One Night Stand

There's blood on the floor and blood on what's left of the wall; they couple in silence, each one reluctant to make a noise, to own a kind of defeat.

They had spoken enough earlier, long strings of words that sank through the air like blood through water as their weapons kissed against each other. Akabane spoke, Kagami replied; Kagami spoke, Akabane answered. Each moment of anticipation was an added excitement, each breathed word a quick delighted sign of assent.

This is Babylon City flirting. It involves blood.

Akabane has spat bloodied smears of diamond dust onto his hand twice now, for even with his speed he has difficulty snatching all of it out of the air before he is forced to breathe it in. He coughs blood, then speaks again in that soft smooth voice, threatening, promising.

Kagami bleeds from long slashes, and the blood stains his white suit, irretrievably ruining its purity. Of course he wears white. How better to have the blood show? He answers Akabane, but the fact that he continues the fight, that he does not run, is answer in itself. He moves, casts mirrors into the air, and a dozen Kagami, a hundred Kagami, circle Akabane and laugh.

Bloody Rain, Akabane says, and his scalpels tear the images from the air, slice lines across the true Kagami.

Both of them pause to compliment each other.

This is Babylon City courtship. It involves pain.

There's a whirlpool in the air that draws them closer, that swirls them around and brings them in. There's a pattern in their movements as the duel grows faster, a question of scalpels and an answer of diamonds, a statement of mirrors and an explanation that's delivered by blades.

They're both breathing faster. Akabane's eyes are full of light, and the blood aches in his veins. Kagami can hardly draw air into his lungs for the anticipation of it.

Circle.

Close.

The last rush of body against body is too fast to see. It begins with them separate, and it ends in the sudden stillness that comes from a blade against a throat -- that absolute knowledge of vulnerability, that trembling on the edge of death.

Akabane's tongue touches his lips. A slow drop of blood slides down from where his scalpel pricks the flesh of Kagami's throat and tracks its way across the whiteness of his gloves, curving over the back of his hand, as the two of them stand as paused, as motionless as any desperate kiss.

He pins Kagami's hands with scalpels to hold him still, and Kagami's body arches as the blades slice through skin and past the bone, as they tremble in his flesh when he moves.

This pair don't play masochism, don't play sadism. They don't play. What they do to each other is pain, and if other people don't understand it, that's not important. This is the edge that Kagami feels, as Akabane takes him in the rubble of the destroyed building; this is the edge that Akabane knows as he uses the body of the man who sincerely, so sincerely, tried to kill him and would have used him in turn quite as thoroughly, quite as painfully. There wouldn't be anything to it if it were done in any other way.

They both have their eyes on other people; people who have hurt them, people who could kill them. But that's a long-running anticipation, a bridled interest, a slow laying of stepping stones across the river of fear, until that other person, that dangerous person, is willing to share that danger. Until they can taste blood again. Theirs. The other person's. That's how you do it in Babylon City.

As they lie together after the coupling, both sated for the moment, drunk on blood in a way that no vampire would understand, Akabane slides the scalpels from Kagami's flesh and licks away the blood, tasting the cold metal behind it.

This is a Babylon City one night stand.

They'll both need to clean their weapons afterwards.

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