Halloween is fast approaching. Hope you all have designed some spoopy plans, haha
Here's chap 3. thanks for all your support, doze
"I think my next objective will be to get everybody food besides hotdogs. Eternal campfire theme was cool for awhile, but I'm about to barf." Alfred concludes, chewing on the black rubbery skin of his burnt specimen.
"Oh, it comes back around," Mathias promises through a mouthful.
"And then back around again," Yao mutters, picking at his hotdog much like Alfred.
Alfred gives them both tired smiles. "Matthew's going aboveground today. I'm going with him. Any requests?"
"Noodles." Yao says seriously.
"Water bottles, pleeease." Mathias adds. "Oh, and some Oreos would be great."
Alfred grins, "Done. I'll bring you guys some Spearmint too, cuz no offense, but seriously."
"None taken," Mathias shrugs carelessly, going for another hot dog. "Matthew doesn't usually allow us to get extra stuff, since we don't have all that much money."
Alfred shrugs, "I've got my own money. And a job. Well, I had a job. I'm on leave right now."
"Aren't we all?" Yao throws the rest of his hotdog in the fire.
"You're taking requests?" Francis's soft voice makes Alfred jump.
"Uh, sure. Is there something you want?" He hadn't even thought to ask the vampires.
"Yes, here. It is very important that you get these things for me. Please use discretion around, Matthew. I wouldn't want him to see." He flashes his teeth persuasively and Alfred glances down at the small handwritten list pressed quickly into his palm.
"Oh." He says and his face goes red.
Francis ruffles his hair, "That's a good human boy."
"Alfred!" Matthew's impatient voice echoes near one of the tunnel entrances. "You need to feed Arthur before we leave. We won't be returning tonight."
"Right," Alfred gives him a thumbs up and jogs to join him. However, Matthew is quickly distracted by giving a hug to Francis, so Alfred leaves them behind, rolling his eyes. Arthur may have the monopoly on the sick jokes, but Francis and Matthew should have the monopoly on another kind of joke.
He knocks crisply, sticking his head into the dimly lit room. "Arthur?"
"I'm awake," Arthur's silky voice echoes out of the silence.
"You're loud enough in the hallway to wake the whole city," grumbles Lukas.
"Sorry," Alfred chuckles. With only one lantern on, he can just see the sharp curve of Arthur's face and the contorted shadows made by his thin body on the wall. He comes to sit on the bed, smiling. "Sleep okay?"
"Fine," Arthur murmurs. "You're going aboveground today."
"That's right," Alfred says cheerily. He rolls up his sleeve. "So you get to eat early today."
Arthur glances at his exposed skin reluctantly. "I think I'm fine for right now."
Alfred blinks in bewilderment. Arthur has never turned down a meal before. "Come on, Arthur," He coaxes. "You'll feel better for it."
"But you won't." Arthur says almost miserably. Almost miserably, because Alfred has a hard time wrapping his mind around the fact that a vampire might reciprocate his concern.
Alfred pretends to scoff. "Don't tell me you're going soft, Kirkland."
Arthur growls at him, smoothing petulantly at his rumpled t-shirt.
Alfred sighs. "My body regenerates blood, Arthur. It's the way humans are."
Arthur continues to look the other direction, so Alfred pulls a card he learned from Matthew. He wrestles in his pocket for his old switchblade and then carefully nicks the skin of his forearm. A growing bubble of red blossoms on his arm, giving way to a steady rivulet that travels towards his wrist.
When he looks back up, Arthur's eyes are narrowed and glaring at him.
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't tempt me." He says, though his gaze wavers tracing the slick red path it makes on Alfred's arm.
"I wouldn't have to do this if you would just be reasonable."
Arthur groans, reaching suddenly forward and snatching his arm. Alfred is shocked by his reflexes. Arthur is one of the only vampires who has moved slowly thus far. Sometimes he forgets that Arthur possesses the same inhuman speed as the rest of them. Arthur isn't gentle as he plunges his fangs in this time. Perhaps he wants to hurt, out of spite.
