And he wouldn’t see him again for some time

“Is this it?”

Henri looked outside to see the circular apartment complex. As broken down as ever. He was oddly grateful to have had this disaster happen in the middle of the month. No bills or rent to miss. He nodded. “This is it.”

The vampire parked at the curb. It seemed almost too easy for Henri to take off his seatbelt, open the door and step out of the car. If anything though, the vampire seemed to just be waiting for him to close the door so he could drive off.

Henri almost did. A thought to return to the life he had had before he had walked into the wrong part of town. The life where the vampires were just those creatures who walked around that he never dealt with. His mother would be horrified.

“What is your name?” Henri asked, all mental faculties still present.

People weren’t supposed to ask vampires their names. That was known.

The vampire looked at him for a moment. Probably determining if Henri was dumb enough to be considered a decent meal that no one would miss. But, against all of Henri’s thoughts, the vampire smiled instead. He looked… younger than Henri had thought.

“Haruki.”

This wasn’t dangerous at all. Henri’s chest hurt from how hard his heart was pounding. His flight instinct threatened to take over. “The offer’s still open. As thanks.”

Then he closed the door and walked away, back home. Behind him, the car drove away.

That seemed to be the end of that.

When he suddenly realized what actually lives around him

The vampire had a car. An old blood red Bolt, something Henri only recognized through his older brother’s automotive enthusiasm. “Is that still a green car?”

“So I hear,” the vampire said, sliding into the driver’s seat. Henri sat down in the passenger’s seat, closing the door. It was smaller than he thought it would be. Fit the vampire perfectly though, somehow. “Where do you want to be dropped off?”

Right, he hadn’t just stepped into the car to be driven away and fed upon. “Nuevo García.”

The vampire knew where that was it seemed, because he didn’t ask for more than that. The car started out, as quiet as these vehicles ever were.

“You know, there are people who think that you won’t say anything because you were chased off from trespassing.” Henri shot him a look. The vampire continued to stare out at the road, unaffected.

Henri turned his eyes out the front, watching the car going in the correct direction to take him homeward. “It doesn’t really matter.” No one was ever going to do anything about Bloody Bones. Too much effort, he guessed.

As long as Henri never went down that way again, he should have been fine.

Yet suddenly the city seemed terrifying.

It was a life ago

They all asked how it had happened, but he didn’t respond. He couldn’t tell them exactly what had happened to him. It wasn’t that he didn’t know what had happened. Henri knew exactly what had happened to him. There was just little point in mentioning that he had been nearly ripped apart when heading into the alleyways of the Bloody Bones.

Anyone would call him an idiot. It wasn’t like he hadn’t lived here for his entire life.

Henri stood outside of the hospital and the entire city seemed like it was going to open up in front of him and drag him down. His heart hurt against his chest. He could feel every single rib.

Bloody Bones had wanted those ribs.

“Going home?”

Henri looked up. The vampire stood, nearly in front of him. “You look like the mascot of that old candy apple company.”

Oh, he hadn’t meant to say that. The vampire smiled though.

“I was. Come on now, mortal. Before you hyperventilate, let’s drive you home.”

Rejected offer

Usually, to thank someone, he would offer to take them out to eat somewhere. It was a message he had instilled in him by his mother. Henri had probably missed his weekly call by now. That would be a nightmare to deal with.

Taking a vampire out to a meal didn’t seem like a good idea though. He didn’t know what that entailed. Well, he knew it had to deal with blood. That much was obvious. But he didn’t want to say any of that. It would just be awkward. Henri knew enough about vampires to know that some of them lost their tempers when faced with… well, obvious facts? Assumed traits? There was the church that had been trashed when someone assumed that crosses had anything to do with keeping a vampire out.

Nevertheless, he had to do it. It was how he was supposed to be polite. Henri tugged at the collar of his new shirt awkwardly. “I’d like to treat you to a meal as thanks.”

Slowly, the vampire’s eyebrows crept upward on his face. “You would… like to treat me to a meal?”

Henri nodded.

The vampire smiled. The teeth were so human looking. That was another thing Henri could never get over. He knew this one too, had known for a long time. “Fangs” weren’t a part of the package, despite what everyone said. Henri hoped he hadn’t gotten himself into trouble or something.

“No you wouldn’t,” the vampire said. “But thank you for offering.”

Then he left Henri alone.

One-sided introduction

Henri recognized the vampire the moment he stepped into the doorway. He didn’t interrupt the nurse as he cleared away Henrique’s meal. He could get to his feet now without feeling dizzy. The vampire didn’t say anything until the nurse walked out. The man said something to the vampire as he left, but Henri didn’t catch it.

“I see you didn’t die,” the vampire said, tone all matter of fact.

Henri looked him over. The vampire wasn’t really how he remembered him being. He was shorter than Henri, slighter too. If he had been human, he wouldn’t have been the type to throw Henri into the back of anything. “I have you to thank for that… um…”

The nurse had never given him the vampire’s name. Now that he thought about it, he could see that. How many people knew that there were vampires working here?

He decided not to make it more awkward. “It’s Henrique. Thanks for ignoring whatever it was I was saying when I was bleeding out.”

The vampire nodded. “People bleeding out don’t tend to know what’s best for them.”

At this point, he didn’t really know what else to say.

Breaking etiquette is easy when you are drugged

Henrique woke up, finally feeling sore.

He decided that was a good thing. The fact that he felt anything meant he was still alive. That’s what his mother had always said to him. Secondly, it meant that he could just feel that rather than the blood. He wasn’t bleeding out anymore. He could feel how he was patched up.

It hurt.

Then he remembered what had happened. “How are you feeling?” the nurse asked him.

Right, he wasn’t alone. “You have vampires working in a hospital?” Henri asked the man, feeling the wool in his head still.

The man looked about to sigh, but just nodded. “We have a few in our employ. Don’t worry though, they are no danger.”

Henri could have said that. After all, it was a vampire who brought him here. “The… one in the ambulance. What’s his name? He… he saved me.”

The nurse appeared to have some sort of change of heart, but Henri didn’t know what. He realized he had to be on some painkillers. “I will let him know.”

That wasn’t the answer he wanted, but Henrique drifted off nonetheless.

Helping out

He wasn’t surprised none of the taxis wanted to stop for him. Considering how much blood he was covered in, it would certainly ruin their chance for sensible fare for the rest of the evening.

But his other option was bleed out, so he wearily struggled again to get someone’s attention.

“Do you need help?”

He glanced wearily at the man who spoke to him. Oh, not man, his mistake. It was a vampire. “No, I’m cool.” He couldn’t blame the vampire for it, but he wasn’t going to give him permission for any blood consumption.

“If you insist,” the vampire said, put out, but leaving him alone.

At least, until pulling up in an ambulance five minutes later. “What?” he asked, staring up at the same vampire stepping out of the ambulance.

“You might not want my help, but you’re gathering a crowd of blood consumers around you and I certainly don’t trust all of them to wait until you are dead to dive in.”

Then, without asking, the vampire threw him into the back of the ambulance, hooked him up and told the driver to get them moving to the hospital.