Karl was scared. He wouldn’t dare say it out loud in the presence of other hunters, where cowardice was looked down on. But he did find himself admitting it quietly to his fiances one cold night when the three of them were alone in Alex’s apartment. Alex himself was not a hunter, so he sat next to Karl silent yet comforting as Nick took his hands and explained why he should not be afraid. Nick, who’s been a hunter long before he met Karl or Alex. Nick, who knew exactly what Karl was going through, who knew how scary a hunter’s first mission was.
“You’ll be fine”, the known hunter and arsonist spoke with a soft voice that’s reserved only for his loves, “They never make the first one deadly, they know you’re new. I’m not gonna lie to you Karl, it’s not going to be easy and you might get hurt. But you’re not going to die.”
“It would be really rude if you did”, Alex added, “Dying before we can finally get married. If you somehow manage to do that so help me I will drag your ass out of your grave. Not even death is getting you out of this.”
Karl couldn’t help it, he laughed. Leave it to Alex to always lighten the mood. It’s one of the many reasons why he loved him so much.
The three of them ended up falling asleep on Alex’s old couch, as they had done many times before. As Karl laid there, with his loves on each side of him, he felt his fear slipping away along with his consciousness. How can he be afraid when Nick and Alex were right there by his side, as they had promised they would. Karl fell asleep feeling warm and safe, comforted by the men he wanted to share the rest of his life with.
He wished he stayed asleep just a bit longer. Wished he never left his fiances’ arms. Wished he could go back just to kiss them and hold them one last time. Nick promised he wouldn’t die, he promised . Did he lie? No, no it’s not his fault, he didn’t know. Because he was right, it was supposed to be easy. A rouge fledgling that has lost control and started feeding off of random people in the street. Fledglings without their sires were wild, unable to control their instincts or properly think. They were fast and strong, but what really made a vampire dangerous was if it was smart .
The other hunters in Karl’s unit were like him, newbies who had just finished training and were finally ready to become real vampire hunters. They were inexperienced, but eager, and determined to help free the city of bloodsucking predators that plagued it. They were able to take down the rouge fledgling rather quickly, and Karl found himself celebrating along with them. One vampire down, many more to go.
And then...they were attacked.
Karl didn’t see him, only felt a strong arm grab him and throw him against the wall of the alleyway. It hurt a lot and he fell to the ground, clutching his bruised and probably broken ribs. He heard screaming and frantic movement and blades being drawn before silence. Worried, the young hunter looked up and froze. His unit, the people and learned and trained and bled with, were all dead, their blood staining the street red. Standing in the center of the massacre was a tall figure with broad shoulders, pink hair falling down past his shoulders as he cleaned a now bloodied blade with the edge of his white shirt.
The man- vampire- looked at him and Karl knew he was dead. They never met, but he knew who that was. He hoped Nick and Alex will be there for each other, and that his death will not be what pulls them apart. The Blood God knelt down and grabbed Karl’s jaw, examining him like he was something from a shop a customer was considering buying, but not before they were certain the money would be well spent.
“Not exactly what I had in mind”, the vampire muttered, “But you’ll do”
Karl would like to say that before everything went black, his final thoughts included Nick’s smile and Alex’s laugh. In reality, it was the lingering confusion that came with the vampire’s odd sentence.
When Tommy was turned, his heart didn’t stop completely. Rather it drastically slowed down, enough that if he was still human he would’ve died. But he wasn’t human, he hasn’t been one for a few weeks now. Phil told him that his heart will continue to slow over the course of a few months until it fully stopped. Tommy dreaded that day and clings to the sound of his heartbeat, the last remnant of his humanity.
Right now his heart was still too slow for someone who’s alive, but it still went twice as fast as it normally did. In the back of his mind he knew that would only make the venom in his veins run its course faster, but he was too focused on what Phil just told him to care enough to try and calm down.
“No. No you can’t be serious”, Tommy said, hoping he misheard. This couldn’t be real, it had to be a joke. A prank. Or maybe he’s dreaming.
His sire (Tommy hated that word. Hated that it applied to him now.) just gave him a smile and put a hand on his shoulder, “This is a good thing, Tommy. It means your body is almost done adjusting. The process is almost complete.”
Tommy jerked away from Phil’s touch, “I don’t want it to be complete!”, the teen shouted, “I never asked for any of this!”. He can handle being dead. Drinking blood? Sure. Fine. Whatever. Being under constant watch from three old vampires who for some reason has taken an interest in him? Totally fucking fine. But this? This is crossing the line. The thought of him even doing such a thing to a fellow- to a human being repulsed him.
