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Brenda Thompson Brown - Tremere
Brenda: Somewhere Between Life and Death
We’ll take it from here, ma’am,” the young doctor said as Michael and I entered the Chantry, supporting Rafe between us. Another man quickly materialized with a gurney that they helped Rafe onto before they wheeled him to an exam room.
“He’s going to be okay,” Michael said quietly. I looked over my shoulder at him, surprised by his concern. The past few days since Christina’s disappearance had been so stressful for everyone and Michael hadn’t made things any easier with his continual beratement of my relationship with Rafe.
“He has to be,” I replied evenly, almost coldly, before turning to follow the doctor into Rafe’s room, Michael close behind. I was amazed at the medical facilities set up by the Tremere in Detroit and it helped to reassure me that my husband would be fine in the end. The Sabbat had been horribly efficient in the torture they had put him through, it was after all, their specialty. It was a miracle his was still alive.
“How much has he been given?” the doctor asked as he put the earpiece of his stethoscope in place and listened to Rafe’s heartbeat while a nurse checked his blood pressure.
“I’m not sure,” I informed him as I anxiously shifted from one foot to the other, my nerves stretched to nearly the breaking point. “James gave him a couple of pints at the house.”
The doctor glanced up at me over the table and concern crossed his features. “Get her some blood,” he ordered no one in particular, then moved to cut what was left of Rafe’s clothes off his unconscious body. I didn’t know how he could tell that I was so low on blood but at that moment I didn’t care.
“I’ll be fine,” I said absently as one of the nurses moved toward a small refrigeration unit that I was sure held an entire stock with vampire Capri Sun packs. “Take care of Rafe,” I told everyone in the room. He was all that mattered.
“Brenda, you need to feed,” Michael said in a commanding voice from behind me as he placed a hand on my waist. His lips were nearly touching my ear he was so close to me and I hadn’t even noticed he had followed me into the exam room.
“When I’m sure that he’s okay,” I insisted, brushing him off, my eyes never leaving the unmoving body of my husband. I knew that Michael had the power to Dominate me if he wanted to, so I made it a point to remember not to meet his gaze.
He moved to stand in front of me and gently grabbed my upper arms. “You’re not going to do anyone a bit of good it you frenzy, Brenda. I know you’re low on blood and you’re still hurt.” Finally he hooked a finger under my chin and tilted my face to meet his blue eyes and I saw the worry that lingered there. “No one is asking you to go anywhere. Just feed so I know you’re okay.”
I felt the tears well up in my eyes. The familiarity of his touch was almost my undoing. I so badly wanted him to take me in his arms and tell me that everything was going to be okay. Michael was like a God to me in some ways because I knew that he always had the determination and self-confidence to turn any situation around to the way he wanted them to be.
I wanted his comfort so badly but I also knew that we were now so far beyond that possibility. For reasons that were out of our control we could no longer be that console for one another no matter how desperate the need was for one. I felt blessed that we were finally able to be in a room with one another and not be at each other’s throats but at what cost? My husband was lying on a bed, near death, and I didn’t know what was going to happen to him. The peace between Michael and I seemed bittersweet and not at all worth the price I might have to pay in the end. Rafe was more important to me.
“Drink,” he pressed. The nurse had handed Michael a blood bag and he’d opened it a little. The scent of the vitae was compelling but I couldn’t help taking a glance at the table where Rafe lay. He was my main concern and I could see now that his color seemed to have improved, if only a little.
Michael opened the slit in the bag wider and held it to my lips with one hand while he slipped the other around the back of my neck. “Bren, honey. Please drink this.” I’d never heard him sound so desperate and I lifted a hand to take the bag from him. With a timid smile that I hoped reassured him, I held the opening to my mouth and began to drink.
The need for replenishing the vitea in my body soon took precedent over my worries for Rafe. I quickly drank the contents in the bag and looked up at Michael with pleading in my eyes. He understood my need and pulled me over to the refrigeration unit where the nurse had extracted the first bag and opened the door.
Michael stood over me like a watchdog while I fed, keeping an eye on both me and Rafe as the doctors continued to work on him. Once I’d feed enough to control my hunger, I used some of what I’d drank to finish healing the wounds I’d received during the attack on the Sabbat. After I was completely healed I drank again to fill up.
