And you can use these teeth as a ladder
up to the mouth's cradle, the mouth's cradle
You can use these teeth; follow my voice, tooth by tooth
Mouth's Cradle - Björk
In the darkness of her bedroom, Integra removed her coat.
The cut across her clavicle throbbed. The smell of blood, caked in her hair and dried into her clothes, always made her stomach turn. No matter how many times she had seen it, touched it, tasted it in lingering splatters, it had the same effect. The scent of battle clung to her.
Coldness seeped in, darkness crept underneath the door, silently asking. She retrieved the first aid kit from the adjoined bathroom, then sat down at the desk by the wall and removed her soiled gloves. His presence pressed down on her mind, never recoiling. Master. Integra.
She picked up a bottle of disinfectant and a compress, pressing it down on her wound in the same manner.
“Are you planning to stand there all night if I don’t let you in?” She ignored the searing sting of the rubbing alcohol. “You may enter, Alucard.”
He materialized into the room, his face shadowed and eyes hollowed. She ignored him as she finished cleaning her wound, fresh blood spilling onto her white shirt. He watched her and she sighed, at last.
He knelt. “Forgive me, Master.”
“You never know when to quit, do you.”
The way she said it, her tone impassive, tore through him. He could do nothing but look helplessly at her, his hair obscuring his face, hands limp in his lap.
He knew very well what she meant. She had joined him earlier when she was informed that he had not finished all the targets off quickly – he had been taking his time during tonight’s mission.
He had been thirsty. Blood bags couldn’t compare to the satisfaction of getting to sink his teeth into a throat and tear his nourishment out, the familiar spasming of a body in his grip. Those targets were all vampires and a witch; bound to die either way, and he wasn’t one to deny himself a good bite now and then.
Integra had stepped onto the scene – the Iscariot dogs had been on the prowl lately, and she was diligent about marking her presence.
Alucard had been busy draining another target when the second group of ghouls appeared, lead by another vampire. Integra had been surrounded, and in the fraction of a second it took for him to react and her to fire her gun into their heads, he felt the smell of her blood, as the vampire’s claws embedded in her flesh. As he moved to crush her last attacker’s skull in his hand, he knew he had failed her.
Now he watched her rise from her desk and cross her bedroom, silently and steadfast, calling his full attention and obedience with every step. He watched her long hair cling to her shoulders and the curve of her bared neck. He could see her pulse tick underneath her skin. Her scent clouded his mind.
She stopped in front of him, her lips set in a thin line. She reached out her hand and he watched, almost trembling, as she cupped his face. He was frozen, breathless, his hair cautiously poking at the air between them, gauging her mood, attuned to every fiber of her – the pulse of her bloodstream, trickling fresh anew from her cleaned wound, her steady breathing.
Her warm, bare thumb slid from his cheek to his lips. His body stiffened.
“I do wonder what it is,” she said. She tilted her head slightly to the side, some strands of her hair touching his skin. “What makes you keep acting like this. Gluttony never served you in the past.”
He collected himself, parrying with a familiar reply. “You know why that is, Master. I am a monster –“
“You are capable of stopping,” she interrupted sternly, and for a moment he was transfixed on the depth of her eyes, her gaze burrowing relentlessly into his, the weight of her words – “We both know that. Yet, you choose not to. You compromise hostages. You delay missions. Why is that, Alucard?”
He growled under his breath, her fingertips so close to his mouth.
“You know the nature of the monster in your keep, Integra. Yet, I will always abide by your command. I will carry out your orders without fail.”
“You failed me this time, Alucard.” She said it without emotion, matter-of-factly. Her hand slid from his mouth and moved back to her side. His eyes followed it hungrily when she straightened up. Indeed, his Master had suffered an injury due to him; when he was her first and last line of defense.
“Master, let me repent. Punish me,” he urged throatily, eagerness rising inside of him, the prospect of it making his stomach coil tightly. His core was empty and his throat dry, aching. If she touched him, struck him down and bathed him in silver, it would be a replenishment. He would accept it gladly, her touch and her mercy.
