Lavender Heights 
 Lazarus was finding more and more that he preferred a warm neck to bite into over a plastic bag, as well as the fact that drunks made for easy pickings. The buzz was okay, but it made him wary - being inebriated in public made him feel extremely vulnerable, for all that he was a fearsome predator. An easy meal was an easy meal, though, and a little intoxication was worth a longer quenching of his thirst.

 Blending in was still... tricky. People sometimes seemed to be from a completely different planet than him, but he had a few tricks he was leaning into. Buy a drink. Put it to your lips and pretend to drink it, but don't actually. Don't scowl at people. It's better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it. Et cetera.

 So he was doing just that, sitting at the bar at some local college joint that was buzzing with activity. He still looked youthful enough that he could pass as a college senior, if not a little pale. One hand swirled cheap whiskey around its lowball glass, watching it lap rhythmically against the sides. It smelled as bad as he remembered it tasting all those years ago, so he opted not to breathe at all. Occasionally he would look up, studying various people. A girl in a sweater embroidered with sequin cats, pink faced and loud mouthed. A group of young men in matching beanies, watching a sport on television. The bartender hustled back and forth, taking care of patrons efficiently, smiling tightly.

 As Lazarus sat and watched, working up his nerve, he was immediately aware of someone approaching the empty stool beside him. It may very well be the only available seat at the bar. Calmly, the man would turn his head to apprehend whoever it was.

It had taken a little bit, easing back into going out late, but in the end Rika was a young girl who liked having a good time and she couldn't be blamed, really, if she would be happy to come back out to the karaoke bar?!

Except the system was down, so her circle of friends had split off go bar hop the rest of town, some hitting up the local drag show, others heading off to seedier pubs.

Rika, meanwhile, had found her way here, and decided if she was going to be brave it was going to be on her own feet! That's right world, no one else was with her!

Sauntering to the only open seat at the bar, she swept her purse off her shoulder in preparation of settling there for round... whatever it was of the night. She was already pretty warm and ready for more than she could probably reasonably handle.

 The woman who made her way to the seat beside him seemed young and peppy, and perhaps already tipsy judging by the precarious swing of her purse as she took it from her shoulder. He wasn't sure if he would be able to smell any alcohol on her beyond the other scents swimming around the bar, but he inhaled quietly all the same. There was undoubtedly something besides just whiskey hanging around her, and Lazarus immediately felt like a dog that had just had a steak slapped down before him.

 He held still, ignoring the instinct that might have made him shift away from her, and tried to be conscious of his face. Slowly, a small smile came to his mouth, and while it was not enough to reach his eyes, it did show a hint of his dimples. "Hello," he drawled quietly. Hello, fellow human, I too am a totally normal human. Greetings. Take me to your leader.

On a more sober night, Rika would have found that undoubtedly as creepy as it was. The weird smile and the weird hello and the weird focus. But right now, she was just a cozy drunk. She smiled back at him, even kind of giggled a little.

"You're as messed up as I am, yeah?" she asked with a little smirk, and moved to clamber onto the barstool and... slid off. She snorted a little giggle and tried again. "You didn't see that. Oy!" she called down the bartender. "You can give me whatever he's having."

A pause as she considered having some, but... no. What if herpes. Also, she didn't miss the slight... warp around him. He was some kinda something. Looking back to cute drunk, she grinned.

"So! Are you really old enough to drink?"

 She smiled, laughed, asked him if he was also drunk. Then nearly fell from the barstool before she even managed to get onto it properly, and even Lazarus could find amusement in that. He observed her a little more closely as he determined, confidently, that she was far from sober. It made him feel a little more powerful. His eyes glanced up to the bartender as the young woman shouted. She didn't even know what he was drinking. Interesting.

 Her question made him grin enough to show teeth, but it was very brief, and he lowered his gaze to the glass in front of him for a moment before he looked at her again. He was nowhere near twenty one, that was for sure. "Nope." One hand lifted to put a finger over his lips, as if it were a secret.

