DISCLAIMER: Blade: The Series and its characters are the property of Spike TV, New Line Cinema and Marvel Comics . No infringement intended.
WARNING: Slight bloodplay and bondage (it's Krista/Chase, that's half the fun!).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Teh_no


Part 8

Krista was aware of a blurriness traveling under her eyelids, one that eventually resolved itself into clarity. It was a slow process, but she realized two things right away. One, she was hog-tied, forced into a sort of kneeling position by her bonds. Second, Chase was smiling at her.

They were in a motel room. A no-thrills, no-frills motel room. Probably the kind of place with thin walls. If she screamed, help might or might not come. Chase would've probably already accounted for that. Best not to try her patience.

"Great stuff, that PSTO," Chase said, walking over to a mirror. It was the kind that pivoted, with the opaque back screen facing Krista. "Puts you in a very suggestible mode for so long, I was beginning to think you wouldn't ever wake up. I'm glad you did. Now the fun can really start."

Chase circled the mirror so it was facing Krista. She was dressed in petticoats. Lots of them. Some sort of gown that went over it and a bonnet that went with it and she didn't even know the names of some of the things she was wearing.

"You'll forgive my indulgence, won't you? The clothes are from my home century and despite how far we've come, us females I mean, I never really think a woman looks truly lady-like unless she has on the full brass." She licked Krista's cheek. "You look marvelous."

"Are you going to kill me?" Krista asked, trying to keep the fear out of her voice. And failing. Chase knew how to read these things.

"Krista, if I wanted to kill you, you'd be dying by now. At least halfway through some slow, irreversibly painful death. No, I'm going to be merciful."

Krista sighed in relief.

"But, in case I change my mind…" she drew forth a silver stake from a pouch on her belt, her leather gloves massaging its length. "You know what this reminds me of? The stake you put through my leg. That was hilarious."

She sat down next to Krista on the bed. The mattress squeaked under her.

"Funny thing, silver. You can build up an immunity to it. Well, not a very good one – a big chunk of toxic metal piercing through your heart is always gonna sting – but you can get to the point where you can hold it without burning your skin." She dipped the stake between Krista's breasts. "How long did you work for Blade before it stopped burning, I wonder?"

"At least it stopped burning for me. Those gloves aren't just for show."

"No, they aren't." She rubbed Krista's mouth with the heel of her hand. "But I find it helps to have some degree of protection when dealing with wild animals." She drew the tip of the stake up Krista's chest. "But you wouldn't bite me, would you Krista? That would be rude. Say you wouldn't."

"I wouldn't."

"There's a good girl."

Chase set the stake down on the bed and picked up a hairbrush. She ripped the bonnet from Krista's head and began coming her hair like she was an oversized Barbie. Krista winced. Chase was none too gentle with the tangles.

"Blade will come for me," Krista said.

"Oh, I'm sure he would've, if I hadn't dropped that big tasty clue about an evil vampire plot right in his angsty lap. He and Shen and all the rest can run themselves ragged, trying to figure it out, while you and I can have some girltime. Besides, we're hundreds of miles away. I'd like to see him track us. Oh, look, dandruff." She brushed some off Krista's shoulder. "You really should use a better conditioner. There's just no excuse for not looking your best."

"I've been kidnapped by a psychopathic, ruthless, murderous nymphomaniac."

"So was I, but you didn't see me with split ends. I think we're going to need a trim. Have you ever considered a French Twist? You'd look adorable."

"Could you please just tell me why I'm still alive?" Krista snapped.

"You're alive because… hmm, can't remember. Oh well, guess I'd better kill you." She reached for the stake, then stopped and embraced Chase, laughing at their reflection in the mirror. "Oh, you should've seen the look on your face. Priceless. I'll treasure it always. You're alive because I need your help."

"Help with what?"

"When we get there, Krista, when we get there. But before that happens, have you noticed what you're straddling?"

Chase lifted up Krista's skirts. The brunette was on her knees, a Sybian machine between her thighs. It was right about that time that Krista noticed she wasn't wearing underwear.

"I spared no expense. Wanted to make you feel right at home." Chase switched the machine on. Krista felt a tender vibration drift up her body. "Feels nice, doesn't it? Used your credit card. Hope you don't mind."

"I won't enjoy this."

"I'll just bet you won't." Chase turned the dial higher. Krista was taken aback as the Sybian rattled her. "Now, there was one little misunderstanding I wanted to clear up. As I recall, you wanted to know why I left you and somehow you got it into your pretty little head that I had some fear of intimacy." Chase snuggled deeper into Krista. "I'm not afraid of anything, don't you know?"

"So why'd you really leave?"

"If you'll shut up for a minute, I'll tell you." Chase cranked the machine up. Krista nearly choked on the sound that bolted out of her mouth. "You remember how we blew up the House of Falsworth?"

"How could I forget? I got lit on fire." It was getting to be a real effort to concentrate on anything other than the shaking going on between her legs.

"I was thinking more along the lines of the little party we had afterward, but whatever. Unfortunately for us, the turnbloods that were left took that pretty personally. Especially my betrayal, seeing as I've been a vampire lieutenant for so long. So they put a bounty on my head. I left so you wouldn't get caught in the crossfire."

"You expect me to believe that? We ran with Blade. He draws more flak than…"

"Oh, please. Blade's a mosquito. The real power of the vampire nation is spent on infighting. Guns were being brought to bear on me that would make B wet his pants. So I ran."

"And why didn't you tell me?"

"Because you would've insisted on coming with me and that would've slowed me down. I thought a clean break would be best. But apparently you started this vendetta against me that is going to make restarting our working relationship very difficult." Chase tugged at a lock of Krista's hair. "But I will persevere, oh yes, and I will overcome."

"I don't think you want my help. You're in love with me. That's why you brought me along."

"You may be right." Chase turned the machine up full-blast. "Tell you what, let's sleep on that." She forced a ball-gag into Krista's mouth, just enough to stifle the screams. "Pleasant dreaming, Kristy."


Part 9

"Stop looking at me like that," Chase said. "How was I supposed to know the thing could malfunction? Really, they should have a warning label."

Krista just glared at her. That was all she could do, owing to the gag. Chase looked at the road again. Not their exit yet.

"I'm sorry. There. Happy?"

Krista said something muffled.

"No, I don't know any other trucker. Here, you can listen to the radio. Your choice."

Chase turned the car radio to a station which prided itself on bursting eardrums. Not an issue when you could grow them back, but Krista still squirmed.

"Just change the station if you don't like it," Chase said, knowing that if Krista's hands were free, the last thing she would be doing was changing the radio station.

Krista said something muffled.

"Alright, fine, I was getting starved for conversation anyway." She pulled the gag off Krista's mouth and—

"Fuck you, you piece of dogshit bitch whore fucking…"

Chase slapped her. "Language."

"I'm gonna kill you!"

"No you're not."

"Well, someone is, and I'm gonna laugh."

"If I died, you would go to my funeral and say a big speech about how you missed me and cry and cry and cry." She reached out and rubbed Krista's shoulder affectionately. "You're such a sap. I bet you get teary at Meg Ryan movies."

"I was happy," Krista said. "You know that? Before you came back, I was happy doing what I did…"

"You were alone."

"I like being alone."

"No, you don't. You like being part of something. Blade's team, the Army, your family, the House of Chthon… us."

"I hated being with you," Krista snarled. "Trying to rehabilitate you, turning a blind eye to all the lives you took, it was the worst experience of my life."

"Sex was good, though."

"Fuck you."


They drove in music until Chase turned off the radio.

"Tell you what," she said smartly. "Since you were so much happier when I was gone, you help me with my problem and I'll leave. You'll never see me again."

"Why would I help you?"

"Because if you don't, I can always keep you around as a sex slave. There's a part of you that wouldn't enjoy that… a very small part, but one you're listening to."

A pause. "Why'd you come back?" Krista said at last.

"I wasn't always a vampire. I'm a turnblood, just like you. And I had a family."

"You? A husband and kids and a…"

"No, I mean a blood family. A sister. Elizabeth Chase."

"Chase is your last name? What's your first?" Krista was curious and now seemed a good time to get Chase to talk about herself, at long last.


"Chastity Chase? That's a stripper name!" Krista howled.

"Shut up! We didn't have strippers back then! Strippers have Chase names! Now let me finish!"

