It's funny how the smallest things can change the course of your whole life. For me, it was ten yen. Ten fucking yen. Worse than that. Ten yen short of a fucking coffee. Standing in front of a vending machine, a cigarette dangling from my lips and a hangover pounding in my ears, staring mournfully at a handful of coins, so sure that little can would be the answer to all my problems.
I should have gone back to bed.
“Two hundred fifty. Two hundred fifty,” I repeated to myself, counting the two hundred forty yen in my hand for the hundredth time as if it might have changed in the last five seconds. I leaned my forehead on the machine and groaned. The sound of metal on metal and a mechanical beep. I looked up just in time to see a tanned and tattooed hand withdraw from the coin slot and shove itself back into the pocket of a pair of navy blue Dickies.
“Thank you, GOD!” I cried, shoving my handful of coins into the slot and jabbing the button. I heard a little snort of laughter as I tore into the little can, almost choking on the contents as it went hot down my throat. It was half gone before I remembered myself, wiping my mouth with an embarrassed grin. “Thank you, sir. I owe you my...”
“Your life?” he finished. He had a face like a bulldog that crinkled in a hundred places when he smiled. “Is your life so cheap it can be bought with ten yen?”
It was so obvious, sometimes I wondered how everyone on the street didn't notice. His voice was too crisp, his skin too golden, his posture too relaxed to be real. But, when normal people think vampire, they only see long fangs and a cape. They think of pale faces and funny accents, not some guy who looks like he works at a garage.
“My sanity, maybe,” I said with a nervous laugh, lifting the little can to him as I took another drink.
“Well, maybe you can pay it back someday,” he said, turning and tossing a little wave over his shoulder as he continued down the street.
Naturally, I followed him. Because I'm a fucking idiot.
God, these Tokyo vampires were boring. Tame as fucking house cats and he was no different. I followed him for hours, watched him shop, eat, even pick up dry cleaning. Everything so dreadfully ordinary, I began to question myself. Had I just been hunting so long I saw vampires everywhere? But, there was the way he moved. Smooth and calm and perfectly measured. Humans all carry with them a sort of tension. An ingrained fear of the unknown and the knowledge that, at any moment, we could die. He moved with the nonchalance of someone untouchable. With the ease of someone who hadn't feared death in a very long time.
Eventually, we ended up at a cheap and rather dirty-looking motel. I hung back along the street as the monster made his way down a row of doors and stopped at the one on the end. He slipped a card-key in the door and ducked inside.
“Is this where you're living, you bastard?” I muttered to myself, lighting another cigarette and sweeping my eyes over the property for a good stake-out position. I wanted in. I wanted to stand where he was standing, lie in the bed he slept in. I wanted to know everything about him. What he ate, what he drank, who he fucked. What trophies and trinkets he kept. I wanted to crawl inside his head and know his every thought, wish and nightmare.
I wanted to kill him.
So, I plopped myself down on a horribly uncomfortable bus stop bench with a view of his door and waited. I watched the light flick on and his shadow move behind the curtains. I leaned forward and listened hard, as if I might catch the sound of his music on the wind.
What I caught was worse. Or better, I guess, depending on your perspective. The sound of hard-soled shoes on concrete. The unmistakable long stride of our dreaded leader, Sasuke.
I cursed and dove to the ground behind the bench, making the old lady next to me squeal. Sasuke. That smug sonofabitch. The man we all hated but secretly wanted to be. I must have stumbled upon his hunt. It would be my ass if he knew I was here, threatening to blow it for him.
I held my breath as he crossed the parking lot. As annoyed as I was to see him, part of me thrilled at the thought of watching him work. I inched closer as he approached the door, my skin tingling. And then he did the strangest thing.
“Son of a bitch,” I muttered to myself as the door swung open and the vampire appeared. “FUCKING son of a bitch!” I said louder as Sasuke bowed and the vampire welcomed him in. That traitorous mother fucker. This wasn't a hunt. It was a meet up.
Once Sasuke was safely tucked inside, I gave a little bow of apology to the old lady and crept across the parking lot toward the room. Carefully avoiding the windows, I pressed myself to the wall and leaned my ear against the door. Muffled voices and shuffling footsteps. Nothing distinct enough to tell what they were talking about, but Sasuke's voice had the sharp, crisp feel particular to polite Japanese. He was lowering himself. Talking to that thing as if it were his superior.
My blood boiled and, despite my distaste for the man, my heart broke a little. I'd heard of others becoming entranced, even obsessed, with their vampire prey after getting too close, but it was always some lesser hunter. A cautionary tale about another's failure. If it could happen to Sasuke, the strongest among us...
