For the next few weeks, Katsuki's days consist of patrol shifts, dates with Shouto, and meetings to discuss the situation between werewolves and vampires. Sometimes, the meetings are arranged by Mitsuki and Hiyuri, and Katsuki and Shouto join in order to add their own observations. Other times, it's only the two of them, exchanging information about each other's territories and thinking of what they'll do next.

Katsuki soon notices that his mother was right in telling him that they only needed time. Slowly but surely, spending time with Shouto makes it easier for them to act more naturally around each other. Whenever they encounter people who stare at them with doubt, Katsuki doesn't hesitate to kiss Shouto - not only does it work wonders at convincing them, but the public display of affection often makes others uncomfortable, which prevents someone from watching their every move too closely.

Of course, Katsuki still gets annoyed at Shouto from time to time, but he's gotten better at pretending not to.

When they're in public, at least.

"What the hell, Shouto, do you know what time it is?" Katsuki growls into the receiver, still drowsy from being woken up by his phone buzzing. "You might stay awake the whole night, but I have patrol in the morning."

"Katsuki, get up. I'm on my way to your place." Shouto's voice is sharp on the other end of the line. "My mom's calling yours as we speak."

Katsuki sits up, suddenly feeling more awake.

"What happened?"

"Another attack. We found the bodies during patrol."

"What did you- Wait, bodies? More than one?"

"Two. A vampire died, too. We're almost there. We'll explain it then," Shouto says, and the line goes dead.

From outside his bedroom, Katsuki hears the sound of his parents moving around, Mitsuki's voice clearly distressed even if he can't make out her words. He jumps out of bed, hitting the light switch as he changes into the first clothes he can find.

He's putting his shirt on when someone knocks on the door.

"Katsuki, wake up! There's an emergency meeting. The vampires will be here in a few min-"

"I know." Katsuki swings the door open. His father stands in front of him, hair still mussed from sleep, his fist raised as if he were going to knock again. "Shouto called me."

Masaru lowers his hand, nodding.

"Come, then. We don't know much about what happened yet-" he takes off through the corridor, Katsuki following close behind. "But it doesn't sound good."

When they get to the living room, Mitsuki is already on the couch, staring intently at the door. Not even a minute later, the doorbell rings and she jumps up as if shocked, hurrying to let Hiyuri and Shouto inside.

This time, they don't bother with formalities. Shouto is still wearing his patrol clothes, hair in complete disarray. By his side, Hiyuri doesn't look any less fatigued, and they've barely sat down when she starts talking.

"Our problem might be bigger than we thought."

Out of the corner of his eyes, Katsuki sees his parents exchanging a worried look. He leans forward, his senses on alert for whatever is going to be said next.

"Shouto can explain this better, since he was the one who reported it to me." Hiyuri puts a hand on her son's knee, giving him a gentle but pained smile. "Please, tell them, Shouto."

The vampire nods.

"I was out on patrol when there was a commotion," Shouto starts. His voice is steady, but Katsuki can see by the way his hands are grasping each other tightly that he's tense. "It had all been quiet until then, but by the state of things when I got there, the fight must have been going on for some time. The werewolf was nearly dead already. He lost a lot of blood from injuries, and whatever was left was being drained fast by a vampire."

Shouto pauses, his gaze passing through Mitsuki and Masaru until it rests on Katsuki.

"There was another vampire beside him, helping keep the man restrained. And a little ways off, there was another body."

"Not another werewolf," Katsuki says. That much he knows from what Shouto had told him on the phone, but it doesn't make the implications any less concerning.

"Not another werewolf." Shouto repeats, shaking his head. "I arrived at the scene at the same time as other patrollers, so the remaining vampires fled. We didn't chase after them to try to save the werewolf, but- we couldn't."

Shouto stops talking, but everyone remains silent, the weight of what they've heard turning their expressions grim.

"So we're dealing with a group," Masaru finally voices the obvious conclusion.

"Yes," Hiyuri says. "We don't know how many or how organized they are, but at this point we can say for sure this isn't just some rogue vampire acting alone."

Katsuki's hands ball into fists, a low growl escaping through gritted teeth. No one scolds him for his behavior - Mitsuki looks agitated herself, having gotten up halfway through Shouto's report and started pacing back and forth, and Masaru's ears flicker uneasily, his tail restless behind him as he presses his lips into a thin line.

