A/N: The setting doesn't come into play much, but it is stolen from the show Dark Angel, which takes place after an electromagnetic pulse. It was written for a contest in which most of the readers would have already known that, but for those of you that don't - there you go. The rest, I'm sure you can figure out...


by scarlet

Liquid poured through him, sliding down his throat over and over again until he was unaware of anything - nothing burned like the beginning, it was smooth, warm, the ultimate comfort of nothing. An hour could become a year, and it did.

The only word that passed his lips was 'Scotch'... always more scotch. He'd stopped saying please.

When they cut him off, he moved to the next bar, and the next. Into the parts of town that would never say no and never close. There was no sunrise, no hangover.

His hand rose, his head tilted back. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

And it kept going. Until the night he died...

"You look like hell, Nathan," a deep voice climbed up his spine.

"How'd you," he could barely remember what he was asking as he turned to the man beside him. "Do I know you?"

"You wish," the man smirked and their eyes met. Held. His eyes were brown like Haley. Nathan tried to look away.

"Don't," the man came closer, "She's not worth it."

Nathan jerked back, "Who-?"

"Call me Dan," he held out a hand, which Nathan took reluctantly. The skin was cold, almost freezing, but it burned into him and he pulled away quickly.

"What do you want, then, Dan?"

"Something new," Dan smiled. Cynical, but knowing. As though this man knew everything there was to know about his life and more...and could only find it pitifully amusing. Nathan hated him.

"Nothing new here unless you wanna to suck my cock, old man," he turned back to the bartender, smirking. "Get me another."

"Would you like that?" Dan moved closer to him and the image of what he'd suggested seared itself into his mind.

"What!" the bar stool crashed to the floor as Nathan leapt back from the question, but the image remained. "Stop it!" he screamed and Haley's face danced in his mind.

"I love him," she shrugged, "I'm sorry, Nathan."

He saw himself, then. Begging. Pathetic.

"No, Haley, we can work on this, you promised. Please, Haley."

"I'm sorry. It's just gone," she slid her wedding ring off her finger.

Nathan shook his head, "What do you want!"

The bouncer grabbed his shoulder, "Nate, maybe you'd better-"

"Yeah, I'm leaving," he shrugged off the man's help and stumbled to the door.

Haley. He'd forgotten her for a reason. Or tried.

There wasn't a star in the sky to light the way back to his dirty little apartment, but he would have run into everything anyway. She wouldn't leave him. Her sweetness was on his tongue and her hair brushed against his chest and tore through his ribcage. But it was her sincerity, her fucking innocence.

She had loved him once. But it was gone.

"Why not just kill her?"

Nathan spun around and lost his balance, tumbling to his ass. If he had any kind of dignity left, it would bother him, but he was busy glaring at his tormentor, "You."

Dan winked, "Nice to see you again."

"Do you want money or shumsh- somesh- some thing," Nathan moved his lips around encouragingly.

"Yes, I want money from you."

Nathan pushed to his feet, "I gotta puke."

"You're pathetic."

"Thanks," Nate flipped him off and leaned over.

"How could you let a woman do this to you?"

"Not her," Nathan shook his head, waiting. "That...20th scotch, heh," Miserable, drunk, yet hilarious, that was him. His stomach lurched. Hilarious And puking. Great. He hadn't had a night this good since his wife fucked him over.

"It could be worse, you realize."

Nathan ground his teeth, "I could have choked to death?"

Dan smiled, "It could have been your brother."

"Are you stalking me or something?"

"I don't need to."

"Y're acshually not m' type," Nathan grimaced. He needed water. Lots. His mouth tasted like his grandma's tuna.

"I was like you once."

Nathan took his focus off the taste for a second to survey his stalker's smooth carcoal gray suit and deep red silk shirt. He snorted. "Must've been a WHILE ago."

Dan smiled and his eyes glowed, "Centuries."

"So you're here to help me or something? Tell me the secret to your success?"

"Well, I'm actually here to kill you," he smirked, "But the secret's easy - never turn your back."

