Once Upon a Halloween

By Rae

Inspiration: Morbid thoughts on my 20 minute drive home, Vampire!Ken (inspired by Dragonflie's "Raising Hell", Aphrael who is wonderfully supportive, and last, but not least, my own odd imagination. Now I just need mood music.

Disclaimer: Rae doesn't own Digimon. I maketh no money, I sellith no bodies. All good? Yeah, I thought so.

******

Motomiya Daisuke wasn't 'raised' to celebrate Halloween, or to believe in the assorted monsters that went along with the pagan holiday. It wasn't based on religious reasons, but for the fact that his older sister, Jun, had been too frightened to enjoy the season and so she and her brother had been both raised 'protected' from it.

Oddly enough, for all that, it was Jun who introduced Daisuke to vampire movies when he was just eight years old. Which was why, on the night of Halloween that year, Daisuke could be found walking around with two pencils taped together in one hand and a clove of garlic in the other. The Motomiya parental units were attending a party and had left their children, twelve and eight respectively, alone for the evening, the elder in charge of her younger sibling.

Jun was still enraptured in the movie which had already lost Daisuke's interest. The boy had been sent from the room when he had tried to 'stake' Jun with the eraser-end of one of his pencils and as punishment, was currently stuck on the balcony outside of their living room, his back to the glass as he shivered in the chilly air of fall and looked down over the streets of the city. Their apartment wasn't that high up. In all honesty, the building wasn't even really that tall. However, their apartment was situated in such a way that they could look out for a good half mile over the tops of shorter buildings, until the vague border of the inner city could be barely distinguished by the line of taller buildings.

Daisuke was more than a little chilled, but he refused to knock on the glass and ask Jun if he could come back in. He'd rather stand and shiver in the cold as he was doing than give her the satisfaction of making him beg to come inside.

"Evil Jun," he muttered under his breath. His hands were getting cold, so after some debate, he stuffed the pencils into his back pocket and then put his free hand into the front pocket to warm it for a moment. He knew if he put the garlic in his pocket, his mother would get mad. He didn't want to put it down, either. At least with the garlic, the vampires might get scared by the smell before they actually reached him.

After a few minutes, he switched hands, putting the garlic in his slightly-warmed hand so the cold one, the one with red fingers, could go in his other side pocket.

"It's going to take a while to warm up that way," a soft voice said.

Daisuke's little body froze and then he turned his head very carefully, keeping his eyes at a low level to avoid the stare of the vampire he was sure was standing behind him. There was nothing there, at least nothing that he could see without turning all the way. He kept his feet planted to the balcony. Somehow, it didn't seem very safe to turn his back to the big empty space beyond his balcony. With the same caution he'd used when looking over his right shoulder, he now turned his head and looked over his left, straining his neck slightly to get a better view. Still nothing.

He withdrew his hand from his pocket, put the garlic back into it, and slowly pulled his pencil-cross from his back pocket.

"Would it scare you very much to know that I actually like garlic? And that a cross made of sticks isn't a crucifix?" The voice was still soft, but it was closer now and Daisuke could feel the hair on the back of his neck stand up as his shadow, lit by the light coming from the interior behind him, grew into a larger shadow, until his own was swallowed by the shadow of the vampire behind him.

"My sister will stake you," Daisuke said bravely, believing it even as he said it. It displayed his childhood innocence that he still believed in his elders.

"Really?" the voice asked softly, amused. It sounded like Daisuke's father when he was laughing at his son.

Daisuke turned and held out his pencil-cross threateningly. "Don't make me hurt you!" His voice was loud, but not loud enough to drown out the blare of the television inside. If Daisuke wanted his sister's attention and aid, he was going to have to be a lot louder.

The vampire — Daisuke couldn't see much other than a looming shadow — held up its hands. "I won't make you hurt me, I promise," the vampire vowed. It still sounded like it was amused.

Daisuke thrust his pencils out again with more emphasis, a half-pout on his face. "I'm not afraid of you."

