Zetsubou no Amai Kiss Shite?
(Won't You Give Me a Kiss of Despair?)
Last Chapter Summary:
The wheels are set in motion—Kiku successfully staves off the curse and marvelously lives, and Mei of the Plum Blossom and Felipe of the White Jasmine finally take their places on the stage. Meanwhile, a badly wounded Bataar of the White Lotus lies on the battlefield after a crushing blow from Xiao Chen of the Morning Lotus, who has a deadly mission at hand: to search for Xiao Chun for reasons kept to herself…
IMPORTANT! Read this! DL, DR!
Warnings: Violence, Language, Mentions of Blood, and Vampire!Germany… Need I say anything more? Oh, wait! A Fem!Japan also, by the way…
Pairings: AmeriPan. Black and White both.
Genre: Horror & Supernatural
Chapter Summary: Ludwig Beilschmidt finally makes his formal appearance, and something about those blue eyes strike a chord with Feliciano…
Meanwhile, Kiku and Alfred meet the 'cherry blossom that blooms in the snow', just as what a certain someone had just warned the prince…
Disclaimer: I will never, ever own APH, guys and gals! All rights reserved by all concerned parties.
Twentieth Drop of Blood:
Alfred F. Jones was always finding himself in the devious schemes of his classmate Elizaveta Héderváry, and tonight was no exception. It had been snowing all afternoon and evening, and Elizaveta suddenly took it into her head to search for ghosts and stuff in the school. Alfred didn't know how come, out of all of Elizaveta's close friends, he was the one being dragged into these crazy plans, since he wasn't even that into urban legends and ghost stories. However, Lizzie seemed to take his every hesitation at an answer as a 'yes', and took the liberty to drag him in each of the shenanigans that she came up with.
"And now…" Elizaveta held a flashlight in one hand, while in her other hand, she pulled Alfred along the dark corridor, their white uwabaki slippers pattering silently on the smooth tiles as they proceeded.
"There's the dry laboratory up ahead," Alfred noted dryly.
"Ooh!" Elizaveta let go of his hand and whipped out her camera from her randoseru bag (Alfred had no idea how she managed to hide that one since cameras are strictly prohibited inside the campus unless a permission letter had been acquired from their homeroom teacher) and began walking even more stealthily. "Have you heard about the urban legends at this school? Like that one about the piano in the music room playing all by itself? Or the anatomy dummy…" She gestured into the dark and silent dry lab, and Alfred felt like rolling his clear blue eyes behind his new rimless glasses. Matthew had readily bought him another pair after hearing his lame excuse about something like falling off the stairs and snapping the frame accidentally in two, but he could feel that somehow, his silent brother wasn't satisfied one way or the other. Alfred was just glad that he hadn't asked for the broken frames, or he'd have been in a real bind.
Anyway, there was this present situation with Elizaveta… Alfred badly wanted to get home immediately and drink some of that decaf coffee that Matthew just bought, but his thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a weird sound that came from the inside of the dry lab.
"Eep!" Elizaveta dropped her flashlight when she heard the noise from the empty room, which made the electric torch strike the floor tiles heavily, its light going out as the meandering pair pressed themselves flat against the wall. Elizaveta's hand was shaking along with her camera, but Alfred could imagine her exhilarated smile through the darkness. Oh, shit… was the moon in its last quarter now…?
"I'm going to see my first ghost after this, Alfred Jones!" she whispered, the sound carrying neatly through the sudden eerie silence.
Then he heard Elizaveta gasp suddenly, as if in pain, and then a heavy thud as her unconscious body hit the floor—
After that moment, Alfred didn't know what occurred next, since the next memory he had was of a terrible blow on the back of his head (which wasn't even logical because their backs were pressed against the wall) and then finally of passing out.
"Where is Alfred?"
Kiku was already finishing up his breakfast the next morning when he just noticed the absence of his Blood warrior. Matthew gave him a nervous glance as he laid Kiku's customary after-breakfast tea, violet eyes darting from the steaming teacup to the smoldering eyes of the master of the house.
"He went back to school last night, but hasn't returned yet," the blond said worriedly, waiting for Kiku to take his first sip, but the prince just let the teacup sit on the tablecloth. "And he rarely goes home later than five before…!"
"He's been together all day with Elizaveta Héderváry yesterday, they looked as if they had been planning to do something," Arthur remarked with a lazy smile as he accepted the tea that Matthew placed before him with a murmur of thanks. "Maybe they're in an indecent relationship or something?"
"Fufu~" The titter from Kiku's throat sounded like water in a finely shaped glass. He finally took the cup in his hands and sipped at it. "Sore wa bakage."