Nathan never actually felt himself move, but he was against the wall and Dan stared into his eyes, pinning him there without his hands, with whatever force moved inside him. So this was what it was like to die. He started laughing hysterically.

"Interesting," Dan cocked his head, watching him, "What?"

"You were right," Nathan smirked, "This is worse."

Dan smiled and it was then that Nathan noticed that he was changing. The eyes darkened to black and beyond and danced with the ashes of an inferno long dead that kept burning.

Spoke too soon. Nathan's laughter stopped as Dan licked his lips and his teeth began to grow. He tried to back further into the wall but it wouldn't work, he was trapped and the Vampire knew it, didn't even try to hurry as he slid his teeth into Nathan's jugular.

His life played in front of him. Normal childhood, always played sports. Mom and dad loved him, then he met Haley. Beautiful, sweet, innocent...she destroyed him. Sucked the life out of him, so much more deeply than the vampire at his throat. He relaxed, ignored the persistent pain in his neck and gave into the death that yawned before him. No one was around to miss him anymore...

"Stop that!" Dan shook him, forcing him to look into his face as his own blood slid down the demon's teeth. "You have a choice, you can die here like the pathetic loser you've become OR -" Dan ripped his own wrist open, "Drink. You can have anything you want, including but not limited to - revenge."

"I love someone else."

He saw her in the bed, screaming the other man's name.

"You can't give me what I want anymore, Nathan. I have to go."

You can end this, Nathan. Dan didn't speak, but looked into his eyes. Revenge. It's yours.

"Congratulations, Mr. Scott, I heard your wife was pregnant."

Unfortunately, they hadn't heard about the adultery.

Chris! her voice echoed in his head and Nathan screamed.

Don't die this way.

"Please," Nathan hissed. Anything to make it stop.

Dan smiled and extended his arm to Nathan's lips.

Blood bubbled up through the veins and into his mouth, running down his tongue, cool and salty. Nathan gagged.

"Swallow!" Dan commanded.

So he did. Over and over. Until it stopped being forced and started to taste good. It wasn't like anything he'd ever drank, more pure and quenching than water, but fiery and hot as whiskey.

Dan pushed Nathan off him and smiled, "What do you think?"

Nathan swallowed, shakily, "You have more?"

"Let's go."

What people were on the roads naturally cut as far as they could around them, whether by some inner instinct that they were being hunted or the fact that they were both wild-eyed and bleeding, Nathan couldn't be sure.

"Take your pick," Dan smiled. "Hooker, homeless man, gangster?" A hulking black man made no effort to avoid them. He didn't appear accustomed to fear. "You can be overpowered by no one. Remember that."

Just looking at them, hunger flamed to life, but there was that niggling voice - they're human.

"But you're not," Dan answered his thought, "Welcome to the top of the food chain."

His first kill was heartrendingly easy. It appeared that being a soulless vampire was what he was good at. Wasn't that good to know. When he sunk his teeth into his victims throat, Dan looked on in amusement as if there was some sort of 'I told you so' involved.

What he didn't seem able to shake was the need to show off, to impress Dan. Yes, the one that killed him. It was unfuckingbelievable. But he emulated him, he hated him and yet he practically wanted to BE him. That first week, he'd been introduced to other vampires and they all melted in Dan's presence and therefore his as well.

Power. It was the first time he knew he wanted it and he wondered if it was a vampire thing, or part of him, the part he retained in his undeath. He'd been counting up all those things, out of some sort of strange amusement, cause really, he had a lot of time on his hands at this point. Heh. Like the bizarre/cynical sense of humor. He'd always had that. Taste for blood? No, that was new. He'd thought of keeping a list, but it seemed he could remember just fine, which was definitely not the old him. Unfortunately, his photographic memory kicked into every aspect of his life. Every second he was drunk after Haley left him. And Haley...she replayed her rejection every day in his head as he slept in his crypt. He'd wanted it to end. That's all he'd wanted. But there was a difference now. Nathan the human fantasized about her coming back. Nathan the demon could almost taste the sweetness of her blood.