Krista hushed up, a bit weirded out at while easily they had fallen into the old banter.

"Elizabeth did have a husband and kids and a dog, too. And her kids had kids and those kids had kids and so on and so forth. I kept track of them. Call it a hobby. One of them immigrated to the states in 1972 and had a daughter, Elizabeth. Dead ringer for her namesake. Now she's gone missing. You're going to help me find her. Then I'll let you go."

Krista was silent for a long time. "Promise?"

"Scout's honor."

"Those are her friends," Chase said when they reached their destination, a parking lot outside a basketball court. "She told me about them in her letter."

"You were her pen pal?"

"Auntie Chase. She was a smart kid. Used semicolons."

"I thought maintaining ties to your old life was forbidden."

"Rules are made to be broken." Chase gave Krista that smirk that took her breath away. Every. Damn. Time. "You talk to them. I can be somewhat… intimidating."

"It could have something to do with the fact that you kill people."

"Only the bad ones."

"And who are you to decide the bad ones?"

"Less talk, more solve. There's the door. And Krista? Don't stray too far. You know how I worry."

Krista returned twenty minutes later, eating a giant pretzel. Chase scowled at her as she got in the car.

"Finally! I thought I was going to wait here until sunrise!"

"It'd serve you right," Krista said with her mouth full. "Elizabeth ran off to New York. She wanted to be a Broadway actress. We'll find her there. Or not."

"For your sake, let's hope it's the former," Chase said as she put the handcuffs back on.

Another long, boring drive. Halfway through, Chase undid the handcuffs permanently. Krista leaned back in her car seat, fiddling the radio dial with her toes.

"Are you still mad at me?" Chase asked, trying not to sound pensive.

"I'm waiting for the opportune moment to kill you. Like when you're not driving a speeding car."

Chase gave Krista a look. Her skin was paler than usual, her hair starting to lose its volume. She tugged Krista up and let her flop back down. "You're skin and bones, Kristy. When was the last time you drank?"

"I use serum," Krista reminded her.

"Yes, unfortunately none of that's on hand. I'll order in."

Krista tried vainly to pull away as Chase dragged her to their new motel room.

"I won't drink!" she protested.

"What if it's a bad guy? I can find a bad guy. You wouldn't mind drinking then, would you?"

"All life is sacred," Krista said.

"Sure thing, Kal-El. Forgive me if your life is a bit more sacred to me than our next meal."

"Didn't know you cared."

Chase plopped Krista down in front of the window, handcuffing her to the radiator. Quickly the blonde stripped down to her tanktop and boxers. "We're in a bad part of town. This shouldn't take long. Watch closely."

A bit punch-drunk, Krista watched as Chase disappeared through the door and reappeared outside the motel. In the dead of night, she did a good job of appearing lost and weak, rubbing her bare shoulders for warmth. Even Krista's long-dormant predatory instincts were roused. If she'd been the type to prey on people, she'd be tempted.

Chase was right. It didn't take long. A man came up to talk with her. They had some words. Chase shook her head no. The man slapped her. Chase slapped him harder. Much. The next thing Krista knew, Chase was dragging the unconscious man into their room.

"Bon appetite," Chase said, dumping him at Krista's feet.

"I'm not feeding on him."

Chase folded her arms, staring at Krista like the other woman was a colicky infant. "Honestly, now. You've been a vampire for this long and you're still not comfortable with drinking blood. You're so immature."

"I won't do it," Krista said.

Chase paced for a moment, trying to figure out a solution. Finally, she picked the man up and offered his throat to Krista. "You don't have to kill him. Just drink enough to keep going."

"No. Not one drop."

Chase gritted her teeth. "If you don't, I'll just kill him anyway. So, either he can live with a lot less blood or you can sentence him to die. What's it going to be?"

Krista stared at Chase for a long moment. Then, reluctantly, she bared her fangs.

"There's a good idea," Chase said as she pushed the man closer to her.

Two pints of blood later, Krista lazed against the cold radiator, flushed and sated. Chase bandaged the man's neck before walking over to Krista.

"Thank you," Krista said.

Chase crouched down and petted her hair before undoing her handcuffs. "You're welcome. Can I trust you to stay put while I'm gone?"

"Why? Where are you going?"

Chase jerked her head at the man. "To drop him off somewhere. A bar or a bus station. We'll be out of here long before he wakes up."

Krista massaged her wrists. She was lightheaded from the feeding, as tired as if she had just consumed Thanksgiving dinner. "We're pretty fucked up, aren't we? Our relationship, I mean. Half the time, I'm not sure whether I want to kill you or kiss you."

Chase pulled a pillow down from the bed and put it under Krista's head. "Get some sleep."

She watched Krista until the brunette's eyes finally fluttered shut, pressed a quick kiss to her cheek, then slung the man's unconscious body over her shoulder. She had a lot of ground to cover before morning.

The man woke up slowly. His toes tingled. He looked down to see his feet encased in concrete. He summoned a breath to scream but fingers clamped down on his mouth, muting him. The blonde was standing over him.

"Ah, the Roaring Twenties," Chase said. "Fun times. Flappers, jazz, gangsters. My favorite part of it was the cement shoes. Nowadays 'gangstas' just drive by and shoot someone with an Uzi and don't even worry about disposing of the body. No style." She looked down as if noticing the man for the first time. "You tried to rape me. Not that I mind, but I just wanted to thank you. See, I'm trying to get my girlfriend used to the idea that she's a vampire, not a nun, and taking baby steps like making people like you acceptable to feed on… well, you've been a big help. She's got a taste for blood now." Chase smiled. "But you can see how I can't have you going around blabbing about that, can I?"

The man looked desperately around for an escape route. They were on the docks. A wharf. Below them, the waters was so dark it might as well be liquid night.

"Well, I'd love to stay and monologue all night, now that I have an audience, but it'll be dawn soon and I have to get back. Thanks for a lovely meal." She opened her mouth and the man felt a sharp, sharp pain in his throat for a few minutes before he was in motion, the water engulfing him.


Part 10

Krista had never seen Chase cry before. Strange. It was such a human thing. Maybe that's why she wasn't surprised that she'd never seen her do it.

Chase wasn't even bothering to choke them back. She never did anything half-hearted. Great torrents of tears were spilling down her cheeks and the arms she had on the table were the only thing keeping her upright. A tear dripped off her chin and hit Elizabeth Chase's cold, dead forehead.

"I'm sorry," Krista said at last, offering a tissue.

Chase took it, blew her nose explosively, and deposited the tissue in a waste bin which Krista helpfully pointed out. Elizabeth remained on the slab, her chest sewn up in a Y-slit. They had traced her through eyewitness accounts, copious amounts of money spent, and some veiled threats. Things with Chase had just been getting back to normal. Well, not normal in the sense that Krista was still technically being held hostage, but they were back in loathing and that was very comforting. Then they had tracked Elizabeth to a small county coroner's office in Queens.

For lack of anything better to do, Krista picked up Elizabeth's chart. "It says here she died from heart failure."

Chase had her last sniffle. "Heart failure? No…" She pulled Elizabeth's hair away from her neck, finding two small bite marks on the side.

Krista giggled.

Chase shot her a look of pure hatred. "What was that?"

"Nothing. It's just pretty funny, considering. You're always on about how it doesn't matter who you hurt when you hunt because you're so superior… and now you're the one who's hurt. I find it kinda ironic."

"Well…" Chase compulsively smoothed out her clothes. "I'm glad my pain amuses you."

"You know I didn't mean it like—"

"She was a Familiar," Chase interjected. "I told her to give herself the tattoo, just in case. She wasn't on the books, but she shouldn't have been prey. I'm going to find out who did this and I'm going to kill him. Or her," she added, after a moment's consideration.

"The coroner who called it heart failure is Nathan Tramp," Krista said, checking the coroner's report. "Probably a Familiar. He could point us down the right path."

"Yes." Chase nodded her head. "That's very smart, Krista. Thank you."

She was still a little shaken up. Krista placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezed a bit. Chase let out a deep breath. Then she closed the drawer, returning Elizabeth's body to the darkness.

"She was a good person," Chase said. "She didn't deserve—"

Before Chase could finish, a small spray of blood detonated over her heart. She looked down as the wound stopped pumping blood.

"Someone shot me!" she said, outraged, then realized she was in pain. "Ouch!"