Phil just sighed, “Tommy, mate, you can’t just rely on my blood forever. You need human blood, the fresher the better.”
Tommy slumped onto his bed, “Stop being so casual about it. Do you know what you’re asking me to do?”
Phil’s expression softened and he sat down next to Tommy, holding his arms open. Before Tommy could fully process it, he already had gone into Phil’s arms, letting the vampire pull him into a hug.
“I’m asking you to survive”, Phil told him, “I’m asking you to live. To join me and Techno and Wilbur, and be a family.”
“That does sound nice”, Tommy admitted. He’s been alone for a long time, too long in his opinion. Wilbur was his first friend in a while, and he trusted Wilbur enough to look past the red glint in his eyes and the unusually sharp teeth, enough to let him drag Tommy to explore the abandoned mansion in the woods, which turned out to not actually be that abandoned.
Tommy remembers staring at the ceiling in the orphanage late at night, praying to whatever gods out there that one day he’ll find a family that will love him and accept him and never leave him like his birth parents did. He should’ve been more specific.
“I can tell you’re not fully convinced”, Phil said after a moment.
“Yeah no shit”, Tommy replied, “You want me to fucking murder someone”, no matter how pretty his sire can phrase it, the results were the same.
Phil let go of Tommy and properly faced him, “Tommy”, he said, “You’ve been taught from birth that human life is something valuable and sacred. You need to learn that it’s not. At least not as much as you think. Humans die all the time, this isn’t any different.”
Tommy broke eye contact and stared downward at the sheets, “I was human”, he argued, but it lacked his usual fire.
“You were”, Phil agreed, “And now you’re not. You’re better.”, he planted a kiss on Tommy’s forehead and stood up, “Techno should be back soon, but I’ll give you some time to process this. Come and find me when you’re hungry, ok?”
Tommy nodded and Phil left the room, leaving the young fledgling alone with nothing but his thoughts for company.
Karl doesn’t know how long he’s been here. He woke up on a rather fancy looking couch with his hands and feet bound and two vampires standing nearby talking.
“Really Techno, this is the one you grabbed?”, an unfamiliar voice said, practically whining.
There was a huff, “Didn’t really have time to spot out the best one when they were all attacking me”, a second voice, deeper and more monotone.
The first voice scoffed, “It was a group of newbie hunters. We both know you totally could’ve done that.”
“Look, you wanted a human alive, I got you a human alive. It doesn’t matter what the quality is as long as it gets the job done. You’re overthinking it, Wilbur.”
Wilbur sighed, “I know. It’s just, this is a big moment for Tommy, and I want it to be perfect.”
Techno went to respond but paused, turning his attention to their guest, “He’s awake”
There was no use in trying to hide it anymore. Karl looked up at vampires. The first he immediately recognized as the Blood God, but the other one took him a second. Dark curly hair, a brown coat, glasses. It was the necklace that tipped Karl off. A silver chain with a singular emerald dangling on it. Only one coven wore such a simple yet distinct piece of jewelry, and if Karl remembered right, it so happened to be the oldest and most dangerous coven in the city. Just his luck. Karl pressed himself up against the back of the couch, trying to get as much of a distance as he could. The Siren- for it was in fact The Siren- noticed his attempt and just grinned, a mad glint in his eyes.
Karl swallowed, “h- hey there fellas”. That was stupid. That was so so stupid. Rule number one of being a hunter, never talk to vampires. Especially the vampire whose reputation was his knack for getting into people’s heads.
The Blood God just stared at him while The Siren threw his head back and laughed, “Well at least you didn’t grab a boring one, huh Techno. Should keep us amused at least until it’s time”, he said, leaning against the pink haired one’s shoulder.
Techno pushed his brother off of him and rolled his eyes, “Why are we even waiting in the first place? Let’s just get this over with.”
Wilbur frowned, “I know it’s been centuries since either of us had our first meal, but I’m sure you still remember what it felt like. I certainly do and I’m older than you.” When Techno nodded, he continued, “This is a big step for Tommy. It makes sense that he would be a bit hesitant.”
Techno huffed and sat down in one of the armchairs and the room was silent for a long time.
