Happy Halloween!

In the spirit of the holiday, I'm taking a break from "I'm a Fool to Want You" to write a vampire AU I've had on the brain now featuring Alastor and my OC Tina. I mean I already wrote a vampire AU for "My Little Pony," so why not?

So, I took inspiration from a lot of vampire media, including Dracula (note the use of song titles from the musical), Interview With the Vampire and Twilight (yes, even that).

WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS SWEARING, GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, PAST SEXUAL/PHYSICAL ABUSE, BLOODDRINKING (duh), PERIOD-TYPICAL RACISM AND SEXUAL CONTENT!

Yeah, believe it or not, this is gonna be more erotic than my other fics.


1933

Everyone in New Orleans knew not to venture into the bayou after dark. Not just because of the alligators, but that the land was owned by Baron Bruneau.

This being America, he was only a land baron. Though many conjectured that he was descended from some French nobility. Or that his ancestor had been a robber baron in the Gilded Age. Or, because he frequented the Vodou shops in town, he had taken the title after the loa, Baron Samedi.

Either way, Baron Bruneau had no political power. But that did not stop the citizens of New Orleans from fearing him.

For anyone who entered the bayou at night, without paying some sort of tribute, was never seen again.

No one had ever seen the baron's face and lived to tell the tale. People couldn't even agree on his race. Whenever he came into town, he wore a wide-brimmed hat with a thick black veil obscuring his features. One of his two servants would follow at his side, holding a black parasol over his head. All one could tell was that he was a man, very tall and thin, with a strong, silky voice.

"A rare skin condition," he would say to anyone who dared ask about his appearance. "Afraid I cannot enjoy the glorious sunshine like you folks."

It was inevitable that rumors should spread that he was a vampire. Like in the Gothic novels and picture shows. It would account for his inability to go out in the sunlight, and what happened to those who trespassed on his land. Not to mention he had been around longer than anyone could remember, since the Civil War, and still appeared in perfect shape.

The superstitious, who already believed in the power of Vodou, accepted this theory. The cynical thought it was ridiculous. They believed that the baron was merely allergic to the sun as he said, and that the Baron Bruneau from the Civil War had been his father or grandfather. But they didn't deny that he was responsible for the disappearances. Some declared there was some truth to the vampire notion and that the baron was a cannibal.

The police, however, had investigated his property numerous times and found no evidence to implicate him in any crime. Some human remains had been found in the swamp, but the blame had been put on the gators.

This didn't dispel the rumors. Murderer, cannibal, or vampire, everyone knew Baron Bruneau was a dangerous man that was not to be crossed.

If anyone were to enter the bayou at night for whatever reason, they were to bring an offering. An animal, freshly slaughtered. Even a rat would do. An alternative meal for the consumer of human flesh. As long as the baron was appeased, and left to his own devices, there needn't be any death.

And yet, on this cold, stormy September night, a young, black woman dared to venture into the bayou. With no offering in hand.

Tina Davis wrapped her damp coat around her, the rain stinging her face and blurring her vision. As she took another step, one shoe stuck in the mud. Grunting, she shook the other one off and continued through the mud barefoot.

The storm might kill her before the baron could.

Just when she was about to collapse, a light appeared in the distance. Mustering all her energy and strength, she ran towards it, stumbling twice, but getting up instantly.

She could just make out the grand silhouette of the baron's old plantation home. Using the light from the windows, she managed to find the front doors. She clung to the knocker like a lifeline, paused to catch her breath, then banged three times.

No one answered. Tina tried again and waited.

After three minutes, the doors were opened by a small, Asian woman in a maid's uniform. Tina had seen her accompany the baron in town from time to time.

The minute the maid saw the sorry state Tina was in, she gasped. "Oh my stars! Come in, honey, you'll catch your death!"

Too exhausted to laugh at that statement, Tina crumpled to the floor.

"Oh my goodness!" The maid attempted to lift her, but Tina was larger than her. "Husk, come over here and help me, please! We have an emergency!"

Husk, the groundskeeper, came groggily out of the kitchen, his black hair disheveled, his white shirt and tan suspenders stained with beer.

"Husk, hurry up!" the maid cried.

"I'm fucking coming, Niffty." He scratched his beard and yawned. "What's the r—?" He froze at the sight of the unconscious woman in Niffty's arms. "Who the fuck?"

"I don't know," Niffty said. "She just came in from the rain and fainted and I need you to help me get her into the parlor where she can get warm."

Husk shook his head. "If the baron finds out what you're doing—"

"Don't worry about that now. Can't you see the poor dear is soaked to the bone?"

Against his better judgement, Husk assisted Niffty with carrying their unexpected guest into the parlor. They settled her on a divan close to the flickering fireplace. Niffty hastily peeled off the woman's wet coat while Husk went to fetch a blanket. Tina's eyes were fluttering open just as it was draped over her.