"I see it's almost time," Dan caught his eye and smiled.

"Just out of curiosity, can you read my mind?" Nathan asked, annoyed.

"I don't have to."

"Been doing this long enough to know?"

"It's my 1498th birthday next week...so yeah, I'd better."

"Well, well...you having a Pretty Little Princess party?"

"I'll celebrate in my own way."

Which undoubtedly meant killing the Pretty Little Princesses, drinking their blood, and earning the awe and respect of every vampire around him. Lucky bastard.

"You wanna come?"

"Whatever," Nathan shrugged. It was like junior high, only it would last 300 years.

"Just say if you want to come, I'm not gonna force you."

"I don't care," Nathan insisted. He couldn't just let him win.

"It's in Seattle."

His old home. Fuckin' A. "Fine, I want to go."

Dan didn't brag. He didn't have to. It was that slight smirk he always wore that dug into Nathan's skin and irked the shit out of him. He felt like he was being laughed at and it didn't sit well. He was Nathan Fucking Scott, no one beat him. Except, you know, his wife, her boyfriend and any given vampire that Dan wasn't there to protect him from.

It wasn't that he was powerless because of his age - 30 years the junior of the next youngest in the Los Angeles district. Districts, that was another weird thing, Vampires tended to roam in packs, adhering to the direction of the most powerful, like wolves. With age came power and wisdom of a sort. He'd never thought of bloodsucking demons as wise before he became one. But then, he'd never really thought of much beyond sports, sex and Haley. But power also came with more traditional things he understood. Blood, connections, and money.

It almost amazed him that money still mattered, but it did. If you didn't want to sleep in a church basement and risk someone finding your coffin, you had to put down the dough to get your own place.

That was one thing he was still working on. Dan didn't tell him where he slept and made it clear that it was the height of unforgivable rudeness to ask another vampire. "Did you ever ask your friends where they were most vulnerable?" he'd asked.

He missed the sunrise all of a sudden, though he'd ignored it for years, sleeping as long as he possibly could. But now that he could never see it again, he wanted to and it angered him. Why did he have this subconscious need to rebel against even himself? And why had it not ended with his life?

"Let's go," Dan interrupted his pondering and pushed him out the door. "Wanna drive?"

Dan tossed him the keys to a far nicer car that he'd seen after the pulse.

Any cops that saw them would undoubtedly pull them over. But since Dan intended to go 100 mph, the actual car was the least of their problems. And what was a couple of missing cops? People went AWOL daily. It was their world now.

The hunt was on.

He wasn't quite sure what he'd do if he saw someone he knew. If their personality would factor into his decision at all. There was a certain sickness to destroying someone because of something other than their blood - his own survival and enjoyment. It would somehow become murder instead of hunting.

...which wasn't a particularly big deal to him, and so the question persisted.

"You want to see her, don't you?"

Nathan shrugged. Couch time with Dan. This should be interesting.

"You'll forget her eventually."

"Like you have?" Nathan almost smiled as Dan's jaw tightened. He'd suspected for awhile that Dan had a past with a woman. More than one, most likely.

"She got what she wanted."

"Blood sucking?"

Dan smiled, "She died with my brother."

Brother. Nathan was an only child, he didn't even know what that felt like. A stranger had been pretty fucking bad.

"How did it taste?"

"That's what I can't forget."

And the picture raced through Nathan's mind and his body began to hum.

"It gives you power," Dan caught his eye and Nathan knew it was useless to pretend he didn't want it, crave it, even. "The life force of someone you love gives you power years beyond your ability."

Nathan swallowed, "How many years?"

Dan's eyes gleamed, "Hundreds."

"Take a left up here," Nathan instructed calmly. He could feel his teeth beginning to stretch in anticipation. This was supposed to be wrong, but the pounding need overwhelmed him. It was stronger than sex and more consuming than love.

"After you," Dan pulled up to the curb and Nathan tried to breathe.

