“Shinya! Your back, you moron!”
The warning barely reached the silver-haired sniper in time, rough and guttural and desperate. A prayer snuck within, fervently uttered, as Guren flew across the dilapidated urbanized battlefield, hacking and slashing away at the Horsemen without a backward glance. The mission was too easy; had been too easy, and Guren regretted not analysing why before it turned awry.
His amethyst eyes fixed on his ambushed friend in horror as half a dozen of generic vampires burst through the windows of the nearest collapsed building – a faint, red cross on the greying building indicating it to be a pharmacy or healthcare centre of sorts, in all morbid irony, and swarmed the defenceless fighter.
The rest were too far away, cut off from Shinya’s location as the latter had been returning from his sniper spot after completing his part of the mission.
Precise, thorough and smug; and utterly inexperienced.
A sniper always fought from long distances, covering the backs of their comrades from afar. But with the sniper out to play on the battlefield itself, fresh and fair game to the vampires, no one covered their backs.
A warning shot from Byakkomaru sent the vampires scattering, the attached blade on Shinya’s gun catching one off guard and throwing him off just to meet his end with a well-placed aim. Three others converged on him, the other two swapping out occasionally.
Shinya’s strength was flagging, every block and parry against his heavy, demonic gun rebounding into him, sending shocks and tremors deep into his bones. He wasn’t meant to be a melee fighter, Shinya thought ruefully, cunning mind rapidly swirling to find an opening in his deadlocked position.
Enchantments and spells were too slow – he could barely summon the words out in time, often getting bitten off midway when a vicious swing or two came too close to shaving his head bald. Mouth set in a grim, forbidding line, Shinya swiped at a pair of converging vampires with his rifle, forcing them back. Twisting his lean body like an elegant dancer, he twirled into a ferocious side kick that stuttered the third, the follow-through of the motion sending the vampire crashing downwards.
Without hesitation, Shinya fired a quick shot into the downed vampire, then another at the approaching ones. But he was too slow – a flaw in the human design that the vampires exploited with glee. The remaining vampires had anticipated his shot, coldheartedly sacrificing one of their own to distract the white tiger.
The last three had split – the first diving straight into Shinya’s space, knocking the rifle out with a well-aimed slash of his sword. Shinya’s hand smarted terribly, forcing him to disengage his demon, the rifle disintegrating with black tendrils of smoke.
Shinya then palmed open his hidden blade, hurling it straight into the vampire’s forehead. He couldn’t dodge, for he was much too close and the force put behind the blade much too large. The vampire went down with an annoyed groan – he wouldn’t be killed by a mere, ordinary weapon, but he would stay invalid for a few, short precious moments.
The second and third were, however, less cocky and less forgiving than their brash kin. The former rammed his sword through Shinya’s midsection, eliciting a cracked moan of surprised pain, and out from the other side. Ruby blood escaped the wound in rivulets – a few shades darker than the incandescent reddish tinge of the vampires’ eyes. Eyes that bore into him as two pairs of ice cold lips descended on his neck; he was unable to look away.
The pinpricks of fangs sliding into unresisting skin was imperceptible, drowned out by the sharp, stabbing pain shooting into his nerves at where the sword had skewered him none too gently. He could hear every suck and slurp of his lifeblood, could feel trickles of it escaping from the puncture wounds, dribbling down and staining his military uniform in wet patches.
And Shinya could do nothing but feel his life force forcefully, greedily, taken from his core.
His hands gripped in a deathly, unrelenting hold by the vampires, preventing him from reaching for his talisman. He was basically a puppet, propped upright by the two vampires devouring him.
He wasn’t quite sure how long it took, how long it would take for his blood to be sucked dry. Considering that there were two of them at his neck, he had figured that it would be a pretty fast drain. Although they seemed to be taking their time to savour their teatime snack; he must have some pretty delicious blood then, Shinya thought, sudden hysterical giggles threatening to bubble into existence.
Shinya felt the fangs jerk, then his whole world swayed and tilted on its axis as his body was suddenly released from its strings. He had dropped onto the cold cement unceremoniously, landing on it straight on his ass with a loud thump, barely mindful of the sword still stuck in his body. His head was swimming dangerously, breath turning shallow from the blood loss, vision threatening to black out with every dot that appeared.
Despite his nausea and ailment, Shinya forced his bright cerulean eyes open, a hue of pain filtering it, only to witness his oldest and closest friend tear into the two vampires with abandon. He managed to catch the tail-end of the one-sided fight, savagely grinning at Guren’s elegant swordsmanship laying waste to the two, brutally tearing every limb apart and slashing out every organ.
By the time Guren finished venting, the two vampires were horrifically mauled and mutilated, lacerations cutting deep into each dismembered appendage. Their bodies had been shredded into ribbons, and Shinya took in the scene with a dark, malicious glee.
Shinya moved in a bid to join his friend, temporarily forgetting his predicament in face of the bloody success of the mission. The snarl of pain that escaped his lips jolted Guren out of his reverie. The latter’s normally placid and unflappable self rushed straight to Shinya’s side, propping him up on his shoulders gently, worriedly.
“That’s a rare look on your face, Guren,” Shinya coughed out with a teasing smile, tone light and flirty but tinged with ill-suppressed pain.