"Oh good, you're awake," Niffty said. "Husk, go get some of the soup leftover from dinner."

Husk sighed as he left the room. "He's not gonna like this."

Once she'd regained control of her body, Tina brought a hand to her head. "Is this…the baron's home?"

"It is," Niffty replied. "But don't you worry, dear! You're safe!"

Safe? Tina snorted. In the lion's den?

"My name's Niffty. That grumpy old cat's name is Husk. What's yours?"

"Tina Davis," she muttered.

"That's a pretty name. I was real surprised to see you come in from the rain considering how late it is and you're all alone and it's not safe for anyone to be out in the bayou alone at night, much less a lady, and you're not dressed for traveling. No shoes, no purse, not even an umbrella—"

"Why am I still alive?" Tina asked.

Niffty tilted her head. "Because I brought you in from the storm, of course."

"But why hasn't the baron—?"

"Oh thank you, Husk!" Niffty got a steaming bowl of soup from Husk and held it up to Tina. "Eat up, Miss Davis. It'll help you warm up faster."

Tina stared at the soup. "I don't understand."

"No, you don't understand," Husk said with his arms crossed. "What kind of crazy dame takes a nightly walk through the bayou during a storm? On her own? With no shoes on? Don't you know you're this is Baron Bruneau's land? You're lucky we caught you before he did."

"Oh hush, Husk." Niffty waved her hand. "The baron's not so cruel as to turn away a damsel in distress. That's how I came here, remember?"

"You were a street urchin, not a trespasser." Husk glared at Tina. "Ain't you heard the stories? Anyone caught trespassing on the baron's land—"

"—is never seen again," Tina whispered. "I know. I'm counting on it."

The two servants looked at her in shock.

"W-What do you mean?" Niffty asked.

Tina lifted her tired, vacant eyes. "I came here to die."


Husk stood in front of the door to Baron Bruneau's study, his hand raised in hesitation. After much debate with Niffty, it had been decided that Husk should be the one to inform the boss, while she looked after their guest. Tina had insisted there was no point fussing over her, as she would be dead soon anyway.

Now Husk was sure the dame was crazy, yet he felt sorry for her. If anyone wished to die, it was because life had been a bitch to them, and they wanted their suffering to end.

It was for this same reason Husk often turned to drink.

No one had ever willingly offered themselves to the baron before. How would he react? Would he accept her offer? The woman was young, barely out of the schoolhouse. It just wasn't right.

Nonetheless, the baron would find out about the girl's arrival sooner or later. If Husk didn't report it now, he would be reprimanded for it later.

Before he could make the decision, the doors opened of their own accord.

"Apologies if I startled you, Husker," came the baron's voice, "but you were taking forever to knock."

He sat at his desk, his toothy grin illuminated by a single candle. Two red eyes glanced up from the paper in his hand and focused on the groundskeeper.

"Aren't you coming in?"

Sucking in his breath, Husk entered. The doors shut behind him.

Even after all these years, he still couldn't get used to those damn shadows.

"It's awfully late," the baron said with a brief glance at the grandfather clock. "Shouldn't you be passed out from drink by now?"

The baron tone was casual, though Husk could detect a hint of impatience.

He released his breath. "Okay, I'm just gonna cut to the chase. There's a girl downstairs."

The baron lowered his paper. "A girl?"

"Niffty brought her in from the storm."

In the dim candlelight, Husk could see an eyebrow raise. "You expect me to believe a little girl has been running around my bayou, at night, without my knowledge?"

"She's a dame, actually," Husk said. "About twenty-something. I don't know, I didn't ask."

"My question still stands." The baron stood from his seat. "Is she ill? Deranged? Even if she wasn't aware of my reputation, any woman with a shred of sense wouldn't venture into a swamp during a storm."

It was because of this that the baron hadn't had his shadows check the borders this evening. Though he didn't reveal this neglect to his servant.

"That's the thing." Husk rubbed the back of his neck. "She says she came to you to…die."

The baron's red eyes glowed in the dark as they widened. "Oh?"

"So yeah, she must be deranged. She says she knows what you are and what you do to trespassers, and she wants you to do the same to her. She won't say why, but she seems really insistent on dying."

"A willing victim?" The baron raised a hand to his chin. "Interesting." He turned to the window and pulled back the massive black curtain just as lightning flashed. "And she made it all the way here in this weather, just to see me?"

"Like I said. Crazy," Husk said. "So, what do you want us to do with her?"

The question was just as boggling for the baron. In all his seventy years of existing, no human had come to him begging for death. The fact that this human was a woman made it even more complicated.

He didn't normally feed off women. His mother had raised him to be a gentleman, and to harm a woman in any way would be most ungentlemanly. But with the woman's consent? He'd never considered that.

"What's this woman like?" the baron asked.

Husk shrugged. "Stubborn. Out of her damn mind."

