Disclaimer: Saiyuki belongs to Minekura Kazuya. I just borrow the boys every now and then.
Warnings: A little blood.
Author's notes: In the original vampire mythos, vampires were not killed by the sun—they disliked it and it sometimes weakened them, but it didn't kill them. That idea was popularized by Nosferatu. I'm not confident about my Koumyou, so please feel free to critique. I wanted to change the title but I couldn't think of anything ;3;
Muichimotsu was a VI Dragon, the latest in interplanetary travel. Its exterior was hard enough to withstand collisions with medium-sized asteroids without breaking, the space-jump computers were sixty percent more accurate than most spaceships in use, it spent forty percent less fuel per jump compared to earlier models from the Keiun line, and had pilot-co-pilot neuro-net steering.
All of that, however, didn't keep it from being a huge pain in the ass to clean. The ship required meticulous care; even the slightest dust particle getting into the wrong areas could cause irreparable damage and could jeopardize the lives of the people steering it. Machines were used to clean the bulk of the outside and inside, but for more delicate areas, human hands were still needed. And it didn't help that it was roughly half the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
Kouryuu attempted to remove a stubborn splotch on the ship's hull. He scrubbed at it violently with a soapy rag, but all he succeeded in doing was to get flecks of foam on his face. He scowled, resisting the urge to kick the ship. Beside him, his adopted father, Koumyou, smiled in what could only be amusement as he cleaned out the exhaust ports.
They were currently on an asteroid service station, conducting the daily cleaning that Muichimotsu required to function at its peak performance levels. It was boring and difficult, and Kouryuu's legs were beginning to fall asleep from squatting for so long. There wasn't even the usual hustle and bustle of a busy station to distract him; he and his father were the only people in the hangar at the moment.
"I think it's time for a break," Koumyou said, standing up and stretching. Kouryuu followed suit, grateful for the reprieve from the tedious work. He folded the rag he'd been using and tossed it in the general direction of their toolkit. He made his way to the nearby workbench where Koumyou was already opening a large lunchbox.
Kouryuu sat down beside his father, and as he opened his mouth to take a bite of his sandwich, a hand clamped down over his mouth and an arm locked around his torso, pinning his arms to his sides. Somewhere to his left, he heard a thud as the lunchbox hit the floor. Cloaked and hooded figures glided into his line of sight. One of them stepped forward and addressed him. "You're the pilot of this ship?"
The hand over his mouth moved away. The moment he could speak, Kouryuu snapped, "And what's it to you?"
The figure gestured. Koumyou was dragged into Kouryuu's line of sight and held beside the man, whom he assumed was the group's leader. The leader tilted his head. "If I remember correctly, you need two people to pilot a VI Dragon. But I'm pretty sure that one person can fly it just as well without a co-pilot." As if to prove his point, he pressed a laser knife against Koumyou's throat.
Kouryuu swallowed thickly. "What do you want?"
"Transportation." The leader pulled back his hood, revealing pointed ears, red hair, and markings on his left cheek. Vampire! Kouryuu's mind squalled. For a moment, he was seized by a blind panic. It took him a moment to realize that the redheaded vampire was still talking.
"Cooperate and you'll be compensated. Do anything I don't like and I won't hesitate to remove something vital from your co-pilot." Inhumanly pale eyes narrowed. "After all, you just need two brains to fly this ship. Not a whole body."
Kouryuu felt the blood drain out of his face despite the fact that he was glaring at the vampire. "Where do you want us to take you?" he ground out, the urge to smash in the redhead's face growing by the second.
"I'll give you the coordinates once we get on the ship," the redhead said. He turned to face the other cloaked figures—also vampires, Kouryuu assumed—and said, "Get the others onto the ship before they pick up our trail."
Two of the vampires made their way towards a side entrance. They opened the door and ushered in a group of about fifteen, all of them wearing traveling clothes and cloaks. Kouryuu noticed that there weren't any children and the oldest of the group didn't seem to be over forty.
"Open the ship," the leader told Koumyou. The laser knife was still in his hand though he didn't make any threatening gestures with it. Koumyou calmly reached out and pressed his hand against Muichimotsu's palmlock. It glowed blue as it read Koumyou's handprint and the ship's door slid open after.
"I want to talk to my dad," Kouryuu snarled. The vampire in front of him just crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. If he were a human, Kouryuu would have simply elbowed him out of the way and gone inside his father's bedroom. As it was, he knew he was walking on thin ice, but he was too worried about Koumyou to care if he was pissing off the burly vampire.
"Can't let you in," the vampire said when he realized that Kouryuu had no intention of moving. "Orders. Sorry," he shrugged, not looking sorry at all. Suddenly, he straightened up from where he'd been leaning back against the wall. "Kou, is there anything wrong?"
Glancing over his shoulder, Kouryuu saw the redheaded leader approaching them.
"Nothing's wrong, Doku. I just need to talk with our prisoner." He came to a stop beside Kouryuu and locked eyes with him. "And what do you want?"
Kouryuu snarled. "Look, Kou—"
"It's Kougaiji to you," the redheaded vampire interrupted, blocking Doku with his arm when the larger vampire took a step forward. "Shouldn't you be piloting the ship? Or don't you care what happens to your father?"
"Look, Kougaiji," Kouryuu hissed through clenched teeth, "I can't and won't do shit until I get to talk to my dad. And I can't pilot the ship by myself; it has neuro tech. I just need to talk to my dad. I'll do whatever the fuck you want after."
