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Frost Bite

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It was in the dead of the night, and screams rang out in the forest. A predator was chasing its prey. The forest’s atmosphere felt menacing, and smelt of danger.  They raced through the nightmare of a forest, the terrifying black trees stood tall and gallant. A blazing moon poured its moonlight, casting flickering shadows. They ran as fast as their legs could take them, but it was all in vain.  As they raced pass the copse of oak trees, they saw something darted pass in the shadows. Facing back in the direction in which they were running, they halted.

Before them, it stood. The gleaming red eyes that burnt with a killer intent made its preys tremble with fear. They were doomed. They couldn’t run and they couldn’t hide. It licks its lips, revealing long fangs. Within a second, it moved off with such a speed, not giving them a chance to react. It bit into the man’s neck first, and within moments, he fell to the ground, motionless. The other two were next. The woman tried to run away, but it held her firm in its grip and viciously chomped into her neck. She let out an ear-shattering scream, but then it simmered down into a whimper and ultimately, she stopped.

She was dead.

The boy stood in horror, as he couldn’t have done a thing to save them, or himself. It turned around and upon meeting the gaze of whatever it was, the poor boy broke down in tears. Its intense eyes petrified him, but seeing that his parents were dead trying to save him, somehow he found the courage and the strength to run. Glancing behind him, momentarily, he could see it walking towards him. But no matter how fast he ran, he could still see it.

Its dark hair hid its face, but looking at the body frame, the young boy could tell that the predator was a female. But enough of that, the boy was tiring. With a glint of hope in his heart, he hoped, he prayed that he could reach the city before it could reach him. Pressing on, he decided to look behind him.

It was gone.

With hope restored, he continued to run, wanting to meet any of the patrolling policemen that were usually around. However, it seems as though the odds aren’t in his favour. As he jogged, he tripped, and what he tripped on left him startled.

A policeman.

A dead policeman.

Looking around him, he saw that there were more dead bodies lying around.

Screaming, he knew that he was in deep trouble. He didn’t know where it was and what was worst; he knew it didn’t give up on chasing him. “Someone help me!” he screamed, hoping that there was probably a couple policemen who weren’t attacked. “Help!” he screamed again. Nothing.  Then he heard screaming and shouts of agony being echoed throughout the forest. He began to cry as he knew that he was next.

The boy’s speed slowed, and then it became jogging. He was so tired —so exhausted— and seeing that his pace has slowed, he knew that his doom was near. So in his last effort, he decided to channel enough energy and run even faster, hoping that a policeman or whoever may come to rescue him. Unfortunately, that hope was washed out of him as he saw it standing before him with a sinister grin.  Before he could do anything, it was biting at his neck. 

« On the twelfth, three bodies were found in the hills of Minoh, at different intervals. The necks of all these bodies were viciously bitten out along with the absence of blood in their bodies.

As investigations carry on, police are considering this to be the work of a “fledgling” or “Newborn” vampire and are commencing a thorough search of the surrounding areas. It —»

“Osaka again huh?” One male started as he sipped on his coffee, his eyes trained on the TV mounted on the wall.

“Yeah. But seriously, what’s happening over there?” the other that sat across the table had rested his chin in his hands and gazed outside the window.

“Fuck if I know. Yet, with all this going on, my boss still wants to send me there. Isn’t he worried that I’ll end up like that too?”

“Keep calm Taka, it happened in the bushes, not the cities.”

“Shut up.”

These two young men —Moriuchi Takahiro and his best friend, Satoh Takeru— were currently enjoying a cup of coffee with sweets at a café. Since neither had work, they decided to hang out as much as they could on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Takeru laughed at Takahiro’s expression. It never gets old to see his friend’s face twist with rage or disgust. “But, you do know that I’m right, right?”

Takahiro rolled his eyes. “At the moment.” He replied with supreme nonchalance. “I mean, no one is going to go near the forest areas, so these fledglings have to migrate to the cities. And we both know that dark corners and alleyways are abundant in cities.”

Takeru leaned back and folded his arms. “So? Just don’t go into these dark corners and alleyways.” He added, “Plus, you’re the almighty Taka, whose ass you can’t beat to a pulp?”

Takahiro was really tempted to burn the bastard with his coffee. There was a point to Takeru’s words, but at the same time, he made relevant points too. However, the two fell into silence, the sounds of the TV echoing throughout the café.

It was truly disconcerting, given what was happening. On one hand, people, both Supernaturals and Humans were disappearing, and in the end, their bodies were turning up in nasty ways. In Niigata, one Werewolf had his blood completely drained, in Okinawa, one Witch’s body was covered with claw marks and his arms and legs were ripped from his torso. Another case was in Osaka where one Vampire had a pentagram burned into his chest and the list goes on.

But funny enough, these weren’t only happening in Osaka. This was a nationwide crisis, and sadly, no one knew who or what was behind it all.

“So when are you leaving?” Takeru started up again.

“This evening.” Takahiro responded, mixing the contents of his cup. “Sad isn’t it?”

Once again, Takeru howled with laughter. “How is it sad? You’ll be gone for a week! Just a week!”

“To Osaka, of all places.”

“What’s wrong with it? This whole “attack on Supernaturals and Humans” is a nationwide problem, you know? Even if you were going to next door Kanagawa, you’d still run into shit there.”

“No not that. Isn’t Osaka run by the Yamashita Clan? I hear that the two heirs are pretty scary.”

“I hear that they’re both party animals.” Takeru deadpanned. He then smirked, “Which means, you may run into them at the club.”

“I don’t even know what they look like!”

“And keep it that way, ignorance is bliss.”

“It isn’t.”

“Well, if going by the standard shoujo manga rule, the Yamashita heirs should be the hottest vampires in Osaka.” Takeru said while tapping on his chin in wonder. “They, or at least one of them, should fall for you at first sight and then your stressful, rollercoaster relationship should start.” He grinned.

“Wha —?”

“Oh! Oh!” he perked up as though he remembered something important, cutting Takahiro off. “This is how it’s going to happen. Both Yamashita will fall for you. One is a darling sweetheart and the other is a heartless jerk who you’ll hate and vice-versa. But! You stupidly end up falling for the asshole, while the other one is still “a close friend” or someshit. Then, you and the asshole one start to catch feelings even deeper but some shit happens and you break up. Like, a lack of communication and you think your man is cheating on you.

So, this is where the sweetheart Yamashita comes in and you two have a brief relationship before shit happens again and either he dies, or your first man nearly dies and on his “death bed” he confesses that “he loves you with all his heart and blood that he’s sucked from other people” and blah. You two reconcile, and then you fuck. Or he probably turns you into a vampire then he fucks you senseless. And you live happily ever after with your Halfie babies.”

Takahiro’s jaws dropped through the floor.

While the series of events were correct in regarding how most shoujo manga are, the shorter of the two couldn’t believe that his best friend thinks that, he, Moriuchi Takahiro will fall for a vampire —a Yamashita no less.

“I think you’ve been reading too many manga.” Takahiro finally said, he really wanted to throw the hot coffee in Takeru’s face. But it’s taking every ounce of willpower not to do so.

“No, I haven’t.” He sighed as he looked through the window, absentmindedly. “Sadly, it’s not how it goes in real life.” He then turned to look at Takahiro while poking at his cake slice. “I’d definitely wish that’s how life was. At least everyone would live happily ever after.”

Takahiro stopped and stilled. Takeru seemed somewhat sad, almost as though this was something directly affecting him. “Takeru, are you alright?”

“Huh?”

“You seem so sentimental and sad.”

“Yeah, I’m just…” he trailed off. “…I’m just wondering what the world would be like if everyone was a regular human. Maybe life would play out like a manga.”

Takahiro shrugged. “We’ll never know.”

Takeru fell into silence yet again, which was odd for someone of his chatty nature. It was strange, Takahiro not knowing what to do, or say, in this case. It’s probably because of his line of work that’s currently influencing his thinking and behaviour.

Satoh Takeru was, apart from being a university student, an amateur detective who worked with the Tokyo Police. Since he was an Ingen —humans with supernatural powers reminiscent of espers in fiction, he had the ability of Psychometry —the power to see the full history of an object or a person when touched. Although, at the moment, in terms of seeing the history of a person, his power works better on the dead ones, while with those alive, the furthest he could see was a month. But according to his father who had the same ability, overtime, Takeru’s power would improve, since, the older Satoh could see years into a person’s past (whether dead or alive) just by touching them.

Frightening.

So, usually when his father is on a different case or the work piles up, they’d call in Takeru for his assistance. All the boy needed to do was touch a dead body or an object anyway to see where it’s been or who it’s been with. Still, there were times when he’s required to touch suspects when their alibi or stories don’t add up.

“You know, Taka,” Takeru started again. Judging by his tone of voice, Takahiro thought that Takeru was coming with something deep.

“Know what?”

“I think there’s something fishy going on.” He sighed. “Vampires wouldn’t start attacking people, especially in Osaka where the Yamashita family is in control. And for the other cases, I don’t think any of the Supernaturals would knowingly break the treaty.”

“Simple. Someone is behind this, wanting to create chaos or something.” Takahiro shrugged. “Isn’t it how it goes in your manga?”

“Taka…”

“Hmm…?”

“Can I throw my coffee on you?”

“Can I throw mine on you first?”

“No. Why?”

“For thinking that I’ll fall for a Yamashita Vampire.”

“What? You’re cute, you’re tiny and all manner of things. They’ll be attracted to you in a heartbeat.” He grinned. “Like a magnet.”

Takahiro’s face twisted in disgust. “Takeru, I’m just letting you know, if you don’t wake up tonight, I killed you.”

“Maa, maa,” Takeru backed off. “Are you serious? I was just joking you know?!”

“Die.”

“Taka!!”

And due to Takeru’s scream, they were promptly kicked out of the café.

Takahiro took his shoes off at the genkan, before he plopped himself in his sofa. His suitcase was already packed and ready for Osaka, but deep down, he couldn’t help but feel a bit worried. It wasn’t that he was scared, it was the fact that he was going into the lion’s den so to speak.

But it’s as Takeru said earlier, even if he were to go to Kanagawa, he’ll still encounter shit.

“Well, it’s just for a week anyway.” He sighed in resignation. With a yawn, he headed to his shower, after which he went to bed.

 

 

Osaka City, the capital city of the Osaka Prefecture, was the third largest city by nighttime population in the entire Japan. It boasts as an important port city to the country, but as good as it may sound; in Osaka, lurks a devastating despair.

But that aside, nighttime is when the city truly comes alive. Nightlife is bustling and exciting, with numerous nightclubs that cater to all walks of life. There were many for Humans only, there were some for the Supernatural only and some for both.

The Madhouse was one such nightclub, where a host of different races could be found mixing and mingling with each other without care.

And sitting in the midst of this club was none other than Yamashita Toru. For the past week, he’s been hauled here by his friends —Tomoya and Ryouta and older brother —Tsukihiko. He never wanted to be here, but according to Ryouta, it was the hottest nightclub in Osaka. Frankly, Toru believed that if the younger vampire was referring to the temperature, he would have been in accordance. His grey melange t-shirt was drenched in sweat, his bleached blond hair stuck to his forehead like glue and he hadn’t been dancing!

The heat and music made him extremely irritable, but he must admit, the Madhouse really lived up to its name.

Loud music reverberated off the walls in deafening levels; Vampires, Werewolves along with Witches and Ingens flooded the dance floor, bodies moving recklessly to the heart-pounding music. In another corner, there was someone crying, but their pain and anguish was lost in the hubbub and bustle. Couples stayed in secluded bays laughing with each other, or really, having a rather steamy (and in some cases, messy) make-out session. Friends and even strangers were having rounds of drinking games, swears and threats rang out even above the booming music.

The Madhouse was, as its name suggests, a den of debauchery, alcoholism...and it seems no one ever comes here with anything wholesome in mind.

“Oi, gimme a shot of Tequila, straight up!”

A boisterous shout took him out of his thoughts. He whipped his head in the direction of it and saw a tall and burly man with far too much hair on his skin.

“Fucking Werewolves,” Toru mumbled to himself as he rolled his eyes with disgust. Not all Werewolves were hairy, as a matter of fact, they aren’t. It’s just that there were some who loved to partially transform making them look even more bulky and the whatnot.

“Sure thing.”

It was here that his eyes landed on the petite bartender for the umpteenth time. Of all his years going to nightclubs with his brother, Ryouta and Tomoya, he’s never paid attention to the bartenders. But this one, once Toru’s eyes locked onto him —it is a male, right?—the vampire heir couldn’t take them off. The bartender was small bodied, with a mop of curly hair that threatened to obscure his eyes. His face was small, round and cute, and if Toru wasn’t staring, he would’ve honestly thought that the bartender was a flat-chested female at first glance.

He had caught his attention earlier in the week, and the more Toru watched him, the more interested he became. His blatant looks of disgust and irritation at some of the customers were amusing, his laughter and smiles were absolutely heart-warming. In fact, he’s the one who saves Toru from suffering in this wretched nightclub.

Amidst the chaos and loud noise, the petite figure worked with frightening speed and efficiency —reaching for the shot glass, pulling up the Tequila bottle from the Well and pouring it to the perfect amount. Everything was done so smoothly, so meticulously; looking at him, Toru would have thought that he was inexperienced and probably new on the job. But seeing his work was like watching a seasoned veteran, devoid of mistakes.

“Yo! A Negroni over here!” came another shout.

“Hai…” he responded in a sing-song voice that sounded absolutely heavenly to Toru’s ears. “What kind of garnish do you prefer?”

“The standard!”

Then, Toru saw him reach for a cocktail glass after which he scooped some ice from the ice-well and poured water into the glass, letting it sit. He then went back into the ice-well and scooped some into his shaker, and then he added the ingredients —London Dry Gin, Campari and Vermouth Rosso. The bartender shook the ingredients well, and while he did so, he took the cocktail glass with the ice and water and dumped the contents after which he poured the drink into the chilled glass. And for the finishing touch, he had an orange twist for the garnish.

“Here’s your Negroni.” He said with a satisfied smirk.

“That was fast!” The patron said with a wide grin as he took a seat on one of the stools and proceeded to drink. “It seems that you really know how to do your stuff, little one.”

“Yes, I do.” The bartender forced a smile.

To say that Toru was amazed would be an understatement. The speed in mixing the drinks were absolutely stunning, the way the bartender moved, it was almost like seeing art in motion.

“But…isn’t he, twelve?” Toru mumbled to himself. The vampire couldn’t help himself from thinking that. Although no twelve year old would be serving drinks in a nightclub, the petite bartender was so small that he resembled one.

“Otouto! Fix that face of yours!” Tsukihiko —the older brother of Toru by six years— said as he slung an arm over Toru’s shoulder, causing him to rip his eyes from the bartender. “Why don’t you come out on the dance floor?!”

“No way…” Toru was not enthused. “I feel like I’m in an onsen. A fucking sauna! I’m just sitting here and I’m sweating so much. Imagine if I were to behave like you hooligans.”

“Come on Toru! Tsukki is right!” another bounced up and said. He had partially bleached blond hair that reached his shoulders. He had on no shirt but wore baggy pants.

“Not you too, Ryouta.” Toru drawled with an eye roll. “How is dancing going to be fun in this temperature?” he snorted. “And it’s so noisy. I think I’m getting deaf.”

“You won’t know until you try!” Ryouta chirped. This over-energetic vampire has been Toru’s childhood friend for as long as he could remember. “Right Tomo-kun?!” he turned to the crowd and shouted.  Toru’s eyes followed and spotted the vampire breaking out strange convoluted dance moves, from popping to break-dancing…anything one could think of.

When Ryouta got no response, he shouted again in a much louder volume, “Right, Tomo-kun?!”

Probably hearing Ryouta’s voice over the unseen loudspeakers and the DJ, Tomo-kun, whose real name was Tomoya, replied, “That’s right!” And obviously, he had no clue what the trio had been talking about, but he was just giving a reply.

He was a little chubby in the cheeks, and like Ryouta, had bleached hair, except his was coloured green. His hair ends were curly, and was often times teased that his hair looked like seaweed. He too, was a childhood friend of Toru’s, as a matter of fact; he was the heir to the Kanki Clan who ruled Hyōgo. These two powerful clans —Yamashita and Kanki with the addition of a couple more (like the Kohama and Onizawa families) were extremely close with each other.

“You’ve been doing this all week! Get your ass out there!” Ryouta nearly screeched, holding Toru’s hand and attempted to pull him up.

“I’m not about this life.” Toru grumbled as he stood up and slipped his hand out of Ryouta’s grasp. “I’m going for a drink.”

The other two shrugged and sauntered off to the dance floor, while Toru stalked over to the bar. There was still quite an amount of people there, but the closer Toru got, the more people left with drinks.

“He’s really fast.” Toru whistled in amazement.

And by the time the vampire reached, there was practically no one there. He took a seat on one of the stools directly in front of him, taking in the young man’s appearance up close. He was even smaller, and dare he say it, even cuter.

“How may I help you?”

It’s been a week since he’s arrived in Osaka City and started working, and honestly, Takahiro was fed up and uncomfortable.

Fed up in the sense that the customers here were pretty rude and feisty. Sure, he’s shorter than the average male; sure he knows that his voice isn’t as deep as the Pacific Ocean but good God, that doesn’t mean they have to vocalize it to his face. All night, rather, all week, he’s been subject to comments about his height and appearance. But luckily, he quickly shuts them up with his bartending skills. The rude bitches (and bastards) immediately go silent once they see him in action.

The other instance, the petite bartender felt uncomfortable because for the past week, he's noticed that a certain Vampire was staring at him.

He worked in Tokyo but, his boss made him head to Osaka to fill the empty slot of a worker who had suddenly resigned. He was not at all thrilled at the outset, but he had foolishly thought that it could be a good chance to explore the other prefectures free of cost.

But, he didn't sign up for this.

The Vampire's half-lidded gaze felt as though it pierced through his skin, and staring into the very depths of his soul. It was awkward and downright creepy, but Takahiro kept reminding himself that this was a job and as soon as they can find a new worker, he'll be back in Tokyo where he belonged.

Then suddenly, Takahiro saw the vampire rise from his seat and seemed to be making his way over to the counter. Inwardly, the petite bartender freaked out, as even though this vampire stared at him for the past week; he never said a word to him.

He had bleached blond hair with the front fringe in a sweep to the left, his big eyes looking as though they wanted to bore into Takahiro’s soul. The vampire had nice lips, he must admit, but Takahiro had a feeling that this guy was bad news.

He wore a grey mélange round neck t-shirt and black jeans but Takahiro couldn’t see the footwear. Not that he should care. But what he didn’t know was that this vampire was Yamashita Toru, the second heir to the powerful Yamashita Clan.

“How may I help you?” Takahiro then asked, hoping to get the vampire to order so that he could be on his merry way.

“I want a drink, but I don’t know which to order.” Toru drawled. Obviously, this was a lie, but Toru just wanted to chat with the bartender and hear more of his voice. On that note, Toru’s voice momentarily stunned Taka, that baritone was low yet so pleasant to listen to.

“Hmm…what’s your preference? Sweet? Sour? Bitter?” Takahiro asked, finding it a bit strange that a vampire doesn’t know what drink to order. Hasn’t he been living for more than a human’s lifetime?

“Sweet. Citrusy.” Was the answer that Takahiro got.

