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Eternal IV: Just Like Starting Over
Reply to Caroline or visit her websiteAdded to the Roswell Slash Archive March 17, 2003
The first thing I felt when I woke up was the cramp in my back from sleeping on the floor. I donžt know how long I was out, but if it was anything like the first time I got infected I knew it had to be awhile. The second thing I noticed was that I was dressed again, and for a minute I thought maybe Ižd dreamed the whole thing. I started to sit up, but when I tried to move I felt arms tighten around my waist.
"Easy," Nick said right against my ear. It was hard not to react to that, but the room was spinning a little and I knew it was because of the virus. "If you try to get up too fast youžll just make it worse."
Slowly he helped me sit up, his arms still tight around me as he pulled me back to lean against him. I squeezed my eyes shut to try to stop my head from spinning so much, but when I opened them again the room still looked a little blurry. I could tell we were still in the pantry, but we were both dressed again and I'd sweat so much in my sleep that my shirt was sticking to me. "How long?"
"A few hours. It's dark out by now. We should probably get a move on so we can find someplace to stay before the sun comes up."
"Stay? Where are we going?"
I tried to turn so I could look at him, but my head was still spinning and it was hard to focus on him long enough to see his expression. I hadn't really thought beyond tracking him down and getting him to infect me again, so I'd just assumed we'd stay in the house where I found him. Going someplace else seemed risky even at night, but he was already helping me up and I could tell he wasn't gonna change his mind.
"You got any money?"
"Yeah, a little," I answered, reaching in my pocket to hand over my wallet. "Why can't we just stay here?"
Even through the blurred vision I could see his grin, and when he leaned forward and kissed the side of my mouth I knew I would've followed him anywhere he wanted me to. "I can see how you'd hate to give up this kind of ambience," he said, glancing around the closet before he opened my wallet and started counting, "but it's not a good idea to stay here. Not while you're feeling bad, at least. Once you're better we can decide what we're gonna do. Besides, sleeping on the floor in a roomful of people isn't exactly romantic."
I choked on a laugh but shook my head when I felt his hands land on my shoulders. I wanted to ask him when he'd started thinking of cheap motel rooms as romantic, but the truth was I didn't care where we went. Being alone with him definitely had a certain appeal, even when I felt like I'd just been hit by a truck. "I've probably got enough cash for a few nights in a motel. We're gonna need to eat, though."
"Donžt worry about it." He kissed me again and shoved my wallet in his pocket, then he pressed his ear to the door and listened for a minute before he looked back at me again. "Most of them are probably out feeding. But stay close to me anyway. They can smell it when you're new, and most of them aren't above taking advantage of the weaker ones."
I might have been pissed that he'd just called me weak if I didn't know it was true, and anyway the thought of getting jumped by any vampire but Nick wasn't really on my list of fun ways to spend an evening. I followed him out of the closet, staying as close to him as possible while he picked up what few clothes he had. There were a few people still scattered around the front room, but most of them looked more scared than anything and I couldn't help wondering how many of them really understood what was happening to them. I realized I was staring when I felt Nick's hand close around my arm, and I looked up at him in time to watch him shake his head. "Come on," he said, and I could tell by the way he said it that he didn't feel all that safe even with the kids that were left behind.
He had to help me climb back out the window, but it was all I could do to hold myself up and I knew it was gonna get worse before it got better. I'd have a few good hours once in awhile, when the bloodlust made me feel more alive than I ever had, but then I'd get sick again and if Nick was right it would take about a week for me to turn. I wasn't sure how we were gonna afford to stay in motels for a whole week, but maybe he had some money he hadn't told me about.
I was surprised to find the Charger parked right where I left it, and when he saw the car his expression made me laugh again. "It still runs, don't knock it," I said, handing the keys over and waiting while he unlocked the passenger door and helped me in. Part of me felt like I should tell him not to baby me, that I could at least get into a car on my own. It felt good to have him touching me again, though, and it was nice to know he cared enough to make sure I wasn't gonna hurt myself.
I closed my eyes while I waited for him to unlock the other door and climb in next to me, listening to the engine turn over before I forced my eyes open again. The last time he was sitting next to me it was just like this, only he was the one that looked like shit and could barely keep his eyes open. I knew I'd be okay in a couple days, but the reality of what I'd done hadn't really sunk in yet. It felt like I just had the flu, or maybe food poisoning from an undercooked burger at some diner in the middle of nowhere. I mean I knew when I asked him to bite me what I was getting myself into, but planning it and going through with it were two different things.