Alfred can handle that. He begins counting the seconds in his head, combing Arthur's hair as he drinks. Once again, Alfred thinks about how Arthur is a particularly noisy drinker. All of the other vampires are soundless. Francis even manages to convey a certain amount of grace. But Arthur smacks and gargles and kneads his head forward, trying to get the most out of his minute. For all he can hold himself back, when he gets to drinking, he loses control. Alfred understands why Matthew was worried.
He lets him go for a minute and a half, before pushing him away. By that time, Matthew has entered the room and is watching disapprovingly as Arthur continues to lap at the dripping, welling blood on Alfred's arm. Rather than have Matthew man-handle them again, Alfred uses his old trick, smearing blood on his hand and shoving Arthur's head that direction so he can bandage the wound.
When that's all gone and Alfred has finished tying the bandage, Arthur watches him expectantly. He holds out his other bloodied hand and Arthur licks that clean as well. "Is there some in my hair?" He asks, actually sounding like he wishes there was.
"You're clean." Alfred chuckles and Arthur flops down on his side with a sigh. "So I'm going aboveground. Do you have any requests?"
"Requests?" Arthur murmurs.
"Anything you want that I can bring you?"
"Oh." Arthur watches Alfred's hands. "I don't know."
"Come on," Alfred smiles teasingly. "There's nothing you'd want? There's got to be something."
Arthur shrugs, looking embarrassed.
"Alfred, we've got to get going," Matthew cuts in.
"If you don't tell me something, then it's going to be a surprise." Alfred says, allowing Matthew to drag him to his feet.
"Maybe... s-some tea, then." Arthur says softly, surprising Matthew enough to make him stop tugging Alfred.
"Tea, it is." Alfred grins, turning for the door on his own. "I'll see you tomorrow, Arthur. Come on, Matthew. I thought you said we had to leave. Stop dilly-dallying."
"How do you do that?" Matthew asks him incredulously once they're on their way up.
"Do what?" Alfred asks, straightening his trenchcoat and checking to make sure he hadn't forgotten his wallet.
"Get him to open up to you like that."
"Is he opening up to me?" Alfred asks with a half-smile. "Because if so, I'm missing it."
Matthew only shakes his head. "Come on. There are several places we have to go."
"Awesome," Alfred grins, looking forward to getting out of these gunky tunnels.
After much maneuvering, Matthew leads him out into a drain, skirting the woods. The sky overhead is littered with ominous thunderheads and the air crackles with electricity. A harsh wind causes the leaves to whisper and sends Alfred's trenchcoat billowing behind him. As they round the corner of the drain, Matthew surveys the abandoned country road before them.
"How far to Devil's Gap?" Alfred asks, fingering the shooter at his side, apprehensively.
"About three miles. We better get going. I don't like the look of things around here. It's too quiet." Matthew leads the way, kicking up gravel with his heavy boots.
Alfred troops along with his head low, trying to block out the chilly wind. In his head, he runs through his list of groceries that he got from the others. A sudden thought occurs to him. "Vampires can have human food?"
Matthew gives him a dangerous look.
Alfred rolls his eyes. "There's no one out here, Matt. What? Do you expect the trees to tell on us?"
"You can never be too careful." Matthew grumbles, surveying the hilly landscape distrustfully. "Come closer and we can talk."
Alfred jogs to catch up with him, lowering his voice. "Well, can they?"
"Of course they can." Matthew mutters. "They were human once, Alfred. They've still got the necessary organs."
"That's strange." Alfred wrinkles his nose. "Do they like it?"
"Not particularly as far as I've seen. It doesn't actually satisfy them. If it did, I don't think being a vampire in today's society would really be an issue, now would it?"
"Why did Arthur ask me for tea then and Francis for, uh, some other things?"
Matthew raises his eyebrows, but doesn't ask. "I'm not sure why exactly. I know that there are certain things that they still retain a liking for from when they were human. They can still taste things. The thought of eating is unappetizing, but tasting is still enjoyable."
"Plus, drinking is probably a bit different. I'm not sure how it's possible, but vampires can get drunk. And enjoy doing so, though not quite as much as humans I would say. It isn't that strange that Arthur would like tea. He probably hasn't had some in ages."
"Hmm." Alfred nods. "So you think they would like gum? Cuz you don't have to swallow it, just taste it."
"Shut up, Alfred."
