It lives! Told you I don't abandon my stories forever :3 Usually. I finally overcame the four years of writer's block for this story (I can't believe it's been four years since I wrote anything for this!). I think I'm really gonna love it now. And I hope you will, too. Main rule: forget EVERYTHING from the last version. I'd go over what's changed, but...I don't want anyone remembering the horror of the first. At all. So, if something seems different now, it is, just go with it.
Anyway! I haven't edited this yet, because I was just too excited to post it! I'll edit later. :3
Chapter One: Enjoy Your Stay
The school was bigger than Shade had expected. The old castle sprawled across the field, dark and ominous under a rainy sky. The ancient forest surrounding it didn't help.
Tonguing his fangs somewhat nervously, the vampire started toward the massive and intricately carved front doors, adjusting the bag over his shoulder. His other suitcase lumped against his leg with every step, making it a bit of a nuisance, but Shade barely noticed it; despite his calm exterior, his stomach was clenched with nerves.
Or maybe it was hunger.
The doors swung open suddenly, making Shade step back in surprise. But after a moment, he slowly stepped into the school, eyes wide.
There were people everywhere. Darke everywhere. He'd known what to expect, of course, but seeing it was another thing altogether.
The other thing to stun him was the inside of the school itself. If the outside had been impressive, the inside was even more so. Everything appeared to have been preserved from its construction, carved wood filled with gargoyles, marble floors, chandeliers, and tapestries.
Shade was impressed.
A few people nearby had turned to look when he stepped in, and he could feel their eyes as he slowly made his way through the crowd.
What exactly what he supposed to do now?
The vampire stopped, turning to face the speaker. A tall woman with braids and turquoise scales covering her dark skin stared down at him with golden eyes. When he didn't respond, she repeated, "Name?"
Shade started, clearing his throat. "Oh, uh, Nightshade…of the Midnight Clan?"
She flipped through the list, eyes scanning quickly. Her pen scrawled across the paper, and she nodded.
"You are in Moonlight Hall."
"Okay." He obviously had no idea where that was. Apparently sensing his unease, the woman gave him the smallest of smiles.
"In a few moments, a few of the older students will be escorting everyone to their rooms."
Relief rushed through the vampire, and he smiled just as slightly.
With a final nod, the woman moved off, tracking down more students.
Shade sighed, searching for a quiet corner to wait. The busyness of the hall wasn't helping his nerves any.
He didn't have to wait long. A few minutes later, the new students were being gathered together and assigned to the older ones, who quickly led them off. Shade joined a nearby group, keeping to the back as they walked down one of the several hallways opening into the front hall. He vaguely listened as the guide described various rooms and features of the castle, but was more concerned with memorising the locations of different halls and doors.
This place was ridiculously confusing.
He barely noticed how the group had depleted until he heard the words 'Moonlight Hall', and looked up to see only a handful of people left. His silver eyes landed on a set of heavy doors with a worn brass-plate above, announcing the hall's name. He quickly detached from the group, easily slipping through the doors. No one else followed.
The hall was silent.
Shade paused as the doors closed behind him, studying his surroundings. The corridor was large, holding two doors on each side and one at the very end. He noticed nameplates adorning each door, obviously meant to help the new students find their room. His was the second room on his right. He frowned at the other names.
Those names could belong to any number of species, some more preferable than others. Taking a deep breath, he pushed open the door and stepped inside, senses open for any sign of another presence. He could feel one, vaguely, at the edge of his awareness. Frowning, he peered around the room, sharp eyes searching. It was a good sized room, two floors. The first appeared to be meant as a living room, with a couch, chair, TV, and fireplace, as well as a desk to the side. The second was simply a balcony leading to four doors. He could only guess that those were the bedrooms, and probably bathroom.
He decided the person he sensed was in one of those rooms.
Hoisting his bags more comfortably, Shade quietly made his way upstairs, stopping once he'd reached the row of doors. These, too, bore nameplates. His was the second from the stairs. However, he was more interested in seeing what kind of roommates he'd ended up with, so he carefully listened to figure out which of the rooms was occupied. It turned out to be the first, the one belonging to 'Flintlock'.
Breath bated, Shade raised a fist and softly rapped on the door, trying to ignore the urge to hide himself in his own room. He'd never been good around people.
Time slipped by and Shade decided that maybe it was best to go with instinct. His roommate either hadn't heard him or was choosing to ignore him. Either way, Shade wasn't keen on trying to get his attention again.
Just as he was turning away, he heard the door open.
"Who are you?"
Shade spun around, trying his best to not look surprised.
"Oh, uh, I'm Shade. Your new roommate."
The other boy was about his height with humanly pale skin and black hair falling to his shoulders (a few inches shorter than Shade's own). His black eyes, slightly obscured by a fall of messy bangs, studied Shade carefully. They narrowed.
"You're a vampire."
Shade frowned, confused. "Yeah, so?"
Flintlock's chin tilted up slightly, posture challenging. "You're a freak of nature."
Shade stared at him for a minute before understanding dawned. His lip curled, revealing a sharp fang.
