Vampire Song

Chapter 16

It’s surprising when no phone goes off in the morning. The sun has started its arc through the sky but is hidden behind the blinds, glimmering around the edges, and into the darkened room. Ava stays still where she is despite being awake, eyes open but staring blankly ahead as Kaz’s chest rises and falls with slow, deep breaths, the guitarist still asleep. There’s an arm wrapped around her, his free hand entwined with hers.

She’s not quite sure what to do. She’s been considering waking him for a while now but delayed it in favor of savoring the moment. It is her last day before she has to travel back. It isn’t that she wants to go sightseeing more, or see what other trouble the two of them could get into, but there’s simply the sensation of the day being wasted. The feeling is even stronger as she considers Kaz sleeping much longer.

Shifting a little, she finally turns her head up, lifting it from the comfortable spot on Kaz’s chest to press a kiss to his cheek. “Wake up.” It’s a quiet request that only stirs the guitarist slightly. Ava repeats the kiss, pressing a couple more along his jaw down towards his lips in a slow motion. “Kaz.” Her voice is still quiet, barely any louder than the last time.

“Mm…” He stirs again, turning his face into her kisses. Ava pauses before pressing a gentle, deep kiss to his lips, feeling his lips move against hers in response. She draws back only slightly, keeping her lips almost pressed to his still.

“Wake up.” Another quiet request but this time with her lips brushing over his. She closes her lips over his bottom lip, lightly sucking on it before releasing it. The arm around her waist gets tighter as Kaz gives a small noise, eyes slowly flickering open.

“Mn?” Ava smiles at him.

“Good morning,” she murmurs and receives a half-asleep smile in response along with a kiss to her lips.

“Always is with you here,” he mumbles. Ava feels herself blush but the smile stays on her face and she gently squeezes his hand.

“I like being woken up like that.” Kaz seems to have a permanent smile on his face, one that Ava is loath to break by reminding him that her plane is leaving tomorrow. Instead, she smiles as she watches him get ready to head out the door with her. She isn’t quite sure where they’re going, just that he insisted that they go.

“It’s better than Hyde calling,” she states and he laughs, pulling his jacket on.

“It definitely is.” He presses a kiss to her lips before opening the door, the pair heading out into the hallway and Kaz locks up behind them. Ava stays quiet for a while as they head towards the elevator down.

“So where are we going?”

“Just a couple of places. Then we can do whatever you’d like.” He smiles and it only serves to make Ava curious.

“That was extremely vague. What couple places?”

“You’ll see. Nothing bad or surprising or izakaya-related, I promise.” There’s a small pause before Ava nods, the elevator starting down towards the ground floor.

“I’m really happy you added that last one in there. I was worried for a second.”

“I figured that it was an additional constraint now considering past events.” Kaz laughs.

“It definitely is.” Ava grins back, leaning against the guitarist. He unconsciously tilts into the touch and it makes Ava smile more.

He was only true to his word on two of the three counts, as Ava was greatly surprised when they strolled into a temple set back from the busy streets. It’s one of the last places she expected to go with the guitarist, however, she’s glad that he decided to take her. She follows his movements and actions as Kaz seems to go through the motions without expecting her to copy him. As such, he looks surprised when he catches her doing so.

“You don’t need to,” he states quietly and Ava shakes her head.

“I want to.” There’s a slight pause before he accepts the statement and makes sure for the rest of the time that she’s doing everything correctly with short explanations here and there. He gently pulls on the rope for the bell three times, focused more and there’s a long pause before he looks to her. Ava nervously copies the action, listening to clear ring of the bell each of the three times.

“What were you thankful for?” Kaz wonders aloud as they start back out towards the main street. Ava stays quiet for a while before smiling at him, shaking her head at his curious look.

“It’s a secret,” she claims.

“Oh?” Kaz tilts his head before a small smile appears on his face.

“Yep. Maybe I’ll tell you later.” Ava’s smile spreads further as he takes hold of her hand, intertwining their fingers together.

“Now I’m more curious,” he states and Ava gently squeezes his hand.

“You’ll have to stay curious for now.” Ava smiles as they start out along the busier street. “Where are we headed now?”

“Anywhere you’d like.” He pauses. “Within reason of course.” Ava gives a small laugh.

“Well, I’m sure there’s no shortage to the places I haven’t been but I feel like you picking one would be much better.” Ava looks along the streets as Kaz seems to consider where to go.

“I have an idea.”

“Are you sure?” Ava looks to Kaz worriedly, the bottom of the guitarist’s face hidden behind a facemask.

“Yeah, you didn’t get to see this part of town with Kyoko, right?” He glances up at the entryway to Harajuku’s main street. He stuck a facemask on Ava too, just to hide her being foreign as best he could but the idea of walking down the street made him nervous. Being mobbed by fangirls is always a distinct possibility.

“No, but I dislike the idea of dragging you along through here.”

“I’ll be fine. It’s just Hyde everyone goes crazy over.” Kaz brushes the statement off and there’s only a slight pause before she squeezes his hand softly.

“Not everyone,” she responds and the statement makes him smile despite her not being able to see it.

“Besides, there’s a shop I haven’t been to in a while in here,” he claims and Ava raises an eyebrow, looking curious again. He begins to lead the way into the busy street, keeping a tight hold on her hand as they shift around and through the people. Ava glances from building to building subtly, attempting to take everything in without being obvious that she’s doing so. As they reach the first of the crossroads, she stares a little at the shop on the corner.

“Are those fresh crepes?” she questions, just loud enough for him to hear and he nods, smiling behind his mask again. “They look delicious.”

“We can get one on the way back out.”

