Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: PG for implied adult situations.
Characters: Mikaela and Krul.
Setting: Sometime before the canon timeline.
Summary: Mikaela faces the prospect of his first mission beyond Sanguinem.
Disclaimer: They belong to Takaya Kagami. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Written for Kisuru, as part of the 2016 Rarepair Fest Exchange. My initial idea for this story was more of a mental image than anything, so I expected it to be fairly simple and brief… but Mika's angst and the complexity of his situation just sort of ran away with it. I hope it works passably well, as I've had to draw my own logical conclusions about several things that were given little detail in the anime.
"You've pleased me, my pet," murmured Queen Krul, breathy and languorous, her cheek pillowed softly upon Mikaela's chest.
Blinking sapphire eyes, Mika glanced away. His cheeks flushed slightly, although his fingers did not cease to caress the long pink hair that was tumbled silkily across his stomach. Pressed close to his own, Krul's body was not warm, but her skin was silky too.
She said those words every time, after. While used to hearing them by now, he was still a little embarrassed by the pleasure her approval gave him. Maybe even the tiniest bit ashamed—although he was no longer sure of why.
It didn't really help his conflicted feelings to know that Krul was being sincere. Far more sincere, in fact, than he ever felt she was with the other vampire nobles.
This was a startling realization Mika had only recently come to. When they were alone together, Krul seemed to bare herself in more than body. It wasn't as if she confided any more to him about her thoughts and plans than the little she told the nobles; but somehow, he could still sense a lowering of defenses when she was in his arms. She became vulnerable, in a way he could never imagine her being with anyone else.
He couldn't decipher her feelings, any more than he could understand his own… so he didn't try. He merely accepted the desires they fulfilled for one another, the same way he had grown to accept his need for her blood. Their intimacy was something warm in the vampires' cold world. It was pleasurable, even strangely comforting, and it allowed him to express the gratitude he knew he owed to Krul.
In return for sustaining him, if she wished to indulge in his flesh rather than his own blood, he was content to oblige her.
Mika didn't know if he loved Krul in that way: the way he thought human couples had in the world before the vampires. (Not that his troubled human childhood had given him a chance to witness much grown-up love of any kind.) Even if he didn't, he supposed it wouldn't really matter, because such sentiments were not acknowledged in the vampires' society anyway. Still, he was fairly sure he did feel some peculiar form of love for her—and that was enough. Just as it was enough to know she also cared genuinely for him in some way, even if he didn't quite understand the nature of that caring either.
At least, it was enough for now. After all this time—after all he had become, after all the degrees of humanity he had lost—one fragment of his mortal resolve still remained. The vow of find Yu continued to burn in his heart. Indeed, it was now stronger than ever, considering the terrible things he had learned from Krul about the humans and their experiments. Having failed his family so horrifically in the past, he was determined to save the last survivor from a fate he feared would be much crueler than his own.
It was the only chance of atonement he could see.
And after he found Yu…
That part was a blank. He knew he could never bring him in among the vampires. Even if he wanted to believe in Krul's singular intentions, he wouldn't dare allow Yu within reach of the other nobles—or see his adoptive brother be made into the same sort of creature as himself. Besides, no familial bond or joy of reunion would ever persuade Yu to follow him back to Sanguinem. Mika was sure of that.
The young semi-vampire heaved a sigh. It was probably a moot point, anyway. When he did find Yu, he himself could neither remain in his brother's human world, nor return to the vampire world that had become his own. He would never be able to leave Yu alone again, to come back to the Queen who nourished him; but without Krul's blood, he would soon become too dangerous a monster to be near any human.
When that day came, he was sure he wouldn't even be able to trust himself with Yu.
In the end, to warn Yu was all he could really hope for. One way or another, he probably wouldn't live very long beyond that… but that would be alright. Just as long as he could see Yu's face one more time, and say what he needed to say.
A part of Mika fretted that losing him would hurt Krul. He only hoped she might understand his reasons. She was the only part of the vampires' world that he would be sorry to leave behind—but he owed even more to Yu than to her. He had to keep his promise, to save his brother, even if it meant the end of his own hollow existence.