That was a better smile on him, which was good — Rika knew she was funny, but it was always best to get confirmation of it.

And then! He revealed he was apparently under twenty one, and she gave a theatrical little gasp and then covered her mouth. "You got it. Secret's safe here."

She crossed her heart, a literal promise. "But have you tried it yet?"

 She had a sort of an innocent air about her. It wasn't enough for him to lower his guard, of course, as sweet and drunk as she seemed to be. He eyed her, amused despite his wariness, and curious as to the meaning of her question. He glanced down at his glass for a moment, before looking at her again. "...Tried what?"

Oh no! He was playing dumb! Rika's eyes bugged at him a little in a measure of oh my godddd, dude, before she tapped at the side of his glass. Thankfully not long enough for her to even think about going all magic snoopy about it.

"Your drink! Duh!"

Speaking of, her drink came too, and she took it gladly and sipped it down. It was just straight whiskey, which wasn't the nicest thing, but she wasn't incapable. She just gave a little scrunch-eyed wiggle like she'd sucked on the lemon wedge the bartender had kindly decided to give her.

Oh, she realized in the back of her mind that if she pulled it off, she could easily switch drinks with him. And then be a snoop.

 Oh. His drink. He scoffed a little. "Whiskey? Yea," he assured her dryly. Duh. Hers arrived, and she downed it with a look that was less than enthusiastic. He maintained his faux grin. "I reckon it's not your drink of choice, huh." What did women even enjoy drinking? Wine?

Oh. That wasn't what she meant, and she'd roll her eyes a little bit. She meant that his drink looked untouched. But apparently he was a serial underage drinker. Boyyyyy.

At his next comment, she slapped the glass down on the countertop. "What!" she hollered, gaining a playfully offended look in her face. "I'm a Finn, of course I drink whiskey! I drink everything!"

Maybe usually in cocktails, but whatever! She had a bloodline to be proud of. "In fact! I challenge you, to a drink— drinking contest!"

Rika would not lose. She knew this in her heart, because she always knew this in her heart. She gripped her glass and readied to down it all like a shot.

 Suddenly, she was yelling at him, and Lazarus could not keep a boyish look of surprise from his face. She was a fin, whatever that meant - apparently that she drank everything. His face relaxed again, neutral as she challenged him to a drinking contest. His mouth curled into a faint, lopsided smirk, before falling away again. "Can't do that, miss. Gotta pick someone up from work in a few hours." It was absolutely a lie. "Knock yourself out though."

"Aww, boring," she pouted, hurt for some reason that he had a life outside of drinking with her. Him! This total stranger.

"So? I'm Rika. What's your name, what's your girlfriend's name?"

She assumed he had a girlfriend. Who else would he be picking up?

 Internally, Lazarus bristled at her little insult, but kept it down tight. He had a goal here, and being stony had not been working well for him. He kept the old men of the clutch in mind. Safiya. Practice some charisma.

 His brow rose slightly at her question that followed her introduction. "Name’s Ian. No girlfriend." He had considered, for a brief moment, using Safiya as his imaginary girlfriend, but there were several things about that notion that were not ideal. He recalled women from days gone by asking such questions. "Why? You tryin’ to hit on me?"

Ian! She sipped down some more burning whiskey and gave a little snort.

"No! You said you have to pick someone up, so I assumed. Besides," she slurred slightly, matter of factly, "youuuu are the one who said hello to me first. So it's obviously you hitting on me."

Obviously, obviously.

 Boy, Safiya would love this. He most certainly was not hitting on this woman, unless one counted trying to pick her up as a meal. Maybe he could pull a card from that deck. He lacked the social skills for it, really; it could end badly.

 He smirked a little again, though the expression wasn’t quite thawed. "Not a bad thing, is it?" Slow and steady, Lazarus. Try not to misstep.

Was it, Rika? She was normally kinda grossed out by attention, but. The rules changed a little when she was drunk. Boys became cuter, her own solo-freedom lifestyle pressing back and yearning for a little connection, even if it was brief.

