Rated PG for vampire content and A for angst -- please bail now iffn you don't like that sort of thing. This is in response to the Undead Benny (aka Forever Fraser) challenge presented to us by Catalina Dudka. comments . . . vampires . . . A's on my exams . . . comments
Across--by AC Chapin Things they said: "Look at me." "Here. Oh my god." "Now." "These scars . . . " "Shh. I'd do it again. If you asked me, I'd do it again." "Ray." "I can't, I -- " "Yes." "Please, I -- I can't stop." "Yes." "Yes." "Like this. Let me hold you." "Benny, your *teeth*." "Do you trust me?" Ray leaned back in his chair. When he closed his eyes he could picture the sunset, outside the curtained window. Already he was feeling the biting (ha-ha) need for a little of the old red rum. He lifted the bottle. Good. Damn, it was so good. Fraser wandered in from the bathroom, wrapped in a hotel robe. Ray threw the bottle at him and what was left at the bottom splashed redly down the white terry cloth. "Now, Ray --" "Sorry." Fraser disappeared back into the bathroom, sighing long-sufferingly. When he came out again, the robe was damp but beautifully white again. Things worked that way for Fraser -- things that should have stained came clean again. Well, not this time. He ignored Fraser for a solid hour, and then it was dark enough outside that he could open the window blinds, and he stared out into the evening and ignored Fraser some more. Finally, Fraser got dressed and left. Ray watched a stupid nudie flick on the pay channel until he realized he was more turned on by the sweet curve of Candi's neck than her long legs. Then he flipped it off, disgusted. Fraser got back hours later, carrying a grocery bag. "Where'd you go?" "The supermarket butcher's counter." "Oh, great. What? Did you tell him you were a vampire Mountie with a growing family to feed?" "The young lady at the counter didn't ask me to explain." "Yeah, she probably supplies all the vampires in Chicago." Fraser stuffed the whole grocery bag into the cooler he'd bought the night before. "We should leave Chicago soon." "We? Excuse me? No, Fraser. Tomorrow I'm going home." "Ray, you know that's not possible." Ray slouched further down in his chair. "Shut up, Fraser." "Really, Ray. Be reasonable." "Reasonable?" He stood up. "I just refilled a Nestea bottle with blood and drank it, Fraser. My eyes glow in the dark. Yesterday I got a second degree sunburn from standing too close to the window. Reasonable would be me strangling you -- only it wouldn't do any good, would it?" Fraser looked away, stared out the window. "Things have been ending too soon my whole life, Ray." His voice was so terribly quiet. Before, he would never have been able to hear anything so quiet. Before . . . but before was gone. Ray sat back down. "My time with my mother ended too soon. Whenever I made any friends my grandparents would move the library. I let my chance to know my father pass by. With Victoria -- " Ray looked at his hands -- too pale. "That's *life* Fraser." "No, Ray. That's death. You're the best friend I've ever had, and now you can't die. I am not going to apologize for that." He looked through the window into the dark, with those clear hopeful eyes. Eyes that glowed. "We did a lot Fraser, sure, it was fun. It was great. But what about my life?" Fraser frowned. "You'll live forever." "You don't get it, do you? You think running around after you and filling out reports on your stunts was my life." He looked at his watch. "It's quarter to twelve, Fraser. What day is it?" "Tuesday." "Okay. Tuesday. In fifteen minutes, Frannie sneaks downstairs with a tape she rented. I dunno, could be anything, romance, comedy, anything, doesn't matter. And she sits there and watches it. About half past one, I wake up, maybe it's when she stops the tape or when she starts to cry, but I wake up and I go downstairs. I hold her and I tell her it's going to be okay, and then I walk her up to bed, and then the next day I take the tape back. I don't know what it's about and I don't know why I do it, but I do it. Because that's my *job* Fraser. *That's* my life." "Ray -- ." "Who's doing my job now, Fraser? Why'd you have to do this?" "Oh Ray." Ray dug in the cooler and pulled out a tupperware container full of blood. He pulled back the lid a little and drank. Good. Oh christ. "Look at me, Fraser. I spend my whole life trying not to end up a drunk like my father." Another swallow. "Just look at me now." "It's not the same, Ray." "The hell is isn't." Things they saw: The Parthenon, Fraser explaining the Greek perfection of its proportions. The Sistine Chapel, from the outside. The Great Wall, walking its whole length over the course of nights, burying themselves under it before daylight. Tenochtitlan, smelling, even now, the blood on the stones there. The sunrise, hand in hand one morning, somewhere where the snow made everything bright. "Across" copyright 1996 by AC Chapin For Catalina Dudka.
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