Vampire Monarchy AU

Random headcanons/AUs that won’t get fics anytime soon. If anyone wants to add on/chime in/create something, feel free.

Smith, a blood-bound human caught in Nano-the-vampire-queen’s web of manipulation, kidnaps people and takes them to Nano’s castle to feed her and her army of vampiric servants. Trott is a vampire who moves to the city, and becomes slowly enamored of Smith.

or, “I wrote this for the neck biting and it turned into hurt/comfort angst”

cw: (Psychological) Manipulation, Low Self Esteem, Self Loathing, Kidnapping, Hopelessness, Blood, Blood Drinking, Biting, dark, twisted morals, vampires keeping humans as pets, slightly kinky leanings, coerced obedience?
If I need to tag something, let me know.

Smith drives around in a black van with blacked-out windows. duct tape and bloodied fists from smacking people around. knows how to take down somebody. 
after he ties up people, loads the truck, and drops it off at the back of the castle, that’s his job done. he reports back to Nano that he’s accomplished his task for the day, and retires to his rooms. he gets one day a week free to do as he chooses, as long as he stays in the city.

Vampire Nano
red lips, dark eyes
draped in golds and rich burgundy
slightly pointed nails

Smith’s been Nano’s for a long time. he was offered to work for her at a young age, and grew up in the court life. he was spared until 18, and then blood bonded to her. as long as that bond persists (she lives) he ages at a slower rate (vampires don’t age at all). he’s lost track of the years. only recently has he made a careful friendship with Ross. he’s already had to watch everyone he knew die…he doesn’t like getting close to people.

“Good boy,” she murmurs, nails scritching the top of his head and stroking through his hair.
Smith kneels at her feet, knowing he shouldn’t cling so easily to her praise. But he’s an assassin- her assassin. He kills for her, and he knows how much of a monster that makes him. He does not deserve the praise or the thanks. He does not deserve it- but he needs it. He needs her to keep him living, because this city is a cesspool and he would have died in the streets, grieving for his lost loved ones, if it wasn’t for her. If she hadn’t taken him in, he would be useless.

“I’m so hungry, Smith…”
“Do you need me to find someone?”
“No, no, darling…let me…”
“But…I can go, and…”
“Shhh, all I want is a little dessert, sweetheart. Now, hush.”
Nano drinks from him, he slumps across her lap on the stairs, dizzy from blood loss. she pets his hair and tells him how good he is. makes him think it was worth it, because now all he has to do is lie here. accept her praise.
passes out, wakes, and the servants get him a big breakfast. he’s tasked with taking a day in and relaxing, regaining his strength. it would almost seem beautiful outside, if this city wasn’t a prison. the sky is endlessly blue, the breeze blows the curtains on the open window.

Vampire Trott
moves into the city, because he’s been travelling and heard of this monarchy and wants to see it for himself. old “friends” of Nano’s

Ross is a barkeep
Smith and him shoot the shit sometimes
this is where Trott meets Smith
Any vampires are distrusted by humans, but obeyed
Trott can see the fear in their eyes, the hollow looks on their faces when he walks in. Ross immediately serves him, calls him sir. keeps his gaze lowered.
Smith eyes him up, but tries to keep his own business.
as the place empties out (vampires in human taverns are bad business) Trott asks the two of them what it’s like living here.
“shouldn’t you know?” Smith replies, and then tenses
“I moved here the other day.” Trott responds calmly
Ross lets out the breath he was holding

vampires don’t have to drain their victims. Nano does, eventually. unless there’s to be a party, and then they keep the humans as playthings, drinking multiple times until the humans are feeble and weak, and then draining them dry.

Trott gets invited to one of these parties when he meets up with Nano
and finds Smith at the party. “Smith?”
“oh. hey, Trott.”
“you work here?”
“um…yeah. and I’d appreciate it if you kept that on the down low, with Ross and stuff.”
“you work for her.”

the party winds down, Trott loses track of Smith. all of the guests clear out except for himself and Nano.
Smith’s just cleaning up, and Nano and Trott are talking. Trott has a glass of blood that he’s sipped at, not to be impolite. guards are carrying the half-alive bodies out of the room, and dealing with the dead ones.
Nano beckons Smith over, tugs at a wrist, licks it, kneel for me darling, there’s a good boy
Trott somewhat terrified of how subservient and pliant Smith is
Nano offers Trott a taste of him
“one of my favorites”
Trott declines, saying he wouldn’t want to overindulge
“this is a party, Trott! overindulgence is the rule.”
Nano is petting Smith’s hair, pulling his head back, baring his neck. still holding his wrist in her other hand, offering it to Trott
Trott swallows thickly
Smith meets his eyes, resigned. “go on,” he says without speaking
Trott doesn’t want to refuse Nano, because she’s adamant
his teeth bite into Smith’s wrist, and Smith gasps quietly. because it’s nothing like when Nano feeds, and he doesn’t know why it’s different. with Trott, it’s almost pleasant, warm, heady, like slipping into bathwater
his eyelashes flutter when Trott pulls his mouth away and licks his lips of Smith’s blood. Smith half wants to kiss him and doesn’t know why the sight makes him think that.

he finds Trott at his apartment later on, asks why it was different
and Trott is disgusted at the world around them
“because it was willing. because I cared about not hurting you when I did. when a vampire bites, it’s all about intent. it hurts when Nano bites you because she likes it when people hurt. she doesn’t give a shit about you.”
snorts. “and you do?”
Trott says nothing

Smith needs people to care about him, but he’s so wrapped up in Nano’s control that Trott doesn’t know how to show him there’s more than what he has. There’s a world beyond the city, and not all vampires are monsters. “We used to be human- some of us hold onto a sense of decency after we’re turned. Nano didn’t. She’s not the only one, but I’m not the only one to keep mine, either.”

Trott carefully examining the bite on Smith’s wrist, giving him some bruise cream he has to help it heal. “Everyone’s fucking terrified of the vamps around here, it makes it a pain in the ass to ask someone to feed.”
“You could feed from me.” Smith’s sitting on the edge of Trott’s bed as Trott takes a look at his wrist.
Trott raises an eyebrow. “You’re already Nano’s, and going by the way she treats you, I don’t want to take more than you’re capable of handling.”
Nano always makes sure to keep him well fed. “My body can handle it. Another vamp feeding on me won’t make a damn difference-”
“Maybe not, but even so, I’m not sure Nano would be keen on that idea. You’re her favored pet. Not mine.”
And frankly, I wouldn’t want you to be, Trott refrains from saying. He wishes Smith was his, because he deserves better than being Nano’s little slave. But he doesn’t want to own him.

“He’s a tool.”
“He’s a person!
“And you think that matters?” Nano scoffs. “Look around. This city has been on it’s knees for me since the day I was turned. Humans are tools for us- you should know that, being one of our kind.”
“You should know likewise, because we were humans once.”
Nano laughs.

“I can’t believe you’re still going to her. After everything she’s done to you.”
“I was raised to obey her. Everything I’ve done is ingrained in servitude. Forgive me if it’s a hard habit to break. I can’t help what I’ve been programmed to be.”

Trott and Smith laying in Trott’s apartment, dozing through the daylight hours. “how long have you lived?” “a very, very long time.” lonely sigh. Trott talks about his travels, his time with monks and explorers and soldiers.

Trott wants to get Smith out of Nano’s hold, but she’s not going to let him go, because he’s “useful” to her. Slowly, Trott tries to draw Smith out of his shell, out of sulking in the palace, because if he’s still alive why live like you’re dead inside? “I spent years wallowing in misery. It hurts, I know it does. Happiness isn’t something you choose, it’s something you make.”
“It won’t last. It never does.”
Trott takes his hand and holds it tightly. “I’m sorry, Smith, I really am.”
I’d take you away from here, if I could, he wants to tell him. We’d run, and your debt to Nano would be paid. You wouldn’t have to worry in this city every day.
If I could make it so, things would be different, Smith.


20 thoughts on “Vampire Monarchy AU

  1. Pingback: Of the Living and the Dead – ghostofgatsby + ArcsArksandArches | ghostofgatsby

  2. that one anon

    Oh geez because I can’t do anything by halfsies here’s another 1300 words. I love the vampire bar as the end! Perfect resolution for these characters.

