Once upon... umm... okay... we've been through this already... uhh... Once upon a time that was a long time ago (that's sure a mouthful), there lived a man and his son. The father was named Mazin... and he named his son Gareth. They were not like ordinary men though. They were hunters of the night and terrors of all things that could bleed. They were vampires. Except unlike most vampires, these two did not have an elegant mansion or a fabulous fortune. Nor did they have a summer home in Transylvania. They even lacked servants to feed upon. They were poor... due to Mazin's lazy attitude.
They lived in a shack with no windows and one door---for the purpose of keeping out the hideous sunlight. And at night, they would both leave the cramped indoors to hunt upon humans... or sometimes rats if their luck was very bad. Mazin was a rather crude vampire. He lacked the general elegance and poise of a fanged individual. That was why no one liked him. No one. Except his son. His son looked up to him... Which was quite surprising since he never treated the poor boy that well.
One night, upon the usual hunt, Mazin caught sight of a delicious looking creature. It ran off, deep into the dark forest. Winter had set in a week prior and snow was upon the ground. But that didn't stop Mazin from following the agile prey. He chased after it like a clumsy predator. The cold ground crunched below his feet as he raced after his dinner.
To his dismay, the creature vanished from sight. But a new surprise stood waiting. In a clearing before his eyes, there was no snow upon the ground. In fact, the whole scene was covered in immaculately kept gardens---they looked like they were in the prime of a summer season. In the middle of the gardens was a large mansion. Beautiful gray stone and marble lined the outside of the manor, all carved into delicate patterns. The windows were tall and pointed at the top. There was a cast-iron fence surrounding the grounds, but the gate was wide open. The vampire gapped at the strange scene as his feet walked toward the mansion. His green eyes were wide with awe.
Before he knew it, he had walked through the gates. Mazin bumped into a few shrubs and stone benches... all because his eyes were set upon a few shimmering metal statues in the garden. They would surely fetch a hefty price if he could just get one or two home... and sell them. He rested a hand upon the gold exterior of a woman, posing, with hair that covered her eyes and a spade in her hand.
"Excuse me, might I ask why you're trespassing on my grounds?" someone growled from behind the wealth crazed vampire. Mazin spun around to come face to face with a nightmare inducing creature. Four black-feathered wings were folded upon his back. Long talons, glinting in the pale moonlight, sprung from his fingers and toes. He stood at nearly twice the height of the vampire, with hair of glistening black feathers. Angered green eyes stared down at Mazin, who was now standing in the shadow of the towering monster.
Mazin screamed and fell backward upon the ground. Even in the moonlight, the beast was a horrible sight to see. The vampire trembled under the annoyed gaze of the giant creature standing before him.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Harpy, sir!" Mazin stuttered. His fright was clearly shown. The beast rolled his eyes.
"You sicken me... really you do," the harpie creature scowled. He paused a moment to look at his taloned hands. "Hmm... what to do with you... Shall I drop you in my tank of sharks? Or perhaps leave you to go mad in the cricket cave? ... Or maybe I'll let you fend for your pathetic life down in my giant scorpion pit..." the harpy-like creature pondered aloud. A sadistic grin, filled with sharp teeth, covered the monster's face. Mazin gulped nervously and groveled at the beast's feet.
"Please spare me! I'll give you anything!" Mazin pleaded.
"I already have everything I could ever want. What could you offer me?" the beast smirked as he folded his wing like arms.
"... Maybe some plastic surgery?" Mazin murmured beneath his breath. A taloned foot kicked him in the head.
"I heard that, you insolent nightcrawler," the beast hissed, baring his mouth full of sharp teeth. Mazin whimpered and rubbed his head where he was kicked.
"I am sorry, your harpy-ness," the cowardly vampire squeaked.
"... You're trying my patience. Do you or do you not have something worthwhile to offer me?" the beast snarled. Mazin swallowed hard, trying to think of a way out of the... rather nasty situation.
"How about a trade? I have a son, he's younger and fitter than I. He would surely be a better meal for you," Mazin murmured finally. The creature raised a feathery eyebrow.
"What a horrible father you are, willing to sacrifice your son for your own skin," the harpy scoffed.
"... Yeah well... children are rather dispensable to me," Mazin muttered, thinking of all his previous mates and children.
"... Fine, I'll take your son. Go fetch him... and bring him back immediately. If you are not back by tomorrow at this time, I'll come hunt you," the creature ordered. Mazin, in a fit of glee, got up from the ground.
