Chapter 3: Forever
The wind was cold. His thin shirt did little to protect him, but it didn't
really matter. It didn't matter if the cold crawled into his skin, into his
bones, into every fiber of his being. It didn't matter if he became cold all his
As far as he was concerned, nothing really mattered anymore. Was this how it had
been for Kogure? After seeing the significance of Hanamichi's role in his
master's life had he fled and got himself caught? Mitsui never really told him
what kept him away that night Kogure was captured. Was Rukawa just a repetition
of it all? Most likely. Except now, he was less fortunate. No one would be
willing to end his suffering. Because he wasn't different. Because he wasn't a
VAMPIRE. He'd have to find the courage to end it himself.
Rukawa stopped in his tracks. "I'm just like you, Mitsui," he whispered softly
in the wind. "I'm not strong enough." A sob escaped his throat but no tears
came, and he kept walking.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Rukawa froze, not for the first time that night. A pair of hard and powerful
arms wrapped around him from behind and before he knew it, he was pulled close
to Hanamichi's chest.
Rukawa closed his eyes, not believing it.
"Kaede," his beloved whispered so tenderly. "You're cold."
Rukawa unconsciously leant into the embrace. Hanamichi's body wasn't warm being
the undead creature that he was, but Rukawa wanted to be nowhere else but there.
In Hanamichi's arms.
A pale hand lifted and settled on Rukawa's chest. "I missed you."
"He's mourning now," Hanamichi told him softly planting a soft kiss at the back
of Rukawa's neck. "As he ought to be. He lost the treasure he most wanted to
keep. Let's leave him to his pain, for as much as I love him, he believes it's
all he has left."
"You're cruel, Kaede," Hanamichi countered, raining kisses all over the side of
his neck. Rukawa shivered. "Why did you leave?"
"I thought . . . I lost you."
"Why would you ever think that?" the redhead whispered, moving his hands to rest
on Rukawa's shoulders before slowly turning him around.
Rukawa didn't dare look at his lover's face. He kept his face down, eyes focused
on the gray dry soil.
"But I think I know," Hanamichi said thoughtfully, letting Rukawa's shoulders go
and stepping away.
Rukawa couldn't stop a small sound of protest from escaping his lips. Now he
felt even colder than ever.
"You think I'll leave you for Mitsui."
"Stop being silly, Kaede."
"I'm sixteen years old. I have every right to be silly."
Hanamichi sighed heavily. "How many nights did it take me to convince you that I
have no intention of hurting you? How many nights after that did it take me to
convince you that I loved you? And how many nights will it take me now to
convince you that I will love you forever?"
"You'll never leave me?"
"I'm not going to lie to you, Kaede. I can't be by your side forever. Forever is
such a long time. There will come a time when we would go our separate ways. We
will want new companions perhaps. Or we will want to be just left alone for a
while. But it won't mean we'll love each other any less."
Finally, Rukawa looked up to gaze at Hanamichi. His timeless face. His timeless
beauty. There was only one word to describe it. "Perfect," Rukawa whispered.
Hanamichi simply gazed back at him. Golden eyes, as ancient as Mitsui's, stared
back at him. So many years behind those eyes. "Tell me," he said hesitantly.
"Tell me about Mitsui."
The redhead looked as if he expected this question from the very start. "There
will be many nights for us to talk about Mitsui. I shall answer instead the
question you could not voice out. Yes, I loved him. I still love him. More than
he could ever know. And yes, he loved me--as much as I loved him. But you see,"
he tilted his head to the side in a very human-like manner. Rukawa didn't like
it. It didn't suit Hanamichi. His beloved always seemed to be ethereal to him.
Divine and detached from the world Rukawa had hated. That was what perhaps made
him love Hanamichi in the first place.
"You see," Hanamichi started again. "Perhaps we loved each other too much that
we couldn't stand each other any longer. We were both too alike, and again too
different. We're a pair of tragic creatures, Mitsui and I. Damned forever.
Lonely forever. We had each other and yet we didn't."
"I don't understand."
"Of course you don't," Hanamichi said patiently. "Not yet. But you will." He
smiled slightly. "We were damned . . . but Mitsui found Kogure--that lovely
thing. And I . . . I found you."
Rukawa swallowed hard. "And what are we?"
Hanamichi laughed as if completely amused. "Our salvation, Kaede. Our
salvation." He stepped closer and cupped Rukawa's chin. "Before Kogure, Mitsui
thought he was too far gone. With Kogure, he learned to live again."
"And after Kogure?" Rukawa asked. "He will move on, won't he?"
Hanamichi smiled bitterly. "Yes, I suppose he will. He knows the path now.
Before he was lost, but now the way's been cleared for him."
Rukawa closed his eyes. He didn't understand what Hanamichi was saying but he
didn't ask for an explanation. In due time, he told himself. In due time. "Will
you give it to me now?"
"Just say the word, love." For some reason, Hanamichi looked somber when he
spoke these words.
Rukawa opened his eyes slowly. He lifted them to the moon. Full and bright.
Kogure's death . . . now HIS rebirth. "A wonderful offering," he whispered
suddenly. "You've played marvelously, my friend. To a martyr of devotion--my
life's the best tribute I could give you." He turned to look back at Hanamichi.
