Disclaimer: I don't own the Darren Shan saga, thank God. I would totally ruin it with my dirty mind.
A/N: I looooove this pairing. Man, the chemistry! Woohoo! But I'm not so good with yaoi, being FEMALE. Therefore, Darren is a girl. I just couldn't imagine Steve as a girl, maybe it's just my masochistic side? I think if Darren Shan(author) was to read this, he'd see real horror, but who cares! Long live romance fics!
Er.. I'm really sorry if any of these ideas seem 'recycled' because after writing this fic, I read another fanfic and was all "Hey, I wrote that line in my fic too!" and in the same situation too. So, I'm sorry if it seems similar but I can assure you, I haven't actually copied anyone's works. I wouldn't dare. Any similarities to current or complete fics are purely coincidental.
Major spoiler alert. If you haven't read the books, you might not want to read this fic.
Btw, this chapter I'd rate T to be safe. The M-rated parts will have to wait, because Darren and Steve are like, what, twelve?
June 2012 – I edited the chapters, correcting some grammar mistakes and removed most of the lemons in accordance with the M not MA rating. Don't want to get this story banned.
Chapter 1: Cirque Du Freak
Hi. My name is Darren Shan. I'd like to say that the first part of my life was normal. But it wasn't. And it had only gone downhill from then on.
My father, much like most fathers, wanted a son. Badly. He had been the only boy in a family of four females, so when I was born, you can only imagine his utter disappointment. My mother, in an attempt to console him, told him that he could name me whatever he wanted. And so I became Darren Shan, a girl with a male name. My mother wasn't happy about it, but she kept her mouth shut.
I spent the first years of my life watching my parents argue over the different ways they brought me up. My father would buy me remote controlled cars and soccer balls for birthdays and Christmas. My mother on the other hand, purchased dolls and tea sets for me. I played with both to make them happy, but would always find myself unable to play femininely. For example, my Barbie dolls would always be the first to die during play time. This disappointed my mother greatly, but there was little I could do about it. I was just a toddler.
In the end she gave up. And I was raised as a boy. That is, until Andy was born. Then my father shifted his attention to a true boy, and mum did her best to try to shape me back into a female. But it was too late. The damage had been done. And thus was the childhood of Darren Shan, a gender-confused female. I only wish that the weirdness ended there.
Of course, the names in my story are purely made-up. However, I can assure you that it is the only thing that has been replaced. Everything else? A hundred percent true.
My story begins on a day like any other. It begins, ironically, in the toilet.
I had excused myself in the middle of class, due to a sudden queasy feeling, but by the time I had reached the facilities, it was gone. But I waited a while, just to see if it would come back. The lunch bell had gone, but I stayed there, afraid that Mr Dalton, my English teacher, would think I tricked him.
So I sat there, humming to myself while some girls chattered to themselves outside the cubicle I was in. It always amazed me how much time my fellow females spent in the toilet. It was just as I was thinking this that I heard a chorus of shrieks, and a loud voice calling my name.
"Darren! Hey, Darren! Have you fallen in or what?"
I grinned to myself, registering the familiar voice of my best friend Steve Leopard. His real surname's actually Leonard, but with his rather infamous past, the name Leopard suits him much better. He had been what my mother called a 'wild child'. This never bothered me, he was a fun person to be around.
"Steve, you're going to get a detention for trespassing in the girl's toilet again," I told him.
"It's okay. I'll just tell Mr Dalton I was worried about you," Mr Dalton adores Steve. Probably because he finds Steve to be an idiot savant. Which means he's a stupid genius.
I smiled at what he said and opened the door. "I'm in here," I said, he grinned at me when he saw me. I'd always fitted in best with guys. I had the same short hair, I never wore anything resembling a skirt and I talked like a guy. If a stranger saw me on the street with my friends, there's no doubt that I would be mistaken for a boy. Everyone who knew me knew I was a girl, of course. But my male friends didn't care. I was one of their mates. And back then, there were no hormones to complicate things. Not yet.
"No... Not yet," I said, then lunged forward and pretended to puke on his shoes, letting out a lot of realistic-sounding - to me anyway - sick noises.
"Give my boots a polish while you're down there," was his only response. I pretended to spit and rub his shoes with some toilet paper. He laughed.
