Numb3rs - Despair

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real places and organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.

A/N: Written for Clue Challenge #28, October 2011, at hurt_don on LiveJournal. Prompts: Who? – Don. What? – Exsanguination. Where? – Night.

Spoilers(more mention than spoiler): nil. Set early Season One.

Don has a close encounter with death.


"You smell amazing," the woman's strangely accented voice purred in his ear.

He felt the press of her body against his back, the weight of her hand on his shoulder and the puff of her breath in his ear. He'd been alone walking towards his car from the bar just a bare moment ago, now he had a woman draped over his back and he didn't feel alarmed or even startled. For some reason his thoughts were a little muzzy, he knew he should have felt at least concern as he'd not even heard her coming and he'd barely had a drink. He should also be turning to push her away, or perhaps to see what she looked like.

It was a struggle but Special Agent Don Eppes managed to pull himself away enough to turn. She was beautiful, her skin pale and almost luminous in the light of the three-quarter moon. Her hair was the blackest shade of black he could ever remember seeing and her lips the reddest red. Her eyes... he wasn't sure about her eyes, they were dark but seemed almost to be red at the same time. Each time she blinked, the long lashes accentuated against her cheek, they changed. He didn't recognise her and knew that she hadn't been in the bar otherwise he wouldn't have been leaving after only one drink.

"Hello?" Don finally managed and cringed inwardly. What kind of a line was that?

"Hello," she responded, the word drawn out by her husky voice.

Wow, just wow. Don could barely breathe as she took a step to press herself up against him again. He barely managed to form a coherent thought and that was to wonder what he'd done to deserve such a beautiful woman. He'd been back in LA for barely a month and in that time he hadn't found a decent bar let alone met any decent women.

"I -" Don swallowed as she leant forwards, her lips a mere fraction of an inch from his. "Don, my name is Don."

"Mathilde," she purred.

Her lips closed the final distance and pressed against his, tongue seeking entrance. He felt the strongest jolt of arousal he'd felt in a long time as he let her explore, her teeth nibbling his lower lip. Her hands slid down his sides then abruptly stopped as she stiffened. He pushed forwards, trying to continue the kiss as she drew back.

"Mathilde?" He questioned as she took a full step back. He reached for her but she pushed his hands away. "What?"

"You are a protector?" She queried in surprise, some of the huskiness gone from her voice. "You are a, how do they say now? A police officer?"

Don blinked as his thoughts started to clear. He took a deep breath, smelling a perfume like flowers and something else he couldn't identify. He mentally shook himself as her words replayed in his mind. He realised now what had happened, her hands had touched the gun at his waist. "A cop? No, I'm a federal agent. FBI." He explained.

"I can't," Mathilde said, backing away another step.

Don's suddenly raised hopes sank as his luck that had been so suddenly going in his favour was about to run off. It wasn't the first time a would-be lover had reacted that way on finding out what he was. He reached out a hand and took hold of the woman's left shoulder as he tried to stop her leaving.

"Why not? I'm just a man." He cringed again, where the hell was his famous wit that normally got him through such situations? He sounded almost desperate, even to his own ears.

She leant into his hand, her head dipping as she took a breath. "So nice, so strong."

Feeling things going turning back in favour Don turned his hand and gently cupped her cool cheek, "Yes. I can be strong for you."

Nuzzling at his hand Mathilde inhaled deeply, her eyes flashing red again before going dark. Her hands came up and she reached for him only to recoil as her hands once again touched the object on his hip.

She took two long steps back and seemed almost to shake herself. "No. You are a knight, a protector. I can't do this."

"Do what?" Don asked gently. He knew exactly what he wanted to do.

Now he reached for her, stepping in quickly but trying not to startle her in the process. He slid a hand around her waist and pulled her close. "Please, just forget the whole agent thing. I can."

Her eyes flashed again as she inhaled the scent of him. Don found that a touch odd but whatever got her going would only work for him so he leant in, turning his head as she nuzzled at his neck. A touch of something wet and he realised that she had just licked his skin. His skin tingled, a reaction he'd never felt before but only served to ramp up his arousal even further. Thoughts of getting her back to his small apartment became more urgent. He wanted her, he needed her.

