Aleksandr Lagusa, the third son of the esteemed Lagusa family. He’s an introverted individual that’s only ever seen at the edges of the ballroom during important events. Although he does respond if someone talks to him, he always politely rejects any dance invitations.
His older brothers on the other hand are more active regarding their nobility. They manage various things for their family while staying involved with politics. Both of them are fully prepared to take over should anything happen to their parents.
All Aleksandr is required to do is keep up his combat training, occasionally fill in for the more important meetings, and give advice when needed. Of course, he keeps up with politics and the like, but he prefers to have his brothers relay things rather than speak in front of the other nobles himself.
He’s left to his own devices most of the time, spending his days reading through the library, sparring, or playing board games with his brothers when they’re free.
Being the youngest has its perks, but it doesn’t change that he’s the third-born son of a prestigious family. The perfect political pawn.
“Sasha, I’m sorry—“
“It’s fine,” he interrupts, a small frown on his face. “You’ve already apologized so many times. I’m getting married, not dying.”
Aleksandr barely looks up, more focused on packing his belongings. He stops to open a photo album filled with pictures of his family, several of them are brand new. It’s easy to tell which ones are recent. Aside from the lack of wear, the forced smiles on his family’s faces and the tight grip they have on him are a dead giveaway.
Despite his red-rimmed eyes, Aleksandr’s small smiles are genuine in each photo. He’s had a lot of time to come to terms with his future. Aleksandr has cried enough these past few weeks while worrying over this arrangement. The vampire double checks that all the pictures are in their places before closing it.
His eldest brother clenches his fists at his sides, angrily biting out, “We may as well be sending you to your death and you know it.”
“I’ll send letters so that you know I’m alive.”
“What if he doesn’t let you?”
Aleksandr rolls his eyes as he begins putting away the accessories scattered on his bedside table, “I’m going to be living with an angel, not a demon.”
“He might as well be one. I don’t know why he was so insistent on you; you said you haven’t met before.”
“I’m a Lagusa, even if I am a shut-in.” He shrugs, “It’s easier to marry me for an alliance since I’m not the heir.”
His brother puts a hand on his shoulder. “Sasha-“
“It’s just politics, I know.” Aleksandr cuts in. “It can’t be helped and we all know it. So let’s just spend time together while we can, okay Aniki?”
“...Fine.” The oldest Lagusa son rests his hand on Aleksandr’s hair and pats him gently. Usually, the younger one would complain that he’s too old for that, but he’s notably silent today. “Buta is coming with you, right?”
“Yeah, he’s my personal butler after all.”
“I’m glad you’ll have him at least.”
“Me too,” he sighs as he carefully tucks a pair of earrings into his jewelry box. Buta has looked after him for as long as he can remember. The kind, pink-haired man always patiently treats him with care.
“If that angel ever mistreats you, just let us know. Or have Buta send a message.” His brother hands him one of his necklaces, carefully wrapped already. “We’ll raise hell.”
Aleksandr shakes his head, “I can handle myself-“
“You’re going to be in his territory. It’s better to be safe than sorry, Sasha.”
“I just don’t want to cause trouble for you guys. This’ll help us in the long run, so I’ll do what I can.”
“You’re so stupid.” He pulls Aleksandr into a messy hug, forcing the other man to stop packing. The younger vampire has his face forcibly buried into his brother’s coat. “You know we don’t care about that, seriously, if something happens you have to tell us.”
Aleksandr pauses before leaning into the hug, his hands coming up to fist the back of his brother’s shirt. He buries his face into the crook of his neck, breathing in the familiar scent of home and comfort.
Of course he’s scared. He doesn’t want to get married to someone he’s never met before; the only thing he knows about his future husband is his name. There was a photo enclosed with one of the proposals but he barely caught a glimpse before one of his brothers tossed it into the fireplace.
“...mmn, I will.”
“Yeah,” he presses closer, enjoying the warmth. “I promise.”
“Good,” The older vampire strokes his hair. “You grew up way too fast.”
Aleksandr snorts, “I’m an adult now. I haven’t been a kid for a while.”
“You’ll always be the baby.”
His family has always spoiled him, coddling him and protecting him from the slightest of danger. Honestly, it could be a bit suffocating at times, the way they worry over every little thing he does. He knows they mean well but…
“You can’t protect me forever,” Aleksandr mumbles.
“..I can try.”
He sighs, “I’ll be fine, trust me, okay?”
“I trust you , but…”
Aleksandr pulls away with a sigh. “It’ll be fine, I can handle it.”
His brother sighs, clearly wanting to say more but he stops himself. He shakes his head, deciding to be content with Aleksandr promising to tell them if anything happened.
They spend the next few hours chatting while the younger vampire packs. At one point, the second Lagusa son joins, bringing along more trouble than help. But it’s fun, and for a moment Aleksandr nearly forgets why he’s packing.
Aleksandr paces uneasily in the waiting room he’s been ushered to. A part of him is beginning to regret asking to skip the engagement period. He didn’t see the point in going through it at the time.
There’s no way the angel would let him break the engagement anyways, not with the level of effort he put in for all of this. So, Aleksandr figured he might as well just dive headfirst into the situation rather than delay the inevitable.
“Sir, be careful with your gloves.”
Aleksandr glances down, his long nails are beginning to dig into his palms, leaving behind small grooves on the fabric of the gloves. He swallows nervously and forces himself to relax before focusing on the man who spoke.
“Buta, we’re alone, you can drop the honorifics,” he mumbles, rubbing his palms together to prevent his hands from curling into fists. “Thank you, by the way.”
Buta smiles gently, “Of course, Sasha.”
It’s not that his family members weren’t allowed in here with them, his parents and brothers were with him just a few minutes ago. They left to take their places since the ceremony was about to begin.
Aleksandr had told them he wanted to walk in by himself; he may be about to get married but he isn’t some bride who’s being given away. He’s the one who chose to accept this, so he’ll walk in there with all the grace he can muster.
“Even if my wedding isn’t the happy kind, I’m a bit sad that you won’t be there,” he laughs weakly. Aleksandr turns to the other man, spotting the small smile on his face. Despite Buta being his butler, he’s a part of the family at this point.
“If I were allowed in there, I wouldn’t be here with you right now. Who would calm you down then?” Buta replies easily as he pours a glass of water. He hands it to the vampire who thanks him quietly.
“Still, you’ve done a lot for me.”
He grew up with Buta looking after him, a loyal butler who’s always patiently dealt with his whims. Aleksandr feels like he owes a lot to Buta since he knows he’s not the easiest person to get along with.
“I’m just repaying my debt.”
Aleksandr scoffs, dismissing the other man’s words, “There was never any debt to be repaid.”
Buta shakes his head, “I’ll always be grateful to you.”
Before the vampire can respond, there’s a knock at the door. He jumps slightly, the sound startling him.
A soft voice calls out through the door, “Excuse me? Everything is ready so I came to get you.”
“A-ah, okay…!” Aleksandr answers, his voice rising in panic as he sets his glass down just a touch too roughly, the sound ends up making him more nervous. He takes a deep breath before quickly double-checking that his appearance is fine.
His butler is already at the door, a hand on the doorknob while he waits for Aleksandr to be ready. When he receives a nod, Buta opens the door and immediately recognizes the person standing there.
Kanae stares up at him in surprise. It’s obvious that he hadn’t expected anyone but Aleksandr to be in here. Buta smiles politely and steps aside so that the angel can come in.
He glances between Buta and Aleksandr before walking towards the vampire. There’s an excited look on his face as he nears the other man.
“Hello! It’s…” Kanae trails off, taking in the wary look on Aleksandr’s face. He pauses before continuing with a gentle smile, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise.” The vampire dips his head in acknowledgment, using the movement to avoid eye contact. He’s grateful for the etiquette that’s been drilled into him from a young age, it keeps his movements graceful even while nervous.
“I’m Kanae,” he offers his hand out in greeting. “Though, I suppose you already guessed that.”
Aleksandr takes his hand, shaking it once before letting go. He’s not sure what else to say other than, “Yes.”
“Ah,” Kanae rubs the back of his neck awkwardly. “Thank you for being here today, I’m happy you accepted.”
“No.. I didn’t have much of a—“ Aleksandr stops himself, eyes wide as he looks to Buta for help. The butler quietly gestures for him to continue. “I mean, um, thanks for agreeing to skip the engagement period.”
He forces an awkward smile, folding his hands behind his back to prevent himself from fidgeting too obviously. The vampire quietly prays that the other man won’t call him out for slipping up; he’s not sure he could handle it with how mortified he already is for not thinking before he speaks.
Kanae seems to shrink slightly, his hand twitching slightly before he forces it still. Despite clearly hearing the other man’s blunt words, he replies as if nothing is wrong, “Of course, I was surprised when you requested it.”
“I thought it’d be easier this way. There’s no need to drag out an engagement for a political marriage,” Aleksandr shrugs a little.
“I see,” he mumbles. Kanae shakes his head and gestures towards the door, “Well, we should get going. All you have to do is follow my lead and the important part will be over before you know it.”
The vampire takes a deep breath, glancing back at Buta briefly to calm himself. His butler’s encouraging smile is familiar, he’s seen it enough whenever he’s forced to socialize with others around his age. Aleksandr sighs quietly before meeting Kanae’s eyes.
He walks towards Kanae, careful to keep a distance between them. “Okay, let’s go then.”
Kanae begins walking down the hallway, keeping the conversation flowing even with Aleksandr’s short responses. He keeps the topic on the ceremony and what the vampire can expect from it.
Aleksandr is grateful for the preparation, but he doesn’t say it. He keeps his gaze level, following after the other man with his back straight. Kanae said it’d be over quickly, but as far as he’s concerned, it all starts as soon as they’re alone after the event.
Ahh… he frowns slightly. I feel sick.
They’re back in the main hallway, having finished seeing off the remaining guests. The Lagusas were among the last to leave, the worried looks on their faces only growing as they passed through the doors. Aleksandr watches them go, his hand raised in a small wave.
Kanae was kind enough to give them space while they said their goodbyes, having excused himself when he realized who was in front of them. Aleksandr quietly thanked him afterward, but the angel brushed it off with a gentle smile.
He hadn’t explained where they were going to now, but Aleksandr can put the pieces together by himself. It’s late, they’re both tired, and there’s really only one last thing left to do. He assumes that they’re sleeping together since Kanae hadn’t mentioned separate rooms.
The vampire glances over to the other man, who’s oddly silent for once. Kanae seems to be lost in thought a few paces ahead of him. He doesn’t know if he’s grateful for the silence or unsettled by it.