"Thank you! Thank you so much! I'll bring you my kin tomorrow. Don't worry!" the vampire cackled as he ran out of the garden. The beast watched the giddy vampire escape the garden.
Mazin, being the ignorant individual he was, did not keep his promise. He didn't even mention the mansion or the beast to Gareth when he got home. Instead he just pushed his son away from the meal he caught, and drank the rest of the blood from the twitching animal. The two then laid down to sleep away the day.
Gareth awoke from his sleep upon hearing loud screams. He slid the lid off his coffin. To his appall, a tall creature was clawing at his father's flesh. The son rose up from the coffin and jumped upon one of the monster's arms.
"Stop it!" Gareth yelled. The harpy looked over at the silver-haired vampire that was clinging to his arm.
"Your father made me a deal, child. And he did not hold up his end of the bargain," the beast said with a smirk.
"Ah! But you see! There he is! My son! Take him and leave me be!" Mazin cried in his utter cowardice. Gareth couldn't believe his ears. He looked to his father... his tattered form huddled in the corner. Gareth then looked to the beast. Upon catching the abhorrent features of the monster, his world went pitch black. The harpie-like beast laid the unconscious Gareth back in his vampire coffin, then directed his frightening eyes upon Mazin. The elder vampire released a scream that could be heard from miles away...
Gareth opened his violet eyes. To his surprise, he was no longer in the dark shack he was so accustomed to. The familiar smell of his coffin was gone... instead he was upon a large plush bed. The room was quite decadent. It sparkled in the lamplight. The room in itself was three times the size of the puny shack Gareth had been inhabiting. Getting over his shock, Gareth pulled himself from the comfy bed and walked to the mahogany door. He latched onto the gold doorknob and turned it. The door opened up into what looked like an endless hallway.
Out of complete curiosity, the silver-haired vampire crept along the hallway, peeking into rooms. Many more bedrooms, a study, and grandiose bathing rooms where behind the doors. Even the closets were bigger than his shack. He soon came upon a huge dinning room and kitchen---both looked like they'd never been used before. The entire complex was spotless. Continuing his little journey down the hall, Gareth opened a door into a large library.
He felt a frozen sensation spread over his body as he spied the beast sitting in a comfy green armchair. He was... reading... a thick book with words written on the front in a language Gareth did not recognize. The vampire felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as the harpy-like creature looked up at him. His taloned hands closed the book.
"I see you're awake, little vampire," the beast murmured. Gareth swallowed as he tried to gather up his calm.
"Why did you bring me here?" Gareth asked quietly. He noticed the green eyes were staring at him.
"Because you were promised to me by your father," the monster explained coolly. The recalled memory of his father widened Gareth's eyes.
"And yet you still killed him," Gareth said.
"He was a horrible man... and an even worse father. He clearly had you wrapped around his crooked little finger, didn't he?" the harpy mused. Gareth gripped his hands into fists.
"I know he wasn't the best person. But you killed him! The deal was you'd take me away and spare him... wasn't it?" Gareth said, this time a bit more emotional. The beast tapped his taloned fingers together as he sighed.
"Yes... that was the deal... But he didn't bring you back in the time I allotted.. And therefore I could kill him. He was a good meal... so much screaming, fear, and anguish," the harpy chuckled. Gareth's violet eyes widened.
"You ate him!?"
"No, silly boy. If I ate him he surely would have given me very bad indigestion... but that is beside the point. I feed upon negative emotions... such as what he was feeling as I killed him," the beast said with a twisted, toothy grin. Gareth looked down at the floor.
"... Am I? Well then, maybe you'd prefer to stay in my dungeon rather than your lavish room you awoke in," the black-feathered creature threatened.
"... A dungeon?" Gareth questioned out loud. The other nodded his feathery head.
"Of course! A dungeon for all the trespassers... like traveling salesmen and annoying girl scouts," the monster smirked.
"... I'd rather keep the room you've provided for me," Gareth replied after a moment of silence.
"Then stop your whining. If you must do anything, go cry. I was in quite the mood for a snack now that I think about it," the beast laughed. Gareth looked up at the eyesore sitting in the green armchair.
"You just think this is all a big game for you, don't you?" Gareth cried. The harpy stopped his laugh to look at the young vampire with a quirked brow.
"Well why wouldn't I? I am quite above humans. I would think you, being a vampire, would feel similarly... after all they are your main source of food too... just you dine upon their blood instead of their fragile emotions," the beast said with a tone more of seriousness. Gareth, having no come back for his rather true notion, looked back down at the marbled floor.
