Disclaimer: Tenipuri does not belong to me. This fic was written purely for enjoyment, and in no way have I profited from it.
Rating: T for blood, violence and adult themes.
Author's Note: I normally detest vampire stories, for the record. But alas, there was sort of an unofficial vampire AU festival over on LJ, so I wrote this one. In three parts. Second part will be posted tomorrow.
The streets were cold and quiet. The only sign of life was the occasional pedestrian shuffling past with their eyes firmly fixed on the damp pavement. A lone streetlamp flickered and buzzed, struggling for life before winking out. The alley was plunged into darkness. Tezuka pulled his jacket a little closer around himself, and wished his footsteps wouldn't echo so loudly off the concrete.
A pebble skittered across the path. His gait slowed briefly, but no one stepped out onto the street. A cat, perhaps? It was hard to see – even the stores had shut off their lights for the evening. The trains had stopped running, and Tezuka hadn't heard the hum of a car engine for several minutes. It really was the graveyard shift.
He picked up his pace again, eager to escape the bite of cold night air. Fatigue tugged at his muscles, but he ignored it. It had been a long day, and he was only a few more blocks from home.
A breath of air ghosted over the back of his neck, causing the flesh to prickle. Tezuka stopped and turned abruptly, eyes straining the darkness.
Nothing. Was he just being paranoid?
The night air was eerily still – even the crickets were silent - and the shadows casts by the few stuttering streetlights were long and distorted. Tezuka shivered, heart racing. He suddenly desperately wanted to be home, safely ensconced in his warm, bright apartment.
Casting one last glance into the shadows – was it just his imagination after all? – Tezuka turned back around, intent on hurrying home, but bumped into something solid instead.
He caught only a glimpse of golden eyes and white fangs before his world collapsed into darkness.
Consciousness was a slippery thing. Once or twice Tezuka wandered near it, brought there by unfamiliar sounds. He had the oddest sensation of being dragged, but the pounding in his head made it difficult to care or consider why.
It wasn't until a sharp pain blossomed in his right wrist that he was jerked to full awareness. His eyes snapped open and darted wildly across the room. His vision spun crazily, and seemed incredibly out of focus. It took a minute to realise that his glasses were skew, distorting his sight in strange ways.
His wrist throbbed faintly, drawing his attention to it. Now that he was awake, he was aware of a moist, stroking sensation at the source of the pain, and cold fingers clutching his elbow and hand. His gaze wandered to his arm, but a head of green-black hair blocked his vision.
Tezuka cleared his throat. "Hello?" Why was his head still pounding? And where on earth was he? It appeared to be a bedroom of some description, but it was in no house that he recognised. It looked to be in rather poor repair, with a thick layer of dust coating everything and cobwebs decorating the corners.
No response. "Hello?" he tried again, a little more insistently this time. "Where am I?"
The head tilted slightly – just enough for a single golden eye to stare at him. The stranger seemed to disregard him a moment later, returning to his preoccupation.
Tezuka jerked on his arm a little, but pale fingers kept a fiercely tight grip on it. "Who are you? What are you doing?" he demanded. The stranger continued to ignore him. Frowning, Tezuka raised his free hand to the top of his head, feeling for the source of the throbbing. His fingers slid across a small lump.
In that instant, he recalled the last sight he'd seen before falling unconscious. Golden eyes. White fangs. He'd been attacked!
Apprehension growing, Tezuka tugged harder on his arm. The grip did not slacken, but it was enough to move the stranger so that he could see. A pink tongue darted out again, lapping at his wrist. The source of the stroking sensation, he realised. Rivulets of blood trickled down his fingers. The man was licking them up, coarse tongue darting across his skin hungrily.
A hundred horror stories and fantasy novels leapt through his head in a matter of seconds. Vampire!
Summoning a strength he didn't know he possessed, Tezuka wrenched his arm free, throwing the stranger away. He scrambled backwards, cradling the wounded wrist to his chest while his eyes searched wildly for a door. The stranger clambered back to his feet, and lurched towards him. "Stay back!" Tezuka barked.
Surprisingly, the forward lurch halted. Tezuka eyed the man warily, and realised that he was actually more of a boy – he looked to still be a teenager, probably only a couple of years younger than him. He was deathly pale, and obviously hadn't seen sunlight for some time. His golden eyes reminded Tezuka faintly of a cat with the way they seemed to glow in the darkness. The thing that most captivated his attention, however, was a pair of gleaming white fangs.