She drew her gun as Krista did the same, although the brunette had the sense to duck behind a lab table. More shots rang out as Chase switched her lead bullets for silver and fired at the source. A vampire was hit and their combustion lit up the shadows for a brief moment as Krista pulled Chase to shelter.

"Get down! Idiot! Who are those guys?"

"Falsworth bounty hunters," Chase answered, ducking out from under cover to return fire.

"I thought that was a lie!"

"I never lie."

"Yes you do! You lie all the time."

"I know. I was lying about it." Chase grabbed a flask of something or other and threw it at the bounty hunters. "Incoming!"

They heard muffled sounds of the hunters diving for covers and then Chase was on her feet, dragging Krista out of the morgue, double doors flapping behind them.

"What was that stuff?" Krista asked.

"I have no idea."

"In here!" Krista said, jerking Chase to a halt and pulling her into a bathroom.

Chase looked around at the cramped surroundings. "Well, Krista, if you want to die happy, privacy isn't a concern."

"No one's dying! Or being 'happy'…" Krista ripped a toilet from the floor. "We'll escape through the sewers!"

"But it's such a cliché!" Chase protested just as automatic weapons fire shredded the door.

Emptying her clip through the bathroom wall, Chase jumped down into the sewer. Krista followed her.

"What an interesting smell you've discovered," Chase said five minutes later, and that was the last thing they said to each other before they got back to the motel.

Naturally, they couldn't decide who would shower first, so Chase took the simple expenditure of throwing Krista into the shower and turning it on. Krista resigned herself to another wardrobe ruined as she peeled the wet clothes off her body and dumped them in the bathtub. After a moment, Chase joined her. They washed in silence.

"I really am sorry about your… niece," Krista said.

"I'm sure you are."

The gunshot wound over Chase's heart was a small but fierce mark. Krista pricked her thumb and smudged a print of blood into the wound. Chase groaned at the pain, but didn't look away from Krista's eyes. The water poured down over both of them. Finally, Chase leaned into Krista, letting the taller woman support her. Very gently, Krista let Chase out of her clothes. The exit wound on Chase's back was quite a bit larger. Krista picked off the gray scab tissue and bit the webbing of her hand, massaging the blood deep into Chase's skin. Chase shuddered and let her head come to a rest on Krista's breast. She was naked from the waist up. Krista felt her pulse race as Chase put her ear to Krista's chest, listening to the beat of her heart.

"You've skipped a beat," Chase said. "Do I frighten you?"

"A little."

Chase looked down. Once, the thought would've amused her and aroused her in equal measure. Now it didn't seem so funny.

"Is that really how you think of me?" Chase asked after a moment. "That I don't care who I hurt?"

"I think it's something you haven't stopped to consider for a long time."

Chase nodded before pushing Krista away. She shut off the shower and got out, throwing the ex-soldier a towel.

"That will be all," she said as she started dressing in fresh clothes.

"What will be all?"

"I needed you to find Elizabeth. I found her. The rest I can get from the coroner. You're free to go." She looked deeply into Krista's eye, waiting for a reaction. "I release you."


Part 11

Krista had been collecting her thoughts ever since Chase had thrown her out of the shower. She'd let herself drip dry and put on fresh clothes, although she still felt the stench of the sewers clinging to her. A generous helping of perfume took care of that until the next time she got a chance for a long, hot shower.

Chase finally emerged after a marathon forty-five minute shower and did a little take upon seeing Krista, as if she'd expected her to leave. Krista just crossed her arms and shot daggers at Chase, who pulled her glossy satin robe even tighter shut. She was in that quiet, pensive way she got sometimes, in the middle of the day when she couldn't sleep and after the missions where someone (either them or the enemy) had gone too far. Krista valued Chase's privacy during those moments, waiting for her Chase to reappear with a bop of the head and a lascivious smile. This time, she couldn't afford to wait.

"You release me?" she demanded. "You can't just cut me out of your life!"

"I have before," Chase said in a dull monotone, combing her hair in the vanity. "You complained then that I didn't give you any warning. This time I am. Goodbye."

Krista grabbed the hairbrush from her. It was petty, but it felt damn good. "Is this about what I said earlier?"

"You mean the time you laughed because the one human I actually cared about had been killed by, ironically enough, another vampire? What, did you expect that to teach me a lesson? Make me come around to your way of thinking. I may be a bitch, but I never tried to use any of your myriad angst to make you join me. I'm not Marcus."

"You've got to admit…"

"What? What do I have to admit? That I'm a monster?" She stood up and turned around, looking Krista straight in the eye. "That is how you think of me, right? Your little tame monster. House-broken little Chase."

"Since when do you care how I think of you?"

Chase, taken aback, opened her mouth to answer then quickly shut it. She walked in a small, dizzy circle before sitting down, not looking at Krista. "I thought you had faith in me."


"Don't laugh!" Chase said harshly. "I… it's hard to explain and the only reason I'm trying is because you're going to be gone soon. You made me feel… clean. I've done a lot of things in my lifetime and many of them I'm not proud of, but you… all along you've been laughing at me. Waiting for me to slip up so you could condemn me. You judgmental bitch."

With a sudden frenetic speed, she threw the robe off and began dressing. "Hotel room's yours. Stay as long as you like. I won't be coming back."

Krista flushed a little. She had never seen Chase dress so fast. It seemed so unlike her; the slinky, languid femme fatale now a ball of nervous energy. She caught a brief flash of the gunshot wound, a livid red against Chase's porcelain-white skin, before a shirt covered it up.

"You can't go! You're injured!"

"Undead," Chase replied.

"You could reopen your wound!"

"Undeeeeead!" Chase stressed.

"I'm coming with you," Krista said stubbornly.

"Why? Thought you didn't care."

"I don't. But I'm not going to let you kill some coroner in cold blood, even if he is a Familiar."

Chase processed that for a moment until she figured out what Krista was referring to. Then she laughed; a grim, frightful sound. "Of course. Why would you be honest with me? You can't even be honest with yourself."

Krista's cheeks flushed hot red. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Fine. Come along if you wish. With all the bullets that are liable to be flying around, it'd be a shame if you weren't there to catch one."

Nathan Tramps' brownstone was easy to find. It was listed in the yellow pages. Chase resolutely loaded two semi-automatics before she got out of the car, Krista trailing after her.

"We're just going to question him right?"

"That's right." Chase chambered a round. "With bullets."

"No bullets!"

"Well, that's all up to him," Chase said before pressing the intercom. After a moment, a gruff voice came over the speakerbox.

"What is it? Who's there?"

Chase replied seamlessly in the guttural vampire language. An instant later, they were buzzed up.

"Familiars," Chase said. "Just gotta know how to talk to them."

Krista followed her inside. They ascended the stairs, Chase having a curmudgeonly dislike of elevators, and found themselves on the thirty-first floor. It seemed like a nice place to live, a comfortable mid-point between the middle-class existence Krista had lived as a human and the impersonal splendor of Marcus's tower.

"Room 3102," Krista said, finding the door. She knocked on it and a moment later the door swung open, revealing several vampires with automatic weapons pointed directly at them.

"Shut the door behind you," their leader said. "Wouldn't want to let in a draft."

Krista shut the door behind them. There wasn't much choice involved. Her enhanced eyesight told her that the bounty hunters had learned from their earlier mistake. Their weapons were chambered with silver-tipped rounds, all but one. If they had run, the Falsworths would have just shot them through the walls.

"Chastity Chase," the lead bounty hunter greeted, hands in his pockets, rifle slung behind his shoulder. "It's an honor to finally meet you. I'm Saint. And who's your little friend?"

"Her?" Chase glanced at Krista disdainfully. "Just a snack for later. I'd suggest you let her go, unless you want to go through the trouble of disposing of two bodies."

Saint shook his head. "Who said anything about disposal? The bounty on you is alive only. What's left of Falsworth wants you to die just like the Purebloods you killed. Slowly… In agony…"

"Wetting my pants with fear?" Chase added innocently.

One of the bounty hunters raised his weapon. Saint lowered it for him.

"Where's the coroner?" Chase asked.

Saint shrugged. "In a safe place."

"Who killed Elizabeth?"


Chase gritted her teeth. "It was you, wasn't it? You wanted to lure me back here…"

"My dear, much as it must pain you to know, we were about to catch up to you back in Russia. There was no need to embark on some elaborate scheme when we already had you trapped."