    Yeesssssss, nightclub shenanigans!
    After ducking Trott’s calls for days, the deal-broker finally agrees to meet them at the big luxury casino resort he uses as his base of operations. He’s got an office of sorts inside the club, which is the flashy draw of this casino.
    Ross finds himself sizing the place up with professional interest as the three of them shove their way up to the main bar. The place smells of blood and sweat and industrial strength HVAC, all industrial metal cages and neon lights and cavernous spaces designed to overstimulate. It’s packed to the brim with humans and vampires eyeing each other up across the dance floor. Ross loves it – even Smith is bobbing his head to the beat – but Trott looks like he’s getting a migraine, trying to have a conversation on his phone in the midst of the party.
    “What?… No, I don’t want to reschedule, I’m already here!… Look, put him on the phone. I know he’s there!… What? I can’t… What?!.”
    “Oi! Buddy!” The skinny human behind the bar, surprisingly, is British. “This is the funzy zone. Take it outside to the humdrumzy zone.” Trott stares at him. “The smoker’s patio, you can hear.”
    Trott scowls but grabs Ross’s sleeve, nods at Smith. “Keep an eye on him. You’ll be safe enough inside.”
    “I’ll be safe enough –“ Ross starts to protest, but Trott’s already gone. Ross hisses out a breath. After days of travel and then more waiting and hiding, Trott’s stressed, Smith’s exhausted, and Ross is getting really sick of being ordered around. Still, if this place draws vampires, there’s got to be something alcoholic.
    “Give me the biggest, dumbest drink you’ve got for vamps,” he yells to Skinny. “And a beer for my friend.”
    Skinny gives him an offended look. “Does Parvey-Parv look like a bartender?”
    Ross blinks. Is this an American club thing? “You’re… You’re standing behind the bar, so yes.”
    “’Course I’m behind the bar. That’s where the drinks are!” Skinny – Parvey-Parv? – shouts back. He grabs down a top shelf tequila and – to Ross’s professional horror – swigs right from the bottle. “Parvis doesn’t do waiting.”
    Smith’s gotten himself a stool, wedged in between Ross and some yuppie absorbed in an oversized tablet, and is watching this happen with bemusement. “Get behind there, Ross,” he says. “Show him how it’s done.”
    “Vampire bartender?” says Yuppie abruptly, tucking his tablet away. “Interesting concept. I can work with that. I’m Strife.”
    “You’re…?” Ross blinks again. It’s one thing to know that William Strife was some kind of real estate wunderkind. It was another thing to be looking at man his own age who’d already built some kind of personal financial empire. Ross had been so proud of himself last year for finally getting his own flat. “I… Trott just…”
    Smith drops a hand on his shoulder, slipping easily into a deferential tone. “Mr. Strife, I’m Smith, that’s Ross. Our friend Trott wanted to speak with you…”
    “Yeah, I know what he wants.” Stife snorts, settles himself a bit more comfortably. “I run a nice city here. I work very hard, Parvis works… occasionally to make this a safe place for people to enjoy themselves and pay us for the pleasure. And yet. Every couple weeks I gotta explain that my generous protection doesn’t extend to people looking to hide from the predictable consequences of their own actions.”
    Smith’s hand tightens on Ross’s shoulder. Ross doesn’t need to turn to see the look on Smith’s face because he’s sure he’s got the same look. What would Trott do, what would Trott do, what would Trott do?
    “Now from what I hear, you two seem to have gotten a raw deal. Especially you, Hornby.” Strife’s eyes – cold and blue – flick to Ross’s and hold them. “So I’m giving you the gift of an hour to get the hell out of my town.”
    “We have nowhere else to go,” Ross pleads. Fuck it, he’s not too proud to beg. “We can pay you…”
    Parvis perks up his head but Strife coughs out a laugh. “You can’t afford our services. And your currency’s no good here. I’m running a business, not a – a refugee camp or the OK Corral.”
    “Pew pew pew,” mutters Parvis, already absorbed in something beepy and obnoxious on his phone. Abruptly he tilts his head, like a dog catching a sonic whistle no one else can hear. “Strifey! Wrap it up, here it comes!”
    Ross’s fingers curl themselves into fists. Smith’s hand tightens again – a warning – but Ross shrugs him off. The music is winding up and the crowd is riding the tension. The smell, the feel, the hormones in the air…
    “You’re going to talk to Trott first,” Ross says, very calmly and not all aggressive.
    Strife turns away. “You can see yourselves out. The exits are clearly labeled in compliance with state and municipal building code.”
    “You’re going to listen-“ Ross snarls and lunges forward.
    Immediately there’s a sound like the ocean crashing over him. Gravity flips and the floor slams into Ross’s back. Red mist fizzles around his vision and the taste of blood fills his mouth. Only some of it is his own.
    “Boo-yah!” yells Parvis, somewhere overhead.
    Ross can’t move, pinned to the floor like a butterfly. He can just see Smith spring up to a defensive position, see black-suited security materialize from the crowd.
    But Strife waves them away. “Yeah, uh, don’t do that again, Hornby. Strife Properties has an aggressive non-aggression policy on our grounds. Parvis, let him up.”
    Gravity increases. Ross tries to yell, to say something, but his body won’t respond. He feels like something’s trying to pull his body inside out into the floor.
    “Parvis!” Strife barks.
    The pressure releases. Ross gulps in a breath, grabs onto Smith’s outstretched hand to pull up to his feet again.
    “You never let me have any fuuuuuuuuun,” Parvis grumbles half-heartedly, flinging his arms out to the music. The DJ’s building the beat louder, louder, louder on every measure, a steady ratcheting toward the climax.
    Smith stares past Ross, down to the black tiled floor. There’s a symbol there, red and hazy, sizzling away back into darkness. Ross follows Smith’s gaze around the room. In the strobing lights – increasing in pace with the music – he can see black tile everywhere. “What the hell?” Smith whispers. “How are you powering this?”
    Strife chuckles. It’s a bleak sound. “Huh. Not just a pretty face, eh?”
    Parvis has gone over completely to the music, eyes squeezed shut in bliss as he bounces to the beat. “Here it cooo-ooomes!” he sing-songs.
    And then the drop hits.
    The bass goes off like a bomb. The lights cut and the floor beneath the dancers’ feet – beneath Smith and Ross’s feet – lights up translucent with a hellish red glow. As packed as it is, Ross has no trouble making out the object below the floor: a great stone basin, as big as a swimming pool. Within, blood seethes and splashes and sucks like a living thing. A hungry living thing.
    The crowd screams for joy and Parvis howls with them.
    “As I said,” Strife whispers hoarsely. “People pay us for the pleasure. Everybody pays.” This close, in the blacklight, Ross can just make the little white scars – hundreds of them – across every visible inch of Strife’s forearms and neck, crawling their way towards his hands, his face. “You two have 58 minutes. Run.”
    Something Strife says suddenly clicks in Ross’s brain and he swivels his head sharply. “Us two? You mean us three, right?”
    For the first time, Strife looks directly into Ross’s eyes. Ross can see it now, the desperation of a man on the edge, flailing as fast as he can to stay on his feet a few more seconds. “I’m sorry for you, Hornby. I made the best deal I could.”
    “Smith!” Ross yells but Smith is already running for the door Trott disappeared through. Ross blows past him.
    The door leads to an alley, the club’s service entrance. It’s an enormous squared off space, well lit with flood lights and scrupulously clean. Except for the spray of red blood across the white cement ramp.


    1. ghostofgatsby Post author

      Oooh, I like Strife as the shady Vegas businessman. And the blood altar hidden under the floor of a vampire-human club- brilliant. Selling out Trott, though, nooo!

      Smith shakily sits down on the edge of the ramp, watching Ross pace the alleyway.
      “Shit. Shit, shit, shit…” Ross mutters. He crouches near the blood spatter and inhales deeply, staring off in the direction of the street. He stiffens, eyes wide, and Smith sees a shiver ripple across Ross’ shoulders. “Smith- she was /here/.”
      “Fuck.” Smith puts his face in his hands. His gut churns in the horror and realization that Nano is in the city, and she most certainly has Trott. “It’s a ploy,” he tells Ross, getting to his feet and wrapping his arms around himself, “She wants to draw us to her, using Trott as bait.”
      “He’s not- /dead/. We’d know it if he was.” Ross stands up again, cursing vehemently. He reaches for Smith and then thinks better of it and stops. “Who are we going to call for help? You heard Strife, we have less than an hour to get out of the city.”
      “I don’t know…” Smith scans the ground for any clues, and sees Trott’s phone thrown several feet down the alley. He walks over to it and picks it up, clenching his teeth at the captioned photo frozen on the cracked screen.
      Trott, crumpled and bloody on the concrete, with an address overlaid and a message, “Smith- Bring the fledgeling and no one else, and maybe I’ll give you the privilege of dying first. -N”


      1. that one anon

        Hee! Love it!

        Ross has got the powers and Smith has got the knowledge and experience. I like the idea of gathering allies: maybe it’s actually Smith who knows somebody in town, Ross who knows how to navigate sort of the back hallways of a town built entirely on predatory hospitality.

        I love Ross facing down Nano (at last!) while Smith frees Trott. I’m thinking their best bet, once Trott’s loose, is to use Smith as bait. They lure Nano into a chase out into the crowded city. Nano’s not in top shape herself, having sold off quite a bit of her own blood to Strife and Parvis in exchange for Strife’s help. But she’s more than capable of stalking Smith down, taking her time closing the distance between them, caging him in until he’s cornered on the wrong side of a locked club door.

        Nano grins and leaps for him – and wouldn’t you know it, finds herself yanked backwards and pinned by her blood down to the little square etched into the concrete floor.

        Smith gasps for breath, collapses against the door frame as Nano kicks and struggles furiously against the inexorable grip holding her down. “Another Strife Properties property,” he mumbles.

        The door slams open from the other side and Ross and Trott burst through, ready for a fight. They both pull up short at the scene before them. There’s a distant sound of sirens, and the closer sound of running footsteps. They leave her there, squirming and hissing and spitting out threats, until two pairs of feet come to a stop on either side of her: one in pricey dress shoes, the other in bloodstained Chucks. “Well, well,” Strife says. “I warned you and Parvis giggles high and reckless and the rest is lost into the night as the boys disappear into the Las Vegas crowd….