"Is she healthy?"

"Well, she just came out of a fucking storm—"

"Does she appear well-fed?"

"I guess. I mean she wasn't too skinny or anything. And her coat was soaked, but I saw it was fur, maybe mink. So she's well off, I suppose."

"And yet she wishes to die."

The stock market crash had left many of the people of New Orleans destitute, including Husk and Niffty. Lately, hobos from out of town had been wandering into the bayou. The baron let most of them be, as they tended to have children with them. Still, he would expect people like that to give up on life. Not someone who could afford a mink coat.

The baron was intrigued. Moreover, he was thirsty.

"Where is she now?" he asked.

"Niffty's got her sitting by the fire in the parlor," Husk explained. "Feeding her soup."

"Good. Once she's finished eating, have her bathed and brought to my bedchamber."

Husk paled. "W-What are you gonna do to her?"

"Why so concerned, Husker?" The baron turned his head, the upturned corner of his mouth peeking out. "You said the girl is willing, didn't you?"

"Yeah, but…" He furrowed his brow. "Look, just because she wants to die, doesn't mean you get to do whatever you like with her. I've turned a blind eye to your diet, but I draw the line at rape."

"Why Husker, I'm hurt." The baron put a hand over his heart. "Don't you know me by now? That I would never disgrace a woman in such a manner? I only think she'll be more comfortable in a bedroom than the parlor. Niffty hasn't the time to prepare a guest room, and since I don't sleep at night anyway, it only makes sense that she takes my room."

Husk blinked. "You mean…you're not going to kill her?"

"Now I didn't say that. However," he said, straightening his bowtie, "I would be a most ungracious host if I didn't introduce myself first."


Tina didn't see the point in bathing. The soup, she understood, as even a prisoner on death row was offered a last meal before execution. But why did she have to be given a bath?

"The baron wants you clean before meeting him," Husk had explained.

Thinking back on it, she supposed the baron wouldn't want to sink his teeth into dirty skin.

Now that she was in Baron Bruneau's home, she was certain he was a vampire, and not a cannibal. All the windows were adorned with thick, black curtains that were likely to be drawn in the daytime. Even if that could be attributed to his sun allergy, there were no mirrors in sight.

Tina remained still as she sat in the porcelain tub of hot water, Niffty humming as she ran a washcloth over her back. The maid made no comment of the welts and bruises, which Tina was grateful for.

This would've been more relaxing if she didn't feel like a lamb on her way to the slaughter.

Once Tina was clean, Niffty gave her a white nightgown. It definitely wasn't the maid's, as she was very short, and the gown reached to Tina's ankles. It also looked rather old, like it had been locked away in the attic for many years.

After changing, Tina was led to a bedchamber. On the far left were two red armchairs in front of a fireplace. As Niffty went to light the fire, Tina stared at the king-sized canopy bed on the right. The sheets, the covers, the pillows, were all red.

The color of blood.

"Alrighty then, my work here is done." Niffty set the poker aside as the fireplace crackled to life. "The baron will be here to see you shortly."

Tina hung her head.

"Hey, chin up." Niffty reached up and lifted Tina's chin. "The baron's not as awful as everyone says he is. I mean he's no saint, but he probably won't hurt you, seeing as you're a lady and all."

Tina scrunched her nose. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Just that he has a soft spot for women."

"You mean," she said, glancing towards the bed, "he has other things in mind?"

"Oh, no, no, no!" Niffty held up her hands with a laugh. "The baron would never do anything so untoward! Believe me, he is not that kind of man!"

"Then what kind of man is he?"

"Hmm. Fair, I think would be the best way to put it. He only feeds off humans if they trespass, you see. But in your case, I think he's willing to make an exception. I mean he asked us to bathe you and give you his mother's nightgown—"

"This was his mother's?" Tina glanced down at herself.

"Oopsie!" A hand flew to Niffty's mouth. "There I go, rambling on again. I'll be on my way now."

"Wait."

"Yes?"

"I just…" Tina bit her lip. "Thanks, for…makin' me comfortable."

In my last few hours.

"You're welcome, Miss Davis!" Niffty smiled. "See you in the morning!"

You won't.

Once the door was shut, Tina glanced around the room she would die in. It was a nice room. Lavish, decorative, well-lit by the fire.

It all seemed too merciful for someone like her.

With a heavy sigh, Tina sat on the edge of the bed, and waited for the end to come.

Ten minutes passed before she heard the door creak. She lifted her head to look upon her executioner.

Her first instinct was to blush.

Since the baron's face had always been hidden from the public, she'd expected to see something like the vampire in Nosferatu: fangs, pointed ears, bald head, thick eyebrows.

She'd never imagined that he would be so handsome.

He wore a red, pinstripe suit, which accentuated his tall, slim build. His skin wasn't pale like in vampire folklore, but a soft tan, in a way that Tina couldn't tell whether he was a white man with dark skin, or a black man with light skin. His chestnut hair was neatly combed, the bangs sticking out from the top.