"Excuse me," Krista spoke up suddenly.

Chase frantically tried to shush her without looking as if she was shushing her, while Saint turned his attention to the brunette.


"So, the bounty for her is alive. You don't get a cent if she's dead."

"Dead's impossible to verify," Saint explained. "One pile of ash looks a lot like another."

Krista nodded. "Just what I wanted to hear." Moving with unexpected, vampiric speed, she was behind Chase, her sidearm aimed at the blonde's head. "Silver-tipped rounds. One wrong move and your precious bounty goes up in smoke."

"Stupid plan, Krista, run," Chase said under her breath.

"You kill her," Saint threatened, "and you get ashed next."

"Maybe. But then you were going to kill me anyway."

"Run, you little idiot, I'll hold them off!" Chase said sotto voce.

"I said I wasn't leaving, remember?" Krista whispered back.

Saint shrugged. "Well. Looks like we lose. Shoot through her!" he barked in vampire tongue to the man with the lead bullets.

Krista dragged Chase into the kitchen, using her as a human shield to absorb the barrage of bullets. As soon as Krista stopped propping her up, Chase slumped to the ground, not moving. Krista fired two short bursts through the wall separating the living room from the kitchen, was rewarded with a brief gasp of pain and a return volley. She ducked behind a cupboard, hearing the pinball-like sound of bullets ricocheting off the metal cookware she had taken cover before. The stove was across from her. Krista turned the gas on all the way, fired another burst through the wall, then grabbed Chase by the heel and dragged her towards the fire escape like a ragdoll.

Behind her, Saint stampeded into the kitchen, drawing a bead on her. Krista pulled Chase in front of herself again. Gas continued to leak out of the stove.

"I'd rather see her dead than free again!" Saint barked, his men taking up positions around him.

Krista dropped Chase onto the fire escape and raised her hands. She stepped back into the apartment, willing herself into the meditative state Blade had taught her.

"Take your best shot," she said from very far away.

Saint fired.

The muzzle flash lit up the room, igniting the leaked gas and incinerating the bounty hunters instantly.

Krista's hand shot forward with full vampire speed, catching the bullet just as the shockwave hit her.

Very slowly, Krista rose. The bullet dripped out of her hand. She was bruised and battered, but alive. The same couldn't be said for the Falsworth hunters. With rising pain in her extremities, Krista staggered to the fire escape. Chase was still there. She wasn't ash, which meant she was still alive. Other than that, not much could be said for her. She must've taken a full clip of ammo.

"Chase! Are you okay!?"

Chase slowly opened her eyes. They were glazed over. "Do I fucking look alright, you stupid twat?"

Krista picked her up. "If you're well enough to snark, you're well enough to move. Sorry, Chase. Looks like you're stuck with me for a little while longer."

Chase spat up blood, deliberately aiming it onto Krista's shirt.

"Oh, joy."


Part 12

Chase was being difficult.

"You could have at least thrown me in the trunk," she said weakly, trying to stem the worst of the bleeding with her hands. "I'm getting blood all over the upholstery of my new car."

"Your stolen car," Krista pointed out, trying to get as close to lightspeed as four hundred horsepower could take her.

"Rented car," Chase corrected.

"You changed the plates, gave it a paintjob, and ripped out the Lojack. I think it's pretty damn stolen by now."

Chase shrugged with a painful effort, conceding the point. A wracking cough threw blood all over the dashboard.

"Would you try to conserve that?" Krista said, near hysterics. "Vampires can die of exsanguinations, same as anyone else!"

"What do you want me to do, lick it up? Off the dashboard?"

Krista shot her a glance. As disgusted as if she were eating it, Chase ran a finger along the dashboard and came up with a thick layer of dust.

"I prefer death," Chase informed Krista archly, settling back in her seat.

Krista rolled her eyes and grinded the car to a stop in their motel's parking lot. Some people just didn't want to be saved.

Wrapping Chase up in Krista's coat adequately covered up her wounds, although she left a thin trail of blood once she got out of the car. For once, Chase's insistence on slinking around in hole-in-the-wall motels served them well. The clerk didn't even seem to notice them. With Krista's support, Chase found her way inside the apartment. She was laid down on the bed and much to her surprise found she couldn't sit up.

"Okay, okay, okay…" Krista said, willing her thoughts to coalesce. "First-aid kit. Bathroom!"

Chase watched her blood soak through the bedsheets and into the mattress. That was going to take a lot of Febreeze to get out.

"I'm back!" Krista announced, holding the first-aid kit. She set it down beside Chase and stripped the vampire's bloody clothes off, not even taking a moment to tsk over the state her coat was in. Chase was a little surprised at that. It was a nice coat.

"You really shouldn't bother," Chase informed her, even though Krista fawning over was a somewhat attractive prospect (and owed her, after all the time she had spent at Krista's bedside. The time Krista had watched over her while her burnt skin regenerated didn't count, since that was Blade's fault and hence Krista's fault). "I'll be fine. Nine lives, you know. Meow."

"I think the blood loss is beginning to affect your mental faculties."

"You may call it blood loss, you may call it exsanguination, you may call the wind Mariah…"

Krista considered slapping Chase. Then she considered slapping her to bring her back to full lucidness. She decided against both. Taking a pair of pliers from the med-kit, she began to operate.

"Sixteen," Krista said, dropping the last bullet into the bowl of water on the bedstand. Chase had insisted on it. More cinematic, she said. "Is that all of them?"

"I think so, but I might've lost count between the first bullet and all the other bullets that I was shot with!"

Krista ignored her and began sewing up the wounds. She had ample time. One of the good things about working on vampires was that if they lost blood, you could always put more in later. Krista had seen starved vampires, little more than skeletons, brought back hale and healthy. She wouldn't let Chase be reduced to that. When you got to that level, the mind never really recovered.

"I was afraid," Chase said at last, oblivious to the sensation of the needle passing in and out of her flesh.

"Of what?"

"Coming back. Making you forgive me."

Krista stopped stitching. She hadn't expected Chase to open up. She picked the strangest times for these sorts of things. "Were you afraid I'd forgive or that I wouldn't?"

"Both." Chase tried to look at Krista, but her body failed her again. "I'm more comfortable when you hate me. Less of an obligation. Easier to compartmentalize."

"I don't hate you. I pity you."

"You envy me. Come off it, Krista. Wouldn't your life be so much easier if you could ignore that Jiminy Cricket on your shoulder and live like I do?"

"I don't want easy," Krista replied, starting on a new wound. "I want to do what's right."

"Except for me, of course. Where do I fit into the Sunday school lesson?"

Krista bit off the thread and put a bandage over the stitches. She began work on another gunshot.

"It would never have worked out. You're too moral for me and I'm too amoral for you. We'll never change, the two of us. Never compromise. If we could, we wouldn't be interested in each other."

"You changed. You loved me enough to change."

"Did I?"

"Yes." Krista tightened the stitches. "You did."

"Still do," Chase said woozily before losing consciousness.

Chase looked wrong, somehow, swaddled in bandages. The Army had been a long time ago and Shen had served as medic for most of the following years, but Krista was pretty sure Chase wouldn't bleed out with the stitches and bandages on her. Still, she'd lost a lot of blood. Her sleep seemed far too life-like, or unlife-like, for comfort. Chase usually slept like a kitten, if that made any sense, contorting herself about the bed in an apparent attempt to force her companion into as small a space as possible… or to share the same space. Chase bent, like an iron filing towards a magnet, towards the nearest lukewarm body, curling around it. Seeing her just… sprawled was just weird.

Krista was sitting on the bed beside her, the chair she'd set up at bedside for herself long abandoned. Being closer to Chase felt righter, as if proximity could heal her faster. With a heavy heart, Krista nudged Chase awake. It took several attempts. Chase kept drifting off after half-hearted attempts to injure Krista for disturbing her sleep. Finally, Krista cut a thin slit in her own forearm and held it in front of Chase. That woke her up. As a babe trying to suckle, she rocked her head towards the wound, trying to cajole it into presenting itself to her. When that didn't work, she finally managed to raise her head up off the pillow and open her eyes.

"Krista?" she asked, instantly suspicious. "Am I dead? Is this hell?" She squinted at Krista.