Aleksandr sighs and instead focuses his attention on the decorations lined up in the hallway as they pass. Numerous paintings of Kanae’s family are adorning the wall above vases of fresh, red roses. Kanae told him that he’ll be given a tour tomorrow after breakfast and that he’s free to ask anyone for directions if he ever gets lost. Since it sounds like he’s being given free roam of the grounds, Aleksandr hopes that Buta will learn the layout of the area quickly so that he can rely on him instead of bothering anyone here.
He follows after the other man quietly as they pass through another hallway, unsure of how to fill the awkward silence. The brunet suddenly turns to the vampire, taking him by surprise.
Kanae slows down to match his pace and holds out a hand towards him. He looks worriedly over Aleksandr’s face, “Are you tired?”
“A bit...” The vampire places his hand carefully into Kanae’s. His body moved on his own, the image of that offered hand overlaying with those of his brothers’ in his memories. Before he can regret it, his hand is already being gently held.
“We’ll be there soon and you can rest,” Kanae promises. “I’ve had every piece of blessed metal moved to a storage room in the side building, so it should be safe. If anything makes you uncomfortable, please let me know.”
“Ah, thank you,” Aleksandr mumbles as his head dips down in acknowledgment. It’s nice to know that it wouldn’t hurt if he were ever interested in touching anything.
“Of course, it’s the least I could do.” The other man says simply, “I’m sorry I had to take you away from your family.”
If you were sorry you wouldn’t have proposed, he thinks to himself, shaking his head at the thought more so than the question. Aleksandr swallows his nerves down, “It’s fine, I can still write them letters.”
“That’s true, you seem close to them.”
“I heard them call you something earlier,” Kanae comments as he guides them down a different hallway. “What was it?”
Aleksandr smiles a little at the memory of his family hugging him close before they had to leave. “It’s a nickname; they’ve called me ‘Sasha’ for as long as I can remember.”
“May I call you Sasha?”
The vampire flinches involuntarily, his hand twitching in Kanae’s grasp. That term of endearment is for his family. But they are married now, arranged or not, it would make sense to drop the formalities at some point, right?
Aleksandr averts his eyes, desperately wanting to say no but he opens his mouth to agree anyways. It’d be more troublesome if he upset his new husband. Who knows what the angel would do?
“Never mind,” Kanae squeezes his hand gently. “Sorry, that was too forward of me, wasn’t it? It’s okay if you aren’t comfortable with it, Aleksandr.”
“But we’re married now,” he protests weakly. The vampire relaxes slightly, relieved that he can keep this part of him still.
He smiles, “That’s right, which is why I don’t want to force you into doing anything. We’ll be together for the rest of our lives. I don’t want you to hate me.”
“Oh…” Aleksandr stares dumbfounded at Kanae. He hadn’t expected this. The vampire had been fully prepared to live the rest of his life with his head down, staying out of trouble to ensure that his family wouldn’t worry.
In all of Aleksandr’s worries about what Kanae would be like, he never stopped to wonder if he’d be kind. He brushes aside the bit of guilt he feels from realizing that, it’s too early to know if this is an act or not.
“So, if there’s anything you want or don’t like, please tell me.”
“Okay,” he replies automatically. Aleksandr blinks, realizing that he should say more as he shakes off his confusion. “Tell me if there’s anything you don’t like too. And.. you can call me Aleks if you want.”
Kanae brightens, the happiness obvious on his face. “Is that okay?”
“Mhm,” He averts his gaze, uncomfortable with looking any stranger in the eye for too long. “It’s easier to say than my full name, right?”
“Thank you, Aleks.” He smiles, swinging their hands together. Despite his joy, Kanae is careful to not step too close to the vampire, leaving a bit of space between the two of them to avoid overwhelming him.
“No, it’s nothing.”
Kanae fills the silence easily, undeterred by Aleksandr’s short responses. It’s as if his brief period of silence earlier was just him recharging his conversation deck. “Then, can I tell you something I don’t like?”
“Eh..?” Aleksandr glances towards him, “Go ahead.”
“I don’t like speaking formally if I don’t have to, so is it alright if we drop all that?”
The vampire has to stop and process Kanae’s words. Of all the things to bring up, he chooses that?
“...If you don’t mind, then that’s okay with me.”
He beams, “That’s a relief, thanks!”
“No.. it’s really nothing,” he reassures. “This is more comfortable for me too.”
What a weird guy…
Kanae stops in front of a set of double doors and turns to him with a smile. “We’re here. It’s not that far from the main entrance, right? I tried to walk slower so you could remember the path, but if you get lost you can come find me.”
“Ah…” Aleksandr hadn’t been paying attention to where they were going at all, but he nods anyway. It’s easier than admitting that he was just following Kanae without thinking. “Okay.”
“Most of the staff here are friendly, I promise.” He opens the door, allowing the other man to enter first. “If anyone bothers you, feel free to let me know.”
“Mmn,” he mumbles an assent. The vampire has no intention of telling Kanae if someone does bother him. It doesn’t seem right to complain about something like that since he’s an outsider here; a demon amongst holy beings.
Aleksandr looks around Kanae’s bedroom, it looks a bit larger than his own back at home. But it’s strange; there are empty spaces where furniture could be. He makes a note to ask about it later before he turns to the bed in the middle. The sight of the large canopy bed, as comfortable as it looks, sends anxiety spiking through him.
It’s a chilling reminder of where he is and why he’s here.
Kanae has already taken off his coat to drape over one of the couches. He looks across the room to find Aleksandr awkwardly hovering just past the doors, obviously lost.
“You can go bathe first, the bathroom is through that door over there and that closet is yours. I think your butler filled it for you.”
“Uh, ah, o-okay,” Aleksandr stumbles over his words as he moves to grab his clothes. The familiar sight of his clothes hung up neatly in its usual order isn’t enough to calm him. His hands shake and he’s sure he isn’t doing a very good job at hiding his nervousness.
Kanae heads over to his desk, picking up a stack of documents before continuing. “I’ll be right here if you need anything, just call my name.”
“You aren’t...?” Aleksandr trails off, unable to finish the question out of embarrassment.
He smiles gently, already knowing the answer to his question when he asks, “Do you want that?”
“I— no.. not really, sorry.”
“Don’t worry, we have all the time in the world now. It’s a bit out of order, but let’s get to know each other first. I promise I won’t force you to do anything.”
Kanae’s tone soothes Aleksandr’s nerves slightly and the vampire nods and mumbles out a word of gratitude before leaving to wash up. His reddened ears are easy to spot against his white hair.
As soon as the door clicks shut behind the vampire, Kanae hides his face in the files he grabbed earlier, they were random documents that he hadn’t even bothered to read. His face feels hot; seeing Aleksandr get flustered so easily isn’t good for his heart.
“So cute...” he mumbles quietly, tamping down the urge to wrap his new husband into a tight hug and never let go.
The other man has gotten alarmingly pretty over the years, though Kanae supposes he should have expected that. Aleksandr was a cute kid so it only makes sense he’d grow up like this.
It’s a shame that the vampire doesn’t remember him, but it’s fine. Kanae smiles to himself, he’s one step closer to his goal. Kanae sets the files back down on his desk and calls for a maid instead. He’s sure they could both use a cup of tea before bed, it’s been an eventful day.
When Kanae finishes washing up, he finds Aleksandr sitting on the couch. The other man is stiff, obviously uncomfortable with being alone with him in the bedroom. Before Kanae can say anything, there’s a knock on the door.
A maid walks in with a carefully balanced tray of tea. Kanae thanks her as she sets it down, to which she bows in response before leaving. Aleksandr watches as Kanae takes a seat across from him.
“What is this?”
“Tea,” he replies simply before beginning to pour them each a cup. “It’s chamomile, it’ll help you calm down.”
“Ah, thanks.” Aleksandr reaches forward to add sugar into his cup. “To be honest, I half-expected you to ask for alcohol.”
Kanae watches Aleksandr’s movements, amused by the amount of sugar the vampire was adding. So he has a sweet tooth, how cute.
“I drank enough earlier, besides, you don’t seem to like alcohol very much.”
“...was it that obvious?” Aleksandr cringes a little at the memory of the ceremony from earlier. He thought he hid his reaction well, but Kanae must’ve been too close.
He smiles, “A bit, but it’s alright. I just hope you won’t mind it when I have a drink.”
“I don’t care,” he takes a sip of his tea, relaxing slightly at the sweet taste. “It’s your life.”
“How cold~” Kanae mock pouts. “We’re married now aren’t we, Aleks?”
Aleksandr frowns, “I don’t think being in a political marriage means I have a say in how you live your life.”
“It does now. I told you before, didn’t I?” He smiles softly. “I don’t want you to hate me.”
Kanae is relaxed, his limbs loose as the tea begins to settle his emotions from the day. He’s worked hard to ensure that this marriage would go as smoothly as possible, especially considering they skipped the engagement period.
“Then, does that mean you want me to like you?”
Kanae laughs, “Wasn’t that obvious?”
“But why?” He frowns, setting his cup down to lean forward and look the angel in the eyes. The other man’s lax posture is beginning to unsettle him. “We may be legally married now, but it’s more like you bought me and you know it.”
“Ah…” He winces, unable to finish his sentence. Aleksandr has a point considering how Kanae kept increasing his offers alongside his proposals. To be fair, he only did that because his first few letters went ignored. At least the Lagusa family responded when he began offering things as if he were preparing a bride price, even if those letters were filled with insults and further rejections. “That wasn’t my intention.”
“Really?” Aleksandr raises an eyebrow, unimpressed. “It didn’t seem like it considering the contents of the contract we signed.”
“My first few proposals went ignored; I figured I needed to throw something in to get at least a response.” It was a desperate attempt to be noticed.
“I don’t even know what you wrote in the first one. I didn’t get to see it before my brothers threw it into the fireplace, but I’m sure they did it for a reason.”
Kanae pouts, “It was addressed to you, so why didn’t you get to read it?”
“The servants open the letters first, just in case there’s something slipped in there.” He picks up his cup and swirls the tea inside. “It’s a safety precaution. As soon as my butler announced what was in there, they took it before I could.”
“Hmm, I see.” To be honest, he’s a little glad that the vampire didn’t see his first letter. It was a bit of a mess. Looking back at it, his love-sick ramblings were probably taken as creepy and obsessive. Which he supposes is somewhat accurate considering the lengths he went through for this union, but it still isn’t the ideal first impression. “Well, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t read it. The point is that it started because I wanted a reply. It worked out in the end for me, but I didn’t mean for it to come off as buying you.”
Aleksandr laughs a little in disbelief. “Then why did you do it? We’ve never even met before. You could’ve given up after you didn’t receive a reply.”