Tezuka thought he might slide into shock at any moment. Vampires really did exist. He'd reacted instinctively, but confronted with the very real notion of a horror story come to life, fear started to curl in his stomach. His eyes finally located the door, and he silently cursed when he realised the vampire was quite effectively blocking his path to it.
The vampire, for his part, was busy staring at the blood dripping from his wrist to the floor. "You're wasting it." He took a step forward.
"Stay back!" Tezuka repeated.
The pair of sneakers stopped again. Tezuka spared a moment to be perplexed at the thought of a vampire wearing sneakers.
The vampire regarded him at length, appearing disgruntled. "Fine. I'll come back later." He looked annoyed as he stomped through the door.
"Wait-!" Tezuka started when the door slammed shut. The click of a lock echoed through the dusty room.
Alarmed, he ran to it and tried the doorknob anyway, but it held securely. Eyes straining in the dim light, he spied a window, but it was boarded up. He tugged at the boards with his left hand, but only succeeded in gaining a few splinters. No escape that way.
A chill swept through him. He was trapped. The vampire had kidnapped him.
Tezuka lost count of how many hours he sat in the musty room for – he'd fallen into an uneasy sleep at some point, so had no idea whether his watch was reading a.m. or p.m. anymore. The window was boarded so securely no light crept through the cracks. It made sense – a vampire wouldn't want sunlight getting into his abode. Opening the cupboards, he found some old moth-eaten blankets, but hadn't wanted to risk wrapping the wound on his wrist with something potentially unclean. He wound up ripping off part of a sleeve from his shirt to staunch the bleeding.
It was actually quite a shallow cut, he discovered – with only a little pressure the bleeding stopped quite quickly, and he was able to discard of the makeshift bandage without concern. It was a trifle, really, and hardly the worst of his discomforts. Tezuka was growing quite thirsty, and felt the rumble of hunger in his stomach starting to grow more insistent.
A vampire. That thought wouldn't stop whirling in his head. A hundred questions plagued him. What should he do? He needed a weapon. But there wasn't anything in the room that he could use. Were vampires weak to silver, or was that werewolves? The only way to actually kill them was with a wooden stake to the heart, wasn't it? Sunlight and holy water could weaken them, but Tezuka had access to neither. For that matter, he couldn't be entirely certain that the vampires of fiction would match with reality at all. If the boarded windows were any indication, though, at least the sunlight theory was probably true.
His attention was caught by a sound outside of the door. Footsteps. He tensed, but didn't move from his position in the corner of the room. The lock on the door clicked, and it creaked open slowly. A head of green-black head poked into the room. When the vampire saw Tezuka sitting in the corner, he relaxed a little, and entered the rest of the way, kicking the door shut behind him. Tezuka was a little surprised to see that he was carrying a tray, with food and a jug of water on it.
The vampire set down the tray, and took several steps away. When Tezuka didn't move, he folded his arms and demanded, "Aren't you hungry?"
Tezuka eyed the tray distrustfully. There was a bowl of soggy-looking rice accompanying a plate featuring an assortment of vegetables and what looked to be microwaved fish sticks.
The vampire glared at him. "I went to a lot of trouble to arrange that for you. You'd better eat it."
It didn't look very tasty, but Tezuka was rather hungry and didn't particularly want to anger his captor. Cautiously, he dragged the tray over to him, and drank thirstily from the jug – no glass had been provided. Once the cool liquid had soothed his parched throat, he turned his attention to the lacklustre meal in front of him. At least the fish sticks were still warm.
He ate quickly, conscious of the heavy golden gaze resting on him like an invisible blanket. Every time he risked a glance, the vampire was staring at him with a bored expression of his face.
When his plate had been cleaned, he pushed it away and turned to face the room's other occupant. The vampire's eyes brightened and he stood, making his way over to him.
"What now?' Tezuka asked warily, scooting backwards a little.
"Now it's my turn." Pale, slender fingers reached out and snatched his injured wrist. A thin switchblade appeared above it.
