Warnings: This is not a Christmas story; this story is a Christmas present, for Yuuko Uchiha.

The story is dark, it contains character - er, vampire death (not Sasuke) and also deaths of random humans, although not shown graphically. I have to say that I don't feel bad for posting it on Christmas because I celebrate it in January. You can always read after the holidays if you are disturbed by paradox of posting something like this today.

Also, this is your typical 'Sasuke's a vampire' fic, so beware of that as well; cliché is not something I am afraid of. =D



Bête Noire

Sakura

I can smell him, even in this crowd. His sweat is clear, sweet; a luring promise of life that pumps the blood through his body. My mouth is wet. I have to fight not to show the sudden, overwhelming hunger on my face.

I follow the scent. People keep popping up in my way over the dance floor, trying to engage me into mindless dancing, interaction of bodies. Each and every one of them would be an easy feed. I push them away, maybe a little too forcefully. It is not because I can't think about what I'm doing, because I can. I just don't want to, and it is time for my nose, for my hunger, to lead me.

I finally see him. He is near the bar, leaning on one of the pillars, a drink in his hands. He seems bored, and annoyance is radiating off him in waves, almost as strong as the smell. It is a good thing that he doesn't want to be here.

I wouldn't mind fucking him. He is extraordinary beautiful, for a human. His hair is as bright as my memory of the sunlight, eyes as blue as the ocean on the nature programs. Quick smile he flashes at someone or something cuts through my chest like unnecessary air, making me want to stop dead and run to him at the same time.

No, I wouldn't mind fucking him. But I am so, so eager, my hands are trembling the way they didn't since my first feed. I am hungry. I can not wait that long, I don't want to.

I have to stand right in front of him to draw his attention. But as soon as his eyes meet mine, the blue is blurry and distant; his thoughts melt around my will. Weak mind; I am truly lucky tonight.

I lean into him to whisper. "Let's go out of here."

He leans heavily in turn, but when I step back, he straightens and follows me. What a perfect prey.

It is very cold outside, winter well on its way. I can feel the wind biting on my bare shoulders, hesitating shortly around my knees. But I know he has to be warm; they always are. He looks at me dazzlingly, with a smile, when I wrap my right arm around his waist and he wraps his left one over my shoulders in turn. He is solid and warm, and his scent is so strong, I sway a little. But all's good.

Just one little corner, and it will be perfect.

Humans pass us by, but they don't look. They don't know how, they have no eyes. I am not worried as we turn around the corner, where big up-and-over door is painted in pale green.

I want him to trap me against the wall, so he does. His breath is warm. I am shaking, but that is not the cold. It is the need, the desire; I'm starving. He doesn't seem to notice as he lowers his mouth on mine.

He tastes better then he smells, I am shock to register. It is painfully addictive, and it makes me want his blood even more. If his mouth is so honeyed, so thick and robust, then his blood must be nectar of the gods. I whimper on the thought.

I sweep my tongue over his skin, down his jawline to the exposed neck. There are surely some physical changes on me by now, in my eyes, but I don't remember them happening, too engrossed into the sounds his heart is making while pumping the blood closer to me.

He nibbles on my ear just before I sink my teeth into his skin. I brace myself for the familiar power, sharpened by what ever was it that this boy had in him.

He is letting me, still allured, still dazed. But I choke on my first mouthful; my throat closes up as soon as I swallow it in my haste. The taste of his blood is sour and hostile on my tongue, as if I tasted acid. Is he sick? He seemed fine; I could not smell anything wrong on him.

I look up. He is awake now, but he is not moving. His eyes are wide and fixed on me, frozen in fear. Such stupid creatures, humans are. When he was in danger, he was enjoying our little tryst, I could tell. And now, when the ice wind broke inside me and is freezing the life that was so still there for many decades, he is afraid. I am dying, dying because his blood is sick, poisoned and he is the one who is afraid.

My legs lose all feeling and I fall down on my knees in front of him. My arms also become unmoving, and with the last strength, I demand to know the answer I will not exist enough to hear.

"What are you?!"

***

Kakashi

I see that pink haired bitch taking a boy away. For her, and also for me, he is but a boy, though he might even be legal to drink. I try to follow them as quickly as I can, but a sea of people inside the club do not open unthinkingly to let a human pass the way they do for vampires.

When I finally break through, I can't see them. I hurry down the open side of the street, and peek carefully into the alley even though I don't expect that she is so stupid to try and feed so close to the club entrance. But they are there, and the sight surprises me more then anything I ever saw before, in all the years of watching vampires.

She is on her knees, choking, shaking. She is trying to spit but nothing is coming out. The boy is leaning on the wall, one shoulder pushing harshly into plastered bricks in shock. I see him holding his neck, blood pouring through his fingers, be he doesn't seem to be suffering of blood lost, just intense fear.

She lifts her head heavily to up to him and asks, barely understandable.

"What are you?!"

The shock that was holding him in place melts on those words, her voice, and he walks past her unsteadily toward me. With every step, he is speeding up, panic finally catching up with his senses. I want to let him go, give him time. But I can't, because if I let him go now, I may never find him again.

