Disclaimer: not mine
So, no one really had suggestions for bridging the gap, therefore there's a time skip.
Kairi couldn't believe they'd done it; they were far away from the war now and could live in peace. The three of them had drained their accounts before leaving, Kairi had taken the funds set aside for university too, not like her parents would miss it. The money had enabled them to buy a small house together and to live without working for a while, until they could all find jobs. With how skittish Riku was, his agreeing to live together was a miracle. Though, he'd chosen to live in the basement which worried her, but Sora said it'd be okay. And it seemed to make Riku happy to be down there so she wouldn't say anything. She didn't know it was so he could have what he needed to keep blood packs on hand and that neither boy was planning on telling her.
It was weird, not having any contact at all with her parents, even if they did ignore her existence a lot of the time, but they couldn't let themselves be tracked down. She knew Riku had no one to contact back home, but Sora? His Mum was still around, she was sure of it, and didn't he have an older half-brother? And yet he never mentioned them, had they left as well? They'd all heard about the laws that had been brought in to make sure no one left to escape the draft, they'd be tried for treason and executed. So, they were living their lives in exile basically, but on the opposite side of the world no one cared about their war. Even if anyone knew where they came from, they wouldn't tell on them.
Sora ducked out of sight, watching silently as the two men cornered another in the alley. Could they be any more obvious? He shook his head; the ones back home at least had some idea of stealth. He checked his weapons and then stepped off the fire escape, dropping down as easily as if stepping off the curb. It was over in seconds, their dazed victim ushered onto brighter streets and Sora moved on.
He paused when he saw a flash of familiar silver hair, Riku? He knew Riku hunted, it was impossible not to, but he'd never actually caught him at it. He hesitated but then turned away, Riku would never hurt an innocent so there was no reason to tail him…and yet he found himself doing it. Riku moved ever deeper into the seedier underside of the city, looking the wide-eyed teen who'd strayed too far from home, and Sora wondered if that was how it'd happened, wishing he'd been there to spare Riku his fate.
He saw the guys who looked Riku over before moving to herd him into an alley and then swore as he saw the ones following them. Had Riku wandered into claimed hunting grounds without realising? He was not letting them kill him, that was certain. So, he moved to cut them off before Riku noticed any of them but the idiot gang members. Against them, he trusted Riku to be able to handle himself and get a meal. Against five vampires with at least three centuries between them? Out of his league but not Sora's.
Riku wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, making sure there was no sign of blood. He glanced around, but the others had run off. He looked at the body, feeling guilty but the man had been out to do things to him that made him feel sick to consider. The world was better off without him in it and it wasn't like he had a choice, he couldn't 'live' off bagged blood. It was harder, living with Sora and Kairi although Sora seemed to roam at night too, insomnia sucked apparently. He worried about him, but he couldn't just follow him around when he needed to go places Sora never would in order to feed. It was harder hiding things from Kairi but the thought of her finding out…
He slipped out of the alley and back onto the streets but then hesitantly went down another, glancing around. It felt like…he knelt, running a finger through a grease spot except that wasn't grease…blood so dark it almost looked black since it didn't flow…vampire blood. He swallowed and left the area, quickly. He hadn't run into another vampire since he was six months old, he'd been very lucky the woman hadn't felt like a fight, she'd even given him a few tips before leaving. Solitary baby vampires didn't tend to make it long on their own, he'd been lucky so far, but how long would that luck hold?
Kairi knocked on the basement door softly, in case Riku was sleeping in. After a moment it opened to reveal a shirtless Riku and she swallowed, wow…muscles…pale skin…eyes up! She saw a flicker of confusion in his eyes when she met them. "Sorry, didn't mean to wake you," she offered, but he shook his head.
Riku hesitated but then stepped back, surprising her, but she slipped inside, seeing how he'd set up a mini apartment basically. She wished he felt comfortable being upstairs with them but it had taken a lot of effort to get him to agree to share the house at all. She sat on the edge of the bed as he grabbed a shirt and yanked it on. He motioned at the small fridge and she shook her head. He cocked his head to the side, questioning, hair falling forward, and he pushed it back.
"You've become a hermit down here, I missed you," she admitted, seeing his surprise. It hurt, for him, how surprising he could find it that someone missed him. She held her hand out in offering and he reached for it, his skin as cold as ever. "The house is for all of us, you don't have to stay down here all the time. Sora babbles but he won't make you talk if you don't want to."
Riku nodded slowly. "Sorry," he whispered, letting her tug him down beside her.
Slowly, she reached out with her other hand, touching his cheek, letting her hand rest there. He tensed but then slowly he leant into her touch, watching her carefully. She smiled at him; happy he was accepting the touch. She'd decided she wanted to try and help him get used to being touched, he didn't deserve to be so cut off. She assumed that he thought no one would want to touch him because he was colder than normal.
"Riku, do you have a doctor or anything? For whatever your needs are? I don't want you to get sick, I know Sora doesn't either."
