Throughout my long dying days, Nareth was forever with me when I woke. Yet often it was hard to tell who she was, which of the conflicting personalities, the professor and the beast as I had come to think of them. Was she there to care for me, ease my suffering? Or to ensure that I died, that I was beyond redemption? But in those days I came to look forward to the visits, whether to spar with the beast and goad its anger or to call out to the professor. I felt a certain warmth that for whatever reason might being compelling her presence at my bedside, she would at least be there with me at the end. In this way I would not die alone.
Nareth was by the bedside, smiling down at me. The preceding day's anger and malice removed from her visage, replaced with a look nearing compassion, though she would never admit to entertaining such notions. I lifted my head from the pink spittle stained pillow.
"It is bad, yes?", she peered into my eyes. I nodded weakly. "Have you been using the vial? It's no good, if you dont use it.". I took the vial from around my neck, fumbling with the lid as Nareth pulled off her gloves.
"Yes, I've been asleep though, it is worst when I wake"
"Yes, it would be. I feel it..."
I touched the neck of the vial on my tongue, letting the liquid flow into my mouth. Nareth glanced around the room.
"There is something different"
"Is there? And what is that?"
"come closer". Nareth circled the bed again.
"Is this close enough?", she asked, I smiled.
"you have a vial too?"
"I meant it as a...surprise. No. No vial."
"yet you have colour,"
"It was an unforseen consequence of my changing Lina. Her heritage is...complicated."
"it is, a surprise"
"It is very fortuitous."
Nareth stood in front of me and tied her hair up.
"I have half a mind to cut it all off, truthfully.", I raised a hand
"no, I like it"
"yes", I replied nodding. Nareth laughed softly. "when all was cold, it was still, alive", I added.
"You look terrible.", Nareth cocked her head to one side, repeating what she's just heard.
"I am ...I have felt better I don't think I have long Nareth"
"I should think not. I am surprised that you've last this long. You need to let go, Beq. Stop fighting."
"give me your hand", I beckoned to her. Nareth smiled and held out her hand and I closed her eyes as I felt the warmth.
"I have just fed...it should be fairly warm."
"so it is colour only then, your skin"
"Yes...colour. Complexion. And I can take the sun a bit better."
"I see, but you are warmer than I", Nareth peers through her pince-nez, narrow her eyes.
"I am, aren't I?" her features seem to soften as I sigh, "It hurts, Beq. I feel it, and it is as painful..when I feel it...". Nareth glances about the room again.
"the vial, the liquid, it softens it, blunts it, but it does not leave"
"I think, perhaps, you are hanging on... It will not leave until you are dead.", Nareth bent forward slightly, cramping, the pain worse as she came nearer.
I winced at the pain echoed in Nareth's mind as she stood staring at me, lay out upon the bed my sallow complexion, the signs of death growing by the hour on my skin.
"Echoes...echoes of echoes...". Nareth reached up wiping sweat from her brow, then stared at the blood on her hand, "Let me end it now, Mistress. I can make it fast, easy.". Nareth flinched slightly.
"No, Nareth, I would, I would like to say good bye"
"Good bye. To whom?"
I looked down
"Never mind..I see it in your mind...". Nareth almost doubled over, steadying herself on the edge of the bed...I looked up at her a hint of concern in my eyes. "Fine..then...have your tearful good byes. You commanded me not to hurt you again."
"Nareth, please don't be angry, allow me my last human moments", Nareth gritted her teeth and stared at the pattern in the bedspread. "The time for anger has passed, Mistress. I am not...angry.". I winced and smiled a little, then with cramping in my stomach curled in to a ball.
"I would only...ease...the passage...", she cried out and almost fell, then laughed a hard, bitter laugh.
"I .... thank you for that".
Nareth cursed under her breath.
"Ride the pain......", I added, smiling, remembering...
"Indeed.", Nareth looked up, her face slick with bloody sweat. "Mistress, this is..intolerable..."
"I am hurting you? Or is it more?". Nareth held a hand to her forehead and closed her eyes.
"The proximity. The bond.I'd not antocipated this."
"then leave me Nareth, I have the vial to blunt it, only distance can help you"
"May I at least do more to make you comfortable?", I nodded freely. Nareth opened her eyes. "I will offer you my wrist, and you will drink, yes? Drink deeply?". I swallowed and finding my mouth dry, licked my parched lips. "Please?". I watched Nareth, she began to look positively ill.
"Yes Nareth, Please give me your wrist"
Nareth held her wrist to her own mouth, tearing it open with her fangs, then sat on the edge of the bed and pressed it to my mouth.
"Deeply...", Nareth squeezed her eyes shut again and I held Nareth's hand before her palm up.
Nareth whispered, "You are so very near to the precipice now. My Lady is waiting to welcome you."
I pushed out my tongue running it up through the stream of warmth, feeling a shudder run through Nareth. I sighed at the pleasurable warmth that filled me.
"Such a story...the heroes come too late...", Nareth licks at her own lips. My tongue found the tear, licking at it before bringing the wrist to my lips kissing, sucking, drawing down the blood. Nareth's legs buckled and she sat on the edge of the bed. "Deeply as you may.". I closed my eyes and murmured with satisfaction. "Is it not joyous?"
I drank, sucking at the wound feeling a blood run in motuthfuls across my taste buds. Nareth stared at the bedspread, at red drops of her sweat falling and leaving dark spots.Lifting my face, from her wrist I looked up at Nareth. Nareth stop still, as I lifted my face to hers, kissing at the red drops, licking them gently with my tongue. Nareth turned her face to mine, and near tears, returned the kiss before pulling away, standing her face hard and stern.
"Stop it...stop...", I shuddered as Nareth trailed off staring down at me, laying on the bed licking my lips, looking up wide eyed unsure what it was that I had done that was so wrong. Nareth stood up straighter still, fussing with her vest, trying to appear more composed.
"One more day...that is all. If it is not over, I *will* end your suffering."
I looked up with sadness and Nareth took two steps back...
"I must go. Please, do not fight, and remember the vial."
"I am sorry, I...didn't mean to hurt you"
Nareth shook her head.
"We are beyond the place of regret, Beq Janus. And I am only a vessel for pain. It is no matter."
"no, you are so much more Nareth, so much more"
"No...", a confused looks crossed her face. I am what I am required to be. ", she turned towards the door, making to leave.
"is that all it is? just a job?"
"Not a...job. A calling, Mistress. I was called...", I frowned at this gilding ."One does not ignore the pipes.". Nareth cramps again and leans against the door.
"then you are dismissed, thank you Nareth, for easing my pain."
"No matter, Mistress. I serve."
I followed her sadly at Nareth as she left, then in my mind I saw her stumble to the balcony and peer down at the snowy street.
"Please, Mistress, do not fight.", with this thought Nareth vaulted over the balustrade.
"Soon, Nareth, I am coming."
"I am waiting."
4 years ago