The bed had warmed significantly from the time that Megura and Shouji had laid on it. Thirty minutes felt like seconds for Megura before she passed out. She had donated a little over a pint of blood between tears and hyperventilated breathes before succumbing to her stress, causing her to pass out.
Before this, she had deftly refused to let them separate her from Shouji. The transfusion had quelled some of her concerns during this trail and error of rapidly utilizing her blood to seal his wounds with minimal stitching.
Luckily, the sword had only pierced through him, pushing past his vital organs and only cutting through the small intestines. He was fortunate that it had been a relatively sharp weapon, making a clean cut with no ridges to snare him and yank his intestines out.
The vampire blood was only an added feature to progressing the healing as if it hadn't happened, making quick work of a relatively dangerous - though not lethal - wound. There was no sign of the medical staff after they had patched him up and the floaty, nosy doctor was nowhere to in sight.
Shouji stirred awake in the dimly lit room. It took him a realize to gain his bearing on where he was. The only sound that seemed to echo quietly in the background was the sound of the monitors beeping quietly in tandem with his heartbeat. The bag of blood hooked to the IV was empty, squeezed shut by the combination of the emptiness and gravity from its airtight seal.
Even the IV line was free of the dark liquid, pumping a slow, clear supply of IV fluids after it. Shouji looked up at it as he grabbed the line between his two fingers and lightly tugged at it to drag it closer so he could have some more slack for his hand.
A soft warmth brushed his hand, and he glanced to his left, noticing Megura's head shift as his shoulder moved. She was pale, almost corpse-like in the low light. He didn't know what hibernation was for a vampire, but it worried him enough to think she must have made herself look that way.
Had she given him a blood transfer of some sort? He wasn't sore.
Shouji pulled up his shirt to look down at the faintly fading marks indicative of a wound that was mere centimeters compared to the inches large wound he had earlier. Obviously this was her doing.
What a mess. Shouji brushed her hair away from her face slowly. "Thank you," he breathed, leaning in to kiss her forehead. He remembered she hadn't gotten hurt, which he was grateful for, but he had a feeling he knew what she'd say once she woke up. Still, he would not let her push him away.
Shouji pulled his arm around her and she seemed to only mumble softly in her deep sleep as he placed his hand on her head and hugged her close, pressing the top of her head against his chin as he kissed her head again. What luck he had. He could only think as he stared at the ceiling above him.
A presence loomed from the doorway that caught his attention that felt threatening, bearing great presence over the room. Shouji turned his head in the door's direction, but the looming shadow was gone just as suddenly as it appeared. Shouji stared at the doorway for a long while, pausing on it till he heard her whine again and stir. He felt her move under his arm, causing him to turn his attention back to her as he lifted his arm.
"You're awake." she breathed, smiling a little. "I'm so glad to see you're still here." She rubbed her face into the sheets on his chest, making him feel a warmth pass over him that gave him chills.
"I'm okay." he whispered, pulling his hand off of her head. His concern was about her, though. "Are you?" he asked, more worried about her.
She nodded slowly, "I'm tired," she murmured, closing her eyes, again. She paused, taking a long breath. "And kind of hungry, but I'm sure when I get up, I can get it. How do you feel?" she asked him weakly. Her voice sounded throaty.
He sat up a little more. "Better," he told her. "Considering what happened though, I'd say I'm great."
"Good," she breathed slowly, not moving. Faintly her body moved, barely she twitched. She looked more corpse-like than she'd ever been before. She'd persevered well up till this moment, but she was realizing her fantasy of human living lead up to this point had little forethought. She should have fed more.
"You should go get something to eat," he told her, frowning. Seeing her in this state made his guilt amplify and he only could hope that the future would only ensure this never happened again. He could bear to see her in this state. "Megura." Shouji brushed her hair back out of her face, noticing her not respond to him. Her eyes stared at him blankly, half lidded as she faded out.
He rolled over towards her, touching her lips with his thumb as he tried to examine her face. She almost looked blue, like ice. He couldn't smell anything rotten, but it definitely didn't help his image of what a healthy-looking vampire supposedly looked like..
She shouldn't have done this. Her body didn't seem to handle it well. Shouji directed his attention back to the doorway, and he searched around for a remote he knew was typically attached to the hospital beds. Surely he could call for a nurse and get some help.
