This is a disclaimer.

AN: Posting spree! Because I'm never around here anymore, and the fic just builds up. Challenge prompts for this one were "hunger/ smell/ wait".

Night is through

It's the smell that wakes her. The scent, heavy, dark and tangy, touch of iron, touch of spice, that curls in her gut and up through her body, spreading into every limb, the tips of her fingers, the soles of her feet. It fuels her and frees her, fresh and exciting, teasing and tantalizing.

She quivers with the hunger. It's a different one to those of mortals, less hollow. More like sex: needy and desperate, it makes her whole body ache in ways she never ceases to relish, every time, no matter how often it comes over her, and her body shifts, weight moving from one foot to the other in expectation of that one little step, that tiny little step in the right direction.

Ah, to take that step. To give in to it. To drink and drink till she can drink no more, to lap up every last drop until there is no more left, a body falling lifeless to the ground at her feet. What matter? The hunger is gone.

The hunger will drive her on. The hunger always drives her on.

Lenore trembles, presses against the tree-trunk. The bark rubs harshly on her skin, and the night wind is bitter cold. Strange that she should feel that, dead as she is.

Eli's hands are big and solid, and for a moment, she lets herself believe that they are warm, too, as they wrap around her upper arms.

"Wait," he says. "It will pass. Wait."

Lenore leans back against him, lets him steady her, be her anchor, as the couple pass their hiding place, hurrying through the woods on their way home. Waits as the scent of blood recedes into the darkness, and the hunger crawls away, defeated.