It was more like he floated to the door than walked. He'd been there a bijillion times, of course. This was their home, the one they'd saved forever to buy. But he hadn't seen it since that day.

"There's someone else."

Nathan crushed the door in.

The couple in front of the fire sprang apart and he was stung by the romantic scene he'd burst in on. Fire, a warm blanket, the perfect setting for a nice, long night of lovemaking. Slow at first, then wild. Like the night he proposed.

"Nathan!" Haley gasped, covering her body with her hands. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Home for dinner, honey, sorry I'm late."

Dan's chuckle rumbled behind him.

"Look," Chris slipped back into his boxers, leaving the blanket for Haley and stood up, "Clearly you've been drinking, why don't we just take this outside."

"Yes...Dan, why don't you take our friend outside and...talk. I need to have a word with my wife."

"Like hell am I leaving her alone with you," Chris sneered, blocking Nathan's view of Haley.

"Go," Nathan growled and the earth shook around them.

"I- I'll be back, Hales," Chris moved through the door.

"This'll only take a minute," Dan closed the door behind them, leaving Nathan alone with the wife that left him.

He wanted to prolong the sweet agony of it. "So...how ya been?"

"Nathan, you can't just come back like this..."

"Why not? It's my house..."

"Then we'll move, fine, but what do you expect, that I wouldn't move on? It's over."

"Oh no," Nathan shook his head and knelt on her blanket. If she moved, it would slip off. "Not yet."

"Nathan, what are you-"

He could sense her fear and was intoxicated by it. They were at the end.

"Remember when I said that I would always protect you, no matter what?" he spat the words that burned through his throat like acid. He saw the child he was, the stupid, naive, fucking, fucking idiot.

"Our wedding," Haley choked.

"When you said you'd be faithful..."

She looked away.

He could feel his teeth growing and he wanted her to see it to, to look into his eyes and realize exactly what would happen to her.

"Don't feel bad, Haley," Nathan smiled, and her eyes flicked back to him, only to widen in horror as he continued, "I lied too."

She reeled back from him, her eyes glued to his teeth and his hands clamped around her arms, keeping her there with him.

"Your boyfriend's dead, okay?"

Haley's eyes filled with tears, "You're hurting me."

"Yes," he dipped his teeth into her skin and she screamed. The taste of her blood flooded his senses. It tasted like her, when they kissed, when they made love. Everything that was her, that he loved was in her blood, sliding down his throat, making him dizzy. Their first time came back to him, the groaning agony of holding back and the piercing pleasure of his final climax after holding out for so long.

It was like that, only longer. Harder. The pleasure that filled him was so deep he couldn't think, just taste and he bit harder.

There was a tiny noise that finally caught his attention, pulling him from the biggest climax of his life as his newly hyped vampire brain put together what he was hearing.


"Congrats, Mr. Scott, I hear your wife is pregnant."


He looked into Haley's eyes, glazed over from the loss of blood.

"Wake up!" he shook her, as though he had nothing to do with making her like this.

Her eyes focused, for a second, and her fingers tightened feebly on his arms. "Please," she croaked, "Pl..." her eyes rolled back and he panicked.

"No, stay with me," Nathan ripped the skin from his wrist and held it to her lips.

"DRINK!" he commanded but she strained away from him, choosing death instead.

"It could be like we promised, Haley," he begged her, wrenching her neck back to face him and meet her eye...and found them still.

The crying persisted over the beat of his heart, pumping Haley's blood around his body.

It was over.

He could hear the neighbors complain about the sound and figured they would be over soon enough to investigate. It didn't even cross Nathan's mind to look for Chris's body, sure Dan had disposed of it with his usual efficiency and climbed into the passenger seat.

"So," Dan turned the key in the ignition, "How are you feeling?"

Nathan rolled his left cuff back over the wrist that had already stopped bleeding and met the old vampire's eye. "Ready," he answered the question and watched the buildings speed by him out the window.

The End. img src"http/visit.webhosting. alt"setstats" border"0" width"1" height"1">