He could've passed off for human, if not for those eyes. They were blood red and seemed to glow as they stared at her. And his smile was like something out of Alice in Wonderland, cat-like fangs and all.

This reminded Tina that she couldn't get caught up in his looks. After all, this man was here to kill her.

So far, the baron had said nothing, for he was too busy taking in her appearance. For a moment, it was as if his beloved mother had risen from the grave.

Husk had made no mention of the woman's race. If the baron had known, he would've never placed her in his mother's gown.

Then he blinked, and realized the woman didn't resemble his mother at all. For one thing, her black hair was bobbed like Niffty's, which was the fashion for women nowadays. Her skin was also golden brown, a shade lighter than what his mother's had been. Not to mention the nightgown didn't quite fit her, as it sagged over her shoulders.

The woman's dark eyes locked onto his. He was surprised to find no fear in them, but awe. And a twinge of despair.

It was the look of a person who had given up on life.

She did not smile for him, but the baron should've supposed that fair, under the circumstances.

After what felt like an eternity of staring, he finally spoke. "Good evening, mademoiselle."

The sudden, gracious greeting threw Tina for a loop. His voice was just as hypnotizing as the rumors said. Like a voice one might hear on the evening radio. Not knowing what else to say, she went for the automatic response.

"Good evening, sir."

The baron tilted his head. Her voice was quiet, but she did not stutter. She seemed like a woman who kept a firm head on her shoulders, even in grim situations like this.

He shut the door behind him. Now they were officially alone.

"While I appreciate your manners, I think we can dispense with formalities." With one hand behind his back, the other on his chest, he bowed. "The name's Alastor. And to whom do I have the pleasure, mademoiselle?"

He had the air of a gentleman, though Tina supposed that came with the territory of being a baron. Whatever sort of baron he was.

"Tina Davis."

"Tina." He closed his eyes and licked his lips, tasting the sound of her name. "And what, pray tell, brings you to my humble home, Tina?"

"What did your servant tell ya?"

"Oh, just that you came through the storm and that you wish to die." Alastor cocked his head. "Is this true?"

Tina hung her head. "Yes."

He stalked towards her. "You know what I am, then?"

She nodded. "Half of New Orleans knows what you are."

"And the other half?"

"Thinks you're a cannibal."

He chuckled. "Not entirely false."

"So you are a vampire."

"And yet you come to me willingly."

"Yes," she muttered. "So, can ya do me a favor and…be quick about it?"

"Hmm." Alastor took her hands and lifted her to her feet. "Let me get a better look at you first."

Tina didn't protest. She stood still as the baron circled her, inspecting her like livestock on an auction block.

It was demeaning, but she didn't care. There was nothing he could do to her that hadn't already been done.

The term "well-fed" didn't do her body nearly enough justice. With her prominent curves, she was what most men would consider voluptuous.

But Alastor wasn't like most men. He was indifferent to women. Still, there were times when he could find a woman pleasing to the eye. A full figure was a sign of good health.

But sex was not the thing on his mind.

"If you don't think me rude for asking, how old are you?"

"Twenty-five," Tina replied.

In the prime of her life. Still quite young, but fully matured.

He stopped behind her, placed his ice-cold hands on her shoulders, and lowered his face to the crook of her neck. Shivering, she closed her eyes. This was where he would bite her. That part of the movies was at least true.

But he didn't bite. He inhaled. His eyes rolled back in immense pleasure.

The smell of fresh meat, combined with the lavender oil from her bath, was absolutely intoxicating.

This position of theirs was unseemly. Especially with her so underdressed. But the proprieties of a gentleman couldn't fight the primal instincts of a vampire.

As he breathed in her scent again, he imagined what she would taste like. How it would feel to sink his teeth into her soft, juicy skin, like a plum ripe for the picking.

With no resistance.

When he'd first heard about Tina, he hadn't been sure if he wanted anything to do with her. Now he was.

He wanted her. Badly.

"Please," Tina whispered. "Just get this over with, will ya?"

Please, get it over with.

Alastor's bloodlust quelled for a moment, as words he hadn't heard for seventy years echoed in his mind.

"Why?"

Tina opened her eyes. "What?"

He whispered in her ear. "Why ask for this? Why become a meal for a monster?"

She looked over her shoulder. "Does it matter?"

"Opportunities like this are rare for me, ma chère." He took a strand of her hair between two fingers, still damp from the bath, but smooth to the touch. "I'm simply curious as to why a young, healthy, attractive woman such as yourself would be so adamant on dying. Has life really been so cruel to you?"

She narrowed her eyes. "Shouldn't the color of my skin be a tipoff?"

"Even so," he said, stroking her neck, "there are easier ways to commit suicide. Do you not keep knives at home? Are your bedsheets not long enough? Were there no cliffs nearby?"

