It was already after midnight when Anne reluctantly lifted the covers to sneak out of bed. She stood, stretching her muscles as her gaze fell back on Ann, a smile growing on her face.
What a wonderful evening it had been; first dinner with her family that had gone far better than she’d dared to hope, followed by hours of lovemaking before they’d been exhausted after several orgasms between the two of them and had snuggled close. It hadn’t taken Ann long to fall asleep in her arms, and Anne had stuck around a little before leaving her comforting warmth.
She wished she could stay, but she hadn’t fed in a few days and sensed the first signs of hunger coming on. This was best sorted tonight. That, and she’d promised Tib to call her and give her all the details about her reunion with her family. Putting on her clothes, she pressed a gentle kiss to Ann’s forehead and left, deciding for a relaxed late-night walk to her flat first. She didn’t usually do that, but tonight with her good mood she felt like it.
As she walked down the deserted streets, it was hard for Anne to contain the content smile that almost felt foreign to her after years of misery. It was still quite unbelievable to her, but for the first time in a long while, she felt truly happy with her family having accepted her back and a loving girlfriend who’d helped her made it happen. The only thing she wished for was for a way to be human again, but she’d never heard of anyone successfully achieving this feat. There were a few myths around about it, sure, but Anne doubted there was any more substance to them than the naïve childish belief in Santa Claus.
She breathed in the fresh cold night time air, lost in her thoughts. Perhaps that was why she didn’t think anything of it as she absent-mindedly heard a car stop nearby and a door close.
Anne froze in place, her body tensing – someone calling her name in the midst of a deserted street at night time seemed like the very definition of trouble. Not only that, but her jaw set tight as she recognised that haughty voice. She slowly turned, prepared for anything.
There he stood a respectable distance away, in his long black coat with the insignia of a high-ranking vampire hunter. The man who’d been harassing Ann for years. Of course he wasn’t alone, two of his men at his sides with assault rifles at the ready. Anne took in his face, noticing the dark rings under his eyes and the unkempt stubble that pointed out his lack of sleep and generally rough state even as he was arrogantly looking down at her – or trying to, as she was taller.
She knew there was no point trying to hide her identity, he knew it all. Anne glanced around for possible ways to flee, knowing her chances against three of them were pretty slim. Still, maybe buying herself some time was beneficial.
“What can I do for you, Mister…?”
“Ainsworth. Thomas Ainsworth. We have spoken on the phone.”
Of course they had. Anne remembered well, trying to suppress the smirk that wanted to show itself at the memory.
“You can imagine the shock when I found out what you are.”
There was an alley nearby with a corner turning into another side street. Perhaps Anne could use her speed to quickly retreat far enough to have a chance to turn into bat shape and fly away, she thought as she tried to be subtle looking around for options.
“You wouldn’t be the first.”
“Every sane person should react with absolute disgust, Miss Lister,” he snarled. “So knowing Ann, I have to wonder what you did to manipulate her into trusting you, letting you near her even.”
The way he was spitting out his words spoke a clear language. He despised her kind – of course, as a vampire hunter it was his job to hunt her down and kill her. Not only that, but the venom in each word as he mentioned Ann told her all about the jealousy he was harbouring. The vampire hunter car she’d spotted, it all made sense to her now as she realised he’d been stalking them like the hurt rejected man that he was.
“You might find it hard to believe, but I have done no such thing, Mr Ainsworth. Ann is with me because she freely decided to.”
“Impossible! Your filthy lies might work on her, but I have worked with your kind enough to know better.” His eyes were filled with hate as he eyed her, “And how could it be consensual if she must live in fear of you killing her at any time if she doesn’t obey?”
Anne was used to this, this treatment she expected from most people. It had stopped bothering her mostly a long time ago, and really, she wasn’t proud of what she was either. But one thing made her see red regardless: This egocentric prick claiming their relationship was built on Anne using her strength to oppress Ann and make her be with her out of fear alone instead of genuine affection and her free choice. She pressed her lips together tightly, narrowing her eyes as her patience was starting to run thin with this man.
“What would you know about that? Why don’t you ask Ann yourself who made the first move, Ainsworth?”