The woman in his arms stiffened again before shuddering violently. There was a powerful shove against his chest and he found himself falling back to land on his ass on the alley floor. "What the hell?"

"No!" She exclaimed. She took a step towards him before stopping. "I'm sorry. So hungry, but not you. Not you."

"Mathilde!" Don called, scrambling to get up as the woman suddenly turned and fled.

"Run away!" She said over her shoulder as she quickly moved away.

He could see she was running away but couldn't understand the reason for it. And she was fast, so very fast that she was already turning to run down an adjoining alley. He couldn't let it go; he couldn't let her go, not without trying one last time. Don started to run after her, it was hard, the blood that felt feverishly hot in his body didn't want to feed those muscles but he persevered and got himself up to speed. She may have been fast but he was fit and used to chasing down offenders. She was no offender but more than worthy of his pursuit.

Don flashed around the corner and ran as fast as he'd ever run in his life, he needed to find Mathilde, nothing else mattered. Not the night, not the late hour or the fact that he was probably terrifying her by chasing her down a dark alleyway. He could only think of her, her touch on his neck, the desire burning in his blood.

The alley ended abruptly and he caught up with his quarry just as it looked like she was going to try to jump over the twenty foot brick wall. He barely considered the impossibility of that as he called out to her, "Mathilde, please."

She turned, dropping into a slight crouch as her eyes once again flashed red. This time they stayed red. "No, please, stay away."

Don heard the words but also the lack of sincerity behind them. Dismissing the colour of her eyes as a trick of the light he moved closer, holding up his hands to show he didn't want to hurt her. Hurt her? He would do anything to protect her, he knew that with all of his being right at that moment. "Please, I, I think I-" he trailed off as he again reached out and took her shoulders gently. She leaned into his touch again.

"I don't know what I feel but I want to be with you. Just for tonight if nothing else." He finally managed.

"So hungry," Mathilde whispered. She turned suddenly luminous eyes towards his.

For the briefest moment he felt alarm but she stepped into his embrace, once more moulding her body against his and the alarm quickly changed into something else as the blood drained from his brain and headed south.

"So beautiful," Don responded as she turned her lips to his.

The kiss this time was deep and became more demanding as it went on. Her tongue fought his and in moments he found himself pressed up against the rough brick wall as she pushed herself harder against him. He realised he was never going to make it to his apartment as one of her hands wandered down below his belt. He gasped and his neck arched as she rubbed her hand against him. It broke the kiss but she pushed even harder against him and licked again at his neck.

The tingle this time sent a jolt through him and he moaned as she took another long taste. "Need you," he gasped.

Mathilde stopped licking and pulled away but before he could protest she was back in at his neck. This time he felt a sharp tearing pain that was followed by pleasure so strong his eyes rolled back and he would have fallen if she'd not been pressing him so hard against the wall. The pull of her mouth against his neck was rhythmic and his heart started to slow to match the pulse of her suction. He moaned again and sagged even further as he felt himself slipping away and didn't care.

Suddenly it stopped and Mathilde pulled away, scrambling back across the floor of the narrow alley, hand up and wiping at her mouth. For his part Don found himself cold and extremely tired and sprawled awkwardly on the ground. The chill of the night air against the wetness on his neck caused him to shiver and he wondered at that even as he tried to reach for her.

"Please," he moaned. "Don't stop."

"I'm killing you," Mathilde said. "I swore I would never. I'm a monster, they said it would only be a matter of time and they were right."

Struggling to make sense of what she was saying Don tried once again to raise his arm, to beckon her to him but he suddenly found himself too weak. He blinked and tried to raise his arm again, this time managing to touch the side of his own neck. His fingers came away wet and in the dim light from the moon he saw they were covered in a slick dark fluid. As a coppery smell reached his senses he realised he'd seen this before, on another night at a crime scene, the black fluid was blood. His blood. The chill he felt now drove away the last of his desire.

"What?"

Mathilde was pressed up against the opposite wall and seemed to be fighting a battle with herself. "You know what."

Don refused to acknowledge the word that came to mind. "No. I can help you."

"No one can." Mathilde said, her voice slipping into a whisper.

"Let me -" Don started.

"No!" Mathilde cried. "Don't you understand? I get close to you again and this time I won't stop. I won't be able to, I'm still so hungry."

