Disclaimer: I don't profit from this story in any way. All creative rights to the characters belong to their original creators.
Warnings: some swearing, blood and implied sex
"The world changes; we do not."
The first time they met, there were no lilies.
In fact, there never were any to begin with.
Maybe that's why Allen loved them so much.
Maybe that's why he'd caress their satin and long petals, stroking them as if their purity was for him an embodiment of beauty, as if their vulnerability was for him a grace he'd never achieve, as if their fleeting ephemerality was to be adored and as if his pale fingers that almost blended with their whiteness couldn't crush them if he so wished – maybe he loved them so much because they didn't remind him of all that he longed to escape.
Maybe they didn't remind him of what he'd lost through centuries in temptation and what he gained in self-destruction.
The first time they met, Lavi was mashed in between the mass of sweaty bodies. They were moving in a mindless rhythm to the blaring music that drowned out every other sound of the warm summer night. Warm, plush and full of pulsing blood, they crushed him and bumped into him. Screams of the drunken crowd with unanimous mind were rolling one over the other while transforming themselves into a wave of a single overwhelming yell. As the drummer beat his drumsticks especially hard to alter the melody of a heavy song and the guitarist adapted himself with a deafening guitar solo, Lavi felt the bodies of those harmless, hopeless, hunted humans jerk to the song, taking him with the flow.
Knowing that he had to find them sooner than the concert's end when the hunt would begin, he tried to uneffectively push his way through the crowd of darkly dressed teenagers humming with the singer in drunken ecstasy. His efforts, no matter how agile and skilful, didn't count for much as he felt clammy flesh dig into his back and shoulders, stopping him from proceeding any further. Whenever Lavi tried to pass the raging fans, his path would get halted. The moist summer night in Paris where everything was supposed to be calm and still smelled of beer that people held in their hands, of sweat rolling off of their bodies as they jumped up and down, of cigarette smoke and marijuana. If he hadn't been specially trained to cope with such situations, it would be very hard for him to breathe properly with the minimal amount of air that was passing from the sky into his strained lungs. He practically had to steal his share.
And to top it off, the efforts to keep his cool were getting harder and harder by every minute because he couldn't find Kanda who he had lost in the crowd earlier and hasn't managed to spot since then.
Dammit… Lavi cursed in his head and gritted his teeth. Even his sharp eyesight and decent height weren't of much help in his search.
However, before he began to really despair, he'd spotted a little mound a bit farther where the wall of bodies ended. It practically seemed to be inviting Lavi to come and he heaved a relieved sigh. He had to applaud himself for his great eyesight, which, even at night and with only full moon helping the colourful reflectors, caught it. Setting it as his new goal and believing it to be a great viewing point, he started pushing his way through the humans with newly found fervour. Their jumping made the ground vibrate and their limbs dug into him from all sides. They were like animals, heedless beings caught in the moment of infinite adoration and intoxication. It was an intoxication from the music, from the crowd, from the wave they were riding on and from the screams that drowned their every thought no matter how hurtful. For that single second, when music drowned everything out of their bodies, they could be carefree. They could be lost in each other.
For now, their whole lives, sins, troubles, sorrows and joys were all covered under the merciful hand of the night. They didn't really exist to themselves as different entities, but as something single-minded, utterly detached from their own body behind which they could cover and dance and sing and drink and smoke merrily. But no matter how desperately they tried to escape themselves, the next day would come without an exception, the bottles would be tossed on the ground, groaning bodies sprawled beside them, the taste of the night would fade out and the realisation that it was not a dream but also nothing more, would hit them with all the force of a punch into the gut. Sun would peek over the horizon with warmth, birds would chirp to announce a new summer day, the sudden busy activity of humans would bloom and all the happenings they forgot would come back to bump them in their chests with a striking truth of reality.
They would come back to the world of living once again.
Most of them, at least. Because what they didn't know and Lavi did was that there was something out there, hiding at the outskirts of the crowd, waiting, hunting, thirsting. Something that wanted nothing more than to keep some of those humans in eternal darkness and never let them see the light of day ever again.
Suddenly, he felt a weight crash into him and he snapped his eyes to a stoned teenage girl who bumped into him. She was laughing, holding a bottle of vodka in her hand and shouting together with the crowd. After a few seconds when she realised the situation she was in, she looked up at Lavi with drowsy eyes and sluggishly threw herself on his arm.
"Would'ya mind a shag, hotshot?" she slurred and Lavi thought, with a wince at a memory of his own escapades, that it'd be better for her to get stomped by hundred elephants than feel the pain of the immense hangover next morning.
His mind already racing towards absolutely different things, Lavi struggled out of her grip and hurriedly moved over, letting her snag the arm of other nearby male. Lavi hoped that the guy wasn't some creeper who would take advantage of the girl in her bad state. Because currently, Lavi simply had no time to deal with such problems.
He could see that there was only a thin barrier of bodies he had to struggle through to reach the end of the crowd and so he quickened his pace. The loud music that was practically playing in his very bones just increased his restlessness over the fact that there was no sight of Kanda or Bookman around. Lavi's hand was already fidgeting with the small hammer attached to his uniform, the whole action thankfully covered by a long brown coat he was wearing. It was a nervous habit of which he never really got rid of, especially when it came down to difficult missions. When they got order from the Headquarters, Lavi thought that this wouldn't be one of them. The jovial voice of Komui, saying that upon the retreat of forces that were supposed to annihilate the infamous Amiens coven which was one of the last, the three of them should pay a quick visit to Paris, was still ringing in his ears like a bad reminder. And yet, even if the mission was said only to hold in check the weak fledglings that may come to feed on the ignorant mortals on the concert, he suddenly realised that too many things were going out of hand. In the first place, he and Kanda were not supposed to separate from each other. Both of them were more vulnerable alone as well as easier targets since there was no one to cover their backs.
Where the hell is he? Lavi groaned inwardly. He felt that it was one of those situations. One of those situations when palm being introduced to his own face would be in order. What was more, the fact that they could get separated in such a stupid way almost seemed as more than a mere coincidence. They were supposed to beprofessionals and yet he found himself at some teenage hardrock concert, fumbling around to even keep the ground under his feet. The good point was that he was almost out of the suffocating flock of people and nearing the little mound. All that was left was to pass just one last layer of jumping humans. He could already feel the fresh air in his lungs, hear his own boots scraping the ground in frantic search for the damned predators and smell the tension and relief when he'd finally confront them.
And then, in one instant when he, with hope, stepped forward so as to pass the last human, when he reached with his hand, when he felt the crowd shift in one giant wave forward, when he heard yells and distinctly grasped that the singer stage dived into the audience -
- then, in one single instant, everything happened at once.
Then, as he finally set his boot on the human-free ground, as he finally inhaled fresh air in his lungs and as his head literally poked out of the mass of people, then -
- then he saw them.
Suddenly, the whole world stood still and Lavi froze on the spot with wide eyes.
He no longer registered the people pushing into him from behind in their mindless adoration for the singer, who, by the disappointed screams the fans were letting out, must've returned back on the stage. What he felt was as if someone had tuned out every other sound and every other sensation and all that was left were those three figures standing secluded a little way off from the crowd. From just looking at them, one would almost even think them normal, until noticing the strange aura surrounding them. It was an aura of being present and also being a part of something more mysterious, otherwordly, supernatural. They were standing close together, their pitch black cloaks motionless in the still air, their striking eyes which could charm any mortal hid together with their faces under the black hoods, their limbs inert as if they were only three marble statues which some haphazard artist casually carved in the wrong place. The air around them seemed to suck everything in, the blackness of their cloaks rivalling that of the night. And even as one of the reflectors was directed at them, it seemed as if its light was being devoured by the sheer gravity of their group. It was almost as if they themselves were creating an invisible space within their circle and made themselves utterly uninteresting to humans that passed them with nothing more than a fleeting glance. For Lavi, though, the air was the one with which he was very well accustomed. He knew that in those shadows under the hoods, predatory eyes were gleaming like two gems, that under those black cloaks covering their whole bodies, pale, cold, stone-like limbs were held like serpents and that their stances were the embodiment of alertness to strike out their potential victim. They were predators and this was their hunting territory.
And among all that, which his hunter eyes noticed in a single instant, he also felt something he wished he wouldn't have felt. Among all that his senses perceived, somewhere deep inside his head, as if covered by the veil of refusal to accept it, he felt immensepowercoming from them. Enormous power he'd never felt before. The force of it almost swept him off his feet and he could feel a cold drop of sweat rolling down his forehead, his heart thumping furiously in his chest and his shoulders hunching together. It was as if a rhino was standing on his back, pushing down on him with all its weight.
And still, in that one instant, as all this happened, he also registered in his peripheral vision a sharp movement on the far corner of the crowd. It piqued his interest in its unnaturalness – the person moving in the direction of the three figures was displaying inhuman speed and swiftness. Lavi promptly snapped his head to the direction of the motion and saw Kanda, with his sword Mugen apparently unsheathed, dashing agilely towards the target with a skilled ease. His long black hair was flowing behind him together with the brown coat that partly hid his weapon and Lavi, even from such a distance, could see the determined frown on his face. Lavi didn't waste even one second and started running after the bull-headed hunter who wouldn't hesitate to rush headfirst into the combat even if a whole coven stood in front of him. Upon remembering the mission when Kanda actually did just thatand upon feeling the crackling tension in the air, he knew he had to get there sooner than him no matter what.
In a moment's notice, he was dashing as fast as he could while his eyes were frantically searching for Bookman. Lavi knew that if the power he'd previously felt was any indicator of what was waiting for them, they wouldn't be able to handle those bloodsuckers without the old man, especially seeing as they were still tired from the wipe-out of the Amiens coven. He sped up even more, noting that Kanda was not too far off from reaching the target.
Fuck… he cursed in his head, knowing very well that he wouldn't make it. And yet, he strained his legs, his muscles aching, his body feeling as if it was being stung by hundreds of needles. His breathing was laboured as he drew air into his lungs only with difficulty and his heart was thumping frantically, drowning out everything else.
As he was running, he noticed in that weird sharpness in which one notices things in critical situations that there were some humans looking at him. He noticed that they were lying or sitting down, trying to cool off after the intense moshing in the audience. However, he ignored them with ease and focused on his current task at hand – to get to Kanda as soon as possible and prevent his head from being blown off.
Where the hell are you, old man?
And then, as he looked up to measure the distance between him and the target, he noticed a pair of sinister golden eyes looking up at him.
He froze like deer in the headlights. The tallest of the three vampires was looking right at him with a playful smirk on his face. He made a slightest elegant motion with his hand, beckoning Lavi to come and the vampires themselves moved backwards a bit. Lavi now couldn't see Kanda anywhere in the crowd and the image of the eyes replayed in his mind over and over like a broken tape.
Fuckity fuckity fuck.
I'm so going to kill Komui when I see him.
If I ever see him again.
If Lavi wasn't mistaken, those eyes could belong to only special sort of a vampire and that sort for sure wasn't the one he ever wished to meet in his lifetime, and especially not in this place. He wished from all his heart that he was mistaken because if not, Komui should start praying, too. Because if those eyes belonged to whom he thought they belonged, Lavi'd come to his office, take his bunny cup that he got from Lenalee for birthday and smash it on his head, saying"fledglings, my ass". He had no idea from where Komui got his info, but Lavi was going to be much more sceptical about it from now on.
Fledglings, my ass.
It was at this moment that one of the drunk fans moved to the side and Lavi got a view of Kanda, already standing in front of the vampires. And by the looks of him and his gleaming Mugen, he for sure wasn't going to ask the vampires out for a bloody tea.
Lavi cursed once again, but this time aloud, and dashed the last few meters in his most astounding speed. The sweat rolled off of him in litres, not just because of all the running, but also from the stress.
As he reached the hostile group, he immediately took up his deffensive stance, even though his breathing was more of a pant and his muscles ached from such an immense strain. If that hadn't been a dash of his life then he didn't know what it was.
Kanda was standing next to him in a tense position, hands gripping his sword tightly, a snarl coming from his lips as his black eyes intently watched the vampires in front of him without as much as a blink. Lavi knew that, with his short temper, he'd lash out on the bloodsuckers if there was as much as one unnecessary movement and that was what Lavi exactly didn't want. He had to rein in the situation somehow and hope that there would be no conflict. The facts were that they couldn't even hope to overpower them, much less to drove them away or kill them. The situation wasn't looking up in their favour at all and he was sure that even Kanda knew that.
"Mon Dieu," he heard the tallest vampire say in mocking French and Lavi focused his eyes on him, seeing that the tone matched the look on his face. It was schooled in a teasing smirk, but there was also a terrifying gleam in his golden eyes behind all the mischief. Suddenly, he had the feeling as if the whole world had slowed down, as if the buildings, trees, humans, beer cans and those golden eyes were made of satin, as if the whole world was swaying in folds and he was just a meaningless part of it all swaying with the wave. Lavi felt that if there would be a stronger gust of the wind, the whole world around him would collapse in folds on the ground, he felt as if he was made of the cloth, as if his organs were just flat material and the vampire before him, the same vampire who's tongue now hungrily flicked out of his mouth and poked his lower lip, was made from the same satin, too. It was as if Lavi was being pulled in a giant vacuum cleaner and his nose, his eyes, his limbs were all being sucked in while he was slowly losing his solid human shape. And then, without any warning beforehand, he suddenly felt an alien presence in his mind that was intruding and poking, brutally brushing over his thoughts and memories. Not wasting a single second, he blocked his mind, focusing on a cigarette butt on the ground, trying to maintain his balance as his heart was beating furiously from the experience.
Dammit, I lost myself for a moment there and forgot that the leeches can read minds. He cursed. Normally, Lavi kept his mind closed safely on every mission since it was the fundamental rule for surviving and protecting information, but this time he was too distracted by the fact who the vampire could be. Everyvampire hunter, even before entering training had to at first learn how to close off his mind, because the vampires liked to abuse that little coincidental advantage of theirs.
Lavi, with his mind now reliably secured by his little staring session with cigarette, turned to look at Kanda who was seemingly locking his own mind as well. Lavi then turned to give a cold look at the vampire and seized him, just to realise that he has uncovered his hood.
