“Just a few more minutes. That’s all. No one’s going to jostle you,” Saki murmurs over the cheers for an encore. Ava has her eyes focused on the ground. There’s a large portion of Saki’s arm warmers that aren’t rainbow colored any more.
“I’m gonna pass out,” Ava manages in a low, shaky tone.
“No, you’re not. It’s okay. We’ll get you out of here in a second.” The band retakes the stage in the middle of Saki’s statement. “See. Not long.” There’s a bit of instant guitar playing and Ava resists looking up, instead turning her gaze to one side, catching a look at Ju-ken instead. The bassist is already looking at her and his face changes for a second before he grimaces and disappears from her line of sight. She bites on her lip, not having wanted anyone in the band to know what’s going on.
The songs start up immediately and Hyde goes in and out of singing, all the way up until the last MC. He does a quick thank you, interrupted by the strumming of a guitar. It startles Ava enough for her to look up at Kaz. Hyde looks just as startled and a little alarmed at seeing Ava look up, the singer grabbing Kaz’s attention by calling him. Ava looks away again, knuckles white with how hard she’s gripping the railing. She catches a glimpse of Kaz’s face and hopes that he hasn’t caught a glimpse of hers.
The final song proves her wrong as the guitar warbles unsteadily, as if Kaz isn’t focused on it anymore. Ava feels Saki move and the guitar playing gets back to something more respectable but not close to his playing at the beginning of the show. Another thanks comes up afterward and Ava listens as the band leaves the stage. She hears a group crying out for an encore for much longer than expected.
“It’s okay,” Saki states and Ava looks around. The fan club has gathered and most of the audience has left. Kyoko and Mitsuko are still gone. Ava collapses to the floor, biting back a cry of pain before Saki turns her leg to one side. The arm warmers are ruined with blood.
“I—I’m sorry about your gloves.” Saki brushes the statement off with a wave of her hand, beginning to untie one of the gloves to look underneath it. In the brightening concert hall, Ava can make out a set of puncture marks in the back of her leg.
“Spiked shoes,” Saki states quietly and Ava leans her head back into the railing, shutting her eyes and biting back a noise of pain. Saki quickly ties the gloves into place again.
“Where’s the—” There’s a noise that cuts through the group and the girls part, a couple looking surprised as Kaz rushes between them. He freezes at the sight of Ava sitting on the floor with her leg wrapped up in Saki’s blood-stained arm warmers.
“Ava…” It’s a quiet breath as he lifts her up, careful as he looks at her leg. She stifles a cry of pain and clings to his shirt. Her eyes shut tightly and she’s jostled back and forth as he begins carrying her away at a quick pace. There’s the sound of a metal door slamming into the wall and Ava reopens her eyes, watching the backstage area go by in a whirl. She notices a couple people stopping and staring at them before she’s whisked into the back room and laid out on a couch.
“Kaz, why would you—” Hyde’s voice is loud and Ava watches as Kaz lifts her leg up, beginning to remove the gloves tied around it. Her fingers dig into the fabric of the couch as she feels the blood start running up her leg.
“Shut up, now. No one wanted to tell me a damn thing. What did you think I was going to do?” Kaz turns to glare at Arimatsu and Ju-ken, the pair looking sheepish but the bassist looking more defensive.
“Look. Telling you that she looked like she was in pain in the middle of us playing would’ve been bad.” Ju-ken explains as Kaz turns his attention back to Ava’s leg. She gives a hiss of pain, one glove sticking to the edge of the wound as Kaz peels it off. “I mean, if you had known, what would you have done? Jumped off the stage to help her?”
“Damn right I would’ve,” Kaz mutters and Ava’s concern rises up, watching as the guitarist’s eyes flicker towards a shade of red. He looks extremely angry, turning to give a hiss as Hyde attempts to move closer. “And I know that all of you except me knew. So fuck off.” He returns his attention to Ava as the group looks shocked.
“Come here.” Ava curls her finger and Kaz blinks up at her, obediently moving closer as she winces again. She flicks him hard in the center of his forehead, startling the guitarist and leaving a bright red mark. “And that is why I didn’t fucking look up! That’s the reason why they didn’t say anything! You can’t go jumping off stages in the middle of performances because some crazy bitch decides to kick me in the leg with spike-toed shoes!” Kaz’s eyes are wide, more startled before he looks mollified, face turning red instead of his eyes and he removes the gloves completely to a low whine from Ava.
“Shit, she wasn’t kidding when she said spiked shoes,” Ju-ken states, drawing back further into the chair as Ava’s wound bleeds. Arimatsu sits forward a little, staring and licking his lips, while Jin looks to bury his face further into his mask. Hyde sits quietly, sniffing the air and it’s the singer’s action that alerts Ava to her situation as Kaz stares at the wound.
“Oh fuck.” She attempts to pull her leg away but Kaz’s hand holds it tightly in place. “I swear to god if you lay a fucking tooth on me, I’m not going to be a happy god damn camper, I don’t need more puncture wounds!” The statement seems to shake Kaz out of his staring and, while he licks his lips, he turns to glower at the rest of the group.