It's not like what they've just found out wasn't a possibility before. However, having it confirmed only serves to erase any hope that it might be a single vampire's doing, a much less difficult problem to deal with.

Suddenly, Mitsuki stops pacing, her hands flexing on her sides before she settles them on the back of the couch and raises her head.

"This changes nothing."

Her voice is stern. Right now, she doesn't sound like Mitsuki, Katsuki's mother and friend to the vampires; she sounds like Mitsuki, the werewolf pack leader, who guided them through a war and came out unscathed, ready to claim for peace between both her kind and those who were once their enemies.

"What we have to do hasn't changed. We must stop them," she says. "We'll double the patrols again. We need more people on the field while we don't find out who these people are and where they're hiding."

"I'll send more guards out, with orders to bring any attackers immediately to me should they be captured. If that happens, we might be able to get some information," Hiyuri adds.

Katsuki, who had stayed quiet throughout the discussion, finally speaks, and all eyes turn to him.

"Send the patrollers in teams. One vampire, and one werewolf for each one. This way, there's more chance of success if anyone runs into a group again, and it can be another symbol of vampires and werewolves working together." Katsuki's eyes fall on Shouto, who gives him a short nod, so he continues, "Shouto and I can start tomorrow, while you talk to everyone else and see who gets scheduled with who."

As soon as he's done talking, Katsuki leans back, waiting for a reaction to his words. He didn't have to think much about voicing them - it seems like a reasonable path, which serves not only as a strategy towards capturing the killers but also adds to the effort he and Shouto have been putting towards not letting people lose hope.

He knows his mother is going through the same thought process when she smiles at him, but it's the vampire leader that speaks first.

"That's a great idea. Mitsuki?" Hiyuri looks at the other woman.

"You don't even have to ask me," Mitsuki says. She turns to look at Masaru, who also voices his agreement, and then she turns back towards Katsuki. "We'll accept your suggestion, Katsuki."

Katsuki nods. He turns towards Shouto, who's staring at him with a strange look in his eyes.

"You better not slow me down," Katsuki says, a smirk playing at the corner of his mouth.

Shouto's expression is a little less grim when he answers.

"I'll say the same to you."

Walking side by side with Shouto during patrol reminds Katsuki of the night when he'd first agreed to pretend to date him. The air is as chilly as it was then, and they move swiftly through the streets, switching from the ground to jumping between rooftops, using glamours and the shadows to help hide themselves from human eyes.

Unlike that night months ago, the silence that hangs between them is comfortable, their movements easily coordinated so they can cover as much ground as possible while still watching each other's back. Despite the tension that naturally comes with patrol, Katsuki hasn't felt so at ease in weeks. While he and Shouto are technically outside, and therefore still under the pretense of being boyfriends, there's no one on the streets to put on an act for, and the fact that they can be themselves without the added pressure is strangely freeing.

It doesn't lessen his frustration, however, as the night goes on calmly, with no sight of strange activity that would require intervention.

"Do you think they're being careful?" Shouto asks after they've been walking for a little over an hour. "Now that we know the man who died wasn't acting alone… there was always a gap of time between each attack. We can patrol all we want, but unless they decide to do something, we'll get nothing."

Katsuki's tail swishes with agitation, Shouto's words bringing to light the truth that's been eating at him.

"They're being clever. Playing with us," he growls. "They attack, we increase security. They attack again, and we look like fools. And then-" A sharp pain comes from Katsuki's left palm; he's been digging his claws into it, cutting skin. A single drop of blood falls to the ground, but he can't bring himself to care. "Then more people die, and more people fight, and there's less than four months left until the Assemblies and it's like everything we're doing is for fucking nothing-"


Shouto's exclamation makes Katsuki halt. The werewolf is breathing hard, his hand stinging even more than before, wounds unconsciously added to the previous ones. Katsuki stares at the red that mars his skin, frowning as the anger that had suddenly risen dissipates, leaving only a hollow feeling behind.

"I just want to catch these damn bastards," he says.

Pale hands come into his field of vision. Shouto's touch is cold as always, but he's almost hesitant as he takes Katsuki's left hand in his. His fingers hover over the blood - a conflicted expression there and gone so fast Katsuki could have imagined it - but he pulls them back, settling for running his thumb over the clear patches of skin.

