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Regret, perhaps, was allowing Chanyeol to choose the destination of their party.

Luhan stared through the glass of the car window, his eyes following the plants that climbed the expanse of the building – or manor, because this was way bigger than the house Chanyeol had led them to believe he’d lived in. He hadn’t known Chanyeol long, the younger a new addition to the frat with gangly limbs and antiques he’d deem a little unique.

“Well,” Sehun let out from the back seat, “It’s eerie.”

He wasn’t wrong. Luhan could hardly bring himself to speak, to break the oddly fitting silence.

“You live here?” Yixing asked, voice unusually monotone concerning the fact this place was fucking weird.

“You wanted a spooky place to throw your party,” Chanyeol retorted, opening his car door to climb out, “I gave you spooky.”

The garden was considerably large, the party could quite possibly become the grandest he’d ever thrown – it was a perfect set-up for everything Halloween, and he’d have Chanyeol to thank for that. It was a little odd that Chanyeol had kept the fact he lived in a fucking manor secret for so long, though none of them had the right to complain when he was offering it to them for a frat party.

“This is…” Jongin trailed off as they wandered to the huge front door, “Unique.”

If it were not for the fact Chanyeol had told them it was his residence, Luhan could’ve assumed the place was derelict, abandoned land perfect for the horror scene.

Chanyeol motioned for him to go ahead and Luhan approached the door, lifting his hand to give the dark metal handle a try – except, the door was pulled open and Luhan jumped back, heart beating a little harder in shock as he stared at a pair of unfamiliar eyes. Beautiful unfamiliar eyes, beneath a mess of rhubarb hair.

“Minseok!” Chanyeol greeted loudly and Luhan jumped again, “I didn’t know you’d be home. This is Luhan,” He pointed at Luhan, “Jongin, Yixing and Tao.”

“I see,” Minseok returned, though his eyes had not left Luhan’s.

“We’re throwing a Halloween party,” Chanyeol grinned.

Minseok pulled open the door wider to allow them into the house, and Luhan bowed his head in thanks – his attention soon shifted to the red carpet beneath his feet, the mahogany wood stretching along the length of the bannister of a large staircase. He couldn’t help the way his eyes widened, eyebrows raised as he walked further into the manor.

“So, what d’you think?” Chanyeol asked, smug.

“It’s…” Luhan’s eyes shifted from Chanyeol’s to the stranger’s and he swore he could see a glint of amusement, “I think this could work.”

“What is this?” A voice from the top of the stairs had Luhan spinning on his feet.

Another stranger stood atop the stairs, his body clad solely in the bath towel wrapped around his waist – the question had been directed at Chanyeol, though the man’s eyes flickered across them all. Luhan heard Minseok snort, and he was pretty sure he heard Tao gasp, closing the large door behind them.

“We’re throwing a Halloween party,” Minseok replied, and Luhan focussed on not turning to stare at the flawless man.

The stranger’s eyes narrowed, “You both know that’s not a good idea.”

Chanyeol’s face fell, but Minseok merely smirked.

“I think it’s a great idea, we haven’t had company in quite some time. They’re cute, too.”

Luhan turned to glare, only for Minseok to quirk an eyebrow at him.

“Anyway,” Chanyeol cut in, motioning to the tall man, “This is my roommate, Yifan.”

“Roommate?” Jongin asked, a little incredulously, “This place is huge.”

Shrugging, Chanyeol moved to lead them further into the house. They all trailed after him, a little in awe and a little in shock that Chanyeol was obviously filthy rich. A house like this, in an area like this, with land like that… it seemed their newest member was bolder than Luhan had initially thought. Luhan’s mind was far too distracted to notice the hardened lines of Yixing’s blank face, the way his eyes lingered on the smallest details of the strangers.

Turning on his feet to follow his friends, Luhan chanced a look back at Yifan to find the staircase empty.

“Is Junmyeon around?” Chanyeol questioned, leading them into a larger room.

Possibly some huge rendition of a living room, Luhan suspected, due to the sofas and television. Further into the room was a literal bar, with fucking kegs and taps and Luhan’s awe only seemed to triple. His eyes continued around the room, a perfect place to throw a party, when he realised Minseok was standing at his side.

He tried not to jump for the third time.

“He’s around,” Minseok confirmed.

Chanyeol motioned for them all to sit down as he continued, “And Baekhyun?”

“No.”

Yixing’s second frown flittered by, unnoticed.

Luhan tried to put space between himself and Minseok as they sat down, and Minseok merely chuckled. Chanyeol had never even mentioned the other man before, yet here he was, sat aside Luhan on some black velvet couch with eyes akin to a cat in the wild – Luhan would happily stare at Minseok for the duration of their conversation, yet he didn’t want to. It was weird, the other man unnerved him for reasons unknown.

“Who’s Baekhyun?” Yixing asked as he joined them.

“The sixth house member,” Chanyeol answered, short, “There’s also Kyungsoo.”

“Kyungsoo turns up once in a full moon,” Minseok added, crossing one leg over the other.

Sehun raised an eyebrow, “Isn’t it blue moon?”

“Is it?”

“Um,” Chanyeol tried, “Anyway. Is this good enough?”

Jongin snorted, “This is more than good enough. This is gonna be fucking authentic.”

Luhan nodded in agreement, “It’s going to be the best Halloween party, yet.”

Chanyeol’s face lit up, “When do we begin?”

“Tuesday afternoon?” He replied, typing out a text to Jongdae to confirm they’d found a place, “It’s Halloween, and I only have a morning class. I could come down after and begin decorating?”

“I’m in classes all day,” Sehun said, regretfully.

“Me too,” Chanyeol echoed.

“I might skip class,” Jongin thought aloud.

Yixing kicked him, “You’re already behind, brat. I only have a morning class, I’ll head down with Lu.”

“I can help,” Minseok suggested, “I’ll be here most of the day.”

“Okay,” Luhan finished, “That’s sorted, then.”

 

☽ ☾

 

Yixing had always been doubtful of Chanyeol’s supposed appearance, his quirky personality and innocent smiles hardly enough to render him harmless. Perhaps, Yixing had always been careful – how could he not, with a family such as his own? He may not have joined them and their ways, but he’d never forget the lessons of his upbringing.

He’d volunteered to contribute to Luhan’s antiques through curiosity, his suspicions confirmed the moment he’d stepped out of the car and onto the manor’s land. See, places such as this felt different, the air a little less calm. Potentially violent.

There had been death here, and everything relevant within Yixing was screaming at him to get the fuck out.

It wasn’t that he’d ever had a negative opinion of Chanyeol, for he could see the boy was at least attempting to integrate himself back into a younger society. Yixing liked Chanyeol – he didn’t exactly trust him, but then again, it was always difficult to trust those bordering inhuman.

“You seem distracted,” Minseok began, aiding him in spreading out the fake spider webs over the plants lining a pathway.

Yixing hardly spared him a glance, “I am.”

Although Minseok seemed to follow him around, Yixing wasn’t oblivious to the stares he spared within Luhan’s direction. It was almost as though the stranger didn’t trust him to wander the premises alone. There had to be some ulterior motive – Yixing didn’t entirely mind, it may have prevented him from wandering, but it also kept Minseok away from Luhan.

“A plastic spider for your thoughts?” Minseok continued, handing Yixing one of the cheap decorations.

“What does a den of vampires want with a Halloween frat party?” Yixing kept his voice un-phased, placing the fake spiders atop the white webs, “I thought your kind was attempting violence-free entourages.”

Minseok considered him for a moment, “We are not violent.”

“Are you not?” Yixing shot him a pointed look, “You feed on humans for survival, I doubt such a thing comes alongside consent.”

“We do not kill,” Minseok’s hand gripped his arm to halt his walking away, “Who are you?”

“A college student.”

“You don’t seem awfully concerned for someone who assumes he knows who we are.”

Yixing removed his arm from Minseok’s grip, “Chanyeol has been a good friend, I know he doesn’t mean any harm.”

Minseok snorted, “How could you possibly know that?”

“I can feel it.”

“Ah,” Minseok realised, falling into step aside Yixing, “Are you a Zhang, or Wu?”

Stopping in his steps, Yixing stared at him, “Zhang.”

“I spent some time in China, as a newly turned fledgling – I’m almost certain one of your ancestors attempted to kill me.”

“Possibly,” Yixing muttered, turning his attention towards the manor, “What’s in the basement?”

Minseok then hummed, “You’re stronger than your ancestors, yet you’re not a hunter. I wonder why.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“Ask Yifan,” Minseok replied, nonchalant.

Yixing watched the vampire leave, the curiosity within his mind merely peaking as the hairs lining his arms stood on end. He knew Minseok was not yet someone to fear – but then again, he’d never wronged the vampire and was awfully certain he could tear Yixing apart limb by limb. It wasn’t a pleasant thought, but it was reality.

He’d always had an open mind, but that didn’t mean he was about to leave his friends in an environment he’d been raised to hate.

There was a buzzing beneath his skin that left him uneasy, though it was a different feeling to his gut instinct. Whilst his gut was telling him to leave, to make up some bullshit excuse to his friends as to why Chanyeol’s proposition was not a good idea – the static beneath his skin felt full of curiosity and a need to investigate.

They continued to work beyond the afternoon, Chanyeol soon turning up with Sehun in tow – the place was beginning to look like a low-budget horror movie, precisely what Luhan had been aiming for. The moment the sun dipped below the horizon, this place would be unnerving to anyone beneath the moonlight.

“I think we’re done,” Sehun eventually muttered, fake cobwebs within his orange hair.

Luhan agreed, “It’s time for us to get ready. Did you all bring your costumes?”

They nodded in unison.

“You can use the bedrooms to get ready,” Chanyeol informed, already beginning to climb the stairs, “Most of them have bathrooms, let’s go!”

Yixing lingered behind, watching as his friends ascended the stairs to begin whatever horror concept they’d be attiring for the night. Yifan, who’d only recently returned to the manor, was watching him silently – if Minseok had talked to the other vampire, Yixing was more than certain he’d have questions.

No point in tip-toeing around his dilemma, then.

He turned to look at the taller man, “What’s in the basement?”

Yifan watched him for a few moments longer, before replying, “You’re the defected hunter, no?”

“Is that important?” He asked.

“The only defected hunter I’ve ever heard about,” Yifan continued, “Aside from myself, of course.”

Yixing blinked, “You’re Wu Yifan.”

“And you’re Zhang Yixing,” Yifan responded, leaning against the doorframe, “We are one in the same.”

“Not quite,” Yixing corrected, heading towards the staircase, “I’d never trade my soul for immortality.”

“Stay away from the basement, Zhang Yixing.”

Yixing opted not to respond.

 

☽ ☾

 

As expected, Luhan knew how to throw a party – not like Yixing had ever doubted him.

His friends, somehow, through all the costume mishaps, looked great.