"Maybe," she answered, testy. Rika was never the kind to make it easy. "Is that all you're gonna do though?"

Eyes meeting his, she did her best brow raise, going full on challenge face.

Suggestion success!

 Maybe. Lazarus made a conscious effort to look more relaxed, propping his elbow against the bar and planting his chin on top of his fist. It was a little awkward. Hopefully she still thought he was drunk. And she was meeting his gaze, dead on, which might have made him uneasy if it weren't so... empowering. It brought a true smirk to his mouth, and he decided to test his luck. "You'll let me have my way with you," he drawled quietly, feeling a rush of warm excitement for the sensation of success.

That was supposed to be really creepy. Like. From maybe hitting on you to he gets to do whatever he wants? Rika would have punched him in his pretty teeth for that.

Instead she was intensely into it in a way she never had been before. And why wouldn't she? He was cute, and she was cuter. "Maybe I will," she answered coyly, smiling in a way that was basically a "yes," because yes, tonight she would happily go home with this stranger.

"Right here, in front of everyone?" she asked, hoping to push him to taking her wherever it was he wanted to go faster. And only one drink in here! That was a lot of money saved.

 Maybe she would. Of course she would. Right here in front of everyone? Absolutely fucking not. Lazarus scoffed a little, turning to scan the other patrons in the bar. He might look like he was considering her proposal, but really his eyes sought something useful - keys, the kind with buttons on them. He spotted a pair, dangling off a man's belt loop, and with a quick aversion of his changing eyes, he would summon them to the hand he had snaked into his pocket. Bingo. So smooth.

 "Hope you ain't opposed to a back seat." Having already paid for his untouched drink, Lazarus would slide off his barstool and wait for her to do the same, without offering an icy hand to help. Heading outside into the cold night at whatever pace she might like to set, he would find the unlock button on the key fob in his hand, searching for the source of the honk. It was a nondescript black truck, with a back seat to boot. He was feeling very lucky.

What a rush. She slapped down her $10 for her one unfinished drink and moved to follow him, not even questioning whether she'd regret this in an hour or eight. Rika kept herself close, eyeing him. He still had that warp to him. She should probably ask, but.

Why do that when she could just find out from his clothes.

"Me? A respettable— respectable young lady?" she joked, all slurry and smirky and kind of down for this in every sense. Seeing the truck, she'd have to clamber on in, wouldn't she? Rika moved to lead the way, all a flutter as she reached it, and opened the back seat door to get in and do... whatever it was he wanted to do.

She was an inebriated girl, and she had a general idea what a guy wanted.

 Yes. Respettable. Lazarus stood by, glancing over his shoulder cautiously as she hauled herself into the back seat. He would follow her in, wiggling into the seat, and... realizing that he didn't really know what to do with this. He had no intention of fucking her, not really - leading up to that might even be easier than pretending to approach it. The confined space made it all the trickier.

 Somewhat awkwardly, Lazarus would shuffle over, rolling onto his knees to loom over her and pull her onto her back. Missionary on a narrow, worn-cushioned bench seat was not the most comfortable, but it was good enough for him to invite himself to loom a little closer over her. He allowed himself a short breath; her scent was agonizingly tempting. As if he were little more than a ravenous lover, the vampire pressed his lips to her neck. One kiss, two kiss, and fangs split out of his gums to sink painlessly into her neck as one hand rose to rest on her abdomen.

He did away with talking and moved right to grabbing at her, and Rika couldn't help a little whimper, feeling more than a little want for this. Her hips angled up to meet him if he'd let her, and otherwise, she grasped to his jacket, fingers pressing into the leather.

From there he was kissing at her neck, cold cold cold lips, and she'd felt that before. Where had she felt that before. She knew, somewhere beneath the alcohol.

Rika moaned into it, and her eyes closed over their shift in hue to pink as she drank memories greedily from him.

Flashing a wristband. Telling some girl to take it easy, out of concern. "Guess you're not the only one who's full of surprises." Playing some video game with an... ostrich? Waiting for people to get drunk.

