Before the Dawn

Disclaimer: None of the characters mentioned in this story are mine, I'm borrowing them from Masashi Kishimoto because I like to write stories about them. Aside from locations' names, everything else is mine, this story being an Alternate Universe.

Author's Note: Welcome, dear readers, and thank you for checking my story! Before you start, there are some things I'd like to warn you about: first off, I'm French and what you're about to read is my translation of my fanfiction Une Heure avant l'aube. Hence this first chapter is three years old and I hardly changed anything. My style will change as the story goes, and the chapters will be longer. Also, this will be the last time I use a first person narrative. The prologue just had to stand out.

Documentation: I read a lot of vampire stories before attempting to write one, but most of my inspiration comes from Alexis Tolstoï's Oupires, Richard Matheson's I am Legend, Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla and, of course, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Since those are very different and vampires' strengths and weaknesses aren't always the same, don't protest if some things don't fit your own references. My version is an entirely original mix.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and enjoy the chapter!

On this dark winter's night

Darkness becomes this child

Bless this night with a tear

For I have none, I fear (Sonata Arctica, Broken)

Thus the Night gave birth

Six years ago.

Barely two and half in the morning. That was fast. Old rituals are held at midnight. All the same it found the time to make such carnage and flee… No wonder I sensed it from such a distance. Its powers do seem exceptional. Especially for a "newborn".

The smell of blood is everywhere. So are the bodies. Streets, front steps, houses are swarming with them… A real massacre. And yet, almost all of them seem to have been killed by surprise. It proved to be furtive. Fast, too. And terrifically efficient. Such mastery of its powers at birth… I'd never thought I would ever be entitled to such an opportunity.

I look around. The others are bustling about. Investigating, taking prints, samples, notes… Someone suggests hiding the evidence of the massacre's real cause. But they're too many. There's no time.

I focus my attention on the bodies and smile. Those fools. Why should we care about the opinion of ordinary people? Most still believe in the theory of a mad gang serial killing in order to wake old superstitions. People would believe anything rather than admit the very existence of supernatural. No point whatsoever in encouraging them. That's not what I'm here for…

I take my leave. The others have stopped paying attention to me. Yet again, they hesitated before taking me along. However, they are too aware of my abilities to keep me away now. They're precious to them and have to be developed as soon as possible. And what could be better than field work to expand one's knowledge? I'm already able to test the most complicated samples. Taking them myself makes the task easier. Plus, it's rare for us to get so many experimental subjects in one go.

But for now, taking samples is the last thing on my mind. I follow the path of the murderer, from corpse to corpse, without sparing them a second glance. It looks like not a single house in the neighbourhood was spared. However, it was headed to somewhere specific. The place I got that sensation from…

The others have yet to notice anything. If they come closer, they eventually will. I felt it as soon as we arrived. I quicken my pace. I will be the first there!

At last, my steps lead me to a great, ancient looking mansion. Its overhanging the others shows how important it is. Laughable. This house is screaming its belonging to the late clan's leader. Without hesitation, I step inside.

The smell of blood and death strikes me again. The leaders were not spared. Not that it was likely… But that's where the sensation comes from, I'm sure of it. It's stronger than ever. So much confined power…

I have to stay calm. I take a deep breath to slow my heartbeats, and then start walking towards a corner of the room, where I can distinguish shadows.

I come across two bodies in the middle of the room. This time I stop to observe them. It's a couple. A man and woman, one lying across the other, each about forty, and definitely dead. I still take a look at their lips but I know I won't find anything. On the other hand, unlike the others, they do have characteristic marks on their necks. I turn away. I'm used to this. Waste of time.

Finally I find what I have been looking for. There in the corner, a small body is lying flat on the floor, arms alongside its body, like the other two. I come closer and turn it around carefully. It's freezing to the touch. Moon rays getting in from the window above bring light to its face.

It's a very young boy, barely seven years old; so, one year younger than me. The ghostly paleness of his skin becomes pronounced under his unruly black hair. There are two small, bite-like marks on his neck. Blood is forming in-between his lips and trickling down his chin.

With one finger I lift his upper lip lightly, and allow myself a triumphant grin. Two short canines appear, abnormally sharp. Just as expected!

I take my hand back and watch the boy with renewed attention. His features are fine, though childish, and he's not particularly tall for his age. Rather short, in fact. I frown. No physical advantage whatsoever. That's bothersome. Then again, being short can be an asset, too.

