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[personal profile] queenofchalices
Title: Moon Over the Tower: Chapter Nine
Series: Bleach
Rating: R
Warnings: het (IchiHime), blood, scariness, religious topics. Should be read with the lights off.
Spoilers: This is AU. We don't need spoilers where we're going.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to a lot of Japanese people, namely people like Tite Kubo and Shonen Jump. You'll notice how none of those are me. The LiveJournal format that you'll probably be reading this in (if you're one of my friends) is rough draft and is subject to revision. Consider this a 'sneak peek'. If something sits the wrong way with you, let me know. This will probably (never) be updated weekly, until I eventually drop it like every other project ever. Not responsible for epileptic seizures or allergic reactions. May contain eye-and-brain-bleeding levels of radioactive ANGST and/or peanut products. Please sit a reasonable distance from your computer screen.

Author's Note: This chapter is a little shorter than most, but I wanted to make the next chapter a more cohesive unit! I hope the content makes up for it!

___________________________________________________________________________

The horses whinnied and neighed, nostrils flaring as their hooves pounded the rocky dirt of the courtyard. It took all of Sado's considerable strength just to hold onto their reigns. They were spooked, and rightfully so. Whatever had wounded their master the night before had now also struck his horses.

All the household staff had rushed into the courtyard to help subdue the poor beasts, but Nemu's unnaturalness had only made the situation worse. Once the horses caught scent of her, they bucked and chomped at their bits, foaming uncontrollably. She was promptly sent to wait just on the other side of the door.

So it came to be that only Sado, Uryuu, and Tatsuki tended the horses, trying to cajole them into some semblance of cooperation. It was no easy task, seeing as how the wound one had suffered to his flank was making the other one just as wild as if he'd been bitten himself. Sado himself almost took a hoof to the face a couple times, and Uryuu had nearly been trampled.

Tatsuki had been tasked with tending the prey, which was securely roped down in the back of the carriage. They weren't quite unconscious, and from the looks of them, they were an old man, but he sure could kick when he wanted to. Tatsuki had to forcibly remind herself that breaking his legs might indirectly cause him to lose blood or die, and that would negate the entire point of their trip; if it weren't for that fact, she probably would've already simply hurt him grievously. Otherwise, his vigor was at least a good sign.

It was a good several minutes before the horses were calm enough to lead to their stables. When Sado was finally able to lead them away, the quiet gave both Uryuu and Tatsuki pause to think.

"Miss Arisawa," Uryuu said slowly, brow furrowed as though something had just occurred to him, "You were watching Miss Inoue, were you not?" Tatsuki raised an eyebrow as she peered at her companion.

"Yes?" she responded, "She's in her room. What of it?" The look of concentration on Uryuu's face deepened.

"I thought I caught her scent a few moments ago," he said, looking in the direction of her room, "Perhaps my senses are playing tricks on me, but you should check on her just to be sure."

But by the time the words had left Uryuu's mouth, Tatsuki was already halfway up the grand staircase in the front hall.

________________________________________________________

The only sounds in the room were those of breathing. There were the light, half-held breaths that Orihime was trying to keep as quiet as possible, and then there was another set. The other breaths were deep and husky, as though they were coming through the mouth. They were colored with a little shudder that made a tingle race up Orihime's spine. She couldn't help but think it sounded hungry and primal and laced with desire. Someone else was in the room with her, and they were close by.

A brush against her back caused her to startle. It was feather-light and cool, causing gooseflesh to rise on her arm. It seemed to be trying to pass through her long auburn locks, sifting them between fingers and letting them fall against her back again.

"H-Hello?" she asked timidly, "Who's there?" She half-expected to receive no answer at all save for the rustle of wind through curtains. What she got instead shocked her.

"It's me," a raspy, yet oddly familiar voice whispered. Even though she hadn't felt a presence behind her at all, the voice had been right in her ear, as though its owner was standing right behind her.

"C-Count, is that you?" Orihime nervously responded, not daring to turn around. A chill had settled along her spine, and as odd as it sounded, she was certain it was from him. In reply, a pair of ghostly arms snaked around her midsection. Before she could even think of moving away, they tightened into steel-like bonds, pulling her hard against the solid man behind her.

He was cool and unyielding, his body solid as a rock. Orihime felt heat rush to her face as his hands moved, pressing her back tighter against him. The soft curve of her bottom had managed to find a firm protrusion inside his trousers, and as she squirmed it rolled against her. Orihime wanted to cover her eyes when she realized exactly what it was. The Count simply hissed his approval into her ear.

