Summary: Cloud, the youngest vampire in history, tries to make his way through life while mentally and spiritually broken. Meanwhile a hunter called Fenrir has been summoned to a small village to take care of a vampire that is slaughtering the inhabitants. Zack ends up face to face with the vampire and is shocked to find it being so young, vampires usually not being turned after the age of 25. Though surprised by its 'bodily age', Zack's still sure this is the vampire that is killing the people in the village and he becomes set on capturing and killing it. But what happens when he actually manages to capture the vampire, with looks no older than seventeen? And who is after Cloud with purposes unknown? AU.
Side pairing: "Onesided" SephirothxCloud.
Disclaimer: Well, if Zack and Cloud would have made out on screen sometime during Crisis Core, then you'd have a tiny reason to maybe begin to think I owned it, but since they're not making out, sadly, I don't own! They belong to wonderful Square.
Blaha: Slightly rewritten. (2011)
Darkness Demon Rose
Chapter One (Teaser): Chase
What I Have Shown You Is Reality
What You Remember... That, Is The Illusion
A dark form was leaning heavily against a tree as painful breaths shot through the darkness surrounding it. The lithe figure was shaking violently, ragged breaths forced and painful as eyes shimmered with unearthly light and tears while it was struggling with all its might to remain standing. But the form was soon forced to give up the futile attempt of staying upright and fell to the ground forcefully with a loud thump. The body shook even more, the impact with the ground earning a strained scream of pain before it fell silent, only the forced pants echoing in the forest.
Two silver arrows were piercing the boy's right leg, blood making the black pants appear darker as it trickled down a ghostly-white leg. Adorning the brutal sight was also a huge, nasty cut that ran along the left leg's thigh to the knee, silver powder glittering innocently as it mingled with the blood in the still fresh wound. Though however bad it all looked, its sides were still the worst part, everything there screaming about the body's bad condition. They were flashing two deep cuts running from ribcage to spine and tainted with silver powder, making the form looked like a discarded rag doll with the tousled hair and torn clothes.
Looking himself over tiredly, Cloud just lay there, unable to move as the pain cut through every nerve in his body. The poisonous silver made it feel as if his blood had been replaced by blazing fire that was now burning his body from inside out and his sides felt like they were just open flesh against the midnight air.
So they had found out their greatest weakness after all... but he never thought it could be this dangerous... or more deadly than anything else.
Either way he wouldn't be able to handle it for much longer as he felt his mind drifting dangerously near unconsciousness. He was so tired, so very tired, exhaustion washing over him like lightning and telling him to welcome the devilish arms of darkness. Sweet whispers from hell luring him to sleep, to give in and rest. But he pushed them away, not willing to give up just yet. He would never give up. Never...
Groaning, the blond forced himself into a sitting position while desperately ignoring the hammering pain in his sides. Though he noticed the whole body had started going slightly numb, loudly protesting against all the pain and the effort he had been forced through. Cloud didn't know which one was the best - the body going numb and exhausted, or being pained but still alert...
Wincing as he touched an arrow to examine it, the young vampire went to look around the forest instead, eyes narrowing to better see in the shadows enveloping him and everything around. Scanning the forest, he looked for the one who could help him. The only one who could help him at this very moment. But he saw no one, his hopes for the other to have noticed his pain and coming after him being unfulfilled. Sighing in defeat Cloud tried one last thing and reached for the other in his mind, but he got no response and his call just echoed emptily. Disappointment made his heart shatter in that moment, realization striking him with the truth that he was completely alone. Truly alone this time...
Suddenly a wave of fear, pure fear, welled up inside of him. It washed over him like a hungry beast that made him feel small and helpless in a way he hadn't felt for many years. Now he found that the darkness in which he had always searched shelter in and trusted, suddenly didn't feel so comforting any more. Instead he felt his wish for independence shatter like a broken dream and instead being replaced by a desperate craving for another. All he wanted right now was to be held by the strong and sheltering arms of the other that he knew would chase all the pain and insecurity away. To have comforting words being whispered soothingly by the rich voice in his ear as gentle fingers wiped the tears away; the fear left on his cheeks. He didn't want to die all alone...not like this...
Then as if thunder had suddenly struck sound into the silent world around him again, Cloud caught the sound of quick footsteps and harsh voices yelling at each other.
"Over here! I can see his blood! He must be around here somewhere because it's still fresh. Hurry!" he heard someone yell and the blond felt his whole body freeze. They were so close. There was no way he would be able to move without them noticing him now... Closing his eyes, the small vampire leaned closer into the tree, almost as if trying to become one with it in desperation to not be seen.
