It's been a while since Feitan has set his sights on someone in particular. He's not one of those vampires who likes to play nice with humans; he'll normally end up killing his prey, especially if they start making a fuss. It's entertaining to feel them squirm, to hear them panic at how much blood there is, to press his hand against their chest and feel their heart race, but there's never any reason to let them live after it. He holds no attachment, no preference, no mercy. If his decided prey eludes him, he'll just find another.
This one, though... Feitan has gotten close to cornering him a few times, but he always manages to get away before he can try to bite him. He's so friendly, even though he's sharp and observant enough to outright state what Feitan is when they first met. Maybe he thinks being amicable will help his chances at survival.
It's actually gotten to the point where Feitan isn't interested in feeding on anyone else. He's being so stubborn that the only time he's fed since finding Shalnark was a quick snack from a blood bag he stole from a hospital. He's been starving and the few people he keeps contact with can tell from how easily he's been snapping. One of them pesters him to go find something to eat every time they see each other, but Feitan always just refuses without explanation.
Feitan seethes as he loses track of Shalnark again. He didn't bother telling himself tonight would finally be it or anything, but constantly being outmaneuvered by a human is annoying. Even worse, when he goes to check the time, he realizes his phone isn't in his pocket and he swears he had it on him just a little while ago. For a thief to get robbed is both insulting and impressive, but Feitan is in no mood to entertain the latter thought.
When he starts heading home, a shaky human steps in his path, struggling to force themselves to look at him. Feitan tilts his head, a little curious but not enough to ask. Then, the human takes a few steps back, sets something on the ground, and promptly runs away. It's his phone.
When he looks, nothing seems different. Nothing has been added or deleted, and his browser history is the same. He doesn't really have any information on there that he would care about losing, so he just shrugs and pockets it, a little less pissed off now but significantly more confused.
It's by chance that he finds Shalnark again the next night. He's chatting happily to someone as they lean against a storefront together, the lollipop in his mouth occasionally clicking against his teeth as he talks. He pulls it out once and it's heart-shaped. He presses his lips against it, acting like he doesn't know what he's doing despite making a show of it, but his intent is pretty clear when he glances at Feitan. The conversation continues as normal until the other person bids him farewell and leaves. Shalnark stays put. The store behind him is closed.
Beyond the first meeting, Feitan has never tried just calmly walking up to Shalnark. He doesn't slip around a corner and somehow manage to disappear this time.
"You must really have a lot of time on your hands, huh?" Shalnark asks, not hostile in the slightest.
"You must not want to get bitten," he quips back, fully suspecting that he'll somehow fail to bite him even now. There's no way Shalnark would actually lower his guard around him.
That lollipop is still in his mouth. Feitan realizes he's staring when Shalnark smiles and pulls it out, holding it out to him.
"Want a taste?"
So he wasn't reading too far into things earlier.
"You're a weird human," Feitan comments, still staring at the lollipop. "Do you think flirting will prevent me from killing you?"
"Ohh, you wanna kill me? That's pretty greedy. You don't need all of my blood!"
Feitan looks up and finds it funny that Shalnark's smile appears sweeter than the candy in front of him. He takes the lollipop by the stick, sure to touch Shalnark's fingers in the process just to see if he'll jump from the cold. That was a mistake on Feitan's part-- he forgot how addicting heat can be, how hard it is to let it move away.
"Do you have really long fangs? Is that why you hide your mouth?" he asks, barely resting his index finger on Feitan's muffler but not daring to move it.
Feitan pulls it down himself and flashes his fangs before sticking the lollipop in his mouth.
"Oh, they're not that long."
"You're not getting this back," he informs him, muffled slightly by the candy in his mouth.
"And here I thought you wanted a taste of something else! Is it normal for a vampire to have a sweet tooth?"
As normal as it is in humans, Feitan thinks, but he's silent as he's struck by the thought that Shalnark might taste as sweet as he acts. He takes a step closer.
"Oops, did I remind you? Well, now that you said you're gonna kill me, I can't really let you," Shalnark casually remarks, completely unruffled by the threat of death.
Yet, despite his words, he holds still against the wall no matter how close Feitan gets. It's Shalnark who pulls the lollipop out of Feitan's mouth, popping it back into his own with a wink.