There was a pause this time, and the vampire tilted its head. Dark hair fanned out to the side. "Are you truly not?" it asked. A moment later, it was squatting down so its face was at a level with Daisuke's and the light behind it illuminated part of its face. Dark eyes stared out from a thin, handsome face. "You know what I am?"

"A vampire," Daisuke answered immediately. He'd only seen a few vampire movies and they were the full extent of his experience with 'monsters' other than Godzilla and King Kong. Vampires were horrible and nasty creatures, and they sucked blood and ate children and kissed women before killing them. They could be killed with stakes and garlic and holy water. The best Daisuke had was the garlic. He was pretty sure his pencils would hurt a vampire, but not kill it. He could scare it off, though. Vampires didn't like pain any more than they liked sunlight.

This vampire might look handsome, but Daisuke wasn't fooled. He knew it would get ugly right before it tried to kill him.

"And you're not frightened by me?" the vampire continued its questions, sounding confused now.

Daisuke frowned. "Of course not! I have a stake and I'm a good guy, and the good guys always win." Another popular movie myth it would take Daisuke years to grow out of believing.

"So they do," the vampire agreed. It tilted its head up to look over Daisuke's shoulder, presumably at the moon, and smiled. Daisuke had a better view of its face then and he was starting to doubt himself now. Vampires really weren't supposed to be so kind and young looking, and they weren't supposed to sit and talk to the people they were going to kill.

"You're not going to kill me, are you?" the boy asked, the words coming out more like a statement than a question. The vampire's gaze returned to him and it shook its head and smiled. "Okay." Daisuke put his pencils back in his pocket and held the garlic out. "You really like garlic?"

The vampire accepted the offering, with no ill effect, and stared at the bulb. "Thank you," it said finally, before moving his hand behind him. When his hand reappeared, the garlic was gone. That was when Daisuke realized the vampire wasn't dressed right.

"Where's your cape? And your teeth? And why aren't you ugly?"

The vampire laughed and sat down cross-legged in front of Daisuke. After a moment, Daisuke did the same, facing it. "I don't have a cape. My teeth only come out when I need them. And I guess I'm not ugly because I'm not really a vampire yet. More like a vampire-in-training."

"Oh." Daisuke nodded and thought that made a fair amount of sense. "Can I be a vampire-in-training, too?" Now that he knew all vampires weren't evil, he was starting to think that maybe being a vampire would be cool. It always looked like fun in the movies, at least before the vampire died. And if he could be a good vampire, nobody would kill him, and it wouldn't be a problem.

"No," the vampire said, shaking its head. Now it looked sad and Daisuke felt bad for making it upset. "You don't really want to be a vampire."

Daisuke pouted for a moment before scooting forward and looking up with the seriousness only an eight year old could muster. "You don't want to be a vampire?"

The eyes darkened and suddenly Daisuke wasn't looking at a vampire but a very sad young man. "No, I don't." His voice was even more quiet than it had been the first time he spoke and Daisuke, feeling bad for making the vampire look like he was going to cry, moved to sit on his knees and then leaned forward and hugged the vampire.

"It's okay. I won't make you be a vampire if you don't want to be."

It took several seconds for the vampire to realize he was being hugged and then he embraced Daisuke in return. He turned his cheek into Daisuke's hair and smiled slightly at the lingering scent of garlic. The words and the show of affection brought tears to his eyes and he hugged Daisuke tightly as he forced them away.

From inside, the sound of the television abruptly cut off and the sound of adult voices could be clearly heard on the balcony. "Your parents are home," the vampire said, putting the boy away from him and standing up.

"You have to go?" Daisuke asked, even as the vampire moved to the edge of the balcony. "Will you come back next year?"

The vampire paused and turned, and smiled as the lock on the balcony was undone. "Yes,' he whispered.

Daisuke turned as the balcony door slid open and when he turned around, the vampire was gone.