I jumped and darted around the corner as the voices stopped and the footsteps drew closer to the door. The two of them exited shortly after, still conversing in hushed tones. I held my breath at the scraping sound of a sudden stop and pivot.
“Is there a problem, sir?” Sasuke asked.
“Nope,” the vampire said casually as his shoes scraped the pavement again and their steps faded into the distance.
I didn't release my breath until the lot was silent. I peaked around the corner with one eye, making double sure the coast was clear before approaching the door again. My original goal hadn't changed. I still wanted in. The purpose, however was entirely different.
To find out if Sasuke had really betrayed us and why.
As any experienced thief will tell you, hotel room locks, especially cheap ones, are a joke and can be easily picked with a credit card and a slip of tin foil. Windows, however, are much easier. A sharp strike to the frame was enough to dislodge the locking mechanism and it slid open easily. I crawled inside and found exactly what one would expect from such a place: stained carpets, gaudy wallpaper and a sagging bed. I curled my nose and tried my damnedest to touch things as little as possible as I opened drawer after empty drawer.
He didn't live here. Probably hadn't been here more than a few hours. He must have picked it special for his meeting with Sasuke. I cursed and was about to slam the last drawer shut when I noticed something wedged in the corner. A little polaroid, face down and slightly stuck in the grimy surface. I grimaced and peeled it up with a fingernail. My heart stopped when I saw what it was.
It was me.
He hit me so fast, it knocked the wind of me. He pinned me against the wall, his teeth in my neck before I could even wonder why I didn't hear the door open. And then pain. Fiery and all-consuming, as if every vein were a lit fuse, burning its way to my heart. He pulled the blood from me so fast, I couldn't even scream and within seconds my vision blurred. Then, as quickly as I had been taken, I was released and fell heavily to the floor, unconscious before I hit the ground.
Dark, swirling black. My limbs felt blurry and indistinct, like an out-of-focus photo. Even my mind seemed soft somehow. I knew what had just happened to me, the danger and the shame, but it was far away and unimportant. I thought maybe I was dead, but then I heard a voice. A whisper in my ear, but not in my ear.
I like the way you taste.
I shivered as the voice consumed me, filled me up like something viscous and liquid until I became just a vessel. I couldn't see anything, not even myself, but I felt hands on me. Rough and strong, tracing every line of me, defining my fuzzy parts like an idea without form until he drew me and made me real.
Who are you?
A rush of images flashed like photos in a flipbook. Different eras, different settings, but all the same man. The man with a bulldog face and tattooed fingers that walked like a god. And a name. Kyo.
Why didn't you kill me?
Because I want you for mine.
My newly defined body filled with warmth. My heart raced as it condensed and intensified, twisting into a deep carnal pleasure that left me gasping. If I could move I'd be squirming. If I had a voice, I'd be moaning. Every part of me sizzled and popped until I became nothing but that volatile ball of heat in my pelvis. And when it exploded....
I snapped awake, panting and sweating. I touched my throbbing neck and found it sticky. I cracked my eyes open and the room bent as if looking through a funhouse mirror. Sasuke stood over me, his face twisted in disgust. When he saw I was coming to, he went down on his knee and gave me a slap.
“Nap time's over.” He grabbed me by the arm in an attempt to pull me to my feet. “Let's go.”
“Get the fuck off me!” I jerked away, my voice broken and slurred, my motions so sluggish that every attempt to escape only entangled me further in his grip. Tears burned in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. “Fucking traitor! You let him do this to me!”
“I don't let him do anything.”
“You're working for him.”
“So are you.”
I froze, staring at him dumbfounded.
“You take your orders from me, I take my orders from him. Our secret immortal head. He's old and powerful beyond measure, his plans too far reaching for our mortal minds to comprehend. It's useless to fight it, so just GET UP!”
He yanked me to my feet and pushed me into the bathroom, grabbing a towel and throwing it at me before slamming the door. I slouched against the counter top and tried to stop the room from spinning. I splashed water on my pale face and dabbed at the wound on my neck, trying like hell to ignore my painful erection as I struggled to come to grips with this new reality.
After reciting times tables, the entire Dragons outfield and picturing my grandmother naked, I felt a little more normal and exited the bathroom on wobbly legs. The room was empty, but the door was open and the occasional plume of smoke told me Sasuke was waiting just outside. He hardly looked at me as I rejoined him, stomping out his cigarette and immediately heading away from me across the parking lot. It went without saying that I was to follow.
We walked for what seemed like forever. Still weak from my ordeal, I struggled to keep up, barely staying on my feet by the time we arrived at our destination. A mansion, big as I've ever seen, gaudy in the Western style with wide windows and pillars all around. I leaned against one, breathless and shaking, begging Sasuke to just give me a moment, but he refused, grabbing my arm and pulling me inside.