Takahiro hummed and nodded. “You could buy a Daquiri.” There were more drinks that he could have suggested, but the vampire was already indecisive, he didn’t want to add to that, and have to choose for him in the long run.

“Alright, hit me up.”

And like prior, Takahiro speedily went to work. He chilled a cocktail glass with ice and water, and reached for his shaker. But while he did so, he asked, “Dark or white rum?”

“White.”

Nodding, Takahiro continued. Pouring the ingredients into the shaker —first he squeezed the lime in, then stirred in the sugar and lastly, he added the rum. Shaking it well, Takahiro strained the drink into the chilled cocktail glass and served Toru.

“There. Enjoy your drink.”

“I will.” Toru said as he took a sip. “It’s good!”

Takahiro huffed and said with pride, “Of course, it’s made by yours truly.”

“Do you work here every night?”

Takahiro’s eyebrows rose at the sudden question. But out of professionalism, he replied, “I’m only working for this week.”

“Hmm? Why?” the vampire asked yet again after he drank. Toru was disappointed that he won’t see him again after tonight. Well, that is if he doesn’t put Tomoya to good use.

Takahiro twitched. “Because I don’t live in Osaka.”

“Figured as much.” Toru remarked.

“Excuse me?”

Takahiro saw Toru smile knowingly. “Your accent. You sound pretty sophisticated for someone in Osaka, so I thought what I did. You sound like you’re from Tokyo or the Kantō region in general.” He pushed the empty cup to Takahiro once again. “I want another one.”

“Oh, is that so?” Takahiro asked while taking the cup and proceeded to wash it.

“Yes it is so.” Toru smirked playfully. “So, what’s your name? I’m Toru.”

Takahiro froze up. This vampire was getting bolder and bolder. “Taka. Just, Taka.” He replied as he served up yet another Daquiri for Toru.

“Taka, huh?” Toru hummed. “Is that a shortened version of your name?”

Taka glared at him. “I think you’re drunk.”

“I’m a vampire, in case you haven’t noticed.” Toru countered quickly while using an index to pull away part of his lips to show his fangs. “I don’t get drunk.”

Takahiro clicked his tongue without the vampire realizing. “Here.” He placed the drink in front of Toru before hearing another customer make an order. Takahiro was glad for it, glad that he was away from the vampire even if it’s just for a brief moment.

He found it odd that a complete stranger was suddenly friendly with him, and he wondered if Toru would corner him and suck him dry of his blood when the night was over. Refocusing to his work, Takahiro failed to notice Toru’s intense gaze lingering on his tiny frame.

As the time went by, more customers ordered drinks from Takahiro, making him put his conversation with Toru on hold. The Vampire didn’t mind, after all, Takahiro was doing his job. Still, Toru ordered more drinks as the night got older but because he was a vamp, he never got drunk. Much to Takahiro’s displeasure.

To keep the conversation healthy, Toru even asked about bartending, when he noticed a drunken Witch ordered a strong drink and Taka actually watered it down. The night got even more interesting when Ryouta, Tomoya and Tsukihiko felt as though they should join in on their conversation, buying drinks along with it. They created a nice atmosphere amidst the chaos of the club, although, Tomoya and Tsukihiko were the chatty types, Toru occasionally putting in his bits here and there, but Ryouta was the only one who seemed to be watching Takahiro with caution.

Still, Takahiro couldn’t care less.

He was here to work and after tonight, he was going back to Tokyo —back to his Madhouse, not this one in Osaka. And also, he would finally leave this crazy prefecture ruled by the Yamashita Vampire Clan.

“Ne, Taka-chan,” Tomoya started.

Takahiro was pulled back into reality by the vampire. They had even added –chan to his name.

Oh, joy.

He had a feeling that getting involved with these Vampires would be more trouble than they’re worth, but they’ve already attached themselves to him. 

“Hai?” He responded professionally. He wanted to snap at the annoying vampire, but he couldn’t. These were vampires. They aren’t to be messed with.

“Are you the replacement bartender for the busty chick that used to be here?”

“Somewhat.”

“What does that mean?”

Takahiro sighed. He had already stated to Toru his working days. “I don’t live in Osaka; I’m just here until they find a permanent worker.”

“Oh. So where do you live?” He asked again.

“That’s private information, Tomoya-san.” Takahiro said with a stiff smile. He knew their names since they had happily introduced themselves.

“Aww, come on!” Tomoya whined. “I live in Hyōgo.” He said with a smile. “Plus, no other bartender is as nice as you are! What if we wanna drop in if we’re nearby?”

“Ah…no thanks.” Takahiro rejected. Vampires “dropping in” at his apartment? Hell no. “Plus, I doubt that you guys will be nearby me, anytime at all.” He then leaned on the counter towards Tomoya. “If you live in Hyōgo, what the hell are you doing in Osaka city?”

“Toruge needs me.” He replied with a smug expression. But this reply earned him a painful jab from Toru, nearly making him fall from his stool and crash into the floor.

“He’s our taxi.” Tsukihiko chuckled. “We can go anywhere within a split second because of Tomo. We’ve even nicknamed him the Transporter.”

“Totally.” Ryouta nodded. “He’s better than the Shinkansen on any day.”

“Eh? Really?” Takahiro was actually intrigued by this. Tomoya’s ability sounded a lot like Teleportation or Apportation or whatever it’s called. But then again, it could be some variant of Acceleration.

“Yes, really.” Tsukihiko smirked.

But ultimately, Takahiro’s shift came to an end at two o’clock, Toru thinking that this may be a chance to talk to the bartender freely. However, all his hopes were dashed when Takahiro told him he was heading straight home after this.

“Are you sure Taka-chan?!” Tomoya asked worrisomely. “Things are getting dangerous so for you alone to head home at this hour…”

“I’ll be fine, Tomoya-san. I’m no weak fence.” He then pushed up his sleeves and showed his (non-existent) muscles. “Look at these guns.”

The quartet roared with laughter. “You don’t have any!” Due to their boisterous outburst, patrons who were nearby stilled for a moment, wondering what was the cause. Tsukihiko and Tomoya laughed so hard they nearly fell off their stools, Ryouta choked on his drink and Toru shamelessly laughed his ass off at Takahiro.

“But still, Toru would have a heart attack if something were to happen to you.” Ryouta finally joined in after he regained his composure. This silenced the others, Tsukihiko and Tomoya gawked in disbelief at Ryouta’s words, but deep down they had the same thoughts as well. Toru had been acting strange this past week, and every time they looked at him from the dance floor, his eyes were set on the petite bartender behind the counter. And when there was a crowd there, Toru would bend his neck or move from his spot just to look at Takahiro.

If that’s not obvious, then neither of the Vampires didn’t know what was.

“Why’s that?” Takahiro asked, looking at Toru with innocent eyes. “We barely know each other.”

“Well…Toru has —”

“Utter another word and I’ll rip your fucking tongue out.”

“Ah…”

Takahiro’s suspicions began to rise.

Was this Toru person a stalker? And of all the numerous people in the club, he, Moriuchi Takahiro had to be the one to catch his eye.

Fuck. The bartender thought with anguish.

But at long last, the other bartender arrived, Takahiro bidding farewell to the Vampire Quartet. That was his nickname for the four, as he’s seen them in the club for the past week, but they’ve never really had a conversation like this before. Sure they’ve ordered drinks from him but that was it.  

So what was the case tonight?

Had they been secretly watching him to assess his personality? Or had they been watching him, waited for the right moment to become “friendly” just to suck him dry the moment he left? Takahiro has heard of instances like the latter, and silently prayed that that wasn’t the case.

Still, Takahiro took his mind off the Vampires and proceeded to change into his street clothes.

“Good work today, Moriuchi-kun.” The bar manager beamed.

“Ah, thanks.” Takahiro nodded. Although he’s been here for a week, due to prior times, Takahiro worked the whole night and immediately dashes out once the last customer leaves, he never gave the bar manager ―Okazaki-san a chance to actually praise him or whatever.

“I really thought that Ibara-san was over exaggerating, but really, you were amazing.” The manager said with a chuckle. “I was stunned at your work.”

“Well, it’s the second best thing I do.” Takahiro said with a hum.

“Oh really? What’s the first?”

“Music.”

The bar manager’s face looked surprised. “Then what are you doing bartending?”

“I really don’t know. I guess the time hasn’t come yet or whatever.”

Okazaki laughed and gave Takahiro a slap in his back as a means of good gesture. “I see.” Since Takahiro was now tying his shoe laces, Okazaki-san’s face took on a more serious expression. He said to the younger male, “Stay safe and be careful. I’m sure you’ve heard about what’s been happening, right?”

“Yeah, but how true are these rumours anyway?”

“The level of truth doesn’t matter. The fact is, there is some form of truth to it. People don’t just get up and cook up these fantastical stories and not publish them in books.” Okazaki’s voice lost all the chirp and laughter it had not too long ago. “So, stay safe. Please.”

“Hai, hai.”

And with that, Takahiro left the establishment. He plugged in headphones and as he walked, he had his music to keep his mind distracted. These days, if he wasn’t busy or occupied doing something, his power had a tendency of going berserk. He was part Witch part Ingen, and the ability that he inherited from his mother was Telekinesis. And frighteningly enough, he was stronger than her. She had often time said it was because he was part Witch as well. So, it surely wouldn’t be pleasant if his power went out of control.

He looked up at the flickering moon, reminding Takahiro of a streetlight threatening to go out. With no one around, the area resembled a ghost town, not even stray cats or dogs could be seen. At the moment, he slightly regretted that he wasn’t working until 5AM, because at least then, he could always catch the first train. While he didn’t live extremely far from the club, taking a train or a bus would’ve lessened the journey immensely.

“I guess I should speed things up.” Takahiro mumbled to himself. With a slight hop, Takahiro lifted himself up and into the air, making his way home via flight. His arms and legs felt light at first, after which the sensation spread throughout his whole body. Soon enough, his whole body was floating in the air, flying. His mother —Masako—was the one who taught him how to do this when he was eleven.

He glided across the early morning sky, the chilly breeze blowing in his hair. The cold wind pinched him in the cheeks, yet he didn’t mind. All he was concerned about was to get home before the police see him. In Japan, there were laws which prohibit Supernaturals from using their powers in public freely unless it is a case of emergency.

Many have argued that this was senseless and robbing them of their freedom, but really, it’s to prevent chaos. Imagine a Witch dishing out curses as he or she feels like, a Werewolf transforming and ripping someone to shreds who pissed him or her off and let’s not mention Vampires and Ingens.

A couple minutes later, he reached the roof of his apartment building onto which he landed a bit awkwardly, somehow tripping over his feet and almost falling onto his face. Getting over that, Takahiro floated down the side of the building, onto the third floor where he resided.

Making it onto the balcony, he took his keys out of his pockets and entered his small apartment. The one back in Tokyo had more space, but it’s understandable. He was only here for an extremely short space of time, plus, it’s his boss that’s covering everything.

After he took his shoes off at the genkan, Takahiro headed to the shower, and quickly washed himself of the sweat and other grime that may be on his skin. He didn’t even take a bath like he’d used to, where he’d lounge in his tub for close to an hour. He just wanted to sleep the morning off, so that when he wakes up, all he has to do was take his suitcases and head to Tokyo.

Yes, Takahiro was really excited to go back to his prefecture. And away from the Vampire Quartet that seemed to have taken a liking to him.

Soon enough he finished his shower and dressed in his pyjamas. He walked lazily to his bedroom, where he proceeded to curl up in his bed, closed his eyes and went to sleep.

But it wasn’t even thirty minutes that Takahiro’s eyes snapped open as he heard a blood curdling scream. He quickly sat up in his bed, wondering if he had heard right. But, there was no one in his house.

There couldn’t be.

“Maybe it’s acting up again.” He mumbled as he placed a hand on his forehead. The first time it happened, Takahiro sincerely thought he could read people’s minds, but as time went by, he’s having second thoughts. Shouldn’t mind reading be only applicable if the person is nearby, like directly in front or behind?

Someone! Save me!

Help!

Takahiro couldn’t sleep. The voice was a constant nagging in his head, nearly driving the bartender to the edge of insanity. He’s been “hearing” them for the past week, but not as loud as this one. Usually, the voices were like a whisper, barely inaudible. However, this time, he was hearing screams of terror and fright.

Help!

It got increasingly louder, and when Takahiro couldn’t take it anymore, he drew back his curtains and looked through his window. There was no one on the street. Yet, the screams persisted.

“Fuck!” He groaned out aloud, clutching his head. A headache was coming on; feeling like a drummer was using his skull as a Snare drum or something. Staggering to his bed, Takahiro tried to calm himself down; he reached for his phone and played music on the loudest volume, hoping that this will stop.

Please…Help me…

The voice descended into a lower and softer tone, sounding like a desperate plea instead of frantic screaming like before. But then, it hit Takahiro like a truck.

“Someone’s dying.”

And awfully enough, he could hear it.

 

 

“Ne, Toru,” Tomoya started, he looked at the taller vampire with a mischievous expression. “Are you in love with that bartender?”

Everyone stopped walking and looked at Tomoya. Ryouta nodded as well, he too wanted to know the reason for Toru’s strange interest in the young man.

“No, I’m not.” He answered coolly. “Why would you think that?”

“You’re not?!” Tsukihiko screeched, grabbing him in his collar. “Tell me you’re lying, Otouto.”

“I’m not, Tsukki-nii!” Toru said as wormed out of his big brother’s grip. “How can I love someone I’ve just met?! What do you think this is? A cheap clichéd romance novel with the premise of “love at first sight”?!”

“Of course…” Ryouta joined in. “You have been staring at him every time we went clubbing for the past week. Plus, you even talked to him pretty friendly too.”

Toru sighed.

Sure, he thought that Taka was cute. But that was a fact. He couldn’t deny the fact that his genes made him cute.

Sure, he found it amusing to watch the bartender’s facial expressions when he’s dealing with the customers. It cracked him up every single time.

Sure, his work was amazing…his speed and meticulousness in mixing his drinks was amazing.

But, he wasn’t in love with the bartender. He just found him interesting. And being interested in something or someone doesn’t mean one’s in love.

“I’m just intrigued, that’s all.” Toru shrugged. “There’s a difference with being interested and being in love.”

“I beg to differ.” Tsukihiko said with a smirk. “When you’re interested, eventually, over time, it’ll lead to love.” He nudged his little brother in the sides. “You better start counting down your single days. When love hits, it crashes into you like a fucking sixteen-wheeler.”

“Ouch. I hope I never fall in love.” Ryouta whimpered. “That sounds extremely painful.”

Toru rolled his eyes at their stupidity. But, these three were better than Alex any day. If that Halfie was here, then all hell would break loose.

The four were currently walking home, after partying and dancing their (except Toru) lives away. The latter remained seated even after Takahiro left, although he was itching to follow the bartender home.

And no, he wasn’t in love.

He was just interested.

He tuned out the others’ noisy chatter and kept his head straight. Still, he could only do so for so long and no more.

“But my Precognition tells me that Toru and his cute little bartender will be together~!” Tomoya said in a sing-song voice. “I can totally see it~!”

“Oh shut the hell up, Tomoya.” Toru groaned out. “You’re just making stuff up.”

“What~? But it’s ―” the Kanki heir broke off his sentence and froze up. A couple seconds passed before the vampire said anything more, “―oh shit.”

“Oh shit, what?” Tsukihiko asked. Looking at Tomoya, Tsukihiko could see his face riddled with unease. Plus, Tomoya doesn’t stop mid-way a sentence without being interrupted or changing whatever he was about to say of his own accord.

“Taka-chan’s in danger.”

“What? What did you see?” Ryouta questioned in urgency.

“Taka-chan’s dead body lying on a destroyed Abiko-suji Street.” He replied. Tomoya, like many other Supernaturals, had two abilities inherited from his parents ―Teleportation and Precognition, although the latter power was weaker than his teleportation.

 “Well, let’s go! We gotta save Otouto’s possible love-interest before it’s too late!” Tsukihiko shouted. “I will not make another hundred years pass and he remains single!”

“You didn’t need to tell me.” Tomoya chuckled. “Toru’s face is enough…”

“I see someone wants to be decapitated.” Toru snarled.

“Now, I wonder who could that be?” Tomoya asked with sarcasm.

Takahiro jogged along his street, following the desperate screams in his head. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he had a feeling that finding whoever these screams belonged to would probably put an end to this headache. The more he jogged, the louder it became, almost as though the person was right before him.

But as he rounded a corner, he got a sinking feeling in the pits of his stomach. He had the strangest sensation that he was being watched. This was far worse than how he felt when Toru was staring at him in the club for nights —this was scarier, more frightening, more terrifying.

As time went by, Takahiro realized that the voice in his head was fading away, like when a song was fading into its end. He stopped momentarily, something pricked at him to look to the left, towards the dark alley.

There, he saw it.

A figure was hunched over another lying in a pool of blood. Upon closer inspection, Takahiro saw scrapes and other injuries marring the body on the ground, but the one hunched over seemed to be…biting it?

A gasp escaped his lips as he saw the horrified scene.

Whatever it was, was most definitely feasting on this person’s dead corpse. Quickly, Takahiro took a step backwards to escape being seen, but the moment he’d done so, the creature looked up at him with bright red eyes.

“Is that…a vampire?” He mumbled to himself in shock. Only they had eyes that changed to red. It bared its fangs at Takahiro before sweeping its hand in an upward motion.

Just then, a fierce yet chilling wind suddenly swept up, wanting to take Takahiro elsewhere. Quickly, he created a barrier around him, which barred out the vicious element. Suddenly, he heard the vampire shout, its wail piercing the rush of the wind. Then, Takahiro heard another, and another…until the entire street rang with eerie, inhuman cries.

He sped off, fear screaming in his bones. With every step he took, he could feel that there was something following him, but he couldn’t see what it was. It was almost as though it was a phantom, or his mind playing tricks on him.

However, Takahiro’s luck was just about to run out.

Deciding to take flight, when Takahiro looked up, he saw a brood of them, flocking the rooftops like a swarm of black crows on light-posts. Their red eyes were malignantly bright, sending chills down Takahiro’s spine.

He felt stifled and surrounded. Well, he was. In his panic, Takahiro took a shaky step back, before attempting to dash off in the opposite direction. But he slammed into something like an invisible wall, immediately he knew he was in trouble.

The Vampires looked at him greedily, licking their lips as they approached his shaking frame. Even the one in the alley was slowly stalking up to him.

Nevertheless, as Takahiro said before, he was no weak fence. He tried to calm himself down, and when he did, he placed his hand on the asphalt, and smirked to himself, “Divided these bitches will fall.”

What the four vampires arrived in was what they definitely didn’t expect.

Abiko-suji Street was a wreck, the asphalt jutting upwards in various places, making them think that an earthquake had occurred. But what stood out, were the couple dead bodies lying around.

“What on Earth happened here?” Tsukihiko asked in shock. He stooped down to inspect one of the bodies to decipher what Supernatural race they belonged to, if they did. The first thing Tsukihiko checked for were fangs. That was the quickest way to identify a vampire. Pulling out a dagger from a pocket on his capris pants, the eldest vampire tugged at the corner of the dead body’s mouth, to see if fangs were present.

And they were.

The four exchanged worried glances before Tsukihiko went on to check on the other three bodies that were lying around. It was the same.

