A/N: Magic kind of borrowed with permission from Holy the Dark by lookingwest (which is an amazing story). Also a redo of one of my stories that I took down, because it seemed like no one liked it...so I'm trying again. Hope it works better this time.

The Red's head is shaved on one side, and Gage can see all too clearly the bite marks on his neck. His fingers are cold as death when he pulls Gage's chin up to look him in the eye.

"You smell young," the Red says, scratching a line down Gage's cheek, rubbing his finger into it, and licking the blood. "And you taste amazing."

The cold bricks at Gage's back, combined with the Red's hand, and okay, also fear, have him shaking. He never wanted to die at the hands of a Red, never wanted to be one of them.

"But you can't be too smart, coming out here," another Red says, pushing the first away. "Name's Kai and it will be my utmost pleasure to eat you."

Gage just keeps shaking, trying not to show fear and failing miserably.

"C'mon, Normal, aren't you gonna introduce yourself?" Kai asks, licking Gage's blood straight from the cut on his face. His tongue is cold, cold and oddly dry.

Gage stays silent, he's just trying not to panic, because he's heard that the Reds love it when their victims panic, and he is not going to give them the pleasure.

It really was a stupid idea to go this far out into their territory. But Gage's always wanted to be a hunter, and he figured he could observe them in their natural habitat. Of course, if he actually staked one, he'd break the treaty.

Kai punches Gage in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him and forcing him to bend over in pain.

"Yeah, that's where I want you," Kai says. "That's how all Normals belong. Bowing to us in total submission."

The first Red shoves Kai back out of the way. Kai retaliates by stabbing him in the heart with a switchblade. At first there's a cut in the Red's chest—no blood, just a hole. Then it quickly seals up.

"Fuck you man, this isn't worth it," he says, stalking off.

Kai looks very pleased. "And now you're all mine." He shoves Gage back to a standing position. "First I'm going to suck your blood out. Then I'll eat the rest of you. And I'll hang your remains in my living room. Good?"

"It won't turn me?" Gage manages to ask. His voice cracks, some combination of fear and pain.

"Not unless I want it to, and honestly—I don't."

Gage closes his eyes and nods. He's not even close to ready, but he figures he doesn't really have a choice.

Killed in the back alley of a Red bar. Real fucking great way to go.

Gage feels Kai's hand on his neck, brushing his hair away.

"So pretty," Kai says. "It's almost a shame."

And then something's burning in Gage's neck, like acid in his blood. He screams, screams again. Not like it does any good.

He can't open his eyes, doesn't want to. He knows Kai's fangs are buried deep in his neck, and they hurt him, they hurt him so much.

And he's getting cold—really cold.

He starts to close his mind completely, trying to tune everything out. Trying to ignore the red-hot pain (hah, Red hot pain) and trying to ignore Kai's small noises of ecstasy.

White light through his closed eyes, pain and his own screams are going to be the last things he experiences, and he's resigned until—

Kai screams.

And there aren't hot spikes in Gage's neck anymore. There's a cold hand around his arm and Gage doesn't know who it is, doesn't care, just pukes on them and passes out.

When he wakes up, it's completely dark outside. He looks around, figures out he's still in Red territory. The graffiti on the buildings is glowing, swirling, changing shape...Red magic at play.

It's not a very good district, though. But the Reds don't have good districts. The Normals gave themselves the utopias and left the slums to the Reds.

It's cold on the ground where Gage's lying, and it's raining lightly.

And there's a Red sitting not five feet from him. That makes him sit up. But sitting up makes him feel dizzy and sick, so he falls back to the ground.

He tries to ask the Red what he's doing here, helping Gage. It comes out as noises the first few times, but eventually he's able to choke out words.

"I'm merciful," the Red says. And nothing more. His voice is dead, disinterested.

"Thank you."

"Yeah, okay," the Red says, looking at Gage. "You vomited on me."

"Sorry," Gage says. The Red has a really intense stare—dead-eyed like all the other Reds, but different somehow. Gage can't put his finger on how, though. Actually, he can't put his finger on anything, his body is dead and unresponsive.

"Scumbag Kai was about to suck you dry," the Red says, then "Oh, shut the fuck up. I didn't mean for it to rhyme—okay, you're proud of me. Yeah. Can't eat him. Fuck off."

This really confuses Gage. Because he's fairly certain he didn't say anything. "Huh?"

"No, I was just—never mind. I'm Dante. You?"

"Gage. Am I going to die?"

Dante laughs, showing his fangs and making Gage flinch. Dante looks somewhat alive in the glow from the graffiti, if Gage didn't know—didn't look too close—he'd think Dante was a Normal. "Probably not. If I thought you were going to I would have turned you. It's, uh…it's a confusing thing, when you get your blood sucked. Oh, and just to let you know, you now have the blood of a dead virgin in your system. I didn't want you to have so little red in your veins."

Gage raises his eyebrows. "Why is it confusing?"

"We can't drink human blood straight. There's a certain chemical we need to function. We have it in our fangs, and we drink it goes into your bloodstream."

"It's poisonous?"

"To Normals? Very. But you'll live," Dante says, sighing. "No. God. Shut up!"

Gage decides not to ask this time, but instead, focuses on his immediate future. "What are you going to do with me?"

"Eat your eyes out, then move to your heart."


"Shoulda seen your face. No. I went to all the trouble of saving you. Hardly going to eat you now, am I? No, I'll help you to the border."

"There're guards at the border," Gage says, not amused by Dante's joke. He's terrified and sick from that fucker Kai, he doesn't even want to hear jokes about it.

"If they shoot me we'd start a war."

Dante's silent for awhile. "We'll leave tomorrow evening or whenever you can move. I'm going to have to leave you for a bit though. If you're asleep, my kin'll think you're dead."

Dante places his hand on Gage's head.

Gage is out in seconds.

A/N: Feedback is appreciated and returned (if you're not from the RG).