After a while, I find the energy to pull the jacket off my face and climb to my feet. A glance to the side shows me they barely even noticed I was down. Our fearless leader's girlfriend seems to be the sole one, and she's whispering something into her ear, glancing my way pointedly from time to time. If this isn't immediately chased by a "How are you?", I think I'm going to be pissed.
Big surprise, as I step up to the fringes of their group, there isn't a word of concern, despite the bruise starting to cover half of my face. I yank my arms angrily into Eien's jacket - and start swaying on my feet alarmingly. I guess I didn't have my feet as well under me as I'd thought. I can only stare in shock as William H. Macy and his girlfriend both reach out to steady me. Her hands jerk away quickly when she sees the others starting to look at her..
"Why did they attack again?" someone is asking. I turn my head to see it's the fiancee of the man back in the hospital room. She's glaring at me like I'm lower than a bug and am desperately in need of being squished. I guess she doesn't like her lover (former lover? I should find out.) helping me.
Our fearless leader's girlfriend nods her agreement. "It's been a year since we attacked them. Why would they wait so long if they were going to attack us again?" She was never the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.
William H. Macy pipes up with a question. "Is this the first time you've all been together since then?"
They all pause, while I consider giving the man a cookie for being the most intelligent one of the lot, and finally Fearless Leader speaks up. "You're right. We've been all spread out till today." She glances over her shoulder to the afternoon sun. "But still, now? At this time of day? It's like asking to die."
If my face wasn't hurting so bad, I'd have to grin. Eien knew what he was doing, you stupid bitch. You've offended the pride of the vampire race; now they'll go to any length to be rid of you. I'm just glad he's smarter than all of you lot put together and realizes I'd like to see you dead as well. And he and I have been plotting this little bit of revenge for nearly six months, and so far it's going exactly according to plan. Well... I glance down at the hand William H. Macy still has on my elbow. Maybe not exactly according to plan, but close enough. Eien promised me a favor or two for helping his people; I wonder if he can give me the life of Macy. Even this brief kindness is better than what I've been given till now.
His girlfriend finally speaks. "The sunlight didn't seem to be bothering them that much. And they were definitely only after us. They didn't bother anyone in the hospital. They were after some kind of revenge, I'd guess."
Damn, where did all these brains come from? I haven't missed that much in a year, have I? I'm really impressed.
Fearless Leader shakes her head. "Whatever it is they're after, we'll just have to stop them. In the meantime, we should probably head home. If what you're guessing is true, then it's not safe for us to be together."
"I'm staying here with him," the fiancee cuts in. "Besides, two people shouldn't be enough to attract their attention." She casts a pointed glance at Fearless Leader and her girlfriend, then William H. Macy and his girlfriend, ignoring where I stand on his other side before whirling and heading back inside.
Fearless Leader nods and leads her girlfriend away, and I turn to start limping back to my bike. Eien really didn't pull either of those punches. Anything less than real fighting wouldn't have been believable, but that means my body aches something terrible. Just as well, then, that I'm pretty sure I did some damage to his knee when I kicked it out from under him. It's a small comfort, though, given vampires heal so quickly.
"Will you be all right to get home?" an unexpected voice asks behind me. I whirl to see if she's really talking to me, but she must have been. Both she and William H. Macy are staring straight at me. Maybe that's just pity in their eyes, or maybe it's the concern it looks like, but it's so far from what I've become used to that I feel my heart tighten almost painfully just seeing it. "You don't look so good, I mean."
It is concern then. I force myself to speak. "It's not far to my place." Well, Eien's place. I haven't lived in my rathole apartment in seven months. "I'll be fine." I pause, so unused to this from any of them that I have to think of words. "Thank you, though."
I straddle the bike and pull the helmet on. I wonder if I can ask Eien for both of their lives.
"You would use your favors to us to save them?" Eien doesn't sound happy. Hells, I'm not happy, I reflect, but I cannot really express that right now with an ice compress on the bruised half of my face. "After what they did?"
I lower the ice pack long enough to speak. "He wasn't there for the fight," true enough, both against me and against Eien's people, "and... she seems to have had a change of heart."
He leans down over me, close enough that I can feel his lips move as he speaks. "You realize they'll probably kill you when they find out you're helping us."
I nod once slightly before raising a hand to trail though his hair. I really like his hair, the way it falls in shades between chocolate and black velvet, like an ebony waterfall to his shoulders. "Don't you realize by now that it doesn't matter to me whether I live or die, Eien? So?"
He sighs, sitting on the chair arm and brushing his fingertips against the bruise on my cheek. "I'll spare their lives as one of your favors. We still get to kill the leader, though, right?"
The uninjured side of my face turns into a smirk as I smile with only that side of my mouth. "I'll give you the knife to cut her heart out."
First draft & revision: 27 July 2004
The things I come up to do when there is no internet for me to play on.
Like I said, this was originally based on a dream. I chose to continue it because it was better than driving over a few states to kick someone's ass.