And she would grant him mercy, eventually.
If she withdrew from him now, the gaping hole in the pit of his stomach would grow wider. He tilted his head up, eager for the blow and the strike, his skin anticipating the burn, lips parting to reveal teeth – he’d revel in this. He imagined her gun in his mouth, burning silver across his tongue, the blessing of being shot by her.
But Integra did not move.
“What am I to do with you,” she said at last, a hint of exasperation.
He took the bait, like the starving man he was.
“Let me tend to your wound, Integra,” he asked, his gaze sliding to her collarbone. “I’d make it good for you.”
“You aren’t known for subtlety, Alucard.”
His eyes glinted at her. “You’d enjoy yourself, Master.”
“It isn’t your place to make any assumptions,” she bit back, placing a hand in his hair - a warning, a promise – and he pushed his head against it, reveling in the touch.
Inky tendrils stroked the back of her hand, waiting for the verdict.
He did as she asked.
She sat down on the covers of her bed, watching him. The wound was soaking the collar of her shirt, smearing across her dark skin.
“Clean it,” she ordered, watching him expressionlessly. It would make the wound heal faster – no bacteria survived vampire saliva, not even the kind found on an undead, rotting corpse. It was nothing but practical – if that was all - if that ever could be all.
He sat down next to her and leaned in before his mouth closed around the wound. With closed eyes, a throaty hum of pleasure escaped him as he lapped at her. One of her hands entangled in his hair.
She watched him slide his tongue along the deep cut, numbing the discomfort. It was a strange sensation - the surge of tenderness she felt for the centuries-old man holding on to her should have been alarming. The being suckling her for his nourishment, his sustainment offered by her body.
Oxytocin flooded her body, her human instincts bonding with that mouth, while the hunter in her tightened her grip in his hair.
It would make her ancestors turn in their graves if they saw her now.
Isn’t that where we all end up if we are lucky?
He moaned against her skin. Her fingers tightened.
He made a deeper sound in his throat when she moved his head away by his hair. Her collarbone tingled faintly. For a moment she imagined her blood warming the inside of his body, his stomach, as it rested on his lips, coloring his eyes. She pushed back the surge of emotion, the heat rising somewhere inside.
“You will never be satisfied, will you?”
He eyed her wordlessly.
She felt it prickle her in the air. She had let him too close, once again.
She brushed her lips across his.
He responded by eagerly pushing back against her mouth, his hand cupping the back of her head. Before she regained her grip around the situation, one of his hands snaked around her waist and pressed her tight to him.
Integra retaliated instantly. Both her hands tangled in his long hair and tugged hard – a movement that didn’t affect him the slightest, only drawing a moan out of him. She pushed back hard against him, making him yield for her mouth. Her arms and legs entangled with his, one of her legs cramping slightly from the awkward position.
She pushed his head away to regain her breath, seeing his pupils dilate as he allowed her the intake of breath. He almost laughed when she pressed her mouth against his again. His tongue met hers, large and eager, before pulling away.
Large hands moved down her body, sliding across her ribcage. His mouth moved down to her warm throat, grinning against it as she panted. Restless tendrils stroked her skin, coiling and twisting around her possessively. His eyes glowed when he pulled back to look at her.
It brought her out of her haze, suddenly aware of the position they were in, him hovering above her on her bed.
She pushed him to the side and moved to stand, waiting a moment to avoid getting light-headed as her blood rushed to the right places again.
Her body was heated, the perspiration making the thick smell of her own blood surround her. She walked over to her vanity and slipped out of her soiled shirt with her back turned to him. She removed her pants and placed her glasses on the desk.
With her hair obscuring her body, she felt his gaze digging into her back. She removed her undergarments in silence, before opening her bathroom door.
“I’m going to wash off. You can stay or leave.”
She didn’t turn on the lights fully, only lighting a single lamp that left the bathroom in the dusk. Too restless for a bath, she turned on the glass-encased shower and stepped in, facing the wall.