“What are ―” Tomoya broke off as they heard booming noises —crashes, shatters, and even seeing dust and debris rising.

Quickly, Toru and company headed towards these sounds, given what Tomoya’s premonition indicated. They’ve barely known the little bartender, but, the fact that they know him is making them rush towards his aid. That, and, Toru claims that he’s interested.

Finally making it to where Takahiro was, the four were absolutely stunned into silence.

There was the petite bartender, facing off against two of the crazed vampires, with a third one lying on the ground in a most grotesque position. Neither of the vampires had ever thought that bodies could have bent and twisted in such a manner.

But they were taken out of their thoughts by a scream. Takahiro was grabbed in the throat by one of the vampires and pushed violently into the side of a nearby building. But before either of them could react, they saw the vampire fly back a couple metres as though pushed by a violent invisible force.

And then, everything suddenly shattered.

Numerous cracks appeared on the buildings as though they had been punched by an invisible fist, the windows broke into a million tiny pieces. The two vampires that were left all froze up, their eyes widening as though something held them in an iron grip, threatening to squeeze the life out of them.

The ground shook with such ferocity that Toru and company wondered if it had been an earthquake. But they knew that it couldn’t have been. Toru watched, with newfound interest, at Takahiro. The rage was blaring in his bright eyes, and all around him were pieces of asphalt that he’d rip out of the ground plus the broken shards of glass, floating in midair. But, it didn’t stop there.

The chunks of asphalt were being bent and twisted into different shapes and forms, and never before in his one-hundred and nineteen years that he’s seen a power such as this.

What is he? Witch? Ingen? Toru knew he couldn’t be a Werewolf, as he would have transformed already. He couldn’t be a vampire because his eyes hadn’t turned red and he had no fangs.

Toru got yet another shocker when the objects twisted into needle like protrusions before they sailed through the air and embedded themselves into the vampires’ bodies. Still, as though to make sure that they were dead, massive chunks of asphalt were sent crashing down on the crazed vampires, blood oozing from beneath.

“Fuck…” Tsukihiko said in awe. “…your precious little bartender really is no weak fence, Otouto.”

Given the situation, Toru didn’t have time to counter that Takahiro wasn’t “his precious little bartender”.

“Wow, he’s pretty strong and scary.” Ryouta breathed out. “What is he? Witch or Ingen?”

“I don’t know.”

However, all thoughts were ceased when they finally took in Takahiro’s condition. He was badly injured; parts of his clothes were torn and ripped, exposing the nasty cuts and bruises on his pale skin. His forehead injury was bleeding severely. He looked as though he was about to collapse any minute, and thankfully, Tomoya reached over via his teleportation to prevent him from falling onto his face.

Toru and Ryouta jogged over to Tomoya and Takahiro, the latter fussing over him like a mother.

“He’s gotten bitten,” Tomoya said when as he stared at Takahiro’s bare exposed neck. Thankfully, whichever of these vampires weren’t Newborns because Takahiro would have just lost half of his neck.

“Hnn…” a pained groan escaped from the bartender’s lips, gaining the other’s attention.

“Taka-chan? Can you hear me?” Tomoya asked, trying his best not to sound frantic.

“To…mo…ya…sa…sahnn…?”

“Yup! I’m going to bring you a hospital, okay? So stay with me, ne?” He’s learnt over the years to keep an injured person conscious for as long as possible or at least until they get to a hospital.

“Whah…whah…what’s…hospi…hospit…?”

“Shh…it’s fine.” Toru joined in, stooping like Tomoya and placing a hand on his friend’s shoulder. Without a word to Toru, Tomoya teleported them to the hospital, disappearing in his usual trail of smoke.

While the others went to Takahiro’s side, Tsukihiko was busy taking pictures of the dead bodies to report this to the police and his father. The brunet could clearly see that these vampires were not sane, and he wondered what could have caused them to become like this. But then again, they smelt like freshly turned vampires not pureblood like him and the others, which would mean they were mad with bloodlust.

“These fuckers are either Newborns or Fledglings.” He mumbled in realization. But deep in thought that he hadn’t heard Ryouta walk up to him.

“Tsukki, Toru and Tomo-kun are gone to the hospital.”

Startled, Tsukihiko jerked upwards and pointed his dagger at the younger vampire.

“God, don’t sneak up on me like that.” The older Yamashita sighed.

Ryouta rolled his eyes. He then headed over to a dead body he saw, and proceeded to inspect the face of the female. He couldn’t flip her over for a better view because the police needed to see the crime scene as it is. But from the little he could see of her face, he made a startling discovery.

“Tsukki, these guys…”

“Hmm…? What about them?”

“Aren’t they the ones that came on the news…the missing persons segment or whatever?”

“Seriously?” Being a man that never paid attention to the current affairs unless it directly involved him or those close to him, Tsukihiko was quite the ignorant fellow.

“I can’t believe that you’re a lost cause.” The younger vampire sighed. “I still can’t imagine how you’ll operate when you take over from your dad.”

Tsukihiko smiled cheekily. “If I take over. After all, what’s Toru here for?”

Ryouta laughed. “He’s going to kill you when he finds this out.”

“On the contrary, what he doesn’t know won’t cause him to kill me, right?”

“Yamashita Logic, I swear I’ll never understand you.”

“You don’t have to~” however, his face returned to being serious. “But if they were reported missing, who could have kidnapped them only to turn them into Vampires afterwards? What the sense of doing something like this?”

“Well, letting loose Fledglings and Newborns will definitely cause others to develop hate and distrust towards all Vampires, won’t it?” the partially bleached blond said. “They’ll probably think we’ve broken the treaty or something.”

Tsukihiko knew Ryouta’s words made sense. Even though he was the youngest of them, he still was living for more than a hundred years. He has his smart moments.

“However, these guys attacked Vampires as well. So it’s really hard to point fingers here.” Ryouta continued.

“Whatever the case is, it isn’t going to end well.” The older Yamashita sighed. “Let me call Dad, this is going to be a long night.”

“Morning, Tsukki.” Ryouta corrected. “It’s already after three in the morning.”

“Oh.”

But little did they know what was in store for them.

Chapter Text

Takahiro woke up to voices, again.

For two days this has been happening; however, unlike the voice that nearly cost him his life in Osaka, this time, it was like a million tiny voices whispering in his head. It wasn’t so much to give him a headache or drive him into insanity, but, it was, annoying.

What was even worse, he couldn’t control it.

There were times when everything is normal, and then suddenly, voices —people’s thoughts—are popping into his head without warning. He had planned to visit his mother to get some answers when he returned from Osaka, but look at where he is now.

In a hospital.

If Takahiro had known going to Osaka would drag him to hell, then he would have stayed home. Parts of his limbs were bandaged with healing pentagrams imprinted, which should make the recovery process faster. He remembered the night vividly, but still a part of him was glad when Tomoya and Toru showed up. Although they showed up when everything was over and he was halfway dead, he was nonetheless grateful. It was a night be wanted to forget. For the past two days he's been trying to take his mind off it, sadly, to no avail.

But there was one thing that he’ll never forget.

His fingers trailed to his neck to find it bandaged as well. The moment the vampire had bitten into his neck, Takahiro was so frightened that he ended up losing control for a brief moment and destroyed Abiko-suji Street. And thankfully, he managed to get the vampire off before it drew his blood.

“I’m never going back to Osaka.” He said to himself with surety. He was out of the prefecture, as soon as he had been stabilized in Osaka, he was transferred to a hospital in Tokyo.

Soon enough, a nurse came in through the door, and when she saw him awake, her face immediately brightened. Takahiro was a little bit sceptical about her demeanour, thinking that she may be faking it. He’s been in hospitals before and he knew that because of his family name —Moriuchi—hospital personnel tend to put up a front.  It was even worse when his parents came to visit him; the staff were almost worshipping on the ground they walked on.

“I’m glad that you’re up, Moriuchi-kun!” she smiled. It’s great that he’s up and running.

Takahiro calmed at this. She was genuine. “Yeah.”

“Good, now how are you feeling?”

“Much better. So when can I leave?” Truth be told, Takahiro hated hospitals. The aura of death that wafted through the halls was unnerving, the smell of antiseptics and antibiotics were disgusting.  And he’s been here for two days now; surely, Takahiro has had enough.

“Good, good,” she replied, nodding her head. “You’ll be discharged today; however, there are a couple visitors that need to see you before you leave.”

“Who’re they?”

“Just a moment.” The Nurse said with a smile. With that, she left the room only to return a couple minutes later with two older men. They were dressed professionally —the one on the right wore a black trench coat over a formal suit, while the one on the left only wore a suit.

“Good day, Moriuchi-san.” The one in the trench coat started. “I’m detective Inaba Kazuki and this is my partner, Inoue Shohei.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Inoue bowed.

“Likewise.” Takahiro said.

“As you might have already figured out, we need to ask you some questions pertaining to your accident two days ago.”

“Okay, just make it quick because I really need to leave this place.”

Inaba and Inoue let out a chuckle at the young man’s expression. The two then sat on the available chairs, and began their questioning.

“From what we’ve gathered, you’re a bartender that works in the nightclub “Madhouse” correct?”

“Yes.”

“And you were sent to Osaka to fill in because one worker resigned, right?”

“Yes.”

“But, according to your manager in Osaka at the time —Okazaki Rihito, you left the establishment at ten minutes after two o’clock in the morning.”

“My shift ended at two o’clock; naturally I have to change into my street clothes.” Takahiro was really getting annoyed. He couldn’t see where they were heading with all this questioning. “It just happened to take ten minutes.”

“I see. Still, we’d like to know what made you head to Abiko-suji so early in the morning. Shouldn’t you be at home?” Who takes a walk right after work? Especially at that hour of the morning.

“I was. I just felt like taking a walk.” Takahiro lied. He didn’t want to tell them that he could’ve heard the young woman begging for help in his head. Hell, he doubts that they’ll believe him. But he could hear Inaba’s inner thoughts, and Takahiro could already see that they don’t trust him.

“You’re lying.” Inoue said, leaning back into his chair. “Tell us the truth Moriuchi-san.” Takahiro’s head snapped to Inoue’s direction. The detective continued. “I can tell whether or not you’re telling the truth, so it’s no use hiding anything.” Is there something else that happened that we don’t know about?

“So, that said, answer the question, what made you head to Abiko-suji when you should have been at home.” Inaba said in strict voice. This boy better not be —

“I heard someone screaming for help.” Takahiro quickly said, and when he did so, he didn’t hear the rest of Inaba’s thoughts. This was seriously getting to him and he wanted it to be over.  

The two detectives exchanged glances.

“How? Isn’t your apartment quite the distance from the area? There’s no way you could have heard anyone’s screams.” Inaba reasoned. Plus, the victim’s entire throat was ripped out. There’s no way he could have heard a scream.

Takahiro could hear the man’s thoughts loud and clear. But before the bartender could utter a single word, he heard Inaba yet again:

“Unless, you have Hyperacusia. Do you Moriuchi-kun?”

“What’s Hyper…?”

“Super hearing.”

“No I don’t.”

“Then explain to me, how you were able to hear someone screaming?”

It’s not possible. What is this boy hiding? Inoue thought.

“I’m not hiding anything!” Takahiro unwittingly snapped, sending the detectives rocketing to the door. The machines present in the room shook with such force, that hospital staff outside in the hallway wondered if there had been an earthquake.

Luckily, Takahiro quickly calmed down, and seeing the shit that he just made, he slid underneath his bed sheets, unable to face anyone. He hadn’t meant for that to happen, as a matter of fact, it shouldn’t have.

“Great. In addition to me reading minds, my power is becoming unstable. What the fuck is next?” he grumbled.

But both the detectives looked at him with wide eyes, shocked as to what they were seeing. In that brief moment, from Takahiro’s anger came a force that sent them rocketing across the room. But what was more surprising, the young man’s words and reaction made it seem as though Inoue himself had directly said something to the bartender’s face when he hadn’t said a thing.

“Moriuchi-kun?” Inaba started once again after they’ve recovered their seats and sat back down.

Takahiro slowly emerged from underneath his bed sheets and looked at the detectives. “I…” he started, trying to give an answer to the question the detectives asked earlier. “I just did. I heard her in my head.”

“Moriuchi-kun, are you a telepath?” Inaba asked. He had a hunch that Takahiro was, or had some ability to hear or see people’s thoughts. That was the only way to explain how the young man was able to hear someone’s screams in his head.

Telepathy was one of the more known abilities that enabled its user —Telepath— to read/sense another person's thoughts, communicate with them mentally and/or affect their minds/thoughts. However, the difference between Telepathy and Takahiro’s Telekinesis is —although he can use Telepathy as well— that the former ability only focuses on minds —be it mind reading, psychic communication etc, nothing else. While with Telekinesis, Takahiro can use his mind to control objects and people to his will and Telepathy was just a skill underneath Telekinesis.

“No, I’m not.” Takahiro deadpanned.

Inaba looked to Inoue for confirmation and the shorter of the two could only nod.

Shocked, Inaba asked, “Then how —?”

“I don’t know. I just can hear people’s thoughts.”

“But that’s…”

“My ability isn’t Telepathy. I just happened to be able to do what Telepaths can.”

Is this the development of a new power? Inoue thought as he watched Takahiro. It is no strange occurrence that new, never-before-seen powers develop thanks to parents having differing abilities which end up fusing together in their conceived child. And this wasn’t the typical “one child wielding both powers of his/her parents” scenario that happened all the time.

“All right.” Inaba continued, not going to pry any further. They could always contact his parents for any more information if needs be. “So tell us, what did you see upon arriving to where the young woman was?”

“A vampire sucking her dry. Then, it headed towards me, I tried to escape but I think it signalled to its friends and they all assembled on the roofs like fucking crows.”

“And then what?”

“I fought them for my survival. That’s it.” Takahiro shrugged without meeting any of their gazes. “After that, I remember seeing Tomoya-san and Toru-san and then waking up here.”

“Who’re they? Do you know their family names?”

Takahiro shook his head. “They’re just patrons of Madhouse. I don’t know anything about them.”

“Do you know what their races are?”

“Vampire.”

Takahiro saw the two detectives exchange knowing glances before nodding at each other.

“Thank you for your time, Moriuchi-kun. We’ll keep in touch.”

“Hai.”

When the two men had left the room, Takahiro exhaled a relief. Good riddance. But what bothered him was that they were asking him as though he was the one who killed —

“Well, in a way I did, but I…” he trailed off, realizing the possible shit that he’s landed himself in. “…they aren’t going to charge me with murder, are they?”

With a panicked look on his face, the young bartender gazed out the nearby window catching the detectives hopping into their car and driving off.     

When Takahiro was finally discharged from the hospital, he was dropped home by Masako. The drive to his apartment was extremely quiet, as neither knew what to say. But, Takahiro could hear her every thoughts.

And she knew.

But she didn’t mind. From the moment he had woken up, he fired off questions about what was happening to him, why he was hearing other people’s thoughts. Masako explained to him clearly that it was all a part of him growing up and his power evolving. She even spoke to him through telepathic communication to show him that she could do the same.

It eased his confusion a little, but it didn’t ease his panic. He couldn’t control it, which meant, he’d be reading everyone’s minds even when he doesn’t want to.

“So, Mom, when will it end?” he asked, without looking away from the window.

“When you learn to control it.” She replied. But, his power is evolving too quickly; I hope it doesn’t get too much to the point that he can’t control it any at all…

“Mom!”

“What? What is it?!”

“I can hear you! And you’re scaring me!”

Masako sighed deeply. She was so caught up that she had lowered her shield subconsciously. “It’s just that I’m worried. Your power has been growing ever since you were born. And it seems like it isn’t going to stop anytime soon.” She added, “You’re already stronger than me, which isn’t a bad thing, but I fear that your father and I may have to intervene later on…”

“Intervene? How?”

She shook her head. And what was worse, Masako didn’t allow Takahiro to read her mind this time —her shield was back up. The worry was clearly etched on her face, Takahiro slumping in his seat, wondering what sort of “intervention” she could be talking about.

“So, is it the same for Hiroki and Tomohiro?” he couldn’t help but ask. As the bigger brother, Takahiro was naturally concerned about his other siblings.

She laughed. “No. Those two are more Witch-like than anything else.” her laughter then simmered into chuckles, “I suppose they got the better end of the stick.”

“Pfft. I’m satisfied with my ability. I get to kick ass without drawing power from Spirits and all that shit.”

“Takahiro!” Masako said in a slight reprimand. “Have some respect! Calling your father’s heritage “shit” is ―”

“Mother…” he drawled, cutting her off. “…I didn’t mean it in a bad way…”

“What am I going to do with you?” she sighed.

Soon after, she pulled up in the parking lot of Takahiro’s apartment complex, the young bartender hopping out after Masako gave him a kiss on the forehead. He entered through the double sliding doors, passed the receptionist and entered the elevator up to the third floor where he lived.

Without realizing, he opened the door, took off his shoes at the genkan and headed to his living room.

“Yo! You’re finally out.” A gentle voice greeted him.

“What are you doing here, Takeru?!” Takahiro screeched in fright, half of the furniture was already floating in the air, in case it was a break-in. “How’d you even get in?!”

“Takahiro…” the taller male replied in a stern voice. “…I’m your best friend. This is my house too so naturally; I’m going to have my own set of keys.”

“You bastard…”

Takeru got up out of the sofa and walked towards Takahiro. He then embraced the smaller into a hug and said, almost tearing up, “I’m glad that you’re okay. You have no idea how worried and scared I was.”

“Takeru…you’re creeping me out.”

“I shouldn’t be!” Takeru hissed. “Seeing you laying unconscious in that hospital bed is fuck scary, you know? I know you’re the Almighty Taka but God…”

Takahiro softened after seeing Takeru’s expression. The young man looked like a wreck, and clearly, Takahiro could see the hurt and pain in his face.

Taka…you have no idea how I felt…I didn’t sleep you know, you little shit! You kept me up for two fucking days!

“Well, sorry.” Takahiro rolled his eyes at his best friend. Takeru’s voice was so loud in his head that he had thought the boy had actually spoken out.

“Sorry for what?”

“For ―” he broke off. “―nothing.”

“Uh huh.” He nodded, not believing the bartender for a minute. “So, have you found love? Did you meet the Yamashita brothers?!” he quickly changed the subject to a lighter one, in hopes of cheering up Takahiro and getting him to relax.

“Takeru…”

“Come on! Tell me about your adventures!”

“One: I didn’t have any adventure. Two: I don’t know if I had met the Yamashita brothers but four Vampires seem to have attached themselves to me. Three: I didn’t find love. I was busy trying to do my work, plus, there was a Vampire watching me like a hawk for the entire week!”

“Oh.” Takeru said, seeming totally unfazed. “So, tell me about the four Vampires and the one who apparently stalked you.”

Takahiro sighed. “I’m not in the mood. Use your psychometry and see for yourself.”

“Dude, I don’t want to see you showering or shitting.” Takeru hissed with disgust. “You know I can’t pick and choose what I want to see. I just see everything.”

“Oh right.” So, with a breath, Takahiro told Takeru the main events that happened to him in Osaka. Of course, the taller male grinned like an idiot when he found out that the same Vampire that “stalked” Takahiro was part of the “Vampire Quartet” which was made up of the stalker Vamp and his older brother. Here, Takeru was adamant that Toru was a Yamashita because this was too coincidental and fit too well together.

