Author's Note :

Disclaimer : None of the Being Human characters or situations belong to me, although I'd be living the dream if they did.

My first attempt at Being Human fanfic, although I have written a little in another fandom (not on fanfiction as yet, though maybe in due course. I'm really taken by the BH characters and premise and they will pester me till I write some stuff, so I may as well give in gracefully now. I hope you enjoy it – I had fun writing it.

What had drawn him back to the bench beside the canal? The one with the plaque on the back: "In Loving Memory of Lauren Drake". Beautiful, free-spirited Lauren, who had lost herself and saved him and in the end had pleaded with him to be set free.

Around him the city went on as it always did. He could hear cars in the background; the occasional wail of a siren; the reassuring pulse of people going about their business. He could be anonymous among them - blend into the background. Work his shifts and smoke his cigarettes. Go home to his friends and pretend to be human. Except for one thing.

He needed to feed again.

He was suffering. Lauren's had been the last blood he had tasted. He had gone too long without human blood and the memories were coming back. When he slept he saw ninety years-worth of faces: men, women, even some children among them. Some terrified, others calmly accepting, yet more taken at the height of their lust - eyes dilated with desire for him.

He remembered everything. Where he had met them and how he had lured them away. What they had been wearing. Whether they had met death in silence or whether they had begged him to spare their lives. The blackest heart of all, Herrick had said. He had killed every one, rejoicing in his power over them.

He groaned, hunching forward and clasping his hands to the back of his head. Now he could see them while awake too. They reproached him with their gaze as they paraded past him, leading him to the threshold of insanity; the edge of another kill. He had tried to stay strong and fight the urge that was building inside him, but he couldn't hold it off much longer.

Annie and George didn't understand. Oh, they tried to, encouraging him when he hit a bad patch; supernatural cheerleaders for the reformed killer. But they didn't - couldn't – truly understand. Not in the depths of themselves. They would never comprehend how good it felt to give in and sink his fangs into flesh. The release of tension as he allowed himself to behave as his nature demanded. The heady joyfulness of that first suck as he allowed the warm richness to flow across his tongue. The intoxication as the person's life force rejuvenated him – made him feel whole, for a time. And then the bleakness and the horror as he realised that he had failed again. Anger at his weakness. Desperation at the eternity of struggle stretching out in front of him.

And then he knew: Lauren would have understood.

"Shit!" He ground the heels of his hands into his eyes, trying to rid himself of his last image of her impaled on the stake in his hands. The stake she had implored him to use, tired already of the life to which he had condemned her. She had only been a vampire a few short weeks. He had been a vampire for ninety long years.

"Are you OK?"

A shadow fell across him. A girl stood there, uncertainly fingering the pony tail that fell across her shoulder and over the strap of her bag. He could almost hear her thoughts. Druggie? Drunk? But her need to know that she was not walking past someone in need was greater than her fear of him.

Why the crap had he ventured out, feeling like this? He should have shut himself away – hoped against hope that he could control the blood lust just one more time. He was a risk to everyone in this frame of mind. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

He glowered up at her, unruly curls falling into his eyes as he dashed a shaking hand across his face. If there was a tear there she wouldn't see it, damn her.

"Go away," his voice was harsh and hoarse with the effort of restraining himself. He breathed heavily, as if from exertion, and every instinct screamed at him to take her. Fresh blood. The scent of her filled his nostrils, his senses heightened by the blood lust that was upon him. He was one step away from feeding frenzy. She was one step away from a brutal and agonising death.

"Is there anything I can do? Do you need help?"

His lips parted and he drew the breath in over his tongue. Now he could taste her as well as smell her and his eyes closed the better to savour it. When they opened again, his pupils had darkened, nearly black now as the temptation threatened to overwhelm him. His breath came raggedly as he fought to control himself, clawing at the wooden seat beneath him – feeling it splinter beneath his fingertips.

A low growl sounded in his throat as the monster in him took over. He closed his eyes, knowing that this time when they opened they would be totally black. Killing black.

Jesus! What the fuck did he think he was doing? He managed one last fragment of restraint. "Run, damn you! Run!" he shouted, black eyes close to her face and fangs glinting mercilessly.

She gasped as she saw his face and for one terrible moment he thought she was too scared to flee. But then she took flight, terror giving her speed as she ran for her life. He clung to the seat, half crazed and sobs being wrenched from his throat, yet desperate not to give himself over to the urges.

Gradually he relaxed, fangs withdrawing and eyes returning to their usual hooded brown. His fingers loosed themselves from the bench and he slammed his fist into its back, knuckles splitting on the metal plaque and distracting him just enough to drag his focus back to reality.

Damn, that hurt! He nursed his hand, tears starting to his eyes and what was left of his humanity reasserting itself over the monster. But he knew the score. This was a reprieve only, not deliverance. Once he had reached this point, only blood would sate him.

Lauren would have understood.