Go here for Moon, Thirst, and Omen which take place before this fic.
Uncontrollable dread. Fear. Footsteps pounding and his own breathing harsh in his ears. He knows now he can't escape and as the figure descends upon him, suddenly he wonders if he even wants to.
A bout of restlessness had driven him to the streets to wander about even though he had no particular destination. It was a chilly, gray spring evening, and the wind blew chill through his hair like the ghostly hands of spirits reaching out to clutch at him. Gackt suppressed a shudder and pulled his jacket closer to keep the feeling at bay.
Some people might have thought his reaction a little silly—a result of an overactive imagination perhaps—but he knew better. He'd seen the spirits— spoken to them and been endlessly pestered by them. Few people believed him, and he cherished those who did. He didn't know why he had this particular talent, and sometimes he wished he didn't, but it was clear. Gackt wasn't quite like everyone else.
A crunching sound—one as of feet treading on loose gravel—drew his attention to the shadows of a nearby alley. His eyes landed on a figure nearly hidden by the darkening evening, and he sucked in an anxious breath.
And let it out. As he watched the figure stepped out of the shadows, immediately dispelling his own nervous reaction.
“Hyde-san,” Gackt said, managing to mask his relief behind a confident yet casual voice, “I'm surprised to see you here.”
The shorter man smiled, an expression that—while often times cute and always gorgeous—was strangely closed tonight. Gackt couldn't read the other man's expression at all.
“Gacchan,” the petite man said, “I was looking for you.”
The wind's chilly fingers raked through his hair again, and this time he couldn't stop himself from shuddering.
He'd always found Hyde fascinating, but tonight he couldn't help but think that the other man seemed downright supernatural.
“How did you know I was here?” Gackt asked, confidence slowly draining away.
Hyde ignored that question, instead answering another inquiry that Gackt had yet to voice—why was Hyde looking for him?—“I wanted to see you. It's time.”
“Time for what?” Gackt asked, curious despite the bizarreness of the situation.
“There are some people,” Hyde replied, reaching out to smooth Gackt's hair where the wind had messed it up, “who are simply meant to be something more. You're one of those people, I saw it when we first met.”
He gazed back at the other man, still not really comprehending.
“Are you ready?” Hyde asked, voice gentle.
He didn't really understand, but Hyde was his friend, he trusted him. Hyde wouldn't throw anything at him that he couldn't handle. So he nodded, “Ready for anything."
Except he wasn't.
The rain was beating down on the window of his room. How had he gotten here? He couldn't seem to remember. Obviously he just came home and went to sleep, but then why did it feel like he'd lost something important?
Gackt snapped back to the present at the sound of You's voice.
“Hyde-san?” You said, “And Ju-ken, too. Imagine seeing you here.”
The man next to Ju-ken—it was Hyde, Gackt's sluggish brain finally made the connection and he wondered how he'd forgotten that in the first place—smiled, and said, “Hello, You. Do you mind if I talk to Gacchan for a minute?”
You looked uncertain, but Gackt—fighting back an odd feeling of dread and the heavy pounding of his heart—agreed for him. He would find out what exactly had happened.
He and Hyde took a table as far across the room from the bar as possible, leaving You and Ju-ken to hopefully make sure the barkeep wasn't eavesdropping on what was sure to be an awkward conversation.
“So you remember?” Hyde asked.
“You did this.” Gackt said, “I remember that. I still don't really understand why.”
“You were meant to be this way. It's something I'm good at seeing,” the petite man said with a nonchalant shrug.
“Okay. Okay.” Gackt's brain really needed to quit being so slow. “Um... But if that's the case, where have you been all this time, it's been what... Months?”
Hyde grimaced, “To be honest, it doesn't usually take this long. I've had Ju-ken keeping an eye on you...”
“Ju-ken?” He snuck a suspicious glance at the bassist who had so alarmed him earlier. “He was creeping me out earlier. He's a vampire, too?”
Hyde nodded, “Yeah, and you've finally woken up, or you wouldn't have sensed it and fled like you did.”
Gackt chewed on the edge of his can of coke, “So now I'm going to be creeped out of you, too, because you're a vampire?”
“Nah, that'll pass. You're just edgy. New."
“So how did you do it? I mean, I bit You but he didn't become a vampire or anything, he's still just You.”
Hyde laughed, “It's a bit more complicated than that. You're still too new to do it, I think. But for starters, he'd have to drink your blood. Or mine. Or Ju-ken's.”
“Do you know a lot of vampires?” Gackt asked.
“Sure I do. So do you.”
Gackt tried to think of who might be a vampire, but his brain really was feeling sluggish. He couldn't think of anyone.
“For example... Of course, K.A.Z, Yoshiki... Now that you've awoken they'll be obvious to you.”
He nodded his understanding—glanced again at the bar and noticed You's concerned eyes on the two of them. “Hey, You, come over here.” He called. Somehow he didn't want You to look so worried.
You and Ju-ken made their way over, Ju-ken carrying two drinks one of which he slid to Hyde, who accepted it and took a sip.
“How can you stand that?” Gackt asked. “Doesn't it just taste like dirt or something?”
Hyde shrugged, “You get used to it.”
You looked sharply between the two of them, “So... Wait... You told Hyde?” He asked Gackt. “Just like that?”
Gackt wondered momentarily if You was maybe a little jealous, since he'd taken so long to confess his problem to his best friend. He toyed for a moment with the idea of playing with You's mind, but decided he was too tired to be cruel. “No. He already knew. Hyde's like I am now. Except he's been this way for a while or something.”
“Oh. Well. That's good, I guess.”
Gackt looked from You to Hyde, and back. Looked at You's still slightly suspicious expression, and wondered if maybe it was time to go home.
“I'll always be around,” Hyde said, almost as if reading his mind, “If you ever need anything. Ju-ken, too. Don't worry, you're doing fine. And go ahead and tell Chachamaru, I think he'll be relieved to know what's going on.”
“Yeah,” Gackt said, “Okay.” Then he turned to his best friend, “Let's go home.”
You rolled in his eyes, in what was a clear show of bravado, “Sure. We just got here, so let's leave.” But he grabbed Gackt's hand and pulled him to his feet. “See you guys around.”
Outside it was raining, not unlike the faint flickers of Gackt's memory that he was pretty sure were never going to come back all the way.
“So...” You said, “why did you look like you'd seen a ghost when Hyde-san walked into the room?”
“I just remembered something that I'd forgotten, that's all.”
You pursed his lips skeptically, “That's all?”
Gackt laughed a little, and elbowed him, “Don't worry, you're still my most important best friend. Even if you're not a vampire and Hyde is.”
“I still think you're being evasive.” You said, “but whatever. You've always been like that. Just don't forget. I'll always be here. Even when he's not.”
When he thought about it too hard, it was tough to pinpoint when it all began, or if it had even begun at all—except that it was happening, which meant it must have started somewhere, unless it had always been like this.
He was pretty sure it hadn't always been like this. Certainly it was getting worse. But now that he knew, he was pretty sure things would start to get better again.
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