Gentle. She wanted him to be gentle with her. Did she really expect something like that from him? Ruki Mukami had never been gentle in his life. He was all hard lines and harsh words and violent actions. He used pain as a tool to coerce, not an understanding tone of voice. He was undoubtedly the farthest thing from gentle that Mami Tomoe had ever met. And yet here she was, gripping the back of his shirt in her trembling hands and whispering to him softly through the darkness, her voice soft and her kindness evident. Her trust evident. She trusted that he would be gentle with her despite all of the anger he had directed towards her. Foolish, foolish girl.
Ruki pressed himself even closer, his fangs digging deeper into her neck and causing more and more blood to bubble to the surface of her skin. He lapped up every drop, moaning low in the back of his throat at the taste of it. He had never fed from anyone who had this kind of effect on him before. A dizzying, almost sickening effect that made him want to wrench himself away from her and push even closer all at the same time. The way that she was touching him wasn’t helping either. Her fingers traced soothing little circles on his back and she continued to talk to him despite her obvious shortness of breath.
She was attempting to calm him down and get him to slow the feed with which he drew blood from her wound, he knew. She had done the same the last time he had fed from her as well. Instead of ignoring her, however, Ruki found himself pulling back slightly, almost cradling her in his arms as he took long, slow sips from his bite. He did not stop the moans that bubbled up in his throat from escaping, however. They always seemed to fluster her and a flustered Mami was a most amusing Mami. She was speaking to him again and he almost didn’t catch what she was saying through the haze of bloodlust. Something about…slowing down.
"So sweet," he slurred against her skin, pulling his fangs from her wound for only a moment in order to catch his breath. He hadn’t realized just how elevated his breathing had become. Chasing a few stray drops of blood with his tongue, he pulled back to look at her with dark, predatory eyes. "You are always so sweet. Delicious.”
Mami tried her best not to move more than she needed to. The blonde was already well aware that if she made any clear attempt to escape Ruki’s hold, he’d bite down harder and harm her further. It was up to her to ensure that he didn’t kill her and condemn himself to death for it. As long as Mami was able to keep her strength up and soothe Ruki into a gentler state, she wouldn’t need to worry about dying. Or, at least, that was what she thought. So it was that she did her best to calm him down. “Ruki-sama…” Her voice had dropped to barely a whisper, soft and calming. Distantly, she could feel him warring with himself - as if he wanted to pull her close and push her away all at once.
If Mami was honest with herself, she felt the same. Slender fingers slipped into his hair, running through the dark strands gently. Already she could feel herself weakening - the hazy sleepiness that came moments after being bitten. Mami moved languidly, doing her best to stay alert despite her blood loss. The noises he was making only served to make her feel weaker. Pushing down an impulse to pull away and cover his mouth to quiet him, Mami instead endured it. Golden eyes slipped shut with a sigh of relief when she realized he’d begun to slow. Knowing Ruki, it wouldn’t be much longer before he stopped. And as if on cue, the moment she thought that he pulled back.
"…Is that the truth?" Reopening her eyes, Mami fixed Ruki with a surprised gaze. The surprise, however, didn’t come from the things he’d said. Instead, it was the way he looked - unhinged, like the first time he’d fed from her. For a brief moment, Mami Tomoe lay on that bed, unable to move. Then, slowly, she lifted a hand and pressed her palm flush against his cheek. Brushing the male’s lips with a gentle pass of her thumb, Mami allowed a brief but tender smile to reveal itself on her lips. "You’re such a messy eater." Only now was she aware of how strange it must have seemed for her to say something like that.
It was only going to get stranger. Bracing one hand on the bed, Mami brought herself up to sit and then leaned into Ruki - resting her forehead on his shoulder. “Ruki-sama, if…” Her voice grew tight before, slowly, Mami gained control of it once more. “If I disappeared tomorrow, you would care. Right, Ruki-sama?”
Everything goes downhill in a matter of seconds.
The use of his name—his first name, his given name, the one he doesn’t share with his brother—has him leaning in, if only metaphorically. Perhaps it’s foolish of him to expect some sort of good news following that, but he does. He’s never imagined a scenario in which Mami’s use of his first name is negative. It’s always been light, happy, sometimes hopeful. Not this. Never this.