When he turns the corner, half running already, I catch him. He is fighting fiercely, but with the strength of a normal human been. I can handle that, I overpower him easily.

"It's okay." I try to reassure him, because despite being in an awkward, painful position, with his arm bent under unnatural angle, he is still struggling. "I just want to know what happened. I was trying to help you; I thought I was too late."

It doesn't help. I drag him kicking and screaming to my van. Well, not literally, I actually knock him over and carry him to where I parked. I am thankful, for once, that no one asks questions around here.

I wake him up in front of the old deserted building that is my home now. He is not quite as panicky as he checks himself for wounds, but the wary edge is still there. I talk patiently, for a long time before he relaxes enough to follow me inside. His steps halt behind me several times, a good mirror for his mental state, but I act as if I am sure he would follow. I got his wallet and from it information about him earlier anyway, so even if he decides to run, I will be able to find him.

He is too curious to do that. Just under the remaining of fear and confusion, he wants to know what happened as much as I do. I don't invite him into my home, humble and not domestic at all. It's not that I think he is a vampire, not at all. On the side that the girl wouldn't have targeted him if he was, I could feel his warmth and hear his heart beat when I was taking him to my van. But there is an actual reason why vampires have a hard time to come into someone's home uninvited. The magic more subtle then any other, the one we create unconsciously with out deepest fears and greatest happiness, with hopes and dreams, builds a thin layer of protection around the place where they pile up the most.

Any supernatural evil, more sensitive to magic then humans, should feel at the very least discomfort when coming inside someone's home, even one as bare and empty as mine. But this boy comes in effortlessly - still wary and careful, but without hesitation.

"Alight," He demands right away, as I knew he would. "We're inside. Tell we what's this all about."

So I do.

He says he doesn't believe me, more times then necessary, but in all the right moments. He tells me that I'm crazy and that my friends were killed, if they are dead at all, in some stupid car accident or of cancer. But I can see it, the faith; it is in his eyes, because this boy – Naruto, he said his name was – is only good at lying himself tonight.

I give him the proofs anyway. When I was collecting them, I didn't really think I will ever show them to anyone. It pays off at the end; slowly, reluctantly, Naruto explains what exactly happened in the alley. By the sound of it, a single mouthful of his blood had killed her, though he doesn't say it like that. I think he is not even sure about what happened, probably from the lure.

I remember the blue tilt on her skin, the way she was kneeling with her legs underneath her under a wrong angle, like she couldn't feel them at all. Could it be that there was something in his blood that was acting like poison to her?

Excited, I ask for blood samples. I have the equipment, but Naruto eyes it suspiciously and decides to co-operate by cutting his hand and letting the blood ooze from the wound into the sterilized plastic bag. I am half amused, half exasperated.

When he promises to come back so he could find out the results, I know he will. He is a restless soul, like me. It won't be enough to sit back and try to forget, carry on with his life, not after the way he was touched tonight.

I never had anyone over before, not since I moved here. After his loud, free way of speaking, my home feels emptier then ever.

*

Naruto comes back the next day, and every other day after that. He wants to know more, so I tell him.

I tell him about my empty life, about my long dead parents. I tell him about the only other family I had, speaking aloud Obito's and Rin's name for the first time in years – if you don't count me yelling them desperately in my nightmares in long nights around Christmas. I tell Naruto how I had witnessed them dying as a midnight snack, how I managed to break out of the illusion of warmth and pleasant mist somehow and run for my life. I even tell him about the guilt I feel.

I don't tell him that every morning wakes me up from a dream in which one person I saw on the street today dies choking on their own blood. I don't tell him that from the day we met, he is the one who dies every night in my head. That is too private to see light of the outside of my mind, especially to tell someone I want to protect the way I want to protect Naruto.

He asks me if I lost my eye when my friends died, bluntly, but with a frown. I have to smile, at least a little; he is like a big child sometimes. I promise him that story for some other time, but I have no plans to keep him in my life after I solve the mystery.

He tells me about himself, as well. It takes time, but once he decided, once something inside of him breaks, I barely have to ask. His parents were dead long before he was old enough to remember them. Foster homes, different orphanages, everything is a blur for him. I can see the sadness in his eyes. I don't want to try to help, because I am not even capable of helping myself. But this boy is dear to me. I want him to be better.

When Tsunade sends the results of his blood work, I am so disappointed; I even admit to myself that I was hoping against all sanity there would be some drug, some mineral, something, in his blood for me to discover and use to poison vampires. There is nothing, not even a virus, or bacteria. Naruto is healthy and strong, that is all.

He is the one who suggests a testing. I don't know why my life is suddenly his, I don't understand why he would want to end up living in ruins of an old factory and spend his days pretending he is not a prey, but a hunter. I don't ask, and he doesn't offer explanation. I know if it turns out it was not a fluke, he won't be able to simply walk away. I jump on the chance, anyway.

We want to use a sample of his blood and spike a drink of a vampire. It is a good tactic – in theory. They are hard to find, hard to follow, hard to sneak on, though.

