Nephilim: New Dawn

Chapter 5: Lost memories

For the longest of time, Loi thought being noticed by a great predator was the most terrifying feeling he’d ever feel, but that was nothing compared to what he’s feeling now. The agitating heat of the afternoon has subsided, gave way to the cooling winds of early evening, somewhat easing the tension of the curious crowd outside of the long house. Haru’s been inside with that…beast for a couple of hours now, the anguish crying and screaming have stopped, followed by the silence that gnawed at the tanned boy’s heart like maggots.

It was the first time Loi has ever heard Haru scream like that, the rage, the pain, the suppressed emotions of all those years broke loose into a tidal wave of wailings. It couldn’t have been Haru, the tanned boy thought, it couldn’t be his gentle, shy and quiet brother. Shaking his head, Loi gripped the spear in his hand so hard that a small drop of blood trickled from his hand, his teeth clenched behind his sealed lips as he eyed the closed door, wondering what horror the monster has exposed his beloved brother to. Behind him, Loi could hear the quiet chattering of the curious villagers still staying around to see what would happen to Haru. The wailings and crying have amused them greatly, the tanned boy was sure of it, the sounds of them snickering, speculating and even betting on Haru’s fate were almost too much for him to handle.

Yet others were more concerned about Quetz, not for Haru’s sake per se, but more about the village as a whole. And rightfully so, for once, the elders didn’t know what to say about Quetz’s presence, everyone were curious and scared of him, everyone but the chieftain, who were more fearful of him than others, as if they’ve known each other for a long time. There was something about the way the old chief acted around the stranger, a sense of dread radiating outward, slowly infecting the rest of the villagers. It was primal, the feeling of hopelessness of a prey knowing that it has no chance fighting against the apex predator that have cornered it.

– Rai.

-What?! – Loi jumped backward as a hand suddenly clamps down onto his shoulder, colliding against Mitsuki standing behind him, causing both to almost loose their footing. He turned around, scratching his head in awkwardness and forcing an apologetic smile onto his lips as his sister frowned at him. – O-oh, it’s you.

– You silly boy. – The older girl scoffed and sighed, her frown relaxed as she turns her gaze onto the door yet still retaining the look of concern that have been stuck on her face since Haru disappeared behind the door. – It’s…so quiet. – She said, clearly worried for their youngest brother’s safety, but at the same time it was so strange when she didn’t mention the monster that accompanied him.

– Hey Mitsuki, do you think…he’s safe in there with…it? – Loi asked, irritated by the nonchalant attitude of his sister.

– I am…not sure. – Said the older girl, her voice was a mix of uncertainty and curiosity.

– What do you mean you’re not sure? – The smaller boy turned around, frowning in frustration at his sister’s answers. – You mean you ignore the fact that he’s a literal monster?!

– No. – Mitsuki shook her head. – I-I know he looks…odd, but…his aura, it’s…shrouded somehow, I can’t sense him clearly as others. It’s like…

– Standing in a misty field? – With the setting sun behind him, the towering man walked out from the chieftain’s house to the edge of the front yard, enveloping the pair in his shadow. Behind him hid a shaking Haru, blood smeared all over the lower part of his face, his eyes lost with all the thoughts racing in his minds.

– Wh-what? – Mitsuki stood dumbfounded, skin tingling with the phantom sensation of her skin being burn upon contact with the strange miasma that shrouded the man’s mind from hers.

As if amused, Quetz chuckled, and Mitsuki felt the mist move, flowing against her but not really. It swirled and flowed and churned, unseen yet its presence was so surreal and overwhelming that the girl could perceive its shape. Sweats rolled down the girl’s face, this wasn’t like any other times, normally she could “sense” others’ moods ad emotion, tingling in her mind and sometime, seemingly even on her skin, all she have to do was to just look at them. But with Quetz, she couldn’t feel anything but the crushing weight of his aura in her very soul, like she was crushed under an ocean, but did not drown.

– What have you done to him? – Loi was the first to break the silence, spear rattling in his hands, his face boiled with blood rushing to his head, afraid and confused for both him and Haru.

– Rai, stop.

– What have you done to him? – The tanned boy ignored the pleading, did it come from his sister, from Haru or the chieftain? He did not care, all he wanted now was to plunge his spear deep into that monster’s heart. – Answer me! – The crudely forged spearhead pointed at Quetz as Loi roared out, more like a challenge than a command. – What have you done to him!?

– Isn’t it obvious? – A man walked out from the crowd, one of the hunters, one that Haru recognized, it’s the same person that have attacked him earlier, whose son was killed by the bear when he was harassing him. – Isn’t it obvious? My brothers! My sisters! The Walker has blessed us with His divine presence! He has come to deliver us from that monster! Rejoice! My friends! For we are save! We! Are!

A loud crash silenced the man, along with any snickering of approval passing amongst the villagers. The hunter frozen in place, unable to move as he feels Quetz’s burning gaze burning against the back of his head. He felt his feet and hands turned cold, as if the chill of winter, no the hands of the dead were gripping at him, pulling, dragging, forcing him to turn around to look at his deity, his village’s guardian, his executioner.

– Ancestors have mercy…

The hunter gasped and fell to his knees, the strength in his limps vanished, sapped from him just by looking into the burning amber eye filled with hatred. With the setting sun behind him, Quetz looked impossibly tall, his silhouette impossibly dark against the brilliant orange and yellow, a towering figure of blackness, save for his eyes, burning brightly with what could only described as liquid fire. Behind him, Haru pressed himself more into the bigger male’s cloaked form, around him coiled the long white tail, its beautiful coat of white fur was made bloodied by the splinters of the crushed planks just a few steps away. The boy was shivering, tears rolled down his reddened cheeks, mixing with the patches of dried up blood still stubbornly stick on his face before dripping onto Quetz’s coat.

The snickering began again, piercing the white haired boy’s heart and mind with what felt like a tsunami of thorns and daggers. He clung to his giant of a companion’s cloak, pressing himself against the man’s firm figure, seeking whatever solace he could offer, but they kept on coming. Haru could never heard them clearly, the streams of insults and curses were muffled, overlapping and drowning out each others before they could reach his ears, yet the ill intentions and distasteful feeling toward him were all too obvious. It burns like fire and stings like a swarm of wasps, it sensation of their hatred washing over his body was so surreal yet so faint that the white haired boy could do nothing but to stand still and cling against Quetz.

– Stop it…please…make it…stop… – The white haired boy mumbled and buried his face into his companion’s cloak again.

Something snapped inside Quetz when he looks at Haru still holding onto his cloak, quivering, barely able to stand up right, clearly distraught by the constant bombardment of insults. An urge arose from deep inside him, telling him to protect the boy from all harm, even if it means butchering all of these human. But it wasn’t anger or hatred that drove him, no, this was something more primal, darker, purer than the confusion and madness unleashed by wrath and hatred. When once a hurricane of fire swept through Quetz’s heart and mind, there’s now a sense of calmness and serenity, gently caressing his thoughts.