*****

Daisuke didn't tell his parents about the vampire. Just as he knew in his young mind that the vampire existed and he had sat talking to him on the balcony, he knew his parents wouldn't believe him. It wasn't their fault they couldn't see everything kids saw, but it was a well-known fact that parents didn't always believe in magical stuff, like vampires. And Daisuke was starting to think of vampires as magical and not horrific, as all of Jun's movies had made him think. His vampire on the balcony had been too nice, too handsome to be some horrible creature.

*****

One Year Later...

"Daisuke, why aren't you dressed?" his mother asked, frowning at him from the doorway. Daisuke was sitting on his bed with his costume beside him. His parents had decided this year, after finding him on the balcony last year, to take both their children with them to a family costume party. Daisuke, however, wanted no part of it and his parents couldn't figure out why.

Daisuke didn't explain to them how he was afraid the vampire wouldn't be able to find him again if he wasn't home. The vampire had as good as promised that he'd be there that year and Daisuke had made extra sure that he would see his vampire again. On his birthday, he had blown out all nine candles in one breath, earning him a wish. He had wished to see the vampire at Halloween again... and for Jun to turn into a toad. Just because one didn't happen didn't mean the other wouldn't.

In the end, no matter how much Daisuke whined or how long he procrastinated, he was stuffed inside his turtle's shell. He was cute, dressed in a green Ninja Turtle costume, complete with colored headband and weapon. He wasn't sure which one he was supposed to be, but he did like the two swords — even if he couldn't reach them, strapped to the back of his 'shell' as they were.

The four Motomiya's piled into the family car and drove across town, all the while with Daisuke staring morosely out the window, full pout in evidence. No amount of cajoling and bribing with candy could force the boy to smile and eventually, after dragging him to the apartment where the party was taking place, his parents left him in one of the smaller, less crowded side rooms to amuse himself.

He sat for a couple of minutes while other children ran in and out of the room, playing a game of some sorts. They didn't invite him to join in and his mood darkened while he watched them playing. After an hour, even the children stopped running into the room and he was left completely to himself. He was on the verge of tears when a shadow fell over him without warning, not even the scuffing of feet on the carpet.

Daisuke looked up into a smiling face. In an instant, his bad mood vanished as he recognized, vaguely, the dark hair and eyes of his vampire. "You came!"

"Yes." The vampire took the seat next to him and smiled. "What are you doing in here all alone?"

The question brought Daisuke's pout back. "My parents made me come and then they went to play with the other adults," he started angrily. He paused and continued on dejectedly. "And then none of the kids wanted to play with me-"

"I'm sure that's not the case," the vampire cut in. He reached out and brushed a hand through Daisuke's hair. "Maybe you should introduce yourself?"

"I'm Daisuke," the boy said promptly, holding out his hand.

The vampire laughed, quietly, and shook the boy's hand. "I'm Ken. I actually meant maybe you should introduce yourself to the other children. Maybe they think you don't want to play with them."

"I don't," Daisuke said. The vampire frowned, confused, and Daisuke continued. "I have you to play with now."

The vampire looked down, but was still obviously smiling. "I can't really stay and play," he said in a sad tone. He looked back up at Daisuke and smiled. "Maybe another year?"

It was Daisuke's turn to frown. He looked at Ken through narrowed eyes, suspicious. "You're leaving already?"

"No," Ken denied. He looked around. "What do you want to do?"

"I don't know." Daisuke looked around to, before going to a toy box he had seen the other children playing in before. He leaned over and searched through it awkwardly, his arms not quite able to reach as much directly in front of him because of the confines of the costume. After a few minutes of searching, he came up with a deck of cards and returned to Ken. "Cards?"

"Sure," the vampire agreed. He shifted to the side as Daisuke sat back down. On the space between them, Daisuke sat the cards. "You want me to shuffle?" Ken asked when the boy said nothing.

"I don't know how," Daisuke admitted, shrugging uncomfortably.

"Okay."

*****

They spent several hours playing cards without interruption. Whatever the other party-goers were doing, it must have been fun, because Daisuke and Ken weren't disturbed once until the end of the game. Ken stood up and looked at the door oddly. "I have to go," he said, striding towards the window.