“Enough!” he shouted before looking to his side to his men.
As much as she wanted to teach this prick a lesson, Anne knew she was outnumbered and the moment to flee had come, adrenaline fuelling her as she used her speed to run down most of the alley in a second, as far as she could go. Unfortunately she could only ever use this power for relatively short distances before it would exhaust her too much, and it wasn’t quite enough to round the corner into the side street she’d spotted.
Panting audibly, she turned and looked behind herself to spot the vampire hunters at the end of the alley she’d come from, shooting in her direction. Anne groaned in pain as a single bulled entered through her lower belly just before she could round the corner, gasping as she fell against the wall and opened her coat, clutching her wound.
Normal bullets were no reason for concern, the vampire body could handle those. But the vampire hunters used silver bullets that she knew would spread the toxic metal in her body and kill her if not taken care of. A sharp pain pulsated where blood was staining her formerly white dress shirt red.
Hissing, she forced herself away from the wall as she heard their steps coming closer. She had no time. It took all her concentration to turn into a bat and fly up to the rooftops before Ainsworth’s men could spot her.
She flew the familiar way back to Ann’s unsteadily, her sight blurring before her as she tried to keep herself together.
Ann was roused from her peaceful sleep by a sudden loud bang against her bedroom window. She sat up, not surprised to find the bed empty next to her and Anne out and about. The noise concerned her, so she climbed out of bed, quickly grabbing a shirt and flinging it over her head and putting on a pair of panties before going to check if everything was in order.
Her eyes widened as she spotted a bat lying on the windowsill looking hurt, a stain on the window indicating it had flown against it. Her heart skipped a beat as a terrible suspicion came to mind even as she tried to deny it. Quickly opening the window, she carefully cradled the bat in her hands and looked down.
It looked up at her, and Ann nearly gasped in that moment as she felt it in her heart: it was Anne. And she was hurt.
She hastily closed the window and brought her over to place her on her side of the bed. She didn’t know a great deal about bats, but she hoped she could understand what she was saying in her current form.
“Anne…? Can you- can you turn back?” Her voice was shaky as worry threatened to overwhelm her, a lump forming in her throat as all kinds of possible scenarios shot through her head, one worse than the other. She prayed Anne could understand her because she could only properly help her in her human form – Ann knew nothing about bats.
It took her a moment, but then the bat shapeshifted back into the woman she cared so deeply for, filling out her space on the bed as she reached down and clutched the bloody wound at her belly.
She was pale as she looked up at Ann with half-lidded eyes. “Can you…” she coughed, wincing as she clutched the wound, “remove a bullet? It’s- it’s silver.”
It was in that moment that Ann saw her phone light up in the distance. She always had it muted over night but could easily see she was being called. Anne looked over as well, gasping as she tried to sit up a little and was immediately punished with a wave of pain.
“That- that must be this disgusting prick.”
Ann’s eyes widened as understanding set in, followed by anger as she looked at her wounded girlfriend and back to the phone. Before she could help herself, she’d hurried over and picked up.
“Ann. Is she with you?”
He sounded rushed, on edge as she heard a car in the background. Looking over at Anne, she realised that as angry as she was for what he’d done, she couldn’t allow giving away that she knew what happened and Anne was with her. She’d be helpless against them. But that didn’t mean she would hide the edge in her voice, the fury building in her lower belly at this man she had tolerated for far too long in her life. Some people said Ann was too nice and gave people too many chances – perhaps, she thought, perhaps they were right.
“What are you even talking about? It’s 1am and you’ve just woken me up.”
He cleared his throat awkwardly, clearly caught off guard by the sharp sound of her voice. “I- uh-“
“Just leave me alone. I want to sleep, Thomas. You should do the same.”
With that, she hung up, throwing her phone aside before rushing back over to Anne, all anger forgotten as her brow creased with worry as she reached for her hand and squeezed it reassuringly.
“I’ll get my first aid kit and we’ll fix this, okay?”
Anne only nodded, cold sweat running down her temple as she watched Ann hastily leave the room. She didn’t know how long it would take for the silver to spread enough so it would overwhelm her system and kill her, but she also didn’t want to scare Ann by urging her to hurry.