He blinked, seeming confused.
"You don't see someone? I guess I just assumed, since whatever you were sick with left such changes… as long as you're okay?"
"I am. There's nothing…" he shook his head.
"Okay. It doesn't bother me, doubt it will bother Sora either. People need physical contact for mental health. Besides, you'll be great to have round in summer," she teased, surprising a soft laugh from him. Would it be too much to offer to hug him?
She could tell he didn't believe her so she turned sideways, leaning right into his space, watching his eyes go wide. "It's okay," she murmured, and then she slowly slid her arms around him, feeling him tense. She stayed still and ever so slowly, one of his arms lifted to wrap loosely around her waist.
Riku struggled not to freeze up, to panic, as Kairi hugged him. He almost felt faint which was ridiculous. He managed to move, to loosely wrap one arm around her in return. So close her scent was overwhelming, the sound of her heart… before he realised what he'd done, he'd lowered his head, pressing his nose to the top of her head, breathing in deeply. She tipped her head back and he stared into soft blue eyes, there was no disgust or fear, nothing that said she was bothered by the chill of his body. "Kairi…"
What was he doing? He leant in and she didn't pull away, their lips brushing softly.
Sora stood silently in the doorway, watching them. Seeing Riku kiss her…he was so happy for them. He felt horrible watching, but Riku was young and it was better to be safe than sorry. Riku would never forgive himself if he hurt her, so Sora was there as insurance. It would mean outing himself, but that was allowable to save a human. It would make things easier if they all knew about each other, but he didn't want it to come out that way.
He could tell Riku was drawn to her but was fighting his instincts, it was Riku, not just the vampire in him that wanted her. He had to be honest with himself, watching them as Riku stroked her hair back and she smiled up at him, he…he loved them both. But neither saw him that way and it was perfectly fine, as long as they were happy then he was happy. Besides, not like his family was known for happy relationships, not with their 'work'. He didn't even know where his Mum was now, but Cloud had called a few nights back, he was doing well, and was even attempting to date. Sora liked what he'd heard of Leon, he sounded good for Cloud.
When Riku pulled away and Kairi nodded knowingly, standing, he retreated to his bedroom and his book.
Riku took a deep breath and then stepped through the door to the basement stairs, prepared for the house to be full of sunlight…but it wasn't. Gauzy curtains covered the windows, letting light in yes, but not the full extent. Sora was sprawled on the couch, the tv on low, but he looked up as if he'd heard the door…but he couldn't have.
He couldn't help giving a small smile in return when Sora grinned at him. He'd come upstairs, now what? Not like he needed to use the kitchen or anything… Sora waved at the couch and Riku hesitated but then moved to sit. The tv was on some silly show and it was easy to just kind of drift.
He blinked and looked over at Sora who was watching him, expression…soft. He tilted his head in response.
"I'm happy for you and Kairi," he murmured, and Riku froze. Sora reached across the pace between them, his hand brushing Riku's briefly. "Don't shut her out, Riku. She really cares about you and I know you like her too."
How…had he seen at the hospital or since? He searched blue eyes, his expression, listening to the steady beat of his heart…he meant it, he was happy for them. But Sora didn't know the truth, didn't know how dangerous it was. One slip, one second of letting instinct win…
And then Kairi was there, smiling and bouncing. "I got the job!"
Riku smiled at her as she rushed over to them, flopping down between them, putting her hand out to him, leaving it up to him if they touched. She was so considerate like that. He slid his hand into hers, marvelling once again at how she just accepted the coldness of his skin, enjoying the warmth of hers.
"Sooo…when do you start?" Sora asked, leaning over, eyes bright with happiness and curiosity.
Riku listened happily as they talked, now and then squeezing her hand for attention. She was so good at reading what he wanted to say without words now.
Sora was starting to regret bringing Kairi and Riku with him, he wasn't the only hunter now stationed in the city…but there were also a lot more vampires. Too many to be safe for an unaffiliated young vampire. He'd reached out last night, but there would be no offer of a new posting, not to keep Riku safe. It made him angry, Riku wasn't a threat to anyone, he didn't deserve to be in danger. At least Kairi's job was daylight only so she was safe enough when out alone.
He leapt across the gap between buildings, tracking a group of younger vampires, very young. It was odd they were out without supervision and worrying. Such young vampires, in a group while hunting, could easily get out of control, start a blood bath. He just hated having to go after the young ones, a reminder of when Riku…but Riku had kept control, could these?
Riku played with the half empty cup but then sighed and downed the rest of the contents. Living with Kairi and Sora made him miss being human, being alive, even more than he had while at school. He could smell the food they cooked and ate, could remember what it was like to chew his food, to fill his stomach with a good meal…it hurt. He'd never wanted this, he wanted so badly to still be alive, but there was no way for it to ever happen. There was no magic in the world that could restore a vampire to life.
He quickly washed his cup and then showered, getting dressed and glad it was winter so he could cover up and the sun was weaker. He left the empty house and headed for the library, slipping inside, smiling as he spotted Kairi at the desk. He could do this. He waited until there weren't many people and then approached the desk.