Yixing had opted for simplicity, ripping his jeans and colouring the skin beneath with fake blood. He rimmed his eyes with eyeliner stolen from Sehun and mussed his hair, hoping he vaguely reminded anyone of a zombie. He’d never been great at costumes, never had the heart to dress up as the things he couldn’t doubt existed.

Meanwhile, Sehun had coloured his own face in shades of white and black to resemble a skull, his hair waxed back from his face – the orange contact lenses he wore matched his hair. Luhan had decided upon a more morbid little red riding hood, claw marks created with makeup slashed through one eye, a white contact lens to accentuate it. Jongin, Yixing suspected, was a werewolf. He wasn’t entirely sure.

Chanyeol had decided upon a vampire. A cheesy, pale faced, plastic toothed vampire.

“You look good,” Yixing began, watching Chanyeol place the fake teeth within his mouth, “Those are gross.”

“I know,” Chanyeol all but pouted, grimacing as he slid the plastic into his mouth, “A requirement of the costume, though.”

“Use the real thing,” He replied, reaching around his friend for a plastic cup he hoped was not filled with something bordering toxic. Yixing didn’t plan on drinking much, tonight.

Gawking at him, Chanyeol removed the teeth, “I don’t know what you mean.”

Yixing patted his arm, watching as more people filtered into the house. He left a wide-eyed Chanyeol behind, aiding Luhan in welcoming the newcomers and pushing them in the direction of a pirate Minseok pouring drinks at the bar. Someone had left Jongdae in charge of the music and Yixing doubted he’d play anything remotely Halloween orientated.

He had little intention remaining here for long – there was a sickly feeling in his chest when his mind thought back to the basement, the now-familiar feeling of unease flushing through him like he’d never experienced in his home country. Minseok and Yifan hadn’t given him this energy, whatever lingered down there was… unhappy, to say the least. Powerful.

Waiting for the party to grow busy, Yixing situated himself to the back of the room, a non-alcoholic fruit drink in hand as he watched the mass of students begin their night of plausible regret. Tao had eventually turned up, late, as always, partially hiding himself behind Chanyeol as he stared up in shock at a smirking Yifan; the ex-hunter hadn’t made an effort for any costume, though he’d considerably warmed up to the idea of the party (Yixing suspected Tao’s influence).

Yifan seemed distracted by the younger, something Yixing silently noted for future use.

At the first sign of bullshit college drama, Yixing slipped out of the main room, side-stepping drunken wanderers as he followed the bad feeling in his chest. Why he was following something that felt so dark, he didn’t know, but it felt almost useless to ignore it. What could someone like Chanyeol possibly be hiding? Yifan may have warned him against it, but Yixing would not – could not, for once in his life he could not ignore the itch beneath his skin.

He eventually slowed to a stop outside of a wooden door, his skin practically humming when he raised his hand to the doorknob – it was locked, of course, but Yixing had come prepared. Part of him had felt bad about using his friendship with Chanyeol to root through his and Yifan’s room, though it mostly felt necessary.

Sliding the metal key into the lock, he risked one last glance over his shoulder before twisting the key.

Whatever he’d find down there, he knew it wouldn’t be good.

He almost hated that he’d been raised this way.

Click. He pulled open the door, the dim lighting from the room behind him doing an awful job at illuminating the staircase – with little choice, he used his phone to light his feet as he descended, only to come across a second door. This second door was heavier, the lock a little older as he used his shoulder to force the hard wood open.

The scent of sage filtered through his nose and Yixing frowned – it was typically used to sate fledgling vampires with little to no control, yet whatever lingered here felt beyond that. He spared little energy to the thought that fuelled the fear that these doors were locked for a reason, but if this secret was a danger to his friends above then he had no choice but to investigate. He left the door open behind him, a decision made to grant him a quick exit if he needed it.

Yixing stared into darkness, his breathing louder in his ears, amplified by the silence. He’d only just raised his arm to search for some form of light switch when something – a hand – wrapped around his throat, dragging him into the room as he grasped out and his heart jumped with the force of the shock.

Gasping, he attempted to free himself of the grip – his back was slammed into the cold wall, the air unable to even leave his lungs as the hand tightened around his throat. Yixing could feel the trickle of blood as nails unforgivingly dug into his neck, but the thought was dismissed by the panic blaring through his mind. He needed to breathe.

Thoughtlessly, he kicked out, only for his knees to hit nothing.

The hand was gone in an instant and Yixing slid to his knees, his damp palms against the ground as he tried to force wind through his bruising windpipe – every breath burned like fire in his lungs, the blood on his neck dripping down onto a concrete flooring he couldn’t even see. His heart thudded louder than his breathing in his ears as he grounded himself.

He’d lost his phone in the struggle, his only source of light lost.

“You are not Yifan,” The voice was hoarse, with either disuse or exhaustion. Perhaps both.

The sage.

Yixing couldn’t reply, gasping in air to his bruising throat.

The hand then threaded through his hair, pushing the strands from Yixing’s eyes like he could even see through the darkness; the fingers gripped his hair tight, yanking Yixing’s head back so far the burning in his throat doubled and he gasped again.

“A lovely gift,” The voice then said, raising another hand to trace along Yixing’s throat, fingers trailing through the blood, “Are you flattered?”

“Stop,” Yixing eventually pushed out, trying to rip his head out of the grip, “Let me go.”

“Oh,” The vampire hummed, his finger stopping just above Yixing’s jugular, “I have heard your voice, before. You talked with Minseok, asked about me. Curiosity is not an uncommon cause of death,” Sigh, “A shame.”

Taking a slow breath, Yixing allowed his hands to silently roam the space around him – his phone had slipped out of reach and there seemed to be nothing else tangible within this prison of a cellar. His hand brushed over something cold, skin, and he froze, his fingertips sitting atop the exact energy that had thrummed so darkly before. He shoved against the vampire, heart beating in his chest as he attempted to put distance between them – he could feel those eyes on him, feel the way the other knew exactly where he was, yet allowed Yixing an inkling of hope.

Yixing had never felt like prey, before; had never been toyed with in a way that filled his heart with dread, because he knew, he knew what was about to happen.

A click of a button filled the darkness between them and Yixing watched as his phone screen lit up, only to illuminate the stranger’s pale face; he gasped, the sound rather strangled in his throat when the reddened eyes met his own.

“Baekhyun,” He realised, his voice barely above a whisper.

Chanyeol had asked, that first night, if Junmyeon and Baekhyun were around – to which Minseok replied that Junmyeon was ‘around’ and Baekhyun was elsewhere; the fledgling then continued to show his friend group pictures of his ‘family’. It was an educated assumption, but the way the vampire cocked his head to the side in consideration only confirmed Yixing’s concerns.

Yixing’s back hit the wall, the door had been closed during their scuffle and he was beginning to realise how truly fucked he was.

Why would a clan of vampires keep one of their own locked beneath their own den?

The light on his phone died out. Yixing tensed, ears straining through the silence in hope for a slither of preparation. He knew, somewhere within the flood of panic, that vampires moved silently – his feet were swiped from beneath him, something wooden splintering beneath his back as he found himself winded, once again gasping for air.

He rolled himself over, hands fumbling across the broken wood; the pain from his splintered skin was hardly registered by his mind as his grip tightened on a broken piece of wood. He’d grasped it a little too tight, the broken shard slicing through the flesh of his hand and releasing a wave of warm blood down his arm.

Yixing’s heart froze as the metallic scent of his own blood hit his nose – he lifted the wood, pushing himself to his feet like the wood offered him any defence at all when he was blinded by the dark.

There was a chuckle, the sound airy, cold, a brush of lips beneath his ear.

A whisper, “I’ve never tasted a hunter, before.”

“I’m not a hunter,” Yixing stumbled out, spinning on his feet to press the wood against the other’s chest. He was a med student and he was not about to die because Chanyeol liked to keep secrets locked beneath his house.

“No?” Baekhyun asked, and Yixing could feel that the other was toying with him, “That is odd.”

Fingers trailed through the blood on his arm, and Yixing could only hear when the vampire brought his fingers to his own lips.

It wasn’t even a second before teeth were on his throat, his heart beating so hard it almost hurt as he pushed the splintered wood against Baekhyun’s chest in hope of deterrence – the vampire never faltered, pushing his body flush against Yixing’s as his sharpened incisors dragged across his skin. It was like the vampire was daring him, tempting him to push the stake through his heart.

Stop,” He gripped the broken wood harder, “I’ll-”

“You will what, Zhang Yixing?” The vampire murmured against his neck, “The hunter who never hunted – has only ever been hunted. Have you ever even killed before, Zhang Yixing? A poor child, unable to kill the very monsters who’d take delight in ripping your throat out.”

He was right.

Yixing swallowed, forcing his lungs to take one more calming breath – before he shoved the vampire away from him with the last of his strength, lunging in the direction he remembered the door to be within. He ripped the door open, stumbling over himself as his feet tripped up the stairs; his hand and his throat throbbed as he forced himself to climb out of the darkness.

A hand grasped his foot.

He’d seen it coming, felt it coming, helpless against the strength that pulled him back into the dark nothingness.

Something within his chest had cracked, the pain lighting up the receptors of his torso like the fourth of July. A rib. Hardly an injury to be considered as he heard the vampire’s feet walk over the splintered wood.

Each breath throbbed.

Hands grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him to his unstable feet – there was no warning, no teasing, no hesitation as a soaring heat exploded from his neck; the vampire’s teeth sunk into his neck and Yixing felt weightless, his eyes blown wide as his life began to drain from his neck.

Any thought, feeling or sense became meaningless; his arms fell limp, a lack of oxygen entering his lungs as each beat of his heart pumped fire through his veins.

Baekhyun was unrelenting, taking all that Yixing had to give – through the darkness, Yixing, his mind a haze, thought for a mere moment that the fire within his blood had somehow managed to light up the vampire’s eyes. He drained the life from Yixing, unforgiving as Yixing struggled to keep himself aware.

His hands were gripping Baekhyun’s shoulders; he was unsure how that happened, when that happened, as a sudden euphoria of light freed his mind from any pain, any doubt that could anchor him down. He felt weightless – for perhaps the first time in a long time, he felt alive. As he was dying.

Yixing could distantly hear it, though it no longer meant anything to him, the blood spilling from Baekhyun’s mouth as the vampire cared little for dining etiquette.

Anything else could be deemed a blur.

He failed to remember beyond the sound of the door slamming open, an angry growl coming from a throat that was anything but human.

The burning heat from his neck had disappeared, the lightweight nothingness he’d felt replaced by an aching sting as the darkness began to steal the edges of his vision – a thought he would not regret forgetting filtered through his mind as his body was lifted; the thought that, for perhaps a split second of inebriety, he missed those teeth on his neck.

A blinding light forced his eyes shut. His head hurt. He’d felt alive. Why did his body feel so useless? The world had never made sense.

His body was placed down gently, words thrown around above his head as he tried to blink through the light of what he recognised to be Yifan and Chanyeol’s bedroom between moments of consciousness. He could feel nothing, yet that nothing felt good.

Why was he here?