"I presume that meeting you here is not a coincidence, gentlemen?" continued the vampire in a cold voice void of any emotions except for the mockery which only added a superior tone to his voice to make the effect of an absolute asshole complete. And as Lavi looked at the familiar features, he instantly knew that the worst possible situation has come, throwing him and Kanda into the deepest shit they've ever had a grace to be in. He heard the swordsman growl and say something more than offensive, but all Lavi could concentrate on was the fact that those golden eyes really belonged to whom he thought they belonged. Because that really was the vampire that not even one hunter, no matter how powerful or fearless, didn't want to meet head on and when he did, he didn't live to tell about the pleasurable experience. As Lavi heard, through the decades of trying to destroy him, he has become the murderer of uncountable hunters, the scarecrow and bogeyman to them, the invincible vampire with one of the strongest and oldest blood running in his veins.
As Lavi was looking at his exposed head now, at his lustrous black wavy hair brushed in an elegant yet modern hairstyle, at his sinister golden eyes and dark skin unnatural to normal vampires, he couldn't help but shudder at the memory of how he actually gained such a tan and why was he labelled as one of the most dangerous of his breed. It dated few decades back when there still were more than current four – or as it was now with their Amiens coven wipe-out, current three – covens with grouped vampires existing. One of them was the biggest coven centred right in the middle of the London. Lavi only read records about it or occasionally heard some stories from Bookman or older hunters who still remembered the massacre that came to be on that 'bloody day', as they called it and even back then, Lavi knew that that wasn't just a phrase. On that day, the vampire hunters were preparing specifically for that action for few months, very well comprehending that it was going to be their biggest and hardest one, not knowing that for the most of them it'll also be their last.
The plan for the attack was the one they usually used: wait until the very moment of sunrise, when the vampires would return to their coffins for their deathly sleep and set the whole coven on fire. Then just wait in front of the entrance with prepared weapons for those that with terrific screams of pain would run out into the scorching sun. Many would call it a sneaky and unfair technique, but there were no rules in the war and especially not in the one where those predators were involved. Lavi knew that such words could never justify it, but he's never felt any kind of remorse or pity for the undead monsters when they swarmed with their teeth bared out into the sun that, together with the fire, ate at their bones, leaving only a pile of ash which wind blew away. Because those vampires killed hunters in countless numbers as well, leaving only maimed gory bodies with blood flowing out of their torn throats, their limbs often unnaturally bent or even missing. They were in war and in war all was allowed. Many times, hundreds of vampires and hunters died on those coven wipe-outs and many times, Lavi wondered if all of it even had some reason. There were simply too many wipe-outs that went horribly wrong, the London one being one of them. What hunters didn't know back then was that inside that accursed coven were not only lost fledglings seeking their remedy in the embrace of Satan in who their believed to be their master, but also one of the strongest and oldest vampires – those that lived through centuries and were called Noahs, simply for the irony that they might've as well lived through the Great Flood for their age.
And so, as the hunters slaughtered the vampires, from the flaming building came the figures that brought goose bumps on hands of everyone. They were figures that, even if burned so badly that their skin was falling off in reeking layers displaying the bones and flesh underneath, even if the sun was tormenting them and their eyes were only blind white balls, came out without a single scream of pain and with a murderous coldness of real vampires. They were Noahs. They were Noahs and they killed in rage every single one of the vampire hunters. They didn't spare anyone without exception to their own kind in their madness. The pandemonium was what it was, chaos, mayhem, hell, death and massacre. It was the biggest massacre in the history of hunter-vampire wars and every year, a remembrance day was held for those that died in it. And the worst of all was that the rule of the equal exchange ignored the whole debacle, because even with their immense loss, hunters didn't gain anything and lost everything. Many covens from then on realised that they were being targeted specifically for the reason of being a coven – there was no other way for hunters to find them than being grouped in big swarms, because as an individual, vampire was practically impossible to find. That meant just as much that many covens scattered and even if there were some that still stayed intact, the security was much tighter. But the worst part was that the Noahs escaped and survived. It was true that they had to go into the ground for few decades and recover from the extreme injuries they had received, that their skin colour forever remained dark and absolutely different from the paleness of other vampires as if to make them remember, that their eyes turned golden as if the sun itself from that day decided to nestle in their eyes, but they survived. And Tyki, the Noah that was there as well and killed the most enemies, continued to kill. Over the few decades, almost half of deaths of hunters were to his 'credit' and he still continued to massacre mercilessly, as if something broke in him that day.
Suddenly, Lavi snapped his head to his left, feeling movement and rustle of cloth there. He was alarmed at first, but upon seeing the Bookman looking at the bloodsuckers intently, he sighed in relief.
"Tyki Mikk," Bookman gritted out with a frown on his face and didn't even turn to recognise Lavi or Kanda as there was a look of deep concentration on his face. "What an unpleasant surprise."
The vampire laughed coldly, opening his mouth so that his long fangs glistened in the moonlight. There was still not any movement or sound coming from his two companions, but Lavi had a pretty good guess on who the smallest one from the group standing on the vampire's right side could be, though he once again hoped he was solely mistaken. One Noah was enough to deal with. He heard the mischievous giggles coming from the vampire and he couldn't ignore the fact that the evil girly voice was quite familiar to him from few unlucky encounters. Though, he had no idea who the other one that was around head or so smaller than the damned Noah, could be. At first, he supposed him to be the bastard's newborn fledgling, but the fact that it was him that he felt the greatest power coming from threw away his assumptions.
"Oh, so rude, Mr. Bookman, so rude. But, to be honest, all I want to say is 'likewise'," the vampire said with a chuckle and his teasing smirk grew even wider. Lavi felt that Kanda was on the verge of attacking him and he assumed that Kanda would have done it long ago if Tyki wasn't a Noah. Lavi watched as the vampire in a swift, but surprisingly graceful movement removed his gloved hand from the black coat and brought it to his lips, caressing his fangs through them. "But I see that Bookman Junior is with you as well. Hmm, I believe I've heard that you two are the last of your clan. What a shame would it be if both of you were to die here tonight..." he trailed off and his eyes gleamed dangerously, setting his intention of hunting them down clearly.
After his statement, there came the unbearable tension as if all of them were waiting for something, waiting for the other side to make some move. Lavi saw from the corner of his eye that Kanda moved forward a little and his stance was alert, his eyes trained on the vampires as if waiting for any opportunity to move which wasn't coming, because the three leeches stayed in their relaxed positions, as if the whole situation didn't concern them at all. Lavi's hand was still planted on his weapon, the only thing keeping him from taking it out were the curious humans around them. The pressure of the situation was unbearable and to Lavi, it almost seemed as if he could hear every rustle of cloth and every breath coming from Bookman on his left.
Suddenly, it was all broken as the hooded vampire on Noah's left came forward, inducing a sharp movement from all three hunters as they prepared to counter the incoming attack, just to become surprised when the vampire planted his pale hand on Noah's shoulder.
"Tyki." It was a voice of a boy, his voice gentle and soft, yet bearing some strange tone of authority. The voice somehow reminded him of the soft tinkle of wind chimes and of the gentle sound of spring breeze bringing the sweet scent with it. The voice strung his heart and he knew that it probably had the same reaction on Kanda and Bookman as well, because even if they were trained hunters, there were instances when the charm of vampires that worked so well on mortals enchanted them and caught them in its alluring appeal. "I believe that it'll be for the best not to cause any commotion," the boy-vampire said to the Noah, his pale hand with its long fingers and perfect glass-like nails squeezing the vampire's shoulder slightly as if giving him a soft warning. And at that moment, as he spoke softly yet firmly, the black hood covering his head slipped off.
And Lavi's breath hitched.
The only word he could describe him by was beautiful. He seemed eternally beautiful, charmingly angelic and absolutely stunning. The boy was around fifteen years old when he was made into a vampire and that's why he had that certain aura of purity, a certain look of a cherub being of neither sex that only boys that still hasn't completed their growth into men could keep. If Lavi didn't know better, he'd think that the boy in all his glowing beauty was just exceptionally beautifulpuremortal teenager. But when you gave him another look, you'd see his unnaturally white hair that almost seemed to radiate pellucid light, you'd see that his grey-blue eyes were impossibly huge with a layer of surface that almost seemed to devour the light and then reflect it, the trait which every vampire had. Those eyes, though, were the most astonishing eyes Lavi has ever seen with their look of infinite gentleness and baby-like hugeness, while contradicting themselves, because when you looked into them, you saw the boundless wisdom, the centuries of experience and pain and yet absolute understanding, knowledge and something that Lavi himself couldn't comprehend. You'd see his white skin that almost seemed translucent and shimmering in the light so that he seemed utterly vulnerable while he was probably everything but. You'd see his elegant limbs that seemed to be stone-like hard, you'd see his lithe form that actually held immense power, you'd see the perfection of his face and you'd feel the aura of supernatural power around him and you'd know that he's not mortal. You'd even know that he is not a normal vampire – because as far as Lavi was concerned, he was sure that with such a beauty, such an aura, with those bottomless eyes, white hair, almost translucent skin and that colossal power he felt, the vampire, despite his childlike look, must've been one of the oldest. Lavi's heart stopped and he felt himself being drawn to him, being sucked in like a mole to light and he knew that the vampire enchanted Kanda and Bookman alike. That only word (beautifulbeautifulbeautiful) still ringed in Lavi's head, now mixing with the words angelic and dangerous.
All at once, he was torn from his reverie by the sound of Noah's voice. "Oui, mon chére," the Noah continued in his mocking French and bent down to the vampire boy, putting his gloved hand on the small of his back and bending down to meet his height. The boy's face remained absolutely expressionless if not for a small look of curiosity in his eyes as he intently watched Lavi. "I, too, believe we don't want to cause any commotion with our little hunters right here."
And then Tyki leaned forward, cradling the other vampire's head with his other hand and kissed him fully on the mouth. At first, it was only a gentle peck, but then the Noah deepened it, pushing the back of the other vampire's head so that he brought the boy closer to him. The other stood motionless, not participating actively, but also not pushing Tyki away. Only those brilliant eyes of his were closed as if he was actually quite enjoying the display of affection. Lavi heard Kanda growl at the image in front of him and he himself felt some strange pinch in his heart, although he didn't know the reason for that.
The thing that surprised him the most, though, was how the white-haired vampire basically came to their defence and how Tyki Mikk easily obeyed his wishes, as if he didn't want to fight in the first place. Lavi hated to admit it, but the best resolve to the current situation would be if the damned bloodsuckers left, even if that would mean failing their mission. The facts wouldn't budge, though. With their current strength, it'd be like fighting bear with a toothpick – you could still hope to win, but you'd know deep inside you that you'd inevitably lose.
"But Tykiii~. You're no fuuuun~," said the smallest vampire in a whiny voice, drawing the words out like a song. Lavi looked in her direction and saw that she has uncovered her face and was clinging to the tall Noah who had stopped the kiss, but still had his hand on the small of the white-haired vampire's back. "I want to play with Mr. Hunters some more," she said with an evil grin and her tongue flicked out of her mouth to lick her lips.
It was Road Kamelot.
Lavi inwardly cursed their luck. He guessed that they would encounter this girl as well, because she mostly tagged along with Tyki whenever he went. She was part of the Noah clan. Her body was that of a twelve years old (making such young vampires was prohibited in the vampire world, anyways) and sometimes she loved to act as if her mind was stuck on that mortal age as well, although everyone who encountered her knew that she had a mind more cunning than anyone else and loved to play morbid psychological games with the hunters she killed and even poor mortals that late became her food. Her skin was dark since she lived through the London Massacre as well, her big eyes were fluidly golden and her short hair was as dark as Tyki's and spiked in many different directions, giving her a sinister look of a demon.
"Not now, Rode, my dear," said Tyki to her, bending down a little to meet her height, his coat moving fluidly with the motion. "Allen is right, we don't want to cause a disturbance now, do we?" His smirk grew wider and it was all said with such mockery that it seemed as if he himself didn't believe his own words.
Road pouted and turned at the white-haired vampire that was called 'Allen' by Tyki a second ago, latching on his arm and peeking at him from under. Her lips were contorted in a sadistic smile, "Aaaaallen, come ooon." She pulled on his sleeve while whining, but still managing to look as a grown-up adult. "Don't you wanna play with our friends a little game?"
There was a silence as the three hunters expected what will happen next. Allen looked at the vampire girl and smiled, but it looked painful as if he had to force himself into doing so. He bent down a little, still with that crooked smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Road, you have many places where you can go hunt in Paris except for this concert. I'm sure you both would find some quiter alleys more pleasurable," he added politely.
Lavi saw as Road's face fell and she huffed, letting go of Allen's sleeve and looking at the three hunters with a gleam in her eyes. The redhead didn't really mind her, because it seemed that the boy-vampire managed to persuade them, though the Noahs probably both knew very well what a commotion would a fight with hunters cause between humans. The thing that piqued his curiosity, though, was Allen's use of 'you', instead of 'we' in reference to feeding. It was as if he himself didn't plan on hunting tonight. It was quite interesting, because every vampire they've met until now fed on humans regularly – they enjoyed the flow of the blood on their lips. It was literally the life essence which they adored dearly like lovers would adore the feeling when in their love making, they reached the uppermost heights of pleasure. They loved feeding and wouldn't abandon such a sweet moment by their own decision.
Lavi saw that Bookman was looking at Tyki with a slight frown. "Would you mind introducing us to your friend, Tyki Mikk?" he asked, while still looking at him intently. At first Lavi thought what the hell was the Old Man doing, but at the Bookman's silent motion to be silent, he understood. He wanted to collect information. After all, they were bookmans and it was their original job. The Old Man wanted to collect at least some data on that mysterious white-haired vampire with immense power and immeasurable age who seemingly popped out of nowhere.
The Noah peered at the Bookman suspiciously like a child expecting a magician to pull a white fluffy rabbit out of his cylinder. "Yes, I would mind that very much, in fact," he said coldly. Lavi wasn't surprised at all to hear his reply.
What he was surprised by, though, was Allen stepping forward, with his hand outstretched and introducing himself in a soft voice. "Allen Walker, nice to meet you," smiling ever so slightly and still keeping his hand in the air as if waiting for someone to actually shake it.
After a moment of nobody even making a move, he dropped it to his side and smiled a little sheepishly, a motion that Lavi found absolutely endearing. "I can't say that I'm surprised by that reaction, actually." Allen's face was up in a little smile as he said that, though it was mostly back to its detached expression, his hands vanishing under the blackness of his coat as he stood absolutely still, his eyes resting on Lavi.
"You really shouldn't be, you fucking bloodsucker."
As soon as the offensive words left Kanda's mouth, Lavi knew it was the end for them. The following sequence of happenings became a disordered blur as even his trained eyes couldn't keep up with the superhumanly fast movements.