"Why bother addin' another sin like suicide to the list when you can do the killin' for me?"

Alastor raised an eyebrow. "And what other sins have you committed?"

Tina spun around to face him. "Do you make small talk with all your victims? Why do ya even care?"

"Care?" Chuckling, he placed his hands behind his back. "Mademoiselle, it's not that I care, but that I'm in desperate need of entertainment. And I am in no hurry to end your life when we're just getting acquainted. So, go on." He gestured towards the fireplace. "Entertain me a little longer, and I promise to make your death as quick and painless as possible."

She glanced at the armchairs, then back at him.

"Oh, come now." Alastor widened his grin. "Surely you can spare a few minutes to humor a tired, old man."

Tina didn't want to waste another moment. She'd already had a shitty day and just wanted it all to end.

But the baron wouldn't grant her that wish if she didn't comply.

Sighing, Tina went over to the fireplace and sat in one of the armchairs. Alastor took the other seat, crossing one leg over the other and pressing his fingertips together.

"Now," he said. "I will ask again. What made you decide to come to me? And please, spare no details."

Tina lowered her head. "Well, to sum it up, I fell in love with the wrong man."

"Ah. Broke your heart, did he?"

She nodded. "Mama warned me to stay away from white men, especially the rich ones, but I thought he'd be different. He was just so kind, and gentle, gave me gifts, and when we made love, he—"

"Ah-ah." He held up his hand with a sneer of disgust. "No need to be that detailed."

"Sorry." She bit her lip. "That's…not a dealbreaker, is it? Does my blood taste any different if I ain't a virgin?"

He shrugged. "It's not a factor, as far as I can tell. Now please, do continue."

"Right. Well, we were together for a while. And since my mama died last year, I had no one else to look after me."

"What of your father?"

"A policeman mistook him for a robber when I was just a baby."

"I see." Alastor nodded. "So, this white man was all you had?"

"Uh-huh. And I thought in time, he'd ask me to marry him. But then…" She shut her eyes. "He got engaged to a sugar baron's daughter. A blonde, blue-eyed heiress. I confronted him about it, and he said we could still continue our relationship so long as she didn't find out. I told him I wasn't some common whore but then he said, 'Then what are ya then, spreading your legs for a white man who pays you in gifts?' You could imagine the slap I gave him. But then he hit me back, and pushed me down and…and…"

Tina buried her face in her hands and sobbed. In an unexpected act of pity, Alastor pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to her. Muttering a thank you, she took the hanky, blew her nose and wiped her tears.

"So, anyway." She sniffed. "I came into the bayou right before sunset. I didn't expect it to rain so hard. But I figured, if I was gonna die, my body might as well be put to good use. I mean you need blood to survive, don't ya? Then my life wouldn't've been a complete waste."

Alastor's smile shrank, but he didn't dare frown in front of her. What he did do was stand up from the chair, kneel to her level, lift her chin with his finger, take the handkerchief, and then proceed to wipe her face.

She really was a lovely woman. If Alastor had any interest in romance, he would've perhaps considered her as a possible mate. Or at least tried to court her. But seeing that beautiful face stained with tears melted his cold, dead heart, as he was reminded of when his mother would weep those same tears.

"You're wrong, my dear," Alastor whispered, "to assume that you wouldn't be a waste."

Her dark eyes stared up at him. "What?"

"I mean just look at you." He brushed her bangs from her forehead. "That white man was a fool to treat you like a common whore, when you have the beauty worthy of a bride."

In that low, seductive voice, he almost sounded sincere.

Then she remembered his true intentions and turned her face away. "Didn't your mother teach ya not to play with your food?"

His shoulders bounced as he laughed. "You're rather amusing when you're not wallowing in self-pity."

"Glad I was able to amuse you," she said bluntly. "Are we done now? Or do I need to sing and dance for ya too?"

"Can you sing and dance?"

Tina blinked. "Err, yeah. I'm a lounge singer."

"Really?" He stuck his face into hers, wearing an eager grin. "What else can you do?"

"Um…" Uncomfortable with how close he was, she gently pushed his face a few inches back. "I play piano?"

"As do I! As well as the violin, trumpet and saxophone!"

"Well, uh, that's very—"

"What kind of music do you enjoy?" He leaned his elbow on her armrest, resting his cheek on his fist. "Beethoven? Bach? Mozart?"

"Uh, a little bit of everything? Classical, blues. But I guess if I had to pick a favorite, jazz?"

"What a wonderful coincidence!" He sprang up and gripped both armrests, trapping her in the chair. "I too favor jazz! I'll admit it's rather different from what we had in my day, but it really makes you want to tap your toes like a maniac, doesn't it?"

Tina now had herself pressed up against the back of the chair. "Excuse me, but…what does all this have to do with anything? And could ya not be all up in my face?"

