This takes place sometime before Sarah's arrival, when vK is still so excited to have a human in the castle that he spends his time studying Alfred like a bug in a jar. He (at least partly) believes that his fascination is entirely scientific.

"Alfred, come here."

Alfred followed him through the corridors, knowing better than to ask questions. If the boss was in the mood to share information, he would. If not, then not. Von Krolock took him to the front hallway, up to the big front door itself and used all his weight to heave it open.

Alfred yelped in surprise and shrank back from the gust of freezing, snowy air…

But suddenly von Krolock had him by the arm. "Sometimes I like to remind myself how fragile you are," he explained. He shoved hard and the next thing Alfred knew he was shin-deep in snow and the door was closing behind him.

"No-!" he turned but the wind held him back long enough for the great door to creak shut. "No, no you can't! You can't! Let me in!"

A shiver tore through him so violently that he bent double, hugging himself. "N-n-n-no," he repeated against his knees, shaking, squeezing, as if this simply couldn't be.

The terrible cold ripped at his back, his shirt no protection at all. He might as well have been naked. The wind was so sharp it hurt, his ears were throbbing. He held his breath, closed his eyes, knew he would have to get used to this soon, or go numb, or something.

But he didn't, and the cold continued.

As the second breath seared its way into his lungs, he knew he would have to move. If he didn't move he would faint. He couldn't stand, but he crawled the few feet through the snow to the door again, pressed himself against it. "Hello – hello! Count! Help me!" He pounded on it with his fist, but he could hardly hear the noise himself and he knew that not one bit of it would penetrate the thick wood. "Please," he whispered.

Against the door there was at least less wind. He turned and pressed his back against it, flat, as hard as he could. His hands and feet were stinging already, freezing. His ears had gone numb, but he could feel his nose was running and he moved to wipe it.

The best thing to do would be curl up in a little ball and save heat as best he-

"VON KROLOCK! LET ME IN!" He was up and banging on the door again before he could stop himself. "You have to let me in!" He told himself he had to stop panicking. He had to stop wasting his strength. And he had to stop crying; it was making him gasp and gasping hurt. The air hurt. The air was too cold to breathe.

As soon as he could get a handle on himself he stopped pounding, and made himself run in place instead. Warm up, warm up, get warm, he ordered himself, but before long he decided it wasn't working. He sat down again, squashed in a corner of the doorway where the wind wouldn't get at him, and pulled his knees up to his face. He wrapped his arms around them and breathed into his lap, where the air at least wasn't cold enough to hurt his lungs.

It finally occurred to him to wonder what on earth von Krolock thought he was doing. "I'm going to die out here, count," he muttered aloud, and wondered if the count could hear him.

Eventually he realized he was hardly breathing. It was just too cold.

Bright light woke him and he flinched away. He couldn't feel his body. "Ah," he managed, but groaning was the best he could do.

"How are you feeling, Alfred?"

He realized he was being carried, he was in the house, and he still couldn't feel his body. "B-b-b." He was shaking, violently.

"I'll take you to a fire."

Alfred tried to pass out again but he was awake now, awake for every miserable bumping second as they made their way towards a fire that was too bright and seared his skin painfully. "Nn." He jerked away.

"Very well." Von Krolock dumped him out on the floor and took off his own cloak to drape over him. "Better?"

Alfred clutched it around him but it didn't seem to be helping. After a moment von Krolock sighed and took the cloak away again, to hang it over the mantle instead. "Give it a moment, it will warm up. Here – in the meantime, drink this."

Alfred blinked but the light was too bright to make out the detail of whatever was being held to his face. There was liquid against his lips and he pulled a sip… then choked and sucked harder.

But all too soon von Krolock yanked free. "You're welcome," he said coolly, holding his bleeding wrist to his chest. "Here – try the cloak now."

The blood was moving through him, making everything he saw and heard and felt ten thousand times more intense… this might be the most he'd ever had, it was certainly the most strange it had ever made him feel, and he- "OH!"

The overpowering heat of von Krolock's cloak washed over him, through him, warming him to his bones for one long perfect second. "Oh Jesus sweet Jesus. Sweet Jesus." He wrapped up tight, lightheaded, willing the feeling to stay. That was the single best moment he had ever experienced in his life, ever.

He craved more now. And he was cold again – he knew he was dismally, miserably cold, but at least his body was working again and his mind clear. He wriggled closer to the fire, feeling it warm him normally… but still he remembered that one second of molten paradise and needed it again. "Count," he croaked. "Once more."

