Sanguis read more of the blood magic book. It was still pretty creepy, even though he supposed he was technically a blood mage now. He avoided the weirdest stuff, and stuck with stuff that was relatively non-creepy. Like shields. Apparently, you could temporarily harden blood even though it was a liquid. If it hadn’t been magic, he would have called foul. Well, apparently some of the blood was absorbed in the process, so he figured there was a mass-energy conversion going on, and then the energy did… something.
It was hard to describe the way the energy was used, but he knew how it worked, even if he couldn’t have explained it. Mostly, it let him create a floating coaster for his drink. Trying to hold a drink up with just floating blood was a shaky process at best. However, with it hardened, it was a pretty good surface, and still, apparently, under his control.
Sanguis was still slightly worried about the fact that his side was still bleeding, but since he didn’t feel even a little bit light headed, and he wasn’t dead yet, he figured it was okay, somehow.
Upon finishing his drink, he came upon a problem to which he had no solution. In his lab at work, it would have a trivial solution. In fact, even home in his apartment, he could solve it. However, this was someone else’s house, so it was much harder to solve. For a few minutes, Sanguis sat in bed, continuing to read the book. However, the problem just got worse, as it always would if not solved.
Finally, he gave up, and attempted the only solution he could think of. “Valerie?” he called up the stairs.
Soon, she came down. “Yeah, what is it?”
“Do you have a bathroom?”
“Of course, where else would I take a shower? I would recommend being very careful with your stitches, if you take one.”
“Err… actually… I was more hoping you had a toilet.”
She frowned for a second. “Yeah I’ve got one what fo- oh. Right. Umm… let me help you up the stairs.”
Over the next day or so Valerie and Sanguis grew somewhat closer, since he couldn’t do much on his own. Sanguis felt somewhat awkward about the freeloading but he didn’t really have any way to pay her back.
“Do you want to drink some of my blood? The stuff I’ve already lost, anyway?”
Valerie stiffened. “Y- No. I don’t. I shouldn’t have had what I already did.”
Sanguis frowned. He wasn’t sure what to say. “Was it not good?”
Valerie shook her head. “It’s not that, I just… vampires don’t need to drink human blood, and feeding on humans is kind of… barbaric? I usually drink pig blood.”
“So you’re like… a vegetarian?”
“Those are the ones that don’t eat meat because it kills animals? I guess, yeah. Except what I drink still kills animals, but doesn’t hurt humans.” Then she muttered under her breath, “…not very good.”
Sanguis nodded. “So, you don’t want to drink the blood because… you don’t want to get into the habit of thinking of humans as food?”
“Exactly.” Valerie smiled, then frowned. “But umm… not to be rude… once you can walk around on your own, you should leave. You get blood all over the place, and it’s… distracting.”
Sanguis nodded. “Yeah, I’ll probably stay until tomorrow, if that’s alright. I’m starting to be a bit less sore.”
“Okay. Don’t push yourself, though.” Valerie looked concerned.
“It’s okay, I could probably move around fine now, but I’m kind of a wimp. I’m not good with pain.”
That got him a chuckle. “A blood mage that’s bad with pain. It’s a good thing you’re not planning to stay that way.”
“Yeah.” He wasn’t, although he was planning to still do silly things with his blood, whenever he got a cut or whatever. As long as nobody was watching.
Sanguis wasn’t planning to stay around too long, or stay a blood mage. However fate, or something like it, conspired against him on the first count.
He was planning to leave after Valerie left for her night shift at whatever job she had. He wanted to say goodbye in person, but he didn’t know what to say. Instead, he was going to write a heartfelt note. It was the best he could do, without doing something stupid like crying upon not being able to see someone he’d known for all of two days. He was going to, but he didn’t have the chance. Instead, she found him still there when she got back.
Sanguis was lying in a pool of blood in the middle of Valerie’s carpet when she returned. It looked like the first time she had seen him. She ran over to him, and lifted him up to look at him.
“Auughh! That hurts!” his eyes shot open. Also, his words were slightly more harsh.
“Eep! Sorry!” Valerie dropped him back down.
Sanguis spouted some profanities he was pretty sure he’d never learned.
“Uh… sorry again?” Valerie looked like she was about to cry. “Wait here, I’ll go grab some more needle and thread for stitching.”
Before she could get up, his arm held onto hers. “Don’t. If this kills me, just let it. It hurts too much.”
Valerie actually started crying. “Don’t give up! We can still save you! Just let me go!”
Sanguis shook his head sadly. Then, he spoke, “Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna die.”
“But there’s so much blood!”
Sanguis formed it into a ball above himself. “How much would you say is there?”
“Umm… like four liters? Oh no, that’s really bad!” She started to try to get up, but just slipped.
“Do you… get clumsy when there’s a lot of blood around?”
“N-no. I don’t.” She shook her head vigorously.
“So, you’re just always clumsy?”
“No!” This time, Sanguis believed her. “It’s just, I slipped on the blood.”
Sanguis pointed to the ball of blood. “It’s all up there. Also, watch where you put your hands.”
“Why?” Valerie checked to make sure she wasn’t accidentally leaning on him.
Sanguis held up something between his fingers. “I’m willing to bet you don’t want to touch this.”
Valerie found herself reaching for it, before her hand was slapped by a tiny whip made of blood.
“That wasn’t a challenge. Just look at it.”
Valerie leaned closer. “Hey, isn’t that a bullet?”
“It is. It also appears to be made out of silver, though I could be wrong about that. Now, from reading the books you have down there,” he vaguely gestured toward the basement, “I couldn’t figure out if any of the strengths and weaknesses of vampires were legitimate. However, since this was shot into me by a bunch of people who seemed to be vampire hunters, I bet it is a weakness.”
“You’re right. Wait, vampire hunters?” Valerie jumped up. “Why didn’t you say that first?! You got shot? We definitely need to do something!”
Sanguis didn’t even have to grab her to keep her from running off, since she tripped over him. “Well, I don’t think I think so well when I’m in pain.” He paused. “Also, it’s not really that bad, since I learned how to do a blood shield.”
“But…” Valerie looked at him. “You still have bullet holes!”
“Oh, yeah, well. All my blood was inside of me, so it just had to work like that.” Sanguis waved his hand dismissively. “Anyway, it’s a good thing, they thought I was dead. Since I got shot a lot. I didn’t pass out this time.” Sanguis frowned. “It hurt a lot more though. I really wish I had passed out, instead of just collapsing.”
“Wait, are you just rambling now? I really should do something if there really were vampire hunters!” Valerie had calmed down, but still looked very concerned.
“Oh yeah, there totally were. You should do whatever that was. I’m just gonna… lie here. Moving hurts.”
“Augh, why don’t you even sound like you think vampire hunters and getting shot is important? I’ll be right back, you just… yeah, keep doing that.”