Being the victim of a vampire bite is a curious feeling. Not that 'victim' is the right word here, since Sakuya had volunteered for it; she could always sense the tension in her mistress that signified the thirst, and anticipating and meeting the needs and desires of one's mistress is the foremost duty of any devoted maid. She had absolutely no qualms about doing it, but not just because of her unerring sense of duty: the truth is, she found the experience not entirely unpleasant.

"Sakuya. Are you ready?" Remilia asked, kneeling beside her. Remilia's voice was calm and quiet, her normal playfulness muted.

Sakuya ran through her mental checklist a final time (thoroughness was another of a good maid's watchwords, after all): Sakuya was lying on her mistress's bed, to avoid falling in case she felt faint during the feeding; she had her collar undone and opened to an acceptable degree, so that the mistress's access to her jugular would be unhindered; there was a towel and blotting paper placed underneath Sakuya's neck in case of spillage, and gauze and bandages readily available in case congelation took longer than expected. Sakuya was confident that the last two of these measures would not be necessary as her mistress was always a very fastidious eater (unlike Flan, who could turn breakfast into a battlefield), but it always pays to be cautious – not to mention, getting blood out of silk sheets is a nightmare.

"I'm ready," Sakuya replied, relaxing her shoulders a little into the sumptuously soft bed. A memory came to her mind, unbidden, and made her lips twitch into a smile.

"Something up?" asked Remilia. She sounded far calmer than usual, and Sakuya knew her mistress was putting on patience for her sake: it had been quite a while since the last feeding. The kindness of the gesture made her smile wider.

"I just remembered the first time we did this," said Sakuya, with the softness of nostalgia. "I was so nervous."

"You're telling me," said Remilia, allowing herself a smirk. "You were trembling so much that I almost couldn't hit the vein." She paused. "And yet you still went through with it."

"Of course. I trust you, mistress," said Sakuya simply.

Remilia nodded happily, laying one of her hands on Sakuya's where they were joined over her midriff. "I know. And I thank you for it."

"You're always welcome." With that warm reply, Sakuya closed her eyes and let out a breath. "Whenever you're ready, mistress."

Remilia took a few moments to gaze upon Sakuya. Her face was as calm as a windless sea, her gentle breathing barely audible. It would be easy to believe that she was sleeping. Taking a quiet pleasure from this observation, Remilia leaned forward and down.

Like twin hypodermic syringes, the fangs didn't hurt as long as they were inserted carefully and the victim – or volunteer – stayed still, and it was so in this case, Remilia's upper canines growing longer and outwards from her mouth before sliding effortlessly into Sakuya's throat. The feeding didn't begin immediately: as Remilia had explained to Sakuya in preparation for the first time, the first part is actually an injection rather than a withdrawal, and it's this first half that is responsible for the strange feeling of being fed upon by a vampire – at least, by a vampire who cares.

Within seconds Sakuya felt the numbness creep through her body like a warm haze as her mistress's venom flowed into her, reducing her limbs to lead and making the soft sensations on her skin fuzzy and distant. Normally its purpose would be to incapacitate the target and make it easier to feed on, but as Sakuya offered no resistance anyway it was only intended to stop her from moving and hurting herself.

Sakuya's awareness was dulled somewhat by the paralysing effect of the venom, but she was still conscious enough to register its second effect. Remilia heard in her left ear the swoosh of Sakuya's breath toing and froing faster and lighter from between her newly opened lips and, more urgently, the accelerated heartbeat. It's difficult to explain to a human exactly how a vampire senses bloodflow since their senses don't match the mundane five, but to a vampire who hasn't fed in a long while a quickened heartbeat is as obvious as a banging bass drum – and as obnoxious, when it's practically right in your ear. Remilia took a deep breath to beat back the red mist in her head.

With her right hand, Remilia squeezed Sakuya's. "I'm... okay," said Sakuya, her speech sleepy and slurred. Still, Remilia trusted Sakuya's judgement enough to continue.

The feeding began.

Remilia slid her fangs out and pressed her lips around the puncture marks as quickly as she could. She wished there was a more civilised way of doing this, a way that would be easier on Sakuya, but a vampire's saliva acts as a natural anti-coagulant and blood-thinner, speeding up the rate of draining and allowing it to continue for as long as the vampire wants... or until the victim has no blood left. Draining blood into a container for later consumption is a viable method, but no matter how much Remilia might have wished otherwise there's simply nothing better than taking directly from the still-living source. A vampire's thirst isn't just for blood.

As Remilia fed, sucking and swallowing with such fluidity that Sakuya's blood formed an uninterrupted stream through her mouth, she heard – and felt, through her throat – Sakuya's quiet moans. The poor dear was still reeling from the effects of the venom, and now she had to deal with the blood loss as well. Remilia resolved to wrap this up as soon as possible.

Soon after, Remilia stopped. This last part required a technique that no vampire was born with: healing magic, to clot the wound and speed its recovery. Remilia delivered it to Sakuya via two small, light kisses, one on each puncture mark. Remilia would never be so intimate with her head maid in the normal way of things, but, well... after a feeding, kisses seemed much less invasive. Sweet, even.

Remilia drew back. The Sakuya she looked upon now was considerably different from the Sakuya she'd regarded at the beginning of the procedure: her face was flushed and slick with sweat, her eyes rolling under their lids as though she were in a fever-dream.

"Are you all right, Sakuya?" asked Remilia solicitously.

Sakuya's eyes fluttered open, her lips stretching into a weak smile. "I feel... wonderful." Her voice was so quiet, barely more than a whisper. "Oh, mistress!"

"What is it?"

"Your mouth...! Let me fetch-"

"You stay right where you are, young lady," said Remilia, interrupting Sakuya with the full gravitas of a five-hundred-year-old. "There's no way the venom has worn off yet; you'll do yourself a mischief." Remilia reached across to her bedside table and plucked out some tissues, padding them over her lips. She stared at the red blossoms.

"I feel... like I'm on a cloud."

She scrunched them up. "Get some sleep, Sakuya. The fairies can take care of things until you're fit to be back on your feet again."

Sakuya gave a deep sigh of contentment and closed her eyes. Remilia smiled tenderly, using a corner of the towel under Sakuya's head to dry off the sweat on the sleeping maid's face.

"Mistress?" Well – almost sleeping.

"Yes, Sakuya?"

"You drink a lot less... than other vampires do... right?"

"That's right."

"Is it just your appetite... or do you choose?"

Remilia blinked a few times, uncertain of how to answer. "...A little of both. It's hard to explain. Feeding from you I don't need as much, so it's easier to stop."

"Why is that?"

"You said it yourself earlier." Remilia laid her hand on Sakuya's again. "Now sleep, my child, and have pleasant dreams."

Sakuya mumbled something incoherently, the last of her consciousness slipping away for the night. Remilia set about dressing the wound just in case her magic wasn't enough, and then cleaned up the checklist items before finally tucking in Sakuya.

As an afterthought she undid Sakuya's braids, leaving the ribbons on the nightstand. Seeing her with her hair undone like that reminded Remilia of Sakuya as a child, when she'd first arrived at the mansion. Remilia had never even imagined that that little girl might eventually end up letting her feed from her as an adult. Now she was finding it difficult to imagine what life would be like without her ever-dependable head maid.

She knew that day would come, some day soon, but that day was not this one. For now, Remilia watched the moon as she idly ran her fingers through Sakuya's hair, temporarily freed from the thirst and happy to wait until her maid's eyes opened again.