DISCLAIMER: Babylon 5 and its characters are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, Warner Brothers, PTEN, and/or TNT. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
She finally realized something was wrong about a week after Talia had been . . . taken. She might have realized sooner but she attributed most of the symptoms to grief.
The sleepless nights, a craving for something that neither her precious coffee nor her beloved Vodka could sooth, the nervous energy that seemed to follow her everywhere, the ache that seemed to radiate from her bones, the nausea that made her stomach turn at the very thought of food . . . She lost weight because she couldn't eat. The one time she forced herself to eat something she spent the night with her head in the toilet. The sensitivity to light she thought was just a side effect of the insomnia and overindulgence in her vices.
When the problems after a week persisted, she knew it was serious. She didn't go to Stephen because as much as he was a friend he was also a doctor and she didn't want to be told she needed to see a shrink. So she tried to ignore the fact that she spent nights pacing in her quarters, or that in the middle of the day her blood would start racing through her veins for no good reason. She became tired, irritable and a bit waif-like. Her friends worried about her but had expected such an extreme reaction and so simply tried to give her space to work it out herself, just as she had always done.
One night, unable to stand the confines of her rooms, Susan stormed out and started seeking, searching, hunting. For what, she didn't know, but her blood sang to her the ancient song of the hunt and she obeyed. She saw without being seen, followed without being noticed and then, though her blood begged her not to, returned to her bed unsated. Unsated but satisfied, the need still ran through her veins, but the nervous energy that had been building within her evaporated.
It was during one of these nightly hunting parties that she found him. In a dark and quiet, rundown, dirty, smelly bar in the very pit of the station. Unable to separate the hunter from her day self she recognized the male as the Ranger Marcus Cole. Her blood screamed at her.
Take him, It cried, He is perfect!
Perfect for what?
Her blood wouldn't say.
The hunter was confused. She did not understand what she wanted and therefore could not take it. She knew she wanted to touch him . . . taste him . . . make him hers . . . but didn't know how, or why. Confused, uncertain but mostly frustrated the hunter returned to her nest, curled up in a corner . . . and cried her weary heart out.
After that every time she had to interact with the Ranger she had to force down the instinct to jump on him and . . . and . . . she didn't know. It made her relationship with Marcus very awkward and uncomfortable. The man's obvious attraction to her didn't help. Not that she didn't find it flattering . . . but it made it harder to control herself.
Thanks to the midnight hunts she could now concentrate as well as she had before. She still couldn't eat, but it seemed as though she simply didn't need to. She had an endless supply of energy even though she didn't sleep and though she looked thin and pale it was no worse than any of the other overworked, under-rested, sunless white senior staff.
Then the cramps began. Little ones and so she put it down to her monthly cycle, except that they only came at night and they were accompanied by a toothache, both pains throbbing in synchrony. She went to the dentist, but he could find nothing wrong, and sent her on her way. Then the pains started to grow worse, making it impossible for her to hunt, and soon after that she could only lie in bed doubled over moaning at the pain in her stomach and the ache in her mouth.
The craving, which she had been able to push to the back of her mind, came back with a vengeance. She would have done anything to fulfill her need now, anything. She would have sold her soul to the Shadows if they gave her what she needed. She would have bathed with Garibaldi if he could have just pointed her in the right direction. She would have shaved off her hair and married Londo if he had promised to sate her desires.
But in the morning when the pain was gone and the craving just nibbling in her consciousness, she would get up, go to work, and pretend that the pain didn't exist.
By the time two weeks had passed she was in so much pain she had to bite her lip to keep from screaming. Tears streamed down her face unchecked, unheeded, ignored. The craving was so bad she forgot who she was, forgot where she was, she even forgot what she was doing. All she knew was pain and need and . . .
And then someone was with her, placing something against her lips. She whimpered as the ache in her gums turned into a burning pain ripping through her mouth. The thing was taken away.
"My poor baby," a disembodied voice whispered in her ear. "My poor Childe." It was a familiar voice, one that sent comfort through the brunette's mind. "Your teeth haven't even come in, no wonder you're in so much pain." She wanted the voice to go on talking forever. It soothed all her pains, it flowed over her like honey and drifted over all her senses like smoke. "I came as soon as I could." She felt fingers stroking her hair, and the pain receded enough for her to be able to see once again.
Golden strands of silk framing a beautiful face with eyes like the sky before a storm. Grey hiding blue. Rain, hiding sky, hiding stars. The fingers in her hair, she knew, were slim and long and naked. The scent of her was clean, but not like cut grass or fresh air on a warm day. It was . . . if you could hold the universe in your hand and inhale it that would be almost what this angel would smell like.
"Sire." The word slipped from the Childe naturally. It fit her feelings. "Sire, you've returned." Her gratitude was obvious, thickly coating every word that left her and those that didn't. She wanted to sit up, but the pain had left weakness in its wake, and as it was she could barely speak. She looked up at her Sire, pleading.