We have no choice, in the end. Naruto has to be the bait. I am close, ready. The guy who picks Naruto up and leads him out of the stuffy club of swaying madmen and red lights has long hair, dyed blue. Naruto does not turn to me, not even once, as I follow them out on the street, stepping over items thrown away and empty bottles. I wish I could believe it is because he trusts me and because he is not too afraid, but I know, I saw it in his eyes when we were preparing for this, neither one is true. Despite of his glowing bravery, he was barely walking earlier. Despite of him agreeing to let himself into this danger with only me for support, I can see doubt in his eyes.

I wonder, following them – this vampire is so chatty – why is Naruto doing this at all? Is it the loneliness, purpose, a way to show he is not meaningless, that his life, too, counts? I wish I know. I will not ask.

The vampire is so out of it, he is shaking and he doesn't notice me, not even when I make a real noise, watching intently if Naruto is okay instead of my steps. They stop soon – just like the girl, this one also is too hasty. Maybe is Naruto, something about him?

I have my weapon ready. But the vampire takes a bite and then he is down, on his knees, skin bluish and limbs frozen. Naruto staggers to my side. We both can't help but watch the dead vampire. He doesn't decompose. I have killed his kind before, and it is not movie flashy, but their bodies do turn to a pile of ashes. This one stays solid.

Finally my red alert lamp blinks in warning. If someone sees us here, we might be accused of a murder. I grab Naruto, who was, fascinated, poking a stoned arm of the dead vampire. He doesn't understand, so he fights, but I have no time to explain. I knock him out, the way I did when we met.

He is angry when I wake him up. He yells. I understand. It's not very pleasant to know someone is stronger then you. But he listens as I explain.

I'm not sure what to do next. It happened twice, it can't be an accident. Naruto wants to go again.

"You can't." I say sharply, looking at his bloody shirt. "You're hurt."

Naruto pouts childishly, and I want to yell at him for not taking this seriously until he shows me his neck. The bite there healed so fast, I see only thin red scars. Naruto laughs it off. He was always healing faster then others, it seems.

It makes me think. He seems like perfect bait. Vampires always go for the beauty, not to mention that they like Naruto especially, and he falls under their pull so easily, it's ridiculous. It is like he was meant to die under vampire teeth. No, it's like he was meant to attract them. But then, they die, from his blood – blood that appears normal, healthy.

To my ears, that sounds not like he has some sort of defense system, as I first thought. It sounds like a perfect weapon, subtle and effective.

I do a research, a really throughout one. Naruto dozes off on my couch and makes us breakfast in the morning. I should kick him out, he has his own apartment. But I think I'm onto something, and if I prove myself right, I will need to tell him.

By that evening, I have a theory. Well, I call it a theory, but I am actually sure of it. There is no other explanation. I make Naruto turn off my ancient TV and pay attention.

"I think I know what you are."

His eyes go dark and wary. "I don't like the way you said that. I'm human – and I'm also healthy, your doctor friend said so!"

His voice is louder with every word, so I have to silence him up.

"Yes, but I think you're special."

He likes that wording better, but he is yet to relax. "Special, how?" He demands.

"I was thinking…" He recognizes the lecture mode, and gives me an eye roll, but I ignore him. "Vampires are faster and stronger then humans, they feed on us. They are hunting is down for a very long time. How come we were never in danger of becoming extinct?"

Naruto gives me an answer that could be considered as a textbook one.

"Because they'd have nothing to feed on then?"

And it is a good answer, but vampires are not… the most reserved of creatures. For their existence to remain unproven, if not exactly a secret, for such a long time, it must be a great accomplishment. Or the nature has a way to control their numbers?

I shake my head. "But what if we developed a defense system of our own? What if there are people - not many of them, but enough – like you, whose blood is a naturally developed toxin for vampires?"

Naruto is getting it, I can see. His eyes are shiny, excited.

"That is good." He says. "That means we can fight back."

My mouth is dry. I want to fight; I want to destroy each and every one of them. I want to use this in every possible way, because everything I once loved was reduced to nothing but a meal for vampires and faces on the 'missing' sheets. I want his chance.

But I also want Naruto out of harm's way.

"No." I deny. "That is not safe."

Naruto glares. "And this is, the way you live? In a half collapsed building, plotting ways to kill vampires and never managing more then one a year?"

I refuse to answer. He is right, I am not very efficient. But when I go out, my safety comes before the kill.

"You said it yourself." Naruto says standing up. "I was made to do this, and I plan on doing it with or without you. It will be dark soon."

The eager, traitorous part of my mind cheers: Well, as long as it is his own choice… I know better then that. I know I made a mistake for telling him. But I also remember the look on his face, the satisfaction when he was trying to examine the dead vampire. He would have gone out again, regardless.

Naruto rolls his eyes at me again and marches across the room to the door. I sigh and follow him. If he is going to be risking his life, he at least doesn't have to be alone, without a back up – just in case something goes wrong.

***

Sasuke

It has been months since Sakura was found in an alley next to the club that was her latest hunting ground. My connections in the city are good, so I had no trouble getting a video from a surveillance camera. He seemed fairly interesting on the tape. Blond, good looking - for a human. She would try to turn him, I know she would.