Kairi looked up and her eyes widened even as her smile warmed from professional to something all for him. "Riku, what are you doing here?"
He motioned that he could go and she reached for his hand. He took hers, just holding it. Riku took a deep breath. "Would you like to go to the movies with me?" he asked softly.
Kairi leant over the counter and he shifted closer, smiling when her lips brushed his. "I'd like that very much, Riku. I finish at four thirty."
He nodded and retreated. He had a date!
Kairi lay on her bed, staring up at the ceiling, smiling softly. They'd gone on a date! It had been so nice to sit together in the theatre and just escape the world for a while. Riku had even been okay with wrapping his arm around her, letting her lean against him. It had been wonderful and she hoped they'd go on another date soon, but only if Riku felt comfortable. She would never push him; he was better but he could still be skittish. Still, he was coming upstairs more often and he'd even come to see her at work, he trusted them.
She knew Sora was so happy to have his best friend back, even if he was different to the boy he'd been. It was obvious in the way his eyes would light up whenever Riku joined him, or the few times he'd actually spoken to Sora. Sora was almost as good as she was at reading Riku.
Sora smiled as Kairi walked into the living room. "Very pretty," he told her. Pretty…she was beautiful. And then Riku appeared and she smiled brightly at him, Riku smiling back. Sora buried his own longing deep, not wanting Riku to sense anything. "You both look great," he grinned at them.
"Thanks," Kairi moved in and kissed his cheek. "Don't wait up," she teased playfully, and Sora knew Riku would be blushing if he could, letting Kairi lead him from the house.
For their second official date they were going dancing, skipping dinner to avoid Kairi noticing Riku couldn't eat. How long could he keep that from her?
"Have fun! Don't do anything I wouldn't," he called as they left.
The door shut and he headed to change for the night, just because they were going to have fun didn't mean he got the night off. But he'd make sure to check on where they were, just to be safe. Riku could protect her from almost anything, except his own kind after all.
Riku smiled and held the door for Kairi as they left the club, enjoying the feeling of their arms linked together as they headed down the street. Everything was going so wonderfully, but he knew it couldn't last. Sooner or later, she'd begin asking questions, like why he never ate, but until then he would enjoy the peace of being happy.
They were maybe halfway home when something caught his attention, senses picking up…he mentally swore as he recognised the scent. Running would make it worse, they'd definitely lock onto them then. It was possible they hadn't picked up on his presence yet so he just had to keep calm.
"Riku?" Kairi murmured, obviously picking up on his sudden tension.
He shook his head, and began walking a little quicker, making sure they stuck to the well-lit streets, surely, they wouldn't attack if there was a risk of being seen. But…there weren't a lot of people around either.
There were only closed businesses around them at the moment, a few stragglers…why had they stayed out so late? And then he yanked Kairi back as a man appeared in front of them, hearing her gasp in shock.
"Well, well, what do we have here?"
Riku pulled Kairi behind himself, baring fangs at the other vampire.
Sora sighed when he realised, they had already left the club, taking to the rooftops to stay out of sight as he followed their most likely route home…and then he broke into a panicked run, leaping gaps he'd usually avoid, pushing himself faster and faster. Not this time! He'd failed to save Riku once, he was not failing them both, not again!
He saw Kairi's bag on the ground and stopped, closing his eyes, reaching out…there!
Kairi was terrified, backing away from the man, glancing at Riku, seeing him struggling against the two holding him. "Leave us alone!"
The man smirked at her and then moved, pinning her to the bricks. "You don't even know, do you girl?"
"What are you talking about?" she snapped at him, struggling to get away. She brought her leg up, hitting him right where it hurt, but he barely flinched.
"Feisty," he laughed at her, and she spat in his face.
"Kairi!" Riku screamed her name, the sound of fighting coming from where he was.
"Say goodbye," the man crooned, grasping her face in his hand, too strong for her to break his hold.
"No…please, don't. Kairi close your eyes!" Riku pleaded.
She didn't understand but she closed them, struggling as hard as she could against the stranger.
That got a chuckle. "Kairi, that's a pretty name," the man purred in her ear, stroking her face. He was so cold… "Open your eyes for me Kairi." he caressed her throat and she shivered, whimpering in terror. Cold lips pressed to hers and she kicked out again and again, trying to push him away.
She didn't mean to but her eyes opened, finding herself staring into cold eyes…unable to look away.
"No! Kairi!" Riku screamed but he sounded so far away.
Everything was fading away.
"No! Kairi!" Riku screamed, able to see Kairi staring into his eyes, saw as she fell under his power, face blank, eyes vacant. "Let her go!"
"Oh no, I think I might keep such a pretty thing, at least for a while." He stepped back and turned to face Riku, Kairi standing utterly still behind him, staring into space.
"No," Riku pleaded, sagging between the two holding him. He wasn't strong enough to protect her.