"You're not dead. Well, not technically." Krista squeezed her arm, prompting more blood to trickle down to her wrist. "Here. Drink."

"What's in it?"

"Red blood cells, white blood cells, thrombocytes…"

"Don't be smart, you're not very good at it." Her brush with death seemed to have risen Chase's spirits. Or perhaps she was just over-compensating for her earlier vulnerability. "This is a trick of some sort."

"No it isn't, Chase. Drink."

"You think I'm stupid? I'm not going to fall for this. You're going to have to find some other way to poison me."

The blood had trickled to Krista's hand and was pooling in her palm. "Chase, you're paralyzed. If I wanted to kill you, I would just do it."

"Oh, but not before you stuck me with some kind of exotic poison so you could make sure I died and watch me suffer agonizingly."

Chase seemed deluded. Krista decided that when she recovered her wits, she would forgive her. She pried Chase's mouth open with one hand and let blood trickle into it with the other. As expected, Chase's eyes rolled back in her head and her entire body quaked, as if on the brink of orgasm. Krista couldn't see why. It wasn't as if Chase hadn't fed recently. Then she realized that Chase hadn't fed on her in a great long while.

Chase licked a smidgen of blood from the corner of her mouth. Her tongue was writhing like it was the last living part of her.

"More," she said plainly.

"Oh, now you want some? How can you be sure I haven't just poisoned you?"

"More…" Chase insisted. Her voice was hoarse with want and Krista felt ashamed for taunting her.

With supreme effort, Chase forced her hands up, grabbing Krista's bloody arm by the wrist and bringing the hand down to her mouth. She sucked the fingers dry, no subtle fellatio, just pure need. For some reason, Krista found that more erotic. Chase moved her tongue upwards, licking the palm clean, pausing to nip at the pulse point of her wrist. When Krista began to pull her hand away, Chase relented. She persistently tugged the hand back to her and kissed the wrist. She moved up the arm, doing the same. Her open mouth imprinted itself on a spot, her tongue cleaned it of its blood, and with a wet pop she pulled away, smacking her lips.

After what seemed like an eternity to both women, Chase reached the open wound. She sunk her teeth into it with a surprisingly strong bite, the pain so sharp that Krista cried out. That just spurned Chase on. Blood gushed into her mouth and past her lips, staining her lower face. A few stray flecks hit the upper part of her face, clinging to the skin and eyelashes and hair. When she finally pulled away, she was nowhere near sated, but instead cleaned herself as a cat might, wiping the blood from her face and licking it off her hands.

Krista struggled to remain upright. With her other hand, she covered the wound. Within seconds, she felt it knot over and scar under her fingers. Her breathing returned to normal. Then she smelt it. A look at Chase revealed the other woman had scented it even sooner.

"Why, Krista, I'm flattered. Usually, I have to use my teeth on an erogenous area to produce that kind of response."

"I'll get you some more blood," Krista said, wiping her arm off on the bedsheets. "But that should be enough to keep you satisfied until I get back."

"Alive, yes, but satisfied? Hardly."

At least Chase was teasing at her sexuality again. That boded well for recovery.


Part 13

"Hi, I'd like to make a withdrawal," said Krista.

"This isn't that kind of bank," said the blood bank girl.

Krista, with the sort of long-suffering sigh that only comes from being a vampire for the better part of a decade, set down an ice cooler on the counter and pointed a gun at the blood bank girl.

"Fill it."

"We don't keep any money here… all the pay-outs are in checks!"

Krista blinked slowly. Sometimes, Chase's disdain for humanity made a lot of sense. "With blood. Plasma bags. The gooey stuff you drain out of people's arms. Any of this ringing a bell?"

It took five minutes of cajoling and frantic gun-waving, but Krista finally watched with satisfaction was the cooler was stuffed full of plasma bags.

"You won't get away with this!" one of the employees said. Krista responded with her best villainous cackle and said "Mad, am I?" for good measure. Realizing how clichéd he had been, the employee shut up.

"If it's any consolation," Krista added after a moment, "artificial blood was developed fifteen years ago. All this is used for is feeding vampires."

"So what do you need it for?"

"Feeding my vampire."

By the time Krista got back to the hotel, Chase was crying. Not artful little emo tears rolling in perfect lockstep down her cheeks, but full-blown sobs wracking her body. Wads of blotted-up tissues surrounded her and an overflowing wastebasket was beside the bed. As Krista closed the door behind her, Chase drew another tissue from the box and blew her nose, making a noise like a goose in heat.

"Chase, what's wrong?" Krista said, knowing she was going to regret the answer before she even asked the question.

"Nothing. Just…" Chase let an artful tremble start in her arms and move up to her chest. "MY LIFE!"

Krista set down the cooler and walked over to the bed, stepping in between the wadded-up tissues. Clearing herself a space with her shirt sleeve, she sat down beside Chase. Chase turned to her, eyes brimming with tears, cheeks tarnished with runny mascara. Krista took the pillowcase off one of Chase's cushions and wiped at her face.

"Thank you," Chase said after she was done. "You're so nice to me. I wish I was… I mean…"

"Shh. Shh. I know."

Chase's lip wobbled as she held back more tears. "It's just… everyone I care about always seems to betray me. I always end up alone. My husband, Marcus, Blade… promise you won't leave me, Krista. You're all I have left."

Krista wrapped her arms around Chase in her most supportive, tightest hug. "I'll take care of you. I swear it."

With her head on Chase's shoulder, Krista couldn't see Chase's face miraculously clear of crocodile tears and the demonic smile that spread over her lips.

Krista was woken up at six P.M. the next evening (very early for a vampire) by the sound of a bell. Following the noise, she found Chase in bed, a small bell clasped in one delicate hand.

"Oh nurse, could you bring me some more pillows?"

"Okay," Krista said dubiously. Digging into the closet, she found some new pillows and brought them out to Chase.

"Oh, and could you be a dear and fluff them for me?"

Growing a little impatient, Krista did so. "Are you hungry? I could get you some blood."

"That would be nice, honey, thank you."

Krista felt a little enthused despite herself. Chase was being… nice. To her. So weird.

She got as far as digging a pack of blood out of the refrigerator when she heard that bell ring again. Already the sound was grating at her nerves.

"Yes, Chase, what is it?" she yelled as politely as possible.

"You're going to warm that blood up, aren't you?"

"Ummm…" Krista spotted the microwave. "Yeah, sure." No sooner had she started to punch in the time code when she heard… the bell.

"What is it this time?" she asked, trying to keep the frustration out of her voice.

"You're not going to reheat that in the microwave, are you?"

"Yeah, so?"

"Krista, I know this may be hard for you to understand, but some food groups do not benefit from being 'refried' anything."

Teeth on end, Krista walked back over to Chase, who stared up at her innocently. She waved the blood bag at Chase. "It has to be kept cool or it will spoil. How do you propose I warm it up, the oven?"

Reaching up like a mother tying her child's shoe, Chase loosened Krista's blouse and tucked the blood bag between her breasts. "Body heat is the best heat, love. Now just do a few jumping jacks. Get that heart pumping."

Krista pulled the blood bag out of her cleavage. "Microwave. Live with it."

Chase made a few particularly fake mewling noises as Krista walked back into the kitchen. Setting the microwave for two minutes at high, Krista pressed autoheat and… nothing happened. She examined the touchpad closer. She had seen artillery pieces that weren't as complex. For a moment, Krista considered asking Chase to help. No. No way did she need help from the woman who couldn't even name the sitting president ("I only keep track of people with real power."). Punching in a few more commands, Krista closed the door and hoped for the best.

Following a prolonged and mournful beep that played concurrently with an explosive noise, Krista brought out a bowl of… something to Chase. It looked very congeal-y.

"What is this?" Chase asked.


"It looks like it should be chasing down Steve McQueen." Off Krista' blank look, she added "The Blob? 1958? Try to keep up with the times, Kristy."

"Well, it's all you're getting."


"What did you just call me?"


Forlornly, Chase began eating. Krista watched her shovel one glob of blood after another into her mouth before turning away… and feeling something mesh with her hair. She whirled around.

"Sorry," Chase said, not bothering to sound the least bit sincere as she took her spoon out of its catapult position. "It slipped."

"Krista, I'm bored. Give me a lapdance."


"Then do a striptease."


"A burlesque show?"

"Not happening."

