Rawlins was awoken abruptly sometime around four in the morning by a not-so-courteous Sadie, banging on the passenger side window. He rubbed his eyes wearily and looked over. Sadie jingled the keys in her hand impatiently. He undid his seat belt and opened the door, yawning.
What the hell do you want?" he asked.
"Come on, we don't have long before we have to find somewhere to stay." Sadie said, tugging on his arm. He unwillingly got out of the car, rolling his aching neck. A car never was one of his favorite places to sleep. "We're gonna have to make this fast." Rawlins frowned groggily.
"Where are we going?" She pointed ahead of them. Sadie had parked in the lot of a shabby gas station turned convenience store. Only one other car occupied the parking lot, and that- Rawlins assumed- belonged to the employee inside. He glanced around. On either side of them stretched one endless empty road. "And where are we?"
"Halfway to Arturo's. I had to stop for gas." She held out a hand. Rawlins stared at her blankly. She sighed. "Money. I need money. Dead people usually don't have cash on them." Rawlins reached back into his car, taking his wallet from one of the many cup holders and pulling out a few bills.
"You know, I really wish you'd stop calling yourself 'dead'. It makes me think of zombies." She laughed, swiping the money from his hand.
"Don't worry Rawlins. I won't gnaw on your head." She strode over to the pump and fed the bills in. "Oh, by the way, if you want to eat anytime soon, you might want to go pick something up in there." She nodded towards the convenience store.
"Do you want anything in particular?" Rawlins asked, pocketing his wallet.
"I don't eat. But thanks." Thinking nothing more of it, he started across the lot and into the store. It was dingy and poorly lit, almost seedy looking in its atmosphere. The sole employee there was lounging behind the counter, leafing through a magazine and completely ignoring him. Rawlins felt a twinge of annoyance as he went through the aisles, rifling through the poorly stocked shelves for food. He grabbed some chips and gum, along with a pack of beer. He may have quit his drinking habits months ago, but delving back into this vampire-fighting business made him think he would need at least a few cold ones to get through it. He walked back to the counter and paid for the supplies before heading back to the car. He tossed Sadie the sixpack and she raised a brow.
"Indulging yourself, are we?"
"Keep your snide drunk comments to yourself or I'll handcuff you." He shot back, half-joking. She shook her head softly, smiling and dumping the beer in the backseat before she removed the gas nozzle from the tank. He watched her movements- they were becoming a bit sluggish. She was getting tired. "Here, let me drive. You need sleep too."
"Oh, and do you by any chance know where Arturo lives?" He blanched.
"Well…no. But you look tired. I don't want you to-" She slid into the front seat and slammed the door. Rolling down the window, she called out,
"You're sweet for the offer, but I can take care of myself. I wear big girl panties and everything."
Sadie had found a little motel about fifty miles from Arturo's just as the sun was rising. She pulled in, woke up Rawlins, and told him to rent them a room. By the time she finally got inside and away from the sun, she had a pounding headache that pressed at the back of her eyes mercilessly. Collapsing on the bed, she put her hands over her face and groaned.
"I hate the sun."
"At least you found the motel in time."
"I hate the sun."
"Then again, the truck is about just as good as this room."
"I hate the sun."
"Is that all you're going to say?" She peeked out at him from between her fingers.
"I hate you."
"Thanks." He popped off the cap of a beer and began shutting the heavy drapes to keep out the steadily rising sun. "Can't stand you either." He took a long dreg from the beer. "Just get some sleep. I'll wake you up around six."
"And what will you do until then?" He guestured to the tiny television set on the bureau with a dry smile and a swallow of beer.
"Gotta love cable."
"Hey, Rawlins?" She messed with the hem of her sleeve nervously. "Before I fall asleep, I have to tell you…thanks for coming with me. You're the only person I know who would, and I'm really... glad you did." He smiled.
Sadie woke up screaming. Remnants of the blurry, inconsistent dream flew through her mind. They were filled with bright lights and indescribable pain. Bishop and Eve were there, and so was Arturo. But their faces were just barely distinguishable, fuzzy and covered in blood. They were repeating some horrid sounding word in a whisper that was like screeching wind. She couldn't recall for the life of her what that word was.
She thrashed the sheets from on top of her, feeling suffocated. Cold sweat covered her forehead and neck. Panting, she felt as if there wasn't enough air. Slowly, Sadie stood and looked around. The bed beside her was empty, two beer bottles sitting on the floor next to it. The television was still on though, set to the news. Her partner was nowhere to be seen.
"Ra-Rawlins?" she called. "Rawlins?" Shakily removing her jeans, she moved to the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face. She was pale and jittery. Her stomach groaned and her bones ached. Moaning, she doubled over and clung to the sink. She had the hunger inside… A hunger that she knew all too well. If she didn't get it soon…
She heard a key at the front door as it opened and shut. Rawlins walked in quietly, thinking her to still be sleeping. She hastily wiped off her face with her sleeve and moved to the doorframe.
"Rawlins." He jumped, swearing involuntarily.
"You scared the shit out of me." He breathed. "Why are you up?"
"Bad dream." He studied her, moving closer.
"You look terrible." She squirmed away as he attempted to feel her forehead. "Hey, come on, I just-"
"It's not an illness." She replied angrily. "I-I'm just hungry. Really hungry." He paled.