Waiting for people to get drunk. People like Rika. So that they could...

She felt that very subtle draining feeling again, and she felt again that she was into this, in a way she probably shouldn't be. And she didn't have anyone to talk about it to.

Rika moved a hand to the back of his head, seemingly encouraging him to keep going.

 She ground her hips against him, and while there was some... natural reaction to that, it fell to the back of his mind as he drank eagerly from her. She was intoxicating, between the alcohol and the power that sweetened her blood. His head felt very suddenly like a balloon, expanding and light enough to float off the earth. The rest of his body could have been made of lead as he drank, somewhat messily, from her neck. The hand in his hair was something that would have bothered him, normally, but not in this state.

 It didn't take long for her heart rate to take on a noticeable change. Not a dangerous dip, but enough for Lazarus to realize that if he didn't stop soon, he would have a corpse in the back of a stranger's truck. It reminded him a bit of being human, a child really - when he was being drug from bed before the sun rose, despite every fiber in his being wanting nothing more than six more hours of sleep, but waking up so that he wouldn't be slapped. He stood a good chance of getting a slapping if he didn't save her some blood for herself.

 She was delicious, but Lazarus was ultimately well behaved, for as... ill behaved as he had been. He retracted his greedy teeth, running his tongue along the pricks in her skin to assist in the sealing of them, catching a little blood runoff that threatened to spill around the back of her neck. His vision split, parting into two fields. Somewhat woozily, the vampire rolled off from her and dropped onto his ass in the seat beside the girl and leaned his head back against the rear windshield as the world swam around him.

Further memories she could glean from him blurred into a massive swirl of warped and twisted images, though the majority of them were largely mundane. Going somewhere, talking to someone. She couldn't track it, and as he slipped away from her, she barely even felt it.

Her entire everything felt faint and kind of cold, but not dying, thankfully. She breathed slowly, glancing at him, seeing that he was... well, he looked something like how she felt.

Which he deserved, some deeply buried spark in her decided.

Quietly, she closed her legs, feeling some bit of shame for all of this, and uncertainty if she would be able to get out of this car.

"Why's it... feel like that," she decided to ask with decidedly questionable grammar, her head swimming as she closed her eyes and rested a hand on her forehead. "Why's it feel good."

 For a little while, he could just hang out on this cloud and exist without any desire or complaint. So what if he was illegally hanging out in someone’s vehicle? So what if getting caught was bad news? So what if the girl next to him freaked out or got pissed? He was busy doing nothing on his own personal planet.

 She was talking, and Lazarus cracked his eyes open, looking slowly down at her. Why did it feel good? That was... puzzling. He didn’t think a human-made-meal had ever said something like that to him. "Dunno," he drawled. Somewhere in his head a small voice urged him to neutralize the threat, but for the moment, he remained unbothered. "What’s it feel like?"

Why didn't he know, she wanted to press. Instead he was asking her a question that felt... difficult to explain.

"I dunno," she mumbled in an unintentional echo of him. "S'like. Not just like a normal kiss, it's like you're taking me away from... me. Physically. And. I dunno. I liked that."

That wasn't a very good explanation at all! It sounded too poetic and not what she really felt, but it was hard to really explain how... weirdly arousing feeling herself drain was. Maybe because she wasn't supposed to like it! Probably. Rika, stop being stupid. You gave him what he wanted.

"Will you help me out of here, at least? Or..." she trailed, with the kind of curiosity to her question that implied she expected him to say no.

 It was hard to glean anything from what she was saying besides “it felt good.” This stumped Lazarus, especially so in his stoned state, and he considered her with fuzzy vision, slumped against the seat.

 "Wait... wait," he muttered, brows furrowed, eyes closing for a moment as if that would help him concentrate. There was something sophisticated forming at the edge of his brain. "If you’re... can I - I mean. We can. Make this a thing." Come on, words. Work.