        It’s a short section tonight – I didn’t even mean to write anything, but this sort of happened? Mostly I just wanted to drop a line to apologize for going radio silent for a couple weeks and to say thanks for your generosity in sharing this world. It’s been lovely getting to swap ideas and scenes back and forth with you!


      2. ghostofgatsby Post author

        Aw, no sweat. I’ve been busy and preoccupied with other stuff myself. But it has definitely been a pleasure to chat with you! This wouldn’t be half of what it was if you didn’t add to it. So thanks for jumping in, and sharing your ideas, and creating with me. Don’t be a stranger in the future ^^.

        I’ll go through and format the Google doc and everything (assuming this is still being crossposted to ao3 as chatfic, yes?), and I’ll send you an email when I’m finished and have the draft in ao3 so you can give it all a look over.


  3. that one anon

    Yes – I was thinking about the bloodbond and how to resolve that. And when Trott overwrites it, Nano, hundreds of miles away, can just feel the slightest twinge… and then her connection to Smith snaps. She jolts, sucks in an angry breath – and the poor servant carefully getting Nano out of her court finery drops to her knees in terror, thinking she’s just poked Nano with a pin or something.

    Nano kicks at her, pointedly holds out a hand still covered in rings and bracelets. “Get. Up.” The servant does and as she pulls jewelry off as best she can with shaking fingers, Nano scowls at the place in her room where a mirror ought to be. She still misses mirrors.

    It’s not like she wasn’t expecting this. She’s surprised it took Trott this long to mark Smith as his. Nano indulges herself for a moment with thoughts of trouble in paradise – but honestly, it only makes her angrier since that means whatever they’ve been up to, they’ve… they’re…

    And Lalna’s gone worryingly silent…

    Nano closes her eyes, bites back her anger, and *focuses*. She can see her next moves in front of her and it’s all very obvious and simple, but is she really going to do this? She considers and to her surprise, she discovers that she is. It’s been so long – shockingly long – since she’s traveled. Honestly, this is overdue: someone in her exalted position deserves a few days vacation to relax and indulge herself. It’ll be like a safari, in the sense she was going out trophy-collecting and the prey didn’t stand a fucking chance…

    A ghost of smile twitches across Nano’s lips and the servant, waiting patiently, dares to relax slightly. “Will there be anything else?” she whispers, edging towards the door.

    “It’s all put away? The closet door is closed?” Nano says, eyes still closed.

    “Um, yes?”

    “Good,” Nano hums out. “I don’t feel like having blood cleaned out of all my things tonight.”

    The servant makes it an impressible two and a half meters towards the door before Nano takes her down.

    Re A03… oh god. okay. fuck it, sure. I’m fine with putting up this vampirific absurdity on A03. :-) I have to admit, I was thinking about asking you about A03 too! It’s been fun just getting back into the swing of writing something every week, especially getting to springboard off your awesome stuff!

    I actually have an account on A03, ArcsArksandArches, though I haven’t put up anything yet. I’ve got, like, three things halfway written – this’ll motivate me to finish and actually post!

    BTW, I actually sent you two comments last week – you posted the shorter, second one but there was a longer scene too i sent just before. Did you get that? If not, I can track it down and resend it. It was a bit of backtracking at the cabin, Smith getting stir-crazy, Trott getting complacent, and Ross being traumatized but also a little shit right as Lalna shows up.


    1. ghostofgatsby Post author

      Aww, I know how you feel on the hard life stuff, friend, these past few weeks have been kicking my ass, too.
      I was sort of thinking there might have been a longer message I missed! I have my comment filter set that messages get approved by me before they get posted, and for some reason the spam filter ate the first one and never notified me of it…ah well. Recovered it anyway, so that’s posted now!

      I’ve copied everything that’s in comments so far into a google doc (which I’ve sent to your email- that I edited out of the last comment so you won’t get spammed) and very, very loosely formatted it, so feel free to edit that if you want/add on/etc. We can keep going here on wordpress, and add on to the doc as needed, then fix it all up when we’re done.
      I’ve really enjoyed going back and forth with you on this, seeing what new things you create and the shared ideas you branch off of. So thank you for taking that chance and commenting in the first place, and making this into something greater than just a headcanon post. It has definitely been a lot of fun ^^. And it’s so good, it makes me want to share this dark and wacky cast of weird vampires, especially when there’s so much of it.

      I couldn’t decide who of the Yogs I wanted the trio to run into next when they leave their current location, but the American deal-broker and blood-mage duo sounds good! Maybe in California, or Las Vegas?? with the crazy neon nightlife. maybe a vampire club, which Smith gets lured away from and taken hostage by Nano, when she shows up. chains Smith up in an abandoned boat warehouse or something, waits for Trott and Ross to arrive so she can kill them in front of Smith.

      And hahah, I almost forgot about the bond, and then remembered it last time.
      Smith spends a good amount of time the next day, sleeping. There’s a weird tug in his chest, a feeling of needing to be close to Trott, that he doesn’t remember if he had when he was bonded to Nano. He lays in bed, still half asleep, eyes closed, hearing muttered talking somewhere close by, and wonders if she noticed. She must have. He certainly felt it break- it was doubtless that she did as well.
      This new connection to Trott feels more solid, and less jagged. He doesn’t feel compelled, or controlled, or fearful. There’s no underlying sense of dread about the bond like there seemed to always be with Nano.
      I mean, sure, they’re still doomed, and she’s still most certainly going to hunt Smith down and eviscerate him, but.
      This connection to Trott is nice.


      1. that one anon

        I saw the Google doc! I did a quick pass and then I got sucked into rewriting that one long scene in the cabin because I realized I hated it and it sucked and I had more I wanted to add. It’s not really the spirit of chatfic, but if anyone really cares they can come back here and read the original unedited version.

        I love poor Smith, trying to reconcile feeling happy and feeling almost certainly doomed at the same time!

        As for where they land, I like Vegas! Like, in this vampire/human world Vegas was just completely overrun with vampires in the seventies and eighties, all seedy and run down and deadly. But now it has been rehabilitated and Rebranded! as the *fun* den of sin for vampires and humans alike. Trott figures it’s a place to get lost in the crowd.

        And yes to more Nano hostages. But what if, instead of grabbing Smith, Nano gets her hands on Trott? Trott’s been the one leading the charge, keeping them safe. Might throw a wrench in things, Ross and Smith having to work together to save Trott.


      2. ghostofgatsby Post author

        (Sorry about replying so late!)
        Hmmm…yeah, that would change it up, for sure, having Nano take Trott instead of Smith. And this way, it’ll keep Trott subdued for her to get Smith.
        Nano and Trott fight outside the vampire club. It’s not unusual for occasional vampire fights there, and the music covers up the sounds. Nano kidnaps him, and sends a pic of a beaten up and chained Trott to Smith.
        Ross and Smith work with other allies to track down Nano at an abandoned warehouse. Just as they find Trott, Nano lashes out at Ross. While they fight, Smith works on getting Trott free.
        Trott is surprised they’ve gone looking for him.
        “Of course we did! I’m not- we couldn’t just let her have you,” Smith stammers.
        “But you could have gotten away.”
        “So she can track us down again while doing hell knows what to you?” Smith finally gets Trott free and the chains around him fall. “You’re- I’m bonded to you. And I can’t lose you, or anyone else. I can’t.”
        Smith tells Trott to feed from him, so he’ll have enough energy to fight off Nano. Ross won’t be able to keep her distracted much longer.
        (Also, ending idea: the trio start up a vampire-friendly pub after Smith is turned. Because Ross can bartend. “Yo, we got O negative on tap!”)


  4. that one anon

    Well it’s almost Valentine’s Day so here’s some neck biting and fuck I guess I’m into this now…

    Smith spends the next few days recovering. Recuperation here is nothing like it was in Nano’s house. Sips’ idea of human care consists of a pull-out sofa bed in the office/guest room and chucking bags of take-out at him a few times a day. Trott checks in on him frequently, but never lingers long, busy with something Smith doesn’t have the energy to investigate.

    Both vampires are putting most of their energy into Ross. Whenever Trott’s around he spends hours with him in the bedroom, talking too quietly for Smith to make out what they’re saying. A few times a day Smith hears Sips come in, nattering cheerfully away to a different somebody each time. 10 to 20 minutes later they leave again, considerably more quiet. As far as Smith can tell, all Sips’ guests are leaving on their own feet. He counts them in the packets of cookies and juice that disappear from the ever dwindling and replenishing supply on the counter. Smith stays out of sight, ostensibly because that’s the smart thing to do but really because he doesn’t think he can look another person in the eye right now.

    Just as Smith is feeling better enough to start worrying about what a steady diet of junk food and unhealthy coping methods are doing to him, Ross emerges.

    One moment Smith sits alone on the sofa, thumbing half-heartedly through Super Mario Bros 3. The next Ross is there, casually kicked back next to him. Smith jumps and Mario tumbles off a platform to his death.

    “Sorry,” Ross says without much conviction.