So why the first alley? She couldn't be that hungry, I saw her before she went out that night. She seemed fine, normal.

I saw her corpse. There was no opportunity for me to see a still body of someone close in many, many years. How was it done? I wanted to know.

Weeks go by before I find him, even though I search every night. This city is big, which is both a blessing and a curse. By now, three more out of our family were found the same way as Sakura. I want it to stop.

He is dancing, of all things, in the same club, in the middle of the stage, like he has no worry in the world, swaying into the beat, cuddling the lights. Night vision of the camera gave him no just. Now when I am able to use my own eyes, I can see why the haste, I can see how bright his is, how beautiful.

And when I focus on his scent, I know why the very first alley as well.

It wakes up the hunger, the way this child smells. It makes whirls dance in your head, you get frenzy, needy. I had to keep my distance to see how he is doing it, because it feels almost unnatural. But it is hard, the hardest thing in the world, just to keep away, to watch him move and live inside the fake atmosphere, to imagine him breathing in the smoke. It is like compulsion, as vital as getting to the drug for an addict. I have to grip handrail harder then I should. I know I am leaving hand marks in it.

A long haired vampire, not one of mine, is the first one to get to him, though I saw the fight down close to the back entrance. It was short and vicious, but both participators got badly hurt. It must have been only several minutes sinse he walked in, I can't imagine missing out his smell. I suspect it would have taken much less if he stayed somewhere near the exit, in a thinner crowd, where his scent would be even easier to separate.

I am surprised how easy he falls under the pull. His mouth fall open, his checks pink, and he lets the long hair lead him out through the cluster without a single gesture of doubt or fear. I follow them.

Outside, with less people and among the stenches of the city, his scent is so strong I can feel the taste on the sides of my tongue, shooting up to close my brain. I stop to allow a greater distance. There is no wind, which is probably good.

But when I turn around the corner, it is already too late. He is nowhere, my keen is dead. Again, fascinated, I touch his body. It is solid. I can see blood on the shirt, around his mouth, like he was trying to spit it.

And I flinch back.

I know what that boy is. We have no name for it; we use no names for boogiemen. I remember Itachi telling me about it. He was always fond of telling me stories, he liked pretending I really am his little brother, someone to take care of, someone to educate. I am glad he is dead.

But I am also glad someone so brilliant was my sire. If he wasn't, I wouldn't know how dangers a threat that bright, young boy really is. I wouldn't know how to find a way to fight it. It is our own fault; the more humans learn how to connect and exchange information, the more we forget old ways and dances. They know too much about us. I wouldn't be surprised if humans know about toxic blood then vampires.

He is to be feared. There is nothing worse than when Mother Nature itself decides to play with her own creations. His blood is a toxin for vampires, but the smell of it the sweetest thing in the world, a smell of innocence, strength, sunshine. We are attracted to him because we are meant to be, and he would poison us with that sweetness. He is the treat. I want him dead.

I go home across the roofs, tonight I am not in a mood to stroll. The remaining of his scent in my nose makes me hungry still, so I feed the best I am capable of. It is enough, but only because of the excitement that came with discovering the truth behind the mystery of the last months. I will have to be more careful in future.

Extensive library in the basements of Itachi's house has information on how to fight this thing. I will be enough, if I do it right. I am strong enough for it. I warn my family off the streets, though. I tell them not to try for anything out of the ordinary, no matter how appealing. I don't really think they will listen. I'm not cut for making orders, and I know that most of them are too weak to even question the natural lure of his scent.

I need to adjust, according to the information I have. To be close enough to constantly feel his scent, but far enough not to reach on instinct, mindless. Of course, these days, I could get my hands on a gun and just shoot him, or use a crossbow, if I was old-fashioned, but I have other plans.

Good thing I inherited a house with dungeons.

*

I plan carefully.

I research thoughtfully who is the most successful scientist who works on blood in the country and ask Karin to sire him. She is gleeful; sometimes her taste for science feels unhealthy.

When he is ready, we set up a laboratory just on the other side of the river, close enough for constant contact, but far enough not to be in danger. I know I have to be very careful, especially because not everyone can come as close as I can, some of them don't even understand why they can't .

I prepare the dungeon, adding a bed and a heater. Toilet is functional; unusually considerate of Itachi and his family, humans were kept here before for other reasons then to be a one single use mean. The conditions are good enough, because I don't want his death to outdo my plans.

There is an expert in magic at hand, thankfully. I plan for him to do some work, and when I tell him what it is all about, he is excited as well. Everyone seems so afraid, if the heard of toxic blood before and so intrigued, if they haven't. I never aimed for it, but respect for me suddenly grows out of portions. It is a good feeling, I'm not sure if I will be able to give it up easily.

The time passes, but that is not a problem for me. I love doing this, I enjoy making a change, doing something my quasi-brother never managed and always wanted to do.

*

I know all his smiles. I know all his faces.

