Chapter 3: The Table Turned
"Aono Tsukune," Moka seemed to caress the name with her tongue as she broke the sudden silence that had descended. "You are a...strange person."
"What do you want?" Tsukune asked through gritted teeth. He could feel the weight of the knife in his pockets, but he doubted he would be fast enough to even reach it before she finished her off.
She didn't reply, only staring at him through imperious, half-lidded eyes.
"Aono-san?" A sudden voice from outside the door jerked them out of their staring contest. Moka moved like she wasn't even injured – one second, she was sitting on her knees and staring at him, the next, she was pressed up against him and whispering in his ear.
"Tell them about me and die," she hissed, sending a thrill of fear down his spine. "I don't care if they murder me, but you will die if you give them the slightest hint that I'm in here."
"How do I know that you won't kill me anyway?" he asked, meeting her crimson eyes and trying to quell the irrational terror that seized him when they met his own brown eyes.
She smirked, drawing closer to him. Her breath washed over his face as she spoke. It was almost...coppery.
Like fresh blood, his mind supplied.
"You don't," she said, almost crucifying him to the spot with her gaze.
"Aono-san?" the voice was definitely louder this time, and Moka seized the front of his nightshirt bodily and threw him at the door.
He only just managed to land on his feet, and hastily patted himself down for a second before he opened the door.
"Yes?" he asked, surprised to see the guard standing at his door. "Can I help you, Guard-san?"
The man outside the door looked at him for a long moment, as if gauging him with his eyes.
Tsukune hoped that the man couldn't see the fear he was trying to curb, or hear the frantic beating of his heart against his ribcage. He almost cried in relief when the man asked, "Are you feeling all right, Aono-san?"
Kuso. "Y-yes," Tsukune replied, cursing himself further as he stuttered. Sudden inspiration struck him, and he seized it gratefully, "Just a small nightmare..."
The man's face relaxed and he gave him a concerned look. "Are you –"
"I'm fine, fine!" Tsukune assured him at once, even though he was going to be anything but. "Just a bad dream, that's all."
"All right then," the man replied, even though he still looked mildly suspicious. "If you need anything?"
Tsukune shifted a bit guiltily as another though struck him, and he leaned forward a bit conspiratorially. Almost unconsciously, the guard mirrored his actions.
"Do you think you could get me a bit of alcohol?" Tsukune whispered, feeling his face heat up as he made the request.
"Ao – Aono-san?" the man asked, taken aback by his words.
"Nothing heavy," Tsukune quickly said with a guilty laugh, "just enough to take my mind off things."
The guard still appeared to be shocked, unsure of what to do. Cursing the vampire still in his room, Tsukune decided to play his most powerful – and most hated – card.
"I'm sure my father won't mind," he said, still keeping his voice down. He felt a tiny spark of success as the man's eyes widened; as the guard was reminded of just whose son he was. "In fact, I'll be sure to put in a good word for you when I'm home next...tell him about how you helped me through tough times...?"
He ended on a questioning note, and the man seized on his intentions at once."Takeshi-san," he hurriedly replied, "Watanabe Takeshi."
"Takeshi-san," Tsukune repeated, faking a sheepish grin. "So...?"
He let the request linger in the air. The man was obviously a professional, arguing with himself over the matter.
Tsukune's ploy won out in the end, much to his surprise and relief. "I suppose I wouldn't miss a bit of my sake," the man muttered, "besides, it's not like I haven't drunk a bit in my youth too..."
Tsukune said nothing, flushed with his own sense of success, willing to play out his act just a bit longer –
"All right," said the man with a sigh. His expression turned stern suddenly, "but only just this once, ok? This remains between you and me!"
"Of course!" Tsukune said, adding a bow for good measure. "Arigatou, Takeshi-senpai!"
"Now, now," said the man, obviously flattered. Tsukune couldn't blame him either, he was probably one of the lower grunts set on security patrol and unused to such praise – he knew the type from his own mansion. "There's no need for that. Stay awake for a bit, and I'll be back with your drink."
Tsukune sighed as the man gave a short nod and walked away, slamming the door shut behind him and leaning heavily against the door.
"Why did you ask for alcohol?" those terrible red eyes found him again, pinning him to his spot against the door.
"I-it's just something I read in a biography about my father," he said. His thoughts flashed to the book in question – his favourite, even though his father frowned upon it – which was still packed with the rest of his stuff. "The soldiers sometimes used alcohols to dress their wounds when no other medical aid was available."
