Changing

There were a lot of changes in life. Sometimes, these changes were choice. Sometimes, these changes were choice. Sometimes, they were brought about by outside forces. Sometimes, though, two people choose to change themselves for eachother, and in so changing, become different.

Oskar found himself in an apartment he'd never been in before. But his parents weren't there. Neither one of them. Let alone both together. His family was more or less dead to him. Technically, he was a missing child, but the missing person reports said 'presumed dead.' His friends…well, he didn't have any of those.

He had a girlfriend though. Well. Sort of. The 'girl' part of girlfriend wasn't really true. It wasn't fair to say it was a boyfriend, either. But lover? That was true. She, for sake of simplicity, since she usually wore female clothes, had found her way into his heart and set up shop. 'She' was Eli. She was more then a girl, though. Two kids couldn't survive in the world, not really. But a kid and a vampire? That could work. It did work.

It wasn't normal, really, for him to be up at night, and asleep during the day. But he wanted to be awake when she was, and asleep when she was. Besides, he'd heard of normal people who kept such hours, mostly because they worked grave shift at stores open 24 hours a day. But he also knew it was his duty to protect Eli when she was sleeping. And to do things during the day that had to be done because she couldn't. Often enough, though, Eli would awake to find him snuggled up next to her in the bathtub.

"I keep telling you not to do that! I could hurt you when I wake up!"

"It hasn't happened yet."

"That's because I feed more to make sure I don't get too hungry. If you weren't doing that, I could go longer without blood."

Oskar looked shocked, then. He hadn't realized that was making her kill more people. He impulsively embraced her and drew her in then.

"Forgive me. I didn't know."

Part of him didn't care. He wanted to stay close to her no matter what.

"You want to be near me that much?"

"Yes. But I don't want other people to die just so we can be close."

"Then...I guess you can't stay in the tub as much anymore. But I'll think of a way to give you what you want."

Before Oskar could do any more replies, she gave him a kiss. The kisses, orginally quick, were starting to get longer and more sensual every time they had one. Oskar found himself losing himself in that kiss. Eli, meanwhile, had decided it was probably safe for him to stay with her like that the day after she'd fed, but not other days.

"I don't want to let you go anymore."

"I know, but there's stuff only you can do. And stuff only I can do."

Most of the chores were split, though Eli could and did abuse her powers to make her half of chores go a little faster. But Oskar had to do things the normal way, like normal people. Sometimes she'd stay and help. Other times she left to do what had to be done concerning food. At least this was a big city. And she preyed on the criminal element, so the cops payed oddly little attention to the deaths. They really didn't want to get involved in gang wars.

She made money, too. Unfortunately, Oskar usually proved right about how she got it. She killed people and took their stuff, and that was that. With him around, she didn't want to use certain alternate methods of attracting caretakers she used to use. Hakan was a pedophile, after all, and he was hardly alone in his tastes. There were ways to get blood that didn't dirty her hands. But with her heart no longer her own, she found herself unwilling to do that.

They continued for a few months, during which the papers spoke about the gang wars and murders getting bloodier recently, and more frequent, but mostly dismissed as bad things happening to bad people who deserved it.

But then Oskar turned 13. And she gave him a wonderful birthday party. And he had more presents then he ever had at home. And he had a cake...to himself, because Eli couldn't share it. And gifts. Clothes. Nice clothes, the kind wealthier kids would wear. The leather jacket was particularly useful when it was cold. And she gave him games, too. Some puzzles...even a chessboard. He quickly found out 220 years experience on a chessboard made her very, very good at it. She wanted him to excercise his mind. She enrolled him in martial arts. She wanted to be sure nobody would ever pick on him again.

"Do you like everything?" She asked, with a smile.

"Yeah..." Oskar looked a little pensive, though, as if this reminded him of something.

"Something else is on your mind." Curious, now.

"There's one more thing I want." He looked her straight in those eyes that seemed to go on forever.

