Chapter Nine: Mama's Boy
I ended up leaving boxing practice early, but I promised Onii-san that I would come to the next one and give it my all. I got home a little bit before mama's shift was finished, so I had the house to myself for a little while. Fortunately, that meant I had time to think though some things. I slipped off my shoes and made my way up to my room. I dropped my bookbag by the small table I used for homework and flopped into my bed. I was still feeling rough and craving blood so I was going to try and catch a nap until mama got home.
I owed my mother an apology. I knew she was uncomfortable with the idea of me hunting, but I pushed her anyways. If I was being honest, I was a little uncomfortable too. I hadn't even been able to talk to Hibari-sempai about it with a straight face. What I really wanted to learn was compulsion, so I could clean up my own messes if I ever slipped up at school. That had never been a concern before, I had always felt in control of my cravings before this year. Something had changed, and I wasn't sure if it was something within me or if it had to do with my environment. Maybe it was just the new school, or the number of students I was interacting with. Either way, I was taking risks that I shouldn't be. If rumors ever started spreading it wouldn't take long for the church to start sending out sentinels to scope us out.
Sentinels were vampire hunters in training. Members of the church that had been made aware of the existence of vampires and tasked with reporting any sightings to the church. It was rare that one would try and engage a vampire, but they were still armed to the teeth with everything they needed to kill one. If a sentinel caught wind of a vampire though, a real hunter was sure to follow. Mama said that the church had been recruiting in larger numbers the past few years as well, so there were a lot of sentinels to spare. In a few more years the rookie recruits that survived would graduate and become certified hunters. Times were getting tough for unaffiliated vampires like mama and I. There were not a lot of covens out there that would consider taking on a stray vampire and her half-blood son though. So, we had no option but to stay aware and on the move.
Once, when I was eight, mama had petitioned a small coven about allowing us to join, but the meeting hadn't gone over well. After rejecting her request, the coven had tipped off the local convent about our existence. This kind of alliance was not uncommon amongst churches and covens. So long as the coven offered up the strays, the church would offer the coven immunity. A hunter had been on our trail the next day. Not only did we have to run and leave everything behind; that time mama had to erase our entire existence, too. It was the first time we had taken on new last names. I don't know how mama managed to outrun the hunter and keep us alive, but I never wanted her to have to do that again. Eventually I dozed off while contemplating my life decisions throughout the day, guilt a heavy weight on my chest. I hadn't meant for things to get so out of hand.
The sound of the front door closing woke me up from my nap. I glanced at the clock on my nightstand, it was just after five. I rolled out of bed and made my way down the stairs.
"Mama?" I called. She answered me from the kitchen.
"In here, Tsu-chan!" she said. I rounded the corner and frowned softly when I saw her. She looked tired, which was highly unusual for her.
"Mama, are you okay?" I asked her. She walked over and pulled me into a hug.
"Oh, baby. I'm sorry. I haven't been very good to you the past couple days." She said. I was quick to wrap my arms around her too.
"I should be apologising to you." I said miserably. I hadn't meant to upset her this much.
"No. This was me over-reacting. All you did was ask a question I wasn't ready to hear, and I didn't handle it very well. I should have sat down with you and had a discussion." She said, and pulled back, her hands on my shoulders. She looked over me and clicked her tongue. "Look at you, I've even been neglecting you. Its clearly been too long since you have had any blood. I guess we lost track of time with the move." She said.
"Ah, yeah. I'm pretty thirsty, but it hasn't been that long since my last blood bag. I think its just because I'm around so many new people that I'm thirsty again already." I said. Mama hummed non-comically and walked over to grab her bag. She pulled out her "lunch kit" and passed it to me.
"Well, either way, I brought you home a bag of AB." She said. I took the kit from her and pulled out the bag. It was cold, as usual, but the temperature had never really bothered me. Mama said she couldn't stand it cold, but to each their own right?
"Thank you, mom!" I said, genuinely relived. My fangs were already elongating, so the words came out a little lisped. I unravelled the cord from around the bag and punctured it with my fangs. Whoever donated this blood had a seriously tropical vibe going on. The first time I drank after my fangs grew in, I didn't use the straw at all. I just punctured the bag and tried to drink like that, because of course I wanted to bite something. It was a huge mistake; I ruined my favorite shirt. It was funny to try once, but I have used the straw ever since. Biting the bag just wasn't worth the mess or the wasted food.
"I think we should sit down and have that talk, Tsu-chan. If that is okay?" said mama. I nodded my head and sat at the table.
"Yeah, that's a good idea. About what I said, I don't want to learn how to hunt. I just want to start learning compulsion." I said. Mama frowned, but nodded her head and sat across from me.
"I see, and why do you want to start learning that now?" she asked me. I could feel my ears blushing as I tried to answer her. This was an uncomfortable conversation to be having with my mother. I wondered if it would have been easier to talk about this with my father but decided it wouldn't have been. Especially because he was human.
"Lately I've been having some trouble focusing at school. Especially when I'm hungry. I'm worried that I might show someone my fangs, or that my eyes will change colour. I just want a way to make sure the other kids will forget what they saw." I explained, thinking back on what happened during boxing practice and with Hibari-sempai when I thought he was going to kill me.
"Haha! I see, so my little Tsu-chan is going into puberty, huh?" she said, amused.
"Ehh! Mom!" I screeched, absolutely mortified.
"Uggh, my baby is growing up. I'm getting old." Mama groaned dramatically.
"I can't believe you are doing this right now." I whined. I was already embarrassed, and she was laying it on a little thick. Vampires didn't even get old.
"Alright, alright. I'll be serious, and I seriously think this is a bad idea. Being able to compel people is a huge responsibility. Having that kind of control over people can feel really good but be used in very bad ways. I'm not sure if you are old enough to handle that kind of power yet. Do you understand? Besides, if you accidentally flash your fangs, people might not even notice. If they do, you just tell me straight away and I'll sort it out." She said. I nodded my head but couldn't help being disappointed. Did she really not trust me?
"Okay, but how am I going to explain it if my eyes change colour?" I asked.
"Tsu-chan, my eyes turn red when I haven't eaten in too long, but that only happens to full bloods. Haven't I ever told you that?" she said. I frowned and furrowed my eyebrows together in confusion. That didn't make sense, because Hibari-sempai said my eyes did change colour. Could it have been a trick of the light?
"Oh, I see. Maybe you did, I just forgot?" I said.
"Hmm, do you feel less worried now?" asked mama. I nodded my head.
"I guess so, but when will I be old enough to learn." I asked. Mama thought it over for a bit.
"How about when you graduate from middle school?" she offered. "We can take a little trip, and I'll teach you over the summer holidays. Then you will be prepared before you start high school." She said. I was quick to agree, it was likely the best offer I was going to get. I wondered if I would still be living in Namimori when that time came, or if our little trip would be a permanent one. "Okay, well, if that is all settled, then I need to take a shower and you have homework." Said mama. She stood up from the table and ran a hand through my hair affectionately. "You're a good kid, Tsu-chan. Try not to worry about the future so much." She said and made her way to the bathroom. I sighed and finished off my blood bag slowly. How could I not worry? Should I have told her about Hibari-sempai? Speaking of him, I needed to talk to Hibari-sempai again. I needed to confirm that my eyes had really changed colour. One thing was really bothering me though, why orange and not red? For now, I guess the only thing I should worry about is playing catch up in Nezu-sensei's class.