"Let's call it a day, Adham." The man named Reyhan, stood up, dusting the sand off his clothes. His attempts were in vein as the sand clung to his bloodied clothes. He wasn't seriously injured. The cuts were shallow, however, it also meant that Akira had cut through the protective gear to cause him harm and with relative ease.
The smell of blood filled the room, and it was torture. Akira's teeth ached to the point he wanted to seek his teeth into anything to make it stop. Waves of pain and discomfort racked his body with every breath, and his awareness drifted in and out from focusing on the blood and the conversation. It was all a part of his training, or so they say.
He forced himself to breathe. Outwardly, his face didn't show his struggle, but his movements were stiff and awkward. "You are getting weak, Reyhan. At this rate, I may accidentally kill you." While Akira wasn't breathing hard like Reyhan was, Akira did sport a few bruises underneath his clothes and a scrape on his cheek from a bullet.
"I didn't get weaker. You've gotten stronger," there was bitterness in his voice. Well, it was not like Reyhan tried hard to hide his dislike for him. He was just willing to put it aside long enough to help him with his training unlike the others before him.
Akira took off his vest, letting it fall onto the sand with a plop. "Next week," he offered in a way of parting. Reyhan scowled, walking out of the simulated desert. Akira stood still forcing himself not to follow until he was sure he was in control of himself. He waited, and waited, and waited. After five minutes, he exited the room as well, not tracking in a single grain of sand into his living quarters unlike Reyhan had. He would clean it up later. Another set of clothes were set out for him, his uniform that he had chucked earlier now neatly on a hanger.
Akira took off his training clothes, placing them in a hamper to be washed. This set of clothes were ordinary street clothes, easy and comfortable to move in. Checking his watch, he knew the last ferry would be leaving without him if he did not hurry, and he could not afford to be late.
Taking the elevator back up to the ground floor, his parole officer for the night was waiting for him. It wasn't one of the usual, stoic/ill-tempered ones. Akira was greeted with a smiling face, that would put most at ease. It was fatherly as was the man's demeanor though he was only in his mid-twenties. He also saw this man every other day at school during his Japanese class.
"Akira-kun," the man greeted fondly. "Are you ready?"
"Abe-sensei," Akira replied back in way of greeting. His eyes scanned the area looking for another person who would be joining them, but other than the staff, there wasn't a single person in sight. "Are you alone?"
"I managed to convince Breeding-san." He assured. "Come on, if we don't leave now, we won't make it."
Abe, Shigeru was a unique individual. When it came to hunting world, he was weak. Specializing in just physical techniques, unable to adequately control his qi, or life force. He was likely going to be the last of his clan. Even so, Abe took everything in stride, assessing things as they were. He was quick to correct, but fair in judgement, and the only teacher who actively tried to help him and Takeda.
Abe drove them to the ferry, parking the car just meters from the dock. Abe waved to the driver, who waved back, and soon after, the ferry was in motion.
Abe took a seat, motioning for Akira to do the same. Instead, Akira remained standing, leaning against the railing. As they pulled away from the island and the salt air filled his nostrils, the hunger Akira had felt dulled to some degree, no longer surrounded by the smell of food, allowing his mind to relax and mood to level.
Akira closed his eyes, letting the breeze ruffle his hair. Besides Abe, no one else was on the ferry, much to Akira's relief. Abe must have thought so too. He pulled out his concealed daggers, sharpening them while they waited.
"There was another reason Breeding-san let me take the watch in addition to giving you a break," Abe admitted. He didn't change his tone. He kept it light and friendly which put Akira on edge. Either Abe was trying to downplay its importance, or it was to get something out of him.
When Akira didn't speak up, he continued. "The owner of the island contacted the council. He wants to return to island."
Akira opened an eye, staring intensely at Abe. "The council wouldn't allow a vampire to set foot on the island."
"Normally no, but there is a contract, and the owner has backing with the vampire council." Abe hands stopped their work, so he could give Akira his full attention. "It may become difficult for you to hunt if he decides to claim your hunting grounds as his."
There were other problems besides territory disputes. "When?"
"Supposedly a month's time. Just enough time where the elders and this vampire can come up with an agreement and to look into why he's coming back after all this time."
It wasn't any of his business. Not until that vampire crossed a line and they forced him to act. Until then, he had enough of his own problems to deal with.
The ferry couldn't dock fast enough. Akira hopped off the boat before it was even secure, unable to wait. He could smell humans all around him. Though it was a small town, there were more densely populated here than on the island, and that made the smell that much stronger, making his stomach clench painfully.