Shouji pulled the cord wrapped around the rail of the bed and clicked the button, alerting a nurse of his needs. He thought about where he was then and as he devised an idea of where exactly he was. He only remembered being put in a car. Then the next thing he knew, he woke up here. Shouji pressed his hand to his forehead as he stared at the ceiling again, agonizing over the realization. They needed better dates than this.
Carol popped her head into the room as Shu, and Dr. Zengi followed in behind her. "He's awake." She hollered to them, coming into the room more before she shoved her hands into her coat pockets.
Footsteps loudly followed behind before Shotaru appeared behind her and another doctor. Dr. Zengi stepped ahead of them all to walk up to the bedside and reach over the rails to grab her wrist, feeling for her pulse.
"What's wrong?" Carol asked Shouji.
"Nothing is wrong with me. I'm just- worried about her." He moved his arm out of the way as Shu lifted her up, and her head fell slack.
"Oh geez," Carol picked her head up, cradling it as they moved the rail down out of the way and lifted her off the bed.
Shu gathered her up in his arms easily, glancing to Shouji. He didn't have that typical grin or irritating smirk this time. Whatever dampened his attitude left him more refined and humble looking with how carefully he picked her up.
Carol waited for him to pick her up and she tried to keep Megura from looking like a draped cloth over his arms, but she was completely limp in his arms. "We'll take care of her." she murmured to Shouji, adjusting Megura's head and putting her arms in her lap. "Shotaru, can you follow me?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "I'll follow. Just direct me what I need to do."
"I can do that." she breathed, stepping ahead of him to slip out of the room. Shotaru slipped out behind her without hesitating before Dr. Zengi cut Shouji off from questioning the two any further.
"Hi, I'm Dr. Zengi," he introduced, holding out his hand.
Despite his intervention, Shouji's eyes didn't leave Megura until she was out of the room. "Hi," he had a hard time finding his voice suddenly. He looked to the doctor and shook his hand. "Shouji Takumi." He looked back to the door, worried.
"She'll be fine," he motioned, waving a hand to catch his attention. "I want to check your eyes. Dilation is normal on vampiric blood," he told him, pulling out a flashlight. "I also need to check vitals and your wounds. I need to ensure that you haven't any slight chance of rejection of the blood. It'd do poorly if your body refused it."
Shouji watched and listened to him. "What would happen if I rejected it?" he asked.
"You'll vomit," Dr. Zengi said, shortly. "It'll be a mixture of blood and bile. Your body would form bruises where it would attempt to reject the blood, mainly around recently injured areas." He shook his head. "Right now, you are doing fine. For the next few days, we'll see how it develops. The furthest someone has gone before rejection is twenty-four hours, and even then it was manageable. Only one person has ever died, but the injuries they sustained were life threatening, so the rejection was a lot less surprising. We do not intend this process to bring anyone back from the dead. If it did, you'd have to be turned for it to work in your favor, but then you wouldn't be alive anymore."
That sounded terrible. "What will you do if that happens?" Shouji asked.
"Prep you for transfusion and circulate fresh human blood through you," Dr. Zengi explained slowly.
"The vampire blood won't turn me, will it?" Shouji asked.
"No," he sighed. "It takes a long ritual of blood-letting, where they drink every drop of your blood and feed you their own before killing you. So no, you won't. You are a full-blooded and functional human being. Nothing more, nothing less."
Shouji sighed with a bit of relief then.
"Anyway," he sighed after checking his pulse. "The communication sent to me has informed me to let you know that the company chief would like to have a word with you. Of course, this is when you feel well enough. No rush is meant, but in the next few days he'd like to talk with you personally about this matter." Dr. Zengi announced, collecting up the vials of test samples as he looked to the monitor and checked the IV.
Shouji looked at him. "Chief?" Shouji asked, confused. Where were they?
"Yes," Dr. Zengi continued. "You're at an estate and financing firm," he explained. "It's a private business owned and operated solely by our executive and owner, Mr. Miyamoto. The woman with you earlier is his daughter. Did you not realize that?" he asked.
Shouji cleared his throat. "Mm, I didn't know where I was, actually." Shouji sat up more. He felt like putting it off would only make him more anxious. "C-can I meet him now?" he asked.
A smile formed over Dr. Zengi's lips and he laughed at Shouji's reaction, but it was brief. "Alright," he told him, stepping back. "Try your legs out first and get your bearings. I'll take you there myself," he explained.