For now, it was useless to think about. He would never find Yu in the first place until Krul expanded his duties, and sent him on missions much farther afield than she currently permitted him to go. All things considered, she expressed a remarkable amount of trust in him, but she was… protective.
He knew just enough about himself to be unable to blame her.
In the meantime, there was… this. Sweet blood and soft skin; small, dainty hands that petted him, and a playful singsong voice that could make him enjoy being commanded. Their interludes together were the only thing that could temporarily fill his present hollowness. Not only with her blood, but with… whatever else this was that they shared.
It wasn't tender. Between vampires, he didn't think it ever could be. Yet it sated him in ways even Krul's blood didn't—and curiously with less remorse. She made it clear that her desire was more than equal to his own, after all. No matter from whom he took it, his physical need for blood was an indelible ugliness, but he no longer felt any guilt in claiming a pleasure that was her wish too.
It had been her wish even before it was his. She was the one who took him, who taught him, when he was still so very young. Maybe he should have thought his innocence was taken advantage of by her, but it had never felt like that to him.
He only knew it was good, for both of them.
A fresh ache of want suddenly rose in Mika. His hand slid up Krul's arm to her shoulder, and he gripped tightly as he turned over, shifting her petite figure beneath his own. Needy and seeking, his mouth once again found her throat; and moments later, her lips.
Afterward, as Krul lay nestled against him once more, she bent her head close to his ear.
"I have a surprise for you, Mika. I was going to save it until tomorrow… but you've been so good, I think you deserve it now." A fang nipped at his earlobe affectionately, making him shiver; but then Krul pulled back just a little, and her voice rose slightly from a whisper.
"I'm sending you on your first mission outside of Sanguinem."
Mika's breath caught, his heart throbbing in his chest from a sudden flood of conflicted emotions. Excitement that what he had been waiting for—the chance to go out into the world and begin searching for Yu—was finally about to happen. Anxiety at the thought of traveling beyond the vampires' capital, the only environment he had known since he was eight years old. A disquieting murmur of fear for what may be expected of him on the mission.
He quickly turned onto his side, facing the Queen. His blue eyes were large with uneasy intensity, and when he spoke, his voice trembled more than he would have wished it to.
"Krul, I… I won't have to—you won't ask me to—"
Her fingertip landed gently on his lips.
"Don't worry. I wouldn't want to shock your system too much at once—so I've made sure to choose a mission in which human deaths should be minimal. In fact, what I'm really asking of you is to go out and save human lives." Her scarlet lips frowned. "We've identified another small group of humans in the south, but it's close to being exterminated by Four Horsemen of John. You'll be part of a squad tasked with killing the beasts, and offering protection to the humans, in exchange for their obedience and their blood."
Mika winced. In his time as Krul's pet, he had seen her order countless pacification missions exactly like that.
With a few well-organized exceptions like the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, survival for humans outside of the vampire-controlled territories was difficult. They had to contend not only with lack of food and medicine in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but worst of all, the Four Horsemen of John: the mutant monsters that roamed the earth. Time and again, finding their numbers nearly wiped out by the dangers they faced, these human remnants gradually became willing to surrender themselves to the vampires instead. They decided that it was preferable, after all, to live docilely as blood donors rather than die of disease or the Four Horsemen's attacks.
But not all humans felt that way. Even among the smallest and most desperate groups, there were those who would not give up their freedom for any price. The majority of their comrades might choose to submit to the vampires' rule, yet they remained determined to resist. Some tried to flee, to slip away in the confusion as the pacified humans were rounded up… but the most defiant, or perhaps the most hopeless, would fight to the death. No matter that the vampires' forces were insurmountably superior, or that peaceful surrender could at least give them the chance of a longer and easier life. They would rather die than accept the label of livestock.
On the mission Mika faced, he would see humans killed. It was an inevitability.
And yet, in the long run, other humans would survive who might not otherwise. They would be subjected to a regular draining of their blood, which Mika knew from experience was not pleasant… and some might run afoul of a vampire master's cruelty, as he had also known. But the odds for them were still better than their present conditions. They wouldn't face a sudden, savage death in the jaws of a monster, or a slower and more lingering one through sickness or starvation.