"Hey, don't be rude. I've just noticed that some of their breaths smell like rotting-
"Shut up." Matthew's eyes are hard and serious. He stops Alfred from moving with a warning hand. Alfred falls silent, looking about warily. Then, he hears it. The faint moan of sirens.
Matthew grabs his arm, shoving him into the knee-length grass, not a moment too late. Rifle shots blast around them, screaming around the hills. Alfred knows exactly what this is and his stomach sinks straight to his feet. He meets Matthew's eyes fearfully.
"They've found a vampire, Matt," He says.
"Don't move." Matthew mutters. "You know the protocol for humans in a red zone. If you don't want to get shot, stay down."
"But Matthew, they're going to take it out."
"I'm aware." Matthew says coldly.
Alfred swallows. When he was a kid and got stuck in red zones, he had always thought it was wicked badass. Sometimes, the hunters would even let him see the corpse up close, before they took it in for testing. Once they had executed on premises. Holding the head up for the small crowd. He remembers cheering like it was a parade.
"Matthew," he hisses. "We can't just do nothing!"
"We can. And we will."
"But, Matt, it'll be-
"I know." Matthew snaps. "We can't save everybody, Alfred."
Alfred falls gloomily silent. It's very possible that this vampire was looking for them. Their sanctuary is the nearest to Devil's Gap and the only safe place for hundreds of miles of wide open country. Wide open hunting fields.
"Matthew," He hisses. "What if he leads them to our hideout?"
"That isn't possible," says Matthew grimly. "We wouldn't let him in."
"Yeah, but he could just-
"He couldn't, Alfred. It's a secret tunnel, with a secret door, that we can open. Anybody can walk down in the sewer, but not anybody can open the door. Or find it for that matter."
"Shut up." Matthew waves him quiet, listening earnestly.
In the distance, Alfred hears the crack of the rifle and a screech. The sirens lift and Alfred starts to get to his feet. Matthew makes to pull him down, but it's too late. The patrol car spots them as it whizzes by and comes to a halt not that far down the road.
"Fucking shit," Matthew grouses, shoving Alfred in the shoulder. "Will you ever just follow my lead?"
"That's not my style." Alfred gives him an apologetic smile and they wait until one of the officers meets them in the grass.
"What are you boys doing way out here?" He says, removing his cap and scratching his head. Alfred recognizes the Hunting Division insignia on it. Over his shoulder is a black air rifle and at his hip a regular stunner. Alfred's eyes flitter over the cartridge case of the rifle. It's a fast-acting tranquilizer model. They weren't going for the kill.
"I was collecting sap samples from some of the deciduous trees in the area for my work," Matthew says so nonchalantly it throws Alfred completely for a loop. "My lab assistant completely botched our collection though. Completely panicked when he heard the sirens. You did catch it, didn't you? We were told this would be a safe area to perform our observations."
The officer is already looking bored. "Yeah, we got 'em contained. You should be smarter, though. No area is safe from those creatures. You fellas got a car?"
"No, we walked since it was such a nice day."
Alfred can't help but look doubtfully at the sky. The officer does too, before just shaking his head. "Come on then. We'll give you a ride into town. This place is about to be roped off anyway."
"Roped off?" Alfred blurts. Only high risk areas are "roped off" or declared news wide red zones.
"Now you're afraid. Don't worry, boy. We can handle our Draculas. We'll just be escorting you out. Come on."
Matthew gives him a look, but they both follow the officer back to a black heavy duty van. Alfred recognizes it as a containment vehicle. As he and Matthew slip into the backseat, he carefully peers over his shoulder through the metal caging. A sickened looking vampire is crumpled on the floor, a tranquilizer dart sticking out his neck. They've tied his hands and his feet. Alfred has never seen a more disgusting vampire. It looks like it has mange. The whole left side of its face is torn open and curdled like old cottage cheese. It smells quite similar. Alfred has to hold his nose to keep from retching.
Matthew is staring grimly at his crossed hands.
Perhaps the saddest thing about it is to see the rise and fall of the creature's chest. The two officers in the front chat amiably, answering calls over the radio and establishing perimeters like making dinner plans. Alfred can't keep his eyes off the vampire. Matthew elbows him, to get him to turn around at least five times.