Blinking again, he vaguely registered the outline of Yifan stood above him, an angry set to his eyebrows as he stared down at Yixing – there was a hand against his throat, pressing something damp to the throbbing in his neck. His eyes followed the length of the arm to find Minseok, seemingly unperplexed with the thought of Yixing’s blood across his fingers.

Yixing’s head lolled back against the bed, the exhaustion gripping his body with unrelenting claws as his vision began to dance. Sleep. He wanted to sleep. To forget about the dirty little secret in the basement, his eyes tinted red with every hint of being unhinged. To forget about the euphoria rushing through his veins in those moments.

“Yixing,” A voice, perhaps Yifan’s, said, “You need to drink.”

Forcing his eyes open, he watched as Yifan bit down on his own wrist, blood swelling at the wounds as he offered his arm to Yixing – he shook his head, or, he tried to shake his head, but the room was spinning and Yixing’s tongue might’ve been dry, but he needed water, not blood. He wasn’t going to turn into one of them, he couldn’t kill to survive.

He wouldn’t.

Yifan pressed his wrist against Yixing’s mouth, but he sealed his lips tight and blinked hard, accidentally smearing the other’s blood across his face.

Minseok slapped his face in attempt to waken him up, “You need to drink. It’s that, or die, Yixing.”

No. He didn’t need to become one of them. He needed Baekhyun’s blood. Baekhyun’s blood wouldn’t turn him, not with so much of Yixing’s own blood flooding his system.

“I’m-,” Yixing failed to finish the thought, “No.

“Chanyeol is going to kill us,” Yifan muttered, allowing his wrist to heal over.

Yixing felt nauseous, his skin clammy as the oxygen he breathed failed to please his lungs – it was like he could feel his heart thud against his ribcage, the rate escalating as his head swam akin to someone who’s consumed a little too much alcohol. Why couldn’t they just let him sleep?

He closed his eyes, willing to do just that.

Why hadn’t Baekhyun just drained him entirely? It wouldn’t hurt to think, then. Peaceful.

Minseok slapped him again, “You won’t turn if it’s Baekhyun’s blood.”

Nodding, Yixing tried to put effort into keeping his eyelids open. His eyes felt dry. He wanted to sleep.

“It’s a good fucking job Kyungsoo just got back,” Yifan paused at the foot of the bed, “Or you’d be dead.”

And then he was gone, the motion invisible to Yixing’s weakening vision.

Minseok used the cloth to clear Yifan’s blood from his face, unrelenting in his slaps if Yixing began to slip into unconsciousness for even a moment. There were two moments within the night in which Yixing could have saved himself a handful of issues – first, he could’ve pushed that wood into Baekhyun’s chest, and secondly, he could’ve just taken Yifan’s blood.

He could have tried to kill Baekhyun. No. The thought made his nausea triple.

Yixing was studying medicine, to save people, he liked saving people, not harming them. Not killing them. Was Baekhyun even a person?

A snarl brought his mind back within the room for just a moment and he tried to glance around, the motion difficult for his stiff neck – he glimpsed Baekhyun, blood drying down his chin, Yixing’s blood, his body at the foot of a dark-haired stranger guarding the door. Yifan stood by the window, his hard gaze probably more intimidating to those not suffering from blood loss.

Baekhyun pushed himself to his feet, his fangs still visible as his eyes wandered around the room – when they finally landed on Yixing, he smirked, the motion far more daunting on lips stained with blood. The vampire took a step towards the bed and Minseok stood, placing himself between the two of them.

“You try anything remotely funny, a basement will be the least of your worries.”

“All of this, for a human?” Baekhyun’s tone wasn’t bitter, more teasing, “A hunter. His kind kill our kind. You should thank me for returning the favour.”

“We don’t kill, Baekhyun.”

“You should try it, Minseok. How long has it been since you last had fresh blood?” Baekhyun took another step towards the bed, “Since you last felt the slowing thud of a heart against your tongue, the warm taste of life, all yours.”

A growl from Yifan had Baekhyun’s smirk widening.

Yifan held his stare, “Just save the fucking kid.”

Baekhyun hummed, “I suppose, I would enjoy tasting him again.”

There was a lapse of silence, in which Yixing found himself meeting the eyes of the vampire once again – there seemed to be less redness circling his irises, his movements a little less erratic. Baekhyun held his gaze as he raised his wrist to his mouth, taking his time to bite down and draw out the blood.

Yixing remained nauseous, the thought of drinking blood non-too pleasant for his stomach.

The vampire sauntered over to his bedside, Minseok hovering close in precaution as Baekhyun reached out – with his clean arm, he tilted Yixing’s head up, his thumb tracing just beneath Yixing’s bottom lip as he pressed the bloodied wrist to his mouth. The skin was cold, as before, and Yixing’s eyes closed automatically, a half-attempt to prevent himself from gagging as the warmth filled his mouth.

It wasn’t salty, nor bitter, nor did it taste the way you’d expect when you accidentally bit the inside of your mouth. No, it wasn’t exactly tasteless, it was just hot; something unexpected considering Baekhyun was so cold. Not just his skin, but his eyes, his voice. Void of life. Yixing’s eyes fluttered open in surprise as he swallowed – only to find Baekhyun’s eyes trained on him, watching, his previous mock-humour gone.

There was a hint of euphoria to be found in the back of Yixing’s failing mind, a slither of remembrance and a pang of need. It wasn’t enough, it wasn’t quite as gifting as the feeling of his life being in the hands of the vampire. The confusion was frustrating.

Not unlike before, Yixing could feel the elation within his own veins as Baekhyun’s blood entered his system, the properties of his blood more healing than any modern medicine – and far less risky than any modern magic.

Not unlike before, Baekhyun’s head tilted to the side, thoughts running through his mind that Yixing would never be able to determine. It was clear there was something more to Baekhyun – unhinged, perhaps, cold, sure, but there was a reason Yixing’s curiosity had been so peaked every time he came anywhere remotely close to the house.

Baekhyun pushed his wrist against Yixing’s mouth a little harder, watching as Yixing took the blood from his wrist. There was a momentary glint of something unspoken in Baekhyun’s eyes when he drew back his wrist – it was gone just as quickly as it had appeared, but Yixing’s head was spinning far too fast to even consider lingering upon the thought.

A glint of realization.

The last thing Yixing saw before finally allowing his eyes closure was Baekhyun, his tongue tracing along the bite wound upon his wrist – his eyes still on Yixing.

 

☽ ☾

 

Feeling far more refreshed than anyone experiencing the night Yixing had, he remained slightly surprised to see Chanyeol dozing off on the floor beside the bed, his chin in his hand as he swayed slightly. He was still wearing the cheap, clichéd vampire attire – Yixing wanted to frown, had the fledgling stayed by his side all night?

His head felt like cotton wool, warm, memories of uncertainty flickering in his mind like an old school movie.

Yixing pushed himself up, stiff only from his sleep – and nothing more. He raised a hand tentatively to his neck, his finger running over smooth skin. No scab, no scar, no evidence of what had occurred the night before. The bruises he surely should feel from their scuffle were gone, and Yixing was feeling relatively healthy.

It didn’t even hurt to breathe. Considering he’d suffered from asthma as a child, such injury to his chest akin to the night before should be prevalent in even the smallest of breaths. There was nothing.

Chanyeol sat up with a start, “You’re awake.”

“Good morning,” He tried.

“Don’t good morning me! You could’ve told me you knew who I was! Do you realise how much better I would’ve felt if I knew one of my friends was still okay being friends with me after they found out?” Chanyeol paused his nonsensical babbling, “You’re still my friend, right?”

Yixing stared back, hardly prepared to admit to Chanyeol’s wide eyes that they hardly knew a thing about each other beyond their majors – and although Yixing’s perception could easily have been swayed by the whole vampire rendezvous, he couldn’t deny Chanyeol had been nothing but innocent.

We do not kill, Minseok had said, and Yixing wanted to believe him. Wanted to believe beyond the horrors of stories he’d been raised on. Last night dared to prove him otherwise.

“I’m still your friend,” Yixing managed to say, pushing the covers from his body to try stand.

“Um,” Chanyeol seemed to hesitate, his heart on his sleeve, “Last night, with Baekhyun – I’m sorry.”

Frowning, he replied, “It wasn’t your fault.”

“I shouldn’t have brought my friends here,” The other admitted, averting his gaze, “It was dumb of me.”

“So, why did you?” Yixing didn’t mean to push, but his question was relevant.

“It’s been awhile since I had… normal? Human, friends.”

“You wanted to impress us.”

Chanyeol nodded, “I miss it, y’know? Normality. I don’t hate what I am, I don’t hate them – they’re my family, they saved me.”

“And Baekhyun?” He tried to keep the bitter tone from his voice, “Did he save you, too?”

“Baek is… different,” Chanyeol sighed, pushing himself to stand, “Look, um. There’s something else. Luhan freaked out when he couldn’t find you – he barged in here and, well, I told him.”

Yixing’s eyes widened, “You told him?”

It was hardly vampire etiquette to announce their attendance, especially where the living was concerned. He supposed it was the only viable option – Yixing wouldn’t have woken up, not with his body in repair like that, not with Baekhyun’s blood heating his veins. Chanyeol had never been a particularly good liar.

“He didn’t take it well,” Chanyeol bit his lip, “Threatened to kill us all, and Baekhyun, and drag you to the hospital himself. He also threatened to burn the entire estate down.”

“Sounds like Luhan.”

“He’s calming down, downstairs – he told Sehun, I didn’t know Sehun could be that passive aggressive,” The other sat himself on the edge of the bed, “We don’t kill, Xing.”

“And Baekhyun?” He asked again.

“He’s different,” Chanyeol repeated.

And of course, Yixing wanted to know why – know how a den of vampires so adamant against killing could house someone willing to tear the throat from any stranger, how Chanyeol could sit there and call the vampire family like they hadn’t had to physically restrain him in the basement. Yixing may have been accepting, open minded in looking past the folktalk of jiangshi in China, but he’d felt how cold Baekhyun had been – how remorseless, far from tameable.

Then again, they weren’t animals. It was hardly humane to consider taming someone.

It was hardly humane to try and kill him.

He'd also felt that thread of light between them, surging so bright and Yixing had never felt so alive. He didn’t want to think about it. The temptation. Desire. He wouldn’t think about it – his curiosity had almost gotten him killed once already, it would be stupid of him to even consider the thought.

Checking himself for clarity in the mirror, Yixing assured himself that he looked fine, looked alive, far from one transitioning between the living and the dead. Baekhyun’s blood had kept him human, had healed the wrongdoings. Had kept him alive.

He could almost feel the tense air as he descended the stairs, Chanyeol directing him into the room in which his friends remained.

“So, what?” He heard Luhan sneer, rather confident for someone who’d just learned of an existence beyond human, “You thought you’d let me throw a party, so you could kill a few people? Attempt to kill Yixing?”

“We don’t kill,” Minseok responded, monotone. Like he’d repeated the phrase countless times.

