Title: At the End of the Day - Seraphim (2/2)
General/PG (for course langauge)
Partnership has finally been reached for our two favorite outlaws! But to say they're happy with the arrangement is a bit of an understatement. Can this partnership last much longer under the strain of annoyance and distrust? Or will they drive each other insane first? An introspective fic.
Time Line:
Season unknown, 2458 A.S. Ten years after Pact.
Sin – 458 years; Draca – 103 years; Gwen – 19 years; Kyris – 43 years

Standard Disclaimer: This series will eventually include yaoi/slash and adult themes! If you don't like it, DON'T READ.

At the End of the Day - Seraphim

"We oft hate that which we fear."

At the end of the day, no holds barred, and all things considered – the monster is absolutely infuriating.

And that's all there is to say about that. End of story.

Because he does not know anything about the infuriating creature that has become his partner. He does not want to know. He does not care to know. He does not need to know.

The man is a monster by blood – by nature. A Vampyre. A solitary creature which cares only for itself and the bloodshed which it inflicts. The thing is a curse on society, on life. Vampyres cannot be trusted, for they only live for themselves. They'll betray anyone when it suits them. It is no small miracle that most are killed when young.

He's lived a long time – now nearly twice as long as he should have been capable of, and he's proud to say that his knowledge is vast. He knows what is written about Vampyres. He's researched them on a whim in the libraries of the Tower of Wisdom. He knows how to kill them efficiently. He knows their weaknesses.

But this Vampyre is different than those he's read about. It makes no effort to hide what it is – flaunts it, in fact. And in that he has to wonder if the monster is either confident in his abilities or incredibly arrogant and therefore idiotic.

The monster is powerful, and perhaps even intelligent and extremely clever, to survive this long without hiding what it is. And that, quite frankly, scares him.

He considers it a lapse of proper judgment, of sanity, that he allowed the thing into his home. In fact, he can't quite remember exactly why he did it. He remembers the inner panic – the beast knows his weakness! It's born of Dragons! Surely it knows that he...! - and the overwhelming need to ensure his own safety. He could see how inviting the Vampyre to stay in his home could make it convenient to keep an eye on him. But why he would ever act on it, he can't even begin to fathom.

The fact that he can observe the Vampyre's movements is the only convenience of their partnership. He is no longer able to relax when he is off the job, as having th Vampyre in his home requires that he stay on his guard at all times. His home is no longer his home. When he's even there, he usually locks himself within his study – his eden, his sanctuary. It is the only place in the flat that the Vampyre has yet to defile and, if he has his way, never will. He must be careful of everything the monster does, especially with how it keeps trying to find information on him.

He has Kyris help him on this, as she seems to share his suspicions whenever the topic presents itself. She knows exactly what such creatures are capable of, and her position allows her to be the best source of relevant information that passes through the Haven. Gwen, nineteen now (Gaia, how time flies), disagrees vehemently with them. "Is is so odd that the man is trying to find out more about who he partners with?" is what she says every time he and Kyris speak on the subject.

He adores her too much to point out that she is still young and has grown up seeing the monster as he portrays himself, and not what he is. The Vampyre may be able to fool a young Kitsune – no, most of the Haven – with his guise, but not him.

It is not only for himself that he fears, but for the people of the Haven who have been put in harm's way by his foolish decision. He regrets ever exposing them to the monster's presence. These are his people, the only ones that have ever accepted him regardless of what he is or what he's done. Putting them in any sort of danger is the last of his intentions. And so he watches the Vampyre, looking for even the slightest sign that anyone has been hurt by the creature.

But the monster is sneaky and clever. It spends its nights in the Haven charming the young women with the tales of its triumphs and experiences, and doing Gaia knows what else with them (there are certain things he does not want to know about the monster's night life, the damned womanizer). Curiously, the beast frequents Kyris' pub on these nights, or visits her before she closes. According to the bar mistress, every three days the creature is seen ingesting a single gobletful of blood, which it claims is freely given. What's more, the Vampyre exhibits none of the bloodthirsty nature his kind is known for in the Haven. The Vampyre is relaxed – gambling, drinking, and conversing with Haven residents on a nightly basis, and only leaving when he is on commission. For all appearances, the monstrous Vampyre has been tamed.