But at one point, Alfred's breath catches to see a pair of brilliant green eyes flicker open through the grime. Green eyes. Oh damn his weakness for green eyes. They aren't like Arthur's eyes. They're more olive and milky, but his thoughts immediately jump back to Arthur starving in a bed somewhere underground.
"Matthew," he hisses, but Matthew pretends not to hear. He's not going to be any help, but surely he realizes that as soon as they get into Devil's Gap this vampire is a goner. Alfred glances out at the deserted area around them, slipping his hands into his jacket to feel the concealed butts of his guns, one on each hip. Matthew had been right about his AO5 license to carry. He's been holding firearms since he could walk. It wouldn't do for the son of the head of HD to not be able to protect himself. And those he cares about.
Alfred slowly draws both weapons. Matthew's eyes grow to be the size of saucers and he starts to shake his head like it's on a spring. But it's too late.
Alfred levels the guns with the backs of their heads and pulls the triggers. As the van starts to careen off the road, Matthew leaps forward to pull the emergency brake. "Fuck, Alfred! What the fuck are you doing?" He explodes.
"They're stunners, Matthew. Calm down." he says coolly. "We've got about five minutes until the perimeter people realize they've been compromised. Come on." He swings himself out of the van, throwing open the driver's side door and rifling through the officers pocket.
Matthew looks like he has quite a bit more to say, but he catches the keys Alfred throws at him and hurries to open the back door. Alfred stays where he is, carefully patting down the officer until he finds what he's looking for in an inner pocket. A small pouch of black pills and a hand grenade like object.
"Did you get him out?" Alfred calls.
"Yeah," Matthew is panting heavily under the vampire's weight. He drapes him carefully on the ground.
"Toss me the keys."
Alfred catches them and tucks them carefully back into the officer's pocket where he had found them. "Shut the van doors, Mattie." Then, he turns and pats the officer's breast pocket. "I'm really sorry about this fellas." He yanks the pin out of the grenade, tossing it into the cupholder and slamming the door.
The noxious green gas curls up immediately, obscuring their faces and powdering the whole van. Once Alfred is certain they've breathed in enough, he barks at Matthew to move the vampire and swings the van doors open. Using his switchblade, he dents the back door lock a little bit. "Cut off his ropes. Quickly!" He orders Matthew. "Throw them on the ground near the doors. It'll look like an escape."
Matthew scurries to follow his orders. After that they both throw one of the vampire's arms over their shoulders. "Take this," Alfred pants, shoving one of the black pills towards Matthew.
"What is it?"
"The dogs won't be able to trace us. It makes us smell like vampires."
Matthew stares at him in bewilderment.
"Just trust me." Alfred pants, "Humans take them to mask their scents from vampires when they're chasing. It doesn't completely obscure, but it makes it harder for them to scent us. But nasty side effect, it makes us smell like nothing to police dogs. You know, since police dogs can't track vampires."
"What other odd bits of trivia are you saving for moments like these?" Matthew growls, downing the pill without contest.
They make their way as fast as possible, half-dragging, half-carrying the lucid vampire. They don't dare stop to take a breath, even when their arms burn and their eyes water from the horrible stench of rotting skin. When they reach the entrance to the tunnel, only then do they pause.
The vampire is shifting, green eyes slatting open again, peering at them. It happens so fast that Alfred doesn't have time to react. The vampire's overgrown nails slash across his face like a cat's claws, ripping giant gashes through the soft skin.
"Alfred!" Matthew shouts, whipping out his gun and turning it on the vampire. "Stop. We're helping you. We helped you escape."
The vampire's wary eyes flitter over to Matthew, while Alfred holds his face and searches for his gun. They should've stunned the vampire first, damn it.
"You're looking for sanctuary, aren't you?" Alfred asks point blank, unable to help slurring. It feels like the right side of his face is on fire. "Well, we know where it is and if you don't want it, get lost. I don't have time for this."
"You know where it is?" The vampire stares at him in exhaustion.
Alfred slowly lowers his gun. "It's in there. We'll show you."
Matthew leads the way, while Alfred keeps his gun at hand. Not wanting to get slashed again. Who knew they could grow their nails out like claws? Matthew opens the door for them and they just barely get into the main cavern before the others surround them, having heard the sirens and then the commotion just outside the tunnel.