Only when he was assured that I’d had enough did Michael take a few bags for himself. I knew that he’d used much of his blood during the encounter with the Sabbat as well but I also knew that he could control his hunger a lot easier than I could and that he wasn’t nearly as down as I was. Because he was closer to Caine in generation, his body could hold more blood than mine and he could sustain himself longer.
“I’m sorry,” I said finally, not knowing what else to say. The need for Michael to take me into his arms was still strong but I knew that I wasn’t going to throw myself at him now. In those few moments I think an understanding of sorts developed between the two of us.
“Don’t be. There’s nothing for you to be sorry about.” The grin that I remembered so well even after nearly three years of separation spread on his face and I knew we were okay. Tentatively, he raised a hand and gathered a lock of my hair between his fingers and studied it. “Are you really happy where you are?” he asked quietly.
Before I had a chance to answer I heard the doctor call my name. I blinked to break the spell that Michael was weaving me into and stepped around him to once again place myself close to the table where Rafe lay.
“What is it?” I asked.
“He’s going to be okay,” the doctor began as he pulled off the surgical gloves and wadded them together in one hand. “We need to give him more blood in order for him to continue the healing that’s already begun.”
I looked at Rafe as he lay there on the table and saw that his coloring had continued to improve even more than from the last time I’d looked at him, but to my horror the nails that had been imbedded in his wrists were still there as well as the deep cuts on his chest and throat.
“What about those?” I asked, indicating the nails.
“We needed to stabilize him completely before we attempted to remove the nails,” he explained. “That’s why we need to give him more blood.”
“I can give it to him,” I offered.
The doctor held up a hand. “There’s no need. We have supplies on hand from older Kindred that will make his healing move along faster.” As the doctor spoke I watched as a nurse put a tube down Rafe’s throat that was connected to another bag that was filled with the blood that I was sure what the doctor had spoke of. It was hard to see the tube in his mouth like that but I knew that they couldn’t give him that kind of blood intravenously. Rafe would have to take it orally and because he was out of it, they had to basically force-feed it to him.
“Is he in much pain?” I asked. My voice caught in my throat and I felt Michael’s reassuring hand on my arm as he put his around me.
“No,” the doctor reassured me. “He’s totally out of it. I’ve given him something that will make him sleep, too. The bodies best time to heal is while it’s sleeping so that will help as well.”
“How soon can he travel?” I wanted out of this damn city as soon as possible. I intended to do the ritual for Christina before this night was through and go back to Salem as soon as the sun was down tomorrow night. That is, if Rafe could be moved.
“There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be back to normal in a few days with his capability to manipulate his blood. I wouldn’t move him, though, until tomorrow night at the earliest.”
“That will be fine,” I said with relief then I allowed myself to sag against Michael’s chest. I looked at my watch and realized that it had been hours since we’d first arrived at the Chantry. It seemed like only moments had passed instead of hours.
We had an hour or so until the appointed time we were to meet the others at Madelynne’s bar. I used the time to gather myself as best as I could but I knew that my nerves were stretched as far as they could go. To my relief, Michael stayed by my side and was a constant reassurance that I didn’t know I needed.
I prayed that the ritual went off without a hitch. I was worried that I would do something to ruin things because of how I felt about the situation but I knew that it had to be accomplished before I could leave the city. I was responsible for making sure the ritual was done and I always did what I had to.
There were so many things that had gone awry in the last few days that I didn’t know if anything was salvageable. If given the chance, I didn’t think that I would do anything different in regards with my sister but I also knew that it was possible that our relationship was damaged now beyond repair. With a newfound resolve, I committed myself to doing this one thing for Christina and then the rest was up to her.
I could understand her point of view to a certain extent but the tables were turned now that Rafe had been hurt. In a way I think I blamed Christina for what had happened even though I knew I shouldn’t. But after all, none of this would have happened if she hadn’t gone off to do whatever it was she thought she’d been able to. I’d thought that her hatred for Malcolm would overcome any feelings she might have involving the man. After all, she hated Talon Graves beyond anyone else in the world and all he’d done was what Jason had asked of him.
“It’s time to go,” Michael said quietly. He held my hand loosely in his as I leaned over and kissed Rafe’s cool cheek and told the nurse that we’d be back in an hour or so. I pushed aside the negative feelings I had about Christina and the situation we found ourselves in as Michael and I left the Chantry. I hoped that in the end that everything would turn out for the best but I had no way of knowing for sure.
Characters in the Story
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Note: Some fiction contains explicit content and is not meant for children under the age of seventeen.
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