"You're lucky I am in a good mood right now... most insolence like you've just displayed would put you down in the dungeon, you're choice or not," the beast scoffed with a flick of his taloned hand.
"Yes, sir," Gareth murmured in obedience.
"Drop the sir. My name is Raven," the harpy informed.
"... Raven... well... I'm Gareth," the silvery vampire replied.
"I didn't ask your name, but thank you for telling me," Raven chuckled. Gareth gripped his hands into fists once more, feeling irritation ball up in his nerves.
"If you're good and don't break anything, I may have a little surprise for you at dinner time," Raven said with an almost charming smile... as charming as you can get for a harpy thing. Gareth nodded his head, turned from the library and started to make his leave.
"Do enjoy your stay, Gareth. You're going to be here a long time," Raven smirked as the vampire left.
Dinner rolled around, as did the eve. Odd gender-challenged servants beckoned Gareth down to the dinning room. They looked like children and had soft personalities and a good deal of logic. Gareth stepped into the large dinning hall. No fine meals were set out upon the endless table in the room. But the beast was there, sitting in one of the plush diningroom chairs. He motioned for Gareth to sit next to him. The vampire followed obediently and sat down. With a clap of Raven's hands, one of his servants lead in a shackled prisoner.
He was a middle-aged man, wearing the tattered remains of a suit. His eyes were glazed over---blind.
"You're in luck, Gareth. Today was the day all the prisoners got their yearly baths," Raven smirked as he watched the vampire stare at the prisoner.
"... Is he my meal?" Gareth asked in a slightly unsure tone. The monster nodded his head. Gareth got up from his seat, walked to the prisoner and rested a hand upon his shoulder. With his other he tilted the man's head to the side, exposing his freshly scrubbed neck. The vampire shut his violet eyes as he punctured the prisoner with his fangs. The man didn't even flinch. Gareth soon finished his meal and the prisoner collapsed upon the floor dead.
"... They usually scream and squirm," Gareth murmured. Raven smirked with a knowing face.
"He's felt much worse by now. Your fangs probably felt like nothing more than a slight pinch," Raven said. Gareth watched as the servants carted the corpse away. Once the dead man was gone, Gareth felt the beast's green eyes looking him up and down from behind. He kept his own violet eyes upon the doorway, wondering if he should ask to leave.
"... Will you marry me?" the beast murmured a bit suddenly. Gareth's thoughts went blank and his expression turned to shock as his head spun in the direction of the beast.
"... You're kidding right?" Gareth stuttered, followed by an uncomfortable laugh. Raven shook his feathery head.
"Just answer the question, yes or no?"
"... Very well. Good night then, Gareth," Raven said as he stood up. His looming form walked past Gareth and out of the dinning room doors.
"Marry? Why did he ask such a preposterous question?" Gareth wondered as he too left the dinning hall.
His meal choices grew in levels of sophistication. A prisoner of war. A run away noble. A beautiful duchess. A Scottish prince. Gareth noticed each time he would feed that the beast would watch him intently. His green eyes almost seemed... jealous. Jealous of what, he was not quite sure.
After every meal, Raven always asked the strange question... which had stopped being strange after the tenth time. Will you marry me? Why would Gareth want to marry such a sadistic, cruel and ugly thing as the beast? Why did the twisted bachelor even bother asking if he already knew the answer was going to be no? After his rejection, that was when he'd leave with a good night and Gareth would be left to do as he pleased.
This pattern continued for months at a time. Gareth no longer had to hunt for his meals. Finally a menu of the prey Gareth could feast upon was offered to his room before he'd go to dinner. He'd make his pick and suck happily upon the finest blood in the world. How Raven got a hold of such people was a mystery.
But one day, the menu did not appear on Gareth's bed stand. He figured the servants somehow forgot. When dinner came around, he walked down to the dinning room, pondering his choices from the list he had memorized from yesterday's menu.
"Some Chinese could really hit the spot right now. But should it be a prince or a princess? Hmm..." Gareth debated aloud. He walked in the door and sat down at his usual seat next to Raven.
"What are you thinking? I see the wheels in your head turning," Raven asked with subtle interest. Gareth glanced at the harpy-man and grinned.
"I was debating who I wanted to feast upon tonight... since no one sent a menu down today," Gareth said.
"... That won't be necessary today," Raven said smoothly.
