A/N: This is an odd little story in that it's getting written in a lot of different parts at a lot of different times, so the flow's very interrupted and nothing else is written in first person because it drives me up the wall. Also grrr I can't make hyphens into page breaks so this is transitioned in a terrible way. Review it anyway, folks?

Thanks for the reviews anonymous guys, I'd reply if I could~

Remilia has no heartbeat. Nestled against her chest on a night when the Scarlet Devil is feeling more accommodating, this becomes more apparent with every breath Sakuya takes that her lady does not. It's not something that bothers her, not really, it just makes her aware of some kind of lack, like the feeling that something's been misplaced and she could find it if only she remembered what it was.

In the sort of story she sometimes remembers her mother read to her, a kind stranger would happen along and explain everything to the heroine, who inevitably got married – sometimes to the stranger – and lived happily ever after. They're silly stories, of course – there are few kind strangers in Gensokyo – but it's a nice idea.

She watches the rise and fall of her lady's chest, wondering whether Remilia breathes out of habit or to humour her. Either way, it's another thing that makes her selfish lady cute. Stubborn and wilful and arrogant, but still…

It's enough to make Sakuya wonder, in a dozy midnight thoughts sort of way, what it would be like if instead of the silence interrupted only by her own slow breathing–

Thoughts like that are shapes in the fog, there and gone without ever really taking shape. But there is another shape, something glimpsed out of the corner of an eye, something –what if it were just silent – that couldn't be caught.

Despite that, she might have seized it after all if it hadn't been for four words, spoken in her lady's usual unthinking manner. After that, for a while, there were no more shadows in the fog that was her mind.

As the unfortunate corpse hit the stone at her lady's feet with a thunk, Sakuya felt the familiar chill beginning somewhere low in her stomach, the suddenly clammy feel of her palms. It wasn't that she had any sympathy for this husk brought from the Outside, but when the skull split against the floor, for a moment she saw her own face overlaying as well as reflected in that lifeless eternally bewildered corpse's expression.

Her lady's lips were dyed in brilliant red, startling and almost offensive against the white of her face. A tongue flicked lazily out, savouring the taste. Sakuya's eyes fixed on it even as she told herself this was only a bystander's fascination, not willing to think on what else it could be that made her wonder, in a part of her mind barely acknowledged, whether the taste was like her own blood on Remilia's lips.

The rustling of the folds in that ever-stained dress broke her daze enough to make her very aware of Remilia in front of her. Aware and, as always when her lady was like this, on the verge of scared. At times like these she was reminded forcibly of what Remilia was, and what terrified her in a way the blood now pooling on the floor couldn't was that she couldn't bring herself to be driven away by the vampire. When she closed her eyes it wasn't the red-smeared fangs she saw, but Remilia's smile.


The vampire drew her name out, enjoying the way the syllables fell from between blood-reddened lips. The word was like a spell that drew her eyes to Remilia's, where she could see the hungry spark lit in crimson, deepening her chill into something that left her lightheaded. But maybe something of her unnameable apprehension was showing after all, because Remilia wiped the blood from that delicate mouth with a rough gesture before kissing her.

Against the softness of Remilia's lips Sakuya wasn't sure whether the faint coppery taste was imagined or not. She didn't even know which she wanted it to be.

"Humans are so weak," Remilia laughed into Sakuya's neck, buoyant after her meal. Sakuya stiffened involuntarily, seeing that falling body behind her eyes again, and of course Remilia felt it; she knew when her lady pulled away, wings beginning to flap in agitation.

She opened her mouth to explain it away and saw Remilia's eyes widen slightly as she realised her mistake.

"Of course you're not, Sakuya," Remilia started, sounding earnest for a brilliant instant before faltering. "You're, I–" She passed a frustrated hand over her mouth again, clearing away blood no longer there, and for just a moment Sakuya could hope–

But the confusion was clear in the vampire's eyes only long enough for Sakuya to see it replaced with Remilia's familiar arrogance.

"You're more than adequate for a human, of course, or you wouldn't be my maid."

Sakuya exhaled, wishing she hadn't let herself wish for a different answer. Then, because Remilia was looking at her expectantly, she smiled.

"Yes, my lady."

She was certain her voice gave nothing away, but still Remilia began to frown, so Sakuya did the proper thing. She reached for her watch, stopped time, walked hurriedly back to her room, and tried not to think of faerietales.