"One last kiss then . . . before I kill you," Hanamichi whispered, moving closer
to capture Rukawa's mouth with his own. A sharing of breath for one ultimate
One quick second and Hanamichi lowered his mouth to the crook of Rukawa's neck.
A flash of fang and then there was red. The pain was swift. A sharp prick at the
neck and then he felt his life draining away.
Rukawa moaned loudly, quivering with pleasure. His beloved's hand was cupping
the back of his neck and his other arm was wrapped tight around Rukawa, holding
him in place. He clung tightly, fingers digging into Hanamichi's back. How many
nights had Hanamichi done this same thing to him? Take him in his arms and made
love to him in this way? A kiss meant to kill was the source of such pleasure.
"I love you," Rukawa whispered harshly, strength draining away. But he didn't
want Hanamichi to stop. He wanted him to go on and on and on until there wasn't
a drop in him left. He slumped forward, kept upright by Hanamichi's strength
Then his beloved pulled away, giving the two puncture wounds on his neck a
gentle lick before gently lifting up his face to look at him. "Now you'll drink.
Drink as much as you want. It's all yours to take." Then Hanamichi lowered his
head until his lips were touching his.
Rukawa wanted to reach out and wrap his arms around his lover. To force his
mouth back to his neck and make him drink the last few drops left. But he hadn't
the strength. Suddenly a soft warm tongue entered his mouth and from it he felt
a burst of coppery liquid and it filled him almost immediately.
Rukawa swallowed, and swallowed, and swallowed. He knew this taste. He had
savored this before. The taste of those little droplets of love Hanamichi would
give him every night. The taste of sorrow that flowed freely from Kogure's eyes.
The taste of blood.
Rukawa felt his strength slowly returning and he immediately clamped Hanamichi's
head in his hands while he sucked and sucked and sucked. Dimly he noted a
strange sound of footsteps, but he ignored it. He just wanted to drink his fill,
like a man in a desert who caught his first draught of water from an oasis among
the sands in days. But Rukawa hadn't been thirsting for this moment--this
union--for days. He'd been waiting for this moment his whole life.
Suddenly, Hanamichi's mouth was wrenched from his own and he could feel himself
falling on the ground, back hitting it in a painful thump. Rukawa cried out, but
it was drowned by the sound of a gun firing. And another. And another.
Rukawa forced his eyes open, feeling weak and helpless as he tried to focus his
eyes on the figure that stood alone a few meters away. Never had he loathed his
older brother more than that moment. The coward had come for him after all.
"Hanamichi!" he choked out loud, forcing himself to move. To roll over and push
himself up with his hands so he could run to his brother and squeeze the life
out of him. To just kill the person who dared to ruin the best moment of his
life--and succeeding. But he couldn't. He hadn't drunk enough yet to give him
the right strength. And there was a deep pain on his shoulder that he couldn't
ignore. He cried out again. "Hanamichi!"
There was no reply. His heart raced. Was he dead? Impossible. Hanamichi couldn't
die. And as Rukawa lay there, blood draining away from the wound on his
shoulder--yes, he had realized he had been shot there too--all he could think of
was his beloved.
With all the strength he could muster, he lifted his neck to see more than the
horrible vision that was his older brother. But Hanamichi was nowhere in sight.
Had he left him? It seemed likely.
Rukawa swallowed down a sob as he let his head fall back. He heard footsteps.
Human, of course. His brother was approaching him slowly. Very slowly.
"Slower," Rukawa wished fervently so that perhaps when his brother finally was
close enough to look at his face, he'd be dead. And he wouldn't have to see
anything ever again. And he wouldn't have to feel the pain of betrayal ever
"You filthy little ingrate," his brother hissed at him.
"Bastard," Rukawa hissed.
"You're as good as every other vampire in this fucking planet. Deceitful,
miserly, and damned! How dare you stand beside me like an allegiant supporter
and then go cavorting with one of those vile--no--with vile little scumbags like
"You never understood anything, didn't you?" Rukawa whispered weakly, yet he
laced his every word with as much hate as he could show--not even close to the
hatred he felt that moment. "I never supported you. I never looked up to you.
Your stupidity is as much as your cowardice and vanity combined."
A sharp kick to his side.
Rukawa gasped. "Damn you."
There was a sound of a gun being pulled ready to fire. And then he felt that
cold familiar metal touch his forehead.
Rukawa closed his eyes. Maybe he wasn't so unfortunate after all. Here was
someone willing to end his misery. He should remember to thank his brother in
"You disgusting piece of shit."
A gust of wind and Rukawa felt the harsh metal of his brother's shotgun lift
suddenly from his forehead. A resounding crack. And then silence.
Rukawa opened his eyes. Hanamichi was kneeling beside him. Eyes filled with so
much pain and so much love and so much promise. Rukawa had never seen an even
more beautiful sight.
"Who?" Rukawa asked dumbly.
Hanamichi's lips thinned to a firm line before he promptly slashed his wrist and
brought the wound close to Rukawa's mouth. "Drink now."