“Moriuchi Takahiro, he’s a Yamashita.” Takeru said with a giggle. “Trust me.”

“He’s not! Well, none of us know for sure what he is! Don’t be jumping to conclusions!”

“Well, whether or not he’s a Yamashita, the fact that a Vampire—who happen to have an older brother at that— likes you means that I was right.” He grinned. “So, in your opinion, was he hot?”

Takahiro stopped and turned away his face from his best friend. “I don’t… don’t…don’t know.” He stammered.

Takeru placed his chin on the back of his palms, leaned forwards and grinned mischievously. “Oh…your face tells me he’s so not hot,” he started; his voice was laced with sarcasm. “But he’s a million degrees, instead isn’t he? No wonder you’re so red now. Ya got ya’self bu’nt bad, Takahiro.” Takeru tried to imitate the Kansai dialect but somehow failed. Still, that didn’t stop him from erupting with laughter so much that he ended up rolling on the floor.

“Die!” Takahiro screamed at the top of his lungs as he pulled his knives and other sharp objects from his kitchen and aimed them at Takeru.

“Taka! Wait! I was just joking!”

But the bartender would not have it. “I don’t care!”

“I’ll buy that strawberry cake you saw before leaving for Osaka!”

Immediately, Takahiro calmed down. “I want four of them.”

“Four?!” Takeru screeched in astonishment. “Why four?!”

“It’s either the four cakes or death.” The petite bartender said. “Which is it?”

“I’ll get you the cakes.” Takeru whimpered.

“Great.”

With a change in his attitude, Takahiro turned his TV on but the first thing he was hit with, was of course, the incident on Abiko-suji. With a hiss, he turned it off, not wanting to hear anything pertaining to it.

“You know, that’s the only thing that’s been on the news these past two days.” Takeru hummed.

“You don’t say?”

“No, I don’t.” the taller deadpanned playfully. Upon seeing the glare from his smaller best friend, Takeru then quickly added, “Police say that the Vampires were Fledgling and Newborns who were crazed for blood.”

“And…?”

“But, given that it only happened on that night, they’re beginning to wonder if someone deliberately let these Vampires starve then let them loose in the city.”

“What do you mean?”

Takeru sighed. “Someone should have paid attention in high school.” He said. “Prior to your attack, these Vampires should’ve been killing people for a week. That didn’t happen. Instead, all of them went on a hunting spree at the same time, in the same place. That shit don’t happen unless there’s a ringleader. And starving Vampires don’t think straight to have a leader out of the bunch. Which means, there was a completely sane one, calling the shots.”

“Oh.”

“Aren’t you surprised? Scared? Shocked?”

“I am. I just…”

Takeru saw the mortified look on Takahiro’s face. The bandage on his neck and limbs were still there, evidence showing just how much he went through. And getting bitten by a Vampire that’s not one’s lover is one hell of an experience that most people don’t live to tell about it.

“Wanna go clubbing?”

“I want to get back to my Madhouse, not going clubbing. Maybe drowning myself in work will make me forget all this.”

Takeru chuckled lightly. “All work and no play will make you a dull man Taka. No woman —er, I mean—Toru wouldn't want that, now would he?”

Takahiro glared at Takeru. “I’m going to kill you!”

“I love you too, Taka~!” Takeru sang as he ran away from his raging friend in pure joy. It’s good to see him up and about like usual, but what Takeru didn’t bank on was Takahiro crossing over the merciless side and use his Telekinesis on his ass. Now he’s trapped within the bartender’s psionic grasp with no means of escape.

“Come on, Taka, I have to buy you those four cakes.” Takeru reasoned. “If you kill me now, who’s going to do it?”

Takahiro smirked deviously. “I believe killing you will satisfy me far more than four cakes ever will.”

“Shit.”

"You dug your own grave, have the decency to let me bury you."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

Meanwhile in Osaka, Toru sneezed.

And sneezed again.

“I wonder who could be talking about me?” he yawned. Taka, maybe. He thought but quickly dismissed it. It was a popular Japanese superstition that if someone sneezed too much without a cold, then someone else was talking about them. And being a Yamashita, Toru would never catch a cold. If anything, he’ll more likely to give the cold to someone else.

Currently, he was lying in his bed, gazing at the white ceiling.

The events from two days ago plagued his mind like a never ending nightmare. What the police have recognized as both Fledglings and Newborn vampires were loose in the city —on Abiko-suji Street to be exact.

Who let them loose? No one knew.

Why they were let loose? Once again, no one knew.

Where they came from? Still, no one knew.

That was the million-dollar question at the moment, because the world knew that Vampires only turned their mortal love interests so that they won’t wither and die by eighty.

And it’s because of these same crazed vampires that almost claimed Takahiro’s life. If it weren’t for Tomoya’s precognition, the bartender would have probably bled to death that night.

Toru shivered at the thought.

In the midst of that, Toru found that he’s been thinking about the petite bartender…a lot. And no, he wasn’t in love, he was just interested. Well, he probably had a crush on the bartender but refused to admit it.

Still, the more he thought about Takahiro, the more awed he became. He’s never seen a power like Takahiro’s before, the closest he’s gotten are the powers that some Witches use —calling upon the forces of Spirits from another plane and all that shit. But with Takahiro, Toru knew that it couldn’t have been. So, was he an Ingen? That was the only option left but then again, he could be a Halfie too.

“Hmm…” he hummed, rising out of his bed like a zombie. Swinging his legs to the side of the bed, Toru got up and stretched, pulling back the curtains while he was at it. However, the light from the afternoon sun was so bright; he recoiled as though acid had burned him.

“Shit! What’s with the sun today?!” he hissed as he rubbed his eyes. It was then that he looked at the clock and saw that it was minutes after one o’clock. “Fuck, I can’t believe that I’ll be going out in this heat.” He grumbled.

Suddenly his phone rang, and given the ringtone, he knew who it was. Sliding it to answer albeit reluctantly, Toru mumbled, “What do you want, Alex?”

“Good day to you too.” The Vampire started “Well, a little birdie told me shit went down two days ago. I tried calling Tsukki, but he won’t answer, so you’re the next best thing.”

Alex —or rather, Alexander Reimon Onizawa—has been Toru’s friend ever since they were in school, barely a century ago. He was a Halfie through and through: he was half Japanese, half American and half Vampire, half Ingen. He was a tall man, with more distinctive American features than Japanese.

Toru snorted as he could hear the smile in the bastard’s voice. “Yeah, stuff happened. Some died, some didn’t. Places were destroyed, a street was fucked up. Anything else you’d like to know?”

Alex was currently out of Japan for what reasons? No one knew. He just got up and left saying that “he’ll be back soon” and two months later, Alex is still chatting with them through international calling.

“What the hell was that? “Stuff happened”? “Some died, some didn’t”? Come the fuck on! Details bro, details!”

“I don’t have time to waste, so I had to summarize.” Toru deadpanned. “But, really, I’m pretty sure that you didn’t call me just to ask what happened two days ago.”

“Right…” Alex sighed into the phone.  “I’ll be back in Japan later this evening after finally leaving this hellhole.”

“So? But which hellhole are you talking about?” Frankly, Toru couldn’t care less even if Alex had fallen into a volcano. Yes, their friendship was just that great.

“Well, long story short, I think Dad may have stumbled upon something that’ll be a pain in the ass if we don’t get something done about it.”

“Stumbled upon what?”

“Some guy named “Uchida Ichirou” is dead in his holiday home in China, and his heirloom is gone missing.”

Toru didn’t see the importance of it. “What’s so special about the heirloom? Is it some sort of expensive jewellery? Are you sure this isn’t just a regular robbery and murder?” He didn’t dare to ask about the man because he never knew him then, and he sure as hell won’t now.

“I wish.” Alex sighed. He rolled his eyes as well, and to say that Toru could literally hear over it the phone was an understatement. “It’s still being investigated, but what they do know for sure is that it’s a priceless artefact that can be used by Witches in their creepy spells and shit.”

“Oh.”

“Oh? Oh? Oh?!” Alex screeched, deafening Toru. “I’m here stuck with Dad and his henchmen and all you can say is “Oh”?!”

“Here where? China?” Toru asked, ignoring the complaints of the screeching Vampire.

Alex was not amused. “Yes, Toru. Where the fucking dead man is, rotting away on his goddamn floor.” He quipped. Although Alex was indeed in China, he wasn’t at the Uchida’s holiday home. The body had already been moved to a coroner, and the investigation of the house was completed thanks to the Supernaturals. Plus, it’s been over a month since he’s been there.

“Whatever, I don’t care about that.” Toru said, but given what Alex told him, he had a feeling this was just the tip of the iceberg. “What did you say his name was again?”

“Who? The dead man?”

“No, my asshole.”

Alex laughed, sounding like an uncontrollably hysteric screech. Coming out of his fit, he then answered, “Uchida Ichirou. What? You’re gonna do some digging yourself?”

“Goodbye Alex.” Toru ended the call promptly, without hearing Alex’s witty clapback. But he knew that once Alex returns to Japan, he isn’t going to hear the end of it. He placed his phone on his bedside table before heading to the bathroom to freshen up.  

Toru left his house after breakfast, and hopped into his car. Unlike in fiction, Vampires won’t turn to ash in the sun. The first time Toru heard of that absurd myth, he burst out laughing and called those who believed it idiots. Though he wondered what could have really spurred on that myth, he never got around asking. Not that he cared.

He made it to a stoplight, which happened to be on red. Quickly, he took out his phone and called Tomoya, hoping that he’d answer. During this time of day, the Kanki was usually busy with work, as his (new) job for the past forty years —he and Ryouta have a tendency to change their occupation often— was Chief Animation Director alongside Ryouta. They own an animation studio —TRK—which managed to emerge as one of the top animation studios in Japan these days.  

After two rings, it was answered, “Yo, Toru! What’s up?!”

“Is your Dad home?”

“Nope, he’s at a meeting.” Tomoya replied quickly. Although he didn’t live with his parents, Tomoya still knew their whereabouts at any given time of the day. “What’s the matter?”

“Alex called me.” He started. “He’s in China with his father, but they’ve discovered a dead body. His name was Uchida Ichirou but that’s not the main point. Apparently, the man’s heirloom was missing.”

“Heirloom? What is it? Expensive shit that can make them billionaires or something?” The older Vampire snorted. “I’m not surprised if this is a robbery.”

“Who knows? According to Alex, it can be used by Witches in their spells or something.”

“Heeh? That sounds like trouble. Stolen goods with Witchcraft never turn out to be anything beneficial to anyone.”

“That’s why I want your Dad to look into it. “Uchida” is a family name originating from Hyōgo, am I right?”

“Yeah. If you want, I can look it up for you. No wait, I’ll have to ask Daisuke to do it. I'm in the middle of work." Daisuke here, was Tomoya little brother. 

“I don’t care who does it. I just got this feeling of unease ever since Alex called.”

“Yeah, but on a different note, have you gone to visit your precious bartender yet?!”

Toru could hear the hidden squeal in Tomoya’s voice, even though the Vampire spoke rather normally.

“Tomoya.” Toru started in a stern voice.

“Toru.” The Vampire mocked. “Believe me when I say my Precognition tells me you’re going to be living happily ever after with your precious Taka—”

“You’re a dead man.” Toru hissed before hanging up the phone. But this is to be expected. He knew they were all disgusting bastards who loved —lived to tease the life out of each other and frankly, Toru knew that he won’t see the end of it.

Soon, he reached his workplace but unlike any other office, where he worked was a gigantic, sprawling, group of buildings where he —the founder—sometimes gets lost. It was like a miniature town, with its own avenues and streets, and numerous buildings of varying sizes, shapes, and subsidiaries.

Toru drove through the nicely paved streets until he pulled up in the parking lot of Building Thirty-Three, where he quickly hopped out of his car and headed in. The bright and familiar walls greeted him, their wall art never ceases to make him chuckle.

Behind the receptionist was a typography painting which said, “You can talk to me. I won’t bite unless you’re uttering bulls**t.”

The first time Toru saw it, he burst out in full blown laughter. These hilarious yet motivational wall arts were everywhere in the various offices as a means to uplift the employees.

“Yo. How’s everything?” He greeted the male receptionist with a fist bump as is customary.

“Fine as always.” The receptionist answered.

“Great. Keep it up.” Toru said as he walked down the hallway to the elevator.

But as calm as he may be, Toru couldn’t help the sinking feeling that arose within the pits of his stomach. What was so special about the heirloom? He got that Witches could use for their wacky spells and rituals, but for which spell?

The practice of Black Magic has been banned for centuries now, due to some cataclysmic shit that went down way back before his grandfather was even born. So, could it be on the rise again? Was that the reason for all those crazed Vampires loose that night? Was it one of the reasons behind the kidnappings and the murders sweeping the nation?

What is it?

Toru slammed his forehead down on the table nearly splitting it in half. While he was no detective, things like these left him extremely unsettled. And since his family runs the prefecture, both he and Tsukihiko were privy to all the shit —both good and bad— that goes on.

But, for now, Toru decided to leave it be, because there was nothing he could do at the moment.

“Plus, I’m no police.” Toru mumbled. “I hope this isn’t something that’ll stress us all out.”

He turned on the TV that was mounted on the left wall and quickly scooted into the sofa before it. And the first thing that hit him was about Abiko-suji.

« Business owners are affected greatly by this incident as not only is the street completely destroyed, but the buildings themselves. Furthermore, the bodies of the dead Vampires that were found littering the street have finally been identified. Among them are —twenty two year old Suzuki Yumi, eighteen year old Matsumoto Jun, twenty five year old Amano Daigo —all of which have been reported missing weeks earlier.

This ― »

Toru switched the channel. He was sick and tired of hearing about it, but then again, his mind ran on Takahiro. He wondered how the little bartender was doing, and mentally cursed himself for not soliciting his full name earlier. He only knew him as “Taka, the Madhouse Bartender”. What was even worse, he didn’t even know where “Taka” lived. He knew he wasn’t from Osaka, he sounded like he was from Tokyo or the Kantō Region but he couldn’t be too sure.

“I hope he’s alright.” Toru ended up saying out loud. And he still doesn’t want to admit that he may have a crush on the bartender, even if it’s obvious. “Maybe I should take a visit to Tokyo’s Madhouse one of these days with the others.” He hummed to himself, remembering that Taka told him that after one week, he’ll be leaving Osaka, never to return. However, that was the least of his problems. Alex said he’ll be coming back this evening.

“Fuck.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Throughout the five hour long drive back to Osaka, Inaba and Inoue could not keep their minds at ease. One thing led to another, with no good leads, suspects or any proper clues. It was like having a puzzle and not all the missing pieces.

“Hmm…” Inaba started with a heavy sigh. “This is bothering me to no end.”

“What? The case?”

“Of course. Moriuchi-kun’s apartment was quite the distance from where the attack took place, and yet he was the one who heard her screams and rushed to help her.”

“He wasn’t lying.” Inoue said.

“I know, but what I can’t understand is, why him? He wasn’t the only one living at the complex, so how is it that only he heard? Besides, there is a residential area nearby Abiko-suji before we get to Moriuchi-kun’s temporary apartment. Why didn’t anyone from there assisted the woman?”

Inoue hummed and looked through the window. “Indeed.”

Suddenly, Inaba’s cellphone rang, the detective quickly picking it up. Putting it on speaker, the two heard a familiar voice from the other end.

“Inaba-san, I’ve found out the information you wanted.”

“Great! Let me hear it.”

“Her name was Akiyama Yui and her ability was Telepathy —Basic level. She was a graduate student pursuing her Master’s in Psychology.”

“Typical.” Inoue said. In today’s society, people with certain abilities are urged in schools to choose a job that can utilize their power efficiently. He’s one example, being a lie detector, he was often time told to become a policeman, some form of lawyer or a detective —someone who worked in the field of law. It made sense, but not everyone is fond of that idea.

“Do you wish for me to continue?”

“It’s alright. We’re on our way back.”

“Okay Sir.”

And with that, the call ended, for once the two detectives felt as though they’ve taken a step closer.

“To think she was a telepath.” Inoue breathed out.

“That would explain why Moriuchi-kun was able to hear her screaming and begging for help in his head.” Inaba concluded.

“But what I don’t get was why is it that Moriuchi-kun was the only one who heard her? Is it such a coincidence that he was the only one with telepathic abilities in that entire area?”

Inaba hummed. “That does pose a problem because even if someone isn’t a Telepath, they can still hear another Telepath’s psychic voice if they project their minds strong enough.”

“And with her facing death’s door, then I wouldn’t be surprised if even birds heard her voice. But all this is so strange, in one case, it looked like a Witch murdered a Vampire, in another, it seemed like a Vampire killed an entire family and now…innocent people were kidnapped and turned into Vampires. Just what is going on? And why?” Inoue sighed in distress. “Could all of these be tied together somehow?”

Inaba raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“They all have one thing in common —Vampires. Could our answer lie with them? Or could it be that another Supernatural race is trying to frame them?”

“I’d say the latter. I mean, no one in their right minds would dare to go against Yamashita Arata. I’ve seen him upset once before and trust me; I can’t even imagine what he’s like when he’s fucking pissed. That’s how scary he is.”

“Shit…”

“Yes, shit is right.”

For the remainder of the journey, the two threw out ideas at each other with the little information that they had from investigations so far. And sadly, it wasn’t much. Still, they weren’t the only ones working on this case; it was an entire team so more than likely, the other members have gotten something as well.

Soon enough, they arrived back to the branch office, and at the moment the Criminal Investigation division —to a narrower extent, the Homicide division— of the Osaka Police department was in chaos ―phones ringing nonstop, documents flying around and exasperated workers sprinting through the hallways with worry etched on their faces.

Inaba and Inoue were unfazed by it all; this was a regular in their division anyway. Quickly, the two made their way to their room, where another chaotic, yet strangely organized room greeted them. But when the two detectives entered, it seemed as though time stood still.

“Captain! Vice-Captain! Back so soon?” One member asked with surprise.

“Yeah, we’ve got what we need and it was just a victim investigation.” Inaba replied.  “So what have you got?”

“Ah…” the young man smiled. “Here is the information about Akiyama Yui.”

“Good.” Inaba took it and right where he stood, both he and Inoue read the contents and whistled. Turns out, she has an older brother whose power is in the Advanced Level and he was the last one to have spoken with her when she was alive.

“Have you questioned him yet?” Inaba asked.

“Matsui is already on it.”

But then, the older man remembered what Inoue said to him in the car. All of the recent cases in the prefecture had the Vampire element. Then it clicked to him.

“Everyone!” he shouted, getting their attention. “Gather ‘round!”

Like moths to a flame, every detective rushed towards him eagerly, wondering what they’re captain has to say.

“Ever since this month, our city has three serious murder cases and six kidnapping that turned people into Vampires.” Inaba said, briefing everyone in the room. “There isn’t a specification in victims; rather, it’s any unfortunate soul that happens to be alone. Inoue said something to me and I thought, what if it’s right or a part of a clue we need? Every case had Vampires involved —whether or not they were the victims or perpetrators.” He then turned to the group on his right, “Team A, what have you got?”