What would Sora do when they never came home? The older vampire wanted to keep Kairi but Riku knew they were going to destroy him. He looked at Kairi, refusing to stare at his own coming death. He hoped she was truly unaware, that she wouldn't see what was about to happen.
Even if he could get free of the two holding him, he could see the others milling about, he was too outnumbered. There was nothing…
A choked off noise had him opening his eyes, staring in shock as the male collapsed, something metal lodged in his chest. He fell forward, body already beginning to break down. And then a hooded figure landed in a crouch where he'd been before standing up, features hidden. A quick movement, a noise of pain, and then Riku found one arm free, reacting instinctively to the lessened hold, fighting against the single vampire now holding him, nails sharpened to claws, sinking into a pale face before he wrenched free.
"Run!" the figure yelled at him, and Riku froze, eyes wide.
He…he knew that voice…
"Get Kairi out of here!" it couldn't be…the figure moved, catching a clawed hand that had been aimed at Riku's back, snapping the limb, kicking the owner back. "Go Riku!"
He shook of his shock and rushed to Kairi's side, seeing the still vacant look in her eyes. He scooped her up into his arms and ran.
Sora perched on the rail; hands clenched as he saw Riku look at Kairi rather than his approaching death. He hadn't been quick enough to stop the bastard from putting Kairi under but he was there in time to save their lives. As the vampire approached Riku, he fired, leaping down as the shot took the vampire right through the heart. He landed in a crouch, easily taking the impact, hood of his jacket up to conceal his face. He fired again, this time aiming at one of the vampires restraining Riku, relieved when he snapped out of his shock enough to attack the remaining one, letting Sora fire at the rushing vampire off to the side.
Riku wrenched himself free, backing away, eyes wide, glancing between him and Kairi's unmoving form.
"Run!" Sora yelled at him, seeing Riku freeze, wide eyes staring at him. He'd known that as soon as he spoke Riku would likely recognise him. "Get Kairi out of here!" Sora moved, getting behind Riku, catching the clawed hand that had been aimed at Riku's back, snapping the limb, kicking the owner back. "Go Riku!"
Finally, Riku moved, running to Kairi and picking her up. Good. As soon as they were clear Sora cut loose. He hissed in pain when a lucky blow cut through his jacket and into his skin but spun around and buried a dagger in the vampires' unbeating heart. It didn't take too long to clear them out, the one who had attacked Kairi had been the oldest, most experienced.
As soon as it was over, Sora rushed home. Riku's instincts would be to take Kairi somewhere safe, the closest he had to a den, and that would be the basement.
Riku blinked slowly, finding he was on his bed, Kairi still held tight to his chest. He didn't remember the rush back to the house or locking his room, but apparently, he had. He looked down, taking in Kairi's empty face and eyes. He ran his fingers through her hair, rocking her gently. He didn't know what to do, how to snap her out of it. He'd come back on instinct, but they should leave, Sora… he shuddered.
Sora knew, he'd…he'd probably always known. There'd been clues but Riku had just brushed them off. So why? Why hadn't he destroyed him? Did he think Riku had connections to others, that he could find them through Riku?
He tensed as he heard the sound of a key in the door, only one other had keys. He was back… he moved, staring at the stairs, Kairi behind him, growling softly.
Light footsteps sounded on the stairs and then he was there, slowly pushing his hood back to reveal it really was Sora. He growled, nails once again claws, fangs down. Sora stopped and held his hands up, showing they were empty.
"sy, Riku. It's okay, you're safe," Sora's voice slowly filtered through as he stayed still at the base of the stairs. "I won't hurt you, I could never… you're my best friend, you always have been."
His growling slowly tapered off even as he stared at Sora, Sora who met his eyes without hesitation.
"Riku, you with me?" Sora asked softly, and he jerked his head in a slight nod. He was shaking slightly and he couldn't stop. "It's okay," Sora murmured.
Riku watched as he slowly slid his jacket off, revealing weapons, and Riku tensed again. Sora held his hands up again, and then slowly began removing them, piling them on his jacket on the floor.
"Can I come and check on Kairi?" Sora asked once he was done.
Riku snarled in response, unable to help it.
"Okay, I'll stay over here." He moved to the side, further from the pile, and then slowly sat down, legs crossed.
"Www…y?" Riku forced the question out.
"I've known since the first day you came back to school," Sora admitted softly. "I wanted to tell you Riku, to help you, but I literally couldn't. I tried leaving hints, that I wasn't normal, but you just brushed them off. I hated seeing you so isolated but I knew you wouldn't let me close. When you started letting Kairi in, I was so happy. The day the library…I was terrified that I might lose you both."
Riku listened, unable to help it. Sora really had known…how stupid was he, it was so obvious, but Sora was right, he'd brushed off all of the clues. He didn't know what to think, what to do. The way Sora had moved…was he human? He didn't even realise he was whimpering softly until warm arms wrapped around him, drawing him close to an even warmer body, a familiar scent filling his nose.
