Like Calls To Like

Toronto, Canada - home of many things, but Patricia DeMontfort was there for a very particular reason. The city was the home of Beverly and Elliot Mantle, brothers and doctors who shared the same gynecology practice. Like any other well-read medical professional, Patricia had known of the brilliant couple for years, but recent rumors of their declining behavior had piqued her particular interest.

Weeks of discreet observation became months, and yielded to her the secrets of a bizarre symbiotic relationship that had elicited several conflicting emotions within Patricia. Part of her wanted to walk away from them, let these strange humans live out their lives - which, if she was any judge, would end quite soon. Another part of her - the majority part - was too fascinated by the situation to abandon them. As Beverly and Eliot slid further into addiction and mutual psychosis, Patricia realized that action had to be taken and she finally knew what it should be.

The clinic was a mess. Trash covered the floor - food wrappers mixed with dirty clothes and empty pill vials - but the first thing that Patricia noticed as she forced the locked doors open was the smell of blood, too much blood.

"Shit!" Leaving the door open behind her, Trish sped through the large clinic, frantically pulling open the doors to consulting rooms until, a few desperate seconds later, she found what she was seeking.

Patricia examined the scene and swore again, vehemently. The Mantle twins were there, but it was almost too late. Beverly Mantle was sprawled against a wall and had a gaping hole in his chest, apparently inflicted by his loving brother, Elliot, who was unconscious on the ground beside him, a bloody scalpel in hand.

"Fucking sunlight" Trish muttered, cursing the circumstances that forced her into a utility closet every day during her observation of the couple. Pushing her irritation aside, Trish examined Beverly's mangled body and thought she detected a very faint pulse. That could just be vain hope, she realized, but she had nothing to lose.

Patricia doubted Beverly could be revived enough to swallow offered vitae - even comatose patients were only so responsive. Looking about, Trish was thankful that she was in a medical clinic, as she was able to find a large bore hypodermic after a short search. Driving it into her own leg and withdrawing a half pint of blood took only a moment. She forced the blood into Beverly's body as quickly as it had been drawn, and repeated the action several times. She wasn't entirely sure if this would work, but she had to try.

After a few seconds, the ragged wound in Bev's torso began to heal and Patricia was relieved to feel a stronger pulse beneath her hand. He was still unconscious, even after a significant transfusion, but as the last of his wounds vanished, Trish felt she could safely turn her attention to Elliot.

Elliot was slumped over Beverly, unconscious and unheeding of the filth on the floor that surrounded him. No stranger to drug overdoses, Trish regarded him critically. He was still clinging to life, mostly because overdoses always took longer to kill than the would-be suicide expected. Self-induced OD victims usually passed out before taking the intended number of pills - an occurrence that had bought essential time for many paramedics.

Patricia frowned. She had no idea precisely what he had taken - other than a system depressant, and that worried her. She had a significant amount of opiates in her blood at any time, and she feared that giving Elliot Mantle her vitae might kill him before it cured him.

She turned her attention to the cabinets beside Elliot, frantically tearing through them. "Stimulant, stimulant" she muttered, heeding Elliot's shallow breathing. Finally, after minutes of increasingly frustrated searching, she found an adequate drug - one that reasonably fast acting and in hypodermic form. Patricia administered as much as she dared, and manhandled Elliot so that he, too, leaned against an adjacent wall.

Finally, she could take stock of herself, settling down on the floor adjacent to the twins. She had made a point of feeding to capacity the evening before, and now she was very glad of it. She didn't anticipate having to heal serious wounds and, had she stuck to her usual hunting habits, healing Beverly might have forced Patricia into a torpor - an ironic turn of circumstance.

Elliot's eyes flickered and a low groan escaped him. Trish watched him closely, recognizing what was about to happen, and moved to hold him steady as he vomited onto the already-filthy floor. Amongst the deitrius of bile and other fluids, Trish saw a dozen half-dissolved pills, and nodded in quiet satisfaction. Not too late, she thought, relieved.

Elliot coughed and tried to wipe his mouth. He was still too dopey and weak to perform even simple actions, so Trish roughly wiped his face clean with the sleeve of her jacket. As a doctor and a vampire, she had left her squeamishness behind long ago.

"You feel like shit, right?" She addressed Elliot directly. He nodded weakly, barely conscious. "Okay, you're going to feel worse before you get better, but you're going to have to trust me on this." Elliot murmered something that Patricia almost didn't understand - a protesting noise. She guessed at his intent. "Beverly's going to be alright, too." she assured him. "I promise."

With that, Patricia didn't see any point in delaying any more. She easily pulled Elliot's head back and bit into his throat. As she swallowed his blood, Trish was quietly grateful for her own familiarity with drugs. A weaker vampire would have been seriously incapacitated by the combination of substances Patricia could taste, but she was able to tolerate the tainted blood and continue her task.

Over her observations of this couple during the past four months, Patricia had decided it was more important to preserve Elliot - the more outgoing of the two - but she sensed the risks of separating the pair. Feeling a wave of dizziness, as the drugs in Elliot's blood affected her, she hoped her strength would last to Embrace both of them.

After healing the damage she caused to Elliot's throat, she bit into her own wrist. Elliot reacted as she had hoped, gladly taking her blood as offered, drawing it with a strength she found surprising - and enheartening. Pulling herself free once she had returned perhaps half of what she had taken, Patricia turned to the still-unconscious Beverly and repeated her actions.

The Embrace and the blood brought Beverly back to consciousness and now both of her fledgling childer regarded her unsteadily, confused and perhaps a little hostile.

Again, Patricia didn't see much point in delay. "I'm sorry you didn't get much warning, but that's the way it is with my kind. You were dying, you're not now." she told them bluntly. "Play your cards right, and you'll never die. Welcome to the world of the undead - details forthcoming."

The pair stared at Trish, obviously not understanding her. Finally, Elliot spoke. "We're...hungry..." his voice was a shaky whisper.

Patricia nodded. "I know-" she heard a voice coming from the lobby of the clinic, finally. She thought that the custodian was never going to notice the racket she created. "And here's a little something to help that." she announced. "Be right back."

Patricia left the bewildered, but increasingly aware, twins in the trashed surgery. From the lobby they heard her voice and that of the building's custodian. There was a solid thump of bone striking bone, and Patricia returned, the custodian carried easily over her shoulder. Blood dripped freely from a crushed-looking wound on his forehead, but Patricia ignored it. Dumping him in front of Beverly and Eliot, she shrugged and announced, "I guess you might as well take a wrist each."

Elliot frowned, but Patricia saw comprehension on Beverly's face - and a touch of the Beast. Patricia wasn't surprised at his hunger, as she suspected that most of the minimal draft of vitae she gave him had been used to complete his healing. Elliot's frown of dissatisfaction transformed into understanding as he watched his brother grab the unconscious man's left wrist and greedily tear into the flesh. Within moments, the twins had drained the elderly custodian and Trish wondered if she was teaching her childer bad habits.

"Better?" she asked gently. Just because her own Embrace was rough didn't mean that she had to pass that on. The twins nodded, each wiping blood from their chins.

"What-" Beverly began.

"-do we do now?" Elliot finished.

Trish was rather startled by that behavior, and filed it away for future examination. "You know, I asked my sire much the same thing..."

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