"Because, I am your meal today," Raven said with his lopsided, beastly smile. Gareth felt his stomach twist into a knot. Him? Raven expected him to bite him? The vampire avoided touching him... how was he suppose to bite him!?
"I can see you're distressed," Raven smirked.
"... Well yes... I can't bite you," Gareth said between gritted teeth.
"Why not?" Raven asked. Gareth went silent again. Would it be wise to tell him the truth? I can't bite you because you're hideous? Gareth bit his lip as he tried to think of a less insulting reason.
"... You can't bite something this ugly? Is that why?" Raven asked as he leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. Gareth sunk down in his dining room chair.
"Yes.." he squeaked.
"... No one ever told you not to judge a book by its cover?" Raven inquired. Gareth remained silent. Of course he'd heard that stupid over used phrase. What did feeding have to do with books? Why couldn't he just have the Chinese princess like he wanted?
"... Tell you what, Gareth. Take a taste. If you don't like my blood, then you can go back to picking prey of your choice," Raven suggested. Gareth pondered the compromise, then slowly sat up.
"Alright," Gareth agreed. To his surprise, the beast seemed quite... happy about the agreement.
"Well get over here and bite me," Raven murmured as he leaned his feathery head to the left. Gareth didn't budge.
"... I have one more request," Gareth said.
"... Can there be no light?" Gareth added. Raven looked at the vampire silently, then clapped his hands. The gender-challenged servants came into through the doors and put out all the candles, leaving them in complete darkness. Gareth took a deep breath and climbed out of his chair. He sat upon the beast's lap.
"Move your knee," the beast said with a grunt. Gareth felt his cheeks blaze as he realized what his knee was against. He moved it immediately. Using his hands to find the beast's shoulders, Gareth leaned forward. His face was met with the feathers of Raven's hair. He heard the soft breath of the creature beneath him. Pawing through the numerous feathers, Gareth found the flesh of Raven's neck. Not delaying any further, Gareth sunk his vampiric fangs into the beast's neck.
To his complete surprise, the beast's blood tasted like the gods' ambrosia. No other blood had every tasted so delicious, so fine, and so rich. The vampire, quite pleased with the taste, let out a soft sound of gratitude. His pale hands rested upon Raven's shoulders. His originally rigid muscles started to relax as the scrumptious blood flowed down Gareth's ravenous throat. He drank his fill. No... He drank more than his fill. He drank more than most humans have to offer. Yet Raven seemed perfectly fine.
His stomach, stretched to the max like a mosquito at a picnic, started to hurt. Gareth released the beast's neck. He drew in heaved breaths as he relished in the taste lingering in his mouth.
"... Hmm... if my blood tasted awful, you sure forced a lot of it down," Raven mused. Gareth, too stuffed to move, groaned softly.
"Yes... it was horrible," he played along with the beast. Despite the darkness, he knew Raven was smiling.
"So do you want different prey, or will I do as your meal from now on?" the beast asked.
"... I think you'll do fine," Gareth whispered over his stuffed stomach. The creature stood up, holding Gareth in his winged embrace. Too full to complain, Gareth curled up in Raven's arms.
The next thing he knew, the beast was lying him upon the soft bed in his room.
"Will you marry me?" Raven murmured the familiar question. Gareth opened his violet eyes to look up at the ceiling.
"Do you have to ask that right now? I am too full to think," Gareth groaned. A taloned hand reached over and brushed a few strands of silver out of Gareth's face.
"Just answer it," Raven replied. Gareth sighed again.
"No. The same exact answer I've told you for months now. Why do you ask me every day? You know and I know I am going to say no," Gareth grumbled. The beast stood silently by the bed. He then turned from the bed.
"I just asked for a simple yes or no. Nothing more," he murmured as he left Gareth alone. The vampire realized as soon as the door shut... that he had hurt him. He actually hurt him. With a sigh he put his pillow over his head.
Despite the tone he'd handled Raven with, the beast continued to ask his question. Gareth never again answered so rudely as he had. Just a simple no.
On one particular evening, Gareth was in the middle of his feast. The candles were all out, as usual. No matter how many times he had Raven's blood, he never got tired of it. If anything, he became more and more addicted to the strange creature's vital fluid. But upon this certain evening... the beast began to stroke the vampire's back. His talons remained quite gentle. The sensations felt rather soothing. The vampire felt his digestion working a bit better. A small moan passed between his lips and Raven's neck.
