by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: **Warning**: This fic includes dominance and bloodplay. That is pretty tame, but the sequel already contains a torture scene. If these things aren't you're cup of tea, please move on to another fic...

This fic will have a sequel. I've already started it. Be warned, though, the sequel is darker and Johnny isn't really Johnny for much of it. He'll get better, but he's not quite himself at the moment. Plus, this is unlike anything I've ever written before. Darker. So please let me know if I've done okay!

Johnny woke gasping. As his breath calmed, he cursed his bed, empty but for a wet spot.

It had been weeks...months since Mortal Kombat, and though the rest of the tournament had faded, slowly retreating into the mists of memory, one figure haunted him. Rayden. He'd never encountered anyone with the presence that man had. Which made sense, since that 'man' was, in truth, a God. He'd said that he'd looked into their minds, and Johnny had no trouble believing that was true. Rayden had seen through his arrogance from the start, and had not been disappointed with what he found beneath it.

With nothing to do but think until his agent offered him another script, it soon became clear to Johnny why Rayden's confidence in him had so surprised him. He'd always been doubted. As a movie star, people always assumed that he was like his characters. Those that didn't figured he was a fake.

To have someone put their faith in him, to put the fate of the world in his was incredible. Though he hadn't turned out to be the one chosen to defeat Shang Sung, Rayden had not seemed to lose respect for him. Johnny had felt a connection to the God, as arrogant as that sounded, and was sorry they hadn't had more time. Time without the responsibility of Mortal Kombat on their shoulders.

Now that the tournament was over, the world safe, Johnny found it hard to focus on the mundane world. He, Sonya and Liu Kang had tried to stay in contact, each of them needed to share the experience with someone, but it hadn't worked out.

Sonya was too consumed with grief for her partner, her revenge against Kano doing little to ease the pain. Johnny soon saw that she hadn't loved me as he'd thought she did. She had just been reaching out. For comfort, for healing. He was almost relieved, and it was that that told him he hadn't truly loved her either. As for Liu Kang, his experience with his brother's spirit had restored his lost faith. He felt a strong need to return to his studies at the monastery, and eventually he went.

If he were honest with himself, Johnny had to admit that he'd been as little comfort to them as they had been to him. He sorely missed the connection he'd felt to Rayden. He'd gotten the feeling that the God was lonely, and that drew Johnny as strongly as the mischevousness Rayden's few comments had always leaned towards. Both Sonya and Liu had probably grown tired of his near constant babbling about Rayden. Sonya wanted to forget Mortal Kombat. Liu wanted to contemplate it.

Johnny wanted to relive it.

Of course, none of that really explained the dreams. The dreams had a much simpler, much more basic source. As much as Johnny wanted to talk to Rayden, to be with him, to feel that connection again, he just wanted him more. The God had sparked desires he'd firmly squashed in the name of his public image.

Johnny had hidden his initial reaction to Rayden with the ease of long practice. But hiding his appreciation didn't mean he didn't notice the shock of white hair, the glittering blue eyes, the unassuming but graceful way he moved, the soft accented voice... It didn't take long for Rayden's quick smile, intensity and quiet power to join the list.

Johnny hadn't dreamed of the other man during the tournament. He'd fallen into bed each night exhausted, achieving a deep and dreamless sleep. But afterwards, days afterwards, he woke for the first time with Rayden's name on his lips, an unsatisfied ache coursing through him.

This night, Johnny threw back the covers and walked barefoot to the kitchen to brew coffee. It was five am, but he knew from experience that he'd sleep no more that night. After only a couple of sips, Johnny knew he was too restless to sip coffee and kill time. Irritated with his own twitchyness, he pulled on his clothes and grabbed his jacket on the way out the door. Hopefully a walk through the cold morning air would calm him down.

From the darkness of the trees across from Johnny's home, someone watched. Watched as they had watched for more than a week. Pale fingers dropped a cigarette and a boot heel ground the life from it.

Mortals were usually so clueless as to the darker and more inexplicable side of life, the watcher mused. If they had any sense of it at all, they tended to give up on life altogether. The bleak emptiness of those was so...unattractive. But this young man, this beautiful young man who so often sought escape in the early hours of the morning, he was different. He understood. And he radiated pain and loneliness and, best of all, longing.

Near colorless eyes flickered to the horizon, cursing the dawn that would soon light it. The watcher had wanted to begin the chase tonight, but there wasn't enough time. He'd hardly have begun before he'd have to cut it short. He could wait. Another long night would come, and if the watcher played it right he'd have all of it for the chase.

Hours later, Johnny shut the door behind himself and stabbed the flashing light on his answering machine. "Johnny, it's Sam. I've got a script for you to look at. Nothing special, just a bunch of fight scenes strung together with an excuse for a plot, but you haven't worked in awhile. Come down, take a look, see if it's worth the money."

