A/N: LOL okay gaiz, this was actually written for my college class...it's a fanfic in disguise. xD I used Mello and Near's real names. And Madaline is a female Matt. I dunno...I just wanted to post it because I thought you might enjoy it. It's just a little oneshot. ^ ^ A bit of yaoi. *nodnod* I might eventually write a vampire story...lemme hear your feedback! Should I write a vampire story?


Tempting Dahlia

"Please leave me," said a young-looking, yet-much-older-than-he-seemed boy, a few of his snowy-white curls blowing into his face with the midnight breeze. "I do not wish to have any trouble…"

"No trouble, eh?" asked a slender man, the brains of the operation that had trapped him in the end of this dark alley in the first place. "If you din' wan' no trouble, you shouldn't ha' been here, I reckon."

"Please, I will give you whatever you desire, if you let me leave here with my life," the boy tried to bargain, his hands wringing each other out as the men backed him further into the alley, as if trying to push him away from the streets where anybody could have the chance of seeing him and calling the guards.

"We don' want none of your money," the man insisted, backing him up further and causing him to fall backwards and land on the cold, hard ground. However, just as he was fingering the knife that rested in the holster on his belt, the boy saw that another figure was entering the alley—he assumed that it was another member of the gang, and with the tall height and perfect physique of the arriving stranger, he knew that it was over for him. He gently gripped the rosary that rested around his neck with both hands, closing his eyes and beginning to pray. If these were his last moments, he wanted to make it all worthwhile, to formally apologize to the gods for any sins he might have committed during his short lifetime.

The white-haired boy opened his eyes when he heard the whoosh of heavy material, and he sensed somebody's presence in front of him. It was a man dressed in the clothes of a rich English count, a blonde bob cut framing his gorgeous face, his bright blue eyes seeming to pierce into whatever he looked at, exposing their secrets for the world to see.

"What's your name?" he asked softly, extending hand to the stunned-looking boy, gently helping him up from where he had stumbled backwards and fell onto his bottom. "Mine is Mihael…Mihael Keehl."

"What has happened to the other men?" he asked worriedly, looking behind his newfound savior to see that the alley walls were stained with spattered blood—the men's heads were turned at awkward angles, as if their necks had been violently snapped. However, the small boy had not heard a single sound during the short time his eyes were closed.

"Do not worry about that," the blonde said softly, voice ringing like the sweetest chimes the white-haired boy had ever heard, even sweeter than the musicians that came to play at his house every once and a while. "Now, what is your name, my helpless lamb?"

"Nate River," he said firmly, not liking the fact that the other man saw him as a 'helpless lamb.'

"Nate…such a gorgeous name, just as gorgeous as you are," Mihael smiled, dexterously unhooking the chain that held his own black-as-night cape up, and slinging it around the smaller boy's shoulders. "We should get you home, you look so dreadfully cold."

"I suppose…" Nate said compliantly, wondering just who Mihael Keehl was.

A few years later…

'So adorable when he sleeps,' thought Mihael, the blonde man sitting on an oaken chair that rested next to the small, white-haired boy's bed. 'He resembles him so much…'

Mihael began to think of the love he lost over four-hundred years ago, the one that was not murdered, did not die of old age, but died of a terrible disease that it was so easy for humans to get back then—the Black Death, or the bubonic plague. Fists clenching, it only took a quick glance at Nate's serene face to allow Mihael to relax and let his body un-tense. He then stood from the chair, eyes still affixed on Nate's face, nearly jumping out of his skin when the small boy stirred and murmured in his sleep. The blonde slowly walked over to the large window of Nate's room, gently opening the thick velvet curtains and letting the beams of the moons work their way through the glass panes of the window and on to the cold stone floors. It was such a lovely night out tonight…it would be good for hunting, of course, his stomach was screaming, and he knew that if he did not get some of the ruby-red life liquid he was desperate for, he might do something unintentionally rash and end up attacking and draining Nate.

After putting the heavy chair back into its place with a single hand, Mihael made his way over to the window and gazed at the small boy, his petite head of short and soft curls resting in the middle of the feather downy pillow, pale lips parted as he took in the slightest of breaths, exhaling them just moments later. He was just so beautiful, he looked so much like him…this time, he would not make the mistake of letting the exquisite boy be taken away from him.