The white haired man turned to look at the snickering crowd, then the hunter, then Haru, and a small smile appeared on his lips. Almost gracefully, he stepped off the wooden platform in on stride and turned around to look at the boy. The child in front of him was still sniffling, his face was a mess of tears and blood, streaming down his now pinkish cheeks. So fragile, so soft, so sensitive. Quetz thought to himself as he runs his finger on Haru’s face, wiping away the tears in a gentle, almost maternal way, before wrapping his arms around the boy’s small frame and pulled him close. A loud, almost synchronized gasp was heard coming from the villagers, seeing their white haired savior hugging the bad omen in a gentle way, but he didn’t care. A small chuckled escaped his lips as he hears Haru yelped, surprised from being lifted off the platform and put him down. The older male pulled his companion into his chest gently, caressing the boy’s hair with his hand gently then leaned down and whispered to him softly.

– I got you Runty, don’t worry.

Haru wanted to say something, anything to express his doubt, his fear of Quetz leaving him again, but his lips were locked in place, half closed and shaking, all he could do was staring up at the older male with his shimmering violet eyes. Without any hesitation, the white haired man leaned forward, closed his eyes and pressed his lips against the boy’s forehead gently, causing another wave of shock to ripple through the crowd. Smiling down at the startled boy, Quetz stood up and turned toward the man still on his knees, confused and shocked of what has transpired.

The white haired man stood there for but a heartbeat, calmly gathering his thoughts, his ideas, before walking toward the hunter. Talons clawed deep into the sand, leaving deep trenches as they pull back with each step like a promise to the man of what they could do. It took Quetz only a few steps to reach the quivering hunter, an insignificant insect too arrogant and entitled for his own good. He eyed his prey, head tilting slightly to study the life he’s about to snuff out. The white haired man bent down, digging the claw of his index finger into the hunter’s cheek and pulled downward, feeling his prey shaking from fear and the burning pain on his cheek. How pathetic, he thought to himself, he wanted this human dead, a snap of his neck should do it, but then, a quick death wasn’t enough, it’d be too merciful. Clawed fingers expanded, clamping around the man’s throat and lifting him up effortlessly as he struggles futilely to escape.

– Quetz! Stop! – The chief rushed out, attempting to stop his old friend from killing another one of his people. A death glare stopped him dead in his track, cold and sharp like a razor sharp knife made of ice cut into his mind and soul.

Gods, those eyes, amber orbs burning with fire so cold it burn just to look into them, and burn the chief did, his skin blazing with invisible fire as he falls on all four, gasping for air, just for a brief moment. A punishment, a warning, Quetz will not suffer anyone to jeopardize his work, he will not be taking orders, especially from a human. The white haired man slowly turned his attention back to the man, now turning blue from the lack of air, his limps flailing desperately, gripping, kicking, clawing, anything to get himself free. Quetz smiled sadistically, lips curling back to reveal his interlocking fangs shinning with glee in the dying light as he begins his execution.

To the untrained eyes, it would seems like the man was slowly withering, his skin turned pale grey, draping over exposed bones as his muscles deflate. To the keenest of eyes, the space around the man was distorted, shimmering like heat rising from the fire, rushing from his body and into Quetz’s forearm. But to Haru and Mitsuki, the affect was all too clear, the hunter wasn’t dying, nor was he simply withering, his soul was being torn from him.

It is both a gift and a curse, for both of them, for anyone unlucky enough to be born with it, a sixth sense that occasionally warns them of dangers or lets them peek into the feelings of others. They could see things that others can’t see, feel things that others can’t feel, but it’s they have not seen anything like this. At first it was just small streams of bluish green miasma escaping through his skin. Soon there were dozens of vents spilling out that strange mist until every millimeter of the man was cover in it, rushing out of his struggling and into Quetz’s arm, being absorbed through his skin as the white haired man smile gleefully, sadistically.

The shroud of mist slowly took form, solidifying into the shape of a man, a ghostly clone of the hunter, writhing and struggling as it’s being ripped out of its mortal shell. Bit by bit, the soul and life force of the man was torn from him, shredded and absorbed by Quetz, until the husk of a man that is the hunter was almost limp and lifeless, twitching and jolting weakly, his skin a sickly dark grey, draping over what used to be a muscles packed body. A smile of pure malice formed on the white haired man’s face as he observes his prey struggling, dying, a sense of satisfaction that he gladly embraces every time he have to kill a human. Yet Quetz knows it will be over soon, no matter how many he kills, no matter how brutal he is, the feeling of joy and vindicated would be over too soon, leaving him with his self pitying, endless sorrow and regret for his past mistakes. And so he savors each kill, killing them as slowly and painfully as he could, by his hands the lowly human will know pain and suffering, they will see the true face of terror, of wrath and ruin, they will know…

– Keto! Stop! – A sudden tug on his cloak dragged Quetz out of his thoughts. His amber eyes widened in anger, seeing what left of the human’s tattered soul slipped from his grasp and flown back into its body.

The white haired man felt a trickle of blood dripped from his other clenched fist, a jolt of stinging pain rushed to his brain from his clenched fist under the cloak. There was a tense silence when Quetz glued his eyes on the shriveled husk of a human struggling with every painful breath. Who would dare? The voice he heard was muffled, drowned out by the pumping of boiling blood in his ears. It doesn’t matter, it never did and never will to him, it would be just another feeble human to kill, Quetz thought to himself as he slowly turns his gaze downward. But as soon as he did, a wave of shock washed over him, eyes widened when he saw the frail, shaking body that was hugging him tightly.

It was no human.

– H-Haru? – The older male stuttered, confused as to why the boy was preventing him from delivering the just punishment for the human who have done so much to torment him.

– P-please…stop it… – The boy cried out, pulling on his companion’s cloak, begging for him to stop. – Don’t torture him…please…don’t…

The anger was gone, the craving for the fleeting sense of satisfaction and vindication were gone, yet Quetz didn’t feel empty, not in the normal way that he usually feels. What remained was that urge, that instinctive sense to protect Haru, invigorating his very being just by looking at him. A large thud caused Quetz’s ears to twitched, he spun around, surprised to see the dying human laid broken on the sandy beach, black, slimy blood oozed from his cracked skin. The white haired man tilted his head slightly, trying to comprehend the situation, his hand has released the human without him even noticing, but why?