White. Everything white and ultra modern and lit up so bright it hurt my eyes. It felt surreal and for a moment, I wondered if I was still dreaming. Sasuke jerked me through the house and down a long hallway that twisted under my feet like something from a Stephen King movie. We stopped in front of a door at the end, big and heavy and so white as to become featureless, and Sasuke released me long enough to straighten his collar before knocking.
A grunt from inside and Sasuke swung the door open. On the other side was the vampire. Kyo. A spot of inky dark on this white world. He stood near a window, leaning against the sill, and the shifting light from outside played across his face like monsters. Shadows of little devils sliding down his nose. He turned and his lips twisted when he saw me.
Sasuke tossed me in, slamming the door behind me before I could even try to escape, leaving me standing there, back pressed against the wall, facing the monster that had attacked me. My body was a confused swarm of instinct and emotion, fear telling me to run away from him, something else telling me to run towards him. My muscles didn't know what to do, so they locked down, freezing me to the spot, the only sound my ragged, unsteady breathing.
“You know, they say,” he said finally, “that a human, once bitten, forms a sort of attachment to their attacker.” He took a slow step toward me and my breath caught. Another and I was trembling. “They even become...obsessed.” He took my hand in his and raised it to his lips, allowing them to graze the inside of my wrist. “Is that what you're feeling now? Obsession?”
“Ah, fuck,” I whimpered, my skin tingled under the heat of his breath. I couldn't make myself pull away. Heart pounding, head swimming, my knees finally buckled underneath me and sent me crashing forward into his arms. He caught me easily, tossing me face first into the bed behind him.
I landed with a groan. My hard on from earlier was back and throbbing beneath me. I reached for it and he caught me by the wrist, pulling both my arms over my head and restraining me with one hand. His grip was firm and unyielding, but gentle, too. I felt the power in it. The ability to effortlessly crush my bones to powder. It both terrified and thrilled me and I flushed despite my recent blood loss.
“Please,” I breathed into the mattress, “please, just kill me or let me go.” A sharp wheezing laugh as he pulled up the hem of my shirt, exposing my bare back. Burning as he drug the edge of his fingernail down my spine. Tingling as he traced the cut with his tongue.
“But, I just love the way you taste.”
I moaned as the crackling feeling from the dream returned. My hips ground themselves into the mattress, my body aching and desperate for attention, and I cried out with relief as his hand finally slipped beneath me to unfasten my jeans. He pulled them down to my knees and gave me one rough stroke that left me gasping.
I felt the heat of him through his clothes as he leaned over me, pressing against me. He ran his finger over my lips, pushed it between them and I sucked at it greedily. He hummed in satisfaction as my tongue wrapped around it. He pulled it out with a pop and I lifted my hips in anticipation as I felt his body pull away from me.
I bit down on the comforter to keep from screaming as his finger entered me. He pushed in deep and hard, wasting no time in adding a second, working me mercilessly as I pushed back against him. Panting, sweating, begging, my erection leaking a lewd stain on the sheets, I struggled against his grip on my wrists.
“What happened to 'kill me or let me go?'” he laughed, lowering himself to growl in my ear.
“Do whatever you want, just fuck me first.”
A roaring laugh and he yanked his fingers out of me. The distinct sound of his pants hitting the floor and his knee propped on the edge of the mattress. He gripped my hips and pushed into me, releasing a low groan as my body enveloped him. The hand gripping my wrists moved to the back of my neck and I reached back for his thigh, urging him deeper even as my muscles tightened and resisted. We both shuddered as he reached the limit, pressing against the core of me and lighting me on fire.
“You know my secret,” he growled, pulling my head back by the hair, “so, your life now belongs to me. Understand?”
“Yes,” I croaked, rolling my hips into him and begging him to move. He pulled out slowly, all the way to the tip before ramming himself back in.
“You will do whatever I ask of you,” he said, his breath hitching as he hammered another stroke. “You will feed me, fuck me...”
“Every part of you is mine. And when you die, it will be because I allow it.”
My response came out in squeals and moans as he quickened his pace. He released my hair and shoved my face back down into the mattress. I could hardly breathe, but it didn't matter. All I knew was that ball of heat building in my pelvis threatening to explode.
I came so hard, I blacked out. And then, he was there in my dreams, teasing me, torturing me until I felt myself crack in two. The part that hated him. Hated the pain and deception. And the part that wanted him to the point of obsession. Wanted the ache of his bite and the touch of his mind. I didn't know if I wanted to sleep forever or never sleep again.
The next day, I got a tattoo. A twisted black heart in the place he first bit me. And, from that day on, I was his. Completely and irrevocably. For better or worse.
All because I was ten yen short of a coffee.