Yixing hesitated in the doorway.

“He sure as hell looks ready to kill,” Sehun began, eyes narrowing across the room at a smirking Baekhyun.

The vampire in accusation snorted, though his head turned to find Yixing’s arrival – the other heads within the room followed suite, his friends’ eyes widening when they realised he was standing there.

“Please tell me that’s fake blood,” Tao’s voice was small, bordering frightened. Yifan averted his eyes to the window.

Yixing glanced down to find the dried blood from the night prior staining his shirt; there was a lot of it, too. Baekhyun had been messy – he hadn’t cared, ripping through Yixing’s skin the way a child tore through cotton candy. A shiver ran down his spine at the thought, though fear was far from his mind.

“You’re looking healthy this morning,” Baekhyun said, his voice betraying none of his thoughts.

Sehun laughed bitterly, “No thanks to you.”

“Hmm,” Baekhyun’s attention returned to the younger, “If it wasn’t for me, your friend would be one of us. Or dead.”

Silence followed and Yixing wanted to sigh. They were facing a mess – Yixing had been raised on this knowledge, but for his friends, vampires were nothing but movie tropes and childish nightmares. He appreciated their concerns, he did; bar Baekhyun, the others had at least attempted to save him the night prior. Minseok had held the cloth to his neck, had told Yixing that he was not dying tonight.

He was feeling pretty good for someone who’d almost died the night prior.

“Thank you,” Yixing said in attempt to calm the tide of aggression filling the room, “For healing me.”

Baekhyun had put him in that position to begin with, Yixing left out; but without his blood, as Baekhyun had said, Yixing would be one of them. Or dead. Neither of which were entirely appeasing – he felt partially ridiculous, he should resent Baekhyun, or feel disgusted by him. But, no, he felt something deeper without words, like his path to the basement last night hadn’t been without reason.

Or, perhaps, the blood had gone to his head.

If only his family could see him now.

“Thank you,” Baekhyun repeated, his lips pulling up into a smile, “For dinner.”

Sehun was on his feet in an instant, “Thanking him? You should be killing him! You almost died, and it’s his fucking fault.”

Reddened eyes watched Sehun’s outburst, giving no hint of hesitation as he jumped to his feet, his body across the room in an instant – Sehun faltered back, hardly expecting the speed at which Baekhyun had moved, and raised his arms in useless defence. Except, an attack never came – and Yixing watched, rather useless also, as Kyungsoo placed himself between the two.

Kyungsoo’s snarl sounded like a warning – Baekhyun’s laugh sounded like a taunt.

“A soft spot for the orange haired boy,” Baekhyun cooed, slowly circling around Kyungsoo, “It’ll make it all the sweeter when I tear his fucking throat out.”

A whimper left Tao’s lips and Yifan seemed to hesitate, his eyes shifting from Tao to the duo preparing to fight. Yifan could probably hear Tao’s heartbeat, Yixing realised, could probably hear the fear beating through his body.

“Leave,” Minseok said, and it took Yixing a second to realise he was talking to Luhan.

“What?” Luhan responded in disbelief, “No.”

“You, too,” Yifan continued, attention on Tao, “Leave.”

Kyungsoo moved as Baekhyun moved, ensuring his body kept the other vampire away from Sehun. Yixing was frozen where he stood, watching the two circle each other like cats with hackles raised. Somewhere within the back of his mind, he refused to acknowledge the way his eyes remained on Baekhyun, watching with a surprising lack of fear as he made his move; his body collided with Kyungsoo’s, snarls erupting into the air as they slid along the wooden floor.

Yixing’s mind could hardly comprehend it, the speed at which the two fought – the speed at which Yifan grabbed Tao, removing him from the room the way Minseok did Luhan. Chanyeol lingered by Yixing’s side, though the younger vampire was hesitant, his eyes flickering around the room; still sensitive to motion, Yixing realised. Chanyeol must have been recently turned, a boy only just learning how to reacclimate himself into society.

“Leave,” Yixing echoed the elder’s words, eyes on the two as punches fell and Kyungsoo was kicked into the sofa. He heard something snap and hoped it was the frame of sofa, not a bone.

Sehun had pressed himself back against the wall, his face pale.

“What?” Chanyeol replied all too quick, the fear evident in his wise eyes, “No – I can’t. You should leave too!”

“I’m staying,” Yixing answered, before moving.

He stuck close to the walls, avoiding the pair as Kyungsoo used Baekhyun’s body to break one of the expensive looking chairs. He pressed himself to Sehun’s side, felt Sehun tremble, and gave his hand what he hoped was a reassuring squeeze.

Baekhyun is different, Chanyeol had said, but Yixing wanted to know why.

They watched as Baekhyun drove his knee into Kyungsoo’s stomach, a laugh leaving his lips with the blood that dripped from his mouth. He spun on them, then, and Sehun’s body froze, and Baekhyun’s eyes were alight – Yixing let go of his friend’s hand, using himself as a barrier between the two as Baekhyun stalked forward.

Baekhyun looked like he was glowing, despite the paleness of his skin. Had Yixing’s blood done that to him?

The vampire paused as his eyes travelled up to Yixing’s face, and he turned for a second, driving his foot into Kyungsoo’s jaw, which slammed his head against the floor. The motions were a blur, Yixing’s mind having to put together the pieces like a broken tape – his attention was on them again, his walk purposefully slow.

“No,” Yixing said, his voice far more confident than his heart.

Baekhyun’s head tilted, the way that made Yixing feel like he was being analysed, “No?”

“You’re not touching him,” Yixing answered, straightening his shoulders from where he stood as a blockade between the two.

Sehun’s intake of breath was sharp, fear keeping his body frozen behind Yixing.

“And who, pray tell, is going to stop me?”

Baekhyun,” The deep growl emitted from Kyungsoo, who was pushing himself up. Blood painted his face.

The vampire’s eyes remained trained on Yixing, his bright eyes a cocktail of consideration and amusement. Yixing couldn’t stop him, that much was obvious – even more so when Baekhyun moved, his arm wrapped around Sehun’s neck as he forced the taller to bend backwards down to his own height.

Sehun’s eyes were wide, his hands clawing uselessly at solid arms as Baekhyun made a show of squeezing the air from his body.

Kyungsoo was on his feet, his stance prepared to leap at Baekhyun and tear him to shreds.

Baekhyun laughed, then, “Take one more step, ‘Soo, and I’ll break his neck.”

“Baekhyun, fucking stop,” Yixing tried again, his voice a little stronger, “Let him go.”

“Are you going to trade your life for his?” Baekhyun asked, relaxing his hold on the younger to allow him a breath of air.

“If that’s what it takes.”

“Yixing-” Sehun’s plea was cut off when the vampire threw him forward, giving Yixing no time to aid his friend as he was pinned against the wall.

A hand around his throat brought reminiscence of the night before. Except, this time, Yixing could see; he saw no hunger in Baekhyun’s eyes, only a carefully concealed blankness that betrayed nothing.

“Run along,” Baekhyun said, and it took a moment for Yixing to realise he was speaking to Kyungsoo, “If you even try to stop me, ‘Soo, I’ll break the kid’s neck.”

Yixing could faintly hear the signs of Kyungsoo helping Sehun to his feet, and then their exit, but it all seemed to be clouded by the feeling of Baekhyun’s cold hand around his neck, by the thumping of his heart against the vampire’s fingers. He realised, with a slither of guilt, that this was his fault – the sage had been keeping Baekhyun weak, his body starved. After feeding from Yixing, Baekhyun had regained so much power.

“You felt it, too,” Baekhyun eventually said, an eyebrow raised.

It wasn’t a question.

Yixing swallowed, the motion making Baekhyun’s hand feel tighter around his neck, “I don’t know what I felt.”

He shouldn’t be having a casual conversation with someone who’d not only tried to kill him, but his friend too. And yet here he stood, naught but anticipation in his veins as he met the eyes of the inhuman who stared right back; no fear to be felt, just a need for more.

For what, exactly, he was unsure.

Baekhyun dropped his hand, allowing Yixing to sag back against the stability of the wall behind him. He felt less on edge without the hand around his throat, yet the lack of proximity felt prominent between them. Oh, if only his parents could see him now; in a den of vampires wondering why he felt something so natural between himself and the one who had tried to kill him.

To add to the confusion that the past two days had brought, Baekhyun disappeared, leaving Yixing to stare into the empty room and wonder what the fuck his life had become.

 

☽ ☾

 

Yixing’s mind found it difficult to find sleep, the questions filtering through his head without direction. He’d been introduced to Junmyeon after the atmosphere had settled, the older man a doctor – a vampire doctor, to be specific. He worked the graveyard shift at the hospital Yixing volunteered at, his long life an advantage within the medical field.

He’d checked Yixing over, even though Yixing was aware his body was doing better than ever – he’d asked Yixing to remain at the manor until his blood was his own. They needed to keep an eye on him, ensure his body didn’t spontaneously decide to reject the vampire blood flooding through his system. Yixing hadn’t even known that was a thing.

With a sigh, he pushed himself up from the bed he’d been attempting to sleep in for the past three hours. It was one of the manor’s unused rooms within a wing of the building that housed no vampires; Yixing was pretty sure he’d been through enough vampire-related bullshit for a lifetime.

And really, Yixing shouldn’t have been surprised when he opened the door to find the red-eyed vampire, his back leaning against the wall across from the door.

Yixing stared at him, trying to prevent his heartbeat from escalating because he knew Baekhyun could hear it.

Baekhyun smirked.

“It’s not fear that keeps you here,” The vampire began, the darkness casting shadows across his face, “It’s not anger. Why are you here, Zhang Yixing?”

“Junmyeon recommended-”

“Hmm, no. That’s not what I asked.”

Swallowing, Yixing averted his gaze to the window at the end of the corridor, “You tell me.”

The vampire stalked forward, “I should be thanking you – without your curiosity, I’d still be trapped beneath this house.”

“I’m starting to think that’s not such a bad thing,” Yixing muttered, backing up into his room as Baekhyun’s eyes studied him like prey.

Unaffected, Baekhyun continued into Yixing’s room, “They should have put me down a long time ago.”

“You talk as though you’re some rabid dog,” He couldn’t help but frown.

“Am I not?” Baekhyun asked, his hand running along the length of the bed’s blanket, “The only reason you are still alive is my curiosity – I would have killed you, little hunter, drained the blood from your body and left you to rot within that basement.”

Through either bravery or stupidity, Yixing responded, “You would have killed me, were it not for Yifan. Don’t play games.”

Baekhyun shot him a grin over his shoulder, “Perhaps you’re right. However, after the lust had settled, after your life had heated my veins, I felt it. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.”

Yixing hated himself for a moment, because he knew what Baekhyun was about to say – he knew, because he’d felt it too. The unfathomable euphoria crashing through his body despite his failing body, an energy between them so bright that Yixing had felt alive, his body had been weightless and nothing had mattered. Merely thinking about it caused a wave of anticipation to wash through him and he bit his lip, leaning his back against the wall as he waited for it.