Von Krolock turned to face him and his lips curved into a slow smile. "No."

"Count- please. Please, I need it. Look at me. I almost died."

"I know. It's lovely and I want to enjoy it." He looked up, over Alfred's head, and barked, "Koukol: tea."

"T-t-tea? Tea, fuck tea!" Alfred snarled. He licked his lips. "I need your blood."

"Poor thing."

Alfred tried to move and almost made it to his knees. "Give it to me. Give me or I'll kill you!"

Von Krolock sighed, completely unimpressed by his rage. "The thirst is terrible, I know that," he soothed. "For you it will pass in a few moments. Consider yourself lucky."

"Count…" his voice had dropped; the violence was too exhausting and now he was pleading instead.

"Hush." Von Krolock knelt down by him, but pinned him to the floor by the neck so that he wouldn't get any ideas about snapping and biting. "A few drops would have been enough to revive you. This is my fault – I cut too deep. I was worried about you."

Alfred tried to take a deep breath and calm down, but when he did he realized his vision was blurring and he was about to cry again. "What's happening to me?" he whispered.

"It will pass."

"… Fuck," he moaned as his head spun.

Von Krolock laughed softly. "You have quite a mouth on you tonight, Alfred."


For a while he just lay still and listened to the clock. Its ticking seemed to get louder and louder, echoing, until the seconds ran together. Tick(ickickick)tick(ickick)ticktick… Wrong. He scrunched up his face and paid full attention to the sound, willing it to even out and make sense again. Tick… tick… tick…tick… Eventually he thought he was getting somewhere.

"Feeling calmer yet?" the count said at last.

Alfred shook his head. He still felt restless and ill at ease and greedy in some way… but now the idea of drinking blood was kind of gross again and he was starting to feel odd about having wanted it so badly. And his head was still spinning.


"No. Not yet."

"Ah – tea. Here, sit up."

He did, carefully, and began to sip. "I feel ill. I'm going to be ill, count."


"Why? Why did you do that to me? What did I do to make you angry?"


Alfred frowned at him. "Nothing? You mean you almost just killed me for no reason?"

Von Krolock shrugged. "I told you, Alfred," he purred, kneeling down beside him again. "Sometimes I just like to notice how fragile you are. It's… interesting."

"Interesting?" Alfred shuddered and moved away, dislodging the count's hand from his neck. "Do you have any idea what that was like?" No answer. "And you don't care. Count, that's… There is something… deeply wrong with you."

Von Krolock only smiled.

"That's not right! Don't you feel it? I'm your-… I don't know, I'm almost your friend, you can't treat me like I don't matter. That's so wrong. It's not… human."

He laughed outright, and Alfred finally gave up on trying to make him understand. They sat in silence for a while, the count watching avidly as he sipped at his tea and clutched the hot cup. Then: "Let me see your hand."

"No. Why?"

"Come - foul language is one thing, but..." He gestured sharply.

Alfred bit his lip and finally extended his hand. He sucked in his breath hard when von Krolock touched him, tracing designs in his palm with one long fingernail. Eventually von Krolock murmured, "I can feel the heat coming off you."


"It's so strange to think how quickly you can go from healthy, to dying, to healthy again. Isn't that amazing to you?"

"Sure," Alfred snapped, though he didn't quite dare pull his hand back. "It's a fucking miracle. Only I could do without so much firsthand experience."

He had gauged his boss's mood right, it seemed… or perhaps he was just too worn-out to care and had gotten lucky. Von Krolock didn't seem offended. He chuckled and set Alfred's hand back down in his lap.

"Don't you care how upset you've made me?"

"Now why would I do that?"

"Aarrrgh! Count! Listen." He turned to face him, but the movement dislodged the cloak from his shoulders and the sudden chill made him shake and he sneezed, loudly, spilling tea everywhere.

"Bless you."

"Sorry." He sniffed.

"Psh. Koukol? Clean this up." And he reached out to pat Alfred with a gesture that if Alfred didn't know better would have seemed kind.

He sniffed again. "I hate you."

"That's fine." Von Krolock watched him shake. "More tea?"

The End.

Hehehe I think junkie!Alfred is really cute.

As I said, this is Finals season. Euw! So, in order to waste time instead of studying, I may be posting a new story in the next couple of days. Stay tuned...

And let me know what you thought of this! I'm glad you stuck with it til the end.