Without any warning, he, in all the confusion of the movement, scarcely distinguished in that single second that Tyki has moved fiercely forward to attack Kanda in a speed as fast as lightning. Then it all just became a frenzied motion of chaos where the sound of swishing coats could be heard, a fast movement of the blackness and blurs of white limbs moving as the ground scraped under feet and then, suddenly, as if nothing even happened in the first place, everything went still and silent.
Lavi couldn't even react since the whole encounter happened in a matter of milliseconds and even with his trained eye, he didn't catch a single movement. He didn't know if Kanda was okay and he was only distinctly aware that Tyki has actually charged towards him. As Lavi actually willed his limbs to move, he, with a great hopelessness, realised that he actually couldn't move even one part of his body. It was as if someone was holding him down, intruding his very muscles and veins, intruding his very mind to control it and tell his body that Lavi actually didn't want to move. He tried to pry his leg, he used all his willpower against the controlling force, but nothing was effective. Sweat started to roll of his face.
Shit, what happened to Kanda?
And then, as his good eye darted to look at the scene, as the last remnants of black coats descended in spirals, as the wind blew and brought with it a sweet smell of nearby orchids, as Lavi caught his breath and as the last fold fell down he saw what happened.
Tyki was tilted forward, his hand with undoubtedly crushing power out to strike Kanda, a feral look of rage on his face and his long fangs bared out like fangs of a cornered wolf. But his hand never connected. It never connected, because there stood another figure that held fast onto the wrist of the tall vampire, rendering him immobile with the iron grip of his pale hand.
It was Allen.
He was just standing there, between Kanda and Tyki, his face emotionless and his eyes looking with calm challenge into Tyki's. He must've moved in those few milliseconds, stopping the other vampire from actually killing Kanda, since they all knew that it would have ended up like that if he hadn't intervened. The swordsman's katana, Mugen, wouldn't be able to meet the vampire's attack in such a fast speed, no matter how fast and good Kanda was.
There was a long shocked silence – from Tyki's side because he probably never would've expected Allen to stop him and from the hunters' side, because they'd never expect that a vampire would step in to save one of them. Kanda looked shocked, too, but his expression slowly turned to enraged. Lavi could see that all he wanted was to attack the Noah, but it was as if something was keeping him from it, keeping him from moving his limbs and Lavi realised that he was under the same spell as he was. Lavi could think of only one person that could have been powerful enough to control their minds like that.
Allen must have manipulated their minds so that they wouldn't be able to move and cause havoc by attacking the vampires.
Lavi couldn't believe it. Exactly how powerful was he?
He watched as the two vampires looked in each other's eyes, as if having some silent communication with each other and as far as Lavi knew, they as sure as hell could be doing just that with their vampire telepathic connection. After few minutes, Tyki looked away with a scowl and fastened his sharp golden eyes at Kanda. He glared over Allen's shoulder. "Watch your tongue, boy, or you might lose it," he threatened in a cold tone, but this time there was no mocking pretence or playful twinkle. His eyes were cold and for a while it seemed as if a shadow has enveloped him. The moment was gone as fast as it came, though, and he was straightening up with Allen letting go of his hand and standing in a calm pose as if nothing has even happened.
"Fucker," he heard Kanda say with a hiss, but this time, Tyki didn't even bother to turn around. Lavi felt a tingling sensation in his body, as if he was being freed from something and then he realised that he could move his body once again. He stretched his hands and fingers as if he was a newborn baby testing his body. It felt great to know that he was in the charge of himself once again.
The brief silence sounded in the circle, the only sounds those of drunken fans and the slowly ending concert. There were many deafening noises in the background and yet it felt as if there was an utter quiet around them, as if they've created it with their interaction and as if the world of reality escaped them for that brief time when the two clashing sites of opposite forces met. It was Rode that interrupted it, heaving herself into Tyki's arms as he carried her, telling him few more times that she wanted to 'play a game with hunters' to which Tyki replied with a murmured "Later, my dear."
Lavi has realised that it was the instant when the vampires would turn around and vanish as if they haven't been there from the start, as if they've been just an illusion, as if they didn't belong to that world in the first place and would return into the place of their origin – the night. What befuddled the redhead, though, was how contradictory was he feeling; he knew that he should be glad that the situation was resolved without conflict, even if they failed as hunters and somewhere that night, another amount of mortals would be killed, but contrary to that, he suddenly realised that he didn't want that to be the last time when he saw the soft-hearted vampire called Allen. He didn't understand his own desperate feelings and could only describe it as if some invincible string was fastened to his beating heart and pulling him forward to the vampire so that he felt utterly lost on what to do. In the last minute, he choked back the word 'wait' and retreated his stretching hand that threatened to reach for the vampire as if wanting to stop him from going away. Lavi didn't even understand his own actions anymore.
Allen was looking at the three hunters with those gorgeous grey eyes over his shoulder as he turned to face the dark night that would soon swallow him whole. His face was impassive, but it held a slightest flutter of the smile, his eyes displaying gentleness. They were looking directly into Lavi's green eye, as if wanting to say something to him, holding a silent inquiry and yet Lavi felt as if those eyes were looking at him, because they saw something other people couldn't, some value that only eyes that has lived through millenniums could see even in the smallest and simplest thing.
Road was sitting in Tyki's arms, her strong dark hands fastened around the taller vampire's neck, her eyes sparkling with silent excitement and a sadistic grin plastered on her face. "Bye, bye. We'll surely meet again, hunters," she added with a chuckle. And with those last words, the vampires turned around, covering their faces with their hoods once again, their inky coats swishing in the still air for the last time and without any sound, only with an "Adieu" whispered in Tyki's mocking French, they have disappeared.
Just like that, they were gone, the late night devouring the three figures like a hungry devil without even a slightest slurp or satisfied belch, as if they weren't even material.
But all Lavi could see was a pair of huge grey eyes with bottomless knowledge and pain, locking the gaze with him as if saying the farewell without any words.
All he could see was that pair of grey-blue eyes he'd never forget.
He distinctly heard the voices of Bookman and Kanda, the latter spouting a rush of curses at no one in particular and the Bookman saying something to the both of them. Lavi just perceived the sounds as a part of some background of which he wasn't even aware of. He heard them, but also didn't.
Because the whole world was convulsing in a strong shakes, the ground itself trembling and the edges of things becoming slightly blurry as the shudders shook them violently.
And then he realised that it wasn't the world that was shivering, but Lavi himself.
"The rivers flow, the cities burn, the mountains grow and people die, but we'll forever remain unchanged, like those old grainy photos from 19th century."
The second time they met, there still weren't any lilies.
There was no way for vulnerable flowers that needed protection to survive in such a cold and barren place, anyways.
The second time they'd met, it was less than half a year from their first meeting. Lavi couldn't help but wonder if it was some strange game of fate that they always met in the most fucked up, rushed situations or on the wipe-out missions.
The chilly snowflakes and the frezzing wind were whipping his body as he struggled through the deep snow. He couldn't see anything as the cold bits of snow settled on his eyelashes, getting into his eyes ever so often and staying intact in the freezing winter. Lavi's hands were slowly losing their sense, even if he had leather gloves on them and his legs threatened to give up under the strain he put on them with his constant plodding. There was nothing in front of him, nothing behind him, just infinite desolation of the endless snow that seemed to stretch forever, never reaching anything. Lavi felt a pinch of desperation as the snowstorm raged, bringing more and more snow with it, bits of the frozen water sticking onto his red hair, his leather clothes and black boots, sucking away his warmth together with the beating wind, chewing on it and spitting it out mercilessly. It was snowing so hard that as soon as his footprints were made, there was no trace of them whatsoever in a matter of few seconds. All that sounded in Lavi's head was the howling of the wind that seemed to whisper to him the words he couldn't understand, his panting as he struggled to run in the snow and the occasional squeal of his boots in the snow. He was disoriented, trying to find any dark spot, anything that wouldn't make his eye ache as much as the snowy country did. But there was nothing, everywhere he looked stretched only the infinite whiteness.
If this isn't hell then I don't know what is.
He knew that he had to find the other hunters or any kind of shelter, because there was no hope for the storm to pass. Considering that they were few kilometres north of Novgorod, a city in Russia that was in itself located quite on the North, and considering that it was the middle of the winter, there was about 0 per cent chance for it to pass. Most likely it'd last for few days and the temperature would drop even more from the current -40 degrees that Lavi predicted while still probably being overly optimistic.
"I really want to sip hot tea in the Headquarters now," he muttered aloud to himself, his voice sounding alien to him in the absolute silence as if it was echoing from the surface of fluffy snowflakes.
Instead he was here, in the middle of Russian winter, freezing to bone, being lost and with enraged hordes of vampires roaming in the snowstorm, waiting to suck his blood dry. The mission, once again, wasn't supposed to turn out like this.
The plan was the usual one with only few minor adjustments. This time, the coven that they should wipe-out was located in the Russian city Novgorod and it wasn't especially big one, since many vampires fled from those societies, in fear of either being found and killed by hunters or their own breed that saw them as a threat to their anonymity. And yet, many hunters came, taking as many reinforcements as possible, not wanting to repeat the London massacre. Everything seemed to be perfect with nothing possibly going the wrong way. And that exactly is the approach to any problem that always leads to the most unexpected situation, an approach of idealistic optimist that gets a bitter disappointment when the plans don't turn out the way one would want them to. This was the situation when yet another rule of universe that scarcely makes exceptions took place.
As the time to attack came, the black clouds grouped above the cemetery under which vampires created their complex system of tunnels and jails, creating one huge stretching underground cellar. To the normal vampires, it was unimaginable to live in such place; they loved luxury, loved to bask in the presence of humans, loved to move in the city lights and feel that in the world where everything was so evanescent, they were truly the only ones who would stay unchanged. And so, for the real vampires that hunted in the wake of the night the crowded streets of European metropolises and stalked in the shadows silently, for those vampires the coven fledglings were savages, just a disgrace of their own race, an obstacle that should be eliminated. And so as the black storm clouds grouped as if they were crows waiting for the delicacy the battle would provide them, as hunters realised that the sun will be really weak, as they set the destructive explosives nevertheless of the fact, as they waited for the wails and cries and limbs and eyes and as they battled the desperate burning younglings that cried for the love of their Master, the sudden surge of energy swept everyone from their feet. With tenacious ferocity, the Noahs and the few of the Older vampires have joined the melee, killing their 'brethren', as they wouldn't call them for sure, and hunters alike without any mercy. There were all of them, their dark skin and golden eyes standing out in the uniqueness of their clan, but suddenly acquiring a killing edge, a madness that was displayed in their unstopping laughter as they tore on the limbs and slashed away the heads. And then, with their arrival, everything has become an utter chaos. The snow started to fall from the clouds, as if wanting to bury the dead, as if wanting to cover the ground that was practically bathed with blood.
It was horrible. Even now, as Lavi ran and remembered it, he couldn't help a cold shudder. He didn't know if Kanda, Lenalee or Old Man were unwounded or even alive. He didn't know whether any of his comrades survived the hell that has become the cemetery of Novgorod.
Back then, with the battle raging, everyone was attacking everyone, no one knowing or even caring who was their comrade. Their feet slipped on the ground in the horror, the surface slippery from the warm blood and cold snow while more vampires swarmed from the erupted holes in the cemetery ground made from the explosion. Hunters killed many of them, mainly younglings, because they didn't dare charge against the Old Ones. It was clear that they were overpowered. With their courage and last of the strength, they've tried to finish their mission, their dead bodies piling in front of Lavi while he couldn't do anything, just fight for himself and everyone else alike. He managed to kill around three fledglings that came to him with barren teeth, their eyes dead and mad, the hands that got burned from the explosion clawing at him, trying to reach his throat and get their life essence back. But when Lavi was on the battlefield, he could maintain the cool head and become a terrifying strategist what with the great power of his exorcising hammer became deadly for those that dared to think about drinking his blood.
He was following the one brown haired vampire out into the unstoppable snowstorm and into the places to him unknown when he got lost. At that time, he vaguely noticed that all the hunters got scattered and were somewhere out in the infinite whiteness, battling with the vampires if the cries of pain and clinging of weapons was any indication. He strained to see in the whiteness, but nothing arose from it, just the bobbing head of brown curls which he followed, knowing very well that it's the vampire trying to run away from him. Judging by the fact that Lavi was on the par with the speed of the vampire, he assumed that it had to be one of the younger ones. And as Lavi sped up, knowing that in a combat, he'd be able to kill him without problems, the body suddenly disappeared as if it was only mirage that finally dissipated into the swirl of the snowflakes, as if it was a candle that got suddenly blown out by the whipping wind, as if it was a trick of magician that played on the eyes of audience an illusion.
And Lavi was left there, standing in the middle of nowhere, his red hair swishing around his head as only the bandana held it feebly in place, his hands fastened on the handle of his hammer, the weight of it absolutely non-existing to his accustomed mind. Not hesitating even single second, he put himself into a defensive stance, his eye darting around, his ears straining to hear even the slightest sound out of place, even the weakest rustle of cloth. He was prepared for an incoming attack. He knew that the vampire was probably somewhere in the whiteness, stalking around him in circles, waiting for the right moment to strike. But nothing came. Redhead stood for a long while on the place and then realised that those vampires didn't even need to fight them – they could just lure them away from the town and civilization, so the hunters would die themselves in the unknown region. Lavi cursed; he was done for, surely. They had it very well thought up. And so he ran as fast as he could through the piling snow in the direction where he remembered he came from, but he didn't reach anything. And he realised he was lost, utterly and absolutely lost in the place he knew nothing about. The only sound in his ears was that of a howling wind, sometimes cut through with a mind-numbing cry. And even if Lavi tried to follow it, those heavy feathery snowflakes muffled it.
So he was here now, standing in the snow with his body cold all over and his heart sunk in his stomach. He knew very well that he has probably gone into the wrong direction, being maybe even few kilometres from the city, but running still, because there was nothing else he could do. Lavi couldn't even start to guess how many hours have passed from their attack in the morning, but by the slightest changes of the light, he supposed that there were only few hours before the sunset when those predators would gain their real strength. Now, in the daytime, they were weakened and with no doubt in horrible pain – normally, they wouldn't even be able to rouse from their coffins. But their biggest advantage in this God-forsaken place were those clouds that covered the sun more than effectively, making it possible for them to move, even if quite limitedly.
All at once, Lavi heard a rustle of movement somewhere behind him. Quickly, he turned around, whipping his hammer with him, but even before he could finish the motion, he felt a blow striking him in the back. He suddenly became disoriented as he was thrown into the snowdrift. His back was hurting badly, but as far as he was concerned, nothing was broken, though he felt blood seeping through his leather jacket into the snow.