    Smith shakes his head, waves it off as a new Mario pops up eager and ready to go, heedless of his prior version’s grisly fate. Ross looks… Well, he looks better in that he’s not on top of Smith trying to eat him. But he also somehow looks *sharper*; the angles of his face more pronounced, the lines of his arms tensed, as if he were preparing to pounce on something despite his position lounging bonelessly across the black micro suede cushions.

    There’s a moment of silence, broken only by the cycling music of the game. Smith can’t help shooting a look back over his shoulder. There’s no sign of Sips or Trott.

    “So,” Ross says finally, staring at the screen. “There’s some things you didn’t tell me about your life, huh?” Smith starts to say something, but Ross holds up a hand to stop him. “Trott talked to me a little about it. She took you when you were a kid, you didn’t have a choice, and when you did have a choice you chose to save me. So… thanks for saving my life, I guess.”

    Ross stares down at his hands as he says this, his voice a bit uncertain. Like he’s trying to make himself believe what he’s saying.

    “How are you doing?” Smith says very quietly, trying to put as much concern and affection into the words as he can.

    Ross snorts and shrugs. “‘Sweird,” he answers. “Everybody knows people who… disappear, who just go out one day and never come back. You know it can happen to you, what the odds are.” Smith focuses very hard on not twitching. “I… I guess I was ready – or I thought I was ready – that someday, something would happen and I’d disappear too. This..” Ross gestures vaguely towards his teeth, up and down his body. “This isn’t something I ever really thought about.”

    “I’m so sorry – ” Smith says, putting the controller down.

    “Stop apologizing, for god’s sake. Apology accepted, if it means you’ll stop giving me that martyr look.” Ross flexes his fingers, watching the tendons flex and pop beneath the skin. “Maybe in the long run you did me a favor. After all, it’s gonna be a lot harder to hurt me now, isn’t it?”

    For the first time, Ross looks up, looks Smith directly in the face with a little half-smile that should have been friendly, would have been friendly – except for the glint of sharp white tooth between pale pink lips, the predatory gleam in his eyes. Smith could swear his eyes have gone even paler blue. Seeing Ross of all people like this, with that too-still, too-alert wrongness that vampires have – it was doing strange things to Smith’s brain.

    “Do you need to eat?” he blurts out.

    Ross looks genuinely surprised. “Are you… offering? They said you weren’t…”

    “Nah, I’m fine, mate,” Smith said, kicking the comforter off his legs. “Had a few days off.”

    Ross’s eyes flick down to Smith’s bandaged arm. “Oh shit, I did that?” he says, stricken. It’s the first sign of the old Ross Smith’s seen yet. “Are you all right? I didn’t do anything… permanent?”

    “No, no,” Smith waves it off. “I’ve had worse.”

    That lands with a thud between them. Ross’s hand strays up to his own neck. There’s a faint white line where the gash used to be. “They were keeping you away from me,” he says. “That’s why I didn’t see you.”

    “You’ve got it under control now, don’t you?” Smith tugs his collar to the side before he can think better of this. “It’ll be fine.”

    Ross’s eyes rivet to Smith’s pulse point. Smith swallows, trying to ignore how his gaze has hungry. This is such a bad idea. “It’ll be fine! Just go slow.”

    Apparently Ross takes Smith literally, because he seems to be moving at half speed as he rises. Carefully he swings a leg across Smith’s lap, straddling him, arms bracketing Smith in, his eyes never leaving Smith’s throat. Smith swallows again and shuts his eyes, bracing himself for anything –

    “Okay, wait,” Ross scrambles back up to his feet. “This feels like we’re about to start making out.”

    “Ha ha!” Smith says, too loud and too fast. “Ah, do it from behind instead?”

    “Ooh, filthy!” Ross says without missing a beat, and it’s so much like the old Ross that it startles a real smile out of Smith for the first time in who knows how long.

    “Sit down, or you get nothing,” Smith says. Ross drops onto the edge of the sofa and Smith scoots backwards quickly, hoping Ross hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care about the flush in his face. Smith tugs his shirt down and to the left again and waits. And waits. He can feel Ross’s breath cold on his shoulder, but the bite doesn’t come. “Right, go on.”

    “Um.” Behind him, Ross cleared his throat. “I have no idea what I’m doing?”

    “Oh. Oh! They’ve had you on arms, of course.” Smith pulls his shirt further down, feeling for the bumps and dips in his skin.. “Let me give you the guided tour.” He points to each mark: “Jungular. Carotid. Better to stay away from both of those for now – you can drain someone out in a minute flat if you don’t know what you’re doing. As a general rule of thumb, once you get to the collarbone and down, the major arteries aren’t at the surface, so you can give it go there, any of these ones…”

    He’s stopped by Ross’s fingers on his neck, gentle and cold, touching the scars left over the years. Most of the time Nano was careful with him. But most of the time wasn’t all of the time.

    “Oh, Smith,” Ross whispers with real sympathy.

    Whatever Smith was expecting, it certainly wasn’t *tenderness*. Another wash of guilt goes through him and he winces away – or tries to. But Ross’s other arm is tight around his chest, pulling him back; the points of Ross’s teeth scrape across his skin, searching awkwardly for the right point to pierce through. And then Ross finds what he’s looking for and bites down…

    If Nano’s bite was pain and Trott’s bite was soothing bliss, Ross’s bite is a blast of unmodified emotional onslaught: all fiery, unfocused hunger that’s equal parts need and greed. Smith almost bites through his lip, choking back a cry, suspended at the center of Ross’s maelstrom of fear and anger and regret and excitement and –

    Distantly Smith hears the sound of the apartment door opening.

    And then Smith is alone again, so suddenly it sends him reeling across the couch, his head and stomach spinning like a top as Trott walks in.

    “Smith, can I -?” Trott stops abruptly, taking in Smith’s state. “What is it? What’s happened?”

    “Yeah, what?” Smith says, scrabbling to pull himself up from between the sofa cushions, trying to keep his bleeding shoulder scrunched and out of view. “Sorry, I was, uh… What?”

    Trott narrows his eyes. Smith coughs, blinks back at him innocently.

    “Come over to Sips’,” Trott says finally. “Something’s come up.”

    Sips sits in his gaming chair in the living room, keyboard in his lap. Instead of Dota, he’s flipping through a half dozen security feeds at lightning speed.

    “There he is!” Sips drawls without turning his head. “Hey, big guy.”

    “Hey?” Smith is distracted. He hasn’t actually been in Sips’ apartment yet and its… a lot to take in, crammed wall to wall with *stuff*. Stacks of National Geographics and Maxims, lots “as seen on TV” type goods from Snuggies to portable coolers, an incline table, a popcorn machine. He drags his eyes back to Sips and the screen, settled on a single image. “Um. Trott said there’s something – Oh FUCK. Oh fuck, fucking hell, Jesus FUCK!”

    “So you recognize him,” Sips deadpans.

    On the screen is a shot of the outside of the apartment building. Strolling down the street, hands loosely clasped behind his back, is a tall vampire with an unruly mop of blond hair pulled into a scraggly ponytail. His eyes are hidden behind round, slightly red tinted sunglass lenses, but he’s got a faintly pleasant smile on his face. He passes a human – a woman in a business suit – who glances at him and blanches, veers well out of his path. The vampire’s smile only gets broader.

    Smith’s in full panic mode, adrenaline surging, heartbeat racing. He starts towards the window – Trott catches his arm. “This tape is from six hours ago. He’s long gone.”

    “Unless he’s really good at hiding,” Sips chimes in, back to canvassing his security feeds. “Who’s this bloke now?”

    Smith shuts his eyes and tries to steady his breathing. “An… a very old mate of Nano’s.”

    “We talkin’ mate like blokes, or mate like…?” Sips makes a couple obscene hip thrusts.

    “I don’t know. I tried not to know. I stayed the hell away. He…” Smith’s mouth goes dry. He clears his throat, tries not to remember the screams, the smell, the viscera everywhere for weeks. “He plays with his food.”

    “He doesn’t look that scary,” says Ross right behind Smith. Smith again nearly leaps out of his skin.

    “Well, well, well, if it isn’t Sleeping Beauty.” Sips still isn’t turning. “Got the whole crew up on their feet.”

    The warm, grounding comfort of Trott’s hand on Smith’s back disappears. Smith tries not to let the sudden feel of loss show.

    “Ross, I told you to take it slow,” Trott is saying.

    “I feel fine. I feel great!” Ross is bouncing on the balls of his feet, tracking the video footage right along with Sips. Trott frowns, looks hard at him. Then over to Smith, pale and unsteady on his feet. Smith ducks his gaze, pretending to watch the screen too, even as the footage tracked by too fast for him to follow. “We can take this guy, right?” Ross asks to the general silence. “Three of us, one of him?”

    “No,” say Trott, Sips, and Smith in unison.

    “I know you feel on top of the world, sunshine,” Trott says gently to Ross. “But you have no idea what a vampire that old can do in a fight.”

    “Nano told me to not to be alone with him, that it was better not to, ah, provoke him,” Smith says, very aware that when Ross said ‘three of us’ he was looking at Trott… and Sips. “He was her pal, in her house, in the seat of her power, and she still wasn’t sure she could take him.”