"Goodbye, my dear," he said softly, opening the window and slipping out on to the balcony, wrapping his black and red cape around his form as he gently hopped from the stone structure, falling about five stories before landing on the grassy ground below without so much as a sound. It was time for the hunt…at night, Mihael saw for himself the monster he truly was. His kind were hated and feared by all of the people of the town, they would not hesitate to burn him at the stake in the blink of an eye. He had many different names—blood-sucker, devil's child, demon wraith…even the name of Satan himself.

Vampire.

~*~*~*~

The two men were sitting in the drawing room of Nate's house, Nate now a fresh twenty years old, and Mihael a not-so-fresh age of six-hundred-and-sixty-six. Not that Nate knew that, however—and Mihael would never tell him. He could not risk Nate seeing him as a vampire, not after how far he had come with the small boy, how deeply he had fallen in love with him. Nate would want to burn him, just like all of the rest…he would be afraid of him.

He knew now that he did not only love him because he resembled the man he once loved, the man who was viciously taken from him by the cold hands of Lucifer himself…but he loved Nate because of his sweet smile, his innocent nature, his unwavering kindness, his porcelain-pale skin, and most of all, his melodious singing voice. It was as if the gods were descending from heaven, and they had sent a chorus of angels to signal their arrival. However, Mihael had no doubt that the angel's voices would pale in comparison to Nate's, the way the small boy would sing so sweetly for him every night. He claimed it was to repay Mihael for saving his life that night four years ago, but truthfully, he enjoyed it as much as Mihael did, if not more.

"Mihael….have I told you of Madeline?" Nate suddenly asked, his voice changing completely as he set his bourbon glass down on to a nearby end table. "She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen…her hair shines a brighter red than the deepest sunset, her eyes greener than the most rolling of meadows, her skin as smooth as a doll's…I believe I am…going to court her. My father has already approved of her, and I have invited her to a ball that will be held here in just a mere three days."

The glass that Mihael's bourbon had been sitting placidly in suddenly slipped out of the blonde's hands, spilling the liquid it previously held all over the thick carpets, the alcohol quickly soaking deep into the Persian shag. However, the vampire was forced to quickly disguise his disgust and horror at the thought of Nate courting another lover as he pulled the small boy into a warm embrace of false congratulations.

"I am so proud of you, my dear Nate," he said, voice not shaking in the least, somehow remaining steady despite the fact he was about to snap somebody's neck in anger. "She must be beautiful, to gain such eyes as yours."

"Oh, Mihael, I am so glad that you approve of my choice as well," sighed the smaller of the two, pulling away from the embrace so he could look at Mihael. "I had the strange sinking feeling one only gets when they are expecting disappointment, for some queer reason I have not yet understood myself, but I have gained approval from the only two people it truly matters for me to gain it from."

"I believe I have some errands to run," Mihael said sweetly, changing the topic, wanting to allow himself time to leave before he did something rash, trying as hard as he could to disguise his anger. He wanted nothing more than to grab the boy by the wrist and shut him away so that this devil-woman would never lay so much as an eye on him again.

"I…suppose," replied Nate, looking at Mihael with large, gray eyes as the blonde grabbed his cape, hooked it around his shoulders, and quickly left the room.

~*~*~*~

The blonde strode down the dark, London streets, his eyes blazing with fury as he made his way towards the tailor that dressed him—he had seen beautiful masquerade masks in the displays there numerous times, and with the plan he had now, he was not going to let Nate slip away. The ball was tonight, and Mihael had concocted a plan over the past few days when he had been locked away in the lonely study of his desolate mansion. Nate would sing for him, and only him, his eternal dove. He would not let him die and slip away from him, or be stolen away…

The soft tinkle of chimes rang out as the vampire slipped into the tailor's shop, which was still open, despite the late hour of the night. He saw the perfect mask immediately—a black one that probably covered two-thirds of his face, leaving him perfectly unrecognizable when he put it on. It was so smooth and delicate, every small detail of every small pattern absolutely painted to perfection. He knew that he must have it, no matter the cost.