Tezuka tugged on his arm frantically, but the vampire growled deep in his throat and he ceased his efforts. "What are you-"
"It's only fair!" the boy snapped, deftly slicing the blade through his skin and reopening the wound. Tezuka barely contained a wince. "You ate, so I should too." The vampire brought his wrist to his mouth as the dark red liquid bubbled forth, and started sucking on the wound.
Tezuka didn't dare move. The vampire had closed his eyes, and wore an almost blissful expression on his face. It wasn't an unpleasant sensation – the wound only stung a little, and the press of lips and tongue against his skin was distraction enough to ignore any pain. He forced himself to remain calm despite the terror coursing through him. Was the vampire planning to keep him around as a steady source of food? It certainly seemed that way.
They sat like that for some time – Tezuka too terrified to move and the vampire completely absorbed in the blood dripping from his wrist. He tried to occupy himself by observing his captor, but there really wasn't a whole lot to observe. Aside from the pale skin, golden eyes and fangs, the vampire resembled any other teenager. He wore ordinary clothes, ordinary shoes, and sported an ordinary haircut. He was not at all similar to the vampires of legend, with their long hair and flowing capes and aristocratic features.
Eventually, just as Tezuka started to feel a little light-headed, the vampire drew back with a frown. "Hn. The blood clotted." Golden eyes darted to Tezuka, seeming to assess him. "S'pose I shouldn't take anymore today anyway." He gazed somewhat longingly at the wrist again, but let it drop.
He stood to leave, but Tezuka still had too many questions. "Why am I here?"
The vampire turned back to face him, raising an eyebrow. "Isn't it obvious?"
"You expect me to just sit here and be your food?" Tezuka asked coldly.
Eyes narrowed, he replied, "I have to eat too." The question appeared to upset him, and for a second Tezuka wondered if he'd been too bold, but after a moment the vampire's expression cooled again. He glanced around the room appraisingly. "I guess it would be a little boring. I'll bring you some books later." The matter apparently closed, he started back towards the door again.
"I was under the impression that when you drank a human's blood without killing them, they turned into a vampire too," Tezuka murmured.
The vampire halted once more and folded his arms with a scowl. "Only if you sink in the fangs. I drank from your wrist. I don't want to have some newborn to look after." His voice wavered a little at that, which made Tezuka curious. Had he turned another vampire before that caused trouble?
Still, that made sense. If this vampire needed to capture him for a steady source of blood, turning him would defeat the whole point. It would just be two sets of fangs to feed instead of one. That gave him a chance, at least. He doubted that his captor would just let him go, but if he was going to keep him alive then there remained the possibility of escape.
"Are there others like you?"
Another scowl. "Of course there are."
"How do they survive? Do they all do this?" Surely there weren't that many missing people in the world.
The vampire was starting to look uncomfortable. How odd. "I don't know."
"You don't – do you communicate with any others at all?" he guessed.
A careless shrug. "Is that all you have to ask?"
Not by a long shot. "Why me?"
"No special reason. You looked healthy, and were alone on the streets at night. Just your bad luck. Now if you'll excuse me…"
"What is it now?" the vampire snapped impatiently.
"My name is Tezuka." Maybe if he treated this like a hostage situation… was it even possible to get a vampire to care about whether he had friends and family that would miss him, though?
"So?" Probably not. He seemed the callous type.
"So what do I call you?"
The vampire paused for quite a long time, and then heaved a suffering sigh. "…Ryoma." He abruptly turned on his heel and left the room. The clicking lock reverberated loudly in the sudden silence.
"Ryoma," Tezuka repeated out loud, testing the word. At least his captor had a name now.
Five hours later, the door was flung open by an irate vampire. "What?! Stop making such a racket!" From his dishevelled state, Tezuka guessed that Ryoma must have been asleep.
"I need to go to the bathroom," Tezuka stated plainly.
Shoulders slumping, Ryoma opened the door a little wider in invitation. "Don't even think of trying to escape."
Tezuka didn't think he'd have a chance – not right then, anyway. But his captor would slip up eventually. He was patient. He could bide his time and wait for the right moment.
Walking through the hallway towards the bathroom, it appeared that the rest of the house was a little better kept than the room he'd awoken in – the worst of the dust and cobwebs were cleared away – but it was still sparsely furnished. He didn't get much of a chance to look, as Ryoma was pointing him to the bathroom.