    “I know him too,” Sips says, an admission that startles Trott in its straightforwardness. “I’d rather he didn’t know where I live now.”

    “If it comes to that, we were never here,” Trott says.

    “If it comes to that, I’m throwing you three under the bus,” Sip huffs, putting an ever so slight emphasis on the ‘you three’ as he glances back at Ross. “Under a literal bus if I have to.”

    “Does he know we’re here, or is he just poking around?” Smith interrupts.

    “That’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question.” Trott drums his fingers. “I set as many false trails as I could. Could be he’s just tracing all the lines.”

    “So, what are you gonna do?” Sips spins in his chair to regard all three of them. “Hole up here and hope for the best, or rabbit it?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ghostofgatsby Post author

      (yeeeeees, join the dark side of fandom with our not-so-secret love of neck-biting vampires ^^.)
      (I love, also…everything in this. All of it, the dialogue, the details. Good stuff.)

      Smith doesn’t look anyone in the eye. Trott looks from Ross to Sips. “I don’t think running without a plan is a good idea. This safe haven has been something the three of us definitely needed. But I don’t want to put you any more at risk by staying here, Sips. You’re not part of this.”
      Sips folds his arms across his chest. “Like it or, not, Trott, you made that decision when you called me.”
      Trott frowns. “I know.”
      “And regardless of that, I made the decision to help you, too.” Sips nods towards his computer screens. “I’ll put out some feelers, see if anyone saw where this guy went. If he’s out of town already, then you three should get out while you can. I can send you on to meet with a friend of mine- though ‘friend’ is a bit of a lofty term. He’s an annoying piece of shit, but he’ll give you a place to lay low. I’ll contact you through him if I ever need to pass on any information.”
      Trott sighs heavily. “Okay. Then, that’s the best we can hope for right now, I guess.” He looks to Smith. “Sound good?”
      Smith shakily rubs his face with a hand and shrugs. “Gotta take what we can get. Right?”

      When they leave Sips’ place for their own borrowed apartment, Trott pours a glass of orange juice and all but shoves it into Smith’s hand.
      “Drink this.”
      “What? Why?”
      Trott narrows his eyes at Smith, and Ross, who lurks a few feet away. “Don’t think I didn’t notice. I can smell your blood on him when I got close.” His grumpy frown turns worried. Trott sighs and sits down next to him. “Listen, Smith- Ross and I can feed ourselves. I know you were used to Nano using you as a human blood bag any chance she could get, but you don’t need to do that with us.”
      “I’m not- Look, I offered, he said okay, it was *fine*-”
      “Trott, I handled myself this time!” Ross says.
      Trott interrupts them both as gently as he can. “*This time* it was fine, sure- but the next time, it might not be. We can’t afford any risks. Especially not now, with bounties on all our heads.” He purses his lips in a thin line and looks each of them in the eye. “At the very least, have one of us there. Myself. Or Sips. Or whoever is around that you can trust to look after you.” Trott gives Smith a longer concerned look. “I don’t want you to get hurt. I don’t want you having to sign your blood literally and figurative over to someone just to stay half alive. Not if we can help it.”
      Smith opens his mouth to say something but snaps it shut. He shakes his head and looks away. Today’s new information means that Nano was still alive- and of course she was, it wasn’t going to be that easy to kill her. This never would have happened if he hadn’t made the mistakes he did. Sure- Trott and Ross are both alive, and unhurt. But now they have fucking *Lalna*, of all of Nano’s fucking friends, tracking them down.
      Smith doesn’t want to think about what might happen if he finds them.
      Or *when*.
      He’s seen too much bloodshed- too, too much, and he can’t bare to think that might take away all he has again…
      Ross’ hand lands on his shoulder, right over the place he bit him, startling Smith out of his doomed thoughts. “Smith…” he says slowly, licking his lips, “For what it’s worth…this isn’t your fault. This shit with Nano. It’s not your fault she decided to take me, and- and do what she did. I don’t…*blame* you.”
      The beat of silence passes. Smith snorts. “Yeah. Sure.” It’s a losing argument.
      Ross’ hand is cool against the subtle ache of the fading bite mark, like ice on a bruise.
      Trott’s hand tips Smith’s chin up to meet his eyes. “Are you alright? After…” He gestures. “Well, after Mr. Chompy over here decided to take a sample.”
      “Mr. Chompy?” Smith raises an eyebrow.
      “Oh fuck off. This is what happens when I spend too much time around Sips.”
      Ross chuckles a little worriedly. His hand moves off of Smith’s shoulder. “It wasn’t…I mean, *this* time wasn’t so bad…right? Smith?”
      “I’m fine, Trott, really.” Trott’s hand moves away, too, and Smith wants to hold onto the feeling of them both having their hands against his skin.
      “Well, can I take a look at it? Put some bruise cream on it or something?”
      Smith rolls his eyes and sighs over-exasperatedly. “Yeah, fine. If you must.”

      (so maybe)
      While Sips did some research, Trott said they needed to be ready to leave in a half-hour’s notice, max. They didn’t have much, so it was more of a get-in-the-car-and-go kind of deal. It could take days before they left, but they needed to have that quick start just in case.
      (and if it looks like Lalna had skipped town)
      Sips provides them with transportation, and sends them out into the countryside. There was a vamp blood bank masquerading as an old folks home, sitting on the edge of seventeen acres of wilderness and farmland, and overseen by a guy named Turps (or not, because Turps doesn’t do anything). Sips had a renovated cabin deep in the woods that he rented out periodically to reign in some more cash. There was an empty barn next door to hide their borrowed car- an unassuming pickup truck- in, and there was a whole lot of nothing for miles around. They’d have a steady and fairly regular food delivery from Turps’ business, and have the isolation from the busy city they’d need to stay hidden.
      Smith wasn’t sure how he felt living in a “cabin”, but since it was Sips who owned the thing, it was a cabin with flat screen tvs, a hot tub, and a pool table. Luxurious, for a tiny rental thing in the middle of nowhere.

      (so then progression of feelings maybe and Trott giving Ross some more training/fighting techniques and more neck biting and more feelings and Hatsome stuff.
      and then when Lalna does show up
      there’s a showdown in the empty barn
      Smith went outside because they all had an argument or something
      and Lalna’s hiding behind the pickup truck
      Smith grabs a pitchfork to fight him off with, knowing that’ll be useless as Lalna stalks towards him. trying to find a way out of the barn, but he’s penned in like an animal in the back corner.
      and Lalna looks hungry…)

      ((oh oh oh, and maaaaybe, Smith screams for help as Lalna throws him into the windshield of the truck. Trott and Ross run out, start fighting Lalna, and they’re losing. And then TURPS SHOWS UP. WITH A GROUP OF VAMPIRE OLD PEOPLE. because, the nursing home isn’t just for humans, it’s for old people who were accidentally turned into vampires. and Turps sicks the old vamps onto Lalna, who gets torn apart.))


      1. that one anon

        Ha ha ha yes! Old people vampires! The boys don’t notice because it’s day when they visit so they send in Smith to get the key. All he sees is a roomful of senior citizens – er, pensioners – dozing in dim room in their wheelchairs, tucked in with cozy blankets as some absurd soap opera plays on the TV. And then there’s Turps and Turps is more than enough to deal enough.

        As they settle into the cabin and weeks pass, Trott gets a little too complacent, a little too pleased with himself. The threat starts to feel distant: he’s made enemies before for worse reasons and he’s survived them all. And things are actually looking up. Ross is a good student, eager to learn and quick to pick up on what Trott’s got to show him. And at the end of the night, Trott’s got what he wanted. He’s got Smith.

        Every time Trott catches his thoughts drifting in that direction, he shakes the thought off: he doesn’t *have* Smith, that was the whole point of this, that nobody *has* anybody. Smith’s been through so much, the last thing he needs is another vampire getting all broody and possessive over him. He deserves a chance to rest, to feel safe and cared for, to be the one looked after. But after a month, two months, with Smith in his bed every morning and no jealous vampire queen stealing him away every night, it’s getting harder to stay sharp and alert for signs of pursuit.

        Which is why Trott’s blindsided when Smith explodes at him.

        “What’s the fucking point of all this?!” Smith yells, grocery bags in a heap against the stairs where he threw them. Trott can smell blood pooling in one, can see raw egg seeping out of the other. “Are we just here forever now? To rot in this shithole?”

        Ross, watching enraptured from the top of the stairs, raises an eyebrow and takes a pointed look around their luxurious surroundings. Trott grits his teeth and ignores him.

        “Smith, sunshine,” he tries to break in.

        “Don’t sunshine me!” Smith sweeps an armful of dishes into the sink with a crash of ceramic and glass. “What am I doing here? What am I supposed to be doing?”

        “Hiding. Remember?” Trott snaps back and god, why is he snapping at Smith now?

        “Forever?” Smith laughs bitterly. “Unlike you two, I don’t have that luxury.”

        He slams out the door. Trott starts to follow, but thinks better of it.

        Both vampires listen to Smith’s boots crunch and recede across the gravel driveway.

        “I think he’s getting antsy,” Ross says around a mouthful of something crunchy.