Tiredness crept in as the warm water washed the night’s grime away until a cold sensation drifted in. She let the mist encase her, intensely aware of the presence behind her. When she turned she made out his bared, tall form. His hair was longer than before, dark tips moving slightly.
“What form is this?” she asked, almost amused by his boldness.
“I can take any form you desire. It’s of no importance to me.”
She reached out to move his hair away from his face. “I’m sure it is. You never showed me any other.”
The mist moved slightly around him and when her eyes adjusted, there was a slender figure there, dark hair reaching to her waist, a smaller face and wider eyes.
A young woman, no taller than her, her dainty mouth curling to a smile.
“Come closer,” Integra ordered, and the pale figure obliged, leaving only inches between them.
She met that familiar red gaze, watching her with nothing but with reverence.
“This is the form you used before?” Integra asked.
“May I show you, Master?” the girl – Alucard - breathed. Her voice was lighter than before, almost androgynous. A slender hand raised hesitantly, and Integra watched. Then, a soft, slick body pressed up against her own.
Integra’s breath hitched slightly. The girl’s bangs moved, defying the weight of the water, and her face pressed gently against her throat.
“Let me repent, Master,” she asked. “In whatever way you choose.”
Well aware of the being hiding behind that feminine exterior and the rows of teeth behind those lips, Integra almost chuckled. Yet, a chill rushed down her spine when the tip of her tongue pressed against her pulse point. Her hand moved to his hair.
The woman’s hands slid across her shoulders and down, as she knelt in front of her, waiting for her verdict.
Integra knew she had already taken this too far. Alucard’s pale mouth twisted, in something other than a smile, a frail expression of something. It wasn’t the first time she’d let him this close, but to stand bared in front of him like this, no layers of fabric and no silver cross between them, letting him gaze upon her form, was different.
He looked up at her through tresses of dark hair, his familiar form returning; resembling the Count that had once walked the Earth.
Integra leaned back against the wall, watching him. “Go ahead, then.”
His head moved in between her thighs, and she pressed her feet against the floor to steady herself. His tongue was wet and warm, sliding along her inner thighs before finding the center of her and lapping, making her hips tremble.
She could feed herself some kind of lie if she wanted to fool herself. He’s getting to prove himself, she reminded herself, to boost his morale. She reached for any justification – anything at all – before her mind went blank.
His mouth pressed against that bundle of nerves, now soft and yielding. The intensity spread with every stroke of his tongue, every press of his lips.
He looked up at her, eyes burning, and she tightened her hands in his hair hard, to remind him of his place.
No further. This is for my sake –
His tongue, ever so slowly sliding inside her made her tense up at first, before she drew a breath and relaxed. His hands moved to her legs, cupping her hips.
She willed her body to relax, finding her voice steady.
“Go on, Alucard.”
His lips drew back from his teeth. She felt the soft curl of his tongue inside, pressing insistently as he hummed.
Dark tendrils stroked her legs, sliding up her skin. He held her hips firmly, supporting her weight.
The sensation of his tongue pressing against her was so strong that tears almost sprung to her eyes, her breath coming quicker. She grasped for another shard of justification when Alucard tilted his face upwards to look her in the eyes. Water was running down his body in misty streams, long dark hair clinging to it.
She read his intent as her hips twitched against his face; suddenly that approaching edge was too intense but his intent was clear, watching her reverently as he pressed an open-mouthed kiss to her clit.
Waves of warmth spread through her entire body. He licked her up before molding his lips around her clit again and sucked hard. She felt the sweep of his teeth, elongated and hard, brushing against her.
With a sudden inhale, her thighs clenched on either side of his head as her hips bucked against his face. He moaned against her and pushed his tongue harder against her, hands tightening around her hips.
She crashed into the edge, her hips stuttering against his face and her eyes fluttering shut, panting, and trickling on his tongue. She panted harshly as the high subsided, his tongue swirling against her one last time, lapping greedily.