As one, both of their eyes drifted to the wound on her leg. Moka was visibly stunned for a moment, but she quickly masked it; so fast that Tsukune found himself wondering if he had really seen the expression on her face.
"Why do you want to heal my wound?" she asked, her tone perfectly flat; betraying no emotion.
She's completely unfettered, it's like she isn't hurt at all. "I don't like seeing people hurt," he replied, trying to disguise the own shaking of his voice.
A long silence stretched between them, and Moka tilted her head and looked at him with curiosity and a hint of something else in her eyes.
"Aono Tsukune," she replied, but this time, it was almost like she was unsure about speaking his name. "You are a very strange person indeed..."
Something struck Tsukune at that moment, and before he could stop himself, he had asked, "How do you know my name?"
That's true, I never gave it to her. He looked back on the day, only confirming his thoughts.
"You didn't," she agreed, "but your name is famous even amongst the Ayashi, Aono Tsukune."
He shuddered, wishing that she would stop speaking his whole name in that strange manner.
"Besides," she said, her eyes suddenly blazing. They were burning, feral, like that of a wild animal. "You look just like your father. The man whose face I'll never forget..."
In a flash, she was again next to him, her hands curled around his throat. Unlike last time, she didn't increase the pressure though, instead choosing to whisper her next words.
"The man who I will kill," she hissed –
"No!" Tsukune gasped, his eyes widening. "No!"
He reached into his pocket, all rational thought fading from his mind. Grasping the knife, he flicked it open and without warning, he drew it and stabbed it into his stomach.
Tsukune felt triumph as the knife lodged itself into the soft flesh of her stomach, until it was buried up to its hilt inside it. He was gifted with immense satisfaction as her eyes widened in shock, her mouth fell open to form a perfect circle –
Before she laughed cruelly and narrowed her eyes. Never letting him go, she seized the knife and pulled it out of her stomach. Blood pooled in her shirt and stained the clean material, but before his wide eyes, it seemed to recede back within her. The tear in her shirt fluttered a bit, and he was shocked to see smooth, unblemished skin where the wound was supposed to be.
She brought the knife up to eye level, her eyes never leaving his. Making sure that he could see what she was doing, her pink tongue of her mouth and ran along the edge of the knife, before it arrived at the edge and she topped it off with a tiny flick.
The small act disturbed Tsukune; he was besieged by a veritable hailstorm of emotions, and not all of them were negative, much to his shock. Her actions had incited a strange sort of pleasure within him, disgusting as they were.
She smirked lazily, almost like she knew about the conflicting emotions raging through him. "My turn," she whispered, and for a second, he was treated by the view of her mouth lined with her own blood, before he felt two needle-like pricks on his neck.
He shuddered and flailed, but both her hands were now restraining his arms. Unlike the kiss from before, this was rough and powerful, as she ground against him and furiously sucked the blood from his neck.
He bit back the moan that was threatening to escape his mouth despite the situation he was in. Cursing his body for betraying him like this, he tried in vain to force his wrists out of her iron-like grip.
After what felt like an eternity, she let go, leaning back to look into his eyes again. The ruby orbs flitted downwards for a second, before a corner of her mouth lifted.
"You enjoyed that," it wasn't a question, but a sure statement. Unknown to him, she was now playing him with the same dexterity that he had displayed minutes ago, willing her luck to come through and make her ploy successful.
"No!" he gasped, willing himself to hide his reaction to her forceful actions.
"Liar," she crooned, invading his personal space again as she brought her lips tantalizingly close to his. He could feel warm currents of air play along his lips, sending strange sensations through them, "that is the power of a Vampire, Aono Tsukune. I could suck you dry and you would die with a happy smile on his face."
Tsukune didn't know whether to laugh in madness or cry in fear when his mind only seized on her double entendre instead of her threat.
"But you are powerless now," she continued, a self-satisfied tinge to her smile. "I injected a bit of my own blood into your system now, Aono Tsukune. You are now under my will, and I will kill you instantly if you even speak of my existence."
"You're lying!" Tsukune refused to believe her words, he couldn't believe her words. The gravity of the situation struck him completely at that moment –
She wants to kill Tou-san! I must stop her!
His breath hitched in his throat when he suddenly felt a strange burning in his hand. The next thing he knew, a tendril of black was burning its way down the back of his wrist –
Moka smirked. The timing was perfect - he'd fallen for her bluff. It was a sheer stroke of luck that her blood chose to act out at that precise moment, and she wasn't about to be ungrateful.