“I didn’t want to give up,” Kanae replies easily, a bright smile on his face. “I wanted to marry you, so I kept trying. I didn’t care about what I’d gain or lose.”
He furrows his brow, setting his cup down with a clack. Aleksandr is aware that he isn’t keeping his manners in check, but can you blame him when he’s talking to such a strange angel?
“I’ve heard,” he takes a sip of tea. “Does it at least make me interesting?”
The vampire frowns in confusion, “You’re certainly not what I expected.”
Kanae laughs, a warm look in his eyes as he sets his empty cup down. “All the more reason for us to get to know each other, right?”
“I don’t really… get to know people,” Aleksandr replies. He can’t recall the last time he tried to hold a casual conversation with someone outside of his family.
“It’s easy, let’s start by being friends!”
“Mhm,” Kanae smiles and pours them more tea. “We can ask each other simple questions until we’re ready to sleep, is that okay?”
The vampire hums, his gaze falling to the table as he thinks. It’d be easier to fall asleep if he were too tired to be nervous, and it doesn’t seem like Kanae will do anything. Perhaps he’s being too trusting, but he decides to go with his gut.
“Well, I don’t mind…“
“Really? I’m glad!” Kanae perks up, looking excited.
He reminds Aleksandr of a puppy, eager to do anything even if it was as mundane as a conversation between near strangers.
He smiles a little at the comparison, “Then, do you want to start?”
“Can I? Hmm,” Kanae furrows his brow as he thinks. There are too many questions he wants to ask. “Ah, what’s your favorite color?”
“That’s so childish…” The words fall from Aleksandr’s lips before he realizes. He winces, opening his mouth to apologize but he’s cut off.
“It’s a good starting question, isn’t it?” The angel pouts, comically puffing up his cheeks. There’s no real anger on his features, he’s just messing around.
The vampire involuntarily laughs at the sight, his fist coming up to muffle the sound. He can hear Kanae begin to giggle as well, the other man doesn’t even bother to try and contain his obvious amusement. It’s surprisingly fun to laugh at nothing like this.
Aleksandr replies once he’s caught his breath, “It’s black.”
“Black is my favorite color too!”
“I thought you’d like white for some reason. Not because you’re an angel,” he adds quickly. “You just seem very optimistic.”
Kanae hums and tilts his head to the side as he thinks, “Really..? I don’t know if I’m optimistic or very stubborn, but I do like white as well. It’s your turn to ask a question by the way.”
The vampire pauses to wrack his brain for anything he could ask. Aleksandr has never been the best at talking to others, often leaving conversations to die out instead of putting in the effort to continue them. But he wants to keep talking to Kanae, so he blurts out the first thing that comes to mind.
“…what’s your favorite weather?” He immediately cringes at his own question despite it being in line with the brunet’s first one.
Kanae on the other hand taps a finger against his cheek as he thinks. He doesn’t tease the vampire for his choice of question, instead, he takes his time to seriously think of an answer.
“Ehh, let’s see—“
In all honesty, before Aleksandr arrived he had fully expected to be hidden away in a distant room, only allowed to leave for events. Like a porcelain doll being put on a shelf until it was time to be used and shown off before being left to wither away.
He’s heard all the horror stories before; the hushed whispers of gossip from the servants back home when they found out he was being sent away on a political marriage had been plaguing him. He’s sure the maids meant no harm, they were only worried for his well-being. Nobles being sent away to fulfill their duty only to die are a common occurrence in every situation.
Aleksandr isn’t scared of death, he’s always been prepared to fight for his family if the need arises.
However, he is scared of situations where death would be the kinder option. He remembers the nauseated looks on his brothers’ faces when he told them he would accept the proposal, the way they both struggled to voice their worries in a way that wouldn’t scare him. It’s a little annoying how they always treat him so carefully as if he were a child that was still ignorant of how cruel others could be.
But for some reason, Kanae welcomed him warmly and checks in on him regularly to make sure he’s doing alright. Aleksandr is gifted one red rose every day, the thorns carefully cut off and delivered by the angel himself; he’s never missed a single day in the month they’ve been married.
Kanae even goes out of his way to align their schedules so that they can eat every meal together. And every afternoon, when Aleksandr is taking a break from learning the history of the land he now lives in, they have tea in the rose garden together.
It’s peaceful there, the two surrounded by roses and accompanied by tea and snacks. They rotate where they go every day, Kanae insists on showing Aleksandr every nice spot in the garden despite having already given him a tour. It’s cute how excited the angel is when he talks about it, so he doesn’t mind.
“Hey, can I ask you something?” Aleksandr breaks the comfortable silence and draws Kanae’s attention to him. The other man sets his teacup down to meet his eyes with a smile.
He takes a deep breath before voicing the question that’s been lingering on his mind, “Why are you being so nice to me?”
Kanae laughs a little in confusion, “Don’t you want me to be nice to you?”
“Well, yeah, but you don’t have to be nice.” Aleksandr points out. “This is a political marriage, we’re not obligated to care for each other.”
Every action Kanae does goes against all his expectations, the other man’s insistence on spending time together and giving him little gifts are a comfort that he’s scared of getting used to.
“But I want to be nice to you,” Kanae responds easily, reaching out to pick up a cookie. “Is that bad?”
“It is if you have another motive.” Aleksandr sighs, averting his eyes to study the table. It’s laden with sweets even though he knows that Kanae isn’t a big fan of them.
The brunet shrugs, calmly taking a bite before answering. “I don’t have a motive, I just like you.”
The vampire looks at him blankly, “Huh?”
Kanae tilts his head as he repeats his words a bit louder, “I like you so I want to get to know you more. I want to hold your hands, give you hugs, and-“
“Okay! Okay,” Aleksandr covers his face with his hand. The obvious heat under his fingertips only makes him more embarrassed. “You can stop, I get it.”
“Do you?” Kanae laughs as he stands up to refill both of their cups. He gently sets Aleksandr’s teacup back down near him, taking the opportunity to admire the flush on the other man’s cheeks.
“...I do,” he mumbles. Aleksandr’s eyes fall to the table once more. He notices that every confection that has strawberries in it is closest to him, all positioned in a way that makes it easy for him to get. He knows that Kanae is the one who asked the maids to set the table like this.
“Does it make you uncomfortable?” Kanae’s question draws him out of his thoughts. He can hear the concerned tone in the other man’s voice.
Aleksandr thinks about it for a moment. It isn’t strange for the angel to want to get closer to him, they’re married after all. It’s obvious now that Kanae was telling the truth that first night when he said he didn’t care about the political connections he received by marrying him. And while he’s still confused as to why Kanae would want him, the brunet genuinely doesn’t seem to have any malicious intent.
Besides, he does enjoy all the attention and affection. Aleksandr shakes his head and reaches his hand out across to Kanae, palm up.
“No, it doesn’t.”
“I’m glad,” Kanae smiles in relief as he sets his cup down. He stares at Aleksandr’s outstretched hand. “What’s wrong?”
“Hand,” he replies, an amused grin on his face. “Didn’t you just say you wanted to hold hands?”
“Yes!” He hurriedly takes the vampire’s hand, unable to hide his excitement.
Aleksandr laughs fondly, his free hand coming up to hide most of his smile. “I can’t say that I like you as much as you seem to like me, but I like spending time with you.”
“That’s good enough for now~” Kanae beams, happy to be able to hold the other man’s hand. He can’t control his giddy smile as he slides his fingers between Aleksandr’s and rests their hands on the table.
The vampire is bluntly honest and easy to read, so Kanae knows that Aleksandr wouldn’t be saying this if he didn’t mean it.
“You’re so easily pleased,” Aleksandr muses, taking a bite of cake.
“I’m just happy to be able to be with you.” He laughs sheepishly, “It feels like a dream.”
“Why did you want to marry me so badly anyways? I assumed you just wanted a link to our family but…”
“I told you already, I like you. I think I fell in love with you at first sight.”
“Isn’t that a little crazy..? We’ve never even talked before this happened.”
“Hmm… I guess it seems a bit crazy,” Kanae shrugs. “But we’ve spoken before; you just don’t remember.”
Aleksandr frowns, “Really? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You clearly didn’t recognize me on the day of the ceremony, so I didn’t want to make it more awkward than it already was.”
“You could’ve said something in one of your many letters.”
“I did! In that first one you didn’t get to read.”
“Ah! That explains why my brothers kept asking me if I knew you.”
Kanae laughs, “Did they bug you about it?”
“Of course they did,” he groans at the memory. “It was a pain having to repeat myself over and over again. But how did I forget meeting you..?”
“Aw, are you saying I’m memorable?” Kanae teases. “You were probably too tired.”
“You’re something alright.” Aleksandr rolls his eyes fondly. He falls silent for a moment while he eats another bite. Kanae always makes fun of him for eating so slowly, but he never rushes him; Aleksandr assumes that he wants to spend more time together, though he isn’t sure if that’s wishful thinking on his part. “Hey, how are you so sure it’s me that you met?”
“Do you really think I’d get the wrong person?” Kanae shakes his head. “I asked for your name afterward, besides, you aren’t that much different now.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
He looks at the vampire’s face with a grin, taking in the slight furrow in his brows. Aleksandr meets his eyes without fear now, so it’s easy to see the pure curiosity in them. There’s a bit of cream at the corner of his lips that he hasn’t noticed yet.
“You’re as cute as ever~”
“I don’t know how to feel about being called cute…”
Kanae bursts out laughing at Aleksandr’s confused face. The way the vampire seems so genuinely confused is adorable. He ignores the growing annoyance on the other man’s face to reach out and wipe away the cream with his thumb. He pauses for a second before licking it off instead of using a napkin.
“Ah, it’s sweet,” Kanae comments, picking up his teacup to wash away the taste.
Aleksandr rolls his eyes, “It’s cream, of course, it’s sweet.”
“I don’t know how you can eat so many desserts.”
Kanae makes his way towards the main garden. He’s looking for Aleksandr since he finished today’s meeting earlier than usual. He already checked the library only to be told that the vampire went outside for fresh air.
He hums a tune, happy to know that the other man is comfortable walking around without him now. Kanae catches sight of white hair in the corner of his eye and he turns excitedly to find Aleksandr chatting with his butler.
The vampire is sitting at the fountain, his hand waving as he speaks. The other man, Buta, stands at his side with a fond smile.
They don’t notice that he’s there, too occupied with their conversation. Before he can call out, he watches as the pink-haired man reaches out to gently gather Aleksandr’s hair into a low ponytail.
“Your hair is getting long again, Sasha.”
Kanae freezes. Sasha?
Buta is usually careful to address Aleksandr with the proper honorifics, but it’s clear that they’re closer than they let on. He quietly takes a step back, hiding in the shade of one of the many trees lining the garden.