"We'll catch them," Shouto says, raising his head. Unlike his movements, there's no trace of hesitation in his voice. "And we'll make sure the treaty gets a majority vote."

His eyes are fixed on Katsuki's, determination set in them; his touch, while soothing, is also affirming in a way that renders Katsuki speechless.

He hates feeling weak. But, somehow, it doesn't sound like Shouto is pitying him.

If anything, it sounds like a promise.

His lips quirk up. Shouto slowly lets his hand go, taking a step back as Katsuki smirks at him.

"Yeah, we will."

With their relationship going "steady" for a few months already, the fact that Katsuki and Todoroki are dating has become a known and confirmed fact between both vampires and werewolves. While the Bloody Claws is their most visited place, they've gone on dates in other parts of neutral territory, always running into curious eyes and mouths eager to spread rumors about them, something that Katsuki has grown used to.

Patrolling, however, puts them in a situation they haven't risked yet - venturing within each other's territories together. Granted, their patrols can't be considered romantic dates, but it doesn't take long for Shouto to bring up the possibility of taking that next step outside of their duties as well.

"We'd have to get out of neutral territory eventually," he says one night, as he and Katsuki pass in front of some clubs in werewolf territory. Katsuki reluctantly agrees.

That's how, just a few days later, he finds himself in one of said clubs, music thumping loud on his ears, pushing people out of the way as he pulls Shouto by his hand towards a less crowded corner of the dance floor.

"I fucking hate night clubs," he mutters. While Katsuki isn't opposed to dancing per se, the whole ambience of the popular establishments annoys him - the repetitive music that hurts his ears and leaves them ringing for hours afterwards, the people constantly bumping into him, having to watch out for the ones who are already too drunk to keep from spilling their drinks on whoever's close. It all gets on his nerves, making him even grumpier than usual.

If he could, he would have chosen any other place for their date, but unfortunately, what he and Shouto need is attention.

And the most popular club in werewolf territory certainly grants them that.

"We don't have to stay for long." Shouto's voice, suddenly next to his ear, startles Katsuki. The vampire is standing close to him, and at first Katsuki thinks that he's heard his complaints, but then he notices how tense Shouto's shoulders are, his eyes flickering between the crowd despite him trying to keep them fixed on Katsuki.

His behavior is that of someone cautious of danger. It makes sense - Shouto is pretty much the only vampire in the entire club, and there's no rule here to stop a fight from breaking out. He is, for all purposes, in hostile territory.

Despite the lack of any such reaction towards them so far, the thought that anyone would dare attack Shouto makes Katsuki growl low in his throat. Before he can process his movements, he has an arm around Shouto's waist, pulling them flush together.

"Katsuki?" Shouto asks, his hands settling lightly on the werewolf's chest.

"Just… don't look so worried, damn it," Katsuki says. He doesn't know why he's feeling so protective all of a sudden, but instinct doesn't allow him to let go of his hold on the vampire. "We gotta be convincing, right? So relax."

Slowly, Shouto does as he's told, tension leaving his body under Katsuki's touch, though he still feels more twitchy than usual. The music playing has a fast beat, but they don't move much at all, dancing at a rhythm that sets them apart from the crowd around them. Even if he tried, Katsuki doesn't think Shouto would manage dancing any differently from this - he's had his toes stepped several times already - but aside from a few mumbled complaints on Shouto's ear about him having two left feet, Katsuki doesn't pull away.

Even with the crowded space, it doesn't escape Katsuki's notice that everyone else is keeping a certain distance from them. It seems ridiculous - it's not like he and Shouto have a fucking disease or something - but either way, he doesn't give a damn. If they don't want to get too close, great; it means less people bumping into them. All that matters is that no one has caused trouble so far, and it seems like their first date outside of neutral territory will go smoothly.

It doesn't take long for Katsuki's assumption to be proved wrong.

The men who approach them are obviously drunk. Katsuki sees them out of the corner of his eyes - they're both unsteady on their feet, the liquid in their cups sloshing dangerously as they lean on each other for support. Shouto clearly notices them, too; his hold on Katsuki's shirt tightens, tension returning to his body in a second.

Any hopes that they might just be passing by that corner of the dance floor is gone when one of them calls out over the music.