This was the kind of relationship we had. Long before everything had changed.
I won't go through the whole she-bang about all that happened, all you need to know is that while I was playing soccer with my friends, we saw an ad for a Cirque Du Freak. Like any normal kids, we wanted to go. There were only two tickets. Steve had bought it, so we decided that he deserved to go. That left the other three of us, Alan Morris, Tommy Jones and I. I, through some miracle won the other ticket.
We went to the circus, and it was amazing. But what stood out the most for me, was Madam Octa, the most humongous spider I'd ever seen. I'd fallen in love with her at first sight. I'd always loved spiders, but she was something else completely.
Steve, however, had been focused on Madam Octa's owner, an orange-haired, tall, thin man with very pale skin named Larten Crepsley. In fact, Steve had gasped at the man's appearance while everyone had been silent. I paid no mind to him, but now that I look back, I probably should have.
When the circus act was over, Steve stayed back, telling me to go ahead of him. I, curious, followed him. That was when I found out the truth. Mr Crepsley was a vampire, and Steve wanted to become one. However, Mr Crepsley had rejected Steve, saying that his blood was evil. I couldn't bring myself to go back to Steve's house for the sleepover.
"I'm home," I informed my parents.
"Ren! What's wrong?" my mother said, taking in my pale and harassed expression. She didn't like the name Darren, and called me by what she thought to be a feminine short form of my name. "Oh no," she said.
I looked at her curiously, wondering what she was thinking.
"It finally happened, didn't it?" she said, wrapping her arms around it. "My baby girl," she cooed, and then looked to my father and glared. "I told you it's too dangerous to let a boy and girl sleep in the same room! See what happened? I knew that boy would do something to my little girl," My head snapped up in surprise, finally comprehending what my mother meant. I pried my mum's arms from around me.
"No! No!" I protested. "Nothing like that happened, alright?"
My parents looked at me in surprise.
"It was nothing. I'm just going to go to bed," I told them, and left the room before they could say anything else. I had a feeling I was going to get grounded for coming home so late and worst of all, that they were going to give me the birds and the bees talk soon. I really wasn't looking forward to it.
The next day, I muttered some half-assed excuse to Steve, telling him it was dark and I had gotten lost. He didn't completely buy it. Then again, neither had I.
Over the coming nights, I obsessed over Madam Octa. I obsessed till the point that I couldn't take it any more. I stole her from the vampire, leaving behind a note threatening exposure of the undead creature. He didn't come after me.
I was giddily happy. I had the spider, the vampire hadn't come after me. The only grey cloud was Steve.
Steve came over some time after I had stolen the vampire. He confronted me as to why I had been avoiding him. And everything came spilling out. I told him how I was scared of him about how he had wanted to become a vampire.
"So you think I'm evil, don't you?" he shouted at me. I looked at him in horror.
"No, I don't!" I said. My mind flashed back to how he had come to check on me when I was sick, and protected me in the past. Not because I was a girl, but because we were best friends. What I said was true. I didn't think him evil. But what kind of person wanted to be a vampire? To drink other people's blood? I could barely stand the taste of my own blood.
"It hurt, what Mr Crepsley said, and you ignoring me at school. You're my best friend, Darren, the only person I can really talk to. If you break up our friendship, I don't know what I'll do," He started to cry. If I had been horrified earlier, I was thoroughly aghast now. I looked at my best friend and put an arm around his shoulder.
"Of course I'm your friend, Steve. We'll always be friends. And seriously? I don't think you're evil. But wanting to be a vampire? That's a little hard to accept," I told him.
He sniffed. "Vampires are cool. They have longer lifespans and it's not like I'd have hurt you, Darren,"
"I know," I replied quietly. We sat in silence for a moment, Steve wiped any leftover moisture from his eyes. "Besides-" I trailed off as I registered how close we were sitting, our faces mere inches away. It didn't help, of course, that I'd been lectured thoroughly in how babies are made and what not to allow guys to do until I'm old enough.
"Besides...?" he prompted, his gaze fixed on my lips. Suddenly my lips felt too dry. I licked my lips. He leaned forward, with the intention of kissing me, I was sure.
