Warning: Cannibalism. And Diva getting wiped down like a baby. (In other words, gore and mild nudity, but I tried to make it as tasteful as possible. XD) This was based mostly on the Blood+ manga by Asuka Katsura, which has several differences from the animation canon.

The Tower

Today is a bath day. Diva knows it will be a bath day because she can hear the water slapping against the bucket as Amshel brings it up the stairs, slapslapslap, like a sloppy rhythm in a messy opera. She knows that he will be carrying towels on one arm, and some new chemise in the other, and that one hand will be clutching that funny bag with a comb and a nail file, a "grooming kit," he once called it, whiskery voice hot against her ear. "Because you're my queen, Diva, and all queens should be beautiful."

She remembers how this idea made her very happy, so much that she danced about singing the 'Queen Song' after he left. It took some effort to make up words, little as she knew of the royal creature Amshel believed her to be; in the end she decided to just stick to lalalas, while twirling her arms as regally as she could. Doing so was quite an exercise for Diva, but she kept at it for as long as the novelty lasted. If it wore off, she'd have been bored again, and hell knows how long those stretches of boredom last – forever and ever, sun up and sun down, doing nothing and seeing nothing until Saya's next visit or Amshel's next visit – or at least until a new carcass is brought in.

Feeding days are a lot of fun too, although they happen frequently enough that they are no longer special. Sometimes the body is very bruised and pulpy, full of thick purple scars, with the features all mushed up like an abstract painting – in cases like that, she can't have much fun with it, and simply starts to tear it apart in the places that are most likely to have blood left. If she's lucky, there will still be some in the limbs, or around the neck area; if she isn't, then she has to strip the skin off section by section to look for veins that still have a tinge of red.

It's a lot more fun when the food is of better quality. She is especially pleased when the face is still intact, usually with the eyes turned glossy white, and the mouth sagging in a most unflattering way. She cradles that face and plants kisses all over it, pretending to be its lover, or mother, or daughter, whichever she feels like at the moment; and then, when she is too hungry to resist, she rips the body apart with both hands and greedily devours it whole. It's usually a boy; girls are in themselves a treat, so she is extra careful when she takes them apart, the way she is with her dolls. (She owns two. Both are bald and patchy by now, and she thinks she might not want them anymore, but they do provide another diversion.)

Of course, the blood is never quite so fresh, nothing at all like the thick red juice that spilled out from Amshel that one time she bit him; and more than once she has tasted rot in the corpses they give her. She knows this is because they are leftovers – leftovers from Saya-neesama, who always gets the best parts, without even knowing where they are from. It seems a bit cruel, but amusing just the same. Oftentimes Diva has thought of telling her about it, but it usually seems so...inconsequential, and not as fun as other topics; she always ends up forgetting to mention it when Saya actually visits.

The last meal was another boy – bo-ring – younger than the usual, this time, and pretty much just a sack of flesh by the time she received him. It is his bone she licks now, listening in anticipation as the slapslap of water comes closer. Food has been more scarce, lately, and she notices that they have been whacking the bodies for all they're worth a bit more than usual; she was so hungry she even tried eyeballs this last meal. It was to her delight that they were delicious – gooey and chewy and full of tasty veins.

She hears two heavy knocks on the hardwood door, and giggles into her palms at the formality. He doesn't have to, after all. He's got a key.

"Diva," he bellows. (Bellow is a pretty word. She decided long ago that Amshel was always bellowing – gently or thunderously, like a bell, in his low voice, heeheehee.) "My queen. I'm coming in, all right? It's time for your bath."

She scurries away to the farthest side of the room, where the ivy has grown thickest, and stifles another giggle. It never works, but she likes to play this game anyway. It makes his stay longer, at the very least. She hears the k-click of the key turning the lock, then the anguished moan of the door as it swishes open, wiping out a path of dust in a quarter-circle. She tucks herself into the corner of the wall, against the shadows, ignoring the cobwebs that cling to her hair and skin. Slap. She sees his silhouette, outlined in the setting sun leaking from the window, and the open door; that would be him setting his bucket down, and letting his eyes adjust to the murky gray of their surroundings.

The shadow of his head turns left, then right. She curls herself up tighter, swatting the spider that scuttles across her chest. "Oh, playing hide and seek, are we? Well, then." She holds her breath as he walks into the room, until she can see Amshel – her dear Amshel, fatherloverslave, in his maroon suit, with his thick lashes and stiffly pulled-back hair. Amshel is not handsome, but he is certainly regal, and she can't help but think that he would do nicely for a king, if she ever felt so inclined to share her throne. He sidesteps the festering remnants of her last meal, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. There's a moth-eaten piece of cloth fluttering against the opposite wall – sometimes she uses it as a blanket, but mostly she uses it to make-believe various things; a beautiful dress, a stage for her to stand on, a baby bundle to be bounced in her arms.

Amshel draws near the cloth, and makes a great display of smiling and tossing his head, as if he has won; then he pulls it aside dramatically, revealing the blank brick wall. "Gotcha! – Oh? I was nearly certain you'd be there..." He pauses for another moment, tapping a finger to his lips. Diva rolls her eyes, suddenly bored with the game. It's no fun when he's trying so hard to please her.

"I'm here, Amshel." She stands up from her corner, patting herself so that dust erupts around her in tiny clouds.