"Hey, 'ya two lovebirds there!"

Katsuki grits his teeth but turns around, keeping one hand on Shouto's waist.

"What do you want?" he asks.

"Y'know," the taller man takes a step forward, his alcohol-stinking breath making Katsuki wrinkle his nose in disgust. "Talk's that you're dating, but I don't believe it. Nor does my friend here."

"We are dating," Shouto says. There's challenge in his tone, but it only seems to spur the werewolves on.

"Are you, now?" The man - Blond Guy, Katsuki decides to call him - that'd been quiet until then says. "Why don't ya prove it? Should be sooo-" He stumbles forward a little, lingering on the word and ending it on a sneer, "-easy, if you ain't lyin', right?"

Before Katsuki can respond, Shouto's hand is on his neck, pulling him forward into a kiss. It lasts no longer than a few seconds, but there's no hesitation in his movements, and when they part Shouto's eyes turn immediately towards the werewolves.

"Kissin' means nothing," Tall Guy slurs. He jabs a finger on Katsuki's chest, and Katsuki's ears flatten on his head, lips curling up to show his fangs. "You trust that little bloodsucker, right? Then I think ya' should let 'im drink some blood, ain't that right?"

"'s only natural," Blond Guy nods.

Katsuki can feel Shouto's entire body go rigid beside him; he sneaks a glance at the vampire, only to see his eyes burning with that cold intensity he'd only seen once before. There's something else in there too, though - with the way his body seems to be leaning slightly backwards, it's as if Shouto's afraid, like a cornered prey struggling against its fighting instincts.

"What, scared he'll suck you dry?"

Katsuki wants to wipe off the idiot's smirk from his face. At this point, though, others have started paying attention to the commotion; Katsuki feels the stares coming from those closest to them, and he doesn't have to look to know people are straining to hear what's going on despite the loud music.

He and Shouto are walking on a very thin line here. As much as he'd like to kick these bastards' asses, Katsuki can't do that. Not when it could ruin every effort they'd made in the past few months.

So, instead of answering, Katsuki turns towards Shouto, pulling him close as they were before, one hand holding onto the vampire's waist while the other tangles in his hair.

"Katsuki, what-"

Katsuki shuts him up with a quick press of lips. Shouto's eyes are wide - now that he's this close, Katsuki notices that there's definitely a hint of fear in there. There's no time to dwell on why, though.

He tilts his head to the side, exposing his neck.

Shouto's lips part in a gasp that gets lost among all the noise. Katsuki ignores everything around them, focusing his gaze on the vampire's alone, adding a light pressure to the back of Shouto's neck.

He can only hope Shouto understands what he's trying to say.

Do it. I trust you not to kill me.

For a few moments, the vampire stays still. Katsuki is almost convinced that he won't do it - and the thought brings an unexpected pang of disappointment - but then Shouto's hands move to grip his arms. Slowly, Shouto allows the werewolf's hand to guide his head towards his neck, only breaking eye contact to let his lips hover barely an inch away from skin.

Katsuki's painfully aware of the hot breath fanning over his neck, a shiver running through his spine when Shouto whispers too low for anyone else to hear.

"You sure?"

His nod is no more than a small tilt of his chin, but it's enough. Shouto pulls him closer, and for a moment the club fades to the background, music and stares moving to the back of Katsuki's mind.

Then there's a sharp prick of pain on his neck, and Katsuki can't help but grasp the other's hair tighter when Shouto starts to drink from him. Warmth spreads from the bite, a pleasant numbness subduing the residues of pain, and it feels so - so fucking good, and intimate, much more so than any kiss they've shared-

A different pain suddenly distracts Katsuki from the sensations. Opening his eyes - he hadn't even realized he'd closed them - he blinks against the flashing lights of the club, fog in his head dissipating as he becomes increasingly aware of the way Shouto's entire body trembles, nails digging into the werewolf's arms.

Katsuki doesn't have time to ask what that's all about before Shouto's fangs leave his throat, tongue lapping at the wound and making that feeling of numbness spread as the skin heals. Trying to ignore the strange way Shouto's actions are affecting him, Katsuki focuses instead on the fact that the vampire remains with his head down even after he's done, not loosening his hold.

If he thought Shouto was acting strange before, it's nothing compared to now.

