A/N: I've been writing too much...but I really like this story so far, especially the characters. I like reviews. Now Revised.
"I really shouldn't have stayed out so late," I mutter to myself, dropping onto the couch. I shove a couple of discarded items off the couch; a sweatshirt, a newspaper, and a couple of quarters. The belated slam of the door makes me jerk. I sigh and put my hands on my head, and I can almost feel my brains banging against my skull from their efforts to understand all the books I read earlier in the night. I move my head to the end of the couch and turn it so that I can see through the small window. Sure enough, the sun is rising steadily, bringing red and orange to the previously perfect dark sky.
The rest of the room is lit with dim light emanating from a light fixture in the middle of the room. I blink in the flickering light and make a note to replace the light bulb as soon as I get enough money. Besides the things that I just shoved on the floor, the room isn't that messy at all. The counter and coffee table could use a little cleaning, and it would be nice if the couch was less scratchy, but it's acceptable, especially for the price it came at. The door opens straight into the makeshift kitchen, with a counter, refrigerator, and microwave. Next to the window at the far side of the room is a small table with two chairs that have seen better days. Across from the kitchen is the couch that I'm on, a coffee table, and two doors that lead to the bathroom and the den.
The pain in my head worsens, and I also become aware of a sharp sting in my stomach. I moan and stumble over to the refrigerator, half-blind. I feel around the corners and regular food to find what I was looking for; a silver thermos. I pull it out and pop it in the microwave for about ten seconds. During that time I clutch both my head and my stomach and half lay on the counter to support myself.
A quick metallic beep tells me that the microwave is done, also tattooing a beat into my already hurting brain. I yank the door open and pull out the thermos, twisting the lid off. With a quick sweep of my arm I bring it to my mouth and practically pour the contents down my throat. I choke and sputter, both from too much of the stuff and the horrible taste. I throw myself at the sink and hurl all the liquid that didn't get a chance to reach my stomach into the drain.
I moan and wipe the blue liquid off of my face with the back of my hand, not even bothering to raise my head up from the sink. The thermos, which is still in my hand, is now hot to the touch and half empty. I swing my arm around and plunk it down in front of the face. There's a date on the white label stuck to the side: 5/9/06. That was at least a month ago. The drink has gone bad. I spit out the horrible taste in my mouth and raise my head from the sink. I tip the thermos over with my hands; trembling with pain from my whole body. The blue liquid rushes down the drain like a great river, and I turn instead to the cupboards, my face now a picture of desperation.
I throw open the doors of every single one of them, almost wrenching them off of their hinges. I rummage through the few boxes that are there and feel around the back corners, but I can't find what I'm looking for. I curse and stumble over to the sink and vomit again. In a gesture of hopelessness I fall onto the couch, closing my eyes and trying to ignore the agony flowing through me.
The door to the apartment I'm in opens, and I don't even need to open my eyes to know who it is. It has to be Tate, who leased this apartment with me. Even though we're both only sixteen, I was able to produce some fake identification in order to get this place. My family wasn't very happy that I was moving out, and my dad, who was the only one who knew it was illegally, was intent upon punishing me. He hasn't gotten around to it yet, but I haven't seen either of my parents or my brother and sister for about a year now.
Tate won't tell me what family he left, but I told him all about mine. Tate is the kind of person that you can talk to; he listens, though his advice isn't always the greatest thing in the world. The only thing odd about him is his wings.
They're the gray color of storm clouds before it rains and pretty soft, too. I once asked Tate if that meant that he was an angel, and his face immediately shut down, offering no answers. I haven't asked again. His wings are a sore spot with him; they're hard to conceal, even if he folds them against his back and wears baggy shirts, and it constantly irritates him that his wings are useless; he can't even fly with them. I think that would bother me, too.
I can almost picture him standing there with his short, curly blond hairand a constant half smile on his face, reaching to his green eyes. Like I said, he has to wear baggy shirts due to his wings, but he still insists on dressing like some prissy schoolboy, which he's not. You know, like a white shirt with a black sweater and slacks, that kind of thing. I personally can't stand that type of thing; I settle for t-shirts and jeans all year round; it's cheaper, too.Tate's wings probably aren't out; he doesn't like many people to see them, for obvious reasons.
I hear a rustling and feel a slight wind on my face and know that he's opened his wings, which are an impressively large span and make him look three times as large. This apartment is the only place he feels safe enough to unfurl them. Then I hear a muffled oath and more rustling. I open my eyes to see what the matter is, and Tate is standing there in the middle of the room, with no sign of his wings.The dim light flickers over his head and for an odd, out-of-it moment, he looks like some type of specter.
"You didn't put down the blinds," he says, not accusatory, more curious, "What's wrong, Alan?" He is pretty sure that something is wrong; one of us always shuts the blinds, and it's always the first home. Once again I'm grateful to Tate that he changed his schedule to match mine, completely nocturnal. Tate crosses the room and pulls the blinds down, blinking in the sun that he's not used to. Then he comes to me, kneeling down next to me. "What's wrong, Alan?" His eyes are full of concern, but I can't find the words to tell him what's wrong, because my throat is dry and constricting.
"You look like you got punched," Tate tells me, pointing at his eyes to illustrate where it looks like I got punched. I must have terrible circles under my eyes, and I know why. It's just that I have so much to do. "You don't look so good. You're all red." Tate puts his hand on my forehead and frowns. "You have a fever. Dang it, Alan, you have to stop doing this to yourself. Where's your drink?" He never really says what it is; he always says 'my drink.' We both know what he means; my blood substitute.
"It went bad," I tell him, my eyes starting to get unfocused. Tate makes a noise of frustration and goes over to the counter, opening and closing drawers and making a general racket that makes my head hurt worse. He comes back quickly, bringing back my thermos full to the brim with newly brewed blood substitute. I take it from him and screw the lid off, slopping some down my shirt in my haste to get to it. I pour it down my throat and even more flows down my chin. I drain the entire thing, and at the end two lumps lodge themselves in my throat. I try to spit them out, but Tate puts a hand over my mouth.
"Swallow," he tells me, "That's medicine that'll help." I swallow and grimace at the terrible taste. Tate walks over to the sink and takes the thermos with him, washing it out in the sink and drenching a washcloth in cold water. He hands the washcloth to me and I put it on my head, lying still as much as possible. Tate shoves a thermometer in my mouth and I almost gag on it. He watches the red rise on it then takes it out of my mouth and examines it. "Not bad," he comments, "You'll live." I start to feel incredibly weak and tired, and I grow suspicious of the medicine Tate gave me.
"What…medicine was that?" I ask, forcing the words out. Tate grimaces, setting the thermometer on the coffee table.
"Nothing bad. It's a pain killer, but it will make you go to sleep." I start to protest, but I can't make much more than a moan come out. "I know that you don't like to be drugged, but you need to sleep. You'll get better faster." With that he leaves me and goes to the refrigerator. My eyes follow him with nothing else to do, and I watch as he pulls out an apple and a croissant, then sits down at the table and starts munching at the apple. He doesn't notice me until he's halfway through it. "Stop fighting it, Alan. You have to sleep." As if on cue, my eyes can't seem to keep open any more. I fall into unconsciousness.