No guesses on who Taiwan was looking for last chapter, a pity, but he/she will be coming into the story soon and that should be it for the nations. On another note, this chapter was largely inspired by the Van Helsing movie, another story where sunlight is a weakness for vampires.
Warnings: Alternate Universe, Yaoi, Out of Character, Original Characters, violence, vampires, angst and long descriptions
Again, the nations slept during the day. It was likely to be a regular pattern, so long as the vampires only moved from sunset to sunrise there was no way they could allow themselves to be sleepy. Now with Spain captured, they needed to capture the vampires and interrogate them about his whereabouts.
As they had no indication of where the vampires were, and Mexico basically told them the bait idea could only fail, they could only wait for the vampires to appear and 'be prepared this time'. Tonight Romania had equipped them all with trackers, if the vampires tried to capture any of them again, the others would track them down. As of now, all they could do was wait, and until the vampires appeared Romania let the nations do as they wish, be it exploring the city or infiltrating certain groups.
The pub had a full house tonight, the crowd was loud but orderly, hearty shouting and laughter filled the air. Arthur's old delinquent side would have felt right at home among these people, age ranging from late teens to the middle aged. Now however, he moved with a purposeful stride to the table at the back, where two men sat. Neither of which appeared to have noticed his presence.
"Well if it was me, I'll go back no matter who knows. Who cares if my enemies are there? I will not drop my hobbies just because a few strangers tried to make life difficult for me."
"Ah, but these enemies are actively trying to kill me, and they can't die. If it was me, unless I have the support of several zombies I don't think I'll come out again. Unless of course my enemies were really good looking."
"I would probably come out for the challenge of it, to see if I can best my enemies and slip through their clutches again. If I've been sitting on a pedestal for months with people only being frightened of me, I'll welcome anyone who chooses to…England! What brings you here?"
"I've been dropping by America's favourite haunts," Arthur glared at the two. "At least I'm getting some work done, unlike you two."
"Don't be like that, we're just stopping for some food before heading to our next target, right?"
"Oui," Francis smirked, his French accent purposely emphasized. His fingers rested elegantly on his chin, cupping his sharp featured face. Silky blond hair gleamed under the light, while green eyes gazed out to the world almost mockingly. Even in a simple white shirt and black pants, he managed to appear aristocratically detached and sleek. A sense of grace and poise that few men were gifted with hung around him, making him look very haughty and bored, but handsomely so.
Gilbert was handsome too, but the contrast was easy to see. All brazen energy and lazy smirks, his clothing was comfortably rumpled, his limbs spread everywhere on the chair. When talking he had a habit of making gestures, and while Francis often responded, had the lazy Antonio been around the trio's strange friendship would have been seen by anyone. The thought of the Spaniard made Arthur's scowl deeper, "I would have thought you two would be more active in searching, considering who they have at their mercy, what were you discussing so feverishly about?"
"The vampires," Francis replied as he took another drink. "We were actually considering the possibility that the vampires would return to their crime scenes. Gilbert's of the opinion they would, especially if the places have their hobbies or if their enemy – meaning us – can provide a good enough challenge. I am of the opinion they won't go seeking their potential slayers, unless those slayers happen to be very good looking, which of course we are…"
"America's had several victims around this area," Gilbert shrugged. "You chose to come to this pub for a reason, didn't you England? Francis and I were also considering some of the areas that Matthew's victims were at. The store I checked yesterday, where I ran into him, the area had very few victims but with further research it seemed those few victims were all Matthew's. The other vampires don't go to that area, it's colder there. This also might be a bit of a stretch, but when the older Italy was looking at the files about the victims he said something about Mexico appearing nearby auto races (1) and took off, dragging his brother and my brother with him."
"That's less then half of us accounted for, where is Russia or the Asian countries?"
"Don't know," Gilbert answered. "Don't really care, unless it happens to affect us; but I saw China some time ago and asked him if he wanted to eat anything. He said no, so who cares? Let him continue searching for us." Francis however caught the narrowing of Arthur's eyes, and quickly called for a bill before Arthur could say anything.
"Alright, alright, we'll be going! We have other places to go to anyways, you need to loosen up a bit; how about a drink?" The Frenchman stole a drink from a passing server, getting himself a frown, but after a charming smile and some cash the girl left with a bedazzled expression. After more cash for the server returning with their bill, Francis and Gilbert left, leaving England alone at the table with a free drink in his hand. The Englishman curtly denied ordering anything else as he took a sip.
So…Russia was still in the unknown, he could have disappeared simply for the reason for being with – or looking for – China, but as most of Western Europe was suspicious of him England wouldn't put it past the man to be doing something behind their backs. Even if Russia was being non-suspicious, China was, because why was the man here? Romania mentioned something about him following Taiwan, but what was she doing here? She was no threat, another island nation true but nothing threatening or too impressive…
His cell phone rang. Arthur blinked, Romania had given them all something to contact each other with, so whoever was calling him could only be one of them. He picked up, "Hello?"
"Ah, England!" Russia's voice was deceptively childlike, "How is your situation?"
"My situation? Nothing's happening," England glanced around the pub. "Should something be happening?"
"I've been listening to some of the local gossip here, and it seems like they have heard something about vampire slayers coming to town, just like in the movies." Russia had to be smiling that vacant smile of his, England could tell, and the island nation paled. "It seems like someone's been spreading the news that people are hunting down the vampires and rescuing the locals from their evil clutches. I don't know is it one of us, or some other foreigners coming in, but in any case it seems like a certain pub is going to be headquarters of the vampire slayers. I thought you might want to know, since the pub is apparently one that America used to haunt before finding other targets."