The gentle strokes ventured under Gareth's silken shirt and upon his bare back. The beast lightly trailed the tips of his talons along the soft vampire's skin. Gareth shivered all over. He stopped feeding momentarily to gasp under the strange feeling. The fact Raven was touching Gareth's bare skin suddenly registered in his head. He pushed back from the beast.
Raven drew his hands from Gareth's shirt. He felt the quivering vampire upon his lap and read his frightened emotions with ease. No words were needed. Gareth crawled from the beast's lap. His back had remained unsacred despite the sharp talons that had been caressing him.
"... Will you marry me?" Raven asked once more. Gareth stopped a foot before the door.
"No..." Gareth replied. He pushed open the door.
"... Good night, then. Good night, Gareth," the beast murmured. Gareth walked out of the door without a word.
The following morning, Gareth was surprised to find the beast at his bedroom door. Something important was on his mind.
"You've been here a year," Raven murmured. Gareth nodded his silvery head.
"So I've decided... that if you want to leave, you may," the beast added. The vampire stood by his bed, slightly dumbfounded.
"... I can go?" he asked, unsure if his ears were lying. Raven nodded his head. He then turned to leave the vampire to his packing and cheering. Instead, Gareth grabbed onto the end of Raven's shirt. The tall monster looked over his shoulder at the vampire.
"... That's very thoughtful of you... But I don't want to leave," Gareth said with a small smile.
"Is that so...?" Raven replied. Gareth nodded his head.
"I have no one left out there. I am used to living here. And I've been babied by your blood," Gareth added with a sheepish grin. The harpy smiled a bit at the vampire's expression.
"... So you'd like to stay?" Raven asked.
"Yes... I would,"
"... Will you marry me?" the beast popped his question once more. Gareth looked up at the beast. In the green eyes he saw so much hope... so much desire... and so much... love.
"... You've done much for me... given me a home, a bed, all the blood I could suck..." Gareth started.
"Just a yes or no please," the beast said. Gareth looked down from the beast's eyes to one of his taloned hands. He took the large paw into his own grasp.
"Yes..." Gareth whispered. Raven, looking troubled, nodded his head and sighed.
"As I expected... you said..." he paused in mid sentence, realizing he heard something quite different from what he had expected.
"Wait... yes...?" Raven asked. His green eyes were wide. The silver haired vampire nodded and smiled at the confused monster.
"... You said yes... You said yes!" Raven repeated over and over. Gareth watched the glee spread over the harpy's face. A bit suddenly, all the windows flew open in the room. Yet the sunlight did not hold its stinging quality to Gareth's skin. A woman materialized in the room. Gareth stared at her, noticing how familiar she looked. She held a lopsided smile to her face. Her hair covered her eyes and in her hand was a spade shovel...
"I see you have found a suitor," the woman said with an authoritative voice. Raven nodded his head to the small woman.
"See. I told you the curse wouldn't hinder you for too long," the woman grinned.
"Oh yes... only a few thousand years," Raven grumbled with a roll of his eyes. Gareth stared at the two. Confusion owned his face. The woman looked over at Gareth and smiled.
"You broke my curse, silly," the woman said.
"Curse? What curse?" Gareth asked with a puzzled tone.
"This curse," Raven murmured from behind Gareth. The silvery vampire looked over his shoulder. But no longer was there a harpy-like monster standing there. Instead it was a man. He was still quite tall... but his nails were filed, and his hair was long and colored the shade of the blackest night. The ebony tresses shimmered in the sunlight and framed the man's handsome face. Gareth gasped.
"You're..." the vampire stuttered. Raven placed two fingers to the vampire's lips.
"It's me... The same old pages, just a different cover," he chuckled. Gareth's violet eyes widened as Raven pulled back his fingers. The familiar green eyes gazed at him. A slight puncture scar was upon his neck.
"... It really is you," Gareth murmured finally. Raven nodded and looked back at the strange glowing woman.
"Despite the annoyance that it was to remain in that form... thank you L-sama," Raven said to her. L-sama nodded her head.
"Now no more little mistakes... unless you want to go through that endeavor again," she said before turning to the window and vanishing. Gareth stared oddly at Raven.
"... Why did you thank her if she put the curse upon you?" Gareth asked. Raven looked down at his vampire. His hand wrapped itself around Gareth's. He brushed his lips against the vampire's fingers, knuckles, and top of his hand.
"Because I get to have you as a companion," he whispered. Gareth smiled slowly.
"So you do..." Gareth replied before the black-haired man caught his lips in a kiss---a kiss sealing their vow to one another till the end of time.