Wilbur was bored. He initially tried to strike up a conversation with the human, but it seems the human has lost it’s previous burst of confidence, keeping his eyes to the floor and refusing to converse with Wilbur. He would bother Techno, but his brother had his attention focused solely on the book he was reading and Wilbur didn’t want to disturb that. After what felt like an eternity, the vampire heard two sets of footsteps approach the lounge. Sure enough, the door opened and in walked Philza, his hand on Tommy’s back as he led his fledgling into the room, shutting the door behind him. Tommy had shrunk into himself, trying to make himself look smaller and as his eyes landed on the bound human, he froze.
Techno looked up from his book, “Took you long enough.”
Wilbur shoved his elbow into his brother’s side, “Technoblade”, he hissed.
Philza just laughed at their banter, “Sorry for the wait”, he said as he and Tommy made their way further into the room, “We’re ready now”
Karl’s eyes widened as the Angel of Death led a kid into the room. He couldn’t have been older than 17, with blonde hair that pulled into a small ponytail, and bright blue eyes full of uncertainty and nervousness. The kid was barefoot, wearing simple black pants and a white button up that looked a bit too big on him, the sleeves rolled up.
Oh shit, they got a kid. What was the kid doing here? Did he get kidnapped too? What a dumb question, of course he was. But why? Karl shuddered as he remembered a certain story he heard in training, about a coven that kept their victims alive for weeks on end, slowly draining them as some kind of easily accessible food source. The hunter couldn’t let that happen.
“Glad you finally joined us, Theseus”, the Blood God said.
The kid- Theseus?- just glared at the vampire, “Shut the fuck up Technobitch”
The Siren laughed as the Blood God narrowed his eyes.
Oh no, “Don’t hurt him!”, Karl blurted out, causing four pairs of eyes to suddenly look in his direction.
“Come again?”, the Angel of Death asked.
Karl took a deep breath, “You can do whatever you want to me. Just- just don’t hurt him. Let the kid go.”
The teen crossed his arms and looked away, “I’m not a kid.”
The Siren had stopped laughing now, “How dare you imply we would hurt Tommy. We would never hurt our brother!” Brother?
The Blood God stood up “You on the other hand…”, he added.
The Angel of Death led Tommy closer to Karl and Karl got a better look of the kid’s eyes. In that nervousness, there was a hint of something else. Something sinister. Something hungry.
Oh. Oh no.
“Go on, mate”, Philza’s voice was soothing, making Tommy relax just the slightest amount, “You can do it. We’ll be here with you the entire time.”
A part of Tommy wanted to say no, to be defiant until the end. He could grab the bound man and run for the exit, try to live off of sewer rats and corpses, maybe find a way to reverse what has happened to him. But another part, the louder part, didn’t want that all. He found a family and a home after so long. He got his wish, he had two brothers and father now. Call him selfish but he couldn’t give that up now. Not when he had finally learned what being loved was like.
Tommy found himself reaching out and tilting the man’s head to the side, making the neck clear and vulnerable. His mouth felt sore as he felt two sharp teeth start to grow in. Huh. So that’s what having fangs were like. Tommy saw the fear in the man’s eyes and almost felt bad. Almost. But the thing is, Tommy was pretty hungry.
Human blood tasted a hundred times better than he imagined.
The shirt Techno lended Tommy had to be thrown out due to just how much it got stained. Techno had grumbled something about never letting Tommy borrow his stuff again, but that fine. After all, Tommy is getting his own clothes soon. He always liked the color red, even before he learned how beautiful spilled blood could be.
Two days after his feeding, Phil knocked on the door to Tommy’s room.
“Come in!”, Tommy called, putting his book down. It was actually quite interesting, but he will never let Techno hear him admit it.
Phil entered and sat down next to the teen, “How are you feeling?”
Tommy shrugged, “Pretty good”, he said honestly. By drinking that human’s blood, the turning process has been much easier to deal with and went a lot faster. Tommy hadn’t even noticed yet that he no longer had a heartbeat.
The fledgling spotted something in his sire’s hands, “What’s that?”
Phil revealed a small box and offered it to him, “A gift. For you.”
“Really? Never had much of those before.”, Tommy took the box and started opening it, “What’s the occasion?”
“It’s tradition. Wilbur received one when he joined the coven, same with Techno. It’s a bit early to give it to you now but I think you earned it.”
Tommy took out the gift. It was a simple silver bracelet, with a single emerald gem embedded into it. An emerald nearly identical to the ones in Phil’s earring, Wilbur’s necklace, and Techno’s ring. Without hesitation Tommy put it on and smiled. It felt right. He went and wrapped his arms around Phil tightly, “Thank you”
Phil chuckled and hugged his fledgling, his son, “Welcome to the family”.