A thousand years' worth of shades, through the lives of six different people.

Please heed the rating, the warnings and the pairings in case any of those isn't your cup of tea.

A Prince of Tennis AU fanfiction in a series of six short ficlets (1,000~1,500 words per ficlet). Vampire AU, angst, romance, horror. This one should be considered hard R for overall content, including psychological/emotional. You've been warned. Fuji/Tezuka, Yukimura/Fuji/Sanada, Fuji/Yuuta, Fuji/Ryoma. WARNING: adult situations, violence, dark themes, and sort-of-incest. Also, these vampires don't sparkle, thank you very much.

Originally written in 2005, and set entirely to Seal's "Kiss from a Rose" which...probably ought to constitute a warning by itself.

First up: Fuji, in 1,000 words.

Kiss from a Rose: Fuji Syuusuke

[May 2005 :: Posted April 2013]

...And if I should fall along the way
I've been kissed by a rose on the grey.

One thousand years.

One thousand years weren't enough to erase the broken glass of betrayal he saw in Yukimura's eyes.

"How could you?" Yukimura had whispered to him, his voice low and harsh, cradling the human – now no longer human – in his arms. It was the first time Fuji believed Yukimura hated him. More than hated him. Loathed Fuji so much that revenge was not even considered, the passion of his fury and hate drowning out everything else, even the need to avenge his grievance. In the end, Yukimura chose the most perfect punishment for his betrayal: he did nothing.

And the irony was that Yukimura likely did not intend to punish him in any way. Had never intended that.

When he turned Yuuta, one of his own kin, it had finally hit him. The bond of turning had taken him by surprise so much that he withdrew from everything, including his own childe. That day, he found out the hard way how a true blood-bond with a childe could alter a vampire forever. How it bound a sire to his childe, heart and soul, for all eternity. It was then he understood what his betrayal might have felt like to Yukimura, a treachery from a childe most deeply bonded to him. Along with his newfound understanding, guilt forced him back to Yuuta's side every so often, to check on him, but the same guilt forced his eyes away each time, unable to face what he had done. Yukimura was less...human, for a lack of better term, than Fuji had ever been. He was aware Yukimura never looked at him the way he looked at Yuuta, but a childe was a childe: an inescapable reminder of his sins, the consequence of his choices, a creation he would always be responsible for. An eternity wouldn't give him time enough to run from that.

A century later, in a remote cloister in Europe, Fuji sensed a thread of inevitability when he first met Tezuka. Tezuka, a demon-hunter who was neither a human nor a demon, one whom an accident of fate had granted indefinite lifespan, who possessed power so like the hell-spawns he hunted. Fuji, by then a vampire of many, many centuries, was more powerful than Tezuka, but Tezuka's power nonetheless took him by surprise. Not the chill of a demon's power, that; Tezuka burned through his vampiric senses like a drop of sun in the darkness. The hot blaze called to him, and Fuji felt a thrill he never felt before or since. For a small eternity he gazed at Tezuka across the rows of stone crosses, fragrant roses over the graves perfuming the air. When Tezuka suddenly lunged, he grabbed Tezuka's left hand almost like an afterthought before it thrust home to his heart, halting the cold, cold iron a scant inch from his skin. Fuji leaned closer to look into those eyes, fearless and dangerous still even in the grip of imminent death, and wanted as he had never wanted before. So instead of taking him there and then or killing him, Fuji spared the hunter for a modified game of tag, chasing and being chased, with stakes both uncertain and dangerously high. If the intervening years also added the weight of debts and mutual aids and not-quite bond to those stakes, neither of them was willing to put a name to what lay in between.

Ryoma was something else altogether. A toy that reveled in being one, a human who raced towards the coming storm precisely because he knew the danger. His interest in Ryoma wasn't a surprise, but that his prey knowingly pushed him in turn both amused him and exasperated him. Each time they met, each time Fuji embraced Ryoma, Fuji was never sure if the boy would leave his arms alive that night, to play their game again next time. What perhaps surprised him was that there continued to be a next time. Time and time again.

Fuji arched into the harsh press of Yukimura inside him. Their need for each other was not addictive, as his irresistible attraction to Tezuka was, or recreational, like his games with Ryoma were. It was a simple need which both acknowledged and accepted. Like their existence, like their need for blood, their mutual need was a facet of their shared life, shadowed and flawed as it was. The heat that raked through his body, balanced just enough by the pang of Yukimura's teeth on his throat, was something he couldn't imagine doing without. Fuji looked up, watching Yukimura as he surged, suspended in his own pleasure, before sinking down to Fuji as gracefully as the nightfall. And Fuji received Yukimura in his arms, just like he had always done since the fateful night that bound him to this eternal existence, to Yukimura.

His preternatural hearing picked up a sound just outside their door. He extended a tendril of his thought, caressing and inviting. His overture was met with something akin to exasperation, which masked a hidden wariness of jealousy. Masked well, but not perfectly. Fuji threaded his fingers through Yukimura's hair, reaching into Yukimura's mind. It was easy to do when they were connected like this, more intimately than by their flesh alone. Yukimura's thoughts flowed against his, fluid yet heavy, and finally, the door opened and Sanada entered.

Are you jealous? was the thought Fuji sent Sanada's way, clear as spoken words. It was almost a ritual, each time they found each other like this, Yukimura tangled in Fuji's embrace and Sanada coming to them. And as usual, Sanada merely snorted. At times, Fuji wondered who he was addressing the question to, and about whom. The question, and the answer if there ever was one, was even less clear when he pressed into Sanada, Yukimura still wrapped around them both. When the pleasure stole his thoughts and his breath, the question, too, became silent, like the stillness of the night around them.

And Fuji slept.

Notes: I'd avoided posting this forever because...well, subject content. But recently someone asked to see it, and I thought, why the hell not? So I slapped on some edits and here we are.

I don't know if I'll still respect myself in the morning. But for now, I REGRET NOTHING. ;)