"W-what?" Arthur swallowed, he looked around the crowded bar, so many people, potential slayers but also so many innocents afraid of the vampires. "How? Did you find out what the supposed slayers looked like?"
"Apparently, the rumours claim that it would be some visitors from Western Europe, they have to look out for those with light hair and distinctive accents." Russia chuckled, there were sirens wailing from his side, and England briefly wondered where the man currently was. "The locals are not too happy themselves, they distrust strangers, and worry that if a vampire is hurt the others will hunt more for revenge than food. Apparently those vampires can be brought, there are rumours that in exchange for certain things the vampires would leave them alone. Anyone trying to organize a group of slayers however will have to be dealt with harshly."
"Where are you now, Russia?"
"Far, far away," Russia sang. "Away from the pub, away from any associations of slayers; England," the voice was almost deadly, "Are you alone?"
"Of course I'm…"
"Because I haven't been able to contact Gilbert, I heard he invited Yao to go to the same pub the slayers should be gathering at." Russia laughed, "Oh what will happen, if Gilbert finds himself facing the vampires alone?"
Oh no, no way, there was no way France and Prussia could set themselves, set him up like this, "The vampires are coming to the pub?"
"I don't know who or how many, but can you hear the sirens here?" Russia paused, allowing England to hear the wails from his side of the conversation. He heard the cursing and screaming as well, and a man blabbing about a dead brother coming back to kill his family. "The aftermath of when a group of zombies pass by, I should probably help those poor people, shouldn't I? The zombies are much messier than the vampires when it comes to feeding time. They're all headed for the pub, it seems, but nothing I can do about that. The people at the pub will all die so that the arrogant slayers, bragging about their power, may be rooted out."
"My field, it was soaked in blood…(2)" Ivan sang, voice calm despite Arthur's shouts.
"Russia, who spread the rumours?! Who told them?! How did you know?!" The line cut off, the dial tone gave one drawn-out sigh before the doors of the pub suddenly exploded. Screams erupted around him as smoke and glassware poured to the masses, and England found himself thrown back down to the floor with several others. The fire alarm rang, but it could barely be heard among the chaos and confusion.
"What was that?!"
"Who's there?! Show yourself!"
"Looks like we got here in record time!" was what the loud, familiar voice announced. England and the other still conscious patrons looked up just as the smoke cleared to see a blonde stepping in through the blown-off doors. Zombies, some with the familiar gas-mask, some without, followed America into the room. The vampire fired a gun at the air, drawing quiet screams and then sudden silence. Everyone was trying not to draw attention, and they recoiled from making any noise. Alfred smirked as began walking inside the pub, eyes sweeping over everyone. "Evening, ladies and gentlemen, pardon for that abrupt entrance but I'm sure most of you know better then to prepare for me."
The six zombies pointed their bladed and blood-soaked weapons at the crowds threateningly, drawing a few whimpers and frightened sobs. Only Alfred held an automatic weapon, and he spun it in his hands easily as he spoke. "There are rumours being spread around that a couple of men thought it would be easy to challenge me, and the vampire clan of Transylvania. I am most curious to meet these people, who boast so easily about taking us down. I've been told this pub is their gathering place, so where are they, my supposed slayers?" He looked around, but no one came forward. Alfred raised an eyebrow as he turned around, "Not sneaking behind me, are you?"
England gritted his teeth, he was momentarily stunned by the explosion, but he was getting his bearings back. When the vampire turned his back to him, England began to move, crawling behind overturned furniture and cowering men to where he saw an EXIT sign. No one noticed him, not even America, who was now making rounds around the men. "You look pretty fit, are you the one challenging me? No? How about you? Oh, never mind, he passed out. Was it you, then?" There was another thump, and America let out a melodramatic sign, "He passed out too."
The people recoiled as Alfred looked around, head turning this way and that. "No one coming out? This won't do, I brought my zombies out to find you, it would be quite embarrassing to return empty handed and without doing anything meaningful." England was just about to reach for the back door when Alfred spoke his next words, and they sent a cold chill down his spine. "In that case, you'll just all have to die, as a message to any more potential slayers out there."
One of the zombies closest to America suddenly lunged forward to the crowd, axe raised high into the air. The would-be victims, a group of older teens barely out of their twenties, let out cries but suddenly the zombie's head exploded. Blood and other pulpy matter splattered all over the teens and the floor, some even getting on America's shoes. The vampire's eyes widened before three more zombies followed the same fate, with high shrieks and low grunts all three heads exploded, splattering all over the frightened patrons and floor. A few specks managed to land on Alfred, but because the shots came from behind all the pulpy matter flew forward and away from the vampire. Alfred turned around, eyes narrowed.
Arthur was now standing up among a group of cowering men at the floor, holding a revolver in his hands. He smiled grimly, "You want to deal with your vampire hunters?" Arthur hissed, "I'm here now, and I certainly won't let you kill anyone here!"
"You are the supposed slayer bragging about how you'll bring us to our knees? I'm shocked, I thought you would be more discreet about it." America smirked again, the look in his eyes predatory, "Well, since you're revealed yourself, let's focus on you instead of the worthless masses in this room." The two remaining zombies flew forward, gas masks hiding their expression, axe and hatchet raised up in the air. Arthur fired one more shot, taking out one more zombie, before turning around and running out the door. The large, hulking zombie crashed through the wall besides him and gave chase.