A painful groan caught Quetz’s attention, it was the human, shivering weakly on the sand, still alive, one step away from death, but still alive. Snarling, the man lifted his foot, attempting to snuff the life out of his prey in front of the other villagers, still mortified by the turns of events. It would be an example for all of them to how easily he could kill them, but no sooner has the tip of his talon reached the hunter, Quetz felt another tug on his side. Again, it was Haru looking at him with those deep violet eyes of his, begging him to let the human live. It was just too much, the white haired man sighed, defeated by his small companion, he reached inside his cloak and pulled out a small glass vial filled with blue liquid.

– Here. – He coldly raised the vial above the hunter, crushing it in his paw and let the liquid dripping down his broken body, before turning to Haru. – Be thankful of the kid.

With a whip of his tail, Quetz turned around to hold Haru’s hand and walked toward Mitsuki, leaving the villagers in awe when the man starts to regenerate his body. The girl’s expression was a mixture of terror, shock and confusion, all mashed up together and frozen in an unearthly manner, her arms locked around Loi’s neck, choking the now pale and limp boy while his hands were clutching as hers. The white haired man narrowed his eyes for a second and reached out his hand in front of Mitsuki, snapping his fingers loudly, causing her to jump backward and release the suffocating boy.

– Nee-chan! – Haru called out, letting go of Quetz’s hand and rushing toward his sister, hugging her tightly.

– H-Haru? Are you ok? – Mitsuki asked, though she was still a bit traumatized, she still instinctively asked and checked her little brother. Her fingers gently caressed the boy’s cheek, touching the patches of blood still stubbornly clinging on. – Haru, what is this? Are you hurt? Did…did he hurt you?

– No! – Haru shook his head furiously, embarrassingly trying to recall his actions. – I-I…bit him.

– You what?! – Mitsuki’s eyes shot open in shock, she looked at her brother, then to then to Quetz rubbing the faint impression of a bite mark on his neck, then back to her brother again.

– It’s nothing. – Said Quetz as he adjusts his shirt and cloak, one ear twitching annoyingly at the frantic screaming and praying as the human he almost killed has regained most of his strength, he will live, deformed and broken, but he will live. – Come. – He reached out his hand toward the children. – We need to prepare.

– Prepare…for what? – Mitsuki asked.

– We’re leaving this place. – The voice that answered was that of the chieftain, only a few steps from the four of them.

He looked so different without his usual stern look, almost as if he has been transformed into another man completely. There was a sense of dread in his voice, as he acknowledges Quetz, flinching with every motion of the white haired man. It wasn’t just because of his claws and fangs, as far as Mitsuki knew, but something else hidden even from her gifted sight.

– Wh-what are you talking about? Leaving? – Asked Loi, sitting up and rubbing his neck.

– This land is no longer safe for your kind, young one. – Quetz replied, eyes looking out to the setting sun. – Something bad is coming to this valley, you have two days to evacuate out of here.

– Two days? – The tanned boy’s jaw dropped.

– Could be one, – The older male nodded. – worst case scenario it’d be tomorrow, I’ll try to buy some more time if that’s the case.

– What about…Haru? – Chief Quang asked, nodding at the small boy still being held by his sister.

– I’ll…think about it…when we get to the camp. – Quetz replied unsurely.

– Right, I’ll leave you to do the packing them. – The chieftain nodded and turned to walk to the other villagers but not before glancing over to Haru, mumbling quietly: – I’m sorry.

No one let out a word on the way back to Mitsuki’s house, especially Loi, the tanned boy kept his eyes on Quetz throughout the short walk to the far side of the village. He’s looking for something, the boy thought to himself, noticing the older male was looking left and right, eyes dashing from one rock to another. It was almost as if he was chasing something, a fleeting glimpse of a prey so small and nimble that he couldn’t see it in its entirety. Even when they’ve reached the house, Quetz was still looking around, studying it with those narrowed, serpentine amber eyes of his. What was he looking for? Questions after questions swept through Loi’s mind as he climbs up the wooden ladder, flinching a bit when their strange visitor crouches and leapt onto the yard with one swift action.

– Wh-what were you looking at? – The tanned boy asked nervously, keeping his voice low so he won’t disturb Mitsuki and Haru gathering their belonging.

There was no response, the white haired man simply narrowed his eyes even more and walked through the door, followed closely by a curious and worried Loi still keeping his eyes on him. His slender, clawed fingers pressed against the wooden wall, running through its surface as Quetz inspects an invisible sign. Loi didn’t understand, there’s nothing in this house that could have peaked his interests, nothing as far as he could tell, if there was, either Mitsuki or Haru would have found out with their gift. The tanned boy sat down next to his brother still helping their sister packing the essentials, silently watching as Quetz takes a step back and looks up one of the support beams.

– Keto-san? – Haru looked up from the pile of bows and pots. – What are you…

Without any warning, the white haired man slammed his entire body against the beam. A yelp escaped Mitsuki’s mouth as the entire house shakes and trembles before the force, old planks creaked in protest, even dislocating themselves in several places as the rotting ropes snapped. Next to her, Haru instinctively clung onto Loi, shrieking like a banshee, terrified of the possibility of the house collapsing with them still inside. The trembling was short-lived, yet it still caused woodchips and dust to fall down from the roof, a long with a long staff with an elongated and curve top.

– Where did you get this? – Asked Quetz, catching the staff with one hand, eyes widened as they look up and down its length of well chosen emerald green wood, stopping at the leaf shaped rain guard encrusted with a round piece of jade on each side separating the leather-bound curved and broadened part. – Alfai’s horns…could this…

– It’s my mother’s! Give it back! – Mitsuki rushed toward the older male at the glimpse of the staff, grabbing one end and pulling as hard as she could.

– Your mother’s? – A concerned frown grew on Quetz’s face, looking from the staff to the girl, his mind tried to connect all the clues. – It can’t be…

– Let go! – The girl ignored his mumbling and kept on pulling, tears rolling down her eyes in desperation as she tries to protect what left of her mother’s memory. – Let go! Please!

– It can’t be. – Quetz looked at the girl with utter disbelief in his eyes. – You’re…her daughter?

– I don’t know what you’re talking about! Just let go! – Mitsuki screamed and pulled the staff with all her might, causing it to slip from Quetz’s hand.

She leapt back, unbinding the leather wrapping around the curving part and unsheathed the wooden scabbard underneath. There was no mistaking, all of white haired man’s doubt disappeared as he looks at the girl, the metallic emerald green slender blade, the way she’s holding the weapon, the pose she’s using, there’s no mistaking it. With eyes still widened in surprise and disbelief, he walked toward the trembling girl standing between him and her brothers, the weapon, a viciously sharp naginata, held high, aiming directly at him. Chill ran down Quetz’s spine as the tip of his claw touches the blade, filling him with a familiar yet distanced sense of pride.

– You’re…Shinju’s daughter?

This time, it was Mitsuki who was in shock, the tensed expression on her face slowly softened. Before long, the tip of the blade was dropped to the floor, sinking almost half its width into the wood as the girl’s hand loses its grip.