"Um," I said, and he stopped abruptly. "Sorry," I replied. He leaned back, moving his face from mine. I tried not to register the dejected look on his face. "I should have stood by you. I was a coward. I never imagined what you must be going through. I was only thinking of myself and Madam-" I pulled a face and stopped talking. His eyes narrowed.
That was when he found out about Madam Octa, and we proceeded to make the biggest mistakes of our lives. We played with the spider, trying to repeat a complicated trick Mr Crepsley had performed at the cirque. That's when Andy made an impromptu entrance, screamed, and I lost control. Madam Octa bit Steve, injecting her poison into his system.
The doctors and nurses tried their best to heal him, make him right. All failed. In a fit of rage, I threw Madam Octa's cage out of the window, only to see it fall into the hands of the vampire, right outside my window. I gaped at the orange-haired man.
It was then that I knew I had no choice, I had to find a way to help Steve. I couldn't leave my best friend to die for my stupidity. I sought out the vampire. He negotiated a trade. The antidote to save Steve in return of me becoming a half-vampire as well as Mr Crepsley's assistant. I was so upset by the fact that Steve was dying that I hadn't even bothered to correct me every time he called me a boy. And so I agreed. I can't say it was an easy decision, but I'd have done a lot worse for Steve, I think.
He blooded me. Steve recovered. I avoided Mr Crepsley, thinking I could avoid being his assistant too. But as the rapid changes began to overtake my instincts and morals, I knew I had no choice. I almost attacked Andy, my beloved squirt of a brother. That was when I knew my life of near peace had come to an end.
Mr Crepsley 'arranged' for me to die, as a way to escape without any ties nor connections.
I spent the weekend saying silent goodbyes. I visited every one of my favorite spots: library, swimming pool, cinema, parks, soccer field. I went to some of the places with Mom or Dad, some with Alan Morris or Tommy Jones. I would have liked to spend time with Steve but couldn't bear to face him.
I spent the most time with Andy. Out of everyone, I would miss him and Steve the most.
"You're acting weird," Andy told me.
"Huh?" I replied, shocked. I didn't think I was acting all that differently.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked, then leaned forward. "Are you sure you had nothing to do with Steve's miraculous recovery?"
"Of course not," I snorted. We were silent after that. I studied my brother carefully, his short brown hair and sparkling eyes. Despite losing much of my father's attention to this boy, I had always loved him. And probably always would. I would definitely miss him. Without realizing it, I reached out a hand and was rubbing his head and tousling his hair affectionately. "You know I love you, right, kid?"
He stared at me, horrified. "There is definitely something wrong with you," he replied, eyes wide.
I just laughed at him and withdrew my hand.
Then it was time. Mr Crepsley gave me a potion, broke my neck and threw me out the window.
I wished the potion Mr Crepsley gave me to appear dead made me unconscious too. It was so painful to hear my parents and brother mourn me. And at one point, someone came in to do something to me. I had no idea what exactly, but it was weird. I was majorly creeped out after that.
Then I was buried, in - much to my horror - a dress. I guess my mother had won that one. Though, I suppose if I had seen the expression that belonged to my mother's mourning keen, I would have given her anything she wanted as well. Even if it meant putting some white, fluffy thing on a tomboy.
Mr Crepsley dug me out in record time. Thank God, because I was beginning to get bored. As I sat up, he eyed me weirdly.
"Are you all right?" Mr Crepsley asked.
"I feel dead tired," I grinned weakly.
Then he made me stand up so he could examine me. "No broken bones. Just a bit of bruising which will die down after a couple of days," He helped me out of the grave. I dusted the dress, cursing it's white colour. Mr Crepsley cleared his throat uncomfortably.
"I must confess, I had no idea that you were a girl," he said uncomfortably. "I apologise for the harsh way I have been treating you,"
I rolled my eyes at his sexist behaviour. "It's alright," I said, it was easy to mistake me for a guy. No female body parts - yet - and male name. The only way people knew I was a female is if someone told them, or they peeked at my birth records.
"You said your name was Darren,"
"It is. My dad had weird tastes in names," I said simply, uncomfortable with sharing my personal life with this vampire. I asked if I could take a walk to stretch out my muscles. Mr Crepsley consented.