“In regards to our case, we’ve gotten two leads but at this moment no suspects. It is true that the only type of Supernatural capable of engraving pentagrams is Witches, but we have to take into consideration Halfies as well.” A tall female stood up and started. She was the leader for Team A, which was in charge of a case pertaining to a Vampire who was found dead with a pentagram burnt into his chest. “And as such, with Onizawa-san returning this evening, we planned to have him examine the body for any detailed clues.”

“Oh shit, Onizawa’s coming back?!” one screeched. “Today?!”

“Yes, but let’s not get sidetracked.” Inaba said. “And how long ago was this Vampire killed?”

“Approximately four weeks ago.”

Inaba nodded.  He turned to look in the other direction, “Team B, what’s going on?” This team was responsible for the incident that happened on the twelfth, where a family was chased through the woods and killed.

“The victims are thirty-seven year old Suzuki Daichi, his thirty year old wife, Ayane and their eight year old son, Akifumi.” A tall, elegant man stood up and said. “They were on a family retreat to their log cabin in the hills of Minoh, but what made them leave in the middle of the night is unknown. However, from the evidence, we’ve found that they were chased by a Vampire and not an Ingen with Acceleration as their necks were all bitten out, their bloods completely drained.”

“In addition, patrolling police who were nearby the scene and seemingly heard the screams for help were also attacked and drained of their blood.” Another stood up and supplied. “As it is, test results show that all the victims had traces of venom within their bloodstream.” He added, “As such, we’re asking any medical facility for records to see if we can actually trace these Vampires. If they had their bodies examined in the past, then we’ll definitely catch them.”

“Great.” Inaba nodded. “So let’s just say that a Witch and the dead Vampire with the pentagram had some bad blood going on. He or She killed him. The family in Minoh, what were they?”

“Witches.”

“Right. So, could this be revenge killing? The dead Vampire’s family or friends sought revenge and the policemen were just unfortunate souls who would have gotten in their way.” Inaba said. “But, this isn’t concrete. Although there are two races involved, these cases may not be related any at all.”

“Right…”

“Have you investigated the victims’ families yet? Who was the last person to see them? What did they talk about? Was their situation bad? Financially? Emotionally? Were they gamblers? Were they involved with loan sharks? Yakuza? We need to find these out because people don’t just turn up dead and others don’t just kill for the sake of killing. There must be a reason.”

“Psychopaths do that.” One said.

“If it were a psychopath, we’d have a serial case here.”

“What if the second case involves a Vampire that’s not from our prefecture?” another asked. “Given how scary Yamashita Arata is, I doubt anyone would want to piss him off.”

“And put us all in the next ice age.” Another grumbled out.

“Don’t worry, his wife and eldest son will thaw us out.”

“Huh? Isn’t it the second son that has the flames and the first son has the ice? So how will ―”

“You’re getting sidetracked!” Inaba shouted. “Remember we have serious cases to deal with!” His eyes then turned to his desk. “I suggest you continue looking through evidence or source some new ones. Team C, we’ve got work to do!”

“Hai!”

Team C was in charge of the most recent case, the one involving the kidnappings and the turning of these people into Vampires after which they were let loose in Osaka City, on Abiko-suji Street.

After the teams had dispersed, Inaba then turned to a meek looking male in the right hand corner before asking, “Have you found out what I asked?”

“Yes Sir!” the male chirped. He handed Inaba six sheets of paper, each having words and pictures done in a two column format.

“This is a lot.” Inoue whistled, peering over Inaba’s shoulder and looking at the paper. “How many are there?” he then asked the young man.

“Around five hundred Vampires with the name “Tomoya” and close to two thousand Vampires named “Toru”.” He added, “Although, the spellings of “Toru” varies. I’ve found some spelt with two o’s instead of one, there are some with an “H” in the middle.”

“It’s fine. As long as it’s all the Vampires in the prefecture.” Inaba smiled. He looked to Inoue and gave him the sheet of papers, “Could you head back to Moriuchi-kun and ask him which one of these were the men who helped him that night?”

“Yes Sir!”

Inoue spun on his heel and headed out, taking his jacket off the chair while he was at it. Going down the hallway, Inoue headed to another sub-division —Organized Crime department in search of someone.

When he entered the busy and chaotic room, his eyes managed to spot the person he was looking for. Navigating through crowd and avoiding bumping into cubicles and tables, he arrived at the young man.

“Hey. Can I ask you for a favour?” Inoue said when he caught up with the Vampire.

“Inoue?” the Vampire recognized him just by voice. He hadn’t looked up from his monitor, and seemed to be deep in whatever he was looking at. “What is it?”

“I need you to drop me off in Tokyo. It’s an urgent matter and I really don’t want to drive for five hours again.”

The Vampire nodded, pushed back his swivel chair and laughed. “You bitches better pay me for my services.”

This Vampire had black hair done in the gentleman hairstyle and a bright grin that could put the sun to shame. His name was Kanki Daisuke.

“Ha! Your payment would be a safer society.” Inoue joked.

“Right…” Daisuke joked. “So where in Tokyo do you want to go? Make this quick because my brother asked me to search something for him.”

“I just need to get to the Tokyo Police Department. I can handle everything from there.” Inoue replied. “But what did this search entail?”

Daisuke sighed and looked back at his computer monitor. “Apparently, some Witch guy in China is dead, but he’s Japanese and his heirloom was stolen. So Onii-chan wanted me to look up his family name to see what the hell is so special about the heirloom.”

Inoue looked confused. Because of his lie detector ability, no one ever tried to lie to him; unless they believed the lie to be truth then that’s a different story. But how does a Japanese dead in China is of significance? And what heirloom was that?

“What’s the guy’s name?”

“Uchida Ichirou.”

“Oh.” Was all the detective could utter. So far, they’ve haven’t any case with that name in it, but since the crime happened in China, wouldn’t the Chinese police be the ones on the case now? Although the stolen heirloom could make its way back to Japan, Inoue thought that as long as this case isn’t brought up in any meeting, then he shouldn’t stress about it. After all, he already has his hands full with this one.

 “So, Tokyo Police Department?”

“Yeah.”

“Let’s go.”

 

Thanks to Daisuke, Inoue reached his destination in a split second. It was truly a blessing to have a Kanki or two present in the workplace. Investigations —no matter the type, can run smoothly thanks to them.

Inoue entered the building while flashing his badge at the receptionist. He knew exactly where he should go, in order to find out where this Moriuchi Takahiro lived.

After he got what he wanted, Inoue called a taxi to take him where the bartender lived. Almost close to an hour Inoue sat in the taxi for, and silently cursed that he hadn’t persuaded Daisuke to stay with him. He would have already reached and gotten the information from Takahiro.

Soon, the taxi neared the apartment complex, and when it arrived at the gate, Inoue hopped out quickly, given that he had paid the driver at the same time he entered.

He headed to the young man’s house and whistled. It was a nice place, making Inoue think that he was probably loaded. Well, he is a Moriuchi…

Going into the elevator and up to the third floor where the young bartender lived, Inoue knocked thrice on Takahiro’s door before there was an answer, albeit a rather annoyed one.

“Who is it?” came the drawl from behind the door.

“Detective Inoue Shohei from the Osaka Police Department.”

Immediately, the door swung open and a dishevelled young man appeared. His hair was in disarray, the white t-shirt that hung off his shoulder looked like it hadn’t been ironed in…forever.

“What is it that you wanted to talk about?” Takahiro asked.

“I have pictures of all the Vampires with the names “Tomoya” and “Toru” whichever way the name is spelt. I’d like you to have a look and tell me which of these men aided you on that night.”

Seems easy enough.

With a nod, Takahiro took all six papers and looked at the faces. He had first looked through the papers consisting of “Tomoya” only, but, sadly, he didn’t see the chubby cheeked Vampire.

“He’s not here.” Takahiro said with furrowed brows. “You don’t have Tomoya-san.”

“What? So, his name is an alias then?”

“Prob―” he cut himself off as he remembered what the Vampire told him. “Ah! He said he lived in Hyōgo! And the others said that he’s like their taxi because he’s better than a Shinkansen!”

Inoue’s eyes narrowed. Not because Takahiro was telling truth and forgot to mention it at their first meeting, but because that sentence was describing this “Tomoya” like a Kanki. While there were Speedsters out there, the only people who got called “taxis” were the Kanki as within a second, they could get their passengers anywhere they wished due to their frightening Teleportation. Plus, “Tomoya” lived in Hyōgo, that’s the prefecture ruled by the Kanki family.

“How does this “Tomoya-san” look?”

“Well, he’s a little chubby in the cheeks, has a weird hyena-like laugh, and his hair is like seaweed —curly ends coloured green.”

“I see.” But Inoue didn’t press, that description was, strange. If they have “Toru” on the paper, he could always ask him for “Tomoya”.

“Here he is! Toru! I couldn’t miss those huge-ass stalker eyes!”

He was taken out of his thoughts when he heard Takahiro give out. “Great.” But when Inoue saw the family name of “Toru”, his face lost all its colour. This Toru was a flipping Yamashita. And sadly for Takahiro, because he wanted the detective to leave him alone, he didn’t bother to look at his stalker’s surname.

“Ah, thank you, Moriuchi-san.” Inoue smiled at the young man. “We’ll be in touch.”

“Hai.” Takahiro bowed as he showed the man the door. But frankly, the bartender couldn’t be gladder that Inoue was gone.

As soon as Takahiro closed the door, Inoue whipped out his phone and called his office, telling Inaba the situation. Of course, the older man immediately sent someone to find Yamashita Toru and to also inquire about Tomoya.

“Well, time to head to the station to sit my ass down for three hours on a train ride back to Osaka.” Inoue sighed. “In times like these I wished I was a Kanki or had some form of Acceleration ability.”

 

Alex dismounted off the plane with a deep sigh escaping his lips. Finally, he was back home in Japan, and couldn’t wait to meet up with the others and drink themselves to Kingdom come.

After he claimed his baggage and bid farewell to his father, Alex hopped into a taxi which carried him directly home. The past two months had been pretty hectic, from his father suddenly getting a call to go to China and hauling his ass with him, to discovering the shit that went down.

The Chinese were still in the midst of the investigation, but with the two Onizawas’ ability, they found out how he was attacked, where he had been etc. And throughout, Alex couldn’t help but feel a sinking feeling in the pits of his stomach.

“Man, I gotta let Tomo see what shit is going to happen.” He grumbled as he turned on his side in bed. He’s never been so troubled before, not even when he had his heart broken forty years ago.

“I wonder what the bastards are up anyway?” he murmured as he unlocked his phone. “Maybe drinking will give me temporary peace.”

 

 

Brrinnnggg. Brrrinnngg.

Toru’s head snapped up when he heard the loud incessant ringing echoing in his office. Groggily, he pressed the button before taking up the receiver.

“Hello?” he answered, trying not to sound like he wasn’t just woken up out of sleep.

“Yamashita-san, Detective Hakamada Jun is here to see you.”

Toru’s brows furrowed in confusion but nevertheless, he replied, “Okay, send him up.”

“Hai.”

The call ended, and frankly, Toru couldn’t care less how he looked at the moment. All he wondered about was what a detective wanted from him.

“Hello Yamashita-san.” Hakamada greeted as he entered the office.

“Likewise.” The Vampire responded.

“I’ll be asking you a couple of questions needed for an investigation, alright?”

“Sure.”

“So, I’ll begin. What were you doing on the twentieth?”

“Oh.” Toru picked up the reason for the detective coming here. “I was here at work, and then left with two friends and my older brother to the Madhouse nightclub.”

“And then what?”

“They danced like idiots while I sat and watched.” The Vampire deadpanned.

“Did you converse with the bartender, Moriuchi Takahiro-kun?”

Toru wanted to scream in joy. While he had been angsting over the fact that he didn’t know Taka’s name, here, the detective basically delivered it to him on a silver platter.

“Yes I did.”

“What did you talk about?”

Toru felt annoyed. “Well, our conversation started when I didn’t know what drink to order and he made a suggestion, and then I complimented him and asked if he worked there every night because we’ve been going to club for a week at the time.”

“And what did he say?”

“He denied saying that he didn’t live in Osaka, he was just sitting in. I then asked his name, he told me; I asked about bartending and stuff, even my friends and brother had joined in.”

Hakamada nodded. “So this was the very first time that you’ve ever spoken with Moriuchi-kun?”

“Yes.”

“So after his shift ended, what did you do?”

“Sat back and read some things on my phone.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“At what time did you leave the Madhouse?”

“I don’t know. Before closing time. Like two thirty or something.”

“Okay. And did you go straight home?”

“We were. But then Tomoya’s foresight showed him Taka lying in his blood on Abiko-suji and we rushed in to help.”

“So that was how you got to Moriuchi-kun?”

“Yes.”

The detective nodded. “Who did you go with again? Remind me of their names.”

“Kanki Tomoya, Kohama Ryouta, Yamashita Tsukihiko.” Toru said.

“Thank you for your time, Yamashita-san.”

“You’re welcome.”

The detective left the office with Toru showing him out, but the Yamashita couldn’t have been happier. He now knew “Taka’s” name.

“What a great day indeed.” Toru smiled as he sat back in his chair.

 

 

Later that day, Toru left the office at minutes after eight o’clock; most of his time winding down to the hour was spent thinking on how he’d meet Taka again. Sure he could always either drive to Tokyo himself but that was five whole hours. The other option was to have Tomoya teleport them, but then what? Go to the Madhouse? What if the bartender changes jobs?

With an exasperated sigh, Toru rummaged his pockets for his keys and opened the door to his house. Taking his shoes off at the genkan, he trotted inwards to the living room where he heard loud, boisterous chatter.

“I swear! I’m never following Dad ever again! Do you have any idea how disturbing it was!?”

“No we don’t.” came the deadpanned voices.

“Show some sympathy you wretches!” the voice screeched. “I had to shape-shift into a dead Witch! A fucking Witch!”

“We don’t have either of your abilities so we can’t relate to your suffering.” Snickers were heard this time around.

“You motherfuck—"

Recognizing the voices, Toru thundered towards them, “What the hell are you three doing here?!” He roared when he spotted Tomoya, Ryouta and Alex sitting in his living room slurping on cup ramen as if they owned the place.

“Eating ramen, can’t you see Toru?” Ryouta answered as if Toru hadn’t asked a rhetorical question. But then his eyes landed on Alex who had the most devious smirks he had ever seen.

“Na, Toru,” the Halfie started, Toru could tell that the bastard was up to something.

“What?”

“No need to be so hostile.” Alex urged, “Calm down, bro.”

With a sigh, Toru took a seat on the arms of the chair that Tomoya sat in, and folded his arms. “So?” he prompted Alex to continue.

“Did you find anything out about the dead guy? You sounded like someone precious to you was in danger when you heard the info. Found love at long last?”

“It’s not like that. I just had an uneasy feeling because we all know Witchcraft plus stolen goods never amount to anything beneficial for society.”

“True.”

Toru then looked Tomoya, indicating something.

“Oh right!” The Kanki chirped when he realized what he should do. “Daisuke said Ichirou was from a family of Witches with a powerful heirloom that was used for some ritual way back when.” Tomoya said in a matter-of-factly. “Apart from that, there’s some other digging that has done be at archives and city libraries and at the family house.”

Alex whistled. “Well, that’s true. But Ichirou’s family was tasked with guarding an artefact called Calix under the pretence that that thing was the family heirloom.”

The other three exchanged worrying glances.

“Calix?”

"Yeah, it's a chalice that this creature from way back when used to "purify" the Earth from us monsters." Alex answered. "Which made me and my Dad think that whoever is doing this is a fucking human because this cannot benefit any Supernatural in no way, shape or form."

“Why do I get the feeling that we’re in deep shit?” Ryouta whimpered.

“Because we are.” Alex continued. “With the Calix now in their hands, the next thing is the Tabula Clavem. The Tabula shit is a map, in the shape of a compass which will lead whoever to the place where a ritual involving the Calix and Clavis Mortalis is supposed to be held.”

“So where’s the Tabula shit now?”

“In the Emperor’s castle. So there’s no way they’d be able to get that.” Alex smiled.

“So we’re safe?” Toru asked with a raised brow. “I mean, it’s only the Tabula left for them to get right? And the Emperor’s security is top-notch.”

Alex shook his head. “No. There’s a third part —Clavis Mortalis— but this isn’t an object, it’s a person.”

“Re-really?!”

Alex nodded. “Who is it? We have no idea.” He shrugged. “But the bad thing is, if these guys get their hands on all three, they could release a sealed creature to kill us all off.”

“Shit.” Toru mumbled. “Is that the reason for all those kidnappings? They’re trying to find out who this Clavis thing is?”

“Possibly.” Alex shrugged. “What we do know is that the Clavis could be anyone powerful enough. Dad says that this person’s power has to evolve into Absolute Level or even beyond that.”

“But…people’s powers barely even make it to Expert Level!” Tomoya nearly screamed in shock. “Is there such a person in existence now?”

“Nope.” Alex said confidently. “Which is why we should rejoice for now. So even if they do manage to get the Tabula, someone with that much power isn’t born yet in my opinion.”

“And you got all this from shape-shifting. Man, we better thank the Heavens for your ability!” Ryouta chirped to lighten the mood.

Alex rolled his eyes. “I wish I had gotten Mom’s Power Mimicry alone, though.”

The room erupted into light-hearted laughter at Alex’s statement. Like Tomoya, Alex had inherited both his parents’ abilities —Clairsentient Shape-shifting from his father and Power Mimicry from his mother. With the former ability, he’s able to shape-shift into anyone he touches, and can instantly see their past and future (if they are alive) and acquire their memories and personalities. In essence, Alex can become the perfect copy of someone else. It is a terrifying ability, and is the cause of his paternal grandparents’ powers fusing when his father was conceived.

Alex himself isn’t too fond of this power because when he shape-shifts into a dead person, he’ll have all their memories, including how they died. Sure, it helps the police but it isn’t a good feeling reliving someone else’s death.

His other ability —Power Mimicry—allows him to copy and use as his own, someone else’s ability through physical contact. That is what he loves. But as fun as it may seem, it has its drawbacks.

The laughter died down and Toru used this opportunity to ask Tomoya, “Are you free next week Saturday?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I need to you to drop me in Tokyo.”

Ryouta immediately started to make hearts with his fingers; Tomoya made a mischievous face, while Alex sat there looking lost.

“We’re all free next week Saturday, Toru.” Ryouta smirked.

“That’s right,” Tomoya started, patting Toru on his shoulders. “Why don’t we all ―” he didn’t finish.

“He’s seeing something!” Alex screeched when he noticed Tomoya’s pupils looked cloudy white.

For roughly five minutes they sat in silence, watching Tomoya and hoping that he didn’t see something disastrous. But being around the Kanki for as long as they did, they realized that he was seeing something pertaining to Toru. He had been patting the Yamashita’s shoulder after all.

“Shit!” Tomoya panted when it was over. “What the fuck was that?!”

“What? What did you see?” Ryouta asked in earnest.

“It’s night time and there’s nothing but chaos. A collapsing building was enshrouded in darkness, this…this creature —something that looked like a Witch’s disgusting summons— was attacking us, and there were other people there that I don’t recognize. One of them was a little boy, and he got injured which triggered Taka-chan and he started to destroy the place. Like, everything was being disintegrated and then me, Toru, Ryouta and some other people around starting fainting, it was just madness.”