The few men and women out in the streets moved out of the way as England ploughed through them, followed by the large zombie. When an incoming car had to serve dangerously out of his way, Arthur knew even getting out of the pub wasn't enough to stop his pursuers from involving innocents. He cut around corners, shouting at the people to get out of his way so that they had a chance of escaping before either the zombie or vampire turned to them. Cars honked and drivers cursed at him, until they saw his pursuers and started running or screaming instead. His pursuers seemed close enough, for there was a whiz in the air, and England narrowly dodged the axe that came swinging down on his head. His feet stumbled, momentum disorienting, and he jumped again at the second swing. He realized too late where he was jumping because he crashed through a thick panel of glass, spraying broken pieces everywhere, as he landed inside a store with large glass windows. Scrambling back, ignoring the cuts he would no doubt be getting as he moved, he hefted the revolver in front of him just as the zombie lurched forward.
England didn't blink as he pulled the trigger, but the zombie moved, and the bullet only ended up taking out an arm. The zombie roared in pain and confusion as he lost his balance, and England had to move out of the way again as the zombie fell forward. Before it could get up, there was another shot, and the head exploded, this time spraying the Englishman with blood and other gooey matter.
Feeling bile rise up his throat, Arthur gagged. He thought he saw a shadow fly over the street, and he took aim, only to realize he had ran out of bullets. Knowing this, England stood up and ran deeper inside the store, which turned out to be a supermarket. Hiding behind the empty fruit stands, he searched his pockets, trying to find any more bullets.
Outside, the shadow fluttered over the running crowds before gracefully landing beside his defeated zombie. Alfred adjusted his glasses as he slowly stepped inside the dark store, undaunted by the looming shelves and the fake, smiling statues. "England, England, where art thou England?" He chuckled humourlessly, "You know, I can tell the character of a person by their heartbeat. Usually, when I approach…" The vampire lifted his hands up and started clapping energetically, "I can almost dance to the beat! But it's strange…" the clapping calmed, reduced to a rhythmic pattern, "yours…it's almost steady."
Arthur almost choked out loud, Mexico could carry Spain up the trees so effortlessly, and now America could hear his heartbeat, truly their supernatural senses were legendary. There was no point in hiding then, America already knew where he was. Jamming the magazine into the revolver, he sprang up to his feet and pointed the revolver at the approaching vampire. Before America could open his mouth the Englishman fired the whole round of bullets at him.
As each bullet hit him, America moved back, body and limbs jerking like a marionette under an unskilled master. Unlike with the zombies, nothing got blown off, and it wasn't until England used the last bullet did the vampire fell backwards, landing against the wall. England didn't dare move his eyes away from the motionless vampire as he edged slowly forward to the door. One hand searched for another round, knowing he probably had none, when the vampire's body jerked and he was suddenly laughing manically. England froze, the laughter was high and chilling, and America's eyes refocused back on him as he stretched his body experimentally.
"You didn't think I'll go confront a slayer without being prepared, did you? I had a fresh victim before coming already, and I have this." From inside his jacket America pulled out a tiny bottle. Uncapping it, he took a swing of the strange liquid inside, before tucking it back in his pocket. The vampire cracked his neck, and held out his hands for England to see. At first nothing happened, but from his bleeding wounds something began to ooze out. As Arthur watched in horror, frozen in his spot, he saw it was the bullets oozing out. They seemed to be pushed out of the wounds by some unknown internal force, and they dropped down onto the floor, flecked in spots of red.
"Next time, try aiming at something vital, and perhaps when I haven't just fed."
Arthur couldn't help it, he ran, and since Alfred was between him and the door he could only run to the back of the store. The back room, the loading dock's garage door, he could leave from there. He threw the door opened and slammed it behind him, then turned the generator on, hoping the noise would drown out his heartbeat. The place was not only dark, but cold, and layers of plastic curtains obscured his vision. He pushed through, narrowly missing shelves, packaged bulk goods, large fridges and freezers. He needed to get to the garage door, but already from behind him he heard the room door open.
America frowned as he stepped into the room, the generator was assaulting his ears, and he tuned out the sense so that he could concentrate on other things. The door closed behind him, ensuring that only shadows and faint blue lights could be seen. America's night vision was good, but with those plastic curtains and the shadows of machinery, it was best to be cautious. He walked forward, shoes making no noise, eyes seeping the place, when with a squish he stepped on a puddle. America stopped, glancing down at the normal water, and suddenly felt something hit him from behind.
The large, heavy bags had been stalked at the side, but with the help of a lever England managed to push them all forward. He had been waiting for America to make a noise and give away his location, and when he heard the water's disturbance, he sprang his trap. The vampire couldn't dodge them all, the sacks of bulk goods rained down on him and even as he dodged and pushed aside a few, it wasn't enough. He was distracted, and Arthur sprang atop of him, slamming the vampire down. Pushing America down with one hand and holding a knife at his throat with the other, the Englishman hissed "I don't think you can survive this one!"
When he tried to turn around, England only pressed him down harder, so America settled for only turning his head. "Maybe I shouldn't have told you to aim at something vital, should I?" He sighed, breath ghosting over England's skin, but in the dark England saw the vampire's almost-glowing eyes glance at the blade at this throat. "I don't suppose you've considered letting me off if I said I won't cause anymore trouble for the night?"
