Title: Hylas
Rating: PG, I guess. ^^;
Warnings: Boys kissing. If that bothers you, g'way. ;)

Joshu sat drowsily on the familiar black leather couch, listening to Daniel play an unfamiliar melody in fits and starts on his piano — clearly the composer was working on something new. Like most of the vampire's music, this piece had a somewhat haunting undertone to it that spoke of inevitable loss. The young violinist understood his companion's music better — at least, he thought he did — knowing Daniel's secret, but sometimes listening to one of his songs was like watching a foreign movie with no subtitles.

Absently, Joshu brushed his bangs back from his face. It was only a slight motion, but Daniel, even absorbed in his composition, noticed the movement and glanced over at the younger musician.

"Still awake?" he asked with a small smile that didn't quite reach his eyes.

Joshu nodded, trying to look a bit more alert. The vampire was always markedly depressed after feeding, despite Joshu's willingness, and despite the relatively small amount of blood he took. In order to reassure his strange lover that he was more or less unharmed, the violinist struggled to keep his eyes open, even though on many other nights, he'd be in bed by now. Besides, nighttime was the only time he could see Daniel — why waste it on sleep?

"I was listening," he replied with a shy smile. He couldn't help it; even after a couple of months, he still felt a bit starstruck by the handsome, mysterious, soft-spoken composer. He wasn't intimidating, exactly... just overwhelmingly attractive. "That's something new, isn't it?"

"Mm." Daniel rose from the piano bench, gathering up a sheaf of paper and bringing it over to the couch. "Feeling up to playing something...?"

Joshu didn't miss the note of wistfulness in the older man's tone. "I can give it a try," he replied humbly, sitting up and reaching for his violin case on the floor. He always felt honored, actually, to be the first person to read or play one of Daniel's scores. If he hadn't been such a good sight-reader, though, he'd be nervous about it. The vampire's music was never simple.

A glance told him that the piece was in fact written for violin; perhaps it was one of his more unusual non-piano concertos, or maybe it was simply the violin part of a larger symphony. Daniel would probably tell him more about it later, at any rate. After a few moments of checking his strings — the A had just been replaced and was flattening — he gave the composer a little smile and touched bow to string, drawing out the first quiet notes. He was aware of Daniel watching him raptly, but when he was performing, Joshu's shyness faded away and the music took over. There was no self-consciousness now, only the hum of horsehair against silver-wrapped nylon.

But something was missing. After playing through most of two pages, the violinist lowered his bow, frowning.

"What's wrong?" Daniel asked, tilting his head curiously. His eyes flickered from Joshu's face to the written score and back to Joshu again. Perhaps he was wondering if he had written something unclearly.

"I..." The younger man bit his lip, trying to find words for what he was feeling. "Usually, when I play something of yours... I try to find the main thread of it and draw it out. The... 'plot' of it, if it were a story." He felt a little silly trying to explain this to the composer, who almost certainly had his own ideas of what the meanings of his pieces were.

But Daniel looked quite interested. "So... you're trying to emotionally interpret the songs... and for this particular piece, you can't find the core of it?"

Joshu nodded uncertainly; it sounded like the vampire understood what he meant, but things like this were so tricky to put into words. "Maybe I'm just tired," he suggested with a sheepish smile.

"Maybe," the older man agreed, looking at Joshu intently for a moment. He reached out to lay his hand against Joshu's cheek, and the violinist leaned into that cool touch. "Or maybe you just need a little insight," Daniel continued, moving in closer.

"Mm, insight from the composer is always welcome," Joshu replied with a little grin. Instead of returning that grin as he would usually do, however, the vampire continued to look keenly at his "victim", unnerving the young man and prompting him to keep his eyes open when he might have normally closed them, expecting a kiss. "Is... something wrong?" he asked quietly.

After a few seconds, as if he were honestly pondering his reply to the question, Daniel shook his head. "No... nothing's wrong." With a characteristic small smile, he finally leaned to kiss his lover, who was forced to put his violin down after a breathless moment.

Thankfully, Daniel's fangs were not apparent when he didn't want them to be; at times like this, Joshu could forget that the man was anything other than human, and simply —

An unexpected flavor violently wrecked his train of thought. There was blood on his tongue, and from the sudden, almost electric, surge of pleasure that jolted him, it definitely wasn't his own. He raised his hands to Daniel's arms to push him away, but the man was holding Joshu's face gently between both hands now; clearly, he didn't intend to let go.

Shuddering, the violinist swallowed the blood that had trickled into his mouth. It wasn't much, but the merest taste of it made him feel drunk and dizzy. At the same time, though, he felt his senses clearing into an almost unnatural focus. In the back of his mind, he wondered if he would start hallucinating shortly.

Feeling Joshu take the blood, Daniel finally pulled away, looking at the younger man with an unreadable expression. "Perhaps that will help," he murmured as he brought his hands down from the other's face.

Understanding now that the vampire had given him a kind of gift, Joshu nodded slightly, hesitantly, and bent to retrieve his instrument. This time, as he wound his way through the new piece, he thought he could feel it: water gently lapping the shore, a glance into the water's mirror, and a plunge into the depths. Someone is drowning, he understood now, and someone else is watching this helplessly. It was a tragedy, like most of Daniel's songs, but caught in it now, he could no more stop playing than he could stop breathing. As he played on, the composer turned the pages for him and watched him, almost helplessly...

Daniel knew he had done something terrible when he gave Joshu his blood, but he couldn't help it. It was something of a crime among vampires to give a mortal the dark blood without permission from the elders, and if one of them caught Joshu in this state, his life might be in danger. But to see and hear Joshu finally comprehend the music was something he would, perhaps selfishly, take that risk for.

Music and instrument were put away now, and the younger man was leaning against him as they sat on the couch in the last few hours before Daniel would have to sleep. Joshu was near sleep himself, but Daniel didn't want him out and about when other fanged ones might find him. Besides, he had to admit to himself, they spent too little time just being close together like this.

"Are you very keen on Greek mythology?" the vampire asked quietly.

"Mm... I've read some for school and so on..." was the curious reply.

"Ah... Then are you familiar with the Argosy?"

"The journey of the Argonauts, right?" At Daniel's affirmative sound, Joshu continued, "Yeah, a little."

"Do you know the story of Hylas?"

There was a long pause. "Umm... he was Heracles' friend, wasn't he? That got kidnapped by the nymphs or something." Another pause, then realization. "Oh! That's what the song is about?"

"More or less," Daniel said with a slight nod.

"That's amazing... I mean, if I had had the story more in the top of my mind, I probably would have seen it immediately. It's all there, the water, the drowning..." The violinist sounded honestly impressed, which brought a sad smile to Daniel's face.

"Thank you... I like having some image or theme in mind when I'm writing, and that was what I was working with tonight..." He kissed the top of Joshu's head softly, since that was what was currently in reach, and sighed.

"I can't wait to hear it finished," the younger man said with honest enthusiasm.

"Mm..." The irony of it, Daniel thought, was that Joshu had missed the true meaning of the song entirely. Maybe that wasn't surprising, though, since it was about him — a young man spirited away from the normal world. Perhaps he had come willingly, but that was why Daniel could only watch helplessly as he fell deeper and deeper into the otherworld that the vampire already inhabited. Hylas had been ensnared, and no unearthly strength could save him now.

12/19/2005: Hmm, rather randomly got this idea while roleplaying. Don't ask me where the whole Hylas concept came from, because I really couldn't tell you, besides the fact that I love really dense similes. ^^;