No, wait, he didn’t breathe anymore. He was dead, dead, dead, just like his father…
No, no, don’t think about him.
Those thoughts lead to him.
He lifted hands – hands stained with blood he could never wash away now – and tangled them in his hair as a low, painful whine seared its way up his throat. The hunger burned in his belly and pounded in his head and it was all he could do to stay and not leave his dorm on campus.
If he did…he would kill.
But it hurt so much…
And he was so hungry…
The drum roll in his head increased, pounding as fast as it could, and his stomach wrenched sideways. He could feel the fangs now, digging hard into his lower lip, and knew he was about to lose. The hunger was about to overtake him and he was going to be lost again.
His times of freedom were getting fewer, their time shortening by leaps and bounds. Soon…soon he wouldn’t come out of the bloodstained haze.
Soon…soon there would be no him. Just the hunger.
A shudder rippled through his body then, making him convulse in agony, and he lost it. The hunger roared its way into control and demanded to be sated. And his shivers suddenly ceased as he stopped fighting and rose with liquid grace, a chilling smile stretching his mouth.
There was a pretty brunette in the next dorm over who liked to walk at night.
She would be perfect.
He licked his lips in anticipation then strode for the door, his previous regret and distaste forgotten. The hunger in him and his own weakness had thwarted his control again…and he was a cold killer once more.
Edward woke with a strangled cry, tearing himself forcibly from the dream-slash-memory and into reality. He rolled over, desperate to feel contact with another body, but discovered the other side of the bed was empty. Stomach plummeting, he scrambled out of bed as he heard the staccato sound startup in his head.
He staggered through the apartment to the kitchen, wrenching open the refrigerator door. Inside an ice bin filled with packets of discarded blood from hospitals and blood banks greeted him and he hastily grabbed two of them. Without quite focusing on just what he was doing, he poured each into a separate mug and shoved one into the microwave while he drank the other cold.
The chilled, sludgy plasma tried to choke in his throat, his body wanting to reject it, but Edward forced himself to swallow. He managed to get it all down by the time the microwave dinged and dropped it in the sink.
As he wrapped his fingers around the other mug, he leaned back against the counter, trying to relax tense muscles. He lifted the mug to his nose and breathed in the scent of warm blood but part of him snarled in distaste. It wanted fresh blood, straight from a vein, but he couldn’t…
He broke out in fresh shudders at the thought of tapping a living vein, fear of turning back into what he had been rising in his belly, and swallowed half the mug in one go to still it.
Edward slowly relaxed after a few moments, taking slow sips from the mug. The warmed-up blood calmed the hunger quivering in his belly and stilled the staccato rhythm in his head. Part of him, though, was never satisfied.
Sighing, he lifted his eyes and noticed there was a fresh note stuck under a magnet on the freezer. His lover’s broad strokes spelled out a simple note that he knew well: “Gone out for a bite, Mico. Remember Roma.”
A smile touched his lips then, as it always did when that note was left. He always recalled his first few true years as a fledgling vampire in Rome with the one he wished had been his sire with ease.
He needed him here now. The memory was still so close and he wasn’t strong enough to be rid of it entirely himself.
Taking a step forward, Edward tugged the note from under the magnet and, leaning against the refrigerator, pressed the paper to his nose. His lover’s scent clung heavily to the paper and, while not him, he could use it to banish the memory briefly.
Never for long though.
“Where are you, Eli?” he asked quietly, a desperate whine underlying his voice. “I need you.” He leaned his head against the freezer door and focused on the all-too human action of just breathing in an effort to calm himself.
Then, as though his words had summoned him, there was a warm hand pulling the mug from his hand to place on the counter. Moments later those arms were wrapped around him and Eligius breathed against his ear, “I am here, Mico,” and then Edward’s knees buckled.
“The dream again?” questioned the Roman as he leaned slightly backwards so Edward rested against him.
It was all the younger vampire could do to nod in response and Eligius growled something in Italian that had him regaining his balance for long enough to turn around. Edward wrapped his arms around the taller man’s neck and buried his face in his chest, breathing in his scent and burrowing in as close as he could. Eligius happily obliged him, drawing him tightly against him, and rumbled in a quiet voice, “I am here now, Mico, my carus. And you know I will not let you fall back to that.”
“I know,” Edward breathed and a shudder raced through him. He felt his lover tighten his arms then and say, “Come. Let us go back to sleep.” A nod was all the younger could manage and he ended up being half-carried back to the bedroom.
Eligius tucked him in like he was a child – which Edward was in comparison to the Roman’s two thousand plus years – then slid in next to him under the blankets. He drew the blond towards him, wrapped an arm snugly around his waist, and pressed a kiss against his temple.
“There now,” he rumbled in a low voice, the one Edward loved because he could feel it vibrating through his entire being when they were close like this. “Here we are, safe and sound in our bed, and nothing can touch us here.”
Edward nodded then shifted slightly, scooting downward so he could tuck his head under Eligius’ chin. The older vampire chuckled and rested his chin atop his head comfortably in response to the movement.
“Nothing can touch us,” murmured Edward.
Eligius made a noise of agreement. “Never in our own sanctuary. Now sleep, mmm, Mico? I will watch your dreams like a hawk.”
He wanted to giggle at that suddenly, thinking of how like a hawk Eligius did look with his hooked – well – Roman nose but stilled it. Instead Edward closed his eyes, breathed in the comforting scent of the one who had saved his life not so long ago, and drifted away.
And one thing he could rely upon with Eligius there was that he would never dream of those days before he had been there for him.