"Burlesque doesn't even require full nudity, you prude."

"I won't do it."

"Could you possibly rent a movie where someone who looks like you does a striptease?"

"Go to sleep, Chase."

After some of the most grueling non-combat hours of Krista's life, Chase fell asleep, her much-denied snores filling the room. Krista stole her bell, then tip-toed into her own room, closing the door behind her. An almost euphoric haze descended on her as she sunk into the fresh sheets and soft mattress. Relief at last.

Two hours later, she was still staring at the ceiling, sleep persistently eluding her. Why was she staying with Chase, anyway? She could just leave her to her fate. Hell, if Chase had survived a fall down a flight of stairs, she could probably survive on all the blood Krista would leave her. But then she'd start feeding again and Krista couldn't bear that. Not just the innocent lives being lost, but Chase being behind it. Chase had been a junkie who never stopped to consider who her actions hurt. Now that she was finally realizing it, it'd be wrong to abandon her when she could be… what?

Redeemed. That was a ridiculous thought on the face of it. God only knew how many people Chase had killed. But wait, hadn't she made up for at least some of it? She'd helped Blade kill lots of vampires. Dead vampires couldn't kill anyone, so wasn't it possible that she'd saved more lives than she'd taken? And if she could be weaned off blood, convinced to start using the serum…

It was a nice thought, at least.

She was so engrossed in her moral immortal dilemma that she didn't even notice Chase entering the room until the blonde was pressed snug against her side. Krista turned her head. Chase's milk-white body shone out in vivid contrast to the midnight blue of the room.

"What are you doing here, Chase?"

Chase rolled onto her stomach, forming a pillow for herself with her slender arms. Krista, on her back, could see the side of Chase's breasts and the curve of her ass. If she looked.

"I got lonely. Night terrors." A veiled teasing at Krista's own early nightmares. Chase had long ago confessed that she had been through the same thing. It was sort of like an in-joke. Normal couples had in-jokes, right?

Chase reached down and grabbed Krista's knee, then moved her hand up her thigh. Krista could see the hand moving under the sheets as well as feel it. It was a surreal disconnect.

"You're like my teddy bear," Chase said, mock-sentimental. "Only with furrier legs."

Krista batted Chase's hand away before it reached its destination. "I'm not in the mood."

"Awww, what's wrong? Headache?"

"You. Killing people."

"Not lately."

"But it's not as if you see anything wrong with it."

"I don't see anything wrong with eating ham either. Doesn't mean I don't fuck Jews."

"There's a difference between ham and people."

"That depends on the person. See, there's your problem, Kristy. You keep getting hung up on semantics. Even if we had met while we were both human… and I had been born later so I wasn't bone dust, obviously… you would still be freaking out over being a lesbian. You're not happy unless there's something bothering you. Besides, it's not like you haven't killed precious humans in your little World War 2."

"The Iraqi War!" Krista retorted hotly. "And there's a difference!"

"Yes. I killed people because I needed blood or I would starve. You did it for your country. Krista, if you're smart, you could outlive this country."

"Go back to your own bed."

"Carry me."

Chase slept on the floor beside Krista's bed that night.

"Find anything on the coroner yet?" Chase asked when Krista got back the next evening.

"Not yet," Krista hadn't actually looked. Instead, she'd taken in dinner and a show. "Blood?"

"It would be nice."

Krista prepared some.

"I'd be willing to share, you know."

"No thanks."

Chase made a sour expression. She didn't know when Krista had gotten back in contact with Blade, but the care packages full of serum and Styrofoam peanuts arrived with alarming frequency. The thought that their getaway together was sanctioned by that… hunter made her wish she could projectile vomit.

"How're you feeling?"

"I was perforated with bullets, it could take a while." Chase crossed her arms. "And shortly after meeting you I was blown up. How come these things only happen when you're around?"

"Just lucky, I guess."

She caught Krista talking on the phone once. The growl on the other end could only be Blade. Chase felt ridiculous, ambling around on a walker, staring daggers at Krista who calmly said that she had to go before hanging up.

"So. You're going back to him."

"Once you're better," Krista explained. "I think it would be best. Don't want me cramping your style."

"What about Elizabeth? Nathan Tramp? The killer?"

"If we kill enough vampires, I'm sure we'll come across him eventually."

"Is that 'we' us or you and Blade?"

Krista didn't have an answer for that.

Shen came by once. The thought that Blade and his back-up singers were in the city made Chase want to break out in hives. He sat by Chase's bedside and asked her some questions, writing out the answers on a notepad. Krista stood nearby, arms crossed in a vaguely disapproving way, scowling every time Chase insulted him. She scowled a lot.

Her leg muscles mildly more cooperative, Chase limped her way towards Krista's room, clutching to the wall for support. When she got there, the door was locked. Chase thought that's not funny and put her ear to the door. She could hear Krista breathing on the other end. The next day, Krista was gone. Out somewhere. She came back smelling of ashes.

"Had fun, did we?" Chase asked.

"Ran into Nathan Tramp. He says the vampire is named Dust."

"How appropriate, considering what he's going to become."

"Dust is a low-level vamp. He was turned just last year. The murder didn't have anything to do with you."

"He's still mine," Chase said. "No one touches him until I'm better."

Krista nodded. Dumped a blood bag into a soup bowl and heated it up on the stove. As soon as it came to a boil, she held it out to Chase. Chase sniffed it for a moment, then batted it aside.

"What? You don't drink blood anymore?"

"I want to try your serum."

Krista stared at Chase.

Chase stared back.


Chase shrugged.

"A shrug? That's not a reason."

"It is to me. I thought you'd be happy."

"You're doing this to please me?"

Chase looked away. "Don't be so vain."

"Alright, sure, I'll prep a shot."

Chase nodded. Watched with clever eyes as Krista opened up the care package, selected a vial, drained it into a syringe. Watched as Krista tied a tourniquet around her arm and waited for a vein to pop.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Krista asked. "You're still healing. Maybe if you want to wait…"

"No. Right now."

Krista watched as a vein started to stand out from Chase's arm. She ran a finger down it.

"Are you sure this is what you want?"

"Is it really that bad?"

Smiling ruefully, Krista said "It gets rid of the hunger. Not even a tinge."

"So it's like being sated."

"No. It's just… absent."

"So, like being neutered."

Krista shook her head. "Like being free."

Chase watched as the needle went into her arm, the plunger went down, the serum disappeared. The tremors started in her feet, worked their way up.

"Does it hurt?" Krista asked, impossibly far away. "Tell me if it hurts."

Of course it hurts, you stupid bint! Chase wanted to say, but her voice was gone. She made a sound that might have been a consonant, then a vowel. Her head was jamming back hard against the pillow and Krista had to cradle it to stop her from snapping her own neck.

Then, abruptly, it stopped.

"Chase? Are you alright?"

Chase took a deep breath. The world seemed a little duller around the edges. She felt less dangerous. Like a cobra must after being defanged. But Krista was holding her.

"Now you don't have to leave," Chase said smugly.


Part 14

Chase walked along a little better now. She used the walker which Krista had procured for her and she didn't look disappointed when Krista told her that she hadn't had to rob an old lady to get it. Mostly she just hobbled around the apartment, looking out the window occasionally, going to the bathroom occasionally, frequently sitting on the couch and watching television. She was dressed in some of Krista's clothes, dull gray sweatpants and several layers of clothing over her torso.

"Have you been losing weight?" Krista asked. She was looking at Chase's ankles, propped up on the coffee table.

It took Chase a while to answer. Like the words got to her mouth a little slower. "I don't think so, but thank you for the compliment."

"I need to weight you."

Chase shrugged and started to get up, wincing, finally needing Krista's help to get to her feet. Krista half-dragged her over to the scale, where her weight came in at…

"A hundred and five pounds!?"

Chase rolled her shoulders, meekly submitting as Krista felt out her bones, counted her ribs, and pinched her stomach. "Have you been eating to supplement the serum?"

"Not hungry," Chase said as she listed back towards the couch.

Krista grabbed her and held her against the wall. "You need to get your weight up. You're supposed to be healing. Show me the bandages, I want to change them."