A firm hand stroked down his back even as he was tucked closer, lips brushing over his throat. He shuddered and then went limp, unable to help it. All the tension and fear just drained away, leaving him feeling like he was floating, only vaguely aware of his body. Then warmth, swallowing…What…what was happen…his eyes fell shut, everything fading away.
When Riku started whimpering, Sora couldn't stay away, moving to wrap around him, holding him close. He hesitated but then ran his hand up and down Riku's spine, firmly but gently. He tucked Riku in against himself, brushing his lips over Riku's throat, feeling the scar there from his turning. He felt Riku go utterly limp, eyes barely open, and Sora carefully moved his wrist to Riku's mouth, glad his fangs were still down. Cutting himself on them was interesting, and then he let his blood drip in, Riku latching on sleepily. He shifted Riku carefully, seeing the vagueness in his eyes, eyes that slowly drifted shut, his fangs retracting, mouth going slack from where he'd been feeding.
Sora carefully lay Riku down on the bed and then pressed on his wrist, the wound already sealing. Riku seemed to know so much about himself that it could be easy to forget he'd had no one to look after him through his change, to teach him, comfort him like even the worst Sires did for a fledgling. Well, Sora knew and he might not be Riku's sire or a vampire, but he could help, could shift his energy enough to mimic it if Riku needed and he did right now. And a hunters' blood would help him recover from any injuries because he knew Riku wouldn't have gone down without a fight, not with Kairi there needing his protection.
Leaving him to sleep, he turned to where Kairi was sitting utterly still, staring vacantly into space. Seeing her like that, he felt sick. He assumed it wasn't her first brush with vampire mind powers, not when she claimed Riku had called in sick instead of meeting her at the library the day it was destroyed, but he also knew Riku would have kept it light, just enough to shift the memory of the day.
Sora tipped her head up a little, then side to side, examining her blank eyes. Usually, it would have worn off by now, especially with the bastard dead. There were ways to snap the control but he'd never had to do it before because it always wore off. "Kairi?" he called gently, stroking her cheek, but there was no reaction. He took her hand and carefully pinched her wrist, but no reaction even to the mild pain.
Such deep control…why? If he planned to feed then that wasn't necessary, or for turning…he felt sick, fumbling for his phone, hitting speed dial.
"Sora?" his brother immediately answered, obviously concerned, at least to Sora. Everyone thought Cloud was cold, but he wasn't. He just wasn't good at showing his emotions.
"I'm fine," he assured him before his brother could decide to come and check on him, abandoning his post. "It's…it's Kairi."
"What happened? Did Riku…"
"No! They were out on a date and got attacked. Riku's out cold, he was basically having a panic attack by the time I got home. They were using Kairi to torture him before killing him," Sora choked back a sob. "She…she won't snap out of it."
He knew Cloud didn't have anything against Riku, but he was young and slip ups happened. He hadn't spent a lot of time with his brother, there was nine years between them, he'd been training when not at school when Sora was little and then his first posting had been away from home just like Sora would have been posted away once he graduated. But that didn't mean they didn't love each other, and Sora had been hoping he'd be posted where Cloud was, at least for a little while.
"How long has it been?" his brother's question snapped him back to attention.
"Getting close to an hour? Bastard's dead, that should have woken her."
"Language," Cloud chided automatically, and Sora's lips twitched in a smile.
"You know the theory little brother."
"But I've never had to…what if I mess it up?"
"You won't, you know what to do and how to do it. Just take a few deep breaths," Cloud told him, voice calm and crisp even over the phone. "Do you want to keep the call connected?"
"Shouldn't," Sora answered. "She'll be confused."
"Alright, call me when you get the time."
Sora slowly hung up. He took a deep breath and then got up, going to where he'd stacked his gear, picking up a small but sharp blade. He went back to the bed and sat in front of Kairi. "You're going to be okay, Kairi." he took another breath and ran his finger over the blade, letting the blood well up before lifting his finger to her forehead, having to push her hair out of the way with his other hand.
Sora stared into empty eyes as he carefully draws the correct rune on her skin in his own blood. He waited for a few seconds, heart in his throat, and then watched in relief as the blood sank into her skin. He leant in and blew across her eyes. "Wake!"
She blinked slowly, everything hazy, so tired….
"Kairi? Kairi, can you hear me?" a voice called to her, so far…
"Mmmm," her tongue was thick, heavy.
Her eyelids were just as heavy, vague blurs…what was…where….
"Shh, it's okay Kairi…sleep now."
Warmth wrapped around her and she sank into it, awareness fading away.
Sora gently lowered Kairi onto the pillow as her breathing evened out into sleep. It had worked, she'd woken! She'd been very dazed and confused but she'd definitely reacted to his voice. His finger was already healed and he stood up, hesitating, but he needed to clean up.