"Don't be afraid," he whispered, one hand trailing toward the collar of her night shrift. Almost immediately, as if in response to his words, the fear Orihime had felt vanished. In its place was a numbness and a vague sense of anticipation - the same feeling from her dreams.

His cold hand pulled the tie loose from her shrift and tugged it down, revealing a large, pendulous breast with one hard, pink nipple to the chill night air. At the sound of her whimper of protest against the cold, the Count lowered his lips to the junction of her shoulder and neck and began to suck gently. He groaned into her skin, rolling and tugging the tightly furled bud between his fingers; whatever he was doing to her, Orihime felt as if she were already in Heaven.

Time seemed to blur to her, almost like the time she'd drunk that wine with him. She hardly registered what he was doing anymore; all she knew was that she didn't want it to stop. Several moments, or perhaps even minutes passed like this in hazy bliss, before she noticed a chill creeping up her legs - it dawned on her that the Count was pulling up her skirt. Before she could protest, his hand had already slid between her thighs, moving unfettered towards her warm, sticky center.

Orihime tried weakly to wriggle away, inadvertently pushing herself firmly against his erection once again. He hissed his disapproval, his fingers tightening around her nipple and holding her still. His grip was iron-like and unbreakable, and even had Orihime been in possession of all her faculties, she wouldn't have been able to move him.

"I thought this was what you wanted," he rasped against her ear, his voice hot and heavy with desire, "Isn't this what you've been dreaming of? Orihime..."

Orihime felt her blood chill at his observation. She didn't tell him, hadn't said anything to anyone else, hadn't even let on about those dreams and feelings. Had the priest betrayed her confidence? Even though her mind was sluggish, she could still feel mortification rush through her veins.

"No..." she murmured quietly, the embarrassment heavy in her voice. He ignored her protest soundly, cool fingers playing against her moist slit.

As his fingers subtly probed further, another feeling entered Orihime's field of perception. There was a dull prick on her neck, right where the Count had been licking and sucking for the past several minutes. She winced at the tiny pinpricks before the fuzzy, faint feeling overwhelmed her entirely. She hardly knew which way was up any longer, only that she was leaning against the Count for support and that he now had free range of her body. It was all she could do to respond to him with a small, shuddering gasp while he continued to lap greedily at her neck.

Orihime hardly knew how long this continued, the Count playing both along her bare neck and the apex of her thighs. Eventually, though, she was vaguely aware of the sounds of shouting and lights being brought into view. Someone grabbed her by the shoulders and drug her away from the Count; she was simply too bleary to protest, even if she had wanted to. There were then screams and rapid motion and after what seemed like an eternity without the Count's presence, Orihime felt herself being carried elsewhere. And it was at that point that she lost all consciousness.

_______________________________________________________

"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH--!"

"Pin his arms!"

"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH--!"

"Sado, take him from behind! Nemu, get the water!"

The smell was insufferable. That was the first thing to make it through his addled brain. He was suffocating, and he couldn't remove the noxious source of his discomfort. Someone had slung a strand of those disgusting white cloves around his neck and was pinning his arms back to keep him from removing it.

There was a splash of freezing water against Ichigo's skin, bringing him fully back to consciousness. His mouth had been open, mid-scream, when it hit, causing him to sputter at the fluid intruding into his mouth and airway. As if the awful garlic wasn't enough, now they were throwing water on him as well.

"Nemu," he heard a stern voice order from behind him, "Strike him." Before Ichigo could protest that it was unnecessary, he heard his servant acquiesce.

"Yes, master," she said quietly. She drew back one dainty fist and then let it fly squarely at Ichigo's jaw. It impacted like a runaway carriage.

"S-Stop!" he squawked, sounding decidedly unmanly. Then again, who could blame him? He was soaked to the bone, pinned down, suffocating from that disgusting garlic, and felt like he'd just been trampled by a pack of wild horses.

"One more time, Nemu," he heard Uryuu coolly order. At this point, he knew his valet was just doing it to spite him; for what, he had no clue.

"Yes, master," Nemu replied once more before letting her fist fly. This time the impact hurt less, but that was mostly because he was prepared for it.

"You may remove the garlic now, Nemu," Uryuu further ordered her, causing Ichigo to sigh with relief when the disgusting strand was lifted from around his neck.

"I don't suppose you recall what you were just doing, do you, Kurosaki?" Uryuu asked, adjusting his monocle. Ichigo knew he must be in trouble if his butler was using his family name only. But now that the overwhelming garlic was gone, he could smell again - and the room smelled strongly of one person.

"It smells like Miss Inoue in here," Ichigo quietly observed to himself, eyebrows furrowing.

