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“しつれいします…"

Both Kuzuha and Fuwa said in chorus as they took off their shoes and put them aside.

 

“Why did I have to be the one to ring it?” Kuzuha grumbled in a low voice, making sure the host doesn’t hear it. He got even more irritated when Fuwa burst out laughing as if he just said the biggest joke of all time. “What are you laughing at you bastard?”

 

“Come on, is that even a question? It’s only natural you’d do it. You’re closest to him after all. Geez.”

 

Kuzuha sealed his lips shut and wished he never said anything.

 

He wanted to retaliate that he was not in the mood to see him first thing in the morning. He wanted to say that seeing Kanae open his door for them with a bright smile on his face was feeding his ever growing frustration with himself.

 

Sighing, he silently admitted defeat and proceeded to venture inside Kanae’s newly bought apartment.

 

It’s not like he can actually say it to Fuwa, or to anyone else at that matter, what exactly he was feeling. He had no choice but to keep it all in his head.

 

Licking his lips, he brought his gaze over to a Kanae that was staring at him from the counter, with Fuwa bustling in the background, handling the groceries.

 

Kuzuha felt a pang in his chest.

 

The moment Kanae catches his gaze, he’d always find himself staring at him far longer than necessary. He felt like his whole being was pierced by something that he can never comprehend. Kuzuha blames the natural pull that Kanae carries with him all the time.

 

Or is it just him that’s utterly affected like this?

 

He felt like a lost fool, sailing a vast ocean with no destination in mind. Wild waves disturbing his thoughts, leaving it blank. The desire to just jump in the nauseating, never ending darkness of the deep blue was more prominent than ever before.

 

Kanae had the power to extract an answer from the vampire just by taking a glance at his red eyes, an answer that even he himself isn’t aware of. Whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, Kuzuha doesn’t know.

 

He hated it.

 

The angel gave him a fond smile and that was all it took for Kuzuha to avert his eyes away. Lump forming in the back of his throat, he turned his back on him and took multiple heavy breaths, in the disguise of hanging his trench coat on the coat stand by the door. It disgusted him that he was suddenly in the verge of tears.

 

Was it really disgust? Or disappointment? Nevertheless,

 

The ringing in his ears has never been this loud before.

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

Years ago, presumably a hundred or so, the mortals and the vampires were not at war. There were feuds over lands and rights, but it never escalated into a bloodbath. They weren’t really at peace, but they were neutral enough to coexist.

 

At some point in time, other kinds of species other than the two, emerged. After a lot of years living in coexistence, halfs became a thing. Affection between a mortal and someone who’s not was either genuine, or arranged ahead of time to soothe over some district lord’s debt to another specie.

 

Lagusa was neither.

 

A half he is indeed, but whether he was conceived by love or obligation, he didn’t know.

 

He didn’t bother finding out. He just had to make sure that no one knows he is a half.

 

Aleksandr Lagusa was royalty.

 

People cower in their feet whenever he sets his gaze on them. Vampires have always been at the top of the food chain despite the silent agreement of coexistence between the two species, and it didn’t help that the said vampire’s own pair of red irises had a certain pull to it. They fear him, not only for his exceptional prowess in battle and technique, but because the vampire himself was exquisitely beautiful.

 

He stood at six feet, rocking a set of eyes that had the innate ability to make you want to submit to him, and white, long locks that flowed down to his abdomen.

 

Aleksandr Lagusa was a walking ball of immense power and artistry. There was just something about him that makes him feel like a natural born leader. He rose to the highest ranks with sheer power and charisma.

 

They willingly bow down to the beautiful vessel that holds a feral beast within.

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

“いい加減にして!”                                                                                                   

 Kanae scolded the rest of their friends wrecking havoc around his house.

 

A lot of their fellow co-workers from Nijisanji came, even Kamito himself turned up, though the poor man was shaking in his boots in nervousness. Some were dead drunk, passed out on the floor. Kenmochi and Akiina completely lost it, and are conspiring together to drag Mayuzumi down with them. It was pure chaos, and Kanae looked completely distressed just thinking about the aftermath of all this.

 

Kuzuha knew him enough to know that despite all this, Kanae’s having the time of his life.