Tsukune gasped, backpedalling but finding nothing but wood behind his back. "Stop it!" he yelled, "What are you doing?"
Much to his surprise, it vanished, leaving nothing but the phantom sensations of pain behind. "A warning," she said, that damnable smirk still on her face, "to drive all notions of rebellion from your mind. You are nothing but a pathetic human, Aono Tsukune, and I will not hesitate to kill you –"
A sharp rap against the door brought a halt to their conversation. "Aono-san?"
The very next instant, Moka was suddenly backing away from him. Her eyes flitted down to his hand as if in warning, before she hissed, "Open the door!"
Taking a deep breath, he whirled around and opened it a crack like before, so that the man couldn't see inside the room.
Takeshi was standing there with a bottle of Sake in his hand and a sheepish look. "Take it," he said, hastily thrusting it into his hand, "before the rest of my patrol finds out. Remember, this remains between us!"
"Of course," Tsukune reiterated, though he was currently contemplating downing the drink in one go instead of using it for the vampire's wounds. His life was certainly screwed up enough to do so...
"Don't drink too much," the man said sternly, "and keep it hidden in your suitcase. There's only half a bottle anyway –"
"Arigatou," Tsukune gave another bow, "please allow me to pay you back the next time we meet."
"There's no need –"
"I insist," Tsukune talked over him, though the man didn't look too annoyed. Indeed, Takeshi had a small smile on his face like he was impressed by Tsukune's manners.
If only he knew I was harbouring an S-class Ayashi in my room against my will.
"All right then," the man said gruffly. "Just be careful with it."
Tsukune gave another nod, Takeshi replying with one of his own. Before Tsukune could speak any further, the man spun sharply on his heels and walked away, obviously eager to return to his patrol before he was discovered.
Tsukune slammed the door shut for what he hoped was the last time in the night, before he turned around to face the room.
The empty room, he noted in shock, before some movement drew his eyes to the side of the room.
Moka was sliding out from under his bed, before she finally settled down on the mattress.
"Well?" the vampire asked imperiously, "Attend to me." She gave the command like she was a queen and he was nothing more than a servant to cater to her whims.
"Why don't you just kill me now?" Tsukune asked through clenched teeth.
Moka laughed – a strangely melodic and alluring sound. "Where would be the fun in that, Aono Tsukune? Right now, you are under my command and have no way to escape. You will be useful to me in killing –"
"You won't kill Tou-san!" Tsukune burst out before she could complete her words.
Her eyes narrowed, and he leaned back ever so slightly. "You're very lucky there are Youkai Detectors in the room," she said, "or else I would have brought you to your knees with my Youki alone. I do not like to be interrupted when I speak! Listen to me, and listen well – I will kill your father, and nothing will stop me!"
Despite his fears, Tsukune bent his knees and shifted to a ready stance for attacking. He could take attacks against himself, but he would tolerate any threats against his Tou-san, whoever they came from.
"Oh yeah?" he asked, ignoring the mad pumping of his heart as she tensed ever so slightly. "And how do you plan to do that when even my pathetic aggression can scare you into submission?"
He knew he had made a wrong move immediately when her eyes were almost set ablaze with fury. "You think one mortal can scare me so easily?! That was fluke, what you saw earlier!" her voice was still low, but it send currents of terror running down Tsukune's spine.
"Know. Your. Place!" the next thing he knew, she was coming at him with his fist cocked.
And then there was a crushing pain in his head, and then darkness.
Moka took a few step backwards, breathing heavily. She hadn't anticipated this; the situation was getting out of hand.
Your pride drove you to lose your temper, a small voice in her head commented. Moka tossed her magnificent mane of silver hair and ignored the voice.
Her pride was what made her a Vampire, a superior creature. Without it, she was nothing.
Tsukune awoke slowly, the back of his head pounding away a steady rhythm on his brain. Grimacing, he snaked his arm back to cradle his head, while he looked around him. He was on the floor with nothing but a blanket on him.
He sat up, wincing as his entire body screamed in protest. His joints were stiff, and his back felt straighter than an ironing board. Joints popped and kinks were released as he stretched, and he could barely hold back a satisfied moan.
Instantly, Tsukune was on alert as the events of the night came rushing back to him. His eyes darted to the bed where he could make out somebody under the covers.