With a quick glance, Katsuki notices that the drunk men who'd been bothering them disappeared sometime during their little display, and most of the curious eyes have turned away. The few who haven't divert their attention immediately when Katsuki fixes them with a menacing glare.

He and Shouto might be looking for the spotlight most of the time, but they could use some fucking privacy for once.

"Shouto?" Katsuki asks. He relaxes his grip on Shouto's hair, pulling on it lightly to force the vampire to look up.

He expected to see a lot of things - Shouto trying to hold himself back, hunger, maybe a battle of instincts - but Katsuki certainly did not expect Shouto to be on the verge of fucking tears, the watery shimmer in his eyes noticeable even in the distance.

"The hell is wrong with you?"

Shouto still has a bit of red staining his lips when he disentangles himself from him, posture stiffer than it'd been during the whole night. His mouth is set into a thin line - he looks equally distraught and angry, and Katsuki has no idea what triggered that sort of reaction.

"Let's go," Shouto says. It's not a question.

Katsuki opens his mouth to protest, but closes it as an afterthought. Whatever's got Shouto like this doesn't seem like something that should be discussed in the middle of a crowd, so while he hasn't given up on getting an explanation, Katsuki keeps quiet as he follows Shouto out of the club.

There's still people gathered at the entrance, waiting to be let inside; Shouto walks past them without looking, pulling Katsuki along by his hand.

"Oi, slow down, damn it."

Shouto does, until they're walking side by side on the darkened streets. The vampire's hand seems warmer than usual in Katsuki's grip, the strength he's applying to Katsuki's fingers close to uncomfortable, and yet Shouto remains silent until they've covered a few blocks, when he suddenly pulls Katsuki into an alley.

"What-" the werewolf cuts himself off, the pulse of adrenaline from the sudden movement fading when he realizes there's no one attacking them. Shouto's expression is still grim, but nothing about his stance indicates they're in danger. "Are you going to explain what the fuck just happened at the club?" Katsuki asks.

"Keep your voice down." Shouto pushes him against the wall - he's surprisingly gentle, considering how he was shaking with anger a mere ten minutes ago - and rests his hands on the werewolf's waist, head tucked into his neck. Katsuki is painfully aware of how close they are, the ghost feeling of Shouto's fangs still lingering on the back of his mind.

He scowls at himself; he does not want to deal with these confusing thoughts right now. Trying to clear his head, Katsuki hugs Shouto back - for anyone who happens to be passing by, they'll look like nothing more than couple taking advantage of the dim light for some privacy.

They stand in silence for a moment, and then Shouto lets out a shuddering breath that tickles Katsuki's skin.

"When I was a kid, my father picked me as successor to his rule," he starts. "He told me I needed to become strong, better than our enemy. That vampires couldn't succumb to instincts - we were above that."

Katsuki resists the urge to scoff. The air between them has shifted, heavy with something that has been building since that moment at the club; it feels unwise, even for him, to interrupt Shouto's story.

"Did you notice I never drink fresh blood?"

Katsuki's eyes narrow at the question. He had, indeed, only ever seen Shouto drink blood from hospital blood bags, the same place the drink he ordered at the Bloody Claws came from. Katsuki had assumed it was a matter of occasion, though - since they had to pretend to be dating, Shouto couldn't possibly be seen biting other people in public.

From the way Shouto's fingers tighten on his waist, Katsuki knows this is not the explanation he's about to hear.

"It only takes a few days without drinking blood for instinct to take over. When it reached that stage, my father put me in a room with someone he'd paid to be a human blood source."

Katsuki's scowl deepens at the mention of the old practice his mom and Hiyuri were still working hard to try to eradicate. He shouldn't have been surprised to hear that Enji had taken part in that, even if not publicly.

What Shouto is saying, though, sounds like something much worse, and it takes Katsuki everything he has not to blow up in anger at someone who's dead already. Instead, he struggles to focus on the vampire, whose breath sounds shaky so close to Katsuki's ear.

Shouto raises his head, and even in the weak light of the alley Katsuki can see the disgust on his face. Whether it's directed at himself or his father, he doesn't know - perhaps both.

"He never allowed me to finish anyone off, of course. But I was so thirsty that I wanted to." His nails dig into Katsuki's side and the werewolf winces; it seems to alert Shouto to what he's doing, because he immediately loosens his hold. "I wanted to kill people. I would've sucked them dry if given the chance."