"Hello sire," said a young woman, walking out of the back room with a needle-stitch gripped securely in her hands, the ribbon half-in and half-out of the intricate design she was weaving. "Is there any way I can help you, sire?"

"That mask," the blonde gestured, pointing to the beautiful thing.

"Why of course, sire," she said, setting down her needle-stitch, delicately picking up the mask and walking over to him, affixing it to his face before gently tying the black silk ribbon around his head. "Why sire, you look stunning sire!"

"Here," Mihael said effortlessly, dropping a small bag filled with gold coins into her hand, knowing he was over-paying her by much, yet only glancing at her stunned face before leaving the shop. Making his way towards Nate's house, he was all-too-excited for the ball he knew awaited him there.

~*~*~*~

Mihael had arrived at Nate's house, slipping into the grand ballroom with another group of guests, making sure that his mask concealed his identity before beginning to look for the small boy. He was easy to find, of course, his petite frame and snowy white curls making him stand out as the most feminine-looking man in the room. He was sitting at a table, alone, his hands folded in his lap as he gently glanced over at a girl that was standing over at the other side of the room with her friends. If this was Madeline, she was pretty, but not beautiful as Nate had described her. It was all false, some kind of fake beauty that took hours of preparing with powder and brushing and makeup to achieve. She was not worthy of Nate's natural beauty that was effortless for him, even when he had just woken up in the morning.

"Hello," he said softly, walking up to Nate and setting himself down beside the nervous-looking boy. "Are you having eyes for that fine young lady over there? She does not seem worthy of your beauty, if you ask me, my darling. Would you care to dance with me instead?"

"I am…I…"

"Dance with me," the blonde repeated, blue eyes softly flashing as they met with gray. When people rumored that vampires had powers of hypnotization, they were not entirely wrong—how they found out, Mihael did not know, however. Some idiot vampire probably forgot to completely erase a human's memory after they were done.

"I will…dance with you," the small boy echoed, standing up with a serene look on his face. "Would you please dance with me, stranger?"

Mihael took the small boy's hand, twirling them out into the middle of the ballroom, beginning to spin and step in time with the music that the orchestra was playing. The ballad started out slow and gentle, a beautiful and romantic waltz, but it slowly melted into a faster dance of desperation and death, until Mihael was whirling Nate around, the two easily the most beautiful dancers out on the floor—Mihael had a few hundred years of practice under his hat, after all.

"My love, you are such a beautiful dancer," Mihael whispered, spinning the two of them around yet another dancing couple, leading them over towards a secluded corner of the room.

"It is only because I have an exquisite partner…now please, take off your mask," said the small boy, small hand wrapping around Mihael's head and fingering the ribbon.

"Not down here," he said, slowly moving the boy over towards the stairs. "If we go somewhere secluded, I will show you who I am."

Slowly and hesitantly, the white-haired boy nodded, letting Mihael lead him up the nearby stairs. The vampire confidently made his way into a room he knew was empty, having memorized the layout of Nate's house the first night the boy had gave him permission to enter. This room was special, however, because it had a large birdcage in it—it used to hold many different assortments of birds in it, all from places far and wide, but they had been set free a few years prior. Now, it was just an empty room with plants galore, and a tarnished gold birdcage that rested about thirty feet above the ground.

Mihael eyed it, blue eyes sparkling slightly as he thought of the idea that, in just a small while, he could have Nate in the cage and singing for him, and just him. The birdcage was huge, easily big enough to hold twenty or twenty-five people, so he knew that petite Nate would have no space problems, and the arching ceiling of the room let the metal curve up into a thirty-foot tall roof that prevented his dove from escaping.

"Stranger…" the small boy said, looking at Mihael as the disguised vampire strode over to him. "Please take off the mask, I wish to see what you look like underneath. Do I know you, stranger…?"

Mihael did not take off the mask as he had promised. Instead, the blonde man threw his cape over the small boy and placed a hand over his mouth, intending to leave him unconscious before he went to go take care of the problem that was Madeline.

