A/N: Update - 7/25/2015.

The Cathedral

Late night stragglers walked through the cobblestone street outside, yet none ever entered. The high class gentlemen felt no more need to enter the ancient structure than the street pimps that sold their human merchandise to them. The young boys whose pranks caused their current flight through the ancient road would never dream of seeking repentance inside. They run past the old cathedral as hundreds do every day. Never looking, never entering, and never acknowledging the presence of the once illustrious structure.

The ancient place of worship grows old with somber memories remembering a time when its walls sheltered many, echoing the sounds of life, a stark difference to the bleak silence that now withers its walls.

Inside the old edifice, a lone candle illuminates the altar, while its brothers throw their meager light into the darkness revealing a solitary figure. A young man clothed in white robes sits on the cold pew near the altar. The candles bathe him in soft light, highlighting his skin as he bends his head in prayer. Minutes pass and the boy remains in contemplative silence until his prayers for the night are complete. Lifting his head, Neji walks to the altar to pick up a silver candle snuffer with two fingers. He brings the metal cap down on top of the burning candle and extinguishes the flame.

From beyond the shadows something is watching him, but he can't see it in the darkness. He turns around and peers into the dark shadows of the cathedral. His pale eyes search every corner, every dark crevice for signs of the vampire. He knows he's not alone.

Neji had been coming to the cathedral late at night, slipping from his warm bed and traveling through dangerous streets in order to pray for his soul. His father had no idea of his nightly journey and no one ever visited the cathedral this late at night. Naively, he had believed his nightly journey would remain a secret, but that all changed about a year ago when a stranger stepped out of the shadows after his nightly prayers and revealed himself to him.

"Where are you?" Neji asked, breaking the silence for the first time. He gazed at the shadows beyond but saw no flickering movement, no figure in the shadows standing tall among the pews. He couldn't see anything in the dark, but he the vampire was there. He had always been there, even when he'd never even imagined his presence.

"Gaara." He voiced staunchly, even as his heart raced inside his ribcage.

A sound echoed in answer, and near the back of the cathedral a silent figure stepped out of the shadow of a column and into the cascading moonlight from above. Red burns into the young man's heart and his hands fist at his side, fingers digging into his palms. He forces himself to remain in place, even as the figure cocks his head at him. It can hear the frightened palpitations of his heart while he steels himself against him.

"Are you done stalling?" the figure breaks the silence, teal eyes watching in satisfaction as the shoulders of the would-be priest stiffen at his words.

"It's called prayer," Neji finds his own voice and fills it with heat. "Don't mock my faith!"

The creature steps forward and moves towards the altar. Neji felt his limbs go weak both from fright and anticipation. He stood his ground, keeping his eyes on the approaching figure before it stopped a foot in front of him.

"Do you know how long I've watched you?"

"I've been here an hour-" A hand on his lips cut him off, and Neji immediately pushed it away.

"I don't mean tonight." The figure corrected. It watched the boy take a quick step back while his heart slammed against his chest. He fixed his eyes on him, concentrating on keeping him within his view, hoping not to lose him most likely.

"You've been coming here for years, disturbing my dungeon."

"This is a house of worship, not a dungeon," the robed man found his voice, dipped in eyes flashing with conviction.

Gaara smiled. Studying the way those normally cold eyes flashed with conviction. "You're wrong. This is a dungeon," he continued, finding pleasure in the fire he cultivated in the young man every night. "If you don't believe me, ask your father. He know the history of this place."

Pale eyes seethed with anger he couldn't contain. Hiashi would know. He'd been the minister of this cathedral for years.

Gaara watched him with interest. "How long are you going to play this game with me?"

"You're delusional. I'm not playing anything with you," said stiffly.

"Aren't you?"

Neji turned his back to him. "No," he answered, and headed for the side-entrance. He was done with him.

"I don't think so," Gaara said from behind, his hand holding him hostage by the wrist.

"Let. Go."

When Gaara made no move to set him free, Neji pulled against the intrusion but even with all his strength he had no chance of freeing himself; yet knowing that he still struggled against the hold.

"Ask your father." Gaara let him go and Neji flew forward by his own momentum and was caught by the waist before he hit the stone floor. The boy instantly panicked and struggled against him.

"Don't touch me!" He kicked and shoved at the vampire until a thin layer of cold sweat broke out on his skin. Gaara set him loose within seconds and Neji barely managed to keep himself upright. The young man shot panicked eyes at the vampire whose gaze seemed colder than before. Neji tried to ignore it, tried to keep himself from feeling guilty toward the creature, but he wasn't a child of the church to so easily hurt another by his own actions.

"I'm sorry," he straightened himself to his full height, and tried to calm his jittering heart. "I panicked."

A year ago, when Gaara first revealed himself to him, the vampire had steadily begun to chip away at his convictions. Every encounter he had with him left an irreparable crack in his armor. He knew what he was, Gaara had told him that first night. Nosferatu. Yet, he came back anyways. He came back knowing what was watching, what was waiting in the shadows. At first, it was out of pure defiance. He would not be chased out of his own church by the very creatures his faith warned him about, nor be intimidated by their servants, but as time stretched on, Neji realized he was no longer coming solely for prayer, not even defiance. It took him a long time to come to terms with himself, to voice out loud what he could no longer deny. He came for Gaara.

The vampire frightened him, but he'd never made a move against him. Never tried to deceive him or keep him past his allotted time. He entered the cathedral knowing what lay in wait for him.

"Is that all you have to say?"

Neji flicked his eyes to him, unsure where Gaara was going with this. "What more do you want?"