“I felt alive,” Baekhyun said, and Yixing fucking knew it, “Feeding from you felt like more than a meal, and I want to know why.”

“I felt alive, too.”

Upon hearing Yixing’s response, Baekhyun’s eyes seemed to glint and he was across the room before Yixing could blink. He didn’t touch Yixing, though, not the way he’d pinned the human to the wall on previous occasions. The vampire just stared at Yixing, head cocked as he watched Yixing’s face, watched the vein in his neck jump with adrenaline.

“Are you lying to me, Zhang Yixing?” Baekhyun raised a hand, then, pressing it flat against his chest, “Say it again.”

His hand was placed atop Yixing’s heart, he realised, and yet the skin beneath his shirt seemed to burn – a peculiar feat indeed, considering he knew Baekhyun’s skin to be as cold as ice. He drew in a long breath, raising his head to stare Baekhyun in the eye. The vampire was listening to the jumping of his heart, listening for the tell-tale signs of deception.

“I’m not lying,” Yixing said, though the words seemed to stick in his throat, “I felt it, too. Like a light taking over my mind – I felt life flowing through my body, like the only thing that mattered right then and there was the two of us. When we were separated, it felt like a knife to the chest, everything fucking hurt.”

“It felt like withdrawal, no?” Baekhyun questioned, and Yixing nodded, “You wanted nothing more than my teeth on your neck, to feel the very essence of your body flowing into mine. It awoke something within you.”

“No,” Yixing shook his head, the heat of a blush crawling up his neck, “I don’t-”

The hand pushed harder against his chest, pressing his back flat against the wall.

Baekhyun’s voice was a whisper, “Liar.”

There was nothing more Yixing could do but deflate against the stability of the wall, unable to look the vampire in the eyes. Of course, Baekhyun was right – but that was something Yixing could not, would not, admit to. It was so fucked up, Baekhyun had intended to kill him; the vampire would have killed him.

“My, my,” Baekhyun hummed, his hand crawling from Yixing’s chest to cup his neck, “What a revelation. What would your friends say, if they saw you now? Our little hunter wants me. I can imagine the disgust on their annoying faces.”

Something within Yixing snapped and he shoved Baekhyun away from him, anger coursing through him like he’d never felt before – the anger was not at the vampire, however, but at himself. He’d allowed his mind to be dragged into this, allowed his body to be affected by the close proximity of Baekhyun.

Baekhyun laughed. Yixing punched him.

The vampire was on him in less than a second, the two of them landing in a scuffling heap on the floor as Yixing fought a losing battle. He lifted his knee and booted it into the stomach of the vampire, rolling them both over – Baekhyun was holding back and it pissed Yixing off all the more, he wanted to fight.

He managed to land one more blow before Baekhyun rolled them over, pinning Yixing’s arms above his head to hover over him.

Yixing was panting, though Baekhyun appeared nonchalant save from the growing smile upon his lips.

“They didn’t tell you,” Baekhyun said, his face so close Yixing could feel the breath on his face, “You should be careful, little hunter.”

Struggling against Baekhyun was fruitless, yet his attempts didn’t stop, “Get off me.”

The want curled low in his stomach and he needed Baekhyun to get away from him, every cell within his body practically screamed for him to touch the vampire – to fight him, or something else, Yixing didn’t know. Yixing didn’t want to know. Baekhyun’s hands were cold around his wrists and energy seemed to hum through him, a shiver down his spine lessening the strength he put into struggling against the hold.

Baekhyun let out a chuckle, “You think they’re good, because they don’t kill. They are liars, we all kill – they signed your death sentence, leaving you here, without at least telling you.”

Yixing allowed himself to go limp in the vampire’s hold as he glared, “Tell me what?”

“If you die,” Baekhyun began, leaning down to whisper in Yixing’s ear, “You won’t stay dead. You’ll be like us, Zhang Yixing, a monster, killing for survival.”

He felt his body freeze, “You’re lying.”

“My blood may have saved you, little hunter, but this is all it takes,” The hands holding Yixing’s wrists were gone, instead, Baekhyun’s cold hand wrapped around his neck, “All it takes is for you to die, and you’ll be just like them. Just like me. Wouldn’t that be beautiful?”

His blood ran cold, the hand around his neck a mere threat that one move could kill him… no, not kill him, turn him.

“Get off me,” Yixing repeated, not trusting himself to say much else, “Please.”

The weight from Baekhyun straddling him felt like an anchor, it grounded him, he wanted to be held down like this and yet part of his mind screamed at him this is wrong. It didn’t feel wrong, it felt like he’d found everything he’d ever been searching for; all through his life, a part of him had been lacking, missing, a hole in his heart that even ditching the family business couldn’t seem to heal.

Baekhyun’s free hand returned to Yixing’s chest, head cocking to the side, “Do you want that?”

Yixing whimpered.

Leaning forward, Baekhyun placed their faces inches apart, “What do you want, little hunter?”

Everything seemed to come down to this – and Yixing’s brain seemed to short circuit as he lurched upwards, crashing his lips against Baekhyun’s. The hand from his throat was gone, instead gripping his hair as Baekhyun kissed him back, kissed him hard, kissed him until his vision danced yet the need to breathe wasn’t even a thought within his mind. Yixing vaguely registered the taste of blood filling his mouth as Baekhyun bit his lip, and Yixing moaned, body arching against the vampire’s.

The feeling was there – the feeling from the night Baekhyun had bitten him, a euphoria blooming from his chest that made his fears weightless, like the two of them were supposed to be doing this, like they were made to do this. Like they were two opposite forms of energy made to feed from one another.

Like matter meeting antimatter, their own meeting brought nothing but annihilation.

The room was a blur when Baekhyun moved them to the bed, his lips and teeth as ruthless as Yixing had imagined – and when Baekhyun’s mouth followed the line of his jaw, his hot breath hitting his neck, Yixing gasped, and he wanted; he bared his neck without little thought and Baekhyun spared him a glance, the hunger once again like fire in his eyes.

He pressed himself against Yixing, slid his thigh between Yixing’s own as he sucked a bruise into the human’s neck.

Baekhyun bit down, hard, his incisors tearing through Yixing’s flesh like a knife through meat. Despite Yixing’s clenched teeth, his attempt to stay quiet, he gasped – his hands grasped Baekhyun’s back, nails scraping lines beneath the vampire’s shirt. The vampire was slower, this time, running his tongue along the puncture holes in Yixing’s neck.

In turn, Yixing shuddered, letting out a quiet moan when Baekhyun grinded his thigh down harder – Yixing was getting hard, Baekhyun knew it, took pride in it, smirked before biting Yixing again. It was harsher this time, the blooming pain sending the heat of Yixing’s abdomen to his dick and he groaned, moving his hips against Baekhyun as the vampire practically tore at his throat.

He could feel the strength leaving his body, could see the dancing dots of white at the corners of his vision as the threads of his consciousness began to sway – Baekhyun pulled away, then, and Yixing missed him instantly, missed the way his body had seemed to vibrate with arousal and need.

Something pressed against his mouth, then – it took him a few moments to realise it was Baekhyun’s own wrist, his mouth opened automatically, his tongue tracing the welts of blood. He heard Baekhyun moan as he attached his lips to the skin, allowing the swarm of blood to fill his mouth as he swallowed.

His mind still seemed to spin, though his vision was recovering.

A whimper left his throat when Baekhyun reached into his trousers, his cold hand tracing the lines of Yixing’s hip before dipping beneath the band of his underwear. The vampire didn’t hesitate, wrapping his hand around Yixing’s cock – his back arched, every sense within his body overwhelmed, drowning with static as the vampire began to stroke him.

Baekhyun’s body was pressed along the side of Yixing’s, his hand gripping Yixing’s cock tighter with each pull – Yixing was a mess, his head thrown back as his hands gripped the sheets beneath them. From the corner of his eye, he could see Baekhyun eyeing him, the hunger within his eyes even stronger than before, yet he seemed to hold himself back.

It took him a few moments longer than necessary to form the sentence his mind had been screaming at him.

Baekhyun,” He couldn’t help but moan out, and the vampire let out a curse, seemingly just as affected by Yixing, “You can-fuck. Bite me. Again.”

The next stroke was particularly hard, Yixing’s hips raising from the bed at the pleasure making his thighs tremble.

“You’re so beautiful,” Baekhyun murmured, brushing the hair back from Yixing’s eyes.

Please,” Yixing let out, unable to form much more in terms of words that made sense.

“Shh,” The vampire hushed him, tugging Yixing’s pants down his thighs, “We have time.”

Yixing bit his lip to shut himself up, watching impatiently as Baekhyun removed his own shirt. He stared at the other, wanting nothing more than to run his hands over the smooth, unblemished skin. Baekhyun gave him no time, lowering himself on the bed to place his head between Yixing’s thighs – Yixing almost whimpered again, his legs falling open further to accommodate the other.

His cock remained hard, desperate, leaking precum between them.

Baekhyun placed a kiss to the inside of his thigh, his tongue tracing a wet line along the soft skin before he bit down – Yixing failed to keep himself quiet, arms straining from the force at which he gripped the bed sheets. One of Baekhyun’s hands raised to stroke him again and Yixing almost screamed, everything within him on fire as Baekhyun fed from him; it was a little less ordered, this time, for Baekhyun was messy. Blood smeared across his chin as he fed, his hips rutting against Yixing’s leg as they chased their end.

His hand was on Yixing’s cock again, his grip tighter as he sucked harder and Yixing’s mind went white, his hips would’ve raised from the mattress were it not for Baekhyun’s grip, the vampire letting out a low groan as his own cock strained hard against the bed.

The pleasure bordered unbearable, overwhelming, every nerve within Yixing twitching, alight with sensation as Baekhyun crawled back up his body – his lips leaving a trail of red, Yixing’s blood was left little time to stain his skin as the vampire’s tongue followed it greedily.

When their lips met once more, a low moan ripped its way through Yixing’s chest at the taste of his own blood – he was desperately hard, his hips sliding against Baekhyun’s as he rutted against the inhuman. The constant low burn of pleasure from his lower half began to grow, nonsensical half-pleas leaving his lips.

Yixing bit down on Baekhyun’s lip, returning the favour – except, this time, when the blood smeared between their mouths and Yixing let out a loud, pathetic whine, Baekhyun growled. Gasping for air brought Yixing’s lungs no satisfaction, his body felt like it was glowing as the energy between them expanded, encompassing them both in pleasure unfathomable.

They came, then, together, as one. The bubble of pleasure seemed to burst and a slither of Yixing remembered screaming, the sound not reaching his ears as his nails slid down Baekhyun’s back and he spurted white between them. The noise Baekhyun made was lower in pitch, his breath stuttering into the kiss as he came into his fancy dress pants.

His body buzzed, thrummed with little tremors of bliss that left him clutching onto the vampire, his chest rising and falling rapidly as the vampire licked the remaining blood from his lips.