Doku looked at Kougaiji, obviously deferring to the judgment of the redhead. After a moment, Kougaiji nodded. "I need to talk to the older human anyway. You can come in as well." The vampire paused. "I know you must be worried about your father. Believe me, if there was another way to do things …"
Kougaiji's voice trailed off. Kouryuu didn't believe the apologetic tone; what kind of idiot said sorry after kidnapping someone and hauling them across space? He ignored both the vampires and pressed his hand against the door's lock, stepping inside as soon as the door slid open. Though Doku stayed outside, Kougaiji entered the room as well, the bedroom door half-open behind him.
Kouryuu made a beeline towards the bed Koumyou had been lying down on, squatting down on the floor beside the bed. The older man sat up immediately, surprise evident on his face. "Kouryuu, what are you doing here? Are you allowed visiting hours?"
Much to Kouryuu's annoyance, Kougaiji spoke before he did. "I already told your son this, but I'll repeat it for you. I'm sorry that things had to turn out this way. But you have my word that if you get us where we need to go, nothing bad will happen to either of you."
"Where do you need us to take you?" Koumyou asked.
"To the other side of the Cannis system," Kougaiji answered. "Hijacking this ship is much safer than risking the public transport."
"And what's so important on the other side of the system?"
Kougaiji's eyes narrowed. He was silent for almost an entire minute; he obviously didn't want to give too much away, but he also seemed like the type to avoid lying if he could. "It's obvious what we are," he said slowly. "And you know that until now, humans would rather deal with the vampire population by killing us. We need you to take us to a colony where it's just us. Somewhere we don't have to look over our shoulders every other minute just to feel safe."
While he could understand how difficult life was for Kougaiji and his group, Kouryuu also had to admit that he was hard-pressed to feel bad for them especially since he and his father were at the vampire's mercy. He highly doubted that Kougaiji would actually seriously injure him or Koumyou, but he knew that when push came to shove, things could get messy.
Kouryuu was pulled out of his thoughts when Koumyou said, "We'd be glad to help you."
Kouryuu's head whipped around so fast he was surprised he didn't snap his neck. "What?"
Pilot log A #226
Something quite remarkable happened today; Kouryuu and I were coerced by a group of renegade vampires to help them escape impending death by transporting them to their hidden colony. Their leader—a courteous young man; he apologized for having to use force—is named Kougaiji. Despite being a prisoner, I'm given almost anything I ask for. They've even allowed me to sleep in my own quarters, but there's quite a large vampire keeping guard outside my door.
After hearing Kougaiji's story, I wish to help them. It's not right that they need to go into hiding to feel safe, but while majority of the people still treat them so horribly, I must admit that I don't see any other alternative.
I hope Kouryuu is dealing well with our new circumstances. If he continues acting the way he insists on acting, he might end up hurting himself. I shall have to remind him to mind his manners next time I see him.
Pilot log B #220
Can't believe what happened today. Was fucking kidnapped by vampires. Vampires, what the hell. Forced to fly them to some godforsaken planetoid colony. Would've told them to go screw themselves if they didn't have dad at knifepoint.
Leader's name is Kougaiji. Must keep it in mind for when I can hunt him down and shoot him after dad and I get out of this mess.
Managed to escape the mercenaries for now. Acquired transportation to colony, though it's still on the opposite end of the Cannis system. Must keep in mind not to hurt the humans unless necessary; none of us really know how to pilot this ship. This is very difficult because the younger human is very irritating. I've been trying to go out of my way to be nice, but he insists on being abrasive.
Doku asked why I was being so nice to the hostages. Told him that we didn't need to give the humans more reasons to hate and fear vampires. The last recorded incident of a vampire killing a human was more than half a millennium ago. You'd think that humans would get over their irrational fear by now.
Koumyou had never had the opportunity to meet a vampire before. The law forbid humans from interacting with them, after all, and he wasn't desperate enough to actively seek one out just to assuage his curiosity. But right now, he had the opportunity of a lifetime and he wasn't about to pass it up.
He'd managed to make friends with his guard, Dokugakuji, after only two days. Koumyou was surprised to find out that Dokugakuji was actually a lot older than he looked; he was more than three hundred years old, as a matter of fact, and that that was actually quite young in vampire years. Koumyou supposed that he should have been surprised at that, but he had to admit that the way the vampires held themselves belied a surety that came with having seen and experienced many things.
Koumyou was only allowed to go out of his room to help Kouryuu pilot the ship, but during the rare moments that he had a break, he would make his way to the common room where the group of vampires stayed. He engaged any willing person in a conversation, making small talk and asking questions when he thought he could get away with it. It took a bit of work, but eventually the suspicious looks that greeted him whenever he approached were replaced by smiles and greetings.
Kouryuu was still being difficult about the entire thing. While Koumyou agreed that being kidnapped and forced to travel all the way to Cannis was far from being pleasant, he also wanted to at least be able to help Kougaiji's group reach their colony. It helped that he thought of the entire thing as being an adventure; a break from the tedious deliveries he and Kouryuu had to make almost every day as part of their job working for the Sanbutsushin delivery conglomerate.
Koumyou glanced at Kouryuu out of the corner of his eye. The command room was lit up by the blue lights from the neuro-net, softening the sharp planes of Kouryuu's features. It did nothing to hide his scowl, however. "Is something wrong, Kouryuu?" he asked, refocusing on the view outside the cockpit.
