title: vocabulary
fandom: Blood+
characters/pairings: The Schiff, Moses/Karman
rating: G
warnings: some blood
summary: The Schiff, and their views on love.
notes: episode spoilers for episode 45, which inspired this.

They did not know about love.

The word was literally not in their vocabulary. None of the scientists they encountered ever used that word at the lab, and it wasn't part of their lessons. The hope that Moses yearned for... it was something he'd extrapolated from listening to the doctors. We hope this experiment will go better than the last, or We hope this time we'll get the results we need, or We hope you will survive this; you give us the best data.

The hope of the doctors was not their hope, but he wanted to believe that somewhere, outside the walls of their cages, they could find their own hope. What would hope mean for the Schiff, Moses wondered? Would it be a way to live? To simply survive? Maybe, if they could find a way to survive, they could find a purpose to their lives that would be theirs.

Maybe... they could find a way to not be afraid...

They entered the human world, which was full of dangers. They learned to avoid the sun. They learned to hunt cautiously, so as not to arouse suspicions from the humans, or the chevaliers. They learned to find places to stay that would be secure.

They became something that the humans might have called family, though that word was outside their use as well. They spent all their time together. They got to know each other's faults, and foibles, their moods and temperaments.

They were a unit.

Irene had seen the humans doing something odd. She told them about it. Irene went out in the sunshine far too often. She was curious about the human world. She saw couples biting each other's tongues. They enjoyed it, she said. She wanted to try it.

Moses didn't like it. It hurt, and he didn't see the point. He did notice that when Irene bit Karman's tongue, he had a strange feeling in his chest. He didn't like it. It wasn't right. But, when she bit Guy's tongue, it didn't bother him so much, so he couldn't say anything.

It was considered to be biological need. Like feeding, and staying out of the sun. Some latent sense of propriety caused them to shelter Lulu from it. It was odd, and Moses watched it happen with detached curiosity. They seemed to be pairing off. Irene and Guy started to spend more and more time together. Darth and Gudrif. Dismas and Grestas.

At his side, Moses often found Karman.

They started to die off. Fear grew between them, and they huddled closer together. Everyone outside their circle was enemy, and everyone inside was as close as flesh, their hearts as one, always.

They did not know the word love, nor did they know what brother or sister or lover meant. They lacked the vocabulary to differentiate between each other in the undefined territory of relationships. Moses felt responsible for all of them, so it was up to him to feel the same for all of them.

He could justify it, though, because Karman required more care. He was too sharp-tongued, and too violent. He caused trouble, and he got himself into fights. Moses sometimes thought that he couldn't be quite as good as he was at being trouble if he wasn't trying, but that made no sense.

Sometimes, Karman needed to fight with him, and sometimes, their fights led to things that they had to keep secret from Lulu, and sometimes, Karman desperately bit Moses' tongue, only they did it sometimes without the biting, and that seemed counterintuitive, but it was more pleasant. In fact, when it was Karman, it was entirely pleasant.

Moses decided that he was actually very stupid. He'd like to have believed it was because he hadn't been taught the right words, but he was just stupid, and he had acted on fear. He knew he couldn't trust that chevalier, but he had to, he had to try. Because it was Karman's life, and as terrified as he was to lose his own life, he was a thousand times more terrified to live without Karman.

A child would have figured it out. Even without the word, a child would have figured out that it was love. Lulu probably knew, as a matter of fact. He hoped so, because then she'd understand. He didn't have a single crack of thorn, but he couldn't live without Karman.

He didn't need to be afraid, though. His arm around Karman's waist, facing the sun together...

Maybe this was all he needed of hope; and he didn't realize it until he'd almost done something unforgivable.

He turned to Karman, the flames nearly consuming them entirely, and he tried to smile for the first time.