“I’m out,” Arimatsu states, getting up and leaving the room. Jin follows him immediately. Ju-ken sits back further in his seat and attempts to look busy. Hyde simply smiles and Kaz shakes his head, returning his attention to Ava again.
“Need some help?” Hyde offers after another moment of staring and Ava squirming.
“No!” Kaz responds in a growl.
“Yes!” Ava shouts. “He’s going to bite me or I’m going to bleed to death.” The ending of Ava’s sentence startles Kaz again and he looks to Hyde.
“Get the first aid kit.”
“I wondered when you were going to remember that.” Hyde gets to his feet and picks up a small red and white box. Hyde steps over and takes a seat on the end of the couch, beside Ava’s head and opens the kit, pulling out some cleaning supplies. “Here you are. Your girlfriend, you get to take care of her when some nasty fan-girl gets jealous.” Kaz looks notably annoyed but begins to clean the wound off along with the blood that’s running down Ava’s leg.
“Thanks.” Kaz responds quietly as Hyde shifts a bit and props Ava’s head against his leg.
“Welcome.” There’s a long silence between them as Ava gives cries of pain at the cleaning. “Your underwear is adorable, Ava.”
“Do not test my ability to slap the shit out of you.” Ava gives a loud cry of pain, digging her fingers more into the couch. “If I find the girl that did this, I’m going to tear her boots off and stuff them where the sun don’t shine!” She gives another cry of pain.
“Just testing how well you’re feeling. Particularly nasty individuals put stuff on the ends of those spikes.” Hyde pats her head, sniffing the air more.
“Hideto.” Kaz grumbles a bit and Hyde tilts his head.
“Just curious, that’s all.”
“Why am I not going to the hospital?” Ava questions as she winces again.
“We’ll fix you up right here. Right, Kazu-kun?” Kaz blinks up at Hyde’s statement before giving a small nod of agreement, looking nervous.
“Oh, so you make music and are registered nurses. The more you know,” Ava grumbles out sarcastically. “I really think I need a hospital.” Kaz tosses the used cleaning items to the side, nervous expression on his face still as he bites at his thumb, digging around the first aid kit.
“Trust me, you’ll be fine here. There’s a worst-case scenario but it won’t happen.” Hyde pats her head again and Ava attempts to bite it.
“Patronize me again and I’ll start taking fingers off!”
“This’ll burn,” Kaz murmurs quietly and Ava looks to him in surprise.
“What wi—ah!” She gives a loud shout as Kaz presses his thumb against the holes in her leg. Her back arches when the burning kicks in, creating a sensation like her leg is on fire, and she gives a louder shriek. The pressure stops but the burning continues for a short period of time before it peters out.
“Looks good,” Hyde states and Ava refocuses on her leg. The wounds have closed up, no longer bleeding and they almost look old. “Good job. You didn’t bite her or turn her.”
“Wait—Wait what?” Ava looks from Hyde to Kaz, the latter looking more concerned than the other.
“I’ve had longer to control my instincts. Kaz and the rest haven’t. It’s why Jin and Arimatsu took off, they’re the newest,” Hyde explains as Kaz starts to wrap the wound. “Ju-ken’s got a bit of time on them and Kaz is behind me.”
“I figured that out when I had five vampires staring at me like I was juicy steak.” Ava grumbles, poking Kaz in the shoulder. “Why did you think it was a good idea to bring me back here?”
“I wasn’t thinking, you were hurt,” Kaz responds quietly and Hyde chuckles.
“And what did you mean by turn me?” Ava looks up curiously and warily at Hyde, there being a long pause.
“To make become a vampire.” Hyde looks amused. “Too much blood, you’re one of us. Too little and your wound doesn’t heal enough to stay closed while you move.” Hyde gestures to the wrapping that Kaz is doing. “He’s making sure that your wound doesn’t reopen while it heals. Just in case.” Ava stays quiet for a while, watching Kaz wrap her leg up.
“He could’ve turned me into a vampire?” Kaz falters, seeming unsure about Ava’s tone and shooting her a furtive glance.
“Yeah. It’s how it works,” Hyde responds. “Like a disease.” He pats her head again and gets up, walking back over to put things away. It’s quiet for a while until Kaz finishes wrapping up Ava’s leg, cleaning up any blood that has run down it. He pauses at the sight of the blood on the gauze used to clean up, seeming to start an internal struggle.
“Kaz.” Ava’s voice is quiet and he looks up at her, eyes appearing much redder again. She leans in and presses a kiss to his lips, making him tense up before he returns the kiss. He drops the gauze to the side and runs both arms around her, one hand running up into her hair with a quiet noise of pleasure. Ju-ken reaches over and pats Hyde, making the singer look at him curiously.
“I want one of those.” Hyde follows the bassist’s gaze to Kaz and Ava, tilting his head before seeing the bloody gauze on the floor. “Stopped him cold in his tracks from sucking the blood out of it,” Ju-ken adds. Hyde stays quiet in thought before shaking his head, throwing more things in his bags.