Some seem happy enough; those attract just as much humans as they do vampires. I told you about his beauty before. Some are flat and uninterested; humans keep away from those, as if his can keep them away with his mood alone – as if humans are that sensitive to other humans. Some are filled with sorrow so intense, that it aches; that should not be familiar to anyone so young, and vampires react on those with eagerness of a pathetic flock of virgins.

But my personal favorites are the angry ones. When he fights and swears, and seethes, when his eyes darken and sharpen, when he can hurt people without even thinking about it.

If I didn't know about his power over my kind, I'd think I have romantic interest in this boy.

I know his faces; I know his smiles, because I have to stay near him as long as needed to gather enough resilience to come close enough to lock him up. I wish I could just knock him out, but that, apparently, always goes wrong. Not to mention that he will have to be kept alive, and to feel him alive, he will need food and we will need his blood, which will demand at least certain amount of contact.

So I follow him. I watch him. I think I know him better then anyone.

I know his name.

I hear it from Kakashi. I wasn't really surprised when I saw for the first time the two of them are working together. We can finally acknowledge the local joke of vigilante vampire hunter to be effective, for he was no danger before. Now, he has a power over vampires, even if it is one that is not completely his own. With Kakashi making plans for how can Naruto go against us in the most effective ways, makes this threat even more dangerous.

But he also has love in him of our greatest fear. He is also a weakness, one that I need.

It is not time yet.

I walk behind Naruto wherever he goes, from the moment the last sun echoes fade until dawn. He knows I'm there, he sometimes turns to scan the area with a frown, but he always fails to see me. His step is light, his hair is too long. I should be bored with his common life, uninteresting friends – or at least, I shouldn't be so fascinated with his short and extremely violent jerking off sections behind the blue shower curtain of his bathroom. I shouldn't be mimicking them. I shouldn't find his breathing captivating; I shouldn't feel hurt from the tears he is hiding.

He really is dangerous for my kind. I am almost sorry he cannot see me, no matter how hard he tries.

After I spend an entire night on the roof over his house without the overwhelming need to go and feed – and I had started with five trips to the town – I am sure it is time, I am as ready as possible.

Abducting Kakashi is easy, but I will have to show teeth – figuratively, of course – to stop my family from killing him. I have this carefully planed, but what if something goes wrong? He is only important as a tool I can use, so leaving him alive is a matter of whim for them, and a matter of precaution for me. He is giving us as much resistance as he can, I am even impressed with the way he almost manages to break several Juugo's bones.

I record him struggling against the shackles, and leave the camera in front of Naruto's door the same evening with instructions. I watch Naruto as he presses the play button, as his stares down into his mentor, his friend. I watch as he grows mad, I can feel his anger darken my hunger. He looks around, searching for a guilty party furiously.

It is time for us to meet, finally. I am actually excited, as well as afraid my control could slip. I step out of the deep shadow of his planted Swiss Pine, decorated for Christmas with shiny electric lamps that are not lit and give him a smirk when his eyes stop on mine.

He makes his way to me without hesitation. I rise my hand, as to stop him with it, but my mouth is wet, my skin almost alive from the blood of my last meal and his anger. I want him to come closer. I want to go to him even more.

"If I don't get back, soon," I say, clearly. "Your friend is dead."

He stops, narrowing his eyes.

"You!" he yells. He recognizes it is me the one who was stalking him. I don't know how. "What the fuck do you want?"

"I want you to pay for what you did to my family." I explain, and I am not surprised when a flicker of shock crosses his eyes. He never thought vampires could have family and care about each other. He is not really the type to think at all. Or maybe he is just surprised I figured it out.

"I never do anything." He says, predicatively. "I am so high from your hocus-pocus shit; I can barely remember what happened when it's done."

I know he is not lying. I saw it many times, though from a distance. That doesn't change his going out with the intention to lure and then kill. It doesn't change that he is a danger, and that I want the mystery of his existence solved, for the future. I say: "It is the old house at the end of the River road. I will see you there."

Then I have to retreat, as fast as possible. A step closer, a minute longer and it would be too much.

I wait on the upper terrace, after I made sure everyone cleared out. There will be no one but me and him inside of the house – and Kakashi, for tonight. I want to kill him, I want to get us rid of this headache, but another one like him will come along with time. This is a good chance to make tests, find a vaccine, an antidote – anything.

He arrives in an old taxi. I watch him as he walks in as he was instructed on the tape to walk inside. I wait for a bit and then go down to the dungeons. I find Naruto talking through the bars to Kakashi who is so drugged he can't even stand. He turns to me and glares.

"What now?"

I show him the cell at the end, and also that I am armed with a gun. Just in case. I would rather for him to die then me, naturally.

"Walk inside. Close the door, properly. Lock the door, the lock will make a sound not even a human ear could miss, and throw me the key."

Naruto locks his knees instead. "Let him go first."

I want to hit him for being so stupid.

"Naruto," I say, and wonder vaguely why he jerked at the sound of his name. It is not that odd that I know it, after all this. "I have no need for him dead. You might, though I doubt that, find a way to escape and in that case, I might have a use him again. So I will let him go, as soon as you lock yourself into that cell."

