A/N: Last chapter. Hope everyone enjoyed this. Be on the watch for the next story in the series, I'll post it eventually. Also, I kinda hope this chapter doesn't suck. I think it might, but I've never been a good judge on my own writing.
I winced as Malik exchanged a full vial of my blood for an empty one, accidentally shifting the needle embedded in my inner thigh. I'd lost track of the time the shadow had been draining me, but he'd taken a lot of blood. I hadn't bothered to count past fifteen vials, and that had been a while ago. I really was going to die and then be eaten by Hale's pet. I'd had to watch while two of them devoured Alex's body. They'd even licked the floor and walls clean of his blood.
What would happen to Evan and JB? Even though we weren't very fond of each other, my mother would be devastated. I didn't want to die, but it didn't seem like I had much choice. The world was slowly getting foggy and dark. It wasn't a quick process, being bled to death like this. The vials only held so much and had to be changed, which also took time. I was gradually getting colder, my fingers and toes were icy and they ached painfully.
"Not that I'm exceptionally ready to die, but can we make this faster in anyway?" I asked, and my voice was a little slurred.
Malik said nothing, still draining me.
"Hey, asshat, I'm talking to you."
"My name is Malik." He said, getting an empty vial from another shadow. This one had silver and blue marbled skin, thin horns that curved backwards, and neon green cat eyes. From what I could tell, he was Reag. Pryn was even stranger than the other two. He was shorter, had dark green, slimy looking skin that was splattered with black dots, and opalescent frog eyes. He also had wicked looking teeth.
"I know your name. I'm calling you an asshat, though."
"She's insulting you." Pryn clarified.
"Why don't we just eat her now? I'm still hungry." Reag muttered.
"Master wants her blood. Then I eat her. Not you two." Malik said. The world was getting darker and I took a deep breath, trying to steady myself. I was getting lightheaded and a strange, lucid feeling was settling in around me. I didn't feel the coldness of my body, the sharp, pricking needles in my leg anymore. Maybe death wasn't so bad. I closed my eyes, floating. It was actually pretty nice.
A soft, cool breeze brushed across my face and my eyes snapped open. I wasn't in Hale's exam room from hell. I was at the very edge of a beautiful forest. When the tree line cut off a rainbow sea of wildflowers covered the ground. The Summerlands? What the hell was I doing in the Summerlands? Did that mean I was dead? Did I even have enough druid blood to be here? "Hello? Cullen?" I called softly. The only answer was the soft rustle of wind through trees and flowers.
"Rhyan?" Cullen's accented voice whispered from my right and I turned. The ginger-haired druid was staring at me. "Are ye dead?"
"I don't know. Do I look dead?" I asked.
"I did nah bring ye, s' it seems ye are act'lly dead. How're ye here, though?"
"Dunno. I just kind of ended up here." I told him, looking around the forest.
"This isn't yours, Rhyan." A woman's voice shivered through the forest. I'd heard it before, but where? I looked around for the source of the voice but saw no one. Cullen had even disappeared.
Between blinks I was somewhere else. A bleached white beach instead of a forest. Here, though, I was exhausted. My bones were far to heavy to support and I collapsed on the ground. It was warm, white sand. I snuggled into the warmth. I was so cold, my entire body was chilled to the bone. It was so nice here. The sound of waves lapping against the nearby shore was comforting and I sighed. Something furry smacked me on the head and I tried to react, but it was too much work. I didn't even bother to open my eyes.
It hit me again, harder, and this time I tried to bat it away. I arm just fell limply into the sand. "Lemme 'lone." I mumbled, closing my eyes tightly.
"Open your eyes, Rhyan." The same voice in the Summerlands. I still didn't move and I was hit again, even harder than last time.
"What the fuck do you want?" I snapped, though it was came out in an unintelligible jumble of slurs. My eyes opened and I looked up into Sabi's arrogant feline face. Her tawny gold eyes were watching me with a predator's gaze.
"What I want is for my children to be happy. Now sit up, we don't have very long to get your soul back into your body before that dies, too."
"Your children?" I mumbled, managing to crawl into a semi-upright position.
"Yes, now shut up. This takes a little concentration on my part."
"What do I do?"
"You sit there and don't pass out." The nekomata told me, closing her golden eyes. The wind kicked up and the sky grew darker. Lighting flickered in the air over the ocean and thunder rumbled and snarled around us. Waves crashed harder against the shoreline and the cool salt water spray splattered against my skin. I shivered and nearly screamed when lighting struck an old bleached white tree that had fallen on its side. Then it felt like I was falling, sinking, and I did scream. My entire body jerked, the way it does when you're about to fall asleep and your brain thinks your dying.