When he looked over at me again he looked worried, and I could tell without even asking that he was regretting this already. I hated knowing he was blaming himself for something I wanted, especially when I'd do it all over again if I had the choice. I didn't know where he was taking me or how long it was gonna take to get there, but I knew I couldn't just sit there in silence the whole time. "Where are we going?"
"There's a place I heard about a few miles out of town. We can stay there until you're...you know. Then we'll figure out where we go next."
I felt like I should say something to try to make him feel a little better, at least to let him know that this was what I wanted. Okay, so I wasn't looking forward to puking up blood for a week, but I wanted to be with him and this was the only way. I was pretty sure he couldn't actually read my mind even if we were sort of connected by the virus, but he reached over and closed his hand around mine as soon as I thought it. When I looked at him he was staring out at the road, though, so I curled my fingers around his and closed my eyes again.
I'm not sure how long it took to get where we were going, but it felt like more than a few miles before the car finally rolled to a stop. I opened my eyes but all I could see was darkness, and for a second I wasnžt sure if I was awake or just having one of those weird dreams where I'm searching for Nick, but everything's dark and all I can hear is his voice calling me. Then I felt his hand on my neck and I turned to look at him, barely making out his features in the darkness.
"The house is at the back of the lot. Can you walk that far?"
I nodded even though I wasn't sure if I could even stand up. He opened his door and before I even moved he was opening my door, leaning down to slide an arm around my waist and help me out of the car. "Whose house is this?" I asked as he kicked the door shut and led me onto a concrete walk.
"I don't know," he answered, and I could hear in his voice that he was trying not to tell me something.
"Is there somebody in there?" I asked, suddenly terrified that he was gonna kill a whole family just to give us a safe place to stay. "We can just go to a motel..."
"It's already empty, Sean," he interrupted. "Look, I've never been here before, I just heard about it. He stayed here for awhile when He came through town. It's been on the market since then but nobody wants to buy it. The locals think it was a serial killing."
I took a deep breath and tried not to think about the family that used to live there. I knew exactly who Nick meant by 'He', and it killed me that his Forsaken had been so close and we still hadn't caught up with him. I wondered why the others weren't using this place as a hideout, but considering how long it had taken us to get there I figured it was too far out of town for most of them. If they didn't have a car they'd have a hell of a time catching a ride into town, and it didn't look like there were a lot of neighbors. Besides, a whole bunch of killings in one neighborhood would raise suspicion; they were probably better off living in the neighborhoods where nobody would notice if people just disappeared every so often.
The house was one of those one-story bungalows that were popular in the older neighborhoods around L.A., designed to keep the heat to a minimum before central air got popular. It was so dark I didn't see it until we were right on top of it, and by the time I got around to looking at the front door Nick already had it open. I didn't bother to ask when he'd gotten so good at picking locks; maybe it had been one of his talents all along, although if it had it would have come in handy a few times when we were low on cash.
I followed him inside and waited while he closed the door, suppressing a shiver as the stillness of the place hit me. It felt like the air hadn't moved in weeks, and I was guessing the furniture was covered in a layer of dust. It was good that there was furniture, especially if we were gonna be there for awhile. Still, it was a little creepy to think that it used to belong to people that had been food for our Forsaken.
He led me down a hall to what I assumed was a bedroom, flipping the light switch and looking around before he shook his head and turned it off again. "Too small, must have been a kid's room."
I didn't want to know how many of them had lived in the house, but when he glanced back at me the question must have been written all over my face anyway. "Look, Sean..."
"It's fine," I interrupted before he got a chance to start telling me things I didn't want to know. "I'm fine."
"There was no bed in that room," he said, gesturing over his shoulder toward the room he'd just looked in. "The real estate agency brings in all this furniture to make it look better for showings. I'm just looking for a bed."
"I said I'm fine," I answered, but even though I didn't want to admit it I felt better knowing this wasn't the same furniture that had been in the house when He was here. I didn't want to sleep in the same bed where people had died, I didn't want to fall asleep with Nick on the same mattress somebody had been murdered on. As soon as I thought it I remembered that in a few days I'd be a killer too, but for now I was still mostly human and the thought still bothered me. I wasn't sure if that would go away, but I had a feeling Nick wouldn't want to talk about it so I didn't ask him.