"What's...oh. I see." She could sense what, or rather who, he wanted.

"I'm getting older. If this keeps happening, I'll change. I'll be different. I don't want to be different from you."

"If you're the same, you won't see any more sunrises. You won't get to eat candy anymore. And you'll have to kill people." Eli had offered him this once, but he'd rejected it, saying he wanted to be with her, but not like her. "Why did you change your mind about it?"

"My birthday. All the presents are nice, but I really want to be with you forever. And...it won't be forever, unless you become like me, or I become like you." He kind of looked down.

"I can't be like you." Eli said, quietly.

"I know." Which left the other option. "But I can be like you."

"I'll have to bite you. You'll wake up in about an hour or so." She knew what was necessary. It was just...biting him, then NOT snapping his neck. That's all it took for the infection to spread from her to him. It happened that way to Virgina. It would be the same for him.

Oskar's mind was made up. "Drink me."

Eli stepped close to him, like she was going to kiss him. She gave his mortal self one last kiss. And said, "You'll never know what it means to me that you'll give up everything for me like this." And then she lowered her mouth to his throat, willed her fangs out... "Are you sure?"

"Yes. Make me yours forever." He could feel the pinpricks on his throat when she dug in. He could feel his life flowing out. He knew who was taking it though, and felt his body react, not with pain, but ecstasy. And then things got dark. Like he fell asleep.

When he woke up, his eyes felt all funny. The whole world seemed wierd. He could see things he shouldn't be able to see. Hear things he shouldn't be able to hear. And the scents...he picked out the only one that mattered from the bunch. Eli's scent. She was nuzzled up to him, in his arms. He couldn't tell if she was happy or sad. Or maybe some wierd combination of both. He didn't feel weak anymore. He felts strong. But he also felt...suddenly sick to his stomach.

He ran to the bathroom, as his changed self got rid of, through every means possible, all mortal food in his system. It was horrible, painful, and not fun at all. Eli stood to the side, watching it all happen. It happened to her too, after all. If she'd known he would ask this, she'd never have gotten the cake. Considering the cake's all in the toilet now anyway.

"You're going to be hungry."

"Starved." Eli only smiled.

"Come with me. I'll show you how to hunt. You'll need blood in your system before you can hunt on your own."

Oskar looked a little nervous, but this is what it meant to be with her forever. To know what it's like to kill to survive. It would taint him. But to embrace her was to embrace her taint, and it was necessary. He followed her to the bad part of town.

She waited for somebody to walk by. She was lucky this time. A man walked by who already had blood on his hands, and it wasn't his own. That might make Oskar feel better about this. She leaped on him, immoblized him, and said, "Do it."

Oskar, propelled by the thing inside him to feed, needed no second invitation. He leapt forward, and bit, and drank. In his hunger, he forgot he had a girlfriend who needed to eat too, and could not restrain himself from draining it all. When he was done, his instincts warned him when to stop, for the blood would no longer be from a living person.

When he looked up with his bloody mouth, he said, "Sorry..." Then his better nature reasserted itself, and he realized he just killed a man. "I'm a murderer...Oh my God..." He started to cry. "I can't believe I killed someone..."

Eli remembered how she felt. It was...just like that. And there was no way out. She cried too. But she snapped the victim's neck first, to make sure he would not rise again.

"Does it ever get better?"

"I've been at this 200 years. No. But you have an advantage I didn't have. You have someone who loves you to help you through it." She pulled him into her embrace.

He'd known it would be hard. He hadn't realized how hard. There, in Eli's embrace, in the embrace of the person who inspired him to ask for this life, he realized why he'd made the choice he had. And that...it was really the only way. Growing up would've torn them apart, or made their feelings a mockery. And that couldn't be.

"Eli...I took too much. You should have some."

"But it's in you now." Eli wasn't going to hurt him.

"Yeah. I want to see what happens if you take from me...or I take from you. Or even both." He bared his throat to her.