He isn’t inherently unhappy about the situation. The topic was bound to be broached, and he’d much rather it was now rather than later, so it comes as something of a relief despite the subtle tensing of his already sore muscles. While she talks, he listens. He offers nothing but the subtleties that show his attention is hers until the end, at which point he takes a moment to consider it.
(He’s thrown off by the tears. There are few women he holds dear to him and she’s the only one to ever cry in his presence; he doesn’t know how to react - so he doesn’t.)
”First, there is no need to apologize for not protecting me. I should have protected myself, ja?” He wonders briefly if he did. He’d be sure of it if only his body showed any sign of it beyond the thin scar encircling his neck, but there’s nothing.
Second… what’s next? There’s so much to say, so much to ask, and no clear place to begin. He’s trying to decide when his voice speaks for itself, pushing forth words in a heavy sigh. “There is no room for sentiment in a court of law, Fräulein.” It’s a lesson he learned well at her own trial, one he shouldn’t have had to repeat after his days at Themis.
Still, he believes Mami to be a sensible person - or he wants to. “You thought about what would come of that, ja? What that person would do if they regained those powers? And the jury… what of the jury? You knew what would happen to them, did you not?” It hurts—but not on the surface, not for long. Whoever he was prior to speaking those words, he is Prosecutor Gavin now, and he cannot—will not—be swayed by sentiment or tears.
Mami had expected many things out of this exchange - none of which equated to her getting away with forgiveness. And so it was that when Klavier used the voice she’d only ever heard in trials, Mami’s chest tightened. He’d always been gentle with her, always used a tone of voice that was sure to make her smile. So this particular tone - this courtroom tone - only served to upset her. Sniffling, the blonde rubbed at her eyes in order to pull herself together.
"Of course I thought about the outcome. The plan was to allow this person to get their powers back and then to use that power to find a way off the island." Mami wouldn’t lift that golden gaze of her’s. It remained firmly planted on the bed in which he sat, never moving from those white sheets. "If we could get any power at all back, it would make escape easier. But…" But what? Her hands tightened into fists.
"I weighed our options heavily. If we succeeded, everyone but the culprit would die. And in the end, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to sacrifice everyone else for an idea that we didn’t even know could actually work. I-I…" Mami’s voice grew tight. It was the first time she’d spoken of the incident, save for the night it had happened. Then, it had been Natsume that had told her that things would be okay. That her heart was in the right place. That she wasn’t a traitor.
Mami didn’t expect that level of comfort from Klavier.
Even after being comforted, the guilt still ate at her. Mami’s tears welled up again. “Sakamaki-san and I both ended up betraying the plan. I don’t know his reasons, but I just…I couldn’t…” Her shoulders slumped. Slowly, her eyes grew half-lidded. Was there even a point on continuing to speak?
"…I thought I was a champion of justice. I thought I was a good person. But between the plan and how I felt when Klavier-san and Natsume-san died, I don’t think I’m as good as I believed. There’s something dark and horrible in me. A champion of justice can’t have that inside them. I’m tainted. Klavier-san should keep his distance so that he isn’t corrupted as well."
Klavier isn’t suited to solitude. It leaves him alone with his thoughts, eats away at him until he succumbs to finally acknowledging those things he’s been trying to ignore. He’s on the brink of that, the brink of wondering what the hell it means that he’s here or if it means anything at all, when he’s graciously disrupted by a very welcome presence.
It’s been too long, or it feels like it has. The last time he saw her was in a trial, and before that… here, when she was the one lying in bed, recovering.
"When I revived," she said.
A certain coldness clenches his stomach as the pieces fall into place. The ache in his limbs, the amnesia, the pain wrapped around his neck… he should have known. He knows none of the details, but… ach, he shouldn’t ask—not when Mami’s finally come to see him after… after what? It’s not that he can’t say, but he doesn’t particularly want to. What he says instead is something much more appropriate, given the situation.
"Danke schön. …I’ve missed you too, mädchen.”
He doesn’t so much as acknowledge his own death as he looks up at her with soft eyes and graciously accepts the tea.
"I am… sorry to not have seen you before this." There’s so much more he wants to say, so much he feels the need to add, but he doesn’t. Not now. There will be time… he’s sure of it. There must be.
There was a distinct nervousness in which Mami moved - as if she was waiting for the axe to fall at any moment. Still, it was something she needed to get off of her chest. Something she needed to repent for. Perhaps she might have even done so had Klavier not mentioned missing her. With a soft smile, Mami gave a quick shake of her head.