The offer was both surprising and also wasn't an answer to her question. But maybe if her drunk little brain tried hard enough, she could allow it to mean that yes, he wouldn't just... abduct her in his truck and murder her.

Or maybe he would? What did making this a thing mean, did it mean she was volunteering to be vampire food?

All these questions in her head and all she could do was swallow and nod.


No, no, that wasn't all she meant to say. Rika struggled to push herself up, feeling exquisitely tired.

"Um. Just you?"

She didn't realize that was a concern until she asked, but asking it reminded her that her first time she had been shared between two.

Suggestion two successful!

 She seemed to agree easily. Too easily. Even inebriated, Lazarus was suddenly capable of feeling a suspicious sort of paranoia. He had to secure this somehow. Still, he considered a response to her question as he made an attempt to formulate a solution.

 "Just me. Maybe a friend sometimes." Just in case. "Look at me." Slowly, he would put a finger to her chin to get her full attention, grasping at magic. "Don’t tell anyone about any of this." Another satisfying sort of click in his mind assured him of success, and he was comforted for it.

A friend? She didn't really—

Get to protest, as he grasped at her face and made her eyes meet his. Rika was unaware of what he just did, but she felt the threat of what he said nonetheless and nodded, feeling a little like a wild rabbit in a cage. Her heart pattered for it, too. "I won't. Promise," she assured him, not knowing that she didn't even have a choice in the matter.

There was a lot of this that was wrong. Terrible. She could never tell anyone; what would they think of her?

Her eyelids drooped again, too drunk and too slackened, and she tried to pull from him to sit back if he'd let her. Either way, she asked, "what happens now?"

 She promised not to, which was less important than the fact that she wouldn't have a choice. He dropped his hand from her face, warm despite her blood loss, letting her slump back. He was able to relax a little as well, wishing to just sit and enjoy this feeling for a while, but also beginning to feel eager to get out of this stranger's vehicle. "Well. Exchange phone numbers I reckon. Get you an... Uber." That was the right word, right? He hoped so. Movements sluggish, he moved to extract his cell phone from his pocket to follow through with his suggestion.

He reckoned. He talked a little old fashioned, she noticed in that moment. Or maybe it was just Midwestern? She actually didn't really know.

Weren't vampires supposed to be, like, immortal?

She wouldn't pull out her phone — it felt like a little too much at the moment, but she was ready to recite her number for him whenever he was ready to take it, watching the blue glow of the light on his face and trying her best to commit it to memory through the drunkenness.

And then another question hit her, and she grasped for it before it could escape her. "Should I... drink before each time?" she asked tentatively. Because. She'd been chosen because she was drunk. She'd seen that he waited to choose the drunks.

She could do it. Rika just wanted to establish the rules.

 With some trouble, Lazarus would take down her number. What was her name again? Rita? Whatever. At least he go her phone number right, thanks to slow, careful tapping at the screen. She blurted out a question as he hit "save contact," and he lifted his head to glance blearily at her. "Up to you," he mumbled. "Whatever your... power is, it gives your blood a buzz." That wasn't exactly what he'd meant to say, but it got the point across. Surely he could make special requests in the future.

She found in this moment that he wasn't very charming, which was sort of similar to how men were after one night stands. But as he spoke, it explained why. Her power made her blood... buzz him? So he was on some kind of high now?

"Oh," she answered, feeling cold everywhere but especially on her legs right now for some reason. She didn't think to let him know what her power was, though.

"Um. Thank you for the Uber," she said instead, not sure if he actually intended to get it for her or not. Or if she'd have to just... get it herself?

 A clearer mind might have been more adamant to know what her power was, but in this moment of haziness, he was unbothered by curiosity. He was more concerned with her thanking him for an Uber that he hadn't paid for. Was that... some sly way of her asking for payment? A part of him balked at the thought, ready to flash teeth at her and bolt out of the truck, but. There was also some sense to keep in her favor for future encounters. He wondered how much she knew about vampires. Questions for next time.

