Oskar played with a chip of paint on the wall, poking it with his fingernail. He got a satisfying little tear as he pried it back from the wall. If he wanted, he could use his knife and do a quick job of it, but he didn't want to damage the paint too much. They weren't going to stay here very long, so he knew he couldn't make any noticeable changes to the apartment.

It wasn't a bad place, all things considered. The atmosphere was a bit dry, but the point was to have a place to rest more than a place to live. A part of him wanted to carve the alien architecture to make it his, but he couldn't. So that was that.

The soft sound of floorboards creaking behind him was all that alerted him to Eli's entry. He supposed she probably did it on purpose so he knew she came back. Withdrawing from his minor paint vandalism, he turned around to greet her and smiled hesitantly.

Eli smiled warmly at him. Her eyes were filled with love. Her mouth… was smeared with blood.

Oskar swallowed. He tolerated her nighttime dining activities because he knew she needed to do it to survive, but it was one thing to know she went out to kill people and quite another to be confronted with the physical evidence. He opened his mouth to say something about it but couldn't find the words. He settled for waving his hand around his mouth and mumbling, "You… You got something…"

Eli blinked. "Oh."

Her tongue slipped out from between her lips and ran along the sides of her mouth, licking up some of the blood that had collected. She missed a lot of the mess, mostly the blood that gathered on her chin and farther out on her cheeks. Oskar found the sight disturbing and yet interesting to watch because it was his Eli doing it.

He held up a hand. "No… Wait a moment."

He felt her eyes on him as he stepped over to the little kitchen. He got a cloth napkin and ran it under cold water. Approaching Eli, he held up the damp napkin. "Here… let me."

She straightened, which he took as acceptance. He extended the napkin toward her face, toward her mouth. It occurred to him that it might not be the smartest move to touch her mouth like this, but he was already committed to the action and didn't want to stop for fear of offending her.

He gently touched the napkin to the side of her mouth and immediately became aware of how tight she was clamping her jaws shut. It was an unsettling reminder of her predatory instincts; though, he was grateful she resisted them as strongly as she did. He wiped away a bit of the blood, leaving a red streak on the cloth. "There we go…"

He wiped the right side of her face first. As he pressed against her skin, he could feel the outlines of her clenched teeth inside her mouth. God, what those teeth could do to him… He glanced up at her eyes.

She watched his hand alertly as he wiped just to the edge of her lips. He could faintly hear her tongue moving around in her mouth. She swallowed.

He decided to hurry up, moving to the other side of her mouth. He wiped up the blood until he got to her lips and then moved to get her chin. As he wiped that up, she swallowed again.

His brain decided to copy her example, and he swallowed as well. He suspected that Eli was swallowing for a different reason, though. He was a bit nervous from getting so close to a predator, and she… was not with a predator.

He thought about what it must feel like from her perspective, imagining someone rubbing a sausage around his mouth and him forbidden to take a bite. This must have seemed like horrible teasing to her. He dropped his hand and took a step back. "Sorry."

Eli licked her lips thoroughly, getting the last of the blood. "No. Thank you, Oskar."

He smiled. "Didn't your mother ever teach you any table manners?"

She glanced away, perhaps reminded of her mother who must have died long ago. Oskar was painfully reminded of his own mother, who he had to abandon to leave with Eli. Blinking back tears, he went back into the kitchen area to clean the blood-soaked napkin.

He turned on the water, stuck the napkin under the faucet, and rubbed at it vigorously. It hurt, having to leave his family behind. But he wanted to be with Eli more and that meant constantly being on the move. He supposed that was what it was like to be a vampire: forever distanced from one's family. If he was going to live with Eli, he was going to live like her too.

Cool arms wrapped around his waist as she hugged him from behind. Her head rested down on his shoulder, and he felt her soft breath against his neck as she sighed in content.

Oskar smiled. The tense moment had passed, and she now made him feel protected and loved. He opened his mouth to apologize for thoughtlessly talking about her mother but stopped. No point in stirring things up again. Instead, he just relaxed into the hug.


Author's Note: I just saw LTROI for the first time last night, and I love it! I love it! But, seriously, wipe your mouth, kid.