"You're a necromancer."
Flintlock's lips curved a bit in a smirk. "Exactly."
Shade scowled, taking a step back. "Great."
He turned around and headed for his bedroom, hands tight around the straps of his bags. Of course he got stuck with a necromancer. Of course.
He stepped aside just in time to avoid the hand reaching for him. Looking over his shoulder, he snarled, "What?"
Flintlock glared back at him, black eyes narrowed.
"Stay out of my way, and I'll stay out of yours."
Shade rolled his eyes, moving to his door. "Sure. Whatever."
He was in his room before the necromancer could say anything more.
Snapping his gum, Blaze peered around the room curiously. He couldn't tell if his roommates had arrived yet, or if he was the only one there. If the other two were there, then they were hiding themselves pretty damn well.
Shrugging, Blaze hefted his bag and started up the stairs, reading the nameplates on the doors once he'd reached the upper level. He could hear movement behind the first two doors, which meant that he was the last to arrive. He snorted.
"Looks like I got stuck with some friendly ones," he muttered, moving over to the second last door. Yellow eyes flicked to the side, landing on the door to his right. Obviously the bathroom.
Shrugging to himself, Blaze entered his room, looking around curiously. Pretty big for a school bedroom. He was surprised to see a queen-sized bed pushed against the right wall, pillows piled high on a black bedspread. Dark red walls, mahogany floor, a large window above the bed, matching mahogany desk and dresser…he felt like he was in a classy hotel.
Blaze briefly debated having a nap, before deciding he'd rather wander around a bit first. Classes started the day after tomorrow, so he wanted to get used to his surroundings before he ran out of time.
Dumping his bags on the floor by his bed, Blaze left his room and started back along the balcony. As he reached the stairs, he heard a door open, making him turn around and spot one of his roommates. He was deathly pale, long black hair spilling down his back and framing his delicate face. Wide silver eyes stared back at Blaze, wary and curious. He grinned in answer, saluting with ringed fingers.
The other Darke blinked, offering a cautious wave.
"I'm Blaze," the demon offered, leaning against the handrail. "You?"
"Oh, um, Shade."
"Cool. You met the other guy yet?"
Pale lips pulled into a grimace. "Yeah."
Blaze's eyebrow rose. "Mean guy?"
Shade shrugged, arms wrapped around his torso. "Cultural differences."
He shrugged again, one hand moving to gesture along with his words. "Well, he's a necromancer, and I'm a vampire."
Yellow eyes lit in understanding. "Oh."
Blaze scratched at his short black hair, pushing aside red bangs. He offered a smile, lip-ring glinting in the light. "Well, guess we'll just have to get along, eh?"
Shade blinked, before offering his own tiny smile. "I guess."
The demon started back down the stairs. "C'mon, I want to wander."
For a minute, Blaze didn't think he was coming, but when he reached the bottom of the stairs and turned around, there was Shade, hands in his pockets and silver eyes following the Blaze's movements.
"You're awfully quiet, aren't you?" Blaze remarked, eyebrows raised.
Shade stepped past him, smile widening.
"Comes with being a vampire. Easier to sneak up on victims."
Blaze snorted, heading for the door. "That make me a victim?"
Shade followed him, shaking his head. "Not today."
Neither of them had any particular destination in mind when they stepped out of the hall; they just started walking. The corridors of the school were rather busy, however, so they decided to head for some less populated parts of the building. After going through several doors and twisting hallways, they eventually reached an old stone staircase, twisting up into the dark. Blaze glanced at his companion, yellow eyes glowing and sharp white teeth flashing in a grin.
"Wanna go up?"
Shade's eyes were fixed on the darkness, thin shoulders rising in a shrug. "Sure."
Blaze was the first to start climbing the stairs, footsteps achingly loud compared to those of Shade. The vampire followed a little more slowly, fingers trailing along the stone wall.
The climb seemed to go on forever, the air getting cooler and damper, and the staircase getting narrower. However, they finally reached the top, stepping out onto a solid stone floor. Blaze's eyes could easily make out every detail, landing on a small door across from the. Curious, he walked toward it, hearing Shade following close behind. He vaguely wondered at his night vision, vaguely remembering hearing that vampires were a lot like cats.
"Where do you think it goes?"
Blaze shrugged, long fingers wrapping around the cool handle and yanking it open. They were blasted with cool, wet air, and as Blaze took a step, he realised they were on part of the roof. He whistled, eyes wide.
"This is pretty awesome."
He watched Shade cross to one of the low walls, bending over. Long raven strands whipped around him, obscuring his face as he stared down below.
Sliding his hands in his pockets, Blaze followed him, leaning against the damp wall.
"Looks like we're on top of one of the towers."
Shade nodded vaguely, silver eyes still the trees, fields, and lake behind the school. Neither of them had realised how large the school really was.
"So, where you from?" asked Blaze, wanting to see how many words he could get the vampire to string together at once.
"Québec," he replied, raising his head slightly to glance at Blaze.