– H-how did you…know my mother’s name? – She asked with a blank tone of confusion.

– I…knew your line well. – The man who was being questioned answered. – I…know…

– You know nothing!

It came from the tanned boy, a brash and bold statement, accidentally escaping his lips as he tries to process what’s going on. He left in front of Mitsuki, the jagged tip of his spear inches away from Quetz’s throat, now that the older male has lowered himself. Something snapped inside Loi, a seething hatred burst out as the name of Mitsuki’s mother, a person who he’s looked up to his whole life, being uttered. He doesn’t know anything, this monster, whose breaths are poisons and each word spoken is a lie, there’s no way he could have know her.

– Put the spear down, child. – Quetz rumbled menacingly.

– No! – The tanned boy roared out, pressing his spear against his larger adversary’s throat. – I’m not letting you filling their heads with lies! You monster! You liar! You…?!

He was caught off guard by a sudden push from behind, his eyes caught a glimpse of the familiar small frame of his brother rushing past him. Before the tanned boy could comprehend what has happened, Haru has put himself between Quetz and him, arms spread wide, eyes burning with a strange, baleful flame of anger and determination, the likes of which Loi has never thought he’d see in those beautiful violet eyes. The tanned boy’s vision was blurred, he couldn’t feel his feet but he could still feel his hands aching from holding his spear too tightly, so much so that a drop of blood was trickling down the back of his hand.

Why? Why was his beloved brother protecting that monster? Loi wanted to ask his brother, he needed to yell at his brother, needed an answer, but his lips wouldn’t move, not in the way he wanted them too. The monster was crouching behind Haru, triumphantly, clawed fingers putting on his thin, delicate shoulders, mocking him. He could hear his teeth grinding together at the sight, his lips curled back in pain, blood boiled in his ears and tears rolled down his burning cheeks. Why? Why?! Why?! Why him?! Why that monster and not him?! Loi cried out the question, but what came out was an inaudible, anguish roar of anger and jealousy as his entire body lunged forward, driving the spear toward Quetz…and Haru.

– Rai! No!

Too late, Mitsuki’s cry was too late, she knew it was, her eyes opened widely in terror as the metal spear tip rushed toward Haru, driven by her brother’s uncontrolled rage and jealousy. She knew the tanned boy loves Haru deeply, deeper than any brother should, but it’s a sickly and petty kind of love, born out of the darkest desires of his mind. Too late did she realize that Loi would’ve rather seen Haru killed, by his own hand if needed, before the smaller boy’s taken by another. The girl closed her eyes tightly, unable to see the atrocity that was about to ensued, waiting for the sound of metal piercing flesh to echo across the house.


Blood splattered and hitting the wooden floor in a sickening series of sounds.

A gasp, a horrified gasp coming from the tanned boy as he realized what he’s done.

– Keto-san!

He’s…still alive. Haru’s still alive! Mitsuki opened her eyes in disbelief, only to be greeted by the overwhelming presence of Quetz’s psyche. It burned, no, it was scorching, the heat of a thousand suns exploded in front of her eyes. An all consuming blackness spread out from the white haired man, sucking out every ounce of courage in her, tearing as he very soul, threatening to rip it out of her the longer Mitsuki stare into that blackness.

Loi dropped to his knees, eyes widened in terror and jaw hanging, twitching as inaudible gagging sounds escape his mouth. In front of him, Haru stood confused, oblivious to what’s just happened, his violet eyes gluing on Quetz’s hand extended in front of him. The very tip of the spear was centimeters away from his face, all covered in blood, having almost half of the blade pierced through the white haired man’s hand. Yet he didn’t seem in pain, not one inch of his face showing anything remotely like he’s in pain.

Quetz grabbed the shaft of the spear with his other hand, crushing it and releasing the spear head from the rest of it still being held tightly by Loi. Almost nonchalantly, he pulled the spear head from his bloodied hand, coiling and stretching his fingers, grinning only slightly by the pain shooting from his wound before looking directly at Loi. Coiling his bloody fingers into a fist, the white haired man threw a punch into the side of tanned boy’s head, sending him flying and knocking him unconscious.


– You saw what he did to me! How can you still defending him?!

– You brought it on yourself! You were the stubborn one!

– Oh by the ancestors! Open your eyes and face the truth Haru! He’s a monster that kills people without even flinching!

Mitsuki couldn’t believe what she’s seeing, for the longest time of her life, she was the one who have to stand out and defending Haru from others. But now, the white haired boy, ever so frail and fragile, so timid and soft spoken, was screaming his lungs out, defending himself, against Loi no less. She didn’t know if it’s a good thing or not, on one hand, he was standing up for himself for once, on the other, he was standing up against his adoptive brother, possibly one of the only two people who’ve ever cared for him. “Well, three to be exact”. Mitsuki thought, looking at Quetz sitting on the other side of the fire place, licking blood off his now closing wound with his almost abnormally long tongue.

– I! Am! Your! Brother! I want the best for you! – Loi roared out.

– No! You just want to keep me for yourself! – Haru fired back, rushing toward Quetz and buried his face into the man’s neck, sobbing before mumbling beneath his shaking breaths. – I hate you…

– Woa there! – The white haired man jumped at the statement. – You didn’t mean that, he’s your brother isn’t he?

– Shut up you monster! – The tanned boy cried out, tears rolling down his fluttered cheeks. – You’re a liar and a monster!

– You shut up! – Screamed the white haired boy. – Leave me alone! I don’t want to talk to you anymore!

Quetz’s face contorted into an awkward grin, shooting a sympathizing glance at the tanned boy and threw his head at Mitsuki’s direction. Something snapped inside Loi’s heart and mind, the girl was sure of it, seeing how Loi’s expression changed from anger into that of pure sadness. He closed his eyes shut to hold in the tears, but they kept pouring out, his fists shaking his rage, his teeth clenched tight to hold in an anguish wailing that have been building up since they reached the house. Before Mitsuki could say his name, Loi wiped his tears and ran outside, tripping on his own steps before disappearing behind the door frame, only faint footsteps on the sand echoing further and further.

Quetz looked outside, sighing in regret and defeat before looking at Mitsuki.

– You sure you…

Before he could finish, Haru let out a painful scream, fingers gripping at the older male’s shirt as he cries into his chest. It went on like that for several minutes, amidst the crying and inaudible words escaping the white haired boy’s lips that almost seemed unable to close, Quetz and Mitsuki just sat there, exchanging looks of understanding and unspoken apologies. Slowly, but steadily, Haru managed to stop himself from crying loudly, still he kept his face in the older male’s chest, a safe bastion needed for him to gather himself.

– There there, I’m here. – The white haired man giggled, patting his small companion’s back and caressing his mess of a face, speaking with a soft, almost maternal voice that both Haru and Mitsuki didn’t even think he could. – Now let’s have your face cleaned, shall we?