Arthur smiled as he admired Kiku's dark blue kimono, which was patterned with delicate silver snowflakes for winter. The silver nagajuban peeked at the collar. "Oh, I haven't caught on what you've said, but clearly you're confident that Alfred is that sufficiently crazy over you to not cheat on you?"
"I merely told you that the idea of Alfred taking anyone out for a romantic walk under a nonexistent moon last night is ridiculous," Kiku said, finishing his tea up and smiling at Matthew indulgently for thanks. "However, the fact that he's strayed from me this long, unsupervised by any of you…" His formerly untroubled brow finally made a slight crease on his forehead as he scowled. "It's worrying me."
"You don't say, little prince," Arthur said with a triumphant smile.
"You go to the same school as him, ne, Arthur Kirkland?" Kiku said lightly to the Vampire as the latter stood up to go to school. "What can you say?"
"Well, the school has its own fair share of ghost stories," Arthur admitted, "but he's a Blood warrior, isn't he? He cannot be killed as long as your Blood permeates through his existence."
"Investigate further, won't you?" Kiku said monotonously, as Matthew carried the used dishes down to the kitchen. "I have a feeling that unless we do, Alfred is doomed to be stuck forever in the place where he was held captive, if my hunch was correct…"
"Oh, afraid of losing your only Blood warrior, are you, Kiku-sama?" And with that, Arthur Kirkland grabbed the blazer folded neatly beside him on the tatami and exited the dining room, leaving the prince deep in thought.
"There's someone following us, aru."
"Ve~! He's rather persistent, isn't he~?"
Yao of the White Peony stopped and glared at Feliciano, who just smiled his usual cute smile. "You knew all along and didn't even tell me?"
"I was waiting to see when he'll strike, ve~! It's just, we haven't seen something exciting ever since we rescued Lili!"
The Mermaid, who was walking alongside the Werewolf, gave him her little empty smile, making Feliciano laugh cheerfully and grin back. Yao sighed and continued walking.
"Just don't let him kill all of us, aru." And with those words, he moodily looked at Ivan Braginski, who smiled coldly and gripped his pipe tighter.
The Vampire, however, startled at the conversation, had finally decided to throw all caution to the winds (they already knew that he was hanging around, anyway) and lunged at the throat of the Werewolf, who merely smiled and received the sudden blow so naturally that the Mermaid quickly ran up to hide behind Ivan, who was grinning broadly.
"As expected of the famed Vargas clan," Ludwig Beilschmidt said calmly as he returned Feliciano's heated glare with a cold stare while managing to lock their arms together. "Your speed does not disappoint."
"Waah~! A Beilschmidt!" Feliciano wailed, even as his canine teeth were growing and lengthening into fangs. "I expected a Vampire, but how come a Beilschmidt is here~?"
"Stop the helpless act!" Ludwig commanded coldly, forced to let go of Feliciano as the other transformed into a giant auburn wolf with amber eyes.
"He's right, comrade Vargas," Ivan Braginski said with a crazed grin, brandishing his iron pipe threateningly. "Otherwise he'll never get to enjoy this!"
The auburn Werewolf roared loudly, the sound echoing through the trees and making Lili jump, the Mermaid not having seen this side of Feliciano before.
Yao's golden eyes were narrowed and directed to the Vampire. "Take him alive, if you can!"
"Da, my postaraemsya," the Blood warrior said with a chilling tone, his violet eyes as hard as amethysts as the iron pipe suddenly transformed into a long, thin blade. "Torturing a Vampire is funner than killing him outright, razve ne tak?"
"Yes! They are all students who would go into the school at night and suddenly disappear!" The chatter of the girl at his elbow was annoying Arthur to no end, but since Kiku rarely asks favors of him (or of anyone else too, at that), the Vampire decided to endure it for the sake of the prince's polite request. "The lower classes are all talking about it!"
"I see," Arthur said with a convincing tone of interest. "And what of the culprit?"
The girl sank her voice into a whisper, prompting Arthur to smile blandly and lean closer to hear. Bollocks, when did he have to be such a flirt just to gather urban legends? If not for the desirable scent of Kiku's Blood—! "We think a ghost has been doing it… or something."
"I see," Arthur said yet again, an unsatisfied scowl on his face. Time for a little digging of his own tonight.
He was a Vampire, after all. And Vampires are indestructible in the dark.
Just then, another girl bumped him from behind. He turned around, about to open his mouth, but the young girl was already bowing and apologizing in hurried Japanese, giving him a clear amber gaze full of interest before running away, her long dark hair flowing behind her like a river. Arthur distinctly saw the glittering pin on her hair in the shape of a delicate Somei Yoshino blossom, five heart-shaped petals glistening like jewels.