"We've been fucking kidnapped by a troop of vampires, dad. How the hell can anything be fine?"
"They didn't really have a choice, you know that. And I really think that in the long run, it would in everyone's best interests if we helped them out. We'd be giving them a chance at living a better life."
"And you know what I think of the entire thing. We're on the losing end here. What happens when those mercenaries they're running away from catch up? We might have enough weapon tech to protect ourselves, but there might be more than we can handle. And I don't think the mercenaries would let us go even if we were just forced along for the ride."
There was a long pause. Koumyou and Kouryuu had talked about the same thing before, and it almost always ended the same way. Koumyou wanted to help the vampires because he felt sorry for them and Kouryuu wanted nothing to do with them because he didn't want to get caught up in the possible crossfire.
Koumyou broke the silence. He shrugged, saying, "You should try talking to some of them, sometime. They're actually quite friendly once you get to know them. I think you and Yakumo would actually get along nicely."
Kouryuu didn't say anything in reply. Instead, he activated one of the front weapons ports and blasted apart a stray asteroid that wandered into their line of sight. Koumyou sighed. When Kouryuu was in a very bad mood, he tended to use Muichimotsu's weapons instead of just evading space debris. Needless to say, the weapons ports were used quite regularly.
It was three days after their kidnapping and Kouryuu was in the ship's small library, working on the beginning of his escape plan. He was in the middle of writing down the details of the guards' shifts when he heard someone clearing their throat.
"Excuse me, but where is the kitchen?"
Kouryuu quickly covered the notebook he'd been writing in and looked up. A female vampire was standing in the doorway that led into the library, her dark hair pulled back from her face. "What?"
"The kitchen," she repeated. "Can you tell me where it is?"
"Why do you need to know?"
"Some of us are hungry."
Kouryuu immediately stood up and moved away from the vampire. His hand tensed on the pen he was holding. It wasn't much but if he could gouge out her eyes before she managed to do anything, it would buy him some time.
The woman frowned at him. "We're not interested in drinking your blood," she said, her sounding like she were dealing with a small child. "If we were, you'd be drained by now." When Kouryuu didn't move, she sighed in exasperation. "Fine. I guess I'll have to go look for the kitchen myself."
Barely ten seconds after she disappeared, Kougaiji walked into the room. Kouryuu immediately tensed up again and he had to refrain from shoving his notebook into his pocket to keep from looking suspicious. If Kougaiji found the notes for his escape plan, there was no telling what he would do in retaliation.
"What did you do to Yaone?" Kougaiji asked, eyes narrowed. "She looked upset."
"I assumed that she wanted to drink my blood," Kouryuu replied. "I don't see how that would be upsetting, seeing as you're vampires."
Kougaiji's expression was blank, but when he spoke, his voice was cold. "We're not the monsters you think we are. We don't need your blood or your life force or whatever it is you think we take from you. We can eat human food just as well."
"Excuse me if I'm having trouble believing that," Kouryuu said, pushing past Kougaiji and leaving the library. He arrived at the sickbay before he allowed himself to relax, slumping down to sit on one of the beds. His heart threatened to burst out of his chest and he loosened his hold on his notebook.
He knew that it wasn't really a good idea to talk back at Kougaiji, but he'd be damned if he were going bow down and cower whenever the redhead came along. Kouryuu also resented the fact that he and his father were being held hostage. And he never was any good at following orders unless they were Koumyou's.
Pilot log A #232
I'm learning a lot of things from our captors—for example, vampires don't really require the blood of humans per se; they need the human life force. However, they tell me that they don't need to drink blood anymore, though nobody will tell me why.
Being able to talk to them disproves a lot of the horror stories people tell about vampires. I think it's very sad that much of our interaction with them has been tainted with false assumptions and prejudice.
Pilot log B #226
Dad's been really friendly with the assholes lately; laughed when I told him that he shouldn't trust them. Seriously wondering if the vampires have brainwashed him; remember hearing somewhere that they can mind-control people.
The older human has been making friends among us. Doku's a bit alarmed by this, but Yaone says that there is no need to worry. I'm not as worried as Doku—I'm sure that even the weakest of us is more than a match for the old one, though I must admit that I'm still a bit wary of his intentions.
The younger one, on the other hand, is a different story. However, we have reached a compromise; he stays out of my way and I stay out of his.
Kougaiji sat slightly apart from his followers, responding when spoken to, but not actively participating in their conversation. He listened carefully to what the others were talking about; one of the younger ones had not yet fully recovered from the turning. He still craved blood. It wouldn't be a problem, however; his brother was willing to let him drink from him. It wouldn't be as satisfying, but it would do until the thirst left him.
"What do you think, my lord?"
Kougaiji snapped out of his reverie and looked at the vampire who addressed him. "I'm sorry," Kougaiji apologized. "I wasn't really paying attention. What do I think of what?"
"Do you think we should let Ginkaku go through with it? Their blood is too close to one another, it might not be enough to sustain Kinkaku."
"I think it'll be all right. I was the one who sustained Lirin when she was newly-turned and nothing bad happened."
There were murmurs of assent amongst the group, and the topic of conversation shifted. Everyone was excited about arriving at the colony, all of them looking forward to being reunited with loved ones and family and friends. Kougaiji felt the same; it had been almost a year since he saw his sister during the initial scattering. Now, he'd been forced to kidnap two humans and commandeer their ship. While he hated using violence and coercion, the mercenaries chasing them had given him no choice.