 

He observed his expressions from across the room, where he can be seen peacefully (finally) sipping his strawberry latte.

 

It was a real struggle to get away from Kenmochi Touya’s grasps.

 

From where he sat, Kagami, Kanda, Ibrahim, and Kamito can be seen playing mahjong. Kuzuha chuckled hearing all three of them gang up on Kamito, teasing the poor man about his admiration for Kanae. The said admired man heard them, and started adding fuel to the fire.

 

Ah, there it is again. The pull.

 

Yeah it was a struggle to escape from a drunk Kenmochi Touya, but the harder struggle would be keeping your eyes away from a Kanae.

 

Reading him was never an easy job. There are instances where Kuzuha would think he got a good read of what he’s feeling, but he never fails to prove the hundred-year-old vampire wrong.

 

The man lies as easily as he breathes. He can say things that most people would struggle saying nonchalantly. Has a habit of making people uncomfortable for fun. You’d never really know what to expect of him. A psychopath, they’d say.

 

Kuzuha never really thought of him as a psychopath, but rather on edge.

 

They both are, in a sense.

 

He sighed and got up from the wall he was leaning on and headed to the kitchen to throw away what was left of his drink. The vampire was very much occupied to even finish it. “I’m gonna get some fresh air,” he said, and headed straight for the door. No one probably heard him or paid mind to what he said.

 

He didn’t have to look back to know that Kanae was burning holes through his head.

 

Kuzuha knows that he is acting very strange right now. In the hundred years he’s lived, he can confirm that this is the strangest he’s been.  

 

Was it him that’s strange? Or is it the feeling that Kanae’s making him feel?

 

He was no stranger to the enigma that was Kanae. He’s watched him die in front of him and get reincarnated countless times.

 

It was a curse. Kuzuha had come to the conclusion that the curse itself was the fact that they never fail to meet each time.

 

He felt sick.

 

“What are you doing out here all alone?”

 

Shit.

 

“I told y’all I was gonna get some air.”

 

This was really not the time for them to converse.

 

“Have you gone deaf from too much whiskey or what?” Kuzuha added with a chuckle, desperate to make a playful atmosphere.

 

Kanae sighed at the stubborn vampire and said, “Look at me.”

 

‘Fuck no.’ He retaliated internally.

 

“You really thought I wouldn’t notice you were ignoring me for the past two days?” Kanae asked. “I thought I told you to tell me if I did something wrong.”

 

Kuzuha took a deep breath before answering. “Look, Kanae. I have a lot going on right now, and I didn’t want to spoil your mood with mine so I kept my distance-”

 

“That’s bullshit.”

 

Of course it is.

 

“I know.” Fighting with him was no use, and he learned it the hard way.

 

It sounds a little bit self-centered, but Kuzuha knows that nothing gets past Kanae when it comes to him.

 

He flinched when he felt a gentle touch on his ear. His little touches were feathery light, but somehow carry a weight to them. A weight that Kuzuha would never be able to unveil.

 

Kanae’s fingers travelled from his right ear to his hair. Slowly, the angel raked his fingers through the vampire’s white locks, and it’s taking all of Kuzuha to hold himself back from just pushing his head deeper onto Kanae’s hand.

 

It was that easy for the said angel to overpower him.

 

“Then, why won’t you look at me?”

 

Kuzuha sighed for the nth time that day and asked back. “You’re still not letting that go?”

 

Besides, he knew that Kanae already had a hunch why. It’s just so him to try and make the person spit out the answer themself.

 

Kanae let out a light laugh. “Of course not.”

 

A cold breeze blew past them and Kuzuha let out a light smile, feeling the hand on his head shiver a bit. He didn’t know what took over him, but he placed his hand atop the said shivering hand. Kanae was slightly taken aback by surprise, but nevertheless, got comfortable and playfully fiddled with the vampire’s fingers.

 

Softly, Kuzuha circled his fingertips around Kanae’s wrist. Feeling the human’s pulse brings him an indescribable amount of reassurance.

 

“It’s because if I do look at you, I might just give in and tell you everything.”

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

Aleksandr sighed.

