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I'm not delicate , Lucy insists as she breathes in the savory scent of blood, so close but yet so far, buried underneath skin that will soon melt under her teeth like butter. She drinks long past her fill for frenzied days and later more cautious weeks, once near discovery paralyzes her and further fear of such a fate floods her veins like ice, before she learns that less is more for the need to maintain her senses, until she discovers that she need not kill her prey and is designed to stalk them, taunt them, play with them a little, to search endlessly for a sweeter and more satisfying drink, one that will last far longer than weak, watered down blood.

It is harder still to control her moods, the rage she feels when they fight her, the self-gratification when they give themselves to her so completely as if under some enchantment, their desperate fighting instinct abandoning them to terror and disbelief. Her emotions are on all levels of the spectrum, varying in intensity, ones she can scarce make sense of before she is catapulted into another equally as disorienting.

They are frustrating and make her want to detach from the world, which she senses is equally as dangerous as a lack of focus and caution. She pushes against a languid mind and an overpowering desire for blood above all other needs, spends hours and even darkened days bleeding beautifully, inevitably into nights plotting her feedings and her kills, strenuously experiments on herself whenever she can stomach it: to see how long she can last without blood, how quickly she can break bones, how much strength she must put into snapping a neck, how many heartbeats she must breathe in before life slips into unconsciousness and then death.

And then she fantasizes about Mina and Alexander: Alexander’s tongue lapping up nearly dried blood on her lips, Alexander teaching her about their kind, Alexander showing her the world and how to navigate it. And Mina, dearest Mina. She wants Mina to know what she is now, needs Mina to know that she has memorized the sound of her heartbeat, strong and determined and not fluttering like a caged bird as those of her female prey, that she can recall the sweet scent of her skin, the soft touch of her hair whenever she wills herself to. These are dangerous memories, deadly pleasures to lose herself in, but in a world she has been abandoned in, sometimes they are Lucy’s only comfort.

More than just Mina or just Alexander she dreams of the both of them taking her in, carving out room in their bed and in their hearts.

Will she never live down her mistakes, never escape her punishments?

Each time she feeds, she can feel the power of her jaw, the strength of her fingers, and she knows she is no longer that silly, delicate girl that once clung to Mina and clung to love as a blind fool. Every time she kills by accident or with intent, she reminds herself that she need no longer be delicate again, that fragility is bound to humanity, that the once weaknesses of her gender need no longer hold her back.

She still need look the part: fragile, innocent, sweet, but it is only appearance and no longer truth.

I’m not delicate , Lucy condemns in fury so easy to sink into as she snaps the struggling man’s neck and drinks until she loses herself, messily careless as the dark liquid stains her collar, splattering onto the lacy cuffs at her wrists.

It doesn’t matter, everything looks better in red now.

And earlier... I'm not delicate , she sobs inwardly as Mina holds Lucy’s heart in her slender hand and squeezes it so tightly, figuratively of course but no less painfully.

And later, so much later... Lucy murmurs, out loud this time but still to herself, once Mina knows what she is, knows Lucy's punishment for her betrayal, yet shies away from Alexander just as well as Lucy, terrified of what she doesn't feel, cannot possibly imagine. Lucy almost laughs.

“You're a monster,” her oldest and once closest friend accuses.

“Yes,” Lucy smirks, always amazed she can hear Mina's thunderous heartbeat from across the room, though proud of herself that it no longer affects her, that she no longer cares what Mina thinks of her or feels for her. She doesn't need Mina anymore. She is no longer weak nor easily overtaken by love. She is gaining strength and learning and depending on only herself more and more each day. Alexander has uncaged me. “But at least I'm not delicate.”

FIN