I was bent over her, offering what small comforts I could in her final moments, but yes, I was also curious as well when I looked into her eyes.
They were yet beautiful, and still full of life, but restless despite my murmuring of vague and pointless reassurances she’d be fine, when she was so clearly not; they couldn’t seem to focus on my face.
As I was the one responsible for her current state, I wasn’t so sure I’d look at me either.
She’d lost a lot of blood and was starting to tremble, her right hand squeezing mine in a desperate attempt to anchor herself to the living world as my tears fell on her cheeks to mingle with her own.
I called her name.
For a moment, it brought her back from wherever she was, and she stopped trembling.
“Help me,” she whispered through dry, cracked, bloody lips.
“I want to help you, but you have to choose. Now.”
The scent of her leaking blood was intoxicating, and as much as I knew what I would have chosen for her, it had to be her decision, and hers alone.
She struggled, blinking rapidly, and breathing became harder.
Her wounds filled and emptied with red life with each heartbeat, and I trembled myself from the sheer effort it took to keep my focus.
Again, the squeezed hand for something to anchor her and keep her safe from the unknown realm of spirits.
I smoothed her hair from her forehead and pulled her close.
“Do you trust me, then?”
Despite my frantic need, the bite was tender, the herald fangs well placed, compensating for the curve to fit snug into the vein that would give me back my own life, cursed as it was.
I sobbed with the pleasure and gratitude of the warmth that filled me, pulling the wasted nourishment away from the holes in her body that spilled it on the ground.
Holding her with both my hands on her back, braced in my arms, she shuddered against me as I worked. Her loud gasp of finality was music in my ear as she slumped against me, and her nails scratched my forearms.
I felt her life slip, and bit deeper in a final bid to make this work. It was selfish and cruel on my part, but I couldn’t let her go yet.
Caught up in the sensations, I closed my own eyes and gave myself over to our moment.
I don’t know how long we stayed in that terrible, tender tableau of damnation, but her skin was cold against my cheek when I felt her lips move to give me a tender kiss and whisper my name.
My eyes opened, boring into hers, looking for fear, questions, loathing, and horror at what she’d allowed herself to become.
There was only a calm acceptance, her eyes as clear and lovely as ever, scanning my face.
“You came back to me.”
“I never left, you fool.” She nestled on my shoulder.
I suppose, all things considered, she didn’t.