 

Walking down the slightly muddy path leading to what’s probably a dark cave, was how he planned to spend his day off. The high-ranking official was rarely awarded with a day off, and he’s gonna spend it however he likes.

 

Yes, that includes walking thousands of miles away from the capital by foot.  The vampire was quite the adventurous type, although it isn’t evident.

 

Securing the hood over his head, he walked as dried autumn leaves scattered all over the place, and each step he took would cause a crunchy sound, signaling that he had broke the said leaves into multiple pieces.

 

He stopped in front of an old-looking passage, covered with what seemed were vines that were purposely placed there to prevent someone from entering. It was past noon, and the sun was starting to set, but it wasn’t too dark that he’s still able to see low light peeking from the vines. His claws dug into the poor vines, a sick feeling was starting to emerge from his stomach.

 

Nausea was starting to take over him.

 

He felt sick, intrigued, and ridiculously alert, as if what lies ahead of him was something that can utterly mess him up.

 

Taking a deep breath,  he swept away the vines and took a step forward into the unknown.

 

He threaded his way deeper into the cave in complete silence, steps as light as feather. Finally, he reached the end of the passage, and squinted his eyes to properly observe his surroundings. He wouldn’t have guessed that the dirty looking entrance would lead to a calming plain of green.

 

A hidden garden.

 

Aleksandr let his guard down a little and ventured more into the hidden paradise. Flowers of a wide variety were all over the place, but they weren’t placed in a sloppy manner. He can instantly tell that the  colors and lengths of each one were taken into consideration during the placement. He now kind of understood why Dola would spend countless hours in the greenhouse, sipping tea.

 

It was pleasing to the eye.

 

“Lagusa, sir?” An unfamiliar voice called.

 

He stopped in his tracks, feeling a cold shiver down his spine. With a stern expression, Aleksandr turned around to the direction where the voice came from.

 

A priest. A pretty priest.

 

He didn’t know what to expect, honestly. It was likely that this man was the one taking care of the garden, seeing as the path leading to where they are now is not a path that one would normally take on an ordinary day.

 

“How did you know it was me?”

 

The said priest smiled. “I saw a glimpse of a cross earring, and figured it was you.”

 

Aleksandr blankly stared as the man wrapped in black, priest clothing with a cross necklace hanging on his neck, placed a hand on his chest, making a curt bow, and slowly met the immortal’s red eyes.

 

“I hope my Eden is to your liking,” he said with a smile.

 

As the setting sun accentuated the priest’s delicate features, the vampire felt like drowning in those greyish orbs.

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

“まだ飲みたい…”            

A chorus of drunk complaints resounded in the tiny but comfortable space of Kanae’s apartment.

 

“Whosh dish anuying bitch thats drrrragging meee!” Kenmochi whined as Gaku swung his arm over his shoulder and held on his waist for support.

 

“I’m sorry for the bother, Gaku.” Kanae sheepishly apologized. “The others already left and I haven’t gone to Touya’s house yet so I don’t really know how to get there.”

 

“Oh no, it’s okay.” With a grunt, Gaku finally managed to sling the drunkard over his shoulder. “I’m sure cleaning their mess up is already gonna be a bother so I’m really glad you called me.”

 

Kanae laughed and appreciated the man’s concern. “Cleaning’s gonna be a piece of cake if I just make Kuzuha do all the work.”

 

The said man’s ears perked up and hastily shouted an “Excuse me?!” from the kitchen. Gaku laughed alongside Kanae, due to the fact that the sound of the water drowned the supposedly loud shout in the background.

 

“You’re amazing, Kanae.”

 

Kanae was startled at the comment. “What do you mean?”

 

“I’ve heard that in the hundred years he’s lived, only you are able to make him do shit like those,” Gaku answered with a chuckle. “It’s actually a really pleasant surprise.”

 

Kuzuha’s actions halted, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the other two.

 

He blinked a few times, and the playful atmosphere around him slowly dispersed and now he’s scrubbing the plates in a more tame manner. He made sure that his eyes stayed glued to whatever Kanae forced him into doing. The painful sound of running water was starting to irritate him.

 

Sensing the awkward atmosphere that was forming, Gaku cleared his throat and said, “Thank you for taking care of them, Kanae. Guess we’ll see you around?”