It was a silent new moon as Arthur, Antonio, Herakles, and Kiku stepped in the territory of the school. The grounds were eerily silent, and the snow that lay thickly on the ground made their progress hard as they proceeded. Kiku surveyed the leafless cherry trees all around the campus and frowned slightly, gripping the sleeve of his purple haori as the wind began to blow bitterly at the group.
"Is Alfredo… really… here?" Antonio said with chattering teeth as the wind continued to blow.
"Well, that's what we're going to find out," Arthur said with a smile that grew when Kiku sighed and clenched his fists at the cold. "Ah, I thought Phoenixes are insensitive to cold?"
"You are quite forgetting that I'm not a Phoenix yet, Arthur Kirkland," Kiku said with a sarcastic tone.
Arthur merely laughed.
When they finally reached the comfortable coolness of the entrance hall, Antonio eagerly led them through the corridors, but as they reached their fourth empty hallway, the Werewolf was looking considerably bored.
"Are you sure we're not led here by something like a stupid rumor?" Antonio snapped at Arthur, who snorted.
"I do not like to repeat myself, but I did say that that's what we're going to find out," the Vampire snapped.
Kiku just walked behind the bickering pair in dignified silence, his dark eyes looking all around the place.
The warning, spoken in insistent Japanese, had come unbidden from the prince's lips, as his ears detected a faint, out-of-place sound from the word war unfolding before him.
"What?" Arthur had frozen in alertness, his vibrant green eyes darting as the faint sound got louder. "Wait… I think I can hear it… like leaves rustling against each other or some such…"
A light pink petal, in the shape of a distorted heart, fluttered gracefully down to the floor before Kiku's feet—
—And thus the mayhem began!
A huge darkly-colored branch tore up from the floor beneath them, and they all reacted instinctively. Herakles snatched Kiku out of harm's way as another branch burst through the ceiling and threatened to impale the prince. Antonio was able to deflect a meandering one with a mighty buffet from his paw, and Arthur was cleverly managing his way through the twisting branches as finally, the monstrous tree that just grew up in the midst of the school grounds out of freaking nowhere wrecked the whole side of the building and made the crushed pieces of concrete, metal and glass fall onto the ground four stories below.
"Herakles! Take the señorito and fucking RUN!" Antonio hollered as the sneaky branches (that Arthur just noticed were laden with largely proportionate cherry blossoms) managed to get ahold of him.
Luckily, the android didn't need to be told twice like the usual. The danger threatening the prince was stimulant enough for him to hightail it out of there.
"How come I didn't smell or sense a honking Whomping Willow this huge!" Antonio screeched as he broke free of the branches' grip and managing to land in an awkward stance. The branches attacked again as one as Arthur grabbed his arm and launched himself into the air, half-dragging, half-carrying the surprised Werewolf into an undamaged hallway. "And where's the freaking knot, by the way?"
"Stop the Harry Potter references, Werewolf git!" Arthur shouted as a stray branch destroyed the floor of this hallway next. "And I knew that we were taking this lightly, but—I—didn't think—that it would be—this much—bloody—trouble!"
"¡Mierda!" Antonio swore in annoyance as another found him and started to twist its way around his waist.
"I think I know why you can't sense its presence," Arthur panted as he helped the weary Werewolf out. "But—!"
Kiku silently motioned for Herakles to stop when they reached a place wherein the tree branches seemed not to reach, and when the android had finally set him down, Kiku removed his haori and gripped it tightly until it emitted a snapping sound and began changing into a bare katana. When the transformation was done, Kiku's irises were an intimidating shade of red, but Herakles didn't bother to comment.
Kiku walked along the dark corridor, the weapon in his hand carelessly dragging along the floor, his suddenly hypersensitive skin sensing the presence that was the center of it all.
"Whoever it is, it's here," he whispered, and Herakles understood.
Kiku casually opened a door on the end of the hallway, and stepped in calmly. At the very moment that the heel of his geta touched the tiled floor, Kiku immediately confirmed to himself that yes, this was where the culprit was hiding.
Herakles followed Kiku inside the dark classroom, and the door slid shut behind them of its own accord.
Kiku immediately knew that the school was situated in an isolated area tonight, and that this isolated area was located in a different world. Hell, maybe even universe.
Because inside, his geta sank in grass. And before him, a gigantic Shinto shrine was standing. A huge building that looked like something that you'll only see in ancient Yamato, but Kiku didn't want to elaborate on his thoughts further, because his attention was already drawn to the lone person kneeling on the front engawa of the said shrine.