 "Yeah," he drawled distractedly focusing on his phone again to pull up the app, fumbling through the buttons as usual until he was sure a ride was on its way for her. "It's a blue, uh. Explorer." Whatever that was. He wasn't great with cars. He slid the phone into his pocket and carefully pushed the door open so that he might roll out onto his feet, finding the world swung precariously beneath him. "Oof. C'mon." One hand laid on the truck to help keep him upright, while the other would extend out to her in an attempt to help her out and onto her feet as well.

She didn't know what that would look like, except that it was blue. A pressure in the back of her head pressed, and as she stumbled out after him she couldn't at all figure out why he didn't just drive her home. Maybe it was some kind of... not wanting to be near her after he was done or whatever.

This was pretty messed up, she was realizing again.

His cold cold hand helped her out, and she gave a small word of thanks before she hunched her shoulders and hugged her arms to herself. It was night in winter and it was cold, and maybe whatever he'd taken from her made her feel colder. The world spun slowly. Without her realizing it, her head was slowly drooping.

She glanced at him, wondering if it was best to pass time by continuing to talk or if he'd ask her to stop at some point.

"Um. How often do you eat?"

If it was like, every night. Would she just... die? It felt a little unsettling to think of that.

 Lazarus could not empathize with her feeling of cold, though he could see it clearly in the way she curled in on herself. The plan was to get out of here immediately, and he was considering doing just that as he willed the truck keys back to the belt loop from which it had come. But she was talking again, asking questions, and he looked at her with a flat expression that might easily betray his drunkenness. "Daily," he informed her, looking away to scan the parking lot blearily, making sure they were alone before he continued. "I don't believe you can survive that kinda frequency." A roundabout way of telling her that she shouldn't expect a daily call.

Daily. She looked up at him with wider eyes then, but he was quick to qualify it with what seemed to be letting her off the hook. Well, it was nice that he wasn't planning on draining her until she just dropped dead in... what, like a week. Rika nodded, swaying a little.

But he didn't say how often he'd call on her. She guessed she'd just have to find out?

Before she could fumble for much of anything else, headlights were flashing with the approach of what appeared to be a vehicle with the little bright "U" logo in the windshield.

Apparently it was a really quick Uber.

"I think that's..." she pointed, eyes looking to the ground to steady herself as she began to tilt slightly diagonally. "Um. I'll see you when...ever next time is?" Rika said to him, looking back at his face in some expectation of a goodbye or. A grunt. Something.

 Apparently her ride appeared in good time, as she pointed and spoke and tried not to fall on her face. Lazarus stood stiffly, particularly wary of being associated with an obviously inebriated woman all alone in the dark. At least she managed to walk on both legs towards her destination. "Yeah. See ya." He was ready for her to go. The feeling of coming down was already tangible, and it would make it harder to tolerate anything about this situation. It was likely he would find himself agonizing over finer details and potential mistakes in a few hours, anyway. At least he wouldn't be hungry.

That was it. She'd just... given this dude her number and said he could call her up to suck blood from her neck whenever he wanted and she was standing here feeling really fucking cold and vulnerable and that was really it?

She didn't say anything back. What was there to say, really? Just looked to the door and opened it up and moved on in.

The warm air of a human-driven car hit her like a wave, and she closed the door and glanced at the man who would probably now have her home address in addition to her number since that was how Uber worked.

The driver said a name she didn't recognize, and she just said yes because she was drunk and wasn't really paying attention. Sounded like "Lazruss" or something. Maybe that was his last name; Ian Lazruss.

Rika would think that just as her chest started to feel really tight, and then her brain would let it go to turn inward in panic. What the fuck. What had she just done. She was such a fucking drunk moron, agreeing to any of this. To some guy that told her she'd let him "have his way with her" and why did she go along with that so... easily?

She felt terrible, and used, and she folded her arms on her lap and rested her head on them and sniffled as she became very alcoholically overwhelmed with the reality of what had just happened.

The music was loud enough to drown her out. It wasn't long before she passed out into sleep, waking to find herself home what felt like many, many hours later.

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