The demon's head tilted. "You don't sound French."
Shade smiled slightly. "I just moved there a couple years ago. I was born in Ontario."
"Oh. That explains it." His yellow eyes resumed staring across the fields. "I'm from Alberta."
"I heard a lot of demon clans live there," Shade remarked, straightening to tie back his hair in a messy ponytail. "Is that true?"
Blaze nodded, fingers shoving back through his bangs. They were damp. "It's pretty easy for us to hide in the mountains. Got entire towns made up of just demons, and sometimes other Darke."
Silver eyes widened, impressed. "I didn't know that."
Blaze nodded, a proud smile shaping his lips. He was happy not to have been raised hiding among humans…not that that would've been easy with the bright red of his skin. Unlike a lot of other Darke, he hadn't had to worry about watching his behaviour or magic use, could talk freely with other members of his race…he'd had an easy life up to this point. This was the first time he'd be away from his home for an extended period of time.
A sudden crack of thunder startled them both, followed quickly by the renewed splattering of rain. Shade grimaced, already moving toward the door.
"Let's go back."
Shooting one last glance at the grounds of his new home, Blaze followed his roommate back into the castle.
Surprisingly, they were able to navigate their way back to their room without much difficulty, although Blaze suspected that without Shade's help, he would've been completely lost. Directions weren't exactly his strong point.
Blaze was a bit surprised to see Moonlight Hall still silent and empty as he followed Shade into their room.
"Hey, have you seen anyone else?"
Shade frowned, looking up at him.
"No. I guess they're all unpacking and getting to know each other."
Well, that made sense.
"I'm going to go have a shower," Shade said suddenly, fingering his wet hair. "Don't want pneumonia."
Blaze raised an eyebrow at that as he crossed the room to flop down on the couch.
"Can vampires even get pneumonia?"
The creature in question smiled with a shrug as he walked to the stairs.
"I don't know. But I'd rather not find out."
Blaze snorted, kicking up his feet. A few minutes later, he heard the soft sound of water, nearly drowned by the pattering rain outside. With a sigh, he leaned back on the soft cushions, eyes slipping closed. Now would be a good time for a nap.
Flint sunk lower in his chair, black eyes glancing at the lanky form of the fire demon sprawled across the couch. Upon finding him like this fifteen minutes ago Flint had decided he was the final roommate, Blaze. And since he'd been asleep the entire time, Flint had no opinion of the demon's personality yet…unlike that damn vampire.
He looked over his shoulder to see Shade frozen on the stairs, silver eyes fixed on him. Flint stared back, hostility clear in his gaze.
"Problem?" he drawled, one eyebrow sliding up casually.
Shade's eyes instantly narrowed and he finished his descent, walking over to the couch with his head raised high. Flint couldn't help smirking at that. Nice to see the creature still had his pride.
A waking grunt drew the necromancer's attention back to the demon, who was now sitting up, yawning.
"Whattaya want?" he slurred, blinking groggy yellow eyes at the vampire.
Shade sighed, gracefully sitting on the spot where Blaze's torso had been.
"Taking a nap while wet is just asking to get sick," he replied, leaning back into the cushions, expression disapproving.
"For a member of the Undead, you're sure obsessed with illness," the demon grumbled, slumping against the high armrest.
"If you want to get sick and die, go right ahead," Shade said, rolling his eyes. "Then again, you're rooming with a necromancer, so maybe you'll get lucky."
Flint was a bit surprised that the vampire had acknowledged him, however indirectly. It didn't improve his opinion of him, of course, but it was interesting.
Blaze's attention instantly turned to him, yellow eyes brightening in curiosity.
"Oh, hey, you're the other guy! Flintlock, right?"
Flint blinked. That wasn't the reaction he'd been expecting from someone who had befriended a vampire.
"Just Flint," he corrected, carefully studying the demon, much like he'd done Shade earlier. Except he had nothing against demons. They could be quite useful in a Summoning. "You're Blaze." Not a question.
"You got it." Blaze stretched his legs in front of him, scratching a cheek. "You been in here all day?"
Flint nodded, aware of the way Shade was watching their exchange with a guarded expression. Flint could tell it was bothering him. That made him grin.
"I've been unpacking. Y'know, getting settled in."
"I still gotta do that," Blaze muttered, playing with his lip-ring. Groaning, he rose to his feet, stretching. "Guess I'll go unpack and have a shower." He turned a smug grin on Shade. "See? I won't get pneumonia."
Shade tore his gaze away from Flint long enough to roll his eyes.
"Okay, you won't get pneumonia."
Waving at the pair of them, Blaze loped up the stairs, the sound of a door opening and closing following close behind.
Silence fell on the room. Flint debated heading back to his room, but the way Shade was avoiding looking at him was just too entertaining. He slung a leg over the arm of his chair, staring him down. Finally, Shade seemed to lose his nerve, and he quickly rose from the couch, footsteps soundless as they carried him back up the stairs. Flint watched him go, smirking the entire time.
Maybe living with a vampire wouldn't be so bad after all.