"America, you cause trouble simply by talking, as you require hunting to do so."
"Well I can't deny that, so I guess this is the part where you slit my throat." The vampire's eyes moved back to the nation, and there was something in the way he gazed at Arthur that made the man feel more self-conscious than usual. It was probably because they were so close to each other right now, but Arthur's instincts were proven right when the vampire let out a melodramatic sigh, "Though having such an attractive face be my last sight of the world isn't bad. Being pressed into by said person isn't bad either, though I wish our intimacy wasn't so shallow. A pity, to have to die a virgin…"
"What are you blabbering about? Most people would spend their last words asking for a pardon of their crimes!" The dour look that the vampire gave him made England stare longer, those eyes were so blue, seemingly wide and innocent. Did his twin have such blue eyes too? They were so rich in colour, not like the transparent blue of ice but the rich warmth of the skies…and suddenly blue was all he could see as the vampire did the thing he least expected.
Even held down on the floor beneath him, the vampire took charge as he leaned forward and pressed warm lips against his own. Arthur was sure his brain just stopped functioning, because his thoughts came to a screeching halt as soon as those lips claimed his. When one thought came out, it was simply WHAT IS HE DOING? But it was obvious what the vampire was doing, so England knew his brain really had lost all functioning abilities.
It wasn't like kissing a girl, it wasn't even like those few times France managed to kiss him – England always made the prat paid for that – and it was hard how to classify the kiss because while they were not as sensual as France they were just as confident. England screamed at his body to react, to resist, to do something, but it did not respond. It was letting the vampire kiss him, England was being kissed by a vampire, the unofficially dubbed most dangerous one, and he was…not reacting. Not resisting, not encouraging, but enjoying and for sure he had lost his mind because there was no way a sane person could think that.
The lips were coaxing him to respond, not at all daunted by Arthur's frozen body. Subconsciously Arthur can feel himself ready to respond, he must be insane, he must be drunk, France always said he couldn't hold his alcohol well and his body was starting to tremble like some nervous school girl on their first kiss and it was anything but because Arthur had kissed other people besides France and it was still nothing like…
A hand suddenly grabbed his shoulder and flipped the Englishman down on the floor. Stars exploded in front of Arthur's eyes as his head hit the unforgiving ground. Well, he thought, that was unexpected. He let out a soft moan as his vision blurred. America was sitting up now, free from the Englishman's grasp, and smirking down at him. That same, bloody, smirk; England swore vengeance, he would shoot him! He'll stab him! He raised his knife, but his head was spinning and the slow movement might as well be him holding the knife out as a gift for the vampire. America smiled and took it out of his hands.
"I wouldn't try to move if I were you," the vampire laughed as he tossed the knife aside. It slid across the floor and into the shadows, England watched it go helplessly. "I'll hate to have to hit you again. Such a pretty face should not have any scars." Arthur looked up to see three duplicate faces grinning down at him, and swore loudly.
"I'm…you…I won't let you get away with this…!"
"Oh don't shout," a hand reached out and stroked Arthur's hair. The nation tried to protest by lifting his hands up, but the vampire only batted them away. "It won't help you any right now, you led me here, you know the noise here would only drown out what sounds we make. Let's see here," the hand threading through England's hair was surprisingly gentle, as was the voice the vampire spoke with. "Doesn't look serious, and as a nation you should be able to recover from this type of wound easily; which means I can make my dramatic escape now without worrying about your health. Toodles!"
"Wait…!" Arthur tried to grab onto the vampire, but only grasped thin air. He heard America laughing, bouncing out the door and kicking aside bags along the way. So unlike earlier, where he came into the room silent as a shadow. The vampire was probably mocking him, and Arthur scowled deeply. America kissed him, and then smashed his head against the floor, what type of strange vampire courting ritual was that? Or was it simply a distraction so he could escape?
The first idea was pushed away, the second considered since it was much more logical. America was unpredictable, and most people would do anything to escape death. He was probably lying the whole time, about England being attractive, about being a virgin, it was probably just to distract him so England didn't have time to slit his throat because America sure didn't kiss like a virgin.
He would get the vampire for this, how dare that insolent boy, that laughing idiot with the bright blue eyes that mocked him. Arthur was older, he was a nation and he probably lived longer then the vampire had anyways. The next time he had the vampire at his mercy, he would put his hands on him and…hurt him, blast that sounded wrong. The vampire would have to try something else to distract him, something more then a kiss…oh bloody hell, that sounded just as wrong. He moaned quietly, once his head recovers, he was sure thoughts of the vampire will return to normal.
The kiss had no effect on him, he was too old for this anyways, he was not blushing, he was not thinking about how the kiss was, he was not…bloody hell.
Earlier that night, before America left, he opened the cell door and allowed Spain to wonder around the lab. The nation saw the vampire had gathered some zombies with him, and when asked, America simply said there were more challengers to the vampire claim on Transylvania. Antonio sincerely hoped it was more nations coming for him, but America then laughed and told him that even if it was, they wouldn't be able to rescue him. Assuming they even found the hideout, which was unlikely, they would have to deal with the vampires and the fresh zombies.
Well, Spain could always dream.
America left, taking the six zombies with him. Antonio wandered around the large labs, mostly ignored by the working zombies, before finding the other two vampires again. It seemed as if neither of them were going out to hunt yet, judging by their comfortable seating at the same table he had last saw the vampire twins at when he was first brought into the lab.