"Oh, right." Alastor drew back. "Apologies, my dear. I forget how important boundaries are to you ladies."

She sighed. "Not that it really matters, as you're gonna be killin' me tonight anyway."

"Ah, yes. That." He rose to his feet. "See, that's the thing, chérie. While your offer is most tempting," he said, returning to his seat, "I'm afraid I'm going to have to decline."

She stiffened. "What?"

"Don't take it personally, my dear." He crossed his legs. "I simply have no desire to kill you."

Tina's jaw dropped. Then she glared at the vampire.

"Are you kidding me?" She gestured to herself. "You've got a livin' blood bag practically served up to ya on a silver platter, and you're sayin' no?" She folded her arms. "What? My blood not good enough for ya? Is it because I'm a woman? Or is it because I'm black?"

Alastor slapped his knee as he laughed. "Oh, you really are hilarious, ma chère! You actually think the color of your skin makes your blood any different from other humans? True, some blood may taste sweeter than others due to an individual's state of health, but white or black or Japanese or Mexican, blood is blood. Besides, I'm black myself on my mother's side."

Tina's expression softened. "Really?"

"Of course," he said, gesturing to his face, "I took more after my father."

"Oh." Her cheeks reddened. "I'm, uh, sorry. I shouldn't've assumed."

"You're apologizing to the man who wishes to drink your blood? Ha-ha, you are amusing!"

"But you said you weren't gonna—"

"I said I had no desire to kill you." His red eyes took on an eerie glow. "I didn't say I didn't want your blood."

Tina put a hand to her neck. "What…what do ya mean?"

"Contrary to what you might've seen in the pictures," he said, wagging a finger, "one bite from a vampire won't necessarily kill you, so long as the vampire doesn't drain you of all your blood. You won't be changed either, unless you were to drink my blood as well. To put it frankly, my dear, I find you too interesting to kill. However, I am still quite parched. So, might I suggest an alternative arrangement?"

Tina raised a suspicious eyebrow.

"I'm the one with the power to decide whether you live or die. You might as well hear me out."

"Fine." She slumped back in her seat. "What sort of arrangement?"

"Quite simple really." The baron pointed at her. "You allow me to partake in your blood, every few nights, and I," he said, putting a hand to his chest, "will let you stay here, in my home, for the duration of this arrangement."

She gulped. "Stay in your home as…what?"

"As my," he said, rolling his wrist as he struggled to find the right word, "companion."

"Nuh-uh." Tina sprang to her feet. "I've already shacked up with one wealthy landlord. You can have my blood, but I ain't givin' ya what's left of my dignity. I told ya, I ain't some common whore."

"Oh, no, no, no!" Alastor waved his hand. "You misunderstand me, chère. I'm not interested in such trivial nonsense."

"Then…what do ya mean by 'companion?'"

He shrugged. "The fact of the matter is, while immortality can be rewarding, it can also be quite dull. I'm always craving new forms of entertainment. It's for this reason I keep Niffty and Husker around. That, and I need them to assist me with errands in the daytime."

She scowled. "So ya want me to be your slave?"

"Companion, dear. Are your ears working correctly? All I'm looking for is someone to keep me company, to converse with me, to entertain me with her musical talents." He leaned onto his palm. "The point is I like you, and I think you can relieve me of my perpetual boredom. At least for a little while."

Tina cocked her head. "So…ya don't wanna have sex with me?"

"Hmm." His red eyes raked over her figure. "Nope! Can't say that I do!"

She didn't know whether to feel relieved or insulted. "And why should I agree to something like this? What's in it for me?"

"Did you miss the part where you'd be living in a mansion, with all my riches at your disposal?"

"I don't care about any of that. Why should I let ya regularly feed on me when I could just give ya all my blood right now?"

"You'd save me the trouble of hunting, for one thing." Alastor uncrossed his legs. "You'd be sparing the lives of the townsfolk who trespass onto my land."

She placed her hands on her hips. "Try again."

"You are a stubborn one, aren't you?" He shook his head with a chuckle. "I'm offering you a fresh start, my dear. A chance at a comfortable life, where you needn't worry about the sins of your past, nor the ingrates who have wronged you. You can do whatever you like here. Play your music, read from my library, learn a new language. You need only ask, and it's yours. You are young, my dear. Do you really wish to die before you've really lived?"

Tina thought about it. Just a few minutes ago, she'd been prepared for death. For this monster to devour her.

But after talking with him, unloading all her baggage, she felt as if a weight had been lifted from her. She had told him all she'd done, and yet he didn't judge her for it. Not like everyone else who'd called her the town tramp. Or the club owner who'd fired her. Or that sugar baron's daughter who'd tripped her in the street, pretending it was an accident.

Baron Bruneau could've killed her at any moment. Instead, he'd chosen to show compassion, listen to her tale, and offer her a home.