"When's the last time you've...eaten?"
"Since before I died." She went to the door and gripped the knob. "Look, I'll just slip out and find someone. Stay here. I'll be back soon." Rawlins rushed over, grabbing her hand from the door.
"No, no, no! You are not going out there."
"I'll stay in the shade, okay? Rawlins, please." She tugged her hand desperately. He tugged back, pulling her closer. In her state, she was too weak to fight him.
"I'm a cop, Sadie! I can't let you kill someone."
"You don't even have to see! I'll put the body somewhere and you'll have nothing to do with it."
"No! Sadie, come on, there's got to be another way. What about animal blood?" She shook her head.
"It won't work. Believe me, I've tried. Pig, cow, nothing does it." He ran a hand over his head, looking uneasy. Sadie ducked her head, trying to catch his face. "…Rawlins? Rawlins, what are you thinking?"
He hesitated, looking down. "Wh-What about me?" Her eyes widened.
"No! No, I'm not feeding off of you. I couldn't."
"Well, I'm not letting you go out and kill someone either."
"Rawlins, don't be stupid. You do realize feeding off you would drain you of nearly all your blood, don't you?"
"Then don't drink all of it. Just enough to hold you over." he replied.
"And when I'm hungry again?"
"…We'll figure that out later." He sounded surer then he looked. She finally wrenched out of his grip and walked away, into the room, arms crossed. She paused by the covered window, leg twitching indecisively.
"I…I don't want to hurt you."
"Pain, I can deal with."
"…Okay...Fine. But you better have a knife or something, because I'm not biting a chunk out of you."
He went to the bed and picked up the trenchcoat that he threw off earlier. After searching through a few of the many pockets, he found a small pocket blade that folded into itself. He handed it to her and she begrudgingly took it. Extending the blade, she asked him,
"Where do you want the cut?"
"You decide. I don't know anything about this shit." She nodded.
"The neck. Provides the most blood." Alarmed, he looked over. "Don't worry, I won't cut any major arteries or anything."
"Okay. I trust you." She motioned him to sit down on her bed. He complied. Fingering the blade, she approached him. She could sense his heart beating faster by the moment. Horribly enough, that only increased her appetite.
"Could you…?" She pointed to his shirt. "I can't get to your neck with your collar." Mutely, he unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it on the floor. Underneath he wore a wife beater that to her, in her famished state, seemed to show off his muscled chest and arms quite nicely. Sadie shook herself, concentrating on the task at hand. She pressed the blade to the skin where his shoulder met his neck. Hesitating, she looked at him.
"Are you sure?"
She nodded. The knife bit into his skin, drawing the first few drops of blood. The smell alone was incredible. She pressed down a bit harder, bringing up more blood. He winced, but didn't move. She slid the knife a few inches across his flesh for a wider cut. Blood now ran freely from the wound. She wasted no time in licking her fingers clean before pressing her mouth to the cut and drinking the scarlet life. Her mind reeled as the blood hit her tongue. It was ecstasy. She hadn't tasted anything like it since the first time she fed.
Rawlins grit his teeth. It was painful, but a hidden sensation beat somewhere just under the surface. His head started to feel light as she continued to drink. She kneeled on the bed beside him and pressed closer to his shoulder. Her skin gradually returned to its normal color, and her shaking ceased. He smiled weakly. At least it was working.
Sadie's eyes widened as she remembered how much she was drinking and who she was taking from. He let out a groan of pain and she willed herself to stop. Several seconds passed before her body obeyed her orders. She stumbled back, his blood dripping down her chin. He looked up at her with relief on his face.
"You look better." he panted.
"I'm sorry Rawlins! I didn't mean to take so much- It just tasted so good, and the energy…I-"
"It's fine. I'm fine." His pale face convinced her otherwise though. The cut was still dripping blood, which meant he was losing even more by the second. She hurried to the bathroom and dug through the two drawers under the sink. Fortunately there was an ancient first aid kit rusting away in the corner of the second drawer. She opened it, rooting through it to pull out some gauze and tape. Running back into the room, she found him swaying a bit, eyes closing briefly.
"Don't pass out Rawlins." She ordered, adjusting him so she could reach the cut. "Just let me fix you up real quick." She wrapped gauze around his shoulder and part of his neck, effectively slowing the blood flow.
"You're…good at…this…" he mumbled. She hushed him and he chuckled stupidly. As soon as Sadie taped all the bandaging down, he fell back, unconscious.
"I told you this was a bad idea."
She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, streaking his blood down her arm. The sight of the blood made her nerves stand on edge. She looked away and took a deep breath to calm herself. What she got was enough to hold her for at least a day, if not more. Even so, her inner creature growled in hunger for more. Shaking her head, she sat down next to Rawlins and looked him over. She checked his pulse cautiously, and was relieved to find it normal. Her hand lingered on his throat as she recalled just how much he'd done for her. Her appreciation and respect for this man had grown so much in the few days she'd known him. Now that she'd come to realize it, she'd rather not have anyone else accompany her but him.
Leaning down, she pressed a hesitant kiss to his lips before curling up and falling asleep next to him.
Nothing much to say here except for yay SadieRawlins! Review, please!