Yixing looked up, then, looked into Baekhyun’s eyes and almost gasped – the violent red colour had been replaced with a brown so dark it was almost black. He lacked the energy to enquire and instead allowed the feeling of his body melting into the mattress take over, the vampire still laid atop him, peering down in curiosity.

He was pretty sure he passed out mid-way through their post-sex cleanup.

 

☽ ☾

 

Part of Yixing was anxious, the following day – it was odd how different a part of him felt, though he couldn’t describe it; like a static beneath his skin that only seemed to quieten the closer to Baekhyun he was. Which, was not often, considering they both seemed to be avoiding one another. It was odd, because Yixing didn’t want to be in the same room as Baekhyun, couldn’t trust the way his heart rate doubled in proportion to his proximity with the vampire.

It felt as though they were magnets, an invisible energy between them that made Yixing uneasy the further they were apart.

Yixing was no virgin, he’d fooled around before – yet no amount of fucking around with someone had ever made him feel the way the night prior had. They’d been connected, and Yixing hadn’t the slightest idea why.

“We need to talk,” Were the first words Kyungsoo said to him, leaning against the wall at the bottom of the stairs.

He didn’t object – hardly felt like he was in a position to object, not with the way Minseok cocked an eyebrow from his position behind Kyungsoo. Following them into the large living area, he sat down hesitantly and waited for the whole purpose of this dramatic meeting to arise. Kyungsoo just stared at him, his eyes large and dark in a way that matched his hair; something felt different, despite his younger features.

“He trains with the elders,” Minseok clarified, sensing Yixing’s hesitation.

Yixing’s knowledge on the elders was limited, but he nodded anyway.

“You’re playing a dangerous game,” Kyungsoo finally said, raising a hand to stop Yixing from denying it, “He smells like you.”

Coming from anyone else’s mouth, that sentence would have unnerved Yixing. Instead, he deflated into the armchair, accepting his fate – of course Baekhyun smelled like him, human scent tended to linger. Especially after sex. And feeding. Both of which they’d done.

Guilt flushed through him when he thought about his friends. It was true, he had been reckless, selfish, yet he doubted he’d make different decisions if the scenario was to repeat itself. He supposed he deserved the feeling of guilt, Baekhyun was quite literally not good and had a bloodlust beyond morality.

“I’m not here to chastise you, as stupid as we believe you’re being,” Minseok said, though he fixed Yixing with a hard stare, “There are some things you should know.”

“Baekhyun is unhinged,” Kyungsoo’s nonchalance was disconcerting, ignoring Yixing’s no shit glare, “When we are turned, a bond is created between fledging and sire. An evolutionary advantage, it allows communication between the pair – emotion, physical pain, distress.”

“The bond is strong, a string of limitless energy flowing freely between a sire and their fledgling,” Minseok added, sipping what Yixing could only assume was blood from a glass tumbler, “It strengthens a sense of loyalty, and often some form of love. Fledglings tend to be confused, unaware of the world around them. Like they’ve been reborn.”

Yixing was unsure where this was headed. Parts of the conversation felt familiar with whatever he felt between himself and Baekhyun, but Yixing was human and this didn’t make sense.

“Sometimes, for whatever reason, a vampire will abandon their fledgling,” Kyungsoo’s deep voice informed, and Minseok seemed to frown into his drink, “It’s hard enough for a newly-turned to find their feet comfortably, even with the help of an experienced vampire.”

“The sire bond can be painful,” Minseok’s voice was quiet, his features somehow softer within the daylight, “Not particularly for the vampire, but for the fledgling. If their vampire is killed, that pain resonates through the bond, cuts deep in ways indescribable.”

Yixing shifted within the armchair, “Why are you telling me this?”

“Baekhyun was turned against his will,” Minseok continued, ignoring Yixing’s question, “It’s not uncommon – when the fledgling wakes up, however, that sense of will is supposed to be gone. It broke Baekhyun’s mind, however, any negative emotion towards one’s sire often cools, replaced by a new feeling of loyalty.”

“And Baekhyun?”

Kyungsoo glanced towards the grandfather clock in the corner of the room, before replying, “Baekhyun found his feet faster than any fledgling I’ve ever known.”

“Except,” Minseok placed his glass onto the table, “His vampire had abandoned him before the transition was even complete.”

Yixing frowned, “I thought you said…”

“Finding your feet after being turned is near impossible without the help of your vampire,” Minseok repeated, nodding, “Except, Baekhyun did. He hunted down his vampire; a vampire with centuries of experience, and power.”

“Baekhyun killed his sire,” Kyungsoo remained monotonous, “Breaking their sire bond. The breaking of a bond is enough to unhinge even the most powerful of us.”

“He did that, even through the influence of fledgling loyalty,” Minseok’s eyes were on Yixing, as though waiting for a reaction, “His bond had been new. Raw. Breaking that bond broke his mind, Yixing, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this path will not end well for you.”

It wasn’t a threat, a mere warning, yet the words sent a shiver down his spine.

“When we found him, he was beyond recognisable as anything human. A trail of dead bodies led us to him – this fledgling vampire, filled with so much raw energy that it was burning him up from the inside, without morals and killing beyond the purpose of feeding.”

“Ah,” The familiar voice drew Yixing’s eyes to the doorway, “Still talking like I’m a charity case?”

The sight of Baekhyun caused the hairs to rise along his arms – he averted his gaze, instead focusing on Minseok, whose eyes remained on the doorway.

Kyungsoo’s shoulders were tense, “You were never a charity case, Baekhyun.”

“Was I not?” Baekhyun scoffed, and Yixing’s dumb mind screamed for him to reach out towards the vampire, “Am I not a prisoner here? To make you all feel a little less like monsters?”

“You’re hardly a positive impact to society,” Minseok returned, far more at ease than Kyungsoo.

“Please,” Baekhyun laughed, humourless, cold, “We are all the same. Even the little hunter here – his heart may still be beating, but I suspect his morals disappeared the moment he entered this house.”

Baekhyun sauntered into the room and Yixing’s body seemed to hesitate between moving away from the vampire, or lessening the distance between them. Only Minseok seemed to catch his, the slight raise of his eyebrow betraying none of his thoughts. The vampire stopped behind the armchair Yixing was sat on, and Yixing could feel the back of his neck prickle. Could feel Baekhyun’s eyes burning into him.

Yixing didn’t speak, keeping his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth – he tensed as he felt the hand rest on his head, fingers threading through his newly washed hair. The touch merely supported Yixing’s previous statement that something magnetic was occurring between them, perhaps electric – the static beneath his skin calmed, and Yixing’s lungs seemed to breathe a little easier.

“You still haven’t told him,” Baekhyun continued, his nails dragging along Yixing’s scalp in a way that both soothed and worried him, “I took the liberty of doing it myself. Do you remember what I told you last night, little hunter?”

Yixing frowned, thinking back to their night. He hated that he could call it ‘their’ night – and he could hardly blame his dick, not with his mind so willing to pull the both of them together. The uneasy feeling from his gut had all but disappeared, replaced with something warm that seemed to hum in approval when he has much as looked at Baekhyun.

He remembered.

His eyes widened and he shot forward on the armchair, his primal instinct yelling at him to get the fuck away from any plausible causes of death – if Yixing was to die with Baekhyun’s blood within him, he wouldn’t stay dead. He’d become one of them. And yet, he’d fucking allowed himself to take part in yet another, willing, blood exchange.

Baekhyun’s grip tightened on his hair, keeping his body pinned to the armchair.

Yixing winced at the pain, pulling in a short breath as he willed himself to calm down – and not allow Baekhyun to pull the hair from his head.

“I asked a question, Zhang Yixing.”

Kyungsoo was on the edge of his seat, his nails digging into the arms of his chair to prevent himself from lurching at the younger vampire.

“You said,” Yixing let out, heat colouring his cheeks from how he was completely at the vampire’s mercy, “If I die, I become one of you.”

“And do you want that?” Baekhyun asked, loosening his grip on Yixing’s hair.

“No,” He replied, anxiety from the mere idea causing nausea to swell within him, “I don’t want that.”

“It’s interesting, is it not? That these people are supposed to care for you, respect your wishes, abstain from being violent,” The vampire hummed, almost teasingly, “They knew this. And yet, they allowed you to remain here. With me. With them. Without telling you.”

“Baekhyun,” Minseok warned.

“I have a theory,” Baekhyun continued, uncaring, “We all know that this little human here is not my sire. And yet, there is something between us. Something raw. It reminds me of the first few moments I woke up, my skin on fire, my body buzzing with static. Yixing feels it too.”

Kyungsoo cast a wide-eyed glance at Minseok, but his eyes remained on Baekhyun. He watched as Baekhyun’s hand trailed down Yixing’s head, and Yixing tried his best not to shiver as Baekhyun’s hands came to a stop at his neck.

“So, my question is, with all of this unhinged energy, of times reminiscent of the sire bond,” Baekhyun’s grip on his neck tightened, and Yixing whimpered, “What if I was to become his sire? What would happen then?”

“No. Baekhyun, no,” Yixing’s hands pulled uselessly at the hands around his neck, his mind frantic, “No. That’s not fair, you can’t do this.”

“Baekhyun,” Kyungsoo’s voice was so low, it sounded like a growl, “You were turned unwillingly, don’t do that to another.”

“It’s only fair,” Baekhyun realised, and Yixing fought harder, uselessly, eyes pleading as he looked at Minseok.

“Do this,” Minseok was on his feet, inching closer, slowly, “And we’ll kill you, Baekhyun. Those are the rules. You can’t just break them because you’ve fucked up your own sire bond.”

Yixing was going to fucking die.

“Can I not?” Baekhyun asked, “Yixing is strong. Strong enough that there’s already something between us – I don’t believe in interspecies relationships. Sorry.”

There was a snap, Yixing’s head forced into an unnatural angle.

Of course, he didn’t hear the resounding snap – he couldn’t even register the world when his body fell into darkness, not unlike a switch being flipped.

Complete nothingness.

 

☽ ☾

 

Yixing was on fire.

Or rather, his insides were. Searing heat coursed through him, his skin trying to rip itself apart as his gums did just that; his entire jaw ached, throbbed with each pulse of his heart – distantly, he wondered why is heart was still beating, through the pain of the transition and the blazing flushes taking control of his body.

He’d yet to find his ability to see, nothing but darkness and the fire exploding through him. And anger. Anger like he’d never felt before. Whoever was at the receiving end of his frustration was yet to be clear, nothing but nothing burning though his veins.

Like he’d been dropped into a bath of ice water, everything seemed to still, stop, freeze.

Another breath left his lungs.

Perhaps the last breath he’d breathe.

 

☽ ☾

 

Everything felt repeated, without his ability to think or move – he was existing, just barely.

It felt like he was sinking through hot tar, no end in sight. Bottomless.

Meaningless.