Feitan is on him in an instant, actually drawing a little yelp of surprise out of Shalnark as he sinks his teeth into his neck. It's not neat or gentle-- even if some vampires are capable of keeping their feedings tidy, Feitan sure isn't-- but not once does Shalnark try to get away. It's probably just because he's been starving himself for so long, and maybe the addition of the taste of the lollipop still lingering in his mouth, but Shalnark's blood is as sweet as he was hoping. He pulls his teeth out sooner than he'd like just to chase the blood that streams down to stain the collar of Shalnark's shirt. When he licks a stripe up Shalnark's neck, he actually shudders and makes a deep little noise in his throat.
He's heard about humans who get turned on by feedings, but he's never bothered building up any kind of chemistry with his victims before to allow such a thing to happen. He wonders if Shalnark would have reacted the same way had he pounced and bitten him the first day he saw him. Shalnark makes the bold move of pulling Feitan closer by his waist and Feitan almost laughs. He even slides down the wall a little to make himself more accessible to Feitan's height.
He lets Shalnark press him against himself, his slightly labored breathing warming Feitan's ear now. He actually moans when Feitan sucks on the wound and the sound of it makes something in him snap. It's not just a feeding session now.
He steals the lollipop from Shalnark's mouth again, the taste of it mingling perfectly with the blood. When Shalnark takes it back out, Feitan doesn't know why he expects him to hesitantly try it, all coy about tasting his own blood, but he just holds it aside and kisses Feitan. He's licking at his mouth like he's supposed to be the one in control here, so Feitan catches him off guard with a cold hand down his pants and shoves his tongue into his open mouth. Shalnark is fine with that, too.
Humans are supposed to be wired to dislike the taste of blood, but Shalnark can't seem to get enough of it. It's enough to make Feitan wonder if he's a halfie, which then leads to the thought that he'd make an excellent convert. That way, Feitan could even let him survive this session without feeling like he lost a game.
"What are you?" Feitan pulls away to ask, though he spots more blood oozing down Shalnark's neck and is quick to resume his feeding. His grip on Shalnark's half-hard cock is firm and he starts slowly pumping him. It takes Shalnark a few tries to answer him.
"Human," he pants, moving his whole body up and down impatiently to try to urge Feitan to stroke him faster.
"Not a dhampir?"
"Mm-mm," Shalnark denies, shaking his head.
Just when Feitan is considering his options, his phone goes off in his pocket. He shoves Shalnark fully against the wall and quickens the pace of both his hand and his feeding as he ignores the call. He purposely gets him off faster than he would have liked, humming with satisfaction as Shalnark trembles and moans, hands tightly gripping Feitan's shoulders. As soon as he's done, Feitan pulls away and checks his phone. As he thought, it's a call he can't afford to miss, so he starts walking away, his finger hovering over the button to call him back.
"I'll pay you back!" Shalnark calls, sitting on the ground now. "I'm good for it."
Feitan actually does laugh this time.
The boss has been keeping Feitan busy, so he hasn't had time to look for Shalnark these past few days. He hasn't even found a good moment to bring him up yet, even though he has a feeling Chrollo would like him. They all seem aware that Feitan finally got something to eat, as Machi doesn't even bug him about it this time.
He's just about to head home at around 4 AM when he receives a text from an unknown number. It reads:
Where have you been? I still haven't paid you back!
Feitan obviously recognizes who is texting him, but he can't figure out how Shalnark got his number. When he asks, Shalnark casually claims that he pickpocketed Feitan's phone to snag his number and then handed it off to some other guy, threatening him if he didn't give it back to Feitan. Feitan had just assumed that the human had known he was a vampire, particularly a hungry and pissed off one, but if Shalnark was the reason he was scared out of his wits...
He's an excellent fit for the Troupe, it turns out, but Feitan decides to be greedy and get one more session out of him first, even though he just had his fill of him a few days ago. More romantic vampires like to go on and on about how magical feeding during sex is, after all. Time to find out if they're right.
"What, again? Jeez, are you always gonna be this needy?" is Shalnark's only reaction to Feitan telling him he's going to bite him again.
"We'll see," he says. It wouldn't be any fun to promise Shalnark that he'll make him a vampire so soon, not when the whole point of this is that he wants Shalnark to be human for a little while longer.