Rukawa complied--drinking for all he was worth. There was s strange pain that
went from his throat to his heart then to the wound on his shoulder. He felt his
body burn with some kind of unknown fire. Not anger. Not desire.
"You're changing," Hanamichi whispered as he calmly watched Rukawa suck on his
wrist, taking in his blood.
He didn't remember coming up for breath. He just remembered he couldn't drink
anymore. He pulled away and stood up, finding it amazingly easy. He watched
Hanamichi, marveling at how he could so easily see every contour of his face.
His body. And then his hair--like fire. It seemed as if it was alive--and
Hanamichi slowly stood up. He looked exhausted.
"Where have you been?" Rukawa whispered.
"It wasn't exactly his choice." A new but familiar voice.
Rukawa turned around. "Hisashi."
Mitsui stood there, looking extremely calm and composed. He was a magnificent
and imposing creature under the moonlight--very much unlike the creature he saw
moments ago who stood looking down at the ashes of Kogure. A broken thing.
Pained and miserable. A man who had suffered such a tremendous loss. This was
the same man, though he had a much better mask on.
"He was shot thrice at all the nasty places," Mitsui said, looking to the side.
Rukawa followed his gaze. Only then did he took notice of his older brother.
Lying on the ground in a pool of blood, neck broken. He looked away.
"As much as a dumb ass your brother is, he's got pretty good aim," Mitsui said,
still looking at Rukawa's brother. "One grazed your shoulder before it hit
home--straight into Hanamichi's chest. Actually, it wasn't much of a graze. You
might as well have been shot by a normal gun." He looked back at Rukawa. "I came
and took him away--but only for a while. I had to let him drink my blood first
so he could get his strength back. I would've taken care of your brother if
Hanamichi didn't look so determined in breaking your brother's neck
himself--which he did just a while ago by the way." He looked over Rukawa's
shoulder to Hanamichi. "Nice job."
Hanamichi nodded and gave him a small smile.
"I see," Rukawa said slowly.
"What?" Mitsui asked, walking towards him, a smile playing on his lips. "You
thought he'd actually leave you if I wasn't there to drag him off to get his
strength back? Don't be too misled. Hanamichi's more than a thousand years old
but a lot of things could still easily make a fool out of him."
"Hey!" Hanamichi protested, taking a step forward and falling at a place just by
the side of Rukawa.
Mitsui ignored him. "Things like love. Or lust," he grinned and added teasingly,
"Or both." Then he grew serious. "He would have stayed by your side even if the
world was ending around you. He'd be willing to move mountains for you if you
asked even if it's impossible--though he may be foolish enough to try."
Rukawa's heart was swelling. And then he realized. These words weren't only
meant for him. But also meant for a certain person, who didn't live long enough
to hear it. And again, he realized he didn't need to know what kept Mitsui away
during the time of Kogure's need.
Mitsui leant close to him, then he took a quick glance over to Hanamichi before
moving closer and placing a very soft and chaste kiss on Rukawa's lips. "Thank
you for being there when I couldn't be."
Rukawa just nodded dumbly, not knowing what to say.
With one last look at Rukawa, he turned to Hanamichi then kissed him deeply. "I
love you," he whispered after pulling away. And then he turned around and walked
away. "Good luck, Hanamichi. May you find redemption in him as well."
"I already have," Hanamichi called out.
Mitsui just waved his hand before he disappeared into the darkness.
Hanamichi sighed softly. "Let's go, Kaede? Almost sunlight. We'll have to seek
shelter now. You can feed tomorrow night and--" He was cut short and then he
gasped softly. "Kaede . . ."
Rukawa frowned as he turned to his beloved.
Hanamichi slowly reached out and touched Rukawa's cheek. Then he pulled away.
His hand was matted with blood.
Rukawa's eyes widened only slightly. Then he closed his eyes and fell into
Hanamichi's arms. "I love you," he sobbed. And then he cried some more.
Rukawa lay under the ground and in total darkness, nestled in Hanamichi's arms
as they waited for the sun to rise. He felt his eyes growing heavy already.
"Hisashi," he whispered softly.
Hanamichi's eyes tightened around Rukawa. "I love you, Kaede."
And it happened. He didn't know how he knew, but he did. The sun was rising now,
and at the back of his mind he saw an image. Mitsui was standing, confident and
strong, in front of the small town pub and on top of Kogure's ashes. And as the
sun blazed in full force, he opened his arms, willing and unprotected, and cried
Again, Hanamichi's arms tightened around him and Rukawa felt his eyes closing.
That was when he heard it. A distant echo. A faint memory of words spoken. "I
wonder--I wonder . . . if in the end . . . I'd be able to look back and ask . .
. how well I did, and not be disappointed with the answer."
Rukawa smiled softly as he drifted off to sleep. "You did well, Hisashi Mitsui.
You did very well." And then he wished someone, a few thousand years from now
would be there to say the same thing to him. For him.
~~~ The End ~~~
Note: Hope you enjoyed this short series! And NO EPILOGUE! This is all of it.
Also, I'd like to make a side dedication to the one and only Kogure no Miko
*waves at Shiro-chan* who was tremendously upset after I killed off Kogure in
the first part.