With a groan, he tried to stand up quickly and defend himself against the enemy, but to no avail. The movement was too fast for him to catch, and before he could even lift his hammer, another blow hit him, this time to the ribs. Lavi wanted to cry out in the pain as he felt one if his ribs crack, but he gritted his teeth and found his footing.
There he was. Right in front of him, his black clothes, his mouth, hands and skin smeared with blood.
He was Tyki Mikk, but now entirely changed from the refined gentleman they've met on that summer night in Paris. His eyes were mad, the irises forming a predatory slits, blood vessels spreading out in the scleras. His stance was that of a maddened animal, his breath a harsh pant. Clearly, something snapped in him.
Lavi has lifted his hammer, prepared to attack and chant an exorcising spell, but he didn't manage to even start the first syllable as the vampire dashed to him. In the last second, the redhead avoided him, dodging his skilled hands and rolling to the right. As soon as he has fallen into the snow, he returned back to his legs, watching his enemy closely. The vampire's face was pulled back in a feral grimace and it seemed that he was entirely enjoying this.
There came a sinister, mechanically cold chuckle from him. "Let's play, Bookman Junior."
And as soon as the words left his mouth, and sooner than they reached Lavi, he had moved so fast that Lavi's human eye couldn't perceive it. In a panic of the incoming attack which he couldn't see nor detect, he has raised his hammer. Then, in a flash, he saw the vampire in front of him, reaching to strike him with his hand, his playful smirk turned into a menacing grimace and before Lavi's mind caught it, his body moved on instinct in unison and brought the hammer to meet the hand of the vampire, who seemed a little surprised that the hunter was able to counterattack.
The vampire jumped back a little, creating a space between him and Lavi. The Noah chortled and licked blood from his hand slowly. "Not bad, Mr. Hunter, not bad…" But his next words were drowned in the sound that sent shivers down Lavi's back and made goose bumps appear on his arms – the sound that was spine-chilling, a far away cry full of pain, high-pitched and mind-numbing in its despair and intensity until it faded out into the whiteness of the snow.
Before Lavi could realise his mistake of turning back to his enemy to the direction of the scream, before he could realise that he was unguarded, still caught in that hurtful wail, it was too late. All at once, the vampire, noticing his lack of caution, jumped on him, pinning him down to the ground without any seeming effort. Lavi's hammer flew out into the snow that happily swallowed it whole. The hunter tried to struggle, he tried to kick off the vampire, but his supernatural power was too much for the redhead to overcome. Still, he strained against the force that held his hands above his head, the vampire smirking down at him triumphantly.
"I wonder if that was the scream of the pretty black-haired huntress, hmm?" he taunted.
"You bastard…" Lavi gritted out in the most menacing tone of voice, trying to struggle out of the vampire's grip. Lenalee… he had to go and help Lenalee, because the scream was undoubtedly her.
The Noah just laughed again, lowering his head down and holding Lavi's hands just with his right one, the other descending down to open up his collar and expose hunter's neck. Lavi's eyes widened as he realised what was the vampire going to do, his feet kicking Tyki's stomach in desperation while the other seemed not to even take a notice. There was only despair and strong urge of self-preservation, his instincts kicking in, as he saw the vampire's gleaming long fangs, as he felt the pressure on his hands getting stronger, as he saw the vampire's descending head with his fangs barred.
Was it really going to end like this? Was he really going to die like this, in a vast whiteness without anything alive and with snow as his only pillow, the stupid bloodsucker drying him of off his blood? It couldn't be true, Lavi thought. It had to be some grotesque joke that he was going to get killed by what he was fighting so tenaciously almost all his life, that his life was going to end in this place where no one may find him for days, his body already buried under layers and layers of snow, being uncovered just in the spring as the snow would melt. As he thought of all this, he felt a sudden rush of adrenaline curse through his veins, but also something else… something more palpable – fear. Lavi would lie if he said that he wasn't scared of death – in his opinion, everyone was scared of it, there was no living creature on this earth that didn't fear the black unknown that was promised to meet them after they breathe for the last time, there was no one who'd honestly welcome Death with an embrace, without even a slightest bit of fear, even if it'd be just a fear of pain or fear of undiscovered afterlife.
And so he didn't see, but felt the vampire fangs on his warm throat, their sharp points digging into the flesh there, vampire's left hand gripping Lavi's red hair and pushing his head back to expose his neck. And in that moment, Lavi thought of everything – he thought of life and death, he thought of laughter and sadness, he thought of vampires and hunters and he thought of his own Death which he could almost taste on his tongue like a bittersweet wine.
He closed his eyes, but still didn't give up, struggling and kicking to no avail. And as he already felt the vampire's mouth opening more, knowing that it was the moment of Lavi's death, he winced, already feeling the pain that was yet to come, already grasping the darkness that would surround him.
Slowly, as if in fear of seeing that he was already dead, as if in fear that he was already floating in some place between the earth and the heaven, he opened his eye, the other covered by the eyepatch. A wave of shock coursed through him as he saw that the Noah has been shoved off of him by some other vampire, the former stumbling back in the deep snow. If his expression was surprised, then it lacked the utter shock; if his expression was enraged, then it lacked the promise of death.
The other vampire was standing erect, prepared for whatever may come from the Noah. Lavi looked at him better, recognizing the thin figure and white hair, but still thinking that maybe he was becoming delusional from the injuries he received. But as the vampire's face turned to him, studying his whole body as if wanting to confirm that he was alright, he realised that it really was the person he'd least expect to be here and also the most.
It was Allen.
The surprise that Lavi felt, wasn't surprisingly the surprise of seeing him, but the surprise of the fact that he wasn't surprised. He didn't know why, but the fact that the white-haired boy was standing there in front of him didn't shock him at all – it was almost as if he was anticipating his arrival, as if the boy belonged in that infinite white.
Suddenly, a growl was forced through Tyki's teeth and he said coldly, "What do you exactly think you're doing, Allen?" The whisper with which it came was spine-chilling; Lavi had to strain his ears to hear what the two of them, with their preternatural hearing, probably heard like a scream.
"Stopping this madness. I'm telling you, Tyki, stop, now. This cannot possibly gain anything," he reasoned with the taller vampire in a calm voice, too calm to be suitable for the situation, but it held a spark of anger.
And then he realised that Allen has actually saved his life, that he has stood against the other vampire for his sake and he, of all things he could feel, felt shame. The happiness and gratitude were emotions for which you'd have to dig deeply to find them under those countless layers of shame for the fact that he had to be rescued like that, by the vampire nevertheless.
The Noah snarled viciously and neared Allen who didn't even shrunk or step backward. "Have you gone mad, Allen? Don't stand in my way," threatened the taller vampire, his eyes suddenly frighteningly serious.
"So what? So that you can continue this massacre, this needless killing? Stop now, I don't wish to fight you."
Lavi suddenly realised with a startle that he actually didn't want Allen to get injured, didn't want the vampire, his enemy that he has met just once and didn't even talk to, to get hurt. But if it's Allen, it surely will be alright since he is insanely strong, right? Surely, he could beat Tyki…
Without any word or notice, Tyki leapt forward and clashed with the smaller vampire. Allen was able to cover the attack, but Lavi saw, with a shock, that the boy was actually panting harshly, his eyes half-mast as if it put immense strain for him to even move. And when he saw him battling with Tyki, his white haired covered with even whiter snow, white snowflakes stuck on his pale hands and light long eyelashes which surrounded his beautiful grey eyes, covered with a bits of snow as he collided with what seemed to be his opposite, Lavi suddenly remembered all those times when he as a child gazed at the numerous paintings of saints battling evil in the churches where he went. On those paintings, saints fought evil, the angels flying above, battling with daemons of Hell.
And they never lost.
But as the two vampires fought, clashing with their hands, kicking and biting, shielding and shoving with such a speed that they seemed just like blurs appearing and vanishing in the falling snow, it was more than obvious that Allen was losing. His feet stumbled more than they should, his breath was frantic and his face was scrunched in deep concentration and hopelessness as it seemed that even the slightest move exhausted him immensely. Lavi didn't understand why was he so weak – the redhead could remember the power which he displayed in the Paris, the confidence with which he stopped Tyki from killing Kanda, the strong mental power as he held the hunters in place. So why was he like that now? Falling, panting, lurching, frowning, losing?
With one great shuffle, the two vampires fell down into the snow, Tyki above Allen, pinning him down much like he did with Lavi, a look on his face something between rage and sadness. He was holding Allen's hands fast above his head, his longer legs holding the boy's hips in the place as he looked intently at Allen's face. The other vampire didn't struggle or kick like Lavi did, but he glared at the Noah and in the calm, yet cold voice said, "Let go of me. Let go of me, now."
Tyki studied his face for a while as Allen looked equally in his eyes, making Lavi wonder if he really couldn't overpower the Noah. He didn't know if Allen didn't show any effort, because he knew he could win later or because he knew it was futile to fight since he was overwhelmed. It seemed that the two vampires totally forgot about Lavi as they stared as each other in a battle of wills.
"Not until you'll promise not to interfere," countered Tyki, his black hair swaying around him as the wind played with it. His words pulled Allen's face into an expression Lavi thought he'd never see on the soft-hearted boy's face – anger. Not loathing, rage, or burning madness, but almost controlled pure anger.
"I will not."
"Why? Why do you insist on stopping this war? This war between vampires and hunters that continued for centuries and is practically bound to continue on and on?" Tyki shouted now, his voice raising dangerously as his hands gripped Allen's more tightly.
"Because fighting never resolved anything, that's why!" Now, to Lavi's astonishment, the quiet vampire's voice raised as if wanting to overpower the strength of Tyki's, as if only countering what was thrown at him with the same medicine. "I've seen it all through those countless centuries – I've seen the war that only brought death and despair and bred only more hatred. And hatred bred more war, continuing in the vicious circle that never ended. Never peace. No, not, never peace," he repeated as if wanting for everyone to remember those striking words which he shouted and yet whispered in the cold of Russian winter. "Only death and despair," he finished, his voice almost resigned, but his eyes were full of determination. Determination for what, Lavi didn't know. What did he want to accomplish by those words? Did he want to persuade the Noah to stop killing? But surely he knew that it was impossible – that it was their very nature to do so. Wasn't he a vampire as well; shouldn't he know things like that?
"Peace?" mocked Tyki, his voice full of amusement and bitterness. "Don't make me laugh, Allen! Peace? Such foolish things you speak of, my love. Have you forgotten? You, one of the oldest of us that have lived a millennia and saw all the wars that those silly mortals created themselves! Don't tell me that you've forgotten that this peace," he spat out the word as if it left a bitter taste in his mouth, as if it was some kind of optimistic herpes, "you speak of was always acquired through the wars, through killing. You saw all that, you were there. You should know the best. We are like that, it is our nature, vampires' and humans' alike that our diplomatic discussions never lead to anything. As contradictory as it sounds, battling is what brings that 'peace' you speak of. But, really, peace doesn't exist, it never was and never will be. In this world, peace is not something exclusive that waits for you on the peak of a mountain and you just have to climb to it. It doesn't wait, it doesn't exist."
Lavi was surprised at the amount of reason that came from Noah's mouth – he'd never expected it from him. And yet, he couldn't fully concentrate at the words as he watched Allen who stayed expressionless through the monologue, and focused on Tyki's words of him being one of The Oldest Ones and living through millennia.
Just how old was he?
Allen was looking at Tyki, measuring him while his eyes suddenly flashed full of contained emotions as his white hair flailed around him with the wind. It almost seemed as if the atmosphere became calmer, as if they were just sitting in some café, discussing the life. And still, there was look of silent anger on both of vampires' faces, as if they couldn't accept the philosophy of the other one, as if it was just a quarrel of opinions while to Lavi, it seemed to be so much more. "But you don't battle for peace. You battle for the sheer thrill of it, for the sheer love of taking another humans life. You battle not for necessity but for your own satisfaction," Allen spoke, his words apparently being true as Noah's face stretched into a wide grin.
"Why, yes, you're right on that," he said with a chuckle. "It's in our very genes to be predators, to kill and savour the sensation of it. Yes, you're right, indeed. Not only the feeding, though – I love the way bones crack under my fingers, I love the snap of breaking the neck, I love when the rich, sweet blood pulses into my mouth and I love 'the thrill of the kill' as you kindly put it. Tell me, Allen, my dear, do you really think it so bad to do what's in vampire's nature?" he asked, his face displaying the inquiry, but also showing that Tyki knew what answer should he expect. He leaned forward to Allen, pecking him on the cheek, whispering, "Tell me."
The white-haired vampire didn't even hesitate a second to answer, his face set firm as if he knew the answer even before Tyki asked him the question, "In the way that you kill, in that cruel way to satisfy yourself with kill – yes, I do."
A good-humoured laugh escaped from Tyki's mouth, but it didn't reflect on his expression as his face was scrunched furiously. "Allen. Allen, Allen, Allen," he repeated, "you should be the very embodiment of the vampire nature and yet I found you to be the exact opposite. We're vampires!" He practically shouted the last word, the booming sound of it echoing in the snow until it was completely swallowed, the last 'res' sucked in by the fluffy snowflakes. "We're vampires, we are killers, we are predators. We are here to feel the flow of the time, to feel the fleetingness of the generations while we remain unchanged. We are here to kill and we're here to live in eternity. We're not going to frolic on meadows, play with ponies and rainbows, be vegetarian and sparkle on the sun!"
"I know all that, Tyki. And yet, I don't wish to embrace that evil completely, the way you did."
"But what does mortal life mean to you? You, immortal vampire, one of the oldest. You know that as you are, you cannot reject evil."
"Concept of evilness and goodness never existed to me, Tyki. Because, surely, what one finds evil, what one finds absolutely disgusting, the other may find to be embodied goodness. And so, the reality of those terms is just something which everyone defines in themselves. The question may be, what is real evil and what is real good and when does it become so? How much goodness do you have to find in yourself for it to have that name? How many sins do you have to commit so that you'll be the devil and don't you need only one? Those questions don't matter to me, they're not what I'm seeking, though," he said and Lavi felt the powerfulness behind those words, the life long thousand years and those grey eyes full of pain and full of knowledge. The redhead became drawn in the conversation, forgetting everything about the icy snow and his injuries, just wanting to hear what a conclusion the clash of theirs may have and if it will have one.
"You contradict your own words; I can only wonder, then, why you pursue the goodness with such ferocity if you do not believe in it, my love. You are so very conflicted within yourself."