He sighed and stood. It wouldn't really do to dwell too much on such depressing thoughts. After all, they were already on their way to the hidden colony. The mercenaries were far behind them and if they were careful, their trail wouldn't be picked up again. If things kept going smoothly, they would reach the colony in around a month.
Feeling much better, Kougaiji made his way to the ship's cockpit. The guard standing just outside the cockpit door bowed slightly as he neared and he nodded in return to acknowledge the other vampire. "How's everything going?"
"It doesn't seem like they're planning anything," the guard said.
Kougaiji peered through the small glass pane set in the cockpit door. The two humans inside were bathed in the blue light of the neuro-net, seated side-by-side in the middle of the small room. Again, he marveled at the ship's technology. In simple terms, the 'net connected the brains of the two pilots and then connected it to the ship; all the pilot had to do to make something happen was to think about it. Neuro tech like this was rare because the two pilots had to have a mind compatibility of at least seventy percent or more. Koumyou and Kouryuu probably had a high compatibility because they were father and son.
There was a beep from inside the cockpit and the light shifted from blue to green. Kouryuu and Koumyou both stood up, letting the ship's autopilot take over. They'd reached a pre-mapped zone, then. Kougaiji stepped back from the door as it hissed open, ignoring the confrontational glare Kouryuu sent his way and turning to talk to Koumyou. "You'll be going back to your room?"
"I don't suppose I can go ask your friends questions again?" Koumyou asked good-naturedly.
"If no one complains, I don't see why not," Kougaiji said.
Koumyou smiled and thanked him, making his way to the common room. The guard followed him and the sound of their small talk drifted back along the hallway. Kougaiji lingered in front of the cockpit door, hesitating a moment before stepping inside the room.
He walked along the consoles, brushing a hand along the smooth metal surfaces. He reached the map projector and activated it, pulling up a three-dimensional map of the entire Cannis system. The celestial bodies were white pinpricks and dots while Muichimotsu's path was shown in vivid red.
"What do you think you're doing?"
Kougaiji somehow managed not to jump in surprise, slowly turning around to look at who had spoken. Kouryuu stood a few feet away from him, his hands balled into fists. "It should be obvious," Kougaiji said coolly. "I was looking at the route we're taking."
"Get out before you end up crashing the ship," Kouryuu snapped. He made an aborted move, as if he'd planned to throw Kougaiji out of the cockpit but had remembered that the latter was a vampire.
Kougaiji was automatically indignant; few people had ever talked down to him, and he was certain that he was capable of flying Muichimotsu if given the opportunity. "I know enough about spaceships not to crash them," he said defensively.
Kouryuu snorted derisively and crossed his arms, obviously waiting for Kougaiji to exit what he apparently considered his domain. While the blond human's attitude made Kougaiji want to slam his face against the wall, the vampire had to admit that it was refreshing to come across someone who didn't cower in fear when they came face-to-face with him. Still, Kougaiji wasn't about to let anyone boss him around. He deliberately turned around and pulled up another map from the ship's database.
He was caught off-guard when a hand grabbed his shoulder and he was hauled unceremoniously away from the map projector. Twisting, Kougaiji freed himself from Kouryuu's grip. Before the blond could move away, Kougaiji grabbed his shoulder, spinning Kouryuu around and pinning him against the wall. "Don't think that you're any match for me, human," Kougaiji said coldly.
Kouryuu growled and tried to kick him, and Kougaiji had to admire his bravery. Kougaiji took one step closer and applied more pressure to Kouryuu's shoulder, using his free hand to trap Kouryuu's other hand against the wall as well. Kouryuu hissed in pain.
Kougaiji reveled in the sense of power that went through him. It was almost intoxicating, knowing that he could do whatever he wanted to Kouryuu and the blond wouldn't be able to stop him. He usually didn't care much for vampires who abused their superior strength, but he could admit to himself that it felt good to take out his frustrations on someone who he didn't feel the need to be nice to.
Kougaiji inhaled deeply, relishing the scent of Kouryuu's mingled anger and fear. His senses narrowed until there wasn't anything except the feel of Kouryuu's body under his hands and the human's scent filling his nose. He moved without thinking, stepping closer and bowing his head until his face was almost pressed against the back of Kouryuu's neck.
"Let go of me!"
An elbow hit his chin. It didn't hurt, but Kougaiji snapped back to his senses at the contact. He let go of Kouryuu and stepped back, his eyes widening and his hands balling up into fists at his side. Kougaiji could feel his lengthened canines against his bottom lip and he willed them to shrink back down to their usual length.
They stared at one another, Kouryuu with his back pressed against the wall, Kougaiji standing stock still a few feet away, struggling to bring his breathing under control. Without saying anything, Kougaiji left the cockpit, not daring to spare Kouryuu a glance as he passed by the blond.
Kouryuu scowled at the teen that bumped into him, wishing that he still had his sidearm with him. That Kougaiji asshole had had his men gather every bit of personal weaponry on the ship. The knowledge that the teen could rip Kouryuu's arm from its socket with little effort did nothing to calm the anger rising in Kouryuu. "Watch where you're going," he snapped.
The vampire hissed at him, baring his fangs, but didn't do anything else. Kouryuu glared at the teen and kept walking, making his way to his room. He passed by the open door leading to the ship's kitchens and saw three other vampires going through some of the food supplies. Kouryuu was still suspicious of the fact that they could eat human food.