It was nearing midnight. Many people were off the road since the busses and trains were no longer running, but the alleys near the red light district were still active. The unfortunate side effect of hunting in a small town was that missing people were more likely to be noticed, and his selection was already limited by the stipulations placed on him that allowed him to hunt.
He stayed in the shadows, watching people go by, searching for a target. It was a slow-going process. Business men, heading home drunk from work and workers cleaning before closing shop, neither were prime targets. As time went by his body slowly coiled with discomfort, tensing, his breathing becoming more forced as he struggled to keep it even and steady. People would walk by dangerously close and his eyes would follow them until they were out of sight, afraid to take even one step else he would follow them.
Then he saw it. The perfect target. The man was wearing tacky clothing, something you would see wannabe yakuza members wear even going as far to wear sunglasses though it was the middle of the night. The very few people who were on the streets made an effort to give him a wide berth around him, avoiding all eye contact with his person. All except a young girl, who should not have been wondering the streets at night.
She looked to be in middle school though she wasn't wearing her uniform. Clutching a bag to her chest, and keeping her head down, she walked with a purpose down the road accidentally bumping into the man. The girl immediately went into a bow, apologizing profusely. The yakuza wannabe didn't want her apology, roughly grabbing her arm and pulling her into a nearby alley.
Akira followed, noting how everyone who had witnessed the confrontation had just looked away pretending not to see. Akira, perched behind a sign on top of a building, jumped across the street to another building, avoiding the gaze of any stragglers. He kneeled, staring over the ledge of the building, watching the scene unfold.
The man had dragged the girl towards the back of the alley. One hand covered her mouth, and his body weight pinned her to the dirty brick wall, his free hand roaming her small body, leering at her with unconcealed lust, ignoring the girl's tears and struggles.
So, he was fair game after all.
Pulling out a small vial from his pocket, he uncapped the top, watching impassively as the man ran his hand under the girl's skirt. Sand flowed from the small opening. It wasn't much, but he just needed enough to make a distraction. The sand condensed into the form of a thin needle not even six centimeters long, floating in the air above his hand.
As the attacker was too busy molesting his victim, he never would have expected an attack. The small needle darted through the air towards the man, faster than a normal eye could follow, penetrating through the man's wrist. The man made a small grunt of pain, looking at his wrist, noticing the small neat hole in his skin. There were a couple seconds before blood began to flow. He stared at it with confusion only to feel another bite of pain, this time in his shoulder. His arm fell limp to his side.
The girl took the chance to shove her attacker away, making him stumble back. He tried to grab her to find he couldn't move his arm at all. He cried out, grabbing his shoulder with his uninjured arm, the pain finally hitting him, specks of blood staining his clothes from three concentrated holes. Grinding his teeth, he went after her, grabbing a handful of her hair with his uninjured hand. "Bitch! What the hell did you do?!" he demanded. The girl cried out when a similar hole appeared in his good hand, making his several of his finger's useless. Combined with an elbow to his solar plexus, she managed to escape, running from the alley.
Confused, the yakuza wannabe watched her go, besides the initial pain, he couldn't feel much, and even the blood was minimal. He looked at his wound again, cursing. When he looked up again, he saw the small needle floating in front of him. His eyes widened. Before he could scream, the needle pierced his throat, piercing his larynx.
He brought his hand to his throat in panic. Though he couldn't scream, he could still breath. He was panicking, and he was frightened. The blood dripping from his wounds becoming all the more enticing.
Akira jumped off the side of the building. It was only two stories, so he could land lightly, but the sound scared Akira's pray more, scurrying on the ground to turn towards the sound. Their eyes met. Instead of being reassured that it was only a teenager, the man backed away, his arms and legs shaking in fear. Akira followed with steady evening steps. His calm face and steps gave off an intimidating air as he followed the injured man backing away from him.
A prey's instinct. Anyone else who saw him would probably scoff at the sight of Akira. He was thin and truthfully, didn't have the appearance of someone completely healthy. He skin was slightly pale, there were dark bags under his eyes that never went away, yet the prey knew. He was terrified of Akira.
The yakuza wannabe finally regained his senses, planning to run to the alley entrance, but a strong hand grabbed the back of his shirt, pulling him back and shoving him hard against the wall, disorienting him.
Akira was shorter than the man, his head barely coming up to his chin. He kicked the man's knee out, hearing it snap loudly from the force. A silent scream escaped him, his eyes tearing in pain only to be shoved against the wall again.
