I'm not one to bitch about life, but today I was feeling entitled to complain. We had been out in the sun all day, hadn't fed since dawn and I was going down fast. If a doctor got his hands on me he would find that my hemoglobin was deteriorating, there wasn't enough water in me and I was starting to coagulate. My waste products were accumulating and coloring his eyes a sickly yellow.
I wasn't concerned about his complexion, but the way his temperature was rising I was only centigrades away from popping my corpuscles.
What I couldn't understand was that he refused to help me. We were best friends, and he kind of needed me, but the only concession to my state was that he dropped himself into ice cold water. There was a perfectly capable source of nourishment in the next room, smelling really good of estrogen and adrenaline, but he refused to get up and hunt her.
When she bashed in, waving some sweets in his face, I tried to convince him. I pushed the vampire in him, using everything I had inherited from Coraline, to make him grab her, but he balled his fists so I couldn't extend the talons and recoiled from the mere suggestion to bite her. I wouldn't have taken too much, I promised, but he didn't let me. He shouted at her to get out, fearing that I could override his resolve if she didn't.
Much later, when we were lying still in the melting ice, his brain hallucinating pictures and emotions of feeding fresh, a memory decades old. His eyes only seeing a red haze, he was still trying to ignore the heartbeat and the blood scent coming from next door.
I understood that he punished me for being tainted by Coraline, for making him hungry, but I wished the torture would go away. I punished him by giving him more hunger, more pain. He was strong, but so was I. In the end we both were paralized, not getting anywhere, not dying, not recovering either.
White hot pain was flowing along with me, sloshing in his veins, moving as slowly as the tepid water he was lying in. He had tensed all his muscles when the cold hit, and then when the human came in, but now he couldn't do that any more. Too weak to fight anymore he let go, sunk into the water, ceased breathing. Normally I didn't need as much oxygen as human blood, but in my sick state it would have helped. I begged. I raged. It didn't lead anywhere, he was too sick by now to get out of the tub. He didn't react, not to the pain, not to the hunger pangs.
And then she came in. The one he was thinking about all the time since a few weeks ago, the one with the enticing scent, the bold one with the adrenaline and the spikes in her heartbeat when she was angry. But he had told me before that she was not food, never, that I couldn't have her.
I wanted. Never have I wanted something so much, not even when he was a mere fledgling. I would have taken anything by now, but to have her blood dangled in front of me – imagine being starved to death and having a feast laid out before you.
She touched him, moved him up, took his face. She yelled at him. Dumb move to wake a dying vampire. I sang. I sang to her blood, the untainted, holy, sweet blood. It sang back to me, unfazed by the fact that I was planning on taking what I needed, on killing her, because I would need a lot, I would need everything. More than she would be able to give.
They talked, and it was as if he had forgotten that he was a vampire. He talked to her like a drowning man who had been rescued, in wonder that she would come to him, that she would care. She hadn't rescued him from drowning, not yet.
And then her blood sang of pain, of the pain of loss, of friendship and companionship and connection, of sacrifice and denial. It sang to me that it would let me have it, everything, whatever I needed. Unconditionally and without regrets.
I couldn't wait any longer. He asked her to take control, to tell him when to stop. As if.
I wouldn't let go until I was sated, I knew that. And then he finally let go, grabbed her arm, his eyes bled of color, and bit her forcefully, starving in a hunger she would never understand.
The first few mouthful were just enough to dose the white pain, the red haze. Then he started to taste her, and I started to absorb her into myself. It was like she blanketed me in love, like she smoothed me in nurturing goodness. Everything about her blood was right. I didn't have to scrounge, to rape, to kill. She gave it to me.
Her untainted essence filled me up, flowed into the cold recesses of the limbs I could no longer reach, warmed and thrilled them. And suddenly, I heard her heartbeat flutter, and I knew I would have to let go. I had taken not nearly enough to be strong again, but it was enough to survive until I could have more. And so I told him to let her go.
And he did.
Just like that, he did. It surprised me that I didn't have to fight him, like I had to fight him to bite in the first place.
We both knew that we couldn't taint her sacrifice by killing her. She had balmed our rage in kindness, and we wouldn't take advantage of that. She had made us whole again, sated us beyond what a pint of blood could. She sated our needs on not only one level, but all of them.
That's when we fell in love.