His mind was instantly filled with different scenarios – he could make out the splash of pink hair against the stark white of the bed. The vampire had changed back to her original form sometime when she was asleep, then.
But then why didn't the detectors pick it up? Why didn't they do so when she changed into scary Moka, for that matter?
His eyes sought out the tiny device on the ceiling, the blinking green light in one corner indicating that it was in perfect ccondition.
The answer came to him after a few moments. He remembered the oppressive aura of darkness the first time she had changed into the silver-haired form – that hadn't repeated itself the following times. Does that mean she could now switch between her two forms at will?
I can't control it...Moka's words came back to him, and they did nothing to comfort him. The silver haired girl wanted to kill his father, while the pink haired one –
The idea came to him slowly, insidiously, crawling into his mind and lodging itself firmly in it. The pink haired Moka was weak, afraid of hostility to the point that she would freeze up the moment he displayed any.
I can kill her, Tsukune realized with a jolt. I can kill her, and the silver haired Moka won't be able to hurt my father then.
He glanced around the room, before quietly crawling over to his desk. He reached out under it and pulled out his knife, his eyes set firmly on the implement as he flicked open the knife.
I won't miss this time, he told himself sternly. He would have to be quick and efficient, stab repeatedly, and be ruthless to end her life.
He told himself that his hand wasn't trembling as he crawled at Moka, the cold metal of the knife burning itself onto his palm.
She was still asleep as he approached, completely dead to the world. She was still dressed in her school uniform, even though they were now dirty and bloodied. Her nose was making tiny whistling sounds like a teapot, even though it would scrunch up cutely every now and t-
No! His mind screamed. He couldn't get distracted by her beauty anymore; especially now that he knew how dangerous she was and what her ambitions were.
Tsukune raised the knife and held it above her prostrate form, letting his hand hang in the air for a second. The teenager gathered every ounce of anger and hatred he could dredge up against the girl, and tightened his grip on the knife.
His hand trembled, his stomach churned. I can't do this - I can't do this, I'm not a murderer.
Unbidden, the image of his father passed through his mind. He gulped down the bile threatening to rise up his throat and steadied himself.
I love my father. She wants to kill him. It should be simple. Yet it wasn't, Tsukune realized, as he stood there silently and wrestled with his thoughts. He had never been a non-violent person, but this girl was threatening to kill the one person whom he loved more than anything in this world...
Children will do amazing things for the ones they love.
Tsukune's eyes narrowed, and he clenched them shut before opening them again, determination blazing in them. Hatred rose in him like a fury as he remembered how the silver-haired vampire had spoken of killing his Tou-san, and he clutched his knife until his knuckles were white -
Only for it to fall impotently onto the side of the bed as Tsukune rocked back with a painful groan.
Moka sprang awake, her eyes darting around the room before the focused on Tsukune, clutching his hands and gasping in agony as the burning sensation overtook his mind again. Several lines of black were now making their way up his arm like an intricate tattoo.
Her green eyes widened, and she got out of bed and hurried to his side. If anything, her proximity seemed to set him off more –
"Stop it!" she said, trying to keep her voice low. "It'll only get worse if you're angry! Let it burn out on its own!"
Her words went unheard, Tsukune had already lost his mind temporarily to her blood.
"You...bitch..." Tsukune's voice was deeper, hoarser; it made her gut clench with fear.
She hesitated for a second, the memories of that traumatic night fighting to make their way to the forefront of her mind again. She could feel her inner self clamouring to be let out, wishing to be the one who could see the human's pain first-hand.
Moka squeezed her eyes shut, trying to drown out the world around her. She took deep breaths, before she managed to reach a conclusion.
Tsukune had saved her despite who she was, despite the fact that Ura had tried her best to harm him; it was only fair that she, Omote, return the favour.
She reached out and placed her hand on his shoulder, trying to ignore the terror which threatened to overtake her. She clasped it a little more tightly as he thrashed about, before she dredged up the courage to speak.
"Pleas- please don't get angry," she whispered, hoping that her voice was somewhat soothing, "it'll only put you in worse pain. Don't give in, plea-"
His mind was no longer his own, she could see. The kind boy had been replaced by a bloodthirsty, raging beast; even then, Tsukune was trying to fight it off. Heartened by his will, she murmured softly to him, hoping she could calm him down enough to bring him out of his frenzied state.
It was not to be.