He pressed his hand against the palmlock by the door that led to his private quarters. There was a beep and the door slid open, closing quickly behind Kouryuu as he stepped through the threshold. He made sure that the door was locked before walking over to his bedside table.
Kouryuu opened a seemingly empty drawer and reached inside. The holographic bottom wavered a bit as his hand went through the projection and he pulled out a modified energy gun. He'd replaced the fuel cell with a solar cell but had yet to rewire the pathways to accommodate the changes. Only a little more work and he'd be ready to put his escape plan into action. He just hoped that everything would go well.
He was still shaken up by the incident in the cockpit. Despite the fact that it had happened more than a week ago, Kouryuu still couldn't forget that one moment of panic when he'd realized that he was almost certainly going to be bitten. He'd been frozen with fear, yes, but to his immense horror, he'd also been tense with excitement.
During the few moments he had to himself, Kouryuu had been finding out as much as he could about vampires. He knew that they could put someone under their thrall, could make someone iwant/i to be bitten. He reasoned that that was why he'd been anticipating the first touch of Kougaiji's teeth against his skin and it further hardened his resolve to escape from Muichimotsu. They'd probably have to abandon the spaceship. Koumyou would be sad, but Kouryuu thought it was a fair price to pay for freedom.
Despite the fact that he had never trusted Kouryuu, Kougaiji was still caught off-guard when the blond finally made his move. He'd been walking towards the common room, Yaone walking along beside him, when he was suddenly knocked to the floor. He sprang up almost immediately, turning around, snarling when he heard Yaone crying out in pain.
She was sagging against the wall, a hand clutched against her side. Black blood was pouring out beneath her hand and staining her clothes. Kouryuu stood a few feet down the hallway, an energy gun in his hand. He moved, aiming it at Kougaiji's head, and in the split-second before Kouryuu pulled the trigger, Kougaiji ducked.
What looked like a beam of concentrated sunlight soared above Kougaiji's head and hit the wall behind him. Before Kouryuu could shoot again, Kougaiji leapt at Kouryuu, grabbing the blond's wrist and squeezing until he let go of the energy gun. There was fury in Kouryuu's eyes and he aimed a punch at Kougaiji's face.
The vampire barely avoided the blow. Letting go of Kouryuu's wrist, Kougaiji grabbed hold of the human's shirt and threw him. He watched in satisfaction as the side of the blond's head thudded against an open control panel. Almost instantly, blood showed up shockingly bright against Kouryuu's skin, trailing down towards the collar of his shirt.
Kougaiji's eyes were riveted by the sight of the red blood against the pale skin. He couldn't remember how long it had been since he had been so close to fresh blood, blood that was still warm from the host body. He moved to kneel down beside Kouryuu and grabbed his shoulder. Kouryuu weakly tried to shrug him off, still dazed from hitting his head, and Kougaiji tightened his grip, feeling bone and tendons give way under his hand.
Without realizing it, Kougaiji moved to press his lips against Kouryuu's temple. He felt the ache in his gums that accompanied the lengthening of his canines. For a few seconds, Kougaiji struggled to bring himself under control, but the scent of Kouryuu's blood drove him over the edge.
Leaning down, he ran his tongue across Kouryuu's skin, licking up the human's blood. It felt like his throat was on fire when he swallowed, and Kougaiji pulled back Kouryuu's head with his free hand, stretching out Kouryuu's neck and biting it.
His fangs went through the pale skin easily. Almost immediately, Kougaiji's mouth was filled with the taste and heat of Kouryuu's blood. Kouryuu cried out and tried to push Kougaiji away, but his injured arm was a hindrance. Kougaiji easily grabbed his hand and pinned it against the wall, biting down harder and growling. Slowly, the fight went out of Kouryuu. He went limp in Kougaiji's hold and Kougaiji shifted his grip so that he was supporting the back of Kouryuu's head and had his other arm around the blond's waist.
Kougaiji had almost forgotten the rush of power and awareness that came with feeding. He saw everything in greater detail, could feel the whisper of the ship's recycled air against his skin. He breathed in the smell of Kouryuu's sweat and blood, surprised when he could also smell the beginnings of arousal coming from the human.
Kouryuu's hand came up, but instead of trying to push Kougaiji away, it fisted in the material of his shirt. Kouryuu groaned, the sound driving Kougaiji's bloodlust even higher.
"Kouryuu!" Someone grabbed a fistful of Kougaiji's hair and tried to pull him away.
Another voice yelled, "You'll rip open his neck!" The hand immediately disappeared. Yet another voice cried out Yaone's name. "Kou, let go!"
Kougaiji swiped blindly in the direction of the voice, feeling his claws ripping into flesh. There was a yelp of pain, but whoever it was grabbed hold of his shoulder. "Kou, you'll kill him!"
With a jolt, Kougaiji realized that the sound of Kouryuu's heartbeat was becoming unsteady. While part of him reveled in the kill, most of him panicked. He was acting like the monster that humans always thought of when they talked about his kind. Kougaiji struggled to bring himself back under control, slowly opening his mouth and releasing Kouryuu.
As soon as he did, hands pulled Kouryuu away from him. He looked up slowly from where he was kneeling on the floor, his eyes meeting Dokugakuji's. "I didn't mean to," he said, surprised at how calm he sounded.
What have I done?