 

☽ ☾

 

He was unsure for how long he’d been aware, or conscious, his eyes unfocused upon the old brick wall in front of him. His body felt empty, exhausted, yet he forced his eyes to stare at the uneven patchwork of brick and mortar. He remembered everything, refused to think about anything – it had taken him quite some time to realise he was staring through darkness.

This was the basement. Baekhyun’s old cell.

Baekhyun.

Had he become the prisoner?

It was impossible to feel so much and so little at the same time.

The door opened to the side of the room, but he didn’t move from his position in the corner of the room and merely pulled his knees to his chest. He knew what this meant, knew what was happening – he was unsure for how long he’d been here, of the things he’d done through the darkness of his own mind.

“Yixing,” It was Yifan, or, what he thought he remembered the vampire’s voice to sound like.

He wanted to be left alone.

There was that familiar pull within his chest, reminiscent of the time he was alive. It was a bitter thought. He wanted the thread between he and Baekhyun to burn. He’d set it alight himself if he had to.

Yifan sighed, stepping aside to allow someone else into the room. He could feel the uneasiness, uncertainty, of the person standing behind him.

Chanyeol was crouched in front of him in seconds, a hesitant hand reaching forward to touch Yixing’s arm until he flinched away. The young vampire pulled his hand away, hurt. He didn’t need to be touched, or talked to, or sympathised, He needed to be left alone, to sit here long enough to wither away and become one with the aged basement.

To let the world go.

“You need to feed,” Chanyeol tried, his voice far too small for someone of his size.

Yixing fixed him with a glare that had the soft-faced vampire scuffling away from him.

“Let me see them.” He wanted to see them, his friends, before this was all over. He wasn’t going to eat, to become one of them. He wasn’t going to set forth the initiation to becoming like him.

“You’ll hurt them,” Yifan informed, unapologetic, “It doesn’t have to be like this.”

“I’ll never be like you.”

Chanyeol’s grief stricken face fell further.

“I’ve been in your position, before,” Yifan informed, sending his fledgling vampire a look that had him standing and leaving the basement, “It might seem like a difficult decision to make, but its not.”

“You chose this. Let me see my friends before I die.”

“Very well,” The older vampire held his gaze, “But, if you as much as look like you’re going to bite someone, I’ll put a stop to you.”

“Please do.”

And Yifan was gone, leaving Yixing to stare at the empty doorway.

Minseok was the next person to visit him, somehow looking mildly hurt when Yixing refused to speak to him. He led Yixing up the stairs, a hand wrapped around Yixing’s forearm like it would convey how sorry he was. If Yixing had known-

No. He would not linger on the things that could’ve been when this was what was happening. He had goodbyes to give, he wouldn’t spend his time allowing anger and regret to course through him. It was easy for him to grow overcome with emotions, like everything was far more amplified than any drug would offer him.

His senses were alight, everything far too much for his brain to register. His body would begin to deteriorate if he didn’t feed, he wouldn’t be one of them until he fed. Baekhyun had doomed him to this one-answer dilemma. He didn’t want to fucking think about Baekhyun.

Luhan, Sehun and Tao were waiting for him.

Sehun punched him in the face.

“You are an idiot, Zhang Yixing.”

He was. He knew-

“You need to feed,” Sehun continued, pacing the floor in front of him, “This isn’t even an option! Look at Chanyeol! He’s fine!”

“Most of the time,” Chanyeol nodded, enthusiastically. Luhan shot him a look conveying shut up.

Yixing was shocked. He expected his friends to hate him, to fear him, to attack him for the way things had become.

Luhan was next, pulling Yixing into a bone crushing hug that made him freeze. He forced his mind to be blank, to not think about the way the teeth in his mouth extended – teeth that could tear his friends’ throats apart.

“Please,” Luhan murmured, not releasing him from the hold, “Please feed, Yixing. Everything will be fine.”

He pushed Luhan away from him, staring at his longest friend with wide eyes. He wanted Yixing to feed. To become one of them. Like Baekhyun. It didn’t make sense. Yixing’s mind hadn’t made sense for a long time. To consider feeding filled his innate instinct with an excitement he forced himself to swallow.

The invisible slither of energy connecting him to Baekhyun seemed to pulse.

Baekhyun was his sire.

Baekhyun had fucking killed him.

“We decided that you can feed from one of us,” Luhan continued, and Yixing’s head was shaking, his feet taking him backwards until his back pressed hard against the wall, “You wouldn’t hurt us. We know that. We want to help.”

“No.”

“It’s not supposed to be this dramatic,” Minseok muttered, “Look, Yixing. A lot of people care about you. Nothing else has to change.”

“Where is he?” Yixing forced himself to ask, unable to answer their pleading stares.

“We told you he was unhinged, power hungry,” Yifan lowered himself to sit on the sofa, “I told you to stay away from the basement, and yet, you went down there anyway. Now, we have this mess.”

Yixing lowered his head. He wasn’t wrong. This was his own fault.

“Kyungsoo will kill him,” Minseok informed, and Yixing’s head shot back up, “Orders from the elders. They like to put down those of us they can’t control.”

Something within Yixing trembled, threatened to break and crumble and he felt the room swim.

He took a breath, looking at Minseok instead of his friends, “Let me do it.”

He’d said the words with little commitment. They were instinctual, a slip of the tongue.

Minseok cocked an eyebrow, though his eyes were unsurprised.

“That will be impossible if you don’t feed, Yixing,” Junmyeon stood in the doorway, his arrival only seeming to shock his friends.

His human friends.

“He can take it from my wrist, right?” Luhan asked, he always had been the bravest of them, “That will complete the transition?”

Junmyeon nodded, though he was hesitant, “It’s unlikely he’ll be able to stop himself.”

“Luhan,” Yixing all but whimpered, “Don’t.”

He wouldn’t hurt them. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.

“There are other ways to survive, Yixing,” Junmyeon spoke softly, “We don’t kill, not anymore.”

“We have made our mistakes, but you have us,” Minseok added, crossing one of his legs over the other, “To guide you. To correct you – to teach you.”

“You can live with us whilst you reacclimate,” Yifan nodded, sharing the others’ beliefs, “However, you’ll have to take a year or two from your education. This takes hard work, and commitment.”

“Can everyone leave?” Yixing asked, staring into a part of the room that was empty, “I want to talk to Luhan. And Minseok.”

Without hesitation, the room emptied. Yixing risked a glance between the two he’d asked to stay – he could hardly believe he was considering this. Perhaps, he wasn’t ready to let go of the world, to say goodbye to his friends. He could still help people. Junmyeon was a doctor. It felt like false beliefs and fake optimism.

Part of him needed to see Baekhyun, again.

The static beneath his skin had never stopped.

“If I do this,” Yixing began, looking down at his pale, weak hands, “You need to stop me, Minseok. If it becomes too much.”

“Of course,” Minseok agreed.

Luhan held his arm forward like an offering and Yixing cringed.

“You could be a little less forward, Lu.”

His longest friend grinned, “I’m about to save your life, don’t get snarky with me.”

Sighing, Yixing stalked forward. Nothing felt final and nothing made sense. He’d spent the days of his consciousness drowning in confusion and self-pity, in hate for Baekhyun and a need to see the vampire again. He wanted to help people, not hurt them, not hunt them – not feed from them. His own parents would literally hunt him down and gift him with a stake to the heart.

“You still have Baekhyun,” Minseok’s words made Yixing jump, “There is far more to this than what I, or anyone else, especially the elders, know.”

“Kyungsoo is going to kill him.”

“Perhaps,” Minseok offered him a shrug, “And that will destroy you. You can’t pretend otherwise, Yixing. You need to feed to have any chance of either killing, or saving, Baekhyun.”

Yixing’s heart was thudding against his chest – why was it still thudding? He was supposed to be dead. Not yet. He wasn’t dead, yet. He would be if he drank human blood, though.

“What should I do?” To kill the vampire would offer liberation; but the sire bond would be broken and Yixing would experience all that Baekhyun had once experienced. Perhaps that was requirement, a law of the universe; that energy could never be created or destroyed, but energy could destroy.

“Do what you want,” Luhan added, “We’re not your mom.”

He’d miss his friends.

His heart hurt.

He’d miss Baekhyun.

He missed Baekhyun.

He was going to kill Baekhyun.

Accepting Luhan’s offered arm was harder than anything he’d ever done, and it felt foreign to raise his friend’s wrist to his mouth. He could feel the pulse beneath his fingertips, jumping faster in anticipation as Yixing smoothed his thumb over the centre vein running through Luhan’s arm. He looked at his friend one last time, waiting for him to nod.

Yixing opened his mouth, wincing at the new rawness within his gums as his incisors extended. He didn’t dare to look at his friend, could only attempt to make this as clinical as possible – his teeth sank through the warm flesh with ease, blood filling his mouth with a heat he couldn’t help but swallow.

The switch flipped again and Yixing’s mind went blank. He drank, allowed himself to feed – it was systematic, the way in which his body seemed to light up, heat spreading from his chest and engulfing his whole body.

It wasn’t like the time Baekhyun had fed for him, or vice versa, there was no explosion of energy that gripped his heart and made him feel alive. He just felt warm, energised, took the blood from his friend like he’d fucking forgot what was actually happening.

He heard someone move, opening his eyes to see Minseok coming towards them. His jaw went slack and he pulled away, but his legs buckled and he fell into a heap on the floor. As amazing as his body was beginning to feel, he couldn’t control his own limbs. He couldn’t even raise his head as Minseok lifted him, setting him down onto the sofa with ease.

Minseok was staring at him funny, but Yixing was more distracted by the way his insides were swimming.

“I’m going to put Luhan to bed,” Minseok informed, motioning to where a pale Luhan swayed slightly, “I’ll be back. Don’t move.”

Like Yixing could even move, adrenaline surging through him with such an intensity it was almost sickly. A pain gripped him, then, and he gasped, back arching on the sofa as the energy within him began to burn bright – it took over his mind and body, left him glowing and trembling with a need he had no words to describe.

He knew where Baekhyun was, could feel the pull of his chest with desperation.

Sitting up, the room still span from his blood high.

Minseok was leaning against the doorway, watching him.

“Do you remember when we told you Baekhyun was the fastest fledgling vampire to have found his feet?” Minseok asked, and Yixing flinched from how clear and precise everything sounded within his ears, “I think you just broke a world record.”

He heard the shift of bedsheets – Luhan. He could literally fucking hear the bedsheets sliding against each other, when he focused hard enough. It was almost too much, like a radio with every station blaring at the same time. He needed to sift through the channels and find what was important, not this headache inducing white noise.

“You’re not supposed to be able to do that,” Minseok said, and Yixing blinked at the bright window, “Stop yourself from feeding when you turn. You’re not supposed to be sat there so easily when there are hearts beating in this house.”

Hearts? He could hear them. Could hear Luhan’s, distant and faint. Could hear Sehun and Tao’s, could hear them bickering outside Luhan’s door, deciding who should see Luhan and who should see Yixing.

“Is Luhan okay?” Yixing asked, looking down at his feet.