"I don't know." Tina sat back down. "Wouldn't I…get tired if ya drank my blood every night?"

"I'm not required to feed every night," Alastor explained, "just every three or four nights. A week, at the longest. So you will have time to regain your strength, and I will promise to take no more than necessary. It'll be like a blood transfusion, only though your throat."

Somehow, the more he talked about it, the less keen she was on the thought of losing blood.

"I only have these conditions." He began listing items off his fingers. "One, that you do what you can to keep yourself healthy, so that your blood is of the highest quality. That means you must get plenty of food, sleep and exercise. Also, you must abstain from any harmful substances that may pollute your blood, such as drugs, cigarettes, alcohol—"

"Now wait, that's not—"

"Ah-ah! Let me finish. Two, you keep my vampire identity a secret."

"Why?" Tina asked. "Everyone already has some idea of what you are."

"Yes, but the minute they have concrete proof, they'll come breaking down my door armed with torches and wooden stakes."

"So those really can kill you?"

"Of course. Who wouldn't that kill?" He continued the list. "Three, the curtains are not to be opened in the daytime, for obvious reasons. Four, you are not to disturb me between the hours of noon and dusk, as that is when I sleep. Five, you are not to venture out into the bayou without me, or one of my servants, escorting you."

"What, ya think I'm gonna run for it?"

"Oh, you can try to run, but you'll find that I'm not the only danger of this bayou." His grin became sinister. "I would hate for gators to gobble up my special treat. You were lucky this time to make it out alive."

He had a point.

"Anything else?" Tina asked.

"One last thing." He held up a final finger. "That during our drinking sessions, no matter what you may feel, you will not touch me in any way less than appropriate. I will allow you to cling to me, but nothing more. As I pride myself in being a gentleman, I will extend you the same courtesy."

She scrunched her nose. "Why the hell would I wanna do a thing like that?"

"You've never had your blood consumed by a vampire before, have you?"

"No, you'd be the first."

Alastor snickered. "Well then, I should warn you that some of my victims have found the experience…erotic."

She deadpanned. "You're kidding."

He shook his head. "The reason is as much a mystery to me as well. Perhaps the blood loss affects their brains or, what are they calling them nowadays, hormones? Please be assured that I have no such intentions towards you, so be prepared to ignore such sensations."

"I don't think you have to worry 'bout that. I've sworn off men."

"Good. Any more questions?"

"Yeah." Tina straightened up. "What are people gonna say once they learn I'm livin' with ya out of wedlock?"

Alastor shrugged. "Your reputation's shattered already, isn't it? Let them talk. That's what I do."

She was still hesitant. "How do I know you'll keep your word?"

He raised a hand. "On my honor, as a gentleman, I will adhere to the spoken guidelines."

Tina huffed. "Known too many gentlemen."

"Then I swear on my mother's grave." His gaze focused on her nightgown. "And please understand, my mother was very dear to me."

This, she believed. After all, he'd kept her nightgown all these years.

"Now then, Tina," Alastor said as he stood and extended his hand, "do we have ourselves a deal?"

Those demon eyes of his burned through her soul, making Tina less inclined to accept.

Then again, what did she have to lose? There was nothing for her back in New Orleans. She had no job, no family, no friends. No one wanted her.

But this vampire did. Yes, it was for her blood, but she had come here hoping to be of use to someone.

Except…

"What happens if you don't want my blood anymore?" she asked. "Or you become bored of me? What then?"

Alastor tilted his head, as if he hadn't considered that possibility. "I suppose that depends on whether you still wish to die or not. In that case, the choice will be entirely up to you."

Tina blinked in astonishment. "Up…to me?"

"Of course. You see, my dear, I was never offered a choice when I became…this." The corners of his mouth twitched. "So it is only fair that I offer you that choice now. Do you wish to die, or live?"

A choice.

Tina had rarely had a choice in anything. Or rather, she'd always been given the illusion of choice. She thought she'd chosen Ethan, when really he had chosen her to be his sex toy. Her involvement with him had erased any choice she might've had.

But now she had a chance to take control of her own life. Even if that meant giving up some of that control to another.

And it wasn't like her reputation could get any worse.

"I'll…try it out." Tina rose to her feet. "But if I end up not likin' this arrangement, will ya promise to kill me?"

The baron sighed. "If that is what you wish."

"Then it's a deal."

She clasped her hand with his. Alastor's fangs glistened as he grinned in triumph.

"Excellent."

With lightning reflexes, he yanked on her arm as he sat back in his chair, pulling her into his lap. Before Tina knew it, she was trapped in his embrace, his hand cradling her head to his shoulder, his face buried into her neck.

"You have no idea," he whispered, "how difficult it was, holding myself back." He inhaled deeply. "Forgive me, but you smell so delicious."

Tina shivered as his breath tickled her skin. It wasn't warm like human breath, but cold as ice.