Shaking lightly, Cloud did not dare open his eyes. Instead he tried to listen to the sounds around him that were not killed by the loud banging of his frantically beating heart. To his relief he noticed that the sounds were fading slowly as he sat there, the people vanishing deeper into the forest to his left. But when he was just about to open his eyes in the belief that he had been able to shake them off, a blazing fire suddenly assaulted his right arm and it hurt so badly Cloud thought it was a devilish illusion. Wincing, he then weakly turned his head to look at the silver dagger glinting like a nightmare in his arm, the artefact disappearing in under his skin and flesh like a mad dog wanting to devour him.
"Thought you could run from us, you little spawn of the devil!" the man whispered triumphantly, a sick grin tugging on his lips as he stood towered over the small vampire. Laughing at the vampire's angry but fearful look at the comment, the man lowered himself to one knee and gazed like possessed by a demon into the small one's blue eyes.
"Now feel the pain that you have caused us all, killing our loved ones!" the human growled as he leaned closer while twisting the blade still in Cloud's arm. The blond screamed a heart wrenching scream and the man smirked at him in satisfaction, the sound seeming to act as sweet music to his ears.
"Feel it..." he said heavily as he grabbed Cloud by the collar and twisted the dagger again, set on torturing the creature of the night as much as possible.
The blond, unable to hold it back, found himself scream again as the burning feeling of the knife attacked him with full force again. But no one heard his hoarse cry of suffering because the man's right hand quickly covered his mouth, preventing the rest of the world to know the vampire's scream.
Panting desperately in the human's hand as the knife continued to rotate in his arm, Cloud found himself unable to fight his eyes desire to weep and he let go. Now tears were freely flowing from mako eyes for the first time in many years, revealing his misery to the world. He hated to cry, damn he hated to cry, but right now he couldn't hold them back. The pain was so surreal - it was the only thing he could feel, like it had become him. There existed nothing beyond the agony that haunted him.
"I can't believe that you would be a vampire. Your weakness is pathetic." the man snarled in amusement while he ran the knife's blade over Cloud's right cheek, drawing blood. "But I will still enjoy killing you with my own hands." the man added cruelly as he locked eyes with the boy, his passionate hatred for the other obvious.
Meeting the hard eyes with an exhausted gaze, Cloud felt his life slip away, escaping from between his fingers despite the desperate hold he tried to maintain. Bluntly, he was trapped and wounded to the point of really falling apart like a broken doll, his limbs and muscles near their breaking point. Mentally it was no better, his mind drifting to places he didn't want... If it continued like this then he would die before the night was over. But even if he would die tonight, he refused to die by the hands of some human, especially someone like this one. There was no way he could allow himself to do that...
Realizing his only way to escape when determination once again struck him - Cloud didn't hesitate for a split of a second to put it into action.
Clutching at his last energy the vampire then collected his last strength and bit down hard on the man's hand whilst pushing him backwards and away, creating that small opening needed to flee.
The man swore over his wounded hand and spat curses after the vampire. "Get him! He's over here! Kill him!" he then bellowed to the others whom were located some distance away before he started to make his way after the small vampire again.
Cloud just kept running as arrows flew like rain around him, scratching his body and singing a lullaby about the possible end to his life. All that was on his mind was to keep running!
Groaning and cursing, the young vampire felt his pace slow down while his strength was abandoning him all too quickly as he ran. Instead an irritating numbness had now started to greet him all over again when his adrenaline had stopped pumping like mad, his mind now constantly float in and out of consciousness. But he kept staggering forward, refusing to give up. But no matter how much he tried to ignore it in his battle with himself, Cloud was unable to escape one thought. Sleep. It was so tempting with its devilish smile directed solely at him, luring him to relax. Trying to make him give in and allow her to take care of him in her wide open and caring arms. Tempting him with a sanctuary for a tired body where he could just give up and rest, the mistress of sleep cradling him gently.
It would have been so easy to just let her take control over him, to hand over his mind and body to a sleep that would most likely end in his death. But no matter how much he wished to do so, longed to do so, he couldn't. If he did then it meant he would leave this world and his partner, his creator – something he could not do. So he continued to stubbornly force his body struggling, wobbling and stumbling over rocks and roots on his path forward with a dazed vision and numb muscles caused from the blood loss. It didn't matter that his body moved sluggishly and his brain felt like wrapped in cotton, he absolutely refused to give in...
Growling in frustration at his way too slow pace, Cloud pushed himself from the tree angrily in an attempt to maybe gain a few quicker steps forward. Though the idea that had seemed so bright at the time became annoyingly bad when he found himself flying into a row of high bushes and he ended up cursing loudly instead. However his anger and frustration was quickly replaced by surprise and fear when he suddenly felt the ground disappear under him and his body leave the shrubbery.
Now he instead felt himself falling and before he was able to scream out in shock to the situation, he found himself becoming mute by the pain he was now introduced to. The way it hurt as he rolled downhill was almost surreal, each collision with a stone sending a searing pain that was indescribable through his mind and body while sickening cracks of breaking bones rang in his ears.