 

Kanae nodded and gave him a small smile, “Yeah, it was a pleasure. We’ll see you around too, Gaku. Have a safe trip.”

 

Kuzuha heard the door shut, but Gaku leaving didn’t really make him feel any better. Being left alone with Kanae once again in this kind of atmosphere made his nerves act up again.

 

“Are you still not comfortable?”

 

He sighed, tired. Whether he was tired of washing the dishes or tired of Kanae worrying about him for the nth time, he didn’t know.

 

He felt like he wasn’t worthy enough for the angel to be worried about him.

 

“I am now.”

 

“You keep bullshitting me today.” Kanae sighed, feeling defeated. “I’m not gonna force you to tell me anything until you’re okay with doing so.”

 

“I’ll wait,” he added.

 

Ah, that just made Kuzuha feel even worse.

 

The silent patter of Kanae’s footsteps faded into the darkly lit hallway. He’s guessing that the angel was probably gonna spend a few hours outside the balcony.

 

Something in Kuzuha was telling him to run after the man, sit him down, and offer him some hot cocoa, instead of letting him go out and get exposed to the cold.

 

He refuses to admit that Kanae’s coughs give him mini heart attacks.

 

Turning off the running water, he left the plates to air-dry and wiped his hands with the towel hanging by the counter. He made his way into the living room and saw the mess their friends made. The thought that Kanae wanted to give him space so he went to the balcony instead crossed his mind. Fetching a trash bag, Kuzuha took it upon himself to clean the place up.

 

He was guilty, indeed.

 

One by one, he picked them up, making sure that he did not miss anything. From the table, the couch, and the carpet. He shook his head in disbelief just thinking about how wasted those idiots were. After a few minutes, his eyes scanned the room and was satisfied with how his spontaneous cleaning turned out. Kuzuha started to head for the door to throw out the trash, but his eyes suddenly landed on Kanae’s room. He snorted at himself, because even his room had the power to gravitate him in it.

 

It was so fucking stupid.

 

“Kanae, I’m going into your room and collect your trash!” He shouted, loud enough to make sure he heard him all the way from the balcony.

 

He had the choice of approaching Kanae instead of wasting his breath shouting, but he knows the angel is holding a cancer stick in between his delicate fingers. Kuzuha wasn’t the one smoking, but he feels his lungs malfunction whenever he catches him doing so.

 

His mind bubbled in anxiety.

 

A loud lough emerged from said balcony. “You’ve definitely been acting strange all day, but this?! Yeah I’m not complaining!”

 

Kuzuha rolled his eyes at the ridiculous response, but at the same time, he felt relieved.

 

The fact that they can still randomly hold conversations like this despite his tantrums that even he doesn’t know the exact root of, soothes an unknown part of him that only Kanae is capable of.

 

After a lot of contemplating, even though he got the go signal from the owner, he made his way towards Kanae’s door and opened it.

 

It took a lot of strength to stop the slight trembling of his hands.

 

Althought situated in a new location, it wasn’t like this was his first time going inside Kanae's personal room. There were times that he’d enter unannounced, even catching him on-stream.

 

There was just something about this day that made him feel like he was always standing on the edge of a cliff.

 

He didn’t really bother opening the lights inside since he can see just fine – perks of being a vampire, and that it was just a quick task. A few steps in, and he noticed something different. He scrunched his nose and lightly sniffed the air.

 

There was a faint trace of a familiar metallic scent.

 

The lighting was low, the moon lightly illuminating the sides of his face. It was dead silent, but he felt like he was about to go crazy from the ringing in his ears. Kuzuha stopped dead in his tracks and stared blankly at the overwhelmingly huge pile of tissues blotched with a bright ruby red. Defeated, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath because ah- of course.

 

It’s starting.

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

A soft wind blew past his pale face as he was laying under the humble shade of one of the trees that the priest takes care of. The birds chirped away without a care in the world, as they all fly to wherever their wings take them.

 

“You’ve grown fond of that tree now I see.”

 

Humming, “Only because its shade is wider than the others’,” he said.

 

Aleksandr need not open his eyes to know who spoke. To be fair, only the two of them are the ones that know of the place’s existence, just as though it was their own utopia.