And then I was in the room Hale kept me in. I was staring into endless blue eyes set in a face with nearly translucently pale skin and framed by pure white hair. "Rhyan?" The man's voice had a familiar Russian accent.
My eyes were drawn to the pulse in his neck. I could smell his blood, just under that thin, pale skin. I wanted it. I growled softly at him, trying to jerk my arms free. I was starving and his blood was so close. I wanted to bite him, to drink as much of his blood as I could, maybe until he died from it. "Rhyan?" He said again. "Do you need blood?" I nodded, desperate to stop the hunger pains in my belly. "I'll let you drink some of mine, but first I've got to get you down, okay?" I nodded again. I couldn't talk, my mouth was too dry.
He gripped the cord tying my hands of my head and yanked. The sound of metal bending was obnoxiously loud, but the cord went limp and fell to the ground near us. I would have fallen if the pale man hadn't caught me. As I watched, he cut the thick industrial plastic around my wrists with a claw that he hadn't had a moment ago and didn't have a moment later. The skin around my wrists was badly bruised and raw.
"Don't bite me to hard." He told me when he held with wrist out to me. I bit deeply into his skin, swallowing mouthfuls of his blood. It was different that Evan's blood. Different from human blood. Not better, not worse, just different. After a few minutes, he gently detached me from his arm and I let go with a soft squelching sound. The bite mark healed instantly while I watched.
"Thank you." I told him. My voice was hoarse. "Who are you?"
He smiled. "I'm Rurik. Sabi sent me to help you."
"Oh, I didn't recognize you without the fur. What happened to the shadows?" Where had those little fuckers gotten to? I felt the need to kick their freaky little asses.
"Those little things draining you? I killed them." Rurik sat me on a bare table and went to get my jeans. "These are yours, right?" He asked, picking them up. I nodded.
"What did you do with them after you killed them?" I asked as he helped me into my pants. My legs had gone to sleep and were stinging like hell now that I was moving and Rurik's blood was in my system. I'd need more, but I would get that from Evan or JB when I was away from here.
He zipped and buttoned the pants. "I ate them. Tasted like alligator. Wasn't bad, actually."
"Thanks." I told him.
"No problem." He replied. "Sabi must really like you to do all this. She's not real fond of people or necromancers."
"I have don't know what I did, but I'm glad I did it. I really didn't want to die."
"It's not so bad. Mine was relatively painless."
Speaking of painless… "Where's Hale?"
"Gone. He left before I got here. Now, we need to get you home."
"How? We don't have a car."
"No problem." He said, holding out his hand. I took it and immediately felt pressure all over my body, nearly chocking me. Then it stopped and we were outside my apartment.
I opened the door and all talking that had been in the room previously stopped. Inside, Nikki, Jason, Adrian, Evan, JB, and Sabina, and Skylar stared at Rurik and I as we slipped inside.
"Where the hell have you been?" Evan demanded, his voice angry, but I could feel his emotions. The relief at seeing me was nearly tangible.
" And who the hell is he?" JB hissed, eyeing the nekomata warily.
"I've been a little busy dying, sorry I didn't call." I told Evan, though the sarcasm that should have been laced in the words was flat and I was still hoarse. "And this is the guy who saved me. Be grateful."
In a blindingly fast movement, Evan was at my side. He hugged me tightly, not caring that we had an audience. "You're moving in with me." He whispered in my ear.
"Okay, but JB, too." I said, leaning against him. I spent half my time at his house anyway. Besides, I felt safer now that I was touching Evan. I hadn't thought I'd get to see him again and I was just happy to have him hold me.
"Well, she's safe and we're obviously not needed here. Let's go before the sun rises and we're stuck together all day." Jason announced.
"He's doing you all a favor, trust me." Nikki said, snickering softly. "He sleeps naked."
"We didn't need to know that." JB informed my father, shifting closer to me and Evan, but not touching us. I pulled back a little from Evan and slid an arm around JB's waist, forcing him to either pull away or touch us. He chose the latter and Evan said nothing, so I supposed it was okay with him.
"What happened to you?" Adrian asked, totally out of the blue. Out of everyone in the room, I hadn't expected that he would ask, or even speak to me.
"It's a long fucking story."