"We have fed already this night. For Truth it will need to be a true feeding, but for me a taste will do."
"Okay," I said. I thought, will this work, and Jean-Claude's answer was almost certain. He was almost certain that it would work. "Would it work better to blood-oath him, then take the knife out?" I asked.
"Perhaps, ma petite, but the silver may also interfere with the process. We are hoping to bring him back to health, and this will not happen with the silver still in his body."
I blinked and looked at Wicked. With the eyes gone all vampire, his bone structure was very clear, and I realized that he was very manly-man handsome. Very masculine, and when I looked at his brother, I could trace that same bone structure underneath all the facial hair. How had I not seen the resemblance before?
"We need to take the knife out first, then he feeds." I looked down at my wrists. My left was still healing from Primo and the zombie last night. I was not offering up my right wrist. Never injure your gun hand if you can avoid it. I touched my neck. Requiem's bite was still there, though almost healed. Damian's bite was faintest. I wasn't taking my top off, so breast was out. Neck it was. I was going to end up looking like a vampire junkie, always carrying a fresh bite mark. Oh, well.
"Sorry, I'm going over all the injuries. Right side of the neck for feeding."
"He cannot sit up."
"I'll lay down." I gave my gun to Smith.
His eyes widened. "What's this for?"
"I'm going to let Truth feed on my neck. I'd rather not have to worry about whether he can touch my gun or not."
"You don't trust us," Wicked said.
"I don't trust anybody." I started to lie down on top of Truth, but the knife was very much in the way.
Jean-Claude said inside my head, "The knife first, ma petite."
I knelt back and looked at the brother. "Do you want to do it, or do I do it?"
He seemed to understand without extra talk--nice for a change. "I will do it." He took his free hand, because the other was still wrapped around his brother's hand. He gripped the hilt of the blade and hesitated.
"It's time, brother," Truth said.
I moved my hair to one side so the right side of my neck stretched clean. Once the knife was out, we had a minute, maybe, to make him live, or let him die. Wicked stayed immobile, hand on his brother and the hilt.
"Do you want me to do it?" I asked.
He shook his head, but still didn't move.
"Either you do it, or I do it... Wicked. We're running out of time."
"Do it," Truth whispered, "do it."
Wicked's arm tensed. "Forgive me, brother," he said, and pulled the blade out in one harsh jerk.
Blood welled up from the wound, thick, red. His body spasmed. I did what I said I'd do. How do you lay your body on top of a wounded man? The same way you do any man, if you don't want to roll off. I laid myself on top of him, legs on either side of his body, while he spasmed under me, and fought for his life.
I laid my neck in front of his face, and he couldn't control his body enough to feed. "Oh, shit!" I looked up and met his brother's eyes. "Help me."
"Hold him up enough so he can feed."
Wicked didn't argue, he just moved around behind his brother, and raised his head and shoulders just enough off the ground. The spasming was growing less, but that wasn't good, that wasn't good at all.
Jean-Claude breathed through my body, "Kiss him."
"What? "I said out loud.
"What is it? "Wicked asked.
"Give him enough energy to feed."
He was just in my head, not words, not exactly images, I just suddenly understood, because he understood. The vampires had a kiss of life long before we humans had artificial respiration. Once I'd thought you had to be a sourdre de sang, or the person who made a vamp, to share energy like this, but I'd proven that it wasn't true. If Jean-Claude hadn't been so certain that it would work, I would have argued. I'd only done something similar to this once, and that had been with Asher, who was our sweetie, and who had fed on me before. This vampire was a stranger to me, and not one of our line, but Jean-Claude's certainty filled me, as if it were my own.
I looked into Truth's face, and his eyes were beginning to glaze, as his body went still. I called power, or maybe Jean-Claude did, or we both did. It was hard to tell where one magic ended and the other began. I leaned over the vampire's face.
"What are you doing?" Wicked asked.
There was no time to explain. I pressed my lips to the other vampire's mouth. His lips were so still against mine. I kissed him, and felt his death. Felt that spark flickering like a match in the wind. I breathed power into his mouth. I forced it inside him the way you force air into the dying. I breathed into his mouth and thought, Wake. Wake to us, Truth, wake to our magic. Jean-Claude used me to thrust power like a sword down the line of his body. It was sharp and painful even to me. It brought Truth gasping, sitting up off the floor, yelling. Yelling something in a language I'd never known.
"Feed," I said, and it was Jean-Claude's words. But it was my hand that swept my hair to the side and bared my neck to him.
He grabbed me, his hands digging into my shoulders. I saw his head coming forward, but the rest was lost to my sight. He bit me. Sudden, hard, fangs tearing my flesh. I yelled, because it hurt. There was no mind trick or sex to soften it. It just hurt.
I heard a startled male voice in the direction of the closest door. "Shit, another one!"
"She volunteered," Smith said, "to save his life."
"He's a f**king corpse, you can't save his life."
"Marshal Blake made the decision, Roarke, go back to the others."
"Shit," he said again.
I couldn't say anything, couldn't help explain. My hands were on Truth's arms. I think I was going to start struggling. It just f**king hurt.
Jean-Claude was there, harder in my head. "Relax, ma petite, do not fight him."
"I'm not fighting," I thought.
"Yes, you are. You are fighting his powers, you must lower your shields not just between yourself and me, but between him and yourself. Quickly, ma petite, quickly, or we will lose him."
I dropped my shields, the ones that kept out all the other vamps. The ones that were so automatic that I didn't usually notice them. The shields that I had naturally as a necromancer. They fell down, and suddenly... it didn't hurt anymore.
It was like suddenly being thrown into that part of sex where pain is pleasure, where the bite that you'd have slugged someone for is just the best thing you've ever felt.
I'd let him feed on my neck, but I'd been straining away from him, now I relaxed into him. It was like melting into a kiss that caught you off-guard, and suddenly you give in to it. You stop thinking it to death, and just let it be.
I gave myself to the feel of his mouth on my neck, the strength of his hands on my back, the press of his body against mine. His hand slid lower, down to my lower back, and farther, so that he cupped my ass. He pressed us together, bowing his neck and shoulders to keep his mouth sealed to my neck, and pressed our lower bodies tight against one another. Tight enough that I could feel him hard and thick against the front of his body.
I'd lowered my shields, all my shields. The only miracle had been that the ardeur hadn't tried to rise sooner. But it rose now, rose with the press of his body, the sucking of his mouth. Rose through my body, across my skin and into him.
He drew back from my neck with an exclamation, "Mother of Darkness save us, it's Belle Morte!"
I met that wide-eyed gaze. His eyes were bluer now than they had been, or seemed so. "Not Belle, Truth, just me, just Jean-Claude, just us." I whispered the last against his lips. The ardeur wanted me to kiss him, to press our mouths together and feed, energy for energy. I spoke with my mouth almost touching his, "Jean-Claude, help me, help me put the genie back in the bottle. Help me stop this."
"If I help you shield, the ardeur may spread here in the club, where I am."
"Then feed like you did last night. Feed on the willing, but let this cup pass me by tonight. I need to catch a murderer, not f**k everyone we bring over."
"Help us," Truth said, "help us, master."
I felt Jean-Claude's surprise thrill along my skin, as if curiosity was a touch. "Does he want to stop?" His question came out of my mouth, in my voice.