        Trott rubs at his face. He hasn’t had a headache in centuries – he didn’t think he could get headaches – but he swears he can feel one coming on now. “Not now, Ross – Christ, is that *actually* popcorn?”

        Now he can hear the rip and crash, rip and crash of Smith pulling apart the rotted stalls in the back of the barn – one of the projects he was always messing about now.

        Ross swallows. For once, he actually looks serious. “Look, I know you and Smith… you know, you’ve got your whole thing going on. And I’m not trying to get in the middle of that!” he adds quickly, speeding up as he turns red and gets a decidedly hungry look in his eye. Trott fights the urge to just bury his head in the freezer. So he’s got this to deal with too. “But, uh, it’s dumb but people really do tell their bartender stuff they don’t tell anybody else and you know, you really start to see patterns. I took Smith for your typical workaholic, you know, ‘the place would fall apart without me, my boss doesn’t appreciate me…'”

        “Sorry, are you comparing Nanosounds to David fucking Brent?” Trott snaps and immediately feels bad to see Ross wince. Nine weeks on and he still hasn’t referred to Nano by name.

        “I’m saying, Smith’s used to being useful,” Ross says quietly. “He’s used to having someone telling him what to do, work equals life. Sitting around for weeks, with nothing to do but *think*… I mean, I know it’s been a long time since you’ve been human, but you see him going stir crazy, right? Look at this place – it’s spotless and now he’s out there in the barn doing home renovation – *what the hell was that!*”

        Trott is already running for the door, Ross just a moment behind him. They make it to the barn just in time to see Lalna hauling a limp Smith down off the hood of the pick-up truck. Lalna blinks up at both of them, and smiles.

        “Oh! Hello!” he chirps.

        (Garg, wanted to finish this scene but this week’s kicked my ass. They fight, Lalna and Trott banter, the Army of Olds attack! and then Trott, Smith, and Ross drive off to travel the world, maybe off to a mage up in the Nordic countries who’s bloodbound himself to the world’s sunniest, most mushroom-obsessed vampire, or an American deal-broker and his pal the blood mage.)


      2. that one anon

        Oh, and the topper on the fight scene. As Turps is driving them away, Smith wakes up in the back, sandwiched in between Trott and Ross, all three of them beat to shit.

        “Lalna – !” he starts to gasp out.

        “It’sh all right,” Ross lisps carefully around his smashed fang and front tooth. He can feel them already growing back and fuck if that isn’t a weird feeling. “I took him out for ya. Don’t know why you guysh were making shuch a big deal, told you he didn’t sheem that tough.”

        Smith stares at him and Trott starts laughing helplessly, his hand pressed to his side trying to hold his broken ribs still.


      3. ghostofgatsby Post author

        Turps takes them to a temporary safehouse near the airport. “Heal up, and tomorrow, get out of the fucking country,” he tells them.
        But Nano has agents everywhere. Can they really outrun her forever? Forever was literal. And forever was a long time.

        “When Lalna cornered me…he said something about tracking me by my blood. Is that possible?” Smith converses quietly with Trott in an airport boarding lobby. Ross is across the way, just out of earshot but in line of sight, fiddling with a vending machine to get Smith some snacks for the flight. They had spent the past severals days holed up in a hotel, recuperating from their injuries. Trott and Ross healed quickly, being supernatural effectively-dead people, but Smith was still heavily bruised and groggy from the painkillers he needed to stop everything from hurting. He was lucky he hadn’t broken his back, with how hard he’d been thrown against the windscreen of Sips’ borrowed truck. Trott had spent the night after shifting ice packs around for him, so the bruising and swelling would go down.
        Trott hums, scanning every person who passes them by, looking for any potential threats. “Not that I know of- at least, not directly. Fledglings can be vaguely tracked by the vampires who made them, though it’s more like a dousing rod than a magnet in terms of accuracy.”
        Ross starts walking back to them, awkwardly lumbering. He still hadn’t gotten the hang of being slowed down around humans, yet.
        Trott turns to Smith with a thoughtful look on his face. “She blood bonded you to her, didn’t she.”
        Smith nods.
        Trott sighs and goes back to keeping an eye on their surroundings. “Then I’ll need to overwrite it when we layover. Tracking abilities or not, that’s one hell of a signature.”

        Only Trott knew exactly where they were headed. Smith couldn’t pronounce the destination on his plane ticket, but he knew it was only one stop in many.
        Their layover, or first stop, was in the Seychelles, and Trott set them up with a little hotel room on the beaches of Anse Soleil, Mahé.
        Their rooms opened out right onto a strip of beach leading out to the ocean, a turquoise blue that blended seamlessly with the sky as the sun began to rise in the east.
        Smith sits down on the edge of their large, plush bed. The mattress is so tall his feet dangle over the edge. The bed is robed in crisp, soft, white sheets, and he wants nothing more than to lay back and sleep for a solid month. He’s jet-lagged, exhausted, nauseous, and sore.
        Ross is standing at the open french doors that lead out onto a small patio. They can see the ocean from here, smell it in the air, and hear the crashing of waves against the shore. With a small frown at the rising sun, Ross closes the doors.
        Smith looks away, too tired to berate himself for screwing up Ross’ life, like he always does.
        Trott sets the last of their few bags just inside the bedroom door, and locks it shut. He kicks off his shoes and sits down next to Smith on the bed.
        “We all need our rest, but…if we leave that blood bond as it is, Smith…”
        “I know,” he mumbles. They can’t risk having a connection to the one person they’re trying to escape.
        “I can overwrite it, if you want me to.” Trott gives him a stern look.
        Smith raises a tired eyebrow back. “Then what are you waiting for?” He lazily gestures to his neck. “Life or death, innit? Can’t survive the same without it. And…I’d rather it be you, anyway.” He swallows, looking down at his hands instead of Trott and Ross’ caring gaze. “You’re better than she ever was.”
        Ross sits down on Smith’s other side and laces their fingers together silently.
        “Okay…” Trott sighs and shifts slightly behind Smith on the bed. He rests his hand on Smith’s opposite shoulder, and pulls him gently backwards to recline against his chest.
        Smith bares his neck easily. It doesn’t scare him anymore, to offer himself up to a vampire like this, trusting they won’t kill him. But it’s something he’s had a lot of practice doing.
        Trott and Ross are not Nano. They’re nothing like her.
        “This might hurt,” Trott warns.
        Smith would laugh, if he wasn’t so tired of being hurt, of hurting, of running from what feels like an inevitable doom. With Lalna, they were lucky, and even then, they didn’t come out unscathed. With Nano, he had been one of the lucky ones who became her favored human pet.
        Did luck ever mean much more than a brush with death?
        He felt like he didn’t need the warning anymore. At this rate, he’d see it coming.
        Rewriting the blood bond wasn’t something Smith thought about doing until Trott had mentioned it. Had Nano actually perished the last time they saw her…well, Smith’s eternal youth clock would have started ticking again. With a blood bond, he’d aged a little more, but eventually, his growing stopped. He lost track of the years, after that. It hadn’t mattered much, when he lived in Nano’s palace of timeless immortals. Now, if he’d gone without it, he would have been completely human, but marked for death. You may look young as the vampire’s pet on the outside, but inside, you could be as old as the dust of the earth itself. Eventually, without a blood bond to another vampire, all those years would catch up with you, and you’d crumble away. Ashes become ashes, again, in the end.
        As Trott’s lips find the scar Nano’s bite left behind- two tiny pin-prick circles up under Smith’s pulse point- Smith remembers the day that blood bond was formed.
        The memory is distant. He was eighteen or so, maybe, and Nano came to his quarters in the palace on his birthday and told him he had a choice- to live and obey, or swiftly join the people who died before him.
        She was beautiful, and deadly, and Smith barely knew her. He’d seen her mostly from afar, as he grew up a human in a vampire’s court. She had stroked his cheek so gently as she tilted his head aside, and Smith was scared and trying not to show it.
        But he was more terrified of dying than being a blood bound servant to the Vampire Queen.
        So he accepted her bargain, and she bit his neck.
        To form a blood bond, a vampire bites, but doesn’t feed. When they pull back, they leave behind a deep sliver of a wound that will eventually scar over.
        For Smith, it felt like he was being torn apart. Every cell of him burned in agony, radiating outward from the single point of contact where Nano’s fangs met his neck. When Nano had finally pulled away, blood ran down Smith’s neck in rivulets, thick enough that it was staining the collar of his shirt, and he felt lightheaded. He slumped, shaking, into her tiny arms, and she shushed him as she bit her thumb and smeared a single drop of blood across the bite wound.
        Not enough to turn, and not enough to harm.
        Just enough to seal Smith’s blood to hers.
        When Trott bites down in the same place to overwrite Nano’s bond, Smith cries out in that same burning flash of agonizing pain. It sears through him, and he can feel Ross muttering in concern next to him. His vision warps and darkens as Trott pulls away, but his thumb brushing new blood across the wound cuts through the heat immediately.
        Nano’s blood wars with Trott’s, but Trott’s blood wins out. Smith shakes with relief, sinking back into Trott’s arms as soothing cool bliss soaks over everything and eases the pain. It doesn’t hurt anymore, and Smith wants to cry with how overwhelming it feels. His heart feels lighter, almost, like some sort of dark, thorny rose had buried deep and grown more twisted over time, only to be torn out and replaced with something to heal him instead of harm him.
        For the first time in a long time, Smith just feels…peaceful. A dull type of euphoria.
        He thinks Trott’s shushing him quietly. He and Ross are laying beside him, he can tell that much. Ross is carding fingers through his hair.
        In Smith’s dazed state, parts of Trott’s murmur cuts through the fog. Lips brush his cheek.
        “Smith. Get some sleep, sunshine. Go on. You need your rest. Easy…you’re alright. Okay?”
        Okay, Smith thinks, okay. So he does.