“Can’t take the mask off.” she reminds him and he grumbles. He had wanted to see her face when she got a taste of one. He tends to order one every so often if he saw a good shop somewhere. He turns and starts down a set of stairs into a darkened, basement-like shop. Ava stays close with him, looking around curiously as it widens out and she can see multiple tiny shops across the bottom floor. Kaz slips around the corner into one shop, sliding his mask down his face, a smile on his lips.

“Good afternoon.” He greets the shopkeeper and the older woman looks up, pausing for a second before greeting him back warmly. The woman looks pleasantly surprised, not seeming to notice Ava for the time being, getting up from her stool next to the register to greet him.

“I haven’t seen you in a while, how have you been?” Ava notices a small wall of photographs, each glued to the wall in the claustrophobic shop.

“Extremely well. How have you been? Business been good?”

“It’s the same. Not that I mind. Keeps the idiots away.” The old woman laughs tersely as Ava leans over to look at the photos. She recognizes a number of musicians spread throughout the photos. “New member you’re showing around to the good old places?” Ava blinks up and the woman recoils in shock, there being a pause before Ava removes the facemask, letting it hang off one ear and feeling sheepish.

“Ah, no.” Kaz smiles more and gently takes hold of Ava’s hand again, squeezing it softly. “Obaachan, this is Ava.” The woman looks from Ava to Kaz and then down where the pair’s hands are linked.

“You went fancy,” she states, crossing her arms, one hand taking a shape like it was used to holding a cigarette. Ava frowns at the statement, wanting to speak but instead of being rude, holds her tongue. “I’m surprised you decided to date a foreigner. Any issues with her expecting things?” The second statement breaks her silence however.

“I don’t expect anything from him, just for him to be himself.”

“Oh, you’re a student?” The woman gives a thin smile. “Learning Japanese?”

“Already learned.” Ava smiles coldly back. “As far as anyone’s aware, I’m almost a native speaker.” There’s a short pause before the old woman nods slowly.

“Is that so, gaijin?”

“It is, baachan.” The name is held a little longer and Kaz shifts nervously. He hadn’t anticipated this going so badly. The older woman looks surprised before grinning.

“Aren’t you feisty?” She shakes her head, shrugging before looking to Kaz. “What about—”

“She’s aware and knows just about everything if not everything.” The woman raises an eyebrow at the guitarist’s response as he smiles at Ava, eyes lingering on her for a long time.

“You’re serious.” She affixes Ava with another gaze, seeming to be attempting to pick out what Kaz sees. “Well, she’s not fat.” Ava gives a giggle at the statement despite her want not to, covering her mouth to hide the smile that’s appeared on her face. “Ah, I got it.” The woman nods sagely, causing Ava confusion as she recovers from the momentary slip.

“Got what?” she questions before Kaz can.

“I understand it.” The woman rolls her shoulders, turning around and starting to look through some of the clothing on the shelves that are close to her. Ava’s brow furrows in even more confusion.

“Understand what exactly and how?” Ava’s voice is full of curiosity instead of the sharp sarcasm that she had bitten with earlier.

“You two and the reasoning,” the woman claims and looks between them. “He told me about the last time you two came close to one another. He doesn’t get much choice in the matter but I suppose he’s happy.” Ava stays quiet for a while, feeling Kaz’s hand tighten on her own and she shifts slightly, pressing her shoulder against his to offer support.

“He has plenty of choice.”

“If you’re aware of everything, then you’re aware there’s no choice.”

“There’s plenty of choice. He could decide that he wants nothing to do with me, that sensation be damned, and move on somewhere else. He could shove away, he could’ve ignored me instead.” Ava pauses for a second, voice dropping slightly. “He could’ve killed me, way back at the beginning, it was an option.” The woman considers her for a while before looking to Kaz. The guitarist is watching Ava however, expression unreadable. “They were all choices. Especially the last one.” The silence that follows is palpable before the woman nods again.

“Good, you actually see the reality of your situation.” She pauses before cocking her head to one side. “I feel as if he’s left a detail out however about your situation. Did he happen to mention the other danger of being around him?” Ava glances to Kaz who has paled before looking back to the old woman. “Of course he hasn’t. That it may happen is a definite possibility though.”

“Obaachan…” Kaz murmurs out, looking more worried.

“He didn’t tell you about the hunters. They would attack and kill a vampire on sight but not until they’ve released their thrall. Which all of them would assume you are, I did at first.” The woman shakes her head. “You, they would end up killing due to the fact that you’re not one.” As the new information sinks in, Ava looks up at Kaz. He’s pale, concerned looking as he meets her gaze.

“Is this true?” There’s a short silence before Kaz nods and Ava’s concern kicks in. “Have you ever been attacked?” Her entire focus has moved to him and as he nods again, her grip tightens on his hand as the other moves up and wraps around him, drawing him close enough to bury her face into his neck with a soft curse pointed towards whoever would attack him.

“A—Ava?” he manages out as the store owner watches the pair of them with interest and surprise.

“Not what I expected,” the old woman states. Ava pulls her head out of the crook of Kaz’s neck to turn and speak to her.

“I love him dearly and I hate the idea that some asshole could swoop in and decide to harm him. Sorry for showing my affection.” The statement hangs in the air and Kaz watches as Ava’s face darkens with a flush. On the other hand, he can’t stop grinning, arms wrapping around her to pull her tight against him, public eye be damned.

“I love you too,” he murmurs into her ear and her flush turns darker, her body pressing back against his.

“Well, that was what I was waiting for. An off the cuff statement that isn’t rehearsed,” the old woman states, watching them with a hint of amusement on her face. Ava tucks her head back into the crook of his neck, face still warm against his skin. He kisses her head softly, holding her tight.

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