Disclaimer: Tsukihime/MGLN are not mine, no matter how much I want to give poor Miyuki more love and poor Satsuki a hug.
Moonlight on Steel
She was hungry.
How long had she lived with this hunger? She didn't know. The sharp, insistent pang in her belly drowned out memories of what she might have been before the hunger invaded, and took up every aspect of her being.
She was hungry.
She'd survived this long on rats; rats and other stray animals, things no one would notice missing. The first time she had killed one and tasted its blood, she had vomited it back up and lost the nutrition. She'd gotten better since then; forced herself to get better.
She was hungry.
The animals weren't enough, of course. Her body accepted the blood, but only because she refused to go after the better alternative. She saw them, she always saw them; the humans, walking on the streets, talking and laughing, mocking her from the world of light as she huddled, cold and forgotten, in some dark alley no one paid any attention to. If she killed one of them, just one, she knew the hunger would go away. She wouldn't feel so cold anymore.
She was hungry, and yet…
It would only take one. Just one, and the hunger would go away. The pain would fade, and she could remember who she was, who she had been before this nightmare had started.
And yet she knew if she killed a human for blood, she would change. She would change, and become something else. Something different.
Yumizuka Satsuki didn't want to change.
But she was still so hungry.
Misaki City was unusually warm and sunny during the day.
Takamachi Miyuki figured it was probably a blessing in disguise; acting as bodyguard for a rich, rather disliked businessman would have been much less bearable if the weather had been cold and rainy, regardless of how much he paid her. It was odd, then, that for some reason it bothered her, as if the sunlight was trying to compensate for things that lurked unseen in the shadows.
Shaking her head and dismissing the thought, the woman stretched and winced as something in her back cracked out, looking around her hotel room. Her first day on the job had gone off without a hitch; she hadn't even needed to look particularly threatening. Personally, she was of the opinion that her charge didn't even matter enough to really register on anyone's radar, but she wasn't about to complain with the amount he was paying her.
This city doesn't suit you.
Ah, another annoying thought. Grimacing, Miyuki sat down on her bed and checked her watch, absently wondering if she should call and let her family know the first day had gone well.
She knew there was no reason for her to take the job. Money had never been a concern, and she hadn't taken to the sword like Kyouya had. Oh, certainly, she enjoyed her lessons with her brother, and liked the pride that came into her father's eyes every time he saw her practicing, but that was all there was to it. She didn't enjoy fighting, she never had.
And yet here she was, on a job that pretty much said fighting would probably happen. Hell, her sword was in the corner of the room, propped up and waiting for the moment she decided to grab it.
The question then was simple: why? If she didn't like fighting, had no desire or drive for it, why was she doing something that would ensure that sooner or later she'd have to fight? At the very least, she should have brought Kyouya with her, instead of insisting on going by herself.
Annoyingly enough, the answer was just as simple as the question itself.
Grimacing, Miyuki scowled at the ceiling as she fell onto her back, her black hair spilling all around her. She was jolted from her thoughts, this time, by the cheery ring of her phone, some anime theme tune Nanoha had set it to and she'd never had the heart to change. Rolling over, she grabbed it from the dresser and flicked it open. "Hello?"
"Onee-chan!" Nanoha's voice was scolding, and loud enough for her first reaction to be yanking the phone away from her ear. "You promised you'd call!"
"Ah, yeah, yeah." Laughing sheepishly, the older woman rubbed the back of her neck. "I'm sorry, I was just thinking."
That seemed to appease her younger sister, as Nanoha let the topic drop and immediately started chattering excitedly, informing Miyuki of everything she had missed while being away. Amused by the energy in her voice and hearing her parents and brother speaking in the background, Miyuki simply lifted her eyes to the ceiling again and listened.
The answer to the question was as simple as the question itself, but right now, she didn't think about that.
The call lasted an hour, and when it ended, another glance at her clock confirmed for Miyuki that it was only a little after ten. Oddly restless, she grabbed her jacket and headed out of the hotel room, making sure she had her key on her before leaving.
She didn't like how Misaki City felt in the daylight, but maybe in the dark hours of evening, she'd feel more at ease.
She didn't even think to grab her sword.
The hunger was unbearable tonight.
She didn't know what had triggered the change; perhaps the lack of blood. There hadn't been as many strays in the area recently, so she'd lost the minimal blood supply she had. She was still surviving on her original prey—rats—but rats didn't have enough blood to keep the pangs at ease.
She stood in the back alley, in the shadows, and watched the area with sharp red eyes as she wandered. Her nails had sharpened and lengthened into claws. Her breathing was becoming short, ragged, every muscle in her body tense.
She was so hungry, and she couldn't survive on animal blood any longer.