"Sleep for a small while," he commanded, feeling the boy go limp in his arms. "And I will be back…stay here and wait for my return, my love."

Gently, the blonde hopped up to the birdcage, an unconscious Nate sleeping peacefully in his arms. He gently set the white-haired boy on to the metal floor of the cage, making sure not to jostle him too much and pulling a rose out of his coat pocket, softly placing it in his pale hands.

Now it was time…to take Madeline out of the picture. Nate could not love what was gone.

~*~*~*~

"I think I am going to retire for the evening," Madeline said to her friends, gracefully smiling as she made her way up the stairs, having been offered a guest bedroom in the palace earlier in the night.

Mihael was hiding in the dark corners of halls, following the girl to her room, feet making no sound as they padded against the plush carpet that lined every floor. The vampire watched from outside of her bedroom door as she got changed into a loose nightgown, taking her hair down from the intricate braid it had been in for the ball, gently dabbing her face off with a moist cloth. Mihael was right with his previous assumption—the girl was actually quite ugly when she did not have any makeup on.

As she slipped into bed, Mihael checked up and down the nearby corridors before slipping into her room silently, shutting and locking the door behind him with the flick of his wrist. She still did not stir.

The only light in the room was a candle that rested next to the girl's bedside, one that cast eerie shadows over Mihael's face, a face that was already twisted with jealousy and rage as he looked at the sleeping girl. She wasn't worthy, she didn't deserve him, the only thing in this world that she did deserve was death.

Mihael let his fangs extend as he leaned over the girl, pushing back her hair to expose her frail neck, watching as her jugular pulsed with the beat of her heart. She wasn't…worthy…of Nate's love…but Mihael, he was. He had worked so hard to get him everything he wanted and needed, to make sure his every whim was fulfilled, to make sure that he was happy

Every-so-softly, Mihael placed his teeth against her neck, but it wasn't until he felt the candle burning his now-bare skin that he understood what had happened. She had slipped his mask off and grabbed the candlestick off of her nearby nightstand, setting his very flesh on fire. He let out a dreadful shriek as the flames licked at his face, but nobody downstairs heard a thing, thanks to the music of the orchestra speeding up and growing louder once again. A chaotic mess.

'Burn the bodies o' the sick!' somebody shrieked, gesturing to the large pile of rotting bodies that rested in the middle of the town square. 'Burn the' all, before they gi' us the death!'

'Don't take him from me!' Mihael pleaded, clinging to the dead body that rested in his arms, tears rolling down his face as an old man in the square lit the bodies on fire by drenching them with alcohol and tossing a house-candle on to them. 'Don't take him, you can't, he's not dead!!'

'He I' dead, young one,' the old man said, having a few of the regular tavern-going muscleheads hold Mihael back while another one pried the serene-faced body from his arms. 'He got the black dea' and there ain't no comin' back from 'at.'

'You can't have him!' the blonde shrieked, kicking and struggling as he was forced to watch the crackling flames that consumed all of the other bodies of the dead that had been taken from them by the plague. 'He's not dead! He's not dead! Don't burn him, please, you'll hurt him!'

Mihael let out one last desperate scream of agony and loss as they tossed his love's body into the fire, burning him as if he were some…diseased piece of trash. The blonde fell to his knees as soon as the men released him, sobbing as he attempted to crawl towards the fire, feeling the old man lay a hand on his shoulder.

'Don' do nothin' rash,' he said, old-with-age and close-to-death voice shaking. 'He gone now, but you still livin'…you ought' do somethin' good wi' you-self.'

'Ring around the rosy…' a small girl sang around Mihael's heart-wrenching cries, the blonde still screaming that his lover wasn't dead. 'Pocket full of posy, ashes, ashes, we all fall down…'

She sprinkled a few dried flower petals into the inferno of bodies, walking just close enough so she didn't get burned. She only looked at the crying Mihael once, tossing a flower petal his way before running off, her bare feet padding against the cold ground. That was the last thing Mihael remembered seeing before he blacked out on the hard stone streets, orange flames licking at the sky as the stench of burning flesh filled the air.

