This story, like all the other incomplete ones, is also dicontinued! I will post the chapters I've already written, but I will not work on these anymore, meaning I won't correct mistakes. Reviews are still appreciated though! Thank you!

"Do you cry out in your sleep
All my failings exposed?
Get a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
Is it something so good
Just can't function no more?
When love, love will tear us apart again"

Love Will Tear Us Apart

By Joy Division

Chapter Six

Ash had finally succeeded to suck emotions out of Nico. He could see them no matter how hard Nico tried to mask them. Maybe the damn mask of nonchalance was stuck. No use in thinking about what they were up to.

He flopped back on the couch and zapped through the channels, and was asleep before long. When he woke up, the sun blazed red in the sky. The house was quiet. He crossed the room and went up the stairs to the second floor, where the bedrooms were situated, and looked through every one of them, slamming in the doors. Empty. Silent. Only the distant scraping of leaves against the pavement, carried by the wind. He stood a moment before the stairs that led up to the tower, but he figured if they were there, it would look awkward if he stuck his head in through the floor. After all he had known that they weren't in any of the bedrooms. He didn't want inanimate objects being thrown at his head.

He kicked off his black Michael Kors shoes when he climbed the window out of his own bedroom; the smaller one that didn't even contain a bed. It was just a half-dimmed room with a circular carpet covering the floor and red lamps at measured distances installed on the walls. But from the rooftop over his room, he had the best view of the tower's west side. He had a lithe body, and didn't have difficulties climbing. He caught the drain pipe over his window and hoisted himself up onto the faint black fake tiles of the roof. They felt like sandpaper to his knees. He straightened up and brushed himself off, feeling the last rays of the sunlight caress his hair, the back of his neck. The tiles were cold under his bare feet, he clenched his toes and relaxed them. Dirt gathered under them. He stretched in the warmth like a cat, scratching his stomach and let his head fall back to enjoy the fresh air. The woods around the house swung with the zephyr, and there they were, Nico bent over the boy who lay across his lap. Ash clenched his fists and bit his lip, running his fangs over them hard enough to draw blood. He licked it, but it was already running down his chin, over his throat, and covering the collar of his white blouse.

It was time to do some business.

Ash beheld the sight before him, scrunching his nose out of disgust or sympathy; he wasn't sure which.

The walls were damaged by humidity and the faint smell of old bread purged out of them. It was a small apartment on the top storey, only a studio - a large one, but nevertheless a studio. And it was old; the ceiling and floor in hardwood, the doorknobs barely functioning, the windows impossible to close. Clothes and gadgets lay on the floor, the armchair, the bed, on the big stack of money in the furthest corner, everywhere really, even over the empty birdcage in its lonely place beside the unused kitchenette. It was cold now, at night, but it didn't bother the residents.

Ash leaned back against the doorframe from which he had come through. He watched in silence as the smoke of a cigarette in a rigid hand coiled up to the mouldy ceiling. The hand belonged to an arm with the dirty blouse sleeves folded up. The man on the floor put the cigarette to his lips and drew in a long puff. He let it pass out between his lips in a thick brownish stream. His feet were bare and he wore a pair of torn jeans. He didn't seem to feel Ash's presence, or simply didn't care. His eyes were grey and open, bloodshot. His jaw was strong and masculine. He was tall and broad shouldered, with coarse yet graceful features laying in deep wrinkles. His hair was supposed to be chocolate brown, but it had so many streaks of grey and white now that is had almost fully lost its former glory.

"A little birdie told me we have a guest."

Ash felt a hand on his shoulder. Elle emerged dressed in a thin, long summer dress that flowed behind her like water. The tame Myna bird sat obediently on her hand.

"Haven't I told you that I don't appreciate being surprised?" Ash advanced towards her, clenching his teeth.

Elle was kneeling calmly to place the bird back in its cage. "Hello!" the bird exclaimed. "Danny is dead, Danny is dead!"

"Oh no, Shar, Danny isn't dead," she looked over her shoulder at the figure on the floor, "yet."

Ash could never for the life of him guess why Danny did such things to himself. Did he enjoy it? Did it put him into ecstasy? Did he perhaps feel closer to God? Maybe it made him at least feel good. Feel like he wasn't a demon. Repent for his sins, the old fashioned way. Ash didn't think Danny cared about those things though. He probably had another reason, but then Ash didn't know much about him at all. They had only met a few times, because Danny liked to keep himself in his own corner and not lay any hand in the matters that concerned the others. He simply…never got bored!

