(and de-anons i guess?)

Jack lives and breathes, to an extent. If he was dead he thinks he’d have stayed down instead of stumbling from the Swiss base–climbing up out of the burned-out wreckage of whatever lab he’d fallen into, blacking out and waking again against all odds–and you have to breathe to be able to talk. To be able to scream.

He’s cold, and his pulse, when he takes it, is so slow he nearly misses it. He’s wandering, sticking to the shadows and staying out of the spotlight. The daylight. So much so that when he finally tries to step out into the sun and his eyes burn and blur and he hunches over to claw at his watering eyes–throwing himself back inside to stop it, and the prickling heat that crawls along his skin–he thinks at first that it’s just his adjustment to running at night. When it happens again, the second time, he grows suspicious.

At first, when he was still in shock that his life and Overwatch and Gabe had blown up in his face, he hadn’t questioned surviving. But he thinks back to when he woke up in some subbasement lab–his wounds already healed to scars, his lungs clear of smoke–the floor under him sticky with blood that could have been his, or could have been in any of the multitudes of broken phials and test tubes shattered and sparkling in the burning remains of the base. Later, when he sheds off his smoke-and-blood stained fatigues his hands start to shake as he sees the scars in the mirror of the dingy bathroom he’s ducked into. His hair is white, and he could have sworn his fight with Gabriel had knocked teeth from his mouth even when he can see them all gleaming straight and perfect and so sharp and white under the fluorescent light. If there is something about the way his eyes catch the light that’s different than before, Jack can’t bring himself to think about it in the face of the overwhelming hunger that strikes him whenever he’s around other people.

Daylight is an inconvenience, but he rationalizes it away by reminding himself that he’s in hiding. Food is bland and he can’t stomach very much of it, and he still feels so hungry, but giving credence to the way he can sense the warmth and pulse of the people around him would turn the suspected truth of his survival into a reality. Jack can’t face it, not yet.

Jack finally breaks, and when he does it’s messy. He’s fighting straggling Talon agents traced to one of their smaller outposts. There’s nothing particularly valuable to be gained here other than information to point him towards a more important base. It’s unlucky all around when one of the Talon agents manages to hit him; a spray of bullets tearing through his jacket and kevlar vest to shred his shoulder and pierce burning into his lung. Jack coughs blood, and tears the tactical visor away from his face as his hands shake and his vision narrows and sharpens at the same time. His teeth–so sharp and white–are bared before he realizes it, and he breaks from the cover he’d thrown himself behind to tackle the Talon agent who’d hit him.

He realizes that he’s shrieking. He realizes that with a perforated lung he should be gasping his last breaths on the concrete, not moving faster than he had when he was fresh from the SEP. He realizes that he has no idea what’s driving him beyond a dark, unfathomable instinct that’s risen up from his tired, starved body as he tears through the neck guard the Talon agent is wearing and buries his teeth–fangs–in the man’s neck.

Jack moans into the shredded flesh that separated the Talon agent’s jugular from Jack’s fangs; blood flowing into his mouth in arterial bursts, spattering down his chin as he clumsily tries to seal his lips over the gaping wound. He moans again when the pain of the bullets in his shoulder and lung stops. And again when he starts to feel warmth spreading through his body, his pulse slowly picking up, his thighs flexing and clenching where he’s locked them around the Talon agent’s legs.

He leaves the dead Talon agent when he hears the juddering heartbeats of the rest of the squad, rising more smoothly than he has in years and shouldering his gun. Jack burns with the night, and he’s been starving himself.

Before he sets off the explosives that will destroy the Talon outpost he wipes the surveillance systems–stepping over the corpses of the squad meant to garrison the base, each of them with their throats torn out–and makes copies of all the information relevant to his search. Outside, far enough to not have to worry about the explosion, he wipes the blood from around his mouth with his hands; licking it off his fingers.

When he ducks into another anonymous, dingy rest stop bathroom to change out of his bloody, torn jacket and kevlar–this is becoming a theme, he thinks, half-hysterically–Jack sees his face in the mirror. His hair is still white, but if it weren’t for the scars he’d think he was twenty again. His eyes are bright and arresting, his cheeks are rosy, it looks like there’s something luminous lurking his skin.

His teeth, when he smiles tentatively and disbelievingly into the mirror, are so sharp and white.

[ha ha. i love this au. kill me.]

[honestly though 76 is a wreck of a man, once he gets over the shock he’s so into this whole vampire thing. i couldn’t fit reaper in but just imagine him finding jack tearing the throats out of a Talon squad and being confused but aroused.]

[is my hellsing showing too much?]