        (eventually maybe Smith does get turned, after the Big End Battle, because he’s trying to save the others and he has to stop Nano, and that ends up with him getting severely injured/nearly dead.
        waking up afterward, everything feels enhanced.
        When he can speak, and isn’t a bloodpack-guzzling mess, the first thing he says to Trott and Ross is “We can have so much super vampire sex, now.”
        Ross rolls his eyes. Trott just shakes his head.)

        ((Question: would you be interested in posting this to ao3 as a chatfic? We’ve got about 10,000 words here. I can set up the fic itself, and you can stay anon if you wanted, but it’s up to you. I’m totally, completely okay with what we’ve chatted so far staying to this comment thread if you’d feel more comfortable with it being here only ^^.)


  5. a totally different anon (just kidding it's the same one)

    Aw shucks! *Blushes, kicks at the floor* I’m glad you like it! I haven’t written fic in FOREVER, but this was such a fun set-up I couldn’t resist.

    As for what happens next…

    Nano’s pretty confident in Smith’s ability to get her what she wants, especially when he’s – ahem – properly motivated. She has NO doubt he’ll pick Ross over Trott: humans always side with humans, vampires with vampires. So she sits on her throne, Ross tethered close, and contemplates exactly how long she can torment Trott and Smith both before she drops the hammer.

    Regretfully, she decides she can’t give Trott the drawn-out death he deserves. He’s too clever and dangerous an enemy to be left alive a minute longer than necessary once he knows he’s on her shit list. Smith though… Smith is obviously never leaving her palace again after tonight. The only question is if she should torture him to death, or just torture him indefinitely. It’s a shame – he was so very good at his job. But she can find somebody else. This Ross mortal, for one. He’s almost Smith’s size and is already half-broken after just a few hours of her attention. He might be the silver lining in this whole unfortunate situation.

    And if Smith fails, well… Nano’s made contingency plans for that too. It won’t be as fun, but she’s got plans if Trott tries to run, if Trott tries to (ha!) fight, even if Trott tries to take Smith with him.

    What Nano doesn’t have a plan for is the obviously impossible situation where Smith – or any human from her household – would ever turn to a vampire for help. And what never occurs to her – what she never even *conceives of* – is the possibility that a vampire would ever risk his life for a human.

    They wait until midnight, just as the party is really getting started. Per Nano’s orders, they’re allowed to walk right in to what was meant to be a trap. But as soon as they hit the ballroom Trott grabs Smith by the waist and blurs them across the floor, right at Nano’s throne.

    She’s on her feet and ready for Trott’s attack. What she isn’t ready for is Trott blurring right past her to Ross. It’s Smith who faces her, wild-eyed and white knuckled. “Weak!” he blurts out and flings the pitcher in his hand. For just a split second, self-preservation wars with pride as Nano burns at the insult, at the *insolence*… A split second hesitation before she twists to the left – and it’s enough. Nano takes a half gallon of holy water right to her exposed face and arm and she *screams*…

    Trott snaps the chain holding Ross. Smith grabs Trott, Trott grabs Ross, and – in a herculean effort, even by vampire standards – Trott leaps all three of them up and out, smashing through the stained glass window over Nano’s throne as utter chaos erupts behind them.

    They left the car unlocked and keys in the ignition, not wanting to lose even a second. Already Smith can hear motorcycles revving, the garage gate rattling open as the pursuit is coming. He picks himself up painfully, grabbing Ross by the arm.

    “C’mon,” he gasps. “Almost…” And then he sees.

    Blood pumps like sludge out of a gash down Ross’s neck. Other than convulsive twitching, he doesn’t move. Trott’s eyes have gone hard and black as the smell of blood fills the air. But he doesn’t bury his face in the open cut. Instead he hauls Ross into the backseat, forces his mouth open.

    “Drive,” Trott snaps and rips open his own wrist with his teeth.

    *Cue the bad ass car chase getaway: Smith drives while Trott turns Ross in the back seat!*


    1. ghostofgatsby Post author

      (I love vampires, and weird dark fantasy-style somewhat-regency stuff like this. I’m glad you found that interesting and fun, too ^^.)
      Vampires on motorcycles- yes! Badass car chases! Aaah! Attacking Nano with holy water…and of course, due to her supply of humans and vampiric minions, she survives the attack. With horrible purple-red scars, splatter-like burns. Ross would have made a good replacement for Smith, if he wanted to live. And Smith could have taken Ross’ place as her little toy…had Trott been dealt with, and the plan had gone accordingly. Nano is dead set on having her minions find them, bringing them back so she can serve their deaths herself.
      But the trio don’t know of this, not yet, even though it wouldn’t be a surprise. They have to flee the city first. News travels fast. They’re closing the gates, but Smith’s known how to drive blacked-out vans like a bat out of hell, and barrels into it, battering-ram-style. These cars can take a punch. They just need to keep moving.
      Smith feels faint, and terrified, foot pressed flat to the floor as he drives. His eyes scan every metallic surface around him to see what’s coming, dodging and smashing the vampire bikers out of the way. In the backseat, Trott’s mouth is stained dark with his own blood, and Ross is thrashing while Trott pins him down, wrist pressed over his mouth.
      The next city over, they manage to lose the remainder of Nano’s goons- but only because the sun is rising. Trott, and Ross, will be protected from the sun via the black-out car windows, so Trott tells Smith to keep driving. They need to get as far away from Nano’s city as they can before stopping.
      “We’re all going to need rest, soon,” Smith remarks, unable to relax his iron-clad grip from the steering wheel despite having been on an empty stretch of interstate for the past three hours. “When do you think it’s safe to pull off and get food?” He’s running on fumes from a barely-eaten lunch last night. Spots are swimming in front of his eyes.
      Trott wipes his mouth with his sleeve, watching Ross carefully. He’s stopped thrashing, but the closer they get to dusk, the more likely he’ll wake up. Trott doesn’t voice his opinion that he doubts they’ll ever be safe again. “It’s not just you that needs food,” he comments instead, meeting Smith’s eyes after a long drive of not looking away from Ross beneath him, “We’re going to need to feed. And having a fledgeling with us is a bigger problem than just me on my own.”
      Smith swallows thickly and looks back at the road in front of him. He’s in no shape to be fed on right now, especially with how Nano had been siphoning from him a little each day over the past week. He’s lucky he didn’t miss with that pitcher of holy water, honestly.
      “We’ll be at the next exit in a half hour,” Smith says, rubbing his eyes. “Should we stop there?”
      Trott thinks for a moment and nods. “Yeah. There’s a safe haven we can lay low in for awhile. I know a guy.”


      1. That one anon

        Yes, Sips, gotta bring him in!

        Before the sun sets, Trott kicks Smith out of the van: gives him some cash and sends him to get himself some food and to steal another car. They need to switch vehicles. While Smith is out, Trott calls ahead. To his relief, Sips takes his call.

        “Trott, mate! What’s going on? You in town?”

        “Yeah. Um…” Trott grits his teeth. There’s no way to sugarcoat this. “I’ve got a bit of a problem. Two problems, really. I’ve got a very hungry fledgling and a very tired human.”

        “Heh. Sounds like your problems are going to solve each other.”


        “Yeah, yeah, yeah, just having a laugh. Come on over. You know the address.”

        Sips is another vampire Trott met a couple decades back. Sips just… refuses to take any of this seriously. Hanging around his crummy blacked out bachelor apartment in sweats and a t-shirt, spending his time gaming and browsing Groupon and Amazon for ridiculous shit to buy.

        Trott’s first instinct when he met Sips was to take this newbie under his wing, giving him earnest life advice (death advice?) about staying neutral, not getting involved in politics, seeing the world. Sips nods along, perfectly straight-faced. It takes Trott *years* to figure out that Sips isn’t a fledgling. Sips is old – like, really old. His shitty apartment? He owns the building and half the real estate within a four block radius. And that’s on top of his stock concerns, his global agri-business, the rumors about his involvement in some kind of weird vigilante thing that supposedly polices vamps but in practice seems to be an excuse to fuck with people. Half the humans in his buildings are letting Sips feed off them a few times a year, thinking that they’re doing him a favor: the poor vampire too nice to go out hunting for himself. Sips has an absolute genius for blending in, passing himself off as harmless, gormless, hapless. Trott still doesn’t how deep the rabbit hole goes with this guy, but he’s pretty sure he can trust him. Mostly sure. Though it bothers Trott that he can’t explain exactly *why* he likes Sips…

        Smith gets back with the new car as the sun’s going down, just enough that Trott’s able to take over the driving, keeping one extremely wary eye on Ross. Ross… isn’t moving yet. Trott’s not sure whether to be grateful or worried.