Stare which Allen gave Tyki was neither angry nor intimidated, it was a composed stare that said 'you still have much more to learn'. "Think what you will. Because where there is evil, there is always the opportunity to kindness. And where is kindness, there is evil. They're inseparable."
A long, ironic laugh erupted from the Noah's throat before his expression turned dark. He leaned down to Allen, holding his hands even tighter while he gently nibbled on his throat. "There you go once again, with that endless pacifistic idealism! And look where it led you! You're absolutely powerless, writhing in hopelessness under me without even the smallest hope to overcome me – you, the vampire twice as old as me! Just because you have decided not to feed on mortals! It has already been a year since you've felt that sensation of warm blood running into your mouth and look how weakened your powers are! You're not stronger than those mortals you find so precious!" And to emphasize his point, he jerked Allen up by the collar with the latter not attempting to struggle. They looked in each others' eyes for a long moment as the deafening silence echoed all around them, the howling wind giving them only company in the vast lonely and empty land. Tyki laughed maniacally once again as no words came from Allen's mouth and Lavi saw how the Noah put the boy vampire back, grinning like a madman.
Haven't fed on a human for a year? Lavi thought, the bewilderment taking control of his body. For a normal vampire it would be physically and mentally impossible, but the hunter heard that the Oldest Ones could go on without feeding on a mortal for quite some time, though he was sure that there weren't many who did. The reason for them to do so didn't exist and so didn't the will to voluntary deprive oneself of the pleasure and their basic essence of life.
When Allen continued to keep his mouth shut, staring daringly and calmly at Tyki, the other seemed to lose his composure finally. "Then why do you do it? You surely cannot expect redemption from the non-existent God. Surely you know that you are damned, that you were damned from the very moment you were born into the world of darkness. And in the damnation should you live."
"I'm very well aware of the fact, Tyki, and I don't expect to be redeemed. I'm not as foolish or naïve as you take me to be and you forget what you said: I'm twice as old as you."
"Then tell me why. For your morals, perhaps? Aesthetics? Those things can't matter to you," his voice spoke of reason, but the way, in which he said it, that crazy tone which he used were almost declining his own words and yet wanting to impose them on Allen more than was necessary. And to Lavi, he was the Tyki that would show up on a Paris night, spouting French phrases, attacking them all the while laughing and taunting. Allen was the soft-hearted boy vampire that would speak with thought in a composed voice, save Kanda and then persuade others to leave them alone. And yet, they were laying there, on the snow, reasoning about things that should not matter in that second, but probably meant a lot to them.
As if a lightning stroke, that word had an immediate impact when only the silence followed, as if the whole world stood still, as if the snowflakes themselves have stopped falling for a moment and wind decided to calm down and listen to the conversation, as if being engaged in it with its howling a while ago.
And then Tyki chortled, the laughter so intense that it brought bloody tears in his eyes and he almost choked on his next words. "For humanity?" he mocked disbelievingly with laughter while Allen studied him. "Seriously, Allen? Seriously? You have no humanity, boy! You are a vampire and one of the oldest at that! No vampire has humanity, that's why we are what we are!"
"But of course we do. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to feel, wouldn't be able to laugh and cry. Every vampire must have some humanity left, even if it's just a tiny spark deep in his heart that will never awaken, even if he will move in a way unnatural to humans and never weep, there will always be a trace of what he once was. And he should not give it up, for even if we are vampires, even if we are damned, what makes us to be as close to God as to decide who lives and who dies? Humans kill each other, vampires kill humans and humans kill vampires, but the humanity… it will forever be there," he as much as whispered the last part, but it was all said with great passion and desperation in his eyes, as if he wanted Tyki to understand. The emotion was so human and so open in its hopelessness and vulnerability that Lavi's heart clenched at the view and he felt like he wanted to wrench Allen from under the Noah and tell him he was right.
As soon as the sensation came, it left and Lavi found himself staring at Tyki who seemed to be searching for something deep in Allen's eyes. When he appeared not to find it, a deep suffering sigh escaped his opened lips and he closed his eyes as in defeat, chuckling slightly. "You really cannot be reasoned with, can you? Holding onto that opinion of yours…" He opened his eyes as if deciding on something and leaned closer to Allen's face. "Very well, then. I will put you to a little sleep so you wouldn't interfere. Maybe then you will be closer to those beloved mortals than you ever were," he finished, his fangs gleaming sinisterly as he grinned.
Allen looked at him in disbelief. "What do you mean to do, Tyki?" he asked, his voice strong despite his situation.
"Allen, my love, you must know that your delicious powerful blood is a bait for lots of vampires." He licked his lips and Allen seemed to get the implication. "So I'll just make you go beddy-byes," Tyki finished with a chuckle, purposefully mocking the other vampire with his baby talk. The Noah, still holding Allen's hands with his right one, pulled on the ribbon on the vampire's shirt while unbuttoning an upper part of his waistcoat, exposing the pale marble neck. The view obviously made him happy as he grinned down on Allen with excitement.
"Tyki," the fair-haired vampire started in unbelieving voice, his expression showing the same shock Lavi felt upon realising what was the other vampire going to do, "you wouldn't dare."
"Oh, yes. Yes, I would," it was said with a sound akin to purr from somewhere deep inside the other's chest and the Noah nuzzled Allen's neck with a catlike movement. The other winced and Lavi saw that he pushed with all the force he could manage against Tyki's constricting hands. It didn't do anything to the Noah as he calmly seized Allen and then, as a chuckle came from him accompanied by hungry animalistic growl, he opened his mouth with a hiss. With a wind lifting up his black curly hair, with his golden eyes narrowed in a yearning slits and with his fangs barred out so that their lethality could be seen, he portrayed pure Devil. Lavi saw as Allen shuddered and tried to once again overpower him to no avail. The other was leaning down, his torso completely covering the smaller vampire as he put his mouth on Allen's neck, his fangs poking the hard flesh there before slowly, slowlythey sank into his throat.
Lavi's heart froze as Allen's eyes widened and he opened his mouth to let out an inaudible scream of pain. Tyki was crouched down on him with his hand in Allen's hair, pulling his head back so that he would have a limitless access to his neck. His mouth was latched on the pale flesh of the other vampire's neck and his Adam's apple was popping up and down as he practically devoured the other's blood, lapped on it like a hungry animal. Lavi couldn't look at it, couldn't look as one vampire drank the other, as Tyki's expression turned into ecstasy, his eyes closed and moan coming from his lips, as he brought the boy closer to his body and as Allen's agonised look slowly turned into a sleepy one as he gradually lost his strength.
I can't watch it anymore.
And before he knew it, Lavi was scrambling through the snow to the place where he remembered his weapon has fallen, a hole in the snow in the form of hammer displayed there. He reached down, feeling the familiar cold handle in his hands and he, with one jerking motion, wrenched it out of the snow, almost losing his footing as it came quite easily. Without thinking about anything, about his safety or his injuries, he dashed back to where Tyki was still hungrily sucking Allen's blood, the latter looking like he was losing the last of his power and consciousness. All Lavi had in mind in that moment was to save Allen, to wrench him out of the arms of the other vampire and he knew that if he was going to do it, now was the best and probably the only chance he'll ever get. Tyki was vulnerable now, engaged in the pleasure of the powerful blood coursing into him.
Unlocking one of the spells, he pulled the hammer with a force to his side, gaining the momentum. His feet planted wide, his hands both to his side holding the hammer tightly and his lips screaming out the exorcising spell, Lavi brought the hammer with an immense impact and one huge blow to Tyki's side, knocking him quite a big distance away from them into the snow. He didn't stand up.
Lavi clutched his side as he felt a sharp pain and scrunched his face when it didn't stop. His breath was laboured, but it seemed that he successfully knocked out the vampire for a little while, at least. He looked down at Allen, who was staring at him with widened eyes full of surprise and wonder, his mouth gaping open. Intend on tailing it out of there before the Noah woke up, and he was sure that he would sooner or later, he grabbed Allen's hand quite gently and tugged on it a little.
"You okay?" he asked, once again seeing that expression of surprise mixed with gratitude in the vampire's eyes. "Can you stand up?"
Allen nodded his head as if in daze and let himself be pulled up by Lavi, planting hand on the spot where Tyki bit him, a little bit of blood still trailing out of the wound. He gazed up at Lavi, probably seeing how the redhead held his side. "But are you alright?"
Lavi smiled at the concern in the boy's eyes and laughed good-naturedly. "I've been worse." And then immediately as he saw Allen's eyes brighten, he added, "But we have to get from here as soon as possible."
Allen seemed to understand. "There is a cottage not too far away from here," he pointed to the direction into the white. "It might provide us a shelter."
As soon as the words left his mouth, Lavi pulled him by the hand to the direction, walking as fast as his broken ribs and deep snow allowed him. They were both silent as they waded through the snowstorm, only soft squeaking of their boots in the snow keeping them company. Lavi felt Allen's smaller hand in his, boy's skin smooth and soft and yet very hard and cold, though Lavi couldn't guarantee that his hand wasn't equally as chilled, even if for different reasons. The snowflakes and wind were colliding with them, occasionally making one or the other stumble since Allen was obviously still quite weakened from the loss of the blood and Lavi still had his unpleasant injuries. After a while, they reached a small wooden cottage that has certainly seen better days.
"There it is," he heard Allen say from behind him. They didn't waste anytime looking at the snow-buried, shabby, wooden hut and quickly entered inside. Trying to get in turned into not being such an easy feat as they had to dig through the snow covering the door first and then struggle to open it.
A few minutes later, lot of cursing from Lavi's part, creaking of the half-destroyed doors and they were finally able to blissfully come in. The darkness of the room blinded Lavi for a while as his eyes were not used to it from the outer lightness. He more felt than heard Allen stepping in behind him, both of them looking at what has probably been habitable environment at least few centuries ago. Lavi knew that he could hope for electricity in such a place like a polar bear could hope for summer vacation and so he scanned the place for possible hearth where they could make fire and warm themselves up. He found none.
"Not very fancy, is it?" he joked and heard a soft laugh behind his back. It made him feel fuzzy and sappy and happy and all rainbowy inside and he knew that he would pay anything to hear that sound over and over again. Damn, Lavi honestly had no idea what was wrong with him.
"Indeed," Allen replied and Lavi could hear the still prominent smile in his voice as they stepped deeper into the dark place.
From what Lavi could decipher in the minimal light that was coming from the two small windows, it was a simple square room with a pile of dust flying or rather just lying around since there was nothing to force it into movement. The furniture was probably a word long ago forgotten for those who made it, since there was only one run-down table in the middle of the room and by the looks of it, Lavi certainly wouldn't risk sitting on it. The ground was covered with soil, but the hunter saw that under it laid wooden parquet; a word probably too luxurious to call it. The redhead assumed that the hut must have been used for other purposes than living, since there wasn't even place for fire – fire that was absolutely essential unless someone wanted to freeze in this goddamn cold. Looking up, he saw that the wood that was supposedto hold the ceiling was mostly cracked, leaked through or rotten and, gulping, he hoped that it wouldn't decide now was the right time to descend into the earth.
Well, still better than getting torn by horde of crazy vampires.
He turned at Allen next to him who seemed not to even care about his surroundings as he panted, his eyes half-mast while he held his hand on his neck. Lavi sighed and with a thud sat heavily on the floor, his back slouched against the wall. He winced as he felt his back wound protesting against the feeling of the wood. Allen sat next to him, keeping a decent distance as if not wanting to make Lavi feel threatened. The vampire pulled his knees up and put his arms on them, an exact opposite of Lavi's relaxed position who laid his legs in front of him despite the pain.
All they had left was to wait for the storm to pass or for someone to find them. Lavi desperately hoped that it wouldn't be a foe, because with their current strength, they wouldn't be able to even fight.
The beating of the wind against the walls of the cottage only increased the knowledge of the brief silence sounding between them as they both contemplated their situation.
"You sure you okay?" Lavi asked, gazing at Allen from the corner of his eye since the boy-vampire was sitting on his left side. The face of the vampire wasn't its usual pale colour, but had an ashen look to it as if he was an old person on the death bed. The redhead couldn't shake off the feeling that he was looking at some very sick person by the waves of shudder that racked Allen's body and by the way his eyes were narrowed, as if it took him a great effort to even keep them open. If Lavi didn't know that he was immortal, he'd think that he was just a human boy on the verge of death from plague. His head kept lolling up and down as if he was falling into sleep and then instantly waking up.
"Yeah," he murmured with a feeble smile, "I just need to rest a little, though I know I can't fall asleep." He chuckled at the contradiction and sheepishly scratched the back of his head with his left hand, the one that wasn't occupied with holding his neck. Out of nowhere, Lavi had a sense of déjà vu and then he was hit with the fact that it was the motion which Allen used on that night as he reached out his hand to introduce himself. The hunter found it really endearing back then.
"I'm immortal, after all, something as small as this won't do anything to me. But what about you? Aren't your wounds severe?"
The concern in the vampire's voice made him blink. "Nah, as I've said, I've been worse."
Short silence that came was the comfortable one, but the cosy feeling never really reached with the wind howling outside and the floor being so goddamn cold.
"You're from the Bookman clan, right?"
That caught Lavi off guard. "Ah– what? Uh…yes. Yes, I am."
The vampire lowered his head down as if in guilt and it reminded Lavi of the downcast heads of mourners as they cried for the loss of their loved ones, as they held each other and found comfort only in the arms of those who lived and in the memories of those who died, even if they were not solid. "I'm really sorry about what happened to your clan," the vampire said in a whisper, tilting his head backwards so that he was looking at the ceiling, his gorgeous eyes glazed over as if he was seeing a different reality.
"No need to. You weren't the cause of it," Lavi pointed out. He really didn't want to talk about it, about how the Bookman clan of hunters slowly ceased to exist. Despite it, he forced a bittersweet smile on his face and brought one of his knees up. The pain proved to be a useful distraction. It seared through his torso and back, dull and sharp at the same time in its intensity. Lavi was only distinctly aware of the blood trickling down his back and then with a startle realised how strong and concentrated must be its odour in the small room, especially for one injured, exhausted and starving vampire.
Lavi turned quickly at Allen, as if expecting an attack, while forgetting for a while the boy's passive attitude towards blood and feeding, even if it seemed surreal to the redhead. Allen, as expected, was just sitting calmly on the floor, his look directed somewhere into the distance, as if he was only daydreaming but also thinking deeply, as if the detached atmosphere of secludedness which he always bore just got even deeper.