Shouji nodded, gripping the edge of the bed as he stared down at the floor before slowly getting up. He felt self-conscious for his lack of awareness about who he had exactly been with the entire time. It took him a moment to get his feet under him as he stood up. He was thankful the bed's metal guard rail was so sturdy when he finally stood up straight.
For a moment, Shouji inwardly distracted himself over his stance. The pain in his stomach seemed to be just a phantom pain now and he just felt mostly stiff - probably from how long he had been bed ridden - and a little tired. He took his first step away from the bed as Dr. Zengi moved out of his way. He opened the bathroom door for him then.
"There's a change of clothes for you in here."
"Thanks," Shouji smiled to him briefly as he walked in. After a few steps, he was taking strides and then before he knew it the door to the bathroom was closed behind him. He flicked the light on, staring at the clothes neatly folded on the metal tray beneath the mirror. He reached out and picked up the white shirt, unfolding it as his other hand reached back to flick the clasps of the gown off.
When the gown dropped, Shouji stared at his stomach and then rubbed the skin where he remembered being impaled. "Well, I expected this to be a lot harder." he murmured to himself. He threw the shirt on quickly, tugging it down at the end before adjusting the sleeves. The gray sweats weren't too hard to put on either, but he was still skeptical about the foreign feeling he had about his body.
When the door opened, Shouji stepped out. The doctor gave him a once over before smiling at him, but Shouji diverted his gaze away. "It's not too bad." he remarked.
"Well, I did say mention you'd want to get your legs under you. It was a joke." Dr. Zengi told him. He shoved his hands into his white coat pockets before walking to the doorway and proceeding into the hall. Shouji followed after him rather easily, and he stopped at a cart and threw down a pair of sandals for him. "Use these."
Shouji nodded, sliding them on before continuing after him.
"Any other questions you want to pop before you get there?" Dr. Zengi asked.
Shouji thought about it for a moment before his gaze recofused on the doctor's back. "On a scale of one to dead, where do I stand with the owner?" he asked as he followed him.
"In his face, probably a three." Dr. Zengi answered. "His daughter just gave you her blood to save your life, and now you know his secret. He'll probably be very cross. He's a traditional man," he remarked. "You should address him as Mr. Miyamoto. Honorifics would be preferred in your circumstances."
Dr. Zengi thought about it before continuing his thought. "Hakuro's been alive a long time, but he's always been fair. I wouldn't lie to him, but I wouldn't be openly candid about anything you wouldn't mention to someone else's parents." He led him to an extensive set of doors before opening them and turning to stare at Shouji.
Through the halls, they had crossed up the floors, as they slanted upwards, deceivingly making the floor seem larger than it was. They had crossed an additional three floors up from the hospital ward, but Dr. Zengi was hardly out of breath. The eerie glow in his eyes gave away some of his stamina's source, but he didn't seem to care.
Shouji could understand that, but it didn't make him feel any more relaxed. When he stared into the room, he noticed the large executive table that crossed the middle of the room. It stretched far, looking to seat well over twenty people, but the room was empty except for the lone figuring standing against the glass.
From behind, he looked robust, well trimmed and tidy. His gray suit seemed to accentuate his shoulders well, making him looks square in some places and geometrically triangular from a distance. His slicked back black hair and the cut of his hairline gave away his origin a bit more and Shouji finally started to understand why Megura looked the way she did.
Shouji didn't realize he froze up once he stepped in after seeing the man at the window. He swallowed the lump in his throat then. This guy could kill him easily and if he knew all of what they've done-
He unexpectedly jumped when the door shut abruptly behind him, making him re-check his surroundings.
"State your name, son," Hakuro started. He hadn't budged from the window, but it was clear he could see Shouji in the reflection.
"Shouji Takumi, Sir," he blurted out rigidly.
He nodded and flicked his hand up, motioning Shouji to come over. "Come, stand next to me. I don't bite," he mused, his voice gruff. From the corner of his eye he watched Shouji timidly take his first step forward before walking over to him. As he closed the distance, Hakuro continued talking.
"Mr. Takumi. My name is Haruko Miyamoto. As you seem to realize, my daughter is older than you, yes?" he asked, assuming Shouji knew.
"Y-yes. I know. Miyamoto, Sir," he stammered.
Finally, Shouji stepped up to his side. As he gazed up at Hakuro, the company chief, he watched him turn away from the window to stare at him. Hakuro's eyes looked distant and made the brightness of the room seem dim.