Chase stripped off her sweater and hoodie and the baggy T-shirt that hung off her bony shoulders. Her skin was usually pale, but now it was translucent, like Krista's grandmother had been just before she died. She didn't bother to wear a bra, making her breasts sag like they never had after she'd fed, blood dripping down off her lips, entire body aching to move and fuck and hunt. Krista shook off the memory. Chase was still beautiful. Just…

Chase held still as Krista changed the bandages. Small, fierce blood blisters had sprung up in and around the scars.

"These wounds are infected," Krista said. "I think we should take you off the serum."

"No!" It was the first passion she'd heard from Chase in a while.

"Your body's not adapting to the serum. If you don't start drinking blood again, it could kill you."

"My mind's made up. Give me more shots."

Krista lanced the blisters, put fresh bandages on, laid next to Chase and stared at the ceiling for the next twenty minutes until it was time for the next injection. Chase shuddered in pain and Krista clenched her arm, tried to tell her she wasn't alone.

"What food do you like?" she asked instead.

Chase was getting worse. Her eyes had sunken into their sockets and her legs trembled like they couldn't support her weight. Krista guided her to their table and ordered Chase three helpings, insisting that Chase clear every plate. The old Chase would've stared holes in Krista for ordering her around, at least. This new Chase just shoveled the food down. Not even savoring it in the almost orgasmic way she had. Krista tried to play footsie with her under the table, but she couldn't tell if Chase could even feel her.

Chase fell asleep on the way home.

"Weight's up to one oh seven," Krista said the next day, watching as Chase stepped off the scale. "That's good. A few exercises to get your muscles up, you'll be well on your way."

Chase was sitting back down on the couch, flipping through channels. Krista strode over to her and rubbed her neck, the skin dry under her touch. Now Chase had socks on, her sweatpants tucked into them.

"Why so much clothes?"

"Cold," Chase said, hugging herself.

Krista sat down next to her, quickly wrapping an arm around Chase. It was true. She did feel cold, even by vampire standards. She made a thin cut in Chase's skin with her fingernail and tasted the blood.

"You taste terrible."

"It's your serum. It waters me down." Chase must've noticed her friend's concern. "I'll be fine."

"Tell you what. How about I order some steaks, rare like you like them, see how that works."

"And who's paying for all this?"

"Blade is."

"Why? What's his angle?"

"Not his. Mine." Chase stared at her. "He's owed me a favor for a while now. I thought it was time to collect."

"So what's he get out of it?" Chase persisted.

"There've been reports of a vampire nest in Moldavia. It's aggressive and unusually coordinated. I agreed to help him deal with it."

Chase nudged Krista, just hard enough to get her to break away. "So you're leaving."

"He's promised he won't hurt you. You can stay here for as long as you like, we'll keep you stocked up with serum…"

"But you're leaving."

Krista pulled Chase towards her again, wrapping the blonde up in her arms like she would never let her go. "It was… it was fun, being with you again. But I have obligations."

"To me!" Chase hissed vehemently. "I've protected you, sheltered you, you owe me!"

"What do you want? My body?" Krista stripped down to her bra. "Come on. Let's do it."

Chase scowled and stood up. She walked back into her room.

"Nothing I do will ever be good enough for you, will it?" She lingered in the doorway, skeletal. "Just once… just once… could you love me?"

"I tried. You left."

"Because I knew it would end up here!" Chase sobbed, once, a harsh sound, and slammed the door closed. Krista heard a few more choked sobs before the bedsprings rattled. She wondered if Chase would get any sleep.

Krista saw a bald spot on Chase's scalp the next morning. Chase had half-heartedly tried to comb over it, but the implication was obvious: Chase's hair had started to fall out. Chase forced down some cereal, seeming to radiate hatred with every bite, and fell down when she tried to leave the breakfast nook.

She slapped away Krista's hand when the other woman tried to help her up. "I'm fine!"

Krista was surprised her hip hadn't broken. She said as much.

"Just shut up and give me the shot," Chase said, thrusting out her bare arm. The veins were visible discolorations on her egg-white skin.

"It's down the drain."


"I poured it down the drain. I thought we'd be better off."

"You stupid… troglodyte!" Chase shot the words out of her mouth like they were bullets. "You think you can just make decisions for me?"

"The serum is killing you," Krista said, calm and prepared for the outburst.

"Then I'll die!"

"To make a point?"

"Because it's what I chose! I want this!"

"You can't have it," Krista said. "And I'm not going to watch you die. We've come too far. There's blood in the refrigerator. It's chilled, not cold, so don't complain about that."

Chase crossed her thin arms. "I won't drink."

"Then you'll starve."

A day passed. Two days. Then Krista started to get worried.

Chase woke to discover the IV needle in her arm. She tore it out immediately, but already some of the flush had come back to her cheeks. And she couldn't resist licking where the needle had been, once she made sure Krista wasn't watching. But she left the blood bag stubbornly untouched.

It took another night, Chase staying awake and staring Krista down whenever the brunette came in with an IV stand, before Krista couldn't take it anymore. She walked in wearing one of the terrycloth robes she'd bought for Chase. Her lips were wet with blood, teeth stained red, a small dribble coming down her chin before she wiped it away with the back of her hand.

"You've fed," Chase said with a touch of superiority in her voice. She pulled her sheets over her, up to the neck.

"I was thinking we could compromise. No serum, no hunting. We'll take our blood from the banks. Feed without killing, if things get desperate."

"And you'd live like that. Hand to mouth, no security, no fighting the good fight?" The derision was written all over Chase's face.

Krista sauntered toward her; that slow, no-nonsense stride that was sexier than any catwalk. She stopped and hovered over Chase like the Count himself approaching a victim, drawing the covers away from Chase's body with a subtle movement of her hands. Chase could count the spots where blood had dripped onto the bathrobe, making the short furs stick together in crimson. She shivered. Why did Krista have to make her feel so… exposed? Weak and strong and not sure of anything. Such an annoying feeling.

With infinite delicacy, Krista gathered Chase's hand and wrapped it around the belt to her robe.

"Pull," she ordered.

Chase ran her thumb over the belt for a moment, glancing defiantly at Krista, before she gave in. The belt gave off a whisper-thin sound as it was pulled through its loops, finally coming loose in Chase's hand. She let it drop to the floor as Krista's robe fell open. Her breasts were fuller and pinker than usual, her belly more voluptuous as well. A scale of dried blood laid just above her belly button and Krista moaned softly when Chase picked at it with a fingernail. It flaked off.

"You've fed," Chase said again. Her hands were on Krista's hips, pushing the robe back.

Krista rested her hands on Chase's head, nestling her fingers in Chase's blonde hair. Chase cried out in pain when Krista wrenched her head back by the hair.

"And now it's your turn." Krista made a thin incision over her crotch, letting cool blood trickle down over her pussy. Chase's mouth literally watered and the smell of it overwhelmed, nearly bringing her to orgasm then and there as Krista subtly but firmly forced her towards her destination…

Chase jerked her head out of Krista's hands. "No! I've made up my mind."

Krista looked down at her, eyes burning with rage. Without a second thought she slapped Chase across the face, sending the blonde to the ground. Chase got up on her hands and knees, feeling the unfamiliar burning in her cheek. It had been ages since anyone had dared… Krista planted a high heel squarely between Chase's shoulder blades and pressed her down on her belly. When she removed her foot, Chase tried to get up again, only for Krista to repeat her action with twice the painful force. This time, when Krista took her foot away, Chase stayed down.

"Poor little Chase," Krista said, dropping her robe next to Chase's head. Chase's eyes obediently widened at the thought of Krista, right behind her, now completely nude… and then kneeling down, pressing a knee into Chase's back. "This isn't a trick. This isn't a test. I accept you. Your wants. Your needs. Your…" -- there was a wet noise as Krista slid a finger inside herself – "desires."

Krista brought her finger to below Chase's nose. It was wet with come and blood, the scent of it so intoxicating that Chase moaned to smell it. Krista dabbed it on Chase's lips and that was even more irresistible. Chase licked her lips, licked Krista's finger, suckled it like a baby at a bottle. The blood felt good on her lips, felt better down her throat. It burned, that old familiar fire, like an orgasm rushing through her bloodstream. Fuck. She suppressed a groan, but Krista felt her stirring right through her skin.

"You know you want this." Another wet noise and the finger came back, moving down Chase's cheek, rubbing the blood and juices into her skin. "And I can give it to you. Thank me for giving it to you."

"Fuck you," Chase answered.

