Thanks to LordAlucard, MeiPhantomhive, ScandinavianTrash and Forever Prosperous for reviewing.
Disclaimer: I don't own Hetalia.
"Come on," Lovino muttered.
Lovino Vargas had been living as a slave to three vampires for months. He was malnourished, there were bruises visible on his skin and bags under his eyes. Puncture wounds decorated his skin, some old while others were no older than a few hours. He was pale and there was a layer of grime on his skin.
But that didn't stop him from trying to pick the locks.
He was glad that one of his captors was one of those vain, froufrou types. When the Frenchman had ordered him to his room to feed, Lovino had taken the chance and grabbed a few hairpins that were in the room. And he had waited until dawn had arrived, forcing the vampires to sleep.
He had already managed to break out of his cuffs and his cell. Now he just had the front door to worry about.
He almost cried tears of joy when the lock clicked, and he pushed the door open.
He squinted as he was exposed to sunlight for the first time in months. It felt so wonderful. So warm and inviting.
He looked towards the sky and shivered. He only had a few more hours before sunset, and he intended to be as far away as possible before that happened.
Looking behind him one last time, he shot his middle finger before he turned and ran.
Lovino had been running for a few hours. He was hungry, tired and thirsty. And to make things worse, it was dusk. Soon the sun would set, and the vampires would be on him.
He had been grateful when he saw a town, but after a few minutes of walking he realised that it was a ghost town. No one in sight. Well, no one human. If nightfall came, he would be able to find out if vampires dwelt in this town.
He couldn't hide in any of the abandoned houses, seeing the doors torn off their hinges or windows completely shattered from their frames. The buildings would do nothing to hide his scent. He didn't want to be a slave to vampires again. He never wanted to feel their fangs sliding through his skin, allowing his blood to flow freely into their mouths as he cried.
Lovino shook his head of the thought, and sighed in relief when he saw what appeared to be an old church. The doors and windows seemed to be intact, and he wondered if he would be safe in there.
He walked up the steps, looking behind him to see the sky being decorated in a pallet of pinks and oranges, while the other side of the sky had a canvas of dark blue. He was out of time.
He sighed, before he opened the doors of the church. His breath hitched slightly at the darkness, but he pushed aside his panic and stepped inside, closing the door behind him and plunging him even further into darkness.
He gazed in awe at the beautiful stained glass windows that seemed to be illuminated. At the altar he saw a large cross, and he was reminded of the past few months. He had prayed and begged, but after a while he felt as though his prayers fell on deaf ears.
But that wasn't odd to him. Humans didn't care about him, so why would God? Vampires were the only ones that cared about him, and only because of his blood. Apparently, he had very delicious blood.
"Why am I even here?" Lovino muttered. "Why was I even put on this earth? To be the slave of a group of sadistic vampire bastards? To be nothing more than their pet, their toy? Why did you leave me there alone? Were my prayers not enough?"
He could feel months of feeling abandoned, worthless and alone catching up to him.
"It couldn't be all I was destined for," Lovino said. "So why? Why did you let me get captured in the first place? And why couldn't you just let me die there?"
There was no answer, not that he had expected one. Tears streamed down his face, and he could feel his hands trembling. Years' worth of insecurities finally caught up to him, amplified by the ordeal he had gone through the past few months.
He jumped slightly when he heard a door opening, and he expected the worst. He looked over towards the open door, waiting for whoever to make their appearance known. If it was a vampire, then maybe this one would be merciful and kill him.
But after waiting a while without anyone coming through the door, curiosity won out over Lovino's fear. He walked closer, keeping his hands on the pews. It was growing darker, and he didn't want to bump into anything.
He finally reached the door and walked inside. It was dark, and he started to feel around for the light switch. He continued feeling along the walls, going deeper into the room. He jumped and let out a yelp when the door closed behind him, plunging him even further into darkness.
He took a moment to calm his breathing, before walking deeper into the room. Perhaps there was a light bulb with a string attached, and he should pull that in order to illuminate the room.
He moved slowly, trying to be careful. But that didn't change anything as he bumped his shin against something.
Letting out a few words that one should really not utter in a church, he felt the object to try to determine what it was. Only to feel himself pale.
The wood was smooth, and after some investigating he found that there was a lid. And the object was large. It felt like…
Letting out a cry of dismay, Lovino tried to find his way back to the door, trying to leave the room. He felt around frantically, but could feel no handle or knob. And then came a sound that Lovino was dreading since the moment he realised what the object was.
The lid of the coffin was opening.
When Antonio awoke, he immediately felt that something was wrong. He went to the cell where they kept their prisoner, only to find it empty and the scent being staler than it should have been. He growled, following the scent to the front door, and he snarled when he saw it was open.
"Well then, Lovi," Antonio growled. "Looks like Boss would need to discipline you again. Francis! Gilbert! Looks like we need to do some hunting."
