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You weren't supposed to question, Mikey knew. You needed food, and humans were food, and if you didn't question it was easy. It had been easy, it had been so easy, but then Gerard had disappeared and Mikey knew Gerard, he knew he wasn't dead, wasn't just missing. Gerard had questioned. And he'd gone to find answers, had left Mikey behind to find answers. Frank knew something was up with Mikey, Frank always knew. Mikey wasn't supposed to have shared his blood, either, not with another of his kind, but where Frank was concerned Mikey didn't really give a flying fuck about the rules, and Frank--Frank didn't give a flying fuck about the rules in general.

All Frank said, though, was, "I miss him, too."

The others didn't, Mikey knew. The three of them had all been born into this coven, raised from the time they were nothing but teeth and a desperate need for blood, but Mikey and Frank were the only two who had even taken much note of Gerard's disappearance. Mikey took a girl the night he figured out that Gerard really wasn't coming back. She was plump and sweet and terrified, and Mikey thought it would make him feel better, reassure him in his beliefs--there was a food chain, a power structure, a natural way of things. All it did was make the blood move slowly through him, make him unable to hunt for nights and nights.

Frank came to him five nights later, the smell of pig's blood strong on him, and in the past it would have made Mikey sick but it was all Mikey could do not to beg, and Frank said, "Come on, c'mon," and brought Mikey's mouth to his throat. When Mikey was sated, Frank looked up at him, weak from the draining and said, "Don't go. Not like him. Not without me."

Mikey kissed Frank, fed him back a little bit of the blood. They would go hunting together in the evening, hunting for things of which Mikey could stand hearing the screams. "I don't think he knew. I don't think he knew we would have gone. We're safe here."

Relatively safe, at least. There were still hunters and slayers and magic-users intent on their demise, but a coven meant more safety than the lack of one. Gerard was out there on his own. Mikey swallowed at the thought. It tasted of the girl's blood. Frank said, "But you want to. You want to go."

Mikey wanted Gerard back. He wanted to be able to feed indiscriminately and not feel for his victims. He wanted the ease of indoctrination back. "Do you?"

Softly, Frank said, "I don't think we can stay here."


They took a page from Gerard's book and left at dawn, staying to the tunnels. It was hard, staying awake with the sun up. Everything in Mikey ached, as though in punishment for denying the earth's rotation its due, or, at the very least, trying to be something he wasn't. But... But what if he was? And that was the danger in questioning, Mikey knew, the reason why he wasn't supposed to have done it. The idea that he could be something more than an instrument of other sentient being's deaths was enticing.

Around noon, huddled in a sewage pipe, Frank asked, "You don't, um, have a plan I wasn't able to divine, right?"

Mikey said, "Find Gee." As plans went, it was underdeveloped and well, bad, but it was a goal. "Find Gee and hope that he had some kind of a plan."

"It's a good thing I broke all the rules to fall in love with you," Frank told him. Mikey nodded. He didn't want to be here alone.


They hunted rats in the evening. Rat's blood was pretty much the most disgusting thing Mikey had ever tasted and at the grimace on Frank's face he almost gave up, almost said, "We could try to go back," but it tasted better than the girl's screams had. It was hard to comprehend--so, so, so many of them had screamed, and Mikey hadn't even heard, not really, but then, then it had seemed so...unquestionable. That was just what he was. Except Gerard had questioned.

Mikey ate another rat.


Gerard found them. Frank said, "How--"

Gerard said, "I drank a little off you while you were sleeping. Before I left."

Mikey hissed softly. Gerard said, "I needed to know, Mikey. I needed to know if you followed. And he was going to go with you, there was no way he wasn't."

Frank looked at the two guys Gerard had with him. "They're human."

"Magic-users," Gerard confirmed. Frank's eyes widened in fright. Mikey was sure his did the same. Gerard shook his head. "Evidently, they have rifts among themselves as well."

Gerard was standing there, and clearly not dust, so Mikey chanced, "What kind of rifts?"

"Ideological. Ray and Bob believe we have consciences, that they haven't been bred out, as the main arm believes. We're just taught not to use them."

"Don't question," Mikey said quietly. Gerard nodded.

"Do you have somewhere we can sleep?" Frank asked. "Safely?" Mikey was glad he was paying attention to these details. It was hard with his head all stuffed with fear and maybe a bit of anticipation, but he was nearly asleep on his feet.

"Come on," Gerard said. Mikey just followed. He would get back to questioning later.

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