Instead of sushi, a new box of sweets had been set on the table, and while Canada added enough sugar into his cup to send a diabetic into shock, Mexico was sitting across from him, picking out the order of confectionary the blond should be eating in. Canada didn't seem to mind, as long as his doughnuts are first up. Mexico watches with a soft look in his eyes, and Canada's returning smile is tender, even as Miguel suggests the Canadian drop his sugar and try eating something with actual nutrients. Matthew only laughed, pointing out the relative nutrients in the doughnuts, cookies, muffin, or whatever other sugary sweet is in the box, and muse whether the wannabe-vampire slayers out there would consider taking him away from his sweets.
Spain watched as Miguel chuckled, pointing out that if Matthew continued eating the way he does, all the potential slayers out there could simply sit back and wait until Canada overdoses on sugar and his body gives up coping. The blond admitted with a laugh that so much sugar may be bad, but as vampires won't die, he might as well indulge himself. It was hard to find normal sweets, maple syrup not being common in the area.
Their superficial conversation was nothing compared to the laughter and body language the two had, of people familiar with each other, close like family. Wasn't that what they were? A vampire clan of three, surely they were close, Antonio couldn't imagine the vampires of lore who lived and hunted alone; it was such a sad existence. At home in this lab, without having to deal with potential hunters, the two vampires in front of him were laughing and happy.
Antonio left them alone, if he watched the happy scene for too long, he would start questioning himself and his own family. Lovino especially, Antonio wondered if the boy was well. Whether he was eating and sleeping properly in this foreign country, whether he was afraid of the vampires or determined to fight them. Would he care that his mentor was captured, or was he relieved, thinking that he was better off without him? His heart clenched, no matter how hard he tried, Lovino never seemed happy with him. A frown always appeared on his face whenever Antonio appeared, a distance always put between them no matter how many times Antonio reached forward to hug him. It hurt, every time he saw the few smiles Lovino wore and how beautiful it was, knowing that they were never for him.
The zombies barely looked at his direction as they worked on whatever it was that they had been assigned in. Antonio continued walking along the tables and stepping over wires and papers. He didn't notice for the longest time that the equipment around him was changing, that the zombies became fewer, that the temperature became colder. The glassware on the tables and shelves soon filled with more grotesque things, but the Spaniard didn't notice until he walked around a table, lifted his eyes up, and found himself staring at a horribly disfigured head submerged inside a jar of green liquid.
Antonio stumbled back, a soft scream escaping his lips. The head remained where it was, staring back at him. Antonio looked around, feeling sick. The shelves and tables around him were no longer filled with normal lab equipment, but were covered in similar glass jars and thick test tubes holding who-knows-what. There were diagrams and books of the human body all around him, as well as several folders flipped open with hand written notes scrawled all over the pages. At a nearby shelf, black cloaks and gas masks piled over each other, empty glass sockets gazing back at him. Not far off was an opened box, bladed weapons thrown hastily in.
He must have walked into where the zombies were made, being this far inside the lab. He was slightly surprised at how unguarded the place was, or maybe the nearby zombies were the guards and simply didn't stop him, America told the Spaniard he would be left alone unless his behaviour was interpreted as hostile. Antonio stepped forward to the box cautiously, staring at the weapons. Slowly, he reached out and touched the handle of one of the larger axes.
The weapon was worn out and old, but as Antonio lifted it up in his hands, he could see the sharpened blade. It had obviously been cleaned, and Spain shuddered as he imagined this weapon before it had been polished, probably soaked in the blood of innocents. He ran a hand over the length, sliding a finger at the side of the blade, before putting the axe back in the box. Antonio let out a shaky breath before turning around, and found Miguel right at his face.
"What the…!" Antonio threw himself back, nearly falling into the box, but the vampire grabbed his arm back in time, pulling the nation close to him. Antonio felt the rough material of the shroud press against him briefly before Miguel pushed him away. The smile on his face was less than warming, and as those dark eyes gaze at him before resting on the box of weapons, Antonio felt like a child who had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"I'm sorry, it must be distracting when you're surrounded by so many things you could kill me with. Like this axe I saw you looking at earlier…" the vampire reached out and picked up the weapon easily in one hand, before handling it to Antonio. The nation used both hands to hold on the suddenly heavy weapon, and the vampire turned around, his back to the Spaniard. Miguel raised fingerless-gloved hands beside his head, an obvious sign of 'no arms', before continuing, "It's all yours. I go for the neck, but I'm not the one with centuries of execution experience. Just do it quietly so that Matthew doesn't hear me die. Otherwise, he might get upset, activate the bracelet, ZAP! But you still have time to look for the lab equipment the bracelet is hooked to and disarm it before you're in so much pain you can't think or move. Or, you could try taking off the bracelet yourself, but that could be tricky. The slightest knock in the wrong place could trigger it (3)."
There was a tense silent as Miguel continued staring straight ahead, waiting. Nothing happened, and the smirk on the vampire's face widened. Dropping his hands, he turned around and suddenly the axe was swinging down at his face.
Miguel reacted, spinning out of the way and grabbing his attacker's wrist before twisting. Antonio cried out, dropping the axe involuntarily, but still he wasn't released. The Mexican remained calm, as if he had not just narrowly escaped a blade in the head. "Your fighting spirit doesn't seem to have broken yet, that might be troublesome. It won't do if our hearts are hospitable towards you while you're thinking of stabbing us in the back."