The window in the bathroom was boarded up too. Tezuka took his time, taking stock of his appearance in the mirror. Was the myth about vampires not reflecting true? Maybe later he'd get the chance to ask.
While a yawning Ryoma escorted him back to his room, he tentatively asked, "Could I at least get a pillow? It's hard to sleep on the floor."
The vampire's face twisted into an expression of distaste, and he shoved him back into the room. The door closed and the lock clicked. He supposed that was a 'no'.
To his surprise, though, not a minute later the door swung open again, and a pillow was thrown inside.
"Thank you," Tezuka called as the door shut abruptly, mostly as a reflex courtesy.
There was no response. Tezuka hadn't expected one.
Over the next couple of days, Tezuka fell into something of an odd routine. Ryoma would let him out to use the bathroom and shower twice a day, and usually turned up sometime around eight o'clock and four o'clock with food – though he had no idea whether that it was during day or night.
Naturally whenever Tezuka ate Ryoma would too. "You can't keep re-opening that cut. It will get infected," Tezuka pointed out.
Ryoma growled deep in his throat. Tezuka resisted the urge to recoil at the slightly feral look in his eyes. "What do you propose I do, then?"
"Try somewhere else."
"The shoulder or something. Don't vampires usually drink from people's necks?" Tezuka didn't really like the idea of having a blade anywhere near his throat, but he also wasn't fond of having the same wound reopened every day. It had started to throb recently.
"I might cut an artery or something," Ryoma protested, looking unsure. "The wrist is the best."
For a vampire, he didn't seem to have a lot of ideas about how to draw blood. "At least somewhere else on the arm. Give it a chance to heal."
"Fine, the elbow then." Ryoma hesitated, then grit his teeth and swept the blade across his elbow. It hurt, but Tezuka was used to it by now. He leaned his head back against the wall and stared at the ceiling as the vampire crouched next to him, sucking at his elbow and lapping up the trails of blood that escaped. At least he was relatively gentle.
"Hey," he said when he started to feel a little dizzy. Ryoma reluctantly stopped drinking and rolled out a bandage. He obviously procured them from somewhere after Tezuka pointed out his need for them. The vampire didn't seem terribly interested in making him comfortable – so far all his little room had gained was some newer blankets, a few sets of fresh clothes and a modest pile of books – but at least he had a vested interested in his continued good health.
Ryoma didn't leave immediately after feeding anymore – he started to linger longer and longer, often just sitting there quietly. Tezuka was just guessing, but he was probably the only company the vampire had. Did vampires get lonely? In any case, he took advantage of it wherever possible. There were mysteries to be solved, and weakness to be found so that he could escape. The company had the added benefit of dulling his boredom, too.
Conversations with Ryoma were a strange beast to control, though. The vampire was perhaps even less talkative than he himself, and the strangest topics could prompt him to leave the room without a word. Tezuka often spoke about his work or his colleagues, hoping that he could perhaps gain Ryoma's sympathy and earn his freedom. The vampire was rather keen to hear about a number of things about the outside world, but often grew depressed over the topic and would leave. Did he perhaps miss normal life? How old was he, anyway?
"Do you have any hobbies?" Tezuka asked. Admittedly he sometimes stayed with safe topics just to keep Ryoma there longer. Tezuka wasn't sure if vampires got lonely, but was forced to admit that the lack of human contact was getting to him. He'd never been a terribly social individual, but was finding himself missing the presence of his work colleagues all the same.
Was anyone looking for him? It was probable that his colleagues would be suspicious at his abrupt absence – Oishi at the very least was probably worrying himself sick imagining all sorts of horrid fates that might have befallen him. Somehow he doubted that his friend would consider this scenario, though. And even if the police were looking for him, Tezuka didn't like his chances of being found. Being abducted in the dead of the night with no witnesses by a mythical creature wouldn't leave much of a trail for anyone to follow.
A pair of green-black eyebrows furrowed at the question. "Hobbies… not really."
"Video games, maybe? But I haven't played for a while." It was a weird choice, but Tezuka supposed it made sense. It was the sort of hobby that could be performed indoors. "What about you?"