– O-ok… – Haru nodded, sniffing and wiping his eyes with his sleeves.

– Good boy. – Quetz replied softly, sticking his tongue out and moved closer and closer.

– K-Keto-san? – Mitsuki called out, realizing what the man was attempting to do.

– Hm? – He looked up, his tongue still hanging halfway outside his mouth.

– H-how did you know Haru…and my mother? – She asked, curious and scared of how he’d react. What if he was really lying?

– It’s…better shown than told. – The man’s eyes suddenly seemed distanced, his tail, a moment ago was still wagging like that of an exited dog, now hung low, slowly beating on the floor.

– What do you mean? – Mitsuki asked again.

– Let’s sit you down for a bit ok? – Gently, Quetz lifted Haru off his legs and sat him down on the floor before holding out his hands. – Haru, give me your hands.

– M-my hands? – Haru blinked twice, holding his hands against his chest in a moment of doubt, gazing into the man’s rough and scarred hands, before relinquishing and putting his into Quetz’s paws. – H-here.

– Don’t panic ok? – The older male smiled, pressing his lips against the boy’s forehead, causing him to yelp, face reddened in embarrassment.

Without even giving the boy a chance to recompose himself, Quetz closed his eyes, channeling the rampant energy around them into their opened paws. A dash of shiver ran up Haru spines, causing him to bend down a bit further as blue mists rush into their hands seemingly out of nowhere, swirling into a vortex of brilliant, glowing blue. He took a glance at Mitsuki, who was as bedazzled as he was, almost hypnotized by the swirling, glowing miasma. The white haired boy blinked, then looked up at Quetz who was looking at him with those amber eyes of his with a mischievous smile on his lips. The older male closed his eyes and frowned, focusing his thoughts into the vortex of energy, still keeping the smile on his lips.

The energy slowly took form, crystalizing in their hand, droplets of clear, blue shimmering crystal as first, all travelling with the flow, but soon there were dozens of them, slowly collecting at the center. Before the excited and curious eyes of the two children, a stalk of rose made from pure blue magical crystal slowly sprouted, with leaves gleaming like newly formed thin ice and a single flower, its petal shimmering with green and purple. The stubborn flower started bloom, much to Haru’s and Mitsuki’s amazement, brilliant rays of violet, pink and green shot out, reflecting on the rose’s crystal petals before slowly dimming.

Hypnotized by the spectacle that he’s just witness, Haru didn’t even notice when Quetz cupped his hands into his own, slowly guiding the boy’s fingers into holding the rose. The older male inhale, then gently blew on the delicate flower, causing it to spin, releasing a cloud of crystal dust before morphing into something else. The swirling cloud of crystal escaped the white haired boy’s hand, transforming into a fluttering butterfly with wings made of shimmering lights of vibrant green and gentle violet. The insect flew around the house, hovering above the ceiling, before taking a sharp dive into the fire place, transforming the flame into an eerie shade of blue. Greyish blue smoke rose from the fire, branching out like tendrils before gathering into a large orb above the fire place.

For several seconds straight, Haru kept his eyes in the screen of shifting smoke, almost transfixed as colors begin to dot the smoky canvas. Like the crystal droplets before, they began as only as spots of colors drifting in the smokes, but soon they gathered, connecting one by one to create a clear picture of a moss covered landscape, with giant trees surrounding the crystal clear shallow lake. Then the scenery moved, not in a smooth motion, but shaky and unbalanced as a pair of tiny hands reached forward, pulling the body behind toward the hollow of a fallen tree, its roots pulled from the ground as it fell backward into the forest.

There was something inside the hollow, its long, white tail reached out from the veil of roots, beating slowly to the heavy breathing of the creature inside. The baby let out a curious noise, then slowly crawled forward, cautiously, slowly, trying his best to not wake whatever it is that’s resting inside.

– Runty! What are you doing?! Come back! – A panic yet quiet voice echoed from behind.

“Runty”, that was the name Quetz called him, Haru thought as he watched the baby turns his head around, looking at the blond teenage boy holding another baby, a girl, with snowy white hair and large, violet eyes, sucking on her thumb. The boy was around Loi’s age, daunting a black sleeveless jacket overlapping a deep blue shirt and jet black loose leather pants stuffed inside his knee high boots and secured with straps and belts, giving them a baggy look. His short and messy golden blond hair was held down by a blue cloth headband, leaving several locks of hair draping in front of his forehead, partially covering his odd colored eyes, blood red on the left and sapphire blue on the right.

Despite the frantic shrieking, the boy seemed unable to come any further, lingering out side the invisible barrier while the baby in his hand giggles playfully. Runty ignored the warning, he turned around and crawled toward the hollow even faster, leaving the pair behind, with the older boy screeching inaudible curses at the sky. He crawled closer to the opening, carefully avoiding the tail and slipped inside, where the creature is laying.

A gasp escaped Haru’s lips, embedded into hollowed out tree trunk were dozens of large, smooth plates of blue crystals, surrounding the coiling man at the center, his reflection staring at him from all sides. It was Quetz, looking almost identical as he is now, with the only differences were the second earing on his right ear where the v-shaped gap should be and his much shorter silvery hair. He breathed heavily, shakily, his eyes closed shut as sweats roll down his frowning forehead, clawed fingers digging into the soft soil. The baby crawled closer, slower, catching glimpses of his reflection on the crystals, glimpses of snowy white hair and violet eyes, before putting his tiny hand on man’s exposed ear.

– Ka. – He called out with his baby voice.

– Ka… – Haru repeated, gripping his shirt tightly. – Keto…

Without another word, Runty grabbed the earing, putting his other hand on Quetz’s cheek and pulled. There were already several deep cuts on his ear, still wet with blood, the baby’s pull was enough to pull the earing right off, along with a huge chunk of his ears. The white haired man’s eyes shot open in pain and anger, jolting up on all fall, hitting his back against the ceiling of his hideout and let out an inhuman roar as Runty falls backward on his back. Ramming his head against the wood, Quetz panted heavily, eyes dashing wildly around searching for the one who’s wounded him, drooling and hissing angrily.

Still holding the earing attached to the blood piece of skin in his fingers, Runty’s blinked and looked at Quetz, clearly shaken and scared. His vision became blurry as tears fill his eyes, before crying loudly, flailing his short chubby limbs in the air. A sudden thud sounded when his tiny hand hits the man’s face, now softened into a concerned expression. Still sobbing, the baby reached toward Quetz again, touching and rubbing his face before being picked up by the back of the shirt he’s wearing. The white haired man gently put Runty down deeper into the hollow, his tongue pressed against the boy’s face and started licking off the tears, before laying down, arms wrapping around the baby with Runty putting his face against his and slowly drifting off.