Akira kept his foot on the abused leg, applying pressure whenever the man struggled, but was careful to ensure he didn't pass out from the pain. It brought the man closer to Akira's height where he could whisper into the man's ear as he said, "Now you know how it feels to be the helpless one unable to scream for help, don't you?"
The man's terrified gaze made Akira's blood run on fire. It made him feel powerful and a little light headed. His teeth ached, and his stomach twisted in anticipation. The frightened pulse beating under Akira's hands through the man's skin sent a shiver down his spine. The high of exerting his power consuming him.
His mouth lowered further to the man's neck, breathing in the scent of fear and desperation. The man struggled, but Akira only applied more pressure to end the effort. Without further preamble, he sunk his teeth into his neck.
The man tensed and tried to fight back. His hands desperately trying to push Akira away. Though the man was large and probably weighed twice as much as the teenager holding him, Akira didn't budge as if he was a wall.
Akira barely noticed when the body underneath him slumped, and he didn't care when the gangster stopped breathing. He kept drinking, guzzling the blood down hungrily, taking mouthfuls of the delicious liquid. He didn't waste a single drop. This had to last him another week. This meal had to last that long at least. The cramping, the pain, the unease that grew during the week was slowly releasing from Akira's body after every mouthful of blood. He drank until there was nothing left and then he let the body fall to the ground, drained of every milliliter of blood it could give. Wiping the specks of blood from his lips with his sleeve, he picked up the body and then paused in thought. The body was clean. He shouldn't let good meat go to waste. He could incinerate the bones later.
Shifting the man's weight, he looked up the building planning where to jump to next. Bending his legs, he prepared to make the jump when he saw movement in the corner of his eyes. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Few could sneak up on him, and all of them were at his school or were known hunters. The girl he had saved was peering around the corner, looking at him.
Seeing she had been caught, she eeped softly and went out of sight. Akira waited. When she didn't reappear, he jumped onto the building he had originally descended from still thinking about the girl. She must have been a human born outside of a clan. It was rare to see these days. He just hoped she went straight home. He wasn't a hero, and he didn't like saving damsels in distress.
His phone rang the moment he got onto the roof. He answered it with one hand already knowing who it was.
"Akira! You've got to come over! Daisuke managed to get into his sister's alcohol stash and Goro left his cash for me to use while he's away. We ordered sushi. Did you finish your appointment yet?" Takeda's voice came through the speaker loud and clear. Just by the sheer volume, Akira could already tell Takeda had already had a few drinks in him.
"We have school tomorrow," Akira replied, already knowing there was no point in arguing. If Takeda asked, he would be there.
"It's only a half day," Takeda reasoned, slightly slurred. "We can BS a half day."
Akira decided not to respond to his friend's logic, continuing his journey across the roof, spotting Abe a few buildings away waiting for him.
"Sooooo… is that a yes?" Takeda asked, drawing out his words.
Akira fought a small smile. "I will be there in an hour."
"Great! See ya soon." Takeda hung up.
Akira slipped his phone back into his pocket. If he didn't hurry, Saigo would try to convince Takeda that drunk dialing was a good idea again.
Abe's friendly smile turned forced at the sight of the body, unable to help himself from glancing at it. "We have a cleanup crew for that."
"I know," and that was all he said. He didn't offer an explanation as to why he was bringing the body with him. Abe was probably the first to stop his questions there, not that Akira would have elaborated if he was asked. Breeding gave him a lot of leeway and trust. What he did with the bodies he fed off of was none of the underlings' concern as long as Breeding gave him permission to feed in Japan.
"Will you be coming to the hunters' assembly to discuss the new guest?" Abe asked once they had reached the ferry once again. He used the word guest like it was a contaminated word, barely able to keep himself from spitting it out.
Akira went to work removing the clothes and possessions from the body, just as the ferry began pulling out. "I'll consider it," he murmured.
Glancing up, he saw that girl again, poorly hidden behind a car, looking out towards them. She may become a problem in the future.
"Oh, Adham-chan. You are my precious little subject. I expect great things from you." A creepy smile looked down on the young Adham. His black eyes freezing him in fear. Even when something wrapped around his body, squeezing him ever so tightly until he couldn't breathe. "Don't struggle, Adham-chan," the voice said as if trying to soothe the fear and panic it caused. The bright overhead light blinded him. The child shut his eyes in response, but not before seeing the shadows of doctors hovering over him. "We'll make you just as strong as him. You want to be with him, don't you?"