"You really haven't fed on a human for one whole year?" Lavi inquired out of nowhere as the question rose up in his mind, waking up the white-haired vampire from his daze as he turned to look at the hunter.
"I haven't," Allen answered and Lavi could see that he wondered why he asked him such a thing.
"So if I told you to suck my blood now, you wouldn't do it?"
Allen raised his eyebrows a little as if silently demanding of Lavi what he meant by asking all that while, in fact, the redhead himself didn't know. "Probably not."
The hunter pondered that for a while. "How come you can resist the blood? Don't you smell it?"
"No, not really. I can smell your blood like I can smell blood of any other human, even if they're not injured. And it smells as good to me as it does to other vampires, a thick essence of life, sweet in its taste as it flows into my mouth and fills my very being, but–" Allen stopped himself, sweeping a hand over his face as if he felt a sudden wave of nausea, "but I can resist it, ignore it."
"All the vampires as old as me are capable of maintaining high self-control in any given situation and our old bodies give us the opportunity to live without human blood for a long periods of time if desperate," Allen explained with a sigh. "But we still need it, we cannot live without it. We can drink blood from animals, but it's in no way a satisfactory replacement, mainly for physical reasons."
"I see," Lavi murmured when another thing came up to his mind and he raised himself against the wall a little, wanting to take a better look at the vampire, realising how the snowflakes were still stuck to his skin and hair since he had no body temperature to melt them.
"Why don't you tell me about yourself?"
The redhead gestured with his hands wildly. "Here you are, telling me that you're one of the oldest of your breed. I want to know about you, Allen," Lavi said excitedly, realising that he used the other's name for the first time only when the vampire's huge grey eyes widened. "About all you've lived through. Why don't ya tell me something about it?"
The vampire seemed honestly flabbergasted as even his mouth was opened wide. "About me? But I've never told about me to anyone."
Lavi grinned as wide as a Cheshire cat, his emerald eye closing for a moment as he chuckled friendly. "Then I gotta be the first, yeah?"
The vampire gazed at him in wonder for a long while, almost unnerving the redhead, before looking down at his feet as if thinking about what he should say. "I guess I can try."
He lapsed into a long silence so that Lavi almost felt compelled to shake him and wake him up. He was already reaching out his hand, partially brushing over the other's waistcoat when the boy lifted his stunning eyes and gazed straight into Lavi's.
"I'm not really sure of the exact date when I was born, but I remember it to be a cold day like this…" Allen started with the tale of his life, his gorgeous mesmerizing eyes keeping Lavi's for the whole time. He talked for hours, immersing Lavi into his great storytelling abilities, utterly sucking him into his world of shifting generations, fleeting eras, lost ideals and forever changing centuries. His talk, for the most part, wasn't about his personal life and Lavi wasn't sure if it was because the boy didn't remember much of his mortal life or didn't simply want to talk about how his Maker brought him into the world of darkness. From the few comments here and there, Lavi pieced together that Allen was an orphan born into the land of the present England sometime on the beginning of a new millennia, right on the brink of Norman's Conquest and end of the Anglo-Saxons era. He didn't say much more than this, throwing in just accidental information of him not even remembering his parents, of him having to live on the streets and live day by day in the horrible conditions. That was the most that he seemed to remember of his life as human and probably the most that he was willing to share, as the experiences he came to talk about later were all of history. But of what history did he talk!
The happenings he saw, the people he met, all that he experienced – as he talked about those things, all of them suddenly gained colours, all of them came to live as if a painter suddenly coloured all his sketches. He talked about the Crusades which he came to know about as a still fairly young fledgling, he talked about how he roamed medieval empires, how he saw the peak of the Byzantine and then its fall; he talked about Hundred Years' War and all the wars that came about thorough the ages. He talked about his journeys though the Europe and through Asia Minor, he talked about the discovery of the 'New World' that brought startling changes into the world. He could talk to Shakespeare in his era if he'd wanted to, see Queen Elizabeth govern, hear symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven as they were made. He witnessed the revolution of the literature and philosophy with the Classicism, Age of Enlightenment, Romanticism and following Realism. But he also saw wars, saw death, saw the savageness of The French Revolution, of the World Wars which he came to hate in their destruction, running away into the countries that were not tainted by the always present stench of the death. And what surprised Lavi was that he was one of those many who boarded the deck of the legendary Titanic and one of those few that survived. He talked about the experience quite vividly, about the utter panic around him as he knew that it wasn't in his power to help the dying mortals and yet felt the need to, as he easily slipped into the icy ocean and swam onto the dry land.
As he was talking, Lavi was aware of the faraway look in his eyes, of the momentary lapses into the silence and the redhead could only guess that he was seeing all those centuries in front of him, that he was seeing the images as clearly as he spoke of them, that he practically could touch the ground of this or that country he was talking about in the moment as if he was there.
Hours later, as he finished his narrative and the snowstorm outside finally calmed down, leaving only darkness of descending evening seep through the small windows, they have both fallen into a comfortable silence, immersed in their own thoughts. After hearing of all those centuries and all those experiences, Lavi suddenly felt somehow small and incomparable to the great age of the vampire as if he was only a grain of sand while Allen was the whole desert.
"And that's it," Allen whispered as if concluding the whole story of his life in those three simple words.
The redhead snickered. "Okay, if that's not the coolest life story I've ever heard, then Tyki is a fluffy kitten," he pointed out with a big grin that stretched even more as he heard Allen's soft laugh and saw that endearing smile of his which only softly pulled his lips up on the corners, as if some hand was stretching them up.
And as the vampire looked at him, there was something strange in his eyes, some hidden affection mixed with the amusement and knowledge. "It's just as I thought – you really are an interesting person."
When those kind words sank into Lavi's brain, something clicked in him. He could blame it on the injuries, he could blame it on the cold, he could blame it on the loss of blood or even on the natural charm of vampires, but he knew that they were all just excuses. As he looked at the alabaster skin that seemed to emit light in itself as if it was translucent and inside were swirling fumes, as he looked at the softest hair that must feel like satin and as he watched the world swim in those alluring eyes, Allen suddenly seemed irresistible. Lavi didn't even care that he was his enemy, because he felt a desire that promised to tear his insides if he didn't yield into it.
If Allen was a colour, he'd be transparent.
And before he could rationally reason his body with his mind, Lavi moved forward quickly, his hands reaching towards surprised Allen who probably didn't know what to make of the situation. It was as if Lavi's body was being controlled by someone else and he was doing it all on some ingrained instinct when deep inside he knew he wanted it. He cradled the back of the vampire's head with his hand gently, feeling the smooth skin on the nape of his neck and the soft hair with his fingers. He brought Allen's face closer.
"What–" the vampire started with a startle, but the rest of his words were swallowed by Lavi's lips that covered his own tenderly, as if he was actually scared of breaking the vampire thousand years old. He felt Allen stiffen in the surprise and start to pull away, but Lavi, resolved on not letting him go, sneaked his other arm gently around the slender waist. He noticed that Allen stopped struggling, even though he'd probably not have the power to do so, and, as if finally realising what was going on, responded to the kiss.
Predictably, kissing a vampire was different than kissing a human, but still absolutely amazing in its own way. The vampire's lips were cold, but at the same time surprisingly pliable and velvety. He nibbled on Allen's bottom lip, realising how warm his mouth has become, as if it was drawing the warmth from Lavi's lips. One of them moaned, though Lavi couldn't be entirely sure who. They deepened the kiss as Allen opened his mouth a little, letting Lavi's tongue in, making the hunter groan in pleasure. Lavi found it shocking that the inside of Allen's mouth was hot, the boy's tongue that danced and played with his emitting the most warmth. Tightening his arms, he brought Allen closer, the other finding support in sneaking his arms around Lavi's neck tightly, clutching the back of hunter's leather jacket in his fingers so that the redhead heard the cloth rustle. The pain pulsing in his back and side made him aware of the injuries he has suffered, but he paid no heed to it as his mind was being completely blown away by the kiss, by the way Allen's tongue was entwined with his and the way the sounds of needy groans and moans mingled with those of the wind outside.
Out of nowhere, a loud banging on the doors echoed in the hut, breaking them from their embrace. Both of them jumped from each other with a startle as the banging on the doors increased and they both looked in panic at the shaking hinges.
"Hey! Someone there?" came a deep muffled voice from behind the door. Lavi sprung on his feet quickly, the injuries hurting badly with the motion. He reached for his hammer that was fastened in its decreased form on his side, taking it out and preparing for an attack. When he didn't sense any movement from behind him, he turned to look at Allen in inquiry, just to find him sitting calmly against the wall as before, his lips still pink from the kiss and his eyes a little sad.
"They're humans," he murmured, inclining his head with almost invisible tilt to the doors.
It took a while for the redhead to decipher what the vampire meant and when it hit him that it was probably a searching party of hunters, he hurriedly lowered down his hammer and with relief went to open the door for them. He was already reaching for the handle, his hand almost twisting the lock when he realised what it meant to Allen – him as a vampire and them as hunters. Freezing on the spot, he turned to look at the vampire who seemed to understand what Lavi wanted to say even before the redhead.
"Go open up," he said with a smile, but it held a bitter edge to it.
"Go open up or they'll assume nobody is inside."
Lavi gulped heavily, his eye studying Allen who sat composedly on the ground like a statue, not even one muscle in his body shifting and in that moment he seemed more vampire, more supernatural to Lavi than ever before. And yet, even if the redhead knew that they were destined foes, he couldn't bring himself to open up the door. He knew, though, that if he didn't notify the others whose voices could still be heard through the door as they seemed to be arguing whether to leave or not, it may make them add yet another name onto the list of victims – his own.
Making up his mind, he turned to the door and reached for the lock, but not before saying with a grin, "I won't let them harm you, I promise." Not missing the surprised look on the vampire's face, he twisted the lock.
"Oh, someone's ther– Lavi!" he heard an excited voice before he saw anything as his eye got blinded by the outside whiteness. He wasn't used to such a light after spending the last few hours in a completely dark room. Blinking few times, he finally accustomed enough so that he could make out two silhouettes of his fellow hunters. They both looked genuinely happy to see that he was alive, their stances relaxed.
"Hey, I'm glad that you've found me. I though I'd freeze in the goddamn cold," he smiled at them, putting his whole body to the door so that they couldn't see inside.
"No problem. We didn't think that anyone could be out there, actually. We were just about to leave," the first hunter said in a deep voice Lavi recognised him as a man which life he had saved on one of the missions when the vampires caught him off guard. "Are you injured?" he asked now, looking at the redhead's bloody clothes and painfully crouched stance.
"Nah, it's nothing serious," Lavi replied and tried to wave it off, but it was clear that the injuries have taken its toll on him and if not treated any further, they could prove to be fatal for him.
"So," started the other one, trying to peer into the hut over Lavi's shoulder as the redhead tried to block him inconspicuously, "is there anyone else inside?"
Lavil laughed forcedly and tried to close the door, even if he didn't want to leave Allen behind. "No, there isn't."
But it was too late.
By the look on the man's face, he must've somehow been able to see inside and there, of course, glimpse the sight of Allen with his clearly vampire features. Immediately, he jumped backwards in defence, reaching for his weapon and calling to his partner in alarmed voice, "There is a vampire inside!"
The other man positioned himself into an attacking stance as well. Lavi hastened to explain, "Guys, drop your weapons! He won't do anything."
The two hunters looked at him suspiciously, clearly not believing him, even if the redhead didn't expect anything else, especially after the battle on the Novgorod cemetery.
"What are you talking about, Lavi?"
"I mean, he saved my life back in the battle," he said in a desperation, seeing that it didn't convince them. "And he wasn't even attacking anyone," he added, trying to bring his point across. He knew he couldn't possibly persuade them completely.
"Maybe he saved your life because he wanted to leech on you later," one of them pointed out with untrusting voice, not even lowering his weapon.
"No!" Lavi raised his voice, "Look, if he wanted to do it, he could have. We spent hours in this cottage and he had hundreds of opportunities, yet here I am, still alive. I'm telling you, he's harmless," he reasoned, losing a little bit of his nervousness as he saw the men looking at each other and then lowering their weapons slightly, their expressions confused as they clearly weren't sure of what to do in such a situation.
"So, you're asking of us to leave him alone if I understood it right?" asked the hunter which was indebted to him, his eyebrows creasing.
"No, we can't just leave him here–"
"Bookman Junior!" cut in the other hunter with a sharp voice and frowned at him. "What you're asking of us is against the rules. It's prohibited to help vampires in any way or form! We refuse do it."
Lavi groaned inwardly. So it seemed it'll have to come to one thing he wanted to avoid the most – fighting. He was holding his weapon in hand, already preparing to unlock it and the only thing that stopped him was the argumentative voice of the taller hunter who turned to thr other one. "One exception can't hurt anyone," he pointed out and Lavi felt a tiny flicker of hope.
"You can't mean this, Matt!"
"Come on, Lavi said he's okay, so he must be," he argued, the look on the other hunter's face livid as it seemed that he didn't want to go to the action by himself and yet didn't agree with the other hunter. The man, Matt, gazed at Lavi. "I'm only doing this since I owe you one."
Lavi grinned happily. "Yeah."
The smaller hunter huffed. "But we're not taking the bloodsucker with us!"
The redhead's grin dropped as he heard those words and then his heart dropped as well when he saw the other hunter shaking his head, clearly stating that the most he was willing to do was leave Allen there. Even if vampires were tough and practically immortal, Lavi feared for the white-haired vampire since he seemed to have lost a great deal of his already limited strength when Tyki fed on him.
"Then I'm staying, too," Lavi said determinedly and was just about to do so when Allen's surprisingly amused voice rang from the room.
"Don't be a bullhead and go. I'll be perfectly fine."
"You forget that I'm a vampire," Allen pointed out, that amused tinkle in his voice still prominent, even if his eyes looked somehow sad.
Lavi wasn't so dense as not to realise that he was fighting a losing battle – there were three other people except himself involved and all three were resolved on confuting his arguments. He sighed and run his hand through his thick hair, feeling many knots in it and he closed his eye.
"Okay. Alright," he agreed, the slight relief in the tense air almost tangible. The redhead turned to look at Allen, his lips automatically twisting up as he saw that the vampire was smiling that sweet smile of his. "I believe I never introduced myself. I'm Lavi," he reached out his hand and shook it with the vampire's as he heard the two hunters behind his back growl disapprovingly.
Allen didn't say anything, just stared at him from the floor with that silent unnerving gaze of his, smile never leaving his lips.