He knows better.

He is forced to work alongside the monster on routine joint missions, and he knows the creature is just as brutal as always. He observes as the Vampyre revels in the carnage around him, drinking his fill of their opponents blood. The man is a monster, only living for himself, betraying anyone when it suits him. And yet, no matter how many opportunities his infuriating partner has to do so, not once as he been led astray. He's checked. All the information the Vampyre gives him is authentic.

Absolutely infuriating. Everything about the thief is infuriating – his cocky grins, his arrogance, his unpredictability – everything. It would be so much easier to simply kill the creature and be done with it. So why doesn't he? Why hasn't he?

Because he would give practically anything to return to the way things were a decade prior. To a time when he was free to relax in this own home, when he did not have to worry about getting stabbed in the back every waking moment.

So why in the nine hells is he still partnered with the man – no, monster?

He receives his answer quite abruptly during one of their joint missions. He had been hired as a bodyguard of some wealthy merchant, and the Vampyre as a spy to keep watch over a rival company, which had been suspected of looting his employer's trade routes. The merchant is right, of course, and he and the caravan he is guarding are attacked halfway through their journey. But there is no forewarning on the Vampyre's part, as there should have been. And thus he is taken by surprise, and poisoned early on. He continues to battle the rogues, which outnumber him easily, and is relieved when the Glyph kicks in after a short while – destroying the poison in his system.

But the draining effects of the poison, the battle, and the Alchemic healing leaves him weakened. His Sight suddenly flickers out, and his limbs tremble with strain. His legs crumple beneath his weight. He no longer has the strength to stand.

The crunch of heavy boots come closer. He can hear the laughter of those bandits, mocking him in his weakness. He can sense the deathblow coming – feel the tension in the air. He can hear the air rushing past the blade as it comes down to strike him.

There is the sound of a blade slicing through flesh, but not his own. There is a growl, low and vaguely familiar. Screams follow. He looks up, confused, straining his Sight to make out the shapes before him. And suddenly it is there. Faint, but there.

A form painted in black, deep violet, red-orange, and bloody crimson.

He curses the monster that is his partner – damned infuriating, cocky, brutal, bloodthirsty, unpredictable, Draca – for he is certain today is the day the beast takes advantage of his weakness.

But the Vampyre Draca does something to shock him on this day, as he lifts a hand to his shoulder and lets out a pained hiss. "Damn that stings!" the Vampyre remarks, "It's been a while since someone's laid a hit on me."

He, quite abruptly, is aware of the wetness beneath his fingertips. It's sticky and smells metallic – blood. He glances from his hands to the form of his partner, who is still fiddling with his shoulder, and back again. His body grows cold with realization.

The idiot actually took a hit for him.

Draca moves closer, unperturbed by his plight. "Hey, you look like shit. The hell'd they do to you?"

He opens his mouth to retort, quite angrily in fact, but Draca cuts him off. "Yes, yes, you're fine, I know." He is stunned into continued silence, for this is exactly what he was about to say. His expression obviously reveals his thoughts. "What? I've lived with you for ten damn years, Sin." A beat. "Sorry I was late, by the way. Damn bastards were clever." He can feel Draca's eyes leave him. "Hey! You assholes all right back there? Got room for one more?" Draca converses with the caravan, which managed to somehow survive the attack.

He's then pulled to his feet, and helped to one of the wagons. He rests there for the next few hours as Draca walks beside the wagon, taking his place as guard and ranting about anything and everything that comes to mind.

And he thinks to himself, as his tension eases with the mindless chatter in the background, that at the end of the day – perhaps his partner can be trusted with certain things.

Even if Draca is absolutely infuriating.

"We oft hate that which we fear."

Walk on, Traveler of Worlds.

And that would be Sin's side of things. Short, I know, but it's important for the time jump that's coming up.

So, I like feedback, even if it's constructive criticism! ^ ^

Thanks for reading!