He grabbed his gear and jacket, heading upstairs. He ran through his usual equipment checks, putting it all away, before stripping and getting into a shower as hot as he could stand it. He stood under the water, soaking, letting it hide his silent tears. He'd almost lost them both, so close… he took a shaky breath and washed up, drying before getting dressed in comfortable clothing.
Sora made his way through the house, triple checking the locks and security. He grabbed some food and headed back downstairs. They were both fast asleep on the bed, Riku's lips stained with blood, but he looked better. He'd been so pale, even for him, shocky and terrified. He pulled up the comfy armchair beside the bed and settled into it to keep watch. He didn't mean to fall asleep.
He woke slowly, feeling heavy…utterly relaxed in a way he couldn't remember ever feeling. Dragging his eyes open felt like it took forever, the world soft and hazy, gradually coming into focus. He blinked sleepily at the form sleeping in a chair…his chair…his room. He was at home but why did that…he gasped as the memories slammed into the front of his mind. Sora…Sora had killed…
"Riku? It's okay, you're safe, come back now," Sora's voice slowly reached him, and Riku blinked back to awareness, feeling warm hands encasing his own cold ones.
Riku blinked, staring at Sora, he looked so worried but was it real? Why hadn't he just let them kill Riku?
"Hey, stay with me," Sora murmured, squeezing his hands. "You're safe." One hand released his, moving to gently cup his cheek. "I could never hurt you and you've never done anything to be hunted. You don't hurt innocents; you only hunt those who deserve it."
"I don't understand," he whispered, so confused. And then he stiffened, moving to turn. "Kairi?"
"She's asleep behind you. Listen, you can hear her breathing, her heartbeat," Sora was keeping his voice quiet which was nice.
And yes…he could hear her. She was there, safe. Could he believe Sora that he was safe? He didn't know, but he wanted to. He found himself leaning into Sora's touch, trembling, and Sora moved forward, hugging him. And Riku found himself clinging to him, inhaling his familiar scent, nose pressed to his throat. Sora didn't even flinch, despite how close Riku's mouth was to his veins, and Riku moved enough to press his lips to warm skin, hearing and feeling the steady beat of Sora's heart, not speeding up, not even with the press of fangs. A hand moved to the back of his head, fingers gently running through his hair.
"It's okay, are you thirsty?" Sora murmured, and Riku tensed.
What?! He went to pull back, but Sora didn't let him, matching his strength.
"You won't hurt me, Riku. If you need it, then drink."
Riku's lips parted, letting his fangs rest against vulnerable flesh, torn. And then he moaned as rich, warm liquid filled his mouth, swallowing it down. So rich…he clutched Sora closer, wanting more. And all the while, the hand kept stroking his hair. Only a few mouthfuls and he felt full, fuller than he had since the first time he woke with fangs in his mouth and claws for nails. He pulled off, gently lapping at the skin, cleaning it. He felt safe, almost warm, almost…his last vague memory as his life was drained away, the growing feeling of connection with his Sire, before it'd been severed violently as he passed into death. But how could Sora feel like that?
"Feel better?" Sora asked, gently guiding his head up, smiling softly at him, and Riku licked his lips, tasting Sora's blood.
He nodded; he did feel better. Sora's smile brightened, just like he remembered from when they were kids.
"It's something we can do; in case we find a lone fledgling. Killing is a last resort, helping them adjust and learn to live without killing the innocent is better. If I'd known when you were turned, I would have helped you," he swore.
He…he could have had help? It had been so hard…waking up so hungry…dragging himself home, not understanding what was happening…the sun burning. He shuddered, collapsing against Sora who held him closer, gently. Riku clung to him, letting the feeling of safety settle in. Sora didn't just kill vampires…only the ones like those that had attacked them?
Sora cradled Riku close, feeling him cling to the sensation of safety. One day, he'd ask Riku what he remembered of the night he was turned, how he'd managed to work things out with no one to help him. Having him so close, seeking comfort…he shoved down the more inappropriate feelings, Riku was head over heels in love with Kairi. This was all he'd ever have, their friendship and the ability to help now that Riku knew the truth.
He'd never been bitten before and it'd felt strange, but also good. He knew Riku wouldn't be able to take much from him, that was why he'd told him it would be okay. And he could have forced Riku off if he hadn't been able to stop.
He'd never heard a vampire 'purr', kind of a rumbling noise deep in the throat, but now he was hearing it – soft, hesitant, but there. He just held Riku, rocking them ever so slightly.
Riku leant over Kairi as her eyelids fluttered before slowly opening, blue eyes unfocused but gradually she focused on him. She looked confused but still smiled softly at him.
"Kairi," he sobbed, drawing her into his arms, clutching her close, and she returned the embrace.
"What's wrong? What…your room? Sora?"
"It's okay Kairi," Sora spoke softly. "Take your time."
Riku just held her, when she remembered they'd have to explain…and he'd lose her. Who in their right mind would want to stay with a vampire? He couldn't grow beside her, give her children one day, grow old together…nothing. Sora hanging around, well, he wasn't normal either. "Love you," he whispered, pressing his lips to her hair.