So many words, they feel unreal and useless. Speaking is becoming a real problem for me. I want to walk to him; I want to taste his skin so badly, my legs are almost making the first step on their own. I want to let his scent freely thought my system. I want his blood.

He slowly, very slowly, moves to walk into the cell. How much of my struggle is visible on my face? Not all that much, probably, because he is locking the door. The familiar sound of lock snaps my attention and he throws me the key.

I fail to catch it, every muscle ready to move in a more aggressive and very different way then catching a key thrown too low is demanding. Naruto realizes just how affected I am then and spreads a colorful, for his age quite impressive, chain of swears, livid. I use my last shred of will to pick up the key and smirk one last time at him. The great iron door closes behind me, cutting most of him away.

I feel exhausted and hungry like never before in my life.

I have to come back to let Kakashi go. I don't really want to, it would be better if he would stay where he is. But I said I will let him go. If I want any kind of cooperation, and I will need it, I have to keep my word.

First things first, though. I need to feed again.

***

Naruto

I hate this son of the bitch so much.

I hate all the vampires, of course I do. I wouldn't be out night after night, killing them, if I had no reason for it. Kakashi could probably offer you some psychological bullshit, how I am lonely, unhappy. That is not it.

I am not the happiest person in the world. But most people are worse off. I can't feed the hungry, I can't heal the wounded. I can't even stop eating meat. I can do this, though.

I go out and think how I will save at least one person that night. Someone will be free, spared, and maybe even happy; all because I will use five minutes of my life to be what I was, apparently, born to be. I can make Kakashi's eyes spark with life.

I know I don't really owe him anything. I know he was late, that night when we meet; the night when that beautiful vampire girl caught my hand and lead me out. But he was trying to save me. He was worried. He was running. He wanted to know what happened, yes, but he also wanted me to be alright. I could see it in his eyes.

That all is there, but it's not all.

I know when a vampire pays attention to me. It's pure euphoria, even before they are close enough for me to fall under the pull. Every nerve in my body whispers in curiosity. I want them to come to me; I want them to find me. I want to feel their cold touch against my warmth.

When it's over, I hate myself. No matter how much scrubbing I do, I know death is lingering on my skin. I feel like they die from my death.

But when the morning comes, and I go about my business, visit my friends; the death is closing in on my soul. Then I know, they don't die of my death, I live off theirs. I feed on them just as much as they want to feed of me. I crave their attention as much as they crave my blood.

And that is why I hate this one. Not because he had used my friendship with Kakashi against me, not because he trapped me here and wants to do experiments to find a cure. I can understand that, I can respect what he is doing; this is a war in so many ways. I hate him because he won't come closer. He won't touch me, he won't try to feed, and every part of me knows he wants to.

Every time his eyes are on me, I gasp, I need. He brings me food, but not before he demands I lock myself in shackles and throw him the key. Then he comes closer, pushes my food through the slit, steps as away as possible, and throws it back.

It's a stupid, annoying game. I know it's necessary. I hate him for being so strong, because I'm not. I wouldn't be able to resist going closer, even if it wouldn't give me an opportunity to escape, even if I didn't know he would die.

At first, I refused food. Who knows what is inside? He snapped at me.

"If I wanted you dead, you would be dead. I have a need for your blood for now, and it is in your best interest as well to stay healthy as long as possible. If you don't eat on your own, my next meal will feed you before I feed on them."

I yelled and insulted and cursed him, but it was effective.

We fight a lot. It must be some sort of natural enemies' thing, like cat fights the dog. He thinks I'm stupid, that kind of hurts for whatever reason. Maybe I am, but maybe he is hundreds of years old and knows too much. I want to ask. I don't, just in case he is actually smarter.

I don't know where he sleeps and spends his nights – or days, but I lie in my improvised bed and wonder if he thinks about me while he feeds. I know, that is horrible of me, but I never claimed I do what I do exclusively out of moral beliefs. I don't want people dead, I really don't. But this…

Once a vampire's attention is focused on you, it is almost like having sex, from the very first moment. I lose my mind completely, give in, and dance the dance. Once they are down, poisoned, their attention is off me, so I'm free; free like you feel after sexual fulfillment. So for me, this imprisonment is like days long sex.

I am locking my shackles when the thought hits me; I am having sex with a vampire whose name I don't know. It would be funny, only it's not really.

I throw him the key and say: "I will escape from here."

"You say that every day." He answers while pushing the pizza box through the slit. I wonder if delivery guy delivered himself tonight – or day, whatever it was.

And I do say that every day, but the next part is new. "And I will kill you in the process."

He smirks. I can see him gripping the bars, pressing he key between his palm and steel. I can see his clenched jaw. But he smirks mockingly at me anyway.

"That sounds ambitious."

A small home awakes in my chest, a real hope.

"Do you know that I want it as much as you do?" I ask. His eyes flicker over my face, to my inner elbow, that is to him the nearest exposed flesh with strong veins. "Not just because you coming inside to feed would set me free. I think your hunger is addictive to me or something."