Tears slid down his face. The squeezing was painful now, but he nodded. He wanted to see him again. He wanted to so badly that the pain was nothing. Thick, gooey, light blue liquid started filling the container he was in, rising rapidly, but he could not move from his lying down position. Soon, it would cover his face and the panic began to rise once again.
"Soon, you'll be perfect."
Akira woke with a start, glancing around the room in a panic until he made out the surroundings in the darkness and remembering where he was. Rubbing his tired eyes, he pulled out his phone, glancing at the time noting he had only been asleep for two hours. It was longer than yesterday at least.
Akira stood up, moving around the small living room in the dark, stepping over the body sprawled out, murmuring in his sleep to get to the kitchen, pouring himself a cup of water. Grabbing the paper from yesterday that was sitting on the table, he went back to the chair he had fallen asleep in, settling in. Turning on the light on the side table, he opened the paper and began reading.
"Having trouble sleeping again," Takeda mumbled from the couch beside him. Takeda adjusted himself, turning to face Akira, his eyes blinking open tiredly. "You look better."
Akira looked over his friend's state. Hungover and still half asleep, Takeda was sprawled on the couch half dressed.
Takeda lifted his head, resting his chin on the couch pillow a little more awake. "How is it that you never get drunk?" he asked miserably.
"I'm not stupid enough to drink six bottles of sake the night before," Akira replied, turning the page of the newspaper.
"That would probably do it." Awake now, Takeda glanced at Saigo who was sprawled out on the floor in only his boxers. The sleeping teen was snoring lightly, and in the light, the graffiti Takeda had drawn on his friend in magic marker was clearly visible. Grinning, Takeda picked up the marker again, sliding off the couch to add a few more additions.
Takeda was in the middle of drawing poop on Saigo's cheek when he asked, "Did you want to add anything?"
"I already added my rendition." Just below Saigo's bangs the phrase "dog lover" was written in beautiful, clear handwriting.
Snickering, Takeda said, "He's going to kill you when he wakes up."
"I'd like to see him try."
Busying himself with his drawings on Saigo's face, Takeda was quiet for a while. It allowed Akira to get through a decent portion of the paper before Takeda asked, "Do you really want to go?"
Inhaling deeply, Akira folded the paper, contemplating his options. Deep down, he wasn't in the mood to deal with humans, especially teenage ones. Even after eating a few hours prior, his patience was always thin. "I have to attend," he finally replied. He had stopped by his home the night before and grabbed his uniform and bag but leaving early would probably be better. He could feel Takeda's eyes on him, and he knew what his friend wanted to ask without asking. "I'll take notes."
"You are fucking awesome," he sighed, flopping back down onto the lumpy couch. "But you really shouldn't push yourself so much. It wouldn't kill you to miss a day if you're not up for it."
Akira's jaw tightened. He knew what Takeda was trying to say. Takeda never asked directly. He knew better than that, and he never pushed Akira for more information than he was willing to give, but his worry was growing. Akira couldn't blame him. His hunger had been hard to control before, and it made him volatile. Now with his hunger growing, his mood could change on a dime. Little breaks from class, while it helped, didn't remove the source of his stress.
"I'm fine," he said quietly. "I'll get better soon." He didn't sound convincing. There was no explanation he could give Takeda that could put him at ease.
"You know… if you ever need to talk…"
Akira closed his eyes for a brief moment. Takeda was the last person he'd bring his problems to. "I'll come to you."
They both knew it was a lie, and Takeda didn't call him out on it. Instead, he gave Akira a smile though it was tinged with sadness that once again Akira had rebuked him. "Great," he replied, his voice slightly higher. "Well after class, I'll take you to that café I mentioned before. I heard it was a maid café." He laughed at the face Akira made at that. "Ah, come on, don't be like that. You're going for the food. I'm going for the women."
"That guardian of yours is a bad influence." Akira stood. "But I will see you then."
Saigo murmured something in his sleep that Takeda chuckled at. As Akira prepared to leave, Takeda prepared to go back to sleep. "Have a safe trip," he yawned.
Akira grunted in reply, grabbing his bag by the door. Stepping outside, the sun was just breaking over the horizon, bathing the world in reds and pink. A large, white Akita, bigger than the average dog, was waiting outside with a sack in its mouth. Its large golden eyes stared into him, filled with intelligence.
Akira walked over, taking the sack from its mouth, specks of blood marring the otherwise pristine fur around its mouth. "He's not going to realize what you are, you know. The contract won't be completed."
The dog growled lightly before licking its chops and brushing passed him to go inside the house. Looking at the bag, Akira knew he'd have to dispose of it first. Guess he was going straight to school after all..