"What's going on?" she asked but she didn't try to pull away, she shifted back enough to look at him, eyes dark with worry, freeing one hand to gently touch his face, frowning. He'd been crying, knew what she'd be seeing.
Kairi was confused and tired but with Riku practically sobbing as he held her, she just held on in return. And why was Sora there? What had happened? She felt kind of…foggy. She heard Riku's whispered declaration, the kiss he pressed to her hair.
"What's going on?" Kairi asked even as her heart jumped at the quiet confession. He loved her! She pulled back enough to look up at Riku's face, seeing the tears…red tinted, was that…blood? "Riku," she touched his cheek, his tears were cold, not warm, and there was a definite red colour to them. "Are you alright? Are you hurt?"
He shook his head, glancing back at Sora. He'd gotten better at talking but it was still obviously difficult for him. And obviously Sora knew whatever was going on.
"Kairi, what's the last thing you remember?" Sora asked, his tone was…gentle, too gentle…like how everyone had been after the library…
Sora slipped back upstairs; they didn't need him now. There were no more secrets between them, and Riku could tell her about Sora to get around his own inability to tell her since she'd been under by the time he dropped into the fight.
Overall, she'd taken it well, she hadn't flinched from Riku even when he'd admitted to killing. He hoped it stayed that way once she'd had time to really take it all in, it'd kill Riku to have her pull away. He didn't know what he'd do if he ended up in the middle of the two of them breaking apart.
Kairi smiled as Riku opened the basement door, hesitating till he saw her smile. He walked over slowly and she held her hand out to him. She tangled their hands together, tugging, and he lowered himself onto the couch, slowly wrapping his arm around her shoulders when she curled into his side. She shifted briefly to press a kiss to his cheek before settling in comfortably. She didn't wear short sleeves or shorts at home anymore, it made being close to Riku more comfortable and she never wanted to hurt him by having to pull away because she started shivering.
After a while she stopped paying attention to the tv and sat up, Riku looking at her in concern. She smiled and leant in to kiss him softly, Riku kissing back very gently. Now she understood why he was always so gentle, so hesitant, he was scared of accidentally hurting her. It was hard to put that together with the fact that he had to kill to live, she wished he could survive off the bagged blood only, but he'd sworn he only went after criminals, people who hurt others and Sora had backed him up. It hurt, that he'd known, apparently, he'd known since Riku had come back to school but then once Sora had left them alone, Riku had explained that he hadn't known that Sora knew, that Sora…if Riku had been killing innocent people then Sora would have had to kill him.
It was so much to take in but they were still Riku and Sora, even with all the secrets.
"I love you," she murmured against his lips.
Riku started slightly, his eyes wide, and then he was smiling, wrapping her up in an embrace.
"Love you," he whispered.
They kissed again and again, and Kairi found herself in his lap after a while, not quite sure how that had happened but she wasn't complaining.
Sora grimaced, sneaking into his room and carefully stripping out of his jacket, equipment, and then his shirt. He looked at his side and winced, yeah, that wasn't good. It wouldn't kill him, but it'd take time to heal. He'd been a little reckless and he'd paid for it, but the people he'd saved would be fine. There was a knock on his door and then he heard a horrified gasp, turning to see Kairi staring with wide eyes. He swayed, dizzy from the quick movement, legs buckling.
"RIKU!" Kairi screamed, lunging towards him.
Riku frowned, he could have sworn he smelt…then again, blood wasn't an uncommon scent. Accidents happened and well…Kairi was a girl. But this was a bit more than a papercut…a lot more.
"RIKU!" Kairi's terrified scream had him moving at top speed.
He found her in Sora's room, the scent of Sora's blood assaulting him, and he had to swallow hard. Sora…Riku moved, kneeling beside her, reaching for Sora, limp against her. He hissed as he saw the wound running almost the whole way from his hip to shoulder. Riku felt sick, which was silly since it wasn't like his stomach actually functioned anymore.
He took a deep breath and immediately regretted it as the scent of Sora's blood was so strong, tempting...he got up and began looking around. Sora couldn't go to the hospital since he healed faster so he had to have stuff for treating himself and he found a bag hidden in Sora's ensuite, full of medical stuff. He carried it to the bedroom and put it beside the bed, carefully lifting Sora from Kairi, laying him out on the bed.
"Warm water," he told Kairi, trying to get her moving.
She blinked at him, breathing ragged and pupils too large. She took a shaky breath and scrambled to her feet, rushing to the kitchen for a bowl. While she was gone Riku stripped Sora's pants, slowing as he found the knives hidden in and under them. Did Sora go hunting with an entire armoury on him? He opened the bag again, staring at the contents, wishing he'd taken a first aide course at some point. What did he know about this?
And then a wet cloth appeared, Kairi shakily beginning to try to clean the wound. Riku hesitated, looking at her, but she seemed to want to do it so he let her. Had to clean the wound so it wouldn't get infected, unless Sora was immune? Better safe than sorry.