 

It was embarrassing to admit that he liked how that sounded.

 

Hearing the human rustle beside him, he finally opened his eyes. The vampire stared in silent awe as he dug a hole in enthusiasm, a paper bag beside him. As the priest continued to shovel, mud stuck to his milky skin, and he stared at it in disdain. He can never understand how much the human fancies the hobby. Aleksandr sighed and moved away from the comfort of his shade, much to his dismay, and approached the mortal.

 

Feeling a feathery light touch on his chin, Kanae’s actions ceased, and slowly looked up at the immortal towering over him. Their eyes met, and they were lost in a trance.

 

It was so easy to get consumed by the other, and both were painfully aware.

 

Aleksandr blinked and cleared his throat, “You had something on your face. I’m sorry-”

 

“Do you harbor feelings for me, Lagusa?”

 

Kanae stood up and walked closer to the vampire. He frowned seeing how the mortal was clearly enjoying this.

 

Yeah, he knew his effect on him.

 

“You entertain me.”

 

Kanae frowned, looking offended. “That is all?”

 

Aleksandr bit the inside of his cheek. He was annoyed. It was either at himself, or by the effect that the mortal had on him.

 

“I have no time playing games with you. Tell me what you want to hear.”

 

“You say you have no time but I always see you here lazing about on my trees. Tell me what you want."

 

Kanae was pretty brazen for a priest. He was brazen, but he held onto his beliefs. He liked that part about him.

 

“I hate it.”

 

The mortal blinked. That was the answer that he least expected from the vampire. “Hate what?”

 

“I can’t breathe when you’re around, and I hate it.”

 

Kanae breathed a sigh of relief, and it didn’t go unnoticed.

 

“I’m more offended that you relaxed when I informed you of my difficulties in breathing.”

 

A loud laugh rang in the vampire’s ears, and all he could do was stare at the human in awe, lightly bathed in the gentle rays of the morning sun.

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

“How is it that you never fail to surprise me?” Dola asked with a laugh as she set up her table for her daily routine in her favorite spot in the castle.

 

“How is it that you have the nerve to even think that I am one of those that have played according to what you perceive?”

 

The fire hydra laughed in mischief. “Clever, Lagusa, but lacking.” As she finished pouring her tea on her cup, she leaned back on her chair and observed the vampire standing in front of a couple of soil beds containing chrysanthemums.

 

“I never knew you liked chrysanthemums.”

 

“I don’t.” Aleksandr replied almost immediately.

 

“Oh, you do.” Dola stated with finality. She saw how his shoulders tensed when she said so. Sighing, she added. “I could never fathom how our subordinates still treat you like some trigger happy beast when you’re so easy to read-”

 

“I don’t like them.” The immortal cut her off. He released his hands, which were previously intertwined behind his back.

 

“I’m fond of them, Dola. There’s a difference.”

 

From where she was sitting, Dola could see his reflection. The green tinted glass mixed with the own red of the vampire’s orbs resulted in a yellowish splash of color around his eyes. Indeed, the stories about the dormant beast being held in a mesmerizing artwork are true. She watched as his once stern expression slowly softened, as though he were reminiscing a memory.

 

As though he yearns.

 

Dola leaned on the table and place her chin atop her hand. “You’re acting strange.”

 

Aleksandr turned to her in confusion. “What do you mean?” He was taken aback. Though it did not show on his face, Dola knew better.

 

The fire hydra looked at him in the eye and said “It’s as though you are desperate.”

 

Dola took out her spare hand from her pocket and raised it above her head, dramatically twirling her hand in circles, fingers dancing in a graceful motion.

 

“It’s as though your reason is slowly slipping away from your grasps, as you desperately try to keep your head above water.”

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

“屋上に行こう.”                                        

 Kanae suddenly said while they lazed around the now clean living room.

 

“Why do you suddenly want to go to the rooftop?” Kuzuha asked, absentmindedly flicking the remote, changing from channel to channel.

 

“Fresh air.”

 

Ah, déjà vu.

 

The vampire turned to him in disbelief. “You just got back from the balcony. You’re really asking to be sick.”