Her words were cut off as she felt his fist collide with the side of her face, sending her flying. The next moment, Tsukune was on her, fighting to kick and punch every inch of her that he could reach. She felt her lips split open and heal themselves the very next instant when they were caught by his knuckles, she doubled over in pain as his knee collided heavily with her stomach.
Up on the ceiling, the detector suddenly began to blink red – only this time, it wasn't Moka who was causing it.
"Die!" Tsukune snarled, his voice now a thrumming baritone. His arms were not completely dark, and the matrix of black was now overtaking his face, reaching towards his eyes.
Moka stumbled back, and for a second, Tsukune was distracted by the sharp clinking sound she made. His eyes fell on her ankle –
It had been hidden by her socks before, but it was now in clear view. A black band was set firmly against her ankle, and hanging from it was a cross – a rosary. And at the very centre was a glaring crimson eye, the very same that he had seen on the silver haired Moka.
It was Tsukune's turn to backpedal in horror as the terrible eye shifted and zeroed in on him, almost reminding him of the fact that he would die if he stepped out of line.
Moka almost cried in relief as the darkness on his body began to recede, but it was already too late.
She felt footsteps thundering down the corridor, and she had barely just made it back under the bed when the door to the room burst open. The guards burst in and noticed Tsukune at once, aiming their guns at him in one smooth, synchronous movement.
She watched in horror as Tsukune writhed on the floor in pain as her blood began to lose its effects, and the guards drew in a horrified breath when they realized just who the Ayashi was.
"Wha – wh – how did this happen?" one of them whispered.
For a second, they hesitated. Then the man at point squared his shoulder and took a short breath.
Moka's heart seemed to squeeze in pain as the man took out a needle of some sort and jammed it into Tsukune's neck. The boy went limp immediately, looking far too limp for Moka's liking.
Their leader cursed, swinging his gun angrily through the air. "Dammit!" he snarled, "it's all that Vampire's doing! Takeshi, take the boy to the hospital at once. The rest of you, split up into pairs and sweep the grounds for the bitch, she's still around. Sakumo, you're with me!"
It was a testimony to their training that they followed orders without hesitation, even though Takeshi seemed rather pale. He complied with his orders, nonetheless, as Tsukune was dragged out of the room.
Takeshi seemed to be repulsed by the boy now; his face was set in disgust even as he lifted the boy into his arms –
Moka shifted and then stilled immediately when the man stopped moving. She held her breath in terror as the man's feet walked around the room, before they stopped at the bed.
She could feel the burn of tears against her eyes, but she never even took a breath for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, after ages, the man walked away towards the window, making one complete sweep of the room before he walked out, the door slamming shut behind him.
It was then that Moka finally crawled out and let the tears flow. Tsukune could become a Ghoul, subject to Ura's whims and a prisoner of his own mind should he ever let his anger overtake him. They would kill him now, she thought in despair, since he had been poisoned by an Ayashi.
His status will protect him, Ura's voice rang through her mind, and her eyes flitted to the seal on her right ankle. What Tsukune hadn't seen was the hairline crack that ran along the back of the rosary, allowing Ura to escape sometimes against Omote's wishes.
This is all your fault! Omote shouted mentally, feeling an unfamiliar anger well up inside her. He helped us, and this is how you repaid him?
There was no other choice. Ura was as harsh and blunt as ever. It was either him or us. Besides, I only injected him once, he should already be burning out by now. It's only if I repeat it that things will get...interesting.
Moka had no reply to that; she simply sank to her knees and sobbed freely at her own self's madness and cruelty, at the unfairness of the world that it was always the kind people who ended up hurt.
How do you like that, you bitch?!
Hold her down, she's a feisty one! I'm gonna enjoy breaking this one, boys!
Come on, open your eyes and look at me, darling!
Yes, thought Moka, her chest heaving as she remembered how Kahlua had been overpowered and broken, it's always the innocent who suffer in War.
A war we came here to start, Ura reminded her, still completely emotionless, it's best you don't forget.
Mother, I need you, Omote thought, trying not to think about her original mission. I need you now more than ever.
Soon...Ura whispered darkly, finally letting some anticipation trickle into her voice. Soon...
Author's note: That's all for now. School starts in a couple of days, so I'm sad to announce that I won't be updating very frequently –but I do want to finish this story. With the feedback it's getting, I can acknowledge that it has potential. Also, I don't plan on making this very long or epic-length, so it should all work out in the end.