“Ah, it’s been a couple of months since I last got it trimmed. Do you think I should cut it?” Aleksandr hums, tilting his head to give Buta better access.
“You won’t be able to wear the hairstyles you like if you do that.” He pulls a ribbon out of nowhere and begins braiding it into the vampire’s hair.
“I wouldn’t cut it that much,” He protests, a slight pout on his face.
Buta laughs quietly as he ties off the braid. “Don’t you remember when you were younger and accidentally cut your hair during your sword lessons? You were so distraught-“
Aleksandr groans but there’s a small smile playing on his lips. He pulls the braid to rest over his shoulder before continuing, “You never let me live it down.”
“Your brothers were desperately trying to cheer you up; It’s hard to forget especially since they started crying as well.”
“That reminds me, I wonder when they’ll write back.” Aleksandr muses, “They’re probably swamped with paperwork now that it’s the end of the month.”
“I’m sure it’ll be soon.”
“Mm, I hope so...” He stretches his arms up over his head before standing up with a sigh. “Let’s go inside, Kanae will be done with his meeting soon.”
“Of course. I’m glad you two are getting along.”
“He’s nice,” Aleksandr averts his eyes, a flush rising on his face. “And I do like talking to him.”
“Oh~?” Buta grins as they begin walking back. “Is that it?”
“Agh, don’t you ever get tired of teasing me? You should be happy that I like spending time with him, right?”
“I am happy!” Buta laughs, “Kanae-san has been nothing less than kind these past few months, but be careful, okay?”
“I am.. it’s just—“ Aleksandr frowns, “I don’t know.”
“It’s still strange how much he was willing to give just to marry you,” he shrugs as they begin walking back towards the main building. “You saw the papers too; the Lagusa family gained a lot from this union.”
“Yeah, that’s why I agreed in the first place.”
“You know your family wouldn’t have cared if you turned it down,” Buta frowns, remembering how frustrated the rest of the family were as each rejection was met with a larger offer. “In fact, they wanted you to. We all thought it was suspicious.”
“It’s fine,” Aleksandr sighs tiredly as he plays with the end of his braid. “The Lagusas continue to gain power, it’s nice enough here, and Kanae is sweet.”
“Don’t you think this is good? I’m not locked away or abused, I get to write to my family, my new husband spends time with me, and all I have to worry about is whether or not any of the workers here will ever look me in the eyes.” He counts each point off on his fingers as he goes. “Yeah, I miss seeing my family, but at least you’re here with me, Buta. The reasons to be happy outnumber the rest.”
Buta sighs, a small smile on his face as he replies, “When did you grow up so fast?”
Aleksandr laughs but Kanae can’t hear his reply since the other two are too far away now. He frowns and he steps out of hiding to begin making his way back to the manor. There’s a different path he can take that’ll prevent him from running into Aleksandr on the way.
So, he lets the butler call him ‘Sasha’…
Kanae can’t help but dwell on that. He knows it’s a silly thought to be anxious over, especially since he already knows that Aleksandr grew up with Buta looking after him. It makes sense, really, it does.
But it doesn’t ease the ache in his chest.
He shakes his head, focusing on the rest of the vampire’s words instead. Kanae feels sick at the thought of Aleksandr being mistreated, but it’s a valid fear for him and his family to have considering the situation. There’s no helping the workers being scared of him, that’ll just take some time.
At least his closer subordinates like Aleksandr, though he already knew they would.
Past the guilt of listening in, he’s happy to know that his husband enjoys spending time with him too. Kanae had been worried that Aleksandr had just been going along with his plans and invites out of obligation.
It’s reassuring that the other man seems to look forward to spending time together as much as he does. It’s been fun these past 3 months, and Kanae hopes the vampire continues to enjoy it here. He feels like he’s made progress in winning Aleksandr’s heart and the thought makes his steps lighter as he hurries to meet up with him.
Kanae crosses into the courtyard, waving happily at the gardeners as he passes them. They’re hard at work maintaining the grounds.
“Ah, that’s right, I wanted to remind you about something!” One of the older gardeners calls out to him before he leaves the area.
“Hm? Is there something wrong?”
“Please be careful when you’re picking roses for your husband. Some of the rose bushes are looking a bit uneven now.”
“Oh!” Kanae flushes, “Sorry, I’ll try to be more careful.”
The gardener shakes their head fondly while simply replying, “Please do.” They’ve watched Kanae grow up and seeing the usually composed angel act like a child with a crush is very amusing.
He apologizes again before walking off, a hand coming up to cover his face in embarrassment. To be honest, Kanae had been picking roses for Aleksandr based on how they looked rather than where they were on the bush. It was inevitable that he’d mess up the gardeners’ careful plans.
Still, having it get pointed out to him was mortifying. Especially since he hadn’t even noticed that he’s been messing up the garden.
Kanae calms down as he nears the main building, removing his hand from his face to fix his bangs. Before he can check if his clothes are still in order, he locks eyes with the vampire through the window.
“Ah, Kanae!” Aleksandr visibly brightens when he spots the angel through the glass. There’s an excited smile on his face as he unlatches the window.
Kanae stops in his tracks, looking up at the other man in surprise. It looks like he misjudged how quickly Aleksandr was walking. The happy look on the vampire’s face warms his heart.
“Aleks! I was looking for you,” he beams. Kanae walks to the open window and props his elbows upon the sill. “Where were you?”
The vampire shakes his head with a soft chuckle. “I was looking for you too, we must’ve missed each other on the way.”
Kanae reaches out for Aleksandr. “That’s unfortunate, but at least you found me.”
He hums, walking forward to meet Kanae halfway to take his hand. Aleksandr allows himself to be guided closer to the open window.
“Well, you’re very hard to miss.”
Kanae bursts out laughing at the irony in the other man’s words. He shakes his head at Aleksandr’s questioning look and takes a step back.
“Sorry, it’s nothing. Come over here?”
“You’re making fun of me aren’t you…” He grumbles but follows anyway. Aleksandr lets go of the angel’s hand to hop up over the window sill, almost crashing into the other man once he’s landed.
“I wouldn’t~” Kanae, who hadn’t bothered moving out of the way, laughs and immediately links their fingers together.
The vampire rolls his eyes, “Liar. Where are we going today?”
“I was thinking we could go to the greenhouse.”
Kanae blinks awake in the middle of the night. He rubs his eyes before attempting to look around the room for anything that might have woken him up. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary, and even when he enhances his sight, there’s nothing but the faint light of the moon peeking through the curtains of their windows.
He rolls over to check on Aleksandr only to find the other man curled up on his side facing him. The heavy covers are a mess around him, the vampire must have kicked them off at some point. Kanae shuffles closer to tug the blanket up around him again only to realize that Aleksandr is crying in his sleep.
Kanae’s heart aches as he takes in the ragged breathing and tears slipping down the other man’s cheeks. Aleksandr’s mouth is opened slightly as he pants into the fists clenched into his pillow.
He bundles up the vampire, tucking himself in along with him before reaching out to carefully brush away a tear. The other man leans into the touch, mumbling something that Kanae can’t discern. Kanae leans closer to gently free Aleksandr’s hands from the death grip they have on the pillow.
He immediately latches onto Kanae instead, burying his face into his chest even while asleep. He can feel his nightshirt get wet from tears, but he ignores it and rubs soothing circles into Aleksandr’s back.
Kanae hums a quiet lullaby and rests his head against the other man’s, partially burying his face into messy, silver hair. He feels the tension slip out of the vampire’s body, his breathing stabilizing as he drifts deeper into sleep.
He hugs Aleksandr closer despite the way his arm steadily grows numb under the weight of a full-grown man. Kanae shuts his eyes, focusing on the warmth in his arms as if doing so would replace the guilt in him.
“Sorry, Kuzuha—” He sighs softly, pausing before mumbling a correction. “…Aleksandr.”
The vampire is already peacefully asleep, seemingly calmed by Kanae’s presence.
When Aleksandr wakes up in the morning to find himself in Kanae’s embrace, his first thought is that it’s much warmer than the nightmares he was plagued with. It’s very comfortable, but there’s no way that Kanae is with Aleksandr’s weight on him. He reluctantly begins to pull away only to be stopped by the other man’s arms tightening around him.
“Mm..? Aleks?” Kanae mumbles, his eyes squinting as he stirs.
Aleksandr winces, “Sorry for waking you up...”
“Don’t worry about it, I’m a light sleeper.” Kanae smiles softly, his hand coming up to touch the vampire’s face. His thumb brushes against the dried tear tracks. “Are you okay? You were crying in your sleep.”
“I just had a bad dream.” Aleksandr’s eyes slip shut, basking in the comfort of another person’s touch. He shifts so that he can wrap an arm around Kanae, too sleepy to be embarrassed. “I feel better now.”
The angel hums, tucking a lock of Aleksandr’s hair behind his ear before carding his fingers through soft, white hair. Kanae presses a smile into the crown of the other man’s head, hugging him tightly. He loves being able to touch Aleksandr freely.
The vampire sighs softly as he relaxes. He’s gotten used to Kanae’s love for physical affection over these past few months. The other man always holds onto him in some way whenever they’re together. It’s gotten to the point where they sit next to each other rather than across, their shoulders and thighs touching while their elbows bump whenever they move.
It was weird at first; to have someone outside of his family clinging to him like that. But Aleksandr found himself enjoying it over time. It’s nice and warm, Kanae’s presence has become one that brings him calm rather than unease.
He likes being near him.
“Hey.. aren’t I heavy?” He mumbles into the angel’s shirt.
Kanae’s hand sweeps across his back as he tangles their legs together, “You’re too skinny to be worrying about that.”
A beat of silence.
Guiltily, he admits, “...I can’t feel my arm.”
“That’s what I thought, idiot.”
The vampire carefully frees himself before rolling away, Kanae’s whines get drowned out from the pops of his joints as he stretches. Aleksandr sits up, yawning into his fist as he starts shuffling to the edge of the bed. His internal clock is telling him it’s time to get up, but Kanae is tugging at his sleeves in an attempt to pull him back.
“Aleksandr~ It’s okay, come back here,” he makes grabby hands towards the other man. “Please?”
“It’s morning already, Kanae.” he sighs fondly before taking one of Kanae’s hands in his own. The other man attempts to pull him down now that he has a stronger grip but it’s easy to tell that he’s still numb from Aleksandr sleeping on him.
“It’s still early, we won’t be late to anything.”
“You’re gonna get scolded again.”
“It doesn’t matter, I’m in charge so it’s not like they can do anything but complain.” Kanae slides over enough that he can press the side of his face into Aleksandr’s hand. He nuzzles into the cool palm like a cat. “Please?”
