Characters: Kayuki, Renka, Strauss, Bridget, mentions of Yuki and Stella
Summary
: Kayuki doesn't smile often.
Pairings
: Renka x Yuki, Strauss x Stella
Author's Note
: Obviously this takes place before Kayuki discovers the origin of the Black Swan.
Disclaimer
: I don't own Record of a Fallen Vampire.


As a rule, Hirasaka Kayuki doesn't smile often. There is little for her to smile about anymore; her body plays host to a centuries-old parasite and given its reputation she could die at any time. She is commanded to kill and she doesn't want to; she tells herself her prey is evil to assuage her conscience but it's never quite enough.

She doesn't smile often.

She smiles even less often when she sees the reaction of those around her to her rare twitch of the lips.

Bridget's face slackens and her eyes go blank as though she hides a world of grimy secrets behind clear blue glass. Her tone goes hard as ice and jagged as a broken pipe, and there is no mistaking the forbidding note there. For some reason, her eye seem to say How dare you?

Renka swallows hard and looks away, swinging his sword over his shoulder too casually. He gives a lame excuse about needing to be somewhere else and walks out, shoulders hunched like a wounded bird.

Strauss's eternal composure shatters for just one moment—his eyes darken, lips tremble, and muscles spasm in his cheeks. Then, he smiles a smile so achingly sweet that it's grows even harder to believe that he's the villain history proclaims him to be.

The only reaction Kayuki understands is Renka's. She knows that he loved the previous Black Swan and that she herself bears an uncanny resemblance to Komatsubara Yuki. Her smile hurts him because it reminds him of the one he loved and lost.

Bridget's makes no sense. She cares for no one; Yuki plainly meant nothing to her.

Strauss's makes no sense. She is his enemy, his greatest foe; why should he react that way to Kayuki's smile?

Kayuki doesn't understand.

She smiles even less often.