"I apologize for not visiting sooner or being there to stop the murderer. I said I would protect you…" For a long while, Mami fell silent. Would now be the time to broach the topic? It had been weeks since that trial. Enough time had passed that she’d been forgotten by those who she said she would protect. But Klavier hadn’t forgotten her.
"…Klavier-san." Her voice was soft. Most shocking of all was her choice to address him by his given name and not by his surname. She couldn’t avoid this, not if she wished to continue to be a champion of justice. "A few trials ago, I formulated a plan to throw a trial in order to help an ally gain powers." Her golden eyes closed, affording Klavier a look at the quick grimace that crossed her usually-calm face.
"I was blinded by sentiment and worry over people I considered to be my friends. It was weak and foolish to do such a thing. I didn’t want Klavier-san to find out, so I began to avoid him because I was ashamed." Finally, her eyes reopened to fix Klavier with a clearly-pained gaze. She even looked to be tearing up…
"I’m so sorry to be a disappointment to you."
Ruki felt the hand that was gently cupping the back of his head push down gently, guiding his face back down to rest in the crook of her neck. Where her scent was strongest. Mami was encouraging him to feed from her. No, not encouraging. She was all but telling him to feed. Because he ‘needed to take care of himself’. Ruki smirked to himself as he nuzzled his way across her neck in an attempt to find a suitable place to bite from. There was little doubt in his mind that her worry was genuine but he also suspected that she herself was excited at the prospect of being bitten by him. He had seen the way she reacted once she became used to the pain of it and it was undoubtedly one of pleasure.
Letting out a murmur of a chuckle, Ruki slowly flicked his tongue out to taste her skin, baring his fangs in the process. “I will not change my ways simply because there are people out there who do not care for my kind.” The words were quiet and spoken quickly and it was only moments later that he pressed his fangs against her neck, biting down with enough force to pierce the skin. His arms snaked around her waist, pulling her even closer to him as he drank slowly from the new wound he had created. Her blood flowed steadily from the bite mark, every drop that escaped caught by his tongue and he let out a groan of appreciation.
As always, the ache in his throat burned painfully with every swallow and it only encouraged him to drink more. More. He wanted more. Ruki’s groan turned into a half strangled moan, hands gripping her tighter than before as he latched his lips onto her neck completely, suckling at her neck in abandon. She was making his head spin with the sweetness of her blood - had it always been this intoxicating? Of course. It was what had made him lose control the first time he had tasted it. Straight from her neck, however, it was hotter and thicker than it had been from her hand and the taste of it combined with the scent of her was making it incredibly difficult to think straight.
Ruki wasn’t really as bad as he made himself out to be. In fact, she could see a bit of herself in him - someone playing the part they were assigned in order to ensure that others would look up to them. For Ruki, it was about getting respect and being considered the best. For Mami? She simply didn’t want to be left alone anymore. But as long as she was with Ruki, she didn’t need to worry about that. Ruki needed her on a level that no one else did. For Ruki, Mami was a means of survival. He’d never abandon her. He’d even said as much - that he needed to take care of her because she belonged to him. While she disagreed with the terminology, there was one fact that continued to circle her thoughts as he leaned closer. He needed her.
"If you don’t, Ruki-sama, you will surely be killed." He was pulling her closer. That could only mean one thing: the bite was coming. "You need to be more careful. Don’t tell others what you are or demonstrate your abilities in public." She might have said more if she hadn’t felt the snap of her skin beneath his fangs. The familiar pain rushed back - making Mami’s breath catch and her hands raise to grip at the back of his shirt. Thankfully, though, it was less than before. After a moment or two, she was even able to ease her grip on his shirt and slowly allow herself to let go of it. "Gentle, Ruki-sama." The words were whispered to him in the darkness of the dormitory room.
She knew now the effect her blood had on him. He was usually so calm, so collected. The pinnacle of good manners. But when it came to feeding, Ruki was an entirely different person. “You’ll get sick if you go so fast.” Her fingers traced tiny circles on his back to soothe him. If he didn’t calm himself, there was a chance she’d lose too much blood. “Ease up just a little bit.” He was like a child, selfishly gripping her like a favorite toy - holding onto her in such a way that seemed to say he was scared of her being taken from him. Mami’s golden gaze softened - though that could have easily been from the haziness she was feeling from the blood loss. “…It’s alright. No one will take me from you. It’s okay to slow down.”