Aleksandr quietly watches Kanae try to appeal to him. This is a somewhat common sight by now, although sometimes it’s the vampire that wants to sleep more. It’s nice having a routine like this, he realizes, it’s oddly heart-warming.
He likes the feeling.
“Hmm,” a lopsided smile forms on his face as he hums, thumb brushing across Kanae’s cheek. “You’re cute.”
The angel’s eyes shoot open in surprise. “Eh?”
“You’re cute,” Aleksandr repeats patiently. “You’re almost unfairly sweet. It’s fun being with you.”
“I like you, Kanae.”
“You-“ Kanae’s face is bright red, obviously not expecting the vampire’s words. He’s wide awake now, staring up at Aleksandr’s face.
“But,” he emphasizes the word as he pulls his hand away. “It’s time to get up.”
“What?” He reaches out to try and grab the other man’s wrist but misses in his shock.
Aleksandr turns away, the angel can see the tips of his reddened ears as he leaves the bed. The vampire determinedly walks to the bathroom without looking back.
“Wait,” Kanae hurriedly rolls off the bed to catch up. He stumbles and catches himself on the bedside table, his limbs are still heavy with sleep. “Aleks!”
There’s no reply from Aleksandr, but he leaves the door open behind him. Kanae giggles, it’s typical of the other man to run away after saying something sweet. He follows after him to find Aleksandr splashing water on his face to try and rinse away the heat.
“Aleksandr!” He calls out as he wraps his arms around him from behind. Kanae rests his chin on Aleksandr’s shoulder with a grin. “I like you too.”
The vampire groans and flicks water into his face, but Kanae doesn’t care. “I know already-”
“I like you! I like you a lot-”
“I get it! You can stop now!”
“Aren’t you going to say it back?”
Aleksandr buries his face in his hands as he shakes his head. In his embarrassed haze, he doesn’t even realize that Kanae is herding him against the sink until he tries to escape once more. He reluctantly tilts his head enough to meet the brunet’s eyes.
“Hm?” Kanae tilts his head innocently, waiting for the other man to continue speaking.
He sighs, “Fine! I like you too, are you happy now?”
Kanae laughs happily, stepping back so that he has enough space to force Aleksandr to turn around. The vampire already has his arms out, prepared for when Kanae throws himself forward to hug him. He catches the angel easily, propping himself up against the sink for support as he returns the hug.
They’re going to have to rush to finish their breakfast if they want to make it to their respective meeting and lessons on time, but neither of them care at the moment. It’s comfortable despite the cold marble biting into Aleksandr’s back. All that matters to him is that they’re together.
Aleksandr shifts closer to Kanae, smiling when gestured to and speaking when prompted. He feels a bit like a pet being shown off but there’s no way around it. They talked about this event last night and while Kanae told him he was allowed to skip, he decided to go anyway. Aleksandr isn’t stupid, he knows how important it is to show his face.
But when Kanae offered to speak for him when possible, he took it. It’s nice of the other man to ask rather than just do it, though he supposes it shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. In half a year, their relationship has long grown past what Aleksandr expected a political marriage to be.
The angel keeps his arm linked through Aleksandr’s, occasionally patting the vampire to get his attention. They received some surprised looks when they entered together attached at the hip. Aleksandr doesn‘t blame them; he never expected to get this close to Kanae either. He's grateful that they've become what they are today though, even if he's not sure what they are exactly.
If he had to describe it, he'd call it loving. But that’s much too embarrassing for him to admit, even if it’s only to himself.
There are comments on his bloodline, which he expected. He's not sure how many times someone has told Kanae it's unfortunate that he couldn't get married to another angel. However, the man in question always counters their words with a cold look and a thinly veiled insult. It’d be sweet if the whole event wasn’t so tiring. His sensitive hearing picks up all of the whispers from the other guests, and all he wants to do is go back to their room and rest.
A waiter walks up to them and offers him a drink; the flute of champagne sparkles enticingly under the bright lights. Aleksandr doesn’t usually drink, it’s too bitter for his tastes, and he knows Kanae prefers to stay sober during parties like these. But the whole situation is grating on his nerves, so he prays that the alcohol will dampen his senses and help him get through the night.
He takes the glass, nodding in thanks at the servant who keeps their head down. Aleksandr brushes it off. Not many servers meet his eyes, probably finding him too intimidating. Kanae offers him an apologetic smile when he notices that he’s taken the glass before turning back to his conversation.
Aleksandr sighs quietly and takes a small sip, bracing himself for the bitter taste of alcohol to burn down his throat. Despite being prepared for it, he still winces as he swallows. He can’t remember the last time he had alcohol, but it’s been too long— or not long enough, actually, since he’s regretting his decision now.
Gross, the vampire grimaces.
He’s unable to discern the flavor of the drink past the overwhelmingly strong alcohol. It’ll probably take a moment for the burn to subside, so he holds off on drinking anymore. Aleksandr debates forcing the glass onto Kanae so that he can finish it for him, but something else catches his attention.
His mouth feels on fire as the alcohol continues to burn. His tongue stings as he swallows again in an attempt to fix it, but it feels like he’s been stabbed by several needles instead. Aleksandr’s eyes open wide in shock as he coughs. He loses his grip on the glass when searing pain tears through his throat in retaliation for his movements.
Distantly, he registers the sound of expensive crystal shattering on the floor by his feet. The vampire curls toward Kanae, the other man having already pulled him closer at the sound of his first cough.
“Aleks?!” He tugs them out of the way of the shattered glass, completely ignoring the other guests.
Aleksandr continues coughing, struggling to smother it with his hand only to register the warmth staining his palm. He pulls it away to find blood, the red beginning to drip onto his clothes.
“K-kana—“ He chokes on blood, reflexive tears dripping down to mix with the scarlet as he retches. It feels as if his throat is tearing itself apart; the nonstop stream of red escaping his lips sends Aleksandr’s head spinning from blood loss as he struggles to breathe.
He can distantly hear Kanae’s voice asking him what’s wrong, the angel’s arms wrapping around him as his legs give out. The other man carefully guides him to rest on the ground, allowing the vampire to rest the majority of his weight on him.
The ringing in Aleksandr’s ears grows louder as dark spots begin to cloud his vision. Blinking only makes it worse as the blots spread, rendering him temporarily blind. Honestly, the vampire isn’t sure if his eyes are even open at this point.
The loss of one sense only causes the others to grow stronger. It feels as if there’s a fire raging towards his heart, stabbing holes into him as it progresses.
Aleksandr clings onto Kanae’s arms desperately in a futile attempt to get his bearings. His vampiric regeneration is unable to keep up with the onslaught of pain that overruns his body, and the adrenaline isn’t enough to keep him awake for much longer.
“Aleksandr, hey, what happened? Don’t—“ The angel’s words fall on deafened ears, the ringing in Aleksandr’s ears drowns out everything else.
His limbs are too heavy for him to keep holding onto Kanae. Aleksandr’s grip slackens only for the angel to squeeze him tighter in response. He doesn’t even have the strength to cough now, only managing to squeeze out a pained whimper before blacking out.
Fear stabs through Kanae when the other man goes limp in his arms. He quickly bites off one of his gloves to search for a pulse. His relief from finding one drains away when he registers how slow it is.
“Someone bring me whoever served Aleksandr that drink, now!” Kanae snarls at the crowd as he cradles the vampire closer, glaring at anyone who tries to come near. None of them were trustworthy.
There are loud footsteps as security begins running around to follow his orders. Kanae refocuses his attention on Aleksandr, pushing a bit of his magic into the vampire to see if he can heal him. The faint glow under his fingertips begins to warm up the pale skin, carefully sinking in to probe around.
For a second, Kanae relaxes. He doesn’t detect any notable poison in Aleksandr’s system. But then he jerks in the angel’s arms, a wet cough forcing itself out of his unconscious body along with a splatter of more blood. Immediately, Kanae retracts his magic.
He’s beginning to panic. The pained expression on the vampire’s face twists further due to his actions. Why? Even if Aleksandr is a vampire, Kanae’s holy magic should work on him; he knows it does.
He can’t control the enraged expression on his face. Kanae knows he’s a far cry from the serene image he usually puts out but he doesn’t care. The angel carefully scoops Aleksandr up as he lets his wings out. The large, white wings tear the back of his suit, scattering feathers across the ballroom floor.
Kanae pays no mind to the guests around him and stretches out his wings; they either get out of the way in time or they don’t, it doesn’t matter to him. He ignores the thuds and surprised yells from the people he’s knocked over in favor of lifting off the ground.
“No one is leaving the grounds until the culprit is found,” Kanae calls out, coldly staring at the guests as he floats up. People are already beginning to look for that server, so he leaves without a single glance back.
The security by the main doors waits for him to leave before locking it. As soon as Kanae is in the hallway and out of sight, he speeds up.
He shifts Aleksandr in his arms, guiding the other man’s head to rest on his shoulder. Kanae is all too aware of the warm blood that’s beginning to stain his white suit.
“I’m sorry, Aleks, just hang on, alright?” He murmurs as he makes his way towards their room. The words spill out of him uncontrollably in panic. “It’ll be fine, I’ll make sure it’s fine; that’s why you can’t leave me, okay? Don’t die, Kuzuha, please.”
Their room is quite far from the main ballroom the party was held in, and Kanae has never cursed that fact until now. He debates cutting through the courtyard but scraps it in case the night breeze is too much for the injured vampire.
It feels like forever until they reach the hallway that leads to their room. He doesn’t think he’s ever flown this fast since he was much younger. The last time he even used his wings was 2 months ago when Aleksandr wanted to fly with him.
He pushes those memories aside as he lands in front of their bedroom. Kanae kicks open the bedroom doors and quickly places Aleksandr on the bed, carefully propping him up against their pillows to prevent him from choking while unconscious.
The family doctor will be here soon, he knows that his staff is competent enough for that at least.
He notices that the bleeding seems to have slowed to a trickle as his hands undo the vampire’s tie. Kanae tosses it onto the bedside table before unbuttoning the other man’s shirt. In doing so, he realizes he should remove Aleksandr’s accessories as well.
The brunet carefully reaches forward to unclasp the choker and necklaces around the other man’s throat. He quietly curses Aleksandr’s love for accessories as he slowly removes every piece of jewelry from his body. They’re pretty, but they can’t be comfortable to sleep with. Kanae sets them on the bedside table, he’ll put them away later.
His scrambled brain still has the time to find this situation a bit amusing.
He’s been wanting to do this since he saw Aleksandr again. To undress him with his own hands and admire his skin with his hands. To warm the vampire up with his body heat.