"Will you come back next year?" Daisuke asked hopefully, cards still held in his hands. The vampire turned to look at him and nodded. The door opened and distracted Daisuke long enough for Ken to disappear.

"So this is where you've been all night," his mother said cheerfully. Without much ado, so helped Daisuke take care of the cards before they left. Jun was half-asleep on her feet and it was obvious she'd had fun. They all had, even Daisuke.

When asked what he'd done all night, he replied, "Playing with a friend."

*****

A Year Later...

Being ten did much for Daisuke. It saw him grow into an extroverted child, it saw him with his first crush, and it saw him as he realized the tooth fairy didn't exist.

The last was a decidedly unfortunate it turn, as it occurred a week before Halloween and put the boy into a foul mood. He refused to tell anyone what the problem was and on the night of the thirty-first, he hid himself in his room and refused to leave. His parents grudgingly left him alone to go three floors up to a party. Jun was at a friend's house for the night.

Alone, Daisuke played video games for several hours. If asked, he'd deny the fact that he was waiting anxiously for Ken to show up. After his disappointment at the beginning of that week and his subsequent disbelief in any form of magic, he was afraid the vampire would turn out to be a lie, too, and wouldn't show. Daisuke swore to himself that he wasn't waiting for a make-belief monster to come and keep him company.

He wasn't.

At ten o'clock, he threw down his gaming pattern and went out to the living room. It was empty and silent, the television and radio off. After a moment, he moved to the balcony. When he pulled aside the curtain, the balcony was empty. He sighed and closed the curtain again. He turned and took a step forward, his eyes half-closed and his mind distracted, and he walked into somebody.

Not just somebody, he realized, stepping back and looking up. Ken. He threw himself against the vampire, tears in his eyes. "I didn't think you'd come," he said, sniffling.

The vampire, confused and surprised by the action, wrapped his arms around the boy's shoulders in a lax embrace. "Why wouldn't I visit you?" he asked, voice soft and coaxing.

"Because the tooth fairy doesn't exist," Daisuke said, and this time tears did fall. He rubbed his face into Ken's shirt, tears and snot mingling on the soft, smooth material.

Ken made an odd sound in the back of his throat and pushed Daisuke away in order to see the boy's face. "I'm not the tooth fairy, Daisuke." He brushed a tear from the boy's face, and then a lock of hair from his forehead. "I'm not make-belief. Even if you stopped believing in my, I'd still exist."

"Promise?" Daisuke asked in entreaty, face upturned and hopeful. The tears had stopped.

"I promise," Ken said. He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the top of Daisuke's head, sealing the vow. "I will exist even if you don't believe in me."

"But what about when I'm older? My mom says I'll grow out if it when I grow up and I won't see ghosts and vampires and-and-" He broke off and three himself back at Ken. "I want to believe in you even when I'm old and thirty and my hair's gray!"

The vampire didn't know what to say to that, at least not immediately. He held Daisuke for a few more minutes before pushing him away once more. "I'll make you a deal. I will come to you when you're older, and if you still believe in me, I'll make you a vampire-in-training, okay?" If the boy had something to look forward to, a promise to carry with him... Ken didn't know why he was pushing the boy to remember and believe in his existence. It shouldn't have mattered one way or another. He just couldn't let the boy forget him, though.

"Cool." Daisuke's eyes were wide and the idea of being a vampire — vampire-in-training — had managed to replace his bad mood with excitement.

They spent the rest of the night playing video games and watching television. In the early hours of the morning, when Ken heard a key in the lock, Daisuke was resting against his arm, asleep. Very carefully, he laid the boy down on the couch and covered him with a blanket. The hall light flicked on.

"I'll see you when you're older," he whispered to the sleeping boy. He brushed Daisuke's bangs out of his face and then moved silently to the partially open balcony door. He slipped into darkness just as Mrs. Motomiya entered the living room and spotted her sleeping son.

*****

And Years Passed...

"Come on!" Daisuke exclaimed impatiently. October had come quickly the year of Daisuke's eighteenth birthday. He was in his first year of university and attending his very first university costume party. If he could just get his roommate to move a little quicker...