It was a frail Japanese girl, seemingly in her teens, with dark ankle-length hair framing the sides of her pale face. She was wearing a deep lavender jūnihitoe with a pattern of yellow and light pink cherry blossoms, while a fresh cherry blossom was pinned on her hair, dewdrops still glistening like jewels. Kiku could count the twenty layers of her jūnihitoe, and decided that she would be very outmatched if ever she decided to make trouble all by herself.
Finally, she raised her fan, opened it, and covered the lower half of her face before letting the first words fall from her lips.
"I didn't think that I would see the young of a Phoenix at a place like this, de arimasu."
"Fufu. That goes for me as well." Kiku smiled lightly at the girl's archaic form of speech before proceeding. "You belong in the group which does not belong to the Kingdom."
"Ah~ Really~" The girl seemed interested. "You already know what my nature is, de arimasu ka?"
"Hai," Kiku replied politely, making a little bow of acknowledgement. "You are a Megami. A Goddess."
"Fu~" The girl stood up (Kiku smiled when he imagined the strength that that girl should possess to be able to do the feat in the heavy robes) and took away her fan, letting it stay open in her hand. "You are correct, de arimasu. I am Ko no Hana, the Goddess of flowers and the spring. With my title, maybe you could understand my partiality to cherry blossoms. They are the most loved flowers in Japan whenever spring arrives, de arimasu yo. With that reason, maybe call me Sakura instead."
"I think I can follow you," Kiku said pacifically, dark eyes meeting amber.
"What is your name, little one?" Ko no Hana, or Sakura, asked affably, the weight of the numerous layers of her sleeves finally succeeding in convincing her arms to drop.
"Kiku Honda," the prince answered. "I am the second son and third child of the Royalty."
"Oh, you're the third child? Isn't that supposed to be lucky?"
Kiku merely smiled his mysterious smile. Sakura took that as an expression of agreement and coyly brushed her bangs back from her forehead.
"Kiku Honda, hm? So I am the cherry blossom, while you are the chrysanthemum! What a queer coincidence, de arimasu…" Sakura waved her fan, and two bundles suddenly dropped down from nowhere. Kiku immediately recognized Alfred and guessed that the girl must be the Elizaveta that Arthur was talking about. "Well, you must be an autumn person then, de arimasu yo. To be named as such…"
"Ah, maybe," Kiku said lightly. "Thank you for preserving my Blood warrior… and his friend."
Sakura smiled. "I do not want to draw down the displeasure of the Royalty upon me by taking away the immortality of a Blood warrior, de arimasu. Likewise, I do not want to cause a rift between us, Kiku-san, just because of the longing that I had to take that girl as a sacrifice. She is your Blood warrior's friend, and as much as I want to kill her, I must refrain for peace." Sakura stood up. "Please, take them and leave freely, de arimasu." She seemed to debate with herself for a moment before finally adding, "Originally, we would stay in the mountains and eat the sacrifices offered by the nearby villages, de arimashou. In return, we protected the humans."
"But the tradition disappeared over time and you ended up here at this school. Right?" Kiku gently took Alfred's cracked glasses from his face and restored them to their former condition.
"I only need the minimum number of sacrifices, de arimasu," Sakura continued gravely. "The few lives who are lured here at the school every night when I cast the isolating seal are my only needs… and in return, I shall protect this school, de arimasu. By the Kingdom's standards, this is just a necessary operation to keep on living and is not a crime in itself. Right, Kiku-san?"
Kiku perched the glasses back on the bridge of Alfred's nose with a slight scowl directed at Sakura. "That's right. The Kingdom shall not interfere with you."
"That is a wise answer, coming from one so young, de arimasu," Sakura said with an ethereal smile. She waved her fan again, and Kiku could only assume that she had just banished the tree from the school. "I do not wish to fight."
"But are you sure that you aren't going to erase her memory?"
"Arthur-san, it's not really necessary to. Just stay out of sight. I'll sort this out by myself."
Elizaveta Héderváry came to with a start, and looked around blearily. Then she recognized her surroundings as a house which was built in the Japanese style, and fell back in surprise, her mouth hanging open.
"Where am I?"
"Alfred?" Elizaveta glared at the American who had been busy watching her face worriedly. "Where are we? Aren't we ghost hunting earlier?"
"Oh! Er, you fainted quite suddenly and I dunno where your house was, so I just brought you here at home," Alfred began making up quickly. Elizaveta frowned.
"So I did black out? I kinda remembered that my head suddenly hurt and then whoosh…" Elizaveta made a weird gesture, then, unfortunately, spotted Kiku, who was standing behind Alfred and was watching her rather uninterestedly.