"Vampire!" she screamed, struggling to untangle herself from the covers as the right side of Mihael's face continued to burn, the skin melting and sizzling as the fire made its way down part of his neck as well. However, before the girl could escape and call for help, Mihael managed to grab the girl's washing-water off of the vanity and splash it on to his face, blindly stumbling and grabbing on to her right before she opened the door. The music sped up once again, the violins now shrieking as the bass rumbled throughout the whole castle, the woodwinds trilling as the music reached its climax.

"You…" he hissed, half-melted face rising to stare at her, hatred and bloodlust in his eyes. "Are DEAD!"

There was a terrible ripping sound, along with one last scream as a soft pitter-pattering noise filled the room as the walls and floor stained themselves with blood. The vampire felt no remorse as the music slowed to a stop, Madeline's body convulsing violently before falling limp in his arms, a bit of blood still flowing out of the wound Mihael had left on her neck. Slowly, the blonde man lifted her into his arms, grabbing a wine glass off of a nearby table and wringing some of her blood into it before continuing towards the window. It would disgust him to drink her filthy blood, but it would be all worth it—the idea that he was drinking her blood only meant that she was dead.

"Good riddance," he whispered, not even bothering to slip her terrified green eyes closed as he observed her paling body. "Nobody will take him from me."

The window was violently thrown open, heavy curtains billowing with the nightly gusts of wind, and a dead body was tossed out of the wide window before it was slammed shut once again. With his superior hearing, Mihael could hear the sickening crunch of Madeline's skull hitting the stone-cold ground below, a dull thud signaling the rest of her body had followed…yet he still did not feel an ounce of guilt. The gentle clinking of a wine glass was the only sound to be heard as the vampire made his way over to the bed and picked up his unharmed masquerade mask that was still resting on the bed, tying it over his newly-mutilated face. That girl had ruined him…she had first taken his love, and now his beauty. His face now reflected the monster inside of him.

~*~*~*~

Mihael made his way back down the halls, blood-stained clothes noticed by nobody, because nobody was around to notice them. The orchestra had picked up again, winding down the night with slow, tragic songs that sang of love and death…just the kind of songs Mihael loved…he loved it when Nate sang to them, his tragically melodious voice echoing so many of the feelings in the song perfectly.

Nate. He got to see Nate now, there was nobody in his way, his plan had gone perfectly. He would be able to live happily with Nate, now that the boy was locked away for only his eyes. He knew that Nate would love him, now—now that she was gone, Nate would only care about him.

Slowly, the blonde opened the door to the room with the giant birdcage, mask tied tightly around his head, and the glass of blood gripped tightly in his hand. A small smile flickered across his face as he noticed that Nate was awake, the small boy looking around desperately for some sort of reassurance of knowledge to where he was.

"Sing," he commanded, voice soft and harsh as he looked up at the birdcage that hung from the ceiling, more than thirty feet over his head. He knew how beautiful, how illustrious Nate's voice was when he sang—he wanted to hear that gorgeous voice for all eternity…that voice had been his pleasure, and his alone, nobody else knew about it, and he could not stand the thought of sharing its joys with anybody else.

"Why is this being done to me?" Nate asked desperately, thin hands wrapping around the bars of the tarnished and slightly rusted, golden birdcage. "Please release me, I must tell Madeline that I am in love with her before she is courted by the another prince—"

"Madeline is dead," whispered the blonde, holding up the wine glass filled with the girl's blood to show the horrified boy. "Now sing…my beloved, sing for me. Sing or it is you next."

The blonde could hear the dull thuds of tears hit the bottom of the metal cage, and ever-so-slowly, always-compliant Nate allowed a haunting melody begin to fill the large room.

"Careful…what you do…"

Mihael sat back in a large maroon and gold armchair, bright blue eyes that were peeking out from underneath the masquerade mask affixed on the sight of the boy in the birdcage, glistening tears gently dripping down his porcelain-pale, baby-round cheeks and leaving tear-stains in their wake. His normally full-of-life eyes were a dull and dead grey, filled with misery and staring at nothing in particular as he thought of the beautiful Madeline, dead in her bed.