"Trust me, Daisuke, we're not in any danger of being late," Takaishi Takeru retorted, straightening his wig a last time before walking towards the door. "It takes ten minutes to walk there and the party doesn't start for another five. As it is, we're going to be the 'uncool freshmen' who arrive before everyone else."

"I don't care," Daisuke waved aside the thought of being 'uncool'. It wasn't half as important to him as going to the party. He didn't even bother looking at himself to make sure his costume was perfect. He'd spent thirty minutes putting it together and had deemed it 'awesome' and that was the end of his preparation. His hair was slicked back, his bronze skin was covered in white face paint down to his neck, he had red paint around his mouth and on the tip of the plastic vampire teeth he had in his mouth.

"I don't get how you can talk clearly in those things." Takeru pointed at the teeth as they left their dorm room and started down the hall. "Most people have to take them out to be understood."

"Practice," Daisuke said, shrugging. "I've worn 'em every day for the past week."

Takeru looked at him for a moment before shaking his head. Daisuke was serious, which didn't surprise his roommate at all. Daisuke was the type to wear fake teeth for a week just to be able to speak with them in. He did wonder how he had missed seeing it, though.

They took the stairs down to the lobby and then made for the entrance. There were a few other people dressed up for the season, but for the most part, other students gave them odd looks.

"Losers," Daisuke muttered under his breath, pushing through the front doors ahead of Takeru. "You'd think they'd realize it's a holiday and dress for it."

"Technically, the holiday is tomorrow," Takeru pointed out, following Daisuke through the door and across the lawn in front of their dormitory. Daisuke could never seem to manage to stay on the sidewalk.

It was only the thirtieth of October and there would be parties that night and the following night all over the campus. The one that night was a fraternity a quarter of a mile down the road their dorm was on. They'd received in invite from an older friend, Taichi. Daisuke wouldn't have missed it for the world, and since Takeru's brother was part of the same frat, he had agreed to go along as well. It was better than sitting at home and watching lame movies on the television, he had conceded to Daisuke.

Takeru was dressed as a clown, complete with face paint and too-big shoes. His costume was bright and cheerful, almost in counter-point to Daisuke's all-black ensemble. They made an odd duo as they made their way to the party.

As Takeru had predicted, they were some of the first people to arrive. Luckily, they had the excuse of actually knowing some of the people hosting it and could use that as a reason to brush aside their uncoolness. Daisuke wasn't that concerned with appearances, but Takeru had not only himself to consider, but the popularity of his brother.

Daisuke headed straight for other freshmen, and incidentally the sister of his friend Tai, and sat down next to her on the couch, blithely interrupting the conversation she was having with another young woman. "Hi, Hikari. I like your costume."

Hikari was dressed like a cat. She was wearing a brown bodysuit and had fuzzy brown ears, a tail she was sitting on, and fingerless, fuzzy gloves over her hands to simulate paws. She turned and smiled at him politely. "Thanks, Daisuke. You know Miyako?"

He nodded at the purple-haired girl who was, aptly in his opinion, dressed as witch. "Yeah. We've met." It wasn't an incident he really wanted to think about, and as much as he would have liked to sit and talk to Hikari, he wasn't willing to do so with Miyako right there. "I'm going to go find your brother," he said, standing up.

"He was talking with someone in the hall a bit ago," she said helpfully, before returning to the conversation Daisuke had disrupted.

Daisuke made his way to the hall and didn't see Taichi immediately. It took him a few moments to realize that one of the shadows were really just two people in dark clothing making out and after that realization came the discovery that the taller of the two had large hair.

"Tai!" Daisuke said, walking forward. The two broke apart and looked at him. He didn't recognize the other young man. "Who's your friend? And what are you guys supposed to be?" The stranger was dressed in black and his face was painted white and black, in some odd pattern that reminded Daisuke of a chessboard, and his hair was red. Daisuke suspected that the last was real and not part of the costume. Taichi was dressed in dark fur.

