Drake gone, our group attacked, everything seemed bleak. I rubbed my sore ribs as I packed my few belongings in to a bag, then made my way to the exit. Others were doing the same - I saw Jared helping an injured human, Kate, to the door.
"Jared, let me."
"I have it under control-"
"-Let me." I muttered at him, taking Kate's arm. He shook his head and ran past us to the outside.
"He was helping..." Kate replied.
"He's still a vamp."
"They're not all bad you know. Some of them are..."
"Kate, I don't think the time to sing their praises is right after an attack where most of them started on the corpses."
"You suggest what?" I spat at the new vamp as he twirled a knife around his fingers.
"You let us feed on you, a small amount, in a rotating system. We'll be stronger, able to resist better if any of you are injured, and you'll be able to monitor how much we take and how in control we are. It's better than us going hunting in the streets."
"You must be out of your mind." I glared.
"It makes sense Sophia..." Jared started but another glare cut him off.
"Sophia, I don't mind if it would give us a better chance. As long as they only take small amounts every few days, it would work." Kate said, smiling at Jared. It clicked then that she liked him. As in liked him. I pursed my lips.
"Is anyone else in agreement?" I asked the group as we huddled round in our new hideout, an abandoned warehouse on the edge of town. We'd scoped it out months ago as our next place, so everyone had known where to go once we had split up. Now we sat in what, for all intents and purposes, was a circle.
Several of the group raised their hands, then a few more, then anothe few.
"Really?" I asked, incredulous. They nodded hesitantly. Those who had not raised their hands shrugged. "You cannot be serious? You want them to have free reign to drink your blood whenever they feel-"
"-It would not be whenever we feel." Jared interrupted. "We would only take when needed, a little from a different person every day. To suppliment the cold blood, or even to make sure we do not need it. We will not harm you."
I stared at him and then shook my head.
"I will not... no I cannot be part of this. The rest of you are free to do with your blood what you will. I cannot give myself so willingly." With that I stood and turned away, heading to the staircase. Once there I sat with my head in my hands and tried to block the flow of memories returning to me. The door behind me opened but I did not turn around.
I recognised Jared's voice and groaned.
"Why can I not be alone?"
"Because you are in charge. Might not feel like it right now, but you are." He sat next to me and I automatically shifted away. He huffed. "I understand you don't like us. But we don't have a choice in this. I did not want this. I tried to kill myself before the rebellion. Then I thought that this was a better way than any of sorting this mess out, and if not at least I'd die. But I've come to love life... or whatever this is, again. So please, don't walk out on this before it is finished. It means something."
"My name is Jared. Use it." He was angry and I did not have much of a weapon with me so I relented.
"Jared. I can't give my blood..."
"So don't. Just don't walk out."
"They will not want me if I do not give my blood too."
"Make it clear that it is their choice to give blood, just as it is yours to withold it."
"Would you want my blood?" I asked, turning to face him suddenly. "What does it feel like to want it?"
"There is no way to explain it." He replied after a few moments of careful watching of my face. "It is like every cell in your body wants to latch on to the blood source through your teeth. It is physical, as though something is hauling you towards it no matter how hard you fight. I managed to avoid the head earlier. I may not be so lucky again."
"You avoided my first question. You wanted my blood when you saw the cut on my hand."
"I would not hurt you."
"Once again, you avoid my-"
"-Yes. Yes I want your blood. I want it so much that it hurts me to even sit here. But I do it anyway."
"Because beyond that urge, that craving, that need... I can see that you are important."
"Because I'm in charge?"
"No. Because you are alive. That is why I vowed never to dry a human ever."
"Have you ever?"
"Once. When I was first turned. I will never do it again."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because I will remember how important everyone is. I will remember you, and how I brought you bandages and ice packs. And I will know that you needed me too."
"-No one else noticed. You put on a mask and that works for you. But your health is important. Do not let it slide in spite of us." He stood and smiled down at me. "I will return, before Antonius begins ordering humans around. Don't be long."
He disappeared and I let out a breath.
That was the first proper conversation with a vamp I had had since... her.