Yet their precarious position, and his suggestive phrasing, made her feel unexpectedly hot.

She gasped as he ran his tongue along her neck.

"Mmm." He licked his lips. "And a taste to match."

"Wait," Tina squeaked.

"Having second thoughts, are we?" Alastor sniffed her hair. "Too late. We already shook on it, chère. You're mine now."

"Now wait just a goddamn minute, fella." Tina tried to push herself away, but he was too strong. "First off, I never agreed to be yours. You don't own me, okay?"

"Fair point. Still." His surprisingly sharp nails dug into her back in a warning manner. "A promise is a promise."

"A-And I ain't goin' back on it, but…do we have to do it like…this?"

Alastor glanced down at their position, seeing how her straddling his lap might make her uncomfortable. "We could always move to the bed."

That didn't sound any better to Tina. But at least that way, she'd be lying down, and less confined.

"Okay."

Scooping her up like a newborn babe, Alastor carried her across the room and laid her gently down on the bed. Tina gulped as he crawled on top of her.

"Oh, now you're afraid." He shook his head with a chuckle. "Where did all that senseless bravado of yours go?"

"I—"

"Hush." He put his fingers to her mouth. "You have nothing to fear, darling. I'm a man of my word." He caressed her cheek. "And since you've been such a good little guest, I promise to be as gentle as possible. So relax. Close your eyes, if it helps. Who knows?"

He leaned in and whispered, "You might enjoy it."

Tina winced. It was hard to remind herself that he was only interested in her blood, when he was talking like this.

"Now, do try to keep still," he said, pulling her sleeve down her shoulder. "I'd hate for your gown to stain."

She kept her eyes shut as she felt his icy breath on her neck again. His fingers laced through her hair as he tilted her head to the side. The other hand brushed her hair back, exposing her jugular.

Tina squeaked as his cold, chapped lips pressed against her throat. They lingered there, his tongue poking through, sampling her.

He was in no rush, but taking his sweet time. He wanted to savor this.

Just as she was beginning to regret her decision, his teeth pierced through her flesh. Tina released a gasp, reaching up to cling to his jacket. Alastor gripped her shoulder and held her head in place.

The pain only lasted for a moment, like a syringe needle. Once the skin was punctured, he retracted his fangs, closed his lips around the two newly made wounds, and began to suck.

The second the blood hit his tongue, Alastor gave a satisfied moan. She tasted sweet, but strong, with a dash of liquor taken earlier today.

It was the kind of blood he could get used to drinking every night.

He tightened his grip on her. Tina whimpered.

"Shh," he murmured against her throat. "You're doing well, my pet."

He ran his fingers through her hair, either to calm her down, or emphasize his claim on her as his pet. Perhaps both.

As he continued to drink, Tina slowly relaxed beneath him. True to his word, his hands did not wander to any sensitive areas.

And yet, with the way he groaned, the way his body was cushioned against her, the way his hands caressed her, the way his lips were pressed to her neck, it was easy to forget that she was losing blood.

Her body acted on its own accord. Her pelvis throbbed with yearning, her knees crept up towards his waist, her arms snaked around his shoulders, pulling him closer.

The baron hadn't been kidding. The experience was erotic.

Alastor's victims often did embraced him. Even when close to death, their sex drive would trump their self-preservation. While he would never encourage this behavior, he saw no issue in allowing his victims a little comfort before the end, as a sort of bittersweet irony.

Although, something about this delectable treat felt different. Maybe it was because she had given consent. Or that he had taken the time to get acquainted with her first, drawing out his longing.

Her little heart thumped against his chest. And something else thumped against his loins.

He never liked this part, feeling the victim's desire. At least Tina was doing her best to keep it in her skirt.

Regardless, he liked the sensation of her arms around him. They were warm, comforting, a hold he could fall asleep in.

When Tina started panting, Alastor had to remind himself not to take too much. With great willpower, he drew his mouth from her throat. As if waking up from a dream, Tina gasped and released him, her chest heaving as she stared up at him.

"You alright, dear?" he asked.

Despite the blood loss, her cheeks were pink as she nodded.

"Good." He licked the blood off his lips. "Because we'll be doing that again, many, many times."

In her flustered state, Tina found it impossible to speak.

What had she gotten herself into?


I was really writing out of my comfort zone here. Yes, Alastor is still on the asexuality spectrum. I am ace myself, and I intend to keep it that way. But he might be a little different from the "Let's Fall in Love" AU.

Because Vivziepop has yet to clarify Alastor's human appearance and last name, I had to use my own imagination. We know he's of mixed race, but not the exact shade of his skin. For the sake of the backstory I'm using for this AU, I had to have Al be able to pass off for white. If his human appearance turns out differently, well, this is an AU.

"Bruneau" is a French surname meaning "brown or dark haired/skinned one," which honestly I picked because of the alliteration with "baron."