Finally he found the master bedroom and I followed him in, letting him push me down onto the bed and helping him wrestle my shirt and jeans off before he pushed me back onto the pillows. It looked a lot like the motels we'd stayed in over the past few months, a little nicer maybe but generic in that way only hotel rooms could manage. I lifted my head as far as I could and watched while he drew the curtains shut, looking around the room to make sure he hadn't missed a light source before he crossed back to the bed.
"You should get some more rest," he said when he sat down next to me, his hand cool against my forehead when he pushed my hair out of my eyes.
"You going somewhere?" I asked, trying to sound casual even though the thought of him leaving again made my heart race.
"We need some stuff and I've gotta get it before dawn. I'll be back before you wake up, Sean."
I nodded because there was nothing else I could do; the last thing I wanted to do was let him out of my sight again, but I didn't think he'd actually turn me and then take off again. It was hard to trust him anyway, and when I felt him stand up again it was only the virus that kept me from demanding that he take me with him. I felt lips brush against mine and then the air stirred around me as he walked out of the room. I listened to the sound of the front door closing behind him before I let my head fall back against the pillow again, closing my eyes and telling myself he was coming back.
I don't know how long it took me to fall asleep, but when I woke up again the light was still on and Nick still wasn't back. For a second I couldn't remember where I was, and when it finally dawned on me that I wasn't in some motel room I knew I shouldn't have let him leave. It didn't matter how weak I was, I should have made him either take me with him or stay with me. I could have gone out for whatever we needed during the day; I still had a couple days left, anyway, and at least then I'd know he couldn't ditch me while I was at the grocery store.
The truth was I had no idea where he'd taken me, how far out of L.A. we'd gotten or where the nearest house was. I was guessing there was no phone service in the place, and Nick had my car and my wallet. He could have stranded me long enough to disappear again, and this time I'd never find him.
It took every ounce of strength I had left to push myself off the bed, and when I tried to stand up I was sure my legs were gonna give out. I didn't remember feeling this weak the first time, but he'd started me on the drugs right away and this time I was letting the virus do its thing. So maybe I didn't have as long as I thought before I had to start worrying about things like sunlight, but none of that mattered if Nick was gone. Somehow I made it into the hallway, and I was almost to the living room when I heard the front door open again.
I knew I looked like hell when he dropped the bag he was carrying right inside the door and started toward me, his arm around my waist to catch me before I hit the floor. "What the fuck are you doing?" he asked, anger and worry and something else in his voice that I couldn't place while my head was swimming.
"Looking for the bathroom," I lied, giving up on trying not to lean on him as he dragged me back down the hall. I wasn't about to tell him that I'd panicked when I woke up and he wasn't there, partly because I felt a little stupid now that he was back and partly because I didn't want to make him feel any worse than he probably already did.
He didn't say anything, but he led me into the master bedroom and through a door I hadn't noticed before that led right into the bathroom. I steadied myself against the counter and lifted the seat, my hands shaking a little when I pulled my dick out of my boxers so I could take a leak. He didn't leave the bathroom, but his back was to me while he hung a towel over the frosted glass window in the shower. When he turned around again I was already tucking myself back in, and I took my time washing my hands and then my face before I turned back to him.
"You get what you needed?" I asked, my stomach clenching a little when he looked away.
"Yeah," he answered. "I got you some food, it's in the bag by the door. I'm gonna have to stay in here during the day, but I pulled the car off the road so nobody'll notice it if they're just driving by. You should probably stay in the house anyway, there aren't any neighbors but if somebody drives by..."
"I'll be careful," I said, managing a weak grin when he looked up at me again. "I can barely stand up, it's not like I'm gonna get far anyway."
I regretted saying it when he flinched, but before I could say anything else he took a few steps toward me and slid his arm around my waist again. When he kissed me I expected to taste blood, but he must have brushed his teeth before he got back to the house because he just tasted like mint and Nick. I ignored the tiny part of me that was a little disappointed, telling myself I'd deal with the bloodlust when it got too strong to ignore. When he pulled away again I let him help me back to the bed, lying back against the pillows and watching while he undressed. There were a million questions I wanted to ask about what it was like, what to expect when I finally turned. As soon as he slid under the sheets and pulled me closer I forgot all about asking questions, though, turning into him and sliding an arm around his waist. I figured we'd have plenty of time to talk in the next few days; for now I just wanted to listen to the sound of his heart beating until I fell asleep.
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