After what felt like a classic eternity, Cloud finally landed with a splash on his stomach in an almost dried out river. Groaning, he tried to move while wishing to escape the cold liquid that now attacked him. But no matter how hard he tried; his attempts were not enough as his body had at last reached its limit. There was nothing left in him to move him forward, no strength to summon no matter how stubbornly he tried to. All he could do was lie there, listening to the faint footsteps of the humans passing above him in the forest while his vision started to turn unfocused and dark.
A sigh rolled over his lips. He was so tired, so very tired... Would he really die like this? All alone?
As the thought passed his exhausted mind, a single tear trickled down his bloodstained cheek, singing his misery of dying alone. He wouldn't see his creator again. Death was all too near to let him see the other one more time, no matter how he tried. At least he wouldn't die by the hands of the humans...
Closing his eyes in defeat, Cloud gave in and handed his life to the gentle arms of sleep, letting her will be fulfilled as he felt his mind welcome her lullaby. Gently his consciousness was tucked away and enveloped in darkness while his life-giving fluid mingled with the water, staining it red and creating a bed of crimson below the pale form.
The dark water shimmered softly under the twinkle of stars that were spread across the night sky; the moon's light making the unmoving body lying there reflect an unearthly, almost angelic shine. An aura of light surrounded him, betraying the creature's true nature.
Some distance away a tall figured could be seen soundlessly hovering above the ground, eyeing the pale figure in the water. Normally hard green orbs were now softly gazing at the unmoving body, studying it with calculating eyes.
Frowning after a long look, the man started to soundlessly stride over to the unconscious boy, the new occupant's long silver hair dancing mystically in the soft breeze as he moved. The steps were rushed, but still the man moved with a grace given to very few beings on this planet.
Coming to a stop at the small body, Sephiroth then sank to one knee and lowered his head to look closer at the blond, examining the damage. His eyes narrowed as he saw the few still remaining traces of the silver powder glittering on Cloud's arm and cheek. That didn't look too good.
A slender hand was extended and gently brushed away a lock of golden hair from Cloud's eyes, but froze as the moon's rays revealed the pale face. He was too pale, even for a vampire.
Sephiroth smiled lightly, sympathetically. He should have known better than to leave him alone so much, Cloud just wasn't made to make it on his own. Gently he lifted the boy up and cradled him in his arms. The small vampire was so light, the weight barely noticeable as he pressed him lightly to his chest in an attempt to warm him.
The tall vampire smiled a barely visible smile to himself. Cloud looked so peaceful where he lay, eyes closed and lips slightly parted. That is, if you did not count his numerous wounds and overlooked all the blood staining his young frame. Sephiroth shock his head lightly.
"Cloud, what you have gotten yourself into..."he whispered softly while licking the still open wound on Cloud's cheek, his saliva causing it to slowly close."It seems I have to take better care of you..." he added, kissing his forehead softly before he lifted into the air, vanishing into thin air with his charge.
Zachary Fair, aka Fenrir, widely famous hunter extraordinaire, was used to people hiring him to take care of this or that. Now this and that could consist of almost anything as long as it included hunting - that was what he did best. But what was so special about him being a hunter and the very reason so many wanted to hire him, was that he did not only hunt animals but other beings as well. Tracking down runaways or hunting criminals, it did not matter – he did it all. Even hunting the supernatural at times. And that was the reason for him being where he was right now.
Zack looked at the men gathered at the table with a raised eyebrow while not feeling amused the least, his common grin far away at the moment.
"You want me to go to the village to take care of a vampire running amok? You've got to be kidding me..." Zack sighed. "Why me? I'm actually having my first vacation in eons..." he muttered sourly and eyed them each and everyone present in turn, making them fidget under his powerful eyes.
"Because you, young man, are the most well-known hunter around. They need someone with your skills, as it is urgent. It has already killed a fair deal of people."
"And why should this case make me feel more devoted to do so? As I said, I'm finally on a vacation and there are plenty of other hunters out there. If I'd do all the jobs everyone asked me to do, I'd work myself to death..." Zack said, laughing as he said the last part before his eyes turned serious again.
"... because your sister Aerith lives in that area now. Do you not wish to keep her safe?" the man asked, a cold smirk spreading over his round face because he knew he had won this debate. Zachary was a hunter that killed, but his caring for his sister was a totally different story.
Zack cursed to himself. He didn't know that Aerith lived that close to Nibelheim. Trust them to use the dirty tactics of a guilty conscience.
"Fine, I'll do it. When do I start?"
The man smirked.
"Why immediately of course!"
Ok, first slightly re-written chapter done! As of 2011, I'm back and will try to update as much as my university and lack of beta-reader allows me. I deeply thank all of you that have stuck with this story for this long; I can't tell you how happy I am that some souls enjoy this. I really love this pairing and try to do my best to make the characters justice and to not disappoint the ones reading this!