"This…this is deep Riku, he needs a hospital."
"We can't," he denied. "Sora said no hospitals, he heals too fast."
"Right," she whispered. Kairi quickly dunked her hands in the bowl to wash the blood off, drying them on her pants…which had blood on them. She then reached into the bag. "Okay…bandages, gauze…local anaesthetic…stitching kit…where did he get all this?" she muttered but set it all out.
There were needles with liquid in them, he assumed the anaesthetic. The stuff in plastic must be the stitching kit, the bandages and gauze were obvious.
"Do you know how to use this?" he asked. He'd been trying to talk more since they'd moved and especially since Kairi had learnt the truth but it was still hard.
"The syringe has a dose in it and is sealed, so I'm guessing it's the right amount. I can sew but I've never stitched a person…" she looked up at him, fear in her eyes. "I…I'm not sure…"
Riku picked the kit up, seeing a sharp needle and some kind of thread inside. He could handle fine objects nowadays without risking breaking them or anything, and his hands were totally steady, hers were shaking. "I'll do it, you do the needle."
She nodded and opened it, carefully sliding it into the skin around the wound, pressing down to inject the contents. "We just need to wait a minute or two for it to kick in." her voice was a bit steadier now they were doing something to fix it.
Riku carefully opened the package, relieved the needle was already threaded. He made himself lean in, inspect the wound for how deep it went. Sora was breathing fine and the blood wasn't gushing or anything…he only smelt blood, nothing like…like stomach contents…so he was assuming no organs had been hit. Hoping they hadn't because he didn't think they could stitch those.
Riku glanced at Kairi who bit her lip but then nodded, so Riku carefully slid the needle through Sora's flesh, he had to be very careful, he could not hurt Sora more. He froze as Sora moaned softly, looking up at his pale face. His eyelids were fluttering, lips parting, was he waking up?
"It's okay Sora, you're safe, we're here," Kairi whispered, taking his hand and then stroking his hair with her other. "You're…you're hurt bad, Riku's going to stitch you up and you'll be fine…you have to be."
Riku forced himself to focus back on the needle, he had to go deep enough to seal the wound, but no deeper. And if Sora was waking up then he needed to be quick and gentle. If Sora jerked or tried to move that could be bad.
Sora groaned and Kairi hushed him as Riku worked as quick as he could without risking hurting him more. He never, ever, wanted to have to do this again…but honestly, how lucky was Sora to have not been hurt this badly before? Had he come home hurt before and hidden it from them? He tied off the thread and glanced up to find hazy blue eyes watching him. Sora's lips moved in a small smile, a hand lifting for him, and Riku took it, squeezing gently.
Even Riku's hearing could barely make out the word. Sora was hurt but apologising to him? Riku let go of his hand and covered the wound with the gauze before using the bandages to hold it in place, carefully lifting Sora as he wrapped it around him. There was probably a better way but he didn't know it. And then he moved to sit beside Sora, taking his hand again, Kairi getting up and slipping from the room with the bloody cloth and water.
"It's okay," Riku murmured, reaching out to gently touch Sora's pale face, his skin felt cooler than normal, blood loss, but he was alert if groggy, and Riku was tracking his heartbeat. If he got worse, they'd have no choice but to risk a hospital. Sora pressed against his hand weakly, lips parting to speak, or try. "Shh," Riku soothed. "Don't try to talk, you've lost a lot of blood."
Seeing Sora like this…it hurt. Sora was bright energy and big grins, endless energy but also never-ending kindness. Even when he hunted, he made sure his kills were quick and clean, no matter how horrible his target was. Sometimes, Sora smiling at him in the halls had been the only thing to get him through the day at school without snapping and giving into his instincts. If only he hadn't pushed Sora away, maybe he would have worked it out, could have had Sora as his best friend still, could have had the help he'd so desperately needed.
Sora was struggling to remain awake and Riku cautiously shifted to lie beside him, moving his arm around his shoulders. Sora lifted a shaking arm to clutch at his shirt, trying to move closer, so Riku drew him in close, pulling a blanket around him to combat the chill from his own body.
And then Kairi was back, with a familiar bottle and another, a sports drink? "Sora needs fluids and you're probably hungry," she whispered.
Riku nodded, helping Sora sit up enough to drink without choking. Kairi held the bottle and Sora swallowed slowly before eventually clumsily trying to push the bottle away. Kairi put it down on the bedside table and then they got Sora lying back down comfortable. Riku took his own bottle, not caring that the contents were cold. He downed the blood quickly as Sora pressed closer to him. Kairi settled the blankets over him better and then she got on the bed too, lying at Sora's back.
"We're here Sora, sleep," she told him. Her warmth at Sora's back was better for him than Riku's own cold body but Sora didn't seem to care, head resting over his silent heart, fingers weakly tangled in his shirt even as blue eyes slowly drifted shut as he succumbed to sleep.
This was meant to be the final chapter but it was getting too long, so 1 more chapter to go.