Fate’s Heartblood – Chapter 9 & 10
Sachin woke up feeling better, and turning to look over his shoulder, he saw Jayanta sleep soundly, his back to him. His left leg felt stiff, and he reached down and felt the makeshift cardboard splint around the site of the break. He leaned over to untie the fabric strips that held it in place, and tossed it to the floor.
He looked over his naked body. The bruises were all gone; only a single yellow area below his knee remained. He realized he was also clean; that must have been the work of the young man sleeping soundly on the bed with him.
Jayanta. Somehow, the quiet employee with the quicksilver smile and the gentle nature had slipped past his defenses. He showed a generosity and strength of character that Sachin had suspected, but never expected to see in action.
Quietly, so as not to disturb his friend, Sachin slipped out of bed and into the hallway, Asha loyally following him. He climbed down the stairs to his sleeping chamber and made use of the bathroom, then changed. Heading back upstairs, he paused at a closet and removed a fresh toothbrush and face soap, and brought them to the other bedroom. He placed them next on the night stand, and then indulged himself by running his hand along the side of Jay’s face and cupping his cheek before leaving the bedroom. The sleeping man mumbled something and burrowed deeper into the pillow. Sachin smiled.
Now that he was mostly healed, he could tolerate the weak light that seep past the dark curtains in the front of the house. It was the early afternoon, by his judgment, and no doubt some food was in order for everyone.
Asha disappeared through the pet door. Sachin had designed it with two separate pet doors with a short tunnel between them, so barely a flicker of light showed when the dog came back a short time later. He leaned against his master’s leg as Sachin ruffled his ears.
“It’s been a tough day for you, hasn’t it, my friend,” he said. Giving him a final pat, he went to the pantry and pulled out some dog food. He was just placing on the floor when he felt an overpowering weakness and collapsed to the floor.
Of course, the healing had drained his energy and he needed feed his ‘other’ hunger. There was only one person who was near enough to help, but he shied away from the implications. It was one thing to ask for first aid, but this would be so much more personal and intimate.
Sachin crawled to the couch and heaved himself onto the cushions. He lay there, unmoving, trying to gather his strength.
Asha made a worried sound as he pawed on his master, but there was no movement on the couch. He trotted over to the double doors and pushed them open, heading down the hall with an air of purpose.
He nosed the bedroom door open and walked over to the almost-stranger sleeping face down on his master’s bed. He nudged him with his nose, then more insistently as the man slumbered on. Finally, he hopped up on the bed and jumped on the prone figure, licking his face and whining.
Jay woke up to a weight between his shoulder blades and cool tongue in his ear; he rolled over and ended up with a long snout and a pair of soulful brown eyes in his face. Wiping his face with his palm, he sat up. Immediately, the dog jumped off the bed and darted to the open bedroom door.
He followed, running his hand through his rumpled hair as he went through the double doors.
All sleepiness fled when he saw the huddled body on the couch.
“Manager Kumari! What happened? Are you alright?” He noted absentmindedly that the makeshift cast was gone from Sachin’s leg. He knelt down on the floor and placed his hand on his injured friend’s shoulder.
Sachin looked up into the guileless eyes of the man who protected him last night, and couldn’t ask the question. He closed his eyes again, willing his body to stop shaking, but to no avail.
He felt a warm hand cup his chin, and opened his eyes to find the two of them mere inches apart.
“What should I do to help you?”
“You…you’ve already done too much. I’ll be okay.”
Jay spit out a curse. “You’re pale and shivering, so how can you be okay? Talk to me.”
Sachin didn’t have the energy to fight, not when he tired of being alone. Not when he felt close to this young man after this harrowing day.
“Because of my curse, there’s certain…requirements that I must have, especially if I’m injured. I…I need something more from you, but I understand if you say no.”
Jay looked into the man’s eyes and saw for the first time how hard it was for him to ask for the kind help that he suspected he needed now.
The word whispered in his head. Abruptly, he realized that Sachin was trapped in this situation surely as if he was in a prison. But did he want to do this? Jay thought he’d feel uncomfortable, but surprisingly, compassion overrode any fear. Compassion…and something else.
He made the first move; he rolled back his sleeve to expose his wrist and held it out. “Just tell me what you need me to do.”
Tears filled Sachin’s eyes as he lifted himself forward and gave the young man a brief, hard hug.
“Thank you so much, my friend.” He settled back against the cushions as Jay pulled a kitchen chair close to the edge of the couch and sat down.
Sachin lifted the strong brown arm and rubbed his thumb across the inside of the wrist before lifting it to his mouth. He kissed it before striking. Dark blood immediately welled from the punctures, and he sealed his lips over the site.
Jayanta’s blood flowed, warm and rich like a blessing, giving him strength in a way that nothing else could. Sachin closed his eyes as he gently took only what he needed.
Suddenly, they popped back open. There was a dissonance to the flavor, a subtle echo of something that was not quite right. He pulled away, and quickly licked Jayanta’s wrist to seal the wounds and start the healing process. He lowered the arm to the counterpane.
Jay’s eyes were half-lidded as he felt the mild pulls from his wrist. Without thinking, he placed his other hand on Sachin’s head, and stroked the smooth silky hair. After what seemed mere moments, the movement at his wrist ceased, and he opened his eyes to see Sachin staring at him, a puzzled look on his face as he dropped his arm. The question from the vampire surprised him.
“Is there something wrong with your body?”