Even Eli didn't know what might happen if she took from someone like her. Let alone what would happen if he took from her. And that mutual taking was entirely outside of her experience. Well, why not? The worst that would happen is that they'd both cough it up, as if they'd taken from someone who was dead. The best? She couldn't guess.

Wanting to find out, she bit him. This time without hesitation, because she knew he was stronger and would survive it. But as she drank, she found herself entering his thoughts. She felt something sting her own neck, and realized he'd completed the circle by biting her. Lost in his thoughts, in his love, she found herself not entirely herself. Oskar, to whom this was all new, wondered if this might be normal, to be wandering around in Eli's thoughts like this. What his body was doing wasn't relevant. What hers was doing wasn't relevant either. He could feel her feelings, see her thoughts, and know that he was scrutinized the same way.

Everything he saw in her head made him love her more. Her was an interesting thing to think, considering the bond. Apparently Eli really did think of herself as a girl after all those years.

Eli felt him appreciate that fact, her female identity, and knew it was the right choice to make.

Oskar could see, through their bond, what Elias was like, though. What the boy who lived 200 years ago was like before he was mutilated. Not so different from himself, only the 'bully' in that case was an immortal fiend. He also saw what she'd had to do to survive. Her line of 'caretakers'...and what they really wanted from her. Pedophiles, most of them. Scum who wanted to ravage her young body. Scum who'd kill people for the chance to do exactly that. His heart broke inside.

Eli could see through him his relatively short life. What the classmates had done to him. From the squeal like a pig nonsense, to throwing his pants in the urinal, to wrestling him to the ground and slapping him...oh, that's why he did that to her...to whipping him with a tree branch cause he wouldn't give up the morse code he'd written out for HER. She found her conscience no longer bothered her about ripping them to shreds with her vampiric power.

Oskar could see their own relationship blooming through Eli's eyes. How she'd allowed Hakan to meet his fate for being a little too careless. How she'd decided to put her trust in him. How she'd trusted him by letting him see her weaknesses. He could see others. The things that would kill a vampire. Kill her. Kill him. He knew, now, she could've bled out and died if he hadn't stopped it. That she'd put her life in his hands at that moment, and trusted him to save her.

Eli could see how it bloomed in his eyes. How she'd been the first person that really cared for him outside of his parents, and his parents weren't all that caring. How he'd given her everything he could think of. From Rubik's cube, to candy, to his own blood before he knew what she was. He let her share his bed, asked her to be his girlfriend, and didn't CARE when she warned him she wasn't really a girl. She felt what went through his mind when she got slapped...and that the look in her eyes broke his heart, and allowed him to accept her fully. How scared he'd been when she bled in front of him due to a lack of invitation. How he'd tried to stab the man who tried to kill her in his sleep, couldn't, but his shout awakened her anyway. How filled with passion he'd been in her kiss, even if it was bloody. And how grateful to be alive, when she pulled him from the water in the pool.

Oskar saw himself through her eyes. Strong, capable, tough, someone worthy of being loved, her prince.

Eli saw herself through his eyes. Strong, beautiful, someone worthy of being loved, his goddess.

When they woke, they found themselves lying in the snow. Judging by the position of the moon in the sky, several hours had elapsed. They both felt slightly hungry, but neither was ravenous, as if the blood supply between them had evened out.

"No more doing that outside." Eli didn't survive this long by being careless.

"Then I guess we'll spend a lot of time inside. I never felt so loved before."

"I haven't either." Oskar didn't lose track of her age when she said it, either.

"You're amazing." They both said it at the same time.

"We should get home. They're going to find this guy sooner or later." Eli gestured at the body.

"Shouldn't we get rid of that?"

"Yes, but the sun will be up too soon for that. We'll have to leave it for now. Let's go home."

Flying on love's wings...or perhaps their own undead power, they returned to their apartment. And nestled up in the tub. And slept the day away. And they'd never be the same again. They knew how to express themselves...all of themselves, and all the world's cares, too much for one, could be borne by two.