"Reading. Mountain climbing. Fishing." Tezuka closed his eyes, imagining the sensation of a fresh breeze on his skin and warm sunlight on his face. In this surreal situation, it was hard to imagine ever experiencing those sensations again. "Have you ever been fishing?"
The vampire frowned. Right, sunlight. Of course not. "Che, fishing sounds boring anyway."
"I suppose you'd be more interested in catching humans than fish," Tezuka remarked, mildly amused.
"Hn. A fish might be less work to keep."
Were all vampires this lazy, or had Tezuka just been unlucky? "You've hardly gone out of your way to make me comfortable. I don't even have a bed."
"And a fish wouldn't complain."
"A fish would only feed you for a day, but I'm an ongoing food supply," Tezuka pointed out, then paused at how morbid his sense of his humour was becoming. Apparently having a vampire sucking on your wrist every day could do that to you.
"True. A fish wouldn't taste as good." This last part was added in a purr. It sent shivers down Tezuka's spine that were decidedly not based on fear.
"To think my new career is drink dispensing," he remarked dryly. "I've certainly fallen far."
Ryoma frowned. "Hey, it's more useful than… what did you say you were doing?"
"Right. Architecture. What were you building?"
"I'm still just a junior; I'm only allowed to do basic floor plans. My company has been designing hospitals."
"Hospitals," Ryoma mused, then flashed a fanged grin at him. "Feeding me is still more important."
Selfish brat. Tezuka couldn't summon the energy to care. "It's not like I have much of a choice, right?"
The vampire frowned, standing abruptly. "Do you need more books yet?"
"That would be nice," Tezuka ventured hesitantly.
A sigh. "A fish wouldn't read so fast."
The next day, Ryoma left a pile of books on mountain climbing, fishing and architecture behind after feeding. Tezuka had already read half of them, but appreciated the gesture all the same.
"What do you want this time?" Ryoma asked with a suffering sigh, eyeing the small tower of books distastefully.
Tezuka pursed his lips in thought. "How about books on vampires?"
"Books? There are books on vampires?" Ryoma asked, suddenly interested.
Frowning, Tezuka answered, "I don't see why not. They'd probably be in the fiction or fantasy section, but given that vampires actually exist there are bound to be lots of useful books on them."
Ryoma hummed at that, looking thoughtful, then wary. "You're not trying to find some way to kill me, are you?"
It was in the back of his mind. Tezuka gestured around the room. "Do you really think I'd be able to find something to kill you with in here?"
"Then why are you interested?"
"If I'm to become a food source, I'd like to know what I'm feeding. And maybe we can find a more effective way for you to drink blood," he remarked wryly, holding up his bandaged right arm.
Ryoma nodded. "Okay." He seemed excited, muttering under his breath. "Books, books, why didn't I think of books?"
It must have only been hours later when he shouldered open the door carrying a pile of books with him. He dumped them on the ground with a thud. Tezuka thought his eyes might fall out of his head. "So many?"
"I don't know if they're any good," Ryoma muttered. He picked the first couple up off the top of the pile, fangs worrying his bottom lip. Tezuka was oddly fascinated by the habit, and wondered if the vampire ever accidentally bit through his own tongue. Those teeth looked frightfully sharp, and gleamed even in the dull light. Did vampires use toothpaste? Ryoma discarded the books back on to the pile, breaking his train of thought. "I just grabbed anything that might be related. Half of them look like novels."
Tezuka turned his attention to the pile of literature. "How do you get all these books, anyway?"
"There's a bookstore nearby that stays open until midnight."
That was somewhat less exotic than the image he had conjured of Ryoma breaking into and prowling around a dark library in the moonlight. Tezuka gingerly picked up the book at the top of the pile – Brad Stoker's Dracula. He'd already read it once years ago, but maybe in light of his current situation a revisit was in order. He shuffled through a few more books, picking out the reference-type ones and setting those aside to read first.
Ryoma was nodding, looking pleased. "Tell me about them later." With that pronouncement, he whisked back out the door. Tezuka blinked. Was he going to be tested on it?
Maybe Ryoma just wanted to have a laugh at the authors getting all the details wrong. He seemed the type. Still, giving his prisoner books on vampires? It struck him as a little foolish. Tezuka only suggested it as a long shot. He certainly hadn't expected to be overloaded with a pile of books on the subject.