He grimaced. A part of him wasn't sure why he should really care, anyway. It was the humans who had experimented on himself and the other Hyakuya orphans. The entire race had brought their misery upon themselves with such sins, and sometimes…
Sometimes, he had begun to think that being allowed to live as livestock was a better fate than any of them deserved.
Even so, he knew it would be difficult to harden his heart when he was there; when he saw those human survivors face to face. The remaining humanity in him would ache for them. No matter what collective guilt they bore, individually, they were only what he and Yuichiro and the other orphans had wished to be—on that terrible day when they tried to escape from Sanguinem.
They were free… until he and the other vampires came to take them.
And just being near humans would arouse another kind of ache within him, as well.
Mika's pulse skipped at that thought. From what he had seen, a pacification mission could take several days. If he was away from Sanguinem for that long, away from Krul…
He raised up from the pillow and braced himself on one arm, blue eyes anxiously seeking the Queen's scarlet ones. "Krul… what will I do while I'm away from you? How will I—what will I…"
Krul read the rest of the uncompleted question on Mika's face… and a slow, dark smile curled over her lips.
"I suppose that's something you'll just have to figure out, won't you?"
The younger vampire's heart dropped. He suddenly felt sick. Whatever eagerness he experienced at the prospect of expanding his boundaries, of having the chance to search for Yu, it was dashed by the realization of Krul's true purpose in sending him on the mission.
Without her veins to drink from, he would have to find some other way of satisfying his bloodthirst. If he didn't, he would become the victim of a madness-making starvation. The pain he remembered from his first days as a vampire would come back—and it would slowly grow worse until he lost his senses completely. Then he would attack anyone near him to obtain sustenance.
Since the beginning, Krul had continued trying to persuade him to drink human blood. She warned him that it was inescapable: that even her veins would not satisfy him forever. Even though his long refusal had slowed his development as a vampire, he couldn't halt it completely, and the time would come when his body required a nourishment her own vampire blood did not provide. Still, he had been determined to fight that need for as long as he possibly could. If only he could hold it off until he found Yu, until he warned him… then it wouldn't matter anymore.
What a fool he had been, not to realize that the very chance to seek Yu would in itself cut him off from Krul's blood—the precious stopgap that allowed him to preserve a fragment of his humanity.
"But… please, Krul," he whispered in horror, his eyes wide and breaths short. "I-I can't—"
"Of course you can, my darling boy." Krul sat up, allowing the satin sheets to slip down her lithe body. She took his chin in her hand, gazing at him loftily. "You always could—but like so many other things since I took you in, it's obvious that you won't accept it until you have to. It's ungrateful, Mika, really… but never mind that. If you need to be pushed to achieve your potential, then so be it."
Mika choked and closed his eyes, turning his face from her, although he still couldn't bring himself to pull away from her hand entirely.
"Now, Mika," the Queen cooed, in a mildly exasperated but more consoling tone. "It's not so terrible at all, you know. It isn't even as if you'd have to kill a human. When they see you slay the Four Horsemen that have been plaguing them, I'm sure there will be humans who are happy to repay you with their blood—and if you'll only accept your need, you can drink without doing them any permanent harm."
A lump rose in Mika's throat. He shook his head.
"But… but I'd…"
Krul understood what he was thinking of. Her hand fell away from under his chin, and she sighed softly.
"Yes," she said, her voice quiet. "Once you drink human blood, you'll complete your change, and fully become a vampire. But I promise you, Mika: that's the best part of all." The mattress creaked as she leaned closer. He felt her arms wrap around his shoulders, felt the petite curves of her body press against him. "I want to keep you just the way you are now—and when you're a full vampire, you'll be mine forever, exactly like this. …Can you truly tell me you don't want that?"
With the last words, she lightly scattered a line of kisses across Mika's collarbone—so deliciously close to his throat—and he groaned faintly. The caress of her lips and the softness of her skin warred with the horrified grief in his heart. Whenever she touched him, it was so difficult to remember that she had made him a monster, that she still controlled his life. Even knowing she was forcing him into a corner yet again, he still wanted her, with an inhuman desire that held him as captive as his need for blood.