Mami wasn’t exactly sure she had it in her to see Klavier again after his death. Between the failure of that foolhardy plan of her’s and the failure to protect him, her most precious friend, Mami didn’t know how she’d be able to face him with her head held high. And so it was that she distracted herself with preparing tea for him. Setting the teapot and the two teacups on the gleaming metal tray, Mami walked carefully from the kitchen to the infirmary - doing her best not to spill the tea.
Her stomach clenched nervously as she stepped through the doorway of the infirmary and to the room in which he rested. “Klavier-san, good evening.” Maybe he wouldn’t remember. Those unforgivable actions of her’s, that terrible plan that she’d formulated like a fool. Placing the tray down, Mami busied herself with pouring the tea. “When I revived, I felt ill for a great many days. This blend should help settle your stomach.” Balancing a teacup on a saucer, Mami did her best to continue to look cheerful as she carried it to him. “I’m…glad you’re back.”
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From: Mami Tomoe
[Message sent: 2:54 AM]
In the future, please be careful with how you address Gavin-san. He isn’t a cut-rate attorney like you are. You should show him proper respect.
Submitted by: Anonymous
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Mami’s fingers combed gently through Ruki’s hair as he rubbed himself against her, her touch almost completely soothing the jealous haze that had settled over his mind. For the first time since he’d picked up the scents on her, he was able to think clearly. She was here with him now, pressed so close to him that he could hear every hitch in her breathing, every thump of her heartbeat. His jealousy was justified, of course, but that was all that mattered at the moment. She was here and readily offering herself to him. He lifted his head again to look up into her flushed face, taking in her wide eyes and the dark blush that was dusting her cheeks. In that moment, Ruki wanted nothing more than to bite but he held himself back a moment longer.
To hear her saying those words - I promise. I won’t be stolen from you - allowed him to let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. So she was finally accepting this. She had pressed their foreheads together and Ruki was forced to stare down into her eyes, shining so brightly with emotion in the dim light of his room. He was transfixed - they were the colour of molten gold and shimmered with emotion in much the same way. Her expression was not one of pity but one of understanding. It was almost a relief to see it and Ruki’s smirk reappeared on his lips, much softer this time. “I’m glad to hear it. And since you’ll be with me from now on, I’ll be sure to take care of you.” He wasn’t sure where these words came from but he felt compelled to say them. “I wouldn’t want anything of mine to end up broken or sick or injured.” His thumb stroked slowly over her pulse point again and he swallowed thickly. Patience, Ruki.
For a brief moment, Mami thought she recognized relief in Ruki’s eyes. As if he’d been worried that she really would be taken from him. As if he’d doubted his power over her or her loyalty. True, he’d done nothing to deserve it except obey her demands not to hurt anyone else. When he finally pulled back from her, she could see that the look in his eyes had changed. Whatever sincere emotion that was one there was replaced with the normal self-assured expression. This one, however, was tinted by a hint of hunger. Ah. Right. It must have been torture for her to be so close to him when he hadn’t eaten in the past day or so. Mami, once again, reminded herself that she was only food to him. Nothing more, nothing less.
"So then take care of me." She didn’t realize how soft her voice was or how much it shook until she’d spoken. Once more, Mami was thankful for the fact that they were alone. It would be bad if someone heard her encouraging him like that. Still, there was some reasoning behind it. If she encouraged him and gained his trust, there was a chance she could help him. A chance that he wouldn’t want to drop her when it became convenient for him. Her stomach dropped when he spoke a second time. "If Ruki-sama watches over me, then nothing will harm me." Until she had her Soul Gem back, she was effectively helpless. Mami was keenly aware of that. Almost as aware as she was of the thumb gently rubbing the area where her pulse could be felt most strongly. "You haven’t eaten in some time. You need to take proper care of yourself." Gently, Mami pulled him closer until his face was in the crook of her neck.
It was a strange thing to feel something akin to tender emotions for someone you were supposed to hate. Or, at the very least, dislike. Mami was sure that if she didn’t control her emotions better in the future, something inside of her would shatter. But for now, the blonde curled herself against Ruki almost protectively as her fingers stroked through his hair. “I’ve forgotten to warn you: there are people here who don’t like vampires. It’s okay, though. We’re alone right now, so no one will see.”
Is that the presence of other mahou shoujo that she feels?