"This is Koushiro," Taichi said, putting a proprietary arm around the redhead's shoulders. "And he's a mime." Taichi grinned. "He was just showing me the benefits of communicating without words." Through the paint, Daisuke couldn't see if Koushiro's cheeks were turning pink, but the tips of his ears were. "And I'm an ape," Taichi continued. He lifted his free hand to indicate the mask he was holding. "It was getting hard to breath, so I took it off. And got distracted." He winked at Koushiro.

Koushiro nudged him in the side, but didn't do much else to stop the brunet's teasing. Daisuke nodded. "Cool. Like the costumes."

Taichi grinned. "Yours, too. How much gel did it take to get your hair to stay down?"

Daisuke reached up and touched the gel-hardened locks carefully. "I probably could have used less." He shrugged and dropped his hand. "I just dumped the bottle on my head, pushed it back, and let it dry."

"That's going to take a long time to wash out," Taichi said with a snicker. Beside him, Koushiro's eyes were watching Daisuke with something akin to morbid fascination. Daisuke figured he didn't get out much.

Daisuke didn't get a chance to reply as the front door opened and a group of loud party-goers stepped inside. "Where's the keg?" he heard shouted, and then the group swarmed past the three of them and headed towards the main room, carrying Daisuke with them.

*****

It was a fun party, all-in-all. Daisuke got to catch Taichi making out with his boyfriend two more times before the night was over, and he even managed to snag a glimpse of Takeru and his love interest, a younger boy dressed as a pirate. There was no making out for the two of them, but at least his blond friend got a chance to work on his crush for a while.

Daisuke danced, mostly by himself, but occasionally with whoever happened to come up and ask him. That went for both genders. He danced with Taichi for a fast song and turned around and found Hikari in his arms for the slow song that followed. He danced with a guy dressed like an insane homicidal doctor. The young man had long, dark hair that gave Daisuke an odd feeling of familiarity. He hadn't ever met Jyou before, though, he was sure.

Sometime around three in the morning, he left the party. It was still going pretty strong, with music pouring out the windows and costumed people still dancing, visible through the windows. Daisuke left alone and made his way home, away from the warm light of the party and towards the bed that was calling to him. He wasn't used to staying up so late, and he especially wasn't used to dancing for over six hours. He was tired, physically. He would have stayed longer, but he managed to twist his ankle during a limbo contest and the party wasn't quite as much fun if he couldn't sit on the dance floor and get lost in the mindlessness of the rhythm.

Daisuke was halfway home when he heard footsteps behind him. He only gave them half of his attention for a few minutes, until he realized that whoever was behind him was approaching at a quick rate. He turned and saw only a dark shadow moving in the lighter shadows around him. Then the figure walked under a streetlight and Daisuke's heart began hammering in his chest.

The person walked back into shadows a few seconds later, but Daisuke had seen the pale skin, the dark, longish hair, and the dark eyes. Even in a cape and costume similar to Daisuke's, the figure was distinct and memorable. Ken. He said the voice in his head as the vampire came closer, stepping under yet another light and only twenty feet away.

Ten feet away and the dark-haired man stopped, standing at the edge of a pool of light. Without realizing, Daisuke had stopped at the opposite edge, and the two stared at each other for several minutes. Finally, Ken broke the silence between them. "Do you believe in vampires?"

Daisuke grinned. He finally managed to get over his surprise and the trance which had settled over him upon Ken's arrival, and he stepped forward. "I believe in you."

"You still believe in me?" Ken asked, voice hushed even in the stillness of early morning.

"Yes," Daisuke answered confidently, taking another step forward. He was almost fully in the light now, though not in the center of it. "I don't believe in vampires, though." Ken looked exactly as Daisuke remembered him. He hadn't aged at all in the eight years since the last time Daisuke had seen him. They looked to be the same age, now.

Ken smiled slightly. "You don't, hm? Do you have another explanation of why I haven't aged?" It was the only evidence he had to show to Daisuke that he wasn't normal, wasn't human.