Lovino had sunk to the ground, curling up with his knees against his chest and arms wrapped around his head. He was going to die, he was sure of it. But no matter how reassuring that was, he still couldn't shake off his fear.
He let out a gasp of shock when the room was suddenly illuminated, and he looked around to see that the room used candles instead of electric lighting. That would explain why he couldn't find a light switch.
It didn't take long for his eyes to be drawn to the figure sitting inside the coffin, looking at him with a strange expression.
The vampire had red eyes, but unlike Gilbert's eyes which looked like spilt blood, this vampire's eyes looked like bright rubies. He also had strawberry blond hair and a small top hat perched on top of his head. His face looked kind of boyish, and Lovino knew that it would make this vampire even scarier if he decided to attack.
Lovino closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable.
He gasped when he felt cold fingertips against his temples, and he saw everything that happened in the last year flashing through his mind. He trembled, his fear amplified by the onslaught of memories.
When the cold fingers were removed, the memories stopped, and Lovino cracked an eye open to see the vampire looking towards him with a sad expression on his face. This confused Lovino, but he didn't dare let down his guard.
"A vampire outbreak," the vampire whispered. "Looks like I've really been asleep for a long time. But you don't have to worry." Lovino closed his eyes when the vampire started to stroke his hair. "I don't feed from humans. I have no reason to."
The Italian opened his eyes again to regard the vampire. He sounded a lot like the stereotypical vampire, and he wondered if he should believe him.
"Are you hungry?" the vampire asked. "When was the last time you ate?"
Lovino curled up tighter, holding onto his empty stomach.
The vampire sighed, before he moved away. Lovino watched as he went to a desk on the far side of the room, taking a plate that rested there, as well as a goblet. The vampire took a cloth and cleaned the dust from the objects before placing them on the desk. The vampire muttered something, and Lovino saw the other's hands glow.
He heard that there were vampires that could use magic. They tended to be physically weaker than other vampires, but still stronger than a human. And their magic only made them more dangerous.
"The priest left these here for me, in case I woke up and wanted something sweet to eat," the vampire explained. "But I think you need this more than I do."
The vampire turned, carrying the plate and goblet over towards Lovino. The Italian's eyes widened when he saw what was on the plate, and the scent of freshly baked bread wafted through the room. His stomach started to twist at the smell.
The vampire offered the plate to him, and Lovino took it with shaky hands. He looked up towards the vampire hesitantly before breaking off a piece of the bread. He popped it into his mouth and his eyes widened at the taste. It was as though it came from heaven's bakery.
"Do you like it?" the vampire asked. "I'm afraid I don't do that very often."
Lovino nodded, and the vampire gave the goblet to him. He expected wine or something, but seeing the clear, odourless liquid, he knew that the vampire had given him water. Not that he was complaining.
He swallowed some of the water, and his eyes widened. It was the purest water he had ever drunk. He kept drinking and drinking, and he wondered why the water didn't seem to run out.
"Careful," the vampire said. "Your stomach needs to get used to food and water again. You went too long without proper nourishment. The goblet won't run out of water unless I tell it to."
Lovino took the goblet away from his mouth, before he started to eat the bread again.
"What's your name?" the vampire asked.
Lovino swallowed, wondering if he should tell the vampire. Wondering if he could trust him. Finally, he decided that he had nothing to lose and looked up into the vampire's red eyes.
"My name is Lovino Vargas," he said.
"Vargas?" the vampire repeated. "You wouldn't happen to be related to Romulus, would you?"
Lovino blinked in surprise.
"You know my nonno?" he asked.
"Da. He really likes the women, and he's kind of an airhead, but he's pretty nice."
"…Si, that's him. How do you know him?"
The vampire's expression darkened, and Lovino cowered, afraid that he had said something wrong.
"It doesn't matter," the vampire said. "Just know that Romulus Vargas is one of the few that I don't hate. I would do nothing to harm his grandson. My name is Vlad Lupenesku, by the way."
Lovino couldn't help but smile. That was probably the most stereotypical name for a vampire, with the most stereotypical accent. Vlad smiled as well.
"I'm glad to see that they didn't break you," Vlad said.
Lovino looked at him with a dumbfounded expression, before feeling annoyed.
"Did you… read my mind?" Lovino demanded.
Vlad rubbed the back of his head sheepishly, avoiding the Italian's eyes.
"Well… I wanted to know what was going on, and you were scared of me," Vlad said. "I've been sleeping since 1997, and this was the fastest, and easiest, way to learn about what happened."
Lovino's eyes widened. The vampire was asleep for twenty years? And didn't he…?
Seeing Lovino start to tremble, Vlad sighed.
"I don't need to feed," he said. "I'm… not your typical vampire. You have nothing to fear from me."
Lovino looked down, biting his lip.
"How can I trust you?" Lovino whispered.