Matthew begins to explain, but Yao grabs a hold of Alfred, forcing him to remove the hand from his face.
Feliciano shrieks a little and Lovino curses at him fiercely, but all the same surveys Alfred's cheek warily.
"Wha?" Alfred demands.
Matthew cuts off mid-sentence, his eyes bulging.
Mathias just wrinkles his nose. "That is knarly, man. Can you do anything about that, Yao?"
"What? What's going on?" Alfred glares at the lot.
"Your cheek muscle," Feli whispers.
"It's cut in two," Francis finishes with a delicate frown.
Alfred reaches to touch again and this time he feels a weird stringy sliminess that sends his stomach rolling. "Fuck!"
"I can patch that up. Come on. Matthew can handle this." Yao begins tugging him away. They don't get far though. "Would you all go back to your rooms!" Yao shouts. "Emil, Lukas, you're in no fit state to- Fucking christ, get back in bed, Arthur! We've had a discussion about this." The younger two ignore him, ducking past to marvel at the new arrival. Arthur, however, stops short leaning heavily against the wall. His pupils dilate when he smells Alfred's blood.
"Arthur," Yao begins warningly.
"What happened?" Arthur demands, his eyes on Alfred.
"Found a vampire. He slashed me. All in a day's work," Alfred wheezes, wishing he couldn't feel his muscle under his palm.
Arthur's eyes narrow and Yao mutters, "Oh now you've really done it, boy." And then louder. "Arthur, get back in bed. I won't tell you twice. Alfred has a stun gun and I will use it and drag your sorry ass all the way back to bed, if you don't listen."
Arthur hesitates. His dangerous eyes flicker over the scene behind them, before he turns suddenly and begins shuffling back to his room. "Bring him back here. It's quieter."
Yao pushes him onto Lukas's bed and begins the work of sterilizing the wound. Arthur wrinkles his nose at the antiseptic smell, perched with his arms around his knees in his own bed. Alfred flinches when he sees Yao pull out the needle. Looking for something to distract himself from the painful enterprise, he notices how bloody his hand is. Without even thinking, he holds it out to Arthur.
"I think that can wait, Alfred," Yao says as he threads the needle and begins carefully aligning it. Alfred ignores him, watching Arthur. There's a strange look in Arthur's green eyes, but he only sets his chin on his knees and doesn't move.
As Yao pushes the needle in, Alfred gasps. His eyes water up immediately, and Yao warns him to hold still.
Nonetheless, Alfred nearly cries as Yao carefully sews the torn muscle together. There simply is no comfortable way to do this. He feels something cold in his fist and he clutches it as tightly as he can. 20 agonizing minutes later Yao has the muscle and the skin stitched neatly back in place. He dabs carefully with antiseptic.
Alfred looks down to see that Arthur had given him his hand to squeeze. "Thanks, man," he breathes, slowly letting go. "That was really helpful."
Arthur nods quietly, pulling his knees back up against his chest and resting his chin there. His expression is unreadable. Yao is looking at him with a measuring expression. "I'm going to return to the main room. I think it would be best if you two stayed here."
Alfred is too worn out to complain and waves him away. He doesn't think he'll be able to talk for a month now. His jaw is pulsing like hell.
After a moment, he gets up and sits beside Arthur on the bed. He wants to express his gratitude. Arthur is sick, but he stayed here and watched without any problems with the blood. Alfred closes his eyes thinking of the mangy vampire they'd managed to rescue. He shudders to imagine Arthur out there. He can barely stand right now. His body is so stripped of muscle and fat.
When Alfred opens his eyes, he sees Arthur looking at him. He can't quite manage a smile. "Sorry I didn't get your tea, yet," he whispers, moving his face as little as possible.
"That's okay," Arthur whispers. A sudden hardness creeps into his eyes. "The new vampire did that to you? When you were helping him?"
"Yes," Alfred looks at his hands. "He was disoriented though. He probably thought we were the captors."
Arthur only gives him a tepid growl.
Alfred chuckles. "How have you been feeling?"
"Better," Arthur says. "I don't look it; I know."
"Your eyes are brighter." Alfred murmurs. "But other than that..."
Arthur shifts uncomfortably. "I'm sick."
"When do you think you'll get better?" Alfred asks, feeling guilty when Arthur flinches.