"See you," Lavi said as he turned on his heels towards the two impatient men and stole one last glance at the white-haired vampire, knowing very well that it could be the last time the two of them have met.
And then, as Lavi was closing the door behind himself and as he was stepping into the cold night with only wind urging him on his steps, he heard the faint, but unmistakable -
"I'll remember that."
- and with a big grin, his fringe covering his green eye, closed the door behind himself.
The echo of Allen's words sounded in his ears over and over until it dissipated into his heart.
"But then again, our minds will change just like those of mortals. Our feelings will become fleeting just like those of mortals. Our bodies may not change, but our hearts do."
The third time they'd met, there weren't any lilies as well.
Lavi wasn't surprised that such delicate, perfect and pure flowers decided not to dwell in that decaying, dark, depressing and dying place with no sunshine.
He himself couldn't bear to stay there even second longer.
The third time they'd met, all Lavi could hear was an unnerving ticking of the ancient clock as if it wanted to mock him, as if it was ticking away his life, as if it was laughing in his face, telling that he should grasp his last minutes on this world.
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...
The redhead felt that his consciousness was slipping with the sound once again, the corners of his mind clouding with black. And he was becoming so irritated as he felt the cold wet ground dig into his back, as he felt the moisture on his face and as he heard that clock ticking irritably over and over again.
Who needed some damnedly expensive mural clocks that have probably lived few decades in a rotting dugout cellars, anyway?
Who in their right mind would put it on a leaked, mouldy wall made of stone as some kind of trophy in all its golden and wood-polished glory?
Lavi was sure that they did it just to mock him, to show him that he won't be seeing such a pretty contradiction anymore, since he was going to slip away and he was already feeling drowsy and hot damn, he wanted something to drink. The best option would be some tropical alcoholic cocktail, but he'd be alright even with an old plain water. Just something to drink, something to wet his tongue with, because, oh gosh, he was feeling so drained and he remembered his time in Sahara where there was only endless sand and scorching sun and his eyes were all red back then and… he didn't know what he was thinking anymore. But he was sure that those clocks were put there by that damn vampire who left him all beaten up on the floor, he was sure that as he was leaving, he put them there with his stupid insane laugh just to taunt Lavi on his deathbed. And those clocks were unnerving him and he felt like he wanted to stuff them down the throat of that mad vampire who would always touch his fucking blond hair as they were fighting, thinking how pretty it is while Lavi found it absolutely disgusting. It reminded him of those sand dunes in Sahara and of golden scorching sun and of infinite blue sky that wasn't even blue and… god, he was tired and thirsty.
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...
Another wave of pain hit him and he opened his eye which he had closed the whole time. The first thing he noticed was that there was a big crack in the wet stone ceiling and my goodness, couldn't those vampires take better care of their dwellings? and that it was all dark in the corridor. He knew that nobody would find him there, unless they went looking spcifically for him of their own initiative and he was sure that everyone else was engaged in saving their own lives. All at once, he heard another sound that accompanied the ticking of the clocks. It was dripping.
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip…
It was somewhere near his ears and he didn't even know what liquid it was that dripped anymore. It could be the water soaking through the ceiling and walls, trickling on the ground and dripping in drops down on the ground and if so, Lavi would really like to have a drink of it at least. But if it wasn't water, if it wasn't jostling and gleaming and clear and thirst-stopping, if it was something else, something dreadful and thick and red and salty, he didn't even want to touch it.
With calmness, he observed that it was probably blood dripping from his wounds and oh my, there was a lot of it, wasn't there?
Probably, it may even be so that his blood, somewhere halfway in its journey, mingled with the water and they became some sort of pink liquid, nullifying each other's nature and yet not losing it. However, if it was so, he didn't want to drink any of it; it would taste vile.
And he knew that he had wounds all over his body – a gash on the back of his head, stab wound in his stomach, scratched back, broken hand and numerous others from which the blood dripped with unstoppable drip, drip, drip, drip. He knew that he should do something, anything about it, stop it, gnaw it, bandage it, tear it, cover it, but he didn't do anything since he saw no reason to. Not just that, he was pretty sure that if he tried to move, his limbs wouldn't listen to him, would mock him just like the clocks and dripping and everything taunted him and wanted him dead. He wouldn't be able to move just like on that warm, summer Paris night when Allen stopped him from attacking, moving and why is it so cold here?
He wondered how was the vampire doing, if he got out from the cottage alright or if the Russian winter swallowed him whole, becoming one with him so that nobody would be able to difference between his beautiful white skin and from the horribly white snow around. The thought was so hurtful (no, he's alright) that Lavi tried to keep his mind of it and tried to think of other things. He thought about how did rain feel on his skin, how did sun kiss his eyelids, how great did beer taste or how comfortable it was to talk to all the other hunters with a glass of it. He remembered Komui's smile every time they returned in one piece from the mission, how grumpy Kanda always seemed when he was forced to socialize, how happy Lenalee was (no, don't think about Lenalee, that's too painful) or how good it felt to sense warmth from the fire on his skin and he remembered -
- am I really going to die?
Suddenly, another sound joined the synchronized dripping and ticking, another clicking sound – sound of the nearing light footsteps. The redhead sort of wanted to lift his head and look who was it that was walking towards him, but he knew that his head wouldn't probably listen to him anyways. He kept it down, his eye closing out of its own accord as he let out a light painful groan. The footsteps continued (tap, tap, tap, tap)and then, when he actually thought that they'll pass him, the sound stopped and was substituted by a desperate shout.
"Lavi!" the person said in a panicked voice and the redhead heard a rustle of cloth.
The voice was familiar to him and he immediately recognised it as Allen's, his Allen's gentle voice that now seemed desperate and shaky and Lavi had to wonder if he was injured, too. If they injured Allen, they were going to pay.
But, Allen, why are your hands shaking just like your voice when you crouch down and hold my hand?
Lavi felt Allen's cold hands holding his, tightening so much as if the vampire didn't want to let go. Lavi didn't know why was he so desperate – he was not going anywhere, was he?
"Hang on, Lavi," he heard Allen say, his voice just above whisper, filled with pain and hopelessness. His hands quivered even more and suddenly, Lavi felt something warm and wet land on his cheek. He didn't know if it was that water or his blood, or if it maybe was the pink liquid created from their mingling.
He opened his eye, wanting to see which one it was when the scene before him utterly shocked him.
Allen was crying quietly.
His beautiful pale face was streaked with bloody tears and his eyes were closed, the hard hand gripping Lavi's even tighter. Even when he had his eyes closed, Lavi knew that there was agony hiding behind his eyelids, but he didn't really understand why. He touched the liquid on his cheek, catching a drip of water mingled with blood from Allen's tear on his forefinger, thinking that after all, it really was the pink liquid he thought about.
Why are you crying, Allen?
Not being able to bear the sight of crying Allen anymore, with a great effort (why does my hand feel so heavy all of a sudden?) he reached forward with his not broken hand, caressing the side of Allen's face with it and wiping away the tears with his thumb. Allen opened his eyes in shock, looking at Lavi with agonised and surprised eyes, leaning into his touch. The vampire covered Lavi's hand on his cheek with his cold one, squeezing it as if wanting to reassure him he was still there.
"You're much prettier when you smile, you know that?" Lavi croaked out in a raspy voice and then tried to laugh, only to find it impossible as he choked on the blood that bubbled inside his throat. He started coughing and heard that a hard sob actually raked Allen's body.
"Lavi…" he whispered between sobs, tears falling down his face and even into Lavi's hand as he still kept it on Allen's cheek.
Lavi watched the vampire for a while, barely being able to keep his eye open as his vision became blurry and his injuries hurt more and more. He knew that one of them was an injury that was probably most deadly to him – two puncture wounds on his neck.
"Allen," he spoke to the vampire who held his head down, the grey fringe covering his eyes as he cried. As he heard Lavi say his name, he perked up a little, but not enough for the, redhead to see his eyes. "Am I going to turn into a vampire?" Lavi asked, his voice hard, despite the tormented feelings that swirled inside him as he watched Allen wince at his words.
"No," he heaved out of himself between sobs. Suddenly, he lifted up his head and the sheer impact of emotions in his eyes made Lavi's breath hitch in his throat, "no, you're not." He said it in a shaky voice, his voice weak and stuttering.
The redhead strained to keep himself conscious as he felt another wave of blackness coming over him, his body raking with shudders and pain, his hand trembling in Allen's tight grip. He coughed violently, the bubbling blood in him choking him as he literally felt a stinky breath of Death fawning over his mouth, getting into his eye and grinning at him with rotten teeth. And in that moment, as he was thrown into convulses, his body burning as if he was on fire, his body freezing as if he was in ice, as he started to lose his grasp on the reality and his mind didn't function anymore, in that moment, he realised that he was really going to die. There were lot of times when he was practically swaying on the edge of life and death and all that was left for him was to slip onto the wrong side, but he always somehow managed to turn the wind into his favour so that it knocked him into the right field. But now he knew that in those stinky cellars, there was no wind to help him survive and that sooner or later, he will lose his footing. And then he will die. But he didn't want to. He had so many things he still wanted to discover, to know about, he had so many memories to make and then he should die only as an old crumpled man from an old age, telling his grandchildren of his heroic battles as a hunter. He shouldn't be dying here, underground, with a blood choking him and vampires roaming about.
He still wanted to know much about Allen.
"Then," he started in a whisper, but his voice was strong as if being the exact opposite of Allen's. And as he opened his mouth to speak his question, he knew that the vampire knew what he was going to ask next and Allen's body trembled as he sobbed harder. "Am I going to die?" Lavi asked, feeling Allen's hand tighten even more and the vampire leaning in on him, crying all the more as he apparently didn't want to acknowledge the reality of the question just as much as Lavi.
"You–" he started, but his voice broke halfway through the sentence. "You should just sleep now, Lavi," he lied in a gentle voice despite his tears-stricken face. "You're just going to sleep for a long time."
Lavi was silent for a while. "You know, Allen," he started with much exert, panting hard as his throat protested against him talking.
"Don't talk, Lavi."
"No," he objected, clinging to Allen's arm and scrunching the material of his shirt in his hand to make him listen desperately. "You know, ever since I saw you, I wanted to take you to Venice. I was there once and I–" he was cut off by a violent cough, "I liked it a lot there. I know that you've probably been there countless times," a convulse raked his body and he watched as Allen's eyes filled with even more tears at his words, "but I wanted to go with you. And then, then I wanted to show you this... beautiful lake with these white, white swans. I knew you'd like them, Allen," he rasped, tightening his hold on Allen's shirt as he strained to keep himself conscious while he heard Allen sob, "because they're so pretty. They look just like you, Allen…" he trailed, unsure of what more he wanted to say, even though he knew that there was much more he wanted to talk with Allen about.
Hundreds of things.
And he didn't want to die without talking to him about them.
Lavi didn't even see Allen's face anymore as he knew that his end was nearing in. He reached his hand and felt Allen clasping it, but he felt it all like under some layer, under a veil of something intangible and horrifying.
"Allen," he whispered so lightly that he almost didn't hear his own words.
"Yes?" he heard an equally weak reply.
"I want you to make me into vampire."
There was a shocked silence and Lavi was sure that if he could see in that moment, Allen's mouth would be agape, his eyes wide and an expression of shock stretching his features. "What?"
"I... I still don't want to die. Make me into a vampire just like you," he answered with as much as strength as he could, squeezing Allen's hand to show him that he has decided and that he was fully conscious of his actions and decisions.
"Are you really sure about this, Lavi?" Allen inquired and Lavi noticed that his voice stopped shaking and it, even if still little timid, gained an unusual tone of determination. Allen wanted him to live as well.
"Yes, I am," his voice displayed enough strength to match Allen's.
For a long time, Allen hasn't spoken a word and if not for him still holding Lavi's hand, the redhead would think that he has gone away. Then, he heard him taking a deep breath as if preparing for it and he felt him leaning over, caressing Lavi's face and slowly lifting up his head. The redhead opened his eye now, seeing the always and forever gorgeous Allen, his eyes sad as he looked down on him.
"Please don't hate me for this later," he whispered in a voice laced with pain and leaned down, closing his eyes as he went.
Lavi wanted to say with all his might 'I won't', but instead only put his hand in Allen's hair, bringing him closer and silently telling him what he was unable to say in choked words.
He felt Allen's icy lips on his throat and Lavi tilted his head to the right and exposed his neck to give him enough access. He wasn't scared at all, since as Allen's hands circled around him, his heart filled with complete trust for the vampire, with such an endless and painful trust that it felt like his heart was going to burst.
"Listen to our heartbeats," Allen said, the sound muffled as he spoke toward Lavi's neck, "and when they'll start to slow down, think from your very being 'I want to live, I want to survive' and never let go of even a smallest speck of light you may see. You have to be strong."
Lavi nodded, his heart beating only slightly faster then it normally would as he kept his eyes closed, intent only on feeling the experience.
And then, slowly, as if not wanting to hurt him, Allen's teeth sank into his neck, two searing points in his whole being.
The first thing he noticed was the sharp pain that became stronger as Allen dug his teeth deeper. But that pain lasted only feeble second before it got overtaken by pleasure. He felt Allen's mouth moving on his neck as Lavi's life essence left him in long draughts. And yet, it was so pleasurable that it hazed his mind and he felt that their minds entwined, Lavi seeing blurs of Allen's memories and thoughts and he was sure that the vampire was just the same. He heard Allen moan and he was more than certain that he has done the same, the sounds echoing in the corridor and mingling together. Lavi gasped as Allen sucked a little bit more forcefully than his gentle mouthfuls before and he slowly but surely felt life leaving him as Allen swallowed his blood. He tightened his hold on the vampire's hair and he knew that it was going to be soon. Lavi felt as if his whole being was on a fire, as if it was burning in the darkness and he was the candle, as if the wax was dripping down off of him. And then he heard it – the steady beating of two hearts that waere in sync, the sound so loud in his ears that it drowned everything else out, moving his very being. After a while, it started to slow down as both hearts lost their strength and Lavi remembered Allen's words. With all his might, he willed to imagine in his head those few words (I want to live, I want to survive) and when he almost thought that he was going to die, that his heart was going to stop Allen broke away from his neck.
And all Lavi felt was immense thirst, thirst for blood, thirst for anything.He then saw as Allen gashed his wrist with his teeth, a thick red blood flowing from the wound.