Daisuke moved forward again, this time closing the distance between them until he stood just inside the light on Ken's edge of the circle. He raised a hand and gently cupped Ken's cheek. "Because you've been waiting for me to grow up," Daisuke answered simply. There was surprise on Ken's face in the instant before Daisuke leaned in to kiss him, but the fake vampire paid no attention to it as he kissed the vampire he'd been waiting the better part of a decade for.

*****

The thing about vampires-in-training, Ken had explained as they walked home together, hand in hand, they could really go either way. Once a vampire, always a vampire, but a vampire-in-training still had the possibility of reverting back to its human form. It normally didn't happen that way, of course. The bloodlust and desire to feed was too great and it normally only took a month for someone to revert back to human form or to succumb and become a full vampire.

Ken had waited ten years to make his choice. He had been a ViT, as Daisuke called it, for a week before he'd met a young boy on a balcony on Halloween night. Something had drawn him to the boy, something very powerful. At first, Ken had stayed in the shadows, afraid that his urges would get the better of him and he'd feed on the boy and lose the last of his humanity, in more ways than one. Even to vampires, children were sacred beings.

He hadn't wanted to hurt the boy, though, and he had chanced it in the end. The soul he had seen in the boy's gaze had called to him and he hadn't been able to resist the pulling. He had returned for two years, before he realized that as the boy got older, his blood also got more desirable. Ken had had to keep himself away in order to protect the both of them. His promise to turn Daisuke into a vampire-in-training had been another key in staying away: it would have been too easy to give in to the desire to keep the boy with him, as one of him, forever.

Now, as they stood inside the darkened dorm room Daisuke shared with Takeru, Ken had to make his choice. He had made Daisuke a promise and Daisuke had lived up to his end. He had remembered Ken and still believed in him.

"I like to nibble and be nibbled," Daisuke said with a grin. He could feel Ken's discomfort and he wanted to make him feel better. He sidled closer and pressed his lips to the side of Ken's kissed his way from the left side to the right, and there, he found two small, odd bumps. Scars. "Does it hurt?"

"Sometimes," Ken answered softly. He tilted his head to the side, letting Daisuke have better access to his neck. His arms were wrapped around Daisuke's shoulders. "It stings. It's a bite," he pointed out, for lack of a better explanation.

"Do you want to bite me?" Daisuke asked curiously. He wanted to bite Ken. Of course, he also wanted to lick, fondle, and grope the vampire-in-training. Oh, and he couldn't forget kissing. Kissing was nice. Kissing Ken was something close to heaven.

"Yes." For the first time, Daisuke heard the stress in Ken's voice. He pulled back and saw the torment on Ken's face.

"Ken?"

"What do you want, Daisuke? Would you rather be a vampire or a human?"

"Human," Daisuke answered. He didn't even have to think about it. He liked sunlight and being able to play soccer in the daylight. He couldn't imagine biting people and sucking their blood, and he didn't want to give up his friends because they wouldn't understand. Ken slumped in Daisuke's arms and Daisuke caught him awkwardly. "Ken?"

"It's okay," Ken said reassuringly. There was no confidence in his voice, however, and he buried his head in Daisuke's shirt.

Daisuke wrapped his arms around the other man and lead him to his bed. They sat on the edge together, their arms around each other. "What do you have to do, then?"

"Do?" Ken repeated.

"To be human again," Daisuke elaborated impatiently. "You're still a ViT, right? So you just have to do whatever it is you have to do to be human."

"Right," Ken agreed softly, nodding. He didn't sound like he was really paying attention. He proved differently, however, when he finally answered the question. "I have to sit in the sunlight for an entire day. Sunrise to sunset."

Daisuke looked at the clock. "Okay. We have about an hour. What do you want to do until then?"

Ken looked up at him with dark eyes and a smile. "I think we should get you out of that ridiculous costume."

"Hey, you're wearing the same thing," Daisuke returned, fingering Ken's cape.

"I fit in better in costume. People aren't so skeptical when I tell them I'm a vampire."

"Vampire-in-training," Daisuke corrected.