He pulled back to look at her from his kneeling position. His hands were still grasping her hips – the ghost-like hue of them almost glowing against her dark skin in the dusk. That inhuman tint was there in his eyes, as his tongue slid across his glistening lips, slowly licking them clean as he held her gaze steadily.
No, there was no way to explain, no way to justify this.
His smile widened, sharp teeth protruding. They watched each other as Integra’s breathing slowed.
“Thank you, Master,” he said, looking very much like the cat that caught the canary. For another moment she stared at the constriction of his throat when he swallowed.
“What do you get out of this, Alucard?” she asked quietly.
“My Master wishes to know that?” The expression on his face shifted, watching her as he rose to his feet, cornering her to the wall, dark hair clinging to his body.
“You want to know how you affect me, Integra?”
His hand touched hers and she let him take it, her lips curling slightly. He guided it down his slender body, letting him feel him hard and slick. She formed her hand around him, gripping him underneath his encouraging hand. The sensation was strange, making a new kind of heat rise to her face, to her chagrin and to his visible delight – his lips parted as he watched her.
She responded by tightening her grip around him and his eyes slid shut, a choked groan leaving his lips.
No, she would not have him forget who he was talking to. He could taunt her through the phone when he thought he was safely out of her reach, but not this time.
The movement of her hand grew steady, sliding across his aching skin. He moved closer, pressing up against her.
He made another sound deep in his throat, moving his hips against her hand as he pushed his face into her neck. In the humid, warm dusk of the room he appeared almost ghostlike: pale skin glowing, his limbs tall and lanky yet with the same sharp edges she knew well.
“Harder, Master,” he groaned against her skin, tendrils enveloping them both as his hips thrust helplessly, restrained, against her hand. A smile formed on her face as she indulged him.
One of his hands moved up to entangle in her hair and cup her head. His mouth moved sloppily against her throat, mumbling her name in punctuated staccato, over and over. Integra.
He could do nothing but groan helplessly, pushing his head against her warm, soft body, so bared, his Master, the way her slender hand slid across his skin. Always in control, keeping him on the edge. He was aching to sink his teeth into something. He inhaled her scent, pressed his face against her fluttering throat for a moment, groaning. She smiled, and he caught blonde strands of hair in his mouth.
“Master,” he panted. She let her nails rake across his skin and his grip hardened around her. Sliding across her belly, he was slick against her skin, and when the tip of her finger dipped into his slit, just a hint of her nail, he closed his eyes, forgotten memories drifting to the surface and fading quickly with the sound of her voice.
She spoke, finally.
His teeth locked together and his hips stuttered, so enraptured by her presence and smell, the curve of her lips. He panted her name and with a groan he came hard across her belly, pressing against her firm hand.
Red, unhinged eyes focused on her, reflecting a kind of reverence she had thought he was incapable of experiencing, the kind she had learned he possessed in the most fleeting moments when his gaze fell upon her, yet never not predatory in all its worship.
She watched him come down, feeling the sticky trail left across her belly, some of it on her hand and breasts, leaving a glistening, inky trail across her dark skin. His teeth prickled at the sight of it.
He licked some of it from her breast, his tongue swirling around her nipple, enjoying the way she tensed up. His hands slid across her body, reverently. She was glorious, stunning, and he’d dive right back to kiss her, to lick her up again, if she hadn’t ignored him.
She grabbed a cloth to wash herself off. There she went again, removing all traces of this, whatever this was, the way they were behind closed doors, to dismiss him so they could go on pretending.
She’d go back to play the part of the faithful woman who had never touched a man, the mask she carried until it left bloody imprints on her skin. He knew her.
But she was his Master; it was always up to her.
He had never felt such a strong urge to offer her his own blood, to leave something for her to keep. They watched the result of their coupling wash off her skin and swirl down the drain like blood, leaving her like the fading flush on her face.
The blood on her would never be only hers, and the blood he spilled every night would never be only his doing.
The last drops diluted.