Title: The Damage Done
Pairing(s): None (well, Mitchell/Herrick if you squint)
Rating: PG 15
Disclaimer: They're not mine, they're Toby Whithouse's
Summary: Mitchell's first attempt at going cold turkey didn't go so well
A/N: I'm not happy with the first few paragraphs of this so comments/advice gratefully received
The first time Mitchell tried to go clean, he crawled back to Herrick after just five days. The problem was he hadn’t planned it, didn’t have anywhere to go, so he just found a quiet B&B and shut himself away. He stayed in his room for two days, getting lonelier by the hour and wondering if Herrick was out there looking for him. But by the evening of the second day, the craving for blood was like an itch at the back of his mind, always out of reach.
Hating himself for his weakness, he went out and found a bar, sat by himself and drank vodka after vodka. He drew a few glances but despite his loneliness, the fact that he hadn’t spoken to anyone in days, he was too afraid to start a conversation. One thing might lead to another (probably would, knowing him) and he’d be right back where he started. So he kept his eyes on the glass in front of him, and tried to ignore the tremor in his hands.
Two nights later he was lying in bed, eyes wide open in the darkness. The craving had intensified until it was burning under his skin, like acid in his veins. At the same time he was freezing, a cold that seemed to start inside his bones and spread through his body, and no amount of blankets could make him warm again. If he lay absolutely still, it was almost bearable, but the slightest movement set him shaking and shivering.
Worse than the pain, the heat and the cold, were the images scrolling endlessly through his mind. All the people that he’d seen only as prey, all the lives he’d taken for pleasure and sport, all the eyes that had beheld him as their final sight. It was the eyes that hurt the most. Each pair different, and each so alive. Some afraid, some defiant, some confused to the last.
Blood... He would do anything for just one drink. Choking back a sob, he raised his left wrist to his mouth and found the vein. Teeth and tongue probing, he sucked down a mouthful of his own blood. He closed his eyes and thought about his last feed, remembering the way his fangs had sunk into the girl’s flesh, the look on her face as she realised what he was. But he kept getting distracted by the obvious smell of his own skin. He pulled his hand away in disgust.
The next morning, he stood in front of Herrick shaking and sweating, unable to meet his eyes. The older vampire just looked at him, utterly calm, and Mitchell knew then that Herrick had never for a second doubted that he would be back.
Herrick took his jacket off, hanging it carefully over the back of a chair. “You need to feed.” Mitchell shook his head wretchedly, staring at the floor. “Mitchell.” Herrick held out his hand and Mitchell felt himself take a pace forward, and then another. Herrick started to unbutton his shirt. “I’m not suggesting you kill someone- plenty of time for that tomorrow. You can drink from me.”
Mitchell’s head jerked up and he stared suspiciously at Herrick as he folded the shirt, brushing fastidiously at a piece of dust on the cuff. This was a rare offer- in forty years, Mitchell had tasted Herrick only six times, and always as some kind of reward, a pat on the head for a job well done. Every occasion was engraved on his memory. “Is this some sort of trick?”
“A trick? Mitchell, what do you take me for?” Herrick looked almost gentle as he smiled and held out his hand again. “You’re very young- you think no one else has ever felt like this. But we’ve all been there, I’ve been there, and I know what you need. You just need someone to help you though this.” Mitchell found himself inches from Herrick, the other man’s hands cupped around his face. “And besides, you’re mine, you’re my responsibility. I made you, and I will always be there for you. Ok?”
“Ok,” Mitchell whispered, and then his teeth were buried in Herrick’s throat.
As he fed Mitchell’s shaking subsided, and when he finally pulled away his mouth was smeared with blood and his eyes were black and glittering with terrible joy. Herrick reached up and stroked his thumb gently along Mitchell’s jawline. “You see, Mitchell,” he said, tender and triumphant, “you’re home now.”