 

“And if I am?” Kanae asked tauntingly. “You’re going to end up taking care of me anyways.”

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

It was fall.

 

It was getting colder.

 

Aleksandr Lagusa watched in dread as Kanae slowly withered away in his arms. He closed his eyes as he felt the human cup his cheek. He repeatedly rubbed his face on it, wanting to submerge himself in it and melt at his touch. But he could no longer do that,

 

For he was deliberately going colder by the second.

 

“Don’t I look lovely in red, Aleksandr?”

 

It was unfair. The vampire lost count of the times he has begged the human to call him by his given name. He chose to say it now, of all times.

 

“No, you don’t.”

 

“How cold. I thought you liked it.”

 

“I do, but not on you.”

 

He could only look as Kanae bathed in his own beautiful crimson, irked that he dared favor that one color over the many others that existed.

 

“You can bite, you know?”

 

“What about your faith? Your beliefs?” was his immediate rebuttal. “I’d rather pray to the gods you speak of than do that, Kanae.”

 

He’d be lying if he said that the thought of biting the mortal never crossed his mind. The idea has occurred to him, one too many times that he was ashamed of it.

 

“Do you not want me by your side?” Kanae’s voice was getting smaller and weaker, and it was taking all of the vampire to stop him from talking, even though he was painfully aware that the human was beyond saving anyways.

 

“I do, but-”

 

“Then do it.” With the remaining strength that the mortal had in him, he traced the vampire’s trembling lips with a ghostly touch, and lightly parted them, just enough for him to catch a glimpse of his fangs.

 

“Heaven, for me, is with you,” Kanae added, his voice cracking with a smile.

 

That was all it took for the vampire to prick the delicate skin of his human. As he felt the warm blood and the taste of it all over his mouth, he could feel his heart clench at the feel of Kanae’s hand on his hair go limp.

 

“Find me in the next as well, Lagusa.”

 

Aleksandr finally pulled himself away from Kanae, and felt a lump in his throat as he took a good look at him one last time. Feeling numb, he looked up at the night sky and cursed the stars.

 

Ah, if only he arrived before sunset.

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

Kuzuha had a deadpan look on his face when they arrived at the rooftop. No shit was it cold. He only had his sweater and red scarf with him, and he was shivering to the bone. The other was enthusiastic, and the vampire didn’t even dare question why he was not even complaining about it.

 

Must be the whiskey.

 

He watched in silence as Kanae moved closer to the edge, putting his hands on the railing. The brown-haired angel’s look of amusement was visible on his face. It made Kuzuha dread for what was about to come out of his mouth in the next few minutes.

 

He observed his every move, from the rubbing of his hands to keep them from freezing, and placing it back again on the railings.

 

Of course, the railings. He was too comfortable with the railings. His fingers fiddled with it, playfully pushing it back and forth, making sure a sound could be heard.

 

Every screech rang in his ears, and he was starting to regret letting the angel let him get his way with him again.

 

Kanae knew. He knew what he was doing. He didn’t need to look back to know that the vampire was itching to pull him off it and drag him back home.

 

“Just spit it out. What did we come here for?” Kuzuha was the first one to break. He was cold, and anxious. “If you’ve got something to say then say it before I-“

 

“You’re scared, aren’t you?”

 

“Excuse me-“

 

“No wait, it’s more like you’re guilty.” Kanae said, voice dripping in finality. He was so sure of it, and Kuzuha can’t really blame him.

 

It was some telepathic link between them, and it wasn’t particularly a good thing. There’s some sort of masochistic feel to it, being able to feel what the other was feeling. Though intimate, it was slow torture.

 

“What do you mean I’m guilty?”

 

Kanae leaned his whole weight back on the railings and shrugged. Kuzuha was slowly starting to lose his sanity.

 

“I don’t know, you tell me.”

 

The vampire isn’t even the one who’s standing at the edge of the roof, but it feels like he is. His breath was starting to get shaky, and he was well aware it wasn’t because of the cold.

 

“You know I don’t play your mind games, Kanae.”

 

“Then don’t play it. Just spit it out and we’re done for.”

 

“This is so fucking ridiculous.”