Antonio hissed as his wrist was twisted further, but he grounded out, "I hope you have a heart down there, vampire, because someday I'm going to put a stake through it!"
That was the wrong thing to say, because Miguel threw him against one of the shelves with his legendary vampire strength. Pain coursed through Antonio's body as he hit the wood and crumbled down, where a pile of black cloaks managed to cushion his fall. He saw those familiar boots step forward beside him, and tensed, but felt an almost gentle hand check him for any wounds. Miguel was relaxed again, eyes calm and body language unguarded.
"Antonio, Antonio, of course I have a heart, how else can I love my vampire clan so? You were there, watching Matthew and I, weren't you? I saw that expression on your face, you're finding it difficult to connect the vicious vampire to the me you saw at the table, teasing Matthew about his sugar level." Miguel clucked his tongue in disapproval as he saw the forming bruises, "I'm normally not this violent, but you bring out the worst in me don't you?"
"Your own strength is partially to blame for this," Matthew stepped forward, watching the two with a soft frown. "Keep acting like that and even as a nation, he's going to be hurting. Just because he can't die doesn't give us the right to hit him frequently. You didn't get this mad with Romania, and he was cursing like a storm for several hours."
"I guess I tolerated him more since I got to taste his blood," without warning Antonio felt himself swept up in Miguel's arms. He tried to resist, but got as far as resting an open palm on the vampire's collar before it occured to him that anymore uncooperative behaviour could get him in deeper trouble, like getting his blood drained. Just looking at those fangs, dangerously close to his face, made him uneasy. "I'll be taking our guest here back to his room so that he can rest, you can go hunting, and while you're at it get me some more chili peppers, I'm running out. Oh, and some tomatoes," Miguel gave Antonio a dry smirk, turning those fangs at his direction, "Maybe some comfort food will help you a bit."
Some tomatoes would be good, so Antonio remained quiet and meek as Miguel took him back to his room. It occurred to him that he was too easily satisfied, since he stopped resisting the vampires once tomatoes were promised, but his body was aching too much to care. Matthew followed them, now telling Miguel that eating too many peppers was bad for the heart as the vampire laughed and countered with the same arguments Matthew had earlier about sweets. Antonio listened quietly, not moving until he felt himself tumble back onto the bed. Miguel leaned down, voice whispering softly in his ear, "If you're well behaved, I'll keep you informed of how your dear Lovino is doing, alright?"
Antonio drew in a sharp breath, but the vampires were already walking out the door.
"England's been brought back to the mansion, the wound's been looked over and it shouldn't be that bad. What's interesting is what he said about the vampires getting news that some slayers were at the pub we were at just moments before. None of the locals should have known about us, but the Russian said the locals have been hearing rumours about foreigners bragging about coming in and saving them. All of us were told to stay low so we could take the vampires by surprise, but now the news is out, and the rest of the nations are blaming us!"
"I certainly did not talk about slaying vampires to the locals, it wasn't me."
"Neither was it me but everyone thinks it's us!" Prussia's voice was agitated, normally the brash and often dubbed 'hooligan' nation could care less what the nations said about him, but when accused of doing something he didn't the Germanic nation often got upset. "Since we were at the pub earlier, and since we're pretty infamous in the first place, Romania thinks we couldn't keep silent and had to brag! Now not only have we supposedly angered the vampires, but even West is annoyed with me for something I didn't do!"
"Didn't you tell them to consider the possibility that the whole thing really just started from rumours, or that it had actually been normal humans claiming to be slayers who were frightened when America came for them?"
"I did! They still didn't believe me!" At Prussia's words France frowned, just as upset that he had been so wrongly accused. Up until he had parted paths with Prussia, which had been after they finished their meal at the pub, neither of them had talked to the locals. To the best of his knowledge, they didn't have enough time to play the arrogant vampire slayer and spread the news in the local rumour mill. By the time they left the pub the vampires already knew about the slayers being in the pub, if someone was spreading rumours it had to be when Prussia and France were already inside or even before then.
Could it be England? The man seemed to have known they were in the pub when in came in…
"Hello? Earth to Francis," Prussia's voice pulled France out of his thoughts. He apologized for the distraction and the other nation let out a snort, "Yea, if I find out who brought those unjust accusations on us I am going to beat them silly. I already have a suspect; guess who gave England a warning just seconds before a vampire crashed the pub? Russia! The tracker showed he was never close to the pub, but that's not exactly required to spread some rumours, is it?" Prussia snarled, France agreed. "Well no one's asking, all Russia has to do is smile and most people tend to back off. Anyways, I'll be going now. The shop's closing and there's been no sign of the vampire, anything from your side? Where are you now?"
"Just wandering the streets, if something happens I'll give you a call."
"Please do, I will be irritated if nothing happens for the whole night. Why does England have all the fun?" France chuckled at Prussia's tone, but bid the nation good bye before hanging up the phone. He stopped under a street light and gazed around, he had lost track where he was going when he started talking on the phone, but if he got lost he could simply ask for directions or call for help. France had no problems doing either, but as his eyes fell on a certain establishment, where several men and women came out supporting each other in their drunken state, he felt his work incentive fading.
He was always like this, every time he felt bad, he always thought about the warmth of another's flesh. A darker desire lurked beneath that wish too, but he refused to let it out. He would rather be accused of being wayward by sex than acknowledge what he shouldn't but still want.