Her Sire smiled understandingly. Raising her own wrist to her mouth the blonde bit down hard, breaking the skin. She allowed herself a moment to relish the taste and promise herself to feed later, before lowering her bleeding wrist to her Childe's lip, gasping as the brunette latched on to the source of her food, and suckled like a babe at its mother's breast.
Sire watched as Childe closed her eyes in ecstasy, not allowing one precious drop to escape her mouth. The blonde consciously slowed her pulse as to not overwhelm her new Childe, but to her surprise, though considering the brunette's personality she should have expected it, her Childe sucked harder, demanding more.
The blonde reluctantly detached the Childe from her wrist, knowing it was not quite enough, but needing her strength for her hunt. She had only been able to get enough provisions for her love.
Leaning down, she reached into the bag she had abandoned next to Susan's bed, and pulled out a warm bag of thick red liquid.
The brunette had whimpered when her food had been taken away, but when she saw what her Sire had in her hand she nearly cried with joy. Food, blessed wonderful food. Finally her need would be sated. She was so happy she almost didn't notice the sharp pain in her gums that signaled her final transformation. Almost grabbing the bag from her Sire's hand, she sat up, brought the bag to her lips, and using her new incisors, punctured the container and fed to her hearts content.
The blonde laughed at the woman's enthusiasm, and leaned back to watch as a pale, thin, weak thing became a glowing, robust, energetic woman within minutes.
When the bag was empty the brunette lay back down on the bed and closed her eyes. For first time in weeks she felt she could sleep.
Just before she drifted off she heard a whisper in her ear. "I must hunt, my love. I shall return soon."
It was the Sire who left, but it was Talia that returned. Susan had been sleeping, relaxed for the first time in weeks. A gentle voice in her mind, sweet perfume in her nose, soft skin under her fingertips, extraordinary beauty in front of her eyes, these are the things that Susan woke to.
"Susan." She had to be dreaming; that voice had been taken away from her, forever. "Susan, please wake up. We need to talk."
Susan reached up, stroking the apparition's cheek. "No," she whispered. "I don't want to waste this dream talking."
Her dream closed her eyes, sighed and raised her hand to cover her beloved's. "It's not a dream Susan. Please, we need to talk. We have to talk."
Instead Susan slipped her hand behind Talia's neck and pulled the blonde down for a kiss. The taste of copper filled her mouth and broke her dream-state and the kiss.
"It was real?" she asked breathless with fear. Talia nodded, her eyes filled with sadness. "All of it?" Again Talia nodded. Susan wasn't afraid of Talia. She could never be afraid of Talia. She was afraid of the situation, of what she had become. "What happened? What are you? What did you do to me?"
Talia ran her fingers through Susan's hair soothingly. "You don't remember?" she asked. "You should remember now."
She did remember; she didn't want to, but she did. She remembered the soft sheets and even softer whispers. Declarations of undying love in velvet darkness, two minds seeking, searching, finding, grasping, joining. A question asked and answered, and a sharp pain mingling with exquisite pleasure.
The plea forever, the promise for all time.
"I remember," she said softly.
"Are you angry?" the blonde asked gently.
"Not for that," Susan replied. "You left, you promised forever and you left the next day."
Hearing the desperation in her lover's voice, Talia moved them so that Susan was sitting in her lap. "I know," she admitted sadly. "I'm so sorry, but it couldn't be helped."
"Their AP process failed, but they would have killed me if they knew, so I set a trigger in my own mind, a set behavior that would be triggered by the password. I'm sorry if I scared you."
The fabric under her cheek was irritating, but she couldn't stand the thought of leaving this sanctuary of arms. "And in your quarters?" Those horrible things you said . . .
Talia held Susan even closer, pressing her lips against the top of the brunette's head. "They were monitoring me. I'm so sorry." I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry I made you believe I didn't love you. I'm sorry for your pain. I'm sorry . . . I'm just so sorry.
"Are you here to stay?" Her voice was small, almost afraid to hope.
Later, after they had made love, after they had reaffirmed their bond, Talia spooned behind Susan and whispered her story into the other's mind.
I'm far older than you my love, but not nearly as old as some. I am 279 years old. I was born in 1980. I was 28 when it happened. I was earning some extra money working as a night librarian. One day a woman came in, one thing led to another and eventually we ended up in my apartment. She never asked me, she just turned me and disappeared. It took me a week to figure out what was going on. I spent those seven days in bed, trying to block out the voices in my head.
Years, centuries later I joined the Corps in order to learn to control my powers instead of letting them control me. I made them believe I was a child and I "grew up" there. They gave me everything my Sire didn't. And that was the cause of my misplaced loyalties. Even after I knew what they had tried to do to me, I couldn't forget all they had done for me.
But I won't do that to you Susan, I promise. I'm here now Susan. I'm here to stay.
For all time, my love. For all time.
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