"Weren't you hiding?" he says, smiling generously, although there is something like upset in his eyes. At least he knows he's done something wrong; the game doesn't usually end so quickly. She shrugs, smug in her self-knowledge, and comes toward him with a generous smile of her own.

"I wasn't hiding. You're just blind." She offers up a hand to him. He stoops and presses the cold white flesh against his lips, so that the hairs around his mouth prickle her skin. Then he straightens up, and, graciously ignoring the insult, walks to the door and pushes it closed. He picks up the water bucket again, and brings it over to where she stands, already twisting out of her thin cotton smock – it must have been white, long ago, but after all the dust and dirt and blood, it has turned the color of mud.

He drapes a towel over one shoulder and gets to work, dipping a washcloth in the water and scrubbing her shoulder blades, rubbing so that the cracked blood softens up and gets wiped off. "I was thinking, Amshel, about the food," she begins, while he wipes down her backside, section by section. "I mean. It's been getting less lately, hasn't it?"

He wrings out the washcloth, then submerges it in the bucket once more. "I'm sorry, my queen," he intones heavily. "It's been getting harder to find outsiders who will serve that purpose. Worse, still, Joel thinks he might have found a real friend for Saya at last." The water turns icy on her skin, as he starts on the backs of her knees.

"A real friend for Saya-neesama?" The words taste so ugly in her mouth, she has to spit to get them out. She notices her own panic, and tries to diffuse it by laughing. "What a stupid idea Joel has. She'll tire of him in no time. I'll be eating his liver for dinner by next week." Amshel rubs around her ankles with practiced care, and says nothing. She turns so that he can start on her feet, and he promptly starts scrubbing between her toes, where the blood and dirt is thickly clotted. The washcloth has turned gray and crimson-mottled. He'll have to start using the next one soon.

"Amshel? Did you hear me? I want to eat his liver."

She watches his face scrunch up as he changes the washcloth and rubs on her calves. "Well, you might have a chance to. He and Saya aren't exactly getting along, but Joel forces them to spend an awful lot of time with each other." For a moment, her fists curl up and, she knows her face goes really really ugly, wrinkled and splotchy with rage – then the moment passes, and she finds herself smiling. He studies her face carefully as he wipes away the spider squished on her breast.

"That will only make him taste sweeter when I rip him up, then."

He looks up at her in what she takes to be admiration, and nods. He takes out another washcloth, only wets it the slightest bit, then dabs it around her face, and he is nearly done. "Bucket, bucket, bucket," she starts to sing, swaying from side to side. "Come on, Amshel, let's do the bucket."

"As you wish, my queen." He hefts up what remains of the water, and she squeezes her eyes shut and hugs herself, squealing with delight as the cold water rains down on her in splashy sheets. The dust around them clears away, dribbling through the stone flooring and spreading around the room. She peels back the wet bangs from over her eyes, as her fatherslave and loverson starts rubbing her dry with a towel. "Did you think up any new songs while I was away?"

"Lots and lots and lots." She shakes her head so that the wet hair slaps her cheeks. "I make up five hundred thousand every day, because I'm so bored. When do you think I'll be able to go outside, Amshel?"

"I'm praying that it will be soon, Diva." He holds out the new smock, and she lifts up her arms so that he can slip it over her head. "And now, won't you sing for me?"

She does. She sings one song as he combs through her hair, carefully loosening all the knots, despite the commendable length; she sings another, an aria with complicated trills, while he files her nails to a razor point (because all that digging and shredding does cause breakage, once in a while). She sings the 'Queen Song' while he stands and packs up the bath things, although she doesn't tell him it's the queen song because she'd hate for him to think that his words were special, in any way; and then, as he stands to leave and plants another kiss on her hand, she sings the goodbye song. She sings as hard as she can and as beautifully as she can, the week's rehearsals coming to fruition at last.

"Bravo, my queen. I'll see you again soon." He offers her another smile, and then he walks through the doorway. The old wood and metal gives another wail as it swings shut, and there's the telltale kclick as the key turns in its lock. She hears his footsteps echoing down the hall, and then bouncing off every step, while she studies the imprints his shiny shoes have made in the wet dust, outlined by the premature moonlight.

The room is suddenly unbearably cold; she's freezing in her new dress, with its thin straps and translucent material. The floor is like ice where the water has hit it, so she has to go on tiptoe while she crosses the room to her blanket. Amshel took away the remnants of her meal, slopping it into his bucket, so there isn't much else in the room besides herself. She digs out her two dolls from the corner where blue buds have started to spring up in earnest, and sings a lullaby to them while she prepares herself for sleep.

Tomorrow she'll have to think up several new games.

She peers out the window, and its steel bars, taking in the navy sky and the big silver moon, the endless grounds spread out beneath her, the lake, the places where trimmed grass eventually meets with rocky cliffs and overgrown meadows. Joel's zoo. Her prison. Someday she'll walk that ground on a path of blood, hand in hand with Amshel and Saya, and together they will have the loveliest picnic ever.

A/N: I didn't think I'd do another Diva piece after 'Demeter on the Rocks,' but here I am again with her whirlwind voice (I think she's more calm, at least in this one). I had great fun writing it. :D Thank you for reading. Comments would be greatly appreciated.