Koumyou looked down at Kouryuu, his hands gripping the rails on the side of the infirmary bed. Kouryuu was even paler than usual, his skin an unhealthy white. The beeping of the ECG was far too quick for comfort and sweat was beading on Kouryuu's brow. A blood bag was set up on the IV pole beside the bed. At the other side of the room, three vampires were still working on Yaone.
Koumyou had never regretted his decision to help Kougaiji's group until now. He'd always believed that it was important to help people in need and that you should never assume the worst about somebody. But now, he had to admit that maybe Kouryuu had been right to distrust the vampires.
He had yet to confront Kougaiji about the whole thing but Dokugakuji had already apologized on the redhead's behalf, telling him that Kougaiji had voluntarily locked himself up in his room and refused to come out. Some of the older, more powerful members of their group stood watch outside the door in case the bloodlust came back and took hold of Kougaiji.
While he was much less inclined to bring the vampires to their colony after what had happened with Kouryuu, Koumyou had to admit that he couldn't see a way out of it. He'd found his son's meticulously-planned escape written down in a small notebook in his pocket and though it had been possible before, with Kouryuu the way he was now, it was practically impossible.
Koumyou ran a hand through his hair. For the first time in a long time he felt exhausted. But instead of going back to his rooms and resting, he pulled up a chair and settled down to watch over Kouryuu until he woke up.
Three days after attacking Kouryuu, Kougaiji finally worked up the courage to go and visit him in the infirmary. Guilt had been building up in him and despite the fact that the urge to drink Kouryuu's blood was long gone, Kougaiji added two more guards to his escort.
Kougaiji wasn't surprised when he sees Koumyou sitting beside Kouryuu's bed and he still wasn't surprised when the older human immediately stood up and turned to face him. He could admit that it was a bit disheartening to be treated like a rabid dog that would attack at any moment, but he didn't really expect anything else after the way he'd acted.
"For what it's worth, I really am sorry," he said, meeting Koumyou's hazel eyes head-on. "And I want to make amends; both for attacking your son and for forcing you to bring us to our colony. We can pay you once we reach our destination. I can't really think of any other way to make it up to you for all your trouble."
Koumyou didn't speak immediately, and Kougaiji wondered if he'd somehow offended him. When he finally did, his tone was polite but lacked the warmth it usually held. "Thank you very much for your offer."
After an awkward silence, Kougaiji asked, "He's still not awake?" He glanced at Kouryuu's sleeping form, glad to see that the blond wasn't deathly pale anymore.
"He woke up a bit before you arrived. I convinced him to go back to sleep; he's still not fully recovered." Koumyou moved to sit back down beside his son and his hand came up to rest on top of Kouryuu's.
Kougaiji left before things became even more awkward, his guard following him back to his room. He told himself that he wasn't running away from the evidence of what he'd done. He was the leader of his people and he wasn't a coward by any stretch of the imagination. What happened, happened and it was best if he just accepted it and moved on. He would do his best to make amends.
Having a semi-coherent plan of action comforted Kougaiji; it was much better than worrying about things he couldn't change.
Kouryuu and Kougaiji glared at each other. Kouryuu was sitting on the infirmary bed, his feet on the floor. Kougaiji stood right in front of him, preventing him from standing up. The vampire's guards were nearby, ready to grab him if he showed even the slightest hint of bloodlust. Koumyou stood somewhere near the door to the infirmary, looking amused.
"If I have to stay here one day longer, I'm going to go crazy," Kouryuu snarled. "Now get the fuck out of my way!"
"One more week of bed rest wouldn't hurt," Kougaiji said doggedly. "You have to be sure that you're completely healthy."
Kouryuu wanted to stab Kougaiji with something. In the first place, it was Kougaiji's fault that he'd been bedridden. While Yaone had fully recovered within a week, Kouryuu took more than half that time to feel marginally better.
During the time that he'd been in the infirmary, Koumyou had stayed by his bedside whenever he was free, utilizing Muichimotsu's autopilot feature as often as he could. Since they only had one pilot, travel progress had slowed down considerably. Kouryuu wanted to get back to piloting as soon as possible, not only because doing nothing was boring him to death, but also because the sooner they dumped Kougaiji and his crew on the vampire colony, the better.
It didn't help that aside from Koumyou, Kougaiji kept hanging around as well. He personally saw to Kouryuu, bringing him his meals and checking up on him every other hour. Kougaiji made small talk with Koumyou and shared stories with the older human. He was making an extra effort to get back into their good graces, and while Koumyou appreciated that, Kouryuu was hard pressed to forget what it had felt like when Kougaiji was drinking his blood. He had to remind himself that he hadn't enjoyed it and that he'd been violated in the worst possible way by the experience.
Kouryuu stood up, shouldering his way past Kougaiji and making his way towards his father. Kougaiji reached out and grabbed his wrist, grip almost strong enough to bruise. Kouryuu froze at the touch, heat seeming to radiate outward from where Kougaiji's skin made contact with his. "Let go," Kouryuu said through clenched teeth.
For a moment, Kougaiji just looked at him. Kouryuu noticed the vampire guards tensing up, saw Koumyou stand a bit straighter. Then Kougaiji let him go. "Don't push yourself too hard."
Pilot log A #270
I won't be forgetting what happened to Kouryuu anytime soon, but I also have to admit that Kougaiji really seems to be going out of his way to fix things. I'm not really ready to forgive him yet, but I've noticed how Kouryuu looks at him.
I don't think Kouryuu knows, though.