Haru sat dumbfounded, watching the smoke screen started to darkened and thinned. Before long, all the colors have disappeared, scattering into dozens of small, white butterflies and sizzled into nothingness. Next to him, Quetz still glued his eyes on the ceiling, where a single white butterfly remained, shimmering wings flapped weakly toward his outstretched hand. The dying insect landed on the man’s finger, its wings slowly falling a part, before dissolving completely into sparkling dusts.

– Why?

– I… – The question was too simple, yet at the same time, too much for Quetz to answer.

– Why? – The boy asked again, louder, shakier, the emotions he felt in the afternoon were back, the confusion, the anger, desperation and sadness, overwhelming, gnawing at his soul. – Why did you leave me? Keto…please tell me… – His voice was soft, quiet yet shaken as he glued his eyes to his hands gripping at his pants. – Please Keto…I want to know… I deserve to know… Please tell me… Why did you leave me?

– I…I wouldn’t if I had a choice. – The white haired man brought his hand up to his temple, rubbing tiredly, recalling the stressful nights watching after Haru and the arguments for his wellbeing that followed. – You were sick. – He finally answered. – I did all I could but your health didn’t improve, so I…

– So you abandoned me here?! – The white haired boy bolted up to his full height, tightened fists shaking furiously on his sides as he looks down at Quetz.

– Haru, you must understand. – Quetz slowly stood up, voice still choked with regret and understanding. – The place where I was, my home, our home, was in the middle of a war, I…I couldn’t leave you there, I…

– You could have come and visit me! – The boy buried his face into his shaky hands, shoulders jolting with every sob. – You could have come…every once in a while…you could have…you could have… You didn’t even…recognize me that day…you didn’t…

A painful realization struck Quetz, causing him to back off as Haru runs pass him toward the wooden wall, to his safe corner. How? How could he have forgotten about the small spark of sunshine that was Haru? He slowly knelt down on one legs, fingers entangling against his forehead as he slowly drifted into his thoughts. Slowly, he crept toward the wall, where the soft sobbing was echoing through, but a gentle tug held him back. He turned around, sad amber eyes met with concerned brown eyes, there was not a single word spoken between the two of them, there were no need for words. The white haired man simply nodded, agreeing with Mitsuki as he drags his feet back to the fire place. Haru needed rest.

– Keto-san, please make yourself at home, I’ll make some food. – The girl said with a fake jolly tone, running back and fort in the house to prepare a meal.

– Please, take your time. – Replied Quetz, sounding so tired and defeated, inching toward the wall and put his back against the wood barrier between him and the boy, listening to his silent sobbing.

– So…uh… How did you know my mother anyway? – The girl asked, putting a large pot onto the fire before adding cooking ingredients.

– She…I…knew her bloodline, your bloodline. – The man said, temporarily lifting his head up to confront the girl who looks so much like that stubborn woman he used to call apprentice. – Tell me Mitsuki, how long have you been experiencing weird things?

– Uh…almost throughout my life, I guess? – Mitsuki replied, not sure as to why it would matter.

– And your mother? Was she also the same? – There was no answer, only a sense of unease and surprised washing over Quetz. He sighed again, doubt lifting from his burdened mind. – So it’s true, you really are of her bloodline.

-Wh-what do you mean? – Mitsuki turned around, the knife in her hand froze in midair as she was about to cut some vegetable to put into the boiling pot.

– We…uh…how do I put this? – The white haired man rubbed his temple and frowned annoyingly. – To some extend, you and I can be considered blood relatives.

– WHAT?!

The scream was from Loi, drawing both Quetz’s and Mitsuki’s attention to the front door. The tanned boy was standing just outside, face smeared and twisted by tears and anger, hand gripping at the door frame so tightly that a drop of blood trickled down the wood. The white haired man narrowed his eyes and slowly stood up, he shivered and shook his tail, getting rid of all the dust off his fur before putting on his cloak and walking toward the door. As he passed by Mitsuki, he stopped and leaned down slightly to acknowledge her.

– Maybe another time.

Before Mitsuki could say anything, Quetz has already slipped past Loi, his cloak fluttered as he lands on the wet sand of high tide, disappearing between the rocks that dotted that part of the beach. Letting out a sigh of defeat, Mitsuki returned to the fire place, carefully stirring the pot of rice soup that she’s cooked for all four of them. Loi sat down next to her, eyes gluing at the fire before looking down at the bow of soup his sister has silently slid in front of him.

– He’s… – The tanned boy opened his mouth to speak, voice choked with fear. – He’s…not…going to take Haru away from us…is he?

– I…I’m not sure. – Mitsuki replied, scooping up a bow for herself before scooping for Haru. – If what he said is true, I think it would be better for…

– It’s not true! – Loi jumped to his full height, kicking the bow into the fire.

– Rai!

– It’s a lie! All of it! – The boy roared out, gripping at his hair. – Didn’t you see what he did!? It’s dark magic! He’s a demon! He’s trying to trick us into giving Haru to him!

– Rai! Calm down! – Desperately, Mitsuki tried to held Loi, tried to comfort her brother. – I won’t let him take Haru away from us! I won’t!

It took a few more minutes, but the tanned boy finally caved in to her words. He fell forward, burying his face into her shoulder, sobbing like a broken, lost child that’s in full denial of the reality placed in front of him. Holding the sobbing mess that is her brother in her arms, Mitsuki felt her heart strings being tugged violently. It was a lie she told Loi, in truth, the girl didn’t know if she could trust Quetz’s words, she didn’t even have the courage to trust her own judgments. What if all he said are lies? What if they were all truth? Either way, Mitsuki knew she wouldn’t be able to stop him if he decides to take Haru away.

Without any word spoken, the children silently finished their dinner and made their preparation for their departure. There wasn’t much to do, the most essentials things were tidily packed into their bags, satchels and small pouches, the rest would have to be carried by hands or left behind. Mitsuki sighed and put out the fire, Loi has already slept and she hasn’t heard anything from her other brother. Silently she stood up, holding a bow full of cooling rice soup and made her way to the little corner of the house the white haired boy has made into his sanctuary. She peeked her head pass the wooden wall, seeing Haru lying on his side, chest moving gently with each shivering breath. Putting the bow down quietly, Mitsuki quickly retreated back to her spot, smiling at the sounds of her brother sitting up and finishing his dinner before quickly returning to his fake sleep. She yawned loudly, acknowledging him as he let out a small yelp, before lying down to sleep.