They're on a bed this time, with Shalnark looking so vulnerable and cute just being under Feitan like this. He's got some muscle, Feitan can see that, and he probably thinks he could at least wrestle with Feitan enough to survive should he suddenly turn on him, but he's just a human when it comes down to it. Just a helpless prey animal in the eyes of a vampire.
"People really exaggerate about how much blood vampires take, huh? I know you had to leave early, but still."
Ah, all the woefully misinformed pieces of vampire romance where the human passes out after losing a shot's worth of blood. Feitan wishes it were true-- it'd be fun to make humans delirious and faint without even trying.
"Why did you leave early, anyway?" Shalnark asks. He's great at acting like he's not about to bleed all over the sheets. It'll be the motel's problem.
"Why do you think?"
"... Why, is it obvious?"
"Curious," Feitan answers honestly. Shalnark is smart, so Feitan would like to hear what he comes up with.
"Was it some kind of emergency?"
"You think it would take an emergency to tear me away from you?" Feitan laughs. Shalnark pouts at him.
"Well, it's the most obvious answer. What, were you meeting up with a friend?"
"Do you keep any human friends?"
The question is obviously quite loaded. Luckily, the answer won't affect Shalnark so long as he agrees to be converted later.
"Don't have any."
"You can have me!" Shalnark claims, and even though Feitan knows the context, the wording of it has him feeling possessive. Hopefully that'll go away.
"Okay. I'll have you," he says, and the meaning isn't at all lost on Shalnark. He just keeps smiling as Feitan descends on him, angling his neck to show him the opposite side of where he last bit him.
"If we keep this up, I'll have to dress up as a mummy every day," Shalnark pretends to complain.
"Then don't taste so good. Stupid human."
Shalnark laughs even as Feitan grazes his fangs over the sensitive skin of his neck. He felt the need to rush last time, but there's no urgency this time. Taking it slow will probably feel worse for him, but Shalnark doesn't seem unused to pain. He carefully fits his mouth around Shalnark's neck and sinks his teeth in millimeters at a time.
"Oww," Shalnark groans in light protest, but he doesn't move. It's another few long seconds before Feitan draws blood, and the way Shalnark's skin yields it to him as it finally gives under pressure makes him rethink his decision to get him converted. What other human would let him do this? Rather, what other human could Feitan be bothered to take an interest in like this? Humans like to harbor this idea that vampires have some designated human mate where their blood tastes especially good and the vampire can't bring themselves to kill them. Feitan examines his experience with Shalnark so far and worries that it might be true.
The question of why Shalnark is just fine with this starts distracting Feitan. He feeds until the blood slows and then finally pulls away, planning to ask him about it, but pauses at the sight of him. Shalnark has his head leaned back and to the side, eyes gently closed and mouth just slightly open, one hand halfway down his abdomen and the other resting near Feitan's own hand on the bed. He opens his eyes to blink curiously up at Feitan and then smiles and reaches up to wipe some blood off Feitan's chin. Feitan grabs his hand and licks the blood off his fingers before returning to his neck.
Shalnark's hand falls to Feitan's waist now, the heat from it seeping right through his clothes. His other hand comes up to rest on the back of Feitan's head, gently massaging it as he drinks more than he needs to.
"Will you let me fuck you?" he asks softly, and it actually takes Feitan by surprise. Lucky for Shalnark, he finds it more funny than insulting.
"Who's the fragile human here?" he reminds him, but Shalnark doesn't shy away at all.
"Well, if I'm so fragile, maybe it'd be safer to let me be on top anyway. Come on, I think it'd be really fun to fuck a vampire!"
So that's what this whole thing is about. Too bad Feitan has his own plans.
"Most humans find it more fun to get fucked by a vampire. You will, too."
Shalnark pouts at him.
"Can't we just take turns? We can do both!"
Feitan shuts him up with a kiss before he can start actually considering it. Shalnark leans into it, but the way his hands wander indicates he's still set on convincing him. It's a little nice, being pulled close by the hips and guided by deceptively strong hands. Feitan would die before admitting that.
He's paying close attention to Shalnark's every move so as not to be caught off guard-- less worried about actual danger and more about ending up on his back anytime soon-- so he doesn't miss the way Shalnark smiles against his lips when Feitan passively lets him move his limbs. He's not putting him in any kind of compromising position, just adjusting his arms and legs every so often, sometimes even using his hands to curl Feitan's fingers around the sheets himself.