It wouldn't be so wrong to just haunt around the alleys, would it? Yes… stay in the darkness and observe. If a human wandered into her area—or several—well, it just wasn't her fault that she killed them and drank their blood, was it? They'd chosen to leave the safety of numbers, to come into her domain.
Yes, that made perfect sense.
In that moment, Satsuki changed.
Just a little, but it was the start.
The night life in Misaki, it turned out, was unusually quiet; Miyuki wasn't sure if that was a regular aspect of the city, or if some outside force had a hand in it. She didn't mind it, though. There were still people in the city, milling about and mingling together, going somewhere or speaking.
The air was nicer, too. She couldn't quite put a finger on why she felt more at easy in Misaki at night, but for some reason she did, even though she still had that quiet, gut feeling that something was hiding in the shadows, watching, waiting for the right moment to attack.
Maybe because at least in the darkness of night, whatever was there didn't try to hide.
The temperature was beginning to drop though, just slightly; when she blew out, Miyuki could see her breath misting in the air, streams of white that quickly faded away. Digging into her pocket for change, she headed over to a deserted vending machine, punching for canned coffee.
The can dropped with a thud, and as she knelt down to grab it, Miyuki heard it then; a similar thud, a loud muffled crash, from the alley only a little ways away from the machine.
She paused, drink in hand, and listened. Several minutes passed, and she could have sworn she'd imagined it; except then she heard it again. Another small crash, and this time the sound of muffled… footsteps?
She frowned. Someone's back there?
"Hello?" Still gripping the coffee, she headed toward the mouth of the alley, moving cautiously as she peered into the shadows. "Is someone back there?"
No response. Somewhere in the darkness, she heard what sounded like a rat skittering across the ground, letting out a small shriek. The footsteps seemed to have faded.
Miyuki was, in general, a smart person. She could hold her own in a fight, but she had basic preservation instincts; she knew going into a dark, deserted alley in the middle of the night was asking for trouble, even for someone like her. The best decision was to let the incident go and leave.
But… she'd heard crashes, and footsteps. What if someone was in trouble?
Swallowing and steeling herself, she stepped into the alley. When nothing happened, she ventured in deeper. "Hello?" she called again. "Are you there? I just want to help. You sound like you're in trouble."
She only glimpsed gleaming, predatory red eyes before something slammed into her with all the force of a freight train.
Human stupidity or human kindness, she really wasn't picky as long as she fed.
The moment the prey stepped into the shadows, away from the dim city lights, she attacked; the female never even knew what hit her. A clawed hand closed around her windpipe and shoved her back against the wall of the building, the canned coffee she was holding clattering to the ground, her glasses shattering as soon as they hit the concrete.
She could sense the blood, rich and full of delicious life, coursing through the female's body. She smirked darkly as the prey squirmed and gasped, wide, stunned teal eyes staring into her gleaming red ones.
Yes. This one would do. This one would do nicely. She was young, and she seemed healthy; a good meal.
Her first real kill.
Licking her lips, she leaned in, her claws digging lightly into the female's neck and drawing blood; the quick pricks of pain made her gasp and squirm more, but she couldn't escape. She was only human, after all.
Only, pathetically human.
Her breath brushed creamy, smooth skin. The prey had gone still now, frozen, breathing raggedly, watching her movements out of the corner of her eye. All it would take was one bite. One bite, and she would taste the blood, be able to feed and finally, finally appease the horrible, painful hunger…
Didn't you used to be human?
The thought was crystal clear, the first she'd had in a good long while; she froze, stunned by it.
Well… yes, of course. The prey was only human. Wasn't that how it worked? She was supposed to feed on them, feed on humans, wasn't that how she was now?
But you used to be human, too. Right? Weren't you human once?
Had she been human once? She couldn't remember, honestly, she couldn't remember anything since the hunger; but, well, it made sense, she supposed. That she might have been human. Surely, she had to have come from somewhere, yes? She hadn't always been like this.
So if you used to be human, why are you about to kill another human?
Why was she about… to kill… when she had been…
And in that moment, the former human known as Yumizuka Satsuki screamed and threw herself off of the woman as if she had been burned, slamming into another wall with enough force to make the building rumble, and buried her face in her hands.
It was the cry that snapped Miyuki out of her daze; the stunned, horrified, anguished cry of realization and loss. Slumping back, she gasped out and brought a hand to her neck, seeing warm, red blood on her fingers. She groaned and exhaled heavily, shaking, as her heart tried to calm itself. She looked up, slowly.
The girl who had attacked her was curled in a ball, rocking back and forth, sobbing; her shoulders shook with the force of it as she wept, muffled, helpless sounds of horror. Miyuki was silent for a long moment, watching her.
Most people, after a situation such as this, would have run away screaming like children. Most people would have run away and never looked back, would have never even given the weeping girl a thought.