"You did stop." Don pointed out.

Mathilde stared across at him, her eyes even brighter red than before. "I want you. I want all of you. So strong, so hungry."

As she started forward Don now felt alarm and saw a predator moving slowly towards him, not a lover. He tried to move but he was already pressed back against the wall and there was nowhere he could go.

"You did stop," Don repeated desperately. "Stop."

Mathilde made a noise like a low growl deep in her throat as she crawled slowly over his feet, eyes fixed and intent on his. She shook herself again and halted, trembling as her eyes switched yet again. Her voice came out as a plea, the despair strong in her voice. "Stop me."

Remembering himself Don got his hand to move and got his gun clear from his holster. It weighed a ton but he got it up, held shakily at arm's length mere inches from the creature's face.

"Not that," Mathilde breathed. Her eyes flashed and darkened several times as she trembled, fighting against the hunger that was demanding she finish this, that she take her fill and live again for a little while.

Years of horror movies gave Don his answer even as he refused to think about what was happening. His fear spiked as she started to move again, her eyes shifting back to red. Feeling a hot surge of adrenalin enter his blood he dropped the gun knowing it would not do him any good. He flung his hands out to his sides, feeling desperately across what little area he could reach for something he could use.

Mathilde closed in, halting again for a brief moment as she took another deep breath purring in her throat as she smelled his fear now. "So nice."

Don couldn't help the shiver at the longing and satisfaction in her voice. She would not stop this time, he knew it, and there was nothing he could...

It had been done before he'd even realised it. His right hand had found a pile of splintered wood, what would later be identified as an old wooden crate that broken apart when he'd fallen on it without realising whilst she'd fed on him. A piece of the wood was now protruding obscenely from the left side of her chest. His hand, still wrapped around the splinter, jerked as he shoved it deeper.

Her head lifted, flying back as she screamed suddenly into the night. Long and piercing it spurred him on, driving the splinter in even deeper with the last of his strength. Suddenly she stopped, head lolling down before lifting slightly.

"Thank-you," Mathilde's voice was weak and thready now, her eyes no longer red or even as black as they'd been. "Sir Knight."

The woman fell against him and he felt her strength leave her as she went limp. He tried to push her off but failed, he was too weak having lost too much blood. He mustered all of his willpower and tried again...

-100-1111-1110-

"Don?" A woman's voice called desperately, filled with worry. "Don, please, open your eyes for me."

He blinked and tears formed at the bright sunlight that shone down from a clear sky. A shadow crossed him and he got his eyes open again, blinking away the tears and trying to focus. "Terry?"

"Yes, Don," his partner confirmed in relief. She shifted and glanced to one side. "They're here, finally. Down here, hurry!"

Don tried to turn to see who she was yelling at but Terry held him still. "EMTs, Don. You've lost a lot of blood."

"Vampire." He managed.

"Yeah, looks like the Vampire Killer's work." Terry named the serial killer they'd been hunting these past two weeks. Bodies had been turning up across LA, drained of blood and all suffering ugly wounds at the side of the neck that the ME had sworn looked like bites.

"No," he tried again. "Real vampire. She didn't want to kill me."

"What's he saying?" A strange male voice interrupted.

"He's delirious," Terry answered. "He's been attacked and has lost a lot of blood."

"Alright, let us work."

"You're going to be alright now, Don." Terry soothed. "Just relax. Once you're patched up we'll get him."

As the EMT started fussing over him Don remembered what had happened more clearly. "No. Already got her."

Terry suddenly moved back into his field of view. "What?"

"Got her. Stabbed her."

"Her?" Terry repeated. She shifted, leaning aside for a moment before holding something up so he could see. "This? You stabbed her with this?"

He recognised the long splinter of wood, stained dark red at one end and covered with a fine grey powder. Ash, he realised a moment later, covered in ash. Just as he was also covered he now realised. "Yes. Dead."

"There's no body, Don." Terry insisted. "She got away. But we'll get her, as soon as you're better, okay?"

Don let the EMT ease him back. He didn't believe it and he had lived it, had barely survived it. He wasn't going to convince Terry any time soon.

"Okay."

END


A/N: Okay, so I have no idea where this came from. But the muse wanted it written, in one sitting, so here it is. Posted before I could change my mind.