Haru lied there, face red with embarrassment after Mitsuki acknowledged that she knew he was faking his sleep. For the longest of time, he just lied there, face redder than a ripe tomato until he hears the calm, quiet snoring of his sister. The boy popped his head over, sure enough, Mitsuki and Loi were sleeping soundly next to the pile of bags and satchels carrying all of their belonging. Looking back at his corner, Haru realized that he hasn’t done any packing yet, sketch books, pens and tools he used to craft them still sat untouched next to the small backpack he used to store them. The white haired boy crept toward the pile of his belonging and slowly, anxiously putting away each object into the leather bag, each clung to his fingers until they’ve touched the bottom. One by one, Haru watched his precious belongings disappeared into the bowel of his bag, blackness swallowed them, shrouded them in the same darkness that shrouded his future. Putting away the last of his pens, he closed the bag and hugged it into his chest tightly, trying to calm the tempest that is his emotions.

He’s heard what Mitsuki said, what Loi said, he’s known their concern, and now theirs has become his. The tanned boy’s question echoed in Haru’s mind, amplifying his anxiety. What if Quetz was lying? Even if he was, what could they do once he’s decided to take the boy with him? The more the boy thinks, the tighter he hugs his bag of belongings. Deep down, he knew he belongs with Quetz, possibly his true blood family, but at the same time, Haru didn’t want to leave his sister and brother. Especially Loi, how could he leave him after saying the things he said? But if he stay, would his life be the same? Would the white haired man visit him? Would he start butchering the villagers one by one until Haru agree to follow him? Or would he leave again, abandoning the boy to his fate, to the already hateful crowd of people that he knew he doesn’t belong to? His doubt gnawed at him, unseen claws tore into his soul, but he couldn’t scream, eyes looked at him but he couldn’t look back.

Something pulled Haru out of his tempest of thoughts, the sounds of a flute, playing a symphony, a lullaby that the boy occasionally found himself unconsciously humming to. It came from outside, the boy couldn’t tell the exact location but it was near, probably from the rocks that dotted the beach. He slowly get up, quietly, carefully stepping out of the back door, to the small platform that gave him an overview of the village from afar. In the shimmering moonlight reflecting from the waves, Haru saw him.

Sitting on a large rock that rose from the waves, Quetz sat with his tail draping lazily over it, gently swaying with the gentle melody he was playing. Surrounding him was a circle faint light, not unlike the swirl of mist that he conjured earlier. But this one was different, as Haru takes a better look, he realized that the circle was actually made from dozens of small, hovering balls of light, glowing to the rhythms of the lullaby.

– Amhrán…na Farraige…

Covering his mouth to restrain a gasp, the white haired boy backed himself against the wooden wall. What was that? The name he’s just uttered in that strange, unknown language? He relinquished his hands from his mouth, letting his breaths to even out before reaching for his chest, feeling his heart beating frantically.

The sounds of Mitsuki churning in her sleep caught Haru’s attention, forcing him to look inside. With only the moonlight as the only light, the boy watched in anticipation, waiting for the silhouette his sister’s head to pop out from the other side of the door, telling him to go back inside and sleep. A sigh of relief escaped his lips, hearing his sister slowly drifting off into her sleep again. But just as he was about to turn around, something hit him, a horrifying realization that Quetz’s lullaby has stopped when he went to check on Mitsuki. He turned around, looking at the rock where the man was sitting on. He was no longer there.

But even before Haru could even comprehend the situation, a light vibration shook the platform from the small wooden ladder where the family’s rowboat was tied to. He turned around, heart jolting with anxiousness and fear, imagining something big has just swam by. But what? The distance from the rock to the house is no less than twenty meters so it couldn’t be Quetz, no one could swim that fast so quietly without stopping for a breath. But if it wasn’t him, then what? The weight of the question bore down on Haru’s mind as he made his way toward the ladder, slowly, quietly, cautiously, mind filled with the images of the monsters that lurk beneath the waves of the abyssal depth. As he got closer and closer to the edge, the boy’s heart felt like it could jump out of his chest any moment.

– Hey.

With a swift motion, Quetz popped his head above the platform, almost sending Haru flying backward, has it not for the fact that the boy was so terrified of this point, that he only stood frozen in place, before falling to his knees. The boy sat there, eyes widened, mind went blank and somehow filled to the brim with questions at the same time. He wanted to say something, but the moment he come up a single thought, it has disappeared before it reaches his tongue, leaving only stuttering sounds to escapes his parted lips. It wasn’t because of the sudden action of the man, not entirely, seeing his damped shaped reminded Haru of something, something horrifying, dyed red with the blood of a hundred men, and a bestial roar that shook him to his soul.

Tilting his head slightly, Quetz slowly pulled himself up the ladders, water dripping down his silvery white hair, trickling down his pale skin, causing his clothes to stick to his slim body. It wasn’t hide, Haru realized as he stares at the man’s towering wet form. His clothes, or at least the shirt he was wearing wasn’t thick and firm like leather, it was loose, almost cloth-like yet still retaining that distinctive leathery look. It stuck to the man’s body, bringing out the outline of the slim yet somewhat muscular frame that is usually hidden beneath the cloak.

Haru sat there, eyes bulging and glued to Quetz’s body while the older male bends down and shakes his body like a huge canine to get rid of the water. In the blur of motions, his silvery hair swayed and shone, reflecting the pale moonlight like strands of star lights. The older male stood up to full height, muttering a curse under his breaths as his shirt was still soaking wet, not noticing that his observer was covering his red face with both his hands. It was too much for the boy, through the thin fabric pressing against Quetz’s body, Haru had the best view of what lying underneath. He couldn’t be any more muscular than a normal man, in fact he could be considered as one of the skinnier members of the hunter groups, yet he could easily lift a grown man up by the neck with just one hand.

He sat there, feeling the heat of his face slowly spread onto his hands, desperately trying to think of something, anything to say to Quetz. But the more he think, the more he found himself imagining the older male standing shirtless in front of him. Then he heard something, a sound that the boy dreaded to hear, the sound of Quetz’s shirt being taken off and dropped onto the platform. Haru curled up even more, hearing he man’s moving, lowering his body to look at him with hypnotizing amber eyes. “Don’t say anything stupid”, the boy told himself, slowly lowering his hands, his heart skipping a beat when he realized that Quetz’s face was just inches away from his.

– Yo-you’re…hot… No! I meant… – The white haired boy covered his mouth again, realizing what he’s said and the volume of his voice.

– Well…I’ll take that as a compliment. – The older male chuckled, oblivious of the reason why his smaller companion acted the way he did. He shifted his body, moving on all four with the fluidity of a graceful cat before sitting down next to the boy like he did in that abandoned outpost. – Beautiful night, isn’t it? – He asked, smiling sadly at the glimmering stars of the midnight sky. – Not as beautiful as the view from our home, but still good.

– Your home. – Haru mumbled disgruntledly, face still red and hands still covering his mouth.