Kanae hadn’t expected the first time he gets to undress him is because he needs to make sure that the doctor can look over the other man properly.
He shakes his head to clear his mind as he takes out his handkerchief to wipe away the blood on Aleksandr’s face. If he ignores the red smudges on his face, he can pretend that the other man is peacefully asleep.
Or dead, the thought comes in unbidden and it pushes him to rest his fingers on Aleksandr’s pulse. He’s still alive, of course he is, Kanae knows that vampires are strong.
It takes more than poison to kill one.
But he can’t find it in himself to not worry about his vampire. If Aleksandr were to die, Kanae isn’t sure what he’d do.
The first thing Aleksandr sees when he wakes up is the familiar ceiling of the canopy bed he shares with Kanae. His headaches as he blinks away the sleep in his eyes, it’s tempting to fall back asleep but he notices that there’s a dip on the wrong side of the bed.
He turns to find Kanae with his head pillowed on his arms on Aleksandr’s side of the bed. The angel has dragged a chair from somewhere else in the room to sit at his bedside rather than sleep in the bed.
Kanae doesn’t move, too deep asleep to hear Aleksandr’s weak voice. The vampire opens his mouth to try again before realizing how dry his throat is.
He reaches out slowly towards Kanae, his hand trembles slightly with exertion before he places it on the angel’s head. The familiar, soft hair under his fingers immediately brings him comfort.
He sighs quietly, carding through Kanae’s hair. Aleksandr debates going back to sleep despite the ache in his throat.
Lucky for him, the other man stirs, his head jerking up and knocking Aleksandr’s hand off. Kanae catches his hand as he sits up, gently squeezing while he leans closer to the vampire.
“Aleksandr? You’re awake, sorry, I must’ve fallen asleep at some point.”
He shakes his head and opens his mouth to reply only for a pathetic croak to come out. Aleksandr winces at the strain, his free hand coming to clutch at his throat.
Kanae lets go of his hand to pour him a glass of water from the pitcher on the bedside table. He holds it out for the vampire to take only to realize that his hands are too unstable to hold the glass.
“Here, I’ll help you sit up.” Kanae slides his arm around Aleksandr’s shoulders, propping him up. He holds the glass to the other man’s lips, “Drink slowly, okay?”
Aleksandr rests his hands over Kanae’s as he drinks, relaxing as the water soothes his irritated throat. When the glass is empty, he’s gently guided back to rest on the pillows.
“..thanks,” he mumbles, reaching out for Kanae only to meet air. He looks over at him, confused.
The angel has sat back down after setting the glass aside, his hands out of sight as he stares at Aleksandr with a pained expression. There’s guilt tugging at his lips, weighing his features down, but his eyes are oddly dull.
“Kanae..?” Aleksandr’s voice is a mess, raspy and broken due to the trauma his throat suffered. He’s not that bothered by it since it’s sure to heal soon, but he catches Kanae’s slight flinch.
“There was ground up silver mixed into your drink.”
“Oh…” Well, that explains why his throat feels so raw. Aleksandr isn’t sure what else to say. It’s nice to know what happened to him, but he doesn’t particularly care about it as long as he’s still alive.
“Hey.. don’t you miss your family?”
Aleksandr tilts his head, confused at the shift in topics. They write often but he does miss seeing his family in person. “Well, yeah.”
“Go home then,” Kanae forces out. His hands clenched into tight fists, “It’s… better. You’ll be safe.”
The angel desperately wants to take back his own words, but a larger part of him is beating himself up over this. Kanae has never felt so stupid in his life. He was so focused on Aleksandr that he forgot that not everyone would accept the vampire.
This is all my fault.
He should’ve weeded out all the opposition before bringing the other man here. Aleksandr may seem fine now, but what if ingesting silver has after-effects?
“Why are you apologizing when it’s not even your fault?” He clears his throat before joking weakly, “Besides, why would I go back now? It’ll look like I’m running away.”
Kanae stares into the vampire’s eyes blankly, “You could’ve died.”
He shrugs, meeting Kanae’s gaze easily, “But I didn’t.”
“I’m fine, I just have a sore throat now,” he brushes it off. ”No big deal.”
“Aleksandr, don’t be stupid. It’s not safe for you here and you know it.”
He rolls his eyes, “Let’s say I do leave then. How would that even help?”
“You wouldn’t be in danger of getting killed.”
“What about you? What are you going to be doing?”
“Cleaning up, getting revenge,” Kanae lists off, looking increasingly frustrated at the conversation. “I don’t know yet.”
“Then I’ll help—” Aleksandr is cut off by a coughing fit, his hands clamped over his mouth as he hunches over in pain.
“See? You need to recover, stop trying to talk.” Kanae scolds him, offering him the glass of water once more. “Are you alright?”
He nods, weakly reaching out for the glass. The angel once again helps him drink, his hand gently rubbing Aleksandr’s back in soothing circles. The love and care that oozes out of his actions are directly opposite to his words.
Aleksandr pushes the half-empty glass away, “Ka-“
“Just be quiet for now, okay?” Kanae interrupts. He sets the glass down before tucking the other man’s hair behind his ear. He carefully tidies up the silver strands, a small frown on his face.
The vampire stays silent, a pout forming on his lips. Despite that, he doesn’t bat away Kanae’s hand or try to move away.
“You’re only here because I’m a selfish idiot,” Kanae sighs before he pulls away reluctantly.
Aleksandr doesn’t say anything, but his frown deepens as he signals for Kanae to continue with his eyes.
He laughs self-deprecatingly, “I just couldn’t let go of the past. Do you want to know how we met?”
Aleksandr is taken back to the time where Kanae talked about this briefly before. The conversation switched topics so quickly he didn’t have the time to ask for clarification. He nods, leaning forward in anticipation.
Kanae smiles a little at the sight before taking a deep breath.
There are visitors today, but he barely caught a glimpse of them before his parents ushered him away. Kanae doesn’t mind, he has better things to do than listen to boring business talk. Like finding the perfect spot to read his book.
He skips down the garden’s well-kept path, happy to have a break from his studies for the day. Just as he’s debating reading while he walks, he spots another child in the garden. The boy turns to look at him as soon as he hears his footsteps, his white hair shining in the sun as his eyes open wide in shock.
Kanae stares at him in awe, heat rising to his cheeks. It feels as if those red eyes struck him through his heart, rendering him speechless. His open expression betraying his surprise seems cute to the angel. Kanae takes note of his pointed ears and the small fangs.
The other boy shifts his weight between his feet anxiously, unsure of how to react to someone staring at him so openly.
He calls out hesitantly, “Um, hello?”
“...hi,” Kanae replies a beat too late. He excitedly steps closer only for the white-haired boy to back away. “My name is Kanae and I live here, what’s yours?”
He frowns, “My family told me not to tell my name to strangers.”
“But I’m not a stranger!” Kanae pouts, putting a hand on his chest as if he were hurt. “I just introduced myself.”
“I don’t think that’s how this works...” The white-haired boy looks around. “Can you just point me in the direction of the house, please? I got separated from my brothers.”
Kanae smiles, “I’ll take you there if you tell me your name.”
“I can’t do that!” He crosses his arms. The vampire looks around worriedly before turning back to him with a tired sigh, “Just give me a nickname if you want one so badly.”
“Really? Then I’ll call you Kuzuha!” Kanae moves quickly and grabs onto the vampire’s hands, pulling them towards him. “Now we’re friends, right?”
“Don’t go yet, do you want to see the rest of the garden? It’s super pretty!” Kanae pulls Kuzuha further away from the main building.
“W-wait, Kanae..!” He stumbles over his feet, not expecting to be pulled so suddenly. Luckily, the angel keeps him upright while leading him somewhere else.
“Do you like flowers? We‘ve got a huge greenhouse, you have to see it! Do you have a favorite flower? Mine are lilies!” Kanae chatters excitedly.
“I should get back-“
“We won’t leave the grounds, I promise! Please come with me?”
Kuzuha hesitates when he sees the other boy’s excited face. It’s nice how happy he seems to be talking to him— the other kids he’s met aren’t usually as outgoing, too cautious about his family name and he’s too shy to bridge the gap himself.
But there’s no way Kanae hasn’t noticed his features.
“You do know I’m a vampire, right?” He asks hesitantly, trying to tug his hand free to no avail.
“I could tell! I’m an angel, but you probably already guessed that when I said I live here.” Kanae smiles as he squeezes Kuzuha’s hand. He continues walking, pulling the other boy along.
“Well, yeah, but don’t you care?”
“About what?” He turns to meet Kuzuha’s worried face. It’s cute how expressive he is.
“Nii-chan told me that vampires and angels don’t get along very well.”
Kanae hums, trying to recall if his tutor has said anything about this. Perhaps he’s forgotten or he just hasn’t learned it yet, but it can’t be true. Not if Kuzuha is here, since it must mean that their families are discussing something important.
“I don’t know about that, but I think you’re interesting. And I’m not gonna hurt you, I promise. So, do you have a favorite flower?”
“I-I—“ Kuzuha opens and closes his mouth several times, unsure of what else to say. “I like roses.”
“Really? Let’s go to the rose garden, then!” Kanae tugs them down a side path. “We’ve got lots of colors. I’ve been trying to convince the gardeners to plant blue ones but they keep telling me it’s impossible.”
“I heard about that.” He looks around for any building nearby but the hedges are too tall for him to see over. “Maybe there’s some kind of magic you can use.”
“That’s a good idea, but I haven’t gotten very far in my studies yet. And I doubt I’ll learn any of that stuff in the lessons my parents lined up for me.”
“Were you supposed to be studying?” Kuzuha points at the forgotten book under Kanae’s arm.
“Hm? No, I have a break today because of the visitors.” Kanae offers Kuzuha the book. “This is just some fairytale I wanted to read.”
The vampire attempts to read the title but fails to because the language isn’t one he recognizes. He decides to not comment on that part. “Then, if you just lead me to the manor.. I can leave you alone so you can read-“
He pouts and puts the book back under his arm, “I don’t care about the book anymore, I want to show you around, Ku-chan!”
Ku-chan..? Kuzuha ignores the nickname and sighs, resigning himself to be tugged along. At least he tried. Hopefully, his family won’t get too upset when they realize he wandered off.
They arrive at the entrance to the rose garden, the archway framed by vibrant, red roses. Kuzuha stops and stares in awe, a quiet gasp leaving him at the sight.
“Aren’t they pretty?” Kanae asks, swinging their hands together. “I think your eyes are a prettier red though, I don’t know if we have any flowers that can match it.”