“Woah, that Taka-chan sounds like a badass.” Alex whistled. “Disintegrating everything? What power is that? Decay?”

“No, the news stated it is a massive psionic disturbance that fucked up everyone within the city whose powers are in the “controlling/manipulating” category.”

“Shit…”

“Trust me, you don’t want to see it.”

“So, who’s this Taka-chan? Shouldn’t we let him know to be careful from now?” Alex asked.

“Taka-chan is…” Tomoya started but trailed off.

“A bartender of a nightclub we went to.” Toru answered quickly.

“Who also happens to be Toru’s love interest.” Ryouta perked.

“Oh! I turned my back for two minutes and Toru found love?!” Alex gasped, pretending to be shocked. “Tell me, have you gone all the way yet?! I bet you made Taka-chan squirm and scream with pleas―!” Alex broke off when he felt a chill. Three pairs of eyes looked to Toru, who had rose from his perch with a darkened look on his face. His blue fire swirled beneath his feet, sending a dangerous warning for the other three of what’s to come.

“Shit! Toru! You can’t use that here!” Ryouta screeched as he saw Toru’s Cryokinetic Flames manifest. The Yamashita’s Fire was a combination of both his parents’ abilities —Cryokinesis from his father and Pyrokinesis from his mother. And as such, the two powers fused together and now Toru can control fire that has the ability to not only burn but freeze as well.

Ryouta started to panic as he frantically looked about for an escape route. The window was far away, so his only chance was with Alex since Tomoya was still sitting contently in the armchair as though Toru isn’t about to freeze or burn them to death. 

“Die.” The Vampire’s deep voice boomed as the blue flames surged forwards to Ryouta and Alex.

But thanks to him mimicking a Speedster in times past, Alex sped towards Ryouta and then used his mimic of Tomoya’s Teleportation to get them the hell out of there.

Seeing that they had escaped, Toru hissed, “Fuck! I totally forgot that he had Superspeed and your Teleportation!” The Vampire thundered off, having a feeling that they haven't Teleported out of the area.

“Hmm…” Tomoya hummed while slurping on his ramen without care. "I should buy this flavour more often."

 

Chapter Text

 

Toru returned home with a sour expression. In fact, Alex did teleport him and Ryouta away from the Yamashita’s house, so even trying to find them was a lost cause. One thing was for sure, they were still in Japan as Alex’s teleportation is nowhere as powerful as Tomoya’s.

“You know, Toru,” Tomoya started the moment Toru sat down in the armchair facing the Kanki.

“Know what?”

“There’s something about Taka-chan that scares me.”

Toru raised an eyebrow. He didn’t know what to say to counter that, but for Tomoya to say something like this out of the blue was giving him chills.

“How so?”

“He’ll cause a psionic disturbance that will fuck up almost everyone in the city. The city has over two million people and how much abilities fall under the “controlling/manipulating” category?”

“Quite a lot.”

“Exactly.” Tomoya said while fidgeting. “My entire family falls under that category, yours and Ryouta’s too. And that’s just three families. Imagine the rest, plus the crossbred Halfies that are about.” He sighed. “So it’s got me thinking. How powerful must someone be to be able to do such a thing? And what ability does he even have?”

Toru shrugged. “Indeed. But he’s a Moriuchi, so I take it that he’s a Witch.”

“Witches could do that shit?!” the Kanki gasped. “Don’t they draw their powers from the Spirits or the Universe or some shit like that? There’s a way for them to fuck us up like that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe Taka’s a different breed. When we saw him fighting at Abiko-suji, the way he moved didn’t feel like a Witch.” Toru sighed. “So I was totally shocked when I found out that his name is Moriuchi.”

“Maybe he’s a crossbreed. Mixed with Ingen possibly. That’ll explain things.”

Toru shrugged his shoulders.  But still, he was uneasy as Tomoya’s words kept playing in his head like a broken record.

Neither of them knew when this will happen, and they’ve learnt from past mistakes, that telling someone what their future holds is sometimes a recipe for an even greater disaster than what the Kanki saw.

But then again, what could be worse than a psionic disturbance?

Toru shook his head to rid the thoughts. He had other important things to worry about, like actually finding the bartender in Tokyo next Saturday.

 

 

Takahiro’s life went back to normal, well as normal as it could be with him reading everyone’s thoughts. He mostly stayed at home, thanks to the lingering fear of going out and being assaulted with people’s inner thoughts. So the bartender figured that he should stay away from people for the time being. But in addition, Ibara-san —his manager, had told him to take the time to heal from his frightening ordeal.

And that meant, no work.

He was itching to get his ass back into the Madhouse, but in such an environment, he was bound to be swamped with thoughts. And if that happens, he wouldn’t be able to function. It’s not like he could tell people to turn off their thoughts or something.

“I’m going to die of boredom.” he sighed as he looked through the window at the people walking by. Slumping, he returned to his living room and sat in the sofa. He didn’t want to turn on the TV, because there was a gut feeling that told him all he’d see are news about his incident. It was the hottest topic these days anyway.

“Oh~Takahiro~!” came a sing-song voice from the direction of his genkan. Only one person could barge into his house like this, and it was Takeru.

With a sigh, he said, “What do you want, Takeru?”

The young man came into view with a big grin on his face. He carried a large, decorated paper bag, leaving Takahiro to wonder what was in it. “I have returned, from the Great Beyond with spoils of war!” the raven-haired male chirped in a most dramatic way.

Takahiro was caught on quickly. “Oh Mighty Knight, what have thou acquired?” he responded with a high-pitched tone that resembled an impressed woman.

“My dearest,” Takeru started as he walked slowly towards Takahiro. When he reached in front of the bartender, he held up the bag and said, “I have acquired the Great Treasures of Dent Sucrée!”  He then opened the mouth of the bag for Takahiro to see, and when he did, the smaller male’s eyes widened with joy. It was the four cakes that he threatened Takeru with. Dent Sucrée was the name of a pastry store in Tokyo.

“Oh Great Liegeman!” Takahiro screeched. “What wondrous treasures these are!” he snatched the bag and made a beeline for the kitchen where he placed three of the cakes in the fridge, and left the other one out. He took up a knife and cut a thick slice for himself.

Seeing this Takeru knew he wasn’t going to get any if he didn’t act. So, continuing their…charade, the young amateur detective said, “Heigh-ho broth’r, passeth that cake ov’r hither. Lest I waste away.”

“Fret not, for thy courage and bravery; I shalt reward thee a slice of this cake.”

After Takahiro had cut his best friend two slices and set the plate down before him, the two burst out in full blown laughter.  It was a usual for them to behave like idiots, even in public after all, they were twenty year old young men.

And so, for the rest of week and into the following, Takeru had rarely stopped by because he had school and detective work consuming most of his time so Takahiro was almost always alone. With nothing better to do, the young bartender decided to develop his Telepathy, of course, with the advice of his mother.

It had been difficult, especially when he decided to go out to the convenience store; other people’s thoughts were assaulting him like bullets. Almost being driven into insanity, the young bartender had to dash back home, to calm his mind. It was a very scarring experience, as Takahiro had no idea that people’s minds could be so dirty.

He shivered at the thought.

While he knew that people could have certain thoughts, he never in his life would imagine the day when he’d actually see what these thoughts were really like. And they were fucking disturbing.

“I need to get this under control before I end up in an asylum.” He grumbled. Glancing at the calendar mounted on the wall, he knew he had to work fast if he wanted to back in his Madhouse to get this ordeal behind him.

“Well, two weeks should be enough, right Takahiro?” he spoke to himself.

 

 

Before Takahiro knew it, an entire week had run off, and at long last, he was back in his Madhouse where he belonged. He’d been sitting at home for two weeks, with nothing better to do than control his Telepathy. The smell of alcohol, the looks of utter joy on the patrons’ faces whenever he serves their drinks, seeing their wild and strange dances on the dance floor…he missed it all.

As he watched the patrons pour in, almost all of them gave him a wave or salute or whatever, while the females often time gave a playful wink or blew a kiss in his direction.  These were the regular customers who knew him over the many months that he’d been working here.

But as soon as his eyes skimmed over the crowd, a familiar face with a bright smile appeared in his line of sight.

“Taka~” Takeru said in a sing-song voice as he sat on the stool.

“Yo.” The bartender greeted. “What’s up?”

“I’m wondering, you aren’t going to see “Toru-san” ever again?” Takeru asked, batting his lashes playfully.

“Nope. And I don’t mind, either.”

“What do you mean?! At least you could, just to say “thank you”. Don’t be an ingrate. Show your fucking appreciation.”

“I’m not an ingrate!” Takahiro nearly shrieked. “I’m grateful, I really am, but how am I going to thank a guy I don’t even know properly? How am I going to even find him!?”

“Hello…” Takeru dragged out, continuously pointing both his indexes at himself. “I work with the Tokyo Police. Surely I can ask someone to look him up for me, duh!”

“That’s too much trouble for you.”

“Come on, let’s take a trip to Osaka then!” he teased. But really, he didn’t mean it. After what his best friend been through, there’s no way he’d make him go back there.

“Yeah, yeah, let’s go next Saturday.” Takahiro drawled. But, soon, his playful demeanour disappeared to give way to a more serious disposition. “So? What are you here for?” he said as he leaned on the table. “I know you didn’t come here just to ask about Toru-san.”

Takeru chuckled. “Right…” he made a circular motion with his index finger on the rim of his martini glass. “I got a lead for a case that I’m working on. So we’re going on an adventure soon.”

Takahiro hummed. “I see.”

It was a usual thing for Takeru to haul Takahiro with him, like some sort of bodyguard. While Takeru’s Psychometry made investigations easier, it isn’t suited for combat. So, Takeru drags Takahiro with him using various bribes and incentives although the bartender would’ve still tagged along as he didn’t want his friend exposed to danger.

“So, tell me, did you manage to get —” Takeru broke off when he felt two presences sit beside him on his left and right. He knew that the seats had just been vacant, and these two people swooped in like hawks spotting a vulnerable prey.

“Hey there,” the deep voice came from his right. Takeru turned to the right and saw a blond haired Vampire with his hair in a sweep to the left. “Takahiro.”

 

 

Stepping out of a black hole and into a dark alley was none other than Toru, Ryouta, and Tomoya along with Alex. Tsukihiko hadn’t been able to make it because he had a date with his girlfriend. At the outset, Toru could care less, but when Alex decided to tag along like old times, the Yamashita was seriously contemplating on cancelling.  

It was a busy Saturday night in Tokyo, and with the Madhouse nightclub opened, a flock of Supernaturals could be seen making their way towards the building. Tokyo’s Madhouse stood out against the bland street with its outer walls painted in a rich purple colour, neon lights hung low, from a distance, it seemed as though it had touched the sidewalks. There was a steadily moving queue of Supernaturals, chatter and excitement could be heard and seen from the waiting patrons.

Alex whistled as he saw the lines, “What’s the occasion?” the line of the nightclub seemed unnaturally long, and reminded him of when a hot, new nightclub had just opened.

“I don’t know. There weren’t such lines at the Osaka branch.” Tomoya shrugged.

 “Okay.” Alex nodded; he was even more interested in what lies within this club. “So, what are we doing at a nightclub in Tokyo? There’s another Madhouse in Osaka and yet…” Alex asked as they walked to queue up.

“We’re looking for someone.” Toru deadpanned. He was a little peeved that Alex tagged along because God knows, the Halfie is going to have a field day when he finds out all that’s been going on.

“Eh? “Taka-chan” I presume?” Alex grinned.

“Wow, good guess.” Tomoya snickered.

“Well, I was a detective for sixty years.” He deadpanned. “And that’s all you, Toru especially, been talking about these past couple weeks!”

“Well, excuse Toru for finally finding love.” Ryouta drawled dramatically.

As they walked to the queue and lined up like everyone else, they heard bits and pieces of the conversations. And one thing was the main topic —the return of Taka, the awesome bartender. The four Vampires heard the patrons speak highly of the young man, and wondered what he was like in his domain.

“Wow, it’s a totally different atmosphere than in Osaka.” Ryouta hummed. “All they care about is “Taka”, huh?”

“That’s what happens when a worker is doing a damn good job.” Toru joined in.

By the time they reached in, the first thing they noticed was how packed the venue was. Supernaturals from all walks of life danced their hearts out on the dance floor, but there was an equal amount by the bar where Takahiro was at.

And to Toru’s displeasure, there were many patrons who were just talking with Takahiro. They hadn’t ordered anything, as he would have seen the bartender busying himself or the patrons drinking. Instead, Takahiro was just slumped over the counter, laughing and chatting with nothing else to do.

Toru was not amused.

“My, my, what a full house we’ve got here.” Alex said in amazement, his dark eyes wandering all over the place. “We’re lucky we got in.”

“I know right?!” Ryouta agreed. “So now that we’re here, let’s party!” he chirped, dragging Tomoya with him to the dance floor. The whole reason they had come to Tokyo was because of Toru, so they didn’t need to stick around while he stalks Takahiro. They were going to have fun. Alex on the other hand, stayed with Toru, wanting to see what this “Taka-chan” looked like.

“Yo Taka! Gimme a Long Island Iced Tea!” a voice shouted from the dance floor.

“You fucker, if you get drunk and start with your shit, I’m kicking your ass out!” the bartender roared back.

“Taka~” it was a tall and lanky man with dyed purple hair. He spoke in a sing-song voice to the bartender and of course, Toru was not pleased about this. A part of him felt that strays like him being friendly to the bartender was worth killing. “I won’t get drunk. This is the first and last.”

Takahiro shrugged. “I could care less.” He then smirked deviously, “So drink all you want, I get more money and I get to kick you out. It’s a win-win.”

“How cruel!” the man pouted.

Not liking how this conversation was so friendly, Toru slithered through the crowd and headed over to the bar, but sadly, all of the seats were taken by the assholes who had entered earlier. So he opted to take a seat that was nearby, keeping an eye out for the bartender. And as much as he watched, he noticed that there was one patron —a rather young looking male—who kept Takahiro bursting with laughter as they chatted endlessly.

“So…out of luck, huh?” Alex started, sitting beside Toru. “And I’m thirsty too.” He mumbled. “I want a fucking drink and those sluts won’t move…”

“Alex, calm down.” Toru said, placing a hand on his shoulder. “They won’t stay there forever.”

“Yeah but I wanna meet your precious Taka and then go to the dance floor and get a hot chick to bring home tonight.”

Toru rolled his eyes at his childhood friend. “Then go.” He said. “Nobody’s stopping you from getting laid.”

“Toru…”Alex drawled playfully. “I’ve had girlfriends since I was sixteen and now I’m a hundred and twenty; I’m sure as hell in no rush.” The Vampire continued with a smirk, “You, on the other hand, should get cracking.”

“Alex, I think you need to stop.”

“No way!” he fanned with a chuckle. “This is golden! And to think that your precious “Taka-chan” was a male! I didn’t know you swung both ways.”

“I don’t.” the bleached-blond deadpanned.

“Then…is that a female?” Alex asked sassily. “Tell me Toru, that the cute, petite, curly haired bartender is just a female without breasts.” He said in sarcasm.

Toru knew he couldn’t fight Alex. With a sigh resignation, he turned his face away unable to counter.

Alex smirked, knowing that he’s won this battle. But truly, he never thought he’d see the day when Yamashita Toru would fall in love, with a man no less. Although, when they had first entered the club and he spotted Takahiro, he could’ve sworn that he was a flat-chested female. It was only when a patron called out for a drink and he answered, Alex realized that that was “Taka”, the bartender that has Toru restless these past weeks.

While he knew Toru for over a century, the Yamashita always showed some interest —no matter how miniscule—in the opposite sex. So, imagine how shocked Alex was when he saw that “Taka” was a male.

I don’t wrong him though. He’s too cute and adorable to be a male. I would’ve probably fallen into the trap as well. He thought as he watched his blond haired friend.

Then suddenly, Alex saw Toru bolt upright and walked towards the bar.

“Oh!” the older Vampire exclaimed when he saw two empty stools by the counter. He swiftly followed Toru and the two secured the seats before anyone else could. However, these seats weren’t side by side, but were separated by a young man who sat in between them. But whatever, Alex couldn’t give a shit. He was about to see Toru interact with his “possible love interest” as Ryouta had put it.  

“Hey there,” Toru greeted with a smirk, shocking the petite bartender and the young male on the seat on his left.  “Takahiro.”  

Wordlessly, Takeru looked to his best friend, his eyes demanding questions. “Who is that?”  he mouthed but Takahiro didn’t look at him to see. And why does he call Taka by his full name? Oh no, this isn’t some yakuza or loan shark, is he? Takeru began to fret for Takahiro’s safety, but then again, this was Takahiro. He’ll fuck up anyone who crosses his path.

“To—Toru-san, what are you doing here?” the bartender said, startled.

He’s stuttering!? Takeru was taken aback as he looked between the two. Moriuchi Takahiro does not stutter. Ever.  His attention was then diverted to Toru completely, when the blond Vampire laughed, a low chuckle resounding like thunder.

“Isn’t this a club?” Toru said. “What else could I be doing here?”

“Don’t you live in Osaka? What are you doing in Tokyo?”

“I was just in the area for some business and decided to de-stress.”

Alex coughed at the lie. Thankfully, he had his phone out so he pretended that there was something entertaining him. Takeru, on the other hand, only sat and sipped on his drink as he watched Takahiro and Toru.

So this is the famous Toru-san, huh? Takeru wanted to say something teasing to Taka, but he didn’t want to ruin this moment.

“Oh. Okay.” Takahiro shrugged. But then he quickly said, “Thanks for saving me that night.”

“No problem.” Toru said nonchalantly.

Alex rolled his eyes. It was all Tomoya though, you fucker. He had heard the full story from Ryouta.

“So…” Toru continued with a smirk, his half-lidded gaze held something else within. “…can I take you out for dinner?”

Takeru unintentionally leaned over to Alex in order to give the two more space. “Oh, ho, ho…” he chuckled beneath his breath. “Things are heating up.”

“I know right?” Alex said with a grin.

“In some stuffy upscale restaurant?”  The two refocused back to Takahiro when they heard the bartender huffed. “I think not.”

“Come on, you owe me that much.” Toru smiled.

“How so?” Takahiro asked with a raised brow.

“For saving your life that night.”

Takahiro stopped. Then, Takeru’s words came to him about “showing appreciation” but he never imagined it like this. Why would a Vampire, one this hot, ask him to dinner?

“Plus we could have our own private booth. Just you and me.” Toru coaxed, taking Takahiro out of his thoughts. “But, if it’s still uncomfortable, you can choose. Beach? Movies? Anything.”

Takeru exchanged stunned glances with Alex. They didn’t know each other but, they felt a kindred spirit witnessing this.

“Holy Shit.” They both came out with.

“Well, since you said we’d have our own private booth, dinner it is.” Takahiro shrugged. There was only one reason he was doing this, and it was because of what Takeru said earlier. He never thanked Toru properly for saving his life, so he figured that he should get it out of the way before the Vampire uses it as some means of leverage against him. Takahiro didn’t know where he came from and what he was capable of, so it’s best to get rid of him as soon as possible.

“Great. Date?”

The bartender drew back. “I should choose the date as well?”

Toru nodded. “Where I work, my schedule is pretty flexible.” He said coolly. “I don’t know what yours is like.”