Vlad frowned for a moment, before his face lit up, as though he had a bright idea. He went back to the coffin and seemed to rummage around, before producing something that made Lovino's eyes widen in disbelief.
"I thought vampires couldn't touch that," he said as Vlad brought the object closer.
"Religious artefacts only affect vampires that are younger than the particular religion," Vlad said, shrugging. "And I was around since before Christianity."
Vlad held the object to him. It was a rosary, the beads in the seven colours of the rainbow. The cross itself had a rainbow of gemstones. It was beautiful.
"It was a gift from an old friend," Vlad explained. "I think you should have it."
Lovino cupped his hands, and Vlad slowly dropped the rosary into them. When Lovino held it closer to inspect it, he saw that there was an inscription on the back. It read 'Vargas'.
"You really did know my nonno, didn't you?" Lovino asked.
Vlad smiled and nodded, and Lovino slipped the rosary around his neck.
"Does that mean that… God is real?" Lovino asked.
"Um… no," Vlad said. "Angels are, though. What you humans call 'God' is actually just the king of angels. Not my favourite person, just so you know. And angels are behind most religions on earth, to be honest."
"Because, keep in mind, if angels are real, then so are demons," Vlad sighed. "When they realised that human faith provides a means to defend against demons, they spread religion in order to give humans a chance to fight back. And to give themselves some ammo."
"Didn't help us after the outbreak."
Vlad sighed, before he stood.
"I need to take a look around outside," he said. "I just need to gain perspective. Will you wait for me here?"
Lovino nodded, and Vlad smiled warmly.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that you found me," Vlad said. "Call it fate, or perhaps divine intervention. The door swung open for you, right? And it closed behind you."
"What are you saying?" Lovino demanded.
"Twenty years ago, when I first came to sleep here, I locked the door from the inside." Vlad took a key that was hidden in his trench coat and turned it. "And it still was, up until now."
Lovino was surprised by the revelation, and as Vlad left, he couldn't help but wonder about it.
Vlad sighed, walking out of the room, his eyes closed. He had seen everything that the boy had been through in the past few months, and it brought him great pain to have witnessed that.
He opened his eyes to find that someone was waiting for him, clothed in white and with the wings to match.
"I'm beginning to wonder about your kind's priorities after seeing what he's been going through for the past few months," Vlad said. "Especially considering he's your grandson and all."
Romulus sighed, fluttering his wings nervously.
"I wanted to get him out so many times," Romulus said. "But… Have you felt what it's like outside?"
"What does that have to do with you abandoning your grandson to those vampires?"
"Come outside and I'll show you."
Vlad frowned, before following the angel outside.
Immediately he felt what Romulus was talking about. The air was stifling, though he wasn't really affected by it. The angel, on the other hand, was.
"The vampires managed to tip the scales," Romulus said. "Angels can't be here for too long. It's only a matter of time before the demons decide to take over."
"And you're telling me this, because…?" Vlad prompted.
"I can't be around for my grandsons," he said. "And you're the only person I trust with the way things are now. Just… please, protect them."
Vlad stared at him for a moment before he sighed.
"You have others, I presume?" Vlad asked.
"Si. Feliciano and Marcello. I've been keeping an eye on them."
"And what about Lovino?"
Romulus flinched, and looked away.
"Do you remember Perosia?" Romulus asked.
"It's that demon you're always picking a fight with, isn't it?"
"Si. Well, several months ago, he managed to curse me. That curse makes it impossible for me to go near my grandsons. And then he made sure that Lovi was out in the open where vampires could get him. I wanted to save him, but I couldn't. I literally couldn't. And I still can't. I can only watch from a distance. That's why I'm asking you to protect them. Please?"
Vlad sighed, running a hand through his hair. He closed his eyes, and his thoughts drifted to Lovino, who was still pretty scared of him.
"Alright," he said at last. "But I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing this for him, got it?"
"Si! Grazie, and…"
Romulus froze, his eyes wide. Vlad's eyes narrowed, before he also felt something nearby. He turned his attention to the far left, where he could sense three vampiric presences.
"It's them," Romulus whispered. "It's the ones that hurt Lovi. They've been tracking him."
Lovino sighed, thinking about Vlad. The vampire seemed so nice, and had even given him a rosary. But could he be trusted?
Lovino had always had difficulty trusting humans, and after what he suffered at the hands of vampires, he wasn't sure he was willing to put his faith in one just because he seemed so different.
He stood, thinking that he might slip away, but he yelped when the door was opened again. Vlad stood there, his eyes wide.
"We need to get you out of here," he said, grabbing Lovino's wrist. "Come with me."
Lovino tried to protest, but Vlad dragged him outside, only to suddenly stop. The Italian grumbled, looking over the vampire's shoulder, only to clutch onto him with fear.
It was them.
"There you are, Lovi," Antonio said. "We've been looking for you."