“He’s fine. Just needs to rest and eat. You shouldn’t be this fine.”

“I don’t think I am,” Yixing swallowed, then, “There’s an energy flowing through me and it’s too fucking much, Minseok. How do I make it stop? Why is everything so bright and why is my whole body shaking? It hurts.”

Minseok was just staring at him, “Fledglings are supposed to be messy and unstable – we’re vampires, Yixing. How are you sat there like you don’t want to tear everything apart?”

“I want to tear Baekhyun apart.”

“You’re not supposed to be able to focus your attention like this,” Minseok continued, “How do you feel, Yixing?”

“Like my bones are going to shake my body apart, like my skin is stretched too tight, like I’m tuned in to every radio channel,” Yixing relayed, and Minseok nodded in understanding, “But above all, I know where Baekhyun is.”

“How is he?” A voice – Yifan’s – asked from behind Minseok. He was speaking way too loud for such a small room.

“He’s fine.”

“What?” There was genuine concern in Yifan’s voice.

“Uh. He’s feeling everything he’s supposed to feel. Overwhelmed and over sensitized. But, he’s fine. Really fine. I’m going to get Junmyeon,” Minseok answered, disappearing, and yet Yixing could still hear him mutter, “This is fucking weird.”

“Just like Baekhyun,” Yifan said, and Yixing’s head shot up in shock, “Found his feet fast. Not this fast, and he couldn’t stop himself from killing. Do you want to kill, Yixing?”

Yixing stared at him, “Do I want to kill what?”

“People.”

“Uh,” Yixing thought about it, thought about it hard, but his head was starting to hurt from all of the noises, “No?”

“Are you not thirsty?”

“A little,” He admitted, pushing himself to stand on unsteady feet, “I’m fine.”

“What the fuck?”

Yixing wanted his head to shut up, wanted his body to calm down and for the damned bond between he and Baekhyun to freeze for just one second. He felt otherwise fine, everything was different, like he was watching himself through a mirror. But, he really felt… like he could do this. Like he could survive.

He hadn’t turned into some raging murder machine.

That was nice.

“I’m going to find him,” Yixing told Yifan, before nodding to himself, “I need to do this.”

“Well,” Yifan said, staring at him the same way Minseok had, “Be careful. Uh, I’m really not sure what’s going on. Are you sure you fed?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Oh.”

 

☽ ☾

 

Yixing didn’t have time to dwell on the funny ways in which the vampires of Chanyeol’s manor were staring at him – like he was supposed to have transformed into some untameable monster and hunt down each of his friends. Really, Yixing had little desire to do so. He had little desire to do much more than find Baekhyun.

To find Baekhyun and rip his heart from his chest the way he’d ripped Yixing’s life from his body – to stop the way the energy in his chest seemed to beat like the heart Yixing no longer had. It wasn’t solely his own energy, it was Baekhyun’s too, and it thrived to find its other half.

He wasn’t entirely sure what all of this meant, but Baekhyun needed to be stopped.

He killed. He wouldn’t stop killing. He was power hungry and lacked all inhibitions – he was versatile and selfish. He’d killed Yixing, had tried to kill Sehun and it felt like this was something Yixing had to do. The elders were going to kill him – Kyungsoo was going to kill him. Yixing couldn’t allow that to happen.

Yixing wouldn’t allow someone else to kill Baekhyun.

Perhaps it was morally fucked up, for Yixing wanted to kill Baekhyun just as much as he wanted to be beneath the vampire again; to feed from the vampire, to be joined with him in a way they had been that night. Nothing made sense.

Baekhyun was waiting for him – Yixing could feel it. He’d stopped moving around the city, settled on a desolate motel with a broken neon sign and it felt right. The way the light flickered and buzzed above Yixing’s head, the electric stuttering the way this energy between them also did. He’d hardly learned to focus on limiting his senses, everything remained a little overwhelming and yet he couldn’t stop himself from finding the vampire.

He chose not to knock on the door, aware that the other vampire knew it was him.

Pushing open the door, he held a breath he didn’t need as he pushed himself into the dark room.

There was more confidence to be found within him than compared to the night he’d discovered the basement – Baekhyun was purposefully reminiscent, a hand around Yixing’s throat as he slammed the fledgling into the wall so hard it cracked behind him. The blooming pain was hardly relevant as he fought back, slamming his shoulder into the vampire’s chest and sending them both scuffling across the floor.

“I missed you,” Baekhyun said.

And Yixing slammed his fist into Baekhyun’s face and something crunched. Baekhyun laughed and threw him across the room.

Yixing was, as always, no match for the vampire. Even with his newly gained speed and abilities, Baekhyun had centuries of experience on him. He fought, anyway; he had more passion than Baekhyun, here, had more reason to land his hits and defend himself.

“Did they send you here to kill me?” Baekhyun asked, panting for the first time, “Or, for me to kill you?”

He wiped the blood from his bust lip, staring at Baekhyun through the darkness. Their bond was on fire, as Yixing said it would be – and yet, he felt no gain of accomplishment, he found no satisfaction in the things he intended to do.

“You already killed me, Baekhyun.”

“It was necessary,” The vampire recounted, cracking his broken nose back into place, “You would have burned from the inside out.”

Yixing was on him, again, throwing an elbow into his face – Baekhyun caught his elbow, spinning Yixing on his feet and tripping him. He landed on the floor, hard, staring up at Baekhyun as the vampire leaned over him. Something was broken, for it hurt to breath and he could do nothing more than lay there and wait for it to heal.

“Are you saying you saved me?” It was Yixing’s turn to laugh, humourlessly, “To take that decision away from me?”

“Perhaps,” Baekhyun stared down at him, “I wasn’t going to let you burn.”

“The way you burned?” Yixing fired back, closing his eyes to breathe through the pain of a healing bone.

“The way I burned,” Baekhyun confirmed, still watching his fledgling wince.

His eyes flickered open, registering, for the first time, the glint of genuineness within Baekhyun’s eyes. He’d forgotten that Baekhyun was his sire, now, someone meant to protect and prepare him for the world. It was laughable, really, because Baekhyun would do none of that.

As much as Yixing wanted to fight, to return to his failure of fighting, he didn’t.

He stared at Baekhyun, long enough for the want in his gut to curl. For his mind to think about kissing the vampire again and again.

So, he did.

He kissed Baekhyun so hard the split on his lip opened up again, smearing both of them with blood – Baekhyun was greedy, as always, biting down on Yixing’s lip and taking whatever blood his body had to offer. Yixing let him, pushing the older against the wall as he slid a hand beneath Baekhyun’s shirt to feel the cold skin beneath.

His hand trailed to Baekhyun’s chest, their kiss deepening.

Yixing had to do it. It’s what he’d come here to do. What would the future hold if he didn’t?

Pausing, he let his forehead rest against Baekhyun’s, watched the lust and hunger in Baekhyun’s eyes, for him.

He couldn’t allow himself hesitation.

“I’m sorry,” He said, and then dug his hand deep into Baekhyun’s chest.

Bones cracked around his hand as blood spilled between them, dripping down Yixing’s arms and onto his clothes. And the floor. Baekhyun’s eyes had widened from the pain, but he didn’t seem shocked, or disappointed. He seemed expectant.

He’d let Yixing do this.

Yixing felt a pang of something in his chest, something heavy and consuming as his hand wrapped around Baekhyun’s heart. It was unsurprising to find Baekhyun’s heart was just as cold as the rest of his body, the muscle tough against Yixing’s hand as he paused.

“Do it,” Baekhyun breathed, and Yixing almost pulled away in shock, “Take my heart, Zhang Yixing.”

And Yixing wanted him to stop, wanted him to take back the words as his own shoulders began to tremble. So much for never killing anyone, for helping people – because it was pretty fucking obvious that Baekhyun needed more help than most. Was this helping Baekhyun? By putting him down?

 

“They should have put me down a long time ago.”

“You talk as though you’re some rabid dog,” Yixing had frowned.

“Am I not?”

 

“It’ll hurt,” Baekhyun pushed out, fingers wrapping around Yixing’s wrist from where it entered his chest, “It hurt me, when I killed my sire. It hurts so fucking much, Yixing. You’ll get through it.”

A tear slipped down Yixing’s cheek and he wanted to disappear. For the floor to swallow him whole. He didn’t want to exist, like this, with this pain coursing through his body at the mere prospect of losing Baekhyun. It was so fucked up. The bond between them was burning bright, holding Yixing to Baekhyun like it didn’t want him to pull away.

And rip his heart from his chest.

“I can’t do it,” He whispered.

“I’ll help you.”

And Baekhyun pulled at his wrist, he could feel the protest of the flesh inside Baekhyun’s body as his mind screamed at him to stop.

He loosened his grip, allowing his hand to slide from Baekhyun’s chest without his heart. He’d fucked up. He was fucked up.

His legs gave up for the second time that day and he crumbled to the floor at Baekhyun’s feet. Baekhyun seemed torn between staring at the healing hole in his chest, or at the mess of Yixing beneath him.

“Okay,” Baekhyun let out, his eyes more certain than Yixing had ever seen.

The vampire seemed far from unhinged, he’d been so ready to accept death – to assist Yixing in fucking killing him. He appeared so much different than the vampire Yixing had met in Chanyeol’s basement, far more put together as he stared at his own blood soaking his clothes and Yixing’s. He’d been ready to die, and Yixing hadn’t been able to do it.

Yixing let out a sob.

What the fuck was he supposed to do?

It hurt.

Was Baekhyun going to kill him now?

He heard a sigh as the vampire kneeled down to Yixing’s crumpled height on the floor, raising his hand to push the hair from Yixing’s eyes. He used his thumbs to clear the tears from his fledgling’s face, a million thoughts crossing through his own eyes.

“What are you going to do?” Yixing’s voice was small.

Baekhyun’s blood was drying on his hands.

“I don’t know,” Baekhyun admitted, “Come with me.”

“Where?”

The vampire’s head tilted in thought, “Away from here, for now. I think we need a new start.”

Yixing swallowed, meeting Baekhyun’s eyes, “Are you going to kill?”

“I might,” Baekhyun was honest, “I’m unsure I know how to stop.”

“I can help,” Yixing said, because it was something he knew how to do.

“Come with me.”

He continued to stare at the vampire, at the dark of his irises quite unlike the red of their first meeting. It was a hunger lust, Yixing had realised, the red never quite sated – until he’d fed from Yixing. He could feel the heat of his cheeks warming Baekhyun’s palms, the energy engulfing them vibrating in excitement.

He wanted to know more – about the bond, about Baekhyun.

“Okay.”

Perhaps it was wrong of him to ditch everyone in favour of the vampire who’d killed him – but, he didn’t doubt the others would find him if they tried. Right now, he wanted to be with Baekhyun. To help Baekhyun, if it was possible. If the vampire was capable of receiving help.

Another decision he would live to face the consequences of, he supposed, the static beneath his skin finally settling when Baekhyun’s lips pressed against his.