand was cold and made for killing.
"We're all monsters, in this cruel world. Human, vampire or werewolf, we all kill, lie and destroy. But if we kill others, if we lie to others, or if we destroy ourselves…. Those options are the same for us all."
There was no benefit in helping a werewolf. No blood to be gained from it at all. Yet Mikasa did what she had long since forgotten how to, and empathized with the plight Sasha faced.
Leaning forward, she placed a kiss upon the chapped lips of a beast. The stunned silence she left, such a contrast to the rants and panic before, was marvel to hear.
"Denying what you are is destroying what makes you the werewolf Sasha," Mikasa said, as she captivated the heart of another monster.
Those were her parting words. Following them, Sasha put her hands to her lips, and she stared ahead, looking on as Mikasa took the shape of a massive bat right in front of her eyes. The bat, roughly the size an eagle, moved with unnatural grace as it navigated out through the door, flying out the fragments of Sasha's home.
Soaring the dark sky, she felt Sasha's wolf eyes follow her outside, out on the porch, staring at the monstrous shape of what she had called a copy of human as it left her.
Sasha was not a monster, so she did not fit into the world Mikasa envisioned. She destroyed the self, tearing at all things broken, clinging to her own body as a shield from the world and the reasons to despise it. The world did not take to her when she tried to be human, and she did not allow herself to be a beast.
More so than pity, more so than empathy, Mikasa had long since forsaken the human notion of hope. But she wished, like she wished for the taste of blood, that she would come back one day and find the serene village below slaughtered by a feral beast with jaws and claws.
She smiled, as best a beast-like bat could, when she heard an unnatural howl of wolf.