"I imagine it does," Uryuu snorted. A strong pair of arms released Ichigo, allowing him to slump to the floor. His confusion was slowly lifting as he remembered how he'd just been interrupted with her.

"Oh god," he breathed, leaning forward and holding his head in his hands. He could still taste her on his tongue and smell her on his hands. Worse yet, he couldn't exactly bring himself to feel disgusted with his senses; she tasted divine and the smell was still on the edge of arousing him. He hadn't completely slaked his thirst, either. He still wanted more.

"Drink," Uryuu suddenly commanded, causing Ichigo to wearily raise his head. The valet casually tossed an old man, hands and feet bound and head covered, at Ichigo's knees.

"Where's Miss Inoue?" Ichigo demanded hoarsely. The old man didn't tempt him in the least. The larger part of him wanted to see for himself that Orihime was alright, that he hadn't done anything irrevocable to her. But there was another part, a very vocal part, that protested at the idea of exchanging such a luscious meal for the withered old prune squirming before him on the floor.

"I imagine Miss Arisawa has already taken her to her quarters," the incensed valet sniffed, "I doubt you want to deal with her right now." Ichigo's pale cheeks colored in shame. "In any case, you are not to see her until you've fed," Uryuu continued as Ichigo hung his head, "Do you understand?"

"Yes," Ichigo muttered sourly. He picked the old man up roughly by his shoulders and, ignoring his weak protests, clamped onto his neck harder than he had any reason to.

The more he drank, the more miserable he became. His senses slowly came back to him, having been drained away by the wound, the loss of blood, and the intoxication of being so close to Orihime and finally tasting her sweet blood. The disgust he knew he'd feel finally came back to him full-force as he drained the old man of his life. He hadn't wanted to reveal himself to her like that. He hadn't wanted to molest her, either. He felt like quite possibly the greatest cad in the world at the moment.

Hardly realizing it, he finished the old man off and let the slowly cooling cadaver slide to the floor. Sensing he had finally met his demise, Uryuu nodded to Nemu, who relieved Ichigo of the remains. Soon, the body was gone from the room, along with the maid. No one asked what would happen to it.

Ichigo stretched his fingers, clenching and unclenching his fists as he felt his vitality return. Finally, after the new blood had adequately begun flowing through his system, he lifted his eyes to Uryuu. His pitiful, heartbroken gaze was met with his valet's stony one. If it was at all possible, it made him feel worse yet.

"May I see her now?"

___________________________________________________________

Tatsuki knew her face could scare the devil himself at the moment. She really couldn't bring herself to care, either.

She knew it wasn't Ichigo's fault. It was a quirk, an accident of nature that had caused his peculiar affliction. Logically, she knew it wasn't entirely his fault.

But she also really couldn't blame Orihime, either. Yes, she had obviously snuck out of her room when she had been told not to. But Tatsuki knew better than anyone how worried she'd been over Ichigo all day. As much as she hated it, keeping her friend in the dark had seemed like the best option at the time.

And now look at where it had gotten them.

Tatsuki flopped down on the bed beside her charge, exhaling a sigh as she did so. Orihime was still unconscious, since the Count had put her into a deep swoon while he fed. While she was out, her wound had already closed - a benefit of vampire saliva, as Tatsuki had seen many times before - and Tatsuki had taken the opportunity to redress her. Not before she'd given her a quick examination, however.

She had sighed with relief when she found that Ichigo hadn't gotten very far with her. The last thing she wanted was for her to wind up like herself or Nemu - or worse, simply dead from blood loss.

At length, Tatsuki's charge began to stir. The redhead moaned and made to sit up before Tatsuki stopped her, pushing her back against the plush bedding.

"Don't," she ordered firmly, "You've lost a lot of blood." Her eyebrows furrowed; she fervently hoped Orihime didn't remember anything. The less she knew about their lifestyle, the better. Her hopes were dashed a second later as Orihime began to speak.

"Where is the Count?" she asked quietly, "He was... on my neck... and down below..." A light blush crept over her face as she lifted a hand to feel where she'd been bitten. "He seemed... different." Tatsuki's face was grave.

"He wasn't himself," she said sternly, "You should've stayed in your room, Orihime. You were never meant to see that side of him." Orihime's eyes widened at this statement. Tatsuki knew she had to be confused. With a sigh, she looked over at the redhead and gave her a piteous look.

"I didn't want to do this," Tatsuki said quietly, "But it looks like you know our secret now. I'm going to tell you about us. About all of us."
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Crystal Dawn

February 2012

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