It felt like hours before Ann returned, setting down a chair next to the bed and placing the first aid kit on the end of the bed. Removing bullets wasn’t something she’d done very often in the past but she tried to put any insecurities aside as she reminded herself that it wasn’t much different from removing anything else and that this was Anne and she needed to help her.
Anne was still in her coat and dress shirt, so Ann gently tugged at the coat while looking up at her. “Let’s take off this coat and shirt, okay?”
With her help, Anne sat up as best as she could and they removed the coat. Then, Ann carefully opened her dress shirt for her before looking up at Anne who was watching her with a pained expression. Together, they removed the shirt as well.
Then Ann opened the first aid box. It wasn’t at the same level as her usual equipment at the hospital, but it would have to do.
“This will sting a bit,” she said as she put on her gloves and reached for the disinfectant spray. “Ready?”
Anne could only nod, mentally preparing herself. Ann carefully sprayed the wound, wiping it with a sterile pad even as her girlfriend’s pained hiss went straight to her heart. It wouldn’t get better from here on as far as pain was regarded, she knew.
She didn’t have any anaesthetics for her to numb the pain, so a more rustic method would have to do to help her bear the pain of what was to come. Only Anne didn’t just have regular teeth, so Ann wondered what she could give her to bite into that her fangs wouldn’t tear through.
Looking around, she couldn’t find anything let alone come up with an item she had around that would work.
Her gaze fell back on Anne, and then it came to her in a heartbeat. Knowing Anne wasn’t wearing a belt tonight wasn’t a big issue since she owned a leather belt herself.
“I was looking for something you can bite into, for the pain,” she explained while quickly moving over to her closet and finding the belt, holding it up as she came back.
Anne looked at her with uncertainty but then understood. She slowly nodded.
“Okay? It’s a bit stupid, I know, but… it’s the best I have to help without any anaesthetics.”
Anne groaned as she moved and took the belt, taking part of it between her teeth and nodding at Ann as she sat down and took one of her tools in her hand.
All she could do was close her eyes as she prepared for the pain that was to come. She wouldn’t admit it, but if not for the general pain pulsating through her stomach and her weakening state keeping her occupied, Anne would be terrified. She’d never been shot so the thought of what pain was to come from the removal of the bullet was concerning. But it had to be done, and she’d bear it.
The moment Ann started with whatever she was doing, it shot through Anne’s body like lightning, making her hips buck off the bed and a loud muffled groan escape her even as she tried her best to keep herself calm to make it easier for her to work. It stung and pulsated as she was sure she felt Ann cut her skin open further, making her bite the leather belt hard as her eyes teared up.
Luckily, the bullet wasn’t in particularly deep and Ann could spot it quickly after opening the wound up a little for its extraction. She tried to focus on the task, as hard as it was with Anne writhing and groaning in pain. It was certainly a thousand times easier to do surgery on someone who wasn’t only sedated but also a stranger to her. But it was imperative that she kept her cool, so she tried to focus on the task only, reaching for the pincers while keeping the wound open with her other hand. Slowly but surely she could extract it even under Anne’s writhing as she tried her best to keep herself steady.
Eventually, she had it out, eyeing the silver bullet before putting it aside together with her tools. Then she sewed up the wound as best as she could with Anne squirming beneath her before dressing and bandaging it.
She quickly cleared the bed before her attention fell back on Anne who still had her eyes shut tightly.
“Anne… I’m all done.”
She gently touched her leg, and Anne opened her eyes and took the belt from her mouth. Unsurprisingly it had been punctured by her fangs. If it wasn’t for the seriousness of the situation, Ann would’ve grinned at the sight.
“Sorry about the belt,” Anne said weakly as she put it aside.
But Ann only shook her head, standing as she took her wrist to feel her pulse. “Don’t worry about that. Did you bite yourself?”
Anne shook her head. Her pulse was weak, as expected, but Ann hoped that now that the silver was out she was fine.
“You should be able to regenerate now, right? Or is there anything else you need?”
Anne tilted her head to the side, avoiding her gaze.
Their gazes met again, and Anne shook her head. “I’ll be fine.”