The man’s gaze lowered, as if acknowledging the boy’s harsh statement. He turned to face his companion, only to see him turns away, childishly avoiding a conversation. Letting out a sigh, Quetz pressed the back of his head against the wooden wall, looking up at the stars again before raising the flute beautifully carved from a bone to his mouth, and started to play. The melody was soft and soothing, yet choked with regret in someway that Haru couldn’t put his fingers on.

– Ne, Keto. – He hesitantly called out.

– Yes? – The older male replied, still keeping his eyes averted from the boy.

-What was…our…home…like? – Asked the white haired boy, though he has no intention of leaving his adoptive family, curiosity gnawed at what little glimpses of the memories he had of that place.

– Our home? – Quetz replied with uncertainty, frowning at the younger male. – Are you sure you want to know about it?

– It-it’s not like I want to go with you. – Haru quickly added, burying his red face into his folded up arms that were rested on his curled up knees. – I-I just…want to know.

Did he really want to know though? The boy didn’t dare asking himself that, fearing the truth that pulses in his heart. “Our home”, the white haired boy didn’t know why he said it like that, he has almost no memories of that place, save for the flashing images that haunted his nightmares, just to disappear the moment he open his eyes. Yet there was an urge, a pull that was always present every time Haru wakes up from such horrid dreams, calling for him to that strange place as if it was tied to his very being. The more he thinks, the more he found himself being overwhelmed, curiosity and guilt merged and separated, fighting for dominance of his heart and mind. He was torn, didn’t know whether to stay with his family or to go back to “their home”.

– My home… – He whimpered softly, weakly.

Warmth rushed through his body, the sensation of damped, rough skin brushed against his as Quetz wrapped his arms around him. Before Haru could let out a yelp of pure surprised and embarrassment, before he could even react, the older male has already pulled him into his chest. In his confused state, the white haired boy didn’t notice that the older male has shifted, turning his entire body toward him. Too late it was, the younger male realized, too late for him to respond, to retaliate, he couldn’t, he didn’t want to.

Quetz has one arm secured around Haru’s back, the other hand put on the back of his head, caressing his loosened snowy white hair, glistening in the pale moonlight like strands of ghostly silver. The boy’s eyes widened, then closed, just slightly, his hands raised behind the man’s back, then wrapped tightly, slender fingers interlocking each others, unwilling to let go of the source of peacefulness and serenity. Being held like this, being held by Quetz, Haru felt…safe, a safety that echoes from the deepest corner of his being.

Instinctively, he pulled himself closer, the wetness of the man’s body didn’t bother him, he cared only the warmth, the security he offered. He scooted closer, his upper chest now pressing against Quetz’s, his face buried into the man’s neck and shoulder. Haru parted his mouth slightly, letting out shivering breaths, causing the older male to shutter, he wanted to say something, but warmth and safety he’s feeling, along with his sleepiness prevented him to compose any thought.

– Ke…to… – The boy mumbled, yawning loudly and nuzzled onto the man’s shoulder.

He waited for a response, for Quetz to call his name, to acknowledge him. There was nothing. There was no response, no sound, save for the man’s quiet breathing and the waves below them. Dread settled into Haru’s heart, it pulled him out of his drowsy state, causing him to jolted his head out of the man’s shoulder and look at his face, looking for an answer. He was frowning, Haru realized, looking down with those amber eyes, filled to the brim with guilt, pain and regret. The white haired boy watched him slowly lifting his head, eyes locking with his, his clawed hand raised and gently caressed the boy’s cheek as he smiled sadly.

– Stay strong.

Quetz was bidding him farewell, there was no mistaking it, Haru could tell from his voice and the gleaming sadness in his eyes. He bit his lips, hands clutched tightly at the older male’s wrist and pushed his face against it even more. “No. It couldn’t end like this.” He thought to himself, or maybe it was meant for the white haired man. The white haired boy didn’t know, he kept on pressing his face into Quetz’s hand biting at it to hold him from leaving. Even when the stench of blood filled his mouth, yet Haru didn’t let go, he didn’t want to, he couldn’t.

– Please…don’t go… – He muttered weakly, releasing the man’s hand from his teeth. – Don’t leave me…

It was futile, there was no convincing Quetz, Haru knew it in his very being, so he didn’t cry, for what he’s experiencing was not sadness, but emptiness, hopelessness. He simply sat there, slowly leaning forward, until his forehead touches the man’s chest, silently listening to the peaceful rhythms of the waves, savoring what little time he has left before…

Quetz’s hands pressed against the boy’s shoulders, pushing Haru off his chest gently. Fear rushed through the smaller male’s body, chilling him to his soul, he looked up, hoping against hope for an explanation, an answer, anything. Instead, Quetz’s fingers caressed his cheeks, cupping them and bringing them upward as a thumb gently brushed against his delicate, parted lips. The boy watched his companion leaned closer, lips parted, revealing the tip of his tongue obscured by the row of sharp fanged teeth. A muffled gasp almost escape, but instead was halted and seized by the wet flexible tongue pressing the soft pink lips such, before another pair of wet lips, still salty from the sea water pressed against them.

Haru gripped at Quetz’s shoulders, trembling fingernails dug into pale skin, drawing blood, minute droplets of blood trailed down both his wrists and the man’s chest. But the older male didn’t seem to care, didn’t seem to notice the pain, he kept on licking slowly, pressing his lips against his smaller companion’s to clean the blood on his mouth, his tongue sliding pass the parted lips from time to time. Save for the instinctive clutching against the man’s shoulders, there was no real retaliation coming from Haru, shocked, fear and entranced by the feeling of Quetz’s lips and tongue against his. Yet even after he’s worked himself out of the surprised state, the white haired boy found himself not willing to let go, to pull away. Instead, he closed his eyes, his blood stained fingers traveled to the man’s neck, cupping at his jaw as he pressed deeper into the act.

– Haru… – A partially muffled call escaped Quetz’s lips in a rare moment when their lips parted.

– Y-yes? – Answered the white haired boy, shyly, face red with embarrassment, fully aware of what he did yet couldn’t find any reason to condemn, nor to excuse it. It simply felt…right.

– …We should sleep. – Hesitantly, the older male replied, releasing his hands from the boy. – You should, I’ll…stay up for a little bit more.

A heart beat passed before Haru could nod, realizing how hard it must have been for his companion when what must have started as an act of cleaning and showing of affection got turned into… He shook his head and lied down onto the mattress, pulling the blanket up to his lower face as Quetz moved in on all four almost gracefully. Haru yawned, his eyelids hung heavily, barely able to stay open, the only thing that kept them from shutting completely was the man’s movements on the wooden floor. He lied next to the boy, curling his limps and tail into a ball, amber eyes opened slightly to watch the boy. Then the lullaby started again, this time came not from the flute left outside, but from Quetz’s own lips, softly, quietly, enough for only the two of them, slowly easing them into the peacefulness of their dreams.

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