        They get themselves into the parking garage, into the elevator Sips is holding for them. Sips greets them at the 11th floor with a blood pack for Trott and a Crystal Pepsi for Smith. Trott gulps his down while Smith just looks from the soda to Sips back to the soda. What the fuck.

        “Nope, this way,” Sips says, turning Trott away from the bachelor pad. “Got a vacant unit over here.”

        The ‘vacant unit’ is a furnished apartment with a decided vampiric bent. More blood in the fridge, black out curtains in the bedroom. As Smith gets Ross situated in the bedroom, Trott goes for another blood pack. He turns, finds Sips casually blocking his way.

        “You gonna fill me in now?” he says cheerily. “Cause you know, some guy told me a few years back I should keep my nose clean, stay out of politics, not make any enemies.”

        Trott sighs, rests his head against the fridge. He considers lying but, under Sips’ sympathetic gaze, somehow it doesn’t seem worth the effort. “I think I sort of… accidentally kidnapped a vampire queen’s favorite servant along with his friend she was holding hostage who I just had to turn in the car on the way here to save his life?”

        There’s a brief silence. And then Sips bursts into laughter. He’s doubled over, rolling on the floor with mirth. Trott grabs a third blood pack and lets himself slide to the ground next to Sips, wondering exactly how he’s going to get himself out of this one.

        Meanwhile, Smith is fussing over Ross, tucking him into the bed, making sure the curtains are shut flush even though it’s night…


        Ross’s voice is barely more than a fearful whisper, the gash on his throat still not quite healed. Smith, overwhelmed with relief, grabs his hand, sits next to him. “You’re all right, mate. You’re safe. Christ, I’m so sorry…”

        Ross rolls his head to look up at Smith. His hand finds Smith’s wrist – and grips down like iron. His pupils blown wide and black, locked on Smith’s neck. “Feel… strange…” Ross whispers in a very different voice.

        “Oh shit,” Smith says out loud, belatedly re-categorizing Ross from ‘my friend whom I must save’ to ‘baby vampire run run run run RUN RUN.’ “TROTT – !”

        And that’s all he get out before Ross tackles him down to the floor.

        The only thing that saves Smith from having his throat ripped out on the spot is his well-honed instincts from years of living amongst vampires. He just barely gets his forearm up in time for Ross’s sharp teeth and extra-strong jaws to clamp down on that instead; hard enough that Smith thinks he hears bone *crack*. Smith screams but fights the urge to pull away, letting Ross suck desperately at his arm for one second, two seconds, three seconds —

        And then Trott and Sips are there, hauling Ross back. It takes both of them to pry Ross off Smith, trying to take the thrashing fledgling to the ground. Sips eventually gets him pinned down by kneeling on Ross’s chest, pushing his own arm into Ross’s mouth. Feeding again, Ross goes pliant beneath him.

        Smith retreats back, cradling his arm as Trott rips a blanket off the bed to wrap around the mess Ross made, trying to staunch the flow of blood.

        “Well, this is all very exciting,” Sips says breathlessly, his smile dangerously strained. “But there is definitely not enough blood in this apartment for all four of us.”

        “I’ll make some calls,” Trott starts to rise.

        “You’ll get that human the fuck away from this one,” Sips says. “*I’ll* make some calls. Now that the edge is off, they’ll probably even live. Way to get chewed on, ginger!”

        Smith presses his forehead into the carpet, shaking as exhaustion and blood loss and sheer adrenaline all pile down on him. That hurt. That hurt a whole fucking lot and all he can think about is what Trott said about a vampire’s intentions coming through in their bite. He hasn’t had time to really beat himself up yet, but Smith thinks that now, while Ross feeds, this might be a good time for nice guilty wallow over how thoroughly he’s fucked up his only friends’ lives.


      2. ghostofgatsby Post author

        I love this vampire Sips who like, never leaves his house, ever. Ordering endless take-out and Amazon deliveries in his bachelor pad that I imagine is just decked out with Nicholas Cage movie paraphernalia and retro video game machines. He has access to security feeds around the building, like he’s in charge of his own little neighborhood.
        Sips paps Ross on the head with his free hand. “What a big babby you are, huh. Got some massive chompers on you. Jeeze.”
        Trott helps a dizzy Smith up off the floor and carts him into the bathroom to clean the blood off of him and get bandages from a first aid kit. They sit outside the vacant apartment at the end of the hall, next to the rooftop door, cracked open to let in the cool night air and a soft moonlit glow.
        Trott carefully looks at Smith’s arm. “I don’t *think* anything’s broken…but I’m going to have to stitch it. When Sips is done with Ross I can see about getting something else to help this heal.”
        Smith shudders, barely able to keep himself upright and awake. Trott helps him swallow down some high-strength painkillers and some water. When they kick in, he pointedly doesn’t watch while Trott fixes up the deep bite in his arm.
        “Fuck…Trott, ‘m sorry.”
        “For what, sunshine?” He can hear the sigh in Trott’s voice. “None of this was your fault. Maybe sticking your arm in the mouth of a fledgeling, sure, but it’s probably better than your throat.”
        Smith shakes his head. He’s too wired to sleep but too tired to keep his eyes open for more than a few minutes at a time. “All of this. None of this would have happened if- if I hadn’t gone against her. I never should have gotten you involved. Or Ross. Fuck.” He sighs. “Ross’ll hate me for this. The last thing he wanted was to get involved with vampires, and now I’ve ruined his life…”
        Trott lets Smith ramble, not knowing what to say. He’s exhausted too, but Smith doesn’t have the metabolism or vivacity vampirism provides. He’s lucky to be alive, with all that Nano put him through, and all they did to get here. He needs to rest.
        “Smith, this isn’t your fault. Ross…Ross will survive. If anything, he should blame me, if he’d rather die than get turned.” Trott bandages up Smith’s arm and puts his supplies away. “Don’t worry about it right this second. For now, we’re safe. For now, we just need to heal. We’ll figure the rest out with time.” He reaches up and brushes Smith’s bangs out of his eyes, only to find that he’s fallen asleep.
        Trott looks after him until the moon starts to dip below the horizon, and then he picks up Smith and carries him back inside.

        Smith wakes up on the couch a few times, hearing snippits of Sips and Trott’s conversations, before falling back asleep. When he does wake up as rested as he’s going to get, he finds Sips on guard duty outside the bedroom Ross is in. Trott’s resting. Smith and Sips talk a little, and then Smith makes himself some food, barely eats any, and spend the rest of the day/night/whatever staring blankly, watching tv, and wallowing in guilt.


  6. that one anon

    Delurking to add on. Hope it’s okay to leave a comment here!

    As Trott slowly breaks through to Smith, the change isn’t going unnoticed. Nano doesnt keep a choke hold on the city by being unobservant.

    One night when Smith slips back into Nano’s house, he finds Nano waiting for him, perched on the edge of his bed. At her feet is Ross, bound and barely conscious. Pale before, he’s gone white as paper except for the purple bruises on his face and throat, the angry red bite marks down his neck and shoulders. His eyes, glazed with terror and pain, widen to see Smith walk in.

    Smith stops dead in his tracks.

    “Oh there you are,” purrs Nano, twisting her fingers through Ross’s hair. “You’ve turned into quite the social butterfly, Smith. Two whole new friends in one year! No wonder you’ve been neglecting me.”

    Smith’s mouth opens but no words come out. His eyes track back and forth, from Nano’s rage-filled smirk to Ross’s dawning realization of who Smith is, who he must be.

    “Clearly two new friends is at least one too many,” Nano coos, drawing Ross’s head back against her thigh. “I don’t blame you for Trott. He’s got tricks, that one. I should’ve warned you, protected you. But this one-” She jerks Ross by the hair, hard enough to bring him up to his knees with a cry of pain. “This one is entirely your fault.”

    “Please, ” Smith says. Nano tightens her grip on Ross and Smith shuts up.

    “Bring me Trott, Smith,” Nano says, with no smirk. “Bring Trott to my little party tonight. Make it convincing. I don’t want him suspicious.” She leans forward, releasing Ross. He crumples like a rag doll. It takes everything Smith has not to rush forward. But Nano’s eyes, glittering with fury and madness, hold him back. “You bring Trott here, Smith, and I’ll let you decide which one of your friends you get to keep and which one you’re going to kill.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ghostofgatsby Post author

      OMG YES, it’s TOTALLY OKAY! Oh snap!! Ross!! Nano!! Omg, this is amazing. I love it. The emotion! The suspense! Thank you so much for adding on, holy crap! Like, this is everything I want in this AU, it’s *so good*- Nano being so deliciously evil, and the manipulation… Ross accidentally getting involved, too!! I would love to see more if you’d ever want to write some. I’m so curious to see how Smith would convince Trott to go to the party, and then his uncertainty over his decision. And Trott having suspicions, and finding Ross and wondering what Nano is planning. Maybe turning Ross to save him, I don’t know. Maybe a badass fight between Nano and Trott. Maybe Nano using Smith as a pawn to control Trott. Making snide comments about, how cute, you’ve fallen for him. I just can’t get over how fantastic this is!!! <3 <3 <3 feel free to delurk anytime, anon ^^



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