“Shut up, Shinya,” Guren growled without heat. His amethyst orbs were roving around Shinya’s body in a panic, cataloguing all of the injuries sustained. But all he could absorb was the blood coating him – there was so much blood, just like that night. Guren’s hands trembled as his memories assaulted him without warning, choking his throat, cluttering his mind. “You’re a fucking idiot.”
“Your favourite idiot.” A tongue in cheek answer, as expected of Shinya.
Multiple footsteps thudded towards the two of them rapidly, the faces of Guren’s other comrades grim as they took in the scene. At least they escaped unscathed, Guren thanked the Gods, dignity thrown into the air.
“It’s so painful and I’m so dizzy, I’m going to die,” Shinya whined. “A virgin,” he added as an afterthought, as though the very idea repulsed him.
“No you’re not.” Guren’s reply was swift and forbidding, cracking around the edges. Shinya narrowed his darkened eyes at him.
“Not what? Not going to die as a virgin? You’re going to help me with that? Right here? Right now? I highly doubt that I even have enough blood left to get my dick standing,” Shinya shot back without missing a beat, tone turning a tad mournful as he finished his last sentence. “What a pity, especially when Guren is offering.”
The humour was back in Shinya, and so was his talkative nature, leaving Guren to stare at him, partly nonplussed and partly exasperated.
“Stop talking or more of your blood will flow out, and you definitely won’t be able to get a semi-erection then,” Guren deadpanned. His eyes hovered in concern when Shinya coughed, little droplets of blood being ejected from his talkative efforts.
“How scandalous, Guren. Don’t tell me that you actually want to see me erect? I probably taste good too, from how those two vampires were enjoying my blood.” Shinya aimed for a flirty wink, but a pained grimace marred his elfish features instead when he tried to shift to a more comfortable position, only to have ice-hot pain electrifying his nerves.
His breaths were also getting laboured from the exertion. Thankfully, the cavalry had arrived, Shigure, Mito and Sayuri immediately placing healing talisman on his skin upon tearing away his uniform. Ancient incantations were uttered, raising the hair on Shinya as he felt the unholy power being imbued into his battered body.
A long and pained moan exhaled out of him when Goshi steadily removed the sword, his facial features twitching in unbridled pain as the effects of the magical charms worked their way to reattach muscle fibres and repair the damage inflicted.
All the while, Guren gripped onto him like a lifeline, holding him firmly when he started to thrash from the pain. Never once letting up – his unchanging, steady support of a sarcastic rock.
“Fuck,” Shinya uttered in an exhausted moan, slumping onto Guren, boneless, his wounds taking their toll on his weakened body. “The dying part was less painful, even though I may die a virgin.”
The knee-jerk response from Guren was too abrupt, too out of character, rendering all of them speechless, yet brimming with tears at the rare, emotional outburst from the stoic raven-haired teen. He had twisted Shinya around in a swift motion, hugging him like his life depended on Shinya – too tight, too suffocating, too much. Yet not enough. When it came to them, it was never enough.
He couldn’t bear to go through the agony a second time, to see the five of them lying on the blood-splattered floor – lifeless, unmoving, dead; To hold their bitterly cold hands, rubbing them together to generate heat. A desperate and useless attempt to imbue a mocking semblance of life back into them. Their eyes, dull and unseeing, judging Guren when his own bright purple orbs locked onto theirs.
Shinya’s was the worst.
His usually mischievous cerulean orbs turned flat, the spark that glinted within whenever he teased Guren relentlessly disappeared. His silver locks, once shining and clear, but now painted with crimson blood, easily taking on that nauseating hue.
The heartbeat that thrummed a joyous symphony, the pulse that fluttered whenever Guren caressed him, held him – all vanished without a trace. Leaving behind a dark and empty abyss that yawned endlessly beyond Guren, before Guren.
He remembered shouting and screaming, pleading for them to come back, to be returned to where they belonged. They were innocent, they didn’t deserve to die, Guren did.
And Guren deserved to survive, to live out his life in utter despair upon watching the life drain from them, knowing what he had done. The blood that stained him, stained his pores and down to his cells.
“You’re not dying,” Guren bit out, almost unable to keep out the again out from his desperate command. “Not if I can help it.” With his face buried in Shinya’s torn uniform, tears – born from endless days of regrets, anguish and ruthless determination, streaked down his cheeks as he vowed to keep them safe and alive.
A low keen escaped from deep within him, too low to be audible. But the vibrations of anguish that emanated from Guren was palpable, tangible, speaking to Shinya’s heart and soul on a spiritual level
“Guren,” Shinya breathed out, stunned yet touched. A warm yet deadly smile graced his angelic features, albeit being caked in blood, as he returned the hug in equal fervour.
Guren never wanted to step foot into that torment and hell ever again. And Shinya never wanted to hear Guren emit that animalistic noise full of crushing agony, to see the proud Guren crumbling like a broken child, squeezing Shinya with urgent desperateness.
They would lay their lives on the line to protect each other – twins of destruction, one light and one dark. That was a vow and a promise.
I will ruin the world for you and destroy my own humanity, if only to see you live and smile another day.