“Oh. Then…Sunday. Madhouse isn’t open a Sunday so, let’s do it then.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Ah, no, next Sunday. I’ll need to get ready first.”

“Real smooth Toru, real fucking smooth.” Alex mumbled below his breath but Takeru heard clear as day because his ears were close.

Takeru looked to Alex. “Are you his friend or something?” He noticed that the Vampire had addressed Toru without any suffix.

“Yeah, childhood friends.” The Vampire humphed.

“Ah?” Takeru grinned. “I’m Taka’s best friend.”

“Oh.”

“So where exactly does Toru work? Having a flexible schedule sounds like he’s a musician, or something.”

Alex wanted to laugh at that image of his blond haired sitting in a studio with a guitar strapped to his body, singing a couple lines softly. “Toru…a musician? That’s the best guess of his job I’ve heard in two decades!”

“Hey, don’t laugh at me.” Takeru hissed in a whisper.

“Sorry, sorry,” Alex chuckled. “But he’s the CEO of his own company. That’s why the fucker has a flexible schedule.”

“Oh…rich guy.”

“Yeah, you could say that.” Alex didn’t want to give away too much details.

“Hmm, so what made him interested in Taka?”

Alex gave Takeru a look. “Seriously? Do you not see how cute and adorable he is? He could be mistaken for a girl! A little porcelain doll!” the Vampire exclaimed, but thankfully, the music was loud so neither Takahiro nor Toru paid the shout any mind. “I’d want that ass too if —” Alex broke off as he rose a little out of his chair, leaned on the counter and peered behind Takahiro. “Wait, he’s got no ass!” he gasped out with a face of horror.

Takeru howled with laughter, almost falling off his chair. It was then that Takahiro and Toru stopped their conversation to look at the young man. Seeing that all is well and Alex has something to keep him occupied, Toru refocused to Takahiro.

“Why are you laughing?” Alex asked, helping the young detective onto his chair.

“What you did. You were talking perfectly fine and then you looked at Taka and said he’s got no ass. You should’ve seen your face!”

“Of course! I thought that maybe Toru, being the pervert he is, was aiming for your friend’s ass! But lo and behold, there isn’t anything to aim for!”

Takeru wanted to bust with laughter. “Al—although,” he chuckled, “although he has no ass, he’s —he’s got,” Takeru clutched his stomach, doubling his lips to fight back the laughter. “Taka’s got —got class and personality! So even if he’s ass-less, he—he’s —” Takeru lost it. “Bwhahaha!” he erupted with laughter and once again nearly fell off of his perch.

Alex chuckled as well seeing Takeru’s face before ordering a drink. Takahiro quickly went to where the Vampire was, and swiftly took his order. He paid Takeru no mind, knowing full well that his friend was not choking to death.

Toru looked at them and shook his head. He knew Alex was a social butterfly like Tomoya but he’s never seen him behaved like this with someone he’s just met. He was laughing, chatting and seeming to be enjoying himself.

All the better, at least he won’t fuss himself around me. Toru thought with a smile.

“Taka!” another voice shouted from behind them. Alex and Toru looked back to see a young man with the front fringe of his black hair done in a sweep to the left and the back spiked. His eyeliner was quite heavy, his eyebrows were perfectly arched.

“MAH!” Takahiro perked upon seeing him. Toru took note of this reaction and deduced that maybe this “MAH” as Taka calls him, was a friend or a regular patron.

“Bro! What are you doing here?!” Takeru joined in. But then the detective paused as though looking for someone else.

“I heard that Taka is back, so I had to find my ass here.” MAH chuckled as he leaned on the counter.

“Who’s that? Taka’s other best friend?” Alex asked.

Takeru laughed. “No, I’m the only best friend.” He answered with pride. “He’s MAH, a good friend of ours.”

“He’s a Witch, isn’t he?”

“How could you tell?”

“Well, I’m a Vampire.” Alex shrugged. “I’ve been around them for so long, I can tell them just by scent. Plus,” he added, “Just look at that eyeliner game. You don’t need anything more than that.”

“You are killing me.” Takeru snickered. “Trust me; Taka’s eyeliner game is even better, plus his pencilled eyebrows and make-up…” he chuckled. “That motherfucker knows how to apply his stuff.”

Alex paused. He imagined the young bartender with contours and eye-shadow, mascara and eyeliner and immediately shivered. “He…he wears make-up? What the fuck?”

Takeru shook his head and whipped out his phone. He then searched for a picture when they went out, not on any investigation but out as friends to maybe the movies or wherever. He showed Alex the picture and luckily, the Vampire calmed down.

“I thought that he wore make-up like a girl.”

“Haha!” Takeru laughed. “Like mascara and rouge and shit, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“Well…” Takeru shrugged, giving Takahiro a glance before looking back to Alex. “…the world may never know.”

“Wait…are you implying that…?”

“I’m just —” Takeru broke off when he saw two other male appear from nowhere, threw their hands over Alex’s shoulder and grinned. It seems like this is a night where friends just suddenly pop up out of nowhere. He thought with a shrug.

“Alex! You look like you’re having fun!” the one on Alex’s left chirped. Takeru noticed that his hair ends were bleached blond and he wore a baggy pants but no shirt. There was a playful yet childish air about him that made the young detective involuntarily smile.

“You aren’t out on the dance floor and you can’t flirt with the bartender because he’s already taken by Toru, so tell us, who is this young lad that has you smitten?”

At this, the other Vampire with the curly green hair-ends turned and smirked at Takeru, leaving the young man partially stunned.

They couldn’t be talking about me, right?

Takeru didn’t know what to do. He sat and stared and looked to his left to MAH, hoping that he’ll see his silent plea for help. But much to his horror, MAH was busy chatting and drinking with Takahiro, Toru was blatantly sulking.

“Guys, he’s Taka-chan’s best friend.” Alex said, Takeru whipping his head around quickly when he heard Takahiro’s name, shocked at the “chan” added.

Seeing how three pairs of eyes were all on him, he said, “Hi, I’m Satoh Takeru, pleased to meet you.”

“Satoh?” Alex gasped. “You’re related to Satoh Shintarou?”

“Yeah, he’s my Dad.”

“Oh, wow!” Alex looked absolutely thrilled. “You know, your Dad and I used to work together?”

It was Takeru’s turn to gasp. “Seriously?” but then his eyes widened as though he remembered something. “Wait, you’re Demon Lord Alex?”

“What?!” the Vampire roared with laughter. Due to his family’s name being “Onizawa”, people had a tendency to call them “Oni” or “Demon” in English. “Yeah, that’s me. Although, I’ve never heard that one before.” He said. “I’m usually called “Demon Alex”, so the “Demon Lord” is quite a shocker.”

“I’ve heard so much about you!” Takeru shrieked in delight. “Dad talks about you all the time! Come on, you have to tell me some of your stories!”

Ryouta and Tomoya exchanged glances with each other at this unforeseen development. Initially, they had been dancing and mingling and having fun on the dance floor, but when they looked at the bar to see how Toru was faring, they saw Alex laughing and grinning and chatting like he was having a blast. It definitely looked like he was. So, out of curiosity, they trotted over, hoping to get some answers. But to think that they’d end up being forgotten within the space of a second…

…and Toru was too busy sulking that Takahiro’s attention was split between serving patrons and chatting with this unknown Witch whose eyeliner was impressive.

“Hoh ho!” Tomoya chuckled as he pulled Ryouta away from the bar. “We need to visit Tokyo a lot more!”

“I know right?!” the younger Vampire snickered. “Tokyo really is the city of excitement!”

“Right you are, Ryou. Right you are.” Tomoya grinned. “So let’s just sit back and watched the festivities before us.”

“It wouldn’t be too much to teleport for some popcorn, would it?” But as soon as Ryouta ended his sentence, he noticed a bag of popcorn being thrust into his face. “Wow, you work fast, Tomo-kun!”

Tomoya smirked. “Obviously, you underestimate the power of a Kanki’s teleportation.”

 

 

The night passed by quickly, far too quickly in Takahiro’s eyes. One minute, he remembered laughing and chatting with Takeru before Toru came along, but now, it’s almost closing time.

The Madhouse had emptied out leaving only a handful of people. These were mostly Vampires, since the assholes don’t get drunk, no matter how much alcohol they ingest. Which left Takahiro in quite the predicament —Toru still sitting at his bar, giving him subtle looks every now and then, and Takeru was having the time of his life with an unknown Vampire who looked like a foreigner. Strangely, his Japanese was pretty fluent, like a native.

“Hey, you still haven’t answered me.” Toru’s deep voice brought him back to reality.

“Answered what?” Takahiro asked as he dried a glass.

The blond Vampire sighed. “I asked you if you wanted me to pick you up or not.” He then mumbled. “I have to make plans, you know?”

“No, I can find my way.”

“You don’t even know where I’m taking you!”

“Skytree?”

Toru sighed. “No.”

“But I wanna go to Skytree.” Takahiro pouted. He figured that if this Toru person was willing to take him out to dinner, might as well milk him dry because this chance is never coming back. Meanwhile, Toru’s heart melted at that cute pout.

He’s going to kill me. He really is going to kill me… Toru thought, his eyes never leaving the young bartender.

“Look, Skytree isn’t a restaurant.” He sighed. “There are restaurants in and around the area. So…”

“…I should feel free to choose?”

Toru raised his eyebrows. “I was going to say that we’re going to the best one.”

“Oh.” Takahiro turned his back to the Vampire to hide his embarrassment. Throughout the night, Toru had told him to pick a date and etc, so he had gotten carried away and thought that the asshole was… “Well, let’s not dwell on that.” He said aloud to calm himself.

“Dwell on what?”

Damn Vampires and their hearing, Takahiro swore. “Nothing, Toru-san, nothing at all.” But truly Takahiro needed to know why he was so adamant about taking him to dinner. If he knows his given name is Takahiro, then Toru probably knows that his family name is Moriuchi. Why isn’t the Vampire trying to swindle money from him instead? Why is he interested in him and not his family? Or is it just a ploy into leading him to believe that?

Takahiro felt a headache coming on, and with his power, that could spell disaster. So, calmly, he dismissed those thoughts and focused on cleaning the glasses.

Roughly half an hour later, Takahiro was finally done and had left to change his clothes. Exiting from the establishment after bidding farewell to Ibara-san, he met Toru standing outside, awaiting his arrival. He sighed inwardly, this Vampire was persistent. Hadn’t he gone home? The bartender thought wryly.

“I want to know, why are you talking me out to dinner? It can’t be just because you saved my life, right?” Takahiro quickly asked, not sparing Toru a single second.

“No…” I want to know you more. You’re interesting.  “…you’ve caught my interest, that’s all.”

“Uh huh.” Takahiro nodded, he never knew his ability to read minds would come in handy so fast. “Anything else?”

You’re fucking cute. Ah, no, I can’t say that yet. He’ll think I’m a creep. I gotta just counter his question with another.

“Why the questions? It feels like you’re interrogating me.”

Takahiro smiled. If only Toru knew.  “I’ve only met you once, excuse me for being cautious.” 

That smile was bright and full of life that Toru couldn’t help stare. He felt a warm feeling rising within his chest, and surely, he couldn’t be what he was thinking. Or was it? After all, he wasn’t in love with Takahiro, he was just interested.

“So, see you Sunday.” Takahiro said as he walked away from the gaping Vampire. Toru wasn’t responding so he decided to leave, while he remained unscathed. “And don’t be late.”

“Wait!” Toru was finally back to reality. He couldn’t let the bartender who he’s worked so hard to see leave like that.

“What?”

“How are you going to know which restaurant?” Toru asked. He didn’t want to out rightly ask for his number, so he chose a more subtle approach.

Takahiro snapped his fingers. “Shit!” he cursed. It’s either his phone number or e-mail. And he really didn’t want to give out either. “I, uh,” he started, trying to think of an excuse but failed. “What’s your email?” he succumbed.

Toru smiled. He took the phone from Takahiro and inputted his contact, but as tempted as he was to give the bartender his number, he didn’t overstep the boundary. He’ll take it in strides. Good things come to those who wait.  

“Here.” Toru handed the phone back to the petite male, and for a split second, he saw Takahiro’s eyes widen with horror but then simmered into relief. “Is something…?”

“Ah, no, it’s nothing.” Takahiro dismissed. “It’s just…your name scared me for a moment. I read it wrong at first.”

“Oh?” The Vampire raised an eyebrow. This was one of the reasons why he never uses his family name in public. But it made him wonder, if he had used his real name what Takahiro’s reaction would be.

“So, see you soon, Toru-san.” Takahiro said, turning to leave in the opposite direction, silently fuming that Takeru ditched him for that foreigner. Still, even though he walked away from Toru, he could still hear his thoughts, which were quite…ahem…

“Ah, yeah, you too, Taka.”

 

 

When Takahiro reached home, he was beat.

The Madhouse was extremely full, like he’s used to, but there were unforeseen appearances that he didn’t expect. Tomoya, Ryouta and Toru. While he didn’t mind the former two, there something mysterious about Toru that made him cautious. It could be that while Tomoya was prone to chat and liven everywhere up, and Ryouta adding to his antics, Toru seemed like the stable one, who doesn’t talk much but observes.

At first, he thought Ryouta was like that, given that the youngest didn’t utter a single word the first time they met. But as time went by, Takahiro realized that he was rather childish and playful.

But Toru…

He’s unreadable, and if it wasn’t for his Telepathy, he wouldn’t have an idea of what the blond-haired Vampire was thinking. On that note, Takahiro’s face heated up when he remembered what Toru thought about him.

Cute.

Adorable.

Delicious.

Still, being called “delicious” was a bit strange; there was no doubt that he was somewhat happy to be called “cute” and “adorable”. He was small bodied and no matter what he did, he never got any taller, his voice never got any deeper, and he never grew any muscles.

Suddenly, his phone rang, but hearing the ringtone, he knew which of the bastards was calling.

“What?” the bartender snapped.

“Don’t chew my head off, bro! What’s wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong?! What’s wrong?! You fucking ditched me for a smooth talking foreigner!”

Takeru sighed. “He isn’t a foreigner. He’s half Japanese.”  He said. “Besides, I didn’t ditch you. We just got caught up in our conversation that I —”

“…didn’t even realize when I left.” Takahiro spat. “Yeah, right…”

“Takahiro…” Takeru whined into the phone, “Don’t do this to me…”

The bartender sighed. It was hard to stay mad at the motherfucker. “What is it? Why did you call me?”

“Toru-san! Like, I never knew that’s what he looked like?!” He shrieked in the phone, prompting his best friend to put it on speaker.

“Yeah, he looks fucking…”

“Fucking hot, is that what you want to say, right?”

“Uh, uh, what…no…” Takahiro tried to lie, but failed miserably.

“Bitch please,” Takeru drawled playfully. “You should’ve seen your face! Especially when he said “Takahiro” in that deep voice.” The young man had even tried to mimic Toru’s voice by deepening his when he said his best friend’s name.

“Takeru…”

“But anyway, I can’t believe that that’s what he looked like! My God, how is he still single!?”

“I don’t know nor do I care.”

“Well all the better, he’s available for you.”

“Fuck you!”

“Oh no, it’s Toru who’s gonna fuck you.”

“Die, Takeru. Just die!” Takahiro screeched as he ended the call.

 

“So you’ve made progress, huh Toru?” Alex said with a nudge in the younger Vampire’s side. “Did you get the digits or email?”

“Email.”

“Oh! Good job! Good job!” The Halfie clapped animatedly like a baby who’s just discovered something amusing. But his joy soon came to an end.

“Enough of Toru,” Tomoya started, “We all know he was after Taka. But, what about you? Who’s the Takeru guy that kept you busy all night?”

Alex immediately froze. He knew what they were coming with, and knew that he wouldn’t escape their taunts. “He’s just the son of my partner when I was in the force. That’s all.”

“That’s all?! That’s all?!”  They screeched.

“Who do you take us for?!” Ryouta screamed. “We saw how you were grinning and chatting away merrily! We weren’t born yesterday, you know!”

“Aiya, really, we were just sharing our stories…I told him mostly about when I used to work with Shintarou.”

Tomoya and Ryouta’s eyes narrowed suspiciously at him. Alex was the type to head out to the dance floor and luckily, snatch a fine looking girl while he was at it. But this time, he hadn’t stepped foot away from the bar, instead, he was busy chatting with someone they’ve come to know as “Takeru”, Taka’s best friend. In essence, this was odd “Alex behaviour” and they were convinced that something happened.

“Guys! Don’t look at me like that!” he screeched. “I mean it! Nothing happened!” he then looked to Toru who was busy on his phone and ignoring the bastards. “Tell them Toru! You were there!”

Toru stopped and looked at the three with uninterested eyes. “Stuff happened.” He replied in a deadpan before refocusing back to his phone.

“Toru! You’re not being helpful!” the trio screamed, disturbing all those who were nearby.  

“Plus, Alex has been alive for one hundred and twenty years! And in all those years, he’s dated only females!” Tomoya shouted. “Who’s to tell if he hadn’t gotten tired of them and decided to try something new for a change?” he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“Try something new? As in, dating men?!”  The Vampire screeched in shock. “Are you out of your fucking mind?! I’m not Toru!”

“What?” the bleached-blond finally looked up from his phone at the mention of his name. “I didn’t do it.” He said nonchalantly.

The three looked at each other and broke out in laughter. However, Toru shrugged his shoulders and ignored them, because being around them for as long as he did, the blond knew that they were a bunch of crazy bastards anyway.

“But really,” Ryouta started after they regained their composure. “Are you sure that nothing happened between you and Takeru?”

Alex frowned. “No.” he said. “I’m straight. He’s straight.”

“Hmm? Who knows,” Tomoya smirked, “he could be a pendulum, swinging both ways.”

“Who’s to tell~” Ryouta added in a sing-song voice.

“I’m going to fucking kill you two wretches!” Alex screamed, making an attempt to grab Tomoya in the throat but the Kanki quickly grabbed Ryouta and teleported a couple metres away.

“Catch us if you can~!” they taunted before Tomoya teleported them again, this time out of the area.

“Fuck!” Alex continued his screaming. “I’m going to rip you shits limb from fucking limb!” He, too, teleported out of the area, in hot pursuit of Tomoya and Ryouta, leaving Toru behind.

Toru frowned when he realized what happened. “This would have been the perfect situation to get Takahiro to let me stay over…” he mumbled. “…but we don’t know each other well enough yet…” he sighed. “Shit. Can those imbeciles have any worser timing?”

Yes, Toru was rather mad that he was stranded in Tokyo at three thirty in the morning.  

 

Chapter Text


The conference room was extremely noisy, as all the parties were shouting on top of their voices, making sure that their opinions and thoughts were heard. Of course, in such an environment, that was not possible.

This was an emergency meeting put forth by the Japanese Government which involved all the different races —Humans and Supernaturals alike.

To one side of the room, in the upper left-hand corner were the Werewolves and next to them in the right-hand corner were the Witches. Beside the Witches and at the top of the room were the Humans, followed by the Ingens (who were facing the Witches) and the Vampires (who faced the Werewolves).

“You Vampires are the ones who have broken the treaty! Kidnapping innocent Humans and turning them into your blood crazed fiends to attack the rest of us is unacceptable!” One Human screeched in anger as he got up onto his feet.