“Kaz, put me down!” Ava kicks, slung over the guitarist’s shoulder as Ju-ken and Hyde follow along with interest. Arimatsu and Jin had already left shortly after leaving the room to avoid the scent of Ava’s blood.
“No,” he answers simply, carrying their bags in the arm that isn’t looped over her to keep her in place. Her good leg folds up, attempting to kick him in the face as she smacks his back harder.
“No.” Hyde giggles at the short response as Kaz tilts his head to avoid getting hit.
“Face it; you’re getting babied thanks to that leg.” Hyde giggles and Ava blinks at him before thrashing more violently.
“What did I have you say on the first day? I am not a delicate little flower!” Her leg is suddenly pinned down against him as he walks and she wriggles more. “Oi!” The guitarist doesn’t respond, simply walking along with her slung over his shoulder.
“I think that’s Kaz for ‘Your leg has turned you into a delicate flower’ or something like that.” Ju-ken chuckles as Ava grumbles loudly, falling still and accepting the fact that she’s going to be carried. She wedges her elbow against his back to support her head.
“At least you can be sure he won’t show your underwear to the world,” Hyde happily adds.
“You’re lucky I didn’t slap you then, I’m tempted to try to slap you now,” Ava replies, looking more annoyed with the situation. Hyde chuckles more in response, shrugging.
“They were there.”
“Hideto,” Kaz warns and the singer tilts his head.
“I can’t compliment her on her fashion choices?”
“Underwear is not a fashion choice.” Kaz looks back at him with a frown. Hyde blinks.
“Not many are supposed to see your underwear.” There’s a long silence.
“What if you don’t wear any? Is that a statement?” At Hyde’s questions, Ava breaks down into giggles and Kaz sighs.
“With that new piece of information, I’m going to head this way and grab a cab.” Ju-ken states, chuckling as he heads off in a different direction. Ava waves after him.
“Bye!” Hyde calls. “See you tomorrow! We’re celebrating then!”
“I already know that!” Ju-ken laughs loudly, the buildings catching and echoing the sound around. Ava wriggles again and Kaz tightens his grip, holding her in place. She gives a deep sigh, letting her arms hang before tilting her head. Hyde watches her with renewed interest as she reaches down and fishes Kaz’s wallet out of his pocket.
“Oi!” He turns his head to look at her.
“What? I’m bored.” She blinks at him. “Not like I’m taking anything. I’m just bored enough to look through it.” Hyde giggles loudly before holding his hand out for Kaz’s wallet. Ava tilts her head before handing it over. Hyde opens it up and starts rifling through it with gusto, making Ava smile.
“Shame on you Kazu. You don’t have a picture of her in here.” Hyde teases after a second’s pause.
“Wait, what?” Kaz blinks back at Hyde in surprise. “Hey, don’t do that.” He looks to Ava and the woman shrugs.
“He’s your friend. I’m the brand new girlfriend. He won the rights to go look through it.” Ava looks more entertained, watching Kaz. He starts to move as if to place her down before stopping and looking at her suspiciously.
“You’re doing this to get put back down to walk.” Ava gapes before grumbling softly, looking pointedly away. Kaz fixes her on his shoulder, shaking his head. Hyde continues looking through Kaz’s wallet noisily before returning it to the guitarist’s pocket and taking off in his own direction to head home.
The quickly cooked meal tastes good and Kaz unravels the bandage to look at the wound once more before wrapping it back up for the night. Ava’s impressed at how good it looks for something that had happened today. “So I take it that you all heal extremely quickly,” she states as he finishes wrapping the wound up. He gives a nod, biting at his lip for a second.
“Sometimes.” There’s a short pause.
“Then it depends on blood?”
“Yes.” He finishes and looks at her. “Like when I had my snowboarding accident.” Her brow furrows in confusion before she seems to understand and nods slowly.
“So it’s faster healing. Not instant.”
“Like you said, it depends on the amount of blood imbibed.” He runs his hand up her leg, making her shiver. “It could be instant. I did a lot more damage than breaking my leg however. That was just the remaining injury.” His hand runs back down and caresses over the bandage. “You should be okay to limp around now, just try not to move too much.”
“You were waiting for it to heal? Why couldn’t you just say that?” Ava frowns and Kaz grins at her.
“I think it was much more entertaining for you to throw a fit.” She leans forward and flicks his forehead, leaving a small red mark again.
“Another secret no one knew.” Kaz gets up and retrieves a bottle and a set of glasses.
“Oh, are Kyoko and Mitsuko all right? I didn’t see them again.”
“I think they took care of the woman who kicked you.” Kaz states as he sets the glasses down and fills them from the bottle.
“Really?” Ava blinks.
“I haven’t pried much out of Arimatsu but it wasn’t pretty apparently.” Kaz frowns and there’s a short silence as he sets the bottle down on the table.
“They didn’t kill her, did they?”
“Oh no, not at all. I’m just not sure what they did. I know that she’s been banned from future events.” Kaz offers one glass to Ava, letting her take it before he sips at the other.
“That’s definitely something to celebrate.” Ava smiles and sips at her glass, her leg still propped up on the table.
“Then we should celebrate that.” Kaz smiles more in response and Ava giggles.