A glint of gold flashed at the corner of his eyes, and he turned to see two young men stumbling out of the doors. The taller was obviously drunk, for he was leaning heavily against the other. The smaller had on a hood, but the gold glinted off a strand of wavy hair falling over one side of his face. The two stumbled into an alleyway, and Francis watched as the smaller withdrew his support, causing the drunken man to fall against the wall. Before he slid down to the floor, the man reached out and tugged off the other's hood. In the faint light, wavy gold hair swung freely in the air – surprisingly similar to France's own and a certain someone he should be looking for.
The Frenchman moved forward, he didn't run nor did his expression change, but his heart was hammering and his body was tensing, ready. The two in the alleyway didn't notice as the smaller man crouched down beside the drunk and angled his head away, exposing the slender throat. Under the hood, a pair of lips curled into a smile and they pressed lightly against the other's skin, only to freeze when a new hand suddenly grabbed his shoulder and pull him back sharply.
"Who…" Matthew felt himself pulled away from his prey to another man's chest. A hand clamped over his eyes, but also trapped him. His prey let out a scream as the vampire felt his captor give the drunken man a swift kick in the stomach, and the man collapsed. Without warning, Matthew felt himself pulled harshly away. "Ow! Who are you, the police?"
Francis didn't answer as he harshly pulled the vampire deeper into the alleyway, mentally thanking himself for being prepared. He threw the vampire against the wall, and then pulled out the weapon he had hidden under his jacket. Just as Matthew turned around, Francis plunged the wooden stake straight into the boy's heart. Even as the vampire grabbed onto the weapon, he let out a loud, piercing scream.
"Not the police, unfortunately for you." Francis hissed as he watched the vampire stumble back, hands still wrapped around the stake aimed at his heart. "I'm one of the slayers you vampires have heard about, the ones who will bring you 'to your knees'!"
Matthew gagged, choked, eyes wide even as he stopped screaming. His head bowed forward slightly, staring at the stake in shocked disbelief. Francis briefly remembered how he had once shot the vampire's twin, America, and had almost felt sorry that time. This time, being so close to the vampire's pained expression and hearing his scream, he almost felt worse. That was, until Canada's blue eyes suddenly rolled back up to meet Francis' own and the vampire said very calmly "Bonsoir, Francis Bonnefoy of France" with a smile on his face.
Now it was the Frenchman who was staring in shock. The vampire straightened, body relaxed, face calm. In front of France, Canada pulled out the wooden stake, not a single wound visible on his body. Francis didn't know if the stake really had no effect or if Matthew had been lucky and caught it in time, but didn't have time to ponder as Canada examined the weapon with disinterest, "Is this your wooden stake?" Without waiting for an answer, the vampire lazily tossed it aside. Matthew raised his eyes to look back up at Francis, "How long has it been? Années, maybe décennies? Or…do you not even remember?"
"Exactly what is it I should be remembering?" but a horrible feeling was starting to slip into Francis' being as he stared at the vampire standing in front of him. Matthew laughed, it was empty and held no warmth.
"The personification of great France, Francis Bonnefoy, a man known for his open and affectionate manner as well as his love and appreciation of beautiful things. Famous for your language, your cuisine, your culture and fine arts, but…" the light tone dropped as bitterness laced Matthew's next words, "infamous for the battles waged and lost, especially with great Britain."
"Potential slayers gathered a profile about you," Francis countered. "It's no surprise you have something similar about me."
"Ah, but no matter what you learn, our history is something you won't be able to find." Matthew smiled, almost daring him to ask. Francis looked at the vampire before he gave in.
"How do you know me?"
Matthew's smile widened, it wasn't even a smirk, Francis noted. America often smirked at the nations, but Canada smiled, even if it was empty. The twins had more differences then hairstyle, it seemed. He remained still as Matthew approached him, one hand held out as he spoke, "Refreshing your memory might be a task less then easy." Once he was close enough, Francis pulled out a large crucifix. He grabbed Matthew's hand and forced it to close around the silver cross.
The vampire screamed again, even louder than before. Francis continued forcing Matthew to hold on for a little longer before pulling back. The smaller figure trembled, his screams shrill, before they slowly died off. Matthew raised an eyebrow at Francis before dropping the crucifix. "Perhaps that is a conversation for another time. Your murder attempts are, after all, a real damper to the mood."
Before Francis could move, the vampire sprang back and clung onto the wall behind him, pulling himself up like a giant spider crawling up the wall. Francis made a grab, but missed. Very quickly the vampire reached the top, but before he could disappear Francis shouted out, "What have you and the others done to Antonio!?"
Crouching on the rooftop, the vampire paused and turned around. Resting a hand on his knee, he called out, "He's relatively unharmed, and will be getting some tomatoes soon. How sweet of you to ask," and before Francis could say anything else, the vampire disappeared over the ledge.
England was in the mansion, resting his head and generally being in denial about America's kiss, when the doors flew open with a bang. England looked up to see China storming into the mansion, and whatever the European nation planned to say died in this throat when he saw the Asian nation's furious expression. China walked passed him without sparing a glance, marching up the stairs and down the corridors. It was rare for the normally reserved nation to cause such a storm, but England didn't ask. If it was important, or about the vampires, China would tell them later when he cooled off from whatever rage he was currently experiencing.
