Authors Notes: - Sadly the only other word for cigarette I know is 'fag'. And considering this is a fic that takes place in America with American characters... I'll not be using that term for it anytime soon!


John stared blankly at the computer screen as numbers and letters flashed by. His hands typed steadily, in sharp contrast to his deadpan expression. Beside the off-white keyboard was a red ashtray nearly overflowing with cigarette butts. He plucked the spent cigarette that was dangling from the corner of his mouth and smashed it into its kindred. Still staring at the screen and typing with one hand he reached for a petite red and white soft pack of Lucky Strikes. He fumbled with it for a while before the realization that it was empty slowly dawned on him.

"Crap..." He said glaring at the offending object.

"Should have more around here somewhere." John muttered pulling open drawers, and turning over piles of paper. His search was futile, all he found was empty lighters, cigarette butts, and crushed Lucky Strike packs.

He groaned loudly and leaned back away from his computer. The flimsy chair he was sitting at cracked loudly and dumped him shoulders first into the ground. The seat of the chair remained put however, leaving his legs sticking strait up.

John moaned in pain and got to his feet. He rubbed his shoulders and went searching for a clean pair of socks and his shoes. The socks ended up being under a heap of dirty laundry. The left shoe was on his cot and the right was sitting on the bottom step. He grumbled about treacherous chairs and deserting cigarettes while he put on his shoes. Once shoed he hopped to his feet, checked his back pocket to make sure he had his wallet the climbed the basement stairs; leaving his sanctuary behind.

He quickly left his home and headed down the familiar path leading to Shin Min Market. It was a small convenience store owned by a Korean family. He'd been their customer since he was a kid. Back then he'd buy gum and candy, now all he asked for was his Lucky Strikes. It didn't take him long to arrive, he walked in and nodded to the cashier.

"Hello again, Mr. Hadden!" Kim, the cashier said cheerfully.

"Hey Kim." John said with a weak smile. "Can I get three of the usual?"

"Of course!" The middle-aged Korean man said with his customary smile. He walked over the locked Plexiglas display case and removed three packs of John's brand of cigarettes. Kim returned to the counter and frowned suddenly.

"You have been coming here and buying cigarettes from me for a long time now." He said staring at John.

John shifted nervously, he'd been so careful around everyone else he'd forgotten that Kim and his family saw him often enough to notice he hadn't changed in over twenty years. The last thing he wanted was for them to find out he was a vampire.

"What is you're secret?" Kim asked, smiling again.

"S-secret?" John stammered nervously.

"Yes, yes, for looking so young!"

He sighed in relief his shoulders slumping. "Oh that... Well..." He quickly thought over a million lies and said without much consideration and a bit awkwardly. "It's the cucumber slices."

Kim raised an eyebrow and bagged John's order with a puzzled expression. "Very effective cumbers."

"Uh, yeah... Home grown and all." He said handing over the money.

Kim took the money and handed him his change quickly. "Thank you for coming, I'll see you next time Mr. Hadden."

John nodded and smiled nervously.

"See you then."

He quickly took his bag and retreated to his haven where. As soon as he arrived in the basement he kicked off his shoes, paying no attention to where they landed and sat down before his computer. It didn't seem to bother him that the back of his chair was barely connected to its base and offered little support unless he were to lay down with his feat up in the air again. He went back to typing with one hand while he placed a cigarette to his lips and lit it up. Half the time he forgot to inhale and the cigarette would simply slowly turn to ash. The other half of the time he was puffing franticly, only pausing from his typing to tap the ash off the tip of his current cigarette.