Kuzuha doesn’t register the compliment, he’s enthralled by the vast rose garden. It’s impossible to see how large it is from where they’re standing. As he walks forward to get a closer look, his hand almost slips out of Kanae’s but the other boy tightens his grip.
“Wow.. I’ve never seen this many roses before.” He reaches out to trace the petals of the closest flower, quietly admiring the softness.
“I think my grandma really liked them, so she had the gardeners do all this,” Kanae watches him with a small frown on his face. “Be careful of the thorns, okay?”
“Okay~” Kuzuha replies absentmindedly. He’s more focused on the rows of rose bushes all lined up. “Our garden isn’t nearly as pretty as this one.”
“Even though you like roses?”
“We have a forest on the grounds, so I go there instead. It’s really big; I met my butler there.”
“…what does that mean?” It’s Kanae’s turn to be confused.
“There’s lots of stuff there,” is all Kuzuha says as he walks slowly down the path, skimming his fingers across the roses gently. He seems to have forgotten that he’s holding Kanae’s hand.
Kanae is pretty sure that people don’t usually live in forests, at least, not the type of forests that nobles own. That doesn’t seem right.
“No, why was your butler there?”
“Living..? What else would he be doing?” Kuzuha furrows his brow, looking over to the angel. In his moment of distraction, he pricks his finger on a thorn. He hisses in surprise, immediately retracting his hand to look at the wound.
“Are you okay?” Kanae immediately leans in. “I told you to be careful…”
“It’s fine, it’s just a scratch.” Kuzuha waves his hand, there’s a speck of blood slowly oozing out. “If I lick it—“
“I can heal it for you!” Kanae volunteers immediately. He grabs the other boy’s wrist immediately, pulling it towards him. “I’ve been studying healing magic.”
“That seems like a lot of work for a little cut,” Kuzuha protests and tries to tug his hand free, but Kanae is surprisingly stronger than he looks. “I’ll be fine.”
“Then let me practice on you? Please?” Kanae stares pleadingly into the vampire’s eyes. He knows exactly how to make his eyes big and watery; the perfect puppy dog look that he’s honed for years.
Kuzuha hesitates, opening his mouth to protest once more only for it to die in his throat. He sighs, “Fine, but if anything goes wrong I’m blaming you.”
Kanae cheers and steps closer, pulling their joined hands up towards his face. He ignores the stammering from Kuzuha at the sudden lack of space between them to concentrate on the tiny cut.
He knows he’s being ridiculous, using magic for something like this, but he wants to show off— he’s still a child, after all. Kanae carefully manipulates his magic to seal the cut closed. He lets the excess mana settle inside Kuzuha; his teachers told him that it’s fine to do so since it’ll act as a blessing to protect them.
“See? I did it!” Kanae beams, letting go of Kuzuha’s hand so that the vampire can take a look for himself.
“Woah, that was quick,” Kuzuha mumbles, inspecting his healed finger in awe.
He laughs a little, “Well, it was just a small cut. Does it hurt?”
“No, it doesn’t—“ Kuzuha is cut off by a yawn, showing off his sharp teeth. He groans, rubbing his eyes. “I’m just sleepy all of a sudden.”
“Eh? No way,” Kanae frowns. “That shouldn’t happen for such a small cut. Maybe vampires aren’t compatible with holy magic?”
Kuzuha shrugs, “Mmn, whatever, it’s healed now so it’s fine. Thank you, Kanae..”
He nearly careens into the rose bushes before Kanae tugs him out of danger. Kuzuha stumbles into the other boy, leaning on him.
Kanae props him up as he looks him over worriedly, “Kuzuha? Are you okay? I’m sorry, I definitely messed up…”
“…told you already, ‘m just sleepy,” he mumbles. Despite his words earlier, he doesn’t blame Kanae at all.
“Can you walk? There’s a bench nearby.” He starts guiding the vampire in the direction of the closest bench.
Kuzuha makes a noise in acknowledgment and stumbles along, trying his best to put one foot in front of the other. As soon as he’s seated, he curls up on his side with his eyes closed. He seems exhausted.
Kanae kneels by his head, reaching out to brush aside Kuzuha’s bangs. “Kuzuha? Do you feel better?”
The vampire mumbles something in reply, but Kanae isn’t sure if what he spoke were even words. He looks like a cat the way he’s curled up on the bench in the sun.
“Sorry Kuzuha, I’ll go find someone to help!” Kanae pats the vampire’s head before running off in search of a worker that could help him carry the other boy inside.
By the time he tracks someone down and goes back to the bench, Kuzuha is nowhere to be seen. Kanae rushes back to the manor only to spot a group leaving through the main gates with his parents waving them off.
He’d usually ignore scenes like this but he realizes that everyone leaving has silver hair. Kuzuha’s family. Kanae runs over to his parents in time to see Kuzuha asleep in the arms of an older boy. They’re already stepping into a carriage, so it’s too late to call out and see if he’s alright.
“Hey mama, papa—“ he’s cut off by a coughing fit as he catches his breath. His parents worry over him, telling him to stop talking and calm down first but he interrupts. “Who were they?”
His mother leans down to tidy his hair. “Ah, the Lagusas?”
“Lagusa,” his father supplies. “We were supposed to talk more over dinner, but their youngest fell asleep so they’re going home.”
“We did offer them a room but it seems they’re still wary,” she sighs.
Kanae tugs at his father’s hands, “What’s his name? The youngest one, the one who looks the same age as me!”
“Eh.. what was it again?”
Kanae’s mother laughs, “It’s Aleksandr. I was chatting with his mother earlier, they seem to dote on him a lot.”
“I wanna marry him!” Kanae bounces up and down. “Can I?”
“Isn’t it a little too soon to be thinking of marriage? You two haven’t even talked.” His father scoops him up so that they can start walking back inside.
“We did! I met him earlier in the garden,” Kanae pouts and turns to his mother, looking for support.
She smiles, “Well, I’m sure they’ll come again so let’s think about it more, okay?”
“An angel and a vampire, hm?” His father muses, “It’d be nice if it could work.”
The Lagusas never come back, not after Kanae’s parents pass away in an accident. It seems that Kanae’s family was the only non-demon they were willing to try talking with. So he doesn’t see Aleksandr until they’re both adults and he spots the vampire at a ball, hiding in the corner of the room.
He doesn’t get a chance to talk to him, not with the vampire already in conversation with another silver-haired man. Kanae himself was already escorting a family friend, and by the time she was occupied dancing with someone else, Aleksandr was nowhere to be seen.
The vampire doesn’t show up to any other social gatherings, so Kanae sends a letter. And when it gets ignored, he sends another. And another.
“I can’t believe you remember all of that,” Aleksandr says as soon as Kanae is done, his voice had recovered slightly by now. “Did I really make that big of an impact?”
“Sorry, it’s childish isn’t it?”
“No, it’s a little cute. I’m sorry I don’t remember, your magic must’ve really tired me out.”
Kanae laughs a little, “I went searching for an explanation afterward; holy magic is incompatible with demons so while I did heal your cut, your body couldn’t handle the extra mana I left behind.”
“Ah, I see,” Aleksandr nods. “My body was trying to clear it out and I couldn’t handle the strain.”
“That’s right. I did try to heal you earlier, but it didn’t work because of the silver that was still in you.”
Aleksandr hums, a hand coming to his throat. “It’s all gone now, right?”
“Yeah, but Sukoya said it’ll take longer than usual for you to regenerate. The silver was dissolved into your drink… and I made it worse with my magic, sorry.”
All his holy magic did was amplify the silver in Aleksandr’s body. Which is less than ideal since that was what was killing him. It’s a good thing that the vampire dislikes alcohol, if he had ingested more silver it would’ve been dangerous.
“It’s fine,” he nods. He doesn’t mind that Kanae made it worse, at least he tried. “Can I have some more water?”
Kanae hands the glass over to Aleksandr and receives a mumbled thank you in return. He waits for the vampire to finish taking a sip before he speaks.
“You should focus on recovering.”
“I’ll be fine in a couple of days, you don’t need to worry.”
“You should still go home, just in case something else happens.”
Aleksandr frowns, placing the empty glass back on the table. He can’t even be proud of himself for recovering enough to drink without help. Not with how small Kanae seems sitting in front of him, his shoulders hunched over and his face withdrawn.
“…will you be there?”
The other man doesn’t reply.
“Kanae,” he sighs, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.
“Come with me.”
“What do you-“ Kanae is cut off as the vampire reaches over and takes his hands in his. He relaxes into the familiar touch despite his emotional state.
“Let’s visit my family, maybe they’ll finally believe my letters if they meet you.”
Visit. Kanae’s brain points out unhelpfully.
“It’ll be fun,” he promises. “I can show you the garden, though it’s definitely not as big as the one here, and you can see the library.”
“I don’t understand..”
“I just thought…” he shrugs weakly. “I thought you’d want to go home to your family, especially after this incident.”
“Kanae, you’re an idiot sometimes, aren’t you?” Aleksandr shakes his head fondly. “I’m already home.”
“But—“ Kanae’s voice cracks as tears well up in his eyes. He exhales shakily, unable to speak as he’s overwhelmed with a mix of emotions.
The vampire reaches up with one of his hands to clumsily brush away the tears. Aleksandr tugs on the other man, trying to get him to come onto the bed.
Kanae moves before he even registers his actions. If Aleksandr is asking for something, then what choice does he have other than to listen? He sits at the edge of the bed, shuffling closer when the vampire moves to make room.
As soon as he’s in no danger of falling off the bed, Aleksandr presses up against him. It’s warm. Soft hair tickles Kanae’s cheek when the vampire rests his head on his shoulder.
Aleksandr sighs, content now. “I thought you were acting weird when you weren’t even touching me.”
Kanae doesn’t respond, he just stares into his lap as tears drip down his face. He lets Aleksandr take his hand and intertwine their fingers.
“I thought I’d wake up the way I fainted; with my clingy husband holding onto me.” Aleksandr chuckles a little, the sound raspy due to his current condition.
“Hey, Kanae,” he interrupts. “You told me you like me, was that a lie?”
“Of course not,” Kanae replies immediately. He squeezes the vampire’s hand gently as he leans his head on his. “I love you so much it hurts.”
“Then, you’re an idiot for trying to send me away.”
“I just want you to be safe.”
“I’m not as fragile as you think,” Aleksandr sighs, a hint of frustration leaking into his voice. He’s tired of everyone around him trying to protect him.
“You’re in pain.”
“It’s fine if I’m with you.”
“I don’t want to bring you pain, Aleksandr,” Kanae forces out. The memories of the vampire choking on his own blood are ingrained in his mind. “I already did enough of that when I made you marry me.”