I went for a walk, and was thinking about my new abilities when a hand reached out from behind one of the graves and wrapped around my mouth, dragging me out of sight of Mr Crepsley. I struggled against my attacker and tried to scream, but when I felt a wooden stake pointing directly at my heart, I stiffened.
"If you move even a fraction, I'll drive this right through you without blinking," I recognised that voice as soon as it had been uttered.
"Steve?" I gasped. "Steve, what the-"
"Shut up! I don't want your friend overhearing,"
"My...? Oh, you mean Mr Crepsley," I said.
He rolled his eyes. "Larten Crepsley, Vur Horston, it's all the same to me,"
"Steve, what are you doing here?" I asked him, confused. He lowered the wooden stake a few centimetres.
"To hunt vampires, of course," he told me.
He scoffed at me, he resented how I had become a vampire instead of him. How I had betrayed him by becoming one.
"I never wanted to become a vampire. I only agreed to join him in order to save your life. You would have died if I hadn't become his assistant."
"A likely story," he snorted. "To think I used to believe you were my friend. Hah!"
"I am your friend!" I cried. "Steve, you don't understand. I would never do anything to harm you. I hate what's happened to me. I only did it to-"
"Spare me the sob story," he said. But it was too late. Nothing I could say would convince him. In his mind all sorts of conspiracies had formed. He had forgotten all about how we were friends. I had the life he had wanted so badly, I had betrayed him.
"I thought I'd be able to kill you tonight, but I was wrong. I'm too young. I'm not strong enough or brave enough," he took a step closer to me. I hadn't even noticed that he has stepped back. "But I'll grow," he informed me. "I'll get stronger and braver. I'll devote everything I have to training myself. And when I'm ready," he took another step towards me. I backed away, but hit a tree. He had me cornered.
"I'm going to hunt you down and kill you," he vowed. "I'm going to become the world's best vampire hunter and there won't be a single hole you can find that I won't be able to find too," I looked at him, his face was glowing madly.
"I-" I figured I should at least say something.
"Shut up!" Our proximity made me more than uncomfortable. I was downright scared. He paused, produced a knife, and cut a small cross into the flesh of his left palm. He held his palm up so I could see the blood dripping from the wound. I am sad to say my stomach nearly growled at the sight of fresh human blood, nearly spoiling this strangely dramatic scene.
"On this blood, I so swear it!" he declared. "I'll make sure you never return from the grave!"
"You-" I started again, with the intention of telling him off for: One, bleeding so near a vampire, two, being so dramatic when I had explained countless times that I hadn't chosen this life and three, keeping his face so close to mine. But he cut me off.
"Shut up!" he said again.
"Stev-" Instead of telling me to shut up again, he leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine, effectively silencing me. I'd like to say that my first kiss was slow and gentle, and tasted like strawberries. But it didn't. It was forceful, scary and tasted of hate. That is, if hate tasted like anything. The worst thing of all? I really liked it. Even as I was pushed up against the tree, wooden splinters poking into my back, I couldn't concentrate on anything but the kiss. I didn't resist, I just let him continue kissing me.
Then finally we broke away, both of us gasping for breath. My hands grasped the front of his shirt, bunching it tightly, as if I had reached out to get a hold of something in fear of falling down. His right hand was propped against a tree, trapping me, while the left cupped my cheek. The gentle touch contrasted greatly with his forcefulness.
"One day," he said between gasps. "One day, I'll kill you," Then he left, disappearing into the shadows of the night. I stared at his silhouette as he left, then continued staring before slumping downwards slowly against the tree, until my butt touched the ground. It was a while later when Mr Crepsley found me, and so began my life as a creature of the undead.
I, however, was too preoccupied with the bruising of my lips to notice this turning point in my life.
A/N: Ahaha! Finally got Chapter One done. Man. The things I can do when I want to.
Yes, yes, I know that Darren and Steve are kind of young for romance, but I just couldn't help myself. . Sorry if Loli love offends anyone.
Just a note that this is the last of the first books that I'll write of. Most people should already know the story, right? And it seems like a waste of time writing summaries of stuff without Steve in it. Just pretend everything was the same, except that Darren is a girl.