He's shaking again, hair falling forward to shadow his eyes. Katsuki wonders how many people know about this - how many people have seen Shouto like this.

Something tells him that it's not that many.

"My own mother was afraid of me when I was like that. She wouldn't go near me for days," Shouto continues. "Maybe that was for the best - nothing's to say I wouldn't have tried to attack her, too. Or my siblings."

He takes another deep breath, tremors slowly subsiding.

"I learned to control the bloodlust eventually. I'd ignore the thirst and stop before taking too much, but it took time until I could control myself enough to do that. And when the old man died, I swore to myself I'd never drink from anyone else again."

Shouto's words hang in the night air, meaning implicit behind them, and it's like Katsuki's been punched in the gut.

"And tonight, you did," he states.

"Tonight, I did." Shouto takes a step back, letting his hands fall to his sides. He seems mostly back to normal. "I apologize for my reaction earlier. Everything was-" he grimaces, "-unexpected."

Silence falls between them. Katsuki wants to scream - at Shouto, for looking at him like he hasn't just dropped a bomb of knowledge in Katsuki's lap; at his late father, for being a worthless piece of shit; at those drunk guys from the club, for starting all this mess.

"I won't ask you to do that again," he says instead. The look on Shouto's face tells him he doesn't have to elaborate - he knows exactly what Katsuki meant.

"We didn't have a choice tonight. I had to-"

"If it comes to it again, we'll find another way," Katsuki says matter-of-factly. He averts his eyes, feeling suddenly exposed under Shouto's gaze, even though he's not the one who's just shared his entire past. There's a feeling he can't quite place - not guilt, because he'd had no way of knowing what the events at the club would cause, but a sense of responsibility nonetheless, twisting inside him and making his emotions swirl in chaos.

Something that seems to be happening a lot recently, and Katsuki isn't sure he wants to understand what it means.

He's startled out of his thoughts by a cold touch on his cheek. Shouto is careful yet certain, fingertips sliding over Katsuki's skin, his movements slow as if Katsuki could bolt at any second.

A quick glance at the street tells him that there's no one around, and yet when Shouto inches closer, Katsuki's eyes fall to his lips, the memory of the many kisses they've shared ingrained in his mind. Except this time there's no one to put on an act for, and no reason for him to want to feel those lips on his again.

Still, he does.

He does, with an intensity that scares him but not enough to keep him from leaning forward. Now that he's met Shouto's gaze again, he can't seem to look away - the confusion and desire in them are like a reflection of his own. His hands move of their own volition, finding their way through red and white strands and settling on the back of Shouto's head.

Shouto's lips are a hair's breadth away when a scream tears through the air and is cut off abruptly.

Both Katsuki and Shouto turn toward the sound. There are no words exchanged as they take off running back the way they'd come, whatever had been about to happen between them pushed aside in favor of finding the source of the scream.

It doesn't take long. The fight is happening in the middle of the street, in plain view of anyone in the surroundings. Looking closer, Katsuki can't even call it a fight; the boy that's lying unconscious on the ground looks no older than sixteen, his childish face worryingly pale when Katsuki pulls the vampire that'd been holding him down off him.

Anger boils inside him as the vampire struggles in his hold. He's stronger than Katsuki expected; now that the element of surprise is gone, it takes everything Katsuki has to keep him contained, digging his claws into the vampire's arm and scowling at the blood that drips between his fingers.

Beside him, Shouto kneels next to the werewolf boy, movements swift as he presses a finger to check his pulse.

"He's alive," he mutters.

Katsuki exhales in relief, but it is short-lived, as moments later the vampire manages to twist out of his hold and Katsuki has to throw himself forward to keep him from running away.

"Take him to Yagi's clinic!" Katsuki screams in between growls. Shouto is fast, probably even faster now that he's just had Katsuki's blood - if he runs, he might be able to save the boy.

Katsuki can only hope Shouto knows the address of the doctor, because he doesn't exactly have time to be giving out that information, not when his limbs are burning as he wills his transformation to come and the vampire beneath him is trying his best to sink his fangs into his neck.

"I'll only let one vampire drink my blood, fucker," Katsuki says. The end of his sentence is nothing more than a roar as his body fully turns to that of a wolf. "And it's not you."