Ryoma was the weirdest vampire he'd ever met. He was the only vampire Tezuka had ever met, but he suspected it wouldn't make a difference.
Tezuka opened the first book with a heavy sigh. This was going to take hours. Fortunately, he had all the spare time in the world.
"The only universal constant I've found so far is that vampires have a weakness to sunlight. Although several texts suggested that the older the vampire the weaker the effect would be."
Ryoma nodded. "Good, good, what else?" He peered over his shoulder. Tezuka tried not to flinch at the breath of warm air on his neck. It was hard to relax whenever those gleaming white fangs wandered near his throat.
"About half said that holy water and crosses were effective, and half of those said they only worked if the vampire himself was religious. Several suggested that garlic was an effective ward."
That seemed to amuse Ryoma. He'd given Tezuka microwaved garlic bread as part of his meal the night before. "Heh. The smell would drive anyone away."
"There were a few that suggested vampires could turn into mist or bats." He cast a curious glance at his captor, seeking confirmation. All he received was a raised eyebrow in response. "The only universal way of identifying vampires appeared to be by a lack of reflection."
"Rubbish. I see my reflection in the mirror every day," Ryoma dismissed. "Did you find anything out about feeding?"
Tezuka shook his head. "The vast majority used the fangs in the neck method. It always resulted in either turning or death." Ryoma scowled. Tezuka closed the reference book on his lap with a thump. "That's all I have so far." There had been a little more than that, but none of it seemed relevant.
"What about all these?" Ryoma asked, waving a hand at a pile of novels.
Tezuka coughed, feeling his face grow warm. "Those are, um, romance novels. I read them just in case, but I don't think that there was anything useful in there."
His own discomfort eased some when he noticed the vampire's pale cheeks colour slightly. It had been difficult to sleep after reading some rather erotic vampire tales. Most of it was just trash fiction, but the vivid imagery still left Tezuka feeling slightly uncomfortable that day when Ryoma sucked on the ends of his fingertips to catch the blood dripping from them. He'd successfully ignored the vampire's rather… intimate… way of feeding until now, but with those stories still fresh in his mind…
"If you're so curious about literature of your kind, why don't you read all these yourself?" he asked.
Ryoma stood and stretched, letting out a yawn. With his golden eyes and fangs, he really did resemble a sleepy cat right then. "It'd take too long to get through all that. You can do it."
Tezuka thought he might have to write his own book on vampires at this rate. Maybe next time he would ask his captor for some paper and pens. He already had the first sentence planned: Vampires are exceptionally lazy.
Tezuka bounced the back of his head repeatedly against the wall. Ryoma glared at him. "Stop that."
Sighing, Tezuka turned his head away. He just couldn't bring himself to make conversation today. The walls felt like they were closing in.
"Do you need any more books?"
He shook his head.
Ryoma leant against him, trailing a finger up and down his arm. It tickled faintly. The amusement was lost when he realised that the vampire was probably tracing the path of his veins.
How long had he been trapped in this house for?
Tezuka remained carefully still as Ryoma's tongue ran down his arm, collecting up a thin trail of blood that had leaked past his lips. They were using the shoulder this time, and while it was a little too close to the neck for Tezuka's peace of mind, it didn't sting every time he moved it the way his wrist and elbow did.
Ryoma sat back with a satisfied sigh, running a pink tongue carefully over his lips to collect any missing drops of crimson, then quickly wrapped a bandage around the wound. Tezuka had noticed that the vampire hated seeing any blood get wasted.
"Did you find anything more in the books?"
"Nothing interesting." He tested the bandage, but it held securely. Ryoma was getting rather good at it.
"Hmm. I could try and find more."
"I would need to get into a library," Tezuka pointed out. "No bookstore is going to have a range larger than this."
The vampire grimaced. "There are no libraries within walking distance that open late enough."
"I could go," Tezuka offered.
He was instantly pinned by the full force of a golden glare. "You'd leave." It wasn't a question.
Tezuka sighed. "Escort me if you must, but at least let me outside." He was craving a change of scenery. The same plain hardwood walls, boarded window and plaster ceiling was slowly driving him insane. His desperation to escape had been growing lately, but Ryoma never completely let his guard down – not even when feeding.
The vampire just shook his head firmly. "You stay here. You'll try something if we go outside."