Takamachi Miyuki was not most people. Her family didn't make it a habit of ignoring anyone who was crying.
Slowly, she got to her feet, and was pleased when her body supported itself. Kneeling down, she grabbed the can she had dropped and quietly made her way over to the girl. She hesitated only a moment before she knelt again, gently patting the girl on the head to get her attention. When teary red eyes peered up at her, she smiled weakly and offered her the canned coffee.
"It's, uh… it's still warm, I think."
The girl stared at her for a moment, uncomprehending, before she realized her former victim was not, in fact, running away in complete and utter terror. She blinked, then tentatively accepted the offered can, probably more out of shock than anything. "Ah… thank you," she managed, and wiped hastily at her nose with her sleeve.
Red eyes, huh?
Red eyes, attacking humans, a taste for blood…. Yeah. Miyuki had seen something like this before. Those of the Tsukimura family didn't have red eyes, and they certainly didn't attack humans for the blood they sought, but then again, they were in a position where they didn't need to. Some were far less lucky.
"Um…." The soft, hesitant voice tuned her out of her thoughts; the girl was looking at her again, absently playing with the can of coffee, her eyes confused. "You…. Aren't running away?"
Miyuki shrugged, scratching her cheek and smiling sheepishly. "You aren't the first vampire I've encountered. You were just hungry, right?"
The girl blinked at that; her eyes slowly drifted down, to the bloody marks on her throat, and she cringed. "But…. I hurt you." She trembled. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, I just… the hunger…"
"Hey." Gently, she patted the girl on the head to soothe her. "I'm still alive, see? And it's fine. Like I said, you aren't the first vampire I've encountered."
Another blink; the girl was just staring at her now, clutching the can like a lifeline.
Sighing, Miyuki continued speaking. "Let me guess. You haven't had any human blood yet, right?"
Slowly, the girl shook her head. She looked down, now. "I was only turned recently… I think. I don't really remember. I've mostly been feeding on animals."
Another sigh. That explained her ferocity in attacking, at least; the poor kid must have felt like she was starving to death. The fact that her humanity had managed to reassert herself before she made the kill spoke volumes about the kind of nature she'd had before being turned.
Still, that didn't solve the problem of the hunger.
Damn, of all the times to not have my sword with me.
Scowling now, Miyuki got to her feet and hunted through the dark alley. Tentatively, the girl clicked open the drink and took a sip, delighted when the coffee stayed down. After a few seconds of rummaging and muttering, Miyuki came back.
She was holding a shard of glass.
Red eyes became slightly nervous. "What are you—"
She choked on her drink as with practiced ease, Miyuki pressed the shard against her palm and slashed, grimacing only a little. Kneeling down again, she offered her bleeding hand to her. "Drink," she said.
"B-b-but… you cut yourself and you didn't even blink, that isn't… why did you—"
"Drink," Miyuki repeated calmly, "or I'll force you." When the girl simply boggled, she sighed. "Look, come on, I'm offering, here. It won't be like you're attacking me, okay?"
She managed a small, weak smile, and hoped it would be enough.
Swallowing hard, Satsuki slowly lowered the can and scooted across the ground, reaching out. Gripping the older woman's wrist, she drew her hand closer.
It smelled delicious. The blood seeped out of the wound, red and vibrant, and it made her head swim from sight and scent alone. Trembling a little, she lowered her head and flicked her tongue out, catching a few drops.
The taste was heavenly.
The hunger reared its head again, and this time she couldn't fight it; mindful of her sharpened fangs, she finally gave in to the urge and drank. The only reaction to this was a small shudder and a hiss of pain from the woman, but otherwise she didn't move to pull away.
The difference was stunning. Human blood tasted better, felt better, seemed to fill her up and revitalize her in ways that animal blood had never accomplished.
She didn't know how long she drank; probably only a few minutes, at best. Despite her aching desire to keep drinking, to drink until her hunger was completely and utterly sated, she pulled away. "Thank you," she rasped.
The woman pulled away. "Was that enough?"
"I'll be okay." It was better than nothing, and it had appeased the ache to a more manageable, easy to ignore pain. She swallowed, then smiled weakly. "I'm, uh… I'm Yumizuka Satsuki. Nice to meet you."
The woman blinked, stunned; then she chuckled and smiled again, warmly, and Satsuki no longer felt so cold.
"Takamachi Miyuki. The pleasure's all mine."
This is a first for me, a story I'm posting to after I've completed it!
Anyway, this was basically my project for blowing off some recently gathered steam, and as such is rather short and to the point about things. Ideally I'll post a chapter once a week, since all of the raw material is still written out, I just need to clean it up and edit some lines.
Read and review, please!