The fight lasts longer than Katsuki would've liked. By the time other patrollers arrive, however, the vampire is starting to show signs of giving up, and with the added strength of the newcomers it only takes a few more minutes to subdue him.

Shouto is nowhere in sight, nor is the werewolf boy. As Katsuki watches the vampire being led away, a familiar voice comes from his left; he tilts his head, huffing at the sight of Eijirou's spiky red hair in stark contrast against his patrolling gear.

"Tough guy, huh?"

Katsuki growls. If the vampire hadn't had the werewolf's fresh blood in him, giving him an advantage, Katsuki would've ended him in a second.

"You still got him, man, don't go growling at me. Nothing manlier than winning a fight against a strong opponent." Eijirou's eyes run over Katsuki's wolf form, then at what's left of his torn clothes on the ground. "Should've thought twice about fully transforming if you didn't bring any spares."

Katsuki growls again, and Eijirou sighs.

"I think Denki had something with him. I'll get it for you, we need a full report so we can pass the details to your mom and you turning up butt naked on the street isn't gonna help with all the attention we're already getting."

At this, Katsuki finally stops to look at their surroundings. He mentally curses when he sees vampire patrollers dealing with a bunch of humans in varying degrees of panic; with the help of what Katsuki assumes are their werewolf patrolling partners, they try to keep the ruckus to a minimum as they alter everyone's memories.

Luckily, by dawn, they'll only vaguely remember a dog fight that happened during the night, but it's still a mess that's going to take hours of work to cover up.

Eijirou comes back after a few minutes, handing out some pants and a shirt that Katsuki takes carefully in his mouth. He quickly steps into the nearest alley to go back into his human form and change, stepping barefoot onto the street and pulling angrily at the edges of Denki's too-short clothes.

"Denki says that if you complain, he'll let you walk home naked next time," Kirishima says when Katsuki opens his mouth.

"Fuck your boyfriend."

"I intend to, as soon as we get home tonight."

"Fuck you." Sometimes, Katsuki wonders how Eijirou even became his best friend. Now, however, he leaves that mystery aside in order to narrate the events of the night, conveniently omitting the real reason why he and Shouto had been in that alley in the first place.

"Can you pass that report to my mother?" Katsuki asks as soon as he'd done talking. "I need to make a call."

Eijirou opens his mouth, but whatever he's about to say dies down when he sees Katsuki's expression. He simply nods, walking away and pulling his phone out of his pocket to contact Mitsuki.

Katsuki kneels down next to the shreds of his clothes, searching the inside pockets of his jacket. He lets out a sigh of relief when his fingers meet his phone - the screen is cracked, but it still lights up when Katsuki picks it up and scrolls through the list of contacts until he finds the number he wants.

Shouto picks up on the second ring.

"Are you okay?" he asks before Katsuki has a chance to say anything.

"Of course I'm okay." Katsuki answers. He decides not to dwell on the worry that'd painted Shouto's voice. "Did you… did you make it to the clinic?"

Did he make it? is what he's really asking, and they both know it.

"Yagi is giving him a blood transfusion as we speak." From the other end of the line, Katsuki hears the sound of a car passing by - Shouto must be outside the clinic. "He is weak, but he'll live."

Katsuki's body relaxes, tension he'd been unaware of leaving his shoulders. Yagi Toshinori had been working side by side with both vampires and werewolves for years, his clinic a sanctuary for them when it was too risky to go to a normal hospital. If Shouto had gotten the boy there in time, and Toshinori had said he'd live - well, Katsuki was glad they wouldn't have another death on their hands.

"Good," he says. He turns his back to the chaos in front of him, walking until he's hidden by a building, and only then does he let himself fall against the wall.



"About what happened before-"

"Stop." Katsuki closes his eyes, exhaustion wearing down his bones. "Can we not talk about that now?"

He's not even sure what there is totalk about - what that even was.

"Okay." Shouto's voice sounds almost as relieved as Katsuki feels. "I'll go back inside."

"You'll wait until the boy wakes up?" Katsuki asks, but he doesn't wait for the answer he knows Shouto will give. "Let me know when he does."

"I will."

For a moment, neither of them say anything, but they don't hang up, either. Katsuki takes a deep breath, hearing Shouto's mirror him on the other end of the line.

Then he ends the call.