"It might be awhile," He finally says, but he doesn't meet Alfred's eyes. Alfred wonder if there's something that Arthur isn't telling him.
"That's alright," Alfred reassures him. "Once you've gained some weight, you'll be in much better shape. At my place, you don't have to do anything. I'll keep the room just how you like it."
Arthur's startling green eyes flick up to meet his. "Why are you trying so hard for a vampire living in the sewer?"
Alfred shrugs. "Well, I think it's about time you got lucky, isn't it? This awful legislation has been getting everybody down, but I'd imagine ten years here would really take its toll." He hesitates, clenching and unclenching his fists. He's been trying his best not to stroke Arthur's hair as much. After Arthur had brought it up, he felt certain that it wasn't welcome. Strangely in moments like these he can't help but be tempted.
"I don't even remember what it looks like outside," Arthur whispers, staring at his palms.
Alfred watches him for a moment, before flopping backwards. "I've got some pictures of my place on my phone if you want to see. I think I have some pictures of the woods too."
Arthur slowly stretches out next to him, turning his chin to look. His breath whispers against Alfred's cheek, and he's certain that Arthur can hear the thrum of his pulse. Alfred flicks through the pictures, stopping whenever Arthur's cool fingers press against his arm. Arthur particularly likes the pictures of the woods in their autumn colors. His blonde hair tickles against Alfred's cheek as he shifts to get a better view.
"The view from the spare bedroom looks out over these woods," he tells Arthur. "You should see them in the winter, all covered in snow. It's beautiful."
"Winter is awful down here," Arthur murmurs. "It gets unbearably cold and there's certainly nothing to look at."
"I'll bet you're looking forward to heating then," Alfred traces the holey bedspread with his finger. "There's a thermostat in every room."
Arthur moans like it's the epitome of luxury.
Alfred drops his phone on his chest with a sigh. "I should let you sleep."
"I'm always sleeping," Arthur grumbles.
He laughs a bit, flinching as the stitches pull. "Well. You are sick."
"Not by choice."
Despite the pain, Alfred can't help laughing again, rolling onto his side to look down at Arthur. "You're a riot, Kirkland. I don't think anybody gets sick by choice."
"Well, vampires certainly don't. I don't know what goes on with the humans these days." Arthur's t-shirt has slipped up to show the hollowed curve of his stomach. Alfred tries his best not to look.
"I should probably go."
"Why? It's still busy out there. I can hear it." Arthur wrinkles his nose. "It's quiet for once. Stay with me."
"Well, I suppose Matthew isn't here to stick his nose into everything."
"And Lukas and Emil aren't going to eavesdrop."
Alfred forces himself not to smile and pull the stitches. "I will stay. If you do one thing for me."
He holds out his bare forearm and Arthur looks at it warily.
"I already fed today, Alfred. Matthew-
"I thought we agreed not to listen to Matthew."
"Well, yes, but," Arthur kneads his fingers together. "I hurt you last time. I don't want to take more than I should."
Alfred rolls his eyes. "Arthur, you need more than they're letting me give you. Honestly, I'm still getting used to it, but the others give all the time. I promise I'll tell you if I start feeling like I'll pass out."
Arthur bites his lips. His fangs are wet with saliva so Alfred knows he is considering. "It wouldn't be very fair," he points out half-heartedly, running one of his fingers down Alfred's arm. "I'm already feeding more than anybody else. If they-
"It's none of their business what I decide to do with my blood," Alfred murmurs seriously. "Anyway, I'll recuperate with you afterwards."
Arthur's brow furrows, "What do you mean?"
"It means we're both taking a long nap after this because I'm beat. Deal?"
Arthur shakes his head, "All your deals with me are so clearly weighted in my favor."
"Deal?" Alfred presses.
Arthur snorts. "Of course, I would agree to deals like that."
"There's the Arthur I know," Alfred teases, allowing a small tear-inducing smile.
He lets Arthur feed for about two minutes and then wrestles him away to put the bandage on. It surprises him when Arthur takes the bandage from him and does it neatly himself. Much like Francis always does for Matthew. Hell, half the time Francis feeds on Matthew, Matthew isn't even paying a wit's worth of attention.
"Thanks," he whispers gratefully, amused when Arthur blushes.