Talk about feeding is drowning him closer to the edge. His eyes are always black, but now the darkness in them is shiny, more dangerous then ever. I shudder. I know I'm hard. Fucking vampires and their sexual appeal.

"Shut up." He orders me, voice so loaded it cracks.

I ask, because I want to know. "What's your name?"

He is just looking at me, silent, hungry. God, I want him closer. He doesn't even have to feed; I just want to touch his skin. I open my mouth to ask again or say something else, but he suddenly jerks and jumps back, in a huge impossibly wide jump, all the way to the beginning of the cell line. After a minute, he says, loud enough I don't have any problems to hear.

"If you want out of those shackles, don't talk to me when I come back."

I yell across the distance between us: "Your name!"

Silence answers me. He doesn't go up the stairs; he is just standing there, looking back. In a way, I feel bad for what I did, for talking at all. I feel like a naughty child. And I want his name so badly.

It must be Christmas already, because he tells me. "Sasuke."

I still don't hear steps, but I do hear when the heavy door opens and closes.

It is such a beautiful name, like a long hiss. I like it. I repeat it in my head and aloud many times. I really, really like it. I lean on the wall, not even thinking about shackles around my wrists and ankles, and whisper his name, calling him back. I do it until it becomes very clear he won't, and then I slide down the wall on the floor.

I can't reach the pizza. Chains are long enough to let me curl down on the floor to sleep later, but not to take a blanket of the bed to cover myself.

I wake up sore, with mind still clouded from the nightmares I can't even remember. Odd how this is the first time I had them since I am here. He comes back and someone is with him. The person is a human, I can tell as soon as his eyes land on mine, because I feel nothing.

They unlock my cell with shaky hands and walk inside.

"I – I have to take some of your blood."

I let them. It's not as if they are going to find anything. Kakashi tried, in a real hospital, through a friend who is apparently extremely good doctor with a lot of connections.

"Don't get too used to him." I hear Sasuke. It is just his voice, from the distance, but I know he is talking to me, I can feel it under my skin. I shudder hard enough for the human to miss and break my skin on the wrong place with the needle. "He won't be useful for long."

"Sasuke." I answer, just because I want to use his name. "I'm not stupid."

But the guy looks at me with such a mixture of anger and fear, I feel guilty right away, and try to give him apologetic look. He ignores it, and the care he was trying to show to me, probably from the consideration for me being in the dungeons, in chains, disappears. He finds my vein in several tries and works the pump.

From the outside of the cell, a loud thud comes, followed by rustle. My first, very first reaction is fear for him. Sasuke is the only one there, has something happen to him? But then I realize that if something has happened, I – and this guy – can escape. I swell from hope.

"Sasuke?" I call. No answer, just a grunt. I lean to see as much of the hall as I can as soon as the needle is out of my arm. Sasuke is facing the other side, with his head bent, clutching his chest with his arm. Is that reaction on my blood? It must be. He turns a bit and I can see his profile. It is more then enough.

He is so hungry. He wants to come here so much.

"Sasuke?" I call again, and he reacts on my voice, jerks a little.

"Shut the fuck up!"

I ignore him, the way he ignores me calling. "Sasuke. Come here."

He turns and steps closer, stops. I expect the pull, but there is nothing. I wait. He has to come. He has to.

But he doesn't. Instead, he walks out, this time without insanely large jumps. I am so disappointed, so unreasonably hurt, I forget all about the guy with my blood.

He is desperately trying to loosen my chains. There is no use, I can tell him that. But bitterness in my mouth won't let words through.

"Snap out of it!" He demands. "I don't know what these freaks are, but we need to escape."

"I'm trying." I assure him, but I can't tell if it is a lie myself. "I'm trying."

The door at the end of the hall opens again. I know it's Sasuke, I know he is back for the sample of my blood, not me, but my heart still jumps over couple of beats. He gives a clear composed order for the guy with my blood to go to him. For the first time, I see up close how the pull works on someone else.

Why this guy? He has no experience with taking blood; it was painful, messy and over done. Why, if Sasuke wanted my blood taken sterile, he didn't bring someone from a hospital? Why this person? I wonder and take the first proper look on him.

He is attractive. His hair is not too dark and his face is perfect. If I find a way out of these chains, I realize, I will kill him before Sasuke can.

…I'm a monster. I'm a bigger monster then any vampire ever was. I'd kill my own kind.

The pretty guy is walking out, not turning back to see me throw up. I suspect he never even noticed, and the pizza is still too far away for me to reach.

Sasuke doesn't come back for a while. That is a good thing, because I have to escape. I have to, before he sucks out what's left of my soul. I wanted to kill someone. I wanted to kill someone because I knew he was to be a meal for my captor. I wanted to kill another human, because I was jealous. I am so fucked up.

I don't sleep, I am too afraid of what I have become. I think instead.

Sasuke comes after some time, I don't know how long. The wounds on my arm are healed already. He looks collected, smug. Gorgeous, actually, I admit to myself. Perfect. A dead man, a vampire; the most beautiful thing in the world.

I don't speak. I want out of my shackles. He throws the key. I unlock myself quickly, but he is already away.

The pizza is good, but I still can't sleep.