“I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t heavily coerced into this marriage, but I did fall for you over time.” He nuzzles closer, inhaling Kanae’s familiar scent. “I like you a lot, Kanae.”
He shakes his head, “I’m a mess; I’m clingy, obsessive, and-“
“And we’re already married,” Aleksandr chuckles. “Besides, I don’t mind all that stuff.”
“I forced you into this marriage.”
“I accepted out of my own free will.”
“You said you didn’t have a choice the day of the ceremony.”
“You really do have a good memory when it comes to me,” he comments idly. Now that it’s been brought up, Aleksandr does remember saying that. But it was still his choice to accept in the end.
Kanae rolls his eyes and chuckles under his breath despite the current conversation. The other man always makes him laugh. “I just told you I’m obsessive.”
Aleksandr shrugs a little, “Uhuh, well, accepting your proposal did feel like the only choice at the time, but I never regretted it.”
“Don’t you believe me? I like you Kanae. I can’t imagine living without you now.”
That’s enough to stall Kanae’s brain for a bit. He’s the one who feels as though he can’t live without the other man. He even went as far as trapping him in a marriage that he didn’t want at first. Aleksandr’s words sound too sweet to be true.
“What if that’s just some twisted form of Stockholm syndrome?”
“Agh, you’re so annoying,” he turns, pulling himself upright so that he can drape his arms around Kanae’s neck, nearly seating himself in the angel’s lap. “I’m not naive enough to fall for someone just because they treated me nicely after taking me away. I like talking to you, spending time with you, and I like it when you touch me.”
Kanae instinctively wraps his arms around Aleksandr, “I don’t know, you’re very trusting.”
“And you like thinking that you’re a bad person. You’re not, Kanae, I promise.”
The angel takes in a shuddering breath, tears still slipping down his face to melt into Aleksandr’s shirt. He cradles the vampire as if he were a piece of porcelain, like he would shatter if Kanae applied any more pressure.
“Hug me tighter, I won’t break.”
Kanae pulls him into his lap immediately, his face still buried in the crook of the vampire’s neck. His arms tighten around Aleksandr as he slots their bodies together until there’s not a single gap between them. Kanae sighs softly and squeezes Aleksandr closer, pressing against him even when he knows nothing could fit between them now.
He’s still unsatisfied so he pushes against the other man as if he were trying to meld them together. Aleksandr doesn’t protest, his body remaining limp as he allows Kanae to treat him however he wants.
The pressure around him is suffocating in the best way, and the vampire closes his eyes as he enjoys the warmth. It’s hard to breathe with his lungs being crushed like this but oddly enough, he feels fuller. As if the oxygen that’s been forced out of him has been replaced with Kanae’s love.
Aleksandr rests his head against Kanae’s, one of his hands coming up to pet the crown of the angel’s head. “You’re coming with me, right?”
Kanae nods, mumbling out some form of assent while nuzzling closer.
“Good.” Aleksandr absentmindedly cards through the soft strands of Kanae’s hair. He notices that they’re so close that their hair is starting to tangle together, the different textures between his fingers are oddly comforting.
He turns just enough to press a gentle kiss on Kanae’s head. They sit there together, peacefully enjoying each other’s company.
“…you should still rest,” Kanae breaks the silence.
Aleksandr hums, curling his legs up to lean closer before replying, “Stay with me.”
“Of course.” He carefully shuffles them down so that they can lie down comfortably.
The vampire rolls halfway onto him as soon as they’re situated. He buries his face into Kanae’s shirt until he can barely breathe again. The sudden lack of oxygen after a full breath of air makes him aware of how tired he is.
Kanae’s grip around him relaxes as he settles down. In reply to that, Aleksandr squeezes in closer and tangles their legs together. His hands fist into the fabric of Kanae’s shirt, as if he were still worried that he’d leave.
“I like you,” Aleksandr mumbles sleepily. “You believe me, right?”
“I believe you, Aleks. I like you too.”
He doesn’t receive a reply, but he can feel the vampire’s breathing even out as he falls asleep. Kanae takes a moment to enjoy their shared warmth. He smothers his growing grin into Aleksandr’s hair, the other man’s words running through his mind on repeat.
It feels surreal for everything to work out in the end, especially after he told the vampire how they met. To anyone else, he’s sure it would’ve seemed absurd for him to fall for someone so quickly when they were children; though, it probably helps that Aleksandr fell for him too.
Kanae’s last thought before he succumbs to sleep is that he’s glad the other man isn’t awake to tease him about his uncontrollable smile.
“Finally…!” Aleksandr groans, burying his face into the crook of Kanae’s neck while they hug in one of the alcoves lining the hallway. He’s succeeded in shooing his family away to give them some alone time. It was sweet how happy they were to see him in the beginning but it grew old fast.
Kanae laughs and pats the other man’s back, gently pressing a kiss at his hairline. “You really are loved.”
“It’s suffocating sometimes,” Aleksandr pulls back enough to make eye contact. “I just wanted to show you around today.”
“I think it’s sweet,” he smiles. “Your family is warm.”
The Lagusa heads were welcoming after a short conversation, seemingly satisfied with whatever they saw in Kanae. But Aleksandr’s older brothers were another story entirely. It was obvious they’re used to keeping their youngest sibling away from anything potentially harmful.
Kanae can’t blame them with how trusting Aleksandr is.
The vampire frowns, “You don’t have to lie, I saw my brothers glaring at you.”
“I think it’s fair for them to not like me right away. Your parents were nice though.”
“That’s because they aren’t blind.” Aleksandr pulls away and slips his hand into Kanae’s as he begins walking down the hallway. “Let’s go to the library.”
He follows obediently, “Okay~ What do you mean by blind?”
“Well, they can see that I’m happy with you, so…” He trails off, getting embarrassed. Aleksandr glances at the other man with a weak glare. “You know.”
“Hmm~ ?” Kanae grins teasingly, “What do I know?”
“Idiot, I know you know what I mean,” Aleksandr shoves him, a small laugh bubbling out as he continues. “Why am I even getting embarrassed…? We’re already married.”
Kanae laughs as he happily swings their joined hands between them. He coos, “You’re so cute~”
The vampire groans, hiding his face with his free hand. He starts walking faster as if that would help hide his flushed features. Luckily, the angel doesn’t keep teasing him; he seems content to laugh to himself while following Aleksandr.
The large windows in the hallway give Kanae a view of the grounds outside. The garden seems simple: neat hedges line the paved pathway, he thinks he catches a glimpse of a fountain but he can’t be sure from here. Aleksandr focuses on the path they’re taking rather than the windows, he’s too used to the sight.
He leads them through an archway, and they’re immediately greeted by lines of bookshelves. Aleksandr nods at the elderly librarian, who seems unsurprised to see them. He ignores the line of desks and comfy-looking seats to take Kanae to the back of the library.
“Hey, why are we going all the way back here? Could it be…” Kanae begins, teasingly tugging at their joined hands.
“What?” The vampire turns to him, his head tilted in genuine confusion. He waits to see if Kanae will continue his words.
He smiles, shaking his head fondly. After meeting Aleksandr’s brothers, it was easy to understand how he grew up so sheltered. There’s no way that the other man would be thinking of that, but he still wanted to tease him.
“Nothing~” Kanae laughs, “Did you want to show me something?”
Aleksandr frowns a little, still confused about the angel’s words, but decides to move on. He points to the alcove in the corner of the library. “Here! I used to always get a book and sit right here.”
The nook is larger than Kanae expected considering how far in the library they are. It’s easy to imagine a younger version of the other man curled up here, surrounded by cushions. Aleksandr lets go of his hand to walk over and open the curtains covering the bay window. Sunlight pours in immediately, making the area seem warmer.
“It looks comfy,” Kanae comments as he admires the sight of Aleksandr basking in the light. He watches the vampire take a seat, the worn cushions sinking under his weight.
“There’s something I want to tell you.”
“My family was always worried that I’d get lonely. I never made any friends no matter how many tea parties, dinners, or balls we went to.” Aleksandr starts, his gaze focused on the view of the garden below. He brings his legs up onto the window seat as he leans back. “I liked staying here, reading books, spending time with my family, talking to Buta, and swinging my sword around.”
Kanae hums, stepping closer. There’s a small smile on Aleksandr’s face as he stares wistfully out the window. The afternoon sun highlights his hair into a brilliant silver while his accessories catch the light with every breath he takes. The angel wishes he could take a picture of this moment.
“I thought it was enough. I was happy, or just content I guess.” He turns to Kanae as the other man approaches. “But then I met you. I’ll admit, I didn’t want to get married to someone I didn’t know or remember meeting. But you were nothing like I expected.”
“In a good way?” Kanae jokes weakly, a smile on his face as he reaches out.
“Idiot, isn’t that obvious?” He takes Kanae’s hand to tug him closer. “I’m stupid too though, I didn’t realize I was even missing something in my life until you came and turned it upside down.”
The vampire rolls his eyes, “Thank you. Now sit down.”
Kanae obeys, taking a seat. Aleksandr stretches his legs out across his lap immediately, a cheeky grin on his face.
“So you just wanted to use me as a leg rest?” He shakes his head, a fond smile on his face even as he rests his free hand on the vampire’s legs.
“I’m making sure you don’t leave me.”
“I wouldn’t,” Kanae promises as he caresses the back of the vampire’s hand absentmindedly.
“Good,” Aleksandr nods. It’s silent for a bit, with both of them watching the garden through the window. He clears his throat, turning to the other man, “Hey, Kanae?”
“I love you.”
“Wh-what?” Kanae stutters, a flush coming to his face as his grip tightens around the other man’s hand in surprise. Realistically, he should’ve expected this with how many times Aleksandr expressed his affections after the incident, but the sudden confession still startled him. “I—“
Aleksandr cuts him off, “So, can you do me a favor?”
“Uh… yes? Of course.” Kanae leans forward, confused as he studies the vampire’s face for any hint of what he could be asking for. Those ruby red eyes are focused on him, framed by a light dusting of pink. Aleksandr’s lips are curved in a soft smile, opened slightly as he continues speaking.
“Call me Sasha.”
Kanae’s heart skips a beat as his voice rises in excitement. “Eh? Is that okay?”
“It’s fine, I want you to.” Aleksandr smiles and lifts Kanae’s hand to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss to it. “Please call me Sasha.”
Kanae’s breath hitches, his free hand coming up to cradle the vampire’s face. Warmth fills his chest as he watches Aleksandr lean into the touch. He murmurs, “Sasha.”
Louder now, “Sasha.”
“What?” The vampire patiently responds.
Aleksandr laughs, “What is it, Kanae?”
Kanae smiles and presses their foreheads together. “I love you, Sasha.”
“I love you too.”