I note that his nails have grown a little already. I look back at his face. Actually, vampire seeds are very clear in this boy. All the way to charm… At least one thing is for sure, he won't have any trouble finding food.

This time I laugh outright.

Enough of this joking. The others are going to wonder what's taking me so long. Without wasting another minute, I take two hollow needles out of my bag and move one near the boy's mouth. With careful moves I collect some of the blood forming there, which I'm positive is the murderer's. With this done, I use the second needle to take a sample of the boy's own blood. Too bad I don't have any living relative of his on hand. The comparison would have been less uncertain. The blood of a corpse will have to do…

My work done and my equipment put away, I heave up the boy on my back the best I can and, loaded with it, get out of the house. They can say whatever they want. I was the one who found him; I have all rights over his fate.

Cold…I'm cold…

What…What's going on…?

He had gotten up early, that day…A part of his training. It's good for the health, or so he had heard.

Hurtling down the stairs, he had noticed his older brother, and stopped. He was standing still at the bottom of the stairs, exposing his profile to the boy's view as he looked out the window. He couldn't tell whether he had heard him come or not. Without altering his frozen expression or averting his gaze, his brother had whispered, seemingly to himself:

"This morning is the last time the sun will rise."

He had watched him, unable to understand, before he turned as well to face the star, which had just started rising in the morning sky. He rarely ever had the occasion to witness such a beautiful sight… Yet his brother's words were tolling like bells and some heavy foreboding was darkening the brightness of the rising sun. For a while he stood gazing at this spectacle like it really was the last time he would have the chance to.

The feeling had faded as fast as it had come, and he had simply turned back to his brother and said hi, the incident already forgotten…


He went home late… After school he had made a detour to the park. To train. He knew it was dangerous, by himself. But he couldn't help it. He had stayed long… The night had fallen…


Blood. Everywhere. Dead people. A foul smell. Their surprised eyes rolled upwards. Their bleeding throats. Their bodies… Everywhere… His family… As far as the eye can see…

Where were his parents?


Dead. Both of them. His brother… "…you too." His eyes… The blood… The floor… The tears… Red. Red. Red. "You too." Red teeth. Pain. Bloody mist. Red.


Confused mind. A hand pulls his hair. Head jerked back. Open your eyes. Chest wound facing him. The blood… His brother…





I turn my head away from my experimentations to glare at the speaker. I don't care if it's important. He interrupted me. And those researches are extremely important! And captivating… I never had the chance to test a blood so rich before…

"The boy is coming round!"

Right. All things considered, this was probably worth the interruption. But that idiot doesn't need to know. Without sparing him a second glance, I take a few steps towards the coffin in which my guest has been resting for two days now. He is awake alright. Waking, to be specific. His big black eyes are blinking up at the ceiling. First his face shows nothing but tiredness and confusion, then his eyes light up with alarm. All of a sudden he turns to face me. Upon seeing me, his expression becomes one of surprise and utter bafflement.

I smile, satisfied. Everything in his physical appearance shows that the transformation is complete.

"What is your name?"

For a while he looks at me with a mix of mistrust and incredulity, before answering my question:

"Sasuke Uchiha…"

I nod.

"I'm Neji Hyuuga. You can call me Neji-sama. Welcome to my manor."

His face shows a fleeting indignation but it is quickly overtaken by keen anxiety. My smile grows. Looks like he remembered his situation.

"Where are my parents?" He asks vehemently. "What about my brother? Why… am I here?"

I sigh deeply. He's obviously afraid of my answers. Typical. Young vampires are always tiresome in the beginning…

"You are here," I explain with patience, "because you don't have anywhere else to go anymore. Nothing of what you just went through was a dream. Everything is real. Your parents are dead. And you're a vampire, Sasuke Uchiha."

He doesn't flinch, sitting inside his coffin, his trembling gaze on me. Then, very slowly, as realization sinks in, the wavering glint in his eyes starts to fade. In the end, even though he's facing me, I can tell he doesn't see me anymore. His mind is elsewhere. Far, far away, where there's nothing left to look at.

"From now on, your life is mine." I conclude with these words, undisturbed.

My words seem to bring him back to reality but I can't tell whether he understood them or not. He looks at me with obvious indifference, like one would look at a peculiar rock on one's way, and stands up, like a sleepwalker. In the same fashion he walks to the door, opens it, and disappears. To my ears, the more distant the sound of his steps grows, the more he speeds up.

Keep running. You can't escape yourself.