Elle's vermillion curls lay on her back like a wine river, thick and shiny. She straightened up. "I'm not going to excuse myself for your poor hearing, Ash."

Ash flinched; Elle wasn't one to forgive weaknesses, and although she might disregard them now and then, she never completely accepted anything. He needed to be very careful in her company.

Elle helped Danny up to sit on the bed. His eyes were still hollow, but Elle had the strongest patience with him. She did love him after all. They had been lovers as long as Ash had known them. They kept their respectful distance from each other, yet here they were at the end of the day, faithfully playing their roles as "husband" and "wife".

Even though Ash had been walking through this nocturnal world for thirty years, he still didn't understand much of its population. He wasn't sure whether he wanted to. They all had their twists, some defect, some dysfunction. He wasn't sure what his own was, perhaps he was just as insane as they were but didn't realise it…! Just thinking about it would surely drive him to insanity. Nico was perhaps the most sensible one of them all, and Ash couldn't invoke even one drop of emotion in his cold heart. Did Nico have feelings when he wasn't around Ash? Did Nico show warmth when he touched the boy? Ash closed his eyes, for it felt like they were burning.

"My dear tortured poet, when are you going to stop neglecting yourself?" Elle plopped into the chair and straightened her dress on her lap, pulled up the shoulder straps. Her small breasts contoured themselves through the pink rose-printed chiffon. Her face was so delicate that you didn't dare touch it, her skin of finest white rose petals. "So, what brings you here?" She scrutinized Ash from top to toe before nodding for him to sit.

He took his place at the windowsill. The curtain blew in beside him and played against his back. It was time now, to roll the ball. "Nico has found himself a new toy."

Elle looked wide eyed at Ash before breaking out into an obnoxiously loud laughter trickling like pearls. "Another one of your games. Darling Nico…" She looked away, lost in thought.

Ash didn't know much about their past, but he knew that they had been close. It was impossible to say what had made Elle hold this bitter grudge against him though. Ash wasn't sure how she truly felt about Nico now, but he knew that she would take any measures for revenge. That was his ace card. He swallowed. It had to succeed. She couldn't see through it this easily. He was playing his hand well. And even if she did deem him sorry, what would that matter? She would get her part no matter what.

"What day is it?" Danny rubbed his eyelids and sniffed.

"It's one day closer to your death, dear," Elle informed, her neck relaxed, her head rolling to the side against the back of the chair to look at him. She got up and moved towards Danny, her graceful movements making it seem like her feet didn't even touch the floor. She caressed Danny's cheek affectionately, her finger lingering on his five o'clock shadow. "I think Ash wants us to play with him."

Ash wasn't sure how to react to the sarcasm dripping from her crimson lips. Did this mean that his proposal was being rejected? Were they mocking him? Elle was probably the one person he couldn't fully figure out. Usually he read people like open books through their body language, but with Elle, her body and her mouth spoke of two different things. He would never dare intrude on her mind though, although he sometimes did it with Nico. Nico wouldn't punish him as severely. But Elle let you know when she wanted you to do something, and she wasn't telling Ash now to read her mind. She was laughing at him.

Danny seemed to notice Ash for the first time. "Oh."

Ash bowed his head in recognition, hugging his own arms. He wished that he and Nico at least shared a relationship similar to theirs - but he wouldn't be able to stand that, at a closer thought. Ash wasn't one to forget time, while Elle and Danny seemed to live outside of its boundaries. To them, nothing truly mattered. How could that be? Ash didn't understand them, the way they lived, their reasons. He had known them for almost twenty years, on and off, but that didn't bring him any clarity whatsoever. Elle had of course seduced him that time; twenty years ago when he was still in Nico's favour, a young vampire - by their standards - although by mortal years he would already have been thirty two. Nico adored his innocence, his naivety, his beauty. But they had been playing a game, Nico and Elle, and Ash, unknowing of how he was being played, snatched the bait. He had lost; lost the game, lost the prize, lost what he didn't even bet on. He had lost it all to Elle, and now he was asking her for help to recover what she had taken from him.

Ash still remembered the scent of her hair. He felt heart-broken every time he laid eyes on her.

"So…what are the rules?" Elle smiled lopsidedly, a distant gleam in her deep brown orbs.

Ash returned the smile and shifted his weight to his left leg.