But something inside him remained just human enough to rebel… even when he knew it was meaningless in the end.
Clenching his fangs, Mika twisted out of Krul's embrace. He rolled away and slid awkwardly down off the mattress, to curl up naked on the rug in a fetal position. Shivers passed through him as tears spilled from his closed eyes.
Above him on the bed, he heard Krul sigh once more, and then silence reigned in the room.
Over the course of the following night, Mika prepared in a numb haze. He sat through briefings without absorbing a word of them. He forced a neutral expression in response to the devilish smirks of Ferid Bathory—who, to his revulsion, was slated to command the mission. He prepared the gear he was responsible for in exactly the way he had been trained to, acting dully upon ingrained muscle memory.
All the while, his mind uselessly worked over the problem of what he would do without Krul's blood during the time away.
He dismissed out of hand the thought of asking for blood from any other vampire. They would consider the request offensive. More than a few would even be glad to deliberately spite him, resenting the Queen's obvious fondness for the upstart she called her pet. And Ferid… well, any sort of torment Mika suffered would simply be a welcome entertainment to him.
In the end, all Mika could do was resolve to fight his thirst with every ounce of his will, and hold out for as long as he could. If he found that he truly couldn't resist it until his return to Sanguinem, and he began to be in danger of losing control altogether…
He would have no choice then. He would be forced to seek blood. If possible, he would take it from a human who surrendered to the vampires, voluntarily offering their veins in return for protection; but if there were no willing livestock among those they were sent to pacify, it would still be better to choose one victim than to go mad and kill indiscriminately.
Either way, when he drank human blood, the last of his mortal biology would be altered. He would lose what was left of his humanity—at least physically. Mika wasn't sure how it might affect his mind and heart as well… or if Yu could ever see him as anything but a monster when they were finally reunited, and he looked into eyes that were blood-crimson instead of blue.
Because Yu would know then. He would know his brother had actually fed upon human life.
Somewhat to his surprise, Mika was not summoned to see Krul again before the departure time. He began to think bitterly that she was keeping him from her on purpose now, to extend his time without her blood by yet another day. She must have wanted to make certain his resistance to his thirst could not outlast the duration of the mission.
However, when he reported to the hangar where the transport plane waited, he heard a familiar voice call his name softly.
The Queen stood off to the side, alone. For all the power and authority she wielded, the presence of her small figure inside that vast space was strikingly unobtrusive. Her ruby gaze was dark with troubled conflict… and perhaps it was only Mika's imagination, but he almost thought she even looked a little paler than normal. She was clutching a canvas pouch against her chest.
"Queen Krul," he acknowledged, formal and toneless, as he diffidently approached in answer to her call. He still felt too hurt for anything more than that.
"Mika." For a moment, it appeared as if Krul tried to smile casually, but she didn't quite succeed. The curve of her lips was outweighed by the shadow in her eyes. "I've been doing a lot of thinking, Mika… and this time, I've decided to let you have a little going-away present."
She pressed the pouch into his hands. Her eyes quickly broke away from his, and she turned from him, hurrying out of the hangar before he could say a word.
Astonished, Mika stared after Krul until she disappeared from view. Then he looked down wonderingly at the gift she had personally come to deliver to him. He unfastened the flap of the pouch, and looked inside.
Within it, secured in two neat rows, he found half a dozen sealed vials of red liquid.
Mika's breath caught. He tried to control the trembling of his fingers as he slid out one of the vials and removed its rubber stopper. Bending his head over it, he cautiously sniffed the scarlet contents.
His mouth watered instantly at the scent of blood, sweet and rich and unmistakable: not that of a human, or of any other vampire, but the very nectar which had sustained him for all this time. After so long, he knew the scent of Krul's own blood as intimately as its taste.
Quickly he forced down his surge of thirst in response to that tempting fragrance. He replaced the stopper, to preserve the precious fluid for the days ahead; and then he clutched the vial over his heart, screwing his eyelids shut. Tears began to well up behind them, but this time, they were not tears of pain.
Maybe he shouldn't have been so grateful, but he just didn't know what else to feel.
2016 Jordanna Morgan