A/N This is my first fanfic.
Serana looked like a corpse under the harsh glare of the afternoon sun. Strictly speaking, she was undead, but she brought a whole new meaning to the term. Her usual fair skin was now a sick, pasty color and she couldn't even find the strength to keep her eyes open. Nonetheless, she protested -more or less mumbled- that she was fine, but Whitland found it hard to believe since she had just nearly fainted.
He searched her for wounds or anything that could be causing her pain, but didn't find so much as a single bruise. And vampires were supposed to be completely resistant to any kind of diseases. His eyes wandered to the tight armor she was wearing, unless whatever was ailing her was in someplace that would betray her modesty.
He managed to have banned such thoughts when Serana let out a low moan. Goosebumps stole across his skin and he was seriously thinking of damning modesty when she spoke, "You won't find anything wrong with me, not from what you see now or anywhere else." Whitland swore he saw her lips momentarily twitch to form a smirk as she read his mind.
He did his best to ignore that statement. "Then what's causing you to be in such a state?" he asked.
Her eyes were half-lidded. "Move me into some shade first." she said weakly.
He complied and searched for a spot that would suit her needs. It didn't take long. While Skyrim wasn't known for its big leafy trees, it had plenty of rocky outcroppings that would provide shade she wanted. Gently gathering her into his arms, he carried her over to the overhang of a huge stone that jutted out of the country hillside. Her body stayed limp in his hold.
The ground under the overhang had been spared from the sun's attentions and was nice and cool to the touch. Out of the direct light and heat, Serana seemed to gain a bit of her old strength back. Her eyes fluttered open and her glowing orange irises latched onto his. Many would be frightened by her eyes, but they were so familiar to him by now that he didn't feel an ounce of fear looking into them. Maybe he should have, but he had grown to know the owner of those eyes and he couldn't summon the emotion. Concern dominated his thoughts.
Serana averted her gaze first. "What's troubling me you can't help with," she said softly and winced as she went through another bout of pain.
"Surely I can do something to help." he insisted.
"It's not that simple, I have to deal with it myself." Another wince and he could tell that it was taking a lot of her energy to speak.
"We can't travel with you like this. You're next to useless in a fight, if there is a way to alleviate your pain I will-" he started but she cut him off.
"I can't do that to you!" she snapped.
Silence entwined the two and wrapped them thickly in its grasp as comprehension dawned on him. He stared at her as he realized what was happening, what she needed, but she looked anywhere except him. But he didn't need to see her expression to read the shame. The silence drew out between them.
"When was the last time you fed?" he asked quietly. She didn't answer and her eyes remained glued on the stone above them.
"When was the last time." he said louder.
Nothing could be heard except his short breaths and the beating of his heart. She still refused to meet his eyes.
"Serana, look at me." he said with a softer tone. Surprised at his change of countenance, her eyes flitted to his. There was another eternity of silence. He waited.
"Since they buried me away in the cavern." she finally answered.
He blinked as he realized she hadn't fed herself for at least a few centuries. Here he was, traveling all over Skyrim with her…having her fight...or even now sitting this close to her...
He backed off and tried to put some distance between the two of them, but Serana quickly sat up and caught his wrist, wincing again as she did so. But she seemed desperate to calm him.
"No! Don't. I like having you near me. You help keep it off my mind."
He snorted. It was more like he was waving a bottle of finely aged wine under an alcoholic's nose, but he did as she asked and stayed put.
"Will you die if you don't feed soon?" he asked. The question threatened to haunt his thoughts.
Serana relaxed once he had settled back down and had clasped her cool hand in his warm grip before replying. "I'm not sure. It's never happened before, but no one has ever gone this long without some sort of sustenance."
Idly, he rubbed his thumb across her knuckles while he mulled over her words. He couldn't with a good conscious bring someone for her to feed on. Although, there were a few people he knew that he wouldn't mind using them to feed a vampire. That annoying court official in Solitude… He shook his head. He couldn't and they were about a week away from any sort of town or city. To him, that left one option.
"Feed on me." he stated.
Serana's eyes widened. "No! I won't let you do that! You could die!" she spluttered in her surprise.
"It's the only way. I can't have you traveling like this." he said with a hint of finality. Whitland released her hand and went digging through his things before pulling out a pair of flasks each filled with a bubbling concoction.
"These should help if anything happens. They're highly potent and should keep my health up." Uncorking the lids, he downed each potion in a go. He grimaced as the gritty texture traveled down his throat and his stomach rolled ominously in response to the taste. Alchemy was definitely not his forte, and he had a feeling mentioning that wouldn't soothe her nerves. He set the vials on the ground.
Serana was going into hysterics. "You can't do this! I could kill you!" she cried out. She didn't know that he might have already done the job himself with drinking those potions. He didn't dare to enlighten her. She started to get up, but he placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder and pushed her back down. She was too weak to throw him off.
"I trust you." he said, and meant it.
With that, he drew his dagger from his belt, and careful to avoid any veins, made a well-sized cut on his forearm. Blood oozed from the wound and started to drip onto the ground, dying the grass crimson. Serana writhed in pain from fighting the temptations and her eyes were bolted shut as she tried to keep some semblance of control.
A little tentatively, he held his arm over her face. Serana stiffened. His blood splattered onto her face and he watched with fascination as she gave in to her desires. It was terrifying. It was beautiful.
Suddenly, she pierced her fangs into the cut and sucked. It was his turn to wince from the decisively unpleasant feeling, but he had dealt with far worse. He didn't know how long they stayed like that, but eventually he felt the edges of his vision darken and a sharp pain form behind his eyes.
He was making up for centuries of blood, a part of him whispered in the treacherous corners of his mind. Even with that nasty reminder, his belief in her was still strong. Bouts of dizziness came and left and the pain behind his eyes building as it all went on. His heartbeat started to pound in his ears like a stricken drum and his head felt like it might burst from the pressure, but on she went and she wasn't slowing down.
Abruptly, the pain disappeared and he was floating. Away from the pain, and the sound of his heart seemed to be dulling. The drumming was losing intensity now, becoming faint and wispy like a dream. He knew he had to anchor himself to the ground or else he'd just float away. But the ground brought so much pain, wouldn't it be easier to let go? Some part of him knew he couldn't, he had to stay for something important, if only he could remember!
He started to fall to the ground, gathering speed, and pain, oh so much pain! He was falling and falling and falling. He could see the ground now, he was going to crash. Crash and die.
That was when his vision went completely black and he fell unconscious.