"You'd make a really good doll. I already like posing you," he comments, giving Feitan whiplash at the oddly shared interest. He actually rears back from it and Shalnark clearly thinks he's offended him, his smile dropping as he watches carefully.
"Tell me your plan," Feitan commands, only continuing after a moment of confused silence. "What are you hoping to get out of this? Why do you act like this?"
"I already told you! I think it'd be fun to fuck a vampire!"
Feitan is no novice at interrogation-- he knows Shalnark is telling the truth and it confounds him.
"Yup! At first, I wasn't so sure about you. I kinda figured you for the type to see humans as just food. But you're so little and cute, I couldn't help but try!"
Little and cute? His eyes narrow but he doesn't otherwise display his annoyance. For a human, Shalnark sure is full of himself.
"You know what I do for a living?" Feitan asks, softening his features as he leans in close, a false sweetness about him.
"You probably kill people, right?" Shalnark answers, unfazed.
"I torture them," he corrects. Shalnark is excellent at hiding it, but Feitan is touching him again and can feel the fear raise his heart rate.
It's hard not to shrug.
"That's part of it," he says. "You need to start keeping in mind who and what I am. And what you are."
"Right. An innocent, defenseless human that's being assaulted by a big scary vampire."
"You bit me! Really hard!"
"You asked for it."
"I so didn't!"
If any of his other victims tried to play with him like this, he'd be quick about shutting them up. Somehow, though, Shalnark does it well. Is this bias due to that soulmate myth? He highly doubts anyone in the Troupe has much interest in romance, so Feitan doesn't even know who the hell he would ask.
Shalnark seems to get bored during the silence as Feitan stares at him and tries to figure out his feelings.
"At least give me a kiss if you're gonna be this close..." he says.
That's a terrible idea, Feitan knows. There's this little section of his brain that begs him not to do it, and it's the same part that's kept him alive through the stickiest situations.
Ignoring it is surprisingly easy. Shalnark's arms come up around him to pull Feitan flush against him, and that damn heat doesn't help. He feels himself falling into the depths, just allowing himself to get completely lost in some fucking human. His first kiss was plenty of years ago, but none of that feels real in comparison to how Shalnark makes him feel. No matter what, he really wants to keep him.
Shalnark relents after all, and it turns out that he likes being bitten while fucked. It makes his voice tremble beyond recognition, going so soft and desperate as he begs for more. Feitan isn't sure he ever wants to stop; he thinks he might just keep going for days until Shalnark finally breaks under him. He'd probably like it, too-- would probably laugh the whole way.
Luckily for Shalnark, exhaustion makes Feitan stop after two rounds. He takes a moment to just look him over, just memorize the sight below him, before he lies down beside Shalnark and lets him stretch his limbs.
"Would you want to become a vampire?" Feitan asks despite his growing reluctance.
"Huh..?" Shalnark pauses and then laughs. "What, am I not good enough for you to feed on anymore?"
"It's a yes or no question."
His eyes trail down to the spider tattoo on Feitan's thigh, no doubt recognizing what it means. He's too smart not to know about the Phantom Troupe.
"So where do you guys get your tattoos done?" Shalnark asks as a way of confirming what Feitan already knew.
"I do them."
"You do?" He scoots closer to get a better look at the tattoo. "You did this yourself?"
"Do you want 4, 6, or 8? Those are our spots right now," Feitan says, choosing not to give an obvious answer and instead ignoring the question.
"Hm... I'll pick the middle one! Six is a nice number."
He's pretty nonchalant about joining a notorious group where the Venn diagram of "thieves, killers, vampires" is one big circle.
"So I have to become a vampire to join? I can't stay a human?"
"We don't need some weak human in our ranks. All vampires."
Shalnark pretends to think about it even though he basically already said yes.
"Well, I'm already morally questionable as is. Might as well go the full mile! I'll meet your boss and then decide, how about that?" he offers pretty reasonably.
Feitan already knows Chrollo will love him, and Chrollo's charisma always manages to charm whoever finds themselves near him, moreso when he actually wants to give them attention. It's not even a question. He finds it sad that he'll never get to feed on Shalnark again, but at least there's no reason why they can't continue with the rest of this little arrangement.