Pilot log B #264
I can't stop thinking about Kougaiji biting me. The fucking asshole.
Koumyou wondered if it were possible to start liking somebody because they drank your blood. While he'd noticed and thought that Kougaiji might have been interested in Kouryuu for a while now, it was only recently that he noticed Kouryuu seemed to be returning the interest.
Of course Kouryuu still complained and cursed and called Kougaiji all sorts of names, using the attack on him as proof that the vampires couldn't be trusted. But the glare he fixed on the redhead was a different sort of glare altogether and Koumyou remembered that the last time Kouryuu had liked somebody, he had been even more disagreeable than usual. It was probably because Kouryuu didn't like liking anybody.
Dokugakuji had told him before that it was possible for the feeding to be pleasurable for the one being fed on. "I've never actually seen someone enjoying it, though," he'd clarified. "I've only heard about it happening. Usually when the person doesn't actually mind if the vampire does it."
"So it has to be a specific vampire?" Koumyou had asked. "Like if it the person were attacked by another vampire he didn't know, he wouldn't enjoy it?"
"Something like that."
Koumyou nodded absently while Kouryuu continued to verbally abuse Kougaiji and his crew, saying that they were nothing but dead weight and that they could at least help keep the ship clean. Koumyou refrained from pointing out that Muichimostu had never been any cleaner.
When the mercenaries attacked, Kouryuu blamed both himself and Kougaiji for it. Himself for not being fully prepared when it happened, and Kougaiji because he and his dad wouldn't even be in this mess in the first place if it weren't for him.
The entire ship lurched to one side, the lights flickering wildly. Most of the vampires were just outside the cockpit, trying to convince Kouryuu that he couldn't possibly steer the ship alone well enough to evade the mercenaries' attacks and escape at the same time. Kouryuu knew that, had seen Koumyou being rushed to the infirmary with a mild concussion.
"None of you even know how to fly this thing!" Kouryuu snapped. Another volley of shots hit the ship. It slowly rolled, righting itself after the impacts wore off. Kouryuu braced himself against the wall to keep from slipping.
Kougaiji's eyes narrowed. "I do. Only in theory, but it's better than nothing."
Kouryuu just looked at Kougaiji. He didn't doubt that the redhead knew how to pilot a ship, but he didn't want to establish a neuro-net with someone other than Koumyou. It was an extremely personal and private thing; their minds would essentially meld into one during the entire time they were strapped in together. It had taken Kouryuu the better part of a year to let himself pilot with Koumyou, and that was only on the condition that they'd both ignore each other's thoughts unless they had to do with piloting Muichimotsu.
"If you don't let me help you, we're all going to die," Kougaiji snapped. "Your father is going to die. Do you think those mercenaries care that you're just caught in the middle of things?"
Kouryuu swallowed his pride and quickly opened the door to the command room. Kougaiji followed him inside after giving instructions to the other vampires, closing the door behind him when he entered.
"Sit down," Kouryuu said shortly. Their shoulders touched when Kougaiji followed, and Kouryuu ruthlessly suppressed any thoughts that didn't involve instructing the redhead. The ship shuddered again; the shields wouldn't hold out much longer. "I'm going to activate the 'net," he said. "Don't fight it or you'll end up hurting us both. You concentrate on flying the ship. I'll take care of the weapons."
Kougaiji nodded and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. It was now or never.
Kouryuu closed his eyes as well and turned on the 'net.
It felt like his body was expanding and stretching, taking on the size and shape of iMuichimotsu/i. Kougaiji kept himself calm, accepting the strange feeling and opening his mind even more. On the edge of his awareness, he could feel the spark of Kouryuu's own consciousness. It burned brightly, almost distracting Kougaiji from the task at hand.
"Fly the fucking ship!" For a moment, Kougaiji marveled at the fact that Kouryuu had just yelled at him mentally before focusing on the ship's engines.
He had read about neuro technology, how it worked and how to use it, but the reality of it was better than he'd imagined. He was Muichimotsu; he could feel the shield around him like a second skin, the hum of the engines in his legs, the wings were his arms. He started running and the engines fired up. He jumped and the ship angled upwards and flew faster, evading a laser fired from one of the smaller mercenary ships.
Kougaiji kept running, dodging left and right, feeling lasers barely miss him as he did. Dimly, he could feel Kouryuu's consciousness as if it were pressed up against his side. He caught a stray thought here and there, but didn't pay attention to them out of respect for Kouryuu's privacy.
He felt when the shields finally gave out but didn't slow down. They were slowly gaining distance, the mercenary ships almost as fast as they were. There was another thud of impact, this one stronger than the previous ones, and Kougaiji heard Kouryuu cry out in pain.
"Ignore me and keep piloting!"
It didn't take much longer before they were finally free, Kouryuu destroying the few mercenary ships that hadn't given up on the chase. The feeling of shrinking and compressing was less enjoyable than the experience of entering the neuro-net, but Kougaiji didn't mind.
The moment Muichimotsu went into autopilot mode, the smell of blood reached Kougaiji's nose. He immediately sprang out of his chair and backed into the far wall, putting as much distance as he could between him and Kouryuu without actually leaving the room. This time, he managed to keep himself in check, though he couldn't help the lengthening of his fangs at the sight before him.
One of the overhead consoles had fallen and struck Kouryuu's left shoulder. Blood trailed down his arm to his wrist and there were splatters of it on the floor. Kouryuu hissed in pain as he stood up.