Ann frowned – why wasn’t Anne telling her? Clearly there was something she needed, and this was about her health. She walked round the bed and lay next to her, now closer as she took her hand.
“You can talk to me. Please.”
Anne bit her lip as she saw the pleading worried gaze directed at her. She had to say it, even if she wouldn’t do this to Ann again. If she judged it accurately, she should still have enough time to regenerate without it and then go and find someone to sate her hunger before the hunger became too bad. What poor timing; if only she’d been able to feed before this attack, she would’ve taken it a lot better and wouldn’t be in this mess now.
“I need blood. I meant to find someone before they attacked me.”
Oh. Now Ann understood why she looked so hesitant about telling her. Anne didn’t want to hurt her again after that night that seemed like a lifetime ago. But this was a different situation, and Ann’s decision was easily made.
“Bite me,” she said softly and presented her neck to her.
Anne’s eyes widened but she shook her head. “I won’t do this to you again.”
“Anne.” Ann reached out, cradling her face with one hand as their eyes met. “I want to help you. This is my decision. You’re not forcing me, okay?”
Anne slowly nodded as the words sank in, as those deep blue eyes transported their meaning and the soft plea to listen to her and let her help. She hated that she had to do this, but Ann had made up her mind and had freely decided to offer herself.
So she moved closer, feeling Ann supporting her head and holding her close as she dug her teeth into her skin and the familiar sweet taste of her blood filled her senses.
Ann groaned as sharp pain travelled through her neck. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t any less painful than the first time, but she bore the pain gladly if this would help Anne get better. It felt strangely intimate, this moment as Anne took what she needed and Ann let her, one arm around her and the other on her head with her fingers tangled in her hair. Unlike that fateful night she wasn’t scared for her life this time but fully trusted Anne.
After a few more long moments, Anne pulled away, already feeling new energy flow through her body as she wiped her mouth and immediately eyed the wound to make sure Ann was alright. She hadn’t quite been able to be as careful as usual with her weakened state making it hard to muster the self-control and focus she usually possessed, but the wound was still relatively small and would likely heal well. She’d also tried her best to limit how much she took so Ann wouldn’t pass out again.
Looking up, she found Ann’s eyes on her. “Yes, I was just checking your wound… not my best work, but it should heal well still. Sorry.”
A small smile grew on Ann’s lips as she shook her head. “I don’t mind, I trust you. I was asking about you.”
Oh. Anne blinked. She would likely never fully understand how she deserved this wonderful woman, this kind being who didn’t even seem to care about her own wound that Anne had inflicted but instead asked about her state straight away. Ann had done so much for her in such a short time, and in that moment, Anne vowed that she’d do everything she could to make her happy in return.
“I’m better, thank you… should all be healed by tomorrow, I’m thinking.”
Ann kissed her lips, wincing a little as she got a taste of her own blood before pulling away. “Good. We should rest. You too.”
The way she was eyeing Anne left no room for interpretation that this was not a question or a suggestion but that she expected her to. Not that Anne would resist it anyway, it was a good idea.
Ann got up from the bed, moving over to the windows to close the curtains. She usually liked the light coming in and waking her in the morning, but for her night shifts when she had to sleep during the day, she appreciated being able to drown it out. It was helpful now too since otherwise Anne wouldn’t have been able to stay.
Turning back to her, she found Anne had pulled the covers over herself and her pants and shoes lay on the floor.
“Are you just going to sleep in your underwear?”
“Well, I don’t think your clothes would fit me, and my shirt is ruined.”
She had a point. Ann slipped into bed with her, feeling her tiredness return to her now that the adrenaline wore off with Anne safe and recovering. Her thoughts briefly went to Thomas and how furious she was that he had crossed this line, that he’d attacked and intended to kill Anne. But she would deal with that tomorrow – and one thing was for sure: This had to end. Ann had been far too patient.
Snuggling close to Anne, she kissed her cheek as Anne wrapped her arm around her.
“Are you warm enough? I can get you another blanket-“
Anne smiled at her concern, soothingly rubbing her back. “I’m fine. All warm and cosy.”
Ann hummed contentedly and closed her eyes, letting sleep take her.