Johnny grimaced reluctantly but put his coat back on and headed back out. He hadn't done any filming since the tournament, and as much as he was reluctant to returned to playing out staged fights, he did need the money. Besides, maybe a little work would help him get his life back to normal.


"Johnny. Johnny. Johnny!"

Johnny's head snapped up. "Yeah, Sam, what is it?"

"Where were you?" his agent asked, frowning and chewing on a cigar.

"Sorry," the star muttered, looking down a the script lying open on the desk. "This scene is just...familiar."

"The plot is a martial arts tournament, Johnny. You've done a dozen of 'em, and they're all the same. Of course it's familiar."

"No," Johnny shook his head, "this is different. I..." he trailed off, realizing that he couldn't tell Sam that one of the characters had briefly reminded him of Rayden.

"Never mind. I've just had a lot on my mind."

"So," Sam said, already forgetting the exchange, "you going to do it?"

"Yeah, sure. Who's the rest of the cast?"

"We'll see who answers the ad. The producers don't much care as long as they swing a good punch." Johnny winced. He could already hear the reviews, the comments, the accusations. Fake. "I'll give you a call when they let me know what the shooting schedule is," Sam continued, and dropped a sheaf of papers in front of him. "Just sign the contract."

Johnny picked up the pen and fiddled with it for awhile before relenting to his agent's expectant gaze and scrawling his name on the dotted line.

"Why do I get the feeling I'm going to regret this?" he asked, standing and pulling on his jacket.

"Because you're the fourth person they offered this script to?" Sam offered, and Johnny winced again.

The rest of the day dragged by at it's usual pace, though he managed to kill a couple of hours at a matinee. Even for a movie star, a darkened theatre was an escape from daily life. Johnny was strangely reluctant to go home, as if signing the script that morning had obligated him to revive his social life instead of just his career.

As the light faded from the sky he found himself torn between returning home and killing some more time at a club. He'd pretty much decided and was standing at the door of the club with the cover charge in his hand when the girls giggling and casting glances his way made him pause. He wasn't in the mood to be recognized, and he certainly wasn't in the mood to be fending off the advances of tipsy teens.

Sighing, he had pocketed the money and turned to go when someone bumped into him. The irritated remark died on Johnny's lips as he regained his balance and got a look as the man that had run into him.

His hair was dark, his eyes and skin almost unnaturally pale and there was something about him that reminded Johnny very much of Rayden. This man had the same aura of restrained power as the God had had, though he seemed more distant.

"Sorry," the stranger said quickly, touching Johnny briefly on the shoulder before disappearing into the club.

Feeling almost dazed, the star drew his hand, still clutching the cover charge, from his pocket and handed it to the bouncer at the door. Inside the club the lights made the slight haze seem thicker and the music shook the mirrors on the walls.

Glancing around, Johnny couldn't find the man that had lured him within. With a disappointed sigh, he allowed himself to be drawn onto the crowded dance floor, unwilling to walk out again so quickly. The other dancers seemed to sense his lack of enthusiasm, for none of them sought to dance with him. Instead, they turned to other partners, and he danced alone.

Johnny moved slowly, his body somehow still in time with the frantic dance beat. He threw his head back, eyes closed, and tried to lose himself in the act of dancing, in the pounding beat that claimed to be music. Unexpectedly a pair of hands settled on his hips from behind. Johnny's eyes shot open as a whisper tickled his ear.

"I thought you weren't going to come inside..."

It was the man who'd bumped into him outside, the man who'd captured his attention. Johnny found himself leaning back into the stranger, ignoring the strange coldness in favor of seeking out the power that seemed to radiate from the man. He wasn't Rayden, the young star knew. He wouldn't make Johnny laugh like Rayden did, he wouldn't make him feel worthy like Rayden did, he wouldn't shadow every thought like Rayden did. But he did have that strange, otherworldly quality that the god possessed, and so for tonight he would be enough. For tonight, Johnny could lose himself in passion and pretend that he wouldn't be alone in the morning.

"Changed my mind," Johnny answered, turning in the stranger's grasp. The dark haired, strangely ethereal man smiled a little and drew Johnny off the dance floor and back out into the night air.

They walked quickly. Johnny felt oddly detached from the world, as if none of it was quite real. The only thing that seemed tangible was the man that led him through the night, as if Johnny would be lost without the grip of the other man's hand.

To his surprise, when they finally reached their destination he found that the stranger had led him to his own apartment. A shiver of foreboding ran through him, but the stranger caught his gaze and smiled a little, and desire washed his fears away.

Johnny smiled in return and lifted his hands to undo the buttons of his shirt. The stranger quickly caught the star's wrists and moved them away from his shirt. Johnny complied, simply standing while his prospective lover undressed him.