Shouji couldn't help but stare at him a moment as Hakuro examined him, and he tried to stammer out another set of words before he noticed a twinge of disapproval in the form of Hakuro's lips curving down into a hard frown. For a second, Shouji almost thought he was scowling at him, but his words brought him back to reality.
"Exactly how did you come to meet my daughter and what all has she told you? Keep it brief and short."
Shouji swallowed as he drew his eyes back from Hakuro's feature and back to his eyes. Suddenly his throat felt dry. "Well, um. I know she was born a vampire." he started, seeing Hakuro stare at him, unmoving. "I know she's about six-hundred years old."
"And what exactly led up to the events that landed you here?" he continued, raising a brow.
Shouji swallowed the lump in his throat, but it felt like it was only getting worse. The more he stared at Hakuro, the more he thought he looked like a mobster. What could a man of his caliber do to him? Make him disappear? Remove his existence from all records?
"Well?" Hakuro spoke up, startling him from his thoughts.
"They attacked us. I think they were vampire hunters." he explained, trying to make it sound reasonable. "They- Well, there was this weird girl that acted like a dog and she- she was with a guy who was carrying a sword. He- He stabbed me and I don't really-" Shouji tried to explain but he felt the more that he talked, the more Hakuro was judging him. His lips pressed tightly into a thin line as he stared at him, unsure to continue.
"I didn't mean her any harm, sir, honestly. I thought we could just take a walk through the night and-" Shouji cut off when Hakuro held up his hand to stop him.
"Enough," he sighed, more disappointed in his daughter than the poor boy standing before him. Hakuro held out a hand, motioning him to the table then. "Take a seat at the edge, there's a document waiting there for you," he instructed, walking over to the table slowly. His old eyes narrowed, the small crease of what may have hinted towards any sense of his liking or favoring Shouji slightly disappeared. But maybe it was the wrong read of his lips with the way his jaw set.
Shouji directed his attention to the table easily, following Hakuro's instruction without resistance. In the middle of the deep mahogany red table sat a white paper blanketed with numerous lines of sentences Shouji could only guess was a legal contract.
He reached out, picking them up as he leaned over the chair to inspect the document and thumbed through each page.
"It's a contract," Hakuro informed him. "Everything done and seen here is all company knowledge. It's also purely confidential." he explained, watching Shouji flick through a few more pages.
"It's a nondisclosure agreement if you haven't already realized." Hakuro explained. "It isn't without its benefits. I won't question your hobbies so long as they don't place my daughter in harm, but the one thing I ask if that through this contract you use a company phone and will not, under any circumstances, take her to a human-run hospital. I hope you understand the implications of why without me explaining."
Shouji opened his mouth, about to ask about the contract when Hakuro held a pen out for him, keeping him from getting out a single word. It took him a moment to remember himself before Shouji gazed at the contract, thinking about all that really could come of this.
With or without this, he would have kept quiet anyway without this for fear of Megura being hurt, but now he was getting somewhat of health benefits out of it from the text regarding medical care. He couldn't complain about that. As he mused over the document, Shouji imagined he didn't have a choice regarding the matter, but even regarding the circumstances, the option was beginning to look more favorable as he reread the text.
He took the pen. "I'll accept it, Sir," he said, looking for the place to sign.
"Good," Hakuro replied sharply. He smiled, regarding Shouji a little less warily as he watching the boy sign the paperwork. "After I'd like to- discuss exactly what type of relationship the two of you have contracted with one another," he told him as he paced back towards the window.
The pen slipped in his hand a little as he finished signing. "U-uh, well-" Shouji stuttered, looking up at him.
Hakuro knew the frivolities of human boys, especially young ones. He was once one himself, eager and foolish, and he'd fallen for the seductive mistress he had lovingly cared for that gave him his daughter. The very notion of Shouji being in his shoes made him feel a little less tense, and for it, Hakuro let loose a brief laugh at his response that echoed into a deeper bellow as he imagined Shouji's very hands trembling as if he had just been caught in the act of a wrong-doing.
"You think I'm going to do something to you if you lie to me?" Hakuro turned from the window to gaze at the back of the seat Shouji sat in. He noticed him tense up before he spoke louder and clearer, making Shouji jerk upright.
"Out with it. She's already told me what you mean to her, but what does she mean to you?" he asked, going back to being serious. "You're in no means trying to exploit her, are you? We won't turn you. If you turn, we will kill you." He regarded him. "So out with it. And don't lie. I'll be able to tell," he growled.