 

Kanae laughed, and for any normal person, this should have ticked them off given the situation, but Kuzuha knew better. Better isn’t even the right word for it.

 

He just knew.

 

“Come closer.” Kanae held his hand out. “The view looks even better here.”

 

Though slightly nervous, the immortal took the angel’s hand without any protest. As soon as Kuzuha placed his hand on his, he got pulled into a tight embrace.

 

“It’s cold, isn’t it?” Kanae softly said, his voice lightly drowned out by the cotton of the vampire’s sweater.

 

“I’m freezing.” Kuzuha rebutted.

 

Kanae let out a wide smile, accompanied with what seemed to be a light chuckle.

 

They stayed like that for god knows how long, just drowning in the warmth of each other. He was so warm and smelled nice, it was so unfair.

 

Kuzuha wanted to cry.

 

“Why don’t you hate me?”

 

“But I love you.”

 

Every day he spent with him felt like threading on thin ice. He felt guilty, like he caged a one of a kind butterfly that deserved to spread its wings and fly away. It didn't help that no matter what life, what circumstances they both were under, the angel would still love him back unconditionally.

 

As though he were the God that the former priest believed in.

 

He knew he didn't deserve an inch of it.

 

The vampire’s tears fell. “That just makes me feel even worse.”

 

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

Bits and bits of white crystalline slowly started to pile on his head, the color blending with his own locks. He walked, a soft crunch resonating whenever his boot-clad feet made contact with the blanket of snow.

 

People stared. People talked.

 

People talked about the lovely vampire that walked in despair, shame even, with blood dripping down his mouth and hands.

 

Aleksandr vaguely heard a womanly voice shout his name, but he wouldn’t dare think about anything other than the brown-haired priest that consumed his whole being.

 

It was only a few feet more before he reached the castle gates, but his feet were tied to the ground.

 

Dola watched in pity as the immortal wobbled over to her, and leaned on her for support. His legs ached, covered in frost. The vampire was shaking vigorously all over, but Dola knew enough that it was not the cold’s doing.

 

“He looked ethereal, Dola.”

 

It was a quiet whisper. His breath shook, and his voice cracked. She could feel his trembling hands desperately claw against her back. Like a child that just lost it’s comfort object.

 

The woman didn’t bother answering, and just wrapped her arms tighter around the immortal.

 

People talked, but they didn’t scream nor panic. Instead they watched with curious yet solemn eyes, as the vampire that sat in the highest ranks, scream and cry his eyes out in the arms of a fire hydra.

 

Right now, he was no royalty.

 

He was a lover.

 

He was human.

 

______________________________________________________

 

 

 

Spring came.

 

The vampire still went by the name of “Kuzuha”, and started living a life away from streaming. He was still in touch with some people from the office, but he made sure that their interactions with him would be kept minimal.

 

Feeling a droplet of water on his head, he stopped in his tracks and looked above. Slowly but surely, the light patter of rain in the pavement became heavier, and the winds blew even harsher.  People ran past him, bags placed at the top of their heads. They ran over water puddles, splashing him in the process, but he paid them no mind.

 

It was peaceful like this.

 

Swiping his now neatly cut hair away from his forehead, he sat on a bench in the local park. No one was around, so he had the place all to himself.

 

The immortal leaned back on the bench and rested his arms on it. Strangely, he liked the smell of rain. It brought him a weird sense of ease.

 

He spent a few minutes like that, eyes closed and letting the rain wash away his thoughts off the shore.

 

Ah, how come he could no longer feel the rain. He could hear the excessive pour, but something was blocking the rain from touching his skin.

 

He opened his eyes to see an umbrella over his head.

 

Judging from the small hand, it was a kid. The poor thing still had a long way to go before adolescence. Lazily, the vampire sat up straight to confront the child, a good scolding in mind about how dangerous it is to be around and about in the middle of the rain.

 

Kuzuha visibly flinched as an all too familiar face came into view.

 

The kid obviously has a bad constitution with the way his eyes are drooped, and how skinny he was compared to other children his age. He could hear him coughing slightly, but the kid was visibly holding it back. If the immortal's hunch was right, he only has at least a few more years to live.

 

It was the seventh reincarnation, and it’s not going to be the last.