The way the man moved and the look in his eyes left the blond with the distinct impression that he was being claimed. Part of him rebelled at the idea, but when he opened his mouth to voice a protest the darker man roughly pulled him close by the waist of his jeans and claimed his mouth in a kiss that destroyed all thought.

Johnny responded without thought, winding his arms around the man's waist and surrendering to the caress, though a part of him knew that he should not belong to this one, but another...

The vampire laughed silently as he eased the mortal's jeans over his hips and watched the man step out of them. Humans were so easy to seduce, their passions so easily released from the fragile bonds that restrained them. Even this one, who understood the supernatural side of life, even he was drawn to power.

Bending his head, the vampire caught his prey's nipple between his teeth and tugged, delighting in the gasp the action elicited. Warm hands danced uncertainly over his still-clothes form. Kissing his way up the column of the mortal's throat, the vampire breathed two words into his lover's ear...

"Undress me."

He made no effort to disguise the edge of command in his voice, though he knew his prey wouldn't be pleased by it. Knowing he was capturing an aggressive spirit even before that potential had been realized only made the conquest sweeter.

Johnny found himself obeying the command, the need heating his blood overriding any other impulse. He moved swiftly, stripping the other man and giving no more thought to the clothes or where they fell as the two men moved towards the bedroom. The bare skin now under his hands was cool, apparently untouched by desire. Johnny looked up at his lover, confused, as they other man pushed him down to the bed and moved to straddle his hips.

"You're so...cold," Johnny gasped out, arching into the stranger's touch. Hands firmly slid from his hips up his torso, lingering briefly to tease his nipples before travelling up his arms to his wrists where they stopped, pinning him to the bed.

The dark man leaned down to kiss Johnny deeply, letting his weight press the blond securely into the mattress. Johnny felt the other man's hardness press into his belly and moaned into the kiss, helplessly writhing against the grip that held him in place.

"Cold..." Johnny whispered again, hardly aware of what he was saying.

His lover chuckled and some part of Johnny panicked at the sound. "Cold...but not without emotion," his lover murmured.

A light kiss brushed Johnny's neck, and the next thing he knew a sharp pain blossomed in his throat. He cried out in surprise and agony, then was left breathless as a flood of equally strong pleasure burned through him. He whimpered, bucking against the form of the man - no, not a man, he realized - above him.

The vampire shuddered in pleasure as the rich, sweet blood of his lover flowed down his throat. It tasted of passion and longing, of need and desire. And, under it all, a thread of defiance, the certain knowledge that this mortal would not be claimed.

In that moment the vampire knew he would not simply drain this unique young man to death. He couldn't. Feeling the heartbeat under his lips slow even as the mortal screamed his release, the vampire made a choice.

Releasing one of the arms he held, the night creature bit deeply into his own wrist and brought the wound to the mouth of the spent man he straddled. To the vampire's complete surprise, his lover did not turn away from the rich red liquid as most mortals would. Instead he latched onto the offered wrist and hungrily drank his first blood.

The exchange destroyed the dark man's control, his own climax tearing through him. He was barely able to free his hand from his new childe's grip before he drank too much. Sliding off his lover and onto the bed beside him, the vampire struggled to get a grip on himself. He knew this young man would be a worthy childe. No other had ever so completely taken him over, though he was the one making the claim.

There was nothing to do now but wait. Wait for his childe to rise.

Johnny's awareness returned slowly. He felt reborn, as though he'd shed an old skin and emerged new...and free.

He opened his eyes, blinking a few times as he adjusted to the new sharpness in his vision. His nostrils flared, taking in the scents of the room and the story they told him. He sensed his sire and turned his head to regard the vampire who had turned him. His sire...who was apparently also his mate, from what he smelled. Johnny growled, anger rising up in him uninhibited.

He did not belong to this one. His sire, he could tell now, was not a powerful vampire. He had no right to make the claim he had.

Some part of Johnny understood that being turned had erased all the inhibitions most people suffer from. The logical part of him knew that being turned had brought his darker side to the fore. But he was running on instinct now, and instinct told him that his pathetic excuse for a sire was trying to keep him from his true mate.

Johnny lunged at his sire, catching the vampire completely by surprise.

Hands that had brought pleasure moments before now wrapped around the slender, pale column of his sire's throat.

"You chose too well when you chose me," he growled, tightening his grip.

The dark haired vampire's eyes widened as he realized he was not strong enough to escape his childe. The young man that had so intrigued him had turned out to be one of the very few mortals whose spirit joins with the vampiric demon, rather than surrendering to it. This strength, this power had always been in the mortal, waiting to uncovered.

He was a fool to have released it.

That was his last thought before Johnny smashed the wooded headboard of the bed and plunged one of the fragments into his heart. Johnny smiled with dark satisfaction as his sire crumbled to dust, the fine particles sticking to his skin.

He was free. It was time to go claim his mate.