"Because God is watching…your every move…"

The accursed vampire slowly stood up, Nate's beautiful song the only thing that he could hear, the misery in his voice slowly driving the blonde mad with hatred and envy of Madeline. Would Nate sing for him he had been the one that died? Why was he still upset about her, she was dead now! Would his beloved weep with grief for him as he was doing now, had Mihael been the one to die?

The singing bird with the beautiful plumage trapped in the cage by the disgusting monster, the beautiful princess being held away by the ugly and jealous witch.

"Hold my hand in the dark street…"

And then Mihael finished off the glass of Madeline's blood, letting the expensive crystal that had been holding the dark red liquid drop and shatter into tiny pieces that scattered themselves against the floor, like diamonds amongst the tassels of the carpet.

"For if…you do…"

He was up in the small boy's cage, the locked door that had been keeping Nate trapped moments ago now swinging wide open, the only thing keeping him from escaping the thirty-foot drop to the hard ground below. He strode to the singing Nate, kneeling down in front of him; as the small boy had slid to the floor in utter defeat the moment Mihael had arrived in the cage, probably suspecting that he did not have a chance of escaping whatever the vampire was going to do to him. Slowly…oh-so-slowly, the blonde took a pale, spidery hand in between two of his own, wrapping Nate's fingers around the end of the silken ribbon that held his masquerade mask up. The white-haired boy didn't need to be told to pull, and as soon as that black ribbon came undone, so did Nate's heart. It was Mihael, half of his once-flawless face melted and burned underneath the glittering mask of perfection he had adorned moments earlier.

"I know that I…"

Nate choked, bringing a hand to Mihael's face, touching the pink and red, bloody melted skin with the very tips of his fingers, wondering what could have happened to scar the man like this. However, an urge from the blonde's eyes was all it took to get him singing again, knowing that it might make him happy, and possibly soothe some of the raging torment that Nate could tell was taking place inside of him.

"Will be…"

Slowly, Mihael leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the white-haired boy's lips, savoring the soft and sweet traces of vanilla he found there before moving his red-stained mouth to the smaller boy's neck.

"Safe…"

Just as Nate finished the song, Mihael sunk his pearly white teeth into the jugular vein that was straining against the skin of his neck, causing blood to trickle and spurt erratically from the newfound wound. The vampire had realized, even he if had let Nate live and sing for him as his eternal pet, his voice would never be as beautiful, his laugh never as soft and merry, his eyes never as sparkling with happiness as they once were—not without her, Madeline, whom he had so rashly killed. The dead could not be brought back, and he knew that better than anyone.

"I'm sorry…" he whispered, caressing the small boy's cheek with his hand, looking at him with eyes that reflected what he had said. "I'm so sorry, my dearest…"

The vampire was forced to watch as Nate's body convulsed, shook, and twitched, and yet the smaller boy let out no cries of pain or signs of distress other than those he could not control—it was if he was trying to make it easier for Mihael, though the blonde could obviously tell how much he was suffering. Nate had finally realized the feelings Mihael held for him…he had discovered what he was…but he was not disgusted in the least—Mihael had made a mistake. A fatal one…Nate didn't attempt to push him away, or escape and get help. No, the only thing that Nate did was continue to let tears drip out of his eyes that were slowly dulling as death overcame him. With the last of his strength, Nate shakily lifted an arm and touched Mihael's melted cheek, the blonde softly beginning to sing as he watched the small boy slip his eyes closed. He was going through so much pain, yet Mihael was too selfish to kill him any faster—he didn't want him to leave, not yet, he didn't want to be left alone once again.

"Ring around the rosy…a pocket full of posy…" the blonde murmured, pulling Nate into his arms, resting the small boy's chin on his shoulder and beginning to stroke his soft curls with hands that were just as shaky as his voice. As he felt the last breath leave Nate's body, the blonde softly moved his lips to the life-stealing wound on the small boy's neck, kissing it softly before a sound akin to a cat lapping up milk filled the room.

"Ashes, ashes, we all fall down…"


End Note: Well....was it okay? xD I'm a bit nervous. But I like the ending...it's sad, though. D: Poor Near. *shakes head*

~FragilePuzzle