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might as well just hate you

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“You’re probably the worst hunter I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.”

It’s said to Chanyeol by the vampire himself, all laughing scorn and playful mockery, and it gets his hackles to rise like a cat in front of a bathtub. Only about half of it is because of the taunt that’s crystal clear in the words. Most of it is just owed to the sheer wrongness of the situation, because - what kind of vampire would even say that when faced with a hunter? Not a normal one. Not one with any sense of self-preservation, that’s for sure.

And yeah, okay, maybe Chanyeol had just tripped over air and dropped his stake into the Han River, but still. Totally uncalled for.

Byun Baekhyun just cocks his head. Under Seoul’s moon, he’s made up of pale skin and sharp angles, the spitting image of the man in the hunt profile Chanyeol’d been assigned. “No, seriously,” he says, still sounding unfairly amused. “What was that? Is today your first day or something?”

“No,” Chanyeol snaps, flushing. As a matter of fact, it’s his sixty-seventh day, but Baekhyun doesn’t need to know that. “Shut up, you’re being apprehended. Put your hands up or I’ll have to forcibly restrain you.”

“With what, your Rilakkuma-print scarf?”

Chanyeol slaps a hand over his neck. He flushes harder. “No - this is—”

“Interesting strategy, I’ll give you that,” Baekhyun goes on, voice drawling. “But I’d say it’s a little on the cute side for a weapon.”

“It’s a gift from my sister,” Chanyeol blurts. Then has to resist the urge to hit himself, because why the fuck did he say that?

It must be the cold. That must be it. The air is way too frigid for September and it’s getting to Chanyeol’s brain. The cold, and the hooded stare of the vampire in front of him, the wind tousling his silky hair—

“Charming.” Baekhyun leaps down from the bridge railing in one smooth, liquid movement. He straightens up, then purses his mouth and thoughtfully appraises Chanyeol. His gaze runs from Chanyeol’s shoulders down to his feet.

Chanyeol’s whole body goes hot when Baekhyun meets his eyes again and smirks, bloody lips with a flash of fang, crimson over white. “Well, here’s a tip, Mr. Hunter,” he says. “If you want to try restraining me with those arms next time instead, I can’t say I’d complain.”

And then he’s gone before Chanyeol can even blink, melting into the darkness like some creature of the night. Which, well. He kind of is.

Chanyeol looks down at his empty hands. “Fuck,” he says aloud.

He’ll have to apply for a new stake.

***

“So I’m guessing it didn’t go well,” is what Jongdae says when he walks into Chanyeol’s office the next morning.

Chanyeol gives his guitar an aggressive strum. “Why do you say that?”

“You’ve been playing Twice’s Signal for the past twenty minutes, dude. Anyone who knows you knows that you only play that song when you have some sort of deep, dark anger contained in your soul.”

In lieu of answering, Chanyeol very pointedly plays the notes in the tune of jjirit-jjirit, and Jongdae sighs.

“Look,” his fellow hunter says, waving a hand. “So you met your match. Big deal. It’s one vampire out of hundreds. What’s the fuss?”

“Big deal?” Chanyeol huffs. “He was a total ass.”

“So? It’s not like you’re gonna see him again.”

“Like I’m going to let him get away so easily. I’ll catch him next time.”

That makes Jongdae pause. He gives Chanyeol a long look. So long, in fact, that Chanyeol gets to hum his way through Signal’s chorus another two times before he speaks again.

“I won’t point out how recklessly stubborn you’re being if you play Cheer Up for me next,” Jongdae offers.

Chanyeol strums once more. A scarlet smile flashes in his mind like an aftershock. “Deal.”

***

Next time turns out to be far too soon for Chanyeol’s liking. Baekhyun knocks his fist into Chanyeol’s chest, and Chanyeol slams into the wall so hard he sees stars. The dingy alleyway they’re in is dark, at least, so no one’s here to witness the complete humiliation of a five-foot-eight vampire dominating him in a fight, pinning Chanyeol up against the bricks and swiping the stake at his hip as easily as breathing.

“You should really take better care of these things,” Baekhyun murmurs. For a second, Chanyeol has to wonder how he’s touching the silver so casually, but then he gets a glimpse of Baekhyun’s fingers. Leather gloves. Ah.

“Let me go,” Chanyeol bites out.

“Tempting offer, but I’ll pass.” Baekhyun uses the point of the stake to tip Chanyeol’s chin, until Chanyeol’s blinking up into teasing dark eyes. He presses closer. His breath fans across Chanyeol’s face, and Chanyeol almost recoils on instinct, but it doesn’t smell anything like blood. It’s sweet, actually - like candy.

Chanyeol doesn’t realize he’s gone mostly breathless until Baekhyun laughs. “What, no garlic breath? Some hunters are desperate enough to try that, you know. Especially ones at your skill level.”

“Fuck you,” Chanyeol mumbles, but it comes out soft and hitched, and when Baekhyun pulls away and takes a step back, Chanyeol doesn’t even try to grab his stake.

Baekhyun doesn’t miss the lack of action. He grins, fangs glinting in the moonlight.

“Now we’re talking.”

***

Jongdae does a double take when Chanyeol shuffles into headquarters the next day. “You have a bite mark on your neck,” he says, sounding like he’d literally rather be pointing out anything else.

Chanyeol rubs at the spot in question. It’s still a little sore, but nothing he can’t deal with - he’d asked Baekhyun to be rough last night, after all - so he just hums, sliding fingertips along his skin and feeling his blood thrum at the light tingle of pleasure.

“Trust me, I know.”