The Chinese man threw open the balcony doors, "Where are you? Come out!" When an empty deck greeted him, Yao cursed and turned away, heading straight to his room. Without hesitating, he threw the doors open, "You are all…!"
"Hello, Yao," seated at one of the sofas was Russia. The tall nation waved at China, who could only make a choking noise as Ivan held up a cup of hot, steaming tea at him. "Come join us, the tea's perfect, and your accomplice here did put effort in making in." Vietnam, who was standing by the coffee table between them, poured out another cup. After a mental debate, China slowly walked forward, taking the cup from Vietnam's hands before sitting down as well. The Chinese nation looked between the other two, clearly unnerved. Ivan's vacant smile grew wider, "Don't look at me like that. I'm not going to tell the other nations you brought Vietnam here unless you want me to."
"How did you find out about her?" China dearly wanted to ask whether Russia knew about Thailand and Hong Kong as well, but bit his tongue. If Russia didn't, and China asked, even without mentioning names Russia would know Vietnam wasn't the only one around. The northern nation would no doubt search for the rest of Yao's family.
"I was following you, and so was she," Russia exchanged a look with Vietnam, who didn't appear troubled at the idea. "She was shadowing you since you stepped out of the mansion, prepared to step in should you run into the vampires. Instead, when you came across two of the Bad Friends Trio and they invited you to the pub, she set about trying to get rid of him."
"So it was you," China's voice shook with barely suppressed rage. "Vietnam, do you have any idea what you've done? Spreading the news that slayers are out, adding that they are arrogant and careless, you will make the vampires more inclined in getting rid of us!"
"Actually, she emphasized on the slayers being pale skinned and light haired, describing them as 'of the West'," Russia corrected. "You are likely to be spared from the consequences of her actions. From the rumours she worked hard in spreading, it is pretty obvious some old grudges with a certain so-called country of love still remain (4), don't they? Again, Yao, no need to give me that look; Vietnam and I are familiar enough that I have no intention of selling her out to the other nations in the mansion right now." Russia's smile turned notably more menacing, "As long as it is not my people or allies, if she wishes to kill with another's sword I won't hinder her (5). Those vampires could be excellent weapons, don't you think?"
China knew what Russia was implying, and his reply was strong, "We can never use supernatural creatures like the vampires for our purposes."
"I can," Russia's voice remained soft, but it had taken a much darker tone. "In fact, Vietnam agrees with me."
Yao's eyes quickly flew to Vietnam, who remained silent, but calmly stared back at him with agreement in her eyes. His shoulders sagged, Vietnam was more inclined to the former soviet than with him. It shouldn't come as a surprise, given the Russian's aid to her, but it still stung. China opened his mouth to speak, but from downstairs they heard a loud crash and a voice shouting, "Romania! Where are you now?"
It wasn't the vampires, but France, and at the sound of his voice an almost-disappointed look appeared briefly on Vietnam's face. Knowing she would want information later, China excused himself and left the room, he himself was curious anyways. By the time he got to the stairs, he saw the other nations had gathered to see what the ruckus was about, and when Romania finally he came in he asked, "What's wrong?"
"Romania, I need to talk to you privately." Though he remained facing the nation, France's eyes were moving, taking in all the nations that had arrived to see what the noise was. Maybe he shouldn't have shouted, and there was Prussia, who would no doubt be mad when he found out France did run into a vampire and didn't tell him. But he was more than a bit agitated and he needed to ask Romania about the vampires.
"Whatever you have to say, I'm sure you can just tell us now." From behind China, Russia stepped forward with his trademark vacant smile. "After all…we're all allies here, aren't we?"
The evil aura emitting from him was amazing, every nation in the room felt it, and all felt like running or just doing whatever Russia wanted so he won't do something crazy. France was momentarily cowed, and all thoughts about resisting disappeared. In front of the audience, he told them all about his encounter with Canada. He removed the sensitive issue about the vampire's implications that they had known each other, but it still did not stop the less than positive look on Romania's face when he finished.
"A wooden stake? A silver crucifix? What, you didn't think we've tried that before?" Romania paced the lounge, clearly upset. His movements were sharp and jerky, but it couldn't hide his trembling frame as the nation continued. "We've shot them, clubbed them, sprayed them with holy water and still they live! Do you understand why I said neither police nor military could defeat them? They just won't die!"
"I could have used that information a little earlier," France countered, almost mildly. Romania scowled at him.
"Don't give me that look. I thought that when I said my brother became a bit of a religious nut before the isolation and becoming-a-vampire-himself thing, you'll pick up the idea he must have tried the traditional exorcist methods. Well, I will tell you all now, short of dragging them out to the sunlight no one knows how to kill the vampires!"
(1) Auto racing is really something in Mexico, those NASCAR races are something worth watching
(2) Somewhat famous Russian song, check out www DOT youtube DOT com/watch?v=g8wXmLFjMZA for a Hetalia video, or simply search "Ivan My Field"
(3) Modified quote from Saw III, it was my least favourite in the series but Amanda's an interesting character
(4) France has a history with waging war with Vietnam, mostly imperialist ambitions until anti-communism became the motivation
(5) Russia's obviously lying, since he did warn England, what a manipulative person
As happy as I am to see my story being added to alerts and favourites, the lack of reviews in comparison is rather disappointing. Please, if you like the story, tell me! Otherwise I'm inclined to think my readers are leaving, and if that's the case I'll drop this story and try writing another to get more coverage. Make no mistake, I love writing, but reviews motivate writers.