Kougaiji averted his eyes, trying not to look at the blond's injury. "I'll go and get Yaone to bring you to the sickbay," he said, thankful that his voice didn't waver. He could feel the bloodlust rising up in him again, but tamped it down. Though he was in control of it this time, Kougaiji knew how good Kouryuu's blood would taste, how it would feel as he swallowed it.
Before he could leave the room, Kouryuu took a step forward, towards him. His violet eyes were narrowed, both in pain and something else. "You didn't look at my thoughts."
"Of course not," Kougaiji replied. He tried not to panic as Kouryuu moved even closer, struggling to keep himself in check lest he attack the human again. He didn't think he could handle hurting Kouryuu so soon after the blond had recovered from the first time. Kougaiji didn't enjoy turning into a beast and he needed to leave the room before he ended up doing something.
Kouryuu stopped a foot away from Kougaiji, his eyes still narrowed and gaze intense. Without pausing, he raised his arm and pressed his bloody wrist against Kougaiji's mouth.
Kougaiji froze, his eyes going wide. Kouryuu saw fear in them and relished the fact that for the first time in a long time, he had the upper hand. He pressed his wrist even harder against Kougaiji's lips, walking forward until the vampire's back hit the wall.
"Drink," Kouryuu said, emphasizing the command with another press against Kougaiji's lips. There was a helpless moan before hands came up to hold his arm in place and a tongue began to trace the rivulets of blood that trailed down his arm.
Kouryuu could feel himself becoming aroused like before, heat spreading out from where Kougaiji's hands and tongue were pressed against his skin and pooling in his groin. Kouryuu buried his other hand in Kougaiji's hair, nails scratching against the vampire's scalp as he made his way, licking and sucking, to the wound on Kouryuu's shoulder.
The console hadn't hit anything major, but it still stung when Kougaiji fastened his mouth over the injury and began to drink. The vampire seemed to hesitate and Kouryuu urged him forward. Kougaiji opened his mouth wider and bit down, his fangs piercing the skin on either side of the wound.
Kouryuu shuddered at the feeling, bowing his head and pressing his face against the top of Kougaiji's head. He shifted until Kougaiji's legs were spread open, the hot line of the vampire's erection pressed against his. Kouryuu moved his hips, the friction of Kougaiji's cock and the fabric of his own pants making his moan. He untangled his hand from Kougaiji's hair and reached down to squeeze the vampire's ass instead.
His rhythm faltered when Kougaiji suddenly wrapped a leg around his hips, pressing their erections even closer together. "Fuck," Kouryuu muttered, reaching between them. He fumbled with the fastening of Kougaiji's pants for a moment before the vampire realized what he was doing. Kougaiji took charge, using his claws to rip cloth, purring against Kouryuu's shoulder when their dicks came in contact.
With the way Kougaiji was sucking, it was only a matter of time before Kouryuu lost too much blood. Kouryuu took hold of both of their erections, gripping them in his hand. Kougaiji reached down as well and covered Kouryuu's own hand with his own. It was awkward; Kouryuu had to make sure that they didn't topple over and practically humping Kougaiji into the wall didn't really help.
Kouryuu came with a muffled yell, biting down on Kougaiji's neck, his teeth barely making marks on the vampire's skin. Kougaiji followed suit, growling as he did.
Koumyou stayed in the infirmary for a week—though he was fine after three days of rest—because both Kouryuu and Kougaiji insisted that he did. Whenever both of them happened to drop by at the same time, Koumyou watched them fight and argue as they usually did. After all, Kouryuu had a temper and Kougaiji was never the type to back down when he was being provoked.
He was surprised when he found out that Kougaiji had flown the ship while they were being attacked; he knew his son wouldn't have let the vampire into the 'net with him unless Kouryuu trusted the redhead. It said a lot about the relationship between Kouryuu and Kougaiji. That and the bite marks Koumyou'd spotted on Kouryuu's neck one day.
By the time Koumyou started piloting with Kouryuu again, Kouryuu had stopped glaring at Kougaiji every time he saw the vampire. By then, it was only a week before they reached Kougaiji's colony. Koumyou wondered if Kouryuu planned on even saying goodbye, knowing that his son had never been good with those kinds of things.
When he tried to bring it up, Kouryuu simply looked at him blankly and said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Kouryuu watched with his usual scowl on his face as Kougaiji picked up his little sister and whirled her around. Nearby, one of the vampire elders was thanking Koumyou while the rest of the group that had been onboard iMuichimotsu/i greeted family and friends. All the love and affection made Kouryuu want to punch something.
They stayed on the colony for a couple of days to make repairs and stock up on fuel and food. A lot of the more skilled vampires helped Kouryuu and Koumyou, saying that it was their way of repaying them for helping their people. True to his word, Kougaiji also transferred a large amount of creds into their bank account.
When it was finally time for them to leave, Kouryuu had to force himself to shake hands with Kougaiji. "Thank you. For everything," Kougaiji said, his voice even and formal.
Kouryuu grunted noncommittally, letting go of Kougaiji's hand and making his way to the hangar where they'd docked iMuichimotsu/i. Koumyou had gone on ahead to prep the ship for flight and Kouryuu walked quickly, wanting to get away from Kougaiji as fast as possible, unused to feeling anything except varying degrees of dislike for anyone other than his father.
Pilot log A #300
Oh my. I seem to have accidentally left Kouryuu behind.