Gaara stepped forward and Neji took a quick step back. "Stop running away from me."

Neji forced himself to stop and swallowed down the doubt that accosted him when Gaara reached for him. He squeezed his eyes shut when he touched his cheek and in a panic whispered: "Please don't turn me."


Teal eyes narrowed into slits, anger radiated from his touch. "Open your eyes."

Neji tried to turn his face away, closing his eyes more tightly, but Gaara would have none of it. He captured Neji's chin in hand and spoke again.
"Open your eyes," he repeated, adding a commanding tone to his voice, and very slowly Neji's eyes slipped open. Satisfied, Gaara released his grip on him.

"What exactly do you expect me to turn you into?" He looked down at him with coldness in his eyes.

"Nosferatu." Neji looked at him, eyes ablaze with his defiance. Whatever his motivations were for his nightly sojourn to the cathedral this he knew was not it. He would never let himself become what he was.

Gaara laughed; a hearty laugh that spilled from his lips as he regarded Neji with amusement.
"Do you think I have that power? That anyone does? Is this what they teach you in those Sunday classes?"

Neji stiffened at the jab and stood at his full height to better look down at him. "That's not what they teach us."

"Then where did you get this foolish notion from?" Gaara looked at him, unintimidated by the height difference. He cocked his head, an idea coming to fruition. "Your father?" he guessed.

Neji pulled back. "I'm going home."

"Why do you keep on coming here?" He tried another tactic. "You know I'm here. You know I'm watching. So, why? Aren't you frightened of me? Scared that I might turn you? You should have run away that first night but you didn't. I'm the very demon your faith warns you against."

Neji stilled. What could he say? He had no answer. Nothing to throw back at him.

"You should have stopped your nightly rituals but you return every night. What drives you here? Is it the thrill of it? Or, the need to see me?"

"I don't come here for you!" He spat, finally finding his voice.

His lips drew into a small smile at the haughty answer. The boy brewed a temper deep down. Years of training had covered it up behind proper etiquette befitting someone of his station but Gaara saw it, since that first night he'd seen it smoldering in the pit of his stomach just waiting for a spark to set it ablaze. Gaara liked being that spark.

"Aren't you supposed to offer to save my soul instead of snapping at me?" Gaara put in, finding amusement in the way the boys eyes sparkled to life at the jab.

"Do you remember the first time you came here at night?" he asked before he blew a fuse and really did leave like he'd threatened before. He didn't answer, not that Gaara expected him to, so he continued. "You were around four. You didn't know it then, but I watched you the entire time. You were in tears, sobbing on the steps before running inside to the altar."

Neji lost the heat in his eyes, and his brows creased in thought. He didn't remember that. Was he… lying?

"I was surprised to see, let alone the state you were in. I kept to the shadows, watched you as you curled yourself in a corner and began to cry anew. You couldn't hear my approach until I was standing in front of you. You looked at me, and-"

"I've never seen you before a year ago." Neji cut him off. In all the time, he'd known Gaara this was the first time he'd ever lied to him. What? Did he think he wouldn't catch it? Wouldn't know better? What kind of moron did he think he was?!


Gaara stared at him, his gaze back to a frigid tone. Neji didn't care. He would not tolerate lies.

"Why don't you ask your father about that too," he told him, his tone as cold as his eyes.

"I don't have any reason to bring something like that up."

"I have to go," Neji said instead, not promising either way, and moved toward the back entrance leaving Gaara behind.

The vampire watched him go, his temper seething just beneath his calm facade. He knew it. They had taken his memories. But who? The counsel? How had they known before him? His hands fisted at his sides and he screamed, the echo catching Neji off guard and causing him to jump. His heart slammed in his chest feeling as something pulled at his heart drawing him back to the cathedral. Frightened by the unwanted feeling, Neji hurried through the streets making his way back to his home.

Inside the stone structure Gaara forced himself to calm down. He chained his emotions to the dark crevice of his heart and disappeared from sight. He was outside within moments, his speed keeping him a mere blur to anyone who might catch sight of him. Gaara hurried through the streets until he came across Neji. He kept to the shadows and followed him home, deterring any would-be stragglers from his path like he'd done since he first entered the cathedral all those years ago.

Neji soon reached his home and Gaara watched him make the climb to the open window of his bedroom on the second floor. When he shut the window behind him to get ready for bed, Gaara left his perch instead of watching him like he had a habit of doing and returned back to the cathedral. Neji's twentieth birthday was soon approaching and Gaara had many preparations still to make.

Inside the old structure, Gaara walked to an alcove tucked away from view. The small niche had a statue of an angel, which Gaara reached behind until he found the interlocking mechanism at the base of the angel's back where its wings protruded from its back. A soft click was the only sound that traveled through the alcove before the statue was moved aside by a well oiled mechanism revealing a stairway leading down to a passage beyond. Gaara stepped down to the passage while the statue moved itself back into place.

Vampires could see perfectly well in the darkness, their eyes adapted to a different spectrum than humans which made moving through the maze of passages underneath the old cathedral easy enough to follow when you knew the map. The passage he followed now ended in front of a wall that looked like another dead when. Gaara slid a cinderblock from its place until a keyhole was revealed. He pulled the key from the chain around his neck and used it to unlock his resting place. He walked inside, the door sliding back into place behind him. Gaara could feel that morning was fast approaching and settled down in the dungeon meant to house him for a thousand years. He smiled. Or, so they had told him when his father had first locked him inside.

A/N: This is an old work of mine that I'm re-writing. The plot is the same but god I can't stand my old writing...