"Ooh! Look, Alfie! What a cute doll!" Elizaveta said in extreme cuted-out-ness, eagerly pointing at Kiku (the prince was momentarily startled at the outburst, but thankfully did not say anything). Alfred, in extreme bewilderment, looked around at Kiku and snickered when he saw what the matter was.
"Ah, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I am not a doll," Kiku told Elizaveta with a sardonic tone. "Anyways, Héderváry-san, my name is Kiku Honda. My hobby is to read the atmosphere and to be careful about the things that I say."
Alfred mentally face-palmed.
"Aww, he's soooo cute…" Elizaveta said, eyes glittering as she stared at Kiku. The prince was currently occupied in the matter of squeezing his long sleeves so tight that it must ruin the fabric. "Look, he's even shorter than me! Hi! Say hello to big sister!"
Kiku's sarcastic smile had rather strained at the slight on his height and age, so Alfred immediately ushered Elizaveta away before Kiku finds the time to snap or something. (Kiku had his hand on the scabbard of his sword, soooo…)
Feliciano watched Ludwig with bright eyes as the Vampire glared at him, fiery amber meeting icy blue as they looked into each other's eyes. Yao had restrained the Vampire earlier with his eyes, and they had bound him all over with merciless wire. Well, Ivan reasoned, his struggling to get the wires wrapped around him will be an unlikely event, so Feliciano and Yao just agreed with the logic.
Just then, with the growing awkwardness of the silence, Feliciano decided to speak up.
"Ve~ You've got very pretty eyes, haven't you~?"
Ludwig just stared back at him, stern blue eyes searching the Italian's cheery face. He tensed all over, though, when the Werewolf suddenly closed the gap between them with just a single bound, the Vampire cursing the ability of the Vargas clan members to amplify their speed and strength by many times their normal capacity. The result was their noses just an inch from bumping against each other.
"What will you do if I decide to add your eyes to my battle scrapbook~?" Feliciano whispered enthusiastically, a cheerful smile curling his lip. "You have killed many of my brethren, I can sense it… and isn't your elder brother the one who almost obliterated the Werewolf blood by killing a large number of my kin? What shall big brother do if I decide to cut out Luddy's big blue eyes, eh~?"
"You're crazy!" Ludwig hissed angrily, eying Feliciano's right hand as it came to rest on Ludwig's left cheek. The Vampire hissed at the heat, while Feliciano smiled at the cold.
"I'm not crazy, just thinking of a way to get even." Feliciano finally took his hand away and leapt back to his former position to squint at Ludwig's face. "But unfortunately, I'm not the one who'll get to sentence you. Yao of the White Peony is my master, and being a member of the Royal Family who despises all Vampires, you're extremely lucky if he decided to kill you with a single blow. If he decides to torture you first for information, well… I'm sorry for the word, ve, but you're screwed. Ivan always makes a very messy job."
"I would assume," the Vampire said stiffly, surprised at the sudden change of tone in the Werewolf's voice. "That Ivan… What is he, anyway? He doesn't smell… human."
"I dunno, but I'm afraid of him," was Feliciano's short reply. "Now please look the other way again, per favore? Yao-sama might see us…"
Ludwig kept silent at this and pressed his lips together, his line of sight never leaving the brightness of the open fire before him.
"Eh, so he's the owner of this house? Woow…"
Alfred had spent the last few minutes telling Elizaveta some very general ideas about Kiku, and the girl had taken it all like how a sponge takes in water.
"Yup, it's an inheritance from his parents or something…"
"Then they must be really rich!"
"No shit, Sherlock."
"Knock it off, Alfred." Then Elizaveta leaned in and whispered, "Although he's really so cute, now that I've come to think of it…"
"He's the kind of cuteness that kills," Alfred muttered sarcastically to himself, eyes looking out of the window. Luckily, Elizaveta seemed not to notice.
A/N: And now I've emerged from a year-long hiatus. If you can see from my avatar, I've gone and graduated from high school and that was the reason why I cannot write, apart from a thousand other personal problems. So now I'm going to be a college student in the oldest Catholic university in Asia! Haha, sounds too good to be true... Well, I'd understand if you guys lost all interest in this whimsical fic after a long slump, but I'm going to write now because I enjoy it.
Thank you for supporting this fic!
Next Chapter Summary: Alfred and Elizaveta get stuck in another ghost hunting case, this time in a train. However, the Blood warrior finally gets to be introduced to Yao of the White Peony, and also witnesses how fearsome the power of the eldest of the Royal siblings can be...