Next time Sasuke returns, I am ready.

I collect the key from the floor where it fell. First, I lock my left leg and my left hand, those he can see. Then I slip my right hand through and out of the armband and say: "Sasuke?"

As he snaps, "Be quiet!" I turn the key in the lock. My hand stays free.

Hiding it behind my body, I do the same with my right leg. "Was he good?"

The question lingers and so does my shaking fingers. Finally, Sasuke says, "None of your business" so I turn the key again and throw it back.

Sasuke tucks it away. He comes closer to stuff the food through the slit. That small moment of his split attention is the only chance I will ever get, so I move as fast as I can, closer to the bars, closer to him.

I can't reach them, but I am closer to him then I ever was before. He lifts his head, and his shiny back eyes meet mine. I know I should call him, or something. Maybe try to cut myself so he wouldn't be able to resist. I can't. I can't do anything but stare at his eyes, simply wanting him to come through.

The plate in his hand falls down, making a noise. Sasuke lifts his hands, places them on the bars. I wonder if it worked. Maybe not, maybe I am not close enough, but I can't go any further, the chain is not that long, and steel is hurting my wrist from the weight I'm hanging on it.

No, I realize as the bars curve away one from another under his hands. He is making a space for himself to come inside. It's working. He will be inside in a minute. He will feed. He will die.

I watch his face, pale, calm. This is my last chance to do it. I watch his lips. I wonder how he would kiss. He will be dead soon, and I wonder how will he look then, because I am killing him.

I realize I am not under his pull at all. I don't know if that is on purpose, but it probably is. I am afraid, for the first time, I am afraid and I don't want him to die.

The distance between the bars is wide enough, and as Sasuke goes through them, I retreat as fast as I can back. He says, "Too late for that."

I like his voice so much, I realize. It's deep but melodic. I want him to hear him whisper, just for me.

The wall behind my back is solid and cold. I don't want to go through this. I don't want him dead.

"You're afraid." He says.

No use for lying now, is there? "You're going to die."

He is so, so close already. I want to lift my hand, find him with my fingers, trace the cold skin with them; I want to find out what is pulling me so strongly into this. I swallow as he reaches for me instead, but he doesn't really touch me. "But you are going to remember me."

I was right; I am not under the pull because he doesn't want me to be.

I slide down the wall. He follows me, kneels between my spread, bent legs. So close, we are, and I put my palm on his chest. It is cold as if I placed it on the wall behind, but I don't want to take it away. Sasuke leans closer, until I'm breathing over his cheek.

"So pay attention." He says, close, smooth. God, I want him closer, I think, but please, please, don't let him die.

But God has no business here. If I don't want him to die, I will have to do something about it myself. When I open my mouth, my voice is rasp. "Sasuke…"

Mistake, saying his name, I can hear him hiss and I am shaking from the latest surge of his hunger, so I hurry to finish: "If you feed of me, you will die. Forever. It's toxic. It will kill you. You don't want that…"

I know I'm babbling. I can feel his smile from against my check. He is slow, but closer and closer to my neck. I am so sorry I will never get to see that smile.

"Please." I whisper. "I don't want you to die."

It's not affecting him, so I press against his chest as hard as I can – though I know that could not stop someone who can bend dungeon bars. With nothing else left, from this insane, awkward angle, I hit him with my palm in the head as hard as I can. Which is not much, but it is enough to make him flinch a little and then still.

I don't dare to breathe. I don't dare to move. I know he is annoyed, that is so easy to sense at this distance. He is so, so close and as unmoving as a statue. Then I feel his arm over my head. I don't understand, but he finds my hand with his and jerks it down. The chain snaps like a string, and my arm hurts.

I am still not moving, I can't. I'm in shock as he finds both my ankles with his hands to check for leg bands and snaps the chain he finds over the left one. He is still holding his head almost, but not quite in the crook of my neck. I don't want to move, I like how he smells.

But I know, I already feel the small annoyance that pulled him out being replaced again with hunger. I once again push him. He moves, so fast I can barely follow with my eyes, to the other side. No time to waste, so I stand up and go to the other side, through the bars, out. I am running down the hall, half out of the fear he will change his mind, half out the fear I will.

Hand on the door knock that will set me free, I hear him from far away, from the cell. "Naruto."

It is safe, I assure myself, he is probably better, all the way there. "What?"

"I could have snapped your neck."

In all honesty, I didn't even consider that possibility. For the first time tonight, a real fear for my life screamed through me. There is nothing I can say on it, though, but that is okay, as Sasuke finishes. "Next time I see you, I will kill you."

I open the door and walk out. No one is in the hallways. I am hungry and thirsty, and so, so tired as I walk out of the front door of the big house. It's dark outside. The fresh, freezing air feels good.

On the gate, a girl with red hair and glasses is coming in as I'm going out. I don't look at her; I just pass and hurry down the long road.

I can't hear her steps behind me at all. But I can feel the force of her attention on me, waves of her hunger and I want her to hurry, to catch up and feed on me.

And I wonder, with a smile, how much exactly she means to Sasuke.

fin