Shouji sighed, letting the pen fall from his fingertips when he finally realized the angle of the question and somehow it didn't feel as terrible bringing up his side of it with the context being more about trust than anything.
"I don't want to be a vampire. I wouldn't do anything to hurt Megura. I liked her before I knew what she was," he confessed. Shouji reminisced on how they even saw each other, and he felt a fondness of her now that he hadn't recognized before. He'd never felt this way before with anyone, actually, which made it harder to express these thoughts out loud.
"If your intentions are good, I can't deny you to see her." Hakuro relaxed his tone, letting his voice soften. "She's not a child. She's my daughter, but no child, and hasn't been so for many years." Or so he wanted to believe.
"I want you to do me a favor. Please, don't leave her side." Hakuro's expression grew grim. "I don't ask this out of cliche. I ask this as more of a concerned father, but also as an outsider looking in. You may not understand the dynamics of this world, but from what I've seen- From what I've seen, I can only endeavor that fate doesn't repeat itself twice. Be vigilant of your surroundings, who you mingle with and where you take her. She's naïve to humans. I've tried to teach her otherwise, but it's only as far as I can go." He walked back over to Shouji and leaned over the table to pushing the signed papers into a suitcase he had gathered from next to Shouji's chair.
"Alright, sir," Shouji said. "But-" he started, unsure how to form his question about this. "I am new to all of this and was unaware of the threats that lurked around us." Shouji felt terrible that he had been so naïve, but he was willing to fix it if he knew how.
"You won't be anymore." Hakuro told him. "Hunters aren't something you should concern yourself with as long as the proper security is around." he told him firmly. "I already have someone in place, taking charge of that situation. For now, just be mindful of going out alone together. I'd appreciate it if you took her to heavily populated areas. Dense places. Places where scents are harder to trace. Your job isn't to hunt. Your job isn't to attack. I want you to be very clear with me on that. If there's danger, leave. You have no business putting yourself or her into harm's way, especially knowing that she'd throw herself out in front of you because of your mortality."
"Of course, Sir." He wouldn't know how to fight or hunt, anyway. He would do whatever it took to be with Megura at this point. "Mr. Miyamoto- Sir. Is she okay? I didn't really have much say in what happened and I would have rather her not done it at all if-"
"She's fine," he remarked quickly. "She's sleeping in her room, fully fed and resting," he explained, trying to calm down. Hakuro unfurled his fists and gripped the edge of the table before letting his gaze catch Shouji's as their eyes locked. He wouldn't compel him, but he'd give him this.
"Don't take her sacrifice lightly. What has been done, is done. My daughter, whether or not her decision was flawed, made the ultimate decision to save your life and save you the pain of recovery. I would retrace your thoughts carefully before you voice that again." He grabbed the suitcase, walking to the door. "Step out here with me and come see her. I'll take you to her room and give you a card key to access the elevator system."
Shouji's gaze shifted back to the table before he heard Hakuro's voice carry from across the room. That wasn't how he meant it, but he stood up to follow him without argument. He would rather die though than have her kill herself over him. He figured Mr. Miyamoto would agree with him.
The next few minutes were mostly silent, allowing Shouji to recollect himself as her father escorted him down to the living quarters, a few floors down. The whole experience was still rather uncomfortable and strange, but it was nice not having to fight for something he had an interest in for once.
Shouji noticed someone standing at her door as they walked up. He held out a black card key to him and he took it slowly, examining the gold words emboldened on the top of Miyamoto Heights. He wondered if that was the name of the flats here, and a part of him contemplated how it might feel getting to see her like this every time.
Hakuro cleared his throat, getting Shouji's attention.
"The card has access to the medical ward, this floor, the balcony, bar and dining areas. This is her room. There aren't many other residents on this floor, so you'll have privacy in most of these access areas," the gentleman instructed before handing him a company phone. It was at this moment, Megura's father turned and walked away, leaving Shouji alone with the attendant who laid out the short details and aspects of how to use the card, elevator and what to do in event Shouji might feel dizzy after giving blood.
"Do you have any further questions?"
"No." Shouji told him rather firmly. "Thank you, sir." The gentleman nodded before walking back to the elevator as Shouji pocketed the phone and card. He stepped up to the doorway, knocking on it. It took him a moment to recognize the small whisper of a voice from the other side, or so he thought, before he grabbed the handle and twisted the knob to open it.
To his surprise, the door handled clicked and opened slowly as Shouji stepped in.
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