“You fucker! How dare you accuse us of something so treacherous!? We haven’t done a single thing!” A Vampire argued. It’s one thing to piss off a Vampire, but to accuse them of breaking the treaty is akin to accusing them of the highest degree of murder. “We don’t just turn any Human riffraff into Vampires! They have to be married first, you dumb fuck!”

A surprised gasp escaped from the Human’s lips. “Did you just call Humans —”

“Plus, Vampires aren’t only created by other Vampires.” A deep voice boomed from the tall dark-haired man who stood up. He was a Vampire as well, with big eyes and pursed lips. And as soon as he rose, the noise in the Vampire section immediately stopped. He had spoken in a calm manner, not wanting this argument to escalate any further. His dark eyes then swept across to the Witches, “Vampires can be created with magic, can it not my dear Witches?”

“Yes, it is true.” A male Witch replied, equally calmly. “But what is it that you’re trying to insinuate, Yamashita?”

The Vampire —Yamashita Arata—smiled smugly and said; “I’m not insinuating anything, Moriuchi. I’m just stating to our ignorant friends here, that Vampires can be created with Magic. Sure, apart from the unnatural speed, strength and stamina, these Vampires won’t have any special abilities like the rest of us do, unless they were born with it from before.” He then added, “Plus, these days, with the right ingredients and shit, even defenceless Humans can create Vampires, can’t they?”

Loud gasps rang out in the entire room. The Human faction was about to fly up in rage, given that Arata was hinting that the Humans could be at fault as well.

“That is true. Dabbling in Black Magic could be the answer.” The Witch —Moriuchi Shinichi—nodded. “But, as we neither have proof of how they were turned in the first place, Yamashita, you can’t say that magic was what made them into Vampires.”

“And you can’t say that other Vampires turned them as well.” Arata countered.

“I won’t have it!” another Human flew up. “How else did they become Vampires?! Did they wish for it like they had a genie, huh?!”

“Well, if you won’t have it. Neither will we.” Another Vampire stood up with folded arms. He was of average height and shoulder length hair. Everyone knew him as Kanki Masamune.

“What?!”

“While there is a possibility that Vampires were the ones who turned these innocent people, you never once considered the fact that they could have been rogue.” Masamune said. “Which would mean that we, the law-abiding Vampires hadn’t broken the treaty, but the stray shits instead.”

The Human faction descended into angry grumbles because they knew that Masamune had a point. The Kanki smiled at them quite innocently before returning to his seat, three chairs away from Arata.

“Alright.” Yet another spoke up, clapping to get their attention. “This isn’t going anywhere. Police investigations are ongoing, so until then, we won’t know who the culprits are. Arguing and pointing fingers without evidence isn’t going to lead to anything.” He was an aged Werewolf, who wore an irritated look on his face. “All the quarrelling and squabbling is just a waste of time and energy.”

“It’s as Midorikawa-san said, it’s a waste.” A Human spoke up. “What we should do is focus on catching the bastards responsible. Who knows? Maybe it could be Kanki-san said, strays are the ones committing these crimes in an effort to turn us against each other.” He continued. “Now imagine if all the parties develop a strong distrust for each other. Japan will crumble and descend into chaos. The Police force especially. We have Vampires like the Kanki working with Humans, Werewolves working with Witches and the list goes on. Imagine when no one trusts anyone anymore? Huh?”

“That would be a nightmare indeed.”

The room then descended into silence, but each faction seemed to be caught in a stare down with each other. The tension escalated in the room, and it wasn’t until there was a soft rapt on the door that took them all out of their thoughts.

“Excuse me, but I have important news for all of you.” The female who entered was of a tall stature, with a well-built body. “Onizawa-san has arrived in Japan and the news he brings is…” she deliberately trailed off here when Onizawa Ren entered.

“Hello everyone, how are you today?” he started with a bright smile. He strolled in the room and stood in the midst of the platform. He looked to the Witches, “I’m sure you know about the Calix, right?”

The group stiffened.

“Great, then you should know that it was recently stolen, right?”

“We have received word that Uchida Ichirou was murdered. Naturally, the reason for his death would have been the artefact.” Shinichi replied.

“And we have Witches on the hunt as we speak. Something of that magnitude cannot fall into the wrong hands.” Another spoke up.

Ren sighed. “My son and I went to investigate in China and the information we found out was staggering.” He then whispered to his female companion, after which she announced,

“Yamashita-san, Kanki-san, Moriuchi-san, Taniguchi-san, Hayakawa-san, Ito-san, Saito-san, you men will remain here while everyone else kindly exit the room.”

“What? What for?!”

“I’m about to disclose sensitive information. So, in case of a traitor, we’ll know exactly where to search.”

As such, everyone except the aforementioned people left the room, thus Ren started.

“There is a group called “The Purgers” and their sole mission is to rid not only Japan but the world on a whole of us Supernaturals.”

The small group released gasps of shock as they digested the information. But Onizawa didn’t dawdle. “I’m sure we were all told of the Great War between Humans and Supernaturals in ancient times, right? Where Humans and Witches fought against Werewolves, Ingens and Vampires.”

“That’s basic history.” Taniguchi nodded. “Everyone knows it.”

“Good. It brings us back to the matter at hand. We all know of the creature that was summoned by the Witches at some point in the war right?” Those in the room nodded, thus Ren continued. “That very same creature which was sealed away, these Purgers are planning to resurrect it, to wipe us all out.” The Vampire explained. “But to do this, they need three things ―The Tabula Clavem, The Calix, and the Clavis Mortalis.”

“What on Earth?” Everyone sans the Witches gave out. This was an important part of their history, so naturally, the Witches are going to be well-informed.

Ren continued, “The Tabula is the map in which they need to find the area in which the creature is sealed. That is currently in Emperor’s castle under lock and key.”

“Which means we need to beef up security.” Hayakawa Kai said. He was a Werewolf who ruled the Aichi prefecture. “We can’t let anything to chance.”

“We’re already in dialogue. Don’t worry.” Ren smiled.

“So, what about the other, the Clavis Mortalis?” Saito-san asked. He was a Human, who looked like a typical Japanese with his black hair slicked back, and bright onyx eyes.

“That’s the hard part. The Clavis isn’t an object, but a person. And this person has to be powerful enough to revive the creature and open the gates connecting this world and another called The Void.” Ren decided to take a seat on a nearby chair. “Don’t ask me what the Void is, we’re still investigating.”

“For the Clavis, exactly how powerful should this person be?” Masamune asked. “Because my wife is a badass might I add. I don’t want them to be targeting her.”

“Their power has to evolve into the Absolute Level.” Ren deadpanned. “So rest easy Kanki-san, your wife isn’t on their radar. And lucky for us, there hasn’t been a record of anyone that powerful yet, but all the hospitals and other medical facilities have been notified to keep an eye out for this.”

“Oh my…” Ito said raked a hand through his hair in distress. “We have our work cut out for us.”

Ren chuckled. “Indeed, we have.”



Taka sighed as he examined himself in the mirror. Tonight, was the night that he’d have dinner with Toru but even now, he was a bit unsure. Yes, the Vampire seemed nice and welcoming, but was there a catch to this? A part of Takahiro felt that there was more to this, but he didn’t feel like thinking on this any further. All he had to do was have dinner with Toru and then that’s it. He didn’t owe him anything anymore, and they’ll just revert to being complete strangers. After all, the Vampire lived in Osaka. He checked his watch for the time, given that they were supposed to meet up in Sumida. At first, Toru opted to pick up Takahiro from his house, but of course, the bartender firmly denied. Who knows if Toru would’ve used Tomoya to teleport inside his house?

Takahiro didn’t even want to think about it.

“I guess it’s time for me to head out.” The bartender sighed as he made his way towards his genkan. There, he put on his shoes and headed out, calling a taxi service.



Toru leaned on his car’s bonnet, glancing at his watch almost every second.

He had been waiting on Takahiro’s arrival for roughly thirty minutes, but he’s yet to see the petite bartender coming.

“He sure is late.” The Vampire grumbled, ignoring the squeals and giggles coming from the passers-by. Most of them were females, who were admiring his good looks. Toru was dressed in a lavender three-piece suit ―a blazer over a buttoned-up vest of the same colour and tie. His hair was slicked back, dark sunshades to hide his half-lidded eyes.

He looked up at the evening sky, allowing his thoughts to wander. So many things have happened over the past couple weeks, and even now there seems to be no leads whatsoever. His father knew something but can’t divulge the information just yet. Not that Toru cared anyway. He wasn’t the one that was going to rule Osaka after his father abdicates.

“Toru-san!” A voice took him out of his deep thoughts. Whipping his head around to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating, Toru saw Takahiro, dressed in a lovely suit, trudging up towards him. “Did I make you wait long?” the bartender asked.

Dumbstruck, Toru made a circular motion with his head, leaving Takahiro to wonder if he was replying in the positive or negative.

“I can’t understand you, Toru-san.” The bartender dead-panned.

“It…it’s fine. Let’s go, shall we?” Toru said as he opened the passenger side of the car, allowing Takahiro to enter. He closed the door after which he headed over to the driver’s side and drove off to the restaurant.



The drive was completely quiet, being that Takahiro didn’t know what to say to Toru. He wanted to read his mind, but he wasn’t ready yet.

Ahhh, what can I say to him? He looks so cute in his suit though.

Takahiro’s face reddened; he never knew that Toru would think that he’s cute. It was strange, as he’d never imagine someone thinking that he, Moriuchi Takahiro, was cute.

“Are you alright?” Toru asked, seeing the smaller male’s face heating up. “Do you have a fever?”

“N…No, it’s just that…”

“Just that…?”

“Never mind.”

There was a momentary pause before Toru started up again. “So, what made you decide to be a bartender?”

Takahiro looked at the Vampire. “I don’t know. I love music but I don’t see myself as a Rockstar.”

“Oh, you like music? So, can you play an instrument?”

“Guitar and piano.”

“Wow!” Toru was genuinely amazed. For someone of such a young age to already know how to play two instruments, that was an amazing feat in his book. “So why don’t you try to, I don’t know, write some songs and get your name out there? YouTube is there for a reason, you know?”

Takahiro chuckled. “I can’t believe you. It’s not that simple, you know?”

Toru laughed. “Let me tell you something.” He paused a while to look at the road before he made his turn. “I’m the CEO of my own company ―” Takahiro let out a shocked gasp. “―but I had to fail twelve times before I was successful. So, if you’re running away from struggles and complexity, then you’ll be stuck as a lowly club bartender for the rest of your life. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want that right?”

Takahiro turned his face away. He knew Toru was right, but he couldn’t bring himself to admit it.

Maybe I could give him the extra push needed… I do have some connections...

“I don’t need your help!” Takahiro shouted. If it was one thing, he hated when he got successful because of connections, especially, his parents’ connections. He wanted to make it on his own, without anyone questioning his hard work. “I can manage on my own.”

Toru hit the brakes suddenly, looking at Takahiro with a confused face. “What are you talking about? I haven’t said a thing.”

“I…was just…”

“You’re a strange one.” The Vampire chuckled.

“Just drive, you asshole.”

However, little did they know that their date was about to be interrupted.


Alex parked his car before hopping out and making his way to Fiction Nightclub. Unlike the Madhouse, this one was more upscale and home to affluent patrons. He stopped at the entrance, looking around for signs of Satoh Takeru. The latter had asked the Vampire to accompany him, yet he was nowhere to be found.

A bouncer soon came up to him, and asked, “What are you doing lingering here? If you don’t have any business, please leave the area.”

“I’m waiting on a friend. And he told me to meet him here.” Alex replied. But the Vampire was contemplative. He didn’t want to just throw Takeru’s name to some unknown bouncer guy.

“Alex!” A shout jolted them both; the two whipped their heads to the sound. In the opposite direction that Alex had come from, Takeru was practically skipping towards them with that foolish grin on his face.

“You’re here early.”

“You’re here late.”

“Maa, a black cat crossed my path, so I had to take the long route.” Takeru shrugged. “I can’t have bad luck today, you know?”

“Whatever.” Alex rolled his eyes.

The bouncer cleared his throat, hoping to regain their attention. “Are you guys coming in or not?”

“Ah yes! Yes!” Takeru said quickly. “We’re Tamura Satoru and Kurosaki Aizawa, here to see Amano Kai-san.”

In an instant, the countenance of the bouncer changed from serious to surprised. Without a word more, he opened the door and allowed the two inside.

The first thing Alex noticed was the size of the place. It was huge, looking about three or four times the Madhouse with three levels. This was saying something, given that the latter wasn’t a small club either. So, in awe Alex was that his eyes trailed up to the ceiling and wondered what the hell it was.

“Takeru, what’s with the ceiling?” he shouted over the booming music.

“What?!”

He pointed up at the ceiling and the young man knew what Alex meant. “It’s the chandelier.”

The attraction was made from ―what Alex could see―eight oval rings which hanged over the main room of the club. It moved in sync with the music, resembling a spaceship, threatening to land on the dance floor full of patrons.

Alex followed closely behind Takeru, his eyes watching his surroundings, the atmosphere waking up the former detective within him. There was one thing that the Vampire noticed as well, even though the patrons were dancing and raving to the music, they weren’t sweating like hogs.

How are they doing it? AC? Alex thought. Madhouse had air conditioning, but the clubbers still sweat and a lot too. Even the numerous other clubs that he’s been to, it was the same there.

The two then made their way to the escalators, and headed up to the third level, where the VIP tables were. This area was calmer than the dance floor, with a few people present. Of course, there were the typical “one guy surrounded by a bunch of pretty women” but Takeru couldn’t care less about that. This place was stifling, and he wanted to get the hell out.

They continued down the corridor, where the music of the first floor was getting fainter and fainter. With each step that Alex took, he had feeling that something was terribly wrong.

“Takeru…” Alex started as he placed a hand on Takeru’s shoulder. “I have a bad feeling. Be cautious of your surroundings.” Ever since they had entered the club, a feeling of unease gnawed at him, something just didn’t feel right.

Takeru’s face looked worried. “I have a bad feeling as well.” But without a word more, they rounded a corner which the corridor continued on. There were only three doors here, one on either side and one in the middle at the end.

With a grin, he said, “We’re here. All we have to do is ―”

“Fucking finally.” Alex grumbled, although he never missed the fact that Takeru had cut off his own speech. “What’s the matter?” he asked.

“Look.” Takeru replied while pointing a shaking finger before him.

There, before them was a door which was ripped off the hinges and left dangling helplessly by a sole hinge at the bottom. Seeing the scrapes marring the mechanism, Alex pushed Takeru behind him and told him to approach with caution. The duo walked towards the broken-down door, and as they progressed further inwards, something caught their eyes.

Blood.

There were numerous blood splatters adorning the expensive furniture ―the white carpet seemed to have been dyed red by it, the armchairs on their left and right had a couple stains here and there. Following the blood trail, they saw that the grand sofa was in a similar state to the carpet, drenched with blood. The walls had a dash of blood here and there and when Alex’s eyes journeyed upwards, he found that it was even worse on the ceiling.

“Good God, what happened here?” Takeru asked as he covered his mouth in shock. This was the first he’s seen such a thing and even Alex looked spooked as well.

“A murder.” He deadpanned after regaining his composure. Stuffing his hand into his small bag, he pulled out a pair of gloves and put them on. Then he knelt in one of the blood-free areas and touched the blood one the floor.

“How? Didn’t anyone feel this?! Or sensed it?”

“They didn’t have to.” Alex responded calmly. Takeru seemed to be on the verge of freaking out, so he had to be as calm as possible. “They could have used a barrier or whatever to prevent others in the club from sensing anything.”

However, there was one thing that bothered Alex. And sadly, he couldn’t mask the horrified expression he gave to Takeru when he got onto his feet. “The blood is still fresh. I’m not an expert, but given that the blood isn’t flaky and ―”

“It’s still wet which means this happened was just couple minutes ago.” Takeru finished. There was a frantic tone in his voice, and when he glanced around the room, he asked, “What if the monster that did this is still here?”

“That’s why we’re leaving.” Alex quickly said.

“We can’t yet. We’ve got to call the police.”

At the outset, Takeru was to meet with an informant at this very spot. It was chosen because the nightclub was popular among young adults of Takeru’s age, so it would’ve seemed as though he was going to the nightclub. But it looks as though someone else caught whiff of what was about to do down and apparently murdered the informant.

Alex’s eyes swept across the room one more time; just to make sure there was nothing lurking in the shadows. It was then that his eyes lingered on a dark lump in the far corner of the room. Horrified, Alex didn’t want to believe what his mind was telling him.

“Alex, what’s ―” Takeru broke off when he saw the Vampire freeze up and staring at a certain part of the room.

“Is that a dead body Alex?” Takeru asked in fright. “That isn’t a dead body, right?”

Without answering, Alex trotted over to the lump and beckoned Takeru to follow. Reluctantly, the shorter male made his way over.

“It’s a dead body Takeru.”

“I can see that now.” But upon closer inspection, the amateur detective realized who it was. “As a matter of fact, it’s the informant.”

He was a tall male with blue-ish coloured hair. He was dressed in casual clothes ―t-shirt and jeans. But something stood out on his chest. There was a burn mark present, seeming to have burnt through the shirt. And on his skin, there was a pentagram.

“Witch.” Alex mumbled out with Takeru nodding. In this world, they were the only set of people who use Pentagrams. “So, what do we do now?”

Of all Takeru’s cases, he’s never stumbled upon a dead body like this before. The only time they’ve seen one is at the morgue, with numerous police around.

“Well,” the young Japanese started up again, “I guess we have to wait until the police arrive. If we leave, who knows if one of those clubbers will come stumbling down here.”

“Ah…” Alex sassed. “At least, can’t we leave from here?” he asked. “Like, I don’t know, go where there aren’t any blood splatters all over the fucking room! I’m a Vampire, and this fresh blood is setting me off.”

“Alright but jeez, there’s no need to shout.” Takeru frowned. He realized that Alex’s eyes had even turned red.

Wordlessly, Alex walked off, going back to the broken door when both males noticed something. The white door that was falling off its hinges earlier was perfectly intact. Grabbing the knob, Alex pushed and pulled but the door was stuck. Something was preventing them from leaving.

“You’ve seen something you shouldn’t have.” A gravelly voice said from behind.

Turning around, the two males saw three figures, clothed in dark hooded cloaks, resembling what Mages and other magicians would wear in medieval fantasies.

“Who are you?” Takeru asked, bidding time for Alex to use his powers to undo the lock. Sadly, a large pentagram appeared on the door, which meant that no simple lock-picking could free them now.

“Fuck.” Alex hissed.

“It’s no use.” One of the cloaked figures said, the smile was evident in his voice. “You’re not leaving here alive.”

Quickly, Alex grabbed Takeru and used his Teleportation (that he mimicked from Tomoya) but when the two boys disappeared, they reappeared in the same room.

“What…?” Alex was stumped. There hasn’t been a time when he couldn’t teleport anywhere he wanted and wondered just what kind of sorcery these people were using. “Takeru, whatever you do, stay out of the way.”

Takeru made a nervous chuckle. “You didn’t need to tell me.”

Then, all three raised their hands above their heads after which a black mist formed around them. There was an ominous feeling coming from the three, and quickly, Alex pushed Takeru behind him when the black mist came closer.

“You guys picked the wrong Onizawa to piss off.”