"Drink," he whispered, his face scrunched and he put it in front of Lavi's mouth who eagerly latched onto it with his mouth, feeling the thick warm blood running into his mouth. He caught Allen's wrist with his hands, bringing the vampire closer to him and pulling him down into his lap as he sat up. He drank and drank and drank, never having enough of the deliciousness that flowed into his very being, making him alive once again. Lavi would've probably drank until he'd drain Allen, but the vampire pushed him away after a while, a look of exhaustion on his face as he fell back on the floor, staring at Lavi.
And then Lavi felt it.
The scorching fire in himself, the pain as he felt his body dying. The pain rippled through him in shuddering waves as he fell down on the ground in convulses, his back arching as a glass-shattering scream tore through his throat and echoed off the walls. Lavi continued to toss from side to side on the ground, terrible screams coming from his mouth as his mind was completely hazed with the pain and his limbs stretched to get rid of all his body fluids. Somewhere in the torments of agony, he felt Allen's strong arms circling around him, keeping him in place and whispering words of comfort in his ears as Lavi continued to scream in suffering.
And it was like that for the rest of the night, with him clinging to Allen's smaller body, tossing around and yelling, with Allen holding him tight in an embrace that made him feel ultimately safe.
He was to see the sunrise never again.
"Love is volatile and fickle as well, especially when you have hundreds of years to relish in it."
Lavi found Allen to be a pleasing companion.
Not only that, but over the years as they travelled the world together, Lavi realised that he was also probably the best Maker he could've ever wished for. He was patient and eager to please so that when Lavi needed something to be explained to him, he was always treated with kindness. The redhead was fascinated with Allen, with his every move and everything he did. He found him endearing and utterly lovable and he was pretty sure that Allen thought of him in the similar manner.
Their love wasn't the passionate one – it wasn't the kind of love that suddenly sparks on a whim between two lovers in a gust of chemistry and then burns everything in its way, searing through all and every obstacle just to leave an empty wasteland in its wake. It was a steady love, a kind of love that has been built fast, but on a steady ground, the kind of love that could last for centuries and would never fade or die away. Maybe it was naïve of Lavi to think that way since every other person would tell him that no love was forever, that each and every one was volatile and with a definite ending. They would quote Oscar Wilde to him"They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever." And laugh him in the face, telling him that they never thought he was such a romantic.
But Lavi knew.
And Allen knew.
And that was all that mattered.
It was hard not to love Allen. Lavi believed that if he searched every nook of the world, he'd never find a person with such an irresistible personality, not to talk about looks. As he observed him through the years, he found out that Allen was actually very simple and still very complex person in his simplicity. He was, no doubt, intelligent as Lavi discovered by the discussions their often held about various topics; he was, no doubt, very gentle and loving person, being able to show his affection, though, more by his actions than words; he was, no doubt, very shy what Lavi observed in the way he acted towards him, kissing him only if Lavi took the initiative; he was, no doubt, very private person, liking some time for himself when he could just to sit down with a book and his own thoughts; he was, no doubt, unselfish and self-sacrificing, sometimes being way too considerate of other peoples' feelings; he was, no doubt, bearing a lot of pain in himself, pain that he didn't want to share with Lavi. He was all that and he was many other things that Lavi, even after living and being with him constantly, had yet to find out. Allen simply couldn't be described in few words, because there were times when he surprised Lavi with something he said or did as if he was willing to only slowly uncover himself like a mystery book.
Like one time, when he snuggled next to Lavi as he was sitting on the sofa, a thick book in his hand. He put his head on the redhead's shoulder, keeping his gaze down when the redhead looked at him in inquiry. And it was just yet another thing that Lavi loved about him – his ability to surprise him. Many times, Allen would shock him when he completely forgot his usual detachment and gentleness while reading some historical book, grumbling to himself in enraged voice that there was this or that historical inaccuracy and when Lavi teased him about it, telling him then to stop reading such books, he'd just murmur something under his nose and stalk away, the book still in his head.
He found Allen's knowledge of history extremely interesting and as a former Bookman, he still sometimes insisted on Allen telling him something about this or that happening which the vampire would do more or less reluctantly. Sometimes he got sucked in it himself, and Lavi learned that many things weren't as the history has painted them.
Though, that was the most that Allen was willing to talk about when it came to his past – whenever Lavi brought the topic up, he'd quickly change the subject. His most soft point, what Lavi learned after he was hit with a thousand paged book, was Allen's Maker and just by very subtle hints he learned that he was redhead, too, and left Allen all to himself as soon as he made him. Then there were instances of Allen talking about 'Others' who Lavi assumed were some special vampires, though, once again, when he tried to pry, Allen's mouth was sewed shut. Lavi learned many things as vampire that he didn't know previously as a hunter – for example that many older vampires either committed suicide, because they couldn't bear to be immortal and live in this world anymore, or just 'went under the ground', what simply meant that they buried themselves somewhere in the soil and remained there for decades, recovering either from mental or physical damage. Lavi asked Allen if he had done this and he said that 'of course he has. Quite a few times actually, otherwise he wouldn't be able to survive this long.'
The Hunters' Association actually left Lavi alone after he became vampire, probably because he was a former hunter, though they weren't exactly eager to see him either. Many of his fellow hunters started to resent him what was, after all, quite a natural reaction, but Komui seemed alright in keeping contact with him whenever he could. Kanda was at first unbelievably angry at him for 'being so stupid as to let himself be made into a bloodsucker', but whenever they met, he didn't even make a slightest attempt to attack him. The swordsman was just probably being his usual grumpy self, though he didn't seem so upset with Allen. The two of them actually and very surprisingly seemed to like each other, even if their interactions consisted only of taunts and insults. But they had met Kanda only two or three times over the years, with Lavi realising that he was actually getting older while the redhead would be physically the same age forever.
Another person they met occasionally on their roams was Lenalee. She has become vampire on that night in Novgorod. Lavi heard that it broke Komui's heart, but he still loved her and even despite him being a head of hunters, they still saw each other. The one to make her was some old vampire called William and to Lavi he seemed to be a remotely normal one. And what was more, Lenalee seemed to be happy with being what she was, the fact surprising Lavi when he heard it from her. She, too, seemed to like Allen and they soon became friends. More than once, Lavi found them chatting until the very dawn on some old park bench when he almost had to drag Allen away so that he wouldn't get burned. Up until now, Lavi didn't know what they could've been talking so passionately about.
They've also met Tyki many times. The creepy vampire apparently got out from the Russian winter just fine. Lavi found extremely pleasing that despite the Noah's desperate pleas for Allen to come back to him, the other just simply refused all his proposals. It served not only in boosting up Lavi's ego, but also a bit of his jealousy.
One of the negatives of him becoming the vampire was the bedding in coffins to which he hasn't got used to up until this day. He still remembered his first time after him becoming the vampire – he was horrified that he had to sleep in the coffin as if he was truly dead and he was horrified that maybe he will lay there and he won't be able to wake up next evening. Back then, Lavi simply refused to go inside. It was the first and only time when Allen said that he'd sleep with him and that he did. His presence there soothed Lavi so much that when time came for him to go to sleep and his eyelids started to close of their own accord, as he felt Allen's warm breath in the crook of his neck, as the smaller vampire lay on his chest, he almost felt content slipping into his deathly sleep. But it was the last time when Allen slept with him in one coffin, claiming that he was not used to it and no matter how Lavi insisted, it was probably one of the very few things he'd not yield to. For that matter, Lavi has never even seen Allen sleeping face since the other vampire was much older than him and so he could come to sleep with sunrise and wake up when the sunshine still crept over the horizon while the redhead had to wait for one or two more hours.
But all of that changed just few weeks ago, when, and Lavi didn't know what motivated him to it, Allen opened his coffin just as he got inside and with fidgety motions and avoiding eyes asked him if he could sleep with him in it to what Lavi was more than happy to agree to. It was probably the most pleasant sleep for the redhead what with Allen on him, his arms around Lavi's neck and his face close to his. It was also first time when he had the honour to see the sleeping face of Allen since, and he didn't know what deity could he thank, it seemed that the white-haired vampire slept that night longer than Lavi. Upon the redhead's remark about how lovely his face looked, Allen was sure to never slip like that again as they agreed on sleeping in one coffin from then on.
The biggest negative was the feeding. Lavi, as a young fledgling couldn't cut it off like Allen did for that one year. It was true that the white-haired vampire has returned back to feeding on humans as if Lavi's presence somehow helped him ease his consciousness, but he didn't have to do it as often as the redhead did. Lavi always tried to feed as sporadically as he could, sometimes even starving himself for days, but he still had to feed regularly. When he did, he did it with as much mercy as he could, picking only evil victims and doing it in the fastest way he could, unlike other vampires that liked to toy with their victims, sometimes even making them fall in love with them. Allen was doing it the way he has been doing it for centuries – he always picked criminals or murderers for victims and never the innocent people. Still, they both liked to hunt separately, as if not wanting anyone to bear witness to their killing and after they fed, both of them got a little bit grumpy and moody. Lavi, in his first years, even used to seclude himself from Allen for a few hours in a room until he was emotionally stable enough to come out and meet with Allen who, with his infinite patience, just ignored those moments with an understanding look. It didn't help much that the victim's thoughts and memories came rushing in through the feeding, heedless on whether Lavi wanted or not to see them, so he had to bear with panicky thoughts of fear, monsters and death. Still, and he hated himself for admitting that, he understood the thrill the other vampires spoke of, the utter pleasure they got from the blood flowing into their mouths, the delight they got from hearing the victim's heart speed up before it slowed down and died with a thud – he understood it all too well, because it really was just like all the other vampires described and even more. Lavi could only describe it that it was like having sex for mortals, only much better.
Though, it could never be as good as his love making with Allen.
Because those moments were the ones he cherished the most – moments when he held the smaller vampire in his arms, when he licked his nipples eliciting delicious moans from him as he arched into Lavi. He loved those moments when he felt the other's naked skin under his fingertips and he almost saw every tiny vein in it with his vampire vision or how he felt pattern of his skin with his vampire touch – he loved how hot and passionate, yet gentle, did their kisses become in the wake of the night, how soft and yet sometimes rough could their love-making become as Lavi thrust inside Allen, the vampire crying out in pleasure. He loved those moments when they'd scream out in unison, both of them finding their release and how they'd lay together in embrace and tangled sheets, murmuring sweet nothings to each other.
This was one of those moments.
Allen was laying in Lavi's arms, his face content and smiling as he caressed the redhead's cheek with an affectionate and loving look in his eyes.
They were laying in utter darkness, their vampire eyes seeing everything as sharp as in daylight. The hotel suit in Venice was huge and luxurious, the open balcony looking over the street from where the loud sounds of laughter, music and clicking of shoes of Carnival of Venice seeped into the room, yet they felt like they were engulfed in their own private silence. The air coming from the street was surprisingly warm despite the month in which it was held and Lavi smelled all the fragrances coming from the carnival, smell of alcohol and tobacco, smell of roasted meat and many other foods. But he also smelled a gentle fragrance of flowers that he couldn't identify while the white curtains on the open balcony moved a little as the gentle breeze ruffled them.
He heard Allen sigh in his embrace and he turned his eyes (his other one healed through the process of him becoming vampire) on him and flipped them over suddenly so that the other vampire was under him, Lavi pinning him down to the satin-covered king-sized bed. Allen protested feebly, but the protests quickly died down as Lavi captured his lips, kissing him at first gently, only nibbling on the soft skin. Allen moaned and deepened the kiss. Lavi probed his mouth with his tongue as he couldn't get enough of the unique taste of his beloved, and then slowly kissed his way down to the vampire's throat, scraping his teeth on the hard pale skin there and then sucking gently.
"I love you, Lavi," Allen whispered breathlessly as Lavi lifted himself up from his neck to peck him on his mouth again, looking him deep in his eyes and bringing their foreheads together.
He grinned. "What a coincidence," he laughed, "I love myself, too."
With a chortle, he avoided a flying pillow to his face before once again sweeping down and kissing Allen's eyelids. "I love you, too, Allen."
Allen smiled that irresistible smile of his and it once again swept Lavi's mind off of everything as he almost forgot that little trick that he has prepared for Allen since he knew that the other vampire loved white lilies. Allen said that they were so pure and white, so beautiful and vulnerable that it was hard not to love them.
In an agile and fluid motion, Lavi jumped out of the bed dressed only in his black trousers and went out onto the balcony, leaving confused Allen behind. He looked at the carnival for a while, hundreds of people dressed in various masks and colourful clothes swarming around in the night and in the light. And then he turned at Allen who was still laying on the bed, looking at him with amusement and silent inquiry.
Lavi winked. "So, Mr. Walker," he said with a grin, seeing soft smile playing on Allen's face, "I've heard that you like lilies, right?" He said, seeing look of bemusement on Allen's features.
And seemingly out of nowhere, so fast that he was sure not even Allen could see it, a bouquet of lilies came flying into his outstretched hand from the darkness of the night. He caught them skilfully, turning them so Allen could see what he held in his hand. The other vampire's eyes widened in amazement as he looked at it and Lavi wasn't even surprised that even after all those years, his heart stopped when he saw that brilliant smile stretch across his features like a flutter of butterfly wings. All he wanted in that moment was just to run in Allen's arms and kiss him all night and hold him all night and make love to him all night and never ever let go.
As if he knew what Lavi was thinking, Allen opened his arms with that amazing tinkling laugh of his. Lavi would kill to hear that laugh over and over again, "What are you, some wandering magician?" he chuckled and beckoned with his hands for Lavi to come and embrace him.
The redhead didn't even waste one second as he moved in one swift movement from the balcony to the room and embraced Allen, smelling his scent, feeling his satin hair in his hands and hearing the beat of his heart that never stopped beating even after their death.
As they pulled away, Lavi gave Allen the bouquet, the other accepting it happily with twinkling eyes and soft excited smile. "They're beautiful," he said honestly, pecking the redhead on the mouth.
You're more beautiful.
And as Allen studied the bouquet, his gorgeous huge eyes cast down on them, his delicate pale hands grasping the petals of them and rubbing them, Lavi felt an immense ache in his heart, such an ache that he felt his chest was going to explode.
His chest ached so much, because he loved Allen like nothing else he ever loved and nothing else he ever will.
"I'll bring them to you next evening and then the evening after and even the evening that will come after all the other ones."
I will bring the lilies that you love so much to you every night and forever.
"But my love for you will remain unchanged. Unchanged for the whole eternity and beyond."
White lily: Purity, modesty, virginity, majesty, it's heavenly to be with you.
A/N: Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
P. S. I know it was sickeningly mushy and sweet – I guess I must have been in a very romantic mood when I wrote it.