The past few conversations had gone quite well, so Tezuka was feeling bold. "Are you going to keep me here forever?" he asked abruptly.
Ryoma's expression grew guarded, and he remained stonily silent.
"I've been missing for what… weeks now? I can't keep living like this forever. It's wrong to keep me here."
"What are you suggesting I should do? Let you go?" His voice was cold.
"You'll bring people to kill me."
It would be the responsible thing to do, but admitting it would hardly help his cause. "I doubt anyone would believe me."
"What am I supposed to do?" Ryoma snarled, standing. His hands were shaking.
Tezuka didn't have an answer for that, but sought to placate the vampire. "Maybe… does it have to be humans? Could you drink animal's blood?"
Pale hands clenched into fists. "I've tried it. I subsisted off animal blood for as long as I could. But it's not enough." A sort of desperate hunger was growing in those golden eyes. "It's like… it's like sucking on fruit to get water, instead of drinking it from a tap. It'll keep you from dying of thirst, but only barely."
It certainly sounded unpleasant. "Maybe from a hospital…"
"Steal it?" Ryoma sounded close to hysterical. "Oh, that'll go well. You think I haven't thought of that before?"
"Forget it," Ryoma snapped, whirling and heading to the door.
Tezuka was becoming desperate. It was foolish, but he honestly didn't know how much longer he could handle being cooped up in that room with his blood being drained away just as fast as his body could replenish it. On impulse, he leapt to his feet and lunged for the vampire.
Their bodies connected with a loud thump and they tumbled to the floor. Ryoma let out a strangled gasp of surprise, half twisting around to try and push him off. Tezuka caught one of his hands, pinning it to the ground easily. Ryoma's other hand held the switchblade, but he hesitated, uncertainty stealing across his expression. The hesitation gave Tezuka opening enough to pry it from his grasp. Fingers fumbling with the knife, he pressed it against the vampire's neck. Ryoma stilled.
Was it really that easy? He didn't think he could actually kill a vampire with a switchblade – especially not one the vampire himself handled all the time – but he was a little in awe over how easy it had been to win that brief skirmish. Weren't vampires supposed to be ridiculously strong? He had rather easily overpowered his captor. He hadn't struggled sooner because of that very assumption, but Ryoma could barely match him; even now he was visibly straining against his hold, but Tezuka managed to keep him pinned without too much effort.
It would be stupid to look a gift horse in the mouth. He jerked them up into a standing position, keeping the steel pressed against the vampire's neck with one hand. Tezuka wrapped his other arm securely against Ryoma's body in a tight hug, pinning the vampire's arms against his sides. It was fortunate that the boy was so thin and at least a head shorter than him – any larger and he might have been able to break free.
The tables had turned. Trying to remain calm and keep his breathing steady, Tezuka walked them to the door. Ryoma hissed. "You're going to leave," he repeated.
"Yes," he replied evenly. "You've kept me here long enough."
"How will I drink?" The vampire's voice was thin and slightly panicked.
"I'm sure you'll figure something out." Ryoma squirmed slightly in his grasp, and Tezuka tightened his hold. He walked them steadily through the house, searching for an exit. He shouldered open the doors to several rooms, but they were all as empty as the one he came from, aside from the master bedroom that contained a suitcase and several boxes.
Finally, he spied a heavy door near what looked like a foyer. He started making his way towards that.
Ryoma started scrabbling frantically as they grew near, apparently uncaring about the blade at his throat. Tezuka dropped the knife, startled by the blood suddenly coating his hand. "No! Not outside!"
It must be daytime. Indeed, he thought he could spy the tiniest sliver of light peeking out underneath the door.
The smart thing to do would be to throw the vampire into the sunlight and make his escape. But Ryoma hadn't been that cruel to him – he might have imprisoned him and drank his blood, but he'd never been violent, and went to the trouble of providing him with books so that he wasn't bored. He even cooked for him, despite it being glaringly obvious that he was utter rubbish at it.
It had been a matter of survival. Tezuka couldn't hate him for it.
"I'm sorry," he murmured, then shoved the vampire away from him, back into the dark depths of the house. Ryoma stumbled and fell to the floor.
Tezuka twisted the doorknob. It gave way easily. He opened the door partway, slipped through the gap, and shut it firmly behind him.