Sharp teeth found her ear, bit down hard enough to leave marks. "That comes later."

Suddenly, Chase was being turned over, her wrists handcuffed together behind a bedpost. This left her with her arms over her head, stretched out like a victim on her rack. More out of pique than anything else, Chase crossed her legs. She wouldn't give Krista the satisfaction.

"Where's the key, you ugly whore?" Chase asked, tugging at her chains.

"Let me go get it."

Krista walked out of the room, her ass wriggling, making Chase's mouth water in a whole new way. The taste of Krista, her essence, was still thick in Chase's mouth. She spat.

Krista came back, now bare-foot and holding a briefcase. A strap-on bobbed at her hip like a fake phallus, which, Chase had to admit, it was. With a mocking smile aimed at Chase, Krista set the briefcase down on the bed and opened it. Inside were several neatly packed bags of blood, the key to the handcuffs sitting on top of them. Krista flashed it at Chase, then did the same with a blood bag.

"I'll never—"

Krista kicked Chase briefly, the side of her foot knocking Chase's head to the side. Chase shook the cobwebs out of her head and looked up once more. Krista was standing over her, opening a blood bag with her teeth. Her foot still hovered near Krista's head, nudging her chin, forcing her to watch. Krista gulped down what must've been a pint of blood, the pleasant pink blood-tan spreading through her body with each drop. Some ran down her chin, moving over her slender throat and ending up on her breasts. Chase moaned aloud for the third time as a single perfect drop of blood dripped off an erect nipple, splattering on the floor like a tiny mushroom cloud.

"Thank me for giving it to you."

"Fuck you."

Krista's foot landed between Chase's breasts and moved up, the roughness dragging at Chase's skin. Ten miles of jogging a night. Krista's heels were the only coarse things on her. The foot reached Chase's chin and stayed there, the big toe just touching Chase's bottom lip. Chase had an intimate view of Krista's pedicure.

Krista up-ended the blood bag on her thigh, letting the blood slosh down over her knee and towards Chase's mouth. Chase tried to turn her head away, but Krista forced her toes between Chase's lips. The blood followed and the moment it touched Chase's tongue she just had to have more. Krista smiled deviously as Chase sucked it off her toe. Her smile widened when she pulled her foot away and Chase whined plaintively, not at all sated by the blood that trickled between Krista's toes and fell on her face. She did her best to move closer, arching her back up, mewling until Krista put her foot down next to her and Chase licked her way up it. Nibbling and sucking as she went, breaking the skin behind the knee, licking away the bleed until Krista knelt down over Chase's face. And squeezed the last of the blood out onto her dildo.

"Thank me," Krista said, holding Chase's head down, the blonde's tongue inches away from the vinyl cockhead. The intensity of Chase's gaze was nearly enough to start her off all by itself.

"Thank you!" Chase said, and bit down on the tip, drawing more and more of it into her mouth. Her cheeks hollowed as she sucked on it, in enthusiastic pantomime of a blowjob. And her eyes jolted all the way open in surprise when Krista shoved the strap-on deeper, tip nudging the back of Chase's throat. Chase took all that and more, packing more inches into her mouth and down her throat until her nose was nestled in Krista's pubic hair. Krista held her close, wondering when she had come to consider having a strap-on deep-throated by a former sociopath the height of intimacy.

Chase didn't need to breath for a while, so she just sucked at the black vinyl dildo like it was a pacifier, taking every cell off blood off it. Krista sighed as her lover clawed at her inner thighs, leaving scratches in the flesh twice as much as Chase teasing flicked her clit or petted her cunt. Tired of foreplay, Krista pulled her saliva-moist cock loose and reached for the key.

"That's going in me, is it?" Chase said with a smile that engulfed all manner of love and perversion.

"You're damn right it is." Krista unlocked Chase before standing back to let the blonde get her bearings. Chase stood up, rubbing her wrists, then looked Krista over once more. Her gaze held a threatening lust that had been absence since she'd gone on the serum… and was back in force. With slow, decadent steps she sauntered over to Krista. Krista stared her down, rubbing the dildo in her hands with slow and steady jerks. Chase looked down at Krista's hand gelling over the strap-on.

"You're going to put that…" Chase took a step closer, laying her hands on Krista's bare shoulders, "in me?" Her hips bumped against Krista's, the dildo flat between them.

"That's right," Krista said among the small, sweet kisses Chase gifted her with.

"Then do it."

Krista spun Chase around and pinned her against the wall, making Chase hiss in surprise and arousal. Without a second of hesitation she drove herself between Chase's legs. Chase gave another, louder hiss before burying her fangs in Krista's throat. Her legs and arms wrapped around Krista's body like ivy, so tight that it was a chore for Krista to pull out enough to thrust back in. Through the fangs penetrating Krista's flesh, Chase moaned encouragingly. Her fingernails pierced Krista's back and were pulled down, leaving thin ribbons of scars in the skin. Krista nearly screamed, but instead pulled Chase away from her neck by the hair and kissed her, tasting her own blood on Chase's tongue. Another, deeper thrust made Chase break the kiss with a very undignified yelp. She gave Krista an evil eye and Krista giggled before moving inside her own more, deep enough and hard enough to make Chase tighten her grip exponentially.

Letting Chase hold herself up, Krista staggered to the bed and dropped on it, sandwiching Chase between her and the mattress. Chase squealed and bit down again, right below where she had made her mark the first time. Krista experienced the familiar pain as her body gave up blood, then the pleasure of it slowly shone through. Chase wasn't greedy in her feeding, nor hasty. She was slow and even tender about it, her throat gulping in steady pulsations. Krista sighed and didn't see anything wrong with the way Chase was feeling her up even as she fed upon her, a hand working its way over her ass and squeezing and grinding her buttocks.

"God, Krista," she moaned, every attempt to set up a pleasurably rhythm sabotaged by the fact that she just wanted to lie back and let Chase suck on her. "You do this with all your victims?"

Chase pulled away, mouth redder than usual. For a moment Krista thought that she had hurt the other woman's feelings, but then Chase broke into a wide smile and said "Just you."

She pushed Krista back enough to have space to grab a fresh blood bag and pour it on herself like chocolate syrup on a sundae, the liquid covering her chest and pooling into the sheets. At this rate, the motel would have to burn the bed to ever rent out the room again.

"Your turn," Chase said when she was done, running a finger between her breasts and sucking away the blood that now coated her fingertip.

Chase made a disappointed noise when Krista pulled out of her, but accepted it as the price of Krista crouched over her, licking the blood off her skin. With a smile, she opened another blood bag and poured it over Krista's back and head. Krista wiped some out of her eyes, watching as Chase mischievously sucked the blood off a clotted lock of Krista's hair. Their lips met again and Krista pulled her old trick of entering Chase while the blonde was distracted, the blood smearing between their bodies. Chase wound her arms around Krista, webbing her fingers over the blood that cascaded over Krista's new and already scabbed over scars. The blood felt good between her fingers, felt right. And Krista under them felt righter still.

"I love you," Chase muttered as she presented her neck.

"I love you too," Krista said just before she bit down with startling, orgasmic force.

Blade saw the symptoms. The bloodshot look of Krista's eyes. The large Band-Aid that covered the most convenient part of her throat. The set of her stance, both stronger and weaker than he was used to. He stopped her before she could even explain.

"Stay away from where I hunt, I don't bother you. Don't feed on humans, I don't bother you. Don't help other vampires, I don't bother you."

Krista stared at him, taken aback. She blushed and wiped at her brow. "I love her, Blade. She makes me happy."

"Good for you," Blade said, with such a gruff voice that Krista couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not.

Krista fingered the Band-Aid absently before setting down a small file. "His name is Dust. He's a vampire, small-time. I promised Chase you'd take care of him. And make it painful."

Blade looked over the file and nodded. "Severance pay. Weird for a vampire hunter."

Krista headed for the door, even her walk more predatory than before. She paused in the doorway. "This is goodbye, then."

"Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Krista shut the door behind her. Blade sat back and watched her leave on the security monitors. Losing Krista would be a blow to operational efficiency, but he'd gotten used to working without her in the last few weeks. And this neutralized two vampires without firing a single shot, as well as putting a continuing crimp in the vampire blood-bank operation.

"Good luck," he said as Krista got into her car and drove off, Chase at the wheel, the night stretching out before them.

The End

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